Category Archives: Breakfast

Add some heat to that breakfast bagel

When you work at a company with lots of employees you’re bound to pick up some interesting new perspectives on a lot of things especially food. Not even 15 minutes ago I observed a coworker of mine squirting a zigzag of sriracha across the cream cheese spread atop his bagel. I made some sort of expression of surprise that caught his attention, and he told me that he too was intrigued when he saw one of his teammates performing this breakfast preparation ritual only a few minutes prior so he decided to give it a shot.

I suppose curiosity is contagious because I immediately grabbed one of our bottles of sriracha and decorated the bagel I had just smeared with Philadelphia with some of the hot stuff. The result is pretty darned tasty: the sriracha adds a bit of a kick, but the bulk of the heat is offset by the cream cheese so you end up with a nice little zing without much of the burn (for those who are Scoville adverse).

Fage Fruyo Greek yogurt blended with strawberry

Fruyo blended Greek yogurt by Fage

I prefer the taste of Fage’s Fruyo blended yogurt to that of Fage Total.

Commonly known for their popular fruit-on-the-bottom Greek yogurt varieties, Fage has now entered the blended yogurt market with their new Fruyo line of yogurts with a selection of flavors including strawberry, peach and pineapple.

Each variety features good sized chunks of fruit swimming in a base yogurt that has already been mixed with accents of the fruit flavor for a really delicious eating experience. The yogurt itself is really creamy even though it has 0% total fat, and that sharp tang that typically highlights every cup of Fage Total is not insignificantly toned down in this line of yogurts — a good thing, in my opinion, which is why I prefer Fruyo to Fage’s other products.

What really surprised me is that I found this at my local ShopRite rather than at the Whole Foods Market: I would have expected Whole Foods to spearhead the introduction of something like this so good for ShopRite on taking the lead here.

Wherever you happen to find Fage Fruyo blended yogurts, I highly recommend that you try them out. These are must-buys that have seized a place near the top of my favorite yogurts list.

Maple Hill Creamery Organic Vanilla Creamline Yogurt

Maple Hill Creamery's organic vanilla creamline yogurt

I decided to have a “yogurt night” at my local Whole Foods Market after two weekend dinners that were not nearly as healthy as they should have been.

After a great taste experience with Whole Foods’ own 365 brand of Greek yogurt — specifically a cup of their pineapple variety — I unfortunately had a less than pleasant time with Maple Hill Creamery’s organic vanilla creamline yogurt.

I had seen the brand at a few Whole Foods locations, but I never bothered trying their products before because they don’t offer Greek yogurt which I almost exclusively eat since it packs more protein with less fat and sugar than “normal” yogurt. This one cup of Maple Hill delivers 13% of your daily fat and 26% of your daily saturated fat! To their credit, the sugar content isn’t horrible at 16 grams although I wonder where that sugar went because this yogurt is sour with no sweetness I could taste.

I tasted no vanilla flavor, and I certainly didn’t taste anything that could even pretend to be sweet. The yogurt tastes like they mixed in some pure lemon juice just for the heck of it. The sourness is overpowering here.

The consistency is a bit thin as well. I’m used to the heartier thickness of Greek yogurt, but even your standard Dannon or Yoplait fare has more body than this stuff.

The yogurt is gluten free so if those with gluten allergies can stomach the sourness this could be a good snack option, but this wasn’t a great first impression for me, and I don’t think I’m interested in trying any other flavors to be quite honest.

Whole Foods’ 365 Greek Yogurt with Pineapple

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I decided to hit my local Whole Foods Market for dinner tonight with the intent of eating just yogurt since I ate less than optimally healthy fare this weekend two dinners in a row.

I ended up with a cup of Whole Foods’ own 365 Everyday Value® brand of Greek yogurt with pineapple which turned out to be quite an enjoyable taste experience. The yogurt itself has a medium (and pleasant) level of tartness — it’s there, and while you can certainly notice it, it’s not overly strong.

In fact, the more noticeable sourness arrived after I dug up the pineapple from the bottom, but even then the high levels of sweetness balanced it out in that really pleasant sweet ‘n’ sour equilibrium that pineapple is well known for.

As far as texture goes, the yogurt was very creamy and quite smooth much like Fage and Oikos’ yogurt. I tend to prefer the heartier chunkiness of Chobani’s product, but I really dug the overall deliciousness of the 365 offering. Whole Foods comes through on this one!

Ronnybrook yogurt: for the yogurt lover who wants to drink their yogurt

It’s always a nice surprise for me when I find a new yogurt brand, but it’s a particularly great day to discover two that I’ve never seen before which is what happened the other day when I was in the Whole Foods Market near the World Trade Center.

The first one I tried, Maia “Greek style” yogurt, didn’t really sit well with me. I wish I could say that I loved the other, a regular yogurt (strawberry variety) by Ronnybrook Farm Dairy, but alas it didn’t really thrill me… although I enjoyed the yogurt quite a bit more than I did Maia’s offering.

I’ve had some of Ronnybrook’s dairy products before. The Whole Foods locations in New York City and northeast New Jersey carry their delicious and creamy whole milk in glass bottles, and their retail location in Chelsea Market serves killer milkshakes.

However, their yogurt just didn’t wow me mainly because of the thin consistency. The package describes the product as a “creamline” yogurt so as expected the top “layer” has a whipped cream like, soft set consistency. Underneath, however, the body thinned out to the point of being fairly watery making the yogurt seem more like something that you’d drink rather than scoop with a spoon. In fact, it just dripped right off my spoon with ease so I ended up just chugging most of the yogurt straight from the cup.

