Accidentally a day late, but here are the winners of the Jack in the Box giveaways!
Two $10 Jack Ca$h Cards: Carolsue
One $10 Jack Ca$h Card and “What Does the Bork Say” t-shirt: Andy Sage
Congrats, winners! I’ll be emailing you soon! Thanks to everyone who participated!
Jack in the Box always delivers on the marketing side of things, and the Bacon Insider burger is no exception. First off, we have the commercial.
I want to hate the jingle, but for some reason I find it difficult to do so, even though I managed to memorize the entire thing and get it stuck in my head after just two viewings. Well, I guess that’s the sign of a good jingle.
What does it say about me that I’d rather have the curly fry tree than the chopper out back?
What we really need to focus on here, though, is the bork. In case you haven’t figured it out, it’s beef and pork, represented in the commercial by pigs with cow-like markings on them.
This creative take on the “stuffed burger” concept seems cute and innocent in the commercial, but I sense some dark, Island of Dr. Moreau-esque undertones. This is punctuated by the bork at the very end of the commercial that proclaims, “Moink?”
It’s the desperate cry of an abomination, confusion showing in the question mark as it struggles to understand its place in nature when, in reality, it has none.
I’m just fucking with you. I instantly fell in love with “Moink?” and have said it like, five times today. It’s a delightful portmanteau.
If you want a real bonus treat, watch the Spanish-language version of the commercial, which contains mariachis wearing Mexican pointy boots, a thing I did not know existed until now. The boots, not mariachis. Credit to sometime guest-reviewer Robert for finding this gem.
Also true to form, Jack in the Box has created a special promo site for the Bacon Insider, including a tour of Jack’s farm and a game where you control a bork in…virtual space? that shoots bacon at regular hamburgers and turns them into Bacon Insiders. If this weren’t Jack in the Box, I’d consider that a bizarre sentence.
Here’s Jack’s long-winded description of the Bacon Insider: “Jack’s newest creation is a bacon triple threat. A juicy beef patty mixed with savory pieces of bacon. This new bacon and beef patty is sandwiched between hickory smoked bacon and topped with creamy bacon mayo, lettuce, tomato, and American cheese. All served on our new soft warm brioche bun. This burger is sure to make you want to ‘bring home the bacon.’”
Can we pretend they never used the phrase “bring home the bacon” and just stick with “moink” and “bork”? I’m sure the Swedish Chef would agree. Bork bork bork.
The Bacon Insider, deconstructed. The lettuce was a little sad, but the tomatoes were juicy, and look at that lovely bacon configuration. Instead of letting the slices just flop out the sides, they’ve been neatly arranged to fit in the burger. And plenty of it, too!
But wait, there’s more! And by that I mean more bacon and bacon mayo underneath the bork patty. Double bacon layer. That’s pretty awesome.
Speaking of the bacon mayo, I tasted some on its own and it was tangy (because it’s mayo, duh) but only vaguely bacon-y. As you can see, there were little speckles in it that looked bacon-ish, but it wasn’t like there was some JitB employee hand-crumbling pieces of bacon into the condiment.
Now we come to the bork patty. There were definitely some visible bacon pieces in the burger, and when tasted on its own, the bacon was impressively noticeable. In my experience, most “stuffed” burgers don’t actually gain any flavor from whatever they’re stuffed with, so this is a bit of an accomplishment.
Now that we’ve deconstructed the Bacon Insider, the real question is, how did it taste altogether?
I found it to be what is probably the most baconiest fast food burger I’ve ever had. The bacon strips were what I would call mid-level crispy, and the configuration of the strips, in addition to having them on top of and beneath the burger, guaranteed that I got bacon in each and every bite. How often does that happen with a bacon cheeseburger?
Looking at the big picture, it seems like it’s the proliferation of bacon strips that did all the heavy lifting on the Bacon Insider. Maybe the bork patty and the bacon mayo added a little extra bacon support, but I could also argue that their flavor disappeared under all that bacon.
The bottom line, however, is that the Jack in the Box Bacon Insider burger really does deliver the bacon goodness. (I almost made a “bring home the bacon” joke there, and then realized what I was doing and quietly backspaced. Oh, wait, I probably wasn’t supposed to tell you that.) I credit the amount and configuration of the bacon strips, but I do wish the bacon mayo and the bork patty had been able to shine a little more. However, it made for a great marketing campaign, and I learned about Mexican pointy boots!
At the end of the day, all I can say is…moink?
[Disclaimer: This Bacon Insider burger was purchased with gift cards provided by Jack in the Box. This is no way compromises the integrity of this review.]
See below for giveaway rules!
Jack in the Box Bacon Insider Burger
Thanks to Jack in the Box, I have TWO freebies to give away today! One lucky person will receive two $10 Jack Ca$h Cards, and another will receive one $10 Jack Ca$h Card and a special “What Does the Bork Say” (size large) t-shirt!
Just leave a comment on this post – the two winners will be chosen at random and announced Tuesday, February 18, 2014. Make sure to include your email address – this information is not public but I will need it to contact the winners!
Welcome to what I have to assume will be the longest JFB review ever written! We’ve got 25 snacks to cover, here. Don’t worry, there will be lots of pictures and we’re all going to learn some new things!
