All posts by Kelley

Great Value Double Decker Chicken & Bacon Sandwich

As we all know, there are times when life will kick you in the balls. I mean really just get in there hard, like your dick reverberates and even your taint feels it. That’s how nard-kicking works, right?

It is at these times that you think this pain will never end, and there is no joy in the world. Well, dear reader, I want you to remember when you feel this way that there was a time, a time when you were a part of this universe, that Walmart sold a KFC Double Down Sandwich knockoff under their most generic of brands, Great Value.

I want you to always keep this information with you and call upon it in times of sorrow. This is a real thing that happened, while you were alive. And I ate it. My gift to you.

And look at that box design. “Late Night Cravings” and the overall design seem to invoke Jack in the Box’s Munchie Meals, but ALSO completely plagiarizes an old line of Doritos Late Night flavors that included Tacos at Midnight, Last Call Jalapeño Popper and All Nighter Cheeseburger, the latter of which I reviewed waaaay back in the day.

Psh, what was I thinking? Totally different.

Anyways, everything about this item thrills and horrifies me. The idea of someone mimicking the Double Down in frozen form seems clever and almost inevitable, but for Great Value to be the ones to do it? Great Value?! The mind boggles. And with zero fanfare whatsoever. In this zeitgeist of food as clickbait, Walmart just quietly put their Late Night Cravings line on shelves and walked away.

Oh yeah, there’s more of these fuckers. Can you say Donut Cheeseburger? Great Value can. I can’t even remember if my Walmart stocked those or if I only had eyes for the generic Double Down. Or maybe my brain couldn’t handle the idea of eating a Great Value Donut Cheeseburger. I took the lesser of two evils…maybe?

Since this whole line is obviously aimed at stoners and/or drunks, just like Munchie Meals, there are only microwave instructions for it. What surprised me, however, was that there were steps. C’mon, guys, who has time for steps? This is (generic) Hot Pocket-level food and should have been designed to be cooked accordingly.

This did, however, give me a chance to inspect the ingredients of this sandwich. The chicken patties looked fairly okay even frozen, but can we talk about this “bacon”, please? What the fuck is this? The cheese just looked like a bunch of Kraft American squares frozen together, but in what world is this weird, thin, floppy meat-disc bacon? It is not. Much like this generic sandwich, it is generic meat. I’d be more frightened, but it’s so thin that I feel like it can’t do too much harm.

Not off to a great start in the looks department.

When I took the chicken out to assemble and finish cooking it, it was kind of soggy, which gave me worry. However, more cook time and a little bit of time to cool down make the chicken…buns firm up nicely. The breading was only crispy around the edges but it did have a little bit of flavor to it, which was more than I was expecting. What I was expecting was horror, obviously.

The quality of the chicken was about on par with name-brand frozen nuggets, which was also more than I was expecting. Somewhat rubbery with a couple of disturbing bits of gristle. At least the meat wasn’t grey, right guys!

The cheese tasted simultaneously like plastic and nothing, which was right on par. It added a little bit of greasy lube into the mix, if that helps things. I guess it helped things? I’m eating a Walmart Double Down; I’m not sure anything I say is to be trusted at this point.

Floppy meat-disc did exactly what I wanted it to, which was nothing. Well, actually, it did add some artificial smoke flavor, which helped to make things a little more flavorful. But any texture this thin little meat thing would have added completely disappeared between two large hunks of chicken.

The Great Value Double Decker Chicken & Floppy Meat-Disc Sandwich does have one thing going for it, which is that it is quite filling. Each chicken bun has definite heft, and when you squish them together and add cheese, this is no snack – it’s a full-on meal.

Oh, there’s another thing it has going for it: like the Colonel, Great Value also has 11 secret herbs and spices, except the secret is that all of them are fucking salt. Two salty chickens, one disc of what might just be pure salt with Liquid Smoke added, and I’m pretty sure they salted the cheese, too. I love salt more than the next person, but this thing had me downing a good 50 ounces of water and coming back for more. Check the nutritional quirks below to see just how much salt.

Things could have gone so, so much worse with Great Value Double Decker Chicken & Bacon Sandwich. I wouldn’t trust my ass with Great Value toilet paper, so trusting my mouth with this imitation Double Down was a real risk. In the end, it just wound up being a hefty salt bomb. Nothing too scary (as long as you didn’t look at the bacon), but nothing particularly flavorful, either.

I will say this, though: hours later, it was still sitting in my stomach as a ball of unrest, judging me for the lifestyle choices that have led me to this point. Or maybe I was just so, so full of water.

Great Value Double Decker Chicken & Bacon Sandwich

  • Score: 0.5 out of 5 floppy meat-discs
  • Price: $2.98
  • Size: 2 sandwiches
  • Purchased at: Walmart
  • Nutritional Quirk: Get ready for 2,090 milligrams of sodium in your mouth from one sandwich. A real KFC Double Down had 1,380 mg and the Internet was losing its shit about how much salt it contained. At least you won at one thing, Great Value.

Doritos Loaded Jalapeño & Cheese

Happy New Year! How was your Christmas? And your…Thanksgiving? My god, how long have I been gone?

If you thought I was dead, fear not, for instead of being dead, I’ve just been in a lazy rut. If I believed in making New Year’s resolutions, mine would be to put out more content this year. But I don’t. So enjoy this review for a product that isn’t even that new!

Doritos Loaded have been around for a while, but I kind of forgot to look for them, until I found myself staring at them recently during a stroll through Walmart. My world shrank. It was just me and the Doritos Loaded. Part of me wanted them, because of you. Part of me wanted them because I was fascinated. And part of me wanted to walk away, because who wants to look someone in the eye while they scan your box of Doritos Loaded?

Thank god Walmart has self-checkout.

These actually began as a fast food offering from Burger King before transitioning to the freezer aisle. Between these and the Doritos Loco Taco, it seems like Doritos will just whore themselves out to any old restaurant. Coming soon: Doritos Orange Chicken at Panda Express!

Conversely, Burger King has gotten cozy with Frito-Lay once more, using a slightly different orange dust to coat their Chicken Fries with Cheetos. Coming soon: The Cheddar & Sour Cream Ruffles Whopper!

I don’t think BK ever had a jalapeño and cheese version, just the cheese variety. That’s also available in frozen form, but I had to go with the spicy version, of course. The box is strangely…ordinary. Almost like a regular bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos. Almost like it’s normal to be eating these.

But don’t worry! As soon as you open the box, you realize you’re getting into something. Each triangle, which is about the size of a chicken nugget, is violently orange, like the most flavor-dusted chip you’d ever find in a bag of tortilla chips. And once you open the bag, damned if it doesn’t smell just like Nacho Cheese Doritos. It’s like you’ve been blessed with a bag of eight very big, fat, neon Doritos. Except you have to cook them.

You’d think such a stonerific food would have a microwave option, but no! If you want to enjoy Doritos dust stuffed with cheese, you gotta fire up that oven. Seems like a lot of effort for a little snack, but after cooking them, I think I can see why they wouldn’t work in the microwave.

Fresh out of the oven, the breaded outside of these guys was very crispy and entirely reminiscent of a jalapeño popper. If you’ve ever tried to reheat poppers in the microwave, the breading turns into a bit of a soggy mess – thus the oven-baking instructions.

Despite the strong odor when I initially opened the bag and the neon orange coloring, Loadeds were pretty light on the actual Doritos flavor. There were hints of that classic Nacho Cheese flavor in the breading, but it definitely lacked the taste of tortilla chips.

Further overshadowing the taste of Doritos, these big ol’ triangles were quite spicy. Which isn’t a complaint; it’s actually a compliment. Those festive little red and green jalapeño bits packed a pleasant punch.

With so many things going for them, Doritos Loaded fails on a pretty important component, which is the cheese filling. Sure, it was gooey and probably very artificial and worked great with the peppers, but these puffy orange pillows were mostly full of hot air. Am I proud of that joke? A little bit. But I’m also a little miffed at Doritos for not filling these things with more cheese. They should be bursting with cheese.

So just to recap, all these words amount to a really simple breakdown: Doritos Loaded are basically deconstructed jalapeño poppers. And while I wanted to be all like, “Ew, gross, so weird,” I love me some jalapeño poppers. It just so happens that these have the Doritos brand on them. And they’re triangles. And they’re bright orange. But beyond the very light nacho cheese flavor in the breading, these could have been any other brand of frozen poppers.

I enjoyed the crispy breading and the level of spice, but there just wasn’t enough cheese. The added flavor to the breading was a nice change-up, but if I’m going to compare them to other frozen poppers, the cheese quantity becomes a real issue.

On the other hand, at least when you bite into them, the whole jalapeño doesn’t come sliding out, depositing molten hot cheese and grease all over your fingers. That’s a nice plus.

Doritos Loaded Jalapeño & Cheese

  • Score: 3 out of 5 neon orange triangle pillows
  • Price: $2.98
  • Size: 8 pieces
  • Purchased at: Walmart
  • Nutritional Quirk: There are so many ingredients on the side of the box that I tried to count them twice and lost my place. Suffice to say it’s well over 30.

Cheetos Bag of Bones Flamin’ Hot

cheetos-bag-of-bones-flamin-hot-bagToday is Halloween and I didn’t do ONE SINGLE spooky review this year. What a shitty Junk Food Betty.

Honestly, I was really unimpressed with this year’s offerings, but that’s no excuse. To make it up you, here is my heart:

cheetos-bag-of-bones-flamin-hot-heart

Or, more specifically, my rib cage. But I thought it looked like a heart.

The one thing that caught my eye this year was Cheetos Bag of Bones Flamin’ Hot. I know, I know, it’s not a new flavor OR a new concept. But it’s so perfect.

