Given the long-standing American passion for chocolate and ice cream and the current rage for Tex-Mex fare, the invention of the Choco Taco was probably inevitable. Created by the Jack & Jill Ice Cream Co. in Philadelphia, this ethnic hybrid provides an intriguing combination of flavor texture contrasts. The basis is a crisp, taco-shaped sugar-cone wafer enfolding fudge-swirled vanilla ice cream. Over that goes chocolate-flavored coating encrusted chopped peanuts. The result is the kind of crunchy novelty snack that children and their dentists dream about. At a suggested 89¢ each, this Choco Taco just might be the summer's favorite street-corner dessert. Chipwich, move over.SIPPIN' SODA
Spending an estimated $27.9 billion a year for soft drinks, Americans seem to have almost unquenchable thirst. A handy new aid that caters to this craving is called Soda Stream. Fitted with a carbon dioxide cartridge, the shiny plastic appliance fizzes tap water into salt-free club soda. Adding flavor concentrates will make instant plain or diet cola, tonic, root beer or the popular fruit sodas. Compared with supermarket soda prices, which can soar as high as 50¢ for a 12-oz. brand-name can, Soda Stream at 15¢ per bottle is a bargain. The initial investment of $39.95 buys the mechanism and other necessary accessories.
Introduced in Britain about twelve years ago, Soda Stream has worked is way into 12% of homes there and into staggering 40% of those in Israel and Iceland. With that history, it may soon outgrow its five U.S. test markets--Boise, Charleston, Syracuse, Fort Wayne and Memphis--and take on the rest of the country as well.CINEMA GOURMET
Popcorn and candy bars may have had their day as America's favorite movie snacks. Looking to food concessions for as much as 30% of their revenue, theater owners are introducing more elaborate temptations. Even stylish staples, such as granola bars and premium ice creams, may give way to still more ambitious fare. In the San Francisco area, some theaters now offer beef- or vegetable-filled Russian piroshki and the fruit-filled Jewish pastries, hamantaschen. The ultimate munch may be at the New Varsity theater in Palo Alto, where pizzas, pastas and fancy burgers are dished up in a Spanish-style courtyard. Occasionally, food and film make a double bill, such as moussaka and Zorba the Greek. Some patrons carry the goodies back to their seats to eat as they watch, a practice that may annoy noneaters so much that they, like non-smokers, will demand separate sections.