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Strawberry-Pineapple Hotness

Strawberry-Pineapple Hotness

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A perfect use for that leftover can of chipotles in adobo hiding in the fridge.


  • 2 strawberries, hulled, halved
  • ½ teaspoon adobo sauce from canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • Pineapple slice (for serving)

Recipe Preparation

  • Muddle strawberries and sugar in a cocktail shaker. Add vodka, pineapple juice, and adobo sauce; fill shaker with ice. Shake until outside of shaker is frosty, about 30 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and garnish with pineapple slice.

Reviews Section

7 Vodka Recipes Perfect For Your Memorial Day Party

Sometimes you might find yourself with a handle of vodka. Here are 7 things to do with it.

Blood Orange Jell-O Shots
Potent--but so much classier than your dive bar shots. GET THE RECIPE

Credit: Christopher Testani

Day Tripper Cocktail
To use loose leaf tea, substitute ½ teaspoon per bag. GET THE RECIPE

Green Goddess Cocktail
No need to buy preflavored vodka we got great results making our own. GET THE RECIPE

The Troy Monson
Yes, you can use regular oranges, but don't you just love the color you get from blood oranges?! GET THE RECIPE

Pineapple-Mint Vodka
This could not be simpler, and is perfect for a summer barbecue. GET THIS RECIPE

Strawberry-Pineapple Hotness
A perfect use for that leftover can of chipotles in adobo hiding in the fridge. GET THE RECIPE

Fresh Ginger Moscow Mule
Moscow Mules are usually made with bottled ginger beer, but nothing compares to the aromatic heat from the real thing. GET THE RECIPE

Sprang break drankz: Recipes to explore

At home or in Mexico, the hangover from these drinks is the same. Drink responsibly.

BRUCE MULMAT, Former Evergreen opinion editor
March 12, 2020

Aight kiddos spraaaang breaaaak is right around the corner and you bet we will be getting blasted – be it on beaches (SHOUTOUT TO CORONA BEER BAYBEE), in the desert, on a mountain or just sitting around in your apartment or parent’s house. So I’ll be dropping some mixed drinks with the vibe of a much deserved week (or longer?) of decompressing.

1.5 ounces of white rum (I love Bacardi superior), .5 ounce of lime juice, .5 of orange curacao, .5 orgeat syrup (I had to google this one) and three quarters of dark rum (I’m a fan of Kraken).

If you’re going back to your parent’s house, this would be a great place to try and pretend to be classy in front of them. This drink has a lot of different ingredients, and it is critical to pour all of these liquids into a mixer with ice. Then shake heavily and pour into a glass. You could garnish the class with small pieces of fruit as well. I’m quite partial to putting some pineapple on.

Frozen Margarita

Margarita mix, tequila, a whole lot of ice and just put it into a blender. You do you on portioning it.

Look, who doesn’t enjoy a frozen drink? I understand if tequila isn’t the drink for you, but no one could argue that a frozen marg is not the ultimate beach or poolside drink for a hot day. The only real issue for either of those locations is getting a blender to work. I would recommend just getting a super long extension cord and a good cooler. You can make it work.

This is another simple one, mix orange juice and sparkling wine.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it and this is just the mantra to use when making a mimosa. If you like more sparkling wine, just go light on the OJ. I recommend buying OJ without pulp, but again it is all up to your personal preferences.

2 ounces of light rum (I prefer Bacardi superior), 8 ounces of soda water and an ounce of lime juice. You could add in some mint leaves to make it look classier.

This is my go-to party drink, a perfect combo of lime juice, soda and Bacardi. It is nice and simple, with a little bit of carbonation which is so refreshing and just enough lime to make it a delicious drink that you could enjoy on the beach, in a club or just hanging out.

Jello Shots

The portions on these are a lot of trial and error here, or just follow the instructions on the box.

As a famous philosopher once said, “Shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, EVERYBODY,” and what better way to listen to this great man’s advice than doing some Jello shots?

Strawberry Pineapple Hotness

Two strawberries, 2 teaspoons of sugar, 2 ounces vodka (Tito’s is the best vodka for any sort of mixed drink, do not use it for hand sanitizer), 2 ounces of pineapple juice, half a teaspoon of adobo sauce from canned chipotle chiles and a pineapple slice to put in the glass.

This drink has a lot going on, but the preparation is worth it. Muddle (a fancy way of saying stir an ingredient into a drink) strawberries and sugar into a cocktail shaker. Then add the rest of the ingredients into the shaker and shake thoroughly. After, strain the mix into a glass filled with ice, and throw the pineapple slice in.

My main complaint with this drink is cleaning out the cocktail shaker but the drink is delicious. Out of all the mixes on this list, I would recommend this for anyone who wants to get out of their comfort zone this spring break, especially if you want to show off your drink skills or wide range of taste.

Nebula IV aka I Guess I Wasn't Done

Okay, wow, after initially thinking my Nebula recipe (cold pineapple/strawberry) was perfect, I realized some things still needed tweaking for it to work out. Mainly, after a two day steep on the last attempt, I realized that something was off. And it was the CAP Marshmallow being used in the recipe. While after a shake and vape, it seemed to add a little something special to the mix, any steep time completely changed the dynamic of the recipe into something that wasn't awful, but was not what I wanted out of this. As a shake and vape, it added a subtle creamy smoothness that was actually quite pleasant, but even in low percentages, after it steeped for a day, that creaminess took over and made it into something it wasn't. So, here's where I'm at with it, and I truly think it's about 99.9% complete, the final 0.01% may just be minor percentage tweaks after it sits for a day or so.

**Nebula IV
*TFA Strawberry Ripe at 8%
*TFA Pineapple at 1.5%
*TFA Dragonfruit at 3.5%
*TFA Peach Juicy at 1%
TFA Cotton Candy at 0.5%
TFA Koolada at 4 drops per 5ml

Alright so on to the flavour notes:

Strawberry Ripe/Dragonfruit - Okay so we all already know that this works, and at this percent blend, it really allows it to shine. I added a 0.5% boost on the Dragonfruit and it seems to add an extra tartness to the strawberry that is lovely in this mix. The blend of strawberry and dragonfruit allows neither flavour to stand in the spotlight, but keeps them as a perfect base for the mix.

TFA Pineapple - Okay, so this was easy. /u/rockofthed suggested dropping the pineapple from 2.5% to 1%, and it was a great change to the recipe. While at 2.5% it added a great sour bite to the recipe, it seemed to actually take away from the flavour of the pineapple. It honestly only tasted sour at that point, which was nice in some respect, but at 1.5%, the flavour of the pineapple comes out while still keeping the sour note. So really, either percent choice will work, just depends on what kind of vape you want. Thanks for the suggestion!

TFA Peach Juicy - So this was a bit of a left-field idea I had while vaping on the last batch of Nebula. I didn't like the way the CAP Marshmallow made the mix so creamy, and I remembered my intent with this recipe to create a cold strawberry/pineapple FRUIT mix, I didn't want any cream notes present. I remembered an old peaches and cream recipe I threw together a few months back that was delicious, even though it didn't actually end up being peaches and cream. Rather, it was just straight up, mouth watering goodness. So I thought that adding a bit of the TFA Peach to the recipe would bring that tart bite in without overtaking the recipe like the pineapple does. And, it worked.

TFA Cotton Candy - I didn't change this one from before. I wonder what will happen if it's bumped to 1%, and I might try it out on a smaller batch once I get more Pineapple, but I'm hesitant because I don't want this to be too sweet of a recipe, but I do love what TFA Cotton Candy does to a blend.

TFA Koolada - I bumped it up to 4 drops per 5ml as opposed to the earlier attempt with 3 drops. Koolada goes a long way, and even one drop too much can ruin a mix. So I was hesitant, but 3 drops just didn't fulfill the cold element that I wanted. Bumping it to 4 was perfect. Still kept the cooling aspect more prominent on the exhale, but it's just stronger now. And I love it.

So, apologies to anyone that may have mixed up a batch of Nebula III, even though I don't think it was BAD at that point, obviously. And apologies for posting this recipe almost three times in the past week, but this is right. This is where it needs to be. And I hope you enjoy.

Carrot Cookies

2 cups diced pared carrots (I put in food processor and grate them)
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. salt

Cook carrots in small amount of boiling salted water till tender. Drain and mash. (Should measure about 1 cup.) Cool. Cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla beat till fluffy. Stir in carrot. Stir together dry ingredients. Blend into creamed mixture. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in 375º oven about 12 minutes. Remove to wire racks for cooling. I place wax paper under racks to catch frosting dripings.

Frost with:
1½ cups sifted powdered sugar
2 TBS pineapple jam (optional)
1 TBS softened butter
¼ tsp vanilla
Add 1 to 2 tsp milk to make of spreading consistency.
Mix together and spread on cooled cookies.
Makes about 5 dozen small cookies.
[I double this recipe as we really like them and they don't last long.]

No Crust Pizza Bake

You will Need:
1 lb lean ground beef
2 cups shredded Italian Style Cheese (divided)
1/2 Cup low sugar pizza sauce. like the Ragu one Or Spaghetti Sauce
1 1/2 cup of diced Canadian Bacon
1 cup of lowfat pepperoni
1/2 cup of chopped onion
1/2 cup of chopped bell peppers.
You can really add or take away anything you like as a topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cook your ground beef, drain
Put your meat and 1 cup of your shredded cheese in a bowl and mix well
Spread the mixture on a pan or pizza stone
Top with Pizza sauce , then with add all your toppings and the rest of the cheese.
Bake for 25 min. or until cheese is melted

Marshmallow Whip Cheesecake HEAVEN!!

Graham Cracker Crust:
󈵰 squares of graham crackers (crushed)
𔅕/2 cup sugar
𔅕/2 cup butter or margarine (melted)

1.Mix above ingredients. Press into top and sides of 9 x 13' greased pan. Reserve 1/2 cup for top.

󈵒 1/2 oz. large marshmallows (40 marshmallows)
𔅗/4 cup milk
𔅖 - 8-oz. packages of cream cheese
󈵔-oz. Container of fat-free Cool Whip

1.Melt marshmallows and milk over low heat. Beat cream cheese add marshmallow mixture. Cool. Fold in Cool Whip. Spread into crust and sprinkle with remaining graham cracker crust. Refrigerate until set.

Crockpot Taco Dip

You will Need :

1/2 pound ground beef
1 cup of frozen corn
1/2 cup of chopped onion
1/2 cup of salsa
1/2 cup of mild taco sauce
1 (4oz) can of mild green chilies
1 (4oz) can of black olives (drained)
1 cup of shredded Mexican cheese blend
Tortilla Chips
Sour Cream if desired

Cook meat in a pan, drain. put in crockpot. add the corn, onion, salsa, taco sauce and olives.
Cover and cook on high for 1 to 2 hours. Just before serving stir in the cheese.
Can top with Sour Cream if desired and serve with Tortilla Chips



1 Tube Pillsbury cinnamon rolls (with included icing)
Cooking Spray


• Open container of cinnamon rolls and separate rolls. Set glaze aside.
• Heat waffle maker to medium. Spray both plates of the iron with cooking spray. Place one cinnamon roll in the center and close the lid. Cook 3 minutes until both sides are golden brown and roll is baked through.
• Remove roll with a spatula transfer to a plate to cool. Repeat with remaining rolls.
• Transfer glaze to a microwave-safe bowl heat 10 seconds until smooth. Drizzle over warm rolls.
• If you want you can cook 4 at a time but they look cute as single mini cinnamon roll waffles.

Mixed Case: Grab Bag

This column was conceived as an eclectic mix of bottles and this installment delivers with picks representing multiple countries and beverage categories. After all, variety is fun. We’re also included more than 12 this time because parties happen.

2012 Karmei Yosef Winery Bravdo Landmark 2B, Samson is a dry blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with the unusual addition of Cabernet Franc skins that were pulled from off a batch of rosé wine in its early stages. Batches of this wine were aged 24 months in French (75%) and American (25%) oak barrels. Rich and hearty, it offers notes of dark cherry, plum, spice and wood with light earth and a touch of vanilla. Kosher. Retails for approx. $45.

2013 Psâgot Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon M Series hails from what is considered a top-of-the-line vineyard nestled in the hills of Jerusalem. Smooth and elegant with tight tannins, this medium-bodied wine pours notes of tart cherries, pomegranate, blackberries, mocha, vanilla and marjoram. Retails for approx. $60.

/> />Yarden Blanc de Blancs is made from Chardonnay grapes grown in rocky volcanic soil in Golan Heights, which overlooks the Galilee. The grapes are whole-cluster pressed the juice is aged for a minimum of four years in the traditional Champagne style with tirage yeast. Yeast flavor is strong yet pleasant on the nose and palate (think fresh bread), alongside lemon zest, delicate tropical fruit, and floral notes with a hint of minerality. Elegant and crisp. Retails for approx. $31.

Yarden Brut Rosé is made from Chardonnay (70%) and Pinot Noir (30%) grapes that also grow in vineyards with rocky volcanic soil in Golan Heights overlooking the Galilee. Made using the traditional Champagne method, this crisp elegant bubbly tickles with notes of strawberry, orange, green apple, toasted almonds and fresh baguette. Retails for approx. $40.

Ron Zacapa Centenario’s 23 Solera Gran Reserva is made by Lorena Vasquez, one of only a few female master blenders in the world. This rum offers notes of vanilla, butterscotch, caramel, nuts, banana and tropical fruit. It won a platinum medal and ranked first place at the prestigious Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago. Each bottle is adorned with an intricate band of woven palm leaves hand-crafted by one of the more than 700 local Guatemalan women who make them! Retails for approx. $47.

/> />Tipperary Watershed won double gold at the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Produced in small batches by the boutique Tipperary Distillery, this smooth Irish whiskey impresses with cheerful notes of vanilla, malt, roast pear, dried apricot, mixed grains and black pepper with a trace of honey and golden raisins. Retails for approx. $70. Supply is limited: Only six ex-bourbon casks are used for each batch.

Tipperary Knockmealdowns is a 10-year old Irish whiskey with a bit more complexity than its sibling, one of the Tipperary Distillery’s new ‘Mountain Range’ series of older whiskies. It’s smooth and luscious with vanilla flavor alongside notes of leather, nuts, spice, sour apples, lemon and cinnamon. Retails for approx. $130. Supply is limited: Only six ex-bourbon casks are used for each batch.

Highland Park The Dark 17 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is the first of a two-part series that aims to celebrate Viking heritage and Orkney, a remote set of islands off the far north coast of Scotland. The distillery was established in 1798. Brand director Jason R. Craig is quoted in press materials, “The Dark is the first of two special editions. It has a sibling spirit called The Light [released in spring]. Both editions share the story of the contrasting seasons of our Orkney islands home.” The Dark has been matured exclusively in first-fill, sherry-seasoned European oak casks. It offers rich flavors of dried fruit, nutmeg, walnuts and toast with smoky peat. Retails for approx. $300. Limited release of 4,500 bottles.

VieVité Côtes de Provence is a rosé made at Domaine Sainte Marie—a vineyard first planted in the 18th Century—of Grenache grapes cultivated from vines that are 25 years old. This versatile food-friendly sipper offers refreshing notes of mango, strawberry, pineapple, pansy and soft summer savory. Interesting, well-balanced and refreshing, this pale pink wine is enjoyable on its own, but also pairs perfectly with a wide range of foods from hors d’oeuvres through dessert. Retails for approx. $30.

Canoe Ridge Vineyard “The Explorer” Red Blend hails from Washington’s Walla Walla region and is made using a blend of red wine grapes from the Horse Heaven Hills area. Deep garnet red with black undertones, it offers notes of juicy dark cherry, blackberry, raspberry jam, cedar, thyme and blueberry alongside balanced spicy tannins. Retails for approx. $22.

Heeet is a cinnamon vodka that packs some serious hotness. It’s the most elegant of the red hot candy-inspired spirits we’ve sampled, offering a more natural/less manufactured taste. Press materials claim it’s made using “all natural ingredients,” which may be the key. Sure, you might sip this spirit on its own or on the rocks, but we think it performs best mixed into a cocktail. Retails for approx. $25.

Try this new Tropical HEEET cocktail created by MerryGo Spirits:

4 oz. pineapple juice
1.5 oz. HEEET
1 oz. ginger ale
Splash of grenadine
Slice of pineapple

Pour ingredients into an 8 oz. rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with a slice of pineapple.

/> />2015 Tom Gore Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon is produced by Tom Gore, a second-generation grape farmer from Sonoma County who has worked every harvest since he was seven years old. He is a grape farmer who’s now making wine using grapes from Central and North Coast vineyards. This dark ruby red wine is fruit forward with assertive notes of blackberry, cranberry and pomegranate backed by wood, mocha, and chai flavors for complexity. Round tannins add sophistication. Retails for approx. $14.

2016 Tom Gore Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc is crisp and refreshing with notes of grapefruit, lemon, lime and mandarin. Lovely with a summer salad. Retails for approx. $13.

A series with multiple origins…

The final four in this Mixed Case are especially perfect for any Lord of the Rings fans. Give a bottle or four to any fan of the book or movie and s/he’ll love the wine for the label alone. Everyone will enjoy the tasty sip.

Winemaker Lot18 teamed up with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to produce this limited-edition collection. Each wine is limited to 6,000 bottles each and can be ordered exclusively at while supplies last.

2016 Frodo Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel is billed as “honest and pure as a hobbit’s heart.” It opens with soft earthy berry aromas. Tart upfront acidity gives way to what tastes like an unwashed mix of blackberries, fig and plum with spicy notes that build heat on the finish and linger on a chipotle note. Try it with your favorite barbecue. Retails for approx. $20.

2016 Galadriel Bordeaux Blanc is billed as “noble and powerful” with notes of citrus, lady fingers, lemon blossom and bouquet garni. Pair with grilled chicken or fish. Retails for approx. $18.

