Posts Tagged ‘Fresh’

Bridge City Cafe is not our (my husband and my) ordinary kind of lunch stop.  Especially the Bridge City Cafe in the Lloyd Center Mall.  We generally avoid the mall food court because it seems like they’re usually more expensive than other lunch stops.  After all, they do have the high overhead costs for their prime location in the mall, and they’ve got to recoup those expenses. 

But, because we were going to be in the mall anyway (we had to rent a suit at the Men’s Wearhouse for my husband), and there was a great deal on LivingSocial, we decided to “break the rules” and visit Bridge City Cafe in the Lloyd Center Mall.  We enjoyed it so much that when we had to return to the mall the next day, we stopped in again!

Location:  2304 Lloyd Center, Portland, Oregon

Order:  The Living Social voucher entitled us each to a sandwich of our choice, a bag of chips, a drink and a cookie.  On day one, I ordered the Steel Roast Beef sandwich, and on the second day, I ordered the St. John’s Turkey Cranberry sandwich.

What I Think:

The atmosphere … well, you know the atmosphere.  This Bridge City Cafe location is in the food court in the mall.  Kids running around and screaming, babies crying, mothers yelling, cell phones beeping, and generally a lot of hurrying and scurrying around.  As an agoraphobic, it isn’t my favorite kind of atmosphere … not at all conducive to a comfortable place to dine out.

But, sometimes, when one is hungry and time is short … my daughter was getting married in a matter of days and I didn’t have a lot of time to go out and enjoy myself.  So, we picked up lunch where we could and how could we NOT take advantage of the LivingSocial voucher!  We each got a whole sandwich of our choice, a bag of chips, a drink and a cookie!

The word of this paragraph is FRESH.  That’s because everything about the sandwiches is FRESH!  The sandwiches are all made fresh to order, the bread is fresh (and soft and amazing!) and all the trimmings were fresh.  The lettuce wasn’t wilted, it was crisp and … yes, fresh.  Everything looked really appetizing.  The one exception was the tomatoes, which were a bit more on the pink side than the red so I picked those off of the sandwich.  I usually only want a tomato on my sandwich if it’s really ripe and tender.

Truly the best part of these sandwiches IS the bread.  I love that I had a sandwich made with bread that was baked in the shop that very morning.  The sourdough used to make the Steel Roast Beef was soft but with enough of that sourdough texture to give it some real substance.  The St. John’s Turkey Cranberry was made on a honey molasses bread and it was sweet, soft, and delicious, and really complimented the tart cranberry and the mild, juicy turkey very well.

We also got our choice of cookie, and I chose the lemon cookie.  Let me tell you something, if you’re ever near a Bridge City Cafe and are hungry for a fresh, homemade cookie … stop in and TRY the lemon cookie!  It tastes like a lemon bar!  You know the kind with the shortbread crust and the lemon curd-like filling?  Yes… it tastes just like that… with the shortbread and the lemon curd baked right in.  It’s amazing.  If you’re a fan of lemon-y baked goods, these cookies ARE NOT to be missed!

My Final Thoughts:

I really enjoyed both visits to Bridge City Cafe.  Sure, I’d rather not eat in the mall – the atmosphere is a bit much for me and tends to make me anxious.  But, if I happen to be in the mall and find myself hungry, I know where I want to go.  This is definitely one of the best stops at the food court!

Bridge City Cafe on Urbanspoon

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 Description:

Almonds are our secret weapon against weight gain and mindless snacking. Six almonds contain only about 100 calories, and will absolutely stave off the in-between-meal grumblies. They’re also believed to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol, reduce risk of cancer and even improve complexion. Oh, and did we mention they’re delicious? They are, especially these fresh almonds roasted to nutty perfection.

Learn more about Stackhouse Brothers Orchards on their facebook page.

Tea Suggestion:

I chose a naturally sweet, nutty green tea:  Organic Green Tea from TeaSpree.  I just love how well green tea and roasted almonds go together:  a deliciously sweet combination.

