Tag Archives: cheesecake

Foodie Pen Pal! Fourth Month – August 2012

Another last day of the month, which means another Foodie Pen Pal reveal day.

This is part of a program called Foodie Pen Pals in which every month I get/send a basket from/to another foodie from around the country. Then on the last day of the month, everyone reveals who their pen pal was, what they received, and get to see what everyone else got :-)

This month I received a fantastic package from Shelby Suzuki aka “Everyday Vegan Girl”. Shelby sent me a package of many things I would never have bought for myself before but plan to by now. Thank you for introducing me to so many new and wonderful products. First up as always is the wonderful note sent to me by Shelby. As she said, I better like coconut, almonds, and chocolate… luckily, I LOVE all three. **Spoiler alert** The note has a list of all the items received, so if you want to be surprised, skip over it.

So what were these wonderful treats. First up, an item that does not appear in any pictures because I accidentally ate them all first… (my bad) Inca Corn Nuts. Salty, crunchy, and the perfect movie snack. So much healthier than popcorn and in my opinion tastes better too without getting all stuck in your teeth. Then we have  a Cocoa Almond spread. Much like Nutella, it is versatile and delicious. Absolutely love it and use it a few times a week. Then an almond butter. I love nut butters, but I so rarely by them for myself and when I do it is usually peanut butter. So having a bit of variety was fantastic. Then was the organic food bar. Chocolate and coconut… yumm. I am not usually a big fan of these bars, but I must admit. This one was pretty good. Worked perfect one morning when I was running late and needed a quick bite to eat to hold me over till Lunch. I may look into some of the other flavors of this brand and try them out. Then came one of the biggest surprises of the box: the chocolate sundae began candy bar. I am not sure if it really tasted like a chocolate sundae, but it did taste quite yummy. I nice crunch, sweet and salty mix. I would definitely eat more of these. Finally, one of the most unique items in the box, ginger chews. These candies have a great deal of spice but are so different and simply superb. Only for those that enjoy ginger and spice, but if you do… GET SOME!

Next we have a wonderful cranberry almond trail mix. Great salty and sweet mix (my favorite flavor combination) with a bit of tartness thrown in for good measure. Quality trail mix that I really enjoyed. Bare Naked really does have some wonderful products. Then, one of my favorite ingredients to use both in cooking and as a drink mixer… Pineapple juice. Try it with some Disaronno, I call it the “Nutty Hawaiian”. My favorite drink. Speaking of favorites, my favorite item in this month’s package, these SunTree cinnamon almonds. Almonds coated with cinnamon, vanilla, and cream cheese. Each bite was like eating a mini Cinnamon Almond Cheesecake. I MUST FIND MORE OF THESE. They were so good. Really… Please tell me where I can get some more… Om nom nom.

Finally, last but certainly not least was a great addition of the homemade variety. Shelby’s very own Coconut trail mix… WITH RECIPE. This mix had a great crunch, a tad bit of sweetness, and I have made it since and will make it again. I could not help but grab a handful as soon as I opened the package before I even took my pictures. Take a look!

Thank you so much Shelby for an amazing Foodie Pen Pal package. Please check out what she got from her pen pal and her fantastic blog, Everyday Vegan Girl.

As for what I sent, my pen pal recipient was Tasha Malcolm. This package was a bit more random, but definitely a lot of fun items, some of which were inspired by items I had received in the past. To check out what it consisted of, head over to Tasha’s blog!

Well, thus ends my fourth Foodie Pen Pal experience, and again it was an extremely positive one. I can not wait till September’s list is revealed and I get to do it all over again, month after month. If you want to take part in this program check it out:

The Lean Green Bean

Be sure to stay tuned for the big reveal on the last day of each month :-) Until next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” signing off… Thanks for reading.


A Very MaurPowerFoodie Mother’s Day… Texas De Brazil – Yonkers, NY

One thing I can certainly say is I would never have accomplished any of the things I have (earning the rank of Eagle Scout, graduating from a top university, graduating law school, passing the bar exam, becoming a top 100 contestant on MasterChef, etc.) without my Mother, Bonnie Maur. I owe a lot to her, and can never thank her enough. Included in the things I owe her for are my love of food and ability to cook. In raising me along with my two siblings, my mom taught us all to cook. She thought it was necessary for us to be able to feed ourselves (definitely a lesson I am glad I learned). My love of food and cooking may have taken on a path of its own over the years, but my culinary journey never would have started without my mother. Here we are together with my sister, all swimming with dolphins:

Now that I have gotten all the mushy, yet necessary stuff out of the way, back to the food we go. This year for Mother’s Day, my sister and I took our mom to Texas de Brazil in Yonkers, NY. My mom had been to one in Florida and loved it, so when one opened up relatively close to us, it only seemed like the natural choice for Mother’s Day. Texas De Brazil is a churrascaria (Brazilian Grille), which is one of my favorite types of restaurants as an avid meat eater. For those of you who have never been to one, basically the servers/carvers (Gauchos) walk around to your table with different cuts of meats on a sword and carve each one fresh for you… all you can eat. Plus there is always a loaded appetizer/salad bar.

