Friday, June 14, 2019

Skinny Pop Popcorn

Update Review 2019

As I mentioned in my review of the chocolate variety, Skinny Pop is really not my style of popcorn, as, uh, its too healthy.  But I had a chance to try a few more flavors, so I gave it another chance.

Conclusion?  Yup, still bo-ring.
Original.
First up, the "Original", just salted popcorn.  This was as basic as popcorn gets, but, nicely popped, good salt level?  Not sure why anyone would feel the need to actually purchase this though.
White Cheddar.
"Guilt-free snacking with a dairy-free white cheddar flavor."

Next I tried to get some flavor by opting for a cheesy variety.

Skinny Pop makes two different cheddar popcorn flavors.  One is "Aged White Cheddar", with a "Real Cheese" label prominently displayed on the bag.  The other is "White Cheddar".  It ... is dairy free.  Dairy free cheese?

A quick glance at the ingredients doesn't help that much ... "non-dairy cheddar flavor" and rice flour are added, along with the expected oil and salt, but, what is that, exactly?

It turns out to be, well, vaguely very mild cheddar flavored something.  The salt flavor was stronger than the cheddar, and I'm pretty sure that if you didn't tell me the popcorn was supposed to be cheddar, I likely would have not suspected it.

It was fine, light popcorn, but I go for cheesier varieties.

Original Review, March 2017

Healthy snacks?  Yup, something I'm always in the market for, given how much I like to snack.  And popcorn?  My favorite.  So I basically try any new popcorn I discover.

Skinny Pop is another line of healthy popcorn, non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, preservative free, no artificial flavors, etc, etc.  They use sunflower oil.  They produce 6 flavors of popcorn, savory original, sea salt & pepper, white cheddar, and jalapeño, and sweet "naturally sweet" and dusted dark chocolate.
Dusted Dark Chocolate.
"Guilt-free snacking with just the right amount of dark chocolate flavor."

I went for the dark chocolate flavor, and was pretty disappointed when I opened the bag.  It was ... well, dusted with cocoa powder, not covered in chocolate.  Which, to be fair, is exactly what they said it would be.  But I wanted dessert popcorn, not healthy snack popcorn.

Once I got over my initial visual disappointment, I tried a bite.  It was a bit strange, really.  Just a touch of cocoa flavor on otherwise buttery popcorn.  Salty, but not sweet.  And chocolately?  It was ok, but, the flavors just were not very intense.  Meh.  I threw it in the freezer.

The freezer did manage to crisp it up a bit, but, the flavor still never intensified.  If you want a very light, very subtle, chocolate experience, then perhaps this is for you, but for me, it just wasn't enough.
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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Anita - La Mamma del Gelato, Sydney

La Mamma del Gelato.  Anita.  Gelato by Mama Anita.  I'm not entirely sure what the locals actually call this place.  I just know that in Sydney, there is plenty of competition for quality gelato, and Anita is among the top.
La Mamma?
The story behind Anita is all about family, a lady who liked to make frozen treats for friends and family, using her own housemade jams that were "famous" in their own right.  Her son started selling it, first at a local market, and then at a parlour, and now, a chain.

Gelato is the focus, with 150 kinds offered on rotation, including some dairy free sorbets, lower fat and lower sugar options too.  All use very premium mix-ins.  They also make frozen yogurt, soft serve, with an incredible array of toppings, mostly homemade as well.

As an ice cream fan, it didn't take me long to seek out Anita, although, to be honest, it was only about halfway down my list, since Sydney has so many amazing soft serve places, and that is more my style.

I visited on a hot day in Sydney.  Quick summary?  I'll be back!  Many, many times. (And, already did return!)
Froyo Victory #1. February 2019.
My first visit was in February.  I ... was overwhelmed by the experience.

Because, OMG, the toppings.

That is what I have to say about the experience.  The toppings, wowzer.  Incredible.  More on this soon.

I also tried several flavors of gelato, and agree, it is among the best in Sydney.
Froyo #2: March 2019.
When I returned to Sydney the very next month, in March, Anita was near the top of my list of places to return to.  I didn't make it early in my trip, but my last Sunday, after a rainy Saturday spent inside working, the sun came out, the temperature rose to 80°, and I made my way to Anita.

I thought I might get gelato, to try something different, and I did try a couple flavors and they were great, but, again, those toppings.  I had no choice.  I had to go for froyo.

Setting

I visited the location in Sydney in Chippendale, although they also have a location near Bondi beach.
Gelato Counter.
The setup is fairly standard, long counter with gelato, long line of folks waiting to order, served one by one.  I found out later that if you want yogurt, you can actually just go to the other side.

There is seating both inside and out on the sidewalk, although I always choose to go sit in the park in the sun.  The park is literally right across the street, a single lane low traffic street, so fairly ideal for me, I get my sun, *and* I can dash back inside for my unlimited topping refills.  Yeah, more on that soon.

Gelato

Anita is mostly known for the gelato, for both the quality, and the flavor variety.  Gelato takes up the majority of the shop space, with stunning displays.

Of course they allow samples, which nearly every person entering indulged in.  I was impressed with all the flavors I tried, the texture and consistency was just perfect, so very creamy.
Salted Cashew / White Chocolate & Hazelnut / Chocolate Cheesecake / Mascarpone, Ricotta, & Strawberry (back row)
Pistachio / Belgian waffle & Dulce de Leche / Pavlova & Mix Berry / Cookieman (front row).
The gelato lineup is very visually appealing.  I like how the front row is stacked higher, garnished with drizzles, more elaborate.  The back row is cleaner lines, but no less appealing flavors.

The first section had the best sounding flavors.  I wanted to try them all.  The most popular flavor is "Cookieman", with chocolate, hazelnuts, biscuits and swirls of meringue, but I heard people ordering just about every flavor.  And of course, you could sample.

