Monday, July 18, 2011

.fOOrD BLOrG. Small things may surprise you.

All my life I have been of small stature. This never bothered me. I never had a Napoleon complex or was one of those angry little men. This point of view is all I know since I wasn't small and grew tall or was tall and was shrank on accident by a device built by Rick Moranis. (Yet...) An interesting thing about size though is it can be deceiving. Something smaller can surprise you. For instance, Sarah and I were on a walk once-up some sketchy steps-thru a weird woods area and suddenly a squirrel blocked our path and refused to move. It was a stand off. You would think something smaller (although it had a big cranium) facing two people much larger would scurry away. (I would, I love to scurry.) But it stood its ground in a menacing way. Now we had traveled quite far up these steps but we were pondering going back down since we were faced with this curious situation. There is something off putting about a small fearless creature where you think "if it isn't scarred it MUST have a reason. A secret." Luckily it needed to be menacing elsewhere and it leaped up a tree and vanished into the foliage. Even though we couldn't see it, we knew it was there. Watching us like the predator watches Arnold Schwarzenegger only in squirrel vision not in heat vision.

So today we will discuss some small treats that accomplish big feats. Sort of, see I kind of liked the rhyme there....they really are just treats, you know?...Some with good surprises and some with maybe not so good surprises.
Oh snap, is that a gummy from Japan? HELLS YEAH IT IS!!! You already know how I feel about this treat don't you? Well you should. Japanese gummies are epically awesome! But how are these?

Pretty darn good. The texture is not too chewy and not too soft. The exterior is coated in a tangy sugar but not too much and not over powered in citric acid as the picture might imply or one might conclude from the lemon part of the description. What first resonates on your palate is lemon but it isn't super intense and after a few chews you get the cola flavor. A pretty rad ride through flavor country if you ask me. It delivers on its promise.

The downside is that they come all the way from Japan. You cannot find them in the states and they are about 2 dollars. Now that isn't a ton of money unless you have to pay 18 dollars shipping and there are only about 12 gummies in the bag. Overall I give this snack a 4.5-I always have leg room in cars and on planes out of 5.
WHAT???? Another Japanese gummy???? APPLE GINGER ALE? Is it my birthday????? (Answer to the last question: No, but it is soon. So go return some bottles and buy me a present. I know this is a recession so don't feel obligated to buy me a champagne jacuzzi or a diamond encrusted speedo. Hmm, I don't like the word "crusted" next to the word "speedo".)

Ok, so you know this is good.... but how good? How about THE BEST!!! Yes, this is the best gummy I have ever eaten. For my palate. I like earthy flavors, herby flavors, metallic cocktails, and things more sour than sweet. Now this isn't sour. But what it is-is unbelievable. Here is a closer look.
Awe, it is so cute and tiny. BUT the flavor within is enormous. First you get the apple. Almost like a light perfume of fresh apple just dances across your tastebuds. Then you get a hint of ginger ale which grows and deepens on your tongue as if the ginger is really growing in your mouth. Real ginger flavor. Not powdered ginger or candied ginger. This is like a real deal ginger soda. It is the best marriage of fruit and ginger on the planet. THIS IS WORTH 20 DOLLARS! Luckily if you buy it for 2 and a bunch of other stuff then the shipping kinda evens out. I give this snack a 10-I fit inside most boxes-out of five.
Chowards? Who let you back in here? Didn't we already discuss two of your friends? Yes we did. And they weren't the best discussions if I recall. Ok well, lets open you up and see what's happening.
Oh, well that is pretty cute. Sarah bought these for me which is super nice. Violet huh? Well, I will just put this candy in my mouth and....oh. Oh no. ugh. I....made....a......mistake! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! It is horrid!!!! Blech!!!!
It tastes like my mouth is the air filter at an octogenarian tea party!!! (For those who don't know, an octogenarian is someone between the age of 80 and 85.) It is stale and perfumee in the worst of ways. (I know perfumee is not a word.) Remember when I described something as " licking a sweaty wig"? This has some of that too. Not good. Very much so not good! This is like somebody gave you an organic soap and you wash your face with it and it gets in your mouth. Snacks shouldn't have the flavor experience of accidentally consumed household items. I give this snack a 1-why do I have to buy jeans sized for a husky 12 year old-out of five.
Oh come on! From Chowards to a candy from Mexico??? What, did my mouth lose a bet? Can I go back to the Japanese gummies please? Gosh darn it! There I said it. Now my good pal and bro in law Dave bought these for me. What a kind guy....or an evil mofo. These hard candies are called Chili Rokas. I think he got these in Seattle when he was touring doing cage fights. I am pretty sure I am recalling that correctly. (He doesn't fight cage fights...that is rule number one but if this doesn't go well I might enter him in one.) Lets take a closer look-
Huh, individually wrapped hard candies in four different flavors. That is different. 65 individually wrapped fruit flavored candies called chili rokas. That is allot of chili rokas. To be honest I would rather have 65 apple ginger ale gummies but lets just see how this goes.

