REVIEW: Limited Edition Lay’s Wavy Milk Chocolate Covered Potato Chips with Almond Bits

Limited Edition Lay's Wavy Milk Chocolate Covered Potato Chips with Almond Bits

Are chocolate covered potato chips a snack or dessert? This is a serious life question. Dessert has my vote, although you could certainly make the case for either.

For me, the automatic draw to the Lay’s Wavy Milk Chocolate Covered Potato Chips with Almond Bits was the fact it was covered in chocolate. Sadly, though, that’s the peak of the excitement.

Limited Edition Lay's Wavy Milk Chocolate Covered Potato Chips with Almond Bits 2

There were three major bummers when I opened the bag.

  1. These Lay’s lived up to the classic chip/pretzel stereotype where the bag looks full but in reality it’s not. This one was about 1/4 of the bag full and the rest was good old zero calorie air. Strike One.
  2. The chocolate didn’t even cover the entire potato chip, unless the chip was on the smaller side. Strike Two.
  3. Where were all the almond bits? They might as well have been non-existent, both on the chip and in taste. But we’ll get to taste in a minute. Strike Three.

And to throw in a fourth: The serving size on these puppies is super small. Five chips? I definitely could polish off the whole bag.

I still wanted to give them a fair chance despite the aforementioned bummers. The best part about these chips is the chocolate. It’s pretty darn good. The chocolate covering the chips is pretty thick. But there’s such an overwhelming taste of chocolate that I had a hard time even tasting the chip. The chips were not crunchy, and I didn’t get a hint of salt until the fifth chip in. And the fact that they are wavy Lays doesn’t even matter – you couldn’t even tell thanks to the chocolate.

Limited Edition Lay's Wavy Milk Chocolate Covered Potato Chips with Almond Bits 3

Remember those almond bits? Yeah, I don’t either. I couldn’t get a distinct taste from even the few that I did see. Basically, if I wanted the same experience, I’d just have a Hershey’s chocolate bar.

I wanted to love these. I really did. While I did love the chocolate, I can’t help but feel that chip and chocolate’s marriage just isn’t working out and I’m not sure who should get the almond bits in the divorce.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz (about 5 chips) – 160 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 4 3/4 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Chocolate. Enough said.
Cons: Lack of almond bits, lack of chip prominence, lack of crunch. Not enough chips in the bag to make the $3.99 price tag worth it.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Cinnamon Frosted Flakes

Kellogg's Cinnamon Frosted Flakes

As far as I’m concerned, Tony the Tiger is going through something of an identity crisis. Not only has Kellogg’s changed his look to be more “accessible” (like a talking Tiger was accessible to begin with), but his parent company has been rolling out all kinds of flavor variations.

On one hand, I guess Cinnamon Frosted Flakes shouldn’t surprise us. Both Tigers and Cinnamon are native to Bangladesh, and having already cycled through marshmallows, chocolate, and marshmallows and chocolate, it makes sense for Kellogg’s to hit us with a subliminal geography lesson. I wasn’t crazy about Chocolate Frosted Flakes with Marshmallows, nor did scream gr-r-reat! for the now-defunct Frosted Flakes with Energy Clusters.

So I’ve got good reason to be skeptical of the addition of cinnamon to Frosted Flakes. I say this with 28 years of cereal eating under my belt, literally. Despite the popularity of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, cinnamon-only flavored cereals don’t have a good track record. Cinnamon Burst Cheerios lasted for all of two seconds, while Cinnamon Jacks, Cinna-Crunch Pebbles, and a host of other cinnamon cereals have been relegated to the lonely eulogies written on MrBreakfast.com.

I do not join these individuals in mourning.

Kellogg's Cinnamon Frosted Flakes 2

If anything, cinnamon can be overpowering if applied in the wrong context, which is exactly the case with Cinnamon Frosted Flakes. The cinnamon flavor is floral and spicy, somewhere between the flavor of cinnamon gum and the aroma of a cinnamon-scented candle. The weird thing is that it takes a second to activate, and when it does, it’s more of an aroma and sensation than a taste.

And boy is it strong.

The characteristic sweetness of Frosted Flakes is still there, but before the sweetness dissipates, it’s overwhelmed by the authentic cinnamon flavor. The problem isn’t that it doesn’t taste like cinnamon; the problem is that it tastes too much like cinnamon, so much that the malted sweetness and slight corn flavor that are present in Frosted Flakes get lost.

Kellogg's Cinnamon Frosted Flakes 3

The effect is not so extreme in milk, but that in and of itself doesn’t make Cinnamon Frosted Flakes desirable. There’s a decent cinnamon run-off into the milk, and the trademarked soggy corn sweetness of Frosted Flakes is still there, but the flavors of frosted flakes and cinnamon just don’t go together.

