News: Pizza Hut’s New Motto is “The Flavor of Now”; Set to Unleash Massive New Menu on 11/19/14

Pizza Hut by Roadsidepictures, on flickrOn Wednesday, November 19, 2014, Pizza Hut is adding new ingredients, sauces, crust flavors, sauce drizzles, and “Skinny” pizzas. They’re also changing their motto to “The Flavor of Now”. There’s a ton of new stuff going on. You can check it all out here, but I’ll try to break it down for you as succinctly as possible.

New Ingredients: Peruvian Cherry Peppers, Classic Meatballs, Fresh Spinach, Premium Salami, Sliced Banana Peppers

Sauce Choices: Classic Marinara, Premium Crushed Tomato, Creamy Garlic Parmesan, Honey Sriracha, Barbeque, Buffalo

Crust Flavors: Hut Favorite, Toasted Parmesan, Salted Pretzel, Honey Sriracha, Fiery Red Pepper, Toasted Cheddar, Toasted Asiago, Garlic Buttery Blend

Sauce Drizzles: Balsamic, Honey Sriracha, Barbeque, Buffalo

New Pizzas:

Garden Party – “Premium crushed tomato sauce topped with fresh green bell peppers, fresh red onions, fresh mushrooms, diced Roma tomatoes and fresh spinach. Flavored up with our Hut Favorite on the crust edge and a balsamic sauce drizzle.”

Old Fashioned Meatbrawl – “Classic marinara sauce topped with classic meatballs, fresh red onions and diced Roma tomatoes. Flavored up with our Hut Favorite on the crust edge.”

Cock-A-Doodle Bacon – “Creamy garlic Parmesan sauce topped with grilled chicken, hardwood smoked bacon and diced Roma tomatoes. Flavored up with toasted Parmesan on the crust edge.”

Hot and Twisted – “Premium crushed tomato sauce topped with premium salami, sliced jalapeño peppers and fresh red onions. Flavored up with a salted pretzel crust edge.”

Pretzel Piggy – “Creamy garlic Parmesan sauce topped with hardwood smoked bacon, fresh mushrooms and fresh spinach. Flavored up with a salted pretzel crust edge and balsamic sauce drizzle.”

BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger – “Barbeque sauce topped with classic meatballs, hardwood smoked bacon, fresh red onions and diced Roma tomatoes. Flavored up with toasted cheddar on the crust edge and a barbeque sauce drizzle.”

Giddy-Up BBQ Chicken – “Barbeque sauce topped with grilled chicken, hardwood smoked bacon and fresh red onions. Flavored up with toasted cheddar on the crust edge and a barbeque sauce drizzle.”

Buffalo State of Mind – “Buffalo sauce topped with grilled chicken, sliced banana peppers and fresh red onions. Flavored up with toasted cheddar on the crust edge and a Buffalo sauce drizzle.”

Cherry Pepper Bombshell – “Premium crushed tomato sauce topped with premium salami, Peruvian cherry peppers and fresh spinach. Flavored up with toasted Asiago on the crust edge and a balsamic sauce drizzle.”

7-Alarm Fire – “Premium crushed tomato sauce topped with pepperoni, sliced jalapeño peppers, Peruvian cherry peppers, sliced banana peppers and fresh green bell peppers. Flavored up with fiery red pepper on the crust edge.”

Sweet Sriracha Dynamite – “Honey Sriracha sauce topped with grilled chicken, sliced jalapeño peppers, sweet pineapple and Peruvian cherry peppers. Flavored up with honey Sriracha on the crust edge and a honey Sriracha sauce drizzle.”

Skinny Flavor Pizzas (250 calories or less per slice):

Skinny Beach – “Premium crushed tomato sauce topped with grilled chicken, fresh red onions, Peruvian cherry peppers and fresh spinach.”

Skinny with a Kick – “Premium crushed tomato sauce topped with pepperoni, sliced jalapeño peppers, Peruvian cherry peppers, fresh green bell peppers and fresh red onions. Flavored up with fiery red pepper on the crust edge.”

Skinny Italy – “Classic marinara sauce topped with classic meatballs, diced Roma tomatoes, fresh mushrooms, fresh red onions and fresh spinach. Flavored up with a balsamic sauce drizzle.”

Skinny Luau – “Premium crushed tomato sauce topped with grilled chicken, slow-roasted ham, fresh green bell peppers and sweet pineapple.”

