Taste Test Thursday: Raspberry Jam

There’s nothing I love more than a buttered piece of crispy-on-top toast, covered in jam. Raspberry jam.

That extra, seedy little crunch goes a long way. Just thinking about it makes me hungry.
As many of you may know, this is my last day at D, which means it’s my last taste test. Forever. But don’t shed too many tears for me, Argentina (or Dallas); I’m going to be eating and drinking my way in San Francisco like the pudgeball that I am. Come visit, SideDishers. I’ll miss all of you. Even you, not-nice commenters. I’ll be thinking of you, too.

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Taste Test Thursday: Pimento Cheese

Cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese.

I love cheese.

In fact, I’m inhaling it right now. As a hardcore Southern-Asian-American gal, one of my favorite snacks is a tub of pimento cheese with a pile of crackers. Who doesn’t love mayo, cheddar, and veggie bits all smushed up together? One of my favorites in Dallas is made by We Me Dallas, but I didn’t exactly have the time to visit her at the farmers market this weekend. Instead, I went out and got these five other ones.

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Taste Test Thursday: Dallas Delivery Pizza

I once watched a Freaky Eaters episode of a 20-something man addicted to pizza. Bread, cheese, and tomato sauce was all he’d eat. No veggies, no nothing. His health suffered, his personal life went down the drain, and he was throwing up some weird gunk every morning.

I finished watching that episode and wanted to eat pizza immediately.
Here’s the thing: You can’t hate pizza. There are all sorts of pizzas, so it’s impossible to dislike. Hate Cane Rosso’s? Go to Zoli’s. Want to dine in? No. Fine. Do take out. Or better yet, sit on your couch and watch the Mavs lose by one point and drop to the eighth seed, while you order a 16-incher and swallow your woes with gobfuls of cheese.

That’s the way we do it here in the Big D. We order for delivery.

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Taste Test Thursday: Ketchup

Ketchup makes the world go ’round.

I like to squeeze bright red Heinz on my French fries, one by one. Little by little. That’s the only way to eat a guilty stash of McDonald’s, according to anyone who matters.

This week, I bought a bag of Tyson’s chicken nuggets and five bottles of organic ketchup for the sauciest taste test we’ve ever had. Good times, good times.

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Taste Test Thursday: Rotisserie Chicken

There are few American foods my dad loves more than rotisserie chicken.

(Maybe fried chicken, but that’s about it.)

I grew up eating Boston Market’s rotisserie chicken like my life depended on it. Actually, it took a lot of convincing by my co-workers before I decided to remove it from this taste test list. They say it’s crap; I say it’s fantastic. Memories, I’ll admit, can befuddle the mind.

For this tasting, I went to five common places to grab a rotisserie chicken in Dallas. I did this all within 1.5 hours and tried, as best I could, to get them back here to still hot. (They ended up warm.) Kroger made the cut because I’d heard good things. Its chicken came in a little plastic bag, swimming in a pool of savory juices. I’m sure you’re thinking the same thing I was, “Might be good, but how could it compare to Eatzi’s and Central Market?”

In that case, you’ll find the results surprising.

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Taste Test Thursday: Olive Oil

I don’t know how civilization would survive without olive oil.

I know I can’t.

Olive oil, at its very base, gives food a sweet fragrance. You can dip plain pieces of bread in it and call it a day. In fact, that’s how we did this taste test. I brought Tuscan bread, people dipped, and we had ourselves a little afternoon feast.

As part of my olive oil criteria, I only picked olive oils that are good for everyday use. None of these are your fancy, you-can-only-buy-it-online kind. You can most definitely find them at Central Market or Whole Foods.

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Taste Test Thursday: Texas Honey

One of my best friends in college was a guy named Oshri. As the beekeeper of the Duke Gardens, he had it something bad for those pointy little bugs.

During one of his honey-collecting trips, I suited up in a white space suit outfit and helped him bottle raw honey into a hundred plastic containers. Some containers had dead, crystallized ants in them. Others didn’t. I remember taking home a bottle with one of the dead bugs and feeling proud of it.

Raw, unfiltered honey is one of the best things we can enjoy. It helps with allergies, it has changed the economy of Sierra Leone, and it makes our world a better place. All the honeys we taste-tested this week were so different from each other, it’s kind of incredible.

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Taste Test Thursday: Granolas

Mornings that start off with a bowl with plain vanilla yogurt, honey, and granola are perfect.

But the type of granola makes all the difference. Crunchy, chewy, or nutty—we have our preferences. To me, granola is a personal thing, a personal choice. 

To make your mornings even better, we tasted five different types. Since granola choices are overwhelming and limitless, I decided to stick with plain, original recipes that A) use coconut and B) have nuts. You can judge me all you want for my criteria. I like coconut and nuts. What can I say.

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Taste Test Thursday: Chicken Salad

Last week, I ate lunch with a co-worker and spent most of the time imagining myself stealing her Whole Foods’ Sonoma chicken salad. If I just maneuvered my hand there, pointed to a faraway object, and ran away… my plan could actually work.

All hopes were dashed when I realized she was spooning out her last few bites.

Life sucks, sometimes.

The good news: I do a taste test every week. And this means I can eat as much chicken freakin’ salad as I want. For research, I used this list that you, readers, curated in 2012, when Nancy asked where to find the best chicken salad in Dallas. Y’all said Empire, Festive Kitchen, Zoes, Central Market, and Whole Foods. And there I went.

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Taste Test Thursday: Guacamole

Avocado is a summer fruit, but when it’s 20-something degrees outside (like it was this entire past week), all our bodies are longing for sunshine. And guacamole, obviously.

In Texas, if you say you don’t like guacamole, people will look at you funny. People will think there’s something wrong with you, ’cause chances are… there might be. Guacamole is a universally liked appetizer, and we know we’re ordering it before we even sit down to eat. It’s easy to make, easy to eat, and it’s healthy. The best time to do this guacamole taste test would’ve been in the summer, but I couldn’t wait until then. It’s too far away.

Avocados are life-saving fruits, and they make the world a better place. That’s why I had to do some sleuthing. I had to find out where the best guac in Dallas is made.

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Taste Test Thursday: Bread-and-Butter Pickles

A pickle taste test is a no-brainer. But what kind of pickle, to be exact? There’s Kosher, there’s brined, dill, lime, and now that godforsaken Kool-Aid kind. We decided to go with bread-and-butter pickles. These chips are sweeter than other variations, and they’re best eaten with burgers and sandwiches. Hence, the name. We did our best to find out which lovely pickle brand would make your turkey-and-swiss lunches taste like the best vinegar party you’ve ever had outside of a jar.

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