Tag Archives: 2 burgers

Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Crunchy Taco and Cool Ranch Crunchy Taco Tortilla Chips

Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Crunchy Taco and Cool Ranch Crunchy Taco Tortilla Chips BagsDoritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Crunchy Taco and Cool Ranch Crunchy Taco Tortilla Chips are quite possibly the most meta snack to ever hit the chip shelves. They are Doritos, based on fast food tacos, which have the shell of a Dorito.

I think we can all see where this is going. Taco Bell Doritos Locos Taco Taco Bell Doritos Locos Taco… it will be the Möbius strip of food that will eventually take over Taco Bell’s entire menu and choke the chip aisle. It will be the undoing of humanity.

…Okay, maybe I’m getting a little carried away. But I think we can all agree that this is getting ridiculous.

Like the Taco Bell Doritos Locos Tacos, the Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Tortilla Chips come in two flavors: Nacho Cheese Crunchy Taco and Cool Ranch Crunchy Taco. Doritos loves to do the “two flavors in one bag” thing, so this is right up their alley.

Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Crunchy Taco Tortilla Chips

Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Crunchy Taco Tortilla Chips

Upon opening the bag, my olfactory senses were overwhelmed with the smell of taco seasoning. Like opening a pack of McCormick’s seasoning you’d add to some ground beef for “Tuesday Taco Night” with some of those pre-made shells that have a flat bottom so they stand up on their own. Man, I wish I had invented those. Genius.

Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chip

When I tasted the nacho cheese chips by themselves, it was instantly obvious that these are just regular Nacho Cheese Doritos, to the surprise of no one. They got a little bit of taco flavoring due to spooning with Crunchy Taco in the bag. Let’s face it; it’s like a forced cuddle party. There’s gonna be some contact.

Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Crunchy Taco Tortilla Chip

The Crunchy Taco flavor was very powerful. My brain went flipping through its Rolodex (my brain is technologically behind the times) of Doritos flavors, but I couldn’t quite pinpoint the flavor powder. It definitely wasn’t Taco Flavor Doritos. It was just…straight-up taco seasoning. I can’t find another way to describe it.

When eaten together, as I’m assuming God, Doritos and Taco Bell intended, Crunchy Taco overwhelmed the taste of Nacho Cheese. I could, however, get some nacho aftertaste, which did compliment the taco flavor.

Did these chips mimic a Taco Bell Doritos Locos Nacho Cheese Taco? Not even close. But if you want to treat these like Doritos Collisions or the various other Doritos “two flavors in one bag”, they’re not too bad.

Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Cool Ranch Crunchy Taco Tortilla Chips

Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Cool Ranch Crunchy Taco Tortilla Chips

It’s difficult to say much more about these Cool Ranch Crunchy Taco Doritos that hasn’t already been said about the Nacho Cheese version. Again, that taco seasoning smell was very present.

Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Cool Ranch Tortilla Chip

Also again, there was nothing new about the Cool Ranch Doritos. Like Nacho Cheese, rubbing up against Crunchy Taco resulted in some flavor transfer. I’m starting to wonder about these cuddle parties.

Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Crunchy Taco Tortilla Chip (2)

I kept some of my observations about Crunchy Taco Doritos out of the Nacho Cheese portion of this post so that I could say something here besides using the word “again” 20 times in one review.

The fact of the matter is, Crunchy Taco Doritos had too much flavor dust.

Now, usually, I savor the joy of finding those few Doritos that somehow got hit with too much flavoring in their journey from tortilla chip to flavored tortilla chip. In the case of Crunchy Taco, however, it was like every chip had been blasted to hell with the stuff.

Unfortunately, this fact worked against Cool Ranch even more than Nacho Cheese. Eating the two chips together pretty much obliterated the Cool Ranch flavor.

Mark this day in Junk Food Betty history, because I’m about to say something that I may never say again: Crunchy Taco Doritos were actually too salty. I say this with gravitas, because I am a salt vampire, so for me to say something is too salty is borderline insanity.

In the end, both flavor combos suffered from the same fault: Crunchy Taco was too strong, snuffing out the flavors of Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch. Furthermore, they tasted nothing like the tacos they were trying to emulate in a weird, meta way.

I actually liked the Crunchy Taco flavoring, despite it tasting nothing like a Taco Bell taco, but someone cranked the flavor knob up to 11, which resulted in too much salt and the obfuscation of the flavors it was supposed to compliment.

I usually find Doritos dual flavors uninspired but acceptable, but this was a strange case of flavor overload. I hope that my predictions of a Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Möbius strip don’t come true, because that is a weird vortex that I don’t want to be a part of.

Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Crunchy Taco and Cool Ranch Crunchy Taco Tortilla Chips

  • Score (Nacho Cheese Crunchy Taco): 3 out of 5 questionable cuddle parties
  • Score (Cool Ranch Crunchy Taco): 2 out of 5 salt vampires saying “Whoah, too much
  • Price: $1.49 each
  • Size: 3 3/8 oz. bags
  • Purchased at: 7-Eleven #21821
  • Nutritional Quirks: I have no evidence to support this, but I believe a fire hose was brought in to spray the Crunchy Taco Doritos. Now that’s quirky.

McDonald’s UK Tastes of America Week 2: The Chicago Supreme and Crisscut Fries

McDonald's UK Tastes of America Logo and Chicago Supreme Logo Box[Kelley’s Note: Boy do I wish I lived in the UK right now. Fortunately, guest reviewer Kirsten (of Pizza Hut Hot Dog Stuffed Crust Pizza fame) does, and she has done me the favor of reviewing one of the McDonald’s Tastes of America burgers. We’ve done a little bit of collaborating, since she’s tasting America and I’m living here, so expect me to chime in every once in a while for some insight from the States.]

Every year in the UK, or at least for as long as I can remember paying attention, McDonald’s UK has run a summer promotion called TASTES OF AMERICA, whereby 5 State-‘inspired’ burgers are presented at a rate of one per week for 5 weeks, offering us Brits the chance to glimpse at the wonders of America in burger form. Sadly, I missed the first burger ‘Louisiana BBQ’ by a mere DAY, and grovel for your forgiveness. Instead, I present WEEK 2: CHICAGO.

When I think Chicago food, I think of pizza. That’s it, really. I got briefly confused about cheese curds, but that’s Wisconsin, apparently. Also, I am told that the Chicago Dog is the more prominent food association with Chicago. Clue’s in the name, I guess. I blame Chicago Town Pizzas. Whaddaya gonna do?

Anyway, a Chicago Dog is not at all what I expected. I dig the big bit of pickle in it (we don’t do pickle enough over here) but really it just seems like a Classic Hamburger set up, with a hot dog instead. I am not convinced at all. That is also completely nothing like the T.O.A: Chicago burger.

Here is McDonald’s UK’s description of The Chicago Supreme: “Experience the supreme taste of the Windy City. 100% beef patty, shredded lettuce, bacon, onions, cheese slices, spicy tomato salsa and cool mayo, all in a chilli, chive and sesame topped bun.”

[Kelley’s Note: I actually had to explain what a Chicago Dog is to Kirsten. She had never heard of such a thing. I also explained to her that, even in the States, if you’re going to make something “quintessentially Chicago”, you’re probably going to try to emulate a Chicago Dog. (If you don’t know what one consists of, read the first paragraph of this. It sums it up pretty perfectly.)

I was very amused by the UK’s version of “Chicago”. Not to make too much fun, but…salsa? Oh well, all they’re missing is the pickle. And the mustard. And the…okay, it’s pretty much missing everything. I’d be curious to see what the citizens of Chicago have to say about this burger representing their city.

Okay, back to Kirsten, who actually ate the burger.]

McDonald's UK Tastes of America Week 2 The Chicago Supreme

The burger is a big burger. I’d say it’s about 1.5 times the length of a Big Mac. It’s an ovoid. The bun is also a fancy split-top bun, sprinkled with the chilli, chive and sesame. The bun itself was light and soft, though I found it hard to tell if the chilli and chive topping added anything because of the spicy salsa heat.

