Hey Twizzlers, what’s…what’s going on, here? You obviously have a Christmas candy out. I can see it. We can all see it. It’s right above these words, in all its red, green and white glory. There are even snowflakes on the package.
And yet, what are you calling it? Twizzlers PULL ‘n’ PEEL cherry green apple lemonade. There are many things wrong with this name, starting with going from all caps to no caps and ending with the fact that Twizzlers is patently refusing to acknowledge that this is Christmasy or even holiday-y in any way. You’ve already got stripes going – make candy cane shapes! Make wreaths! Cherry rhymes with merry, for fuck’s sake!
Now that I’ve gotten this glaring oversight out of the way, I just realized I haven’t had Twizzlers in ages. I’m pretty sure the last time I ate a Twizzler, it was after I’d used it as a straw to drink some Dr. Pepper. This was before the time when Twizzlers could be pulled and peeled, or filled with sour goop. A simpler time, when a Twizzler was just a Twizzler.
Not that I object to the pulling and peeling of Twizzlers. I think the constant presence of string cheese in a household of no children is a testament to that. There’s something satisfying about pulling apart long strings of….whatever, and bonus points if it’s candy.
Each rope of Twizzler PULL ‘n’ PEEL boasts nine separate strands of Twizz. On this one, cherry won the game of tic-tac-toe.
The flavors themselves are unspectacular. Together, it’s mostly a gummy, waxy candy. Separately, the strands go as follows. Cherry: a nice, artificial cherry taste, without any of that medicine flavor. Green apple: strangely flavorless, tasting mostly of plastic. Lemonade: a little sour with a hint of lemon.
But the flavors aren’t the real appeal here. The real fun is pulling apart the strands. This can prove somewhat difficult to do, as Twizzlers are sticky by nature and the strands are very compact. Green apple and lemonade pull apart with little effort, but cherry is strangely thinner than the rest, resulting in a lot of tearing.
Since Twizzlers seemed unwilling to admit their Christmas affiliation through both packaging and candy design, I took it upon myself to do so. Look at how gosh-darn festive that candy cane is. It would never fly as a tree decoration, as the only way I could get the shape to stay was to affix it firmly to the plate, but it made me happy nonetheless.
After pulling and peeling the candy, I was left with a bunch of Christmasy strands, which is how I wound up spending a night playing arts & crafts with Twizzlers.
I can’t say I’m not proud. Not only was it fun, but it also really put me in the Christmas spirit, which usually takes an act of Charlie Brown or Garfield to accomplish. And that’s when I read the back of the package:
I was wrong about you all along, Twizzlers. It’s not that you didn’t have Christmas in your heart. It’s that you wanted me to find the Christmas spirit in my heart. In a world of gizmos and gadgets, Twizzlers proudly proclaims “assembly not included” and encourages you to get creative and play with your food.
Well played, Twizzlers. Well played. I’d craft a Twizzlers heart for you, but that wreath already took more time than I’d care to admit.
Twizzlers PULL ‘n’ PEEL cherry green apple lemonade
Score: 4 out of 5 Grinch hearts growing
Size: 4.2 oz.
Purchased at: Target
Nutritional Quirk: Tastes like plastic, but feels like fun.
There was a time when Jones Soda was synonymous with weird food. Oh, sure, they were also one of the only current soda companies using pure cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup before it was cool to do so, but when I think Jones Soda, I think weird. And not just because of their Bacon Soda. Okay, a large part of it is because of Bacon Soda. But it goes back farther than that.
Sit down, kids, because I have a story to tell.
The year was 2004. Junk Food Betty was not even a gleam in my eye, but my heart already belonged to weird foods. It didn’t take any amount of effort to learn about Jones Soda’s Holiday Pack – it was all over the news and the Internet. Despite my crushing desire to try these sodas, which were Turkey & Gravy, Green Bean Casserole, Mashed Potato, Cranberry and Fruitcake, they were sold out immediately, and all I could do was read about them and sigh.
They did it again the next year, with some variations that were equally disgusting, but I was also not privy to that. There were a few more limited edition packs, the aforementioned Bacon Soda debacle, and a random Tofurkey & Gravy Soda year, but other than that, they’ve mostly stuck to Limited Edition Halloween flavors that are generally pedestrian or repeated over the years.
And then, out of nowhere – Limited Edition Peanut Butter and Jelly. I have many questions, like “Why now? And why not bring back those amazing Thanksgiving sets?” But really, I’m just giving thanks that Jones Soda is still keeping it weird, if only for a brief amount of time.
Here’s the description from Jones’ website: “PB&J…. The Jones Way! We took the popular kids sandwich and blended it up for our latest Limited Edition. Enjoy the flavor of Grape Jelly and peanut butter (and sleep well knowing we didn’t use any actual Peanuts or come in contact with peanut materials). This Limited Edition tastes great, whether for Kids who enjoy Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches, or adults reminiscing of their childhood.”
As someone with the mildest peanut allergy possible, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over the inclusion of real peanuts, although I would be more intrigued if they were included. I’m assuming actual grape jelly was also not used, but apparently Jones doesn’t care enough about people with life-threatening grape jelly allergies to mention that.
My mind was torn as to whether or not to pre-judge this soda as disgusting. On the one hand, peanut butter and jelly already has a sweet quality to it, and grape soda isn’t that bad. So there was a chance that it wouldn’t be that bad…right?
But on the other hand, it’s peanut butter and jelly soda. So things could, indeed, go very badly.
The label itself is both simple and adorable. The peanut butter side (chunky style, by all appearances, which is a bit unsettling when you’re about to be drinking the soda version of it) and the jelly side, moments before joining together in joyous edible copulation. I’m not making this sound any more appealing.
