Frontera Limited Edition Farmers Market Salsa

I could live off of salsa and chips in the same way that Miss Love could eat nothing but pasta with tomato sauce for dinner. Many a dinner has gone by where I’ve sat, bag of Tostitos and jar by my side, all gone an hour later. That being said, that’s one of my biggest trepidations about moving to Paris this August. Yes, all the TMZ rumors you’ve heard are true, your faithful critic is shipping off to Gay Paree for six months to study abroad. But for the life of me, I don’t know where I’m going to get my fix of Mexican food. I know that any Southern readers are likely scoffing incredulously. We do have good Mexican food up here, though, I swear! It’s right near our cowboy hat emporiums and famed barbecue joints, too.

Luckily, I can order Rick Bayless’s Farmers Market (Farmers’ Market?) salsa online while I’m away. Sure, the shipping charge may deter some aficionados, but not this guy. The flavors alone are enough to keep me coming back time and time again. In October, I gushed over the Chipotle Pumpkin salsa and now I’ve got a jar of the Heirloom Tomato for my own. Well, half a jar, now. I could tell you how gorgeous the juxtaposition of the rich, maroon salsa was against the rustic label design and blab about the huge chunks of smoky tomatoes and roasted onions, but again. Half a jar. I think that hammers the point home that I loved this salsa.

Lately, I’ve discovered that although my bloggy tendencies and tastebuds love weird sauce and salsa flavors, thank you very much, in terms of a daily grazing delight, it doesn’t get much better than a classic salsa. This is an upscale version of the flavors you’ve known and loved for years- tomatoes, jalapenos, onions, and a healthy shake of cumin. No rocket science here, but it melds together impeccably with a thick, cohesive texture more akin to a simmered sauce than a chip dip. The one switch that brings this from salsa to stardom is the addition of habanero and serrano peppers as backup singers for the jalapeno. The result is a clean, sweet bite with a tangy flavor and lingering heat that seeps into all of the vegetable pieces. Deelish, although a bit more tang and heat would make this near perfect. This might be the saving grace to French cafeteria food, non?

Mohegan Sun BBQ Fest 2012

Last month, Dillinger and I took a trip out to Mohegan Sun for their first annual Sun BBQ Fest. It was a pretty unique sight to see- the entire outer west part of the casino had been transformed into a Southern-style barbecue festival! For New Englanders like us, we were excited to sample some of the country’s best smoked meat from Illinois, Texas, South Carolina, and Arkansas.

We received tickets with our press passes to sample a little of everything the festival had to offer. We started at the produce stand, where vendors sold all sorts of farmer’s market treats from Connecticut strawberries to miniature heirloom potatoes.
We sampled the fresh watermelon, quenching and a best-seller on such a sweltering day, as well as the grilled cobs of corn. Both were sweet, soft, and very tasty with sea salt and pepper. (Watermelon included!) The farmer’s market selection was quite varied- I would have loved to take some of the baby artichokes and sweet tomatoes home for supper.

But we were here for business, barbecue business at that. Our first stop was to the Big Boned Barbecue Company’s stand, out of South Carolina. Their combo plate included short ribs, regular ribs, a chicken breast, and two sides, cornbread, and baked beans. The ribs, which looked tantalizing from the big smoking grill, were served unfortunately lukewarm, but were tender as all hell and intensely flavored. They went exceptionally well with the habanero barbecue sauce on the side. The chicken was, to its credit, moist and tender, but basically served as a sauce carrier. The beans and slaw were fine, but not too outstanding and the cornbread a hair too sweet. Still, an excellent start to the day. They were also the friendliest stand- no small feat at 9AM!

Our next stop was to the Texas Thunder booth, whose claim to fame was an enormous, gun-shaped smoker belching smoke at timed intervals. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for their ribs. Sticky after a dousing in sauce, they were chewy and tough and lacking in flavor. The beans were excellent, but the slaw and cornbread were both inexplicably sour. The Texas toast on the side, untoasted, chewy white bread, was something a Yankee like me could have made. Frankly, I expected better.

