Thursday, January 29, 2009

Meiji Fran Patisserie -- Raisin Vanilla

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I still say that raisins are one of the most under used candy additive
Lucky for me Meiji has added another option into the oh-so small workd of raison candy. First a shout out to the good folks over at Jlist.com for sending me out this fabo sample.

The Fran Raisin Vanilla is a vanilla is a white chocolate (ok to be fair I am assuming it is white chocolate as the label is entirely in kanji, I had to go off of what I could google) there is just a touch of rum, which you can smell more then taste. It almost has more of a butter taste then it does white chocolate, vanilla or rum. The texture though is just what I love about Meiji chocolate-as smooth and silky as a geisha's komono.

The raisin's seem to be represented by little dried bits embedded into the white chocolate. The texture is weird- the raisins are crunchy! (probably because the bitsd are so small) but they do have a decently grapy taste.

The best part here is the stick!- it's a chocolate biscuit stick. Much like with the White Chocolate Fran it reminded me alot of the 100 calorie Oreo's. If they sell the biscuits on they're own I would buy it!.

These are pretty darned good!

PURCHASED FROM:
Provided by Jlist.com










And here is the rest of it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hershey's Kissies- Dark Chocolate Raspberry

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At first I thought these were a new Kiss but some Googling showed that this is a reissue of a flavor that started showing up in stores around Valentine's 2007
If I tried them back then I must not have done a review so here we are today.
When you open the bag you get that deep, strong fake raspberry smell- and I know this is an unnatural thing to say but I love that smell. It always make me think of those raspberry creme filled candies that you find in heart shaped boxes.

The kisses are a rather non-decrepit dark chocolate. It's not bad, in fact I prefer it to the regular Hershey's milk chocolate because it is not as sweet, but at the same time it doesn't have any real depth of flavor. There's no woodsy notes, no bitterness. It's just sort of there.

The raspberry flavor smells more raspberry-like then it tastes. I had been hoping it would be close to the Meiji Meltyblends that I loved so much, rich and more like raspberry jam. Like the chocolate it's not bad it just never lives up to what it could have been.

As far as special edition kisses go they aren't the best I have had or the worst. All around they are just sort of there.


PURCHASED FROM:
Target

Monday, January 26, 2009

Glico Cratz- Alpen Salz and Chicken Flavor

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Cratz are a snack made by Glico that are what the Japanese call Otsumami- which are snacks that are meant to be eaten with a beer or other alcoholic drink
Which is why there is a picture of a nice cold beer on the package, I admit before reading the product description I thought that these were a beer flavored snack.
I would also like to give a shout out to the cool people at Jlist.com for being kind enough to have sent the Cratz to me.

The Cratz look like quarter inch slabs of hard bread stick- you know the kind of bread sticks you see in any scene with a stereotyped Italian restaurant (but are always absent from actual Italian restaurants. The pieces are covered in large specks of salt and seasoning and there are also whole roasted almonds in the mix.

The both smell like poultry seasoning. If you have ever had some Chicken flavored Ramon soup and tasted the seasoning packet innards straight that is what the flavoring on the Cratz tastes like. On it's own it's a bit overbearing- but c'mon it's not like you are really going to sit at home or at your local Moe's licking off the seasoning and ignoring the cracker or nuts. The cracker- which the website calls a pretzel reminds me a lot of a very basic cracker, which is perfect for this because it let's the seasoning take center stage, adding some balance to it. This is going to sound weird but I bet you could make a kick ass stuffing with this- I say this because after eating more of the Cratz it hit me that while the seasoning on it's own might be much like Ramen with combined with the cracker it is pretty darn close to Stove Top Stuffing.
The almonds were my favorite part. They are crisp and salty and the seasoning was just way to good on them. Since these came directly from Japan there is no English on the label so I am not sure what exactly is in them but I can tell you there is definitely sage. I never realized how well sage and almonds went together until now.

These were way to good!

