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Here’s a product that may convince you to never eat boxed breakfast cereal again. Keeping with the healthy food theme, a real treat was delivered to The New Times’ offices before Christmas: Mad Hectic Oatmeal. It’s no secret that oatmeal is remarkably healthy, but the problem is it borders on the boring. Mad Hectic has you covered with flavors like Almond Pecan, Chocolate Raspberry, French Chocolate, Raspberry Almond, Red Raspberry and Strawberry Pecan. Of course all that flavor comes with a cost—and you’ll have to decide if $7.95 for a 13-ounce package is worth the up to 17 grams of protein each serving dishes out. What’s more, its 6 grams of fiber add up to nearly 25 percent of your daily total.
Beth Gallo devised Mad Hectic, an organic, quick oats product that can be prepared in the microwave or on the stovetop. After turning 40 and surviving breast cancer, she realized she needed to eat better. Gallo describes mornings as that “mad hectic” time when everyone is scrambling to get where they need to be and fit in breakfast, if possible. And a product was born.
Based in South Dartmouth, Mass., Mad Hectic oatmeal is available in stores only there and in Rhode Island. If you want to give it a try, order it at www.madhecticoatmeal.com.
Dinner for Two
Only a few days remain in the Dining Weeks in Downtown Syracuse promotion, which winds up Saturday, Feb. 27. This go-round, 19 restaurants are offering three courses priced at $25 or less; beverages, tax and tip are additional but you’re not likely to find such a good deal anywhere else this week. For a complete listing of participating eateries, see below.
In addition, through 10 p.m. on Saturday, you can purchase $25 discount tickets for Anthony Bourdain at the Landmark Theatre, 362 S. Salina St., on April 22. To purchase, go to www.ticketmaster.com and enter the password “DINING.” Bourdain is an internationally acclaimed chef and author and host of the Travel Channel’s No Reservations.
From now through March, it’ll be a blast from the past when Genesee Bock Beer returns to upstate New York. Rochester’s Genesee Brewery recently began shipping thousands of special edition green cans holding the spring brew. Each can displays the familiar white goat and plenty of yellow daisies, giving it a vintage, retro look.
“There’s no denying it: People love Genny Bock and have nicknamed it ‘the goat,’ which is actually the English meaning of the German word ‘bock,’” says Jason Drewniak, brand manager for Genesee. “Goats are a traditional representative of the bock style. Our Bock Beer is perfect for this time of year, but we actually hear stories about people stocking up in the spring and enjoying it year-round.”
Can-do: Genesee’s Bock Beer is reappearing on local shelves until March 31.
But you need to act fast, because come March 31, Bock Beer will no longer be available. The main retailers for it in the Syracuse area are Rite-Aid, Price Chopper and Wegmans. Suggested retail pricing is $6.99 per six pack.
• The world’s lightest beer, meaning that if it had fewer calories than its 55 you could call it water, gained a nationwide launch on Feb. 1, answering a growing demand for the seeming impossible: good tasting beer with extremely low calories. Select 55 is Anheuser-Busch’s attempt to give drinkers a light refreshment after a full day or one that is delicious while not helping pile on the pounds.
A light, golden lager with 55 calories and 1.9 grams of carbohydrates in each 12-ounce bottle, Select 55 is made from caramel malts and a blend of imported and domestic hops. Brewed to complement the full flavor of Budweiser Select, Select 55 also carries a crisp finish. And in keeping with this digital age, you can actually interact with other fans of Select 55 at www.select55.com.
The light stuff: If you want a beer that carries as few calories as possible, try a Select 55, new from the makers of Budweiser.
Brewed at Anheuser-Busch’s Los Angeles, St. Louis and Williamsburg, Va., breweries Select 55 is available in 12-ounce, clear glass bottles in six-, 12- and 24-packs, and 12-ounce aluminum cans in 12- and 18-packs.
This year’s St. Patrick Hunger Project began Feb. 11, with the goal to fill nearly 100 barrels placed at local business, in each city school building and along the route of the March 13 St. Patrick’s Parade. Last year’s food drive resulted in more than 44,000 meals being distributed to 27 food pantries throughout greater Syracuse. In addition to depositing a food item into the barrels, you can also send a monetary donation to: St. Patrick Hunger Project Fund, c/o Food Bank of Central New York, 6970 Schuyler Road, East Syracuse, 13057.
Those foods most needed are pasta and sauce, instant potatoes, canned fruit, vegetables and meat, cereal, rice, gravy, peanut butter, tuna, dry milk, and baby formula and cereals. For more information, call 427-5882.
