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Archived Posts from "'Hey Delicious!'"

What’s In Your Ice Cream Hoboken?

Anna presents another “Hey Delicious!” entry on Hoboken411.

See what she has to say about what’s in your ice cream in the Mile Square!

A deeper look at Hoboken Ice Cream Shops

I love Ice Cream. Be it frozen yogurt, frozen custard, soft-serve, hard-packed, you name it – I love it.

I recently acquired an ice cream maker of my own, and am overjoyed with how easy it is to make. You basically just throw in some cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla and let it churn. So, then why is it that some ice creams are packed with dyes, chemicals, and additives? Now, I’m not a stickler for eating low fat or low-calorie per se, however I do pay attention when it comes to “real” food. So, this month I decided to investigate some of my favorite ice cream shops to see what they’re using in their ice cream.

The results may surprise you

  • Ben and Jerry’s: Vermont’s finest hippie ice cream producers are completely transparent when it comes to ingredients. A few clicks on their website and I found the complete ingredient list for their “Scoop Shop” vanilla ice cream. Along with the basic ice cream ingredients, there are two additives that sound a bit odd: guar gum and carageenan. Have no fear, these are all-natural additives that are common in ice cream to improve texture. The vanilla in their ice cream is also fair-trade so you can feel good about that.
  • Rita’s Ice: I first had Rita’s when I moved to NJ a few years back and I fell in love, especially with the gelati. Lately however, I’ve felt like the flavor has changed and not for the better. The custard went from a rich, creamy treat into a somewhat off-tasting substitute. Checking the website I found nutrition information, but no ingredient list. I walked over to the shop to check it out, and the proprietor was more than happy to assist me. He didn’t have an ingredient list but handed me the vanilla custard mix container no questions asked. The ingredients were listed on the side. There was your cream, egg yolks, and vanilla, but also artificial vanilla, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, and polysorbate 65 and 80. Doesn’t sound too appetizing. These additives are FDA approved, and they are very common, but when it comes to ice cream I’d rather stick to the real stuff.
  • Cold Stone Creamery: I was convinced their ice cream was going to be a science experiment, but after checking out their ingredients for vanilla ice cream on their website I was pleasantly surprised. They use all-natural additives (guar gum, carageenan, cellulose gum, and annatto extract) except for polysorbate 80, but no dyes. Good job Cold Stone. I’ll take a Birthday Cake Remix please!
  • Koa Koa: Let’s just say I’m a frequent flyer. They claim to be fat-free, have a wide variety of tasty flavors, and their toppings bar is mesmerizing. When the website didn’t tell me anything about their ingredients, I went in incognito to check it out. I asked the girl at the counter and she was about to go in the back to write down some ingredients, until she decided to ask her boss first. That’s when I was basically scolded for inquiring as it was a “secret” recipe. She kept pointing to the nutrition facts on the ice cream dispenser and told me all I needed to know was on there… even food allergy information. Yeah, not really. She did assure me, however, that they use fresh, all-natural ingredients with nothing artificial. I’d love to take her word for it, but I was a little turned off by her refusal to disclose the ingredients.
  • Applegate Farm: Opening Spring 2011 so get ready. Applegate Farms was THE place to go when I lived in Montclair, so I was excited to see that we were getting one uptown. They aren’t shy on their website when it comes to ingredients and nutrition facts, so I scrolled down to simple vanilla ice cream and was shocked. Could someone tell me why vanilla ice cream needs sodium benzoate, yellow #5 and #6, and red #40? Vanilla ice cream should be a simple concoction, right? These additives are very controversial, so much that right now the FDA is hearing testimony about a food dye-ADHD link. Sodium benzoate is recognized as safe by the FDA in small amounts, however a study was done at the University of Sheffield that linked it to cell damage. I understand there are two sides to every story and studies aren’t always accurate, but honestly I would probably just avoid this whole situation and go somewhere else.

Check out Hey Delicious! at www.heydeliciousblog.com. Questions or comments? Email me at Anna@HeyDeliciousBlog.com.

Unique foods in Hoboken – what’s the best?

3/17/2011:

Anna presents another “Hey Delicious!” entry on Hoboken411.

See what she has to say about “off the beaten path” foods in the Mile Square!

The Weird and Wonderful Foods of Hoboken

Hoboken may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about peculiar foods, but if you take a long look around you, they are everywhere. Like many of you, I love “Bizarre Foods” with Andrew Zimmerman and “No Reservations” with Anthony Bourdain, so this month I’m paying homage to my favorite television world travelers and bringing you a list of the weird, wonderful, and downright funky foods I found here in town.

It’s Greek to Me – 538 Washington Street

At the tasty little “It’s Greek to Me” place, I ordered the TARAMOSALATA – otherwise known as caviar dip.

By caviar, we are not talking the expensive Beluga caviar here. Traditionally, they use the cured fish roe from the cod or carp (thanks Wikipedia!). The taramosalata was thick and creamy, with a slight saltiness and mild fishiness.

Personally, it could have used some lemon, but it was tasty nonetheless. Definitely eat it on some pita.

If you like fish roe on your sushi or anchovies on your pizza, definitely give this a try.

Robongi – 520 Washington Street

There were two types of sushi I had always wanted to try at Robongi, and that was because they were both M.P. (market price).

If the price was ever changing, they must be special! First off was the TORO. Toro is the super-fatty, super-rich belly portion of the tuna. Let’s just say there was no chewing required. You have to try it to believe it, really. So tender, so delicious, so melt-in-your-mouth amazing.

Next was the UNI. Uni is known as sea urchin roe, but a little more investigating revealed that it was in fact the sea urchin gonads. Unfortunately, I learned that after the fact. The uni was a big, gelatinous, bright orange glob. It jiggled as I reluctantly put it in my mouth. It was cold and wiggly, but finished creamy. It tasted like how an aquarium smells. The flavor was mildly fishy and not too unpleasant, but the texture was definitely a turn-off. A great choice for the adventurous eater.

Casual Thai – 1006 Washington Street

In my search for funky foods, I figured looking into an authentic Asian restaurant like Casual Thai would be a good idea.

The regular menu wasn’t too crazy, however their dessert menu had a few gems. I ordered two: GLUTINOUS RICE WITH DURIAN IN COCONUT CREAM and GINKGO NUT WITH SWEET TARO MOUSSE. Durian is the infamous Asian fruit that comes in a sharp, spiky shell. It also smells like death. The durian in this rice pudding was definitely from frozen (fresh are hard to come by) and the smell was somewhere between rotten onions and gym socks. Horrible… just horrible. I tried a bite but had to spit it out. Rotten onions and coconut cream just don’t go together.

On the bright side, my ginkgo nut dessert was delicious! The purple taro mousse was shaped into a flower and dotted with ginkgo nuts, which floated in a coconut cream pond. The mousse was sweet and starchy and tasted great with the coconut. Definitely different, but very tasty and worth a try.

The Cheese Store – 720 Monroe Street

The owners of The Cheese Store were more than happy to direct me to two funky selections in their cheese case.

The first one, Hoboken Tomme, was a goat’s milk cheese actually aged on site. The rind was white, brown and dark blue, creased almost like the wrinkles of a brain. It smelled like the most intense goat cheese with a hint of blue cheese. The texture was soft and spreadable at room temperature. Biting into it, the tomme was intense, sharp, and tart, with a creamy saltiness and a bold kick. It finished cleanly, almost with a hint of provolone. It was definitely in-your-face, but I loved it.

The other one chosen for me, Peralzola, was probably the funkiest cheese I have ever come across. A blue cheese with veins so blue, they were black. Breaking it open and smelling it probably wasn’t a good idea. It smelled like a musty, dirty, wet antique store filled with dogs. It was cool on the tongue with a unique blue cheese flavor that hit the back of my tongue with a sharp, almost peppery bite. When I asked for funky, they certainly delivered. It wasn’t my preference, but I can definitely appreciate such a unique cheese.

Check out Hey Delicious! at www.heydeliciousblog.com. Questions or comments? Email me at Anna@HeyDeliciousBlog.com.

Hey Delicious! Cuban Sandwiches & Cooking

2/9/2011:

Anna presents another “Hey Delicious!” entry on Hoboken411. See what she has to say about cooking at home and Cuban Sandwiches in the Mile Square!

Reminder: Valentines Day is Monday; Cooking in?

First off, I just want to throw a friendly reminder out there that Valentine’s Day is only days away.

If you failed to read last month’s column and forgot to make a dinner reservation, I hope you have a brilliant back-up plan (that, or some extra cash to throw to a hopefully sympathetic hostess). However, if your plan is to stay in and cook your sweetie a romantic dinner, have you found the perfect menu to prepare yet?

