Thursday, January 09, 2014

Bacon Baked Goods, from Baconery

Sure, I eat a lot of baked goods.  Most aren't that notable.  But ...  I recently had the opportunity to experience baked goods unlike any others I've ever had before, from a place called Baconery.

What is Baconery?  Their tag line is "Bacon meets bakery.  Their love child: Baconery".  Basically, a bunch of curated baked goods, created in partnership with assorted chefs, that all feature ... bacon!

Yes, bacon baked goods.  I love baked goods, I love bacon, so, these sounded far to intriguing to resist.  Generally available online, but in my case, I was lucky enough to have one of the Baconery chefs bring them to me direct!

Let me back up a little.  You might know Chef Russell Jackson from his recent appearance as a finalist on Food Network Star Season 9.  If you saw the show, you couldn't miss him.  He'd be the one with the mohawk, and the point of view all about incorporating culinary sins into cooking (the sins being salt, ice cream, liquor, bacon, fat, offal, and sugar).  Hmm, salt, bacon, fat, and sugar, and a bakery that specialized in bacon goods? I think you see where this is going.

But I know Chef Jackson from before he was famous on the Food Network.  Prior to that, and prior to his appearance on Iron Chef America, he ran a restaurant here in San Francisco, called Lafitte.  In the final looming days of the foie gras ban, he hosted a number of special foie gras dinners, which I was lucky enough to attend.  Given the focus of those dinners on obviously offal, fat, (and liquor!), I wasn't at all surprised when I saw his 7 culinary sins play out on TV.  He clearly lives by these "sins", and they were not something he just made up for TV.

He's also a great guy, who I've seen do several cooking demos around town, and even given all his recent "fame" from his Food Network appearances, has stayed friendly (and, as down to earth as he ever was).

But this review isn't about Russell.  It is about Baconery.  He teamed up with Baconery to produce a special bacon chocolate chip cookie.  Now, at his first foie gras dinner, I had his vegan chocolate chip cookie, and was blown away by it.  It had no bacon, obviously.  It was vegan.  And somehow, delicious.  I was beyond excited to thus try his signature cookie, with bacon!

He visited an artisans holiday fair at my office, and came with treats.  Plenty of treats.  Which I got to enjoy and share with everyone around me (and, enjoy we did!).  You can order them online from Baconery directly, or through his partnership with OpenSky.  If you like bacon, or interesting desserts, you should do just that!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bacon Cookie.
These things were insane.  A standard chocolate cookie, with little bits of bacon, and Reece's Pieces.  It turns out that the combo of chocolate, peanut butter, and bacon is just killer.  I've heard of people having peanut butter and bacon together before, but for some foolish reason, I'd never tried it myself.  After eating these, all I wanted to do was candy some bacon, dip it in peanut butter, and drizzle it with chocolate.  Mmm, candied chocolate peanut butter bacon!

Besides being great flavor combinations, I also liked how the bacon bits and Reece's Pieces provided a crunch inside the cookie.  And the bacon added a bit of saltiness.  So good.  I am not admitting to how many of these I ate.

Best Baconery product I tried, and I'd gladly eat more.
Triple Sugar Bacon Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookie.
Next, was Russell's signature cookie, made with "Tcho Chocolate, 3 types of sugar, Pecan Smoked Bacon, Hazelnuts, and Oats."  Oh yes, please.

These put all chocolate chip cookies to shame!  And all the other bacon products (besides the chocolate pb cookies) for that matter.  While the other products I tried all used the bacon to accent the other flavors, these were in-your-face bacon goodness.  There was no messing around here.  No doubt that they were loaded up with bacon.

And it totally, totally worked.  I also loved the texture from the oats and nuts.  So much going on in these cookies, and they were really, really good.  I'm also not admitting how many of these I ate.

The bottom of my box of goodies wound up with a bunch of broken little bits of the cookies, basically, a cookie crumble.  I just scooped the bits up and ate them, but I think they would have been really, really good as an ice cream topping.

