Over the summer, I attended This Rad Party to celebrate the release of the Volkswagen Limited Edition #PinkBeetle. In keeping with Pink theme, they served refreshing pink drinks in pink glasses, delivered on a pink tray! Oh, the pinkness!
A limited-edition line of Heisenberg Blue Ice Vodka, inspired by the hit television series Breaking Bad, is currently available for sale in California, and online at Reserve Bar Dot Com, with nationwide sales coming soon. Three special edition bottles of Heisenberg by Blue Ice feature distinct graphics and infamous quotes such as “Say My Name,” “The One Who Knocks,” and “Tread Lightly.”
Continuing in the spirit of brilliant homage, Observer Dot Com just published a side-splitting list of The 10 Most Appropriate Times to Drink Blue Ice’s ‘Breaking Bad’ Vodka, which you can read for yourself at This Link. My Favorite:
Oh, are two killer twins after you? With axes? Because that is a horrifyingly specific weapon to use in this day and age. Do they have you cornered in a parking lot? After a peaceful day of shopping, no less? How awful. Oh there you go, you killed one with your car. Is the other twin bearing down on you, slowly, axe raised as you fumble for your gun? How very stressful. You deserve a nice chilled vodka, my friend. Then I suggest you break the bottle over the bumper of your Jeep Commando and prepare to fight.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Mark threw a fabulous brunch party, where I was introduced to a delicious alcoholic beverage called Maven. An entirely original cocktail, Maven is created by the infusion of fine wines with premium vodka — two beverages which I love on their own, but would never, ever have thought of combining. Can I just tell you that the result is a great-tasting cocktail that kind of blew my mind a little.
At the brunch, I also met Maven’s creator, Stephenie Harris; a terrifically charming lady who really knows how to talk about her product. The thing is though, once you taste Maven, it really sells itself. Committed to making a top-shelf product, Maven uses the best all-natural ingredients, resulting is a truly high quality, ready to drink cocktail. By combining gluten-free vodka, which is distilled 6 times, with super premium Chardonnay from the Edna Valley, or Pinot Noir from Sonoma, Maven has perfected the proprietary blend that is used to create their cocktails. And the proof is in the tasting. You would probably not think that Wine and Vodka would blend into such a smooth, delicious tasting cocktail, but once you try Maven you will be won over.
One of the things I love about Maven Cocktails is its single-serve, frosted glass bottle with a reseable cap — gorgeous, and also smart design! Not only does glass help to maintain the integrity of the natural flavors, but the cap is super convenient. Say you are in a club and want to hit the dance floor between sips; you can just reseal your drink and drop it in your bag or purse without fear of spillage. The cap is also a good security measure that reassures you no one has slipped anything into your drink. No one likes to think about that, but it happens!
Also, not that I ever think about this, because I don’t, but for the calorie conscious: a full (6.8 ounce) bottle of Maven is just 171 calories (6.3 carbs), while the average mixed drink, such as a Cosmo or Mojito, is over 200 calories and over 10 carbs. Mostly, Maven is just a great tasting cocktail that I will be drinking again, and encouraging others to try, in the future. For more information about Maven Cocktails and to find out where to purchase Maven in your area, visit Maven Cocktails Dot Com.
NoMa Social is bringing in the holiday season with a Candy Cane Cooler that just screams Christmas spirit! Not only does this concoction look wildly festive, but it decks the halls of your taste buds as well. Here’s how to make it:
• 1 tbs crushed soft peppermint candy
• 1½ fl oz vodka
• Splash of white creme de menthe
• ¼ fl oz brandy
• ½ fl oz half-and-half
• Crushed ice
• Peppermint stick for garnish
• Mint sprig for garnish
Combine the vodka and crushed peppermint. Stir to dissolve. Add the remaining ingredients, stir and garnish.
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!
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!
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!
Before dinner was served, we all enjoyed a spread of delicious snacks, including this insane Brie En Croute made with Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry.
Look at this gorgeous thing. Just look at it.
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.
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.
And look, somebody made a Gingerbread Cookie House from a variety of Pepperidge Farm Cookies!
Here’s what was on the evening’s menu:
Herb Roasted Turkey and Pan Gravy with Swanson Chicken Stock.
Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Swanson Beef Stock.
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.
Check out this rich Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese topped with crushed Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers. Kids (and Adults) will flip over this!
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.
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!
Puff Pastries topped with Fresh Fruit.
Puff Pastries filled with Nutella and topped with Hazelnuts.
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!
Four times each year we get very excited in anticipation of our favorite food trade show, Food Fete, because it is so awesome. Winter Food Fete took place last week on February 25th and while it was on the small side, we discovered plenty of cool new products to tell you about.
Our first stop is the bar, where a featured vendor is always mixing up signature cocktails spiked with their potent potable. This season we discovered Ivanabitch: Vodka with an Attitude, which comes in 13 flavors, including Tobacco and Menthol Tobacco — which we imagine is popular with the smokers! We were not brave enough to sample the Tobacco flavors (though we were informed its taste is more “inspired by” the leaf than actually replicating it) but we did very much enjoy the delicious Peach Vodka cocktail you see pictured above. Produced in The Netherlands, Ivanbitch is comparable quality-wise to Ketel One, which is our favorite vodka! Needless to say, but you can see I am about to, we are looking forward to trying their additional delicious flavors, such as Red Berry, Dutch Apple and Coconut. Check them out at Ivanabitch Dot Com.
Seattle’s Best Coffee co-hosted the bar with its Maple-Tini, made with SB Coffee, Maple Syrup, Vanilla Vodka and Half & Half. This seasonably appropriate cocktail was a big hit with the crowd and we made sure to pick up a recipe card available at the booth.
When we are in Seattle, Seattle’s Best Coffee is our preferred brand to pick up on-the-go, so we made sure to take home a few of their Keurig cups to enjoy at home. Delicious!
Look at this amazing display from the folks at Burpee! Legendary for its seeds, plants and gardening supplies, Burpee has been around since 1876! Wow! These days, Burpee has all kinds of cool and innovative ideas for home gardening/farming even in a small space or indoors! Find out more about their vast selection of products, see photos of the World’s Largest Tomato and request a Burpee product catalog at This Link.
Mmm…delicious melty Cheese. Roth Wisconsin Gourmet Cheese hosted a popular booth where they gave out samples of their insanely fantastic new Raclette Cheese (available in bold flavors like 5 Peppercorn, Roasted Garlic and Mediterranean with Sun Dried Tomatoes) which will be available in stores in the Spring. To serve the cheese, they first melted it in little iron skillets before draping it onto tiny slices of bread. Best. Cheese. Ever. It is no surprise to discover that Roth is part of Emmi, the company that makes the most awesome Cheese and Chocolate Fondues. Go a little crazy with the cheese love at This Link.
Another one of our favorite Booths was hosted by Horizon Mac & Cheese. Their Not Your Mama’s Mac & Cheese and Toppings Bar was an amazing idea executed to perfection as they invited Food Fete attendees to sample their organic White Cheddar Shells & Cheese dinner, which could then be topped with a variety of fresh add-ins including Chopped Tomatoes, Fresh Spinach, Red Bell Pepper and Shaved Parmesan Cheese. What a treat!
So Yummy. Horizon products are available Nationwide. Visit their website at Horizon Dairy Dot Com.
Do you enjoy delicious chips? If so, may we recommend Late July brand organic (and gluten free) Restaurant Style Tortilla and Multigrain chips, which come in a variety of appealing flavors like Sea Salt, Lime and Mild Green Mojo — half a large bag of which I have eaten while writing this post. Late July Chips are crispy, light, delicious — and when served with a bowl of fresh salsa (the one pictured here is from Whole Foods) or guacamole (alongside a chilled Cerveza) will make you feel like you are eating in your favorite Mexican restaurant! We also enjoy the name, Late July, which makes us nostalgic for summer weather that can’t come soon enough!
