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Pressels Compared to Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps

Oddly when the person promoting these new Pressels emailed us, she knew nothing about  — nor seemed interested in learning about — the competition. Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps, a company that we've written about many times, also offers crunchy and flavorful crisps strong enough for dipping that are also lower in both sodium and fat than traditional pretzels, which is a claim made by Pressels. Specifically, one ounce (about 20 quarter-sized) of the everything variety Pressel  has 120 calories, 2 grams fat (of which 1 gram is saturated) and 210 milligrams sodium compared to the everything variety of Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps (of about eleven  2-x-2 1/2-inch crisps) that have [...]

By |2019-05-13T14:08:03-04:00June 22nd, 2019|Food & Drinks, Of Interest, Products|0 Comments

Bialetti Mini Press, A Portable Stovetop Espresso Maker + Coffee

Walking around the 2019 Preview exhibits of The International Housewares Association I stopped by the Bialetti booth, the Italian cookware and coffee maker company, as I saw the Mini Express. This cute tiny aluminum press is a perfect espresso maker for those with teensy kitchens who don't have space for a large one, or to even take camping! Imagine fresh espresso before fly fishing. This is a 2-cup portable stovetop espresso maker with dual spouts. Meaning it makes two 2-ounce cups of espresso in 5 minutes after filling the lower chamber with water and the metal filter with a favorite espresso grind. The SRP is $34.99 but is available for [...]

Violet Fog, A Special Gin Moscow Mule

An attractively packaged and designed bottle arrived at my doorstep. Inside the thick gold-embossed black box along with the final two stanzas of the poem that inspired the McQueen and the Violet Fog name was a bottle of the eponymous gin. The press materials tout the liquor as "made with an unparalleled 21 sustainable botanicals from around the world, at least six of which are found in no other gin." This Sovereign Brands gin is a small batch one, bottled in Jundiai, Brazil. I decided to make the "Violet Fog" recipe (basically a Moscow Mule) that accompanied the bottle. I first made it with Bombay Saffire, the brand my dad [...]

Moscow Mule Origin + Ayesha Curry Mug Set

In the early 1940s or late 1930 — as the story goes — John Martin then president of G.F. Heublein & Brothers — the company that brought A-1 Steak Sauce to America, purchased a small vodka distillery called Smirnoff for $ 14K. Martin lamented to his friend Jack Morgan, Sunset Strip pub owner that he couldn't move the vodka, while Morgan lamented that his ginger beer was collecting dust. A customer at the pub mentioned that she had copper mugs she no longer wanted. Hence, the birth of the Smirnoff Mule. To make a (now called) Moscow Mule,  I use Pickett's #1 All-Natural Ginger Beer Concentrate. I combine 1 ounce [...]

By |2019-01-20T09:30:50-04:00February 2nd, 2019|Kitchen Counter, Drawer and More|0 Comments

Pasqua Wine Dinner at Rue 57, Midtown, NYC

Was invited to meet Alessandro and Riccardo Pasqua of the eponymous estate near Verona, Italy for dinner at Rue 57 with a few other journalists to sample and learn about their wines. The publicist mentioned that Pasqua ranks among Italy’s top 20 family-owned wineries in terms of value. After experiencing their wines, I concur. Each wine we sampled worked well with food, from the $16-bottle of Romeo & Juliet Passione Sentimento Bianco Veneto IGT 2017  to the $100 Mai Dire Mai Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2011. The wine sampled included: Romeo & Juliet Passione Sentimento Bianco Veneto IGT 2017 ($16) Romeo & Juliet Passione Sentimento Rosso Veneto IGT 2016/ ($16) [...]

By |2019-01-21T10:19:23-04:00January 20th, 2019|Big Apple Life, Food & Drinks|0 Comments

Not Just For Tacos: Organic Red Duck Taco Sauce

Earlier this year, Red Duck foods, an Oregon condiment company, introduced a line of three organic sauces. The company is a Certified B Corporation, meeting the highest standards of social and environmental impact. It took me a while to sample these, as I don't often make tacos. I decided to try these certified organic, gluten-free and vegan sauces on chicken, fish, veggies, egg dishes and sandwiches and where I was looking for a bit of spice. Unlike many other condiments, these are extremely low in sodium and calories. One tablespoon of the mild and spicy one contains a mere 5 calories and 50 milligrams of sodium; 15 calories and 15 milligrams [...]

By |2018-12-02T16:12:58-04:00December 1st, 2018|Food & Drinks, Products, Recommended|0 Comments

Dole Slawesome! Cole Slaw Salad Kits in Three Flavors

According to Dole's press materials, Slawesome! is the "world’s first line of seasoned coleslaw kits." I received three of the four varieties, sampling them for a book club's luncheon at my home. Everyone liked the blends ofmixed cabbages and carrots, with no consensus of which dressing was best. I preferred the slightly spicy Mango Sriracha over the Sweet Apple and Fiesta Lime varieties. These 8.6-ounce complete kits ($2.99) that makes three servings are found in the produce department.

