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Archive for the ‘Grocery’ Category

Peace Tea: Imported Ceylon Tea

Posted by bronzechains on January 11, 2011

I’ve had two cans of this tea, and I feel like I’m ready to give it a proper review.  For starters, it might be of interest to you to know what Ceylon tea is.  It’s a tea grown in Sri Lanka, and they have very specific and impressive methods of gathering and processing their tea leaves.  If you’re a nerd like me, I’d highly recommend reading this article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceylon_tea

I didn’t read the whole Wikipedia article, just enough to get the “gist” of it.  Is “gist” even a real word?  I don’t care, I”m using it.  Anyway, on to the review.   My good homie Tyler sang the praises of this tea a couple of times before I gave it a shot.  I should precede my review by noting that I”m VERY picky about my bottled/canned teas.  Lipton Brisk tea would be born straight from the bowels of hell, were I to believe in the place.  I think it’s awful, and I won’t touch the stuff.  Gold Peak bottled tea is one of my favorites, but this new Peace Tea looks like it’s going to be a real contender.

Peace Tea comes in a 23 oz. can, which is pretty huge as far as canned beverages go.  And at 99 cents a can, it’s quite a bargain.  But does it taste good?  Yes, yes it does. It doesn’t have that overly tart and tangy flavor that many bottled and canned teas are plagued with.  I’m looking right at you, Lipton Brisk.  I want to drink tea, not tea with 8 cups of sour-ass citric acid in it.  So Peace Tea, good stuff.  The tangy flavor I hate is there in a very minimal qauntity, and it doesn’t bother me at all.  This stuff is flat (not a bad thing), and has no carbonation.  That’s just a heads-up, since so many people look for something fizzy when they reach into the coolers at the local convenience store.  That being said, this tea is pretty refreshing, and doesn’t taste overly sweet.  It goes down easily, and does leave a little bit of that tartness in my mouth that I believe comes from the tannins in the tea.  Correct me if I’m wrong.  Most importantly, it tastes like tea.  It’s a wonderful alternative to all the colas and carbonated drinks out there, which sometimes give me stomach discomfort.  Yeah, I’m getting old.  A lot of the sugared sodas out there are almost syrupy in their sweetness.  Mountain Dew and Pepsi are particuarly guilty of this, yet I still buy them on occasion.  It’s mostly out of habit. I buy a bottle, then quickly regret it.  Help me, Peace Tea.  You’re my only hope.



Regarding the packaging, I’m not a huge fan of the artwork.  But that’s of minor consequence to me.  They seem to be going for the whole “peace on earth” angle, and the imagery is just a bit… odd.  I do see a graphical representation of people from all over the world, which I guess promotes equality in some way, or at least shows that they’re not dirty racists.  They boast 100% natural tea, no preservatives, no artificial colors, and no artificial flavors,   These are things I would expect from this tea, and I’m glad to see they didn’t load it up with a bunch of unnecessary crap.  In addition to their health/purity claims, they make sure to tell us to “Find Your Center”, “Be the Change”, and make sure to remind us that “Love Is All Around Us”, and “Peace Comes From Within”.  Yeah, I see love all around me when some douche doesn’t use his turn signal and cuts me off in traffic.  Sorry, love isn’t quite everywhere.  Maybe if we all drank Peace Tea, we’d be a bunch of caring brothers and sisters and world peace  would truly come.  But I doubt it.  I’ll just stick to enjoying my newfound beverage.

Peace Tea comes in other flavors, too.  They have Razzleberry, which my friend says isn’t that great.  They also have a sweet lemon flavor, which I will steer clear of.  Green tea is also available, along with High Tea, and Matcha Green.  I’ve not seen the two latter flavors, and I have no idea what they are.  I may give the Razzleberry tea a day in court, and if I see the High Tea or Matcha Green in the store I’ll at least check them out.  But for now, I give the Imported Ceylon variety two thumbs up.  Only 150 calories a can, or 50 calories per serving if you can manage to split the can into three servings.  This 23 oz. can contains 100 less calories than a 20 oz. bottle of Pepsi.  I usually sip on something like this over the course of a few hours, much to the chagrin of dentists around the world.  Hey, if I didn’t ruin my teeth, you wouldn’t have jobs.  So lay off.

