Friday, December 16, 2011

Warheads Sour Chewy Cubes

So I thought long and hard on how to do this post, and decided I'm not gonna give a history lesson here. (Meaning I was planning to write about the history of Warheads and that stuff.) Instead I'll save it when I do a review on the actual candy. :p Today I'm going to give a brief review on a find I found on Thanksgiving night; Warheads Gummies! That night, my mother, brother, and I took a ride around town to see all the Black Friday lines, when dinner was over, (this family get's bored easily,what can I say? ^o^), and we stopped at Walgreen's to get some icecream and snacks. As I skimmed the aisles, my eyes landed on this:

Now,folks who know me know I have a huge sweet tooth, and an equally sour tooth. So I bought it!

       The colors were certainly attention grabbing! I tried the original many times, so I had to try this.
   And now for the verdict! The candy was tangy but not sour. Since I like gummies alot it didn't really bother me. If you want something that tastes a little painful, stick to the original hard candies. :P If you want a similar but less painful version, try these out; they're not sour at all, but I did enjoy them! XD


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Little Rock, Arkansas - Istanbul Mediterranean Restaurant

                 When I go to any food establishment, I would like to say I look for two things, good service, and good food. However if staff is underhanded, or if I have to wait for a table to get served, I am more than willing to wait. I'm not the type of person to throw a snide remark or leave because of a long wait. However, if I am going to be waiting for a long time, if a server can say,"I'm sorry this will take a while", or, "We're underhanded at the moment", it would be better than ignoring customers for almost 30 minutes.

         Now normally I am not the type to talk badly of an establishment, but if the customer service is this long, I feel I have to say something about it. Me and my friend came to the place a week or two ago, for the first time, since we hang around the Pleasant Ridge Town Center alot. (Where this restaurant is located.) It looked like a sit yourself in situation, which is what we did, as we noticed it was a fairly small place, and other customers coming in were doing the same thing.

           We came around the end of lunch hour, some time around 2 or 3.  The restaurant was a small shop; and you can see all the seating at one glance. The decor was slightly ethnic, but mostly simple in design, with a studio ceiling and dangling lights. Some foreign photos were hanged here and there in an otherwise blank wall. The place was a little full, but not really packed. They had a few empty seats around.When we entered we noticed there was only two servers, a boy and a girl. The girl took a group of guys that came after me and my friend, and we figured she just wanted to get the bigger crowd out of the way so we sat and waited. The boy disappeared sometime in the back for a while, taking care of his own orders, so we focused on the girl most of the time. She took their orders and went to the back, then came out and took dishes and plates from some older women who were finishing up. That was fine, we didn't see an issue at this point. A little bit after, when things cooled down, and most of the people left, a few new customers came in, and we noticed this girl was taking their orders. At this point, me and my friend felt a little uneasy, because technically we were there first, and no one even glanced at our table.

              The boy took some orders on the other side of the place and went back. Meanwhile the girl whizzed back and forth next to our table, and not looked at us at all. I would like to say at this point that some of the new customers were sitting right behind our table. Finally, about 20 minutes in waiting, the girl glances at us and asks," Have you been helped?" I wanted to say something, but all we said was," No ma'am." She got us some menus really quickly and asked for our drinks. When we told her, she left, and came back some 10 minutes later with it. At this point she left us alone again, to take care of other orders, and it was probably another 10 or 15 minutes when she arrived to ask what we wanted to eat. Well, at this point we were given plenty of time to consider it, and we told her what we wanted before she spirited away again.

              Food preparation took an average amount of time, which was probably another 10 minutes or so, for two people. We had lamb gyros,(they called it something else in this place), and tomato soup. Some time after we finished eating, she came some 15 minutes afterwards to remove our dishes, and offered us some free baklava,( a Mediterranean dessert like this. ) In the end she apologized to us for the long wait and didn't charge for the dessert nor the drinks, which was kind of her. However, the whole incident could have been avoided if she or the male waiter at least apologized for the delay  before the long wait, or offered some sort of excuse.

             I don't have complaints with the food itself;that was prepared nicely, and tasted fresh. However, due to what occurred here, this left a bad first impression on me, so I will probably not be visiting this place for a while. Perhaps next time, if I have a better experience, I'll put a better review...

                  The food was good; I won't complain of it, but I wish I could have provided more photos to point out how tiny the restaurant is. Technically, under normal cicumstances,  I feel it would be hard to miss somebody there.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Japanese Sweets - Botan Rice Candy

            Today I'm doing a small entry on a candy I found. Botan Rice Candy is a Japanese hard candy that has a tangy taste, which seems to be a mixture of lemon and orange.When you undo the wrapper, the candy is covered with a type of wax paper that dissolves in the mouth as well.
          I first saw it in Arkansas, in the large Walmart off Cantrell Road. The box is decorated with traditional Japanese items. One picture has an "Inu Hariko," a traditional dog toy for children. The box also has a peony flower, since "Botan," is Japanese for peony.(The Wikipedia page states this nearly word for word, but if you google both words, you will see the article is accurate.)  Like you probably suspected, it is a small candy targeted to children, and comes with a sticker in every box.

         I recommend it to people who already have a sweet tooth; it's tart, but only slightly. It might feel a little wierd eating an edible paper thing, but it really doesn't do anything to the candy, and you can also take it off if you didn't want to eat it. The candy is a bit hard, but softens when you chew it. For folks looking for small foreign goodies, and/or people with a sweet tooth, this is a good confection to try. ^^

                                                                Front side.
                                                             Back side.

                                             Some nutritional facts and company logo. :p
                                                       The sticker it came with.

                                          That plastic stuff is the edible wrapper. XD

  Wikipedia Page
  JFC Website  (The candy is not listed.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Little Rock, Arkansas - Panda Garden

                   Open buffets can be found in any town, but I think people can tell quality food when they see and taste it. Panda Garden is a Chinese open buffet that is located in Shackelford. It seems they don't have a website at the moment,but here is a link that provides an address and some reviews.  ( The google search has a restaurant of the same name in Texas. But, like Buffalo Grill, it seems it's one of those places with a similar name, but with completely different food and ownership.)

                      The buffet is large and roomy, but not expensive or formal. The entrance has a large chandelier when you enter, but as it's not a fussy or fancy restaurant, so don't worry if  the large space seems slightly intimidating; it's a perfectly casual place to relax in, and you can sit down as long as needed. The place has two ways to do payments, you can pay a one time fee, (usually $11, depending on the time you're there), and take a takeout box with whatever you want, or you can dine- in. If you choose the latter, you will be asked what drink you would like, sit down in the dining area, and then you go to the buffet once you receive your dink.

             Now what's in the buffet? They have a dessert section, with small cakes, pastries, pie, and fruit salad. ( I usually get the fruit salad since it has marshmallows in it. XD) They have a decently sized sea food section, with crab meat, ( the type sold in Chinatown),  stuffed clams, oysters, shrimp, shrimp salad; all the works. I can proudly say that I tried nearly all the seafood there, since I love seafood!  (Probably not too healthy, but it's not like I go there everyday... :p) They have an appetizer section with bread or egg tarts on occasion.(An egg tart is commonly found in Chinatown bakeries, and yes it's made from egg. It looks like this.) What else? They also have typical Chinese chicken, like Sesame Chicken, Honey chicken, Teriyaki chicken, etc. They have a sushi section, and a place that has soup, usually a Chinese kind like Egg- Drop soup, or Wonton soup.

              My overall verdict? For about $11 dollars, you get all you can eat? Heck yeah! Go and drop by, they have something for everyone, even for those who don't like to eat Chinese food. ^^

                                      Taking cell photos at night... not the best idea. XD
                                         (But at least you can see everything. :P)
                                             I always liked looking at chandeliers. C:
                                                             Inside of the buffet.

 The buffet.
         Honey Chicken Wings, Breaded Shrimp, Steak on a Stick, Bacon and Crab, and some
                                                             Macaroni in the bottom. 

I went recently, getting almost the same thing.
                            The cup has Egg-Drop soup, and that's an Egg Tart on top. XD
                                              The stuff next to it is Lo-Mein, and rice.

                                                             See you next time!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Arkansas State Fair! 2011 (Update 2012)

                     I've been to many different festivals around the states, but the Arkansas State Fair was the first state fair I've been too. My first time going to it was some five or six years ago, with me attending almost every year after that. They have it around the same time each year; this time it was from October 14 -23.

                         The fairgrounds are used for various events throughout the year, like gun shows, flea markets, and other small events.The biggest event that all the crowds attend though, is the yearly fair.The fair has the same rides and stalls installed every year, but it has enough things that it would take more than one day to look at everything. Remember those state fairs in the movies with the corndogs, the games, and rides? They hit it right on the money. The fair does look like those old time fairs, but with modern music in it, and slightly modern attractions.
                Since all fairs do this a bit differently from each other, let me tell you how the pricing works. An entrance fee is paid up front, with a standard price for seniors, kids, and adults. The fee will be discounted on certain days when they have some event going on, so if you plan to go in the future, check up daily while the fair is in town. Then comes the inside fee. The games,food, and some events usually accept cash. The rides work in two ways; you can get coupons, which require a smaller usage per ride,(like two coupons per ride), or the tickets which you get from various ticket booths from the fair. A word of advice, the rides are expensive this year, and the pricing fluctuates yearly, so have extra cash on you if you want to try the rides. ( This year, it was about 5 or 6 tickets per ride, with 10 or 11 tickets costing approximately $20.)

