Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Quaker True Delights: Toasted Coconut Banana Macadamia Nut

Great!.... Here we are with the last flavor in the Tastemaker Program sample bars. Toasted Coconut Banana Macadamia Nut. One of three bar flavors in Quaker True Delight's new product line featuring premium delicious ingredients. Last time, I wasn't looking forward to this flavor and saved it for last. However, once I tried it. I changed my mind. It was by far my favorite. There was zero coconut flavor, and it ended up tasting like a Banana Nut Bread bar, I'm not sure how they did it, or if it was on purpose, but it worked. A great surprise ending to my first food sample from Foodbuzz. I am looking forward to the next item that arrives.
$3.49/box (5 bars)
140 calories
0 trans fat
3g of fiber

Monday, March 16, 2009

Guest Blogger:, Asheville

The next installment from RambleWriter series, comes from Asheville, and blogger Nick, as they are already several days into their trip. Follow all the action at

A big thanks to Nick and Rochelle, for getting out there and providing great food coverage on their trip.

-The Food Monster

previous posts can be found on Greensboro, NC and New York, NY

Eats and Drinks :: Asheville, North Carolina

By: Nick

As you may have noticed, I am not often inspired by something enough to write about it. Today was one of those occasions that inspired me. I was out walking around downtown Asheville with my good friend Matt Shepard. He suggested a turn down a side street and led me into a door on our right to grab a light bite to eat and a beer. The place we went into was called The Vault, located at #7 Rankin Ave. in downtown Asheville. I suggest you go and find it for yourself. Few are the times that so many pleasing aspects can be found in one bar (they refer to themselves as a cocktail lounge, but any restaurant would be proud to serve their fare). The decor was just classy enough to remain playful in it’s art decor style without trying too hard or being pretentious. The sidewalk out front extends out into the street to make a great outdoor seating area, and had me wishing that it was spring so I could sit out late into the evening drinking 20 oz pint after pint. There is very pleasant afternoon light in this place because the whole front wall is made of glass block, which if I had heard about I would have thought would be cheesy, but in fact is not at all cheesy. The french onion soup I had, however, was cheesy in the best of ways. Top notch soup. Anyone can make french onion soup and anyone can slather it with bad cheese. This was not any cheese, though. It was excellent. The combo of the half crisp half soup-drenched croutons and the subtle smokiness of the cheese was spot on. At $4 it was also a steal. However, the soup is not what inspired this posting. It was the beer…….and the service. Matt slid up to the bar and exchanged some small talk with the bartender Dustin, and upon hearing that they had Valdez Coffee Stout, promptly ordered two.

I break the paragraph here to further accentuate the following statement:

The people at Pisgah Brewing Co. in Black Mountain N.C. know how to make beer.

At least stout. Pisgah Brewing Company‘s Valdez Coffee Stout is without a close second the best coffee stout I have ever had. It is not at all the sickly sweet that I have come to expect when I’m presented with a coffee stout. This is truly what coffee stout is meant to be. A cross between the taste of fine malt, and good coffee, lightly hopped and ever so slightly nutty. Not Folger’s. Good coffee. Those of you that know me will understand the gravity of the those two words used together.

Our very reasonably priced ($5) 20 oz. pints of Valdez were served to us by a seasoned professional. Dustin, who is a local artist, is one of those bartenders from the old days when bartenders made you feel at home - like you were in your own living room, and he just happened to be there making you drinks. He was attentive, present and put me totally at ease from moment one. He also made the apt comment that if he didn’t work there five nights a week, he would still be there nearly as much because the place is great and they are virtually giving their excellent food away. Actually they are giving the food away. A sign on the wall behind the bar reads:

At this point if you are reading this and you are less than a 3 hour drive from Asheville, you should be lacing up your shoes and heading out the door, calling good-bye to whoever isn’t moving fast enough to keep up.

In addition to a visit to The Vault Cocktail Lounge ( I strongly suggest you head over to Black Mountain (a short drive east) and check out Pisgah Brewing Company (, who are after only a few short years in operation putting out beer that I forecast will shortly be receiving national acclaim. Their taproom is open Tuesday thru Friday and if the rest of their organic beer is as good as what I had today……… well let’s just say if you come this week, you’ll likely see me there.


On a return visit to the Vault (after hearing my review Chelle wanted to see the place) I discovered why it has the name Rankin Vault. I was so taken with the beer and the soup last time I didn’t really get a chance to look around. This time I did and it seems that the lounge is part of what used to be an old bank building. It has a huge vault in the back that has been turned into a private room with a big screen TV, couches, and curtains that remind me a bit of twin peaks or vaudeville. Sort of otherworldly in it’s quietness too. Definitely worth checking out.

