Bokksu Hanami Festival Box: Taste of Japan’s Cherry Blossom Festival

Although it may not feel like it, we are fully in the season of spring. Many cultures celebrate the season of renewal and growth in different ways. One of our favorites is the Japanese Hanami Festival, celebrating the Japanese Cherry Blossoms. In honor of Japan’s famed Hanami Festival, Bokksu, makers of the artisanal Japanese snack box, presented the Bokksu Hanami Festival Box. Hanami means “flower viewing” in Japanese; loved ones get together to enjoy a delicious feast under fully blossomed cherry blossom trees in parks throughout the country. The Bokksu Hanami Festival Box celebrates the decadent snacks enjoyed during the feast.

As April’s coveted snack box, the Bokksu Hanami Festival Box wonderfully honors the April Japanese festival. Bokksu curated this snack box to help you transport you to hanami season in Japan! Potato chip lovers won’t be able to stop eating the potato sticks. Fans of all things savory will love the snacks like the Ebi Crunch Black Pepper. Love sweets? The Handmade Sakura Candy is a must.  Check out all of the Bokksu Hanami Festival Box snacks below:

Spring Sakura Senbei – This thin cracker has a lot of flavor going on: preserved sakura blossoms, mirin (sweet sake), and squid to name a few. In fact, squid is the main ingredient of this senbei! Squid is a popular food in Japan during the spring and goes surprisingly well with the salty yet floral tang of the pickled sakura flowers. This uniquely Japanese flavor combination is captivating, so don’t let the squid scare you off!

Handmade Sakura Candy – Since its sakura season, Bokksu brings you this Handmade Sakura Candy made exclusively for them! Sakura in Japan symbolizes ephemerality and the fleeting quality of life. Like the sakura that fades away at the end of the season, this candy dissolves lightly on the palette. Sweet and floral, cherry blossoms are harvested and prepared by pickling and drying the flowers in salt. This traditional method preserves the vibrant color and flavor of Sakura, which makes it perfect for candy. This is also why this Handmade Sakura Candy contains real bits of preserved sakura!

Cheese Okaki Plum Flavor – This okaki (a type of cracker) with a cheesy center from popular maker Bourbon is a long-time favorite in Japan. It hasn’t stopped selling since the original flavor came out in 1984! This special plum flavor is seasonally exclusive for the spring hanami season. The cracker itself features umeboshi (pickled plum), a popular tsukemono (pickled food) in Japan known for being very tart and salty. It’snot uncommon to find umeboshi gently placed on top of a bed of rice or in the center of onigiri (rice balls) in a hanami picnic bento. This snack is great with a cup of green tea.

Sakura Chocolate Crepe – This delicate delight is one of our favorite spring-time treats. We first tried this crepe last April, and loved it so much we had to bring it back! A wafer-thin crepe is baked and rolled up for crisp layers. It’s then enrobed in a decadent coating of white-chocolate infused with powdered sakura petals for a richer flavor and color.

Sakura Chinsuko Cookie – This adorable Sakura Chinsuko cookie is shaped, flavored, and colored like a Japanese cherry blossom. Chinsuko is a traditional cookie from Okinawa and is a very popular omiyage (souvenir gift) in Japan. It’s similar in texture to a shortbread cookie and carries delicate flavors like sakura well. The addition of real sakura leaves enhances the light floral flavor of this pink cookie.

Ebi Crunch: Black Pepper Flavor – The cousin to Bokksu’s favorite, Ebi Crunch, this Ebi Crunch Black Pepper is equal in flavor as a mix of rice crackers and peanuts. It packs even more heat than the original, with its concentrated punch of pepper. It is the perfect accompaniment to your next happy hour beverage with its puffy frame and a generous helping of seasoning.

Kakinotane Plum Shiso – Kakinotane is a classic Japanese snack mix of crescent-shaped senbei and peanuts. This mix packs a powerful punch of traditional Japanese plum and shiso (perilla leaf). Sharp and a little spicy, it blends pickled plum, shiso, and paprika. The buttery peanuts perfectly balance the mix of dominant flavors. Kakinotane is a kind of otsumami, and as such is typically enjoyed with beer. We’re sure you’ll be amazed by its incredible flavor.

Suppa Mucho Plum Potato Sticks – These thin, crispy potato sticks are bursting with flavor. Like an ode to the Japanese plum tree, every bite carries the floral notes of plum blossoms, the sourness of umeboshi, and the earthiness of shiso (perilla leaves). This Japan-exclusive snack is the most addicting potato chip we’ve had.

