Archive for the ‘Foodzie’ Category

The arrival of this month’s Foodzie Box was bittersweet for me.  Of course, I was excited to try all the goodies inside, but, I am also sad that this is to be the last Foodzie tasting box.  From what I’ve been lead to understand, the boxes will still be available as a one-off option on Joyus.  However, Foodzie as I’ve come to know it – delivering me unique, delicious goodies once a month – is gone.  No more subscriptions.  

And I don’t really think this is a change for the better, at least, not as far as the customers are concerned.  I do hope that Emily and Rob (they brought us Foodzie) did make out well with the acquisition, because at least someone got something good out of it.  But from this customers perspective – no, it’s not a good change.  Higher prices on the possibility of a one-0ff option.  No go for me.  The additional $10 price hike at the end of last year was as far as I was willing to push the proverbial envelope.  I am not willing to pay $39 for a box.  Just not going to do it.

This month, we were sent the email that allows us to choose our box, and our choices were:  Grilled Pizza Box, Raw Food Box and Seattle Box (which was their signature box).  To be honest, I wasn’t all that thrilled with any of these selections.

I mean, really, I don’t grill pizza … I mean, it sounds interesting and something I might want to learn more about, but, I didn’t feel comfortable enough with my grilling abilities to go ahead and get the box, you know?  The Raw Food box interested me somewhat, but, I didn’t know if I was interested enough in it to receive a whole box.  And the Seattle Box… ok, so I live here in the Pacific Northwest and Seattle is on the other end of the state from me, but, even this box I found a little disappointing because how could Foodzie do a Seattle box and not include something from Skillet (the company that brought us Bacon Jam).  And… how could they talk about Pike’s Place and not include something from MarketSpice?  (Preferably their MarketSpice Signature Tea!)  OK, so maybe that’s just the tea lover in me talking.  But, if they’re going to do a Seattle Box, you’d think that if they’re not going to include a tea then at least a coffee!  This is the Pacific Northwest!  We’re known for our hot beverages here.

And if they had included the coffee, it would have made my choice a lot easier, I must say, because I would have chosen the Raw Food box.  (I drink tea not coffee)  My point is that it almost feels like this box was “phoned in.”  You know?  None of these boxes seem as inspired as some of the boxes of the past.  Perhaps that will make it easier for me to say goodbye.

Anyway… that’s my rant about the box.  Let’s talk about goodies that were included.  In this box, there was a jar of Strawberry, Vanilla Bean and Lemon Jam from BigSpoonJam, a pouch of dried cherries (the Cherry Medley) from Chukar Cherries, a small package of Fluer de Sel Caramels from Jonboy, a bag of Flagship Cheese Crackers from Beecher’s, and a 2 oz. package of Butter & Sea Salt Halfpops.  Everything sounds yummy, sure.  Maybe I’m just feeling a little sad that this is my last box and it seemed very anti-climatic.

Also included in the box was the theme card, which explained Emily & Rob’s inspiration behind this box:

Seattle has a significant place in our hearts.  An easy flight from San Francisco, we love going up there for the dramatic skies, incredibly fresh seafood and of course strolling through the iconic Pike Place Market, one of the great food meccas of the world.  Plus it was Seattle that we first discovered one of Foodzie’s longtime bestsellers, Skillet Street Food’s bacon jam.  Along with Pike Place, markets like Ballard and Melrose are bubbling up all kinds of new foodmakers, and we’ve culled a few new faves, like buttery-salty caramels, cheesy crackers, and strawberry preserves that taste like a spoonful of summer.  If you can’t make a trip to the Pacific Northwest, this box brings a taste of Seatown to you.  ~Emily & Rob

I DO look forward to trying these, and there is more to look forward to, as well.  As some of you may have read, I discovered Petit Amuse (or should I say they discovered me?) and I do look forward to trying the goodies they deliver every month!  They will definitely help me get over the loss of Foodzie.

Ah… Foodzie, I will miss you.

Picture from Foodzie. Click on pic to go there.

Product Description:

The prize in this caramel corn is the flavorful burst of fresh pistachios …

Learn more about CC Made on their website.

Tea Suggestion:

This caramel corn would be good with just about any tea, I think, but, for a real pistachio treat, try it with some Pistachio Ice Cream flavored Green Tea from Butiki Teas – and this time of year you should serve it iced, of course!

What I Think:

It took a while for me to get to try this yummy caramel corn.  It was not in my Boardwalk Box when I first received it (I received the spiced almond caramel corn, but not the pistachio) … I wrote a note to Foodzie and they sent me a fulfillment box (Foodzie has EXCELLENT customer service!) but the box contained more of the spiced almond as well as a bag of the lightly salted pistachios but not the pistachio caramel corn!   While I can’t really complain because I was happy to get more of that tasty spiced almond caramel corn as well as those amazing pistachios, I still really wanted to try this Pistachio Caramel Corn.

So I contacted them again, and they sent me another box, this time with the Pistachio caramel corn.  (did I mention how much I love Foodzie’s customer service?)

This is very much like the spiced almond except that this does not have the spice – and while I do like the flavor contrast between salty, sweet and spicy, the lack of spices here allows me to better explore the dimension of the caramel flavor.

As I mentioned in my review of the spiced almond caramel corn, what I really love about this caramel corn from CC Made is that each bite is an adventure.  I can really taste the butter!   These are rich, buttery, and sweet.  Each popcorn kernel is light and popped up to its fullest and fluffiest, to give each bite a light crunch.  The pistachios add to the crunchy texture and give this a deliciously satisfying nutty flavor.  The saltiness starts out light and develops, and by the end of the bag I notice a “salted caramel” kind of thing going on with it that would rival even some of the finest salted caramels I’ve tasted.

My Final Thoughts:

I LOVE this caramel corn.  I think that for my daughter’s stocking this year, I might get her some of this – she loves pistachios and caramel corn.  Basically, I’ll get her some of this, because it gives me an excuse to get myself some of this!   My only complaint is that the package that they included in the Boardwalk Box was small … and it was so good that it disappeared too quickly!   This is seriously yummy stuff!

Product Description:

Handcrafted soda made with Fair Trade Certified organic evaporated cane juice.  Open a bottle and taste the flavor of extracts of wintergreen, clove and anise.  Our recipe combines these ingredients with FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED ORGANIC SUGAR to allow the flavor of each of these extracts to come through.  This is the one that started it all.  Pop a top off and see why.

Learn more about maine root. on their website.

What I Think:

As I’ve said before, I’m not a big fan of soda.  I rarely drink the stuff, usually only when I’m out to eat and the hot tea selection is dreadful and the iced tea is questionable, and even then, sometimes I take a chance on the iced tea.  There is only one soda that could change this, and that’s Aspen Soda, should Pepsi decide to bring it back.  (And no, Slice is no substitute for Aspen.  Slice is OK, Aspen was awesome.)

Anyway, I do occasionally drink root beer, and it is usually my soda of choice when I am out to eat and decide to have that rare soda.  But that root beer is NOTHING like this.  This is head and shoulders (bottle neck and shoulders?) above any of those what I’ll call “mainstream” commercial root beers.

From the first sip, I knew this was something exceptional.  I could taste the spice in this.  I could taste the clove and the touch of anise.  I even taste the crisp wintergreen as well as its cooling effects.  This is one amazing root beer!

I’m a little surprised to not see a mention of sarsaparilla in the description of this, but I am thrilled to see that it is made with pure cane sugar and not corn syrup or some other cheap sweetener.  While there are those that say “sugar is sugar” – I can taste the difference between them and regardless of the claim that the body will process both in the same way, I know which my palate prefers.  This doesn’t taste sticky or syrupy-sweet.  And I like that.

I can see why Foodzie chose this root beer to include in the Boardwalk Box.  It has a zesty, fresh, crisp quality to it that evokes thoughts of carefree, happy days on the beach.  I’ve never been to the East Coast and never really experienced a “boardwalk” like they have back there, but, this gives me the feeling that I’m there while I sip it, and I like that feeling.  And I like this root beer.

My Final Thoughts:

If I found this in one of my local shops, it would be one I’d pick up from time to time.  And, I must admit that I’m also quite interested in tasting some of their other soft drinks.  Maple Lemonade?  That sounds like a must try item to me!   As does their Pumpkin Pie Soda.  YUM!

OH… and it looks like they do have a Sarsaparilla soft drink too, which is supposed to be the lighter-bodied relative to this root beer!

Photo from Foodzie. Click on the pic to go there!

Product Description:

Add a little spice to your life!  Our original sauce, and winner of 18 national awards, Sultry Sauce is the pinnacle of heat and flavor. You can cook with it, put it on a sandwich, or add it to anything for heat that builds with every bite.

Learn more about Torchbearer Sauces on their website.

Note:  For the purposes of this review, I tried this sauce a couple of different ways:  first, I used it as a condiment on a fried egg, then, I tried it as a dip with some tortilla chipsNext time I’m in the grocery store, I might pick up the ingredients I need to try my hand at making this Spinach Dip.

