Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Little Debbie Peppermint Swiss Rolls

Once again that fawn-eyed temptress Little Debbie is coyly looking at me from the corner of my box of Peppermint Swiss Rolls, with a gaze that whispers: "C'mon, you know you want to taste my delicious creamy center!" I tell you, that Little Debbie can be quite beguiling.

Little Debbie's regular Swiss Rolls have been a best seller for the company since pretty much the dawn of time. In fact, if you look closely at pictures of dinosaurs, you might even see one or two snacking on some. That's not to say our little minx Debbie is afraid to try anything new, however. This year she is offering a new variation with peppermint added to the classic roll.

The rolls are sold in boxes of six, and are individually wrapped.

They are the same size as the classic roll. They also have a thin chocolate-like covering. The coating is fairly flaky, which I actually like. It's on the waxy side, true, but it does taste fairly close to chocolate...but that doesn't matter, because as soon as you take even the smallest bite, the peppermint immediately makes itself known.

The chocolate sponge cake is both on the dry and moist sides at the same time. I know that sounds like a contradiction -- and probably not a very pleasant one at that -- and on a freshly baked cake, it certainly would be unpleasant. But I think in commercial snack products, that's actually the perfect medium. If it were less dry, it would probably be greasy -- yet at the same time it's moist enough that it doesn't send you running for a drink to wash it down.

The creme: Honestly, it's hard to say much about snack cake filling that hasn't already been said. I will hand it to Little Debbie in that the creme filling in these rolls seems to be lighter and more whipped than most such cremes. And in terms of texture, I really liked that. It doesn't seem to have much flavor of its own -- but let's be fair; how often does a commercial creme snack filling?

As for the peppermint, as far as I could tell -- having actually dissected a roll and eaten it layer by layer -- purely for the sake of a thorough review and NOT because that is how I actually like to eat Swiss Rolls. No, dear readers, I do these things just for you. So where was I? Meandering somewhere within a run-on sentence that just lost its way? Oh, yes...

The peppermint, as far as I could tell, seems to live in the chocolatey top layer. It is a very strong peppermint. But it is quite sweet, and it does not burn or taste like medicine. Because it's so potent I suspect that these rolls will be more popular with adults than with kids -- unless they are weird kids, as I was (I always liked my mint bold).

All in all, I really liked this as a snack cake. Personally, I could have lived without the mockolate outer coating...but as stated, it is flaky and easy enough to just brush away if you don't really want it. For this review, I am knocking a couple points off the rating for the use of mockolate over real chocolate. I believe a real chocolate coating would have taken these from merely good to truly great. Meanwhile, the mint flavor is bold, and I love the texture of the cake. Definitely worth a try!

Sample from company

MSRP $1.79 for a box of six rolls.

210 calories per roll

Contains wheat, eggs, soy, and milk. Peanuts and tree nuts may also be present.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ben & Jerry's Hannah Teter's Maple Blondie Limited Edition (Round Three!!!)

Update -- December 15 2010:

Yes, it's true! Hannah Teter's Maple Blondie is back yet again, for an unprecedented third production run! (Normally Ben & Jerry's limited editions are made in one single batch, and once they're gone, they're gone forever.) And it's available on supermarket shelves right now, so be sure to get some -- trust me, it is well worth hunting for. In fact, I have even heard a rumor that if you leave some of this for Santa Claus, he'll give you an iPad.

Anyway, since Maple Blondie is back -- and since it's totally, absolutely fantastic (Jerry himself has said it's his favorite flavor) -- I decided to do something I very rarely do: I am reposting the review I did of it way back when. So if you missed it the first time around, or even the second, here it is:

Ice Spiders. It's not just a movie, man! The giant spiders are coming, I know it! (If you have not surrendered over two hours of life to see this movie yet, it is awesomely, transcendentally bad and you are missing out.) Hannah Teter, by the way, is a famous snowboarder and a Vermont native, who has never been attacked by ice spiders, as best I can tell. Hannah -- besides snowboarding -- also has a nonprofit charity called Hannah's Gold that sells Vermont maple syrup to help the children of Kirindon, Kenya.

Conveniently, this is a maple ice cream base with a maple caramel swirl. So you see, people, I am eating ice cream to save the children! I thought of the children! There are also blonde brownie chunks. I don't know how the children feel about them, but I tend to be a fan.

So is it worth risking death by ice spider for?

The scent is heavenly. It's a sweet maple, yet it doesn't send you looking for the pancakes.

The maple base tastes like a creamy version of the best maple syrup you can imagine. It's deep, there's a brown sugar/molasses quality, but it manages never to overwhelm. If you are basing your like -- or more to the point, dislike -- of maple on pancake syrups found on supermarket shelves that are no longer maple syrup but merely maple flavored syrup...cease and desist! This is what you should be looking for.