                   Now if you're a health food lover, you might have to do a lot of digging around in the food booths. The fair has food, and very good food, but not really healthy. The traditional funnel cakes and corn dogs are in the fair, as well as Virgin Pina coladas and other drinks in their own special booths. However, the most popular food, (that I hear numerous people talking about), is the fried food. I can't speak for other state fairs, but the one in Arkansas have people experimenting with fried everything! You have fried Oreo, fried butter, fried ice cream,(don't ask), fried pie,(which I tried), fried watermelon, fried vegetables, and, well, you get the idea. For long time fair- goers this might come as no surprise, but I figure a new comer would appreciate the info. :p

                  So do I recommend the fair? Even if it's your only time, I whole heartedly say yes. I think, even once, it's worth the experience.Though, for future reference, it would be advisable not to be dead last, like what me and some friends did this year... you're not going to find much in terms of discounts or cheap admission. (Here is a local news channel showing all the discounted days this year. It will probably be very similar for the next fair. They also explain how to purchase coupons.  Today THV)

           Part of the entrance. Since these were taken at night, there is going to be a glare,sorry!
                                                               Entrance booth.
                                          As you're going in... we took a side entrance.
                                I went to that booth and got myself a little fried something...
                           Presenting, Fried Key Lime Pie! It was good but a bit messy,haha.
                  I wish I knew how to fix the glare; but it's a cell photo so it's complicated. ><
                             We usually played games, and I have a few prizes from previous years,
                                                         but didn't really bother this time.
                    The photo is of a funhouse; I think it was taken from the Pirate Ship.
               ( The fair has the ride with an Egyptian theme, so it's called Pharoah's Fury. :p)
                     Hm... I'm too scared to try the taller fair rides cause they don't look safe to me.
           In parks like Six Flags or other bigger amusement parks, I do like to go on
                     rollercoasters and those rides though! XD  This was also on the Pirate Ship.
                                             We went on this ride; it wasn't really scary. :p
                                               "Pahraoh's Fury." Taken as we got off.

     We also went on bumper cars, the swings, and the Zero Gravity ride that takes you sideways and you're not holding on to anything. XD By the way the carousel and swings have Old Victorian paintings and decor to them; so they might be older than the rest of the rides. I can't confirm it as fact though, but they are more decorated!
     This year's fair is over, but if you want something to do for next October, book a day if you're in town!

Monday, October 17, 2011

New York Sweets - Brooklyn Soda

          Today will be a short post, on soda. A soda brand that is seen in alot of delis and pizza shops in New York, is called " Olde Brooklyn."  The soda is styled with a sketch of the Brooklyn Bridge, with names of popular places around Brooklyn to accompany the bottle ad. The soda is designed like vintage soda bottles, not only with the design, but the fact that these bottles are made from glass. The only flavors I tried so far are Cherry,Orange, Cream, and Raspberry, but I do like the way it tastes; at least to me, it does not come out as highly carbonated as more commercialized sodas, and so you can get more flavor in the bottle. C:

           The soda seems to have been acquired by a company called White Rock Beverages in 2003, but I can't seem to find information on the sodas before that,though I do know they existed earlier.White Rock, however, seems to have quite a history before acquiring the soda. Established in 1871, they were one of the first soft drink companies in the United States. Their products were featured in King Edward's VII coronation, and were the first to use a Kris Kringle/Santa Claus ad for soda. As far as soda companies go, it seems they did well buisness wise, but didn't reach the popularity status of Coke or Pepsi. (Which is a shame,since in my opinion, the Olde Brooklyn Soda can compete pretty well with the more popular sodas!)

                               "Red Hook Raspberry" The bridge is a sketch of the Brooklyn Bridge.

