Questions for fellow bloggers…

Hey, guys,

In 2010, I’m doing a little more business-related philandering to break into the trade and also to foist off some of my fancy, new business cards!

I was invited to the National Restaurant Association’s show in Chicago, then to the National Candy Expo, held the day after, also in Chicago, and plan to attend the Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC, in June. So I have a big year ahead of me.

My questions for you are, has anyone been to these shows? I know Cybele and others have, but I don’t know if they were there from a press perspective or as attendees. Are they friendly? How should one approach them? What else goes on? If anyone has information on these specific expositions, or any food expo in general, please email me. I’m excited about these but want to approach them constructively!


Simply Raspberry Lemonade

I bought this on a whim last night from the convenience store on campus. I’d seen other kids buying this and liking it, and since I did want juice, I figured there was nothing to lose. Aside from $2.29, that is.

Now, this is a pretty tiny bottle. And I bought my gallon of Arnold Palmer for $3.39, so I was skeptical about this gourmet juice from the start! I came home and popped its top off like an eager pubescent boy. And I drank.

It smelled clean and fresh, and tasted like a good cup of lemonade, as though I were driving in the Hamptons and some kids had a lemonade stand with their nannies and a few professional chefs, and this is what they gave me for the low price of $2.29 a cup. But that’s all it is. And if these kids tried to shill their pink lemonade as raspberry flavored, I’d be liable to smack them upside the head and get arrested or fed to their attack dogs.

The deal is, it’s really not raspberry at all. There are floral notes, you can smell it, but you can’t taste it unless you try hard. This isn’t cherry limeade. The flavors don’t comingle in a delicious bliss. The lemonade is the star of the show and that’s it. Bottom line, I’m better off with a gallon of Tampico, baby.


Buffalo Chicken Hot Pocket

Okay, normally I’m a fan of all things Hot Pocket. Comes with the territory, I’m a Jim Gaffigan fan and a college student. But last night, dear readers, in a drunken haze, I attempted to consume something so horrendous I cannot even believe I’m here to report the news.

So it’s a Hot Pocket, advertised innocuously as pieces of chicken in a buffalo sauce. Okay. But then you look at the ingredient list, and that’s where the utter horror kicks in.

“Chopped and formed chicken with binder and caramel added.” So the regular normal chicken wasn’t good enough, so they processed it, ground it up, and made it into neat, little uniform chunks- chicken ice cubes, if you will, and added caramel to color it like…dark meat?

This makes the chicken gooey and taste like mushy tofu. And the buffalo sauce, I figured, might redeem the strangeness of this true mystery meat, but no! It was the spiciest, most acidic sauce I have ever had. Even the strange bread didn’t redeem it. I took two bites and left it, staring in my beer haze…something…is…not…right…


Adore A Jar Bakery Treats

A few things from Adore A Jar…clearly, things in jars are the newest trend! Move over, chipotles and sea salt!

The first cake was a “Cha Cha Chocolate Cake” and it was quite good. The cake was very moist and rather dense and tasted less like chocolate than cinnamon, actually, with a very subtle chocolate flavor. It was interesting. With the chocolate frosting, I’d have definitely considered it a chocolate cake, but without, I’m not sure that I would have been able to ascertain what flavor it was and definitely would not have considered it chocolate. I asked my roommate to do a blind test, and she thought it was zucchini bread. Not sure what the deal is, but it definitely needs more chocolate.


The frosting “caboose” that was sent along was really delicious. It was a rich chocolate frosting that was extremely fluffy, and had a subtle marshmallow-y taste. It was really nice, and I’m going to use it in the future to spread on other confections.

8/10- TASTY

The next jar cake was a Guinness gingerbread cake. You could smell the Guinness as soon as you popped open the jar, and the alcoholic flavor was extremely concentrated. I liked the flavor of the gingerbread, but because of the intensity of the alcohol, I’m not sure how well this translated into a jar cake. It was interesting, but a little strong for my tastes. Again, props to the moist texture!

5/10- OKAY

The protein bar was unfortunately, one of the worst things I have ever attempted to consume. In its defense, there was a lot of protein, but this definitely needs work. The taste was oaty, date-like, and awfully strange. In addition to that, the structure of the bar wouldn’t have been convenient to the prime demographic of protein-bar eaters. It was gooey, too soft, and very squishy. Whatever was wrong with it was just not good. The combination of flavors made me spit it out.


The next treat was really delicious! Emily’s Vegan Chocolate Chip Banana “muffies”- a cross between a cookie and a muffin. They were awesome. The texture was nice and oaty. I feel like this would make an even better protein bar, as it was so filling! They were the perfect combination of a subtle banana flavor and the punch of chocolate chips. I am definitely going to buy these for my vegan friend Sherlock! A great snack that can easily be dressed up and added to a dessert or fly solo.


The last treat was a lemon bar. I wasn’t as impressed with the taste or texture of this as I like my lemon bars to contrast a little. A good lemon bar has a tangy flavor with a jellified top, offset by a crunchy or at least textured crust, and a little sugar on top to take off some bite. This lemon bar was too gooey and soft. The overall thought in my mind was that it was doughy, like an underbaked pie crust. It wasn’t as good as I feel a lemon bar ought to be.

4/10- MEH.

