Friday, June 17, 2016

Perfect Bar

I don't really like granola bars, protein bars, and the like, but, sometimes I need convenient snacks to carry with me, or to make sure I have protein to supplement my sometimes ridiculous lifestyle, and bars work well for this.  As such, I end up trying a lot of bars, surprising for an item I just don't generally like all that much.

Perfect Bars are nutrition bars, all with peanuts or almonds as the base (well, specifically, peanut or almond butter).  They are sweetened with only honey.   Like all trendy bars these days, they are non-GMO, gluten-free, kosher, full of protein, no refined sugar, laden with super foods ....

They produce 3 types of almond based bar: plain almond butter, almond acai, and almond coconut.  I didn't try any of these, since I don't generally care for almond butter.  Peanut options are Carob Chip, Fruit & Nut, Cranberry Crunch, and plain Peanut Butter (available as a mini only).

Perfect Bars however lose out in the convenient factor, because they require refrigeration and have a shorter shelf life.
Peanut Butter Mini.
"Creamy organic peanut butter meets organic honey meets 20 expertly-hidden whole foods."

The first flavor they ever made was peanut butter, so, I started with this, their first, and signature, item.

I tried a mini version, not really expecting to like these bars, and not wanting to invest in a full size bar.  The mini was indeed mini, easily finished in 2-3 bites.

The bar was a fairly solid texture, just kinda a block.  Since I had it straight from the fridge, it was also cold, and crumbled a bit.  I wonder what it would be like if it warmed up a bit?

Anyway, my 2-3 bites was only 100 calories, which is decently low given that it is a peanut butter bar, and, shockingly, the first ingredient is indeed peanut butter.  And you can tell.  It mostly just tastes like, well, peanut butter.  There was not a strange bitterness to it.  There was not an awful aftertaste.  It tasted like peanut butter, honeyed peanut butter even.

As I said, the first ingredient is peanut butter, and the second is honey, so, it actually makes sense that that is what I tasted.  The bar actually tastes like what it is made of.  There are more ingredients in it, including "Dried whole food powders", which includes kale, flax seed, rose hip, orange, lemon, papaya, tomato, apple, alfalfa, celery, kelp, dulse, carrot, and spinach, but honestly, I didn't taste any of that.  Notably, there is no "whey protein isolate", or any strange chemicals.  The only not entirely obvious ingredient is rice protein, which never tastes as nasty to me as the other proteins commonly found in bars.

Anyway, was this actually tasty?  Well, not really.  If it had some chocolate chips in it though, I could imagine liking it (they do make a version with carob chips, perhaps that would work?).  Or just something to give it a bit more oomph.  As it was, it was just a strange textured bar, that mostly tasted like honey peanut butter.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Pino's Pizza, Boston

Pino's Pizza is a hole in the wall pizza place in Cleveland Circle in Brighton, near Boston.  It is a friend's family's favorite pizza place.  They have been visiting for years.  It seems to be an institution among others too, as it has been around since 1962, which is crazy in restaurant years.

Whenever he visits home, my friend always makes a trip to Pino's, with his entire family, including his elderly grandparents.  It is a big ordeal, but a tradition and something they absolutely love to do.  I've somehow not usually been around when they have gone, but this time, I was.  I was assured I was in for a treat.
Menu and ordering area.
Pino's is a no frills sort of place.  You order at the register.  They sell slices that are pre-cooked and just warmed when you order, or whole pies.  They also have the makings for subs.  I guess they also have some Italian dinner classics, like ravioli, ziti, shells, spaghetti, and assorted parmigiana, but we didn't order any of those.  These folks come for the pizza, and only the pizza.

It was lunchtime, and slices and subs seemed like popular items for others.

Once you order, you are given a number, and that is that.  Pizza is delivered to your table with paper plates.  Silverware and napkins are self serve.  Classic toppings such as oregano, parmesan cheese, garlic, and red pepper flakes are available in shakers at the register.

And that is that.
Cheesesteak with peppers.
I said they go for the pizza, but one diner also wanted us all to try the cheesesteak.  So we got a cheesesteak to share amongst everyone.

The bread was soft and not very fresh tasting.  The beef was well done (as in, cooked completely) and chewy.  I don't really like cooked peppers. The cheese was nicely melted at least, but there wasn't much of it.

Clearly, not my thing.
Large onion, peppers, mushrooms, "extra crispy". $18.50.
The first pizza we got was a large with onions, peppers, and mushrooms.

I liked the onions and mushrooms, both were soft and well cooked.  The topping amount was generous, nicely coating the pizza, and evenly distributed.  I didn't care for the peppers, both red and green, but, again, I don't really like cooked peppers.

The sauce was fine, simple tomato sauce.  The cheese nicely melted.  A bit greasy for my taste overall though.

The crust was rock hard.  Not charred in a nice way, just rock hard.  But, we did order it "extra crispy", as that is how the person ordering likes it.  The rest of us disagreed, but, this is her thing, so we went with it.  I thought the crust had absolutely no flavor.  No cornmeal, no oil, just ... rock hard brick of flavorlessness.

We also got a pepperoni pizza and a small cheese.  I tried a bite of the cheese, and it was much better, the crust not quite the same level of rock.

I think if you didn't ask for it extra crispy, the crust would at least not be hard to gnaw on, but it wouldn't likely be anything remarkable.

Overall, just simple pizza, not much more to say here.

Clearly, not my thing, but, I'm not really one for pizza in the first place, and, I think this place is their favorite due to all the memories.  I'll also throw in a shout out to the staff, who clearly know the family well, and treat them so very well.  They always make extra pizza bread for his grandfather to take home, as he loves to have it for breakfast the next day with classic Persian feta cheese and herbs.

Definitely an institution, just, not mine.
Pino's Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato