Food & Drinks

Home/Products/Recommended/Food & Drinks

Food and drinks that we have tried and recommend

Peanut Butter & Co Dark Chocolate Dreams

Bonnie: The Bite of the Best team first learned about Dark Chocolate Dreams from a community member who suggested we try it.

”If you like peanut butter and you like chocolate you will love this product,” wrote Barbara Allen. “I used to be able to find it only in gourmet shops and I am embarrassed to say that I would travel ...

Bryan: Raise your hand if you don’t like peanut butter and chocolate. OK, the two people out there with their hands up can simply stop reading now. For everybody else, listen up…. This stuff is good! I have to admit upfront that I’m a super fan of this flavor combo. A warm peanut butter cup is one of my all-time favorite candy choices and the cooler version, found by combining the two into...

Eric: I am probably one of the biggest peanut butter enthusiasts out there. On a daily basis I eat at least one peanut butter sandwich, usually switching between a combination of strawberry jam, Nutella or banana (although when I was growing up and visiting my friend Eric ...

Follow Bonnie on Twitter: @BonnieBOTB

By |2017-09-04T16:44:31-04:00August 5th, 2009|Food & Drinks, xyz misc|14 Comments

California Cantaré Burrata

Bonnie: I was first introduced to burrata in the Puglia region of Italy, where it is said to have originated. (Pronounced BURR AH TA) This artisanal cheese is basically mozzarella with a luscious soft creamy interior that spills onto the plate as you cut into a ball of it. It truly was amore at first bite. I savored each bite of this runny cheese ...

Bryan: Growing up in New Haven (a strongly Italian-influenced food city), I thought I was pretty well versed in the ways and means of the mozzarella. I can still remember, as a little boy, going to one of the many specialty grocery stores in town (Luzzi’s Market) to pick up fresh bread and cheese. My treat on the way home always was a handful of bite-sized mozzarella balls, lightly dipped in ...

Eric: Ricotta cheese enveloped in a thin layer of mozzarella — do you really need any more explanation before adding burrata cheese to your shopping list. I highly doubt that our reviews of burrata will be the only factors influencing your decision to buy a package. Honestly, if you’re not intrigued just by the idea of what this product is, then I have to question your love of food. My mother...

Follow Bonnie on Twitter: @BonnieBOTB

By |2017-09-04T16:49:46-04:00July 29th, 2009|Food & Drinks|8 Comments

Vande Rose Farms Applewood Smoked Artisan Uncured Ham

Bonnie: Uncured ham? I’d eaten uncured bacon, but had never handled uncured ham.

Having just started tweeting, I thought I’d ask the fellow foodies who I was following on Twitter: “Received an artisan uncured ham. How would YOU prepare it? All suggestions welcome!”

“Is it fresh pork or more like prosciutto?” asked a NY Times food writer who...

Bryan: Vande Rose Farms is not your average meat packer. This boutique farm has been raising award-winning Duroc hogs on its family farms for more than 100 years.

A growing number of Americans are finding out that our system of food has become overly industrialized. The facts are: Most store-bought pork doesn’t even bother to display the breed of the pig, let alone the land, environment or feed the animal was reared on. We, as a society, have become...

Eric: I think I’ve written it in an earlier posting, but to quote Homer Simpson, the pig is a “wonderful, magical animal.” Although it yields a variety of particular and delicious cuts, this week the focus is on smoked artisan ham, more specifically, the brined and smoked hind leg of the Duroc pig.

“What’s so particular about this ham?” was the first question out of my mouth when opening the ...

Follow Bonnie on Twitter: BonnieBOTB

By |2017-09-04T16:54:46-04:00July 22nd, 2009|Food & Drinks, xyz misc|8 Comments

Seeds of Change Madras Simmer Sauce

Bonnie: Simmer sauces are the new convenience food. Keeping a jar in your pantry allows you to make a meal with a foreign flare almost immediately as the sauces instantly capture various regional flavors that would require a mixture of many spices not traditionally found in the American cupboard.

When I first tested Seeds of Change Madras Simmer Sauce, I had no meat or fish on hand, but I did ...