Peace Tea Imported Ceylon.  99 cents.  You can’t go wrong.  Oh, and sugar instead of HFCS, for those of you that care about that kind of thing.  Two thumbs up.  Pick up a can today.  Also, sorry for the low-quality pictures.  I was too lazy to turn on my ceiling fan light.

P.S.  I listened to Dimmu Borgir’s “Abrahadabra” album, and some of Daisy Chainsaw’s “Eleventeen” album while writing this review.  I don’t know why I feel compelled to tell you readers this, but I keep doing it.

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Posted in Food, Grocery, Uncategorized | 9 Comments »

GoGo SqueeZ: applesauce on the go.

Posted by bronzechains on December 4, 2010

Impulse buys at the register:  I’m occasionally guilty.  I saw this while waiting in the checkout line at Wal-Mart yesterday, and it’s 67 cent price tag convinced me to give it a try and share my thoughts with the internets.  GoGo Squeez applesauce is a great idea in theory, but how does it taste?

Well, it tastes like applesauce.  And really, that’s all I would expect going into this experiment.  It’s good applesauce, with no extra sugar or other added ingredients.  Apples, and apple juice concentrate are all that you’ll find in this handy and resealable pouch.  It’s not ultra-sweet, and it doesn’t have any odd flavors at all.  The packaging reminds me of the kind of food astronauts eat in zero gravity, so GoGo Squeez gets extra cool points for that.

Regarding nutrition, GoGo Squeez is great and you won’t find any surprises.  Each 60 calorie pouch is equal to one serving of fruit, and that’s really all there is to say.  Simplicity is key in applesauce for me.  I don’t want added sugar, or artificial flavors or colors.  Just mash up some apples and let me eat!  I’ve gotta say, this is really an awesome and convenient way to get a serving of fruit when you’re on the move.

This product is marketed as a healthy snack for kids, and I couldn’t be happier with it in that aspect.  Eating on the go is nothing new, and we (especially Americans) have been doing it for years.  What a great alternative to other portable snacks, though.  Sure, you can carry around some fruit roll-ups or Goldfish crackers in your purse or glovebox in case the kids get whiny and hungry, but plain old fruit has never been this easy.  Without any unnecessary or unhealthy additives, you don’t have to feel like a shitty parent when you pacify your toddler with this on a trip to… wherever you’re going.  Vacations, family gatherings, or just a trip to the grocery store.  I have 4 kids, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “Dad, I’m hungry!” at  times when a snack just isn’t easy to provide.  Applesauce is so much better than stopping at a drive-thru for french fries.  All of my babies are pretty much past the age where this product would be a lifesaver very often, but I’ll be damned if I’m not going to spread the word to the rest of you parents.  I found this among the gift cards, candy bars, and lip balm at the Wal-Mart checkout area.  If you see these, grab a few to carry with you when you’re out with the kids.  Hell, grab a few for yourself.  I’m not above eating something marketed toward kids if I like it.  These would work for just about anyone, including your grandma who has no teeth.

My good friend (and ex-wife, lol) Kelli was with me on this shopping trip, and she tested out the product as well.  I’ll share her opinions, as well.  She thought the applesauce was pretty sweet, and had a very minor “weird taste” that could have come from the packaging.  I didn’t detect this at all, and she’s pregnant anyway.  So I’m going to say she’s imagining it.  😉   <—That means I’m joking, Kelli.  So don’t go all preggo-rage on me!  But overall, she was pleased with the applesauce, and gave it one and a half thumbs up.  Not bad!

Bottom line:  Simple, healthy, tasty, and portable.  What’s not to like?  I give GoGo Squeez applesauce two big thumbs up.  According to the website, available flavors include:  AppleApple (which I had), ApplePeach, AppleBanana, AppleCinnamon, and AppleStrawberry.  I’ve yet to see these other flavors, but I’ll try them if I can find them.

