First week home

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Hey there, I’ve been home for just over a week and it’s been great, but it’s time I stop ignoring my blog! There’s so much I should be writing about, so I need to make myself sit down and start writing again. I figured I’d start with a brief check in, but I’ll write about much more in the weeks to come.

Since being home I’ve enjoyed all the great food I’ve missed out on, especially my first trip to Boise Fry Company, which I intend to write about over at ABoiseLife.com.

Boise Fry Company

The food was great, and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Boise!

I picked up a Samsung Gear VR which has been a pretty cool experience. One of the first things I did was boot up Minecraft VR and it’s a mind-blowing experience for sure!

Gear VR

I’ve enjoyed messing around with my new gaming PC, and tried my hand at Dark Souls III. It took a few days but I finally beat the first boss (technically just the tutorial boss) but am once again finding it difficult to progress past the very first section of the game.

I’m contemplating downloading Battleborn today (for the Xbox One), because I’ve been wanting a shooter I can fire up when I just want to play something casually. Rocket League is a great game to fire up and waste some time with, but I just want to shoot things!

Thanks, as always, for reading what I have to say, and I hope to bring some significant content back to the blog within a day or two! Until then I’m going to keep relaxing and enjoying America!

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Trying Soylent 2.0 — The future of food?

I first heard about Soylent from The New Yorker as I read the intriguing article “The End of Food” in the May 12, 2014 issue. After reading the article I definitely wanted to try the product, however I never got around to ordering some until last week. I eventually ordered a 12 pack of Soylent 2.0 and it arrived a few days ago.

Soylent 2.0

The first thing I noticed is the simplistic packaging and bottle design. The bottle is a white, barren space, lacking any eye catching branding aside from a small logo near the bottom of the bottle. I’ve found that the absence of any significant branding has made people more likely to ask what I was drinking, which makes the simple design an effective marketing choice.

Upon opening my first bottle I noticed that Soylent doesn’t have any sort of smell or odor like I expected (I had expected it to smell gross). After I took a sip I was again surprised to find the drink tasted incredibly neutral. I’d describe it as a liquid slightly thicker than water with a hint of a milky taste. It’s easy to sip and leaves no real aftertaste. It’s much easier to drink than most protein shakes or products such as Slim Fast.

Soylent 2.0 bottle

The real question is whether or not it works. So far I can report that it is incredibly effective as a meal replacement. I’ve tried Slim Fast before, hoping for a quick, easy to prepare lunch for work, but it never left me satisfied. Soylent, however, does the job quite well. I’ve sipped on a bottle of Soylent for breakfast and dinner so far, and both times the bottle satiated my hunger and left me full for hours. I’ve found it best to sip on Soylent over an extended period of time, rather than chug it down, as this seems to help the full feeling last longer. Add an apple or banana and you’ll be full and ready to start your day.

So far I’m impressed with Soylent. I’m looking forward to keeping a bottle in my backpack as I go biking, hiking or camping after I get back to the U.S.

You can get your Pumpkin Spice Latte fix early!

pumpkin spice latte early

While logging into the WiFi at Starbucks yesterday I saw something wonderful. An ad for early access to the coveted Pumpkin Spice Latte.

To get your PSL fan pass, head over to this link and type in the password (‘Pumpkin’). You’ll then be asked to type in your phone number and you’ll receive your very own PSL fanpass which when shown to a barista should allow you to order the Pumpkin Spice Latte before its official release.

I’m looking forward to trying this out later today. Fall is on its way, and the best part of Fall is the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte!

PSL fanpass

Rockstar Boom! Whipped Strawberry

rockstar boom whipped strawberry

Does lightly carbonated strawberry milk sound appetizing to you? If so, you may want to check out Rockstar Boom! Whipped Strawberry, a new type of Rockstar energy drink (also available in Whipped Orange).

I saw these in the store the other day and decided to give one a try. The drink is less carbonated than other Rockstar energy drinks which makes it go down smoothly. The strawberry flavor is incredibly potent, and tastes like a mix of strawberry milk or a Jolly Rancher. The drink is incredibly sweet, almost in a bad way, and features 66 grams of sugar in a single can. It has less caffeine than a Rockstar Punched, with 160mg per can while also containing 2000mg of taurine.

I can’t say that I enjoy the flavor at all, so I’ll be sticking with the Sugar Free Rockstar Punched for my drug of choice.

Idaho’s First Panera Bread (in Nampa)

chipotle chicken panini

This past week Idaho’s very first Panera Bread opened in Nampa, and I finally made it out there this evening. One of the things that saddened me when I got stationed in Idaho was that there were no Panera Bread’s in the entire state! How could that be?! Well I can finally get my Panera Bread fix twenty minutes outside of Boise. Previously I could only get my hands on the wonderful Chipotle Chicken Panini while I was on leave back in Pennsylvania or TDY to somewhere like Florida.

I’m glad Panera has finally made it to Idaho, however I do hope they open a store in Boise before too long so I don’t have to make the drive to Nampa. Something is better than nothing at least.

The experience was a little hectic, this being the location’s first Friday evening since it opened. The restaurant was packed and the line was long and slow moving. It seemed everyone had a lot of questions as they made it to the registers to order, which I can understand as many might not have ever eaten at a Panera before. There was a staff member handing out menus to those waiting in line and answering any questions they had which was nice, however I’m not sure it made things quicker. This wasn’t so much the staff’s fault, it was more slow moving customers, but again this was all to be expected.

I’m sure I’ll be making many more trips out to Nampa for Panera Bread lunches in the near future. Now if only Yuengling could make its way out here!

Awake Caffeinated Chocolate!

Awake Caffeinated Chocolate bite

This morning, as I was picking up an after work snack, something caught my eye at the checkout. There was a display filled with Awake Caffeinated Chocolate bites, and I knew I had to try them. People love chocolate and people love caffeine, so why not combine the two? Each bite contains 50mg of caffeine, or roughly half a cup of coffee’s worth (according to the packaging). They were about $0.63 each, so I grabbed two.

Awake Caffeinated Chocolate bite

 

The chocolate bites tasted smooth and very much like any other chocolate bar (nothing strange to them at all). I feel like they’d make a great companion for a cup of coffee if you want a little extra kick delivered via delicious chocolate. If you happen to see these bites (they also come in bars) at a checkout counter go ahead and give them a try, they’re quite enjoyable!

Awake Caffeinated Chocolate bite

How Yelp convinced me not to check out The Counter in Meridian

So when I’m looking to check out a new place to eat (or shop / drink etc.) the first place I usually check is Yelp. It’s incredibly useful to read other people’s reviews and to discover whether people tend to react positively or negatively to a business.

One such business I wanted to check out was The Counter, in Meridian. I had heard they have some pretty tasty burgers, however Yelp seems to tell a different story. The business has a 2.5 star rating after 54 reviews, so wasn’t off to a good start in the first place. However, the business owner’s response to one review in particular really rubbed me the wrong way.

The Counter Meridian

The tone of the business owner in this response does not come across as professional at all. Upon reading this response I decided I would not even give The Counter an opportunity to disprove its overwhelmingly negative reputation on Yelp. The owner also copy and pasted a rebuttal to several negative reviews, which comes across an impersonal attempt to save face.

So congratulations John H. of The Counter, you have succeeded in making me not want to frequent your restaurant. Heck, based off the Yelp reviews alone I probably still would’ve given the place a shot, but now I’ll never set foot in the place.