Thursday, November 18, 2010

I can think of witches good and bad

What: Wicked Whoopie (Peanut Butter)
Where: The Highway, Pennsylvania
Cost: $2.09

Cupcakes are passé, you guys.

Everybody who follows the ups and downs of the hand-held cake industry knows that the new queen in the fairy cake kingdom is the whoopie pie. Or maybe there is something even newer and hipper now, I don't know. I let my subscription lapse.

Either way, this was my first sighting of a whoopie pie in the wild. They seemed relatively fresh-looking, despite the unfortunate placement between peeled hardboiled eggs and cans of Redbull in a gas station just off the interstate somewhere.

Anybody who has ever tried to pack a cupcake into a lunchbox or been shown how to properly eat a cupcake will recognise the whoopie pie's obvious selling point. It is extremely portable.

It's basically an icing sandwich.

A lot of the people I cajoled into helping me eat it (it was deceptively huge) compared it to a Jos. Louis. Although they are missing the chocolate coating and are considerably denser, whoopie pies are indeed very similar. Delicious. The addition of peanut butter to the icing was a nice twist.

I definitely see myself making a few whoopie pies in the future, but I still prefer the original. I think a cupcake's inability to be carelessly tossed into a sack somehow adds to its appeal.



Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Cannot Tell a Lie

What: Raspberry Jelly Graham Cookies
Where: Manhattan, NY
Cost: $2.99/lb.

There was only one thing I really wanted to see in New York this time around. I first heard of Economy Candy through David Lebovitz and I was determined to check it out sometime during our three days in the city.

After we soundchecked at the Mercury Lounge on Thursday we had a few hours to kill, so I thought I would see if I had time to get to the store and back. I couldn't believe it when I realized that it was actually right around the corner from the venue.

I purchased many things.

These cookies jumped out at me as I was checking out and I'm glad I followed my gut.

They traveled around in the van with us for a few days and I was worried they would get too melty so I brought them into the dressing room at DC9 last night. A couple of the Acorns and Gabe tucked in and seemed to really enjoy them. After I bit into one myself I could see why.

The cookie was a layer of semi-firm raspberry jelly on top of a graham cracker, covered in chocolate. It was a perfect mix of crunchy, sweet and fruity. They also made my bag smell delicious.

If you're ever in Manhattan and you are jonesing for some wax lips you should check out Economy Candy. It's small but packed to the roof, and it carries a lot of the classics along with more novel or hard to find candies.



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sweetgrass and Feet

What: Boston Baked Beans
Where: Boston, MA
Cost: $0.25

I am so happy to be on the road with Basia Bulat and The Acorn. What a great way to get over my writer's block while exploring the gas stations of the Eastern United States, right?

We were in Boston a few days ago. I wandered into the fanciest 7-11 I have ever seen - where they keep their "Canada" mints in glass jars next to the Swedish Fish. It was comforting to learn that no matter how classy a 7-11 looks it still smells like slurpees and sweaty hot dogs.

Boston is a great town.

While we were there I figured it was as good a time as any to buy a box of Boston Baked Beans. I'm embarrassed to admit that it was only very recently that I realised that they were not the same thing as regular old baked beans.

They are not beans at all. They are basically bright red peanut M&Ms without the chocolate. I liked them, but I only ate a couple before they spilled all over my purse.

Life is as it should be.



Saturday, May 8, 2010

Nästa Avfart

What: Pigall
Where: Malmö, Sweden
Cost: 12.00 SEK

I purchased this chocolate bar because I thought the name was funny and I could not figure out what flavour it was. The package showed the insides as a light pink with what looked like nuts or something. Perhaps it would be strawberry-macadamia nut? I really had no clue.

When I finally tried it I was so glad I followed my impulse at the cash register. It was hands down the best chocolate bar I've had all tour (and I've had plenty.)

There were actually two small chocolate bars inside the package, each filled with a buttery cocoa paste. What appeared to be nuts on the package were actually almost invisible rice crisps.

