Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 46

Dragonfruit: While I was recently out looking for squash blossoms (thanks to all my Twitter followers for the tips!), I stumbled upon a really interesting looking thing in the produce section of Your Dekalb Farmers Market: dragonfruit. I'd seen pictures of these but never checked out one up close, so I had a lot of questions about it. What does it taste like, and how do you eat it? Do you peel those strange looking leaf-things off? I had to find out what dragonfruit was about, so I took one home.

Before trying, I did some online research about the eating method. The recommended tactic was to slice it down the middle lengthwise, then scoop out the inside flesh, leaving only the pink outer shell to discard. I cut it in half, and was surprised at what the inside looked like - the flesh was a whitish, juicy pulp, studded with lots of little black seeds. The colors were amazing, and I almost wanted to just admire it instead of eating it. I scooped out the white flesh with a spoon, and sliced it into chunks. It proved to be one of the best tasting fruits I've had in a while - lightly sweet, a little tart, and really juicy. Almost like a kiwi, but much less sweet. The seeds gave it a nice crunch, and I eagerly devoured the whole thing in one sitting. I could imagine it being really good in a fruit salad, but it's super tasty on its own. Highly recommend.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 45

Gold Kiwi: It's been years since I've had a regular kiwi, so when I saw this "gold" version at the market recently, I was intrigued. I've been really excited about trying all these new fruits recently, and since I'm a fan of green kiwi, I hoped these would be good. On the outside, it looked just like a standard green one, so how would it be different? As it turns out, not much different.
I sliced the kiwi down the middle, and it definitely had a different color than the green - these were more of a yellow, which wasn't surprising considering the name. Other than that, the appearance was the same. I peeled the skin off a slice, then took a bite. It pretty much tasted like all other kiwi I've had, and the sweetness of the soft fruit was followed by a juicy tartness. If you've never had a kiwi, they're a really delicious option that works well with a lot of other fruit flavors. The gold variety is apparently a newer hybrid with a slightly higher price, but I don't quite see what would make it worth the up-charge. However, it was definitely worth trying.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 44

Hot Pepper Jam: I'm always up for indigenous culinary treats, so when the GF visited her family in rural Tennessee this past weekend, she was on the lookout for some blog-worthy items for me. Her parents built a house in the TN mountains, and they live there for half the year now that they're retired. Despite the GF's busy weekend schedule, she took the time to bring me something tasty from a country store owned by Mennonites. I don't know much about Mennonite practices, but the hot pepper jam she brought me looked good. Homemade jams/jellies/pickles are always better than store-bought, so I was eager to try it.
The jam looked sort of pinkish-red in color, and had lots of visible chunks of pepper floating in it. Aside from the peppers (jalapeno and sweet), other ingredients included sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, pectin, and citric acid. I decided to throw some canned biscuits in the oven and try it as a topping on those. Once the biscuits were done, I scooped out a portion of jam, and made sure I had some pepper chunks in there. At first, it seemed like I only tasted the sweetness, but the heat from the peppers came soon after. There was also a little tartness, but mostly sweet/hot. I really enjoyed it, and I'm sure I'll have no problem finishing the jar - it was a nice change from the usual strawberry/grape/etc. flavors of jam that I'm used to. Maybe next time I'll try it on some homemade biscuits.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 43

Seckel Pear: As I mentioned before, I've been trying to introduce a lot more fresh fruit into my diet. And no matter how much shopping I do, I tend to notice fruits that I haven't heard of before, especially when I hit markets like Super H or Buford Highway Farmer's Market. Today's entry, the Seckel pear, was found at Your Dekalb Farmer's Market last week. I've really grown to love pears - they're easy to eat, with no skin to peel or pit to work around. I was curious to see how this one compared to others I've had, so I decided to give it a try.
The first thing I noticed was the diminutive size of the pear - it was much smaller than the Bartlett variety that's common in a lot of markets. I took a bite, and it reminded me a lot of the Bosc I ate recently, only a bit more tart. The inside was nice and crunchy, and not too sweet. Really good, but not necessarily better than other pears I've had. I'm not sure how easy these are to find, but I'd definitely try again if possible. I feel like this one could have been a bit over-ripe, so I'll make sure to eat sooner next time.

