Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hershey's Crisp Bar

Alright, I will just fess up now. We all know I tend not to go for the Hershey bars so what caught my eye about this one?
I would like to tell you that it was because the "crisps" in the bar are made with corn rather then rice and that's what got my attention. But no... What really did it was the fact that the bar had Brad Paisley on the label (the corn bits get second billing here). I am just saying that man has an open invitation to check me for ticks any day.

Hotties that catch Gigi's eye aside I was intrigued by the fact that the crispy bits are corn rather then rice (really, I was!). I figured that a bar made with corn bits was either going to taste one of two ways:

1. It was going to be like a Hershey bar studded with corn nuts. AKA hard and salty bits of wanna be Frito's in sweet milk chocolate -OR-

2. It was going to be more like Corn Pop's cereal. Light airy bits of corn with the sugary glaze to them.

What I didn't think of was option 3;
That not a lot would be different from a regular Hershey bar.

And guess what option it turned out to be. If you said option 3, clearly you read this blog a lot. It was kind of weird because you can see little bumps of "crispy bits" in the bottom of the chocolate. And when you bite into the bar it is indeed crispy. It's just that there is no flavor whatsoever that goes with the crunch.

As gross as this may sound I even tried to use the heat in my mouth to melt all the chocolate off of corn bits and after that the best I could come up with is that it tasted in the smallest way it could be considered a flavor, like that of stale Corn Chex. It's not that it was bad. But it was weird.

Chocolate wise it is exactly like that of the classic Hershey bar. A little too sweet for my taste with a slightly grainy texture.

About the only thing I can say is this bar has made me wonder if chocolate covered Corn Nuts would be a good thing or a bad thing.

Jay's Shell Station Monrovia, Ca

Monday, September 29, 2008

Nestle Crunch Dark

I have said that Halloween is my favorite holiday right? I love the fact that pretty much every store right now has the cute little "fun size" bags of candy. And the fall/winter candies are being brought back out.
During one of my trips to Walgreens I spotted a bag of Nestles Crunch Dark. I normally don't pay much attention to Nestle products because the Milk Chocolate tends to be too sweet for my taste. Having never tried Nestles Dark Chocolate I snapped up a bag.

The bag is full of thick individual sized squares. I really liked the thickness of the squares. There is something statisfying about biting into that big chunk of chocolate.

Flavor-wise the dark chocolate reminded me exactly of a Nestles Toll House Morsel. As I happen to have a huge soft spot for Toll House Morsels I was happy. It's a semi-sweet rather then a bitter dark chocolate. It's cool on the tongue and melts quickly. The squares are packed with crispy rice bits. The rice adds some great texture and a malty quality to the after taste.

I may have to pick up another bag or two for the Trick-or-Treaters (yeah, I'll do it for the children!)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sipahh- Oreo Straws

I burned through my first box of Sipahh straws pretty fast
And when I saw the Oreo version I HAD to scope them up.

Just like they're plain chocolate counterpart the flavor beads are self contained in the straw. The Sipahh people have actually managed to nail the taste of Oreo's dunked in milk. It was close enough that I found myself missing the mouth feel of the cookies... mmmm that moment when the mushy cookie falls apart in your mouth.... Sorry I was lost in a Homer Simpson type droolfest.

Once again I liked the little extra kick the straws gave my milk without adding a ton of extra calories or mess.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Toblerone Dark Chocolate with Honey and Nougat

My memories of Torrone (Italian nougat candy) always seemed tied to Christmas.
Neither of my parents are fans of nougat in general so it wasn't something that we kept around the house. But, once a year at Christmas time they felt the need to get in touch with our Italian roots and the traditional Italian foods and candies would appear.
I remember that I always loved the nougat regardless of the flavor- although I would eat it in such a way that I was more or less pulling it apart and nibbling around the nuts because with the exceptions of Snickers I pretty much HATE nuts in candy. I found myself in the candy aisle of Albertson's thinking about those candies. Some how I decided that the Toblerone might take me back to a simpler time... or would at least ease my sweet tooth. I went with the dark chocolate version because I had never tried it before.

