Sunday, September 25, 2011

Food Lion --lying again.....?

How could we forget the huge Food Lion scandal back in 97?  You  know the one, it accused them of recycling old meat I don't want to point fingers or make unfounded accusations, so I will let the photo speak for itself and then make my comments:

By the way, they got a little grumpy when I started taking pics of the meat which I don't know why I didn't think to do that before I went in, after all I am the queen of "Spotted" photos...BAM!

Ok, the facts: I bought these 2 packs of meat from the Food Lion over at the intersection of 210 and that road that goes to Fayetteville - I know, I've lived here for 7 years and I still don't know the names of roads. Anyway, it's over by #1 Chinese restaurant.

I got this ground beef yesterday afternoon about 4 pm. At 8 am this morning I opened the fridge to take this ground beef out to separate it. You can see the pink meat - yes dear, that would be the fresh meat. and the gray meat- that would be the old meat. What you can't see really well in this pic is that the pink meat is swirled throughout- when I suggested to the cashier that the meat department had recycled old with new he certainly was not appalled agreed. The pack underneath which the manager swiped away before I could get the 2nd pic it is even more noticeable. Hearing the world "marbling" was laughable and insulting.

Bottom line: I got a refund. They didn't deny it, the cashier just shrugged and to quote "ewwwwwwwwww". The picture speaks for itself. Food Lion Meat Buyers ---BEWARE.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ever So Sweet Bakery, well mostly.

I love going to visit my family in Charleston (well, the 'rents stay in Summerville) because it gives me an opportunity to try new and different things. Ever So Sweet Bakery is right down from where they live and finally, they were open on one of my visits. Now that is not to say they were not open before, it's just either I was too late or too early to catch them open.

I was totally excited when I went in. The front showcase does over a wide variety of choice from bagels to cookies. Therefore I decided since this was my first visit and I had a 4 hour trip ahead of me, I would not only get a breakfast choice but several others to accompany my daughter, son and I on the trip.

I bought:
A popover w/ strawberry butter
a lime-coconut cupcake
a Carmel chocolate cupcake
a butter toffee cookie
a pecan cinnamon roll pull apart thing
lime curd tart

As you can see I pretty much went the gammet, especially since I had heard mixed reviews. Ok 2- one good and one not. I wanted to decide for myself.

To begin:
the popover -while it was excellent in appearance and looked exactly as a popover should, I don't think they meant for it to be that hard and crusty on the outside, maybe, but tobesure not. The inside was nice and moist which is par for a popover. I was just disappointed with the outside, it was nearly inedible. I am still very much on the fence with the strawberry butter. One taste I really like it, the next taste- I am not sure. Would I buy this again? The popover? probably not, the butter yes- maybe with some sort of toast though and not this.

lime-coconut cupcake and the Carmel chocolate cupcake- I am going to talk about these together because my just turned 6 year old loved the icing on both but said "why is the cake part so thick". Agreed. The lime coconut icing was very enticing to look at, it was very pretty as was the 2nd one. Well actually all the cupcakes were just beautiful, but what good is that if they aren't so good.
The problem here was the cake part. It was extremely dense. To the point there was really no crumbs and I was begging for water. I don't know that it was an isolated recipe error because both cakes, one yellow and one chocolate had the same density to them. Would I buy anymore cupcakes here? Definitely not.

The pecan roll- Definitely delish! It was huge and for $2.50 I would say definitely worth it. The topping was Divine and the pecan taste was prevalent which is what I love. It was more like a swirled giant muffin than a roll. I would more than buy it again.

Butter toffee cookie- the flavor was there, the cookie itself was ok but the stickiness of it made it difficult to eat. The gentleman working the front said it was one of his favorite cookies. I could see that if you get it right out of the oven, but the next day it is just a chore to eat. I should have tried the peanut butter one that he also recommended.

Let me say, I have saved the best for last. The Lime Curd Tart. There are just no words, but I will try. It was eye catching, appealing and enticing. At $5 I wasn't sure it wasn't going to be worth it, but I was wrong. It was definitely worth that and made up for the cupcakes!!

