Tag Archive | Food

Yes, it Exists: Food Truck Magazine

Food Truck Magazine Cover
Photos By Gail

This morning, I was walking to my office when a guy dressed in full on Chef Whites handed me what I thought was a takeout menu, but which turned out to be a copy of Food Truck Magazine. Apparently, Food Truck Magazine is now a thing. This makes sense since Food Truck competition shows are all over the TV and there are even Food Trucks parked in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (see page 10 for a story on this hot button issue).

The premier issue of Food Truck Magazine has Shaquille O’Neal on the cover promoting Soup Mobile, his new joint venture with the Soup Nazi of Seinfeld fame. Their catch phrase : “Soup For Me!” Also inside its informative pages you will find a very timely editorial on how Food Trucks should have Letter Grades, just like brick and mortar restaurants (I agree), announcements for new Food Trucks around the city, and a review of the recent John Favreau film, Chef – which, appropriately, is about a chef who owns a Food Truck!

Food Truck Magazine is clearly an idea whose time has come. I look forward to reading future issues! Visit them online at Food Truck Magazine Dot US. Mangia!

Food Truck Magazine Back Cover

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Editor Showcase Presents: Snack Attack!

Editor Showcase Brands
All Photos By Gail

Here at The Gig, we are all about healthy snacking, and last month’s Editor Showcase Snack Attack event (held at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square) introduced us to so many delicious new products and reacquainted us with a few old favorites. Let’s take a look at some of the tempting treats that ended up in our samples bag!

Dofino Cheeses

Arla Dofino Cheeses brought a giant gouda cheese with them while also introducing new flavors like Gouda with Chipotle (hot stuff!) and Creamy Havarti, which is especially delicious on sandwiches. I made sure to pick up their list of Casual Entertaining Tips to keep on hand for my next party, as well!

Boulder Canyon Kettle Chips

Boulder Canyon Natural Foods introduced their line of Kettle-cooked Potato Chips in popular flavors like Jalapeno Cheddar and Zesty Ranch. Attendees also sampled their Ancient Grains Snack Chips, made with a blend of 7 whole grains and seeds!

Saffron Road Chickpeas

Saffron Road Crunchy Chickpeas are an organic and fun snack in a variety of flavors that are inspired by World Cuisine. Plus, we love their tagline, “What the Halal?” Hilarious!

Abound Snacks

Gold Emblem Abound Snacks (a store brand of CVS Pharmacies) handed out generous gift bag samplers of some of their tasty products including Mango & Raspberry Snack Bars, Sunshine Edamame Blend and Baked Rice Thins. Get a $1 Off Coupon for any Gold Emblem Abound snack by visiting This Link!

Pasta Chips

Vintage Italia’s Pasta Chips — real pasta in a thin and crispy chip — are made with semolina flour and Italian herbs and baked with no added fats or oils. These tempting chips are then enhanced with a favorite Italian sauce-inspired flavor including a creamy, buttery Alfredo, Spicy Tomato, Garlic & Olive Oil and Marinara. Mangia!

Suddenly Salad

Of course we just reviewed Suddenly Salad’s Southwestern Grains Salad Right Here, thanks to discovering this delicious and convenient dish right at Snack Attack! Betty Crocker does it again!

Crunchmaster Chips

Here’s something I bet you haven’t seen before: Popped Edamame Chips from Crunchmaster! Eating Gluten free gets more exciting every day! Our taste buds were also delighted by the whole grain nuttiness and unequaled crunch of Crunchmaster’s Multigrain Crackers (pictured below). Best Cracker Ever? We think so! Find out more (and get a coupon) at This link!

Crunchmaster Multi-Seed Crackers
Best. Cracker. Ever.

Pretzel Chips

Ah Pretzel Crisps — everyone I know goes insane for these Pretzel-shaped Crackers, and with good reason: they are phenomenal! So thin, so crisp, so completely addictive. New Deli Style flavors at Snack Attack included Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper and Honey Mustard & Onion. Also coming in 2014; tangy Greek Yogurt Crunch Flavor!

