REVIEW: Hot Pockets Limited Edition Four Cheese Garlic Pasta Bake

Hot Pockets Limited EditionFour Cheese Garlic Pasta Bake

The longevity of Hot Pockets has hinged upon two things: 1) Their manufacturer’s ability to successfully stuff as many different things into a tender, seasoned crust as possible; and 2) Speedy microwave zap-ability. If either of these things changed for the worse, the Hot Pockets franchise would be deader than the skin on the roof of your mouth after biting into one too soon.

We’ve already seen the various styles of Hot Pocket crust filled with pizza toppings, deli meats, casseroles, meatballs, breakfast scrambles, taco/quesadilla fixings, and a plethora of hot sandwich combos (e.g. cheeseburger, sloppy joe, philly cheese steak, and barbecue chicken). Given this lengthy list of stuffed sandwiches, one may wonder, “Is there no limit to the ingredients they can stuff inside these crusts?” Trust me, there are limits. There are some things you would never want to see stuffed in a Hot Pocket: Bubblegum, iron ore, nothing but black olives, shoelaces, unshelled walnuts, Kleenex, eleven Habanero peppers, rubber cement, tripe… So barring these abominations, what other Hot Pocket flavor combinations could possibly tickle our taste buds? Mini penne in cheese sauce, that’s what.

Hot Pockets Limited EditionFour Cheese Garlic Pasta Bake Outtards

We now have the Limited Edition Four Cheese Garlic Pasta Bake Hot Pocket — a garlic-seasoned crust stuffed with pasta and cheese. It’s so ludicrously simple that I’m surprised Hot Pockets hasn’t tried to do this already. People tend to like pasta and people tend to like cheese. Pasta + Cheese + Crust = Yum. Never let it be said I didn’t excel at mathematics. Delicious mathematics.

As is the general rule within the Hot Pockets family, the Four Cheese Garlic Pasta Bake is simple to prepare 2 minutes in the microwave in its specially-designed cooking sleeve, and you have a molten-hot stuffed sandwich. In this case, melted cheese (four different ones!) began to ooze out of the sides of my Hot Pocket and burned my fingers (four different ways!), but I’m used to that. They’re not called Room-Temperature Pockets for a reason. Definitely wait a few minutes before chowing down.

Hot Pockets Limited EditionFour Cheese Garlic Pasta Bake Penne

Upon first bite, you’ll quickly find that the garlic sauce and four cheese mixture has a nice, creamy, gooey texture, and the pasta has not become super-mushy. The crust is crisp around the edges and nicely seasoned you can really taste the garlic. I’d say the sensation is like a highly-advanced grilled cheese sandwich. The pieces of miniature penne are very small… You would almost forget they were in there if it weren’t for the fact that the Four Cheese Garlic Pasta Bake Hot Pocket has a decent noodle/cheese ratio. But we’re not talking mouthfuls of penne. The only mouthful you have with the Four Cheese Garlic Pasta Bake Hot Pocket is when you say its name.

I’m glad they introduced the Limited Edition Four Cheese Garlic Pasta Bake Hot Pocket. It’s quick and tasty and fills a flavor niche I didn’t know existed. Since it’s Limited Edition, I don’t know how long this variety will be sold, but I hope it’s popular enough to persuade the Hot Pockets gods to let it stick around permanently… and will dissuade them from introducing Limited Edition 2-Ply Toilet Paper and Rocks Hot Pockets.

(Nutrition Facts 1 sandwich 290 calories, 10 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 0 grams of monounsaturated fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 670 milligrams of sodium, 0 milligrams of potassium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, 10 grams of protein, 2% vitamin A, 25% calcium, and 10% iron.)