Dillinger and I took a break out of the hot sun (Mohegan Sun was kind enough to provide your Nordic-skinned critic with heavy-duty sunscreen!) and checked out the casino stores. Yankee Candle’s Mandles provided sheer minutes of entertainment.

After a few laps around the casino, all was redeemed with the chopped brisket sandwich from Uncle Bub’s BBQ out of Westmont, IL. I could have eaten three of these sandwiches and left happy. I fancy myself a decent brisketeer, but this put mine to shame. Tender, sweet, and hot with a crispy crust, this was complimented by the spicy sauce but not overwhelmed. Being that there was about a half-pound of meat on the bun, a good deal of it fell out of the sandwich in the process. All the better to eat with the cornbread, sweet, buttery, and soft. This sandwich made me wish we’d done a massive brisket sandwich throwdown! Perhaps next time we’ll go that route.

It was a great trip. Tons of people came out to the festival despite the heat, and there was plenty of entertainment to enjoy when we weren’t eating- bands, vendors, and rum shots served out of a Sailor Jerry vintage trailer. I highly recommend it if you’re a landlocked Yankee craving the flavors of the West- it was definitely a unique experience!

And the best part of the trip? Bonus surprise Coke Freestylin’ Freestyle machine on the way back. Mohegan Sun, can I move in with you? I could live off of Orange Cream Fanta, Raspberry Lime Coke, and Cherry Lime Hi-C for my remaining days.

Check this out next year- Mohegan has been doing some crazy awesome food and wine events, and this is one you should not miss. Thanks again to Mohegan for having us check this out. We can’t wait to get our BBQ on next year!

NeuroPassion

How do I go about explaining the NeuroPassion? Let me think. Because I’ve never had the gleeful humiliation of walking into a convenience store and paying for a Hustler, it might be a little difficult to compare. At least it’s easier than checking out at the supermarket with nothing but a carrot and Vaseline.

 NeuroPassion bombs the consumer with keywords and strategic bolding. It “helps you push yourself to the limit” because “passion is powerful” and “it’s what gets you up.” Would it help me spell things out more clearly if I told you the original name of this, uhhhh, supplement was NeuroGasm?

Shaped like a Freudian rocket dick in manly Harvard crimson, it’s the potable equivalent of a Porsche or Maserati. Flashy outside, full to the brim with pomp, circumstance, and bullshit. Performance. Passion. Drive. Function. Stamina. Carbonation. When I typed those, did you instantly feel any more driven, passionate, or carbonated? Of course you didn’t, but that’s exactly what NeuroPassion tries and fails to do. This is the liquid version of anyone you’ve ever wanted to punch in the teeth, although better revenge would be giving a bottle of this to one of those people, watching them palm the yielding, yet firm texture and raise it to their lips. Take photos. Ask questions. It’s glaringly awful in design and makes cigars look innocuous in comparison. Inside, the drink is the same color as the outer labels, with a tinny, vitamin-enhanced scent. The nose is blatant prison wine a la Flintstones daily vitamins. And lucky you, you get to drink it. Or just keep it at the back of your nightstand drawer. Your call.

It’s vaguely tropical, vaguely sweet, and tastes like sugar, water, and endless nights alone. Dizzy with misery, you’ll be asking yourself, “Why does this taste like a rejected Cosmopolitan at a sorority bartending class?” And then you’ll realize, glancing at the label and phallic bottle, that you’ve answered your own question. Because it does. This was clearly marketed for people who have an extra $3.39 burning a hole in their pocket and a thirst that lowly pedestrian Vitamin Water simply can’t quench. They want exclusivity and choose to take a break from their organic, raw, cruelty-free coconut Civet-cat water to try this and pay dearly.

 NeuroPassion preys on the weak and feasts on the morons who buy into this. It’s less stamina in a bottle and more therapy in a bottle, but unfortunately, all you get is the placebo effect. 

