REVIEW: Wheat Thins Toasted Pita Crackers (Original and Garlic Herb)

Wheat Thins Toasted Pita (Original and Garlic Herb)

I rarely dip my crunchy snacks because I believe dips are just speed bumps on the road to gluttony.

But if you’re reading this review in the middle of the grocery store deciding on whether or not you should buy a bag of Wheat Thins Original Toasted Pita, let me give you words of advice before you make up your mind — make sure you have something to dip them into. I don’t care what it is. Hummus. Salsa. Chocolate sauce. Cheese sauce. Peanut butter. Guacamole. Spinach artichoke dip. Baby food. Anything.

Original Wheat Thins are so great because they can be enjoyed naked. They have a salty, nutty flavor that stands out on its own. Even Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips taste great by themselves. But these pita crackers need something, so much so that, after opening the bag and trying a few, I felt compelled to drive back to the store to buy some kind of dip. I ended up buying hummus.

Wheat Thins Toasted Pita Dip

To be fair, the back of the bag screams that they need to be dipped. But Wheat Thins’ cousin, Triscuit, screams about how they should be topped, although not as loud as these pita crackers, but without toppings they still have a strong munchability. I can’t say the same about Wheat Thins Original Toasted Pita. They have a saltine cracker-level of boringness, and kind of taste like them.

Wheat Thins Original Toasted Pita

Fortunately, these oven baked pita crackers do go well with hummus (and peanut butter), and their thickness does extremely well with thick dips. They have a nice crunch, but not as hearty as Stacy’s Pita Chips. Also, I think they would be a great replacement for saltine crackers when eating soup.

Wheat Thins Garlic Herb Toasted Pita

Wheat Thins Garlic Herb Toasted Pita Crackers are a bit more munchable than Original version. Actually, they’re, if you’ll excuse my poor attempt to be clever, Pitastic.

They smell and kind of taste like a white pizza, which isn’t surprising since each cracker has a light sprinkling of garlic, herb, and cheese seasoning. They don’t have an overpowering flavor, but I found myself mindlessly snacking on them. Like the Original version, the packaging screams that they should be dipped, but they’re fine with or without.

Speaking of dip, the Wheat Thins Garlic Herb Toasted Pita Crackers have enough flavor that I want to crush them into crumbs, add some water, and create a slurry that I can use as a dip to help the Wheat Thins Original Toasted Pita Crackers taste better.

(Nutrition Facts – Original – 15 crackers – 140 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 65 milligrams of potassium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein. Garlic Herb – 14 crackers – 140 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 70 milligrams of potassium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Wheat Thins Toasted Pita Crackers (Original and Garlic Herb)
Purchased Price: $3.50 each
Size: 8 oz. bag
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Original)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Garlic Herb)
Pros: Garlic Herb smells and tastes like a white pizza, and doesn’t need a dip to make them tasty. 10 grams of whole grain per serving. Can handle thick dips. Phones that allow you to read reviews in the middle of the grocery store.
Cons: Original version doesn’t have a unique flavor, tastes like of like a saltine cracker, and needs a dip. Dips are usually just speed bumps on the road to gluttony. Using the term “Pitastic.”

REVIEW: Taco Bell Crunchwrap Sliders (Beefy Cheddar, Spicy Chicken, and BLT)

Taco Bell Crunchwrap Sliders

The Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme is the greatest Taco Bell menu item ever and I hope the people who developed it have their portraits or busts displayed throughout the halls of Taco Bell headquarters. If you disagree and try to tell me why it isn’t, I will use a yapping chihuahua to drown you out.

Despite it being awesome and on the menu for almost a decade, the Crunchwrap hasn’t seen much variety. There’s been a spicy chicken version here and breakfast versions there, but it hasn’t gotten the same treatment from Taco Bell’s tacologists that their burritos and tacos have over the years. So it’s nice to see Taco Bell’s new Crunchwrap Sliders make their way onto menu boards, although for a limited time.

The Crunchwrap Sliders come in three varieties: Beefy Cheddar, Spicy Chicken, and BLT. They’re only a dollar at most locations, five inches wide, hexagon-shaped, contain Fritos corn chips, and if I was a taco ninja they would be my throwing stars. According to the sleeve each one comes in, besides the preset varieties, it’s possible to create custom orders, so let this mini taco frisbee be your canvas.

Taco Bell Beefy Cheddar Crunchwrap Slider

The Beefy Cheddar Crunchwrap Slider comes with seasoned ground beef, nacho cheese sauce, cheddar cheese, and Fritos corn chips in a grilled flour tortilla. Taco Bell’s nacho cheese sauce is made using cheddar cheese so I’m not sure why more cheddar is included and I don’t know how anyone other than supertasters could point out the cheddar in the Crunchwrap.