The lime curd tart had a marshmellowish meringue on top that my daughter couldn't get enough of it! The crust was buttery and an awesome base for the tart. The filling, was key-limish but not like the pie. I love lemon curd, had never had lime curd, but I definitely want some more. I think the tartness of the curd with the over the top sweetness of the topping worked more than I could have hoped for. After the disappointing cupcake, I was about to be pee oed that I had spent all that money on not so good bakery stuff. But the lime curd tart was definitely redeeming for this bakery. Would I buy it again? Ya damn skippy I will.

Pricewise, I would say the cost was pretty decent. The popover was $2.50, the cupcakes $2 apiece, the cookie $1, the pecan roll $2.50 and the tart $5.

Overall I would visit this bakery again- for the lime curd tart alone, but also probably for some of the bagels. Definitely don't think the cupcakes would be worth another try just because as stated, they were 2 different types but the density issue exits in both of them. They make cakes here too, I have to wonder if they are the same- hopefully I will get a chance to try those at a later date.

I will also mention 2 other things: I was disappointed that they didn't make their own tea. They did have a bottled Italian sweet tea that was doable. Also, there were a few customers there that were definitely regulars as they said everything there was fantastic. I would argue with that kind sir, but I wouldn't push it too far because there are few things there that I thought were over the top delish!!

Ever So Sweet Bakery- Yeah. I'd go there again, especially because they are less than half a mile from my parents.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cultural Recipes

I am always very open to trying new and different food. Jewish food is not new to me of course, but I do like sharing what I have had from different cultures with my friends and families. I love noodle kugel. It's so funny when I say that word (or name) to my circle of friends now because a majority of them will respond...noodle whattt??? Some of them will even respond, just make it, you never steer us wrong. God bless them!!

So when I was at Brith Sholom Beth Israel Synagogue I developed a love of the Jewish people, religion, food and culture. I miss it very much. I am always seeking ways to bring that feeling of warmth back to my life, at least in between visits to Charleston, SC! Enter the Shiksa!

I found this website called . Tori Avey is a Jewish Convert who is apparently amazing at Jewish food! I took her recipe for noodle kugel and it was uncanny how it tastes exactly like the noodle kugel caterer Helen Goldberg makes for Brith Sholom Beth Israel events (and at my own wedding reception at the shul!!)

I made a huge pan of the kugel and it warmed my heart that my friends embraced it! Granted, when people here it is a sweet noodle thing, they are apt to turn their nose up to it because it is a foreign concept, however they willingly tried it. With great success. The only difference from The shiksa recipe is I used Captain Crunch on top (it is kosher and I was out of vanilla wafer) but everything else was exactly the same.

the recipe is here

I can't wait to make it for my mom and niece when I go back to Charleston. They will be happily transported as well!!

I plan on trying the Challah recipe next, I am hoping it is comparable to Marcie Rosenbergs who caters also at BSBI and the Charleston Jewish Federation (sells Challah there too). The ingreidents seem like they would be what is in her top secret recipe for Challah. Wish me luck!!!

New products

I love trying new products. And introducing my child to new products too. So when I found Honest Kids juice pouches I was kinda excited. They are healthy, they look pretty...what could be better!! So I bought the grape and the berry lemonade. Took them home and guess 5 year old actually said "the flavor is weak". What? I thought he was just saying that because he wanted soda. I tasted it myself though. He was right. That stuff is NASTY and I would not force him to drink either of them- I tried both. Don't waste your money!!
However, this trip to the grocery store was not a total loss. I did find Nature Valley granola thins. I bought the dark chocolate (was there any doubt?) and the peanut butter. Of course the first one I tried was the dark chocolate. O_M_G. FABULOUS!!! and healthy too!! I couldn't get enough! I tried the peanut butter one too. Just as good and peanut butter lovers will think its divine. Myself, Ima chocolate girl. So-they are on sale right now at FOOD LION 2/5. I am buying 4 more boxes but all chocolate- I love to snack and the box says they will keep for 8 mos (according to best by date)....Well worth the money!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tacos Oaxaca

