Archive | 4:27 pm

Sweet Revolution Maple Honey Caramels – “Viva La Revolution!”

31 Jul

San Francisco’s Sweet Revolution makes a darn good salted caramel. Now, you may think you’ve had good caramels before. But, believe me, these folks take it to another level. This (above) is how our candies arrived at the DixieDining.com HQ.

But before I continue, let’s learn a little more about the source:

Sweet Revolution’s Maple Honey Caramels are as unique and innovative as their name. The only confectioner nationwide making USDA certified organic salted caramels with the finest ingredients and devoid of corn syrup or cane sugar. The caramels are handmade in San Francisco using only Maple, Dairy, Honey, Sea Salt, and Vanilla Bean.

Deliciously addictive, the intense sweet and savory flavors and the buttery finish have created a frenzy amongst candy lovers all over the world. Even candy fans who don’t love caramels have touted their praise and asked for more.

Anastasia Hägerström, the brainchild behind Sweet Revolution, developed her sense of taste and style from living in many different countries throughout her life. It was her exposure to the pureness and simplicity of these various cuisines that impelled her to create a candy that best exemplified the integrity and ingredients she grew up with. The result is Sweet Revolution’s Maple Honey Caramels; her attempt to revolutionize the candy world as we know it.

Now that we have that bit of back story out of the way, let’s get down to the fun part. Eating them! I carefully opened the brown cardboard box to reveal 12 delicious salted caramels wrapped in plain white wax paper. Sure they’re almost $2 each, but these babies are something to be savored, not woofed down like a bag full of Sugar Babies.

Here (above) is a single candy piece — for scale purposes if nothing else.

The unwrapped caramel is a glistening thing of beauty to behold. Bask briefly in all its sweet glory before taking your first bite. Yes, I said bite. Don’t go scarfing these caramels down in one giant chomp. Take your time … savor the rich, complex flavor. You’ll taste the honey, the maple syrup. All organic I might add. Vanilla bean and sea salt round out this delicious party in your mouth.  

A certain sadness will set in once you’ve polished off the first piece. A sadness that comes from knowing you only have 11 candies left. Ouch! I guess I’ll be placing another order soon. I was also thinking these attractive little boxes (sealed with red wax a la Makers Mark Bourbon) would make for unique holiday gifts. Hey, it’s not that far away, people. So make yourself a note to put a few of boxes of Sweet Revolution Maple Honey Caramels on your end of year shopping list. Your family and friends will appreciate it. I know I sure would — hint, hint! 

Get your own little brown box today. Here’s how …

www.sweetrevolutioncaramels.com

LUCKY PETERSON’S ‘YOU CAN ALWAYS TURN AROUND,’ RECORDED IN WOODSTOCK, HERALDS TURNAROUND IN LIFE AND MUSIC

31 Jul

Hey, Blues fans! Check this one out. “Lucky” is back!

WOODSTOCK, N.Y. — Lucky Peterson was discovered by blues legend Willie Dixon when he was three years old, released his first record at five and soon after appeared on TheTonight Show. Trained by keyboardists Bill Doggett and Jimmy Smith, Peterson went on to play behind Little Milton, Bobby “Blue” Bland and Kenny Neal. On return from the “Young Blues Giants” tour of Europe, he signed first with Alligator, then Verve, Blue Thumb and Birdology/Dreyfus, where he recorded what Amazon.com called “his finest album,” Black Midnight Sun, in 2003. The New Yorker called him “a master of the guitar, organ and microphone.”

But Lucky’s journey was not a smooth one, and Peterson spent the next few years in transition, working to free himself of drug troubles that had affected his health, family life and professional life. He spent time in treatment, making one-off records for small European labels, but never a proper follow-up to Black Midnight Sun.

The new CD (slated for release on September 28) was made in the Catskills with master Woodstock musicians Larry Campbell, guitar (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm); Scott Petito, bass (The Fugs, Mercury Rev, Rick Danko Band); and Gary Burke, drums (Joe Jackson, Shania Twain). Peterson as usual plays a mix of instruments: duolian resonator, piano and acoustic and electric guitars. Also prevalent is the acoustic piano on which Lucky sounds like a bluesy Elton John. “He’s something of a genius — his piano playing reminds me of Aretha Franklin,” says drummer Burke, who has played behind Franklin on the road.Lucinda Williams, Tom Waits and Ray LaMontagne. The album closes with a version of Curtis Mayfield’s “Think.”

“This album is very different for me — it’s more from the heart,” says Peterson. “The songs were picked by (co-producer) Doug Yoel, and he knew my heart. I feel like all these songs were for me.” The album would be the last co-production of Francis Dreyfus, who passed away on June 24, before the album’s release.

