Follow That Food Truck!

monstaToday I ventured into the lot of food trucks. Food trucks have become popular for practical reasons:  low overhead costs, and the ability to serve people a variety of meals on wheels. I decided to explore “Food Tuck Fridays” in Maitland, Florida at Maitland RDV Sportsplex. The crowd was minimal–a perfect amount of people to draw interest to the car-studded parking lot, but not too much to overpower the senses. Later, crowds of hungry people came to explore the world of food trucks, advertising an array of sandwiches, cupcakes, soups and entrees for hungry patrons.

I mulled over a few options, and wandered to a food truck, Monsta Lobsta, that sold lobster and crab sandwiches. The truck was decorated in a minimalist style, but smelled of fresh seafood. I ordered the $10, 4 oz. half-lobster, half-blue crab roll. What bliss. The crispy, buttery roll added a nice crunch to the lobster; the seafood was light and refreshing. You are given chunky, well-sized portions of crab meat and lobster bathed in green onions, salt and pepper and fresh, tart lemon. The amount was quite filing and made a great lunch. They also offer interesting options, such as bisque soaked lobster rolls, as well as spicy lobster rolls. You can purchase 7 oz. rolls for $12 as well.

I also had a gluten-free cupcake from the YumYum cupcake truck. A cupcake–about$2.75 was juicy and packed with a pleasant peach flavor. The bits of fruit make their appearances in between bites of moist cake. The vanilla bean icing was a bit too sweet for my tastes, but everyone has a different taste. This options is perfect for those with specified dietary needs. The truck also offered non-gluten cupcakes in vanilla, pineapple and orange cream.

Food Truck Fridays offers its patrons fresh, open air, meals ranging from baked Jamaican patties to cupcakes to exotic soups to Mediterranean wraps. Patrons have variety and most importantly, the power to give into  food wishes.

Maitland RDV Sportsplex 

Food Truck Fridays (click link) 

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Taco Bell Taste Off: Cool Ranch Doritos™ Locos Taco Review.

Cool ranch taco, taken by Shinai (do not use without permission).

Cool ranch taco.

On March 6, 2013,  Taco Bell added a cooler addition to the sharply cheesy, nacho-flavored crunchy indulgence–the cool ranch Doritos™ locos taco. For those of you who don’t know, this is the second Doritos™-inspired taco flavor, which seems to be selling very well.  I think it’s important to bear in mind that the flavor of these tacos can be hit or miss depending on whether or not your local Taco Bell is heavy handed with powdering their taco shells. This taco shell is a standard corn yellow chip color with fun ranch-like shavings on the edges. To put this in perspective, (when eating with pieces of chicken) imagine eating a chicken ranch salad with crumbled Doritos™ chips as a salad topping. Pretty simple. Add sour cream and you’ve got something worthy of worship. Let’s continue.

  Cool Ranch Doritos™ Locos Taco (regular, with beef)

I ordered this taco with beef and wasn’t really impressed, because I felt that ranch flavor was muted when paired up with the beef. The little bit of ranch flavor was easy to detect on the upper edges only; the beef flavor overpowered the ranch and I could barely taste the ranch flavor. I should have taken the minimal visible ‘ranchness’ on the edge as a hint that the ranch flavor probably wasn’t evenly dispersed.  And boy was I right. Perhaps the taco didn’t have enough cool ranch powder on it. Maybe this taco needed the powerful help of sour cream to make it fun.

  Cool Ranch Doritos™ Locos Taco (regular, with chicken)

This is where chicken becomes relevant. I ordered this taco with chicken, because I like the pairing of ranch and chicken together  I figured it would be a more natural flavor blend than beef. This flavor compared to the beef was lighter, more refreshing–almost like a salad with those crisps on them. It made me think of summer for some reason. I enjoyed this more than the beef, because the chicken flavor played off the ranch on the taco. You can taste the cool ranch flavor better and the chicken almost rounds it out.