At least the color of the soda leans towards the jelly portion, a deep purple that suggests grape soda innocence. I appreciate that they didn’t go with the unhealthy-poop brown color of peanut butter. Small favors.
Man, I wish I’d saved a dinosaur Welch’s jelly glass from my childhood, just for this occasion. Google it if you don’t know what the hell I’m blathering about.
I should really learn to stop smelling potentially-gross things before I taste them, but I can’t seem to help it. What my nostrils grabbed here was the unmistakable scent of grape jelly. Not grape soda. Grape motherfucking jelly.
And then I had to go and put it in my mouth, because I decided to start a website where I do that and then write about it.
Oh my god, immediately came the peanut butter. It was there, and it was fucking letting you know it. There was a moment when it first hit my tongue where I was fooled into thinking, “oh, this is very grape soda-ish”, and then BAM! Peanut butter takes over. Unmistakeable. My mouth was flooded with peanut butter, and then, after I swallowed, I got a grape jelly exhale out my nose. Oh my god, why is this happening.
And the peanut butter stuck around, too, just like real peanut butter sticking to your mouth. It doesn’t go away. It just clings to my taste buds, tormenting me long after I decided that three gulps was more than enough to really establish the flavor of this soda for review purposes.
Oh my gosh, it’s so bad, it won’t go away, even as I write this and have already put the glass down, far away from me. It’s not like good peanut butter, either. It’s like that super cheap peanut butter you find in off-brand Halloween candies shaped like dismembered body parts.
The jelly part tasted like melted jelly, which is bad. Why is this so bad? That shouldn’t be so bad, right? And yet, it is. I am actually making a sad face as I type this. It’s involuntary. My mouth is sending sad signals to my brain, probably wondering what it did to deserve this. I’m sorry, mouth. I’m so sorry. It was wrong of me to do this and you didn’t deserve it.
I really didn’t expect Jones Peanut Butter and Jelly Soda to be this bad, but it is, it’s so bad. I mean, I guess if you’re like, super into peanut butter and jelly, it might not be horrible, but Jones took two flavors that are so right for each other and turned them into an abomination. And then they added carbonated water.
I thought this might turn out okay, but I was very wrong. My forehead hurts from furrowing my brow. I am not aging gracefully. Thanks, Jones Soda.
Jones Limited Edition Peanut Butter and Jelly Soda
Score: 0.5 out of 5 “I guess if I only exhale the grape jelly it’s better”s
Size: 12 oz. bottle
Purchased at: Cost Plus World Market
Nutritional Quirk: It’s been made very clear that this soda contains no peanuts but it won’t leave my mouth whyyyyy
I wasn’t aware of the existence of Frito pie until I was an adult. I always considered it somewhat of a Midwestern delicacy, although Wikpedia tells me its influence reaches to the southern and southwestern states.
I always considered this to be somewhat of a simple-minded dish, until I once cooked up a dish of cream cheese, Cincinnati-style chili, and shredded cheese. Dip some Fritos in there and taste the delicious combination of four simple ingredients.
That said, much like many other menu items that now exist in the fast food world, one food does not necessarily translate well into another. Several other restaurants – I’m thinking specifically of Sonic and Taco Bell – have incorporated Fritos into their menus, mostly consisting of “here’s a general menu item and then we threw some Fritos on or in it”.
…Which is exactly what happened with Papa John’s Fritos Chili Pizza. Actually, that’s not entirely fair. Papa John’s at least tried to stay somewhat true to the spirit of Frito pie – the pizza consists of cheddar cheese, Roma tomatoes, beef and onions, all on a bed of chili sauce. Oh, right, and Fritos. Duh.
Upon bringing Papa John’s Fritos Chili Pizza into my home, it was immediately filled with the smell of warm Fritos. I wouldn’t want a scented candle of this fragrance, but it was actually quite pleasant.
The Fritos were obviously put on after the pizza came out of the oven, as they were not at all soggy and looked fresh out of the bag. There certainly were a lot of them, too – I’ve never seen any other pizza topping given this much coverage. Of course, you’re just chucking a few cents’ worth of corn chips on there, so why not?
A disadvantage to having the Fritos applied after cooking was that they didn’t have the opportunity to stick to the rest of the toppings, which resulted in a lot of chips flying off the slices as I took them out of the box and again as I bit into them.
Because of the amount of Fritos and perhaps their strong flavor, a lot of the other toppings got overwhelmed by the chips. The beef seemed barely there, and I only remembered the onions were a topping because they added a different textural crunch than that of the Fritos, which obviously added a lot of crunch. Crunch that didn’t really belong with the rest of the pizza. It was too jarring of a contrast.
Of all the toppings, the one that unexpectedly struggled through all the Fritos was the Roma tomatoes. They added a fresh flavor and a slight crunch that helped out the struggling pizza.
Don’t think I’m forgetting about the chili sauce. It was actually the shining star of Papa John’s Fritos Chili Pizza. It was pretty much everything you’d want to have on a pizza that’s trying to represent Frito pie – it tasted a hell of a lot like Cincinnati chili, which is to say, thin, cheap, beanless, but yet somehow delicious.
After the Fritos, it was the first thing I tasted from the pizza, and I was surprised and pleased at the flavor. There wasn’t even an overabundance of it, but just the little amount that was there delivered the flavor.
Papa John’s Fritos Chili Pizza isn’t gross, it’s just dumb. Tossing a bunch of chips on top of a cooked pie does not a pizza make. In fact, I wound up taking the Fritos off the rest of my pizza and found it more enjoyable that way – the beef and the onions were able to come through and mix in with the chili sauce, which I really enjoyed.