Greek Yogurt Pretzel Chips

Soy Joy Packaging

Hey, do you remember a few years ago when that commercial for Soy Joy was just everywhere? I sure do, but I just had a chance to try Soy Joy for myself at Snack Attack, and, let me tell you, it is a tasty thing! Soy Joy is an all-natural baked snack bar made with real fruit and whole ground soy beans. It comes in seven flavors including Black Cherry Chocolate (OMG), Mango Coconut, Cranberry and a Banana flavor that tastes just like Banana Bread! Very highly recommended!

Soy Joy Bars

Atkins Snack Bars

Speaking of tasty Bars, Atkins low carb diet program debuted a new line of decadent flavors of their Advantage snack and meal replacement bars in varieties like Triple Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel, and Cookies & Cream. These may be the most indulgent calorie-conscious products since Weight Watchers Brownie Bliss snacks hit the market! De-Li-Cious!

Grace Foods Plantain Chips

Another new acquaintance made at Snack Attack is Grace Foods, a manufacturer of Caribbean and Jamaican cuisine food products, which was established in 1922! Wow! As you can see, they sell a variety of plantain chips — which are so similar to potato chips in taste but a bit heartier in texture. They are also very much on trend with their super-hydrating Coconut Water and even Coconut Oil (not pictured) which is such a hot product right now — people are even using it to condition their hair! We wish all good things to Grace Foods as they find a niche in the US specialty foods marketplace.

Grace Foods Coconut Water

Thanks As Always to the Ladies of Formula PR for the Guest List Acton! See You Next Time!

Product Review: Suddenly Salad‘s Southwest Grains Salad

Suddenly Salad Front of Box
All Photos By Gail

Do you like Southwestern Grains Salad? I sure do. I love the tasty mix of whole grains with sweet corn and tender black beans in a tangy dressing that is such a perfect summer side dish. The thing is, it seems so hard to make that I will usually deprive myself because I don’t want to make a mess in the kitchen or have to buy a bunch of stuff. Single ladies: you know how it is.

Then, when I was at the Snack Attack Editor Showcase a few weeks ago, I discovered Betty Crocker’s Suddenly Salad line of boxed Grain and Pasta Salad mixes, where (nearly) everything you to need to make a complete salad is in that box! So easy, so delicious, so exciting! I came home from the event with a box of the Southwestern Grains Salad and I made it at home a few nights ago. Let me share my experience with you.

Grain Salad Ingredients

Here’s your meal in a box: A boil-in-bag assortment of Brown Rice, Quinoa, Corn and Black Beans and some Red Bell Pepper (easier to see once it is cooked) and the dry dressing mix. To prepare, fill a three quart pan half way with water, bring to boil and drop in the bag of the dry grain mixture (do not open the bag) for 17 minutes, turning the bag over half way through cooking.

Salad Dressing

While the grains boil, mix one tablespoon of cold water and one tablespoon of oil into the dry salad dressing mixture, stir until well blended and set aside or store for few minutes in the fridge. The dressing has a delicious Chipotle Lime flavor that gives the salad its distinctive southwestern taste.

Grain Salad Prepared

At the end of the 17 minute boiling time, transfer the bag to a colander and run cold water over it (turning the bag as needed) until the contents are cooled and water no longer drips from the bag.

Cut open the bag and pour grains into a serving bowl, then mix in the dressing. I chilled the salad for an additional 30 minutes uncovered in the fridge and it was perfect and insanely delicious. Suddenly, Salad!

You could, of course, also add grilled chicken to this salad for a heartier dish, but it tasted great on its own. Recommended! Read more about Betty Crocker’s Suddenly Salad mixes and get delicious recipe ideas at This Link.

Product Review: Crispy Green’s Delicious Crispy Fruit Snack

Crispy Fruit Apple

If you assume that Freeze Dried Fruit will taste anything like Dried Fruit, prepare to have your mind blown away completely when you taste Crispy Fruit — the worlds most delicious snack that comes in a bag. Just being serious.

