REVIEW: Pringles Food Truck Flavors Kickin’ Chicken Taco

Pringles Kickin Chicken Taco

Unless you were living on the planet Uranus and happened to miss the Super Bowl and all of its commercials, you no doubt know that a truck can change the way people feel about a guy. But can a truck also change the way people feel about a chicken taco-flavored crisp which is approximately only 42 percent potato?

Such is the question posed by the latest Pringles innovation, Food Truck Flavors Kickin’ Chicken Taco.

To give you some perspective, I guess I should start out by saying I like, but do not love, Pringles. I’ve always found them a serviceable crisp, but let’s be honest, anything you can buy in a can for under two bucks probably isn’t going to conjure up adjectives like “artisan” and “game-changing.” The plainer flavors tend to have an off and fake potato aftertaste, while inconsistent spice coverage always seems to leave the more inventive seasoned crisps falling short.

Yes, a chicken taco from a food truck sounds great, but could chicken taco be any more ambiguous? I mean, chicken taco encompasses quite a spectrum of possibilities; anything ranging from Taco Bell’s “grilled” chicken in a hard shell with iceberg and cheap cheddar cheese to fried and crispy breast tenderloins doused in a bulgogi-style sauce from an up-and-coming fusion chef. The vagueness of it all is enough to make a guy wonder if it’s just another variation of sour cream and onion with a dash of back heat.

Julius K. Pringle clearly had other ideas in designing these crisps because they more than lived up to the unique mashup of flavors that make food trucks such a hit. The first flavor to hit my tongue is the unmistakable taste of braised and specifically dark meat chicken. Intrepid and worldly snackers have seen chicken-flavored crisps before, but unlike Lay’s somewhat recent rendition of Chicken & Waffles, the deep, unmistakably meaty taste isn’t offensive or fowl, at least not as foul as the egregious poultry-themed pun I seamlessly worked into this review.

Pringles Kickin Chicken Taco 4

After the initial blast of braised chicken, a veritable Williams-Sonoma catalog of spices hits me. At first there’s a strong taste of cumin and coriander, with a peppery, cayenne-like back heat which slowly builds. The heat reaches a crescendo, however, and gives way to a slightly floral and acidic note. I hesitate to proclaim it cilantro (or is it parsley?), but there’s definitely an element of relief from the earthy heat of the spices in the seasoning powder. That seasoning gets good coverage overall, appearing on both sides of the crisps.

Pringles Kickin Chicken Taco 2

They end on a distinctly citrusy and curiously sour note, in this case the unmistakable association of a squirt of fresh lime or lemon juice. Maybe the best part is that overly fake potato flake taste is completely absent.

Needless to say, my taste buds have been blown away. There are multiple influences of street food at play on each crisp, ranging from the aggressive spices and slow roasting of the Middle East’s shawarma, to the classic back heat and citrusy relief of your more traditional shredded chicken tacos from Latin America. If combining those two influences in a fusion-style taco was their goal (and seriously, I can pull up a Google search of dozens of food trucks around the country doing this) then Pringles has nailed the flavor with uncanny accuracy.

In 26 years of Pringles eating, this is, unequivocally, the most complex Pringle I have ever tasted, and probably the most realistic mashup of the fusion-inspired food truck flavors a snack food could ever hope to capture. It’s definitely changed the way I feel about Pringles, but is it for the better?

Truth be told my taste buds are confused, caught off guard by flavors I probably wouldn’t seek out had I known they’d be so authentic. Whether or not you find them satisfyingly addictive or unnervingly too accurate probably will depend on your attraction to the combination of assertive Latin and Middle Eastern spices, but one thing’s for sure. This ain’t a trip through the drive-thru and it will definitely leave you with a new perspective on Pringles.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz./about 15 crisps – 150 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 170 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein..)

