Super Bowl Sunday: Pandemic Edition

February 1st, 2021

Arguably one of the best parts of the Super Bowl is the food. We’re pulling out all of our Acacia Wood serving sets for the big day. The cold weather calls for meatballs, wings, home-made dips and tons of chips and refreshements. 

The cold weather calls for a warm dip to celebrate the big day! We are loving the Warm Ranch Crack Dip from Wholesome Yum. This creamy dip is perfect for indulging – filled with ranch, sour cream, cream cheese, bacon, cheddar and so much more. Not to worry, this dip is gluten free and low carb. Score!

Whether you’re a party of one or hosting a Covid-19 safe get together, we encourage you to set the table with our USA Placemats and most importantly, have a great time. 

Happy Super Bowl Sunday! 🏈

The Team at Pacific Merchants Trading Company

I missed National French Fries Day! You Say Potato…

July 15th, 2020

I cannot believe I missed National French Fry Day. Forget about the fact I am on the keto diet, this is a landmark day. One may ask “where did French fries come from anyways?”. Funny I was thinking the exact same thing so I Googled. My research found an international dispute between Belgium and France. (you gotta be kidding me).

The Belgian version

This is where historians claim potatoes were being fried in the late-1600s. According to local Belgian lore, poor villagers living in Meuse Valley often ate small fried fish they caught in the river. … And just like that, the earliest French fries were born. How quaint! -Google

The French version

It is disputed but One enduring origin story holds that french fries were invented by street vendors on the Pont Neuf bridge in Paris in 1789, just before the outbreak of the French Revolution. However, a reference exists in France from 1775 to “a few pieces of fried potato” and to “fried potatoes”. Where the heck is the Pont Neuf bridge? -Wikipedia

Bruce’s Version

One may then ask “Bruce, where is all of this headed? Why are you so obsessed with fries?”. Listen, when you have been on a keto diet for two weeks then National French Fries Day rolls around (or anything fried for that matter) and this is a trigger to all sorts of culinary mischief.

I mean McDonald’s still hold their own. Then there is Fat Burger and In & Out, although In & Out fries harden to a rock formation if not eaten within 10 minutes or ordering them “animal style (above). Of course the classic curly cue fries from Burger King are up at the top of delish.

As I mentioned I am ‘doing’ Keto. I yearn for a potato skin fry, or sweet potato fries, or fries from the Apple Pan or chili cheese fries from Tommy’s, both local favorites. Fries are delicious plain or with ketchup or mustard, or tartar sauce, not to mention cheese whiz and blue cheese dressing. French fries are something not to be fooled with but then again I’m not obsessed.

National Candy Month – Don’t Feel Guilty!

June 15th, 2020

Who can complain about a month (yes a month) of consuming copious amounts of sugar that a diabetic would envy? Is it even possible to write about such a broad subject? No it’s not. So I am going to focus on M&Ms and Chocolate Kisses.

The obvious one to start with is M&Ms. Right off the bat you have regular and peanut. It’s a very simple choice though. Either pure chocolate or pure chocolate with a hint of healthy. You can justify eating M&Ms with peanuts as I believe it goes with every diet, even the Keto. Peanuts have those good fats, no?

Then there are plain M&Ms whereby you can take a handful, put them in your mouth all at once and just let them sit. They start to melt into a chocolate liquid reminding me of Willie Wonka, transforming little candies into a chocolate nectar for the gods.

Now let’s focus on kisses for a moment. First off they have an epic name. Secondly, the foil is fun and easy to remove. Third, Hershey’s chocolate in the form of a dollop is an efficient transfer of chocolate into the body. Try shoving as many as you can into your mouth at the same time and it will blow your mind. Trust me, I’ve tried it.

I really can’t see going further with this analysis. I poured both in our Ying-Yang bowl and there was an almost a natural balance, not to mention a reason for taking a photo that required me to purchase both. Can you say sugar high? Namaste.

Social Distancing: BBQ Chicken Or Tri-Tip?

May 1st, 2020

During the stay safe at home period, I have had a time to think. I am OK with washing my hands, wearing a mask and social distancing. The one thing I will not do however is social distance from my Weber BBQ.

