Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Petite Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Product name: Petite Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Price: $2.99 for 10 oz box

Quick review: I've liked some of the other yogurt-coated shortbread cookies from TJ's (although thinking about it now, I'm not sure if I've finished those reviews; will have to go look after this!), so when we picked up these petite pumpkin spice cookies during pumpkin season last fall, I was sure we were going to like these too. The cookies are shaped like pumpkins and came in both white and orange varieties (although they tasted the same). The cookies themselves were pumpkin spice shortbread, in addition to the pumpkin pie flavored yogurt coating, and they were just a little bit too sweet all around. They did taste like pumpkin spice, but I think maybe we're just hitting our limit on pumpkin spice these days. Don't like it as much as we used to.

Buy again? Probably not. They were fine, but my standard for cookies these days is, "Would I rather buy these or eat the cookies/almond cake that A makes?" So, in this case, probably not.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Kerbisher and Malt

Before going to London, I did a lot of research into fish and chips. That was one thing we knew we wanted to get in England, and it seemed like everyone liked different spots for different reasons. One of the highly recommended spots online was Kerbisher and Malt, which we were especially attracted to since it was located in Hammersmith, only a short walking distance from our hotel room.

Kerbisher and Malt offered up fried fish in almost every form imaginable - plain, with chips, in butties and burgers, as fish fingers. (You could get it grilled too, but we don't remember seeing anyone do that.) One thing we really liked about them was that all the fish was from sustainable sources and cooked on the spot after ordering (and then delivered to your table). We also liked that they had some lunchtime specials which came with chips or a salad, ranging from £5-6. I got one of the specials, while A ordered off the regular menu and got fish and chips.

Since A was already getting chips with his fish, I opted for the salad as my side, thinking it would be healthier and we could also get some vegetables in. It was a small portion on the side of the plate, but at least it was more interesting than just some lettuce. The salad consisted of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onion, radicchio, and pomegranate seeds. It was lightly dressed with what tasted like olive oil and vinegar. The salad was fine, nothing extraordinary, but it was nice for lightening up the rest of our meal of fried food.

For the special itself, I got the fillet of fish "burger" which really just seemed like a fried fish sandwich. What arrived was a fried fillet of fish on bread with lemon mayo, lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, and onions. We weren't sure which fish this was (they had several options you could choose from for the regular fried fish, but the sandwich didn't specify), but it was good. The vegetables on the bottom were very reminiscent of the salad ingredients (quite possibly were the same without the pomegranate), and the lemon mayo added some nice flavor. Unfortunately I was still feeling some of the effects of the stomach discomfort from the day before, so I didn't have as much of an appetite as I thought I would when we were ordering and couldn't finish the sandwich, but I wished I could have.

A ordered the fish and chips with haddock (the other options on the menu were cod, plaice, pollock, and coley). He also got a side of tartar sauce, but we had forgotten with the initial order that you had to order the sauces separately so we had to add it while we waited for the food to come. (The other sauces they had were mayo, lemon mayo, red curry, and sweet chilli.) The price wasn't too bad for the fish and chips with sauce (a little under £10), and for people with smaller appetites, they did have slightly less expensive "small" fish and chip specials.

As for the fish and chips themselves, we found the batter a little on the sweeter side, sort of like those Chinese fried milk things you get at banquets. The fish itself was a really large single piece of fried fish, and very flaky. It wasn't very seasoned or salty, which was good since it seemed like they were trying to let the flavor of the fish itself shine through. We thought similarly about the chips which were also not very salted so you could really taste the potato. I didn't love the batter and preferred the way the fish sandwich was prepared, but A liked it.

