REVIEW: Limited Edition Cap’n Crunch’s Orange Creampop Crunch Cereal

Limited Edition Cap’n Crunch’s Orange Creampop Crunch Cereal

Confession time: I have never in my life eaten Cap’n Crunch. That’s right: me and the Cap’n have never made it happen.

I know one thing about Cap’n Crunch, which is that it is like eating a spoonful of razor blades. This is just one of those things I’ve heard people speak of while they fondly recall their childhood. It baffles me. Did you all turn into little masochists when it was breakfast time?

It’s not one of those situations where I wasn’t allowed sugary cereals, either – Tony the Tiger and…whatever the name of the Lucky Charms leprechaun is were regulars in my house. The Cap’n just never entered my radar. Ha! I just realized that’s a boat joke.

Before we get started, I want to note that the marketing department did a spot-on job with the front of this box. Everything from the jaunty orange valance to the Olde Tyme Shoppe font to the little ice cream cart proclaiming that this flavor is Limited Edition made me want to pick up Cap’n Crunch’s Orange Creampop Crunch and take it home with me.

I will say, though, it seems less like the Cap’n is offering me a 50/50 bar and more like he’s about to assault me with it. Stand down, Cap’n! We all be buckos here!

Limited Edition Cap’n Crunch’s Orange Creampop Crunch Cereal 2

I know the cereal is orange on the front of the box, but I wasn’t quite prepared for how bright it was when I opened the box. My brain immediately went to Cheetos, which is a weird thought to have when you’re about to eat sugary cereal.

Luckily, I was able to push the cheesy thoughts away and dig in to my bowl full of crunchy Creamsicles. I mean, Creampops. Wouldn’t want to violate any registered trademarks, here.

It was hard to pin down the taste at first, but finally the perfect analogy came to me – Froot Loops that had been dosed with extra artificial orange flavoring. It was that ubiquitous “I’m fruity!” sugar cereal flavor but with one particular standout.

Limited Edition Cap’n Crunch’s Orange Creampop Crunch Cereal 3

Unfortunately, this does not a 50-50 bar/Creamsicle/Creampop make. Where was the vanilla? I thought I tasted hints, but that could have just been the milk and sugar mixing with my imagination.

Regardless, I’m very familiar with the delicious flavor of the orange and vanilla ice cream bar, and this was not it. Along with the lack of vanilla, which is half of what makes up the ice cream bar this cereal was modeled after, the orange was all wrong. The orange outside of a Creamsicle has a light, fruity orange flavor, and the Cap’ns version was like an orange Runt got mixed in there and started throwing punches.

Something kept pulling at me, telling me that Orange Creampop Crunch reminded me of something, and then I realized it: Yummy Mummy cereal! The difference is that Yummy Mummy actually tasted like orange cream, in my opinion. Congrats, Cap’n, you got showed up by a Halloween monster.

With all that said, will I have another bowl? Probably. I might even finish the box. Despite the over-orangeness and disappointing vanilla, Cap’n Crunch’s Orange Creampop Crunch has that satisfyingly artificial, super sugary, crunchy goodness. I’ll just pretend I’m eating orange Froot Loops that managed not to sog out after two seconds in milk.

Me and the Cap’n finally made it happen. I popped my Cap’n Crunchcherry. I would say that I regret that that is the second-to-last sentence of my review, but I regret nothing.

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup – 110 calories, 15 calories from fat, 1.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 0.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 50 milligrams of potassium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugar, 11 grams of other carbohydrates, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.49 (on sale)
Size: 14 oz. box
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Had that lovely sugary artificial fruit flavor. Boat jokes! You’ll like it if you’ve been craving orange cereal. Cute box design. Stays crunchy in milk. Didn’t cut my mouth to shreds.
Cons: Lack of vanilla flavor. The Cap’n trying to assault me. Orange flavor was very artificial. Making gross jokes about the Cap’n popping my cherry. Totally failed at capturing the flavor of a Creamsicle.

