Miss Ginsu: About/Bio


Notable in New York

Just to put this up front, I'm pretty much a recipe blogger, not a product blogger. When I write about a product it's because I genuinely like it and want to share the awesomeness. If there's a product I'm asked to sample, I'll let you know who sent me the sample.

I've always been straight-up about this kind of thing, but apparently there are enough issues out there that the FTC is writing laws about this stuff now.

SO... now that all that's out of the way, here are three new-ish food products out here in Gotham City that make me proud to be a New Yorker. Not only am I quite fond of each of them, but either I or my fella purchased everything here at full price with our very own hard-earned cash.

Mother In Law's Kimchi

1. Mother In Law's Kimchi

I love kimchi. Love it. My sweetheart greatly prefers sauerkraut, but because he is, indeed, sweet, he brought me a jar of this delicious kimchi.

Mother In Law's Kimchi is a newcomer on the north side of the Essex Street Market, and proprietor Lauryn Chun was on hand this weekend to proffer sample bites.

Well-balanced and not too spicy, this formula seems to have a meaty richness. Although (as I mentioned), J is not typically wild about kimchi, he says this is "an excellent example." And since I've already eaten my way through half the jar, I think it's pretty clear how I feel about it.

Goober Peas

2. Boiled in Brooklyn Goober Peas

A couple of architects, a bunch of raw peanuts and a dream...

Potato chips I can take or leave, but I'm a huge fan of fresh-boiled peanuts as a snack food. Sadly, I haven't really had a local source since the Queen's Hideaway in Greenpoint shuttered.

If you've never had the pleasure, boiled peanuts are a Southern thing. Tender, earthy, rich and very much like cooked beans. They're generally simmered in a very flavorful brine. I'm frankly a little surprised they're not a standard bar snack, because I personally think they're killer with beer and cocktails.

With four flavor varieties and cold iced tea on hand, Boiled in Brooklyn will be one of my new go-to stops at the Dumbo Brooklyn Flea.

Connecticut-Style Lobster Roll
3. Red Hook Lobster Pound "Connecticut Style" Lobster Rolls

I believe plenty has already been said about Red Hook Lobster Pound as a source for good, reasonably priced seafood. I'd like to put in a good word for the "Connecticut Style" Lobster Roll they sell at the Sunday Brooklyn Flea in Dumbo.

Composed of nothing more than lobster meat that's quick-sauteed in butter, then sprinkled with scallions and paprika and nestled into a buttery toasted bun, the Connecticut is a simple, flavorful seaside fare — a nice break from the mayo-based Maine variety (although RHLP sells that, too).

Happy Eating!
Miss Ginsu

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Battle of the Busy Waters

My friend's daughter calls sparkling mineral water "busy water" (a take on fizzy water, I believe).

It seems quite appropriate to me: bubbly water is liquid on the move. It's the busiest water you're going to find.

As much as I adore New York Tap, I also happen to be a big fan of the sparkling stuff. It replaces soda pop as a recreational beverage for me (no calories, no sugar, lotsa fizz!) and I like the way it settles my upset tummies.

Busy Water

Though busy water also causes me a bit of consternation. It comes in large, heavy glass bottles, and the stuff I've been drinking happens to be from the south of France. Quite a carbon load on that glass of fizz, if you see what I mean.

So J and I recently tested out a group of sparkling candidates from near and far in the hope of tracking down the best of the busy. There's a New York State candidate in here, one from Arkansas, a couple of locally bottled, the French stuff I've been drinking and the most famous Italian contender (just for good measure).

Meet the candidates:

Busy Water Battle

I wanted this tasting to run the gamut from the supremely thrifty and widely available (Canada Dry Seltzer Water) to the very elusive and expensive (Mountain Valley). From the local (Saratoga, NY) to the distant import (San Pellegrino Terme, Italy).

#6: I hadn't expected much from the Canada Dry Seltzer Water. After all, a sodium-free seltzer really couldn't be any match for a good mineral blend, but I threw it into the ring for its wide availability and populist appeal. Vigorously fizzy, but lacking in a pleasant personality, it rated last, thanks to a strange lingering aftertaste. I'll probably still drink it if I can find a slice of lime to throw in the glass.