Skinny Club – “Creamy garlic Parmesan sauce topped with grilled chicken, slow-roasted ham, diced Roma tomatoes and fresh spinach. Flavored up with toasted Asiago on the crust edge.”

Pizza Hut’s website notes that the calorie reduction of their Skinny Flavors is “based on a thinner crust and balanced portion of toppings”, which says to me that either their toppings are sadly sparse or their regular toppings are completely unbalanced.

Phew! Are you guys still with me?

I don’t think I’ve ever seen an overhaul this drastic from a fast food restaurant, well, ever. All of Pizza Hut’s Classic Flavor pizzas are also still available, and obviously, you can mix and match new and old to your heart’s content.

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m excited to order from Pizza Hut! There are so many choices, the mind boggles. I’m also very curious to see how these changes effect Pizza Hut’s sales in the future.

As stated, all this rolls out on November 19, 2014. If you like, let me know what you think of the new menu!

Kraft Philadelphia Bacon Cream Cheese

Kraft Philadelphia Bacon Cream Cheese PackageWhen Kraft came out with two new Philadelphia Cream Cheese flavors last year, Spicy Jalapeño and Chipotle, I was over the moon. Not a fan of sweet cream cheese flavors and immensely bored with the other savory options, I was hoping they would be the answer to my prayers.

And they were! They were fabulous flavors, and I continue to consume them to this day. They’re pretty much the only cream cheese flavors that have graced my bagels since.

But now Philadelphia has a new savory flavor: Bacon. Which leads me to say something I never thought I’d say – I’m tired of bacon.

Please, put down your Internet weapons! And by that I mean, your comments. Listen, I love bacon. I will always love bacon. But you can’t just throw bacon into everything. I mean, you can, but that doesn’t mean you should. Bacon mints. Bacon gum. Devices that will turn bacon into a cup.

Okay, if somebody offered me a bacon cup, I can’t say I’d turn it down. But people are just baconing for the sake of bacon, these days. The Internet is beating a dead pig.

Of course, after all this bitching and moaning, here I am, reviewing bacon cream cheese. Does this qualify as bacon for the sake of bacon? Quite possibly. On the other hand, I am happy to see another savory flavor offering on the shelves. Hey, if it tastes good, it tastes good. I’m not going to complain just to sound too cool for bacon.

The package says this cream cheese is made with real bacon and shows tantalizing strips of bacon on it, but upon inspection of the ingredients, it contains, more specifically, “bacon bits”. While these still technically qualify as bacon, I was highly disappointed upon reading this.

Kraft Philadelphia Bacon Cream Cheese

My trepidation only grew as I opened the package. Ignore the yellow fluid – that just happens with cream cheese. What really got me was that there were no visible chunks of bacon; just little black flecks on the surface.

My first bite confirmed my fears and suspicions. The cream cheese had a very fake-tasting bacon flavor to it; if you’ve ever had a sour cream-based jarred bacon dip, it’s similar to that flavor. I attribute this to the liquid smoke used, presumably to “enhance” your flavor experience.

Kraft Philadelphia Bacon Cream Cheese Bacon Bits

The bacon bits are, well, bacon bits. Big enough that there’s a noticeable change in texture, but not big enough for your mouth to actually register it as bacon. Basically, just the right size for getting stuck in your teeth and being annoying.

Despite all this negativity, I continued to eat the stuff. Ugh, this always happens. I blame it on the cream cheese, which I love so very much. I’ll keep eating cream cheese even if whatever it’s flavored with is sub-par.

If I were to recommend this cream cheese at all, I’d recommend it more as a cracker dip than a bagel spread. That said, I can’t in good faith recommend it for anything. The cream cheese itself is so fakony in flavor, tasting mostly like liquid smoke and sadness, and the bacon bits are small and “real” only in the vaguest of terms.

I guess if you enjoy that faux-bacon flavor, then you’d enjoy Philadelphia Bacon Cream Cheese. For me, this was a disappointing addition to the savory Philadelphia line, and it will not be gracing my fridge shelves again. I’m sticking with my Spicy Jalapeño and Chipotle, which both taste like and contain said ingredients.

Kraft Philadelphia Bacon Cream Cheese

  • Score: 1 out of 5 bacon bits stuck in my teeth
  • Price: $2.49
  • Size: 8 oz. tub
  • Purchased at: Fry’s Food
  • Nutritional Quirks: “Rendered bacon fat” is listed as an ingredient, which sounds gross, but I wish I could taste rendered bacon fat in this.