But you can always turn around. These words took on special meaning for the 45-year-old Peterson, which is why the first album since his rehabilitation is titled You Can Always Turn Around. It is an uplifting collection of songs that speak of struggles and salvation, using the gritty clarity of acoustic roots-blues (with modern touches) as its main musical vehicle.

But it’s Peterson’s vocal instrument that some might find most arresting. Peterson wraps his voice around an eclectic selection of blues-based materials including songs by original Delta bluesmen Robert Johnson, Rev. Gary Davis and Blind Willie McTell up through the music of today’s top songwriters including

One standout on the album is the civil-rights era anthem “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free,” written by Billy Taylor and popularized by Nina Simone. The new recording introduces Tamara Peterson, Lucky’s wife, a worthy blues singer in her own right. The chemistry between Lucky and Tamara on that session was so exciting that Larry Campbell was prompted to invite the pair to appear with the Levon Helm Band at the Midnight Ramble concert the following night.

Enjoy this video of Lucky Peterson in action back in the 90’s

Peterson creates something brand new on “Trampled Rose,” turning a wordless hook into a seductive Arabian-flavored line. The band responded to and fed the creativity of the newly awakened Lucky Peterson, and the results are truly special.

Peterson continues to tour, doing dates big and small. This new album should increase awareness of and demand for this one-of-a-kind musician.

And when off the road, he’ll be at his church in Dallas, Texas with his family, holding on, and playing for one very lucky congregation.

TRACK LIST:

1. I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom (Robert Johnson)
2. I’m New Here (Bill
Callahan)
3. Statesboro Blues (Blind Willie McTell)
4. Trouble (Ray LaMontagne)
5. Trampled Rose (
Tom Waits / Kathleen Brennan)
6. Atonement (Lucinda Williams)
7. Why Are People Like That (Bobby Charles)
8. Four Little Boys (James Peterson / Judge Peterson)
9. Death Don’t Have No Mercy (Rev. Gary Davis)
10. I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be
Free (Billy Taylor and Dick Dallas)
11. Think (Curtis Mayfield)

Quantity over Quality at Pensacola’s Barnhill’s

31 Jul

A business day trip to the FL Panhandle gave me a rare opportunity to dine in new territory during the work week. This “fly-by-night” banner (above) can easily be viewed from I-110 in Pensacola. I have actually passed this eatery before, but it really didn’t make much of an impact on me. Then last week I saw an “info-mercial” for Barnhill’s Southern Fresh Buffet on MediaCom Cable (our provider here in Baldwin County, AL). And it actually looked pretty promising.

Loyal regular customers raved about the made from scratch, homestyle food. Employees were lauded for their pursuit of both perfection and cleanliness. One employee was even interviewed to fully explain her commitment to be the best dishwasher in the food business. OK, now I had to give this place a go. Frankly, it all sounded a bit too good to be true.  

I guess this sign is appropriate.  A “trainload” of grub is served here each day.

All You Can Eat for $5??? Sure seems like the bargain of the century.

Others obviously agree … the line stretched outside the door on this early Tuesday afternoon. It was a rather motley looking crew — the clientele and the staff. That may have been my first warning sign. The line did move along at a brisk pace and I was certainly happy for that. Yes, I was one hungry beast!

My platter (pictured above) — well, at least the first go-around. BBQ chicken, green beans, stewed squash, and carrot raisin salad. I usually love them all — so I was anticipating a solid mid-day feed. The BBQ sauce slathered on the chicken breast was indeed very good. Both sweet and peppery. But the white meat inside was woefully overcooked … almost to the point of dry petrification. The green beans were just fine – no complaints here. However, I must add that the squash was extremely bland and the carrot raisin salad just a touch warm and watery.

Undeterred, I shoved off for my second run at the steam table. Sadly, similar results were acheived. This bowl of cabbage (above) pretty much summed up the day. Looked good, tasted flat. C’mon, folks — how about a little salt? Maybe some fatback? A sprinkle of black pepper? A splash of hot sauce? Little touches mean a lot and they were consistently missing. My table was dirty. The server seemed bothered. It took a while just to get a few napkins delivered to my table. The sweet potatoes were overly candied into a gloppy, gooey mess. Just gross. The rutabagas (yes, they actually had rutabagas!) were a welcome sight, but not the best I’ve ever had. A little dry … perhaps canned and re-heated???  

Well, I thought, at least there will be some decent dessert choices. Always seem to be a good dessert bars at places like this. But nope, foiled again. The pies were obviously mass produced, Sysco-style productions. As I walked down the line I was greeted by dry, pre-baked cookies, a couple brightly colored Jellos, a chafing dish swimming with canned peaches in heavy syrup. Hardly Southern fresh, Mr. Barnhill. Shame on you!

You may have fooled me once, Mr. B.

But never again, sir. Never again.

www.barnhillsbuffet.com