Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Quinn popcorn update

I can't believe I waited this long to attempt popping Quinn Popcorn on the stove! It made a world of difference. It took about as long to pop it on the stove as it would to pop in the microwave (as I had tried previously) and I had only a single unpopped kernel. Of course, I do have to wash out the pot now, but it's a small price to pay for all the kernels to pop and none of them to be burnt.

It is pictured here in my favorite tomato bowl with the parmesan & rosemary topping.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Travel snacks at Newark Penn Station

The wintry weather kept us from going to Asheville, North Carolina, this weekend. But it didn't keep us from hopping a train to Philly for a few days.

The most important task before boarding a train at either the New York or Newark Penn Stations is picking up a bag (or two) of freshly popped popcorn for the journey. But not just any popcorn kiosk will do.

Always avoid the Zarro's popcorn no matter where you are. I don't know what they do to their popcorn, but it smells and tastes like chemicals. And anyway, they hadn't fired up their popper when we were getting ready to board our train.

I didn't realize popcorn was a seasonal treat, but I suppose it is considered for summer only, like iced tea. (Good luck finding a decent brewed iced tea at Newark Penn, by the way.)

This kind gentleman sells the best popcorn at Newark Penn Station. His kiosk is next to the McDonald's.

The popcorn from this stand is a tad greasy, but it does the job. There are some seasonings you can add, like cinnamon and a bright yellow one labeled butter. Probably best to avoid that one.  He also sells various kinds of nuts.

We wound up finding copious amounts of popcorn in Philly, so much so that by the end of the trip I felt like I had OD'd on popcorn. At least for one day.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Butter & Scotch caramel popcorn

Even though we agreed that we weren't doing Valentine's Day presents this year, I got a package at work yesterday from one of my favorite gourmet food sites, Mouth. Mouth sells a number of wonderful popcorns, many of which I've tried although I see there are some new ones and I WANT them in my mouth, Mouth.

In my gift box were two bags of 'corn from Butter & Scotch, one in hot toddy flavor and one in dark and stormy flavor. They both smell amazing. The hot toddy caramel corn is more along the lines of a traditional caramel corn with a hint of lemon and cinnamon. The dark and stormy has a noticeable ginger kick to it, but it's by no means overwhelming.

Butter & Scotch is the partnership of Keavy Blueher of Kumquat Cupcakery and Allison Kave of First Prize Pies. In the cutely illustrated info on the back of the bag, it says that in 2012 they teamed up to create a craft cocktail and dessert bar in Brooklyn. The packaged popcorn is made by hand in small batches (which don't last too long based on the date stamp on the bag, although I doubt that's a problem for many caramel corn lovers) with fresh ingredients, certified non-GMO popcorn, and expeller-pressed organic coconut oil.

There's a third cocktail corn that Butter & Scotch called Green Chili Margarita made with real tequila. Yum! I'll have to keep an eye out for that so that I can try it as well.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The all-American Farmer popcorn gets back to basics

When I go to my in-laws' house, the first thing I check is the vast array of snacks in their pantry. Jeff's mom is also a big fan of popcorn, so she often has several varieties on hand. The first day I was there, she and I demolished a bag of wonderfully salty 'corn, but I forgot to take a photo before it was gone.

This is the one we demolished on the second day. I'm quite particular about kettle corn. For me, it must slant more toward salty than sweet. It should be salty with a hint of sweetness. And this American Farmer popcorn fits that bill perfectly.

It seems that the American Farmer brand is pretty readily available at Duane Reade, Dean & Deluca, Costco, etc. So, pick up a bag and see if you can't eat the whole thing.

Unfortunately, there is no cheesy option, but there are several other flavors: old school movie theater, crunchy caramel and light kettle corn. I'm curious how they made the light version of the kettle corn since it has the same ingredients except sugar is listed before sunflower on the light one and it's the reverse on the fatty one. Since it's not made lighter with fake stuff, I'm curious to try it now. As long as it's sufficiently salty, of course.

The packaging is pretty neat. Each one has a different dead president or, in the case of the caramel one, the Statue of Liberty, doing something silly like riding a bike or wearing 3-D movie glasses. And the best part of all is that all the ingredients are pronounceable and the kettle corn contains only popcorn, salt, cane sugar and sunflower oil. Of course, who knows what's in the natural flavor that's in the caramel and movie theater ones, but I'm gonna let that slide in favor of delicious 'corn.

American Farmer also supports American Farmland Trust and a portion of their proceeds go toward supporting local farmers. Not too shabby! 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Quinn takes microwave popcorn to a whole new level

I received some Quinn microwave popcorn as a gift and loved the flavors so much that I bought some more at Whole Foods.

