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All posts for the month July, 2011

Lemon Lift TeaTea-sty Tuesday: Bigelow Lemon Lift

Okay, so I was looking and it’s been a long, LONG time since I’ve done one of these.  Yikes.  So, without any further ado we’re going to talk Bigelow Lemon Lift, a tea that in my head deserves it’s own 1970s jingle:

If you want a bit of lemon
And you want a bit of lift
Call Bigelow…
Get your lemon lift tea…
Spoken: Mmm…it’s so tasty
Lemon lift tea…. (cue jazz hands)

Let the record reflect that the quality of my made up jingle does not necessarily reflect my opinion of the tea.

Bigelow Lemon Lift Tea

As noted in other posts on Bigelow, I sometimes question why certain things get in Bigelow tea (namely soy lechitin.)  When compared to some of the hippie-ified teas I drink, namely anything from Yogi, I can’t help but wonder.  Then again, I grew up on Bigelow tea and I turned okay except for the second face I grew during puberty, so I shouldn’t complain.

…Anyway, the Lemon Lift tea ended up in my “to taste” pile when my wife bought a big sampler pack and I, needing fodder for Tea-sty Tuesday, snagged a pack.  How did it measure up?

Bigelow Lemon Lift Tea’s Ingredients

I covered this above.  I’m not going to harp on it.  It’s not fair to Bigelow since there is probably a good reason to have a non-tea/herbal/flavor substance in the tea.

Bigelow Lemon Lift Tea’s Aroma

A+++++  Lemon Lift tea has that amazingly clean, crisp, bright aroma that one associates with the best lemon products.  Within seconds of the hot water hitting the tea bag, my senses were filled with the sweet smell of warm lemon drops, sweet citrusy lemon zest, lemon pledge (which I like the smell of…sue me)…it was wonderful.  I could hardly wait for the tea to cool so I could take my first stip.

Bigelow Lemon Lift Tea’s Taste

D.  To this day, I keep wondering what happened to all the lemon aroma.  Where did it go?  Sadly, if the obviously chemical aftertaste of the tea is any indication, the aroma was a fraud.  And if the aroma was a fraud, the taste never had a chance. 🙁

Though, to be fair, I didn’t take any sweetener with the Lemon Lift.  I can’t help but think that the flavor would have matched the aroma with a little Truvia.

Bigelow Lemon Lift Tea’s Effects

I got a little caffeine boost.  It was a bigger boost than with a lot of Yogi teas, but that was about all.

Bigelow Lemon Lift Tea Overall

Yes, I was a little disappointed with the tea.  Given the strong lemon aroma, I wanted a fresh citrus taste to go with the smell. Unfortunately, the tea just never measured up.

It’s almost like Lemon Lift suffers from false advertising.  That aroma is so good, anything short of perfection isn’t going to match up.  Still, I think Bigelow could have added a little more natural citrus to improve the tea’s overall taste.

Still, at the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, this tea is easily as good as Bigelow’s pomegranate tea, so I give it 3.5 cups out of 5.

Food at LivestrongEating Well at Livestrong Park

First of all, to whom it may concern: Chef Wade Taylor, Executive Chef at Livestrong Park working for KC American Sportservice, is a genius.  There, let me never be accused of burying my lead.

Okay, with that said, let me back up.  I love Twitter.  No seriously, one day I tried to say I was married to it on Facebook.  Why do I love tweeting so much?  Because I’m always finding myself talking to interesting people on it about food.  Which is how, one day out of the blue, I asked @SportingKC about the concessions at Livestrong and if anyone had reported on what they were serving.

And that’s the story of how I got to tour Livestrong Park’s many multiple kitchens with Chef Wade as my personal guide.

It’s also how I got to taste some of his creations.  Which is how I can say for sure he’s a genius.

The Setup at Livestrong

I’ll be the first to admit that when I first asked @SportingKC about the food at Livestrong, I was prepared to be underwhelmed.  I assumed that unless I was in the owner’s box, I’d be treated to a fine assortment of hot dogs, nachos, and maybe, if I was lucky, a burger.  Maybe.

Joke’s on me.  Livestrong Park is perhaps the most fantastic cooking set up in which these feet have ever tread.  Not only are there at least four kitchens (that I saw), the stadium has everything: fryers, ovens, pop corn poppers, smokers, sous vide machines, pizza ovens, a wine cellar with flour-to-ceiling bottles, and, more than likely, a partridge and a pear tree (though that wasn’t part of the tour.)  It was basically a “Chef’s Disney Land” according to Chef Wade.

