REVIEW: Arby’s Brown Sugar Bacon & Roast Beef Sandwich

Arby’s Brown Sugar Bacon & Roast Beef Sandwich

“Honey, what are these for?” she asked.

She picked up a warm, paper-wrapped disc out of a box full of them.

“Those?” he said. “Don’t touch those. Those are for Halloween. They’re for the neighborhood kids.”

“These are hamburgers,” she said.

“It’s actually roast beef,” he said. “From Arby’s. The Brown Sugar Bacon & Roast Beef Sandwich. But, yeah, I thought we’d do something different this year. Spice things up.”

“You can’t possibly be serious,” she said.

“Why not?” he asked.

“Because,” she said, “these are sandwiches. Every year you try to switch things up and every year we get soap on our windows. Remember 2013? You gave out Dixie cups full of sweet tea.”

“Topped with Torani syrup,” he said. “Let me make an argument here. The Arby’s Brown Sugar Bacon & Roast Beef Sandwich is sweet as hell.”

“Yes, I remember,” she said. “I had one too.”

Arby’s Brown Sugar Bacon & Roast Beef Sandwich 3

“It’s so sweet, it’s pretty much just like eating candy,” he said. “Weird to think that, right? Because it’s got roast beef in it. It’s also got vegetables like tomatoes and lettuce. And cheese and a Dijon sauce. But you had one too. The sugar bacon is insanely sweet. You remember how everything spun out of control so quickly? I took a few bites and I immediately was looking for an Oompa Loompa to come stuff me into a sack.”

“The brown sugar bacon was good and thick but the sugary glaze is so strong that it’s the only quality that stands out. There is no smokiness or discernible meat flavor, just a chewy texture and sweetness. The texture of the entire sandwich is pretty good though, actually. The roast beef had a substantial feel and the whole thing is a pretty hefty gut bomb. The King’s Hawaiian bun has a pleasant softness that contrasts very nicely with the snap of the lettuce. The tomato is pretty limp though. You remember how sweet it was?”

“Yes,” she said. “And I am a fan of the normal roast beef sandwich. This really broke the orbit of flavor. The pile of roast beef was made dull, overshadowed by the sweetness of the bacon. It might as well have been paper mache. The sandwich just didn’t have the balance needed to pull it off.”

“There were a few bites of equal distribution of flavor in there and they were high points. But I would say there were only three or four instances of that. It’s hard to disregard the sweet tooth wet dream when even the bun has a sugary tinge to it. Although on the back half, I slathered on the Arby’s horseradish sauce and it made it a bit better.”

“I liked it with the horseradish sauce too,” he said.

“Did you plan to give out the sauce during Halloween too?” she asked.

“No. I didn’t know how to siphon it out of that little dispenser at Arby’s,” he said, sheepishly.

“You weren’t even going to add the stuff that made it halfway decent?” she asked.

He didn’t say anything.

Arby’s Brown Sugar Bacon & Roast Beef Sandwich 2

“I know,” she said. “I know the sandwich tastes like candy. And it seems cool to do something for the sake of being different. But not everything has to be redefined to be on your terms. You’re part of this culture too, you know. Halloween is all of ours. It’s for everybody. You don’t have to change it to enjoy it. Just go with the flow. You’re not boring. You’re not predictable. You’re not a cliché. And even if you were, who cares?”

There was a pause. He stared out of the window.

“You’re right,” he said, his giant green fingers reflexively touched the bolts in his neck, then massaged his temples as he sighed. “You’re always right. Let’s just give away Twix this year. Full size.”

He paused again. “You know, for us, everyday is…”

“Yes, yes, honey,” she said, as she leaned on his shoulder, her lightning-struck hair brushed against his worn suit jacket. “For us, everyday is Halloween. I know. But seriously. It’s July. And you got a whole box of these!”

“I bought sixty of them,” he said.

She laughed. “What the heck are we going to do with all these sandwiches?”