REVIEW: 7-Eleven Birthday Cake Slurpee

7-Eleven Birthday Cake Slurpee

It’s Slurpee’s 50th birthday, and to celebrate, 7-Eleven has released a slew of celebratory products, from the Birthday Cake Slurpee I bought to Birthday Cake Cappuccinos and Slurpee doodle Pop-Tarts.

Heck, I’m surprised they didn’t inject their hot dogs with Funfetti, since those same dogs have probably been rolling under that heat lamp for the past 50 years anyway.

Since I rode my bicycle to 7-Eleven in the summer heat, I wouldn’t make it home in time without a birthday puddle in my cup. So I was forced to photograph my Birthday Cake Slurpee in front of pedestrians who looked at me like an escaped zoo animal.

But most of them were capturing Pokémon with their phones anyway, so I like to think my weird photo-shoot was hidden behind a Snorlax.

7-Eleven Birthday Cake Slurpee 2

My first Slurpee sip was more “funeral” than “birthday.” A flowing log flume of watered-down vanilla flavor cascaded through my mouth, and it was chased by a faint lemon zest. If nothing else, I give 7-Eleven’s mad food scientists credit for including a more subtle frosting note.

All debates about icing authenticity aside, the watery vanilla made an awful first impression. Iciness in a cola or fruity Slurpee is acceptable, because soda and fruit juice are things that actually occur in real life. But runny liquid vanilla paste tastes sadly unnatural, as if someone had cried all over a cake.

Maybe 7-Eleven accidentally booked “Prenuppo the Recently Divorced Clown” for Slurpee’s birthday party.

But it wasn’t all tears and tragedy, because the Slurpee actually improved as time and the laws of physics went on. Gravity sent the sweet ribbons of syrupy vanilla extract twisting to the bottom of the cup, while thermodynamics turned the slush into crystallized batter.

The increased vanilla flavor concentration made my Birthday Cake Slurpee considerably more pleasant, so I tried greedily Slurpee-ing down the remaining purée before it could metamorphose into something even more melted and sloppy.

I didn’t make it in time, though (damn you, sun!). I was soon left with a dizzyingly sweet concoction that made me grimace like the time I sipped straight from a vanilla extract bottle (damn you, tempting smell!). But all hope was not lost, because I still had reinforcements to call in.

7-Eleven Birthday Cake Slurpee 3

Slurpee’s birthday celebration also includes a new Birthday Cake Doughnut, and for only 99 cents, I couldn’t resist garnishing my Slurpee and turning myself into a gawk-worthy street performer.

I’m surprised no one tossed a handful of change into my Slurpee cup.

The dry and crumbly doughnut sucks up the “juices,” and the lightly golden-sweet pastry lends a welcome, floury yellow cake flavor to a Slurpee that’s otherwise pure frosting. Meanwhile, the ring’s own caked on icing provides a buttery pop that complements the drink’s vanilla and lemon combo.

This birthday is an afternoon-long affair, too. Even as I tried biking my calories off, an aftertaste of tangy vanilla custard lingered. And like any post-party funk, it was simultaneously uncomfortable, bittersweet, and a little sticky.

So while I was able to derive some enjoyment from its various ups and downs, this Birthday Cake Slurpee was just too high maintenance to ever be a repeat purchase. The Slurpee is barely worth a novelty buy, and I hope 7-Eleven tries a birthday cake milkshake for Slurpee’s 100th birthday party instead. It would be less texturally off-putting, and I likely won’t have any teeth left by then anyway.

Oh, and I hope they don’t hire that darn clown again. I think I saw the poor fella sleeping in his tiny car last night.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 fl oz – 5 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.19
Size: Small
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Half-melted cake batter Slurpee abdomens. Spiraling vanilla tentacles. Using a doughnut like a paper umbrella. The sweet feeling of air conditioning on my vanilla-stained face.
Cons: “Crying Clown” cake flavoring. Custard hangovers. Shouting “I am not an animal!” to helpless passerby. Becoming a real life Snorlax after too many doughnuts. Frosting-filled frankfurters.

REVIEW: Burger King Mac n’ Cheetos

Burger King Mac n' Cheetos

The more I look at Burger King’s new Mac n’ Cheetos, the more I want to call them Mac n’ Cheeturds. I assume they’re supposed to look like Cheetos Puffs, but they’re not orange enough or curved enough, which gives me the urge to rename them.

The fast food side appears to be the successor to Doritos Loaded, a fried, triangular cheese-stuffed product that debuted at 7-Eleven locations in 2014 and was available at select Burger King locations last year, which, now looking back, was probably a test to see if Burger King patrons would buy a newfangled mozzarella stick. SPOILER ALERT: It appears they would. I didn’t have the fortitude to try Doritos Loaded after reading a bunch of negative reviews, so I can’t compare it with Mac n’ Cheetos.

The product is basically deep fried mac n’ cheese, a staple at carnivals, state fairs, and the Cheesecake Factory, but with a sprinkling of Cheetos dust in the crispy coating. A serving is five golden orange pieces that come in a Chester Cheetah-less package. I guess the rights to use Chester Cheetah would’ve cost Burger King some money, but it would’ve made the packaging as fun as what the Chicken Fries come in.

Burger King Mac n' Cheetos 2

The golden orange coating has a slight crispiness to it, but Burger King’s Onion Rings have a better crunch. I nibbled on the exterior to taste whatever Cheetos seasoning may be on in it, but my taste buds didn’t register anything that made me think of the crunchy cheese snack. But the crispy coating did remind of another popular cheesy snack — Cheez-Its.

Burger King Mac n' Cheetos 3

As for the interior, it’s a combination of orange cheese goo and tiny macaroni. The macaroni were tender, although they’re small enough that your teeth might not even notice them. The cheese tastes like cheddar and has a consistency that more like toothpaste than ooey-gooey cheese, making it slightly weird. The mac and cheese is adequate, but it too doesn’t have anything that makes me think of Cheetos.

As you can probably tell, I’m not impressed with Burger King’s Mac n’ Cheetos. They somewhat look like Cheetos, but they don’t have that distinguishable Cheetos flavor, not even a hint of it. And what about Cheetos dust on my fingers! They don’t even give me that.

Look, I admire Burger King for their willingness to try something like this. Someone said you can’t be successful without failure. I’m not sure who said that, probably someone who came up with hundreds of failing sayings before coming up with that winner. It’s a great idea and I was excited about them, but the execution was poor. Maybe they do deserve the name Mac n’ Cheeturds?

(Nutrition Facts – Not available on website yet.)

Purchased Price: $3.29*
Size: 5 pieces
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: They kind of look like Cheetos. Adequate. Interesting concept and name. Breading reminds me of Cheez-Its.
Cons: Disappointing they don’t taste at all like Cheetos. Don’t give me Cheetos dust fingers. No Chester Cheetah on the packaging. Cheese doesn’t have an oozy-gooey consistency.

*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: Nabisco S’mores Chips Ahoy Cookies

Nabisco S'mores Chips Ahoy Cookies

Ahoy-hoy!

It is believed s’mores were invented in 1927. Chips Ahoy (!) first hit shelves in 1963. We had to wait ’til 2016 for the first collaboration. What took so long?

Just in case you live under a rock that rests under a boulder and don’t know what’s in a s’more, please allow Hamilton “The Great Hambino” Porter from The Sandlot to explain the recipe:

“First you take the graham. You stick the chocolate on the graham. Then, you roast the mallow. Once the mallow’s flaming, you stick it on the chocolate. Then, you cover it with the other end.”

Graham. Chocolate. Marshmallow. Simple as the simplest of pies.

So, after 53 years in the making, do S’mores Chips Ahoy stack up to the classic campfire staple? The better question would be, is “s’more” the singular or is it always “s’mores”? Inquiring minds (me) would like to know.

Nabisco S'mores Chips Ahoy Cookies 2

Nabisco claims their new S’mores Chips Ahoy cookies contain choco and marshmallow flavored chips. Despite no hint on the packaging, they seem to have tweaked their classic cookie recipe to make it taste like a graham cracker. I think. I’ll get back to that.

Nabisco S'mores Chips Ahoy Cookies 3

Each cookie has standard chocolate chips and a chocolate center, which instantly put me in mind of the brownie-flavored Chips Ahoy put out recently. From memory, the taste was almost identical.

I tried my best to dissect the cookie and eat a white chip by itself. They’re supposedly “marshmallow flavored” but they just tasted like indistinguishable vanilla chips. Marshmallow flavor only goes so far, you really need the texture to go along with it. That was definitely the most disappointing part.

These cookies really just taste like a regular Chewy Chips Ahoy with extra chocolate. They are a campfire misfire! The middle should have been marshmallow. I don’t understand why they didn’t go that route. Why skimp on arguably the most important detail? You’re killing me, Smalls!

What about the graham?

Each cookie has a tinge of cinnamon, which I assume was their attempt to mock the graham flavor. I had to eat a few and really think about whether or not I tasted it before I read the ingredient list to confirm my cinnamon suspicions.

A crunchy graham cracker is the foundation of a great s’more. Sure, they’re a pain in the neck to eat, but not having one is akin to making a BLT with a pickle instead of a tomato. No one’s ever heard of a BLP!

That actually sounds kinda good. Scratch that from the record. Still, without a tasty graham, you’re only two-thirds of the way to a s’more.

You’ll never hear me say what I’m about to say again. I wish these were regular crunchy Chips Ahoy. I’m of the opinion that since the advent of the chewy variety, the blue bag has been rendered pointless, but when we’re talking s’mores, I need a crunch substitute for the graham cracker.

Nabisco S'mores Chips Ahoy Cookies 4

The package advises to pop these in the microwave for ten seconds. While they didn’t get super gooey or “s’morsey,” they did taste a bit better. But again, it was just a warm Chewy Chips Ahoy.

I don’t think you’d ever in a million years guess the flavor of this cookie without a hint. They don’t look like a s’more, they don’t smell like a s’more (but they still smell delicious), and they don’t taste like a s’more.

I’ve whined a lot, but in the end these taste like a Chewy Chips Ahoy, and I like Chewy Chips Ahoy.

They still go down easy, but if you’re expecting that classic s’mores flavor, tough break.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 Cookies – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 9.6 oz.
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Chewy Chips Ahoy are a solid cookie. Chocolate center is fine. Even though they don’t smell like s’mores, they smell delicious. Cinnamon Suspicions is a good band name. The Sandlot. BLPs.
Cons: Tastes like previous flavors. Marshmallow chips don’t taste or feel like marshmallow. Needs s’more graham. In no way, shape, or form a s’more. Punctuation in product names.

REVIEW: Keebler Limited Batch Birthday Cake Fudge Stripes Cookies

Keebler Limited Batch Birthday Cake Fudge Stripes Cookies

During the 45 years or so of the Cold War, the United States and Soviet Union built up massive quantities of nuclear weapons in an effort to counter each other and become the world’s leading super power.

Each had their own spheres of influence, but since separate hemispheres weren’t enough, both nations just kept building more and bigger missiles until one couldn’t keep up any longer.

A quarter century after the Berlin Wall fell, another arms race is occurring. The good news is that the entire existence of the human race is no longer at stake. The bad news is that we are all going to get massively obese.

It’s a trade I am totally cool with.

Gone are the days when Oreo was content with being the world’s leading chocolate sandwich cookie; likewise, Keebler’s elves aspire to an empire greater than just fudge covered shortbreads. The two companies have fought for cookie supremacy in recent limited time offerings of red velvet and pumpkin spice, but the latest flashpoint in the great cookie conflict is one flavor that I never get tired of celebrating: Birthday Cake.

While I give the elves credit for creating a cookie that has all three traditional elements of birthday cake (sprinkles, frosting, and uh, “cake”) I do need to point out that the box artwork features a cupcake. At first I thought this was just a celebration of portion control, but since the package also happens to be non-resalable — thus increasing my chances of inhaling all the cookies in one sitting — I realize the elves probably just suck at making distinctions.

