Taco Bell Quesalupa

Taco Bell Quesalupa PackageTaco Bell was all abuzz on Twitter last week, touting it had what could be the “Biggest Idea Ever” (shove it, electricity) and showing a bunch of maybe-celebrities holding a green brick, because nothing gets you excited for Taco Bell like a fake greenscreened brick. And Mario Lopez. I saw him in there somewhere.

So excited was Taco Bell about this new product that they wouldn’t talk about their new product. Instead, they enticed Twitter followers to pre-order this Holy Grail of fast food online, allowing them to receive the mystery item two days before the rest of the filthy serfs who weren’t obsessed with greenscreen bricks.

I toyed with the idea of pre-ordering it, because I had to be honest with myself and realize that I am one of those people who would pre-order Taco Bell. But then I figured, eh, I can wait two days and avoid being That Guy. Plus, I was 99% sure what the new product was anyways.

And I was right! If you watched the Super Bowl, you saw that it was the Quesalupa, which TB describes as “A beautiful, chewy Chalupa shell on the outside, with delicious pepper jack cheese baked right inside the shell. Yes. Majestic, melty cheese stuffed inside the shell. A cheesy shell, filled with seasoned beef, lettuce, tomato, reduced fat sour cream, and you guessed it, even more cheese.”

Beautiful and majestic. Two things I always associate with Taco Bell.

While I wasn’t willing to pre-order, I did decide to try Taco Bell’s online ordering, mostly because you can customize the shit out of your order without shame. Extra sauce and jalapeños on everything, please! (I ordered my Quesalupa as-is for the sake of this review.)

I could tell my local Taco Bell didn’t get a lot of online orders because when I pulled up to the speaker I said that I placed my order online and the man immediately said, “Oh, Kelley?” I had apparently been the only person to order online in at least a few hours.

When I went up to the food-getting window, another guy came up and said, “Oh, is this the online order?” So, I guess online ordering isn’t very popular in my area. But the transaction did go very smoothly.

Taco Bell Quesalupa Filling

In case you’ve never had a Chalupa, the draw is the shell – it’s fried flatbread, which puffs up and becomes chewy and crispy; almost flaky. So, yes, the Quesalupa is just a Chalupa with pepper jack cheese inside the shell.

Since the inside ingredients are exactly the same as a Chalupa (and many other Taco Bell items), I’m not really going to talk about them. They were sufficiently Taco Bell.

Taco Bell Quesalupa Cheese Stuffed Shell

Right off the bat, I had beef with my Quesalupa. In every single advertisement, it shows people pulling their Quesalupa apart, with delicious-looking cheese stretching out between the two halves. I cut mine with a knife in order to take pictures, but I can assure you that at no point was there any stretching, even when I tried.

The issue, as far as I could tell, is that the cheese stuffed into the shell was just a big glomp near the bottom of the shell. Let it never be said that I don’t like cheese, but it felt like it was just sitting there, being greasy and congealed. And definitely not stretching.

I guess the fundamental problem is that I wanted enough cheese in my Quesalupa to make it feel like a quesadilla/Chalupa combo, but that amount of cheese resulted in a fatty overload. It felt like a bogged-down Chalupa. And the pepper jack was very mild and didn’t add much flavor.

I might be taking an unpopular stance here, but I kind of wish they’d stuffed the Chalupa shell with nacho cheese. Would that make it messy as fuck? Hell yes. But I feel like you could add more of it, and get more flavor, without having the clumpy, greasy effect.

Is Taco Bell’s Quesalupa Bigger Than Everything (hashtag hashtag hashtag)? Hardly. In fact, while I was eating it I realized that I felt the Quesarito was a bigger success, and then I wanted a Quesarito instead.

Taco Bell Quesalupa

  • Score: 2 out of 5 green bricks
  • Price: $2.99
  • Size: 1 Quesalupa
  • Purchased at: Taco Bell #022951
  • Nutritional Quirk: One Quesalupa has 40% of your daily fat covered, and you’ll feel it when you’re eating it.

