Completely Random Product Reviews

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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: , , , , , , , , | 37 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 »

Wanchai Ferry Kung Pao Chicken Kit

Posted by bronzechains on January 11, 2009

Welcome to Completely Random Product Reviews!  The content of this blog will just as the name implies.  There will be no theme to the products reviewed here.  Unless you consider “whatever I happen to buy and review” a theme.  Most products covered here will be inexpensive, “everyday” items.

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The first product I’m reviewing is a shelf-stable dinner kit from Wanchai Ferry, a brand owned by the General Mills Corporation.  I purchased the Kung Pao chicken kit from Wal-Mart for somewhere around five or six dollars.  The kit includes uncooked jasmine rice, a pouch of kung pao sauce, dried chile peppers, and roasted peanuts.  The recipe calls for one pound of chicken breast, which is not included.  I cheated and used pre-cooked diced chicken breast because I’m a lazy bachelor.  Some elitist kitchen snobs may turn their nose up at the idea, but a good brand of canned, diced chicken breast will work just fine.  Just make sure you drain it well first if you choose to go that route.  Water and a little cooking oil are also needed to prepare this kit.  Everything you need to know is right on the back of the box, but I’m going to tell you anyway just to make myself feel useful.

I tore into the box and was eating the stuff within about 25 minutes.  The chicken/sauce/peanuts/chile pepper mixture is prepared while the rice is cooking, which turns out to be a big time saver.  I noticed that the sauce smelled strongly of soy sauce and ginger while it was cooking.  Dammit, it smelled good!  As I said before, this kit comes together as a finished meal pretty quickly.  That is, if you read the directions and make sure you have everything you need on hand and ready to go.  Too many people don’t properly prepare when diving into a recipe.  I know I’ve done it a few times.  It really sucks when you’re halfway in, right in the middle of a time-sensitive step of your recipe, and you realize you don’t have something chopped/diced/thawed/etc.  Don’t forget the cooking oil!  One tablespoon (or two if you’re not using a nonstick pan) should suffice.  Here’s a picture of what I consider one serving of the finished dish:

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The nutrition facts label claims that the finished product serves five, but I disagree.  I’m calling it three servings.  And that’s not the stereotypical over-eating fatty talking.  I put what I considered to be a sensible portion on a plate, and had two more servings of the same size left over.  As far as the taste, I couldn’t be happier with this product.  For the price and time spent preparing it, this stuff is great.  Just as the smell of the sauce indicated, the sauce had a wonderful ginger/soy sauce flavor.  Not too sweet, either.  The chile peppers added what I consider to be the perfect spicy kick, but I have a pretty high tolerance for the kind of heat you get from hot peppers.  If you don’t care for the burn that spicy foods can lay on you, don’t use the whole pouch of peppers.  I’d definitely urge you to try at least one or two peppers, though.  They’re a necessary ingredient.  I crushed the dried peppers slightly before adding them to the skillet, to release the seeds from the pepper pods.  That really turned up the heat, so avoid doing that if you’re a wimp when it comes to spicy foods.  I wouldn’t recommend eating the peppers, as they’re very difficult to chew, and have a slightly bitter flavor when eaten.  You could remove them from the dish before serving it, but they add to the visual appeal of the finished product.  So just eat around them!  Give them to the dog when you’re done, and laugh at his discomfort.  Or not.  I could have used a few less roasted peanuts in this dish, but that’s just me.  They turned out to be a surprisingly prominent flavor.  Nobody’s holding a gun to your head to follow the recipe exactly, so fool around with it if you wish.  I think some vegetables added to the skillet while the chicken cooks would be an excellent addition.  I’m thinking I might go with some sliced mushrooms, onions and julienned carrots next time…

Final word:  I’ll definitely buy this product again.  Other varities currently offered by Wanchai Ferry are Sweet and Sour Chicken, Spicy Garlic Chicken, and Cashew Chicken.  Buy dis shit, yo!

Posted in Food, Grocery | Tagged: , , , | 7 Comments »