From this section, I managed to narrow my choices down to only 2 to try:
  • Belgian waffle & Dulce de Leche: The first one I tried.  I was impressed with the creamy texture, but I didn't really know what was "waffle" about it, no chunks of waffle, no flavor of waffle.  It was very sweet from the dulce de leche well integrated throughout.  Too sweet for me.
  • Cookieman: This was good.  It had a lot going on inside, obviously.  I loved all the crunch, the chocolate, the nuts, etc.  But really, it is what inspired me that while the gelato was good, I really do adore mix-ins, and thus, I should get something with toppings.
My second visit, this section had a bunch of new flavors (and, some repeats of course):
  • Panna Cotta & Lotus Cream: I really liked this flavor.  The lotus was a fascinating flavor, subtle, slightly floral almost.  I was fascinated by the flavor, and I really enjoyed it.  I would be happy getting a cone of this.
White Chocolate & Pistachio Cream / Kinder Bueno / Ferror Rocher / Chestnut & Hazelnut Cream.  (back row).
Vanilla Madagaskar / Chocolate with Almonds & Caramel / Oreo Cookies / Chocolate (front row).
I tried only one from here, since I had decided against gelato, but I was curious about the chestnut and hazelnut cream too ...
  • White Chocolate & Pistachio Cream: I sometimes adore pistachio gelato, and I picked this over the simple pistachio as it had a great layer of pistachio cream on top.  I was again impressed with the texture, and the flavors were strong.  It was good.
Rafello / (unsure) / (unsure)  (back row)
Dark Chocolate (dairy free) / Coconut / Lemon & Fresh Mint / Watermelon & Fresh Mint (front row).
The next section of flavors was far more boring to me, which I was glad, as there were too many choices as it was.

The lemon & fresh mint was very popular, people seemed to appreciate a refreshing option.
Peanut Butter & Cheesecake / Black Forest / Salted caramel XX / Sugar Free Hazelnut / Coffee Sugar Free (back row)
Strawberry & banana / Raspberry (front row).
In this section, I was interested in the peanut butter cheesecake flavor, but again, I had decided on froyo, so I didn't want to be greedy.  Black Forest looked particularly good too.

On my second visit, the peanut butter option was chocolate peanut butter, and I tried it. It was pretty fantastic, with thick chocolate ganache on top, creamy peanut butter, and just tons of flavor.  Soooo rich.  Very, very good.

It was nice that they had sugar free options as well.

Frozen Yogurt & Toppings

While the majority of the space is filled with gelato, and 90% of people were getting gelato, I knew, from my research, that Anita offered something else too.

Frozen yogurt.  Froyo.  Plain, soft serve frozen yogurt.  Now, why would I get frozen yogurt, when I'm saying the gelato was so good?  And particularly, why only when they make one base flavor of frozen yogurt?

Because, toppings.  Oh the toppings.

The model at Anita is not something I've seen before.  Unlimited toppings (and bottommsings).  With refills.

It is not self-serve, but they explain that they'll put toppings on bottom, then the soft serve, then more toppings. And, as long as you are there and have more yogurt, you can come back for more.  More of whatever, it doesn't need to be the same thing you had previously.

Um, ok, awesome.

And the toppings.  OMG.  The best topping lineup I've ever seen anywhere in my life.  Mostly all housemade.  Seriously high quality.

I'm not sure if you could, or would want to, add these toppings to gelato.  The pricing is such that for gelato you pick a # of scoops, and for frozen yogurt, you pick a size.  No topping price listed, and its clearly intended for the yogurt.

I adored the toppings.

Side note: On my first visit, they also had soft serve acai sorbet, which follows the frozen yogurt model as well, but they didn't have it on my second visit, much to the dismay of the group behind me.
Toppings, Part 1: Syrups / Sauces / Nuts / Fruit / Chocolate.
I won't enumerate all the toppings.  There were too many.

The first section contained squirt bottles of syrups, ranging from sour cherry to peanut butter, with a slew of other fruity or sweet options along the way, 8 total options.

Normally I'd be into the syrups, but there was something better next: sauces.  9 choices here, including Cookieman sauce (milk chocolate with hazelnuts, meringue, etc), plus several each with white, milk, or dark chocolate bases, some with nuts, others with coconut, biscuits, etc.  And a cookie butter option of course.

Then we get into nuts!  But not just boring sliced nuts.  Nope, candied nuts (almonds or cashews), even whole macadamias.  These are not cheap boring nuts.  The candied ones are candied in house.

The fruits looked incredibly vibrant and fresh, including strawberries, mango, kiwi, pineapple, watermelon, etc.

Then, chocolate based things, white or dark chocolate candies, and even chunks of both milk chocolate and white chocolate Tim Tams.

But this was just the first section.
More Toppings! Dried Fruit / Candy / Nuts / Crunch.
Next up was more standard toppings, including white chocolate, milk chocolate, or dark chocolate chips, all kinds of candy including gummy candy, chewy candy, chocolate candies, jelly beans.

Dried fruit, granola, and non-candied nuts for the healthy types.  Cereal, crunchy things, crumbles of different varieties.  Fruity coulis and jams.

Something for everyone here.
Small Frozen Yogurt with
Cookieman Sauce White Chocolate, Coconut and Peanuts Sauce /
Fresh Mango / Candied Walnuts / Candied Almonds / 100s & 1000s (top)
Fresh Mango / Fresh Kiwi / Candied Walnuts / Candied Almonds / White Chocolate Freckles (bottom).
$8. (February).
Um.  Yeah.  This was a small.  A SMALL.  The smallest size.  Oh, wow.

I felt a bit like a kid in a candy store.  Sure, at Pinkberry they say "as many toppings as fit", but they only really give you ~3 things, and they look annoyed as they ask what you'd like.  Here, my server said, "Ok, what do you want on bottom?  I'll put toppings on top too, but let's start with the bottom."  I asked for mango and kiwi, and she was like "and what else?  Pick as much as you want!".  So I added both types of candied nuts to add, uh, protein, and crunch.  And some white chocolate freckles, cuz they looked fun.

Then she went and filled it up with frozen yogurt.  My eyes went wide, I'm sure.  I have no idea what the medium or large would be like!

"Now what would you like? Pick as much as you want!"  I started with sauces, asking for Cookieman on one side, since every review I read raved about it, and also selecting the white chocolate coconut because I wanted something sweet and creamy to balance the tart frozen yogurt.  The mango looked so good, I asked for more of that too.  And more of the candied nuts, saying, "pick your favorite of the candied nuts", and she said they were both good, so she added both kinds.  I also opted for 100s & 1000s, because, come on, it needed to look a bit more ridiculous, right?

She offered again, "and what else?"  I declined more at this point, as it looked pretty full and indulgent.  "Its you first time right?", she asked.  When I responded affirmatively, she eagerly told me that I could keep coming back up for more toppings as I ran out.

Mind blown, I handed over my $8, and went outside to devour.

The yogurt base was good, but it is frozen yogurt, so not as creamy and rich as soft serve ice cream, and a bit tart.  But, good enough frozen yogurt.

