Monday, November 13, 2017


(Image from
The English poet and hymnodist William Cowper (1731-1800) said it best in his poem “The Task” (1785): “…Variety is the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor...” For me, everything I approach, I try to do so openly, and with a curiosity to learn from that new experience, and then apply it often.

Today’s edition features reviews of healthy and organic food products from Chut Up Condiments All Natural Beet Ketchup, Seeds of Change Seven Whole Grains, Vervana Marinara Sauce, and a special wine tasting event at Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille.  Each of these special tasting experiences will definitely please your palate.  Enjoy!

~ Product Tastings ~

Chut Up Condiments All Natural Beet Ketchup
I love beets, except when they’re pickled, so I was curious as to the overall taste of this healthy alternative to tomato ketchup, that usually has a lot of high fructose corn syrup and other additives in its recipe.  This product didn’t disappoint and in my humble opinion, was a better alternative to the other type.  It’s consistency was a bit runny, so it was more like a gravy versus the one where you have anticipation waiting for it to come out of the bottle.  I tried the All Natural Beet Ketchup on some homemade meatloaf.  It was delicious with an overall flavor profile that was clean, fresh, and sweet.  It’s a real winner!  Ingredients include Roasted Beets, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Monk Fruit Extract (sweetener), Onions, Water, Mustard Seed, Ground Cloves, and Coriander.  For more information, visit

Seeds of Change Organic Microwavable Seven Whole Grains
This variety is one of several ready to eat rice and grain products.  I was curious as to its taste, especially since it was already cooked and could be heated up in its package; convenience in foods is always a plus, especially when it’s a healthy alternative to other similar type foods.  I actually didn’t microwave my pouch; I opened it up and put it in a pan, along with browned sirloin cut pork shoulder chops; it was easy to heat it up that way, versus using the microwave.  The overall taste was nutty and delicious, and paired well with the chops. The whole grain ingredients include 100% certified organic Long Grain Brown Rice, Barley, Rye, Red Winter Wheat, and Quinoa, plus seasonings.  Unfortunately, this isn’t available online, but check your grocery store specialty organic aisle for this product.  For more information, visit

Vervana Organic Marinara Sauce
Integrative cardiologist and anti-aging specialist Dr. Stephen Sinatra is the brains behind the Vervana brand.  Each product delivers organic freshness that represents the finest in vibrational foods…foods that are in their purest and most natural state that aren’t based on processed, additive laden, and GMO conventional or artificial ingredients, which destroy or diminish a food’s purest and most natural state, when it’s at its peak of health, vitality, and nutrition. The Organic Marinara Sauce is an exquisite tasting product that is clean, fresh, and deliciously and simply seasoned.  Just looking at the rich color of the product reminded me of fresh pureed tomatoes just picked from the vine.  Nothing compares to the juicy ripeness of a tomato that’s been just plucked from its vine, and that’s how this Marinara Sauce tastes.  Its great just over fresh made pasta, or served over a grilled piece of salmon, sprinkled with capers and a drizzle of olive oil.  Ingredients include imported Organic Italian Tomatoes, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Organic Onions, Organic Carrots, Organic Garlic, Sea Salt, Organic Parsley, and Organic Spices.
For more information, visit

~ Event Tasting ~

(Photo by T. Herman)
Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille (Oak Brook, IL)
(Corporate Sommelier & Beverage Director, Susi Zivanovic; photo by T. Herman)
I recently had the pleasure of attending a very special event tasting at Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille in Oak Brook, IL.  I’ve previously reviewed this restaurant, and wrote about it in my May 16th article; this recent tasting experience was also impressive, and included delicious and creative menu offerings.  This particular event was for their Tenth Annual First Pour, which featured their special Sonoma Valley vintages of Private Reserve Wines, a 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2016 Chardonnay.  The official unveiling of these fine wines at this year’s First Pour event was October 19th, but guests can enjoy them all year long.  The tasting profile of the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon included bold aromas of cherry, currant, cedar, espresso, dark berry, toffee and mocha; and, paired well with Prime steaks and chops.  The tasting profile of the 2016 Chardonnay included fresh and crisp aromas of Granny Smith apples, citrus, pineapple, mango and lemon curd; and, paired well with appetizers, poultry and seafood.  Each Perry’s Private Reserve wine is served from a beautifully redesigned etched glass bottle, which is also available in larger sizes that include the magnum, double magnum, and imperial sized bottles. 

According to Perry’s Corporate Sommelier and Beverage Director Susi Zivanovic,We’re looking forward to continuing to grow and provide the best wine experience possible for our guests. We are all very thankful for the support we have received from everyone here in Chicago and we know you will love our spectacular new Perry’s Reserve wines.  I totally agree! 

~ The Menu ~
(Perry's Private Reserve 2016 Chardonnay; photo by T. Herman)
(Photo by T. Herman)
Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Fried Onion Spirals
2016 Private Reserve Chardonnay
My Tasting Notes: Deliciously sweet and savory tastes, accented with the crispness of the wine.

First Course
(Photo by T. Herman)
Tempura Fried Lobster Tail with Miso Butter
2016 Private Reserve Chardonnay
My Tasting Notes: Perfect batter that didn’t cover the sweetness of the lobster; the miso butter was indulgent, and the wine enhanced the complex flavor profile.

Second Course
(Photo by T. Herman)
Prime New York Strip with Black Truffle Merlot & Sherried Mushrooms
2015 Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
My Tasting Notes: The rich, flavorful umami aspects were deepened with the subtle dryness of the wine.

(Photo by T. Herman)
Chocolate Nutella Crunch & Dark Chocolate Frosting, Peanuts, Caramel Sauce & Whipped Cream
2015 Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
My Tasting Notes: An outrageously decadent chocolate indulgence that had just the right amount of crunch and sweetness; the wine intensified the umami aspect, and complemented the dessert’s richness.

(Perry's Private Reserve 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon; photo by T. Herman)
Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille and their First Pour Private Reserve Wines are the perfect pairing to experience.  For more information on the Oak Brook location, visit  For more information on all fourteen U.S. locations, visit

~ In Closing ~

(Image from
Take the time to be culinary-curious…discover new tastes…go out and explore your surrounding area for some new experiences…make it an adventure…claim your new culinary finds as your own.

That’s it for this edition.  Until the next one, remember to always celebrate yourself and your culinary curiosity.  Happy creating…happy cooking…happy eating!

By Terry Herman

TERRY HERMAN continues perfecting her passion for food and wine.  She has been covering culinary related for many years as it relates to wellness and a healthy lifestyle.  Her popular blog, Terry's Spa, Beauty and Wellness Go-To has featured formidable reviews of cookbooks, restaurants, wine and food, food prep and tools, chef interviews, and coverage of prestigious events such as International Home+Housewares Show, National Restaurant Show, Sweets and Snacks Expo, United Fresh, and Food Marketing Institute.  She has served as a food judge at the Bellavita Italian Expo Excellence Awards (Chicago).  She has been published since the mid-1990s in both consumer and trade publications, and is regarded as an expert in spa, beauty, wellness, travel and lifestyle, and is frequently interviewed by publications for her expert content.  She has also presented at major industry conferences, and has served with distinction on numerous governing and advisory boards.  She has a background in strategic and qualitative management, consulting, and motivational speaking.  In addition to her blogs, her social media outreach also includes Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.  Don’t forget to “Like” her Facebook Page, Terry’s Second Helpings.  Please note that the “Comment Section” has been disabled.  For additional information, email her at


(Photo credits as indicated, or as represented by the specific brand.)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.