Each little peak breaks off easily and melts quickly on your fingers but it has a sweet, vanilla like smell.
The chocolate, in addition to being melty has a creamy mouth feel and a rich, deep roasted taste.

There are little pebble sized pieces of nougat. I wish that the pieces had been bigger! they were somewhat soft and sticky with a slight honey flavor. The almonds were fresh and crunchy- and while this goes against everything I normally stand for I actually LIKED them in the chocolate.

Go get yourself one of these bars- and pick up an extra one for me while you are out!

Albertsons Supermarket

Starbucks Chocolate Dark Chocolate Mini Beans

Sometimes my love of Starbucks can't be indulged at the desired moment...
This candy has given me another non liquid option for those times when a whole chocolate coffee bean just won't work. Well, actually there is not a huge difference between this candy and a whole chocolate covered coffee bean.

The candy is dark chocolate molded into the shape of a little coffee bean. The chocolate is dull and kind of waxy. When it does start to melt in your mouth it is gritty- there are actual bits of broken coffee beans in the candy! While this provides excellent deep coffee flavor, I think it misses out on the best part of the chocolate covered coffee bean experience- and that would be crunching into the whole bean it's self. I also didn't like the fact that the little bits of coffee bean got stuck in my teeth. It is like eating chocolate grit.

The aroma is incredible- even before you open the tin (and we all know how I feel about cute tins) and the overall flavor is good. I just didn't care for the texture and this is not something you would want to snack on if you cared about walking around with black specks on your teeth.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Jones Holiday Soda- Buried Pomegrante Limited Edition

It's that time of year again!
The Jones holiday soda's are back at Target!
Back again this year are Candy Corn, Spookiwi, Lemon Drop Dead as well as Monster Mojito, Blood Orange and Dread Apple. I opted to try the Buried Pomegrante.

The portion is a cute little 8 ounce can. Regardless of how I may feel about the flavor I have to give Jones Props for using only Pure Cane Sugar. In a market otherwise over run by HFCS it is nice to see someone still cares about taste.

So does this taste good enough to merit pure sugar?
Well it sure does make it very sweet.
The best way to describe the taste is to tell you to imagine carbonated grenadine syrup- and yes I know most people assume that grenadine = cherry but it is actually supposed to pomegranate.

On it's own like I said before it is super sweet- which I am sure makes it a hit with kids. The adult and the bartender in me thinks this would make a much better mixer (with or without alcohol) then it does as a straight soft drink.

To steal from the vampire on the can it doesn't suck but I wouldn't risk getting out of my coffin too early for a fix either.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ben & Jerry's Cinnamon Buns Ice Cream

I think I may have a new faveorite Ben & Jerry's chunk!
Yes, I will say it loud and proud: I am a chunk spurlunker!
Up until now my long standing favorite chunk has been the cookies in the Mint Chocolate cookie. But I have fallen in love with the little teeny "buns" of cinnamon bun dough in this pint.

The base ice cream is caramel. I honestly didn't notice a very strong caramel flavor to it but it is pleasently sweet and of course it is rich and has that terrific mouth feel that you get with top of the line ice cream. There is a cinnamon swirl running though. The swirl is subtle, at first I thought that because it's so light that it may cause the ice cream to be bland. But no! once I got to the first "bun" firey cinnamon, grainy dough, slightly sweet OMG it was perfect!

If you love cinnamon rolls then this is the ice cream you have been waiting for. And if you just want something different also a great choice.

Hey Jim- do you guys have this flavor in the UK?

Albertsons Supermarket

Monday, September 15, 2008

Archer Farms Sea Salt Pretzel Caramel Ice Cream

I absolutely LOVE Haagen-Dazs Fleur De Sel so when I saw the Archer Farms take on the flavor at Target I scooped (haha) it up
The major difference in the two on the surface is that the Archer Farms version has fudge covered pretzel pieces in it. Of course the major difference is that one is super premium and the other isn't.