And yes, I *could* taste it under all the toppings.  I loved most of my toppings, but I'd clearly change some things next time.

I was not as in love with the Cookieman as the masses seem to be.  It was good, don't get me wrong, but the meringue crunch just wasn't really for me.  And I'm less excited about chocolate-hazelnut that most it seems (sorry, Nutella).  I still finished all the sauce, but, I'd pick something else next time.

The white chocolate coconut sauce was sweet, creamy, and served its purpose, but was fairly easily lost among everything else on there.  I'd consider getting it again, but likely would try something else.

The fresh fruit was incredible.  The mango and kiwi were soooo ripe, so juicy, so fresh.  Clearly high quality fruit.  I adored the fruit.  Next time, more fruit.

The candied almonds I did like quite a bit, the crunch factor was awesome, and they were heavily candied, which got to be a bit much with all my other toppings, but that isn't their fault.  I'd get these again.

The candied cashews however weren't as successful.  I think this is just me and my random disliking of cashews that seems to happen from time to time.  I never knew when it will strike.

The white chocolate freckles were totally unnecessary, just sweet lower end confection, hiding in the base.  I'd skip those in the future.  Of course I loved the 100s & 1000s.
#ooph.
I'd like to say that I had restraint and didn't finish that monster.  Particularly given that I might have had another ice cream earlier in the afternoon (shh!).  But.  I finished every. last. bite.  At least I didn't go back for more toppings?

I'd definitely get the frozen yogurt again, but, I have some modifications to make.

I'd still get 1-2 sauces (or maybe syrups), but I'd pick different ones.  Absolutely I'd get tons of fresh fruit on bottom and top.  Kiwi, mango, strawberry for sure.  And I'd go back for refills of those.

I like having crunch, so the candied almonds were nice, but I think I'd go for macadamias next time, not candied.  With the sauces, no need for the extra sugar toppings.  I might add white chocolate chips or some of the other crunchy toppings though, for more texture.

Or maybe I'd get gelato?
Small Frozen Yogurt with:
 Snickers Sauce / White Chocolate, Pecans and Walnuts Sauce / Sour Cherry Syrup /
Fresh Mango / Fresh Kiwi / Whole Macadamias / Pecan Crunch /  100s & 1000s (top)
Fresh Mango / Fresh Kiwi / Whole Macadamias / Hazelnut Crumbles (bottom).
$8. (March).
My next visit, I read my notes, and went prepared to make better decisions.

I still opted for two sauces, different ones this time, one on each side, one chocolate based, one white based, and, at last minute, added a syrup drizzle too.

I still opted for fresh fruit on top and bottom, as that was clearly a highlight, and 100s & 1000s because I can't resist.  I swapped over to macadamias instead of candied nuts, and added a couple random crunchy toppings (hazelnut crunch on bottom, pecan crunch on top) ... whatever those were.

This creation was just as epic and ridiculous and overwhelming as my previous.  And, yes, more successful.

The white chocolate pecan sauce I could taste this time, unlike the white chocolate coconut from last time, but I found myself not caring for it that much - it was very sweet, and the sweetness didn't compliment the tart style of yogurt very well.  I wouldn't get it again.

The Snickers sauce was great though, crazy rich, thick, chocolately sauce.  When I later added strawberries, it went great with them, and the macadamias too.  I'd get this again, or try more chocolate based sauces ...

The sour cherry syrup was fine, but a touch too sweet, I think mostly due to the white chocolate sauce.  I might get it again, but likely would try another drizzle ... perhaps the mango coulis? Or peanut butter?

The kiwi and mango were again fabulous, on both top and bottom, so fresh, so ripe, so very good.  They were the exact right match for the tart style yogurt.

The macadamias were a major improvement over the candied nuts.  I was impressed by how many nuts they gave, both on the bottom and then perched all around the outside.  Macadamias are premium nuts, and they certainly did not skimp.  And of course, I could add more if I ran out.   They provided more than just a slight crunch, since whole nuts, and were a great flavor combo with both the mango and kiwi.  I'd definitely keep these again.

And finally, the pecan crunch on top and the hazelnut crunch on bottom.  I wasn't really sure what these were, they looked a bit like cereal, but crushed, so I didn't even pay attention to them on my first visit, but this time I asked, and was told they were the nut crunches.  But it clearly wasn't just crushed nuts.  I'm still confused as to what exactly these were, and I didn't taste them much given everything else in here.  Probably not worth getting, although  maybe they provided a bit of texture?
Refill! Fresh Strawberry & Kiwi.
This time, I went back for a refill.  Of fruit only.  

The kiwi was so fabulous that I got more, and I decided to try the strawberries too.  Both were ripe, fruity, fabulous.  Seriously such good fruit.

At this point my creation was fairly melty, and the fresh fruit, crunchy macadamias, thick chocolate Snicker's sauce, and melty froyo was fairly glorious.  I couldn't stop eating it.
Yeah, Oops?
Clearly.

I did actually go with a different plan.  I brought a travel freezer mug.  My plan was to get a froyo, eat one batch of toppings and froyo, get refills, eat just a little more, get refills, and *save the rest for later*.  But ... I couldn't stop!  I was actually really, really full, but I loved it so much.

So, next time.  What would I do differently?

I might consider not getting fruit in the bottom to start.  If I can keep adding it on top as long as I want, not really worth using up the space in the cup early on?  Then I can get more yogurt?  Maybe?  But if I did get fruit in the bottom, I'd get a sauce down there too I think.  Or maybe add sauce with refills?  The sauce and fruit are just so good together.

But I'd certainly get kiwi, mango, and strawberry.  No hesitation.  Same with the macadamias.  No question.  I'd get sauces, again trying two more, probably chocolate based this time?  Maybe some crushed non-candied nuts?  Maybe the sour cherries, as everyone else ordering froyo around me was getting them (including the lady before me, who got only the cherries, nothing else!).  Maybe some chips for crunch? 

Or maybe ... gelato?  I must just keep returning ...

La Mamma del Gelato Anita Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

QualiTea

I've been going through a bubble tea phase. 

Ok, not even bubble tea exactly, as I often don't have pearls, or even tea in the base.  But you know what I mean.  I blame my time in Sydney, where I experienced some really phenomenal drinks (hello Bubble Nini Tea!) - they've taken this space to a very different level than the Bay Area, likely due to the warmer climate and closer proximity to Asian (influences, ingredients, etc).