KFC Nashville Hot Chicken

KFC Nashville Hot Chicken ContainerI always get excited when KFC comes out with something new, because they’re pretty unique in the fast food arena in that they’re not coming out with a new menu item every week. In fact, I’ve been doing this review thing for [checks imaginary watch] seven years now and I can count my KFC reviews on one hand.

Can we also talk about the new Colonel? If you gave me five million guesses as to what Norm MacDonald would be doing in 2016, I never would have guessed “being Colonel Sanders”. Also, that would be a really exhausting game. “Being Burt Reynolds” probably would have come up at least a dozen times.

Okay, focus. KFC’s new Nashville Hot Chicken was first test marketed in Pittsburgh. Just joshing, it was test marketed in Nashville.

…Wait, no, it really was test marketed in Pittsburgh. What?

Perhaps they were afraid Nashvillains, which I am totally calling people from that city from now on, would disapprove, and Nashville Hot Chicken would never live to see its nationwide release.

You see, Nashville Hot Chicken is a real thing, with a storied history that would be far too long for me to explain here, and is already explained very eloquently in that article.

To put it overly simply, Nashville Hot chicken is fried chicken that’s hot, and it comes with dill pickle slices. Count me all in.

KFC’s website sucks at telling you about their menu options, so I’ll inform you right now that you can get Hot Chicken in 1-piece, 2-piece or 8-piece options. I found this odd, and dubbed them “Why Bother, Decent Lunch, and Fat Man Party Time”.

They also offer Tenders, but I forgot to note their quantities because stop being a pussy and just eat your bone-in chicken. (I’m allowed to say that because I used to be one of those pussies.)

KFC Nashville Hot Chicken

I chose Decent Lunch, which came with a biscuit and a small coleslaw. I was not aware of the latter part until I got my Decent Lunch home. Nobody asked me what side I wanted. I would have chosen mashed potatoes, of course. The last time I ate KFC coleslaw was about 20 years ago. It turns out I still hate it.

Oh, right, the chicken. Here’s how KFC’s “we’ll tell you about our food but not how much you can buy” website describes it: “Get that flavorful, spicy, smoky Nashville Hot Chicken. Now with pickles! It’s finger lickin’ hot! (The chicken, not the pickles. The pickles are more like soothing lozenges for your mouth.)”

KFC Nashville Hot Chicken Skin

Here’s how I describe it: not smoky, barely spicy. Quite the review, right? Honestly, though, that’s about it. The chicken was moist, which was good. The batter was crunchy and medium-thick, which was also good. But the Hot was only a mild build of spicy heat, and I only detected a bit of smoky in a few bites. The bright spot was a mild peppery spice that worked well with the batter and the chicken.

Even the pickles were sad – they were the exact same ones you’d see on a shitty McDonald’s burger. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I felt like the pickles were part of the whole experience, so they should have been better.

In the end, I was left with a red grease slick on my fingers that made me wonder why it was there when the heat wasn’t. Sure, there was a little spice, but not enough to need a pickle lozenge. I feel like KFC did a disservice to the name Nashville Hot Chicken.

In its defense, it was a lot better than the bucket of regular KFC chicken I bought along with it, which had a super-thin batter and was soggy like it had been sitting around for half a day. Has KFC’s regular chicken declined, or does my local restaurant just suck?

So, I’ve spent the majority of this review shitting on KFC’s Nashville Hot Chicken, and now I’m going to turn around and tell you to try it. It’s actually pretty tasty; it just fell short of my expectations in both the spicy and the smoky departments. But hey, it’s something new and different from KFC! That doesn’t come around too often, so give it a go.

Or, if you live in Nashville, get some real Hot Chicken.

KFC Nashville Hot Chicken

  • Score: 3 out of 5 pickle lozenges
  • Price: $5.79
  • Size: 2-piece meal
  • Purchased at: KFC #D212071
  • Nutritional Quirk: No nutritional info on their website, but I could tell from the red grease slick that covered my fingers that this is not health food.