Thinking can be a good or bad thing and I am not sure if pitting BBQ chicken against tri-tip is the best way to vent energy. But think about it. Chicken is moist and tender with a smokey flavor imparted by the hot mesquite coals. It comes in many forms: breast, thighs, drumettes, all delicious if properly grilled.

Then there’s tri-tip, a red meat that has marbling, making it perfect for my Weber grill. It is one of my favorite meats to barbecue and I like the fact you can have well, medium and rare all in one roast!

Thinking about the pros and cons of barbecued meats is one way to spend time when locked down. I can’t help myself. But hey! I received a tri-tip and chicken in my grocery delivery today so I guess I’m grilling both tonight, without a mask.

Vegan Crock-Pot Chili: Who Knew There Would Be A Shortage of Chili Powder?

April 13th, 2020

When the going gets tough, the tough make chili. The tough are also lazy hence the crock pot. Many of us are finding ourselves at home where the highlight for the day is scoring a good time for instacart to deliver groceries….one week from now. So we stick with the basics ordering foods that have a high probability of being in stock. Who knew there would be a shortage of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and chili powder??

Our vegan crock-pot chili is easy prep, nutritious, and absolutely delicious. You just toss things together, not too mentally challenging but that’s what I personally need – no thinking.

Vegan Crock-Pot Chili


  • One 16 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 can 8 oz. veggie broth
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 8 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 4 chilies in adobo
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 bag of chopped frozen peppers & onions (fresh works too)
  • 1 can red beans
  • 1 block soy meat crumble
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Splash of cinnamon
  • Splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Lots of minced garlic
  • Garnish:
    • Cilantro
    • ½ lime


  1. Throw all ingredients into a Crock-Pot or slow cooker for 6 to 8 hours on low.
  2. Squeeze the half lime over the chili once done, and garnish with cilantro to taste.

National Cold Cut Day – The Earl Of Sandwich

March 3rd, 2020

Today is national Cold Cut Day. One might ask why? I mean cold cuts are bomb but aren’t they full of nitrates, salt and other preservatives that have been proven hideously unhealthy? Not to be a buzz kill but hey, it is what it is.

Now that I have written my disclaimer I will admit that I LOVE COLD CUTS! They are what make a deli a real deli, whether Jewish or Italian. One can judge the personality of strangers by what they order at a deli. The daring order tongue. Passive people order smoked turkey. To me, corned beef is the key to living. Deli sandwiches have a history and it starts with the invention of the Sandwich.

Deli meats were created in Europe in the 1700s thanks to the Earl of Sandwich, who populared the “sandwich” concept. I wonder if they had peanut butter and jelly back then?

But I digress: as defined by the web site Mobile Cuisine, “cold cuts are precooked or cured meat, often sausages or meat loaves, that are sliced and served cold or hot on sandwiches or on party trays.” Here are few facts listed on the MobileCuisine.Com web site:

  • • March 3rd (TODAY) is National Cold Cuts Day.
  • • Americans annually eat about $2 billion worth of cold cuts per year.
    • Most pre-sliced cold cuts are higher in fat, nitrates, and sodium than those that are sliced to order.
  • • One of the most well known cold cuts in the United States is bologna. Named for the Italian city of the same name, bologna is similar to an Italian sausage called Mortadella.
  • • Every year, the Butterball plant processes about 12-15 million turkeys, into cold cuts.
  • • Head cheese, which really isn’t cheese at all, is made from head meat including tongue and snout.
  • • Synonyms for Cold Cuts: lunch meats, luncheon meats, sandwich meats, cooked meats, sliced meats, and cold meats.
  • • The customers of Carnegie Deli in NYC eat up to 10,000 pounds of pastrami a week.

So SPLURGE – make a sandwich to celebrate the Earl Of Sandwich!

Cold Cuts Fun Facts

National Pancake Day: Plain or Chocolate Chip?

February 29th, 2020

National Pancake Day was this last week and I can’t believe I missed it! No worries because I just made “breakfast for dinner” including a batch of plain with maraschino cherries and chocolate chip pancakes (see photos of pancakes served on our Acaciaware plates). There’s something about pancakes that is basic, visceral and sugar high euphoria. However there is an ongoing debate about which version is better: plain pancakes with syrup or chocolate chip pancakes? I choose both syrup and chocolate chips (heavy on the chips) to satisfy both urges. Others don’t want to upset the natural balance of pancakes and maple syrup so they don’t like chocolate chips. Forget the fruit flavored syrups – only maple for me!

