Posts Tagged ‘Drink’

Yeah, I’m just late writing about it!  I’m behind writing about EVERYTHING … but I hope to get caught up eventually.

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April’s Goodies Box has all been devoured by now, with the exception of the Raspberry Acai Celsius beverage.  And since I’ve already eaten nearly all the April box, rather than writing individual reviews on each of these, I’ll just tell you my thoughts briefly on each of the products here.

The first product I tore into was the Sea Salt MultiGrain Sweet Potato Chips from Green Giant.  These are pretty darned tasty.  I loved the multi-grain aspect of these … they ended up tasting a lot like “Sun Chips” but with a sweet potato taste that made them better than most other multi-grain chips.  These are something I will definitely keep my eye out for when grocery shopping!

Next up was the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Zone Perfect Nutrition Bar.  I love cookie dough, and the consistency of this nutrition bar … before biting in to it … was very much like cookie dough, so I had high hopes for this.  But, unfortunately, after I bit into the bar and started chewing … the texture became very “diet food” like.  It tasted alright, but it wasn’t something that inspired me to want to buy another bar.  It wasn’t what I’d call tasty … it was acceptable, but the texture made it less than enjoyable to eat.

Then I tasted the Apricot Almond Chai True Bar.  This is seriously yummy!  The spice in this is very distinct and I like that.  Lots of cardamom, ginger and cinnamon!  The cardamom is especially nice here, it has a slight citrus-y tone that compliments the apricot very well.  Lots of crunch to this bar, and a whole lot of flavor.  The apricot comes through nicely.  The texture is crunchy and I like that it didn’t feel overly sticky to the fingers. This will be something that I’ll want again and again – definitely one of the very best energy/health bars I’ve ever tasted.

Angie’s Sweet & Salty Popcorn is an entirely different story all together.  I really enjoyed this tasty snack.  The popcorn is light and crispy, the sweet coating on the kernels isn’t a heavy one – it’s lightly sweet, but, there is enough of an almost-caramel-y taste there that makes me think of a salted caramel without being too cloying.  It’s a nice alternative to the overly sweet snack.

The last product that I’ve tried from this box are the Olomomo Chai Bliss Almonds.  I LOVE THESE … and it’s not just because they’re chai-ishly flavored.  They are delicious and crunchy and sweet and spicy and just about everything I want from a snack (except possibly, they’re not chocolate.  What can I say, at the end of the day, I’m still a chocoholic!) I could snack on these every day … and my only real complaint about this “goodie” from my Goodie Box is that the package was so small, and it was just a handful of Chai Bliss goodness.  This is something I WILL hunt down and get more of!

Overall, I really enjoyed my April Box, and as I said, some products were more memorable than others.  I haven’t yet tried the Celsius drink, but, when I do, I’ll post a review of it.  Until then … maybe I’ll get May’s Goodie Box article posted!  ha!

Product Description:

THE WILLIAMETTE VALLEY IS ALSO KNOWN FOR ITS WIDE VARIETY OF NUTS. AMONG THE MOST POPULAR IS THE HAZELNUT. KNOWN AROUND THE WORLD FOR ITS QUALITY AND GREAT NUTTY FLAVOR IT IS USED IN EVERY TYPE OF DESSERT POSSIBLE. WE HAVE TAKEN THE HAZELNUT EXTRACT AND CREATED A UNIQUE TASTE IN THE SODA WORLD. SMOOTH, CREAMY AND NUTTY IT IS BEYOND A DOUBT A GREAT ALTERNATIVE FOR YOUR SODA TASTES.

Learn more about Mt. Angel Brewing Company on their website.

What I Think:

I happened upon this bottle of soda while dining in a Portland restaurant.  I had never heard of hazelnut soda before, and I was definitely intrigued!  I love hazelnuts, and while I’m not a big fan of soda pop (I much prefer tea!), I will occasionally indulge in a soda now and then, usually when I find something interesting and unique like this Hazelnut Cream Soda!

And it certainly is unique, although there is something quite familiar about it too.  It has a base flavor of vanilla cream soda – a really rich, delicious vanilla cream soda with an emphasis on the VANILLA!  Very sweet, very creamy, and tastes a bit like a ice cream soda … imagine having an ice cream soda with a big scoop of real vanilla ice cream that has melted in the soda … that’s what this tastes like!  Yummy vanilla goodness.

But let’s not forget about the hazelnut, because that’s in there too!  The hazelnut melds beautifully with the vanilla tones, to create a sweet and nutty, slightly toasty flavor that perfectly complements the flavor of the vanilla.

My Final Thoughts:

This is really, really good.  I mean, I was fairly confident that I’d enjoy this, but, I didn’t realize what a treat I was in for with this soda.   As I’ve said many times before, I’m not a big soda enthusiast, but, if I found this while shopping I might pick up a bottle for one of those special times when I want something sweet and fizzy.