I’ve been excited ever since I heard about MunchPak back in October of last year. In their own words, “MunchPak is our solution to provide the average person with a monthly variety pack of the best and most popular snacks and treats from all over the world. Unlike other subscription boxed services, MunchPak aims to provide our subscribers with the best and tastiest snacks, as opposed to just the ‘healthiest’.”
This last part may confuse you, but I’m pretty sure MunchPak is making a jab at Graze. Graze operates off the same principles as MunchPak, but they offer healthy items such as seeds, nuts and dried fruits. They’ve been operating out of the UK for some time, and I was lucky enough to get a very early invite to the US beta of Graze.
It’s fun, but as MunchPak points out, it’s also very healthy, and does not offer anything brand name. As you might guess, the idea of having international, brand name junk food delivered to my door was something I was mighty interested in.
MunchPak sent me a sample to review, and it did not disappoint in quantity or variety.
Some will have few words and only packaging pictures; this is just too big to get into everything. I’m going to assume Americans are familiar with some of these; I apologize to my international audience, but to be fair, MunchPak is made for US residents.
You might notice something missing – the Herr’s Ketchup Potato Chips. I have no idea where that bag went. My only two guesses are that one of my cats managed to get in the box and drag it off to some hidden location, or I got drunk and ate them and forgot I did so. The latter seems more likely.
Anyways, it looks like the rest survived, so let’s get down to business!
Chex Mix Traditional
A classic. Can’t go wrong here.
Gardetto’s Original Recipe Snack Mix
Another classic. Gardetto’s also makes bags that contain nothing but their Roasted Garlic Rye Chips, which I think is genius because those are obviously the best part of their Snack Mix.
de la Rosa Peanut Candy Marzypan Style
Here we have our first international offering. De la Rosa is a Mexican candy company, and I see them often on store shelves. MunchPak just so happens to be based out of Scottsdale, AZ, which is about a ten minute drive from where I live, so I know for a fact they’ve got easy access to Mexican treats.
Despite the availability, I rarely sample any of these goods. There’s no particular reason for this; I’ve just never gotten around to it. This is one of the reasons why I love the idea of MunchPak so much – I might see these things on store shelves every day, but never bother trying them if it weren’t for MunchPak.
This Peanut Candy Marzypan (I love that spelling so much) Style is like deconstructed peanut butter. As soon as it hits your saliva, it turns into a sugary peanut powder.
I can’t say I’ve ever had such a candy experience before. Neither the sugar nor the peanut are overpowering, but the texture is super interesting. I can’t say I’m in love with it, but it was definitely unique.
Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme Bar
I used to really dislike milk chocolate, and when Hershey’s came out with this candy bar, I was over the moon about it. I’ve since expanded my horizons, but I’m still fond of Cookies ‘n’ Creme, with its white chocolate and little chocolate crunchy balls.
Meiji Hello Panda Biscuits with Milk Cream
Hello Panda is a Japanese candy, in case you couldn’t guess. This box is adorable.
Sports I was able to identify: sailing, shouting into a megaphone?, fencing, being a pirate with a scimitar?, parasailing, kayaking, rollerblading, playing basketball with a baseball, golfing, hockey, lacrosse, skateboarding, and what I can only describe as “boogie-ing”.
That’s a crazy fucking variety of prints! I’m totally impressed, Hello Panda, even if some of these don’t really seem like sports. Golf, for example. Heh heh heh.
As for the taste, it’s kind of like a thin vanilla Teddy Graham filled with some knockoff Oreo creme. I feel like I’m not really nailing it there, but I tried.
Pop-Tarts Strawberry Toaster Pastry
Hey, it’s Strawberry Pop-Tarts! Okay!
Unknown Asian Rice Cracker Thingies
What you see is what you get, here. Puffy cracker…things in a clear package, with three symbols on them, presumably Japanese? There’s no way for me to even look this up. If you know what these wrappers say, I’d love to hear it in the comments.
How do I describe this thing? It was very crunchy, like a dense rice cracker. It was not sweet; it had a somewhat earthy flavor to it. It tasted foreign. I wish I had better words for it. Seaweed? Some sort of bizarre curry? I’m at a loss. The one thing I do know is that I would not like to see this in future MunchPaks.
CornNuts BBQ Crunchy Corn Kernels
CornNuts are one of those snacks that I feel I’m too adult to be eating. Like, it was okay to eat them as a kid, but no respectable adult actually eats them. I’m pretty sure that’s a weird thing to think, but I will also say that as an older person with bad teeth, I’m terrified that they will break my mouth. Seriously, CornNuts are hard.
Imagine every BBQ-flavored chip/sunflower seed/whatever other snack, and you know the flavor of these CornNuts, although I will say the BBQ powder is nicely understated.
Morinaga Hi-Chew Grape Fruit Chews
Hi-Chew is Japanese in origin and was apparently created in 1931 by a guy who wanted to find a way to make swallowable gum because taking food out of your mouth is considered impolite in Japan. I guess the whole “Want some ABC gum?” joke doesn’t go over well there. Also, I’m pretty sure everything is considered impolite in Japan.
Anyways, that’s a pretty cool origin story, and apparently more than 113 flavors have been created over the years.
I got grape.
The texture of Hi-Chew was unlike any other chewy candy I’ve had. It was like a mix between a Starburst and a gummy bear. It lasted a little while, like the former, but was also springy and wanted to stick to itself, like the latter. Very interesting.
