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Archive for May, 2009

Delicje Cookies and Jaffa Bar: More Imported Goodies :)

Posted by bronzechains on May 25, 2009

Not long ago, I did a review of some Mexican candies.  This time, I’m sampling some products from across the Atlantic.  My good friend Josh was kind enough to pick up three items for me while perusing the “international foods” section of a supermarket he visited recently.  Today, my taste buds shall venture to such exotic locations as Scotland and Poland.  Okay, maybe not exotic.  But foreign, unless you live in Scotland or Poland.  The third product is an energy drink from Sweden.  I won’t be drinking it right now, because I’ve got a date with Mr. Sandman in two hours.  An energy drink would not be a wise venture right before bed.  I’ll probably down it before work tomorrow night, and report back after I’ve given the drink a chance to work it’s magic.   Speaking of magic, I’ll be conducting this review while watching the 1982 classic, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  That means some oldschool “Kirstie Allie as a Vulcan” action!  And, of course, “KHAAAANNNNN!!!!!”.  Oh, and Ricardo Montalban.  There, I just alienated half my readers for sure…  I should mention that there may be Star Trek II spoilers in this review, for anyone who hasn’t seen the movie.  If you haven’t seen the movie…WTF?  It’s like, 27 years old.  It’s a classic!  It had the largest opening weekend gross in history when it came out, and you haven’t seen it.  Get with the program, damn.  ;P

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First up is the Delicje Szampanskie….cookie thing from Poland.  The package contains 10 “biscuits”, as the label calls them.  The description says “Sponge cake with real raspberry juice in the filling topped with chocolate”.  In addition to raspberry juice, there is also artificial raspberry flavoring listed in the ingredients.  I’m confused as to why they choose to use both natural and artificial raspberry flavoring, but whatever.

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The “sponge cake” is more like a not-so-dense shortbread cookie.  A firm, red jelly-ish substance sits on top of the cookie, and is covered in chocolate.  The cookies are a bit larger than Oreos.  The cookie itself is sweet and kind of airy, but nothing spectacular.  The chocolate is also just sort of average.  The only thing that stands out about this cookie is the raspberry topping.  The flavor is stronger than that of the other two components, and not too bad.  What really stands out is the texture of the topping.  It’s reminiscent of the jelly in the Bubu Lubu bar from the Mexican Candy Taste Test a while back.  It’s somewhere between jelly, and a gummy bear.  Just weird, and a little rubbery.  It’s texture conflicts with cookie, and I’m not digging it.  I won’t lie; I ate the whole package.  But I probably wouldn’t purchase this on my own.  It’s a decent cookie, but if I want something fruity I’ll go for some of those Pepperidge Farm Verona or Montieri cookies.  Just to keep you updated on the movie I’m watching, Spock just sacrificed himself to restore power to the Enterprise.  It brings a tear to my eye.  Really, it does.  Nerds have hearts too, dammit.  Awww shit, Kirk just found out that Spock is dying.  I have to stop and watch this part.  Oh man, Kirk and Spock are trying to hold hands through the window…….Spock just died.  Bummer.  I’ll pick back up with the reviewing after the funeral scene.

Okay, the movie is over.  I just popped in disc 2 of Bloodbath: Wrestlings Most Incredible Steel Cage Matches.  And…I just alienated the remaining readers that didn’t leave at the earlier mention of Star Trek.  Okay, so for the one reader that might be left, I’m watching the Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannetty cage match for the IC title from 1993.

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The second product is Lees’ Jaffa Bar from Scotland.  Yeah, the apostrophe goes after the “s”.  I checked.  This candy bar is described on the package as “Jaffa Orange Flavoured Fondant Coated in Dark Chocolate”.  A Jaffa orange is similar to a Valencia orange, and is native to Israel.  Wikipedia can make anyone sound worldly and educated.  I’d pull that Jaffa orange tidbit out at a party or something, but Wikipedia didn’t tell me how to pronounce it.  It also probably wouldn’t be cool to talk about Israeli fruit at a party….