The base flavor of the ice cream is supposed to be caramel. I say supposed to be because while the ice cream certainly doesn't taste bad, it just doesn't taste at all. It's cold and there is a carryover of sweetness that I think comes from the caramel and fudge swirls. There is just no discernable base flavor.

The caramel swirl is the best part of this ice cream. It's buttery and soft and when it comes into contact with the sea salt it is the perfect sweet/savory combo.
The biggest let down in the ice cream is the chocolate covered pretzel pieces. These could have been outstanding but they instead are a sad reminder of what could have been. With maybe two exceptions all of the pieces were soggy and stale. There was no crunch. It just mushed- or at best crumbled in my mouth. Just sad.

As for mouth feel. If I had been hoping for that wonderful fat filled, creamy mouth feel... well I am going to be waiting along time. Instead, it has the overly airrated, thin and slightly oily texture of budget or low end ice creams.

This was so dissapointing. It's like the ice cream version of George Clooney; looks great on the outside but you open it up (or in the case of George he speaks) and what's inside? bland, vapid, mushy, flavorless nothingness.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Werther's Original Caramel Dark Chocolate

I might be the only person under 80 who really loves the classic Werther's hard candies.
I've been eyeing the chocolate Werther's candies for about a year now but was never tempted to try them. I am not sure why, maybe it's because I am something of a purist and tend not to like the bastardization of my favorite- or maybe I was just being a cheap bastard- even at Walmart* the bags are often over $5.00
However, my local Blockbuster video of all places had a small 3 piece bag on clearance for under a dollar. How could I resist?

We all know the answer is that I couldn't. The candies are cute. They are thin, marbleized medallions of chocolate and caramel. They are glossy and sweet smelling. I broke off a bite and popped it into my mouth waiting for it to melt... and I waited... and waited... eventually the candy seized into a waxy glob in my mouth. It was weird. Flavor wise, well there wasn't much- and what was there was nothing to write home about. The chocolate while it was dark and supposed to have been 42% cacao reminded me of Palmer chocolates (and that should be enough said). The caramel side of things seemed to only be represented by a general sweetness but there was none of the buttery quality that Werther's are known for.

Yeah, I think I figured out why these were clearenced.

Blockbuster Video

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Oreo Fudge Rings Cookies

Have you ever wondered what would happen if an Oreo cookie and a Keebler Fudge Stripe cookie mated?
As exciting as I am sure the secret sex lives of popular cookies is I can't actually say I put that much thought into it. Which is probably a mistake because that might just be quite lucrative...

Anyway, let's talk about the cookie shall we?
Yes, the actually do look like the bastard love child of an Oreo and a Fudge Stripe. The cookie it's self is a thin Oreo with a center hole (why?) that is drizzled with white fudge. I don't know what it is about Oreo's but why is it that every time you take them out of they're classic proportions they taste funny? These are no exception. They taste close to a "real" Oreo but it's almost like there is too much oil. They remind me more of store brand oreo's then a Nabisco Oreo. It's OK but I don't like them enough to want to eat many of them.

The "fudge" stripe tastes like the traditional cream filling in a waxier form. The only redeeming thing about it was that eventually I was able to scrape it all off of my teeth.

As much as I liked the Banana Split Oreo's I disliked these.

Albertsons Supermarket

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Chungs Shrimp Egg Rolls

Frozen egg rolls always seem to sound like a better idea then they really are.
I am especially picky when it comes to egg rolls in general. In terms of the skin I prefer the thicker, wonton like skin to the thinner, fried spring rollesque skin. I don't know why but most West Coast egg rolls seem to be the later (anyone have any insight into why?). I was happy to see that the Chung's Shrimp rolls had the skin I prefer.

