Posts Tagged ‘Lunch’

chocolatealmondProduct Information:

What do you do when your roommates start eating all of your chocolate almond butter?  Put your name on it, like I did!  What began as a kitchen experiment has turned into the perfect combination of premium chocolate with California Almonds for a nut butter so good you’ll want to put your name on it too.

Learn more about this product here.

What I Think:

I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this stuff yet.  It’s so yummy.

For the purposes of this review, I smeared some of this nut butter on apple slices.

There is a good balance between chocolate and almond.  It’s very rich and chocolate-y, but I can still taste the delicious nutty flavor of the almond.  It is sweet, a little salty and a whole lot yummy.  This would be good on just about anything, and even better right out of the jar.

Just out of curiosity, I compared the numbers in the nutritional information of the chocolate almond butter and the classic almond butter (both from Justin’s) and the numbers are very similar.   I’m no nutritionist by any stretch of the imagination, so, I’m not going to pretend that I really know what all those numbers mean.  I don’t.  But, based on what I see, I think that if the classic almond butter can be part of a “healthy” diet, I don’t see why this product couldn’t be.  And this has chocolate in it, which makes the chocoholic in me very happy.

My Final Thoughts:

Before I tried this Chocolate Almond Butter from Justin’s, the Maple Almond was my favorite nut butter from them, but now, I’d be hard pressed to decide which one I like better.   Both are simply phenomenal.  Every product that I’ve tried thus far from Justin’s has been exceptional and this one is too.  I really can’t say enough good stuff about Justin’s nut butters (and let’s not forget their peanut butter cups!  YUM!)

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Think all good food has gone extinct? Think again!

Thanks to Good Boy Organic’s, lunch has become fun again. No need for a time machine: one bite of the certified organic, non-GMO, and gluten-free cheesy Organicasaurus and you’ll be transported back to the cave man days! Tame your hunger and let your inner dinosaur ROAR! Oh and did we mention it’s also baked and not fried and therefore has 40% less fat than regular corn cheese puffs?

I received a bag of these “cheese puffs” in my September Love With Food box.

Tea Suggestion:

I like iced tea with snacks like this, and in the fridge chilling was a pitcher full of this Secret Garden Tea from Kaleisia Tea.  Refreshing and deliciously fruity … a nice contrast to the slightly salty, crunchy cheese snack.

What I Think:

Taste wise, these are basically “cheese puffs.”  Fluffy, crunchy, corn puffs with cheddar cheese flavor, but shaped into fun dinosaur shapes that would be especially appealing to younger children.  Me, personally, I don’t need my cheese puffs to be dinosaur shaped.  Then again, I don’t really eat a whole lot of cheese puffs.

In comparison to the commercial cheese puff that we are probably all most familiar with, these are less cheesy tasting.  My fingertips don’t turn orange when I eat these.  They also don’t feel greasy after handling them, which is a big bonus in my book.  They do have a slightly different taste to them … which I attribute to the baked and not fried aspect of these.

A quick label comparison told me that these have less fat than the commercial cheese puff, and I like that these are organic.  They taste less cheesy, though, and there is noticeably less cheese flavoring on each puff.  Overall, though, I found these to be an enjoyable snack.

My Final Thoughts:  

They’re alright.  I’m not big on snack chips to begin with, and cheese puffs are not something I eat regularly.  But, for an occasional snack, I think I could see myself preferring these over the commercial, mass-produced cheese puff that is readily available everywhere.  I like that its organic, I like that it’s baked and not fried, and overall, it’s a healthier snack choice than your average cheese puff.

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Product Information:

Our all natural peanut butter blended with rich dark chocolate. It’s like a peanut butter cup in a jar! Great on a sandwich, but just as wonderful spooned over ice cream, spread on fruits, or simply eaten out of the jar. It’s equally delicious as an ingredient in your all-time favorite baked goodies like chocolate cake and bread pudding. 

I received a sample of Dark Chocolate Dreams in my February Goodies Box.

What I Think:

For the purposes of this review, I tried this product several different ways.  The first was to slather some on my Toasted Sesame Seed Graham Crackers.  Then, I cut up a Honeycrisp Apple (I love it when my favorite apple is in season!) and dipped the apple into the peanut butter.  Finally, I tried some spread onto the Banana Nut Bread Bakery Crisps from Stacy’s Bake Shop (my review of this product will post soon!)