What I Think:

After popping the first couple of almonds in my mouth, I couldn’t help but think that something was missing.  No salt!  These roasted almonds are unsalted, which is alright, I suppose, but I wasn’t quite prepared for it.  I guess I should have paid better attention to the labeling, as it says, in red letters right in the middle of the label:  No Salt.  It’s even in parenthesis, which should have called my attention to it.

That’s what I get for not reading the label before I start munching.

Don’t get me wrong, these nuts actually taste quite good without salt, but, I guess I’ve just come to expect salt on “snacking” nuts … however, since these did come in the “Jump Start My New Year” tasting box, it makes sense that the healthier option would be unsalted, roasted almonds.

Other than not having salt, these taste very much like I’d expect them to taste.  They taste like almonds.  They taste like they’ve been freshly roasted, and they have a nice crunch to them.  Sweet, toasty, and delicious.  And just as the above description (from Foodzie) suggests, they definitely do help satisfy that in-between-meals hunger.

My Final Thoughts:

I really enjoyed these almonds.  I don’t know that I liked this particular brand enough to set out and buy them rather than another brand from the grocery store.  As I said, these taste remarkably fresh, but is it that noticeable to where I’d want and crave these over a supermarket brand?  I don’t know.  But what I do know is that I found my hunger satisfied by snacking on some almonds while sipping on my green tea.  A delicious yet healthy way to snack!

Where to Buy:  Woody’s Gourmet on Foodzie

Price:  $9.99

Product Description:

Who loves bacon? Who puts REAL BACON in sea salt? The aromatic essence of our smoked bacon and fresh sage sea salt will grab you, but the flavor will shake you – in a comforting way. Our proprietary method of Wet Infusion™ blends essential oils from fresh ingredients with sea salt. This smoked bacon sea salt redefines your meals and the way you incorporate bacon. Can you get your fill?

What I Think:

After having such great success with the other sea salt blends from Woody’s Gourmet that I’ve tried, I was really eager to try the one that intrigued me most:  Smoked Bacon & Fresh Sage!

The salt in the bottle looks just like the salt in the picture above, there are LOTS of small chunks of real bacon in there!  And I just love how it accents a burger.  It’s also excellent on baked or grilled chicken breasts as well as roasted potatoes.

The bacon flavor is a bit more subtle than I expected and that I wanted … at least, at first.  But, as I became more acquainted with this salt blend I liked the lighter bacon flavor.  As it is, the bacon and sage are nicely balanced, and these two flavorings really enhance each other nicely, and bring a deliciously savory note to just about anything.  I say “just about anything” because I didn’t really care for this on fish.  I prepared a fillet of tillapia with this, and the fish just ended up tasting like salt.  Too much salt.  The natural flavor of the tillapia together with the savory, salty taste of the bacon and the sea salt… was just too much.  But, other than that one mishap, I have really enjoyed my taste adventures with this salt blend.

My Final Thoughts:

Woody’s Gourmet has quickly become my favorite source for seasonings.  I love that the herbs that they use in these blends are all fresh.  It really makes a difference!

Where to Buy:  Woody’s Gourmet on Foodzie

Product Description:

Most truffle sea salts use dehydrated truffles. Woody’s Gourmet takes that a big step further by using FRESH TRUFFLES. After sea salt, real French black truffle is the second ingredient. The aromatic scent is out of this world and has been know to drive people to do impulsive things.

And oh yeah, it has a complex flavor profile that you will love too! Our proprietary method of Wet Infusion™ blends essential oils from fresh ingredients with sea salt. This blend is bursting with complexity that will surprise you.

What I Think:

Oh, my!  This stuff is absolutely INCREDIBLE!  This has to be the first time ever that I’ve eaten a burger without anything except meat, seasoning and bun.  No cheese.  No ketchup or mustard, no lettuce, tomato or onion.  Not even my beloved bread-and-butter pickles which I previously believed MUST be on every burger I would eat.  (Of course, I did have a couple of pickles on the side!)

