REVIEW: Limited Edition Mocha Crunch Cereal

Limited Edition Mocha Crunch Cereal

Limited Edition Mocha Crunch Cereal smells WONDERFUL.

I want to stick a bowl of it in a coffee grinder, turn it into a powder, dump that into a drip coffee maker, brew a cup, and start my day with a cup of Mocha Crunch Cereal coffee. The aroma that comes out of the bag smells like a combination of coffee and fudge brownies. I could smell it all day or until my nose reaches temporary sensory fatigue and can no longer smell it.

Limited Edition Mocha Crunch Cereal looks EXACTLY EXACTLY like Girl Scouts Thin Mints Cereal.

How exact? Well, as exact as the two EXACTLY I typed in the previous paragraph. They have the same shape and dark chocolatey powder coating. It’s as if General Mills separated the two cereals at birth, kept them apart all these years to prevent Darth Vader from finding them, and now they’ve come together to fight the Empire of Kellogg’s. Yes, I know Luke and Leia are not identical twins. I just have Star Wars on my mind.

Limited Edition Mocha Crunch Cereal 2

Limited Edition Mocha Crunch Cereal tastes good, BUT…

From the image on the front of the box, it appears the cereal is attempting to recreate the flavor of a Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino, McDonald’s Mocha Frappe, Dunkin’ Donuts Mocha Coolatta, Krispy Kreme Frozen Mocha, or The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Mocha Ice Blended Drink in cereal form. Unfortunately, it doesn’t accomplish that.

While the mint is noticeable with the Thin Mints Cereal, coffee isn’t with this one. I think of it as tasting like the Girl Scouts Thin Mints Cereal, but without the mint. It’s made with cocoa powder AND cocoa processed with alkali. That double dose of cocoa gives this cereal a nice chocolatey flavor that also end up in the milk a little. It’s like a darker version of Cocoa Puffs.

But despite not having a coffee flavor, it’s a nice tasting cereal. When I had the Thin Mints Cereal, I thought a version of it without the mint would be good, and this is it. But if you want a coffee-flavored cereal, this is not the cereal you’re looking for.

See Star Wars on my mind.

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup without milk – 110 calories, 25 calories from fat, 3 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 100 milligrams of sodium, 70 milligrams of potassium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, 12 grams of other carbohydrates, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: More than I should from eBay
Size: 18 oz. box
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Smells like coffee and brownies. Nice chocolatey flavor. Powdered coating makes milk chocolatey.
Cons: Doesn’t have a hint of coffee flavor. Looks exactly like Limited Edition Thin Mints Cereal. Shoehorning Star Wars references into a review.

REVIEW: Starbucks Matcha Lemonade

Starbucks Matcha Lemonade

Starbucks’ Matcha Lemonade looks like water from a pond that has too much nitrogen and phosphorus causing excessive algae growth. But does it suck as much as algae blooms suck out the oxygen from ponds? Let’s find out.

Science reference! High five!

According to Starbucks, the Matcha Lemonade combines finely ground Teavana matcha green tea and lemonade, shaken, not stirred, with ice.

I do the matcha-cha every so often by eating matcha ice cream, Kit Kat from Japan, Jamba Juice smoothies, and lattes. But combining the green tea’s bitter flavor with sour and sweet lemonade, creating a Matchalf & Matchalf, doesn’t seem like a good match-a to me. Sorry.

But I do like matcha green tea flavored products. And I do like lemonade. So I should like this combination, right?

Starbucks Matcha Lemonade 2

Well, it doesn’t suck as much as algae blooms suck out the oxygen from bodies of water. But it also doesn’t make me want to pay a medium $500 to do a seance to speak to Arnold Palmer’s ghost to tell him this tea and lemonade mashup is better than his.

With all the matcha products I’ve had in the past, they’ve been made with either dairy or chocolate, which help cut through the tea’s bitterness. But the lemonade doesn’t quite do the same here. I get a sweetness from the lemonade, but unlike a Half & Half where there a balance, this leans more towards the tea and I don’t taste the lemonade. It’s pretty much sweet matcha water.

Now this reads like I’m putting down the beverage, but there was a part of me that enjoyed it. I didn’t spit it out or dump it down the drain. But I’m not going to proclaim it to be My Summer Beverage of 2017. It’s weird, but sometimes weird is good. And the weird part of me enjoyed this. But I don’t think it’ll appeal to most taste buds.

(Nutrition Facts – Grande/16 oz. – 120 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 27 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein, and 80 milligrams of caffeine.)

