Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Charo Chicken

Fast-food chicken will never reach Mickey D proportions but it's huge in LA, where a buncha chains do grilled chicken that’s semi-not-gross (as in, KFC gross). It started w/ El Pollo Loco, which rightfully has its fans. Then came a wave of clones: Juan Pollo (most shameless), KooKooRoo ("healthy"), Zankou (Mediterranean-ish), etc etc. Charo Chicken is the suburban rendition, spawned in O.C., whose "spec sauce" is lemon garlic butter but whose real claim to fame is that they deliver. Some ringing endorsement for a good meal, eh. Dallas being the ultimate suburban city, and Plano being its suburb / O.C. equivalent, makes the perfect site for expansion, one of the chain’s first outside Cali along w/ las vegas.

2304 Coit Rd #620, near Park, Plano, no fone yet, coming in Feb

Monday, January 30, 2006

Dannon Activia yogurt*

In s’markets now: Dannon Activia yogurt. yogurt, SFW – but this one is pro-biotic, which means it contains special bacteria that can "help regulate the digestive system if eaten daily for 2 wks". (FYI "regulate" = code for "constipation".) Pro-biotics are bugs – bacteria or yeast. activia's bacteria are designed to survive all the way into yr intestine so they can duke it out w/ evil bacteria who want to ahem slow things down. One serving of activia = 1 billion+ bacteria. That’s some battle going on in yr intestine. Yogurt can sposedly stimulate immune system, reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea, prevent vaginal yeast infections, & lower cholesterol. activia commercials'll start airing in Feb, wherein women will talk about their irregularity problems, so there’s something to look forward to. and of course it's women, not men. six flavors: vanilla, strawberry, blueberry, peach, prune, & mixed berry

WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM ANYONE WHO HAS TRIED OR IS EVEN CONSIDERING TRYING THIS YOGURT (like, what appeals to you about it, etc.) - email tgubbins@verizon.net. thanks!

*no links, easing back into it. thx to clairevoyant for product pic! and emmjay for props!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Baileys: caramel & mint*

Beating this wk's booze theme to death, it's 2 new flavors of Baileys (whose rejection of an apostrophe seems illiterate yet inexplicably deliberate): Baileys Caramel and Baileys Mint Chocolate. They promise they're keeping the "award-winning recipe" (snicker), just "complementing" it w/ xtra flavors. Does it seem uncoincidental that, as Starbucks just entered the coffee-liqueur mkt, this coffee-liqueurier expands out? For some reason, these 2 flavas were intro'd in AZ last mth (hello Phoenix) but for the rest of us schlubs, it'll be avail as a ltd-edition in march for the obvious st pat's tie-in.

*sorry, filing remotely today, no photo, no links, no nuthin'

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Double Espresso Double Caffeine Vodka

Way better than pomegranate: a caffeinated, coffee-flavored vodka by Van Gogh called Double Espresso Double Caffeine Vodka. Get this: One shot of this stuff = same caff as in 3 shots of espresso. The co. spokesguy sez this is in response to energy drinks (which’ve been encroaching their turf in clubs & bars) – created to deliver that quote "extra kick" unquote that people want in the evening "to keep going". To keep drinking booze, you mean. It has 35% alkyhol and an "espresso taste". Someone needs to do a taste test w/ kahlua, the new Sbux coffee liqueur, and this.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Aboca's Italian Grill

In 1997, after stints at Melrose Hotel, Dallas Country Club, Popolos, Eatzi’s, etc, chef Arthur Pira opened a fine Ital called Paesano’s coincidentally located steps from NYCE HQ. After bldg its rep as an xlent neighborhood joint, Pira received an offer he could not refuse & sold the place. Took it easy a coupla mths. Became restless. And so here is his new place, Aboca’s Italian Grill, another fine Ital which will undoubtedly establish itself as a nabe fave, too. Ruminate, masticate: spicy grilled scallops served w/ risotto Milanese; pasta Aboca, w/ garlic, shallots, mushrooms, capers, & artichokes in a lemon-white-wine sauce over choice of angel hair, spaghetti, linguini, fettuccine, penne or rigatoni; smoked turkey & Swiss on homemade focaccia. Prices are $5-7 @ lunch, $7-10 @ din, they don't scrimp on the garlic, & their house bread is awesome

100 S Central Expy., Suite 63. Richardson 972 231-7500

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Pearl Persephone Vodka

Eventho "pomegranate" has been covered here recently, and eventho "flavored vodkas" seems pretty beat, the combo of pom + vodka = ka-pow! Becuz 1. it’s enterprising of Pearl to jump so quickly on a new trend in cocktails. And 2. pom as a bar ingredient is a full-circle thing since pom used 2B the secret ingredient in grenadine. And 3. the name Persephone Vodka draws on the Greek myth about the daughter of Ceres, goddess of the harvest, whose consumption of pom seeds gave us seasons and that's cool when a contemp product evokes the classics. FYI, this just in from AC Nielsen: In 2005, pom juice sales increased 800 % since 04.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Coffee-Mate contest

This ranks as one of the lamest, shilliest, flakkiest NYCE items ever but due to oppressive deadlines, the alternative is no item at all. It's coffee-related. Sorta. Ack on with it: Coffee-Mate is sponsoring a contest where we "Americans" can vote 4 the next new flavor. Democracy! (Pray there are no Ohio-esque poll machine snafus.) The choices are (w/Nestle-generated descriptions intact, cuz that's the best part, other than the jingoistic title of the campaign, "America Chooses"):
- Vanilla Chai Spice: warmth of exotic spices w/the deliciously indulgent creamy taste
- Choc Orange Truffle: dark chocolate mocha w/ an orange citrus infusion
- Tres Leches: indulgence of moist yellow cake drenched w/ traditional flavors
- Coconut Creme: A velvety smooth and sweet coconut flavor

