Showing posts with label review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label review. Show all posts

Thursday, December 18, 2014

iCoffee Opus, Getting More Out of Your Single Serving Capsules

While I love my Nespresso Pixie, I haven't had a lot of good experiences with other single serving coffee offerings before. My old office at Caltech had a Keurig machine, so I tried the K-cups there before. Was. Not. Good.

Still, the idea of a convenient coffee machine is enticing to have at work. My current office had no coffee machine whatsoever, so when iCoffee asked if I wanted to try out their single serving machine, Opus, I said why not? iCoffee promises a smooth tasting coffee using what they call a SpinBrew technology. It's said to mimic what happens in a french press - so you get a french press style coffee from the machine. Basically, though, this technology sprays water 360' so the water gets distributed around the ground coffee more evenly, so you don't over extract any particular part of the capsule (which tends to lead to bitterness).

Looking dapper on top of the office fridge
The machine comes with a sampler of capsules including Tim Hortons coffee. Yep, that popular chain from Canada.
Tim Hortons

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ascendant Spirits, Santa Barbara's First Craft Distillery

Beers and even wines are aplenty in the lands of Southern California, but we're not exactly known for our distilleries. Not yet, anyway, but craft distilleries like Ascendant Spirits are looking to change that.

Ascendant Spirits, which is located in Buellton, is the first craft distillery (after prohibition) in the Santa Barbara area, producing moonshine, bourbon, and vodka.
I think the headliner of their products is the Breaker Bourbon. Even to drink on its own, I liked Breaker. It was smooth and balanced with enough sweetness and complexity to keep you sipping. There are notes of chocolate along with honey and spices. The bourbon, which is aged for 5 years, recently won the gold medal for Best American Bourbon that's aged less than 7 years form World Whiskies Award!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hotel Review: Dolphin Lanai Room at the Kahala Resort (Oahu, Hawaii)

The Kahala Resort is supposedly the first resort in O'ahu (so says my hotel tour guide), opened in 1964 as the Kahala Hilton and cost $12 million to build.

The resort has its own private beach which, according to my tour guide, was the shore that the King Kamehameha landed when he first came to O'ahu (Wikipedia says he landed his troops at Waikiki and Waialae which neighbors the resort).

We stayed at one of the Dolphin Lanai rooms on my latest trip to Hawaii. It faces the "dolphin lagoon" and you pay a premium for the chance to be woken up by dolphins' calls and splashes.

The room itself is standard-sized, though the bathroom had two vanities.
But it isn't just a view of the dolphin lagoon. These rooms are on the ground floor and are literally right next to the dolphin lagoon. If it wasn't for the bushes separating my patio with the lagoon, I could just reach out and touch them as they swim by.
Sit long enough and you'll see one or four of them jump. I wasn't fast enough to take photos of those instances, alas.
A lot of celebrities stay here and I heard George Clooney was there when I was there. While I didn't see him, I did spot Daniel Dae Kim from LOST. Someone had to point him out to me, but I think it really was him. They're supposed to be filming Hawaii Five-O.
What do you guys think?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Product Review: Ile de France Le Brie Cheese

Ile de France was looking for bloggers to review their cheese products via Tastespotting, and I got hooked up with some Brie cheese.

Ile de France's Le Brie came to my office mailbox and luckily the large DO NOT TOUCH! sign I put in the fridge was enough to keep people at bay long enough for me to get it home!
Taking it out of the box and unwrapping it reveals a uniform white rind. Looking good!
The first cut. I can already feel its firmness and smell the nice aroma. Can't wait to take the first bite!
The aroma is subtle but inhale enough and you get that delicious sharp aroma! The cheese is firm, yet silky and creamy. It's almost like eating butter with a slight nutty aftertaste. This was one good brie!

The product is listed on Amazon but is currently unavailable, so I don't know how much it retails for. But it is one of the best brie I've had, so if you get your hands on it and it's not outrageously priced, buy it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Giveaway+Review: Pineapple Jerky!!

