Tag Archives: 2 burgers

Wendy’s Bacon Queso Burger and Bacon Queso Fries

Oh Wendy’s, you had me at queso.

I’m pretty sure most of my blood is queso at this point. If you make a cheese that comes in sauce form, I’m pretty sure I’ve tried it. (Herdez Queso Blanco currently reigns supreme to me.) Quotes from the offensively boring commercial for Wendy’s line of queso products include “everything’s better with queso” and “feed your queso obsession”. I felt like they were talking directly to me.

Is everything really better with queso, though?

I thank both the Spring Oreos and the Herdez queso for their sacrifice. And yes, I tried it. It was beyond gross. Why did I do that?

Bacon Queso Burger

I picked the burger over the chicken sandwich that’s available (with all the same toppings) because I felt the beef/queso combo would be more interesting. I’ve dunked chicken into cheese sauce numerous times, but usually my cow interacts with cheese in slice form.

Wendy’s describes their Bacon Queso Burger as “A quarter-pound of fresh, never frozen beef topped with warm and spicy poblano queso, three strips of Applewood smoked bacon, fire-roasted salsa, red onions, and shredded cheddar cheese, all served on a toasted red jalapeno bun.”

I’ma get right down to it before I break down the various working parts: this burger was straight-up disappointing. I was hoping to just get real messy with some queso, but it was hardly there.

As you can see, there was more salsa than queso. It was had a little bit of heat, but the flavor was very bland. There was a hint of fire-roasted tomato, but other than that, it wasn’t something I would equate with actual salsa. It was more of a tomato mush.

I couldn’t taste any heat in the “red jalapeno” bun, although I could see little red flecks in it. It acted as little more than the usual deflated fast food bun, but the fact that it was toasted seemed to add a little extra touch to the burger that an untoasted bun wouldn’t; plus, that might have helped protect it from getting extra mushy from all the salsa.

One highlight: the bacon. I haven’t eaten at Wendy’s in quite a while, but one thing they seem to consistently get correct is their Applewood smoked bacon. It was thick, it was crunchy, and it was everything that fast food bacon usually isn’t. It’s just as good as if you made it at home in your cast iron skillet.

Also crunchy were the onions, being able to resist sogginess in their raw form. Their sharp bite seemed a bit unnecessary among all these other flavors, though.

And finally, on to the thing we’re really here for: the queso. The main star of the show. And the biggest problem.

First off, there were technically two types of queso on my Bacon Queso Burger. One of them was shredded cheddar cheese, except all I could detect were a few scant pieces on my burger. No worries though, because the star of the show is the queso sauce!

Except the queso sauce totally sucked.

First of all, I expected my burger to just be exploding with cheese sauce, much like with Jack in the Box’s Hella-Peño Burger. I don’t mind the mess; I welcome it. But the sauce was quite scant and the amount of salsa easily overshadowed it.

The biggest sin, however, is that this queso sauce had no queso flavor, and no poblano flavor to boot. Tasting it solo, there might have been a teensy bit of spiciness, but other than that, nothing. This burger had less cheese flavor than a regular cheeseburger, and it had TWO different cheeses on it.

Wendy’s Bacon Queso Burger made me sad. But I thought perhaps the next item I ordered would really let the queso shine…

Bacon Queso Fries

Wendy’s description: “Our natural-cut fries seasoned with sea salt and topped with warm and spicy poblano queso, three strips of Applewood smoked bacon, and shredded cheddar cheese.”

Okay, so no salsa mucking up the works now.

Which only reinforced how offensively bland this queso sauce was.

The bacon was still crispy and delicious (although a somewhat unwieldy fry topping) and Wendy’s fries are actually quite good and have that “natural potato” taste, so those were both good points. But it was, again, the highlight ingredient that was its downfall.

I will say that, on the surface, the fries looked short on toppings, but once I mixed it all together it coated all the fries quite nicely, and there was a lot of bacon to go around. Nothing irritates me more than cheesy fries or nachos that don’t get adequate coverage.

It took me a while to really pin it down, but Wendy’s queso is basically Bechamel sauce and xantham gum. Furthermore, Wendy’s promised me not just queso, but poblano queso, and while there seemed to be little bits of…things in the sauce, the flavor just wasn’t there.

You’ve besmirched the good name of queso, Wendy’s. I’d consider this a capital crime, but you do have really good bacon. And I can’t quit that chili. Just…work on your cheese sauce game, or just stay out of it.

Wendy’s Bacon Queso Burger

  • Score: 1.5 out of 5 “everything’s better with queso”s
  • Price: $4.89
  • Size: 1 burger
  • Purchased at: Wendy’s #00000621
  • Nutritional Quirk: On the Wendy’s website, the ingredients for Poblano Queso Cheese sauce just says “CONTAINS MILK”

Bacon Queso Fries

  • Score: 2 out of 5 “feed your queso obsession”s
  • Price: $2.49
  • Size: n/a
  • Purchased at: Wendy’s #00000621
  • Nutritional Quirk: At 510 calories, these fries are just 40 calories less than the burger. That seems wrong, somehow.

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.

McDonald’s Lone Star Stack Burger

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Probably one of the more successful snack food marketing campaigns in the last few years, despite it having a name that makes me want to punch someone, is the Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” campaign. Honestly, it really is impressive that they can get as many people as they do all worked up about potato chips. Because, really, they’re potato chips.

In the time since Lay’s first came up with that concept, a lot of other snack and fast food merchants have attempted to replicate it with varying degrees of success, but few of them manage to drum up the hype that Lay’s does.

It was only a matter of time until fast food behemoth McDonald’s decided to give it a crack. The result? The McDonald’s Burger Showdown.

Apparently, back in March, they announced this contest. People could go online and build their burger using a “long list” of “fresh” ingredients. Once you selected your ingredients, chose a name and submitted your virtual burger, you would be on your way to, perhaps, burger fame and a jackpot of $5,000. The submitted burgers would be voted on by the unwashed masses, then judged by a “panel of qualified judges” using a set of criteria including “taste”, “creativity” and “operations feasibility”. Sadly, I missed all the fun, since I only became aware of this after the winner was announced.

Before we GET to the winner, though, we should list all the finalists, shouldn’t we? Because really, there are no losers here. This is the winners circle, right?

McDonald's Lone Star Bronc Burger Promo

First up is the “Lone Star Bronc” consisting of a Premium Bun, two Quarter Pounder Beef Patties, American Cheese, Pepper Jack, Grilled Onions, Crinkle Cut Pickles, Applewood-Smoked Bacon, Shredded Lettuce and Sweet Onion BBQ Sauce.