Tacos Oaxaca is located in Lillington, NC, right as you are coming down 401 from Fayetteville. When I first moved here 9 years ago, it literally looked like a run down mobile home that was set beside of the road and left for....well...just left. Being from Charleston, SC, I had never seen a "taco trailer" as my husband called it. When I began working in Lillington, I soon grew tired of the usual fast food places and the other Mexican place in town (which seems to become more and more like an upscale Taco Bell every day) I decided to go to the "taco trailer".
When I went, I took a Hispanic friend with me as my Spanish was ok then, but I feared they would not understand me. Good thinking on my part. At that time, I got the beef taco and the tlayuda. Both were very, very good and simply unforgettable. So much so that I always wanted to go again, but never got around to it- until this past Saturday.
My MIL mentioned to me that there was a write up in the paper about Tacos Oaxaca. Oh yeah..a reminder it was there. So last Saturday, armed with my now well honed espanol, I took my son and went to Tacos Oaxaca. The cashier there does speak fluent English. Good to know, as I know some people haven't gone there because they didn't speak Spanish and didn't know how they would handle the language barrier.
On this trip, I got the al pastor (pork) taco and the beef tongue taco. I also got the sopas. Everyone raves about tongue tacos. Being that it isn't something I eat on a regular basis, I expected something off the wall fabulous.It was good, but probably not something I will get again. For me, it was a bit difficult to get past the fact that I was eating TONGUE. The al pastor tacos were outstanding. Just the right amount of seasoning
The front taco is the tongue, middle beef and back al pastor
The sopas I would say are definitely my favorite besides the tacos. They have home made quacamole, but it is not the same as what you might get in the general public, it is more like a home made verde, but it's made with avacados. It's good, but I don't like that higha heat level, however people I know that have tried it are crazy about it! But since I get most of my food to go, when I add my home made quac to it, I could just eat a million sopas! They are the same sort of bottom that the gorditas have, but there is a top and a bottom. The filling is chicken with lettuce (which I leave off) tomatoes(leave these off too), cilantro, onions, and avacados. And of course the Oaxaca cheese! Yum!!
I recently tested the buritos. They were a little dry for my taste. They were good though. And pretty nice sized for the price. I got the beef, which had refried beans, beef, cilantro, cheese and salsa.
I tried the tlayuda a few months ago. It is pricey but well worth it. A ton of food to eat!! It was the first thing I tried here and it was good enough to make me want to try more. 'Nuff said!
A very, very, very picky eater friend of mine had the sincronzadas.It has ham, Oaxaca cheese, tomatoes, onions between 2 tortillas with a sauce. She said it was divine.
Overall, I like all the things I have tried here. They have definitely upgraded the reputation they had when I first moved to this town and the food is well worth it. Don't be put off by the smallness of it or because it is authentic. They have people there that speak English and if not you can just point to the pictures and it's all good!! GET YOUR EAT ON at Tacos Oaxaca

Saturday, April 2, 2011

coffee...sweet coffee...F W Bean

It's hard to find a good gourmet cup of morning in this town. McDonalds is good for iced mocha latte but being I quit them for lent..I was on the prowl for other options....that would be

FW Bean @ 810 South Main Street, Lillington NC. My first drink was the chai latte - iced. Amazing! They offer tons of other options in tea and coffee. Next I've tried the sweetened tea-I think they said it was a Red tea-THE BEST I've had. In need of being brought to life? The iced red eye is def the way to go!!! The iced mocha...just the right kick for morning start up. And I haven't even gotten to the muffins!

The muffins are the bakery option they offer. They are HUGE and beyond delish! My fave is the banana nut but the french toast comes in close 2nd!

Prices are way more reasonable than Starbucks, the quality is much better than those the fast food places offer. If you are a true coffee snob (I am and proud of it) this is your place!

F W Bean is well worth the trip downtown!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

chocolate-chili cupcakes

I am always looking for some funky flavor tastes. Here is my newest thing I made last nite. Nothing special but definitely fabulous!

1 box dark chocolate fudge cake mix

1 cap full of Chili Powder

1 container cream cheese icing

Make cake according to box directions -substituting soda water for regular water. Add chili powder. Bake according to directions. Pipe cream cheese icing on top. Viola!!!


Quizno's - what a disappointment!

