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Product review: Planters Nuts for March Madness

I’ve never seen such hype around March Madness bracket-wise. There are brackets for everything now, but many of them are food-related. What are the top cereals, the top snack foods, the top fast food. Well, here are some snacks that were sent to us to review during March Madness–Planters Five Alarm Chili Dry Roasted Peanuts, and Dry Roasted Pistachios. As the press release said, before mentioning that these are indeed a healthy and tasty snack option, “What’s a party without Mr. Peanut?”

Chef JimDry Roasted Pistachios–these nuts are roasted in the shell with sea salt added. I was expecting these to be without shells as many pistachios now are, but that’s okay. I think part of the charm of pistachios is opening the shells. It takes longer and makes you eat slower. And they were nice and easy to crack open which is always a plus. Oh, and the taste? Delicious, and a good source of fiber and protein to boot! By the way, remember when pistachios had that pinkish-red dye? You ate them and your hands looked like they were smeared with lipstick. Just thought I would throw that in to reminisce.

Chef JimFive Alarm Chili Dry Roasted Peanuts–One of the biggest complaints I have about spicy snack foods is that they are often not spicy enough. Not so with these dry roasted peanuts. They are spicy in a deceptive kind of way–you pop them in your mouth, and enjoy the peppery/spicy taste of the dry rub. Then a boot comes up from behind and kicks you square in the butt. And one of the best parts? They are dry roasted, so you don’t get oily hands afterward. The peanuts also now come in a plastic jar, and there is a little “green” sticker on it that says “84% less packaging.” Hey, more spice, less carbon footprint. But yeah, these are might tasty too.

So the Final Four starts this weekend, which means more time to enjoy March Madness party food like Planter’s nuts.

Sometimes ya gotta love the French

Sometimes the French get a bad rap. Even sometimes in our American minds, when the stereotype of skinny, stuck up wine-drinking cheese eaters conflicts with the vision of our core audience on Bullz-Eye.com, which is more chubby, loud, beer-swilling, bratwurst and Velveeta folks.

But let’s face it–the French make some damn good food, and we sometimes need to give them some love for it.

Such an instance reared its head in my world this past Saturday, as I was heading to the eye doctor. I’d never been to this doctor, and his offices are located in a strip mall here in Madison. Before I walked in, I noticed a French bakery next door, and it was hopping. So as I’m having flashing lights shone in my eyes, and puffs of air shot at my eyes, and having to read these tiny letters on a chart, and picking out glasses (by the way, when did the price of eyeglasses become akin to buying a television?)–all the while I’m thinking about that bakery and wondering what they might have. It didn’t help that my eye appointment was at noon and I was starving.

I went into the bakery and literally the women behind the counter all had thick French accents. This place was REAL. It’s called La Baguette, by the way. First I noticed some fruit tarts….something I don’t normally eat, but they looked amazing. Then I noticed these croissants…real ones, not the thin grocery store croissants. But next to those were something sort of round and croissant looking. I asked one of the ladies behind the counter what they were and she replied in her French accent, “chocolate croissant.” Are you kidding me? Count me in. I bought one of those, two plain croissants and a pear tart. Then I noticed the row of baguettes, and had to have one. It was warm and right out of the oven. Wow. I told the lady I would buy more if I stood there longer, and she said, “Please take your time!”

Needless to say, the baked goods from La Baguette were amazing. I managed to not eat all of it on the ride home, so my wife and I made a nice sandwich with the baguette, and we ate the chocolate croissant for dessert. The next morning we split the pear tart, and then while my wife ran out to an appointment, I made a fantastic breakfast sandwich using a croissant (see photo). I made some bacon, and cooked an overeasy egg and put those right on the croissant, and it was amazing. It helped that I had the perfect vehicle, but the bacon and egg came out perfectly, and that doesn’t always happen.

So hey, for right now anyway, I salute the French and their food. I also salute La Baguette, where I will return when I pick up my glasses next week.

Spring Ahead Sandwich

I’m not sure what prompted me to call this sandwich “Spring Ahead Sandwich,” but I think it has something to do with the fact that it has a hard boiled egg on it–something that may often be associated with Easter or Passover. Anyway, I intended to make this a vegetarian sandwich, until I fed my son some slices of delicious-looking salami for lunch.

So that was that. I picked up some nice long sub rolls, and sliced one open. I piled it with lettuce, salami, sliced hard boiled egg (Trader Joe’s sells them pre-peeled in a bag), sliced kalamata olives, sliced sweet/hot peppers (again, thank you Trader Joe’s for this amazing new treat!). I sprinkled some olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and dried oregano, and closed it up. And it tasted as good as it looked in this photo. Okay, so maybe I’m not the best food photog, but it still looks good for a Blackberry shot!

Anyway, give this one a shot or some variation of it. It was filling, but I did have to stop myself short of eating two of them. At least on that day I did.

