Category Archives: Food and Drink

Trader Joe’s Masala Simmer Sauce

I know one thing about Indian food — I love it. I don’t claim any real expertise in that particular cuisine (although I do have an Indian cookbook stashed away around here somewhere), but one of my favorite nice things … Continue reading

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Coastal Maine Popcorn Co’s Cinnamon Apple Popcorn

As we get further and further into our quarantine life, snacks seem to be a high priority. I mean, I want snacks. I want them very much. All the snacks. Just ask my fully fleshed tum. So when I received … Continue reading

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Cold green sludge for spicy summer meals: avocado raita

This is a cold, creamy dip, sauce, or soup that you can serve with tacos, curry, rijstaffel, jerked meat, or anything else spicy that wants a cool side dish for contrast. It’s also insanely green, which is cool all by … Continue reading

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Dean’s Sweets’ Chocolate Espresso Beans

Dean’s Sweets is a chocolatier and confectioner based in Maine, owned by Dean and Kristen Bingham. One of their selling points is that they use local ingredients whenever possible, in addition to imported chocolate. Given that the sample of their … Continue reading

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Katjes Salzige Heringe

Black licorice is a divisive nibble. Some love it, others visibly gag at the thought. And there’s typically no middle ground, with people either seeking it out, or throwing it in the bin immediately. I’ve got to admit that I … Continue reading

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Diana’s Bananas’ Dark Chocolate Banana Babies

OK, it’s way too cute a name, I’ll grant you, but once you meet them and taste them for the first time you’ll forgive the overly cute name, as they’re amazingly good. Diana’s Bananas’ Dark Chocolate Banana Babies are one … Continue reading

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Kasaugai Roasted Nuts Assortment

I love senbei mixes. The crunch, salty goodness. The nori (seaweed) yumminess. Those tasty flavored peanuts. That wasabi kick. But mostly, I love that there are so many different flavors, my tongue never has to worry about Fear Of Missing … Continue reading

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Family Volcano Popping Candy – Lychee

C’mon. Everyone who’s able to tolerate sugar has tried popping candy of one sort or another. By the pool, after you shelled out your hard-earned allowance. After a bit of Trick-or-Treating. Maybe even sharing a few packets after finding some … Continue reading

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Huang Fei Hong Spicy Crispy Peanut

Peanuts are my jam. Okay, my butter. My soup. My sauce. My everything. *cues up Barry White*  Any way I can get ‘em, I get ‘em. I especially love a touch of spice to my peanuts, so hello Huang Fei … Continue reading

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Trader Joe’s Organic Dark Chocolate PB&J Minis

Trader Joe’s offers a variety of confections, most of them involving chocolate. The latest one to cross my path is the Organic Dark Chocolate PB&J Minis. I can hear you asking “What is this?” I suspect it’s a riff on … Continue reading

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Marou’s Vietnamese Chocolates: Three Bars

The latest goodies to come my way are three bars of chocolate from Vietnam. No, I didn’t think of Vietnam as a source for chocolate either, but when you stop to think about it, although cacao originated in South America, … Continue reading

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Nordi by Fazer Finnish chocolate bars

Nordi Smooth & Rich Original Dark Chocolate bar: This basic 70% bar is up against a lot of challengers, but it measures nicely. The mouthfeel is smooth and cool. The flavor didn’t knock my socks off – you don’t expect … Continue reading

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Hu Chocolate Bar – Hazelnut Butter Dark Chocolate

I could get used to high-quality chocolate. Don’t get me wrong; I love me some Thousand Dollar Bars and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I’m as red-blooded as the next chocoholic. But there’s something absolutely decadent about a Fair Trade bar … Continue reading

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Hu Chocolate Bar – Almond Butter+Puffed Quinoa Dark Chocolate

Have you put on your “Quarantine 15” yet? With folks scarfing down old-school comfort foods like crazy, why not try a few new things? Don’t go crazy; I’m not talking about marmite out of the jar. (Unless that’s your thing; … Continue reading

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Alli & Rose’s Chocolate Covered Candies: Pomegranate and Açai and Blueberry

Alli & Rose’s website tells us only — and that largely by inference — that Alli & Rose is a brand owned by CAL Marketing, which supplies “both retail and wholesale customers with quality and innovative products at an every … Continue reading

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Extreme ginger-carrot-banana bread

Cat challenged me to come up with a banana recipe, and I happened to have some overripe ones, so here. This is more of a kuchen than a bread. It’s very gingery, even if you use very fat young juicy … Continue reading

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Trader Joe’s Chocolate Wedges: Dark Chocolate Caramel and Extra Dark Chocolate