2015 Aragorn Appellation Lussac-St. million Contrele is described as “fit for a king.” Made of grapes from the Lussac-St. Émilion appellation, it’s a blend of 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec. Rich and intense, it offers dark fruit, smooth tannins, and earthy flavors. Pair it with a grilled steak. Retails for approx. $25.

2016 Gandalf Monterey County Pinot Noir pours spirited notes of raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, herbs, leather and a hint of dusty library that, according to the official description, “cast a spell over the palate.” We can’t disagree and enjoyed it alongside roast chicken. Retails for approx. $20.

Unless otherwise noted, all suggested retail prices are for a 750ml bottle.

Be a responsible grownup: Never drink and drive.

Photos courtesy product producers.

Product samples afford the research opportunity but do not sway opinion.

Hope S. Philbrick is founder and editor-in-chief of Getaways for Grownups. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications nationwide. She’s written about wines and spirits for more than 15 years. When not writing, she can usually be found on the road or savoring something tasty.

Ladies Aid of Estelline – Candy, Jelly & Preserves

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
2 egg whites
1/2 cup light corn syrup
few grains salt
1 tsp vanilla
Place sugar, syrup, water and salt in saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then cook without stirring to 252F or until syrup forms a very firm ball in cold water.
Just before syrup reaches this point, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Pour in a very fine stream over egg whites, beating constantly while pouring, using wire whisk if not electric mixer. Do not scrape bottom of pan. Continue beating until the mixture holds its shape well. Beat in vanilla.
Drop quickly from tip of spoon onto waxed paper in individual peaks or turn into shallow greased pan and cut in squares when firm.
Christmas Divinity:
Sprinkle with 1/4 cup each chopped candied red cherries and pistachio nuts
Mint Divinity:
Omit vanilla, and add a few drops of peppermint flavoring, green food coloring and 1/2 cup shredded dry coconut
Nut Divinity:
Stir in 1/2 cup chopped Brazil nuts with the vanilla.
– Mrs. Fred Kaiser – Ladies Aid of the Estelline Congregational Church – Estelline, South Dakota

Caramel Squares (Candy)
Mix and spread the following ingredients in bottom of a well greased 9࡮ pan:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
Second Layer
2 eggs
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup coconut
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup nut meats
Mix and spread on top of first layer. Bake 1/2 hour in very moderate oven.
-Mrs. Glen Justice

2 cups brown sugar
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 cup boiling water
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
Put all ingredients in an iron skillet and boil until it spins a hair. Do not stir after it starts to boil. Pour into buttered pan.
-Mrs. Ray Fasbender

Caramel Candy
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup dark syrup
1 1/2 cup cream
Put sugar, syrup and 1/2 cup cream in kettle and boil until forms soft ball. Then add another 1/2 cup cream and boil until it forms soft ball when tested in water. Add last 1/2 cup cream and boil so it almost cracks. Takes quite a long time and must be watched very closely as it will scorch easily.
Pour in buttered dish and cool. Break in pieces, as it is quite hard.
-Mrs. George Foster

Never Fail Fudge
4 cups sugar
1/4 lb butter
1 tall can evaporated milk
Place in large kettle and cook to a soft ball stage. Remove from heat, stir in:
2 pkgs chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
1 pint marshmallow cream
nuts if desired
Pour at once.

Old Fashioned Butterscotch Candy
Place in a deep kettle to allow for foaming:
2 cups brown sugar
4 Tbsp water
1/2 cup butter
2 Tbsp vinegar
(Note: If molasses flavor is desired, add 1/4 cup molasses and omit 2 Tbsp of water.)
Stir these ingredients over a quick flame until the sugar is dissolved. Boil them quickly, stirring them frequently, to the crack stage, 300F by candy thermometer.
Pour the candy onto buttered tins and mark it into squares as it hardens or drop it from a teaspoon onto waxed paper. If no thermometer is available test candy by dropping a little into about 1/2 cup cold water. When it is brittle and breaks or snaps with a little pressure between two fingers, candy is ready to pour into buttered pan.
-Mrs. Einar Salmonson

Pop Corn Balls
2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup cream
1 cup syrup
pinch salt
Boil until firm soft ball forms when tested in cold water. Pour over dishpan of popped corn.
-Mrs. John Bye

Cherry Rhubarb Jam
4 cups rhubarb
1 cup crushed pineapple
4 cups sugar
Boil together for 15 minutes. Remove from fire and add 1 pkg cherry jello. Stir thoroughly and pour into glasses and seal.
-Mrs. Will Pates

Strawberry Preserves
Take 4 cups strawberries, cover with 5 cups sugar and let stand for 3 hours, or overnight. Then bring to a boil and boil for 8 minutes only. Remove from heat and add 4 Tbsp lemon juice. Boil for 2 minutes more. Remove from stove and let stand till cold. Stir once in a while can when cold.
-Miss Mary Poppen

Raspberry Jam
1 pint red raspberries
1 cup water
1 pkg Sure-Jell
2 1/2 cups large red plums, cut rather fine
5 3/4 cups sugar
Boil 1 or 2 minutes.
-Mrs. John Bye

Peach Jam
1 dozen peaches
1 pkg dates
4 oranges
Grind all and mix together. Use 1 cup sugar for each cup pulp. Cook slowly until thick. Pour into containers and seal.
-Mrs. W. J. Hurd

Grape Jam
9 cups grapes
6 cups sugar
Wash and stem grapes, put sugar over them and stir. Let come to a boil and boil for 20 minutes, a rolling thorough boil. Then put through a colander and pour into jars.
-Miss Mary Poppen

Orange Marmalade
3 lb rhubarb, cut fine
3 oranges, cut fine
3 cups sugar
Mix and let set overnight. Let orange peel set in boiling water for a while, then drain. Grind and cover with 3/4 lb sugar.
Mix all together and cook until it thickens. A cup of raisins may be added for variation.
-Mrs. Frank Smith

Rhubarb with Jello-Jam
Cut rhubarb fine and measure. To each cup add a cup of sugar. Let it set overnight or at least long enough for sugar to be dissolved. Put on to boil and when rhubarb is cooked remove from fire – add 1 box jello – to about 6 cups of pulp. Stir until nicely mixed, then seal. If you use strawberry jello you may add 1 or 2 cups strawberries when you put it on to cook.
I have used cherry or raspberry jello instead of strawberry for variety.
-Mrs. Irene Johnson

Chocolate Sauce
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cocoa
1 Tbsp butter
dash salt
1/3 cup hot water
3/4 cup cream
1 tsp vanilla
Blend cocoa, salt and sugar and dissolve in hot water. Add cream. Cook 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add butter and vanilla. This sauce will keep in refrigerator.
-Margaret Blecker

Chocolate Sauce
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup hot water
Boil until thick. Add butter size of walnut, vanilla. Use either hot or cold.
-Mrs. John Bye

Fruit Pudding Sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup fruit juice left over from canned fruit
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp butter
Blend sugar, cornstarch and salt. Slowly stir in fruit juice, bring to a boil. Stirring constantly. Cook until mixture thickens.
-Mrs. Margaret Blecker

Refreshment Lake Style

1c. Smirnoff Watermelon Vodka
1/3c. Triple Sec
1/3c. Malibu Coconut Rum
4 scoops Country Time Pink Lemonade
Mix. Add water, and strawberries!
-the original is from Christy Kenyon’s Tastebook

1.5 oz. Smirnoff Green Apple Vodka 3 oz. club soda 1 slice(s) lime(s)

Fill glass with ice. Add Smirnoff Green Apple Flavored Vodka and soda. Garnish with lime slice.
-From Smirnoff’s website

Rhubarb Slush*
8 cups rhubarb, chopped
2 quarts water
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 cups sugar
Cook until tender. Strain in colander. Add 1 small package strawberry Jell-o to juice. Put into plastic ice cream pail and freeze. For serving, put large ice cream scoop of slush in large glass and fill with 7 Up or ginger ale. VERY REFRESHING!
*For the adults add a splash of vodka if you choose.
– Marvel Anderson of Morris, MN – Senior Prospectives Publishing

Strawberry Lemonade
3/4 cup sugar
1 pkg (3oz) strawberry gelatin
1 cup boiling water
6 cups cold water
1 cup fresh lemon juice
Stir sugar, gelatin and boiling water in a 3 quart heat proof pitcher. Add cold water and lemon juice. Chill until serving. Makes 10 servings.
-Sheila Carpenter of St. Cloud, MN -Senior Prospectives Publishing

Monday, September 12, 2005

Pho 75 (South Philadelphia)

1122 Washington Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 271-5866

Pho 75 is, for me, where it all began. To my knowledge, Pho 75 is one of only two pho chain restaurants (by that I mean more than just 2 or 3 locations). Pho 75 has 7 locations - they’re in Philly, Maryland and Virginia. The location in Arlington, VA is where I had my first bowl of pho, about 11 years ago. I haven’t been to the Arlington shop in many years, but I usually found it maddening to go there, because the quality of the pho was so inconsistent. I’ve had my best bowl of pho there, and many mediocre bowls as well. Now that I live in Philly, I’ve been to the South Philly location many times, and I’m happy to report that the quality of its pho is consistently high. Not the best ever, but definitely excellent.

