Friday, November 02, 2018

3 Korochki, Russian snacks

My co-workers have been signing up for monthly snack food subscription boxes, some of which come with treats from around the world.  This is a unique way to try treats from places we don't normally visit.  It has opened up a world (heh, literally) of possibilities to me of new snack foods to try.  Which, for me is a great thing, as I love snacks.

And thus, we found ourselves with products from 3 Korochki, a snack company from Russia.
"Freshly baked bread is used for "3 Crusts" croutons."
3 Korochki, or "3 Crusts", makes three different product lines, all types of snack croutons, either "with sauce", wheat, or rye based.  To say the flavors are interesting is an understatement.  Bacon & Heinz ketchup, or perhaps Chicken Teriyaki, are the most tame.  I wished we were sent options like "quick pickled cucumbers flavour + tartar sauce", because those sounded pretty ridiculous, but we did not pick our flavors.

They were ... fascinating, at least.  Very ... unique.
Salmon & Cheese Packaging.
"Rye croutons with salmon and cheese flavour."

First up, salmon & cheese croutons, from the rye product line.  This variety also comes in the "with sauce" line, a salmon and cheese flavour with tartar sauce baked in.

From the packaging, I was already a bit confused.  I saw smoked salmon, cubes of holey swiss cheese, and sticks.  Uh, what?
Salmon & Cheese Croutons.
Inside the bag though ... that really is what they were.

"Croutons", or, rye rusks, with, yes, salmon and cheese flavor.  The rusks were crunchy, like baked croutons.  Good heartiness from the rye.  I don't really want rye croutons, but, you could taste the rye, and they were pleasantly crispy.

The flavor though ... salmon and cheese don't really go together in my head.  A bit worse to imagine is salmon and fake snack food cheese.  And even worse?  Powdered salmon and powdered cheese flavor.  Yet that is what these were.

Hearty rye croutons covered in strange fishy cheesy powder?  Uh ...  uh ... fascinating, but not really something I want.  They left my stomach feeling a bit confused.
Aspic and Horseradish Packaging.
If you think the salmon and cheese were adventurous, um, next was even more crazy.

Aspic, as in, yes, meat jelly.  With horseradish.  Even the image on the package was a bit scary here.

I had no idea what to expect.
Aspic and Horseradish Croutons.
"Rye croutons with aspic and horseradish flavour."

These looked much like the salmon and cheese variety.  Crunchy, hard, rye croutons.  Ok, sure.

But the flavor.  OMG the flavor.  This is not a good OMG.

These were fairly awful.  Such a strong flavor.  A ... zesty one.  A very, very strong zesty flavor, with strangeness to it that wasn't identifiable.  My immediate reaction was to spit this out.

I did not spit it out, I forced myself to taste it more, to try to understand it, but, wow, it was not a good experience.  I did not eat another.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

7 Days Soft Croissant

Packaged, shelf-stable, baked goods?  You know how I roll.  I'll try anything.

Like, "7 Days Soft Croissant".
"No1 CROISSANT IN THE WORLD! A wonderful combination of soft croissant pastry with a rich creamy filling that gives you energy to get your day going in the most delicious way."
Their marketing sounds great, right?  The No 1 croissant in the world?  Now that's a claim.  A claim that makes no sense, really.  Do they *really* think they are better than a fresh french patisserie? And I wasn't quite sure about creamy fillings, I mean, I love creamy fillings, but in croissants?

And what's with the name, 7 Days, anyway?  Do they last 7 days? (nope, they are frighteningly shelf stable for much longer).  Take 7 days to make? (ha, no, they are mass produced in a factory).  The answer: they are meant to be enjoyed 7 days a week.  You know, if you want to have a diet that consists of highly processed, high fat, high calorie, croissants *every* day.

Fortunately, 7 Days also makes a mini croissant "coffee's best friend" that might be a more practical daily snack.  They also randomly make bagel chips, and "pizzeti", bread chips baked with spices and cheese, basically, kinda like pizza flavors, just, snackable.  These too are supposed to be something you enjoy 7 days a week.

I tried only the full size soft croissants.  And ... they weren't bad.   Really.
Packaged Croissant.
"The classic choice for every day.  7DAYS Croissant, made with dough and rich filling, satisfies your hunger in the most delicious way."

Everything about this, from the outside, just made me laugh.  How good would this packaged, shelf stable for months, croissant possibly be?  And the fillings ... not exactly normal croissant fillings.  My choices were vanilla, chocolate cream, peanut butter crème & chocolate, peanut butter crème & jelly, strawberry vanilla, and caramel.