Other Hot Pockets Limited Edition Four Cheese Garlic Pasta Bake reviews:
KJ’s Food Review

Item: Hot Pockets Limited Edition Four Cheese Garlic Pasta Bake
Price: $2.00 (on sale)
Size: 2 sandwiches
Purchased at: Ralphs
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Speedy microwave zap-ability. Warm, crispy garlic-seasoned crust. Highly-advanced grilled cheese sandwiches. Creamy and gooey garlic sauce/four cheese mixture. Decent noodle/cheese ratio. Mini penne is not mushy. Mathematics can be delicious.
Cons: Limited Edition only, so may not be around later. Not called Room-Temperature Pockets for a reason. Amount of pasta in the Limited Edition Four Cheese Garlic Pasta Bake Hot Pocket isn’t a mouthful, but the name is. Hot Pockets stuffed with toilet paper and rocks.

NEWS: Denny’s Goes Curd-razy and Makes a Menu as Cheesy as This Title


I look forward to the day when Denny’s creates a new menu that honors a vegetable and calls it something like Celery-bration. But until then, I’ll have to celebrate gooey cheese with Denny’s new “Let’s Get Cheesy!” menu.

The dishes include:

Mac ‘n Cheese Big Daddy Patty Melt – a hand-pressed beef patty topped with new creamy Mac ‘n Cheese, melted cheddar cheese, and zesty Frisco sauce on grilled potato bread, served with a side of wavy-cut French fries. (Nutritional Facts: 1,690 calories, 99 grams of fat, 36 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 2,010 milligrams of sodium, 7 grams of fiber, and 64 grams of protein.)

Cheese Please Omelette – a three-egg omelette with a blend of cheeses folded in, topped off with a creamy cheese sauce and diced tomatoes, served with hash browns and choice of bread. (Nutritional Facts: 800 calories, 57 grams of fat, 21 grams of saturated fat, 780 milligrams of cholesterol, 2,090 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of fiber, and 37 grams of protein.)

Winner Winner Cheesy Dinner – two golden-fried chopped beef steaks covered in pepper jack cheese sauce, served with a side of new creamy Mac ‘n Cheese, broccoli topped with cheese sauce and dinner bread. (Nutritional Facts: 1,520 calories, 101 grams of fat, 45 grams of saturated fat, 4 grams of trans fat, 3,330 milligrams of sodium, 9 grams of fiber, and 73 grams of protein.)

The Cheesy Breakfast Sampler – featuring a cheddar smoked sausage, two eggs scrambled with cheddar cheese, hash browns topped with melted shredded cheddar cheese and choice of bread. (Nutritional Facts: 710 calories, 50 grams of fat, 20 grams of saturated fat, 560 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,950 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of fiber, and 36 grams of protein.)

Say Cheese Sizzlin’ Skillet – a blend of diced cheddar smoked sausage, fire-roasted peppers and onions, grape tomatoes and seasoned red-skinned potatoes topped with shredded cheddar cheese, cheese sauce and two eggs cooked any way you like. (Nutritional Facts: 1,120 caloires, 84 grams of fat, 28 grams of saturated fat, 990 milligrams of cholesterol, 2,790 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of fiber, and 49 grams of protein.)

Big Cheese Country-Fried Steak & Eggs – featuring a golden-fried chopped beef steak covered in pepper jack cheese sauce, served with hash browns topped with melted shredded cheddar cheese, two eggs cooked any way you like and choice of bread. (Nutritional Facts: 1,210 calories, 84 grams of fat, 34 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of trans fat, 590 milligrams of cholesterol, 2,630 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of fiber, and 59 grams of protein.)

Each “Let’s Get Cheesy!” items does have a lot of cheese, but if your heart so desires (and if it’s weak, I hope it doesn’t), you can add even more cheese to any dish for an extra 69 cents. Also, you can substitute a serving of Mac ‘n Cheese to any entree for no extra charge.

The “Let’s Get Cheesy” menu is available all day, every day for a limited time only at prices starting from $4.99.

Actually, you know what? I no longer look forward to Celery-bration. I look forward to someday celebrating “Let’s Get Cheesy with Baconalia!”

REVIEW: Doritos Fiery Fusion and Cheetos Fiery Fusion

Doritos Fiery Fusion and Cheetos Fiery Fusion

Machismo + 90’s Xtreme = the present day douchebag.