See those English Muffins up there? We made an egg sandwich with one the other morning that was just crazy good. Rudi’s Gluten-free Bakery not only offered samples of its delightful freshly baked Sandwich Bread and traditional English Muffins but also gave away whole packages to take home. Get a coupon for $1 Off your purchase of any Rudi’s Bread product, so you can try it for yourself, at This Link.
Ah, Cascadian Farm Organic, the subject of one our very Favorite Worleygig.com Posts of the past! What fun it was to run into them again at Food Fete, where they were promoting their new Protein enriched Chewy Snack Bars! Each of these indulgent bars packs 9 Grams of organic, plant-derived Pea Protein. Impressive! The Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip variety tastes like a Peanut-studded, Peanut-buttery Rice Crispy Treat, for a taste and texture that stands out from the legion of Snack Bars we have written about on The Gig. Much healthier for you and just as satisfying as a Snickers Bar! Discover the joy of Cascadian Farm healthy Snacks at Cascadian Farm Dot Com.
Are you thirsty? Honest brand Lemonade (they also make Honest Tea, get it?) previewed a line of flavored Lemonade and Limeade drinks in family-size, retro style glass bottles. They have a new Half & Half (also known as an Arnold Palmer, after the famous Golfer) which is a popular blend of Ice Tea and Lemonade in one bottle, plus Mango and Berry Hibiscus Lemonades. All very refreshing!
Just because Duncan Hines brand cakes mixes have been around since you were an egg doesn’t mean they aren’t on trend. In fact, we’d say they are even a little bit ahead of the curve with three new baking mixes introduced at Food Fete: Blue Velvet and Pink Velvet Cake Mixes and Salted Caramel Brownie Mix! Holy Sweet Surrender! The Duncan Hines booth served tiny cake balls and brownie bites (recipes come on the back of each box) that we could not resist, and practically forced us (though they did not have to try too hard, because: Pink Cake) to take a box of Pink Velvet cake mix to bake at home. Duncan Hines, For The Win!
When you think Yoplait, you think Yogurt, right? Right! The latest addition to the Yoplait Yogurt and Frozen Yogurt Dessert family is their collection of Greek Frozen Yogurt Bars with Granola, which will debut in Spring 2014. Fancy!
This is a picture of my hand holding a non-granola-embossed Yoplait Greek Frozen Yogurt Bar in the Raspberry Flavor. Doesn’t it look good? It tastes like a frozen creamy cheese cake with swirly fruit in it. After about a dozen licks of my tongue this bar escaped from its stick and flung itself onto the ground at the feet of the nice woman who was tending the Seattle’s Best Coffee Booth. She was kind enough to lift it from the floor into a napkin and dispose of it in the bin. Sadness! Anyway, you should check out these tasty bars of frozen goodness!
Look! Happy Little Spoons ready to serve up warm tasty samples of crunchy fruit-laden Modern Oats oatmeal. Modern Oats, which cooks with the addition of Boiling Water in just 3 Minutes and is of course Gluten free and Non GMO comes in crazy rad tasty flavors like Mango Blackberry (which we tried; Yum) and Chocolate Cherry! Perfect for Breakfast on the go or to take to the office!
And that wraps up our report on Winter Food Fete, another great and fun food show! Thanks to Jeff Davis as usual. See you for the next event in April!
Foodie Fans of The Worley Gig know that one of our very favorite dining destinations is the Asian-Latin fusion restaurant, Zengo, conveniently located adjacent to Grand Central Station. While the menu is consistently delicious, Zengo is dedicated to continually changing things up. And in this case, change is good!
