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Category Archives: travels

Another day, and thankfully, another candy shop….

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I just love visiting creative candy retailers. They celebrate candy without apologies and for that I applaud them!

This place is called Lolli and Pops. It’s a chain that stocks all sorts of retro, bulk and fancy chocolates. You can find candies and sodas from Japan and french macarons. I visited the shop at the Boise Town Square Mall, but they have shops in many malls across the country.

I asked the clerk which gummy candy had the best pure, not too sweet, fruit flavors and she directed me to the gummy bears. These little gummies came in all flavors including champagne and the fruit flavors were excellent.

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I found the British chocolates and bought a Curly Wurly because Cadbury from England is my favorite…

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The packaging is beautiful (the photo isn’t, though…)

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they stock Strawberry and Chocolate Charleston Chews!

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Beautiful truffles and petit fours…

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Too many choices!

Check out their site lolliandpops.com  to see their story and the beautiful packaging. These folks know their sweets and I’m so glad that they have such wonderful shops! If you find a shop in your travels, be sure to stop in and don’t forget the gummy bears….

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Next time you’re in Finland…

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This is the national drink of Finland, or so I am told…

It is called a “long drink” and it is very refreshing. It’s a mix of gin and grapefruit soda (which didn’t sound very good at first) and one sip convinced me that we need to import this to the U.S.A. pronto! Or as the Finns would say “nopeasti”…

Back to the long drink and where it got it’s origin (according to wikipedia):

long drink or tall drink is an alcoholic mixed drink with a relatively large volume (> 12 cl, frequently 16–40 cl or between 5–9 fluid ounces).[1]

A long drink will have a tall glass full of mixer, in contrast to a short drink which has less mixer. Short drinks are generally stronger since both types tend to contain the same amount of alcohol. Long drinks are therefore generally more dilute than short drinks.

In Finland, long drink refers either to a mixed drink made from gin and, most commonly, grapefruit soda, or to a fermented drink that comes close to the taste of gin and grapefruit juice.

for more on this drink in Finland please click here.

Ok, back to the drink. I was lucky enough to have friends who brought a duffel bag back of this stuff from Finland and they were generous enough to share it with me.

It’s great over ice with lime. According to wikipedia, this same fast can be concocted with a 1 to 5 part mix of gin and grapefruit soda. If I get around to trying this with Squirt and some cheap gin, I’ll let you know if it’s worth a try.

But if you ever find yourself in Finland, order a Hartwall Long Drink and bring an extra duffel bag to bring back a stash!

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Summatime Summatime Sum Sum Summatime for Milo’s tea!

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It’s mid June and even in the Northwest the forecast is for warm days and nights. It’s iced tea time! (Yes, I know that iced tea is a good, year ’round beverage, but it’s just so much better on a warm day with a slice of lemon, ice clinking, and beads of condensation gathering on the glass.)

Let me introduce you to  Milo’s Famous Tea; a fantastic prepared iced tea. It hails from Alabama, where iced tea is in fact a year ’round beverage, and they are pretty particular about their food and drink. I was lucky enough to live in Alabama, and Southerners are true food experts. Their restaurants boast the most regionally diverse fare anywhere in the country. Even simple potlucks rivals most good dinner parties anywhere else.

So imagine my delight when I spotted Milo’s in Idaho!

Milo’s is sold in gallon jugs in the refrigerated case. It is made fresh and has an expiration date within the next 30 days, so you know there aren’t any preservatives. In fact, all their tea is made from tea leaves, not powdered tea. The mere fact that it doesn’t live on the shelf tells you it’s fresh.

There is sweet tea, unsweet, and no-calorie sweet tea. My favorite is the unsweet, but every so often a good glass of sweet tea is just the ticket.

This tea is flavorful, and strong enough to handle ice-melt. I could drink it all day, and when I get home from work I pour a tall, refreshing glass with just a splash of organic lemonade.

Check out the Milo’s web site and see where you can buy a few gallons. It will be your favorite iced tea by the time you finish your first glass.

Photo credit: AL.com

Stonewall Kitchen’s Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Bar and Latte Mix

Stone Wall Kitchen Pumpkin BarIt’s the most pumpkin-y time of the year, and in case you haven’t overdosed on pumpkin spice everything,  this chocolate bar does not disappoint. I found it at a Stonewall kitchen store in Newburryport, MA.