If Russell is looking for another product line to develop, bacon cookie crumble ice cream topping would be a winner (alongside some bourbon caramel of course!)
Chocolate Bacon Brownie.
I do like brownies, but I like a specific kind of very fudgey brownie, which these were not.  They were just a classic cake brownie, a bit dry.  But with a subtle bacon thing going on.  Better than a standard brownie, but my least favorite of the items I tried.
Red Velvet Bacon Brownie.
And, another brownie.  These had a beautiful red color,  and had white chocolate chips for a bit of sweetness.  Like the chocolate brownie, they had a subtle bacon flavor, but were drier style brownie than I like.  My second to least favorite.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Cheddar Beer Fries From Phat Philly

And for something a bit different ... Phat Philly, a cheesesteak shop, in the Mission!  Located right in my old stomping ground near Big Mouth Burgers and Papalote, somewhere I rarely go these days.  The cheesesteaks seem pretty legit, with your choice of white american, provolone, Cheez Wiz, or their housemade Newcastle Cheddar Beer sauce.  Classic beef or chicken, with all sorts of additional toppings, or numerous veggie options.

But, I'm not here to review cheesesteak.  Don't get me wrong, I like a cheesesteak from time to time. But on this occasion, I had my eye on the other half of their menu: fries.  Yes, I meant it when I said the "other half" of the menu: there is a HUGE section of fries.  All start with basic cross-cut waffle fries.  You should of course add their cheddar beer sauce.  If you are adventurous, go "Royal Style" and add fried onions and shredded cheddar.  Still feeling crazy?  Now add on chili or bacon (yes, in addition to the cheddar beer sauce, the fried onions, and the extra cheddar).  Or, you could have gone for the fries topped with house made marinara sauce and Whiz.  Oh, there are also onion rings, but I didn't get that far.

The other offerings are Utz chips, in assorted flavors, for only $1 per bag.  Totally reasonable price, when do you ever see chips that cheap?  And they carry a few types of Tastykakes, which I was tempted to try, but not being from Philly or having any associations with them, I kinda thought their charm would be lost on me.  It would be like trying Little Debbie products for the first time now, right?

Anyway, the shop is small, clearly most of their business is takeout and phone/online orders.  On my first visit, there were only 2 other people there the entire time I was, but the staff were busy making cheesesteaks and ringing up togo orders the whole time.  On my next visit, there were 3 people when I arrived, and only 1 more came in while I was there.  The space is well laid out, with picnic tables both inside and out on the sunny sidewalk.  Yes, picnic tables indoors, which was totally cute.  They also have counter seating with stools along the windows, perfect for people watching.  Which, given the location, you know there will be all sorts of interesting folks passing by :)

The condiments station has 3 varieties of peppers, spicy, mild, and sweet.  I know they are intended for the cheesesteaks, but I couldn't resist piling some on my fries.  The sweet ones I really enjoyed.  The mild were just pepperoncinis, not particularly interesting.  And the spicy ... yes, they packed a punch.  On the tables was an assortment of sauces, basic ketchup, 2 types of Tabasco, Crystal, and Frank's.  Many choices to heat things up!  The condiment bottles were all very, very sticky though.  I was fairly grossed out picking up the bottles, but I really wanted some Frank's on my fries!

Service was friendly, fast, and efficient.  My fries were made to order, and delivered to me at my table.  And, they take Paypal, which is really easy to use.  I'm loving it these days, and I hope to see its usage spreading, far more convenient than any other mobile payment system I've tried.

I'm not in the Mission often, but next time I am, there is certainly a good chance I'd stop back by Phat Philly.  They make some great fries, and I'm tempted to try an actual cheesesteak too!
Cheddar Beer Fries.  Small.  $3.50.
As I mentioned, the fries come in a slew of varieties.  I wanted to be more interesting than just getting plain fries, so I asked for a recommendation.  The worker told me without hesitation that the cheddar beer fries were her favorite.  I was pretty much leaning that way anyway, so I went for it.

The fries were piping hot, perfectly fresh.  Obviously, fried, but not greasy.  Super crispy.  Perfectly crispy in fact.  And well seasoned.  Wow.  Probably the best fries I've had, in any form, in recent memory.