If the answer is “no” and you are still looking for some inspiration, let me just remind you about the Hoboken Library. Do you realize that the library has all of the new, popular cookbooks? I just took out Dorie Greenspan’s “Around My French Table” and Mark Bittman’s “The Food Matters Cookbook” – two really amazing and easy-to-follow cookbooks. If they don’t have what you’re looking for in stock, they can always order it from another library for you. The library is an amazing resource here in Hoboken and don’t forget people… it’s free!

Best in Hoboken: Cuban Sandwiches

With all of the snow Hoboken’s been getting lately, I can’t help but yearn for warmer weather. I sit here envisioning tropical drinks and hot sand between my toes, but all I get is slippery sidewalks and frigid wind-chill. In the meantime, however, I thought to warm myself up that I would transport myself to Cuba and see who makes the best Cuban sandwich in town. Now, Zafra and La Isla are the two big Cuban restaurants in Hoboken, so trying their version was certainly a given. The third contender, Big Banner, was definitely a wild card, but I think their food is quite good so I gave it a chance.

Big Banner – 401 Jackson Street: Probably not the first place I’d think to go for a Cuban sandwich, but they were being advertised on the “Specials” board so I thought it was worth a shot. Big Banner is a good spot for inexpensive Spanish food done right. Their Cuban, on the other hand, left a lot to be desired. First of all, no pickle! To me, that is what differentiates a normal pig-filled sandwich from a Cuban. The cheese was probably American as it didn’t have that piquant, Swiss flavor, so it was more of a sandwich glue than a flavor factor. The pork was delicious, however, and it was not greasy in the slightest. It was a nice sandwich, but not a Cuban. I gave it a 6/10.

Zafra – 301 Willow Ave.: Zafra is a great little Cuban restaurant. Their food is authentic, consistently tasty, and the owners also own Cucharamama – my favorite Hoboken restaurant. Zafra’s Cuban sandwich, on the other hand, did not knock me off of my feet. Let’s get back to the pickle problem, here. Their Cuban did have pickles, but they were sparsely distributed and not very flavorful. They may as well have not been there at all. Besides that, the other elements were spot on. I loved the chewy bread, the meats were tender and tasty, and the cheese was perfectly sharp. A great sandwich, but not what I was hoping for in the ultimate Cuban sandwich. 6.5/10 stars.

La Isla – 104 Washington Street: I found it! La Isla made an amazing Cuban sandwich. It was the perfect proportion of ham, roast pork, swiss cheese, and pickles. They added a little garlic mayo to the bread before pressing it, which added just that extra something to make it wonderful. The combination of flavorful meats and chewy bread with the swiss cheese and vinegary pickles, really sealed the deal. La Isla’s Cuban sandwich was definitely my favorite – 9 out of 10!

Check out Hey Delicious! at www.heydeliciousblog.com. Questions or comments? Email me at Anna@HeyDeliciousBlog.com.

Hey Delicious! Sweet Valentine

1/12/2011:

Anna is back with another “Hey Delicious!” entry on Hoboken411. See what she has to say about sweets in the Mile Square!

Plus – it’s probably more interesting than a nuisance snow storm!

Goodbye Cupcake!

“I’m sad to report that the cupcake trend is officially on the decline.

According to Serious Eats, Shine, and Eater (amongst many others), the trend is over. Most are reporting that pie is the new cupcake, however Bon Appetit is crazy about whoopie pies and French macaroons.

Hey Delicious! has a feeling it will be pie in 2011. The only question now is… where do I get pie in Hoboken? We all know about the artisan pie shops popping up across the Hudson, however Hoboken seems to be lacking in that department. I don’t want a pie from the grocery store, nor do I want to waste my money on a diner slice. I want to go to a cute little shop (I’m looking at you Sweet!) and get some cutesy flavor like salted caramel apple or honeyed sweet potato on a crumbly, butter crust. Carlo’s Bakery has some nice pies on their site, but there is no pie craving strong enough to make me wait on that line.

So Hoboken, you want pie in 2011? Or, are you craving French macaroons and whoopie pies? Hopefully word will spread and we can get some new treats (sorry Crumbs).

Be my Valentine Day

No, it isn’t too early to start thinking about Valentine’s Day (February 14th). More importantly, it isn’t too early to start thinking about your Valentine’s Day reservation.

