Left: Butter pecan with granola and snickers. Right: mango with strawberry and kiwi (ordered by my friend)
I was at Whole Foods the other day and passed by the chocolate aisle, so I couldn’t resist looking for chocolate truffles. I found these Uli Mana Coconut Truffles and decided to try some, mostly because there was a store clerk who told me quite convincingly that they were made by a local crafter and that they would be delicious. I’m up for anything local and hand-crafted, so I bought a jar.
Now, I should have looked at the ingredients before I bought them, because I do know the recipe for making truffles, and three of the main ingredients are chocolate (duh), heavy cream, and butter. Heat the cream, stir in the chocolate and some butter, then stir the mixture in a double-boiler until the chocolate completely melts. Wait for it to cool, then use a spoon to scoop out your – voila! – chocolate truffles. There are variations of this recipe if you want your truffles to be sweeter, nuttier, etc, but that’s the basic idea.
Well, if I had taken a closer look at the ingredients list of Uli Mana truffles, I would have noticed that nowhere does it list heavy cream as an ingredient. Which would explain why when I first bit into the chocolate, there was no feeling of rich, creamy goodness. It was actually rather bland – even the chocolate that was used wasn’t very high quality. The bitter chocolate was not rich at all, and the soft texture of the truffle probably came entirely from the butter. The heavy taste of the chocolate also covered the flavor of the coconut flakes. This truffle may contain some fancy stuff like agave powder or sea salt, but without plain ol’ heavy cream, it ain’t a truffle. I was sorely disappointed with them and will continue on my search for better chocolate truffles in Durham…
Store: Whole Foods
Uli Mana Coconut Truffles
$13.99 for 5.5oz (156g)
– Not worth it. If you’re really craving truffles, even Lindt truffles would probably be a better option.
I’d had a craving for wings for a few days, so last night at 11:30, we went to Carolina Ale House, whose wings were voted the winner according to Indy Week’s Best of the Triangle (also, every Wednesday, Carolina Ale House has a special of $2.50 for all drafts, which is what caught Sidney’s attention).
We arrived at what I imagined to be a pretty typical bar scene, with (drunk) karaoke on the patio and people shooting pool and generally walking around indoors. The restaurant is quite spacey, so it didn’t feel crowded. We seated ourselves at a corner table to avoid the loud music, but the waiters still found us pretty quickly. We ordered the wings, which they offered in several flavors: teriyaki, honey BBQ, buffalo, honey buffalo, and spicy habanero. The honey buffalo sounded tempting, but I decided to go with the original buffalo.
The big surprise was how large each wing was! On the menu, they were called “Jumbo Chicken Wings,” but I had thought that was just a name. Now I know why they’re “jumbo”!
Upon first bite, I knew why they were voted #1 wings in the Triangle. It was a wonderful blend of crispiness from the fried batter and the tenderness of the meat, and there was just the right amount of buffalo sauce – not too little so that you’re not satisfied, but not too much so as to overwhelm the taste and soak up the “crunch.” (For the same reason, I also don’t dip wings in any dressing. It’ll also save you calories – although I suppose if you’re eating wings, you’re probably not thinking about calories in the first place.)
The wings were completely satisfying – I happily finished my whole tray quickly and licked my fingers at the end. It was an awesome experience, and I’ll definitely be back for more – perhaps to try the honey buffalo next time.
Restaurant: Carolina Ale House (Durham location)
Jumbo Chicken Wings
$7.79 for 10 pieces / $15.29 for 20 pieces / $34.99 for 50 pieces
– Definitely a worthwile appetizer for your meal or a great late-night snack!