Clearly, something isn’t working in the grand scheme of Tony the Tiger’s life. The thing is, I have no idea why this is, except to suggest that this is some kind of mid-life cereal crisis that doesn’t need to be. We can all agree that Frosted Flakes are gr-r-reat!, but frankly, the new flavors, including Cinnamon Frosted Flakes, are really just “oh-oh-oh-kay.”

(Nutrition Facts – 29 grams – 110 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 150 mg of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 10 grams of sugars, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.98
Size: 26.8 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Authentic and floral cinnamon flavor in every spoonful. Better than the now defunct Simply Cinnamon Corn Flakes. Subliminal geography lessons.
Cons: Cinnamon flavor dominates the subtle malt and corn flavors of the flakes. Like eating a cinnamon-flavored candle. More an aroma than a true flavor. Lacks the buttery “toasted” flavors of Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Cinnamon Chex.

REVIEW: Subway Corned Beef Reuben Sandwich

Subway Corned Beef Reuben Sandwich

I don’t care what the textbooks say. I don’t care about the debates over the Reuben sandwich’s origins: whether it originated from a Nebraskan grocer’s weekly poker ritual or from a New York delicatessen’s signature “Reuben Special.”

In my eyes—and taste buds—the Reuben was obviously invented by Ruben Studdard. I mean, what else could Ruben have been up to after winning American Idol Season 2, while the more famous runner-up Clay Aiken became a Christmas album mainstay in my grandma’s CD player for years?

And before you ask how Ruben could invent the Reuben when the sandwich first appeared in the 1920s, the answer’s time travel. Duh. Next question.

Okay, that explanation may be more impractical than a Reuben Goldberg machine, but I needed a slipshod introduction for a sandwich as slipshod as Subway’s new Corned Beef Reuben. Because as I soon found out, expecting a fast food joint to do justice to the Reuben’s nearly 100-year legacy was a bit unrealistic.

Subway Corned Beef Reuben Sandwich 2

But let’s start with the rye highs. The popularity of Subway’s Italian Herbs & Cheese and Honey Oat breads suggests that consumers like their bread studded with enough stuff to make a BeDazzler blush, and Subway’s new Rye bread fulfills that desire by baking lightly crunchy caraway seeds into every sub.

The bread itself is dense, earthy, and spiced, while the seeds pop with a sweet anise bite. The taste may be slightly too sour for Hawaiian roll or Wonder Bread veterans, but fans of aged, yeasty bread will appreciate its subtleties.

My only gripe is that the rye isn’t marbled, though that kind of doughy swirl might’ve looked too much like a rolled yoga mat for Subway’s liking.

Meat and cheese are this Reuben’s other strongest elements. While the corned beef isn’t particularly juicy, potently peppered, or too different from Subway roast beef, it’s still thick, tender, and salty enough to give the sandwich a savory, meaty twang.

By which I mean you’ll want to twang an acoustic guitar string after each bite.

The Swiss cheese is an underrated, binding force in Subway’s Reuben. It may have all the complexity of a melted Kraft Single, but it still brings creamy dairy balance to the bread and sauerkraut’s sourness.

Speaking of the sauerkraut: it’s bad, and that’s coming from someone who adores sauerkraut enough to give it an honorary seat at his wedding. Subway’s sauerkraut is far too wet, mushy, and flavorlessly acidic, lacking the light crispness and pickled intricacies of good sauerkraut. But I suppose if I were mashed into a cube and left under Subway’s sneeze guard all day, I’d feel sad and squishy, too.

And the Thousand Island Dressing? It’s barely there, providing a light, underlying fatty flavor with faint mayo and tomato notes. I’d say I only tasted three islands at most, and one of those was Rhode Island, whose authentic island status is questionable at best.

Subway Corned Beef Reuben Sandwich 3

Eating the sandwich together, I mostly taste a sour-sweet war between sauerkraut and bread, while the Reuben’s less flavorful, meaty and creamy children beg their parents to stop fighting. It’s far from authentic, and your limited Reuben enjoyment will hinge on your ingredient balance: I recommend going light on ‘kraut, doubling up on cheese, and getting dressing on the side to add at your discretion.

Better yet, take the $5.25 you could’ve spent on a 6” Subway Reuben to Walmart deli and buy enough loose ingredients to assemble a much tastier haphazard Reuben in the parking lot. Just don’t forget to play Clay Aiken’s Merry Christmas with Love in the car while you do it.

(Nutrition Facts – 6” sandwich, no vegetables – 450 calories, 15 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 1770 milligrams of sodium, 42 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 38 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $5.25
Size: N/A
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: BeDazzlingly good rye bread. Guitar strummingly decent corned beef. The complimentarily congealing properties of a Swiss Kraft Single. Parking lot deli sandwiches. Sending my warmest regards to Ruben Studdard, wherever he may be.
Cons: Not authentically Reuben-esque (Reubenic?) enough to justify the cost. Sauerkraut that leaves me sour. Thousand Island Dressing that’s 997 islands short. Not being able to make a “Why? Bread” joke because the bread was actually good.

REVIEW: Shimmery White Chocolate M&M’s

Shimmery White Chocolate M&M’s

I am of the opinion that there’s very little in life that can’t be improved by a bit of glitter. So you can imagine how excited I was to hear about Shimmery White Chocolate M&M’s – a limited edition with sparkles! Visions of glitzy holiday food crafts danced in my head.

After locating a small stash in the barely-yet-stocked holiday aisle of Target, I hurried home – careful not to jostle too much for fear of dislodging any shimmer. I sliced open the bag and feasted my eyes on…what’s the opposite of glitter?

Crusty patina?

Shimmery White Chocolate M&M’s 2

There wasn’t a whiff of twinkle in this bag. Not even a glint. The smooth, dull red and green candies were mottled with pale opaque flecks. It looked a bit like the white-ish “bloom” you see on old chocolate – the stuff that instinctively makes people hurl perfectly edible chocolate across the room like a flaming snake. The white candies were just solid white, no patina or glow. I’m curious if they rolled off the production line like this, or if something happened in transit. In any case, they were a 100 percent shimmer fail.

The taste is the familiar M&M’s white chocolate that we’ve seen in other editions like Candy Corn and Boo-tterscotch – sweet and milky, but without additional flavor in this case. I do generally love the larger, rounder size and shape of the limited-edition M&M’s. It’s a tactile reminder that you’re indulging in something apart from the classic. But considering that the appeal of this particular product rests almost entirely in the visuals, I have to consider them a flop.

Shimmery White Chocolate M&M’s 3

My dreams of Pinterest-worthy, shiny M&M-studded baked goods were out the window like a gin-soaked Santa who couldn’t manage the chimney. So I grabbed some edible glitter from the baking supply shop and fixed them for you, Mars. You’re welcome!

Shimmery White Chocolate M&M’s 4

…and craft nirvana achieved.

Shimmery White Chocolate M&M’s 5

(Nutrition Facts – 1.5 ounces – 210 calories, 100 calories from fat, 11 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 28 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.19
Size: 8 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Taste is solid – the basic M&M’s white chocolate base.
Cons: I was promised shimmer! I want my shimmer!

REVIEW: Lay’s Popcorn Caramel Potato Chips (Thailand)

Lay’s Popcorn Caramel Potato Chips (Thailand)

Even though I didn’t care for these Lay’s Popcorn Caramel Potato Chips from Thailand, I think there needs to be maw papkawn-phaabad paheyho hips.

I’m sorry. I was trying to say “more popcorn-flavored potato chips,” but I’m also trying to dig out with my fingernail a popcorn shell shard that’s stuck between my left mawlas. I mean, molars. My oral excavation is the reason why I’d like popcorn-flavored potato chips.

Maybe I should use floss. Let’s see if I have floss. I do!

Is that blood? Ugh. It’s blood. Spits. I really should floss more than the two weeks leading up to a dentist visit. Maybe four weeks?

With popcorn-flavored potato chips, I wouldn’t have to worry about popcorn shells getting stuck between my teeth and it poking my gums every time I move my jaw. I know there’s Popchips and its ilk, but they don’t have the satisfying crunch or saltiness of a potato chip. Movie theater butter popcorn-flavored potato chips would be awesome.

But these Lay’s Popcorn Caramel Potato Chips weren’t eat-the-bag-in-one-sitting good. They have a musty sweet aroma that’s inviting…me to think they won’t be good. The chips look normal, like they aren’t seasoned at all, but I got a strong hit of whatever seasoning was on the chips when I popped one into my mouth.

They did taste like caramel corn, but there were other chips that tasted like coffee, and other chips that had a nondescript sweet flavor. But all the chips had the same odd, greasy aftertaste; one that I’ve experienced in the past with seafood-flavored Lay’s potato chips from Asian countries.

Lay’s Popcorn Caramel Potato Chips (Thailand) 2

Like Lay’s Chicken & Waffles and Cappuccino flavored potato chips, these popcorn caramel-flavored chips are a nice novelty, but their flavor is not something I’d crave. To be honest, I’d rather eat actual caramel corn and deal with the papkawn sal. I mean, popcorn shell that gets stuck between my teeth.

Thanks to James from Travelling McD’s for sending these chips to me!

(Nutrition Facts – Too lazy to translate the nutrition label written Thai.)

Purchased Price: Given as gift
Size: N/A
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Not gross. Trying odd potato chip flavors from Asia. Flossing. Tricking your dentist into thinking you floss regularly.
Cons: Inconsistent flavor. Smell weird. Greasy aftertaste. Getting popcorn shells stuck between your teeth.