Those of us who like the 100% Sauvignon Blancs from the Marlborough region of New Zealand will like the new Invivo Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014. Like the others, it has a tropical nose with a minerality classic to that region. The reasonably priced Invivo Sparkling does display all the classic Marlborough Sauvignon blanc characters of tropical fruits and sweet herbs with a great finish.
The American bistro Sixth Engine occupies the space of the Engine Co. No. 6, which I was told is the oldest firehouse in the District. The owners kept much of the feel of the original firehouse with brick walls, high ceiling and a bank of windows. Before heading to sample their brunch (served weekends from 11 am til 3 pm), I learned from the publicist that Sixth Engine was nominated in the Best Causal Brunch category for the RAMMY Awards Gala. That's a DC group celebrating restaurant excellence in Metropolitan Washington. We began with their bottomless ($15 for up to 2 hours) Bloody Mary's made with Sixth Engine's own spicy [...]
Roofers Union in the heart of DC’s Adams Morgan neighborhood offers classic American fare with great friendly service. I stopped into their main dining room (up one level from the street) during a visit to DC, as their guest. Conversation is easy at this spacious, comfortable place with high ceilings and one wall of glass windows. We started by selecting the beers for our flight of four ($12). We each tried four different ones from their extensive menus of beers on tap. My favorites were from the "malty to dark to brooding" section of the ever-changing beer menu — the rich barrel-aged (in bourbon casks) barleywine "st. seditious" first and [...]
Bellion Specialty Vodka is created with "NTX Technology", a patented blend of natural, FDA approved ingredients including glycyrrhizin - licorice root extract, manna sugar and potassium sorbate; when infused into alcohol, it protects the liver and DNA. The Vodka is six times distilled, carbon filtered and tastes slightly sweet, smooth and silky. - bonnie: Although it's purportedly better for me, as vodka drinker I find this libation to have an off flavor. BonnieBOTB Follow @BonnieBOTB Save
Philadelphia Bagel Chips & Cream Cheese Dips are on-the-go cream cheese cups with mini bagel chips for dipping, available in two sweet and two savory flavors: Strawberry, Garden Vegetable, Chive & Onion, Brown Sugar & Cinnamon. Each 2.5-ounce serving contains 200 to 220 calories, 6 grams saturated fat (of 11 to 12 grams total), 380 to 490 milligrams sodium and 6 grams protein. They are a good to excellent source of vitamin A with 15 to 20% of the daily recommended intake. Kristine James, intern at Bite of the Best: These make a great, tasty although high-sodium mid-day snack.
Caesar Salad and Apple Dijon are the new organic salad kits from Dole. The Caesar kit includes romaine lettuce, pita chips, parmesan cheese and Caesar dressing; the Apple Dijon kit, spring mix, dried cranberries, walnuts, cheddar cheese and apple Dijon vinaigrette. Each 3-cup serving contains 200 to 230 calories, 3.5 to 4.5 grams saturated fat (of 15 to 19 grams total), 300 to 490 milligrams sodium and 4 to 6 grams protein. The salads are good to excellent sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, vitamin K, folate and manganese. Save Save
Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur is the 2016 winner of the World's Best Cream Liqueur Award. It's blend of natural Irish cream, real chocolate and aged Irish whiskey. Once opened, The liqueur does not need to be refrigerated once it's been opened. It has a 6-month shelf life.
FAWEN Ready-To-Drink Soup, available in three unique flavors Beet & Cabbage with Cumin, Broccoli & Cauliflower with Turmeric and Sweet Potato & Lentil with Cinnamon, are free of artificial preservatives, sweeteners and added sugars. The soup comes in a resealable, recyclable TetraPak for an easy on-the-go snack. Each 8-ounce serving contains 60 to 100 calories, 2 grams saturated fat (of 2 to 2.5 grams total), 220 to 360 milligrams sodium and 2 to 4 grams protein. It is a good source of fiber with 3 grams per serving and a good to excellent source of several vitamins and minerals. Kristine James, intern at Bite of the Best: I really like [...]
For our last day in Peru, we headed to Rafael Osterling's eponymous restaurant in the Miraflores section of Lima, listed on one list, as the #30 best in Latin America. We selected a local white wine to accompany our meal, the Tacama Blanc Blanc ($30). The waiter placed a basket of their homemade bread along with fresh butter topped with sea salt, "pastrami" made from pig's feet and a goat cheese cream with caramelized onions. The bread and accompaniments were so good, we had to stop ourselves from finishing it! The Emperor tacos alone were worth the visit with crisp sea grouper and prawns, shredded cabbage and radishes on small [...]
Here's another way to make carbonated drinks — unlike other systems DrinkMate let's you carbonate many drinks, not just water. It features a patented detachable Fizz Infuser and dual-stage valve system for better control on release of CO2. The system comes with a starter food-grade CO2 carbonator and BPA-free bottles, fizzing everything from fruit juice, lemonade, tea, wine, and beer to cocktails.
Why not start my dinner parties with a tequila tasting, I thought, as I received a bottle each of Don Sebastini & Sons Contigo, El Fumador and El Macho. The tequilas are made from the fermented juice of the Blue Weber agave plant, grown and bottled in Mexico. We started by sampling the newest (blanco) and ended at the oldest (añejo). Like a wine tasting, we checked the color and the aroma, let the liquid coat our tongues before swallowing, and then breathed out. We found the Contigo (blanco) to be smooth with fruit flavors. The wood-aged El Fumador (resposado) was our least favorit; it burnt the tongue. Everyone liked [...]
Tonnino tin tuna cans use 100% yellowfin tuna available in spring water and 100% olive oil. Tonnino Tuna is dolphin-safe, contains lowest levels of mercury and comes in stackable, on-the-go cans. Each 3-ounce serving contains 90 to 130 calories, 0 to 2 grams saturated fat (of 0.5 to 5 grams total), 214 to 270 milligrams sodium and 20 grams protein. The tuna is a good to excellent source of iron with 11 to 35 percent of the daily recommended intake. Save
Tio Gazpacho introduced "drinkable soup" in 2014 and recently added two new flavors, Maiz and Fresa, to their core line. Maiz is made with corn, roasted poblano and lime; Fresa with strawberry, basil and romaine. Each 10-ounce bottle contains 150 to 160 calories, 0.5 to 1 grams saturated fat (of 5 to 9 grams total), 280 to 590 milligrams sodium and 3-4 grams protein. Fresa is a good source of iron and potassium with 10% of the daily recommended intake. Save
These organic heat--and-eat brown rice bowls are available in six different flavors: Fried Style, Coconut, Chicken, Chicken Chipotle, Spanish Style and Turmeric and are prepared with GMO-free ingredients. Each contains 160 to 170 calories, 0.5 grams saturated fat (of 1.5 grams total), 80 to 200 milligrams sodium and 3 to 4 grams protein. They are a good to excellent source of fiber with 3 to 5 grams per serving. Save
One free evening in Cusco, a group of us headed up to the main square where Limo, also part of the Cusco restaurant group, is located. While perusing the menu, our server placed a sampling of three sauces for dipping the french fries they offered as a starter gratis. One sauce was chili peppers with tomato sauce, another pepper with ricotta and mint, the third garlic mayo. All so yummy, I was addicted! My first taste of alpaca (~$20) was Limo's tenderloin, served medium rare with an elderberry sauce, accompanied by cheesy quinoa "risotto." The meat is tender, a bit chewy but not gamey at all. I'd order it again, if [...]
While in Cusco, we visited Inka Grill, part of the Cusco restaurant group, for a light bite. The meal wasn't the best place I ate in Cusco but was mighty good compared to what we'd been served at Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) chosen restaurants — the tour I was on. Inka Grill, which is ideally located center of town at the Plaza de Arma, offered free Wifi and had an international menu. The friend I was traveling with was in a burger mood, so we ordered that along with some fries (~$10.75). We shared that and the perfectly cooked langostinos in a white and black quinoa wrapper accompanied by a spicy passion [...]
