REVIEW: Thomas’ Limited Edition Bacon Buttermilk Pancake English Muffins

Thomas Limited Edition Bacon Buttermilk Pancake English Muffins

Where does the noble English muffin rank on the breakfast bread hierarchy?

They’re not better than bagels. They definitely can’t compete with a good biscuit. If you wanna get frisky and involve waffles or griddle cakes, forget about it. So what are they better than? Toast? I’d argue some types of toasted bread are better too.

Point is, in order for me to pick the English muffin, it really has to stand out. That’s where our old friend Thomas comes in. Thomas, you cheeky bloke, you’ve gone and done it again.

Cheers to your newest concoction – Bacon Buttermilk Pancake.

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Thomas’ Limited Edition Bacon Buttermilk Pancake English Muffins are only on shelves for six weeks, so by the time you say “Thomas’ Limited Edition Bacon Buttermilk Pancake English Muffins” you’ve already wasted critical time.

While this sounds exciting on paper, it’s my job to tell all you nook-heads and cranniacs whether or not you should add these to your grocery lists while you can.

I’m torn.

My first English muffin was also torn. Could be that I’m just a moron (checks out), but I always have a problem cutting an English muffin into nice equal halves. Why aren’t these fork split, Thomas? But I digress…

I don’t like to over-toast my muffins, so I went with a medium setting. A faint bacon and buttery maple smell wafted out. That was a highlight.

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Once toasted, I used salted butter, but made sure to take a bite of the bare muffin first.

I didn’t really know what I tasted.

The part of the name I paid the least mind to actually came through the most. There is a pancakey mouth feel to the breading, that I assume was from the buttermilk. The texture seems slightly different from a normal English muffin. The nooks and crannies are the same, but the bottom of the muffin seems less coarse, and a bit more – brace yourselves for impact – moist. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, that seedy farina stuff is still all over the bottom of the muffin, and still gets everywhere.

I assumed the maple would be the strongest element, and while it was probably the most prominent flavor, it’s still barely there, and kinda stale.

The ingredients list real maple syrup, but it didn’t taste authentic to me.

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There are little bacon bits, but don’t get too excited because they are “soy-based” “bacon.” I ate one of those separately and got a tiny smoked bacon kick, but there were so few that the flavor got lost overall.

Needless to say, these didn’t knock me over. I would have appreciated it if the fine chaps at Thomas went balls to the wall and dropped a flavor bomb on us, but they kept it subtle. Don’t expect McGriddle cake flavor here. If you make an egg sandwich on one of these muffins, I’m not sure you’d even notice the maple and bacon flavors.

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I will say this; the best part may have been the aftertaste. How often is that the case with a food? After eating it, I was left with a strong buttery flavor, which I believe was from the muffin itself and not the butter I added. It was reminiscent of that scooped glob of whipped butter you get on a short stack at your favorite breakfast spot. I guess that’s the pancake element, which I feel was the most successful part, shockingly.

Like I said, I’m torn. Everyone’s taste buds are different, so I guess give ‘em a shot. You’ve got six weeks. Eat now or forever hold your peace.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 muffin – 160 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 360 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: 6-pack
Purchased at: ShopRite
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Pancakey mouth feel. Slight maple flavor. Great aftertaste. Not much different from a regular Thomas English muffin. Gone in 6 weeks(?)
Cons: Not much flavor overall. Bacon is a no show. Better on paper. Cutting an English muffin is apparently rocket science. Farina on bottom gets everywhere. Gone in 6 weeks(?) “Ewwww, he said moist!!!”

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Pretzel Croissant Breakfast Sandwich

Dunkin Donuts Pretzel Croissant Breakfast Sandwich

Is salt a food?

If it wasn’t such a ridiculous answer to a question literally no one is asking me, I might say salt is my favorite food.

I use way too much salt, admittedly. I once ate a plate of pineapple with salt on it. Why? Why not? My calorie counter has stopped using numbers to log my daily sodium intake, opting to just warn me with a skull emoji.

It’s bad. Soft pretzels are ambrosia to me. Your restaurant promoting a new pretzel bun? I’m in. Salted pizza crust? Hit me. Salted anything sweet? Straight cash, homey. I really need to stop eating so much damn salt.

Ahhhhhh, but I’ll cut back tomorrow. Today is Dunkin’ Donuts Pretzel Croissant Breakfast Sandwich Day, and ain’t no death emoji gon’ stop me.