Yesterday we didn't play a show which means lots of driving and no free food. I bought another Pigall bar to augment my meagre "day off" meal of cheese (cut with a fork) on pitabrød that I found in the van.

Rock and roll.



Thursday, May 6, 2010

Super Troopers

What: Lakrits
Where: Jönköping, Sweden
Cost: 12.00 SEK

I bought this chocolate bar in a gas station in Jönköping but I was hesitant to try it. I don't really like black liquorice and this was a chocolate bar full of it. But, as always, boredom got the best of me during the long drive to Oslo today so I pulled it out of my purse, determined to have a nibble.

The chocolate bar was visibly studded with small, irregular chunks of very dark black liquorice. Kind of cool looking.

It wasn't as bad as I feared. The chocolate tempered the strong taste of the liquorice quite well and the textures were not too dissimilar. The weirdest part was how salty it was. I had forgotten that a lot of liquorice in some European countries is salty, but now that I've tried it I can see why it's so popular. For a non-liquorice lover it was a pleasant surprise.

Of course chocolate makes everything better. And this bar was "chok-o-licious".



Sunday, May 2, 2010

Chips and Dales

What: Romney's Kendal Mint Cake (Brown)
Where: Tan Hill Inn, Yorkshire Dales
Cost: Unknown (purchased by Basia)

The Tan Hill Pub is the highest pub in Great Britain. We were lucky enough to be playing inside a converted barn at a music festival there, full of old friends and motherless lambs.

Basia found this Mint Cake at some point after our set. The package was too special to ignore and I gleefully unwrapped it as soon as she gave it to me.

When Paul (our resident expert on all things British) told me that it was pure sugar I thought he just meant that it was really sweet. But he wasn't exaggerating.

I opened the package to find a sparkly block of what appeared to be tightly compressed brown sugar. A peek at the ingredients list showed that it was indeed just sugar and peppermint oil - two of my favourite things - unsullied by chocolate or other fillers. Excellent.

The smell of mint wafted up to me as I read the package. Apparently this is the exact brand of mint cake that Tenzing Norgay would have eaten while climbing to the summit of Mount Everest. It's a funny claim to fame, but definitely felt appropriate for our remote locale.

I broke off a block and took a bite. It was softer than I had expected and melted immediately in my mouth. Minty and very sweet, it was delicious but one piece was more than enough for me.



Friday, April 30, 2010

I Believe in Ferries

What: Prawn Cocktail Pringles
Where: Between Belfast and Dublin
Cost: £1.99

In North America these chips would not be flying off the shelves. We are not used to a potato chip selection that includes roast chicken and steak. Fortunately "crisps" in the UK are often meat-flavoured and this one was particularly exotic. We were all pretty tired which is usually a bad time to be tasting new, potentially gross foodstuffs but I threw caution into the wind and popped this can open in the van.

The verdict: not actually gross.

It would be more accurate if these chips were labeled Prawn Cocktail Sauce flavoured, since they really just taste of tomato sauce. Maybe a slight prawny smell, but definitely not too fishy tasting.

If you're Canadian and like Ketchup chips than I would suggest these as a nice alternative.



Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Baby Sheeps

Four days ago I didn't know I was going to Europe, yet here I am. It has been a whirlwind past few days.

We arrived in Paris around 11am Monday morning. We hadn't really slept on the plane and were due on a train to London a few hours later, but we decided to make the most of our brief time in the city.

A croque-madame, a crème brûlée and a coffee, then a nap on the grass in Place des Vosges. We worked out some new ukulele-autoharp arrangements surrounded by the best-dressed teenagers I have ever seen, then witnessed an impromptu recital performed on a leaf.

Did you know that a single leaf - pulled out of a drink and blown upon - can sound like a lithograph recording of a trumpet?

Then - a short train ride under the sea, a brief, hug-filled reunion with fave European tour manager DT and some lovely, stripped-down shows in London and Manchester.

