Tropical Pepper Company Hot Sauce- Xxxxtra Hot Variety (31 out of 34)

June 26, 2010

We take out hot sauce very seriously here at Treatcred... and we've been holding an informal tournament for over 3 years. Ladies and gentleman, I'm happy to report that a winner has been crowned.

The Tropical Pepper Company uses only the hottest chiles from their habeñero plants to make this perfect blend of heat, flavor, sweetness an spice. At only $2.99 for a 5 oz. bottle, it's pretty much a steal. Throw away your Tabasco and bring in some Pepper CO!


Redhead's Bacon Peanut Brittle- (29 out of 34)

June 23th, 2010

Just when we thought were were bacon-ed out, a peanut brittle from a tiny bar in NYC comes along and makes us fall in love all over again.

Peanuts, maple spirit, spices, thyme, cayenne, and bacon all roasted together into it bonds into delecatable, crunchy sharable morseles.

Esquire recently named it "The Best Beer Nut in America", and we're sort of inclined to agree.

A 3-pack of 4 oz. zip-pouches with run you $16.95 plus shipping and a 1lb bag retails at $21.99. Run, don't walk!


Brookyln Salsa Company(31 out of 34)

June 16th, 2010

salsa

In nearly every seemingly boring industry, someone comes along and makes sexiness their competitive advantage. Enter The Brooklyn Salsa Company, an über-hip co-op of New York hipsters ready to take the dipping sauce market by storm.

Not only do their five varieties co-incide with the boroughs of New York, but they've matched them perfectly with their personalities. After trying all the varieties, we were hard pressed to find a winner. They're all uniquely delicious and flavorful in their own way.

Available online for $5.99 per jar or $25.99 for the pack of 5, plus shipping. Retail-wise, they starting locally in New York but mark our words, theses guys are poised to become the next Feed Granola. Get on board before the world finds out!


McClure's Pickles (32 out of 34)

June 15th, 2010

A pickle is a pickle. You get some cucumbers, you soak em' in vinegar with some spices and you come out with a roughly homogenous product, right? WRONG.

Actor/Entrepreneur Bob McClure on to something with these pricey spicey pickles... and we're buying! The brine is unlike anything we've ever encountered here at TreatCred. We tried the spicey variety and the flavor stuck to our tastebuds for several minutes! The combination of delicious and sheer innovation in a seemingly stagnant food market earned McClure's one of Treatcred highest ratings of ALL TIME.

McClure's also sells Bloody Mary Mix, Garlic pickles, and relish on their website by the case or in by the jar in specialty stores, across the country. Find some friends and split acase. You won't be sorry.

 


IHOP- Chicago Airport- Chicago, IL (28 out of 34)

June 7th, 2010

 


Daisy Mays BBQ- Midtown West, NYC (10 out of 34)

May 28th, 2010

People told us it was delicious. It's been a press darling for years. But all the way West on 11th avenue has made it geographically undesirable. After a recent party at Hudson Terrace we swung by, and couldn't have been more underwhelmed. The ribs were coarse, the beans dry, they even managed to mess up the sweet potatos. We here at treatcred rarely go below a 15, but in this case, we had no choice. Stay away at all costs.


Macaroni Bacon Egg and Cheese - Blue Water Grill- Union Square, NYC (30 out of 34)

May 21st, 2010

File this under: WHY HAS NO ONE THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE?! Seriously... it's so simple...yet so untapped. Rich and filling, this brunch dish left me satisfied four hours.

I avoided the Blue Water Grille for years, assuming it was touristy and over-priced, but it couldn't be farther from the truth! It was affordable and transporting... here's a tip: call ahead for Sunday brunch and ask to sit in the jazz room.


Fried Pickles- Brother Jimmy's - NYC (32 out of 34)

May 14, 2010- Posted by Jeremy

I love vinegar. I love pickles. I love fried things... and that's why these make me absolutely GLEEFUL. Granted, the frat boys who frequent this joint stare at me in my glee, but I'm okay with that.These puppies go down easy; their mustard coating adds just the right level of tang and the creamy dipping-sauce completes the experience.