McDonald's UK Tastes of America Week 2 The Chicago Supreme Inside

The mayo and onion were plentiful. The patty meat was perfect, beefy and flavoursomely charred, just the right side of crumbly, not tough or chewy at all. The sheer amount of sauces in combination gave good flavour but really just meant the patty was trying to escape the buns. My patty had too much lubrication. Now I see why they didn’t spread the load by adding any to the lower bun. Does anywhere do that? I think I’ve found salad there before.

McDonald's UK Tastes of America Week 2 The Chicago Supreme Close-Up

There was a good amount of bacon, but at first I wondered if I’d imagined there was meant to be any – there was no bacon in sight. It only emerged after I’d bitten in, and was indeed pinned within, smothered by the heavy quantity of cheese slices and disguised by the nonchalant shredded lettuce, an accomplice to bacon obfuscation. It was the Thomas Crown Affair of burger bacon.

McDonald's UK Tastes of America Week 2 The Chicago Supreme Half

There was a lot of mayo. I’m not a big fan of mayo (in or out of burgers) but it didn’t ruin it for me, and just meant it was like an oddly creamy but tasty salsa, like a spicy prawn cocktail sauce. Y’all do that too right? With the ketchup and mayo, or ketchup and salad cream and then you get Marie Rose sauce or whatever? I like it with brandy in. There was no brandy in this burger. Good job, I don’t think that’s what it needed.

[Kelley’s Note: I had to look up “Marie Rose sauce” – it is indeed a synonym of seafood or cocktail sauce, but, at least to me, sounds more like Thousand Island dressing. My definition of cocktail sauce contains stuff like horseradish and Worcestershire.]

The salsa was great, I’d like to see that back in another burger, maybe as a dip.

McDonald's Tastes of America Crisscut Fries Box

A dip, hey! That would have been real good with the special edition TOA: Crisscut fries I got too! I didn’t really like them. They were that kind of mashed and reformed potato shape and reminded me of potato waffles, a thing I have only had once in my life and avoided ever since. I still only eat hash browns when I’m desperately hungry.

McDonald's Tastes of America Crisscut Fries

They came with a sour cream and chive packet of dip which I gave a miss as I’m not eating any sour cream that doesn’t come from a fridge. I want to say the Crisscuts taste reminded me of Alphabites ((does that translate?)) but had a slightly spiced coating, which according to the website was onion powder and yeast extract. I won’t be ordering them again.

[Kelley’s Note: This did not, in fact, translate for me. I was pretty sure Kirsten wasn’t talking about the cereal. Luckily I found this, so now I know she was talking about a letter-shaped frozen potato product.]

In Hull, fries come with a coating of ‘chip spice’ (because we call fries ‘chips’, and chips ‘crisps’) which is more or less the same thing but with paprika and salt thrown in and I do not like that either. I did not know this when I first ordered fries in Hull, and have been scarred ever since. Consider this a PSA for if you ever find yourself there.

The TOA: Chicago burger was tasty but not as gourmet as I think it wanted to be. I think the oversized patty will continue to be an issue in the upcoming weeks, but I can’t fault them for being generous; it was good meat and cooked well.

Really, the TOA: Chicago was just a big ol’ Bacon Cheeseburger in a fancy bun, and whilst it was a good enough eat, I won’t be missing it from the menu a month down the line.

I am totally not ordering the TOA:Crisscuts again though, even though I think regular McD’s fries will serve to make the burger look even more enormous. One point to the Crisscuts – they are proportionally sized for the TOA burgers.

[Kelley’s Note: Kirsten turned me on to McDonald’s UK’s Tastes of America website. We both agreed that it was an amazing feat of marketing. She let me take the reins on this one, so you’ll be hearing from me from here until the roundup at the end of the review.]

Oh, McDonald’s UK Tastes of America. You’ve already given us so much. But once Kirsten showed me your website, I felt I had been given a special gift from the marketing gods.

While I’d love to break down each and every “Tastes” page, that would probably take up the length of an entire review, and we’re talkin’ about Chicago here, so let’s focus on that.

First off, every Tastes of America “tribute” page is an amazing feat of music and bizarre gifs. It’s like someone with a current knowledge of graphic artistry was instructed to make them look like a 1996 Geocities website. It is strange and mesmerizing at the same time.

I will give the UK this: Chicago is the longest-running American musical in the history of Broadway. Looking at the States from the outside in, this would be a pretty easy choice to encapsulate the spirit of the city. However, the Tastes of America takes it a little too far. The music is va-va-voom, the background is reminiscent of a Broadway marquee, and there’s attractive ladies wearing sexy tuxedos dancing around with canes.

Correction: one sexy lady, multiplied by eight. GIFS!

There are also two mirror-image limos thrusting in and out of the background in a way that makes me mildly uncomfortable.

The icing on the cake for me is the introduction of a jumble of red-clad basketball player gifs, obviously meant to represent the Chicago Bulls. I have some sad news for you, Britain: the iconic era of Michael Jordan and the Bulls’ dominance in the NBA ended in the 1990s. I’m sorry.

So what crazy gifs would I use to represent Chicago? Well, I’ve never even been to the Windy City, but here are some of my suggestions:

Lots of Tommy guns shooting with the sound of automatic fire as your music

One guy in a three-piece pinstripe suit repeated eight times making threatening gestures

A corrupt government official repeatedly signing a check and handing it to a shady character

Crates of bootleg alcohol dancing around

Um…wind?

It’s obvious I’m also not intimately familiar with Chicago, but I still feel mine is a closer representation of the city than McDonald’s UK’s. Regardless, all of the Tastes of America pages are priceless, and I highly encourage you click on the link I posted above.

Okay, enough of my blathering. Here’s Kirsten’s round-up. A big thanks to her for the guest review!

McDonald’s UK Tastes Of America Chicago Supreme

  • Score: 4 out of 5 dancing gifs
  • Price: £4.89 plus £0.40 Crisscut upgrade (~$7 USD)
  • Size: Regular meal with Chicago Supreme, Crisscut fries and drink
  • Purchased at: McDonald’s – Leeds 2
  • Nutritional Quirks: Nothing like a Chicago Dog, but at least there’s lots of protein?

McDonald’s UK Tastes Of America Crisscut Fries

  • Score: 2 out of 5 potato Alphabites (NOT the cereal)
  • Size:8 lattices
  • Purchased at: McDonald’s – Leeds 2
  • Nutritional Quirks: Say no to chip spice.

 

Australian Snaxplosion: Thins Light & Tangy and Chicken Thin & Crispy Potato Chips and Burger Rings

Australian Snaxplosion Thins Light & Tangy, Thins Chicken and Burger Rings Bags2A little while back, I got an email from a stranger living in Australia. She loves Skittles. She loves them so much, in fact, that she asked if I could ship her a bag of Darkside Skittles, since they didn’t have them where she lived.

She suggested we do a snack trade. Because I noted that she had her own food website, I immediately gave her my address, because you can obviously trust a complete stranger that you’ve emailed twice on the Internet, as long as they have a food blog.

I got into a lot of white, unmarked vans as a child. Obviously unrelated, but I felt I should mention it.

We made arrangements, and a surprisingly short time later, a totally awesome box full of Australian goodies arrived at my doorstep. So full, in fact, that there was no way I could fit them all into one review. Or two reviews. In fact, I may be reviewing them forever. Keeping this in mind, I won’t be using my usual review structure – I’ll just give a quick rating at the end of each item.

That said, enjoy part one of Australian Snaxplosion!

Thins Light & Tangy Thin & Crispy Potato Chips

Australian Snaxplosion Thins Light & Tangy Bag

Thins have a pretty much identical texture to Lay’s potato chips, which makes sense, since they were once owned by Pepsico, who bought them from Smith’s, but then sold them to…you know what, nevermind. Just know that the base chip is just like Lay’s.

I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from Thins Light & Tangy, since neither of these words are particularly descriptive. Lightly flavored? Light in calories? Tangy…how?

