Tag Archives: chocolate

Marini’s Chocolate Covered Bacon

One of our first stops whenever we hit Santa Cruz is Marini’s at the Beach on Pacific Ave. Not only does Marini’s have the raddest selection of candy, salt water taffy and other assorted sweets on the planet, but now they also offer…ta da, Chocolate Covered Bacon.

Marini's legendary chocolate covered bacon #1

That’s right, amigos, Marini’s has found a way to merge two of Christine and my favorite food groups into one. And though Chocolate Covered Bacon sounds awesome in theory, it pains me deeply to tell you that the actual result is a bit odd. That said, I am glad we sampled it at least once.

It’s not that it tastes bad, because, well, bacon never really tastes bad. But the biggest problem I had with this concoction is that is was cold. I know that’s the only way to keep the chocolate from getting all melty and everything…but, I’m sorry, cold bacon is just not the same as the warm stuff.

And though the chocolate coating is delicious, it also seals the grease onto the bacon when it chills, which is even more off-putting. I left my piece out for a while and I think it tasted much better at room temperature. True, the chocolate was all goey by then, but the bacon was much more palpable.

Marini's legendary chocolate covered bacon #2

Marini's legendary chocolate covered bacon #3

So, if you do decide to check out this strange marriage of flavors for yourself, I have two suggestions. One, call the folks at Marini’s up and order it ahead of time. They sells out of their Chocolate Covered Bacon every day, usually before noon, so, plan ahead.

And two, and this is a biggie, do not order more than one piece of bacon per person in your party. We got all greedy and ordered a half pound — which wasn’t cheap considering the whopping $9.00 per pound price tag — and that turned out to be way, waaaay too much for the four of us to consume. Seriously, one large piece of bacon is more than enough for a party of four. Hell, one bite per person would have been enough.

And while Marini’s doesn’t offer suggestions for accompanying drinks or anything, I recommend washing your bacon down with something nice and bubbly afterwards. We had a round of ice cold Cherry Dr. Pepper’s with ours, but, honestly, any carbonated beverage will fit the bill.

Um, you know, as long as it doesn’t have any bacon in it…

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Worst candy ever: Strawberried Peanut Butter M&M’s!

I know what you’re thinking, “Transformer” movie tie-in candy…lame, right? Well, what can I say? I’m a sucker for new spins on old favorites, I love me some Peanut Butter M&M’s and come on, who doesn’t wanna eat something that has been “strawberried”? Yummy!

Man, was I wrong! This is one seriously un-yummy bag of candy, amigos. If I could get my $2.49 back, I totally would. But since I can’t, I figured I’d spread the word about just how bad the idea of “strawberry-ing” anything really is.

Strawberried Peanut Butter M&M's #1

Strawberried Peanut Butter M&M's #2

Christine was (wisely, it turns out!) repulsed by the name alone, but I thought they might taste kinda like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or something. Wrong again! This stomach-churning misfire tastes like someone spilled a big old can of artificial flavoring on your favorite candies and then let it soak in overnight. Blech…truly disgusting stuff.

And while this just might just be the worst candy I’ve ever tasted, I am still dying to know what the hell Strawberried Peanut Butter M&M’s have to do with “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”? Seriously, if anyone out there has seen the movie and knows, please fill me in!

And in the meantime, I say skip the new-fangled M&M’s and head right on down the aisle for some tried and true Mother’s Cookies!

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Kara’s Cupcakes, San Francisco

Some folks swear by Sprinkles, and Yummy Cupcakes in Burbank is always great in a pinch, but our favorite cupcakes on God’s green earth come from the crazy good Kara’s Cupcakes in San Francisco.

Christine and I first discovered Kara’s while making our regular pilgrimage to Ghirardelli Square to buy some of their yummy Ghirardelli Drinking Chocolate.

If you haven’t tried this stuff, then you have not had truly incredible hot cocoa, amigos. It’s delicious…and since we first tried it a couple years back, Ghirardelli Drinking Chocolate has become one of the staples of our kitchen: salsa, eggs, tortillas, and Drinking Chocolate. Not necessarily in that order…but, I digress. Back to the cupcakes!

Kara’s has two locations in San Francisco, the one mentioned above at Ghirardelli Square and another storefront in the city’s happening Marina District just off of Chesnut Street. And though we usually frequent the one at Ghirardelli just out of convenience, I gotta say that the Kara’s in the Marina has a much bigger menu to choose from.

And what a menu it is! Even the most basic-sounding cupcake here is out-of-this-world incredible, but we have two favorites that actually start me drooling just thinking about them. Christine’s favorite is Kara’s dark chocolate Fleur de Sel, which is basically a chocolate cupcake with caramel filling, ganache frosting and fleur de sel sprinkled on top.

I’m not kidding, that cupcake is the most perfect union of chocolate and sea salt outside of those dreamy little morsels we had at Todos Santos in Santa Fe. Just incredible! And best of all, it travels well. You know, in case I pick one up for her while she’s busy shopping the Gift Show downtown.

But my favorite is, and always will be, the outrageously-good Banana Caramel. Now, I know not everyone loves bananas like I do, but wow…this banana cupcake with caramel filling and silky cream cheese frosting will change your life, baby! I have never had a cupcake as good as that one…and trust me, I’ve had a lot of cupcakes in my life, yo. This one is cupcake heaven!

Also good are the Coconut and Kara’s Karrot cupcakes, but if you only have time (or money!) for one $3.25 cupcake, I’d say go with the Fleur de Sel or the Banana Caramel. And if you are a true lover of cupcakes, then you have to stop what you’re doing right now and head on up to Kara’s…seriously, you’ll die!