Seasoned ground beef and nacho cheese sauce has been a winning combination for Taco Bell. I could list all the Taco Bell products that have them, but this review would be even more unnecssarily longer than usual. It’s a combo that makes my taste buds happy, but it’s beginning to get a little old. It’s also a combo that does a great job at making Fritos soggy. Granted, it had to sit though a five-minute car ride and three-minute photoshoot before they were consumed, but so did the other two varieties and the Fritos in them were mostly straight-from-the-bag crunchy.

Taco Bell Spicy Chicken Crunchwrap Slider

The Spicy Chicken Crunchwrap Slider is stuffed with shredded, marinated all-white meat chicken, creamy chipotle sauce, and Fritos chips. If I gave an award to the saddest looking Crunchwrap Slider I received, I would pin a sad face on the Spicy Chicken. The chicken was dry and, compared with the other two, it didn’t look like there was much filling. If it weren’t for the Fritos, it would’ve looked even sadder. Of course, your results will vary. But, thanks to the smoky chipotle sauce, it had some decent flavor, and the chips were still crunchy. For those of you who are excited to see the word “spicy” in its name, I’m going to pop your pepper and tell you it’s not.

Taco Bell BLT Crunchwrap Slider

The BLT Crunchwrap Slider was the one I was least looking forward to because I’m not a fan of the bacon bits they use, which I’ve experienced with Taco Bell’s Waffle Tacos. Along with the bacon, it comes with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, avocado ranch sauce, and Fritos in a flour tortilla.

Surprisingly, this Crunchwrap Slider was my favorite of the bunch, although it was also the messiest of the bunch thanks to the bacon bits, tomatoes, and shredded lettuce not being able to fight gravity. The bacon bits were front and center in terms of flavor because there were a lot of them. It’s as if someone went a little too vertical with the bacon bits bottle. The slightly tangy avocado ranch sauce works well with the other ingredients and it does help with cutting the saltiness of the bacon. Besides messiness, the lettuce adds a little bit of crunch. As a whole, it tastes like I’m eating a sandwich with chips on top.

Overall, l enjoyed all the Crunchwrap Sliders. They aren’t filling, but anything you can pay for with loose change shouldn’t be. They’re available for a limited time, but I believe they should be a regular menu item.

(Nutrition Facts – Beefy Chedar – 410 calories, 170 calories from fat, 19 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 960 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 14 grams of protein. Spicy Chicken – 400 calories, 180 calories from fat, 20 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 900 milligrams of sodium, 42 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein. BLT – 430 calories, 210 calories from fat, 23 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 900 milligrams of sodium, 43 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein.)

Item: Taco Bell Crunchwrap Sliders (Beefy Cheddar, Spicy Chicken, and BLT)
Purchased Price: $1.69*
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Taco Bell
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Beefy Cheddar)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Spicy Chicken)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (BLT)
Pros: $1 at most locations. Fritos were able to maintain crunchiness in the Spicy Chicken and BLT varieties. Despite my previous negative experience with Taco Bell’s bacon, I enjoyed the BLT the most. Crunchwrap Supreme is the greatest Taco Bell menu item.
Cons: Fritos got soggy in the Beefy Cheddar. BLT version is messy. Beefy Cheddar has a too familiar flavor profile. Spicy Chicken wasn’t spicy. Limited time only.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay just a dollar for each.

REVIEW: Crispy M&M’s (2014)

Crispy M&M's (2014)

9 years, 2 months, and 13 days ago, I was shot down by Mars, coming up empty-handed in my attempts to find a bag of Crispy M&M’s. As noted by the comprehensive timeframe, I may not be over it.

Well, now I can hack off that elephantine chip on my shoulder because Crispy M&M’s are back and putting a candy-coated jingle in my step. While they come in a dashing green bag and serve as an excellent pocket-sized tambourine, let’s ask ourselves the Really Important Question: how do these suckers compare to the old Crispy M&M’s?

Crispy M&M's (2014) get the stare from George Washington

Let’s start with some basics: there are crisps and then there are Crisps.

I know.

I’ll give your brain a moment to catch up with the shocking depth of that.

*Waits.*

Now that it’s sunk in, I’m sure you’ve realized you can have a crisp (a smidgeon of a rice puff made of itty-bitty grainy bits that get stuck between your teeth) or you can have a Crisp (a giant husk that crunches, cracks, then dissolves like a massive, non-mushy rice crispy treat). The specimens found in these Ms are unquestionably Crisps. For the mathematical statisticians out there, the average M is about 80% crisp, 15% chocolate, 4% candy shell, and 1% astronaut. That description may also be 75% true.