“Let’s burn them,” he smiled.

They stacked them in the middle of the room and threw a lit matchbook into the pile. As it went up in flames, he suddenly remembered he feared fire and ran into the hills. She sighed.

(Nutrition Facts – 20 calories, 280 calories from fat, 32 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 170 grams of cholesterol, 1620 milligrams of sodium, 67 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 27 grams of sugar, 42 grams of protein.)

Item: Arby’s Brown Sugar Bacon & Roast Beef Sandwich
Purchased Price: $5.79
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Arby’s
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Hefty. Good texture. Soft bun, crisp lettuce. Use horseradish sauce to help it taste more rounded.
Cons: Roast beef is dulled by sweetness. Expensive.

REVIEW: Post Rainbow Sherbet Ice Cream Pebbles Cereal

Post Rainbow Sherbet Ice Cream Pebbles Cereal

Indeed, we live in a fortunate time.

A time in which the break room has been transformed into The Break Room. A time in which said Break Rooms include laundry rooms and nap pods and secret libraries stashed behind Narnia corridors.

And yet despite such innovation, the daydream of having a pint of ice cream ready and available for my 3:00 snack break eludes me. Not seeing, “We provide a freezer stashed with multiple flavors of Ben & Jerry’s at all times,” in my current contract, I move forward, looking to Post Pebbles Ice Cream in hopes to fulfill the small pocket that wants just a taste of ice cream at the 3:00 snack slump.

Post Rainbow Sherbet Ice Cream Pebbles Cereal Spoon

The colors of the cereal spill out in a blinding parade, bursting with the luminescence of a Lite-Brite powered by nuclear fusion. The speckles trip my brain up just enough, so that, upon my first bite, they heighten the sensation of the taste, which brings forth memories of a 2-scoop sugar cone of sherbet.

Vaguely fruity and tangy with a burst of sugared citrus, the cereal hits the grainy, cereal crunch of a sugar cone while balancing that with the hyper sweetened, delightfully vague “froot” flavor. Indeed, it’s a little like Froot Loops, but it stands out with a few more drops of orange and tangy lime flavoring.

There’s just one thing: the cereal’s corn base. It muddles with the frootiness and dulls out the sherbet effect, leaving an aftertaste that tastes like… well, a little corny. Corn enhanced with artificial flavors. Oh dear. This is not what I hoped for.

Fortunately, there is a way to avoid this peril.

Now, I’m not a big fan of milk in my cereal, but, when glugged straight from the glass, an ice cold cup of the white cream bounces, shakes, and rattles with the fruity crunch of the cereal, drowning out the corny taste to form an admirable mimicry of rainbow sherbet Dreamsicle, and, while it may not be the granola-crunchin’, fiber-snappin’, whey-protein-enhanced cereal of Richard Simmons’ dreams, it has a modest amount of sugar and a pop of vitamins and minerals, making it a moderately balanced way to start the day. Or end the day. Or start the snack break. Or unleash that suppressed dream to be a bobsledder you’ve always wanted to be. So go! Unleash your inner bobsledder!

Post Rainbow Sherbet Ice Cream Pebbles Cereal Breakfast

It must be noted with a proper degree of gravity that no amount of these Post Pebbles will bring you the same fulfillment as a fresh hot waffle cone filled with your grandmama’s homemade frozen custard, but it pairs moderately well with that last quarter pint of Gelato Fiasco’s Madagascar Vanilla Bean.

While the raspberry flavor is hard to pin down, the cereal as a whole has a pop of orange and lime citrus that, while somewhat muddled in the taste of the corn cereal alone, finds itself heightened in the presence of milk or, well, just about any vanilla frozen deliciousness in your freezer. Indeed, it may be just enough sugar that you won’t even need that nap pod.

(Pause.)

Nah. Everyone needs a nap pod.

