Supermarket roundup: Comprando Cheesy Kale Chips

Monday is usually the day when I do my supermarket roundups and get ready for weekly meals. Today I had an AHA! Moment when I came across the Kale Chips at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

Have you heard? The ubiquitous Kale is like the newest superfood of the moment, the flavor of the month, and just about the “bee’s knees” right now when it comes to healthy eating and health benefits. Everybody has a recipe, every restaurant in town (hi-lo, you name it) has added it to their menu. Oprah loves it, Dr. Oz loves it, la Gwyneth loves it… you get the idea. It’s been around forever, but now you can pretty much find it prominently displayed at your local supermarket.

So of course the natural thing is for it to start evolving into snack friendly stuff, like cheesy Kale Chips. They may not ever be able to replace our addiction to las potato chips (I swear Sabritas has it right when they say ‘A que no puedes comer sólo una’) or to those Cheetos things, but being the culinary curious person that I am, pues I decided to conduct my very own non-scientific taste test.

Ahi les va el DISCLOSURE statement (God I hate doing this! but I will comply) pa’ que luego no anden diciendo que no soy totally transparent al respecto: This blog post is made totally on behalf of my very ‘exigente’ palate and taste buds. I shop frequently at Whole Foods (probably more than I should) and Trader Joe’s (because who doesn’t?) and Big Saver (porque son buenos bonitos y baratos) and have not been compensated in any way, shape or form by any of these companies for my very humble opinion.

The two items selected are the Alive and Radiant “Kale Krunch” at Whole Foods and the Trader Joe’s cheesy Kale Chips (Zesty Nacho).

Kale Chips side by side

While technically it’s the same product, the Whole Foods Alive & Radiant Kale Krunch will run you about a buck more in price, although it is .2 ounces bigger, so it says on the bag.

However, if I were choosing one just based on the design, I would immediately reach for the Trader Joe’s bag, if only because of the cool, comic book inspired look and feel of the package. But we’re not going on looks alone, so I opened each bag and tried them.

Cheesy Jale Chips side to side

The Kale Krunch (Whole Foods) looks much cheesier and brighter, while the Trader Joe’s chips look more “kale-like” and darker green.

I tried the Trader Joe’s first and found them interesting, crunchy and salty. Not bad, although think it left a little bit of a vinegar aftertaste, something not quite cheesy, not a bad aftertaste but just something that lingered a little bit. Then I drank water (to cleanse the palate, muy scientific, según yo) and then I tried the Kale Krunch, which was a bit more flavorful, cheesy and had a nutty aftertaste which I liked. They were equally as crunchy, quite good.

A look at the nutritional values makes for relevant “food for thought” as the Kale Krunch has less calories (100 per serving) and fat, por muy poquito.

Nutritional Values chart for Kale Krunch at Whole Foods.

Nutritional Values chart for Kale Krunch at Whole Foods.

Nutritional Values chart for Trader Joe's Kale Chips.

Nutritional Values chart for Trader Joe’s Kale Chips.

So my verdict is: Both are good snack options depending on taste and budget. If you have 5 bucks for a relatively small bag (2.2 oz is not that plentiful, it can go by in a quick sitting) I would go for the Whole Foods Kale Krunch. But the Trader Joe’s are good too, nomás que no me encantaron, pero they’ll do the trick for a snack if you want to calm down your me quiero atragantar una bolsa de papitas ahorita moment…

All in all I was quite surprised that these brands could come up with an alternative to the potato chip bag with a veggie that nobody cared about a few years ago. So with that in mind, maybe I should try my own Kale Chip recipe, a ver que invento.

Of course, then I stop by Big Saver, where the prices are good and the veggies are fresh (that should be their new slogan) and get a bunch of fresh Kale, which only sets me back a whopping $0.79 cents! Not bad at all, huh?

(Y por favor, ALGUIEN ME PUEDE DECIR ¿Cómo se dice KALE en español? Google translate no me convence con su ‘col rizada’.)

Kale price

Fresh Kale at Big Saver Market retails for 79 cents.

Fresh Kale at Big Saver Market retails for 79 cents.

Save Thanksgiving!!! Target opening at 9pm. Is nothing sacred anymore?

Every year, parece que los Holidays llegan way to soon. This year it wasn’t even mid-October when Target was running their “Holidays are Here” spot on tv.

And today I’m reading that Target is opening their stores in advance of Black Friday on Thanksgiving Night (Thursday) at 9pm.