Posted in Food, Grocery | Tagged: , , , , | 11 Comments »

Lean Pockets: Garlic Chicken White Pizza

Posted by bronzechains on March 3, 2010

It’s been about 4 months since my last review, and I really don’t have a good reason for that.  Obviously, I’ve purchased things since then.  Things I could have reviewed.  I’m just a world-class procrastinator, so I haven’t been motivated enough to tackle the monumental task of typing words on a computer.  Yeah, I’m a winner!  Seriously, I should get some kind of championship belt for procrastination. Wal-Mart sells these cheap foam/plastic championship belts so that you can pretend to be a wrestler or UFC fighter.  I should get one of those, and paint “Procrastination Federation Heavyweight Champion” on it.  Nah, I’m not motivated enough for that, either.  I’ll just be happy that I’m actually sitting here now, typing up a new review 🙂

Up on the chopping block today is:

I realize that Lean Pockets aren’t the greatest choice when looking for a sensible meal.  But dammit, they’re healthier than regular Hot Pockets!  These were on sale at Wal-Mart for $2.50 per box, so I tossed one in the cart.  Regular readers know that I’m a sucker for a new product, so I opted for the “Garlic Chicken White Pizza” variety.  These come from Lean Pockets’ new “Chef Inspired” line of products.  Before diving into the actual review, I have to share with you something that I read on the Lean Pockets website.  Their description of the “Chef Inspired” pockets reads thusly:

“All the flavor and foodie fanciness a celebrity chef could provide – only unpretentious and portable. Get the flavorful herb toppings and creamy sauces inspired by chefs to go – in 8 grams of fat or less.”

Seriously?  What kind of bullshit is that?  I couldn’t help but laugh at that crap.  “All the flavor… a celebrity chef could provide…”  What the hell does that even mean?  They’re obviously trying to cash in on the current trend of restaurants and food companies selling special celebrity chef-inspired dishes and products  Food Network’s Guy Fieri and TGI Friday’s comes to mind.  Hell, you can even find Rachel Ray olive oil and chicken stock at the grocery store now.  Emeril Lagasse has all kinds of shit with his face on it.  Guess what?  His pasta sauce SUCKS.  Maybe some people are falling for that crap, but I’m not.  At least Lean Pockets didn’t plaster a picture of faux-chef Rachel Ray or someone on their box.  I wouldn’t have bought it if that were the case.  So yeah, lame marketing strategy.  But on with the food review!

I am by no means a food snob.  I love my junk food, convenience food, fast food, and fancy-shmancy food equally.  So, I do like Hot Pockets.  They’re like big, souped-up pizza rolls.  This particular Hot Pocket won’t be making it into my favorites list, but it’s decent.  First off, let’s cover the white sauce/cheese combo.  Listed in the ingredients are parmesan, fontina, and mozzarella cheeses.  They all kind of get lost together and become one with the white sauce, but the end result is palatable enough.  Garlic is in full effect, but the sauce is a little too pasty and thick.  I would not describe it as “creamy” for anything less than $25, lol.  I just LOL’d in a product review; how professional.  So, the sauce isn’t bad at all.


The chicken was plentiful enough, considering how cheap these pockets are.  The flavor of the chicken was a little weak, but on par with most other, similar frozen foods.  The sauce definitely overpowered the chicken, but the texture was there.  I was pleased to find little onion bits inside the Lean Pocket.  If it were legal to marry vegetables, I’d hook it up with onions in a heartbeat.  I love onions.  They’re definitely a nice addition to this product.
The crust….where to begin with the crust?  Hot Pockets are never as crispy as I’d like.  I suppose I could bake them in the oven, but I’m not waiting 30 minutes for a damned Hot Pocket.  The crisping sleeve helps, but the crust still comes out more chewy than crispy.  That being said, the crust was pretty tasty.  It’s made with whole grains, and provides 3 grams (12%) of dietary fiber.  The crust is seasoned/sprinkled with herbs and spices, which is a good thing.  Hot/Lean Pocket crusts can suffer from lack of flavor sometimes, so it’s nice to see them making an effort to jazz it up a bit.