Nabisco Cinnamon Bun Oreo Cookies

Nabisco Cinnamon Bun Oreo Cookies PackageI’m so relieved to see that Nabisco’s 2016 New Year’s resolution wasn’t “stop making 700 different flavors of Oreos”.

I’m pretty sure that was sarcasm, but even I can’t tell anymore.

When I opened up the kitchen cupboard that’s reserved for things I’m going to review, I was greeted with the sight of several unopened packages of last year’s limited edition Oreos. My heart had good intentions of reviewing them, but my brain said, “Please, stop. I just can’t do this anymore.” Then my stomach said, “Seriously, Brain is right, this is just out of control. Stop.”

So I did. But then the hype machine went into overdrive about Cinnamon Bun Oreos, and I couldn’t resist. Everyone seemed to be going bonkers waiting for these cookies to arrive on shelves, so I had to check them out.

Besides, who doesn’t like cinnamon buns?

Two things of note about Cinnamon Bun Oreos – first, the cookie part isn’t just a regular Golden Oreo, it’s a Cinnamon Cookie Oreo. It’s the creme that is cinnamon bun-flavored. Second, unlike many of Oreo’s million flavors, nowhere on this package are the words “Limited Edition”. So is this meant to be a permanent fixture in the Oreo lineup?

Nabisco Cinnamon Bun Oreo Cookies

If not, it should be, because Oreo nailed it. And not in that way they usually do, where you go, “holy shit, this does taste like this other thing, but I don’t want it to.”

Nabisco Cinnamon Bun Oreo Cookies Creme

The first thing I did was twist off the top and eat it, because, duh. The cookies have little flecks in it that I suspect do nothing other than let you know you’re not eating a normal Oreo, but maybe they’re really cinnamon; what do I know. The cookie alone tasted exactly like Cinnamon Teddy Grahams. Do those still exist? Hold on.

Okay, I’m back. Cinnamon Teddy Grahams do still exist. Of course, I’m an adult, so I haven’t eaten them in about 20 years, but I’m pretty sure these Oreos tasted exactly like them. The cinnamon wasn’t overpowering, and the cookie wasn’t overly sweet, which I loved.

(Just kidding about the adult thing, this is me we’re talking about. I just haven’t felt the urge to buy any Teddy Grahams lately.)

They could have sold these cookies alone as Cinnamon Oreo Wafers and I’d still love them. But there’s more! Cinnamon bun creme! After I ate the top, I obviously licked the innards…

What the… am I at an airport? Because I feel like I just ate a motherfuckin’ Cinnabon. The creme had that absolutely perfect cinnamon bun glaze taste, but it tasted like the bun, too.

Next up, I ate a cookie as a whole. I highly recommend this method of Oreo consumption for Cinnamon Bun Oreo Cookies. The cookie tempered the sweetness of the creme, and it really all comes together to make a somehow even more realistic cinnamon bun experience.

The best part was that at no time during this review did I feel like I need to add the word “artificial” as a descriptor to anything. These really, truly tasted like cinnamon buns. It’s pretty cut-and-dry: if you like cinnamon buns, you’re going to love Cinnamon Bun Oreos. And if you don’t, well, you’re a monster. And you won’t like these cookies.

Nabisco Cinnamon Bun Oreo Cookies

  • Score: 5 out of 5 fattening airport sweets
  • Price: $3.09
  • Size: 12.2 oz.
  • Purchased at: Safeway
  • Nutritional Quirk: Just for fun, I looked up the nutritional information for a Cinnabon. There are 880 calories in a Cinnabon Classic Roll. There are 150 calories in a serving of two Cinnamon Bun Oreo Cookies. Just sayin’.

Jack Ca$h Card Giveaway!

Jack Ca$h CardJack in the Box kindly sent me two $10 Ca$h Cards to give away to two lucky readers! That’s 20 tacos before taxes!

If you want in on this action, just leave a comment on this post and make sure to put your email address in the email field so that I can contact you if you’re a winner. How would you spend your $10 at Jack in the Box?