             So, how can you try this soda? Outside of New York, I've seen the soda being sold in local supermarkets, and pizzerias, so your best bet is there. White Rock also has a section of their website were you can type what state you live in, to see what places sell their products, which might reduce alot of search time. :p

       All information listed in this post can be found in various sections of the White Rock website!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Little Rock, Arkansas - Buffalo Grill

                  Buffalo Grill is a burger place, that I've visited a few times before with some friends. They currently have two locations in Little Rock. It seems there are two other similar sounding places, Buffalo Grille, in Texas, and a French restaurant, Buffalo Grill, whose locations are only in Europe. However, the French one is a completely different company, and the similar Texas name was established in 1984, not 1981, with the Texas chain having a different menu. (I thought I should specify, since I didn't realize there was similar sounding places until I googled it, haha.)

           The one I will be talking about is the Bowman location. It's one of those restaurants that have a small appearance at front, but looks much bigger once you go inside. The place is decorated like you're in the old west; everything is made from polished wood, and hanging around is taxidermy of birds, and buffalo heads. The menu has different dips, potatoes, and nachos for appetisers, with the main menu being the burgers or sandwiches. Drinks are coke products. They also have a smaller salad menu, and platter menu with hamburger steak or chicken breast and the like, and a small dessert menu.Even if you don't like burgers, they have enough in the menu for non-burger lovers as well.
         The food that I ordered was very good, but was quick to cool down.  I ordered a cheeseburger without mustard, and a small cheese dip and lemonade. If you go there on warm days, the place has a blasted air conditioner, so try to eat as fast as you can, if you don't like cold food. The burgers taste very well, as does the cheese dip, and you are given more chips with any burger/sandwich you order too. (It's plain ridge chips, but I'm not sure if they make it or just order the chips.)
       If you like to visit a place with a country air, but doesn't look too old, go and give Buffalo Grill a look!

                                            The entrance looks a bit like a funhouse lol.
                                                           The entrance.
                                                     Some of the animal heads. :P
                                                   They're proud of their coke.
                                     Some of the decor has bricks, but it's mostly wood.
                                    There is alot of windows, so it doesn't get very dim.
                                                Small cheese dips with nachos.
                                               Cheeseburger, with chips and pickle.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Little Rock, Arkansas - Damgoode Pies

             This is my first time going to Damgoode Pies; it was always one of those places I passed by, but never actually went in. Damgoode Pies is a pizza joint, with three locations in Little Rock, and one in Fayetteville.

            The location I went to was in Cantrell, and I'm going to say it now, was one of the most quirkiest places I ever went to. The photos taken don't do it much justice, but I'll try to explain the decor. The outside is wooden, and looks like a psuedo- old country shop. Inside, though, is a different story. When you walk in, to your left, is an open kitchen, so you can see the chefs making the pizzas and food. This place is designed as a small hallway, and when you walk to the end and go right, you'll see the truly weird of the weird. Once you make that right, on your left is a small bar, that is decorated with chalk walls, which has thousands of written phrases and designs, that is semi-normal looking. As you walk to the dine-in area, they split it into two different sections. One is behind the bar, and they have a circular ceiling that has a painted sky on it, giving you the illusion that you're outside. If you look at the wall, painted on it is a bearded man laughing, and a fat man wearing a tutu.

                 Now if you go to the more normal looking sit in area, each wall is decorated in a different color,( mostly yellow and red), with black wall decals.Around this area of the room, they decorated the walls with portraits of modern photos of old country cottages and the like.

                 The food menu consists of pizzas, appetizers like stuffed mushrooms or breadsticks, sandwiches, pasta, salads, and desserts that change every so often, (mostly cheesecakes.) We ordered a half alfredo cheese, half regular pizza, in the largest size available. (I think it was 16 inches.) We had it with the regular crust but they also have thin and stuffed crusts too. (The stuffed takes 20 minutes to make, if you wanted to try that.)  They had regular coke products; I just ordered a sweet tea. The service was laid back; we had one waitress, who mostly stayed out of the way,except for serving the dishes, and giving refills.

                         The food was very good! I've been to many pizza places, and I can vouch that this place makes excellent pizza. They have no problem splitting condiments or sauces in the pie, and will make it exactly as you like. If you're dining, a word of advice though; this is not fast food. We had to wait almost half an hour for the food to get done, so please keep that in mind if you want to visit.
                                                  The dine in area with wall decals.
                                      The blue dine-in area. The ceiling has a painted sky.
         A better view of the..uhm... artwork. One photo is some rocker guy yelling, and the other is a fat man wearing nothing but a tutu. The photo is not very sharp, but you should be able to see it. XD
                                   The pizza. I got full after two slices, but if I had a better
                                   appetite I think I would have eaten the whole thing! XD

                                                      The front entrance to the place.

If you want to try a pizzeria with an artsy and strange atmosphere, go to Damgoode Pies!
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