Spring Gold Green Tea – Celebrate the spring with this beautiful tea package designed exclusively for Bokksu and enjoy classic sencha tea to warm you from the inside out! Sencha is a traditional steamed Japanese green tea and considered the most popular tea in Japan. This particular tea is exceptionally strong in flavor and is the perfect addition to any spring picnic party under cherry blossom trees!

What are your thoughts on the snacks in the Bokksu Hanami Festival Box?

CHEESE WEEK 2019 - 3rd EDITION

Celebrate All Things Cheese During the 3rd Annual Cheese Week NYC

Did you know that Cheese Week NYC started today? For the third consecutive year, Jean-François Hesse and Transversal FR bring all things fromage to New York. The best part, you don’t have to be in Vermont, Italy, Switzerland or even France to enjoy some of the most amazing cheeses in the world. The 3rd Annual Cheese Week NYC brings them all to you in a series of in-store and restaurant events from April 28th – May 4th.  We had the pleasure of enjoying a wonderful cheese brunch at Rôtisserie Georgette, an experience we’ll be sharing soon. Check out some of the great cheese events happening this week

CHEESE WEEK 2019 - 3rd EDITION

Stores in New York

Murray’s Cheese (254 Bleecker St and 89 E 42nd St)
April 28th – May 4th
Demonstrations Daily – 3 to 6pm
• The Murray’s Cheese locations at 254 Bleecker Street and Grand Central Terminal will host
demonstrations daily.
• Murray’s Cheese Bar (264 Bleecker Street): special cheese-and-wine flights all week long

French Cheese Board (41 Spring St)
May 3rd – 5.30 to 7.30pm
• Class is in Session! Join Chef Greg from Savencia Cheese USA
This class includes how to create amazing cheese pairings with Saint Agur, Le Montagnard, Le Cayrol, Esquirrou, and Saint Andre

Zabar’s (2245 Broadway at 80th Street)
Demonstrations Daily – 3 to 6 pm:
May 2nd – 3 to 6pm: Join Gourmet Foods International for a tasting of P’tit Basque, Fromager D’Affinois Brie
and La Bonne Vie Goat Pyramid.
May 3rd – 3 to 6pm: Join Savencia Cheese USA for a tasting of Esquirou, a PDO Ossau Iraty cheese, winner
of the 2018 World Championship Cheese contest.

Le District (225 Liberty Street)
April 28th – May 4th
The offer is a choice of 3 kinds of cheese (cheese plate) and a flight of 2 wines for $35.
The cheese options include: Excellence Triple Creme – France St. Andre -Le Bonne Vie Chante -La Bonne Vie
Goat -St Agur 60%
-St Andre Mini
The two wines are: Combe Saint-Jean, Bourgogne Chardonnay 2015 and Château de la Dauphine, Delphis
Fronsac 2015

Taste Wine Company (50 3rd Ave)
May 2nd
Sit-down wine & cheese pairing class & tasting from 7 to 9pm. Price: $40
Reservations : 212-461-1708

Restaurants in New York

Rôtisserie Georgette (14 East 60th Street between Madison and 5th)
April 28th
Reserve for anytime between 12 noon and 2pm
« Fête du Fromage » Sunday Brunch
4 courses $49.00
Asparagus Velouté, Warm Savory Madeleines
Cheese Soufflé – or – Croque Monsieur
Artisanal Cheese Buffet
Tropical Fruit Sorbets, Mignardises
Reservations: 212-390-8060 or www.rotisserieg.com

Bagatelle (1 Little W 12th St)
3-course tasting menu with wine pairing
All week for dinner. $60.00
Reservations: 212-488-2110

Cocotte (110 Thompson St)
Cheese and Wine Fest throughout the week
Reservations: 212-965-9100

AOC East (1590 1st Avenue)
Happy Hour the entire week from 4 pm to 7 pm. Cheese and Wine: $15.00
Reservations: 646-998-5749

Bistro Vendôme (405 E 58th Street, NY)
Cheese and Wine tasting all week long
Reservations: 212-935-9100

ARM & HAMMER™ Fruit & Vegetable Wash

Eat Pesticide-Free: Arm & Hammer Fruit & Vegetable Wash

For centuries we’ve been told to wash our fruits and vegetables with water to make them clean enough to eat. Of course with the increased use of pesticides, water isn’t enough when it comes to washing fruits and vegetables. To protect your family from pesticides and other contaminants, we have the perfect solution – Arm & Hammer Fruit & Vegetable Wash.