Giveaway ends Saturday, January 16, 2016 at midnight PST. Winners are chosen at random. Good luck!

Fine printy stuff: Junk Food Betty will not use your email address for anything other than to contact you for your shipping address if you’re a winner. We also will not use your shipping address for anything other than delivering these gift cards that will put free food in your mouth.

Limited Edition Hot Cocoa Chips Ahoy Cookies

Limited Edition Hot Cocoa Chips Ahoy Cookies PackageAmidst all the candy canes and peppermint bark, a surprising new trend has emerged this Christmas as the frontrunner for this season’s flavor du jour: hot cocoa. Here are some of the things I’ve seen new this year that purport to have the flavor of that delicious beverage:

Hubba Bubba Hot Cocoa Bubble Gum
YoCrunch Marshmallow Hot Cocoa Yogurt
Angie’s Hot Cocoa Marshmallow Kettle Corn
Herr’s Crunchy Cocoa & Marshmallow Corn Snacks
Hot Chocolate M&Ms

Way to buck the trend there at the end going with hot chocolate, M&Ms.

While I’d like to be reviewing some of these items instead of just listing them, I’ve had a shortage of time and availability. I did manage to review Pizza Hut’s Hot Chocolate Brownie over at The Impulsive Buy, however.

When I found these Limited Edition Hot Cocoa Chips Ahoy! Cookies, I was stoked, because I’ve always liked Chips Ahoy. (I’m dropping the exclamation point from here on out because it just makes things confusing.)

I was even more stoked when I saw the suggestion that I heat for a treat. I’ve never been explicitly told by a cookie package to warm them up before. Besides, it’s cold outside (baby), so I could use a warm, chocolate treat to enjoy along with my vintage icicle Christmas lights.

If you look carefully on the package, these cookies actually have gooey innards that I assumed would melt once heated. I didn’t even notice that when I bought them. More anticipation!

Limited Edition Hot Cocoa Chips Ahoy Cookies

The side of the package instructed me to microwave two cookies on a paper towel for 6-7 seconds on high. Being a good junk food follower, I did just that. My cookies came out barely warm but smelling deliciously chocolately.

But my innards were far from gooey. Ignoring all precautions, I put the next cookies in for a whopping 20 seconds. I watched it from the side of my microwave, half expecting it to explode. It was actually sizzling when I took it out. And yet, pretty much the only thing that hadn’t melted was the filling. It did, however, leave an oily spot on the paper towel.

Limited Edition Hot Cocoa Chips Ahoy Cookies Inside

As with many chocolate things that are trying to taste like hot cocoa, these cookies did not taste like hot cocoa. They tasted like chewy chocolate cookies. But there was a distinct marshmallow flavor in there that I think came more from the creamy filling than the little white chips on top.

Hot Cocoa Chips Ahoy Cookies taste just fine straight out of the package, but warming them up goes a long way towards making you believe they actually taste like hot cocoa. While the inside didn’t melt even at high temperatures, it added a creamy dimension to the already chewy cookie as well as some marshmallow flavor. I’d recommend 9-10 seconds in the microwave for optimal cookie warmth.

These are a limited edition flavor, so I don’t know how long they’ll be around, but I suggest picking some up if you see them. I can definitely see munching on these with a mug of real hot cocoa while I open presents on Christmas morning.

Limited Edition Hot Cocoa Chips Ahoy Cookies

  • Score: 4 out of 5 dangerously sizzling cookies
  • Price: $2.00
  • Size: 10 oz.
  • Purchased at: Fry’s Foods
  • Nutritional Quirk: Contains actual marshmallow! Hooray!

Del Taco Gift Card Giveaway!

Image courtesy Del TacoMerry Christmas, readers! Del Taco has gifted me with three $5 gift cards to give out to three lucky readers. Would you like one? Just leave a comment on this post, and make sure to include your email address so that I can contact you for your shipping address if you’re a winner.

Don’t know what to leave as a comment? How about what you want the most for Christmas this year?