Pictures from and

Friday, March 13, 2009

Free Chick-fil-A for the faithful fans promotion Cancelled

In case you were looking at my last Chick-fil-A post and were going to go get yourself a free sandwich or biscuit by saying the phrase "Tarheel (Wolfpack, Blue Devils) Fans eat more chicken" and purchasing a large drink, you would instead be paying full price and wasting your breath. The triangle area Chick-fil-A's have halted the promotion in wake of the economic recession. They need all the money they can get apparently. It was fun while it lasted, now eat more beef.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Quaker True Delights: Honey Roasted Cashew Mixed Berry

The second flavor I tried from the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program's Quaker True Delights was the Honey Roasted Cashew Mixed Berry. Honestly I couldn't tell a whole lot of difference between this bar and the Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond bar I started with. They both had a base of Granola, coupled with something sweet, crunchy, and berry. Underwhelmed I was. Looking down at the last bar, Toasted Coconut Banana Macadamia Nut, left me feeling like I wasn't going to like this start to the Tastemaker program. I'm not a huge fan of Banana, less of Coconut, and used to hate nuts as they got stuck in my teeth when I was little. I would recommend trying the flavors, maybe they will strike a chord with you.
$3.49/box (5 bars)
140 calories
0 trans fat
3g of fiber

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ghetto Big Mac

These guys are all about creativity when it comes to the Ghetto Big Mac. Remember, the McDonalds employees are there to serve you, so small requests should be granted. I have found this to be true across the board.

Ghetto Big Mac
Double cheese burger, small fries (value menu)
Ask for Seeded Bun, Big Mac Sauce, and large cut sliver onions.


Guest Blogger:

You may recall the first post that I put up from author Rochelle. Here is another guest post from February, before she and Nick started their long road trip. You can follow their adventures here. This will also become a regular series as I highlight the food portion of their journey here on The Food Monster Blog. I hope you enjoy this one about their activities in Greensboro, NC

-The Food Monstser


A Day of Activities in Greensboro, North Carolina

G R E E N S B O R O , N O R T H C A R O L I N A
Since I grew up in Greensboro, I almost overlooked it’s rambling potential for newcomers to the city. Greensboro’s restaurants and nightlife have multiplied since I lived here. I created a day’s worth of activities for those interested in spending time in Greensboro:


GREEN BEAN | 341 S. Elm Street
Get your day started with a shot of espresso or a cup of coffee at the Green Bean. The Green Bean serves Joe Van Gogh coffee (the best coffee in the area - and its roasted in NC!), as well as pastries and bagels, and offers free wi-fi. If you don’t make it to the Green Bean in the morning, you can stop by in the evening - they serve beer and have live music during the week.

SIMPLE KNEADS | 227 S. Elm Street
If you didn’t have a chance to eat at the Green Bean, walk down Elm Street and pick up fresh baked goods at Simple Kneads.

GUILFORD COLLEGE | 5800 W. Friendly Avenue
If it is nice outside, drive over to Guilford College to enjoy the campus. Guilford has trails and fields where are great to hang out, throw a ball around, or just to explore.

While you are on Friendly Avenue, you can drive up to the Piedmont Triad Farmer’s Market. If you take I-40 to this farmer’s market, you can see it’s blue rooftops from the interstate. The Piedmont Triad Farmer’s Market has fresh produce and flowers year-round, including A.B. Seed, the garden center located in the center of the market. Come out and support your local gardeners and farmers!

TAQUERIA EL AZTECA | 5605 W. Friendly Avenue - In Quaker Village
While driving back from the Farmer’s Market, you can consider a few lunch options. If it is Tuesday, go to Azteca Grill for $1.00 tacos. Awesome tacos at a great price - don’t pass it up. Azteca Grill also has free wi-fi.

Not in the mood for tacos? Head to Southern Lights Bistro. Southern Lights serves great sandwiches and always has new specials on the menu. They have wonderful desserts, too!

YUM YUM BETTER ICE CREAM | 1219 Spring Garden Street
This is a Greensboro favorite. Its not just better ice cream; Yum Yum’s serves better hot dogs as well. To ensure you have an authentic Yum Yum’s hot dog, look for the bright pink center of the dog. I recommend the chili dog along with chocolate chip ice cream for dessert.

If you are at Yum Yum’s, walk over to Tate Street and check out the shops. You can also view the art exhibits at the Weatherspoon Art Museum.

FAMILY DOLLAR STORE | 2318 E Market Street
I know this is a weird stop in this tour, but this is a great Dollar Store. I have so many plates, mugs, and bowls from this store in my kitchen!

Apparently Greensboro is now on the map - Friendly Center has exploded! Friendly Center now features the trendiest of the trendy; Anthropologie, a new Apple store, REI (which I now know like the back of my hand), and many other shops and boutiques now grace the streets of Greensboro.

