Monday, May 26, 2014

So I stopped to get gas and come coffee and saw the sign for these in the window. Yeah 7-11 food is more situated for people with the munchies and college kids stuck in the middle of nowhere coming from the bar or club but I digress because sometimes their pizza can have a certain appeal. Or the taquitos, or big bites if you do hot dogs. These 'Doritos' seemed like they fit in and might be alright.

First off these weren't as crisp on the outside as I thought they might be. They didn't have the texture and possibly they are made up of Dorito crumbs? That's probably wishful thinking on my part. These were pretty bland lacking the sharpness and saltiness I expect from a Dorito. Though they have been successful with marketing the locos tacos at Taco Bell, this is a poor attempt at a 'new nacho'. These had potential but they failed miserably.

Rating: 2/10

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I am a Lemonade fanatic. Chick fil a has the best I have had from a restaurant and Simply Lemonade from the store is greatness in a bottle. This Lemonade here made me take notice because of it's simple design and the display at the store. They also had some almond milk displays as well but I'm a lemonade guy so I chose this.

The Lemonade is alright, but nothing I would go crazy over. I think they are banking on the idea that it is all natural but to me it lacked the flavor I want from a lemonade, and the sweetness. One or the other wouldn't be the problem, but both is an issue. The other thing was the bitter after taste. It sort of tasted like there was plenty of pith that got into the drink at some point. My son tried it and he doesn't complain about much and he also felt that it was a bit too bitter. This looked very appealing but it fell a little flat.

Rating: 4/10

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I was holding off on trying these just because I'm not a fan of Subway and avoid going in there most of the time. But I was a little hungry and went in one and I decided to try these simple little pizzas that Safeway is suing to try and pump up their business a little bit.

The Flatizza itself is beautiful simplicity. A Flat crust that is baked like their bread is topped with sauce and cheese and pepperoni if you so choose. They take it toast it and cut it into four slices for you and give it to you in a little box, which I feel could be slimmer to reduce waste. it's a quick concept that fits in right with what Subway has on hand. As for the flatizza itself, it is pretty good. If you ever had and liked a Celeste Pizza, the cheap ones in the freezer section of the market, or even a totinos and cook it in the oven instead of the microwave, thats about what you're getting here.

The sauce is kind of sweet, no it is sweet with a taste of maybe roasted onion flavoring and some basil. It is unique though I suspect it is the same stuff as say the Celeste but it hasn't had the chance to be frozen and so has some freshness to it. The Subway put a good amount of pepperoni and cheese on mine. The thing that i liked, was the crust edges. See that's my favorite part of a thin pizza like this, getting the slightly burned edges and sauce because it comes together pretty good. Subway appeals to anyone who may like that under the guise of having it 'fresh' your way and quick. For the price it was 3 bucks for a cheese, 50 cents more for pepperoni it's good. Maybe not the best deal but it's convenient and gives me something to order the next time my kids insist on getting subs.

Rating: 7/10

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

After eating at Cafe Rio the other day I was inspired. I already had some of the marinated Adobo Chicken Thighs from Safeway and I needed to figure out something to do with them. Of course, some sort of Taco, or burrito, or flat taco type of vessel for the chicken. I looked up this recipe on Pinterest and had everything at home so I figured might as well make my own and go all the way fresh.

Hit that link and go on over to the to get the full details. I was skeptical at first, thinking it might be a lot of work but it wasn't. Just take the ingredients, mix them together, let them sit for 15 minutes then separate and roll out into tortilla shapes before heating.

Now, I would cut back on salt to a mere pinch if that the next time I make them but for the time and effort actually expended, these were freaking excellent. You can taste the freshness. Sometimes I watch these cooking shows and you will see a chef with 20 ingredients or trying too hard to be extra innovative when something so simple can be so perfect and delicious. These I can do better, but not by much because, it's a tortilla, simple and delicious.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

I love grilled food I can admit it. I don't think I would qualify as an expert on what quality Barbecue is. I have never gone to Famous Dave's. It didn't really reach out to me in that way until I saw the commercial for these burnt ends. I have become a fan of brisket and that crunchy outer layer is divine. I knew at some point I had to have some and so I ordered some for carry out.

