Saturday, 28 May 2016

Chiron Beer (Waitrose) [By @SpectreUK]

I do enjoy a good pint or two of pale ale. The Thornbridge brewery in Bakewell, in the UK, brewed this Chiron American Pale Ale. The 5% volume golden pale ale was brewed with Thornbridge’s mantra of “innovation”, I guess for brewing an American pale ale in England, “passion”, which makes me think that this beer was brewed by a bunch of people who probably drunk most of each batch before it was bottled, and finally “knowledge”, possibly of how to have a sneaky swig while the boss isn’t looking.

I tried to look up why this beer might be called “Chiron”. Apparently, so my source of all things knowledgeable (not Cinabar this time; Wikipedia instead) tells me a Chiron in Greek mythology was the oldest and wisest Centaur, who served as a teacher of the youth; a ‘Centaur mentor’ so to speak. That seemed good enough for me, but it didn’t go anywhere near in explaining the image of a women with an ample cleavage on the front of the bottle, but it caught my eye, so what the hey!

On opening the pale ale there was the hoppy citrus smell I was expecting. On taste there was an instant citrusy bitter delight from the hops, which levelled out in each mouthful to the biscuity malted barley flavour the label had mentioned. It was this flavour description that had first tuned me into wanting to write a blog about this finely balanced American pale ale. Its initial hoppy citrus smell and flavour wakes up the palate with a swift kick, then to be superbly balanced by that delicious malted barley flavour that works its way into the aftertaste. A fine beer that I’d hope our American friends would think quite innovative, brewed and drunk with passion, and finally the knowledge to buy it again at the first opportunity!
By Spectre

Friday, 27 May 2016

Ugly Unsweet Water Grapefruit & Pineapple (@uglydrinks) #GlugUgly [By @Cinabar]

When Ugly Drinks asked if we wanted to try their new soft drink range I was struggling to get passed the name. Why would you call your drinks Ugly? I guess it stands out as a brand name… but that is all I’ve got.
Soft drinks usually fall into two categories, sugary or artificially sweetened. I tend to go for the artificially sweetened, but Ugly Drinks adds a third category to the market, not sweetened at all. As I’d picked Grapefruit And Pineapple I was starting to imagine the drink might be very sharp. Please keep in mind these drinks don’t cheat by being sweetened by fruit sugars either, they are calorie free.
I pulled away the neat foil lid and popped the ring pull to an effervescent fizz. I poured out the clear drink, and noted that it was pleasingly bubbly. I took a sip and the flavour was a little strange, but very pleasant. As promised there was no sweetness, just a lovely light hint of very natural tasting fruit flavours. They were light enough not to be sharp, but strong enough that you knew what they were about.
You know when you pick up one of those bottles of mineral water with a “hint of strawberry” or whatever and when you sip it, it tastes oh so sweet and screams artificial fruit? Well, I guess Ugly Drinks made theirs how you would have wanted that to taste. Water, with a proper hint of fruit, and nothing nasty, just a genuine hint of nice natural flavour. It might take a couple of sips for you to become accustomed to the taste, but it so very refreshing both in terms of flavour and innovation of ingredients.
By Cinabar

Thursday, 26 May 2016

MaxiBon chocolate - Euro biscuit choc-ice (by @NLi10)

This is another one of those reviews which I've never written because I take the product for granted. If I'm in mainland Europe and it's hot then it's fairly safe to say I'll eat a MaxiBon at some point. I've been doing this for close to 20 years.

In the UK the practice of putting a slice of ice cream between two wafers or biscuits seems to have vanished. As it's something that I grew up with I get very nostalgic for these.  And boy have they evolved over the years.

Here we have the latest iteration - it's a MaxiBon chocolate but it has so much going on.  Firstly you can now see that only half of the bar is ice cream covered by biscuit so it doesn't melt, the top half has been dipped in chocolate instead.

Here we see its White choc coating, normal choc biscuit and ice cream and dark choc chips. 

In Toledo it's still better to eat this in the shade than to risk a meltdown. It's a very filling bar, and once you bite into it it's a race to finish before you lose some. We had a table and a nice can of Aguarius in the shade so managed without issue.

