REVIEW: Trident Layers Swedish Fish Gum

Trident Layers Swedish Fish Gum

Are you the one who wished that a fish-shaped gummy named after a Scandinavian country would be transformed into a piece of gum?

Zoltar says: your wish is granted.

While I am not sure which species of fish the original gummies are meant to mimic (Salmon? Halibut? An artistic rendering of Basking Sharks?), I’ve always admired the fish-shaped chewable candies for their sweet and tart tang, so to find them in gum form ruffled me with confusion, hesitation, and impossible joy at the possibility of such greatness.

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The berry gets a massive double layer, while a teeny bit of lemon smooshes itself in the middle. That ratio of flavor distribution comes out immediately in the gum’s taste.

If there was a Seismic Scale of Flavor Intensity, the Lemon of this gum would get a .004. Its lemony, citrus twang just disappears at first chew. Where did you go, Lemon Flavor? Are you jealous that Berry got two layers? Jealousy isn’t good for relationships, Lemon. Haven’t you heard about Brutus and Caesar? The first two Godfathers? That crazy witch in Snow White? Jealousy only brings knives, poison apples, and horse heads in your bed. Don’t let jealousy happen to you, Lemon.

But on the note of vague feelings of injustice, it seems there has never been an official word on Swedish Fish’s actual “berry” flavor, and yet my anxiety and rapidly expanding fear of the unknown seemed fixated on finding the answer. Is it raspberry? Cranberry? Lingonberry? Sour cherry? Berry punch? Is there a professional horticulturalist with a highly refined palate on the blog?

Whatever identity that berry beholds, it presides over the entire chewing experience. I chewed for a solid 30 minutes, enjoying its non-rubbery berry tang that’s both tart and sweet. There was a slight bitterness that came in every now and again (I’m a little sensitive to red dye, so it may have been that), but the overall sugary-tartness made this chewing experience an enjoyably long-lasting one.

But I feel I should give you a warning. This gum lasts very long. So very, very long. Even after you have disposed of your little red knob of rubber, brushed your teeth, and gargled a glug of Spearmint Scope, the berry presence continues to linger somewhere in the back of your throat, which may result in it infiltrating everything you eat. Your tomato soup. Your tuna salad. Your medium-rare bacon cheeseburger. All of them, getting overthrown by a peculiar artificial berry tang.

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But, on the whole, I enjoyed this gum. Like a dentist reaching into the jaws of a wild boar just to see if it has teeth, Trident took a risk, and all in the hopes of seeing if they could transform an iconic gummy into a piece of gum. It was dangerous. It was spontaneous. It was successful. Facing such a risk is admirable in its own right. To have it come out successfully? Earns it big points.

Sure, the lemon got lost and the berry flavor comes across as bitter and overpowering at times, but there’s no question that Trident went all-out with flavor authenticity. I will chew my Swedish Fish gum again. Perhaps while staring at Swedish furniture in IKEA after eating some Swedish meatballs.*

*Thank you, Sweden, for being great.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 piece – less than 5 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 25 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 2 grams of sugar alcohol, and 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Trident Layers Swedish Fish Gum
Purchased Price: $1.49 (single pack)
Size: 14 pieces
Purchased at: Publix
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Tastes just like berry Swedish Fish. Flavor lasts forever. Tangy. Soft and chewy. Stays non-rubbery for a good 30 minutes. Zoltar. Basking Sharks.
Cons: Makes cheeseburgers taste like Swedish Fish. Lemon flavor gets jilted. Not shaped like a fish. What is the berry flavor?? Poison apples. Horse heads in your bed.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Baconator Fries

Wendy’s Baconator Fries

“How are the Baconator Fries?”

“They are banging. You need to get them.”

That’s how my recent Wendy’s transaction started – word for word. I obviously ordered them. Who could argue with that assessment? I hope she was instantly promoted to management, because she knows how to sell a French fry.

I recently returned home from the West Coast, where I made the obligatory stop at In-N-Out. As I sat there eating my Animal Style fries, I wondered why more fast food places didn’t have more menu items featuring the fry as the star. It’s pretty damn hard to mess up a French fry, so why not mess around and provide more toppings than just standard salt? Enter Wendy’s with their new Baconator Fries.

Like the delicious burger of the same name, Baconator Fries are… well, they’re fries covered in cheese and bacon. Wendy’s website claims the ingredients are as follows – natural cut fries, cheese sauce, shredded cheddar cheese, and Applewood smoked bacon. I don’t believe my order had the shredded cheddar though, which is fine, because I believe that would have been overkill.

Baconator Fries aren’t the most attractive looking dish, but at this point we all know the pictures in the commercials aren’t remotely true to life. This was kind of a mess. You won’t be enjoying these with your fingers. There’s something inherently depressing about eating a non-salad fast food product with a fork. I’m not sure why I feel that way, but it just seems to amplify the fact you’re eating greasy fast food.

