SPOTTED ON SHELVES (CANADIAN EDITION) – 10/31/2012

Yup, it’s a Canadian version of Spotted on Shelves. Here are some new and limited edition products found on Canadian store shelves by TIB reader Darren. All products were spotted at his local Calgary Co-op.

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tarts (Canada)

Holy Canadians! They’re only now getting Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tarts! If I knew they didn’t have them earlier and lived near the US-Canada border, I would’ve smuggled them into the country and traded them for cheap generic Canadian pharmaceuticals or maple syrup. But now that Canada has them, that plan goes out the window.

Limited Edition Fudge Covered Ritz (Canada)

I’ve seen these for several years in the US and I imagine they’ve also been in Canada for a while. They keep coming back, so people must like them. But me, I don’t think they’re anything special. Here’s a review from Junk Food Guy. Or if you want a review from a Canadian, here’s one.

Campbell's Stock First (Canada)

Cans are so 2000-and-late. It’s all about boxes, baby. Along with this beef stock, there are also chicken and cream stocks to allow Canadian to use their culinary creativity or follow the recipes on Campbell’s Canadian website. They contain no additional colours or flavours. They also sound better than bouillon cubes.

Ahoy! Extras (Canada)

Along with the Classic Dark Chocolate you see above, these Ahoy! Extras are also available in Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter and Roasted Almond and Chocolate. They appear to be pudgy little cookies with their respective “extras” baked in. I could see myself accidentally eating a bag of these in one sitting. Or “accidentally” stealing it from someone else.

Hey, international TIB readers! If you see a new product on the shelf while you’re out shopping, snap a picture of it, and send us an email (theimpulsivebuy@gmail.com) with where you found it and “Spotted” in the subject line. If you do so, you might see your picture in our next international Spotted on Shelves post.

REVIEW: McDonald’s McCafé Egg Nog Shake

McDonald's Egg Nog Shake

According to the internets, the McDonald’s McCafé Egg Nog Shake has been around for a few years, but only available in certain regions. This year, McDonald’s decided to let more people experience the wonder and delight of their holiday dairy beverage-flavored shake.

But why did McDonald’s take so long?

Instead of enjoying a McDonald’s Egg Nog Shake during the holidays, I’ve had to tolerate the McDonald’s Arctic Orange Shake, which is no egg nog shake or The Grimace Shake, a purple shake I really want McDonald’s to develop.

Sure, I could’ve gone to Jack in the Box and had their egg nog shake, but I’m boycotting Jack in the Box shakes until they bring back their bacon shake for an unlimited time.

It’s hard to tell in my overexposed photo, but McDonald’s McCafé Egg Nog Shake comes in a pastel yellow color usually found on Easter eggs, Post-It Notes, or on nursery walls belonging to infants whose parents wanted to wait until the child’s birth to find out its sex.

There’s not really anything wrong with its color. However, it’s an exaggerated egg nog color that had me expecting the McDonald’s McCafé Egg Nog Shake to have an exaggerated, maybe artificial, egg nog flavor.

Thankfully, the combination of reduced fat soft serve and egg nog-flavored syrup tasted exactly like the thick holiday dairy beverage I drink to my fill to celebrate the arrival of the fall season. And when I say, “drink to my fill,” I mean one glass, because that amount of the thick beverage makes my stomach feel like it ate a meal. Fortunately, the egg nog shake doesn’t make me feel that way.

The McDonald’s McCafé Egg Nog Shake was delightful. It was eggy, sweet, and creamy, although I wished it had more of a cinnamon spice flavor to it. But, still, it was yum on my tongue.

(Nutrition Facts – Small – 540 calories, 150 calories from fat, 17 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 86 grams of carbohydrates, 74 grams of sugar, 0 grams of fiber, 11 grams of protein, 20% vitamin A, and 40% calcium.)

Item: McDonald’s McCafé Egg Nog Shake
Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 12 ounces
Purchased at: McDonald’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Delicious. All the goodness of egg nog. Creamy. Awesome source of calcium. Not as rich as regular egg nog. Whipped topping is durable. Post-It Notes. Better late than never for the McDonald’s Egg Nog Shake.
Cons: One gram of trans fat. Unnecessary Maraschino cherry. Could’ve used a little cinnamon. Worse for you than actual egg nog. Exaggerated egg nog color.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Loaded Breakfast Sandwich

Jack in the Box Loaded Breakfast Sandwich

It’s hard for me to look at the Jack in the Box Loaded Breakfast Sandwich and not think to myself, “My goodness…If only Jack in the Box used pancakes as buns. Because if they did they would’ve taken an entire Lions Club Easter Pancake Breakfast and turned it into a sandwich.”