PURCHASED FROM:
Provided by Jlist.com









Friday, January 23, 2009

Ritter Sport- Nugat

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With nougat you seem to have two distinct groups-
The soft and fluffy group- like what you find in Milky Way bars or the hard kind that is riddled with nuts like you find in Italian torrone. I liked both kinds (although I have always wanted a torrone style done without nuts)

The wrapper on this bar say edelnugat in smaller print and from as best as I can tell it is actually meant to be a hazelnut flavored nugat. This actually explains why it has a vaguely hazelnut smell to it. As for the taste it sort of reminded me of chocolate that was made with milk that had been left out to long with hazelnuts soaking in it. It doesn't taste quite as bad as that sounds- but it is not much better. It does have an unbelievably creamy mouth feel and a fast melt.

The Ritter line does have better offerings to it but I can see where hazelnut fans might love this bar.

PURCHASED FROM:
Economy Candy NYC

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Slim Fast Low Carb Diet- Creamy Chocolate Shake

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So my Doctor has decided that for various reasons we may want to try a low carb diet.
Does anyone still do Atkins? (yes, I know they do please don't send me 900 emails telling me so). There are many reason's I am not sure I am going to be able to pull this off. First I just don't eat a lot of meat and I don't know how I feel about any diet that says a carb is bad but I can have all the butter I want... wait maybe I didn't think that one through.

Being lazy today I decided to try a Slim Fast Low Carb Shake. Honestly, I don't mind the regular or the Optima shakes. No, they aren't great but they aren't without some charm. What's weird about the LCD shake is that the flavor shifts from vaguely chocolaty envelope paste to an almost Silk Soy Milk chocolate milk taste back to envelope paste. I know you are supposed to leisurely sip these shakes while thinking about how good you will look in clothes you bought hoping to fit into two years ago, but the only way I can stand it is to suck it down as fast as possible. This is by far not the best meal replacement ever.

PURCHASED FROM:
WalMart*



Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Glico Dessert Pocky- Chocolate Banana

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I wonder if chocolate covered banana's are what King Kong gives to his girlfriend before a hot date?
I don't know why I wondered that, it's just one of those things that run through my mind when I probably should be working.

What I liked about this Pocky right off the bat is that it smells like Circus Peanuts. And since I am one of five people alive on the planet who like Circus Peanuts I considered this a good thing.

The sticks themselves are first dipped in a thick layer of banana flavored fondant. Again, it really does remind me of a Circus Peanut. The banana is then topped with a heavy drizzle of milk chocolate. Not only does it look lacy but it adds an interesting bit of texture.

All in all these were good- I think they are the Dessert Pocky I have liked the most.

PURCHASED FROM:
Kam Man Market NYC

Dreyers/Edy's Fun Flavors- Vanilla Sandwich

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What's the best part of an ice cream sandwich? to me it's when the sandwich base is all soft and smooshy. Of course that also leads to the worst part- when that soft and smooshy sandwich permanently attaches it's self to your fingers
Seriously, what do they really make those sandwiches out of?- they are impossible to get rid of!! Dreyer's (Edy's to those of you back east) has found a way to give me my favorite part of the ice cream sandwich experience and not have to sand blast myself afterwards. The Vanilla Sandwich flavor is a vanilla base (gee, whouda thunk it) with chunks of ice cream sandwich cookie mixed in.

The ice cream it's self doesn't have the strongest vanilla flavor. I found it to be mostly generically sweet (pretty much just like a real ice cream sandwich) the star here is the sandwich bits. They are just what I love- soft, smooshy, vaguely chocolaty. And the pieces are surprisingly big- I mean they are Ben & Jerry's chunk size big!

While I would have liked the ice cream a bit more if there and more a stronger vanilla base the chunks are so good you won't hear me complain.

PURCHASED FROM:
Albertsons Supermarket

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dreyer/Edy's Grand Ice Cream- Chocolate

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I don't often travel out of premium ice cream land...
Yeah, I know that is an ice cream snob thing of me to say but- as I have said before if I am going to suffer for eating said ice cream it had better be good.

