Dear readers, I am here to tell you that you have been tricked. Bamboozled. Flim-flammed. By McDonald’s, of all places. The most universally trusted fast food restaurant in the world.
Okay, that’s probably not true. Neither is the idea that you’ve been tricked, per se. The truth is, McDonald’s has, rather quietly, removed the Angus Third Pounders from their menu and replaced them with three new Quarter Pounders.
The old Angus Third Pounders were Bacon and Cheese, Deluxe, Mushroom and Swiss, and, later on, the Chipotle BBQ Bacon and Cheddar Bacon Onion.
A lazy amount of Internet research seems to indicate that the Angus Third Pounders weren’t doing that well, possibly due to their high price – $3.99 – in relation to the rest of their menu and the current trend towards value menus.
This idea is directly contradicted by the fact that the new Quarter Pounders are the exact same price, so I’m just going with “nobody seemed to like the Angus Third Pounders so we’re trying something else”.
The new Quarter Pounders are Bacon and Cheese, Deluxe and Bacon Habanero Ranch. Guess which one I chose to review?
…Oh, right, you don’t have to guess. It’s in the review title. Gosh darn spoilers.
The Bacon and Cheese and Deluxe varieties are just as boring as you can imagine they are, containing ingredients like…bacon, and…cheese. I’m not even sure what I’m supposed to be impressed with in the Deluxe – it’s got mayo, and lettuce, and tomatoes, and zzzzzzzzzzzz.
So I find myself with the Bacon Habanero Ranch Quarter Pounder, which, in stark contrast to the other two, actually sounds interesting. “A quarter pound* of 100% beef topped by smooth white cheddar,** thick-cut Applewood smoked bacon, tomato and leaf lettuce, and a spicy-cool habanero ranch sauce, all on a toasted, bakery-style bun.”
If you’re curious about the asterisks, the first lets you know that’s the weight before cooking and the second informs you that the cheese is pasteurized process. There, I’ve done my boring due diligence.
At this point I was about to launch into the part where I actually eat the fucking burger, but I stumbled upon something on McDonald’s website that I just could not, in good conscience, ignore.
In recent times I’ve made a point of not poaching pictures, because I’m pretty sure there’s copyright issues involved. But a picture is worth a thousand words, which I’ll probably end up writing anyways, and I just couldn’t help myself on this one. So up it goes until I get a cease and desist email from Ronald.
Look at it. Love it for its ridiculousness. HABANEROS SLAPPING YOUR TONGUE! ZING! Bacon shaming!
The tongue-slapping is my obvious favorite, but I’m also very fond of, “I see you looking at me?” With some different punctuation, it could be construed as an amusing threat from the aggressive habanero pepper. But phrased as a question, it a.) makes no goddamn sense and b.) makes the habanero sound insecure.
I’m lovin’ it. (Please kill me.)
Okay. Burger time.
First off, I took pictures and ate my Bacon Habanero Ranch Quarter Pounder before I did all that researchy stuff, which led to me being surprised by the lack of habanero peppers on my burger. I thought it was bacon, habanero and ranch, not bacon and habanero ranch.
I was a little disappointed, but that’s okay. As far as I can remember, this is the first time a major fast food chain has gone habanero, in any form.
In case you didn’t know, habaneros are pretty serious business. To give you a point of comparison, jalapeño peppers rate between 3,500–8,000 units on the Scoville scale, while habaneros are between 100,000–350,000 units. Even if you don’t know what the Scoville scale is, and you should, you can see the impressive disparity in those numbers.
What I’m trying to say here is that habaneros are hot.
Let’s get the boring parts out of the way. My lettuce sucked. It was sad and limp and looked to be on the precipice of being tossed in the garbage. My tomato was also lame and added nothing to the burger. I could have easily done without it. But, these are the vagaries of fast food.
My “bakery-style bun” was a goddamn McDonald’s hamburger bun. I had no idea it was toasted. It was neither good nor bad; it was just a necessary delivery vehicle for the contents inside.
My asterisk asterisk pasteurized process white cheddar was not melted. That seems like a pretty basic oversight. It didn’t really matter though, because it really didn’t add much to the Quarter Pounder. Perhaps if it had been melted, it would have added a nice, creamy touch. The world will never know.
Getting to the good stuff, the thick-cut Applewood smoked bacon was indeed smoky, crunchy and flavorful, words I’d never expect to write about McDonald’s bacon but am happy to do. That crunchiness added a lot of texture to the burger, picking up the slack of my sad-ass lettuce.
Now to the star of the show – the habanero ranch. They weren’t stingy with it, for which I was thankful. I could see little peppery flecks in it and it was appropriately bright, which made it look threatening, like a poisonous neon-colored frog in a rainforest.
You know how fast food chains are constantly claiming that such-and-such menu offering is so spicy it will burn your taste buds off and send you screaming to the emergency room? Yeah, that never actually happens. In fact, you’re lucky if you get anything spicy at all.
This is not the case with the Bacon Habanero Ranch Quarter Pounder! The habanero ranch was creamy and spicy, turning this burger from mediocre to something I honestly enjoyed.
Did it have the burn power of an actual habanero pepper? Well, no. It made the burger nice and spicy but not so much that I was rushing for a glass of milk.
You could call it sad that it takes an incredibly spicy pepper just to make a burger “noticeably spicy”, but this is the world we live in, so I was happy just to get some heat out of the Bacon Habanero Ranch Quarter Pounder.
There were some lowlights – lackluster toppings, unmelted cheese – but these are location/time-related problems. The surprisingly crunchy and flavorful bacon combined with the tasty, plentiful and spicy habanero ranch dressing really turned this burger around. Was my tongue, indeed, slapped? I’d say yes, but I’d rate it as more of a “snap out of your hysteria” slap and less of a “you just called me the c-word” slap.
I am, indeed, looking at you, Bacon Habanero Ranch Quarter Pounder. And you’re lookin’ pretty good. But you need to work on accessorizing.
McDonald’s Bacon Habanero Ranch Quarter Pounder
Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Crunchy Taco and Cool Ranch Crunchy Taco Tortilla Chips are quite possibly the most meta snack to ever hit the chip shelves. They are Doritos, based on fast food tacos, which have the shell of a Dorito.
I think we can all see where this is going. Taco Bell Doritos Locos Taco Taco Bell Doritos Locos Taco… it will be the Möbius strip of food that will eventually take over Taco Bell’s entire menu and choke the chip aisle. It will be the undoing of humanity.
…Okay, maybe I’m getting a little carried away. But I think we can all agree that this is getting ridiculous.
Like the Taco Bell Doritos Locos Tacos, the Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Tortilla Chips come in two flavors: Nacho Cheese Crunchy Taco and Cool Ranch Crunchy Taco. Doritos loves to do the “two flavors in one bag” thing, so this is right up their alley.
Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Crunchy Taco Tortilla Chips
Upon opening the bag, my olfactory senses were overwhelmed with the smell of taco seasoning. Like opening a pack of McCormick’s seasoning you’d add to some ground beef for “Tuesday Taco Night” with some of those pre-made shells that have a flat bottom so they stand up on their own. Man, I wish I had invented those. Genius.
When I tasted the nacho cheese chips by themselves, it was instantly obvious that these are just regular Nacho Cheese Doritos, to the surprise of no one. They got a little bit of taco flavoring due to spooning with Crunchy Taco in the bag. Let’s face it; it’s like a forced cuddle party. There’s gonna be some contact.
The Crunchy Taco flavor was very powerful. My brain went flipping through its Rolodex (my brain is technologically behind the times) of Doritos flavors, but I couldn’t quite pinpoint the flavor powder. It definitely wasn’t Taco Flavor Doritos. It was just…straight-up taco seasoning. I can’t find another way to describe it.
When eaten together, as I’m assuming God, Doritos and Taco Bell intended, Crunchy Taco overwhelmed the taste of Nacho Cheese. I could, however, get some nacho aftertaste, which did compliment the taco flavor.
Did these chips mimic a Taco Bell Doritos Locos Nacho Cheese Taco? Not even close. But if you want to treat these like Doritos Collisions or the various other Doritos “two flavors in one bag”, they’re not too bad.
Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Cool Ranch Crunchy Taco Tortilla Chips
It’s difficult to say much more about these Cool Ranch Crunchy Taco Doritos that hasn’t already been said about the Nacho Cheese version. Again, that taco seasoning smell was very present.
Also again, there was nothing new about the Cool Ranch Doritos. Like Nacho Cheese, rubbing up against Crunchy Taco resulted in some flavor transfer. I’m starting to wonder about these cuddle parties.
I kept some of my observations about Crunchy Taco Doritos out of the Nacho Cheese portion of this post so that I could say something here besides using the word “again” 20 times in one review.
The fact of the matter is, Crunchy Taco Doritos had too much flavor dust.
Now, usually, I savor the joy of finding those few Doritos that somehow got hit with too much flavoring in their journey from tortilla chip to flavored tortilla chip. In the case of Crunchy Taco, however, it was like every chip had been blasted to hell with the stuff.
Unfortunately, this fact worked against Cool Ranch even more than Nacho Cheese. Eating the two chips together pretty much obliterated the Cool Ranch flavor.
Mark this day in Junk Food Betty history, because I’m about to say something that I may never say again: Crunchy Taco Doritos were actually too salty. I say this with gravitas, because I am a salt vampire, so for me to say something is too salty is borderline insanity.
In the end, both flavor combos suffered from the same fault: Crunchy Taco was too strong, snuffing out the flavors of Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch. Furthermore, they tasted nothing like the tacos they were trying to emulate in a weird, meta way.
I actually liked the Crunchy Taco flavoring, despite it tasting nothing like a Taco Bell taco, but someone cranked the flavor knob up to 11, which resulted in too much salt and the obfuscation of the flavors it was supposed to compliment.
I usually find Doritos dual flavors uninspired but acceptable, but this was a strange case of flavor overload. I hope that my predictions of a Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Möbius strip don’t come true, because that is a weird vortex that I don’t want to be a part of.
Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Crunchy Taco and Cool Ranch Crunchy Taco Tortilla Chips
[Kelley's Note: We are joined again by Kirsten for this review of the uniquely UK phenomenon that is McDonald's Tastes of America. Check out her review of Week 2's burger here. As with before, I will be adding some tidbits from an American's point of view. Enjoy!]
So, here we are at the third week of McDonald’s UK’s Tastes Of America. This week is the Arizona Nacho Grande. Big nachos? I’ve had a few. Huh. Actually, I’ve not had ANY in Arizona. Maybe next time, eh?
Time to fess up – I don’t really know Spanish. If we were talking coffee language, grande would mean medium, but through the generic way we all absorb media and television, I can make a good guess at what they’re getting at.
There is a place in AZ called Casa Grande, I know that. Maybe they thought it was a cute play on it- you know, pick somewhere off a map? No? No? Okay, we’ll stick with the Spanish thing. Or well, Mexican thing I guess.
[Kelley's Note: Poor Kirsten. Having lived in the southwest (or South-West) all my life, my mind baffles at the idea that someone would not know that grande means “large” in Spanish. Then again, I had to have Kirsten explain the definition of “quid” to me just a few days ago, so I guess we're even.]
AZ is South-West. In the UK, South-West is Cornwall, where the Cornish Pasty comes from. It was invented for miners. Why is there no pasty in Minecraft? I had a pasty in Phoenix, AZ once. That was pretty unexpected. All the way over there, 3 billion miles, just to sit in a desert eating foods from my homeland? Bah! An Arizonan sure wouldn’t have that eating the Arizona Nacho Grande. Now I regret not being in Cornwall to eat one, that’d show them. That’d show you all, HAH!
Had I not holidayed in Arizona the last two years, I’d have been hard-pressed to guess at the cuisine of the State. As is, ‘TexMex’ is insulting because AZ is not Texas, but still conjures up that shared love of meat, spicy food, and Mexican flavours. Arizona was where I first discovered pulled pork. I haven’t been the same since. I came back 2 months later hoping for more (and also to attend a wedding [the wedding of the pulled pork dealer]).
Had my first taste of Arizona been this burger, I’d have no idea what I could even have begun to expect.
From McDonald’s: “Treat yourself to the taste of Arizona. 100% beef patty topped with nacho-style sauce, shredded lettuce, pepperoni, crunchy nacho chips and cheese with peppers, all in a sesame topped bun.”
[Kelley's Note: I feel like I can chime in here with some authority, having lived in Arizona for about ten years now. I find this burger most adorable. “Nacho-style sauce” fills me with doubts. I guess the chips make sense. But you know what I like most on my nachos? Pepperoni. Nothing says Arizona and nachos like pepperoni. Forget jalapeños, or poblano chiles...pepperoni is pure Arizona.]
As I predicted, we’re talking about the same dimensions and ratio of patty to bun as the Chicago Supreme. Big patties. The Nacho Grande just has a plain old, no-nonsense sesame topping on the split top. No messing around there. It keeps its fancy secrets on the inside, keeping things closer to its chest.
Looking inside, there was no way to differentiate between the ‘nacho sauce’ and the peppered cheese. And that’s the bell pepper kind, not the cracked black stuff. Just a mountain of cheesy goo. I dug in.
I can’t imagine anything finer will ever be created at McDonald’s. Taking a big bite, you get that soft, perfect beef patty, chewy tangy pepperoni, the crunch of the nacho chips, the gooey cheese and the subtly palate-refreshing shredded lettuce. It’s a mouthful of sheer flavour and texture.
The ingredients on their own are a little ordinary (I would consider the nacho tasted stale outside of the ensemble) but in combination they have created something that means I will leave a tiny offering to the junk food deities in hopes that it returns again next year.
I ate one on Thursday on the way to work. I was so hungry that I didn’t pause to study it enough, so I ate one the next day for breakfast. Just for you. It was magnificent.
The Nacho Grande is a thing of wonder. I will say here and now, I don’t expect the remaining TOA burgers to live up to its glory and majesty. It will live on, past this week, in my heart forever (probably literally, lining my arteries).
[Kelley's Note: As with the Chicago burger, Arizona gets its own little wonderful gif-filled tribute on McDonald's UK website. I'll take it from here.]
I’ll admit, there are a lot of preconceptions about the Grand Canyon State that I can understand. Heck, when I moved here ten years ago from sunny Southern California, I was amazed that people actually had lawns. I thought it was all rocks and cacti. And, admittedly, there are a lot of cacti. And rocks. And kokopelli.
If you go off of crime dramas, movies, and pretty much any media, Arizona is where every serial killer, rapist, and kidnapper runs to to hide from the police. Just a whooooooole state full of reprobates.
I had a friend from Australia who literally thought everyone in Arizona rode around on horses carrying lassos and guns. McDonald’s UK’s website is not too far removed from that.
We start with the music, which is some serious honky-tonk banjo playin’ business accompanied by a one-dude-eight-gifs wearing a cowboy hat and playing a guitar, which is funny because I do not hear any guitar in the music. I swear, just hearing it makes me want to shout “YEE-HAW!” and say “y’all” about twenty times.
The background image is a neverending stretch of desolate highway with nothing but dirt surrounding it, which is actually pretty accurate if you’ve ever driven anywhere outside of the Valley. There’s also some red rocks, which is fair, because we do have those. So, okay, two points in favor of McDonald’s UK.
…And now I’m going to immediately take those two points away for the two big-rig flatbeds zooming in a loop on the neverending highway. Really? A whole state full of fairly iconic crap, and you pick trucks. What is that trying to convey, even? “Arizona – so damn full of big trucks!” That’s just weird and mildly insulting.
Next to pop up is a cactus (fair) and then a row of Route 66 signs.
Now I’m just getting nitpicky. Route 66 runs through Arizona. It also runs through, like, seven other states, and stretches over 2,000 miles of the US. We’ve now brought the highway-related images for the Arizona burger up to three. Is that how the UK views Arizona? “Just driving through.”
Actually, I think that’s how most Americans view this state, too. Man, Arizona sucks.
All is redeemed at the last second, however, with what might be one of my favorite gifs ever created. Two giant bald eagle heads suddenly appear, bobbing their heads in a loop that I could probably watch forever. Words do it no justice. It’s so random, and the eagles look so serious, and…it’s just great. Go there.
I love you, bald eagle gifs. I love you so much.
Okay, back to Kirsten. Let’s wrap this thing up!
McDonald’s UK Tastes Of America: Arizona Nacho Grande
I’m a little late to the party (try about two weeks), but Lay’s announced their winner of the Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” contest on May 6, and Karen Weber-Mendham’s Cheesy Garlic Bread won! As I posted in my review of the three flavors, I was hoping this flavor would win.
As a little side note, Karen actually emailed me after a friend tipped her off to my review. Given the fact that I’m a total jerk and made fun of her and her constant breadstick-deprived starvation, I wasn’t exactly expecting high praise.
Fortunately for me, Karen has a great sense of humor, and was nothing but gracious. We had a few back-and-forths, and she was nothing but kind.
So congrats to Karen! If I could wish a million dollars on someone who submitted a flavor for a chip contest, I couldn’t wish for a nicer person to win. Besides myself, of course.
[Kelley's Note: Boy do I wish I lived in the UK right now. Fortunately, guest reviewer Kirsten (of Pizza Hut Hot Dog Stuffed Crust Pizza fame) does, and she has done me the favor of reviewing one of the McDonald's Tastes of America burgers. We've done a little bit of collaborating, since she's tasting America and I'm living here, so expect me to chime in every once in a while for some insight from the States.]
Every year in the UK, or at least for as long as I can remember paying attention, McDonald’s UK has run a summer promotion called TASTES OF AMERICA, whereby 5 State-’inspired’ burgers are presented at a rate of one per week for 5 weeks, offering us Brits the chance to glimpse at the wonders of America in burger form. Sadly, I missed the first burger ‘Louisiana BBQ’ by a mere DAY, and grovel for your forgiveness. Instead, I present WEEK 2: CHICAGO.
When I think Chicago food, I think of pizza. That’s it, really. I got briefly confused about cheese curds, but that’s Wisconsin, apparently. Also, I am told that the Chicago Dog is the more prominent food association with Chicago. Clue’s in the name, I guess. I blame Chicago Town Pizzas. Whaddaya gonna do?
Anyway, a Chicago Dog is not at all what I expected. I dig the big bit of pickle in it (we don’t do pickle enough over here) but really it just seems like a Classic Hamburger set up, with a hot dog instead. I am not convinced at all. That is also completely nothing like the T.O.A: Chicago burger.
Here is McDonald’s UK’s description of The Chicago Supreme: “Experience the supreme taste of the Windy City. 100% beef patty, shredded lettuce, bacon, onions, cheese slices, spicy tomato salsa and cool mayo, all in a chilli, chive and sesame topped bun.”
[Kelley's Note: I actually had to explain what a Chicago Dog is to Kirsten. She had never heard of such a thing. I also explained to her that, even in the States, if you're going to make something “quintessentially Chicago”, you're probably going to try to emulate a Chicago Dog. (If you don't know what one consists of, read the first paragraph of this. It sums it up pretty perfectly.)
I was very amused by the UK's version of “Chicago”. Not to make too much fun, but...salsa? Oh well, all they're missing is the pickle. And the mustard. And the...okay, it's pretty much missing everything. I'd be curious to see what the citizens of Chicago have to say about this burger representing their city.
Okay, back to Kirsten, who actually ate the burger.]
