Vitamin Water Attention

Geez, with the debut of Vitamin Water Attention and the surge of energy drink popularity on the market, it must be awfully difficult for every college town’s local Ritalin dealer to keep his business going. I’m not sure if Vee Dubs has just been tailoring their marketing to the sheltered 14-year old mall rat set, but their latest slew of flavors seem to cater to the needs of teens with the attention spans of…So I’m watching Annie Hall noting the fact that I, too, have bought red light-bulbs in fits of sexual passion and I fall asleep halfway through and wake up after one such recurring nightmare where my father accidentally pays tuition to send a case of ’47 Cheval Blanc to Harvard Law instead of me and taking great pleasure from such a fact, you know? I’m confused and appalled because I did better than the Cheval on my LSATs, too. And then I took a sip of Vitamin Water Attention.
Oh yeah, that’s right, I was writing about that. Vitamin Water Attention, while compelling as a concept, obviously does nothing to staunch the onslaught of bleary late-night film rants I’m often wont to type out a la stream of consciousness late in the evening, hold the humor. Its pinkish-blood tinge and hideous side blurb about texting implies a warning that this may or may not be non-potable to species incapable of ingesting schmaltz. Unfortunately, its discordant selection of flavors- a sugary tart watermelon profile roughly as scientifically accurate as wall caulk is to whipped cream and a weak, dirt-based apple flavor nearly impossible to choke down unless you’re following it with a chaser of actual attention-boosting pills. Its sickeningly sweet Fuji apple and watermelon hybrid reminds me less of a refreshing beverage and more of the time that, as a soda-deprived child, I stuck a handful of mixed Jolly Ranchers and Skittles into a bottle of plain seltzer water in the hopes of creating something school lunch-worthy. It has a sticky texture that leaves one of the most persistent, lingering aftertastes of any of the Vitamin Water varieties I’ve had the displeasure to try, like reverse-effect mouthwash from hell.
However, I found it necessary to bring in outside sources to ensure that I didn’t open a bad bottle and see that my palate was unrefined. Luckily, the most scrutinous of websites, Celebrity Parents Magazine, as any good non-celebrity, non-parent, and non-fan of celebrity parents should definitely pick up when they have the chance, informs the reader that the latest brood from the renowed Glaceau family is the perfect way to pay attention to your spouse’s boring story or prop your child up during your fifth staging of the Academy Awards, reimagined to award your Starbucks-birthed screenplay Best Picture, Best Director, and strangely enough, Best Costume Design. Phew, I’m so glad I consulted some real critics first.

While buying this nearly requires a licensed prescription, twelve-month subscription, and personalized waiver, its caffeine levels pale in comparison to my personal favorite attention-based beverage of choice, coffee and a shot of Maker’s Mark alongside my copy of Family Fun. 145 grams per 8 ounces versus 87 mg of caffeine per 20 ounces in a bottle of Attention don’t mean jack to me, and the recently less sketchy relabeling of the bottles to reflect one full serving per bottle shows me that it’s not even worth the 32 grams of sugar to do so. On a scale of 1 to extremely alert, Vitamin Water Attention ranks just below Jimi Hendrix CD’s and microfiber throws.

