Growing up in Southern California really ruined me for Mexican food. New York has a handful of restaurants that have game, but if you crave the consistent taste and authenticity of real California Mexican cuisine, you might be better off cooking at home. Even if you want the convenience of using a few packaged ingredients, it’s important to have a fresh-tasting salsa on hand, and what I call ‘restaurant style’ chips that are sturdy enough to stand up to the thickest guacamole. The problem is, which brands of chips and salsa taste the best? Obviously, other non-native New Yorkers have considered this situation, because fellow East Village resident Matt Bennett has created Dreams Aren’t This Good (DATG); a line of unique salsas and authentic tortilla chips that blows away everything else on the supermarket shelf. Seriously, this brand is a game changer.
Sweet Dreams Are Made of This Salsa
Inspired by and infused with the sights and sounds of New York City, one-of-a-kind DATG salsa flavors include The Original (which I received for review), The Fighter (garlic cilantro), Just Dance (jalapeno pineapple), Now or Never (avocado pepper), and Girls Girls Girls (blueberry coconut). All salsas and tortilla chips are gluten free, vegan and contain no preservatives.
DATG’s origin story goes back to Matt’s upbringing in Southeast Texas and his tenure as a student at Louisiana State University (LSU). “At school, I started making salsa by mixing Mexican style with a little Cajun spice,” Matt remembers. “As I experimented with different ingredients and flavors, the salsa was always a huge hit with everyone, and I knew I was on to something.”
Would you eat something called Bitchin’ Sauce? I sure would. Recently, my pal Sue spotted the Bitchin’ Sauce at a farmer’s market in San Diego and here is what I found out about it from their Website:
“Bitchin’ Sauce is a vegan, gluten-free, almond-based, savory sauce that is rich in nutrients and packed with flavor. Its smooth and creamy consistency makes it perfect for dipping vegetables and chips, spreading on sandwiches or wraps, or smothering over your favorite savory foods. Bitchin’ and saucy.”
And their tagline is: “Get it in ya!”, which is quite catchy!
Comes in a Variety of Flavors. Goes Good With Chips!
Food Fête’s exciting summer season return to the Metropolitan Pavilion event space on West 18th Street was all abuzz with sumptuous product offerings that ranged from Bacon, Butter and Bourbon to Cheese, Chocolates and Chips! If you didn’t make it to the party, here’s a glimpse of what you missed!
PorkBeInspired.com cornered some prime real estate by occupying the first booth attendees encountered upon enter the room. Pork product lovers were treated to a tasting of delicious Pork Dumplings and Bacon Roses (with instructions on how to make those bacon roses at home also on hand) along with a wealth of pork cooking tips, recipes, a guide to identifying cuts of pork, the Pork Bucket List (#PorkBucketList) and a free handy meat thermometer. What a great way to start out the show!
Bacon Roses, Fragrant!
Mike’s Organic Curry Love has a line of gourmet jarred curries that will blow your mind! Flavors include Green, Yellow, and Red Thai Curry, Saag, Tikka Masala and Caribbean Curry. Mike’s was created by a chef and has been around since 2008. Just tasting these flavorful sauces you can really tell that Mike and his wife Laurie (who are super nice) care about what goes into their product while making it so easy to create delicious curries at home that will rival the dishes of your favorite restaurant. Find out more about their products at My Curry Love Dot Com.
You can see Mike and Laurie in the background. I am sorry I cut their heads off.
Nobody loves Green Salsa more than this girl, so imagine my delight to find White Girl Salsa – the only company specializing exclusively in Green Salsa – exhibiting at Food Fête! White Girl Salsa comes in five flavors: Hot, Medium and Mild Tomatillo, Cranberry Mango and Smokey Chipotle. Don’t those flavors sound insane? White Girl Salsa is the perfect accompaniment for all of your summer entertaining and backyard BBQs for sure. And look how cute their logo is! Sassy! Get tasty recipes and find out where in 47 states you can buy White Girl Green Salsas at This Link.
The Duncan Hines Dessert Mix evolution continues as the company whose cakes you grew up loving introduced three new mixes for fall 2014: Limited Edition Autumn Velvets Cake Mix (featuring two seasonal flavors of cake mix in one box), Red Velvet Decadent Brownie Mix (which can also be modified to make cookies), and Decadent Black & White Cupcake Mix (which includes frosting and a pastry bag right in the box)! Duncan Hines‘ all-inclusive mixes elevate home baking ‘Beyond the Box,’ where anyone can make a fancy, impressive and delicious dessert right in their own kitchen. Prices will be super affordable, ranging from $1.99 to $3.29 per box.
Everyone who stopped by the Stonewall Kitchen booth received a sample jar of their Wild Maine Blueberry Jam, but that is far from the only thing these guys have going on. Check this out:
Stonewall Kitchen Maple Bacon Onion Jam and Maple Bacon Aioli
You cannot imagine how amazing those taste! The Maple Bacon Aioli could easily replace ketchup as a go-to topper for sandwiches or dipping sauce for fries, while the Maple Bacon Onion Jam (a sweet & savory combination of spices, brown sugar, apples, shallots and bits of real bacon) is a versatile pantry essential! What an exciting discovery! I love how the jars’ labels look handwritten, giving Stonewall Kitchen’s products a homemade, freshly canned vibe! You can be sure that I will be investigating this brand further. Find out more about Stonewall Kitchen’s specialty sauces and jams, candies, gifts and home products for yourself at This Link.