Look at our skeleton man on the package. He’s obviously being tortured by an Evil Chester Cheetah, who cackles in glee at his misfortune. Eeee!

cheetos-bag-of-bones-flamin-hot-skeleton

Here’s this year’s Cheeto skeleton, or should I say, HELLeton. As you can see, several of his bony demon fingers have been pulled off, either through some method of torture or because the OSHA standards are clearly lacking in hell.

cheetos-bag-of-bones-flamin-hot

Here is a hell sun, because when the demons come to walk the earth it will be like the scorching of a thousand suns. Or something? I don’t know! Ask Evil Chester Cheetah!

Happy Halloween, everybody!

Lay’s Passport to Flavor Kettle Cooked Indian Tikka Masala and Brazilian Picanha Potato Chips

lays-passport-to-flavor-kettle-cooked-indian-tikka-masala-and-brazilian-picanha-bagsHere we have the last half of the Passport to Flavor varieties. I’m pretty excited about these last two flavors, as they represent some of my favorite flavors. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

Kettle Cooked Indian Tikka Masala

Previously we traveled from Greece to China; now we’re heading off to India. The flight from China to India is only four and a half hours – that’s less than it takes to cross the United States!

Lay’s calls it Indian Tikka Masala, but this dish purportedly originated in Glasgow and is actually a British national dish. In case you weren’t aware, Indian food is insanely popular in the UK.

The pictures Lay’s uses to symbolize India are a lotus flower, an elephant with a fancy…riding thing on its back, something that I’m pretty sure is supposed to be a mandala, and the Taj Mahal. If they were being fair, it would have British things on it, like…rain, and, I don’t know, a TARDIS? Just a big picture of Morrisey on the bag.

Our back-bag blurb for this one says, “Packed with flavorful spices like turmeric and cumin, the tomato-based dish Tikka Masala is a fixture in global cuisine. Open this flavor and bring some khushee to your day!”

I love that Lay’s is trying to teach us foreign languages, one potato chip bag at a time. Here we have the Hindi word khushee, which I learned means joy or happiness! Or picnic. Picnic was also listed as a defintion.

I barely got the bag open before my nose was assaulted with the smell of curry spices. Oh, what a delightful odor!

lays-passport-to-flavor-kettle-cooked-indian-tikka-masala

The chips are an appropriately bright shade of orange, considering that real Tikka Masala is often so violently colored that it looks like it’s going to commit federal crimes on your digestive system.

Unlike the Chinese Szechuan Chicken flavor of Lay’s, the chicken flavor wasn’t super prominent in Indian Tikka Masala. Instead, you’re punched in the mouth with the flavors of tomato, turmeric and cumin, along with a level of heat that is not shabby.

Lay’s definitely captured the essential flavors of Tikka Masala, but managed to do it in a way that isn’t so heavy that you can only eat a few at a time. These are totally munchable, especially if you like your chips with a little bit of a kick. Warning: you’ll definitely crave some solid curry after eating some of these.

Brazilian Picanha

From India we go to Brazil, our final destination. The flight was 19 hours; at this point, you want to kill yourself, but the flight is mostly empty so you get an entire row to yourself so you can lay down. Score! But the only in-flight movie available is Gigli. You win some, you lose some.

Brazil is represented by a sun, a parrot, a soccer- sorry, football, and a palm tree. Damn, I feel like Lay’s really phoned it in for Brazil. Which is especially insulting since these chips came out around the same time as the Olympics.

I’ve never had picanha, but it sounds amazing. There’s a Brazilian steakhouse near me called Fogo de Chão, where people just walk around with giant slabs of meat and cut it off for you right at your table. This sounds like the most amazing thing in the world to me.

Lay’s has a trick up its sleeve with this flavor: in teeny-tiny print under the chip name, it says “Steak & Chimichurri Sauce”.

So maybe I’ve never had proper picanha. But I’ve had the shit out of some chimichurri sauce. It’s like pesto’s Argentinian cousin, except made with parsley and oregano. It’s so, so good. I just got at least 80% more excited about these chips.

Now let’s learn something from Lay’s: “Picanha, the finest cut of Brazilian steak, is skewer-grilled with coarse salt to lock in flavor. Mix in the bright flavors of chimichurri sauce & you’ll be saying ‘mais, por favor!’”

I didn’t have to look this one up, because I have a rudimentary knowledge of Spanish and there’s some overlap into Portuguese, so this obviously means “more, please!” Much easier to understand than the picnic word.

lays-passport-to-flavor-brazilian-picanha

Might as well lay it out there: Brazilian Picanha potato chips taste like actual grilled steak and what dark goddamn magic is Lay’s hiding in their flavor laboratory?

These chips are goddamn delicious. My problem lies with the chimichurri flavor, though. Maybe it’s just my experience, but I was hoping for a stronger presence with more kick. Instead, it was more laid back, throwing some garlic and a little herbiness in with the predominant steak flavoring.

That said, the ingredients list does include everything in chimichurri, even extra virgin olive oil. Once I adjusted my expectations, I found out I liked Brazilian Picanha even more. The steak is the real flavor here, and it shines in all of its unnaturally realistic glory.

These were two solid flavors from Lay’s and a great way to end our Passport to Flavor trip. I hope you had a great trip!