A couple of the import shops stock these in the UK but I think it is better kept for the blazing heat and the spectacle of trying to explain exactly which of the different flavours you actually wanted.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Extra Hot Jalapeno Mustard (Sainsbury’s) [By @SpectreUK]

When Cinabar mentioned “Hot Beaver” to me, this is not what I had in mind. Barbequed furry dam making rodent anyone? Beaver Brand produced this Extra Hot Jalapeno Mustard. They were established in 1929 in the USA, and are a family owned company who have been making condiments for three generations. This rather angry pink mustard has red and green chilli flecks running through it. The ingredients told me that the peppers included in this fiery mustard were cayenne, red jalapeno, green jalapeno, red chilli, and ancho. I squeezed out a fairly large dollop of this pink mustard, which sat rather menacingly staring back at me next to my chips. I scooped a little onto my knife for a first taste…

There was an initial tasty condiment flavour of relish followed by a chilli bomb blast that probably would have knocked me off my feet if I hadn’t already have been seated. I think steam actually came out of my ears! This tasty Jalapeno Mustard is definitely extra hot. No lie there. It went perfectly with my chips and made me glad to have mayonnaise with my fishcakes to cool my palate. The vegetables on my plate were also a blessing so I mixed between the angry pink blob and my chips to the veggies, to the hot pink blobbed chips to fishcakes and mayonnaise to… you get the idea. Very tasty, very hot… okay; Extra Hot Beaver!
By Spectre

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Tic Tac Special Edition PopCorn Sweets (Poundland) [By @Cinabar]

This summer the Special Edition Tic Tac flavour is Popcorn! Although we have seen a few interesting flavours over the years, they do have a tendency to be fruity when it comes to Tic Tacs so this is quite a jump.
The packet is smartly wrapped too, with its red and white stripes to look like a cinema pack of popcorn, the sweets however are plain white. I only note this as the re-released banana Minions Tic Tac have cute little Minion designs on them!

The flavour of the Tic Tac is initially quite strange, not bad I hasten to add, I just had difficulty processing the taste with the idea of it being a Tic Tac. The problem I think arises from the fact that it tasted like popcorn but felt hard and was the same size and texture as an unpopped kernel. My initial reaction to it was that it felt like I’d accidentally tried to eat a hard bit of popcorn, and it took a second for me to process that this was just a sweet with the same feel and flavour. This is actually testimony to the fact the flavour is really good, it does taste a lot like sweet popcorn. They have a very good flavour, they are creamy and recreate the taste authentically.
These may not be refreshing in the way that most Tic Tac sweets taste, but they are fun and do the job well. These are nice to try and a good innovative flavour too that will undoubtedly amuse the folks at work. I’m just not sure anyone will be writing a petition to get the flavour to become a permanent addition to the range.
By Cinabar

Monday, 23 May 2016

The Burger Priest - Wolverhampton Reviewed @TheBurgerPriest [By @Cinabar]

It was really nice to hear of a new burger bar opening in Wolverhampton. The city is going through a lot of changes at the minute, it is being heavily invested in and although this means there are plenty of works and potential going on, it also means there hasn’t been much new opening up recently. I think we are starting to see the beginning of the changes, there are plenty of things promised, like new department stores, but The Burger Priest is one of the first new restaurants to open in a while.
The Burger Priest is fast food burger bar, but it is still very smartly themed, mostly in a pseudo religious way. For example they don’t have opening times they have Worship Hours (11am-10pm), and many of the seats are styled on church pews. Its very smart inside and I liked the attention to detail on the theming. The openings times also mean if you are planning a theatre trip to Wolverhampton Grand it is perfect for a pre-theatre meal.
The menu is very comprehensive and we chose a Vatican Burger (with cheese and bacon) and a Classic American Dog. You have to order chips and sides separately, but I was over the moon to see sweet potato fries on the menu. As we were in a themed burger bar, it felt appropriate to have milk shakes, we ordered a Salted Caramel shake and a Mint Choc one too. Unlike most burger places The Burger Priest is licensed and has a number of beers available, and of course soft drinks too.