Embedded in a Vietnamese shopping center, it has the perfect location. When I bring my family, after we eat we’ll wade through the crowd at the always jammed packed adjacent grocery store. Kai and I will ogle the lobsters and crabs crawling around in their tanks, and Maria will stock up on Asian cooking ingredients - the kind you won’t find at Acme. And I always find myself wandering through the trinket shops, awestruck by the airbrushed, glowing, back-lit wall hangings depicting rivers flowing through forests, with built-in sound effects of rushing water and chirping birds (and inside there’s some kind of rotating element that makes it look like the water is flowing). How, and more importantly, why, did somebody create this? Philly only has one of these shopping centers, and compared to the various sprawling “Little Saigon” centers in the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s tiny. Even though there’s no Ranch 99 market (with the priceless slogan “we try harder for 100!”), the character is the same, and that’s what’s important.

The inside of the South Philly Pho 75 is cleaner than your average pho shop, but it has the standard array of long tables, fast service, and absolutely no decor of any kind. The soup is excellent in every respect: good broth, properly cooked noodles, and quality cuts of meat. On my most recent trip I went with my Indian co-worker Anand - he said he felt like he was in a typical restaurant in India, so I guess that means it has an “international” feel -) . It’s always fun to indoctrinate a pho newbie - hot sauce or chili peppers? lemon or lime? how much basil, hoisin sauce, and sprouts to add? One of the great things about pho is how much you can tweak the flavor after it’s been served to you. After just one trip, Anand has become a phonatic, insisting that we must go back every other Friday. If that’s not a sign of a good bowl, I don’t know what is.

Bun Cha bandits

It's so sad when your stomach is full in Hanoi, because you always find other food that you want to try! For breakfast, I've typically been having French bread with fried egg and cucumbers. Yes, those French were good for at least a few things (including the coffee, to which I have now a serious addiction.) Anyway, we’ve also tried other things for breakfast, such as sticky rice and mung bean with fried garlic, served hot on a banana leaf ‘plate’ for 2000 dong (US$ .14) Other days, we’ve had a noodle 'pancake' with pork sausage and basil, dipped in fish sauce, for 4000 dong.

The best way to eat in Hanoi is at the street vendors who at different times of the day commandeer sections of the public sidewalk to set up shop. You sit on very low plastic chairs (about 5 inches off the ground, maximum) and scoot yourself close to the vendor lady who is also sitting on a low plastic chair preparing your food right out of her wide, flat wicker basket. You can use another low plastic chair as a table. Because the street vendors typically only sell one thing, you don’t even have to ‘order’ – you simply sit down and they’ll just fix up a bowl of whatever they’ve got. People pass by on the street and laugh at us (can’t yet figure out exactly why, but we must look really funny or something!) or they’ll say something to the vendor lady and she’ll just shrug.

For lunch, my co-workers most often take me and Pip to eat Bún Cha, which is fresh flame-grilled pork in a very delicious broth, to which you add basil, mint, watercress and other greens, as well as rice noodles. It is eaten with chopsticks and a spoon. The ladies at our favorite Bún Cha location also serve us a plate of fried egg rolls (Nem), which they nimbly cut into bite sizes for us with a pair of scissors.

The classic Vietnamese soup Pho originated here in northern Vietnam, however, it is the southern Vietnamese who have perfected the recipe. The southerners make a much more flavorful Pho and have more interesting things to add to it, like lime, basil, mint, bean sprouts, hot peppers, fish sauce and hoisin sauce. Northern Pho, while still good, is bland in comparison, and it is served with weirdly-shaped fried donut things, which you’re supposed to float in your soup and eat with the noodles. Carly says she won’t touch Pho if it’s made anywhere north of Hué.

To get to lunch, Pip and I will usually each ride on the back of a motorcycle with one of our co-workers. The past couple of days, however, only our friend Hanh, the office manager, has been available to take us to eat, so Pip and I have BOTH been riding on the back with her. I’m very afraid of burning my leg on the exhaust pipe, so I sit on the very back of the bike, with my right foot on the foot rest and my left foot sticking straight out, while Pip sits in the middle and does the opposite with her legs. All three of us wear those typical Vietnamese cotton fashion hats and face masks. We must be a sight as we’re zooming down the street toward the Bún Cha restaurant – three giggling, gangly masked bandits on a motorbike, with arms and legs akimbo!

I have a favorite xe om driver – I think his name is Sam? – who takes me to work each day, at least whenever I can find him. He’s a tall old man in his 60s with lots of missing teeth but a very nice smile, and he sits on his motorcycle near “Zip Café” at the corner of my street. I like his motorcycle, which is a dark green Honda, because it has very sturdy foot rests and a good rear seat handle to hang onto. The best part of all is that he’s not smarmy and gross like the pushy young, punk-type drivers who wait for their prey at the opposite corner, picking their teeth all day and insisting on overcharging you. I really try to avoid those guys when I can. The old man already knows exactly where I need to go and exactly how much I’ll pay – 6000 dong (US $.42) -- so I just hop on and away we go!

On Monday I will have my first formal Vietnamese lesson through a new business that was started by a couple of university students to teach Vietnamese to foreigners. Their original price was $15.00 for an hour and half, but I told them I wanted to pay $3.00/hour instead, so we said goodbye. The next day they called back to offer $4.00/hour, and I agreed. Hah! I’ll try to do two hours per week, if the first lesson works out well.

Last night Carly and I had an interesting experience at a Chinese ‘tea house’. We were out after dinner looking for a new coffee house to try, so we walked into this beautiful place that appeared to be a restaurant. It had Chinese lanterns and beautiful vines growing around the building. Once inside, we were asked to remove our shoes before being escorted to a dimly-lit back room with floor pillows, low tables and 80s Madonna songs played in musak style over the stereo. The only other customers were a young couple sitting in the rear of the room who appeared to be cuddling. Carly and I ordered hot chocolate and an avocado shake, respectively. We were also served complimentary hot tea. There was a single candle on the table, and the waitress told us to push a button on the wall if we needed anything. Otherwise, the staff left us alone. Hmm… I plan to ask Hanh about this place. The other day, she explained to me and Pip that, in order to be alone, young Vietnamese couples will either go to the lake or to cafés at night. This must be one of those kind of places.

Stay tuned for more adventures, coming soon.

posted by Crystal @ 10:09 AM 1 comments

The people who laughed at you & Carly squatting & eating were probably trying to show their approval toward a couple of adventuresome tourists. VN love it when you can eat like one of them. Your xe om man's name is most likely Xuan, meaning Spring. We miss you, but glad to have this medium. Love, mom

"Pho" Goes Global Thanks To Vietnamese Diaspora

From tragic beginnings, the Vietnamese diaspora now finds itself spread across five continents, at the center of the Information Age, true global villagers. PNS editor Andrew Lam is a short story writer and journalist.

The other day I typed the words "Pho Soup" into the AltaVista search engine and the number of hits that came back was staggering. There were all sorts of recipes -- chicken and beef, northern and southern styles -- along with avid discussions of this tasty dish, as well as reviews of restaurants that serve them all over the world.

Pho, traditionally, is the beef broth soup with noodle, brewed in star anise and burnt onion, with bones and tendons and tripe, sprinkled with green onion and basil on top -- a wondrous Vietnamese invention. When I was growing up in Saigon, I would wake up on the weekends to the delicious aroma of pho. Downstairs there would always be a bowl of pho with billowing smoke waiting for me.

Before the Vietnam war ended in 1975, pho was not well known outside of Vietnam. Now, thanks to more than 2 million Vietnamese living on five continents, it's become a global dish.

Indeed, whenever we have family gatherings a favorite topic is who ate the best pho at what most exotic locale. We compete for the best story. My cousin Bill, for instance, has eaten pho in Rio de Janeiro while Jeanne, my aunt, has eaten it in the Ivory Coast. Other relatives have eaten pho in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Jakarta, even Athens.

But, as it turns out, I have the best story.

Once, while backpacking through Europe, I was invited to a castle in a town north of Brussels. I remember reaching its moat and stopping cold in my tracks. The pungent aroma was unmistakable -- Vietnamese pho soup!

Inside, a charming Vietnamese woman in her mid 30s greeted me with a dimpled smile. As she fed me her pho soup, she told me her story. Once a high school teacher in Saigon, she'd lost her job after the war. One night she stole away on a crowded boat out to sea. A Belgian merchant vessel picked everyone up and brought them back to Belgium. Impoverished, she resorted to living in the basement of a church in a town outside Brussels. One day, a local baron saw her while praying in church and fell instantly in love. They married. Now, she's the mother two children of royal blood and lives in a European castle.

If the Vietnamese diaspora began a quarter of a century ago from tragic beginnings, it has turned into a post-modern fairy tale. Vietnamese abroad have, within a quarter of a century, made the transition from a people bound to the land, who tended our ancestral graves and believed in the integrity of borders, to a highly mobile, global tribe as bound to the computer chip as we are to preserving our culture. We have moved to the center of the Information Age to become true global villagers.