If anyone can recommend new fruits for me to try, I'd appreciate it. I'm quickly running out of options at normal grocery stores, so any advice would be great!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day 42

Ppushu Ppushu Instant Snack: After doing a lot of shopping in Atlanta's various ethnic markets recently, I've learned that things are rarely what they seem when it comes to packaging. Sometimes you think you're getting one thing, and it turns out to be something much different. Today's post definitely falls into that category. I found this Asian snack last week at the Super H Mart, and just got around to trying it today. Based on the bag, I really wasn't sure what to expect - was it just ramen noodles, or something different? It was time to find out.
The directions on the back of the bag instructed me to "open the bag and remove the seasoning packet. Crush the noodle into bite sizes. Put the seasoning in the bag, shake well and enjoy!" The kid on the front of the bag was mysteriously breaking his snack with a sledgehammer, but I didn't go that route. I did as instructed, then took a bite. The stuff inside the bag looked exactly like broken up ramen noodles, and tasted like them as well. The noodles seemed to have been cooked then dried - they had a nice potato chip-like crunch, but not like eating raw noodles. The flavoring packet powder was supposedly "sweet & sour," but it had more sour and spice than sweet. Pretty tasty, but comparable to any other crunchy snack. If you didn't get your fill of ramen noodles in your college days, these would be a great way to have that nostalgic taste on the go.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 41

Pluot: Today's post comes from Chattanooga, TN - I'm typing in the lobby of the Holiday Inn. I'm on the road with my band this weekend, and I brought along something new to try today for breakfast. I went by the grocery store on the way out of town, and I spied a fruit that I'd heard of, but never had: pluot. It looked and felt a lot like a plum when I picked it up, and I was intrigued. After a little research at the hotel this morning, I found out that a pluot is a complex hybrid between a plum and an apricot. I like plums, and the apricot I tried last week was tasty, so I was looking forward to trying this.
I took my first bite, and it instantly reminded me of a plum. The skin was thin and easily bitten through, and the flesh was juicy and sweet, much like a plum's. I didn't pick up many of the apricot traits, but it was definitely tasty anyway. The description I read on the internet said that they were known for their sweetness, but this one was more tart to me. I quickly devoured it, and could have easily eaten another due to it's small size. Pluots are a stone fruit, so I was left with a small pit after I finished.

I've decided that I definitely need to start eating more fruit - I always feel better about myself when I do. Maybe I'll hit some Buford Highway markets this coming week in search of some new ones to report. In the meantime, on to Knoxville tonight...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 40

Greek Yogurt w/Honey: I've been reading about Greek yogurt for some time now, but never gotten around to trying it. I've eaten plenty of plain yogurt over the years, but it's something I'm not that fond of. I'm not the type to diet, so if I want something sweet, I just go for the real thing. However, Greek yogurt intrigued me - how was it be different from what I'm used to? I was picking up a few things yesterday at Your Dekalb Farmers Market ( when I noticed it in the cold section. There were several different styles, but the one I bought was just plain, with a side of honey.
I opened the package this morning, and it looked like any other yogurt I've eaten. I decided to try it without the honey first, and it definitely had a smoother, less lumpy consistency than traditional yogurt. The taste was a little bitter, so I was hoping that adding the honey would improve it. The honey was separated in the plastic package, so I dipped my spoon into it, then scooped up some of the yogurt. Much better - the sweetness of the honey was a really nice match for the creamy bitterness of the yogurt. Once I mixed more honey in, it was really tasty. I could see this being a good breakfast, or maybe a light dessert.

I don't know much about Greek cuisine, but I'm definitely eager to learn more now. Besides the basics, I haven't had much of it, so hopefully my readers can offer some advice on what's good.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 39

Farro: After last night's pizza binge at Fritti, I was wondering if I'd be ready to eat out again tonight. However, getting a great deal at Sotto Sotto for Inman Park Restaurant Week was more than enough reason to rally. They have the best upscale Italian food in town, in my humble opinion. Me and the GF had the reservations made a few weeks ago, but we didnt realize they fell during restaurant week. Score!