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: Grande
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: A part of me enjoyed it, but that’s probably because of my love of matcha. Doesn’t suck as much as algae blooms sucks out oxygen from bodies of water. Science reference!
Cons: Won’t appeal to most taste buds. Lemonade doesn’t really shine. Looks like algae in a cup.

REVIEW: Salted Caramel Oreo Thins

Salted Caramel Oreo Thins

I prefer Oreo Thins to Oreos.

Sure, you can’t beat a classic Oreo, I’ve just never been able to eat many in one sitting. Regardless of flavor, I’m done after about four. I can polish off an entire sleeve of Oreo Thins without even realizing it. It doesn’t make sense, but it’s true.

Listen, I can hear your outrage from here. “Vin likes Thins more than Oreos?! This is outrageous. Wait, who the heck is Vin?”

I get it. I know people still have some problems with Oreo Thins. They convey an unattainable image to young Oreos. They’re a false portrayal of what society thinks an Oreo should look like. Every new Oreo Thins flavor that hits shelves feels like a slight to Double Stuff Oreos the world over, but hey, I like what I like.

Salted Caramel Oreo Thins 2

Speaking of new flavors, remember like a decade ago when you never even knew salted caramel was a thing? Can you believe we once lived in a world where “sweet and salty” wasn’t a super mainstream flavor profile? Now even the world’s most famous cookie is dipping itself into the salted caramel pool.

The new Salted Caramel Oreo Thins have that distinct Golden Oreo cookie smell with just a spritz of eau de stale caramel.

Salted Caramel Oreo Thins 4

There isn’t much crème per cookie, but I imagine you know the drill with Thins at this point. I personally prefer the Thins ratio to a normal Oreo.

Honestly, the caramel flavor in these cookies isn’t all that strong. It’s more of a “yeah, I guess that’s caramel” than anything, but it still tastes good. I wouldn’t get my hopes up expecting a big blast of caramel flavor.

As for the salt? It’s there, but not overpowering. I did get a couple salt crystal crunches from time to time, which are always appreciated. I could be crazy but the cookie might have a little more saltiness to it than normal. Don’t quote me on that though, I haven’t had a Golden Oreo in a bit.

Salted Caramel Oreo Thins 3

Caramel is a delicious flavor in general, but it’s also very dependent on texture. Sure, I get annoyed when a chewy, sticky piece of caramel sticks in my molar, but that’s also part of the charm. The caramel “crème” in these cookies doesn’t hold a candle to a good piece of actual caramel. You might as well call it “car-mull” crème like one of those weirdos who say “car-mull.”

I’m sure people will complain about the lack of normal sized Salted Caramel Oreos. Let me tell you something – they wouldn’t be good. This is the perfect ratio of crème to cookie. A double serving of this crème would be gross even with more cookie to counter it. They knew what they were doing.

So, these aren’t bad. Salted caramel doesn’t necessarily lend itself to a crème consistency, but these go down easy.

I hope Nabisco continues to drop exclusive flavors on its Thins line, because that’s a line I want to walk.

(Nutrition Facts – 4 cookies – 150 calories, 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 100 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 10.1 oz. package
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Solid caramel-ish flavor with a touch of salt. Golden Oreo thins are much better than the normal size. They go down easy. Oreo’s most recent packaging update. The “sweet and salty” boom.
Cons: Somehow not sweet or salty enough at the same time. Golden don’t beat the original chocolate cookie and never will. The different pronunciations of “caramel.” The cream vs. crème battle wages on. That corny final line.

REVIEW: DiGiorno Pepperoni Pizza Buns

DiGiorno Pepperoni Pizza Buns

DiGiorno’s Pizza Buns are like mini cinnamon buns. Except instead of cinnamon, sugar, and frosting, there’s meat, cheese, and sauce.

When I first saw these, I thought it was a silly and horrible idea. But that’s based on my experience with a similar product — Target’s Market Pantry Pizza Spirals. They. Were. Horrible. They didn’t heat up well, even in an oven, the dough was chewy, the pizza filling was mushy, and they made me cry.

So let’s find out if DiGiorno’s Pizza Buns will make me do the opposite of crying, which is shaking my buns.

DiGiorno Pepperoni Pizza Buns 2

It’s available in many varieties, but I decided to go with pepperoni. The snack also features mozzarella cheese, a chunky tomato sauce, and preservative free dough. The cheese is on top, while the pepperoni pieces and sauce are between the layers of spiraled dough. Each bun is about two inches wide and, as you can see above, pre-burnt on top.