This giveaway ends on December 22, 2015 at midnight PST. Winners will be chosen at random. Happy munching!

[Your email address will not be used for any purpose other than to contact you for your shipping address, should you be a winner. Your shipping address will only be used to send you the gift card. I promise not to use your email or shipping address for any other purpose.]

Mountain America Jerky: Beef, Sweet and Spicy Beef, Wild Boar, Alligator, Venison, Kangaroo

Mountain America JerkyI can’t tell you how excited I was when Mountain America Jerky asked if I’d like to try their products. Not because they sent me samples for free and I thus feel obligated to say that (I think the record will show I hold no such obligations), but because I looked at their product list and went holy shit.

Sorry, Mountain America. I cussed in the first paragraph of your review.

But seriously, look at these flavors. Alligator?! Kangaroo?! I’d have to travel across the country for the former and to another continent for the latter just to see these animals! And now I get to eat them! (Well, I guess I could just go to a zoo, but that’s not the same. And I’m pretty sure they don’t let you eat the animals.)

I want to get right to it, since there’s so much to cover.

Beef

Mountain America Beef Jerky

I have to start with Mountain America’s Beef Jerky, of course, because it will be the baseline for all other flavors. It’s the only type of jerky here that I’ve ever had before, so I can at least compare it to other brands.

Mountain America’s is on the dry side of the jerky spectrum. It’s a little tough, but not gum-stabbingly tough like some other brands out there, and has a nice chew to it. It also has a great peppery spice that’s not too overwhelming.

I’ve had a lot of jerky in my time, including some straight from the butcher around the corner from my parents’ house, and Mountain America’s is closer to that in taste and texture than most of the mass-marketed brands out there. It didn’t completely blow me away, but it’s a good, solid jerky.

Sweet and Spicy Beef

[I swore I took a picture of this, but I couldn’t find it when I was assembling this review. And by then, it was all gone. Which says something in and of itself. Just imagine it looks a lot like the beef.]

Mountain America also included their Sweet and Spicy version in my sample pack, which I didn’t think I would like as much, since I prefer pepper seasoning over sweet and spicy. However, I found that I liked this one just as much as the original, mostly because it was very, very light on the sweet and heavy on the spicy. This jerky has a serious kick to it.

Now, on to some much less familiar territory.

Wild Boar

Mountain America Wild Boar Jerky

I know boar mostly for looking like tough-ass pigs with giant tusks that just so happen to have adorable babies. So this will be my first time eating boar. Wild boar is pretty exotic, but its close relative, the pig, obviously isn’t. So I started wondering why I haven’t seen pig jerky on store shelves, until I realized I had – it’s just called bacon jerky, because bacon bacon bacon blah blah blah.

Knowing that I was going into my boar experience basically eating pig, I wasn’t all that intimidated. This jerky was greasier than the beef; it was chewier, but also more moist. Mountain America describes it as “nutty”, but I didn’t get any of that flavor. They did spice it nicely, however, and there was just a hint of sweetness to the meat.

I actually liked Wild Boar Jerky better than Mountain America’s Beef Jerky, both in taste and texture. Perhaps it’s the baconesque quality that the jerky possessed – bitch and moan about bacon memes all you want, it’s still delicious. I could eat boar all day long, while looking at pictures of their cute babies.

Alligator

Mountain America Alligator Jerky

Alligator Jerky was the animal that left me with the biggest feeling of trepidation. It’s not that I’m unaware that people eat alligators, it’s just that that doesn’t mean they’re good.

It was really the color that got me. Most of the jerkies were different shades of “beef”, but alligator had a distinctly pink-ish tone to it that I found unsettling. Plus, it seemed like alligator would have a distinctly gamey taste. Come to think of it, I’m not even sure what makes things taste “gamey”, but I figured “kills its prey, including humans, using a ‘death roll’” made it qualify.

Fortunately for me, I was either wrong, or Mountain America really knows how to jerky their gator. I have a feeling it might have been the latter, because alligator jerky honestly didn’t taste like anything but yummy jerky spices. It was very heavily spiced and peppered, leaving me unable to taste the meat.

