Friday, May 27, 2016

Popcorn Factory Popcorn

ZOMG, popcorn.  Yes, I have a problem with popcorn.  I'm obsessed, and I freely admit it.  It is my favorite of all snack foods.  But ... I don't actually really like standard microwave butter popcorn.  Or even movie theater popcorn.  

No, this doesn't mean that I like high brow popcorn, just, that I like it savory or sweet, with interesting flavors.  (And, strangely, I usually like it frozen.  Seriously.  Try it sometime, particularly caramel corn.  It gets even crispier!  And it lasts forever!)
Peek-A-Boo Snowman Popcorn Tin, 3.5 Gallon, 3-Flavor.  $39.
So, you know that time of year, when people get those popcorn tins from clients?  The ones they groan about, and bring to the office, and hope someone else will eat it?

That happens to be my favorite time of year.  (And not just for the popcorn tins!)

Every year, without fail, a few of these wind up around our office.  This year, one tin was from Popcorn Factory, as it has been in past years, but I never bothered write up a review before.

This time, I finally snapped a pic.  Behold: the tin!

Popcorn Factory is an online retailer of popcorn tins, gift baskets, and the like.  Generally used for corporate gifting, last minute Father's day gifts, etc.  They offer all your classic savory popcorns (butter, cheese, white cheddar, etc) and sweet (caramel, kettle, etc), but also like 30 other flavors including the fascinating sounding fruit flavors like sour green apple (also, um, its bright green!), crazy combos like butter toffee almond with pretzels, and a birthday flavor with sugar drizzle and rainbow sprinkles that I really really want to try.

Of course, no one sends the fun flavors, they stick with the classics, so that is what I was able to try.

Cheese Popcorn / Caramel Popcorn / Butter Popcorn.
Inside the tin was 3 varieties, all divided by a cardboard insert: cheese, caramel, and butter.  All you folks who actually like butter popcorn can have that one, while the savory cheese one and the sweet caramel corn can be mine, all mine!

The tin is also available in a 4 flavor version, with the addition of white cheddar popcorn.

My reviews, in order of preference (least to best):

Butter Popcorn: "The popcorn classic with freshly popped kernels and buttery deliciousness."
I tried it, just for trying it sake, but, well, yes, it was just butter popcorn.  Not fresh, not hot, why on earth would I ever want this?  I left it all for the rest of you, who seemed to devour it.  No one else touched the ones I kept returning for.

Caramel Popcorn: "Super crunchy and super delicious, one of our most popular popcorn recipes."
I fully expected the caramel popcorn to be my favorite.  And I did like it, I easily polished off the rest of the tin.  Each and every kernel was very well coated in caramel.  It was crispy.  Nice buttery caramel flavor, not the burnt caramel flavor you sometimes get.  Good, sweet, satisfying.  But the best was yet to come.

Cheese Popcorn: "A must for any popcorn fan. When you think of cheese popcorn, this is it!"
Huzzah!  Now this, this was amazing.  Like the others, the kernels were perfectly coated, no kernel left behind untouched.  It was so cheesy, in that fake cheese that you-know-you-love way.  It coated my fingers and left them orange.  You can bet I licked them clean.  I loved this.  It mixed nicely with the caramel corn for a sweet and savory combo, but really, it was just fantastic on its own.  I wasn't even tempted to freeze this one!
Read More...

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Tartine Bakery

Update Review, April 2016

Morning Bun.  $4.20.
"Cinnamon sugar, candied orange."

Ah, the famous Tartine morning bun.  I've had a few of these in my life, to mixed success. I haven't ever disliked them, but haven't necessarily understood the hype.

This time was no different.  It was very, very crispy on the outside, but not in that nice caramelized way.  One edge, the left side here, was actually really burnt and dried out.

The entire thing did have a nice sugar coating, and the dough was decent, but, it certainly wasn't magical in any way.  It also did finally taste like orange, something I always noted before that was lacking (but, actually, I prefer to not taste the orange ...).

So, it was fine, and I'd eat another if it showed up, but, I wouldn't seek this out.  I still really want to try their bread pudding though!

Two years ago, I published my original Tartine review, and, a morning bun was $3.85.  I guess, inflation?