The flavor and the texture of the Fritos amounted to nothing more than a distraction. They took me out of pizza mode. I just wish Papa John’s would make chili sauce an option on their build-your-own pizzas, because it really saved this pizza and I’d love mix it up with some other toppings.
Oh, Triscuit. You’ve made some wonderful flavor combinations in the past, like Rosemary and Olive Oil and Fire Roasted Tomato and Olive Oil. In retrospect, you sure are using a lot of olive oil.
But this combination of cranberry and sage does not seem like a match made in heaven. Oh, don’t worry, I get it – THANKSGIVING. You know what else goes together at Thanksgiving? Alcohol and bitter family gatherings. Maybe you could combine those with some olive oil.
Okay, okay, I’m pre-judging Limited Edition Triscuit Cranberry & Sage Crackers a lot, here. That’s bad food journalism. And if I were a food journalist, I’d feel bad about it. But this is my website so I can say what I want. We’ll see if I have to eat my words later on. Eat them on a Triscuit.
What I can say is that at least the box is adorable. It’s like the classic ugly Christmas sweater, which is just perfect if you ask me. I also like the cranberries smushed onto some white stuff bookended by Triscuits covered in green bean casserole. The white stuff is herbed goat cheese, by the way, and I wasn’t joking about the casserole. The box even says it. Triscuit is owning these ideas.
Here’s another amazing idea they’re owning, speaking of eating it on a Triscuit:
I always laugh at the serving suggestions on cracker boxes, but I have to say that this one takes the cake. A Triscuit is 2 x 1.75 inches. Yes, I measured a cracker. So what Nabisco expects you to do the day after Thanksgiving, when you are hungover from either booze, food, or the unrelenting presence of family members, is try to manipulate the following items onto a cracker smaller than the spoon you used to shovel dressing onto your plate:
Two pieces of turkey, folded. If you can accomplish this on a Triscuit, you are either amazing, or your Thanksgiving turkey came out of a Hillshire Farms container, which is sadder than putting leftovers on a Triscuit.
Gravy. Known for staying put, and there’s no way it wouldn’t immediately leak out.
Stuffing. If the above statement about the turkey is true, no birds were stuffed in the making of this Thanksgiving dinner. Just call it “Stove Top” instead.
Brie cheese. Yeah, because whoever is attempting to assemble this monstrosity has that on hand.
Cranberry sauce. The cherry topping to this impossible Thanksgiving sundae.
Triscuit also recommends substituting green bean casserole for stuffing. Boy, they are really pushing that shit. Maybe they’re in bed with Del Monte.
Now that I’ve had my fun with Triscuit, it’s time to get down to the actual cracker.
The crackers themselves had inviting little flecks of what are, presumably sage, on them, and when I opened the box, I was met with the unmistakable smell of cranberry. Fully committed, I shoved a whole 2 x 1.75” cracker in my mouth.
What I tasted was some sort of Thanksgiving miracle. The flavor of cranberry – real cranberry – flooded my mouth. It’s hard to type this with a straight face, but the flavor actually had the sensation of being juicy, which makes no sense when you’re discussing a wheat cracker. There was a little sweet, but not too much, and that signature tart of cranberry.
Worried that I might have been struck with sudden-onset synesthesia, I went to the box and checked out the ingredients. Sure enough, right up there on the list was cranberry juice concentrate. Triscuit didn’t just pump some artificial flavor into their crackers; they went whole-hog and put in the real thing. Well, as real as you can get when you’re manufacturing a wheat cracker, I suppose.
After the initial cranberry burst came a nice, slow onset of sage, which is also listed as an actual ingredient. It was earthy and savory, but not at all overpowering.
Limited Edition Triscuit Cranberry & Sage Crackers never should have worked, but somehow, they did. The burst of real cranberry combined with the subtle but earthy flavor of sage is both unique and refreshing, and really did have that Thanksgiving flavor.
Do I want to eat these every day? I do not. While the sensation of eating a juicy wheat cracker was something to experience, I can’t say that fruit wheat crackers are a thing I want to add to my permanent snack lineup.
On the other hand, that sage would go great with a few other authentic spice flavors to make a nice stuffing-flavored cracker. While juicy, fruity crackers aren’t my thing, I think the record will show that I’m down with some savory Thanksgiving-flavored snacks.
Boulder Canyon Thanksgiving Feast chips are truly something to give thanks for. It’s like an early Christmas gift I wasn’t expecting and didn’t know I wanted, but now that I have it, I’m in love with it.
First off, let me explain that Thanksgiving Feast actually contains four separate bags of chips that are all Thanksgiving-flavored. I’ll obviously be getting to that in a moment, but first I want to celebrate the bag that contains the bags.
Look at that wonderful thing. The picture on the front truly is a feast, showing a Norman Rockwell-esque spread interspersed with chips, because I always have chips strewn around the stuffing and pie at my holiday dinner gatherings.
What may be less apparent in the picture, however, is the background of the bag. At first, it just looks like an autumn-colored bag, which works. But upon closer inspection…
Yeah, that’s right. The bag itself is a fucking turkey. I don’t usually apologize for cussing in my reviews, but I feel like this is one that young and old alike should enjoy. On the other hand, it’s fucking awesome. Sorry, moms and dads.
The bag is even the exact size of a turkey. I don’t want to open it. I should have bought two and just kept one for display purposes. I don’t really have any Thanksgiving decorations, but I feel like a life-sized turkey bag full of Thanksgiving chips would be super appropriate, and not at all weird to anyone entering my house.