By |2018-10-21T18:41:57-04:00November 18th, 2018|Food & Drinks, Of Interest, Products|0 Comments

Hilarious Hostess Gift: The Wine Condom

Looking for something that will make your hostess smile? Tuck a Wine Concom into your note that accompanies your gift. I promise a laugh. At least that was the reaction each time I've done so. Having seen an article in Drink Me that wine condoms topped $1 million in sales, we reached out to the company for info and a sample so that I could share that with you. Unlike corks or pourer caps, wine condoms — as you'd expect from their name — fit flush against the bottle, preventing spills and allowing the bottle to fit in the fridge. You can buy this on-the-go protection in packages of six for $15, [...]

By |2018-10-15T09:15:14-04:00October 15th, 2018|Just For Fun, Products|0 Comments

Bubble Tea at Ten Ren Tea, Chinatown, NYC

While waiting in the seemingly interminable line outside a restaurant on Elizabeth Street, we decided to quench our thirst with some bubble tea around the corner on Mott Street. Ten Ren named one of the best Bubble Tea places in NYC in Time Out, The Gothamist and Yelp. I had tried it a few years ago and wasn't wild about it. Thought I'd give the Taiwanese drink invented in the 1980s another chance. Don't go if you have trouble making decisions. After picking the type of tea and flavor, you select both your sweetness and ice levels. One friend chose 100 percent sweetness for his black milk tea ($5.05 large), the other 50 for her [...]

By |2018-10-06T08:16:31-04:00October 5th, 2018|Food & Drinks|0 Comments

TrüCup low acid coffee

To say I'm skeptical about food claims is an understatement, especially after reviewing products for most of my life. Trücup's claim is that their coffee is a stomach-friendly alternative to traditional coffee. Java for Americans who either avoid coffee or cannot drink as much as they like, due to stomach irritation (GERD or acid reflux) caused by acid. The company says, "trücup Born To Be Mild (Light Roast) clocked in at an impressive 5.74 pH level – making it up to 4.6 times less acidic than roasts from leading national coffee brands." The coffee is made using South American Arabica beans using a proprietary steam process to remove the acids that can irritate your stomach [...]

By |2018-09-15T15:24:30-04:00September 17th, 2018|Food & Drinks|0 Comments

Manhattan’s Only Distillery – Our/New York and Bar

I recently joined Untapped Cities, as some friends and I wanted to do one of their events. We figured for $10 a month, we'd try it out. Through them, I attended a tour and vodka tasting at Our/New York, which opened in May. This small-batch, micro-distillery Manhattan’s first since Prohibition. It is part of Pernod Ricard, the French-based wine and spirits company. Before the tour, we tried their too sweet for me Excelsior '64 cocktail made from their vodka, lavender, elderflower and sparkling wine. I was happier with the straight vodka we tried after learning how it was made. OUR/New York is not only a distillery, it's also a bar [...]

By |2018-08-13T17:52:11-04:00September 13th, 2018|City Bites, Food & Drinks|0 Comments

Acme Fish Fridays, Greenpoint, Brooklyn

If you — like me — are catatonic over the high price of smoked fish in Manhattan, you need to know about Acme Fish's Fridays. Zabar's website offers hand-sliced Nova salmon for $32 - $64 a pound. On Friday's from 8 am to 1 pm, you can buy the same smoked salmon, pre-sliced for $9 a pound. That's not a typo! Zabar's whole whitefish is $64, at Acme a 2-pound whole one is $16 ($8 a pound). Acme probably supplies the smoked fish to most places you shop. Every Friday morning, they open their factory located at 30 Gem Street, just off North 15th N Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and sell [...]

By |2018-06-11T09:30:09-04:00May 25th, 2018|Food & Drinks, Products, Recommended|0 Comments

Breads Bakery, Union Square, NYC — Chocolate Babka

One of the stops I need to make before heading to visit one of my sons is Breads Bakery (on 16th just off Union Square) for their incredibly decadent chocolate babka ($14.95 or 2 for $22). Theirs has rightfully been voted the best in New York City. Babka — the braided, chocolate-veined interior — was made mainstream by Seinfeld in the '90s, babka. It's a half-yeasted-bread, half-cake irresistible treat to eat anytime. Breads makes theirs using butter and spreads the dough with a blend of Nutella and dark chocolate chips. They bake it several times a day, so it's always fresh. If you've never tried this crisp crust, moist babka, [...]

