Thursday, November 27, 2008

Black Friday Sale In Great Taste!

RoJo's Gourmet Foods is rolling out Black Friday specials with great taste. Make the foodie, home cook, tailgater, or anyone excited about their gourmet gift this year. No standing in long lines, no worries about returns. Everyone loves to get a gourmet gift! So save yourself from the turkey and stuffing induced coma by hopping on your computer and doing a little holiday shopping from the comfort of your home.

Dave's Gourmet Original Insanity Hot Sauce

List Price: $7.49
Our Price: $6.95
Sale Price: $4.25
You Save $3.24!

Your S'more 4-Pack, All-In-One Indoor S'more. 4-3.5oz, Individually

List Price: $14.25
Our Price: $11.95
Sale Price: $10.95
You Save $3.30!

Dave's Gourmet Spicy Twelve Pack Miniature Hot Sauce Collection

List Price: $23.95
Our Price: $21.95
Sale Price: $18.95
You Save $5.00!

Tony Tah's Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing & Marinade

List Price: $6.29
Our Price: $5.95
Sale Price: $4.25
You Save $2.04!

And many more items on sale! Plus every order gets a FREE hot sauce added and at $89 worth of qualifying merchandise we will pick up the cost to ship it to you by FedEx ground or home!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wan Ja Shan Gourmet Dumpling Sauce

The folks at Wan Ja Shan have been reading The Last Bite and were enjoying it so much they decided to send us a box of sauces that they make to test out on our review team.

Today we have reached into that box and pulled out their Dumpling Sauce, and what better way to use than on dumplings! I just happen to have some Chinese dumpling in the freezer waiting for just such an occasion.

Wan Ja Shan's natural brewing method captures the essence of ancient Oriental tradition using scientific, modern-day technology. After special heat-treating, crushing, mixing and culturing, their wheat and soybeans are combined in a salt water brine solution. Then they are stored in 25,000 gallon storage tanks for a six-month aging period before being pressed, pasteurized, tested, refined and bottled. Wan Ja Shan soy sauce is NATURALLY BREWED from the basic ingredients of soybean, wheat, salt and water. This wonderful soy sauce is the base for the dumpling sauce we are sampling today.

Wan Ja Shan recommendsto use this as a dipping sauce for dumplings and all dim-sum dishes to bring out that authentic Chinese taste. In addition, Wan Ja Shan Dumpling Sauce also serves as an all-purpose seasoning for marinating and stir-frying meats and vegetables.

The first thing that struck me was the wonderful rich aroma of this sauce, it immediately made me hungry as it wafted it's wonderfully tangy, toasty scent.

I always taste every sauce by itself before applying it to food. This allows me to taste the delicate nuances one might miss when paired with food. This dumpling sauce was actually quite complex and full of tasty layers of flavor.

The initial flavor is of the tangy vinegar and saltiness of the soy. It is then smoothed over by the toasty, nutty sesame oil. There is a slight sweetness and garlicky notes in the ever so light zestiness that finishes the flavor profile of this sauce. The brew of the soy comes through nicely but never overpowers the balance of this sauce.

We really enjoyed sampling the dumpling sauce from Wan Ja Shan. It definitely elevated our dumplings to a higher level.

Cibo; Italian For Mediocre and Expensive.

It was seven PM on a Friday night and we were hungry. After making the drive through the ubiquitous no parking available district in Palo Alto we decided to head up to El Camino and find a nice place to enjoy dinner. We came across Cibo Restaurant and Bar. It was everything we were looking for, we thought, as we approached the parking spot in their own lot.

When you enter the lobby you see one of the three seating areas, this is where the confusion begins. The first seating area is mostly diner style booths, past that was room with tables that appeared to be closed and to the right; by the bar was the area which we were lead. This room had a little style with white table cloths and semi-dimmed lighting; so far so good.

Open menu, scratch head? It was really hard to tell what is going on here? The appetizer section had mix of Middle Eastern items and bar food. I felt like I needed to relax a minute from my day before wrapping my head around this menu so I turned to the wine list. Unfortunately the wine list lacked any creativity and read like the bottom shelf of the wine section at your local grocery store. By this time our server had been to the table twice and seemed as confused as we were.