There’s a market for “drinkable yogurts”, but since I’m not really a fan of those it would have been nice if the labeling had warned me. I’m sure it would have been a nice little surprise for someone who more immensely enjoys partaking in these more liquid like products, though.

The overall taste was pretty good. The yogurt, which was already blended with the strawberry ingredients, was a bit on the sour side for me at first, but I later found the little well of strawberry purée hidden at the bottom of the cup which was sweet enough to alleviate that issue.

Ronnybrook strawberry creamline yogurt isn’t a bad product at all… it’s just not really in line with what I’m looking for in a yogurt so I’m inclined to just stick with my favorites.

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Not a fan of Maia “Greek style” yogurt

Maia's vanilla flavored "Greek style" yogurt

It’s vanilla flavored… not that I could taste it over the intense sourness of this “Greek style” yogurt which, with its firm body, is more like a cheese.

I found myself at the Whole Foods Market way downtown in New York near the World Trade Center the other day and of course had to check out the dairy section to see if there were any Greek yogurts that my local Whole Foods at home didn’t stock.

As luck would have it, I found two brands of yogurt that I had not seen before so I was forced to try both. Hands were tied.

First up was a brand called Maia which I had never heard of. The cup advertises the product as a “Greek style” yogurt which perhaps should have been a red flag or at the very least a yellow flag. I’m still trying to figure out what corners would have to be cut for a yogurt to be “Greek style” instead of full blown Greek yogurt.

In any case, I ended up trying the vanilla flavored variety: no strawberry available to my chagrin. It probably didn’t matter, though, since I could barely taste the flavor over the incredible level of sourness.

This wasn’t a pleasant tartness like in Chobani or Oikos yogurt nor was it an interesting, acquirable tang like siggi’s offers. No, eating Maia’s yogurt was like sucking on a lemon… an unpleasantly sour one… just very sharp overall.

That combined with the very solid body — the yogurt was firm and set quite like siggi’s 2% skyr — gave the illusion of eating a soured up, spoiled cream cheese. This wasn’t a culinary experience I’d ever care to repeat, which is unfortunate given the admirable goals and values upon which the company was founded (and for those alone I would encourage anyone who might be more inclined to favor very sour yogurts to try a cup in support of the company’s efforts).

Love Greek yogurt? You might want to try skyr.

siggi's strawberry skyr

Do you like your strawberries really sour?

The incredible popularity of Greek yogurt in the United States has resulted in the introduction of some interesting similar foods from other countries that we otherwise may never have experienced. One such food is skyr, a dairy product from Iceland that is technically a cheese but offers many of the same characteristics that have made Greek yogurt so popular.

Like Greek yogurt, skyr is a relatively dense product packed with more protein, less sugar and very low milkfat content compared to traditional yogurt, but the degree of these differences really depends on which skyr you buy.

I’ve only tried — and seen, for that matter — two brands of skyr: siggi’s and skyr.is. The former has quite a following in the northeast especially in the Tri-State metropolitan area, being a New York-based artisan company with distribution that has expanded to the point of taking up space on shelves in Target’s grocery section! That’s actually where I first saw siggi’s products.

On the other hand, skyr.is is a relatively new product in the United States market with a more limited distribution to certain regions of the country through the Whole Foods chain. Unlike siggi’s offering, which is made in “upstate” Chenango County based on traditional family recipes from founder Siggi Hilmarsson, who set up shop in the region so he could source his product with milk from local family farms that feed their cows grass and don’t pump them full of growth hormones, skyr.is sells authentic Icelandic skyr actually produced in Iceland and imported to the U.S.

Skyr.is is by far the more accessible of the two brands with a consistency and tartness similar to Chobani. It really is quite delicious, but it’s a tad on the expensive side relative to the Greek yogurt brands and even siggi’s whose fans are now starting to benefit from the brand’s growing popularity: I have to pay almost $3 for a single cup of skyr.is at Whole Foods compared to the $2.20 I pay for siggi’s (which is even cheaper at Target at about $1.90 per cup).

Siggi’s is definitely more of an acquired taste with a biting tang that will probably take a lot of people by surprise. Siggi himself said that the reason he decided to make skyr was because the traditional yogurt in America was too sweet for his tastes, and his recipe uses absolutely no artificial sweeteners like aspartame or sucralose with only organic agave nectar, a low glycemic index natural sweetner great for us diabetics, to contribute sweetness (siggi’s has only a little more than half the carbs of skyr.is and less than half the sugar content).

The challenge is that the tartness of siggi’s is overwhelming such that it can be difficult to taste any other aspect of the skyr’s flavor. The strawberry variety tastes like really, really, really sour strawberries… at least I thought it did until I tried acai & mixed berry and then peach and realized that they kind of all taste the same to me because the flavors of the fruits are lost in the tang.

Nevertheless, the more I eat of siggi’s the more I like it despite my initial reactions. It’s not my favorite of the Greek yogurt “class” of foods, but I’m starting to grow accustomed to the whole other level of sour it offers so I’ll have a cup every so often to mix things up a bit… and it certainly helps that it’s probably one of the healthiest options in the category with the highest quality ingredients.

The only flavor I’ve tried that I haven’t been able to take is the orange & ginger which is just harsh: much respect to anyone who can finish one of those because I had to give up halfway through.