Monday, April 6, 2009

Can Red Mango be Green?

Store front.

This new Red Mango opened up near Guitar Center at West 14th Street. I'd had Pinkberry before (several times, to my wallet's chagrin), but since I'd never tried Red Mango before, I entered the glass doors with zero expectations.

Melting Queen.

The pomegranate frozen yogurt was on display, so of course I had to try a sample of that. I liked the tart, slightly sour flavor and promptly went for a small pom with strawberries and mango. I should have passed on the strawberries, as they tasted freshly popped from the freezer (what an oxymoron). However, the mango bits were soft, gooey and gave off a distinct resinous sweet smell. Not hairy, but definitely ripe. My kind of mango.

My frozen yogurt suffered from a meltdown before I even took my first bite. The overheated room also made my head spin. Chloe and I reported a case of extreme lethargy following the froyo. Just. Don't. Do it. Not at this location.

Expenses? My total came to $5.60 or so, tax included. On the pricey side, but so is Pinkberry. My friend tells me Yogurtland in LA can whoop all the other frozen yogurt competitors' butts. Next time I'm in the area, I'll test his claim.

Nutrition ingredients.

Red Mango frozen yogurt is billed as authentic, nonfat and 100% all-natural. It has no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives and is "packed with live and active probiotic cultures" (code word for live bacteria -- the good kind). Plus, it's gluten-free (food allergies-prone, take note) and "certified kosher" (so that all the Jewish froyo lovers can enjoy without worry).

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. Dug the flavor and texture of my pom but wasn't so keen on the rapid melting before I even got to the bottom of my cup. Red Mango, I know you're trying to save money on A/C, but really -- you can't sell melted goods.

Red Mango
63 W 14th St
New York, NY 10079

Falling in Love with...Eros Cafe

This entry originally took place on April 2.

With national unemployment numbers now at 13.5 million, Chloe and I decided to try our luck at the New York Career Fair hosted at the Metropolitan Pavilion. She got there ten minutes earlier than me, and the line was already wrapped around five blocks. The disgruntled man behind us told me to beat it, so we ended up getting to the back of the line. Three blocks later...

Employers were primarily hiring in the sales field. Exeunt job fair.

Enter Eros Cafe.

You can't see the frisky French bulldog in the picture (sadly, he and his owner had already left when I snapped the shot). But that dog was wagging his tail, squinting his eyes at me and drooling something furious. The poor critter. I wanted to give him a visor. If only I had one.

Eggs, pancakes, waffles, french toast -- breakfast incarnated. It was worth an exploration.

The sun beat down on our black suit-clad selves and was steadily climbing to a tan-worthy 60 degrees. Hence, the glare. I was in the mood for a light breakfast sandwich, so I ordered the first thing that came to mind: Corned beef hash and eggs on a bagel ($3.95). The sumptuous bagel was lovingly drizzled with olive oil for a robust, if somewhat messy, bite. Nothing beats New York bagels.

Chloe ordered the more involved mushroom omelet ($8.95), even though she didn't have much of an appetite (Starbucks Grande caramel macchiato, I shake my fist at you). The omelet was tasty and fresh, as were the delicately seasoned home fries, which reminded me of classic diners' fare. The toast remained untouched.

Hi, Chloe!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. If only the bagel were less messy (I wasn't counting on oil all over my hands)...Still, the corned beef hash rivaled the ones in the Poconos mom & pop joints. And Eros Cafe can sure handle eggs and home fries.

Eros Cafe
190 7th Ave
New York, NY 10011

This is Why You're Fat

Bacon Wrapped Twinkie Stonehenge.

But the caption wasn't really necessary, right?

Eccentric Edibles

After a brief conversation with my dad, the subject of "weird food" came up. Now while Dad will take his chili sauce and frog's legs, he scrunched up his face when I mentioned "eel." It dawned on me that of all my family members, I'm the most adventurous one in the culinary department.