Since I got the Magic Bullet Blender for Christmas I have been experamenting with making shakes. And I know this is cheap of me but since I am kind enough to share I need a bit more ice cream bang for the buck.

What I have found though is that the Dreyers (Edy's to those of you back east) Grand chocolate ice cream is quite good. I would go as far to say that flavor wise it is actually on par with Haagen-Dazs. The chocolate is a deep, rich cocoa flavor.It's almost like a liquid version of Hershey's Cocoa Powder.

Mouth feel wise it is not as good as Haggen-Dazs. The super rich, super creamy feel isn't there. That said it is far more rich and creamy then most mid-level ice creams. Oh, and it makes a pretty tasty shake!


PURCHASED FROM:
Albertsons Supermarket

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Milka- Kuhflecken/Happy Cows

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This is another one of those reviews that I either have to credit or blame Jim for
Jim reviews Milka products on a fairly regular basis and he always make them sound so good (in fact he reviewed this bar HERE I could not resist trying them for myself any longer.

I was able to find the Kuhflecken/Happy Cows bar at my local German deli. The bar is a milk chocolate base with splotches of white chocolate. Breaking into the bar it has a very sweet, cocoa smell to it. The texture is excellent, it's thick, creamy and slow melting. I would like to think if Stephen Colbert were a chocolate he would melt this good.

The milk chocolate portion has a strong dairy edge to it. It's not the most complex milk chocolate ever but I think it's the fact that it is so basic that makes it so good.

The white chocolate... Well it's white chocolate. it's way sweet. There may be some flavor there but it is hidden in the sugar. Fortunately, there is a relatively small amount of it as compared to the milk chocolate.

I will definitely be checking out more Milka in the future!

PURCHASED FROM:
The German Deli



Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jacobs Club- Mint

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We haven't done anything from across the pond in a while
Club bars reminded me of a shorter, yet thicker Twix bar (well minus the caramel)
The bar is a short thick biscuit that's enrobed in a generous layer of milk chocolate with a thin layer of mint.

The biscuit is crunchy and flaky. I liked the mint. It wasn't too strong. It was about the same mintyness as mint M&M's. The chocolate does leave something to be desired. It is too sweet and on the grainy side.

I liked these, I thought it was more like a cookie then a candy bar (and I think that's the idea)

PURCHASED FROM:
THE BRITISH EMPORIUM Upland



Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hostess 100 Calorie Strawberry Cupcakes

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It's the new year and maybe we should be looking at some lighter options...
OK, my real motivation for trying these cupcakes is they were on sale for less then $2.00 at Walmart* but in my defense I had been wanting to try them.

The cupcakes come in packs of 3. The cakes are about the size of a half dollar. Each cake is covered in a light pink fondant like frosting. They have a light strawberry smell- sort of like the old school Strawberry Shortcake dolls did. The frosting is OK, it doesn't really have much taste but it does add a slightly gritty texture.

As for the rest of the cake it tastes EXACTLY like a Twinkie and a children's vitamins mated. I think the scary thing about that statement is that while it is completely accurate - it doesn't mean that the cupcakes aren't good. They are oddly addicting in fact. No, the strawberry flavor isn't remotely natural but that's why I liked it. "Real" strawberry probably would have been over kill.

For a 100 calorie snack it's pretty tasty.



PURCHASED FROM:
WalMart*


Friday, January 9, 2009

Mollicoolz Shakers- Chocolate

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One of the things I am missing about New York is the ability to be drinking a milk shake that I did not have to make myself (or even leave the apartment for) at 3:00 A.M
That probably sounds both late and crazy to most of you but my fellow shake lovers and insomniacs (or insomniac shake lovers) it is not all that far fetched.

Since I was restocking the home provisions tonight, while in the ice cream aisle these Shakers by Mollicoolz caught my eye. Shakers are a single serving milkshake that you make by adding the milk type product of your choice to the cup that has ice cream pellets in it and shake like there is no tomorrow. One of my "day" jobs is as a bartender and I can shake with the best of them.

