My reviews: Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Mac and Cheese

You eat with your eyes, so maybe wear sunglasses..

Buckle up people!

Ah yes, the finest cuisine

They say you eat with your eyes, and if that’s the case, my eyes wanted sunglasses when I was staring down a bowl of this atomic-red monstrosity. Sidenote: We always associated atomic with the colour green? Why not this fiery inferno of red? The colour is so weirdly off putting that when you eat it, your brain and mouth don’t want to work together and kept insisting that this must have tomato in it? (It doesn’t, this is 100% chemically-created with not a hint of any sort of real food). BUT that being said, even if it is eye-blistering, it’s also very tasty! The texture is straight up cooked pasta, a fusilli shape to simulate Chester the Cheetah’s tail, apparently. That is a bit of a reach, personally. It’s fusilli, people. The taste is straight up spicy heat, kind of like eating a softer Takis Fuego, the kind that makes your face and eyeballs sweat when you’re eating it.

Yum??

The portion sizes, like all mac and cheese dinners, is miniscule. Too much maybe for 1 person but too little for 2 unless you are both children in trenchcoat instead of an adult.

Also lacking: Cheese. For mac and cheese, it’s all bite and no smooth cheesy taste. So think it really wins on the heat level – impressive- but it does lack on the backup cheese taste. In that way, it is not like Cheetos at all, but luckily for them I have a solution- mix in a box of regular Kraft mac and cheese! Win-win!

So, please do that and let me know if it’s a winner because in my mind, it really will be. Cheetos mac and cheese is available in other flavours so maybe I will have to try those, see if they can balance the heat + cheese flavour a little better? Otherwise, this was available at Save On Foods for a ridiculously marked up price because of the novelty of it. Go ahead and try it, remix it 😉

My reviews: Something weird for a weird year

And I am definitely remiss in my reviews but I have a good excuse- the lead up to the holidays/end of the year ended in a tragic and sad series of events and I didn’t feel it was appropriate to have something fun or bright to post about.

Tasty eh?

That being said, I also know that we need something interesting and exciting to look forward to, soooo here we go: I ate the tinned daggertooth eel!! As per the recommended display, I ate it with a fork. So daring! To be honest, it felt a bit anticlimactic. Kind of a mirror to the end of a holiday season, is it not?

Yummm

All the hype, bling and excitement and then poof! It’s over, and you’re left sitting on your sagging couch watching the ceiling stains from a slow leak in your roof grow larger, wondering what happened to all of the chocolate you got from Christmas. I listened to a podcast over the holidays (Dateline’s Too Fat to Kill) and I couldn’t help but feel like I identified in some way with it.

Also a curious title- was the person too fat to physically kill? Or too fat to muster the energy to kill someone? As it turns out, it was the latter, but hey, makes you think, right?

Anyways, the Christmas chocolate is gone because I ate a lot of it and also because Ian treaded into extremely dangerous territory by forgetting to buy me my half-pound Reese’s. HOW? A travesty!

To make up for it, he went and bought me more (non half pound but still ok Reeses) from Boxing Day sales and I already ate some. So, a partial redemption maybe but if I were Ian, I’d sleep with one eye open… So the daggertooth, looks slimy and unappetizing, also weirdly red?

But I’m here to tell you to be brave. The red is from a slightly sweet sauce, think that red sauce that you have on fried chicken balls from your best Western-Chinese takeout or buffet and the eels are slightly crunchy but stiffer than their similarly crunchy cousin- the sardine. I think the crunch comes from the spines?

I pulled out a spine or two for Gidget, but she has yet to crawl out of bed to try it… So they actually aren’t bad, and certainly don’t taste very adventurous. You know what is adventurous? Eating chapulines. Man, their little crickety legs got stuck in between my teeth every single damn time so I don’t eat them anymore, but you get it.I would compare daggertooth eel to a sort of crunchier, sweeter sardine. Not a tinned-fish favourite, but honestly not that bad!

