Saturday, November 23, 2013

.FOOrD BLOrG. Tea'd Off.

"I pitty the fool with a rude unbrewed attitude."
~Mr. Tea

Ugh. Stress, am I right? I mean who needs it? (A lot of people actually, but I hate it.) For the most part I live a pretty laid back life. I mean I do things and get things done, but I am not about the drama and I don't really see a need in getting all bent out of shape over things that will turn out one way or another. Look, you have a deadline, you have a lot of work to do to meet it. Why not try to have as much fun as possible while you do so? Why be all negative and stressed the whole time? Although even with all that being said, stress will still worm its way into us. When it does, we all have different ways to cope. 

Some people turn to the bottle. The old booze. The genie in a bottle (nobody says that). Some people work out (those people stress me out.) Some people knit (I am guessing). Some people read equestrian spy novels (I am really guessing). Some people take baths and some people smoke weed (The weed people probably also invented the equestrian spy novel genre). My point is that we all need a way to soothe ourselves when the going gets rough and today our snacks are focused on one of those ways. 

A nice cup of tea.

So take a seat and cozy up to the screen and lets get this par-tea started! (If you already groaned at that, you'd be best off not finishing reading this.) Oh I almost forgot, today's 1-5 scale is brought to you by methods to calm ones self or to find tranquili-TEA!!!! (I warned you.) In case you didn't know I am pretty much a guru of stress reduction. So you will no doubt marvel at my vast knowledge in the field. I know, lucky you! I mean all of this helpful information is free even! Please, enjoy.


Our first snack comes from the fine folks at Sugarfina. They are a company where you can order a variety of candies and treats. Most of them are packaged in cute little boxes, and when I ordered they included little packets of some other snacks to try. This is one of those snacks. Matcha Green Tea Caramels. I know. Sounds cray cray! (Is anyone still saying that? Yes. Oh good. Wait, is anyone cool still saying it? No? They never were? Oh man. Can't we all just get oolong?)

I know that photo is a bit blurry but compare the two pics. They are of the same candy but why is one yellow and one green? How weird is that? (Probably some sort of scientific explanation steeped in mystery....Steeped. Get it? Ok. Moving on.)

S- Well, it tastes like old tea. Oh man. It tastes like cheap-old green tea. Like dollar store tea. This is too bad bc I like the company and I give them a style point for the packaging but ultimately I give this a 1 out of 5.

d- It smells like maple syrup. No, it smells like a scratch n sniff sticker that was scented to smell like maple syrup a long time ago. Now that it is in my mouth it is somehow both gritty and waxy. The caramel seems cheap as well.  Perhaps I am not familiar with green tea. Is it normally like sand in maple syrup? (Like cheap sand. Not the good kind of sand. You know, like dollar store sand.) I am completely serious when I tell you that this tastes nas-TEA! (Are you really still reading this?) I give this snack a 1- Deep breathing. If you want to make it sound tougher (or nerdier) you can call it "dragon breaths." When the stress hits the fan just take some slow deep breaths in thru your nose and out thru your mouth. Try not to randomly pee yourself as having pee pants will likely stress you out further. Also focus on anything except the sheer amount of germs and ghost poots that you are probably huffing at that moment because it can be distracting and counter productive. I also once heard of a person who's guts just fell out from being too relaxed...So don't do that. -out of 5.

Second we have a Smith Tea Smoked Chai Caramel. I know. Way more cray....z. (Crazy) than the last caramel! This treat comes from Quin here in Portland. Quin offers a variety of hand made candies and can be found online at or in fine shops abound. There isn't much in the way of elaborate packaging here. Which is nice because I don't have to worry about a smoke screen to distract me from what the confection is. Simplicity often puts me at ease. Nothing sends up more snack red flags than packaging boasting all kinds of things and making all sorts of promises. Think of those old time snake oil salesmen. Big banners everywhere trying to convince you to buy their product. I find most often that the best treats just say what they are and that is all they need. Now let's try it.

S- I love that this is actual tea. All to often things have a fake tea flavor. I also really like the texture of Quin's caramels. I have had many of their flavors and the quality of the caramel is always satisfying. I give this a 4 out of 5.

d- The first thing that strikes me is the rich flavor of the caramel. Second I notice that it has a very luxurious mouth feel. (Like I would imagine eating an angel's perm would feel.) None of the candy is sticking to my teeth at all. The tea component comes on almost as a second stage of deliciousness and even then it isn't super assertive. The tea element lingers on the palette not unlike after you take a drink of real tea and the aromatic elements ghost ride your tongue a bit.  Quite nice. I give it a 4- Pressure points. My friend Daniel once showed me a spot that you could pinch in your hand that would make your headache go away. I know. Cra...Insane. Turns out there is like a ton of these spots all over your body. One of them, you put one hand on your third eye (that is between your other two eyes.) (*The real ones.) and the other on your collar bone and take deep breaths (Remember my previous warnings about the breaths though...) There is also a point on your hand that you can pinch but it is really close to the anti-constipation pressure point called "opening the river" or something to that effect. So maybe watch out there. -out of 5.

This is an interesting one. It was a gift from our dear friend JC. (Not to be confused with often bearded JC. Our friend JC doesn't have a beard but still often preforms miracles. Delicious miracles.) We have four flavors of this so you will probably see the others later on. This treat hails from yume Asian confections. It is called Sea Glass Jelly Candy. (Yeah, I don't know either. I had no idea this existed until she gave it to us. That is like just finding out that a unicorn is real and then being offered unicorn sashimi.) (*Side note: Pretty sure unicorn sashimi has the same texture as permed angel hair as well.) The flavor is Burgamot. Now I know that Burgamot is an orange type fruit but our frame of reference for burgamot is most often in tea. So that is why it is in our tea pot. Post, I meant post.

Here we can see the ingredients: (you can't really but I will list them for you.) water, sugar, agar, and essential oils. Simple enough. The really interesting part here is that it also  has a "Consume or freeze by" on the label band. I mean it looks like your average rock candy so what could go bad? Lets further investigate.

I do have to say that this is one of the most beautiful confections that I have had the pleasure of reviewing. I mean it looks like broken glass.

S- Well, first of all it has a really cool texture. It is also really interesting, fun, and pretty. The flavor is great. It is crunchy on the outside and soft inside. I give this a 5 out of 5.

d- Either it smells like plastic or I am imagining that based on the appearance or from the packaging. The mouth feel is as I expected. It is like a hard candy or a sugar crystal. Oh wait! It just broke. It has like a light shell on the outside! Then inside it is a light jelly. I have never had anything like this. Wow was I wrong about this. I have to try another piece because I was so distracted by the shape and density that I missed the flavor. I have to say that the flavor is a tad tea like. Not overtly citrusy. This is amazing stuff. I give it a 5- Be positive! When you encounter a person who is frustrating you and in doing so is causing you stress just say this to yourself "They are doing the best that they can." The fact is, most people aren't out to get you. People aren't making mistakes to mess with you on purpose. In reali-TEA they are doing the very best that they can but to error is human and most humans are positively stupid.  -out of 5.

Our final tea snack is from Klein's. Here we have a Sugar Free Earl Grey hard candy. Think tiny lozenges. Yeah, you got it.

Upon opening the box there is a scent not unlike opening a jar of Lipton's Iced Tea mix. This is a nostalgic smell for me as my mother always had that around the house when I was a wee tot. Lets see how it tastes:

S- I like the beginning. However after awhile it tastes like when you leave your tea bag in your cup and it gets bitter. I give it a 2 out of 5.

d- Oh snap. This has a REALLY strong tea flavor. ( "Hello! Is it TEA you're looking for? -Lionel RichTEA). The candy is about the size of a cherry Runts. (I wish it was a cherry Runts.) It is surprisingly not sweet which is nice. Except the candy is so concentrated that it transitions from tea to soapy tea really quickly. It is like if you were a kid and drinking tea and said "F*CK THIS TEA IS STRONG!" and your guardian promptly washed your mouth out with soap. I give it a 2- The Badger of Sereni-TEA. Imagine the cute tiny hands of the Badger of Serenity are cradling your heart. Its claws are not slashing your innards to ribbons (as they could so easily do) but are instead ever so gently warming your heart. The Badger of Serenity's fang filled mouth is gracefully nestled at your throat. Its jaws are not crushing your larynx though, as would be a non-Badger of Serenity's nature. Instead the Badger of Serenity is purring. A soothing purr sound not to be confused with the aggressive coarse sound the average badger would make as it sloppily guzzled your blood that would spill forth from your viciously severed arteries as the average badger made what can only be described as a breeding den of your eviscerated lung cavity. No. The Badger of Serenity means you no harm. As long as no ordinary badgers have followed the Badger of Serenity here, you will be fine. -out of 5.

Hopefully you enjoyed our little chat, I know I did. I would like to think we all learned a little about ourselves. I learned that I am possibly the worst stress reduction guru. (OR THE BEST!) See you next time.

Tea-U l8tr!

P.S. You might notice that I took the high road here and did not make one tea bag joke. Yeah, some of us are really growing up. I decided not to get too dir-TEA! Awe yea! One more!!! (#SorryNotSorry)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

.FOOrD BLOrG. Grape Expectations.

Ah, expectations. We all have them. It is like when Ernest was in those commercials in the 80s and then somebody decided to make a full length Ernest movie. We all expected it would be SO good. You didn't? Well, my friend Aaron and I did. We went the first week, if not opening day. We loved it. However, we also each had a tiny squirt gun and spent most of the movie scampering about the theater while the only other person (a full grown man of weight) chortled from the darkness. I bet you didn't expect that I would be telling you about Ernest Goes To Camp in a snack blog. Yet here we are. 

Our favorite part of that cinematic tour DE force was when the turtles parachute and one says "I am scared Sarge!" and another turtle replies "We are all scared son!" That scene is about as long as a commercial. Aaron and I filled the downtime of the movie by amusing ourselves. Somehow all of these elements of the environment, the weird guy who didn't have any kids but was at a kids movie (red flag),  and the film itself, all became one thing. One thing that we thought was great. We got what we expected, for brief moments, like the commercials that the movie was based on. Our expectations were satiated. It was a great time to be a kid. Know what I mean?

Today we are talking about one flavor. Yes, for the first time in this odd little blogs history, we aren't talking about a type of snack but a single flavor. Grape. Now these snacks were not pretested or compiled. They were merely part of the treasure chest of acquired snacks and S said "These are all grape flavored. Why not do a grape post?" Brilliant. 

Today's 1-5 scale is brought to you by childhood expectations of the future.

Alright. So this snack is not a rare one. Hi-Chew is easy to find these days. Even some 7-11's carry  Hi-Chew flavors. However, it is a good place to start when talking about grape flavored candy. I have yet to have a Hi-Chew that I didn't like. Do you remember Bonkers? They had a commercial where a lady would eat a candy and a giant fruit would crash through the ceiling and land on her. No? Well they looked just like Hi-Chew. One color on the outside and another on the inside. I am not sure what purpose this serves. I suppose it is purely aesthetic. Like tribal tattoos on dudes or tramp stamps on....women of the night. (I always thought that the best tramp stamp would be a belly button. People would be so confused.)