Pinot Noir Enchiladas Rojo

I know you’ve enjoyed staring at my pudding review for the last five days. See, I love you, I do these things for you. I know you. I watch you while you sleep, etc. Lately I’ve been on an easy food kick because I’m lazy, yo. But Foodette, you might complain, I’m not lazy and I want to cook something that will impress my bill collector/DH/sullen teenager/collection of cats/infant. While I still don’t know why I’m coming to a fey lesbian student for recipes versus a wholesome and tasteful blog, I am here and I need to eat. Well, well, well, have I got a treat for you, dear conflicted reader.
I made this last week. We ate the whole pan in less than 24 hours and I’m okay with that because I need to get ripped for BlogHer and this is crammed full of protein and real live vegetables that have had the ever-loving life blended out of them. Hot sauce and plenty of wine, too. Gotta look ‘n’ cook fly for the mommy bloggers if you catch my drift.
The next day I made another version with homemade salsa verde. That went pretty fast, too. I’m slowly eliminating the need for us to get Mexican take-out. If I could just figure out how to make perfectly smooth salsa we’d be all set to open up a cantina. So, pinot noir enchiladas rojo. It’s not conventional, but screw that because neither am I. You like it.
Pinot Noir Enchiladas Rojo
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 1/2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 large yellow onion
1 cup of water
2 chopped jalapenos
2 cans of diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 cup of Pinot Noir
1/4 cup of chopped cooked bacon
1/4 chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
6 tablespoons of hot sauce
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of oil
12 yellow corn tortillas
1 cup of shredded pepper jack, cotija, or cheddar cheese (I topped mine with Merlot cheese and subbed cab sauvignon for the wine, so I guess this makes these Meritagenchiladas?)
1. Start by preparing your chicken and onions- boil water in a large pot on the stove with salt and pepper and place the chicken in, skimming the fat on top and lowering to a simmer after three minutes.

2.In a stainless steel pan, chop your onion into thin slices and cook over medium-high heat. As the onions stick and caramelize, they will leave a sticky glaze on the pan. Deglaze with water and repeat until the onions are soft and sweet. Shred the chicken once it has cooled and mix with the onions. You can make this mixture up to a day in advance and chill in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.

3. Combine jalapenos, tomatoes, wine, bacon, onion, tomato paste, and spices in a blender and blend until smooth. You will use half of this to cook with the enchiladas and the other half to top them as a cold salsa. Reserve half in the fridge.

4. In a shallow frying pan, heat your oil until bubbling and lightly fry the corn tortillas to make them soft and pliable, for no longer than seven to ten seconds per tortilla. Drain them on paper towels. In a casserole pan, pour half a cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom and dip the tortillas in before filling, saturating them with the sauce and letting them dry for a few minutes after they soak.
5. Fill with chicken mixture and cheese and roll tightly. After all the tortillas are stuffed and rolled, pour the remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes and serve with cold enchilada sauce spooned over the top.

And yeah, I’m kind of into pan photos right now. Next time we might even include photos of the cooking process.

Jell-O S’More Pudding Snacks

Foodette’s Review-o-tastic Format Draft 6.2, 2012
Intro sequence: start banter. Vaguely relevant statement about [INSERT BRAND NAME HERE] in relation to [INSERT ACTIVITY, ANNOYANCE, PERSON, FILM, OTHER FOOD HERE] Three sentences max, segue to product features.
Body: Mention other reviewers. Do not steal their jokes. Rewrite them cleverly. Product features- dust off prop table, wipe free of stains, and include hilarious photo. Kittens? Flavor profile. Compare to hilarious and/or relatible and/or gross household object. Like or dislike? If like, profusely overuse word “decadent,” “amazing,” “not too sweet,” etc. If dislike, turn to page 73, yap about Oprah or Krang. End review, 0-10 rating. Tweet extensively, bold strategically.
Oh, hi, I didn’t see you there! I was just thinking about how much I hate camping. Did you know that camping involves s’mores if you’re not a vegan and that Jell-O just came out with a new S’mores flavor for their Jell-O Brand Jell-O Pudding Line, including the flavor Strawberry Sundae? It’s new and it’s delicious and it’s especially for cool mothers and college students who want all the fun and childhood memories of s’mores, Clarissa Explains It All, and experimenting at Bat Mitzvah after-parties with the convenience of pudding.
I may be swimming against the tide here because many a reviewer has tried this and disliked it, primarily citing lack of graham crackers its reason for failure. I am, of course, excluding most mommy blogs from this sample as the most critical they typically get is calling something only kind of great. Even I, a staunch member of the Sylvester Party voting against Prop SM2, which strives to make open-faced s’mores a tradition with half the graham cracker necessary to be amazing, fell completely in love with this pudding. I got the package from Kraft yesterday morning and I’ve already eaten four puddings. What really did it for me was the marshmallow. I’ve got to admit that I’m really not a marshmallow fan but the squishy, mousse-like texture of the marshmallow layer on top, an airy top reminiscent of the Jell-O temptations line, had a malty flavor that threw me over the edge.
Underneath that was a chocolate layer and while I didn’t get a whole lot of chocolate flavor it provided a necessary solid body to the marshmallow and lent an indulgent creaminess to the whole affair. The two combined tasted wonderful and weren’t too heavy or gelatinous at all. Just amazing. I liked these over both the Strawberry Sundae line and the Temptations line, and while I haven’t put a pack of pudding cups on my bank statement in at least five years, I’m impressed with these enough to get them again. Oprah would love these and should give them away instead of a car, I’mma go Tweet, and that’s a wrap.
Did I miss something?