Fearsome Foursome: Snak King Fright Bites Tortilla Chips, Jones Limited Edition Blood Orange Soda, Hershey’s Candy Corn Bar, Seattle Chocolates Dead Sea Salt Milk Chocolate Truffle Bar with Sea Salt and Toffee

Snak King Fright Bites Tortilla Chips Bag Jones Blood Orange Soda Hershey's Candy Corn Bar Seattle Chocolates Dead Sea Salt BarHappy Halloween, everybody! I mentioned this before, but I didn’t get to review nearly the amount of stuff I wanted to review this month. And now, here we are, on the holiday itself. So get ready for a MEGA REVIEW.

Well, it’s not really mega, but I’m going to do short reviews of four different Halloween items. OooOOOOooo procrastination.

Snak King Fright Bites Tortilla Chips

Snak King Fright Bites Tortilla Chips Bag

I was so pleasantly surprised when I saw these at the store. Like I said in my Cheetos review, savory snacks just don’t get the spooky treatment like candy does, so this item deserves a shout-out. Way to go, Snak King. You are such a leader that you add “King of Snacks” underneath your logo, just in case people weren’t clear on that.

The bag itself is wonderfully spooky, with a strange, flat-topped vampire child, a ghost who appears very surprised or even scared by said vampire’s hair, a freaked-out tree, a happy Jack O’Lantern and a tombstone. Love it.

Snak King Fright Bites Tortilla Chips

And look at those goddamn chips. I expected to have a hard time finding properly shaped/intact examples, but a large amount of them were in this pristine condition. Not even a regular bag of Tostitos can accomplish that easily.

Of course, the color doesn’t effect the taste at all, and they’re actually decent as a tortilla chip. I expected the quality of the chip itself to suffer, but they were well-salted and on par with any other name-brand tortilla chip.

The only quibble I have is that they’re a little too lightweight to do any heavy lifting, like a salsa or guacamole. They worked well with cheese dip, with little eye hole leakage.

But who cares about that when you’ve got tortilla chips shaped like ghosts, pumpkins and bats, and all appropriately colored? If you’re not putting Fright Bites out at your Halloween party, you are clinically insane.

Jones Limited Edition Blood Orange Soda

Jones Limited Edition Blood Orange Soda Can

Apparently Jones released this can design and flavor last year also, but I missed it, so here we are. There were four available flavors and cans last year, but this year they only went with two – this and the zombie-themed Caramel Apple, which they were out of when I went to the store. This is probably for the best.

Count Vlah manages to look mildly scary but also comical at the same time, going with a bow tie instead of the traditional wrap around…thing fastened by an amulet. I just realized I have no idea what the hell that thing is called, if it even has a name. Maybe we should call this guy Professor Vlah instead.

Jones Limited Edition Blood Orange Soda

When I started pouring the soda into the glass, I almost had a spastic freakout because the soda looked pink. I could already imagine the thousand-word essay I would spew onto this page about how dare Jones make a Blood Orange soda pink and blah blah vlah. Fortunately for both myself and you, the end result was actually the appropriate shade of bright orange.

Jones Limited Edition Blood Orange Soda tastes like if orange Fanta grew up and moved out of its parents’ house. It’s mostly a regular orange soda, but the addition of real sugar that Jones always uses makes it much more clean and…mature, if you could possibly use such an adjective for orange soda. It also seemed a little more tart than other orange sodas.

I know a lot of people aren’t fans of orange soda, and Jones Blood Orange probably isn’t going to change your mind on that. But if you are a fan of the beverage, you’ll enjoy this iteration. Plus, you get to drink out of a vampire’s head.

Hershey’s Candy Corn Bar

Hershey's Candy Corn Bar Wrapper

This is a new item this Halloween, but just the idea of it didn’t thrill me. Oh boy, more candy corn in stuff that isn’t candy corn, which in itself already sucks!

I was also not thrilled by this packaging. It’s like Hershey’s either didn’t try at all, or tried too hard to look minimal and retro. If the latter is true, no kid is going to appreciate the effort. You’d score 1,000 more points by just throwing a zombie candy corn on the package. Instead, we get…stripes.

I guess the official name of this is Hershey’s Candy Corn Candy Corn Creme with Candy Bits. While that’s redundant, it did actually shatter my misconception that this was going to be white chocolate with candy corn bits. This only increased my trepidation.