I was so excited when Living Social offered this deal that I ordered without even stopping to check where Abella Italian Kitchen was located … Wilsonville?  Yikes!  My husband has been really awesome about taking me to these different restaurants but he doesn’t really like it when I select a place that’s outside Portland.  So, I asked my daughter to join me instead, and I had a nice luncheon with her. 

Broiled Polenta

Location:  8309 SW Main Street, Wilsonville, Oregon

Order:  For an appetizer, we ordered the Broiled Polenta ($6.95).  I ordered the Chicken Piccata entree ($13.95) and a refreshing glass of Marionberry Lemonade.

What I Think:

It was such a lovely day when we visited Abella Italian Restaurant that we decided to dine outside on the patio.  Our server, Cody, was an exceptionally nice and attentive server.  Very friendly and personable.  If you’ve been reading many of my restaurant reviews, you know that I don’t make it a habit to comment on the service unless it really stands out for being either very good or very bad … here, it was VERY good.

My daughter ordered the Chicken Caesar Salad and she loved it!

We were served our drinks right away, and the Marionberry Lemonade was really good.  I liked that while it was a little on the sweeter side than your typical lemonade (thanks to the marionberries), it wasn’t too sweet.  Cody told us that he makes the marionberry puree himself with fresh marionberries, and the freshness of these berries could be tasted.  A nice balance between sweet and tart, and I enjoyed it so much that I’d revisit this restaurant for nothing more but a glass of the refreshing lemonade.

The Broiled Polenta was delicious.  The polenta was creamy on the inside with a slight crispiness from the broiled crust.  The gorgonzola cheese added a palate-pleasing tangy note to the dish, and the tomato sauce tasted freshly made.
I found it to be very filling, though, I think I would have been satisfied to order just this as my luncheon appetizer.

But then, I wouldn’t have had the Chicken Piccata, and really, this was the highlight of the lunch.  Not the service (which was exemplary), not the lemonade (which was stunning), not even the polenta that I enjoyed so much.  The Chicken Piccata outshined everything, and really, isn’t that what you want when you visit a restaurant?  For your entree to be the crowning moment of the event?

The best Chicken Picatta I’ve ever had.

I love Chicken Piccata anyway, it’s one of my favorite dishes, but it’s one that sometimes just isn’t done right.  Even when it’s not done right, it is still good, but, it isn’t something that I’d sing praises over like I’m doing with this dish.  The chicken was so tender it seemed to melt in my mouth, and the sauce was a perfect balance of flavors and textures.  I could taste the garlic and the touch of wine, it was buttery and sweet and the capers gave it just the right amount of salty taste.  The pasta was cooked al dente and the sauce was a creamy delight.  It was a medley of flavor and texture.  Sublime!

My Final Thoughts:

While the place is a little pricy, if I had the chance to visit again (hopefully another Living Social voucher will come my way!) I would.  And, while I’d like to say that I’d explore the menu and try something new, I probably wouldn’t.  The Chicken Piccata was just too good, I would order it again in a heartbeat.  Perhaps my exploration will take place with the appetizer!

Abella Italian Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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!

Product Description:

Our most unusual ginger ale, perfumed with jasmine flowers and earthy with tannins, we infuse this with a fine, whole leaf green jasmine tea from Taiwan.  Unique among soft drinks, this seems to improve with age and has our most passionate followers.

Learn more about Bruce Cost’s Fresh Ginger Ale on the website.

What I Think:

Wowie!  Let me tell you:  you’ve never had ginger ale until you’ve had some of this unfiltered ginger ale made from fresh ginger (unless you happen to make some yourself).  It’s a completely different experience from any ginger ale I have tasted in the past.

While perusing the soft drink section of the local New Seasons market – searching actually for a bottle of the Chai Cola that I fell in love with a couple of months ago – I came across this soft drink.  What caught my attention initially was that it was a “real” ginger ale and not one of those bland soft drinks you can find in any grocery store.

Then I noticed that there are actual bits of ginger (this is an unfiltered ginger ale!) that had settled at the bottom.  A little discomforting at first, but then I read the fine print at the bottom of the label that read:  “separation is natural.  Shake gently.”  Finally, I noticed the words “Jasmine Tea” on the neck label and I was sold.  I HAD to try this.  So I put the Chai Cola away (yes, I love it, but I don’t like to drink a lot of soda, especially when I’ve so much tea at home waiting for me to taste it) and decided to purchase this instead.