Kerbisher and Malt also offered numerous sides, many of which sounded good. We had to decide whether to get mushy peas, or a fennel and dill salad, or coleslaw, or pickled onion rings, or baked beans. I've made no secret of my love for onion rings, and we were really interested in trying the pickled onion rings because they sounded different (and looked good in all the Instagram pics we saw before going). Basically they take pickled onions and then batter them and fry them up. The flavor was definitely different from "regular" onion rings because of the pickled flavor, and they were definitely worth trying. Back then, we had no idea pickled onions were so popular and loved in England, but between these onion rings and the pickled onion snacks we brought home to eat, we feel like we didn't take advantage of this as much as we could have when we were there, and have definitely learned our lesson for next time.

It's hard for us to compare Kerbisher and Malt with other fish and chips places in London, since we didn't visit any others. But we did like what we got there. We probably would have enjoyed it more if our stomachs weren't so uneasy and uncomfortable from the days before (no fault of theirs, obviously), and we would return to try it again if we were in the mood for some fish and chips.

Monday, May 29, 2017

A Year of Nando's

The next post in our London recaps was supposed to be about our visit to Nando's Peri-Peri, our fourth visit to a Nando's in 2015 while on vacation. Unfortunately we haven't gotten around to recapping any of the other Nando's visits, so any comparisons we would make between the restaurants in London and the States would have no context whatsoever. Considering that, and also the fact that the next post in our Savannah recaps was also supposed to be about Nando's, we thought it was best to just put them all together in one post and take you through our year of Nando's.

Visit #1: Woodbridge, Virginia (Savannah road trip)

We had known about Nando's Peri-Peri for a long time before we ever tried it. Founded in South Africa, Nando's is a fast casual restaurant serving grilled chicken (and other stuff, but the draw for most people is the chicken) with peri-peri sauces, flavors that originated from Portugal and Mozambique. Nando's only recently expanded to the US, with locations in Virginia, DC, Maryland, and Chicago. Unfortunately they don't yet have one in New York, but that was why we definitely wanted to try some on our way to Savannah.

A got the half chicken, medium spiciness, with macho peas ("rugged pea mash with whole peas, parsley, mint and chilli" according to the menu). The chicken was very moist except for a few sections of the white meat which was a bit on the drier side. The sauce had a good amount of heat that didn't overpower his senses, and the peri peri seasoning added a nice floral hint. The macho peas were very tasty. They had a good bit of heat to them, and our guess was that they included the same chilli as their peri peri seasoning in them. The mint and parsley added a nice herbal freshness to the dish as well.

M got the sandwich called "Nandocas choice" which made her top 10 list that year. The sandwich was a chicken breast topped with cole slaw on buttery garlic bread. It was really, really good. She thought that the flavor of the chicken itself might have been a little bit better on A's regular flame grilled chicken, but all together, this combination was great. Can't really go wrong with a sandwich built on garlic bread.

Visit #2: Hanover, Maryland (Savannah road trip)

We liked Nando's so much on our first visit, just like we thought we would, that we also got lunch at one of the Maryland locations on our drive back home. The Hanover location was in the Arundel Mills mall not too far from our hotel, so it was our last real meal on the trip (if you don't count rest stop fries). We thought the Virginia location was a little better as far as organization and layout, but we really didn't care because we were eating delicious Nando's chicken.

The first time we got the chicken, we didn't add much seasoning or extra sauce to it, because we wanted to taste it right out of the kitchen with the flavors it was supposed to have. This visit, we experimented more with the sauces, especially the wild herb and garlic, which we liked even more mixed together. The garlic herb peri-peri sauce was our favorite on its own. We love garlic, and this had a really good garlicky flavor to it. The wild herb peri-peri sauce had a good flavor to it, but it just wasn't as good as the garlic herb. Together they formed a great, balanced sauce.

A wanted to kick things up a bit so he got the half chicken, hot spiciness, with corn. The chicken was similar, moist but with a few dry spots in the white meat, and the hot sauce was good and hot, but it was, for the most part, the same chicken he had on the way down. The corn was nice. He had seen a bunch of people ordering it on our first visit so he wanted to give it a try. It was really just a grilled ear of corn, but it was sweet, and the char on the corn gave it a nice smokiness. M isn't as big a fan of corn on the cob, but she thought it tasted good from the little bit she tried.