This Quizno's is at I-295 & exit 59 off of I-95. I stopped in there to pick up lunch for the man'o da house after a long trip back from Charleston, SC. Quizno's menu is a "magazine-food" eater's dream! The chipolte bread, the rosemary parm on the caprese sandwhich!! HOLLA! So I go into getting some grub from this place. First thing I notice, it's not all that clean looking. Signs here and there, didn't pay too much attention to them at this point, however in just a minute it would more than get my attention. I watch the clerk serve a family of 3. It literally took an excruciating 18 minutes to make their 3 sandwhiches and that is without the toasting. Why no toasting? The main crux of Quizno's NOT WORKING. So, I figure ok. Toaster not working. That's ok, I think I can handle these sandwhiches not toasted. It will be like eating at Subway. Finally, after what seemed an eterneity, it became my turn. I wanted to get 2 subs, just alike: The Honey Cured Ham on chipolte bread- and it is $5 (yep- just like Subway). As I begin to order, chipolte bread- she tells me nope- don't have any. I asked, "are you out or you just don't have it?" "I don't even know what that is" came the reply. Now I begin to get into aggravated "sigh" mode. Well, it was listed right there on the signs all over the window, but ok. I'm not eating it, the husband biggie- just get white. Well, we can't toast them. Ok. I said but they are the $5 deal right? "Nope" was my answer...a woman of few words. At this point, I had to get into semi-bitch mode. Well, it says right here on this sign that it's $5. She points to a sign above her head on the lighted board that says something else--I honestly can't remember because no matter what that sign said, the one in front of me is the one I was buying. I know. Bitch. lol So she did offer up some chipolte mayo. It took another 10 min for her to pass this down to the lettuce lady. She had forgotten/didn't hear/ignored/not paying attention - that I ordered 2 identical subs. Another 10 minutes into and finally, I have 2 subs. Now for mine. The Caprese! So, of course the rosemary parm bread. The clerk grabs it from the bakery showcase and quickly cuts off each end about 1/5 of the way down. Interesting. Then, she asks me what the sign says is on it. I don't mind telling her because I am excited about this sandwhich! Tomatoes, mozzarella, chopped lettuce, Basil Pesto, Red Wine Vinaigrette...holla! Then she proceeds to tell me they have no Basil Pesto. No Basil Pesto? That is what makes this sub what it is. What do you mean? Are you out or you just don't carry it. "Oh, we are out, been out for a while- no body ever orders it" came the reply- much to my dismay. Scratch that then. If I can't have it with that, what's the point. I was done. I step to pay and they charge me full price for the 2 subs. I point out that it is $5 on the sign down at the beginning of the counter. I am waiting for an arguement, but the lady at the register was in her own brand of haze so she kept it rollin at $5 per. In all honesty can they justify selling any of those at full price when you have to substitute because they don't have what's on the menu AND the toaster is NOT WORKING. Why? Because desperate people like me, who have been on the road for 4 hours will pay it just to have some food to present and not have to make another stop on the long trek back to Lillington. I request a soda as well. A large. When I step to the fountain machine- you guessed it! Out of 4 different types of soda. OH MY GOD. What a nitemare this place is. I get a refund and head out the door. No wonder they don't have business. No customer service and most importantly NO SUPPLIES!!!! Quizno's @ I-95 & I-295 exit 59? Skip it! You'll be quizing yourself later as to why you didn't if you don't!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Prizzi's of Summerville- there's no honor there...

