Sunday, May 29, 2016

I happened across this company on the gram and put in some time looking them up. Using their search I did see they were available locally at the Fresh Market but that's not very convenient so I wasn't sure if I would be able to get a little bit to try any time soon. Then shopping in my local Safeway I saw it and figured I might as well grab it and try it now. As a side note, there are a lot of smaller boutique ice cream makers popping up now with new flavors kind of going the same way Ben and Jerry's did at their beginning.

Anyway, back to Coolhaus, this is a nice little pint of ice cream. There is saltiness in the vanilla and not the caramel which is normal, but it works out well in the flavor department. Now, I would have expected it to be slightly more creamy but it wasn't bad at all mind you. It just didn't have the richness I expected going in, which a Haagen Daz for example has. The chocolate chunks are dark but not too dark where it's extra bitter, and since it's ice cream, it works as a complement to the vanilla and the salt. As for the graham flavor, it's a marshmallow graham cookie butter and I get the graham flavor a bit but not much of the marshmallow. Put together it isn't bad the way it works but I also feel like it could have been slightly stronger in that department. The Marshmallow isn't as prominent as I would have liked it and the graham butter isn't distributed as fully as it probably should be to ensure you get some in every bite.

Now, Coolhaus has several other flavors I'm looking forward to trying after this because they seem to be interesting and fun. Salty Smores is good but not "great". It is a nice treat though and if you're into trying out new flavors I think you should give it a go. I haven't seen anything like this in another place so Coolhaus has that going for them

Rating: 4/5

Monday, May 23, 2016

Instagram is a great place to find new things to eat and small specialty shops. Going through my feed I found a place I had never heard of before located in Baltimore in the Hampden area. The photos looked great but I wasn't sure I wanted to try and make the trip, especially without a guarantee to even get to taste all of the varieties that I I wanted. I took the trip anyway and it was well worth it.

The place is a small little store front just off of the main drag of Hampden, and midway down the block you could possibly miss it, the sign and front is so small. They are only open 730am to 1pm Wednesday through Sunday so I can imagine the weekends are crazy hectic. The area where you go in to purchase is tiny, smaller than your local every day coffee shop. They display the donuts on the counter on a tray so you can see what varieties are available. You can also see the menu for the week on their social media pages and they also have their own version of 'cronuts' on the weekends.

I ordered a wide variety, chocolate creme, vanilla creme, strawberry cheesecake, coffee creme and walnut, cinnamon and sugar, lemon creme, and the Homer which looks a lot like the doughnut eaten by the infamous cartoon character from the Simpsons. They all look pretty much the same except for the small bit of filling that sticks out of the pastries. None of their doughnuts have holes either, including the glazed and chocolate covered which I didn't get on this visit.

The best doughnut, Vanilla Creme which is soft and fluffy. A filling that has good balance and sweetness although my wife wanted even more inside. It's the same thing for the chocolate creme and lemon filled. The creme has the flavor you expect, and it isn't artificial at all. The coffee creme with walnut is also good and it's cool because it's a straight coffee flavor, and the sweetness from one's sugar or cream come from the doughnut itself and the walnuts are a nice little touch. The strawberry cheesecake is pretty good as well. Now the non filled doughnuts didn't wow me as much but maybe warmed up they would shine even more.

I was slightly worried that I would waste my time driving into Hampden to get doughnuts which can be hit or miss often times. I was very surprised at the fact these doughnuts were this good. Very fresh (you can really taste that in the dough) with great high quality fillings it is worth the trip if you have the time to get over there. They are opening soon in Virginia as well so they will be lucky to have a place this good and be accessible.

Rating: 4.5/5

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Phoebe's is an independent coffee shop that is in Montgomery County. I stopped in trying to avoid the chain addiction which is Dunkin Donuts. While I just went in for some coffee and a pastry, Phoebe's also offers a wide array of sandwiches and some salads for your morning, lunch, and early afternoon desires.