At the Way Better Snacks table, we learned about sprouted snacks and had a chance to sample both the sprouted Corn Tortilla Chips (which, fantastic) and their new Heritage Grains Pita-ahh Chips, which are made with sprouted red fife and spelt. Sprouting provides increased vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, digestibility and nutrient absorption. It is so cool that companies like Way Better are taking a popular favorite snack like chips — usually lumped into the Junk Food category – and making it nutritious and good for you without losing any of the deliciousness you want in a chip. And isn’t their packaging simply stunning? Visit them on the web at Go Way Better Dot Com.
Of course, we had to make a leisurely pit stop at the California Butter Display, because, Butter Fountain. I shouldn’t even have to sell you on Butter, right, it’s Butter! It’s delicious! Read all about why Butter is Awesome at This Link.
Another product that was new to us at Food Fête is Dave’s Killer Bread, which is maybe called that because the company’s cofounder, Dave Dahl, spent some time in prison. Just being serious. Obviously, he found a way to benefit society upon his release by learning to bake 12 different kinds of delicious, organic, non-GMO breads!
This is what Dave’s Killer Bread looks like topped with smashed avocado and other tasty things on it. Yummy. Dave’s Bread has a moistness combined with a nutty, wholegrain texture that is just irresistible. Explore the world of Dave’s Killer Bread at This Link.
Going with the logic that better dairy products come from better milk (which comes from better-fed cows), Maple Hill Creamery yogurt is made with fresh, non-homogenized milk from 100% grass fed cows. Maple Hills’ organic, creamline yogurt is made without thickeners, is flavored with fresh fruit puree, low in added sugar and tastes very natural. Discover the way of the Grass Fed Cow at This Link.
Alouette Cheeses returned to Food Fête to introduce several new products including:
Alouette Brie Fondue, in Stores from October to December 2014.
Alouette Cranberry Apple Spice Soft Spreadable Cheese, in Stores from October to December 2014.
Crème de Brie Smoky Bourbon, a creamy rind-less brie that blends real bourbon with subtle, smoky notes – great to spread on a baguette, cracker or as a dip for Veggies! In stores beginning in October. Find out more about Alouette products at This Link.
Stoneridge Orchards – America’s premier grower and producer of premium dried fruit – handed out tasting samples of their Dark Chocolate and Greek Yogurt Dipped Cherries, and are those ever a luxurious treat. Stoneridge Orchards also introduced their innovative new dried fruit snack: Chili Lime Cherries with Tajin (a Mexican seasoning blend containing chile peppers, lime, and salt). Stoneridge uses whole dried tart Montmorency Cherries in their cherry snacks which are plump, moist and very delicious. Visit them on the web at Stoneridge Orchards Dot Com.
Peacock Brand rice-based, gluten-free noodles were a big hit at the show! Everybody got a free bag to take home! Plus…
Food Fête Attendees had the chance to taste Chef Pasquale Martinelli’s Peacock Brown Rice Spaghetti alla Sanguiannid, which was delicious. Chef Pasquale did a fantastic job of highlighting the versatility of Singaporean Peacock Noodles with his traditional Italian cooking. The Peacock brand features a variety of pastas including brown rice and basmati rice noodles. Get to know this Singapore-based brand a bit better by visiting This Link.
We’ll wind this all up with a few words about something sweet in the form of Gearharts Fine Chocolates’s Peanut Butter Pups. What an indulgent – and adorable – treat!
These whimsical, hand-piped Puppy Heads are made from premium milk chocolate and Virginia artisan peanut butter, and decorated with a dark chocolate face and toasted almond ears. So cute! So, so delicious! If you are a chocolate and peanut butter fan, this right here is your thing. Plus, 5% of sales of Peanut Butter pups support Companions for Heroes.org.
Thanks as always to Jeff Davis at Food Fête for providing an introduction to so many great products! See you in the fall!
Debuting on store shelves just a few days ago, Kettle Brand Chips has re-launched four of their retired flavors for a limited time to celebrate the company’s 30 years of making kettle-cooked potato chips. Christened as the Limited Batch Birthday Collection, the flavors include Red Chili, Jalapeno Jack, Salsa with Mesquite and Cheddar Beer – a bag of which I just polished off last night. If you like spicy foods and flavored chips, this collection of crispy, crunchy snacks is going to be your thing.
Kettle was kind enough to ship me a bag of each of the four returning flavors and I can report that the Cheddar Beer variety (first introduced as a fan pick in 2005 ) – while light on the promised malty beer flavor – is a Cheese lover’s delight. These sturdy chips explode with the taste tangy sharp cheddar cheese and pair perfectly paired with a juicy Burger. Kettle’s Red Chili chips first appeared in 1982, offering the flavor of Sriracha sauce combined with a vinegar tang and Cayenne pepper for extra heat. Jalapeño Jack took the stage in 1989 and brings a Jack cheese base mixed with the spice of red and green peppers and a strong jalapeño flavor. Salsa with Mesquite appeared in 1999 and features tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic and lime. These chips are the perfect addition to any summer picnic, BBQ or buffet, though I have no problem eating them right out of the bag accompanied by a frosty beer or margarita!
The Limited Batch Birthday Collection launched in August 2012 and will be available for about a year before they disappear from shelves next summer. The four flavors come in 5-ounce bags retailing for $2.79 and are available at Whole Foods and other markets as well as online at BuyKettleChips.Com.