Adore A Jar Bakery

Reese’s Crispy Crunchy Bar

I keep relenting to the allure of the vending machines at school when I need a quick fix, as my school’s rather inconvenient dining hall policy is limited to just that- the dining hall, and sometimes there’s just not enough time. The hassle of being at a massive university, but I suffer through with as much grace as I can, ha ha.

So, this bar. It was $1.25 and I expected it to be worth that much, because when you’re paying $1.25 for 1.2 ounces, you’re paying $10 a pound. Wanna know what else you can buy for $10 a pound? Really good tilapia. Or snow crab legs. Or good coffee. So if this disappointed, I vowed to cry.

Well, let’s cut to the chase. It disappointed. It’s not that it was bad, it was just misadvertised. I suppose that if this had been called the “Reese’s Mushy Soft Bar,” it would have dissuaded customers, but been honest. There were crunchy moments, like with the peanuts, but when I expected parts to be brittle and crispy, like the peanut butter crisp, they just fell flat under the immense softness of the chocolate and peanut butter layer. I’m sure the elements work wonderfully separately, but together, were just, in the words of the college kids around me, a hot mess.

So yeah. Not a good bar, hefty as it was. I’d have rather had a more peanut butter crisp centric bar, with less chocolate, and maybe a little less peanut butter. But you’ll never hear me say that again!

2/10- LAME

Crystal Light Strawberry Slurpee

Ah, my first flirt with Slurpees for a long, long time. We had an awesome 7-11 near my high school that I used to frequent for most of my freshman year until it closed down. And now I’m in a town with like, three of them within bus distance. It’s super.

So I went with my friend Death Cake (DC) and we grabbed some. They didn’t have the limited edition Domo Apple Slurpee- yet- so we settled for a recommendation of the Crystal Light Slurpees from the kid at the register. Apparently there are many Crystal Light flavors of Slurpee, including a cherry limeade that I feel like I’d be extremely partial to.

We got little cups, ’cause I’m no pig and in this weather could probably catch pneumonia from a Big Gulp, though there were these crazy Guitar Hero controller shaped cups that could hold like, thirty thousand ounces of Slurpee. Overkill, but awesome. The drink was good. I didn’t expect it to be fizzy, but it was, to the point where it expanded in the cup like cream on milk and rose above the level that I filled it to.

The flavor was tasty, very berry-esque and true to the actual drink, but extremely sour, at times, too sour for my personal preference. It was good. It also melted extremely fast, and half the fun of a Slurpee is that strange, thick texture that we all know and love.

6/10- GOOD

Kettle Chips Salt and Pepper

I bought these for my friend, Sherlock, because Cape Cod makes their salt and pepper chips with whey. Really? Is it so hard to make a salt and pepper potato chip and not use dairy? But I digress.

So we ate these with hummus while watching a movie, and to be quite honest, they were really not as good as I’d hoped. My standard for salt and pepper chips is Utz or Herr’s, with the crispy thinness and massive application of seasoning. I’ve eaten entire bags of those.

These were just disappointing. Out of ten chips, nine were basically transparent. And these weren’t thin slices, either. These were big, crunchy, stabby pieces of potato chip, and still really greasy and clear! There was no salt flavor to speak of. None at all. There was a light dusting of pepper, but the overwhelming taste was…grease.

I guess the most redeeming quality of these chips was that they will never go stale. I keep thinking I’ll want to eat them, eat some, find that they’re still very crispy, but bland and tasteless, and then put them away for another week. If you like bland, too thick, greasy chips, these are for you. A real miss on the part of Kettle Foods. Take my advice- for your salt and pepper craving, eat Terra or Utz.


Arizona Iced Tea Lite Arnold Palmer

Here’s a drink that I like to keep around the dorm to remind me of summer and to quench me whenever I’m in need of a refreshing drink. It’s the classic Arnold Palmer- half iced tea, half lemonade, but this version doesn’t burden you down with all the calories and sugar that most soft drinks have. Each 8 oz. serving has fifty calories and just 13 grams of sugar.

But how does it taste? It’s really delicious. The flavor is nice and mellow, with a good lemony aftertaste and a nice “tea” flavor, too. At times, there’s a slightly bitter aftertaste, which dissuades me from drinking too much of it, but the flavor is well rounded and I definitely taste both lemonade and tea.

The “lite” part is barely noticable, in fact, it’s almost better than the regular version because it’s less sugary and doesn’t make you thirstier.

8/10- YUMMY

Ingrid’s Peanut Butter Cups

Sent to me last night on a rainy day…the perfect early breakfast treat! And yes, for me, 2:27 PM is early breakfast. I’m in college, let me be!

I tried a white chocolate peanut butter cup first. The chocolate was good, very tasty, like a nice melting chocolate, but there was not enough peanut butter in the ratio to chocolate, I found. With peanut butter cups, this can make the chocolate melt really well or be too crunchy if there’s not enough, which I found to be the case.

It wasn’t bad, but the creaminess of the white chocolate really detracted from the peanut butter and if I hadn’t known it was a peanut butter cup from its iconic shape, I might not have thought so.


The chocolate one fared a little better. The thickness was still prominent and the chocolate had a bit of a waxy taste. I’m not sure. The rule about candy sort of applies with the same rule of things like toy boats. Surface area increase and size increase are different, and what tastes perfect on a tiny peanut butter cup won’t taste as good on a novelty, three-pound cup. Too thick. Bottom line. Not enough peanut butter flavor.

5/10- OKAY
Ingrid’s Goodies