Among the latest goodies to cross my desk are two tins of Trader Joe’s Chocolate Wedges. Since Trader Joe’s sells everything under its own label, there’s no way to know, without doing a lot more sleuthing than I care to, … Continue reading

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Virginia Scott Jenkins’ Bananas: An American History

Eric Eller penned this review. Some years ago I found myself alone at the wedding of a distant cousin. This being one of those big, traditional Italian weddings, I was one of dozens of second, third, and fourth cousins invited … Continue reading

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Brooklyn Born Chocolate’s Holy Molé

At first glance, the idea of chocolate laced with spices more often found in South American cuisine might seem a little off-putting. But hey, they’re all from South America, so there’s got to be some affinity there, right? Brooklyn Born … Continue reading

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Kicking it up a notch with mezcal: la bruja te prende fuego

I’m a two-margarita girl. When I lunch with my pals, I can pour them down between layers of food and I’m fine. Never met a margarita that intimidated me. This was before I met mezcal. This recipe is adapted from … Continue reading

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Cook’s California Champagne Brut – 187ml bottle 4 pack

First off, let’s just address the French elephant in the room. Cook’s isn’t really champagne. That honorific is reserved for sparkling wines made in the Champagne region of France. But as time goes ever forward, many non-Champagne sparklers have adopted … Continue reading

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Zippy bagna cauda sauce for pasta and sandwiches

Do you like anchovies? People seem to be radically divided on these salty little guys. Either you love ’em, or you have to run screaming from any room containing anchovies and flush your mouth and sinuses, or at least your … Continue reading

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Nestlé’s Kumamon Ikinari Dango KitKat

Who doesn’t love it when someone brings strange flavors of KitKats to a party? NO I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE. Friends either coming back from Japan, or hitting up the local cool Asian market on just the right day; it’s … Continue reading

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Yuengling’s Hershey’s Chocolate Porter

What do you get when two great Pennsylvania tastes decide to mix it up? You get a fantastic porter that’s well worth searching out. Yuengling knew what they were doing when they collaborated with Hershey’s. And the brewery definitely let … Continue reading

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Oliver Brewing Co.’s Creator Destroyer

I love Baltimore. So many great breweries so close together. But you never forget your first. For me it’s Oliver Brewing Co., which used to brew right in Pratt Street Ale House, but now has its own digs. This ale … Continue reading

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Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Mega Chunks

I cook with chocolate chips quite a lot: chocolate mousse, boozy chocolate trifle, hot chocolate, chocolate fat bombs, random things I shouldn’t eat made with chocolate, and of course my weapons-grade whisky-cherry brownies, still legal in 22 states. I’ll try … Continue reading

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Lolli & Pops Madagascar Sambirano Chocolate

You probably already know this, but reviewers do try to research the items offered for review, particularly if they’re from a source new to the reviewer. Sadly, researching confectioners Lolli & Pops was very difficult, possibly because they recently filed … Continue reading

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Robert’s Potato Soup

I admit it — I’m more than a little fond of potatoes, and what could be better on a chilly autumn evening than a nice bowl of potato soup? Now, be warned — this is me in the kitchen. I … Continue reading

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Village Bakery’s Mini Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

So you thought all the pumpkin things went away after Halloween? Oh my sweet summer child. Have you forgotten that Fall is decorative gourd season? And with gourds come…wait for it…pumpkin. We’re not even close to maximum ‘kin y’all. Buckle … Continue reading

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Cadbury Screme Egg

Holidays with candy as a focus are fantastic. Even though I’m an adult (going by trips around the sun; mental maturity is a separate matter) I can gorge myself on all sorts of candy. Sure I regret it later (I … Continue reading

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Frazetta: Painting With Fire

Frank Frazetta is probably the most influential artist of the last half century. — William Stout, Illustrator Documentaries are like the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead: when they are good, they are very, very … Continue reading

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Reese’s Wasabi Horseradish

No. No no no no no. NO. This isn’t wasabi, it’s an abomination. And yes, I’m angry because I was hoping wasabi in a tube would be wonderful. It’d be nice to be able to put just a touch of … Continue reading

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Bissinger’s Carmelized Blood Orange Chocolate Candy

Founded in France in the 17th century, Bissinger’s chocolates were favored by the luminaries of 18th and 19th century Europe, such as Napoleon Bonaparte and the Rothschilds. The company was granted the title of “Confectioner of the Empire” by King … Continue reading

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Jose Ole’s Steak and Cheese Chimichanga

