WEEK IN REVIEWS – 3/31/2012

A small portion of the cereal aisle

Here’s a product review posted this week from another blog we follow.

There were many reviews I could’ve highlighted in this week’s post, like one for McDonald’s Strawberry and Creme pies or another one about bacon jelly beans, but they all pale in comparison to what our friend, and newest TIB contributor, Steve tried over at his review blog, Food Junk. What he reviewed was quite possibly one of the craziest things one could review. While it’s not as crazy as purchasing a bottle of Crystal Pepsi on eBay, drinking it, waiting for some illness to hit, and then writing a review, in my book it’s quite close. So without further ado, here’s the review. (via Food Junk)

NEWS: Mountain Dew Dark Berry To Rise Alongside The Upcoming Batman Movie

Most expensive Pepsi, now most expensive Mountain Dew

Update: Click here to read our Mountain Dew Dark Berry review

According to a post over at BevReview, Mountain Dew is planning to release a new flavor this summer, Dark Berry. The new flavor is a movie tie-in for the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises, which is scheduled to be released July 20, 2012. ComicBookMovie.com has images of the packaging.

According to BevReview, the caffeinated beverage will be mixed berry flavored and isn’t a renamed version of any previous Mountain Dew flavors. It will be available sometime in June and hang around for eight weeks.

I’m excited about this Dark Berry flavor, but Mountain Dew would excite me even more if they held another DEWmocracy election this year. They did one in 2008 and 2010, so if my math is correct, it’s about time for another.

REVIEW: Nabisco Wheat Thins (Spicy Buffalo and Zesty Salsa)

Wheat Thins (Spicy Buffalo & Zesty Salsa)

I think it’s safe to say Nabisco Triscuits crackers are for refined palates, while Nabisco Wheat Thins crackers are for unrefined palates, and Nabisco Premium crackers are for nauseated palates.

Triscuit comes in flavors that sound like they were conceived by a food snob wearing a top hat and monocle. These flavors include Rye with Caraway Seeds; Rosemary and Olive Oil; and Dill, Sea Salt & Olive Oil. Even the name Triscuit sounds snobby.

Don’t believe me?

Say “Triscuit” with a French accent.

Do you believe me now?

On the other hand, Wheat Thins varieties, like their new Spicy Buffalo and Zesty Salsa, sound like flavors you might find on a Chili’s/Applebee’s/T.G.I. Friday’s menu.

These two new Wheat Thins flavors follow last year’s Smoky BBQ and Sweet Cinnamon. At the rate Nabisco is burning through adjectives, I’m expecting fruity, herbal, earthy, and umami Wheat Thins varieties in the next two or three years.

Wheat Thins (Spicy Buffalo & Zesty Salsa) Closeup

Spicy Buffalo Wheat Thins have a slightly menacing orange hue on one side, which make them look like they shared a BOGO spray tan offer with Snooki. Since only one side is seasoned, I’d recommend eating each cracker with the flavor side down. Once you start chomping, you’ll instantly taste the familiar flavor of buffalo wing sauce. It’s not a powerful buffalo wing flavor, but it’s definitely noticeable and delicious.

In order to recreate buffalo wing sauce in dry form, these Wheat Thins are seasoned with a combination of cayenne pepper sauce, garlic powder, and tomato powder. Eating these Spicy Buffalo Wheat Thins will create a very slight burn in your mouth, so have your Ranch Wheat Thins handy to cool it down.

As for Zesty Salsa Wheat Thins, they smell and taste like someone took a bag of regular Wheat Thins dumped chili powder into it and shook it. Okay, the way I just described them make them sound like they aren’t good, but they are good in the sense that, if there weren’t any Spicy Buffalo Wheat Thins around, I wouldn’t object to eating them.

The seasoned side of the Zesty Salsa Wheat Thins have a combination of dried green bell peppers and salt, so they look like leprechaun magic was cast upon them. As I said before, they taste like they were seasoned with chili powder. There’s also a slight sweetness to them, but I wouldn’t consider their flavor to be salsa-like. However, they are good and if your local store doesn’t have the Spicy Buffalo flavor, these Zesty Salsa Wheat Thins would be a good substitute.