Hershey's Candy Corn Bar

I gotta say, however, that the flavor really did surprise me. It took me a second to pin it down, because it wasn’t the generic, plastic candy corn taste I was expecting. It turns out that Hershey’s Candy Corn bar tastes a hell of a lot like cotton candy!

I have to assume this was a happy accident. I mean, I would have been a hell of a lot more stoked to see Hershey’s Cotton Candy, but that’s exactly what Hershey’s Candy Corn is.

It made my mouth confused, then happy, but then kind of sad again, because holy shit is this candy sweet. I ate one snack-sized bar and I felt overloaded with cloying sweetness. Also, while you can see the decorative little orange and yellow bits in the bar, they add nothing to the taste or texture. It would have been fun to have little crunchy bits in there.

So I wasn’t completely disgusted by Hershey’s Candy Corn bar, but that’s only because it tasted nothing like candy corn. If I got this in my trick-or-treat bucket, I’d probably toss it to the side, never to be seen again, and I’d never know that it tasted like cotton candy and ten pounds of sugar. Missed opportunity, Hershey’s.

Seattle Chocolates Dead Sea Salt Milk Chocolate Truffle Bar with Sea Salt and Toffee

Seattle Chocolates Dead Sea Salt Milk Chocolate Truffle Bar with Sea Salt and Toffee Wrapper

After eating Hershey’s, this sure does sound like some fancypants shit, doesn’t it! Truffles and sea salt and toffee, oh my!

I don’t usually go for these fancy chocolate bars, mostly because I’m not a chocolate fanatic, and also because I usually have enough sweets laying around from reviews to satiate any cravings I may have. But this guy was just too good to pass up.

Despite the muted color scheme, the eye is immediately drawn to this chocolate bar’s wrapper. It’s called Dead Sea Salt, and there’s a dancing skeleton on it! There’s also a cat, and like, fifteen different spooky fonts with random Halloweeny words like “bloodcurdling” and “fangs”. It almost looks like a geocities website, but somehow, the clutter totally works.

Seattle Chocolates Dead Sea Salt Milk Chocolate Truffle Bar with Sea Salt and Toffee

…Suffice to say that all the effort went into the packaging.

Seattle Chocolates Dead Sea Salt Milk Chocolate Truffle Bar with Sea Salt and Toffee Inside

No matter though, because that’s what made me buy the bar, so I guess it’s working! As for the taste itself, Seattle Chocolates brings the quality. The chocolate is rich, smooth and creamy, and there are crunchy toffee bits throughout that add great flavor and texture. The hint of salt is there just to add some flavor depth and a nice aftertaste.

That last sentence was me completely talking out of my ass. I don’t understand anything about fancy chocolates. I don’t even know where the “truffle” part came in. I just know that chocolate good, toffee good. Good bar. Good wrapper. Fangs.

Phew! While I wish I’d been able to spread this out over the month, I gotta say, marathoning it all out on Halloween day certainly got me in the spirit! Have a happy Halloween, boils and ghouls!

Cheetos Bag of Bones White Cheddar

Cheetos Bag of Bones White Cheddar BagThis is not so much a review as it is a celebration of what I think is the best new thing to come around this Halloween. The month is almost over and I haven’t gotten to do nearly as much as I wanted, but this item deserves to shine.

Guys, it’s a Bag of Bones!

I have always felt like the savory snacks get sorely neglected every holiday season. It’s all about the candy. But why?! Come Halloween, the best you can usually hope for is some holiday-themed snack bags to give out to trick-or-treaters.

But Cheetos has gone all out with their Bag of Bones. You’ve got all the parts to make your own skeleton – skull, ribcage, generic connector bones, and hands/feet. The hands and feet are the same, but hey. I got no bones to pick with that. You know I was going to go there.

I’m not here to talk about the quality of these Cheetos – if you’re looking for that, they’re the same as these Winter White Cheddar Cheetos in both flavor and texture, except that they’re shaped like skeleton parts so they’re 1,000 times more awesome.

So I, a grown woman, spent an afternoon playing with Cheetos. Here are just a few things I came up with. Yes, I actually made more shapes than this, but didn’t even photograph them. I did it purely for the joy of Halloween Cheetos.

Cheetos Bag of Bones White Cheddar Joe Bones

Here we have Joe Bones, the original skeleton as pictured on the front of the bag. I tried to make sure his fingers actually pointed in an anatomically correct manner. Can’t say as I accomplished this feat (or feet, as it were), since some of the digits were broken off and…well, it’s a Cheeto, so.

