Thursday, April 10, 2014

Texas Pete's Sriracha CHA! strikes a nostalgic cord for Mark

There may be a plethora of hot sauces in stores now and even more online but throughout my youth growing up in North Carolina there was only one hot sauce you could find on a regular basis: Texas Pete.  My mom's family had a notoriously bullet proof palette and could drown anything, particularly  BBQ in the hot stuff and not bat an eyelash.  So, for me, Texas Pete strikes a particularly nostalgic cord living in New York. For a few years my mom mailed me bottles of Texas Pete from NC (or I stocked up when Lynn and I visited our family down south). Up until about six years ago you couldn't find the stuff on any kind of regular basis in  here on Long Island. More recently, I have noticed that Texas Pete hot sauce and other Texas Pete products are more readily available.

With CHA! Texas Pete has entered the competitive fray of the sriracha craze.  CHA! blends the sweet and the heat of first rate sriracha and Lynn and I found it a great complement to almost anything: take out Chinese, fried calamari, basmatti rice and so on.  We also found it to be an unexpectedly effective ingredient in salad dressings and on vegetables particularly cauliflower and broccoli which can of course be bland on their own. We have used other sriracha's in salad dressings but the CHA! seemed to work better than some of the more established brands with its balanced hot and sweet qualities.

In my casual observation of the Texas Pete section of the two or three grocery stores we frequent I have not seen the CHA! as of yet.  With Texas Pete well established in the northeast it is hoped that CHA!  will be readily available.  Otherwise my poor mom will likely have to  haul boxes of CHA! to the post offfice.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mark and Lynn dig Brad's Raw Crunch Kale

A few years ago Lynn and I started noticing raw, crunchy kale (made by dehydrating the kale) in health food stores.  The idea was great and we really enjoyed the feeling of finding a great savory snack that was not only nutritious but "super food" material. The problem was that there are not that many exceptional health food stores in our direct vicinity which made the notion of having the crunchy snack more of a treat than a part of our routine.

Now, Lynn and I notice this satisfying snack  more and more in traditional supermarkets which of course makes it easier to find and allows us to indulge more frequently.  One of our favorite crunchy kales is made by Brad's Raw Crunchy Kale.  We are particularly fond of the Vampire Killer  offering which has a generous dose of garlic.  Unlike some of the other Crunchy Kale on the market Brad's doesn't overdo it in the flavor department producing a relatively low calorie snack that really fills you up without any of the guilt or empty calories of more traditional snacks.  The company also manufactures raw chips which we have not had a chance to sample but if they are anything like Brad's Kale we are in for a treat.

M & L

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Stone Creek Inn impresses Makr and Lynn at Hamptons Restaurant Week....

It had been awhile since Lynn and I had gone to the Stone Creek Inn in East Quogue.  Our one and only visit there had been in the late winter/early spring for restaurant week 3 or 4 years ago.  We had a memorable experience but had not been back since.  Last week we were able to make a long overdue visit back there as the Stone Creek Inn participated in the always welcome Hamptons Restaurant Week.

For an appetizer, Lynn had a great Hudson Valley Duck Foie Gras which she thought was rich and creamy enough to pass for a particularly decadent dessert.  I had a satisfying mini-slab of Steak Tartare crusted with shallots.  Entrees were equally first rate Lynn having and myself having a succulent Rabbit Fricassee over creamy polenta.  Lynn had an equally appetizing Roasted leg of lamb with a savory black garlic jus.

The wait staff was really attentive, but brisk and so competent as to almost be ninja-like swooping in  with our food, clearing the table and picking up our check with great dexterity.  

It was about time that Lynn and I re-discovered this place and we look forward to adding it to our "list" of frequented restaurants for the summer.

M & L

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I (Mark) have written for The Christian Science Monitor, Clear Magazine, Picture Magazine, Film Score Monthly, Dan's Papers, Rue Morgue, In Flight USA and a lot more publications that I can't remember.... My wife Lynn was a model with the Ford Agency and her photography has been featured in most of the publications I have written for...


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