Nov 09

HOTLIPS makes Mouths Happy

Hot Lips in a Row

MMMMMMM Fresh fruit soda from the Pacific Northwest. HOTLIPS is like a party in your mouth. A few days after this delicious little package with individually wrapped bottles arrived on my doorstep, I took my first sips of HOTLIPS, and I was a convert. The sodas are all cooked in a kettle, then bottled, and then pasteurized. The fruit flavorings take you a bit by surprise, because you expect the sodas to be a bit sweeter or more artificial tasting, but the truth is the sodas taste like real fruit. There’s no long story to this one. Even though HOTLIPS soda is across the country, it’s totally worth the shipping to taste these artisanal fruit sodas. DELISH!

HOTLIPS soda in a box

HOTLIPS raspberry soda


Nov 09

Ooo la la Oolong!


Soooo many good things about Oolong! Smooth, earthy taste, and tons of Polyphenols, which is said to promote overall health and weight loss. Pictured here is the particularly smokey Wuyi Oolong from Zhi Tea, purchased on Foodzie.com (which I’m totally obsessed with now, as two of my orders have arrived already!)

Oolong has been a favorite of mine since this summer, when I sampled a package of Teavana Oolong which I really enjoyed. The Teavana Oolongs tend to be a bit more on the green tea side of the spectrum, making them a bit more bitter, but slightly less caffeinated. I also really enjoy Tea Forte’s Silk Oolong, which lives up to it’s name with a smooth texture that doesn’t really get bitter even if you oversteep a bit.



Nov 09

Root Liquor

Root 1

Root Liquor from Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction is the trendy liquor of the season. Featured in the pages of Real Simple (part of the gifts for under $50 section), this organic, 80 proof liquor has the childhood nostalgia of root beer barrels with the appropriately adult kick of alcohol. If you ever wondered why God created cream soda, the answer is to drink with root liquor, making a light drink that’s good for fall afternoons. Interested in dessert? Make yourself a Root Liquor Root Beer Float. A refreshing Tsunami with Root, Lemonade, Meyers Dark Rum and Ginger Beer is perfect for those unseasonably warm days this year (although I prefer mine with a bit more root and a bit less Meyers). Here are the recipes for all three of these excellent drinks:


2 oz. Myers dark rum
1 oz. ROOT
fresh lemonade
ginger beer

Combine ROOT and rum in a pint glass. Fill remainder of pint glass with fresh lemonade and top off with ginger beer.

Created by Indhira Torres of Silk City

Root and Cream Soda

4 oz. Cream Soda (Spreckers is EXCELLENT in this)
1.5 oz. ROOT

Pour ROOT into glass, then Cream Soda (adding the carbonated bev. second helps to mix)

ROOT Float

Play on root beer float we know and love from childhood.

1.5oz ROOT
1.5oz Cruzan rum cream (or other light rum cream)
1.5 cola

Combine ingredients over ice in shake. Make sure you have a tight seal and shake. Strain into glass. Served straightly chilled.

Root would be an exciting addition to any holiday gathering this year. Just make sure you don’t pour it all away on your guests ;) You can order Root online here (Info at the bottom of the page)


Jun 09

Tea Time

Since my move back to my hometown in Connecticut, I have been looking for fun and interesting places to dine and write about. One of the first that was suggested to me was M-Bellish Tea Room in Milford. This small establishment is easy to find–right over the Devon bridge coming from Stratford. I would recommend a trip to M-Bellish, just for some of the tea.  

m-bellish-1The good at M-Bellish are primarily the tea and the hospitality. The greeting that I received when I entered was warm and bubbly–the woman who seemed to be running the tea room was active and present in the shop. I was very impressed by her. The tea was fantastic–I ordered the Wu Yi Oolong and took a deep breath as I took my first sip and enjoyed the dry, earthy flavors. 

The most disappointing part of the experience at M-Bellish was the service. At the time I went, my sister and I were the only two people in the restaurant. It took the ONLY server about 10 minutes to come back to us for our tea order (everything else was pre-set, as we had ordered the Light Tea). It was another 15 minutes before our tea was brought to us, and then about another 15 before we saw any sign of food. By the time my sister and I were finished, it had been over an hour and a half simply to have tea and a light meal. I understand the atmosphere of relaxation, but this felt more like incompetence that purposeful time in between orders. 

The food was decent, but not decent enough to make me come back for another $30 light tea. Next time, I might order a simple sandwich off of their to-go menu, or perhaps a salad. I was surprisingly pleased by the mandarin orange and cream cheese sandwich with walnuts on cinnamon-raisin bread was possibly the highlight of the meal, which included cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches, and a particularly disappointing dry turkey with a bit of mustard sandwich. I appreciate white bread, and I love store-bought loaves, a starch I subsisted on during my college days when money was tight and a jar of peanut butter was the only spread on hand. I am, by no means, a bread snob.  The ingredients of these sandwiches were fantastically fresh and perfectly proportioned, but the bread was clearly not fresh. This ruined the sandwiches, which in my mind, could have been saved with a good fresh slice of Wonderbread (baring the turkey sandwich, which was beyond repair). 

m-bellish-2The menu advertises the next course as a warm scone with clotted cream and preserves. The latter two, yes. Warm scone, no. Because I was tasting the scone after the sandwiches, I made sure that I was not making any unfair assumptions, and tested the temperature of the scones when they first came out. They were cold when they arrived at my table. However, the scones were fresher than the bread, however, and so I was pleased. The petit fours were mediocre. The strawberry tart was delicious if you took the strawberry off of the tart and ate it straight with the mint leaf–otherwise the custard was simply too overwhelming. The white chocolate strawberry petit four was very sugary, and the chocolate covered mini-cake had an overwhelming amount of almond taste to it. The meal, in my opinion, was not worth the $30 a person. 

Again, the hospitality and tea will bring me back to M-Bellish, but I won’t be eating there again. As we were leaving, the hostess gave my sister and I both roses, and we purchased some tea, and because they didn’t have the tea that I had wanted, the hostess generously gave me a sample of a deep, earthy, amber-colored tea called Kali Cha, which I sampled the next morning with my peanut butter sandwich on fresh, whole wheat bread. Pepperidge Farm. Delicious. 

Overall, I enjoyed my experience at M-Bellish Tea Room. However for an establishment named for an element of detail, they need to pay a bit more attention, and honor that name, in both the food and the service.


Apr 09

I love green drinks!


I’m a big fan of green drinks, and this one looks like a good one for the warm weekend coming up!!! Care of FoodNetwork.com! 



Make a big batch of margaritas with a twist. Pulse 1 thin slice jalapeno, a handful of celery leaves, 6 ounces fresh lime juice and a spoonful of confectioners’ sugar in a blender. Mix with 16 ounces tequila and 8 ounces orange liqueur in a pitcher; chill. Serve on the rocks in salt-rimmed glasses.


Photograph by Tina Rupp