Fried Chicken Snack-FRIED CHICKEN TASTE!

Ugh.  Were it only to be true.  You know you see this and imagine the bottom of a bucket of Popeye’s where all the crispy bits have crunched off and are in a big pile of flavor at the bottom and you just shove it in your face and are transported, nay, elevated into the opening ceremonies of the Space Olympics.

 

Alas, no.

 

 

Ahem, Pinko

Two great tastemakers taste together!!!!!!! Dulce de Leche Cheerios

Jennifer:

The first thing I notice is that these are not only classic oat O’s, but rather, seem to consist of a lot of corn O’s. The package says “lightly sweet”, and I’m thinking they’re lying because my first bite makes me feel like they’re going to be really sweet, but it’s a fake out. I think it’s the “flavoring” note that hits your mouth first thinking a blast of uber-sweetness is going to follow, but instead, it does mellows into a “lightly sweet”.

I’m not sure where I fall on the flavoring. Is it really caramel?? It kind of reminds me of that hazelnut flavoring they put in coffee… that flavoring that permeates everything else. I’m not fond of hazelnut coffee so am a little bit put off by a reminder of it in the cereal. Sometimes the flavor has a slight butter rum taste to it. I’m not sure I’d call it caramel… again, if they’re going to go after a certain market, I’d rather they had done Flan Cheerios!! Give me some of that caramelized sugar taste with an crispy yet eggy O! I’m not sure how you’d do that, but frankly, that’s not my problem… I’m also wondering why Cheerios didn’t call their Cinnamon Burst Cheerios, Churr-O’s. I’m just glad they haven’t made Choriz-O’s.

So… how did I feel about the Dulce de Leche Cheerios?? They were fine. Not as bad as I expected, not as good as I had hoped. All in all I’d have to say due to something in the flavoring, and the use of corn, they reminded me of Cap’n Crunch, but a more mature version… less sweet, and kinder to the roof of your mouth.

Pinko:

This is the new truth, everything is a lie. Cheerios are now defined as something round with a hole in it. Much more offensive than Oreo defined down to a sandwich cookie of any kind, a Cheerio is a Cheerio, you know how honey nut Cheerios are Cheerios that are honey nut flavored? These Cheerios are not Cheerios, they are Captain Crunch in a shape that does not pile up as much on your spoon and attack the top of your mouth. The flavor doesn’t quite hit caramel. It is surprisingly not ultra-sweet but has a vaguely fruity taste. I will probably not have a second bowl. I was actually looking forward to Cheerios, even if they tasted gross. These are neither gross or good. I also detected some roof of mouth scratching and was not amused.

fish Hates Pinko

BIAS DETECTED. For our readership with the ability to not have their tastebuds concern trolled:

Tis the season to make PP rend his garments in anguish and to make Jennifer force gustatory horrors on her family in the name of SCIENCE.

As every true Trader Joe’s fanatic knows, the holiday season is the best time of year at TJ’s. Just walking past the imported Belgian chocolate and cranberry caramel popcorn adds 500 calories to your daily diet. So I will review some of the new findings just to make GC drive from Honeybun to St. Louis on an obsessive trip to the nearest Trader Joe’s.

1) Trader Joes Eggnog Almonds (http://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/article.asp?article_id=357)

I ate one of these and immediately hated it. So I ate another. I hated that one too. I ate another [ad infinitum] until they were gone. Trainspotting for suburbanites. Do not eat as they bring only shame in the morning.

2) Trader Joe’s Cocoa Almond Spread (http://cooktj.com/content/cocoa-almond-spread)

Is it an iPhone Nutella slayer? No. Does it make your toes curl a bit? Yes. Is there a way to knock yourself unconscious with pleasure using this? See below.

3) Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter (http://blisstree.com/eat/nutrition/trader-joes-cookie-butter-nutrition-facts-539/)

This is a big hit in the fish house, although on its own, I am not the biggest lover of it. Imagine turning a gingerbread man into butter and spreading it on your toast. That is what this tastes like. However, if you take a McVities Digestive and spread both the Cocoa Almond Spread and the Cookie Butter on it, I cannot be held responsible for the results (http://img.thesun.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01157/SNN0537C–380_1157831a.jpg).

