Why is a standard bag of sugar now 4 POUNDS instead of five pounds? That’s a pretty powerful grocery shrink-ray. When did this happen? How did I miss it?
According to C&H Sugar’s Facebook page, I’ve been asleep at the wheel for quite a while:
As you may be aware, the price of sugar on the world market has nearly doubled since the end of 2008. [You can see the data here at the USDA site: http://www.ers.usda.gov/briefing/sugar/Data/Table04.xls ].
In order to offset our cost increases, we have had to raise our price per pound of sugar. In order to keep the cost per bag of sugar down, many retailers converted their store brand product from a 5-pound to a 4-pound bag. In an effort to maintain affordability we decided to do the same with our C&H® brand sugar. The reduction in size, however, is not enough to offset the cost increase in the remaining four pounds of the product. That’s why you’re seeing the price go up and the size go down at the same time.
That post was dated February 18, 2011. Guess I don’t buy sugar that much, or I am that woefully unobservant shopper that all food companies are hoping for – the ones who don’t realize they’re paying more for less.
Christopher Kimball – of Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen fame – will be appearing at the Bennington Museum on March 1, for a discussion of the Test Kitchen’s latest book, “The Science of Good Cooking”.
Tickets are $25, and proceeds will benefit the Bennington Free Library. Kimball will sign copies of the book, and dessert will be served as part of the event (I’ll bet it’s going to be awesome). Kimball (one of the nicest guys ever – he was a regular guest on the radio show I used to produce) lives in southwestern Vermont, so this cause is likely near and dear to him. Purchase tickets by calling the Bennington Free Library at 802-442-9051.
Not familiar with Chris and his bowtie? Lots of ways to enjoy his wit and expertise: Cook’s Illustrated magazine and online, Cook’s Country magazine and online, America’s Test Kitchen (which is a TV show as well as a radio show/podcast), and he’s an occasional guest on public radio’s The Splendid Table. Quite a little empire he’s got going on. Kimball is extremely entertaining and knowledgeable (as well as stodgy and puritanical) , and this promises to be a fun evening.
Bennington is not far from here at all – road trip, anyone?
It’s back! the 8th Annual Schenectady Restaurant Week will be returning next week, February 18-24. Over the course of seven days, more than 20 restaurants in downtown Schenectady and Schenectady County will be offering special fixed-price menus for $20.13 – most giving diners a three-course menu that includes an appetizer, entree, and dessert. Some are even offering beer and/or cocktails as part of the menu.
As always, if you dine at one of these restaurants during the promotion, remember to tip generously – these meals are often worth significantly more than $20.13 and the waitstaff should be tipped accordingly. Basically, follow Wil Wheaton’s Law, OK?
Businesses participating in 2013 Schenectady Restaurant Week are below – click the link to see the menu:
- Ambition Bistro
- Angelo’s Tavolo at Glen Sanders Mansion
- Aperitivo Bistro
- Bangkok Bistro
- The Bier Abbey
- Bombers Burrito Bar
- Café NOLA
- Cella Bistro
- Clinton’s Ditch
- Cornell’s Restaurant
- Katie O’Byrne’s
- Manhattan Exchange
- Marotta’s Bar-Risto
- More Perreca’s Bakery & Café
- Randy Loren’s Dolce Vita. You know how I feel about this place.
- The Stockade Inn
- Stoney’s Irish Grill
- Taj Mahal Restaurant
- Tops American Grill, Bakery & Bar
- Turf Tavern
- Van Dyck Restaurant & Lounge
- The Water’s Edge Lighthouse Restaurant & Inn
Reservations are highly recommended.
Here’s my roundup of personal picks (and pans):
Best Overall Menus: More Perreca’s and Cafe NOLA (And I’m not just saying that because of the beignets. OK, maybe I am.)
Most Adventurous Menu: Ambition. It’s ambitious, and sounds delicious. It’s even got a theme: “Sunsets & Sangrias”! I am totally going. Lobster Salad? Sign me up.
Most Unadventurous: Angelo’s Tavolo. Zzzzzzzzzz……..
Maybe Shouldn’t Be Participating: Bombers. Again. Though, they do list margaritas as appetizers, which they surely are.