They forgot the cheese at first so I had to wait for another 10 minutes for someone to remember to put the cup of cheese into my box. After that I headed home to give it a taste. First of all these things look just great. Perfect grilled look and smoke with a nice char. The sauce was poured on pretty much perfectly, not excessively drowning the ends nor leaving them too bare. The sauce itself had some tang to it and a very minor bit of hit, almost unnoticeable even.It was sweet and sticky and good.

The ends themselves might have had more fatty pieces and bits than I like which makes me feel like the brisket could generally be trimmed a little more before cooking but the majority of the pieces had a better ratio of meat to fat and none were tough. They all had really good flavor and the sauce complimented them well. Dipping it into the cheese was interesting. It wasn't bad but it didn't seem to be as smoky as I thought it would have been and while it has pieces of jalapeno peppers in it, the heat could have been a little higher. In the end I dipped the slim fried onions that came with it into the cheese and enjoyed the ends by themselves.

Rating: 8/10 (with the cheese 9/10 without)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Today I had lunch at Cafe Rio Mexican Grill. The Tex-Mex food trend has exploded in the past few years with Chipoltle, Baja Fresh, and California Tortilla all getting in on the trend in some fashion. Chipoltle is the most well known brand and in fact there is one right across from the Cafe Rio I visited.

The reviews were all pretty good and many made mention of the fresh tortillas, which I have to take is part of Cafe Rio's claims to fame. The decor is different from most of the other places because it is more crowded and 'themed'. Chipoltle is clean with a modern look but this place seemed a bit more 'stereotypical'. That seems to be the better word with the wooden posts and look of a faux hometown mexican eatery. The menu board is simple and easy to read and it looks like a little bit more than at a Chipoltle and definitely more than Qdoba.

I ended up getting the basic three taco plate, the price wasn't bad at all. I chose the Shredded chicken, fire grilled chicken, and the chilean roast beef. They also have pulled pork and marinated steak. The service is decent, they were kind of busy and when some one orders nachos or extra meat the staff says a little jingle. That could be annoying after a while. The meat is scooped out and out into the foil container and then placed on tortillas and heated. They have a comprehensive set of toppings for you to choose from.

The food tastes good and the reviews were right, the tortillas are flavorful and fresh. They are way better than any other Quick service tex-mex restaurant. Now the roast beef wasn't that good to me. It was roast beef but it was a bit mushy and didn't have enough flavor for me. It was also wet and made the tortilla soggy. The fire grilled chicken was decent and had some flavor and tasted good and fresh. My favorite however was the pulled chicken. It was moist, had a very good flavor, and wasn't covered up in flavors and spices that were extra. It was a great balance.

In totality I wasn't all of that wowed by the service, they were a bit  overwhelmed at first by the crowd and you could tell that the jingles were annoying to them, but the food was fresh tasting and good, especially the pulled chicken and tortillas.

Rating: 7/10
Kettle Chips are aggressively running out new flavors all around and Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper goes with the current trend of strong flavors and fresh ingredients. Like the other varieties, this flavor is all natural with no preservatives or MSG. It also contains no GMO modified ingredients.

This chip is ridged which isn't my favorite type of chip, but it is crisp, crunchy and light. Flavor is alright but not exceptional. The pepper comes through string and it does taste almost freshly ground. The Salt however isn't as present and so the chip lacks some balance and the punch salt would give which seems to be a thing with Kettle Chips. These seem like they would be good for dipping but by themselves it just feels like something is lacking.

Rating: 4/10

Monday, May 5, 2014

So i saw these in the store and I had to give them a try. I mean Maple and Bacon flavors are perfect. They are supposed to be like breakfast on a chip. Now a lot of people love the kettle style chips and the Kettle Brand is one of the largest brands doing this kind of chip.

On a positive note first of all, these are a 'healthier' potato chip. They are gluten free and made with non-GMO modified ingredients and no preservatives for those who are concerned about those things. For myself, most of that doesn't concern me, I'm more concerned with the flavor.

The chips have a great crisp crunch and unlike a lot of kettle chips aren't overly burnt or hard. Now, as for flavor, these chips are good but fall short in bacon flavor. They have the maple flavor correct and really good, but it lacks the overall saltiness of bacon and it has a little bit of smoke but that alone doesn't equal bacon to me. These actually taste a lot like super sweet barbecue chips rather than Maple Bacon. In the end I will definitely finish the bag but something still feels lacking.

Rating: 6/10