REVIEW: Burger King Lucky Charms Shake

Burger King Lucky Charms Shake

What have you done with my beloved Lucky Charms cereal, Burger King?

I mean, on paper, the Lucky Charms Shake looks like a great idea because I LOVE Lucky Charms and I like fast food shakes that can’t legally be called “milkshakes.” But its execution makes me want to cause physical harm to The King. And in between each violent blow I want say a word from the following sentence: You made Lucky Charms NOT magically delicious, and while I’m venting and have your attention, fix your damn lettuce.

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From afar it looks like a regular vanilla shake. But a closer look shows specks of colorful marshmallow bits in an ocean of off-white. Also floating in the soft serve are Lucky Charms oat cereal pieces. I guess if the colorful marshmallow bits are the treasure in an ocean of off-white, then the oat cereal pieces are the wreckage of sunken ships.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of wreckage and they’re larger than the marshmallow bits. They’re small enough that they don’t clog the straw and in almost every suck there’s a soggy chunk or two.

Burger King Lucky Charms Shake 4

But no one eats Lucky Charms for the oat pieces. It’s all about THE Lucky Charms.

I want to feel the squish of the marshmallows as I chomp on them. I want them to stick to my teeth. I want them to make me see rainbows and yell, “I’M GOING LOCO FOR LUCKY CHARMS!”

But I don’t get any of that.

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Those specks of color give the appearance of marshmallows, but adds nothing in term of flavor or texture. So the best part of Lucky Charms cereal isn’t highlighted in this legally not a milkshake.

Even though it’s made with a “marshmallow cereal flavored syrup,” it doesn’t remind me of the colorful Lucky Charms. Maybe the soft serve’s flavor muddles it, after all vanilla and marshmallow can have similar flavor profiles.

I wish it was topped with more marshmallows and a rainbow-colored straw would’ve been a nice touch. The former would’ve helped make the shake less soggy oats heavy, and the latter would’ve helped bring a smile to my face.

Soggy Oats Cereal Shake has a nice ring to its name, but that’s not what I want with this Lucky Charms Shake.

(Nutrition Facts – 740 calories, 17 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 580 milligrams of sodium, 129 grams of carbohydrates, 107 grams of sugar, and 17 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.99*
Size: 16 oz.
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Cereal pieces don’t clog up straw. Lucky Charms cereal. Okay when there weren’t oat pieces.
Cons: From afar it looks like a vanilla shake. It’s the Soggy Oats Cereal Shake. Marshmallow bits don’t add flavor or texture. Violence directed at fast food mascots.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.

REVIEW: Keebler Limited Batch Strawberry Cheesecake Fudge Stripes Cookies

Keebler Limited Batch Strawberry Cheesecake Fudge Stripes Cookies

This is the tragedy of Keebler’s Fudge Stripes cookies – adulthood steals your ability to wear them as a ring.

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As a girl, I delighted in prancing around in pretend evening gowns with a rock of a Fudge Stripe on my finger. Of course, it was far too ostentatious and impractical, so I nibbled around the edges to reduce it to a more modest size.

Inevitably, it would crack and fall apart in the process, so I would have to eat it and start all over again. Now my fully-grown fingers are too thick to sport the beloved shortbread & frosting jewelry of my youth. My FS consumption dropped off considerably.

Then Keebler started wooing me back with “Limited Batch” flavors. Peppermint. Red Velvet. Birthday Cake. Cinnamon Roll. Lemon Cream Pie. I loved them all. I was still a little sore about the ring thing, but I was definitely back in the fold.

Hence, I’d already written this review in my head when I lifted the package of Strawberry Cheesecake Fudge Stripes from the grocery shelves. 9 out of 10! How could I NOT love them?

Keebler Limited Batch Strawberry Cheesecake Fudge Stripes Cookies 3

When I opened the package, I was greeted by the rosy pink color of the base cookie and a strong scent of tangy cheesecake. I wasn’t getting strawberry, however. No worries, I was sure the taste would make up for it.

On first bite, my expected explosion of Frankenberry-ish fake strawberry didn’t materialize. The cheesecake frosting flavor was good despite being a hair more acidic than most cheesecake flavored items. The strawberry shortbread apparently called in sick today, however. Instead of a fruity delight, it tasted more like eating a flour-flavored cookie with a chemical aftertaste. It’s surprising since the last two Fudge Stripes flavor releases, Lemon Cream Pie and Cinnamon Roll, were spot-on with flavor tone and intensity.

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This may be the only time in my life I’ve said this, but I’m probably not going to finish this package of Fudge Stripes. Every bite screams “not worth the calories.” They’re a fail for me.

But Keebler, how ‘bout an adult-finger-size Fudge Stripes release? Eh? Eh?

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, calories from fat (not listed), 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 10g total sugars incl. 9g added sugars and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 11.5 oz. package
Purchased at: ShopRite
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Great color and tasty cheesecake frosting.
Cons: “Knock knock.” “Who’s there?” “Not strawberry.”

REVIEW: Thomas’ Limited Edition S’mores English Muffins

Thomas Limited Edition S mores English Muffins

As someone who works in the marketing department of an organization that has only discovered social media within the last year, I tend to feel an affinity with Thomas’ English muffins. For years, these guys had one shtick: nooks and crannies.

If sharing the same marketing platform as a dilapidated four bedroom Tudor didn’t do it for you, you’re not alone. In fact, I’m pretty sure the only reason people tolerate English muffins is because they’re the breakfast equivalent of chips. It’s all about the toppings —- I lean toward the classic cream cheese —- and that delightful round shape.

Well, no more. The new s’mores flavor joins a suddenly marketing-savvy Thomas’ lineup that includes pumpkin spice, salted caramel, and maple french toast. To be honest, each has sounded great, but all have only been okay, undone by a hit-or-miss internal flavor that’s never as pervasive as it should be, and has to be rescued by the spread.

Call me old fashioned, but I have higher expectations for s’mores. In fact, if you call something s’more-flavored, I expect it to taste like a s’more without having to build an actual s’more out of it. Unfortunately, that’s what you have to do to coerce the summertime campfire flavor out of these muffins.

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If you’re the kind of person who eats English muffins both plain and untoasted (in which case, why?) you’ll find these have very little resemblance to a S’mores Pop-Tart much less actual s’mores. The small bursts of cocoa and marshmallow are almost impossible to see without a microscope and almost as difficult to taste.

There is a sort of cocoa flavor that hangs in the background as well as a general honey sweetness, but it’s not discernible as a s’more. A Tootsie Roll? Yes, I can taste that, but not a s’more. To make matters worse, there’s this dough conditioner chewiness thing going on which doesn’t go away unless you toast the muffins well past the point of burnt.

Speaking of toasting, I tested the muffins on a light and a moderate setting and found the graham flavor decreased each time. Granted, there’s not much to begin with, but on a moderate setting the muffins taste like a honey whole wheat English muffin. And because there’s no actual chocolate chips, toasting doesn’t reveal any melty chocolate.

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Ultimately, when I spread the muffins with chocolate marshmallow frosting, they tasted moderately like a s’more. This was anticlimactic though, because I’d already licked some frosting with my finger, which also kind of tasted like a s’more.

Thomas’ S’mores English Muffins are only available for a limited time, which is probably a good thing, because you don’t need mediocre s’mores ruining your life. You also don’t need mediocre English muffins, which is what these are when you take away the chocolate marshmallow frosting.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 muffin – 150 calories, 15 calories from fat, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 2 gram of dietary fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 6-pack
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Modest cocoa-flavor hangs in the background. Tastes better than a regular English muffin if you eat it plain. Inevitably signals the coming of peach cobbler English muffins come August.
Cons: Doesn’t taste like a s’more. Very lackluster marshmallow and graham elements. Even worse toasted. Overly doughy chew.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Waffles & Syrup Oreo Cookies

Limited Edition Waffles  Syrup Oreo Cookies

Maple syrup seems to be having a moment. There were those Mystery Peeps that were my favorite of the three. It’s also a highlight of one of those new Signature Crafted Recipes from McDonald’s.

Now, Oreo has jumped aboard the syrup wagon and ventured into breakfast with their newest flavor, Waffles & Syrup. With the number of Oreo flavors debuting recently I hope that doesn’t mean either entity has reached their popularity now that they have joined forces.

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The cookie has the familiar Golden ones as the sandwich pieces with most of the usual white cream for the interior. What sets this one apart is the dollop of brown tinted cream right in the middle of the cream filling.

Cracking open the package I immediately got a whiff of a graham/honey smell like ordinary graham crackers. Since I knew these were syrup flavored I could kind of smell the maple in there but if I didn’t know that was the flavor then I probably would have never ever guessed it. Not a good sign of what’s to come.

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My first few bites just reminded me of regular Golden Oreo cookies. The maple flavor comes in a little bit towards the end, however, it was faint and, again, would have never picked up on it on my own.

Honestly, as I got through my first full cookie, I was kind of disappointed. I tried the components on their own but it didn’t help. These just tasted like Golden Oreos that someone in the factory accidentally let too much sugar fall in the mixer.

You are probably wondering where the waffles in the name comes into play?

I’m still pondering that actually. Were there any butter notes? Not really. A fluffy but crunchy nature to chewing? Nope. As you can see on the outside, they couldn’t even make the cookies indented with squares as that would at least make them look like waffle pieces!

After having a few more cookies, desperately seeking waffle flavor, I decided to succumb to the fact that it wasn’t there and that these were just okay. Other Oreo cookies I usually like coming back to over and over again but these were so cloyingly sweet, I didn’t really have the desire.

Maybe someone can offer up Waffles & Syrup for the new Oreo flavor contest that was just announced. There’s definitely room for improvement here.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 150 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: 10.7 oz.
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Nabisco venturing out of desserts and into the breakfast realm. Subtle hints of Maple.
Cons: Just a super-sweet Golden Oreo. Maple syrup and/or Oreo cookies potentially going downhill after this union. Waffle references that seem to be in name only.

REVIEW: Nestle Butterfinger Limited Edition Smokin’ Hot Peanut Butter Cups

Nestle Butterfinger Limited Edition Smokin Hot Peanut Butter Cups

“Spicy” candy bars aren’t exactly a new concept.

In fact, jalapeño and chipotle pepper-flavored chocolates have been around for years, with prestige choco-preneurs like Lindt, Theo, and Taza among the companies pumping out sweet-and-hot fusion treats. Heck, just last year, M&M’s even got in on the action with their L-T-O Chili Nut variation.

The thing is, such products are unlikely to ever be mainstream hits. There are people who love chocolate and there are people who love spicy foods, but there probably aren’t that many people out there who enjoy both concurrently. In a way, “spicy chocolate” is kind of like the reverse Reese’s cup – instead of two distinct tastes harmoniously merging, it represents two distinct tastes waging guerilla warfare on your tongue.

In that, I’m not really sure there is a target audience for something like the “Smoking’ Hot” Butterfinger Cups. It’s not that the product is bad, per se, it’s just that it feels so…uneventful.

Nestle Butterfinger Limited Edition Smokin Hot Peanut Butter Cups 3

For starters, calling the cups “smokin’ hot” is a huge misnomer. While the cups do indeed have a palpable paprika aftertaste, the overall effect is so mild that you barely get a tingle on your tastebuds. It actually took me a good five seconds before I realized the cups even had the slightest tinge of spiciness. With a delayed gustatory impact like that, you really can’t even use these things for pranks; by the time your unknowing “victim” realizes he or she has fallen for the old switcheroo, they’re likely to finish the whole cup – that is, if they notice the meager paprika kick at all.

Nestle Butterfinger Limited Edition Smokin Hot Peanut Butter Cups 2

But the lack of spiciness might not be the offering’s biggest core problem. I suppose with a product like this, comparisons to that other, older, and more famous line of peanut butter cups are unavoidable. Although these cups do have a noticeable, traditional Butterfinger taste, the texture seems a bit off. It’s crunchy, but not as crunchy as the standard issue candy bar.

Ultimately, you wind up with a product that tastes more like Reese’s than Butterfinger, which – depending on your perspective – may be a positive or a negative. Alas, considering the word “Butterfinger” is on the packaging, I’m assuming manufacturer Nestle might be leaning more towards the latter than the former.

So what consumer itch are these things supposed to be scratching, precisely? Even if you’re one of the few odd ducks out there who dig spicy chocolates, the cups are probably too mild for your liking, and if you’re just a regular old chocoholic, you’ll probably consider the “spicy” kick either superfluous or flat-out off-putting.

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Some ideas never should’ve made it past the drawing board. And unfortunately, Nestle’s latest L-T-O novelty is one of those marketing misfires that definitely deserves its lukewarm consumer reaction.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – 120 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 60 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 11 grams of sugar and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 4-pack
Purchased at: Kangaroo
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: The chocolate is pretty tasty. The cups have a semi-noticeable Butterfinger taste. The paprika flavor is unlikely to irritate your sinuses.
Cons: The product isn’t really spicy – at all. It tastes way more like a Reese’s cup than a Butterfinger bar. Realizing it’s only a matter of time until someone releases a spicy guacamole iteration of Almond Joy … or Tabasco Sauce Pop-Tarts.