We have been digging on Crispy Fruit since first discovering it at Food Fete Summer 2013, so, when we ran into the folks at Crispy Green (makers of Crispy Fruit) during July’s Summer Fancy Food Show, we made sure to say pretty please when requesting a box of Crispy Fruit to review.

Crispy Fruit Assortment

Mission Accomplished.

Crispy Green freeze dried fruit snack comes in seven varieties including Apple, Asian Pear, Tangerine, Mango, Cantaloupe, Pineapple and Banana. Mmm, Crispy Banana – as much fun to say as it is to eat!

Crispy Banana
Crispy Banana

In every case, the fruit is light and crispy like a chip, but it still has a fresh fruit taste! They take all the juice out of it, but keep the flavor. Insane. How do they even do that? I do not know. The high quality packaging also locks in the “crunch,” keeping Crispy Fruit at its flavor peak.

Crispy Green Pamphlet

Crispy Fruit is the perfect way to satisfy your snack cravings while adding more fruit to your diet – all without additives or preservatives. Even kids who get fussy over having to eat fresh fruit will love Crispy Fruit! Also, it is low in calories at just 35 to 55 calories per serving! But the most important reason to try Crispy Fruit is that is just tastes so darn good!

Crispy Apple Product
Crispy Apple

I ate the above pictured Crispy Apple with a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch yesterday and it was heavenly. And doesn’t it even look like sliced fresh apple? Sure it does.

Read more about Crispy Green and Crispy Fruit, find out where to buy it in your area and even order it online at This Link!

Product Review: Applegate’s Half Time Lunch Box

Half Time Outside Package
All Photos by Gail

Here at The Gig, we have previously given enthusiastic reviews to Applegate Meat Products, which are delicious. So, it was nice to see Applegate again at the recent Snack Attack edition of the Editor Showcase at the Marriott Marquis, where Applegate introduced their new Half Time Lunch Box for Kids.

Half Time Lunch Contents Inside Box

Half Time is similar in concept to the Lunchables product line, but the ingredients in Half Time are all natural, organic, and antibiotic-free with no preservatives added. Plus, there are jokes and games for kids to play written on the inside of the box. We left Editor Showcase with samples of both the Bologna and Cheese and the Turkey and Cheese Half Time varieties and brought them home for review.

Half Time is obviously designed with kids in mind, but I have no kids, so I took the Bologna and Cheese Half Time box with me to the office the other day and I had a little picnic at my desk. Fun!

Half Time Lunch Contents

This Half Time box contained 5 slices of Applegate Natural Bologna, 5 Slices of Applegate American cheese, 5 Annie’s Buttery Rich crackers, an Annie’s Organic Berry Patch Fruit Snacks and a strawberry Stonyfield Organic YoKids Squeezers yogurt. Here are all of the contents laid out and ready for me to put on a plate.

Half Time Lunch

All of the little plastic packages peel open easily so you do not need scissors or a knife to open anything, making this safe for kids if they are getting their lunch ready on their own. Also, a plate is not necessary, as the box can certainly serve as a plate-thing, but I did find that a couple of napkins came in handy, as the bologna is packed in a small amount of water. I also dressed my little cracker sandwiches up with a bit of mustard and mayo that I had in my desk drawer. Fancy!

Half Time Back of Box

I would like to say that I enjoyed my Half Time Lunch very much. All ingredients are of exceptional quality and flavor and the little rabbit shaped fruit snacks reminded me of Gummy candy, which everyone loves. Also, the strawberry yogurt was delicious and very fun to eat from a tube.

Fruit Bunny Snacks

Applegate’s Half Time (SRP $4.99) will be in stores in time for Back to School! Find out more about what makes Half Time a great lunch choice at This Link!

Half Time Display

Pepperidge Farm and Swanson Present Holidays in July!