What I Think:

It took me a while to get around to writing this review, mostly because this stuff is so tasty that I don’t think about taking the time to write my thoughts about it while I’m eating it!

As a condiment – in small amounts to minimize the heat and therefore be able to appreciate the flavor in addition to the burn – it really adds a lot of flavor and dimension to an otherwise humble fried egg. In addition to the HEAT from the habañero pepper, there is a slight sweetness that I taste from the carrots and mandarin oranges.

These other ingredients also give this sauce some thickness, making it quite nice to serve as a spicy-hot salsa-esque dip for chips.   And it is as a salsa that this Sultry Sauce really stands out for me.  I can really taste the sweetness from the oranges now.  This isn’t all about the heat – although there is PLENTY of heat to this sauce – and it doesn’t immediately set your mouth aflame.  Your taste buds get a chance to explore these other interesting flavors in the sauce, while the heat builds, and then BAM!  It kicks you right in the mouth.

My Final Thoughts:

If you read my article about the arrival of the “Some Like It Hot” box, then you’re probably aware that I had wished that Foodzie had put the local favorite Secret Aardvark Habañero Hot Sauce instead of this sauce that was – at the time – unknown to me.  That being said, I am really happy that I got to try something new, and this IS really very good.  However, I don’t think I’ll buy this particular sauce again (although I might try some of their other sauces) because I want to stay loyal to the local Aardvark.

Picture from Foodzie. Click on the pic to go there.

Product Description:

This lolly is more than just a looker. It gets its cheery colors and creamy flavor from natural ingredients. We’re suckers for this lollipop.

These lollipops are available on Foodzie for a limited time.

Tea Suggestion:

I found this lollipop to be very enjoyable with a pure green tea like this Garden Bancha from BigTeaHouse.  The tea is mildly sweet and a pleasant earthiness, offering an agreeable contrast to the sweet, creamy taste of the lollipop.  This lollipop and a cup of tea is a really lovely way to spend an afternoon!

What I Think:

The first thing I noticed about this lollipop – besides the size (I like the size of this lollipop – not too small, but it’s not one of those monstrously huge lollipops that are about the same circumference of a baby’s head) and the colorful swirls – was the stick.  The stick is not one of those wimpy sticks made of tightly wound paper.  It is a thick, wooden stick … or perhaps it would be better described as a thin wooden dowel!  It is substantial enough to support the lolly without it drooping or falling apart midway through eating it, and it is a comfortable fit in the hand.  It doesn’t feel too thin, and because it’s made of wood and not paper it doesn’t begin to disintegrate in the hand … and that’s important because this is not a lollipop that you’re going to finish in a couple of minutes, you know?

And I like the size of the lollipop too, like I said, it’s not too small, but, it’s not so big that I get tired of it before it’s finished.  It’s just the right size.

This is a sweet confection, but it doesn’t taste like it’s been artificially flavored.  It tastes creamy, in fact, I taste more of the cream than of the strawberry in this.  I found myself kind of searching for the strawberry … and I wish that there was more strawberry to this.  The cream tastes very pleasant, though, and it is an enjoyable lolly, I just was hoping that a strawberry & cream flavored lollipop would have more strawberry taste to it.

My Final Thoughts:

I enjoyed this.  I don’t know that I enjoyed it enough to buy it by the dozen (as offered on Foodzie), but I found it to be a tasty treat, and certainly a welcome addition to this month’s tasting box!

Photo from Foodzie. Click on the pic to go there.

Product Description:

The ultimate balance of sweet and salty.  Infused with local honey from New York’s Union Square Market, mixed with creamy peanut butter, a hint of vanilla and lots of coarse ground sea salt, this is pure peanut heaven.  We call it the perfect pick me up snack.  It’s got a little sweet a little salty and some protein to keep you going. A fan favorite since our first batch.

Learn more about The Salty Road on their website.

Tea Suggestion:

These yummy treats do evoke thoughts of summer, and therefore, I suggest iced tea all the way!   One tea that I’ve been enjoying a lot lately and tastes really good with this taffy is this Organic Thai Iced Tea from Arbor Teas, brewed at double strength and then served chilled with a little bit of ginger ale instead of sweetened condensed milk (as I mentioned toward the end of the linked review).  YUM!  The creamy vanilla notes of the tea, as well as the hint of anise really seems to go well with the peanut-y goodness of these salty taffies.  (Taffies?  Taffys?) Delicious.