Cheetos Bag of Bones White Cheddar Slim Jim

This is Slim Jim. I wanted to give him extra leg bones, but I ran out of room. These Cheetos are deceptively large. Slim is about two feet taller than all the other skeletons, due to actually having a neck. He is the star center on the basketball team at Monster University. He can also palm the ball. Which is a severed human head.

Cheetos Bag of Bones White Cheddar Duane Bradley Belial

This is Duane Bradley and his parasitic twin, Belial. Pretty self-explanatory.

Cheetos Bag of Bones White Cheddar Bette Dot

We shall call these…this…her? Bette and Dot, keeping with this year’s theme on American Horror Story. I figured I needed to include a strong female presence. Hm, they should have made Cheeto pelvises. That would have been fun.

Cheetos Bag of Bones White Cheddar Spider

I think this is my favorite. It’s also the scariest, if you can make puffed corn snacks actually scary. It doesn’t have a name, it just wants to eat you. It also took a while to find all those bone parts, since they are smaller and thus sunk to the bottom of the bag. I had to eat my way through a lot of rib cages and skulls to collect them all. It was a labor of love, and cheese powder.

Well, there you have it! I declare Cheetos Bag of Bones White Cheddar a fabulous break from all the Halloween sweets out there. They’re tasty, they’re fun, and they’re not candy. Bag of Bones is the best.

Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalist: Wavy Mango Salsa Potato Chips

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Wavy Mango Salsa Potato Chips BagThis here is #3 of 4 in Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalists 2014. That’s not their numbering; it’s mine. As in, “this will probably be the third least delicious flavor”, or, alternatively, “this will be the third best contender for grossness”. I’m starting to confuse myself, so let’s just move on.

Wavy Mango Salsa comes to you courtesy of Julia Stanley-Metz, whose profile picture looks like she’d be perfectly at home shilling Flameless Candles on QVC. She’s an event planner and “avid yogi”, which always makes me think of Yogi Bear and not flexible people. Hey Boo-Boo! Let’s steal those Wavy Mango Chips from that pic-a-nic basket!

When not busy running from Ranger Smith, Julia enjoys cooking with her family, and credits many of her culinary creations to her husband, who “loves to experiment”. Oh, sorry, “loves to experiment with flavors”. Right.

The family partakes in Taco Tuesday, of which I approve, and her experiment-loving husband makes “the most amazing” mango salsa. So shouldn’t her husband be the one submitting this flavor? Perhaps he was too busy “experimenting”.

Julia’s fun fact is that she’s been to Madagascar while volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. This is by far the most interesting Flavor Finalist Fun Fact I’ve read so far, and it shows that Julia is a humanitarian. I see your ploy, Julia, trying to win the hearts and minds of America with your volunteer work. Well, it’s not going to work on me. I’m just here for the chips.

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Wavy Mango Salsa Potato Chips

As mentioned, Mango Salsa got the Wavy treatment, which seems appropriate, since Wavy Lay’s are more dip-friendly than their regular, more fragile counterpart. Not that these were made specifically for dipping; it just seems to fit thematically.

When I first opened the bag, I smelled nothing but regular ol’ potato chips. I found this odd, seeing as how you’d think mango salsa chips would have an odor, like maybe mango, or salsa. Call me crazy.

But boy, how things changed with the first chip passed my lips. Here’s what my brain did upon first crunch: OH GOD MANGO SO MUCH MANGO JUST POTATOES AND MANGO

Seriously, there was a lot of mango.

In what is turning into a disturbing trend with Do Us a Flavors, Lay’s completely nailed the taste of mango, and I wish they wouldn’t have. The bright, tropical flavor of mango was right at the forefront, so much so that you could almost feel the flesh of the fruit itself.

After a few more chips, I started to taste hints of the salsa portion of mango salsa. They were very subtle, but I could detect some onion and garlic powder. These do not a salsa make, however. It felt like they were added as an afterthought.

Potatoes and mango, together at never should have been. I’ve had some real mango salsas that were pretty tasty, but Lay’s Wavy Mango Salsa Potato Chips did not accurately reflect the real thing. They nailed the mango, and then proceeded to hammer the shit out of it, but missed the mark on the salsa. If you think the idea of tropical fruit-flavored potato chips is appealing, then these may be right up your alley, but I’m putting these back in the pic-a-nic basket.

Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalist: Wavy Mango Salsa Potato Chips

  • Score: 1.5 out of 5 Boo-Boos
  • Price: $1.49
  • Size: 2 7/8 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: 7-Eleven #21821
  • Nutritional Quirk: 1 serving (1 ounce) of these chips contains 9 grams of fat, which is significantly less healthy than actual mango salsa.

Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalist: Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger Potato Chips

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger Potato Chips BagThis year, Do Us a Flavor is branching out to include some of their different varieties of chips. For Wasabi Ginger, we get Kettle Cooked. This seems like a random combination, but I’m okay with it.

Wasabi Ginger is the brainchild of Meneko Spigner McBeth, who may not win the contest but definitely wins “Best Finalist Name”. She’s a registered nurse in Philadelphia, so she can help you out if you choke on her Wasabi Ginger potato chips. Just a little Heimlich and you’re right as rain.

Meneko’s grandmother apparently used to make her sushi by hand when she was growing up, which both melts my heart a little and makes me extremely jealous. So now we know why she came up with this flavor.

Meneko’s fun fact is that her friends have dubbed her “The Clearance Queen” because she always finds the best bargains. This is what your fun fact is when you have three kids. This is what your life becomes. Also, I hope she doesn’t buy clearance sushi because that’s gross.

I’m not sure what the methodology was in deciding what flavor got what kind of chip, but kettle seems to suit Wasabi Ginger just fine. Lay’s kettle chips aren’t the best on the market, but they’re passable. Also, this doesn’t seem like a flavor made for dipping, so the sometimes-crumpled-up nature of the kettle chip won’t be a hindrance.

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger Potato Chips

Wasabi Ginger was off to a good start when it hit my taste buds. The distinctive taste of wasabi was strong and spot-on. I’m using the term “wasabi” liberally, because when you eat sushi, the majority of the time you’re getting horseradish-wasabi, not actual wasabi.

Let’s just say that the wasabi you know was the wasabi that was represented in this chip. Strong enough to be delicious, but not so strong that my sinuses exploded.

I also detected a hint of soy sauce, which was a great compliment to the flavoring.

This all sounds like it’s going great, which it was, but then the ginger hit. Once again, we go back to Lay’s totally nailing the flavor, but it being a double-edged sword. After the lovely soft-burn of the wasabi, I was suddenly bestowed the flavor of those thin-sliced pieces of ginger that are served with sushi.

I did a quick Google search to verify that ginger is served as a palate-cleanser (answer: yes) and Wikipedia taught me that the actual term for it is gari, and this also reminded me of an important disclaimer:

Dear readers, I know that the definition of sushi, sushi-eating, and pretty much everything related to sushi are hotly debated. Please do not bring this debate here. We are talking about Lay’s potato chips. Give me some leeway.

Okay, got off on a tangent there. The point here is that I was perfectly happy enjoying my wasabi chips, and then the pickled ginger came along and made everything wonky. Ginger is refreshing, but “refreshing” is not really a quality I’m looking for in a potato chip.

While I was initially put off by this, I found myself continuing to eat Lay’s Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger Potato Chips. The wasabi and soy sauce combo was fantastic, and these would easily be a winner in my book if the ginger hadn’t come along. That said, it didn’t deter me enough to not finish the bag.

These chips really do a great job of emulating the whole sushi package. Chalk it up to umami, I guess? Honestly, this is one of the most unique Frito-Lay flavors I’ve tasted that doesn’t seem to be designed to be purposefully disgusting. If I had my druthers, these wouldn’t win the Do Us a Flavor contest, and then Lay’s would immediately turn around and come out with Kettle Cooked Wasabi Soy Sauce Potato Chips. Now that is something I would buy again.

Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalist: Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger Potato Chips

  • Score: 3.5 out of 5 unwanted sushi debates
  • Price: $1.49
  • Size: 2 7/8 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: 7-Eleven #21821
  • Nutritional Quirk: The label claims it contains actual wasabi. Hm!

Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalist: Cappuccino Potato Chips

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Cappuccino  Potato Chips BagLay’s is at it again with another “Do Us a Flavor” contest. The first one garnered a lot of attention, and the winner wound up being Cheesy Garlic Bread, which was surely better than Chicken & Waffles, but more boring than Sriracha, although those didn’t even taste like- you know what, not going to get into that again.

Here’s the thing, though – after the contest was over, they continued to sell all three of the flavors in stores. I feel like Lay’s betrayed us. How can I trust them again after that? What’s the point of a contest if all the flavors are just going to wind up on the shelves anyways?