I selected the most interesting flavor from the lineup - peanut butter crème & chocolate, mostly because I was curious what this "crème" was.
Peanut Butter Crème & Chocolate: Exterior.
I opened the package to reveal my not-so fresh baked good.  However, I was drawn in pretty immediately.  Not by the look (kinda smooshed, obviously not flaky), but by the aroma.  It smelt buttery and delicious, and somehow, freshly baked.

To the touch though, this thing was very oily.  My fingers were left with a sheen to them just from touching it for a moment.  Soooo much butter.
Peanut Butter Crème & Chocolate: Interior.
I sliced off the end so I could see inside.

Here I could see a light brown center, and a darker brown around it.  Peanut butter crème and chocolate.  Ok.

Time to try it.  By now my fingers were slippery.

The pastry was better than I expected.  It did not taste stale.  It did not taste like plastic.  It was more bread-like than a real croissant, not flaky laminated layers, but, it was soft, sweet, and quite buttery.  Well, huh.  Not so bad.

The filling too was better than I expected.  The peanut butter crème squirted out when I squeezed it, so I tasted it alone first.  It was ... delicious peanut butter flavored crème.  I really liked it.  Tons of peanut butter flavor, but in a pastry cream.  The chocolate was thicker, richer, but not solid.  It took was like a pudding, just, a thick one.  Rich chocolate flavor.

I was pretty shocked at this point. Sure, not a flaky fresh croissant, but I liked the soft buttery bread, and I adored the filling.

But I had an idea.  It said clearly on it "DO NOT MICROWAVE", but it didn't say I couldn't warm it up another way.
Into my toaster oven it went, just for a few minutes, rotated halfway through.

This did magic.  The exterior really truly did get flaky, not just crispy from being toasted.  I couldn't believe it.  The pastry was now not only "not bad", but it was actually quite good.  And yes, still very, very buttery.  My fingers were quite moisturized at this point.
And the insides?  OMG.  The flavors and consistency were good at room temperature, but once heated, the chocolate got all melty, and this was truly fantastic.

I adored this thing, and now I'm really curious to try more of their products.  Any flavor.  You know, as my daily snack, 7 days a week ...

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

AS 307, First Class, SFO-SEA

Flight Details:
  • Departure: 1:25pm (scheduled), 1:55 (actual)
  • Seat: 1C
  • Meal: Snack
My first time flying Alaska Airlines First Class, but it was just a short 2 hour flight from San Francisco to Seattle.

It was ... fine?  Flight attendants were friendly and efficient.  The "meal" was better than I expected.
Red Wine & Warm Nuts.

Once underway, hot towels were offered and our drink orders were delivered (pre-ordered while on the ground).

I opted for the red wine, I'm not sure what it was, there was a choice only of red or white, no details given.  It was ... drinkable.  A table wine, not offensive, not too tannic at least.

I appreciated that the nuts were served slightly warm, and that the mix was well distributed between cashews, almonds, and pecans, nicely salted.  Fine nuts.
Turkey Sandwich.
The meal served was "snack", I was expecting just a snack basket, so I ate in advance.  This wasn't really a "snack" ...

I had a choice ... protein plate or turkey sandwich.  Neither actually sounded good.  The protein plate was sliced chicken, hard boiled egg, hummus, pita, apple slices, and grapes.  No cheese.  The turkey sandwich came with no sides, usually the only thing I like about the sandwich option on a flight.  Hmm.  Neither of these appealed, but the FA said the turkey sandwich was good, so, hey, I went for it.

It was a generous sandwich, two halves, both quite large.  And, shockingly, served warm.  I wasn't expecting that at all.  It actually warmed up really well, the bread slightly crispy and toasty, the fillings pleasantly warm, the cheese melted.  Huh.

The bread was fine, not stale, and the toasting worked wonders on it.  The inside of both the top and bottom was soggy, but in a way that I sometimes like, uh, yes, I like scraping out mushy bread.

On the side was a delicious herbed mayo that made me want things to dip into it, and some mediocre grapes.
Turkey Sandwich: Warmed.
The inside also was better than expected.

Decent amount of roast turkey slices.  I tried a bite of turkey, and yes, it was turkey.  Not my thing, but nice and warm.  The tomatoes weren't that bad, not mealy.  The dill was a nice surprise and added a ton of flavor.

And then, cheese ... sorta.  It was melted, not very generous, and mostly soaked into the bread.

So, overall, this was actually a decent quality item.  Not really my thing at all, but I found that I enjoyed the mushy bread I scraped out, with melty cheese, tomatoes, dill, tasty tasty herb mayo, and my own salad and snacks I brought.

If you actually like sandwiches, or turkey, this really might be a good one.