We ordered the “Earth & Surf “, a calamari appetizer that turned out to be an over battered calamari with bell pepper and onion dish. I clearly remember reading the line “lightly battered”; it was served with a flavored mayo for dipping. The whole thing was served on some rough chopped romaine that quickly soaked up the grease from the dish and became dark, limp and un-appetizing.

Our entrees arrived in good time; however we quickly discovered that this was due to the lack of cooking time applied to the meals. I ordered the lamb chops and my dining companion ordered the prime Angus rib eye steak. We both ordered our meat prepared medium rare. While the steak was close to medium rare; cooked mostly on one side and seared on the other, the lamb chops were a wobbly bloody mess and had to be returned. We decided to share the steak while the lamb was being redone.

This $32.95 Angus Prime Rib Eye was disappointing to say the least. I have had better steaks at Sizzler. If that steak was actually prime Angus beef I’m a monkey’s uncle. It was tough as leather and had no flavor, there was no marbling and it lacked any recognizable characteristics of a rib eye cut. The rest of the food on the plate was the quality I would expect get at my local family eatery.

The lamb was back and this time it was prepare medium rare. I found the meat to be tasty and the gravy like sauce had a nice red wine flavor that paired well with the rosemary marinade of the lamb. The potatoes were sticky and overworked and my veggies seemed to be the original ones from my returned plate that have been re-sautéed and somewhat scorched, it was all under seasoned and bland.

When the waiter had returned with the lamb we inquired as to a verification of the cut of steak, admittedly he was unsure and charged us for the less expensive NY cut. Either way I would not expect that you are getting any prime Angus beef at Cibo.
We skipped coffee and dessert and hastened our departure as we had truly had enough of this painfully mediocre eatery.

3398 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 494-2426
Get directions

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Europe Embraces Deviant Fruits and Veg.

BRUSSELS (AFP) — EU nations on Wednesday gave the green light Monday for bent cucumbers and other 'wonky' fruit and vegetables to be sold in supermarkets and elsewhere, as part of a drive to cut red tape.

"This is a happy day indeed for the curvy cucumber and the knobbly carrot, and other amusingly shaped fruits and vegetables," said European Commission spokesman Michael Mann.

"Rules governing the size and shape of fruit and vegetables will be consigned to history", the commission said in a statement.

In all, marketing standards for 26 fruits and vegetables are being scrapped, paving the way for the return to shopping trolleys of forked carrots, onions that are less than two thirds covered with skin and the bent cucumbers among other deviant vegetables.

The rules had been derided as "bonkers" by the likes of major British supermarket chain Sainsbury's, while major agricultural nations such as France have argued that scrapping the restrictions will lead to a fall in prices and thereby hit farmers.

"This marks a new dawn for the curvy cucumber and the knobbly carrot," said EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Recipe: Monica's Cuban Sandwich Wrap

The Cuban sandwich is a wonderful combination of flavors and textures. For this version we use a commercially available bread wrap. The pork filling is slow roasted and by using a Crockpot, a perfect result it easily achieved. Pork recipe follows below.

1 FlatOut bread wrap
2 pcs Ham, thick sliced
8oz. Pork, shredded (slow roasted)
2 pcs Cheese, Colby Jack sliced
1 lg. Dill Pickle, Sliced
1 tablespoon Roasted Garlic & Red Chile Mustard
1 teaspoon Mayonaise
1 teaspoon butter, softened

Butter one side of FlatOut bread wrap. Place butter side down in a skillet or grille pan. Place the cheese on one half of the bread wrap. While the cheese is beginning to melt sear the ham slices in the pan and place on top of the melting cheese. Spread spicy mustard on the ham and spread out 6 to 8 ounces of roasted pork over the mustard. Sliced dill pickles go on top of the roasted pork. Spread the mayo on the opposite half of the bread wrap and fold over. Transfer to a cutting board and slice the sandwich in half.

Serve with some tortilla chips, black bean dip, and plenty of hot sauce.