Original Review, March 2014

If you live in San Francisco, and have any friends who reside anywhere near the Mission, you've inevitably been to Tartine.  Or seen the lines on a weekend morning.  Or at least had someone enthusiastically show up at a party with some of their goods.  It is definitely an institution.  Even my mom, who lives in New Hampshire, called me up one day asking me if I'd been, as she read something about it somewhere.

I don't live in the Mission, I don't go there often these days, and quite honestly I don't get the Tartine hype.  I much prefer getting bread from Acme, and while the croissants are indeed pretty awesome at Tartine, the other things I've tried (particularly the cookies), haven't been all that memorable, and there are plenty of other places to get good baked goods in the city.  That said, they do have an absolutely incredible sounding banana cream tart, with caramel and chocolate layers, that I really, really want to try sometime.  If you are looking for a way to bribe me for any reason, please bring me a slice of that :)

Pastries

Morning Bun.  $3.85.
This is perhaps Tartine's most famous treat.  Made with croissant dough, and loaded up with butter, sugar, cinnamon, and some subtle orange flavor.  It is crispy on the outside, doughy on the inside, and ridiculously sweet.  And delicious.  Apparently even better if you get it fresh out of the oven in the morning.  Famous, and hyped, for a reason.

Update: I love all the cinnamon and sugar and the crunchy exterior, but the inside is not as moist as I recall, and I don’t really taste the orange (not that I want to).  It didn't live up to my memory, but it was still a nice sugary treat.
Pain au jambon, $4.95.
This photo shows less than half of one. These things are massive-tastic.  The croissant dough is flaky, crispy, buttery, and perfectly browned. Filled with ham and gruyere.  High price, but it is basically a meal :)  My favorite of their goods.

Previous tasting notes: [ The gruyere in here is just so good.  And it combines perfectly with ham.  And damn, they really just do make the best croissants. ] [ This thing is even more amazing if you warm it up in a toaster oven.  The cheese gets so melty, and the layers of croissant dough get a bit moist.  Absolutely amazingly delicious. ]
Frangipane Croissant. $4.50.
This was my least favorite, by far.  I'm not sure if you can see in the picture, but it was sadly burnt.  I hoped it wouldn't effect the taste, but it did.  I tasted ... soot, and it was fairly dry.

That said, it was the same buttery, delicious croissant dough, and was filled with frangipane and sliced almonds, topped with more sliced almonds and powdered sugar.  If it hadn't been over-cooked, it would have been quite good.

Like all of their pastries, it was hugetastic.

Update review (June 2015):
I had another of these when someone brought in a bunch to work.  It too looked burnt, and I was initially put off.  But, I came around to it. I think this must just be Tartine style.

Yes, it was very crispy.  It leaned almost too far in the burnt category, but managed to stay on the caramelized and crispy side of the scale instead.  I loved the crispy actually.  Inside was dense and obviously very buttery, but not quite as flaky as I was expecting.

The almond frangipane filling wasn't very generous either.

So, hard to call it amazing, when there are plenty of things I criticize about it, but, the quality of the croissant dough is certainly there.

[ No Photo ]
Croissant. $4.20. 

Buttery, flaky, delicious.  Crispy on the outside, moist on the inside.  Definitely one of the best croissants I've ever had, but pricy at $4.20 each.  This is the same base that they use for the other filled varieties.

Update: Very textbook croissant, large size, easy to split with someone, incredibly flaky exterior.  Quiet messy, as flakes get everywhere!  But a bit boring to just eat plain.  I’d want jam with it, or I prefer the almond or chocolate ones.

Cakes

Passion Fruit Lime Bavarian.
    • Passion Fruit Lime Bavarian. “Lime-moistened genoise with passion fruit Bavarian. Topped with sweetened cream and coconut. "  Tasting notes: Light and fluffy genoise, but pretty boring as a cake layer, and I didn’t taste the lime.  The cream was intensely passion fruit flavored, but far more tart than I was expecting, not sweet at all.  Perhaps some of the lime in the cake is what I was tasting here?  The outside had sweetened whipped cream and coconut flakes, both things I like, but the whipped cream was very masked by the strong flavors of the passionfruit, and the coconut flakes were not toasted.
    • Tres Leches Cake, $5.50 slice. "Sweet coconut milk moistened chiffon, layered with cajeta and crema".  Tasting notes: A friend brought this to a party.  It did not look like anything special, not like something from a professional bakery, and certainly not from somewhere as famous as Tartine.  Many people kept asking if she had made it.  While it didn't win any beauty awards, it was obvious fairly quickly upon tasting it that this was not just a home cook's little cake.  First, it was unlike any tres leches cake I've ever had.  The bottom crust seemed to be made from their croissant dough?  The layers were moist and flavorful, with pastry cream in between them, and topped with whipped cream.  It somehow wasn't too sweet.  A nicely made cake, but the flaky croissant-like crust is really what made it something special.