Hey, Target: WTF???

Is nothing sacred anymore? Not even THE one night in which our founding fathers dedicated a meal to being GRATEFUL and coming together? This has me very upset, and I don’ even work at Target. Imagine how the employees must feel to have their free time with family cut back every year: First they started with a 4 am opening, then earlier to 12 am, now they’re opening the night of…just very disappointing. (Last year I wrote a similar post on the subject, although maybe it was a little more eloquent. Right now I’m just pissed off that Turkey Day is evaporating even as we speak.)

You can call me a grinch or a party pooper, but I will not be participating in the Black Friday mad house and over the top hoopla that marketers and retailers are hell bent on pushing over us. I’m done with it. 

Good thing someone had the good sense to put up a petition on change.org where you can kindly ask Target to cease and desist from this madness and Save Thanksgiving.

You can sign it here: (I just did and there were almost 193 thousand petitions signed already. Keep ’em coming!)

https://www.change.org/petitions/target-take-the-high-road-and-save-thanksgiving 

I’ll tell you one thing: I am a loyal Target shopper, but will be very disappointed if they go through with this and will probably end up boycotting them altogether this Holiday Season. Ya me cayeron gordos.

He dicho.

Holiday madness: Shop till you drop! But Target is going way too far by opening at 9pm on Thanksgiving.

Brasil Night at Rock/Style with Macy’s and LA Times

It was a tropical night of great fashion, beautiful people and rock&roll at the annual Rock/Style event last Thursday. The scene was the classic Hollywood Roosevelt hotel by the pool, transformed into a runway for the evening.

This is a cool party the LA Times and Macy’s put on every year and this time the theme was Brasil, coinciding with Macy’s ongoing campaign at their retail stores.

Samba dancers (y sus cuerpazos) opened the show with the best samba music and outfits you could imagine. We later enjoyed three segments of fashion and music, for swimsuits, moda brasileña and preppy outfits, plus great “people watching” all the Hollywood types and “the beautiful people.”

Here are some images of a fabulous night. Thanks to my friend Martha @MarthaMacys for the invite.

Rock/Style by the LA Times and Macy’s at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel.

“Oh le le, Oh la la, pega no ganzé, pega no ganzá…” The Samba dancers were spectacular.

Swimsuits inspired by Brasil.

Moda para ir a la playa a jugar futbol.

Nightclub at the pool with a fashion show.

This is Dante. Dante es guapo…

Macy’s sponsored the event.

The beautiful people watching the show by the pool.

Preppy fashion in orange, green and blue.

Runway show finale at Rock/Style.

Beautiful trio: Yarel Ramos from mun2, Diana Ramos and Martha Gildemontes from Macy’s.

Buying Guacamole and stuff at Costco

Planning an Oscar Party this weekend? You may want to head over to Costco and browse through the novedoso Mexican inspired pre-made selections available ahorita.

I knew Fish tacos were popular, but these kits blew my socks off. They’re the kind you would eat in Ensenada, Baja California, although there is no comparison of course. Ya vienen todos empacaditos, all the ingredients are ready to heat and serve, and pre-packaged in one convenient box. And they are made by a company called Okami. That just screams mexicano, verdad?

( I admit, I wouldn’t purchase such a kit, because they could never compare to my friend Martha’s mom, Alicia Coronel. She is the master!)

Baja Fish Tacos, conveniently pre-packaged at Costco. Why didn't I think of that!

Pescado empanizado, check. Repollo, check. Tortillas de maiz, check. Nomas le falta la salsita, la cremita y el limoncito.

Of course, no party is a party without chips and dip, and if you like guacamole, but don’t have the time to make it, just grab a “Wholee Guacamolee” box and you’re set. I never know how they can keep the guac from turning brown though, and that kind of  makes me nervous. (Again, I wouldn’t buy pre made guacamole because my grandomother, la Mama Lilia, makes the best. She is the master!)

I get the word play, but I would have added a "Holy" and some angelitos to the design and then it would look more Mexican.

Lest you feel unsatisfied with these antojitos, you can always go for the pork carnitas box, made by our local Cardenas supermarket familia, and their brand Del Real. I hear they’re good!

Pork Carnitas by Del Real made locally by the Cardenas family, aka Cardenas Markets.

 

T’is the Season (but avoiding the impulse to buy buy buy!)

