Rawley’s Drive-In, Fairfield, CT

Heeded by the siren-like and yet, deadly, calls of Alex Guarnaschelli, Dickinson and I took a journey to a land unknown, yet so close. A land where Pink Floyd’s “Money” streams through the streets, where single is a four letter word, and affair is a recipe for success. That’s Fairfield, CT, my friends, of Fairfield County, and we drove in search of amazing hot dogs.Rawley’s Drive-In is extremely quaint. It’s the kind of cabin like place with names carved into the wall that a person could easily live in, and with the food they serve, who wouldn’t want to? Famous for their fried, then grilled hot dogs at priced fixed since Nixon, and cold milkshakes, it’s a favorite franchise. Dickinson and I ordered a black and white milkshake that made the Dairy Queen next door almost seem redundant, served in two cold cups for us.The milkshake, for a smaller serving, was filling enough. It was cool and creamy and had a very strong vanilla flavoring. Since a black and white shake is just chocolate syrup in vanilla ice cream, we got a good flavor of each, but not so much that one really overwhelmed the other. I generally take my black and white shakes slightly unmixed so that in some sips, there’s more chocolate than vanilla, but I ain’t complaining. It was cold and perfectly textured, not too thick or too thin, but easy to get the texture of the ice cream in each gulp.The dog came in nothing flat, a chili cheese dog with bacon. I almost wish I’d ordered a plain dog to get the essence of the flavoring and cooking without all the toppings, but boy, were they good. The chili was meaty and had a nice sauce that seeped into the bun, but wasn’t greasy or too loose. It was a fantastic topping to the burger. The pieces of bacon were absolutely succulent, like little nuggets of smoked angel poop or something. They were crunchy and crispy and hot from the fryer and had a slightly smoky taste to them, and the cheese held it all together well, though I didn’t get much of a sharp flavoring from it.The dog itself was really amazing. It was skinnier than I’d expected, but still so full of flavoring. Alex was right, this was a real treat. And at a little under $4, less without the toppings, this was an inexpensive and gourmet snack without breaking the bank. Dickinson paid. That’s why no banks were broken. The Foodette doubles as a mooch in the shadow of the night. It was a really crunchy dog with a nice skin and a good bite to it. Really good and fast food.With our dogs and burgers, respectively, as Dickinson is of the sandwich persuasion, we shared an order of fries, although I didn’t snap a photo. They were thick and rampant with starchy flavors, nicely fried and very crispy on the ends. I like it when they leave the skin on. They weren’t seasoned as well as I’d liked, but still had a good natural taste, and were perfectly cooked on the inside. Good fries. Not perfect or anything remarkable, but decent. It was a lovely lunch with Dickinson and a great time to catch up with one of my best friends over it.

Capri Bleu Goat Cheese

Hey, guys, sorry for the eternally later and later posts. I’ve been packing and unpacking boxes and have relatively uninteresting, vaguely adult-like responsibilities to fulfill to counteract my drinking bottled wine and lounging about in silk robes in my spare time. I definitely need a smoking jacket.

Here’s a classy cheese for classy ladies. Or men. Or children. I had it a while ago, but have only gotten around to reviewing it now. It’s a classic bleu cheese, but it’s goat cheese, and that makes it doubly delicious. I gave some to my friend, Wiener Woman, and she loved it. It didn’t give her a cigarette holder or an instant air of pretension, but she still thought it was fantastic.The cheese is smartly rolled in a nice log, which makes it perfect for slicing as a presentation to get some of the pretty rind in or easy to slice and crumble. It crumbles well, in relatively fine pieces that maintain a nice, smooth saltiness, almost like feta, but with a slight chalkiness at the end. It’s a very creamy cheese. If I’d had a better kitchen at Chez Crabtree, perhaps I’d have made a homemade bleu cheese dip for my haute wings for dinner club, but alas, it was not to be. Instead, I sat in my dad’s old bathrobe and gnawed it with Reserve Saltines, aged to perfection in my food file cabinet. There was no veining in the cheese, surprisingly, but I liked that because I don’t really like too much of that saturated flavor. Overall, though, really delicious and really classy, like a vintage Playboy magazine or an old antimacassar. Good schtuff.