At some point before our show in London I wandered outside for food. I must have peeked into a dozen restaurants, yet somehow I arrived back at the venue with just three chocolate bars and a Fanta.

They were delicious.

The only way this trip could have been better so far is if more band members were here and I didn't feel like I forgot my brain in Toronto (although I can feel it slowly growing back now).

I will be keeping my eye out for unusual foods (of course) so check back soon.

England, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Poland, yeoooow!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

And It Tastes Great on a Cracker

What: Ooze Toobz (Strawberry)
Where: Toronto
Cost: Unknown (purchased by Eric and Katie)

I went over to my friends' house for nachos a few days ago only to find this tube of goo placed in front of me.

Immediately everyone around the table started speculating about the type of person who would buy a toothpaste tube full of neon pink syrup. Why does this product exist? Do you eat it with your fingers? Are all of our children going to have diabetes?

"You're going to eat that whole tube." One of my friends said to me.

"Haha" I replied. "Gross."

And then I kind of did.

It was hard not to. It was basically just really runny, extra-sweet strawberry jelly. You put a little bit on your finger to taste it, then a little bit more, then all of a sudden you look down and half the tube is gone and there are sticky pink spots all over your lap and the floor around you.

Picture Gushers lovingly harvested by Oompa Loompas and hand-squeezed into this tube. I like to imagine it this way so I can pretend it is a gourmet product and not just a tooth-rotting amount of high fructose corn syrup and dye.

The tube was passed around and everyone agreed it was ok, although no one would ever buy it for any other reason than to watch me eat it.

I tried it on some leftover tortilla chips and it was good. But not better than cheese.



Monday, March 29, 2010

I like my Coffee Crisp crisp.

What: Coffee Crisp Chocolate Milk
Where: 7-Eleven, Toronto
Cost: Unknown (was in my fridge for a while)

Continuing my series of why-chew-when-you-can-drink drinks we have Coffee Crisp in liquid form. I was surprised at the number of chocolate bars they have made drinkable these days. Rolo, Caramilk, and Crispy Crunch (apparently the "crispy" and "crunchy" factors are not an integral part of that chocolate bar) were also available for purchase in the chocolate milk section.

Coffee Crisps are one of my favourite chocolate bars so I was excited to try this drink - even though I cannot really drink milk.

It was basically frothy chocolate milk, like those Milkshake juice boxes that were popular when I was in Elementary school. My mum wouldn't buy them but I never minded much because they always tasted a little weird to me*.

This drink is to milk what processed cheese is to cheddar. The main ingredient is milk and they tell you to "shake it!" before you "drink it!" but it is still not a milkshake. It did taste vaguely of Coffee Crisp, but the real chocolate bar that I bought to compare it with was much more enjoyable.

My roommate, Sebastian, finished off the glass for me. That dude loves chocolate milk.



*I was a child who ate lumps of sugar straight from the jar and could happily subsist on fruit rollups alone, so that probably means something.

[Update] If you are not Canadian you should watch this...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Very Special Blog Post

What: Conguitos
Where: Spain
Cost: Unknown (purchased by Basia)

The last time Basia and the gang were in Europe they brought me back a bag full of Polish caramels and other funny continental confections. It was like Christmas. Every thing I pulled out of the bag was more interesting than the last. Some looked delicious, others made my nose wrinkle. All were beautiful.

Then - a tradgedy.

Somehow the entire bag of candies got lost in the bustle of the backstage area and got left behind when we played at Metropolis in Montreal.

When I bemoaned this horrible discovery, Basia's mom (a deeply caring and infinitely practical woman) told me to stop worrying because there was a Polish deli that she can take me to in Etobicoke to get all that kind of stuff. It might not be quite the same but I will still be taking her up on her offer soon.

This bag of Conguitos was forgotten in Allison's suitcase and thus survived.

I'm not quite sure what to say about Conguitos. I don't speak Spanish, but the name looks like it's a diminutive for someone from the Congo*. Coupled with the picture on it I can't imagine what would happen if these were ever introduced to American markets.

