SPOTTED – 11/25/2020

Here are some interesting new products found on store shelves by your fellow readers. If you’ve tried any of the products, share your thoughts about them in the comments.

Kellogg s The Elf on the Shelf Vanilla Candy Cane Cookie with Marshmallows Cereal
Kellogg’s The Elf on the Shelf Vanilla Candy Cane Cookie with Marshmallows Cereal

(Spotted by Jarred at Walmart.)

Chobani Limited Batch Spiced Hot Chocolate Layered Greek Yogurt
Chobani Limited Batch Spiced Hot Chocolate Layered Greek Yogurt

(Spotted by Tommy at Walmart)

International Delight Hershey s Chocolate Caramel Iced Coffee
International Delight Hershey’s Chocolate Caramel Iced Coffee

(Spotted by Leonard G at Walmart.)

Fruit tella Soft Gummies Strawberry  Raspberry
Fruit-tella Soft Gummies Strawberry & Raspberry
Fruit tella Soft Gummies Apple  Mango
Fruit-tella Soft Gummies Apple & Mango

(Spotted by Rachel C at Walmart.)

Mamba Magic Sticks
Mamba Magic Sticks

(Spotted by Rachel C at Walmart.)

H E B Creamy Creations Limited Edition Peppermint Bark Ice Cream
H-E-B Creamy Creations Limited Edition Peppermint Bark Ice Cream

(Spotted by Robbie at H-E-B.)

REVIEW: Ruffles Double Crunch Honey Mustard Potato Chips

Ruffles Double Crunch Honey Mustard Potato Chips Bag

What are Ruffles Double Crunch Honey Mustard Potato Chips?

Ruffles adds to its extra crunchy repertoire a sweet and tangy honey mustard flavor.

How are they?

A fellow snack-lover recently told me that the only thing greater than the variety of potato chip flavors is the speed at which we consumers demand them. I would have to add that the only thing faster than our demand rate is the speed at which we buy. This commentary is not based in economics or science, but rather my speedometer reading as I rushed to the store in search of this product, which combines my loves of sweet, salty, and savory all in one bite.

Ruffles Double Crunch Honey Mustard Potato Chips Plated

These Ruffles perfectly recreate what I consider to be the ideal honey mustard profile: the tang of dark mustard balanced with bright, sweet honey. Faint hints of paprika and horseradish flavors contribute some spice without resulting in a building heat sensation. Although their bright yellow color would suggest otherwise, the chips are not overly-coated with seasoning. At first, I wanted a touch more mustard flavor, but now I think any more seasoning would risk overwhelming the chip, which is more delicate than its hardy pretzel cousin.

Although other varieties exist, I had never tried a Double Crunch product before, and now I am never going back. Similar to a kettle-cooked chip, the crunch of the deep, chevron-angled grooves is intensely satisfying. Along with big flavor and crunch, these Ruffles deliver a big chip; several were the size of my admittedly elfin palm.

Ruffles Double Crunch Honey Mustard Potato Chips Super Closeup

In short, these chips are tasty and addictive. A family member (a Sensible Eater who measures out salad dressing by the teaspoonful) and I demolished the bag in under 24 hours.

Anything else you need to know?

A Google search informed me that Ruffles released an Ultimate Tangy Honey Mustard flavor in 2013. Although I never had the opportunity to try them, the product images and ingredient list appear nearly identical to the Double Crunch variety. If you remember and pine for that product like a long-lost lover, the Double Crunch Ruffles may fill the hole in your chip-loving heart.

Conclusion:

Honey mustard fans of the world will happily set pretzels aside for this flavorful and addictive Double Crunch product.

Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 7 3/4 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 28g/about 10 chips) 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Popeyes Twisty Wicked Shrimp

Popeyes Twisty Wicked Shrimp Closeup

What are Popeyes Twisty Wicked Shrimp and Smoky Garlic Tartar Sauce

According to the webs, this takes the Cajun chicken chain’s shrimp (seasoned with a blend of salt, pepper, onion, garlic, cayenne pepper, and bay leaf) and jazzes things up by marinating the little buggers in sriracha. You know, for the promised wickedness. These caustic crustaceans are paired with a new Smoky Garlic Tartar Sauce, which is, well, smokier and more garlicky than any tartar sauce that came before it.

How is it?

NOT HOT. If you’re an avid capsaicinophile hoping that this new offering will set your mouth on fire, you’ll likely be let down. I can handle (and enjoy) a decent amount of heat, but perhaps more importantly to this review, I am sensitive to spice, and I can tell you, without fear of killing the weakest among you, that you will be able to eat this shrimp comfortably.

