▪ Sahale’s Valdosta pecans
$4.50 for four ounces; Sprouts, Rite Aid, Costco and other retailers; www.sahalesnacks.com
Sahale of Seattle keeps coming out with some of the most interesting snacks on the market – among them, mixtures of nuts, dried fruits and spices. In October, we taste-tested its Crunchers Fruit & Almond Snack. We demolished the mix of roasted sliced almonds, dried cherries and apples, glazed with maple and finished with cinnamon. We found another flavor we like even better, black-peppered Valdosta (as in the Georgia town) pecan halves with dried cranberries and orange zest. The mixture is zingy, crunchy and chewy, and just sweet enough.
▪ Dave’s Gourmet Hot Sauces
$6; available at local retailers; www.davesgourmet.com
We recently scored bottles of Dave’s Gourmet hot sauces in two flavors – Crazy Caribbean and Ginger Peach. San Francisco-based Dave’s Gourmet makes a broad range of intriguing goods including spice blends, pasta sauces, snacks and mustard. Its line of hot sauces includes Temporary Insanity, Jump-Up Passionfruit and Hurtin’ Habanero. It describes Crazy Caribbean this way: “The flavors of Puerto Rican red habanero, cane vinegar, fresh lime juice and garlic.” For Ginger Peach: “Has a hint of sweet, spice and ginger.” We tasted both, then tasted them again. Wow!
▪ Yang’s smoked meat wrapped in bread
$7.50; Yang’s Noodles; 5860 Stockton Blvd.; (916) 392-9988
The mighty beef roll from Yang’s Noodles has been hailed in these pages, but it’s arguable that the prosaically named “Smoked meat wrapped in bread” is even better. First, pork shoulder is seasoned with star anise and tea-smoked in a foil-lined wok. Then it’s oh-so-thinly sliced and sandwiched inside a pancake with a dollop of plum sauce and a scallion cut lengthwise. The pancake itself is infused with Sichuan peppercorn oil, although so subtly that the pinyin (numbing and spicy) characteristic is barely detectable, but the smoky taste of the meat comes through loud and clear in a way that any barbecue joint could do well to emulate.
▪ Froovie Organics chocolate chip cookie dough
$2.97 for 2.5 lbs.; Costco; www.froovieorganics.com
The price on this big tub of cookie dough – just under $3 – is so low it almost makes you wonder what’s really inside. But don’t let that be a deterrent. The all-organic recipe is as simple as homemade, with dark, rich muscovado sugar (with its hint of molasses) and bittersweet chocolate chips.
▪ Made in Nature Fusion organic dried fruit
$14.89 for 18 packs; Costco; www.madeinnature.com
Up the antioxidant power in your snacks with these healthful, on-the-go single serving packs of dried fruits and seeds. This combo container has two flavors: a tropical mix with sweet bits of banana, pineapple, mango, coconut, ginger and cacao nibs, and a super berry blend with cranberries, raisins, cherries, pepitas, blueberries and gogi berries. Either is ideal for a kid’s lunchbox.
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