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To Wendy’s credit, they don’t skimp on the bacon. There was plenty, and despite what I’m going to say next, the bacon held up well and kept a nice crisp – something that I’m frankly not used to when it comes to fast food bacon. I usually pick at least one grisly strip out and toss it.

Wendy’s Baconator Fries 2

The fries themselves were limp and soggy, but to be fair, that should be expected due to the excessive amount of cheese sauce. I also think the plastic casing it came in was a major culprit. I’m never a fan of food served in plastic containers like this. No matter how fast you open it, the contents are still sweating worse than Shaq at the free throw line. Really, the only purpose the plastic container has is to expedite the sog progress, or “sogress”™ of the food inside.

Like I said earlier, it’s hard to mess up a French fry. I like Wendy’s fries a lot actually. They made the change to the natural cut, sea salt version years back and it was definitely for the better. Even without a crispiness, they’re tasty. The cheese sauce is the same from the Baconator. It’s not bad, but I couldn’t help but think a different cheese would have suited this a bit better. Still, coupled with the fries and the crispy bacon, you get at least a few really good bites of food here.

It’s fun to say “Baconator,” isn’t it? That’s a winning name, Wendy’s. Nice job. It doesn’t quite make up for the “Dave’s Hot and Juicy,” but you can’t win em all. I hope they continue messing around with fry-based menu items, but also hoping they leave the “Dave’s Hot and Juicy Fries” on the cutting room floor. Nobody wants to actually say that out loud. The Baconator is also just a really solid hamburger. In fact, that’s one thing that was constantly on my mind while eating these fries – how much I wanted an actual Baconator burger. These fries are kind of a tease in that sense.

Here’s the thing though, this portion is more than a side dish. The size is problematic because I don’t believe it’s enough to pass off as a meal, but it’s also too big to pair with a good sized burger. You’re either gonna be hungry again in an hour, or miserably full for the next few depending on what you order.

I’d say either pair these fries with a 4 piece nuggets, or a Jr. sized burger, or just enjoy them as a Taco Bell-style “FourthMeal.” According to the website, you can also customize your order, so who knows, you might even be able to add hamburger meat and make a Top Chef style “deconstructed Baconator.” Fancy.

So yeah, this is standard Wendy’s fare. They’re often on the mark with their new exclusives. Baconator fries are not something I’m gonna flock out and eat weekly like I did with the Pretzel Pub Chicken Sandwich, but I definitely recommend giving them a try. For only two bucks, you can’t go wrong.

In conclusion… bring back the Pretzel Pub Chicken Sandwich!

(Nutrition Facts – 490 calories, 250 calories from fat, 28 grams of fat, 9 grams of sat fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 550 milligrams of sodium, 45 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, and 14 grams of protein.)

Item: Wendy’s Baconator Fries
Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Price. Crispy bacon. Good flavor pairing. The name “Baconator.” The cute actress in the Wendy’s commercials. Enthusiastic employee. Wendy’s in general.
Cons: “Limited” time only item. Sogress™. Too much cheese. Dave’s Hot and Juicy. In-between portion size.

REVIEW: Nabisco Limited Edition Brownie Chewy Chips Ahoy Cookies

Nabisco Limited Edition Brownie Chewy Chips Ahoy Cookies

Day 1: Test Subject CH-19 has reported for experimentation. CH-19 is an ordinary, unassuming Chewy Chips Ahoy! cookie. While being paid for its compliance, our scientists injected CH-19 with the brownie genome. Is this ethical? Perhaps not, but those nefarious Girl Scouts have little girls running around calling themselves “Brownies,” so our study will continue, too.

Day 20: It’s working. CH-19 reported digestive bloating, and our x-rays revealed that a brownie is indeed growing inside of it. Satisfied, our scientists will sell some of the other subjects in this condition and call them Brownie Filled Chewy Chips Ahoy! cookies.

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Day 32: We had no idea that the brownie filled cookies were only Phase 2 of a grander biological process. The metamorphosis into full-blown Brownie Chewy Chips Ahoy! cookie is complete. After an incident not unlike a cocoa-covered version of that scene from Aliens, the brownie chestburster has entirely taken over CH-19 (Sigourney Weaver wouldn’t answer our phone calls). Its blondie exterior is now the earthy color of fresh soil, and he is emitting a scent similar to your grandma’s kitchen during the county fair bake sale.

Day 42: Dissecting CH-19 for taste testing, the soft, chip-stuffed exterior of the roughly Pog-sized (only real ‘90s cookies remember!) treat crumbled easily, revealing its dense, crumb-spewing innards.