According to their website, they are Summerville's Best Kept Secret. Truly, I find this hard to believe. Honestly, if what I'm getting ready to tell you had not transpired, this would be more about the mediocre food than that asinine owner. Now you will be subjected to both. OOPsie. I perused the website before going to Prizzis because I wanted to see what they had to offer as I had never heard of them. My aunt and uncle are REGULAR customers here and even their son held his rehearsal dinner here. Which makes what I am about to tell you even more ridiculous..redunkulous even. First things first - waitress informs us 18% gratuity on parties of 5 or more. HUH? That is the size of a normal family household these days. But then she informs us she can split is and we can tip what we feel is deserved. At this point, I am thinking she said this because my aunt and uncle are regulars about 3 times a month there. Got there, checked the menu. Basically the same as online. I wanted the lasagna, the pizza for Ben and inquired about a seniors portion for my mother who is elderly. The waitress stated they didn't have any thing comparable, I asked her about getting a kid's meal for her, she said that would be allowed. So mom had the spaghetti. When the waitress took my order, she suggested the lasagna special. When I inquired what that meant, I was told it included a salad. Ok. Mistake for me #1. The regular lasagna is priced at $8.99. I noticed tonight that the tossed salad is priced at $2.79. Can someone please explain to me then why the lasagna special was $15.99? Just because it included a salad? Please? WTF. You know what they say about assume-- I assumed the special would be like $10 - you know, the salad for $2 instead of $2.79. Ass - wrong. Basically the salad jacked up the meal $7. The kids meals are $4.99 each. For appetizer, my aunt and I split the spinach rolls. Which is basically a cigarette sized egg roll made of spinach and cheese. It was fairly good- although the description said to be served with tatziki sauce which to me I guess is fancy for sour cream with shredded cheese on top? The salad was iceberg- a few croutons, 1 tomato, 1 black olive, a couple onion rings and salad dressing- the house - an Italian vinaigrette..but it tasted like Wishbone. Yes, I am a salad dressing conneesiour. However, as of yet, things were not so misshapen that I was going to complain. The lasagna came. It says the noodles are homemade, however, I just made lasagna at home last week, and the no bake ones have these tiny lines running through them- these did as well - and there were 2 noodles on my whole plate. The lasagna was somewhat deconstructed. I am assuming - again, there's that word, this was meant to be this way. There were slightly roasted -or seems to me- sweated onions and peppers (red and green) on the side, and sliced Italian sausage on the side as well. Topped with shredded parm cheese. I saw red sauce not white sauce as described. Still- it was ok. I was not complaining. My son was ok with the pizza after all he eats Subway pizza all the time- this was about the same - I have a really hard time believing this pizza was home made. Seriously. I wish I had taken pics I just didn't know what was coming or I would have. My uncle had chicken parm which seemed to be good - no complaints. My aunt had same as me- she loves problems there either. Love them:) Dessert- mom had cheesecake- it was a nice sized slice but I thought very overpriced for $4.99. However- didn't complain. I and my aunt had the chocolate cake. It was actually very good - but then it was dark chocolate- how can you go wrong with that?! Drinks. Please tell me why a supposedly "upscale" restaurant serves bottled soda with a cup of ice? At $2 a bottle. And I might add the menu said they were $1.59 but when the owner was yelling at me, she informed me it was $2 a bottle. and No refills. Still- hadn't complained yet. My family and I were actually having a really nice time -the best time! Until the bill came. We asked them to split the bill and my uncle stated they would get the appetizer. So the waitress comes back with theirs, he pays and then I go up to pay mine. To which they tell me the total. As I am adding my total and my uncle's total in my head it is more than that complete bill the waitress brought us the first time. I stepped back to the table and I told my aunt and uncle that I think they were overcharging us and I think it had something to do with the way they were figuring the 18%. Here is where it broke off. THE OWNER came barreling up front and yelled at me asking me what was the problem. I explained to her that the 2 bills were not adding up to the 1 and maybe it was the gratuity they had miscalculated because if we each had 18% and it split like that the total bill should not be $5 less than what we were being asked to pay separately. She began screaming at me that they were a fair business and that they had been in business 12 years, etc. I explained to her that I was only asking about the totals. Why would the 2 be more than the 1. They should equal the same. First she screamed at me that I didn't understand her. I explained to her that I was standing right in front of me there was no need to scream at me as she was doing to which she ignored- and I noticed, continued to check around the restaurant- thankfully there were only about 5 tables occupied in the whole business. She went back and recalculated 3 times. Each time coming with a different total. And each time throwing the receipt on the table. Finally, my uncle told her to void his off and put it all on one and we would split it outside. She basically refused to do this and continued to argue with me. At this point, my aunt stepped in to try to explain to her what it was we were questioning. I told the owner I didn't know if she couldn't understand me or didn't want to understand me but the bottom line is the 2 separate bills together should equal the one bill they showed us initially. She continued to scream at me and told me that they were a fair business- a family business. And did I not think the service was worth it. Let me think. The food was mediocre- over looked it. The drink situation - low rent for "Summerville's best kept secret" - overlooked it. 10 minute tirade over the total of a bill that just didn't add up-- you bet your ass I didn't think it was worth it. I told her look, let's just settle this so we can leave. This is ridiculous. I went up front to pay what they said I owed--after all, I didn't want to be locked up in Charleston- my magistrate connection are when I went to the cashier- I was trying to explain to her that I was in no way trying to be difficult. I just didn't understand how we were getting 4 different totals. Before I could finish the owner comes flyin up front again and reignites. WTF. Let's cousin got married 2 years ago? And my aunt and uncle have eaten there so much the waitress was on first name basis and knew my aunt's order without asking and the owner was acting like this to REGULAR FAITHFUL customers! I'd say Prizzi's is Summerville's Best Kept Secret because they have mediocre food and the worst (even worse than Bojangles) customer service I have ever seen. Good riddance!