I wasn’t too fond of the grape flavor – it reminded me a little too much of grape-flavored medicine.
Snyder’s of Hanover Peanut Butter Pretzel Sandwiches
Here’s another common snack that I’ve never bothered to try. Peanut butter pretzel sandwiches are completely pedestrian, but I’ve never had Snyder’s before. Frankly, the whole cracker/pretzel sandwich thing reminds me of elementary school day care. But if you’re looking for a high-quality snack sandwich, I would say Snyder’s is the way to go.
de la Rosa Japanese Cocktail Peanuts
de la Rosa Japanese Cocktail Peanuts are vying for “favorite MunchPak snack” before I even taste them for several reasons: first off, they’re Japanese peanuts made by a Mexican snack company. So multicultural! Also, what the hell is a cocktail peanut? I can’t wait to find out!
Third and most obvious:
I have never seen a happier pair of semi-racist peanuts. I wish I could find that much joy in my life, and I’m an easily amused person.
So, if these are any indication, cocktail peanuts are peanuts with a salty, crunchy coating that actually has very little flavor, unless you count peanut. This basically makes them peanuts+. Could definitely see having a beer with these.
Those two words are the only things I know about this, without doing any research. That is all the package had to say. I assumed it was a candy. That was all.
According to Wikipedia, this is a “milk chocolate-covered biscuit bar filled with chocolate cream”. They were apparently created in Glasgow, which is in Scotland, just in case you failed geography. My first Scottish snack!
Actually, there’s one more thing – each wrapper comes with a joke! Are you ready for some laffos?
Q: What do you call a happy Penguin?
A: A Pen-Grin
I kind of love you already, Penguin.
The bar was basically a chocolate-covered chocolate wafer. Despite being chocolate-on-chocolate, it was actually very light, airy and not too rich or overwhelming. Way to go, Penguin!
I also really, really want to buy a case of Penguin bars just so I can read all the penguin-related jokes. Really. Really.
Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats Marshmallow Square
Another pedestrian offering. And yet, the moment I saw it, I said to myself, you know what, I do want a Rice Krispies Treat! This is perfect.
Observant me, at first I thought this was some bizarre blank packaging. And then I saw, “A wrapper you can write on!”
How adorable is that for a mom making her kid’s lunch? Screw Post-It notes when you can write on a Rice Krispies Treat!
Marinela Barritas fresa Strawberry Filled Cookies
These guys be Mexican in origin.
I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I tried one, but when I opened the package, I was instantly reminded of Tactical Sammich, which is something you never want to be reminded of when you’re supposedly eating a strawberry cookie.
In reality, these things have the exact taste and texture of a Strawberry Fig Newton, which I guess are technically Strawberry Newtons. Another snack I haven’t had in forever. Verdict: yum.
The Original Cracker Jack
Another classic. But there is one thing that always makes Cracker Jacks unique…
SCORE! A motherfuckin’ temporary tattoo. The best of all Cracker Jack prizes, in my opinion. Now, back in my day, you got a a whole booklet of the things, but I will accept Underbite Swashbuckle, He of Ye One Gold Tooth. Swashbuckle rules. If I were still in school, he’d be plastered on my cheek tomorrow. And we’re talking college, here.
De la Rosa Pulparindo Hot and Salted Tamarind Pulp Candy
Tamarind is a popular candy flavor in Mexico. I’m pretty sure I’ve never tasted it before. It has a Wikipedia page that is as intimidating in length as tamarind itself is in looks. The words “hot and salted” are a little scary, too, but this is all about new things and adventure.
It was like a short, thick Fruit Roll-Up, and also the stickiest candy I have ever encountered. The instant my fingers touched it, they could touch nothing else without leaving a gross residue.
It was easy to chew and the sugar quickly disintegrated, but I am apparently not fucking man enough for Mexican candy.
It tasted like a sugary, salty piece of soft taffy made entirely of chili powder. Hogod. I don’t feel comfortable calling it terrible, because I know tamarind candy is crazy popular in the Mexican community and I think I’m just experiencing culture shock. But my mouth was not ready for a chili powder Fruit Roll-Up. The more it sat in there melting, the more I thought, hmmm, maybe I could get used to this. But for now? Whoo.
Nutella Hazelnut Spread with Skim Milk & Cocoa
I’ve never had Nutella. I’ve been told that puts me in the minority. I’ve also been told you’re supposed to spread it on toast, but I decided to just dunk my finger right in there, like the classy lady I am. Listen, I’m going through 25 snacks, here. I don’t have time for things like toast.
Also, look at that little package! It’s adorable! It’s like a single serving jam, but somehow even less healthy!
I’m not gonna get all into how it tasted since I’m guessing most Americans already know. I will say, however, that it is delicious, and I have been missing out. Thank you for educating me, MunchPak!
Walkers Pure Butter Shortbread
In case you couldn’t tell by the “this is my fancy kilt” packaging, Walkers Pure Butter Shortbread are made in Scotland.
And I have to say, what happened, Scotland? You did so well with the Penguin Original Bar, but this is a total disaster. It tasted like a buttery, slightly salty dog biscuit. While I’d like to pretend I’ve never had a Milk Bone before, I’m almost positive that I tried one during my curious youth, and I’m really not far off, here.
There’s only four ingredients: wheat flour, sugar, butter, and salt, but I think they switched the order around. I’m pretty sure sugar belongs last on this list. Blech. Woof.