For her meal, M got a chicken breast (medium) sandwich with arugula, tomato, pickled onion, and peri-peri mayo, with sides of macho peas and fries. These were the same two sides that we had gotten in Virginia, and they were both good. As for the sandwich, it was fine, not as exciting as the Nandocas choice, but the chicken was really good. That said, M still thought A's chicken was better so she decided she would ditch the sandwiches and get regular chicken whenever we were lucky enough to go to Nando's again.

Visit #3: West Loop, Chicago (Great Lakes road trip)

The first Nando's in Chicago opened in spring of 2015 in the West Loop, and once we learned that, we knew where we absolutely had to go during our time in Chicago over the summer. This location was a little different from the other two we had been to, in that it wasn't located in a mall or shopping development, but just a regular neighborhood restaurant. We were really excited to see if anything was different about the Chicago locations, but they were mostly the same. The Chicago one did have better decor though.

A got a half chicken, hot spiciness, with peas and Portuguese rice. The flavor of this Nando's was just as good as before, but the chicken size was much smaller. The peas were tasty like last time, and the rice had really good flavor. We also used the garlic and herb sauce like last time and it was just as delicious.

M got a quarter chicken, medium spiciness, white meat, with coleslaw and garlic bread as sides. The garlic bread was delicious, even if garlic bread is the type of thing we could probably make it at home. The coleslaw was really, really good and better than M remembered from before. With the sides she picked, it was like she could make the Nandocas choice sandwich all over again if she really wanted to, selections which weren't intentional but perhaps subconscious.

Visit #4: Shepherd's Bush, London (2015 vacation)

Our stomachs weren't feeling particularly great after our pie and mash and jellied eels lunch, so we thought the best thing to do was to grab some Nando's for dinner. Grilled chicken sounded like it would be nice and calming. There were two Nando's locations not too far from our hotel, including one a little more conveniently located at the Westfield mall. (You might remember the mall from our first day visits to Square Pie and Pho.) The Nando's at the mall wasn't in the takeaway food court, but in a section with other restaurants. When we got there and saw the line, we were alarmed to see it stretching out of the restaurant and around a corner. The mall was packed, but it was a Tuesday night so we really weren't expecting it to be so crowded. (We kept forgetting it was half term.)

Since that wasn't going to work, we left the mall and walked over to the other Shepherd's Bush location, which had free tables and very little line. It was nice being in a place where there was more than one Nando's within walking distance.

M got a half chicken, medium spiciness, with garlic bread and coleslaw, pretty much the same thing she got in Chicago. She got a half so that A could eat some of the dark meat, since she was planning to eat mostly white meat. The chicken seemed to be very similar to the ones we got in the States, and it was nice to see that the quality was consistent. Both sides were good, but the garlic bread wasn't seasoned as much and didn't have the garlic spread to the edges, so it wasn't quite as good as the ones we had had previously. It was probably healthier that way, but M likes garlic bread with lots of butter and garlic on it. It was a nice, solid dinner that M really hoped would soothe her stomach and erase all memories of jellied eels.

A got the chicken livers which we both knew he was going to get as soon as we looked at the English menu. The chicken livers aren't on the American menu, and that's a real shame. The chicken livers came with a Portuguese roll and he got a side of fries. We couldn't pinpoint exactly what they used to cook the chicken livers, but they were so good. Looking at the Nando's recipes online before they were removed, it sounded like it was just butter and peri-peri sauce, but it tasted like something more than that. There was something familiar about it, but we just couldn't figure it out. We tried these on everything: plain, on the roll, on M's garlic bread, and even on the fries. It didn't matter how we ate them, they were just awesome. There was a little bit of a spiciness to the sauce as well as A ordered them with medium spiciness.

Dinner was really good. We were very glad that we had such a good, tasty dinner since lunch was not as good as we were expecting it to be.