McDonald's Dobletxmeet Burger Promo

Next is the “DOBLETXMEET”, whose name infuriates me no end, which is made up of an Artisan Roll, two Classic Beef Patties, Swiss, Grilled Mushrooms, Grilled Onions, Applewood-Smoked Bacon, Herb Seasoning, Chipotle Ketchup and Ketchup. I guess “bonus” ketchup. Somebody really likes ketchup.

McDonald's The McSqually Burger Promo

Our next contender is the curiously named McSqually, consisting of Texas Toast, two Quarter Pounder Beef Patties, two American cheese slices, Applewood-Smoked Bacon, and Big Mac Sauce.

McDonald's The Gourd Burger Promo

Then we have the also-curiously named “Gourd”, which sports Texas Toast, Shredded Lettuce, Applewood-Smoked Bacon, Guacamole, ONE! (1!) single, solitary Quarter Pounder Beef Patty, American cheese and Barbecue Sauce (apparently, NOT sweet onion barbecue sauce, but the other kind).

Who are we kidding here? If those aren’t the winner, then they are obviously the losers. As famed NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby says, “If you’re not first, you’re last!”. So now we come, at last, to the real winner. The best burger that Texas, apparently, has to offer.

Cue up its announcement commercial if you like, or just read on….

McDonald's Lone Star Stack Burger Promo

The Lone Star Stack, lovingly crafted out of only the finest of artisan ingredients, including delicious buttery Texas Toast, crispy and tangy Crinkle Cut Pickles, two juicy Quarter Pounder Beef Patties, creamy White Cheddar and American cheese, Applewood-Smoked Bacon, Caramelized Onions and Sweet Onion BBQ Sauce.

At this point, you’re probably thinking what I’m thinking. These are all within one or two ingredients of being the same damn burger. Texas Toast, BBQ sauce and caramelized onions are showing up just way too much here. Either their “long list” of possible ingredients was all like “Please check one: [_] BBQ Sauce, [_] Barbeque Sauce, [_] Chipotle Ketchup (alright, you got us, that’s really just BBQ sauce again), or [_] Sweet Onion Barbecue Sauce” or their “panel of qualified judges” consisted of one fat guy in bib overalls named Billy Joe Jim Bob that just really really likes BBQ sauce on his burgers.

…And therein lies one of the first lessons that McDonald’s did not take away from Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor”, and that’s differentiation. With Lay’s, you’re dealing with potato chips vs. other potato chips, so they’ve got to be different from each other. I don’t think they’d ever pit “BBQ Flavored Chips” against “Also BBQ, But It’s a Different Kind of BBQ Sauce Flavored Chips “. The merit of these burgers aside, I honestly doubt that in a real-life taste test I could easily choose between them, because they all sound so similar.

The second thing that McDonald’s failed to accomplish was to personalize the contest. Who made these burgers? What are their names? Their inspirations? Where’s our Cheesy Bread Karen to carry the torch for starving Olive Garden patrons worldwide? Where’s our Meneko Spigner McBeth to make us jealous of the hand-made sushi rolls she got in her lunchbox instead of Lunchables?

The closest thing that McDonald’s did to giving this so-called contest any personality was to include an infographic on their site that conveyed the following factoids:

  • 2,545 people named their burgers “Mc_SOMETHING_”
    Whelp, it IS McDonald’s and pretty much EVERYTHING is named McSomething. No shocker there.
  • 6,420 people put jalapeños on their burgers
    Also, no big surprise. This is Texas and we do like our jalapeños. The real surprise is that none of these made it to the finals. I’m maintaining that Bill Joe Jim Bob is a big ol’ wuss when it comes to spicy food.
  • 248 burgers had “Alamo” in their name
    HELLO. TEXAS…. AGAIN. I’m surprised that number is so small, honestly.
  • 278 artisans were named “Josh”
    An interesting distinction to make, and the closest to knowing who is behind any of these burgers we’re apparently going to get. Also, I love how these days, the only thing you have to do to be dubbed an “artisan” is make something yourself, even if it’s just by clicking on burger ingredient names on a screen.
  • 708 burgers had no patty at all
    These were immediately disqualified, I am sure.
  • 15,541 people added spicy ingredients to make flaming hot creations
    …And again, not a single spicy burger made it to the finals. Somehow.
  • 497 people put bacon on their burgers, but no beef
    That seems a bit odd. Maybe they were confused and thought that the beef was automatic.
  • 2,522 people put “Texas” in their burgers’ name
    Not to belabor a point, but yup, “TEXAS!” If Texas-shaped buns had been an option, I’m sure they’d have been in the majority.

Another key point that McDonald’s missed in their promotion is the promotion part. I never even heard about this until after this contest was over and the burger was out. Can’t be any buzz if nobody knows about it. On a side note though, as a Texan I do appreciate the nice play on the Gonzales “Come and Take It” flag. Nice touch.

Anyway, so I thought I’d try this thing out, so I headed to my local TEXAS McDonald’s. “Yee-Haw!”

The first thing I saw when I walked in the door was this delightful little display across from the order counter.

McDonald's Lone Star Stack Burger Promotional Display

Other than this unusually “crafty” point-of-purchase signage, the ordering process was uneventful, so I retired to a nearby booth to experience the best burger that Texas has to offer.

McDonald's Lone Star Stack Burger

As is typical, it looked considerably more…. compressed than the burger in pictures. Time to check under the hood.

McDonald's Lone Star Stack Burger Inside

I will say that they did well with their onion and pickle coverage. A generous amount of sauce was splooshed between the patties and the top toast slice. There was no spread at all on the bottom slice. The toast also looked considerably thinner than the Texas Toast pictured, and really didn’t look or feel toasty at all.

I was easily able to taste the onions separate from the burger, since so many had fallen off. This is good, because they did have a pretty solid caramelized taste. Unfortunately, under all that BBQ sauce, their flavor was almost completely lost.

The so-called “Sweet Onion Barbecue Sauce” just tasted like any random generic BBQ sauce. Its purpose there, obviously, was to do little other than keep you from tasting the onions, or the white cheddar, or anything, really, other than BBQ sauce. ….and to make the Texas Toast predictably soggy and fally-aparty. I actually do like Texas Toast on a burger, but it does have to be very toasted to not become a gooey mess. If McDonald’s plans to continue making it available, maybe they can check with Whataburger to see what their secret is.

The pickles, being pickles, did manage to cut through the overwhelming BBQ sauce taste to make their presence known. The bacon was, typically, lost and unnecessary. And that slice of American cheese was likewise unneeded. Why not two white cheddars? Why taint a “premium” burger with crappy American cheese? As I’ve said before, American cheese goes on value-menu items, not on a pricey limited special offering.