It is no accident that the highest number of Vietnamese are concentrated in California -- with 120,000 in Santa Clara, home of the microchip and Internet startups. Nor is it an accident that when I was a student at UC-Berkeley in the mid-80s, the majority of Vietnamese students in our association were EECS (electrical engineering and computer science) majors. I suppose these old classmates of mine are now asserting their cultural identity through the Internet.

For years I kept pinned on my wall a little item about the most exotic restaurant in the world -- in a scientists' colony in Antarctica. Who owns it? A Vietnamese woman, of course, selling pho soup. Sometimes, in a whimsical mood, I imagine flying over a sea of ice to this Vietnamese restaurant near the South Pole. I would order a bowl of pho and wait to hear her story. Thousands of miles from our tropical homeland, with the cold Arctic wind howling outside. I would have the most exotic bowl of pho soup I ever tasted.

Johnny Rebs' in Orange

As a recovering flight attendant, I am plagued with sudden and overwhelming cravings for the intoxicating places of my past. It seems that when I can least afford to succumb, my travel addiction reaches maddening intensity. At times, I fear a quick jaunt across state lines will trigger a relapse and send me begging for help from round-the- world-ticket dealers. Instead, I turn to local remedies, places where for an hour or two, I can escape to another world, even if I'm only a few blocks away.

Asian Escape
I recently needed a Far East fix, so I fled my home in Dana Point for some Asian action in north county. My first stop was Mitsuwa Marketplace (665 Paularino Ave.) in Costa Mesa, a notch in the Japan-based chain of superstores. I ran through the parking lot to avoid the pounding rain, and as soon as the automatic doors slid open, I felt relief. I was in Tokyo. If I ignored the English aisle markers, I could convince myself that I was really at Jusco mall in Narita. Or if it wasn't for the cacophony of Japanese conversations, it could have easily been Seoul. The clean, bright, modern complex includes a grocery store whose aisles are stocked with imported goodies from seaweed to poki a confectioners, with perfectly sculpted treats so beautiful I would be afraid to eat them a bookstore decorated with alluring anime action heroes and a novelty shop reminiscent of Japan's 100 yen stores, a popular version of our own 99-cent stores. The mini-mall is also home to pottery, cell phone and video shops. Like a typical Japanese department store, the grocery counters lead to an awesome food court where every eatery has plasticized entrees displayed in the windows. A panel of six TVs blasts news from Japan while Japanese pop music competes in the background. Four Japanese restaurants serve everything from Katsu curry to sushi and rice bowls. A Chinese restaurant serves chow mein and dim sum while Italian Tomato offers pasta dishes, because of course Italian is popular everywhere from Holland to China. My personal favorite is the eel egg bowl at Miyabi-Tei. The dish comes in a huge clay pot and is accompanied by miso soup and radishes. Looking for more variety, I ventured up to Bolsa Avenue in Little Saigon, the center of Westminster's Vietnamese enclave. The street is lined with Vietnamese shops serving pho, a traditional noodle soup banh mi, French influenced sandwiches on baguettes with pate, mint and spices and Bo 7 Mon, a specialty that includes seven beef dishes.

A must-try, Tay Ho (9629 Bolsa Ave.) specializes in bahn cuon, sticky steamed rolls made of rice flour. But perhaps the area's most well-known restaurant is Lee's Sandwiches (9261 Bolsa Ave.) where patrons of all ethnicities regularly devour their renowned banh mi.

Across the street, an imposing pagoda-like entrance and larger-than-life Buddha welcome visitors to Asian Garden Mall (9200 Bolsa Ave.), a 150,000-square-foot complex with more than 250 shops. Carts, stores and stalls sell jewelry, "designer" purses, clothes, shoes, CDs, gifts, food, and more. Bargaining is expected, but transactions are strictly cash only. A small network of stalls on the second floor hints at the giant indoor mazes of Asian metropolises like the Pearl Market in Beijing where real bargains can be made.

A food court sells fresh rice paper spring rolls, fish balls, honey chips, fried bananas, steamed sweet rice concoctions, cups of fresh mango, boba, and smoothies in exotic flavors like durian, mango and taro topped with lychee and kumquats. Upstairs, smoke wafts from an altar where worshippers donate coins, light incense and pray to the towering red statue of Guang Gong, a protective warrior who fends off evil spirits. Wooden shelves hold fortunes written in Vietnamese.
I ventured into an apothecary shop and marveled at the hundreds of glass, steel and plastic jars full of dried roots and herbs. An herbalist in a white coat sat at the back of the store next to an altar filling orders with an abacus at his side. He patiently rolled a pile of black paste, which purportedly cures liver ailments, into smooth balls the size of chocolate truffles. Although I'm not generally into herbs, I bought a $12 bag of ginseng hoping for enough stamina to fight traffic on my way home. I was instructed to suck on the bite sized flakes and await the flow of energy. Nothing happened. A few hours later, just when I'd forgotten about the energy-boosting root, I couldn't slow down. I cleaned house with the mania of a stock broker on the trading floor and carried six bags of trash to the dumpster in the pouring rain. I'm surprised they don't market it as a tonic to ease roommate relations.

Asian Garden Mall Memphis at the Santora Watson's Drugs and Soda Fountain

Urban Assault
It's not the OC, it's me. I love idyllic Dana Point, but after living in some of the world's biggest cities, I occasionally long for a little urban angst. It may be a while before Orange County gets a hopping city center with towering skyscrapers, honking cabs and underground trains, but fortunately, we already have a few well-hidden urban hotspots.
When night falls, nothing beats Westside Costa Mesa, home to some of the county's hippest chill-out lounges, even if they are secreted away in non-descript strip malls. Small, cool and unpretentious, Detroit (843 W. 19th St.) and Kitsch Bar (849 Baker St.) could easily be part of London's fashionable Clerkenwell nightlife circuit, especially now that London is following our lead with a smoking ban. When I can't bear another beach bar, I head to Kitsch. With a black ceiling and floor, navy blue walls and a glowing red DJ booth, the intimately scaled lounge offers one of the most laid back vibes in town. A mostly-young crowd is otherwise eclectic, with plenty of fit and fat, hip and geeky 20-and 30-somethings kicking it on Ikea-style rolling chairs with fanciful cocktails close at hand. One glass encased wall defines kitsch as "art in pretentious bad taste" and displays rotating collections from local artists. On my most recent visit, an assortment of beauty-school mannequin heads added to an eery ambience as 80s movies played without sound on a flat-screen TV behind the bar. The DJ spun tunes in very "bad taste" like "Take Me With You" by Prince and "Losing Myself" by Queensryche.
For a daytime urban outpost in Costa Mesa, I'll often try The LAB (2930 Bristol St.), a warehouse inspired "anti-mall" with outdoor gathering areas and hip shopping: You can shop for streetwear at Urban Outfitters, Buffalo Exchange and Black & Blue underground electronic music at Dr. Freeclouds or get a trendy haricot at Crew Salon.
Urban doesn't have to mean edgy, as swanky Sutra Lounge (1870 Harbor Blvd.) will attest. To be honest, I wanted to hate Sutra. If any place should be considered over-played, it's this "ultra-lounge." Even when I'm looking for a Sex and the City-style night on the town, long lines and clipboard Nazis just seem absurd in Costa Mesa. But at least some of the hype is warranted as a club, it is the place to be seen, where a glamorous crowd dresses up and drops serious cash as a restaurant, Sutra is at its best with a gourmet aphrodisiac-inspired menu by French chef Stephane Beaucamp.
Although these gems challenge Orange County's sedated image, sometimes strip-malls can get downright sickening, and downtown Santa Ana is the perfect antidote. Heading towards the Artist's Village, the ride down First Street looks like a Chicago neighborhood with prairie style houses and arts and crafts brick buildings. It brings you into the redeveloping downtown, perhaps the one place somebody walks in OC. It isn't beautiful, nor is it down-and-out gritty, but downtown Santa Ana does have a city flair. Even if they're only three or four floors up, the hodgepodge of contemporary artists' lofts with their corrugated tin walls, and the surrounding Romanesque, Art Deco, Victorian, and Edwardian buildings conjure a knee-high New York. Or with ranchero music blaring from storefronts, perhaps it's more like San Francisco's mission district.
A growing number of art galleries are sprouting up throughout the artist's village, starting at Second and Broadway, but the Santora Arts Complex (207 N. Broadway) is the center of activity and houses more than 30 studios and galleries. Plaza of the Artists, adjacent to the complex, is closed to traffic and is an excellent place to relax on a bench and people watch. Flanking the street are Memphis at the Santora (201 N. Broadway also at 2920 Bristol St. in Costa Mesa) and the Gypsy Den Grand Central Cafe (125 N. Broadway also at the LAB in Costa Mesa), two contrasting urban hangouts. Along with a fabulous if ironic comfort food menu, Memphis offers an L.A.-style mod-retro decor with polka dot tables, globe lights and smooth plastic furniture. Quite unlike its neighbor, the bohemian Gypsy Den is straight out of the Haight with mismatched furniture, beaded curtains, tasseled lampshades, lace tablecloths, and bookshelves full of tattered paperbacks. Its menu is equally granola.
Around the corner on Fourth Street, you'll find the Latin Business District. Amongst the art deco buildings between Broadway and French streets, you'll be inundated with mariachi and ranchero music, vending carts with fruit, candy, chips, and tamales. With every step, you'll pass a never-ending stream of bridal shops with flouncy wedding and quinceanera dresses. Nearby, the Plaza Fiesta at Fourth and Bush is closed to traffic and is a great place to wander. For a south of the border jaunt, without the border, take a spin on the plaza's small carousel, taste authentic dishes at Mexican restaurants like Mariscos Tampico, or head across the street where the historic Fiesta Teatro plays first-run movies in Espanol.