I do prefer canned octopus, smoked oysters and mussels. YUM. Basically any fish out of a can is great, oh and don’t get me started on canned vegetables like mini corns, or mushrooms. YUMMM… I love the mushrooms, little button ones in a can. Amazing as a snack, and as a bonus, the eating experience takes me weirdly down memory lane to my grade 8 classmate, Constance Kaminiski, who told us her father died in a mushroom factory accident. We, as grade-eight prime assholes, thought it was the funniest thing. As an adult, I can fully recognize how terrible we were to poor Connie.

Maybe I enjoy mushrooms in particular in homage to her, in retrospect? Food as an experience links us to our past, and our future. Try going to Fairway and dig up a can of something strange yourself, really get out there. You only live once!

Review time: Mega IKEA gummies AND sand in my chips?!

That’s right, you have all been good people so a big review on offer!

Read on and find out why sand is NOT a good chip flavour… But first- the best gummies and jellies I have had in a very long time…

And a small digression on gummies VS jellies. I have lectured Ian on this more times than I can count, so I’m not sure what that says about me, or him… A jelly is made without gelatine, think harder shell and a softer, jelly-like chew- at its finest, it is a fruit pate. Gummies are made with gelatine typically and think about gummy worms, or gummy bears, you get it! A bouncy chew all the way through.

Now these beauties from IKEA are a mix of jellies AND gummies. My sister kindly sent them to me from Calgary!

The cola moose is a jelly- and wow, the flavour is very deep for a cola candy. It has almost a cuba libre spark of lemon in it, and the chew is stiff outside and very chewy inside- delicious! These are a big hit and I highly recommend, if you can get to an IKEA anytime in the next year or so….

The fruit stick that looks like a sour worm is a gummy candy but looks are deceiving- it is NOT sour. I was kind of put off by that?? I did feel a bit fooled, ha. It’s ok, a bit too sweet and the taste is indistinct ‘sweet’ rather than ‘has a flavour’…Not a fan fav here.

Next up- watermelon skulls! Now this is a gummy with a VERY strong bite/chew. It is also huge, so don’t try to cram it all in your mouth it’s a pretty big choking hazard, haha. Bite this one in half, and it is a juicy flavourful fun taste experience. I highly recommend this one- the only downside is that it is a big ass gummy so eat carefully.

Finally- two hearts! These are jellies again. A nice, bouncy chew but not as tough as the watermelon skulls, thankfully. I am not really sure what flavour those are, but they’re very pleasant and…bland. A bit dull in a way that the texture can’t save them. A bit reminiscent of the fruit sticks, really. Cute, fun to eat, and kind of dull… Maybe give these a miss? I think the flavour would be much improved if it was a stronger berry/cherry taste, with a zing to it. You can do it IKEA! If you of anyone can take the atrocities of horse meatballs and pivot to ‘plant balls’ then I have confidence that you can take a blah gummy and really amp it up- I’m not wrong here, am I?

And now, what you may have been waiting for….

Ian bought these new types of Takis from Thrifty’s the other week. The art on the cover is kind of ‘90’s…like it would impress me when I was also enjoying Viva Puffs and other favourites of my childhood. Also Jalapeno Typhoon? Seems like a strange flavour comparison to make, but I guess I have never been in a typhoon before, I guess they could go with jalapenos…It’s weird though. Ian is a big chip person, me not so much (my tastes run more to the candy/chocolate/peanutbutter/marshmallow variety) but I tried a few and what did I crunch on, to my dismay?? SAND.

Yeah, jalapeno- it’s a fine flavour- but SAND in my chips? The grinding, horrible crunch was just awful. It honestly reminded me of a camping trip my friends, Ian and I took to Port Renfrew where we camped on the beach (Pacheedat) and my friends made me a birthday cake over the campfire. So sweet right? Well it was up until the point it got dropped in the sand, and then everyone gamely crunched and gritted their way through a pretty horrible sand-and-chocolate cake. I felt like I could redeem that a bit because I also had a mini ‘Birthday Cake Vodka’ to enjoy that night…Except my poor, much-beleaguered teeth. God, no wonder I lose about half a tooth every goddamned year (ok well it couldn’t be the candy, because then there would be no god right??) 😉

Anyways, he kept eating them and I told him not to because I complained to Bimbo (who owns and distributes Takis) and they said they were going to pick them up to test where the sand came from, after asking me to describe it? It’s…sand? I don’t know where to go with a description, have YOU ever eaten sand? 10/10 do not recommend. And that, friends is the story of my life. I have had so many products with foreign contaminants, it feels like par for the course these days. Plastic in my chocolate, a red seed pod in a bottle of Pharmasave ibuprofen, gravel in my Planter’s peanut butter TWICE, and now sand in my chips??

I’m sure these are fine normally, but like… Nah. Also I don’t like the texture of the kettle-cooked chips anyways, I am a fan of the regular rolled Takis in flavours so eye-wateringly searing that I can only manage like, 1 or two chips, not a fistful like how I want to eat them. So, my suggestion is pass on this, and buy the rolled Fuego ones. Those are great with a beer 😉

Review time! The lesson here is that nothing is as good as Planter’s peanut butter

I have let my review food items pile up, and I’m eager to get back at them, aside from my regularly scheduled content that includes complaining about the wind and comparing peanut butters against my favourite, Planters (they always lose to Planters!).

Let’s start with a win, shall we? Gummy bunnies!

My dear friend gave this to me for Christmas and the girl knows me- they are delicious! Lovely to look at in a little lucite cube, and you know Easter is my favourite holiday too 😊 And I have heard of Sugarfina (their website is SOOOO tempting. Anyone else almost buy $150 worth of gummies??).

The green is a very distinct ‘green apple’ taste, juicy, a bit tart even in a gummy, a very stiff and yet still marshmallowy chew, it is a true pleasure to eat. The other flavours are notable as well but don’t stand out as well as the green apple bunny. Not pictured because I ate all of them too quickly! 😉

Pink bunny- lightly floral taste, a bit of tartness but nothing really compared with the green bunny. I couldn’t really place this flavour either- strawberry? Cherry? What other red or pink fruit could it be? It is tasty, but indistinct.

Yellow bunny- now, in fairness to yellow bunny, I don’t like yellow candies- the citrus taste seems to be a mockery. The only real citrus-flavour I love are grapefruit, encapsulated in layers of Trident layers gum…Ah, now THAT’s a flavour! (would anyone be surprised that I have written to Trident about their Layers gum??) This one is a bit weak- I can’t really tell which citrus fruit it is supposed to be- lemon I guess? It’s mild, sweet and chewy- what more do we want I guess?

And here is the loser, well ok two losers:

But first, a word here on disappointment. I went out to brunch last weekend at Paglicacci’s, and I like that place. But when you order an extra side of fruit for your meal, and they bring you… a ramekin of sliced oranges, that are probably the second half of the sliced oranges already on your plate? What kind of mediocre half-assery is that? Gee, thanks guys. I really wanted to pay extra for maybe one whole orange. Sheeeeesh.

Almost as disappointing as the Dan-D-Pak peanut butter I bought and I HATE IT. Too dark and the texture is gritty??? and weirdly greasy at the same time. Why add palm oil in great quantities to a nut butter that is EXTREMELY OILY??? I promise I won’t cheat on my dearest Planters ever again after that mess. Uck!

Anyways, from the country that brought us Skwinkles Salsaghetti, comes…drumroll please…

Pulparindo!

It looks like fruit leather, and it smells pretty bizarre- like fruit leather that was made in a tanning factory?? Anyways, first impressions aside I like tamarind flavour, and this was ‘extra spicy’ with salt. Oooh! Ian bought it for me from the Mexican store downtown- a great place to get corn husks for tamales, and stuff like that.

So looks and smell aside, how did it taste? Well, the tanning factory whiff was kind of a red flag…The taste is very strange. Crunchy (who eats crunchy fruit leather??), the salt had a strong ammonia salt flavour, and the tamarind taste was lost in the muddle of quite offensive crunch/grit, which was in every single bite. I found it extremely unpleasant, and maybe I should have known..Skwinkles aren’t exactly top-grade stuff either.. Anyways, I strongly recommend you avoid on this one. Ian also got me the ‘mango’ flavour which I have not tried yet, and probably won’t since he ended up finishing this one for me. Oh and was it spicy? Yeah, in another really bizarre way- it tasted like ketchupy-salsa spice? Ick. Don’t go there people, there are plenty of really fun and pleasant snacks to be found- like Rancheritos, yummm.

My reviews: Fill that FOMO in your heart with food! I humbly suggest Cheeze-Its!

Times are tough around here, in our never ending April.
This might lend itself well to some well-placed emotional eating, which I personally define as when I eat the entire box of something and then …Feel better? Nah that can’t be right. But I guess it it’s wrong then I don’t want to be right! Also I think it staves off some of the ‘Michael Shannon-esque rage seething just under the surface’ that I fear might bubble up.
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So on that note, understanding that food is kind of what I have going for me these days, I recently grabbed a box of Cheez-Its, which both confusingly had the term ‘new’ and also ‘original’ on the box. So which is it, Cheeze-Its? Are you new or original? I have never had them before so I figured that now is a good time to absolutely crush half a box before freaking out at my farrier about why my horse is lame again… (he is fine, thank god!!)
And I am here to say that unlike our American friend Nutter-Butter Fudge-Covered Disappointments, Cheeze-Its are the real deal! They smell pretty fake, like Hawkins Cheezies (no shame on those, they do a great job), but the taste is alllll sharp cheddar. No mean feat for food scientists I think! It’s very satisfying, and you get a lot of the cheese-flavour per cracker. I was like yeah these are fine…And then realized I’d eaten most of the box. More than fine then! And I am not really a cracker-eater, other than the occasional Triscuit. I did find out they had a bunch of different varieties, like spicy, later so I feel a bit cheated right now, hah.
One note of warning: If you are a total glutton, like me, and like to tilt the remainder of crumbs from the plastic bag straight into your mouth- DON’T. It’s basically big chunks of salt with orange powder. Yowza. And I like salty things!
Oh and one more note on this, might only apply to me though- I don’t recommend eating that many crackers and then running. Yikes. Cheeze-Its fueled heartburn for milessss…
But if you are experiencing a Summer of Constant Disappointments, like I am, then I give Cheeze-Its two thumbs up! Join me in our journey through food and alcohol… substituting itself for enjoyment and pleasure everyday!
Next review up- A plethora of seltzer waters with alcohol and some without! And I really didn’t like some of them!

Snack Review: ‘Fattening’ the curve with Nutter Butter Fudge Covered

In these sad, frightening times, I am hoping for a bit of levity. We can all use some personal reflections…And in all honesty, I bought these (and two other of Nabisco’s finest, Chips Ahoy Soft-bakes and Peanut Butter Pie Oreos) in a hunger-filled haze where all I wanted was ridiculous junk food. You should have seen what I bought in that shopping order…It was pretty gratuitous. (Including pickled herring, a 1kg bag of fruit juice gummies, sparkling water, peanut butter, snack crackers, party mix, chips, popcorn, peanuts…)

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But these did pique my interest, so much so that I tore into the box like some sort of insane wolverine (my box not pictured because I still have SOME dignity).

So how are they then?

In a word- fine. My other word would be ‘disappointing’ but I do feel like that is a bit unfair for these snack cookies. They don’t claim to be anything better than they are, which is exactly like what Oreos and Chips Ahoy are. Cheap midrange mass produced snack cookies. Nothing more, nothing less. However I do get to rag on them a bit because ‘fudge covered’ is laughable. Fudge what? Have these people met fudge and did it slap them or something? The cookie is covered in the thinnest, stingiest layer of WTF not chocolate but something that looks and smells like chocolate. Not fudge, a poor excuse for chocolate, really.

Cookie itself? Like a bland peanut butter Oreo. The ‘made with real peanut butter’ makes me laugh. Like, really? Sure doesn’t taste like it! I can’t go above and beyond that. Just really ‘eh’ for something that has a laughably absurd number of calories. I actually liked the Peanut Butter Pie Oreo better, even if it did have a weird smell that reminded me of my long-time smoker grandmother’s house.

It reminded me of my similar complaints about Nature Valley’s peanut butter granola cups. Really cool in concept, execution is the cheapest, wimpiest, lamest thing ever. Light, cheap and tastes cheap (both for Nature Valley and Nutter Butter Fudge Covered). If I may make a leap here, I would say this type of cookie is perfectly acceptable for a party where nobody is expecting anything better than Oreos, I guess. Certainly not good junk food, but you know, you can dumpster-dive a little on a special occasion, eh? I actually put peanut butter on mine to make it more interesting, and likely triple the calories. Oh well, I never claimed that I wanted to live forever!

These were purchased for $2 on sale at Canadian Club Warehouse, and I wouldn’t pay more for them. Or buy them again, probably.

My reviews: Reese’s Outrageous, and it is outrageous because this is the world we live in.

Not going to lie, I was drooling when I saw this beauty on my desk thanks to Jess, my gym sister!

reeses-outrageous-bar

My absolute favourite chocolate ever is the Reese’s with mini Reese’s pieces embedded in it. AMAZING. Any shape- Xmas trees, the flying saucer, whatever. The best. Man. Ever eaten something that was so good, it felt like you were breathing for the first time? THAT.

But then every month (week, or hell, day…) I get in this weird existential crisis. A new day or month or whatever is a chance for a fresh start. Part of me wants to be ‘good’ and eat like, vegetables, fruit, water…And the other part of me is like, ha, no. Pass me the Reese’s! (Or Mars, or Snickers, or whatever. I don’t discriminate!). So, as I eat this fabulous bar, studded with mini Reese’s, draped with caramel…I think. How long do you really want to live? Plus, since I can’t really eat French fries, or apparently home-fried doughnuts anymore without puking…I figure I am falling deeper and deeper into the clutches of Big Sugar. And I like the sweet embrace. (my teeth however beg to differ).

So anyways, in the daily battle between ‘good’ me and ‘bad’ me…This bar is worth it! Is it better than the original Reese’s big cup with mini Reese’s pieces? No! Blasphemy! Nothing will match it. It is peerless! I think the caramel kind of ‘muddies’ the water a bit here, so to me, a low-quality chocolate purist (hah), it is delicious and worthy of being eaten, but NOT better than the originals. Not to be confused with Reese’s ‘Nutrageous’ which is…something different I guess?

My reviews: Brio hard soda in ‘Chinotto’ flavour! In honour of B.C.’s newest tax on sugary drinks…

So, what would be the taxes on this guy?

Brio-Chinotto-Hard

Ian bought me this a few weeks ago, and I was intrigued. It’s alcoholic, an Italian soda, but what on earth is it? What is it flavoured with?

Take this journey with me…

“Brio hard soda vodka flavoured with Chinotto”

Yes, I was puzzled. But ready to tackle this flavour! (though at this point, I kind of wonder if my teeth are)

A few months ago I had an epic tooth chip thanks to a freaking stealth piece of olive pit – I had discarded the actual pit, and then broke a chunk off a molar with the leftover shrapnel, and I had to get a filling to cap the broken section off. FML.

THIS weekend I chipped off a corner of my left front bottom canine eating popcorn. No major repairs needed but another filing down, but WTF>>

But I digress. This chinotto flavour was in an eye-catching tall boy can, and Ian got it from Cascadia Liquor store. It’s a super dark, almost murky beverage. You would mistake it for coke for sure. The flavour though? Undeniably NOT coke. Herby, with a subtle wintergreen tang or burn, or whatever makes root beer or sarsaparilla a thing… Makes this a thing also. It’s sweet- very sweet- and the vodka completely hidden within. It’s still fairly low alcohol and very much reminds me of an old-timey soda jerk (why did they call it that? Who is the jerk? I even went down the rabbit hole a few days ago of what an ‘egg cream’ was for a soda fountain and I was grossed out by it…), but anyways, this is pretty good!

It’s not great- funny enough I found myself missing the ‘sharpness’ and carbonation of cokes or maybe root beer, but this was worth a try for sure. It really isn’t highly carbonated, and I feel like that was really missing for me. I coincidentally have been drinking a lot of Bubly/carbonated water drinks..so…. Are those bad for teeth? Asking for a friend?!

And for those wondering what chinotto is? Well, it’s apparently a carbonated soft drink produced from the juice of the fruit of the myrtle-leaved orange tree. You would think it would taste like orange, but it doesn’t. Apparently the Italians also add quinine to their cocktails to achieve that ‘bitter’ flavour. I would say that piece was missing from this beverage as it was very sweet with only a minimal ‘otherness’ bite. I also learned that this drink was served as an alternative to orange juice (for people who got tired of only using the oranges off the myrtle-leaved orange tree???).

