Boo Brew – CocaCola Freestyle

Best NYC soda, beverages, Halloween, mom, New York City, NYC, soda, soda fountain, Uncategorized

The husband and I got to have a night out about two weeks ago. His friend was receiving an award and we went to the gala celebration. It was a lovely night – they served Pepsi, which I forgave due to the fact that during the cocktail hour I was able to walk around with this in my hand:

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What a perfect set up – right? (I think these are similar…I may need to get some if I ever get my act together and throw a party – the handle feature is KEY!) 

Anyway, I was meeting my husband at the venue which was almost an hour away from our home. I settled into my Uber and started catching up on Facebook and emails. All of a sudden my phone made the craziest sound (ok- just different from my regular alert tone, but it did startle me). I didn’t know what was going on. I checked my texts, email,alarms … and then I saw it. My CocaCola Freestyle app had messaged me! WHAT?!?! It wanted me to know about its latest featured soda mix!

OK- I had NO IDEA it could do that. I’ve never even tried a CocaCola Freestyle machine for more than a Diet Coke, but being NYC Soda Girl, about a month ago I figured I should one day give it a more sincere try, so I downloaded the app. Holy moly.

Fast forward to this week and I finally got around to trying the BOO BREW my app had messaged me about.

(Screen shot from App)
(Screen shot from App)

I went to a local Walgreens that the CocaCola Freestyle site said had a Freestyle machine. It was decked out for Halloween – perfect for my Boo Brew!

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Let me say that I really didn’t research how to use this machine. I figured it would be simple enough. Maybe it is for others. Maybe I over think things. But this is how it went down for me:

I approach machine. I start the process. I begin to think: Oh jeez, this recipe shows percentages…I want ice…if I put ice in then I won’t be able to accurately figure out the ratio of the mix…is this cup wider at the top than the bottom…no…ok good…that helps…really they have people figuring out percentages to make the soda?…I don’t mind percentages, but how do I control the speed of the flow and stop exactly when I need to…let me just start…I won’t use ice…if worse comes to worse I’ll bring it home and add ice there…I guess after I mix it I can dump some and add the ice…no, adding ice will just splash all over…I’ll take it home…ok let me just start.

Selecting the different soda components is easy. First you choose a brand:

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Then you select the variation of the brand you want and press the pour button:

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Boo Brew had 40% Fanta Orange (ok, slightly less than half the cup – check), 35% Hi-C Orange Vanilla (ok, slightly more than half of the remaining space in cup, check) and 25% Sprite Vanilla (remaining space, check).

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I just stared at the warm-ish cup of glowing orange for a moment. I almost didn’t drink it – but I had to – for you my dear readers.  I took a sip. It had a sharp orange taste with a filmy vanilla aftertaste.  I took 2 sips and decided to bring it home to try with ice.  I wanted to give it a fair shot.

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Take two was equally as bad. DUMPED IT.

I think the idea of the Freestyle machine is cool. You can make over 100 different individual flavors and those can be combined to make even more potentially tasty beverages.  I’ve since learned that you can use the app on your smartphone to somehow scan something on the machine and that will prepare the mix for you.  Still not sure about how much ice you’re supposed to use – I messaged CocaCola Freestyle on Facebook about how much ice is suggested, but they haven’t written back. I will try a different mix soon and report back how using the app went. I wish their website had a full video showing how to use it. Maybe it does and I just can’t find it, lol.

Oh well. For now, I’d pass on the Boo Brew if I were you.

NYC Soda Girl’s Rating

CocaCola Freestyle

Various Locations (see website)

Boo Brew – I paid $1.99

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Crafty Crafty!

Best NYC soda, beverages, DIY, Halloween, mom, New York City, NYC, soda, Uncategorized

Halloween is upon us and there seems to be a ton of pre-Halloween celebrations everywhere. My kids are all set in their store bought costumes. I’ve made sure they have every accessory needed – even if I had to go to Etsy and get special hand crafted touches. I dream big for their costumes – but I always need to find someone/someplace else to make it a reality.  This past week I have been BLOWN away with the home made parade of costumes I saw. So unique. So well made. Sigh.

I have always wanted to be crafty…always wanting to make something out of nothing.  Through the years I’ve found I’m more artistic…I’ve done a few oil paintings I’m proud of; designed a mosaic table; and have sketched a few decent portraits.  None the less, every time I walk into a Michael’s Arts & Crafts store – I light up and start dreaming about what I could do with a hot glue gun.

I’ve had many crafting fails – starting with my 8th grade “school bus” costume (made from a refrigerator box and yellow spray paint: 1 it didn’t look like a bus, and 2 it disintegrated in the rain 5 minutes outside of the car) and most recently with the bow holder I tried to make (using large wooden letters, hot glue and ribbon)…I mean how hard could that be?!?

