I think this is the last of my alternative summer beverage columns, because I’m not sure I can take anymore. St. Ides was one of the original 40′s of Malt Liquor that I was aware of. It is on the Mount Rushmore of 40′s alongside: Olde English 800, Colt 45 and Steel Reserve. St. Ides had commercials featuring an impressive line up of Rappers over time.
It’s Monday, which means it’s time for another Eating Styles poll. The season for chili cook-offs is just around the corner. In my family, my dad is the chili chef. He’s mostly concerned with getting rid of whatever’s leftover in the fridge, though, so there’s no telling what sort of meat, vegetable or condiment might end up in there. But no matter what crazy concoction comes together on our stove, it never includes noodles. It wasn’t until college that I saw someone put noodles in their chili, so to me it was pretty strange. So today we’re wondering, do you make chili with or without noodles?
We’ve already asked you what toppings you like on your chili, now we’re wondering about the noodle issue. Maybe it’s not as widespread of a practice as I thought. I’ve only ever seen my roommate from rural Wisconsin do it, and then of course there’s Cincinnati Chili served on top of spaghetti. At any rate, it seems like a pretty American thing to do. So do you put noodles in your chili? Vote below and explain your answer in the comments.
If you thought the food offered at many fast food joints couldn’t get any worse, just wait.
As I read in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and other prominent chains are in a bidding war to hit the lowest rung on the pricing ladder. Apparently, ordering from the dollar menu has gotten a little too steep for some folks.
“Fast-food chains like McDonald’s and Wendy’s may seem like they would be resilient in this tough economy, but consumers have come to expect $1 burgers, and more brands have jumped on the bandwagon, with chains like Yum Brands Inc.’s Taco Bell and Arby’s Restaurant Group testing out new value menus.”
What could say more than consumers that expect $1 burgers? Think about that. For one dollar (and under), people have come to assume that they can get a piece of ground beef, a bun, and all the usual toppings. Therefore, there is no such thing as a “value menu” when people don’t see the value – it is the norm.
You would think that McDonald’s and others would be taking a huge hit with such low-priced items, but no – they are making huge profits. So just imagine what kinds of ultra-cheap food they are using to create these measly imitations of real burgers.
But let’s take the next step – what’s going to happen if the profit margins get any thinner? In the name of competition, food will continue to get cheaper to raise sagging profits, and by extension, further decrease the quality of the food. This is an equation that has no good result, especially for the consumer.
How much worse can it get? We are likely going to find out soon. Have mercy.
Who doesn’t love cereal? Whether it be from a bowl late at night, eaten directly from the box in a fit of munchie fueled foraging, littered with candy marshmallows or possessing enough fiber to ensure you’ve reserved the staff washroom, we dig our flakes, smacks and loops immensely.
It’s a $10.2 billion dollar industry (2011 – U.S. sales) that’s just begging to be parodied. However, since this is the same grocery category that’s given us “Urkel-Os” and “Mr. T” cereal, the bar has been set ridiculously high.
As always, the internet and its denizens are up for the challenge.
Outselling both Halloweeties & Scream of Wheat combined.
The hard cider craze is beginning to taper off, but there’s no doubt the sweet, bubbly adult version of apple juice has carved out a solid niche for itself on tap listings and menus nationwide. Now that hard cider is a mainstay, we’re seeing various brands put out different varieties and styles in order to keep consumer interest. Redd’s Apple Ale, which So Good contributor Mark tried, is one example. Angry Orchard was nice enough to send me some free samples of their own attempt to break the mold: Angry Orchard Cider House Collection. The Cider House Collection is a new line of experimental hard ciders that includes Angry Orchard Strawman Farmhouse Hard Cider and Angry Orchard Iceman Hard Cider.Angry Orchard describes their Cider House Collection like this:
Our Cider House Collection includes rare and innovative ciders, harvested from our cider makers’ passion and creativity. To bring you these new distinct styles, we experimented with juice blends, wood again, fermentation techniques, and other traditional processes learned from years of cider making exploration and craftsmanship.
The descriptions of Strawman and Iceman themselves are probably too lengthy to reproduce here, but the highlights for Strawman include “ripe apple, vanilla and honeysuckle…wood, dark fruits and sweet citrus…complex, earthy, slightly herbal taste akin to that of a dry, southern hemisphere Sauvignon Blanc or a dry Riesling” while Iceman’s flavor profile is described as “crisp apples with notes of caramel and toffee…smooth vanilla character…Iceman’s warm taste, with vanilla and honey characteristics, is similar to a Sauternes or Muscat wine.” Both are 10% ABV, about twice as much alcohol as Angry Orchard’s regular hard cider.Judging from the dramatic descriptions, comparisons to wine and striking bottle/logo design, there’s no doubt of Angry Orchard’s aim for a high-profile brew. They don’t just want to be the tap next to Mich Golden Light, they want to be in your wine cellar. So far, the Cider House Collection image is impressive. But does the flavor add up?My parents and I tried both of these ciders via blind taste test, and the results were not stunning. Tasters described Iceman, the more favored of the two, as “sweet, mellow, full-bodied,” “sweet, not as bubbly, caramel, apple,” and “smells like wine, flavor is sweet and tart.” Sweetness was the overriding flavor profile of Iceman. It was a veritable kick in the face of deeply sweet, pucker-up apple flavor.Strawman was the exact opposite of Iceman on the cider flavor spectrum. Tasters wrote “Not as sweet, effervescent, dry, crisp, like a white wine, fairly bland,” “Sour, acidic, tart,” and “Tastes much less sweet, mild, bitter.” Full disclosure: having tried Iceman first, my taste buds were probably too buzzing with activity to notice the subtler notes in Strawman. It would have been better to try them the other way around. As it was, I couldn’t taste much of anything from Strawman besides a lingering sourness.Overall, I was not impressed with Angry Orchard Strawman and Iceman. Their one-off flavor profiles were too extreme and singular, and not at all as complex as their dactylic descriptions would have you believe. However (and there’s always a “however”) I have to admit I would drink pint after pint of Iceman just because it’s so sweet, and I find sweet things delicious. Or even better: mix equal parts of each together. We did this after the tasting, and it resulted in the best cider we’d had yet: not too sweet, not too sour. Striceman? We’re working on it.
In the spirit of Cinco De Mayo, and the continuation of my alternative summer beverage series, I present to you: Four Loko Margarita. Once you start looking, these alternative high-alcohol-content beverages are everywhere. Four Loko has an interesting history. After its rise and fall as an alcoholic energy drink it has been reinvented as a series of flavored malt beverages. Let’s see what the drink formerly known as “blackout in a can” holds for me today.
With a can this size it’s going to have to be pretty tasty for me to finish it. Thankfully, the package design is a camouflage print, so no one could tell what I was buying.
I popped the top and grabbed a glass to fancy this tasting up a bit. As I poured it into the glass I was hit with a smell that I could not quite place, but I knew I didn’t like.
I finally settled on a cross between Mike’s Hard Lemonade and a Corona with lime. If you took those two things, mixed them up and left them in the sun all day you might get this smell. My wife said it smelled like college, which is pretty accurate. No matter what you call it, it is gross.
I really didn’t want to drink it, just based on the smell. It was completely unpleasant, but I soldiered on. The taste was worse than I imagined. I nearly spit it right back in the glass.
It felt like layers of my taste buds were being stripped from my tongue as I drank. If you add some floor polish to your favorite malt liquor you can replicate the taste at home, without spending $3 for a can. There are so many cheap alcohol products on the market, I can’t find a reason for you to drink this one. It is terrible in every facet. Four Loko Margarita is a major “you don’t have to.”