I was recently approached by Doug from to review their products and hold a giveaway on my site!
I checked out their website after that, of course. has a wide variety of beef jerky but I was most excited to see Venison, Elk, Buffalo and Ostrich jerky sections!

Apparently they are coming out with their own brand of jerky in March, but in the meantime they are holding this giveaway for some Pineapple Jerky. Yes, yes, pineapple jerky! I was originally expecting some beef jerky marinated in pineapple juice or something when I heard "pineapple jerky" but it truly was Pineapple, marinated in honey.

When I opened one of these bags in the car, the aroma just permeated the air and my friend who's driving just turned around and said "Whoaaa! That smells good!"
The pineapple jerky is chewy with a pretty concentrated pineapple flavor, but it's actually quite sweet (probably due to the honey). I love how this is not that tart, as the tartness of pineapples usually leave a bad aftertaste in my throat.

I can't really say I've had pineapple "jerky" before so if I were to say "this is the best ..." that wouldn't really fly would it :P ? Well, as far as "preserved pineapple of some sort" goes, this is the best one I've had.

I did check out the price afterwards and currently a 1/4 lb bag is going for $9.99 (retail $14.99) on their site - not cheap indeed, but the superior quality definitely shows. This would tend towards the higher end snack splurges for me.

In the meantime, though, you guys can win a bag for FREE! (who doesn't love free stuff, huh?)

So just leave your email address (or just some way to contact you) in the comments below, or if you don't want to leave your contact info, you can also just email me at

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Taste of Santa Monica - A Taste and More

So I went to the Annual Taste of Santa Monica this past weekend after getting $20 tix from Goldstar. I thought with $20 it seems worth a try! There were a lot of different little things everywhere but I will just give you a sampling of what was there - I didn't visit every booth and didn't take photos of everything I visited either!

The type and amount of food they give you there vary a lot, and so did the lines. Some booths had a really long line, like the one serving oysters and also this crepe booth:
Acadie Hand Crafted French Crepes:
Buckwheat crepes with mozzarela tomato and basil; and also one with Nutella
The filling was nothing spectacular as you can see, but I did like the buckwheat crepe. Different and gave a bolder taste than normal crepes.

While waiting in the long line for crepe, I sustained myself with a panini I grabbed from the not-so-crowded booth next to it:

Chicken pesto panini from Panini Garden.

Decent panini - bread was pretty nice. A decent-sized portion too I may add. We grabbed one and it was enough for two.

I loved the Green corn tamales from El Cholo.
This was a sweet tamale filled with cheddar, cheese, and ortega chili.
I really liked the sweetness of it and thought it worked well also with the cheese (although the cheese is not evenly distributed, but oh well).

They gave you a regular sized tamale, which really started to fill me up!

Shrimp and seabass cevice from The Lobster
Not bad .... I guess? I just came back from Peru so I have high expectations for my ceviche, and this one doesn't quite cut it. Also, too much onion.

The mussels from i cugini.

This was hit or miss. I got two mussels and one was practically a shrunken little thing, while the other was a nice, plump juicy piece.

Prosciutto melone fromIl Fornaio
A nice little combination and easy to just grab and eat. The prosciutto was just okay, but the whole thing was pretty refreshing. (There's only one place giving out drinks here so any ice cream/gelato/fruit booths were a blessing for me!)

Chilled shrimp with arugula, and tomato black olive relish
from Cezanne @ Le Merigot
The shrimp was big, fresh and crisp. Nice texture and refreshing taste!

The most fun part of the festival was probably watching the "Molecular Ice Cream Lab" where they make ice cream in these kitchen aid mixers using dry ice:
The ice cream was tangy and the different "flavors" didn't really come out, mostly due to the dry ice which gives it that tangy flavor.
But it was still such a fun addition to the festival!

Of course, we didn't manage to get seconds ... we didn't end up filling up our card and there were still quite a few booths we didn't visit. Oh well. We were full though and for $20 Goldstar tickets, the event was well worth it. Not sure if I would pay $40 though! Maybe if I didn't have to go to the BBQ fest ....

You will probably end up having to buy drinks - they have a full bar and already prepared a hundred cups filled with muddled mint for mojitos!

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