Wednesday, August 6, 2014

So my family saw these and we were very intrigued by this new product that is using the 'Wonka' branding. That's good because in the movie the Wonka company had unique and exciting treats and this popsicle/ice cream pop hybrid is a unique combination to say the least.

Let's start with the outer since that is what makes this pop so unique and different, it tastes and smells just like a regular banana's inside does. Looking at it you can see the areas where you are supposed to pull down and peel and it is suggested that you bite first to make space for your fingers. the texture is very similar to that of biting into a regular banana but it is also somewhat disconcerting. It's obvious that there is some sort of gelatin product in this part of the pop.

Inside there is a vanilla ice cream that doesn't quite taste right. Maybe it's light and I don't know it because I don't eat light ice cream but it isn't full of flavor. It has the right taste at the start but it goes away and this odd nothingness comes after. Put together things don't get that much better because the banana is overpowering the weak vanilla. Then to top it off, as the 'banana' melts it shows it's rubbery gelatinous structure and looks really creepy.

This isn't a product we will be buying any more honestly. It's novel but the flavors weren't there to compensate for the weird texture that was needed to make this pop. It's alright to take a little try on if it's on sale and you have a coupon but it's not worth the regular price.

Rating: 1/5

Monday, July 21, 2014

So we are in the era when any and every simple dish and meal can be turned into something extravagant that testst the boundaries of it's definition. Donuts, are next up. After the hype around the "Cronut" which is a Donut and Croissant I know the big wigs all across the country were searching for something new that they could come up with to get the same excitement. Enter Safeway, a supermarket which can be somewhat innovative with a new creation, The Wafflenut.

The wafflenut was very dense yet it was still moist. It had more weight than maybe it should have had and this may end up being a sort of flaw. I tried both the honey-dipped or glazed and cinnamon covered varieties. The Cinnamon reminded me of a churro a lot and it had a good consistency  but maybe slightly heavy and should be more airy. The Glazed version was much of the same though slightly heavier. Most of the time I could eat a couple of donuts and not be sluggish because they are light and airy, these were both heavy and just sat on my stomach.

While this seems like a good idea or attempt, I think maybe it's a bit much to combine the two entities to make something new. A regular small waffle would be good enough to treat with a variety of flavors and toppings as is, and would be lighter which would enable more to be sold and eaten. The more I think about it, this is an attempt to do too much where it wasn't needed.

Rating: 2/5

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Facebook always has an abundant number of recipes and my wife sill always tag me when she's something that she likes. that's where this recipe came from as something that is a hybrid cinnamon roll/cake. The idea is to bring you that great flavor with a lot less work because you don't have to roll and do as much to make dough.

For the recipe, (since I can't take credit for it) go over to Chef in Training  to get it and print out a copy for your recipe book at home.

My Assistant Concentrating

Mix Ingredients and then add melted butter on top

Pour into a greased 9x13 pan then begin to mix your cinnamon mixture

Drop in the cinnamon and swirl with a knife

Bake and add icing made of powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk and voila.
This recipe was a cinch to make and it turns out pretty good. I do think it might need a little tweaking to get maybe a little bit more 'chew' to it and I haven't perfected the art of making a good icing using only powdered sugar, vanilla and milk because the sugar never seems to dissolve properly to me.

Rating: 3.5/5

Monday, July 14, 2014


I'm not sure where I first saw Cheerwine but it wasn't here in Baltimore. It had to be online or on TV somewhere so when I saw it at a local Wegman's grocery store I decided I needed to go ahead and try it. As well as having a bunch of sodas I never heard of I decided to also grab a 6-pack of Saranac Shirley Temple sodas for my sister and daughter to try because my sister is a 'Clean' Shirley expert.

The Cheerwine was compared to Dr. Pepper which amazingly, I have never had to my recollection. That didn't dissuade me at all and I cheerfully opened the top after chilling the classic bottle. The taste is really similar to Cherry coke which I love but it is missing the cola part of it. It also has a little bit of an after taste but it wasn't particularly bad, just there.