The Crisp inside crackles on first bite, verging on malt ball territory in sheer dimension. While the Crisp tastes of little more than toasted rice and air, it picks up the slack in providing texture, carrying the burden of contrast as the smooth, super-fast melting milk chocolate rushes in.

Taken as a whole, each candy strikes a moderate balance of chocolate, candy shell, and poof, making it easy to shovel the bag into one’s mouth and/or stash the rest in a drawer so they don’t say, Eat all the bags nowwww or Do you think you could request these in 240-bag packs from Costco? or any of the other things candies say to me when we’re alone together.

Crispy M&M's (2014) tumble out all shiny

President Benjamin Harrison gave the White House its first Christmas tree in 1889. Had Harrison lived for 125 more Christmases, I suspect he would’ve slipped these M&M’s under his tree. They’re filled with sugar, chocolate, and artificial colorings in pebbly candy form. Sure, they may not blow flavor out of the water, but they taste exactly as they did in 2005. In that way, they’re dependable and, moreover, represent a Large American Company doing something Large American Companies rarely do: listen.

Mars heard the call of the American people for the return of that which they held dear and, by George, they answered. Mars gets a gold star for being good listeners. If you were a fan of the Crispy M&M’s of yore, I hope you go forth to your favorite store and haul off any burden and angst of the past as you chow down on these nubbins. Do it for your stocking. Do it for nostalgia. Do it for Benjamin Harrison.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bag/1.35 oz. – 180 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 55 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 22 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Crispy M&M’s (2014)
Purchased Price: 99 cents (on sale)
Size: 1.35 oz. bag
Purchased at: CVS
Rating: 7 out of 10 (plus a special gold star for bringing back a classic)
Pros: Melty milk chocolate. Giant crisp interior. Tastes exactly as I remember them. Good listeners. 1% astronaut. Benjamin Harrison’s Christmas tree.
Cons: Crisp doesn’t add much flavor. Artificial colorings are still artificial. Things candies say when we’re alone together.

REVIEW: Hostess Limited Edition Cherry Chocodile Twinkies

Hostess Limited Edition Cherry Flavored Chocodile Twinkies

Dear Hostess,

I would like to commend your recent decision to revive Chocodiles, those chocolate-coated, cream-filled sponge cakes. Their reappearance was honestly the most surprising comeback of something dead since Hologram Tupac did a little dance at Coachella. Kids these days, am I right?

But alas, all is not right with the world. Though our precious chocolate-covered Twinkies have returned, the beloved mascot of Chocodile snack cakes, Chauncey Chocodile, remains missing. Many years ago, you chose to remove his image from both Chocodiles boxes and the Hostess website, and he hasn’t been seen since. Without a goofy, spectacles-wearing, anthropomorphic crocodile encouraging the American youth to consume sugary treats, we are lost.

Where is Chauncey? Is he locked away in some Hostess factory basement, surviving on a diet of Zingers and stale fruit pies? Is his disappearance a result of witness protection, having seen countless victims fall to the gun-slinging Twinkie the Kid? Rumors have spread that Chauncey’s been spotted smuggling Ho Hos into North Korea alongside Captain Cupcake and King Ding Dong, but I have my doubts — everybody knows Kim Jong Un prefers Little Debbie products.

Hoping to discover a clue related to his disappearance, I recently purchased a package of Limited Edition Cherry Chocodile Twinkies. To my disappointment, I found no hostage letters inside. The box only held nine chocolate-covered sponge cakes filled with cherry-flavored cream.

Though my quest for answers will not be smothered by snack foods made with hydrogenated oil and xanthan gum, I decided to eat the cakes anyway.

Chauncey’s catchphrase was “it takes a while to eat a Chocodile,” but I’m afraid I have to disagree. Each cake is a meager 1.45 ounces, whereas the original Chocodiles were 2 ounces. Even so, I can’t decry the portion size. The snack cakes are so sugary sweet that 1.45 ounces is plenty.

Hostess Limited Edition Cherry Flavored Chocodile Twinkies 3

I expected the cherry flavor to be exaggerated, with a cough syrup-like sharpness, but it was surprisingly subtle. Each bite contained an ample amount of the cherry filling, which offers a creaminess reminding me of cherry-flavored buttercream. The fruity filling feels natural alongside the chocolate and sponge cake flavors of a traditional Chocodile.

Cherry and chocolate is one flavor pairing that just works, and Cherry Chocodiles are no exception to the rule. Chauncey would be impressed.

