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Posts Tagged ‘Nashville’

As a friend of mine would say, Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale is real spicy-like. It’ll also produce a flaming hot soda burp. I mean, probably. Because I wouldn’t really know.

I have a not-very-secret obsession with ginger.  Ginger ale. Ginger beer. Ginger-based cocktails. Ginger cookies. Candied ginger (I like the uncrystallized version from Trader Joe’s because I can eat it at my desk without dropping sugar everywhere).

I like spicy things. I like sweet things. All of my favorite ginger concoctions satisfy both of those likes.

The addition of Earth Fare to Huntsville’s shopping choices made it pretty easy to fill my ginger beer craving. A four-pack of Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew seemed to be the spiciest ginger soda I was going to find around here, and I thought it was the perfect brand for the occasional ginger-based cocktail.

I was wrong, however. It seems I didn’t need to look to all the way to a California company to satisfy this fix. Some of the hottest, spiciest ginger ale I can get my hands on is bottled a mere 100 miles away in Birmingham, Alabama.

Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale – Southern Spice is honestly one of the zestiest blends I’ve ever tasted, challenging the array of international ginger ales that decimate the taste buds of mere mortals at the Coca-Cola Museum in Atlanta. (If you ever go there, you should totally mix the spiciest ginger ale you can find with ALL the other soda flavors, no matter how many funny looks you get from your date.)

I discovered this peppery ambrosia at the I Dream of Weenie hot dog van in Nashville, which is another post for another day, I promise.

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale at my neighborhood Publix, meaning beverages are about to get a lot spicier at Chez Haggerty. Maybe a couple of pimento cheese hot dogs (totally a thing at I Dream of Weenie) are in order, too.

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If I’m not planning my vacation around doughnuts, then you can bet that I’ve got my eye on a good ice cream place or two. Jake’s Ice Cream in Atlanta, for example, or the Shake Shack in Manhattan (actually, TONS of ice cream places in Manhattan — I never have enough time to visit all the places on my list and they just keep opening) — you name a city, I’ll find an ice cream place that you should try.

I had been trying to get to the Pied Piper Creamery in Nashville for a couple of years now, but always seemed to be in a rush to return home or to get somewhere else in Nashville, which, BTW, has topped Atlanta as my least-favorite city to drive around in. We never seemed to make it to the right part of town, which is a shame because East Nashville’s Five Points District is really awesome, and possibly my favorite part of Nashville given its lack of the touristy junk that pervades downtown.

Back to ice cream. After a quick lunch at the 3 Crow Bar (which turned a simple BLT into an unforgettable BLTEA with the addition of sliced boiled eggs and avocado), we took a detour before heading back to the car. Half a block down, I spotted the Pied Piper Creamery and I’m pretty sure I stopped, gasped and pointed. I was a little full for ice cream, but I WAS NOT about to miss out on this surprise discovery.

The husband agreed to split a small cup with me. This upped the pressure, since I could choose only ONE flavor.

I passed up the ever-famous Trailer Trash (vanilla with Oreo, Twix, Butterfinger, Nestle Crunch, Snickers, M&Ms, and Reese’s Pieces). I managed to avoid the siren call of the weird flavors, such as We Can Pickle That (dill pickle sorbet). I didn’t want to go too pedestrian, however, and I had been craving banana pudding since reading about Miss Lily’s Banana Pudding last week, so I chose the Banana Fanna Fo Fudding (banana pudding ice cream with vanilla wafers).

It was exquisitely creamy, filled with just the right ratio of bananas to vanilla wafers. Both the bananas and wafers held their textures well, especially considering the tendency of bananas to get slimy and wafers to get soggy when immersed in pudding. The banana flavor was distinct, but it was definitely not the overwhelming artificial banana flavor found in so many fruit-flavored foods.

The small cup was about $2.50, and it would have been enough for one person had that one person not just eaten a BLTEA wrap and a small bag of kettle chips all by herself.

I’m already planning my return trip, because sometimes the Pied Piper Creamery has a flavor called Ziggy Starcrunch (chocolate with Little Debbie Star Crunch pieces and a caramel swirl), and if you talk with me about food for more than 15 minutes you’ll probably find out why I call myself the Forrest Gump of Little Debbie products and you’ll also know why I simply have to try this flavor.

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Two years ago, I completed a successful search for a recipe that tasted like the fabulous Gingeroos that I bought at a Las Vegas Trader Joe’s but couldn’t find in Nashville.

The husband and I spent Christmas in Vegas this year, and when I spotted the bags of Gingeroos on the shelf at TJ’s, I knew it was the perfect time for a taste test since we had just polished off the last of this year’s Triple Ginger Cookies a couple of days earlier.

