Tuesday, August 11, 2015

SBarro's BBQ Chicken Pizza - A Review

SBarro is a by-the-slice chain of pizza eateries, which are typically found in food courts.  The branch closest to me has resided in Washington Square Mall for quite a few years.  It's a place I stop at for a quick bite while shopping, but it's not a place I think about.  It's simply there.  Thus, I was surprised when PR Manager Adrienne Sender asked me to review their, limited time only, BBQ Chicken Pizza.

SBarro's BBQ Chicken Pizza
Subject: SBarro's BBQ Chicken Pizza | Date: 08/09/15 |
Photographers: James Kiester & Bonnie Kiester | This picture was taken by the author of this blog. |

SBarro's BBQ Chicken Pizza features BBQ sauce, chunks of grilled chicken, sliced red onions, kernels of fire-roasted corn, mozzarella & cheddar cheeses, and an herb & spice rubbed crust.

The first flavor I tasted was the sweetness of the sauce, followed by a mild spiciness.  Upon chewing, the tastes of the tender chicken, onion, and cheeses worked together to deliver a pleasant bite.

As the meal progressed, the spice level, from the sauce, built into a tongue tingling heat.  Meanwhile, it became necessary to fold the slice, New York style, in order to keep the tangy sauce and gooey cheese from dripping on my shirt.  The rubbed crust was chewy with a peppery bite to it. 

My only puzzlement was about the inclusion of the corn.  I could see several fire-roasted kernels on my slice.  They looked pretty, but against the strong flavors of the other ingredients, the corn didn't add, or subtract, anything to the taste of the pizza.  I'm not sure why it was there.

My lunch, a slice of pizza and a medium Pepsi, was about $8.00, which isn't bad for a fast food mall lunch.  I'd give this tasty slice of pizza 8 out of 10 stars.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Arby's Loaded Italian Sub - A Review

Arby's has released their Loaded Italian Sub consisting of ham, salami, pepperoni, melted Swiss cheese, banana peppers, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and red wine vinaigrette, all topped with garlic aioli, on a toasted Italian roll.
Arby's Loaded Italian Sub
Subject: Arby's Loaded Italian Sub | Date: 07/29/15 |
Photographers: James Kiester & Dani Cogswell | 

This picture was taken by the author of this blog. |
I was initially impressed when I got to my table and opened the sandwich box.  The sandwich looked like the picture on the poster.  How often does that happen?

The bread looked like a hard crusty roll.  When I bit into it though, I found the roll was actually pretty soft.  Another pleasant surprise.

As I ate, I could taste the sweet & salty ham and the lettuce, but that was it.  The salami, pepperoni, melted Swiss cheese, banana peppers, tomato, and red onion added nothing in the flavor department.  It reminded me of the Star Trek episode "Squire of Gothos," in which the alien made pretty replicas of Earth's food, but forgot to include properties of taste.

As for the sauces, near the center of the sandwich I could taste the tangy vinaigrette in a few bites.  The "garlic aioli," on the other hand, may as well have been Best Foods Mayonnaise, given that it delivered little to no garlic flavor.

Arby's Loaded Italian Sub is essentially a ham sandwich.  It's a pretty ham sandwich, not a bad ham sandwich, but it's a ham sandwich.  I give Arby's Loaded Italian Sub 6 out of 10 stars, it's passable, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Good Food isn't Decadent

"Decadent" [dek-uh-duh nt, dih-keyd-nt] has traditionally been defined as, "something, or someone, which is decayed, spoiled, rotten, or sinful."
A bacon cheeseburger
Subject: A bacon cheeseburger | Date: 01/15/2010 | Photographer: Like the Grand Canyon |This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
Bizarrely, we've assigned the label to rich delicious food.  I can't watch Food Network with hearing about some tempting morsel being described as decadent.  Every time I hear it, I want reach through the screen and pop Giada's bobble-sized head right off of her neck.

I, for one, don't want my food to be decayed and rotten, kimchi aside.  I'd much rather have fresh tasty food.  So, where does the label come from?  Why do we look at a bacon cheeseburger, for example, and call it decadent?

I think we look at a stack of; beef, cheese, and bacon; see it as a fat & calorie bomb, and think of eating it as being a sin.  Then, we equate good food with sinful food.  Thus, good food becomes decadent.

This is nuts.  There's nothing sinful, or evil, about good food.  It might be a sin to drop $1,000 on a Golden Opulence Sundae topped with 23-carat edible gold leaf, and a dollop of sweet Grande Passion caviar while children are starving a few blocks away.  Yet, that sin has more to do with wasteful greed than the ice cream itself.

Bottom line, unless one is part of a religion with certain dietary restrictions, or has strict orders from a doctor, there's nothing sinful about eating good food.  The fact that we point to food we like and call it evil, or decadent, says WAY more about us than it says about the food.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Whole Foods Charges High Prices..... Well No Sheep Dip Batman!

Whole Foods in New York
Subject: The interior of the largest Whole Foods in the United States, located on Houston Street in the East Village of New York City. | Date: 08/25/2008 | Photographer: David Shankbone |This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
According to a recent article in USA TODAY, a current investigation, by New York City's Department of Consumer Affairs, has concluded that Whole Foods stores have been overcharging for pre-packaged foods.

Did they really need to investigate to figure this out?  Seriously?  Next they'll look into the allegation that the Santa at the mall MIGHT be an imposter.

There are some things that people, who are paying attention, just know.  When Whole Foods hocks $9.00 chocolate bars, which are roughly the size of a $2.00 Hershey's Chocolate Bar from Walmart, it's pretty obvious Whole Foods isn't a destination for bargain shoppers.

That being said, it's not supposed to be.  Chains such as Whole Food, and the northwest's local version, New Seasons, aren't designed to be places for average shoppers to buy everyday groceries.  Unless someone has a special dietary need (gluten free food, low nitrite food, etc...) buying commonplace groceries, such as boxed cereal & canned soup, at Whole Foods makes no sense.

Food lovers go to such stores for a special high end meats, cheeses, and/or other treats not typically found at an average supermarket.  I go there for specialty cheeses, such as Taleggio, Comte, Huntsman, and Woolwich Dairy's Triple Creme Goat Brie.  My brother goes there for the meat counter's jumbo sized hot dogs when he's hosting a BBQ.  Other people go there for their grass fed ground beef, which is free of pink slime.

Yes, Whole Foods charges more for their groceries.  People know this going in though.  No ones being scammed or duped.