Lay’s Passport to Flavor Kettle Cooked Indian Tikka Masala and Brazilian Picanha Potato Chips

  • Score (Kettle Cooked Indian Tikka Masala): 4 out of 5 digestive federal crimes
  • Score (Brazilian Picanha): 4.5 out of 5 men walking around with meat slabs
  • Price: $5.98 (for an embarrassingly large multipack of 20 bags of Lay’s)
  • Size: 1 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Walmart
  • Nutritional Quirk: Along with beef fat, Brazilian Picanha also contains “beef extract”. Perhaps we’re better off not knowing what that is.

 

Lay’s Passport to Flavor Wavy Greek Tzatziki and Chinese Szechuan Chicken

lays-passport-to-flavor-wavy-greek-tzatziki-and-chinese-szechuan-chicken-bagsLay’s has come out with four new flavors, and for once they’re not asking you to make agonizing decisions about what should stay and what should go. Instead, they’re running a contest called Passport to Flavor, where you can enter to win…I don’t know, trips to places and stuff. I’m just here for the chips.

Lay’s Wavy Greek Tzatziki

lays-passport-to-flavor-wavy-greek-tzatziki

The first stamp on our flavor passports takes us to Greece. You can tell because there’s a pegasus on the bag! I feel like a pegasus belongs more on the bedroom wall of 11-year-old me than a bag of chips, but hey. There’s also a dove with an olive branch, in case you haven’t been hit over the head with mythology enough.

To finish up the theme, we also have the Parthenon, and a scroll, because…you know…scrolls. I like that Lay’s couldn’t think of anything from Greece that had come about in the last two millenia.

No matter when the Greeks invented it, tzatziki is a baller condiment. And I say that as a great lover of condiments. I never would have thought that I’d be a fan of putting yogurt on meat, but no gyro is complete without the stuff.

The back of the bag has a little blurb that says, “When the Greeks mixed dill, garlic, and other unique spices to yogurt, Tzatziki became a Mediterranean classic! There’s no doubt this creamy flavor will have you saying ‘OPA!’”

I’ve heard people say “OPA!” before, but I was never quite sure what it meant, so I decided to look it up. According to one website, “The actual meaning of “Opa!” is more like “Oops” or “Whoops!” Among Greeks, you might hear it after someone bumps into something or drops or breaks an object.”

The idea of Lay’s telling me that I’ll be saying “Whoops, stubbed my toe eating tzatziki-flavored potato chips!” just tickles me.

What also tickles me is the flavor of these chips. They’re like Sour Cream & Onion’s hairier cousin. It’s simple, but it works: the base flavor of creamy, tangy yogurt, with highlights of bright dill and even a bit of refreshing cucumber. It’s that simple, and it’s spot-on tzatziki. If you like the flavor of this Greek dressing, then you’ll like these Lay’s.

It’s also worth noting that one of the ingredients is “tzatziki seasoning”, which contains natural dill, cucumber, and yogurt flavor, although I’m not entirely sure what natural yogurt flavor means. Powdered yogurt?

Chinese Szechuan Chicken

lays-passport-to-flavor-chinese-szechuan-chicken

Our next stop is China. Your flight was 12 hours long; it totally sucked, but at least you had the aisle seat.

Lay’s has represented China with bamboo, a pagoda, a traditional Chinese dragon and one of those paper lanterns that I associate more with a trip to Party City than China itself.

The poor Szechuan chicken on the bag doesn’t even get the dignity of being placed on a plate; it’s just represented in a take-out box, delivered to a young couple in love who just got their first studio apartment, eaten while they sit on the bare floor and make Goo Goo Gai Pan eyes at each other.

“The regional Sichuan pepper is where takeout favorite Szechuan Chicken gets its name. Why wait for delivery – we’ve got the tongue-tingling sensation of ‘málà’ right here!”

It seems like the theme for Lay’s Passport to Flavor is to use one foreign word per cringingly caps lock-filled blurb on the back of their bags. I’d never heard of málà before, so I looked it up, and apparently it’s a “popular oily, spicy, and numbing Chinese sauce which consists of Sichuanese peppercorn, chili pepper and various spices simmered with oil.”

“The term málà is a combination of two Chinese characters: “numbing” (麻) and “spicy (hot)” (辣), referring to the feeling in the mouth after eating the sauce. The numbness is caused by Sichuan pepper, which contains 3% hydroxy-alpha-sanshool,” Wikipedia goes on to educate me, combining etymology and science into one compressed lesson.

I’ve had Chinese food many times, but I’ve never had Szechuan chicken. I was worried that this would impact my ability, but luckily (maybe?) Lay’s seemed to have me covered, seizing my taste buds with chopstick-like precision. I don’t know what that means.

My first chip flooded my mouth with chicken bullion flavor, but was quickly followed up with strong notes of soy sauce, peppers (both with flavor and heat) and then a hint of something bizarrely nostril-clearing. Wasabi? Horseradish?

This seemed out of character with the flavors of Szechuan chicken, but maybe it was the málà at play? Very curious indeed.

Some of the ingredients listed include actual roasted Szechuan peppers and “natural Szechuan wok type flavor”, which is a mysterious phrase for an ingredient. Gotta love that natural wok (type) flavor.