ARM & HAMMER™ Fruit & Vegetable Wash

This latest launch from Arm & Hammer safely eliminates more than 90 percent of pesticide residue while also washing away wax and soil. Made with only  7 ingredients, including Arm & Hammer baking soda, lemon oil, salt, and plant-derived cleaning agents, the new fruit & vegetable wash is scientifically proven to clean 4x better than water alone. According to independent studies, washing your fruits and veggies with water and/or bleach still leaves behind large traces of pesticides. The Arm & Hammer Fruit & Vegetable Wash removes surface pesticide residues more effectively than using tap water or a bleach solution.

ARM & HAMMER™ Fruit & Vegetable Wash

The first thing we noticed about the fruit and veggie wash was that it’s free from harsh chemicals. The second thing we noticed was its refreshing lemon scent. Other noted points are that it leaves no odor or taste behind, and is vegan-friendly and gluten-free.

“Arm & Hammer Fruit and Vegetable Wash is the only produce wash with baking soda as the primary active ingredient,” noted CR Brands CEO Dan Mickelson, whose company manufactures the product under license. “No one wants to leave wax or dirt, and certainly not pesticides, on the fruits and vegetables they serve. This is a safe, effective, and easy-to-use solution that makes sure the only thing we taste is delicious, natural flavor.”

Launched just in time for spring harvest, you can get the Arm & Hammer Fruit & Vegetable Wash for around $5.00 per 16.9oz spray bottle. Or better yet, get a 3-pack for $14.99 at Amazon and other select retailers. For more information, please visit www.armandhammercleans.com.

Nourish Bowls: The Healthy On-The-Go Meal from Mann’s Fresh

As beings that are always on the go, it can get quite difficult to eat a healthy, well-balanced meal. Be it for breakfast (for those of us who eat breakfast), lunch or dinner. While we try and at times have the best intentions to live a better life, it never lasts. This may happen for many reasons, we fall back into our old routine because it’s what we’re used to; the new “lifestyle change” doesn’t satisfy us, or maybe we end up being unsatisfied. We’ve all tried to implement healthy choices but many times, we just don’t enjoy them. But what if we did? We were recently introduced to the latest healthy and delicious meal from Mann’s Fresh that will change your mind (and your habits). Say hello to Mann’s Nourish Bowls Breakfast.

Although we haven’t tried the others, we had the pleasure of enjoying Mann’s Fresh Nourish Bowls Breakfast. The two new breakfast options, Denver Scramble, and Fiesta Scramble join the vast variety of Nourish Bowls that includes Monterey Risotto, Sesame Sriracha, Southwest Chipotle, Smokehouse Brussels, Spicy Thai, Basil Pesto, Tomato Bolognese, and Cauli Rice Curry.

A healthy twist on one of America’s favorite breakfasts, the Denver Scramble features kale, sweet potato, cauliflower and broccoli with a Bell Pepper Sauce that has diced ham & onion and comes with a cheddar cheese topping. The Fiesta Scramble has kale, cauliflower, kohlrabi and butternut squash with a Pico de Gallo Salsa that has chicken chorizo and comes with a Mexican Cheese Blend topping.

You will see making a healthy and delicious breakfast is as easy as 1,2,3. Add one or two eggs, pop the microwave-safe bowl in for 4 minutes and enjoy these fresh veggie breakfast bowls! At 330 calories or less and up to 25 grams of protein, these new bowls bring to the breakfast table. Are you excited for the new Nourish Bowls Breakfast from Mann’s Fresh Vegetables? We certainly are!

Plant-Based Goodness: Getting Slutty Vegan on a Cold Day in Harlem

So….let’s catch up. How did you spend your President’s Day this year? I opted for a little excitement this year, and I wasn’t alone. True Story. Here’s my confessional:

I got a little Slutty on our National Holiday when I heard that Slutty Vegan came to Harlem NYC.

Slutty Vegan, an Atlanta based fast food company specializing in fast, and yummy plant-based foods, held their first pop-up in New York City ever. Their menu places a shining spotlight 100% Vegan versions of the All-American fast-food favorite, the hamburger. It’s irresistible, insatiable, forever side-piece, french fries. I went with an open mind to try something new and exciting and to have a little fun. And I didn’t leave until I had a One Night Stand. No pork, just vegan bacon.

The outstanding pop-up event, held at the Cove Lounge in heart of Harlem, was a kickoff to the larger Slutty Vegan Tour. It will stop at a number of major cities along the East Coast in celebration of the Grand Opening of their new brick and mortar location in Atlanta – 1542 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd.