Regarding nutrition, these aren’t terrible at all.  They’re marketed as a “lean” product, so I’m paying attention to the calories and fat.  Here’s a shot of the nutrition info:

My dad always tells me that a good general rule is to try not to eat a lot of foods that have more than 1/3 of the total calories from fat.  This one falls well below that guideline, so I’m giving it a thumbs up.  If you could manage to eat just one of these with a serving of pretzels or baked chips (or a piece of fruit) for lunch, you’d probably be doing  just fine if you’re trying to watch your weight.

Overall, I give the Garlic Chicken White Pizza Lean Pockets the thumbs-up.  My one gripe is the sauce texture.  Not a huge problem, but it’s something they could work on.  I’ll probably try one of the other new varieties of Lean Pockets next time if the price is right.

I had to poop the entire time I was writing this review, by the way.

Posted in Food, Grocery | Tagged: , , | 9 Comments »

Arizona Iced Tea Stix

Posted by bronzechains on November 12, 2009

Before I get on with the actual review, I have to do a little (mostly) facetious griping.

Two things:

I hate it when non-music websites feature music that automatically plays when the site loads.  That’s presumptuous, and it pisses me off.  If it’s a band, record label, or otherwise music-related website, I’ll let it slide.  But why the hell does Arizona Tea need music on their site?  I went to their website for information on their products, not to find out what kind of fucking music their web design guy thinks is cool.  Seriously, that pisses me right off.  I was listening to my own music, and then Arizona shit all over it by playing a song by some shitfest of a band called This Blue Holiday.  I don’t even know if they’re any good, and now I’ll never find out.  The band has lost one potential fan because they allowed their music to be featured on Arizona’s website.  Fuck Arizona.  Now I’m even mad at the state of Arizona.  That’s how bad they fucked up.  There’s so much sand in my proverbial vagina from this incident that my anger has bled over to something completely innocent, except for the fact that it shares it’s name with the bastard tea company.

Secondly, the word “stix” is ridiculous.  It’s just as bad as “Xtreme”.  This is not 1994, and we are not talking about a new and exciting bold flavor of Doritos.  “Xtreme” sucks, and so does “stix”.  To hell with replacing the “cks” at the end of a word with an X.
Okay, I’m done.  If you’re still with me and you realize that my panties are not really in a bunch over the aforementioned topics, please read on.  I’ve been using the Arizona powdered tea mix pouches for several weeks now, and I feel like I’m ready to give them a fair review.  The tea “stix” come in boxes of 10.  Arizona recommends using one pouch of tea powder per bottle of water.  This can, of course, be adjusted based on how strong you like your tea.  I bought these as a substitute for the gratuitous amounts of fountain soda from the gas station that I usually drink.  Once my 32 oz. fountain cup is empty, I put in about 20 oz. of water, ice, and one pouch of tea powder.  This is a sugar-free tea sweetened with Splenda, so it’s calorie-free.  Focusing solely on the artificial sweetener, I’m satisfied.  There isn’t really any nasty aftertaste, and it’s definitely sweet enough.  Now, on to the details for both varieties I’ve had.

 

greenteapom

 

The pomegranate green tea variety is the shit, plain and simple.  I’ve gone through 3 boxes of the stuff, and I love it.  It’s light and fruity, and moderately sweet.   Much better than drinking a syrupy cola.  Obviously, it doesn’t taste like freshly brewed tea, but let’s be reasonable.  For a powdered tea mix, it’s just fine.  The pomegranate flavor does overpower the mild taste of the green tea, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing to me.  It’s more like a sugar-free Kool-Aid kind of drink than it is a tea.  In my experience, green tea is a pretty weak flavor anyway.  So it could use a little help.  There’s a tiny amount of caffeine in this tea, FYI.  Not enough to do much, but it is there.  Arizona’s website claims that there are 7.5 mg of caffeine per 8 oz.

 

greentea

 

More recently, I decided to give their regular green tea flavor a try.  Initially, I thought it was crap.  The first time I drank it, there was an overpowering lemon-ish flavor that I did NOT like.  It reminds of that flavor that’s in pretty much ALL bottled and canned teas.  Drink a can of Lipton’s Brisk tea and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.  I don’t know what exactly that flavor is, but it’s in this tea also.  So, I was stuck with 9 more of these tea pouches.  I decided to go ahead and suffer through the rest of them since I’d already paid for them.  I’m very happy to report that the weird flavor is not nearly as noticeable the second time around.  I’ve grown to like this stuff, but not nearly as much as the pomegranate flavor.  I’ll finish the box, but it won’t be a repeat purchase.