Product Display
All Photos By Gail (Click on Any Image to Enlarge for Detail)

The idea of Christmas in July has always been exciting to me, because I love the Holiday season, but I also love Summer. So it was extremely fun to be invited to a lovely Holiday-Themed Dinner Party thrown by Swanson and Pepperidge Farm that not only featured delicious foods but also easy cooking tips and beautiful home decorating ideas. Win win win!

Holidays in July Signage

Of course, the point of the Holidays in July Campaign is not rush the coming of the season but to point out that it is never too early to start planning!

Holiday Tree

Swanson and Pepperidge Farm (which are both owned by Campbell Soup Company, a fact I did not previously know) had the event space decorated beautifully complete with seasonally appropriate touches including a Tree, Wreaths and Wrapped Presents — very festive!

Cheese Table

Before dinner was served, we all enjoyed a spread of delicious snacks, including this insane Brie En Croute made with Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry.

Brie En Croute

Look at this gorgeous thing. Just look at it.

Bar

Pre-dinner cocktails included a signature drink, the Gingerbread Martini, topped with a Pepperidge Farm Gingerman Cookie! You would not believe how delicious and refreshing this cocktail was.

Gingerbread Man Cocktail

Plus, cute.

Table Setting

Nothing gets your guests excited for a delicious holiday meal quite like a beautifully set table. Mixing Christmas ornaments in with fresh flower arrangements really brings the seasonal atmosphere into your home.

Gingerbread House

And look, somebody made a Gingerbread Cookie House from a variety of Pepperidge Farm Cookies!

Floral Centerpiece

Here’s what was on the evening’s menu:

Roast Whole Turkey

Sliced Turkey on Platter

Herb Roasted Turkey and Pan Gravy with Swanson Chicken Stock.

Shortribs

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Swanson Beef Stock.

Two Kinds of Potatoes

Here’s a fun presentation suggestion: serve two different kinds of potatoes side by side in the same dish! Above, you’ll see a Sweet Potato and Parsnip Puree nestled alongside ultra creamy traditional Mashed Potatoes. All vegetables were cooked in Swanson Chicken Broth instead of water, which simply enhances the flavor of the food without imparting a chicken taste to the finished dish. This is a tip I am definitely going to put into practice, because the results are outstanding.

Macaroni and Cheese with Crushed Goldfish

Check out this rich Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese topped with crushed Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers. Kids (and Adults) will flip over this!

Three Kinds of Stuffing

Three varieties of stuffing included (Left to Right):

Caramelized Onion with Pancetta and Rosemary Stuffing made with Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing and Swanson Chicken Broth.

Sausage Cornbread Stuffing made with Pepperidge Farm Cornbread Stuffing.

Baked Apple Cranberry Stuffing made with Pepperidge Farm Unseasoned Stuffing and Swanson Chicken Broth. (My Favorite).

Sausage Cornbread Stuffing made with Pepperidge Farm Cornbread Stuffing.

There was also an assortment of Pepperidge Farm Bake at Home Breads and Stone Baked Artisan Breads.

Puff Pastry Sheets

After a huge feast like the one I’ve just talked about, everyone needed a bit of a rest before dessert. Everyone was invited into the kitchen to watch one of Pepperidge Farm’s in-house chefs demonstrate how easy it is to make desserts with the brand’s best-selling Puff Pastry!

Chef Making Pastry

Puff Pastry with Fruit

Puff Pastries topped with Fresh Fruit.

Puff Pastries with Nutella and Hazelnuts

Puff Pastries filled with Nutella and topped with Hazelnuts.

Bananas Foster Pudding with Chessmen

And last but not least, Bananas Foster Pudding topped with a layer of Pepperidge Farm Chessmen Cookies! Delish!

Get recipes mentioned in this post and more by downloading Pepperidge Farm’s Holiday Recipe Booklet at This Link! Happy Holidays!