Oh. My. Gawd!  This is amazingly good.  It’s zingy, zippy, zesty and all the other vibrant words that you can think of to describe a delightfully spicy, peppery drink.  It isn’t as sweet as other soft drinks including other ginger ales that I’ve consumed.  Perhaps this is because of the strength of the ginger which may offset the sweetness.  Either way, I appreciate that this isn’t overly sweet.

I wish I could taste more of the jasmine green tea in this, and I guess if I were to change anything at all about this soft drink, that would be it.  I was hoping for a bit more of a jasmine tea flavor, but, even so, this is still knocking my socks off.

My Final Thoughts:

Well, as I just said, I would like there to be more jasmine green tea taste to this, I think that the power of the ginger just overwhelms the delicate flavor of jasmine green tea.  Perhaps the next time I get this, I’ll hang on to it for a few weeks before consuming it to see if the jasmine green tea comes to life.  Either way, I really like what I’ve tasted.  If you like ginger ale, you’ve gotta try this stuff!

Product Information:

Raspberry Soda has a bright, clear flavor, shouting in all glory of peak Oregon summer. A favorite with kids, it is rich and light at the same time—the radiance of the color matched by the explosion of flavor.

The raspberries for our soda are grown in Western Oregon, picked at peak freshness, and minimally handled before getting into the bottles.

Mixes beautifully with ice cream, chocolate, other juices, tea and vodka. Very nice served with lemon or sweet lime garnish.

Learn more about HOTLIPS Soda on their website.

What I Think:

Generally speaking, I’m not particularly fond of soda.  In fact, if it were not for the fact that my husband enjoys drinking it on a regular basis, it wouldn’t even be stocked in my house.  I am a tea drinker, and for the most part, I drink tea or tisanes all day, every day.  (And while the description above does mention that it “mixes beautifully with … tea …” for the purposes of this review, I chose to drink it straight)

I do, however, on occasion find a soda that I enjoy.  This Raspberry Soda from HOTLIPS is one such example.  I was first introduced to HOTLIPS soda from a store called “Made in Oregon” which is located in the Clackamas Mall (there are other locations as well).  A few years ago while shopping at the Clackamas Mall with my family, we stopped in the Made In Oregon store to browse around, and ended up purchasing a bottle of HOTLIPS pear flavored soda, and I was very impressed with the flavor of the beverage.

This is, however, my first time tasting their raspberry soda.  It is a beautiful color – it’s a deep rose hue and looks very much like a glass of pureed raspberries when you pour it.

And it TASTES like pureed raspberries that have been carbonated with soda water and lightly sweetened. All that’s missing is the seeds, and to be honest, I’m not missing those at all.  The flavor is crisp and sweet, but it’s a fruit sweetness rather than a soda sweetness.  It doesn’t taste sugary or overly sweetened, it tastes to me as though the sweetness of this soda was derived from the natural sweetness of the berry.

My Final Thoughts:

This is exceptionally good.  It is so good, in fact, that it has sparked my interest to try some of the other flavors, including trying the pear soda once again!  And best of all, I don’t have that icky, sticky, teeth-rotting caramel-y feeling in my mouth after finishing the bottle.  This is the way soda SHOULD be!

Product Description:

Bubbling with bright tamarind and lime delights, the Sparkling Classic Gold is the latest small miracle to flow from the yerba mate tree.

Learn more about Guayakí on their website.

What I Think:

A can of this crisp, bubbly beverage was included in my Earth Day Foodzie Tasting Box.  And to tell the truth, even though Yerba Maté is something that the tea community (at least some of us) embrace as a “tea-like” beverage, I wasn’t sure how I was going to like this.  I have had Yerba Maté on many occasions, but, I don’t recall having it served chilled.

But, I had some faith (or at least some hope?) that the people at Foodzie would not disappoint me, so I popped open the can and gave it a try.  And you know what?  This is really quite good!

The flavor of the Yerba Maté is there, but it shares the spotlight with the flavors of lime, ginger and tamarind, and yes, with the sweetener.  This is a sweet glass of iced “tea.”  But I don’t find it too sweet when I take into account that it is a canned, sparkling tea.  It isn’t as sweet as some of bottled ready-to-drink teas out there, and it certainly isn’t as sweet as a can of soda.  The tartness of the lime and tamarind as well as the slightly spicy tone of the ginger balance the sweetness out a little, making this beverage a pleasing contrast of sweet, tart, spice and earthy vegetal notes.

What’s more, Yerba Maté is a very energizing herb, and I can feel that effect doing it’s magic!  I had started the day with a cup of tea but it was on the lighter side, and I really needed some caffeine.  This will get you going!

My Final Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this.  I don’t know that I’ll keep it in stock in my refrigerator, however, if I happen to be out and about and am in need of liquid refreshment, I will look for this product and if it’s available, I’d choose this over a soda or even the average bottled ready-to-drink iced tea.