I bought both of these varieties at Wal-Mart.  Each box of 10 pouches cost me $2.16.  That works out to about 22 cents per pouch, which is considerable cheaper than soda.  Arizona Iced Tea Stix are a nice change of pace from the carbonated diet cola I usually drink, and I plan on continuing to buy them.  I stole those pictures from Amazon.com, by the way.  That’s why they say “6 pack” on them.  I forgot to take pictures of my boxes, and I’m too impatient to hold off on this review until I buy more.  I’m not going to include pictures of the prepared drink mixes, because that would just be boring.  The pomegranate looks like dark red fruit punch, and the green tea looks like tea, or cloudy brown pee.  ‘Nuff said.

Big thumbs up for the Pomegranate, and not-so-big thumbs up for the Green Tea flavor.  Now go buy some tea!

 

I listened to Squirtgun, Leftover Crack, Type O Negative, and Elton John while I wrote this review.  I just wanted to tell you that.  Have a nice day.

Posted in Food, Grocery | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Mama Mary’s Pizza Crusts

Posted by bronzechains on June 16, 2009

pizzacrusts

Marco made a run to the gas station for coffee while we were at work last night and brought me back a french vanilla cappucino.  It was delicious.  I’m not usually a coffee person, but that hit the spot.  I almost felt like I was drinking dessert.  But this review isn’t about cappucino.  I just wanted to share that with you.  Don’t you feel like we’re a little bit closer now?  I do.

I’ve purchased Mama Mary’s pre-baked pizza crusts for a while now, and I’m ready to share my thoughts.  They’re available in 7 and 12 inch sizes, and come in several varieties.  I’ve only purchased the 7 inch traditional crusts, so I’ll focus on them for this review.  I bought a 3 pack of the 7 inch crusts at Wal-Mart for just under three dollars.  They work out to somewhere between 80-90 cents per crust.  In other words, really cheap.  I always keep random pizza ingredients on hand so I can throw together a quick pie whenever the mood strikes me.  Today, I made a grilled chicken pizza with green peppers and onions.  Nothing too fancy, but it was tasty.  The instructions on the Mama Mary’s package suggests topping your crust with whatever, and baking it in a 450 F oven for 7-10 minutes.  I usually go 8 or 9 minutes, but it really just depends on your oven. Don’t bother with a pizza pan, either.  These do just fine placed directly on the rack.

pizza1

Regarding nutrition, this isn’t the healthiest option in the grocery store.  Just don’t eat them all the time and it’s no big deal.  Each crust contains 374 calories, and 12 grams of fat.  The package says that a serving is 1/2 of a pizza crust, but I eat the whole thing.  Then again, I usually don’t have anything with the pizza.  If I were having a salad or some bread or something, 1/2 a pizza might do the trick.

pizza2

A pizza crust is an incredibly versatile foundation for a meal.  You can put just about anything on a pizza that you can imagine.  The fact that these crusts are ready to go out of the bag is a BIG bonus.  I keep mine in the freezer, and just take one out whenever I need it.  The crusts crisp up nicely in the oven if you leave them in long enough, and the taste is exceptional for a pre-baked crust.  The flavor is slightly sweet, but doesn’t overpower the rest of the pizza.  These crusts will hold up to a heavy load of toppings, too.  I haven’t ever had the sauce soak through the crust and turn it into a soggy mess.  I’ve made 8 or 10 pizzas using these crusts, and I haven’t been let down yet.  This is a consistent product that’s well worth the price.  I’ve tried other pre-baked crusts, and Mama Mary’s is definitely my favorite.  Making your own pizza is a lot of fun, but going the homemade dough route adds a lot of time and effort to the process.  If you have the time, that’s great.  But using a pre-baked crust makes this task easier and more accessible.  If you can chop vegetables and open a pepperoni package, you can handle making your own pizza.  Keep a package of these in your freezer, and keep them in mind when various leftovers end up in your fridge.  You might come up with some pretty badass pizza ideas.