Don't they sound like words are missing? Anyway, voting runs thru Feb 12 & the winner will be announced, oddly enough, at a "Rock the Flavor" launch concert on Apr 22 at the Experience Music Project in Seattle. (see, they sold out too.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Bluebell Nutty Coconut

Is coconut a thing you either love or hate? For the lovers: Bluebell Nutty Coconut which is "coconut ice cream with coconut flakes & chopped pecan pieces of almonds, pecans, & walnuts". (tragically, that illiteracy comes verbatim off the co. website.) (and they stubbornly don’t allow you to send them scolding emails.) Baskin Robbins was first w/ a nutty coconut, described as "coconut ice cream loaded w/ almonds, pecans & walnuts". Which aside from making sense literacy-wise, sounds identical to BB's description. Perhaps it served as BB's inspiration. Anyway the ONLY reason this gets a mention is cuz ice cream + new products = cornerstones of NYCE. Cuz otherwise, yuck

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

WF 365 SuperPremium ice cream

NOT new: WF's 365 store brand regular ice cream in big tubs & generic flavors. But more recently (a few mths, but still relatively new-ish), a Whole Foods 365 SuperPremium ice cream line has emerged, in pints only, w/ more intreeguing flavors incl. freestyle fudge, banana bomber, broadway brownie, cherry nation, drops of dough, double latte, triple swirl, vanilla velvet. (Some of those are just fancy titles for everyday flavors, but still.) The texture’s not as creemy as competitors such as HD* or B&J** tho the 310-cal count’s on an equal par.

*check out the cool "cafe latte crispy ice cream sandwich" they're sellin in japan!
**check out the cool "minter wonderland" flavor they're sellin in the UK!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Odwalla PomaGrand

Thanks to a mega-campaign by Pom Wonderful, pomegranate juice has become the new oat bran, w/ breathless reports of Vit C, folic acid, & esp antioxidants, admired for their cancer-fighting skills. Really, the only question is why Odwalla (which btw is owned by Coke) hadn’t jumped on the bandwagon sooner. (Maybe cuz Pom Wonderful bought the rights to the fancy extraction process.) But here comes Odwalla PomaGrand w/ 3 flavors: Pom regular (100 % pom), pom mango, & pomberry. Pom's fresh-tart taste (tho not as tart as cranberry) has made it a fave on the cocktail circuit: pomtinis, pomaritas & etc.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Trident watermelon twist

I know I know: 2 watermelon items in 1 wk. But there’s clearly a big picture issue here. i.e. someone neglected to send the memo warning of the big watermelon trend looming for '06. Cuz here’s another $#! watermelon gum: Trident Watermelon Twist. Break it down and it’s actually a "tangy mix" of watermelon + cantaloupe + honeydew. (two more weird flavors for gum, F U ask me). Meanwhile, the west coast co. that markets those mini personal-size w-melons (the ones approx the size of a Pamela Anderson breast, go on, hit link for EZ thrills) is releasing a bottled w-melon juice to encourage yr-round w-melon-age. Watermelon's said 2 B high in lycopene, the ingredient in tomatoes that helps prevent cancer.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Starbucks cinnamon dolce latte

Adorably manic Starbucks has (yet another) new ltd-edition drink: cinnamon dolce latte. Any coffeebev is newsworthy round here, but thissuz also notable cuz the co seems increasingly committed to the ltd-ed thing, above & beyond the usual pepp, pump, & eggnog. Used 2B that ltd eds only showed up at holidays & beginning of summer not in January. Has Starbucks maybe seen the studies showing that consumers prize the limited avail of special-editions, & that spec eds ultimately encourage purchase of the core product? Anyway, sbux sites already have revus of this cinn dolce latte... "mild cinnamony flavor" w/ notes of "caramelized sugar" & "maple latte" tragically avail only in New England.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Extra cool watermelon

There was a time when Wrigley = gum, esp doublemint & juicy fruit. But profits weren’t $ enough and so Wrigley diversified, making acquisitions such as Life Savers & Altoids. Over the past 4 yrs, new prods have climbed to 20% of wrigley’s global sales. Keep the profit thing in mind when considering the slew of new gums & stuff they're intro'ing, w/ two standing out as the most novel & most pointless: Extra "cool watermelon" gum; and sour mango altoid, following other altoid sours such as apple, raspberry, & tangerine. Who'd wanna chew a watermelon gum?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Big Red Cherry Vanilla Float

Soft drink companies heart bandwagons. The latest: cherry vanilla. 1. First came Dr Pep cherry vanilla. 2. Then Coke’s black cherry vanilla coke. 3. Now: Big Red Cherry Vanilla Float, from TX soda maker Big Red, who knows that it takes 3 to make a trend and who maybe has a crush on Dr Pepper, also based in TX. But Big Red does have a cherry vanilla precedent: fans pour regular Big Red (a red soda described as bubble-gummy) over vanilla ice cream to make a Big Red Float. So maybe Big Red isn’t a total copycat. In any case, this-here Big Red Cherry Vanilla Float sure is sweet.

Monday, January 02, 2006

happy new year

It's officially a holiday, right?

Back on track tomorrow, for sure.