Monday, June 5, 2017

M&Ms Caramel

Some Internet idiot tried to manufacture outrage over the new M&M’s Caramel’s packaging. They complained that the red and the yellow cartoon M&M guys are ripping apart their orange candy comrade.  All I can say is, if that is in fact the case, then that little fella’s guts are delicious.

I mean, did we need Caramel M&Ms? Nope. Would I buy them instead of, say, regular plain M&Ms or Peanut M&Ms or, for that matter, Peanut Butter M&Ms or Almond M&Ms or even the new Strawberry M&Ms? Not a chance in hell. They’re still pretty good, though. They're kind of like little candy shell-covered Rollos or tiny knots of Twix. I’d rather have a real Rolo or an actual Twix, mind you, but I’ve got no problem finishing the whole bag of M&Ms Caramel. No problem at all. Don’t tell that Internet idiot but it’s gonna be a whole Spanish Inquisition's worth of M&M torture up in my mouth. Let the carnage begin!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wild Ophelia Barbeque Potato Chip Candy Bar

Fancy-pants candy company Wild Ophelia has put out a Barbeque Potato Chip candy bar. I love me some candy bar and I love me some BBQ chips so I couldn’t wait to try it. It didn't even seem all that weird. Salty-sweet is a great junk food  mix – movie theater popcorn and M&Ms for example. It was only the barbecue flavor element that I thought might screw it up. Turns out that wasn’t an issue because I couldn’t taste the BBQ at all. Not a little bit. I couldn’t even taste potato chip. Hell, I could barely taste the salt. Turns out the Wild Ophelia Barbecue Potato Chip candy bar just tastes like a dark chocolate Nestle Crunch bar.

I mean, it’s a pretty good dark chocolate Nestle Crunch bar, but that’s not what I signed up for. I wanted something odd. I wanted to see what BBQ potato chips mixed with chocolate tasted like. So, after Wild Ophelia let me down there was only one thing to do: Make my own.

Yep, I poured Hershey’s syrup over some BBQ Pop Chips. I can’t say I wasn’t a little hesitant to try this concoction but, in the end, it was pretty okay. Tasty, even. I mean, I’m not going to start eating all my chips this way but the BBQ flavor didn’t hurt at all. It might have actually enhanced the experience. I guess the biggest endorsement I can give Sullivan’s Barbeque/Chocolate Potato Chips is that I only needed to eat one for the taste test but I finished the whole plate. Who’s wild now, Ophelia?

Monday, May 29, 2017

Birch Beer

Birch beer is a carbonated soft drink made from birch bark’s herbal extracts. Some version of it goes back at least as far as the 1600s and I understand that it’s popular in the northeastern part of the United States, especially Pennsylvania. I grew up in Kentucky and never saw a birch beer so when I came across one at the local Rocket Fizz I thought I’d give it a shot. I mean, I like root beer; birch beer couldn’t be that different, right?

Look, I’m not here to knock it. There are weird foods from my childhood that I love. (Pimento cheese and pickle dog, anyone?) If I’d grown up in Birch Beer Country I’d have a fondness for birch beer too. Probably. Maybe. But, as it stands, the stuff tastes to this Kentucky boy like carbonated cough drops. Just a warning to my fellow Non-Northeasterners. Caveat Emptor y'all. 

Strawberry M&Ms

The M&Ms people could be getting a little desperate with the new limited edition flavors. I just saw that they’re planning something called “White Pumpkin Pie M&Ms” for this fall. White pumpkin pie? What even is that? I can only assume that these M&Ms will be meant to taste like a pumpkin pie made from one of those weird white pumpkins you occasionally find hanging around farmers' markets like Ghosts of Pumpkins Past. I’ve never seen anyone buy one, much less pie one and I’ve certainly never tasted a white pumpkin pie. Actually, now that I think about it, M&Ms could be on to something here. I mean, if you’re going to do a fake flavor, maybe your best bet is to make one that no one knows what it’s actually supposed to taste like in the first place. It’s kind of genius.

Or maybe it’s just weird. I don’t know. I’m in no position to criticize since I keep falling for their marketing ploy and buying and trying as many of their limited edition flavors as I can get my hands on. For example, my local Ralph’s only had the big size of the new Strawberry M&Ms so I grabbed it and growled even though I had no idea if they were any good or not. And how could they be good, really? Strawberry and chocolate aren’t a bad mix and I like peanut butter and strawberry jelly but strawberry/chocolate/peanut M&Ms sounds like some kind of unholy candy Frankenstein.

Before you get a mob of villagers together and pass out the torches and pitchforks, though, give the Strawberry M&Ms a taste. Actually, give ‘em two tastes. My first bite didn’t do much for me -- in fact, I thought it kind of tasted like someone had put an M&M candy shell around an old piece of Frankenberry cereal -- but the flavor grew on me and now I’m craving the damned things. I may have to get another one of those big bags before they’re gone forever. Turns out Strawberry M&Ms aren’t some Frankensteinian abomination after all. But they just might be the devil.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Peeps Oreos!

Oreo has released a new limited edition flavor. This time they’ve taken an Easter candy staple and smashed it between a couple of their cookies. Check it out!