BoJangles....It IS NOT Bo time...

You know, sometimes you do things with the best of intentions only to have it come back and bite you in the butt. So said...I quit McDonald's for Lent. Really- only the best of intentions on this. Therefore, I patronized Bojangles- not really a fan there except for the seasoned fries - extra seasoning please--and the sweet potato pies...yum! Well, it appears they have started selling grits! Holla. Or so I thought. Last Friday, I stopped in to get an order of grits w/ cheese and a cup of ice. I was told cheese would be 40 cents and ice was 17 cents but I could get ice WATER for free. Still not understanding that whole concept..and 40 cents for a slice of processed cheese --you can by the Smart brand at Food Lion for 99 cents a pack for 16 slices. Whatever. So, I get to the window-and I tell them never mind on the ice. The hand me the bag then I leave. When I get to work, the cheese is missing. As would be my typical MO- I did not call and complain, I let it go. This past Tuesday, I stopped there again-don't ask me why. I just did. I was at the speaker, there was a line behind me, I ordered grits w/ cheese and asked the cashier to please make sure it is there this time (on the side of course because they say they can not throw it on top of the damn grits in the container--to much effort I suppose-maybe 45 cents worth of effort as opposed to 40 cents?) to which she vehemently responded- and I quote " That was your fault". Literally- my pissed level went 0 to 60 in 1/1048304 of a second. "Excuse me" I said. She replied, "that was your fault, you drove off without it". "Explain to me how you not doing your job is my fault please" I replied, "and I will buy you breakfast". "Do you want anything else" was her answer. 'Just your manager at the window when I get there" I demanded. When I finally got to the window, the manager was there- waiting- with genius standing behind her. The manager says "she didn't mean that how it sounded". "She meant it EXACTLY how it sounded because she knew exactly who I was and what she had done, she was too concerned with charging me 17 cents for a cup of ice but told me I could get ICE WATER for free" I replied. The manager then proceeds to tell me that I did in fact drive off without the cheese. How ridiculous is this conversation anyway? The more it progressed the more pissed I got. "First- you are problem #2. She is problem #1. I will not have some pissy 18 year old telling me that the reason I didn't get what I paid for was because I left without it when it is her responsibility to put it in the bag she had already handed me. 2ndly, your big issue is a little thing I like to call CUSTOMER SERVICE. It does not exist at this store" I ranted. The manager said well, she didn't mean it. "And still I get no apology" I say --extremely exasperated at this point. "Well, I didn't realize it was that big of a problem" the manager said. "Oh it was a small problem back at the speaker, it's a bigger problem now- but it's about to become bigger than you can imagine" I emphatically assure her. It is my belief that customer service has gone by the wayside these days. Since when does a cashier and a manager talk crap like that to a customer when the cashier has actually admitted she didn't do the job she was supposed to AND THEN never even offered me a refund or to replace it! I had to seriously get my panties in a wad to get any reaction. Oh have failed..and you have failed miserably - if you want grits--hit the Jr. Mart --it's not that far from Bojangles and it's $1.59 for the same size grits that Bojangle's charges $2.39 for. Bo time? HELL NO.