I have concluded that the above is the correct formula. Or as a recipe it would read, one part exaggerated masculinity and one equal part X-Games generation, a gallon of penis envy, and a pinch of misdirected anger will give you the douchebag.

Everyone remembers the late 90’s where every…fucking…thing was so damned EXTREME! (Extreeeeme!!!) And you know it was extra extreme when they got rid of the “e” and it was just X-treme or some stupid variation. Images of snowboarders, tats, overdone spiked hairdo’s with goatees grasping some neon green drink, you know XXXXXTREME MUTHAfuckas!!! Red Bull’s and Frïs Vodka anyone?

Once the 90’s gave way to the new millennium, the very common denominator of the public latched on to all the worst things about the EXTREME (Extreeeeme!!!) crowd. After the Y2K scare, Buckle clothing stores were popping up all over the malls like a gonorrhea infection. Davidoff’s Cool Water cologne stepped aside for Axe Tiger Cock or something like that. Walking billboards for midlife crises were wearing Affliction shirts with Ed Hardy jeans and populating posh bars as they imbibed Jager-bombs (note: Sake bombs fall in this category too and if you order a sake bomb in a sushi restaurant, I guarantee your sashimi has been deservedly seasoned with ass-crack sweat).

This is the mutated ugly side of men who were not smart enough to understand metrosexual (which is a term I hate as well). And yes, food wasn’t immune to this movement either. You aren’t a real man unless you can eat those fucking ghost-chili hot wings or scotch bonnet poppers filled with Szechuan whatever the hells. Be a man and eat it!

Or at least that’s what the sticky laminated stained menu tells me and douchebags gotta eat too. As much as I love hot food, I know it’s entering the realm of overly macho men who either eat it hot or eat it big (and sometimes both). Fuck me.

Our love of spicy food is demonstrated in the growing popularity of Thai and Indian cuisines. The general public is beginning to accept flavors more exotic than a Cajun spiced chicken finger. In fact, sriracha is now offered at a lot of restaurants. I assure you it won’t be long before we slather some kimchi on hot dogs, I have and it’s good.

Like anything that becomes popular, they are dumbed down for a dumb public. So as much as I admire those Trekkie-like hot sauce collectors and the adventurous eater tucking into a Ethiopian goat stew scorching with berbere, I was a little pessimistic when I saw the Fiery Fusion flavors for Doritos and Cheetos. I love hot food and normally when it is in snack form, it’s tepid.

The name was a bit douchebaggy too, Fiery Fusion. It sounds like it’s some kind of new scent. When I hear “fusion” in regards to food, I picture bad Asian cuisine mixed with western elements. Ahi-tuna salad comes to mind. Like flies, these places are inhabited by shaved headed “bro’s” in an un-tucked shiny shirt using a pair of chopsticks in one hand and bumping fists with other “bro’s” Tapout-style. Good God.

Fusion, however, for Frito-Lay means “Sizzlin’ Cayenne & Cheese.” Both respective packages have “Fiery Fusion” written in red orange to clue you in that it is “sizzlin’” which may be different from sizzling.

Frito Lay has played around with spicy offerings before in regards to both brands. The wasabi dusted Mr. Dragon’s Fire Chips Doritos were a bit flaccid in the heat department but tasty. The progressively hot “Degree Burn” series released by Doritos are another good example. Not one to be eclipsed, Cheetos brought out their FLAMIN’ HOT and Cheddar Jalapeño variations. Without a fist bump to spare, I gave in and bought both at the gas station bro.

Doritos Fiery Fusion

Doritos Fiery Fusion

Upon opening, an immediate rich smell of peppers emanated from the bag and this was a good sign. The chips had the normal orange look of Doritos without a fleck of red powder. At first crunch, it tastes like a nacho chip crossed with a barbecue potato chip if you can imagine that. Then the comforting vinegar tang hits your senses. The chips had a faint earthy sweetness, almost like brown sugar. While it tasted good, I was ready to chalk up my $1.29 as a casualty because I didn’t sense any heat.