But I also want those Thanksgiving chips, so I’m going to have to break the seal. Maybe I’ll just fill it with crumpled-up newspaper and put it on the mantle afterwards. Again, not at all weird.
Cranberry Flavored Kettle Cooked Potato Chips
After such a fabulous package, which I have practically asked to marry me in the above intro, Boulder Canyon could have easily phoned it in on the individual packages. But they didn’t. I love these little bags. Such cute font. And that teeny little pot filled with cranberries. I decided to start with cranberries because…well, I never eat cranberries at Thanksgiving, but I figured you have to start slow before you get to the main attraction.
Of course, the drawback here is that these are cranberry-flavored chips. My eyes narrow in suspicion. No good can come from this. I’m not scared of them; after all, I’ve eaten coffee-flavored chips andmango-flavored chips, so I was prepared.
These Cranberry Kettle Chips were festively, although irregularly, coated with reddish flavor dust. Perhaps it’s the lack of coverage that caused these chips to be completely under-flavored. They tasted mostly like kettle chips, with just a slight hint of sweet and a little tart at the end.
The sweet/tart mix is signature cranberry, but it wasn’t distinct or strong enough to distinguish it as that berry specifically. Honestly, I’m not heartbroken by this, as I don’t think cranberries belong on potato chips.
Now we’re getting to the main course, because, really, who can resist diving into that turkey and pouring on the gravy? That’s a nice-lookin’ bird on that there bag. You might think turkey-flavored chips sound weird, but this ain’t my first rodeo in the “chips that taste like meat” department. It’s not always a good rodeo, but at least I know what I’m doing. I bet I can last eight seconds with these chips.
The little green flecks on these Turkey & Gravy chips were instantly inviting, and coated the chips much more evenly than the cranberry flavor dust did.
That’s not the only difference between the two – these chips were loaded with flavor, and completely spot-on. My mouth seriously felt like I was tasting gravy, and – I’m not sure if it was the spices they used, or what – but I could swear there was some turkey in there. They were incredibly salty, which is fine by me.
Turkey & Gravy Chips truly did taste like Thanksgiving to me, which is crazy. Boulder Canyon nailed this flavor, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
Stuffing Flavored Kettle Cooked Potato Chips
Of course, you can’t have Thanksgiving without stuffing. I would lament the oversight of mashed potatoes in this bag of Thanksgiving Feast, but then I realized that I was eating potato chips, so, uh, I guess we kind of have that covered.
Stuffing gets a bit of a weird artistic interpretation on its bag. It looks more like a bowl of popcorn or maybe irregular cashews than stuffing, but hey. I have the highest hopes for this flavor, because stuffing is my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner.
Much like Turkey & Gravy, Stuffing was covered encouragingly with green flecks. And also much like T&G, Stuffing did not disappoint.
Once again, I was in Thanksgiving heaven. The flavor profile was somewhat similar to Turkey & Gravy, but there were subtle and delicious differences. The ingredient list gave me no clues as to what they were using to flavor either of these chips – both just listed “spices” – but I swear, if you blindfolded me, I could tell the difference and identify each flavor.
Stuffing was a little less salty and less aggressive than T&G, but Boulder still nailed that classic side dish flavor.
Pumpkin Pie Flavored Kettle Cooked Potato Chips
Much like at actual Thanksgiving, at this point I was getting pretty full. But there’s always room for dessert, right? I don’t know if I would say that in regards to pumpkin pie-flavored potato chips.
The bag showcases a slice of pie with whipped topping and a couple off cinnamon cloves. I must say, this was the flavor I was looking forward to least. Not only is it an inappropriate potato chip flavor, but I’m so sick of pumpkin spice-flavored products at this point in the season that I’m over it in any shape or form.
Unfortunately, Boulder Canyon got these Pumpkin Pie chips just right. Unlike the cranberry, the flavor was very prominent – the pumpkin, the cinnamon, even the sweetness of the whipped topping in the picture. Or just sweetness in general – in fact, they were very sweet, and that made them very nasty. I was glad I was already full, because I could only stomach a few of these chips. Blech.
I don’t want to end on that sour note, because all in all, I’m still in love with Boulder Canyon Thanksgiving Feast Potato Chips. So much attention to detail in the packaging, and so much attention to detail in the flavors themselves. The Cranberry fell short, but the Turkey & Gravy, Stuffing and Pumpkin Pie were all spot-on. That didn’t work so well on the last one, but I was transported to Thanksgiving heaven with the two savory flavors.
Jones Soda may have given up on the tradition of turning inappropriate foods into Thanksgiving flavors, but Boulder Canyon took the torch and ran with it, and I love ‘em for it.
When Sonic contacted me with the offer (challenge?) to take their Boneless Wings Taste Test, I was all about it. It’s a ballsy move, asking a food reviewer to compare their food side-by-side with another restaurant’s.
I was given the option to compare their new boneless wings to their equivalent at either Wingstop or Buffalo Wild Wings. I chose the former, only because it was closer. I’ve also never eaten at either of these establishments, nor have I tried Sonic’s Boneless Wings yet, so it’s gonna be fun and new!
Many chickens have given their boneless wings for this endeavor.
Of course, when a restaurant offers to sponsor your taste test, they include criteria. In this case, lots of criteria. So much so that I decided to take their criteria pretty much verbatim in this review. Things are gonna get technical up in this piece!
Let’s start with convenience.
Was the restaurant nearby?
Sonic wins this one, as my closest one is 0.7 miles away, and the closest Wingstop is 2.4 miles. Not exactly a harrowing journey across state lines, but hey.