All of these flavors complemented each other nicely and created a complex mélange that would be delicious as part of a Chinese meal, but doesn’t make for a very snackable potato chip. It’s just too rich and intense to eat more than a few chips at a time.

Lay’s Passport to Flavor Wavy Greek Tzatziki and Chinese Szechuan Chicken

  • Score (Wavy Greek Tzatziki): 4 out of 5 awesome pegasi
  • Score (Chinese Szechuan Chicken): 3 out of 5 wok type flavors
  • Price: $5.98 (for an embarrassingly large multipack of 20 bags of Lay’s)
  • Size: 1 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Walmart
  • Nutritional Quirk: The Chinese Szechuan Chicken flavor contains THREE different chicken ingredients! (Broth, powder and fat)

 

 

 

Limited Edition Choco Chip Oreo Cookies

Limited Editon Choco Chip Oreo Cookies PackageIf I’m counting correctly, Choco Chip Oreos are the sixth Oreo to come out in 2016. An astonishing number. And yet, I’ve only reviewed one out of the other five. Why so lax? Why aren’t I on these like sugary creme on sugary cookie?

I’m just so Oreo-d out. I probably could have drummed up some interest in the Fruity Crisp ones, but I just never got around to them. My brain and my cupboard just didn’t have room for it.

But for some reason, these Choco Chip Oreos caught my attention. On the outside, it looks like a pretty boring premise, and not unlike the Limited Edition Cookie Dough Oreos from early 2014. But once you look deeper, it becomes somewhat of an Inception-esque cookie creation: The cookie part looks like chocolate chip cookies and the creme is “Choco Chip” flavored.

The sum of its parts is an Oreo, a cookie unto itself that has inspired countless knock-offs and mix-ins, that is masquerading as a chocolate chip creation, and entirely different type of cookie that also has countless mix-ins.

It has finally happened. Oreo has taken the cookie and folded it in upon itself, causing some sort of cosmic cookie implosion. This is the end, my friends. It’s been a good ride.

Okay, so that’s drastic. The cookie world will not end. In fact, there’s probably a PR being written right now about yet another Oreo cookie flavor. But for now, there is Choco Chip.

The name itself raises questions. Choco Chip could be a cutesy name, which is fine, but then Oreo really commits to the phrase by also calling the creme Choco Chip. I guess, unlike Cookie Dough Oreos, these are not made with “chocolatey chips”, which is also a dubious “ingredient”. Choco Chip just takes it one step further outside the zone of a real food item.

Limited Editon Choco Chip Oreo Cookies

When I opened the package I took a big ol’ whiff, and the smell was like the memory of chocolate chip cookies combined with something artificial…maybe the creme. It was an interesting olfactory sensation. It’s like chocolate chip cookies, but if this was a dystopian future and everyone had forgotten the recipe, so they just tried to make them from their grandmothers’ memories of their mothers’ kitchen.

Limited Editon Choco Chip Oreo Cookies Creme

As has been my habit when trying new Oreo flavors, I tried the cookie part first. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it did not, indeed, taste like a dystopian cookie memory; instead, it tasted like an almost-there Chips Ahoy! cookie. It had a very satisfying crunch – typical of an Oreo – and extra-crunchy bits that, while I had no illusions about being actual chocolate chips, added an extra layer of texture.

I’d honestly be curious to see how these Oreos stacked up against the newly-released Chips Ahoy! Thins.

But, as we all know, there’s two parts to an Oreo, and arguably the most important part is the creme filling. Like the cookie, it was flecked with a darker chocolate color, but again, these were not chocolate chips. Unlike the cookie, however, they added no different texture to the creme.

What was most notable about the filling was how much it didn’t taste like a chocolate chip cookie. Alone, it had a light, fake chocolate taste with a bit of an odd aftertaste, as well as Oreo’s typically over-sweet creme flavor.

Chocolate chip cookies have a distinct taste even without the chocolate chips, and the creme in Limited Edition Choco Chip Oreo Cookies totally failed to capture that flavor. It didn’t even manage to get a good chocolate flavor going.

The cookies, however, had a nice, chocolate chip cookie-esque flavor to them, which was bolstered by the crunchy texture and the added crunchy bits. I started to wonder if I was just imagining the extra crunchiness, so I ate way more Oreos than I usually can tolerate in an attempt to figure it out. My conclusion? I had a stomachache, and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t just imagining them.

When you eat a Choco Chip Oreo as a whole, you get a sad juxtaposition of good and bad, chocolate chip cookie and Choco Chip weirdness. If only they could have made the creme match the cookie; then they would have had a real powerhouse Limited Edition flavor on their hands.

I might just wind up twisting the rest of these apart, eating the cookies, and using the creme to make some sort of weird golem sculpture. After all, Halloween is right around the corner, friends!

Limited Edition Choco Chip Oreo Cookies

  • Score: 2.5 out of 5 Inceptioned creme golems
  • Price: $2.50
  • Size: 10.7 oz package
  • Purchased at: Walmart
  • Nutritional Quirk: The Choco Chip-iest ingredient listed is cocoa, which is depressingly far down on the list.