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup – 110 calories, 0 calories from fat, 1 gram of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Post Rainbow Sherbet Ice Cream Pebbles Cereal
Purchased Price: $2.32
Size: 11 oz. box
Purchased at: Kroger
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Box-o-carbs. Tangy. Crunchy. Slightly “frooty.” Great with milk. Better with vanilla ice cream. Nap pods. Nuclear-powered Lite Brites. Unleash your inner bobsledder!
Cons: Box-o-carbs. Tough to decipher raspberry flavor. Corny-cereal qualities dull “frootiness.” Consequences that result in absence of nap pods.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Chicken Pot Pie Hot Pockets

Limited Edition Chicken Pot Pie Hot Pockets

When I was a kid, my mom chose not to feed us Hot Pockets. With tears in my eyes and hunger in my stomach, I spent many lunchtimes watching my classmates shove pepperoni-filled pastries into their pudgy little faces.

But now I’m an adult, and I’ve sworn to eat as many Hot Pockets as I want. This is America, dammit. As a citizen of this beautiful country, it is my duty to engorge myself with meat-filled freezer pies to my heart’s content. Don’t believe me? Go read the Bill of Rights. Freedom of Meats, y’all.

Exercising my rights as an American citizen, I decided to visit my local Hot Pocket Palace, known more colloquially as Walmart. I soon realized I was unsure of where to find Hot Pockets in this supermarket. To my surprise, they were not located in the same aisle as diapers. (Jim Gaffigan, eat your heart out.)

I eventually made it home with a package of Hot Pockets Limited Edition Chicken Pot Pie. According the front of the box, each Hot Pocket contains white meat chicken, carrots, peas, onions, and celery. According to the back of the box, it also contains many complex-sounding ingredients that could easily trip up the finalists in a second grade spelling bee: “Timmy, your word is sodium stearoyl lactylate. What’s that? Use it in a sentence? My Hot Pocket contains sodium stearoyl lactylate.”

Limited Edition Chicken Pot Pie Hot Pockets 2

Even after using the included crisping sleeve, the Hot Pocket emerged from the microwave with a slightly rubbery, chewy crust. It tasted blandly of flour, with not enough buttery flavor. The oven provided better results, yielding a more flaky, crispy crust that drew attention away from these flaws.

I must admit, I had pretty high expectations for this crust after hearing Snoop Dogg sing its praises in that bizarre Hot Pockets commercial from a few years back. That video deserved a Grammy, or at least a Nobel Peace Prize. I even keep the MP3 on my iPod for when I work out at the gym. Ever try getting your swole on while Snoop busts a rhyme about beef and cheese? That shit’s a natural muscle enhancer.

Breathing in the unmistakable scent of freshly-baked chicken pot pie, I was eager to take my first bite. After repeatedly scorching the roof of my mouth on the Hot Pocket’s superheated innards, I was finally able to taste the filling.

Limited Edition Chicken Pot Pie Hot Pockets 4

Compared to the filling in frozen pot pies I’ve tasted in the past, the Hot Pocket’s filling seems less creamy. Its flavor comes primarily from the chicken, which doesn’t feel rubbery or unnatural in texture, but tastes over-seasoned with a pre-packaged meat vibe. Every once in a while, I experienced a burst of pea flavor, but the carrots, onions, and celery seemed lost in the sea of pie filling. In addition, several spots inside the pocket were emptier than expected; the pastry could have used a bit more filling.

This Chicken Pot Pie Hot Pocket leaves something to be desired, and feels more like a savory pie-flavored Toaster Strudel than a bonafide pot pie. At only a few cents over two dollars, they seem like a steal, but I have no desire to purchase another box.

Well, at least I can cross something off my bucket list:

1. Write 500 words about a Hot Pocket
2. Eat a Hot Pocket with Kate Upton
3. Watch Harry and the Hendersons without crying
4. Finish writing my bucket list

Kate, if you’re reading this, I’ve got a box of pepperoni Hot Pockets with your name on it.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 Hot Pocket – 240 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of total fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 480 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein..)

