Archive for the 'Mehlicious' Category

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.

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.

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.

Mandos Guest Post-Yuppie Hippie Bars (Assorted)

Mandos writes:

I have recently been testing yuppie-wannabe-hippy food bars recently, the kind that Whole Foods sells in place of Snickers, etc.

My first impression is, of course, “Why?” All three I have tried so far are grosser than any other granola bar I’ve eaten, and far inferior to raw fruit. And yet, they are enormously pricier, and I see people with cases of them in their offices. Nevertheless, they definitely have their differences.

The first: Lärabar. I can’t remember what flavour it was, and I only ate it two days ago. It was probably “””apple””” “””pie””” or “””pecan””” “””pie”””. Like all Lärabars (see photos on their web site), it is a nondescript brown bar that frankly reminds me of a turd. There’s nothing about it that says, “eat me”. The flavour: some kind of slightly bitter cardboard. Really, it’s like Newton’s head got hit by the apple before he ended up around the fig. Fig Newton without flavour. Verdict: I’d say it was disgusting but it didn’t taste like anything so I can’t even say that.

The next: Clif Nectar cacao bar. This seemed so much more promising than the Lärabar. After all, who could mess up chocolate? More purple than a typical turd (maybe one with melena?), it had a more promising consistency than the Lärabar. Alas, no such luck! At least the Lärabar had the courtesy of tasting like the bitter ashes of emptiness. This one was actively offensive. Chocolate Skittles are too treyfy for me to eat, but this is what I imagine the food bar version of them tastes like. Verdict: disgusting, avoid.

Finally, Raw Revolution. This one was the hippiest of them, and the one most reliant on dishonest Ghost Melon marketing strategies with the oh-so-Ché font and red star. The advertisement of “organic sprouted flax seeds” did not look promising—mmm, must taste like hay or alfalfa, I thought. I got the chocolate chip cookie dough flavour. Unwrapped it: consistency of Lärabar, colour of diarrhoea [this is worse than UC with the Canadianensiasosis-ed]. But surprisingly: not bad. It did not taste like hay or what poop must taste like. Actually tasted like hippified chocolate chip cookie dough. Edible. Verdict: mildly delicious, even with the organic flax seed abortions.

So in sum, none of these things are worth the price. They are clearly food for pretentious Whole Foods yuppies. No child would be fooled, for certain. A certain person remarked to me that they were food for “human parakeets”, which sounds about right.

Raw Revolution is vaguely acceptable, but I’ll stick with the salted cashew granola bars for now—cheaper and deliciouser and less pretentious.

Kathleen! Week! Day 4: Doritos Collisions-Pizza and Ranch

Cheezy corny crunchy spicy orange fingers plus sour savory corny crunchy ranchy stinky dorito crunchy stinky corn breath. I note for the record that this ranch does not taste as cool as cool ranch. I swear it is less cool, and not as ranchy. MSG yum yum yum! Is K. hitting the 7-11 or did she just hork some pumpkin pie? DoD readers want to know!!!!


Don’t get flavor all over your keyboard!

Notes:

We zoinked the pic here.

Our review is in the post categories.

Dark Chocolate Fudge Clodhoppers-Mend. D Guest Post

A true shocker from Mendacious D. UC might need his fainting couch when he reads this:

You probably know Clodhoppers from this bag which you can’t stop eating out of once it’s been opened:

[image linked here because Gmail is a bag of choads. Non-chocolate covered clusters of choads that don’t let me display images]
[PP adds, tis true, they are. but me fixey]

clodhoppers.jpg

They are delicious clusters of concentrated yumminess. If they could be wrapped in bacon and deep-fried (I’m looking at you, Indiana State Fair) I would find myself in epicurean heaven, and probably on the receiving end of a pair of defibrillator paddles. Clear? More like clogged!

So, when in my local Shoppers’ Drug Mart I espied a curious variation: Dark Chocolate Clodhoppers. “Well,” I thought, “they’re on sale, and regular Clodhoppers are, in my estimation, the shizzle. Perhaps even the shizizzle when it comes to dessert-like snacks.” [PP adds: we’re you thinking this in 2005?] So I bought them. A steal at $2.79. A snip. Such a small price to pay for sampling the newest innovation from Chris and Larry, may Chocolate Buddha bless their every step.

So the next day at work I ripped open the plastic packaging and peeked in. The customary pre-scuffed (they just are. Don’t ask) chocolate clusters were there, albeit of a darker hue than their milk-chocolate-drenched cousins. Hands shaking (it may have been the caffeine), I extracted one and popped it into my mouth, expecting the palate-melting sensation of Clodhoppers, but perhaps not as sweet.

Sadly, it was not to be.

The ingredients, on paper, are beyond reproach: graham cracker, marshmallow, chocolate, and manna from heaven (FDA approval pending). Dark chocolate would be the not-so-sugary icing on the cluster, making even more of those delicious little balls.

Instead, there was… nothing. Somehow, through some marvel of culinary and manufacturing science, most of the flavour had been removed, with almost surgical precision. The graham wafer tasted like unsweetened rice puffs, the marshmallow was indistinguishable from the coating itself, and the chocolate was apparently mostly sugar and very little cocoa.

I was, to say the least, disappointed. It took me three full days to consume them throughout my various coffee/blogging breaks at the office. I couldn’t even bring myself to share them with my coworkers, lest I be shamed by their utter lack of taste, substance, or enjoyability and be forced to endure the iniquity of not being trusted with supplying snacks anymore. Truly an error from a company which has done so much for my waistline.

Now, if they made white chocolate Clodhoppers, I’d be all over that. If they didn’t mess it up like this.