Anyway, I still keep exploring options in San Francisco, and recently attended an event with drinks from QualiTea.  I eagerly grabbed one.

So, caveats.  I haven't been to QualiTea myself (it is located in the Castro though, if you want to seek it out).  And I didn't order my drink, so I couldn't customize it as I'd like.  That said, I enjoyed it, recognized the quality, and would love to visit sometime.  They offer all your standard fresh fruit teas, milk teas, smoothies, etc, with mix-ins.
Taro Kisses + Boba. $4.95 +$0.50.
"Taro fresh milk tea with taro chunks."

I had this at an event where I didn't order it, so it was 100% sweet (I'd certainly opt for less sweet), it had regular black boba (I'd go for aloe jelly, egg pudding, or something like that instead), it used non-dairy cream (I'd go for the soy option), and it had no cheese mousse cream on top.  So, not quite what I'd pick.  But still, I love taro, so, I wasn't going to pass it over.

That said, it was great!

The taro milk tea was sweeter than I'd prefer, but, very creamy and it had a nice taro flavor.  I think the base is made with a powder, but it didn't seem chalky in any way.  It did use black tea, but I didn't taste much tea.  Good classic taro milk tea base.

They also make a taro smoothie that I'd love to try.
Fresh Taro!
What made the drink though was the plentiful mashed fresh taro at the base.  It was soft, and tasted, well, like taro?  I really liked the fresh taro, and gleefully extracted it by the spoonful.  It was nice to have it in this form, rather than cubes, as well.

The regular tapioca balls were actually pretty good, soft but not mushy, decent quantity but not overwhelming.

Overall, a lovely taro milk tea, with quality mix-ins.  I'll certainly seek it out again.
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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Air France Lounge, Boston Logan Airport

The Air France lounge in Boston Logan airport located in Terminal E, right near gate 4.  This is the international terminal, but it is accessible airside from Terminal C, and is a Priority Pass lounge.  Protip: if you are flying out of Terminal C, depending on your gate, it may be the closest Priority Pass lounge (rather than The Lounge, in Terminal C across from Gate 19).

I only cruised through quickly as my JetBlue flight at a nearby gate was delayed, but I'll return another time intentionally, as it was generally better than The Lounge (although, The Lounge certainly had better snacks and shockingly good clam chowder).

This is only the second Air France lounge I've ever visited, the first was in SFO.  The Boston location is considerably better than the San Francisco version, in nearly every aspect: size, seating options, and cuisine.

Setting

The lounge felt quite spacious.  Perhaps because it was 3pm, and there were no international flights taking off around that time, so it was nearly empty, but also, it really just was a decently large lounge.

I didn't get photos of all sections, but there was a wide variety of seating styles.  No showers or kids areas that I saw.
Seating.
Each arm chair had a side table, which is convenient, but these didn't look particularly comfortable.
More Seating.
The other seating area was far more appealing, with wider, more plush looking chairs, power outlets, and a section with a high counter and stools, which is where I set up, so I could stand - I'd be sitting for long enough soon!

Food & Drinks

The food lineup was fairly standard for an International lounge of this caliber - a few snacks, generic salad, sandwiches, soup, and one hot item.  I didn't try much since I was just there to scope it out, since I had a little extra time due to a flight delay in Terminal C.  
Drinks.
Everything is self-serve, including the bar.  It is a small bar with the basics, along with a couple wines, beer, soft drinks, and fruit juices in the coolers below.  The San Francisco lounge had a much more elaborate setup, at least with the mixers.

I tried a red wine (Côtes du Rhône), and it was fine, but not memorable.

This area also had cheese cubes and snack mixes.
Bread and Snacks.
The snack jars were certainly different from any other lounge I've visited, a bit clunky to use, with serving spoons on top, and real lids.  They were unlabeled, but seemed to be salted peanuts, Chex mix, and dates.

I tried the Chex mix, since I love snack mixes, but it was just standard brand name Chex mix, never as flavorful or good as my mother's version.  Peanuts seem like an odd choice if you are going to offer only one nut, just due to the severity of allergies, and dates were entirely random ...

Next to the snacks were baguettes (so French!), along with little packets of butter and Smucker's jam.   This mostly made me sad, because, I saw that they were appealing to French desires, but, um, I'm certain this bread was nothing like that in France, and the butter certainly was not ...
Soup Station.
The lounge is large enough that things are really spread out.  On a busy day, I'm sure this helps ease congestion.

This station, all on its own on the side of the lounge, had two kinds of soup: miso and chicken noodle, along with toppings.  Next to it was also a hot water dispenser with Cup of Noodles cartons lined up.  The few kids in the lounge seemed quite pleased with that option.
Salad Bar.
The salad bar had a small assortment of fresh veggies (baby carrots, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes), a base of mixed greens, some cut fruit, olives, cooked baby beets, little cornichons, seaweed salad, cole slaw, and some white unlabeled dip (or maybe dressing?)

I tried the seaweed salad - it was fine, standard, just like in SF, great to pair with the miso soup if you are going for Asian cuisine I guess?  I also got a big scoop of the slaw, excited to see slaw, but I didn't like it at all, it was very overdressed, and the flavor wasn't anything special.
Sandwiches.
Sandwich options were turkey or ham and swiss (with butter, on baguette of course!).
Hot Entree.
The hot dish wasn't labelled, but it seemed to be a beef stir fry, with steamed white rice on the side.  It actually didn't look that bad.
Croissants / Waffles.
Next to the hot entree, even though it was 3pm, was ... croissants and waffles.  Cold waffles.  At least they had syrup on the side?

I did not try these.  This seemed to be the only baked goods, no actual desserts were offered.
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Friday, June 07, 2019

Noosa Yoghurt

Update Reviews, 2017 & 2018

More Noosa reviews, my old favorite yogurt brand in the US.  Including their more recent product line: Noosa Mates!

For previous reviews, see my original here, or last updates here.

Another month, another new Noosa flavor!  That is what it seems like sometimes.  Every time I check in on Noosa, they seem to have another new flavor.  And I like to try them all.
Strawberry.
"You’ve had the rest, now try the berry best. our take on this quintessential yoghurt flavor is made with real strawberries, whole milk and a touch of pure wildflower honey for bushels of flavor."

I somehow never tried one of Noosa's most simple flavors before: strawberry.  I tried, but didn't care for, the strawberry rhubarb, but never just plain strawberry.  Not sure how I missed this one.