As I scanned the restaurant week tasting menu, I noticed something I'd never had before, or even heard much about: farro. The ingredients listed were organic spelt, GA heirloom tomatoes, cucumber and celery. The GF said that she thought spelt was some sort of grain, but she didn't know much else. That was enough for me to justify trying, and I knew that if it was on Sotto Sotto's menu, it couldn't be bad. 
Our server set my dish down, and it didn't look anything like I expected. Based on what I thought spelt would be, I assumed I'd be getting a bowl of some oatmeal-like substance, with the vegetables on top. It actually wasn't anything like that - the grains of spelt were mixed in with the tomatoes, cucumber, and celery, and the whole mixture was tossed in what tasted like olive oil. It was also sprinkled with some fresh basil, which I love. The spelt had a nutty, chewy texture, almost like undercooked rice. When combined with the vegetables, the dish was really tasty - very light and fresh, and a great way to start the meal. I'm glad I tried, but I dont think it's something I'd order again soon - it just wasn't exciting enough to repeat. Maybe it was too healthy, since I'm usually happier eating cheese and pasta when in the mood for Italian.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 38

Arancini: Ive been doing a little more restaurant visiting than normal lately, but that didn't stop me from being excited about Inman Park Restaurant Week ( For those of you who've never heard of it, its a great way to get an amazing deal on some good food in the Inman Park area. I'm a fan of several of the restaurants taking part, but me and the GF were in the mood for pizza, so we headed down to Fritti (

The tasting menu had several options for starters, but I immediately noticed something that I'd never had before: arancini, which are Sicilian risotto croquettes. Fritti's version also featured sausage. Basically, that translates into balls of fried risotto, with sausage in the middle. I love risotto and sausage (and fried goodness), so how could they be bad?

Our server brought them to the table, and I noticed that they didn't look greasy at all, which is a problem with lots of deep-fried foods. At first, it seemed like frying something as rich as risotto would be pure overkill, but after I took a bite, that was anything but true. The crunchy, fried exterior gave way to a warm, creamy center of risotto and sausage. Awesome. I could have gladly eaten 20 of these, but luckily only had 4 to devour before my pizza arrived. I told the GF that they'd make an awesome bar snack, paired with a good craft beer. Maybe I'll try that approach next time.

I also had a really good pizza with pancetta, hot pepper and caramelized onion. If you haven't been to Fritti, try and go this week - the tasting menu deal lasts through 9/26.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 37

Korean BBQ Tacos: I've been reading about the Yumbii food truck for the past few weeks now. For those of you who aren't familiar, Yumbii ( is a mobile kitchen enclosed in a super-cool looking truck, and they visit a different location in Atlanta every day. They're serving a variety of Korean tacos/burritos, filled with various meats and toppings. I've had some Korean food before, but this was something new to me. I love all things in taco form, so me and the GF decided to trek over to Buckhead and check it out for lunch today.

We walked up to the truck to place our order, and they had some awesome-sounding items. The choices were Korean BBQ tacos, burritos, and quesadillas, all with a choice of spicy beef, chicken, spicy pulled pork, or tofu, topped with a sesame salad. They also had pulled pork sliders topped with cucumber kimchee. I opted for spicy beef and pork tacos. Our orders were prepared in seconds, and I was really pleased at how affordable the menu was -  only $2 per taco, $5 for burritos and quesadillas. I took a bite of the beef taco, and it was super tasty. The beef was tender and had a lot of flavor, and the sesame salad provided a nice contrast to the meat. I also noticed a spicy red sauce mixed in, and the guy who took our order (the owner?) told me it was a spicy Korean-style BBQ sauce. The pulled pork taco was equally tasty, and seemed to have a little of the spicy sauce mixed in as well.

If you're an Atlanta resident, check out Yumbii for sure - you won't be disappointed. Delicious.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 36

Hawthorn Long Coil: It's rare that I encounter something that I cannot identify at all, but today's entry is definitely in that category. While shopping last week at Super H Mart, I noticed these in the mostly Asian snack/candy section. I'm used to being able to sort of identify things in Asian markets based on ingredients and appearance, but this one stumped me. So naturally, I bought it.

After looking at the package, I had no idea what was in it. The food inside looked just like individually wrapped Slim Jims, but I figured they wouldn't taste like that at all. The only listed ingredients were "hawthorn, sugar, water, food additive." The product name was only "hawthorn long coil." Um, hawthorn? That's a new one to me. Before I ate it, I searched for hawthorn online, and found out that it's a type of plant. It's also sometimes called thornapple, and it has berries that are used for various purposes. I don't know which part of the plant was used for these snacks, so I was even more curious to taste.