I counted off some of my favorite delicacies: stir-fried squid, kimchi, unagi kabayaki (grilled eel coated with sweet sauce), black fungus (AKA cloud ears), nori (seaweed), salted jellyfish, spam, tazukuri (spicy glazed sardines), among others. I didn't think these foods were that strange by a long-shot. But when I thought about it, for many people, even the very idea of consuming something that was writhing and jiggling just a moment ago gives them the jitters.

This is why I love sites like the UK's Edible. The vodka-flavored lollipops pictured above actually include detoxified edible scorpion at its center. The scorpion supposedly cures toxins. The sugar-free pops are safe for human consumption, along with oven-baked tarantula, bbq worm crisps and weasel coffee (eaten and regurgitated by weasels -- not made of weasels, in case you were wondering).

Edible's website is cleverly divided into sections: Insectivores, Herbs & Spices, Aphrodisiac, Carnivore, Herbivore and Apothecary. Ah, gotta love those Brits and their toasty humor.

Dog Overboard Swims Five Miles to Safety

Copped this fuzzy, feel-good story from Theme magazine. An Australian cattle dog tipped overboard into the northeast Queensland coast was reunited four months later with her family. She survived by hunting wild goats. Now that's what I call a true survivor!

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA—A pet dog cast out to sea has been found more than four months after she fell overboard. The Australian Cattle Dog, named Sophie Tucker, was thrown from her family’s boat at the end of November, as the owners navigated the choppy waters off the northeast Queensland coast.

“We hit a rough patch and when we turned around the dog was gone,” one of the owners, Jane Griffith, told The Telegraph.

“We were able to back track to look for her, but because it was a gray day, we just couldn’t find her and we searched for well over an hour.

“We just thought that once she had hit the water she would have been gone because the wake from the boat was so big.”

But Sophie Tucker, named after the famous American vaudeville entertainer, defied the odds by swimming nearly five nautical miles to a nearby, largely deserted island. After a several month stay on St. Bees Island, Sophie Tucker, then thought to be a wild dog, was picked up by park rangers last week. They suspect Sophie survived the ordeal by hunting and consuming baby goats, given the animals’ carcasses they located.

Though the Griffiths say they had basically given up hope that Sophie survived her fall, when they heard that park rangers had found a cattle dog on St. Bees, they contacted the rangers nonetheless. On Tuesday, the couple met the rangers onshore after they brought the lost dog back to the mainland. They say they were shocked to find Sophie Tucker aboard the bot.

“She surprised us all. She was a house dog and look what she’s done, she’s swum over five nautical miles, she’s managed to live off the land all on her own,” Griffiths told The Telegraph. “We wish she could talk, we truly do.”

Despite the time away, Sophie reportedly recognized her owners instantly.

“We called the dog and she started whimpering and banging the cage and they let her out and she just about flattened us,” Griffith said. “She wriggled around like a mad thing.”

Roughing it on her own supposedly changed Sophie’s docile nature, as Griffith told The Australian that the dog had “become quite wild and vicious.”
“She wouldn’t let anyone go near her or touch her,” she said. “She wouldn’t take food from anyone.”
Now reunited with her owners, Sophie appears to have returned to her old, domesticated self.

“She’s settled in well back at home now,” Griffith told the Daily Mail. “I think she’s appreciating the air conditioning.”

Vicki Lomax, a Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, told The Telegraph that Sophie’s breed made her better equipped to make do on her own.

“Cattle dogs are probably the most suited type of dog to survive something like this, but it would have been a major ordeal for her,” Lomax reportedly said.

“Five nautical miles is an incredibly big distance to swim for any type of dog and I dare say the current would have helped her along a bit, but she is lucky she hasn’t been taken by a shark.

“If this had been a Pomeranian, I don’t think it would have been a happy ending—its hair would probably have been too heavy.”

–– The Associated Foreign Press