After visiting Nando's four times in 2015, we haven't been to one since then, pretty much since they don't have one here in New York. When the day comes (hopefully) that they do open here, we will be so happy. It's the perfect fast casual type of spot - good flavorful food, no fuss, not too expensive. Nando's, please open in NYC, and if possible bring the chicken livers too!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Nettle and Chive Cheese

The current spotlight cheese at Trader Joe's is the nettle and chive cheese, a handmade cheddar style cheese. The main flavorings here came from a nettle and chive dried herb blend composed of nettle leaves, chive, parsley, onion, and garlic.

M's quick review:
On paper, this cheese was everything I love. Cheddar, chives, parsley, onions, garlic - that's absolutely my thing, and we've had cheeses from TJ's before with those flavorings that were great. This one was a little different though because of the nettle leaves. I'd never had nettle before, but had always been curious about it because of its medicinal effects especially for allergies. I have no idea what nettle leaves taste like, so I have no idea if this cheese tastes like that at all. The flavor was pretty mild, and oddly I didn't get a ton of flavor from any of the herbs in the blend at all. There were hints of some of them, and again I don't know what nettle tastes like, but the flavor was a little subdued. Nothing like one review I read which said it tasted exactly like sour cream and onion dip. I didn't get that at all.
Rating: 7/10
Buy again? Maybe. I liked it, but I like other ones more.

A's quick review:
I thought I would like this more than I did. It was fine as a cheese, but I didn't get a ton of chive flavor from it. No clue what nettles taste like, but during allergy season we wanted to test out how well nettles actually worked for that. I didn't notice a ton of difference, but at least I got some pretty tasty cheese. This was an okay, mild white cheese.
Rating: 7/10
Buy again? I guess so? It would depend on what other cheeses were available.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Goddards at Greenwich

Taking a little bit of a break from our Greek honeymoon recaps to dream about London...

This is a post that I've been dreading writing ever since we ate here. I knew that M would ask me to write this, and I'll get into that a bit more later. Before arriving in London, we did our research on what to eat that was traditionally British, and one of the things we found was jellied eels. We figured that even though we'd never had them before, they'd probably be fine. We like eel in other preparations like sushi, so how different could these be?

The location we chose was Goddards at Greenwich. It had really good reviews, and everything we read about it said it was an institution as it had been around for a long time (1890 by the signage). The first thing that we found that was promising was that it seemed like a lot of locals seemed to be eating here. When we're on vacation, we try to find places that are packed with locals when we can.

We figured that getting just jellied eels wasn't a great idea (or enough for lunch) so we also each got a pie with some sides. M got the traditional mince pie with two scoops of mashed potatoes, peas, and eel liquor (the green-ish gravy). The choice of gravy was between brown gravy and "parsley" which was the liquid from the boiled eels thickened with herbs and spices mixed in. I got the steak and kidney pie with mashed potatoes and eel liquor and also the bowl of jellied eels. We opted to share the additional sides (peas and eels) so that we didn't each have to get them.

M's minced beef pie had a very rich and buttery crust, but it didn't have a great deal of flavor from the filling. It certainly wasn't as good as the pie we had the day before. Overall the pie was just okay. The gravy didn't impart much flavor, and the filling for the pie wasn't that special either. The mashed potatoes were just okay. The peas were also just okay though they might have been our favorite thing from this meal. Everything was just somewhat lackluster.

I got the steak and kidney pie. There was a lot more texture to the meat since it was larger chunks as opposed to being minced up. We couldn't tell what was the kidney, though, so for all we knew it was all kidney and no beef or vice versa. There were also onions mixed into the filling. M preferred her pie more, and I preferred the flavor of mine. The only issue for me was that the beef was a little too dry. Overall, both pies were nothing special. We really enjoyed the other pies we had in London far more than these.