Item: Pringles Food Truck Flavors Kickin’ Chicken Taco
Purchased Price: $1.50
Size: 5.96 oz. can
Purchased at: Harris Teeter
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Multilayer seasoning shows evolution in flavors from meaty to earthy to piquant to cooling. Strong poultry taste reminds me of pulled adobo marinated chicken thighs. Uncanny resemblance to Middle Eastern and Latin fusion flavors in taco form. Everything’s better with a truck.
Cons: Not the most craveable flavor. Lacks broad appeal of “simpler” seasoning. Could probably be better as a Pringles Tortilla flavor. Tastes about 0.5 percent potato.

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REVIEW: Nabisco Limited Edition Red Velvet Oreo Cookies

Nabisco Limited Edition Red Velvet Oreo Cookies

Red velvet cake is a dessert with cocoa undertones, cream cheese frosting, and has enough red food coloring to make the Kool-Aid Man bust through the wall of a bakery and say, “Oh no!”

Red velvet cake has seen a significant rise in popularity among companies that don’t make actual red velvet cakes. With each Valentine’s season there have been more and more red velvet-flavored products. There have been red velvet (Insert products here, I’m pretty sure they exist). It’s gotten to the point when St. Valentine’s Day should also be known as Red Velvetine’s Day. One of the products you can buy this season to celebrate Red Velvetine’s Day is the Limited Edition Red Velvet Oreo Cookies.

After opening its package, I was greeted with a sweet and tangy, but slightly weird aroma. As I inhaled more, I could get more of the cocoa notes and it was as this point I thought, “This is probably what a red velvet Yankee Candle smells like.”

Nabisco Limited Edition Red Velvet Oreo Cookies Package

I love the look of these cookies. Nabisco pumped enough Red 40 dye into the cookie dough to turn the iconic chocolate Oreo wafer from dark brown to this luxurious dark red. It’s the first new Oreo color and flavor since the Golden Oreo. Sandwiched between the two red cookies is an off-white cream cheese-flavored creme, and on the edges of the creme are crumbs from the cookie. I’m not sure if the crumbs were intentional or the result of being transported thousands of miles, but it does add to the looks of these cookies.

As I mentioned before, the red chocolate cookies are not just a different color than the standard Oreo chocolate cookie, they also have a different flavor. The red Oreo wafer has a more subdued cocoa flavor and doesn’t have the slight bitterness the original Oreo wafer has.

Nabisco Limited Edition Red Velvet Oreo Cookies Topless

With its sweetness and tanginess, the cream cheese-flavored creme does a good job of emulating red velvet cake’s cream cheese frosting. But, at times, while licking the creme, I could’ve sworn the cream cheese-flavor morphed into an artificial butter flavor. So if you’re an obsessive Oreo creme licker, you have been warned. But when I eat a cookie whole, I don’t notice any artificial butter flavor.

I really like the Limited Edition Red Velvet Oreo Cookies, but I don’t love them enough that I would buy a package every year, if they’re brought back. But they do a very good job at imitating the flavors (and colors) of a red velvet cake, and if you’re a fan of red velvet cake, I think these will bring you happiness.

Disclosure: I received a free Limited Edition Red Velvet Oreo Cookies sample from Nabisco. Receiving a free sample did not influence my review. I was not monetarily compensated for this review and you should not trust blogs that are monetarily compensated for reviews.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 60 milligrams of sodium, 50 milligrams of potassium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Nabisco Limited Edition Red Velvet Oreo Cookies
Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 10.7 oz.
Purchased at: Received from Nabisco
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Very good job at imitating the flavors and colors of a red velvet cake. Red wafers lack the slight bitterness regular Oreo wafers have. New cookie flavor and color.
Cons: Package is 10.7 oz instead of the 12.2 ounces with other limited edition Oreo. At times, when being licked, the creme might taste like artificial butter flavoring. Some might think it’s not too different in flavor from regular Oreo cookies. Not shaped like hearts.