Overall, the Spicy Buffalo and Zesty Salsa Wheat Thins are two great additions to the Wheat Thins lineup and will satisfy any unrefined palate.

(Nutrition Facts – Spicy Buffalo – 14 pieces – 140 calories, 45 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 3 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 90 milligrams of potassium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Zesty Salsa – 15 pieces – 140 calories, 50 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 3 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 105 milligrams of potassium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Other Spicy Buffalo and Zesty Salsa Wheat Thins reviews:
Junk Food Guy (Spicy Buffalo)
Junk Food Guy (Zesty Salsa)

Item: Nabisco Wheat Thins (Spicy Buffalo and Zesty Salsa)
Price: $3.50 (on sale)
Size: 9 ounces
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Spicy Buffalo)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Zesty Salsa)
Pros: Crunchy tasty goodness. Great for unrefined palates. Spicy Buffalo has that familiar buffalo wing sauce flavor. Leprechaun magic. BOGO offers. Premium crackers great for nauseated palates.
Cons: Zesty Salsa is not really salsa-like. Zesty Salsa not as good as Spicy Buffalo. Bad for refined palates. Snobby crackers. Saying “Triscuit” in a French accent. Nabisco is running out of adjective to use to name new flavors.

REVIEW: The Better Chip All Natural Tortilla Chips

The Better Chip 1The Better Chip is a line of corn chips that currently comes in four flavors: Fresh Corn with Sea Salt, Red Pepper with Salsa Fresca, Jalapeño with Sea Salt, and Sweet Onion with White Cheddar. The chips are made from 100% natural ingredients, including non-genetically modified white corn. They are gluten free and cholesterol free. They were easily the healthiest thing I’ve ingested since I swallowed that fly while I was rollerblading last month.

This week I was happy to receive a complimentary sample package from them. They sent along a tote bag too, but I am proud to say I have been tote-free now for 7 years (everyday is a struggle). I also got a t-shirt, though sadly for me (happily for my wife) it was a medium. Apparently they did not know that I am a large man shaped, more or less, like when you blow into an empty juice box through its straw.

Calling your product line The Better Chip, takes some real cajones. Wait, gimme one more. Calling your product line The Better Chip, takes some real cornjones (snort). When your packaging is emblazoned with a name like that, you can’t show up with more of the same, dressed in a nice wrapper with some added buzzwords. You better be bringing some serious power. I’m talking the high cheese. The stinky limburger. Where my Rookie of the Year fans at?

The Better Chip 6

Thankfully The Better Chip is not playing around, and their moxie-loaded moniker rings true.

One of their big talking points (and rightfully so) is that each chip contain 40 percent produce. Yea, like actual food things. Like from nature. That 40 percent is a huge deal. From a visual perspective, these look great. You can see slices of red pepper and jalapeños bedazzled throughout every chip.

More importantly, that 40% leads to some really strong aromas and authentic flavors.

The Better Chip 5

The nosegrope of the Fresh Corn and Sea Salt smells delightfully like real corn. More so than I’ve ever found in packaged chip. The sea salt brings out the bright, clean flavors of the corn nicely. Each chip is heavier and denser that your average corn chip, and that, coupled with the straightforward taste, makes this a fantastically simple and satisfying effort.

The Red Pepper with Salsa Fresca chips smell strongly of red peppers and chili powder (maybe a little too much chili powder). Each is lightly dusted with a mixture of tomato, bell pepper, onion, and garlic powders, along with some other spices that help to liven up the party, fresca-style (ain’t no party like a fresca party). The salsa flavors are far superior to the recent rash of tomato and pepper-based chip varieties being trotted out by other, more mainstream chips.

The Better Chip 2

The nosegrope of the Jalapeño with Sea Salt chips was the strongest. It was green and peppery and in your face. With these, the jalapeños do all of the work. You can see them in each chip and you can taste them. There is nothing in these to muddy up the jalapeñosity (drop that at your next fresca party). Being a spice-wuss, I like the level of heat they brought as well. Assertive but enjoyable.

The Better Chip 3

The Sweet Onion and White Cheddar chips were my favorite. Again, simple and straightforward. The creamy cheese powder (which tasted like cheese) pairs nicely with the sweetness of the onion. The powder coats the mouth and welcomes the onion as it is crunched into being. Very balanced.

