March 2015 Food Obsession: Colman’s Mustard

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March 2015 Food obsession of the month: Colman’s MustardColman’s has been on my radar since I was 5 years old. The tin always fascinated me and the contents-finely powdered mustard that kicks serious butt when turned into a smooth creamy paste with water? Yes please. Mustard of all kinds are my favorite condiments anyways, but Colman’s kicks it to stratospheric heights.  Those are 16 ounce cans pictured above! BackgroundIn 1866, Queen Victoria bestowed Colman’s Mustard with the ultimate seal of approval: the Royal Warrant. It has been stocked in the Royal kitchen at Buckingham Palace ever since. In honor of […]

Cocktails For Easter Brunch, Part Two: Southern Comfort Caramel A Sidewinder

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Interested in a buttered popcorn flavored cocktail?That’s the first impression we get when combining newcomer Southern Comfort Caramel with Sprite over ice. Weirdly compelling salty sweetness. More savory than you would imagine. A sidewinder of a spirit that is not at all expected. For those unaware, Southern Comfort is an American whiskey-flavored liqueur first developed in 1874 by a New Orleans bartender.One of the most significant new features to this new package is the unique icon on the neck and label proudly owning Southern Comfort’s position as a “category of one.” The new bottle shape draws from the brand’s heritage […]

Cocktails For Easter Brunch, Part One: Kahlúa Salted Caramel Is Incredible

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Easter is coming, which means many things to many people. For us, we think about the fact Lent is over and we can eat chocolate and Easter Eggs… and what cocktails we will be whipping up to make for the adults while the kids are hunting for said eggs… The geniuses at Kahlúa, the classic rum and coffee liqueur, have put on their mad hatters and come up with a delicious newcomer to the mixer/liqueur market. At under $20 a bottle, it will become a favorite for those who adore the sweet and salty balance tinged with fresh coffee.Their latest […]

Natural Products Expo West Top Frozen Dessert Winner: Ciao Bella!

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It was a tough decision but one we had no trouble finally agreeing on: NYC Ciao Bella Gelato takes the prize from us, as gelato genius Chef Danilo Zecchin is constantly creating the most inventive, festive non GMO sorbettos and gelatos in the American marketplace. They were on display at the recent 35th annual Natural Products Expo West, the world’s largest natural, organic and healthy products event at the Anaheim Convention Center in California.The enormous event is our annual mecca to find and try the best in healthy foods, and discover new ingredients, packaging, technologies, equipment, and services for cutting-edge […]

Cocktail of the Month: Sexy Italian Pour, Versatile Amaro Lucano

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Cocktail of the Month, March 2015: Amaro Lucano takes us to Italy, the land of the quaffable bitter, the ubiquitous Campari and other similar decorative and arty pours where you can either drink them neat, or craft a striking cocktail.Amaro Lucano is like nothing else, it slaps you with herbals, citrus, spice and green finishes, yet almost has a licorice quality. Not strong like Sambuca, but subtle and complex in its lingering flavor profile. Amaro is maddening to pin down, actually. Amaro is the Italian word for bitter.  Amaro Lucano was first made from a secret family recipe that has been handed […]

Kitchen Genius: BerryBreeze Mitigates Food Rot

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Kitchen Genius March 2015: It has happened to us all, you buy a gorgeous basket of berries or a head of lettuce, then in a short amount of time, the white fuzz grows or the leaves are black and curling in spots. Many of us are juicing and that requires a lot of fresh vegetable and fruit storage in the fridge, but the race to use all the produce is on and if you forget for a few days, money is thrown out. We tested a new item – BerryBreeze – that sets up inside the shelf of the fridge […]

Tostitos Offers Any ‘Chip’ Free Dip On March 23

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To celebrate National Chip and Dip Day on Monday, March 23rd, Tostitos is giving one free dip to anyone in America named Chip.Chip is one of those derivative “Charles” or “Christopher” nicknames that very few people are named, so they won’t be out much dough. That’s right, Chips across America are encouraged to visit www.EveryChipGetsADip.com, where they can register to receive a free Tostitos dip with proof of their snack-like name. Tostitos has partnered with perhaps the most iconic “Chip”, Erik Estrada of the popular 1970s TV show “CHiPs” to create a fun and humorous announcement video celebrating fans all […]

Cocktail Of The Morning! 2 Gingers Refreshing Alternative To St. Paddy’s Green Beer

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Cocktail Of The Morning! 2 Gingers Refreshing Alternative To St. Paddy’s Green Beer!2 GINGERS® is a smooth Irish whiskey and the spirit founded in Minnesota by Irishman and former owner of one of the top-selling Irish whiskey bars, Kieran Folliard. Kieran has created one of the fastest-growing Irish whiskeys in the United States. The 80-proof blend is twice-distilled and aged for four years, creating a smooth, malty and slightly sweet taste followed by a tingle of honey and citrus. It also features spicy wood notes that carry a hint of caramel and vanilla to the finish.Folliard founded 2 Gingers at […]

Foodie Heaven: Natural Products Expo 2015, What We Loved!