I took a bite, and the flavor/texture was a surprise. I expected it to be something truly weird, but it tasted exactly like a strawberry Fruit Roll-Up. Yes, the ones you ate as a kid. I really hoped that this one would be something interesting to tell my readers about, but no such luck. I guess I don't mind Fruit Roll-Ups, so finishing these shouldn't be too hard.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 35

Sweet Rice Cake: No, this isn't like the cardboard-y things you slather with peanut butter to make edible. This was another purchase from the Tous Les Jours bakery inside the Super H Mart in Doraville. As I mentioned before, this bakery had all sorts of tasty Asian pastries, and I saw this one as I was getting ready to check out. It looked interesting, kind of like a huge marshmallow, and it had a pretty flower-type design on top. I had no real idea what this was supposed to taste like, so I decided to take one home.

I unwrapped it tonight, and it reminded me of a super-sticky, heavier marshmallow in consistency. I figured that the cake was made from some sort of glutinous rice product, but I expected it to be a bit light and airy like the other pastries I bought from the bakery. Wrong. I took a bite, and the marshmallow comparison extended to the taste as well, only much sweeter and denser. The cake was also filled with a bit of sweet red bean paste, which was a surprise. It was OK, but a bit too sugary for my taste. I finished it, but can't imagine eating more than one at a time. I still have no idea what the intricate flower on top was made of - maybe some sort combination of rice/food coloring? I looked through some internet sites, but didn't see much that looked like this. Anyway, an interesting find, although not something I'm dying to try again.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 34

Hamentaschen: After a busy weekend on the road with the band, I wasn't in much of a mood to seek out something new tonight. I spent the whole day coming back from Oxford, MS, and despite my best efforts at scouring rural convenience stores, I found nothing. However, the GF came to the much-needed rescue tonight. During a visit to Goldberg's Deli in Atlanta today (, she picked up some Hamentaschen for me, since she knew I'd probably never had them.

Hamentaschen are a cookie-type pastry native to Jewish cuisine, and they're known for their three-cornered shape. They're filled with various fruit fillings, and apparently sometimes chocolate or caramel as well. Appearance-wise, they reminded me of the rugulach pastries I've had from Jewish delis before, and I hoped that these were just as good. Upon first taste, they did remind me of rugulach, but less sweet and a little drier. These were tasty, and as good as any bakery-style cookie I've had. The GF explained that they use less butter in hamentaschen, which explained the degree of dryness. I enjoyed them for sure, but I think I prefer the rugulach overall - they're a bit richer and sweeter. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 33

Korean Wheat Cream Pastry: This was another find from the Tous Les Jours bakery in the Doraville Super H Mart. I really enjoyed the red bean doughnut I had a few days ago, so I hoped this one would be just as good. I've been really impressed with Asian pastries lately - they have all the appeal of traditional pastries, but they're usually not as buttery/greasy, and much lighter. I found today's offering as I was browsing the bakery, and it was difficult to narrow down my choices. However, I'm glad I found this one.

The pastry was flat, and it looked sort of like a smashed doughnut. There wasn't a listing of ingredients on the package, but based on the description and appearance, I figured it would be light and airy, with a bit of cream filling. I opened the package, and the pastry was lightly covered in powdered sugar, which never hurts. I took a bite, and it was pretty much what I expected - light and airy like most Korean pastries I've had, with a vanilla-tasting cream filling that reminded me of red bean paste in consistency. Really good, and not overly sweet. Given my low tolerance for sugar, I've really grown to love these Korean pastries. Highly recommend.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 32

Quince: Today's post is, once again, another find from the Super H Mart in Doraville. I passed these in the produce aisle and really had no idea what they were. I'd heard of quince, especially quince jams/jellies, but knew nothing about how they tasted. It looked like a yellow, misshapen apple or pear, with a firm texture.

