poor scientist. will blog 4 food.

the culinary adventures of a self-described foodie


Junk in My Trunk: Trader Joe’s Joe-Joe’s

One side of the Joe-Joe's box... the other side is teal. I like the disclaimer, "Not actual cookie size."

It’s been so long since my last “Junk in My Trunk” post, you probably thought I forgot about that series, didn’t you? Well, fear not, my loyal readers, for I have a new snack to share with you all! It’s from Trader Joe’s, seemingly the only place from which I buy junk food. I admit that part of the reason that these posts have been so few and far between is because I try not to buy snacks at all. Lately, however, with my training for the Oakland Half Marathon, I had a two-fold reason for snacking:
1. An increase in metabolism = increase in appetite – same size meals = need for extra calories.
2. I really curbed my drinking since alcohol tended to make my training runs more hellish. I went from ~1 drink/night to ~2 drinks/week. Without a glass of wine with dinner, I felt like a sweet treat afterward might satisfy my need for a little indulgence.

I’m proud to say that I possess a good amount of self-restraint. Even with a whole package of cookies, I’ll only have 2/day, 3 at the most. Unfortunately, TC doesn’t share my ability to eat just 2. For instance, I bought a package of palmiers from Trader Joe’s (also ridiculously delicious), thinking that it would take me forever to eat all 12 cookies. (They’re really big cookies, and very rich and buttery too.) Well, with TC’s “help” they were gone in less than 3 days. Good thing the man has super metabolism on his side. Me, not so much.

Anyway, on to today’s featured snack: TJ’s Joe-Joe’s. These are like Oreo cookies except with chocolate filling. I had somewhat low expectations; after all, how can anything be as good as an Oreo? But I was very pleasantly surprised. Not only is the cookie good, but the chocolate cream filling is smooth and rich. Very satisfying! I’ve had the vanilla Joe-Joe’s too; I can’t say that I’m as big of a fan of those.

In summary, TJ’s chocolate Joe-Joe’s: go getchu some!

getting close to finishing the box of Joe-Joe's... so sad


Sunday Night Dinners: My First Roast Chicken

When I came across this roast chicken recipe on Chez Pim, I was overwhelmed by the desire to make it. No, I’ve never roasted a chicken, and yes, I was slightly intimidated. But really, how hard could it be? Armed with a meat thermometer and a free range chicken in tow, I set out to make my very first roast chicken.

Stuffed with garlic and lemon, rubbed with butter, and ready to go into the oven!

Since roasting a whole animal seemed like a very domestic thing to do, I decided to dress the part too. I donned a 1950’s style shirt dress that I got from my sister. (If only I had a petticoat to wear under the skirt!) My guests, A, the talented and fashionable blogger at fitforafemme, her wife M, and JA all obliged my request to dress 1950’s style. It was really fun!

To start, JA concocted a delicious cocktail: champagne (Prosecco, actually), gin, and cran-apple juice, garnished with a wedge of lime. Then we moved on to the persimmon, curly endive, and radicchio salad from the Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook. Even though the salad was beautiful and the first few bites were quite good, it quickly gained a strange texture on my teeth and tongue. It was like something weird was growing on my teeth and I wanted to lick it off. So weird! I couldn’t tell if it was due to the different variety of persimmon I used — the recipe calls for fuyu persimmons, but Berkeley Bowl was only selling hachiya persimmons at the time. My other guess was the radicchio. In any case, I’m not tempted to try this experiment again.

So pretty yet so sad.

The roast chicken turned out quite good, though the winter veggies roasting underneath didn’t fare as well. Due to the low cooking temperature, the chicken was in the oven for a long time, resulting in singed vegetables. Luckily for us, a few veggies escaped scalding — the pieces right underneath the bird ended up caramelized and tasty. As for the recipe, I followed it mostly, except that I cut back on the amount of butter (about 1/4-1/2 stick). It resulted in super flavorful meat — great for sandwiches! But crispy skin? As noted on the recipe, not so much.

Chicken basting, action shot!

Out of the oven, almost done. Looking good!

The carved chicken, with a side of burnt veggies.

To end things on a sweet note, A&M brought over a box of sumptuous cookies from Anthony’s in SF. We had tea and coffee and laughed as A tried to tempt my scaredy cat Sasha from his hiding place under the couch. What a great evening!

What's in that box? Only the best cookies ever.


So Addictive

Best fried chicken sandwich ever.

Best fried chicken sandwich ever.

You know how some things are really really bad for you, yet you still indulge in them every once in a while?  The fried chicken sandwiches from Bakesale Betty are like that. What’s so special about them? Three to four pieces of juicy, tender, and freshly fried chicken topped with cole slaw made of cabbage, red onion, and diced jalapenos to give it some zing.  Honestly, I can’t really remember everything that’s in it because everytime I’ve had one, I completely obliterate it in about 5 minutes.  It’s a blur; a delicious, dreamy blur of fried chicken heaven.

The fried chicken sandwich isn’t the only thing that’s great at Bakesale Betty.  There’s also the chicken pot pie, homemade lemonade ice (think lemonade slurpee), and lots of great baked goods. In particular, I am in love with their chocolate chip cookies.  I swear that they put crack in them; they are that addictive.  I pretty much shove the whole cookie in my gob before I remember to take photos, so if you’re curious about that they look like, as well as how the restaurant looks, go to this photo page at Yelp. Also, I can’t blog about Bakesale Betty without mentioning their strawberry shortcake.  It is really super delicious. Here is a blurry photo of the lemon ice and strawberry shortcake.  (I think I was either really eager to eat my fried chicken sandwich, or I was in post-sandwich euphoria. Apologies for the poor quality.)

Strawberry shortcake and lemon ice: a great combo.

Strawberry shortcake and lemon ice: a great combo.

Finally, there’s the whole “Bakesale Betty Experience.”  The store is very small, and the only seating is outside on the sidewalk, where old ironing boards and stools are set up.  There are only a few signs scattered about describing what they sell and how much it costs, so it’s a bit bewildering at first. Because the food is so good, there’s almost always a line but it usually moves at a brisk pace.  If you’re lucky, you might get a free chocolate chip cookie with your order if you happen to get the right person to take your order. (My friends and I are still trying to decipher the science behind this. We have yet to crack the code.)  All of the mayhem only adds to the charm, for me anyway.