Oscar Mayer Deli Creations: Turkey Monterey

Well, I’m back home, and I’m sorely missing the people back in Amherst. That’s more home. In any case, I’m back where I grew up, and I’m eating sammiches and bad Chinese food.

This is a favorite, one that I’ve mentioned before and really enjoyed. The process is the same deal, microwaving the bread and cheese and then assembling the ‘wich. This time, though, the cheese is PEPPER FREAKING JACK, the turkey has PEPPER CRUST, and there’s salsa and SOUTHWESTERN mayonnaise to top it with. It makes me feel like I’m in a real live tourist district of New Mexico. Southwestern Disneyland or something.The sandwich, for all my bad jokes, is really, really good. Tons of turkey, and it’s moist, but not watery like the ham was in some of the other sandwiches. There’s more meat touching here than a rugby team scrum. The cheese’s gooiness and texture was completely gone, but the spices shone through nicely. Bummer that the cheese was dead on arrival, though. The sauces really made it a unique and tasty sandwich, though, than just another permutation of meat, cheese, and bread. The salsa wasn’t watery at all, in fact, was thick and tasted very spicy with nice chunks of tomato and onion, and mixing with the spicy ranch sauce or whatever, made a really interesting sauce to go on top of the sandwich and gave it a spice as well as a creaminess that it deserved and lacked with the cold, sexless frigidity of the cheese.This was decent. It was better than the soulless hucksters of the other sandwiches, and I’d definitely try to recreate this at home with better ingredients and more exciting flavors. Not bad, but there’s always more to check out. Summer is here!

And you all have four more days to enter the contest. I extended the date to this Monday- write Foodette Reviews anywhere you want and you’ll get something special from me. It won’t be oral sex. But it might be chocolates.

Pot-Au-Pho, New Haven, CT

Swagger and I went out to dinner a little while ago and decided that pho was the way to go. This is a small eatery on the outskirts of New Haven, next door to our favorite Asian grocery. Swagger decided to go for the authentic pho while I chose an appetizer.

The menu selection is small, but modern, focusing mainly on their specialty, the pho, and the service is efficient and friendly. The restaurant itself is very modern, with little digital photo screens at every table showing scenes of generic Asia. Swagger and I counted no less than fifteen as blatant Google Image Search cop-outs.

