Taste Tester. The Best of the Best.
The Best of the Best on the North Fork and Beyond.
Didn't you always want to know where to get the best...everything? If you aren't making it yourself, where can you pick up the best potato salad, clam chowder, corn on the cob? Are organic grapes worth the extra expense?
Several months ago, I met Darlene Brush, a self-proclaimed "taste tester." I had heard of coffee and tea tasters, but this was something new and different to me. Darlene explained that within a category, she selects the best choices, based on her own palate, and conducts a "taste test" of the category.
Darlene says that "taste testing is best done when you have someone to assist so you can do a blind taste test. If no one is around, the best method is to make sure everything is the same temperature and taste several times. I like to close my eyes when the food or liquid is in my mouth."
Of course we knew we had to feature Darlene's findings on Hummingbird! And now, we will also be featuring other taste-tested “winners” as well.
Taste Tester results are included below, beginning with the newest post. We will be adding new Taste Test results as they come in.
June 14, 2019
Best Florist on the North Fork
Flowers’ Edge in Cutchogue. On the North Fork, we take our flowers seriously, and there are many good florists here. However, Flowers’ Edge located on the Main Road in Cutchogue is in a class by itself. Here are the main reasons Flowers’ Edge is such a standout. (Flowers above and below are Noa’s work!)
Florist, owner Noa Rotem—expertise, commitment, design aesthetic, and personality drives the experience.
“Special” does not do justice to the beautiful, fresh flowers for weddings, events, graduations, proms, gifts, every day bouquets.
Local fresh flowers are combined with unique and sometimes exotic blooms. Flowers are open and in bloom.
Delivery! Delivery is professional and part of the experience as Noa often delivers herself after she closes the shop. She makes sure that everything arrives just as beautiful as when it leaves her store, and seems to truly enjoy meeting and talking with the recipient, making the gift even that much more meaningful. It is the icing on the cake!
Guest “Judge” for Best of the Best, Sandra Novick
April 11, 2019
Best Salad with Grilled Chicken on the North Fork, Lunch Menu
Jamesport Manor Inn takes first place, hands down! Listed on the menu as Country Organic Salad, it features beautiful greens, bacon pieces, Parmesan-Reggiano, and a piece of juicy, delicious chicken, with the skin on. The skin is crispy and sizzling.
Best Chicken Salad Sandwich on the North Fork, Lunch Menu
Erik’s in Southold is the best! The chicken salad is made with big chunks of chicken, and not an overabundance of mayonnaise, served with lettuce and tomato on raisin walnut bread. It is always super fresh and delicious!
Guest Taste Tester, Sandra Novick
March 6, 2019
MultiGrain Pancake Mix
Best Multi-Grain Pancake Mix - Arrowhead Mills Multigrain Pancake & Waffle Mix. Made with organic grains (flours from corn, wheat, rye, brown rice), Arrowhead Mills pancake mix results consistently in pancakes that are light and delicious; the mix requires a minimum of additional ingredients (milk or water, and canola oil), works well with fruit mixed into the batter — I’ve tried blueberries, blackberries, apples and pears. The pancakes are always moist and delectable! Regarding milk versus water, they are better with milk, and I’ve used both dairy (2%) and almond milk with good results. This mix contains no sugar, organic or otherwise. These pancakes taste “made from scratch.”
Second Choice: Bob’s Red Mill Organic 7 Grain Pancake & Waffle Mix. If I am unable to pick up Arrowhead Mills, Bob’s is my go-to second choice. It’s very good. You do have to add an egg; the mix calls for water (I switched to 1/2 milk, half water and liked it better.) An advantage of Bob’s is that it is carried in all the supermarkets in our area, while the Arrowhead Mills brand is stocked in the whole foods markets around, but not all supermarkets, making it a little harder to find.
Also included in the taste testing were Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes, Flapjack & Waffle Mix (Buttermilk) and Maple Grove Farms Organic Pancake & Waffle Mix. While the Kodiak is 100% whole grains and protein packed, we found them to be heavy compared to the first and second choice mixes. Also tasted was the Maple Grove Farms brand. These were fine—light, but “not special” — and to me, tasted like they were made from a mix.
Note that regarding protein, when I say Kodiak is packed with protein, we are talking 14 grams per serving! That compares to 5 grams for Arrowhead Mills, and 7 grams for Bob’s. We remedy that by having a scrambled egg along side, or a couple of tablespoons of yogurt and fresh fruit.
Guest Taste Tester, Sandra Novick
September 4, 2018
Best Black Tea - Steven Smith Black Tea is the ultimate. I tasted No. 47--Bungalow Black Tea for the taste test, however there are several Steven Smith black tea selections to try. On the North Fork, it is sold at Fit Foods. You can't go wrong with a Steven Smith tea! (Fit Foods is in Southold, on the North Road, east of Horton Lane)
Strong Second Choice Black Tea Contenders: PG tips is a delicious, flavorful, strong English tea. PG tips is the most economical of the three teas tested.
While I also like Tazo Awake, Tazo Darjeeling is a bit weak.
Organic Grapes Versus Conventionally Grown
Are red organic grapes worth the extra $1.00 per pound? Regular grapes are sweeter, but the organic grapes have a better flavor overall. If your budget allows, the organic grapes are worth it.
July 18, 2018
Best Potato Salad - Wayside Market, Southold
Best Shrimp Cocktail To Go - Southold Fish Market
Best Rice Pudding - Modern Snack Bar, Aquebogue
Close Second - Ammirati's Market, Love Lane, Mattituck
Best Clam Chowder - Hallock's Cider Mill Farm Stand, Laurel
Organic Sweet Potatoes Versus Conventionally Grown
Organic are well worth the extra price in grocery stores; there is no comparison in taste or color.
Best Bottled Water - Fiji