REVIEW: Trader Joe’s Uncured Bacon Ganache Bar

Trader Joe's Uncured Bacon Ganache Bar

“Ganache” is such a French word. It’s so French that if you say it into a mirror three times, French Candyman appears. Instead of a hook hand he has half a baguette on his stump and he doesn’t murder you, he gives you cigarettes made of young cheese. Then you have to watch an entire Jerry Lewis movie and make small talk with his mistress while he looks for your bidet. And then you have to drive him to the airport to get back to France. It’s kind of a hassle, honestly.

The Trader Joe’s Uncured Bacon Ganache Bar tries to French gourmet up the grocery proceedings but also keeps it real down home by featuring USA’s favorite swine meats. It says what’s in it right there on the packaging: “A rich combination of dark chocolate ganache, pieces of uncured bacon, and a hint of smoked salt.”

Trader Joe's Uncured Bacon Ganache Bar 4

The ganache is tucked inside the bar in tiny pockets, along with the pieces of pig. The particular bar I had was very fragile and almost immediately featured a diagonal crack that allowed the insides to leak out and made it look like it was bleeding chocolate blood.

Fun fact: In old black and white films, Dracula would use chocolate syrup in place of blood. Another fun fact: In the commercials, Count Chocula drinks human blood in place of milk in his cereal.

The bar boasts a 70 percent cacao rating thing, and, yes, it’s bitter. It has a smooth cacao flavor which crescendos into an acrid bite when the pools of ganache touch the tongue. There’s maybe a facsimile of smokiness—which actually comes off as a bit sour—but the tenor changes with a subtle touch of saltiness. It’s a complex hit that might even include the sixth taste, umami, or the seventh taste, your mommy.

Trader Joe's Uncured Bacon Ganache Bar 2

The experience is a bit tough to describe because while it’s a combination of all these interesting things, I also found it not that pleasant. I imagine it is a little bit like what Coca-Cola tasted like when it was being sold as a cure-all tonic. There’s not much sweetness involved and it tastes a little bit like medicine.

Ironic, isn’t it, that this product has “uncured” bacon in it, because medicine “cures” diseases and this tastes like medicine and “uncured” is the opposite of “cured.” Haha. Good one, dude. Good one. … *cricket sounds for ten seconds* … “It’s like raaaaaaaain on your wedding day/ It’s the freeee riiiiiide….”

Where is the bacon? It’s in little torn up pieces in a sea of chocolate ganache, represented by the hints of salt. Catching them in my mouth here and there, texture-wise they sort of felt like balled up pieces of wet tissue paper rolled between my fingers to make wispy strands. Without it billboarded on the front, I would never have guessed bacon was involved in this product.

The chocolate is really a stronger flavor here and overpowers just about all the bacon qualities. It’s a fine, bold dark chocolate taste, but with the bar and the insides being all chocolate, all day it’s a bit overwhelming. Maybe if I say “ganache” three times backwards into a mirror it will dial back the intensity? “Ehcanag, ehcanag, ehcanag.” Nope, that just summoned Opposite French Candyman. He’s exactly the same as French Candyman but his skin is inside out and rides a bicycle backwards. Pretty cool.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 bar – 220 calories, 110 calories from fat, 12 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 10 grams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 14 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Trader Joe’s Uncured Bacon Ganache Bar
Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 3 oz.
Purchased at: Trader Joe’s
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Dark chocolate central. If you need that fix, it has it. Complex flavors.
Cons: Not very sweet at all. Bacon gets lost a bit, tastes like medicine.

REVIEW: Bacon Cheddar Ranch Doritos Jacked 3D

Bacon Cheddar Ranch Doritos Jacked 3D

*A scene from Doritos headquarters*

“Okay, boys. After years of dark magic, Ouija boards, and one ill-fated incident involving a cheese-toothpaste hybrid, we’ve finally crafted the perfect recipe for appealing to the “Xtreme” chip market:

Bacon – the cornerstone of annoying Internet food memes

Cheddar – the preferred finger coating of Cheetos-loving gamers everywhere

Ranch – because nothing evokes the rough-and-tumble, Chuck Norris-esque aesthetic of cow ranchers like ranch dressing”

And with that, Bacon Cheddar Ranch Doritos Jacked 3D (I need a breather just writing that name) were born. If the Powerpuff Girls were made from Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice, then these must be the Powerpuff Girls’ 25-year-old brother who plays World of Warcraft in their parents’ basement.