Like sleight of hand, I never saw it coming or in this case…taste. A slow burn started to build on my tongue and then it crept to the back of my throat before I even knew it. This was really good. The more I ate, the hotter my mouth became. Surprisingly, the heat also never competed with the flavor unlike so many other spicy chips. I prefer the gradual fire that builds into a storm and would say the effect is similar here.

These chips are the hottest Doritos I’ve eaten. They taste better and are spicier than the Doritos Flamas that has been selling as of late. And unlike the Flamas, I left no red handprints all over my walls like it was the freaking ending of Blair Witch.

Let me caution you, do not expect a capsaicin-fueled roller coaster or your tongue to IGNITE (as the bag claims it will). Even though these are the spiciest Doritos I’ve had, it is far from the spiciest food I’ve ever eaten. I would place the Doritos way above the level of Taco Bell’s Fire sauce but below Tabasco. Still, it’s a welcome punch from a bag of corn tortilla chips. My only complaint is wishing Doritos would turn up the heat a bit more, but that’s negligible.

Despite my feelings, these Doritos really can back up their claim that these are hot. The burn will linger around for a minute and then it’s gone, like a sip of good angry bourbon. I would buy these again. It satiated my hunger for something spicy and who doesn’t love a Dorito chip now and then? Or a bourbon? Fistbump yo!

Cheetos Fiery Fusion

Cheetos Fiery Fusion

I waited almost a day to open these, partly because I didn’t want to eat them immediately after the Doritos and not get a clean taste. …Mostly because I spent the rest of the day on a scotch fueled bender celebrating my friend’s birthday. (Extreeeeeme!!!)

So here I am staring at Chester Cheetah’s mug at five in the morning. That creepy ass show about missing people in America is on with a theme song that is as scary as the one from Unsolved Mysteries.

I stared at the bag over the chorus chanting “Missing. These people are missing” (see? I told you it was creepy). I went ahead and opened the bag in a clumsy manner. The smell of corn and fake cheese powder made its presence. I took one out and noticed there were patches of red splotches as if the Cheetos had a rash.

Eating one, it tasted very bland. What the hell? These were really boring. Taking a swig from a can of Sprite that has been lying on the counter since the day before, I went back to bed. I needed to sleep off my impending hangover. Additionally, my mouth felt like I went down on a bag of mulch.

I awoke to the sound of that CBS Sunday Morning opening. Feeling better, I decided to give those Cheetos a second try. Lulled from the trumpet of Wynton Marsalis, I walked into the kitchen and grabbed the bag. After eating a few, I confirmed it for myself.

These were so boring and dry. All I could taste was the corny corn puffs and fake-o cheese powder. The heat barely registered but like the Doritos, it would come up from the backside. That is the only similarity between the two.

I would compare the heat to that of a paper cup filled with coffee and too much non-diary creamer that has been sitting in a conference room for a day because the cleaning staff was too lazy to toss it away and now there is a ring on the table, so please clean it. I don’t care if that is a run on sentence, but it’s the best way I can describe the lack of any burn.

Sizzlin’ Cayenne & Cheese hmm? The cheese part is right but these were terrible if you could not tell. I couldn’t taste the cayenne and eating them felt like a mouthful of Styrofoam peanuts. I don’t know if it needed more salt or more cheese. More heat for sure.

Compared to the Doritos, these Cheetos are the lazy brother who sits around all day smoking pot, perpetually borrows money to buy more vinyls, and at the end of the day has accomplished nothing but a big fart. I know I’m being harsh, but these just plain sucked. I would rather wear a stupid Affliction t-shirt than eat another.

Even though it cost me $1.29, I want my money back. I feel ripped off and now I know why Chester is dancing on the bag. I want to knock his stupid sunglasses off. The bag is pushing “0 grams of trans fat” instead of how these things are so hot it will melt your eyeballs into a soup that you can drink later. This should have been a clue.

