REVIEW: Polar Unicorn Kisses Seltzer

Polar Unicorn Kisses Seltzer

When I was a kid, I often remember visiting a drive-thru wild animal park with my parents. Aside from the fact that the monkeys would wildly flail about while removing the piping from our minivan’s windows, it was a great place to go to take in the wonders of the savannah (albeit the Canadian savannah, but I digress).

We’d usually close our trip with a stopover at the petting zoo, my hands full of vending machine pellets ready to feed Larry the Llama and Gary the Goat. My three-year-old self was shocked at the vigor at which the animal’s tongue attacked the food in my hand – an image I still can’t forget. Regrettably, this is my only frame of reference for understanding the concept of “unicorn kisses.”

Thankfully, Polar Seltzer’s Unicorn Kisses is not a bottle of magical glitter pony saliva, but instead an April Fools’ flavor designed to elicit giggles in the grocery aisle. Polar is known for its unorthodox flavors (like eggnog and mint chocolate), but you typically have an idea of what they’ll taste like before you open them. Unicorn Kisses gives you no such advance warning.

Polar Unicorn Kisses Seltzer 2

Prepping for the worst, I set off on a quest to find a bottle. Polar released only 5,000 cases of Unicorn Kisses into the wild, so I had a difficult time finding a store that had any in stock. I felt like Dora the Explorer (minus the anthropomorphic monkey), walking from supermarket to supermarket trying to find a bottle. After what felt like countless days of searching, I finally picked some up at my local Star Market.

Upon opening, I half expected the bottle to explode into rainbows, but instead I was greeted with the scent of green apple and cotton candy. While Polar prides itself on its “all natural” label, this smell was all artificial, like a liquid Jolly Rancher. Based on my nose alone, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to drink a sip, let alone an entire glass, but I queued up “Charlie the Unicorn” for support and dove in.

Polar Unicorn Kisses Seltzer 3

Other blogs have tried to place the flavor of Unicorn Kisses, with suggestions ranging from melon to soap, but the only thing I could taste was candy necklaces. Surprisingly, the flavor wasn’t as pronounced as the smell – it actually took me some time to figure out that this seltzer tasted like penny candy. Because it was so cloyingly sweet, I couldn’t finish a whole glass, leading me to feel like I wasn’t respecting the countless unicorns who worked so hard on this product.

In the end, the takeaways from this review are as follows: Unicorn Kisses is a fun diversion but is gross to drink, and you should stay far, far, far away from Candy Mountain.

(Nutrition Facts – 8 fluid ounces – 0 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 0 milligrams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.29
Size: 1 liter
Purchased at: Star Market
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: Double rainbow. No calories. Revisiting childhood memories. Alliterative animal names.
Cons:Swiper, no swiping.” Llama tongue. Overly sweet and artificial. Vintage candy.

REVIEW: Wrigley’s Hubba Bubba Hot Cocoa Bubble Gum

Wrigley's Hubba Bubba Hot Cocoa Bubble Gum

Do you need something dark colored to put in the Christmas stocking of someone who’s been naughty? You could use coal, but the coal could get onto your hands, which could cause you to leave a fingerprint somewhere, which could lead to the naughty one figuring out it was you who left the coal in his or her stocking.

If you want something less incriminating, might I suggest using a piece of Wrigley’s Hubba Bubba Hot Cocoa Bubble Gum. Actually, you should use several because you’re not gonna want to chew on them.

The 12 pieces are individually wrapped and come in a small coin bank. The gum is also available in 5-piece packs.

The small coin bank is the best part of purchasing this gum (second best is the gum’s soft chew, but those two are it). I can store my loose change in it and when it gets full I can take it to my nearest Coinstar machine and get an Amazon or iTunes gift certificate. This paragraph was not brought to you by Coinstar.

The pieces seem smaller than Hubba Bubba that come in the standard 5-pack. Or maybe I’ve gotten much bigger since the last time I’ve had Hubba Bubba gum. But size doesn’t matter when it comes to ruining someone’s holiday by putting an unpleasant gift into one’s stocking.

Wrigley's Hubba Bubba Hot Cocoa Bubble Gum 2

Since the gum is made with real cocoa, I expected it to taste somewhat like hot cocoa. But to say the gum tastes like hot cocoa would be a lie. To say the gum taste like despair, would be more accurate, hence the reason why it makes a great coal replacement. Its flavor is part Tootsie Roll and part plastic. I hoped after a minute of chewing it would get better, but it didn’t and the flavor became mostly plastic.

