You Can Take the Girl Out of Hicksville

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

“You can take the girl out of Hicksville, but you can’t take the Hicksville out of the girl!” – Please someone comment below and name that tune!! (Hint I am a major lover of musical theater.)

No, I’m not from Hicksville, but I did grow up in the burbs, and while I’m NEVER EVER EVER NEVER leaving the city, there are a few things I sometimes miss. Malls for instance – I know – awful, but I do. Being able to go from store to store while staying indoors and then having my car available to take it all home really does speak to me.  I mean, back in the early 90s there was a mall by my house where I LITERALLY, not exaggerating, could have bought a shirt, a slice of pizza, car tires, a blender, Tylenol, a puppy and an evening dress all under one roof in under an hour – and yes I did say “a puppy”.

Malls aside, for a long time I also wished for particular stores to start hitting NYC, and lo and behold, one by one my list keeps getting smaller and smaller as they are all arriving. First came 7-11 and my precious Big Gulps. Next came Michael’s craft stores (my husband was especially happy about this as now I don’t ask him to drive us to Jersey periodically to get my fix as I’ve mentioned ). And more recently a MAJOR city addition has surfaced…we have a DQ!

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I rarely get over to West 14th Street, but I needed a few things from Party City for my daughter’s birthday party and just a few doors down is a Dairy Queen. It opened last school year, but I don’t remember exactly when. Anyway, since I was RIGHT THERE I couldn’t not go in.  The menu boards looked different than I remembered…the pictures of the Blizzards were upside down…hmmm?  I ordered a small Oreo Blizzard and a small Diet Coke.  For those who don’t know, a Blizzard is a cup of soft serve ice-cream with candy or cookie or other delicious treat mixed throughout. They handed me a buzzer and my soda cup. I went to fill up my soda and saw they have quite a variety of soda options:

 

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A minute later – BUZZ BUZZ – my Blizzard was ready.  I walked back to the counter, and what do you know – they hold the Blizzard upside down for a moment before handing it to you!  I looked it up, and apparently there used to be a promotion running where they had to prove that the Blizzard was thick and not runny so they held it upside down to show it. Some stores have decided to maintain the practice.  The Blizzard was delicious. A perfectly thick and creamy mix of vanilla ice cream and Oreo chunks.  The Diet Coke was pretty good too.  It had a nice first sip and didn’t get overpowered while simultaneously eating the Blizzard.

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So I guess all that’s left for my burbs/city dream to be complete would be to have a few Chili’s Restaurants, NJ quality diners – complete with extraordinary cheese fries – and perhaps a Walmart/Target type store that isn’t located on the outskirts of Manhattan!

Do you live in the city and crave some suburban comforts – comment below and let us know!

NYC Soda Girl’s Rating

Dairy Queen

54 West 14th St., NYC

Small Diet Coke

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Feeling Understood

Best NYC soda, beverages, NYC, soda, soda fountain, Uncategorized

It is literally DAILY that I read anti-soda articles and posts. I get it: soda isn’t good for you, and probably the quantity I drink isn’t good for me either…but it’s my one thing. Everyone has their one non-negotiable, and for me it’s Diet Coke.

So this week I came upon this post in my Facebook Feed by Gigi Engle and I smiled. Thank you Gigi, for understanding my love for the “juice of the gods” or as Gigi puts it “the fluid made from the tears of angels.”

Please read her article (here) and feel understood 🙂

 

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A Month For Being Thankful

Best NYC soda, New York City, NYC, NYC Restaurants, soda, Uncategorized

NYC Soda Girl has been busy. SO much going on  – SO much to be thankful for. Of course I am always thankful for my beautiful family.  We recently moved (gotta love NYC schools rezoning our last apartment right after we moved in! So, we moved again to be zoned for the school we want). I am thankful to have a home and 60 boxes surrounding us – even when unpacking is eating at my soul.  I’m thankful to be planning my youngest daughter’s 2nd birthday party (coming up VERY soon)….and this past weekend I was beyond thankful to attend my college sorority’s reunion brunch.

This year I celebrate 20 years of Sisterhood. At the brunch women ranging from the sorority’s founders, to current undergraduates met at Forcella Park Avenue. It is very hard to put into words how much being a part of this amazing organization means to me. It is a true extended family that loves, respects and supports each other no matter what our differences are. To see this group continue to assemble, YEARS after I graduated college, and have the same spirit and love instilled in everyone, seriously makes you feel good about humanity’s potential. My words are not doing enough justice.

The brunch was delicious and a really good deal too!

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Our tables filled with the unlimited bellinis, bloody marys & mimosas…but as you’ll see…I always stay true to my Diet Coke.

(photo credit goes to an amazing sista!)
(photo credit goes to an amazing sista!)

I usually don’t like fruit garnish on my soda, but it came with a lime and a little dripped in – amazingly, I didn’t mind it!  It made me have a flashback to someone giving me a Lime Diet Coke years ago, and that time too – I was surprised I actually enjoyed it!  Lemons I HATE. As for limes, I may need to Coca Coca Freestyle myself a batch and see if it’s something I may want regularly!

As for my meal, I had the Margeritha Sandwich (their spelling) without the pesto (no tree nuts for me) and it was delicious. It also came with a cold corn salad and a side of breakfast potatoes. LOVE.  The Diet Coke was standard, no complaints. The atmosphere was perfect. We had the upstairs room which overlooks the downstairs seating and bar.  I’ll be back!

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NYC Soda Girl’s Rating

 

Forcella Park Avenue

377 Park Avenue South

Diet Coke with ice, included with brunch

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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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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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