Tag Archives: coffee review

The only edible fruitcake in the world

A lot of people contacted me about The Great Fruitcake Recycling Project. Most agreed with my position that fruitcake is a dangerous hazard to life, health, and the environment. The ones who disagreed told me in no uncertain terms that I didn’t know what I was talking about, fruitcake is wonderful, and I should stop this nonsense. Some even intimated that the only reason I didn’t like it was because I had never tried a “good” one. I scoffed at them, because clearly those were all prank emails. That was, until I heard from @TheGourmetGirl on Twitter.

@TheGourmetGirl’s real name is Elaine, and she has a website: Gourmet Girl Magazine, which is filled with all kinds of recipes, food reviews, and other wonderful food-related stuff. She asked me if I had ever tried Caribbean Black Cake. Since the answer was “no,” I checked out the recipe on her site. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page.)

Here’s what I found:
The recipe calls for dried fruit like figs, dates, apricots, cherries, and peaches – not those neon mystery bits
It uses an entire bottle of both Frangelico and Amaretto

I told her that I thought it might be the only edible fruitcake I’ve ever encountered. She offered to send me one, and I anxiously accepted her offer.

The package arrived yesterday. Per her advice, I opened it in a well-ventilated room. Very good advice. With the high alcohol content, I was surprised to find it wasn’t confiscated at the post office.

The box, before opening, smelled divine with all kinds of almondy alcohol goodness. I carefully unpackaged it from its bubble wrap, foil and plastic wrap, and the full aroma hit me. This was not my grandmother’s fruitcake.

Husband and I just looked at it for a moment. Then I challenged him to take a bite. Ever the skeptic, he wouldn’t, until I tried it first. I did, and it was wonderful.

My observations:
This is a very moist cake. Probably because it’s absolutely embalmed in alcohol. That’s a good thing.
The fruit is not only edible, it tastes like real fruit.
Each bite is an explosion of goodness in my mouth.
It doesn’t taste like “fruitcake” at all. Calling it fruitcake is an insult.

I decided that this cake would make an excellent breakfast food for New Year’s Day. I was right – you can’t eat this in the morning if you want to get any real work done. I started with a small piece. Then a bigger one. Then another, with whipped cream on top. By now, I’ve eaten more than half of the small cake, and I’m definitely tipsy. The rest will have to wait for tonight. It will be a long wait.

So there you have it. There is a cake, with fruit in it, that is not only edible, but absolutely wonderful. Just don’t call it fruitcake.

Onion Rings

I love onion rings. Not enough, though, to put up with bad ones. They gotta be good, which means they absolutely must be hot, crisp, with the right amount of crunch and fresh onion goodness.

We went to Rock Bottom Brewery in Loveland for dinner Thursday night. Their onion rings were greasy, soggy, and ice cold. Husband’s meat loaf dinner was mushy and tasteless, too, by the way. So, for an informal review of Rock Bottom Brewery, I’d have to give it one point out of ten. The one point is for the friendly, although somewhat inattentive, waitress. The atmosphere was average – what you’d expect for a large chain. Big, new, crowded, noisy.

But, back to the onion rings. I’ll give you a list of the top three places to get stellar onion rings, and a couple to definitely avoid.

#1 and the absolute best: Runza. There are no Runza Restaurants in the Denver area, so I have to stop by their Loveland restaurant to get my fix. Unfortunately, I am very rarely in Northern Colorado, so I don’t get these very often. If you’re in Lincoln, Nebraska, you may remember Rock & Roll Runza – art deco 50’s interior and wait staff on roller skates. It was a fun destination. Too bad they went corporate.

#2 and a strong contender: Sonic Drive-In. I’ll qualify this, though, with a disclaimer: it definitely depends on which Sonic you go to, and when. You want to go when they are busy, so the onion rings are absolutely fresh when you get them.

#3 Dewey’s All-American Grill. Their rings are plentiful, crunchy, and divine. They’re served all stacked up on a post, which is fun. Bonus: the dipping sauce. Good enough to lick the bowl. Double-bonus: friendly, attentive wait staff, a zillion tv’s tuned to every game you’d want to see, and you don’t have to eat in your car.

The bad: Okay, I’ve already mentioned Rockbottom Brewery. Another forgettable: Denny’s, where the onion rings are worse than the ones I make at home (which, by the way, I dump out of a bag and put in the oven).

The absolute worst onion rings of all time: Burger King. Chopped onions in a soggy batter that soaks up grease without getting crunchy. Ick.

Caribou Coffee

I meet people at Caribou Coffee on a regular basis. They have good Chai, don’t play Paul McCartney on their sound system, and have totally free wifi. Their prices are competitive, they shy away from snooty-sounding names for their beverage sizes, and their staff is genuinely friendly.

One location, at 1400 E Hampden in Englewood, CO, has gone another step to prove they are better than those other guys, and now provide free power, too. A power strip encircles the public seating area. You can browse the net, and recharge your cell without fighting for an outlet. Way to go to make life even better for all of us harried, laptop-laden entrepreneurs!

This week, they handed out samples of coffee to take home to brew. I got a little bag of “Columbia,” enought for a small pot. Husband brewed it, and gave his review, as follows:

Me: What do you think? How is it?

Husband: Good.

Me: Anything else? Full-bodied, mellow, rich, dark, bitter…?

Husband: Tasty.

There you have it. Columbia coffee from Caribou is Good and Tasty.