Wednesday, November 30, 2005

See’s seasonal stores

If you live on the West Coast, See’s is no big deal. (Note redundancy of yesterday’s lede & today’s.) But branches of this Cali-spawned chocotier are rare in TX (altho Rice Epicurean in Houston has 'em). Wanna read some mktg spiel? See's Famous Old Time Candies® was founded in LA in 1921 by Charles See. The sparkling clean, B&W shop was designed to resemble his mother Mary See's home kitchen. The co. is HQ’d in SF w/ a 2nd kitchen in LA, delivering fresh chocs & candies to over 200 See's shops in the West. Anyhoo, every Xmas, we get See's seasonal stores. This year, it started 11-10 and runs thru 12-24 at these area malls: VALLEY VIEW CENTER, RIDGMAR in FW, STONEBRIAR in Frisco, NORTH EAST MALL in Hurst, THE PARKS AT ARLINGTON, and COLLIN CREEK MALL in Plano, mere minutes from NYCE

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Safeway Select spumoni

If you live in the NE, spumoni ice cream is like no big deal. But the multi-flavored Ital-American froz confection is rare in the south (where the culinaires prefer crap like chess pie) and so it’s news to find a store brand - specifically Safeway Select Spumoni - show up at the ol' smkt. Like peppymint & eggnog, it’s viewed as a holiday flavor, and that’s why it’s showing up now w/ the clock ticking on its lifespan. And while it’s nice to have it, locals can be glad that Central Market sells pints of the far superior Stucchi’s spumoni, year-round.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Drip Coffee Company

Hey hey, for all those corporate-phobes out there, gather round this new independently-owned coffee place: Drip Coffee Company. Altho i feel obliged to point out that, like SO many of these "independent" heroes, Drip's (very cool) founder Steve Thatcher studied coffee w/ you-know-who. In fact, he moved to Seattle back in the '90s to work for them and learn the ropes. He opened his first indie coffee place in Amarillo, when he was a mere 22; he’s also done coffee in Austin & Boston. He came to Dallas for a girl -- and we get another coffee spot in the bargain. Drip is in the old Avon Cleaners bldg, where he’ll be roasting about 10 varieties of coffee, along w/ fine teas from Octavia and pastries from Doughmonkey.

4343 Lovers Lane. 214-599-7800. Opening 1st wk of December

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

(lucerne) pumpkin yogurt

This is what you'd call a throwaway (note impromptu staging of photo), but it’s the day B4 the holiday & we got, yknow, shit to do. A marginally-interesting seasonal pumpkin product thus seems just the ticket. NYCE has previously explored the way every food category seems to be getting its pumpkin on but yogurt's a new one, specifically Lucerne pumpkin-pie flavored yogurt. It wasn’t bad, really; a little mouth-puckeringly strange but in a way that made you want to finish it. But the lame thing izzat the ingreds are nothing more than yogurt w/ pumpkin-pie filling stirred in. i mean jeez how simple can you get

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Jamba Juice Holiday Smoothies*

Assuming the topic were Jamba Juice (and it is), the obvious peg would be the Holiday Smoothies: Mighty Cherry Charger ("festive refreshment of succulent cherries, strawberries, & raspberry juice blah blah blah") & Orange Cherry Cheer (cherry+orange, you get the pic). But JJ also has these "functional" smoothies w/ megadoses of protein, Vit C, etc. There’s Coldbuster! and Acai Supercharger, w/ acai, a trendy, purply superfood which has beaucoup antioxidants. Plus ooky-colored green tea smoothies: Matcha Momentum & Matcha Green Tea Blast, w/ 75 mgs of caffeine. Green-tea caffeine = slow build to a low, mildly teeth-gnashing buzz. If you like that kind of thing, they even have green tea shots, sorta like espresso but green

* no photo = slacker jamba publicist no return emails yet

Monday, November 21, 2005

York Choc truffle mint

Maybe you’ve heard mint is big very big this holiday season. Maybe you’ve seen the mint M&Ms. Maybe you’ve seen the trio of minis in white, milk, & dark mint choc or the nuggets, But have you seen the limited edition York choc truffle mint patties? W/ a choc ctr instedda white, see. Choc ctr = truffle, see. they’re also not quite as harshly minty as the regular Yorks. FYI, unless something revolutionary comes along, this'll be the last minty/holiday item for NYCE. Really. I mean it. No seriously.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Hershey's Kissables