Reber Mozartkugeln (Mozart Balls)

Around this time four years ago, I was bopping around the UK on a school trip. It was three parts fascinating, two parts bus rides, and one part assholes proclaiming 1/8ths Irish Pride for the entire trip. Seriously, anyone with an “-oney,” “Mc,” “Dougal,” or “leprechaun” in their name (all except Schlomo McLeprechaundougaloney, he was adopted) was prancing around Dublin screeching about how awesome it was to be back in the Motherland. I’m 1/8th English and that might just be because this morning, someone spilled their Earl Grey on my shirt, and yet I was the only one to get drunkenly propositioned outside a shady bar. Coincidence? I think not.
Aside from eating some of the best brown bread this side of the Atlantic and performing at some gorgeous churches (this is where my mother will interject that we recorded two CD’s and that I still have some back in my childhood room for sale, $7 each) Ireland and Scotland was where I first honed my compulsive weird food spending habits. Do I remember anything about Wales? Not a damned thing, but I do remember tripping while carrying two four-liter bottles of Iru Bru down a hilly road that I successfully crammed into my carry-on bag. Any memories of the Edinburgh? Outside of escaping from the group and gorging myself on all-you-can-eat Turkish Delight and invigorating Turkish coffee, nada. Of the entire trip I had about 150 photos compared to the thousands others took, and at the end, discarded some of my souvenir t-shirts to fit in a few extra bags of chicken-flavored Doritos.
And inevitably, one of the things that sticks most heavily to my brain is the copious amounts of Mozart Balls floating around as makeshift currency amongst our large group, traded for sandwiches and cigarettes like rich kid prison. Our choir instructor had discovered them on the last trip to Austria and came back addicted. She made them out to be better than peanut butter and Jesus sandwiches with the way she kept talking about them. Then again, she obviously had a bias in support of any music-related candy, but I remember trying them and being wholly unimpressed. They’d slipped my mind for a few years until today, when I found them while wandering in a local bakery.
According to their package, Mozart Balls, or Mozartkugel, are truffles with a pistachio marzipan layer, a hazelnut marzipan layer, almond nougat, and two chocolate shells. Cash, yo. Mozart’s classic come-hither expression follows your every move. After a quick Wikipedia search it looks like the ones I picked up were actually imitation Mozart Balls, the lesson of which is to know your truffles before you chomp ’em, but no harm, no foul. The truffles are fairly substantial in size with a crunchy outer layer and a very grainy, gummy inside. They also taste incredibly boozy, much more alcohol-infused than I remember. It makes me question if these were the ones I had in Europe as I know that I would not have liked the scotch-heavy notes as a child. The flavor is predominantly pistachio and amaretto with a lingering smokiness from the chocolate, and they’re not very sweet at all. The center is quite moist and chewy and one truffle makes for a filling snack. While they’re not on the top of my list and really never were, it was a pleasant trip down memory lane- detouring, as always, to cram something in my mouth.

