'Amaize' white sweet corn is dessert on a cob

Crookshank Company
Amaize Sweet Corn actually looks like the promotional pictures.
Maybe we're too cynical.

We rolled our eyes when the Idaho-based, sweet corn breeder and producer Crookham Company sent our office a few ears of "Amaize" sweet corn with a note claiming it's caused a taste-tester to propose marriage to farmers. We grimaced while reading a statement from the company's president, George Crookham, claiming the corn "takes us beyond what we thought a sweet corn could be." And we crumpled up the sheet when we read the words "sweet corn nirvana."

Then we took a bite and discovered, to our chagrin, that it truly is dessert on a cob.

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Got Flaxmilk? North Dakota farmers create a new dairy alternative

Categories: Product Review

Flax USA
A local alternative to soy or rice milk.
Health nuts like to sprinkle a little flax seed into granola, smoothies, and the like, to give their diet a boost of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, with the hopes of reducing cholesterol and helping their hearts, among other things. Historically, flax is usually eaten whole or pressed to create linseed oil (the stuff used for finishing wood), but now, one North Dakota-based farm family has turned it into a milk-like beverage.

John and Stephanie Stober, fifth-generation farmers based near Goodrich, founded Flax USA in 2001 to market the flax they grew to consumers in the form of seed, oil, and pet food. This spring, they launched what is thought to be the first commercial flaxmilk made from col-pressed flax seed oil.

Flax USA says that one eight-ounce serving of Flaxmilk contains just 50 calories, zero cholesterol and zero trans fat, while providing as much calcium as cow's milk. (It's also enriched with Vitamins A, D, and B12.) In contrast to its seed form, flaxmilk contains no fiber and 7 grams of sugars (from evaporated cane juice) and no protein. It's being sold in "original" and "vanilla" flavors at Wal-Mart stores in 1/2-gallon containers for $2.98.

But the big question is, how does it taste?

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Eruption Effervescent: taste testing the new local energy drink

Photo courtesy Eruption USA
Thinking outside the can
​The idea for Eruption, the new all natural energy drink came about as so many bouts of genius do, at 2 a.m. after a long night of drinking.  Unlike most late night revelations, the makers, Joshua Shirk and Brian Christensen, both of the Twin Cities, actually followed through.  After years of exhaustive research, planning and attempts, they arrived at their final product: A lime flavored packet that can be added to liquid for a burst of vitamin-packed energy without the repugnant flavor that so many energy drinks have.

The ingredient list reads like a highlight reel of the trending "all natural" good-for-you stuff of the moment, from ribovlavins to CoQ10, and it's also sugar-free, being sweetened with Stevia. Using the same effervescent technology that Airborne tablets use, the powder dissolves into liquid. Each packet costs about a dollar and is easily transportable.  Add a dose to a little rail vodka, tequila or light beer for a limey concoction designed to keep the party going until all hours. Or add to a bottle of water for an enhanced work-out.

But how does it taste?

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beer, Eruption

Graeter's ice cream--Oprah's favorite--arrives in the Twin Cities

Categories: Product Review

Graeter's name hints at its greatness!
Missing your daily dose of Oprah? Well, at least you can now drown your sorrows in a pint of her favorite ice cream, as the Cincinnati-based Graeter's recently entered the Twin Cities market.

Graeter's is a super-premium, high milk-fat content product, like Häagen-Dazs or Ben & Jerry's. The ice cream is produced using an extremely labor-intensive process called French pot, in which the liquid ingredients--Graeter's avoids unpronounceable ones--are quick-frozen in spinning, two-gallon cylinders, and then hand-packed into pints.

The family-run company has been in business since 1870, but until last year, when the company built a new production plant that would quadruple production, the brand was little-seen outside of a few dozen ice cream parlors and the Kroger supermarkets in the Midwest, Texas, and Colorado. In 2002, after Oprah Winfrey declared on her show, "You haven't had ice cream till you've had Graeter's. The butter pecan is Stedman's favorite, and mine, too," the company was apparently deluged with 800,000 phone and Internet orders, enough to disable the Cincinnati Bell phone company's switch.

So does it live up to the hype?

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Bravo for Bravo's cream puffs: a sweet discovery

Bravo cream puffs 200.png
Shauna Younge for City Pages
At $1.50 each, these are worth cheering for
We were overjoyed last week to learn that Cottage Grill's Minneapple Pie has been added to the Twins' Target Field food lineup. That little tidbit got us geared up for hand-held desserts with delicious fillings, and so our quest began. After sampling a few treats, we fell for Bravo! Cafe & Bakery's cream puffs.

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Four Queso is Four Loko-style squirtable cheese

Categories: Product Review

four queso.jpg
Alcohol, caffeine, and...cheese?
Following the recent ban of Four Loko-like beverages, Joshua Carlon conceived of its spray cheese equivalent: Four Queso. Carlon produced this funky ad for the theoretical alcoholic, caffeinated squirtable orange goo for MPLS.TV. Check it out:

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Is Alpaca meat the next big thing? A Hot Dish taste test

Photo by Kelly Dwyer
Broiled Alpaca leg steaks from La Pacos in Minnesota
On Wednesday, the Hot Dish introduced you to the Welcks, a Princeton couple who recently launched a business selling alpaca meat. We promised to deliver a review of the products available from La Pacos, and answer the question: Will anybody actually want to eat this stuff?More »


Alpaca, meat

Target macaron taste test

Target macarons - 200.png
Maddy Hague
Target throws down a sweet gauntlet.
Just when we'd finished marveling over Sweets Bakeshop's unconventional macaron menu and the convenience of Cocoa & Fig's Minneapolis Skyway macaron shop, hometown retailer Target enters the macaron ring. 

Unfortunately for these small-town bakeries, Target isn't pulling any punches with its recently launched line of wallet-friendly, authentically French sandwich cookies. Because we're all sugar addicts to varying degrees, we happily sampled each of the company's six flavor options.

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Wendy's new fries are natural, but are they better?

Thumbnail image for Wendys new fries
Put on your buffet pants & grab the kids - we're going to Wendy's!
Just in time for sweat-pants season, fast food also-ran Wendy's has debuted it new "natural"  fries. After spending an estimated $25 million on a new ad campaign touting the benefits of the skin-on, sea-salted crispies Wendy's is hoping you'll take a chance on change.
The prevailing ideas behind the campaign are that sea salt is better than processed regular table salt, there are more nutrients in the potato skins that are discarded by their competitors, the thinner cut fry will be tantalizingly tasty, and at least on the surface appear to be more healthful.  The only thing that really matters is: How do these new fries taste?  

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The McDonald's McRib sandwich encourages queasiness, regret

Categories: Product Review
Jason Zabel
The McRib is even less delicious than it looks. Notice the gray meat. It tastes like gray meat.
​​Yep, McDonald's McRib is terrible alright. I'm not writing this as a snob or an elitist or as someone who claims to never touch fast food or processed food or anything that hasn't come from the hallowed halls of The Wedge. These words come to you from the mouth of a pretty-regular Joe. If pork could be blended and re-flavored and solidified into a patty, then doused in an inoffensive BBQ sauce, and served to millions of Americans ... well, oh. That may be what we have here.

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