How long did it take you to receive your wing order?
Wingstop allows you to order ahead online, and I was able to go in, grab my wings and leave in under two minutes. On the other hand, I did have to leave my car, which is a big minus in my eyes.
Sonic took a full 13 minutes from finishing my order (which took three tries; I’m not sure where the communication broke down over three orders of wings) to the end of transaction. That is not the fastest of food.
Were the wings still hot when you took your first bite?
Sonic’s wings weren’t steaming hot, but they were pleasantly warm when I ate them. My Wingstop wings were lukewarm at best, which surprised me, because they were wrapped inside a styrofoam container and placed inside a paper bag.
Did you make a big mess while eating the wings, or was it a relatively effortless and clean process?
This strikes me as a silly question. They’re wings! They’re messy! That said, Wingstop’s Original Hot were actually not very messy at all. Their Teriyaki and Hickory Smoked BBQ were a little bit saucier, but not swimming in it.
Sonic’s wings are “tossed and sauced”, and it showed. However, they also came with forks and napkins, which I would have appreciated had I been eating these in public. I like to keep it clean when other people are around.
Next, let’s go with value.
How was the serving size of the wings? How full were you after eating the wings
Sitting here with well over a dozen wings in front of me, it’s hard to answer this question with a straight face. However, Wingstop’s wings come in a minimum of ten pieces, which is an ample amount for one person. More than ample, really. Sonic’s smallest order is six pieces, which is just right for one person.
Could you make a meal of these wings with a side and a drink?
Both Sonic and Wingstop’s wing portions could easily have made a complete meal.
How was the price of these wings compared to the competition?
Broken down, Sonic’s wings cost $0.67 each, whereas Wingstop’s cost $0.60. However, their website advertises this as a “special”, so I don’t know if that’s their normal price or not.
Sauce! Obviously an important part of the wing experience.
Does the sauce flavor live up to what you expected?
Sonic’s Buffalo was a very straightforward buffalo sauce, having that signature Frank’s Red Hot flavor (not sure if that’s what they used, but it tasted very similar) with a little heat to it. So it did meet expectations. I had some trepidations about their Asian Sweet Chili, but I liked that the sweetness wasn’t overpowering, and they had a nice little kick. The Barbecue wings had a very mild but recognizable bbq sauce taste. So I would say they lived up to my expectations.
Wingstop’s Original Hot had an authentic buffalo flavor with a definite spicy kick. While not very saucy, the flavor was there. It had a different flavor than Frank’s, but was definitely flavorful. Their Teriyaki was tastier than I expected, having what I can only call the essence of umami. However, the sauce was so salty. It was like a reduced soy sauce.The Hickory Smoked BBQ totally surprised me – it was not too sweet and had a really nice BBQ flavor that didn’t taste like it was straight from a bottle (although I’m sure it was). It also had a good smoky flavor to it. In this arena, I’d say Wingstop actually exceeded my expectations.
Is this sauce flavor unique or different?
Wingstop’s Original Hot wasn’t really unique, but when I’m looking for a good wing, all I’m looking for is a good buffalo flavor with some heat. Teriyaki was a new wing flavor for me, so I did find it different, but just too salty to eat a whole serving. Hickory Smoked BBQ isn’t exactly a unique wing flavor either, but I did enjoy it.
Unfortunately, all three of Sonic’s sauce flavors were pretty typical. That doesn’t mean they were necessarily bad, just…expected.
Would you order this wing flavor again?
Sonic: Buffalo – yes, because I’m a sucker for buffalo. Asian Sweet Chili – no, because while the flavor was just fine, it’s just not my thing when it comes to wings. Barbecue – no, it was just too typical.
Wingstop: Original Hot – yeah, I like a good buffalo wing. Teriyaki – no, far too salty. Hickory Smoked BBQ – maybe, but I’ll pick buffalo over BBQ when it comes to wings, at least from a big name restaurant.
Quality: Kind of the point, right? Oh, they mean the quality of the chicken. Well, that’s also important.
How much meat is in each wing?
Wingstop’s wings ranged anywhere from nugget to almost bone-in wing size. I’m not exactly sure how to measure the amount of meat, but it was, uh, good? Sonic’s boneless wings measured about the same, maybe a teensy bit smaller, so also good?
What is the quality of the chicken?
Sonic claims they have all-white breast meat, and that seemed to be true. It definitely had that real chicken quality and not the mushed-up weirdness of nuggets. Wingstop has the exact same claim on their website, and they also didn’t have any fakeness in their wings.
How is the wing cooked? How is the texture?
The breading on Wingstop’s wings was nice and crunchy, but I have to say, the meat was a little dry. On the other hand, I found Sonic’s chicken to be juicier. Their breading was soggy in places, but this was probably due to the extra sauce on Sonic’s wings.
Overall taste. Now we’re getting down to it.
How did the wings taste?
Lordy, haven’t we covered this ad nauseum at this point?
Did you want to take another bite?
I did! Up until I’d eaten like, a million of them. Then I did not.
Would you recommend these wings to a friend?
Honestly, no, and I mean that in regards to both Sonic and Wingstop. Hey, guys, it’s nothing personal – in regards to Sonic, I just think they have better menu items on which to spend your money. As for Wingstop, it’s just that I know better places locally, so I’d wind up directing my friends in that direction.
And, finally, Sonic wanted to know my overall impression of the wings.
Well, Sonic, I have to say, I’ve never deconstructed chicken quite this thoroughly before. I think both had their highs and lows – I liked the crunchiness of Wingstop’s boneless wings better, but Sonic’s were juicier. Sonic’s sauce flavors were more pedestrian, but there was more of it, and Wingstop’s Teriyaki, while interesting, was just too salty.
