Archive for the 'drinks' Category

07
Jul
11

Co Co Sala’s chocolate boutique

Walking back to the car after lunch at Ella’s, a Co Co Sala sign beckoned me and Mr. X-sXe: “Frozen Co Co.” It was 90+ degrees, and humid as a devil’s armpit. We dutifully went inside.

CoCo Sala opened a chocolate boutique adjacent to their main restaurant about a year ago. As we waited for our drink to be blended, we checked out the high-end goodies. “Chocolate-enrobed bacon,” read one sign. It brought back memories of the mac and cheese I’d had here a couple years ago, which came with a piece of said bacon. Although a little too chewy, it actually went well with the mac.

Finally, the frozen “co co” emerged. It’s made with ganache (chocolate + cream), ice, and chocolate shavings. Liquefied brownie meets Frappuccino. Delicious, yes. But if you’re looking for something light and refreshing on a hot summer day, this isn’t it.

While inside, Mr. X-sXe was taken by the fetching display of individual chocolates. Next thing you know, we walk out with a box of 4 for $10. At that price, it almost hurts to eat them. Our flavors were pistachio, lemon, co cojito, and banana ginger. While they were all good, I can only get so excited about filled chocolates. Doesn’t matter how high end they are—they always bring back memories of the Whitman’s samplers we’d get at the drugstore as kids (“I want the chocolate-covered cherry!”). Damn you for ruining filled chocolates for me, Whitman’s.

23
Feb
11

Orange Julius, then and now

My pre-teen years were spent in New York state, about an hour outside NYC. Like most middle Americans, my family’s default distraction was the local mall. And that meant one thing: with 99.9% certainty, we’d be stopping at Orange Julius.

Today we have Jamba Juice, Robeks, Smoothie King, etc., but back in the early 80s, Orange Julius was it. This was before “smoothie” became part of the national lexicon a decade later—or as Orange Julius called them, “fruit drinks.”

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, an Orange Julius was originally fruit juice, ice cubes, milk, sugar, and flavoring, frothed up in a blender. These days they offer premium smoothies, “boosts,” and other variations on the theme.

Orange Julius, Montgomery Mall

As a kid, the great thing about Orange Julius was that I could get my sugar on in the guise of a vaguely healthy concoction. I seriously doubt my parents had any inkling how much sugar was lurking in those drinks. Of course, this was back before sugar, salt, and carbs were officially evil.

The chain has since been purchased by Dairy Queen, so consider it the KFC-Taco Bell of frozen treats. For kicks, I tried the Strawberry Julius recently at Montgomery Mall, which tasted as I remembered it. But it’s now too much for my adult taste buds–which screamed in protest, “too sweet!” Curiously, the strawberry flavor isn’t listed on their nutritional chart. The omission makes me assume the worst: that the sugar content is even higher than that of the Strawberry Lemonade Julius, at 51 grams per 16 ounces. Pure speculation, but I shudder to think.

16
Jan
11

Trader Joe’s Peppermint Hot Chocolate

I bought this as a hostess gift one year and it got rave reviews, so I tossed it into my cart on a December trip to Trader Joe’s. It was an impulse buy, one I’d wished I’d left in the candy aisle right before the registers, aka the graveyard of reconsidered purchases.

Trader Joe’s products are usually a decent value, but this is $4.99 for 8 oz, and we only got 4 servings out of it. By comparison, a 12 oz bag of Ghiradelli chocolate chips is less than $3 at Target, and goes a lot farther when making hot chocolate. You don’t get the nicely designed tin or peppermint zing, but you do get a richer chocolate flavor (and you can always stick a Starlight mint in it, to similar effect). Or if you’re a food hoarder like me and stockpiled TJ’s Minty Mallows, that does the trick too.

Lactose-intolerant folks, be warned: this TJ’s product contains nonfat milk powder.

08
Oct
10

Pie’s rib-stickin’ shoofly pie recipe in the Runcible Spoon

Need a vegan-friendly shoofly pie recipe? Wondering what the heck shoofly pie is? Find out in the beautiful new issue of The Runcible Spoon. Malaka and Claire have put together a bunch of seasonal recipes that’ll keep you warm like that cozy, pilled-up sweater you unearthed from the closet last week.

Click to read it in all its digital format glory.

25
Apr
10

Salted plum drink from Pho Nam, Rockville

We had a hankering for pho yesterday, and there’s nothing better with a hot, steaming bowl of pho than a Vietnamese drink like this one. Although it looks like some kind of science experiment, don’t be afraid. That’s just a salted dried plum plunked into a sweet/sour/salty drink. Not salty enough to be off-putting, but just salty enough to bring out the sweetness.

As long as you’re not averse to sipping up floaty bits in your drink, you’ll probably dig it.

Pho Nam, (240) 632-9500

15942 Shady Grove Rd

Gaithersburg, MD 20877