Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Product Review: Siggi's Yogurt

Wow. This yogurt is amazing. Why did I not know about Icelandic-style yogurt? It's made with skim milk, which would normally turn me off, but it's so rich and creamy that I don't care. I tried the pomegranate-passionfruit flavor, how could I resist that combination? It had the tartness of both fruits but no discernible fruit bits. This surprised me, but I actually quite liked it as there was nothing to interrupt savoring the luxurious texture. I will definintely buy this again. Or maybe I'll just start experimenting with making my own! Actually, probably not. This is pretty perfect.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Product Review: Maple Hills Creamery yogurt

What nice packaging! And it's from grass-fed cows! And reasonably priced at $1.25! Nope, a sorry letdown. First, there is the flavor. I should start by saying I've had goat yogurt, sheep yogurt, unpastuerized yogurt etc. but this had an unmistakable barnyard funkiness that just didn't taste good to me. Even if I got used to that, there was the awful texture. I like very smooth and rich yogurt, this tasted a little thin and gelatinous, which is NOT synonymous with creamy. They seem like a great company and I wish I could support them, but I won't be purchasing this again.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

New York City-Round Two

Ben and I were not deterred by the rain and faced the city with our umbrellas! Luckily, the rain lasted only about an hour, but the downside was that we carried umbrellas around all damn day. No matter! Lunch was at Harry and Ida's on the LES. Ben and I split their classic pastrami, the Ida, and also a sandwich with smoked chicken, fresh cheese, huitlacoche and sage. I don't know which one was better but I endorse them both enthusiastically. We wandered the LES and Ben gamely accompanied me to several stores so that I could find a jacket. I didn't anticipate being cold when I was packing! He finally threw in the towl and left me to drink a beer at the Sly Fox. I visited my second H&M in less than an hour and a Nordstrom Rack. Ugh. So many people. I fled to meet Ben for a drink, a Grey Garden, with lavender infused something or other. Forgettable. More wandering, a third H&M (score, I found the jacket in my size!), Little Italy and Chinatown. Finally, it was time for cocktails! We met my friend Monisha at the Holiday Cocktail Lounge, which was equal parts scruffy dive and mid-century modern chic. I loved it. Afterwards, we had dinner at the impossibly tiny Graffiti. It was good, although I'm not sure it would make my list of not-to-miss spots. Get the paneer and the skate, skip the scallops (why do people cut scallops up in tiny pieces???) and the chicken with coconut rice. We ended the night with ice cream from somewhere nearby, a ginger ice cream that was a little too sweet on its own but a perfect foil to the sesame ice cream.

New York City-Round One

I always seem to be jetting off to far-flung locations and it's usually without my husband. I'd love it if he could join me, but his jobs is the worst and he barely gets any vacation time. Luckily, we were able to spend a gorgeous long weekend in NY together where we, naturally, ate and drank every thing in sight. We stayed with my friend Dominick, who had pizza and snacks ready for us when we arrived well past midnight. These are the kind of friends you want to keep around. He is always on the cutting edge of something food-wise and introduced us to Maangichi, a Korean cook living in NY who has tons of delightful and very detailed videos on Youtube on making all kinds of Korean specialties. Hungry for more, we headed to New Wonjo, where we had a Korean style miso soup (Ben's favorite), a seafood pancake (not memorable), a chicken soup with dates and ginseng (delicate and lovely) and the classic bibimbap (my favorite). Briefly sated, we walked to Washington Square Park to enjoy the gorgeous weather, listen to some music and do some excellent people watching. I had a hankering for a cocktail at this point so we went to the rooftop bar at Eataly. Unfortunately, 1 million other people had the same idea so it was very crowded and very hot. We continued our search for drinks in an outdoor venue when we stumbled upon Bobo, which had no outside seating but was so charming we had to stop. Now that we were properly aperitifed, we made out way to Mario Batali's flagship restaurant Babbo. I had made the reservation weeks before and we were all very excited! My thoughts overall were positive. I thought the food was of high quality, some of it very impressive (smoked scallops with fava-mascarpone mash and pasta with tomato, pecorino and mint) and some of it could be improved (the pastas weren't all that, although they were sauced spectacularly). For dessert we had the buttermilk budino, which was not at all what I expected. D and B. didn't like the apricot sauce on it (I did), but we all agreed that the sesame gelato was sublime. Service was a bit chilly but perfunctory. It was really expensive, as I anticipated, and we definitely enjoyed it, but it's crossed off of my bucket list now.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Product Review: Vega One Coconut-Almond

I don't normally go in for protein shakes but a friend of mine gave this to me. My rationale for not partaking is that I could (and probably should) be getting all of this fiber and protein and other super-filling, super-healthy and super-slimming ingredients from, yup, my actual diet! The ingredients didn't seem too egregious and I had just read a pretty good review of their products. The generous friend said she liked their other flavors, just not this one. Hmm, not a great start but let's experiment!

I mixed up a little taste with some coconut milk. Whoa. There doesn't seem to be artificial flavors in this based on the ingredients but something about the taste was overwhelmingly unnatural to me. I looked again at the ingredients and it has a little bit of Stevia in it, which seems to be a real turnoff for me. I've tasted it in other things and always really dislike it. Undaunted, I thought maybe I could mask that with chocolate (yay!) and some fruit. So after spin this morning, I used 1 scoop of powder, 1 cup of coconut milk, 2 T. cocoa powder and about 15 cherries. I still tasted that taste! So I added about 2 oz. of coffee, a few sprinkles of cinnamon and a tiny pinch of salt. This was fairly tolerable. It was on the low-carb-ish side and packed a good wallop of protein (23 grams) and fiber (12 grams). I drank this from about 7:30-8:00 am and while I could have waited until 12 for lunch, I had a little snack at 11:15. On a normal morning, I could drink this and not eat a morning snack but since I worked out, I thought it better to feed the belly.

All in all, the nutritional profile is good and the flavor is not my favorite, but ok. I'll probably use the rest of the container, but I can't see drinking this more than 1 or 2 times a week. I wouldn't purchase this with my own money though.


Today I tried this with a few strawberries, a small piece of pineapple and a scoop of Trader Joe's Supergreen. Blech. I added a little matcha powder, i still don't really like it. I find that both versions tasted better after they sat for a while, it seemed to tone down some of that unnatural taste I can't get past.