Marukawa Strawberry Bubble Gum
This is a Japanese gum. The box is adorably small – only a little bit bigger than a quarter. You could easily forget and leave it in your pocket, resulting in a laundry disaster that I have experienced firsthand and is entirely unpleasant.
I would have made Marukawa Bubble Gum the gum of choice for my Barbie dolls back in my childhood days.
Each piece of gum is round and a little smaller than a Lemonhead, which means you’ll have to toss all four pieces into your mouth if you want anything close to a normal amount of gum.
It had a pleasant artificial strawberry with an odd hint of mint.
The texture was also very weird – the balls had a shiny coating, but that quickly gave way to the feeling that the gum was going to fall apart in my mouth at any second. Have you ever made the mistake (as a kid, hopefully) of trying to eat chocolate and gum at the same time? That was the sensation I felt, except it just baaaarely kept holding itself together. It did blow a pretty good bubble, though.
It’s bizarre to actually feel something new in the way of gum, but this certainly qualifies for me, so at least there’s that.
I’ve never had a Chick-O-Stick, but it seems like one of those candies that have always been around. According to this very narrow package, it is “Crunchy Peanut Butter and Toasted Coconut Candy”.
What does this have to do with chicks? Not a damn clue.
I’m not that fond of coconut, but of course I was going to give it a try. They’ve been around since the Great Depression, so something must be going right for them.
Holy shit are Chick-O-Sticks bright orange. But you know what? It turns out their taste and texture is almost exactly like that of a Butterfinger! I was very pleasantly surprised.
There is a faint aftertaste of coconut, but the Butterfinger-esque flavor is so strong that I really didn’t mind it, and the two went pretty well together. Lesson: don’t be scared of snacks, kids!
Marinela Gansito Filled Snack Cake
As you may have guessed, this is a product of Mexico. Apparently, “gansito” translates to “little goose”, which explains the mascot. But does anyone else think he looks like he’s barely escaping a lawsuit from Disney for looking like Scrooge McDuck’s nephews? Just sayin’.
Honestly, this was pretty disappointing. I guess the best I could describe it is as a generic knock-off chocolate-covered Twinkie. The chocolate covering tastes cheap, and the sprinkles on top add nothing. The sponge cake inside is okay, but the cream tastes slightly off. Just overall mildly disappointing.
Toxic Waste Sour Smog Balls
This candy comes with a story on the back of the package! I already love it. Here it is! This is the longest story I’ve ever seen on a candy package!
THE FIENDISH PLOT OF DR. SMOGG
“Dr. Igor Smogg is a wealthy industrialist who made his fortune in heavy manufacturing. But his methods are wasteful and produce lots of toxic by-products, which he disposes of in environmentally irresponsible ways. His latest scheme is to pump massive amoutns of toxic smog into the atomosphere from the smokestacks of his factory. Once airborn, the pollution will condese into particles of solid waste and rain down upon the unsuspecting countryside.
“Fortunately, Professor Sauernoggin is on the case! Sauernoggin has dedicated his life to finding ways to transofmr toxic waste into good and useful products. Once blast from his [unreadable] ‘Smog-o-matic’ ray gun and the cloud will rain down delicious sour candy balls…an outcome Dr. Smogg is less than pleased about!”
Whew! That’s quite the backstory!
Toxic Waste Sour Smog Balls are Crunchy Candy with a Sour Chewy Center and come in blue raspberry, strawberry, lemon, grape, lime and cherry. Way to not fall for the green apple trend, Toxic Waste!
I dunno if I’d call the center “chewy”, exactly. More like “fall apart-y”. The sour level is what I’d call middlin’. It’s one of those novelty candies for the kids that delivers more in fun than in taste. But how can you not love Dr. Igor Smogg and Professor Sauernoggin?
Wow. We’re done. I dunno about you, but I’m exhausted. I obviously didn’t sample all these in one day; I’m not even sure that would be possible.
MunchPak offers a Mini version and a FamilyPak, and you can get it delivered monthly, bi-weekly or weekly. If I were rich, I would get a weekly family pack, but I’ve instead opted for the Original MunchPak delivered monthly for $20.20. It seems like all these snacks actually add up to more than that if you were to buy them separately, which is cool.
I got my first paid-for MunchPak before I finished this review, and I am so happy to report that my one fear was completely unfounded. I thought perhaps I’d wind up getting the same things month after month, but my two MunchPaks are completely different from each other. This excites me to no end. Seriously.
I really, really love MunchPak. I think it’s a great idea and it’s fun as hell. If you spend any amount of time in the snack aisles of the convenience store, I highly, highly recommend this.
Oh my god we’re done.
[Disclaimer: Junk Food Betty received this product free from MunchPak. This is no way compromises the integrity of my review.]
Starting on January 23rd, joining the two already-existing Loaded Grillers (Beefy Nacho and Loaded Potato) are two new Loaded Grillers designed to taste like popular appetizers all rolled up in a tortilla.
The first is the Chipotle Ranch Chicken Loaded Griller, “Taco Bell’s take on a spicy chicken wing with ranch dip, and it includes grilled chicken, kicked-up chipotle ranch sauce and cool sour cream, all wrapped up and grilled for maximum portability.”
The second is the Chili Cheese Fries Loaded Griller, “Our version of loaded chili cheese fries, featuring savory chili, crispy potato bites and warm nacho cheese sauce, all wrapped in a tortilla and grilled.”
I’m honestly intrigued by both of these new offerings, although it sounds more like they should be calling them Stoner Grillers as opposed to Loaded Grillers.
I don’t know what price Loaded Grillers usually go for, but for a limited time all four offerings will be sold for $1 all day long, as opposed to just during “Happier Hour” (2-5pm).
It was quite the struggle, finding Ben & Jerry’s Ron Burgundy’s Scotchy Scotch Scotch Ice Cream. At first it was only available at B&J’s Scoop Shops, the closest of which is approximately 200 miles from me.
I like ice cream, but not that much.
Once I found it, I made a decision: I will not turn this review into one giant Anchorman reference.
This is going to prove difficult and also result in a short and probably very unfunny review, but I figure every single other person on the Internet who has even mentioned this ice cream in passing has made some sort of Anchorman joke.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the movie, and it’s very quotable. I toyed with making the entire review a sarcastic conversation between Veronica Corningstone and Ron Burgundy. I considered writing it as if I were Brick Tamland.
But in the end, I decided to go the opposite direction. If I were to psychoanalyze this decision, I’d come to the conclusion that this is because there’s a part of me deep inside that strives to go against the mainstream.
I’d never psychoanalyze myself, however, because self-awareness is totally overrated.
Scotchy Scotch Scotch is described as “Butterscotch Ice Cream with Butterscotch Swirls”. That’s pretty Scotchy, all right.
Ben & Jerry’s couldn’t help but get into the Anchorman spirit on the back of the carton: “We don’t know how to put this but this flavor is kind of a big deal. Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it ‘Scotchy Scotch Scotch’. Scholars maintain that the translation was lost hundreds of years ago. Stay Classy, From all of us at Ben & Jerry’s.”
See? I let B&J do all the Anchorman references for me.
The coloration of the ice cream didn’t do Scotchy Scotch Scotch any favors. The ice cream itself was cream-colored, a fine hue for butterscotch, but the swirls were a disturbingly bright shade of orange, like the inside of a Butterfinger bar. Or maybe some carrot baby food.
I was worried that butterscotch-on-butterscotch action would result in an ice cream that was too rich, which is a problem I’ve occasionally come across with Ben & Jerry’s flavors. I’m pleased to report that this was not the case.
The butterscotch ice cream base is smooth and creamy, and tasted much like a Werther’s Butterscotch Candy. I could eat quite a large amount of it at once without feeling butterscotch overload.
The butterscotch swirls, however, were somewhat odd. Aside from the alarmingly bright color, they were crunchy swirls, which I was not expecting. I think I would have been better prepared for this if they’d called them “Butterscotch Candy Swirls”. In fact, that describes them perfectly.
Once I got accustomed to the fact that the swirls were crunchy, they offered a nice counterpoint to the smooth ice cream. They had a little more intense butterscotch flavor than the ice cream itself, which is how a butterscotch/butterscotch swirl ice cream should be.
I went in to Ben & Jerry’s Ron Burgundy’s Scotchy Scotch Scotch Ice Cream with a few expectations, but was ultimately surprised. The two scotches didn’t make the ice cream too rich, the swirls looked like baby food but were a nice crunchy counterpoint to the ice cream, and I actually had to be careful not to eat the whole pint before I’d finished taking all my pictures. B&J sometimes tries to cram too many flavors into one ice cream, but this one was butterscotch through and through, and it worked well.
This is a limited batch tie-in flavor, and often times to me that equals “we didn’t really try”, but I’d like to see Scotchy Scotch Scotch become a permanent fixture on grocery store shelves. Of course, they’d have to change the name to something less topical; might I suggest something like “Grandma’s Ancient Candy Bowl”?
Okay, that’s not exactly complimentary. I guess I’ll leave that up to B&J’s marketing team, if my wish for a permanent place in the frozen foods aisle ever comes true.
Ben & Jerry’s Ron Burgundy’s Scotchy Scotch Scotch Ice Cream
I’m generally one to decline when the person in the box at the drive-thru asks me if I’d like a drink with that, but Taco Bell is trying their damnedest to change that with the introduction of six new beverages in 2014.
The most notable of these is “Manzanita Sol”, which is an apple soda that is apparently predominant in Mexico and is, according to Taco Bell, “a classic flavor that has crossed borders”.
Taco Bell will also be offering Diet Mtn Dew Baja Blast, which is (obviously) a diet version of the Mtn Dew flavor that has been offered exclusively at Taco Bell for years now.
In addition to these will be a new original Mtn Dew flavor, Sangria Blast, which is described as a “citrus-infused punch”.
There will also be three non-carbonated offerings: Brisk Mango Fiesta, Brisk Iced Tea and Lemonade and SoBe Lifewater Yumberry Pomegranate, which is obviously the most embarrassing name of the six new drinks to say into a tinny speaker.
According to Taco Bell, “Suggested prices will be $1.39 (16 oz.), $1.49 (20 oz.), $1.69 (30 oz.) and $1.79 (40 oz.).” They also state that all six beverages will be added to select location menus immediately and expand nationally throughout the year.
Used to be, if you wanted some beef jerky from the store, you had very limited flavor choices. These were usually Original, Peppered, and Teriyaki. But, much like everything else in the snack aisle, jerky options have exploded in recent years.