Blue Ribbon Classics at the Renaissance Hotel, Boston, MA

A few weeks ago, Miss Love and I took an excursion to Boston to check out the Renaissance hotel, enjoy the music of a local funk band, and try out their new menu from Blue Ribbon Classics, a New York-based restaurant company partnering with New England hotels to teach them their award-winning recipes for usage in their restaurants. It delivers an interesting concept- instead of selling the food directly to the hotels, they sell the recipes and techniques so that each hotel can deliver a fresher, tastier product based off a famous recipe.

I’m not sure if I’d ever stayed at the Renaissance before, but it’s close to the water and in an accessible area near the Boston Convention Center. Our room was bright and nautical, and we lounged on the striped chaise and bed and watched a few episodes of My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding and talked about boys and the mall. We don’t have a TV back home. Things get pretty intense.
Here’s the view from our room, looking out on the water.

After our television binge, we headed down to the bar area, the Capiz Lounge, for a few drinks before the show. The drink list was wonderfully eclectic, using ingredients like Tabasco, grilled fruit, and one that really caught our eye, creme de violette. Such a vintage flavor! This drink, the Aviation, was a fresh, fruity beverage with vodka, club soda, lemon, and the aforementioned creme. Really refreshing and pretty potent, too. Miss Love enjoyed a cava cocktail with raspberries and lime. This was a little more muted in flavor, but after a drive in 75 degree weather in Memorial Day traffic, it was incredibly quenching!

We decided to whack up a bunch of appetizers from the Blue Ribbon menu along with our drinks, and started off our meal with some barbecue pulled pork sliders, fried rock shrimp, Northern fried chicken wings, manchego and honey toast, and smoked salmon toast. The five appetizers were generously proportioned and loaded with toppings. I think that three of them could have easily sated us. With five, we left stuffed!


Surprisingly, our favorite part of this smorgasbord was the manchego cheese toast. The thick slices of warm white bread were saturated with honey yet not sticky at all, and the lacy slices of cheese on top were creamy, but not overwhelming at all. A very provincial, yet delightful dish. I could have eaten this for breakfast, lunch, or dessert and loved the combination of flavors.

The salmon toast was made from the same bread, but suffered from an overzealous hand with capers and onions, the loose toppings falling over the side. The composition of this was precarious and unwieldy, as the cream cheese anchored the salmon to the bread, but the remaining toppings were left to fend for themselves. While the presentation might not have been as striking, mixing the vegetables in would have made for a more compact, evenly distributed bite.
As we ate, the band played a few sets. They were really good! It was an eclectic mixture of funk and rock, and they seemed to have a great time playing. 

There are many words to describe these wings, but only one seems to fit the bill: pornalicious. For once, this dirty Fieri-ism hits the nail on the head. The wings were crazy, huge mastadon tendons drizzled with a honey cayenne sauce. We were told they were made with a matzoh-meal batter, which explained the airy, light texture and sweet, yeasty crunch. These were wonderfully seasoned with garlic, onion, paprika, and thyme.

The real downside to these, unfortunately, was their size and preparation. Because they were served whole, they were really difficult to eat without making a huge mess. Cutting them also proved to be tough as they batter easily flaked off. The only alternative was to pick them up and gnaw on them- extremely fun, but the bar is well-lit and it tends to be a bit of a date-killer. Aside from that, these were winners. I just wish they’d been easier to eat.

The fried rock shrimp were poppable, tender, and tasty, made even better with the lemon cayenne aioli. Nothing too crazy here, just a basic and reliable appetizer with a spicy kick.

Miss Love’s favorite dish of the night was a surprise! I ordered the barbecue pork sliders expecting that they’d be relinquished to me. Little did I know that we’d end up eying the last one territorially. With homemade pickles and a sweet, Carolina-style vinegar sauce, these were both filling, but not too indulgent. We loved how buttery the brioche bun was without being too dense. The sandwiches were really perfectly proportioned and had a bright, zesty flavor thanks to the citrus zest in the pork and sauce.

