Think Fooditude

Hungry for life with an appetite for good food.


1 Comment

Recipe: Açai Bowls

acai-bowl

My homemade açai bowl

I ate a lot of açai bowls growing up in Hawaii and missed them dearly when I moved out to the East Coast. It was always something I had to eat every time I went home. Somehow this phenomenon made it out to other smoothie shops/healthy restaurants around the continental U.S., so of course it wound up in New York.

There was one day where I was really craving an açai bowl and found a restaurant that made them in my neighborhood. I was so excited to try it and paid $8 for a bowl, but when I took a bite, it was extremely disappointing. It lacked flavor AND there will still large ice chunks. So I sat there and had a revelation that I could probably make a better açai bowl at home. So I did.

Behold: my açai bowl recipe. Continue reading

Advertisements
smorgasburg


Leave a comment

A Guide to Visiting Smorgasburg

Smorgasburg is the largest weekly open-air food market in the country with locations in Williamsburg and Prospect Park in Brooklyn. It opened in 2011 and there are more than 100 local vendors each weekend. It’s definitely worth visiting if you have never been, however it can be overwhelming if you do not navigate it properly. I have been many times over the past couple of years and have learned a few lessons. Personally, I prefer the Williamsburg location because it’s more convenient from where I live, and other reasons that I will get into. Here are my tips: Continue reading


Leave a comment

Foodtastic Finds: Rainbow Iced Latte

the-good-sort-rainbow-iced-latte

The Superfood Rainbow Iced Latte from The Good Sort

Last weekend, I went to Chinatown and was on the hunt for something a little birdie on the Internet told me about: iced rainbow lattes.

The unicorn trend is all the rage right now, and quite frankly, I’m over it. So I was intrigued to try this colorful latte at an Australian-Chinese café on Doyers Street called The Good Sort.

As you can tell by my photo, this latte is the perfect, colorful pick-me-up on especially gloomy spring days (it happened to be raining when I went). And another added bonus? It’s actually healthy for you.

Each layer of the latte is a different ingredient, but all together it packs beetroot, blue algae, turmeric, coconut sugar, vanilla bean, black pepper, cayenne pepper, agave, and three different types of milks: almond, coconut, and oat. It’s no wonder that it costs $8.

Also, each layer tasted different. I could definitely taste the spices once I got to the yellow turmeric layer, and that kept the whole drink interesting.

In comparison to Starbucks’ short-time stint of the Unicorn Frappuccino (which I shamelessly tried), this is 100% tastier (and better for you). I liked the Unicorn Frappuccino, but it did just taste like I was drinking all of the sugar—and blue sour powder. What even is that?

Beyond the rainbow latte, The Good Sort offers homemade sweet and savory congee, gluten-free and vegan bakery items, and other superfood lattes, such as sesame and activated charcoal, and blue algae. The interior is also adorable with millennial pink walls, a collection of records, and flower decor.

Overall, my verdict is that an $8 latte is worth it only if you want it to be. In my opinion, it’s all to do it for the ‘Gram. The photos you’ll end up taking of the rainbow iced latte or anything you order will be 👌

in-n-out-burger


Leave a comment

The Great Debate: In-N-Out Burger vs. Shake Shack

shake-shack-in-n-out

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here (apologies!). Since I last wrote on here, I worked as a food and drink writer with The Daily Meal and also launched my very own website: Samantha Lea. But I am back here today to report something extremely important: I have finally visited In-N-Out Burger and can finally weigh in on the great debate: Shake Shack vs. In-N-Out.

I recently met up with my parents in California and after asking them why we had never visited In-N-Out before, they agreed to go and drove straight there when they picked me up from the airport.

In case you may not know, the debate between these two burger chains are quite fierce. Shake Shack first started out in New York under restaurateur Danny Meyer and went public in January 2015. As of writing this, there are 129 locations around the world.