It was fine.  The yogurt the same rich creamy Noosa like the others.  The strawberry layer, as always, in the bottom, was sweet, fruity, and flavorful.  Not just mush, not like generic "pie filling in a can", but it actually closely resembled my mom's own homemade jam.  I liked it.  

This flavor was great with some crumbled peanuts on top too, a la PB&J!
Apple.
"Apple pie à la yoghurt.  We slowly cook crisp Granny Smith apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves in a large kettle until they magically meld into what can only be described as granny’s apple pie without the crust. It’s then fittingly topped with our rich, creamy honey yoghurt."

There are many Noosa flavors that scream out "dessert!" to me, like lemon and salted caramel, and, given how creamy and rich Noosa yogurt is, they really can almost pass as dessert, and those are my favorites.  So, even though I don't really like apple pie, this one sounded like dessert, so I had to try it.

And ... it was great!  Same fantastic Noosa base yogurt, rich, creamy, slightly sweet.  The apple component was little cubes of apple in spiced puree.  The spicing was strong, but not in a bad way.  It did, indeed, taste like apple pie ... if your apples in your pie were cubed rather than sliced.  The apple wasn't mushy, not too firm.  For apple compote, it really wasn't bad.  And like I said, apple isn't really one of my favorites.

Overall, this was very good, and I enjoyed it.  If you like apple pie in particular, go for this one.
Honey.
"It’s easy to comb through a tub of the lightly-sweetened deliciousness that is honey noosa. our tart and creamy yoghurt, paired with a touch of the golden stuff, is the tasty foundation to all of our fruit flavors and will make anyone a bee-liever."

Noosa tricked me.  They have two flavors with the same color lid!  I was rushing around the grocery store, and grabbed the yellow lid, assuming it was lemon, my favorite, and one I've reviewed many times.  And ... it wasn't.  It was honey.

I didn't realize this however until I opened it the next morning, and went to look for the lemon layer.  It was missing.  In fact, there was no layer of any kind.  Homogenous yogurt.  What?  That isn't how Noosa makes yogurt ...

I was confused, and actually, assumed manufacturing error.  Did they forget the lemon layer?  And then I re-read the label.  Honey.  Doh.

But still, it is Noosa, so I swallowed my disappointment, and got ready to be excited about trying a new flavor.

As I said, there was no separate layer.  Unlike every other Noosa flavor (besides probably vanilla and plain?  I've never had those).  The yogurt was creamy and thick as always, slightly tart, slightly sweet.  I can't say I tasted honey exactly, but, it certainly was sweeter than plain yogurt.

I wasn't a big fan of this, besides the consistency of the yogurt.

Noosa Mates

Well, Noosa got more fun.  They created "mates", flavored yogurt paired with toppings to mix in.  Some of the flavors sound awesome, like caramel chocolate pecan (caramel yogurt, toasted pecans, Guittard chocolate, and pretzel bits to mix in), or coffee chocolate almond (coffee yogurt made with cold brew, with almonds, Guittard chocolate, and coffee crunch).
Noosa Mates: Packaging.
The portions are individual servings, larger than their regular single serves though, with a separate top clear container showing off the mix-ins.
Honey Cranberry Almond.
"Breakfast isn’t just the most important meal of the day, it’s also our favorite. A combination of granola, cranberries, roasted almonds and pepitas plucked straight from the breakfast bowl and placed on top our creamy honey noosa you can enjoy anytime of the day." 

Each compartment is individually sealed.

I would have picked one of the more fun flavors, but, these were being given out for free on the street, so, I had no choice, and I was still excited to try it.
Noosa Mates: Honey Yogurt.
The yogurt was standard, rich, thick, creamy Noosa, with a pleasant sweetness of honey.
Cranberry Almond Granola Topping.
The topping sounded pretty boring, but I actually really liked it.

Sweet crispy bits of granola with oats, sunflower seeds, amaranth, millet, quinoa, and chia hiding in there.  Nice cinnamon flavor to the granola too.  Flakes of toasted almonds.  Crunchy pepitas.  I wasn't into the cranberries, a bit too hard, but I rarely like dried cranberries.

The topping ingredients all combined together nicely, complimentary flavors, and they were indeed nice to mix in with the yogurt.  I opted to just make "perfect bites" rather than mixing in directly, so I would take a spoonful of yogurt and then load it up with granola.  I was sadden by the portion of topping though, not nearly sufficient for this style of eating.

Overall though, quite tasty and satisfying.
Noosa Mates: Coconut Almond Chocolate.
"No shirt. No shoes. Only a spoon is required to enjoy this tropical island treat. Toasted coconut, almond slivers and Guittard Chocolate chips are set adrift upon our creamy coconut yoghurt. So kick back and lose yourself in our tub."

The base for this one was the coconut yogurt, which I've reviewed before.
Coconut Almond Chocolate Topping.
The topping to this sounded slightly better - sliced almonds like the previous one, but I'll take toasted coconut and chocolate over granola and cranberries any day.

And, much like the previous flavor, I loved this topping too, even though it sounded pretty simple.

The chocolate chips were Guittard chocolate, dark, high quality, plentiful.  An excuse to eat chocolate? Works for me.

The coconut was my favorite though, not just toasted, but somewhat candied almost.  Sweet and crunchy.  I really enjoyed it.

I liked the composed yogurt + toppings, and I like Noosa yogurt in general, but honestly, I like the toppings enough as munchies that I'd buy those individually too!  Or, I wish they gave more  - what is provided is exactly the right amount for a serving, uh, I just want more extra!

Update Reviews, November 2016

Noosa.  My favorite store brand yogurt, as I've reviewed before, because it is basically dessert.  While not all flavors are amazing, the salted caramel and lemon have long been my favorites.  But Noosa continues to introduce new flavors, and I continue to try them all, no matter how strange they sound.  This batch of flavors were all interesting, and the yogurt was still the same creamy, rich noosa I love, but, none of the new flavors did it for me.  I'm glad I've tried more, but, I'm going back to my old faves.
Pumpkin.
“The crisp days of fall call for the smooth taste of noosa, with our own spin on traditional pumpkin pie. This seasonal noosa will carve out a place in your heart with the warm, rich spices in our pumpkin puree."

I was hoping that this would be like pumpkin pie.  With creamy noosa on top.  Creamy pumpkin pie.  Mmmm.

It ... wasn't.  Sure, the yogurt was standard creamy, rich noosa and I liked the yogurt itself.  But the pumpkin puree layer was ... just orange pudding?  It didn't taste like pumpkin, and it certainly didn't have the spices of pumpkin pie (not that it claimed to).  It was very bland.