And without any embellishment other than this sea salt blend, the burger ended up being the BEST burger I’ve ever eaten.  This Black Truffle & Fresh Thyme Herb Sea Salt made the most delicious, mouth-watering, savory burger experience I’ve ever had.  And I even pan-fried the burger, I didn’t grill it!

The salt blend is a little on the moist side – which I guess is because the herbs are fresh.  But even though it was moist and therefore “clumped” in places on the burger rather than sprinkled evenly, my burger didn’t taste over-salted.

As I would have expected, the salt gave the burger a nice flavor – bringing out the meaty flavor that I wanted.  But then… there’s the truffle!  It gave the meat an earthy depth and a savory quality that lingers on the palate – my burger is now devoured and even though I am no longer hungry, I find myself wanting more truffle … more of that mouth-watering sensation.

The thyme enhances that earthy quality, and gives it a slightly woody taste as well as a fresh, herb-y character.  And, similar to the Rosemary & Sage Sea Salt blend, it is very skillfully minced in this blend – no tiny branches or stems.

After trying this blend, I realize another thing that makes these sea salt blends from Woody’s Gourmet so special… the salt is not only blended with the herbs, because fresh herbs are used, the sea salt is actually INFUSED with the flavors.  The fresh herbs really do make a big difference!

My Final Thoughts:

I love this stuff.  I had hoped I wouldn’t … because I would feel a little guilty keeping truffle salt in the pantry (it won’t be the most reasonably priced item in my pantry, to be sure!) but, I’ve determined that it is well worth the price.  I can’t wait to try it on a steak!

In May’s Tasting Box, I received a sample of this as well as the Black Truffle & Fresh Thyme Sea Salt.  I had originally planned to have this review encompass both salt blends, but, since I didn’t use them together, I will write about them separately.  Here, I will talk about the Fresh Rosemary & Sage Herb Sea Salt…

Where to Buy:  Woody’s Gourmet on Foodzie

Product Description:

Intense fresh rosemary and sage aromas collaborate with the flavors of garlic and hints of black pepper to create a truly versatile accompaniment to many of your favorite dishes. Our proprietary method of Wet Infusion™ blends essential oils from fresh herbs with sea salt. This blend is bursting with complexity that will surprise you.

And yes, we are talking about sea salt in a whole new light. Use it as a meat rub or on poultry, pastas, potatoes, soups, even on salads, this versatile blend goes well on most dishes. Anytime you would use salt, use Woody’s Gourmet. Try it and see if you agree.

What I Think:

I decided to use this on some roast potatoes.  To prepare, I cut the potatoes in small, bite-sized chunks, drizzled with olive oil, and tossed with pepper, freshly minced garlic, and about a teaspoon of this salt blend.  I baked the potatoes at 400° F until golden brown and cooked through.

YUM!  I used to use Kosher salt all the time, but, I have since discovered that I prefer the flavor imparted by sea salt.  The sea salt really brought out the savory flavor of the rosemary and sage, and helped conquer the bitter note that would normally be tasted with these herbs.  The rosemary has a lovely pine-like taste to it which I really liked, and the sage gave a delicious, earthy flavor to the potatoes.

I also had great success with this sprinkled on some Pollack fillets before baking.  A rather simple preparation, but with results that exceeded my expectations.  My entire family devoured their dinner!

The best thing about this blend is that it does all the work for me.  I love using fresh herbs, but I am not crazy about preparing the fresh herbs when I cook; because of this, I don’t use a lot of fresh herbs.  It may seem a bit trivial, but, I have never been one who enjoys preparation, I am usually a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of cook.  This blend lets me do my thing the way I want without having to prepare for it!   And, I didn’t get any of the tough leaves or withy branches with the rosemary – something that I usually have a difficult time avoiding when I chop my own fresh rosemary.  Awesome!

My Final Thoughts:

While I was excited to try this blend, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to use it on.  I thought I needed to use it on something super fancy to do it justice.  But as it turns out, it takes something as humble as potatoes and turns it into something fancy … and delicious!