Item: Limited Edition Chicken Pot Pie Hot Pockets
Purchased Price: $2.18
Size: 2 sandwiches
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Crust is flaky, crispy when cooked in oven. Chicken doesn’t feel rubbery. Strong chicken flavor. Freedom of Meats. The twisted satisfaction I feel when sabotaging second grade spelling bees.
Cons: Crust is bland, rubbery when cooked in microwave. Chicken feels over-seasoned. Chicken and peas are the only noticeable fillings. Emptier than expected. The looks people give me when I’m jamming out to Snoop Dogg’s song about Hot Pockets.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Chips Ahoy! Crunch Donut

Dunkin' Donuts Chips Ahoy! Crunch Donut

Ever eaten a food that doesn’t live up to the only descriptor in its title? Like a spicy dish that was not spicy at all? If you have, you know it’s a frustrating experience. It’s kind of like a broken promise.

This was the case with Dunkin’ Donuts’ new Chips Ahoy! Crunch Donut. See the word crunch there? I saw it too, and like a sad mindless sheep I gave DD my unconditional trust. Yet not one time did I hear something that even slightly resembled a crunching sound in my mouth whilst eating the donut. It was a more irksome experience than reading the children’s poem “Five Little Ducks” as a grown up.

So here’s the gist of the poem: Five little ducks went out one day, over the hill and far away. Mother duck said, “quack, quack, quack,” but only four little ducks came back.”

The trend continues until one little duck remains, and that little duck doesn’t come back either. And it isn’t until the last duck is gone that the mother duck shows any sign of worry. What kind of irresponsible parenting is that!? Don’t you think she would’ve called the duck authorities to put out a duck Amber Alert after her first kid disappeared? No, she waits until they’re all gone.

At the end she says, “quack, quack, quack,” and all the little ducks come back, but there’s no telling what kind of traumatic event they went through. They’ve probably been brainwashed by a duck cult, or a group of duck terrorists. Either way, the mother’s awful brand of parenting has assured these kids are going to live some ducked up lives.

Dunkin' Donuts Chips Ahoy! Crunch Donut Closeup

Oh yeah, the donut. So it’s basically a fluffy donut with chocolate frosting on top, which is then sprinkled with crumbled Chips Ahoy! Cookies. Sounds good, and it was good, but the big problem is that the cookie crumbles aren’t big enough and they are not crunchy in the slightest.

The donut was almost like a cruller, not in looks or taste but in how light it was. It wasn’t totally filled with cake the whole way through, as there were air pockets in the middle of the donut. Because of this, it’s not a meal like some donuts, but more of a snack. The chocolate frosting was rather rich, and not having had a donut from DD in a hot minute, I forgot how good frosted donuts were. Hope this doesn’t put me back on the wagon…

Back to those cookie crumbles. They were more of a tease than anything else. Mine did not have big enough chunks to get a true Chips Ahoy! cookie taste, and again, there was a total absence of the promised crunch. The cookies were kind of soft. Maybe the crunch is supposed to come when I slam my fist down on the table in anger after eating it and realizing I’ve been lied to?

I almost went for the Chips Ahoy! Crème donut, but I’m a crunch guy so I went with my gut. I noticed that one also had crumbled cookies on top, and If I were you I would go that route. Again, this donut does not taste bad, but it’s a horrible lie. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice… you won’t fool me twice, Dunkin’ Donuts, this is the last time! I’ll not subscribe to your tomfoolery any longer! FREEEEEDDOOOOMMMMM!!!

(Nutrition Facts – 310 calories, 150 calories from fat, 17 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 360 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 15 grams of sugars, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Chips Ahoy! Crunch Donut
Purchased Price: $1.07
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Tasty donut. Rich chocolate frosting is great. FREEEEEDDOOOOMMMMM!!!
Cons: Absence of crunch. Cookie pieces aren’t big enough and aren’t present enough. Irresponsible mother duck.

REVIEW: Pepperidge Farm Twisted Grilled Cheese Goldfish Puffs

Pepperidge Farm Twisted Grilled Cheese Goldfish Puffs

I won a goldfish from the fair when I was ten. I was so excited holding him in his bag on the drive home. Oh the fun we were gonna have… Then, I realized all he did was swim in circles. About a month later I had to flush him down the toilet. That was basically the same experience as buying and eating Twisted Grilled Cheese Goldfish Puffs.

The instant you tear open the bag, you’re met with no smell. Seriously, there is barely a hint of a scent from these things. I’ve never had a cheese based snack that didn’t have a distinct aroma. These smell like cardboard.

The lack of smell didn’t bother me at first because artificially flavored cheese isn’t exactly my favorite cologne, but then I tasted them and, yeah, we’re just dealing with a bland product here.

The flavor itself reminded me of Wise Cheez Doodles, only with much less flavor. These are the cheese puff equivalent of Fruit Stripe gum. The instant you get hit with the cheese flavor, you lose it. The only other sensation I got was a “corny” aftertaste. Not “corny” like my writing, but “corny” like “I just ate corn.”   

I’ll tell you one flavor I never thought of once while eating these – grilled cheese.   There’s really nothing “grilled cheese” about them. I kinda figured you’d get a nice buttery element with the cheese, but nope. Nada. 

They could have tagged this with any description they wanted and it would have been on par with “Twisted Grilled Cheese.” That name is strictly a marketing ploy. I was really hoping they would have been more in line with the Flavor Blasted Cheddar Goldfish crackers, but alas, they were just weak cheese doodles.

Pepperidge Farm Twisted Grilled Cheese Goldfish Puffs 2

You’re probably wondering where the “twist” comes in. So am I. Each puff has little green sprinkles on them, which I assume are pepper flakes, because there is a small heat element. Very small. This of course is backed up by the fact that neither “pepper” nor anything really relating to “pepper” is listed in the ingredients. So…either way, the heat lingers on your tongue longer than the actual cheese flavor.

It’s not all bad though. The texture is the saving grace – on a scale from “fresh puffed Cheeto” to “stale Cap’n Crunch cereal piece,” it definitely lands closer to the former.  There is a nice light crisp to each bite, but in time, I could feel them shredding the roof of my mouth.

And ya know why? Because I’m still eating them as I type. Here I am, talking about how boring these Goldfish are, yet they’re going down like water…which is ironic because I think Pepperidge Farm’s main reason for shaping their crackers like fish was due to the fact they pair so well with water. I’ve never eaten any variety of Goldfish without chugging a bottle of H2O due to excessive salt dehydration. These are certainly no different. Salt city.

Pepperidge Farm Twisted Grilled Cheese Goldfish Puffs 3

Twisted Grilled Cheese Goldfish Puffs are probably the worst Goldfish product I’ve ever had. Not to go all superficial on you guys, but they aren’t even as cute as regular goldfish. They’re fatter and more squished in appearance. There’s a certain sadness hidden behind each of those smiles. Although to be fair to Twisted Grilled Cheese, the original Cheddar sets an unrealistic standard for Goldfish alike. Real Goldfish have curves.

So, in conclusion, are these better than most puffed cheese snacks? No. Are they better than regular cheddar Goldfish crackers? Not even close.

There are so many cheesy alternatives in the supermarket, there’s almost no reason to buy these unless you are a Goldfish completist. Still, I can’t give them a super low score because of their inherent eatability – which I’m being told is not a word. Tomato, tuh-ma-toe.

(Nutrition Facts – 1.1 oz – 140 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, .5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 260 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Pepperidge Farm Twisted Grilled Cheese Goldfish Puffs
Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: 6 oz. bag
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Light and crisp. Addicting. Snack smiles back. Catchy advertising jingles of yore.
Cons: Bland. Salty. Mouth roof rippers. False grilled cheese advertising. Weakest twist since M. Night’s most recent flick.