Back in New York, with lines wrapping around the block for hours. Over 900 people were served a taste of these delicious and satisfying burgers. We came to get the stuff that’s so good we waited in the cold for it!

3 FAST & SLUTTY OPTIONS CAME NEW YORK:

The Fussy Hussy
Impossible Burger patty loaded with pickle, vegan cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, and slutty sauce on a vegan Hawaiian bun.

The Sloppy Toppy
Impossible Burger patty loaded with jalapeños, vegan cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, and slutty sauce on a vegan Hawaiian bun.

The One Night Stand*
Impossible Burger patty loaded with vegan bacon, vegan cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, and slutty sauce on a vegan Hawaiian bun.
*We had a good time together. Now we are on a Down To Fork basis

If you’ve never had an Impossible Burger – you don’t know what you’re missing! If you are steering your diet to be more plant-based right now, start here! The Impossible Burger Patty is made of a proprietary mixture of wheat, potato proteins, coconut oil, and heme. It tastes so much like meat, that you will open your burger, thoroughly examine how beautiful the patty is, whisper sweet devotion while you put it back in the bun and ravish the whole thing.

Founded in 2018 by Pinky Cole in Atlanta Georgia’s West End community, the Slutty Vegan Dream Team started with the purchase of a restaurant-grade food truck. The goal was to provide fresh, top quality prepared vegan comfort foods to an area underserved by flavorful vegan eats. A reminder and benchmark to everyone across the country that plant-based eating can be absolutely delicious and affordable.

The Slutty Vegan tour went on to Baltimore, DC, and Maryland, Greater Georgia, New Orleans, Houston, and will end in Los Angeles at the end of March 2019.

 

Wünder Creamery Nutrient-rich Superdairy

Wünder Creamery Grass Fed Quark: The Nutrient-Rich SuperDairy

When you hear the word Quark, you typically think of particles and science; but we promise the Quark we’re writing about today is something much more edible. The Quark we’re talking about is a nutrient-rich, super-dairy made from a special blend of cultures, Wünder Creamery Grass Fed Quark. And we can tell you, it’s wünderfully delicious!!

Wünder Creamery Nutrient-rich Superdairy

What makes Wünder Creamery Grass Fed Quark so amazing? Thanks to its unique production process and an exclusively sourced special blend of French cultures, Wünder Creamery Grass Fed Quark delivers an extraordinary rich taste and creamy texture. Gone are the days of overly tangy and sour yogurts, plus this yogurt boasts up to 16g of protein and less sugar than leading yogurt brands. Wünder is also high in protein, has less than 5% lactose, contains no starches or gum and is powered by probiotics. It’s gluten-free, has no rBHG, and it’s ph levels is higher than regular yogurts, giving you a distinctively better taste (4.4/4.5 vs. Greek/Skyr’s 3.8/3.9). Since Wünder is fermented for twice as long as Greek yogurt (13 hours vs. 6 hours), it also boasts creamier texture.

Wünder Creamery Grass Fed Quark is available in six varieties: Plain, Coffee, Raspberry, Blueberry, Vanilla & Coconut, and Matcha. After sampling all six flavors, we found ourselves captivated by two, the Vanilla & Coconut, and Matcha. While all six were delicious, these two definitely had us reaching for more. There are so many delicious recipes you can make using the Wünder Creamery Grass Fed Quark flavors. One of our favorites is the Matcha Cheesecake, see the recipe below:

Wünder Creamery Matcha Cheesecake

Cheesecake Filling
3 24-ounce containers Wünder Creamery Plain quark, room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. matcha powder
2-4 Tbsp. hot water (for creating matcha paste)
2 large eggs, room temperature
Mix matcha powder with hot water to create a paste-like consistency. In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the quark on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until smooth and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and continue beating on medium speed until smooth. Reduce the speed to very low and drop in 1 egg at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated into the batter. Do not overmix.

The Crust
¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
⅛ Tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350˚. Bring a large pot of water (about 6 cups) to a boil. Lightly spray or butter the bottom and sides of a 6-inch springform pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt, and melted butter. Pour the crust mixture into the springform pan and use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the mixture down into the base, making sure to create an even, smooth layer. Place on the middle rack of oven and bake for 8 minutes or until golden-brown in color. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly.

Wrap the bottom of the springform pan with aluminum foil, allowing for the foil to reach the top of the sides. Press the foil firmly around the pan to make sure it is fitted well (this protects the pan from absorbing the water). Transfer the pan to a 9 x 13-inch baking pan, and pour the boiling water into the large pan, creating a bain-marie. The water should reach about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake.

Carefully transfer the cheesecake to the oven and bake on the middle rack for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the sides are set and the middle jiggles very slightly. After baking, remove the cheesecake from the water and set on a wire rack to cool for 2 hours. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6-12 hours. Release and remove the side of the springform. Slice with a sharp knife, rinsing the knife with warm water before each slice.

Popbar Passion fruit popSorbetto with Vegan Chocolate

You Can Handcraft and Customize Vegan Pops at Popbar NYC

When many people hear the word vegan, the words tasty and delicious don’t usually come to mind. However, we’re here to tell you why you’ll absolutely be using those words and some others to describe these frozen vegan treats. You may remember our delicious WafflePop experience at Popbar NYC, so we had to go back to try the Vegan Pops at Popbar NYC.

All of Popbar’s popSorbettos are vegan and come in wonderfully delicious flavors such as Strawberry, Passion Fruit, Blood Orange, Mixed Berry, Pineapple, and more. Their dark chocolate, caramel chocolate, and mint chocolate dippings are vegan as well. They also boast vegan toppings like sprinkles, crushed hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, and coconut, so you can customize your vegan pop any way you want. We had the opportunity to do just that, trying three flavors of the vegan pops at Popbar NYC; and as we expected, every bite was divine.

1ST VEGAN POP – Passion Fruit popSorbetto with vegan Dark Chocolate and Chili Powder

Popbar Passion fruit popSorbetto with Vegan Chocolate

First, the Passion Fruit popSorbetto is incredible on its own, the perfect combination of tart and sweet. We decided to get it half dipped in and drizzled with dark chocolate (which is also gluten-free), then topped with some chili powder for a nice kick. I loved this flavor combination, it was an incredibly delicious way to begin this vegan snack.

2ND VEGAN POP – Mixed Berries popSorbetto with vegan Dark Chocolate and Coconut

For the 2nd of our three vegan pops at Popbar, we were inspired by chocolate covered cherries; hence, the Mixed Berries popSorbetto fully dipped in dark chocolate and covered in shredded coconut. It’s hard to believe, especially as this looks so delicious, but this is still an all vegan treat. Needless to say, it went down quickly.

3RD VEGAN POP – Blood Orange popSorbetto with Caramel Chocolate and Chocolate Sprinkles

Popbar Blood Orange popSorbetto with Vegan Chocolate

We definitely had to make room for the third vegan popsicle but it was worth it. We decided to try something a bit different; flavors you wouldn’t think about at first. You will love the sweet citrusy blood orange flavor half dipped in vegan caramel chocolate. The chocolate sprinkles are an added bonus. The flavors don’t overpower each other, they play quite nicely together on your palate.

The best thing about these vegan pops is the fact that they don’t taste vegan at all!! So if your circle is filled with vegans, carnivores, and gluten-free friends, you can all enjoy a delicious Popbar Popsicle handcrafted to your tastes and needs. Happy snacking!

Hydration Helper: Drink More Water Deliciously with True Lemon

The struggle to drink more water is still very much an active battle. Although we do triumph here and there, we admit consistency is an issue. We all know staying hydrated is a key factor in being healthy; but how do you make something drink something that has no flavor, no taste, no anything? We’ve tried adding things to our water, like ginger or lemon but the urge to turn it into sweetened beverage is strong. Plus after drinking glass after glass of water, we sometimes feel nauseous. But there is a solution, and one that’s been helping us for the past two weeks, True Lemon Mixes.

Available in water enhancers, energy mixes, tea mixes, and lemonade and limeade mixes, we’ve been happily keeping ourselves hydrated with True Lemon. The low-calorie, powdered mixes are made from real citrus fruits (other True Citrus fruits are also available). They boast zero and ten calories (depending on the mix) and are available in sweetened and unsweetened varieties with no artificial sweeteners or preservatives. The range of True Citrus mixes is also non-GMO, sodium-free, and gluten-free.

We started out with the True Lemon Energy Wild Blackberry Pomegranate because we still needed the sweetness aspect; but after about a week, we started alternating to the True Lemon Crystallized Lemon with no issues. We have even started drinking plain water more. Of course, we still enjoy the above flavors when we need a bit more from our water. Each zero-calorie True Lemon crystallized packet equals the taste of one lemon wedge, which makes it great for recipes that call for lemon. It’s real lemon without the mess.

If you struggle to drink water or need help staying hydrated without the sugary drinks, try these water enhancers and beverage mixes. You too may find yourself changing your healthy hydration habits for the better. To purchase True Lemon and True Citrus, visit www.truelemonstore.com and www.amazon.com.