Now for the part that I was dreading writing about the most - the traditionally British jellied eels. The options in these old-school pie shops were stewed versus jellied eels. The difference is that the stewed eels are warm and in liquid whereas the jellied eels are cold, and the liquid has solidified into jelly. We opted for the jellied as that's how we read was the way to eat them.

My first bite wasn't so bad. It was a little salty and squishy, but the texture was similar to other eel I have had in other preparations. The jelly also was pretty salty and had a rather heavy fishy flavor to it. It was so salty and fishy to the point that I started to get a little nauseated from eating it. I opted to ignore the jelly and focus on the eel itself. The eel was still okay to me so I made sure to just eat that. Each piece of eel had a small circular bone in the middle so we had to be careful to pick around that as well as the other little bones that were attached to it since there was a possibility of them getting stuck in our throats.

M had a much different experience with the eels. She hated them and would never eat them again even if it was the only thing left in the world to eat (and she hopes it never comes to that). They were slimy and salty, they were a ton of work with all the bones for not much benefit, the taste and texture of the jelly and the eel skin made her feel sick, and she just did not like them at all. She could barely get through more than one bite, which is why she thought I should write this post instead of her.

Overall, this was a very disappointing meal for us. The pies, mash, and peas were fine. There was nothing special about them, and they were generally bland. The eel liquor poured on top didn't add much either. The eels were a touch on the nasty side, but at least I could eat the eels themselves if not the jelly that came with them. M, on the other hand, would not touch them ever again. While we're glad we got to experience this very old, traditional meal, I doubt that we'd ever do this again.

Friday, May 26, 2017


After sunset, we walked back through Oia with everyone else in search of some dinner. It was still on the earlier side, starting to get more crowded now that the sun had set, but we were able to get a table at Skala overlooking the caldera without too much trouble. We had spotted this restaurant on some of our walks through Oia earlier and were glad to finally get to try it.

The first thing to arrive was the bread, which from the receipt, it looks like they didn't charge us for. We thought that maybe this was the time when we finally realized that we could turn it down, but from other pics, it looks like we ate it. It clearly didn't make too much of an impression on us, and we can't even remember what was in that little sauce cup. (Why didn't we take notes?!)

We started off with some wine from the Sigalas winery located in Oia (€4 a glass, all pricing as of six years ago). We got one glass of Assyrtiko (a dry white wine) and one of the Ean Rosé (their dry rosé wine, which looks kind of red in the photo). We don't remember much about the wines, and we're also not very good at describing wines anyway so there's not much missing from our recap about these.

We started out with the fava, pureed yellow split peas (€6.50), which was topped with some onions, olives, and capers. It was pretty hard to go wrong when ordering fava in Santorini, as it was so good everywhere, and this was no exception. We planned to order it everywhere since this special kind of yellow pea was only really cultivated in that area. So delicious and Skala offered a pretty good portion size too. Since then we've been able to order something similar from other Greek restaurants in the US, but none of them ever compared to the ones we had here in Santorini.

Along with the fava, we got one of our other favorite dips, the melitzanosalata, traditional eggplant salad with garlic, onion, parsley, vinegar, oregano (€4.50). We can get good versions of this at home, but the smoky eggplant and all the fresh vegetables in Santorini just made this even better. This had an ever-present but not overpowering smokiness to it, and the overall texture was rich and creamy.

We also got two main courses. One was baked fresh cod fish with olive oil, fresh tomato and vegetables (potatoes, onion, garlic, parsley) (€14). The fish was flaky and tender, and you could tell it was caught that day. The added vegetables gave it a good balance and freshness as well as being filling because of the potato.

The other was soutzoukakia, cumin flavored meatballs baked with tomato sauce (€10) which was served over a rice pilaf. We love meatballs, perhaps M a little more than A, but we both do love them. These were very tasty. Cumin is a spice we both love, and they added a very unique flavor to the soft meatballs. The tomato sauce was fresh and tasty. Everything we had here just felt fresh and clean because we're guessing that everything was freshly picked relatively close to the time they were cooked.