Oreo Bits Sandwiches Ice Flavor Lemon

It’s silly to get so excited about the weather but Massachusetts is leading me on like a craigslist hookup. I mean, holy crap, 75 degrees and balmy, when did you show up? And why?! I spent it as any blogger should: inside and at my computer screen. I disintegrate in the outdoors, see. However, I thought I’d make it up to you by offering Japan’s latest and greatest summer treat, one of the tastiest Oreo incarnations this side of birthday cake.
Yes, I’m still elated about the new Oreo flavor, but with whomever’s heading Asia’s marketing team, it pales somewhat in comparison, like my white, pale skin to J-Lo’s, to flavors like coffee caramel, matcha, sakura, and banana. And now, lemon ice for summer, not-quite-guaranteed to cool you down. This was a gift from Miss Love and I’ve been waiting for a while to crack them open on the right occasion. Opening special gifts like these is a big deal for me, so I decided to check them out on our warmest day this winter.
They are stupendous. The Japanese Oreo cookie base is so much less sweet than ours and has a flakier texture and saltier flavor with an almost bittersweet cocoa base. Inside, the cream is also less sweet and has a distinct lemon flavor with a powdery aftertaste like confectioner’s sugar. This carried an extremely nostalgic flavor for me and reminded me of the Archway lemon sandwich cookies I liked to eat as a child with a soft, mushy interior and crisp outer layer that soaks up milk and still maintains its shape. They’re incredibly tiny, probably 3/4ths of the size of our Oreo miniatures and are easy to pop and chomp.
The lemon flavor is strong and has a slightly bitter rind flavor, softened by the sugar, that interacts well with the chocolate. While I can’t make any claims of it tasting too similar to an ice pop, as there’s no real cooling sensation involved, it’s a really excellent riff off a classic flavor.

Chocolate Week #7: Taza Chipotle Chocolate Mexicano

The new Doritos Tacos Locos Supreme Taco emerged from Taco Bell headquarters earlier this week. And yes, I was able to check it out as a result of being within waddling distance of a ‘Bell. However, as it was not covered in chocolate, chocolate-infused, or at the very least, placed next to mole sauce, I was not able to review it this week. There’s no reason to cry those salty cheese dust tears, angelface, because I have an equally spicy product with 100% less orange and 100% more chocolate. Thanks to BBF, check out the Chipotle Chocolate bar from Taza!
I’ve penned soliloquies in chocolate-colored ink and scrawled Taza’s website on the walls of men’s bathroom stalls to check out for a good time, so you know that I’m a fan of the brand. And I’ve had many a chile-infused chocolate but none with such a rustic charm. Taza’s packaging and graphic design is clean and gets the point across. This one is decorated with a burnt orange and red color scheme to further hit home its spicy contents.
The chocolate base flavor is classic Taza- crisp and grainy with a natural and fruit-forward cocoa flavor, primarily tasting of coffee beans and banana. It’s got a very tropical base, which makes it pair so well with the jammy, smoky chipotle. While the end result does strike me as reminiscent of what a chocolate barbecue sauce might taste like, it still packs a smoky, powerful punch and leaves a lingering burn whether you’re eating it alone or in a spicy hot chocolate.
Definitely a delicious nightcap!