Hostess Key Lime Slime Twinkies and White Fudge Marshmallow Twinkies Limited Edition Ghostbusters

Hostess Key Lime Slime Twinkies and White Fudge Marshmallow Twinkies Limited Edition Ghostbusters BoxHere we go, folks – not one, but TWO different Ghostbusters-themed Twinkies! It’s not what the world asked for, but it’s definitely what the world needs.

It feels like this is a thing that should have happened back in 1984, when the first Ghostbusters movie came out. The reason? This.

In case you can’t click that or you’ve never seen the original movie because you lived in a cave or you’re under 30 (and still living in a cave), Egon (the scientist nerd) uses a Twinkie as an analogy to let the rest of the Ghostbusters know how fucked they were by the amount of PKE (psychokinetic energy, DUH) in the city. He says that it would be like if the Twinkie he was holding was 35 feet long and 600 pounds.

To which Winston says “that’s a big Twinkie”, which I’m sure was repeated about 6,000 times around the water cooler the week after the movie came out, because nobody laughs harder than when your “joke” consists of regurgitating a line from a movie you just saw.

If the Internet had widely existed in 1984, I can’t believe Hostess wouldn’t have teamed up with the movie to get these Twinkies out there. But alas, 1984 was a simpler time. A time less crammed with weird promotional products.

It’s not like those things didn’t exist before the ol’ web – take your brain on a quick nostalgia trip and I’m sure you’ll remember Nintendo-themed cereal and the infamous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vanilla Puddin’ Pies – but back then, bizarre food was aimed at kids. Now it’s aimed at all of us.

And I love it, of course.

Key Lime Slime

Hostess Key Lime Slime Twinkie Limited Edition Ghostbusters

This had to be the easiest marketing meeting ever for Hostess. “When people think of Ghostbusters, they think of slime…what flavor rhymes with slime…C’MON PEOPLE, PUT YOUR THINKING CAPS ON!”

I love that you can see the green filling glowing ghoulishly through the Twinkie sponge cake. It’s like a subtle warning sign saying, “don’t open this ghost trap!”

Hostess Key Lime Slime Twinkie Limited Edition Ghostbusters Filling

In a fun twist, the Key Lime filling inside the Twinkie looks more neon and more like slime than the filling pictured on the package. The package looks sort of like the Twinkie is extruding Play-Doh; the real thing looks like a malevolent force crawling out of the snack cake.

The lime flavor of the cream is actually pretty mild, which was a nice surprise. It didn’t taste like a lime Skittle (RIP) was morphed into cream filling. That would have been jarring. It doesn’t taste exactly like a key lime pie, but there was a nice balance of lime and creamy vanilla.

I didn’t think I’d like Key Lime Slime Twinkies at all, minus the fact that they were slime-themed Twinkies. But the fact that they kept the lime toned down and mixed it with creamier flavors made it pleasantly snackable.

White Fudge Marshmallow

Hostess White Fudge Marshmallow Twinkie Limited Edition Ghostbusters

Here we have Amorphous White Blob, an out-of-focus picture of something that could be anything.

Sadly, this is a perfectly fine picture, but the amorphous part stands. White Fudge Marshmallow Twinkie isn’t winning any beauty pageants. But isn’t it what’s on the inside that counts?

This Ghostbusters Twinkie has a somewhat less straightforward description than Key Lime Slime: “White Fudge Covered Sponge Cake with Marshmallow Topping and Creamy Filling”. But wait, why isn’t the filling marshmallow-flavored? How is it topped with marshmallow but also covered with white fudge?

Hostess White Fudge Marshmallow Twinkie Limited Edition Ghostbusters Filling

Sure, the inside of White Fudge Marshmallow looks less threatening than Key Lime Slime, but there are surprises hidden in these white layers. If you look closely on top of the sponge cake, that’s not just an extra-thick layer of fudge – in between the white chocolate and the cake, there’s actually a layer of marshmallow!

Yes, that’s where the marshmallow is hiding. It’s like a super-thin Peep, or maybe a coconut-less Snoball (I don’t like coconut so I haven’t had one of those in ages).

This is a pretty inventive use of marshmallow, but that doesn’t mean it was good. It completely lacked the flavor of marshmallow, instead serving as a chewy, stretchy layer that threatened to tear apart the Twinkie from its white fudge covering, which was quickly melting between my fingers, creating a sticky mess.

Speaking of that white fudge, it completely dominated all the rest of the Twinkie flavors with it’s intense sweetness. If you enjoy the taste of regular Twinkie filling, you’ll never taste it here – it’s just sweet white fudge all the way down. Again, couldn’t they have made the filling marshmallow-flavored?

To me, the White Fudge Marshmallow Twinkie had a weird texture and was a sugar overload, but points for creativity and for giving the Stay Puft Marshmallow man a substantial amount of real estate on the front of the box.

