Pure Dark chocolate is purely awesome

Let’s face it guys….chocolate is usually the kind of treat reserved for the palates of women. That doesn’t mean we don’t like it, but we don’t crave it like we do, say, beer, or chicken wings. Mmmm, I’m getting hungry again!

Anyway, we were intrigued enough by a press release promoting Pure Dark, a brand of chocolate that is available both online as well as in retail locations in New York City, including the new distribution channel of Food Emporium stores.

Pure Dark is made from cocoa beans with a supposed “intense flavor profile.” I’m not sure how they choose them, but they are very right in that assessment. The flavor is bold and powerful, and almost has a coffee-like background flavor. This isn’t the kind of thing you can eat mass quantities of, but you could do far worse in choosing a snack.

We tried the raspberry acai rounds, which are dark chocolate discs that are coated in a raspberry/acai natural flavors. The chocolate balances with the bright flavor of the fruit in a big way, but this is one of those things that is clearly geared more toward women, because I’m not a fan of mixing fruit with chocolate.

I did, however, love the chocolate covered almonds, which were among some of the best I’ve ever had.

The caramelized nibs were a bit different, basically cocoa beans that were roasted and chopped. The flavor of these is more intense than any of the other Pure Dark products we tried, but a good intense.

If you’re a fan of chocolate, you need to find this stuff online…..especially if you want to impress your significant other!

For more information, please visit www.puredark.com

  

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Friday Video – OK Go, “End Love”

When I posted the latest simple-but-awesome video from OK Go to my Facebook page, a friend joked, “No hot tubs? Bitches and hos? Gold chains/teeth? Money being thrown in the air?”

Exactly.

Truth be told, it’s hard to believe that all of those hip hop video cliches still exist. The money they’re throwing? Not real. Hot tub? Only if you want to contract hepatitis. The women? Well, most of them are ho’s, if that one woman’s tell-all book about her life as a video vixen is to be believed. Either way, none of those clips stand apart from the others, and if your video doesn’t stand apart, then odds are your song won’t, either.

OK Go clearly knows this, because they have made a game out of constructing music videos that are easy on the eyes – in that they don’t include a million jump cuts – yet impossibly complex. Their last clip, the Rube Goldberg puzzle “This Too Shall Pass,” set the bar impossibly high, but damned if “End Love” doesn’t rise to the challenge. Using the stop-motion photography that Zbigniew Rybczyński made famous in his clip for the Art of Noise’s “Close (To the Edit),” OK Go shoot a clip that appears to be taking place in real time…really lengthy real time, like 24 hours. And then, just to be cute, they include a couple of super slo-mo shots and at least one shot at normal speed. And check out the goose that follows them everywhere.

  

Here’s a new iced tea idea for your summer BBQ

This week’s Happy Hour cocktail is for all you iced tea fans out there. Spice it up a bit by adding some SKYY Infusions, like this cool recipe we got from the kind folks at SKYY Vodka.

SKYY Summer Palmer
Kathy Casey, Kathy Casey Food Studios

1.5 oz. SKYY Infusions Citrus
0.25 oz. Triple Sec
1 oz. Sweetened Iced Tea
0.5 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

Combine SKYY Infusions Citrus, triple sec, unsweetened iced tea, lemon juice and ice into a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass with sugar rim as garnish.

If you’re hosting a barbecue, it’s always fun to offer more than just beer in a cooler. Put out a drink cart with some flavored vodkas and plenty of mixers and your guests will have a great time.

  

“Cyrus” makes a solid comedy out of the mama’s boy myth

Cyrus cast.

If you aren’t an avid fan of the mumblecore movement you have may have missed the Duplass brothers’ newest film, “Cyrus.” No, that’s not as in Miley Cyrus, a point the film studio is trying to hammer home with notmileycyrus.com, a site with links to funny clips from the movie (why they decided to go forward with that title is beyond me, but they didn’t ask me).

The Duplass brothers are best known for their indie work with movies like “Baghead” and “The Puffy Chair.” Despite the A-list cast in “Cyrus,” the film managed to retain a lot of that indie flavor. The basis of the movie is simple: John (played by John C. Reilly) is still struggling with a divorce from seven years ago when he meets Molly (Marisa Tomei), a stunning mother with a secret – her son. Jonah Hill plays Cyrus, the never-been-weaned son that will do anything to keep his mom to himself.

Our own Jason Zingale wrote a full review for Bullz-Eye. Here’s a quick take from his article concerning the relationship between Jonah Hill and Marisa Tomei:

It’s a relationship that could have easily come across as creepy if the material didn’t have such a genuine quality to it. Granted, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still hard to swallow at times, but the cast does a pretty good job of not focusing too much on the somewhat taboo nature of their bond by keeping the story flowing – particularly since all the dialogue is improvised. Marisa Tomei is easily the best actor of the bunch, but she’s a little out of her element here, relying mostly on her co-stars to guide her through each scene.

