Yuck or Yum: Candy Corn

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Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Growing up, my brother and two of our childhood friends raided the neighborhoods of the Oregon, Wisconsin countryside. We started in my neighborhood so we would not miss out on two of the best houses of the night: one handed out small chocolate milk cartons and the other king size candy bars.

We ended the night at Jake and Derek’s neighborhood, which had decent picking but also marked houses avoid: the dentist’s house with toothbrushes, the few with smarties and sweeTarts, and the row of candy corn houses. Well, I was the only one of the four that skipped these houses in attempt to avoid disappointment year after year.

At the end of the night, the four of us gathered in the living room, dumped our candy from our pillow cases (yes, a pumpkin bucket did not suffice), and sorted our candy. My piles looked like this:YUCK

Keep Pile: Butterfingers, Reese’s, Kit Kat, Twix, Milky Way, Three Musketeers, Skittles, M&Ms, Junior Mints, Gummy Lifesavers

Trade Pile: Snickers, Starburst, Hersey’s, Dots, Laffy Taffy, Whoppers, Crunch

Reject Pile: Almond Joy, Candy Corn

I think many trick-or treaters agree with me when I say Candy Corn is my least favorite candy of all time. I find the yellow, orange, and white sugary Halloween classic absolutely disgusting. It’s so bad, I can’t just pop a kernel into my mouth but have to eat it in small bites. How can I eat a single piece of candy corn in multiple bites, you might ask? It’s possible – in fact, it’s necessary to consume the smallest dosage possible so my teeth don’t experience instant pain. Tooth pains plus an awful waxy taste is a terrible combination, which is why I avoid this sugary treat like I avoid Haunted Houses on Halloween.

Pickin’ your Brain:

  • What Halloween candy is in your “reject pile”?

Feedback Friday: Sammy’s Noodle Shop & Grill Restaurant Review

Feedback Friday_Please Don't Make Me Eat ThatLand at LaGuardia. Taxi to my Aunt’s apartment on Washington Place. Eat Sammy’s Takeout.

Sammy’s chicken lo mein without vegetables and a side of white rice was my “Welcome to the Big Apple!” Whether it was a quick visit or I was staying with my aunt for a few months during my summer internship, it was our routine.

I was itching to get back to NYC – to eat Sammy’s (among other things) – and was about to explode if I had to wait any longer. Then, Mitch accepted a position on Team Israel for the World Baseball Classic Qualifier in Brooklyn. Another exciting bonus: a few of my best friends from college were around the city that weekend, as well.

Baseball. Friends. Sammy’s. I couldn’t wait.

I took (another) redeye flight from Las Vegas to New York. 10 hours later, I landed at LaGuardia and only had one thing in mind: Sammy’s. By the time I made it to the hotel, unpacked, and took the subway to Manhattan, I thought it was an acceptable hour to eat a Chinese food lunch. The Central Village Noho restaurant was not the small Chinese dive that I expected it to be. In fact, I almost walked past the unexpected façade – small black pillars frame floor-to-ceiling windows that sit under subtle gold text reading “Sammy’s Noodle Shop & Grill”.  To my surprise, the large dining room was practically empty (apparently it wasn’t lunchtime yet) so I asked for a small table next to the window. It was perfect. ff19-sammys-no-filter

I looked at the menu for fun (which is extensive, by the way) and ordered my usual: chicken lo mein without vegetables (even thought I like them now) and a side of white rice. It seemed like it took hours for the food to arrive but it was just like I remembered it. The noodles were thick and flavorful. The chicken was flat and white. The portion sizes were enough for me and a few friends. Sammy’s was everything I wanted it to be and more. I was so happy.

If you want to be happy too, I highly recommend trying Sammy’s. It’s some of the best Chinese food (outside of Chinatown) that I’ve had in the city.