RUN DON'T WALK!


Philly Cheese Steak Chili Tater-Tot Pizza- Grinders- Kansas City, MO

April 26, 2010- Posted by Jeremy

Any place featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives is an absolute must in our book. This zany pizza joint had a number of odd pizzas to sample including "The Bengal Tiger", "The Hippie" and "The Hog". We started with the Philly Cheese Steak pizza base, and from there... lost our MINDS. Before I knew it, we had a tater-tot, chili-bombed, philly cheese steak pizza coming our way. Not surprsingly, it was a bit overwhelming... but like with a clumsy child, you just had to have a little patience. It worked... it totally worked... I left satisfied and eager to excercise.

I give it a 28 out of 34


Arthur Bryant's - Kansas City, Mo (27 out of 34)

April 18th, 2010- posted by Jeremy

Everybody we asked in St. Louis had a different opinion on the best BBQ in the land. Oklahoma Joe's was consistently near the top, but we suffered the devasting fate of looking to eat there on a Sunday, when they're closed. UGH! But we went to the equally-famous Arthur Bryant's instead and had a stand-up BBQ experience.

While you wait in line to reach the counter (there's always a line), you can take in photos of presidents and notables enjoying their meat. We ended up samples the ribs, burnt ends, brisket, pork, and fries (what?! We're nothing if not thorough). You eat cafeteria-style, right off the paper, and with seconds I was I happily covered in barbeque grease. As a vinegar lover, I wasn't a fan of their overly-sweet sauce, but the yummy-ness of their meats made up for its shortcomings. Definitely a recommended stop for any barbeque lover touring the homeland.


Rice Krispie Treat Pancakes - Doughboys - Los Angeles, CA (31 out of 34)

April 12th, 2010- posted by Jeremy

The chubbys geniousnesses at Doughboys outdid themselves this time. RICE KRISPIES. PANCAKES. BURNT MARSHMELLOWS ON TOP. Are you kidding me?! This felt like the kind of breakfast they'd eat in a movie where kids rules the world. But it happened in my world, and I am forever changed because of it.


BlueBell Cafe- Gramercy Park, NYC (31 out of 34)

April 5th, 2010

We're brunchy people. We're such brunchy people that we make a habit of eating brunch on BOTH Saturday AND Sunday....We'll have brunch during the WEEK even! So imagine how THRILLED we were that a new brunch place was opening up a mere 4 blocks from The Bungalow (that's what we call my apartment). My high hopes for the tin-roofed, shabby-chic Bluebell Cafe were tempered only by the fact that they seemed to have skimped on their logo...which showed a lack in judgement. I ALSO had it on good authority that the owner, who happens to live in my building, was also the owner of Molly's...an overpriced, spectacularly cozy Irish pub with a roaring fire, sawdusted floors, christmas lights and awful, AWFUL food. We're talking wilted lettuce salads and french onion soup made with canned broth and mozzarella cheese. I want to like Molly's, I really do...I want to LOVE it, even...but I've got this saying...food poison me once, shame on you, food poison me twice and I should probably find another cozy Irish pub to eat dinner at.

All this to say, I approached the cheaply logo-ed Bluebell with trepidation. And then...I ORDERED THE FRENCH TOAST. Now, I realize I spend a lot of time here on TreatCred telling you what I don't like, but friends, I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say--this is THE best french toast I have EVER had.

A single, austere block of deep fried doughiness flecked with powdered sugar, redolent of Norwegian spices and tasting like layered gold. Generous pools of thick, sunshiney lemon curd and seedy raspberry coulis underfoot, lift it up to the heavens--an offering of warm, crunchy hope.

It's really good french toast.

I almost wish it wasn't, because I can tell that the owner is sort of cheap and within a week of opening, stopped included coffee with the brunch specials which makes me mad. Mad enough that I would stop going to Bluebell...but not for the french toast.