4) Trader Joe’s Astounding Multi-Flavored Joe Joes (http://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/article.asp?article_id=363)

This is really four reviews in one. You open the box and there are four sleeves of cookies inside.

The first contains chocolate flavored Joe Joes covered in chocolate and crushed peppermint candy canes. Several in the fish house hold these in high regards. That is because they are insane. Unless the thought of chocolate toothpaste is appealing to you, I can see no reason to mix chocolate and peppermint. Blech. I will not entertain arguments on this. If you disagree, you are insane.

The second sleeve contains chocolate flavored Joe Joes with peanut butter filling dipped in chocolate. I am a HUGE lover of chocolate and peanut butter as a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups obsession nearly ended my life, but these are just okay. I would eat the whole box if they where the only option, but thankfully there are better choices.

The third sleeve contained chocolate flavored Joe Joes with chocolate filling and covered with chocolate. These are in the OMG CHOCOLATE I LOVE YOU TRADER JOE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE category. In other words, yeah pretty good.

The final sleeve had ginger flavored Joe Joes dipped in white chocolate and topped with candied ginger. When I imagine Jesus in the desert being tempted by Satan, I see Satan sitting in a lounge chair watching the Bears lose to Denver while casually munching on these cookies. His ability to resist these cookies is proof that he really was the son of god.

D or D: Bloody Caesar vs. Bloody Mary

Verdict: GUILTY! Err, Bloody Caesar wins. Might be just a matter of the sodium content, or maybe not. In spite of my natural concerns re: “clam juice” as a cocktail additive, I judge for the Canuckistanians.

(Posted by ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© and cross-posted at my place and at Whiskey Fire.  Moose over pics for captions, and click them for larger versions.)

~

Ruffles Beer Battered Onion Rings

Not sure if this is a Walmart exclusive or not, but that is the only place I have seen these. Don’t worry, we only go to WM for DoD related items.

Here is the issue that I was unaware of until now, this flavor of Ruffles came from a popular vote out of this particular deathmatch (these were the opening brackets):

March 11 — Sandwiches: Grilled Ham & Cheese vs. Sloppy Joe
March 12 — Sandwiches: Meatball Sub vs. French Dip
March 13 — Appetizers: Pepperoni Pizza vs. Beer Battered Onion Rings
March 14 — Appetizers: Fried Pickles vs. Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos
March 15 — Entrees: Baby Back Ribs vs. Steakhouse Sirloin
March 16 — Entrees: Smothered Chicken Fried Steak vs. Fajita
March 17 — Dips & Dogs: Wasabi Ranch vs. Spinach Bacon Dip
March 18 — Dips & Dogs: Loaded Hot Dog vs. Grilled Brats & Onions

I would of course blow up the solar system to eat myself to severe sickness on ALL OF THOSE. Of course everyone in the internet would feel like they would have to post about how they are SO OVER flavored potato chips and the FRESH FRIED HAND SLICED ONES they GOT at KATHLEEN’S TWITTER TRUCK were SO much better. For shame.

First bite you can taste the beeriness. Onion flavor is secondary to some sort of fried salty batter flavor, so I need to give the food scientists a tiny bit of credit on these because it had the essence a la fake a la real. Subsequent bites have that dorito effect where flavors become less distinct. Our bad seemed to have been kind of smashed up, and the fragments didn’t taste as good as the intact chips.

I want to wish the brat ones into immediate existence in my mouth.

Cheetos Honey BBQ Puffs

I have climbed the Mount Trashmore of snax and this is that. Even Pizza Supreme Doritos, with its fake tomato, pepperoni, sausage, oregano and cheeze flavours are not as trashy. Even retro Taco Doritos in the old style bag are not as trashy. Lady Gaga in the future will wear an underwears of such items as a garment of ultratrash. And I would still munch on them. I don’t think Kathleen can handle them. I think the Lamblets will faint at the challenge. I think fish will poop more. Concern troll says that eating these or discussing the eating of these while Rome burns is so Nero. Bend you mind around these chemicals, concern troll!

What do they taste like? They taste like Rick Perry getting nutpunched.

MANDOS TOTALLY ENCASED

Mandos writes:

Behold! The crab and asparagus omelet from a pancake house somewhere in the vicinity of Dez Plainez, Illinois. I ate it a few weeks ago in the company of Jennifer and EL.