Another reason I wrote about pancakes is because I am pissed off with my local deli that..yes…sells pancakes. This otherwise good deli refuses to make pancakes with chocolate chips. Can you believe that!?? I finally asked the owner why and he said it made the grill too dirty. OMG WHAT A WEAK EXCUSE! What about blueberries on the menu – those aren’t dirty on the grill? I was so disappointed.

However I digress – for those of you who like banana pancakes, good for you. There is something unsatisfying to me using banana. However blueberry pancakes rank right up there with chocolate chip in my book. Some people use strawberries and I get that. I tend to be a sugar fanatic so I will use strawberry preserves, served along side apricot preserves. I admit syrup is not needed here because it gets in the way of the fruit flavored sugar high.

I don’t care if I am diabetic. There is nothing that is going to get in between me and my chocolate chip pancakes, period.

National Tortilla Chip Day – What About Fritos??

February 24th, 2020

What do you know—it’s National Tortilla Chip Day! We think the tortilla chip is important enough to have it’s own day, don’t you? Considering how universally liked and pervasive these chips are in society, they are definitely taken for granted. It’s also a competitive market—we counted at least ten brands at the grocery store!

Generally available in white, yellow, blue and red corn, tortilla chips offer a plethora of calories. The best tortilla chips are homemade from fresh tortillas and generally only available for purchase from Mexican restaurants.

Let’s take a moment to give an honorable mention to Fritos because they are also heavy hitters. Fritos are similar to tortilla chips but I just wanted to honor Fritos as they are my favorites along with Ruffles BBQ chips (do you remember “rrrrrrruffles have rrrrrrrdiges”?)

In honor of the tortilla chip, here’s a borrowed recipe to make your own! Feel free to change the seasoning to your taste and the goal is to keep them light, crispy, a little spicy and not oily:


  • • 1 (12 ounce) package corn tortillas
  • • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Cut each tortilla into 8 chip sized wedges and arrange the wedges in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
  3. In a mister, combine the oil and lime juice. Mix well and spray each tortilla wedge until slightly moist.
  4. Combine the cumin, chili powder and salt in a small bowl and sprinkle on the chips.
  5. Bake for about 7 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for another 8 minutes or until the chips are crisp, but not too brown.
  6. Serve with salsa, guacamole, bean or cheese dip. Oula!


Recipe reprinted from Allrecipes.

National Love Your Pet Day or Pamper the Puppy!

February 18th, 2020

February 20th is Love Your Pet Day. That’s not to say we don’t love our pets every day. It’s more like a “Pamper” your pet day. For example, why don’t you grill a steak for your dog? Our photo shows our mascot Murphy the golden retriever as he flashes appreciative eyes and tongue for his tri-tip, grilling on the BBQ. I made a bacon, lettuce & tomato sandwich shown on our Acaciaware acacia wood tray but decided it is for ME!

How about a fillet of sole for kitty? There are more than just dog and cat pets so you need to figure out what your pet would love. Like Pistacios for the Parrot?  I think a spa treatment using blueberry shampoo for Murphy my golden also sounds intriguing. Then we both get pampered because there is no better aroma than a puppy just after bathing. And of course clean dogs receive more kisses.

But I digress: pamper your pet and you will receive love back many times over. Aren’t they (and you) worth it?


February 13th, 2020

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Want to try out the Acaciaware™ line of sustainable wood serveware? Want an extra bowl to complement your Acaciaware™ collection? Look no further: we’re giving you one 4″ round dipping & nut bowl for FREE!

Acaciaware™ 4″ x 1.5″ round dipping & nut bowl (K0009) – $6.95 value

All you have to do is follow us on Instagram, email us, and you’ll have the perfect starter wooden bowl for condiments, spices, dips, nuts, and more!


  1. Follow us on Instagram (@pacificmerchant)
  2. Email your Instagram username and U.S. mailing address to [email protected] with the subject line “FREE BOWL PROMO”
  3. Wait 5-7 business days for your bowl to arrive (while supplies last)

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  • Mailing address cannot be a P.O. box.
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