The back of the bag offered me no clues. There was no nutritional information box, nor was there an ingredients list. I found this intriguing, since I’m pretty sure it’s a law or something to list that stuff in the United States. “Or something” – that’s good research, right there. In fact, none of the three items being reviewed today had any information on the back. You roll the dice when you snack Australian.

If you can’t tell by the pictures, all three of these snacks came in surprisingly small bags. By small, I mean, one serving. An actual serving, not an American serving. Something you would eat during a work break. It’s like comparing a 12-ounce soda to a Big Gulp. I wonder, do they offer gallon-sized jugs of soda in Australian convenience markets? My hunch is no.

Australian Snaxplosion Thins Light & Tangy Chips

Anyways, Thins Light & Tangy had a nice vinegar bite with an equal amount of…tang. I could definitely identify some onion in there, but it wasn’t sour cream and onion-flavored…perhaps a bit of a ranch flavoring? I think ranch would count as tangy.

Australian Snaxplosion Thins Light & Tangy Chips Close-Up

I won’t lie, I did look up the ingredients, but only after I’d tasted the chip. Some of the ingredients are “Vegetable Powders (Onion, Tomato), Flavour (Natural), Flavour Enhancer (621) and Herbs & Spices”.

I couldn’t taste any tomato, but the rest seemed about on point. Of course, I have no idea what 621 Flavour Enhancer is, but hey.

In the end, I never did learn what was so light about Thins Light & Tangy Thin and Crispy Potato Chips. I did, however, enjoy the taste. They had a nice balance of vinegar, salt, and a present but not overwhelming ranch-like flavor. Nothing crazy or groundbreaking, but a fine snack, nonetheless.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 kudos for using the moniker “Light” for seemingly no reason at all

Thins Chicken Thin & Crispy Potato Chips

Australian Snaxplosion Thins Chicken Bag

Chicken-flavored potato chips may seem pretty out there if you’re American, but according to my brief Internet research, chicken seems to be a pretty common flavor for Australian snacks. In fact, I got another chicken-flavored snack in my box, Chicken Twisties, but they didn’t survive the International travel very well, and by that I mean, both ends of the bag blew out. Amazingly, this was the only casualty of the whole box, so I consider myself lucky.

Maybe chicken doesn’t seem so out there when you consider the crazy flavors we’ve seen over the years. Mountain Dew-flavored Doritos, anyone? Besides that, if I had to pick a meat to flavor chips, chicken seems the most innocuous.

Australian Snaxplosion Thins Chicken Chips

Thins Chicken chips look remarkably similar to Light & Tangy, but the tastes are worlds apart. They look and feel almost identical – again, think Lay’s with some green flecks on them – but Chicken lacks all the twang that excites taste buds. Is it possible for a food to taste…matte? If it is, that is how I would describe Thins Chicken.

While the unfortunately unseen Twisties Chicken tasted like chicken bullion, Thins Chicken didn’t taste like chicken at all. In fact, I’m not sure what they tasted like. They were very salty, and there was a little onion, but that was about it.

Actually, there was a strange aftertaste that I can only describe as “chewing on an old jar of chicken bullion cubes”. It was very odd and unpleasant.

I was steeling myself for chicken-flavored potato chips when I opened up my bag of Thins Chicken Thin & Crispy Potato Chips, but what I got was actually worse. Instead of chicken, I got a flavor that was both bland and unnatural. After enjoying Thins Light & Tangy, I was surprised at how badly Thins Chicken failed to live up to its name.

Rating: 2 out of 5 ways that Thins managed to make chicken-flavored chips taste worse than chicken-flavored chips

Burger Rings

Australian Snaxplosion Burger Rings Bag

As you may imagine, Out of the three offerings shown here, I was most intrigued by this product. Burger Rings! Again, these may sound odd to Americans, and the lack of imagery plus the promise of “big burger taste” on the front of the bag may conjure memories of things like Doritos Late Night All-Nighter Cheeseburger. I know it did for me, and that was not necessarily a good thing.

Burger Rings are apparently very popular in Australia, so I thought, how bad can they be?

Australian Snaxplosion Burger Rings

That’s usually an ominous question, but for once, I was pleased to discover that they were not bad at all. In fact, I enjoyed them quite a bit.

Upon first glance, Burger Rings look like smaller, redder versions of Funyuns. They say we eat with our eyes, and in this case, my eyeballs were pretty spot-on. The texture was indistinguishable to that of Funyuns – light and somewhat puffy, but with a satisfying crunch. I would call it a “soft crunch”, if such a thing exists.

The flavor of Burger Rings was distinctly that of cheese and tomato. Breathe a sigh of relief – unlike the abominations that have been created in the US, Burger Rings made no attempt to make their product taste like meat. “Big burger taste” is just big talk.

Unlike Funyuns, Burger Rings are the perfect size for popping into your mouth. I found that I’d blown through my appropriately snack-sized bag rather quickly. With a generic cheesy tomato flavor and a crunchy but non-gum-stabbing texture, they were easy and fun to eat.

While I would have preferred something else to go with the cheese – maybe onion, or, dare I say, garlic – I can see why so many Australians like this snack. I was glad that my Aussie snack trading partner had included two bags, because one was just not enough. I’d love to see Burger Rings sitting next to Funyuns on store shelves. It’s time someone gave them a run for their money in the ring-shaped crunchy snack department.

Rating: 4 out of 5 sighs of relief that Burger Rings taste nothing like actual burgers

That wraps up part one of our unknown number of Australian snack food reviews! I’ll be back later with more treats from the land down under. In the meantime, watch out for drop bears, folks.

Limited Time Only Pringles Cinnamon & Sugar and White Chocolate Peppermint

In my last post about Pumpkin Pie Spice Pringles, I mentioned that Pringles went insane three times this holiday season, and that I would get to the other two at another time. Well it turns out that time is now!

Reviewing Pringles twice in a row is a bit of a challenge, since I blew my preamble wad on the last review, what with the discussion about feeling like a cheap whore after eating Pringles since they are not actually chips and what have you. A friend of mine suggested some freestyle rapping, at which point I grabbed his face, got Batman Close, and asked him if I looked like the kind of person who would freestyle rap.

After he ran away crying, I looked at the blinking cursor mocking me on my monitor and actually gave it some consideration.

Realizing that it was sad that it had come to rapping about poppin’ and not stoppin’, I decided maybe it would be best to just jump into things. Then I realized Kris Kringle rhymes with Pringle, and hit ctrl+b before I lost my shit completely. Oh my god, I can’t stop rhyming. Please help me.

Limited Time Only Pringles Cinnamon & Sugar

Sometimes I feel like the title of my posts ruins the fun. It’s a necessary evil, but it’s a total spoiler. I just want to get the elephant in the room out of the way and say that Cinnamon & Sugar Pringles are not the most exciting part of this review. Sorry guys, but it’s true.

However, in my family we had a rule on Christmas morning that you had to open your stocking before you could open your presents. So let’s wade through this metaphorical menagerie of oranges, toothbrushes, Hot Wheels and dollar bills before we get to the big-ticket item. It’s only proper.

 

Now, don’t get me wrong – cinnamon sugar flavored potato crisps are still sound weird and unnatural, even if they may seem tame in comparison to the other Pringles in this review. But then I remembered last year’s experience with Mission Sugar Cinnamon Tortilla Chips and realized that maybe I shouldn’t judge a can by its cover.

That said, let’s judge a can by its cover.

Like Pumpkin Pie Spice Pringles, Cinnamon & Sugar gets all meta with their can-on-a-can design. C&S doesn’t get anything as cool as a can-shaped pumpkin, though; instead, they get some little swirlies that don’t have much to do with cinnamon, sugar, or Christmas in general. Pft.

As if to make up for this, the metacan is stuffed to the gills with cinnamon sticks. I’ll admit that it’s probably difficult to represent sugar in any way that wouldn’t make it look like a pile of snow and/or blow (the rhyming, it haunts me), so I guess those little twinkles on top of the sticks are supposed to be sugar. That, or magic.