And thus concludes the Sonic vs. Wingstop Boneless Wings Taste Test. I can’t say there was a clear winner, but what I can say is that I have never eaten so many boneless wings at one time. Guys I am so full.
On Wednesday, November 19, 2014, Pizza Hut is adding new ingredients, sauces, crust flavors, sauce drizzles, and “Skinny” pizzas. They’re also changing their motto to “The Flavor of Now”. There’s a ton of new stuff going on. You can check it all out here, but I’ll try to break it down for you as succinctly as possible.
Garden Party – “Premium crushed tomato sauce topped with fresh green bell peppers, fresh red onions, fresh mushrooms, diced Roma tomatoes and fresh spinach. Flavored up with our Hut Favorite on the crust edge and a balsamic sauce drizzle.”
Old Fashioned Meatbrawl – “Classic marinara sauce topped with classic meatballs, fresh red onions and diced Roma tomatoes. Flavored up with our Hut Favorite on the crust edge.”
Cock-A-Doodle Bacon – “Creamy garlic Parmesan sauce topped with grilled chicken, hardwood smoked bacon and diced Roma tomatoes. Flavored up with toasted Parmesan on the crust edge.”
Hot and Twisted – “Premium crushed tomato sauce topped with premium salami, sliced jalapeño peppers and fresh red onions. Flavored up with a salted pretzel crust edge.”
Pretzel Piggy – “Creamy garlic Parmesan sauce topped with hardwood smoked bacon, fresh mushrooms and fresh spinach. Flavored up with a salted pretzel crust edge and balsamic sauce drizzle.”
BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger – “Barbeque sauce topped with classic meatballs, hardwood smoked bacon, fresh red onions and diced Roma tomatoes. Flavored up with toasted cheddar on the crust edge and a barbeque sauce drizzle.”
Giddy-Up BBQ Chicken – “Barbeque sauce topped with grilled chicken, hardwood smoked bacon and fresh red onions. Flavored up with toasted cheddar on the crust edge and a barbeque sauce drizzle.”
Buffalo State of Mind – “Buffalo sauce topped with grilled chicken, sliced banana peppers and fresh red onions. Flavored up with toasted cheddar on the crust edge and a Buffalo sauce drizzle.”
Cherry Pepper Bombshell – “Premium crushed tomato sauce topped with premium salami, Peruvian cherry peppers and fresh spinach. Flavored up with toasted Asiago on the crust edge and a balsamic sauce drizzle.”
7-Alarm Fire – “Premium crushed tomato sauce topped with pepperoni, sliced jalapeño peppers, Peruvian cherry peppers, sliced banana peppers and fresh green bell peppers. Flavored up with fiery red pepper on the crust edge.”
Sweet Sriracha Dynamite – “Honey Sriracha sauce topped with grilled chicken, sliced jalapeño peppers, sweet pineapple and Peruvian cherry peppers. Flavored up with honey Sriracha on the crust edge and a honey Sriracha sauce drizzle.”
Skinny Flavor Pizzas (250 calories or less per slice):
Skinny Beach – “Premium crushed tomato sauce topped with grilled chicken, fresh red onions, Peruvian cherry peppers and fresh spinach.”
Skinny with a Kick – “Premium crushed tomato sauce topped with pepperoni, sliced jalapeño peppers, Peruvian cherry peppers, fresh green bell peppers and fresh red onions. Flavored up with fiery red pepper on the crust edge.”
Skinny Italy – “Classic marinara sauce topped with classic meatballs, diced Roma tomatoes, fresh mushrooms, fresh red onions and fresh spinach. Flavored up with a balsamic sauce drizzle.”
Skinny Luau – “Premium crushed tomato sauce topped with grilled chicken, slow-roasted ham, fresh green bell peppers and sweet pineapple.”
Skinny Club – “Creamy garlic Parmesan sauce topped with grilled chicken, slow-roasted ham, diced Roma tomatoes and fresh spinach. Flavored up with toasted Asiago on the crust edge.”
Pizza Hut’s website notes that the calorie reduction of their Skinny Flavors is “based on a thinner crust and balanced portion of toppings”, which says to me that either their toppings are sadly sparse or their regular toppings are completely unbalanced.
Phew! Are you guys still with me?
I don’t think I’ve ever seen an overhaul this drastic from a fast food restaurant, well, ever. All of Pizza Hut’s Classic Flavor pizzas are also still available, and obviously, you can mix and match new and old to your heart’s content.
I never thought I’d say this, but I’m excited to order from Pizza Hut! There are so many choices, the mind boggles. I’m also very curious to see how these changes effect Pizza Hut’s sales in the future.
As stated, all this rolls out on November 19, 2014. If you like, let me know what you think of the new menu!
When Kraft came out with two new Philadelphia Cream Cheese flavors last year, Spicy Jalapeño and Chipotle, I was over the moon. Not a fan of sweet cream cheese flavors and immensely bored with the other savory options, I was hoping they would be the answer to my prayers.
And they were! They were fabulous flavors, and I continue to consume them to this day. They’re pretty much the only cream cheese flavors that have graced my bagels since.
But now Philadelphia has a new savory flavor: Bacon. Which leads me to say something I never thought I’d say – I’m tired of bacon.
Please, put down your Internet weapons! And by that I mean, your comments. Listen, I love bacon. I will always love bacon. But you can’t just throw bacon into everything. I mean, you can, but that doesn’t mean you should. Bacon mints. Bacon gum. Devices that will turn bacon into a cup.