Dining at Livestrong

Fruit and CheeseOf course, Chef Wade and his crew have to have a big capacity to make food because there are a lot of places in Livestrong to eat.  In addition to the concession stands, there’s the Field Club (an area at field level serving all-you-can-eat fruit and cheese, charcuterie, meat at carving stations, seafood selections, veggies, barbecue and other various chef’s specialty items.)

Then there’s the Shield Club, a less formal dining area offering an a la carte menu across seven different pods that range from sushi inspired by the chefs from Nara, Minsky’s pizza, a sausage station, BBQ, dessert, and a burger/beer station that offers perhaps the best value at the club.  For $10, you can get a bacon cheese burger topped with special potatoes and special sauce served with a side order of fries.  From what I hear, before it’s all said and done, that’s a six inch tall (or more) burger with fries for less than what you’d pay at any gourmet burger place in the city.SAM_0219

Then there are the luxury boxes which have a common serving area that offers many of the same amenities as the Field Club, but serves everything as beautifully presented small plates.  These plates include salad selections and the Food Network’s recipe for drunken pork.  So good.

And, if you’re not tired of walking by now, there’s still the wine cellar and the pizza oven in the owner’s box, which is actually two stories and can seat a small army of hungry eaters.

In other words, lots of good stuff going on.

Events at Livestrong

SAM_0235Oh, and if that’s not enough, when there’s not a game on, there’s concerts and special events.  For instance, this year Farm Aid’s at Livestrong, which will force Chef Wade and his team (in particular Chef Pascal) to build an organic, seasonal menu in keeping with Farm Aid’s traditions.  (I’m trying to get an idea of what the menu will be there…stay tuned for more details.)

Also, when there’s not a game, you can have your event (company meeting, corporate outing, wedding, eat-a-thon) at Livestrong.  The day I was there, the Mexican Chamber of Commerce and a Jewish business group were both holding functions.  I point this out because Chef Wade was given the opportunity to prepare authentic dishes for both groups…at the same time.  I didn’t get to try the food for the Mexican Chamber of Commerce, but I could smell it.  And it smelled good.

I did get to some of the Jewish group’s (specially ordered kosher) menu: smoked fish (flown in special for the event) on sliced bread with apple cream cheese.  It was so good.  So good.

What Else Did I Eat?

SAM_0192Well after walking across the stadium, up it, down it, and shutting Chef Wade’s hand in the walk-in (oops), he was gracious enough to let me try a few items.

Of what I tried, three dishes really stood out.  The first was the drunken pork mentioned above.  It was deep, carmelized, warm, salty and just a little bit sweet.  That pork was paired with the second of the memorable dishes: a spicy slaw with celery root.  The slaw was cool, which went well with the pork, but had such an amazing flavor from the celery root.  I never thought I’d like celery slaw but it was terrific and brought out the deeper notes in the pork.

Last was a cold white truffle polenta.

SAM_0217This polenta should have its own entry in the Encyclopedia of Awesome.  Although, even as I type “cold white truffle polenta” I am a man of many emotions.  One on hand, I still can’t get over: cold?  polenta?  No, that can’t be right.  On the other hand, I remember how amazing it was.  The cold of the polenta against a perfectly cooked rosemary chicken (and maybe some of the slaw and pork…)  The differences in temperature making the dish come alive, while still delivering just the perfect earthy flavor of white truffle.  I thought I had had good polenta.  No polenta is as good as that polenta. 

So in summary: I.  WANT.  MORE.

The Bad News

Sadly,  the Shield Club, Field Club and (strangely enough) the Owner’s Box, aren’t open for everyone.  You have to have a special ticket as part of your season ticket package (I checked) and they’re all sold out this year.  But, there’s always next year.  And it’s worth it for the food!

With that said, I’m going to do my best Tom Cruise/Ethan Hawke impression and see if I can’t Mission: Impossible my way into the Field Club.  Maybe I can dangle from the ceiling, dropping down to steal a bite when no one is looking.  Yeah, that will work.

In Conclusion

Buy season tickets.  It’s worth it to eat.

And thanks to Chef Wade for the tour.  I wish him the best of luck and to all of you looking for a job…

HE’S HIRING!!!  He needs to staff up, so maybe you, too, can play in a chef’s Disney Land.

Enjoy!