…but wait! That doesn’t look like an omelet! That’s because it is, as the menu said, “totally encased in sauteed hash browns.” In fact, this restaurant had an entire menu section with 20 or so items for “totally encased” foods. As soon as we saw this, we decided that I absolutely had to order it.

This is what it looks like on the inside:

So, this is the kind of awesome and creative thinking of which the world needs more—in the same manner that the world needs more creative financial instruments. Because, like CDOs, you would think that a food like this would be something like an omelet wrapped in latkes/potato galettes and would have a high probability of being absolutely amazing, even as it is totally preposterous.

Sadly, as our friends at “Sadly, no!” say, no.

In fact, it is just like a CDO in that its awesomeness depends on a faulty independence assumption: that wrapping an omelet in hash browns would still have independently awesome omeletty goodness and crispy/flaky hash browns. But, alas, inside the crispy, browned “senior tranche” on the outside, there was an interior “junior tranche” consisting of soggy, lukewarm potato mash and an uninspired interior
“omelet” with limp fake crab and flavourless asparagus (disparagus?).

Consequently: disgusting.

Mandos Trolls Your Tastebuds

Mandos brings us to the apparent Milwaukee of the Far East:

So Beijing is full of Beijing duck restaurants, but as usual, whenever I
wanted to actually *eat* the duck, they were never around, despite
having seen hundreds of them from buses and taxis. One night was such a
spectacular failure it is now a Funny Story as well as the time I
eventually ate what was probably the best Sichuan (ie “Szechuan”) food I
have ever eaten, but…for later.

It should first be understood that this is Northern China, and Northern
Chinese food seems to have more in common in overall style with other
northern cuisines…such as Central European in particular, than with
Sichuan and other southern foods. It may use similar ingredients as
southern Chinese food, and it may have noodles, but it is
“meat-and-potatoes” type of food. Think perogies and contrast them to steamed buns. Northern Chinese seem to believe that meat has a flavour
of its own and is not merely a textured medium for other tastes…and
they do not eat much hot spices. So Beijing duck must be understood in
this context, which is still a little difficult for me. Chinese food eaten in the West has its roots in Hong Kong/Guangdong (Cantonese)
food—not *that* spicy, but southern food.

On the morning before I left, I eventually managed to get myself at
pretty much the last minute to a famous Beijing duck restaurant at
Sanyuanqiao, a suburban business district the size and shape and style
of the downtown of a medium-sized Canadian city. It’s a small number of
stops away from my hotel on the Bus Rapid Transit that runs along
the North Third Ring Road (of six beltway style highways; the bus is
literally only 15-17 cents—1 RMB—and 6-7 cents if you use an RFID
subway card, and has robot English stop announcements). Sanyuanqiao
also has a cafe that claims to be “Canadian”. (Might be.)

The restaurant is a branch of the Quanjude (chew-on-joo-DEH) chain that
has 8 locations in Beijing, 50 in China as a whole, a few in Malaysia,
and one pilot in Australia in order to see whether they can expand in
white people markets. It is also 150 years old, and was patronized by
the Imperial Family…AND the Communist Party to which it is now closely
tied. It may be one of the few businesses to be favoured by both the
feudalists AND the Communists. Zhou Enlai himself ordered a branch
opened in a location convenient for him to take state visitors there.

So needless to say, Quanjude is *synonymous* with Beijing Duck. Their
restaurants are also enormous multi-story things, and, like McDonalds,
they have a counter for how many ducks they’ve sold since they were
founded, which is some ridiculously large number of dead ducks.
Specially bred at special farms.

I arrived at 11am and the main dining room was already starting to fill
up—with locals. The Chinese eat early unlike, say, the Spanish, who
eat very late. Also, roast duck is definitely something the locals eat,
it’s not *just* a tourist food. There aren’t enough tourists to fill
the Quanjude branches.

In Revolutionary China, one apparently does not normally dress up for
dinner except for the biggest public occasions. In Beijing, people show
off expensive brands, but not Western formalwear generally, and
certainly not traditional (feudal!) dress unless they’re a waitress.
Nevertheless, my enormous backpack was deemed unacceptable and a bag was
helpfully placed over it—making it *more* conspicuous, but whatever.

