REVIEW: Planters Roasted Onion & Garlic Dry Roasted Peanuts

Planters Roasted Onion Garlic Dry Roasted Peanuts

Peanuts are an afterthought to me.

A bowl of peanuts on your table is like a glorified piece of decoration, much like tacky wax fruit. It’s saying to us at a party, “Hey I sorta exist too!” as it sits amongst the bowls of potato chips and Chex mixes. They are similar to a forgotten acquaintance you met at a seminar where the relationship went as far as “…remember how drunk we were last night? Awesomesauce.”

I even think my gin martini narrows its eyes and dismisses the bowl of peanuts at the worn bar counter. Its pseudo-Asian cousin, wasabi peas, has taken their place at many watering holes. Peanuts just can’t catch a break.

The point is, I never crave peanuts, pay attention to peanuts, or think about peanuts. They are just “there” like some existential failed puzzle from Myst or a useless +1 cracked sash from Diablo I/II/III (no one counts Hellfire).

Sure I crave peanut brittle, peanut butter cups, and chilled peanut sauced noodles, but peanuts themselves? No. Never. Nein!

However, if Planters had their way they would want someone like me to stand up and notice more than Mr. Peanut’s cool monocle. Planters’ idea is to give all of us more than just the ubiquitous honey roasted variety by granting us a roasted onion and garlic variety. Yay! Planters Roasted Onion and Garlic Dry Roasted Peanuts have finally been conceived in this millennium.

I can’t think of two more common ingredients guaranteed to inject its flavors on whatever it can get its hands on. The flavors just sound complimentary. When you see garlic or onion, you know it’s not going to be subtle. They will come in, kick your chair from under you, hit on your sister, and urinate on the carpet before saying “eff-off” as they slam the door in your face.

…And with both bold flavors together, I was ready for a They Live-style street fight in my mouth combined with the piles of bodies riddled-with-bullets-climax from John Woo’s Hard Boiled.

But no, Jeff.

Instead, I got a complete collection of each crying scene from every Nicholas Sparks movie made. I was as sad as Stephen Rea’s character at the end of The Crying Game.

Planters Roasted Onion Garlic Dry Roasted Peanuts In The Jar

Upon ripping that tedious foil cap, I knew I was in for a mediocre ride to limbo. I could barely smell the onion and garlic, only the roasted peanuts. Hell, the local law enforcement drug dogs probably couldn’t pick up anything but boring old peanuts.

Like a slob, I grabbed a handful and shoveled them into my mouth. Initially, all I could taste was the ghost of scallions before the familiar heavy roast of peanuts plopped down and snuffed it out. There was a strange and unpleasant hint of grass or lawn clippings as well, but that tapered off immediately. It was even more unusual that subsequent mouthfuls lacked any garlic or onion taste at all. Now, the creaminess of the peanuts was still a nice capper but I realized this is probably the only onion and garlic flavored item that actually gets weaker with each bite.

I was annoyed the flavor was barely there. I think people vaporized from a mushroom cloud or a Kaiju attack would make more of an impression. It’s like the impact of shouting some “diss jokes” at a grizzly bear you’re about to fight.

Planters Roasted Onion Garlic Dry Roasted Peanuts Closeup

These peanuts were not only disappointing but have created a paradox. If your intent is to get drunk on the onion and garlic flavors, you’re better off eating a spoonful of powdered garlic salt. However, if you like the taste of ordinary roasted peanuts and all that’s left on the shelf are these, then you can’t go wrong.

Planters peanuts are of good quality and that creamy texture the peanuts bring will satisfy most. There is also just the right amount of salt, which is nice. Yet, with the promise of onions and garlic not being honored, it’s no different than when the person you’ve been lusting after says, “I like you as a friend.”

(Nutrition Facts – about 39 pieces – 160 calories, 14 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 4.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 7 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 milligrams of sodium, 200 milligrams of potassium, 6 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein.)

Item: Planters Roasted Onion & Garlic Dry Roasted Peanuts
Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 16 oz. bottle
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Planters trying something new. Shouting “diss jokes” at an angry bear. Creamy texture of peanuts. Monocles. The right amount of salt. The synth opening to Boy George’s “The Crying Game.”
Cons: Planters trying something new…and failed. Eating lawn clippings. Weak flavor that becomes weaker with each handful. Getting the “I like you as a friend” bullcrap.

REVIEW: Magic Hat Saint Saltan and Ticket to Rye

Magic Hat Saint Saltan

I know you all think the life of a part-time junk food/fast food review writer is incredibly glamorous, but really I’m exactly like you.

