Category Archives: Product Reviews

Karv Meals

I recently got paid $500 to try out this new protein and meal delivery service called Karv Meals. My duties were to (1) post an unboxing video on Instagram with some messaging and tags; (2) post a photo on Instagram with the same; and (3) provide the company with four high rez photos of the products for them to use as they see fit. How could I say no? I’m still going to be honest, so why not?

Anyway, they sent me a SHIT TON of food. Here’s the unboxing video:

“I couldn’t believe how much meat they fit into my little tiny box!” Take that line however you want…

But here is the listing of what they sent, in case you didn’t catch it all in the video:

A few of my favorites from the pics I took are below: pork chops, as well as beef pinwheels.

My wife cooked up the pork chops in a classic lemongrass flavored Vietnamese preparation, with sliced veggies, herbs and pickled items on a bed of vermicelli noodles.

I defrosted the shaved steak and made steak sandwiches out of them, with American cheese, onions and poblano peppers on onion rolls…

Overall I am very happy with this experience. It was easy money, and an honest review is that I liked the quality of the meats I tried so far. Give this service a shot if you are on the lookout for something new.

Misen Knives

Misen sent me this really beautiful three blade set to try out here at the food lab.

Here’s a short video of me using each one. I was particularly impressed with the bread knife. It went through the baguette on one pass – no sawing back and forth!

The blades are comfortable in my hands, and they have a nice weight to them. The handle colors are also available in grey and blue. Check them out HERE.

I definitely recommend there for the home cook. They are a great quality for a very fair price.

Monnier Woodcraft


Use code FIRST10 for 10% off your first order at Monnier Woodcraft!

I stumbled upon Monnier Woodcraft when I was poking around Instagram.

I was really blown away by some of the designs Clint was making. There are some really intricate patterns and genuine artistry in these beautiful cutting boards and chopping blocks.

A post shared by Clint Monnier (@monnierwoodcraft) on

I followed him and soon enough I found myself liking and commending on almost every post he made.

A post shared by Clint Monnier (@monnierwoodcraft) on

It turns out that we have a lot in common, especially our love of STEAK!

A post shared by Clint Monnier (@monnierwoodcraft) on

A few weeks later, he messaged me and asked if I would like one. FUCK YES I WOULD! I love how Instagram brings people together.

He made me one of his really amazing brick designs that made my jaw drop, and shipped it out to me.

Each block comes ready to rock, and with a nice letter from Clint and simple instructions for how to care of the piece.

I love the metal emblem of his brand on the side too. Really classy, nice looking stuff.

I was so excited to tell you guys about this gorgeous craftsmanship that I haven’t even used it yet. I can’t wait. I’m sure you’ll be seeing it in tons of my home cooked steak pics in the future.

Perdinci Meats

I discovered Perdinci Meats at a food show in the Javitz center. I contacted their representative because I was really blown away by the quality of their meats, especially the dried, cured pork loin, or lonza. They sent me a variety pack of sample meats, including salami, guanciale (pork cheek), pork belly, that delicious lonza, and some softer spreadables like nduja and finocchiola.

These babies were tucked away in my fridge for quite a while, and I was happy to see that they held up just fine and didn’t spoil with proper storage.

The lonza is still my favorite, but all of the other products are excellent. I highly recommend this stuff.

Grass Roots

GIVEAWAY ALERT!!! Read on to get all the details!

Grass Roots represents a nice, new and refreshing take on custom delivery meat boxes. They’re a farmers cooperative – meaning they’re a group of small, local, family-run farms who have pooled their products together in a sort of “virtual farmers market,” so to speak, where they sell their proteins. I know, I know… My more avid and beef-educated readers are pounding their fists into their desks in protest, shouting “but Johnny, you told us already that 97% of the 619,000 beef farms in this country are small, family owned operations with an average of 50 head of cattle!” True!

But here’s how Grass Roots is different: They’ve set themselves up as a very niche virtual farmers market, catering to the increasing market demand for grass-fed beef, pastured chicken and turkey, and forested pork. I only tried their beef (with the exception of the jowl bacon and deli ham), so I’ll speak directly to that for a moment.

While all beef is technically “grass-fed” (which can be a confusing turn of phrase), all of Grass Roots’ beef is 100% grass-FINISHED as well. That means no grains are in their diet. They also state on their website that their beef is GMO free, which would make sense, since no grass contains GMO that I know of. Grass Roots cattle are also never given antibiotics or growth hormones. One interesting thing I noticed is that when you order their ground beef, it is sourced from a single animal.

So Grass Roots contacted me and asked if I’d feature their products in exchange for a $100 credit to make my own box. I accepted! Here’s what I ordered:

Everything arrived vacuum sealed and frozen, packed in a really nice box that even contained a tote bag and some dry ice.

Here’s everything nicely labeled for you:

My order went over the $100 credit by about $12 or so, but I figured it was worth it to try everything that looked interesting to me. The first thing I cooked was their jowl bacon.

I loved it. It had a nice texture and a great flavor. Naturally, it went well with a cheeseburger.

But I did preserve the jowl fat for a later date, and even used some to fry up the onions for the top of the burger.

Waste nothing!

I threw the jowl bacon on some hot dogs too. Amazing. I split griddled them in some of that jowl fat first, as you might’ve imagined.

“Garnished with jowl bacon.”

I used some of that jowl fat to cook up a pair of their steaks too – a strip and a rib eye. I have to say, I was really impressed with the quality. If healthy, grass-finished lean beef is what you’re after, then this is definitely the place to get it.

I simply seasoned with salt and pepper, and seared these babies off in a pan with fresh garlic and rosemary.

