Honest Product Reviews-10/2/17

Hello!  I haven’t done a product review blog in a while so that is what we are going to do today.

The products that I will review are Freddy’s pepperjack burger, Pie 5 Pizza in general, and Turkey Hill’s pumpkin pie ice cream.

First up is the one from Freddy’s.  The pepperjack burger features their trademark flank steak patties but instead of a standard bun, this one uses a butter toasted potato bun.

I don’t know why everyone doesn’t toast and butter hamburger and hot dog buns.  Seriously, whether you make a bun for a restaurant or just at home go ahead and toast it then butter it.  You can thank me later.

As for the potato bun, I think it’s quite good.  This bun includes a subtly different flavor than standard buns.

The pepperjack burger also features pepperjack cheese, grilled jalapenos, and jalapeno fry sauce as its spicy ingredients.  At first I had thought that the pepperjack burger would be too spicy but then I found out that it was not the case.  This burger is spicy but not overly spicy, good for those who like hot foods while not having to eat foods of ghost pepper level spiciness.

Another ingredient of the pepperjack burger is two onion rings.  No more raw onions, or even sautéed onions, no, these are real onion rings!

As I said before, I have no idea why more restaurants are not using this ingredient.  The onions are deep fried and made with beer batter, making them quite flavorful.  Combine that with the fact that onions are natural flavor enhancers as it is, making them a useful ingredient on any food item.

If you want to know why onions are natural flavor enhancers, this is because the onions irritate the taste buds on our tongues and to that end, help us taste food more efficiently.

Anyone who does not cook with onions is either someone with a sensitive stomach or, someone that does not care about flavor.

If you cook and do not care about flavor, you have just implicated yourself as a Borg.

To finish up my review of the pepperjack burger, I can honestly say that it is a great sandwich and a must have item.

Now on to Pie 5 pizza.  The basic concept of Pie 5 is that you can have a personal, customizable pizza served to you in under five minutes.  The toppings are unlimited and sold to you at the same flat rate.  I have to admit, I wish I had thought of that.

The crusts of the pizzas offered are four different types, artisan thin, classic pan, traditional Italian, and gluten free.

I don’t care for artisan thin or any thin crust pizza.  This thin crust is advertised as being crispy like a cracker…Listen, if I wanted to eat pizza off a cracker, I would do just that.  No, give me a real crust with some depth and texture to it.

I recommend buying the classic pan or traditional Italian crust.  As for the gluten free, I haven’t tried that one yet and cannot speak about it.

The sauces available are alfredo, marinara, spicy marinara, barbeque sauce, olive oil, and buffalo ranch.  If you want to blend these sauces or just have one of them, the choice is yours!  Everything at Pie 5 is customizable.

I have tried the sauces at Pie 5 and consider the alfredo sauce to be the best one.  The marinara and spicy marinara are good but are nothing special, unless you want to use them solely as dipping sauces.  I have not tried the barbeque because I do not like mixing sweet and savory foods.   Go with the alfredo sauce.

The toppings are standard but there are some exceptions.  I will not bore you with the standard toppings instead, I will mention the unique ones.  The cheeses they offer are ricotta, cheddar, grated parmesan, and vegan cheese.  Try the ricotta and cheddar.

I avoid all vegan foods because being vegan is against my morals.

Other unique toppings include chicken sausage (really), artichoke hearts, kalamala olives, sun dried tomatoes, green olives, carmelized onions, and banana peppers.

The pizza itself at Pie 5 is great, just don’t go overboard with the amount of toppings you let the staff put on.  One layer of toppings will be sufficient.

As for specific combinations, I recommend the buffalo chicken pizza, the high five (meat lover’s), and the five star (a little of everything but not a supreme).

As for a custom pizza, try alfredo sauce with chicken and artichoke hearts.  You can thank me later.

The desserts at Pie 5 include brownie and cookie pies.  Both of these are extra sweet so if you like desserts with extra sugar (as do I), then you’ll love these.

As a matter of fact, I always cook desserts with extra sugar.  The phrase “it’s too sweet” rarely comes out of my mouth.

The garnishes for the pizzas include magic dust (cheese and spices), pesto sauce, tomato puree, among others.

I have not been able to try all of the breadsticks and salads yet, nor the cinnamon sticks.  However, I do want to, if you catch my meaning.

My review of Pie 5?  Do try it!  That place is definitely worth visiting.

Now to my final review for this post, the pumpkin pie ice cream.

Turkey Hill in general is a good ice cream maker.  However, their ice cream seems to be consistent with most east coast desserts in that it is not as sweet as other brands.

As I said before, I make my desserts extra sweet so the Turkey Hill style is not one that I would use.