Bryan: All of the attempts to reproduce my favorite Indian cuisines in my home kitchen have resulted in flops. There, I’ve admitted that aloud. I feel better. It’s not that my homemade chicken tikka masala was inedible, it just wasn’t what I wanted it to be. Over and over again. Though I hate to admit it, Indian food has been a definite shortcoming in my culinary development.

I’ve spent a good amount of time in kitchens (my own and those of many restaurants). Having been able to make...

Eric: As unlikely as it is, especially to readers of this blog, if you’ve never tried a curry sauce, Seeds of Change is a great company to start with. Aside from producing a variety of Indian-style heat-and-serve simmer sauces, Seeds of Change is a heavy promoter of the organic and sustainably grown-food lifestyle, especially with regard to all of its products. The company offers four varieties of the sauces, each unique in seasoning and level of heat. My opinion for the sauces, as...

Follow us on Twitter: BonnieBOTB

By |2017-09-04T16:55:46-04:00July 15th, 2009|Food & Drinks, xyz misc|7 Comments

Yves Tierenteyn-Verlent Fresh Mustard from Ghent, Belgium

Bonnie: “It’s the only place you can purchase this very special mustard,” explained my sister’s friend Hart as he asked me whether I’d like to take a drive with him to purchase it.

“Sure,” I said without asking any questions, as I was intrigued.

Hart and I were both houseguests at my sister’s home in Brussels during a cold and dreary February. I thought a short drive into downtown Brussels might be a fun — and interesting — outing. I’d recently...

Bryan: I love the story of Yves Tierenteyn-Verlent. It is a story of culinary romance, dedication, history and craftsmanship. Of food as art, as tradition, as a representation of a people and a place. The simple story of this mustard is a powerful reminder of what pieces of ourselves we choose to maintain as a society.

Modern Europe is formed from the cultural patchwork of thousands of cities, towns and villages spread across a number of languages and locations. With such diversity of backgrounds and geography...

Eric: There are a few condiments that I can easily live without: relish, BBQ-sauce and mustard. I’m sure there are others in my fridge that will never see the light of day, but these three, in particular, will never even see the inside of my fridge. There are a few tastes that just don’t agree with you (and if you love the taste of everything, then you haven’t tried enough). I will gladly eat just about anything, but mustard seed is one of those tastes that never ...

Follow us on Twitter: BonnieBOTB

SunChips, Original

Bonnie: Yes, it’s true. I am a registered dietitian and am recommending a chip. No, not for everyday eating. But when you do reach for a chip, which most people do more than occasionally, I suggest you try original SunChips.

These tasty morsels are good for you and for the environment. SunChips contain 30 percent less fat than regular potato chips (that’s only 6 grams instead of 9 or 10 grams total fat per serving). They’re deliciously crisp and delicately...

Bryan: Potato chips are terrible for you, right? Well, it turns out that this is not exactly true when you really take a look at it. To turn an Orwellian phrase: “All chips are equal, but some chips are more equal than others.”

Though most standard “potato chips” servings are heavy on saturated fat and sodium while light on just about everything of positive nutritional value, SunChips has somehow found a way to turn this equation...

Eric: Healthy chips that taste good: an oxymoron, or a simple truth? In recent years, with food companies and the FDA implementing buzzwords such as “heart healthy” and “all-natural,” there have been many products vying for the top position in the consumer’s shopping cart – even within the so-called “junk-food” industry. In past Bites we’ve written on ice cream, tortilla chips and even dips that are for the health conscious, so why should potato chips...

Follow us on Twitter: BonnieBOTB

By |2017-09-04T16:56:28-04:00June 17th, 2009|Food & Drinks, xyz misc|10 Comments

Buitoni Whole Wheat Linguine

Bonnie: By now, I’m sure you know that health professionals recommend that you eat three servings of whole grains a day. Luckily for all of us, finding grains is getting easier. Much easier.

For one, there’s the Whole Grain Stamp on many food packages indicating that the food contains at least a half serving of whole grains — an initiative spearheaded by Oldways Preservation Trust, a nonprofit food advocacy group in Boston. In addition, many food companies — Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice and....

Bryan: What’s not to love about fresh pasta? Americans have become so used to the dry variety, seeing fresh, soft pasta now seems like a delicacy, a treat, something reserved for a special occasion. Thankfully, in our ever-expanding food universe, there are companies like Buitoni that are trying to make us all remember that pasta can be a fresh component of our meals and not just an aging box of arts and crafts fodder, more reminiscent of a...