I chose to sample the Pineapple flavor. Upon unwrapping the candy I first noticed that it had a beautiful yellow sheen to it. Not the usual chili dusted sweat candies I have been accustomed to from Mexico. Feeling ok at this point I put the round yellow candy in my mouth and was surprised to find no salty taste just a rather pleasant pineapple candy flavor. No not a fresh pineapple candy flavor but a candy pineapple flavor. Like one would expect to taste if they hadn't been burned by crappy mexican candy before.

Here is the problem with me and hard candy, after about a minute I just want to chew it up and move on. I don't have time to sit around slowly eroding a butterscotch with my tongue. What do you think I am an octogenarian? So after a minute I bit down on my pineapple friend who was bridging the ill blood I have with mexican sweets when I was instantly bamboozeled. Or maybe I was hornswogled. Well, either way it was massively unpleasant! In the center of this hard candy there is a lurking evil made up off chili powder and salt. Yeah, it is like your tongue got punked and then your whole mouth and then your whole day. Sure, maybe they designed it to slowly leak out like the fun fizzy center of Zotz. Only this is not Zotz nor is it fun. It hits you like somebody dumps chili powder in your mouth and sprays sweat into your mouth from a super soaker. (Now why that person would do that let alone have the time to fill a super soaker with sweat is beyond me but if you are hanging out with that person, you have made some questionable decisions.) Long gone was the fruity pineapple candy friend I had just met. They had died a terrible death and their guts were rotten and clinging to every inch of my mouth. I spit with all my might!!! I do believe my salivary glands were dry heaving in an attempt to cleanse the soiled wasteland that had become my mouth. Alas there was to be no comfort found. No knight in apple ginger ale gummy armor would ride in and rescue the now destitute and downtrodden king that was once my tongue. His kingdom had fallen. Pestulance had taken hold and poisoned his domain until all life had withered and taken leave.

It was a dark time, indeed. But as often what happens in the most dire of times there was to be a hero. For there was one, last, beacon of hope. Who was present to rise up against the dastardly chili rokka. Who was it??? You will have to read about it-NEXT TIME!!!!!!

~cliff hanger~oooooooh ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Oh, and I give this snack a 1- thirty something man who needs a stool to reach most things in the kitchen-out of 5.

Monday, July 11, 2011

.FOOrD BLOrG. Beat the heat (to death and eat its face meats!!!!)

Is the title too intense? I can't tell. This time of year it tends to get hotter and that entails some tricks to help me cope with a rise in my internal temperature. If that help doesn't arrive on time I may react a tad on the extreme side of things and I may seem like I am melting and/or dying. At that point I may demand retribution. (which is confusing for most around me at the time.) I know I have warned you all of this before but in an effort to better flesh out the resistance tactics against the evil sun, here are some other ways to beat the heat....or not.

