Archive for August, 2007

No candy review today – Better things!

August 31st, 2007 by Rosa

Today I am taking the train in to New York and having a Restaurant Week lunch at Cafe Boulud. Holy cow am I excited about eating there. I adore Daniel Boulud (wasn’t he the cutest on Top Chef?), and Cafe Boulud’s got three stars from the Times and one Michelin star. Daniel, one of Chef Boulud’s other restaurants, has two Michelin stars and four stars from the Times. I’ve been wanting to read the book about him working for that fourth star, but I haven’t had the chance yet. Oh well. I can still really really really enjoy lunching at his restaurant!

After lunch, I will visit Economy Candy and promptly die on the spot because I will be in candy heaven. While there, I plan to buy enough candy to at least keep me reviewing until Halloween.

Once I am ridiculously loaded down with candy purchases, I shall attempt to get lottery tickets to see Rent. If that doesn’t come through, I will pray that the box office has extra cheap seat tickets to sell, because Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp are back on stage for a limited engagement, and I’ll be damned if I miss them. I will even sleep in Central Park to try again on Saturday if they’re completely sold out. I shall also try to get my Rent movie poster signed by the original Mark and Roger. Jessie L. Martin (aka Tom Collins) has already signed it, and the addition of two more original cast members will make it even more awesome than it already is.

Category: news | No Comments »

Narbles

August 30th, 2007 by Rosa

I found these Narbles at the grocery store in the candy display near what used to be the video rental area. I had never heard of Narbles, but the bag was super cheap so I decided to give them a try.

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Narbles are like spherical jelly beans – the good kind of jelly bean, like the kind made by Starburst (BUY) where the flavor is strong and vibrant. food-blog-pictures-108.jpgNarble shells, however, are much thicker than those of jelly beans, and I found it a hair too thick to make chewing easy. The chewy jelly insides also dissolve easily, unlike jelly beans, which can sometimes get stuck in your teeth.

food-blog-pictures-106.jpgThe flavors are cherry (generically artificial cherry taste), grape (a strong artificial grape lollipop/popsicle flavor), orange (a strong sweetness that could have used more of a citrus tang), lemon (way too sweet and barely any lemon taste), and apple (also way too sweet and with hardly any discernible green apple taste). The cherry ones are actually red, by the way; for some reason they showed up pink in the photo.

Narbles are pleasant enough. They’re intensely sugary, so they’re not terribly addictive. If Starburst jelly beans didn’t exist in the world, I’d gladly eat these instead.

Category: jelly candy, OM, review | No Comments »

Chocolate and Strawberry Cow Tale

August 29th, 2007 by Rosa

I’ve had the regular Goetze’s caramel creams (BUY) before, and I liked them, but I found the weird texture of the caramel to be somewhat off-putting. The Chocolate and Strawberry Cow Tales also suffered, and in the Cow Tales, the weird texture became an insurmountable hurdle, possibly because the caramel to cream ratio is different.

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food-blog-pictures-145.jpgThe Chocolate Cow Tale isn’t very chocolatey in taste or smell. It reminded me of a bland Tootsie Roll. The bland chewiness of the Cow Tale descended into near waxiness after a while. Not exactly a pleasant experience. The cream in the center is the same as that of the caramel creams – a sweet cream taste with an oddly pasty, almost grainy texture. My description didn’t make the cream sound very appetizing, but it’s actually addictively tasty, especially when it comes in a good sized portion in the caramel creams.

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food-blog-pictures-146.jpgI had high hopes for the Strawberry Cow Tale. Upon unwrapping it, I immediately noticed the strong, sweet smell of artificial strawberry. Unfortunately, it did not taste nearly as fruity as it smelled and suffered from the same issues that plagued its chocolate counterpart.

I wonder if these guys taste better in their caramel cream form, where the caramel and the cream parts are much more substantial. Sadly, the dimensions and proportions of the Cow Tales just didn’t work for me.

Category: caramel, chewy, chocolate, O, received as gift, review | 1 Comment »

Charleston Chew Vanilla

August 28th, 2007 by Rosa

I’ve seen Charleston Chews (BUY) around grocery stores before, but only in big bags. I couldn’t figure out exactly what they were from the packaging, so I wasn’t ready to commit to buying a whole bag. Fortunately, I found this lone… bar? rod? roll?… version to try.

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The Charleston Chew is a roll of vanilla nougat (the Tootsie Roll website says that they also come in chocolate and strawberry) covered in food-blog-pictures-148.jpga thin layer of chocolate. The chocolate coating smelled of cheap, mass produced chocolate and tasted like it too. Then again, there’s something to be said for cheap, mass produced chocolate. Sometimes it can be transporting, like Proust’s madeleine. And from the retro look of the packaging, it seems that the Charleston Chew is dependent upon its ability to bring people back to their childhoods.

food-blog-pictures-147.jpgAll in all, it’s not a bad bar. The vanilla nougat is soft and yielding, with a manageable amount of sticks-to-your-teeth-ness. Alas, I left the rest of this at home, so I will not be able to try the frozen version. If I could find the single rolls in chocolate and strawberry, I’d buy them to try them, but I wouldn’t bother buying an entire box or bag of them.