The Better Chip 4

These chips are great. It’s nice to read a flavor on a chip package and have the product inside actually taste like that flavor. Not an approximation. Not a food lab recreation. An actual, found-in-nature flavor. All it takes is the right combination of ingredients and some company men willing to get out of the way.

And if Rookie of the Year has taught us anything, it’s that a good combination… it’s that not getting out of the way…hmmm…it’s that when you miss a fly ball and break your arm…
Ok. That’s a dumb movie.

(Editor’s Note/Disclaimer – Steve received free The Better Chip samples from the PR firm that represents the company. We received no compensation for this review. Well, Steve got free chips, along with the tote bag and t-shirt, but the swag had no influence on his review. To be honest, I hate when companies send t-shirts because I never want to wear them. Yes, I’m a t-shirt snob.)

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bag (28g) – Fresh Corn and Sea Salt – 130 calories, 6 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Red Pepper and Salsa Fresco – 130 calories, 6 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 115 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Jalapeno and Sea Salt – 130 calories, 6 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Sweet Onion and White Cheddar – 130 calories, 6 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Other The Better Chip reviews:
The Cheap Gourmet
Delightfully Gluten Free

Item: The Better Chip All Natural Tortilla Chips (Fresh Corn and Sea Salt, Red Pepper and Salsa Fresca, Jalapeno and Sea Salt, and Sweet Onion and White Cheddar)
Price: FREE 
Size: 1 ounce
Purchased at: Received for free from The Better Chip
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Fresh Corn and Sea Salt)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Red Pepper and Salsa Fresca)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Jalapeno and Sea Salt)
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Sweet Onion and White Cheddar)
Pros: All natural. Bedazzling. Produce. Fresca parties. Thomas Ian Nicholas. Non-GMO.
Cons: Limited local availability. Eating flies. Gary Busey.

ANNOUNCEMENT: New Impulsive Buy Reviewer Steve

Greetings snacklings,

I am Steve, Head Wordsmith and Chief Executive Office in Charge of Snack Procurement over at Food Junk. I will be stopping by occasionally to share my opinions and knowledge on a variety of food products. And just like Mr. Wendall, all I ask in exchange for the knowledge I give you, is that you buy me some shoes.

I also hope to share a pleasant variety of pop cultural references to things you may have missed (Marblehead Manor) or just haven’t thought about in a while (Suburban Commando), what with your fulfilling job, meaningful relationships, and enjoyable leisure activities.

Feel free to disagree with any and every thing I write, because, you know what they say about opinions: They make an ass out of Uma Thurman.

But be forewarned, if you do take issue with anything I say, your name will be logged and when the zombie uprising inevitably occurs, you will be barred from the prison/farmhouse/school I will have taken over through an awe-inspiring blend of Machiavellian tactics and sheer brute force, and you will be forced to wander on your own, barely surviving the horrors of each new day, until you are eventually destroyed by the relentless undead or devoured by a roving pack of bloodthirsty cannibals.

Just saying.

Also, I like puppies.

NEWS: After Years of Making Other Coffees Taste Better, International Delight Finally Offers Their Own Coffee

International Delight Iced Coffee on shelf/center>

Update: Click here to read our International Delight Iced Coffee review

Since I’m not a regular coffee drinker, I don’t follow what International Delight Coffee Creamer puts out. Actually, to be honest, before I did research for this post, I was confused between International Delight and General Foods International. But I learned one produces creamer, while the other produces coffee.

Oh wait, that’s no longer the case because International Delight is now offering ready-to-drink iced coffee, which is made using 100 percent premium Arabica coffee and comes in three flavors – Mocha, Vanilla, and Original.

So no longer do you have to walk into a Starbucks, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Dunkin’ Donuts, or independent coffeehouse to pick up an iced coffee. Instead, you can walk up to your fridge, take out the half-gallon carton of International Delight’s Iced Coffee, and pour yourself a glass…or drink it straight out of the carton.

A cup serving of International Delight’s Iced Coffee has 150 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 23 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein. A half-gallon of International Delights Iced Coffee has a suggested retail price of $3.99.