The instant I opened the wrapper, I was overwhelmed with the smell of decent chocolate and artificial orange scent.  The ingredients list Jaffa orange oil, but I don’t know…  You can tell by the picture that the fondant center isn’t very orange in color.  I’m no fondant expert, but this stuff seemed a little dry and crumbly to me.  It doesn’t taste too bad, but it isn’t spectacular.  I’ve never been a fan of the orange/chocolate combination, so maybe that’s why I’m not terribly impressed.  I think this would be a decent choice for someone who enjoys this flavor combo.

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I should note that this candy bar is incredibly sweet and rich.  So rich and sweet in fact, that I only ate 1/3 of the bar.  I think the rest will probably be going in the garbage.  Not because it’s nasty, but because I’m not really into intensely sweet candy.  Just too much sugar for my tastebuds.  One bar has 47 grams of sugar, which is a shitload more than several of the leading candy bars popular in the US.  A Snickers bar has 29 grams of sugar, and a 3 Musketeers bar has 31.  So yeah, way more sugary than any candy bar I eat.  My stomach feels like it has a lead brick in it, just from that small piece of the bar.  Ick.

So, the Raspberry chocolate cookie thing (whose name I’m too lazy to scroll up to recall) was edible, but nothing special.  The Jaffa bar was tasty, but entirely too sweet.  In the next day or two, I’ll be doing a review on Nexcite energy drink from Sweden.  According to Wikipedia, it’s an energy/aphrodisiac drink for women.  I found that out just now….hmmm.  I did not realize that it was for women when I first received it.  I wonder if Josh knew that when he bought it for me.  What a dick.  Regardless, I will venture into the world of women’s sex drinks shortly.  Also, expect a review of the new Green Day album in the next few days.
Seacrest out.

Yeah, that just happened.

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Posted in Food, Grocery | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Stride Gum: Sweet Cinnamon

Posted by bronzechains on May 14, 2009

I’ve never been much of a gum chewer, but I’ll buy the occasional pack.  When I do, it’s always sugarless gum.  I can’t stand the idea of pummeling my teeth with intense amounts of sugar for a long period of time, so I stick to the sugar-free varieties.

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Stride’s Sweet Cinnamon offering is certainly worth a chew if you’re a fan of cinnamon gum.  Manufacturers perfected sugarless gum long ago, in my opinion.  Stride doesn’t taste like it has artificial sweetener, and neither do any of the other major players in the sugarless gum market.  As far as the cinnamon flavor, think “Big Red” without the heat.  Though I am a BIG fan of hot and spicy foods, I don’t really like the heat that goes along with many cinnamon candies and gums. Big Red, Red Hot candies, and Atomic Fireball jawbreakers all boast a hot cinnamon flavor, and I’m not a fan of any of them.  But Stride has produced a great tasting cinnamon gum without that burn.

That being said, I do have to blow the whistle on gum’s one major fault.  The flavor never lasts long enough.  I don’t care what brand you have, and I don’t care what bold claims the manufacturer makes.  No chewing gum on the market is immune to rapid flavor loss.  Cheap, shitty gum loses it’s flavor after 5 minutes if you’re lucky.  Good gum…you might get 10 or 15 at the most.  After that, you’re left with nothing but a puny aftertaste.  A pale and fading reminder of what the gum was just moments ago.  And for me, it’s just not worth it very often.  Stride’s Sweet Cinnamon remained enjoyable for about 15 minutes, which is good by my standards.  But not good enough to purchase another pack as soon as this one’s gone.   I can’t chew gum every day.  After the flavor goes, it’s just a chore.  “Why am I chewing this?”  Sure, it might help clean your teeth and dislodge whatever crap might be lodged between them from your last meal.  You know what else does that?  A toothbrush.  And you don’t have to chomp on a toothbrush for 15 minutes to get the job done.  Gum just isn’t really worth the trouble for me.  It’s a nice treat once in a while, and my kids absolutely love the stuff.  But I think I’ll stick to my habit of buying gum once every 3 or 4 weeks.

Bottom line:  Good flavor, and it lasts as long as any other decent gum.  Compared to other brands, I’d give this a thumbs up.  But it’s still just gum.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Mexican Candy Taste Test!