I ordered a half-duck, since that was the minimum quantity. You order a
certain number of side-dishes to go with it. I was informed that I
should order at least the rice-flour crepes and the
green-onions-with-green-onion-sauce side dish. To this I added the
pickled cabbage (a little spicy) and the peppers (non-spicy).

The side-dishes appeared quickly, but about half an hour later, the chef
appeared at my table with the duck on a cart. It is the whole duck,
including the head, which stares at you accusingly from the cart. The
chef lifts it up to the light with one hand, and uses a sharp knife in
the other to slice it very carefully, taking off strips of skin
separately from time to time.

It looked like he gives the innards to Chinese guests but apparently not
to foreigners. As a food culture, China does not believe in waste. I
was perfectly content to be denied the innards. He did give me the
head. The other side of the duck goes to whoever else ordered a
half-duck.

As I said, waste and Chinese food do not go together. Shortly after I
got the carved duck meat, a big bowl of duck soup appeared, just a
whitish broth, presumably from the bones of carved ducks.

The waitress showed me how to eat it. You take a crepe, take some duck,
dip the duck in the onion sauce, add some green onion, put it in the
crepe, and wrap it up. Then eat the crepe. This all must be done with
the chopsticks (even tourist restaurants often simply lack Western
cutlery—if you don’t learn to use chopsticks you’ll starve;
fortunately I already knew, which surprised Chinese acquaintances during
my visit and I think put them off a bit). You can also use the other
side-dishes in the crepe.

So, the whole point of the duck is the skin. The skin is very thick and
has been specially treated for days, lightly glazed in a sugar
marinade…however, it is not sweet. It is very crispy all the way
through. The meat is tender, but an afterthought under the skin.

What did it taste like? Well, *with* the onion sauce…sweet. With the
pickled cabbage…like pickled cabbage. With the peppers, like…well,
you get the picture. Neither the duck nor the duck soup tasted like
much of anything. The duck skin had an absolutely delicious *texture*,
but no flavour to speak of.

Now if I were one of those people who were raised to think that meat had
a taste of its own, I might say otherwise, but I’m not. (I didn’t eat
the head either, beyond a taste of the skin which is much thinner and
flakier. I presume I was expected to eat the brain?)

The whole meal cost 23 USD, roughly. That’s an astronomical price for
food in Beijing that isn’t served by a Western or Japanese restaurant at
international prices. Consider that I had a wonderful Sichuan lunch at
a mall food court for $2 (that would have cost $8-10 in the USA), and
one in fancy restaurant for $4. I think I got better value for the $2
than I got for $23, but at least I crossed the Beijing duck off the
list, so to speak.

A few days before, a Czech conference-goer also tried Quanjude and told
me that it was one of the best meals he had ever eaten. That is a
“global North” palate for you. And I recognize the artistry and skill
that goes into making Beijing roast duck. But for those of us with
“global South” tastes, it doesn’t really make the cut. I was raised
with a palate that considers meat to be merely a textured medium for
operatic medleys of flavour, and the flavour was simply missing, and
I found it hard to appreciate.

Verdict: meh. But some of you might like it.

So then I took the bus back to my hotel, picked up my luggage, and left
China.

Fish Avalanche-Assorted

fish sends in:

DATA DUMP EDITION [PP adds that we thank fish for providing]

Here I am doing the work so you don’t have to.

Mountain Dew recently released 3 new flavors for me to poop on for people to vote on.

I have secured all forms and rate them thus:

Mountain Dew Distortion (http://www.bevreview.com/2010/04/26/mountain-dew-distortion/)- I bought this thinking the bottle was green.

I was wrong.

Remember when your mom bought store-brand lemon-lime soda and swore it was just as good as Sprite? It had a highly unnatural green color, tasted nothing like lime, and had a disturbing effect on your vision and hearing?

This isn’t as good as that.

Mountain Dew Typhoon (http://www.bevreview.com/2010/05/04/mountain-dew-typhoon/)- This is a stealth beverage. Pepsico is pretending this is not Mountain Dew Game Fuel (http://www.mountaindewgamefuel.com/). It is. That said, it is a completely artificial, over-sweet fruit punchy sugar and caffeine concoction.

I love it.