Terra Chips made with Avocado Oil

Those who like Terra's real vegetable chips would be interested to know they just introduced two varieties cooked in avocado oil, a healthy fat. These new sweet potato chips come in two flavors — sweet chipotle and a sweets medley with batata (Cuban sweet potato ), sweet potato and purple sweet potato chips seasoned with Sel Gris (a French sea salt). A 5-ounce bag costs $3.49-3.79. A one-ounce serving of these two new chips contains 140 calories, 6 to 7 grams fat (of which 0.5 to 1 gram is saturated), 2 grams fiber and 105 to 140 milligrams sodium. I wouldn't buy these, as when I indulge in chips, it's because [...]

By |2019-04-26T12:56:12-04:00May 15th, 2018|Food & Drinks, Of Interest, Products|0 Comments

City Bakery’s Pretzel Croissant, Gramercy-Flatiron, NYC

An out of town friend emailed to meet at City Bakery. She wrote, "Gotta have one pretzel croissant per visit." I was looking forward to both seeing her and also trying my first pretzel croissant ($4.50). It has a crisp, salty slightly crunchy crust sprinkled with sesame seeds — the inside is pure flaky croissant. An absolute treat. If you've never had one, be sure to stop in on 18th Street when in the hood. City Bakery Gramercy-Flatiron 3 W 18th Street New York, NY 10011 (212) 366-1414

The Donut Pub, Chelsea, NYC

I go to The Donut Pub but don't eat donuts. Instead, I stop by this 14th Street establishment only for their Black & White cookies ($3.25 each) served with a smile. When I moved to the city, I learned theirs are the best; as I learned Breads Bakery has the best chocolate babka. I stop in at The Donut Pub when I'm running around the city picking up bagels, whitefish salad, chocolate babka and black & white cookies to pack when I'm boarding a plane to bring these goodies to family. When I'm heading to Paris, I purchase one all white (Yup! they make all whites, but not all blacks!), for [...]

By |2018-04-26T06:20:11-04:00April 26th, 2018|Food & Drinks, Products|1 Comment

Bono Organic Blood Orange Marmalade

Returning to Sicily this month, I had a special interest in tasting Bono's organic Blood Orange Marmalade made from only fresh Sicilian blood oranges. It's not too sweet with the flavor of the eponymous citrus fruit. One tablespoon of this Sicilian blood orange marmalade with rind contains 30 calories; a 12.4-ounce jar sells for $4.99 to $5.99. To find a store near you that sells it, click here for a product locator.

By |2018-04-04T09:10:05-04:00April 6th, 2018|Food & Drinks, Products|0 Comments

Loi Dips

My friend and fellow Dame — a member of Les Dames d'Escoffier — Chef Maria Loi has created a line of four fresh ready-to-serve dips, ones that she serves as starters at Loi Estiatorio (her NYC restaurant NYC on west 58th) and that follow the principals of her book, The Greek Diet. I put these out at a brunch recently with veggies for dipping and asked my guests to choose their favorite. The top choice was the pougi with feta, a dip made with Greek yogurt, feta, olive oil, and a little bit of spice. A 2-tablespoon serving contains 70 calories, 7 grams fat (of which 3 are saturated) and 170 mg sodium. Tied [...]

By |2018-03-14T10:45:54-04:00March 16th, 2018|Food & Drinks, Products|0 Comments

Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog Dill Remix

I've always been a fan of Cypress Grove's signature soft, surface-ripened, award-winning buttermilk and fresh cream Humboldt Fog cheese. I was thrilled when a publicist emailed me about this new Dill Remix limited edition (only available through April), offering a sample. This is  not to be missed. It's filled with a distinctive ribbon of dill, ash and hand-harvested dill pollen giving a citrus finish to this creamy goat cheese. Uncut, it has a white cake-like appearance; once cut, you’ll notice the ribbon in the center. One ounce contains about 100 calories, 7 grams of fat (of which 4 are saturated) and 200 milligrams sodium A three-pound wheel is available for $70 on their site, while cheese [...]

By |2018-03-01T13:48:48-04:00March 2nd, 2018|Food & Drinks, Recommended|1 Comment

Li-Lac Chocolates

A publicist asked if he could send me some Li-Lac Chocolates from Manhattan's oldest chocolate house. How could I say no? He mentioned that for nearly 100 years, the company has been handcrafting gourmet, small-batch chocolate and confections using the same old-world cooking methods and time-honored recipes. I luckily had friend visiting when the chocolate arrived  - otherwise would have been a disaster for my waistline. The bark ($36 per pound) had freshly roasted almonds enrobed in white, milk — and my favorite — dark chocolate.   The butter crunch are addictive squares of almond toffee coated in milk chocolate and sprinkled with almond dust ($36 per pound). I sliced the almost [...]

By |2018-02-05T15:43:49-04:00February 14th, 2018|Food & Drinks, Products, Recommended|0 Comments