3 Onions
1 Pork shoulder
Hawaiian red salt
Fresh cracked black pepper

Peel and half three onions. Place onions cut side down in Crockpot. Clean and pat dry pork shoulder. Season liberally with Hawaiian red salt and fresh cracked pepper. Place seasoned pork shoulder on onion halves. Cover with lid and set to cook for 12 hours on high. DO NOT add any liquid. This should be a slow cooker that reaches a max temp of about 275 degrees. For the last three hours prop the lid up so that the accumulated liquid can reduce. You should be left with very little liquid at end of cooking.

The pork should be fork tender and the onions should be dark brown and completely caramelized. Using two large forks shred up the pork and onion together making sure they are well mixed.

Besides the Cuban sandwich, this pulled pork can be used as an ingredient in many dishes. The very simplistic seasoning allows it to take on the flavors of any dish without adding an uncharacteristic element. It works well in tacos, carnitas, BBQ pork sandwiches, and more!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Review: Dragon’s Breath, MOJO Citrus Juice Hot Sauce

It’s been a while since I have conducted a product review and looking at my shelf of awaiting items I figured tonight was as good a night as any to get one more done.

Initial Impression: This looks like your typical hot sauce, and while I can’t say that any one thing jumps out at me and says “I’m special, eat me”, there is also nothing fundamentally wrong with the first glance of this hot sauce.

Ingredients: Habanero, Serrano and Red Peppers, Carrots, Onions, Garlic, Citrus Juice, Spices, and Salt. This ingredient list checks out A-OK with me. All natural, no preservatives, and peppers are the first ingredient in this list, what more could you want?

Appearance: A nice looking, reddish sauce with bits of black pepper and chili pepper skin. MOJO Hot Sauce has a thick appearance that coats the inside of the bottle so I was a little surprised to see that under the cap is one of those little plastic orifice restrictors. Getting this nice thick sauce out of the bottle was a pain with the plastic doohickey in place. Pull it off and throw it out.

Aroma: Ohh yeah. This is a really great smelling sauce. When I first uncap the bottle and take a healthy snort I get the aroma of toasted cumin and chili powder. The next to hit your nose is garlic and some smoky elements. It makes my mouth water.

Taste: The very first flavor to hit me is a citrus tang. I initially thought vinegar, but there is none in the ingredient list. Further tasting leads me to think lime juice. The sudden heat of the Habanero and Serrano chilies come next. The heat is short lived and does not ever actually get to a nice searing hot level. This is a medium heat at best, but this is a nice heat level for this sauce and it feels well balanced.

The Food Test: This sauce paired perfectly with tonight’s meal! Since the label says it works well with Caribbean dishes I figured the Cuban Sandwich Wraps we made would be a match made in heaven. All I can say is YES; the sauce IS a perfect match! The richness of the pork is cut by the acidity of the citrus juice in the sauce and the flavor of the spices elevates this sandwich. The MOJO Sauce could use a bit more heat as a good amount of it is lost to the food. I used a quarter of the bottle on my sandwich.

Conclusion: Thick and tangy this hot sauce is a pleasure to eat. It doesn’t have a pile of heat but it’s enough for a regular dose of flavor so you can splash it on liberally without hurting yourself. I think I’ll bring this sauce to our local Cuban restaurant to test drive it some more.

Packaging 7/10 – Typical Hot Sauce
Aroma 9/10 – Fragrant and Enticing
Appearance 9/10 – Thick with Bits
Taste 9/10 – Tangy, Complex & Spicy
Heat 6/10 –Medium, Short Lived

Overall 8/10

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Serbian Chef is Nuts for Balls!

With the credit crunch kicking in, shoppers will be relieved to hear a cost-effective alternative to steak is now available for creating classic meat dishes.

The Testicle Cookbook: Cooking With Balls has been hailed as the world's first testicle recipe collection and includes testicle pizza, battered testicles and barbecued testicles with giblets.

And if counting the pennies isn't enough of a reason to indulge in the delicacy, testicles are also renowned for their libido-boosting properties.

Rich in testosterone, they are believed to be a powerful aphrodisiac in countries such as Serbia and China.

The e-book, available for download from the Internet, comes with handy video guides showing the author, Ljubomir Erovic, peeling the skin off testicles and slicing them up into bite-size chunks.

Several different animals, including stallions, ostriches, bulls, pigs and turkeys, get the Erovic treatment.

Read More....