Woodchucks Summer Cider

I love hard cider and lately that’s the only alcoholic drink I’ve been wanting.  So when I was as the liquor store last I picked up Woodchucks Summer Cider.  Now I have really enjoyed all the woodchucks I’ve had so I was really excited to try this version however it was not so good. The flavor was sickeningly sweet and didn’t really have an apple flavor.  The box says it is made with blueberries but I couldn’t really pick out any specific flavor just a really really syrupy sweet flavor and texture.

I hate to say bad things about a company that I enjoy normally but this was just an epic fail in my opinion.  My sister took the 5 remaining bottles to a dinner party and people there drank them so maybe it is just me, and my husband, and my sister…

Woodchucks Summer Cider

Woodchucks Summer Cider, image from Woodchucks website

Woodchucks Website

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The Chocolate Cafe

I know I have not been on here for a while but between finals and starting summer classes my life has been very crazy.  However I’m back and I’m trying to get in the groove of posting.  Anyhow, Alex and I went out with two of our friends last night and went to The Chocolate Café. We’ve been here quite a few times and we have always had a great experience. The people workers are nice and the food is delicious.  Every time we go I feel like I’m in a French café and I’m going to ride off into the sunset on a moped. The only downside is the food is seems pricey however it really isn’t that bad. Also most of it is stuff that I feel like do not possess the skills to make, and that’s when I tend to feel okay about spending a bit more money.   Last night Alex and I shared the Chocolate Raspberry Torte and it was so good, like criminally good.

Chocolate Raspberry Torte

Chocolate Raspberry Torte

I feel like this isn’t a great review because describing something as criminally good isn’t such a great description.  However almost all their stuff is amazing rich and velvety and great!  I did say almost though. On one our trips there we did try the chocolate ravioli and it wasn’t so great, they were more like chocolate wantons and just pretty meh. So I’d skip those but go for anything else we’ve tried most of the menu and it’s great.

Also if it’s during the school year I would call and make a reservation just so you’re sure to have a seat. We have always just called the day of generally with in like 30-60 minutes of when we want to go, so it’s not a big deal just a good idea.

4.5 stars

4.5 stars

The Chocolate Cafe

102 W. Olive, Fort Collins, CO

Starbucks Refreshers

It’s that time of the school year again, finals time. For myself and most college students this ends up entailing lots of sleepless nights or general sleep deprivation.  This also often requires some amount of caffeine intake, and for me personally it does not take much caffeine for me to get crazy jitters since I cut it almost completely out of my diet.  When we saw Starbucks had come out with their new Refreshers line I thought it couldn’t hurt to try them out, especially if it could help with my finals cramming. Also there was a try one free coupon in the paper so I was even more game to try them.

Refreshers use some of Starbucks new patient pending technology that extracts caffeine and other compounds from unroasted green coffee and then they blend that extract with fruit juice, B vitamins, and ginseng and put it in a sparkling water base. The Refreshers do have stevia leaf extract in them so I was somewhat concerned because I think that stevia frequently makes the back of my mouth taste like toothpaste.  However I was presently surprised that I did not have an adverse taste experiences with these drinks.

Starbucks Refreshers come in three flavors Strawberry Lemonade, Raspberry Pomegranate, and Orange Melon and are contain 25 percent juice. They are 12 ounces, 60 calories per can, and have 13 grams of sugar. The Strawberry Lemonade is by far the best flavor in my opinion it taste more like strawberry than lemonade but it is sweet without being too sweet.  Orange Melon has a light orange flavor with just a hint of melon, it is not my favorite however because I personally prefer a much stronger orange flavor.  The Raspberry Pomegranate is my least favorite. In my opinion it tastes very much like a diet drink, I am not sure if it is the way the pomegranate mixes with the sodium in the carbonated water or the way the stevia extract mixes with the pomegranate flavor but whatever it is it does not jive into a great flavor. So the Raspberry Pomegranate is nothing that I would ever have again even if you gave it to me.

I had maybe one and a half cans today and I can totally feel the caffeine though Starbuck website does not say how much caffeine is in each can so if you have caffeine sensitivity you may want to avoid these.  Because even though I have a lower tolerance it is not that low so I am guessing that these do have a fair amount of caffeine in them.