Posted by bronzechains on May 10, 2009

I got my hands on some funky Mexican candy recently.  It was suggested by a friend that I do a taste test of each of the candies, and report the results here on the blog.  So guess what?  I’m going to do just that.  I don’t know where you could find this stuff, but I’d be willing to bet that a Mexican grocery store would be a good place to start.  The confections I’ll be reviewing here came from a preschool class birthday party, thanks to a little Hispanic girl who brought treat bags for all her classmates (which included my kids!)

Here’s a photo of the suspects together:

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L to R – Bubu Lubu cookie things, Pico candy, Bubbaloo gum, de la Rosa Peanuts Confection, Semafora Lollipop, and Duvalin milk candy.

First up is Bubbaloo liquid-filled gum.

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Bubbaloo is manufactured by the same company that makes Cadbury Eggs, so it’s not nearly as exotic as it seemed at first glance.  Apparently though, this gum is hot shit in Mexico and Brazil.  I’ve never seen it before, so I’m allowing it to stand under the “Mexican Candy” banner with the other participants.  Bubbaloo is no different than any other liquid-centered gum, really.  It was quite soft, and had a tiny pocket of strawberry-flavored goo in the middle.  The goo wasn’t very strongly flavored, and didn’t add much to the experience.  As with any other gum, the flavor weakened and became annoying within 5 minutes or so.  Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy good gum.  But regardless of any bold claims made by any manufacturer, ALL gum starts to suck after just a few minutes.  It becomes more of a chore than a pleasurable experience once the flavor loses it’s potency.  And this gum did just that.  It was in the trash before I started typing this paragraph.  I’ll give it a rating of “average” as far as gum goes.

Next comes Semaforo:

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Semaforo translates to “traffic light”, which makes sense after looking at the graphic on the packaging.  The manufacturer attempted to make a lollipop which looked like a traffic light, and they succeeded for the most part.  Though I can’t deny that this sucker looks like multicolored anal beads.  There, I said it.  You were thinking it, and I said it.  Don’t judge me.

The red light tastes like pineapple.  The yellow light may or may not taste like coconut.  I’m not sure if my mind just went to coconut because of the pina colada connection, or if it actually tastes like it.  The green light undoubtedly tastes like green apple.  So, pineapple, coconut (maybe), and green apple.  Odd combination?  Yes.  Does it work?  Sure.  It’s not a bad lollipop.  Kind of awkward to eat, but the novelty probably appeals to the little ones.  I didn’t finish this candy, because I’m just not really down with suckers.  They take entirely too long to eat, and the thought of that sugar just mucking up my mouth for so long is gross.  Decent sucker, though.

Pico is in the house next.

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I’ve heard bad things about Pico, and I considered saving it for last in case it killed me.  But I’m going to go ahead and get it out of the way.  I don’t want to end this taste testravaganza on what would surely be a bad note, had I decided to put this one at the end of the line.  I’ve had something similar in the past, and it was very unenjoyable.  I’m not sure how to classify this candy.  I guess I’ll call it flavored sugar crystals.  As I type this sentence, I’ve yet to taste the stuff.  Opening……oh, this doesn’t smell appetizing at all.  Tasting……..NO.  Not appetizing in the slightest.  It tastes like salt and sugar mixed with chili powder and a bit of strawberry flavoring.  That’s just not good in any way at all.  Somebody’s eating this crap, but not me.  I just threw 90% of the tiny packet in the trash.  I’ll not make that mistake again.  Spread the word.

de la Rosa Peanut Confection?   Don’t mind if I do.

