Target and Archer Farms Super/Puppy Bowl Giveaway!

The Puppy Bowl is this weekend. What’s that, forlorn jersey-wearer? You say there’s something else, too? What, did I miss your birthday? I celebrate no other event this week, unless said event includes chew-toy interceptions and fluffy wummy paw-paw tackles.
Because of the Puppy Bowl (okay, really in commemoration for the Super Bowl!) Target and Archer Farms have provided me with a bevy of awesome goodies to send to one lucky reader. That’s right, two simultaneous giveaways. Just how you like it. Comment on this post and tell me what your favorite Puppy Bowl contestant is. If yours matches mine, you win! I won’t post the winner until Sunday evening, so multiple people will have the chance to win…if you all guess correctly. Even through they snubbed Corgi dogs again.
(image courtesy of That Cheap Chick)

The prize pack includes:
Archer Farms Blue Flax Corn Tortilla Chips
Archer Farms Corn, Black Bean, and Roasted Pepper Salsa
Archer Farms Buffalo Style Blue Cheese Dip Mix

Trust that I will be creating a Chopped-style recipe with these components later on in the week. Comment now! Puppies! Puppies!

THIS CONTEST IS NOW OVER: Anonymous, you are the winner, and thank you for picking my favorite puppy! I loved Abilene!

Chuao Sweetheart Box and a Giveaway!

Yes, Valentine’s Day is coming. And yes, I’m plenty aware that some of you hate it and that some of you love it. Whether you’re single or attached, bubbly or bitter, nothing beats the fact that chocolate is everywhere. Before you flip the bird at the Russell Stover samplers or kick the display of bloated teddy bears onto the ground, the Chuao Sweetheart selection should cheer you up. And there’s also the possibility of a trip to San Diego and a $50 gift card to Chuao’s store. So buck up and play along, and you could be stuffing your face with popping chocolate and potato chip chocolate bars in no time. How do you win? The San Diego deets are on Chuao’s Facebook page. If you click through on my link to the right from now ’till February 14th and check out the information, you’ll automatically be entered in the running to win the contest. If we get enough clicks through the banner, Chuao will give me a $50 gift card to giveaway to one lucky reader. How’s that for awesome? It’s blogger-driven, so only bloggers whose readers participate will be entered to win!
To give you a little taste of the goodies to come, Chuao sent over two truffles exclusive to their newly debuted Sweetheart Box, filled to the brim with aphrodisiac-inspired truffles to delight your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day. The first truffle, the Love Child bonbon, was squat and petite, filled with a port-drenched dried strawberry hunk in a chocolate ganache. It had an incredibly creamy, milky texture, with a sour tang almost like balsamic vinegar infusing the strawberry. The port influences seemed to come more from the ganache, a delicate, fluffy core with a silkiness similar to cheesecake, and the entire thing was perfectly poppable and not too sweet.
The next truffle, the Firecracker bonbon, was easily one of the tastiest chocolates I’ve sampled from Chuao. Incorporating all of their funkier elements, like chipotle caramel and popping candy in a ganache with a touch of sea salt, the only thing that could have made this more orgasmic would have been the inclusion of potato chips. Oh, and maybe about fifty more of these. With a crispy texture like a brittle piece of feuillitine and an intense smokiness, its delicate exterior completely belied its inner contents. The caramel was luxurious, the sea salt tangy. I’m honestly inclined to order a box of these and these alone for myself.
If you’re too impatient to wait for the contest to end, you can order your own Sweetheart Box here. In the meantime, I’ll keep you updated with Twitter- keep those votes coming!

Sahale Snacks Ksar Pistachio Nut Blend

Today’s review was brought to you by an intriguing comment by a cowardly reader. Recently, it was brought to my attention that my reviews were pretentious and favored expensive, low quality foods over cheap, high-quality condiments that I’m clearly missing out on loving to death. Yup, I’m just out to squash the little guy under my leather Charles Jourdain pumps. I had no idea I was Satan and Big Oil and Pacific Gas & Electric, but that’s why the website is called Commenter Reviews, right? All these things make me think a lot of feelings about myself.
Of course, the last time I checked, it wasn’t, and that’s why I’d like to highlight one of my favorite products to prove you wrong. Have you met my friend Honey Badger? Sahale Snacks is easily one of my favorite snack companies because it takes boring base ingredients (nuts) and gives them thirty pieces of flair (spices, herbs, fruit, and other nuts) to keep them exciting and awesome. Sahale’s blends are some of the most original I’ve come across. I mean, how often does your government-issued campfire trail mix come with lavender, orange zest, or lemongrass? Tonight’s offering was indeed found at our local discount grocery store, and I did love it.
The Ksar nut blend features a base of pistachios accented with sesame seeds, pepitas, fig, and harissa. Definitely sounds more like something you’d find orbiting a sphere of pork butt or pumpkin rind at Alinea, no? But this stuff is available to the masses without a crazy reservation for the mere price of $2 and change. Not bad at all. In yet another delightfully self-promotional twist, I’m going to go as far as to liken this to my own website. Perhaps in individual elements, it’s not perfect. Your eyes may hurt from my cheap orange and turquoise color scheme or you might not like how chewy the fig balls are in the Ksar blend. You might find my prose trite and the pepitas too spicy, or my photos crappy and the sesame seeds invisible. But quite honestly, if you open wide and take the whole thing in, you’ll find that it’s awesome. It’s a little whacky, and it’s definitely not for everyone, but it’s delightful to behold and will satisfy you long into the night. Just like that, baby, just like that.
This mix has a charming versatility to it that makes me want to cancel any dinner plans I have on any given day and experiment with this- with grinding the nuts and coating chicken breasts with them, or mixing them into a stew or shredded taco meat. Maybe even blending them with a little oil to create a savory, spicy nut butter? There’s just so much to this flavor profile that aches for customization to an individual dish. Not that it’s not excellent to eat on its own. The harissa really comes out when paired with the earthy pepita seeds. For whatever reason, this heat is strongest on them, possible from their higher concentration of oil and toasted flavor. The figs added a much needed jamminess to the whole mix to counterbalance the buttery, savory indulgence from the nuts. All in all, pretty darn perfect. And only a few dollars for a quality product. See? Just get to know me. Perhaps you’ll find that my elitism isn’t as bad as you may think. Or maybe you won’t. I guess the truth is that I don’t really give a Ksar.