(NOTE: Upon repeat visits, while still quite delicious, I've found that The BlueBell Cafe's French Toast PRESENTATION has gone downhill. The lemon curd has been watered down and thinned out to a pale yellow syrup that gets sloshed on the plate...the raspberry coulis is meagerly plopped by the half-teaspoon onto a corner and there's no powdered sugar in sight. Odds are, we'll still go back next week.)

BlueBell Cafe's French Toast-31

The Bluebell Cafe's omelets are bland beyond compare and MUST be ordered well done to get any sort of texture out of them, their bacon is never crisp and their biscuits, merely, biscuity...BUT their breakfast potatoes (certainly not hasbrowns, but not quite home fries either) are surprisingly tasty, Sort of like tiny, salted french fry nubs, sprinkled with parsley and justified as a breakfast item. It's the only reason to order an egg item at The Bluebell, but never over the french toast.

BlueBell Cafe's Overall Omelet offerings-18
Bluebell Cafe's breakfast potatoes if considered alone-26


Mr. Mango- San Jose Street Fair- San Jose, Costa Rica (20 out of 34)

March 27th, 2010

Mr. Mango! I couldn't help exclaiming this in my most authentic, telemundoish voice for hours after we passed by this vendor. We had made the brave decision to hit the streets of San Jose, despite repeated warnings from the careful watchdogs at Frommer's...and good thing we did--because we ran smack dab into a dinky, unpaved, nearly abandoned art fair that was teeming with promising (and less promising) snackpertunities...including, you guessed it! Mr. Mango!

We had to stop and ask the visor-clad girls perched high in the Mr. Mango! booth what exactly Mr. Mango! was...they had a VERY hard time explaining it, so we were forced to invest in a cup (Note to self: This MAY have been a sales tactic.) Turns out, Mr. Mango! serves up a cup of green, hard unripe mango that had been unspooled into long linguini i-like tubular strands thanks to a patented Mr. Mango! Mango peeler...The tangled mess is then doused in your choice of extremely random toppings: chili powder, lime, sprinkles, chocolate sauce, dulce de leche, salt, condensed milk, honey, strawberry sauce, ketchup, gum...(yeah, you heard me, GUM).

It's almost as if Mr. Mango! owned a condiment store that went belly up and needed to find a conduit that would accept any number of sauces without too much balking. We played it safe with a Lemon, Chili Powder, Salt situation that wasn't too shabby. We got through nearly half the cup before we started getting that "I probably should've waited until that mango was ripe before eating it" sort of bellyache.

Mr. Mango!-20
The level of fun achieved by exclaiming Mr Mango! out loud over and over again- 28

 

 


Hotel Grano de Oro- San Jose, Costa Rica

March 21st, 2010

After being properly scared by all of the guide books which warned us to cling to our belongings and not leave our rooms after dark, we decided to splurge and stay in the fanciest hotel in all of San Jose, Hotel Grano de Oro...which was a welcome oasis of air conditioned,old-world luxury. Especially after 5 days at the eco-resort, Villa Lapas that was ON A CROCODILE RESERVE. Did I mention that there was a LIVE FROG in my BATHROOM?? And a TARANTULA on my DINNER TABLE? Needless to say, I was thrilled that the only exciting thing on my breakfast plate at Grano de Oro's GORGEOUS restaurant were these lightly sweetened, crisp-edged corn pancakes. Served with a carafe of warm maple syrup, carefully diced cubes of watermelon, pineapple and papaya and 2 healthy dollops of the ubiquitous nata...the last day of our Costa Rican vacation felt like the first.