So I loaded the cup with my Lactaid milk (which seems redundant given that I am mixing it with real dairy but...) So after shaking the shake- I filled it to the level for "extra thick" in terms of thickness it is not as thick as a real shake- but it is thicker then normal chocolate milk.
Taste-wise... eh. It's bland, it's like essence of chocolate. I think the reason for this is that the little balls of ice cream become one big ball of ice cream- this makes sense because the ice cream and the milk are just shaken and there is nothing that really blend or aerate it like a bladed blender would and since the chocolate flavor comes from the ice cream... I tried adding some Hershey's syrup to bulk things up and that did help- but the point was not to have to doctor it at all.

So far I think the best ready made milk shakes were still the long gone Milky Way shakes (yes, as in the candy bar)

PURCHASED FROM:
Albertsons Supermarket


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Glico Dessert Pocky- Chocolate Orange

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I have been really looking forward to trying this Pocky

We all know about my love of anything orange and chocolate.
The Dessert line of Pocky features both a thicker biscuit stick and also roughly four times the normal amount of chocolate. It's also pretty phallic looking (would a good companion product to it be Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls?)

Beyond that, the smell is incredibly. It smells like deep chocolate and orange liqueur. The flavor is pretty much exactly that. The orange flavor is much stronger then the chocolate. It has a very Grand Marnier like taste. The chocolate is just sort of there- it's not bad, but it's not good. The chocolate is a milk chocolate base with a drizzle of darker chocolate. Even one of these is a satisfying snack (yeah, that's right I stopped at one- stop looking at me like that!) Yeah, you should go and get some of these... buy extra for me.

PURCHASED FROM:
Sunrise Market NYC


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Miss Daisy Yogurt Cookies Black & White Cookie

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Sadly, this will be our last Black & White cookie review for at least the next few months.
... Unless I find some back at the airport, or back at home or I find a way to get back to NYC before at least June.

Barring any of that this has to serve as a fix for a while.

The Miss Daisy cookie has been the largest of the cookies I have tried. About the size of the top of a hamburger bun. According to the label the cookie does indeed contain yogurt- although personally I couldn't taste it.

The cookie portion was spongy and moist to the point it was almost greasy. Flavor wise it sort of tasted like dense angel food cake.

The vanilla side if the frosting tasted exactly like a solid version of Twinkie filling. The chocolate side reminded me of a Tootsie Roll.

This cookie makes me sad.


PURCHASED FROM:
Bodega (Convenience store) NYC

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mikes Hard Cranberry Lemonade

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I don't review many alcoholic beverages
Not because I don't like them, it's just for various reasons I am unable to drink very much. Last night I was over at a family members house and they served me my first Mike's Hard Lemonade- well it won't be my last.

Today since I have the cranberry version in front of me that's what we will be talking about.

The lemonade portion is tart without being mouth puckeringly sour and not sweet enough that it would pass for kool-aide. It also manages not to taste overly fake. Let's be honest, no it's not like fresh squeezed lemonade but it's on par with other pre-made lemonades.

The cranberry actually tastes just like cranberry juice rather then just like a cranberry flavor that was added to the drink.

Mike's Hard Cranberry Lemonade is so good that's it's easy to forget that there is alcohol in it - so be good little boys and girls when you drink it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Meiji Fran- Original White

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I don't know what it is but if manufactures stick a swirly, creamy looking white glob on a package I pretty much WILL buy it.
I can't tell you why. What ever it is almost never lives up to how good I think it's going to taste. But look at the swirl on that box!

Fran is Meiji's version of Pocky. I had never tried Fran until today- but I absolutely LOVE Meiji's Melty Kisses. Much like Pocky this is a biscuit stick that is covered in a thick layer of chocolate- in this case white chocolate.

The biscuit on this Fran is a vaguely chocolaty flavored biscuit. These reminded me of the 100 calorie Oreos. If nothing else I liked the stick.