I did some research online tonight with the GF on how to eat a quince. That may sound funny, but I've found that a lot of fruits/vegetables in their raw form aren't eaten like you'd think they'd be. According to one website, quinces aren't very pleasant in their uncooked state. The site recommended peeling it, slicing it, coring it, then boiling in a mixture of water and sugar for an hour. I didn't know eating this thing would require such preparation, but I went ahead with their suggestion. After about 45 minutes, I noticed that the mixture had turned to caramelized sugar around the pieces of quince, so I retrieved them from the pot. After letting them cool, I tried a piece, and it reminded me of a cross between an apple and a pineapple, with a little tartness. Pretty tasty, once I got past the sugar on the outside. Next time, I'll definitely reduce the amount of sugar in the pot. If you like apples/pineapple/peaches, you'd probably like quince. I could see these being really good in a pie, so that could be a project for the fall season.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 31

Apricot: So today officially marks the end of my 1st month of "Who Eats That Stuff?" It's hard to believe it's already been that long, and I've discovered a lot of great new foods along the way. Some blew my mind (bibimbap, macarons), while others weren't so good (potted meat, the weird jelly bean-covered raisins), but I've really been having fun with this blog. Thanks again to all the people that have followed me along the way, and I really appreciate all the comments as well. I hope all of you keep with me for the next 11 months - who knows what will happen?

Anyway, back to the food! As I've been shopping over the last month, I've noticed that there are a lot of fairly normal foods I've never had, especially in the fruit/vegetables area. For example, I've tasted a lot of apricot-flavored things over the years, but I've never had a real apricot. When I saw these fresh ones in the Super H Mart, I figured it was time to try.

Based on it's appearance and feel, it reminded me of a tiny peach. The skin was super soft, almost velvety. I wasn't quite sure how to eat it, so I just took a bite. The taste reminded me of a peach as well, but much less tart and juicy. This was a little more on the sweet side, and there wasn't any real juice to speak of. The center was filled with a small pit, just like a peach. I had no idea that apricots were a "stone" fruit, so that was a surprise. Not bad, but I must say I prefer peaches to this.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 30

Red Bean Doughnut: Yesterday's shopping trip to Super H Mart in Doraville yielded some great results. As soon as I walked in the door and headed towards the food court, I noticed a bakery vendor called Tous Les Jours that was anything but French, despite the name. They were selling a variety of Korean-style baked goods, and after I finished my lunch, I knew I'd be needing some before I went home. If you've never had any Asian pastries, I highly recommend seeking them out. They're usually a bit lighter and less oily than their American counterparts, and you don't feel quite as bad after eating them. I picked out a few different types, but decided to try the red bean doughnut this morning.

This doughnut resembled any other on the outside, but the inside was filled with a sweet red bean paste. After taking a bite, I noticed that it was much more dense than your run of the mill Krispy Kreme or Dunkin'. Much easier to eat for breakfast, compared to the KK gutbombs. The lightly sweetened red bean paste in the middle was a nice touch, and I could have easily eaten another one.

Next time you're in the Doraville/Peachtree Industrial area, check out the Tous Les Jours bakery inside the Super H. You won't be disappointed. My readers have already suggested some other Asian bakeries, so I'll be trying some of those soon as well.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 29

Dolsot Bibimbap: I started this week with no blog-worthy foods on hand, so I headed out to the Super H Mart in Doraville with the GF this afternoon. Super H ( is a supermarket that's sort of new to the Atlanta market, and they cater to a large Asian demographic. I knew they'd have some great stuff for me to browse thruough, and I also heard they had an interesting food court. Since we hadn't had lunch, we decided to hit the food court first. There were some standard Japanese/Chinese stalls, but we settled on the Korean vendor. There were several tasty-looking offerings, but I went with the Bibimbap.

Bibimbap is a traditional Korean dish, consisting of a bowl of warm white rice covered with various meat and vegetable toppings. I ordered the "dolsot" version, which was served in a sizzling hot stone pot and topped with a fried egg. The egg was what sold me on the dish - I love anything topped with a fried egg, so I couldn't resist. Everything looked super fresh, and the other toppings consisted of kimchi, seaweed, mushrooms, bean sprouts, and ground pork. The idea is to break open the egg, then mix it up with everything else in the pot. The heat from the pot also made the rice on the bottom crunchy, which was a really nice touch. They also included a side of kimchi and a bowl of miso soup. I was really glad I tried this - it was insanely good. The flavors worked so well together, and the crunchy, caramelized rice was one of my favorite things about it. I'll definitely be ordering this again, no matter where I see it on the menu. Awesome.