I’m so happy that there are not one, but two limited edition Ghostbusters Twinkies. Key Lime Slime was a slam dunk idea with a surprisingly decent taste, but White Fudge Marshmallow was a step outside the box – plus it was a perfect homage to our friend Stay Puft. Flawed in flavor, but I could feel the heart was there. My hat’s off to you, Hostess.

Hostess Key Lime Slime Twinkies and White Fudge Marshmallow Twinkies Limited Edition Ghostbusters

  • Score(Key Lime Slime): 3.5 out of 5 obviously-absent Slimers
  • Score (White Fudge Marshmallow): 2 out of 5 hooray-inducing present Stay Puft Marshmallow Men
  • Price: $2.50 (each)
  • Size: 10 Twinkies (Key Lime Slime); 9 Twinkies (White Fudge Marshmallow)
  • Purchased at: Walmart
  • Nutritional Quirk: Honestly, nothing. It’s all just sugar and unpronounceable ingredients. At the end of the day, they are still Twinkies.

Happy 7th Birthday, Junk Food Betty!

Birthday Cake by Theresa Thompson, on FlickrI’m actually a day late to my own birthday! Whoops! Well, another year around the sun, and we’re still hanging in there, wolfing down burgers and drowning in Oreos. And I couldn’t be happier about it.

Here’s to another year of weird flavors, limited editions, and special holiday treats. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my crazy ramblings. I really do appreciate it, and I hope you’ll stick around for another year!

Hi-C Ecto Cooler (2016)

Hi-C Ecto Cooler 2016 CanI was too young to see the first Ghostbusters when it came out, but once I was able watch the movie without running out of the room screaming as soon as the Library Ghost showed up, I was a fan. Not a crazed die-hard fan, but a fan nonetheless. How could I not be when it had a giant marshmallow monster?

I never did get any of the toys, minus some stickers and maybe a Slimer eraser top or a tub of slime. There was so much slime in my childhood. Anyway, I guess it was considered more of a boy thing. I was perfectly content having my Barbies fight ghosts and vampires instead of nabbing a tiny Dan Aykroyd to do so.

But Ecto Cooler was something that everyone had access to. There’s no gender-specific aisles at the grocery store, and Slimer was mine for the taking in the form of a Hi-C juice box. It was like taking a friend with me to school. The only friend I ever had at lunch.

*sob*

But if you’re younger than I am, which is looking more and more like a probability as I continue to stare mortality in the eye, you probably don’t give a shit about any of this. Blah blah blah 80s nostalgia, blah blah there’s no Slimer on the can.

Oh yeah, that’s a real thing that real people are upset about. “Thanks for the Ecto Cooler but WHERE’S SLIMER???” Y’all need to calm the hell down. Besides, these cans do something that I’m sure your 1980s-loving self will surely appreciate:

Hi-C Ecto Cooler 2016 Color Changing Can

COLOR-CHANGING CANS WOOOOO! Hypercolor t-shirts! The Great Bluedini! Are you satisfied yet, adult-children? If not, there’s slime dripping down from the top of the can. TAKE IT.

All of the yellow on the can changes to green – even the little accent lines on the slime. Not huge, I know, but trust me – 9-year-old you would freak out at this concept. Never mind that it’s the same technology Coors uses to let you know their beer has cooled down sufficiently enough that you won’t notice how shitty it is.

We are being blessed with all these snack foods (don’t get me started on the Twinkies – because I will later) because of the new Ghostbusters movie. Have you heard of it? It’s a little indie flick. Also, it has girls in it instead of boys! You can call that stupid if you want, and the Internet has, but if it had been an all-girl squad back when I was younger, I sure as hell would have had all the toys.

Oh, here I go with the nostalgia again. Let’s get to the drink itself.

Hi-C Ecto Cooler 2016

What a beautiful, neon, ectoplasmic shade of green. If your parents are unwilling to buy you a tub of slime, you can always pour this over your toys and pretend they’re being slimed on your parents’ carpet. I’m pretty sure the staining effect will be similarly disastrous. (Seriously, parents, what did you think was going to happen when you bought your child a tub of slime?)

I gotta square up with ya: I don’t really remember what Ecto Cooler tasted like. I mean, when this Hi-C first hit my tongue, it went, “Hey that tastes familiar from my childhood,” but my tongue could be totally lying. But why wouldn’t the recipe be the same? Ecto Cooler lost Slimer and became Shoutin’ Orange Tangergreen and then Crazy Citrus Cooler, which was finally discontinued in 2007. It’s not like they lost the ingredients list.

So what does Ecto Cooler taste like to me today? Well, like many things that originate from a juice box, insanely sweet, with a little tart citrus kick and a lot of artificial tangerine, which is really just more like orange.

It tastes like a shitty kids’ drink. And it’s neon green. I shouldn’t be drinking this. But I am, and I’m loving it, even as I realize how crappy it tastes.

It was a little weird drinking the juice out of a can, because I associate cans with soda, so I had to re-adjust my palate to nullify the expectation of carbonation. I feel like these belong in their original format, the juice box. Which, lucky for us and kids alike, are also available! Just not anywhere I could find. But I’ll take my color-changing can over a juice box anyways. It makes me look so much more mature.