At this point, it’s best to spit it out. Or if you really want to punish those who have been naughty, you could dump the chewed piece of gum into their stocking. That’ll teach ‘em a B+ is not an adequate grade.

If I want to chew something for a long time that has chocolate flavor, I’d chew on a Tootsie Roll. If I want a gum that allows me to blow decent bubbles, I would buy regular Hubba Bubba gum because these smaller pieces just don’t cut it. Yes, I could chew two pieces at one time, but having to tolerate their flavor in order to blow bubbles the size of my head isn’t worth it.

I don’t know why companies continue to make chocolate-flavored gum. Over the years, they’ve come out with several, but none have stuck around. Have you heard of Hershey’s Chocolate Bubble Yum Gum. No? I rest my case.

Having chewed a few pieces of Wrigley’s Hubba Bubba Hot Cocoa Gum for this review, I now think my holidays are a bit less brighter and I feel as if I’ve been naughty this year. Thanks, Wrigley!

(Nutrition Facts – 1 piece – 15 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 3 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Wrigley’s Hubba Bubba Hot Cocoa Bubble Gum
Purchased Price: $3.99*
Size: 12 pieces
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: Soft chew. Coin bank the gum comes in. Constar. This pro was not brought to you by Coinstar.
Cons: At first it taste like Tootsie Rolls and plastic. After a minute or two it tastes mostly like plastic. Pieces are smaller than regular Hubba Bubba. Hard to make large bubbles with it.

*Had to buy it on eBay because I couldn’t find it locally. So it’ll most definitely be cheaper if you find it in stores.

REVIEW: Angie’s Hot Cocoa Marshmallow Kettle Corn

Angie’s Holidrizzle Hot Cocoa Marshmallow Kettle Corn

Every time I see a bag of Angie’s kettle corn with the words “BOOM CHICKA POP” in gigantic type, 70’s porn music pops into my head. Why? Because “bow chicka wow wow” is like the emoji for porn movie music.

But I did not buy Angie’s Holidrizzle Hot Cocoa Marshmallow Kettle Corn because of the porn music bumpin’ in my head. I bought it because there hasn’t been an Angie’s Holidrizzle flavor that’s disappointed me, and I thought this flavor would continue that streak.

And you’ve probably figured out that by ending the previous paragraph with that sentence, I’ve pretty much told you I did not care for this hot cocoa and marshmallow-flavored kettle corn.

Opening the bag brings out a pleasant Cracker Jack—like aroma, but one opened bag and two minutes later I asked myself, “Where did Angie’s go wrong?”

The front of the bag says, “contains nothing but ingredients you’ll love.” Cane sugar…love. Popcorn…love. Sunflower oil…like. Palm kernel oil…like. Nonfat dry milk…like. Cocoa powder…love. Sea salt…love. Natural flavors…not sure what they are. Soy lecithin…I could go either way.

So I love most of its ingredients, but I don’t love its flavor. It just doesn’t taste right. It doesn’t come close to tasting anything like hot cocoa and marshmallows. At times, there’s a flavor that reminds me of toffee. But at other times, there’s a flavor that I would describe as sweet plastic. Maybe the kettle corn’s flavor is an abstract interpretation of hot cocoa and marshmallows, and the sweet plasticiness represents the marshmallow and its pliability.

Angie’s Holidrizzle Hot Cocoa Marshmallow Kettle Corn 2

Where does this sweet plastic flavor come from? My guess is that I should be blaming the chocolate drizzle, which fortunately wasn’t liberally drizzled over the kettle corn. But once the chocolate drizzle melts away, it tastes like standard kettle corn.

Angie’s Holidrizzle Hot Cocoa Marshmallow Kettle Corn isn’t gross enough to make me throw away four-fifths of the bag, go back to Target to demand my money back, or use it as coal in a Christmas stocking to punish the naughty. After all, I did end up finishing the bag, albeit slowly. But out of all the new hot cocoa-flavored products I’ve tried this year, this has got to be my least favorite.

