The Ill Communication

Overview for food

Battle of the sugary drinks

May 8, 2017 | 21:23 | Written by: snake911

The other day I was at a local donut shop because I woke up late and needed something quick to eat; and thankfully this donut shop has a huge variety of breakfast sandwiches to start the day right.  So while I was waiting for my order, I saw a drink on the menu I never saw before with a name I couldn't refuse to get.  It was called "Death by Chocolate."

Yowza!  Fearing the worst this drink could do to me -- possibly an early trip to my final resting place ;-) -- I decided to not get it that morning, but to get it later, so I made a mental note to come back another day.  Well that day came and went and I can say that I came, I saw, and I conquered.

Unfortunately I was kind of disappointed in it.  Its reputation does not live up to the name.  While it was chocolatey, and it was a delicious drink, I wasn't too thrilled on the lack or richness that was actually in this beverage.  In the closest competitor to this drink, I'd have to say the Dunkaccino is a clear winner by far.

Although, I did opted to get it boba styled with those little balls you usually see in Asian coffee drinks or teas.  And while they did do a good job a keeping me from downing the drink in one or two gulps, they did very little else to help enhance the drink, showing yet again how the Dunkaccino is supreme.

Hmm, now I need to challenge the Dunkaccino to what 31 Baskin Robbins had called a Chocolate Blast.  Terrible name (if you know what I mean), but great to drink.  But is it better than the previous winner?  We'll need to test this out in the near future.  Diabetes, here I come!

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April 30, 2017 | 11:52 | Written by: snake911

For years I was a heavy tea drinker.  Back then I wanna say I was consuming about three or four cups a day.  And to me that's a lot since I would get the good stuff and boil the water and then steep it myself, so it took time and care to get a cup ready.  I knew the health benefits were there because back when I was drinking that much tea, I was able to perform a lot of physical attributes for long durations, demonstrating that…I dunno, the antioxidants were doing their work of transferring oxygen via blood cells, or whatever the heck antioxidants do.

But then I cut back and drank fewer cups because I hated the preparation and cleaning of the steeper whenever I wanted tea.  So I got lazy, stopped buying the good stuff, and decided to go with cold brew tea bags.  That way I wouldn't have to deal with boiling water and the steeping process.  But then I got lazy again because I didn't want to wait for the tea bags to mix with the water, so I got cold brew instant tea which only requires stirring powdered tea with cold water.  Done!  But due to a health scare regarding my kidneys/liver and fearing consuming all of that powdered tea may have been responsible for it, I decided to drop tea all together for about a year.

So wanting to be more healthier in 2017 than I was in 2016 I decided to go back in full swing and get the gourmet teas I steep myself.  But the problem was the chore of steeping the tea and then cleaning the infuser.  Well my problems were solved with my tea supplier making a thermos that not only acts as a nifty transfer container for hot tea, but it also serves as the infuser so the tea can be steeped with its tiny tea leaf cage.  On top of that it has a great leak proof seal and keeps the tea nice and warm for the longest time.  Seriously, this thing will keep the tea extremely hot even during my lunch break which normally starts six hours after I made the tea.  This is why the thermos is called toasTEA.  Get it?

Of course I needed tea, so I bought some along with some free samples I got with my order.  This is great because I can switch things up pretty often.  My go to is an herbal tea called Wild Strawberry that includes dehydrated fruits like strawberries (duh), raspberry leaves, hibiscus flowers, rose hips, and apple pieces.  It's a very sweet, but all natural and tastes so good.  It's one you can have at any time and it'll taste delicious.  The other one called Mango Mate is the only one that has caffeine in it and I planned to use it as my morning pick me up rather than relying on soda.  It has a grassy taste with a shallow taste of mango to give it flavor, but unfortunately it doesn't have that extra fruity taste I was hoping to get.  But it's still good none the less.