What I Think:

I like peanut butter.  I don’t really love the stuff, but I like it ok.  I’d prefer almond butter or hazelnut butter (and I’d prefer it to be from Justin’s) but I enjoy peanut butter now and again, although I don’t know that it would be a regular staple in my kitchen if I were single.  I just don’t eat it often enough to do that.  But my husband and daughter love the stuff, so I keep it on hand.

And if I were shopping for salt water taffy, I don’t know that I would have purchased this “Salty Peanut.”  Just a quick look at The Salty Road taffy collection, bergamot would have been my first choice.  Then, again, the salty caramel apple sounds divine, as does the vanilla.  All three of the other flavors sound like something I’d choose before I’d choose Salty Peanut.

And because of that, I can’t help but feel a little glad that Foodzie did the choosing for me this time, because I’m REALLY glad I got to try this flavor.  It’s really outstanding!  It has a distinct peanut-butter-y kind of taste to it, and just as the sweetness begins to swell around on the palate, I taste the sea salt start to cut through it.  As I eat these, I can really taste the “sea in the air” and feel the “wind in my hair” that Emily talks about in the Boardwalk Box video on Joyus!  These tasty treats seem to embody the spirit of the Boardwalk Box.

The texture is smooth and creamy, but every once in a while, I come across a little crunch from the sea salt.  In the aforementioned video, it is suggested that these have a milkshake-like flavor to them, and I get that.  They are so creamy, soft, and fluffy!  I love how soft these are … I’ve had gourmet salt water taffy before, and even though the gourmet taffy is quite a bit softer than a typical supermarket sweets aisle taffy, these are even softer!  It’s like they were freshly pulled, with that marshmallow-y soft smooshiness to them.  Yes, smooshiness.  It’s a word.  I just made it up!

My Final Thoughts:

These are easily the best salt water taffies I’ve ever tried.  And, yes, I’ve had some locally made salt water taffy – and loved it! – but this is even better.  This tastes and feels fresher than even that locally-made stuff, which had been made THAT day.  This stuff is AWESOME!

Picture from Foodzie. Click on the pic to go there.

About CC Made:

Cassandra Chen’s first career was on the trading floor, but after spontaneously asking for a job in the kitchen of one of her favorite restaurants, found she preferred the even more intense energy of working on the line. She gravitated toward pastry, and ultimately decided to take her caramel corn commercial when her youngest son started pre-school. The rest is sweet, sweet history.

Learn more about CC Made on their website.

Tea Suggestion:

You’ll want some iced tea with this tea … because it has a spicy kick to it!  This Cucumber Mojito Green Tea from Inspired Leaf is really refreshing when chilled, and I like the way the crisp peppermint cools the palate after I’ve had a bite of spice from this Caramel Corn.  A very refreshing way to enjoy this amazing snack!

What I Think:

I grew up loving cracker jacks.  Well, think of this as cracker jacks … all grown up.   We have the popcorn, but instead of the little bits of popcorn that are all clustered up because of the sticky caramel, each piece of popcorn is light, fluffy and whole … and completely coated in delicious, golden brown caramel.  Sweet and chewy, the caramel isn’t as sticky as I remember cracker jacks being, and instead it is buttery.  It seems to be dripping in butter.  I can feel Paula Deen smile as I eat this!

And instead of the peanuts of cracker jacks, we have whole almonds.  Crunchy and delicious, these pack a good punch of nutty flavor and just enough salty taste to add to the overall profile of sweet, salty and spicy.

Oh yes.  Did I mention the spicy?  Yes, that’s where this treat and cracker jacks really part ways, because this has some real kick to it.

Every bite of this is an adventure:  with the first bite, I notice a rich, buttery flavor like a popcorn kernel that’s been dipped in real butter.  YUM.  The next bite, I’ll notice a bit of the salty flavor and the crunch of the almond.  A moment or two later, I feel the heat start to radiate through my mouth and tickle the back of my throat.

The heat is powerful, and just when you think your mouth can’t take another bite of it, some sweetness comes through to temper the heat enough to encourage you to take another bite!

My Final Thoughts:

This Spiced Almond Caramel Corn just made the boardwalk box the BEST box yet.  OK… well, maybe it’s #2, just after the Tea Time box, but I think that has more to do with the fact that I’m a tea nerd (that’s what my husband calls me!) than the true merit of the box.  Because if they had put tea in this box (maybe instead of the root beer?) this would definitely be #1.  I guess my heart will always belong to tea first.