Taken as a whole, the Lone Star Stack was not a terrible burger, it was just extremely mediocre and boring. And, like most McDonald’s high-end burgers, it seemed to me to be a tad overpriced. Having two Quarter Pounder patties did make it fairly meaty, but it really didn’t manage to distinguish itself in any other way. It also doesn’t help that I’m really just not a fan of BBQ-sauced burgers.

McDonald’s Lone Star Stack Burger

  • Score: 2 out of 5 Soggy Toast Slices
  • Price: $5.99
  • Size: 1 Burger
  • Purchased at: A McDonald’s in Texas! Yep!
  • Nutritional Quirk: Nearly twice as many calories (960) and fat grams (54) as a Big Mac. Yee-Haw!

Jones Soda Pumpkin Pie

Jones Soda Blood Orange, Lemon Drop Dead and Pumpkin Pie BottlesI’ve long lamented that I missed the halcyon days of Jones holiday sodas, which was back in the early 2000s when they sold their absolutely amazing-looking Thanksgiving packs that contained such flavors as Green Bean Casserole.

I’ve since made it a mission to grab every limited edition Jones Soda flavor I can, knowing full well that I’m likely in for some serious  punishment.

This year’s Halloween grab is Pumpkin Pie Soda, which Jones claims is new but was previously offered in one of their Thanksgiving packs. Perhaps they’ve tweaked the formula?

Along with Pumpkin Pie, this year they’re offering Blood Orange and Lemon Drop Dead, which have been offered in previous years, but I wanted to include them because they’ve departed from the usual picture labels to offer some pretty gruesome mummy and zombie guys.

Their labels also claim that “It will haunt you forever!” I find this very funny, because out of all of Jones’s limited edition flavors, these are two that will not haunt you. Blood Orange basically tastes like a better version of orange Fanta, because Jones uses cane sugar, and Lemon Drop Dead is a surprisingly refreshing mix of sour and sweet lemon soda.

But we’re really here for the Pumpkin Pie Soda. Because who wants to read about something that might actually taste good?

Jones Pumpkin Pie Soda Label

My four-pack of Pumpkin Soda bottles came with two harmless autumn-themed labels, but I chose the one where four people cover their faces with pumpkins, which could be a fun family photo but to me comes off as quietly ominous.

Jones describes this soda as “the perfect mix of pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg, with a hint of creamy, buttery crust flavor”.

Here we are again, with the pumpkin and the spices. But at least this one makes flat-out claims of tasting like pumpkin! On the other hand, they have to follow it up with the words “creamy” and “buttery”. Two things I’m always looking for in a soda.

Jones Pumpkin Pie Soda

Like an idiot, I’m always smelling these sodas before I taste them. The aroma wafting out of my cup was both strong and incredibly genuine – it really was like I was smelling pumpkin pie in a glass. I feel like this should have been off-putting, but instead it was inviting.

Tasting it was an entire grab bag of flavors and emotions. The nutmeg jumped to the forefront, which was bizarre when paired with a cold, carbonated beverage. The cinnamon was subtle, and, dare I say, overshadowed by the flavor of pumpkin. Actual pumpkin flavor! …In my soda.

Jones rarely lies, and true to form, there was indeed a hint of creaminess and a little bit of butter on the finish. It did give the impression of pie crust, and even evoked memories of the Cool Whip that was always present on top of pumpkin pies at my family’s Thanksgiving dinners.

What does all of this add up to? Again, my brain and my mouth are so confused. If I was judging Jones Pumpkin Pie Soda on flavor alone, it’s aces. By far the most authentic-tasting pumpkin item I’ve had this season, and probably in years past.

But the fact of the matter is that I’m also drinking a soda. It’s cold, it’s carbonated, and it’s everything that a pumpkin pie isn’t supposed to be. Did I finish the cup? I did, but I’m still not entirely sure why. Will I be cracking the other three in my possession? I’m pretty sure they’ll sit in the pantry until I run out of room and am forced to throw them away.

If you have the opportunity to try it, I urge you to do so, just to experience the weird authenticity. Especially if you live in Canada, where it’s available for a limited time at all Smoke’s Poutinerie locations. Screw you guys for having Poutineries.

Jones Soda Pumpkin Pie

  • Score: 2 out of 5 quietly creepy pumpkin people
  • Price: $25.99
  • Size: 12 oz. bottle (12-bottle pack)
  • Purchased at: http://www.jonessoda.com/
  • Nutritional Quirk: Contains no pumpkin, but the flavor is there.

Ben & Jerry’s Save Our Swirled Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's Save Our Swirled Ice Cream CartonBen & Jerry’s loves them some punny names, and Save Our Swirled is no exception. “Oh, cute, it’s like Save Our World!” You might think when you first see the name of the ice cream.

“Oh, cute, is says SOS on the carton lip!” You continue. “Oh cute, there’s the little Ben & Jerry’s cow, wearing a sweater, standing…on a disappearing glacier in the middle of the ocean…”

At this point you read the sign the cow is holding up, which says, “If it’s melted it’s ruined!” and then you start bawling your eyes out in the frozen treats section of Target, thinking of all the polar bears and penguins and how our nation’s coastline will be underwater probably in your lifetime.

While all this is happening, other Target patrons are staring at you, probably thinking that you’re holding a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and sobbing because you’re thinking about how your boyfriend just broke up with you and you’re about to spend another night alone with the only two reliable men in your life and a Netflix queue of romantic comedies. Those people are totally sexist. Ignore them. They just don’t get it.

Drying your eyes and adding the ice cream to your cart, because depressing or not, it is a new Ben & Jerry’s flavor, you console yourself with the fact that a portion of the profits must be going towards something working to combat climate change, right?

Well…no. Not exactly. The carton urges you to go to this site to sign a petition in regards to working towards clean energy. And, to be fair, there’s a lot of information about climate change and how Ben & Jerry’s works towards being a green company.

But I feel like all those tears in the frozen food aisle would have felt more justified if I thought I was actively doing something by purchasing this flavor.

Much like the current state of our planet’s climate, Save Our Swirled sounds like a bit of a mess. The carton describes the flavor as “Raspberry Ice Cream with Marshmallow & Raspberry Swirls & Dark & White Fudge Ice Cream Cones”. Holy ampersands, Batman! I’m pretty sure my elementary school English teacher would ding me for a run-on sentence on that one. And the fact that it’s not a sentence.

Semantics aside, there are so many flavors going on here that my brain is confused, which makes me think my taste buds are going to be, also. I’m also not entirely sure what “dark & white fudge ice cream cones” means. Pieces of cone dipped in chocolate? I guess I’m going to have to dive in to find out.