After all of these salty appetizers, we really needed another drink! We asked our waitress for a recommendation and was told that the bartender, Cathy, had a special sangria that she made on request. We asked for two and were told that it might be best to share one- Cathy’s recipe has twelve kinds of alcohol! It was bright yellow and studded with pieces of lemons, oranges, and lime when she brought it out. Despite the booze, this was a refreshing, crisp, lemony drink with a very smooth finish and not a hint of burn at all. Well made- I’m quite sure this made TLC 200% funnier after we shared it.
It was a fantastic trip, and I was so glad to test the new Blue Ribbon appetizers. Like I said, I think that the concept is wonderful and it’s clear from what we ate that they’re doing a great job of executing it at the Renaissance. I look forward to coming back and trying the rest of the menu, and can’t wait to get back to Boston! Thanks again to the hotel and PR team for facilitating our visit. We had an amazing time!

Red Robin Cry Baby and Fiery Ghost Burgers

Happy 6th of July! All the fireworks are now 90% off. But in other, more important news, Happy I’m About to Reach 1,000 Reviews Day! We’re just a few away from 1,000 reviews of fancy, funky, freaky food, guys. It’s extremely exciting. But today, here’s a patriotic pair of burgers that will have your tongue singing Sousa marches all day long. If you happen to know Sousa marches. Okay, so there was a brief (eight year) period in my life when I played the flute in the local adult band. Not nearly as fun, erotic, interesting, or clever as it sounds outside of proving that in high school, I was that guy.

Whatever. Red Robin sent over a gift card to us to review their newest, sexiest burger selection, featuring the first usage of the elusive ghost pepper in a casual dining chain restaurant. The Cry Baby burger and Fiery Ghost burger are two new additions to the chain’s Tavern Double line, which allows you to choose between two sizes of burger, and then, for $1 extra, upgrade with a set of toppings. This is a great, streamlined way to get the Red Robin experience without agonizing over topping selection. One thing that has always confused me about the menu is that they emphasize customization, yet the menu lacks a complete list of toppings, sauces, and bread selection for you to create your own burger with. Instead, you’re picking and choosing elements from other burgers like you’re picking out items from those prefab, modern homes and tallying them up in your head. This way is easier, and includes a row of additional items at the bottom that you can add for an additional surcharge. Much better.

We ordered the two smaller Tavern Double burgers, and shared the latest beer from Blue Moon, Summer Honey Wheat. I’m not a beer person, but I loved this beer. It was fantastic and light, and didn’t weigh us down before our big meal. The flavor was identical to a honey wheat pretzel twist with a little citrus thrown in, and all I could think of when I was drinking it was how cool it would be to cook with this and infuse that phenomenal flavor into chicken or brisket. It was great.

Our burgers arrived shortly, and if you’re wondering now whether the Tavern Double is big enough for your appetite, stop wondering. These are enormous. While both burgers do go light on the dairy-heavy toppings (neither sauce is mayo based) they clock in at roughly 1,200 calories apiece. We chose to each eat half and save the rest for later. Let’s start with the two new sauces. The Fiery Ghost comes with a ghost pepper-infused hot sauce, a thick sauce with a flavor profile better suited toward sweeter sauces, like a curry, than a hot sauce. 
It had notes of cumin, cloves and cinnamon that gave some depth to the meat, but lent a sweeter aspect to the burger that didn’t really scream “heat.” However, the Fiery Ghost was hot enough to make tears run down our faces…why? You’ll see. The Cry Baby came with a ketchup, also infused with ghost peppers. We preferred this one because it had a little more of a bite, a cleaner flavor with jalapenos at the forefront. Can’t say that either sauce was extremely hot, but then again, there must be restrictions for the number of Scovilles a restaurant’s sauces can have. Still a decent attempt, and each sauce made an excellent zippy dip for onion rings.

The Fiery Ghost burger was insanely hot. Not due to the aforementioned sauce, but because there were three whole jalapenos chopped up on the burger. You can see one of them sliced in the above photo. This is both good and bad. Good, because in the initial phases of the debut, some reviews had comments complaining about the weak topping distribution. I’m pleased to report that there were a ton of toppings on these burgers. The Fiery Ghost had three fresh chopped jalapenos and around six fried jalapeno coins on top, and the Cry Baby had plenty of fried and caramelized onions. However, this did mean that the Fiery Ghost was incredibly spicy, and the bite of the peppers overwhelmed most of the other flavors.

The Cry Baby had a better balance of flavor. The combination of the sweet caramelized onions and crispy onion strings really brought out the natural flavor of the beef, and the cheese and sauce gave it a bit of a kick. This was more like a steakhouse-style burger than an explicitly spicy one, but it still tasted wonderful.
These were solid burgers, and really fun additions to the summer menu. I think they’re more of a step outside of the norm than the bacon on everything and combined farmyard animal burgers that a lot of restaurants have been debuting. The creativity of the ghost pepper is in the right place, even if the heat is not. I can’t wait to see what else Red Robin concocts!

Luigi’s Limited Edition Birthday Cake Real Italian Ice

Happy birthday, America!

Full disclosure, I didn’t buy you anything. Later on this week I’ll fudge and pretend there’s a gift card in the mail that got lost but I can definitely send another one…(This is where I trail off) Don’t bother? That’s awfully kind of you. I won’t. Look, at least I remembered. Remember that one year that Christmas fell on Hanukkah? Awkward. And you know how much I love Hanukkah. Jesus was pretty bummed that year, but look, Hanukkah only comes eight nights a year, you know.

Well, I remembered, and better yet, I found something awesome to help you celebrate. No, it’s not that beer caddy hat you asked for. I’m not made of money, you know. It’s Luigi’s Limited Edition Birthday Cake Real Italian Ice, as opposed to the short-lived JWOWW Limited Edition Spray-On Tan Fake Italian Ice that came out last summer. Yes, it’s Luigi’s birthday, too. But look, it’s cool to celebrate multiple occasions, right? In any case, this is birthday cake-flavored Italian ice with sprinkles, so you can start freaking out like Nintendo Kid now.
The package is full-on birthday, with the kind of graphic shenanigans 90’s MS Paint designers only dreamed of. We’re talking balloons, ribbons, stripes, endless confetti, sprinkles, more sprinkles, different sprinkles, jimmies, balloons with Luigi’s smiling face on them, and games. Oh, the games. Even if you’re alone with only the whirr of surveillance cameras of your neighbor’s bathroom for company, the games on the back of the box make you feel like you’re at a real birthday party. There’s a word find, a one of these things is not like the other game, and a hidden pictures game. This seriously makes me want to go renew my subscription to Highlights.

Luigi’s has been around for 40 years. In that timeframe, I have exactly two memories of the company. The first was when a friend and I, in the third grade, would get Luigi’s cherry Italian ice every Friday, flip it over to reveal the frozen syrup crystals on the bottom, and eat it backwards. We formed our own club. And to think that later on, only one of us would be diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. The second was visiting my grandfather at his office, finding the endless stacks of empty cups washed out to use for crafts or paint. That man ate Luigi’s by the case and had the charm and health to show for it. So Luigi’s has been an omnipresent, if not always there product in my life, like an absentee father. And now they’ve come so far. Birthday cake Italian ice. It would prove to be either delicious or inedible.

Well, I have good news and bad news, America. The good news is that this Italian ice is pretty delicious. It has the luxuriously fatty mouthfeel and texture of full-fat ice cream, but only contains one gram of fat. It tastes like frozen cake batter- that is, the flavor is so concentrated and milky that it puts cake batter ice cream to shame. Perhaps the only strange thing about this is that the sprinkles, when frozen, take on an off, somewhat fruity flavor, but since they’re only scattered on top, it’s not a big deal. It’s also a little too gummy when melted. The flavor is great- very vanilla heavy, not overly sweet, and with a thick, custardy melt. The bad news, America, is that it turns out I am my grandfather’s granddaughter. I ate all of your birthday gift, America. But look, no hard feelings, right? Maybe when my birthday rolls around, you can create a few more jobs in the legal field? No? Too soon? Okay, America. I’m going to go order that beer caddy.

Dr. Lucy’s Cookies: Maple Bliss, Double Chocolate, and Ginger Snap

People love to ask me if I ever eat my words, or if I ever reevaluate a product after I review it for the first time. Because most companies are not masochists, and because I grew up in jaded 90’s SpecialKid land, I typically laugh in their face and tell them that, no, I do not, because words are not delicious and I am never wrong. But do you want to hear something private, secret internet diary? Sometimes, something good does occur and products that were once not awesome at all undergo a miraculous transformation that turns them into beautiful, sexy princesses with edible innards that I want to cram into my mouth. And they don’t even have to remove their glasses!

Dr. Lucy’s Cookies are a prime example of this transformation. About a year and a half ago, I reviewed Lucy’s chocolate chip cookies, featuring all-organic ingredients and a gluten, nut, and allergen-free stamp to boot. I thought the concept was in the right place, but that the flavor and texture still had a ways to go. Now, Lucy’s has introduced three new flavors of cookie- Maple Bliss, Double Chocolate, and Ginger Snap. And none of them taste like plant matter!

Seriously, this was what the boxes looked like two days in. I don’t think we’ve even gone through Oreos with this much zeal. And the fact that each cookie is around 40 calories doesn’t hurt in the slightest. What was so remarkable about these cookies was how they took a standard mass-produced cookie model and just made it better. I can honestly say that if I tasted these blindly against more well-known brands, I’d be hard-pressed to call a winner. The ginger snap is a great example of a twist on a classic. These remind me of a less tough, less sweet version of Trader Joe’s famous Triple Ginger cookies, with a crunchy texture and big pieces of crystallized ginger. They’re crunchy, but bend easily and have a great crumbly and crunch. And they’re really, really! Okay, I can’t end my paragraphs with that any more. I tried.

We loved the chocolate ones just as much. Their deep, dark, charcoal-heavy flavor of bittersweet cocoa powder and sea salt brought to mind a robust, thicker Oreo. It was tempting to want to sandwich these with icing! However, the winner of the new varieties, by a long shot, was the maple bliss flavor. The cakey, shortbread-esque texture of Maple Bliss, a little thicker than the others, topped with a generous scattering of maple sugar, tasted like a portable pancake! The 40 calories made it even easier to pile bacon on top, too. Or so I hoped. A girl can dream! In any case, these are fantastic. I’m impressed that they took such lengths to improve their formula and make these delicious, and even more impressed that they made a cookie that boldly faces the competition with a healthier design.

Bissinger’s Campfire S’mores Salted Caramels

I love me some s’mores. Actually, I should clarify. I love me some s’mores-flavored things. Actual s’mores squick me out on a sensory front tantamount to wrapping a germophobe in used Band-aids and throwing them into a Chuck E. Cheese. Usually, when someone talks about sticky, sweet-smelling debris with charred residue on it, they’re referring to evidence in a New Jersey criminal case. I cannot envision a more texturally unappealing snack. However, the flavor combination is a winner, so when something exciting and graham-infused comes along, I can’t help but check it out.

Bissinger’s gave me a box of these along with their new Porcini mushroom truffles, and I’m so jazzed with the results. Bissinger’s is one of the few older chocolate companies who, as I’ve mentioned before, does some really exciting things with chocolate and confection. These seasonal sweeties make a top-notch summer snack or post-barbecue dessert. The milk chocolate does an excellent job of keeping the nostalgic flavor front and center without making it too sweet. This is a really well-composed truffle. What I liked best was that they kept their smooth, rich caramel base while incorporating the iconic s’mores flavors and textures.
Holy hell, is this thing amazing. This might be the one of the best chocolates of the year. The sea salt on top is both mineral and intensely smoky, tempering the sweet marshmallow and caramel. It’s split somewhat like a Milky Way bar, but with a more delicate, fluffy marshmallow. There are actual pockets of soft graham cracker crumbs! This tastes like a less messy, compact s’more, and better yet, each one is perfect every time. No more mallows-on-fire or unmelted chocolate.