Bonus tip: (because you’ve been such a good reader today)

Pre-baked pizza crusts make a great start for a fun dinner project with kids, too.  Get some cheese, sauce, veggies, and whatever else your kids like, and let them have at it.  My kids always get a kick out of making their own pizzas by adding sauce and toppings to the crusts, and watching their creations bake in the oven.  It’s a good way to get your kids familiar with cooking, without having to worry about making a huge mess or severing their poor little fingers with sharp knives.  You know, because that would be bad.

Posted in Food, Grocery | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

WoW Mountain Dew!

Posted by bronzechains on June 13, 2009

Mountain Dew has their fingers in the “hardcore gamer” market again, ladies and gents.  You may remember when the Halo 3 Game Fuel version of Mt. Dew appeared back in 2007.  It was a cherry-citrus flavored Dew, and was a limited edition.  The Game Fuel tag is back on the bottles again, along with some fancy new World of Warcraft graphics.  The marketing folks at the Pepsi corporation realize that the hardcore WoW players need their caffeine/sugar fix.  While there are certainly more appropriate beverages on the market for gamers looking for a jolt, Mt. Dew is cheap and readily available.  So, the flashy bottle graphics are accounted for.  But once the gamers buy a bottle, is the taste enough to keep them coming back for more?  I plunked down two of my hard-earned dollars (lol) to find out.

I should point out that I’ve never, ever played World of Warcraft.  I know that the Alliance are the good guys, and the Horde are the bad guys.  That is the extent of my knowledge on the subject.  I don’t know WoW, but I know soda.  And considering that the game influence ends with the packaging, I think I’m qualified to bang the gavel on this subject.

Behold, Mountain Dew Game Fuel Alliance Blue:

mtdewblue

mtdewblue2

As you can see from the photographs, this Dew sports a pointy-eared blue chick.  Feel free to enlighten me as to the name/race/etc. of this lady if you’re in the know.  I’ll promise to remember it for a minute or two.  Aside from the sweet graphics, this variety of Mt. Dew features a “punch of wild fruit flavor”.  If the description were more honest, it would say “Mountain Dew with a shot of Hawaiian Punch”.  Because that’s exactly what it tastes like.  But believe me, that’s not a bad thing.  It took me  a few sips to come to the conclusion that there’s a distinct “fruit punch” flavor to this drink.  It’s a simple idea, yes.  It’s also a fantastic idea, fo sho.  Most of the gimmicky, limited edition flavors that come out just don’t have enough appeal to warrant a repeat purchase.  This stuff, however, has some good replay value (to put it in video game terms).  If I drank sugared sodas regularly, I’d buy a case of this stuff.  Alas, I’m a diet soda drinker.  I may make an exception once a week or so, and splurge on a bottle of the Alliance Blue until it’s gone.  Certainly better than the last bright blue soda I had. Thumbs up for the Alliance Blue flavor!
Now, the rest of the story…..(anybody get that reference?)

This, my friends, is Game Fuel Horde Red:

mtdewred

I bought this one a couple of days after the Alliance Blue, and I forgot to take a picture this time.  Google Image Search saved the day, though.  Sorry.  Anyway, this Dew also has cool imagery.  Not sure what Nancy Grace has to do with WoW, though……  Hey, cut me some slack.  Not all the jokes can be winners.  “A blast of citrus cherry flavor” awaits you inside the bottle, or so says the label.  Citrus cherry?  Isn’t that the same flavor they advertised on the Halo 3 Mountain Dew a couple years ago?  Yup.  That means this is the same soda they had back then.  Guess what?  It still sucks just as much now as it did the first time.  I remember how much I disliked the Halo 3 Game Fuel, and this tastes exactly the same.  They just pulled out the old recipe card and slapped a new label on it.  I really don’t like this flavor at all.  It tastes kind of like they soaked the bitter rind of oranges in Mt. Dew Code Red.  Not exactly, but that’s the best description I could come up with.  It’s just not a good flavor, and I’m a little bit disappointed that the flavor was just re-released.  As far as I know, the Alliance Blue is a new flavor.  Why half-ass this promotion and repackage an old flavor?  I guess it’s not really a big deal, but they can still suck it.  If they were going to revive a discontinued flavor, why not go with Pitch Black II?  That was one of my favorite soda flavor variants EVER.  The first Pitch Black wasn’t that great, but the sequel?  Come on, that was the real deal.  Sour grape Mountain Dew may not sound good in print, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t work magic on my taste buds.  Here are a few highlights of my vision for a perfect world:  Blues Brothers 2000 would never have been made, there would still be a Target store in my town, and Mountain Dew Pitch Black II would be a regular flavor in the Dew arsenal.  Oh, and pizza wouldn’t make you fat.