Flavor Flav Opens Flavor Flav’s House of Flavor

Whew. Say that five times real fast.

Flavor Flav’s House of Flavor opened yesterday in Las Vegas. Below is the press release we received in advance of the grand opening and all I have to say is, I want to go there now! I am a huge New York Giants fan and one of the best parts of the Super Bowl post game show last month was seeing Flavor Flav hug coach Coughlin immediately afterward. But hey, this is about chicken!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Flavor Flav Now Serving Up Fame And Fried Chicken In Las Vegas: Yeah, Boy!

Las Vegas, NV, March 6, 2012 – Rapper and reality-TV star Flavor Flav announces the opening of Flavor Flav’s House of Flavor with his famous shout out of ‘Yeah, Boy.’ A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for 6:30 p.m. on March 15 at 3333 South Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas, NV. The venture recalls memories of his boyhood, when his father was in the restaurant business; the new eatery features recipes and secret spice rub mixtures developed by Flavor Flav himself over the years and during culinary school.

Flavor Flav’s House of Flavor is a celebrity-centric Las Vegas take out restaurant with a quick-service menu specializing in specialty recipe soul food. The menu includes fried chicken, fried shrimp and Flavor Flav’s signature red velvet waffle, indulgent and delicious. The restaurant is decorated with memorabilia from Flavor Flav’s multi-faceted career as a rapper hype man, reality-TV star and entertainer for audiences around the world. Patrons of the House of Flavor might also expect celebrity sightings.

Flavor Flav is an iconic figure domestically and internationally, having made appearances in over 77 countries to sold-out audiences. Most recently, fans will have spotted him starring with Elton John in the Pepsi Super Bowl commercial premiere; the Super Bowl XLVI broadcast set a record with 111.3 million viewers on February 5, 2012.

According to VH1, 7.5 million viewers tuned in for Flavor Flav’s season finale of ‘Flavor of Love 2’ – this goes down in the VH1 history books as the network’s highest rated telecast ever, propelling the episode to the #1 telecast on cable for the night and the #1 non-sports telecast in all of basic cable for the entire year.

The Flavor Flav Comedy Central Roast was the most-watched, #1 highest rated show ever among men ages 18-34. The star recently donated a signature ‘Clock’ which is displayed in the ‘Enduring Traditions’ Exhibit Hall of the Grammy® Museum. Flavor Flav’s “Clock” is also on display at both the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame Museum and the Hard Rock Café.

The Las Vegas based Flavor Flav House of Flavor Take-out Restaurant is independently owned and operated by FLAVOR FLAV and is not associated with the former Clinton, Iowa licensing deal.

Contact: Rassa Eddie
Flavor Flav’s House Of Flavor Restaurant
3333 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89169
Phone: (702)735-2869
Email: PR@flavorflavhouseofflavor.com

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Product review: Nuts.com

Since March Madness begins this week, it’s another great opportunity to break out some new and different snacks, or to make your own snacks to munch on during the games. And if you are looking for flat-out tasty and satisfying snack foods, log on to Nuts.com and see all of the great items they have on hand; order some up and then impress your friends who will no doubt want to know where these snacks came from. Trust me, I know this because the fine folks at Nuts.com were kind enough to send me some samples. Here are the items we tried:


Chef Jim
Supreme Roasted Mixed Nuts–When they say supreme, they mean SUPREME. These were some of the biggest nuts I’ve ever seen (you can insert your own joke there), and they are way tasty too with just the right amount of salt, coming in a stay fresh zip-lock bag. The assortment contains brazils, pecans, almonds, filberts, pistachios, cashews and macadamias. The best part, in addition to how gigantic the cashews, pecans and macadamias are, is that there are no peanuts. It’s also just $10.99 for a one pound bag, which is an excellent value.

Chef JimCheese Pretzels–Cheese pretzels are one of those snacks that you don’t see very often. But when I see them, I buy lots of bags of them. This is a habit I have with snack foods that often drives my wife crazy. So when I found out that Nuts.com had cheese pretzels, I pounced and asked if that could be one of the products to sample. Ah, snack food nirvana. The pretzels are crispy with the perfect amount of that bright white pretzel salt–the kind that you only see on quality pretzels. And they have that malty pretzel taste with a nice cheddar finish–positively delicious and some of the best cheese pretzels I have ever tasted. (bonus: they are natural, with no ingredients I’ve never heard of). And the price on a jumbo one pound bag is just $4.49, which means I may have to stock up.

There are many other great products available on Nuts.com, and you can check them out at these various online communities:

o Nuts.com website (http://nuts.com/)

o Nuts.com Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/nuts.com)

o Nuts.com Twitter (twitter.com/nuts)

Now that you have some ideas for snacks, go fill out your brackets and get ready for the Madness to begin!

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