Other Baked Goods

Lemon Cream Tart.  $6.75.
“Sweet pastry shell filled with rich lemon cream, topped with unsweetened cream”.  

Standard tart shell, hard style, not particularly interesting.  The filling was very tart, and lemon, which is not ever something that I like.  The whipped cream was not sweetened, quite rare, and so it tasted like … cream.  Fluffy cream.  Nothing wrong with that!

Definitely not something I care for, and the $6.75 price tag seemed high for a small individual size tart.
Currant Buttermilk Scone, $3.25.
Clearly, this photo was taken after I'd already dug in.  Whoops.  Good enough, but nothing amazing, hard style. Rolled in giant sugar crystals.

Previous tasting notes:  I really liked the buttermilk tang to it.  Did not hold up at all to a second day, got very soggy. I don't blame them though, no scones really keep!

[ No Photo ]
Gougère, $3.50: 

This was HUGE!  Decent flaky dough, decent cheese inside, but somehow just not that interesting overall.  Not bad, but not great.

Update: Very light and airy, cheesy, not bad.

Cookies

    • Coco Nib Rocher, $0.75.  Basically a meringue filled with cocoa nibs.  Nice crunch from nibs, very nice cloudlike consistency, a little too sweet.  Not really my thing.  Good price though.
    • Mexican Wedding Cookie, $0.85.  Covered in powdered sugar.  Not my thing, but another good price.
    • Toasted Almond Rocher, $0.75. Sweet, really nice almond, better than nib version, favorite of the cookies I've tried.
Tartine Bakery on Urbanspoon
Read More...

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Waffle Iron Cooking: Quesadillas

I adore my waffle iron.  I use it to "cook" most meals.  As you know, my love of the waffle iron started with realizing it is the perfect way to re-heat so many things, as I've shared with you in my waffling leftovers series (what? You haven't read those?  Drop everything, and go read about waffling leftovers first, it will change your world!)

But I've advanced past just waffling leftovers.  Now, I create from scratch in my waffle iron too.  Last week, I shared how to make french toast in the waffle iron.  This week?  Quesadillas.

Quesadillas: Will if waffle?  Yup, easily, but, this one is subject to personal opinion.
Assembled Quesadilla.
Instructions for assembly are pretty simple.

Take a flour tortilla.  Put shredded cheese and whatever else you want inside (I used steak chunks in one, rotisserie chicken in another, and random veggies in another.  This is a great way to use up leftovers!)  Top with another flour tortilla.  Simple.

You could then take your quesadilla and cook it in any number of ways.  When I was a kid, I'd throw them in the microwave.  Slightly more advanced is baking in the oven or toaster oven.  In a pan on the stove top also works.  As does a panini press or grill.  Or, um, a waffle iron.
Waffled Quesadilla!
The cooking was simple too.

I slid it into the waffle iron, at 350° (a random choice, it just happened to be the previous setting), and cooked for about 5 minutes.  It got lovely waffle marks on it and was easy to remove from the waffle iron (unlike so many other creations!)

It was also super easy to cut into the requisite triangles, since the iron marks already divided it into quadrants.

I thought the waffle method of preparation was great.  It was cute, and I liked having the slightly soft areas and crispy bits where the iron touched, but Ojan was not a fan.  He said it was fine actually, but, not a quesadilla, and he wanted a quesadilla.  Since I could only fit one in the waffle iron at a time, I also put one on the George Foreman grill at the same time.  That one came out crispier since more surface area of the tortilla touched the grill, and he was much happier with it.  (I do wonder if I'd cranked up the heat more if this would have gotten crispier ...  but, I guess it will always have the problem of not having every surface touch the iron, so, if you want all crispy, you won't get it with a waffle iron).

So, super simple, I thought it worked, but, to each their own ...
Read More...