So, Mt. Dew scores a win and a loss this time around.  I’m wondering what soda brands would have tie-ins with some of the less hardcore video games on the market….   3 words:  Minesweeper Diet Rite.  I’d buy it.  Don’t even act like you wouldn’t.

Posted in Food, Grocery | Leave a Comment »

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

delicje1

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.

delicje2

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.

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

Tabasco Habanero Sauce

Posted by bronzechains on March 11, 2009

I must preface this review by stating that I do not like the original Tabasco sauce.  Tabasco and Frank’s Red Hot are often compared side by side, and I’ll pick Frank’s every time.  Neither sauce is particularly hot to me, but I do enjoy some Frank’s once in a while.  But if Tabasco is the only thing on the table, I’ll usually pass.  I’m sure that the preceding text would make the thought of disowning me run through my father’s head, as he’s a devoted Tabasco fan.  I’m sorry, dad.  I hope we can move past this, dad.  ; )

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That being said, I saw Tabasco’s Habanero variety on the shelf at Wal-Mart a while back.  It winked at me as I passed, and I pretended that I didn’t notice.  I wasn’t going to give in that easy.  There’s a lot to be said for playing “hard to get”, even when it comes with hot sauce.  I didn’t want Tabasco to think I was that easy.  Hot sauces the world over should know before we ever make contact that I’m not easily sold on new hot sauces.  I’ll admit, I’m polygamous with my sauces.  But I’m picky.  My main squeeze has long been Blair’s Original Death sauce.  That shit is delicious beyond compare, and I can’t begin to put into words how I feel about that stuff.  If it were possible, I’d be picking out a ring I can’t afford and writing vows right now in preparation for the upcoming marriage of Adam and Blair’s Original Death sauce.  It would be a summer wedding, somewhere outside with lots of trees around.  The wind would pick up at some point during the ceremony, and the veil on Blair’s wedding dress would come loose and blow away.  All in attendance would have a good laugh, and the professional wedding photographer would capture it all on film.  Our grandkids would think it was just as funny as we did.  Oh, dear.  I’m daydreaming again.   Was I writing a hot sauce review?  Yes, that’s right.

Anyway, I picked up this habanero sauce at Wal-Mart.  Are you beginning to see a trend in my product reviews?  Everything I buy comes from Wal-Mart.  The nearest Target is 40 minutes away, making it an incredible pain in the ass to shop there.  So, I’m stuck with Wal-Mart.  I don’t remember what I paid for the sauce, but it was similar in price to the other Tabasco varieties.  It was a tough decision to make, purchasing this sauce.  I normally wouldn’t pay for a Tabasco product, but the attractive box and the word “HABANERO” reeled me in.  I’m a sucker for spicy food products, and I took the bait on this one.  I’m happy to report that it wasn’t a waste.

Habanero peppers are most definitely present in this sauce.  Habaneros have a very distinctive flavor, but I can’t really describe it.  I’ve read descriptions of the flavor many times before, but they never really seem accurate to me.  Just try something with habanero peppers in it sometime, and then you’ll know.  The sauce seems thicker than the original Tabasco sauce, and has a different color.  It packs a significantly bigger punch than it’s original counterpart, as well.  Original Tabasco sauce clocks in at 2500-5000 on the Scoville heat scale, and the Habanero variety sits a bit higher at 7,000-8,000.  To give you an idea of where the two aforementioned sauces sit in comparison to my personal favorite, the Blair’s Original Death sauce boasts a hefty 30,000 on the Scoville scale, and is approximately six times hotter than a jalapeno pepper.  Click here for a really awesome chart detailing where many popular hot sauces and peppers fit in on the Scoville scale.  It’s really cool to compare, and learn how big of a wimp or badass you are regarding your tolerance for spiciness.