Let’s see, little choc bits w/ a colorful candy coating. M&Ms, right? Oh but these are shaped like a chocolate chip (tho Hershey would have you say that they’re shaped "like a kiss" xcept there is no such shape). Anyway there you have it, the "new" Kissables, which hershey’s hopes will expand the Kiss audience beyond smkts and into convenience stores. Cuz, what w/ the Hershey bars & reese’s cups & so on, there aren’t enough hershey’s consumers at conv stores already. Ouch, look out, data: Only 3% of Hershey’s Kisses are sold at conv stores, compared w/ 35% for Reese's and 20% for Hershey's bars.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Dreyer's Gingerbread Man

Ice cream cos. are in the throes of releasing their holiday flavors – most commonly peppmint, pumpkin, & eggnog – but Dreyer’s has one that’s sorta novel: Gingerbread Man, cinnamon ice cream w/ brown sugar swirl & ginger cookie pieces. Too bad Dreyer's ice cream is so bleh. This flavor has been out a couplo yrs but wasn’t as widespread as the others. Speaking of not widespread, Starbucks has a new MAPLE Latte but heavens to murgatroid, it’s only available in new England and Canada

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Black Cherry Vanilla Coke

No fun links again today but here it is: Coke announced last wk that it'll intro Black Cherry Vanilla Coke in January. Which, whatever, but check out the line of b.s. here: "Cherry-flavored beverages are experiencing significant growth," acc/to the Cokesperson statement, who goes on to call the combo of cola + black cherry + vanilla "innovative". Innovative. Is it possible – and this seems hard to believe, Coke being such a big corp w/ an undoubtedly well-staffed mktg dept* – they’ve never heard of Dr Pepper cherry vanilla? For that matter, howdya suppose sibling drink black cherry citrus fresca feels? Meanwhile, in the unlikely event that U R wondering how this'll affect other "innovative" products in the coke line: cherry coke stays but vanilla coke is history.

*give them credit for this: they've got jpegs of the new prod ready for download

Monday, November 14, 2005

hershey's 'n' more

Have had these Hershey's 'n' more bars "on hand" as an emergency backup blog item for wks now. Long before they were even posted on Hershey's site. Which is not so uncommon, for Hershey's to observe some kind of crack-addled timetable vis a vis product release & product announcement. (Starbucks does the same thing, which it sez is to prevent people from becoming rabid w/ desire and infuriated when it's not available.) (There are many great linkable items in that last sentence - rabid, infuriated, etc - but today, alas, is link-free.) Anyway Hershey's is beginning to drown itself w/ special editions, so much so that they ain't special anymore. But this 'n' more bar is really GOOD, with A+ proportion of cookie, choc, and goo (3 kinds, fudge, marshmallow, & caramel). Very Twixy.

Can anyone guess what those candy bars are hanging from?

Friday, November 11, 2005

von dutch energy drink

Energy drinks all have the exact same stuff, it’s just which age group is being targeted and how. The entertaining thing is seeing the cola guys scramble for a piece of the action. It doesn’t seem that complicated but their efforts so far (Coke’s KMX & Full Throttle; Pepsi’s Amp & new Mountain Dew MDX) have bombed. Coke’s latest tack is to outsource: It’s pairing up w/ the people behind the gross (tho moderately successful) Rockstar on Von Dutch Energy Drink, another Red Bull wannabe in a camo-colored can, hoping to lure in baby teens who know the brand cuzza its stupid trucker hats.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

holiday "trend": mint

Peppermint As A Xmas Flavor: not new. But w/ candy makers so comfy w/ limited edition-ing, there's room for more pepp. Mint Kit-Kats are back and here's more stuff:
1. Hershey’s miniatures ltd-ed choc mint collection, a trio: mint-milk-choc, mint-dark-choc, & mint-white-choc w/ crunchy candy bits (see pic). Eat all 3 & contrast!
2. Nestle mint Treasures, like big lunky Jr Mints, but still an enhancement to the SuperT candy aisle
3. mint M&Ms, intro’d 4 Xmas a few yrs ago but i never saw 'em til this wk