The first style of defense is BEER!!!
You might be thinking I picked this because of the label. Ok I did. I can't help it! It is in my goth/industrial blood that I am drawn to boneyards and decay. You say tomato and I say grim reaper, I can't shake it so why not embrace it.?. Really this label looks more like an Enigma album cover than a good goth record but whatever. You can see in the bottom of the picture that the alcohol content is 11.5. Normally I really dislike anything over 7 or so but this was delicious!

It is not too dark but it is plenty complex. I had a picture of the side label but it was far too blurry to include. It did have a ton of information about berry notes, chocolate, etc... A long list.
I couldn't make out any individually but the flavor was far more sophisticated than most darker ales I have had. Being that I don't drink a bunch of dark beers, I couldn't finish it. The richness and weight ultimately was too much for me. If it was a really hot day I don't think this would be refreshing unless you were about to lay down in a hammock and take a nap. I give this beer a 3 why do hipsters make shorts out of dress pants and wear deck shoes, out of 5. Next!!!
This peculiar little guy was found at my local asian mart that I gladly shop at rather than our extra methy Plaid Pantry. Seriously that Plaid is terrifying. So there I was staring at the beer selection when I saw something new.?. That is weird because he has had the same options forever. This intrigued me and I couldn't stop coming back to it so I picked up a six pack. Yes, you could only buy a six pack. A gamble to say the least on a blueberry beer.

The flavor is pleasant. It isn't light which helps it to not taste like a wine cooler or a fourloko. You taste the lager first, I'd say amber maybe?, then you taste the blueberry but it isn't super crazy or too sweet. Overall, a really descent fruit beer and yes I did finish it and the other five. On separate nights though. One is fine but more could result in less than favorable results. I give this beer a 4 stretch pants are not to be worn as pants, out of five. Next up: Heat!
It is a strange concept but one way that people around the world beat the heat is by consuming spicy foods which makes the body sweat and cools it down. Yeah, I didn't make it up. That is what they are doing. These little snack rings are Habanero flavored chips from Japan. My favorite was their ghost chili rings but they discontinued them. (Sarah and I have a suspicion that anytime we like something it gets discontinued or destroyed. Recently both of our favorite restaurants have gone that way.)

Now if something says Habanero on it, it needs to bring the heat. I love habaneros! They are hot but have citrus notes. Mmmmmmm two of my favorite things. Sadly these chips have neither. I mean, really the flavor could be just spice. The heat factor was really nonexistent. What? Ok, that sh*t might fly with a chip marked hot or spicy but this snack has an army of freaking peppers on it and they look EVIL! PSTSHHHHH! This bag should have a picture of butterflies and kittens holding hands and kissing your tongue because that is more what it tastes like. (Note: that has never happened to me. It is just sunny and I warned you about the over dramatizing things.) I give this "hot" snack a 1 shorts that short are actually just panties, out of five.
Sarah got me these while she was in SF (best wife eva!) but I imagine you could find a similar item in a mexican grocer. (in their store not in the actual grocer. ewe....) They are HABANERO peanuts!!!!!!
Just look at that peanut! He is either in the middle of singing like a song about how weird it is to have arms and legs but not a body or his mouth is super hot from eating spicy peanuts....either way that is odd right??? I mean, he is a spicy peanut. Huh....

Well, no. This snack is even more of a letdown. How could it be such a letdown? Well not only is it not spicy but when you pour them into your hands, they look like they are covered in hot powder. Only when you put them in your mouth they just taste like lemons. Yeah, friggin lemons! You know what you never see in the peanut butter section of your supermarket? Peanut lemon butter. BECAUSE IT S-U-C-K-S!!!! Seriously, who are these people and what is wrong with their mouths??? Buying these and then tasting them is like joining columbia music house for a penny and then realizing 14 cds for 1 cent isn't a deal when those 14 cds are mostly Richard Marx and Jodeci cds. I give these sour nuts a 1 so glad I get to see so many sun bleached prison tats in my neighborhood out of 5.