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This candy appears to be a bar of decorative soap made of pressed sawdust.  It’s ingredients are simply peanuts, sugar, and artificial flavoring.  No sawdust?  Hmmm…..somebody’s hiding something.  But dammit, this candy is good.  The best yet, by a long shot.  It’s difficult to eat, considering this is what happens the instant you open the package and even think about touching the candy:

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I’m not kidding; that shit just completely disintegrated the instant I tried to pick it up.  Remember the scene in Terminator 2 when that truck crashes and spills liquid nitrogen everywhere?  The nitrogen freezes T-1000, and Ahnold shatters his ass into a million pieces?  It was kind of like that when I touched the candy.  Only maybe a bit less dramatic, and the peanut candy wasn’t Robert Patrick.  All that aside, this candy kicks ass.  It tastes like powdered sugar with ground peanuts mixed in.  It made a big fucking mess, but I’d eat another one in a heartbeat.  I hope I don’t see these in a store somewhere, or I’m going to be getting fat real quick. Big thumbs up on this one.  If you see it somewhere, give it a try.  I’m gonna have to vacuum the floor before my peanut-allergic son comes over again, or else he’s going to break out the minute he sets foot in my bedroom.  That shit is everywhere.

Duvalin milk candy, come on down.

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This is an interesting format for a candy.  It’s almost like a cake icing or dip, and it reminds me of those little single-serving plastic trays with cheese spread and crackers that I used to eat when I was a kid.  I’m assuming this was supposed to come with some kind of tiny plastic spoon to dip the candy out with, but I didn’t get one.  What a bunch of bullshit.  This is like the time I brought yogurt to work for my lunch, but forgot the spoon.  I’ll just lick it out of the plastic tray like the cavemen used to.  I mean, the kitchen is all the way downstairs.  I’m not going all the way down there just because some jerk at the Duvalin factory fell asleep on the job.

The hazelnut is decent, and reminds me just a little bit of nutella.  The remaining three flavors (strawberry, cajeta, and vanilla) were all smooshed together, so I couldn’t get a proper taste of any of them.  But the newly formed flavor that I’ve labeld “cajetanillaberry” wasn’t too bad at all.  Despite feeling like I was eating cake frosting straight out of the can, I think this candy gets a thumbs up.  I’d like it better if I didn’t have to lick it out of the tray like a dirty savage.  You know what would have exceeded in that capacity?   A little fucking plastic spoon.  Thanks for dropping the ball, Duvalin.  Now we’re going to lose the game.  Learn how to catch, asshole.  You are so off the team.

The main event for this review is Bubu Lubu:

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What did Bubu Lubu do to achieve main event status?  No, it didn’t win a 60-minute Iron Man match against Bret “The Hitman” Hart.  It didn’t make it all the way to the end of a grueling, 3 day long Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots tournament.  I just saved it for last because I like the package.  It looks fancy.

Bubu Lubu is strawberry-flavored jelly and marshmallow sandwiched together and coated in chocolate.  Bubu Lubu is also bad candy.  The strawberry jelly is forgettable and bland.  The marshmallow is….well, marshmallow.  You can’t put marshmallow in a candy bar, in my opinion.  It’s not strong enough to hold it’s own against any other ingredients.  If this candy bar were a cancelled game show, it would be The Weakest Link.  And guess who the weakest link would be?  Yup.  The marshmallow.  The chocolate coating tastes very fake.  So, a shitty candy bar all around.  Thumbs way down for Bubu Lubu.  I had high hopes, but it let me down.  The goofy white character with the red t-shirt on the package wrote a check that the candy inside couldn’t cash.  Back to the drawing board for Bubu Lubu.

Well, that was a fun experience.  I’d like to do it again sometime, with another genre of products.  Maybe something that isn’t edible.  Send me some suggestions if you can think of anything that might be fun or entertaining.  I’m giving a gold star to the de la Rosa Peanuts Confection.  I’d have given it a gold star and a smiley face sticker, but it made a big mess that I have to clean up.  So just the gold star.  Pico and Bubu Lubu were just disappointing in all aspects, and I shan’t be inviting them over to dinner anymore.  They did the equivalent of a guest pissing all over your toilet seat and not bothering to wipe up the mess.  That’s rude, and I won’t stand for it.  Suck it, Bubu Lubu and Pico.

Posted in Food, Grocery | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments »

Blair’s Original Death Sauce!

Posted by bronzechains on May 4, 2009

Just a friendly warning:  the following isn’t so much a review, as it is a few paragraphs of me sucking the mighty shaft of the best hot sauce in the universe.  Seriously, I have nothing bad to say about this stuff.  So yeah, read on.