I, however, do not. And to be sure, the distinction of Birthday Cake vs. Cupcake is one I take seriously. If you show me a cupcake, I expect the frosting to steal the show. That’s not the case with these cookies, though.

Keebler Limited Batch Birthday Cake Fudge Stripes Cookies 2

Oh, I mean the shortbread element is fine. It’s buttery with a delectably fine crumb and the non-overpowering element of sweetness I admire about the original Fudge Stripe.

But whereas the original Fudge Stripe can get away with a faux-chocolate glaze that works to balance the shortbread, the frosting glaze on the latest batch of shortbread just tastes like that generic palm oil glaze we’ve all had a million times. It’s not buttercream frosting; it’s not cream cheese frosting; it’s not even a damn Swiss meringue. It’s just way too sweet, and lacks that luscious mouthfeel of an actual frosting element. Likewise, it’s cut off from the sprinkles, which themselves lack the crunchy contrast I want buried in frosting.

Keebler Limited Batch Birthday Cake Fudge Stripes Cookies 3

Fortunately, since my pantry is always willing to celebrate an actual birthday, I had some rainbow chip frosting handy. Now, while I realize this stuff would be good on anything from pancakes to Ritz crackers, I did find it especially wonderful when stuffed between the Fudge Stripe Birthday Cake cookies.

Biting through the crunchy shortbread into actual, sprinkled-filled frosting — even in an artificial, shelf-stable form — reminded me of Oreo’s birthday cake attempt and how providing just a level of textural contrast can go a long way to really making a birthday cake-flavored product worth the purchase.

Does the fact that Oreo makes a better birthday cake cookie than Keebler mean that the Elves are destined to toil in a downtrodden economy until an ex-KGB spy who likes to take his shirt off attempts to assert them as the world’s leading cookie makers? Probably not. But in the arms race of cookie flavors, Keebler’s latest gambit just can’t keep pace.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 130 calories, 6 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: $2.99
Purchased at: Weis Markets
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Delectable shortbread crumb. Crunchy sprinkle pieces. Wonderful vehicle birthday cake frosting.
Cons: Waxy, mostly tasteless frosting element. Too much shortbread taste for a birthday cake product. Non-resalable packaging. Cookie company flavor arms races.

QUICK REVIEW: Cheesy Quesadilla Pringles

Cheesy Quesadilla Pringles

I imagine putting together a Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme is like brain surgery when compared with the effort it takes to make a cheesy quesadilla. Making one is easier than typing qasadia quasadila quesadila quesadea quesadilla for a first time speller of the word. It involves these simple steps: warm up a soft tortilla in a skillet, sprinkle on a lot of cheese, wait for cheese to melt, fold tortilla in half, and eat.

But Pringles, the Master of Potato Flake Compression, has given us a much simpler way to experience the simple dish — Cheesy Quesadilla Pringles.

It’s not a new flavor, it originally came out years ago, but it hasn’t been on shelves for a while and is currently exclusive to Walgreens. So you can pick up a can while you’re picking up your prescription for something that only you and your doctor know about. Oh, and don’t forget to take your Walgreens Balance Rewards Card. This paragraph was not brought to you by Walgreens at the corner happy & healthy.

The flavor of these crisps is not what I would consider bold or cheese quesadilla-like. There’s a light cheesiness with an equally light pepperiness. I know what these are supposed to taste like, but it doesn’t fire my neurons in a way that makes me think cheesy quesadilla. Instead, all I can think about is watered down chile con queso.

Cheesy Quesadilla Pringles 2

Maybe the flavors are mild because Pringles wanted to recreate the flavor dampening abilities of soft tortillas. Or maybe the seasoning robot in the Pringles factory was set to level 4 by accident.

Overall, Cheesy Quesadilla Pringles are adequate. I don’t think it’s one of those “accidentally eat more than half a can in one sitting” flavors, like sour cream and onion or original. I guess what I’m trying to say is if you see it while picking up your medication at Walgreens, it’s probably not worth a try.

Disclosure: I received a free sample from Pringles in return for an honest review. Receiving the sample did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 5.96 oz can
Purchased at: Available at Walgreens
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 ounce) 150 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.