Would you rather: Vegan jerky or snickerdoodle hummus?
It's been a busy taste test season over on the Austin360 Facebook page, but it's been awhile since I recapped what I've been trying in those weekly livestreams.
With some fellow newsroom taste-testers, I've found some really good and some not-so-good products in those videos, which I usually record at my desk at the Statesman.
One of the best products I've had in the past few weeks were those new coconut cookies from H-E-B that are raising money for disaster relief in Texas. In that same livestream, I tried White Castle's frozen sliders, including one made with a vegan patty, which restaurant critic Matthew Odam was clear were not something he'd try again. We also talked about a new ice cream for your dog from Purina that I didn't end up trying because the box said it wasn't for human consumption.
In another livestream, I enjoyed frozen ramen from PF Chang's, and I also liked a pecan-flavored drinkable yogurt from Lala. Eric Webb and I tried Snap'd, the newest member of the Cheez-It family, which I hated but he loved. In that same video, I tried a creamed honey from Austin Honey Company that tasted almost like caramel.
Amy Edwards, one of our Austin360 Radio hosts, joined me a few weeks ago to try four kinds of dessert hummus, including snickerdoodle and brownie batter, from a company called Delighted By that has been featured on Shark Tank. Of the four dessert hummus, the only one we really liked was the brownie batter flavor. The rest were grainy or tasted too much like chickpeas trying to masquerade as a dessert. We also tried an avocado-based chocolate mousse that was not my favorite thing. We also talked about Art of Green, a Houston-based company that's selling green (read: bleach-free) cleaning products at H-E-B.
One of the most memorable products I've tried recently was salted caramel ice cream sandwich from Tillamook, that Odam agreed was par with a dessert you'd buy at a high-end restaurant in Austin. He did not, however, enjoy the new espresso soda from Four Js, which was a featured food company at the Austin Food & Wine Festival.
In last week's livestream, I explained some of the backstory to the news that the H-E-B at Oltorf/South Congress is staying in its current location, and I also tried two kinds of Primal's meatless jerky, only one of which I'd eat again.
In this week's video, I chatted with Catherine Stiles, the owner of Barbecue Wife who makes both a bloody Mary and a margarita mix, about ways to spiff up your margaritas this summer and how to use up leftover barbecue or grilled meats.