Chocolate Week #6: Askinosie Dark Chocolate + Malted Milk CollaBARation Bar

One of my favorite, yet incredibly elusive ingredients for baking is malt powder. Its flavor accentuates all things sweet and salty from cookies to milkshakes. I love using gratuitous amounts of it to boost the flavor of chocolate or add a little unexpected savoriness to a dish. It’s incredibly hard to find and has a price point per ounce that works out to being roughly the same cost as a pound of good cheese. Needless to say, malt flavor hasn’t been making its way into my cooking lately, but malt candies have. Tonight’s selection for Chocolate Week comes from Askinosie, following up their CollaBARation set with a third bar incorporating two of my absolute favorite companies into one amazing piece of chocolate.
I cannot get over how crazy cool this is, seriously. For me, this is like hearing that Of Montreal is going to cover all of Steely Dan’s songs with Weezer headlining. And then finding out that Steely Dan is covering Alice Cooper as an encore, but I digress. Jeni’s Ice Cream and Askinosie have delighted my taste buds for years and now, here they are, in a malted milk chocolate bar. Words cannot express how perfect this is.
Awesome mergers aside, this is a damned good chocolate bar for any company. It has an aggressive barley flavor bordering on hoppy, with a lasting creamy tang to it. More complex than your average dark chocolate for sure. Not to say that that’s not a key player, because it definitely is and brings a sharp fruitiness to contrast some of the richer flavors the salty malt powder incorporates. Despite all its nuances, it’s extremely easy to eat and would likely be incredible if melted down into a syrup for instant artisan malted milkshakes. Sure, it’ll be the most expensive one you’ve had in a while (the bar retails for $9.50) but perhaps no more expensive than ordering malted milk powder in bulk like me. Regardless, this is amazing, with a nostalgic set of flavors (that would likely make a bangin’ s’more) and a complexity that rivals the Lakris bar. I can’t wait to see what the next CollaBARation is. I’m crossing my fingers for Justin’s Nut Butter or Pat Lafrieda.

Chocolate Week #5: Poco Dolce Popcorn Toffee

I liked going to movies alone as a teen, not because I had no friends, but because I had no friends and because I felt like it was an intensely intimate thing to do, sitting in the dark for two hours, watching people who couldn’t sense you watching them. Come to think of it, that may have been why I had no friends. Regardless, I still think that going to see a film in theatres has a quiet potential to it, that, depending on the film, can drastically enhance or deaden the performance. And, hands down, one of the most appropriate things to accompany one of these films was the popcorn.
Nowadays, I’m much more inclined to catch an episode of Parks and Rec in bed with Miss Love than I am to catch a late night flick by myself, but it gave me pause for thought that I’ve never consistently loved or hated popcorn as a whole. I can’t stand the kind that comes in three-flavor tins decorated with cute puppies or monster trucks and I’m ambivalent about microwave popcorn unless I’ve doctored it, but by far the most capricious of those corny treats is movie theatre popcorn. It’s amazing for the first grease-coated inch and then it’s disgusting. You leave after ingesting half of Idaho’s yearly corn output and feel dirty. Eating Poco Dolce’s popcorn toffee, however, lends an entirely new perspective to the age-old tradition of chomping down on toasted maize. Stuff is downright habit-forming, let me tell you. The thick toffee tiles, each containing a few pieces of popped popcorn, are covered in bittersweet chocolate and packed adorably into a squat tin. When this was sent over earlier this week I knew I had to feature it for Chocolate Week!
I’ve tried products from Poco Dolce at the Fancy Food Show that had blown me away in the past. These were no exception. Each piece was thick, buttery, and tasted like the Poppycock in a can my grandmother always kept around her house, with a caramely, toasted flavor. The dark chocolate cradled the toffee wonderfully and was perfectly proportioned. In her review, Cybele described these as being “beefy” which strikes me as the perfect assessment of these. They’re small and thick with a gentle, yielding chew, but pack a powerful punch of flavor in them, a natural vegetal note that is only accentuated by the salt on top. Perhaps my only criticism is that in some pieces, the popcorn is very difficult to detect and they end up tasting like regular toffee. Albeit damned good toffee, but the popcorn nuance is somewhat lacking in those pieces. Still a gazillion times more satisfying to eat than toffee, and certainly better than suffering through those damned popcorn tubs Staples seems to have at a 75% markdown every day of the year. The wrath of jalapeno cheese-caramel styrofoam shall forever show upon my waistline and on my breath.