BBQ? Psh, of course. Jalapeño? Yep. Hickory Sweet A1 Steakhouse? I’m not sure what half of that even means, but it’s probably out there.
Jerky doesn’t even imply cow these days; you can easily find turkey jerky on store shelves, and bacon jerky, because if you can bacon it it’s gonna get baconed.
If you want to get real crazy, there’s websites out there that will ship you jerky made from alligators and ostriches and like, I dunno, platypus or something.
When I was growing up, we had a meat store right around the corner. I think it’s technically called a butcher shop, but the sign on the building just said MEAT in huge letters, so I thought of it as the meat store.
Amazing beef jerky came from the meat store. It wasn’t fancy; it was just quality. As you may imagine, ever since the meat store closed long ago, I’ve found store-bought jerky to be lacking. Too thick, too thin, too tough, too “this jerky is actually slicing up my gums” (that one is the worst).
Rather than live in a jerkyless world out of pure petulance, I’ve learned to adapt. And with new flavors coming out all the time, at least it keeps my mouth entertained.
Two of the newest flavors to grace the dried meat family are Jack Link’s Sriracha and Burrito. Both of these were intriguing to me, for reasons I hope are obvious.
Jack Link’s Sriracha Beef Jerky
Sriracha is the new darling of the Internet, and if you can somehow incorporate the Asian hot sauce into your food product, I would consider it wise to do so. They’ve used it in everything from potato chips to popcorn. I’m pretty sure Kellogg’s is trying to figure out how to make sriracha cereal as we speak.
From Jack Link’s website: “Jack Link’s Sriracha Beef Jerky is packed with an explosion of hot chili peppers and garlic. This limited edition flavor will keep you comin’ back for more.”
The back of the bag expounds: “Jack Link’s Sriracha Beef Jerky is made with premium cuts of lean beef and seasoned with hot chili peppers, garlic and other traditional spices for an authentic Sriracha flavor.”
The sriracha beef jerky is indeed hot, but it falls into that unfortunate but all-too-familiar category of “spicy hot but tastes nothing like the hot sauce it’s supposed to taste like”.
Sriracha has a unique flavor of, as Jack Link said, chili peppers and garlic, but their beef jerky just tastes generically spicy. If you blindfolded me, I’d never guess the sriracha was in there.
It’s a tasty, spicy jerky, but sriracha it is not.
Jack Link’s Burrito Beef Jerky
How could I not be interested in Burrito Beef Jerky? It sounds at once both awesome and terrifying. It also makes one wonder how it came to exist. How does burrito-flavored beef jerky go from the brainstorm room to shelves? I really would have liked to have been a fly on the wall for that one.
Just thinking about shoving a burrito’s flavor into beef jerky makes me laugh. It’s hard to be scared when you can’t stop being amused.
Mr. Link’s website description: “¡Ay, caramba! Jack Link’s limited edition Burrito Beef Jerky has an authentic south-of-the-border flavor creating the ultimate burrito experience.”
Yeah, guys? Gonna go with “¡Ay, caramba!” Do we really have to bring 1992 Bart Simpson into this whole thing?
After I tasted Jack Link’s Burrito Beef Jerky, I checked the back of the bag. “Jack Link’s Burrito Beef Jerky is made with premium cuts of lean beef, expertly seasoned with chili peppers, onion and garlic for an authentic burrito flavor.”
Sound familiar? Yeah.
That said, I actually liked the burrito jerky. Did it taste like a burrito? Of course not, it’s beef fucking jerky. But the garlic and onion flavors were really prominent, which tasted great with the peppers, which are much more subdued here than in the Sriracha Beef Jerky.
Both Sriracha and Burrito Beef Jerky are part of Jack Link’s new Limited Edition Wild Side flavors, which consist of these flavors and…uh…well, just these flavors, at least for now. What could be next for the Wild Side? Shrimp Cocktail Beef Jerky? Spaghetti Beef Jerky?
While I found that neither Jack Link’s Sriracha nor Burrito Beef Jerky actually tasted like their namesake, both were enjoyable. Sriracha packed in a good amount of heat, although not the actual flavor of the hot sauce.
Burrito never had a chance of tasting like burrito, but surprised me with the amount of garlic, and how well it worked with the onions and peppers. Jack would have done himself a favor by ditching the weird-ass Burrito moniker and going with a simple “Garlic and Pepper” type name.
Sometimes simple is best. Even if Burrito Beef Jerky still makes me laugh.
Jack Link’s Sriracha Beef Jerky and Burrito Beef Jerky
Twix bars are one of my favorite chocolate treats. It’s the perfect combination of crunchy cookie, creamy caramel, and chocolate.
It is because of my love for this balance of flavors that I hesitate to try any variations. On the other hand, I generally give points any time an established snack food gets on the holiday train. And, given the Christmas-related flavors they had to choose from, I find gingerbread to be more encouraging than, say, peppermint. Peppermint and caramel does not seem like a good idea.
I gotta say, I’m finding this intro pretty weak. I have no special stories about Twix; Twix didn’t murder my parents or cause some sort of dramatic, humiliating grade school incident, like the time I got my arm caught in the back of my desk chair in second grade and the maintenance guy had to come get me free in front of the whole class.