The thing about the Peeps Oreo, though, is that if you ignore the radioactive color (I think it’s officially called "Oh God, No! My Eyes! It Burns! It Burns So Bad! Pink") what you’ve basically got here is a regular Golden Oreo. The cookies are exactly the same and the filling is only a splash of vanilla away from being exactly the same as well.

Peeps flavored Oreos are tasty enough and kind of fun to try but there’s really no reason to choose them over a regular old bag of the Golden kind unless you feel you have a shortage of Red 3 dye in your diet.

If you do suffer from said shortage, though, these suckers will fix you right up, guaranteed. I ate two cookies about six hours ago and have eaten and drank many things since and my tongue still looks like someone went at it with a pink highlighter. So, thanks to Peeps Oreos, I guess eggs aren’t the only thing I’m coloring this Easter season.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Taco Bell Naked Chicken Chalupa

Ever since KFC introduced the Double Down sandwich I’ve been saying that all bread should be fried chicken. Well, after almost seven whole years, another fast food franchise has finally risen to the Colonel’s challenge. Sadly, though, Taco Bell's new Naked Chicken Chalupa turned out to be kind of a ripoff.

It’s not that the thing doesn’t taste okay - the avocado ranch sauce, especially, is actually really good - but when I bit in I realized that something important was missing. Take a look.

That’s lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and sauce inside. Where’s the meat, man? Don’t tell me it’s the thin chicken patty the whole thing is wrapped in. That's clearly the shell. “Qué diablos, Taco Bell”? 

Fillet-o-Fish Tale

I guess people hate fish. They say things like, “How’s the fish? It isn’t fishy, is it?” I can’t imagine anything worse than the name of a thing being its own pejorative. Apparently we even dislike people in the fish business. “Monger” just means a “dealer in a specified commodity” but nowadays it’s only used to denote those in the “war”, “whore”, and “fish” trades. Seriously? We’ve lumped seafood merchants in with that crowd? Not even lawyers get the monger moniker. I can only imagine that the missing Mr. Paul must have taken his own life in shame leaving Mrs. Paul with the fishstick business and that horrible label, “fishwife”.

Likewise, when people give a thing the preface “Mc” you know they’re denigrating it. The practice might have started as simply a way of saying that a thing is basic, convenient, inexpensive and standardized like a McDonald’s restaurant but, for example, calling USA Today a “McNewspaper” is not a compliment.

I was thinking about all of that while I ate the first McFish sandwhich I’ve had in many a moon.  (Yes, I know McDonald’s officially calls it the “Filet-O-Fish” but I refer to it by the name Mickey D’s franchise owner Lou Groen should have used when he invented the thing back in the early sixties to keep people in his predominately Roman Catholic neighborhood coming into his restaurant on Fridays when they didn’t eat meat for religious reasons.)

There’s no more humble a fast food sandwich than the lowly McFish. Just look at it.

Plain bun, mild tartar sauce, a patty that’s barely a glorified fishstick and some cheese. What the hell? Cheese? On fish? I think McDonald’s might be the only place in the world where cheese comes standard on a piece of seafood. 

But the thing is, the McFish is good. It's really good. Somehow the iffy ingredients manage to transmogrify into something greater than the sum of its parts. Ol’ Lou Groen might have just been trying to separate the pious from their hard earned dollar but what he actually created was some kind of neigh-religious miracle. I mean, the McFish ain’t water-into-wine but, given the base ingredients, I’d have to say it’s pretty darned close.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Reese’s Peanut Butter Easter Eggs?

As I’ve pointed out before, I’m not a big fan of rushing the junk food season so you can guess that when I went to the store to stock up on Reese’s Peanut Butter Valentine Hearts this week I was surprised and dismayed to see Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs already on the shelves. What the hell, Mr. Reese? It’s barely the middle of January. Can’t you let Cupid finish his biz before you unleash the Easter Bunny?  Don’t go pretending it’s spring before the groundhog has a chance to weigh in on when spring is even coming. (I don’t entirely trust rodent-based meteorology, but you get my point.)

But since, with the possible exception of cheeseburgers, Reese’s products are my favorite junk food of all time I choked down my disapproval and grabbed me some of the first eggs of the season and when I got ‘em home and dug in, I realized that I’d been wrong. Very wrong.

Here’s the deal: I love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups so much that if they unearthed a package in the ruins of Palenque, assuming the wrapper was intact, I’d probably eat ‘em. (In my fantasy the Mayans were terrible at predicting the end of the world but visionary when it comes to mixing chocolate and peanut butter, I guess.) That being said, fresher is always better. Check out the difference. Here’s a left over X-mas tree.

The oil from the peanut butter has started to permeate the chocolate, sticking the two layers together and blending the flavors. It ain't half bad but it's certainly not as tasty as one of these fresh Reese’s Eggs right here:

Look at the way the chocolate breaks and flakes away from the peanut butter filling. The blending hasn’t set in yet and it tastes way better. Well, there’s nothing fresher than the first Reese’s batch of the year. That’s why I now highly recommend rushing the season, skipping the hearts and going on an early Easter egg hunt. Of course, the Easter Bunny may not have paid your area a visit yet and, if you live near me, chances are I’ve already grabbed ‘em and growled. Clock’s ticking, man!