Chocolate Week #4: Thornton’s Cloudy Lemonade White Chocolate Bar

It was sixty degrees and sunny twelve hours ago. Now, it’s pouring. Such is the way of New England, though at this point I’ve waxed about that more than comedians filling the morning shift at bars yap about airline food and Kony 2012. My point is, my tank tops and booty shorts need some lovin’ and I’m annoyed that I can’t don the perpetual uniform of spring yet.
However, it’s Chocolate Week! To celebrate our first glimpse of non-frostbite-inducing weather, here’s a limited edition bar from Thornton’s in England. Thanks, Lis! It’s described as being flavored like cloudy lemonade, the UK’s answer to lemonade, but carbonated. The bar features a white chocolate base with lemon oil and popping candy. Thornton’s has gotten some fantastic reception from UK chocolate and candy bloggers, so I was excited to have my first taste.
This was a gorgeous bar, from the clean outer package to the co-dependent wrapper slogan on the inside, with a creamy yellow tinge and an abstract pattern on the chocolate blocks. Breaking it open, it was easy to see the large popping candy pieces inside. My first impression was slight confusion, as the white chocolate’s flavor seemed to dominate everything else in the bar.
As the chocolate melted, I got a hint of lemon oil, a flavor that got pervasively stronger as the melt went on, but it was a sweetened lemon flavor like a lemon glaze or powdered sugar on a doughnut. The popping candies came in at the very end of the bite, with loud, crispy pops that reminded me more of the crunch of Rice Krispies than of Pop Rocks, but adequately conveyed the sensation of carbonation, at least for part of the time. It’s a curious sensation, one that offers a fascinating jumping point with the inclusion of candy that mimics carbonation. What would a Coke bar be like? Or a Mountain Dew? Inquiring minds want to know!

Chocolate Week #3: Kraft Chocolate MilkBite

Recently, Kraft has launched an aggressive marketing campaign for their newest product, Kraft MilkBite. It’s a strange hybrid snack with nutrition facts in both the refrigerator and the shelf-stable world, a granola bar with a penchant for the cold, or if you’re feeling really pessimistic, solid calcium in snack form. Luckily, they seem to be abundantly aware of this and have created Woody Allen’s incredibly funny edible counterpart, Mel the MilkBite, a Jim Henson character who agonizes over his split identity issues. There, there, Mel. We’ve all been there. Also I’m kind of into you and would eat you if given the cha- oh, helloooooo.
But what really piqued my curiosity about this bar was if it would live up to its expectations as both a milk supplement and tasty granola bar. Comparing it to a regular, healthy granola bar, say, a Kashi Fruit ‘n’ Nut bar, it has roughly five times the calcium. While I don’t necessarily need a calcium supplement in my diet, it presents a more palatable alternative for someone who does than just chugging a gallon of milk like you’re trying to beat some stupid YouTube challenge.

Kraft sent along a few varieties of MilkBite bars, including chocolate, which I thought would be fun to feature for Chocolate Week. While I was initially dubious about the inclusion of cream as the third ingredient, my anxiety dissipated as it dawned on me that the chocolate bar, with a dark chocolate drizzle and miniature chocolate chips, had the precise texture and chew of raw cookie dough, down to the fine, yet sandy texture and bulky chew. And amazingly, not too sweet at all, so I didn’t feel like I was eating a candy bar with my lunch. After all, that’s why I packed three candy bars with my sandwich. I hate to be redundant.
The milk in this bar is unobtrusive and tastes like a key component, rather than other failed attempts to include milk in a portable bar. (Trix Milk ‘n’ Cereal, anyone?) The indulgent texture makes it seem like more of a treat than its nutrition facts say, and the chocolate flavor is malty and balanced in proportion to the rest of the bar. While the other flavors may taste different, I can definitely say that if I had a real job where I brought a lunch to work for my coworkers to ogle and plot stealing, a frozen MilkBite would definitely replace the leaking ice pack surrounding my awesome sandwich and spiked Capri Sun. Also, Mel, please call me.