I've waxed on and on about the summer Fancy Food Show too many times throughout Eat This Review, but how else would I get the chance to taste unique foods multiple times? Sure, you may get sick of hearing about these food shows, but without these marketing opportunities, the sellers, creators, and reviewers of gourmet edibles would have few chances to see, talk about, and taste new food products from startup companies.
Having the chance to taste foods at the show and in the comfort of my own home gives me a chance to fairly judge each food that comes my way. Appetizer Adventures, for example, was a small food product started by owner Bolder Bob, who stopped to talk me up on the top floor of this year's show. Though I really loved the idea and enjoyed meeting the founders, I found the look and taste to be unexciting. Still, I agreed to do a review. And surprise surprise, I found a great new snack that I haven't been able to stop eating.
Bolder Bob's, which makes Appetizer Adventures, should be proud of their product creation. What is it exactly? It's sort of like hand pies, or pizzas from around the world. Frozen in packs of two, each one heats up in your microwave in about 2 minutes or under, comes out piping hot and not mushy, and probably has a more interesting, real flavor than any frozen food you've had. And they taste FRESH!
It was so hard to get a good taste of these foods while at the show, but once home, I was able to taste each flavor distinctly, see how wholesome they are, and understand how they'd be great for kids and adults alike. They're high in protein (and sodium, unfortunately, but not terribly) and low in sugar and unpronounceable ingredients. Thank you, Bob!
Unlike Ellio's or Celeste's individual pizzas, which Appetizer Adventures is bound to be compared to at some point, these unique pocket pies offer truly different flavors. Instead of piling fake cheese and pepperoni on the same ol' base and calling it something new, Appetizer Adventures creates a new flavor from the toppings all the way down to the crust. Who else does that?
Their 6 flavors include:
A Taste of Naples: Tomato Sauce, Parmesan Cheese, Onion, Garlic, Pepper & Oregano in a Basil Crust
A Taste of Tuscany: Tangy Veggie Sausage, Tomato Sauce, Garlic, Oregano, Pepper & Onion in a Basil Crust
A Taste of Napa Valley: Fire Roasted Veggies, (Zucchini, Eggplant, Mushrooms, Onion) & Tomato Sauce in a Roasted Garlic & Parmesan Crust
A Taste of Santa Fe: Santa Fe Veggie Chicken, Red Bell Peppers, Sweet Corn, Black Beans & Pepper Jack Cheese in a Red Bell Pepper Crust
A Taste of Athens: Feta Cheese, Spinach, Green Olives, Diced Tomato & Thyme in an Oregano Garlic Crust
A Taste of Beijing: Asian Veggie Beef & Sauce, Green Onion, Carrot, Sesame Seeds & Garlic in a Black pepper Crust
While I was mid-bite at the food fair, Bolder Bob casually mentioned that all six flavors were vegetarian. I never would have guessed! All the variations taste great, and I wasn't expecting a startup company with unique foods to go vegetarian, but when Bob explained that many of his friends were vegetarian, I thought it was terrific. Who needs more meat in this day and age?
Unbelievably, you can not only see the fresh vegetables and basil flakes, you can actually taste them. What do you taste? Freshness and flavor. And at just 105-145 calories each, you can't argue that those 100-calorie packs of cookies and crackers are good for you or will hold you longer than 10 minutes. These, on the other hand, will.
Back to the flavor. They were pretty addictive. I tasted these savory pies several times over a period of a few days (mainly because I felt they were so delicious and fitting as a snack, I couldn't stop!), and held an informal tasting for a very excited panel. Though more than one taster commented on the final product looking better on the box cover (and really, when is that not true?), they went over big. They truly fit almost any occasion when it comes to eating a filling snack or small meal. I had two for lunch when I wanted a smaller lunch. I had one for a snack mid-morning. I had one as a side dish with dinner, and I had one as an afternoon snack the next day. They're warm, filling (and not all crust), fairly good for you, good tasting, never dried out, and easy to make. One can easily take it in the car if on the run, too—no plate needed!
At first, the Santa Fe variety was my favorite. Full of tangy flavor and stringy pepper jack, I thought it was most unique. But then I got quite into the Beijing pie: Colorful, bursting with flavor, and decidedly different tasting with its green onion and veggie beef topping (sans sauce—not sure where this component was). But during the next tasting, I thought the ho-hum-sounding Naples had come to life, delivering a beautifully sweet and spicy, very zesty flavor that I couldn't get enough of. And the Athens, though not a personal favorite, had beautiful green spinach and olives and red tomato that my eye was really drawn to. Really, I liked them all. A lot. So much that if they were stocked near me, I'd probably have several more cartons in my freezer. They're just so darn handy and tasty!
It's true that finding a way to make frozen foods look good once reheated is always a challenge. But aside from their glamour shots, the flavor of these Indiana Jones-esque edible adventures is a taste not to be missed. I hope they'll be in stores across the country soon!
Appetizer Adventures comes in packs of four 2.25-oz. pies.
Prices are not available at the moment.
Appetizer Adventures is currently available in the Boulder, CO area.
Visit http://www.appetizeradventures.com/ to learn more, and hope they'll come to a market near you in the near future.