Mountain Dew White Out (http://www.bevreview.com/2010/04/28/mountain-dew-white-out/)- As a kid I loved Fresca. I loved grapefruit flavored soda, even when it was sweetened with ass-tastic saccharine. A whole new world opened up when a buddy of mine introduced me to Squirt (http://www.drpeppersnapplegroup.com/brands/squirt/), which had real sugary goodness to add to my love of grapefruit soda (as an aside, Googling “Squirt” at work; not recommended). Think of the anticipatory joy I experienced when I learned not only could I have the beloved sugar, but CAFFEINE too! Alas, white out was apparently a reference to what they did to the flavor. It is like eating the white chocolate skittles, not offensive, but you are forgetting what you are doing as you are doing it.

Final recommendation: Go find a reserve cache of Mountain Dew Pitch Black (http://www.bevreview.com/2004/08/23/review-mountain-dew-pitch-black/)

Now on to candy:

Reese’s Whipps (http://www.candybarlab.com/2008/02/09/review-reeses-whipps/)- As a lover of everything peanut butter, I thought this would be totally awesome. A light as air peanut butter center inside a chocolate covering. Little did I know this was a 3 Musketeers trojan horse. If you do a cross-section of the candy bar, you can see 3 thin layers of peanut butter around a typical offensive 3M center. Total BS. DO NOT EAT!

Coconut M&M’s (http://www.mms.com/us/about/products/coconutmms/) – I do not like coconut, so I outsourced evaluation to Dr. Mrs. fish, who (to my horror) shared them with several of her friends. Universal reaction= WOOOHOOO!!!!!! Humena humena humena AAAAAAOOOOGGGGAAAAAA!!!!! [PP adds- no real coconut at all, but I love them too. For shame Kathleen.]

I think that is a yes.

Milky Way Simply Caramel (http://foodbizdaily.com/articles/93416-product-milky-way-simply-caramel-bar-by-mars-snackfood.aspx)- The only flaw with a Milky Way? Too much of the offensive 3M center. So what to do? ELIMINATE ALL OF IT!!!! Discovering the Milky Way Simply Caramel is a bit like discovering masturbation. I will be returning to it again as soon as possible…

KFC Double Down Sandwich-Swoof Guest Post*

*This blog is not liable for any KFC Double Down related heart or health problems for the valiant Swoof, whom we applaud for taking this gentlemanly slap on the face from KFC.

DoubleDown

With an hour to kill until the Celtic v. Arsenal match I thought I’d satisfy my growing curiosity about the KFC Double Down (the new KFC menu item consisting of two breaded chicken breasts playing as the bun for bacon and cheese), and really, with a soccer match taking place in Glasgow eating something fatty and disgusting looking seemed somehow appropriate. That the Double Down put me into a near coma was of no consequence to my enjoyment of the soccer match since Arsenal managed to win 2-0 without kicking or even heading the ball into the opponent’s goal.

Now let’s take a look at this thing, the Double Down. First the name. It’s clearly a dare on KFC’s part. Double down is something I do at a blackjack table when I have a 6 and a 5. It’s taking a risk for a greater reward. Is KFC implying I’m taking a risk by eating this thing? I think they are. Are they implying there is some greater reward for eating it? I hope not. When the person in the drive-thru handed me my sandwich she also handed me a card on which was a number I could call to give my impression of the Double Down in exchange for a $10 gift card. Clearly KFC is betting on instant death for at least a percentage of Double Down consumers.

“But how does it taste and what does it look like in real life?” you ask. The taste was pedestrian at best. “Ruff”, said Santa’s Little Helper. It’s standard Original Recipe chicken with a little bacon flavor. The cheese and mustardy sauce kind of cancel each other out into a bland sweetness.

It was also kind of impossible to eat in a civilized manner. Mine weighed in at around 9 oz. The commercial gives one the impression one could eat it with one hand on the wrapper. That is so not the case. The chicken does not have a uniform y-axis so often times the bite is too big for the mouth and everything sort of slides around in an ungainly manner due to the melted cheese and sauce. This is a “sandwich” to be eaten in the privacy of one’s own home with the blinds drawn and a napkin over one’s head so God can’t see.

I’m not sure what KFC is going for here. It’s not the low-carb crowd since the breading on the chicken is probably at least equal to a bun. The undiscerning, glutton crowd is a good bet, I guess, but does that market segment stop at chicken?

I Doubled Down and I drew a 4.