Monthly Archives: April 2015

Marshall Faulk

Since I started this blog, the most common question I’ve received (outside of “Wait, what?”) is “What is your favorite candy bar?”

Today is my birthday. This is the candy bar I decided to eat.

Tasting Notes

– Frozen.
– Though they’re also delicious at room temperature.

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Rank em up: Starburst

IMG_3948Please be respectful in the comments. Slurs and nefarious epithets will not be tolerated. This means you, Bar McCann.

I will now list the flavors of Starburst, according to taste (in descending order): Continue reading

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Update: I’m still eating candy

… I’ve just been over capacity for the past week or so, and, unfortunately, when you start auditing what you can and can’t cut, sometimes candy bar blogging gets short shrift. 

Apologies on that, loyal readers. I’ve got some ideas in the pipeline, with a post I expect to publish Friday that I am sure will garner some fun discussion.

Tasting notes

– The bar above was a gift from my dear friend Jules Bar, who has been a champion for my sweets-adventuring cause.

– This is some straight Swiss chocolate, and now I know why it’s so revered. Quite simply the creamiest chocolate I have ever tasted. The best bar of the year thus far. 

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Here Comes Playoff Giannis

IMG_3930The NBA playoffs start today, and the Bucks are in it.

This isn’t necessarily new; they’re often the 7 or 8 seed and politely get destroyed in the first round.

But this is a new year. We have Giannis now.

May this be the first of many adventures with Playoff Giannis.

#FearTheDeer #KnuckIfYouBuck

Tasting Notes

– This is a really good candy bar. I don’t know why it never took off.
– A less messy, more portable and infinitely more nougaty version of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

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Rest in peace, Chef Homaro Cantu

IMG_3936I heard some sad news last night: Chef Homaro Cantu was found dead earlier in the day at a site where he had planned to open a brewpub, which, it turns out, is not far from where I live now.

He’s renowned for the remarkable things he did at his flagship restaurant, Moto — edible menus, sammies that looked and “smoked” like cigars, deconstructions of things that were indestructible.

I’ve yet to experience Moto; I’m sure it’s all well and good, but to me, Homaro is Berrista, the little coffee shop he opened down the street from where I live.

Berrista is worth stopping into for its range of tasty local coffees, some creative breakfast and lunch fare (carbonated fruit, anybody?) and an aeroponic herb garden. It has a sleek, modern feel, and is a wonderful place to read the newspaper or write a blog post about candy bars.

What you’ll leave Berrista remembering, though, is its Miracle Berry experience. Oft presented as a small tablet, but also sometimes in berry or sorbet form, the Miracle Berry dissolves in your mouth, then alters the tongue’s very perception of taste: Sour things become fantastically sweet. Lemons like candy, goat cheese like frosting, vinegar like vinegar (that one didn’t work).

The experience is signature Cantu, and is something I’d planned to experiment with in this very space. I secretly held onto a dream scenario that I would tell him about this blog and he’d have an idea for a Miracle Berry-enhanced candy bar I could write about. He seemed a kind enough guy that he would consider it, which was enough to keep on hoping.

Berrista’s significance goes beyond what it sells, though. Its mere existence in Old Irving Park is a pillar of legitimacy and prosperity for a little-known neighborhood on Chicago’s Northwest Side, a “hey, there are fun things to do here, too!” among an otherwise quiet part of town. Homaro had hoped that the calorie-saving aspect of the Miracle Berry (there is less sugar necessary when you can sweeten things with sour) could help tackle America’s obesity epidemic. He prepared lunches for students to take to school every Thursday. [Ed. note: According to the New York Times, he was homeless from ages 6 to 9, which is where he traced the origins of his philanthropy.]

Berrista is Homaro’s ode to the Old Irving, where he also lived. He was my neighbor.

I remember the day Berrista opened, when Abby Bar and I got up early to be among their first customers. Homaro was working the room, as he would during every one of my subsequent visits. His children were there, oblivious to the hullaballoo, just being kids before they had to run off to school.

He remembered Abby, whom he’d met in a chance encounter years before. He had never met me, but nonetheless smiled, introduced himself and shook my hand.

He gave us both aprons.

It was a happy day.

Thank you, Chef. Rest in peace.

[Ed. note: For the a deeper look at his experiences in his own words, check out this link from the Chicago Reader.]

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Toy Toy: Making the Nestle Wonder Ball Choking Hazards Look Like … Something You Wouldn’t Choke On

IMG_3915When I was a kid, I would get up early so that I could watch Pokemon sitting in a blue microfiber recliner I called “The ComfortZone” every day before I left to go to school.