Ben & Jerry's Save Our Swirled Ice Cream Open

It looks so innocent on the surface, but there is much hiding underneath. I’m going to have to break this down into parts.

Ben & Jerry's Save Our Swirled Ice Cream Fudge Cones

To my surprise, the “cone” part of this didn’t involve ice cream cones at all, but instead referred to the shape of these little candies that are half dark fudge and half white. I’m sure you can understand my confusion, because we are talking about ice cream, so my brain went to waffle cones. Regardless, the little candies were tasty, and the sweetness of the white fudge nicely complimented the slight bitterness of the dark fudge.

Ben & Jerry's Save Our Swirled Ice Cream

The marshmallow swirl is all of the white stuff that you can see in the picture. I found it to be weak in both flavor and texture – all it added was a little sweetness, and it was surprisingly thin to the point of being runny, which is not at all what I would expect from something billed as “marshmallow”.

The raspberry swirl was a tasty…goo-like substance that worked well with the dark chocolate. It was rich and easily distinguishable as raspberry. I really liked the swirl, but on top of already-raspberry ice cream, it started to taste like raspberry overload.

The marshmallow swirl would have done well to step in here and break things up, but apparently it was too busy over there not tasting or acting like marshmallow at all, so it was of no help.

While I enjoyed most of Save Our Swirled’s ingredients on their own, the whole did not add up to the sum of its parts. The raspberry-on-raspberry action was too much and the marshmallow swirl was entirely underwhelming. On the plus side, the dark/white fudge “cones” added a nice change of texture and worked well with the sweetness of the other ingredients.

On the whole, I’d call Save Our Swirled a rare misstep by Ben & Jerry’s. They usually manage to take a mishmash of ingredients and make them work together, but there were some things that just didn’t work here. SOS isn’t so bad that I won’t finish the pint, but I won’t be purchasing it again, especially with all the other B&J’s more delicious options out there. Sorry, world.

Ben & Jerry’s Save Our Swirled Ice Cream

  • Score: 2 out of 5 sob-inducing drowning cows
  • Price: $3.00 (on sale; regular price $3.99)
  • Size: 1 pint
  • Purchased at: Target
  • Nutritional Quirk: Nothing remotely marshmallow-sounding in the ingredients, so I’m going to blame “liquid sugar” as the marshmallow culprit.

The Bacon Jams Bacon Spread: All Original, Black Pepper and Red Chile & Garlic

The Bacon Jams Bacon Spread All Original Black Pepper Red Chile & Garlic JarsI’m not one to back down from a food challenge. I’d like to think that’s readily apparent. So when I was given the opportunity to try Bacon Jams, I took a deep breath and did two things:

  1. I looked up The Bacon Jams to make sure this wasn’t some sort of fake product, which it obviously isn’t (although that would make for an interesting review, I guess)
  2. I found out that bacon jam is actually a real thing, and not just some hype invented by this company. In fact, in Austria it has its own much cooler and unassuming name, Verhackert.

I kind of want to call Bacon Jams Bacon Spread Verhackert for the rest of the review, because it just sounds so much better.

I’ll be straight – I try to be objective on all my reviews, but sometimes it’s difficult. This is one of those times. The idea of bacon jam does not give my taste buds any enthusiasm. I just keep thinking of bacon stuck in sweet, gelatinous goo, and it makes my stomach lurch a little.

While my stomach flips, my brain goes on yet another rant about bacon. I love bacon, I’m just so tired of Internet bacon hype. The Bacon Jams seem to be part of this hype.

And while my stomach flips and my brain rages, my heart ventures to ask the question: What if I actually like bacon jam?

I have to say, my heart (but not my arteries) softened a little after I read about The Bacon Jams’ humble beginnings. It was created by a group of home brewers, including a food scientist, and was funded by Kickstarter. After all that, now you can buy it from SkyMall!

Okay, SkyMall went bankrupt, but still.

Knowing that they take their product seriously – despite having a pig playing a guitar as your logo – and this isn’t just some Archie McPhee-style product made me a little less scared to try it.

All Original

The Bacon Jams Bacon Spread All Original Jar

I will tell you I almost gave up my profession and changed my address when I opened the All Original jar and there was fat on top. That whole “less scared” thing kind of flew out the window.

The Bacon Jams Bacon Spread All Original

I chose toast to spread my jam upon, as it seemed the most bland of the foods I could pick to let the real jam taste shine through.

Part of me wants to tell you that, after all this build-up, Bacon Jams was awful and I immediately vomited into my kitchen sink. But the truth is…it’s not that bad. I know that’s also not a gushing endorsement, but that was how I felt after my first taste of All Natural.

The first taste that comes through is bacon. Reassuring, right? And not Bacon Bits bacon. Not artificial bacon flavor with Liquid Smoke. Honest-to-goodness, cooked on the stove bacon.

Almost immediately after the bacon comes the sweetness. It’s not a cloying sweetness, however. I was immediately reminded of eating bacon after I’d accidentally gotten some syrup from my pancakes on it. Or, maybe you put syrup on your bacon on purpose.

That was it. Sweet, mapley bacon. Oh, and onions. The texture was chunky, but not like crispy bacon. I assume being suspended in jam inevitably softened the bacon itself. I attribute most of the chunkiness to the inclusion of the onions, which worked to make the texture more pleasant as I chewed, keeping it Bacon Jam and not Bacon Jelly, which somehow manages to sound worse.

Red Pepper & Garlic

The Bacon Jams Bacon Spread Red Chile & Garlic Jar

I found this flavor to be most intriguing, as red pepper and garlic aren’t flavors you commonly find associated with bacon.

The Bacon Jams Bacon Spread Red Chile & Garlic

This was the least bacon-y of the Jams. It’s hard to imagine a food where bacon is the main ingredient not tasting like bacon, but the flavor is definitely muted. Instead, the stand-out here is the onions and garlic. It’s like a sweet onion-garlic spread.

What of the red chile, you ask? I also ask. Because it wasn’t there. I could see it, but I just couldn’t taste the spicy bite of it. Perhaps the fat from the bacon neutralized the heat? All in all, it was the most subtle jam of the three, and the least bacon-y.

Black Pepper

The Bacon Jams Bacon Spread Black Pepper Jar

Black Pepper was my favorite of all the Bacon Jams, if I had to pick a favorite.

The Bacon Jams Bacon Spread Black Pepper

If you enjoy thick-cut bacon coated with black pepper, this is the Jam for you. It was the most savory of the Jams, which is why I liked it the most. There was still some sweetness there, but that black pepper bite cut through it quite pleasantly. The ever-present onion also complimented the pepper nicely.