Eric: Fresh is the word to keep in mind when debating whether to purchase the Buitoni whole-wheat pasta the next time you’re at the supermarket. When you really think about it, unless you’re an Italian-American, how often do you really eat pasta? And when you do, would you prefer your meal to be fresh or dehydrated?

On average, I probably consume pasta three times a month, but when I do, I make sure...

By |2017-09-04T16:57:09-04:00May 20th, 2009|Food & Drinks, xyz misc|0 Comments

Wolfgang Puck’s Chicken Pot Stickers

Bonnie: I looked forward to taste-testing Wolfgang Puck’s new line of all-natural appetizers. Wearing my food editor hat, I’ve met Wolf many times and had the privilege of him cooking especially for our editors’ group. I’ve never had a bad meal when Wolf was in the kitchen.

(Sshh… I think I’d loose my foodie status to admit that I’ve never been....

Bryan: Who’s better than Wolfgang Puck? Forget the over saturation of an Emeril or a Rachel Ray (no offense), this man is absolutely iconic! With commercial enterprises ranging from Home Shopping Network lines of cookware to his famous Beverly Hills dining establishment Spago, Wolfgang is a true foodie presence.

Though we have seen bits and pieces of it in home offerings before, Chef Puck is now introducing a line of all-natural gourmet appetizers, integrating...

Eric: Who doesn’t love finger-food? I imagine that for most people, the best part of any social event (aside from the gossip) is the anticipation of what there will be to eat, and finger foods (i.e. food that requires no manners to eat) are usually the highlight.

As a banquet manager and assistant food and beverage manager, I’ve coordinated, and have been guest at, more events than I can count. One of my favorite games to play at any event is “find...

You can now follow Bonnie on Twitter: BonnieBOTB

By |2017-09-04T16:58:17-04:00May 6th, 2009|Food & Drinks, xyz misc|6 Comments

Amy’s Teriyaki Wrap

Bonnie: Last month I had sent out an all-points bulletin to food companies as well as their public relations firms looking for some brand new low-calorie items for a shopping column in Better Homes & Gardens’ 2010 Diet issue.

I was inundated with suggestions, with many of the companies missing the point that I needed products to be new — not now, but in late fall 2009. But the good part of this exercise was...

Bryan: Snacking is a reality, people; everyone does it and there’s nothing wrong with it. Even those trying to lose weight should note that eating small “meals” throughout your day is a far better way to consume food than eating big meals in one or two sittings. Considering our grazing ways, what more can you ask for but a really healthy snack (or small...

Eric: Every time I tell someone about what I do for Bite of the Best (i.e. testing and reviewing food-related consumer products) I’m always asked, “How are you still skinny?” My standard reply is, “I eat healthy!”

I’m a foodie, and after testing and reviewing products for the majority of my life, I’ve gained complete respect for the...

You can now follow Bonnie on Twitter: BonnieBOTB

By |2017-09-04T16:58:46-04:00April 29th, 2009|Food & Drinks, xyz misc|5 Comments

Häagen-Dazs Five: Mint

Bonnie: I’ve always been a Häagen-Dazs ice cream fan, with chocolate chocolate chip and mint chip my two favorite flavors. But with 300 calories and about 20 grams of total fat (of which 12 is saturated) in a 1/2-cup serving, I just don’t indulge very often. READ: less than once a year.

Seriously, that’s what happens as you age. You can’t afford to savor a bowl of premium ice cream as often as you’d like since your activity often lessens because of bad...

Bryan: Bonnie called a little while back to let me know about a new line from Häagen-Dazs called “Five.” It is a strange occurrence that I would come across a new food product first, but I let her know that I had actually seen the line and had even tried one of the flavors to great reception. The fact is, I’m an ice cream lover, and there is rarely a trip to the grocery store that does not involve at least a stroll...

Eric: It’s amazing to me to think that all ice cream isn’t made with just five ingredients – after tasting all the varieties in the new line of Häagen-Dazs Five, I started to wonder why it is that ice cream manufacturers consult their lab technicians for ingredients rather than their local farmers. It later dawned on me—profit margins.

Like most people with a sweet tooth, I’m also an ice cream junkie and, unlike my brother, I do...