I was disappointed with the lack of heat, but not with the shrimp itself. The pieces were large, the seasoning familiar in its Popeyesicity (not sure I can detect the bay leaf buried deep in there, though), and the breading added the perfect amount of crunch.

Popeyes Twisty Wicked Shrimp Sauce

The real revelation was the Smoky Garlic Tartar sauce, which, oddly enough, seemed to pack a heat the shrimp did not. The dip was nuanced —- a light sweetness contrasted with a heavy dill-ness, imbued with the aforementioned punch that was… maybe the smokiness? I’m not sure. But in short, it provided a nice compliment to the straight-forward, not-that-wicked shrimp.

Anything else you need to know?

As you can see in the picture above, my sauce didn’t come in one of the pre-packaged sauce containers as shown in promo pics, and the first time I went, they didn’t have the sauce at all. So, I guess what I’m saying is: if you live far away from a Popeyes and you’re interested in this, maybe call ahead. Because, while the shrimp is decent, it’s the sauce that really completes the experience.

Conclusion:

If you’re an avid Popeye’s connoisseur, check it out. If you don’t get to Popeye’s all that often, get the chicken sandwich instead. Or the chicken. But seriously, the sandwich. Have you had that thing? Like Uncle Jesse always said, “have mercy.”

Purchased Price: $6.30
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Unavailable on Popeyes’ website

REVIEW: Hissho Sushi Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Roll

Hissho Sushi Cheetos Flamin Hot Roll Tray

What is the Hissho Sushi Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Roll?

A unique and insanely creative sushi experience where Eastern cuisine meets Western snacking in the form of a Cheetos Flamin’ Hot sushi roll. The red-hot roll features spicy krab, crushed Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, a drizzle of hot mayo along with avocado, cream cheese, and cucumber.

How is it?

Hissho Sushi Cheetos Flamin Hot Roll Tray Closeup

Just like those Cheetos Rorschach tests where you try to come up with what your cheese puff looks like (Is that a beluga whale or Jesus Christ?) I’m having some trouble with this one. There are certainly some moments of divine intervention. The red color is spot-on and perfectly reminiscent of the spicy snack.

Hissho Sushi Cheetos Flamin Hot Roll Back

It has some great heat and the cooling trifecta of avocado, cream cheese, and cucumber was a genius idea. They are the perfect antidote to the spice that builds, especially from the hot mayo. Although it never gets as hot as the actual snack. The cucumber also offers a satisfying crunch, while the cream cheese has the most significant impact on flavor, really coming through amongst all the components with the krab and avocado occasionally showing up to the party in your mouth.

Hissho Sushi Cheetos Flamin Hot Roll Closeup

Hissho Sushi Cheetos Flamin Hot Roll Rice

However, there are also some shortcomings considering the crazy concept. For this dangerously cheesy mashup, I couldn’t detect any cheese. The mashed-up Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and cheetle (the official name of the Cheetos dust!) are visibly present as they provide the fantastic bright red hue. Because of that, you would expect they would shine, but as far as any flavor or crunch goes, they are mostly just rendered inert by unfortunately dissolving into the moist sushi rice or mayo. It’s like a disappointing prank from the sly Chester Cheetah.

Anything else you need to know?

Hissho Sushi Cheetos Flamin Hot Roll Sign

There is nothing bootleg here! This is an official collaboration between Frito-Lay and Hissho Sushi, and they are putting some serious money/resources behind it. Look at the sign that greeted me on my hunt for this. This is not at the sushi counter. This is at the front entrance to the entire grocery store!

Conclusion:

This is an absolutely delicious spicy sushi roll with good heat, a gorgeous hue, and a multi-layered and refreshing cool crunch. I gobbled it up pretty quickly, actually. However, the spicy mayo and cream cheese overpower the star ingredient. I wish there was a hint of cheesiness and a heavier-handed approach to how the snack is showcased.

Purchased Price: $5.55
Size: 8.1 oz
Purchased at: Giant
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 roll) 510 calories, 29 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 1160 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 4 gram of dietary fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 10 grams of protein.

ANNOUNCEMENT: So what’s the deal with no new Spotted and Fast Food News posts?

First off, I apologize for the disappearance of Spotted and Fast Food News posts on the site. I will explain here why they’ve stopped and what the future holds for them.

The main reason why is because I’ve been helping to take care of my son, who celebrated his first birthday recently. My wife works full-time during the day. So while she’s at her job and I have a position that allows for A LOT of flexibility (because I’m the boss), I’m watching over our son, which has been super awesome because I’ve been able to see him grow. Okay, poop ending up in the front of his diaper because he did his business while sitting is definitely the opposite of super awesome. But helping him learn how to stand, teaching him to say dada before mama, and adding verses to “Baby Shark” that involve non-relatives has been fun (also, including things on Old MacDonald’s farm that aren’t animals is fun, like a fax machine).

Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to figure out how to do everything for the site AND take care of our son. What I’ve learned is that it’s extremely difficult. I tried it, but I was burning out. So I decided I needed to be selective with what I do for the site.

The good news is that I’m going to continue doing Spotted posts. The bad news is that I’m 95 percent sure there won’t be Fast Food News posts anymore.

When I stopped doing Fast Food News, I felt less stressed and overwhelmed. So, instead of doing them, the plan is to put more effort into getting fast food reviews up as fast as possible, hence the reason why we’ve recently brought on more writers to help. That way, the reviews serve two purposes — it lets you know about the product and how it is. Besides, there are sites out there that do a better job at covering fast food news than we ever did, like Brand Eating, Chewboom, and Fast Food Post.

Now let’s talk about Spotted posts. Back in April, I decided not to post photos taken in stores to encourage folks to get quickly in and out when shopping. Instead, I asked readers if they happen to spot something new, and it’s something they plan on buying, to take a photo of it at home. I did it because I just want everyone to be safe during these times.

As you can guess, the number of photo contributions decreased, which was helpful as I tried to figure out how to balance work and life. But at some point, I thought, “I’m not getting too many photos to use. And most of the photos I do get are of products that we’re going to review anyway. So why not put a pause on Spotted and let those reviews we do serve two purposes like with the fast food reviews.” So that’s what I did for almost two months, and to be honest, it felt great to focus on reviews and my son. Reviews are my favorite thing to do on the site, and my son is my favorite child. Granted, he’s the only kid my wife and I have.

Now I know it may not seem like it recently, but my second favorite thing to do on the site is doing Spotted posts. I miss doing them. Also, all the emails, tweets, and comments I’ve been getting asking what’s up with Spotted posts have nudged me to start up again. So I’m going to continue with posting, but only using photos taken outside of the store, until further notice because, well, you know.

I apologize to those who have followed this rule whose photos I haven’t posted. I would also like to say I’m sorry to those readers who come here for the Spotted posts and haven’t seen diddly squat for almost two months. I promise I’ll be getting things back on track. So please continue to send in your photos that were safely taken at home, at work, in your car, or while walking to your car from the store.

Love,
Marvo

P.S. – Despite the changes, I’m still trying to get a handle on the whole work-life balance thing. But then again, aren’t we all?

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Sourdough Breakfast Sandwich

Dunkin Sourdough Breakfast Sandwich Split

What is the Dunkin’ Sourdough Breakfast Sandwich

Introduced as part of the winter seasonal menu, the sandwich consists of two eggs, five half-slices of bacon, and white cheddar on sourdough toast. ?

How is it?

I find immense joy in all types of breakfast sandwiches, but with this one, I walked away and found myself saying, “I’m not mad. I’m just disappointed.”

Dunkin Sourdough Breakfast Sandwich Whole

Unwrapping the massive sandwich, I was immediately greeted with a patchy toast pattern outside the sourdough bread. They aren’t toasting the bread and then putting the sandwich together. They assemble it and throw it in an oven to heat, which essentially acts like a broiler: the top is toasted, but the rest isn’t.

Dunkin Sourdough Breakfast Sandwich Eggs

The two eggs give the illusion of freshly cracked eggs, but ultimately fall into the category of “egg-like” discs. The bacon, while plentiful, reminded me of the thin precooked kind you’d get at the store. However, the cheese was a nice change from the normal processed “cheese product” you’d find on most sandwiches. ?
Dunkin Sourdough Breakfast Sandwich Bacon

The bread not being toasted evenly and thoroughly really took away from what could have been a fairly successful sandwich. Sourdough, in my opinion, is at its best when toasted. It is very chewy and doesn’t necessarily lend itself to being a good sandwich when it’s untoasted. This leads to uneven bites of bread without the middle ingredients. That said, the bread itself is high quality and has that rich, unmistakable sourdough flavor.

Anything else you need to know?

Right now, Dunkin’ is offering 2x Dunkin’ points on this item if you use the app until 12/01.

Conclusion:

While I applaud Dunkin’ for taking a big swing, this one didn’t really pay off as well as I had hoped it would. While not the worst, it’s definitely not something I’d get again. It could probably be halfway decent if you get home and throw it in your air fryer or toaster oven. But let’s be real: most of us are just looking for something to shove in our faces between sips of coffee.

Purchased Price: $4.19
Size: N/A
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 serving) 650 calories, 32 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 365 milligrams of cholesterol, 1360 milligrams of sodium, 58 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 31 grams of protein.