Pina Colada is alright, but it has a very strong taste to it, so I only drink this one occasionally.  And finally I have a small tin box sample of one that is based on my zodiac sign: Cancer.  This one has an interesting after taste that is a mixture of a few teas.  This is a perfect tea to have after eating a big dinner and you want something to soothe out your palette.

As you see in the picture at the top of this post, all of my tea needs (both teas and tea ware) are provided by a company called Adagio Teas.  They are my sole source when it comes to purchasing teas and accessories.  They just have great quality and they also have a points program that helps with savings.  I totally forgot I had unused points from years back and they were still good, so I basically got a free bag of tea in the process!

It's nice to go back to drinking tea again on a regular basis.  I actually feel healthier than I did drinking soda, which should be the obvious benefit, but at the same time it keeps my breath fresher and acts as a stimulant for the brain when it comes to focusing on a task.  Sure, soda performed better at that, but it was short lived and then I had to deal with the crash after the effects wore off.  With tea, it may not be as strong, but it has a longer lasting effect, so I can focus on something at work all day if needed.  Who'd of though stepping leaves would be so beneficial?

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Coffee talk

February 26, 2017 | 12:54 | Written by: snake911

While not the biggest fan of coffee and coffee-live beverages, I do on occasion like to indulge and see if my taste for it has changed.  Take for example on Friday when I went to Dunkin Donuts to get my favorite thing on the menu: the Dunkaccino.  I usually get the chilled version, but this time I opted to go with the hot version to see I can now handle a scolding hot drink.  And with it, I’m sorry to say that I’m still not ready; even when using those coffee lids that have a door on it to help with sipping so you don’t take in too much at one time.  Now even though I can’t handle coffee that way, for whatever dumb reason I’m better at handling hot tea!  Not sure why (is coffee served way hotter?) but that’s how it is.

Then while shopping at an Asian market, I came across a brand of chilled coffee drinks I’ve never heard of before.  Mr. Brown, based on the can’s label, I think is a product of Taiwan and at the store they had three flavors to pick from: Cappuccino, Iced Coffee, and a rainbow colored can called Macadamia Nut.  I took home the Cappuccino and Iced Coffee flavors.  I bought them only based on the picture of the dude, who is probably Mr. Brown himself, giving me the thumbs up saying that his product is okay.

Between the two that I brought home, I preferred Cappuccino over Iced Coffee; although the label for the Cappuccino can made me nervous by it saying you might see some stuff floating in the liquid.  They shrugged it off and said it “was normal” and shouldn’t be a concern.  Hmm.  Never saw floaters in coffee drinks before, but fortunately mine didn’t have any.

In the end Mr. Brown was just ok.  Nothing to brag about.  For chilled can drinks, I’ll stick to Columbus, the stuff I was bragging about last year.  Although it’s now harder to find since 7-Eleven stopped stocking it.  But now I’m curious about how Japan’s canned coffee drink called Boss Coffee tastes.  You know, those commercials that starred Tommy Lee Jones.  They look pretty good, especially when I saw a video of this guy trying the premium one.  I look around to see if any Asian markets sell it here Stateside.

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Transparency in 20oz

January 24, 2017 | 23:18 | Written by: snake911

I came across what I believe is a rarity of a beverage while waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store yesterday.  In the countertop cooler that lines up a variety of soft drinks for impulse buyers, I saw something that was clearly different amongst the other bottles that contain darker colored liquids.  I saw a bottle of Crystal Pepsi!

Probably the last time I saw a bottle of this clear stuff was back in, like, the early ‘90s when clear, non-colored drinks were a short lived fad that even crossed over to liquor with brands like Zima.  Even back then I don't remember ever participating in this phenomenon by drinking any transparent sodas, so I never knew what it tasted like.  But twenty years later I was given a second change to rectify my past sin and can now taste what I've been missing for all these years.  And as you can probably expect, the anticipation was high when I finally had it in my hand, cap removed, and ready to take a swig.