I was excited when I saw that pumpkin pie ice cream was already out.  Pumpkin ice cream is on my list of holiday foods that I just have to get fully checked off during the holidays!

Seriously, how else is a foodie going to get the most out of the holidays?

I also had thought about making homemade pumpkin ice cream and after trying Turkey Hill’s, I’m going to have to do that!

The ice cream itself has that subtle, pumpkin flavor, which is just what you are looking for.

Why is it called pumpkin pie ice cream and not just pumpkin ice cream?  Because the ice cream contains pieces of pie crust.  And get this, they actually make the crust work for them!

Normally I would say that I hate pie crust and never fully understood why anyone would want to include such a bland, flavorless item in their food – especially in a dessert.  However, crust like this is okay with me!

No, it’s more than okay!

I appreciate pie crusts that have flavor in them and this Turkey Hill one is that sort.  The crust is loaded with cinnamon and other spices, making it sweet and flavorful unlike its bland, flaky cousin.

To conclude this review, Turkey Hill’s Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream is above average.  It’s worth your time and money if you want to eat pumpkin ice cream.  Aside from that however, the flavor is too subtle and not sweet enough to win over a skeptic.

That’s the end of this one!  What do you think of the aforementioned foods?  Am I wrong about them?

Coming up next on this blog: Your guide to Korean food.

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Scott also has a comedy blog and combined blog.  And a theology e-book here.

Please consider visiting the donations page, which will be pumpkin spice flavored for the entire month of October.

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How To Celebrate Halloween Like A True Foodie!

How To Celebrate Halloween Like A True Foodie

Hello!  So for this one, I thought I would share some ideas on what you can do for Halloween.  If you looked up this blog then you either are a foodie or lean toward being one so with that being the case, I will show you how to celebrate Halloween like a true foodie.

Foodies are people that love cooking and enjoy trying out the latest recipes.  So how does a foodie celebrate Halloween?  Scary movies and delicious desserts!  And which desserts fit in with Halloween?  Candy!

Yes, it’s true, you could just buy candy from any store.  However, that is something that anyone could do.  We however, are not just anyone!  We are food and cooking enthusiasts.  We will celebrate Halloween the right way, with homemade candy.

Before we dive into the ocean that is homemade candy, let’s talk about the movies part of your Halloween party.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the best parties involve movies so you will want to show one.

Personally, I do not care much for the scariest of all horror movies; for reasons that are not fit to disclose here.  However, I do enjoy a good horror comedy.  I also enjoy zombie movies during Halloween.

A horror comedy that I do enjoy watching is ‘Army of Darkness’ starring Bruce Campbell.  If you want to watch a movie that is awesome and fun then go with this one.

If you prefer a horror comedy with more action and gore as well as comedy, then watch ‘Zombie Land,’ starring Jesse Eisenburg, Woody Harrelson, and Emma Stone.  And again, this one combines both horror, action, and comedy.

If you want to see just horror and little or no comedy, go with the ‘Dawn of the Dead’ or ‘Land of the Dead.’  Zombie gore galore!

Now that we have established the entertainment part of celebrating Halloween like a foodie, let’s talk about the food!  That is why you are here, after all.

For drinks, you will want to go with homemade apple cider or apple orchard punch.  Eating apples during fall is one of our traditions, after all.

When making apple cider, some recipes recommend adding a little caramel sauce to your cider.  Fellow foodies, do not merely add one pump of caramel.  Instead, add two.  Yes, double the amount of caramel that recipes recommend.  Trust me, you will like it.

Apple orchard punch is another good Halloween drink.  It uses apples and keeps with tradition and, it’s quite good.  If you think it needs to be more Halloween related, try adding green food coloring and calling it strained slug punch.

If you want to garnish your Halloween desserts and candy, use a box of the latest, trendy Halloween cereal.  You can’t go wrong with edible ghost marshmallows or spider web crunchies.  These garnishes are just one of many ways to add a Halloween flare to your food.

Speaking of cereal, Rice Krispy Treats will help you celebrate Halloween like a true foodie.  They are a homemade candy and can be modified for Halloween.

To alter the Rice Krispy Treats, add the garnish from the latest Halloween cereal or top them with chocolate chips.  Also, add some food coloring to the marshmallows.  You can use either orange food coloring – strictly a Halloween color – or, use red food coloring and call it blood pie (Klingon style).

Caramel popcorn is also a viable homemade Halloween candy.  If you do have a popcorn popper, use it (duh).  If you do not however, make popcorn the old fashioned way.

Put the raw kernels and some butter on a frying pan and cover the pan.  Turn the burner on and once you hear the first pop, start moving the pan.  Actually, start shimming and shaking the pan!  Do not let the pan sit still or you risk burning the popcorn.  Keep it moving and shaking until all of the kernels have popped.