By |2017-09-04T16:59:28-04:00April 22nd, 2009|Food & Drinks, xyz misc|1 Comment

Sunkist Naturals: 100 Percent Tangerine

Bonnie: With one taste of this sweet nectar I was hooked on 100 percent pure tangerine juice. It’s not from concentrate; in fact it takes 2.5 pounds of fresh tangerines to make the juice for one 15.2-ounce bottle. The delicious result is rich in vitamins A and C and potassium. And like the rest of the Sunkist Naturals line, it contains no preservatives, no artificial anything. I like that. It’s my favorite of the Sunkist Naturals line, but — I’m sorry to share — the one that’s the least available. I’ve been told it will be on shelves again in May, when tangerines are in season in Florida. So keep [...]

By |2017-09-04T16:59:56-04:00April 8th, 2009|Food & Drinks, xyz misc|5 Comments

Donsuemor — Dipped Chocolate and Other — Madeleines

Bonnie: It’s funny how we trip over products that become our Bites.

Earlier this year, when in San Francisco to conduct a newbie networking seminar for the Fancy Food Show, I was standing in the New Product Showcase area, hoping to discover a product to consider for a Bite. I was looking into the glass cases displaying the new items when I almost fell over Michele Lanstra, assistant marketing manager for Donsuemor, who was about to put some of her company’s madeleines into the case.

“What do you...

Bryan: A day that will live in infamy. The arrival of the Donsuemor Madeleines was the worst offensive on my attempts at dietary restraint since the assault of the Sugabettens brownies of ‘08. Please don’t think I protest too much. I truly love the cavalcade of new and outrageous food products constantly gracing my doorstep. It’s just that sometimes the price I pay to bring our...

Eric: The day I received the package of the Donsuemor Madeleines, two thoughts went through my head: “How many can I eat before I realize I shouldn’t?” and, more importantly, “How do I hide them from my girlfriend?” The first question was answered rather quickly by the disappearance of nearly five of these delicious cakes, favoring the traditional versions over the...

By |2017-08-25T13:28:07-04:00March 25th, 2009|Food & Drinks|14 Comments

Q Tonic

Bonnie: One summer night when founder Jordan Silbert and his friends were enjoying both the summer breeze and gin and tonics, he happened to look at the ingredient list of both the tonic and his friend’s can of soda. (Something I habitually do!)

“Do you know that tonic water has as much high fructose corn syrup as Sprite?” he asked the group. “I thought it had no calories, like club soda.”

Wrong. Tonic water is mostly...

Bryan: It’s funny to think how some of our most revered beverages got their starts. Coca Cola, the world’s most iconic drink, was initially sold as medicine for five cents a glass; mixed with carbonated water, it was claimed Coca-Cola cured many diseases, including morphine addiction, headache and impotence. If that’s what I’m drinking with my cheeseburger, why should it be so odd to find that tonic water traces its roots back to British officers stationed in India? The soldiers went about...

Eric: Tonic water is an acquired drink taste, and just like certain foods in this world, it is one that I can gladly live without. It’s bitter, it’s tasteless and it doesn’t mix well with my favorite spirit, Bourbon. That aside, I can understand why some people live by it, either straight up, on the rocks or as a mixer with their favorite spirit. I know this because during the last two years I was in college, I started and successfully operated (with the help of a few friends) a cocktail bar named “The Alchemists.”

Part of the appeal of standing behind the bar...

By |2017-08-31T16:18:06-04:00March 18th, 2009|Food & Drinks, xyz misc|13 Comments

Planters Harvest Natural Nuts & Trail Mixes

Bonnie: I like everything about Planters Harvest line of 100% Natural Nuts and Trail Mixes with no preservatives or artificial ingredients. I also like that these have minimum sodium with the varieties ranging from a modest 40- to 100-milligrams of sodium per quarter cup of nuts.

As I’m sure you know, our government allows the following health claim on packages of many types of nuts: “Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

You won’t, though, find...

Bryan: When testing new food products here at Bite of the Best, we often receive the entire line…all varieties, all flavors, all options. We have generally found that we all inevitably gravitate towards one (or maybe two) types of a new product, selecting the truly best to write about here on the site. Today is different, though. Today we are letting you know about an entire new line of products: Planters Harvest 100% Natural. When a product is this good, you don’t split hairs about which ...