I went to order two different appetizers, only to be informed that they were all out. Since the restaurant was not booming that evening and since the appetizer was comprised mainly of sliced baguettes, vegetables, and pork, I was taken aback. This happened twice, until I went with an appetizer only described as “pork and green onion cupcakes with creme fraiche.” Color me intrigued. A legitimate cupcake? I was excited.To drink, I ordered a jelly tea- a bubble tea with little cubes of jelly to suck up the straw instead of tapioca. It was very sweet and colorful, but I noticed that some of the jelly cubes had a vinegary aftertaste along with a firm and fruity texture. I was not pleased with that, and it sort of dissuaded me from sucking up the cubes, drinking the liquid instead, a plain green tea. Swagger went with some strange preserved citrus fruit in his drink, which was rather interesting and very tangy.The cupcakes came, topped with peanuts and peanut sauce, and the pork and creme fraiche. However, these were no cupcakes, resembling limp, moo shu pancakes in aebleskiver pans. I did like the presentation of the pancake things, though, with the lid on top of the pan to reveal the entree underneath. I guess I’m just easily impressed.What really bothered me was the texture of these, despite it being a very original and different dish. The pork was very tender and slightly chewy, and the flavors mingled well, but the whole appeal of an aebleskiver is the crisp outer shell yielding to the inner fillings. This was mushy and soft, and gave a very feeble shell to hold onto while eating. A lot of the liquid fell out and didn’t have anything to soak into. The flavors were fantastic, but I just couldn’t see myself ordering this again with the blase texture and soupiness of the dish. Of course, anything can be fixed with sriracha. It took the slightly one-noted flavors of the peanut and creme, which, though delicious, were bland and provided no body to the strength of the pork and yielded to its roasted flavor, and brought it to a mingled, spicy level. If only it made them crispier! If only!The star of the show, as I’d figured, was Swagger’s pho. It has in the biggest, deepest bowl we’d ever seen, and even had a chopstick rest cut out of the rim. He’s a big guy, and he could barely finish it. There were large pieces of tender beef and meatball, and the broth came with a side of fresh bean sprouts so that one could add them liberally without worrying about them getting mushy. The broth was flavorful, with a nice salty and sweet balance. Lots of anise in the taste. And it was just plentiful, hearty, and delicious. I wish I’d stolen more from him. Next time, I’ll definitely trust the restaurant’s specialty.My only criticism of the broth was the lack of noodles. It definitely advertised a bounty of starch to go along with all the veggies and meat, and I think with that lack of starch, it was a little thin. There were some noodles, but none that I was able to detect. Again, sriracha fixes everything and made my bites a little thicker.The dessert list was downright paltry. They had a “gelato” and sorbet variety, but when asked if any were house made, I was met with a confused face and a negative reply. Bummer. We still ordered three flavors: lychee, red bean, and green tea.The red bean and green tea flavors were both gelato, but they didn’t have the rich creaminess of gelato. They were still delicious, though, with very strong tastes. Red bean was a little musty and less sweet than I’d thought, but had enough creaminess to supplement the flavor. The green tea had a brilliant color and a really intense, but not bitter taste, but seemed as though it had a little freezer burn because I kept getting a lot of ice crystals and hard bits in the ice cream that were definitely not fillings.

The lychee was also very tasty and melted well. It had a wonderful and authentic flavor, but I really wasn’t as impressed by the ice cream as I was by the pho itself. And here’s my pho mantra for you, readers: If you go, stick to pho. If you stay, sandwiches are two doors away. Seriously. Clark’s Deli, do it. A Foodette classic.

Trident Splash Peppermint Swirl

Buying gum is like dating on craigslist. There’s risk involved, new flavors come out with the frequency of the Duggars having children, and the dating pool is huge, unless you live in the middle of bumfuck nowhere. Let’s say you buy a pack of something, say, one of those strange, potentially transsexual Trident Layers gums, and try it. You chew it a few times, meet up for coffee and go to the movies, and eventually have to spit it out in the wrapper prematurely because you just can’t take the crazy anymore. It’s a flavor that looks better on paper than in your mouth and with all those artificial flavors, it’s bound to make you sick.This new selection from Trident is different, though, because it gives you what you want, what you expect, and a whole lot more. This is the “girl next door porn star” of the gum social network. Maybe she has a Ph.D in flavor accuracy, too. The crunch is nice, and it yields to a soft, really natural minty flavor. It’s not intense or too refreshing, like getting drunk with mouthwash, but it’s really sweet and mellow. It reminds me of the Orbit Sweet Mint gum, but with a more accurate peppermint candy flavor. I like that it retains the characteristics of peppermint without being overwhelming.The gel inside was pleasantly cool and blended nicely with the creaminess of the gum’s texture, and managed to be chewy and not too sticky at all. A gum I’d be content with waking up next to in the morning. This was a delicious selection and I can confidently guarantee it will not give me crabs.

Three Sister’s Becca Bar

Here’s an interesting confection, the likes of which I’ve never seen before getting a sample from Three Sister’s Chocolate. It’s called a Becca Bar, and it combines the best of chocolate with the best of going to the movies- a massive wedge of caramel and popcorn, mainly focusing on the former, enrobed in dark chocolate with white chocolate stripes.I think it goes without saying that only Chuck Norris can finish this bar in one sitting. Personally, I delighted in cutting wedges off and sharing them with friends. The inner caramel is extremely chewy and sweet. I think I might have liked a sprinkling of sea salt on top to contrast the sweetness, but the dark chocolate did a good job of that, too. The pieces of popcorn are very crispy and full. They’ve only used the mushroom variety of popcorn, so the pieces are big and fluffy. I wished that there was more popcorn in the caramel, because it was definitely mainly that. It was just a solid brick of candy.The chocolate, in a surprisingly thick later on the outside, was a good, woodsy contrast to the sugary inside and also had less of a coconut flavor than some chocolates I’ve had. It was good. It took me a while to chip away at it, though. Becca Bars are daunting for the average person, and I’d definitely recommend cutting yours into little “Becca Bites” or eating it over the course of a few days.