The fries were topped off with the cheddar beer sauce.  I had a moment of thinking that I should have asked for the cheese sauce on the side, just in case I didn't like it, or just in case they put on too much, but it turns out my fears were unfounded.  This was tasty stuff.  The consistency was good, not too think, not too runny.  It didn't seem to change much as it cooled down, I expected it to get a bit gloopy, but it didn't.  Or, maybe these were just so delicious I ate them too fast for that too happen.  I tried to pace myself, I really did.

The sauce was drizzled over the top, and pooled up in the bottom.  As I neared the end, and I found myself totally addicted to the sauce, such cheesey deliciousness.  I also added some Frank's hot sauce to some, and thought the extra kick was great.  And, I added sweet peppers.

But it got me thinking.  Sure, I like beef.  But I don't really care for sandwiches, or bread, really.  When I get a cheesesteak, I'm in it for the delicious cheese sauce, the onions, the peppers, and the mushrooms.  In my world, the bread, and even the beef, are just a way to get the toppings.  Here, I had the delicious cheese sauce on top of something I liked even more than beef and bread: fries.  What I REALLY wanted, was the fries done up like how I'd get my cheesesteak, that is, with peppers, onions, and mushrooms.  How amazing would that be?  All the toppings I love, served on top of something delicious on its own!  I wondered if I could convince them to make me this creation, since they do a version with onions already, it isn't that far off.  Even though I was stuffed from my fries, I was drooling thinking about this new idea, and vowed to return.

$3.50 was a fine price for the portion size, which was just perfect for a snack.  I'm sure it is a good size for sharing with someone if you have a cheesesteak too, but as just the fries, perfect size.  Plenty such that I was full, but not soooo many that I felt gross after.  I'll be back.

Update: I did indeed return.  And I did indeed ask to order the fries the way I wanted them: cheddar beer fries, with onions and mushrooms.  The person taking my order was totally friendly about this, and said it was no problem.  She said she'd ring me up as if I had the Royal, which is the cheddar beer fries, with onions, and shredded cheddar.  That is, I'd sub out the shredded cheddar for mushrooms.  Sounded perfect.  I didn't really understand why anyone would want the shredded cheddar in addition to the cheddar beer sauce anyway, but certainly liked the idea of the onions.

So, a few minutes later, much faster than on my first visit, my fries arrived.  I took a photo, but alas, my phone lost it.  I was surprised at how fast my order came, since last time it had taken a few minutes.  And ... the shredded cheddar was on top.  It wasn't melted, it was just thrown on top, and really didn't look good.  I commented that I hadn't wanted the cheddar, and she said that was right, but the cook must have just done it out of habit when he added the onions.  She whisked my fries away, saying she'd take off the cheddar and re-top them.  Hmm.

A few minutes later, my fries came back, sans cheddar.  I probably should have just kept the original ones.

The fries weren't really crispy, something I'd loved the first time around.  They were pretty soggy and mushy.  I'm not sure if it was from sitting while she fixed the cheddar issue, but I think they actually just were not freshly fried to order like that had been the first time, given how fast they showed up on this visit.  There wasn't nearly as much cheddar beer sauce as the first time either.  Maybe there was more, and it got scraped off when removing the cheese?  I found myself wanting more.

So, these were a disappointment.  The fries were soggy and not very good.  There wasn't nearly enough of the delicious, creamy cheddar beer sauce.  The sauce tasted more like beer than cheese, too strong for my liking.  The sautéed onions were nicely cooked, soft, not too oily, but I think I'd skip them in the future, as they didn't really add anything to my creation.  The mushrooms were slimy and didn't look great, but had wonderful flavor.  Paired really well with the cheese sauce.  I really liked this addition.  I again liked adding Frank's hot sauce, somehow that combination of Frank's and cheddar beer sauce is killer.  They should just make a spicy version of the sauce!

I still have faith in Phat Philly, and wonder how much of the poor experience was due to sending my mis-order back.  Next time I might try getting the sauce on the side, to help prevent the sogginess?  Although, on my first visit, they were really quite crispy.  And maybe I'd go for the Whiz instead of the cheddar beer sauce, since it was a bit too beer-y for me this time around ...