Overall, the yogurt was fine, but, the pumpkin was a disappointment.
Coconut.
"Sometimes we like contrast, and other times we crave a single intensity. Smooth, creamy coconut mixed with smooth, creamy noosa yoghurt is perfect for those times. Every luxurious spoonful of real shredded coconut is yum in every way."

As always, the yogurt was creamy and rather decadent, but fairly plain (although sweet) on its own.  Unlike most other Noosa flavors with very visible fruit puree layers though, this one was almost entirely white.  Because, well, coconut.

The coconut layer was, as always, located on the bottom/side of the container, available for me to mix in as I desired.  It was a bit hard to find though, since the colors were so similar.  The coconut layer was a puree of sorts, made from coconut, coconut cream, sweetened condensed milk, and lots of sugar.  It was basically just tons of shredded coconut, in a thickish sweet sauce.  It reminded me of German chocolate cake filling, just, sans any chocolate.  It was quite sweet since it was considerably sweetened, which was just a bit odd with the coconut flavor.  It also didn't taste *that* coconuty, although it was clearly made of shredded coconut.  The texture of all the shredded coconut was a bit off putting.

Overall, this was ok, but, you certainly have to like shredded coconut and sweet.  I wanted to add cocoa powder, or chocolate sauce, or chocolate chips, or something and turn it into a German chocolate cake.
Bhakti Chai.
"Close your eyes and visualize your favorite spoon. Now, picture yourself digging into a creamy yoghurt blend of chai tea and masala spices from our favorite local chai company: Bhakti. There’s only one way to describe it. Namastasty."

Well, hmm.  This isn't a combination I would have thought of, or, honestly, picked out on the street.  But Ojan brought it to me to try out, as he knows I love trying new Noosa flavors.

It was ... interesting.  The yogurt was thick, rich, creamy, delightful Noosa yogurt as always.  And the chai?  Well ... it was kinda watery, sweet, spiced syrup that I don't entirely want with my yogurt.  Unlike most Noosa, there seemed to be some on top too, not just on the bottom as is standard.  I wonder if that is because it is more watery than other flavors, so it seeped up the sides?

Anyway, it was Chai, for sure.  And it was well spiced.  Just not really my thing.

[ no photo ]
Blackberry Serrano.

"Rob (our co-founder) has a new favorite flavor: this one. Go ahead. Dip your spoon into our marionberry blackberry and serrano chili noosa. It’s sweet, then spicy, then creamy, then gone."

Ojan picked this one up for himself.  I didn't take a photo, as it was his yogurt.  But I did steal a bite.

It was too crazy for me not to review.  Blackberry.  Serrano.  Yes, chili pepper.  In yogurt.  The spice made it incredibly savory, even though the blackberry component was sweet.  It was spicy.  Serious kick.  So strange.  So very strange.

I don't like blackberry really, so, I didn't like this, but the serrano was beyond fascinating.  It made me really curious to try the other "Sweet Heat" flavors, like pineapple jalapeno or raspberry habanero ...

Original Review, June 2016

Let's talk about yoghurt.  Or yogurt.  Obviously, not a subject I've really reviewed before (except when mentioning it in hotel breakfast buffets or when chains like Starbucks or Pinkberry introduced new versions).  And to be honest, I'm not generally a yogurt eater ... unless it is froyo of course.

The fact that I'm not into yogurt isn't really consistent with what you'd expect, given my love of puddings, panna cotta, and other creamy, rich, dairy based desserts.  Which perhaps is the problem.  I always want yogurt to really be dessert.  And generally, it just falls short of that line.

Enter Noosa.  They sum it up pretty well: "We’re noosa, and we make yoghurt. But not just any yoghurt. Ours is thick and velvety. Sweet and tart."

It really is quite different from other yogurt.  The texture really is thicker, yet creamier, than other yogurt.  I'm not sure how they do it.  Besides the plain, all flavors have a compote you mix in.

Noosa was started by an Australian ex-pat who lives in Colorado.  In Australia, this sort of yogurt is common - a big container of rich, creamy, full fat, delicious yogurt, generally topped with something like passion fruit.  Every corner market has it.  Yogurt is big there.  So when the founder of Noosa moved to the US and couldn't find it, she decided to fix that.

Enter Noosa.  She puts the fruit compote on the bottom, but, besides that, it really does remind me of the yogurt in Australia.  The flavor variety is fairly extensive at this point, mostly fruit based, but, recently they have gotten a bit trendy with a pumpkin and salted caramel flavors.

Noosa is still yogurt, don't get me wrong, but, some flavors in particular are close enough to crossing into dessert territory that if you are looking for a guilt free tree it really might satisfy, particularly with a crumble of some sort sprinkled on top.

(For the record, there does exist yogurt that IS entirely like dessert.  You can find it at Tres restaurant at the SLS Hotel in Beverley Hills.  It is ... amazing.  Basically panna cotta, but made from Fage yogurt, whipped with vanilla bean, and with some more magic done to it.  If you ever find yourself in the area, seriously, make a beeline for it!)
Blueberry Yoghurt.
"Sure, you’ve tried blueberry yoghurt, but blueberry noosa is in a league of its own. Off-the-charts in yum, our best-selling flavor inspires cravings like no other with sweet, juicy blueberries hidden beneath our creamy yoghurt."

This was the first flavor I ever tried.

The yogurt was almost a cross between what I know as Greek yogurt and American yogurt.  It was clearly thicker than traditional yogurt, but creamier than Greek yogurt.  Australian style?

Anyway, I liked the fact that it was creamy and thick.  I certainly see why people love this yogurt, texture-wise.  But in terms of flavor, this variety didn't do it for me.  The base yogurt was pretty flavorless, which is fine, as you are supposed to mix in the blueberry.  The blueberry was a compote in the bottom that I could mix in as desired.  It wasn't too sweet, which I appreciated.  There seemed to be just the right amount of fruit vs yogurt, which I also appreciated.  There were whole little blueberries, also appreciated.

Everything about this spelt success, yet it didn't do it for me.  I clearly just needed to try another flavor, since, it was *almost* amazing.
Raspberry yoghurt.
"Raspberries picked at plump perfection are bonza all on their own, but taste even more yum when mixed with our luscious and velvety yoghurt. A little bit tart, a little bit sweet, and a whole lot delicious, raspberry noosa is a dazzling experience."