I spent my Sunday working through a totally normal checklist. Doing some laundry. Catching up on the last few episodes of Top Chef. Carefully inspecting all the frozen food aisles at ShopRite and harassing the stock boys. (“Do you have the newest flavors of Ben & Jerry’s, and if not do you know when you’ll get them, and if not can I speak to ShopRite’s manager of frozen confectionery products?”)

I couldn’t find a good item to review, so I reacted much as you would to minor inconveniences – I shrugged my shoulders and went looking for my favorite beer.

Luckily, my search for a 6-pack of Magic Hat #9 guided me directly to a solution. Magic Hat has released a spring variety pack that introduces two new brews, the German-styled Saint Saltan and Ticket to Rye, an IPA. And since “I have to drink all this beer for work” is an excuse my girlfriend somehow bought, I’m now able to review these new seasonal products.

I started with the lighter Saint Saltan. It’s a Gose, which is a type of German beer that I’d previously never tried before. A quick Wikipedia search told me to expect saltiness and helped explain the origins of the Saltan name. The beer was a clear golden yellow with a white head and smelled heavily of coriander.

Taste-wise, it was very crisp and refreshing with moderate carbonation. The coriander was again a primary flavor, yet I could definitely taste the sweetness and maltiness from the lemon and wheat flavors, respectively. The saltiness manifested mostly in the after taste, which certainly made the beer more interesting but didn’t spark some divine revelation of a beer-drinking experience.

At 4.6% alcohol by volume, the Saint Saltan goes down very smoothly, almost like a wheat ale. I could imagine myself throwing one or two back on a hot summer evening, but I could just as well imagine the salty flavor losing its appeal very quickly.

Magic Hat Ticket to Rye
Moving on to the second new offering: even the most casual music listeners would recognize “Ticket to Rye” as a play on a song title, but Beatles fans might remember that the phrase was rumored to be the original title of “Ticket to Ride,” with Rye referring to a small town in England. I don’t know which reference Magic Hat intended, though I do know that I intend to come off as both a beer snob AND a music snob in this review.

In any case, Magic Hat’s “Spring Fever Mix” variety pack’s packaging is very much music-themed. Their marketing has always been fun and a little wink-wink, and I loved all the small touches on the box that represent performing equipment and radio buttons.

As for the actual beer, I thought Ticket to Rye was very, very solid. It was a dark amber color with no haze whatsoever in the pouring. As expected from an IPA, it smelled hoppy but also had a nice pine scent with some spiciness from the rye. The first thing I tasted was the spiciness, which was followed with some pine and citrus and maybe a little bit of caramel. The beer was nicely hoppy without being overwhelming so, but I thought it lost carbonation a bit too quickly. Anyone who generally enjoys IPAs would definitely find that this one goes down easy, though at 7.1 percent ABV, you’ll want to take it slow.

I enjoyed both of these new offerings, and along with the old Magic Hat standbys of #9 Not Quite Pale Ale and Pistil Dandelion Beer, they make for an excellent variety pack. These Magic Hat 12-packs were on promotional display at my local ShopRite, so you probably won’t even have to harass the stock boys to find them – go pick one up the next time you’re at the supermarket or liquor store.

Other Magic Hat Saint Saltan reviews:
Behind the Tap
Good Beer Better Hats

Other Magic Hat Ticket to Rye reviews:
Behind the Tap
Good Beer Better Hats

Item: Magic Hat Saint Saltan and Ticket to Rye
Purchased Price: $12.99 (Spring Fever Mix Variety 12-pack)
Size: 12-pack (12 oz. bottles)
Purchased at: ShopRite
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Saint Saltan)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Ticket to Rye)
Pros: Saint Saltan was light and crisp. Nice coriander and lemon flavors with interesting salty after-taste. Ticket to Rye was nicely hoppy with great rye spice, pine, and citrus flavors. Magic Hat marketing and packaging. Top Chef on the DVR. The glamorous part-time junk food/fast food reviewer lifestyle. My girlfriend doesn’t actually mind drinking on Sundays anyway.
Cons: Saint Sultan’s salty aftertaste could lose its appeal quickly. Ticket to Rye lost its carbonation a bit too quickly. Not finding any of the new Ben & Jerry’s flavors. I don’t really know anything about music.

SPOTTED ON SHELVES – 2/27/2013

Here are some interesting new and limited edition products found on store shelves by us and your fellow readers.