Grano de Oro Corn Cakes- 24
Dining in the Grano de Oro's lush and opulent garden with rays of light streaming through the swaying palms, sipping coffee out of fine china with a fountain tinkling in the background after a week of roughing it in the Costa Rican Jungles- 30

 


Chifrijo- Arties- Atenas, Costa Rica (20 out of 34)

March 14th, 2010

Another Costa Rican delicacy that I dug up on the internet before our trip was Chifrijo...A combination of rice, beans, salsa & deep fried pork rinds served with yuca and lime that we sampled at a roadside bar called Chicharronera Don Yayo...Which abuts the festively named "La Fiesta de Los Pupusas"...We couldn't resist stopping in for a quick pupusa party while our Orchid Tree Hosts and the other couple who were staying at the inn commandeered a table at Don Yayo. We opted for the Pupusa Pernil...The pupusa itself is sort of like a cornmealy (emphasis on mealy) pita pocket...it tasted almost as if someone had accidentally left a plate of polenta out all night until it had dried into a pancake--and then, feeling industrious, used a knife to cut a slit in the top & stuffed it with shredded meats and nata and jalapenos and hoped no one would enquire as to the whereabouts of the polenta. It wasn't half-bad. The Chifrijo on the other hand, was actually half-GOOD...which is saying quite a lot, as we were hard pressed to find anything truly delicious on our Costa Rican Adventures. We had to ask for extra lime, salt and hot sauce, but the resulting plate was fresh and bright and flavorful...with all sorts of crispy, chewy, crunchy textures. Not a MUST eat, more like a NO NEED TO AVOID.


Atenas Indoor Market- Atenas, Costa Rica (16 out of 34)

March 7th, 2010

This picture was taken inside the indoor marketplace in Atenas, I always think I'm gonna love these sorts of places--brimming with artisan baked goods and local delicacies...and then they end up being these cramped and dark caverns reeking of blood and fish, with overly visceral slabs of beef and unidentifiable animal parts swinging from the ceiling at every turn

The one thing we DID find was Cajeta De Coco ...a hard fudgey candied excuse for an energy bar made of condensed milk (the Costa Ricans REALLY like their condensed milk) and, in this case, mixed with shreds of sweetened coconut. It was SO sweet that you could only eat it a crumb at a time...but creamy, coconutty and good.

Cajeta De Coco- 24
Atenas Indoor Mercado-16

 


Ceviche- Atenas, Costa Rica (17 out of 24)

MaRch 1st, 2010

Here's something I keep in mind. Raw fish + broiling hot Costa Rican day + blue collar lunch window + suspect to-do container + public bus = not a great idea. And yet, here I am, in my bus seat, faced with a tub of tepid, limey ceviche on my already soggy lap. And y'know what?? It was sort of worth it. Sort of.

Ceviche-17
Bright idea to eat it on the bus ride home- -2


Candy Store- Atenas, Costa Rica (20 out of 34)

February 31st, 2010

This was one of those weird Central American candy stores that is COVERED, floor to ceiling in shockingly bright, overly metallic, slightly dusty, cartoon oriented sweets...offering not one SINGLE thing that I was interested in putting in my mouth. Made for a good picture though.

Store ambiance-20
Possibility for deliciousness-6

 

 

 

 

 


Toronja Rellena- Atenas, Costa Rica (19 out of 34)

february 25th, 2010

Our Canadian hosts, Frank and Rita at The Orchid Tree Bed & Breakfast had lived in Costa Rica for over 20 years and had never heard of "Toronja Rellena"-- the local delicacy that I was on the hunt for thanks to some keen recommendations from the interwebs. After some searching, we found it proffered at a shack on the side of the road. It is, apparently, ONLY available in the tiny town of Atenas, a town whose OTHER claim to fame is that National Geographic once dubbed its weather the BEST CLIMATE in all of the world. (Em mejor clima del mundo!) Eternal Spring they say. And, I mean, it was nice...but, y'know, not THAT nice. Anyway, back to the Toronja Rellena: It's a hollowed out grapefruit rind that had been soaked in honey until it is translucent and candied...then it is filled with a cooked condensed milk custard, stuffed in a plastic baggie and chilled. Once the condensed milk has congealed, the resulting sugarbomb is cut into quarters and eaten until the first person slips into a diabetic coma.

The shack itself was worth the trip...The proprietress was thrilled to have customers visiting her dusty fruit stand and set about looking for a knife and a plate to help us cut into the Toronja--which may have been made in the early 90's and was stored in what looked like a rusty outdoor fish cooler. I was slightly freaked out by the rustic-ness of it all, but game to try it--well aware that this was my one shot at it.

