Humboldt Fog Cheese

I love cheese, which is not easy, being an Asian and all. My current Official Cheese is Humboldt Fog, which the BF (the vegan!) picked out a couple weeks ago. It’s from Cypress Grove Chevre in Northern California and made out of goat’s milk.

But it doesn’t taste like any goat cheese I’ve ever had. It doesn’t have that tangy ‘goaty’ flavor that I associate with goat cheese and goat milk.

The cheese is multi-faceted: crumbly and tangy on the inside, almost like a savory cheesecake, creamy and strong close to the rind, with a tasteless but strangely textured rind. The rind is edible, so I just eat it along with the rest of the cheese, but it’s not my favorite part.

What I like about the cheese is that I can eat different parts depending on what I’m craving. If I want a soft, creamy and strong cheese, I’ll eat the part close to the rind. If I want something that’s tangy, almost fruity, I’ll eat the middle. There’s also a line of vegetable ash going through the middle, but that’s mostly tasteless.

My favorite way to eat this cheese is just on some rice crackers. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’d imagine it’d be delicious with some nuts and a glass of white wine as well.

Cypress Grove Chevre seems like a small operation. They keep goats and buy additional goat milk from surrounding farmers. Their goats are allowed land to pasture, live in roofed-in areas, and the cheese is made from vegetable (instead of calf) rennet — which is good news for some vegetarians. Unfortunately, they still kill their male goats for meat after they’re done mating, so not so good if you want a no-killed-goat cheese. I learned all this by emailing them, which means they’re easy to contact.

If you’re not a fan of goat cheese, give this one a try. If I hadn’t known it was goat cheese beforehand, I wouldn’t have guessed it. Now I want to try their other cheeses.

Stanza — what took me so long?

After a mild case of Kindle envy and rationalizing — I don’t really need another gadget, especially not a Kindle, and I actually like having physical books — I compromised and downloaded an iPhone app called Stanza. It’s basically an e-book reader.

My first misgiving was that it would be too hard to read a book on the iPhone. The text would either be too small to read comfortably, or so big that I’d have to turn the page every two seconds. Or the backlight would hurt my eyes. None of this was true. I finished reading Benjamin Button in a dark room waiting for a show to start and had no problems.

Stanza comes with customizable options such as text color, type face, type size, etc. One option that I wish they had included was a dimmer switch for screen brightness. It’s a pain to go to the iPhone settings menu to adjust screen brightness everytime I want to read something in a different light.

One of the best things about Stanza is the huge library of free books to download. Sure, the latest New York Times bestseller isn’t going to be free, but there are tons of older books released to the public domain that I’ve been meaning to read.

I read my first romance novel on it. Although I guess that’s not something I should be declaring publicly. At least it’s less embarassing then purchasing one from the rack near the supermarket checkout line.

Stanza isn’t going to replace my bookshelf just yet, but it’s a handy app to have for when I forget to bring my book, or if I just want something quick to read while I’m waiting for something. And the price is right: FREE!

Hotlips Blackberry Soda & Black Raspberry Soda

Hotlips Blackberry SodaHotlips’ Blackberry Soda was pretty damn good. It wasn’t too tart or cloying. The carbonation was at its usual Hotlips level, but I think I’m slowly getting used to it. The addition of a couple of ice-cubes definitely made the soda more enjoyable.

While I was drinking it, I couldn’t help wondering how it’d taste with some club soda, a splash of vodka, all over ice. I bet it would taste refreshing.

I’d give it 3 out of 5 SAMs.

Hotlips Black Raspberry SodaThe next night, we opened up the Hotlips Black Raspberry Soda. The soda had a musky dark-berry flavor that reminded me of black cherries for some reason. I think of raspberries as being tart, but there was very little tartness in this soda. I like that.

As with the other sodas, I noticed that there’s a decent amount of fruit pulp when I pour into a glass. It’s not as pulpy as say, pulpy orange juice, but it’s definitely pulpy enough to assure me that real fruit went into each bottle of soda.

The BF seemed to enjoy this one a lot. I thought it was pretty good as well, but it’s a bit too thick for me. I still like the blackberry soda the best.

2.5 out of 5 SAMs