As for the texture, it was much chewier than the beef jerky and slightly more moist, but didn’t have an oily feel to it that I suspected it might. I thought I tasted a slight gaminess upon exhalation after chewing, but that could have just been my brain thinking it should have been there. Really, it just tasted like pepper and spices.

Venison

Mountain America Venison Jerky

Venison is the food word for deer, in case you weren’t aware. People eat deer all the time, so I wasn’t at all intimidated by this jerky. I mean, there’s a bunch of shitty video games called “Deer Hunter” and hordes of men inexplicably wearing camouflage and bright orange vests at the same time routinely shoot them every year.

Plus, deer are totally dicks. Ask anyone that lives in the countryside. Or listen to Louis CK talk about what dicks they are, he’s way funnier than I am.

After finding out alligator jerky isn’t so bad, I was straight-up looking forward to venison jerky. I found myself disappointed. It was very tough and very dry, the kind of jerky I described earlier that stabs your gums like a meaty, pointy knife.

Also, for some reason, Mountain America chose this flavor to absolutely coat with pepper. It didn’t say it on the label of my package, but I noticed on their website it’s described as “covered with coarse, cracked black pepper for the optimal medium spice.” I would instead describe it as “way too peppery; what are they hiding?” It was a disappointment because I’m well familiar with what peppered jerky tastes like, but I didn’t really get to taste what venison jerky tastes like.

Kangaroo

Mountain America Kangaroo Jerky

I feel like kangaroo jerky is the most exotic and the most controversial jerky of the bunch. Maybe I’m wrong on that last part; maybe nobody gives a shit that I’m consuming the flesh of a bouncy, cute Australian marsupial that has babies called joeys that hang out in their pouches.

Gosh, even I feel a little bad after writing that last sentence. However, some do consider it environmentally beneficial to hunt kangaroo to prevent overgrazing. Oh, and like deer, they will totally run (well, hop) out in the road and completely fuck up your car and possibly your body.

That said, the kangaroo jerky was both the softest and the chewiest of the bunch, which was a nice contrast to the tough dryness of the venison. It also seemed to be the least heavily spiced of all the jerkies. I didn’t feel like the meat was being overwhelmed by seasoning.

Mountain America agrees, saying on their website, “This Kangaroo Jerky is flavored with a simple black pepper marinade for a mild, non-gamey taste.”

And here’s where I disagree, saying, “Sorry son, but this jerky be gamey.”

I lamented the amount of seasoning on previous jerky flavors covering up the taste of the meat, so I was glad I could taste the true ‘roo here, even if it turned out to be gamey. Having never tasted kangaroo before, it’s hard to say exactly what it tastes like; it’s not like beef, it’s not like chicken (since apparently every meat that’s not beef or pork supposedly tastes like chicken), it’s just what it is. High marks for texture, but it was my least favorite in terms of flavor.

So there you have it. Many words about many flavors of jerky. I’ve decided not to number-score them, but will instead give a quick summary: Mountain America’s Beef is a solid gourmet jerky; Sweet and Spicy Beef has an excellent kick; Wild Boar was my favorite, with a lovely texture and baconesque flavor; Alligator scared me, but it wound up just tasting like yummy jerky seasoning; Venison was disappointing because it was stabby and too heavily peppered, not allowing the meat to come through; Kangaroo was lightly spiced, allowing me to experience the meat, which was quite gamey, but it was interesting to try.

What a fun trip through the world of jerky! I mean, how many people can say they’ve eaten kangaroo! Oh, probably a lot of Australians. But still, I feel so cultured now. And have a craving for moar boar.

[Disclaimer: I received these products for free from Mountain America Jerky, but that in no way colors the objectivity of my review, and proves beyond a doubt that I am not a vegetarian.]