TASTE OF THAI | 1500 Mill St # 101
Taste of Thai is one of my favorite restaurants in Greensboro. This should be enough said. Order the fresh shrimp spring rolls as an appetizer (loaded with fresh basil, glass noodles, celery, lettuce, and shrimp) and sip on a Thai iced tea while you wait for the main course. You will not be disappointed! My parents have recently switched to Rearn Thai at 5120 W. Market Street. I have not eaten at Rearn Thai, but they like it even more than Taste of Thai. I trust their opinion, but the choice is up to you!

LIBERTY OAK | 100 W Washington St # D
If the taste of Thai doesn’t make your mouth water, go to Liberty Oak in downtown Greensboro. Featuring a constantly changing menu, Liberty Oak offers ingredients that uniquely compliment each other within each meal. This is the priciest restaurant on my list, but the dishes are definitely worth the extra few dollars.

106 W. McGee Street, 110 W.McGee Street
Now its time to have a few drinks! Head over to Elm street and bar hop through The Burro, Longshanks, and M’Coul’s. They are all very close together (The Burro is literally located on top of Longshanks), and all have a laid back atmosphere. McCool’s, an irish pub, features a variety of European beers on tap and 2 stories of bar space.

JAN’S HOUSE | 3932 W Market St # B
If you are not ready for the night to end after the bar crawl, head on over to Jan’s House. This 24-hour diner will serve you a greasy breakfast meal that is a perfect after-drinking dining.

I hope you enjoy my picks for Greensboro. If you are familiar with Greensboro and would like to comment / suggest other must-sees to our ramble readers, feel free to comment on this post!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Valentine's Surprise

This February 14th, or as some of you know it, Valentine's Day, I awoke to the smell of Bacon... well Turkey Bacon. Lauren got up extra early, went to the store, and made a delicious breakfast. Before I get to the breakfast, a quick side note about her trip to Harris Teeter.
Lauren later told me that it was a very odd assortment of people. Unusual for our Harris Teeter, other than one or two other female customers, the store was filled with males doing some type of last minute shopping, getting flowers, balloons, cake, who knows what at 7:30am. Just interesting and something to think about.
Back to the breakfast. So we have the Turkey Bacon at bottom, going clockwise, the bowl on the left has some delicious biscuits beneath the cloth. The glasses and carafe are filled with fresh squeezed orange juice, pulp in. I mention that the pulp was left in because Lauren hates it, and as an act of compromise I ended up straining the rest of the carafe (luckily I got to keep all the pulp for myself, some would call it selfish, but I think of it as a compromise) for a pulp-free end to the meal. Continuing to 12 o clock, is a delicious fruit salad, with banana, apple, strawberry and yogurt. There may or may not have been other fruit, delicious though and it was the gift that kept on giving for a few days. The omelets are next with mushroom, cheese (not sure what kind), onion and basil. Last but not least a nice card at my plate. What a sweet girlfriend.

I hope you had a fun day of St. Valentine yourself.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Spring Ahead

This is a friendly reminder from The Food Monster to set your clocks forward one hour tonight. Hopefully, everyone will be on the same schedule come Monday morning. Have a great weekend!!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Random Picture #3: Alice's Egg Sandwich, Mayview Style

One of the local restaurants (you could say favorite for many) in Los Feliz is Fred 62. A diner, known for slightly overpriced American fare that may or may not fill you up. Consequently, it is also the place known for a few celebrity sitings. I am terrible with names and faces, but was able to recognize Glenn Fitzgerald from Dirty Sexy Money. I wasn't like, "ooh, I am stalking him and have to meet him." It was more of an, "I think I have seen him before, oh yeah, Dirty Sexy Money, have no idea what is name is, glad to see he gets out and about and eats like the rest of us."
Long story short, Fred 62 does make one delicious Alice's Egg Sandwich. Which happened to be the first thing I had when I arrived in Los Angeles my first night. Goat Cheese, Avocado, Tomato, Eggs, and Hash Brown, served on a buttery bun sounds great. It was, even though it was tiny. When the bill came at $7.85 per, The Food Monster was grumpy.A few months later, we set out to make our own. Thus, we come across Random Picture #3, from my photo archives. I remember John David made the hashbrowns, and we all helped out to make a better sandwich, for way cheaper.From the looks of things, the ingredient list included:
A Cheese (probably goat)
English Muffins
Scrambled Egg

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Quaker True Delights: Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond

As my first treat from the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received 6 bars of Quaker True Delights Granola Bars. Two for each of their new flavors. In terms of the Dark Chocolate Raspberry with Almond, I have no complaints. It wasn't super spectacular though. There was the right amount of moistness and flavors from the name, but it wasn't very large or filling. If you normally buy granola bars, these are great ingredients and seem to be good for you. You should at least try it out once instead of your usual to see if it will work for you, but I'm not going to put these in my daily life.
$3.49/box (5 bars)
140 calories
0 trans fat
3g of fiber
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