After ingesting three slices of The Bacon Jams Bacon Spread toast, my stomach felt a little funky, but I attribute that to the sweetness – which is also my biggest complaint about Bacon Jams. I get that many people like their bacon sweet, and that this is also a jam, but that part just wasn’t my cup of tea.

That said, Bacon Jams is actually a quality product, with goddamn real bacon – which it better have, for the price of $15 per 8 ounce jar. All Original will please maple bacon fans, while those who like a savory bacon (still with some sweetness) might prefer Black Pepper. As for Red Chile & Garlic, it just came off as kind of weak.

While I wouldn’t buy this for myself, I could definitely see others enjoying this on toast, or on top of a bagel schmear, or maybe even on a BLT or grilled cheese. As for The Bacon Jams, they have higher aspirations, whichi were showcased in a nice little recipe book that came with my jar. Some of them I find to be quite a stretch, like S’mores Bacon Jam (hurgh) and Swedish Meat Balls with Bacon Jam Sauce, which sounds like they just made a scary dish scarier.

So, I didn’t throw up, which was good, especially after opening up that first jar. But I didn’t fall in love, either, which is also good, because of how much this stuff costs. If you’ve got the money and love bacon, WHICH IF YOU ARE ON THE INTERNET RIGHT NOW READING THIS I AM SURE THAT YOU DO, then you might try giving it a shot, if just to experience a unique pork product.

[Disclaimer: I received this product for free from The Bacon Jams. This in no way colors the objectivity of my review, as is evidenced by the amount of time I reference vomiting.]

The Bacon Jams Bacon Spread: All Original, Black Pepper and Red Chile & Garlic

  • Score (All Original): 2 out of 5 layers of fat
  • Score (Red Chile & Garlic): 1.5 out of 5 missing chiles
  • Score (Black Pepper): 3 out of 5 Swedish meatballs
  • Price: Free
  • Size: Three 8 oz. jars
  • Purchased at: Delivered for free
  • Nutritional Quirk: Contains real, actual bacon! Also contains only 2 grams of fat per tablespoon serving, which is way lower than I thought it would be.

Domino’s Specialty Chicken: Crispy Bacon & Tomato and Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple

Domino's Specialty Chicken Crispy Bacon & Tomato and Spicy Jalapeno-PineappleThere seems to be some confusion surrounding Domino’s new Specialty Chicken. I first heard mention of it from Conan O’Brien, where he described it in his monologue as “ new pizza where, instead of dough, they’re using fried chicken.” Half-listening, I thought to myself, “Oh, that must not be in this country. The United States has gotten pretty insane with our pizzas, but not that insane.”

And yet, as I was doing my usual Internet food-trolling duties later that day, I came across the Specialty Chicken.

I love the mysteriousness of the name. What makes this chicken so special? Is it because it is, indeed, a chicken pizza crust? Domino’s themselves describes it as “100% whole breast white meat chicken covered in our toppings, sauces and cheeses.”

Well, that sounds like a chicken pizza crust to me!

At this point, Specialty Chicken became known as “Domino’s Abomination” in my household, two words I tried desperately to portmanteau. “AbDomination” was the best I could come up with, which still reeks of trying-too-hard so I don’t even know why I’m telling you this.

So far, Domino’s Abominations come in four flavors: Classic Hot Buffalo, Sweet BBQ Bacon, Crispy Bacon & Tomato and Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple. Given the concept, I only chose two, as the idea of eating or even possessing four chicken crust pizzas was too daunting for my mouth.

When my special chickens arrived, they came in the same box that Domino’s uses for their sandwiches and wings. Upon opening, I was more than a little disappointed by the size. Instead of a whole pizza, it was more the size of a slice.

I’ll discuss the basics before I get to the specific toppings. First of all, Specialty Chicken is not a chicken crust. While Domino’s description above is questionably accurate, what they fail to add is that the chicken basically comes in nugget form. Call it disappointing or encouraging, this does not a chicken crust make.

That said, the pieces were lightly breaded with a nice seasoning, and the chicken was surprisingly tender. I wish I’d taken the time to count exactly how many there were – I’d estimate a little over six per.

The real failing here was the topping coverage. The Crispy Bacon & Tomato managed to hold it together, you might say, but the Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple just looked like a disaster.

Domino's Specialty Chicken Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple

Starting with the latter, Domino’s describes it as “Tender bites of lightly breaded, 100% whole breast white meat chicken, topped with sweet and spicy mango-habanero sauce, a blend of cheese made with mozzarella and cheddar, jalapeno and pineapple.”

Domino's Specialty Chicken Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple Close-Up2

I feel like I was missing a fair amount of all of these things except the chicken. There was a lot of cheese overflow, resulting in some lovely cheese crisps, but that wasn’t the point. I had to actually work to get cheese, a piece of jalapeno and a piece of pineapple on the same piece, and I didn’t even know there was a sauce until I read the description.

That said, when I managed to get the toppings in tandem with the chicken, the spicy and the sweet worked quite well together. I’m not a huge pineapple fan, but it worked well to balance the impressive level of heat from the peppers. If there had been any trace of the mango-habanero sauce, I feel like that would have taken this Specialty Chicken to the next level.

Domino's Specialty Chicken Crispy Bacon & Tomato

The Crispy Bacon & Tomato actually kind of resembles a pizza slice. Domino’s describes it as “Tender bites of lightly breaded, 100% whole breast white meat chicken, topped with garlic parmesan white sauce, a blend of cheese made with mozzarella and cheddar, crispy bacon and tomato.”

Domino's Specialty Chicken Crispy Bacon & Tomato Close-Up

The toppings were joyously more prominent on this Specialty Chicken. The garlic parmesan white sauce definitely made its presence known, adding a creamy lubricant (phrasing) that compliments the toppings and the cheese that binds it all together.

I actually had a bit of fun pulling these chicken pieces apart, watching the cheese stretch and enjoying the smoky bacon that was actually crisp, along with the juicy tomatoes. The tomatoes were more scarce than the bacon, but I’d rather have that than the other way around. The sauce was tangy and really brought it all together.

All of this sounds overly complimentary in the face of my description of the Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple Specialty Chicken, but in reality, neither of these delivered on the toppings-to-chicken ratio. If you ordered a pizza and half of it was completely topping-less, you’d probably call Domino’s asking for your money back. If we’re treating this like a chicken pizza, that was exactly the case here.

I’m amending my initial moniker of Domino’s Abomination and calling Specialty Chicken Domino’s Disappointment. If these had initially been described to me as “breaded chicken pieces smothered in sauce, cheese, and toppings”, I would have responded with, “Fuck yeah, where do I sign up?”