After testing out the Tabasco Habanero sauce in several different ways, I’ve come to a definite conclusion.  This shit is made for pizza!  I’ll be damned if any pizza doesn’t taste better with several drops of this sauce scattered about on it.  Now, I do have to say that the BEST sauce for pizza is the Blair’s Original Death.  But, since my bottle of Blair’s is currently in the mail, I’ll have to use the Tabasco Habanero for now.  I may even use it occasionally even when the Blair’s is in my refrigerator, just to keep the good stuff from disappearing too fast.  I’ll definitely be doing a review on the Blair’s when my bottle arrives.

Overall, I’m giving this sauce a thumbs-up.  I’m impressed, and pleased that Tabasco has created a sauce that I don’t turn my nose up at.  It smells good, tastes good, and is attractively packaged.  A good sauce all around, and not too hot.  Of course, if original Tabasco or Frank’s Red Hot is just right for you, then you obviously shouldn’t go for this variety.  But if you’re looking for a good sauce that will add a kick to your pizza without the heat getting lost in a sea of greasy cheese, give this one a try.

Posted in Food, Grocery | Tagged: , , , , , | 16 Comments »

House of Tsang – Szechuan Spicy Stir Fry Sauce!

Posted by bronzechains on January 24, 2009

I’m always on the lookout for new or different things to eat, especially if they’re easy to prepare.  Stir fry is pretty simple, as long as one has a grasp on basic kitchen skills.  I found this sauce in the “Asian Food” section at Wal-Mart.  It’s a relatively small section, but they do have a few interesting items.  I’m always drawn to the ethnic foods section at the supermarket, on the off chance that I’ll find something cool.  So I picked up this stir fry sauce for $2.78, and grabbed some fresh vegetables and chicken to go with it.  I completely forgot about rice.

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I cooked up the chicken and vegetables, and threw the sauce in.  It smelled like garlic and soy sauce, pretty much like any standard stir fry sauce.  It definitely smelled spicier than other sauces in this genre.  As an aside, I was proud of myself for cooking the vegetables exactly the way I always want to.  You know, tender but still crisp?  I have a hard time getting multiple vegetables to come out just right usually, but this time I think I nailed it.  The onions were exactly how I like them, with a little crunch left in them.  And the peppers weren’t limp and floppy.  So to that end, this venture was  a success.  I just had to find out if the sauce was actually good.  Here’s a pic of the finished dish:

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The taste:  Definitely spicier than the average stir fry sauce, with moderate heat that builds slowly.  It doesn’t overpower the flavor at all, though.  There’s garlic in there, no doubt about it.  This sauce had everything a stir fry sauce should have, only with a pretty decent spicy kick.  I thought it was a bit sweeter than most sauces, but that helped balance out the saltiness.  There’s quite a bit of sodium in this sauce, surprise surprise.  If you like spicy, sweet stir fry, give this stuff a try.  It’s a good sauce, and I imagine it would work well as a table sauce, or basted on some chicken or seafood.  I’ve yet to try it a second time, but I’m betting it would be great in a number of applications.

On nutritional info:  A tablespoon serving of this sauce has 25 calories, a gram of fat, 3 grams of sugar, and 500mg of sodium.  Not what I’d call a disgustingly unhealthy addition to a meal.  Just don’t add a ton of this sauce to your stir fry.  It really doesn’t take much, as the flavor is pretty potent.

Regarding value, this sauce is a great deal.  I’m a cheapskate at the grocery store, and I cut corners wherever I can.  Aside from the occasional splurge, I always try to spend as little as reasonably possible.  I paid almost three dollars for this bottle, and I used very little of it.  I could probably make stir fry for myself another 5 or 6 times before the bottle was empty.

Thumbs up, fo sho.

Posted in Food, Grocery | Tagged: , , , | 12 Comments »