The results? Meh.

It does kind of throws you off with the first sip because knowing ahead of time it's a Pepsi, so you expect to tie together the taste to what you visually see in the bottle to what you already know about the drink, but with my brain expecting it to be black rather than clear, it confused my taste buds, but after you take a second mouthful is when you get it figured out.  To me it doesn't taste like a traditional Pepsi.  It had a strange after taste to it.  I've never drank hand sanitizer (and I never plan to), but that back taste I got from it gave me that inclination.  Next time I see one, I think I'll pass on it.

So in conclusion: I didn't miss much.

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Moonshining the good stuff

January 11, 2017 | 23:01 | Written by: snake911

Love eating oatmeal, but sometimes it's just too much for a weekday breakfast.  It's a problem because I'm a slow eater by nature, and it takes me a while to eat any meal you pass my way.  Oatmeal is one that takes me a while to go through; though not because of the taste (I got over my childish hate for it long ago).  I think it may be because of the runny-like texture it has.  I think it just causes me to consume it more slowly when compared to something more solid.  This may be the reason why I can eat oatmeal and granola cereals faster than a traditional bowl of the oat-to-the-meal.

A pretty good solution was found on the package of the last box of oatmeal I bought.  Rather than showing the recipe for making oatmeal cookies, they instead showed something I've never seen before: overnight oatmeal.

While skeptical that it would taste good (I never ate raw oats from a cold serving), I decided to give it a shot because the recipe was simple enough to where a non-chef doofus such as myself could assemble this together with little effort.  That and the picture on the box looked too tempting to not pass up on trying it at least once.  The ingredients include:
- 1/2 cup of oats
- 1/2 cup of low fat milk
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup of blueberries
- banana slices

As the name suggests you make it the night before and then eat it the next day.  It's actually pretty tasty, which I think is thanks to the vanilla extract, spiking the sweet factor up by an extra 10 points.  Of course the blueberries and banana contribute to that as well.  When you consider the health benefits, this thing is loaded with heart healthy oats and antioxidants.  I can sense my blood getting redder bite after bite.

The only negative I can think of is the price.  More specifically, the blueberries and vanilla extract.  If you already have a cupboard with this sweet nectar, then I guess it's not a problem, but those tiny bottles sure do cost a lot when you need to buy more, and then there's the blueberries setting me back about $4.00 a pack, which only allows for about 3 servings.  But when you consider this as a meal that keeps you full until lunch, then I guess you can call it a saving as you can skip the late morning snack.

So yeah, overnight oatmeal.  You have my approval.

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January 7, 2017 | 20:34 | Written by: snake911

Finally got around to trying out one of the Platos meals at Del Taco.  It's pretty expensive, but you can tell quality is included as part of the cost, and that makes it ok.  From the menu, you can pick from one of four main dishes: two street tacos, two beer battered fish tacos, a chicken verde wet burrito, or a carne asada wet burrito.  For me, I decided to go large and get the carne asada wet burrito.

As what you'd out of one, it was packed with meat, covered in lots of cheese, and drenched with red sauce.  It was dense and the quality of the meat was good as there was no "stringiness" to it when chewed and it filled the burrito from end-to-end.  To top it off, they placed avocado slices to complement the meaty carne asada with a hint of a soft, buttery texture and flavor.

For the sides, all Platos meals come with rice with some pico de gallo on top, chips and salsa, and a whole lot of refried beans with cheese on top.  All the sides were a great filler to the main course, but I wished they doubled the amount of tortilla chips as there's way too much beans for just the amount of chips they offer, so if you plan to get this meal you should either buy a second helping of chips or make sure you have some at home if you decide to do take-out.

For next time, I'm considering getting the chicken verde wet burrito as I love it when our family makes it for dinner from time-to-time, but man does it disagree with me after a few hours simmering in my stomach.  But that's the pain I'm willing to take for deliciousness.

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