Pereg Natural Foods introduced Kaňiwa — AKA baby quinoa — that is dark reddish-brown and half the size of a tiny quinoa seed. It is gluten-free, non-GMO project verified and unlike quinoa does not have a saponin coating that can have a soapy, slightly bitter flavor if not rinsed properly. Each 1/4 cup serving contains 178 calories, 2 grams saturated fat (of 21 grams total), 3 milligrams sodium and 7.5 grams protein. It is an excellent source of fiber with 4.9 grams per serving. Save Save
Toasted Marshmallow is the newest addition to the Pepperidge Farm Milano cookie line. They contain with no artificial flavors or preservatives. Two cookies contain 130 calories, 4 grams saturated fat (of 7 grams total) and 40 milligrams sodium. - bonnie: The who enjoy dark chocolate Milanos might also like these -- as calorie, fat and sugar wise they are quite similar. BonnieBOTB Follow @BonnieBOTB
Babeth's Feast offers frozen appetizers for you to order for your next gathering. They arrive in a well-insulated carrier to keep them frozen. When you are ready to serve, you just bake and serve. Babeth's had many offerings from entrees to desserts; we sampled two of their many appetizers and would recommend both. The flaky puff pastries made with sherry-infused black mission figs, caramelized onion and a creamy goat cheese filling; and their asparagus tips wrapped in light and crispy phyllo pastry, with Asiago cheese for a hint of nutty sharpness. - bonnie BonnieBOTB Follow @BonnieBOTB Save Save Save
Simply Homemade Muffin & Bread Mixes are available in Double Chocolate, Lemon Poppyseed and Banana. These mixes have no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Each muffin contains 250 calories, 0 grams saturated fat (of 1 grams total), 230 milligrams sodium and 2 grams protein. Kristine James, intern at Bite of the Best: These are a good substitution for homemade when you're short on time. However, they are slightly high in sodium with 230 milligrams per muffin. Save Save Save Save
McCann’s Irish Oatmeal is now available in single serve microwavable cups: Maple Brown Sugar, Apple Cinnamon, Vanilla Honey, and Original. They are ready in 3-minutes, ten times faster than traditional steel cut oats. Each 1.9-ounce cup serving contains 150 to 200 calories, 0.5 grams saturated fat (of 2 grams total), 120 to 340 milligrams sodium, 3 to 4 grams protein and <1 to 21 grams sugar. The oatmeal is a good source of fiber (3 grams per serving), and a good to excellent sources of several vitamins and minerals. - bonnie: I recommend only the original, as the others have too many added sugars. BonnieBOTB Follow @BonnieBOTB
I'm a mom first. So when my friend asked me to come try her son's latest restaurant, I headed north to Mount Kisco to dine at Bobby Epstein’s newest restaurant, Kisco River Eatery. I was so glad I did. (Bobby is also the owner of Muscoot Tavern in Katonah.) I began with an icy cosmo ($10), served up in a martini glass along with their fabulous appetizers. I'm a big fan of apps, often preferring to have only those and skip the entree as the starters are so much more creative. Kisco River's didn't disappoint. They included a white truffle flatbread topped with spinach, provolone and ricotta ($9); a stack [...]
After a stop at Park City's new Escape Room, we were in the mood for a burger and fries, so we headed up the mountain to Montage Deer Valley resort's newest restaurant, Burgers & Bourbon. We were quite hungry after working together to figure out how to get out of the ingenious room where we were locked in! Think Indiana Jones meets the games on Survivor and you'll begin to understand this fun way to spend time with friends in Park City. Once we got to Montage, I couldn't resist a bourbon cocktail. The double barreled cocktail ($17) hit the spot with its blend of High West Double Rye, High [...]