However, instead of pancakes, Jack’s latest limited time only menu item uses the fast food chain’s signature sourdough bread. Along with Jack’s sourdough, which San Franciscans sneer at, the Loaded Breakfast Sandwich contains two fried eggs, a sausage patty, slices of bacon, a slice of ham, and two slices of American cheese.

Yes, it’s a farm of a sandwich, but it’s not a huge one. With layer upon layer upon layer of pig, chicken, and cow products, it ended up being tall, but not very wide. My mouth wished a beef and/or chicken patty was included to make the sandwich more loaded than a Jersey Shore cast member on a Friday night. However, my heart disagreed because it would’ve caused the sandwich to have a sodium content equal to a mouthful of sea water.

Actually, I’m not sure how much sodium is in a mouthful of sea water, because I’m not René Quinton or inclined to find out.

Jack in the Box Loaded Breakfast Sandwich Innards

What I do know is that the Jack in the Box Loaded Breakfast Sandwich, nutrition-wise, is a bit more ultimate than Jack’s Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich, which has two fried eggs, two slices of American cheese, two slices of ham, and two slices of bacon on a sesame seed bun. The loaded sandwich has about 200 more calories, almost twice the fat, two-thirds more saturated fat, and 100 more milligrams of sodium.

Suck it, Jack in the Box Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich!

While taking my first bite of the sandwich, I didn’t notice the three forms of pork, the greasy sourdough bun, or the orange cheese. The first thing I noticed about the sandwich was how squishy it was. It’s not like squeezing a boob or anything like that, but there was a springiness to it thanks to the spongy fried eggs in the middle of the sandwich.

The second thing I noticed was how much I was enjoying the Jack in the Box Loaded Breakfast Sandwich. It’s a bit salty and my doctor would choke me with his stethoscope in anger and yell, “Oh, you want to make your heart work harder, I’ll make your heart work harder,” if he saw me eating it, but it’s a wonderful savory sandwich.

There’s no sauce to get in the way of the swine and fried developing chicken embryos, so there’s nothing to mask the flavor of the meat and eggs slapped between the two sourdough slices. The eggs were slightly rubbery, but the cooked yolks provided a bit a flavor. None of the pork products overpowered each other, they all created a nice balanced flavor. The American cheese did its usual job of doing absolutely nothing in terms of flavor, while the toasted sourdough provided a little butteriness.

The Loaded Breakfast Sandwich is, by far, the unhealthiest item you can currently order off of the Jack in the Box breakfast menu, but it is soooo tasty. So while it’s around, make like Cookie Monster and say to yourself the Jack in the Box Loaded Breakfast Sandwich is a sometimes food.

(Nutrition Facts – 707 calories, 47 grams of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 517 milligrams of cholesterol, 1691 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 36 grams of protein..)

Other Jack in the Box Loaded Breakfast Sandwich reviews:
So Good Blog

Item: Jack in the Box Loaded Breakfast Sandwich
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Jack in the Box
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: A wonderful savory sandwich. French scientist reference! Made up of pig, chicken, and cow products. More ultimate than Jack’s Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich. Lions Club Easter Pancake Breakfasts.
Cons: Unhealthiest breakfast item on Jack in the Box’s menu. Cheese provides no flavor. Awesome source of sodium and fat. Greasy. Didn’t use pancakes as sandwich buns.

SPOTTED ON SHELVES – 10/29/2012

Here are some new (and some returning) holiday products found on store shelves by us and your fellow readers. We may or may not review them, but we’d like to let you know what new items are popping up.

Jet-Puffed GhostMallows

WOOOOOO! We’re just colorful ghost-shaped marshmallows, so we’re not at all scary. Although we’re made from sugar and gelatin so we’re scary to dentists and vegans. WOOOOOO! (Spotted at Target. Spotted by Marvo.)

Limited Edition Lucerne Holiday Dairy Beverage

Mmm…store brand holiday dairy beverage However, I’ll probably call them Lucerne Red Velvet Nog and Chocolate Truffle Nog, because my tongue is lazy and it thinks “nog” is an extremely fun word to say. Nog. Nog. Nog. Nog. Nog. Nog. Nog. Nog. Nog. Nog. Nog. (Spotted at Safeway. Spotted by Marvo.)

Coffee-Mate Peppermint Mocha

To get chocolate and peppermint flavor into your coffee you could drop mini Hershey’s bars leftover from Halloween into your coffee and then use a candy cane to stir it. Or I guess you could be lazy and use this Coffee-mate Peppermint Mocha creamer. (Spotted at Target. Spotted by Marvo.)