The egg roll innards are very veggie filled. Carrot is the overwhelming flavor- but in the carrots defense they are fairly crisp and fresh tasting. There is also cabbage and a hot almost floral note that may or may not be ginger. I honestly couldn't tell.
As far as the shrimp, the photo on the box shows whole baby shrimp. And there were indeed one or two whole baby shrimp per roll. The majority of the shrimp seemed to be more like ground shrimp. The flavor was still there even if it was not exactly the way I was expecting it.

All things considered for a frozen egg rolls these are pretty decent. The veggies tasted fresh, the wrapper stays crispy and the shrimp is represented enough that you don't dig through the filling wondering where it is. I still prefer my local Chinese places egg rolls but for those late night cravings these hit the spot.

Albertsons Supermarket

Monday, September 8, 2008

Snickers Rockin' Nut Road

I have been dying to try this bar since March when Cybele reviewed them for her site (check out her review HERE
I love the Snickers Dark and the Snickers Almond dark and I am a marshmallow freak (super freak). So I had a good feeling about this bar.

The bar is basically the dark chocolate almond bar with the addition of marshmallow flavored nougat rather then the standard nougat.

The first thing you notice is the smell. It's strong on the vanilla side. Taste wise the thing that stands out the most is the marshmallow nougat. It's sweet but not sickeningly so. It reminded me more of a more dense version of Marshmallow Fluff then say mini marshmallows (but mini marshmallows would have made for a great texture!). The almond pieces were large and crisp and just a little salty- which I love mixed with the caramel. The chocolate is s decent semi-sweet- the same used on the rest of the Snickers Dark versions. Not the most complex dark chocolate out there but it gets the job done.

All in all I really liked this bar. I may actually have to buy one of those Halloween bags... you know for the Trick or Treaters... yeah I'll do it for the children!


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Oreo Banana Split Creme Limited Edition

A few weeks back a reader was kind enough to let me know that there was a new banana split flavored Oreo...
Since then I have been on a quest to find them. I should have known that it would be good old Walmart* (wow I hate that new logo) that would come through for me.

Yesterday, I finally found them. I didn't think it was going to be possible to love Oreo's anymore then I already do- but these kicked things up a notch for me.

Immediatly upon opening the package the first thing you smell is that glorious fake banana smell. The kind of smell that makes you expect to see giant fake monkey's outside your window.

The cookie is just the classic Oreo cookie. No need to even go there. This version is all about the creme center. The amount of creme filling is on par with that of a double stuff rather then a classic Oreo. It's also much softer and fluffier then the traditonal creme. Flavor wise the easiest way to explain it is to tell you it is like a softer, smoother Circus Peanut. There is not even the faintest notion that the banana flavor is anywhere close to natural banana. It is on the super sweet side. I am not suggesting that 4 cookies sent me into a sugar high worthy of a three year old version of me- but well I did run around the house in circles and whine to go to McDonald's so...

I can see where this wouldn't have mess appeal because of the fake banana flavoring and the overly sweetness but I love them. Now if you will all excuse me I have to spend the next half hour jumping up and down for no apparent reason.


Friday, September 5, 2008

M&M's Premiums- Triple Chocolate

Ok Jim this one's for you!
Jim did a pretty kick ass review of the Triple Chocolate Premiums on his blog- go read it right now by clicking HERE

Just like Jim said these M&M's do actually have a really nice smell. You can actually smell the cocoa from the chocolate and just like the rest of the premium line they are beautiful. I know it is just a shiny metallic shellac but I like shiny metal looking objects.

So the taste.
Once again I love the lack of shell. I think that is my favorite part of the whole line.
The M&M's are layered with the dark chocolate being the first and thinnest layer. Next the slightly thicker white chocolate and the thickest part is the milk chocolate center which is just shy of being the size of a normal M&M. Honestly, I couldn't really tell the dark chocolate from the milk chocolate except to say that the dark portion seemed to have a deeper flavor. After many M&M's it started to remind me of raw chocolate cake batter- and we all know how much I love cake batter. The milk chocolate was creamier and has a slightly grainy texture. The white chocolate is creamy and I actually liked it- which is saying something because I don't like white chocolate as a rule (I know Jim, I know!)