That is a true story. Just like when I went to Target to buy these Twix Gingerbread Cookie Bars and there was only one bag left. Just as I was reaching for it, Batman swooped in and tried to steal it from my hands.
An epic battle ensued; I knocked over a display of ornaments while I dodged Batman’s barrage of Batarangs and fought back using a Nerf gun I’d modified to shoot fruitcakes. He then stopped to tell me some sad tale about how Twix killed his parents, and while he was distracted, I strangled him from behind with a strand of Christmas lights and made off with the precious bag of candy.
Victory was mine! Stupid whiny Batman.
Okay! I feel better now. Let’s get going.
Simple packaging, but effective and also darling. Those androgynous gingerpeople look so cheery with their smiley faces and pink scarves. They’re probably happy because they know that they are there just as Twix spokescookies and will not be the victims of a mastication beheading.
Hard to see in this picture because metallic wrappers are my mortal enemy, but the individual Twix wrappers have teensy little gingerdudes (or gingerladies; I’m being so politically correct today!) on them, which is a cute touch.
Each bar is “fun size”, good for about two bites each, or one bite if you’re one of those weird, annoying people who shoves entirely too much food into your maw at once. Don’t be that guy.
If I’d taken two seconds to read the bag, I wouldn’t have felt the need to bite the top off one of the bars to figure out that the gingerbread flavor is in the caramel, not the cookie. This may seem like a strange choice, since gingerbread men are cookies, but I think it was wise. Keeping the original texture of the Twix cookie kept that cookie/caramel/chocolate combination that I so enjoy.
As for the gingerbread flavor itself, I can say with happiness that Twix nailed it. It was all there – the brown sugar and molasses taste with ginger and cinnamon in the mix. Somehow, Twix fit all that in there and still managed to keep the integrity of the caramel flavor, not just its texture.
Twix Gingerbread Cookie Bars fill my mouth with Christmas and joy. All the things I love about Twix remained intact, and they managed to get that perfect gingerbread flavor in there.
I have no complaints about Twix Gingerbread Cookie Bars, but I will say that, at least to me, gingerbread is a sometimes flavor. For some reason, it just seems weird to eat gingerbread at any other time of year than Christmas. I’m happy to enjoy Gingerbread Twix in December but go back to good ol’ original come New Year’s.
Twix Gingerbread Cookie Bars
People (and by people, I mean the Internet, of course) seem to be all in a tizzy over these new Lay’s Wavy Original Potato Chips Dipped in Milk Chocolate. When I first heard of them, I thought they sounded gross. But the more I thought about it, the more they made sense. Sweet and salty snacks have been around for quite a long time.
Kettle corn. Chocolate-covered pretzels. To be even more specific, Ben & Jerry’s Late Night Snack ice cream has “fudge-covered potato chip clusters”, and it’s been a popular flavor for years now. Heck there’s even a Wikipedia entry for chocolate-covered potato chips, which is definitely not the oddest Wikipedia page I’ve ever seen, but doesn’t exactly seem necessary.
In light of all this, LWOPCDiMC really don’t seem that crazy, after all. I guess it’s just the idea that this is the first time a snack titan like Frito-Lay has taken it on. It’s also a limited edition item, and given the season, I’m guessing you’re supposed to eat them for Christmas?
The packaging certainly isn’t Christmasy, but it does has a pleasing aesthetic. Lay’s managed to cram four different fonts into the chips’ name, but they all have a nice flow to them, as does the background. Despite being rather monochromatic, it has a certain elegance to it, like a glass Christmas tree ornament with a delicate filigree design. It’s the belle of the chip aisle ball.
It was a little disconcerting to pick up a snack-sized bag of chips and have it feel so…hefty. That was the chocolate at work, obviously. I didn’t see any full-sized bags of LWOPCDiMC, which made sense when I thought about it; the weight of so many chocolate-covered chips might end up crushing the bottom ones.
With the idea of chocolate-covered potato chips settling more easily in my mind, several key questions arose, and I was ready to get under the mistletoe with these chips.
The picture on the front of the bag led me to believe that these were chocolate covered chips. I should have paid attention to the super-long name of the product. These are chips dipped in chocolate. And in an interesting way: I would have expected one end to be dipped, but instead, one side was dipped.
One of my key questions was, what is the quality of the chocolate? The answer, as best as I can describe, is “middlin’”. There’s an obvious hierarchy of big-name chocolate, and I would put it well above Palmer, but just a step below Hershey’s.
The quantity of the chocolate on each chip was substantial. Despite having one side of the chip (mostly) naked, the layer of chocolate was quite thick, and also quite rich.
The chocolate and chip dynamic was interesting. Lay’s was going for a sweet/salty dynamic, and while there was some salty undertones to cut through the chocolate, it didn’t seem nearly as salty as a regular Wavy Lay’s chip. It was also hard to detect the flavor of the potato chip under all that chocolate.
What the chip did add was a welcome crunch. The thickness of Wavy Lay’s bore the brunt of the chocolate well, and I was impressed at the amount of completely intact chips in the bag. They weren’t quite as crunchy as the chips would have been on their own, but the combination of chocolate and crunch worked great together. It was kind of like eating a thin Crunch bar.
I half expected to dislike Lay’s Wavy Original Potato Chips Dipped in Milk Chocolate, but I was pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong. The chocolate was of a fair quality, and the Lay’s Wavy chips added a bit of salt and, best of all, a crunch that worked perfectly with the sweetness of chocolate.