The Shirley Temple soda however I wasn't feeling though my daughter liked it. It was incredibly sweet, slightly overwhelming and the lemon lime or citrus flavor was as present or as strong as it needed to be. It needed to cut the sweetness and for me the after taste on this was too strong to enjoy for me. The kid thought it was good and though she doesn't particularly like cherry or cherry flavoring this one is more like the maraschino cherries that she eats gleefully for some reason.

Cheerwine Rating: 3/5
Saranac Shirley Temple Soda Rating: 2.5/5

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Pinterest is great for finding new ideas to cook and the last thing I checked out on a whim was a new way to cook up some chicken since having it so often can get extremely boring. This recipe comes from and is pretty much a creative spin on chicken breast nuggets. These are breaded in panko and what sets them apart is the sweet chili sauce that goes with them. You can find the specific recipe right here: Bang Bang Chicken Recipe

Now the one thing I will say is that Panko breading can be a bit rough on the mouth and the recipe should have specified some minimum amount of salt and pepper to get started with. That's the only real negative and here are my pictures- under normal non-studio light.

First the buttermilk batter:
 Then we have the panko bread crumbs
 Next up we fry in batches
 Then we plate and drizzle with the sauce

Now the sauce uses some mayo, sweet chili sauce, and honey and is pretty delicious really. It would be great on a lot of items.

This was a good recipe and it doesn't take too long to make. I will probably try this again. It was fairly easy and straight forward so even a novice can attempt this and make something pretty tasty.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Jasons Deli is a place I had never heard of before but apparently it's a decent sandwich, salad, and soup franchise that is growing and makes it's case on being healthy and a little bit upscale. They have plenty of unique sandwich offerings as well as a soup and salad bar which you can get and eat your fill of if you're dining in so that's cool.

Today I decided to have a salad, Caesar, with Salmon for my lunch. I took time to look at the menu well in advance because they have quite a few options overall. Now while waiting this location in Columbia got bogged down because they didn't really have enough staff on hand. It was just after major lunch time so they should have been better prepared for a large crowd. Then the menu complexity made things slow in the ordering phase and also when putting things together. They need to aim to be more like Panera and get a slightly larger staff.

My salad was a nice size and it also came with herb toast, which wasn't really as toasted as it could have been. It was alright, the herb flavors weren't my favorite but the bread was soft and tender so it was fine. The Salmon didn't look that appealing and it's obvious that it was microwaved. It was warm in the middle but the outside was colder and had the congealed fat that you get from a cooked piece of the fish. The greens were crisp, cheese was right and salty and the croutons were decent. The dressing wasn't really creamy enough for my liking when it says creamy. It was a hybrid between regular caesar and creamy and it wasn't bad but maybe a bit more garlic than I like to have without the creaminess to balance it out. It was a decent salad bt it didn't blow me away. The Salmon looks seasoned but didn't even have salt or pepper which are basics.

I think I will try Jason's Deli again to see how their sandwiches are. The salad was fine but not anything special and the ones at Panera Bread are much better.

Rating: 3/5

Friday, July 4, 2014

Oreo has been known to push the envelope on flavors in the past couple of years. Some have been more successful than others and that has led to flavors like Birthday cake being added to the regular line up. This year has been no exception with Reese's Oreo being highly anticipated and a new flavor, Golden Oreo Limeade hitting the stores in a more limited capacity.

These were come on the heels of last year's lemon flavored Oreo but I think these are better. The Lemon Oreo lack the citrus flavor and these have them and the actual lime isn't much more than that of a Skittle. The sweetness of the golden cookie hits you first and being left with the hint of lime and citrus after that's gone was really good. This is one of the better limited edition varieties because of it.

Rating: 5/5

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday meals are perfect for slow cooking, or really, any day you have time to get your ingredients prepped and plopped into the cooker. This was a during the week meal and one I enjoy from time to time and decided to keep after experimenting because the wife enjoyed what the results were.