I first encountered Blair’s products a few years ago after ordering some online.  Since then, I’ve yet to find a better hot sauce.  And believe me, it’s not from a lack of trying.  I’m a bit of a hot sauce connoisseur, and I’ve got quite a collection in my refrigerator.

The highlight of my collection, and of Blair’s line of sauces, is the Original Death sauce.  This shit is, without a doubt, my favorite hot sauce EVER.  I’ve never found a sauce that comes anywhere near this stuff in terms of flavor.  It’s not the hottest sauce out there by any means, but it’s not supposed to be.  Rest assured, Blair’s makes much hotter sauces.  But this stuff is what I consider a “table sauce”, or a condiment.  Some sauces are best used as an additive when cooking, because they’re just ridiculously hot when tasted “full strength”.  Such is not the case with Blair’s Original.  It works anywhere you’d use any other hot sauce, only better.  Tacos, spaghetti, lasagna, burritos, grilled chicken, nachos….  These are all applications in which I’ve personally tested out this sauce.  In my opinion though, this sauce is made for pizza.  Seriously, throw some of this on your pizza and it becomes something entirely different.  It does add a considerable kick in terms of heat, but the true star of this sauce is the robust flavor.

Garlic and fresh peppers.  That’s the first thing that rocks your tastebuds.  If you don’t care for garlic, then pass on this sauce.  Because garlic is in full effect, fo sho.  And while tomatoes aren’t listed in the ingredient list, I’m tasting them.  However the taster interprets the flavors, there’s absolutely no denying that this sauce tastes fresh with a captial F.  I think that the rest of the letters in the word should be capital, as well.  So, it’s fresh with a capital F, R, E, S, and H.  That’s how fresh it is.  I want to use the word “fresh” a couple more times in this paragraph.  Suck on that, high school English teacher.  Back on track, perhaps?  Yes.  Blair’s Original has a flavor that is much more complex and eye-opening than most sauces.  There’s just so much going on, you can’t ignore it.  You might want to be careful when using this sauce on anything with a very mild or delicate flavor, because Blair’s sauce will slit said flavor’s throat and shove it out of the Captain’s chair, thus taking immediate command of the ship.  Don’t let that scare you away, though.  This sauce works well on foods with stronger flavors.  Don’t be shy, either.  Try a little bit of this on whatever pops up; you might be surprised.  In addition to the amazingly garlicky garlic, you’ll find habanero, cayenne, and chipotle peppers are present and accounted for.  Vinegar, lime juice, cilantro and “herbs and spices” round out the ingredient list.  I’ve come close to believing that by “herbs and spices”, they mean crack cocaine.  I can’t get enough of this sauce.  Bonus for those who care about this kind of thing:  Blair’s uses no preservatives or artificial ingredients.  Another bonus:  The bottle comes with a nifty little skull keychain.

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One thing that irks me about many hot sauces is that they’re too watery.  Not so with Blair’s.  It’s considerably thicker than your standard Tabasco or Frank’s sauce, but not so thick that it won’t pour out of the bottle.  The texture is thick and chunky, and has a tendency to keep it’s spicy ass where you put it.

In short, this is probably the best hot sauce ever made.  It’s hot (but not too hot), flavorful, fresh-tasting, and has a great texture.  It’s a little on the expensive side, but in the same way that a steak costs more than a McDonald’s hamburger.  Better product, higher price.  This stuff is worth every penny.  A 5 oz. bottle costs 6 to 8 dollars, depending on where you buy it.  And I won’t lie to you; you might go through the bottle pretty quickly.  I know I do.  I have to ration the stuff, or it’ll be gone in a week.  The day I hit the lottery, you’d better believe I’ll be buying this stuff by the case.

You can buy Blair’s Original Death sauce from their official website, or several other online stores.  I’ve also seen Blair’s sauces in specialty shops a few times.  Your best bet is to order it from the source, though.  Check out their website here.  In addition to the Original sauce, you’ll find a ton of other sauces, spice rubs, potato chips, and collector’s sauces.

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »