Chuao Abuela Brownie Mix

Yeah, none of my grandmothers ever baked. And for that matter, none of them were abuelas to me. I’m as white as an albino Archie Bunker and I burn under high wattage lamps. But I figured I’d be able to bake these brownies- with style! After all, they don’t call me Tits McGee for nothing. (I baked them without a bra.) These brownies, by chocolatier Chuao, from the lovely Vivian and her Siamese, Ginger, feature dark chocolate and a stencil for making a pretty design on top of your brownies. And son, I am all about fucking stencils. Screw a D+ in arts and crafts. I NEVER LIKED GIRL SCOUT CAMP ANYWAY.They’re easy and require merely eggs and butter. It defeats the purpose of buying a baking mix for convenience if you have to break out your Pyrex and food scale. I was surprised to see a whole stick of butter going into this and was originally a little worried these would come out greasy. But the batter was delicious- rich, gooey and chocolatey with little chunks of chocolate inside. They seemed to be good-sized but not too large that they broke up the texture of the batter. A good sign.After baking for a half hour, they came out looking very tender. Even after cooling for over an hour, they still oozed chocolate when I cut into them, but the butter helped them slide out of the pan with nary a crumb left over. We ate one brownie warm and thought it really had the texture of a well-made chocolate lava cake, with a very slight, crisped crust and a molten, rich interior. They were very gooey and evenly dispersed with visible chocolate chunks. When they cooled down, they fused into a chocolatey bar with no effort needed to bite chunks off. Even cold, the chocolate was soft and melted inside. Medium rare brownies. Texture is a go.

However, there were some minor problems with the sugar in these. Eating brownies is even more fun when you’ve got something to top them with or eat alongside. Unfortunately, these are too sweet to allow any additional desserts on the side, which is why I typically like my brownies to have a more toned down, bitter chocolate flavor. The topping of a powdered sugar stencil was a nice idea, but ultimately added an overly sweetened flavor to the pastry.

Robinhood Free Meetinghouse Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls

Tasting for the epicness that is Spicy Week has left me with literally no taste buds left, so when I got these cinnamon buns, it was a welcome change of pace from picante and tomatillo. Obvs. Aside from hot sauces, breakfast foods are one of my favorite things to eat. If the two are combined, it’s enough to make me voluntarily reenact the famous scene from When Harry Met Sally. You know. The scene where they’re in the restaurant with their friends and Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby fall in love. I’m like Bruno Kirby. Sort of.These cinnamon buns were easy enough that a child with above average intelligence (and I’m talking Hoeflin scoring, bitches) could make them. Before eating them, I’d already registered a slight problem, and that’s never a good sign. For six cinnamon buns, there is one included icing pack. Not counting Baby Love, there’s only two of us in the house, and we can’t eat six cinnamon buns in one sitting. Preferring to break them up into one or two separate breakfasts, this one icing packet gig isn’t very convenient or easy unless you’re making the entire batch at once, which doesn’t work unless you’re a 2005 Drew Barrymore or six separate people.

Once in the oven, the buns doubled in size and wafted a homey cinnamon scent throughout the downstairs. It took a little longer than the requisite 25-30 minutes to get them browned, but once out of the oven, they were crispy and flaky. Because they are made with the same dough used in the cream cheese biscuits, they had the added advantage of having a biscuit-like texture, with a dense, layered softness lashed with buttery goodness. The cinnamon was a dry layer, rather than an oozing, saucy section. This proved to be beneficial and made the buns sweet in a short-cake like way rather than being overly saccharine.There was enough icing to gently drizzle over the buns, leaving half for the rest. The icing wasn’t too sweet, either, and boasted a natural vanilla bean flavor. It was very soft and added the right amount of sweetness to the buns, as well as a little extra moisture for especially dry areas. The buns were a fun way to wake up in the morning without all the prep work that comes with the homemade bun territory. I liked that sugar was incorporated as a background note, and think that these would be delicious with a little almond extract or chopped nuts on top.

Nando’s Chickenland Curry Coconut Sauce and Welcome Home, Baby Love!

We got a new kitten last night! Baby Love (named after the illustrious Miss Love, of course) is a chocolate point Siamese- perfect for this blog. Because of the hectic traveling of last night, I didn’t have time to do a traditional post. But we did cook her a traditional Thai dinner, with coconut curry noodles, Wiemer Gewurztraminer, with a little coconut gelato for dessert. Kitty ate some of her hard food, which will not be reviewed on the blog at this time.The coconut curry sauce we used was from Nando’s Chickenland, regrettably not a real vacation destination. I booked two one-way flights before I realized I’d been scammed. The sauce was a little murky in origin. We couldn’t tell if it was a Thai sauce or an Indian sauce, and as a result of that, we didn’t know what carbohydrate this ought to be poured on.It smelled delicious and had a wonderful flavor, but when combined with noodles and chicken, gave everything a slimy texture that made it hard to continue eating. It was quite undesirable, and makes me wonder if this would be better paired with rice like a tikka masala. We really enjoyed the heat of this, though. It was persistent amongst the other elements of the dish and lingered on the palate long after we finished eating.I’d be reluctant to try this sauce again with noodles because of the strange slipperiness it gave to the dish, but liked the flavor enough to give it a try with another dish or as a stand-alone dip. Continuing along the Thai theme, here’s a shot of our refreshing coconut gelato. Next time, I’d cut the creaminess of this, which was identical to coconut cream, with a little lime juice or even go as far as to serve it in a coconut half. It was cool and sweet and dotted with chewy pieces of frozen coconut. A wonderful way to welcome home our new kitten and raise a glass to the generosity of Dr. D, our kitten benefactor.

Quaker True Delights Wild Blueberry Muffin Instant Oatmeal

I always wing a silent prayer to the Flying Spaghetti Monster as I dive into my first bite of foods that try to imitate other foods. It just seems a little farfetched, like the Flying Spaghetti Monster himself, to spend so much time and research money to make a food only to have it taste like something else. And then it’s like a cruel joke- to the blind.

“Wait, the fuck is this? I ordered a muffin.” LOL!

That’s actually not funny at all. But I outsource my writing these days, so blame India for my problems. Quaker True Delights Wild Blueberry Muffin Instant Oatmeal, aside from being a card-carrying member of the Obnoxiously Long Title Association, does exactly that- play a cruel joke on my mouth by failing at both the food it attempts to mimic and the actual food form it comes in. I usually trust the Quakers as far as philosophy and oatmeal go. It’s a brand that has stayed unwaveringly familiar after all these years, despite a failed advertising scheme with the ever-obscure Jordin Sparks, now relegated to informing America about products that ensure healthy bowel movements and artery declogging. Ahem. The man on the box isn’t nearly as scary as the Burger King. And it’s a healthy and easy food to make.I’m sure you already know by now that this does not taste like a muffin. Far from it. Maybe gas station muffin batter, whatever that means. But I was surprised when this fell far from my normal expectations of Quaker Oatmeal. It was pretty bad. From the get-go, the oatmeal, after being mixed with boiling water, had a creamy, slimy texture, suggesting the addition of a creamer for an experience with more indulgences than Tetzel. Hey-o! The flavor was even stranger. Despite being dotted by small, turd-like “wild blueberries,” about as “wild” as shrunken testicles, it carried the burden of tasting identical to the unpleasant combination of both lemon and coffee creamer. No joke. And the coffee creamer was actually a welcome change compared to the strangeness of the other flavors. The blueberry flavor disappeared in the strange myriad of all the other flavors and when isolated, tasted fake. Come on. Even McDonald’s makes syrup balls that actually taste like syrup.It seems as though Quaker, in a brazen foodglomerate experiment, tried too hard on the “muffin” aspect of their oatmeal and rested on their laurels with the oatmeal. Too bad, because that’s the main reason why I ate it in the first place. Otherwise I would have eaten a freaking muffin and left it at that. Quaker normally scores high with their breakfasts, but in this case, seems like too far of a reach to guarantee success on.

Pillsbury Simply…French Bread

This is going to be photo-heavy because this bread dough was technically a Transformer: Breadbot in Disguise. Like top-heavy but the photos are of bread and not tits. Hate to disappoint. In any case, this is new from Pillsbury’s Simply… line. Yes, the ellipses are mandatory. A lot of pondering went into my head when I heard this name. Simply what? A hearkening back to the simple, rustic days of living? A command to simplify our lifestyles? Nudist beaches? Ball-scratching? All of those things are simply delightful, so I was pleased to try a product that I could rank up next to some of my favorite simple pleasures- eating and sex.The bread performed up to my expectations. Granted, I had steeled them reasonably low as this was, after all, a canned bread, albeit one that simplified (see what I did there?) the ingredient list, even going as far as to gently tell us that xanthan gum is nothing more than a “natural carbohydrate.” Granted, it is, but it’s still a food additive meant to catalyze something that does not naturally occur in food. It’s tantamount to calling polylysine “nature’s refrigerator.” It both patronizes and minimizes the concern as a whole. But the bread, with all its flaws, was not a bad bread. Appearance-wise, it was attractive and rustic looking with a pleasant, browned exterior with only a slightly can-like shape from the package.That browning, by the way, was awfully hard to create and was the product of rotating the bread in the oven halfway through. No joke. They don’t mention it on the instructions, but this browns rather unevenly. If I’d left it prostrate in the oven, it would have come out with a tanned top and a fleshy bottom, desirable in neither chicks nor pastries. As it was, I paid careful attention to it and proudly extracted a crusty loaf upon completion. The floured surface was a nice touch and with the artistic slashes I’d added before, (I didn’t want to get too crazy) made it look almost homemade. Almost.That “almost” was belied in the texture of the bread. When I cut into it, the knife sank through easily. The texture was singular throughout the loaf. The crust definition was poor and seemed as though it was more of an extension of the fluffy middle itself, thus lumping it into the ignoble categorization of things like fake grill marks on meat. It was neither crispy nor chewy, falling flatly in between to resemble a light toast than anything else. The flavor was what would make me purchase this again, albeit on restricted terms. It just didn’t taste like canned bread and it didn’t have that wonky pre-portioned touch that most do. It was a wholesome, airy flavor with a hint of sweetness that brought out the honeyed coating I later doused it with- and accentuated the savory sandwich, a delicious mock Monte Cristo, that I had for lunch. Shot glasses. I’m just really big on shot glasses right now.My other big complaint with this would be the portioning. One package makes a ten inch loaf roughly the length and girth of a freakishly elephantine peni- er, roughly the length and girth of a Subway sandwich loaf. One person can eat that in a sitting. That’s not going to feed a hungry family of four unless you’re cutting tiny slices. I was able to cut eight good-sized slices from the loaf, including the bitch corners that nobody wants to eat. That might make a sufficient side dish with pasta, but for anything or anyone larger than the American standardized family set (batteries not included) it’s a little restrictive.Homemade bread takes about three hours to make, and most of that is letting it rise while you do other things. If I was pressed and had only twenty minutes, thirty if you count going to the grocery store, to prepare a baked good and had no time to bother with measurements and shit (that’s for pussies) I’d probably go for this. Despite the bullshitting with the ingredients, it was wholesome and tasty, and even if people did rag on me for buying it from a can, I could then counteract with a comment about how their twenty minute Robert Irvine-esque warnings for dinner parties sucked anyway. I can’t wait to see how this turns out tomorrow as a giant sandwich. In conclusion, this is not better than sex. Unless it’s really boring sex, and in that case, maybe.

Simply Enjoy Spanakopita

God damn, I love appetizers. Could eat them all the time. Especially if you phrase them as “bar food” and then I romanticize it and imagine I’m in the 60’s in a crowded, smoke filled bar with a glass of bourbon in one hand and tits in the other. Damn. That’s awesome. Stop and Shop has a decent selection of rotating appetizers that rear their heads every so often when I go grocery shopping. Their store brand tends to be of good quality, so when I found these in the freezer, I figured I’d give them a try, despite not typically enjoying vegetables.They don’t take long to cook up, 25 minutes in the oven and you’re good to go. That’s only if you’re making the whole box, though. I wouldn’t recommend making one or two at a time. I did that and NOW I’M DEAD. It’s like when you’re at a party and a few friends go outside to hang out and everyone else stays inside and you go outside and you’re freezing cold and you’re wondering why you did that when you could be inside having fun.

Drugs are like that.But the spanakopita toasted up just fine, likely due to all the butter in the phyllo dough, and for the 25 minutes it took to cook, I went about setting up the most awesome food scene known to man. Damn, that shit is retro. Apparently a big theme around here these days. The pastries came out browned, though spottily so, and oozing with spinach and cheese. A good sign since I was worried about skimpy spanakopita and you know I don’t like my spanakopita skimpy. No sir.Biting into this was a treat- there was a robust flavor in all elements. A little salty feta, the earthiness of spinach, and a nice garlicky taste. It was pretty greasy on the outside, and there was more dough than I originally anticipated. The spinach and feta were mixed together so that texturally, both elements were indistinguishable, creating the sensation of more of a dip than a crumbly, creamy snack. I dipped this in a little olive oil marinade and found it to be pleasantly briny, with the sauce really bringing out the bitter tang of the spinach. A delicious snack, but you might want to fork and knife this one. I can imagine these would be delightful with a little hot sauce for an extra kick.

Lucy’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve seen these around the supermarket in neat little rows around the special dietary needs section. Of course, I took no mind as I was on a higher mission- White Castle sliders and crab cake bite…snack…’wiches. Yeah. The mission happens every Tuesday and if I can’t complete it, I go into HUNGER OVERLOAD. So as you can see, these didn’t catch my eye until I discovered that they were real cookies. Even better!The cookies are gluten-free. Unfortunately, they’re free of everything else as well, flavor included. I can imagine these would be delicious if they were repackaged in matte black with official NASA seals on them because then, I would have expected them to be tasteless and strange. But they’re not astronaut food- they’re meant to be a source of enjoyment for kids with allergies and women suffering through Weight Watchers.To an average bystander, they look like Chips Ahoy! cookies- a cruel mistake if you happen to bite into one. They’re crispy and crunchy and chock full of chocolate chips. But what really throws you for a loop is the flavor. The most prominent taste in this is distinctly soy, and what Keepitcoming says she imagines Soylent Green tastes like. Because I didn’t have the stomach to eat more than a bite of these cookies straight up, I decided to play with them and see if there was anything else I could do to make them palatable. I ended up rolling small ice cream balls in some cookie crumbs and then brulleeing it for a few minutes in the broiler.Mixed into ice cream or perhaps made into a pie crust, the nasty plant flavors are certainly cut back, but that also negates the healthful aspect of these. It was a toss up, but I decided that eating them with a little more indulgence beat scarfing four of them for 100 calories any day. I couldn’t get past my first. Healthy cookies are all well and good, doc, but if someone has to set your product on fire to render it edible, it probably needs to go back to the drawing board.

Hedonist Chocolates TweetHeart Collection

I refuse to make Twitter-related jokes about this collection. My lawyers advised against that in my most recent subpoena, Foodette versus Carrot Top. Something about hate tweets, but whatever. This is an early Valentine’s Day set from Hedonist Chocolates. Hedonism. Valentine’s Day. It works.On a slightly unrelated note that will soon become related with flimsy connections from random tangents I make up, the Feedjit is now up and running and I am able to watch you as you peruse my page, my sweet, sweet pawns. It looks like the most popular page hits right now are the McDonald’s oatmeal, Lazy Cakes, and Sonic Red Velvet Blast. Coincidence? Fuck yes. All of those foods are incredibly sexy and will make your penis or vagina extremely virile. And now it’s time to add another food to that collection. TweetHearts.In the box are five truffles with little bird and heart motifs on them. (Birds say “tweet”) But don’t become distracted by this Nabokovian innocence. These chocolates are coquettes, harlots of the candy shop.The truffles are small but powerful, boasting a rich, fruity dark chocolate shell and ganache that settles in perfectly with the raspberry liqueur inside. There is no gooiness or textural inconsistencies; the entire experience is smooth without any added lubrication.
The raspberry flavor is surprisingly strong. On the topnote of the truffle, there was very little fruitiness to be found, but the raspberry only got stronger and more developed throughout the bite. At the end, it was deliciously jammy and sweet. The chocolate crisps with a nice snap on the bite, folding away to firm ganache underneath.Normally, my taste in chocolate runs toward flavors with strange emulsions, bells and whistles, and a disclaimer. This might also explain my taste in Valentine’s Day activities as well as the aforementioned lawsuit. But with these, I need no other stimulation or excitement than the knowledge and decadence in consuming such a finely crafted product.

TCHOPro Baking Drops 68%

Look fast! No, it’s not August Derleth…but TCHO in the singular! This stands for “technology meeting chocolate,” but could also be a clever nod at the founder, Timothy Child’s, short-lived career as a motivational children’s rap artist and DJ, T-Cho. Because that’s not true, please stick to the former.Along with a few other reviewable goodies, TCHO sent over these baking drops in a space-age bag and I immediately went to work on a batch of cookies. What else to test the chocolate professionals use than a good batch of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies? My first brush with these cookies was a few years ago on etsy when I started up this blog. I was so smitten with these and meant to get the recipe or order a few hundred, but then the woman who sold them to me left the internet forever, taking her recipe with her. Asshole. All I had going for me was the name and a pocket full of dreams. And butter. Because of my annoying persistent habits, I’ve been trying any gluten-free cookie recipe I can find, and that’s where I got the idea to use these in cookies.A swirling vortex of peanut butter.

When I received these baking drops, I noticed that they were flat, much like Wilton’s chocolate flavored candy melts, but were instead 68% dark chocolate. Dark like my soul. The tasting notes on the back were actually quite accurate, with a rich intensity throughout the drop and red berry notes in the midnote. My only disagreement was in the ending note, as I tasted a distinctly strong, bitter coffee. Not necessarily bad, quite tasty in fact, but also not the caramelly ending I was promised. Such is life. Texturally, they were everything a good couverture baking chocolate ought to be- snappy and happy without a hint of graininess.
When they cooked up, I completely forgot that they were couverture and left a slight waxiness to the overall cookie mouthfeel. The chocolate only improved in melting, though, and released a decadent and distinct fruitiness similar to that in some single origin bars I’ve tasted. I(n retrospect, cookies probably weren’t the most professional nor sophisticated application for these drops, as they are a couverture chocolate best used for dipping or molding, and I was a little worried that the high cocoa butter content in the blend would work against me, but the cookies turned out decently. (Alas, still not identical to my lost loves!) Obviously, I wouldn’t use them again in cookies but may try to make pots de cremes for Keepitcoming tomorrow. But the drops were delicious.
So thank God for sex, suspenders, and TCHO. It’s worth your alliance.

Avitae Caffeinated Water

Are you tired all the time?Do you sleep when you’re supposed to be doing awesome stuff?Well, kiss those biceps, baby- or what WILL be, because avitae can KILL SLEEP!You want this.

Let’s clear a few things up before we start the review. First off, HOLY SHIT, THAT’S A REAL WORD. I was about to lump it into my conglomerate of foor-related neologisms that are made up and usually trademarked for the sake of advertising. Notable examples include “cherimoya,” (African for “tap water”) and “sustainable.” But seeing a familiar nominative case, I dusted off my old Latin dictionary and discovered that avitae is a clever bastardization of the Latin word for life, vitae. Close. But no cigar.The incense cone shaped bottle provides as much caffeine as a can of diet soda and as much water as a regular bottle of Poland Spring. And for a buck and change, the added boost is worth the cost. Being adamantly sworn against the bulk of energy drinks, I found that I was both bereft of the lingering aftertaste of robot piss in my mouth and also quite alert and energized during my daily treadmill and my subsequent social activities.The best part about this is the aforementioned lack of bitterness. Because the only extra ingredient differentiating this from tap water is natural caffeine, there’s no additives to boost or discolor the flavor of the water in any way, thus eliminating the sour aftertaste from chemicals. This is just water, with no bells and whistles but for the caffeine. So I have the same general taste reaction to it as I do with most water- with absolutely no enthusiasm. But the added caffeine is a bonus and boosts my street cred versus showing up to the gym looking like a little girl with a can of Diet Coke. Epic win.