Every few months, Chef Richard Sandoval and his culinary team at Zengo research and develop new recipes featuring the cuisine and spirits of one Latin and one Asian country. The result is a menu of specialty plates and cocktails that showcase the flavors and techniques from each region. The featured new dishes are marked with a special “TK” symbol on the menu, noting that they are exclusive and available for a limited time. The current “Test Kitchen” menu, unveiled at Zengo in January, is dubbed “Japan to Mexico,” for which Chef Sandoval drew inspiration from the rich and flavorful street foods of Japan and Mexico to create the new Test Kitchen menu.
Recently we were invited to enjoy a Tasting of the Japan to Mexico Test Kitchen Menu and were wowed once again by the Chef’s finely honed skill at blending and accenting the flavors of these two distinct cuisines. Here’s a review of what we ate:
It’s always fun to start off a meal with a potent and refreshing cocktail and Zengo features two new ones for Japan to Mexico. The Calamansi Old-Fashioned is made with Japanese whiskey, fresh Calamansi juice (similar to Orange Juice) and Agave Bitters. Surprisingly, this tastes like a fresh Blood Orange cocktail with no overpowering Whiskey taste and not one hint of bitterness. Delicious!
Also on the cocktail menus is the Shiro Margarita blending Nigori Saki with 100% Agave Blanco Tequila, fresh lime juice, simple syrup and house-made sour mix. The Shiro Margarita is light and tart and will brighten the taste of whatever you are eating. These go down very smooth!
Next up on our selection of TK small plates was the outstanding Octopus Aguachile Tiradito: an unbelievably tender Octopus carpaccio flavored with Ginger Green Chile broth and White Soy, tossed with crisp Asian Pear and luscious, ripe Avocado and garnished with sprinkling of Nori and Sesame Seeds. This was the most delicious and visually appealing presentation of Octopus I have yet tried — and that includes the Octopus and Chickpea Salad at MP Taverna, which is just insane.
Zengo is famous for its excellent sushi and vegetarian maki rolls and they’ve come up with another excellent offering in the Achiote Shrimp Tempura Roll – a Tempura Fried Shrimp with Avocado, Jicama Chile Lemon, Charred Scallion and dressed with a light Chile Toreado Aioli. I enjoyed dipping pieces of this roll in the dressing from the Octopus dish!
Elevating Mexican Street Food are the Terikayi Pork Belly Gorditas “Sliders” – Fried Pork Belly with a sweet Teriyaki glaze, nested on a crispy Masa cake “Bun” with Oaxaca cheese, Guacamole, Caramelized Pineapple and Pickled Chiles for just a little bit of heat. If you’re a Bacon fan who’s looking to try something new and different, you’ll want to give this a try.
In the realm of hearty entrees, Zengo adds the Kabayaki Glazed Lamb Shank Barbacoa – fork-tender lamb marinated in a Ginger, Chiles and Tamarind glaze, served atop a bed of fragrant Arroz Verde and garnished with tender-crisp Pickled Carrots. The bones in this look intimidating, but the meat literally just falls away as soon as you prod it a bit with your fork. I loved the contrast of textures and flavors in this delightful dish.
And last but not least we sampled an unusual take on a traditional dessert, the Avocado Panna Cotta – Fresh Avocado Custard, served with tangy-sweet Tropical Fruit Salad and garnished an added crunch of Chocolate Cookie Crumbs. The mildly sweet true-Avocado taste of the Panna Cotta gets a kick from the chopped fruit and syrup accompaniment and the unexpected crunch of the cookie morsels add a fun texture to this not-overly-sweet ending to a fine meal.
Please note that all food photos in this post are representative of a group tasting presentation and expect the dish may look somewhat different when ordered for just one person.
Zengo is located at 622 Third Avenue (at the corner of 40th Street). Dinner is served Monday through Saturday from 5:00 PM onward. Lunch is served Monday – Friday from 11:30 AM -2:30 PM. For reservations, please call 212-808-8110 or visit their website at This Link. The Mexico-Japan menu is featured through March 31st, 2013 at all Zengo locations including New York City, Denver, Santa Monica and Washington D.C.