Trust me, it’s not magic. As I popped the top, I was met with the odor of cinnamon almost as strong as those damn pine cones they put in the front of grocery stores every Christmas that make me sneeze. I was okay with that, though; I took it as a good sign.

And indeed it was. There was a heavy dusting of both cinnamon and sugar on each potato crisp, and both flavors were pleasant and worked well with each other. Because the flavors were so strong, they blocked out most of the flavor of the actual potato crisp, which was a good thing.

Note the word “most”, though. You can’t keep a mediocre potato crisp down, so inevitably I got some Pringles flavor creeping in at the end, ruining the fun cinnamon and sugar party.

Limited Time Only Pringles Cinnamon & Sugar aren’t completely awful, they just aren’t in any way impressive. Furthermore, there’s no real reason for them to exist. Do you want Pringles? Buy some Pringles. Do you want cinnamon and sugar? Buy a coffee cake or some shit. But really, who wants Pringles and cinnamon/sugar? The answer is no one. Well, there’s probably someone out there. But not the type of person I’d want to associate with.

Limited Time Only Pringles White Chocolate Peppermint

We’ve arrived. White Chocolate fucking Peppermint fucking Pringles. Again, there is no reason for these to exist. This is a road that can only lead to bad things.

To add insult to injury, this was my White Whale. Call me Ahab. I went to two different Walmarts and two different Targets just to find these goddamn things. Like I didn’t hate the idea of eating them already, they made me go to two Walmarts. In the spirit of the Christmas season, I mangled a public domain song in their honor:
Pringle bells, oh Pringle bells
Pringle hate in my heart
Oh, how sad it is to walk
With an empty goddamn cart

Yeah, it’s no good. I should have stuck with Kris Pringle.

When I finally found these Pringles, it was a bittersweet victory, for obvious reasons. As I was checking out, the cashier rang up the can, and then looked at it, seemingly puzzled. “Huh, I’ve never seen these before,” he said, which is telling, since he worked there. I take this as proof that I was the first and only person to buy these, because they are stupid.

I should know better than to engage people in conversations when I’m buying review food. Case in point: the Double Down incident.

But I never learn my lesson, and for some reason I felt the need to explain my purchase, so I casually mentioned that I review weird foods on the internet.

Whoops.

The cashier then launched into this thing about how when he likes to try weird foods, a statement that I for some reason found unsettling from the start, he goes to the nearby Vietnamese market, where you can “try things like durian”. He was super into telling me about this place, which really had nothing to do with what I’d said, and which I already knew existed. For some reason he left the can of Pringles on the counter as he bagged the rest of my purchases.

This left me wondering if he’d just become distracted, or if he left them out like some half-drank water bottle somebody picked up while they were shopping. Did he think I would be needing them immediately? That I would have the urge to rip off the top and start munching on them in the parking lot? I have no idea. I just wanted him to stop talking. So I bagged them myself, which for some reason felt even more embarrassing than just buying them.

Also, you can’t fool me, Target cashier. I know what durian is.

The White Chocolate Peppermint Pringles can is deceivingly cute. Awww, it’s a candy cane can, with white chocolate melting out over the top, and a bunch of candy canes inside! The white chocolate also resembles the top of a Christmas stocking, or maybe snow. Or maybe it’s trying to escape, because it knows it doesn’t belong in a can of Pringles.

Even the Pringles man seems to be looking up at the candy canes with an expression that says, “Really? We’re going to do this?”

So yeah, here are these fucking White Chocolate Peppermint Pringles. They look fairly innocent. I am not fooled.

When you pop open the can, there’s a smell akin to ripping open a box with a Barbie doll inside on Christmas morning. Just vague plasticness. There’s really no peppermint or white chocolate smell at all. Is this a good sign or a bad sign?

Oddly, there were little black flecks sprinkled on most of the otherwise white dust-covered Pringles. If Pringles were chips, I’d chock that up to a little bit of burning during the frying process. But Pringles are like plyboard, and I’d never seen these flecks on any other Pringle. Why are they there? Then again, we’re talking about White Chocolate Peppermint Pringles. None of these things should be there.

I had no idea what to expect when I tasted these Pringles. There are times when I hope something will actually taste like what it says it tastes like, and then there are times when I pray that things taste nothing like what they’re supposed to taste like. In the case of White Chocolate Peppermint Pringles, I was hoping for the latter.

Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed.

These Pringles tasted exactly like how they’re supposed to, and my taste buds wanted to go to their special place and pretend this wasn’t happening. They tried desperately to pretend they were experiencing the best spinach artichoke dip in the world, or the most juicy, flavorful steak.

But try as they might, my taste buds could not deny what was happening. There was no happy place. Immediately upon hitting my tongue, there was the unmistakeable and rather strong flavor of white chocolate.

This was soon engulfed by a strong peppermint. But not just any peppermint – it really did taste like candy cane peppermint. In fact, it tasted like someone had shoved a candy cane right in my mouth. Unwillingly. The flavor powder got on my lips, so that even after I’d choked down the chip, it felt like I’d just applied a coating of holiday-themed lip gloss, complete with mild mint burning sensation. My poor lips, even they were not safe.

Should I give points to Pringles for nailing a flavor so unlikely for a potato crisp? No, because they’re gross. They’re gross and disturbing. Do you pop a mint right before you dive into a plate of nachos? Of course not. White chocolate and peppermint have their place in the Christmas flavor spectrum. They even go well together. But Limited Time Only Pringles White Chocolate Peppermint are so very wrong, and I’m sure they were created purely for the Internet hype machine that loves bizarre foods. If you don’t trust me, make a batch of instant potatoes and stir in a white chocolate candy bar and some crushed candy canes. Enjoy, you freak.

Limited Time Only Pringles Cinnamon & Sugar

  • Score: 2 out of 5 piles of blow. I mean snow. I mean sugar.
  • Price: $1.50
  • Size: 6.38 oz. can
  • Purchased at: Walmart
  • Nutritional Quirks: Both cinnamon and sugar are listed as ingredients, which makes the flavor powder on these Pringles more “real” than the crisps themselves.

Limited Time Only Pringles White Chocolate Peppermint

  • Score: 0.5 out of 5 Kris Pringles looking disgusted
  • Price: $1.52
  • Size: 6.38 oz. can
  • Purchased at: Target
  • Nutritional Quirks: Is it the anhydrous milk fat or the sweet cream solids that make these so magical? I can’t decide!

Dinosaur Dracula, So Good and The Impulsive Buy also braved these holiday Pringles.

Limited Time Only Pringles Pumpkin Pie Spice

Happy Thanksgiving! Pumpkin Pie Pringles.

I mentioned in an earlier post that if I saw one more thing pumpkin spice-flavored for the holidays that I was going to flip out and cause an “incident” at the grocery store. My annoyance with pumpkin spice remains – adding some nutmeg and cinnamon to your frozen waffles and calling it a limited time holiday blah blah is a cheap ploy.

However, we all know there are exceptions to every rule, and this is one of them, for reasons I don’t need to explain but will anyways. These are Pringles, and they are Pumpkin Pie Spice-flavored. Yeah. No explanation needed.

Pringles aren’t really potato chips, per se. They’re dried potatoes pressed into a shape that can be used to make a duck bill-face that will amuse your three-year-old nephew for about five seconds. This shape is also convenient for stacking in their iconic cardboard tubes, which I’m sure we’ve all used as a coin bank at some point in our lives. Sour cream and onion dimes.

My friends and I butt heads about many things, mostly because arguing with each other is our #1 pastime. We seem to have come to an agreement about Pringles, however. And yes, these are the things we talk about. Pringles.

The conclusion we came to about Pringles is that we never really seek them out. I wouldn’t choose Pringles over, say, a kettle chip, or a regular chip, or…well, pretty much anything that can legally be called a chip and not a dried potato product. They are like salted tater cardboard. In fact, I actually feel a little odd eating them, like I’m eating something that should not be.