Category: chewy, chocolate, nougat, OM, review, Tootsie Roll | No Comments »

3 Musketeers Mint with dark chocolate

August 27th, 2007 by Rosa

I remember buying regular 3 Musketeers bars (BUY) out of the vending machines in high school. I’d lift off the bottom layer of chocolate, eat that flat piece, and then scoop out the nougat center, leaving me with a nice chocolate trough. 3 Musketeers were never my favorite bar, as the milk chocolate and sweet chocolate nougat gets cloying quickly, but I enjoyed them from time to time.

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The 3 Musketeers Mint with dark chocolate is a new bar from Mars. I assume it’s intended to compete with the York Peppermint Pattie. Well, York, you’ve got nothing to worry about. The 3 Musketeers Mint is nice and inoffensive, but it’s also uninspiring and unsensational.

I like the way the bar is portion controlled. It’s narrower than the normal 3 Musketeers, and it comes in two pieces for some reason. Perhaps it made for a better chocolate/mint ratio. Either way, it’s nice to easily be able to eat a single bar and save or share the second. I also like that the bar is dark chocolate because I like dark chocolate.

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The bar smells sweetly of chocolate and lightly of mint. It’s a gorgeous bar, and the shiny and artfully swirled dark chocolate coating contrasts well with the fluffy and pristinely white mint nougat. The chocolate coating is fairly sweet, but not as stick-in-your-throat sweet as that of the regular 3 Musketeers. The mint nougat has the same texture as the chocolate nougat of the regular bar. The mint taste , like the smell, is not very strong, though it does have staying power. A few minutes after I finished the bar, I could still feel a light mintiness in the back of my throat. Like the bar itself, the lingering mint taste was neither pleasant nor unpleasant.

I prefer the strong peppermint kick of the York Peppermint Pattie. The 3 Musketeers Mint is subtle and therefore a little boring. I don’t think it’ll be able to hone in on the Peppermint Pattie’s domination of the chocolate-mint market. After all, the 3 Musketeers big marketing grab is that it’s lower in fat than most chocolate bars, but the York Peppermint Pattie is similarly “healthier”. The taste of the 3 Musketeers Mint alone is simply not enough of a draw for me. An O.

Category: chocolate, Mars, mint, nougat, O, review | 1 Comment »

Candycandycandycandy! Bonus post

August 26th, 2007 by Rosa

I just spent a week volunteering as a counselor at Camp Rising Sun in Connecticut. I was a counselor for the smallest cabin of little girls, ages almost-6 to 9. It was my first summer working for CRS, and I was blown away by how much candy that gets consumed there. Our cabin of 8 girls and 6 counselors went through at least half a dozen bags of the stuff – two 5-pound bags of mixed candy, a 2-pound bag of Twizzlers, a giant variety pack of M&Ms, another variety pack of Hersheys, plus smaller bags of Smarties and gummi bears and Pull ‘N Peels… And that’s not counting the sweets from activities like cupcake decorating and movie night!

Those kids were eating candy from morning to night, and the other counselors and I happily joined them. When I helped the girls fill out their camper evaluation forms at the end of the week, one of them instructed me to put “candy” as her favorite food and “They let me eat candy before dinner” as why she thought her counselors did a good job.

I really wish I’d thought to take a picture of the table in the cabin that we covered in candy. Instead, y’all get a cute picture of me with the kids (I’m near one; the far one is my suitemate, Catherine, who hates chocolate).

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I thought I’d be sick of candy for a while, but yesterday, my first full day back, I started off the day by polishing off two rolls of SweeTarts, a roll of Smarties, and a miniature Crunch Crisp bar (review to follow on that soon). So much for curing my candy addiction through saturation.

Category: news | No Comments »

Helly Kitty sugary things

August 24th, 2007 by Rosa

food-blog-pictures-050.jpgI picked these up at Dave & Buster’s along with the SweeTarts Squeez. They’re technically not Asian candy, but Hello Kitty is Asian, so I’m filing her as such. I didn’t expect these to taste good, since the toy is the selling point here, and they didn’t. But that doesn’t matter, because it’s a tiny Hello Kitty eating watermelon, and it doesn’t get much cuter than that.

food-blog-pictures-051.jpgThe little pink and white beads of candy are slightly smaller than Tart ‘N Tinys and taste faintly fruity. They’re made of compressed sugar with a light sugar coating, like Sprees and Tart ‘N Tinys. My blind taste test revealed that the white ones and the pink ones both taste the same. I’d guess that the faint fruit flavor is strawberry, but I’m probably biased by the pink color. Because it’s Hello Kitty, the pinkness may just serve to attract girls and could have nothing to do with the flavor of the candy.

The candy doesn’t taste bad, but it doesn’t taste like much and really isn’t worth eating. Besides, I think it looks pretty inside the container, so I’ll leave it like it is.