These are pretty darn good. I still prefer the Mint but I love mint and it would be hard to top that for me. Mars has really done an excellent job taking M&M's to a higher level.

Albertsons Supermarket

Thursday, September 4, 2008

POWERade Zero- Mixed Berry

I gotta hand it to the fine people over at Coca-Cola they seemed to have figured out that if they label any product "Zero" I will buy it.

Pretty smart on they're part.
We also all know how much I like POWERade-type drinks. Sometimes by the time I get home from work I have been running around so much and then driving home with no A/C I feel like I have sweat out an entire other person (wow, that was an attractive image wasn't it?) and yes, again I know water is the best source of rehydration- I just prefer something that comes in bright colors and contains lots of things I can barely spell. The main issue I have with these drinks is calorie content. I prefer to save my excess calories for things like chocolate or ice cream (or chocolate ice cream!)

POWERade Zero solves that problem by having no calories and no carbs. It also has pretty much the same flavor as the regular POWERade Mixed Berry. I couldn't tell you what berries are supposed to be mixed but it does smell like berries and it does taste like berries as imagined by a chemist who has never actually tasted a berry. It's close enough for me. The only thing I did not like about the Mixed Berry is that unlike the Grape Zero you can taste the artificial sweetener that is used and it does have a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Great idea but I am going to stick to the grape.

Albertsons Supermarket

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

M&M's Premiums- Mint Chocolate

I loved the Mocha premiums and one of my favorite Christmas candy is the mint M&M's
So, it would stand to reason that I would love the Premium Mint Chocolate M&M's.

That was a pretty safe assumption! I DID love the Mint Chocolate Premiums. There is just so much to like about these.

First, just like with the Mocha version these M&M's don't have the candy shell. I prefer the no shell option. It makes for more interesting texture, more fudge like.

There is also two layers of chocolate. The thinner outer layer is dark chocolate. The thicker center is white chocolate- and it's REAL white chocolate (yes, with cocoa butter and everything). Normally, I don't like white chocolate but it plays so well with the mint and the dark chocolate that I may have to start making better friends with it. The dark chocolate is not so much a dark but a really deep milk chocolate.
The mint is cool on the tongue. I tried to figure out which layer the mint flavor is hiding in but it's delicious (and I will just have to eat more to pin it down- that is how dedicated to this site I am people!)

Imagine little tiny Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies- only better!!
Go get some of these M&M's if you don't you are just living a shell of the life you could be leading. This get's the elusive 11!

Albertsons Supermarket

Monday, September 1, 2008

Dagoba Lemon Ginger Bar

Chocolate, lemon and ginger are three of my favorite flavors. And any combination of them together is bound to be a winner in my book...
Well... it's not that I would say this bar isn't a winner per say, it just didn't come in first place.

My first hint that something might be amiss was the fact that the bar smelled more like soap then candy.

The next disappointment was that while the bar it's self was lovely. Dark and glossy the little finger portions begging to be broken off and maybe shared with someone special (or nibbled in secret- or not so secret) the sad part is that the bar is surprisingly sparse on the crystallized ginger. Which is a huge loss because if crystallized ginger isn't one of the top ten best things on Earth then what is?! There is so little ginger in the bar that unless you get one of the very few pieces in the bar you wouldn't know it was there.

The lemon is a stronger presence then the ginger but it's like cough drop lemon. However if it were a cough drop that might mean there would have been some moisture, and this is a seriously dry bar.

The chocolate it's self is about the only redeeming thing about the bar- and I don't have a lot of good to say about that. It's a 68% dark chocolate and it's organic. The chocolate has the weird distinction of being dark but having much of a bitter edge and yet it is not sweet or creamy. There is not much in the way of mouth feel. It doesn't really melt as much as it seizes into a chocolaty lump.

This is a bar I won't be trying again.

Zabars NYC