Anyway – I’m clearly in awe of those who can look around their house – see junk – and turn it into something awesome.  I found the Whats Up Moms website and this cool and crafty video:

 

Which is your favorite? Mine is the DIY soda can caddy. Hoping to give it a try next summer!   Leave me a comment with your fave!…or a craft you’re especially proud of.  If you’ve made any soda inspired crafts let me know – I may just feature you on NYC Soda Girl!

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NYC Allergy Mamma

Best NYC soda, beverages, food allergies, Halloween, mom, New York City, NYC, Pumpkin Picking, Uncategorized

Last weekend was quite the “Allergy Mamma” experience. I had the joy of seeing kids get together to support food allergy kids and then later we had a complete restaurant fail.

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A Teal Pumpkin? What is that? Well, I’ll happily tell you 🙂

The Teal Pumpkin Project is a way to help kids with life threatening food allergies (1 in 13 kids have them) be safe and enjoy Halloween.  The idea is, instead of offering just candy at Halloween you can also have a stash of non-food treats available for kids with food allergies. They’ll know you have them available because you have a teal pumpkin (and maybe a little sign too) out on display.   This year I’ll have 156 Piece Mega Halloween Toy Novelty Assortment; 12 Halloween Ducks, 12 Halloween Pencils, 12 Halloween Sticker Sheets; 48 Halloween Erasers; 72 Halloween Glitter Tattoos!! and 8″ LumiStick Brand Glowsticks Glow Stick Bracelets Mixed Colors (Tube of 100) available, plus candy. Don’t worry non-food allergy friends, no one is trying to take candy out of Halloween, The Teal Pumpkin Project just wants to help more kids be able to safely participate in the holiday just like “all the other kids”.

When visiting Hank’s Pumpkintown (you can read about it here) we bought a bunch of extra mini pumpkins and got together with friends to paint them teal! We went to the Food Allergy Research & Education website and downloaded these coloring pages and signs for the kids to work on too.  You can check out their website and get the downloads too at: DOWNLOADS

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Here are the finished products!

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Still working on what to write with the black glitter paint on the tombstone ;)
Still working on what to write with the black glitter paint on the tombstone 😉

The kids used these materials to paint their mini pumpkins (you can click each material and order from amazon.com if you’re interested):
Crayola Turquoise Washable Paint  mixed with Crayola Green Washable Paint

ALEX Toys Artist Studio 15 Colorful Brushes

Teal Glitter

And for the “Crafty” pieces, I used these materials (or similar ones) so that hopefully we can use the pumpkin and sign year after year:

Halloween Decoration Tombstone

The Plump Pumpkin Keepsake

Teal Acrylic Paint

White Nylon Brushes

Black Glitter 3d Paint

I have to keep in mind how great it is that so many people are participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project, because this next part of our weekend sadly seems to be the norm.

We went to a family lunch at Antonio’s Trattoria. As soon as we sat down the waiter came over. I explained to him that our child has life threatening allergies to peanuts, tree nuts and sesame, so while we brought safe food for him to eat, we would like to know if those allergens are in the food we want to order.  If so we would order something else. We also asked that while handling his beverage (water cup and straw) please be sure no one who was handling those allergens touches his cup without washing their hands first or putting on fresh gloves.

The waiter assures me that they don’t serve anything with those ingredients.  I could have just left it at that, but it was an Italian Restaurant and my experience is that they usually have sesame present. So I asked about the sesame specifically again, he said “No – oh except for all the hero rolls.”   – Oh.

Then at that exact moment I happen to look around and notice this:

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Yes, you are correct- those are 6 TUBS of Nutella – a chocolate hazelnut spread.  So I point to them and ask “What about that?”

He tells me that “those just sit there.”

“So you don’t cook with them?”

“Well, we have a Nutella pizza.”

Right. So basically when I first tell him about my child’s LIFE THREATENING allergies, he says they don’t even have those items in the restaurant. Thankfully I kept asking. I have no problem bringing food for my child so that he’s safe everywhere he goes. I do not expect restaurants to stop serving the things they want to serve – but please be knowledgeable about what you’re selling and about the severity of food allergies!

Besides the scary interaction I had with the waiter, I simply can’t recommend this restaurant. The highlight of the meal for me was the bread basket and olive oil. For my entrée I ordered the gnocchi caprese.

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When it arrived my kids asked me what kind of soup I ordered. Umm, I didn’t order soup. I ordered a simple pasta dish and  instead received an inedible vat of slop. The soda was a watered down Diet Pepsi.  My husband had pumpkin rice balls for an appetizer which he said were delicious, but beyond that one dish I say AVOID this place if you happen to be in the Bronx!

Oh what a weekend!

NYC Soda Girl’s Rating

Antonio’s Trattoria

2370 Belmont Ave., Bronx, NY

Fountain Diet Pepsi

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