(Nutrition Facts – 1.5 cups – 140 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 3.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Angie’s Hot Cocoa Marshmallow Kettle Corn
Purchased Price: $3.29
Size: 4.5 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: Not totally gross. Least favorite hot cocoa-flavored product I’ve tried this season. Contains ingredients that I love.
Cons: Doesn’t taste like hot cocoa and marshmallows. At times it has a sweet plastic flavor. Having 70’s porn music pop up in my head every time I see a bag of Angie’s popcorn.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Kale & Feta More-Ning McWrap (Canada)

McDonald's Kale & Feta More-Ning McWrap

Over the last few weeks, an overwhelming amount of attention has been paid to McDonald’s breakfast menu — specifically, to the Golden Arches finally ceding to popular demand and serving that menu all day.

Sadly, despite being bombarded with news articles and ads, we don’t get to partake in your newfangled “all day breakfast” up here in Canada. So I had to suffer the indignity of leaving the house before 10:00 AM. On a weekend. Like a farmer.

I think the first thing I have to note is that the name of these wraps just does not make sense at all. More-Ning? What does that even mean? What’s a Ning? Why would I want more of it? I guess it’s supposed to be a pun? Apparently someone at McDonald’s didn’t get the memo that puns are supposed to make sense.

Inscrutable wordplay aside, McDonald’s has introduced two breakfast wraps: Sausage & Hash Brown, and Kale & Feta.

I went with the Kale & Feta, which consists of scrambled eggs, feta cheese, baby kale, and a few slices of tomato, all wrapped up in a whole wheat tortilla. That’s it. No sauce, no seasoning — it’s literally just those four ingredients (mostly kale) crammed into a dry tortilla.

This was especially off-putting in the first few bites, which consisted entirely of plain kale and tortilla; it was surprisingly horrifying. There are some vegetables that can be eaten on their own without any dressing or accompaniment; kale is not one of them.

Things improved somewhat once I got to the other three ingredients at the centre of the wrap… but not by much.

There’s something missing here; it doesn’t taste good. It’s not the quality of the ingredients, which were fine. The scrambled eggs were a little dry and way underseasoned, but they were decent enough. And they were downright gourmet when you compare them to the rubbery yellow slabs of sadness that they pass off as eggs at some other fast food joints (Tim Hortons, I’m looking squarely in your direction).

The kale and tomatoes were both reasonably fresh, and the crumbled feta gives the wrap a bit of a salty kick, trying valiantly bring some flavour and personality — an uphill battle that it just can’t win.

McDonald's Kale & Feta More-Ning McWrap 2

It’s odd; though the ingredients are all okay, they don’t taste particularly good in this configuration. I’m gonna be blunt: this thing tastes like you went dumpster diving at a health food store and then crammed a few ingredients at random into a tortilla.

What this wrap really needs is something — anything — to lubricate things and provide some flavour. Maybe if the kale had been tossed in a vinaigrette, or if it had been cooked, then this wrap could have been half-way edible. But here — raw, undressed, and abundant — it was a bit of an endurance test.

I actually really enjoyed McDonald’s last foray into the world of kale, the I’m Greek-ing Out salad (which also had the benefit of being named with a pun that actually made sense), so I’m not inherently biased against kale at McDonald’s.

But though that salad was ostensibly healthy, it had enough dressing and other tasty bits to remind you that you were at McDonald’s, and not the cafeteria at your local gym. The Kale & Feta McWrap, on the other hand, tastes like health food through-and-through. It’s tastes like the type of health food that gives health food a bad name.

It might just be the worst thing I’ve ever had from McDonald’s — and I tried the McOnion Bits.

(Nutrition Facts – 400 calories, 19 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0.4 grams of trans fat, 420 milligrams of cholesterol, 840 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fibre, 3 grams of sugar, 21 grams of protein.)

Item: McDonald’s Kale & Feta More-Ning McWrap (Canada)
Purchased Price: $3.99 CAN
Size: N/A
Purchased at: McDonald’s
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: Decent eggs. Fresh veggies.
Cons: Tastes like a health food store dumpster. Ingredients don’t work well together. Dry. Raw kale overload. Desperately needs some kind of dressing. McOnion Bits flashbacks.

QUICK YOGURT REVIEW: Chobani Coffee Blended Greek Yogurt

Chobani Coffee Blended Greek Yogurt

Chobani’s Coffee Blended Greek Yogurt has 160 calories, so this quick review will have exactly 160 words.

I like coffee. I like Greek yogurt. So what could go wrong with coffee-flavored Greek yogurt?

EVERYTHING!

