Thursday, July 31, 2008

Starbucks Vivanno- Chocolate Banana

I am starting to think this is one of those weeks where maybe I shouldn't try anything new...
Starbucks recently launched the Vivanno line- basically that translates into spiffy smoothies. They come in two flavors Chocolate Banana (the one I tried) and Orange Mango Banana.

Personally, the Vivanno reminded me more of a meal replacement shake then a proper smoothie. The chocolate banana was chaulky because of the whey powder that is used to make the drink. The chocolate it self tastes ok. It reminded me more of cocoa powder then say chocolate milk or even just chocolate syrup. The banana portion is just bad. It's not that chemical banana doesn't appeal (a peel?) to me but...

Stick with the coffee!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sipahh- Chocolate Straws

I can be hard on some of the products that are redeigned versions of they're normal counterparts for being redundant or just plain lazy (yes, I am talking about you Jello Singles)
But this is one version that I can see the point to- and where it would make the lives of busy parents/caregivers easier and cleaner.

The Sipahh Straw is a cool little gizmo that has flavor, such as chocolate enclosed in the straw it's self- here is a picture from the Sipahh website:
The "flavor beads" are sealed into the tube so you get flavored milk with zero syrup mess. They also only add 10 calories to your glass of milk (or milk type product).

So how does it taste?
Well, you won't be mistaking it for Hershey's chocolate milk any time soon. It reminded me more of the way left over milk tastes after eating Cocoa Puffs then true chocolate milk but even with that it was still tasty- just different. Trying the chocolate has made me want to try the banana. As someone who has to force herself to drink milk for the calcium this was a fast, easy way to spice things up with no fuss.

Albertsons Supermarket

Trader Joe,s Eggplant Parmesan In Fillo Dough

This is a day I thought would never come...
Some days things happen that shake you to the core. Things that make you question the sense of right and wrong in the universe. No, I am not only talking about how Rachel Ray manages to be so damn popular dispite her many culinay atrocities (how many hot dog "recipes" does one person need anyway?).

No, I am talking about the fact that Trader Joes has managed to not only let me down- but to gross me out as well. Tonight I made what I was hoping would be a lovely dinner of TJ's eggplant parm in fillo dough with a side of assorted roasted veggies. Well, at least the roasted veggies were good.

First things first. The eggplant it's self was both mushy and bitter. And it also managed to have no less then 1045838592 jillion seeds per bite. The "sauce" was more like thickened V8 juice- check that thickened wanna-be V8 juice- only it was less good then even that. The prodominate flavor oddly enough was not eggplant was the red peppers. Now, I like red peppers enough. I just didn't want an entire dish of them. I know the picture showed cheese but I will be damned if I found any in the entire package. I feel like I should say at least one nice thing... thinking... thinking... OH! I know! the fillo dough was actually pretty tasty, it is just too bad the filling wasn't.

I can safely say I won't be buying this again but it has inspired me to try making my own version.

Trader Joe's

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Giant Chew Nerds-And A Cool Contest From Wonka!

Nerds are one of those candies that remind me of my childhood.
My brother and I LOVED them. Strawberry was both of our favorite and there was sometimes tense negations that went into who got the strawberry side of the box.

As an adult I can't remember the last time I had a box of Nerds. When I got the email from the nice PR people at Wonka I jumped at the chance to try the Giant Chewy Nerds.

Giant Chewy Nerds are jelly beans that have a bumpy Nerds shell. They come in 5 flavors:

The lemon is tart but not as sour as say a Lemonhead. I liked how the sour of the shell and the sweet center of the bean went together. It was a nice contrast.

The Nerd shell reminded me of old school Orange Tic-Tacs and powdered orange drink.

This reminded me exactly for grape soda. I don't drink grape soda all that often but this had me craving a can.

Green Apple.
Strawberry may be my childhood favorite but it has some competition from the green apple. Oh, it's a completely artificial green apple but that's what liked about it.

Still the one I love the most! sour, sweet and perfect.

The jelly beans themselves don't have much of a flavor beyond "sweet" but I think that's a good thing because it let's all the focus be on the Nerd coating. I liked this new twist on an old favorite- so much that I have actually finished two bags worth!

Remember I also said that there was a contest. Well Wonka is doing is a contest for kids involving Raven-Symone (us old folk probably remember her best as Olivia from the Cosby Show)
Here's some more info from Wonka!
The Willy Wonka Candy Factory (July 21, 2008) – Emerging from his iconic candy factory today, confectioner extraordinaire Willy Wonka called on candy lovers from coast-to-coast to help his Oompa Loompas overcome a most-amusing situation – their complete loss for lyrics to sing about Wonka’s newest creation, Giant Chewy NERDS® candy.

“My normally melodious assistants have a candy chorus confusion,” he mused. “They tasted my new Giant Chewy NERDS, with their bumpy, crunchy NERDS shell and chewy, jelly bean center, and their tongues are tied. They’re singing complete gobbledygook!”

In order to help the Oompa Loompas regain their rhymes, Willy Wonka has launched a nationwide search for a new song to describe Giant Chewy NERDS. Now through September 21, 2008, tweens and teens can visit to submit a video of themselves singing their original lyrics about bumpy, crunchy, tantalizingly tangy new Giant Chewy NERDS. Music and images are provided on to help get the creative juices flowing. Aspiring lyricists can also submit an entry at the Wonkalicious Lounge events, which will be taking place at malls across the country this summer.

The lucky winner of the Loss for Lyrics video contest will be flown to Los Angeles to professionally record his or her song with the assistance of recording artist and actress, Raven-Symoné. One of Hollywood’s most talented young stars, Raven-Symoné is best known for her Emmy nominated comedy series, Disney Channel’s “That’s So Raven.” She was last seen on the big screen starring in Disney’s “College Road Trip” opposite Martin Lawrence and was an executive producer on the film. She starred on four Disney Channel Original movies and won a Young Artist Award for her performance as ‘Olivia’ on “The Cosby Show”. She recently completed her fourth solo album entitled “Raven-Symoné” and will go on tour this July. Willy Wonka has posted complete contest details on his web site, .

In addition to creating a video, consumers can view all submissions and rate their favorites. Consumers who rate a video will be entered into a sweepstakes to win weekly WONKA prizes including Giant Chewy NERDS candy, a t-shirt and a plush toy; one grand prize sweepstakes winner will be selected to win a year’s supply of Wonka candy.

Many will enter, few will win. No purchase necessary for contest or sweepstakes. Contest ends 11:59 p.m., ET, 9/21/08. Rating sweepstakes runs 7/21/08 through 9/28/08. Open to residents of the 50 US & DC, between 8-18 years of age for Contest and under 18 years of age for Rating Sweepstakes. Void where prohibited. Subject to entry details, prize description, and full rules at

Sample From Company

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Jet-Puffed Chocomallows

Remember a review ago when I mentioned that when I see something new that I am really excited about trying I squeal like an 8 year old?
Today I learned that the middle of Target may not be the best place to do that. It's pretty bad when even the little kids stop and look at you like maybe you shouldn't leave the house without your "special medicine" yeah, well you probably would have done that too if you had stumbled across chocolate marshmallows!

I saw chocolate marshmallows and got a bag in my cart so fast I may or may not have knocked out several children and at least one old lady. What can I say?- I really like marshmallows!

Now I have to admit that when I picked them up in the store I didn't actually bother to read the label (I don't need to read no stinking labels...) I thought that these were regular marshmallows that were covered in cocoa powder. In actuality the marshmallows are chocolate all the way through.

I tired them "raw" first, straight from the package. There is a definite chocolatey flavor but it is not overly strong. The flavor it's self if sort of like the same "chocolate" you get from say Cocoa Krispy's. It's not bad, but it's not very intense. I think had they been coated in cocoa it would have been a big improvement.

I also tried it "toasted" now since my apartment complex doesn't allow us to cook with an open flame so it took a long time over my electric range- but eventually it will sort of toast. Although it was not a proper toasting I can tell you that heating the marshmallows does bring out more of the chocolate flavor. They went from tasting like Cocoa Krispy's to the stronger flavor of Cocoa Puffs. I don't consider that a selling point.

All in all I actually liked eatting them stright from the bag. They were just chocolaty enough that it solved a chocolate craving. I will have to try making Smores with them!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ciao Bella- Blood Orange Sorbet

Should I crank up the Dean Martin when I eat this?
Oh what am I saying! It is always a good time for Dean Martin.
The question is, is eating this worthy of Dean Martin.

The flavor is bold and very,very, very close to what it is like to eat frozen wedges of blood oranges. It was naturally sweet and yet it maintained it's tart qualities.
The texture is very icy, not nearly as smooth as the majority of sorbet's but it is just so good that you won't care.

Something else that I liked about the Ciao Bella was the ingredient list:
Blood Orange Juice, Orange Juice, Sugar, Pectin, Guar Gum.
It's not often that you find something so basic and natural that tastes this good. Excelient!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dove Desserts Promises- Tiramisu

Every once and a while I see something in the store that makes me squeal like a "tween" at a Hannah Montana concert...

And yes, seeing these Dove Promises did that. Maybe, I shouldn't admit things like that so openly.

Anyway, we all know Gigi loves her some Tiramisu. I will try just about any bastardized version out there. Unfortunately, most of them turn out to be not so good. But I am always hoping. I am going to keep hoping.

How did the Dove turn out?
The aroma was not promising (no pun intended). It smelled like cheap, tiramisu flavored supermarket coffee- you know the one's lined up the you grind yourself. Also not encouraging is the face that the dark chocolate of my Promise was dull and starting to bloom. Biting into the Promise the chocolate crumbles and the center oozes a caramel colored cream. The cream is smooth and sweet- but it it tastes like sweetened sour milk.
Sadly, the whole effect is not that far off from just munching on some of those coffee beans we were just talking about.
Even the chocolate it's self was, well it was not so good. I normally am very fond of the Dove Dark chocolate promises but the chocolate here was dry and bitter. I am seriously wondering if I just got a bad box because I just don't want to believe that Dove could be this disappointing.

The other new addiction to the Promises line is Banana's Foster so I am going to be reviewing those shortly. Here's to hoping those are better!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Chuao Chocolatier- Earl Grey Bar

I have to give the shout out for this review to the always fab Cybele of Candy Blog. It was her mouth watering reviews of the Chuao line that made me dream about tasting them myself.
Sometimes it's funny how I come across some of the candies I try. In this case I was actually at a local Vons supermarket hunting down Ciao Bella gelato and since this is not my normal supermarket you all just KNOW I HAD to look at the candy. Well to what did my wondering eyes appear?, since it's too early in the year for rain deer if you guessed a bar of the Chuao Earl Grey then you catch on pretty quick.

Yes, there it was amid some of the more banal offerings. The Earl Grey bar is a milk chocolate based bar that has been infused with Earl Grey tea (hm, might be where they got the name...) once you break into the foil pouch take a nice big wiff. There is a beautiful smokey, slightly floral aroma coming from the bar.
The bar is broken up into small, square segments. Each just the perfect size for allowing to melt on your tongue.

I LOVE the chocolate it's self. It is an excellent quality milk chocolate. A beautiful, smooth melt. Rich, full dairy notes and it is sweet but not so sweet that it is distracting. The tea flavor is very subtle. There is no mistaking that it is there but it is in the far background. The citrus elements of the tea are what come though the strongest.

A terrific bar. It is nice to see another high quality chocolate with interesting flavor combination's out there.

Vons Supermarket

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Haagen-Dazs- Banana Split

Banana splits are one of those treats I love but I rarely ever seem to actually eat.
I don't know why. No actually, I pretty much do. The vast majority of the ice cream that I eat is had at home and to be perfectly honest I next to never go through more effort then pulling the lid off the pint to eat it. Let's face it banana splits require a decent amount of prep- and ingredients I don't tend to have on hand.

So, when I got my latest craving for one I took advantage of the fact that both Ben & Jerry's and Haagen-Dazs now both offer banana split pints. What made me choose the Haagen-Dazs over the Ben & Jerry's was the fact that they're version contains walnuts and I HATE walnuts- I am however hoping Jim from Jim's Chocolate Mission will chime in with his opinion on the Ben & Jerry's version if he has tried it.

Now, the Haagen-Daz version is a base flavor that is a blend of banana flavored ice cream and whipped cream flavored ice cream. then there is a fudge swirl and pieces of strawberry and cherry.
I think the mixing of the two base flavors was perfect. The whipped cream keeps the banana from tasting too artificial and after all what is a banana split without whipped cream?
The strawberries and the cherries are both plump and sweet. There is also a generous amount of chocolate. Now I know that Haagen-Dazs called it a "fudge swirl" but if you ask me it is more like Hershey's syrup then say traditional hot fudge. Not bad but not fudge.

It's good! I ended up really liking it... I liked it enough that now I want to brave the walnuts in the Ben & Jerry's version to do a comparison- so stayed tuned!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Squirt Citrus Power

Regular Squirt was one of the little things I had missed while living in Atlanta. I don't know if Grapefruit soda as a whole isn't very popular there or if in a soft drink market ruled more so by Coke then the rest of the world (Atlanta is Coca-Cola's headquarters in case you didn't know)it just didn't have a prayer, but in any case the end result was I didn't see it for four years.

I was intrigued when I saw this new version on the shelves. Traditonal Squirt is caffeine free and not only does this version have caffeine but it is also spouting "power", heck how could I not want to try it.

Squirt Citrus Power is actually one of the handful of soda/energy drink hybreds like Vault or the RIP Moutain Dew MDX. It boosts the caffeine levels of an enegry drink with added taurine and a bunch of B vitamins. Everyone needs more vitamins in their soda.

Let's get to the important part. How does it taste?
Well, it tastes like Squirt only not. I, for one like the robust, slightly bitter flavor of regular Squirt. Squirt Citrus Power is more mellow. Just a bit sweeter and saltier. The after taste is also different, personally I thought the aftertaste of the Citrus Power version was almost melon-like. No idea how I got melon out of citrus but that's what it reminded me of.

I liked it. It gave me the energy of an energy drink but without that kids asprain taste. It was sweet but not too sweet and it was close enough to regular Squirt that it's like drinking soda.

Jay's Shell Station Monrovia, Ca

Friday, July 18, 2008

Guest Review!- Black Cherry Gumball

Folks we have a Gigi Reviews first here! We have a fantastic gum review that was written for us by the very cool Shmoel who runs the blog Maison de Gumball
Without further dudes I present you the review:

With black cherries few and far between this season, I thought it fitting to review a gumball to fill that void. I picked, of course, the Black Cherry gumball from

I hoped that these black and red globes would help me to control my cravings for crispy, juicy flesh of a black cherry. By the looks of my barren refrigerator, I was staking the day, nay the entire summer on the fruit-flavored orbs sitting before me. I opened the box to uncover a gumball that certainly did not resemble a black cherry (perhaps its color was related in a second cousin twice removed sort of way). It lacked the stem, which is my constant assurance of a cherry's freshness and respectable origin. It lacked the sheen that characterizes only the most superb specimens of prunus serotina. And much to my dismay, blood colored juice did not ooze over my lips onto my chin upon first bite.

So, it wasn't a cherry; it was a gumball. Not a big deal, right?

Right. This gumball was delicious. It certainly did not replicate the sheer deliciousness that is the black cherry, but it did seem to satisfy my taste buds in ways that few other gumballs have managed. With each imprinting of my molars into the globe's now rubbery surface, my oral cavity seemed to fall more and more in love with this ball, which more seemed to resemble a bowling ball than a gumball. It was like a cherry (well, not really) but infused with sugar then doused with more sugar.

After the taste of that first ball subsided away, I took another. Then another and another. Before I knew it, a pile of shriveled gum had emerged beside me. This pile of trash was now only a faint reminder of a long ago chew.

Fading into the mists of history, this summer will be remembered only for its most remarkable attributes. A grave lack of black cherries? Well heavens no! 850 delicious, sugar-infused, cherry-related chews? Oh my yes.

Visit Maison de Gumball for more gumball reviews and ongoing gumball news.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

5 Gum- Elixir

Elixir is the second of the two new flavors of 5 gum
I put off trying the Elixir for a few days after the semi-dissapointment of Lush- but the reviews must go on, and here we are.