These and other delicious treats are available online at www.3sisterschocolate.com.

Fizzies Root Beer Drink Tablets

Fleeper and I are trying these after finding them in her bread container in the middle of the night. Her mom is always buying her strange shit and it’s relatively awesome.

Fizzies label themselves as “effervescent” tablets. I don’t know if that means they’re one molecule away from being ecstasy, like how margarine is one molecule away from being plastic or some shit, or if they’re just inexplicably flamboyant. Either way, they look like giant horse pills, the rectal kind, or Alka Seltzer, and come in wrappers that make them easily mistakable for condoms. Yummy.I want a condom called “Fizzies,” by the way. Put it on my freaking Amazon wish list, fer cryin’ out loud.

Anyhoo, Fizzard the Wizard tells me some magic spell that makes it root beer. I have a sneaking feeling the spell is “sodium bicarbonate,” but who am I to judge? And I’ll be damned, it fizzes and starts turning the color urine, first healthy pee, and then infected, bender at an opium den, haven’t had a drink in days, urine. We’ll find out if it turns into root beer. Boy, Fizzard, you are magic. And also addicted to Fizzies, apparently, to the point of anonymous cock-sucking dependency for a fix. On the FAQ page, it asks, “Is it possible to get addicted to Fizzies?” to which Fizzard replies, “No, Fizzies are not habit-forming, unless you’re a wizard like me.” Yeah, like a crack wizard. Shit, man!The tablet takes a while to dissolve, maybe roughly a minute or two, and then it’s basically done. It spews out a nice foam that does actually look like soda, and dissolves pretty well. And it does taste like root beer. Granted, that root beer is the type from Chuck E. Cheese’s and is laced with the souls of small children and pedophilic mice, and also tastes watered down and terrible, but damn it, it’s root beer and I drank it. It’s very sweet and not very fizzy. If I had to choose a soda to take my virginity, it would be this soda. It’s gentle. Blue Razz probably rapes in the night.

Gnocchi

Look, we’re all on budgets, that I know. College students, families, everyone. We’re all making small cuts for the better. I can no longer afford to buy hardcore German nun porn anymore or subscribe to Cigar Aficionado. Everyone is affected.

Luckily, you can get off your ass and stop buying family sized boxes of chicken rings, because I have a recipe for you, adapted from Food Wishes, that costs less than fifty cents a serving and looks like you’ve hired a freaking chef.

This, my friends, is gnocchi.It’s manly enough to be put in any kind of sauce and garnished without making you look metrosexual or a purveyor of the occasional dress and delicate enough to serve to even the most finicky of guests. Served with a cream and primavera sauce, it’s absolutely filling, delicious, and fluffy.

Ingredients (serves 2)
One large potato
One egg
3/4 cups of flour
Salt to taste

1. Seriously. That’s it. Start by boiling your potato or nuking it in the microwave if you don’t feel like microwaving. After it’s hot and completely cooked on the inside, let it cool and peel it. Throw the chunks in a bowl.
2. While that’s happening, go ahead and get a ricer, strainer or a grater, something ricer-like if you don’t already have a ricer to use, and take your egg and flour out.
3. Rice the potato by mashing it against the strainer with a fork until all the chunks and clumps are gone and it’s now in little granules. This is really, really important for the formation of the gnocchi.
4. Take your riced potato and mix it in with the egg, and then gradually add your flour until it becomes pliable and dough like, but not too floury and crumbly.
5. Take it out of the bowl and roll it into a large log. Cut that log into four pieces, and start making clay snakes out of those. Cut each log into little pieces with a knife, and boil until they float. Once they’re all floating, leave them in for fourteen seconds and then take them out. Serve with any sauce you like and watch as your guests rant and rave over this delicious dinner.