DiGiorno Pepperoni Pizza Buns 3

Like products that come with microwave and conventional oven instructions, the latter always does a better job. But the microwaved ones are above decent. They don’t have a slight crispy exterior, like the oven prepared ones, but they don’t end up tough or dried out either. The microwaved dough is soft and easy to bite through.

Usually, I’d say, if you’re willing to wait, go for the oven. But for these Pizza Buns, the time spent waiting might not be worth it.

Now I’m happy to report they’re 100 times better than Market Pantry’s Pizza Spirals. They’re good enough that I don’t want to throw them away or write an angry letter to Target corporate soaked with my tears.

DiGiorno Pepperoni Pizza Buns 4

The pepperoni has a slight spicy kick and the sauce, while not chunky, does have a nice sweet tomato flavor. Since the cheese is on top, it’s pre-burnt. So no gooey cheese.

While tasty, a serving of Pizza Buns isn’t a filling snack. A serving is two buns and there are three individually wrapped pairs per box. A pair is a lot lighter than a Hot Pocket and a little bit less than a serving of six Pizza Rolls. Also, the Pizza Buns don’t have as bold of a flavor as the other two frozen pizza snacks.

Well, at least it doesn’t have a molten filling that burns my mouth like the other two.

So I’m kind of torn about DiGiorno’s Pizza Buns. They taste fine, but they’re not exciting enough to make me shake my buns.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 pizza buns – 200 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 mud 410 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: 8 oz. (3 pairs)
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: A decent amount of pepperoni per bun. Nice sweet tomato sauce. Better than okay when microwaved. No molten filling to burn my mouth. 100 times better than Market Pantry’s Pizza Spirals.
Cons: Doesn’t have as bold of a flavor as other frozen pizza snacks. Comes pre-burnt. No gooey cheese. Not a filling snack. Doesn’t make me shake my buns.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger

Jack in the Box BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger

Jack in the Box’s new BBQ Bacon Cheeseburgers come with your choice of a sweet honey bourbon BBQ sauce or spicy red chili BBQ sauce. I prefer the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger with sweet BBQ sauce, which you can see above.

Or is that a photo of the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger with spicy BBQ sauce that I also bought.

Ugh. I don’t remember. They look the same.

Oh, they also look like Jack’s Outlaw Burger.

Besides the sauces, the burger brothers also come with a beef patty, bacon, onion rings, two slice of American cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes on a bun.

Now I don’t know if this is a good thing or bad thing but the sweet BBQ sauce reminds me of what you can get with McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets. I don’t taste bourbon, but it has a nice, sweet, and mellow flavor that will appeal to more taste buds.

Jack in the Box BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger 3

The spicy BBQ sauce is also tasty and slightly sweet, but VERY peppery. So much so that at one point it made me cough. Heatheads will think it’s just a tickle, but if you’re sensitive to spiciness, you should order one with the sweet BBQ sauce.

But with either burger you’ll get a lot of sauce. So don’t take it out of the white paper wrapper it comes in.

(The More You Know theme plays)

Jack in the Box BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger 2

The onion rings disappoint me. At first glance I thought these weren’t Jack’s wonderful Panko Onion Rings, but instead something that looks like they might’ve come out of Burger King’s fryers. But a closer inspection shows they have actual onion slices and not the onion mush in BK’s offering. That’s good, but the burgers would look more spectacular if they had one large Panko Onion Ring instead of the smaller pieces. It would also up the onion flavor and crunch, which these burgers could use a little more of.

The bacon isn’t impressive texture-wise. They are small limp pieces that don’t fall out because they’re incased in a melted cheese slice. But they do add a smokiness that complement both BBQ sauces. The beef patty seems to be the same one on the chain’s Jumbo Jack, the lettuce provides a little crunch, and the tomato is there to fall out as you take a bite from the burgers. To be honest, I wish these were sans veggies.

I know. Lots of little complaints. But as a whole, I found myself enjoying both versions of the burger, especially the sweet one shown below.

Jack in the Box BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger 4

Or is this the spicy one?

(Nutrition Facts – .)

Purchased Price: $5.79 each*
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Sweet BBQ Sauce)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Spicy BBQ Sauce)
Pros: Both sauces are good, but I prefer the sweet one. Bacon adds a smokiness that complements the sauces. Lots of sauce. Two slices of cheese add a creaminess.
Cons: Spicy BBQ sauce is VERY peppery and might be too spicy for some. Wish the onion rings were bigger. Why are there lettuce and tomato? Limp bacon. Can be messy.

*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.