My overall impression of this product is very good – I like that this is very peanut butter-y … the chocolate is there but it doesn’t overwhelm.  Don’t get me wrong, the chocoholic in me is all about as much chocolate as possible, but, the parent in me is more inclined to purchase this product for my daughter knowing that there’s at least some peanut butter goodness to this.  It is sweet, creamy, peanut-y, and salty.  Luscious!

On the graham crackers, this peanut butter is insanely good.  I love the way the salty and sweet interact this way.  The salty really comes out to “play” on these graham crackers, and I like the way the chocolate tastes with the salty notes.

On the apple, I found that the sweetness came out more.  I liked how the juiciness of the apple kept my mouth from feeling dry from the peanut butter.  But my favorite way to enjoy this chocolate-y peanut butter – by far! – is atop the banana nut bread crisps.  My favorite way to enjoy peanut butter is with bananas, and then to add chocolate to it … it was heaven.  YUM!

My Final Thoughts:

I think I’m going to pick up a jar of this the next time I see it on a grocery shelf.  My daughter, who is a nutella fan, would really enjoy this, I think!   And I’m envisioning how good this will taste on a peanut butter, banana and marshmallow cream sandwich.  Oh … goodness … just the thought of that is enough to send me to a very happy place!

I love tomatoes.  I call them my favorite “fruit” … not so much because they are technically a fruit but because my favorite vegetable is carrots, and I would have a difficult time choosing between the two if they were both deemed vegetables.

???????????????????????????????This summer, my big Costco discovery was these Symphony tomatoes (I’ve also seen a smaller “symphony” package in Chuck’s Produce, which suggests to me that you might be able to find them elsewhere as well.)  They are an eye catching array of colorful cherry sized tomatoes – with colors such as chocolate brown, white (which looks like a “greenish” white), green, orange, and the familiar red.  Most of the tomatoes are roundish in shape, but some are “Roma” tomato shape.

To make my tomato salad, I start with a colander full of these tomatoes with all the blossoms removed and the tomatoes washed thoroughly.  Then I cut them.  Most of the round tomatoes I cut in half, but some of the larger round tomatoes I cut into fourths … basically, I cut the tomatoes into bite size pieces.

???????????????????????????????Then I season with Kosher salt and ground pepper.  If I happen to have it on hand, I will substitute the Kosher salt with a gourmet salt from Woody’s Gourmet.  (My personal favorite is the Black Truffle & Fresh Thyme Sea Salt)

Then I reach for my bottle of Smoky Bacon flavored Grapeseed Oil from Wildtree.  This is the MAGIC product in this salad, because it adds such a delightful flavor.  The bacon flavor is not an overpowering flavor, and I might like this even better if the bacon flavor was more pronounced (Bacon is a lot like chocolate in that more bacon = better.)  The bacon is best tasted when you taste the oil on it’s own, but, I still taste the bacon flavor when I make this tomato salad, and  love the way the smoky bacon and tomato flavors meld.

Note:  If you really want to focus on the bacon flavors, I suggest seasoning with plain Kosher salt rather than the gourmet stuff, as the extra seasoning in the gourmet sea salts tend to distract my palate.

grapeseedoil

Photo from Wildtree
Click on the pic to go there.

I have fallen in love with Grapeseed Oil because I love the taste.  I used to be very devoted to olive oil, but, I like grapeseed oil even better, and I love the Wildtree brand (and not just because one of my dear friends sells the stuff!)   The taste of the grapeseed oil is not as heavy as the olive oil, and I find this especially desirable on a salad like my tomato salad where I want to taste the tomato.

I drizzle the grapeseed oil over the seasoned tomatoes, and then I follow that with a drizzle of vinegar.  I tried this salad first using this Champagne Mimosa Vinegar from Chapparal Gardens – LOVED it – but now I use balsamic vinegar and that is good too.  The Champagne vinegar is better … but it is also kind of pricey, Then again, so is a good balsamic vinegar, but since I always have balsamic vinegar on hand … well, you get the idea, right?

After I’ve seasoned and dressed the tomatoes, I toss the tomatoes well in the mixture to make sure that all the tomatoes get some vinegar and oil and seasoning on them.  And then I eat it.  YUM!

???????????????????????????????Yeah, I told you it’s easy.  So, if it’s a little too easy for you and my recipe is leaving you asking why I bothered to write this post … let me add this:  Tomatoes are very good for you!  They are an excellent source of antioxidants and help lower cholesterol.  They are also an excellent source of vitamin C, A, K and potassium.  And they’re practically calorie free!  Now, the dressing on this salad isn’t calorie or fat free, of course, but, I suggest go sparingly with the vinegar and oil anyway and let the tomatoes be the star of the show.