Well, regardless, I feel it is my duty to cover this round of flavor finalists. This time there are four instead of three. I shall be covering all four, and I figured I shouldn’t bury the lead. So here we go, with cappuccino-flavored potato chips.

Cappuccino is, of course, is the crazywacky entry for Do Us a Flavor. There’s one in every batch. It’s the flavor that will never win, but that everyone will talk about for the weirdness factor.

I predict this will be the worst flavor, which is kind of like predicting the sky will be blue tomorrow morning. I bet it will also get a ton of votes, because people on the Internet are ridiculous, but I’m also sure this whole voting thing is rigged, so it doesn’t matter. Again: the Internet.

While we don’t get pictures or quotes on the bags this time, we get even more detail this year on the voting website.

Meet Chad Scott, a visiting lecturer at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Now you know exactly where to send your angry letters after eating his chips. What does he lecture on? I have no idea, but “creating awful chip flavors” seems the most obvious guess.

He apparently submitted this flavor because “cappuccino is his lifeblood”. I hope tasting his own chip creation does not turn him off of his lifeblood forever, because then he will die.

Each flavor finalist has a “fun fact”, and Chad’s is that he didn’t like his name as a youth so he introduced himself as Corey. This is more weird than fun, and raises many questions. Why Corey? Where did Corey come from? Was Corey more charismatic than Chad? Would Corey have taken a life path divergent from Chad, one that led him away from thinking cappuccino-flavored potato chips was a good idea? Maybe I should write a letter.

Okay, time to get to the chips. I guess. Do I have to, mom?

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Cappuccino  Potato Chips

Upon opening the bag, all I could smell was that familiar Lay’s potato chip odor. But I was not fooled. The flavor dust looked exactly as you’d expect – a brown, speckled dusting that spoke of things to come.

I’m a little confused as to whether or not I should praise Lay’s for this next statement. Cappuccino Potato Chips tasted exactly as they’re supposed to. It’s so ridiculously easy to describe: take a bag of regular Lay’s, sprinkle in one of those high-end instant coffees (something like Starbucks VIA comes to mind), and you’ve got these chips.

What makes this especially detrimental is that this isn’t straight coffee, so more than the flavor of that caffeinated beverage, you get prominent notes of milk and sickly sweet vanilla. These are not things that you want to taste on your salty potato chip.

So Lay’s nailed the flavor, but, as we’ve seen in the past, this is not always a good thing. Cappuccino is a great example of that. While they weren’t so bad that they made me gag, they were disgustingly sweet and I threw them away as soon as I’d nailed down the flavor profile, which was quickly.

Oh, by the way, Lay’s wants you to know very firmly that these potato chips do not contain caffeine. That’s a shame, because that would have been the only redeeming quality about these chips. Unless vanilla-milk-coffee-flavored chips are your thing. Which they shouldn’t be.

Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalist: Cappuccino Potato Chips

  • Score: 1 out of 5 mysterious visiting lectures
  • Price: $1.49
  • Size: 2 7/8 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: 7-Eleven #21821
  • Nutritional Quirk: No caffeine. Lame.

Quick Pick: Ritz Bacon Crackers

Ritz Bacon Crackers BoxToday is International Bacon Day! To celebrate, here’s a little thing I’ve had on the back burner for a while.

You might look at new Ritz Bacon Crackers and see yet another bacon-flavored fad product.

I see the potential to relive a childhood favorite in a matte red box.

Nabisco used to have a cracker called Bacon Thins that I just adored as a child. They disappeared, and I’ve lamented them ever since. Can Ritz Bacon Crackers fill that void in my heart?

The Good: Has the familiar taste of Bacon Thins that I loved so much. The buttery flavor of Ritz is still there, but doesn’t interfere with the bacon flavor like I thought it would. They have cracked black pepper in them that doesn’t really show up until after you’re almost done chewing, but has a pleasant, lingering spice to it.

Ritz Bacon Crackers

The Not-So-Good: I would prefer them without the butter flavor. Even though I love it, the bacon taste is very artificial, so may not appeal to some. These have that flaky Ritz texture as opposed to the old Bacon Thins, which had a crisper and more dip-worthy texture.

Ritz Bacon Crackers aren’t perfect, but the flavor is so close to Bacon Thins that they make my nostalgic belly happy. Hope you enjoy International Bacon Day!