I would have liked to have had a bit more of a balance between the two – I found the chocolate a little too rich to eat a whole bag at once, and the potato flavor of the chip got overwhelmed by its sweet counterpart. All in all, however, I think anyone who enjoys a sweet treat with a bit of salt would enjoy Lay’s Wavy Original Potato Chips Dipped in Milk Chocolate.
LWOPCDiMC don’t strike me as a gimmick or one of those things people would eat for the weird factor. These chips are something you could set out at your Christmas party that people who like chocolate with a bit of salt and crunch would enjoy just for what they are.
Lay’s Wavy Original Potato Chips Dipped in Milk Chocolate
Cream cheese is in the Gentleman’s Club of dairy products. While nearby shelves in the refrigerated section explode with 700 different brands and varieties of yogurt, cream cheese remains largely unchanged. For the most part, you’re going Kraft Philadelphia or you’re going generic, and even then, you’re probably not getting much variety from the generic brand.
I have a long-standing love of bagels, particularly when toasted and schmeared with what even I would admit is an embarrassing amount of cream cheese. There used to be a local mom ‘n’ pop bagel shop around the corner from where I live that I absolutely adored. The plethora of bagel flavors, the cream cheese selection…it was like a little breakfast heaven.
And then they went out of business.
Heartbroken and with nary an Einstein Bros. In sight, I turned my eye to the grocery store, and then I remembered why I love bagel shops so much. I can take the limited variety of bagel flavors in stores – I’ll make do with an Everything – but the cream cheese flavors suck.
I’ve never been fond of the fruity cream cheeses, and this really limits a girl. If you want savory, Philadelphia generally offers Salmon, Chive & Onion or Garden Vegetable, none of which I’ve found particularly exciting.
But then Philly pulled through for me.
Kraft Philadelphia Spicy Jalapeño Cream Cheese
First I found the Spicy Jalapeño flavor, and I did a happy snack dance right there in the dairy aisle. This has always been my absolute favorite flavor of cream cheese from bagel shops, and I always wondered, sometimes sadly, sometimes angrily, why this was never a flavor found in grocery stores.
I was seriously stoked. Like, way more than a person should be about cream cheese. But this was like a dream fulfilled. A wish granted. Cream cheese.
And I am so very glad to report that Spicy Jalapeño lived up to my every expectation. The texture of the cream cheese was classic Philly – thick but easily spreadable.
They weren’t skimpy on the peppers, either; it was chock full of perfectly-sized chunks of real jalapeño that delivered on heat and flavor. It was great to bite into my toasted bagel and get the smooth cream cheese punctuated by crunchy little bits of heat. The cool cream cheese and the spicy peppers made a perfect combo.
Verdict: match made in heaven.
Kraft Philadelphia Chipotle Cream Cheese
But oh, Kraft was not done with me yet. I was happily buying yet another tub of Spicy Jalapeño when I saw something I had neither dreamed of nor tasted before – Philadelphia Chipotle Cream Cheese.
It probably goes without saying that the dance came out again.
I was a little more trepedatious about this one. Acutely aware that I sound like a broken record as I write this, I am constantly dissatisfied with things that claim to be chipotle-flavored. It seems like most companies think “chipotle” means “generically spicy” or, if you’re really lucky, “spicy with a little fake smoky flavor”.
Having already fallen in love with Philadelphia Spicy Jalapeño, I thought I may have pushed my luck too far.
First of all, hello orange. I was not expecting that when I opened up the tub. It’s not exactly the most attractive hue for cream cheese; in fact, it reminded me of pumpkin, but maybe that’s just the fact that I can’t turn around in a grocery store without seeing something pumpkin spice-flavored.
The hue actually makes sense though; chipotle peppers are much softer than regular jalapeños, so they would blend much more easily into the cream cheese, leaving just small chunks.
I found it interesting that Philly Chipotle Cream Cheese is a lot thinner than your run-of-the-mill cream cheese. It’s not at all runny, it’s just smooth and easily spreadable, whereas, say, Spicy Jalapeño can be applied with some chunkiness.
In fact, it’s probably a good thing the Chipotle Cream Cheese was thinner, because it’s actually spicier than the Jalapeño variety. Whereas the spice bursts come with the pepper chunks in the latter, it seems more uniform in the former. My nose was even a little runny after I’d finished my bagel.
As for actually tasting like chipotle? Score. Spicy, smoky and flavorful, Philly Chipotle Cream Cheese actually managed to capture the true essence of chipotle peppers, while also letting the flavor of cream cheese come through.
Through sheer coincidence, somebody made a comment about these two cream cheeses on a review I did for The Impulsive Buy back in January for some Chipotle Crema Doritos. I’d forgotten I’d even mentioned it, but in the review, I mused that I should really try blending chipotles with cream cheese, because that sounded delicious.
It was destiny.
I think I sound like I’m writing a really long commercial for Kraft Philadelphia Spicy Jalapeño and Chipotle Cream Cheeses, but the truth is that I love them both and will most likely keep them in stock in my fridge at all times. Nevermore do I have to hit a bagel shop just to get my spicy cream cheese fix; now I can just hit the dairy aisle of my local grocery store.
Now then, about those limited bagel flavors…
Kraft Philadelphia Spicy Jalapeño Cream Cheese and Chipotle Cream Cheese