You can find more yummy grapeseed oil recipes on my friend Jennifer’s blog!

My husband and I both enjoy Mexican food, and while I’ve enjoyed many of the places that we’ve visited in the past few years, I’m always on the lookout for another place to eat delicious Mexican cuisine.  So, when Living Social offers a voucher for a Mexican Restaurant that I’ve not yet tried, I am eager to buy the voucher!  Let’s eat!

When we arrived at Cha Taqueria, it was too dark to take photos (we dined outside) … I hope that Cha Taqueria doesn’t mind that I borrowed their photo from their online gallery. Please click on the pic to go there!

Location:  305 NW 21st Avenue, Portland, Oregon

Order:  I ordered the Carne Asada Tacos plate ($14) while my husband chose the Chicken Las Rancheras platter ($15).

What I Think:

OK, first of all, I have to say this … the parking for Cha Taqueria STINKS!  There is no parking lot, so the only parking is along the streets, and we drove around for 30 minutes looking for a parking place!  So, if you’re visiting Cha Taqueria, make sure that you arrive in plenty of time to ensure that you can get a parking place and still have time to eat (in other words, don’t do what we did, and start looking for a parking place an hour before the place closes!)  We were nearly too late to order, fortunately, the staff was nice and let us dine so that we would not have to return another evening.  THANK YOU Cha Taqueria for being so considerate of our parking plight!

After shaking off the annoyances of the lugubrious parking situation, we decided not to allow it to taint our dining experience since the staff was so pleasant and kind.  We sat outside – it was a lovely evening! – and placed our order.

Instead of the customary chips and salsa that most Mexican restaurants serve before the meal, we were brought a platter of chips topped with melted cheese and beans.  This was absolutely delicious, and really put us in the right mood for the yummy food that would follow.

Our food arrived surprisingly fast.  The Carne Asada plate was comprised of two soft corn tortilla Carne Asada tacos and black beans.  The steak strips were incredibly tender, it seemed to melt in my mouth!  The flavor of the taco was balanced out with a light squeeze of the lime garnish, this gave it just the right acidic touch to brighten up the flavor of the taco – the meat was succulent and tender, the vegetables were crisp and the salsa provided was SPICY … be sure to use this sparingly!  My husband gave me a bite of his Chicken Enchilada and the chicken was even more tender than the flat iron steak in my Carne Asada Tacos.   Absolutely delicious!

My Final Thoughts:

My husband and I both really enjoyed our meal at Chai Taqueria and I daresay that we’d be happy to visit again … but next time we will be mindful of the parking situation!  The food was absolutely vibrant, tasted so fresh and delicious!

Cha Taqueria on Urbanspoon

When I saw My Brother’s Crawfish offering a voucher on Living Social – I jumped on it!  I love shellfish, but, as I’ve lived exclusively near the West Coast, I can’t say that crawfish is something with which I’ve had a lot of experience.  Read:  I’ve never had crawfish before.  I was eager to try this Louisiana favorite.

Crawfish Boil

Location:  8220 SE Harrison Street, Portland, Oregon

Order:  I ordered a Crawfish Boil, of course!  (Market Price on the day we visited was $9)  I also ordered a few add-ons:  Corn on the Cob, Mushrooms and a french roll.

What I Think:

The restaurant is very small with dark walls that made it seemed more closed in than it probably was.  The decor is distinctly New Orleans, with an emphasis on a Mardi Gras theme.  One thing that kind of caught my eye in particular were the birds on the wall, mostly because I’m a Portlandia fan, and whenever I see bird decor now I think back to the skit they did “Put a bird on it.”  Hilarious!

Before visiting any restaurant, I like to visit their website, if they have one, and check out their menu, and get an idea of what I’d like to order.  Before visiting My Brother’s Crawfish, I had pretty much decided that I’d like to try the Crawfish Etoufee as this is a dish that I have never experienced before, but something that I’ve always wanted to try.

However, on the occasion when we visited this restaurant, the Etoufee was not available, so I went with the Crawfish Boil, and I’m really glad I did.  A huge bowl of Crawfish was brought to the table, and inside the bowl was a couple of halved cobs of corn and about a dozen mushrooms.

I chose the mild spice, and it is spicy, but fortunately as the name “mild” would suggest, its not overly so.  But, for those who tend to shy from spicy, they might want something even more mild than the mild spice, because the heat does slowly creep up on you, and by the time I was finishing off my last crawfish and mushrooms, my mouth was pretty warm.