It’s already Thanksgiving week and a shift in the energy is felt around town. Andamos todos alborotados getting ready for the holidays. Don’t you feel Christmas came a lot sooner this year? Time feels as if it’s moving faster. Maybe the general perception has to do with the retailers speeding up the holiday season. Some stores even had decorations up as early as October. Last week, mid- November,  the collection of never ending cheesy holiday songs came on one of the local radio stations, playing for the next 6 weeks. UGH. Give me a break! (Yes, you can call me a Scrooge.)

I had a relative that started buying her Christmas presents in the summer or whenever there was a sale. She was a very practical woman, mi Tia Eva, and always had a gift for everybody while maintaining a healthy bank account. I wish I were that organized and savvy, but I’m more of an impulse buyer. Victima del consumismo, let me tell ya. Not a good trait when you’re trying to save money or just stay afloat in this weird economy. This year the efforts to get us to the mall/stores have been especially agressive, with sales all over the place, even way before black Friday. That’s all you hear, “Oh they moved black Friday up this year, so we can get a head’s up on our shopping.” I think it’s working because this is the busiest I’ve seen the stores in a few years. But I’ve been good so far and have stuck to a budget. Let’s see if my consumer habits continue. I usually lose my grip around late December and then it’s a free for all.

My building is all lit up and ready for Xmas. Photo November 15, 2010 by CB/me.

 

 

 

Vote for Me! And play the Macy’s Fashion Director Game.

Want to win a $500 shopping spree at MACY’S? I am completely addicted with this fabulous contest and social media app that the wonderful people at Macy’s came up with. Every day they give you a different situation/challenge where you get to decide what to wear from their selected clothes and accessories. You build a wardrobe for such an occasion and submit for votes and a a chance to win $500 in merchandise. Just in time for Spring.

So far I’ve participated in 2 challenges: Meeting you future Mother in Law (Yikes!) and Going out on a Rainy Saturday. I have to say I am pleased with my choices, I have very good taste…(de veras!) So if you don’t mind, hit the link below, vote for me and I’ll be sure to return the favor. My outfit is called “Singin’TheRain”.

http://social.macys.com/fashiondirector/#/the-daily-fashion-challenge

And make sure to play yourself.

Macy's Fashion director

One of my "Macy's Fashion Director" ensembles. Vote for me!

Eva Mendes presents “Vida for España” at Macy’s

Fans turn out to support and meet Eva Mendes, who was all smiles as she presented her "Vida for España" collection.

Add another checkmark to the list of credits for Eva Mendes, actress, model and now designer. Last week she made an appearance at Macy’s Home Store South Coast Plaza to introduce her new tabletop* collection “Vida for España” by Eva Mendes. Yes, Spanglish used yet again for brand names all around. (* By the way,  what do you call “vajillas”? I was kind of stumped when thinking about a translation, anybody have another word?)

Turns out, Eva is quite a crowd pleaser and the event had a great turnout. Some fans even arrived at 9 am to get in line. The paparazzi went nuts!  She was very sweet, signed every autograph, posed for pictures, even had a chance to say hello to family friends, Macy’s personnel and Costa Mesa police officers who were only so happy to be there.

During the one-on-one interviews for media outlets, Eva spoke in perfect Spanish, con acento cubano, and I think everybody was surprised to learn how down to earth she is.

She mentioned the inspiration for the designs came from her memories growing up and how her mother made sure important moments were celebrated with nice settings and wonderful food. “No teníamos muchas cosas, ni mucho dinero para comprar cosas elegantes, pero lo que teníamos era especial y mi mamá hacía que todo luciera bonito. Y eso es lo que quiero, que las cosas sean accesibles para todos, porque las cosas finas no tienen porque ser caras y todo el mundo debe poder comprarlas.”

The collection is exclusive to Macy’s. You can see it at Macys.com. It runs between $16 and $50 dollars, good for everyday use and also for entertaining, is hand painted and very colorful. Personally I thought it was kind of inspired by the Talavera designs from Puebla, Mexico, although someone later pointed out that it looks like something you would see in Istanbul or the Middle East. It’s a sign of the times, when the buzz word is “multicultural” and you can’t quite place where something is from, but you still like it.

I think the only objection of the day was the outfit. The photographers were setting up for the diva and sexy back shot, but no luck. Se quedaron con las ganas…

¿Que pasó Eva? Looking totally innocent and demure in her Christian Lacroix dress, there was no sexy Eva in sight. Maybe the papz were a little disappointed.