Taste Tests

We taste the leading brands to find the distinct differences and rate them with tasting scores.

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The Arbequina Oil From Séka Hills is My New Favorite Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I was first introduced to the Arbequina extra-virgin olive oil from Séka Hills by Chef Jesse Ziff-Cool. It was an exceedingly simple dish: A smear of gloriously creamy goat cheese on a crouton with a little slice of fresh California fig, a couple of thyme leaves, a sprinkle of salt, and a drizzle of that oil.

That's a combination that's hard not to swoon over, but it was the olive oil that really blew my mind. Holy s*%t! I thought to myself. What is the gorgeous stuff? And how could something with such a mild flavor still taste so good?

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Taste Test: The Best Frozen Chicken Nuggets

Chicken nuggets seem to have suffered a bit of a PR crisis in recent years. And if you've ever stopped short of eating one to wonder what's actually in these things?, then you're living proof. We set out to recuperate that image, by eating our way through nine different brands of frozen chicken nuggets to find the leader of the pack. See the results after the jump! More

Taste Test: Campbell's Slow Cooker Sauces

The appeal of a slow cooker is obvious: throw some things into the pot at the beginning of the day, go to work, and come home with a hot meal waiting for you that tastes as if it's been slaved over all day. The new line of Campbell's Slow Cooker Sauces promise to deliver great flavor with pretty much zero effort. Sounds too good to be true. This we had to taste for ourselves. More

Taste Test: Powdered Gravy Mixes

In an ideal world, everyone would make their own Thanksgiving gravy from scratch, especially when it's so easy. But we don't live in an ideal world (have you seen Nic Cage in The Wicker Man?!), and in the interest of those less-than-Rockwellian moments, we decided to give a few of the powdered gravy versions a whirl. More

Taste Test: Frozen Versus Fresh Pearl Onions

Some vegetables are better frozen, while other vegetables fall under the category of not necessarily better when frozen, but still-good-enough-to-use-if-it-means-saving-time-and-effort. Pearl onions seem to fall under this latter category. I've never heard anyone insist that frozen ones are better, but I've certainly heard folks recommend them in a pinch. So the question: are frozen onions an acceptable substitute (or even a better option) for fresh? More

Fast Food Chicken Dippin' Sauce Showdown: Popeye's Vs. McDonald's Vs. Burger King

Picking which fast food joint to buy your finger-food-fried-chicken-product-based lunch using the quality of available dipping sauces as the criteria is sort of like picking what cell phone to purchase based on its after-market case options, or which woman to marry based on her favorite cereal. There are rare cases in which this makes sense, but those cases are few and far between. Still, we wondered: all other things being equal, which of the three fast food establishments near our office would offer the best dipping experience? More

Taste Test: Shin Ramyun Instant Noodles

I didn't grow up a ramen prescriptivist, but more often than not my selection landed upon Shin Ramyun, the Korean brand of instant noodles flavored with beef and chili. Its fierce heat and intense saltiness has earned it some rabid followers. It's one of the best selling non-Japanese brands around, available in over 80 countries. In 2011, they introduced Shin Black, the premium version of their traditional ramen. We embarked on a taste test to see how they stacked up. More

Taste Test: The Best Anchovy Fillets

Regardless of which type of anchovy person you are, chances are you've experienced that moment of grocery store paralysis, staring down those colorful battalions of tiny filleted fish. Jar or can, cheap or expensive—which is the best and, more importantly, does it always matter? We decided to find out. More

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