While this is what Specialty Chicken was meant to be, this is not what I got. Everything was lacking except the chicken – barely any toppings, cheese that didn’t even start to cover each piece of chicken, and sauce that was meager or tasted non-existent. Furthermore, the price for these things is completely overblown – I was able to eat both in one sitting, which comes to $12 for a lunch from a fast food joint. I feel like Domino’s Specialty Chicken could be so much more if they lowered the price and upped the toppings.

Domino’s Specialty Chicken

  • Score (Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple): 2 out of 5 sad “Where’s the sauce?” jokes
  • Score (Crispy Bacon & Tomato): 2.5 out of 5 creamy lubricant jokes
  • Price: $5.99 each
  • Size: 12 pieces each
  • Purchased at: Domino’s #7602
  • Nutritional Quirks: Domino’s website tells me there were 12 pieces each, but I swear I got cheated.

General Mills Fruity Yummy Mummy Cereal and Frute Brute Cereal

General Mills Fruity Yummy Mummy Cereal and Frute Brute Cereal BoxesHappy Halloween! I celebrated the holiday in 2010 with a bowl of Boo Berry cereal. Having had a taste of the General Mills breakfast monsters, I was thrilled to hear that this year, they’re bringing back two retirees: Fruity Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute!

According to Wikipedia, Yummy Mummy has been trapped in his sarcophagus for 20 years and Frute Brute has been in hibernation for 29 years.

In addition to this, they also brought back the retro box designs. Oh, those marketers. They know nostalgia brings in the money.

Fruity Yummy Mummy Cereal

General Mills Fruity Yummy Mummy Cereal Box

Gotta love the insanely clashing colors on this box. Of course, if you want to get kids to start screaming at their parents that they will die unless they get some Fruity Yummy Mummy cereal, that’s the way to go.

Yummy Mummy is super psyched about his cereal. He also appears to have been wrapped in purple, pink and yellow ribbon by someone on their first day of training at the gift-wrapping station at JCPenney’s.

I guess the full name of this cereal is General Mills Fruity Yummy Mummy Artificial Orange Cream Flavor Frosted Cereal with Spooky-Fun Marshmallows With…MONSTER MALLOWS.

That is a lot of words, some of them redundant. Of course, the MONSTER MALLOWS are the important part, here. MALLOWS shaped like MONSTERS! Sold and sold.

Like any good kids’ cereal, there’s a little trivia quiz on the side panel of the box, including such questions as, “Finish this monster catch phrase, ‘Fruity Yummy Mummy makes your tummy…”

The answer is, “Go yummy”.

Okay, that’s kind of weak.

I do like question #5 though: “Which of these mail-in premiums was not offered with monster cereals – glow candles, monster ink stampers or a monster mansion?”

The answer is “glow candles”, and now I want a time machine to go back and get some monster ink stampers and a monster mansion. Those sound fucking awesome.

General Mills Fruity Yummy Mummy Cereal

Although this cereal is “orange cream flavor”, and also “mummy”-themed, we seem to have orange AND red cereal pieces that look much more like ghosts than mummies.

And as for the pink, yellow, purple and orange mallows? I have no idea what they are. My first thought was Frankenstein’s Monster head, but I guess maybe they could be the mummies? Heck, why not.

General Mills Fruity Yummy Mummy Cereal Bowl

I’ve been carefully ignoring the flavor of Fruity Yummy Mummy Cereal because the idea of orange cream-flavored cereal scares me, and let’s face it – the packaging is awesome and the actual taste of the cereal is secondary. I could frame the unopened box, hang it on my wall, and be happy.

But I guess I’m supposed to talk about the food, so fine.

I found the flavor a little off-putting at first, but it quickly grew on me. Yummy Mummy really does taste like artificial frosted orange cream, instead of just artificial orange. This is Mr. Mummy’s saving grace. I’m pretty sure I would have hated it if it just tasted like orange Runts.

The MONSTER MALLOWS have that great instantly-dissolving sugar taste common in so many cereal mallows, but only when eaten dry. Once you add milk, their taste and texture disappears almost immediately. Luckily, the ghost…mummies hold a good crunch.

I also didn’t hate the leftover cereal milk – an important aspect of all cereals. I think the milk really helped to make the whole thing taste like a 50/50 bar, and nowhere was this more prominent than in the orange-tinged leftover milk.

I can’t honestly say that I’d like to eat Fruity Yummy Mummy Cereal every day – while it wasn’t the total disaster I thought it would be, there are a lot of other cereal flavors out there that I prefer over orange cream. But when you take in the whole package, I think most kids would enjoy a bowl of ghosts and mummy heads on a fine Halloween morning.

Frute Brute

General Mills Frute Brute Cereal Box

Frute Brute likes to keep it simple. He’s just an ordinary werewolf brute, happy to eat his frute cereal. To be more specific, his Artificial Cherry Flavor Frosted Cereal with Spooky-Fun Marshmallows.

Wait, why does Yummy Mummy get MONSTER MALLOWS and Frute Brute only gets the regularly-fonted Spooky-Fun Marshmallows? Frute Brute needs to stop eating cereal and start tearin’ up a certain gift-wrapped mummy using his sharp orange claws.

Nice overalls, Frute Brute. Those clashing stripes look like they belong on an old Geocities site, which truly is terrifying. Then again, he has been gone for 29 years. Wait until he hears what the Internet has done with cats!

Like Yummy Mummy, Frute Brute has a trivia quiz on his box. “What was Frute Brute’s original catch phrase?”

“The Howling Good Taste of Frute.” I enjoy both the pun and the commitment to using the non-word “frute”.

Brutsie’s #5 question is much like the Mumsters: “Which of these mail-in premiums was not offered with monster cereals – bubble bath, bike safety flag or laboratory kit?”

The answer is “laboratory kit”, which makes me sad, because that would have gone great with my monster mansion. However, it does delight me to the bottom of my black heart that, at some point in time, you could get General Mills Monster Cereal Bubble Bath. I am trying so hard right now to finish this review and not go trolling on eBay.

General Mills Frute Brute Cereal

Okay, there’s no real way I can find to connect Brute to his cereal shapes. He’s rocking both the Pac-Man ghost cereal shapes and the “is that a skull?”-shaped marshmallows that Yummy Mummy had. Even the colors are barely different. Throw me a fang-shaped marshmallow or something.

General Mills Frute Brute Cereal Bowl

I thought I would hate Yummy Mummy’s orange cream cereal, but once it actually turned out to be not repulsive, I was less nervous about Frute Brute. It turns out I was lulled into a false sense of security.

Okay, so it wasn’t that bad. The sadly-not-MONSTER MALLOWS had the same qualities as the Mummy’s mallows, in that they were great dry but disappeared when milk was applied.