Update: and again, I did return.  This time, Ojan was with me, and he wanted Wiz instead of cheddar beer sauce.  I didn't like it as much, it was really just cheese.  Meh.  The fries also didn't seem amazing this time around.  They were fresh, crispy, but just not exciting.  And, I remembered that I liked having the grilled toppings, so I added onions, but didn't really like the with the fries or sauce.  They were great with the sweet peppers from the toppings bar, but now I re-read my last review, and realized that I liked the mushrooms, not the onions, with my fries.  Whoops.  I did again love the sweet peppers and the addition of Frank's Hot Sauce, but overall, was quite underwhelmed.  I might be over these.
Phat Philly Cheesesteaks on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Dinner at The Flying Goose Brew Pub & Grille

I grew up in New Hampshire, a place not exactly known for its culinary scene.  Since moving to San Francisco, let's just say that my standards have changed.  When I visit my family these days, I don't generally want to go out to eat, as their restaurants tend to disappoint.  Sure, there are exceptions to this rule, like the amazing first dinner I had at Home Hill Inn (although subsequent visits failed to impress), or the decent lunch we had at Republic Cafe.

But my sister has been talking about her favorite eating establishment, The Flying Goose Brew Pub & Grille, for ages.  It is located right down the street from her new house.  She raves about it constantly, and has been demanding that I go with her the next time I visited.  I didn't have my choice.  I expressed my skepticism, and my mother told me that she'd been skeptical as well, but that she recently went and had wonderful seafood, and, more importantly, fantastic dessert.

I looked at the website, and the menu wasn't that great sounding to me, all pub food.  But they did talk about using local produce, and listed their sources.  And like I said, I didn't have my choice.  We were going to "The Goose".

Since we were somewhat celebrating, my sister suggested that we order a bottle of wine.  They had a very short wine list, only 5 or so of each red and white, all available by the glass or by the bottle.  No bottles only list.  I asked about one of the wines, and the server said he had no idea, he didn't drink wine.  They obviously didn't have a sommelier.

But fine, we WERE at a "Brew Pub" after all, so wine obviously isn't their focus.  Since they do brew all their own beers, I hoped they'd have a cider, so I could just go that route, as I don't like beer.  But, no such luck.  So we got a few assorted glasses of wine, all $5.99 each, and all quite horrible.  The sauvignon blanc was sweet and unbalanced, the Malbec and Pinor Noir bitter.  I wouldn't get any of them again.  There is a reason they were so cheap.

The decor was rustic, all wooden tables and chairs.  Silverware was cafeteria grade thin, wrapped up in napkins, sealed with little paper rings.

Service was not good.  Our server was unable to answer most basic questions.  My mother has a shellfish allergy, so she asked what the "seafood stuffing" was on one dish, and he didn't know.  As I mentioned, he didn't know anything about the wine.  Our appetizers and appetizer plates were not cleared away before the mains arrived, even though we'd finished them far before the next round of food arrived.  No serving utensils were brought for any of the shared appetizers, including one that obviously required a spoon to dish out.  My father ordered a burger and fries, it arrived without ketchup.  The server did say he would return with ketchup, but it took at least 5 minutes for him to come back with the ketchup, during which time my father was unable to eat any of his meal, as he wanted the ketchup for both the burger and the fries, and they were then all cold by the time he got ketchup.  My mother and I ordered a dish to share, and of course, no share plate was brought.  When I asked for one, again, 5 minutes later, a single small appetizer plate was brought for one of us to try to use.  It wouldn't even fit a quarter of the dish, let alone half, and since only one was brought, it was assumed that one person would use the main plate.  When I mentioned my severe, life threatening allergy to watermelon, the server said that my dish did not contain watermelon.  I said "yes, but can you please let the kitchen know, since I see watermelon on the menu, and my allergy is very severe".  He didn't seem to care, nor grasp how it could matter since I didn't order a watermelon dish, and I'm skeptical that he told the kitchen anything.  My list could go on and on.

My family members who had visited before said this visit was disappointing. My sister, who had originally demanded that I order the "amazing mashed potatoes", refused to let me even try a bite when they arrived, because they were bad, and she didn't want me to have that impression of them.  Even the desserts, which I am much less of a snob about, were awful.  My family is, uh, known for our amazing dessert consumption, and our group of 5 couldn't even finish our 2 desserts.  We all took one bite of each, and even being crazy dessert lovers, didn't want to touch them after that.  Of course, no mention was made by the staff of why we didn't touch the desserts.

I honestly have zero desire to ever eat here again.  It doesn't matter how many times my family members go back and love it.  They won't be dragging me back.
Housemade Fried Zucchini with Marinara Sauce.  $6.99.
The appetizer menu was all what you'd expect from a pub, heavy and fried.  Not my style at all, so I went with my family's pick, since there was nothing I'd choose.

My sister has long raved about the fried zucchini.  Described as "Italian breaded and served with our marinara".  I was amused because it was the only appetizer that had "housemade" in its name.  Does that imply that the rest aren't actually made by the restaurant?

I expected zucchini sticks, but instead it was full slices of zucchini.  This was a pleasant surprise, as I actually do like zucchini and would be happy to taste it.  Unfortunately, even with full slices, I wasn't able to taste the zucchini through the breading.  All I could taste was oil.  So much oil.  So fried, so greasy, just really repulsive.  The breading did not stick to the zucchini, and slid off the moment you cut into it.  Did I mention that all you could taste was nasty oil?  Way, way over fried, and not drained.

The marinara sauce actually wasn't bad.  A bit sweet, a bit tangy.  Better than most jarred marinara.

$6.99 seems cheap for an appetizer in my world, but I think it is normal for around here.  I wouldn't eat this again.
Hot Artichoke Dip with Grilled Pita.  $7.99.
Next we moved on to my sister's other favorite appetizer, the hot artichoke dip.  Now, I do like a good dip.  This had potential.  Described as "artichoke, sundried tomato, and spinach cream cheese topped with shredded gouda".  Yes, "spinach cream cheese" was a single item listed, not quite sure what was up with that.

Anyway. It was delivered fresh and hot.  But the artichoke was not soft, it was hard, very off putting.  I didn't like this at all.  The only nice part was the slightly smoky flavor from the gouda.

$7.99 seemed a bit expensive compared to other apps, and I obviously wouldn't get this again.
Special: Fisherman's Platter (scallops, shrimp, haddock), coleslaw, sweet potato fries.  Tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, honey mustard.  
My mother and I both love seafood, so we decided to split one of the specials of the day, the Fisherman's Platter.

I knew this was going to be a big platter of fried, which again, isn't quite what I'd normally go for, but good fried seafood does have its place.  And if a pub can do anything good, it can be fish and chips.  We decided to go for the Fisherman's Platter instead of just the fish and chips, so we could get the scallops and shrimp in addition to the haddock.  And, because sweet potato fries are better than regular fries, we upgraded to sweet potato fries for an additional $2, particularly once my sister's boyfriend told us they were the best sweet potato fries he's ever had.

Let's start with the good.  He was right.  The sweet potato fries were REALLY good.  They were all large cut, super crispy on the outside, but creamy on the inside.  Fresh and hot.  Yes, fried, but not too greasy.  They really were good.  I like to have something to dip my sweet potato fries in, so when we ordered, we asked for honey mustard to go with it.  Of course our server forgot this, but he did bring it eventually.  The honey mustard was very sweet, a bit too sweet for what I really wanted with the sweet potato fries, but I still appreciated it.  I'm not sure how many of the fries my mom got, as we were supposed to be splitting, but I enjoyed them, and I'm pretty sure I had about 90% of them (a fact that I did indeed regret later).

Now, let's move on to the okay.  The fried haddock.  All the seafood was beer battered, I'm guessing using one of their own brews, although this fact was not touted anywhere.  Whenever I visit the east coast, one thing I love is the haddock, or Atlantic cod, as we don't get either in San Francisco.  And, fish and chips is a fantastic way to have it.  I figured it was best to pick something local and in line with classic pub food, in hopes that they'd do a better job with it, than say, the grilled salmon that was also on the menu.  I think this was a good move.  The haddock was ok.  It was pretty moist and tender inside.  It had too much breading however, and like the zucchini, was overly oily and fried.  But, by far the best of the seafood.  Our platter had one generous sized haddock filet.

At first glance, the other seafood on the plate seemed to all be shrimp.  Where were our scallops?  It turns out, the scallops were little bay scallops, and we just didn't see them at first.  The scallops and shrimp were both small size, and had way, way too much breading.  The small pieces of seafood were completely lost in the breading.  You didn't taste any seafood, just breading.  And more oil.  The haddock was the winner, because it was a larger filet, and so the ratio of breading to seafood was a bit better.  But none of this was worth getting again.

The platter was served with unremarkable tartar sauce and cocktail sauce.  Also a small container of classic coleslaw, heavily mayo-based, soggy, no real seasoning.

I didn't catch the price on this, as it was a special, but I'm guessing it was in the $20 range.  I wouldn't get any of the seafood again, but those sweet potato fries were actually tasty.
Apple Crisp a la mode.  $4.99.
Feeling pretty unsatisfied, but excited for dessert, we moved on.  My mom and sister insisted that the desserts were good.  And we all love dessert.  No offer of after dinner drinks was made, no coffee, no tea.  A single dessert menu was brought for our whole table, even though the restaurant was empty at this point, and they surely had more.

We asked for a recommendation, and the server told us the apple crisp.  So we got it.

Described as "homemade and served hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream".  Again, the only item on the dessert menu that said "homemade".  What does this imply about the other desserts?

The crisp didn't look horrible.  It had a scoop of vanilla ice cream AND some whipped cream.  It was hot.  I perked up.  Warm dessert and not needing to pick between whip and ice cream are both huge pluses.

But them my sister took the first bite, and looked up in disgust.  "Where are the apples?  This is just a bowl of oatmeal", she said.  I didn't think it could be that bad, so I dug in.  Indeed, she was right.  It was a bowl of oatmeal.  Certainly not a "crisp".  Very few apple slices.  My mother was away using the restroom when we tried it, so when she came back, we waited for her evaluation, without saying anything.  She took a bite, and immediately said, "this is just a bowl of mush".

Indeed, it was.  Mushy oatmeal.  With a few slices of apple.  NOT a crisp.  NOT good.  I actually gave it a few more tries, but really wish I hadn't.  The ice cream was generic, slightly icy, "vanilla" ice cream.  The whipped cream was clearly from a can.

Sure, $4.99 is cheap for a dessert, but this was truly one of the worst desserts I've ever had in a restaurant.  Maybe it is good that the others aren't homemade?
Pecan Pie a la mode.  $5.49.
Next we moved on to another classic, pecan pie.  It was offered warm or cold, and we opted for warm.  It didn't actually come warm, but that was the least of the problems.  The slice was also tiny, but, that didn't turn out to be a problem either.  Again, served with both ice cream and whip.

My sister moved on to this after pushing away the oatmeal crisp.  "THIS IS HORRIBLE!", she exclaimed.  "What is this?  This isn't crust!"

Again, I didn't think it could be that bad, but I was worried, as she loves "The Goose", and I haven't ever really seen her critique a dish before.

The crust was dried out, not buttery, not flaky, and well, just not good.  My mother thought it seemed more like philo dough than crust, but it definitely wasn't.  It was just bad pie crust.

The filling was mostly just a sweet layer, with a few pecans on top.  No pecans actually in the filling.  Again, my mom was gone when this arrived, so my sister and I each took a bite, thus each taking one of the very few pecans, so my mom was confused when she got back.  "Where are the pecans?", she asked.  She's lucky there weren't more.  They were burnt and bitter.

Nothing about this was good.  Not the crust.  Not the filling.  Not the nuts.  Price was again decent, $5.49, but none of us even ventured a second bite of this (except for me, I tried another piece of the crust, trying to identify what was up with it).
Flying Goose Brew Pub on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 06, 2014

The Rib Whip

You may recall that I reviewed Cedar Hill: Kitchen and Smokehouse, a BBQ restaurant, a while ago.  They have since closed, but their food truck, The Rib Whip, remained opened.  I don't normally seek out food trucks, but I knew they had a number of tasty sides that go along with BBQ (like mac and cheese and cole slaw) and, more importantly, I heard that they were known for their pie.

I visited the food truck on two occasions.  They are down with all the latest in mobile payment systems, accepting both LevelUp and PayPal, quite convenient.  The service was fast and easy both times.

But these are all just details.  There is only one thing you need to know: go now and get the pie.  Just do it.  You'll thank me later.
Mac and cheese (side dish).  $4.
The mac and cheese was fairly unremarkable, not particularly good nor bad.

I liked that they used corkscrew pasta, it really was a great shape for allowing the sauce to coat it well, and fill the insides.  The pasta was well cooked, not too mushy, not too al dente.  The sauce was creamy, cheesy, but not all that flavorful.

Since The Rib Whip is a BBQ truck, they had each of their signature BBQ sauces available to add to your meal.  I spiced up the mac by trying out each of the sauces.  The sweet bbq was my favorite, although none were mind blowing.

At $4, this seemed a bit high for such a small portion, although, I liked the portion size.  I actually brought a little bit back with me from lunch and ate it cold later, and liked it more than way.  I have no idea why, but sometimes, I really like cold mac and cheese :)

Anyway, I don't see any reason to get it again.
Grandma Ruth's Buttermilk Pie.  $4.
Holy crap, this was an amazing slice of pie.

I'd read about the pie before, proclaimed as "The Best Dessert From A Food Truck" in San Francisco.  And, as you know, I eat a lot of desserts, from fancy restaurants and bakeries, so I found it unlikely that a random food truck would have a pie that would even register on my radar.

I didn't really intend to seek The Rib Whip out, but then I was walking by the ice skating rink on a Sunday afternoon, and saw the truck parked out front.  And, even better, they were running a PayPal promotion for a free $5 credit if you paid with PayPal.  I've been totally loving how easy it is to pay on my phone via PayPal, so I was happy to go for it, particularly when it meant free pie!

I am sooo glad I did.  Whoever Grandma Ruth is, I wish she were my grandma.  Ok, that isn't quite true, my Grandma makes a killer butterscotch pie herself.  But anyway, the pie.  Wow.

It did not look like much.  Even if I describe it, it won't sound like much: graham crust, layer of buttermilk pudding, topped with whipped cream.  Looking at it, the ratios looked all off.  The crust looked too thick.  The buttermilk pudding, which I expected to be the primary component, was a very thin layer.  And the whipped cream?  There was way too much of it.  I love whipped cream, but how could a pie possibly need to be what looked like 70% whipped cream?

Whatever judgmental thoughts I had about the pie vanished the moment I took a single bite.  This was a damn good pie.  That crust, which I thought sounded boring, just graham cracker, was insanely delicious.  Buttery, sweet, sooo good.   It wasn't too thick, it provided a crunchy contrast with the rest of the pie, which was creamy.  I think you could make some sort of dessert bar out of the crust alone, perhaps slathered with jam, and it would be amazing.

The buttermilk layer was a pudding-like, creamy, with just the right amount of tang from the buttermilk.

And that massive layer of whipped cream was unlike any other whipped cream I've ever had.  I don't know how to explain it other than it tasted very strongly like cream.

This was so, so good.  I brought the rest of my slice home, fully intending to just put it in the fridge and finish it later.  I told Ojan about the amazing pie, and he immediately went to dig in for a bite.  I normally share all sorts of things with him, often demanding that he try them, and this was one I did NOT want to share.  I got a bit territorial about it, let him have a single bite, and rather rudely told him it was MY pie.  Whoops.

But trust me, if you have a bite of this pie, you won't want to share either.  And you'll want to get another.

You can be sure that I will.  I'll be seeking out the Rib Whip whenever I can.  Who knew, a food truck can make one of the best desserts I've ever found in SF?  And protip, sometimes the pie isn't listed on the menu, but it is still there.  Just ask.  And bring me a slice.
Rib Whip on Urbanspoon

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Nice! Chocolate

A few months ago, I reviewed some baked goods from Walgreens premium store brand, Nice!  They weren't quite as bad as I imagined.  So now, time to review another Nice! offering: chocolate.  Like the baked goods, the chocolate isn't horrible.  It isn't something to seek out exactly, but beats expectations.
Milk Chocolate Peanut Clusters.
I liked these far more than I expected.  Creamy milk chocolate, whole salty peanuts.  Lots of chocolate, lots of peanuts, assorted size clusters.  Not the highest quality stuff, but certainly not the worst.  Would eat more!