Why not close out February with a nice road trip to Canandaigua? The New York Wine & Culinary Center, 800 S. Main St., holds its second annual nICE Festival, a celebration of ice wines and food on Saturday, Feb. 27. Free ice wine tastings as well as Renee Suzette’s Chocolate will warm up the chilliest of late winter days. Seven Finger Lakes wineries will participate in the tasting, scheduled for noon to 5 p.m. You’ll better enjoy the outdoor ice sculpture demonstrations while sipping free hot chocolate and Keuka Lake Coffee Roasters java, at 2 and 4 p.m.
Other events during the day include the center’s regularly scheduled classes: Wintertime Wine & Food Pairing, at 12:30 and 3 p.m. ($25 fee); and Kitchen Quick Takes—Crepes Basics, at 1 p.m. ($40 fee). To sign up for the classes or for more information, call (585) 394-7070 or visit www.nywcc.com/learn.
Black Olive: Year-old Armory Square restaurant is taking part in Dining Weeks in Downtown Syracuse, now until Feb. 27. MICHAEL DAVIS PHOTO
Dark beers pair with chocolate to romantic effect for Valentine’s Day
When we think of February, usually two things come to mind: love and chocolate. In this column, I am going to try to make you think of beer for Valentine’s Day as well. There are many styles of beer that can go along with your box of chocolates. Most of them tend to be on the darker side of the spectrum. Porters and stouts pair with chocolates like no other style.
Shufflin’ off: For those who eschew eating meat, Lightlife’s Buffalo Smart Wings are a decent substitute for the real thing.
Super Bowl Sunday means pigging out on chicken wings, cheesy nachos or even shrimp. But what’s a vegetarian or vegan to do when they want to watch the big game but don’t want to appear snooty about the food? Lightlife, which makes some pretty terrific tasting vegetarian entrees, has introduced Smart Wings to the local market. With 13 grams of protein in a serving, and zero grams of fat, these veggie protein chunks have been shaped to look like chicken wings, and they almost taste like them.
And in the doesn’t-New-York-have-more-important-things-to-be-doing department, here comes the New York State Cookie. Devised by Noah Sheetz, executive chef at the governor’s mansion in Albany, it contains products grown by Empire State farmers. It’s moderately healthy, with buckwheat flour, apples and oatmeal comprising some of the ingredients. The addition of coconut is dicey, however; when’s the last time you saw a palm tree in New York? In case you need something to do while filling out your state tax forms, and their subsequent funds that apparently pay for things like this, here’s a recipe to make them at home.
Oswego native Raymond Jock returns to the Port City to open a Mediterranean bistro
As a young man in Oswego, Raymond Jock delivered pizzas and even managed a pizzeria. Then he struck out for the big city and, after almost 20 years cooking for celebrities and with high-end chefs, he’s back, but still stuck on pizza. This time it’s got a twist. His first solo restaurant will feature Argentinean grilled pizzas and much more. La Parrilla is set to open Monday, Feb. 1, at 118 W. Second St. in Oswego (216-4179), where the restaurant Avanti’s operated most recently.
Mattydale boasts three buffets serving Pacific Rim specialities
MICHAEL DAVIS PHOTOS
Chinese buffets seem to be all the rage these days and this area has its share of the good, the bad and the ugly. For some reason, though, a cluster of quality Asian eateries has sprung up in Mattydale, serving foods from China, Thailand and Japan. Depending on what you order, you can usually bank on an Asian meal being inexpensive, and it can work for either a twosome, family with kids, or a group outing. The newest entry on the Mattydale scene is Tian Tian Buffet and Chinese Restaurant, which features a bounty of Asian-inspired items. Eat all you want for lunch Mondays to Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or dinner Mondays to Thursdays from 4 to 10 p.m. or Fridays and Saturdays, 4 to 11 p.m. for $9.59. Bring the kids, too: Ages 3 to 6 cost $3.59 for lunch and $4.59 for dinner; ages 7 to 11 are $4.59 for lunch and $6.59 for dinner. Located in the Kmart Plaza across from the Northern Lights shopping strip, Tian Tian occupies the space that housed Asian 98 Buffet for more than a decade. The ballroom-size venue is bright and inviting; there are even crystal chandeliers, with seating for 200, combining burgundy-hued naugahyde booths along the room’s periphery and a line of six-seat tables on either side of a center wall divider.
Crowd-pleaser: With several buffet stations, Tien Tien Buffet (above and facing page), which opened in October, has something for everyone to eat.
Include leftover candy canes in desserts that take your breath away
We always think about holiday leftovers in terms of the main meal of the season: turkey soup, vegetable surprise and a latke variation made from mashed, rather than shredded, potatoes. But there’s another vital part of the Christmas season that often remains and is often overlooked: the candy cane.