Old Town Orange Plaza The Filling Station

Old School
My airline years weren't always fun. From lost luggage to missed connections, emergency landings, and irritating body malfunctions like "Delhi belly," things have gone wrong. But somehow, I only remember the good stuff. Life isn't much different. It's amazing how a little nostalgia can make us yearn for a place or time where things were easier, slower or happier - whether or not they really were. I'll admit that I wasn't around for the 50s, that my biggest connection with these happy days is repeatedly watching American Graffiti while my parents romanticized their youth. But even I can appreciate Old Town Orange, Orange County's headquarters for Americana.
Over the last five decades, so little has changed at the corner of Glassell and Chapman that the area is frequently used for movies set in the mid-twentieth century. Historic buildings and antique stores radiate from the park at the center of the intersection's roundabout. C.W. Moss (402 W. Chapman Ave.) sells reproduction parts for classic Fords and exhibits an impressive range of historic bikes and cars. Nearby, Watson's Drugs and Soda Fountain (116 E. Chapman Ave.), founded in 1899 and featured in That Thing You Do, is a haven from modern day OC its spinning red-vinyl bar stools are a cozy place to indulge in a root beer float or banana split. Such sinful treats were much more accepted when work often meant physical labor, and housework easily burnt off the week's small home-made meals. As oldies like "Chantilly Lace" by Big Bopper and, well, anything by Elvis play, waitresses in short black dresses with pointy white collars and cuffs store pencils behind their ears and parade around like Flo from Mel's Diner. Formica tables capped off with chrome are squeezed into every square inch of a dining room that shares space with the working pharmacy. Unfortunately, despite what a large sign advertises, you can't get a hot dog and Coca Cola for 15 cents.
A few blocks away, The Filling Station (201 N. Glassell St.), an old gas station turned restaurant, offers a similar red vinyl decor on the inside but also has a great garden patio lit by a string of white Christmas lights. Modern heaters loom side-by-side with historical gas pumps and make for cozy al fresco dining even in the winter. A walk around old town might take you to Mr. C's Records where you can buy your favorite tunes on vinyl, Felix Continental Cafe, where you can eat traditional Cuban and Spanish food at a bargain, and the tiny Two's Company Cafe and Catering, a great place to enjoy a sandwich or pastry and listen to bebop.
Not all of the county's retro treasures are in Orange, or even in historic neighborhoods. Hidden in flashy Newport Beach, the Galley Cafe (829 Harbor Island Dr.) offers a subtle but authentic old school experience. Four generations of Flach family members have owned and operated this diner since 1945. The old fashioned soda fountain and cash register may be adorable relics, but the overall ambience is far from gimmicky servers wear T-shirts and 21st century pop plays on the radio. The result feels less like a theme park and more like the real thing. Stop in for their specialty, the chili size, and enjoy incredible harbor views from a cushy beige booth or a stool at the formica lunch counter. If it's a Saturday morning, head up to the corner of Adams and Magnolia in Huntington Beach and check out Donut Derelicts, a 1950s style cruise-in that starts at 7 a.m. And to turn up in proper greaser style, have a custom zoot suit made at El Pachuco (801 S. Harbor Blvd.) in Fullerton.

Down South
When you need to get away from the fast-paced dog-eat-dog world of Southern California, there is nowhere better, or at least slower, than the South.
Although it's nowhere near as authentic as its little bitty Long Beach outpost, Johnny Rebs' (2940 Chapman Ave.) in Orange serves up some of the most finger licking ribs in Cali. A drainage pipe-turned smoke stack juts out from the rusty corrugated tin roof, and the weathered wood siding is painted with their catchy slogan - "Put Some South in Yer Mouth." Inside, a cavernous barn-like room welcomes guests with peanut-covered plywood floors and walls decorated with wrought iron farm equipment and rolling pins. You can sit in a carved pine booth and order a mason jar of RC Cola or a bottle of Dixie beer, some hush puppies and sweet potato fries to start. Authentic entrees include catfish po'boys and pulled pork sandwiches, but I'd stick with the baby backs if I were you, and maybe a side of Texas caviar, Cajun rice or collard greens. Hopefully they'll be playing something like Johnny Cash, but in case they try to ruin the experience with Britney Spears or even 60s classics, ask for a table in the claptrap patio room with its dingy screen windows and lamps made from punched tin buckets, it's the perfect place to chow down on greasy barbecue.
For a more intimate experience, look for Burrell's Barbecue (305 N. Hesperian), a down home restaurant smack in the middle of a residential street. The red shack is hard to miss with an oversized grill out back and a sign reading "wanted, good woman." The one room barbecue joint has no indoor seating just a counter and an overhead menu fit on the other side of the swinging screen door. Look past the chain link fence and you'll find a secluded backyard that's perfect for outdoor dining, where plastic tables and picnic benches sit right on the lawn.
If you'd rather keep things upscale, The Ramos House Cafe in San Juan Capistrano's Los Rios Historical District, is your place. The Ramos House, built in 1881, now serves traditional Deep South fare with a cosmopolitan flare. Stop by on the weekend for a killer brunch try the New Orleans-style cinnamon apple beignets, the sweet corn hushpuppies with pepper jam or the sweet potato duck hash with mushroom scrambled eggs and collard green gravy.
Although it offers half the ambience and a watered down menu, Po' Folks (7701 Beach Blvd.) in Buena Park is another local option for delicious but fattening, fried comfort food. And Chick-fil-A may be a simple fast food joint, but it is a bonafide Southern institution and has just broken in to the OC market with shop in the Irvine Market Place.
Further down the coast, The Rib Joint (34294 Pacific Coast Hwy.) in Dana Point offers something none of the other restaurants mentioned can. Bad food, bad service and an honestly run-down drafty room. But it's fabulous, and it actually inspired this article. I was less than enthused when served defrosted corn on the cob complete with telltale wrinkles and watery flavor. In fact, my meal took so long to come out of the kitchen, I think they were trying to give the illusion of actually cooking it. But when I need an escape from all things OC, I know I'll find it here. A few hours in a dingy booth listening to a cowboy sing "stand by your man," and watching midwestern travelers from the adjacent Holiday Inn Express chow down while exclaiming "this feels just like home, California's not so different" and you'll feel like you left home for days. Not to mention, no matter how exciting your vacation may be, oftentimes the best part of traveling really is coming home. Especially when you live here.

Just Born

Just Born has introduced a new year-round version of marshmallow Peeps. The new Peeps Minis are different in a few ways. First, they’re not packaged a tray, they’re tossed together into a stand up, reasealable bag. Second, they’re mini versions of individual Peeps, each Peeps is not a single bite.

They’re available in several different flavors, but the only one I can find here in Los Angeles right now is the Vanilla Creme Peeps Minis. The package holds on 3.4 ounces and cost $2.79 at Target. They’re part of this whole hand-to-mouth snacking trend, as they analysts call it, that I refer to as morselization.

The surprising thing about Peeps Minis is that they do fulfill a big hole in the candy aisle. There are no sugar crusted marshmallows. If you meander over to the ingredient aisle in grocery stores you’ll find starch coated Jet-Puffed and Campfire marshmallows, but they’re only rarely found in the candy aisle (usually in special displays for S’mores along with graham crackers and chocolate bars).

They do smell a lot like cake. A sort of butter flavored cake, maybe pound cake and strongly of vanilla extract.

Each Peep is pretty small. They’re about half the weight of a regular Peep (which is usually about 8.5 grams) at about 4 grams each. There are only 14 calories per Peep, mostly because they don’t weight much and are made from sugar and a little protein.

I like white Peeps because they have no artificial colors to get in the way of the flavors. They do taste rather cakey, like an Angel Food Cake in both flavor profile and actual texture. I liked them much more than I thought, though I still doubt I’d pick these up as a go-to candy, even in the summer. My biggest issue is the eyes, I can’t stand the little wax eyes on Peeps, I have to pull them off, which means that I can’t just eat them. They are an ideal version of Peeps to take to the movies, as the package is very quiet and of course they’re easy to share . and would probably pair very well with popcorn.

It seemed like there was less sugar sanding on the, and because the package does a better job of containing the leftover sugar than the trays, they were far less messy. I don’t know how good of a job the zipper-top package does at keeping them fresh, I only had them for a few days, did not seal them and they’re still fresh. (But it’s a bit more humid in Southern California as were in our June Gloom weather pattern of low clouds in the morning.)