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Qantas Business Class Lounge, Sydney

Update Review, February 2016

Last week, I updated my review of the First Class Qantas lounge in Sydney, hands down, my favorite airline lounge.  Go there, read about the phenomenal food and massages, and then return here as as comparison point.

I've also reviewed the business class lounge before, so feel free to start there, and then return here for a quick 2016 update.

After we had our delicious main dishes, it was time for Ojan’s massage, and I had a half hour to explore before mine.  I wandered over to the business class lounge, just to take a peak (ok, who are we kidding, of course I was going for the food!)  As always, the staff noted my status and let me know that I really would be more comfortable over in the First Class lounge.  I told them I just wanted to check it out, and I was welcomed in.

The business lounge was much, much more crowded, a very different feel than the calm, serene First Class lounge.  I immediately understood why they warned me.
Salad Buffet (Business Lounge).
In the business class side, there is one “dish of the day”, and beyond that, the food is served at a buffet, a stark contrast to the full restaurant in the First Class lounge.

The buffet had one hot entree with sides (chicken, potatoes, carrots), a hot soup, and a selection of salads.  I recalled the salads being great before, so I went for them again.  And ... they were great!

From right:
 “Edamame vegetables”
The big bowl was the not-very-descriptively named  “Edamame vegetables”, which was actually delicious.  Now, I don’t care for edamame, but the sliced radishes and carrots were crunchy and refreshing.  I loved the dressing, and the crunch from the sunflower seeds.  Really, an excellent salad.

“Salt baked beetroot”
I didn’t try the beets, since I don’t really like beets, but, I know my mom would have liked this.  I almost tried them in her honor, but, I knew I should save my stomach space.

“Roasted sweet potato”
The roasted sweet potato wedges were quite nice, really nicely roasted and slightly caramelized.  I was hoping the white stuff on them would be an aioli of sorts, but, it was more like a tart yogurt.

“Rocket leaves”
I skipped the simple rocket (arugula).

“Tomato, feta, and basil”
Since I wanted one last taste of summer, I went for the tomato salad.  The tomatoes were delicious!  Ahh, summer.  I liked the slight saltiness and creaminess from the feta too.

Overall, the salads were excellent, and I have to say, I could have been quite happy just making a big, healthy meal of these.  But of course, I had the fish burger, pasta, and sashimi already, and had my eyes on dessert next …
 Baked Lemon Cheesecake, Raspberry Lamington (Business Lounge).
The dessert selection in the buffet had cheesecake, lamingtons, and flourless chocolate brownies.  Of course I planned to go back to order a plated dessert in the First Class lounge, but … cheesecake!  I couldn't resist the smallest slice.

I’m so glad I took a slice, as it was really, really good.  Creamy cheesecake, with just a hint of lemon.  The crust was buttery, sugary, and really good.

I wasn’t remotely hungry, but then … this cheesecake happened.  I was powerless.  Devoured.
Gelato & Sorbet (Business Lounge).
At that point, since I was already stuffed and clearly in “eat all the things!” mode, I swung by the gelato and sorbet stand.  Just to “look”.  The sorbet choices were strawberry, pink grapefruit, and pineapple.  For gelato, green apple, coffee, and panna cotta.  It was hopeless.  Of course I needed the panna cotta gelato.  I mean, my blog has a label for panna cotta, and another for ice cream.  I love these items, and combined together? I had to try.

It was really quite good, the flavor a bit hard to describe, sorta ... buttermilky?  It was a smooth, creamy gelato.  I really enjoyed it.

Also near the gelato area was a barista bar with soft, fluffy marshmallows and white chocolate disks (both delicious) and candy jars full of layered licorice.

On a sugar high, and absolutely stuffed, I headed back to the First Class lounge for my massage, and then to meet Ojan for … more dessert.  Mission accomplished.

Original Review, February 2015

Ahh, the Sydney Qantas lounges.  As you read about last week, I really, really enjoyed my time in the Qantas First Class lounge.  If you ever have the opportunity, I highly recommend spending as much time there as you possibly can.  The food is better than most restaurants in Sydney itself, the spa actually offers real massages, the seating is comfortable, the staff is friendly ... my accolades can go on and on.

But of course, I'm a curious girl, so after having lunch in the First Class lounge, I needed to go on a journey to check out the business class side, just to compare.  I didn't spend all that much time in the business lounge though, so this is mostly just a photo tour with a slight narrative, for informational purposes, rather than an in-depth review.