What I really love about Quinn's is that for microwave popcorn, it contains none of that nasty stuff that's usually included. Check out the full ingredient list for the Parmesan and Rosemary one: organic popcorn kernels, high oleic sunflower oil, Parmesan cheese, dried organic rosemary, sea salt. That's it! The bag is even compostable.

The only problem I have with Quinn's is that my microwave either burns the hell out of it or only half the contents of the bag pops. It's a very sad state of affairs. Fortunately, the flavors are so intense that even the burned pieces are still delicious. But I would really rather enjoy the popcorn in its best possible form. On their site, they do mention that you can just as easily pop their corn on the stove, so next time I'll try that.

The Parmesan & Rosemary and the Hickory Smoked Cheddar are my favorites of the ones I've tried, mainly because cheesy 'corn is my preference. The Maple & Sea Salt is also quite good and not that sweet. And the Lemon & Sea Salt is surprisingly good. Who would have thought that lemon and popcorn would be a good combo? But they are!

Once you pop the corn, you add the seasoning and oil packets yourself, which allows you to determine how much you want to use. Even though the oil is high quality, it's still high in fat, so I never use all of it when I make this popcorn. Popcorn serving sizes are difficult to comprehend, but I think it's safe to say that this is not a low-fat snack.

The Quinn site is pretty extensive and nicely designed. The company is named after the son of the owners, Kristy and Coulter. Watch this cute video for more info and see their ridiculously adorable dog, too.

Bonus: Quinn has a blog where they write about their mission, their staff, their philosophy -- and beer!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Popcorn Face's stove-top method

A fellow popcorn fan (whom I have encountered elsewhere on the world wide web as the originator of the "popcorn face") has a video on his site detailing his popping technique. The video could stand to be edited down, so I'll sum it up.

He pops on the stove in a basic metal pot. He starts by heating up 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and then adds 3 kernels as testers. When those pop, he adds the rest of the kernels. Now here comes the interesting part. He then turns OFF the heat for 30 seconds to let the kernels warm up. He adds healthy doses of salt and pepper and then turns the heat back on. Everything else is as you'd expect as far as stove-top popping goes. I am intrigued by the burner off method, however. I'll have to try it.

Check out his blog, too. He has a ton of reviews and links to popcorn sellers.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Discount on Regal popcorn in February 2014

Ooh! I just came across this $3 discount for popcorn at Regal Cinemas during the month of February.

Sweet! I mean: salty!

G.H. Cretors: so good I had to leave it behind

Hot damn that's some delicious cheesy corn. I ate half the bag for breakfast, so I left the rest of the bag with Jeff in Portland because I knew having it with me would be bad news. I have zero will-power when it comes to popcorn. Even so-so popcorn I have a hard time stopping eating. But delicious cheesy corn? No way.

Anyway, I would maaaaybe buy it again if I knew that I'd have to share with someone who would keep me from eating so much popcorn I felt sick. And the ill feeling certainly wouldn't be from the G.H. Cretors 'corn being full of additives. Their products are all natural. But it's still cheesy corn and should be consumed in moderation (or so I'm told).

Uh oh. Bad news. I just went to the store locator on their site and it turns out that it's available all over the tri-state area.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Whole Foods popcorn

I'm not sure if the Whole Foods at Columbus Circle still has a bar in it, but if it does, it's a great place to get some freshly popped -- free! -- popcorn. And also beers.

Monday, February 3, 2014

I cannot resist!

I cannot resist buying brands of popcorn I don't normally get at home.

I have had 479 before and was a fan, but the white cheddar and black truffle didn't measure up. It was neither cheesy nor truffly enough. It's certainly edible (and half the bag I did eat in one sitting), but it's not a flavor I'd buy again. Then again, maybe I just require more intense flavors. When I make truffle popcorn at home, I spray lots of truffle oil on the popped corn along with truffle salt. Maybe next time I make it I will try adding freshly grated parmesan. Mmmm...

I have high hopes for the sesame and seaweed one, so fingers crossed. 

About Me

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Has very definite opinions about: popcorn, beer, sushi, traveling, air conditioning, undergarments, tourists in Manhattan. 

I've been calling myself "a writer" on and off again since I was 6 years old. I'm currently using this space to practice doing more of that, even if it's just spewing junk at you. But  you've been forewarned!

Attention beer people: As much as I love beer, I don't post very much about beer. I prefer drinking it to writing about it. 

I post photos quite regularly to Instagram and sometimes to flickr and I don't usually cross-post them here.