They’re gluten free and fat free (as if people have allergies to fat). They’re made in the USA, and may contain milk but have no other notations about allergens such as nuts. Since they’re marshmallows, they’re also made with gelatin and are not for vegetarians. There’s no specification as to the source of the gelatin, so I would guess it’s porcine.

Related Candies


Hot Tamales Tropical Heat

Just Born has been making Hot Tamales, a cinnamon flavored jelly candy, since 1950. Their newest twist is Hot Tamales Tropical Heat, which features spice combined with fruit flavors.

While the classic Hot Tamales get their warm heat from the active ingredient in cinnamon, cinnamaldehyde, the twist with this new version features hot peppers. The active hotness in chili peppers is caused by capsaicin.

Hot Tamales Tropical Heat come in a mix of three flavors in the bag: Limon Fever, Mango Tango, and Pineapple Picante.

I bought this half pound peg at Cost Plus World Market for $2.99 . I found that a bit steep for what are basically jelly beans, but I was very interested in Just Born’s entry into this segment. I’m quite fond of the original and keep them on hand in my candy jars in my office.

The pieces are beautiful and easy to differentiate from the regular Hot Tamales or Milk and Ike, if you happened to mix them together.

The Limon Fever is light green with a few green speckles on it. Though limón is lemon in Spanish, this has a distinct lime note to it. There’s a bitterness at the front, a nice zesty note of citrus peel, then a tart juicy flavor (which could be lemon) and a note of jalapeno. Though I get the spicy burst and the warmth, it’s not too much, not throat searing, just warm. Then after a while it’s just sweet and a little grainy.

Mango Tango is medium orange with red speckles. This seemed to be the dominant flavor in my package, which is too bad. As much as I love mangos, they’re rarely good in candy format. The flavor starts out with a mild tangy bite and the heat from the chili, then it gets sweet and taste like peaches. That’s pretty much it. It’s not terrible, but it’s not quite mango.

Pineapple Picante begins with a good mix of floral and lightly tart. The chili warmth comes in just as the whole thing descends into sweetness though the floral pineapple remains. It’s the freshest tasting of the three, though I liked the enduing zest of the Limon as well.

Though I found these a little strange, I actually liked them, and I don’t actually like chili peppers. They’re warm but not painfully hot. But if you’re someone who likes their spicy spices to burn, these will not do it for you.

Hot Tamales are gluten free, contain no gelatin but do have confectioners glaze so wouldn’t be appropriate for vegans.

Related Candies


Party Cake Peeps

Peeps were originally an Easter treat, a small dollop of marshmallow sanded with colored sugar to look like a chick. Now they come in many shapes and are released for all the major holidays. The new Party Cake Peeps are a year round Peep item from Just Born where you get to select the celebration.

I noticed they’re not birthday cake themed, just party, so they could be used for engagements, housewarmings, baby showers, retirement parties, graduations . the list is endless.

The package describes them as a way to bring home the best part of the celebration—without the cleanup! Enjoy the delicious flavor of the party in each yummy marshmallow bite!

They’re not just turquoise blue, they’re covered in flecks of candy confetti. The confetti is just little bit of transparent, different-colored candy shavings. They come in a set of two trays with five conjoined Peeps in a set. They’re not individually sealed, so once you open the package, the clock is ticking for staleness (which may be good, depending on how you prefer your Peeps).

They smell like a cross between microwave popcorn and coconut tanning lotion. It’s not overpowering, but definitely noticeably different from regular Peeps.

They’re Peep textured, soft and bouncy, easy to bite. The sugary grain was not too much, so it didn’t make a big mess. The inside of the Peep is just lightly creamy colored, like a cake. The flavor is marshmallowy, more vanilla than butter but with that toasted sugar flavor like an Angel Food Cake.

Overall, I liked them, perhaps better than a traditional Peep, except that the blue coloring had a bitter aftertaste.

It’s nice to see a sort of generic, all year Peep on the rotation. I’d like them more if they had that little dip of chocolate on the base like some others, but I haven’t tried the Vanilla Creme to compare. As for its simulation of cake . there’s nothing baked about this, nothing that tastes like cake at all. They’re not even shaped like little cupcakes. It’s just a fun name.

The next flavor craze they should do: Frozen Yogurt Peeps . each Peep would be shaped like a twisted dollop of FroYo and you can sprinkle chocolate chips, Cap’n Crunch or crushed Butterfingers on them.

Or Whoopie Pie Peeps: You’d have a two chocolate Peep disks with another vanilla Peep disk in the center.

Related Candies


Mike and Ike Strawberry Reunion

I’m on a bit of a kick with Just Born products, not just because they sent me a package of Peeps last month, but because they’ve got a lot going on with their other product lines. (Once I start, I feel like I have to explore all the versions of a product.)

Mike and Ike have been around for some 70+ years. They’re pretty much jelly beans, sold in boxes in a limited assortment of 2 to five flavors.

The newest Limited Edition version is Mike and Ike Strawberry Reunion. Recently Just Born did a big advertising push for Mike and Ike, including a whole narrative about the characters of Mike and Ike breaking up . and (spoiler!) getting back together. This version has a strawberry theme, including: Strawberry, Strawberry Banana Smoothie, Strawberry Watermelon, Strawberry Tangerine and Strawberry Pineapple.

If you want to read more about the marketing, AdWeek had a nice summation of it.

Strawberry Watermelon is a light pink color with darker spots and completely believable in its flavor. It’s a floral and tart and ends with the watermelon flavor notes without tasting like chemicals.

Strawberry was red rather ordinary, but still a good piece.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie is yellow. It’s tangy at first with an artificial note of banana and none of the creamy component that makes strawberry banana smoothies so great. As an artificial creation though, it’s nice candy.

Strawberry Tangerine is orange and fantastic. Tangy and citrusy and floral all at once. It has a zesty finish to it, instead of being purely sweet.

Strawberry Pineapple is speckled and more peachy. There weren’t as many of these in my box, which is too bad because they were also wonderful. Tart and zippy with more pineapple than strawberry.

Overall, a nice mix, each of them were distinct but could also be combined . the only one that didn’t like to play with others was watermelon.

Just Born also recently started releasing their candies in classic packaging. To go along with that, they brought back a few of their old flavor varieties. I found the Mike and Ike Lem and Mel and the Mike and Ike Cherri and Bubb at the Dollar Tree.

These are full variety mixes though, each box only contains a pair of flavors . and odd pairs at that. The packaging has a fifties feel, a little more muted and simplified, but a quick check online shows that the Lem and Mel variety was introduced in 1991 and the Cherri and Bubb was out in 1989 . back when we had another obsession with nostalgia.

The Mike and Ike - Lem and Mel is yellow and green, featuring Lemon and Watermelon flavored jelly bean rods. The lemon is already found in the classic Mike and Ike fruits box and a pink version of the watermelon is in the RedRageous package.

Lemon is not as sparkly as the Lemonade Blends. It’s sweet and zesty, but not tangy. Watermelon is sweet as well, with only a tart hint and then a sort of cotton candy finish.

Cherri and Bubb is Cherry and Bubble Gum. I bought this variety because of the Bubble Gum Peeps and though maybe I’d review them together, but ended up separating the products this way instead.

The cherry is an odd sort of flavor. It’s very bold, it starts out with a strong wild cherry flavor that reminds me of Sucrets throat drops. Then it gets very sweet and has a little bit of a raspberry note. They’re not for me.

Bubble gum is pink. They seemed a little bit stiffer, not quite as soft and jelly-like as the cherry. This make them seem more bubble gum-like as well. It’s a good bubble gum flavor, a bit on the sweet strawberry side with only the lightest note of wintergreen. It’s fresh and veers off into juicyfruit. There’s no weird aftertaste from the artificial colors, which was my problem with the Peeps.

About 9 years ago I remember a Root Beer Float version of Mike and Ike, I’d like to see those come back . or maybe a whole soda pop flavor mix.

They’re a really good value, for a buck a box which holds 5 ounces. It’s the kind of price that I don’t feel bad if I throw out the flavors I don’t like. I’d opt for the Strawberry Reunion or the Lemonade Blends out of all the Mike and Ike varieties.

Related Candies


Peeps Sweet Lemonade Chicks

Just Born continues their new introductions of Peeps in all flavors for all occasions. Today I have some Peeps Sweet Lemonade Chicks which were sent to me by Just Born last month.

Instead of a row of conjoined Peeps, these are the individual chicks, the packages I have have trays with a pair that come out to only .75 ounces. If you’re looking for a low calorie summer treat, this might be the thing, as they’re only 75 calories for the package.

They smell like Country Time Lemonade Drink Mix. A soft lemon with a little hint of vanilla and anti-caking agents. The Peeps are, well, rather like a lemon meringue.

The marshmallow itself is soft, fluffy and has a mellow sweet lemon flavor, the sugary coating has a little tartness to it now and then, like someone mixed lemon Pixy Stix in with the granulated coating. Overall, it’s actually a pretty successful iteration of the ordinarily bland Peeps.