Upon opening the outer wrapper you can really smell a pungent aroma of grape. Do you remember grape Hubba Bubba? It is like that. If you don't remember Hubba Bubba then try remembering grape Bubble Tape. No? Do you recall commercials telling you the dangers of inhalants because that stuff can severely mess up your brain and memory. (hint hint)

S- This is really grape. I like the two colors. This is fun. I don't care for the waxy white paper though. I give it a 4 out of 5.

d- Yep. I like Hi-Chew. They always have good flavor. This has a nice chew not unlike a taffy. It's great. I give it a 4.5- flying cars. People always expect that the future will bring flying cars. Sorry people but flying cars aren't going to Why? Think about it. What killed the electric car? Gas companies. (I am pretty sure. I never saw the documentary. I think we already know what types of movies I have been watching and they are not in the same wheelhouse as environmental documentaries. Unless there is one called Earnest Saves The Electric Car.) So with the flying car you have to think about those huge tire companies. Flying cars don't use tires. Everyone knows that they hover and then fly around. Tire companies control more than what you know, man. What is the number one cereal? Cheerios. What are Cheerios shaped like? Tires. What is the most common shape for a child to learn first? Circle. What is a circle? A tire.  Most clocks are round. What else is round? Tires. Most clocks are tires. You get it. (After I post this blog, should I go

When creating a brand it is important to clearly communicate what your product is to the consumers. So here we have Grape Candy which is a grape....candy. Huh. Well done. We can also see that it is "A fresh and tasty grape." Not to be confused with a similar product that was aiming for "an old and nasty grape." Those are just raisins. (Raisins are not that grape. See what I did there?) What you can't quite make out from the photo is that it says "Grape in love. Have a sweet flavor."

Now either something is lost in translation here or this is the best way to start and end every conversation.

There is also an odd drawing on the bottom of the bag that says "Save the Children." Next to that there is an illustration of one kid doing a handstand and another drinking.  I am not sure how much sweet flavor these children are having but they are clearly too grape in love and need to be saved. I can't read any of the details so all I know is that there are children somewhere and they need assistance. Lets look on the back of the bag.

Well this isn't any help. Unless the bag is telling me that these expired a year ago. Is that what it says in the far right corner? No, my right. Yeah, there. I don't know either. Lets just open it up.

Well the candy just looks like a hard candy. There are like 40 candies in here which isn't usually the best sign. Lets see how it tastes.

S- Hmmm. Well, I wouldn't say this is anything special. There is a mild grape flavor. Not really anything to talk about here. I guess it gets a 3 out of 5. It is what it says, just a "grape candy."

d- This is just an average grape candy. Usually I love anything grape but this is less interesting than a Jolly Rancher. There needs to be some acidity or something and the longer I eat it the more chemical the taste becomes. I don't really care for this. I mean it isn't the worst. (Bacon Tabs were the worst. Go read that post. Trust me.) I give this snack a 2- Mohawks and shoulder pads. One of my favorite film genres (I like to call ) Future-past movies. These films (made in the late 1960s-80s) usually take place after a nuclear situation has ruined civilization and they are set in the future. Like the year 1999!!! There is always a dude (or twenty) with intricate hair like a Mohawk that is one side neon pink and the other jet black, and no shirt. In place of a shirt, football shoulder pads. You know, because if you are going to ride through the dessert (oh, the whole world is a dessert by the way) on a motorcycle made mostly of chainsaws with a ridiculous weapon like a wrist crossbow (Why would you need a good weapon? Did you forget about your chainsaw motorcycle?) you only need to protect your shoulders. I mean you wouldn't want to mess up your mohawk. (Notice only one mode of transportation exists in this future. Tires.)-out of 5.

Alright, so next we have E-ma. This is our third grape snack and it also hails from Japan. I will get to what this is all about but first look at that guy. What is his deal? You know what is weird is that his head looks like how I remember that guy in the audience when Aaron and I saw Ernest Goes To Camp. That is good news, he got healthy and learned a second language. I didn't expect that to happen.

So this snack is made of layers of real fruit juice and it has a layer of xylitol gum and the center is vitamin C. Whoa.

Ok. The smell here is super grapey.