Eric: You’ve by now read about the nutritional value of the new line of Planters Harvest nuts, and are probably already drooling over the five varieties that the new line offers — but what about the value? Usually such “natural” products are overpriced and under portioned, leaving you with a empty feeling in both your stomach and your wallet. But the new line of Planters Harvest nuts contain a plentiful 9- to 11-ounces, with a price ($5.99) that competes favorably with the smaller ...

By |2017-08-31T16:18:06-04:00March 4th, 2009|Food & Drinks, xyz misc|18 Comments

Land O’Lakes Half-Sticks of Butter

Just sharing that you'll soon be able to find Land O’Lakes one-pound packages of salted butter containing half-sticks. Each pound package will contain eight half-sticks of butter, each measuring out to two ounces or one-fourth of a cup. This makes measuring half a stick more convenient, since you no longer need to rewrap the other half to keep it fresh. The best part  — these half sticks will cost what the same as the regular 4-ounce sticks. Being an unsalted butter user, I asked whether the half-sticks will soon also be available for their unsalted butter. Their response was since 83% of all the stick butter sold is salted — [...]

By |2017-09-01T15:19:28-04:00February 23rd, 2009|Food & Drinks, xyz misc|1 Comment

SLAP YA MAMA

Bonnie: Last month, while in San Francisco to speak at The National Association of Specialty Food Trade Show (AKA the Fancy Food Show), I walked through the exhibits as they were being set up. That’s where I met Joe Walker.

With a smile from ear to ear, Joe shared the story of SLAP YA MAMA seasonings (see Bryan’s writings) and explained how his whole family worked together in the business. Also being part of a family business, I liked that.

I also liked how...

Bryan: There are very few savory dishes that I would ever prepare without adding salt, pepper and garlic...and if it’s anything for which I want a bit of heat, here comes the red pepper. I might as well go ahead and share a “secret recipe,” noting that this combination, plus a dash of ginger powder and smoked paprika, is actually my basic tuna seasoning.

As a rule of thumb, you should salt and pepper everything, especially meat, before...

Eric: I never thought I’d endorse a product with a name like “SLAP YA MAMA.” In fact, the first time I heard the name, it reminded me of past euphemistically challenged products such as “Chile Today, Hot Tamale,” and “Jamaican Me Crazy.” Both of these products had me remembering their names, but failed to leave a lasting impression on my palette. Many companies use the tactic of attaching a catchy name to a less-than-average product (i.e. “Helluva Good Dip,” “Phish...

By |2017-08-31T16:18:07-04:00February 18th, 2009|Food & Drinks, xyz misc|8 Comments

FAGE Total Yogurt 0%

Bonnie: My romance with the way of life in Greece began the first of the many times I’ve been there. Same with my first taste of tzaziki, a Greek garlicky cucumber yogurt dip, spread or sauce for roasted lamb.

I played with recipes, not getting the results I wanted until I thickened my yogurt to be more like that found in Greece.

To thicken yogurt, dump plain...

Bryan: Though we’re currently reviewing the 0% plain Greek yogurt, I did want to point out that the FAGE line does offer a wider selection of flavors, with fruits such as cherry, peach and strawberry. Greek yogurt (basically a “strained yogurt” to reduce liquid content) is quite rich, and while I find the fruit combinations enjoyable, they truly are far too overwhelming for even the most decadent of my morning routines (when maybe a donut sneaks...

Eric: All yogurt is not created equal – so for all of you Yoplait and Dannon junkies, there is something more to consider the next time you’re walking towards the dairy case.

In my opinion, a good tasting yogurt should consist of two essential components: fat and flavor. If it’s missing either of those, then you’re probably not going to find a product worth eating. For these reasons, I have always...

By |2017-08-31T16:18:07-04:00February 11th, 2009|Food & Drinks, xyz misc|85 Comments

KIND Almond & Apricot Bar

Bonnie: As a business traveler, I always stash a granola, cereal or fruit-and-nut bar or two in my computer case for those moments when my plane sits on a runway for hours, or when I run between my connecting flights with no time to buy something to eat. In other words, for when I’m starved.

And, being a food-product reviewer, I always have a variety of bars to sample in my testing closet — a three-shelved, two-foot-deep, always-full-of-samples cabinet. From this group of samples, I hadn’t found many that I would actually purchase. That is, until I ...