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REVIEW: Jack in the Box Buttery Jack (Classic and Bacon & Swiss)

Jack in the Box Classic Buttery Jack

A Buttery Jack sounds like one of those things you shouldn’t look up on Urban Dictionary, but they are also burgers you should look up whenever you’re near a Jack in the Box.

Jack in the Box’s Buttery Jack comes in two varieties — Classic and Bacon & Swiss.

Both feature a new signature 1/4 lb beef patty that’s topped with melted garlic herb butter and a new toasted gourmet bun. The Classic is also topped with provolone cheese, a creamy tomato sauce, green leaf lettuce, and tomato slices. The Bacon & Swiss also has strips of hickory-smoked bacon, Swiss cheese, and a creamy bacon mayo.

If you’re trying to decide which one to try first, go with the Classic.

The beef patty in my Classic Buttery Jack had, I swear, a homemade beef patty flavor to them. It was slightly peppery with a strong beefy flavor. The garlic herb butter sounds like it could overwhelm the entire burger, but it didn’t. It’s mild enough that it enhances the flavor of the beef patty.

Jack in the Box Classic Buttery Jack Closeup

But the ingredient I believe makes the burger stand out is the creamy tomato sauce. It’s sweet, tangy, and tastes somewhat like French dressing. And just like the garlic herb butter, it doesn’t overwhelm the burger.

I also liked the new gourmet bun. It’s dense with a little sweetness, and, even with all the smashing I did while handling it, it ended up being quite sturdy. The provolone, which has been used in Jack’s deli sandwiches, didn’t do much in this burger, except keep the tomato slices from falling out. And the green leaf lettuce was more like yellow-green leaf lettuce. Although, to be fair, yellow-green is better than Jack’s usual white-green lettuce.

The Classic Buttery Jack has a lot of flavor and it’s the best burger I’ve ever had from Jack in the Box.

Jack in the Box Bacon & Swiss Buttery Jack

While I think the Classic is great, the Bacon & Swiss is a step down, but it’s still good.

The creamy bacon mayo has tiny bits of bacon, which help accentuate the six strips of bacon under the bun. Yes, SIX strips. I don’t know if I received bonus bacon by accident, because six seems like a lot, but they gave the burger a bold salty, porky flavor. I do enjoy Jack in the Box’s bacon (it’s definitely better than the bacon they used to have), but in the big chain fast food world, I do prefer McDonald’s Applewood-smoked bacon which is thick and usually crispy on the edges.

Jack in the Box Bacon & Swiss Buttery Jack Closeup

The beef patty in my Bacon & Swiss didn’t taste as good as the one in the Classic. It was a bit overcooked, but the garlic herb butter helped cover the patty’s dryness. The melted Swiss cheese does give the burger a little creaminess and cheesy goodness, but it’s really the bacon, beef, and butter show. With all of that said, even with the garlic herb butter, it doesn’t taste vastly different than other bacon cheeseburgers.

The Buttery Jacks come wrapped in paper and I highly recommend you keep them on while eating the burger…unless you want to slide down poles faster, because the melted garlic herb butter will get all over your hands.

You don’t want that garlic herb butter on your hands. You want to keep it on these Buttery Jacks because it makes them taste really good.

(Nutrition Facts – Classic – 816 calories, 52 grams of fat, 23 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of trans fat, 128 milligrams of cholesterol, 1148 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 37 grams of protein. Bacon & Swiss – 887 calories, 59 grams of fat, 25 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of trans fat, 1346 milligrams of sodium, 48 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 42 grams of protein.)

Item: Jack in the Box Buttery Jack (Classic and Bacon & Swiss)
Purchased Price: $4.99* (Classic)
Purchased Price: $5.39* (Bacon & Swiss)
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Jack in the Box
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Classic)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Bacon & Swiss)
Pros: Classic is the best Jack in the Box burger I’ve ever had. Garlic herb butter and creamy tomato sauce. Nice sturdy bun with little sweetness. Bacon & Swiss came with SIX bacon strips. Bacon mayo has tiny bits of bacon in it.
Cons: Expect to get garlic herb butter on your hands if you take it out of its paper wrapper. Provolone didn’t provide much flavor in the Classic Buttery Jack. Bacon & Swiss doesn’t taste vastly different than other bacon cheeseburgers.

