Category Archives: Food and Drink

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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Whisky-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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Carletti’s Jakobsen Coffee Time chocolate collection

Danish chocolates? Don’t mind if I do!  Especially when the package itself gives me a great excuse to indulge. Coffee time? Yes please! And while these chocolates  would go great with coffee, I had mine with a stout, and then … Continue reading

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DeLallo Flat Fillets of Anchovies

I don’t like pineapple on pizza. I think it’s an abomination, and a waste of perfectly good pineapple. But what do I know, I like anchovies. So for part of my Feast of the Seven Fishes, here comes some ‘chovie … Continue reading

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Specially Selected Cold Smoked Salmon Deli Sliced

Smoked salmon seems to be a mainstay around here, especially during the holiday season. But while it’s a great treat, it often becomes cost prohibitive to really get your salmon on. Cue Aldi! Farm raised in Chile, their smoked salmon … Continue reading

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Specially Selected’s Cajun Flavored Hot Smoked Salmon

Hot smoked salmon? I’ve never heard of this. Or maybe it’s just that I tend to focus on the better known cold smoked salmon that typically graces bagels and brunch plates. But hot smoked is just that; a piece of … Continue reading

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Smashmallow’s Cinnamon Churro marshmallows

‘Tis the season for warm festive beverages! And for all the things to top ’em. Nutmeg for nog, a cinnamon stick for mulled goodness, and for folk who partake of animal products (ex: gelatin), marshmallows for coffee and chocolate-centric libations. … Continue reading

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Bar Harbor All Natural Smoked Wild Kippers

Tis the season to be fishy! While Christmas is almost a month away, I love planning a Fest of the Seven Fishes. Yes, at this house that includes Goldfish crackers and Swedish Fish, but I won’t judge you if you … Continue reading

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better corn bread than ya muthah’s

A few years ago my husband entered a bake-off with the cast and crew of Motown: The Musical when it was showing at the Oriental Theater in Chicago. Bless him, he wanted to enter my corn bread. I said, “Hey, it’s … Continue reading

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TCHO: Three Chocolates

TCHO is an American chocolate maker (and they differentiate between “chocolate maker” and “chocoatier”) that is, according to their website, determined to make the best chocolate possible. Like so many others, they are focused on fair trade organic chocolate. While … Continue reading

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Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkin – Snack Size

Milk chocolate and peanut butter. What a great combination. Even I, a dark chocolate fan, can appreciate it. Especially the tangy salty bite of a Reese’s cup’s peanut butter. Reese’s makes their usual cups, but sometimes they shape them for … Continue reading

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Treat Street’s Zombie Hand Gummy Lollipop

Gummy candy feels like cheating. All the fun of candy, but without the fat and cholesterol of chocolate. That means I can eat more, right? For Treat Street’s gummy lollie, I think I’ll stick to one. Not because they’re not … Continue reading

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Jelly Belly’s The Original Gourmet Candy Corn

JB started as Goelitz candy back in the mid-1800s, but Jelly Bellys wouldn’t come around ’til 1976. And thank goodness; I don’t know how I’d get along without their Buttered Popcorn, Margarita (from their Cocktail Classics® line), Toasted Marshmallow and…well, … Continue reading

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Wonka’s Halloween Fright-Tins: Vampire, Mummy and Ghost

I love Wonka candies. Everlasting Gobstoppers, Fun Dip, Spree, Bottle Caps…they’re all the stuff my childhood summers were made of. And of course Nerds and SweeTarts, which tended to bleed over into Halloween, thank goodness. (I realize we can all … Continue reading

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