I’m assuming because of how ad space is sold for children’s programming [Ed. note: Any intel, Sara Bar?], there were only seven or eight total commercials that ever played; of course, in fast order, my siblings and I memorized every single one of them.

This prompted some pretty strange, automatic reactions from us each time one of these ads came on, as we would quickly repeat jingles and ad copy, and hold jerky re-enactments of the clip of “Don’t You … Forget About Me” by Simple Minds featured in the compilation CD commercial.

One of those strange reactions was in response to the jingle for the Nestle Magic Ball, where we would shout outlandish replacement suggestions* as to what was inside the many layers of the Magic Ball. Because the jingle would get stuck in your head so easily, we got the opportunity often, which was always very funny**.

*[Ed. note: Most common suggestions: “poop”, “pee”, “puke”]

**[Ed. note 2: Most hilarious suggestions: “poop”, “pee”, “puke”]

I never got a chance to ever eat a Nestle Magic ball, though. They were quickly pulled off the market because the toys they contained in their chocolate-encased Balls That Pop were almost all very definitely choking hazards. Continue reading

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Valar Morghulis

And who are you, the proud lord said, 

that I must bow so low? 
Only a cat of a different coat, 
that’s all the truth I know. 
In a coat of gold or a coat of red, 
a lion still has claws, 
And mine are long and sharp, my lord, 
as long and sharp as yours. 
And so he spoke, and so he spoke, 
that lord of Castamere, 
But now the rains weep o’er his hall, 
with no one there to hear. 
Yes now the rains weep o’er his hall, 
and not a soul to hear.

Landlines, Semantics and E.T.

IMG_3905E.T. knew, like, eleven fking words.

Everybody remembers two.

[Ed. note: No, Ricky. Valiant effort, but “Ellliottttttt” is not one of them.]

Phone. Home.

They’re so memorable because they’re so simple (and, admittedly, because it was pretty damn cute to watch that vacuum talk like a toddler). This much is clear.

But they’re also so memorable because they’re so universal. Everyone’s phoned home.

What aisle do you find baking soda in? Phone home.

It’s Christmas. Phone home.

You crashed your car? Phone home.

Whatever happened to your Beanie Baby collection? Phone home.

It’s Sunday morning.

Phone home.

[Ed. note: Stevie Spielberg did a much better job hammering this point home.]

Yesterday, my folks disconnected their landline. Continue reading

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I can’t Belize I couldn’t think of a better headline

IMG_3848When I wasn’t getting my head shaved, riding around in a ridiculous Camaro and being a robot during the Las Vegas/Los Angeles jaunt I recently took, I was visiting one of my best friends, Sara Bar.

She had recently returned from a wedding in Belize (of two very nice people who were unfortunate casualties of the Great Bike Adventure Debacle of 2015), and when not taking Max Bar and I to Ross Dress For Less because one of us split our pants, she showered me with chocolate bars she had procured out there.

It was a pretty tasty adventure getting through them all; I opened the last one this morning. While they all had fun little eccentricities, they pretty consistently featured the bitter notes of the cacao bean at the front of each bite, to fade away into varying degrees of sweetness as it melted in my mouth. I don’t know if that’s a trait inherent to Belizian chocolate or a byproduct of its organicness and/or freshness, but it was apparent.

My thoughts:

Cocoa Nib Crunch (pictured)
– So, I might be revealing my lack of formal candy bar education, but what the fk is a cocoa nib?
– Like, is it a part of the plant? I’m assuming?
– If they’re what I’m assuming they are out of context, the nibs served as fine, bitter crunchies interspersed within the milk chocolate, adding texture and an almost soft-serve-twist-cone commingling of flavors.

IMG_3902GOSS White with Vanilla Bean
– Never have I ever had white chocolate that tasted like it was actually chocolate. Usually it is creamy and waxy and probably just yogurt.
– Until I ate this bad boy.
– It was very much still white chocolate, but with a more natural, gently bitter flavor. Top marks. Continue reading

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It’s Bunny Season: The Last Peep

IMG_3894There’s always more Peeps in the basket than anybody ever wants.

You eat one or two on Easter, then go for the Reese’s Eggs, then the malted milk balls, then the chocolate bunny for pre-breakfast dessert dessert. After a little while, you pick the jellybeans out that get swallowed by the basket “grass”.

But you never return to the Peeps until you’re ready to toss the remainder of the basket, “grass”, Rain-blo eggs and all.

They’re hard as a rock, having sat out for 3-4 days, passed over in favor of candy that tastes better. Saccharine orphans, hardened and abandoned.

These Peeps. They are the best Peeps. And it’s not even close.

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