  Cool Ranch Doritos™ Locos Taco (chicken supreme)

And this is by far, my favorite combination–the sour cream was like the cherry on a sundae. Cool ranch, paired with chicken  veggies, cheese and sour cream.  It’s amazing how muted sour cream is on its own,but in this case, it was the glue that held all of the flavors together. In the supreme taco, I didn’t feel as if the beef overpowered the ranch flavor. This time, I actually had a taco that wasn’t shy of ranch. This again, reminded me of a light and refreshing bite of summer. I was sad I didn’t get another one.

Here are my ratings:

Taco Bell Cool Ranch Doritos™ Locos Taco (regular, with beef) Yumfactor: 2 tongues and a taste bud (2.5 out of 5 stars). The beef tasted good, but I didn’t like the combination paired up with the ranch. It could have been the lack of presence the ranch had when I ate this; the ranch seasoning on the taco shell didn’t come through very well. My taste buds prefer chicken with the cool ranch taco. It just tastes healthier–more wholesome and complimentary.

Taco Bell Cool Ranch Doritos™ Locos Taco (regular, with chicken) Yumfactor: 3 tongues (3 out of 5 stars). I enjoy a lighter-flavored meat with this shell. I felt as if I was eating a crisp salad with a powered ranch overtone. Overall, everything blended well together. No overpowering flavors or meats with this one. The cool ranch came out of its shell a little more to say hello to the world around it.

Taco Bell Cool Ranch Doritos™ Locos Taco (chicken supreme) Yumfactor: 4 tongues and a taste bud (4.5 out of 5 stars) I really enjoyed this. Every flavor completes the other, creating an indulgently harmonious blend of bites. The cool ranch flavor seemed to latch on to the cool sour cream and held hands; the sharp shredded cheese, lettuce and tomatoes also meshed well with the tangy ranch shell. The chicken–buried under all of the flavors–also made a humble appearance in this taco. It’s just natural this way. The chicken varieties are perfect for those who don’t eat beef, want a break from beef/horse meat/sand/whatever else, or crave a light, yet filling snack that will leave your conscious devoid of calorie guilt.

What Doritos™ flavors would you like to see as a taco shell flavor? What are your thoughts on this taco? Do you prefer chicken or beef? Rate, Comment and Subscribe!

Coconut Water, FTW!!!!! (Tropical Edition) Reviewing It’s Amazing Health Benefits + Product Review

I am indulging in mango flavored coconut water, and not only is it amazing in taste, tropical, exotic and refreshing, but its also a power house of healthy. Chock full of 5  electrolytes, more potassium than a banana, and is even said to aid in anti-aging and fights off high blood pressure and even cancer.

Coconut Water in Pink Guava, Mango Peach and Pineapple by two brands.

Perfect for a post sport drink, this drink is all natural, light and low in sugar. Many people in tropical countries drink this to quench their thirst, but now many in the U.S. are indulging in it after hearing about its benefits. I briefly stated a few of its benefits above, but lets go into more detail. (*NOTE: I am obviously not a doctor, nor am I saying that drinking coconut water will cure any serious health aliment you may currently have. If you are suffering from certain serious symptoms and have not had them checked, please call your doctor.) Coconut Water, already full of electrolytes and great light flavor also is said to:

  • Eliminate viruses, act as an anti-inflammatory, reducing inflammation in the G.I. tract, bladder, and even reduces infections from candida
  • Helps keep skin smooth (by putting directly on skin) and keeps skin hydrated when consumed.
  • Regulated blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
  • Enables digestive health by promoting healthy colon function, and promotes bowel movements.
  • Helps treat bladder issues and conditions like cholera, intestinal worms, diarrhea, stomach flues/viruses, dry skin/ itchy skin,and malfunctioning kidneys.
  • Full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  • Increases HDL (good cholesterol)
  • Promoted T sells, and beneficial immunity to fight infection from serious conditions, or infections.
  • Promotes energy as antioxidants carry oxygen to blood cells.

But don’t take my word for it. You can read more about the benefits of this amazing beverage at the two links I recovered the information from: http://www.drinkpura.com/articles-what-is-coconut-water.php

http://www.zerbos.com/common/news/store_news.asp?task=store_news&sid_store_news=1&storeID=5DDC50E796734E49AEDE162FFC8CABF9

Now for the review, This brand is ONE made in Indonesia. The brand offers a variety of refreshing coconut water, in mango (pictured), pink guava, original

Coconut Milk with a Splash of Mango Juice

and pineapple. I purchased it at Publix for $1.49, in the 8.5 ounce size.

Firstly, the splash of mango juice is a noticeable feature as it gives an interesting and sweet depth to the juice. Not too sweet, I noticed a light consistency(unlike some drinks that have strong syrupy undertones) and noticed that in drinking  nearly 4 ounces, I felt an increase in energy. This flavor is more compelling than the original (which is a plus to me) coconut water flavor, and was finished in short of 10 minutes (I wanted to savor the flavor)

One Coconut Water Yumfactor (Both Mango and Pineapple): 5 tongues! (5 out of 5) I give this drink a 5 out of 5 not only because its healthy and refreshing, but also because this brand offers a dynamic selection for those of us who like variety.

I also tried the pineapple flavor, and once again, I tasted a strong burst of fresh pineapple, noting the increase in energy and mood. I’d say that these flavored goodies have great flavor options, are easy to enjoy, and are not too bad to pay for.   Again, 5 out of 5 for the pineapple. Sure, Gatorade is cheaper, but if often full of sugar and is mainly food for electrolyte restoration. Think of this coconut water as a low budget, fun and exotic homemade sports, and vitality drink.

Cooking Goals: What I’ve Accomplished and not yet accomplished

I love challenging myself and testing my willingness to step out of my comfort zone by assigning myself daring, fun and daily goals. I have a list of many items I have been wanting to cook, and will include them on here. So far, I’d say my progress has been pretty steady. I think cooking goals is a great way to break free of cooking the same dishes over again, and obviously a wonderful method to increase one’s cooking confidence! What cooking goals do you have for yourself? What are your general opinions on goals for success? Have you reached many of your cooking goals? What do you think of making a cooking goals list? (Restricting or innovative) If you has a list, what type of things would you include on it?

I’d love to hear your input, and if you like my posts, please comment, rate and subscribe! Thanks!!! 🙂

This is NOT my comprehensive list. These are just some of the more interesting items I have decided to include.  ENJOY! and feel free to add yours!

  • Peach Cobbler (with fresh peaches and brandy)
  • Chinese Orange Chicken

    Goodness this was divine! Original Photo

  • Thai Tea 
  • Naan
  • Curry Chicken (Jamaican Style)
  • A Breakfast Stratta (with herb sauteed mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, feta cheese, and artichokes)
  • Kimchee
  • Zabaglione Cupcakes

    Grilled Tandoori Chicken- a spicy Indian dish

  • Hummus
  • Crab Cakes (jerked flavored?) from scratch with some kind of an interesting pineapple and jalapeno relish/salsa.
  • Baklava
  • Bhakri
  • Tandoori Chicken
  • Banana-Pineapple Upside down cake
  • Stir Fry the way my mom makes it
  • Pancit

    The popular and delicious Filipino dish Pancit

  • Korean BBQ Chicken
  • Spring Rolls
  • Sweet Potato Wedges with a savory garlic and chipotle mayo.
  • Asparagus cooked in a dry white wine, then topped with a garlic and herb hollandaise sauce OR topped with Italian seasoned panko break crumbs, still cooked in a garlic, butter white wine.
  • Thai Chicken in both light and dark soy sauces, fish sauce, spices, and oyster sauces, with sweet Asian chili sauce.
  • Green Tea and Coconut Cake with a Coconut Glaze
  • Falafel
  • At least 5 frostings from scratch (3 down 2 to go: buttercream, cream cheese, and a glaze so far)
  • Enchiladas
  • Mochi

    Mochi-A traditional Japanese dessert. A Similar delicacy is called "ttoek or Ddoek" in South Korea

  • Samosa (Veggie)
  • Tabbouleh
  • Paella (Seafood)
  • Chicken Patty Jamaican Style
  • Lox
  • Buttermilk Biscuits
  • Chinese Donuts (made during the Chinese New Year of the Rabbit 🙂
  • Bagels from scratch
  • Strawberry Chocolate Layer Cake
  • Veggie Lasagna
  • Orange Cranberry Scones
  • S’mores Cupcakes
  • Strawberry Chocolate Champagne Truffles
  • Pink Grapefruit Yogurt Layer Cake
  • Croissants
  • Layer Cake
  • Danishes
  • Red Lobster Biscuits
  • Guacamole
  • Sweet Mango Sticky Rice

    Add sweeteners to cheesecake, whip and dish it. Easy.