I also picked up several other items for the week, so stay tuned for more Super H related posts.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 28

Tripa Taco: After a long, grueling weekend on the road, me and some of my bandmates decided to hit El Rey Del Taco on Buford Highway in Atlanta. El Rey is one of my favorite places in town - I've been several times, and they have the best authentic Mexican food around, no question. I've had many things on the menu, but the hecho a mano tacos are the best thing there. They start with a handmade tortilla, then put various meats of your choice on top, followed by cilantro and onion. I've laughed before at their offering of tripa tacos, which I know is tripe, but they describe it as "Chitlins Bowels." Not so appetizing, right? Well, tonight was the night to find out.

The taco was presented just like all the others I've had there, but I was curious to find out if "chitlins bowels" was the same as the other tripe I've tasted. It appeared to have been grilled with a little oil, then chopped pretty finely afterward. I took a bite, and it definitely tasted different - salty, chewy, a bit of a gamy aftertaste, but definitely savory and tender. It seemed like they added some spices as well, so maybe that's what brought the saltiness.With tripe (or most other offal), I feel like it's all about perception. If you didn't know what you were getting ready to eat, you'd gladly try it and maybe enjoy it. That being said, I offered a bite to my guitar player, and he agreed to sample it. He actually didn't mind it, and said that it "tasted like a Slim Jim." That's pretty close, but this was much better, and not a weird processed meat product like a Slim Jim.

Even if you don't want to try "tripa," get down to El Rey Del Taco ASAP. Awesome stuff.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 27

Beach Cliff Fish Steaks: As you all have discerned by now, I'm a big fan of anything fishy in a can. While most people turn their nose up at this kind of stuff, I embrace it. The only other person that I know that loves this kind of food is my dad, and I've introduced him to several canned treats recently. That being said, I noticed these yesterday while shopping at the Ansley Kroger. I'm a sucker for anything I can't identify immediately (fish steaks?), and I figured it would be some sort of smoked fish, so I threw it in the cart.

I cracked these open this morning, and it was then that I noticed that these were actually made from herring. So much for the mystery "fish." These were packed in oil mixed with Louisiana hot sauce, and when I opened the can, I realized that there were indeed in "steak" form, much like a salmon or tuna steak you see in a restaurant. They actually tasted good, and the mix of oil and hot sauce was a pleasant surprise. Not super fishy, and not quite as good as the Riga sprats, but not bad at all. If you're into any canned/smoked fish, check 'em out.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 26

Bosc Pear: As I mentioned before, it's getting more and more difficult to find something I've never had in a conventional grocery store. Sure, there are tons of flavors of chips/crackers/cookies/etc. that I've never had, but that's really not what I'm trying to accomplish here. I want to keep it interesting for me as well as my readers, and I'm doing the best I can so far. Anyway, I didn't have anything planned for today, so I stopped in the Ansley Kroger on the way home from the gym. I hit the produce section, and even though it was mostly stuff I've had before, I saw these on the way in and decided to try.

I've had pears before, of course, but never one of these. I do love them (especially combined with blue cheese), but I don't eat them that often. The bosc pear had a skin that was darker and browner than most I've had, and it felt a little less firm. I bit straight into it, and was surprised at how much more dense the fruit was compared to other pears I've had. It wasn't quite as tart as the greener versions, and I really loved the sweetness. Also, there was almost no core, and I devoured the whole thing except for the stem and a couple seeds. They're a little more expensive than standard pears, but worth it. Recommend.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 25

Riga Sprats Pate: After my less-than-tasty experience with potted meat a couple days ago, I figured today was a good day to redeem myself with a similar product. I've had this can of fish pate sitting in my kitchen for a couple months now, and I finally cracked it open tonight. Sprats are a type of small fish, much like sardines, and I've eaten them before in fillet form from the same canning company that made the pate. I usually buy them at the Buford Highway Farmers Market, and they're way better than canned sardines - much smokier and richer.