The verdict? My cookies are actually BETTER than Gingeroos. Either I originally gave these cookies more props than they deserved, or the recipe has changed over the last three years. They were lighter than I remembered, more like a basic gingerbread than the spicy cookies I’ve been making. The big chunks of candied ginger that I recalled simply weren’t there.

Don’t get me wrong: Gingeroos are still one of my favorite store-bought cookies (granted, this is not a long list). They served as a delicious impromptu hotel snack and got us through the last 30 minutes of a long flight home.

The revelation that they’re not the best cookies in the world, however, has made me realize that I not only can make foods that are just as good as store-bought, I can make them BETTER.

End-of-the-year ego boost? I’ll take it.

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So if I had anything as organized as a bucket list, seeing U2 live would definitely be at the top of it.

Check.

More about this later. I’m still processing. And recovering.

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The “Do One Thing” series chronicles my yearlong effort to tackle one project every day to organize my life and home.

Day 65: Finally hung up the curtain rod for the long-suffering wall hanging that we’ve owned for years.  It came into our possession when my husband bought a Volkswagen Vanagon back in the late 1990s. (Apparently, it’s traditional to include a gift when you sell a Vanagon  — the husband left a waterbed mattress in one that he sold before we were married.)

Anyway, it doesn’t really go with anything, but it doesn’t really NOT go with anything, either. It’s handmade and unique, and I love the stylized creatures that now brighten the upstairs hallway.

Also this week:

Day 63: Made an epic find at Target. I was planning to buy a duvet and duvet cover for the guest bedroom, since I’ve found that combination imminently easier to care for than a comforter, bedspread or quilt. With the mother-in-law set to arrive later this month, it was finally time to ditch the cat-hair-laden comforter.

Anyway, I found the EXACT items I was looking for in the clearance section for half price. Woot!

Day 64: Attempted, yet again, to move the garage shelf, only to find that there was a HUGE, unwieldy pile of green wire for the robotic mower blocking the way. I spent a good 30 minutes untangling the wire and wrapping it around an empty paper towel tube.

Can it be unwrapped easily without retangling itself? I don’t care.

Day 66: Finally managed to move the garage shelf into its new place without getting hit in the head with the surfboard again or finding another tragic tangle of green wire.

Day 67: Cleared a few things out of the kitchen pantry, including a canister of breadcrumbs that expired in April 2010. It’s rather amazing how things accumulate so quickly in there.

Days 68 and 69: I spent these two days driving to Nashville, hanging out with my brother at work and then hanging out while he had knee surgery, and then driving back. Family trumps home improvement, every time.

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I’ve been on a cookie odyssey for a couple of years in search of a proper substitute for Trader’s Joe’s Gingeroos, which I discovered while vacationing in Las Vegas. (And yes, I DO always visit grocery stores on vacation. You should too.)

I don’t think molasses was a big component of my childhood treats, because these cookies were richer, darker, more sultry than any I had ever tasted. Chunks of crystallized ginger closed the deal … these were my new go-to favorites, only it was not to be. Double tragedy: The nearest Trader Joe’s is two hours away in Nashville, and they don’t seem to stock Gingeroos.

Admittedly, by cookie odyssey, I mean that I found one nearly suitable recipe and tried it a couple of times before my oven joined the Great Appliance Rebellion of 2009, rendering all cookie-baking attempts futile at best, infuriating at worst.

Then, November. My search is renewed after installation of a new stove.

I had found this recipe last year, but never got to try it. Miracle of miracles, it appeared in a sponsored link atop my gmail last week. It was culinary fate.

Triple Ginger Cookies, from the recipe journal 101 Cookbooks, are a huge ordeal to make, but they’re worth every minute. They’re what I call “grown-up cookies.” Not everyone will like them – they give off a bit of heat – and they’re not the kind of cookie that you eat a half dozen of in one sitting with a big glass of milk. You relish one or two with a cup of coffee or other hot adult beverage that may or may not be spiked with Bailey’s.

Just to make things interesting, I also made my own crystallized ginger for the recipe. I remembered paying a premium for crystallized ginger last year (around $4 extra a pound at the Fresh Market), and this recipe uses A LOT. The clerk at my Asian grocery store said they hadn’t received a shipment of crystallized ginger in months, so my backup bulk supply option was off the table.

Crystallizing ginger was a pretty big ordeal, too, but it made the house smell DELICIOUS and it reinforced my assertion that I do too need that OXO mandoline that I’ve got my eye on.

I’m not going to claim they’re just like Gingeroos, but they’re close enough.

Next kitchen project: the perfect hummus recipe. Also maybe, just maybe, fixing that hole in the ceiling.

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Countdown to rock

This weekend’s forecast calls for an AC/DC concert and a trip to Trader Joe’s in Nashville, among other awesome activities. I’ve put up with a good deal of bad weather over the past few years, Mother Nature, so be a doll and keep your ice storms to yourself. KTHNX

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