Overall, it is a nice lounge for sure, although not nearly as premium as in the First Class lounge.  The salads in the buffet were particularly impressive, and, just like the First Class lounge, compared to the Qantas Business Lounge in LAX, the Sydney one is a league above.

Seating

Lounge Style Seating.
The seating was not nearly as plush nor fabulous as the First Class area, but was still comfortable.
Workstations.
Apparently some strange creatures exist who travel without computers, so there is a row of workstations set up, overlooking the runways.
Long Bar.
The center of the room contains a long bar with seating all along it, plus a barista station, where they make fancy hot chocolate, using real chocolate, garnished with fancy marshmallows.
Gelato!
Right next to the barista station is ... a gelato shop!  Yes, seriously.  I obviously would have gone for this, except I was planning to return to the First Class area to order at least one, if not two, desserts from the restaurant there, so I had to use restraint.  The placement next to the barista however is perfect for an affagado, a trick I discovered with glee in the British Airways Galleries lounge at Heathrow.
Meringues.
The bar also had meringues set out, but they were the hard style, and not something I've ever tempted by, even when I'm not anticipating other desserts.  One point for me resisting a dessert!
Spa Water.
The very far end of the bar houses spa water, self-serve, which I really appreciated.  Hydration during travel is very important.
Self-Serve Beverages.
For other sorts of hydration, a self-serve beverage station is at one end of the room, with several beers on tap, a handful of wines and spirits, and a soda machine.

The alcohol selection here was obviously greatly reduced from the rather impressive full bar and nice wine list in the First Lounge, but even just the soft drink selection was lower quality, with a soda machine rather than individual bottles, and no sparkling water.  The horrors.
Hot Drinks.
A robot coffee machine and tea selection completed the drink offerings.  The decaf coffee was pretty decent, the machine ground it to order, but of course, you could order from the barista with the full espresso machine too.

The tea selection, like the drink selection, was again lower-tier, here they just had Dilmah brand tea, and not a large assortment, whereas in the First Class lounge they had T2 tea, our Australian favorite.
Assorted Composed Salads.
Next came the food. The salad line-up was impressive, with 8 salads, fresh and not limp looking, with all sorts of interesting ingredients.  This really put the basic potato salad and brown lettuce from the Qantas Business Lounge in LA to shame.  Also, unlike the LAX lounge, everything here was clearly labelled.  The salad lineup:
  • Rocket and parmesan
  • Bean salad dressed in hazelnut and orange
  • Poached chicken pasta salad with olive tapenade
  • Cos lettuce with proscuitto
  • Panzanella with mozzarella
  • Beetroot and mint with cherry dressing
  • Potato, pea, and egg with cashew pesto
  • Spinach, feta and quinoa
  • Roasted pumpkin with chickpeas and preserved lemon
I had just eaten a full, wonderful lunch in the First Class lounge, but I couldn't resist trying a few things.  The beauty of buffets is that I could try just a bite!

I started with the panzenella.  I love panzenella, which is funny because I don't really like bread that much.  But make bread soggy, or turn it into bread pudding, and I'm sold!

The panzenella was quite good, perfectly soggy bread that soaked up all the tomato juices, plus fresh, ripe tomato, and quality mozzarella.  It was nicely seasoned too.  If I was looking for some food, I would have been quite happy with this.

I also had proscuitto and cheese from the cos salad, and it was salty and tasty, again, good quality, and really satisfying for lounge food.
Desserts! Fruit salad, flourless chocolate cake, lamingtons.
And of course, there were desserts.  I know, I know, I was just saying that there was dessert waiting for me next door in the First Class lounge, but ... dessert!  I had to try something.  I don't care for lamingtons and the fruit salad contained watermelon, so it was an easy choice: chocolate cake!

It was a decent flourless chocolate cake, very rich, very fudgy, particularly the top layer.  But chocolate-loving Ojan wasn't very impressed.
Hot Foods, Soup.
The hot dishes of the day were Hungarian beef goulash and butter and herb pasta.  The soup of the day was potato and garlic, with crusty rolls on the side.

We didn't try any of this, but I saw a number of people with big bowls of goulash, who really did look quite happy.

Bathrooms

Bathroom.
I poked my head into the shower suites, just to see.  They had a sink, large counter, and toilet, along with a rainfall shower.
Shower.
Just like in the First Lounge, they provided Aspar products
Read More...

Monday, May 23, 2016

Juice Shop

Juice Shop is one of many juice shops that has sprung up all over San Francisco, with several locations.  As a frugal gal, I'm certainly not one to go around spending $10 on a juice, so I haven't really been into this trend.  Also, um, as you can likely tell, I'm much more into baked goods than I am fruits and vegetables.

Anyway, I recently attended an event sponsored by Juice Shop, and then several other events that served the juices, so I got to finally see what all the fuss is about.  You can find these juices at Juice Shop's several locations around town (and they also seem to also run a pretty large delivery program).

I'm guessing the delivery program is mostly for folks doing full cleanses, ranging from the "Beginner Cleanse" to the "Advanced Cleanse", all consisting of about 6 juices and 2 elixirs, for $61 per day.  My mind is still blown that people actually do this, not only for the expense, but also, really, just drinking juice?  I can't imagine feeling remotely satisfied.

But anyway.  On to the juices!
Juices!

Cold Pressed Raw Juice

The juices are all raw, unpasteurized, and cold-pressed, meaning they must be kept refrigerated, and have a very short shelf life (3 days max).  They come in beautiful 16 ounce glass bottles (for which you also pay an additional $2 deposit).  The bottles really are lovely.

The cheapest juices are $8, such as the simple coconut water or lemon-aid.  Most are $9-10, blends of different greens (celery, cucumber, romaine, kale, spinach, parsley, sprouts, dandelion greens), citrus (lemon), roots (ginger), fruits (apples, pineapple, grapefruit, pears, strawberries, bananas), and other vegetables (carrots, beets).  Plus some seeds (hemp, chia, flax, pumpkin) and spices (turmeric, salt, vanilla).  Oh, and some mix in extras like algae.  The most expensive option is the nut milk.

Each blend is designed with a specific purpose, such as improving liver function, oxygenation, digestion, or even your body's pH.  I decided to pick solely based on what sounded the most likely to taste good, not for its additional benefits.
Pineapple Pear Chia: Pineapple / Pear / Filtered Water / Chia Seed. $9 + deposit. (2015)
"This juice has a large spectrum of powerful qualities. In a nutshell: Pineapple contains bromelain, an anti-inflammatory digestive enzyme. Nutrient-dense chia seeds, rich in omega-3 fatty acids and absorbable protein, clean you out and keep you regular. And because they can absorb up to 30 times its weight in water, chia seeds are a natural stamina enhancer, acting as a time-release of sustained energy and hydration."

Ingredients: pineapple*, pear*, filtered water, chia seed*

I started with the pineapple pear chia.  While I've never been one for chia seeds, pineapple seemed like one of the more friendly options, since most of the others were loaded with greens and vegetables.  The whole drinking your vegetables thing hasn't ever struck me as something I'd like to do, so I wanted to stick more fruit based.  I'm new to this.

It really was a good juice.  The pineapple was sweet and a bit refreshing.  The pear surprised me, it sorta seemed like sophisticated apple juice, if that makes any sense.  The two fruits were actually really well balanced, no one dominating.  It was a bit crazy how one moment I could really taste pineapple, and another, pear, depending on how I focused.

The chia seeds were a shocker.  I really didn't think I'd like them.  But the soft texture was almost like having boba in my drink.  I had to keep putting the lid on and shaking though, as they settled down to the bottom basically immediately.  This definitely should have been consumed with a straw.

Overall, much better than I expected, and actually pretty enjoyable, although a bit too sweet for me.  I'd never pay $9 for it, but I'm glad I got to try it.
Citrus Gold: Orange / Carrot / Grapefruit / Turmeric. $9 + deposit. (2015)
"A combination of citrus fruit and turmeric root, this tangy formula is exceptionally high in vitamin C and anti-inflammatory properties. Both the carrot and grapefruit provides a strong detoxifying effect on the body, and collectively the ingredients raise the whole body's immunity response."

Next I got a bit adventurous with the Citrus Gold.  I was really curious how the citrus fruit would balance out the carrot, and actually, I really randomly decide that I love carrot juice sometimes (usually when I'm not feeling well).