Given how much I love the sprats in whole form, I assumed that the pate would be just as good. It was indeed good - smoky, oily, a little fishy, and really flavorful. The ingredients were just the sprats, oil, pearl barley, onion, salt, and something called "species." I laughed about this for awhile, and I really have no idea what it means. If anyone knows, please feel free to fill me in! Maybe it's something that got lost in translation from the European manufacturer. Anyway, I spread the pate on a cracker, and it was definitely as good as the whole sprats. If you like sardines/anchovies/smoked fish at all, pick up a can of these.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 24

Chow Chow: Yesterday I went up to South Carolina to visit some family, and today I stopped in a little store with my grandfather to look for some fresh peaches. We didn't find any peaches for him, but the store also had an extensive selection of house-canned pickles, jellies, sauces and relishes. I spotted something that I'd heard about a lot growing up in the south, but never gotten around to trying: Chow Chow. I really had no idea what it was - maybe some kind of relish or condiment? I asked the lady at the counter what it was, and she said it was good, and could be eaten as a side dish or condiment. My grandfather recommended it as well. I decided to buy a jar - how could all these southerners be wrong?

I got it home and opened it up, and it smelled like it was gonna be a good mix of sweet/spicy. The version I bought was the hot Vidalia onion version, and it was made from a mix of sweet vidalias, jalapenos, vinegar, red peppers, and some spices. I took a taste, and it reminded me a lot of salsa, but a salsa made from onions and peppers instead of tomatoes. Really good, and super spicy - my forehead is still sweating a bit. Despite what the lady at the store said, I thought this would work better as a topping rather than a side. The GF said that her mom likes eating it on burgers, and that's something that I'll try in the near future. I could also imagine it as a good topping for hotdogs or sandwiches.

This is another southern classic that I highly recommend - go find some.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day 23

Armour Potted Meat: This is something I've been curious about since I was a kid - my dad used to eat it on crackers or toast, and I always wondered what the hell it really was. I was shopping at Kroger the other day, and decided it was time I try it after all these years of curiosity.

Before I opened it, I did a little internet research on what potted meat really is. Honestly, I wish I hadn't have inquired about its origins. You thought hot dogs or bologna were sketchy? That's nothing compared to this stuff. Potted meat is basically a finely blended mix of beef and chicken parts, with some additives and flavoring mixed in. If you want to be grossed out, read the Wikipedia entry on how its made.

So, who eats that stuff? Me, of course! I opened the can, and was a bit disturbed by what I saw. The stuff inside was a strange pinkish color, and the texture reminded me of a hot dog that's been pureed until creamy. Not exactly appetizing. I spread some on a saltine cracker and took a bite, and it reminded me of hot dog, but saltier. I learned that the salt is used as a preservative, but I wonder what the shelf-life is on it. I'm guessing it won't expire till the next millennium. I'm all about pates/terrines/headcheese/offal, but I really felt like I shouldn't be putting this product in my body. It tasted OK, but nothing I'd care to try again.

Dad, you have some explaining to do!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 22

Kreplach: After a long weekend on the road, I was happy to eat a home-cooked meal tonight courtesy of the GF. She told me that she had something special planned for dinner, and I was excited to find out that it was something I'd never tried. Kreplach is a Jewish dish made from small dumplings that are filled with either meat or mashed potato, and they can be boiled and served in soup, fried, or baked. She chose the baked option, since I'd been binging on fast food all weekend and needed a healthy dinner.

The filling for the meat-filled kreplach was made from ground beef, onions, parsley, salt and pepper, while the potato-filled ones consisted of mashed potato, onion, chives, garlic, and parsley. The filling was then put inside wonton skins, then baked for about 10 minutes. I really love all foods in dumpling form, and these didn't disappoint. They reminded me of empanadas or pierogis, but the wonton skins added a bit of a different texture. I've really grown to love almost all Jewish cuisine (even that scary-looking gefilte fish), and these are definitely a new addition to my favorites.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day 21

Gansito: OK, so this post is gonna be short. Just got back to the hotel after finishing with our gig, and it's past 3:30 AM. But, duty calls, and I'm not sure if the drive home will allow me time to do my daily blog. Thankfully, I found a couple snacks on the way out of town in QT's Latin section, and I just ate the last one.

Gansitos aren't that interesting, as it turns out. The packaging made it look like a tasty, unusual snack, and the cute little cartoon animal was irresistible. However, the results weren't that exciting. It tasted like a Little Debbie, with a chocolate-y covering surrounding yellow cake with raspberry and cream filling. It reminded me of black forest cake. Not bad, but not that memorable, either.