Smart Ones Peanut Butter Cup Sundae

Sorry, readers, pardon me. It looks like I’ve mixed up my “before” food photo with an “after” digestion photo.That actually happens to be another Smart Ones sundae, in the peanut butter cup variety. Unfortunately, it’s about as appealing as a make your own sundae with store-brand ice cream at the VFD or a children’s birthday party. Supposedly containing tons of peanut butter cups, chocolate sauce, vanilla ice cream, and a cookie crust, this is nowhere near the caliber of the cookie dough sundae.

If the cookie dough sundae was a giant, vibrating dildo in your mouth, this is like being repeatedly raped with a micropenis. It’s bad in powerful ways and is just pathetic as a whole. The ice cream is standard, similar to the cookie dough sundae, and has the texture of being whipped and fluffy. The chocolate sauce is acrid, like a bad Hershey’s knock off, and the peanut butter cups are few and far between. The cookie crust is MIA and when you do get a little bit of it, you get a gooey, solidified mass of grainy dough that tastes like the sauce.I think my main gripe with this is that it doesn’t really try hard enough to be a peanut butter cup sundae. I expected more peanut butter, maybe peanut butter sauce instead of chocolate, or peanut butter flavored ice cream, and I realize this is a low-calorie and diet treat, but there are ways to make things lower in calories, and this just seems like a cop out on the part of the designers. “Let’s take some shit and throw it on and call it a peanut butter cup sundae” is what this says, and in all actuality, when your product looks like shit, too, it’s liable to taste that way.

Sinfully Delicious Dessert Sprays and Candy Bites

It was a relatively normal night and Captain Crunch and I were watching Unwrapped, when we saw these strange little pills Mark Summers was…reviewing, and when he was…back, in the style of Mark Summers with those strange vocal pauses, we were on the internet, ordering them. They promised to cure our cravings for real dessert both in the form of sprays and pills. And I’m reviewing those today, readers!

Also, the winner for the next theme week, by a nose, is spicy week! Get your kleenex ready because I see tears in the future. Next theme week will be next Sunday. Also, get your entries in for the contest or I’ll have to eat all the leftovers by myself…Starting with the sprays. Serving size is two squirts, and the spray sampler pack came with strawberry cheesecake, key lime pie, cinnamon apple pie, and milk chocolate turtle. They’re in handy spray bottles so you can put it in your bag and strangely squirt it into your mouth while your friends are eating tiramisu, but to each his own.

I started with the milk chocolate turtle. It’s always a little odd, waiting for the sprayer to kick in because I’m sitting here holding this bottle to my mouth like a baby bird until it actually does spray. And when it did spray, it didn’t taste like turtle at all. It tasted like overly sweet iced coffee. I literally tasted no chocolate and the caramel was very fake and artificial. Captain Crunch and I agree: eat a Russell Stover low-fat turtle instead of this. 0

The next one up to bat was the key lime pie spray. It tasted limey, all right, about as “limey” as my fake British ex-boyfriend. It was like eating a dry Kool-Aid packet. I’ll give them credit- they did make it taste like lime, but there was no other flavor and that one flavor wasn’t even done very well. Too sugary, too intense, too artificial. 1After that was the strawberry cheesecake, which had also fallen victim to the artificial flavor syndrome. It was intensely strawberry, in a syrupy, in your face fashion. I didn’t taste cream cheese or crust, just really badly rendered strawberries. 0

The last of the sprays, thankfully, was the cinnamon apple pie spray. We steeled ourselves for the worst, but actually, it wasn’t so bad at all. It tasted warm, with a definitely prominent cinnamon flavor and an apple note, though artificial, and came together with a nice caramel taste. I don’t think I’d carry these around in my purse, as they don’t curb my cravings for desserts, but the concept was different and the apple one wasn’t actually bad at all. These did remind me of those candy sprays we all had as kids, though. 5