#5: Initially excited to discover Saratoga, a local sparkling spring water bottled in gorgeous cobalt blue, I was taken aback by the large, vicious bubbles. Sharp and violent, this water actually irritated the tongue and throat with sharp high notes and a bitterness at the back of the mouth. A shame, too. It's local and it's lovely to look at... I just can't drink it.

#4: The Poland Spring Sparkling Water had a medium-low fizz and a flavor that was inoffensive, but nothing to write home about. It paled in comparison to the top three candidates.

#3: Perrier is the fizzy water I've been sipping for years, so I was surprised to put it in third place. It had large, vigorous bubbles and it flowed nicely across the tongue, but it had a flavor that struck me as a little citric, while J found it to be "almost acidic."

#2: Mountain Valley Sparkling Water is drawn up from Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas and artificially carbonated.

It has a very mellow fizz, tiny bubbles and a very soft, round mouthfeel. Sipping Mountain Valley, I was reminded of the way Mountain Dew differs from other, more highly carbonated sodas like 7UP.

It should also be noted that ounce for ounce, this was the most expensive water in the tasting. Even if it was the first-place winner, I wouldn't be able to justify the pricetag.

#1: Our overall winner turned out to be San Pellegrino.

With dainty bubbles, a very nice effervescence, a gentle, satisfying mouthfeel and flavor that tasted sprightly, but not too lively, this seemed to be the best-balanced of the bunch. The company claims that even the great Leonardo da Vinci was a fan.

Unfortunately, San Pellegrino is also the contender that comes from farthest away, so it doesn't help my carbon footprint issue in the least. Bummer.

Maybe I should just pick up one of those CO2 systems and start carbonating the New York tap water to suit my sparkling needs.

Yours in food and drink,
Miss Ginsu

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Crushably Cute + Yummy

Ike & Sam

Three products I'm wild for right now (that also happen to have have meltingly cute packaging):

aztec dark hot chocolate

goat's milk ice cream

Ike & Sam's:

(* Limited range of sale... if you happen to live in the Tri-state, pick it up at Garden of Eden shops in Manhattan and some Key Foods and C-Town stores on the Upper East Side.)

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Pete: Gastronomic Overachiever

chocolate chart
Barkeep, serve it up hard and bitter!

You've probably tried one of Pete's beers. A longtime homebrewer, Pete Slosberg's now ubiquitous Pete's Wicked Ale launched out of the basement in 1986 and has since bubbled up into a whole hoppy, happy family of award-winning brews.

You'd think Pete would be happy with being a well-known national brand. You'd think Pete would kick back and pop a cap, admiring a job well done.

Apparently, you'd be wrong. Waiting on line at the checkout last night I discovered beer-brewin' Pete's been moonlighting. Doing what? you ask. A pizza shop? Nope. Hot dogs? Nope. High-end vodka? Nope.

The wicked one left the brewery to ferment on its own and went to culinary school to start up a second career as a chocolatier. Under the pseudonym
Cocoa Pete, the intrepid everyman's gourmet tries his hand at crowd pleasin' chocolate products in an attempt to stock America's shelves with something better than the waxy packs they pump out of Pennsylvania.

I was sucked in by the Caramel Knowledge bar, a dark chocolate (joy!), caramel and coffee confection that fuses three of my favorite vices in one four-mounded "bar." The pieces conveniently break off into dome-like chunks reminiscent of a quartet of caramel-filled dark chocolate igloos.

I had one of the sections last night (one rich, sweet chunk was about as much as I could take at a go) and it was, indeed far more satisfying for a dark chocolate lover than its closest comparison, the Cadbury Caramello.

If you really, truly prefer milk chocolate, I'm sorry, and this may not be the bar for you, but Pete's site allows you to download a groovy chocolate 101 flavor chart, so you can compare what you already know you like to what you might possibly like.

My favorite aspect of Pete's new venture, however, is the "Bill of Rights" under the Chocolate Rights section of his website. That document that should be required reading for anyone stepping close to the rack of nasty chocolate bars at the convenience store. At the very least, it should be posted on the sides of waxy chocolate bars like the Surgeon General's warning.

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