Since the beef is lean and grass-finished, it cooks faster than usual, and you can go safely under, to somewhere between rare and medium rare.

I ate this with some wasabi, and it was perfect. I’m really looking forward to trying their sirloin, roasts, ribs, skirt and shanks. It’ll give me good reason to use my new Instant Pot.

Okay so the GIVEAWAY! Well, the giveaway is over now, but you can use code NEWYOU50 to get $50 off your first box!!!

And feel free to jump out to my Instagram post, like the photo, tag a friend in the comments, and follow both me and @GrassRootsCoop on Instagram!

Allen Brothers Steaks

Allen Brothers sent me a nice package of steaks to try out here at the Food Lab.

That’s their Exclusive Prime 16-Pack, which will run you about $230. It contains four of each for a total of 16 items: (1) 6oz prime burgers; (2) jumbo steak dogs; (3) 5oz boneless rib eyes; and (4) 6oz filets mignon.

They also offer some massive, real deal steakhouse style cuts like these from their Instagram ads:

From what I understand they even supply some of these to well-known steakhouses and restaurants here in the city, so they’re not just home delivery.

Anyway let’s get down to business. You want to know if this shit is good! Okay so here we go – a review of each of the four items in the box.

The Rib Eye

While these are small at 5oz, they pack a nice amount of flavor from the intense prime-grade marbling. The best part is that you don’t have to mess around with any fancy cooking techniques to really nail them. Just sear in a hot pan with some butter or olive oil, maybe some garlic and herbs too for good measure.

The Filet Mignon

Same deal here. Small at 6oz, but really simple to cook and tons of great lean beefy flavor.

The Steak Dogs

Wow. These are amazing. When I first learned about Allen Brothers while hearing their radio ads, I immediately looked them up online and the first thing that jumped out to me were the images of these massive, juicy hot dogs. I wanted them so badly. Well here they are in all their glory, and I’m so glad I got to try them.

I decided to split griddle them, and add some pickles, jowl bacon, and jalapeños. Unbelievable!

The Burgers

At 6oz these are the perfect size for a really nice single patty burger.

I griddled with pepper.

Flipped and added three slices of American cheese.

Topped with jowl bacon and griddled jowl fat onions.

Assembled with pickled and jalapeños. Amazing

I really loved the burgers and dogs the most. I will be getting more of these babies for sure.

Golden Flake Chicharrones

My wife and I tried these pork rinds when we were in New Orleans. My snack obsession was satisfied with these delicious chicharrones that were flavored with Louisiana hot sauce.

I can eat pork skins all day, and I definitely recommend these if you come across them.

The End Hot Sauce

Pepper Palace on Chartres Street in New Orleans sells a proprietary reaper pepper and habanero sauce called “The End.”

It’s probably the hottest sauce I’ve ever had, and I can fucking take the heat like a goddamn champ when it comes to spicy shit. I had to sign a waiver before trying it. Allow me to describe what happened:

I took a small plastic spoon of the shit, maybe a third of the size you get when you take a sample of ice cream at Baskin Robbins. Just a dot, really. I placed it on my tongue and my mouth lit up with heat. To my surprise it actually had a nice smoky flavor to it. I experienced a jolt of energy, as if I just slammed a shot of strong espresso. That vibrance lasted almost a half an hour. When I swallowed the stuff, it warmed the inside of my body, as if I could feel it making contact with every surface my digestive system from my mouth down to my stomach. Heartburn, almost. Slightly painful.

Luckily I didn’t get any on my lips, and most of it stayed on my tongue before going down. I also didn’t develop any hiccoughs, to my surprise. But I can tell you that this sauce is pure insanity. If you’ve got the balls, give it a try. On our trip to New Orleans, we tried a lot of so called “crazy spicy” sauces, made with ghost peppers and reapers, but nothing came close to this shit. Crazy.

In case you’re wondering, New Orleans is famous for hot sauce. There are dozens of majorly famous brands that call the region home, such as Tabasco, Crystal and Louisiana Hot (obviously). When you walk the streets here, you are bombarded with all sorts of hot sauces for sale. I love it.

Zapp’s Chips

God damn these are some fucking great kettle cooked potato chips. I always like to try regional or local snacks whenever we travel. I was eyeballing these fuckers from the moment we landed in New Orleans.

We tried three flavors: Spicy Cajun Crawtaters, Voodoo, and Hotter N’ Hot Jalapeño. Our favorite was the Crawtators.

They had a good level of spice without getting overly aggressive. The Voodoo flavor was pungent and interesting. Good to dabble into as well. The jalapeño chips were good too, just not as unique as the other two flavors.

Momento Air Fryer

My wife and I picked up a Momento air fryer from Groupon. We are really impressed with how it works.

There’s no permeating smells throughout the apartment, no greasy end products on the food, and overall a really great crisp on everything we’ve tried so far.

My wife made egg rolls in the fryer first. They came out perfectly. Again no grease, as it only uses about a tablespoon of oil.

Next up we took some floppy leftover turkey skin from thanksgiving and crisped it up for a pasta, spinach and turkey dish.. Crunchy like potato chips!

Then we tried tots (along with some duck skin that had been refrigerated overnight after cooking). The tots went directly from frozen to crispy in just 20 minutes. Awesome.

Next up we “fried” some frozen dumplings. Another success.

Finally, we tried chicken wings. All I did beforehand was thaw them out from frozen, and toss with some flavored oils and spices. These took just 20 minutes in the air fryer, and they came out perfectly cooked, tender inside, crispy outside, and juicy as fuck.

I highly recommend this item.