Category Archives: Food and Drink

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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Marabou’s Schweizer Nöt

Or “milk chocolate with hazelnuts”. As you like. This bar has been called Sweden’s favorite chocolate bar, and I can see why. Smooth chocolate that’s just the right amount of sweet, studded with lots of chunks of hazelnuts.  Yep, you … Continue reading

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Lakritsfabriken’s Swedish Premium Sweet Liquorice

Tiny bits of heaven is what this is. It’s no secret that I love licorice, but this candy is gonna go into my Licorice Hall of Fame. This isn’t a sweet-sweet licorice, ala Good ‘n Plenty, but a lovely umami … Continue reading

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Ghirardelli Intense Dark – Hazlenut Heaven

I’m always game for dark chocolate. Plus, I’m a sucker for hazelnuts (aka filbert, a name I absolutely love) in any form. So hello, combination of the two! Ghirardelli blends their premium chocolate with nicely minced nuts to create a … Continue reading

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Samuel Adams Seasonal Summer Ale

Sam Adams has changed up their Summer Ale for the first time in 23 years. If you think I’m passing up a chance to give it a sip-see, you’re crazy. And you’re not crazy. Okay, you’re the right kind of … Continue reading

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Comfort food from the American South: Dirty rice

Nobody does comfort food like the American South. Sometimes it swings spicy, sometimes sweet, often both. This is a blander dirty rice than my Southern friends talk about. Theirs tends to be much hotter. Mine is dense, rich, salty and savory, … Continue reading

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Celebrate May with pickled eggs!

The first time I ate a pickled egg, it was a red one, sliced in half and laid yellow-side-up on top of a Greek salad at the deli counter in WaWa, a women-owned convenience store chain in New Haven. On … Continue reading

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Victory Brewing Company’s Storm King Imperial Stout

Stout, stout, stout, stout. I love stouts. So when I found a bottle of one I’d been wanting to try for a while – this very brew, as it happens – I grabbed it up immediately. I’d heard great things … Continue reading

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McKeever & Danlee Confectionery Co.’s Liquorice Allsorts

Licorice (though the company spells it with a “qu”, I’m used to the “c”, so I’ma go with that) allsorts are so darn pretty. All the colors, shapes and styles, all in one bag. Who can resist? Not me. And … Continue reading

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Orchard Valley Harvest’s Sweetened Cherries in Dark Chocolate

Dried cherries and dark chocolate. Two great tastes y’all. I’m not a chocolate covered berry kinda gal; the berry ends up mushy and the chocolate ends up damp. It’s a downer no matter how you look at it. But dried … Continue reading

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Specially Selected’s Chocolate Truffle Eggs

Easter chocolates can typically be found in two forms: the egg, and the bunny. Eggs tend to get a classier treatment, because they’re filled, so they can be called truffles. Truffles are classy y’all. Aldi’s foray into classy Easter isn’t … Continue reading

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Choceur’s Dark Chocolate Marzipan Mini Eggs

I used to avoid almond flavor like the plague. As a matter of fact, I had been accosted by marzipan when I was a small child, thank you for asking. Those syrup-oozing “strawberries” fooled me one too many times. I … Continue reading

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Greasy food revisited: Baked Eggs

This is the kind of thing you cook when it’s still cold out, darnit, and spring should have been here weeks ago, and coffee isn’t doing the job, and you want something solid in your stomach. It’s very, very solid. … Continue reading

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Whiskey-cherry brownies: the first one’s free

When I go to a conference or a doctor’s office or a small gathering of drunk authors, I bring these brownies in those tiny plastic “snack” boxes from the dollar store. This recipe makes about six pounds of brownies. They’re … Continue reading

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Scrapple: the white trash polenta with benefits

Scrapple is classic white-trash breakfast food, best served fried in bacon grease with honey or maple syrup on top. For more authenticity, top with sorghum molasses. You can get a debased version without the pork at places like Bob Evans or … Continue reading

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Reese’s Outrageous! Pieces bar

I love peanut butter, I love chocolate, I love caramel. And I really dig Reese’s Pieces. But Outrageous is less the sum of its parts. And that’s a real shame. The bar has a nice weight to it, and the … Continue reading

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Lindt Excellence Intense Orange Dark

Lindt chocolates have a long and illustrious history: David Sprüngli-Schwarz and his son, Rudolf Sprüngli-Ammann began manufacturing chocolates in Zurich in 1845. Rodolphe Lindt, one of the foremost chocolatiers of the time, in 1879 developed a method of making chocolates … Continue reading

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Thick Thai-style seafood chowder for a cold day

Somehow the middle of a polar vortex seems exactly the moment to cook up a pan of seafood chowder full of tropical Asian flavors: ginger, curry, lime, garlic, and cilantro. It’s like putting the promise of Spring into your mouth. This … Continue reading

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Quick ‘n’ dirty crab ‘n’ corn soup: a tump recipe

*tump: [white trash] 1: v open a bunch of cans and boxes and tump ‘em together 2: adj quick and dirty, quantities and proportions flexible 3: warning, don’t tell your doctor you’re eating this I got this recipe from Greg … Continue reading

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Stay warm stew with south-of-the-border heat

My supermercado, Rogers Park Fruit Market, is a continual inspiration to me. I was in there Wednesday getting the usual stuff and as usual browsing the yummy things I can’t have (fresh fruit, Jamaican meat patties, locally-made rum-raisin ice cream … Continue reading

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Chipotle-garlic potatoes to warm your heart

I ate this dish first in a restaurant in Miller, Indiana, a tiny town nestled inside the Indiana Dunes State Park. I was visiting an old, old friend whose mother had recently passed. We were engaged in clearing out the … Continue reading

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Hot peppers and smoked oysters

Early in my marriage, wok cooking became fashionable. Everyone owned huge arrays of dried peppers and seaweeds, chili oils, rice wines, vinegars, light, dark and mushroom soy, regular garlic and elephant garlic, five kinds of dried mushrooms, white and green … Continue reading

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Gino’s East Classic Sausage Patty Frozen Pizza

Once upon a time, late in my college career and for some time therafter, one of the places we used to go for a good, relatively inexpensive meal was a restaurant called Gino’s, on Rush Street on Chicago’s Near North … Continue reading

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Heavy Seas Brewery’s Blackbeard’s Breakfast Salted Caramel Porter

I’m not one of the cool kids. I typically can’t handle bourbon-barrel aged brews. Too much like actual liquor; if I wanted a shot of booze, I’d grab tequila or vodka. When I want a beer, I want a beer, … Continue reading

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Trader Joe’s Sipping Chocolate and Ghirardelli’s Dark Twilight Delight and Peppermint Bark

I’d never had sipping chocolate before trying this tin from Trader Joe’s. To my ears, even the name —‘sipping chocolate’– sounded amusing and a bit decadent. It’s nothing like the chocolate drinks most Americans like me grew up with— it’s … Continue reading

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Oskar Blues Brewery’s Death By Coconut Irish Style Porter

Oskar Blues is a brewery that can’t do wrong in my eyes, ever since I stumbled upon their Old Chub Scotch Ale. So I’d been dying to try their seasonal coconut extravaganza for quite some time. And Death is right … Continue reading

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Black-eyed peas and ham hocks

Long ago and far away in one of the grimier neighborhoods of New Haven, Connecticut there was a food co-op, the New Haven Food Co-op. This was a true co-op, a hippy-dippy affair with meetings and volunteerism and guys with … Continue reading

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