I like Mexican food almost as much as I like Indian food. Well, I like food, especially if it’s easy to prepare and filling. It’s even better if it’s something I don’t have all the time — as in, I … Continue reading

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Bissinger’s Coffee Toffee 75% Dark Chocolate, Almond Toffee & Rich Roasted Coffee Bar

Sometimes I feel as though I’m not cool enough for some of these uber-fancy chocolate bars. Such was the case with this one; made in Italy, sustainable trade, single-origin chocolate…I’m way out of my league here. And I’m not telling … Continue reading

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Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.’s Cookie O’Puss Limited Edition Stout

Growing up in the DC area, Carvel ice cream stores were a staple. What’s best known from this ice cream chain is their ice cream cakes; two layers of ice cream with chocolate cookie crumbles in between. Sure, Fudgy the … Continue reading

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Cake in a Flash: Mug Cakes and Other Treats

Food crazes come and go, and I noticed that a current one is for mug cakes of various sorts. I tried a few and have thoughts. Mug cake, for those unfamiliar with the concept, is cake made in a mug … Continue reading

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Willie’s Cacao: Pure Gold and Rio Caribe Gold

Willie’s Cacao is the name of a chocolatier owned and operated by William Harcourt-Crooze, an Englishman with a passion for chocolate. Willie maintains that cacao from particular locations is like a fine wine, with its own flavor and character. Not … Continue reading

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Specially Selected Mango Chili Flavored Tortilla Strips with Chia Seeds

Aldi is quickly becoming my go-to place for finding new things to try. They have a knack for creating items that make me do a double-take, and then put said things into my cart. Like these chips. Mango and chili … Continue reading

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Hazer Baba Turkish Delight

When I was in the fifth grade, my teacher started reading C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia to my class. I adored the books, but at the time, I couldn’t fathom what this “Turkish Delight” thing was that Edmund was … Continue reading

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Starbucks Chocolate: Milk, Dark, & Dark with VIA

Chocolate and coffee are two of my favorite food groups, and while I prefer indie coffeeshops, that’s more a local-shopping than a flavor-based decision for me. Starbucks offers perfectly good coffee, and I’ve always liked their chocolates in the past. … Continue reading

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Sukkerfri Dent Duett: Berry + Licorice Pastilles

I’m an unabashed fan of black licorice. I’ve tasted (and reviewed) lots of different styles, from salty to sweet, and even covered in chocolate. (Don’t knock ’em ’til you’ve tried ’em y’all.) But licorice and berries? No, not berry flavored … Continue reading

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Two Hits and a Miss from Seattle Chocolate

Chocolate bar companies excel in combing up with new combinations, sometimes with wondrous results. Other times not so much. Here’s three from Seattle Chocolate Company that I tried recently, evaluated across a number of axes. Happy Birthday Cake Batter Milk … Continue reading

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A dinner with Kaye Grandolfo

I worked with Kaye at the same place where I met Francine Genovaldi (she of the legendarily moist, rich, dark chocolate cake). Kaye was legend, with a new outrageous story for every decade of her life every time you asked. Born … Continue reading

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Crunchy tacos: my madeleines?

We had crunchy tacos the other night. They’ve become a regular fixture on our home menu in the past year or so, especially since I’ve discovered several brands of taco shells that are quite low in sodium. Now, I know … Continue reading

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Fourth of July with Hunter Spence

Hunter. What can I say? I loved him. Native of Culpepper, Virginia. Beloved prop man at the Yale School of Drama. (Here he is in one of his mask-making classes.) He cooked like an angel. His chicken divan was divine. … Continue reading

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Francine Genovaldi’s immortal chocolate legacy

Francine Genovaldi worked with me in the typing pool. We had a tradition in that pool: for every birthday, we all brought in goodies. There were twelve word processor operators, and often the birthdays came three or four to a … Continue reading

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Creamy gazpacho for hot weather dining

Chicago summer is finally feeling like itself: 90s-plus temps broken only by thunderstorms, with the muggy index in the 100%+ zone. The hint of climate change? The heat breaks down to the 60s and 70s at night, as if we … Continue reading

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Noble Jerky – Chipotle

Vegan…jerky? Of course! Now that we’re all lusting over vegan burgers, jerky is a no-brainer for companies wanting to lure vegans (and vegan-adjacents like myself) into the land of tastiness. And this jerky just may fool your more carnivorous friends.  … Continue reading

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Wyndridge Farm Crafty Cider

I often buy cans of alcoholic beverages based on the can art. I’m not ashamed. It’s led me down some pretty cool rabbit holes. So when I saw this can with a foxy Robin Hood-nik balancing an arrow-ed apple on … Continue reading

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