The drinks came over very quickly and we gave them a taste test, both were lovely and thick and made properly with ice cream. The mint one had chocolate chips in it and was very refreshing, the salted caramel was lovely and creamy and had caramel bits for texture.

The food came shortly afterwards, and were laid out on trays, with the fries, some burger relish and a little coleslaw on the side. I chose the regular sized portion of sweet potato fries and had more than I could eat, I tried folks, I really did! They were beautiful by the way, crisp on the outside and fluffy inside, so cooked perfectly. They are absolute heaven dipped in mayo, you should try it.
My burger was superb. The beef was very meaty and had a lovely smokey hint to it, like it had been barbecued. The juicy burger and crispy bacon worked like a dream. The brioche bap was a lovely addition too, with its light buttery flavour. The food here was good, seriously good. Like wise the hot dog had a slightly smokey flavour and was thick and juicy, a classic done really well.

We went the first Saturday they were open, and I lost track of the number of staff who asked if we were okay or needed anything else. I was impressed by how fast the food came too, given how busy they were. The staff are clearly very attentive and seemed to genuinely care that we were enjoying our food and wanted to know what we thought of the place. Well let me tell you the burgers and food here are fantastic, the church theme keeps it fun and the service was very quick and friendly so we can’t wait to go back and explore the menu further. It ticked all the boxes and I'm converted.
Two meals and two large shake came to £25.
By Cinabar

Sunday, 22 May 2016

BBQ Beef Brisket Pizza from @PapaJohnsUK (by @NLi10)

There is nothing that symbolises games night more than delivery pizza.  When Papa John (himself) asked us if we wanted to try the new variety of BBQ Beef Brisket Pizza we jumped at the chance and invited a few friends round.  We'd barely cracked into the cards when the delivery arrived.

We'd asked for an XXL Pizza of the new variety and a regular veggie one to go with it.  We ended up with two large pizza which is OK  - but we did have to immediately put some garlic bread in the oven (which kind of defeats the object of delivery...).  As there were 5 of us we would have 4 slices each, if we'd realised in advance I'd have ordered a second one to come too!

Here in all it's spirally magnificence is the pizza.  It has a sauce that looks like regular BBQ but is sweeter and has cola in it.  Im not sure whether this counts as a caffeinated pizza - but I'm sure when I have a whole one to myself we will find out.

The beef brisket itself is small and potent, but maybe a little less of the focus of the pizza than I was expecting.  With the double meat offerings you get a lot more topping by quantity, but on balance I felt it worked well.

Naturally the vegetarian didn't participate in the voting (she had 4 slices of The Greek which is spicy with olives and feta).

Here we have two thumbs up, and two thumbs sideways.  Not a terrible result for a pizza that wasn't chosen to suit their tastes.  Leaving me til last the comments were:
  • Nice but a bit too sweet for my taste (sideways)
  • I had a better Beef Brisket pizza last week (sideways)
  • I liked it but I'm not really a fan of beef on a pizza (up)

The pizza one of our group preferred to this was actually a Chicago Town cook at home pizza that focused more on chunks of meat.  Rest assured this will be sought out for review.  As a pizza for a group to share though it came out OK.  The thing was - two of the meaty tasters actually preferred The Greek veggie option due to it's spicy tangs and strong olive flavours.  I think I maybe should have chopped up the included chilli for them to add to the BBQ, but it just shows that there are plenty of options on the menu and when people get to choose they do find one they like best.

I however quite liked it - it wasn't as filling as I'd hoped (but then I can eat a large PJ to myself in one sitting so that's not too shocking) but it was a good satisfying flavour.  The meat was quite dense and crispy even though it wasn't that numerous.  The sauce really was the star though and if this was available in a squirt bottle like ketchup I think it'd find a fair few fans.

Overall I really enjoyed it and am happy we got the chance to try it out.  Snacks were required, but we were always going to have those anyway.  Any other take-away providers that want 4-6 players to eat & tweet about their latest releases should get in touch!

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