Interestingly, this brand – Brio- is actually known for being too sweet. Lesson learned! It is still miles ahead of the horrendous Pop Shoppe alcoholic drinks. I’m looking at you, disgusting swamp-thing nuclear waste green Lime Rickey!! GAG

My reviews: Dolfin Pink Peppercorn Chocolate

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That’s right, thanks to my dear friend Sarah, I was able to try this unique chocolate last week. The packaging is a very attractive rose-pink, in kind of a laminated ‘pocket’, where the chocolate is also wrapped in a plastic sheeting with what I can only guess is ‘chocolate-making supplies’ dotted across it. It’s all very seasonal and Valentine-y looking.

I think Sarah said she got it at Quality Foods, so I can’t comment on price but I do know that dark chocolate is expensive. The scent off the top is intriguing- kind of a chili-forward smell, with a cocoa under layer. It’s not offensive at all, and it goes one really wondering what exactly peppercorn chocolate tastes like??

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I’m here to tell you…Eh.

Like, I am a person who does not discriminate on chocolate. Milk, dark, cheap, expensive, I like all of them! (obviously). But I have a real fondness for what I describe as ‘volume eating’ and dark chocolate…Not a good volume eat, at all. Trust me on this. So this chocolate bar, upon first bite, tasted lightly smoky, with a very subtle peppery nose – like wine! However my gripes with this bar that led to my rating of ‘eh’ were as follows: Smells better than it tastes, the peppercorn flavour is more crunch and textural than flavour, and the dark chocolate itself had a weak mouthfeel with none of the richness of say, the Lindt bar that Melissa got me at Christmas.

To sum up, it looks good, smells lovely, and tastes flat. More crunch than flavour. If you are a heathen that likes eating chocolate cold or frozen (I know, I was gasping in horror when I learned that people do that!), then this might be the chocolate for you. For everyone else? Pick a different bar, this one has flash and style but no substance. It kind of reminds me of an item being ‘soulless’- usually described as evil people, bad music, or bad corporations, but in this way, I mean that it lacks depth, integrity and interest.

(or don’t listen to me, I also dropped a piece of a fabulous chocolate chip cookie on the carpet at work this morning, which I KNOW does not get cleaned, and I still ate it…)

 

Pour yourself a big bowl of Timbits!

And settle down to read my newest review: Tim Horton’s Timbits Birthday Cake Cereal!

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Now let me say that I am a BIG fan of enterprising companies that seek to innovate, with ‘synergies’ yeah I hate that word too with Post Cereal, ‘Beyond Meat’ burgers and the like- we all learn by trial and error. And while I really did enjoy the sugary goodness of the most ridiculous cereal product I have tried since Count Chocula, it also led me with the feeling of ‘we can do it, but should we?’

It’s more smell than taste in my mind. Americans are so fond of their ‘funfetti’ (sprinkles, also known as Hundreds and Thousands in AUS), and that is all that came to mind when I sniffed the mega-Costco box that Brent so generously procured. Straight up fakey birthday cake. If you, like me, enjoy eating frosting out of a can then this is the cereal for you! However strongly the sugary notes that wildly assault your nosebuds, they really don’t translate that much to the mouth. The top notes of the cereal, eaten by hand like any purist, are birthday-cake Timbits. The aftertaste? None. Like a ghost in your mouth. We are left with a vague sensation of eating a crunchy, light as air corn puff. Corn also features prominently.

I actually went down a weird rabbit hole about this in my mind- do flavour scientists do this one purpose, so one eats more of a hyper-palatable food? Is this better with milk?

Maybe?

But, like the peanut- butter flavoured whiskey that I just learned about online (it’s called Skrewball…???), maybe this one isn’t really meant for our world anymore. I might change my mind if I tried the chocolate Timmie’s timbits cereal, but maybe not. I still think the peanut butter Cheerios are better. Also the sheer size of the box is insane. Nobody really needs that much of this cereal! I would rather eat a doughnut. And let’s face it, calories for calories….I think the doughnut wins.