And yet, the unanimous yet guilt-ridden confession from all of us was that, if there were Pringles were placed in front of us, we would eat them. A stack of them, in fact. I don’t know why; it’s just one of those things. Maybe it’s the fact that they seem saltier than chips, which allows us to pretend that we’re eating a normal salty snack and not something that’s one step removed from instant mashed potato flakes.

The essence of Pringles themselves is not the main focus here, however. The main focus is PUMPKIN PIE SPICE PRINGLES WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE.

Pringles has gone insane. Not just one time, but three times. You’ll see more on that in later posts. Teaser alert.

So, yeah. Pumpkin Pie Spice Pringles. That’s just so fundamentally wrong. Which is probably why they created them. As long as the Internet hype machine continues to feed into batshit crazy food products, companies will continue to create them.

I’m obviously thrilled about this. Right up until the time when I realize I actually have to eat them.

I have to say, though, Pringles really committed to this flavor, and it shows in the packaging. That’s a beautiful pumpkin nestled amongst those cinnamon sticks. It’s the type of pumpkin that’s begging to have a face carved into it, but since we’re past that holiday, it’s going to be used to make a pie, which also happens to be the lovely and innocuous backdrop on the can to announce the unnatural flavor that lies inside.

Almost unnoticed but possibly the best part, there’s some can-on-can action going on! There’s a pumpkin can on the can! I’ve never seen a pumpkin shaped like that, but I love it. I want my Pringles in an actual pumpkin can. Not really a viable option, but-

Wait, what am I saying? Don’t suck me in with your strange yet adorable packaging, Pringles. Gotta keep my eye on what’s really going on, here. Dried potato crisps flavored like pumpkin pie.

I tend to give the sniff test to things that I think are going to taste gross. You’d think I’d just want to shove them in my mouth and get it over with, but I guess I’m just a masochist like that.

When I administered the sniff test to my can of Limited Time Only Pringles Pumpkin Pie Spice, I smelled…pumpkin pie. Cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg…I swear I even smelled a hint of crust.

Encouraging, right?

Taking not gagging at the smell as a good sign, I dove right in to the potato crisps. Lo and behold, they tasted like…pumpkin goddamn pie.

Well, pretty much. Again, the cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg were all present, and the essence of pumpkin pie was immediate. I found myself not repulsed, but a little creeped out. The flavor and the powder dusting were just right, in that all the flavors were there and worked together without being overpowering.

The downfall of Pumpkin Pie Spice Pringles lies in the Pringles themselves. The pie flavor recedes rather quickly, but the Pringle has more staying power, leaving you with dried potato and salt mixed with pumpkin pie. This is not a nice finish.

The ability of Limited Time Only Pringles Pumpkin Pie Spice to capture the actual flavor of pumpkin pie spice left my mouth confused. On the one hand, I wanted to praise them for their accuracy. On the other hand, I wanted to hate them…for their accuracy. As I said before, it’s just creepy.

Luckily, Pringles saved me the trouble of trying to come to terms with my feelings by being Pringles. What starts off tasty quickly turns unsettling, as pumpkin pie battles salty dried potatoes, and the potatoes win. You can put all the spices you want on the Pringles, but you can’t take the Pringles out of Pringles.

Limited Time Only Pringles Pumpkin Pie Spice

  • Score: 2 out of 5 Pringles duck bills
  • Price: $1.50
  • Size: 6.38 oz. can
  • Purchased at: Walmart (exclusive)
  • Nutritional Quirks: Pumpkin not listed as an ingredient! Shocking! Contains less than 2% of “natural flavors”! Also shocking!

Fat Guy Foodblog and The Impulsive Buy also prepared their palates for Pumpkin Pie Pringles.

Disney Deliciously Wicked Gourmet Candy Corn Candied Apple and Blackberry Magic

I’ve mentioned before that my mom sends me care packs full of goodies for pretty much every holiday. Yes, I am a grown woman, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome.

She always seems to have a little surprise up her sleeve, too. Nestled amongst every candy bar you could name morphed into a pumpkin, these lovely gems arrived: Disney Deliciously Wicked Gourmet Candy Corn.

I know, I know. Candy corn. Candy corn that claims to be gourmet, at that. But this ain’t no pound of Brach’s, we’re talking about here.

There are six products in Disney’s Deliciously Wicked line of candy. First off, “Deliciously Wicked” is a wonderful moniker. Second, each of the six gets its own evil Disney villainess to represent it.

I only have two, but they’re all so lovely that I felt they all deserved mention. Here are the other four: The Evil Queen’s Sour Green Apple Saltwater Taffy, Maleficent’s Fiery Cinnamon Saltwater Taffy, The Evil Queen’s Pumpkin Spice Candy Corn and Cruella de Vil’s Red Velvet Cake Saltwater Taffy. Check out this site to view them all in their lovely glory. Always glad to see Maleficent getting some love.

While I would have liked to sample some taffy, I’m happy with what I’ve got. My mom must have psychically known I was tired of seeing pumpkin-spice flavored candy, so she picked the other two candy corn flavors. Let’s check out what we’ve got, here!

Disney Deliciously Wicked Gourmet Candy Corn Candied Apple

Say what you will about Disney; for all their faults, they know how to make some motherfucking product packaging. Glossy box, beautiful fonts, cohesive design, and no lack of detail. It’s little touches like this on the back of the box that make such packaging so complete:

In case you’re just now breaking Amish or whatever, that really pissed-off lady on the front of the box is the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland.

As you can see, she’s quite the angry bitch. I won’t give you the whole background on her, assuming you have Google on your Internet, but they’ve captured the essence of her quite aptly on the package. You think you’ve got a sadistic boss? Feel lucky you didn’t accidentally plant some white roses instead of red ones. The Queen of hearts is very fond of decapitation, and I imagine this package captures her mid-screaming, “Off with their heads!”

What do caramel apples have to do with the Queen of Hearts? At first, I couldn’t really find a connection, but then I realized, hey – caramel apples – apples impaled on sticks – decapitated heads on sticks!

I have no idea if this was Disney’s intention, but I’m going with it.

Even less intentionally, quite a few of my Candied Apple Candy Corns seemed to be missing their heads, but that happens when you’ve got a candy with a thick base and a pointy end. The color scheme of the candy itself was very apt and self-explanatory; brown caramel base, bright red apple middle, and the classic candy corn white tip.

Despite their cuteness, my first whiff was not encouraging. The Queen’s Corn smelled like a caramel apple candy that had been stored inside a plastic ALF mask since 1987. One that a kid was so enamored with that he wore it and refused to take it off for two weeks before Halloween actually arrived. Not an encouraging introduction.

The taste was unfortunately much the same. Of course, most of candy corn is sugar, so that was definitely present, but the caramel and apple flavors were both off and overwhelmed by that plasticky taste. Out of what little I could taste of the intended flavors, the caramel was “eh”, but the apple was straight-up chemical-tasting and fake.

I demand the head of whomever created the flavors of Caramel Apple Candy Corn!

Disney Deliciously Wicked Gourmet Candy Corn Blackberry Magic

Another lovely rendering of a classic Disney villain. Quick look at her symbol on the back of the box:

“Aw, it’s an adorably rendered international symbol of poison, positioned right above the opening of a box full of candy! Nothing wrong with that!”

If you just escaped from a commune of Luddites, Disney helpfully lets you know that this is Ursula from The Little Mermaid.

The Little Mermaid is the very first movie I can remember seeing in a movie theatre. I was rather young, but I don’t recall being very scared of Ursula, despite her large and intimidating presence. Perhaps that’s because, in addition to being a scary mersoul-trapper, she was also sassy. It’s hard to be afraid of a fat lady with tentacles instead of legs when she’s singing catchy songs.

I’m pretty sure she’s also the only being with tentacles besides Cthulhu that doesn’t immediately make me think of horrible hentai. That’s a serious compliment, Ursula.

Again, lovely design on the box, and the portrayal of Ursula shows that she is both evil and totally embracing her obese sauciness. Girl knows she owns it.

These are “Blackberry Magic” candy corns, which is a pretty solid connection, since Ursula does employ what you could call black magic, and it gives Disney the perfect excuse to make a lovely Ursula-color-themed candy corn.