Restaurant: Sammy’s Noodle Shop & Grill / 453-461 6th Avenue / New York, NY 10011 / 212.924.6688 / www.sammysnoodleshop.com

Picky Eater Approval: 5/5

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Feedback Friday: Dahl & DiLuca Restaurant Review

Feedback Friday_Please Don't Make Me Eat ThatMy mom and I booked one dinner before we arrived in Sedona: Cress Restaurant at L’Auberge. The restaurant sits on the bank of Oak Creek and serves a prix fixe menu (that includes picky eater approved selections, I checked before making the reservation). The pictures of the food, atmosphere, and reviews of the experience were unlike others so we booked two months in advance to guarantee our spot. Of course, the only night it rained on our vacation was the night we dedicated to dining on Oak Creek. I was bummed about moving inside until I saw the dining room, one that is everything I want for my future kitchen – clean white walls with colorful paintings, medium-grey toned wood floors, large windows, and industrial-chic chandeliers.

FF17 - Sedona 2 (Ingrid)The menu was simple – three pages listed the selections of each course. Thankfully, the server explained that we could choose three courses from the four that the French restaurant offers: first, second, main, and dessert. A picky eaters dream! Without it, my mom’s three-course meal would have turned into four courses. The menu specifically asked guests to refrain from cell phone use so I’m not able to provide my normal restaurant review. In fact, I believe Cress Restaurant did this for a reason, which is why I am ending the review here. Reviews don’t do Cress restaurant at L’Aubrege justice – it is truly a special place that you need to experience in order to understand.

The food, service, and beautiful setting of Cress Restaurant made it one of my favorite dinners of all-time. I’m still thinking about the pillow of buttery potatoes beneath my filet and that plum and raspberry tart with crème fraiche gelato…

FF17 - Sedona 1 (Ingrid)

On the way home, our driver suggested a few other restaurants in Sedona, one of which was Dahl and DiLuca. His enthusiastic and detailed description inclined us to make a reservation for the next night.

The quaint Italian Restaurant reminded me of an old-school supper club: a gust of fresh marinara greeted us as we entered the small bar area. A brick wall with arched entryways separate the space from the main dining room where intricate chandeliers decorate the ceiling. Large (and comfortable!) leather seats surround small tables covered with white tablecloths. The interior of the room is impressive, something straight from an old Italian storybook; the piano and cello duo only added to the ambiance.

FF17 - Dinner (Lumina)

Although tempting, my mom and I went straight for the main course. I had my favorite Bolognese (with house-made linguine pasta!) whereas mom had the Pollo alla Rustica – house-made fettuccine with grilled lemon chicken, baby spinach and sautéed mushrooms in a white truffle cream sauce.

My. Meal. Was. Delicious.

The meat sauce was rich and flavorful and the pasta cooked to perfection. The best part was the complementary extra side of sauce, a concept that I have not experienced outside of my grandma’s house, but should be adopted by more Italian-American restaurants. This way, there is never too much or too little sauce – it can be any way you want it, which is exactly what my picky taste buds like to see. My mom agreed that her dish was delicious but wished that there was more chicken. Instead of a chicken breast, which she was expecting, the chicken was crumbled into the dish. I settled my stomach with a few scoops of chocolate gelato and my mom had the Panna Cotta.

FF17 - Dessert (Lumina)

Aside from my Las Vegas favorite, Panevino, Dahl & DiLuca was one of the best Italian Restaurants I have been to in years. The food is authentic, service is spectacular, and subtle ambiance makes for a special and delicious night out.

Restaurant: Cress Restaurant / L’Auberge de Sedona / 301 L’Auberge Lane / Sedona, AZ 86336 / 855.905.5745 / www.lauberge.com/cress/

Picky Eater Approved: 6/5

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Restaurant: Dahl and DiLuca Ristorante Italiano / 2321 Arizona 89A / Sedona, AZ 86336 / 952.282.5219 / dahlanddiluca.com

Picky Eater Approved: 5/5

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