The milk chocolate is smooth and the spice is pronounced and a nice compliment to the chocolate.

Stonewall Kitchen is known for all sorts of jams, sauces and mixes that make your kitchen smell as if you are a wonderful cook and baker.

In addition to the chocolate bar I was drawn to the Pumpkin Spice Latte mix. You mix it with warm milk for a delicious start to the day and I added a bit of extra coffee to lessen the sweetness. It makes quite a few cups and is on sale for about $10.50 which is the price of 2 large pumpkin spice lattes at the coffee store.

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Check out their website for more goodies. I love their packaging and foods. Who wouldn’t love to get a hostess gift of something from Stonewall? Hint, this means me.

 

Saltwater Taffy land-ho!

When you’re on the coast you have to buy saltwater taffy. I’m sure it’s a rule, or law, or at least an ordinance.

This week we’re visiting the beautiful, Oregon coast and our travels took us to Cannon Beach.

Here we found a great candy store called “Bruce’s Candy Kitchen”.  It is filled with every sweet you can imagine and at least 30 flavors of saltwater taffy,(which is a huge weakness of mine.) My favorite flavors of taffy are peppermint and lemon…don’t ask why, I really don’t know. Bruce’s even gives you a card with a guide to the taffy flavors based on their colors.

30 flavors of taffy

Bruce’s also carries fabulous handmade chocolates and dipped apples. My aunt found her favorite candy, salted licorice, which I really didn’t care for. Bruce’s also makes lovely seashell shaped candies that were in my hotel room to greet me (I knew it was going to be a great place as soon as I saw them.)

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But back to the taffy…according to wikipedia it originated in 1883 when a candy shop was flooded by the salty Atlantic Ocean. read more here.

Bruce’s Candy Kitchen is worth a visit, and they have a website, too. Visit it here and prepare to get a candy craving.

There are other purveyors of Salt Water Taffy in Cannon beach, but Bruce’s is the best. The other one on the same street had a larger variety of flavors, but they weren’t as fresh and creamy. Trust me, and stick with Bruce’s. Here’s the T-shirt I bought and it is a good life rule to live by…

Life's too short...

 

Big Dipper Ice Cream is out of this world!


Big Dipper Truck

Should you find yourself in Missoula or Helena Montana, you must make your way to Big Dipper ice cream. Handcrafted with only the finest, purest ingredients and served by true characters, it is the way ice cream should be. Lines form early and people are happy to wait a little for a cone, sundae, or a ice cream soda.

I had a Coconut cone, my husband had Espresso Heath, my daughter had White Mint Oreo, and all were delicious and fresh.

They also have a truck called “Coneboy” that shows up at various festivals. You can have the truck come to your function, too. If you spot the truck and if you think you’re too full for dessert, get a child’s size cone, and you’ll be glad you did.

Check out their web site for more information about their award winning shop, and let me know if you have visited them, and what your favorite flavor was.

Babycakes in Hillcrest is a new favorite of mine

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While vacationing in the San Diego last week we came upon this heaven of delicious food, outstanding bakery sweets and a fun spot for adult beverages.

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We were just looking for lunch, and the little house with the porch caught our eye. Next,  the words “hearty eats” and “liquid sweets” were what lured us in.

When we headed inside and looked at the menu we could hardly decide on which item to order. Everyone ordered something different and no-one left disappointed or hungry. The sandwiches, soup bowls, burger and fries servings were huge, and the prices were very reasonable.

Although we were all too full for cupcakes, we ordered some to take back to the hotel for a late night treat. I must admit that cupcakes have been really over played lately, but these cupcakes were worth the hype. The buttercream flavors were fresh and complemented each cake flavor. We tried blood orange, red velvet, chocolate raspberry, lemon bavarian, and pistachio. All were delightful, and if we had been staying closer to Babycakes, we would have been back for more.

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If your travels bring you to San Diego, you must stop in for lunch, a cocktail and a cupcake for later. Check out their site. It seems that there is always something fun happening there. You can order their cupcakes online, too! There is also a location in Balboa Park if you happen to be visiting the zoo.