This chicken i get a rub together with some salt, pepper, onion, garlic powder and cumin. Take it, mix it together and rub it all over the chicken and let it sit at least 4-5 hours but if you can get 12 in you will be living the live. One thing you have to do is make sure you lift up some of the breast skin and put the rub down that part of the chicken.

Next morning, I tossed the chicken into the cooker with some better than bouillon chicken base, about 1 cup of water for a generous teaspoon and add that to the cooker to allow the chicken to really bask in moisture and flavor. I also added  1/2 cup of apple juice and a whole cut up apple for additional flavor and moisture. I didn't have a full onion which I normally use in the cavity with the apples but the spring onions filled in just fine as I dices a few up and sprinkled them in and on the chicken. They are a bit milder but it works for us. Set it on low and come back later from work and voila.

For us, we are a sauce loving family, and pulling the chicken is going to be a somewhat trying event if you expect to have the entire thing come out like you put it in. It won't but it is so tender and juicy even though you have to search with your tongs to get all of the goodies out. You can use the remaining liquid for a gravy if you like but we like to take the chicken, drizzle some sauce over it and throw it under the broiler for a couple of minutes to get the skin a little crispier thanks to the sugars in the sauce.

Friday, June 27, 2014

My mother went to Vegas last month and managed to squeeze in a visit to Fatburger pretending she was Floyd Mayweather waiting on TI. She has been talking about the turkey burger she had since she came back. She looked up the locations and found out there is one in Columbia, MD pretty close to where I work. At her urging I stopped by for lunch.

 The place was quiet, clean and had a little counter where you can sit on a stool while they get your 1/3rd pound burger ready. They also serve shakes and your choice of skinny or fat fries. I am not a fan of thick cut fries so skinny was my option. The fries themselves are marginal at best. They taste like those vaunted 'new' fries that Burger King rolled out a while back. They didn't end up being very crisp and didn't get any 'better' with the ketchup.
My burger I got simply with bacon, cheddar cheese and ketchup and mustard. The burger itself wasn't bad. A nice sized patty and the bacon was pretty good but nondescript overall. The bun is plain and the sandwich did avoid being overly soggy or greasy which is a positive. As far as taste, it isn't anything especially different like the BGR burger was. The cheddar cheese I got disappeared though, not much bite or sharpness came from it at all.

 This was straight forward and placed on a griddle. I actually prefer the Five Guys burgers to this one which really reminded me of a Wendy's burger. It was alright but it wasn't overwhelmingly good. The price was also really high for what was received. I mean Five guys at least smothers you in fries but the combo I had was almost 13 bucks from Fatburger and it didn't blow me away. That's a lot for burger and fries so it needs to be extra special.

Overall I guess if you want the uniqueness of the Fatburger name it might be worth a stop if you're near Route 175 getting close to Jessup but I'm not sure it's worth a trip specifically to go there.

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

If you've been to PF Changs you know they are known for their Chicken lettuce wraps and my wife and I were smitten by them after going there once. Fast forward a couple of years later and looking for something different and a little 'healthy' these lettuce wraps are always a nice little option. now this isn't my own personal recipe as I got it in an issue of Food Network Magazine. You can get your own copy here.

Almost Famous Chicken Lettuce Wraps

The thing about this recipe is that you have to chop so many things up. The past few times I have made this recipe I hand cut the chicken breasts. Today I decided to use the food processor.

This was much easier than chopping by hand and it didn't get too fine like ground chicken, but it was more chunky, just like the restaurant version so I was very happy with it. Now you have to marinate the chicken in the rice wine corn starch solution so I suggest you might want to look to the right and take a peek at the Tupperware link over there and then send a message to my wife because if she has an online party going on you can get yourself a deal.

After that it's a simple process to cook up the ingredients and combine them to have a nice meal that is a little different from the norm.

This is a great recipe and one that made it into our family recipe book.

Rating: 10/10