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Our favorite food convention has left SoCal, but we have had a week to regroup and highlight our taste-tested picks for you to seek out and try in the grocery store! Many companies were recognized with awards at the recent Natural Products Expo West 2015.  The official Natural Products Expo West “Best of West: Press Award” went to Justin’s Mini Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.Runner ups include: Noosa Yoghurt, LLC’s Vanilla Yoghurt and Brandstorm, Inc.’s Dark Chocolate Covered Chia Seeds.  The winner of the NEXT Accelerator Natural Products Business School Pitch Slam was Loliware.Several key themes were predominant. Packaging innovations: […]

Can’t Get To Hawaii? The Volcanic Water Comes To You

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Can’t Get To Hawaii? The Volcanic Water Comes To YouDrink This Not That: Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water is heading stateside.  This is not bottled in some soft drink plant but comes from the source in Mauna Loa. The blue bottle is squared and sits there, beckoning, and damn it if the water inside doesn’t taste amazing. There’s a big push by some consumer groups saying bottled water is a total rip-off, but trust me, not all bottled water is the same and if you have to buy bottled, be smart about it. Waiakea water tastes crisper and what in my […]

Cocktail of the Month: Newcomer Chivas Regal Extra’s Three Winners, Recipes

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 March 2015: Cocktail of the Month expands to include newcomer Chivas Regal®, the world’s first luxury whisky, in the newest blend to hit U.S. markets in eight years – Chivas Regal Extra. Chivas Regal Extra can be used to elevate some of the world’s most classic cocktails. The nutty sweetness, spiciness and deep rich amber color of Chivas Regal Extra raise the bar and put a new twist on classics such as the ‘Old Fashioned.’  This blend is a complex, spicy and not too smoky beast that sips well, and makes a compelling cocktail. The new blend has a fruity, […]

Natural Products Expo West 2015 Draws Star Power, Celebrity Chefs, Day 1

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The 2015 Natural Products Expo West kicked off yesterday, with a limited group of spaces for people to set up booths and start showing off the goods.KIND Bars and their #kindawesome Show Stopping Snack boxes were stacked up for all of us registrants, a mix of press, buyers, brokers, retailers, manufacturers, exhibitors and others descended on the Anaheim Convention Center to get our badges and begin the massive slog in what I refer to as Comic-Con for foodies. KIND is debuting multiple extensions to its popular KIND Healthy Grains® Bars line, bound to push the boundaries in the granola bar category and […]

St Patrick’s Day, Teeling Style: Dublin Whiskey Festival Irish Coffee Winner Recipe!

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As a former resident of Boston, a city that goes positively bonkers for St. Patrick’s Day, I know a thing or two about a proper Yankee way to celebrate the holiday. One of the time honored classic drinks to knock back is the classic Irish Coffee, a concoction of freshly brewed dark coffee, real cream done just right (not really whipped and not flat either) and a sugar cube infused with a solid shot of Irish whiskey. Dublin has traditionally been the heart of the Irish whiskey industry. One of the best craft distillers there is Teeling, created by one […]

Soup For You! When Juicing Goes Warmer And Works Wonders RECIPES

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  Juicing, cold press style and all sorts of veggie “shot” concoctions are white hot, But not everyone loves to drink cold Kale and Spinach green juice.There’s a trend now to keep it raw (under 115 degrees) but combine savory vegetables with spices and garlic to create a raw soup- one you can sub out for a juice. The upside? Psychologically you feel like you are having more of a meal instead of a replacement, and the flavors mesh better and become less of an endurance gulp and more of an enjoyable eating experience.Read to cleanse and lighten up your game […]

Counting Sheep Coffee to Showcase Specialty Nighttime Coffee at Natural Products Expo West

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Counting Sheep Coffee to Showcase Specialty Nighttime Coffee at Natural Products Expo West After making a big splash in the U.S.A. from Canada, Counting Sheep Coffee has launched all over North America with a bang! The new powerhouse of organically prepared Swiss water decaffeinated coffee is infused with Valerian root to take healthful restful and safe sleep to a new level.The two sleep inducing organic coffees- 40 Winks and Lights Out – are infused with the healthful properties of natural Valerian root.Counting Sheep Coffee will be sampled at Expo West booth #7211.Today’s concerns about health and wellness and the connection […]

Natural Products Expo West 2015 Preview Scoop Of Top Exhibitors!

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Monsters and Critics is heading to the Comic-Con for foodies, the annual Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA. March 5 – 7, 2015! We’ve already had a jump start trying many products that will be exhibiting there, and have discovered some incredible new entries in the vegetarian and non-veg categories that will be at a grocery near you soon… if not already. Always one of our favorite destinations, the Natural Products Expo West is the largest tradeshow in the natural, organic and healthy products industry. The majority of items are made in the USA by smaller companies who have […]

Netflix ‘House of Cards’ is Back! We Have The Perfect Bourbon Cocktails For It

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  We are thrilled that the political drama House of Cards has launched Netflix’s expansion into original programming.This whip smart potboiler of power plays, dirty deeds and unbridled lust began two years ago, and was an immediate hit with viewers and my fellow TCA TV critics, giving Netflix the clout and the wherewithal to redefine “television.”The success of this series netted more fantastic efforts, noir comedy “Lilyhammer,” dramedy “Orange is the New Black” and even emboldened Amazon.com to create new and daring series. To their credit, “Transparent” has officially made gender transitioning a more mainstream topic.Season three debuted early Friday, […]