Starbucks VIA Refreshers

Decisions. Decisions. Do I buy these Starbucks VIA Refreshers and make them at home? Or do I go my local Starbucks and have that cute barista make a Starbucks Refreshers for me while I admire her beauty with a creepy stare? (Spotted by Marvo at Target.)

Tropicana Farmstand

Yeah! Get one serving of vegetables and one serving of fruit with a cup of Tropicana Farmstand, but then feel inferior when your co-worker comes in with their kale-infused fruit smoothie made with a $500 Vitamix blender. (Spotted by Marvo at Target.)

Pillsbury Orangesicle & Key Lime Cookie Mix

Does the Pillsbury Doughboy do any baking? I believe he does. But if he does bake, and he pulls stuff in and out of an oven, shouldn’t his hands be a golden brown. Unless the Pillsbury Doughboy died a long time ago, after being completely baked, and what we see is his ghost. And when people poke his belly, it’s actually him sucking in his gut and giggling. He has to fake it because if he doesn’t the finger will go right through him and freak everyone out. (Spotted by Linda at Walmart.)

Reese's Eggs Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cup

I would highly suggest not hiding these eggs around your lawn during Easter. Well, unless you “hide” them in the middle of your lawn, where the Easter egg hunters will find them before they completely melt. (Spotted by Steven at Walmart.)

Thank you to all the photo contributors! If you’re out shopping and see an interesting new or limited edition 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 LIGHTNING ROUND (FREEZER AISLE EDITION) – 2/26/2013

Here are some quick reviews of new frozen foods we’re too lazy to write full reviews for:

Weight Watchers Smart Ones Thin Crust Pepperoni Pizza

Item: Weight Watchers Smart Ones Thin Crust Pepperoni Pizza
Purchased Price: $2.39
Size: 4.4 ounces
PointsPlus Value: 8 points
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Better tasting than I thought it would be. Comes with crisping tray. Box turns into cooking platform (Transformers…More than meets the eye!). Crispy crust on the outside. Pepperoni had a nice spice. Good source of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
Cons: Kind of sad looking. Microwave oven preparation only. Most of the crust was so chewy that it gave my jaw a good workout. Bland tomato sauce. Cheese looked dried out. Unless you take gigantic bites, you’re not going to get pepperoni in every bite.

Weight Watchers Smart Ones Turkey Bacon Melt Quesadilla

Item: Weight Watchers Smart Ones Turkey Bacon Melt Quesadilla
Purchased Price: $2.69
Size: 2 pack
PointsPlus Value: 6 points
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Soooo much cheese that even when a lot of it gets lost on crisping tray, there’s still a lot of cheese. Nice smoky, cheesy, and tomato flavor. My goodness there’s a lot of cheese. Never mind fruits, this has 7 grams of fiber. Good source of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
Cons: Lots of cheese end up on the crisping tray. Only filling enough to be part of a complete breakfast. Microwave oven preparation only. Cheese oozes out all over the place.

Weight Watchers Smart Ones Chicken Slider

Item: Weight Watchers Smart Ones Chicken Slider
Purchased Price: $2.69
Size: 2 pack
PointsPlus Value: 5 points
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: They’re sooo adorable! Who’s a wittle one? Yes, you are. Mostly soft, bun. Decent chicken patty thickness. Quick to prepare. Appropriate slider size (2.75 inches in diameter). Good source of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
Cons: Chicken breading didn’t have much flavor or crunch. At times, the chicken patty had a weird unrecognizable flavor. Bun did get hard in some places. Makes me yearn for some White Castle.

Weight Watchers Smart Ones Exclusive Flavor Spicy Chicken Slider

Item: Weight Watchers Smart Ones Exclusive Flavor Spicy Chicken Slider
Purchased Price: $2.69
Size: 2 pack
PointsPlus Value: 5 points
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Soft, but sturdy bun. Mild spiciness at the back end. Not awesome, but a decent tasting snack. Easy to prepare. Good source of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. White Castle has nothing to worry about.
Cons: Some parts of the chicken patty were tougher than others. Microwave only. Breading not at all crunchy. Spicy heat gets lost with the heat coming from the microwaved sandwich. Why do I taste pickles when there are no pickles?

REVIEW: Post Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Honey Crunch

Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Honey Crunch

Honey Bunches of Oats are the sweatpants of the cereal world. The comfy ones that you wore just about every day in college/high school that are now kinda faded and torn and orange from that time you put too much bleach in the washer, and your mom keeps telling you to throw them out, but you never will (“We’ve been through too much together!”).