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), compressed sugar, novelty, O, review | 1 Comment »

Fun Bugs Gummies

August 23rd, 2007 by Rosa

I thought these Black Forest Fun Bugs Gummies (BUY) were a super cute spin on the gummi bug genre – instead of gummy worms, these are insect shaped gummies with a juicy center.

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The gummi part was slightly soft; more Trolli than Haribo. The juicy center was a pleasantly sweet ooze that was a bit runnier and not as sticky as the goo that you’d get inside a Gusher. In my bag, the green gummies had a blue ooze, the yellow gummies had a green ooze, and the dark red gummies had an orange ooze.

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The only gummi/ooze flavor combination that didn’t work for me was the yellow gummi with the green ooze. It just didn’t taste good. Otherwise, it’s pretty difficult to distinguish the different flavors and colors because the ooze and gummi blends together. They’re all rather generically sweet and fruity, and I had to eat mine very carefully to try to taste the separate components, and even then I wasn’t that successful. I think the orange ooze was actually orange flavored and the red gummy was strawberry, but my mind may have been fooled into believing that they tasted different. Either way, it doesn’t matter much. These are just fun gummi treats and shouldn’t be dissected as though they’re gourmet delicacies.

Category: gummi/gummy, novelty, OM, review | 3 Comments »

Harry and David Chocolate Bar Round-up

August 22nd, 2007 by Rosa

I picked these chocolate bars up at the Harry and David (BUY) store in the outlet center. Harry and David sells gourmet food, the type you buy mainly to give as gifts because it’s way to nice and overpriced to eat yourself. In store, they had samples of their raspberry malted milk balls. I absolutely love malted milk balls, and theirs were delicious. Unfortunately, $6.50 per small bag was too pricey for my college student budget, so I picked up these three chocolate bars ($5 for 3) instead.

food-blog-pictures-057.jpgExtra dark – This bar was deep, smoky, and smooth, with just the right touch of sweetness. food-blog-pictures-062.jpgThe bar had a nice sheen and snap to it, and smelled deliciously rich. I don’t have a well-trained palate, so I couldn’t tell you anything about its notes, but I did enjoy it immensely.

food-blog-pictures-059.jpgExtra dark chocolate with cocoa nibs – This bar was more bitter than the plain dark even though it had a slightly lower cocoa percentage at 72%. food-blog-pictures-061.jpgThe bitter cacao taste was lingering, but not unpleasantly so. I thought the cocoa nibs were cut to just the right size to let them mix in with the chocolate nicely, giving the bar a texture that was more crunch than grit. It, too, had a nice sheen and snap.

food-blog-pictures-058.jpgMilk chocolate and hazelnut – My mother picked this one out and nearly polished off the bar before I had a chance to taste it. Right out of the package, this bar was greasy looking and had no snap. As you can see, it didn’t break cleanly for my photo. The softness was probably due to the Texas heat, though I had been carrying it around in my purse with the darker bars, which handled the heat just fine. food-blog-pictures-063.jpgThis bar had a softer and creamier mouthfeel than the others. After sticking it in the fridge, it firmed up nicely but retained the creaminess. I prefer dark chocolate to milk, but this bar was unoffensive, and the whole hazelnuts imparted a wonderful taste and texture.

Overall, I think these bars are a good bar for the price. They feel a little fancy and a little special but don’t break the bank. I just flew from Austin (home) to New Haven (school), and upon writing this, I realized that I left the rest of this chocolate at home. Sadness.

Category: chocolate, nuts, OM, review | No Comments »

Pomegranate Jelly Belly success!

August 21st, 2007 by Rosa

food-blog-pictures.jpgI have been searching for pomegranate Jelly Belly beans (BUY) ever since Cybele from Candy Blog reviewed them. I checked all the Jelly Belly selling places that I could think of, but to no avail. Finally, I discovered them in an unexpected place: the hospital gift shop. My doctor has an office at the hospital, and after my annual checkup, I decided to pop in the gift shop to see if they had candy. Not seeing any, I was on my way out when I noticed the Jelly Belly dispensers in the corner. Lo and behold, they had an entire dispenser just for the pomegranate beans! Hooray!

food-blog-pictures-131.jpgThe beans are beautifully colored, and my camera didn’t do them justice. They’re a gorgeous shade of red with white and/or dark red splotches.

They taste good too. Honestly, I was a little disappointed at first taste because I had made these guys into my Holy Grail of candies. food-blog-pictures-132.jpgAfter a few more beans, however, I realized that my expectations were completely unreasonable. Just because the pomegranate beans didn’t send me to candy nirvana doesn’t mean that they’re not delicious.

food-blog-pictures-130.jpgThey’re a little tart and super fruity, with a little hint of olfactory raspberry. While I usually hate that taste, in the pomegranate Jelly Belly it was light, understated, and it worked. I didn’t get a distinctively pomegranate flavor, but then again, I haven’t had an actual fresh pomegranate in years, so I don’t really remember what they’re supposed to taste like. Either way, the pomegranate Jelly Belly is a tasty flavor that will mix well with the other fruit-flavored Jelly Belly beans that they already sell.

Category: Jelly Belly, OMG, review | 1 Comment »