Okay, if somebody offered me a bacon cup, I can’t say I’d turn it down. But people are just baconing for the sake of bacon, these days. The Internet is beating a dead pig.
Of course, after all this bitching and moaning, here I am, reviewing bacon cream cheese. Does this qualify as bacon for the sake of bacon? Quite possibly. On the other hand, I am happy to see another savory flavor offering on the shelves. Hey, if it tastes good, it tastes good. I’m not going to complain just to sound too cool for bacon.
The package says this cream cheese is made with real bacon and shows tantalizing strips of bacon on it, but upon inspection of the ingredients, it contains, more specifically, “bacon bits”. While these still technically qualify as bacon, I was highly disappointed upon reading this.
My trepidation only grew as I opened the package. Ignore the yellow fluid – that just happens with cream cheese. What really got me was that there were no visible chunks of bacon; just little black flecks on the surface.
My first bite confirmed my fears and suspicions. The cream cheese had a very fake-tasting bacon flavor to it; if you’ve ever had a sour cream-based jarred bacon dip, it’s similar to that flavor. I attribute this to the liquid smoke used, presumably to “enhance” your flavor experience.
The bacon bits are, well, bacon bits. Big enough that there’s a noticeable change in texture, but not big enough for your mouth to actually register it as bacon. Basically, just the right size for getting stuck in your teeth and being annoying.
Despite all this negativity, I continued to eat the stuff. Ugh, this always happens. I blame it on the cream cheese, which I love so very much. I’ll keep eating cream cheese even if whatever it’s flavored with is sub-par.
If I were to recommend this cream cheese at all, I’d recommend it more as a cracker dip than a bagel spread. That said, I can’t in good faith recommend it for anything. The cream cheese itself is so fakony in flavor, tasting mostly like liquid smoke and sadness, and the bacon bits are small and “real” only in the vaguest of terms.
I guess if you enjoy that faux-bacon flavor, then you’d enjoy Philadelphia Bacon Cream Cheese. For me, this was a disappointing addition to the savory Philadelphia line, and it will not be gracing my fridge shelves again. I’m sticking with my Spicy Jalapeño and Chipotle, which both taste like and contain said ingredients.
Kraft Philadelphia Bacon Cream Cheese
Score: 1 out of 5 bacon bits stuck in my teeth
Size: 8 oz. tub
Purchased at: Fry’s Food
Nutritional Quirks: “Rendered bacon fat” is listed as an ingredient, which sounds gross, but I wish I could taste rendered bacon fat in this.
Happy Halloween, everybody! I mentioned this before, but I didn’t get to review nearly the amount of stuff I wanted to review this month. And now, here we are, on the holiday itself. So get ready for a MEGA REVIEW.
Well, it’s not really mega, but I’m going to do short reviews of four different Halloween items. OooOOOOooo procrastination.
Snak King Fright Bites Tortilla Chips
I was so pleasantly surprised when I saw these at the store. Like I said in my Cheetos review, savory snacks just don’t get the spooky treatment like candy does, so this item deserves a shout-out. Way to go, Snak King. You are such a leader that you add “King of Snacks” underneath your logo, just in case people weren’t clear on that.
The bag itself is wonderfully spooky, with a strange, flat-topped vampire child, a ghost who appears very surprised or even scared by said vampire’s hair, a freaked-out tree, a happy Jack O’Lantern and a tombstone. Love it.
And look at those goddamn chips. I expected to have a hard time finding properly shaped/intact examples, but a large amount of them were in this pristine condition. Not even a regular bag of Tostitos can accomplish that easily.
Of course, the color doesn’t effect the taste at all, and they’re actually decent as a tortilla chip. I expected the quality of the chip itself to suffer, but they were well-salted and on par with any other name-brand tortilla chip.
The only quibble I have is that they’re a little too lightweight to do any heavy lifting, like a salsa or guacamole. They worked well with cheese dip, with little eye hole leakage.
But who cares about that when you’ve got tortilla chips shaped like ghosts, pumpkins and bats, and all appropriately colored? If you’re not putting Fright Bites out at your Halloween party, you are clinically insane.
Jones Limited Edition Blood Orange Soda
Apparently Jones released this can design and flavor last year also, but I missed it, so here we are. There were four available flavors and cans last year, but this year they only went with two – this and the zombie-themed Caramel Apple, which they were out of when I went to the store. This is probably for the best.
Count Vlah manages to look mildly scary but also comical at the same time, going with a bow tie instead of the traditional wrap around…thing fastened by an amulet. I just realized I have no idea what the hell that thing is called, if it even has a name. Maybe we should call this guy Professor Vlah instead.
When I started pouring the soda into the glass, I almost had a spastic freakout because the soda looked pink. I could already imagine the thousand-word essay I would spew onto this page about how dare Jones make a Blood Orange soda pink and blah blah vlah. Fortunately for both myself and you, the end result was actually the appropriate shade of bright orange.
Jones Limited Edition Blood Orange Soda tastes like if orange Fanta grew up and moved out of its parents’ house. It’s mostly a regular orange soda, but the addition of real sugar that Jones always uses makes it much more clean and…mature, if you could possibly use such an adjective for orange soda. It also seemed a little more tart than other orange sodas.
I know a lot of people aren’t fans of orange soda, and Jones Blood Orange probably isn’t going to change your mind on that. But if you are a fan of the beverage, you’ll enjoy this iteration. Plus, you get to drink out of a vampire’s head.
Hershey’s Candy Corn Bar
This is a new item this Halloween, but just the idea of it didn’t thrill me. Oh boy, more candy corn in stuff that isn’t candy corn, which in itself already sucks!