I am not one to comment much on ambiance, but this time it is definitely noteworthy. The restaurant is beautiful. Warm, welcoming colors, beautiful artwork, and a gorgeous bouquet above the salad bar. Here… take a look:

Then add to this a fully stocked stylish bar out front and a beautiful windowed wine “cellar”, with a wine list that is more like a wine library. The cellar even reminds me of a library with a rolling ladder that allows the servers to search through the massive collection to get just the right bottle for you. In fact, this picture only shows 1 side of the massive windowed “cellar”. The decor and general feel of Texas de Brazil… absolutely stunning.

Alright, onto the food! I promise this time. Let’s start with the start of the meal, the appetizer/salad bar(items are subject to change). THIS IS NOT YOUR EVERY DAY SALAD BAR! Yes there is salad with all the toppings, but there are also four different homemade dressings. Plus, an oh so creamy and rich Lobster Bisque. You know what, I just need to list some of the brightest points, as I could spend forever going through each item.  Ok, here goes: sliced prosciutto and salami, Gorgonzola and grape salad, tabbouleh, crab sushi, ahi tuna, buffalo mozzarella, goat cheese terrine, smoked salmon, potatoes au gratin, multiple freshly baked breads, and much more. Plus, anywhere that has a beautiful Parmesan cheese wheel for me to pick from… love. Here is just a sampling of the salad bar:

While the salad bar was great and delicious, the stars of the show, as it should be at any churrascaria, were the meats, carved table-side.  Not only was there a huge variety in different cuts of meats, but each one had its own unique flavor. First off here is the list of meats: Filet mignon, bacon wrapped filet mignon, braised beef ribs, rack of lamb, garlic-marinated picanha (top sirloin tips, their signature), pork ribs, Brazilian picanha, Brazilian sausage, leg of lamb, bacon wrapped chicken breast, Parmesan crusted chicken, Parmesan crusted pork loin, flank steak, herb-marinated pork loin, and Brazilian alcatra (top sirloin).

Leg of LambFlank Steak

Leg of Lamb                                               Flank Steak

Bacon-wrapped Filet Mignon

Bacon-wrapped Filet Mignon


Yes, I did try everything, and there is not a single cut of meat I would not recommend trying. That being said, not everyone can finish off 15 different cuts of meats in one sitting, so let me highlight a few favorites. The alcatra is a must, great seasoning, juicy, tender, fatty, and delicious. I also am an avid lover of flank steak, and this ranked up near the top of flank steaks I have had at restaurants.  Also, I was surprisingly impressed with one item I tend not to prefer at churrascarias, the bacon-wrapped chicken. I know you would think I would always love this item, but it is usually on the dry side. Not at Texas De Brazil, the chicken breast remained tender and juicy, just the way it should be. And finally, my two favorites of the day: Coming in second place, with a surprise pack of flavor, juicy and tender interior, and the perfect casings… the Brazilian Sausage. And for first place, it was not even a contest. There was one cut of meat that was so fall off the bone, melt in your mouth, fill you with joy in every bite, scrumptious, well prepared, well seasoned morsel, that I had 4 servings of it. The BRAISED BEEF RIBS!!!! **Crowd Cheers**

Brazilian AlcatraBrazilian Sausage

Brazilian Alcatra                                   Brazilian Sausage

Braised Beef Ribs

Braised Beef Ribs

Finally we come to dessert, and I have to be honest, this was the closest thing to a weakness I found at Texas de Brazil. They were good, but did not live up to the rest of the meal, which was actually ok in my book, because let’s be honest, I did not go there for dessert, and if it were not for a Mother’s Day special which included dessert in the cost of the meal, I probably would not have saved room for dessert anyways. We tried three different desserts: Brazilian Cheese Cake, Coconut Chess Pie, and Caramel Flan (A must be good staple at any Brazilian restaurant in my opinion. First up was the cheesecake. This was good with a caramel sauce on top, chopped walnuts, and a layer of chocolate at the bottom. Nothing special, but enjoyable. The one that we really wanted to try, cause we had never had it before was the Coconut Chess Pie, and unfortunately, it was quite simply too sweet. The pie is filled with a layer of warm custard cream, tons of coconut, and then topped with vanilla ice cream. The custard was the downfall of this dessert, as it was so rich, and so sweet, I could only stand a spoonful of this one. If you like extreme sweets, go for it, but if you are looking for a light way to end a heavy meals, this is not the right choice. However, not all was lost. The flan was delicious. Light, flavorful, and just the right way to leave my last bite at Texas De Brazil.

Brazilian Cheese CakeCaramel Flan

While the desserts may not have lived up to the rest of the meal, they also would not in any way deter me from going back. In fact I am sure I will be back many a time and soon.

Overall, I would highly recommend giving Texas de Brazil a try. Located at 1 Ridge Hill Blvd.; Yonkers, NY 10710, there is also some wonderful shopping available right around the restaurant perfect for a leisurely stroll after the large meal. For reservations please call (914) 652-9660 or check out their website at http://www.texasdebrazil.com/yonkers. The restaurant also has a beautiful closed off portion of the dining room perfect for private events pictured below:

I hope you enjoy Texas de Brazil as much as I did. Take a trip and let me know what you think. Special thanks to Colleen for showing me around and to the whole staff at Texas de Brazil for a fabulous Mother’s Day with my family.

Texas de Brazil Churrascaria on Urbanspoon

Till next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” Maur, signing off.