Okay, almost everything. After pulling back the foil lid I smelled a wonderful coffee aroma, like I stepped into a Starbucks, but after that it was all downhill.

At first taste, it’s not a flavor I would immediately assume is coffee. The coffee and tartness of the yogurt hide each other well. There’s a cheese-like aftertaste, but right before that, it tastes like lychee. It’s super weird and it’s freaking out my taste buds.

I think one would have to unconditionally love coffee AND Greek yogurt to say that they loved this. For me, I got through the container without spitting it out or gagging, but that, obviously, is not an endorsement. Before this, I didn’t have a least favorite Chobani flavor, but I do now.

Chobani Coffee Blended Greek Yogurt 2

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 5.3 oz.
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 3 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 160 calories, 25 calories from fat, 2.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 220 milligrams of potassium, 60 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, 12 grams of protein, and 15% calcium.

REVIEW: Skippy P.B. Bites (Pretzel and Double Peanut Butter)

Skippy Pretzel P.B. Bites

When it comes to peanut butter and the pronunciation of animated internet images, I – like all of those choosy moms – always choose Jif. I can’t even remember the last time I had Skippy. In fact, I’m so trained on my Simply Jif; I almost forgot Skippy was even a brand. One might say I skipped…

Nope, this one is not gonna roll with that cornball pun. Let’s get to the review instead.

A couple months back, these popped up in the “Spotted on Shelves” section of this site. A commenter named “JETKITTY” mentioned these reminded him or her of the greatest snack in the history of our time – Planters PB Crisps. Just off that mere mention alone, I made it my life’s mission to track these down. If they were anywhere near the quality of the dearly departed PB Crisps, I would have found the heir apparent to one of my five favorite snacks of all time.

So do they stack up?

Drumroll, please…

No! But they aren’t bad.

Pretzels and peanut butter are a marriage made in heaven. How could these be bad?

The peanut butter coating is creamy and not nearly as synthetic as I anticipated it to taste. I was expecting the fake peanut butter type filling from say a Nutter Butter or a Peanut Butter Oreo, but this is really smooth.

Skippy Pretzel P.B. Bites 3

It’s also a reasonably thick coating, giving each piece a nice balance with the pretzel inside. There’s a brief sweetness to the peanut butter, but once you crunch into the pretzel, it’s gone. That was a tease. Skippy P.B. Bites basically land on the “savory” side of the snack scale. As you eat them, your mouth gets saltier. So if you expect these to be a sugary snack, you might be a bit disappointed.

Peanut butter on its own isn’t exactly “sweet” per se, but I always expect a snack built around it to be really sweet. I needed more of that out of the peanut butter. If it somehow held the brief hint through the entire bite, these would be excellent. All I could think while eating them was how much I’d appreciate a thin layer of chocolate around the outside.

Skippy Pretzel P.B. Bites 2

I dig the shape and “poppability” of the bites. If they sold a bag of pretzels in this shape, I’d snatch them up, because they’d be fun to eat. You’d think by having a pretzel that small and compact, it would be on the hard side, but these have a really palatable crunch.

So while they’re not “Top 5 Dead or Alive” like PB crisps, they’re tasty and worth a buy. Just make sure you get the pretzel flavor, because…

Double Peanut Butter is terrible. While it has the same creamy peanut butter coating, the center has a texture I can barely describe. Once you get past the good peanut butter, you hit a square of hard, gritty chalk-like peanut butter. Have you ever gotten Cookie Dough Bites at the movie theater? Think of the cookie dough inside. Now age that 7 years and give it a considerably worse flavor. That’s what these taste like. The inner peanut butter tastes like a hardened block of sand. Horrible. They shouldn’t exist.

(Nutrition Facts – Pretzel – 15 pieces – 160 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 300 milligrams of sodium, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein. Double Peanut Butter – 10 pieces – 160 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)

Item: Skippy P.B. Bites (Pretzel and Double Peanut Butter)
Purchased Price: $2.98 each
Size: 6 oz. tub
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Pretzel)
Rating: 3 out of 10 (Double Peanut Butter)
Pros: Creamy peanut butter coating. Shape and size. Tasty pretzels. “Poppability.” Any reason to reminisce about PB Crisps. You can reuse the container should you choose.
Cons: Melts very easily. Double Peanut Butter is awful. “Jif” vs. “Gif” battles rages on. RIP PB Crisps.