The burger is a big burger. I’d say it’s about 1.5 times the length of a Big Mac. It’s an ovoid. The bun is also a fancy split-top bun, sprinkled with the chilli, chive and sesame. The bun itself was light and soft, though I found it hard to tell if the chilli and chive topping added anything because of the spicy salsa heat.
The mayo and onion were plentiful. The patty meat was perfect, beefy and flavoursomely charred, just the right side of crumbly, not tough or chewy at all. The sheer amount of sauces in combination gave good flavour but really just meant the patty was trying to escape the buns. My patty had too much lubrication. Now I see why they didn’t spread the load by adding any to the lower bun. Does anywhere do that? I think I’ve found salad there before.
There was a good amount of bacon, but at first I wondered if I’d imagined there was meant to be any – there was no bacon in sight. It only emerged after I’d bitten in, and was indeed pinned within, smothered by the heavy quantity of cheese slices and disguised by the nonchalant shredded lettuce, an accomplice to bacon obfuscation. It was the Thomas Crown Affair of burger bacon.
There was a lot of mayo. I’m not a big fan of mayo (in or out of burgers) but it didn’t ruin it for me, and just meant it was like an oddly creamy but tasty salsa, like a spicy prawn cocktail sauce. Y’all do that too right? With the ketchup and mayo, or ketchup and salad cream and then you get Marie Rose sauce or whatever? I like it with brandy in. There was no brandy in this burger. Good job, I don’t think that’s what it needed.
[Kelley's Note: I had to look up “Marie Rose sauce” - it is indeed a synonym of seafood or cocktail sauce, but, at least to me, sounds more like Thousand Island dressing. My definition of cocktail sauce contains stuff like horseradish and Worcestershire.]
The salsa was great, I’d like to see that back in another burger, maybe as a dip.
A dip, hey! That would have been real good with the special edition TOA: Crisscut fries I got too! I didn’t really like them. They were that kind of mashed and reformed potato shape and reminded me of potato waffles, a thing I have only had once in my life and avoided ever since. I still only eat hash browns when I’m desperately hungry.
They came with a sour cream and chive packet of dip which I gave a miss as I’m not eating any sour cream that doesn’t come from a fridge. I want to say the Crisscuts taste reminded me of Alphabites ((does that translate?)) but had a slightly spiced coating, which according to the website was onion powder and yeast extract. I won’t be ordering them again.
[Kelley's Note: This did not, in fact, translate for me. I was pretty sure Kirsten wasn't talking about the cereal. Luckily I found this, so now I know she was talking about a letter-shaped frozen potato product.]
In Hull, fries come with a coating of ‘chip spice’ (because we call fries ‘chips’, and chips ‘crisps’) which is more or less the same thing but with paprika and salt thrown in and I do not like that either. I did not know this when I first ordered fries in Hull, and have been scarred ever since. Consider this a PSA for if you ever find yourself there.
The TOA: Chicago burger was tasty but not as gourmet as I think it wanted to be. I think the oversized patty will continue to be an issue in the upcoming weeks, but I can’t fault them for being generous; it was good meat and cooked well.
Really, the TOA: Chicago was just a big ol’ Bacon Cheeseburger in a fancy bun, and whilst it was a good enough eat, I won’t be missing it from the menu a month down the line.
I am totally not ordering the TOA:Crisscuts again though, even though I think regular McD’s fries will serve to make the burger look even more enormous. One point to the Crisscuts – they are proportionally sized for the TOA burgers.
[Kelley's Note: Kirsten turned me on to McDonald's UK's Tastes of America website. We both agreed that it was an amazing feat of marketing. She let me take the reins on this one, so you'll be hearing from me from here until the roundup at the end of the review.]
Oh, McDonald’s UK Tastes of America. You’ve already given us so much. But once Kirsten showed me your website, I felt I had been given a special gift from the marketing gods.
While I’d love to break down each and every “Tastes” page, that would probably take up the length of an entire review, and we’re talkin’ about Chicago here, so let’s focus on that.
First off, every Tastes of America “tribute” page is an amazing feat of music and bizarre gifs. It’s like someone with a current knowledge of graphic artistry was instructed to make them look like a 1996 Geocities website. It is strange and mesmerizing at the same time.
I will give the UK this: Chicago is the longest-running American musical in the history of Broadway. Looking at the States from the outside in, this would be a pretty easy choice to encapsulate the spirit of the city. However, the Tastes of America takes it a little too far. The music is va-va-voom, the background is reminiscent of a Broadway marquee, and there’s attractive ladies wearing sexy tuxedos dancing around with canes.
Correction: one sexy lady, multiplied by eight. GIFS!
There are also two mirror-image limos thrusting in and out of the background in a way that makes me mildly uncomfortable.
The icing on the cake for me is the introduction of a jumble of red-clad basketball player gifs, obviously meant to represent the Chicago Bulls. I have some sad news for you, Britain: the iconic era of Michael Jordan and the Bulls’ dominance in the NBA ended in the 1990s. I’m sorry.
So what crazy gifs would I use to represent Chicago? Well, I’ve never even been to the Windy City, but here are some of my suggestions:
Lots of Tommy guns shooting with the sound of automatic fire as your music
One guy in a three-piece pinstripe suit repeated eight times making threatening gestures
A corrupt government official repeatedly signing a check and handing it to a shady character
Crates of bootleg alcohol dancing around
It’s obvious I’m also not intimately familiar with Chicago, but I still feel mine is a closer representation of the city than McDonald’s UK’s. Regardless, all of the Tastes of America pages are priceless, and I highly encourage you click on the link I posted above.
Okay, enough of my blathering. Here’s Kirsten’s round-up. A big thanks to her for the guest review!
McDonald’s UK Tastes Of America Chicago Supreme
McDonald’s UK Tastes Of America Crisscut Fries
A little while back, I got an email from a stranger living in Australia. She loves Skittles. She loves them so much, in fact, that she asked if I could ship her a bag of Darkside Skittles, since they didn’t have them where she lived.
She suggested we do a snack trade. Because I noted that she had her own food website, I immediately gave her my address, because you can obviously trust a complete stranger that you’ve emailed twice on the Internet, as long as they have a food blog.
I got into a lot of white, unmarked vans as a child. Obviously unrelated, but I felt I should mention it.
We made arrangements, and a surprisingly short time later, a totally awesome box full of Australian goodies arrived at my doorstep. So full, in fact, that there was no way I could fit them all into one review. Or two reviews. In fact, I may be reviewing them forever. Keeping this in mind, I won’t be using my usual review structure – I’ll just give a quick rating at the end of each item.
That said, enjoy part one of Australian Snaxplosion!
Thins Light & Tangy Thin & Crispy Potato Chips
Thins have a pretty much identical texture to Lay’s potato chips, which makes sense, since they were once owned by Pepsico, who bought them from Smith’s, but then sold them to…you know what, nevermind. Just know that the base chip is just like Lay’s.
I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from Thins Light & Tangy, since neither of these words are particularly descriptive. Lightly flavored? Light in calories? Tangy…how?
The back of the bag offered me no clues. There was no nutritional information box, nor was there an ingredients list. I found this intriguing, since I’m pretty sure it’s a law or something to list that stuff in the United States. “Or something” – that’s good research, right there. In fact, none of the three items being reviewed today had any information on the back. You roll the dice when you snack Australian.
If you can’t tell by the pictures, all three of these snacks came in surprisingly small bags. By small, I mean, one serving. An actual serving, not an American serving. Something you would eat during a work break. It’s like comparing a 12-ounce soda to a Big Gulp. I wonder, do they offer gallon-sized jugs of soda in Australian convenience markets? My hunch is no.
Anyways, Thins Light & Tangy had a nice vinegar bite with an equal amount of…tang. I could definitely identify some onion in there, but it wasn’t sour cream and onion-flavored…perhaps a bit of a ranch flavoring? I think ranch would count as tangy.
I won’t lie, I did look up the ingredients, but only after I’d tasted the chip. Some of the ingredients are “Vegetable Powders (Onion, Tomato), Flavour (Natural), Flavour Enhancer (621) and Herbs & Spices”.
I couldn’t taste any tomato, but the rest seemed about on point. Of course, I have no idea what 621 Flavour Enhancer is, but hey.
In the end, I never did learn what was so light about Thins Light & Tangy Thin and Crispy Potato Chips. I did, however, enjoy the taste. They had a nice balance of vinegar, salt, and a present but not overwhelming ranch-like flavor. Nothing crazy or groundbreaking, but a fine snack, nonetheless.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 kudos for using the moniker “Light” for seemingly no reason at all
Thins Chicken Thin & Crispy Potato Chips
Chicken-flavored potato chips may seem pretty out there if you’re American, but according to my brief Internet research, chicken seems to be a pretty common flavor for Australian snacks. In fact, I got another chicken-flavored snack in my box, Chicken Twisties, but they didn’t survive the International travel very well, and by that I mean, both ends of the bag blew out. Amazingly, this was the only casualty of the whole box, so I consider myself lucky.
Maybe chicken doesn’t seem so out there when you consider the crazy flavors we’ve seen over the years. Mountain Dew-flavored Doritos, anyone? Besides that, if I had to pick a meat to flavor chips, chicken seems the most innocuous.
Thins Chicken chips look remarkably similar to Light & Tangy, but the tastes are worlds apart. They look and feel almost identical – again, think Lay’s with some green flecks on them – but Chicken lacks all the twang that excites taste buds. Is it possible for a food to taste…matte? If it is, that is how I would describe Thins Chicken.
While the unfortunately unseen Twisties Chicken tasted like chicken bullion, Thins Chicken didn’t taste like chicken at all. In fact, I’m not sure what they tasted like. They were very salty, and there was a little onion, but that was about it.
Actually, there was a strange aftertaste that I can only describe as “chewing on an old jar of chicken bullion cubes”. It was very odd and unpleasant.
I was steeling myself for chicken-flavored potato chips when I opened up my bag of Thins Chicken Thin & Crispy Potato Chips, but what I got was actually worse. Instead of chicken, I got a flavor that was both bland and unnatural. After enjoying Thins Light & Tangy, I was surprised at how badly Thins Chicken failed to live up to its name.
Rating: 2 out of 5 ways that Thins managed to make chicken-flavored chips taste worse than chicken-flavored chips
As you may imagine, Out of the three offerings shown here, I was most intrigued by this product. Burger Rings! Again, these may sound odd to Americans, and the lack of imagery plus the promise of “big burger taste” on the front of the bag may conjure memories of things like Doritos Late Night All-Nighter Cheeseburger. I know it did for me, and that was not necessarily a good thing.
Burger Rings are apparently very popular in Australia, so I thought, how bad can they be?
That’s usually an ominous question, but for once, I was pleased to discover that they were not bad at all. In fact, I enjoyed them quite a bit.
Upon first glance, Burger Rings look like smaller, redder versions of Funyuns. They say we eat with our eyes, and in this case, my eyeballs were pretty spot-on. The texture was indistinguishable to that of Funyuns – light and somewhat puffy, but with a satisfying crunch. I would call it a “soft crunch”, if such a thing exists.
The flavor of Burger Rings was distinctly that of cheese and tomato. Breathe a sigh of relief – unlike the abominations that have been created in the US, Burger Rings made no attempt to make their product taste like meat. “Big burger taste” is just big talk.
Unlike Funyuns, Burger Rings are the perfect size for popping into your mouth. I found that I’d blown through my appropriately snack-sized bag rather quickly. With a generic cheesy tomato flavor and a crunchy but non-gum-stabbing texture, they were easy and fun to eat.
While I would have preferred something else to go with the cheese – maybe onion, or, dare I say, garlic – I can see why so many Australians like this snack. I was glad that my Aussie snack trading partner had included two bags, because one was just not enough. I’d love to see Burger Rings sitting next to Funyuns on store shelves. It’s time someone gave them a run for their money in the ring-shaped crunchy snack department.
Rating: 4 out of 5 sighs of relief that Burger Rings taste nothing like actual burgers
That wraps up part one of our unknown number of Australian snack food reviews! I’ll be back later with more treats from the land down under. In the meantime, watch out for drop bears, folks.
Are you guys ready for this? Maybe you should sit down. Have a fainting couch nearby and some smelling salts.
Because this is The Greatest Day in Chicken History.
At least, according to KFC, it is. Well, technically it was April 14, when they launched their new Original Recipe Boneless Chicken. But with such a bold declaration, I’m going to assume KFC thinks every day that Original Recipe Boneless Chicken exists is still The Greatest Day in Chicken History.
You’d think that would be enough of a marketing campaign, but KFC isn’t done yet. They’re pushing the slogan “I ate the bones!” hard through commercials and social media, including a #iatethebones contest starting April 22nd wherein you can submit your “best I ate the bones! face” in order to win money.
In case you haven’t sussed it out yet, the commercials show various people looking down at their empty KFC boxes and completely losing their shit, yelling “I ate the bones!” like they’re having an autistic freakout.
“Holy shit, I am so in love with this chicken that I ate the fucking bones and didn’t even notice, I may be dying and in need of medical attention” is not quite the ad campaign I would have gone for, but KFC is really committed to it.
Because I am a heartless jerk, I hope this leads to dozens of news stories about people actually eating KFC bones. Even better, I want to see pictures of people choking on bones entering the #iatethebones contest. That’s real commitment. I hope all KFC employees have been trained to give the Heimlich maneuver.
For a large chunk of my life, I refused to eat chicken-on-the-bone. It grossed me out. All those veins and tendons…no thanks. My chicken world was restricted to nuggets and strips, which is kind of funny, since I’m sure whatever goes into making nuggets is more disgusting than a bone. Even chicken strips weren’t what they are today in both quality and availability, so I think old me would have been thrilled at the idea of KFC Original Recipe Boneless chicken.
Fortunately I have expanded my culinary horizons since then, so I’m perfectly fine gnawing on a leg or a thigh. But if this Boneless version can stand up to KFC’s regular Original Recipe, I may go back to my no-bone ways. Plus, that’s one less thing for my cats to try to dig out of the trash while I’m asleep.
My first impression when I saw the two pieces of Original Recipe Boneless Chicken that came with my meal was that they were a little smaller than, say, a bone-in breast, but they were still fairly sizable.
The piece of white meat actually did resemble a chicken breast, and the breading looked just like Original Recipe, although less greasy.
I was pleased when I ripped the white meat piece apart. It was obviously juicy, and it did, indeed, taste juicy. The chicken was just the right texture, too.
I have no idea how KFC makes their Boneless pieces happen. I’d like to think it’s Gary Larson’s vision come to life. No matter how they do it, I was pleased that it didn’t feel or taste like a Frankenstein’s chicken monster – it had the taste and texture of a chicken breast, with the added bonus of not having to work around bones. This resulted in a more even breading-to-chicken ratio.
As for the dark meat Boneless piece, it seemed a little more misshapen than the white, making it look a little odd. Exactly what part of the chicken did this come from? You know what, don’t answer that.
I was pleased when I ripped it open to see that it was obvious that this was the dark meat piece. I mean, it’s not like they came labeled, but I had my suspicions as to how the dark meat piece would actually pan out. It also didn’t look processed or cobbled together on the inside, despite its outward appearance.
I found the dark meat piece to be not only more flavorful, but also a little juicier. These are things I typically feel about dark meat vs. white meat, so Boneless really scored there.
When you’re dealing with bone-in chicken, you tend to have to work a little harder to get that dark meat, and there’s less of it than you’ll find on a white meat chicken breast. I found this a particularly nice quality in the dark meat Boneless, because being able to eat a big, juicy piece of dark meat with even breading and without having to work around bones and other…stuff was a unique and enjoyable experience.
Please take note that I am staying far, far away from “big, juicy dark meat” entendres.
In the end, I enjoyed both pieces. Both had juicy and tender meat that tasted like I was eating chicken and not chicken by-product. The breading-to-meat ratio was great on both pieces, and there was a noticeable grease decrease. I found this to be both good and bad – while it added to the crunch of the breading, I found myself missing the pleasure of eating those greasy pieces of skin. That could be a plus or a minus, depending on your viewpoint.
One thing I did notice was that, when you rip the Original Recipe Boneless white meat into pieces, it feels pretty similar to eating chicken strips, which is something you could easily order off the KFC menu and get pretty much the same experience.
Where I felt the Original Recipe Boneless really shone was with the dark meat piece. It had more flavor, and the experience of eating a big ol’ piece of dark meat with little effort and with a nice distribution of breading was pretty unique.
Have I reformed back to the chicken-off-the-bone ways that I had worked to conquer? Not completely. I missed the skin and the greasiness of bone-in chicken, while on the other hand, I loved having such a large piece of dark meat that I could chomp and crunch easily.
Fortunately for me, KFC offers buckets that are part Original Recipe Boneless and part regular bone-in Original Recipe. If I’m hankering for some skin and grease but still want that large-piece-chicken experience, that would work great. Or, if I just want to rip into some crunchy dark meat, I could get my 2-piece Original Recipe Boneless meal with two dark meat pieces. It’s nice to have options.
I just hope I don’t accidentally eat the bones. And because I’m not a wild, laughing hyena ripping into my KFC chicken with wild abandon and incredible jaw strength, I don’t think that will be a problem.
KFC Original Recipe Boneless Chicken
Pizza Hut and Domino’s are like rival siblings. As long as I can remember, they’ve been the two biggest pizza delivery chains in the USA. Back when I was a kid, both companies had their own schtick: Domino’s had the infamous Noid and their “30 minutes or free” guarantee, and Pizza Hut had…well, Pizza Hut had some weird commercials. I thought Pizza Hut had a 30 minute guarantee, too, but I can’t find evidence of that on the Internet.
Basically, both company’s marketing was pretty plain back then. “Hot and fresh.” It was a simpler time, when you had to use a corded phone to place your order, and the Hawaiian pizza was probably the most exotic thing on either of their menus.
Now you can order your pizza online, customizing it yourself and not having to tell another human being, “I want everything on my pizza. No, I mean literally everything. And make that with triple cheese.” Technology has come so far in allowing us to hide our shame.
But enough about me. The point here is that, as they’ve grown up, Domino’s and Pizza Hut have gone very different ways. Domino’s launched their “our pizza sucked, but now it’s better!” campaign, which has worked out very well for them.
Pizza Hut has gone in a very different direction – instead of focusing on quality, they’ve decided to focus on gimmicks and hype.
Hype is smart. The Internet loves gimmicks, and Pizza Hut has given it a lot to buzz about. P’Zolos. Overstuffed. Sliders. And these are just pedestrian gimmicks from the United States. Pizza Hut has gone batshit loco internationally. I was lucky enough to have a friend in the UK review one of these offerings, but you can see even more craziness here.
To round out the admittedly loose sibling analogy, Domino’s found success by admitting its past mistakes, straightening up and flying right, while Pizza Hut found success in stuffing cheese and whatever else it found on the floor into their pizzas. It’s like Domino’s went to med school while Pizza Hut started selling weed. Both are making good money, but how.
This analogy sucks. Let’s get to the Crazy Cheesy Crust Pizza, shall we!
First off, I’d like to give you a choice nugget from Pizza Hut’s press release: “Pizza Hut, the world’s largest pizza company, announced today the debut of one of its most-heralded and highly-anticipated new products of all time – Crazy Cheesy Crust.”
“Most-heralded and highly-anticipated new products of all time.”My, aren’t we full of ourselves! As my grandma would say, don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back, Pizza Hut.
Pizza Hut describes Crazy Cheesy Crust Pizza as “16 dough pockets as its outer edge…each pocket is filled with a blend of five Italian cheeses.” Those cheese specifically are provolone, asiago, mozzarella, fontina, and mild white cheddar. I don’t know if “mild white cheddar” is Italian, but hey.
As you can see above, the Crazy Cheesy Crust Pizza looks like a beautiful, greasy flower.
And the slices look like greasy hearts! I love it! I also think Pizza Hut was remiss not to launch this around Valentine’s Day. Nothing says “I love you” like clogged arteries.
I went for pepperoni on my Crazy Cheesy Crust Pizza because that’s the topping that was shown on Pizza Hut’s website. I am a mindless follower.
As expected, there’s not much to say about the pizza itself. It is a Pizza Hut pepperoni pizza. We’re really here for the crust.
I wasn’t really sure what Crazy Cheesy Crust etiquette was. Was I supposed to rip them off right off the bat? Turn the slice around and eat the crust first, then the pizza?
In the end, I just ate it like a regular slice of pizza. Once I got to the cheese pockets, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they tasted very different than the rest of the pizza.
I am not a pizza crust person. If I were not so strongly against wasting food, I’d toss the crust of pretty much every slice of pizza I’ve ever eaten in the trash. Instead, I “tolerate” the crust, and by that I mean, I drown it in ranch dressing mixed with Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. Don’t judge it ’til you’ve tried it, folks.
Given my distrust of crust, I was dubious about just how Crazy this Cheesy Crust would be. Consider me plum surprised. The cheese-to-crust ratio was just right, making it seem like I wasn’t eating crust at all. It was more like eating a little cheesy-laden thin breadstick. The cheese was plentiful and gooey, and you could actually taste the different cheeses. Well, I’m no affineur, so I couldn’t identify all the cheeses, but I definitely detected the asiago and mozzarella, so I can say with confidence that Pizza Hut wasn’t completely trying to shine me on.
After tasting the cheese pockets in their natural habitat for the sake of objectivity, I could have dipped. But you know what? I didn’t. I truly felt it did not need to be dipped. And that’s big, coming from me. The cheeses were tasty enough to stand on their own.
It turns out that Pizza Hut Crazy Cheesy Crust Pizza isn’t that crazy, after all. Sure, it looks a little odd. Cute, but odd. But when it comes down to what’s important, which is taste, it actually delivers. The cheese in the pockets are plentiful and delicious, although they are admittedly greasy as hell. But for someone like me who considers pizza crust nothing more than a necessary evil, I was truly impressed.
The biggest problem with Pizza Hut’s Crazy Cheesy Crust Pizza is that it’s attached to a Pizza Hut pizza. Seriously, why can’t they give the whole pizza the Crazy Cheesy treatment? It would make their pizza 100% tastier.
So, while Crazy Cheesy Crust Pizza temporarily cured me of my dislike of pizza crust, it could not cure me of my dislike of Pizza Hut pizza. It’s back to dipping the crust of better pizzas for me.
Pizza Hut Crazy Cheesy Crust Pizza
Spring has arrived, and that means it’s time for another round of seasonal Burger King offerings! I love this marketing scheme that they’ve developed: new (or new-ish, or returning) menu items available for a limited time. It keeps things fresh without over-crowding the menu. I would love to see every fast food restaurant adopt this model, although that would result in me drowning in grease and also a backlog of reviews.
BK’s Spring Menu showcases Smooth Roast Coffee, Lattes, Donut Holes, Piña Colada Smoothie, Peach and Unsweetened Iced Teas, Turkey and Veggie Burgers, Chipotle Chicken Sandwiches and Wraps, Chipotle Whopper, Bacon Cheddar Stuffed Burger and Loaded Tater Tots.
That’s an impressive lineup. Today we’ll be looking at the latter two items, simply because they sounded tasty and vaguely interesting, and I think I’ll tear my hair out if I have to review something chipotle-flavored and type the sentence “this doesn’t really taste like chipotle” one more time.
Who am I kidding, that’s inevitable.
Bacon Cheddar Stuffed Burger
Burger King describes this as “A Mouthwatering USDA Inspected fire-grilled ground beef patty stuffed with hardwood smoked bacon and savory cheddar cheese, topped with fresh-cut lettuce, juicy tomatoes, ketchup, mayo and crispy onion rings all on a warm, artisan-style bun.”
I’d like to translate this: “We took the stuff that tastes good on top of a hamburger and buried it inside the hamburger, thus ensuring that you do not actually taste them. But hey, it sounds like a good gimmick, right?”
You may call this harsh, since this was my immediate impression of the burger before I even tasted it. It’s just that I’ve had “stuffed” burgers before, and that’s pretty much what happens – all that good cheese and bacon flavor gets buried inside the burger, which is no fun at all. But hey, maybe Burger King will be different!
Burger King is not different. Ignoring the especially lackluster lettuce and “good enough” tomatoes, I was pleased with the amount of onion rings on my Stuffed Burger. While the quantity was good, the quality was not – resting under mayo, ketchup and tomatoes, they were soggy as all get-out.
While I would have liked the added crunch, the onions and the breading did add some flavor to the burger, which was welcome because…
…while I could obviously see the bacon and cheddar stuffed inside the Bacon Cheddar Stuffed Burger, as I predicted, I could not really taste them. Every third bite or so, I’d get some creaminess or a hickory smoke taste, but they paled in comparison to a regular, topped bacon cheeseburger.
The Bacon Cheddar Stuffed Burger is all gimmick with little taste delivery. You’d be much better off just Having it Your Way and getting a cheeseburger with bacon on top. Burger King has some of the best bacon of all the fast food restaurants, and it’s a shame to bury it inside the patty.
Loaded Tater Tots
It took me a while to realize that Burger King had already introduced the idea of fried cheese potato bites when they introduced their Cheesy Tots on the Winter Menu. That was only a season ago, which is less a testament to the idea that they were so forgettable and more that I have the memory of a goldfish.
Loaded Tater Tots are a somewhat different beast, however. In my review of Cheesy Tots, I mentioned that they were good but that I wanted more out of them. It seems that Burger King has listened to me.
BK describes the Loaded Tots as “A bite-sized snack that is sure to kick your meal up a notch! Enjoy warm fluffy potatoes filled with flavorful bacon and sweet onions on the inside, with a savory and crispy crumb coating on the outside. Available in eight, 10 or 12 piece servings. These LOADED TATER TOTS™ potatoes are great for sharing and are a savory complement to any meal.
With the addition of bacon and onions, these Tots have become Loaded. They’re shaped more like a jalapeño popper than the Cheesy Tots, which had a more rounded shape.