The ghosties were crunchy, but the cherry flavor just didn’t work very well as a cereal. It didn’t have that cough medicine taste that can plague cherry candy, but it was just a little bit unsettling. I would have bet that I’d like cherry over orange, but this time, that was not the case.

Frute Brute seems to be pretty into it, though. Whatever makes him happy.

Oh, and on the back of both cereal boxes, there’s a whole cartoon story to entertain you while you eat!

General Mills Monster Cereal Box Back

Love love love it. Love the story, love the drawing, and most of all, love the Halloween puns. I love you, General Mills Monsters.

General Mills Fruity Yummy Mummy Cereal and Frute Brute Cereal

  • Score (Fruity Yummy Mummy): 3 out of 5 gift-wrapped mummies
  • Score (Frute Brute): 2 out of 5 overalls that would make Fruit Stripe gum proud
  • Price: $2.50 each
  • Size: 9.6 oz. box
  • Purchased at: Target
  • Nutritional Quirks: Contains no actual dessicated corpse or werewolf hair

Del Taco CrunchTada Tostada

Del Taco CrunchTada TostadaWhen Del Taco’s PR firm offered me a gift card for their new CrunchTada, I wasn’t exactly sold on doing a review of it, because it didn’t seem like a revolutionary new menu item. Yeah, I’m telling you this right out of the gate. That’s probably not the best way to go about a food review.

But! It turns out that there are many layers to the CrunchTada, pun completely intended. If you’d like to know how the CrunchTada tastes, scroll down. Otherwise, get ready for a breakdown of Del Taco’s marketing campaign. I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed.

Let’s start with their voting schtick, which you can find here.

How would you say CrunchTada? Probably phonetically (like tostada), and with an appropriate amount of sheepishness, because that’s a silly made-up word. But Del Taco thinks you might also want to say it like “Crunch Ta-Daa! (like a magic trick)”. Feel free to vote on the above website, and sound like an idiot at the drive-thru if you think the Del Taco employee will be amused at your magic-trick pronunciation.

Del Taco CrunchTada Tostada Box

When I got my promo package, it came in an actual CrunchTada box, which I found to be a nice touch. “We apologize for the noise.” Aw, isn’t that cute? But wait, Del Taco wasn’t done yet…

Del Taco CrunchTada Tostada Promo

Earplugs! Their promo item is earplugs. Because you see it’s a CrunchTada and it’s crunchy and so- I think you get the point.

I want so badly to make fun of that, but when I opened up the box, I actually laughed out loud. Was I laughing with Del Taco or at them? I’m not even sure, but either way, I felt mirth. Mission accomplished.

One more thing, people. One more thing.

Del Taco CrunchTada Tostada Box Inside

This is the inside top of the box. For a fast food item, it looks like a novel, but there’s much to be examined in this block of maniacally size-varying text.

It starts off fairly pedestrian, with claims of “awakening taste buds you didn’t even know you had” (does anyone really know how many taste buds they do have? Would you know if your dormant taste buds suddenly awakened?) and being so bold and crunchy that it has to have a name like CrunchTada, yadda yadda. CrunchYadda.

Then Del Taco goes off the rails, demanding to know how you eat yours. Here are your options:

  1. Your hands
  2. A fork
  3. Chopsticks made of straws
  4. A harpoon
  5. Bionic fingers
  6. Blindfolded so your other senses are heightened

This list sounds like it was created by a really awesome eight-year-old. The kind that would run up to you holding a plastic T-Rex, yell, “HIS NAME IS CRAZYBONGOS,” and then just run away again. I now totally want to try using straws as chopsticks. And have bionic fingers. And figure out the logistics of eating a CrunchTada with a harpoon.

Del Taco CrunchTada Tostada

Unfortunately, I’m not as cool as Crazybongos, so I used my hands, like a boring non-bionic human.

Del Taco describes the CrunchTada as “A thick, wavy, crunchy corn shell layered with slow-cooked beans made from scratch, our signature tangy taco sauce, crisp lettuce, and freshly hand-grated cheddar cheese.”

I describe my CrunchTada as “placed in the bag on its side”, but that’s just circumstance.

Del Taco CrunchTada Tostada Close-Up

All of the ingredients described above were present, except for the “wavy” part. My corn shell was as flat as Nebraska’s topography. It was, however, thick, and surprisingly, crunchy. One might expect a soggy mess, but my CrunchTada stayed crispy bite after bite, so kudos for nailing that part.

Unfortunately, the rest was, well…boring. There were beans. There was lettuce, which was actually crisp, so that’s a plus, especially when dealing with fast food. There was cheese, as you can see. And there was what I guess you could call “taco sauce”, which tasted much like Del Taco’s mild sauce. I wish there had been more sauce, because it would have livened things up a bit. Luckily, I had packets to add my own.

I think the biggest insult to my mouth was the fact that my CrunchTada was completely cold. Looking at the picture of it on Del Taco’s website, it doesn’t look like the cheese is supposed to be melted or anything, but at least the beans should have been warm.

The whole thing was basically a cold, boring, unfolded crunchy taco. Yeah, it was crunchy, which is the whole point, I guess? But beyond that, there was just nothing at all special about it.

Now here’s some good things about the CrunchTada: first off, it’s only a buck. For a buck, it’s actually pretty filling – more filling than a regular crunchy taco. Break out your straw chopsticks, value seekers!

Second, Del Taco also offers CrunchTada Pizzas. In addition to the regular CrunchTada ingredients, these also include nacho cheese, diced tomatoes, cilantro, and your choice of seasoned beef or marinated grilled chicken.

These obviously cost more ($2.29 and $2.49, respectively), but I think the added ingredients would have made my mouth much more satisfied. While I chose to review the CrunchTada in its purest form, the CrunchTada Pizzas sound like they’d give Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza a run for its money.

So, while the CrunchTada Tostada doesn’t exactly break any new ground or awaken any new taste buds, if you’re looking for cheap but filling, it does meet those admittedly low expectations. And Del Taco’s marketing department did an excellent job of entertaining me, even if the CrunchTada did not.

[Disclaimer: This Del Taco CrunchTada Tostada was purchased via a gift card received from Del Taco.]

Del Taco CrunchTada Tostada

  • Score: 2 out of 5 Crazybongos trying to eat a CrunchTada with his tragically short forelegs
  • Price: Free (regular retail $1.00)
  • Size: 1 CrunchTada Tostada
  • Purchased at: Del Taco #806
  • Nutritional Quirks: Nothing really suspicious here, so I guess I’ll just complain again that my tostada was not wavy. Also, a free harpoon would have made a great promo item. Just sayin’.