I’m from New Jersey, so there’s no shortage of good places to get a breakfast sandwich. From diners to bagel places boasting recipes that include the fabled New York tap water, I’ve never really had a reason to opt for Dunkin’ Donuts’ savory fare. I’ve dabbled, but never been too impressed. If I’m feeling fast food breakfast, I’d take a McDonald’s or Burger King over Dunkin’s in a heartbeat.

I think I’m about to change my tune.

This new salted pretzel croissant from Dunkin is so good, I feel inclined to pronounce it “Qua-sahn.” I can’t believe how blown away I was by a $3 sandwich from a donut joint.

It had all the elements of a delicious qua-sahn AND a delicious soft pretzel. The exterior was crispy, but still flakey and soft. While it was flakey and soft, it was still structurally fit to hold a sandwich together.

Dunkin Donuts Pretzel Croissant Breakfast Sandwich 2

It had a subtle buttery taste that reminded me of an Auntie Anne’s mall pretzel. As far as the salt goes, I may have gotten a lucky draw. There was a perfect amount of exterior salt crystals, so I didn’t have to do my usual salt bagel routine and scrape some off with a butter knife. The salt crystals did their job giving me my extra salt boost, while also providing a welcome crunch.

I basically went into this knowing I’d love the croissant, but thought I’d hate the contents of the sandwich itself. Dunkin’s bacon always looked flimsy and gross, and that filet of plastic egg they use never seemed all that palatable either, but I’ve been enlightened.

Dunkin Donuts Pretzel Croissant Breakfast Sandwich 3

The sandwich was supposed to come with black forest ham, but I suspect I got bacon. That looks like bacon, no? It tasted like bacon. Either way, the bacon/ham was flavorful and didn’t chew like pure gristle. The egg patty was standard, but had a nice texture to it, and the melted piece of Wisconsin aged white cheddar brought it all together.

Maybe it was just the pretzel qua-sahn high I was on, but the flavors and textures all married to form a nearly perfect breakfast sandwich. If you’re a savory-sweet fanatic, chasing this with a donut might ruin your afternoon, but it’ll probably make for a fantastic morning.

Look folks, I’ve never been to Paris. I’ve probably never had a gourmet qua-sahn in my life, so this review might seem a bit hyperbolic. That being said, I really think it’ll pleasantly surprise you.

I’ve never been a repeat buyer of a Dunkin savory menu item, but I will be now. Not only was this sandwich awesome, they sell the pretzel croissants separately, so you can probably customize them however you please if you ask nicely. Give it a shot.

(Nutrition Facts – 500 calories, 300 calories from fat, 33 grams of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, 1 grams of trans fat, 200 milligrams of cholesterol, 1270 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 22 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.79
Size: N/A
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Crispy, flakey, buttery, salty, delicious. Egg and bacon/ham weren’t gross. Aged cheddar was a great cheese choice. Dunkin coming through in the savory department.
Cons: Was gone in five bites. Probably not the best start to your day. Sodium addiction. Trolling calorie counting apps.

REVIEW: Spicy Jalapeño Fritos

Spicy Jalapeno Fritos

Long live Fritos.

To misquote the legendary Braveheart, William Wallace:

“They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our FRITOS!”

Now you might be thinking that only the brave of heart would dare try the new Spicy Jalapeño Fritos. Well, let me tell you something, cowardly sirs and madams, you’d be doing yourselves a disservice with that thought process.

When a new flavor of Fritos corn chips hits shelves, I hit the ground running. They might not drop with the frequency of their flashy brother Lay’s, but they’ve kept me quite happy over the years.

So with the assurance that Fritos have always been good to me, I grabbed their “newest” flavor with a ferocity that nearly popped the bag. I put “newest” in quotes because there have been Jalapeño Fritos varieties in the past, but these are new to me.

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After intentionally popping the bag, I was hit with a smell reminiscent of Taco Supreme Doritos. Remember those delicious bad boys?

The corn chips looked standard. They had a light coating of flavor dust, but that was almost undetectable to the naked eye.

The taste was distinctly jalapeño. They’re spicy, but not crazy spicy. I’m not one of those hot sauce aficionados who likes to marathon sweat when I eat, so I can imagine these being pretty tame to all you Spiceboys and Spicegirls. Whether your Taco Bell sauce is Mild or Diablo, I think they pack enough punch for all to enjoy, so spice up your life.

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I got down about half a bag and had to stop, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I can easily get lost in a bag of Fritos and polish it off in one sitting, so having to pace myself didn’t bother me one bit.

