Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Pepperidge Farm has a new cookie out for the spring season and it is marketed to the summer smores season. The thing I like about PF cookies is that they are a decent size, high quality and soft. I took a shot on these and the pack I got somehow was broken up which I don't expect from PF cookies, even the Milanos.

The cookies themselves are decent, not great and I think I was disappointed in the taste. The cookie itself is bland even though it is supposed to have bits of graham crackers inside it. They would have been better off making a graham base and adding chunks of chocolate and marshmallows. As far as marshmllow I didn't taste very much and the chocolate was too sweet, just blending in with everything else. With the cookie being mostly sugar, the chocolate would have been better off being darker and more bitter in order to make it stand out more.

While I was let down by this cookie, my kids devoured them so if you're in one of those households, they might need bags to themselves because it was empty this morning when I went to go and get the bag and a cookie for this post.

Rating: 1.5.5

Saturday, March 19, 2016

So this is kind of late because Lent is pretty much over but I might as well get this in. Like many places, Mission provides an alternative for many people who give up on certain types of meat for religious reasons. Mission does a grilled/smoked salmon dish and I decided to take the chance on what they call the "back plate" special.

The Salmon itself has a decent flavor, it was cooked right and the seasoning blend is a good complement. now I'm not normally a huge fan of remoulade sauces because I'm iffy on lemonwith savory dishes, but this sauce was great. It made the fish so much better and it's a great thing to get from a fast casual place like Mission. I also opted to get the seasonal baked sweet potato with Honey Butter and Caramel Bread Pudding as well.

The Sweet potato was normal, I mean nothing much you can do with that, however, the honey butter that came with it was one of the best and most addictive things I have ever tasted. If they boxed that up and sold it I would have it every week and I have had some from say Land O lakes before and this was far superior. The bread pudding was pretty good with nice crispy bits and a good balance of caramel. I just don't know If I can be a full fan of bread pudding because it ends up so goupy. The flavor was good I just had texture issues with it.

Overall, the items that came with the main entrees made the food so much better and thats what they are supposed to do. Mission is one of the more solid places to eat at any point especially if you're a fan of Barbecue. Now this isn't to say smaller locals wouldn't blow them out of the water but for a fast casual chain, you can do much worse in my opinion.

Rating: 3.5/5

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Nalley Fresh for all I know is pretty local to Maryland and is in on the locally sourced, more healthy "Panera Bread" style cafe places where you can get a salad, soup or a wrap. While they aren't a bakery, you get that same vibe. Several locations have popped up between the inner harbor and East/Northern Baltimore County but the one in Columbia which recently opened was the first one I had the ability to visit and give a try.

Now the place was kind of dark and I didn't care for the lay out, like the soda fountain was in the middle of the seating area and the line for picking out your options on a choose your own meal just seemed to be an odd spot but it isn't anything major. The line wasn't moving very fast but that may be because the customers might all be unfamiliar with the menu board and options. I opted to purchase my wrap online and it was ready before the prescribed time.

So for my first Nalley Fresh experience, I ordered a Salmon wrap with Romaine lettuce, Purple Slaw, Brown Rice, Black Beans, 'sweet' corn, cheddar, tortilla strips and spicy ranch dressing. The Salmon took the wrap price up by 3 bucks but hey, go hard or go home. The wrap wasn't as big as I thought that it might be but it wasn't a baby, but I did expect just a tad bit more.

The Salmon tasted fine and the ingredients all were definitely fresh, however the tortilla strips I feel like got sogged up too quickly and didn't give me the crunch that I was expecting. The Spicy Ranch dressing has a good heat but also didn't have enough 'Ranchness'. I did feel like t was slightly flat and maybe some pepper or even a hint of vinegar or something slightly more acidic would have helped the overall flavor profile. The corn also didn't add the sweetness it was supposed to bring, but I attribute that to season and the fact that it was indeed very fresh.

Overall, I think it was a bit above average. I like the options and the choices you can make to ensure your food doesn't get too stale when eating there. Having a rotating selection of proteins is cool and also helps with the mission of fresh, local eating. The wrap I had wasn't perfect and I'm not sure if it is the best of their offerings but I see no reason to not go back and try something else from their menu.

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Food Network and it's partner channels have a bevy of shows that showcase unique foods from all around the country and one of the newest shows is called Unique Sweets. It was watching that show where I first saw Wicked whoopies and knew that I needed to taste their pies. luckily for me, Wicked Whoopies has a solid online ordering option where you can pick out your own dozen whoopie pies for home delivery.

I ordered on a Friday evening and the pies came on Wednesday of the following week in a nice sturdy box great for shipping so points for that one. My flavor combination included Strawberry, Maple, Vanilla, Classic original, Red Velvet, Banana, Lemon, and Oatmeal. I tried to make sure I got a variety to see what the strong point were and what the weak points might be.

All of these had the same cream which is light and fluffy, and it also has a good balance of sweetness. It is very much a great filling which would be key for a whoopie pie of any type, no matter what different flavors you may have around them. My daughter enjoyed the red velvet and my son demolished the original chocolate whoopie pies which were moist yet light and not overly heavy with the chocolate. it was a little less than the classic chocolate cake but it wasn't watered down by any means.

My favorite might just be the oatmeal cream pie because it's not really a cake but a thick, chewy oatmeal cookie that is of course more filling than a Little Debbie and also just fresher and better tasting. Banana was also a good one, not as artificial tasting as the banana twins that Little Debbie makes. There were two flavors I wasn't so bullish on and those were strawberry and lemon. In both of these varieties, there wasn't enough full flavor to offset the dough and the cream. Neither of these is enough to make me say they were bad, but I wouldn't focus on these, and you may like them but I think some of the other offerings were better.

Overall I was happy with the way this online experience went. The whoopie pies delivered on their end the vast majority of the time. We will be ordering from them again.

Rating: 5/5