In-N-Out currently has 313 locations, however they are all native to the Southwest and Pacific regions of the U.S. and remains independently owned. That being said, In-N-Out is the winner in my book, and for a few reasons.

Prices: In-N-Out vs. Shake Shack

First, you cannot beat In-N-Out’s prices. A Double-Double cheeseburger is $3.45 and comes with two beef patties with no additives, fillers, or preservatives; two American cheese slices; lettuce; tomato; onions (sliced or grilled); and the special sauce between two toasted buns. It’s the same recipe they have used since 1948, so we’re talking about almost 70 years of an unchanged menu. A Double ShackBurger at Shake Shack costs $8.35—the single is $5.55. It’s served with two all-natural Angus beef patties, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and ShackSauce on a non-GMO potato bun.

Sauces: In-N-Out vs. Shake Shack

Speaking on the ShackSauce, I cannot explain my distaste for it. I have no idea what’s in it, however the internet tells me that it’s mayo, ketchup, yellow mustard, dill pickles, garlic powder, paprika, and a pinch of cayenne, but for me the garlic flavor comes out too much. On the other hand, In-N-Out’s sauce supposedly contains mayo, ketchup, mustard, relish, Worcestershire sauce, white wine vinegar, salt, and sugar. I’ll take Worcestershire sauce over garlic powder any day.

Toppings: In-N-Out vs. Shake Shack

I need to take a moment to acknowledge how much lettuce In-N-Out adds to the burgers and how they are so fresh and crunchy, as well as the tomatoes. I never thought I could appreciate lettuce and tomato on a burger, but In-N-Out sure made me a believer.

Fries: In-N-Out vs. Shake Shack

I will say that although I appreciate the In-N-Out’s fries are not crispy and are fried in cholesterol-free vegetable oil, I cannot deny that Shake Shack’s crinkle cut fries are delicious, as an avid French fry eater. I liked ordering the animal style fries at In-N-Out, but it was a bit much for me. The cheese fries at Shake Shack are more of my speed.

Milkshakes: In-N-Out vs. Shake Shack

I ordered the black and white shake at In-N-Out, which is chocolate and vanilla, and it tasted malty and well-balanced. Shake Shack may have more flavors, but I find them too decadent and sickeningly sweet for my liking. However, Shake Shack does make a mean lemonade, and I will give them that.

Simple really can be better sometimes, and I completely respect In-N-Out for not going public. Even if it would mean more money for them, I believe that it compromises the integrity and quality.


Leave a comment

Taste Test: 2014 Lay’s “Do Us A Flavor”

The four Lay's flavor finalists.

The four Lay’s flavor finalists.

It is that time of year again when Lay’s lets the public create a new potato chip flavor and the country votes on their favorites. Last year’s winner, Cheesy Garlic Bread, won against Sriracha and Chicken & Waffles (I really liked Chicken & Waffles, so I was sad to see that go).

This year’s finalists are Mango Salsa, Wasabi Ginger, Bacon Mac & Cheese, and Cappuccino. My boyfriend Kris and I tasted each flavor and jotted down our first impressions and thoughts while eating the chips.

Wavy Mango Salsa

Wavy Mango Salsa

Mango Salsa:

Samantha: It smells like barbecue.
Kris: You can smell hints of mango. It’s like Hawaiian BBQ, like Kalua pig.
S: Like a smoked mango.
K: It’s like eating laundry. That’s weird! I don’t know how to describe that. It’s a very soapy flavor.
S: I can definitely tell what you mean about the soapy flavor.
K: It’s confused as to whether it wants to taste fresh or soapy.
S: It reminds me too much of dried mango, which I’m not really into.
K: Fruit and potato just do not mix.

Rating: 1/5

Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger

Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger

Wasabi Ginger:

K: I feel like this is going to be really good.
S: It smells like a Japanese restaurant.
K: It smells like classic kettle.
S: That wasabi really hits you.
K: It’s like wasabi shoyu [soy sauce]. Ooh it has a nice aftertaste of ginger! This is the most unique one and it works.
S: I can go for some sushi right now.

