Thursday, July 31, 2008

Strike 2 tastes much better than Strike 1.

Hopefully everyone celebrated Cheesecake Day yesterday.
It has been a busy month! Ice Cream Day was a mere week and a half ago. I celebrated with my second attempt at making Chocolate Cheesecake ice cream. The first time, the churner of my electric ice cream maker couldn’t handle the density of the mixture; it failed to churn the mixture a mere minute after the liquid mixture was poured in. A good 10 to 20 minutes of churning are needed to get enough air in any mixture for it to be classified as ice cream (and more than the less recognizable food product known as “goop”).

I had to apologize to my guests, informing them that there would be no homemade ice cream that evening, but that they were welcome to any or all of the six to eight varieties readily available in my freezer. And then I had an idea, a delicious idea...

While the recipe I invented did not yield ice cream, it did yield what we dubbed chocolate cheesecake mousse. We decided it could also make a pretty good non-bake cheesecake.

Note from 2012: Chocolate Cheesecake ice cream was something I'd eaten as an incredible Limited Edition Häagen-Dazs flavor.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I love my mom.

My mom called me yesterday afternoon for no other reason than to tell me this important information: On July 30, Cheesecake Factory will be selling slices of their cheesecake (in any flavor) for a mere $1.50! It says limit one slice per customer and that it is for dine in guests only. Lucky for me, I work but one block away. I will also bring a fake mustache and an assortment of hats.

I rarely eat at chain restaurants, but Cheesecake Factory is an exception. Their food is wonderful and comes in huge portions (enough for a certain tall and lanky fella), their menu options are endless and, of course, their dessert is superb. Other than Eli's Cheesecake World in Chicago, I have run into no other institution that serves up more than a few styles of cheesecake at a time.

Cheesecake Factory offers at least thirty varieties, with usually two to three new flavors they are testing. As you can probably imagine, I have tried nearly all of them (excluding those with coffee, banana or alcohol flavors). My favorites are, in order:

  • Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake (tragically seasonal)
  • Chocolate Pistachio Cheesecake (New!)
  • Dutch Apple Caramel Steusel Cheesecake
  • Craig's Crazy Carrot Cake Cheesecake
  • Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake (which truly is better than your average chocolate cheesecake)
I have tried some of their non-cheesecake desserts as well. They are also worth the trip. See you on July 30!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My gift is my spoon...

(singing obnoxiously from cubicle)
“Is there life on Maaaa-aaa-aaars? Maaa-ah-ah-ah-arrrrrs!"


Brad, that isn’t how “Life on Mars” goes.


 It isn’t?


No. The words are right, but that’s the tune of Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”

- - -

I think it’s an easy mistake to make. The songs are not so dissimilar. But it seems now Elton John has the upper hand among gay, British musicians who have sung songs with Muppets. Ben and Jerry’s has honored Reginald “Elton John” Dwight with an ice cream flavor, “Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road,” in honor of his upcoming first concert in Vermont. Available only in Vermont, the limited edition flavor is "an outrageous symphony of decadent chocolate ice cream, peanut butter cookie dough, butter brickle and white chocolate chunks."

I mentioned earlier the return of The Dave Matthews Band’s flavor: Magic Brownie’s Remix Edition. If Elton John’s flavor is successful and returns after its limited edition release, they’ll have to call it “The Bitch is Back Edition.”

Note from 2012: This flavor was later offered in grocery store pints for a limited time.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Chocolate iz Güd

Theo Chocolate
This three-year-old company is one of few Fair Trade certified chocolate companies in America, as well as one of few places that does the whole process of making chocolate on-site, from roasting to packaging. You can even take tours of their factory in Fremont, which is my personal favorite thing to recommend to tourists visiting Seattle. Call at least a few days in advance because the daily tours sell out fast. At their factory store you can sample every chocolate bar they have for sale! Their chocolate bars are starting to be available around the country. Favorite creations: Coconut Curry bar and any of their signature creations that feature Jasmine, which tastes like fairy dust in your mouth.

Fran’s Chocolates

The most high-end of these three. As a caramel fan, I do not say this lightly: their caramel is the best tasting caramel I have ever had. Their products are available nation-wide, so if you have a fancy chocolate shop near you, treat yourself to my favorite of their creations, the Almond Gold Bar (chocolate, almonds, and sweet, sweet caramel). They may be small, they may be three dollars, but you will be a different person afterwards.

Seattle Chocolates

These truffles are small, not particularly decadent, and come in many straightforward flavors. All of these factors add up to a product that is easy to consume in large quantities, which, having worked at a non-profit arts organization sponsored by Seattle Chocolates, I can tell you I have done many, many times. I have actually sampled every product they make, including their truffle bars, which are more creative in flavor combinations and texture. Favorite creation: blackberry truffle.