My camera apparently hates the color indigo, but this is a fair enough approximation of the color scheme. They couldn’t be more perfectly tailored for Ursula: deep purple base for her tentacles, a lighter indigo for her torso, and even the white tip fits with her hair! I feel like I should display them in my living room rather than eat them.

Sadly, my nose also agrees with this first impression. Blackberry Magicorns smelled like a Glade “approximation of berry” air freshener that had just been installed in a newly sanitized bathroom.

Ursula’s Corns fared a little better than the Queen’s upon tasting, but not by much. There actually was something of an approximation of blackberry flavor in there, but once again, it had to play second fiddle to the inescapable taste of chemical plastic. Ursula needs to go back to her cauldron and rethink this particular dark magic spell.

Disney is one of the masters of creating polished packaging, and these Deliciously Wicked Candy Corns are no exception. I wish I’d never opened the boxes and instead just set them on a shelf to admire the artistry and the fun candy corn colors.

Unfortunately, my job is to actually taste things, and that’s where these candy corns go wrong. The Queen of Hearts’s Candied Apple tasted like plastic upon bad caramel upon chemical apple, and Ursula’s Blackberry Magic tasted like plastic upon some approximation of blackberry that came somewhat close to succeeding, but failed again in the chemical territory.

As I’ve said before, I give big points to Halloween packaging, which I definitely have to factor into my score. Sadly, the R&D taste development department didn’t have the same luck as the marketing department, and therein lies the downfall of these candy corns, which taste anything but gourmet.

At least for a few days, the Queen and Ursula will be placed where they rightfully should be: on my shelf of Halloween decorations that are inedible.

Disney Deliciously Wicked Gourmet Candy Corn Candied Apple and Blackberry Magic

  • Score (The Queen of Hearts’s Candied Apple): 2 out of 5 decapitated heads on stakes
  • Score (Ursula’s Blackberry Magic): 3 out of 5 squirming tentacles
  • Price: Free!
  • Size: 9 oz. box
  • Purchased at: Somewhere in California
  • Nutritional Quirks: Made mostly of sugar and corn syrup, but it’s the artificial flavoring that spooks me.

Vile Villains Hot Chocolate: Wonderfully Wacky Purple, Deceivingly Orange, and Heartless Green

Kids love food that is a color it isn’t supposed to be. My mind immediately travels back to Pop Qwiz, a microwave popcorn that came in various un-popcorn colors like red, green, and what should always be your favorite unnatural food color, blue. It also came in yellow, which is weird, because you can do that with butter. But hey, there was also purple, so I will forgive Pop Qwiz. For those of you too young to remember Pop Qwiz, here’s a commercial, and get off my lawn.

The second thing I remember is Heinz ketchup, which made some cah-RAZY colors like green, purple, blue, and teal. Teal? Most kids probably don’t even know what teal is. This was in 2000, at which time I had (mostly) grown out of my desire to eat foods of inappropriate colors, but I do remember my grandfather bought a bottle of the green stuff. Just because. I tip my hat to his spirit, since it’s obvious a little bit of him rubbed off on JFB.

Pop Qwiz disappeared long ago and Heinz stopped making the colored ketchups in 2006, presumably leaving millions of children without the opportunity to eat extra food coloring while their parents roll their eyes.

But fear not! (Or be afraid, it is the season for it.)  Just in time for Halloween, and possibly only for Halloween, I present to you Vile Villains Hot Chocolate! Not a hell of a lot of info about them on the Internet, but I gather they’re only available at Walgreen’s, and they come in three colors: Wonderfully Wacky Purple, Deceivingly Orange, and Heartless Green. The chocolate remains the same, but the colors are Halloweenolicious.

This is a Disney Joint, so we’ve got three villains from their vast library of evil beings. I’ll talk briefly about each and show you the all-important pictures, but since the chocolate is the same in all three, we’ll check that out at the end.

Wonderfully Wacky Purple Hot Chocolate

Okay, I have objections right off the bat, here. Really, the Chesire Cat? First off, he’s not even a villain. Second, I suppose he could pull off representing purple, but isn’t there someone who would really embody the spirit of purple? Any guesses? Motherfucking MALEFICENT from Sleeping Beauty, that’s right! Only one of the awesomest Disney villains ever! SHE TURNS INTO A MOTHERFUCKING DRAGON. Wasted opportunity.

Oddly, all the powders look generally the same. I was expecting purple powder, but this is what I got. But hey, kids like shit that changes colors just like they like food that is oddly colored, so…bonus?

The hot chocolate itself was a little more pastel than I would have liked. Lavender is not that spooky. I had a heck of a time taking the photos because, as you can see, it gets that film on top that masks the true color of the liquid, but you can generally see it around the edges. I later realized I could have let it cool down and that probably would have fixed the problem. But done is done. Deal with it.

Deceivingly Orange Hot Chocolate

Here we have the Evil Queen from Snow White, disguised as a witch. She gives Snow White a poisoned apple in the story, but here she appears to be presenting a Jack o’Lantern, apparently to tie in with the orange color. I have to say, if Snow White had been given a pumpkin, the story would have turned out much differently, unless she decided to toast the seeds and eat them I suppose.

Deceivingly Orange is a strange name. Out of context, it makes little sense. Oranges are not so deceiving. You pretty much get what you’re asking for out of an orange, unless you bought a grapefruit by mistake, but that’s your own fault. In this context, Deceivingly Orange means several things – first of all, nobody expects their hot chocolate to be orange, and second, the poisoned apple is deceiving. Except now it’s a pumpkin. Why not.

I’m not a big fan of orange as a color, but I guess this one delivers the most Halloweeny of all the colors. Purple and green are great backup colors for Halloween, but if you’re going to go Halloween, you know you have to go black and orange. The black is surprisingly absent, but at least orange has a backup team.

Heartless Green Hot Chocolate

Here we see the Evil Queen from Snow White in her natural evil form. With that bubbling green cauldron, she feels the most natural of the three. I am, however, a little miffed that two of the three Vile Villains are from Snow White. There are a bazillion Disney villains; do we really have to dip into the same pumpkin bucket twice?

Also, she’s holding the poisoned apple. Where the hell was the continuity director on these things?

Much like with the purple hot chocolate, this drink’s color is disappointingly pale. It does look a little sickly, however, which could be considered in the spirit of Halloween, but I would have liked to have seen a deep, dark green. Same with the purple.

Now then, to the hot chocolate flavor itself. I ran into a problem right off the bat: Vile Villains Hot Chocolate does not contain any chocolate. No cocoa powder, nothing. Now, I understand the fundamental reason for this; cocoa is brown, and that would effect the color of the drink. I understand with the orange and the green, but if they had made the purple darker, couldn’t they have gotten away with adding some cocoa? And what about black? It seems like it would have been easy to incorporate cocoa powder into that. But hey, I wasn’t on the hot chocolate development team; who knows what hurdles they went through before they settled upon these choices.

Oddly, despite the absence of actual chocolate, the Vile Villains do possess a ghost of hot chocolate taste. The basic ingredients are sugar, nonfat dry milk, and non dairy creamer. This makes for a very sweet drink, and I think it’s the creamer that makes it taste a bit like hot chocolate.

My mom (who lovingly sent me these when I couldn’t find them at my local Walgreen’s) thought they were awful due to the lack of chocolate flavor, but I found them passable as a hot, sweet, milky drink. Then again, I may or may not have enjoyed a few sips of flavored creamer in my past, so perhaps I’m not quite right in the head.

In the end, the execution of packaging and coloring didn’t sit quite right with me, but I think kids would enjoy drinking hot “chocolate” that comes in a spooooky package and nontraditional colors. Temperatures are falling, Halloween is in full swing, and a hot sweet treat would probably satisfy most young palates. Adults will probably find the lack of chocolate flavor disappointing, unless they really enjoy the taste of non dairy creamer. I appreciate the effort to create a cool Halloween product, but Disney’s Imagineers could have put a little more thought into it. (Note: I doubt the Imagineers had anything to do with this product; I just wanted an excuse to use the term “Imagineers”.)