As I say that, it would be remiss of me not to mention the fact regular Fritos are super oily. They’re amazing, but they’re so oily there’s almost a layer of moisture on each chip. Despite being addictive, after awhile Fritos usually give me the dreaded agita. Spicy Jalapeño took care of that problem.

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The powdery coating and the spiciness of the jalapeño seemed to neutralize the usual oiliness of Fritos. I’m sure this isn’t actually the case, but I think this also affected the crunch. The bag I bought was perfection.

I’d confidently go on record saying these were the freshest Fritos I’d ever had.

I guess I should try to give you a gauge on the spiciness. I had no clue they even made Flamin’ Hot Fritos, so I unfortunately cannot compare it to those. Taking flavor out of the equation, I would say these were about on par with Spicy Nacho Doritos. I always enjoyed those, but could never eat as many as the originals. That’s where I landed with these.

The aftertaste will actually trick your brain into thinking you just had some Doritos. The good thing is it doesn’t linger very long. I wasn’t feeling any burn a few minutes later.

Again, I’m no Spicehead, so keep that in mind. Sure, I like jalapeño in my burritos, but I don’t get too adventurous beyond that. That’s a perfect level of spice for people like me, but they’re not exactly setting the Scoville Scale ablaze.

I have no problem saying these are my new favorite Fritos. Chili Cheese used to stand alone, but hi ho the derry-o, we have a new leader in the pack. Thankfully there doesn’t seem to be a “Limited Edition” slapped on the bag, so these might be around for good. Get on it.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz. – 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 2grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.69
Size: 9.25 oz. bag
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Great jalapeño flavor. Spot on spice level for me. No usual Frito oiliness. No agita. Ideal crunch. Scoops variety next? These would make for a great walking taco. Spice Girls reunion?!
Cons: Spice bordered on overwhelming after awhile. Powder fingers. My inability to commit to a 10 score. My unawareness to Flamin’ Hot Fritos. Taco Supreme Doritos aren’t on my shelves anymore.

REVIEW: Girl Scout S’mores Sandwich Cookies

Girl Scout S'mores Sandwich Cookies

Call me the s’more connoisseur.

I’ve bought s’mores in stores from shore to shore. Famous to obscure, I’ve explored the s’more tour.

More or less, I’ve put s’mores to the test, and yes, my rhymes ARE poor and in jest. This I confess as you snore unimpressed, I’ll shut up and give you a score and ingest.

You know who I hate? Me.

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You know who I appreciate? Those hard working Girl Scouts. They really know how to get my money, especially when they camp outside of supermarkets. Who would dare say no to America’s second most intimidating Green Berets?

To celebrate 100 years of annoying office colleagues shoving order forms in your face, the Girl Scouts have blessed the world with a new cookie flavor – S’mores.

Unbeknownst to me, there are actually two new S’mores cookies available in select areas. The chocolate covered graham variety wasn’t available when I was pressured into spending twenty dollars, so I went with the sandwich cookie.

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Girl Scout S’mores are described as “a crunchy graham sandwich cookie with creamy chocolate and marshmallowy filling,” so it tackles the three main ingredients of a standard s’more. Does it taste like a standard s’more? Ehhhhh.

The graham actually tasted more along the lines of a thin shortbread to me. Shortbread is probably my least favorite Girl Scout cookie, so I was bummed to be reminded of it.

The smell and taste instantly put me in mind of generic supermarket sandwich cookies. You know the ones that they toss on the top shelf that are two bucks cheaper than Oreo? The cookies there to make Hydrox feel better about itself? Those. They aren’t the worst snack on Earth, but Oreo cookies are at eye level for a reason.

Girl Scout S'mores Sandwich Cookies 4

The marshmallow cream may have had actual marshmallow flavor, but really just tasted like standard white cookie cream. If you’re jonesing for a cheap Golden Oreo with a little bit of chocolate cream thrown in the mix, these are for you. Sadly, the chocolate is also pretty generic.

S’mores are obviously best when hot, so I nuked one of these in the microwave for 25 seconds. The chocolate got nice and melty, and the cookie softened a tad, but that’s about it. The box gives no indication they’re meant to be heated or anything, I just figured I’d give it a try.

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As a whole I wasn’t blown away. It seems that most of the time brands try to emulate a s’more they never really hit the bullseye. Kellogg’s Smorez cereal is pretty good, Oreo made a decent s’mores cookie, and Chips Ahoy tried their best, but it’s never the same as making a messy homemade s’more over a flame.

My fellow s’more connoisseurs will probably be pretty disappointed. Not quite as disappointed as they’d be if I started busting out my bootleg Dr. Seuss rhymes again, but disappointed nonetheless.