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Skittles Smoothie Mix

Skittles, not my deal personally, but the new flavor - Skittles Smoothie Mix - pushes a button. "Like a fruit smoothie drink in a candy shell," sez the little slogan. How meta izzat? Cuz the thing is, they taste nuthin like a smoothie. Their candy coating may be a smoothie-esque pastel, but they pretty much taste like regular Skittles. But I guess if yer a kid these days, your only connection to fruit is via a smoothie drink. (Duhyou spose "smoothie" implies "healthy"?) Tums has “smoothie” flavors too incl a new cocoa & cream, but in their case, smoothie = smooth texture.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Starbucks™ cream liqueur

NYCE wasn’t up & running in Feb and thus couldn't wax when Starbucks released its coffee liqueur. THANK GOD they got another: Starbucks™ cream liqueur, which will surely do to Bailey’s what the coffee liqueur did to Kahlua. It'd be EZ here to gush over the "artful blend of cream, spirits, & hint of sbux coffee" or mention the alky level (15% for this, 20% for the coffee liqueur) or caffeine (cream: 9 mgs. coffee liqueur: 34. regular joe: 100++). But cooler are these floating factoids: Cordial-liqueur mkt = $4-5 bill. Cream liqueur market has 22 mil consumers, 3X more than for coffee liqueur. Starbucks research sez that nearly 50% of its "loyal patrons" drink coffee liqueur and are 9X more likely than the nat’l average to buy it. Anyway, just in time for the holidays tra la la

Monday, November 07, 2005

Hershey's cherry cordial kisses

Action on the kiss front. Two new flavors for this winter: one w/ PB, which appears to be a permanent (not limited) flavor, and what might be the best Hershey’s kiss of all time, cherry kisses, filled w/ cherry cordial crème, i.e. the goo in those choc-cov cherries but minus the cherry. Whaddo you think, does this not spell large? Or is it maybe a girl thing. Haven’t actually seen cherry kisses in tx yet; but they were spotted in NC where they got candy addict* so fired up, he started an online petition. Personally, I think there’s enough kiss spinoffs already. And cherry seems distinctly Xmas-y. But maybe that tune'll change after tasting them.

*who gets credit for this lovely photo

Friday, November 04, 2005

Nordstrom: ebar, Bistro N

This item might coulda been posted yestidday; but let’s not be bitter (cuz it'd be in bad taste to dwell on the ineffectuality of Nordstrom’s corp comm. dept. – er, oops). OK, so on Nov 11, a new Nordstrom will open in Dallas’ tony NorthPark Ctr. It has two food spots (about which more details might've been posted here, had those corp-comm boobs returned their #$%! phone calls). But here's what we got:

1. e-bar. An espresso bar, one that sposedly stocks Starbucks coffee prods. which would be of obvious interest

2. Bistro N. A New Concept. First of its kind in the Nord chain. Display kitchen+bar. "Open extended hours & accessible from outside" (quoted material from Nord’s corp comm. gee, thanks a bunch, guys).

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Hershey's 'N' Creme bars

You’re maybe not that hot 4 white choc. (Maybe you don’t like sweets at all.) BUT if you like to be first to know about something, then this: Hershey’s Strawberries ‘N’ Crème and Raspberries ‘n’ Crème. Showing up at various conv. stores w/ no warning from Hershey. A NYCE exclusive! The bars taste as one might expect, but to their credit, they contain shreds of fruit which lend a pretty pink tone & subtle texture, and are a semi-radical departure from the standard choc bar.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Campbell's Select Gold Label

Superficial, maybe, but true: The cool thing about Campbell’s Select Gold Label soup is the shelf-stable box. Remember when shelf-stable boxes usedto seem weird? Uncowed, natural-food companies embraced them cuz the food had superior taste, color, & nutrition over cans&bottles. As a result, SSBs now have kindof a gourmet vibe. Time for the behemoth corp to jump on board, borrowing not only the pkg but some of the flavors, too. There are 5: butternut squash, red pepper black bean, portobello mushroom, red pepp & tomato, and tomato w/ basil & garlic. For those who are easily amused, hit the link @ the toppa this item which takes you to Campbell’s and run yr cursor over the varieties: It makes the package change, very cool & trippy.