Limited Edition Watermelon Oreos

Limited Edition Watermelon Oreo PackageYou know that thing where your brain starts writing suicidal checks that your body knows it will never cash? That was me, walking to the grocery section of Target for the fourth time, thinking to myself, “If they don’t have Watermelon Oreos today, I’m going to kill myself.”

This obviously did not happen, since I am still here.

I kept being promised by red-shirted employees, who sounded like they actually knew what they were talking about, that the Oreos would be in stock the next day. On the first day, here’s how my morning started:

Me: “I have to go to Target today.”

Husband: “Uh, okay. Why?”

Me: “I have to get Watermelon Oreos.”

Husband [pause]: “I would have rather you told me you were going to go bang your secret boyfriend in the filthy Target public bathroom than tell me you’re going to spend actual money on Watermelon Oreos. That is disgusting.”

Unfortunately, there was neither gross secret-boyfriend banging nor Oreos on that day.

On the second try, I was so pissed off that I bought an iced coffee from the in-store Starbucks. I’m not sure who I thought I was committing revenge on, besides my wallet, but it made sense at the time.

On the third strike (after being told the second time that they’d definitely be there that weekend), I told Target it was lucky it was so close to my house because if my Regrets Per Mile were any higher, the building would be burning to the ground.

A smarter person would have learned after the first time to just call the store before going, but I kept being fed creamy broken promises sandwiched between two cookies of sheer hatred towards calling retail customer service.

As you can tell, I finally found success. Unfortunately, my secret boyfriend had the day off and the bathrooms were out of service. But I got what I really came for, which is a cookie meant to taste like a large summertime fruit.

The Internet Hype Machine is in full force on this one, for reasons I can’t quite understand. Oreos have already gone Birthday Cake, Candy Corn and Gingerbread. I guess once the machine gets rolling it’s hard to stop.

There’s also some talk about Limited Edition Watermelon Oreos being racist, which is pretty much the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Oh, okay, there’s a stereotype about black people liking watermelon. You know who else likes watermelon? Children. Adults. College kids who fill them with vodka.

I’d like to think Nabisco was aiming a little more innocently on this flavor; namely, “Watermelon is a classic summer flavor and it’s also a weird filling choice for Oreos. Let’s do this.”

Actually, the exact wording that I found is, “’We chose Watermelon because it is a fun, summer flavor that goes great with the Golden OREO cookie,” Oreo spokesperson Kimberly Fontes told TIME.

She left out the part about the hype, but I think it’s implied.

Internet blah blah-ing aside, let’s take a look for ourselves.

First off: packaging. I like that Oreo generally sticks to the formula of “blue packaging for chocolate Oreos, yellow packaging for Golden Oreos.” It makes it easy to identify what’s what on store shelves, especially since Oreo has come out with 700 different flavors/styles now.

The rest of the packaging is simple but effective: a giant slice of watermelon dominates, with a little untwisted Watermelon Oreo off to the side. It’s bright, it’s colorful, and it screams summertime.

Golden Oreos were the obvious choice for this flavor, because it’s basically a vanilla-ish sugar cookie, which fits a watermelon-flavored filling much better than chocolate would. Plus, it contributes to the overall color scheme.

As you can see, the creme is half-green, half-pink. Pretty much a no-brainer. My only lament, which I’m pretty sure other reviewers have already expressed, is the lack of tiny little black specks to represent watermelon seeds. C’mon, guys, those seeds are iconic. You could argue that these are seedless Watermelon Oreos, but if you did so, I would laugh in your face because we’re talking about a fucking cookie and you’re sperging out about semantics. Which would make me a hypocrite, because that’s exactly what I’m doing right now.

Furthermore, the watermelon slice on the package has seeds. Oreo, you know we’re going to be twisting off that top. Make the effort. Plus, some teensy crunchy candies would just add to the fun.

Then again, I may be putting the cart before the horse, here. You’re not really going to care about missing black specks if you’re busy vomiting into your kitchen sink because Limited Edition Watermelon Oreos are so disgusting.

Limited Edition Watermelon Oreo In Package

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened my package of Watermelon Oreos, but what I was least expecting is what I got – the sweet, bakery-like smell of Golden Oreos. Not a hint of watermelon in sight. Or sniff, rather.

The second thing I did, of course, was twist the top off, because that’s what you do with an Oreo. The inside looked pretty much like the package advertised – a swirly half-green, half-red creme, just like the color scheme of a real watermelon.

Limited Edition Watermelon Oreo Cookies

Well, not exactly. It’s more like mégot pastèque à l’aquarelle. In case you don’t speak French, that translates to “watermelon butt in watercolor”. At least, that’s what Google tells me; I don’t actually know French. I just wanted to sound fancy. With butt-shaped creme jokes.

I then licked the creme and was instantly hit with a familiar flavor – Watermelon Jolly Ranchers. It tasted obviously artificial and nothing like a real watermelon, but it was definitely distinct. It also wasn’t overly sweet, which I liked.

What I didn’t like was pretty fundamental – watermelon-flavored creme. I’m not adverse to artificial watermelon candy; I actually like Watermelon Jolly Ranchers and Watermelon Jelly Bellies.

When I ate the Watermelon Oreo as a whole cookie, an interesting phenomenon occurred. While the watermelon flavor was strong when tasting the creme straight, it became remarkably muted when paired with the Golden Oreo cookies. The cookies themselves have a quite sweet and vanilla flavor, and the watermelon took a back seat to this, for which I was thankful. It was odd that the creme had such a strong flavor on its own but diminished so easily when eaten with the cookies.

After eating four of the cookies, I was left with an uneasy feeling that was both inexplicable and familiar. I was suddenly reminded of Watermelon Jelly Belly Pudding Snacks. I don’t know what it is, but it seems like there’s a place for artificial watermelon flavor, and that place is neither cookie creme nor pudding.

Nabisco nailed that artificial watermelon flavor, so I have to give them points for that. But on the other hand, Watermelon Oreos are just…not necessary. I appreciate the summertime marketing ploy and weird-factor hype, but the actual taste of the creme just didn’t sit well with me. Paired with the cookies, the toned-down flavor got a little better, but overall, it was just too bizarre for my taste buds.

But hey, at least I didn’t barf.

Limited Edition Watermelon Oreo

  • Score: 2 out of 5 watercolor butts
  • Price: $2.99
  • Size: 15.25 oz. package
  • Purchased at: Target (exclusive)
  • Nutritional Quirks: It’s a fucking Watermelon Oreo. Need I say more?

Other reviewers who seemed to like these more than I did: The Impulsive Buy, Food Junk, Junk Food Guy, Brand Eating