Bacon Cheddar Ranch Doritos Jacked 3D 2

But I won’t judge these on the stereotypical nature of their ingredients alone. Opening the bag and huffing deeply, a corn scent predominates, with a little edgy cheesiness that tickles my nostrils.

Like a paleontologist discovering the elusive Doritosaurus, I extract one of the bizarrely shaped artifacts. It looks like a symbol straight out of the Stonecutters Clan.

Upon my first munch of the thick, crunchy pyramid, I’m first hit with a strong corn flavor. But this corn is glazed with a savory cheesiness that quickly ramps up into the recognizable, biting sharpness that is typical of cheddar snacks.

And that’s it.

Wait, what? That can’t be. As it stands, these are Phantom Menace levels of disappointment. Maybe they should rename them “ChedDar Jar Binks Doritos.”

Bacon Cheddar Ranch Doritos Jacked 3D 3

I continue frantically shoveling corn triangles into my mouth hoping for a more intense experience, and slowly but surely, I get it.

As my mouth swells with the amalgamated ball of chewed, cheesy corn (yeah, this sounds really gross, but don’t lie: you know exactly the feeling), I notice a smoky finish to the cheddar cheese. It reminds me of the toasty, salty, and paprika-y flavor you get at the end of a barbecue chip.

I’m guessing this is the “bacon,” and it’s so subtle that you’d think a bacon fairy casually sprinkled her little pixie dust of bacon bits over the bag. I call her Oinkerbell.

I’m having trouble detecting any ranch, though. The closest thing is the aftertaste left by the 3D-oritos (a much better name, in my opinion). I’m not the best at estimation, but for about 2 geologic eons after eating them, my throat was plastered with a peppered, garlic tomato flavor. I’m not sure if this is “ranch,” but it is enough to leave me hoping for an actual bottle of cheese-toothpaste to rid my breath of this oily flashback.

Bacon Cheddar Ranch Doritos Jacked 3D 4

All in all, these were “so-so,” at best. I love the texture, extreme width, and fun shape (they look like someone set the font on their chip word processor to “Wingdings”) of the Doritos, but the tame cheese flavor isn’t memorable enough to prompt another buy. It’s just a kitchen-sink combination of old flavors that isn’t focused enough on a single one. You’d be better off buying Nacho Cheese or Cool Ranch to get a more distinct and focused palate experience.

Unless, of course, you’re an archeologist looking for a thematically appropriate snack to bring to the company “Quetzalcoatl Barbecue,” in which case these hieroglyphs are a good, mindless nosh for summer.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I only have a few more months to perfect my ChedDar Jar Binks cosplay. George Lucas will be proud!

(Nutrition Facts – 13 pieces – 150 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein..)

Item: Bacon Cheddar Ranch Doritos Jacked 3D
Purchased Price: $3.29
Size: 11.5 oz bag
Purchased at: Kroger
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Corn is made better with cheddar. Snacks shaped like RPG runes. Imagining a Doritosaurus/Jurassic World crossover.
Cons: Corn isn’t made that much better with cheddar. Scarcity of bacon flavor. Surplus of bacon memes. Not getting a kick out of ranch. Probably getting kicked out of Skywalker Ranch.

60 SECOND REVIEW: Chobani Limited Batch Plum Greek Yogurt

Item: Chobani Limited Batch Plum Greek Yogurt
Purchased Price: $1.67
Size: 10.5 oz. box
Purchased at: Safeway

(Nutrition Facts – 140 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, 230 milligrams of potassium, 60 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 14 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein.)

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 – 720 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.