Don’t Go Here If You Actually Want Some Choices: Katie O’Byrne’s. You only get what they give you. That’s no fun.
Biggest Bang for Your Buck: Cornell’s Restaurant. Because soup/salad is not considered a separate course; every entree comes with one or the other!
The Only Place to Go if You Want a Waffle for Dessert: The Bier Abbey
Best Meal You’ll Ever Eat in a Sketchy Part of Town: Petta’s.
Most Intimidating Menu Item: NY Strip Steak Mafioso at Marotta’s Bar-Risto (another good name would be “Sleeps With the Fishes en Papillote”)
Most Choices on the Limited Menu: Tops. So much to choose from!
Most Intriguing Menu Item: “Tiger Cake” at Waters Edge Lighthouse. What the hell is Tiger Cake? Guess you’ll just have to go there to find out. That’s how they get you! Runner up: Potato, Artichoke & Sun‐Dried Tomato Croquettes at Perreca’s.
Are you planning on hitting up Schenectady Restaurant Week? Where are you going?
Updated with Final Thoughts Below…
A dinner/show at Randy Loren’s La Dolce Vita restaurant in Schenectady. A birthday celebration in my honor. With my mom and her childhood friend (both named Kathy, friends since 3rd grade. K2 – her new nickname – is my second mom).
I’m liveblogging it (my first time), as an experience with cultural and anthropological implications. Our reservation is at 8:00pm; updates will commence soon after. I hope you’ll follow along!
757: Ordered zucchini wheels as an appetizer. Contemplating Chicken Dolce Vita as an entree (chx with capicola, peppers, olives, provolone). Old school eye-talian music playing over the PA.
827: Sauce here is pretty great. Loved it. Bread from Perreca’s. Yum. I’m having a great time. This place is kinda neat. And I’m frankly shocked that I haven’t run into anyone I know.
852: They just turned on the spinning disco ball. Uh oh. Food decent; a lot of it kinda cold. Served a glass of wine full of ice; sent it back, got watered down wine. Sent back again, got correct wine. Hm. Chicken Dolce Vita:
This place reminds me of that scene in Goodfellas when Ray Liotta takes Lorraine Bracco to the club and they set a special table up for them. Just like that.
I’m on my third glass of wine.
948: I’m getting worried. I think they’re planning to embarrass me for my birthday. And now they’re playing Aimee by Pure Prairie League. Love this song. Reminds me of college.
1013: They made me get up and dance to “Today is Your Birthday”. After I zipped up my fly (damn jeans) I got up and busted a move. Now I’m out of breath AND old.
1034: I’m getting tired. Jesus, how the hell old am I?
The Next Day – Final Thoughts:
It was difficult to post updates last night – I felt like a dork typing on my phone while everyone else was dancing and singing.
I was probably not the youngest one there (I noticed some scowling teenagers and twenty-somethings having dinner with their parents and grandparents), but this place definitely caters to an older Italian clientele. The atmosphere was very old school Vegas showlounge-y, with a platform stage, a shimmery silver backdrop, giant dance floor, and spinning lighted disco ball. It was kitschy, but the patrons seemed to enjoy it. Especially the two ladies who were dressed as Peggy Lipton in the Mod Squad.
The food? Eh. Mediocre. Not inedible, but nothing special. The chicken dish was tasty, and their tomato sauce was quite good. The sides (roasted potatoes, seasoned carrot coins) arrived pretty much cold, like they’d been sitting in the dishes on a table in the back, waiting until someone ordered them. And the dessert was a pre-portioned tiramisu-like thing topped with whipped cream and a cherry. The whole dinner service reminded me of an Elks Club dinner. If Randy really wanted to make this place special, he’d make sure the food was brought out hot, and served on nicer dishes (he’s got the same ones you find at any Chinese buffet or school cafeteria). But maybe people don’t come here for the food. I don’t know.