Rating: 5/5

Bacon Mac & Cheese

Bacon Mac & Cheese

Bacon Mac & Cheese:

K: I bet this is going to taste good. Everyone loves bacon.
S: It smells like smoked gouda.
K: It smells like barbecue.
K: That’s not fair because everything is good with cheese. Like the cheesy garlic bread. Cheese is like the elixir of potato chips. Anything tastes good with cheese, it’s kind of unfair.
S: It reminds me of a baked potato and I feel like I’m eating the T.G.I. Friday Cheddar & Bacon Potato Skins. The flavor really packs a punch.

Rating: 4/5

Cappuccino

Cappuccino

Cappuccino:

S: Smells like Dunkin Donuts!
K: It smells like breakfast.
S: Look at those specks of cinnamon!
K: This just tastes burnt. It tastes like broken dreams.
S: Is it weird that I can taste the cream? It’s so bland. They should’ve added more sugar.
K: It gets better as you keep eating it, though. Definitely better than that mango one.

Rating: 2/5

Kris and I both agreed that Wasabi Ginger is the winner in our eyes, however we think that America will vote for the Bacon Mac & Cheese. Between the spiciness from the wasabi and aromatics of the ginger, the flavors balance each other out. The kettle chip texture also has the right amount of crunch to make sure that the wasabi ginger flavors are not too potent. That being said, we don’t think the world is ready for a Wasabi Ginger chip. I remember years ago, there used to be Wasabi Funyuns, which I loved to pieces. I don’t think it was received very well, so it was removed from shelves. Now, Funyuns has a Chile Limón flavor. I just don’t think America is ready to embrace wasabi in their chips. The Bacon Mac & Cheese really is the standard cheesy chip flavor, but it’s been overdone. There’s already Cheddar & Sour Cream, Cheesy Garlic Bread, and of course the T.G.I. Friday Cheddar & Bacon Potato Skin. That flavor already exists. The new flavor should be something bold and different, not something that’s to be expected. But who am I to say, I’m talking as though the Bacon Mac & Cheese has already won. It also seems that the Mango Salsa is being well received, but really I can’t get past the mango-soap flavor. Thinking about it makes me sick.

Now I guess we will play the waiting game to see which chip wins. Have you tried any of the flavor finalists? Which ones are your favorite?

Special thanks to Kris for being a part of this taste test! Check out his blog here.


Leave a comment

Food for Thought: Will technology eliminate waiters?

 

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I’m visiting Hawaii for a little bit just to get a break from New York and one of my favorite things to eat when I’m home are conveyor belt sushi. Some of the Genki Sushis here have recently undergone a makeover. Gone are the conveyor belts and in its place are rockets and trains, which got me thinking: will we need waiters/waitresses/servers when technology takes over in restaurants?

Before I proceed, watch this video to see how Genki Sushi operates. So while I was there, we sat down at a booth and looked through the menu. All you do is use the touch screen above the table to choose the sushi you want. You can only choose four dishes to be delivered at a time. Then, the workers in the kitchen make the sushi and send it off on a train to your table. It’s really cool, I definitely enjoyed being able to choose whatever I wanted without having human interaction. But, when it was time to pay, I thought, “Do I tip my waiter? What exactly did they do because the trains did all of the work for them?”

Usually, waiters at Genki Sushis would run orders from customers to the kitchen. They still refill waters and they also serve some dishes like dessert to the table. But that’s it. There’s really no need to check on how the customers are doing because if the customers had a problem, they could flag down a waiter by pressing a button.

Waiters are servers are such an essential part of restaurants because they very much play a large part in setting the tone of the restaurant. And they make a living off of tips. But what happens when you eliminate the need for their services? I think this type of technology is a game changer for restaurants and honestly, I don’t think that being a waiter or server can flourish with this new style of service. Technology is both exciting and scary, and I am intrigued to see how this type of service plays out in restaurants.