I promise my next post will be a little more descriptive, but for now, I'm exhausted. Time for bed.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 20

Rebanadas: This weekend is another one spent on the road for me - the band I play with is gigging in VA for 2 nights. Of course, this can present problems when trying to discover a new food, but I was lucky enough to find a Latin section in a QT gas station yesterday. Some of the snacks looked like the American versions of familiar favorites, but I found a couple that were interesting to me that I'd never had.

Rebanadas ("frosted toast") appeared to be a piece of some sort of bread with frosting on it, but I'd never heard of it. I opened the bag this morning, and it was exactly that - 2 pieces of super-crunchy toasted bread, with a white frosting on top. I took a bite, and it really wasn't that bad. It tasted like a danish or honey bun, but maybe one that's been left out to go a bit stale. The icing tasted like white cake icing, so not really any new flavors to be had with this one. Nonetheless, I'm glad that I discovered that a lot of gas stations have a Latin section - that may make it easier to do this crazy experiment on the road.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 19

Boysenberry Dried Fruit Bar: This was an impulse buy in line at Trader Joe's yesterday. I'm always on the lookout now for something I've never had, and I realized while waiting to checkout that I'd never eaten a boysenberry, or anything boysenberry flavored. Maybe getting real boysenberries would have been a better plan, but for this blog, I have to improvise sometimes.

This appeared to be a normal dried fruit snack, but I wasn't really sure what to expect once I opened the package. When I tried it this morning, it ended up being a chewy, sticky, Fruit Roll Up-style bar, but not as thinly pressed. The taste reminded me of grape or raspberry, which didn't surprise me after I looked up some info on boysenberries - they're actually related to raspberries in appearance and taste. I ate the whole bar pretty quickly. Fine, but not memorable.

I'm now curious about trying real boysenberries. Anyone know when they're in season, and where to find?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 18

Quinoa: I noticed this while shopping at Trader Joe's today, and I realized that I'd never tasted it. For those of you who don't know (which included me until a little while ago), quinoa is a grain that's made from the seeds of the quinoa plant. It's apparently very healthy, and can be prepared several different ways. I've seen it mentioned in magazines and on TV quite a bit lately, so I figured I'd give it a try.

This was a frozen, pre-prepared version, and it had some vegetables (sweet potato, zucchini) and spices/oil mixed in. It also included white and red quinoa, but I'm not sure I could tell any difference in the taste of each. The texture reminded me of couscous or rice, but with a nuttier edge to it. The quinoa seeds almost looked translucent after cooking, and I noticed a little sprout sticking out of each, which is apparently common. I really enjoyed it, and after a few days of binging on heavy food in Vegas, it was a tasty alternative to what I've been eating. I ate it as a side with some curry-marinated chicken and garlic naan bread, and it definitely complimented those flavors.

If anyone knows some good ways to prepare quinoa, please let me know - I'm interested in trying some different versions.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day 17

Beignets: Sorry for the late post tonight - just getting home from Vegas. Had an awesome time with some great food, and I luckily found some brand new eats to blog about along the way. Today's post comes from Bouchon Bakery, once again. I was browsing the pastry counter with the GF this morning on our way out of the Venetian, and I spotted something that I'd seen on menus a million times, but never tried: beignets. Along with a few other insanely good pastries (pain au raisin, cheese danish), I bought a pair of these.

Beignets are little doughnuts that derive from French cuisine, and they're made from deep-fried dough that's coated in sugar or other toppings. These also had fillings - one with chocolate, the other with raspberry jam. Sounds amazing already, right? I knew these couldn't be bad, considering how good all the other pastries from the bakery had been. I took a bite of the raspberry-filled one, and it was pretty much like a doughnut, but a little heavier. If you've ever had a jelly-filled Krispy Kreme, these weren't that much different in concept, but way better and less sickly-sweet. They put a lot of the filling inside this one, so I was glad that I ate it in the hotel room before leaving. I sampled the chocolate one on the plane going home, and it was filled with a super tasty filling that I eagerly licked off my fingers. And, it was covered with chocolate sprinkles, which only added to the awesomeness.

I think me and the GF counted 12 pastries bought from the Bouchon counter on this trip. Needless to say, we'll both be dieting, effective immediately.