If you take your significant other to dinner at 4pm or 12am, they will most certainly know you called last minute. Make your reservation early so you don’t look like a jerk. Here are some super-sexy, romantic, perfect Valentine’s Day spots (Hey Delicious! approved of course):

  1. Cucharamama (233 Clinton Street)
    This is my favorite restaurant in Hoboken, regardless of the occasion. I like to sit at the bar with my SO and order a few tapas with a mojito (or four). I’m a big fan of the octopus, all of the empanadas, and the salmon.
  2. Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse (1000 Harbor Blvd., Weehawken, NJ)
    Take the light rail to Lincoln Harbor, walk over the bridge, or drive of course (free valet). The food is a little pricey, but it’s all about quality. Great wine list, great service, and a perfect V-day place.
  3. Sushi Lounge (200 Hudson Street)
    Mmmm… fun cocktails and sushi. It’s a dimly lit, sexy place where you and your date can share plates and hold hands. Nothing like raw fish to get the night started right.

Check out Hey Delicious! at www.heydeliciousblog.com. Questions or comments? Email me at Anna@HeyDeliciousBlog.com.

Hey Delicious! in Hoboken

12/9/2010:

Hoboken Food Blogger: Hey Delicious!

New to the blogging scene is Anna, who has created a site called “Hey Delicious!”

“Hey Hoboken! It’s Anna from Hey Delicious! and I’m here to bring you the low-down on all things delicious in this square mile we call home. I’ll be sharing with you recipes, cooking tips, restaurant reviews, food finds, and much more. Have a food question or general comment? Email me at anna@heydeliciousblog.com.

She’ll share her thought here with a monthly column (Guest Columns – Hey Delicious!), but be sure to check her site out regularly for everything in between!

Best in Town: Fresh Mozzarella

By Anna from HeyDeliciousBlog.com

As the inaugural entry in this monthly column, I figured the best starting point would be the pride of Hoboken: fresh mozzarella.

As you know, there are many producers of this Italian staple in town, and with it naturally comes a healthy rivalry. What better way to see which one is the superior cheese than to do a side-by-side comparison? So off I went to Lisa’s, Vito’s, and Fiore’s to pick up big hunks of fresh mozz.

I learned from the young man at Fiore’s that fresh mozz should sit out on the counter and only refrigerate it after 24 hours. Good to know! So here I was at my dining room table with three milky white orbs of delight and a loaf of crusty bread… man, scientific research is tough. I started with Fiore’s. It had a very light milky aroma and a great chewy texture. The flavor was very mild and needed a hefty pinch of salt. Pretty good. Next, I tried Vito’s. This is a big mozzarella; if Fiore’s was Pinot Noir, Vito’s was Cabernet Sauvignon. The texture was big and beefy, with a pleasant creamy smell. The flavor was slightly sweet and slightly salty, very balanced. Last, but not least, we have Lisa’s. The smell was intoxicating: buttery, tart, and creamy. I never knew mozz could smell like this. It was very tender and smooth, and didn’t need extra salt. Considering all the factors, I enjoyed Vito’s mozzarella the best.

They were all super fresh and fantastic, but on this day, Vito’s provided me with the ultimate fresh mozz experience. (Disclaimer: this opinion is solely of your humble author. Please, no death threats)

Shop Local:

It’s the holiday season kids and you know what that means: shopping! I like shopping as much as any other girl, but you won’t see me waiting on line at Best Buy on a Saturday to score a cheap DVD player. No, I pretty much take care of my holiday shopping online or within walking distance. Luckily, Hoboken has some awesome small businesses that carry unique and affordable gifts to satisfy your shopping list.

Battaglia’s is a great local home store. They have a great kitchen section upstairs that you have to check out. Here are a few great gifts you can pick up there:

For the fashion forward woman about town in your life:

  • Jolly Trolley by Kikkerland – $29.95 – A lightweight shopping cart with a waterproof vinyl shell. Comes in red, white, and black – because shopping should be chic.

For your cooking-challenged single friends:

For pretty much anybody (including yourself):

  • Bonjour Maximus 8-cup French Press – $49.95 (pictured) – Not only does it come in a fiery red color, it makes great coffee too! Any coffee-lover in your life would drool over this.

Good luck with the new blog, Anna – and see you again in January!