They’re simple, no-fuss, and as basic as they are beloved, and it was with that in mind that I yoinked this shining blue beacon of Bunches from a Target shelf for review.

For the uninitiated, Honey Bunches of Oats is a blend of flakes and oaty clusters that came to the public consciousness in the prime of the late 80s at a time of big hair, cheap lip balm, and Apple computers.

Since then, variations on the classic have surfaced, some for a limited time, and others, sticking around for permanent residence on store shelves. And it seems Post really wants to put a good run for this Greek Honey blend, which holds tight to the classic flakes while replacing the traditional cluster with a not one, but two yogurt-inspired clusters: one uncoated and one coated in palm oil and powdered Greek yogurt cultures, which sounds like a sea monster from a B-level horror flick…

But all fears of being eaten by powdered cultures are pushed aside as, upon breaking open that nitrogen-infused baggie, it smells of sugar, BHT, and confidence.

Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Honey Crunch Bag

If this were a car show for Honey Bunches of Oats, this would be the pimped up purple sports car with no muffler, chrome rims, and Superman wheels called the Boom Shacka-Lacka.

Whatever those powdered cultures are, they sure do taste good. Although there’s not much of the trademark sour-cream-like tang I find in real Greek yogurt, the clusters, both coated and uncoated, nail a special fake-vanilla-and-honey sweetness. The coating tastes a bit like a less-sweet Oreo frosting, which is certainly nothing to complain about, but it can get overpowering after a while. The clusters themselves are dense and lovable, even if they’re far too sparse and a little small. They somewhat remind me of amoebas.

Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Honey Crunch 2 Clusters

I was tickled to find that some of the coated clusters were smooshed. Smooshed clusters are the cereal embodiment of rebellion: the cluster escapee that somehow snuck through factory inspection and made it in. The more smooshed clusters, the better…which makes me think it’d be cool if Post [or any other cereal company, for that matter] composed a cereal called “Mistakes” in which they put all their conjoined/too big/funky looking/otherwise rejected chunks of cereal in one bucket.

Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Honey Crunch Mucho Cluster

I mean, just look at the towering fella on the left: he’s got personality.

But strongly opinionated product development suggestions aside, the flakes remain true to the classic, tasting more of straight sugar than floral honey, and hold a trademark crisp. For cereal analysts, they’re less dense than the flake you’ll find in Smart Start or even Special K, and are quite similar to the flakes in their main competitor, General Mills Honey Nut Clusters. At times, I would argue these flakes are wimpy (and they really show it when put in milk for more than 1 minute and 48 seconds), but, when dry, they taste of crisp honey-wheat shavings and offer a contrast to the denser granola. It makes it easy to eat a whole bag and provides a roller coaster for your teeth, which fills a niche as there’s really a lack of dental-themed roller coasters. Such a shame.

Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Honey Crunch Bowl

Some days you need to sit on your rump and watch a movie marathon. Other days, you need to whip out the power drill and repair your roof. It is on the latter of these days that you’ll need a breakfast with a lot of energy, and these Honey Bunches have you covered. With 230 calories, 47 grams of carbohydrates, and 13 grams of sugary goodness, you’ll have enough whole-wheat-and-sugar spunk to hammer your roof and probably your neighbor’s as well, so bring out the tool kit and your M.C. Hammer mix tape. It’s hammer time.

On the whole, this cereal’s sweet enough to make an angry raccoon tap dance on the ceiling. For a sweet tooth like mine, that’s a good thing. At the same time, this blend has far too few clusters and lacks the woodsiness provided by the cinnamon/pecans/toasted oats of other bunches that usually sets off that sharp fructose sweetness. I miss that.

But, overall, I have no regrets. Sweetness makes angry raccoons [and me] wanna dance and, at the end of the day, don’t we all need a good dance?

Yes, yes we do. So thank you, Post, for encouraging us to get out and dance.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup/58 g – 230 calories, 30 calories from fat, 3.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 140 milligrams of potassium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 13 grams of sugars, and 5 grams of protein.)

Other Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Honey Crunch reviews:
Option Pitch and Waffle Crisp

Item: Post Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Honey Crunch
Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 15.5 oz. box
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Two types of clusters. Some clusters are smooshed. Yogurt coating tastes close to Oreo frosting. Great for eating dry. Makes angry raccoons dance. Boom Shacka-Lacka. Hammer time.
Cons: Lots of wimpy, crushed flakes. Not enough clusters. Can get too sweet. Holds up poorly in milk. Powdered yogurt cultures eating my brain. A lack of dental-themed roller coasters. Emotional connections to sweatpants.