July 15, 2016
Supermarket snack aisles have lately become crowded with potato chips and other snacks inspired by that mixture of fried potatoes and seasonings that only Chickie's & Pete's can legally shill as "Crabfries. " We put three of these palate-decimating potato chip products to the test, and enlisted Inquirer restaurant critic Craig LaBan for tasting notes: Herr's Chickie's & Pete's Famous Crabfries Seasoned Potato Chips It's a ridged chip with that familiar spicy-salty seasoning, plus a powdered dairy coating to call to mind the cheesy dipping sauce that accompanies Crabfries.
July 8, 2016
That's a wrap Instead of using plastic wrap to cover bowls, store sandwiches, and wrap cheese - and then throwing it away - consider a reusable, natural alternative. Bee's Wrap is washable, made with beeswax and cloth. The warmth of your hands is enough to mold and seal it into place. - Samantha Melamed Bee's Wrap, $19 for a set of three 10-by-11-inch wraps at Kitchenette, 117 S. 12th St., Philadelphia, 215-829-4949 Pizza that goes against the grain If you're off gluten but still craving pizza, Smart Flour Foods' version, with a crisp crust made of amaranth, sorghum, and teff, might help you climb back from the brink of despair.
July 1, 2016
Soda worth the extra cents There has been much ado about soda in the news lately. One bubbly beverage worth the extra 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax is the Philadelphia-brewed Press Gang Ginger Beer. It has the right amount of ginger, plus lime juice, vanilla, and, yes, cane sugar for sweetness. - Samantha Melamed Press Gang Ginger Beer, $3.99 for 11 ounces, at Fair Food Farmstand at the Reading Terminal Market, 51 N. 12th St., Philadelphia, 215-386-5211. For your fresh fruit The farmers' market is the inspiration for many of the wares at Heirloom Home & Studio, the small ceramics studio run by Gregg and Jackie Moore of Glenside.
May 20, 2016
Cook from the Boardwalk and beyond Fast-forward from spring to summer with The Jersey Shore Cookbook , a compendium of dishes - like blueberry scones and spaghetti and crabs - from beloved fine-dining restaurants, seafood shacks, and pancake houses from Cape May to Asbury Park. With tempting photos and chef profiles, the collection by Jersey food blogger Deborah Smith is a Shore dining guide and cookbook in one. - Samantha Melamed The Jersey Shore Cookbook by Deborah Smith, Quirk Books, $22.95 Botanical bowls for summer For dining on the deck or by the pool, these lovely serving dishes look amazingly close to porcelain, yet are made of melamine, and thus are lightweight, shatter-resistant, and dishwasher safe.
March 17, 2016
All a barkeep needs If you're new to home bartending, you may not want a drawer full of tools. Try just one: this Swiss Army knife approach to bartending that includes a jigger, zester, muddler, and bottle opener all in one oak-clad utensil. -Samantha Melamad Bartender's Multi-Tool, $32 at Occasionette, 1825 E. Passyunk Ave., Philadelphia, 215-465-1704, occasionette.com Bet you can't eat just one Potato chips got a little more interesting with the new Kettle Brand variety cooked in avocado oil and available in flavors including Chili Lime, Hawaiian Barbecue with ginger, and Himalayan Salt.
March 11, 2016
A broth without additives In an entrepreneurship class at Penn State's business school, David Sirott and Donnie Weissberg collaborated on a project to make and sell an all-natural, no-salt-added, superfood vegetable broth. Now, Sirott, of Graduate Hospital, and Weissberg, of New York, have launched the business. Their Wild IS! broth, made with kale, spinach, celeriac, basil, and green tea powder extract, is a mild-tasting base for your vegetable soups. Available in local Whole Foods stores (see wild-is.com for a list)
February 5, 2016
Grow herbs in a jar If you like the idea of aquaponics but aren't quite ready to turn your basement into a fish farm, you can start small with AquaJar. An ecosystem in a mason jar, it's designed to be a fish habitat you can also use to grow fresh herbs year-round on your windowsill. (It comes with a caveat: The product is designed by a Newark, Del., start-up that just finished a successful crowdfunding push on Kickstarter. But it's new to distribution, so expect it could take several weeks to arrive.)
January 29, 2016
Sweet new slice of Chinatown The matcha mousse cake from À La Mousse is not your typical Chinatown dessert. Baker and owner Anna Chen, wife of Jack Chen, who owns Sakura-Mandarin next door, took over Audabon in the fall to bake Western-style desserts with an Asian twist. For this elegant, layered mousse cake, she uses the powdered green tea known as matcha to give the creamy filling its leafy green color. The minimal use of sugar in the dessert allows for the distinctive tea flavor of the matcha to shine through on the finish.
January 22, 2016
Patti cakes Patti LaBelle's latest hit? Her sweet potato pie, which became a viral sensation after a fan uploaded a video of himself enjoying the dessert and singing his satisfaction. Now, the local superstar is back with a second, and third, helping: vanilla Bundt cake with vanilla icing, and a three-layer caramel cake with buttercream filling and caramel glaze. Both are manufactured for mass appeal but manage to hit the high notes. - Samantha Melamed Patti LaBelle Premium Caramel Cake, $13.94 at Walmart.