Chicken Strips and French Fries

The best part of the meal?  I loved the mushrooms!  They cooked up in the spicy boil liquid, absorbing the flavors of the crawfish and the spice.  YUM!  Also good was the french roll, because I used it to soak up the liquid and that was pretty darned tasty.

For those of you who haven’t had crawfish before, they look and taste a lot like mini lobsters.  They’re a little chewier though, as I tend to associate lobster with a buttery texture, these crawfish didn’t have that texture.  I felt a little out of place eating the crawfish, because I’m sure there’s an art to it, and I fumbled my way around the shells, trying to break into them to reach the tasty meat.

However, despite my bungling with the crawfish, they were still very delicious.  The corn on the cob was juicy and tender, and overall, I found this to be a very enjoyable meal.

However, I doubt we’ll be returning, mostly because my husband was less impressed.  He ordered the Chicken Strips and French Fries ($10) and this just wasn’t to his liking at all.  The Chicken Strips were not very crispy, and they had an unusual breading that he didn’t find very appealing.

My Final Thoughts:

If you’re going to My Brother’s Crawfish, do yourself a favor and go for the crawfish!  They’re delicious!  I probably won’t be returning to this establishment for the reason I mentioned above, but, even though I won’t be returning, I still really enjoyed what I ate.

My Brother's Crawfish on Urbanspoon

When I found this restaurant on Living Social, I was quick to purchase the voucher.  I think I was most enchanted by the name.  I consider myself to be somewhat eccentric or odd (my family just calls me “weird”), and I like it when some place embraces their uniqueness.  So, I was very intrigued by the name, not to mention by the fact that Eclectic Kitchen boasts a “Local – Seasonal – Comfort Food” type of menu.

The #2 Scramble

Location:  4936 NE Fremont Street, Portland, Oregon

Order:  I ordered the #2 Scramble (Bacon, Red Pepper, Caramelized Onion, Sun Dried Tomato & Gorgonzola – $8.50) while my husband ordered the “Big Breakfast ($9.50)

What I Think:

The atmosphere at Eclectic Kitchen is a very homey one, in fact, it appears that it plays “home away from home” to a child or children on a regular basis with a corner set up with toys and the artwork on the walls appearing to be created by a young artist.  The walls are painted a bright, cheerful yellow, and maybe it was just me and my interpretation and consideration of the name of the establishment, but it felt very eclectic.

The water and coffee self-service station

I was kind of surprised by their self-service water and coffee station.   I don’t think I’ve been in a restaurant that has no real drink service … one either served themselves water or coffee, or grabbed a cold soda from the refrigerator located next to the cash register.  The only drinks that appeared to be “served” were fancy, latte style coffees or teas.

I didn’t let this lack of drink service dampen my excitement for this restaurant though, I didn’t mind getting my own water, as that is what we wanted to drink anyway.  I still looked forward to some local comfort food.

Unfortunately, much of the meal was somewhat disappointing.

My husband’s poached eggs were woefully overcooked (he likes a runny yoke, and this one looked almost fully congealed), the potatoes that were on both our plates were about barely warm, and my husband mentioned that his second piece of french toast had an almost meat-like taste to it that he found unpleasant.

In fact, the only bit of food that had any redeeming quality at all as far as my husband was concerned was the biscuits which were really good.

The Big Breakfast

My experience at the Eclectic Kitchen was a little better than my husband’s.  I, too, really enjoyed the biscuits, and especially tasty was the biscuits and gravy which came with my husband’s big breakfast platter.  I would have been happier, I think, had I ordered just a platter of biscuits and gravy.  The biscuits are tender, flaky and buttery.  Like something gramma would have made.  And the gravy was rich and thick and had a certain spiciness to it.  These biscuits were indeed something I’d call “comfort food.”

My scramble was alright, but it wasn’t anything I’d rush back to the establishment to eat again.  The eggs were cooked well enough, and I enjoyed the filling.  But, it wasn’t exceptional or really very memorable in any way.  It was just “OK” – not great, but not bad either.  I did enjoy the bacon, which my husband offered me off his plate because it was a little overcooked for his taste (I like my bacon crispy and he likes it a bit on the chewy side).

The potatoes were not really all that enjoyable, although they did have promise.  They had a nice amount of spice to them, but I think they would have been better if they were served at a warmer temperature and maybe if they had some crispy edges to them.  They were very tender, and cooked through, but, they tasted as though they were prepared earlier in the morning, and put on a steam table or something to keep warm, and the steam table wasn’t turned to the right temperature … resulting in lukewarm potatoes.

My Final Thoughts:

Unfortunately, with the biscuits being the only thing worth talking about, this is a place I won’t return to again.