I didn’t try them toasted, but I bet that would really add to the lemon meringue note.

The PR folks also sent along some boxes of the Mike and Ike Lemonade Blends. I’ve already reviewed them, though I admit they’re my favorite variety of the Mike and Ike, so I was happy to have them.

The reason I mention it is that both candies are part of Just Born’s partnership with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer, which raises money for families dealing the a child with cancer as well as research for cures. Since 2007 they’ve donated over $500,000 to the group through their Mike and Ike packages.

The candies are just regular old Mike and Ike jelly bean rods in five flavors: Lemonade, Tangerine Lemonade, Strawberry Lemonade, Raspberry Lemonade and Lime Lemonade.

The seem to be a lot easier to find now than when they first came out, which I’m guessing is because it’s a good mix of flavors. They’re a bit more tart than the standard Fruit Mike and Ike and the variety is good because the lemon flavor holds it all together so you can combine. I gave them a 7 out of 10 when they first came out, and think they’ve held up well.

Related Candies


Bubble Gum Flavored Peeps

The folks at Just Born continue to develop new flavors and merchandise for their iconic Marshmallow Peeps line.

The newest flavor addition, which I mentioned in a roundup last month, is Bubble Gum Flavored Peeps. As you might expect, they’re pink. They’re also Peep shaped, not bunny shaped or bubble shaped. Even though they’re little baby chicks, they’re considered a year-round flavor.

Just Born bills them as having that “classic bubble gum taste.” Which of course leads me to examine what that flavor actually is. Well, since there’s no natural item, like a vanilla bean to consult, the recipe varies, but generally bubble gum is very mild wintergreen, sometimes with a little fruity banana and vanilla flavors thrown in.

The Peeps come in a row of five conjoined chicks. They’re pink, which isn’t surprising at all, except for the fact that they’re colored all the way through. This ruins it completely for me.

The flavor is mild and actually goes really well with the sweet, aerated gelatin. But the artificial coloring (Red 40) has a bitter, metallic aftertaste for me. So the first bite is great, but shortly after it begins to dissolve, I have a bunch of bitter goo in my mouth.

I’m really disappointed they had to use so much coloring for these, most of the other Peeps they sell are uncolored in the middle (except for the chocolate coated ones). I’m sure that folks who don’t react poorly to Red 40 and also enjoy the slightly medicinal flavor of bubble gum will go wild for these.

Related Candies


Candy Tease: April 2013

Name: Bubble Gum Flavored Peeps Marshmallow
Brand: Just Born
Description: Introducing 10 ct PARTY CAKE Flavored PEEPS® Marshmallow 10 ct BUBBLE GUM Flavored PEEPS® Marshmallow 2 ct LEMONADE Flavored PEEPS® Marshmallow and Marshmallow Chick in a Chocolate Egg.
Introduction Date: 04/30/13
Notes: Bubble Gum is a good flavor match for the delicate texture of a marshmallow. I find the whole idea a little odd, but I know myself well enough that I’ll probably be scouring the stores at the end of the month for them. I think the blue Party Cake Peeps have already been spotted in the wild. I’m less interested in Lemonade, but I am curious if they’ll be tangy or sweet like a meringue.

Name: Smarties Gummies
Brand: Smarties
Description: Each chewy piece is two-toned with a creamy white paired with a colorful fruit-themed side. The medley of fruit flavors is inspired by the classic Smarties roll with a few twists! Strawberry, Orange, Lemon, Green Apple, Grape. Smarties Gummies are gluten-free, free of animal products and vegan. However, because they are made in a facility that processes other ingredients, they may contain traces of peanut, milk, wheat and soy.
Introduction Date: 1/1/2013
Note: Since they’re vegan, I have to note that they’re not really gummis, which contain gelatin or some other protein. These use starch as a gelling agent, which is great and all, but creates a different texture.

Name: Cinnamon Lovers
Brand: Gimbal’s Fine Candies
Description: These shiny red adorable heart-shaped candies are made with Real Cinnamon Oil and absolutely burst with scrumptious cinnamon heat. Cinnamon Lovers fun 9 oz laydown bags come packed 12 bags per convenient ready-to-display case. Founded in 1898, all Gimbal’s candies are free of major food allergens and made with pride in U.S.A.
Introduction Date: 09/15/2013
Notes: Gimbal’s made another awesome product called Lava Balls, I’m wondering how similar these will be. I’m also downright obsessed with the See’s Red Hot Hearts, which I’ve often suspected were made by Gimbal’s, so I’d say with wider distribution they’ll be a hit.

Name: ALERT™ Energy Caffeine Gum
Brand: Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company
Introduction Date: 4/1/2013
Notes: If you’re looking for a caffeinated gum, this one contains 40 mg per piece, which is about a half of a cup of coffee. It also contains a lot of non-sugar sweeteners, including sugar alcohols like sorbitol and artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose and AceK. Wrigley’s has been making a different version called Stay Alert for the US Military for years, but that one contains 100 mg per piece and doesn’t have such a fussy package.

Name: Cinnamo Sticks
Brand: Atkinson Candy Company
Description: We proudly introduce our brand new 0.7 oz Cinnamo Sticks. This great tasting candy is bursting with cinnamon flavor and has wide appeal to kids of all ages. The clever box design features the Cinnamo Bandit character and the delicious taste will keep you coming back for more!
Introduction Date: 01/01/2013
Notes: I can’t decide if this is a cinnamon version of a Chick-o-Stick or just an aerated stick candy. I game to try it.

All images are courtesy of the respective manufacturers.

Short and Sweet: Easter Bites - Part 2

I have a few more Easter items I wanted to include before Sunday. They’re not extraordinary products, but I didn’t want to pass them up.

This year was, I felt, the best we’ve had so far this decade for Easter candy diversity. It was a nice mix of classic products, new flavor twists on existing items and then some exciting new diversions. The stores seemed well stocked, better than I saw them two years ago, for example. It’s an encouraging sign for the economy and for our tummies.

Just Born is celebrating 60 years of their iconic Peeps marshmallow candies. They’ve come a long way from the early years when they came in plain yellow. Now they’re available in all the colors of the rainbow and special flavors.

To mark the anniversary, they’ve created a 60th Anniversary version in Vanilla Creme flavor. They’re the individual Peeps (not a conjoined row) and feature little sparkly flecks of multi colored candies, like edible confetti.

I prefer an uncolored Peep, as I think the artificial colorings get in the way of the pure sugary flavor. (Ghost Peeps, for that reason, are the best.)

The Vanilla Creme is a soft flavor, artificial and lacking in the complexity of a nice Tahitian vanilla pod, but still it has a soft and comforting flavor that cuts a bit of the sugary sweetness. They’re bouncy and fluffy and grainy. The little confetti add a little bit of a crunch, but mostly they dissolve quickly on the tongue.

These would be a fun version available all year round. I also heard that they’re releasing Birthday Cake Peeps which are a turquoise blue and yellow cake flavored. (Which is also a great idea for a year-round Peep.)

I admit that I bought these because of the package.

They’re just egg shaped gumballs.

Smarties Bubble Gum Eggs are made by Ford Gum in the USA with real sugar, there are no artificial sweeteners in there. I bought them for $1.49 at Cost Plus World Market, but then I saw them at the 99 Cent Only Store for a dollar.

They’re passably good. They come in different colors, but I really didn’t get a sense that they were different flavors, all vaguely and pleasantly fruity. They were soft enough to bite but have a satisfyingly crunchy shell. Each piece is a good size for chewing, two make for a little too much. The sugar takes a while to be dissolved, so there’s no bubble blowing right away. Even after the sugar is gone, they’re a little too stiff and snappy to blow a good bubble with.

At other times of the year, they’re also available as plain old gumballs. I bought them before and feel the same way about them. They’re okay. Mostly I like them because they’re pretty. I just chew the sugar out, spit out the gum and start up with a new piece.

I noticed this new Hershey’s chocolate bunny introduced in 2011 called Snapsy Snap-Apart Bunny.

The concept is that the bunny is flat instead of dimensional, and pre-sectioned to break apart easily. The version I purchased, for a buck, is 2 ounces, or about the size of a King Size bar. It comes apart into five pieces. Each is a good size for dipping into peanut butter, which was always my favorite way to eat my Easter Rabbit.

This is one of those products that solves a problem you didn’t know you had. I’m sure if this were sold on infomercials, the first part would demonstrate all the frustrating things about a sumptuous solid chocolate bunny and how hard it is to eat, how children fight over it and what it should be named.

I don’t have much to say except that it’s a rabbit shaped Hershey’s bar. It’s made from Hershey’s marginally satisfying chocolate, the same stuff in Hershey’s Kisses, Hershey’s Miniatures and those addictive little Hershey’s Candy Coated Eggs. While I don’t think Hershey’s Milk Chocolate is good chocolate, it’s mighty fine candy. It’s fudgy, grainy and tangy and comforting.


  1. Poul

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  2. Zolorn

    I believe that you are wrong. I'm sure. I can defend my position.

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