Hostess Limited Edition Cherry Flavored Chocodile Twinkies 2

My only complaint is that the chocolate feels low quality. As a previous review mentioned, the Chocodile chocolate glaze is somewhat waxy. After consuming just a single Chocodile, I felt the chocolate clinging to the back of my throat in a disagreeable fashion. Hostess, once you take care of this Chauncey Chocodile issue, you should probably get to work on improving your chocolate.

Ah, crap. I’ve digressed a bit. Anyway, back to my main point.

I beseech you, Hostess. Prove to the public you have nothing to hide and disclose the whereabouts of Chauncey Chocodile. It’s time for his visage to once again adorn the boxes of Chocodiles lining the aisles of my local gas station convenience store.

Sincerely,

A concerned citizen

PS – I expect to see a hologram Chauncey take the stage with Dre and Snoop at the next Coachella. Just sayin’.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cake – 160 calories, 70 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 18 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Hostess Limited Edition Cherry Chocodile Twinkies
Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 9 cakes
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Ample filling in each bite. Subtle, creamy cherry flavor. Cherry and chocolate pairing works. Hologram Tupac.
Cons: Waxy chocolate clings to back of throat. The unexplained disappearance of a Hostess mascot.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Lay’s Wavy Dark Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

Limited Edition Lay's Wavy Dark Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

If you look at the Limited Edition Lay’s Wavy Dark Chocolate Covered Potato Chips, you might think this review is easy to write. The dark chocolate and potato chips combination looks like a slam dunk, and I could write an entire review using these seven words:

“These are awesome. Go get some…NOW!”

And then after hitting “Publish,” I pick up my keyboard, drop it onto the floor, make an explosion motion with my hands as I say “BOOM”, and walk away from my desk bobbing my head to a beat in my mind and with each hand held up high with the number one sign.

Since this review is already much longer than those seven words, you’ve probably assumed that I don’t think these dark chocolate covered potato chips are awesome. They aren’t, but they’re good. Not very good, just good.

Last year, I wrote the following about the Limited Edition Lay’s Wavy Milk Chocolate Covered Potato Chips:

“Salt plays a huge part in what makes potato chips so addictive, but my taste buds didn’t regularly register any. And for those times I did, it wasn’t as potent as I hoped it would be. I think I can get a more pronounced saltiness on my tongue if I ran in place for 20 seconds and then licked myself.”

Limited Edition Lay's Wavy Dark Chocolate Covered Potato Chips Closeup

Well, I’m happy to say lack of salt wasn’t an issue with the new Limited Edition Lay’s Wavy Dark Chocolate Covered Potato Chips. According to the computer generated picture on the front of its packaging, it’s got what slugs hate. Salt. There weren’t large grains of sea salt on mine, but most times it tasted like there were. Actually, there were times when when these chocolate covered Lay’s Wavy chips were disturbingly salty, like waves in the ocean.

Another issue I had with the milk chocolate version of the chips was how the flavor of the potato chip got lost in the chocolate. I thought the salt might help the potato chip flavor pop a little bit more, but it didn’t. Although, the salt did help the dark chocolate pop a little bit more.

Just like last year’s milk chocolate covered chips, these come in a 5-ounce bag. If you’re wondering how many chips that equals to, here’s a photo.

Limited Edition Lay's Wavy Dark Chocolate Covered Potato Chips Contents

For most of the chips, the decent tasting dark chocolate covers only one side, which was the case with last year’s chips. It’s a thick layer of chocolate, which gives each chip a nice heft. Even with that thick layer, the potato chip underneath still lets out a hearty crunch.

I know it reads like I’m super down on these Limited Edition Lay’s Wavy Dark Chocolate Covered Potato Chips, but I really did like them. They are tasty and I love the crunch, but they don’t blow my mind because those bursts of salt were a bit weird to me and the balance between potato chip and chocolate leans way too heavily on the chocolate side.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz/about 3 chips – 160 calories, 90 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Limited Edition Lay’s Wavy Dark Chocolate Covered Potato Chips
Purchased Price: $3.99*
Size: 5 oz. bag
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Good. It’s potato chips in frickin’ chocolate. Lay’s decided to make a dark chocolate version. This time I could taste salt. Salt helps dark chocolate pop more. Chips still have a hearty crunch.
Cons: Not awesome. At times, the chips were disturbingly salty. Potato chip flavor is hardly noticeable. Nutrition facts are for only three chips. Not something I would eat as often as regular potato chips. Some might think $3.99 is pricey for what you get.

*Desperate to buy these, I had to get them from eBay. I paid $26 for three bags. No, $26 is not a typo. The $3.99 is the retail price that the person who sold me the chips probably paid.