Our dinner at Skala was quite good, probably better than our taverna lunch, and it cost less than lunch too. Perhaps had we known more about the scorpion fish we might have had a better meal for lunch, but we at least had a really good dinner. We were pretty satisfied with dinner, but unfortunately when we left, we had a bit of a craving for cookie ice cream (well, at least M did) and there was nothing like Milkato to be found in Oia. We settled for a cookie ice cream bar from the little market on the way back to our hotel (which we don't remember too much about). After that, it was back to our hotel to end another great day on our awesome honeymoon.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

9th Ave Food Festival 2017 Part II

The second day of the 9th Avenue International Food Festival was warm and sunny, and the good weather meant even bigger crowds. While we spent our first day mostly visiting places familiar to us, the second day was all about trying small snacks from places in the neighborhood that we've known about but never made it to. It was an easy (and cheaper) way to sample their food and see whether we might want to go for a return visit sometime.

Our first stop was back at the Spam house as we're all about free snacks, especially when they're tasty. This time there was no musubi offered, just sliders and fries, so we both went with the slider. It tasted a little better than the day before, but that could just be because we each got a full slider to ourselves. We were much happier with a full slider as opposed to half and half of a musubi.

As we made our way up the avenue, we stopped first at K Rico, a South American steakhouse that seems to be sticking in a spot that has seen a lot of turnover since we've lived in the area. They had chicken legs, arepas, and empanadas, and after a staff recommendation, we went with one of the beef empanadas.

Unlike some empanadas we've had, these were more deep fried, sort of like a pastelillo. The inside had beef, egg, raisins, and some herbs. The raisins and the sauce made it a little sweeter than most similar beef empanadas we've had, and we think we prefer the more flavorful, more savory ones. A didn't get much meat in his bites, but that could also be because he somehow dropped a piece while eating. He also didn't really like the raisin addition in this case. In the end he thought it just tasted fried. M got more flavor from it, but not as much as she was expecting.

Our next stop was Tacuba which had caught our eye the day before because they had a rotating al pastor spit outside with pineapple on top. Unfortunately, the spit was gone when we got there, but they still had al pastor left. In addition to the pork, each taco had onions, cilantro, pineapple, and a green sauce. They were really good. The pork was flavorful and had just the right amount of "crisp" to the edges that only come from rotating spits. The pineapples were also grilled so they were nice and soft with a bit of smoky sweetness. The only negative here was that the taco filling amounts were pretty uneven from taco to taco.

The other thing that had caught our eye the day before was the clam chowder from Blue Seafood Bar, mostly because it wasn't that expensive and we love chowder. While this was a creamy chowder, it wasn't as heavy on the cream as some others we've had which we liked. Not sure if this is how it usually is or if it's because of how it was cooking on the grill outside, but it was good. In addition to the clams and broth, there was celery, corn, potatoes, and lots of herbs. The flavors here were good, but having just been to the Pacific Northwest, we've been spoiled on amazing chowders. As good as this was, there was almost no way for it to compare.

Our final stop was Ding which was selling an assortment of Chinese dishes for $5. A lot of them looked good, and in the end we went with dan dan noodles, one of our favorites. We watched as they scooped out the noodles and topped it with sauces, seasonings, and garnishes from at least eight different bowls. The noodles had a good amount of late hitting heat from the Chinese peppercorns, but wasn't unbearably spicy at all. Also the meat sauce and additional sauces and flavorings all melded to form a very tasty dish. We got a menu from the vendors there, and from this first taste we both think we'd like to give the restaurant a try.

We had a pretty successful visit to the food festival this year unlike the one year that we only got pierogi, curry puffs, and doughnuts on both days. We do still miss the pierogi though.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

9th Ave Food Festival 2017 Part I

Last weekend was the annual 9th Avenue International Food Festival in Hell's Kitchen. We've missed it the past couple of years because of scheduling issues, but made it on both days this year. The first day of the festival was on the cooler side (low 60s following days of summery weather) and a little bit cloudy so even though it was plenty crowded, it wasn't as packed as it could have been which was more pleasant for walking. We walked the entire length of the fair both ways, but most of the food we got on the first day came from the southern part of the festival. After we got to the end and took a short detour to pick some stuff up at Whole Foods, we realized that we weren't really that hungry anymore and that it would be best to leave the other stuff that caught our eye for the next day.