Misha Quark is like yogurt with its smooth, creamy texture but is higher in protein and without yogurt's sour tartness. The quark is available in five flavors: Strawberry Rhubarb, Key Lime, Blueberry, Original and Vanilla Bean Coconut, and is made with milk from grass-fed cows. It is 95% lactose-free. Each container contains 120 to 170 calories, 1.5 to 2.5 grams saturated fat (of 2.5 to 3.5 grams total), 45 to 50 milligrams sodium and 14 to 17 grams protein. Quark is a good to excellent source of calcium with 15 to 20% of the daily recommended intake. Save
We had a very early reservation at Emmer & Rye — which I later learned was mentioned in Kate Krader's "The 19 Very Best Dishes of 2016" — but had just arrived at South Congress Street in Austin. Wanting to continue to wander in and out of the funky stores, we decided not to rush off to dinner. We stopped in at Blackmail (1202 S Congress), a shop that warmed this New Yorker's heart as they sold only black. Once the shops closed, we opted for Mexican food at Guero's taco bar. I head heard from locals that it was a down and dirty touristy Tex-Mex place with good margies. [...]
Easily grow tomatoes indoors with the new Organic Self-Watering Tomato Planter. It uses an ancient North African self-watering technique using a microporous, unglazed low-fired container that's buried in the soil next to the tomato plant that automatically releases water when the surrounding soil gets dry. Just top off the pot with water once a week and don't about watering your indoor tomato plants.
Hunt's Recipe Ready Paste is the same 100% natural tomato paste found in a can, pre-measured as 2 tablespoons in convenient Tear-n-Toss pouches, freshly opened each time with no wasted paste. Each contains 40 calories, 25 milligrams sodium, 2 grams protein and is a good source of fiber with 3 grams per serving and iron with 10% of the daily recommended intake.
Camano Island Roasters coffee club offers USDA certified organic, 100% shade grown and fairly traded coffee. The coffee — from Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Peru or Sumatra— is available as light, medium or dark roast. Their decaf is processed by the Swiss Water Method that involves only water, heat and time to extract the caffeine. - bonnie: We sampled the flavorful regular roast, but never had the opportunity to try their decaf. I'd recommend the regular. BonnieBOTBFollow @BonnieBOTB
Our first day in Austin we headed to the famous BBQ joint where the lines are legendary. Word has it that Obama was the only person to ever cut the long lines at Franklin's where the wait is often 3 to 4 hours. We lucked out and only waited 1 1/2 — sort of like waiting for New Haven's Pepe's Pizza — you do it once just for the experience, while getting to know the stories of your fellow line-waiters. As you're waiting, one of the staff warns you of what offerings might be gone by the time you get to the front of the line. That staff person promised [...]
Many affordable wines have been specifically crafted to be shared with friends, family and food! Consider these four California ones for the holidays. Chateau Souverain offers contemporary wines ($12.99 SRP) with fruit forward flavors appealing to many. Their Cabernet Sauvignon has balanced fruit, acidity and round tannins that pairs nicely with cheeses like Cheddar, Stilton, steak, prosciutto and even a burger. With rich berry flavors, the Merlot has a soft finish and pairs with pasta with marinara sauce, lamb, ribs and pizza. There's a buttery Chardonnay with oak, citrus and spice that goes well with soft cheeses, Cacio e Pepe and lobster. A bit more expensive, the B.R. Cohn 2014 Cabernet [...]
As a cheese lover, I have often shopped at Murray's as the folks behind the counter are amazingly knowledgeable about their goods, giving tastes when feasible. If you're looking for a gift — especially for a hostess — Murray’s Cheese has some great last-minute ideas. I've detailed two special collection... that arrive in Murray's signature wooden box. Cave Aged Collection ($100) Murray’s works with some of the world’s best cheesemakers to develop and age new cheeses at their Affinage caves in Long Island City, NY. They select unique young cheeses from talented artisans, dress them up (fresh herbs, fennel pollen), pat them down (wine, craft cider) and nurture them until [...]
Lunberg introduced Organic Sprouted Rice & Seasoning Mixes that combine organic sprouted brown rice with seasoning in five flavors: Thai Red Curry, Toasted Coconut, Chile Verde, Korean BBQ and Vegetable Fried Rice. Each is non-GMO verified, gluten-free, vegan and kosher. A serving contains 200 to 210 calories, 1.5 grams saturated fat (of 2 to 2.5 grams total), 440 to 480 milligrams sodium and 4 to 5 grams protein. Vegetable Fried Rice, Korean BBQ Rice and Thai Red Curry Rice are good to excellent sources of vitamin A and vitamin C; Thai Red Curry is also a good source of iron.