The next flavor I tried was raspberry, as Ojan said raspberry is one of his favorite yoghurt flavors.

Like the blueberry, the consistency of the yogurt was great, thicker than standard American yogurt, but creamier than most Greek.  Because it is full fat, it had a luxurious feel to it.

Again, like the blueberry, the raspberry came as a compote on the bottom.  I tried the yogurt plain at first and it was boring, I tried the compote plain and it was just sweet, but once I mixed it all together completely, a nice raspberry flavor came out.  Not quite as flavorful as I'd like, but I appreciated that it wasn't too sweet.  I didn't love the compote though, perhaps I just wasn't in the mood for raspberry flavor.

The mouthfeel is really where this yogurt it wins though.  It almost feels like you are eating a dessert.  Topped with fresh fruit and granola crumbles, it was even better.  I probably wouldn't get this flavor again, but I'm now convinced that I just need to find MY flavor!
Lemon Yoghurt.
"When life gave us lemons, we mixed them with our unique, velvety yoghurt. The smooth, silky, and perfectly tart lemon curd is a ray of sunshine at the bottom of every lemon noosa tub."

And the winner is ... lemon!

This shocked me, as I don't really like lemon flavored dessert-y things.  Lemon squeezed over salmon?  Yes.  Lemon has its place.  But in my desserts, for some reason, no!  Nothing disappoints me more than finding out that dessert is going to be a lemon cream pie or lemon bar.

So I didn't expect to like this at all.  At first glance, it was just like the others.  Creamy but thick base, lemon fruit puree on the bottom.  I tentatively tried the fruit puree, ready to recoil.  But instead ... I just dug back in.

It was tangy.  It was sweet.  If I thought the raspberry flavor was almost dessert, this one certainly was.  Even better with granola crumbles on top.

I could eat this for breakfast and feel like I was getting away with quite the treat.  Or eat it for dessert and feel like I was having such restraint.  I even think you could top it with whipped cream and it wouldn't be weird.  (I didn't get that experiment as it was gone, literally, in two seconds.)

Next time, I'm getting a bigger container.  And trust me, there WILL be a next time!
Strawberry Rhubarb.
"Strawberry whaaaa? We put our own spin on the classic flavor of sweet, succulent strawberries and added tangy, tart rhubarb. No matter what hemisphere you hail from, you can’t resist this tempting combo."

I feel like a broken record at this point.  The yogurt base was the same creamy yet thick consistency that I liked.  The fruit wasn't too sweet.

Is this my first choice of flavor? No.  But, like the raspberry and blueberry, it had all the right things going on, just, strawberry rhubarb isn't my flavor.
Mango.
"The satiny tropical flavor of a sweet and tangy mango takes us back to those lazy days at Noosa beach. Enjoying it during a lounge in the sand has been known to enhance the yum-factor of the exotic fruit."

Like all the Noosa yogurts, the yogurt and fruit are separate, with a layer of the mango purée on the bottom, off to one side, so you can mix it in.  You can guess how I felt about the mango.  Still not for me.
Tart Cherry Noosa.
"Imagine a slice of tart cherry pie served with a side of creamy, lightly-sweetened yoghurt. "

Since I always think the lemon noosa tastes like dessert, this sounded promising.  Cherry pie ...

It didn't wow me.  As always, the yogurt was fairly creamy, and a great thick consistency.  The tart cherry was in the bottom, a compote with pieces of cherry in it, slightly tart.  It was fine, but, not one I'd go for again.  I wanted more cherry, and larger pieces of cherry.  Really, I guess I just wanted cherry pie.
Salted Caramel.
"Some things in life are too good to be true. Thankfully, the combination of salty, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth caramel and our thick, velvety yoghurt isn’t one of them."

And this ... this is what all my noosa dreams are made of.  When I saw this flavor, let's just say, I was excited.  I love the base noosa yogurt, but, most of the fruit compotes haven't *quite* don't it for me.  But salted caramel? Um, yes!

And, it delivered.  The same signature, thick, creamy noosa yogurt.  Decadent enough on its own.  But this time, instead of a fruit compote or puree, there is a caramel.  Sweet, flavorful.  For all the times I've thought that noosa yogurt was basically dessert ... this one really went a step further in that direction.

It wasn't as full fledged sweet or desserty as would actually satisfy me for dessert, but, for a mid-afternoon snack, it was truly delightful.  My favorite, although, the lemon remains a close second.
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Thursday, June 06, 2019

Crumble & Whisk Pâtisserie

Update Review, 2018 Tastings

Crumble & Whisk is a local cheesecake company that I've been tracking for some time. It wasn't until a catering event last year however that I finally got to try them, took one bite of the Pumpkin Spice with Bourbon flavor, and realized just how much I had been missing out on. That was some seriously good cheesecake (go read that review, and company history, first).

But, as I noted in my previous review, Crumble & Whisk does not operate a storefront, so, acquiring these delights is a bit harder.  They do sell at Farmer's Markets (in Oakland!), and used to sell on Good Eggs, but finally I discovered that they also sell on Munchery.  Munchery is was a meal delivery service that offers meals designed to be reheated by you at home (aka, they aren't delivered hot).  I've watched Munchery grow, pivot, and change, as I was one of their original customers in San Francisco, their first city.  Since then, they've added cooking kits for those who like to do some meal prep and kid's meals, and they've partnered with local juice companies and coffee makers to offer interesting beverage options.  And ... they've added some amazing desserts from local merchants as well.  The other food is all made by their chef team, but they've chosen to outsource desserts, which has worked remarkably well.  They offer incredible mini Pies from Pietisserie (which I've reviewed before), puddings from Petit Pot (review coming soon), and, swoon, cheesecake from Crumble & Whisk.  You can read all my Munchery reviews using the label on my blog, but, they have shut down since I wrote this, so, alas.
I Love New York Cheesecake: Finally!
Anyway, back to Crumble & Whisk.  Munchery clearly only carries a limited number of these cheesecakes, and they seem to *always* been sold out, particularly on weekends when I want to order.  They also only offer one flavor at a time.