Next up were the dessert pills. These are really the most futuristic, offering the equivalent taste of any sumptuous dessert contained in each pill. The selections are as varied as a Las Vegas Buffet, with orange dreamsicle, mocha cappuccino cake, and more.The first dessert pill I tried, actually, while half asleep, was the banana cream pie. It was really tasty, and had both a creamy, rich banana flavor and a grahamy aftertaste in the middle. It was also less of an artificial banana than I’d assumed. I thought that although I’d never take this over an actual slice of banana cream pie, it was very silky and tasty. The texture of these is very smooth and consistent. There’s no graininess in them. 7

After that was chocolate hazelnut toffee. This one really tasted more artificial than the rest of them, with the hazelnut in the representation of the aforementioned bad coffee and the chocolate taking on a tootsie roll flavor. Not so great. The texture was kind of grainy, too, and had little granules of sugar in it. 2Next was the mocha butterscotch sundae. The butterscotch was really prominent in this one, and it had the same silkiness of the banana cream pie. I really didn’t taste any coffee in this one, unfortunately, and had more of the buttery, rum-like flavor than the rest of the sundae. This, although it wasn’t an accurate representation of the aforementioned flavor, was tasty and average. 5

Deciding to try a real coffee flavor, I went for the mocha cappuccino cake. Whoa. Talk about coffee. This one was granulated and had a slower melt, but was very, very concentrated in the coffee flavor, definitely dominating over the chocolate and cake tastes. It was very tasty and definitely had a nice and strong coffee flavor in it, if slightly artificial. 6

Key lime pie was one of the flavors from the sprays, so I was hoping it would be a little better. I was right. The lime was smooth, a lot more subtle and sweet, with a creamy texture, and less artificial, Although I would have preferred more of a graham flavoring, this was definitely one of the best. 7After that was a milk chocolate truffle. This was fantastic, and made me wonder why all the other chocolate-based flavors had such bad chocolate flavoring. It tasted like chocolate whipped cream and definitely best resembled its dessert partner. 8

Apple cinnamon pie was bright red and tasted like a Yankee Candle and an Altoid had a baby. The cinnamon flavor was fresh and gave a little bit of spice to the pie, but the apple flavor was just off. A little odd, but still very buttery and good. Even better than the spray. 8

The next one was one of my favorites. Chocolate, peanuts, and caramel tasted exactly like a chocolate covered Baby Ruth bar. It was slightly salty, a little sweet, and carried all the elements of the flavors in it. If I were to order a single pack of these, it would be in this flavor, because everything mingled really well and best emulated the bar. 9

The biggest disappointment of the box was the one I had the most hope for, the orange dreamsicle. What could have been creamy and fruity tasted like St. Joseph’s baby aspirin and a crappy Starburst knock off. It was acidic and artificial and nowhere near reminiscent of a dreamsicle. What a shame. 0

Strawberry cheesecake worried me, because I thought it would be reminiscent of the spray. It was absolutely incredible. The strawberry flavoring was more subtle and had a creaminess to it like an actual cheesecake, and was sweet without being saccharine. 7

The peach cobbler failed miserably, tasting like I accidentally ate some of my shampoo or body wash instead of a piece of candy. It had only the peach flavoring, no other notes, and that was artificial and tangy. 0

Saving the best for last, though, I prepared for the peanut butter cup. It was fantastic. Unlike an actual peanut butter cup, you get the peanut butter flavoring first and then the chocolate. I was amazed at how different this was from the chocolate, peanuts, and caramel, because the peanut butter was both salty and rich and yet different from the peanuts. Not as much chocolate as I’d have liked in here, but still damned good. 9

All in all, I liked these as a novelty, but they’re definitely not the real thing. I’d invest my time and money in creating lower fat, indulgent versions of the desserts instead of relegating yourself to a tiny pill.