I was also not thrilled by this packaging. It’s like Hershey’s either didn’t try at all, or tried too hard to look minimal and retro. If the latter is true, no kid is going to appreciate the effort. You’d score 1,000 more points by just throwing a zombie candy corn on the package. Instead, we get…stripes.
I guess the official name of this is Hershey’s Candy Corn Candy Corn Creme with Candy Bits. While that’s redundant, it did actually shatter my misconception that this was going to be white chocolate with candy corn bits. This only increased my trepidation.
I gotta say, however, that the flavor really did surprise me. It took me a second to pin it down, because it wasn’t the generic, plastic candy corn taste I was expecting. It turns out that Hershey’s Candy Corn bar tastes a hell of a lot like cotton candy!
I have to assume this was a happy accident. I mean, I would have been a hell of a lot more stoked to see Hershey’s Cotton Candy, but that’s exactly what Hershey’s Candy Corn is.
It made my mouth confused, then happy, but then kind of sad again, because holy shit is this candy sweet. I ate one snack-sized bar and I felt overloaded with cloying sweetness. Also, while you can see the decorative little orange and yellow bits in the bar, they add nothing to the taste or texture. It would have been fun to have little crunchy bits in there.
So I wasn’t completely disgusted by Hershey’s Candy Corn bar, but that’s only because it tasted nothing like candy corn. If I got this in my trick-or-treat bucket, I’d probably toss it to the side, never to be seen again, and I’d never know that it tasted like cotton candy and ten pounds of sugar. Missed opportunity, Hershey’s.
Seattle Chocolates Dead Sea Salt Milk Chocolate Truffle Bar with Sea Salt and Toffee
After eating Hershey’s, this sure does sound like some fancypants shit, doesn’t it! Truffles and sea salt and toffee, oh my!
I don’t usually go for these fancy chocolate bars, mostly because I’m not a chocolate fanatic, and also because I usually have enough sweets laying around from reviews to satiate any cravings I may have. But this guy was just too good to pass up.
Despite the muted color scheme, the eye is immediately drawn to this chocolate bar’s wrapper. It’s called Dead Sea Salt, and there’s a dancing skeleton on it! There’s also a cat, and like, fifteen different spooky fonts with random Halloweeny words like “bloodcurdling” and “fangs”. It almost looks like a geocities website, but somehow, the clutter totally works.
…Suffice to say that all the effort went into the packaging.
No matter though, because that’s what made me buy the bar, so I guess it’s working! As for the taste itself, Seattle Chocolates brings the quality. The chocolate is rich, smooth and creamy, and there are crunchy toffee bits throughout that add great flavor and texture. The hint of salt is there just to add some flavor depth and a nice aftertaste.
That last sentence was me completely talking out of my ass. I don’t understand anything about fancy chocolates. I don’t even know where the “truffle” part came in. I just know that chocolate good, toffee good. Good bar. Good wrapper. Fangs.
Phew! While I wish I’d been able to spread this out over the month, I gotta say, marathoning it all out on Halloween day certainly got me in the spirit! Have a happy Halloween, boils and ghouls!
This is not so much a review as it is a celebration of what I think is the best new thing to come around this Halloween. The month is almost over and I haven’t gotten to do nearly as much as I wanted, but this item deserves to shine.
Guys, it’s a Bag of Bones!
I have always felt like the savory snacks get sorely neglected every holiday season. It’s all about the candy. But why?! Come Halloween, the best you can usually hope for is some holiday-themed snack bags to give out to trick-or-treaters.
But Cheetos has gone all out with their Bag of Bones. You’ve got all the parts to make your own skeleton – skull, ribcage, generic connector bones, and hands/feet. The hands and feet are the same, but hey. I got no bones to pick with that. You know I was going to go there.
I’m not here to talk about the quality of these Cheetos – if you’re looking for that, they’re the same as these Winter White Cheddar Cheetos in both flavor and texture, except that they’re shaped like skeleton parts so they’re 1,000 times more awesome.
So I, a grown woman, spent an afternoon playing with Cheetos. Here are just a few things I came up with. Yes, I actually made more shapes than this, but didn’t even photograph them. I did it purely for the joy of Halloween Cheetos.
Here we have Joe Bones, the original skeleton as pictured on the front of the bag. I tried to make sure his fingers actually pointed in an anatomically correct manner. Can’t say as I accomplished this feat (or feet, as it were), since some of the digits were broken off and…well, it’s a Cheeto, so.
This is Slim Jim. I wanted to give him extra leg bones, but I ran out of room. These Cheetos are deceptively large. Slim is about two feet taller than all the other skeletons, due to actually having a neck. He is the star center on the basketball team at Monster University. He can also palm the ball. Which is a severed human head.
This is Duane Bradley and his parasitic twin, Belial. Pretty self-explanatory.
We shall call these…this…her? Bette and Dot, keeping with this year’s theme on American Horror Story. I figured I needed to include a strong female presence. Hm, they should have made Cheeto pelvises. That would have been fun.
I think this is my favorite. It’s also the scariest, if you can make puffed corn snacks actually scary. It doesn’t have a name, it just wants to eat you. It also took a while to find all those bone parts, since they are smaller and thus sunk to the bottom of the bag. I had to eat my way through a lot of rib cages and skulls to collect them all. It was a labor of love, and cheese powder.
Well, there you have it! I declare Cheetos Bag of Bones White Cheddar a fabulous break from all the Halloween sweets out there. They’re tasty, they’re fun, and they’re not candy. Bag of Bones is the best.
Junk food and fast food reviews. We eat it so you don't have to!