I watched Munchery menus daily for ages, and finally, finally managed to catch them.  (Protip: Order as soon as you see them on the menu, even if you don't end up ordering anything else.  Yes, this cheesecake is worth the delivery fee alone.  I'm not joking. )

The first time I finally managed to successfully order, the flavor was the most simple of all: I Love New York, a classic New York style cheesecake.  While not nearly as exciting as any of the exotic collection (which aren't available on Munchery), or even the strawberry or lemon versions which do appear from time to time on Munchery, it seemed like the perfect way to judge a basic cheesecake.
Munchery Packaging.
The packaging is different from anything else I've had from Munchery, perhaps provided by Crumble & Whisk directly?  The clear plastic domes make it easy to see the beauty of a cheesecake inside, but I did find the hight of the dome a bit strange ... why did I need such a big thing?  It also had a Munchery label stuck on, but unlike other Munchery items, it did not have ingredients nor nutritional information.  Which, given what I know about cheesecake, is probably a good thing.
I Love New York Cheesecake. $5.95.
"This is classic New York-style cheesecake with just a hint of tangy lemon and a smooth, creamy texture." - Munchery

"My version of the classic features madagascar bourbon vanilla and velvet sour cream and lemon juice." - Crumble & Whisk

This was cheesecake perfection.  Honestly.

It was light and fluffy, yet incredibly creamy and rich, all at once.  The flavor was deceptively simple, yes, a plain cheesecake, but, it didn't taste just like sweet cream cheese.  It had subtleness from the sour cream, the vanilla, and the lemon juice.  I couldn't pick any ingredient out, and if you were to ask me what was in it, I couldn't tell you.  They complimented each other in a way that just created an absolutely balanced flavor.
I Love New York: Cross Section.
And then the crust.  It did not seem like a classic graham cracker crust (always kinda a throwaway crust in my mind).  Instead, it was more compressed, more sugary, almost like a sugar cookie or shortbread?  It too was delightful, and I appreciated the thickness of that layer.

This was stunning, simple, and stunning.  Seriously, cheesecake perfection, and it needed nothing else.  No topping, no drizzle of sauce, no whipped cream.  Just a spoon, a moment of silence, and complete happiness.

You can purchase these in different sizes from Crumble & Whisk as well: 3" ($8), 7" ($35), or 9" ($45).  The Munchery price of $5.95 was fantastic for an individual cheesecake that was perhaps just a little bigger than you knew you *should* eat on your own, but there is no way I was about to share even a single bite of this one.
Beet & Berries (3"). $8.
"Roasted organic baby beets infused with blueberries and hint of lemon, swirled in, topped with blueberry red wine reduction compote."

Crumble & Whisk also sells their cheesecakes at the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market, and one day they had two of their more interesting sounding flavors on display: one was green (!) and had matcha and avocado in it, and the other with this, an innocent looking blueberry topped creation.  I love matcha but since I'm allergic to avocado I couldn't try that one, so I got the Beet & Berries, which actually sounded more interesting anyway.

I love blueberries, and I wasn't afraid of a little beet in my dessert, so this sounded like a winner.  It was ... fine.  Same creamy cheesecake, same buttery amazing crust, and lots of flavor from the blueberry elements, but I didn't taste the beet.  I wanted it to taste more special.  This was fine, but, well, not special.

Original Review, March 2016

Artisan cheesecake.

Those were the only words I needed to see.   I like cheesecake.  I like fancy cheesecake.  So when I learned about Crumble & Whisk Pâtisserie, an artisan cheesecake maker, I couldn't wait to try the goods.

Crumble & Whisk was started in 2013, I believe mostly as just a catering business.  For a while the cheesecakes were sold on Good Eggs, which is where I saw them.  I think I recall seeing them at the farmer's market once or twice as well.  But, for the most part, the business is catering.

Cheesecakes are available in several sizes, generally round (individual 3", full size 7", or large 9"), but they also are available as 2" squares for catering only.

Crumble & Whisk breaks the cheesecake menu up into 3 categories: "classic", "exotic", and "holiday".  The classics include:
  • "I love New York", Madagascar bourbon vanilla and sour cream
  • "Strawberry Fields", strawberries swirled inside and on top
  • "Puckered Up!", lemon curd and candied citrus
  • "Triple Chocolate Threat", with a chocolate crust and chocolate ganache
The exotic lineup does get a bit more interesting, including:
  • "The Dirty South", with sweet potatoes, brown sugar, and bourbon
  • "Beet & Berry", with yes, beets and blueberries,
  • "Madagascar Vanilla-Bourbon", with mmm, bourbon glaze
  • "Banana Spice", caramelized banana and caramel
  • "Spicy Mexican Chocolate" with cayenne and chili powder
  • "Vegan Delight", made with tofu instead of cream cheese
It was the holiday menu that sounded the best though:
  • "Pecan Crumble", with pecans, maple, and streusel topping.  (OMG, I love all of those things!)
  • "Winter White Chocolate", with cranberry and orange
  • "Apple Spice", with apples and brandy
  • "Pumpkin Spice with Bourbon", pumpkin, bourbon, and caramel drizzle
By now, you may have noticed how many have bourbon.  I did, and I approve.

I always planned to order Crumble & Whisk cheesecakes the next time I made a Good Eggs order, but, alas, they were removed from Good Eggs before I ever did.  A few weeks later, I attended an event, and it had amazing cheesecake.  I eventually tracked down the caterer to learn where the cheesecake came from.  The answer?  Crumble & Whisk!  I was so glad I finally got to try the cheesecake I had been eying, but also so sad that I never took advantage of it when it was on Good Eggs.

Anyway, wonderful cheesecake, and I'd really, really love to try some of the other varieties.
Pumpkin Spice with Bourbon. Catering size.  $3.50.
"Organic fresh roasted pumpkin, with spiced pepita (pumpkin seeds) with bourbon caramel drizzle."

My encounter with Crumble & Whisk was at a catering event, so I had a 2" square piece, rather than a signature round item.

I took one bite and I was sold.  Wow, this was great cheesecake.

The texture was perfect, creamy, but well set.  There was clearly plenty of pumpkin puree in it, as it tasted almost like a regular pumpkin pie, just one that was a bit richer than usual.  So, so creamy.  It was also nicely spiced with cinnamon, ginger, all spice, nutmeg, and clove, standard "pumpkin spice" seasonings, but very balanced, none overwhelming.  I am always disappointed when "pumpkin spice" means an overdose of nutmeg or cinnamon.

So the cheesecake itself was great, but so was the bourbon caramel drizzle over the top.  It wasn't necessary, the cheesecake stood up fine on its own, but I'll never turn down a little extra sweet drizzle.

Oh, and the crust.  Sugary, buttery, crumbly, delicious.  A nice thick layer.

Put it all together, and you get a fantastic bite.  I wanted more than a 2" square!
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