Summing up all this rambling, Hi-C Ecto Cooler is a gimmicky return of a drink that us old people think is the greatest thing in the goddamn world, but it’s really just a very sugary orange drink with no nutritional value. But it does come in a very cool can and a heavy dose of nostalgia. If that’s a flavor that’s up your alley, then go for it. Happy hunting!

Hi-C Ecto Cooler (2016)

  • Score: 2.5 out of 5 slime carpet stains
  • Price: $7.75 (for a case of 12)
  • Size: 11.5 oz. can
  • Purchased at: amazon.com (Prime Pantry)
  • Nutritional Quirk: No surprise, a whopping 41 grams of sugar in one can. (For comparison, a 12 oz. can of Coke has 39 grams.) I take it back about lacking any nutritional value, though: it does have 100% of your daily recommended value of Vitamin C!

Honey Nut, Coffee Nut, and Chili Nut M&Ms Vote 2016

Honey Nut, Coffee Nut, Chili Nut M&Ms PackagesVoting. It’s something about 50% of you will be doing come November, statistically speaking. It’s something you might have already done, if you participated in the primaries. Or in Lay’s Flavor Swap.

It’s all the rage, and M&Ms doesn’t want to be left behind, so they’ve created a vote of their own.

Peanut M&Ms haven’t gotten the extreme makeover that regular M&Ms have gotten over the years. They’ve never been turned into candy corn, or claimed to be sundaes. Pretty much the best makeover they can hope for is turning red and green every Christmas.

But now there are not one but three different Peanut M&Ms for you to try! Hooray for Nazi Psychologist J. Jonah Jameson Yellow M&M. (That’s your Google project for today. You’re welcome.)

Let’s break them down.

Honey Nut

Honey Nut M&Ms

I like what they tried to do with the color motif here, but my bag obviously came out a little lopsided. I think the beige ones are supposed to be honey, and the black and yellow ones are supposed to represent a bee. Except I only got one yellow one.

When I think Honey Nut, my brain automatically goes to Honey Nut Cheerios, a childhood cereal staple of mine that holds up to this day. Could they replicate that taste and even make it better with the addition of chocolate?

In all honesty, my first few Honey Nut M&Ms just tasted like a normal Peanut M&M. After a few more, however, a hint of extra sweetness came through. But that was it. There’s no way I would have categorized it as honey. Me and the bee are disappointed.

Coffee Nut

Coffee Nut M&Ms

This is by far the most appealing color combination of the three. Sure, it’s just browns and cream, but the browns have these enticing speckled patterns, and together they definitely evoke the essence of coffee.

Unlike Honey Nut, Coffee Nut M&Ms had an immediate, distinct flavor. Sort of like a cafe au lait with added nuttiness that came up through my nostrils as I chewed. It wasn’t a truly authentic coffee flavor, but it definitely had roasted coffee notes, as well as a creamer-like flavor and a dash of artificial sweetener for good measure. Eating these with coffee made them taste even better.

Chili Nut

Chili Nut M&Ms

This is what I consider to be the most adventurous of the three new M&Ms flavors. While it’s not unusual to pair chocolate with chili, I think it’s something that many people may think twice about.

I like the combo of dark red, bright red and bright orange. It’s basically a big fat warning signal in candy coating form.

Much like the Honey Nut M&Ms, upon chewing the first few, I felt they tasted like regular Peanut M&Ms. Disappointment washed over me.

But then I swallowed. Oh, damn! These M&Ms have some kick. I mean, I’m not talking snot-levels of heat, but Mars was not shy. Soon not only my throat but also my mouth was coated in a low burn.

The problem, however, is that it seems the chili and the rest of the M&M flavor are completely disconnected from each other. Chili and chocolate can work together, but in this M&M it almost seemed like they were on different pages.

I do have to give kudos to M&Ms for not shying away from the heat, though. Oh, and unlike the previous two flavors that list only “artificial flavors” as the contributing factor to their names, Chili Nut M&Ms include both “spice” and chili extract in the ingredients.

Quite a range of flavors to be had here, from the barely-noticeable to knocking out your taste buds. In the end, it was the one that landed in the middle that I liked the most: Coffee Nut M&Ms. The creamy coffee-esque flavor is obviously a great match with chocolate, and the peanut inside only adds to the profile. I would have liked a little stronger coffee and a little less artifical sweetness, though.

But don’t take my word for it – you can vote for your favorite here. You have until June 17, 2016 (sorry, I know this is short notice) to have your voice be heard.

Honey Nut, Coffee Nut, and Chili Nut M&Ms

  • Score (Honey Nut): 2.5 out of 5 Buzz the Bees
  • Score (Coffee Nut): 4 out of 5 coffee buzzes
  • Score (Chili Nut): 2.5 out of 5 burned  taste budz
  • Price: $1.00 each
  • Size: 1.74 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Walgreens #06177
  • Nutritional Quirk: Chili Nut M&Ms use actual chili extract, which I thought was neat. Wish they’d done something similar with the other two flavors.