The coffee prices aren't bad for this kind of shop and it has a good taste, although I didn't feel like the caffeine hit me the same way as Dunkin Coffee tends to do and I am not sure as to why that seems to happen when I visit the smaller coffee shops. They do have a nice looking selection of sweets and I ended up trying a couple of their small cheesecakes and macaroons which I was very surprised to see.

Let's talk about the macaroons, they are a nice size, and about average in price and have some decent original flavors. I tried both the Smores Macaroon and the Fruity Pebbles. The Smores could have had slightly more marshmallow taste and I would have liked to had some graham flavor instead of just chocolate and vanilla. There is also a nice little bit of straight up chocolate in the middle. The Fruity pebbles is a little more dividing. No one else in my house liked them which I thought they would, though I did enjoy it. There is a nice burst of different flavors like the cereal but there is an odd little graininess to it. I would still eat it again.

The mini cheesecake's which I tried were Red Velvet Cheesecake and Key Lime. They were alright, I was slightly underwhelmed by the red velvet though the cheesecake itself is fine. The Key lime had good lime flavor but was topped with coconut which I am against personally. They were cool though but I was more impressed by the macaroons.

This is a nice little spot to stop into and grab coffee and nice little bite to eat. The prices aren't too bad at all and the feel of the place is really nice. I'm going to go back and try some of their sandwiches in the future.

Rating: 3.5/5

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The battle of the sub shops seems to be constantly on new ground here in Maryland and a spot that has been here for a couple of years now though I am just getting around to them is Jersey Mike's Subs, an East Coast chain that has a mix of hot and cold subs. I guess the idea is that this is your local sub shop on a chain scale so you will always know where the 'good' sub shop is without the local guesswork.

In a rush with the kids we stopped in in lieu of McDonalds. My son devoured his Ham and Provolone without complaint. Myself, I had the Turkey and Provolone while my daughter got a cheese steak- pretty much plain. Now as far as chain cheese steaks go. I'm totally against. They are always missing the flavor of a good seasoned off the grid grill and they are so pre-measured it never even looks like a cheesesteak. The other main problem was it took a long time for them to get started and it wasn't busy.

Now my turkey and provolone is just that. A Turkey and provolone sandwich. Shredded lettuce is cool i guess, it was crisp. the fact the meat is sliced right there is the big thing? It looks decent but the deli meat that is sliced seems to be the lamest and most generic you can get. It tastes fine but I'm used to the local markets which has better flavor and seems to be of a higher quality.

Jersey Mike's isn't the worst place to grab a quick bite but it isn't the best either. If it's the only familiar thing in the area or you just want a sub it's fine but I wouldn't go out of my way to find one for the food. It's only an average place.

Rating: 2.5/5

Monday, May 2, 2016

I don't think I have ever written up about Wingstop before though I have tried them once. I decided to go back to the spot name dropped by rapper Rick Ross on many occasions and give their limited edition Smoke 9 flavor a try and see if my earlier experience was the real thing.

I must say I have had Wingstop 3 times and been totally underwhelmed. I know Buffalo Wild Wings doesn't have the best reputation but I will say that their flavors are more interesting and tasty, while they sometimes struggle with consistency. Wing stop has always had solid, crispy wings.

Let me break this down, two weeks ago I stopped in and got some garlic parmesan wings and the main problem is their sauce has little garlic, a bunch of oil and just cheese sprinkled on the top. This time I got some boneless wings aka tenders, with the Hickory Smoked BBQ flavor and the Smoked 9 special flavor.

These joints were hot, I appreciate that but maybe thats part of the problem, they don't drain their products enough before they get them to you and they all come out with a pool of grease beneath them. Even the Hickory BBQ wings which were so basic and average, yet they were better than the smoke 9 which had no real flavor to me. Is it supposed to be like southern BBQ? It has a little bit of smokiness, a little bit of salt but that was it. I wasn't even sure if the liquid at the bottom was supposed to be flavor or if it was just grease.

The only thing that was worth it for me was the fries which were excellent, less burnt than Five Guys but just as fresh and good. In total, the price and quality of the food didn't match up. I'd rather eat the gas and heartburn inducing mighty wings they occasionally serve at McDonald's than these at the end of the day.

Rating: 2/5