Final thoughts: The Starbucks Refreshers are okay, however if I had not had a coupon for them I would not have gotten them, and on that note I do not think I will repurchase them again.  However if I was to get them again I would pick up the Strawberry Lemonade flavor.  Also I would keep it to one can next time because these jitters totally suck.

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2.5 stars

2.5 stars

Starbucks Refreshers

Philadelphia Milk Chocolate Indulgence

After seeing Philadelphia Indulgence advertised on television, I decided to give it a try.  My grocery store only had the milk chocolate variety in stock but Kraft also makes a dark chocolate and white chocolate variety.  The container says it’s a chocolate cream cheese spread, though trying it I didn’t find anything cream cheese about it.  Texturally I found it a little strange, it was almost a little gelatinous as you can see in the video below.

In your mouth, it does have a very creamy cool feeling.  The flavor is…okay. It taste like chocolate but it’s not a strong flavor. I tried it on both pretzels and strawberries.  On the pretzels it wasn’t a strong enough flavor to pair with the pretzel taste.  It was chocolaty for a second, then it just tasted like pretzel, maybe it’s because I was using a pretzel rod but it just wasn’t doing it for me flavor wise.  On the strawberry it was much better. The chocolate flavor paired nicely with the sweet acidity of the strawberry but I would rather just eat a strawberry. I think they are sweet enough on their own.

Strawberry covered in indulgence

Strawberry

Final thoughts: Philadelphia Milk Chocolate Indulgence is good but it cost about 3 dollars for an eight ounce container.  I just don’t think that it is worth the cost.  I wish that there was a recipe that I could use it in, I think it would be good for that more so than just using it as a dip.  I do not think I will purchase this again unless I find a good recipe to use it in

2.5 stars

2.5 stars

 

 

 

Kraft Website

 

Indulge

My family isn’t big on birthday cake.  I don’t think I’ve had a regular cake in at least 5 years. So this year for my sisters’ birthday we went to Indulge a local gem that focuses on Mediterranean desserts. Indulge’s selection of deserts is very large and seems to have something for any pallet.  I don’t think I’ve found anything there that I don’t like.  Though most of it is very very sweet (and by very very I mean you may need an insulin shot if you are not careful about the amount that you are eating) that being said there are a few items that are not so sweet specifically a sesame fudge.  Other than sweets if you are into coffee Indulge is the place to go to try some different blends.  The have a Turkish coffee with cardamom that is wonderful.

Every time I’ve I have been into Indulge they have not been very busy which is surprising because of how good their products are, their great customer service, and their yelp reviews, 4.5 stars overall. Indulge is on Oak Street next to Jay’s Bistro so while it’s not in the main downtown stretch isn’t not far and totally worth the walk over.  The only gripe I have with Indulge is it is on the pricey side however I do not possess the skills or knowledge to make these deserts so I’m willing to pay more for the items but it is a place that I only go on date nights or birthdays or other special occasions.

Hours: Monday-Thursday: 11-8 and Friday-Saturday: 11-10

All pictures are from Yelp

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4 stars

4 stars

Sammy Q’s Gelatoland

gelato case
I’ve been to Sammy Q’s Gelatoland in Fort Collins Colorado twice now, once in the late summer with my sister and once today with my husband. My first experience was, in a word, horrible. It’s a local place and I really do want to support local businesses, so I decided to give it another go before giving it a negative review. After today’s experience, I can honestly say I can’t see myself going back.

Some background on Sammy Q’s: According to Yelp, the Loveland-based owners went on vacation in New York, fell in love with a gelato shop and decided to bring it back to Old Town Fort Collins. They opened the store in the early summer of 2011 and heavily advertised the fact that they do not use any mixes, powders, pre-gels or preservatives.

The first time I visited Sammy Q’s, the customer service was seriously lacking.  The server was cold and didn’t even greet us when we came in, though we were the only ones in the restaurant. We ordered our gelato and sat down to eat. The shop inside is very, bare and the signs in the window were cut from recycled poster board leaving the inside windows with a bit of a hodgepodge look.

As for the gelato? It was…bad.  Just bad.