Seattle Chocolate's A Super Chocolate Dark Chocolate Truffle Bar is made with Col0mbian puffed cocoa nibs and CoffeeFlour. The latter, produced from dried coffee cherry pulp, is rich in iron, fiber, protein and potassium giving the bar an additional gram of fiber per serving . A 1/2 bar contains 190 calories, 10 grams saturated fat (of 15 grams total) and 2 grams protein. It is a good source of fiber with 4 grams per serving and an excellent source of iron with 20% of the daily recommended intake.
Minerva Dairy Flavor-Infused Amish Roll Butter made from milk from the local, pasture-raised cows is available in four flavors — Maplewood Smoked, Garlic Herb, Pumpkin Spice and Maple Syrup. Minerva butter has 84% butter fat compared to 81% in conventional butter, which intensifies the butter flavor. Use for both cooking and baking. Each tablespoon contains 100 calories, 7 grams saturated fat (of 11 grams total) and 90 milligram sodium.
Mann’s Culinary Cuts added three new products to their line of washed and ready-to-eat fresh vegetables cut into distinctive shapes: Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Cauliettes and Broccoli Clovers. Microwave as per their instructions or prepare any way you like. Each serving contains 20 to 35 calories and 2 to 3 grams protein with 60 to 120% of the recommended vitamin C. The shaved sprouts are also good source of fiber with 3 grams per serving.
La Brea Bakery Take & Bake Holiday Stuffing Rolls are savory buns infused with sage, celery seeds, thyme, black & white pepper that will only be available through the holiday season, starting October 1st through mid-January. Great for holiday leftovers. Each roll contains 160 calories, 2 grams total fat, 310 milligrams sodium and 5 grams protein, and is a good source of iron.
The Lake Champlain Chocolate Caramel Five Star Bar is handcrafted in small batches in their Burlington, Vermont factory. Made with organic 72% dark chocolate, caramel, roasted Guatemalan cocoa nibs and dark chocolate chunks, the bar is Kosher-certified, free of preservatives, additives and high-fructose corn syrup. Each bar contains 240 calories, 8 grams saturated fat (of 15 grams total), 60 milligrams sodium and 2 grams protein. It is a good source of iron with 15% of the daily recommended intake.
Yasso introduced three new flavors of their frozen Greek yogurt bars: chocolate chip, cookies n' cream and cinnamon bun made from Greek yogurt. They contain 1 to 6 grams less total fat per serving than other frozen Greek yogurts. Each bar contains 100 calories, 0.5 to 1.5 grams saturated fat (of 1 to 2 grams total), 40 to 60 milligrams sodium, 5 grams protein and is a good source of calcium with 15% of what's recommended daily Kristine James, intern at Bite of the Best: These delicious bars that my whole family loves are 5 to 8 grams lower in sugar per serving than other frozen Greek yogurts.
Chaat Savory Yogurt Snack combines unusual savory flavors — cucumber and mint, mango and chili, tamarind and dates, ginger — packaged with lentil puffs for topping. The yogurt is made from whole milk from grass-fed cows with no added sugar. Each serving contains 100 to 140 calories, 2.5 grams saturated fat (of 4 to 4.5 grams total), 240 to 250 milligrams sodium and 6 grams protein. It is a good source of calcium with 15% of the daily recommended intake. - bonnie -- Sweet meets savory in the Chaat Co’s yogurt snacks. My favorite is the piquant mango chili. BonnieBOTBFollow @BonnieBOTB
The Cheese Dippers combine Laughing Cow's creamy cheese with crunchy breadsticks. Available as Creamy Swiss with Classic or with Tomato & Herb Breadsticks without artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. Each pack contains 100 calories, 3.5 grams saturated fat (of 6 grams total), 220 to 230 milligrams sodium, 4 grams protein and is an excellent source of calcium with 20 percent of the daily recommended intake. Kristine James, intern at Bite of the Best: These make a calcium-rich addition to my kids lunch boxes or on-the-go snack that I will serve only occasionally as they are high in sodium.