The maple/caramel swirl is addictive. It's mostly caramel, but it's just good. It adds a slightly sticky texture that I liked.

The brownie pieces are super, super soft and I found myself hunting for the chunks. It's like little brown sugar cubes of happiness. Really, the only thing bad about this ice cream is what it might do to my ass if I am allowed to consume it in the quantities I'd like to.

Be sure to check out Marvo's review, because my butt might be completing with his moobs over the last pint!

Vons Supermarket


240 calories per 1/2 cup


Monday, December 13, 2010

Marshmallow Pebbles Cereal

First, guys, I want to apologize for lack of new reviews. It's not that I don't love you anymore, or that I don't have things planned, or that I don't have have literally oodles of cool stuff waiting in my apartment. It's really this: Gigi has not been going through the greatest time with her lupus these last six months or so...and to be honest, food and I just aren't feeling the love for each other much these days, no matter how much I want to. Yeah, I could fake my way through using my visual take on it, my sense of smell, and third party opinions -- but don't I think that's fair to you, and it's a hell of a lot less fun for me. So, I continue to thank you for your patience with me.

But you know, sometimes you just have to take one for the team. And if there happen to be marshmallows involved...well, let's just say I am willing to deal a little more than I might have been otherwise. So when I saw the box of Marshmallow Pebbles on the supermarket shelf, I practically ran home, spoon in hand, spilling soy milk in my wake. If only I had done a Google search before I bought it! Both Grub Grade and Yum Yucky have reviewed it (click on their names to read their reviews), and had I seen those I would have saved myself $1.99.

The first thing that hits you when you open the box is the awful aroma; a nauseating, overpowering mix of sugar and fake vanilla. It's what I imagine weapons of mass destruction would be scented like if terrorists decided that making them smell vaguely candy-like would up their PR factor after the incident. (Cease and desist email from Post legal should be hitting my inbox!) Seriously, it's a really vile odor. And I love the smell of marshmallow as a rule.

When I think of a Pebbles cereal, be it fruity or cocoa (both of which I like, for the record), I've come to expect the Pebbles themselves to be on the smaller, thinner side. They don't hold their crunch long, but they do have a snappy, yet airy texture that I really like when I indulge.

But these Pebbles were almost as weird as they smelled. In terms of size and appearance they reminded me of a crispy rice type of cereal -- only they're heavier and more dense than that. In terms of texture and taste, they actually reminded me of the Jumbo Rice Krispies. And if you read that review, you will see I didn't like that cereal either. Well, guess what -- I liked these Pebbles even less. Between the non-Pebbles texture and the not-oaty, not-rice, just not-good taste of the cereal...blecccch! I will be honest with you; I was just done.

You may have noticed there is no picture of the cereal in milk. And there won't be. I ate a bowl pre-review because I just couldn't wait. (I have got to learn to work on my patience.) And after that, I might as well have skipped the review entirely: Clearly I have had nothing nice to say about it!

But then it occurred to me that this box -- that otherwise had no redeeming value whatsoever -- could finally allow me to indulge one secret lifelong fantasy...

...yes...I admit it...I have long dreamed of eating a bowl of nothing but cereal marshmallows. So, yes, I indulged my lifelong fantasy! Damning and humiliating photos to follow.

As you see here, I was panning for marshmallows:

And this is my haul:

One box produces one decent sized bowl of marshmallows.

So was my effort worth it? Hell yeah! The actual cereal might have been beyond vile, but that bowl of just marshmallows was great! Would I do it on a regular basis? Well no, but it was a fun experiment. (OK, I totally lied. I would soooooooo buy these marshmallows in bulk if I thought I could justify it!)

So in the end, while this may possibly have been the single worst thing I have eaten in the name of a review, I absolutely loved the marshmallows!

As for the cereal itself? I think Stewie Griffin says it perfectly...

Albertsons Supermarket




110 calories per 3/4 cup.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Happy Hanukkah!

Yes, it's time once again for those eight crazy nights, and I wish you all a fun festival of lights. (Hey, that rhymes!) I thought a great way to kick it off would be with be the Neil Diamond version of Adam Sandler's classic Hanukkah Song (part 1):

Woohoo! The only way that could be more epically awesome would be if Barry Manilow did the second version as a follow-up (Barry is also Jewish).

Unfortunately, I won't have eight crazy reviews because I just have not been able to get out there and find many Hanukkah related foodstuffs -- and I already covered some of my favorite things during Passover Week. But I did find some interesting looking candies, so we will have a few Hanukkah themed reviews coming this week.

And BTW, did you know that it is central to the holiday to eat not only fried foods but also cheese (or dairy in general)? How can you not love such a holiday?!

However you celebrate, have fun and have a latke for me!