New year, new Limited Edition Lean Pocket.
I’ve reviewed a lot of Hot Pockets and Lean Pockets on this site… and I’ve realized that there comes a point when every Hot Pocket starts to taste the same. It could be because I’ve burned my mouth so many times eating these things that I’ve lost my sense of taste, but I think it goes deeper than that.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s clear that Lean Pockets and Hot Pockets come in a wide variety of flavors, and Hot/Lean Pocket connoisseurs would argue that each Hot/Lean Pocket is its own unique creation, like a snowflake… or a TSA patdown.
But let’s get real here.
There’s very little you can do to mess this thing up (see my previous entry on the Limited Edition Four Cheese Garlic Pasta Bake Hot Pocket for examples of how this could be done) – it’s a toasted crust stuffed with meat, sauce, cheese and/or veggies. Culinary Rocket Science, it’s not. The result is that there’s never much to explore or even to improve upon with this fairly simple microwaveable sandwich, and the new Limited Edition Chicken Carbonara Lean Pocket does little to dissuade me of this notion.
The Limited Edition Chicken Carbonara Lean Pocket has a decent flavor but has little to distinguish itself from all the other Lean Pockets in the freezer aisle. It’s crispy, gooey, savory and piping hot just like a Lean Pocket should be. But the only thing making this Limited Edition Lean Pocket different from its toasty brethren is the inclusion of those tiny mushy globules we call peas. Did you know that carbonara sauce is a mixture of eggs, cheese, bacon and black pepper… and has nothing to do with peas?
Peas may populate carbonara dishes the world over now, but back in the day when carbonara was created (like in WWII or something), it was all about the eggs and bacon. Lean Pockets don’t care. Lean Pockets is all, “We’ve got your cured bacon, your Italian spices, and your parmesan cream sauce with peas, so dig in, you crazy carbonara lovers!” I don’t hate peas or anything, but you can’t depend on peas. We learned that in WWII.
Anyway, this thing also has mozzarella and grilled white meat chicken to accompany the bacon, peas and parmesan cream sauce. The chicken is okay, but the bacon is really the major selling point here. I don’t think that anyone can argue against the presence of bacon in this Lean Pocket. What’s better is that the bacon chunks seem to be evenly spread throughout the sandwich along with the parmesan cream sauce, creating a delicious mélange of savory flavors from end to end. As for the Italian style herb crust, it’s warm and crispy and good. No complaints here.
The Limited Edition Chicken Carbonara Lean Pockets aren’t all that different from some of the other Lean Pockets out there, especially those from the Culinary Creations line, which seem to specialize in seasoned crusts. If someone who hasn’t eaten nearly EVERY SINGLE Lean Pocket or Hot Pocket on the planet were to sample this new Chicken Carbonara Lean Pocket, they would probably delight in what they’d think is its amazingly unique flavor and composition.
I can’t, however.
My enthusiasm for this Lean Pocket is as dead as the skin on the roof of my mouth now.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 sandwich – 260 calories, 7 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 540 milligrams of sodium, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, 9 grams of protein, 4% vitamin A, 15% calcium, and 10% iron.)
Item: Lean Pockets Limited Edition Chicken Carbonara
Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 2 sandwiches
Purchased at: Vons
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Eternally hot. Creamy sauce. Delicious chunks of cured bacon. Crispy seasoned crust.
Cons: You can’t depend on peas. Mouth burns. Mid-century global conflicts. Lean Pockets don’t care.