Dinner Menu

Bacon Thing of the Day: Bacon Peanut Butter Cannoli

Bacon Canoli
Image Courtesy of The Littlest Winslow

These miniature Bacon Cannoli actually contain a filling comprised of both Banana and Peanut Butter. So, shouldn’t it maybe be called the Elvis Cannoli? Find out how to make them at This Link!

Big Smoke Burger Opens Flagship Store in Chelsea

Big Smoke Burger Storefront
All Photos By Gail

Do you like Burgers? I sure do. Burgers have been a bit of a Thing for a while now, so there are many different places competing for your money when you want a red meat fix. There are a few places scattered around the city that I frequent, and each does something special with the simple culinary pleasure that is the hamburger. Now, I am adding a new favorite to that list.

Burger Prep

Canadian Burger Chain Big Smoke Burger has just opened its flagship store in Chelsea and I recently had the pleasure of being won over by their no-frills approach to creating a big, juicy burger the way you would make one to fire up on your own backyard grill.

This past Sunday, July 13th, Big Smoke Burger held a private event in their new home on 7th Avenue, at which owner Anthony Fauci pledged a $20 donation for every person in the door from 6-10 PM. All proceeds went to The National Urban Technology Center and the Legacy School for Integrated Studies, located on West 14th Street, to help to transform young lives through the use of technology. So, good burgers for a good cause, woo!

Poutine

During the fun evening, guests were invited to sample a full range of Big Smoke’s delicious sandwiches and sides, which include first rate hand-cut fries and also Poutine – a Canadian specialty similar to NYC’s own Disco Fries – which adds cheese curds and brown gravy atop a generous portion of fries. These indulgent fries are a meal on their own and are sure to win lots of fans!

Big Smoke Burgers on a Tray

The trays of fresh-from-the-grill burgers made the rounds every few minutes – it was sheer burger heaven!

Big Smoke Burger

Big Smoke’s menu is divided into a Classic Burgers section featuring Cheese and Double Cheese Burgers, Veggie Burgers and Grilled Chicken Breast Burgers, and Signature Burgers, including the namesake Big Smoke Burger, dressed with Lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions, smoked cheddar cheese and horseradish mayo, which you see pictured above. This burger is amazing, so flavorful and juicy with fresh toppings. Plus, look how huge it is! A fresh Lamb Burger topped with Cilantro Feta spread is also on the menu and many other burgers include toppings such as goat cheese, roasted red peppers, avocado, sautéed mushrooms and variety of delicious mayonnaise-based sauces.

Big Smoke Menu Board

Milk Shake Shots

And who could resist a shot of one of Big Smoke Burger’s fresh and luscious Milkshakes? Not this girl!

Outdoor Patio Coming Soon
Outdoor Patio Coming Soon

There’s lots of room to dine in at communal tables and even a small bar, and the restaurant also has 880 square feet of outdoor space which should be open as a partially covered patio by fall 2014.

King
Meet King

Service is also friendly, quick and personal, which is important and very much appreciated! One of our servers at Sunday’s event was King, who was all about friendly service. Thanks King, I hope to see you again on my next visit!

Big Smoke Burger is Located at 70 7th Avenue, Between 14th and 15th Streets, in Chelsea, New York City. Visit them online at This Link.

Big Smoke Burger Signage

Favorite Products and Displays from Summer Fancy Food Show 2014: A Photographic Odyssey

Summer Fancy Food Signage
All Photos By Gail

The Summer Fancy Food Show – which is sponsored by the Specialty Food Association – takes over NYC’s Jacob Javits Convention Center for three days each July, and it is the most fun thing imaginable for people who like food. This year’s event took place from Sunday June 29th through Tuesday July 1st, and while you really do need three days to “do” the show, I had to cram my visit into just one day (Sunday). My foodie friend and fellow writer Anne and I blazed a trail across three floors and two entire wings of Javits, coming away with very full tummies, even fuller bags of food swag and samples, and a ton of (mostly) hilarious photos, some of which I will share here. Enjoy!

Gummi Bandages

Gummi Candy Bandaids - taste like fruit!