For his full “Cyrus” review and more reviews on this summer’s hottest movies, head over to the Bullz-Eye movie guide.

  

A Chat with Jimmy and Eddie Russell, Wild Turkey’s father/son distilling team

Do you like bourbon? Sure, we all do!

Okay, maybe we don’t all like it. But if you are a bourbon aficionado, then you’re no doubt familiar with the work of the father and son team of Jimmy and Eddie Russell, even if you may not know it. Jimmy’s a master distiller at the Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, and Eddie’s an associate distiller; together, the two of them created a tasty treat known as Russell’s Reserve, which was awarded a Gold Medal at the 2007 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Russell’s Reserve is described on the Wild Turkey website as having “a nose that is rich in vanilla, oak, toffee, and a touch of old leather,” a huge body, and a palate that is “very spicy, with notes of chili peppers, tamarind, almonds, and cumin.” How would I describe it? Hey, I’m no connoisseur, but I can at least confirm that it goes down smoooooooth.

With Father’s Day on the horizon, I decided it would be the perfect time to take the Russells up on their kind offer to chat about their work with Wild Turkey, the wonder that is Russell’s Reserve, and – to be holiday-specific – what it’s like for a dad to work with his kid every single day.

Jimmy Russell: Hello, Will! How are you?

Bullz-Eye: I’m good! How are you?

JR: Doin’ fine, thanks!

BE: Is Eddie there as well?

Eddie Russell: Yeah, Eddie’s here, too! (Laughs) How are you doing?

BE: Pretty good. Good to talk to you both…and I’ll tell you up front that I’m very much enjoying the bottle that was sent my way. (Laughs)

JR: Thank you! That’s what it for: to enjoy! (Laughs)

BE: Well, I know this is a multi-generational affair, but how did the Russell family first find its way into the bourbon business?

JR: I was born and raised in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, which was a small community when I was growing up, but there were four bourbon distilleries here, and you had families working all the distilleries. You wanted to get in the business. My grandfather and my father, me, and now my son, we’ve all been in the business.

ER: For me, it was a summer job 29 years ago, out of college. So it’s been a long summer for me. (Laughs)

BE: Growing up, did you both immediately have a taste for bourbon, or was it something you had to acquire?

ER: Well, for me, it was something that I basically always drank. I never was much of a beer drinker or anything like that. It was mostly bourbon.

JR: I’ve always been a bourbon drinker. I don’t care for beer or wine. It’s always been bourbon.

BE: I guess what I’m asking, really, if it was love at first sip or if you had any hesitancy.

JR: We can’t tell that! (Laughs)

ER: I don’t know if it was love at first taste, but it was definitely something I preferred over other alcoholic beverages.

BE: So what goes into the process of making Russell’s Reserve? Clearly, it’s a long one.

JR: Well, it’s one of those where, you know, we have to comply with federal government regulations about bourbon, which you probably already know: it has to be distilled, it has to be made with 51% corn, it has to be distilled under 160 proof, and it must be put in a new charred oak barrel at 125 proof or less. Here at the Wild Turkey distillery, we distill at low proofs and put it in the barrel and low proofs, because the higher you distill anything, the less flavor you have in it. With the Russell’s Reserve, it’s something that’s 10 years old, and…I’ll Eddie continue this. (Laughs)

ER: Russell’s is…we only have one recipe for our bourbon, so when it comes off the still, it could be the 101, Kentucky Spirit, Rare Breed. The difference between the Rare Breed and the Russell’s is that they’re hand-selected barrels, small batch. Where I’m normally dumping 50,000 gallons into a tank for the 101, we’re taking out 100 to 150 hand-selected barrels for the Russell’s Reserve. The 10 Year is just, for me, the top of the line as far as the number of years for it to age. You get all the good flavors, all the good taste, but it’s just such a mellow finish.

BE: Jimmy, I saw on the Wild Turkey website that they describe you as a goodwill ambassador for Kentucky’s most famous export.

JR: Yes, Eddie and I both do…well, we don’t do a whole lot of traveling, because we’ve got a job here at the plant every day, too, but we do travel all over the United States and all over the world promoting bourbon, but especially Wild Turkey Bourbon. You know, we’re known as the premium bourbon of the world. We’re huge in Australia and Japan.

BE: I take it that you’ve been able to travel to both of those countries, then?

JR: Yes, I have.

BE: What’s it like taking an American product over there? I have to figure that there’s a certain amount of national pride for their own beverages. Are they open to other countries’ wares?

JR: Well, in Japan, Wild Turkey is considered a prestige bourbon. It’s a bourbon that everybody wants, and a lot of the top executives own their own bottles in bars, with their name on a nametag hanging on the bottle. When you’re over visiting Japan, come and go have a drink out of my bottle! (Laughs) They consider it their own personal bottle, whether it’s 101 or Rare Breed or Russell’s Reserve. In Australia…well, they just love their bourbon, so they drink a lot of Wild Turkey! (Laughs)

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