*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.

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REVIEW: Post Honey Bunches of Oats Whole Grain Honey Crunch Cereal

Post Honey Bunches of Oats Whole Grain Honey Crunch

How many grams of whole grains do nutritionists recommend you eat per day?

Like many of you, I have no idea and would like to use my brain’s capacity for numbers that are more useful in life and trivia games, like the number of U.S. presidencies (44), the late Tony Gwynn’s lifetime batting average (.338), and my debit card’s PIN number (1109).

But it’s not really a number one has to remember since it’s on EVERY product that touts whole grain. One can find it on the Whole Grains Council’s stamp that features what I assume is the image of a 1980s blouse with a belt. According to the stamp on this box of Honey Bunches of Oats Whole Grain Honey Crunch Cereal, it’s 48 grams of whole grains.

That sounds like a lot to eat in one day, but a one cup serving of Honey Bunches of Oats Whole Grain Honey Crunch Cereal provides 2/3 of your day’s whole grain. So what’s 2/3 of 48? That’s math I’m too lazy to break out a calculator for. So I shall refer back to the 1980s blouse, which tells me it’s 33 grams.

To give you an idea of how significant of a number that is in the Honey Bunches of Oats World, a bowl of regular Honey Bunches of Oats Honey Roasted Cereal has just ten grams of whole grains.

While a serving of Honey Bunches of Oats Whole Grain Honey Crunch Cereal has 2/3 of my day’s whole grain, it looks like 5/6 of it is made up of flakes.

Post Honey Bunches of Oats Whole Grain Honey Crunch Closeup

There weren’t a lot of honey bunches of oats in this box and it was noticeable with the cereal’s texture and flavor. Crunching my way through the box I mostly felt the texture of cereal flakes and it tasted like a slightly watered down version regular Honey Bunches of Oats Honey Roasted Cereal. But I’m fine with losing a little flavor so that Post can jam more whole grains into the cereal. Besides, I think if you secretly replaced regular Honey Bunches of Oats with this cereal, most folks wouldn’t notice they’re eating a whole grain-ier version.

Other differences between the two cereals? The whole grain one has nearly double the fiber, potassium, and protein. But at the same time also has nearly double the sugar and calories.

According to the Whole Grains Council, most Americans eat only 16 grams of whole grains per day. My Instagram page, which has a lot of French fry and Hello Kitty snack photos, proves I’m one of those Americans.

A nutritionist would probably tell me I should be eating oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa to get a day’s worth of whole grains. But I don’t have a nutritionist to tell me that, so if I want lots of whole grains with little effort I’ll probably reach for Honey Bunches of Oats Whole Grain Honey Crunch Cereal.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup no milk – 220 calories, 25 calories from fat, 3 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat, 1.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 150 milligrams of potassium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 30 grams of other carbohydrates, 4 grams of protein, and a bunch of vitamins and minerals.)

Item: Post Honey Bunches of Oats Whole Grain Honey Crunch Cereal
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 18 oz. box
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Tastes like Honey Bunches of Oats Honey Roasted Cereal. A serving has 2/3 of my day’s whole grain. Nearly double the fiber, potassium and protein than regular Honey Bunches of Oats cereal. Remembering numbers that’ll help you in trivia contests that may or may not happen.
Cons: Tastes like a slightly watered down version of Honey Bunches of Oats Honey Roasted Cereal. Lots of flakes and not a lot of honey bunches of oats. The Whole Grains Council’s logo looks like a 1980s blouse. Posting PIN numbers. Not eating enough whole grains.

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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.”

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