Today, on Fifty Shades of Single Origin Hell…

“I brought you your Cosmo magazines,” Porcini said, not looking at me as they thrust the mint copies of Cosmopolitan in my hands. They were still wrapped in their original magazine covers, and I could remember the day they bought them for me. Upon my graduation from Phoenix Online’s official food blogging and marriage officiant program, they gave them to me as a gift. Originally, I couldn’t accept such an extravagant, 12-month subscription with bonus summer slim-down tips, but as they pointed out the hidden implications in their choices (Sixteen Ways to Grow the Best Shrooms and Please Your Man!) I quickly began to love them and to know Porcini’s penchant for extravagance.

“I need to get my Macbook and champion racehorses out of your house, too,” I said, shifting anxiously. The racehorses had been another impromptu gift. I just wanted this to be over already…I wanted to abandon the Brown Room of Confection once and for all. But nevertheless, I knew I had to be polite, at least. Porcini looked over my modest apartment. “Would you like to sit down? I can pour you a glass of water or something. My cats broke all my glasses, so all I have are commemorative shot-glasses from Disney California.”

“That’s fine,” said Porcini, looking tortured and for a brief instant, I imagined them as a spore again, unable to ride the awesome, Southwestern-themed rides at Disney California because they were too small. Poor Porcini. Was that why they hated amusement parks? Was I being insensitive? They pulled a bottle out of their fluted wrapper. “I actually brought a bottle of pink champagne. It’s the 2009 Pink by P!NK. A spectacular vintage.” I poured us some champagne and we sat down on cat-hair covered office chairs. Sigh. This was awkward. I took a sip of the champagne. “Wow, memories, am I right?” Suddenly, I heard a creak behind me. “Who’s there?”

And then, she stepped out from the background. “Who…who are you?” She had long, flowing brown ringlets of caramel, and a smooth, marshmallow interior. Clad in brown leather with sea salt accents, she was gorgeous. “And…are those graham cracker crumb stripes?” She fingered the soft, buttery leather jacket. “Yeah, they’re hand-stitched.” Sticking out her hand, she introduced herself. “I’m S’mores, Porcini’s sister.” Omigod. My inner goddess bounces up and down like a small child post-ice cream, pre-Adderall. She is stunning! Porcini drained his shot glass and went into the living room to unload another box of magazines.

“So,” S’mores said, “Have you ever had a s’more before?” And suddenly, she was in my mouth, and I was peeling off the soft, sweet clothes, gently scraping my teeth over the buttery chocolate, running my tongue over the salt crystals. The graham flavor was so intense, so malty, that I nearly fell back on the couch in lust. I dabbed my finger on the caramel, feeling it pool in my hands, entwining my hands in those locks. I place my finger on her marshmallow, and swiftly, smoothly, she removed my hand, her eyes locking in mine. My tongue muscles clench in the most delicious fashion.

“Don’t.” I looked at her, shuddering. “I’m fifty flaves of fucked up, Jessica Bunny Rabbits Google von Cutenstein McMercedes. We’re…different. Special, you might even say.” Her expression shifted, and she smiled at me. “But come, enjoy me. Enjoy my smoked campfire seasalt. In choco veritas, Jessica. We can have it all…”

It was then that I knew that my adventures with the clumsy, heavy-handed aggression of single-origin chocolates were over. A new beginning had started, one with the feminine touch of Bissinger’s Campfire S’mores. My fifty shades of single origin hell…she’s mine once more. No one can take S’mores away from me. I realize in this moment of intoxicating flavor that I shall do everything in my power to keep her.

Keep her mine.

Thanks for reading Fifty Shades of Single Origin Hell, everyone! Regular reviews start back up tomorrow!