And the company seems to really like the character they have chosen to brand themselves with. It appears that they have modified it a bit recently, but the fact remains that they have an old black stereotype printed on every single peanut.

The peanuts themselves were very good. They were nicely toasted and covered in chocolate.

I really enjoyed eating them, but the packaging is impossible to ignore. Unless they completely revamp their marketing for this product I would not buy these peanuts if I saw them in a store.



*Am I right?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Candies from Colorado

What: Jolly Ranchers Pop (Watermelon)
Where: 7-Eleven, Toronto
Cost: Don't remember

I was cleaning out my refrigerator yesterday and I found this bottle of Jolly Rancher pop. It's been kicking around for a while now, but the guilt I feel for taking up valuable space finally overwhelmed me so I cracked the bottle open and took a sip.

I was alone, but I immediately said out loud "Oh, freaky."

It shouldn't be surprising that the company that makes Jolly Ranchers knows how to make things taste like Jolly Ranchers... but still, it was eerie how closely the pop matched the candies. I actually happened to have a package of watermelon Jolly Rancher candies in a drawer in my room, so I did a thorough taste test to confirm this.

Other than that it's pretty much how you would expect it to taste - very sweet and carbonated. Not very refreshing (translation: slightly better than cream soda, decidedly worse than water).

Later, while eating a Jolly Rancher I accidentally swallowed one whole. It kind of got stuck in my throat and without thinking I took a swig of the pop to help wash it down. Alone in my apartment I coughed and spluttered, and thought "I hope they write something about this on my tombstone."

Fortunately that will not be necessary.

It's not as satisfying or purse-friendly, but perhaps the safest way for me to enjoy Jolly Ranchers candy is in liquid form. I wish it came in grape.



Thursday, March 4, 2010


I have been fiddling around with HTML all day. If the blog looks weird please let me know in the comments and I'll send you some jelly beans.


[Update] I just realized the 2 year anniversary of this blog was yesterday. Holy crap.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ginger Pride

What: Halls Cough Drops (Canada Dry Ginger Ale flavour)
Where: Toronto
Cost: Unknown

I have been sick sick sick for the last few days. Bad times. I have to admit, however, that when I felt that first tickle in my throat a not-so-small part of me was excited, because I would finally be able to eat these Ginger Ale-flavoured Halls.

They have been floating around in my purse since I first spotted them at a newsstand inside the TTC a few months ago. I dug them out mid-way through a coughing spell and was pleased to see that other than a few scuffs on the package they were in good condition.

Never has my coughing been cured so sweetly.

These cough drops are my new favourite thing. They work just as well as regular Halls and they taste like the flat ginger ale my dad used to give me when I was sick as a child. If not for the mentholyptus I would eat these year round.

I'm going to brave the elements to go get some zucchini (my body is telling me to make chocolate zucchini loaves and I am listening) and while I'm out I will definitely be on the lookout for more of these cough drops.



Thursday, February 25, 2010

Kickin' buttz

What: Kickbutt Amped Energy Ballz (Cherry)
Where: Elmvale, ON
Cost: ~$3 (purchased by Eric)

My friend Katie invited me to her parents' house for Family day last Monday. I am blessed to have lovely friends, so it should come as no surprise that their families are just as fun to hang out with.

After a leisurely morning we walked through the town to check out the restaurant that had just burned down. I looked at antique tea cups then we gave some cream to the feral cat colony.

I love small towns.

On the way back we stopped at the local gas station and Eric bought these ballz for me. I ate them as we drove south through Barrie back to Toronto

They looked like two large, cherry gumballs, and for a fleeting second I wondered if perhaps they actually were. Maybe they would give off protein and vitamins while being chewed. Like Nicorette for body builders.

Without thinking I popped the first ball into my mouth.

It was a bad idea. The ball was like a candy-coated power bar. It didn't even taste like cherries, it was just gross. I think that the small size meant that there was not enough filling to mask the taste of the caffeine and other additives. It took me forever to finish it and the lingering taste of chemicals in my mouth made me decide not to eat the second one.