Vile Villains Hot Chocolate: Wonderfully Wacky Purple, Deceivingly Orange, and Heartless Green

  • Score: 2 out of 5 totally kick-ass Maleficent dragons that should have been on the purple package
  • Price: Freeeeeeeee! (Thanks Mom!)
  • Size: 1.25 oz. package
  • Purchased at: A Walgreen’s somewhere in Southern California
  • Nutritional Quirks: No chocolate in the hot chocolate. Perhaps the largest quirk of all time.

Quiznos Chicken Bacon Dipper

I think we all know by now that when it comes to bizarre fast food items, it’s on. It’s an arms race to see who can come up with the weirdest new product; who can generate the most Internet buzz? Pizza Hut has recently come out with a stuffed crust pizza that includes toppings AND cheese (obligatory “yo dawg I heard you like pizza in your pizza so I stuffed your pizza with pizza” joke), but, not to be one-upped, Quiznos has come out with the Chicken Bacon Dipper.

The sandwich itself seems pretty loaded, but largely innocent: all-white-meat chicken, smoky bacon, mild chipotle mayo and chipotle jack bread. Sounds good, right? Chipotle, fast food’s favorite flavor-of-the-month, comes into play twice, and you’ve got bacon, which the Internet seems to get a boner about whether it’s in a sandwich or used to construct a bacon house slathered in Baconnaise.

But wait, this isn’t just any sandwich: it’s a Dipper! What does this mean? Well, it’s not unheard of to dip a sandwich, of course; you can find a French Dip on almost any diner’s lunch menu. But this ain’t no jus, son; this is cheese dip! More specifically, Quiznos’ “signature” cheese sauce, which contains tomatoes, diced green chiles and “traditional Mexican spices”.

I guess this is considered weird. I’ve seen news articles and blogs on it calling it a “horror”, saying Quiznos is “trippin’”. I don’t see it as that bizarre. You can’t tell me that some stoner college student hasn’t dipped a ham sandwich into a jar of Tostitos Salsa con Queso at 3am. It’s possible I have done this, completely sober. I swear I’ve dipped a sandwich into some ranch dressing at some point. But that’s just me, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t fall into the “normal” category when it comes to food habits.

I’ll tell you what is weird, though: the commercials. Obviously intended to be bizarre, but I’m pretty horrified by the dude who sticks his beard into the cheese sauce and then starts rubbing his sandwich on it, and I’m terrified I’m going to wake up one day and find the woman in “The Cement Mixer” staring into my bedroom window. I never thought I’d say this, but I’d rather have The King stalking me.

So is this sandwich truly that strange? Let’s find out. I have to say, I’m walking into this with more anticipation that trepidation. Sandwich + cheese sauce? Genius, I say.

There’s a lot to say about this sandwich, so I’ll try to break it all down. The bread was soft, but it was hard to discern if there was any chipotle or jack in it. The chicken was surprisingly juicy, and as you can see, there was some sort of herbal seasoning on it that was really tasty. I think I detected some rosemary, and there was some more stuff going on that I couldn’t specify, but overall it really added some great flavor to the chicken and I’m surprised it wasn’t included in the sandwich’s description.

Unfortunately, the contents of the sandwich were rather anemic. I could have used a lot more chicken, as well as more bacon, which was smoky and added some good flavor but suffered from the all-pervasive Limp Fast Food Bacon Syndrome. There was also a serious lack of chipotle flavor. Having chipotle in both the mayo and the bread, you would think it would be prominent, but all I could taste was a little bit of heat and that’s it. Chipotle has a distinct smoky heat, and that just didn’t come through, which was disappointing.

On to the dip! Oh, the dip. So much potential, and so much failure. Where to begin? Well, first of all, the cheese sauce was way too thick. So thick, in fact, that when I dipped the sandwich into it, it sucked out half the contents of the sandwich, resulting in my having to go on a fishing expedition to get my chicken back into the sandwich after each dip, resulting in serious Cheesy Fingers.

While the addition of diced chiles and “traditional Mexican spices” (whatever that means) added just the right amount of heat, the cheese itself was…how do I put this nicely…the most artificially-flavored cheese I’ve probably ever eaten. Now, hey, I likes me some artificial cheese sauce. I eat cheese out of a can. I won’t apologize. But even Easy Cheese tastes less artificial than Quiznos’ signature cheese dip. After I’d finished it, I felt like I’d just ingested about 500 different chemicals. I couldn’t find any nutritional information about the Chicken Bacon Dipper on their website, but that’s probably for the best, because I’m sure the ingredient list for the cheese dip reads like a Dickens novel.

Sadly, I actually kind of liked the cheese sauce. Like I said, the seasoning gave it a nice bit of heat, and that and the cheesiness, however fake, worked well with the contents of the sandwich. I had to take a step back, however. I had to remove my own sick palate from the situation and be objective. How would a “normal” person feel about this dip? The answer: they would most likely be repulsed. It really does taste artificial and just…wrong. It’s just wrong, this dip. I hate to promote one of my favorite foods twice in one post, but really, you would be so much better off dunking this sandwich into some Tostitos Salsa con Queso. How hard is it to make a cheese dip that’s the right consistency and doesn’t taste like you’re eating at a high school cafeteria?

I wanted so badly to love this sandwich, but in the end, it just didn’t live up to my expectations at all. The chicken was delicious but there wasn’t enough of it. The bacon was also lacking. There was no real chipotle flavor to be found. The sandwich worked well with the dip, which added some heat and some cheesy flavor, but it tasted so artificial that most people would probably be put off by it. My body felt wrong after eating the dip (which, by the way, I did finish, and found the cheese-to-sandwich ratio to be just about perfect), and when your body feels just wrong after eating something, that probably means you shouldn’t have eaten it.

Chicken Bacon Dipper, I wanted to like you so badly, but in the end, you let me down. I hope this doesn’t discourage Quiznos or other fast food places, though; in the future, I want to see all sandwiches come with some form of dip. That’s right, I said it. Gravy, cheese, ranch, jus, I don’t care. I just want to dip it. Dip it good.

  • Score: 2 out of 5 Cheesy Finger fishing expeditions
  • Price: $2.99 (with coupon; regular price $5.19)
  • Size: 1 sandwich
  • Purchased at: Quiznos #7845
  • Nutritional Quirks: No nutritional information available, but that’s probably for the best.  Quiznos signature cheese dip is probably just one big quirk.

McDonald’s Chipotle BBQ Bacon Angus

McDonald’s has already introduced three other Angus burgers, and I have somehow managed to skip out on all of them. That’s about to change, because they’ve just launched a fourth one, the Chipotle BBQ Bacon Angus, and I have it in my hungry little hands.

From the mouth of Ronald McDonald and his marketing team, “Make time for the bold taste of a third-pound* 100% Angus beef smothered in sensationally sweet ‘n smoky Chipotle BBQ sauce, kicked up with crisp red onions, sliced pickles and two slices of American cheese, all on a toasted sesame seed bun.”

For the sake of full disclosure, the asterisk leads to this message: “*weight before cooking at least 5.33 oz (151.1 gms). At participating McDonald’s.” Valuable information I’m sure you wanted to know.

I love chipotle. Chipotle is really hot right now (har har), which usually annoys me, because once a flavor gets hot it sneaks itself into every food possible. I wouldn’t be surprised to see pomegranates on top of a hamburger at some point, since pomegranate is so in at the moment. I imagine marketing departments scrambling around, trying to figure out how to incorporate the latest fad flavor into every single item on the menu.

I just realized something. Fast food is a lot like fashion. That’s creepy.

Anyway, I can’t fault McDonald’s for putting chipotle on a hamburger. My husband has been using chipotle in his hamburgers for years. Chipotle and meat go together great. I’m glad to see they’re finally dating publicly. I even saw chipotle wearing hamburger’s Letterman’s jacket in home room the other day. They seemed happy together.