Whoop Ass Hot Sauce Bottles

Whoop Ass Hot Sauce Bottles that look like little Cowboys.

Hot Sauce from Hell

Hotter than Hot. In other words, Very Hot.

Amoretti Martini Mixes
Amoretti Martini Mixes

Now, This a great product! Just add alcohol!

Butter

To demonstrate how delicious this butter is, they fried bits of cheese in it.

Cheese Fried in Butter
Cheese Fried in Butter: Yes, Delicious.

Not Edible

I wish had had made a note of the exhibitor in the booth where I took the picture above, because he was a complete dick to me. Dick.

Pink Hot Chocolate

Pink Hot Chocolate

Black Heart Licorice

Black Heart Licorice

Hi I'm Skinny Sticks Snacks

I wonder if Bethenny Frankel is their spokesperson?

Birthday Party Chocolates

It’s a Birthday Party in a Bon Bon!

Sweet Works Display

Giant Easter Candy Display from Sweet Works Chocolates!

Just Mayo

Just Mayo: a mayonnaise product from Hampton Creek made with plant emulsifiers instead of eggs. Just Delicious!

Takeya Iced Tea

Takeya Iced Tea’s Gets Super Arty.

Mr. Pickle

Mr. Cucumber Head for Rick’s Pick K.O. Pickles!

Whirley Pop Popcorn Machine

Whirley Pop Popcorn Popper!

Sexy Pop Popcorn

Sexy Pop Popcorn for use with the Whirley Popper!

Counting Sheep Coffee

Counting Sheep Coffee: Relaxing Coffee with Valerian Root. This product was a big hit at the show!

Red Velvet Cake Flavored Milk Chocolate

Red Velvet Cake Flavored Milk Chocolate.

Pulque Can Mariachis

Pulque Can Mariachis!

Holy Crap Breakfast Cereal
Image not Photoshopped

One of the great finds of the day was Holy Crap Breakfast Cereal. Anne and I asked the lady in the booth why it is called Holy Crap, and she replied, “Because it is very high in fiber!” “Ohhhh…” we replied in unison.

Cherry Cake Bite Icee Petit Four

Icee Cherry Cake Bite Petit Four.

Sofi Awards

These little statuettes are Sofi Awards – “Sofi” standing for Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation – which are awarded to outstanding specialty foods and beverages across 32 awards categories. These Sofis belong to Dancing Deer Baking Company.

GoGo Gang

The GoGo Gang. To make you “go” I guess.

3D Sugar Cake Topper by 3D Systems

3D Sugar Cake Topper by created by 3D Systems.

Coco Libre Display

Coco Libre Coconut Water Giant Inflatable Display!

For more information on The Fancy Food Show, visit the Specialty Food Association’s website at This Link. See you next July!

Pasta Sauce Made By John Bon Jovi’s Dad

BonGiovi Pasta Sauce
All Photos By Gail

Hey what’s up. I just got back from a long day spent grazing my way through the Summer Fancy Food Show, which is taking over Javits Convention Center here in Manhattan through Tuesday July 1st. What a fun show! You always arrive home with a full tummy and an even fuller bag of delicious food samples from vendors, literally, all over the globe. This year, I was very happy and surprised to meet John Bongiovi Sr., whose son fronts a eponymous, rather well known rock band, but spells the family name a bit differently. Artistic license!

John Sr was at Fancy Food to shill for the family Pasta Sauce business, and my pal Anne and I had the chance to not only taste their delicious sauce over a bit of perfectly cooked pasta, but we also got to chat a bit with Mr. Bongiovi, who is super nice and quite handsome. If I were ten years older and he was single, I would be all over it.

John BonGiovi Sr

The Bongiovi Pasta Sauce Booth was raffling off this Les Paul guitar signed by John Jr. It looks like a nice guitar. Anne and I made him pose with it.

BonGiovi Pasta Sauce Ad

Visit Bongiovi Brand Dot Com to find out where you can buy this delcious sauce in your area!