Thursday, July 31, 2014

Review: Cornucopia Popcorn (and Plum District's $15 for $30 deal)

When we moved into the Nuthaus last year, Cornucopia was right across the street, tucked into a convenient-to-us location right behind Veggie Heaven (of which James and I have grown extremely fond). However, if one did not live near the UT campus and had to drive to Cornucopia's former shop, getting there was extremely frustrating.

Back when D and I first moved here and lived in the RV, we wanted to visit Cornucopia and had never driven on Guadalupe before. We approached it from the south, turning onto Guadalupe off of MLK, and traffic was so backed up that we couldn't turn left into the parking lot. Then we realized that you can't turn left on most of the streets when you're heading north past campus. After having spent more than half an hour driving two miles, I gave up and we had to go back again a different time.

For this reason, I understand why they moved. It kind of stinks that we can't walk over anymore, especially on free sample days, but the newer location at 32nd and Red River is still here in the 'hood, and it's a lot bigger and brighter. AND it was busier when I visited today than I ever saw it here. It's actually just on the northeast side of campus now instead of the southwest side.

I love flavored popcorn, and Cornucopia does the flavors they produce well. They have some pretty standard choices, like confetti or kettle corn or cheddar, but they also create their own flavors, have a few signature recipes, and feature seasonal choices as well.

For instance, this vegan corn is made with a "secret blend" of spices, garlic, and sea salt. The garlic gives it a bite so that it almost tastes spicy, but not too much so (which I wouldn't like).

Cornucopia has four "categories" of popcorn: seasoned (including the Veggie Green Corn, Creamy Jalapeno Ranch, and Texas Chili, among others), candied (Salted Toffee, Cinnamon Toast, and Red Hots), Chocolate (S'mores, Chocolate Covered Cherry, and Birthday Cake), and Vegan (which includes any of the other three selections which are also vegan). The chocolate popcorn costs more because it actually includes a drizzling of either chocolate, white chocolate, or peanut butter, or the inclusion of mini M&Ms.

They also have these sample cups that you can see at the bottom of the picture above. With them, you can try any of the flavors they have out. Probably a good 65% or more of the stock is available for sampling, which can really help when you don't know what the difference might be between Chili Lime and Texas Chili.

There are a variety if sizes and options, and they'd actually deliver to us for $3 on an order of $30 or more. Also, on Wednesdays between 4 and 6, they have kid-sized bags for $1 (limit two, normally $2.25).

Today, we decided on a 2 gallon tin and here's why: Right now on Plum District, you can get a certificate for $30 to spend at Cornucopia for just $15. The 2 gallon tin is priced at $33. The great thing about the tins is that they can be refilled for "half price" FOR LIFE. So whenever we want to go back in and get two gallons of popcorn, it will be $16.50. There are 32 cups in two gallons of popcorn, and to purchase it in bags would cost about $23, so the tin does offer a savings on refills. And since we got the tin for $18.25 total (plus a small tip for the guy who helped us), it was even a savings the first time with the fabulous coupon!

I don't know how long the coupon will be available to buy, but you can use it online or in the store through the end of November.

I peaked into the back room. I want a bean bag chair made out of popcorn. Then I'd have the Jim Gaffigan/Cinnabon conundrum: "I don't know whether to sit on it or eat it!.. I'll sit on it AND eat it!"

Instead, we got a beautifully-decorated tin. (I also got a sticker for my computer, a refrigerator magnet, and a bumper sticker, which are all free but you can only take one.)

The popcorn is sectioned off and sealed inside of a bag both to preserve freshness and, I'm guessing, to keep the tin from getting dirty and therefore requiring washing.

Clockwise from the top left: Veggie Green Corn, Loaded Baked Potato, Pink Lemonade (a summer flavor, very tart in addition to being sweet), and Mexican Hot Chocolate (cinnamon with ancho chili and chocolate drizzle). I'm pretty sure the guy could/should have charged us extra for the chocolate flavor, but he didn't.

If you like flavored popcorn, Cornucopia's a good, local choice. And if you've ever thought about buying a tin (which I have considered for over a year), the coupon makes this the PERFECT time to invest in one!

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