S-Wow. It is making me salivate! Was I supposed to chew it? This is really interesting.

d- After a second it has a great acidic sour grape flavor. Then moments later that fades and then a different almost deeper flavor happens. I chewed it. I am confused.

S-(second tasting) I get a lot of grape flavor and then my mouth tingles. Then I get sour notes. There are waves of different experiences. The Japanese really know what they are doing. I love this. 5 out of 5.

d-(second tasting) I agree.

I give this snack a 5-Pills. The futuristic expectation that we won't need to eat anything anymore. That all of our nutrients will come in the form of a pill. Remember The Jetsons? They ate pills all the time. Sadly this isn't true still. Why you ask? Where does food come from? A farm. What is on a farm? A tractor. What is on a tractor? Tires. Yeah. This runs deep. Tires, bro. Tires.-out of 5.

Next up is Candemina! This snack also comes from Japan which begs the question:

What is this guy doing here? I mean I can see that he is vigorously playing the maracas but why? This gummy isn't trying to be a traditional Hispanic candy. (If you read this blog then you know how I feel about most of those. El sad face.) The name certainly doesn't translate into "maraca man." Maybe the candy looks like maracas.

Nope. It sure looks delicious though. (At this point you may have noticed that the photos lately look so much better. Well, S has taken over in the picture dept. and now everything looks rad. Thanks S.) Again the aroma when opening the bag (which is resealable) it says "Hey, maybe savor this. Don't be such a pig. I mean you can but now you have the option.") is really pungently grape.

S- This smells awesome. It has a lot of texture as you chew it. This candy also has a very fun shape. This might be the best grape flavor yet. 5 out of 5 even though the Spanish looking Asian man is quite confusing.

d-I had to chew it 8 times before my teeth pierced it. This has awesome flavor and a great chew. One of the top gummy candies I have ever eaten. (Not quite as high as the Pure gummy candies but close.) I give this snack a 5- Hairstyle. As a kid I always assumed that as an adult I would have the coolest hair though as of late it has become quite boring. Looking over pics of me in the last 15 years one might assume that I was either heavily into anime or a lady heavily into ladies. I am neither but that is the tricky thing about expectations. You should never build expectations off how something looks or you could be mislead by a faux hawk or a possibly Asian and or Hispanic maraca playing man.-out of 5.

This is not a sex toy.

Please look at that diagram and let me say again, this is not a sex toy.

Our last snack is the Pucho variety gummy snack. This comes in a three pack. (So you will see this in the future in a different flavor. Unless I just eat them because it is delicious.) This flavor is grape and yogurt. I am pretty sure. Not 100 percent sure, but pretty sure. Now I have no idea why this candy is shaped in this rigged tube or what that diagram is supposed to mean. I thought maybe it was saying you could invert the lid and it would pop up. You know, like those toy discs? However, it has been 4 minutes and it is just sitting there upside down. I feel bad because look at that cute little face. I just messed that dude up. (I am pretty tough.)

When I opened the tube I can smell grape-like aromas but there is also something else. Possibly the yogurt flavor.

S-Um. I don't know. This is difficult to say. I guess that the purple one might be grape. It kinda tastes like grape. I think the clear one tastes like vitamin C. I am not impressed and it isn't grape enough. I give it a 2-out of 5. In part due to the fact that you called it a butt plug.

d- I did say that. The purple is chewy and about as grape as a generic fruit snack. The clear one is not yogurt unless you tell somebody that they are eating a yogurt flavored candy while they eat it. Even then it isn't very convincing. I give it a 2- Careers. As a child I expected that by the time I reached my 30's, that despite having no musical talent or a singing voice, I would be a famous musician. Which would mean that people I don't know would look at me. That is a total nightmare and the opposite of what would make me happy. Instead I am eating candy and making jokes on the Internet in hopes it makes you smile. At least a little bit.-out of 5.

So far the future might not be what you expected but it is pretty grape in love.

Have a sweet flavor.