This was also really good juice, but again the flavor so complex it is hard to describe.  The citrus was strong for sure, particularly the tart acidic nature of the grapefruit.  But the carrot was also there.  It was rather refreshing, and definitely not too sweet.  I was shocked when I looked down to realize that I had consumed half the bottle in literally a few seconds.  Whoops!

Citrus Gold. $9. (2016)
Ingredients: orange*, carrot*, grapefruit*, turmeric*

I'm not convinced this was actually Citrus Gold.  It tasted like plain orange juice to me, although  a bit more bitter, which I guess could have been the grapefruit.  And I've had the Citrus Gold before, and I tasted carrot then.  I did not taste carrot this time.

It also was a darker, more orange color this time.



Anyway, this tasted like fresh squeezed orange juice.  Excellent juice, but I really didn't detect the carrot.  Not sure if somehow I got a plain orange juice?  But they don't even make plain orange juice?  So confused.
Beta Beet. $9. (2016)
Ingredients: celery*, carrot*, beets*, ginger*, lemon*

I was feeling ... healthy.  Or something.  I'm honestly not quite sure what got into me.  I actually had a box of fresh donuts sitting a few feet away, and instead, I wanted ... juice?  I think I'd been over doing it on sweets and carbs and my body knew it.  So, when I had the option to grab some juice, I did.

This juice totally matched the mood I was in.  It was fresh, clean, refreshing.  It tasted like beets.  And greens (I guess the celery?)  It tasted healthy.  Mmm, vegetables.

I can't say this is something I'd normally want, but, well, it was at the time.

Raw Smoothies

Maca Malt. $10. (2016)
Ingredients: maca*, cacao ariba*, banana*, sprouted almonds*, coconut water*, vanilla bean, himalayan salt, filtered water

This one wasn't labeled, so the first time I tried it, I actually had no idea what it was.  It looked like a mocha, or chocolate milk, so I expected something chocolately, milky, and perhaps a bit bitter from some coffee.

I was shocked when I took my first sip and tasted banana.  It was also much thicker than I anticipated, more like a milkshake.  What?!  So I looked it up, and quickly identified it as the Maca Malt.

With my expectations reset, I tried it again.  It was sorta like a thick chocolate milk, which could be a good thing, except it had a lot of banana on the finish.  I don't hate banana, but I certainly don't love it, and I just didn't really want to taste so much banana.  The banana probably did add to the thickness, which I did like, but, it was too dominant of a taste.

If it weren’t for the banana, I’d like this.  This was definitely more of a smoothie than a juice.
Almond Drink. $10. (2016)
"We believe our almond drink stands apart from the rest. Light and creamy, we simply use coconut water to avoid added sweeteners. And by sprouting our almonds, we unlock the nut's dormant nutrients."

Ingredients: raw almonds*, filtered water, coconut water*, vanilla bean, himalayan salt.

So, um, this was delicious.  "Almond drink" sounds so boring and unpretentious.  But, this was not boring.

I loved it, which really shocked me.  It was almond milk … with coconut water.  Which I know doesn’t sound like it should be good at all, but I thought it was fantastic.  It was creamy but watery enough to refreshing.  Light but satisfying.  Sweet but not too sweet.  Um, almond-y and coconut-y.  I can’t explain this, but I really liked it.

Elixirs

While the majority of the menu is the large bottles of juice, they also make a few "elixirs", small shots designed to cure what ails you.  One is just blue algae, another is a aloe and coconut water blend, and the final is designed for "Immunity", which is the one I tried. 
Immunity Shot: Ginger / Lemon / Oregano Oil / Garlic. $3 + deposit. (2015)
"This elixir is antibacterial, antifungal, anti-parasitic, and antiviral. A jolt to your immune system, the super potent combo of garlic, lemon, ginger, and oregano oil has natural antibiotic-like effects."

I saw others trying these, and the reaction on their faces was priceless.  There was choking.  Gasping.  Lunges for the nearest water bottle.  Many comments of "don't sip that!  Definitely do it as a shot!"

Still, I made the mistake of sipping it.  Woah.  A punch in the face, for sure.  I had a couple sips, as I was really trying to evaluate it, but, wow.  The description of "super potent" is right.  So much garlic.  So much ginger.  So many very strong competing flavors.  I wanted nothing to do with this.

Definitely for the hard core who believe in the effects of this stuff, not for the taste.
Click to add a blog post for Juice Shop on Zomato
Read More...