Labor Day weekend is here and we're packing our bags for Minnesota. Neither of us has ever been to Minnesota. We don't have family or friends there. And before two years ago, other than the Mall of America, I can't say it was on my radar of places I wanted to visit. So why spend the last days of summer traveling there? We're taking a gastronomic adventure to the Minnesota State Fair.

I first read about the event in this 2012 article in Saveur magazine. and have been trying to convince Ethan to go with me ever since. [Side note: A brainy and exemplary piece of food writing] As this has been our year of stateside travel, it made sense that my fat kid fantasy of fair food would finally be fulfilled.

There are 28 new food additions to the fair in 2014 and this list alone makes it clear that even if we ate every meal during our 3.5 day trip at the fairgrounds, we would barely make a dent in the full menu of available options. Chicken in a waffle, Bacon On A Stick, Hot Apple Dumplings, Crab Fritters... No matter what we choose to eat, I don't think we can go wrong. 

We're looking forward to sharing the details of our next culinary excursion with you when we return!

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Aug 26, 2014 Posted in | , | 0 Comments »

We received samples of this product for our review consideration. The brand will be supplying a product prize pack for one lucky reader. The review below reflects are own, honest and unbiased opinion.  
Water is always our beverage of choice.. We don't purchase soda unless we're hosting a get together and want some as a mixer. Part of the reason is that we're mindful of the calories. Every once in a while we're looking for a beverage to treat ourselves with a fruity flavor without too much sugar. Cascade Ice Water fits that request. They have zero calories and no caffeine, sodium, or carbs! We received five flavors to sample at home: McIntosh Apple, Coconut Pineapple, Blueberry Watermelon, Orange Mango and Raspberry Lemonade. They were all delicious! My favorites have been the Apple and Coconut Pineapple flavors.

Cascade Ice has several cocktail recipes on their website using some of the mixers they make, but honestly, these sparkling waters taste so delicious you use them too.  I decided to mimic the flavor of a piƱa colada (while avoiding the crazy calories from the coconut cream!) by adding to parts of the Coconut Pineapple flavor to one part rum. Mmm, mmm, mmm. Next time, I'll try mixing it with ice in the blender for a frozen treat. Or maybe even put them into frozen pop molds. The idea wheel is spinning for sure!

Want to try them for yourself? Find retailers who carry the brand here. You can also try your luck below and enter to win a case of your own! The entry period ends at 11:59 PM PST on Sunday, August 10th.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Aug 3, 2014 Posted in | , , , , | 4 Comments »

Disclaimer: This is our honest and unbiased review of this product. We received product samples for our test tasting, samples to gift to a lucky reader and nothing else. 

As we mentioned in our BlogHer Food recap, we were introduced to some products we're excited to tell you about. The first is a sweet-tooth satisfying, chocolatey treat called Brownie Brittle, which one lucky reader will get shipped to them (read on for details)!

Do you know anyone who calls dibs on the crispy edges of homemade brownies? I'm that person (although, to be honest, I'd call dibs on any part of a brownie) and this product is snack food paradise in a pouch. A rich brownie taste and the crisp crunch of a cookie make it so hard to stop eating these.

Brownie Brittle comes in four varieties all of which we've tried and vouch for.  The mint chocolate chip ones have been added to my Mint Chocolate Obsession Pinterest board and Ethan may take to hiding the Salted Caramel and hoarding them for himself, but the Chocolate Chip and Toffee Crunch flavors are just as praiseworthy.

These snacks are great out of the bag but we also thought they would be a great addition to one of the crowd-pleasing desserts we're know for, Cannoli Cream Dip.  We usually serve it with cannoli shell chips but those aren't easy to come by, unlike Brownie Brittle (we've spotted them at our local chain grocery and drug stores).

After visiting Sicily last year, we've become cannoli cream purist. It's all about the quality of your ricotta cheese. We purchase farm fresh local ricotta at our grocery store (if I had access to the farm itself, I'd buy it direct!) and simply whip it with some superfine sugar and that's it! The most difficult thing you'll have to do is decide what flavor of Brownie Brittle you're going to dip into it.  We think that the classic chocolate chip and the salted caramel were the best, but there's really no going wrong.

The lovely folks at Brownie Brittle have offered to send one lucky Que Pasa NYC reader a 4-pack of the product to try for themselves so be sure to enter for your chance to win.  The sweepstakes ends at 11:59 pm PST on Sunday, July 27, 2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Jul 16, 2014 Posted in | , , , | 8 Comments »

I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.

It's the 4th of July and for so many of us the day's festivities will include firing up of the barbecues and getting our grill on. Last weekend I got some grilling inspiration by attending the Macy's Great American Grilling Guru #SizzleShowdown. Six semi-finalists, who won their spots by competing in regional competitions across the United States, gathered in New York's Herald Square on the steamy afternoon of June 28, 2014 to compete for the title of America's Greatest Grilling Guru and a prize of $10,000.

Macy's Culinary Council Hosted the America's Greatest Grilling Guru Showdown
 in Herald Square, New York City.

The competition was conducted under the watchful (and handsome) eyes of two Macy's Culinary Council Chefs, Johnny Iuzzini and Todd English. These guys epitomize the "bad boy" persona (especially Johnny) and are gastronomic phenoms to boot. During the 60 minutes that the contestants had to prepare their grill specialties, these guys paid close attention, looking for any new techniques or surprising techniques.

To distract the audience from the hunger induced by the enticing wafts of proteins and vegetables these skilled cooks were artfully preparing, the event host and chef judges posed trivia questions to test the audience's knowledge of Macy's, the Macy's Culinary Council, and Cooking. I was one of the many lucky winners and walked away with Todd English's cookbook Cooking in Everyday English: The ABCs of Great Flavor at Home. (So many recipes in here that I can't wait to prepare and they all look uncomplicated!)

As the competitors' 60 minutes came to an end, the judges were put to work, tasting and deconstructing each dish to determine who would be the winner. The submissions were an herb goat cheese and prosciutto stuffed chicken, pesto citrus prosciutto grilled shrimp, crab sliders with avocado tartar cream, pork and beef braids with charred apple-mango reduction, Thai lamb loin chops, and beef short ribs.

America's Greatest Grilling Guru Sherri W. of Crestview, FL.

When all was said and done, Sherri W.'s Grilled Thai Lamb Loin Chops reigned supreme. Sherrie walked away with the title, the cash prize, and a front row seat to next year's Macy's 4th of July Fireworks here in New York City! I walked away having had a great time, recipes in hand, and plans for some grilling of my own. Are you a grilling guru? If you are, you've got about a year to start perfecting your best recipe. Maybe you can be the next winner!

If you need a little inspiration to get started, visit the Macy's Culinary Council website for great seasonal recipes:

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Jul 4, 2014 Posted in | , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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