Next, put the popcorn into a bowl and add butter.  Do not add salt however, seeing as we are making candy.  Instead, add some caramel syrup.

Try melting down some caramel candies as well and putting them on top of the popcorn.  So now we have homemade popcorn with butter, caramel syrup, and melted caramel candy.  Put the corn on some wax paper and let it harden or, just go ahead and start eating.

A Halloween flare for caramel popcorn?  Refer to it as Carnivorous Corn Experiment #2244.  Or just add some red food coloring.

Red food coloring is good.

Chocolate covered bananas make for a good homemade treat as well.  These are very easy to make, just melt down the chocolate and hand dip the bananas.

To melt your chocolate, use a Bain Marie or just microwave melt it.  I prefer the microwave method, seeing as the chocolate will take longer to harden after it first melts.

The best way to hand dip food for a chocolate covering is to use Korean chopsticks (the ones made of steel) to pick up the food while you dip.  Place your food on wax paper then refrigerate so it can harden.

Sliced bananas can also be described as runes, if you want to go that route.

Homemade fudge will accommodate you on Halloween.  I use a simple recipe using Eagle Brand, marshmallows, and chocolate chips.

Homemade fudge however, is also a traditional Christmas dish.  Do not feel bad about making it for Halloween, seeing as it is a homemade candy.  If you want to make egg nog for Halloween however well, you’re just odd.

A Halloween flare for fudge would be to refer to it as mud or somewhere specific, like Transylvanian mud.

If you want to really make it look like mud, try adding some Oreo powder.

Oreo powder also works well if you want to simulate gunpowder, a great dessert ingredient for Guy Fawkes Day.

Should I write about Guy Fawkes Day?

On the subject of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk, you can also use that to make coconut macaroons.  The Halloween flare for coconut macaroons would be, to refer to them as zombie hair.

English Toffee is another homemade candy that you are sure to love!  Fun fact: English Toffee has nothing to do with England.

To make English Toffee, you will need to use real butter.  Do not settle for any of that fake stuff.  Then spin the butter on a frying pan, add the sugar and chocolate chips and let it harden.  One of the best homemade candies of all!

To make English Toffee related to Halloween, refer to it as bricks of an ancient Roman tomb.

If you do want a Halloween treat that actually does have to do with England, try British style toffee apples.  I however, have not made these before so you will be going at it on your own.  What happened was, I tried to make them without using a candy thermometer (shameful!) and well…it failed miserably (serves you right)…

Some toffee apple recipes recommend that you brush your teeth after eating these apples.  Friends, you will want to heed that warning seeing as a lot of these recipes call for an entire kilogram of sugar.  Yes, really.

This recipe also recommends adding red food coloring to the mix.  Red food coloring is the traditional color for any type of candied apples and it looks like blood.  What could go wrong?

Well, provided that you use a candy thermometer that is.

 

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So there you have it!  Everything you need in order to celebrate Halloween like a foodie would!  Fellow foodies, let me know if you decide to try any of these.

Also, please consider checking out the donations page, seeing as it’s pumpkin spice now!

Thoughts on Food 4- Labor Day

Hello!  As most of my fellow Americans know, Labor Day is coming soon.  What’s the best way to celebrate Labor Day?  With an awesome party of course!  For this post, I will go over how to have a great Labor Day party!  A Café Norris exclusive!

First off, if anyone tells you that Labor Day is silly, remind them that the first Labor Day was celebrated in New York City in 1882.  This Holiday has been around for over one hundred years, that qualifies it as a legitimate tradition.

Besides, a holiday that is dedicated to American workers is definitely worth celebrating!  We are the most productive workers in the world, after all.  If you have Labor Day off, do not feel bad about celebrating it.  If you work in retail however, you might want to get the day off as soon as you can…

If you do not care to celebrate or acknowledge the spirit of the American worker, Labor Day also counts as an excuse to throw a party!  Odds are your friends and family are still missing the festivities from last Fourth of July anyway, so they will welcome another event; celebrate away.

Labor Day is an American holiday so, you will want a menu that consists of traditional American food.  What does that even mean?  Does traditional American food even exist?!  Yes, it does!

Your main entrée will be Buffalo wings.  Buffalo wings were invented in American, specifically in Buffalo, NY.  Foods that were invented in the States count as traditional American food.

The recipe for Buffalo wings consists of standard chicken wings and a sauce.  The traditional sauce that dates back to the 1940’s is equal parts butter and equal parts hot sauce.  Mix thoroughly those two ingredients and you have traditional Buffalo wings sauce.

Buffalo Wild Wings also sells their sauces by the bottle, their sauces are worthy of Labor Day.  Stop by your local Buffalo Wild Wings (or B-dubs, as some might call it) and pick up a bottle for your Labor Day event.