Part of the reason we were probably so full was because our first stop was Daisy May's for BBQ. We've had Daisy May's BBQ several times before (and even went for the World Cup challenge in 2014), so the pulled chicken and mac and cheese weren't anything new but they were quite tasty. We had debated between the pulled chicken and the pulled pork, and in the end chose the chicken. It was drier than the pulled pork usually is, but it wasn't that bad. The sauce, as always with Daisy May's, was very good. It had an excellent balance of sweetness and tanginess to pair with the chicken. The mac and cheese was rich and creamy, and the parts with the crusty, cheese-infused breadcrumb topping were the best. Unfortunately they didn't give us much of it, but we enjoyed what they did give us.

Our next stop as we made our way up the avenue was the Spam house (aka the "Spam Tiny House of Sizzle") which was offering free samples. There was no way we were skipping free stuff, so we got on line not knowing or caring what the samples were. By the time we got to the front, there were three options - Spam fries (which we thought might have been fries topped with Spam but were just griddled Spam cut up into fries), Spam sliders, and Spam musubi. We got one of each of the latter two and split them.

The Spam slider had a thin slice of Spam on a King's Hawaiian roll with some wasabi mayo. The Spam itself was most likely griddled, and it produced a nice caramalization on the meat. Paired with the sweetness of the King's Hawaiian roll and the spicy creaminess of the wasabi mayo, it was our favorite of the two options. The Spam musubi was exactly what we expected it to be. A took the first bite, and he had a little trouble biting through the seaweed wrapper. He thought there wasn't a ton of Spam flavor to this despite the rather large slice of Spam. Also, a lot of the rice seemed undercooked to A, but M didn't seem to have that same issue as it seemed fine to her. She also tasted more Spam flavor but that could be because she ate some of the rice on its own first before eating the entire Spam-rice-seaweed combination together.

Next up we stopped at A-Pou's Taste, a street cart we've visited before on the Upper West Side but hadn't seen in a while. They specialize in Taiwanese-style potstickers, and we had always found them tasty in the past. This time we got an order of five pork potstickers which were covered in hot sauce and soy sauce. We really liked these potstickers, and they were just as good as we remembered them being before. This wasn't too surprising as they basically brought their regular cart out to the event.

By far, the busiest block of the entire festival was the one taken up by the Big Bite Tour. A bunch of promotional tents giving out samples, and obviously there was going to be a crowd. Free stuff! There were samples of Mentos gum, Nestea iced tea, Blue Diamond almonds, Wholey Cheese crackers (which we were so excited to see as we had recently tried them for the first time, but that's for another post), Allegra (also extremely exciting and money-saving for us), and Turkey Hill ice cream, which ended up being the last thing we ate from the festival.

Without planning it, we got two different flavors of ice cream - vanilla bean and salted caramel. The vanilla ice cream was good. You could see the vanilla beans mixed into the ice cream itself, and that always makes a huge difference when comparing vanilla ice creams. A thought the salted caramel was just okay. It seemed more caramel and less salted, but in the end the overwhelming flavor in his mind was just sweet. M's not a huge fan of salted caramel, so she didn't feel like trying it, especially if A wasn't raving about how good it was.

We enjoyed our time at the festival other than having to dodge oblivious and/or inconsiderate people in the crowds. The one thing we did notice on the walk though was the absence of one of the vendors we had always looked forward to - Millie's Pierogi. No idea when they stopped coming since we've missed the festival for a couple of years, but we always stopped by their stand. Guess we'll have to look for them in Massachusetts to get our fix.