I was especially irked at the whole wine thing that I briefly mentioned above. When I ordered my first glass of Lambrusco, the waitress brought me the glass alongside a highball glass full of ice, telling me the wine was not chilled enough. It actually was chilled just fine – it should not be ice-cold. I never used the ice (I hate ice in wine – it’s wrong). When she brought me the second glass, it was half full of ice, like a sangria. I told her I didn’t want ice in my wine, and she returned it to the bartender, who merely STRAINED OUT THE ICE AND SENT BACK A GLASS OF WATERED DOWN WINE. Seriously. I sent that one back, too, and asked for an un-iced, undiluted glass. I can’t believe I had to ask that (the waitress was awesome about it – it was really a bartender problem). Perhaps the little old ladies who frequent Randy’s prefer their Lambrusco on ice – but the bartender should not assume that to be the case with everyone.
Don’t get me wrong – this restaurant has its place, and people really seem to enjoy it. I wish him success.
So, this Sunday – Super Bowl Sunday – is my birthday. Seriously – this is like the third time this has happened since the NFL switched the game from the last weekend in January to the first weekend in February. Kinda moves my celebration to the sidelines, if you know what I mean. And seeing how I’m living single these days, it’s going to prove to be even more depressing.
Luckily I’m going to Randy Loren’s La Dolce Vita in Schenectady tonight* (and dinner tomorrow night with friends at The Standard), so I will be getting some partying in.
Anyway, for those of you actually doing some celebrating for the Super Bowl, perhaps you’re looking for some nifty goodies to snack on while watching those large stinky sweaty men give each other concussions.
Here are some links – do with them what you will.
- Don’t eat these. They were bad. Like I’m surprised. Even Anderson Cooper wouldn’t try it.
- Here’s my very own Veggie Quinoa Chili recipe, which I contributed to From Scratch Club (oh, hey, I’m a regular contributor over there, too. Check out my stuff).
- Healthy Nachos, anyone?
- Why bother with healthy?
- Thank goodness – there’s no chicken wing shortage!
Happy Harbowl everyone! Don’t get sick.
*Which I plan on live blogging, because it’s going to be…something, if their website is any indication. A Vegas-style showroom. We’re going for a “dinner dance”. It was not my idea.
I was walking through Target the other night (you know, one of those trips where you have $14 worth of stuff on your list and end up walking out of there with your wallet $137 lighter) and noticed a new product on their shelf: yellow lentil hummus. Now, you know that I am a hummus freak. I love hummus of all kinds: chickpea, white bean, black bean…you name it, I love it. So I was pretty excited to try this new variety. There were other flavors on the shelf, but the yellow lentil one really caught my eye. I’ll pick up the other ones on my next trip.
On to the review: Vegetal, earthy, funky. But I use those descriptors in the best possible sense of each. It’s really quite tasty, with the definite flavor of lentils. The dried apricots gave a mild sweetness (but they seem to only be spooned in the middle of the tub; it’s unclear if there are more apricots pureed into the hummus), and the sunflower seeds piled on with the apricots were mostly a soggy throwaway (unless they were blended in, which I do not know). The label calls it “spicy” and “medium-hot”, and it definitely is. It’s not extremely hot, but it has a steady, lingering heat that is actually quite pleasant.
I did some calculations here, and stumbled upon something slightly jarring: each “serving” is 90 calories, and there are 10 “servings” in a container (I’m using quotes, because let’s be honest here – 2 Tbsp of hummus is not a realistic serving). So, 900 calories in a container…and I’ve been known to polish off half a container in a single sitting….wow. The reasons behind my ongoing struggle with my weight are beginning to come into sharper focus.
Eat Well Enjoy Life is a brand name that is new to me, though I understand it’s the sixth largest brand of hummus sold in the US. Amazing…seems like only a few years ago I had never even heard of hummus, and now hummus dominates the refrigerated dips, dressings and spreads sales category (the what now?), ringing up more than $325 million in annual retail sales. I think I spent that much at Target in 2012.
According to their Facebook page, they also make a type of hummus with Greek yogurt (recently favorably reviewed by Serious Eats). It’s touted as having half the fat, and only 50 calories per serving (which means I can eat twice as much, right?). I would love to get my hands on some of that. ShopRite is the only local grocery chain currently carrying the yogurt varieties, so I’ll see you there (and don’t get in my way, okay?)