Once you open the package of gum all you smell is the intense aroma of faux-berry. If you have ever smelled Kool-Aid powder it is exactly like that. I know there are people out there who love Kool-Aide powder so much that they will eat it "raw"- I am not one of them. These was not exactly a selling point for me. But you know, I will try anything so off to chew I went.

This is one of those cases where the smell is actually worse then the taste. Flavor wise Elixir reminded me of chewing a solid version of Hawaiian Punch. While I may not be much of a Kool-Aide fan I do love me some Hawaiian Punch! In fact I remember WAAAAY back in the day when I was knee high to a Jay bird (sadly, as an adult I am only thigh high to a Jay bird) the only way to get Hawaiian Punch was in one of those clumsy cans that you had to poke holes in the top of. I also remember it being sweeter then today's version... I have no idea what any of that has to do with this review but moving on...

So yes, the gum does in fact taste like Hawaiian Punch. It is even free of the bitter after taste that haunts Lush. Unfortunately, much like Lush it suffers from the fact that roughly five minutes into the chewing the flavor is mostly gone. No I wasn't expecting Stride like longevity but considering that the original three 5 flavors all had a reasonably long lasting flavor life I just don't get why Lush and Elixir don't.

While I like the flavor enough to keep buying the gum, and while I think it's a great addition to the 5 line the lack of flavor life will more then likely keep me from buying more.

Albertsons Supermarket

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Jack In The Box Cheesy Macaroni Bites

Is there any way to make Mac & Cheese better then it already is?
In the case of the Cheesecake Factory's version of fried mac & cheese yes! Sadly Jack gets an A for effort but...

The small triangles of mac & cheese have what Jack describes as a "tempura style" batter. Yeah, I am not really sure why they went with "tempura style" and not actual tempura but maybe they blew the budget on Jacks suits. It just tastes kinda funky and yet greasy... and not in the good way.

The mac & cheese inside is on the sparse side. Points to Jack for using Kraft mac & cheese but it would have been good if they had used more. The mac & cheese flavor is good! exactly what you would expect from Kraft. But it get's lost in the "tempura style" breading.

Love the idea but I will have to go back to Cheesecake Factory for my fix!

Jack In The Box

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

M&M's Premiums- Mocha

My photo does not do these candies justice.
To see some beautiful pictures of the entire Premiums line check out Cybele's review
So what do these taste like?
Would this be one of those things that are pretty on the outside but empty on the inside? (cough George Clooney cough)

No, these were great on the inside and the outside!

The first thing you notice biting into them is that there is not really a candy shell. There is a shiny protective coating. The texture is interesting it's very fudge like. I missed the candy shell at first but after a few M&M's I decided that I like this version better.

The milk chocolate seems to be richer and less sweet then on the normal M&M's which was a good improvement. The coffee flavor comes right through. Yes, it is on the fake coffee side but they kept it just a tad on the bitter side

While these are pricier then regular M&M's (I paid $4.99 for mine) I liked them so much that I can easily see getting these for my M&M fix. Coffee flavored M&M's have long been on my flavor wish list and these were well worth the wait! In fact these get the rarely given 11!

Albertsons Supermarket

Monday, July 14, 2008

5 Gum- Lush

Will I be leading a lush life in some small time?
A cookie to anyone who got my lyric referance.

But let's talk about the gum. Lush is one of two new flavors that have been added to Wrigley's 5 line.

Lush is supposed to be a tropical flavored gum. Since Cobalt and Rain both seem to be stronger versions of the classic Wrigley's Spearmint and Double Mint gum's I had it in my mind that Lush would probably be a stronger version of Juicy Fruit. I couldn't have been more wrong.
Lush's main flavor seems to be peach. It's sweet and a little sour at first then maybe three minutes into the chew the sweet peachyiness wears away and you are left with a sour vaguely fruity gum. It reminded me of a gum version of those bulk gummi sour peaches.

It's ok but I still prefer the Cobalt.

Albertsons Supermarket

Romulan Ale

Hey it's blue! and you know me and blue items!
Last week I made a day trip to Vegas to see the wedding of two friends. After the wedding I had to make a visit to the Las Vegas Hilton because they have two of my favorite things on the planet- Barry Manilow and Star Trek. Sadly fellow Trekkies after Sept 1 2008 the hotel will no longer have Star Trek as the attraction will be closing after 11 years. If you have not been, now is the time to make the trip.

One of the cool parts of the attraction is that they have a full size version of Quarks from Deep Space Nine. Honestly, the food is over priced and on the crappy side but they do have a very interesting drink menu (and you get a chance to interact with Klingons!- and who doesn't love Klingons?) One of the bar offerings is Romulan Ale.

Romulan Ale is a light amber that is blue colored. Taste wise... well let's just say I can't prove that it is merely blue tinted Bud Light but it sure does taste like blue tinited Bud Light.

Let's be honest. This isn't bad but it's not great. It is however cool for the novelty factor. If at all possible make the trip to Vegas for a pint while you still can.

Las Vegas Hilton

Monday, July 7, 2008

Creme de Menthe Dark Chocolate Dipped Altoids

A new Altoids flavor!!
There can never be too many Altoids flavors can there?
I liked the original three chocolate covered version and the Creme de Menthe is no exception.

At first to be honest I didn't notice a heck of a lot of difference between the new Creme de Menthe and the traditional classic peppermint. The Creme de Menthe has a more mild mint and has a vaguely faux-alcohol taste. I think if not for the chocolate coating it would be a gross distraction, but with the chocolate it's a rich, almost Peppermint Patty like taste.


Ralph's (Kroger depending on your location)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Brookside Chocolate Bowl Dark Chocolate Pomegrante

If nothing else this candy wins the longest product name spot.
Actually, I have had my bag of BCBDCP (because dammit I am just not typing all that again) in my review stash for a couple of months now. I kept telling myself I was going to break into the pouch but, for whatever reason it just wasn't happening.

I was actually craving dark chocolate tonight and went looking through the stash and decided tonight was the night (cue bad Rod Stewart song here).
sticking my nose into the bag I was rewarded with a nice musky, fruity aroma. No matter how the taste worked out the smell was incredible.

The candies themselves are awkward little orbs of somewhat glossy dark chocolate. The chocolate is a little gritty but there is a surprisingly thick coating of chocolate on each piece. The chocolate is also pretty good. Not overly bitter and there is a decent melt.

Going from the picture on the pouch and from the description stating that the candy had "pomegranate pieces" folded into the chocolate. I had been expecting the candy to be actual Pom seeds covered in chocolate. What it actually is, is more of a "chip" of Pom pectin. That doesn't sound too good, but it does taste pretty spiffy!
It reminded me of a somewhat solid version of Pom-Cranberry juice. Looking at the ingredients, well wouldn't you know there is in fact cranberry juice in the filling.

Even though I was intially disappointed that there were not actual Pom seeds in the candy I ended up loving this candy. I would love to see how it bakes up in cookies so I may do an update once it is under 90 degree's in my kitchen!


Powerade Zero- Grape

If they make a Zero I will buy it
Since today was one of those incredibly hot days where I spent the bulk of it running around and sweating enough that Richard Simmons would look at me and tell me to sit and relax, on my drive home I felt like I needed something to help rehydrate.

I stopped in at my favorite Shell station and picked up a bottle of Grape Powerade Zero. I had been worried that the flavor would have a funky aftertaste from the artificial sweetener but I needn't have been. The grape was light and sweet and pleasantly less like Dimetap then most grapes tend to be. And there were no carbs or calories!

Jay's Shell Station Monrovia, Ca

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Walkers Shortbread Lemon Thins

That alone is enough to perk my interest. The good folks over at Walker's sent me over a big box of shortbread goodness to review and out of all the box had to offer I went right to the lemon flavored ones.

I loved these! They are light and flaky. You can actually taste the real butter that Walkers is famous for using in they're shortbread. And even though it is much thinner then the normal Walkers the same great taste is there.

The lemon however is the stand out. It's has a true zesty lemon flavor. Not that fake faux-sweet lemon that cookies sometimes have.
Maybe it is just wishful thinking on the part of my taste buds but what this shortbread reminds me of are my beloved discontinued Girl Scout Lemon Chip cookies sans the chips (oh if only they had lemon chips in here)

Thank you Walkers!
Sample From Company