Oh yeah, and I just saw on their website that they recently opened another Kara’s in Palo Alto…so, that’s even less of a drive from L.A.! Yay!

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31-Cent Scoop Night @ Baskin Robbins

For some of us, yesterday was a pretty monumental day. And I’m not talking about Hillary Clinton on Bill O’Reilly; dirty Miley Cyrus pics in Vanity Fair; or the fact that that whiny, “false start” crybaby Brooke White was finally put out of her misery (not to mention, ours!) on “American Idol”.

No way, baby. In this household, Wednesday’s big story was all about ice cream!

For those of you who missed it, sorry for not alerting you earlier, but last night was “31-cent scoop night” at Baskin Robbins stores throughout the Southland! And with a limit of a whopping ten scoops per party, we were kind of in hog heaven. Emphasis on the hog.

Hard-core ice cream fans out there will remember that not so long ago, “31-cent scoop night” used to be known as “free scoop night”…but inflation being what it is, I guess even Baskin Robbins had to up the ante a bit. But hey, thirty-one cents for a scoop of tasty ice cream is still kind of a steal. And ninety-three cents for a triple scoop, wow…forget about it.

So though we didn’t manage to hit more than one store last night — which we had actually discussed at one point a couple weeks back — Christine, my brother Ryan and sister-in-law Laura and I did make sure and max out our ten scoop minimum at the rocking 31 Flavors near their place in Glendale.

The line was kind of crazy long, but it moved fast and the crowd was awesome. Even at 9:30, there were people out there from every age and ethnic group imaginable…seriously, it looked like a scene from “Crash” minus the cheesy, overwrought drama. And we were all so damn happy to be scoring such a cheap scoop of primo ice cream that I swear to God, we were practically singing! Ah, ice cream, the great social unifier…

And once we got inside and scored our triple scoop sugar cones — actually, the ladies only had double scoops — we were kinda giddy with delight. I’m not sure if it was the sugar or the price, but wow, we were seriously loving life.

Anyway, as you can see from the picture above, I sampled my all-time-favorite Chocolate fudge with some Chocolate Peanut Butter in the middle and some tasty Nutty Coconut on the bottom. It was delicious…and best of all, the entire adventure ended up costing us a grand total of $3.10! Crazy, huh?

So, until next years “31-cent scoop night”, see ya at the freezer…

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Cafe Pasqual’s & The Shed

While we tried tons of super cool restaurants in Santa Fe, these two were, hands down, our favorites of the bunch. And, trust me, with the caliber of kick-ass food being what it is in Santa Fe, that is really saying something.

Cafe Pasqual’s, Santa Fe (Feb. 2008)

Probably best known for their spectacular mole sauce, Cafe Pasqual’s has been one of the premiere destinations for gourmet Old Mexican and New Mexican dishes alike for the past 28 years. And while the prices are a bit higher than some of the other places in town and the lines are known to stretch down Don Gasper Avenue at all hours, once you’ve eaten at Cafe Pasqual’s, it all makes sense.

Ginger and I had an early lunch there one day where I sampled that legendary mole sauce on some of the finest chicken enchiladas I have ever tasted anywhere…including Mexico. The mole was dark as night, awesomely spicy and best of all, not too chocolate-y. I was in heaven…

Cafe Pasqual’s @ lunch time! (Feb. 2008)

The next time I went was with Christine for dinner and once again, the food was downright dazzling. I had some of the tastiest skewered filet mignon I’ve ever had and the bright green cilantro rice on the side was crazy good. In fact, we were so impressed with the food that we actually bought the newest of the two Cafe Pasqual Cookbooks they had for sale up front.

I should also note that I learned later from our friends James and Amy that if you ask nicely, the chef will add a fried egg on top of any of the dishes on the menu for the low, low price of $1.00. I don’t know that I necessarily needed the egg, but hey, I’ve done stranger things for a dollar…so, maybe next time!

Mole chicken enchiladas @ Cafe Pasqual’s! (Feb. 2008)

But while we both loved Cafe Pasqual’s, The Shed is the place we’ll dream about in the years to come…huge thanks to Christine’s co-worker, “Santa Fe Sarah” for recommending it to us, you rock! Located in a cool little hacienda dating to 1692, The Shed has been serving some of the finest, Spanish, Pueblo, and New Mexican food known to man since 1953.

Housed inside the thick adobe walls of the hacienda, the dining area is spread out across a series of small, brightly colored rooms linked by narrow doorways and halls adorned with some of the coolest art in town. The place actually felt more like someone’s house than a restaurant, and with little round fire places up front and an intimate, low-ceilinged feel throughout, you could have sworn you were eating in Yoda’s pad on Degobah. And yes, that is a good thing.

The Shed, Santa Fe (Feb. 2008)

And the food…my God. Amazing! Christine ordered the Chicken Enchilada Verde which is made with traditional New Mexican blue corn tortillas and bathed in a roasted green chile sauce that will leave you begging for more. Literally! I went back two days after she left and ordered the exact same thing…and it was even better the second time.

The other thing we really dug about The Shed was the garlic bread. Instead of chips and salsa — which you can still order separately if you like — every entree is served with this amazing, piping-hot basket of French Garlic Bread. I know it sounds kinda weird, but when you’re sopping up that spicy green chile sauce, that bread is exactly what you wanna have on hand. Whew…awesome!

And for desert, you gotta try the mocha cake. I’m not kidding, I actually woke up a couple of times craving that thing. Probably one of the best coffee-infused, chocolate mouse cakes I’ve ever had. If you like chocolate…you will die!

Anyway, like I said before, there were plenty of killer dining spots in town, but these two…wow…if you ever find yourself in Santa Fe, don’t miss them.

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