The white chocolate covering is fairly thick- it reminded me of the amount that is on the Dessert Pocky rather then the normal Pocky. In the tradition of the other Meiji chocolate that I have had it is very smooth and creamy. It has an almost cold feeling on the tongue. You can really taste the milk in this white chocolate. It has a malty quality to it and it manages to avoid being too sweet or oily. Jim I think you would absolutely LOVE these. These are not going to be one of my favorites because I am just not a white chocolate lover- but it has made me want to try more Fran!


PURCHASED FROM:
Sunrise Market NYC

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Glico Cocoa Pretz

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Is it me or does anyone else find the image of the cow drinking hot chocolate on the box disturbing?
How close to cow cannibalism is that? (and yes, I realize that all species pretty much drink their own milk- that just doesn't sound as good now does it?)

The strange eating habits of cows aside...
The Cocoa Pretz are just kind of weird. What they are is a cocoa colored stick that's made of a biscuit. There is appears to no cocoa powder that comes off the stick but there are grains of salt. I thought maybe it was just my weird sense of taste- but at first I swore they tasted vaguely like those "Chicken In A Basket" crackers. Looking at the ingredients I found that seasoning salt is listed. Guess maybe my sense of taste wasn't that far off.

Weird chicken flavor aside, the cocoa aspect really doesn't come into play. I mean you can see it but you can't really taste it. About the only way to sums these up would be to tell you they are like a cross between animal and chicken in a basket crackers. Yeah, I may just have to "forget" to take these home.


PURCHASED FROM:
Kam Man Market NYC


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Jacques Torres Dark Chocolate Covered Cherries

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As you can probably tell from the picture we didn't like these at all!
Actually, we have been fighting over the tube!
Having never had Jacque Torres chocolate before- and now seriously questioning how I managed to survive such a bleak and dark period of my life- I can safely say I am a convert.

The cherries are whole cherries enrobbed in dark chocolate. The chocolate it's self is a little woodsy and spicy, but at the same time you can taste the subtle sweetness of the vanilla (REAL vanilla might I add). The melt is exceptionally smooth and creamy for dark chocolate.

The cherries are perfectly sour- just a great contrast to the sweetness of the chocolate. They also are remarkably juicy for dried fruit.

I don't think any future chocolate covered cherry will ever live up to these.
And now I have to make a point to get to one of the two Torres locations before I leave the city.

PURCHASED FROM:
Christmas Gift

Friday, January 2, 2009

Starbucks Black & White Cookies

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The next chapter in the quest for the black & White cookie in the city
Before anyone makes fun of me for even thinking Starbucks would have it, I figured there was a pretty slim chance but the cookie was there, I was there... so ya know...

The Starbucks version consists of two smaller cookies rather then one large cookie like the Entenmann's version.
Once again the cookie is a golden sponge cookie. There the first cookie was soft and springy this cookie is eggy and dense. Not without some tooth but it's just sort of there.

The frosting on both sides of the cookie is thick and very sugary. The white side has none of the faint vanilla that the first cookie had. On the other hand the chocolate is a bit better. it's richer, more like frosting from a tub.

All in all these aren't bad cookies- but they are not as good as the Entenmann's

PURCHASED FROM:
Starbucks NYC

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Glico Halloween Pocky

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Am I really late for this Halloween or really early for Halloween 2009?
In either case I don't think you are going to regret my timing.
The Halloween Pocky (which comes in a very cute popcorn style container) is supposedly a pumpkin flavored Pocky.

I say supposedly because if you made me blind taste it, I would never, ever have guessed that I was supposed to be looking for pumpkin flavor. No my friends what it smells like is vaguely fruity, fake butter. And what it tastes like it salty fake butter. You know how movie theater popcorn can sometimes smell so salty and strong it's almost chemically?- that describes the taste perfectly.
Did I miss something? Has anyone had it and they really thought it tasted like pumpkin? Should I be worried that while it never stops being gross the taste does grow on you?

PURCHASED FROM:
Kam Man Market NYC