Mountain America Jerky: Beef, Sweet and Spicy Beef, Wild Boar, Alligator, Venison, Kangaroo

  • Price: Free
  • Size: Various
  • Purchased at: Sent to me; available at https://mountainamericajerky.com/
  • Nutritional Quirk: These are actually quite good for you in terms of protein and stuff, but really, the highlight here is that I ate alligator and kangaroo!

Jones Soda Pumpkin Pie

Jones Soda Blood Orange, Lemon Drop Dead and Pumpkin Pie BottlesI’ve long lamented that I missed the halcyon days of Jones holiday sodas, which was back in the early 2000s when they sold their absolutely amazing-looking Thanksgiving packs that contained such flavors as Green Bean Casserole.

I’ve since made it a mission to grab every limited edition Jones Soda flavor I can, knowing full well that I’m likely in for some serious  punishment.

This year’s Halloween grab is Pumpkin Pie Soda, which Jones claims is new but was previously offered in one of their Thanksgiving packs. Perhaps they’ve tweaked the formula?

Along with Pumpkin Pie, this year they’re offering Blood Orange and Lemon Drop Dead, which have been offered in previous years, but I wanted to include them because they’ve departed from the usual picture labels to offer some pretty gruesome mummy and zombie guys.

Their labels also claim that “It will haunt you forever!” I find this very funny, because out of all of Jones’s limited edition flavors, these are two that will not haunt you. Blood Orange basically tastes like a better version of orange Fanta, because Jones uses cane sugar, and Lemon Drop Dead is a surprisingly refreshing mix of sour and sweet lemon soda.

But we’re really here for the Pumpkin Pie Soda. Because who wants to read about something that might actually taste good?

Jones Pumpkin Pie Soda Label

My four-pack of Pumpkin Soda bottles came with two harmless autumn-themed labels, but I chose the one where four people cover their faces with pumpkins, which could be a fun family photo but to me comes off as quietly ominous.

Jones describes this soda as “the perfect mix of pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg, with a hint of creamy, buttery crust flavor”.

Here we are again, with the pumpkin and the spices. But at least this one makes flat-out claims of tasting like pumpkin! On the other hand, they have to follow it up with the words “creamy” and “buttery”. Two things I’m always looking for in a soda.

Jones Pumpkin Pie Soda

Like an idiot, I’m always smelling these sodas before I taste them. The aroma wafting out of my cup was both strong and incredibly genuine – it really was like I was smelling pumpkin pie in a glass. I feel like this should have been off-putting, but instead it was inviting.

Tasting it was an entire grab bag of flavors and emotions. The nutmeg jumped to the forefront, which was bizarre when paired with a cold, carbonated beverage. The cinnamon was subtle, and, dare I say, overshadowed by the flavor of pumpkin. Actual pumpkin flavor! …In my soda.

Jones rarely lies, and true to form, there was indeed a hint of creaminess and a little bit of butter on the finish. It did give the impression of pie crust, and even evoked memories of the Cool Whip that was always present on top of pumpkin pies at my family’s Thanksgiving dinners.

What does all of this add up to? Again, my brain and my mouth are so confused. If I was judging Jones Pumpkin Pie Soda on flavor alone, it’s aces. By far the most authentic-tasting pumpkin item I’ve had this season, and probably in years past.

But the fact of the matter is that I’m also drinking a soda. It’s cold, it’s carbonated, and it’s everything that a pumpkin pie isn’t supposed to be. Did I finish the cup? I did, but I’m still not entirely sure why. Will I be cracking the other three in my possession? I’m pretty sure they’ll sit in the pantry until I run out of room and am forced to throw them away.

If you have the opportunity to try it, I urge you to do so, just to experience the weird authenticity. Especially if you live in Canada, where it’s available for a limited time at all Smoke’s Poutinerie locations. Screw you guys for having Poutineries.

Jones Soda Pumpkin Pie

  • Score: 2 out of 5 quietly creepy pumpkin people
  • Price: $25.99
  • Size: 12 oz. bottle (12-bottle pack)
  • Purchased at: http://www.jonessoda.com/
  • Nutritional Quirk: Contains no pumpkin, but the flavor is there.

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