  • Score: 4.5 out of 5
  • Price: $2.50
  • Size: 13.25 oz. box
  • Purchased at: Walmart

McDonald’s Chorizo Burrito

McDonald's Chorizo Burrito

[Please enjoy this guest review from Robert – Not Bob, a valued sometimes-contributor to Junk Food Betty who had the privilege (or curse – read on to determine) of being in a test area for this new product. Thanks, Robert!]

In the five (!) years since Junk Food Betty first graced the information superhighway (Congrats, by the way), I’ve almost certainly read more about, and spared more thought for, fast food than I probably had in all my previous years combined. That’s a bit of a mixed blessing, obviously, but it has amused me, and on occasion, I’ve even learned a few things.

One of the things I’ve learned is that the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area is a seething hotbed of fast food test-marketing. For that reason, I find myself, once again, submitting a guest review, this time for McDonald’s Chorizo Breakfast Burritos. Well, that and the fact that your JFB host isn’t one to eat an egg, regardless of how it’s gussied up.

For those not in the know, there are actually two very dissimilar food items called “Chorizo”. One is a hard, cured European sausage, made from pork and Spanish paprika. The other is a fresh Mexican sausage made of God only knows what.

Chorizo con Huevos, which is Mexican chorizo and eggs, is a breakfast staple of taquerías, and is commonly rolled into burritos or breakfast tacos. However, it’s long been conspicuously absent from the fast food breakfast lineup. Even nominally “Mexican” fast food chains like Taco Bell, not one to shy away from mystery meat, has kept it out of their breakfast burrito offerings. I’m guessing that this is because chorizo tends to be spicy, and not spicy in a way that’s anything like the pickled jalapeño flavor that pretty much forms the basis of the typical fast food consumer’s idea of “spicy”. It has a pretty unique taste and texture, and is not very similar at all to familiar breakfast meats like bacon or ham.

McDonald's Chorizo Burrito Don't Mess with Breakfast

A quick look at the sign advertising the chorizo burritos also confirms that whoever designed it has little familiarity with chorizo. In the burritos pictured you can clearly see chunks of yellow egg and chunks of something red, which is presumably pretending to be the chorizo. As anyone that’s had it can attest, that’s not the way chorizo and eggs look. When you cook chorizo and eggs together, they basically become one homogenous mass. Perhaps that’s another factor that’s kept it off most breakfast menus. When Americans look at their meat and eggs, they want to see identifiable meat chunks, rather than a pile of eggs that just look like someone got confused with the dye at Easter.

Let’s take a look inside the real burritos.

McDonald's Chorizo Burritos

As I had two burritos to work with, I cross-sectioned one, and unrolled about the other.

McDonald's Chorizo Burrito Halved

McDonald's Chorizo Burrito Open

As you can see, these bear little resemblance to what was pictured, but we all know that that’s the norm with fast food advertising. Anyway, there’s not much to look at here. Chorizo and egg mix, a few red and green pepper bits and a flour tortilla. The strong odor of chorizo seemed pretty promising and, once tasted, I had to admit, these weren’t bad at all. The tortillas themselves left a bit to be desired – the ones you get at taquerías tend to be more flavorful and are typically pan fried before use – but the chorizo y huevos inside tasted exactly like it should. And, for two for $3, seems like a pretty decent breakfast deal.

McDonald's Hot and Mild Picante Sauce Packets

Along with the burritos I received 4 packets of McDonald’s Picante Sauce, two mild and two “hot”. Do not be tempted to put these on your chorizo burritos. Place them in the nearest trash receptacle. I tasted the “hot” and it was thoroughly vile. Putting ketchup on your chorizo burrito would be unforgivable, but would still be a better choice than McDonald’s Picante Sauce. If you do want to put some sauce on your chorizo burritos, that bottle of Tapatío in your file cabinet drawer or those old packets of Taco Bell “Fire Sauce” in your glove box are both much better options.

I do know of at least two taquerías in the path of my morning commute that offer chorizo and egg burritos that are about the same size, and are slightly better, and are slightly cheaper, so I probably wouldn’t make McDonald’s version a regular purchase. However, if I found myself in a taquerías-free zone (yes, even in Texas that can happen) and wanted a breakfast fix, I could definitely see getting them again.

McDonald’s Chorizo Burrito

  • Score: 4 out of 5 pork salivary glands
  • Price: $3.00
  • Size: 2 burritos
  • Purchased at:McDonald’s #35172

Junk food and fast food reviews. We eat it so you don't have to!