Let’s start with the good: McDonald’s Chipotle BBQ Bacon Angus is hefty. The Angus beef patty was large, juicy and flavorful, which was a surprise to me, compared to a regular McDonald’s burger. The Angus really steps it up on quality and flavor. Also, the red onions were fresh and added a good crunch.

Sadly, those are about the only good things I can say about this burger. The BBQ sauce was okay, but there was nothing chipotle about it. Chipotle has a very distinct flavor – spicy, smokey goodness – and I worked hard, but just could not find it. Sure, there was some smokiness, but it was the kind that comes with BBQ sauce, not chipotle. If you’d blindfolded me and handed me the burger and asked me to describe it, I would have said it’s a burger with BBQ sauce on it. The word chipotle would have never passed my lips.

Actually, I would have said it’s a BBQ burger with Limp Bacon Syndrome. The bacon was plentiful, but it was the same sad little floppy strips you usually come across. I’ll revise my blindfolded evaluation one more time: I would have said it’s a BBQ burger with Limp Bacon Syndrome and a strangely overwhelming amount of pickles. Yes, that’s right – the pickles. They were the most prominent flavor on the burger. I thought maybe it was just a fluke, so I asked my husband, who had also ordered a Chipotle BBQ Bacon Angus. He said he had been thinking the exact same thing. I didn’t count the amount of pickles on the burger, but I should have. Perhaps it had the standard amount of pickles and they just didn’t jive with the sauce, which made their flavor stand out. I don’t know what it was. All I know is pickles, pickles everywhere. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a pickle problem with a burger before, but there you have it.

I was really disappointed in McDonald’s Chipotle BBQ Bacon Angus. I loved the hamburger patty and will probably try one of the three other Angus burgers as a result, but when you have something in the name that is impossible to detect (at least to me), sad bacon on what is supposed to be a high(er)-quality burger, and strangely overpowering pickles, you don’t have a successful burger concept. Especially not for the price. I expected good things from the Chipotle BBQ Bacon Angus, and I didn’t get what I wanted. I have to end this review now, because I have to go McDonald’s and throw an inappropriate tantrum in the middle of their restaurant.

(Note: The Impulsive Buy, GrubGrade, We Rate Stuff and An Immovable Feast also reviewed this burger.)

  • Score: 2 out of 5 so many pickles
  • Price: $3.99
  • Size: At least 5.33 oz. before cooking
  • Purchased at: McDonald’s #1[number didn’t print on receipt]427
  • Nutritional Quirks: Pickles provide 10 mg of calcium.  Who knew?

Limited Edition Ghirardelli Chocolate Squares Holiday Chocolate Assortment

Aaaand we’re back. Just in time, too, since I have a holiday-sensitive item to review today.

I found this package of Limited Edition Ghirardelli Chocolate Squares Holiday Chocolate Assortment at a Borders book store while waiting for a cashier to appear so that I could pay for a birthday present. I guess they’ve got a solid business model going – make someone wait ten minutes to pay for a dying form of media, and eventually they’ll grab an impulse buy. Good job, Borders – literature may be dead, but chocolate and coffee bars will live on forever.

It helped that the package was shiny and full of holiday cheer, with red and gold and snowflakes and ornaments and promises of chocolates that taste like eggnog. I’m not a huge fan of chocolate, but Ghirardelli makes some tasty sweets.

They make some heavy promises on the back of the package: “This season, take time to slow down and feel yourself melt with each bite. Savor the complex symphony of intense velvety chocolate combined with delicious seasonal favorites – festive peppermint, creamy eggnog, and rich chocolate pecan pie. Let the rich flavors surround your senses. Enjoy as the chocolate pleasure lingers.”

I feel like I just had sex with the back of a pack of chocolates. Goddamn, son. Money well spent on whatever marketing team Ghirardelli paid to come up with that description of their chocolate. I’m sure millions have been spent on the study of how people react to words that are bolded. Apparently I need to slow down and melt while experiencing intense chocolate that surrounds my senses. That all seems kind of contradictory. Nothing left to do but see if these chocolates will make me…quietly orgasm, or something.

Eggnog

I had a minor autistic freakout when I pulled these out of the bag, because the front just said “Limited Edition Chocolate”. I thought I had been ripped off. Fortunately, it did indicate on the back that these were, indeed, Eggnog. I don’t know why this one said it on the back while the other two proclaim their flavors on the front, but whatever. Eggnog was the flavor I was most looking forward to, so I was glad that they were there.

Unfortunately, my renewed excitement quickly faded away when I actually tried the chocolate. I couldn’t find any eggnog flavor anywhere. No nutmeg, no cinnamon, no distinctive eggnog taste. The chocolate was creamy, but that’s what I’d expect from any Ghirardelli product. In fact, if it hadn’t said Eggnog on the back of the wrapper, I would have thought it was white chocolate, but even a little more muted than regular white chocolate. I would have never guessed that it was supposed to be eggnog.

Saddened that I had been robbed of the experience of tasting delicious eggnog chocolate, I moved on.

Pecan Pie

Ghirardelli actually did a pretty good job of making a chocolate that tasted like pecan pie. The pecans were plentiful and added a nice crunch. It’s sort of like a Mr. Goodbar on steroids – the chocolate is smooth and tasty, the pecans tasted delicious, and the chocolate had a very prominent taste and aroma of what seemed like a mixture of toffee, molasses, and maybe even some bourbon.  Mmmm, chocolate booze.

I have to say, the Pecan Pie square was one of the most complex chocolates I’ve ever had. The depth of flavor is really quality and everything plays together well. Nothing gets overwhelmed. The delicious milk chocolate, the pecans, the complex mixture of flavors that make up pecan pie filling, they were all perfectly married into that one chocolate square. While I was expecting to love the Eggnog and go “eh” at Pecan Pie, quite the opposite has occurred. I don’t crave chocolate often, but this would be one of my top picks to reach for if I was in the mood for chocolate. Good job, Ghirardelli.

Peppermint Bark

This is definitely the most Christmasy of the three candies. When you open the wrapper, you’re hit with that strong candy cane peppermint smell that screams presents and blinky lights and ornaments. It looks fun, too. The little pink flecks let you know that there’s really candy canes inside! My inner child hops up and down.

What I wasn’t expecting, but was a pleasant surprise, is that Peppermint Bark has a milk chocolate base. Let’s face it, it’s hard not to nail mint and chocolate. They go together like buffalo wings and ranch sauce. I think Ghirardelli steps it up with the crushed candy canes inside, though. They add a fun crunch and intensify the peppermint flavor. Peppermint Bark tastes a lot like an upgraded version of Andes Crème de Menthe chocolates – you know, the ones with the green stuff sandwiched in between two layers of chocolate. But Ghirardelli’s chocolate is of a higher quality and the peppermint is more intense and tastes more like real candy cane than just simulated mint. I realize that candy canes themselves are made out of artificial mint flavoring, but it’s…different. It’s candy cane!

Well, two out of three ain’t bad. I’m sad that I didn’t get to taste eggnog in chocolate form, but the Pecan Pie really surprised me and the Peppermint Bark was nothing but Christmas fun. I would put these out beside the homemade chocolate chip cookies and the bowl of red-and-green M&Ms. I’d just cross the “Eggnog” off the wrappers and write “Snowflake” or something instead. Then people would just think it was white chocolate and not be all disappointed like I was. Snowflakes and white chocolate don’t really have anything to do with each other, but that’s okay. It’s keeping with the Christmas theme. Limited Edition Ghirardelli Chocolate Squares Holiday Chocolate Assortment are a solid addition to your holiday festivities.

Oh, and by the way – Merry Christmas!

Limited Edition Ghirardelli Chocolate Squares Holiday Chocolate Assortment

  • Eggnog Score: 2 out of 5 disappointed elves
  • Pecan Pie Score: 4.5 out of 5 happy chocolate-loving reindeer
  • Peppermint Bark Score: 4 out of 5 minty fresh snowmen
  • Price: $8.99
  • Size: 7.03 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Borders Books and Music #0069
  • Nutritional Quirks: Contains corn flakes.  Wait, what?