I tried three different flavors: raspberry ghost chili, green tea and white chocolate strawberry cheesecake. The raspberry ghost chili was all spicy and no raspberry. The green tea was extremely bitter.  It tasted like eating over-steeped tea leafs. The white chocolate strawberry cheesecake only tasted like white chocolate and very sweet white chocolate at that.

The only thing that really stuck out to me about all the flavors was the texture. I mostly remember this because I got home and started scouring the internet to answer the question: Why would gelato be so stringy and sticky? According to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Aug 1984, this can be caused by a lack of air or the storing temperature, though I called another gelato store and they said they’ve only seen that when there has been too much dextrose added.

When I went back today I knew I wanted to try the same three flavors to see if I’d just had a bad batch.  I tried some others, too. My husband had the green tea, and later described it as, “gross; it didn’t taste like green tea, it just tasted sweet.”

I tried the raspberry ghost chili and was struck by the improvements! I got a nice sweet raspberry flavor and then the heat of the ghost chili came up at the end. It was actually an enjoyable experience. Feeling a renewed sense of hope for Sammy Q’s, even though the decor hadn’t changed much and the customer service was only marginally better. So I ordered the white chocolate strawberry cheesecake(which ended up being much much better than the first time), salted caramel pretzel, and lemon blueberry. And then while we were checking out I impulse ordered the peppermint patty hot chocolate float.

While all of the gelato flavors I had to day where better than my first trip (with the exception of the green tea) the texture was still so funky. In my husband’s words “the flavor is there but the texture is hard to get past, if you can get past it at all: Chewy, gluey, stringy, and occasionally cement like.”  And while the gelato portion the salted caramel pretzel was really great it had pieces of pretzel in it, unfortunately the pieces where so soft and flavorless if I didn’t have the visual reference I wouldn’t have known what it was.

The Hot Chocolate Float  was a DISASTER. We watched the server mix powder and water, then drop in a chunk of their peppermint patty gelato. It tasted like hot chocolate I would make at home with a little bit of a peppermint flavor.  After a few drinks each, this is what it looked like.
hot chocolate float with what looks like curtled chunks in itAt $3.50 I had “a you have to be kidding me” moment.

Final Thoughts: I don’t think that I’ll be going back. Small gelatos, which can have three different flavors, are $3.50 a piece… and I think that’s overpriced for the quantity and quality of the gelato.

2 stars

Sammy Q’s Gelatoland Website

Snapea Crisps

I’d been hearing some buzz about Snapea Crisps as a healthy alternative to chips, so when I saw them at the grocery store I decided to give them a try.  Calbee Snack Salad has two different flavors of Snapea Crisps: Original and Caesar.  We bought one of each for about 2 dollars a bag (they run between one dollar and three dollars depending on where you shop). My husband went on a 2 hour car trip and ate almost all the Original crisps… with two boys in the car I’m not surprised, especially since the bag is only 3.3 oz.

Snapea Crisps bagSnapea Crisps crisps

When I tried these, I immediately noticed the lack of flavor. I popped open the Caesar, and I love Caesar Salad, so I had a thought in my mind of what it should taste like. Boy was I surprised when they tasted not like Caesar but like peas!  Not even like snap peas, more like canned peas. Texture wise, they feel like a softer puff Cheeto, but do leave a little bit of a greasy feeling between my fingers.

Now let’s address that healthy alternative claim. They may be better for you but they are not “healthy”. I know what all the ingredients in these are, which is an improvement from other flavored chips which are full of indecipherable ingredients.  The Original flavor has 150 calories, 8g of fat, 125mg of sodium, 2g of fiber and 5g of protein.  The Caesar flavor has 150 calories, 8g of fat, 160mg of sodium, 2g of fiber and 5g of protein.  In comparison Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili chips have 140 calories, 7g of fat, 270mg of sodium, 1g of fiber and 2g of protein.  Calidad brand Tortilla chips have 140 calories, 7g of fat, 150mg of sodium, 1g of fiber and 2g of protein.

Final thoughts: I’m not going to buy these again because I’m not a big fan of peas (really I don’t know why I got them based on that fact alone), but if you do like peas I think they are a good alternative to chips.

Snack Salad Snapea Crisps Webpage

Where to buy Snapea Crisps