I’m not sure what makes me angrier, the fact that they are so bland or that the heat is neutered. I want my $1.29 back assholes! And in pennies so I can put them in a sock and flail it into Chester’s face.

(Nutrition Facts – Doritos Fiery Fusion – 1 ounce/12 chips – 140 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein. Cheetos Fiery Fusion – 1 ounce/21 bland pieces – 150 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Other Doritos Fiery Fusion and Cheetos Fiery Fusion review:
Food Junk
That Bootleg Guy
Hot Chicks Eatin’ Spicy Chips

Items: Doritos Fiery Fusion and Cheetos Fiery Fusion
Prices: $1.29 each (A bargain for the Doritos, an obscene rip off for the Cheetos.)
Size: 3 ounces (Doritos Fiery Fusion)
Size: 3.25 ounces (Cheetos Fiery Fusion)
Purchased at: 7-Eleven (where the bottled water is spicier than these friggin’ Cheetos)
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Doritos Fiery Fusion)
Rating: 3 out of 10 (Cheetos Fiery Fusion)
Pros: In a saturated market of spicy chips, Doritos Fiery Fusion stand out. The Doritos are hot and the flavor alone was delicious, I would eat it even if they weren’t spicy. The heat lingers on both snacks and stays in the back of your throat comfortably. The Cheetos are not as bad as getting scrotum cancer. The Cheetos are also not as bad as a robot led apocalypse.
Cons: The Doritos could be a tad hotter. Cheetos are devoid of taste or heat. Fist bumps and sake bombs. The Cheetos have an unpleasant feel in your mouth. Theme song to Unsolved Mysteries. Chester and his sunglasses annoy me. Cunnilingus on mulch.

WEEK IN REVIEWS – 8/27/2011

IKEA (02-28-08)

Here are a few product reviews posted this week from other blogs we follow.

What’s Kolsyrad Äppeldryck? Is it a Norwegian punk bank? Or is it an IKEA drink? Or is it a piece of IKEA furniture? Or is it the name of a well-hung Swedish porn star? Click here to find out. (via Thirty Dudes)

7 Up calls itself the “Uncola,” but this retro 7 Up can is uncool. (via Soda Reviews)

These things look like a great way to highlight things in a book, but they won’t make good emergency pasties. (via Office Supply Geek)

Carbonation plus dairy? That sounds like a stomachache waiting to happen. Unless you drink this as a chaser. (via Gobble Monkey and The Soda Jerks)

Someone should come create a Trader Joe’s product review blog called Grader Joe’s. Until then, we’ll have to settle for these An Immovable Feast posts. (via An Immovable Feast)

NEWS: Burger King Starts Selling Oatmeal…No, Seriously

Burger King

Update: Click here to read our Burger King Quaker Oatmeal review

BK Chicken Fries are weird, but Burger King’s new oatmeal is weirder.

It’s frickin’ weird because everything on the Burger King menu board is the opposite of oatmeal. Well, except for their garden salad, the apple slices they offer with their kids meals, and the water you can get from the self-serve soda dispenser. But that’s it.

I guess with new ownership comes new ideas to stop being McDonald’s floor mat.

Burger King’s oatmeal isn’t just any ol’ oatmeal, it’s Quaker-brand oatmeal, so you know you’re getting something you could easily make yourself. Their oatmeal comes in Original and Fruit Topped Maple flavors. The fruity version includes dried cranberries, raisins, cherries, and blueberries.

Burger King Oatmeal has a suggested retail price of $1.99. The Original flavor has 110 calories and just one gram of fat, while the Fruit Topped Maple flavor has 270 calories and 4 grams of fat.

However, if you’re looking to get your fiber on with Burger King’s oatmeal, you’ll be able to do so only during breakfast hours, from 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. So if you need an oatmeal fix from a major fast food chain after 10:30 a.m., you gotta go to McDonald’s.

Update: Click here to read our Burger King Quaker Oatmeal review

Source: Nation’s Restaurant News