Netherlands Yum


This month’s box of goodies from Universal Yums featured snacks from the Netherlands.  

There was only one item in the box I disliked and a couple of them I was meh about but I happened to start off with what turned out to be my favorite.

The Choco Stroopwafels is a delicious caramel and cookie combo wrapped in chocolaty goodness.  You can see the caramel trying to escape from the chocolate prison but the only place it went was in my belly.  Nice start to the box. 

My second favorite was a box of cookies.

These rectangular spice cookies reminded me of windmill cookies I used to buy at a bakery outlet back in the 80s.  I think you can still find them in stores.  The taste was not quite gingerbread but definitely cinnamon spiced and maybe something else.  The texture was a bit crumbly and they are topped with sliced peanuts and very light glaze.  These rivaled the stroopwafels when paired with a good strong cup of coffee.

For the most unusual I’m going to say it was the truck gummies.

These little trucks came in three different styles and colors and each one had a different flavor and texture.  The light brown ones were the least “gummy” and broke down quickly as you chewed them.  The flavor like licorice with a heavy dose of brown sugar or molasses.  The medium brown were like a combo of caramel, licorice and a hint of milk with a more gummy texture.  I know that sounds weird but they weren’t bad.  The dark trucks were the most stretchy and chewy of the lot and tasted most of licorice but also caramel mixed in. 

As odd as the trucks might sound the truly oddest also qualified for the worst of the lot.

From the bag of candies came the Napoleon Zwart-Wit in the top right of the photo.  This little nugget of nastiness was supposed to taste like licorice with a salty filling.  Now I like licorice a lot and I’ve tried some salted styles from Denmark that I quite enjoyed but even salt couldn’t save these balls of bad.  It tasted faintly of licorice with an ammonia aftertaste which was off putting to say the least.  Turns out ammonium chloride is an ingredient.  I’m game though and stuck with it until the hard shell melted enough for the salt kick in.  That did dampen the ammonia a bit but the overall taste experience was like sucking on some kind of caustic cleaning product.  These were the Waterloo of the Netherlands box.  Just in case you thought I was on the fence these were disgusting.

I did want to go ahead and mention a couple of the others because they were good or at least interesting.

The pink Cadillacs were fruit gummies that tasted pretty good but I could only sit there hearing Aretha Franklin Freeway of Love song in my head the whole time I was eating them.  They came in strawberry, cherry and black currant.

The Roka Cheddar & Raspberry cheese crispies were worth a mention two because they had some of the best cheddar taste I’ve had in a cracker.  The texture of these were like a pastry dough that had been sliced thick and back with the cheddar and the little dried raspberry bits scattered in for a surprise sweet taste every now and then.  

Overall the box was 75% good, 17% meh and 8% yucky.  That’s a win percentage I can live with.  Decembers box is going to be a holiday box with several countries represented and I’m looking forward to it.

Gulf Shore Grub


I spent a few days this week vacationing on the Mississippi gulf shore and managed to have some good meals.  Notice that was plural so this will cover several places I enjoyed while there.

The evening of my arrival I wanted something close to the hotel I was staying at in D’Iberville and some searching turned up Quickly Asian Fusion Cafe just around the corner.  It’s a spot where you order at the counter and they bring it to your table.  They had a wide variety of Asian foods and as the name says fusions of cultures.  I almost went for the spam and egg bento but instead chose the bulgogi bento box.

This was a fantastic meal.  The egg roll and chile oil dipping sauce was a great start.  The bulgogi beef and kimchi were sweet and mildly spicy respectively.  The rice had some sesame seeds and even the lettuce in the salad was fresh and crisp with a nice ginger dressing.  I got a white peach oolong hot tea to drink with and sip after the meal.  The restaurant is a bit of a hangout for some and has a barlike counter that had a couple of guys playing Fortnite or something similar and a group of high school kids were clustered around a couple of tables drinking hot tea and milk tea.  It was a cool place with lots of options to drink and eat.  Definitely a good find on day 1.

The morning started with a quest for a breakfast place that wasn’t a chain.  Following a little Yelp and Google action I settled on The Grind Coffee & Nosh in Biloxi.  This little coffee shop is in an interesting building at the front of some other shopping areas.  The interior has a counter to order and about a dozen 2 and 4 seat tables and in the center are 4 big overstuffed chairs in front of a fireplace.  The smell of coffee was a like a bit of heaven as I walked through the door.  The menu isn’t complex and it took me only a minute or so to settle on the sausage, egg & cheese panini.

Before talking about the food let me just say the size of that coffee cup was magnificent.  It held about twice a normal cup so I was kind of in love.  Then I got the panini with the side of sliced apple.  I went with sourdough bread to sandwich the scrambled egg, cheddar and extra large sausage patty.  The sausage was not bad and had a little bit of spiciness that they could have ramped up a bit for me but it was a tasty start to the day.

After riding around checking the area I wound up at the IP Casino in Biloxi in time to catch lunch and some football at one of their restaurants, Highlights Sports Lounge.  As an aside I was planning to make my very first casino sports bet and put a few bucks on Carolina.  Well I grabbed the betting sheet and was quickly baffled by all the nonsense on the form.  I wanted to circle or check a box give them a $20 and be done not have to take a course on how to fill out a betting form.  Of course glancing at Homeless Hector over there filling out his form with the attitude of an experienced pro I probably could have figured it out except for one thing.  I didn’t want to.  It worked out alright though as Carolina lost.

Back to the food.  This is a sports bar with a ton of TVs in the dining and bar areas and where there aren’t TVs sports memorabilia covering the walls.  Each booth had it’s own TV that you could tune to one of the games being played.  The nice young lady taking care of me hooked me up with a good beer to go along with my lunch selection.

I got their Smothered Mushroom Burger.  The burger was a half pound of angus beef, with roasted “wildforaged” mushrooms and fried button mushrooms and cheese curds plus onions, bacon and mushroom sauce on a artisan bun.  Along side this was a loaded potato salad.  It was every bit as good as it sounds.  The bacon was crispy the mushrooms had a good texture and the burger was very beefy.  Even the potato salad was some of the best restaurant potato salad I’ve had.  It had sour cream and bacon bits in it like a loaded baked potato and those were both welcome additions.  I waddled out to the casino with a full belly and dollar signs on my mind.

After dropping some bucks on video poker, circling the $5 blackjack tables like a shark waiting for someone to vacate a seat, which never happened, and then more than making up the losses at the roulette table it was time for dinner.  After my losing streak on the video poker machines I got a newbie comp of a free buffet at the casino’s Back Bay Buffet restaurant.  

The buffet seating area was quite large and the buffet area was laid out in themed areas like Southern, Italian, Asian, Carvery, Backyard BBQ, etc.  There were a lot of choices and I strolled around and grabbed one or two items until the plate got full so it was an interesting mix.  The food was all adequate but nothing was great.  Coming off the big burger at lunch I only got one plate so I was happy it was comped and I hadn’t paid the $26 regular price.  In spite of the so so nature of the food I had I wouldn’t hesitate to try this again to try a number of the other foods to see if so so was the norm or I just picked some poor samples.  What it missed in tastiness it made up for in options.  From here I rolled out of the casino to the car.

The next morning breakfast was at the Fried Green Tomato in D’Iberville close to the hotel.  This was a place that had lots of locals enjoying breakfast with friends and coworkers which I took as a good sign.

I kept it simple and hard to mess up.  Interestingly they exceeded my expectations by having some of the best grits I’ve had in a long time.  They were about the perfect consistency and had a great corn taste that made them seem like they were fresh ground from quality hominy.  The sausage was pretty good as well and I liked the little melon ball scoop of whipped butter rather than the individual pats or tubs you often get.  Made me think they were being cost conscious to keep the prices reasonable, which they were.  The service was good too even though there was only one lady covering the place for most of the time I was there.  Good start to the day.

After a morning visiting the shore front and some historical spots I wanted some seafood for lunch since I’d really not had any and that seemed like a crime being where I was.  I decided to try Gallotts Fresh Catch restaurant.  I chose them because I’d seen the large Gallott’s seafood processing location the first day when I was driving around and I figured the restaurant should have an edge in the seafood area.  Turns out they knew what they were doing.


The restaurant is a large building up on stilts right next to the water and had a nice view.  It wasn’t busy and I got a nice seat near a window.  I was initially disappointed when I was handed the lunch menu because the seafood options were very limited but then the server lady hit me with the daily special, seafood etouffee.  She informed me it had crawfish, shrimp, crab and sausage in the etouffee and the whole thing was topped with a strip of fried catfish.  Well heck yeah I wanted that and OMG it was delicious.  Every bite had at least two of the ingredients in the spicy roux and you could tell the flavors of the seafood and sausage through the roux.  That was quite possibly the best etouffee I’ve ever had.

I spent the day wandering around Biloxi and the surroundings working of lunch.  After managing to walk it off by the time supper rolled around I figured I was still in the mood for seafood and there was an interesting looking little place right next to the Fried Green Tomato called, Cafe New Orleans.


I was greeted first by the gator and next by two young ladies who were in the midst of decorating for Christmas.  One offered me a cookie and the other offered me a seat.  They were off to a good start.  The main dining area walls are covered with murals of bayou scenes and the walls hung with memorabilia setting a nice atmosphere.  I decided to get the most bang for my buck with their sampler.  Goodness gracious that turned out to be both a good and bad decision.  The sampler came with shrimp, oysters, fish and a stuffed crab all fried of course plus a choice of potatoes done one of three ways and a salad.  I figured based on the price it would be a little bit of all of that.  Turns out it was a lot of all of that.  I hate to reuse text lingo but OMG that was trawler full of food and all of it good.  There must have been a couple of dozen shrimp, a dozen or so oysters, the two pieces of fish and that stuffed crab was as big as my hand.  Even the potatoes were great, diced up redskins cooked in butter on the grill and sprinkled with cajun seasoning.  I could only eat about half of what was there and if the hotel room had had a microwave I might have taken it back to the room for breakfast but as it was I had to leave it and depart with a tear in my eye.

The final meal I had was at the airport.  I had time to kill before my flight and it was getting on to lunch time so rolled over to the bar / restaurant that served the pre-security area.  The served Arby’s food and had a small menu of their own as well and I initially figured I’d be eating Arby’s but they had a local sampler as well.

This sampler consisted of small cups of a crawfish etouffee, red beans and rice and one of chicken and sausage gumbo.  As hard as this is to believe even the airport food was good.  The etouffee had some generous portions of crawfish and was reasonably spicy and the gumbo was slightly spicy with dime size medallions of sausage plus ground chicken.  The red beans and rice wasn’t the mild dish that was good and filling.  I had a couple of localish beers to wash these down.  One a rye IPA and the other was the picture Biloxi Blonde which came recommended by a couple of the other patrons.  That final meal put me in a spot where the flight was a nice place to nap after that meal.

The culinary phase of my trip to the Mississippi gulf shore was certainly successful and a tick mark in the Pro column if I think about going back.