I can’t tell you NOT to try these, but you might want to just stick to the old reliables next time Heather from Accounting chases you around with a Girl Scout Cookie order form. Man, she’s pushy. Other people have daughters too, Heather!

Thin Mints are a classic. Samoas are too. Girl Scout S’mores rank near the bottom of the product line. If the chocolate covered graham variety is available to you, spend your Abe Lincoln on those instead and let me know how they are.

Look, the sandwich cookies aren’t awful. They’ll do in a pinch, but compared to other Girl Scout staples they might as well be called “B’ores.” (™ Vin at The Impulsive Buy.)

(Nutrition Facts – 2 Cookies – 150 calories, 7 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of sugar (includes 10 grams of added sugar), and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $5.00
Size: 8.5 oz. box
Purchased at: My Buddy’s House (You know where to get them.)
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Girl Scouts branching out more. A decent albeit unremarkable interpretation of a s’more. 100 years of cookies. Young businesswomen.
Cons: Tastes like a boring Golden Oreo. Marshmallow doesn’t really shine. No heated option. Pushy adult cookie peddlers. My whimsical rhyme schemes.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Strawberry Nut M&M’s

Limited Edition Strawberry Nut M&M's

One of 2016’s biggest snack breakthroughs was the expansion of the Peanut M&M’s line. America voted between three new flavors, with Coffee Nut coming away the victor.

Coffee Nut got my vote, but really enjoyed Honey Nut, and even found Chili Nut to be a decent and novel idea. Coffee Nut has now become a candy rack mainstay, and it looks like Mars isn’t stopping there. Say hello to Strawberry Nut M&M’s.

I found it at my local Rite Aid. I was in there with intentions of buying a greeting card, which is the most tedious shopping experience known to man, so finding a new Peanut M&M’s flavor was a very pleasant surprise.

The store sold only a “Share Size” bag, which reminded me of my crippling loneliness. Hello darkness, my old friend.

I asked the first woman I saw if she would like to split the bag with me and she proceeded to mace me.

Once the sting wore off, I tore the glossy paper bag open and met a waft of that familiar stale, almost peppery chocolate scent you always get from M&M’s. This time, however, there was a nice underlying strawberry smell.

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I’m always fascinated by the color selection when a new M&M’s flavor comes out. With Strawberry Nut you get red for the outside of the strawberry, pink for the inside, and green for the stem. Way to sneak in there, Green. I’m not sure anyone would have felt bad if the stem and leaf of the strawberry weren’t represented in color form, but who knows, people complain about everything these days – present company included. On to the taste!

I’m torn of what I thought of the strawberry flavor here. On one hand, it wasn’t very powerful, so while tossing back a few at a time, it started to taste like I was eating normal Peanut M&M’s. On the other hand, if they did go overboard with the strawberry, it would have been way too sweet and artificial tasting. I guess I’ll never know. I found the strawberry to be quite subtle. It was noticeable, but don’t expect too much.

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I did some surgery on a piece with my teeth to isolate the chocolate because I thought the shell and peanut were masking the strawberry flavor, but even that wasn’t all that strawberry-ey(?).

Still, the flavor was nice. That’s the best I can tell ya. If these were in the running last year, I would have ranked them 3rd, just ahead of Chili Nut. I probably wanted more strawberry, but I love Peanut M&M’s, so it’s hard to complain when something tastes like slightly different Peanut M&M’s.

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So, while these weren’t a grand slam, I commend the fine people at Mars. I appreciate them branching out the peanut line, as Peanut M&M’s are FAR superior than regular ones. Instead of giving us twenty regular M&M’s flavors a year, keep pushing this peanut line.

It’s also great to see Mars dive more and more into the fruit world. I know they made Cherry M&M’s, so here’s hoping Cherry Nut isn’t too far off. As a lover of those chocolate oranges, I’d be all for an Orange Nut. (don’t say “go nuts,” don’t say “go nuts.”) Go Bananas!

Oh, Banana Nut!

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 pack (46 g) – 240 calories, 110 calories from fat, 13 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 25 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 24 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 3.27 oz. bag
Purchased at: Rite Aid
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: The more Peanut M&M’s the better. Strawberry isn’t crazy powerful, but it’s there. M&M fruit flavors. A potential sign of more flavors to come? Gimmie Banana Nut!
Cons: I probably would have picked these third in the new flavor contest. No one to share your Share Size bag with. Limited Edition. Greeting cards are awful. Macing is no laughing matter.