  • Berry Cheesecake (everything from scratch except crust)
  • Chai coffee cake
  • Seafood gumbo
  • Bruschetta 
  • Caramel
  • Pear Brandy Custard Galette with vanilla bean (and a caramel drizzle?)
  • Ginger Coconut Blondies
  • Flavored Frozen Yogurt
  • Nectarine Ice Cream (from scratch)
  • Fun Salads
  • Miso Soup
  • Carrot Cake (with a homemade cream cheese buttercream frosting)


TTS Tips: Stuff To Do With Pesto Sauce

Pesto, the perfect mix of pine nuts, basil, garlic, parm and olive oil enhance bland dishes and can be quite a versatile condiment to have in your household. I’ll admit that I’m a pesto fanatic. Mostly because I love anything with garlic and basil, and find that pesto can really add pep (Oh, goodness.what a cheesy adjective.) To almost anything!! I’m going to give a few tips on what else your pesto may be good for. But mind you, I am *not* a pesto expert and these ideas will be from the top of me head, so here goes.

  • The most obvious use- in your pastas!  This is what pesto has been used for historically, and it’s practical, and delicious!
  • As a spread for sandwiches! Try this- Grab a toasted bagel, spread some pesto on there, and fill the center with whatever you want! From a veggie sandwich (using mushrooms, onions, sprouts, and sun dried tomatoes), or for a baked chicken sandwich, this spread is sure to please. Even add it to a wrap for a fun snack.

    Asiago Cheese bagel with baked chicken patty and *pesto sauce*

  • As a dip. Combine pesto and mayo to create a fun dip for company, or not.  (Honestly, I just came up with this one, and don’t have a recipe, but just combine both ingredients until it’s well balanced in flavor.) I’m curious abut what a pesto bean dip would taste like. You can even toast some Italian bread, add a little ore olive oil, and di it in the pesto-olive oil mixture.
  • As a pizza base. Yes, as a pizza base. I love pizza, but often react to the harsh marinara sauce, so I find that having a variety of pizza bases from a “white base” (usually olive oil and maybe garlic) or a “green base” are fun ways to enjoy my pizza in a new and exciting way, without the heartburn!You can build your own pizza by buying the ingredients at your local grocery store, and add some pesto on th crust, followed by cheeses, veggies and your meat. I do recommend chicken or a turkey with pesto, because I have had it and know it’s tasty. I cannot be certain of the darker meats, though.
  • Combine pesto with cream cheese and make a fabulous spread on a bagel or a cracker!
  • As a marinade for chicken/other meats. You can combine some salt, pepper, pesto and maybe a little white wine, whisk it together in a bowl and spread it evenly over the meat. Let it sit for a few hours/overnight, and you’ve got well seasoned, and tasty chicken!
  • In baked goods, or quickes/fritatas/strattas. Combine small amounts (or to taste) in quickes/fritatas/strattas to add a new element of flavor, or even make pesto+ veggie flavored breads, or savory muffins. Even make a pesto and cheese loaf (with a mozzarella, parm, garlic and cream cheese spread?)
  • Pesto butter!!! Combine pesto and butter until the desired consistency.
  • Pesto Bruschetta- Take a few slices of Italian(French or Cuban) bread, and either smear it with a fresh clove of garlic, and the pesto sauce, toasting it until crisp. Then, Add chopped tomatoes (fresh or sundried) and minced garlic (optional) as well as grated parm, mozzarella, or feta cheese. While I was writing this, I wondered if there was actually a recipe for this, because I didn’t want to make something up that was not going to taste good. I found one!! Here it is-http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Pesto-Bruschetta
  • And on a salad- either pasta, chicken salads or green leafed salads! There i actually a salad dressing that combines basil and balsamic. Though its not pesto, the basil flavor is strong and gives the idea of how basil would taste on a salad.