Sep 202014

volc1“Volcanic” is a rather enticing adjective for a hot sauce and pepper fanatic, don’t you think?

I went to Earth Fare this week to see if kefir was any cheaper there than at Publix (it is, but only marginally). On the way out, this little pint of salsa said “buy me! buy me!” Hmm. It was $3.79 out the door. Let’s see what we’ve got.

Ingredients (“organic” precedes every entry except salt on the actual label): Diced tomatoes, tomato puree, green bell peppers, grain vinegar, onions, apple cider vinegar, salt, crushed red pepper, garlic, cilantro, habanero pepper, oregano, and basil.

Sounds like it tastes good for sure, but with salt ahead of any hot peppers, I had my doubts about how “volcanic” it would be.

I tried a goodly amount straight and with yellow tortilla chips, and indeed, it’s quite good. There’s a uniformity about mainstream ready-to-eat salsa that is eclipsed by this Earth Fare offering. The vegetables taste markedly fresher, and the spice profile differs significantly from something like Pace or Old El Paso. It’s more complex, and there’s a strong garlic note that I like quite a bit. It’s also a lot more visually interesting, with spices and vegetables popping at you. It might be a little darker than usual offerings.


So how’s the heat? Turns out this is actually pretty formidable for something you can buy in a jar at a grocery store. There’s a little hint of it in the smell. The heat bites you just a little bit on the front end, and then the cumulative property of habanero kicks in shortly after you swallow. Your fourth bite is going to be much hotter than your first. After you stop, it’s a pleasant smolder that takes about ten minutes to get all the way back to zero. I’d put the heat in the neighborhood of a hotter jalapeno. No problem for a chilehead, but if Taco Bell Fire sauce scorches you, you’ll want to stay away from this.

I doubt the jar lasts the day. Good stuff, Earth Fare.


 Posted by at 11:35 am
Sep 172014

Went to Monaco Pictures last night with Dad and clan BamaDan to catch Guardians of the Galaxy. (Fun film.) I hadn’t been to the north end of Bridge Street in some time. All of the structure for the new parking deck adjacent to Belk appears to be in place.


Now given my longstanding affection for Madison Square Mall and my contempt of the (in my view, unnecessary) sadistically slow decay it is experiencing, I’m perhaps a bit predisposed to dislike the idea of closing the Madison Square Belk to open this one. And there is the fact that Bridge Street, being a particularly heinous example of a peoplequarium, had a lot of winning over to do with me in the first place. (It’s been open seven years; can you believe that?)

Still, I’d made my peace with the place, and mostly even on its terms. Yes, it looks like a shopping area at Walt Disney World. No, there’s not much in here I want to buy. But it’s a nice place to walk, the best place to see a movie in town, and it’s not too hard to find a pleasant meal either.

That said, this new construction is abominable. It’s a dissonant monstrosity. It feels as if Bridge Street is suddenly right next to the interstate—and I don’t mean conveniently located, I mean directly in the space surrounded by the exit ramp and the overpass. “East Germany with nicer cars,” Dan and I mused together, which prompted a few Gotcha! quotes. (Mmm, Linda Fiorentino. Meeoooowwwrrr.)

Bridge Street had charm. It was corporate and contrived, but it was done well enough to win you over, at least somewhat. Now, they might as well build a roof over the place and be done with it.

 Posted by at 7:59 am
Sep 082014 debuted its first smartphone a month and a half ago. The Fire phone is a robust piece of hardware running’s forked and highly modified Android operating system. It has cool features like Dynamic Perspective,’s near-instant video customer service Mayday, and of course very tight integration with the entire ecosystem. It bowed [...]

 Posted by at 7:25 pm
Sep 072014

“I’m not drinking again until I don’t hate my body anymore.” So said I, a week ago today. Labor Day was the first day in practice. I’ve never pushed that particular button. Feels like an ICBM. To be sure, I’m doing several other things anyone trying to lose weight should be doing, as well. But [...]

 Posted by at 5:08 pm is using WP-Gravatar