Soon I realized that I didn't know what the inside of the ball looked like, so I took another bite. It was chalky and brown, and seeing it made it even harder to swallow the second time around.

For something that claims to be a "Certified Natural Heath Product" those ballz sure were disgusting.

I had to rustle around inside the huge bags of food Katie's mom sent us home with to find something to clear the taste from my mouth. Fortunately Pat is a wonderful cook (and host) so it was not hard to find something delicious to cleanse my injured palate.


(10/10 for the muffin)


Saturday, February 20, 2010


What: Hershey's Kisses with Cherry Cordial Flavoured Creme
Where: Toronto
Cost: $1.49

I love holidays that are celebrated with candy. It isn't necessary, but sometimes I enjoy having an actual reason to indulge my sweet teeth.

And then there are the sales.

Scrounging through discount bins full of limited edition holiday candy is one of my favourite pastimes.

I wandered in to a Sobey's near my work a few days ago and was rewarded with a heavily-discounted package of Hershey's Kisses, filled with cherry cordial flavoured creme*.

Other than a splash of lime cordial in my club soda now and then (vodka optional) I associate cordial with Anne of Green Gables. I remember very clearly the way my 9-year old self thought raspberry cordial might taste - syrupy sweet and potently fruity. I think I was expecting the filling to taste similar to that imagined cordial, but perhaps more cherry-like.

Unsurprisingly, it didn't.

What was more surprising was the fact that it barely tasted like cherry anything. Far from a chocolate-covered cherry (they are filled with cherry cordial and I assume that this is what Hershey's was aiming for) it was mostly just very sweet and vaguely coconutty.

Definitely not something you could confuse with currant wine.



*I've said it before, but I have an irrational hatred of the word "creme". I have even gone so far as to change my foster cat's name from "Creme Brulee" to "Steve". He hasn't noticed yet.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Olympic Dough Rings

Can anyone tell me why sprinkle donuts used to be called "Hawaiian"?

If you live in Canada I'm sure you have seen these donuts in every Tim Horton's. Basia bought this one for me somewhere last week.

Eight years ago when they announced that the Olympics would be in Vancouver (my hometown) I assumed I would be back there by 2010. But here I am still in Ontario, without even a TV to watch it on.

But I ate that donut.

And I enjoyed it, although I wish the sprinkles were maple-flavoured. Or even just sugar-flavoured. What kind of sprinkles have zero taste?

Go Canada!


Saturday, February 6, 2010

What do you call a bear with no teeth?

What: Chocolate-Covered Gummy Bears
Where: Peterborough, ON
Cost: ~$3

I was fortunate enough to play a few shows with the lovely Basia this week. We arrived in Peterborough a few hours early on Wednesday, so I wandered around a bit to see what the city had to offer.

To my surprise and delight, there was a large candy store just around the corner from the venue.

Amongst the (too) expensive imported British chocolate and limited edition Star Trek Pez dispensers I hit the jackpot with these gummy bears.

Although I have never tried chocolate-covered gummy bears before, I was fairly certain I would like them.

I love gummy bears. Haribo Gold-Bears are my favourites, but I have never eaten a bear-shaped candy that I didn't like. Also, I have been saving up money over the last few months to buy a five-pound gummy bear.

I am not joking.

In case of emergency candy/chocolate cravings I always seem to have secreted* a Big Turk within arm's reach somewhere. These bears were basically adorable, bite-sized versions of that chocolate bar.

The reaction backstage was mixed (and may have involved much singing of the Gummi Bears theme song), but I loved them.


I'm curious to see what sugary secrets Hamilton might hold tomorrow. Sadly, we will be without our friends and recent touring pals, the Luyas, but check out their blog to see the non-candy related fun that goes on offstage.


*by "secreted" I mean "hidden", not "synthesized and discharged from specialized glands". But one can always hope...