Oregon Gourmet Artisans Create Cheesorizo, A Fantastic Vegetarian Alternative

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Eat This Not That: Meet Cheesorizo®, a vegetarian, all natural and GMO, gluten, grain, and soy free wunderkind that will have you swapping out red meat, textured soy protein and chicken in no time. This must-try find is from a naturally sustaining artisan dairy in Oregon, created by an entrepreneurial family who are vegetarian. This original meat-free cheese sausage tastes and cooks up just like meat sausage. It’s 100% addictive and you will have to order it direct if you live outside of Oregon – the links are provided below.Pholia Farm is an off-the-grid family farm in Rogue River, Oregon, […]

National Margarita Day: Los Angeles’ Best Tapatio Tequila Fueled Bar Crawl – Details

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Ola! Sunday is National Margarita Day, a time to celebrate the occasion and raise a salt-rimmed glass to toast the cocktail’s clarifying, crisp and sweet palate tease, especially in the snow bound areas of the country.The classic Mexican cocktail of tequila, lime juice and Cointreau or Triple Sec is marked every Feb. 22.  The drink’s creation dates to the late 1930s or early ’40s according to a story in Smithsonian Magazine: As with so many popular things, more than one person has claimed to have invented the margarita. One of the most prevalent stories is that Carlos “Danny” Herrera developed […]

Perfect Snow Antidote: February 22 Is National Margarita Day!

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Stop the presses and stop shoveling snow. Please go put on a Tommy Bahama shirt because I’m going to bust out some much needed cocktail news:Sunday, February 22nd is National Margarita Day! The margie is as diverse a cocktail as they come. To make the best – do NOT buy pre-made mixers please! They’re gross, high fructose corn syrup nightmares with fake flavor additives. When life hands you limes, you damn well better use them in a margarita recipe.We’re firing up the vintage, made in the USA Juice-O-Mat Juicer (circa 1950s or earlier, the only way to fly people, get […]

Drink This Not That: Sia, For Ladies who Love Scotch, Plus Recipes!

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There are ladies who lunch and then there are ladies who scotch!Sia is a new scotch that was launched by a lady (gasp, and clutch the pearls)…. Carin Luna Ostaseski. But this was not a lady who grew up in the distillery ranks or the Appalachian back woods. Ostaseski had a career designing websites and digital products for some of today’s most recognized labels. However, like most trendsetters, she soon realized there was more out there and wanted to find her niche. After being convinced by friends to taste a scotch, (seriously, how much convincing was involved?) she saw that […]

Small Batches, Fresh Ingredients And Powerful Tools For Best Nut Butters

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If you search for nut butter recipes, technique and wisdom on the Internet, you’ll find a unifying thread of wisdom: All nut butters are not alike, some are more nutritious than others, and some are easier to process at home than others, but they all are fantastic vitamin, alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fat, protein and mineral rich ways to eat healthily.  Downside? All “butters” are calorically dense so there’s a strategy to including in your diet daily (recommended for heart health) so your weight is stable. Nut butters usually were one of our first culinary loves as American children, showing […]

Chinese Lunar New Year Chocolate Limited Editions From L.A. Burdick

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The Lunar New Year, a massive celebration in many Asian countries, is fast approaching. This year marks the Year of the Sheep (or Goat to some), which, according to the Lunar New Year calendar, will celebrate the charmer of the Chinese Zodiac group. People traditionally gift each other “lucky money” in red envelopes, as red symbolizes fire that drives away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in ancient custom and are meant to frighten evil spirits away. Celebrations around the world are already underway for the Chinese New Year, which begins next Thursday, Feb. 19 and […]

Review: Fragrant Indian Food With Kitchen Curry Master

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My very first encounter with Indian food, or more pointedly Indian spice, was from my well-intentioned mother who always recreated a “Cosmo Cooks” recipe from her 1960s- 70s Cosmopolitan magazines.  Sometimes she struck pay-dirt (Spaghetti Carbonara Cosmo style was excellent).  Occasionally though, she whipped up a bizarre dish so heinous I would feign illness and stagger off clutching a body part. For me, a cloistered kid in a small town full of Italians and Irish north of Boston during these President Johnson/Nixon years, the smell of this bright orange yellow curry was as foreign and off-putting as could be.  Sadly, […]

Say I Love You With A Valentine’s Peep

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It’s Valentine’s week! That means jewelry stores in every mall across America are raking it in, restaurants are planning to overcharge for aphrodisiac inspired menus and every man is hoping for a peak at a Victoria’s Secret… but for something a little less G-String and a little more G-rated, why not consider a box of Valentine’s Peeps? By now you know I am a Peeps fan, they are so dang cute and fluffy and sweet. They are now a perfect Valentine’s treat with their seasonal special offerings. They have cute pink chicks and bunnies, they also have cherry, raspberry and […]