The sticky, scarlet orb looked like a dare for bees, glistening in the sun. The rind itself was wincingly sweet with only the slightest bitter aftertaste once the grapefruit decided to stand up for itself at the end of the bite. The internal custard tasted like the color beige, with undertones of electric stovetop and metal. But not in a bad way.

Overall, I'm glad we took the time to seek it out, even if we wrapped it back up after 2 bites and, ahem, accidentally left it behind when we left town.

Toronja Rellena-19
Overall experience-24


The Doppleganger Inn Breakfast- Atenas, Costa Rica (10 out of 34)

february 20th, 2010

Another Breakfast at the Costa Rican B&B...Relatively subpar and standard...Eggs, the traditional Costa Rican black bean & rice mixture--Pinto Gallo--traditionally served with Nata (a smoother, slightly liquid-y sour cream) & pico de gallo (fresh tomato & onion salsa) and that awful concentrated juice from a box that you only find outside of the U.S. The highlight was sampling the traditional Costa Rican Hot Sauce, Lizano...which to be perfectly frank, was sort of gross. Not hot at all and somehow sour, without being tart...It tasted like the color brown. But only if the color brown had gone on a 3 week drinking bender and then returned to make out with you without brushing its teeth.

Also, it turns out, for a country known for its coffee, the coffee in Costa Rica isn't actually that outrageously tasty. because all the good stuff gets IMPORTED out of the country! Hmph. Go figure.That said, the Inn got LOTS of points for having a downright delightful and fully equipped outdoor kitchen and dining room.

1-34: Breakfast-10
Vacationy Atmosphere- 26


Fruit Salad- Atenas, Costa Rica (19 of 34)

february 15th, 2010

Fruit salad from the Bed and Breakfast. I'd like to make an announcement. After years of asking fruit-salad purveyors to "hold the papaya," I MAY be coming around. I'm not ready to put myself all the way out there on the papaya limb and say that I now LIKE papaya, but it tastes considerably less 'vomity' to me than it once did.

 


Strange Banana- Atenas, Costa Rica (14 out of 34)

february 8th, 2010

This is some strange banana that we were excitedly presented with by the proprietors of the Costa Rican Bed And Breakfast that we stayed in...I didn't want to burst their bubble...but it was mostly..just a misshapen banana. Not all that different from your average everyday Food Emporium banana...just a little more...chubby.
Funny story about this chubby banana though, the tree it came from had a limb that had COMPLETELY broken off because it couldn't bear the weight of its chunky banana crop...which I found downright shocking. I mean, I thought that nature was designed in perfect balance and was able to withstand, literally, the fruit of its labor. I took the entire scene to be some sort of overly complicated metaphor for my workaholic lifestyle. Something along the lines of: JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN MAKE A LOT OF FAT BANANAS, DOESN'T MEAN YOU SHOULD.

On my 1-34 scale I give the Obese Banana a 14 (and the Banana metaphor a 22)


The Griddle - Los Angeles, CA (27 out of 34)

February 1st, 2010

Before

Get yourself one of their obscenely large, hilariously topped, relatively delicious pancake. Maybe some bacon. Definitely some coffee. The Griddle Cafe is filled to the brim with carb-loading locals and tourists, hipsters and 9-5-ers ...and a must-stop when you're visiting Los Angeles. No need to wait for a table... Don't be afraid to sidle up to the counter--where you'll have a MUCH better shot at trading a wedge of YOUR pancake for a taste of your neighbors.

Featured in the picture over there is the "Golden Ticket Pancake" which boasts brown-sugar-baked bananas,caramel, walnuts and streusel all willingly folded into a rich buttermilk batter and served with a friendly dollop of whipped cream and more streuselly goodness.

After

(INSIDER TIP: There's a Coffee Bean across the street with FREE parking...Just go inside and buy a bottle of water for later (who couldn't use a little extra hydration?) and get your ticket validated...then spend all of the money you just saved on PANCAKES.)