Aside from serving Buffalo wings, to have an awesome Labor Day serve your guests bacon cheeseburgers.  Why burgers?  Were burgers not invented in Hamburg Germany, anyway and therefore, not an American food?  Burgers were invented in Germany yes but, bacon burgers were made popular in America!

Yes, it’s true, A&W restaurants made the bacon burger popular.  I could mention on here that bacon makes every food taste ten times better or that bacon makes us all immortals but, this is the internet.  Talking about the greatness of bacon online is just like stating the obvious.

So we have the best Labor Day entrees, of bacon burgers and Buffalo wings, now you will need a salad.  Salads that contain green vegetables are well…healthy.  Health food has no place at a party (sorry, not sorry).  Instead, try fruit salad.

Apple sauce makes for a great fruit salad base so combine it with strawberries and/or strawberry Jell-O.  What could be more American than that?!

Or an alternative fruit salad, add strawberry yogurt to a bowl (only use your favorite brand) then add bananas and graham cracker crumbles.  Stir thoroughly and enjoy.

You will not need a carb for this meal, seeing as we already have burgers on the menu and burgers come with buns.  However, you could have chosen lettuce wrapped burgers…if that is the case then go with buttermilk biscuits from ALDI.

If you do want to use hamburger buns (which is tradition…Tradition!…tradition) be sure to toast and butter the buns then add some garlic.  You can use either minced garlic or garlic powder.  If you go with the powder, do not hesitate to use a generous portion.

What does one drink on Labor Day?  I am not a big drinker so, if you want booze then I will have to leave that to you.

However, I do have to say that beer ketchup is some good stuff and goes well with fries and tater tots.  And yes, I do always always always recommend having fries with burgers.  If someone wants baked potatoes with burgers, remind them that their behavior is un-American.

Potato chips also make for a great side and, are also an American tradition.

Anyway, back to drinks.  The big soft drinks like Coke, Pepsi, and Dr. Pepper were all invented in America so those are good choices.  Root Beer would work as well seeing as it is far less popular in non-American countries.

If you are looking for something other than soft drinks and black coffee, and is not booze…Lemonade is your best option.  Whether its manufactured or homemade, lemonade is the most convenient drink to serve.  And the good news is, it also tastes good.

Back to soft drinks, if you do serve them, include some ice cubes of said soda into the drinks when served.  For example, if decide to serve Pepsi on Labor Day, beforehand make some Pepsi ice cubes with your ice tray by pouring Pepsi into an empty ice tray.  These Pepsi ice cubes will make the normal Pepsi drink a lot more fun.

The next item on the menu is the most important, that being dessert!  Americans are known for their rich, decadent desserts after all so to that end, combine two or three desserts into one!

Multiple desserts in one?!  What does that mean?!  It means, brownies a la mode.

Start with your favorite brownie mix.  If you favorite includes brownies with extra fudge or brownies with peanut butter, you won’t hear me complaining.

Next, prepare homemade ice cream.  Your homemade ice cream flavors can be standard chocolate and vanilla for Labor Day.  Top the brownies with your ice cream and your awesome dessert is ready to eat!

If you have had homemade ice cream before, you can see why it is superior to the store brand ones.  Yes, it is better than all of them!  If you have not had homemade ice cream before, you are probably wondering why I recommended some common flavors like chocolate and vanilla.

First off, homemade ice cream is richer and more flavorful than anything with xantham gum in it.  If made correctly, those two flavors alone would be enough to satisfy any foody.  Combine the two with brownies and people will be begging to come to next year’s Labor Day party.

What is the best way to serve your guests?  You could call out orders like a restaurant but, the better way is to serve them buffet style.  Not only is it a buffet –and real Americans love buffets –but, the buffet is similar to an assembly line; a fitting motif for Labor Day.

And what about entertainment?  The best holiday parties have movies or TV to go along with them.  And if you’re like me, coming with things to say for an entire party can be quite difficult.

Before showing movie however, your guests might like a trivia game with Labor Day questions.  Aside from that, go ahead and turn on the TV.

If you want to show your guests a movie, I recommend Office Space or Trading Places.  Or, if you want to be very American and show your guests a TV marathon, go with The Office Season 1.

The best way to schedule an event such as this awesome Labor Day party is as follows:

  1. Arrivals and greetings
  2. Door prizes (if applicable)
  3. Dinner (if doing a marathon, start it now)
  4. Games (forgo if doing a marathon)
  5. Dessert
  6. Movie (again, if not doing a marathon. If you are  doing one, this is the end of the party

 

So there you have it, how to throw the best Labor Day party ever!

Did I leave out a few menu items?  Or is the schedule a little off?  Let me know if it, let’s talk about it.