Which brings me to my best idea to beat the heat. It is a mutant child of two of my favorite things:
Yes, the sodastream is awesome. If you drink carbonated water, you need this. It is under a hundred bucks and we have already saved that between the two of us. AND-
Cold extract coffee!! Basically you take a pound of coffee put it in a things with ten cups of water and let it brew in the fridge for 12 hours. Then run it thru a filter into this carafe. It creates a coffee concentrate that is both robust and non-acidic. I love this stuff.

Now think of this drink like this: You know in the remake of The Fly when Jeff Goldblum and the fly go into the teleporter and then they come out fused??
KABOOOOM!!!! I give you sparkling iced coffee!!! Simply prepare your sodastream liquid and add it to a glass of your cold extract coffee. The ratio is one third extract to 2/3rds sparkling water. Yummm! I give this drink a 5 bad songs playing loud out of cars with their windows rolled down out of 5.

So there you go, good luck out there. Remember to wear your sunscreen and non-opened toed shoes. Come on! Really? ugh.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

.FOOrD BLOrG. chews-your own adventure. Part 2: Electric Chewaloo

Yes, you read that correctly this is the second post inspired by choose your own adventure novels. I enjoyed composing the last one so much that I decided to do another. (It also happens that I had consumed three chewy treats and therefor need not think of a new premise or angle for this blog post....very sneaky.) So if you missed the last epic post, fret not for this is not a continuation. This is a whole new adventure:


It was dusk and mist ebbed between the trees of Dark Hallows forest. You are GLAGNAR a
well known and respected warrior who recently obtained a mystical item from an ogre who had
fell upon some hard times and had to sell some things to make ends meet. That same ogre had
also had a stroke and fell upon your blade giving the illusion that you had slain him. An illusion
you embraced since only you know that you have never done anything heroic or for anyone else.
Your entire life however has been a series of events that have always provided you with the
appearance of a hero.

Upon approaching a small brook you pause to wash off Glagnar's unmentionables and in doing so
accidentally unwrap the mystical item. It is the whispering staff from wandering peak. An enchanted
staff with the ability of speech. Created by a lonely bridge ogre who simply needed someone to talk to
while he spent his entire life on and under that bridge. You are overjoyed to have this item and leap
from the brook and begin twirling it about yourself. Again on accident, you smack the staff against
a rotten tree and as it topples over it crushes a sand troll which was chasing a tiny pixie with broken
wings. The pixie, overjoyed at the death of the evil sand troll reveals to you it's secret pixie treasure.
The pixie says that you may choose from three magic delights. One will grant you an amazing magic
power and the other 2 will royally f-you up. (That is the pixies words not mine...nasty pixies.)

The whispering staff says "choose none and proceed to town". If you choose the pixie's trial please read
on. If you choose to listen to your whispering staff than skip to the end of the post marked "town".
Our first snack is an oldie. Gummi fruit slices!!! Now I remember buying these as a kid from the Nutcracker which was a candy kiosk in Valley River Mall in Eugene Or. My parents would give me a dollar and I would spend 15 minutes agonizing over what to get. (although I usually went with gummy sour balls.) Now I am not sure if these are always stale or they are supposed to be this texture. They seem stale. In anycase their flavors don't change much wether you choose grapefruit, cherry, orange, strawberry or lime. Except lime sucks in any candy and orange is just boring. I mean who likes orange candy? Not I. Whenever I open a pack of candy (which is an exciting time, believe me) and see an orange it is like being excited to hold a kitten and it pees on you. Not cool. The grapefruit didn't really taste like anything and grapefruit is one of my favorite flavors of anything. For that crime alone I give this snack 2 dragon's rapping about dragon problems out of five.