While BK’s description oddly leaves out that there’s cheese inside…well, there’s cheese inside. The potato innards were indeed warm and fluffy, and there was a pleasant amount of creamy cheese that worked well with the potatoes. The crumb coating was nice and crunchy, but a little thinner than I would have liked.
The main problem with Loaded Tater Tots is that it’s hard to taste the Loaded. They had a pleasant hint of onion, but the bacon taste was a little lacking. Even though you can see the little bits of bacon, there’s barely a hint of that smoked bacon flavor, and there’s no real bacon texture.
Burger King’s Loaded Tater Tots are tasty. Getting the potato-to-cheese ratio is half the battle, and they accomplished that. Unfortunately, the Loaded upgrade was lacking. I’m glad that the onion wasn’t overwhelming, but they went too far in the other direction, making it rather underwhelming. My biggest disappointment was obviously with the bacon – bigger, more flavorful chunks would have added that hickory flavor that works great with potato and cheese, and having a little extra crunch from them would have been nice, too.
Burger King’s Spring Menu has a lot of variety in it. I wish I could hit it all, but then I’d probably be reviewing them well into their Fall menu. I chose the Bacon Cheddar Stuffed Burger and Loaded Tater Tots for their uniqueness and possible tastiness.
Unfortunately, the Stuffed Burger made a classic mistake, which is “stuffing a burger”, thus negating the very flavors they were trying to stuff, making it taste mostly like a regular ol’ hamburger.
The Loaded Tater Tots fared a little better and were indeed tasty, but the onion and especially the bacon flavor had a hard time shining through, thus making the Loaded Tater Tots a lot like BK’s Cheesy Tots. I’m achin’ for some bacon, over here.
Burger King Bacon Cheddar Stuffed Burger
Burger King Loaded Tots
For being such a well-known and widely available candy, M&Ms did not make finding White Chocolate Carrot Cake easy. First off, it’s a Walmart exclusive. Not an uncommon phenomenon, but one I always find displeasing, because…Walmart.
Second, not only is it a Walmart exclusive, it’s only available at select Walmarts. I didn’t know this until some sort of snack sense told me I should try to look up available locations before I left my house. I’m glad I did, since Walmart has a whole website devoted to finding a select store that carries them.
My closest Walmart was not on this list, which is why I’m so glad I looked, because going to Walmart is one thing, but going to Walmart and not finding the one thing I’m looking for just makes me want to murder every person in the store. Lucky for me, the next closest Walmart actually did have them. This is a lot of effort for goddamn M&Ms.
I consider the effort worth it, however. Easter is a holiday made for candy, but most of that candy comes in the form of chocolate bunnies, and regular candies packaged in plastic Easter eggs or pastel packaging.
That said, I give M&Ms credit right off the bat for actually thinking up an Easter flavored candy. I mean, eggs already taste like eggs, the church kind of has a stranglehold on things that taste like Jesus, and I don’t think making something rabbit-flavored would go over very well. Biting the ears off a bunny that’s made of chocolate is satisfying; actually chomping on a bunny-tasting bunny-shaped candy would make me uncomfortable and probably not go over well with the kids.
Given all that, I think M&Ms coming up with carrot cake is brilliant. Will the execution compete with the concept? We shall see in a moment.
First, I have to bitch and moan some more. Surprise! This time, it’s about the packaging. For the most part, the bag is simple and effective – it’s carrot cake. Here’s a slice of carrot cake.
That’s all well and good, but I am so not a fan of anthropomorphic Green M&M. Red and Yellow are dumb, but whatever. When they introduced Green as the “sexy” M&M, however, I was yucked out. Maybe it’s because I’ve been on the Internet for too long, but I am not fond of sexualizing any inanimate object.
The whole Green M&M schtick is annoying, and that is showcased here, with “her” wearing bunny ears and posed like Leonardo DiCaprio is about to draw her portrait. Plus, she totally has bedroom eyes, which is a sentence I feel dirty just typing. Ugh, take it away, I don’t want to look at it anymore. I’d rather see Red dressed up as a Playboy bunny looking bored or pissed off.
Okay, here we are, with the actual candies. They’re about the same diameter as regular M&Ms, but have a bit more girth. I like the color scheme – the orange is obviously the brightest, representing, duh, the carrot. The green is more of an Easter pastel, but you can’t have a carrot-themed…whatever without some green representing the carrot stem.
The off-white is an interesting choice, but one that I approve of. It’s unrelated to the vegetable, but pertinent to carrot cake itself – part of the deliciousness of carrot cake is the cream cheese icing, which is pretty close to the color of these M&Ms. It’s an attention to detail that I appreciate.
I have to say, I was prepared to be disappointed by M&Ms White Chocolate Carrot Cake. I felt the candy had lofty goals that it wouldn’t be able to reach. Upon opening the bag, however, I was met with a strong and very pleasant cinnamon-and-nutmeg odor along with sugary sweetness. It was surprisingly reminiscent of real carrot cake.
As it turned out, my olfactory sense did not betray me – these M&Ms are about as close to tasting like actual carrot cake as a candy can get. Again, you’ve got that great blend of cinnamon and nutmeg that is prominent but not overwhelming. The use of white chocolate was an excellent choice – it let the spice flavors shine, while adding just the right amount of sweetness and acting as a cream cheese substitute.
In fact, there might even be a little cream cheese flavor magic going on here – while it’s easy to identify the above spices, there seems to be a little extra something that pushes it beyond just spice territory into an actual, cohesive carrot cake candy. The ingredient list doesn’t offer me any help: it’s mostly white chocolate and the regular sugar and food coloring flavors, along with the always-mysterious “natural and artificial flavors”.
Like I said, I had serious doubts about M&Ms White Chocolate Carrot Cake being able to deliver on their promised flavor. I’m happy to say I was wrong. Those crazy candy wizards over at Mars pulled it off. I love carrot cake, and I found myself continuing to shovel these guys into my mouth until I had to force myself to stop before I made myself sugar sick.
If you don’t like carrot cake, you’re not going to like these M&Ms, but that’s just another point showing how well they showcased the flavors. I’m sorry I got around to this review so late, but hey – you can probably run out and get some right now, or wait until Monday, when they’ll probably already be on clearance.
My biggest beef, besides my hatred of Green M&M, is how Walmart is only selling them in select stores. That makes no sense to me and is really annoying. But if you like carrot cake and would like to try a unique Easter treat, use the locator tool I linked above to see if there’s a Walmart within 500 miles of you that has been mysteriously chosen to be one of the select stores that carry them. Happy Easter! Or “Hoppy Easter”, if you like old, tired puns!
M&Ms White Chocolate Carrot Cake
The Impulsive Buy also reviewed these White Chocolate Carrot Cake M&Ms!