All stonewall

Published on March 4th, 2011 | by Greg


Fancy Food Snacks and Cookie-Fu

When we’re not busy test­ing the lat­est gad­gets and fol­low­ing the up­dates on the iPad 2, we’re prob­a­bly ei­ther cook­ing or eat­ing. We al­ways walk away from the Fan­cy Food Show with our eyes big­ger than our stom­achs, des­per­ate to try out ev­ery­thing at the show. But we gen­er­al­ly can’t re­al­ly get a good feel for what works or doesn’t in the crowd­ed Moscone Cen­ter, so we spend the next month run­ning taste tests of var­i­ous kinds. We’ve cov­ered cakes and mix­ers re­cent­ly, but to­day’s fo­cus is on snack foods, and a bit of a ran­dom ad­di­tion, a sort-of board game, Cook­ie-Fu.

We’ll start with Stonewall Kitchen. They sent us two items to try out, the Carmelized Onion Mus­tard and Wild Maine Blue­ber­ry Cham­pagne Jam. As usu­al, their pack­ag­ing is love­ly- per­fect for gift-giv­ing. We opt­ed to fin­ish them off our­selves though, us­ing the mus­tard well be­yond hot­dogs and ham­burg­ers and in­stead throw­ing in­to dish­es as dis­parate as Ital­ian pas­ta and some Chi­nese fu­sion. It works well, bal­anc­ing the sa­vory, and isn’t as spicy as some mus­tards so lends it­self more to use as an­oth­er fla­vor rather than the main one. The jam fea­tured in a few of our re­cent brunch­es, as it goes great with pan­cakes/waf­fles and mi­mosas. One tester men­tioned the cham­pagne over­pow­er­ing the blue­ber­ries a bit, oth­ers said that they liked that it wasn’t too sweet and felt quite “re­al”. Tex­tu­ral­ly, it’s in­ter­est­ing- lots of tiny blue­ber­ries! Over­all, both are rec­om­mend­ed, and are avail­able $3.50 or $7.75 for the jam de­pend­ing on size, and $5.95 for the mus­tard.

We’ve al­so been sam­pling some goods from Ter­ra­fi­na- Nat­u­ral Omega3 Mix, Milk Choco­late Pret­zels, and
Nat­u­ral Cran­ber­ries. It was an odd as­sort­ment with small amounts of each, that looked to be from bulk con­tain­ers. Noth­ing caught our at­ten­tion here- it was all good, fair­ly fresh, just pret­ty stan­dard. But one item that did stand out were the Le Nib­ble Cheese and Chives Crack­ers. They have two oth­er fla­vors as well- Olive/Rose­mary and Sea Salt- and our ini­tial im­pres­sion was of the slight­ly-odd pack­ag­ing. From the in­gre­di­ent list (0.2% chive) to the 12.5 crack­er rec­om­mend­ed serv­ing size, as well as the “hand­made in France” la­bel, we found our­selves amused. But the crack­ers were quite good, ad­dic­tive even, and were classy. With the ap­pear­ance of tiny waf­fles, the Le Nib­ble were some of the bet­ter crack­ers we’ve tried- testers agreed that they weren’t “too cheesy”, and “felt light and healthy”. They seem to be hard to find though, and their web­site was down at press time so we are link­ing in­stead to their of­fi­cial pro­file.

Fi­nal­ly, we bring you Cook­ie Fu. This is a tongue-in-cheek game, clev­er­ly pack­aged in a looka­like Chi­nese take­out box. It comes with a for­tune cook­ie in­side, which felt a bit like a gim­mick. But the for­tune is spe­cial, and kind of cute. Ba­si­cal­ly a cus­tom dice game, your face off against your op­po­nent us­ing mar­tial arts moves like strikes, kicks, blocks, grabs, throws, and the slight­ly-odd chi. There are “Clans”, and a odd way to de­ter­mine turn or­der, but we didn’t love how the game en­cour­ages you to buy “boost­ers” and such. The game­play it­self lends it­self to kids, not adults or even late teens, and though prob­a­bly fun for a fam­i­ly game, we found that the con­cept wore thin as chance-based games tend to do. It’s easy to learn, and can fit up to 6 play­ers, and does of­fer re­al­ly nice dice and some fun strate­gic twists… but we couldn’t quite get in­to it. At press time, the store was down, but prices range from $6-$20.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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