The pixie urges you to eat the first choice. Your whispering staff says "choose none and proceed to town. Glagnar is in a bind. If you choose to listen to the pixie then proceed to the ending marked 'fruit slice'. If you choose to listen to your whispering staff then skip to the end of the post marked "town".
Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. That is a photo of Fanta flavored Hi-chew candy. Anyone who knows of Hi-chew candy knows that they are amazing. The flavors rarely disappoint. The grape in my opinion is one of those flavors that you can't stop eating until the pack is gone. I saw this on a website and I had to order it directly from Tokyo. Not even because I love Fanta. In fact, to be honest, I can't recall when I last had Fanta if ever. I simply couldn't get past the grape thing. I just saw 'new grape flavor hi-chew' and that was all I needed.

Well, it isn't amazing. I know. Bummer. It isn't bad but it just isn't stellar. I really expected to be wowed. One interesting thing with this taffy like chew is that there are tiny dark purple hard things in the chew. Not like super hard but more like enough to add a textural element. Either way it wasn't worth 2 bux and I won't even go into the shipping costs. I give this chew a 3 harpys singing 'the crying game' out of five.

The pixie really urges you to choose this snack but your whispering staff says "no way dude. I have a really bad feeling about this...proceed to town. oh and please don't hit me against trees."
If you choose to listen to the pixie then proceed to the ending marked 'fanta'. If you choose to listen to your whispering staff then skip to the end of the post marked 'town'.

Lastly we have a Grapefruit Hi-chew!!!!!!!!! (and the imaginary crowd in my mind goes wild !!!!!) Yea, remember what I said earlier about grapefruit? IT IS THE BEST! Well, this is grapefruit and from Japan. It. Is. Awesome. For some reason it is twice the size of the Fanta pack too. Which is fine by me because it is friggin' delicious!!! Seriously great. Talk about giving everything it promises perfectly. I have never seen this in a store Asian or otherwise. I would completely order this from Japan again. The only problem is I have to put it back into my candy droor before eating a piece or I would devour the whole pack. I give this snack 5 mages singing 'Don't stop believing" out of 5.

The pixie seems sure that this is the right one. Your whispering staff says "No way homie. Proceed to the next town. This pixie be trippin'.
If you choose to listen to the pixie then proceed to the ending marked 'fruit slice'. If you choose to listen to your whispering staff then skip to the end of the post marked 'Town."

Fruit slice- You place the gummy in your mouth and begin chewing. The pixie begins a deep and bass filled belly laugh. You die in an indescribable way...for anyone but the whispering staff who describes the entire ordeal in great detail constantly. In fact that is all it whispers about for the rest of time to anyone who obtains it. And it mentions your diminutive unmentionables constantly.

Fanta- You place the candy into your mouth and neck muscles begin to bulge at an alarming rate. You think you are expanding like the Hulk. (which you don't know what that is) Sadly the rest of your body doesn't follow suit and you must live out the rest of your days dragging your gigantic neck muscles around until they form huge fat rolls since you couldn't operate such huge neck muscles and they eventually suffocate you in your sleep. Which is totally not a cool thing to do.

Grapefruit- You place the candy into your mouth and smoke bellows from your nostrils. Lightning shoots from your eyes and fireballs form in your palms. Your feet turn to gold and everywhere you step you leave a paper thin gold foot print. You are like super attractive to all the right people now. Like as if Tom Selleck circa 1980 and Sean Connery circa 1970 had a baby with gold feet and fireball hands. Everybody says awesome things to you. For like ever. And you get loads of smooches from the babes.

Town- You leave the foolish pixie and travel on to the town. Unfortunately the town has been burned to the ground by a gang of whispering staffs. They see you have captured their brethren and they descend upon you. Beating themselves against your shins and knees and elbows and sometimes your chin. All the while whispering over the top of each other. You can't so much as distinguish a word that an individual staff is saying and that is quite frustrating. The beating goes on for hours as does the annoying whispering. Finally you can't hold onto your whispering staff any longer and they disappear in the surrounding woods. You collapse to the ground only to be found by gypsy cannibals. Who were coming to town to rob and eat everyone. They are quite perturbed that you burned all of their dinners. So they eat you up like you are a grapefruit hi-chew.

The end.