Food Critics Don’t Need To Be Anonymous

Get the best seats in the house and maybe even a complimentary drink or two when you walk into a restaurant with our “Restaurant Reviewer” or “Food Blogger” t-shirts and sweatshirts! Even if you aren’t an official food critic or have a food blog of your own, most restaurants know the power that word of mouth holds in this business, so give them a chance to show you how good they can be.

Each design is available on many different styles of t-shirts and sweatshirts (and bumper stickers and mugs as well) – just click on the sample t-shirt above to see the entire selection.

[Tags: , , , , ]

Spinach & Artichoke Chips

I was in the chip aisle last week searching among the plethora of MSG coated chips looking for something with genuine flavor. There were a few standard entries which I liked but was tired of, but then I noticed this bag of Spinach & Artichoke Chips by Jensen’s Orchard.

Spinach & Artichoke? I wondered, it made me think of some of the weird flavors that Jones Soda tries. I hoped that they wouldn’t end up being fancy dog biscuits and gave them a try.

The spinach flavor is quite pronounced, as pronounced as the green color of the chips themselves. The artichoke however often remains hidden, only peeking out once in a while. I wasn’t sure if I liked them for at least the first ten chips, until my taste buds became accustomed to the flavor. My brain needed to make a new category. This was not in the salty,BBQ, cheesy or spicy category, but a new deeper sort of flavor which I find unique among potato chips.

The ingredients were a refreshing surprise too. Spinach is actually the third ingredient, artichokes were further down, and spices like parsley and turmeric were listed as well.

Overall I would highly recommend them particularly if you are looking for something different or if you’re having company and want to add a new dimension to the same old fare.

[Tags: , , , , ]

Old Moon Zinfandel

We bought the bottle of Old Moon Zinfandel from Trader Joe’s – it was branded “Trader Moon”, so it was definitely one of their own. We poured two glasses of wine and let them sit for a number of minutes to let the flavors ready themselves to be tasted.

It was a pretty tasty zinfandel, great for the price, and went really well with the smoked gouda cheese we had with it! We also got to break in (figuratively speaking) our new wine glasses as now we have a set of four red and a set of four white wine glasses. Doing the whole ‘wine thing’ up properly now.

[Tags: , , , , ]

Safeway Organics Blood Orange Italian Soda

If you’re a fan of orange soda, but don’t like the fake orange, high-fructose corn syrup stuff, you’ll be needing to try Safeway Organics Blood Orange Italian Soda. It’s fantabulous! Really orangey, really tangy, and has great ingredients: carbonated water, organic blood orange juice from concentrate, organic sugar, citric acid, natural blood orange flavor, black carrot juice (for color, which is a little weird perhaps since the soda is like a pinky-orange color, not ORANGE-orange), and natural orange flavor. (Contains 12% juice) And you can honestly say it’s Italian because it’s imported from Italy – LOL.

So anyway, if you love orange soda, go pick up a four-pack of these beauties and revel in the flavor!!

[Tags: , , , , ]

Beam Me Up White Zinfandel

On his way home from work John often stops at the store for extra groceries, and sometimes shows up home with a little something extra. This time it was a bottle of “Beam Me Up” brand Zinfandel.

I know the ‘wine elite’ usually turn up their noses at white zinfandel, but 1.) sometimes you just want a mild, light wine experience and 2.) how could you NOT buy a wine with that wacky name? and 3.) look at the picture on the label! Look at it! LOL. (Those, of course, being the three things most wine professionals look for in a fine vintage.) Anyway, it was just the right wine for the evening – nice, easy, and tasty… and obviously appealing to the geeky target demographic.
[Tags: , , ]

Phil’s Frittata

When we go to Flap Jack’s Cafe we always leave filled to the gills with amazing food. And our last venture out was no exception, but since we’ve already done a few reviews of Flap Jack’s we thought we’d just post a photo of the humungous and delicious sausage and veggie frittata that John ordered, and almost completely finished – heh – complete with home fries and fresh orange slices.

Hungry yet?

[Tags: , , , , ]

Burgers at Scramblz

Scramblz Diner in Morgan Hill, CA is an interesting place. It used to be a Lyon’s restaurant that was bought by, I believe, an independent owner. The new owners gave the place a new look, as much as they could on a smaller budget – at least that’s my impression. They didn’t redo the mauve and seafoam green vinyl on the booths or the matching tiles on the walls near the kitchen, but they managed to overwhelm these subtle design elements with elements that make you completely forget the muted senior-focused diner it used to be. How? By hanging bicycles and airplanes from the ceiling, of course, as well as repeating a black and white checkerboard theme, and adding a ton of novelty items like oversized chess pieces. Oh, and they painted all the chairs electric yellow….

It’s a little overwhelming until you get used to it. A couple of great points about this place is 1. they serve RC (Royal Crown) cola, which is a nice change from either Coke or Pepsi. It’s still the kind with high-fructose corn syrup instead of cane sugar, but still. and 2. their basic burger and fries are excellent, and the least expensive we’ve found anywhere in the area (excluding fast food, but those burgers don’t really count). I think the Scramblz burger is at least 1/3 pound and looks like they made it in one of those burger presses as it’s a perfect hockey puck shape, but doesn’t seem like a pre-frozen patty. Quite filling too.

Another quirk that also adds a bit of rustic charm (and might also be less expensive) is the roll of paper towels on each table, but that might also have something to do with the barbequed items they sell. (And in the mid-afternoon the decor is loud, but the restaurant is pleasantly quiet – LOL.)

Another thing that sets this restaurant apart are the chickens – not on the menu, the ones that arrived one day and decided this was the place to be!

The waiter told us the story of the chickens last time we were there. The wife of the owner is apparently their champion and insisted on putting up a little protective wire fence and a few choice signs as well…

The chickens that showed up have now reproduced and there are little chickens running around now too. Every so often, as you bite into your burger, you hear a rooster crow and wonder if the sound is outside or inside (outside, of course), or part of some quirky sound ambiance being piped into the dining room. Amazingly, although the chickens are obvious once you know they’re there, they’re out of the way enough (usually) so that you can also miss them completely, if you don’t feel like watching free range chickens while you’re in the mood for chicken fingers. 😉

[Tags: , , , , ]

Five Hills Blue Merlot

Five Hills Blue Merlot, 2004, from organically grown grapes – a wine we recently purchased from Trader Joes and recently opened. The only problem is that it wasn’t recent enough to remember details about it, other then it was tasty, smooth, and we liked it. I can’t say that I think the organic grapes TASTED much different from non-organically grown wine, but organic grapes tend to leave a better taste in your mind at least. 😉 (I think it also still had sulfites in it, which many ‘organically grown grape’ wines do, but not all.) But if you want to try a wine made from organically raised grapes, this is a decent place to start.

[Tags: , , ]

Organic Toaster Pastries

I’ve liked having things like Pop Tarts around as backups for times when you run out of milk for cereal, or just want a snack in the afternoon. But at some point (a long time ago now it seems) Kellogg’s Pop Tarts changed their formula – my theory is that they added more high fructose corn syrup and deleted any remaining ACTUAL flavor – resulting in pastries that were hideously sweet yet still alarmingly tasteless. As a result we stopped buying them completely.

But this is a story with a happy ending! At Trader Joe’s we rediscovered the Toaster Pastry… ORGANIC, FROSTED TOASTER PASTRIES!!! By Nature’s Path. We got blueberry and strawberry, at the same price or even cheaper than a good price for Pop Tarts at the grocery store, and they were delicious! I KNEW they could still make toaster pastries with flavor – LOL – plus all organic ingredients, and no high fructose corn syrup. Yes! So, as you can tell, we highly recommend them – going to stock up our next trip to Trader Joe’s!
[Tags: , , , , ]

Virgil’s Root Beer

It’s almost a meal unto itself – one bottle of Virgil’s Root Beer is more like a dessert. It’s really not just another carbonated drink you can pound down while you’re eating a burger. It must be savored and meditated upon!

There’s so many complex flavors dancing around on your tongue everytime you take a sip, you’ll wonder how you ever drank those mass-produced, high fructose corn syrup “root beers” before at all. It’s not cheap, but if you consider it an investment like a fine wine that will raise the experience to the level it deserves to be.

[Tags: , , , ]