Bryan: We generally keep to the topic of food here at Bite of the Best (and why wouldn’t we with all the amazing products out there?). Our readers would likely not know this, but I studied politics and diplomacy in school; I found it particularly interesting that we would be reviewing KIND bars this week in light of the recent (and ongoing) conflict in the Middle East. A quick note before I really confuse you.

KIND Snacks is part of the PeaceWorks group, a self-described ...

Eric: Nuts and seeds and fruits, oh my! As you probably read already, unless you peruse down below-the-fold first, KIND bars are all-natural snacks made from ingredients that don’t involve a chemist, and whose parent company donates a certain percentage of its profits to its foundation that support “moral globalization.” Usually, the unfortunate side affect of such a morally uplifting and tasty product is the price, but at roughly $2 per bar, you’re not going to pay...

By |2017-09-04T18:48:24-04:00January 21st, 2009|Food & Drinks, xyz misc|5 Comments

da Rosario Organic White Truffle Acacia Honey

Bonnie: Skip this review if you — like Eric — are not a truffle lover. I’m referring to the underground strong-smelling fungus that grows near the roots of trees, not the chocolate confection.

But for those who love this extravagant fungus, I have a delicious item for you — one that’s an affordable luxury in these economic times. It’s da Rosario Organic White Truffle Acacia Honey. This blend of honey and white truffle oil is heavenly. Orgasmic, actually. And a little goes a long way.

My favorite use is simply drizzled...

Bryan: My God, what can you say about this product that doesn’t involve exclamations like “I wanna slap somebody?” Da Rosario truffle honey is sooo good that I literally snuck it home through security at the airport (ssshhh… don’t tell TSA). There was absolutely no way that I was going to forgo the divine pleasure that is truffle honey just because it happens to be sold in a 4.25-ounce container. I can just see the headlines now, “Man stopped trying to sneak honey onto plane… no tea was found on the scene.”

This is already one of my picks for...

Eric: As mentioned many times before in my writing, I view myself as the black sheep “gourmand” of the family. I am by no means a wine connoisseur. I would choose a rack of ribs over a piece of foie gras. And I detest the taste (and more specifically the smell) of truffles – not the chocolates, but the mushroom-size tubers that are almost more expensive, per ounce, than gold.

There are certain foods that I believe shouldn’t be trifled with. Chocolate should be milk or dark, not...

By |2017-09-04T18:50:12-04:00January 14th, 2009|Food & Drinks, xyz misc|5 Comments

Kahiki EasyCrisp Vegetable Egg Rolls

Bonnie: I usually avoid foods that purportedly crisp in the microwave, as they usually have that telltale off odor and odd taste — and they’re not really crisp.

That is, until I tried these Kahiki EasyCrisp Vegetable Egg Rolls. These are low in fat and calories, have a clean label and taste good. One microwaved 3.25-ounce, 4-inch egg roll contains a modest 70 calories, 2 grams fat and 530 milligrams sodium. What I like even more is that these egg rolls contain no unpronounceable ingredients, no trans fats and no preservatives.

Each box contains three egg rolls, individually wrapped in its own cooking pouch. To prepare...

Bryan: This product is my surprise of the year! At first glance, there was nothing about a microwave egg roll that enticed me, nothing at all, though I am a huge fan of egg rolls, especially dripping in sweet duck sauce…. It was too hard to imagine this historically fried, crispy treat emerging from the sogginess-inducing microwave; something was severely wrong with this picture.

Everything changed in an instant when I tore open the package and got into the instructions. Each Kahiki EasyCrisp Vegetable Egg Roll comes wrapped in special paper; a microwave-safe foil that acts as a...

Eric: Two of my favorite things about eating: Asian cuisine and snacking. I am a strong advocate of “the snack,” and believe that small snacks throughout the day, along with proper meals, are the base for a healthy diet. Snacks are the cornerstone of my daily routine — and I’m not talking about a bag of chips or some cookies. A snack should satisfy your hunger and be nutritious. I always will opt for a handful of nuts, some chopped red pepper and hummus and recently, my new favorite, the...

By |2017-09-04T18:51:26-04:00January 7th, 2009|Food & Drinks, xyz misc|19 Comments