Seasonal Jello

It’s a wall of randomly stacked Gingerbread and Candy Cane Jello Instant Pudding boxes that I would like to knock down by sliding myself on a freshly waxed floor. (Spotted at Giant. Spotted by Solstice.)

Candy Cane Oreo

Limited Edition Candy Cane Oreo cookies back! And I hope they’re much easier to find than Limited Edition Candy Corn Oreo cookies, which I’ve never seen at my local Target. We reviewed these cookies two years ago. (Spotted at Target. Spotted by Justine.)

If you’re out shopping and see a new product on the shelf (or really unusual), snap a picture of it, and send us an email (theimpulsivebuy@gmail.com) with where you found it and “Spotted” in the subject line. If you do so, you might see your picture in our next Spotted on Shelves post.

REVIEW: Burger King Seasoned Sweet Potato Curly Fries

Burger King Seasoned Sweet Potato Curly Fries

You know what geometric phenomenon doesn’t get enough love these days? The curly object, that’s what. Think about it. Have you ever known something curly that wasn’t also straight up awesome? From Taylor Swift’s curly hair to the always dependable curl route, curly stuff has always been dependable even when it’s not in style.

You know what’s not dependable, though? Burger King’s new Seasoned Sweet Potato Curly Fries. Launched as a limited time only menu item as part of the chain’s 55th birthday bash for the iconic Whopper, the new fries give the corkscrew treatment to the sweet potato fry Burger King originally brought out this summer. They also give the soggy, burnt, and cold treatment to the sweet potato, and mark another “just ok” development in a long history of “just ok” Burger King sides.

So why did I find myself chucking them in my mouth with all the intensity of Garfield letting loose on a hot lasagna? Because sweet potato fries are like pizza, that’s why. At best, they’re the kind of ethereal, salty-sweet-crispy addiction that makes downing hundreds of calories in the time it takes to read this sentence completely acceptable. And at worst, they’re still chock-full of sweet and salty sweet potato flavor that makes downing hundreds of calories in the time it takes to read this sentence moderately acceptable.

As any serious fry eater will tell you, making the perfect fry out of sweet potatoes is hard enough without trying to throw them through a corkscrew. Often soggy or burnt, with interiors that are more creamy that the ideal fluffy, sweet potato fries may taste great, but the texture is always off. It’s the same dilemma with Arby’s Curly Fries. I love the seasoning on Arby’s Curly Fries as much as the next guy, but unlike that always dependable curl route from your tight end to get your team a much needed first down, Arby’s drops the ball half the time when it comes to perfecting the texture of their signature side.

Burger King Seasoned Sweet Potato Curly Fries Closeup 2

It’s the same story at Burger King. I only found one true, slinky-esque Curly Fry in my small order, and met a mixed bag carton of fries that ranged from overcooked and crunchy pieces of fry “burnt ends” to the aforementioned slinky, which while fun to look at, was limp and soggy. I can take limp and soggy, but the cold part was really what bothered me. If I wanted cold sweet potato taste, I could have at least bought a bag of chips, which would have at least been crunchy.

Burger King Seasoned Sweet Potato Curly Fries Closeup 1

Still, like Sbarro pizza, there’s something just intrinsically tasty about it. Perhaps it’s the mere fact that it’s a French Fry made out of sweet potatoes. Obviously they’re naturally sweet and a bit earthy, but it’s the addition of a kind of raw sugar seasoning that allows for snacking on the fries plain to be particularly addicting. This is a good thing, because it took me all of three seconds to reaffirm my belief that ketchup and sweet potatoes just don’t mix.

Burger King Seasoned Sweet Potato Curly Fries Front

If anything, I’d say the fries were a bit undersalted. Also, I’m scratching my head trying to figure out if their was some kind of cinnamon addition to the seasoning. I could have sworn I tasted the classic sweet potato sidekick on some of the fries, but a scan of the ingredient list via the BK website shows no signs. Not cool, Burger King. Sweet potatoes and cinnamon need each other.

Burger King could have done a lot worse with their Seasoned Sweet Potato Curly Fries. Like, they could have made regular curly fries, which probably just would have sucked because of a lack of Arby’s signature seasoning. Still, with more and more fast food and fast casual restaurants going orange on us, you can do a lot better if you’re really looking for that salty-sweet mix.

(Nutrition Facts – Small size – 170 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 380 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Burger King Seasoned Sweet Potato Curly Fries
Purchased Price: $1.89
Size: Small
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Addictive sweet potato taste. Not greasy. Has a salty-sweet vibe working. Probably the healthiest fry in fast food (just 170 calories for a small order)
Cons: Horribly inconsistent texture. Served cold. Seasoning is sporadic and hit or miss. Could use a little more salt. One of the few things on earth that does not go with ketchup. Pricey for a small side.