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Its base flavor is remarkably similar to regular Chewy Chips Ahoy! cookies: buttery, moist, and straddling the border of cloyingly sweet with its noticeable brown sugar undertones and added sugariness from the exploding chocolate chip morsels. At first, a blind taste tester might not even be able to discern post-transformation CH-19 from his original state.

However, further analysis reveals CH-19’s new superpower: the power of the chew. By chewing, chewing, and continuing to chew until your jawbones experience karoshi (word of the day, kids!), new depths of flavor are unearthed. First comes a dull cocoa, which quickly becomes a doughy richness that has some genuine fudge notes. This comparatively subdued cocoa taste pairs well with the chocolate chips’ blasts of straight sugar.

But despite the complexities lurking deep within CH-19’s soul, the jaw exhaustion (ex-jaw-stion?) necessary to bring them out isn’t worth the end result. Without the vanilla undertones or oily base (their uncomfortable sticky gloss doesn’t count) of a genuine brownie, these cookies can’t be considered a reasonable replacement for the actual thing. CH-19 and his fellow subjects fall more into the category of “obviously artificial cookies that taste just real enough for Mom to pass them off as homemade so she can have a gosh darn night to herself for once.”

All in all, the cookies are like when the director rereleases your favorite movie with 7 seconds of deleted footage: the added cocoa-brownie taste is, well, tasty, but it’s so barely noticeable that only the delicate palates of seasoned Ahoy!coholics will be driven to hunt these down.

Nabisco Limited Edition Brownie Chewy Chips Ahoy Cookies 4

Day 44: Uh oh. CH-19 is not happy. It has transcended its brownie form and evolved into a higher being. CH-19 has entered Phase 4. The self-titled and grammatically questionable “Ahoy!wich” makes for a delightfully potent and extra chocolaty version of a Chipwich—albeit a disappointingly bite-sized one. The flavor of CH-19’s new vanilla ice cream abdomen ups his “brownie credibility” another notch. He’s too powerful now.

The Ahoy!calypse is upon us.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 95 milligrams of sodium, 60 milligrams of potassium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Nabisco Limited Edition Brownie Chewy Chips Ahoy Cookies
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 9.5 oz.
Purchased at: Spartan Store
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Chewy goodness. The ol’ one-two cocoa-chocolate punch. Learning new words. Hey look, Mom made cookies!
Cons: Not brownie-y enough. Not much difference from “blondie” chewy Chips Ahoy! Ex-jaw-stion. Randomly placed exclamation! points. Our new Ahoy!wich overlords.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Save Our Swirled Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry’s Save Our Swirled Ice Cream

Usually when I go get a pint of Ben & Jerry’s it’s because I’m in a state of hunger or self-loathing. Either way, it always makes me feel better. But when I saw the new flavor, Save Our Swirled, I felt horrible and wasn’t sure the ice cream could make me feel better. The container is so bleak, showing a cow on a melting piece of ice, wearing an SOS sweater, holding a sign, which reads, “if it’s melted, it’s ruined.”

That’s messed up! I was already in self-loathing mode, and now I have to think about global warming and sweater cows falling into the cold arctic waters and there’s nothing I can do to stop it! Well, I could stop throwing Styrofoam burning parties, but damn those are always a great time.

If they keep going in this direction the next new flavor may as well be called “Swirled War 3,” and the cow on the container will be standing in some post-apocalyptic scene similar to Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” wearing a tattered sweater, holding a sign that says, “This is the end!”

The thoughts of Swirled War 3 and ceasing my infamous Styrofoam burning parties made me sob uncontrollably in Wegmans. So, it was just like every other trip to Wegmans. But the sobbing stopped once the ice cream eating began.

Ben & Jerry’s Save Our Swirled Ice Cream 2

A light, airy raspberry ice cream makes up for the base of Save Our Swirled. It had a different flavor than recent raspberry ice creams, like the one in That’s My Jam. It’s not too strong but at the same time it isn’t too weak either. It’s the Goldilocks of raspberry ice creams.

Complementing the raspberry ice cream is a raspberry swirl. It’s unlike the raspberry jam that was in the aforementioned That’s My Jam, and more like a raspberry… goo? Whatever the proper term is, it has a stronger raspberry flavor than the ice cream, and when you get them both in one bite it’s a ras-gasm.

Ben & Jerry’s Save Our Swirled Ice Cream 3

Also joining the mix is a marshmallow swirl, which I personally didn’t think was going to get along with two flavors of raspberry but it does, and it excels.

Lastly, and absolutely least, are the chocolate and white chocolate fudge cones. At first I thought these were fudge covered waffle cones, but they are simply half chocolate/white chocolate ice cream cone-shaped chocolate. They are tasty, but for me personally they were too constant throughout the pint. And when you consider the fact the ice cream is called “Save Our Swirled,” wouldn’t you think ice cream cones are kind of irrelevant?

If Ben and Jerry want to get their point through, the fudge cones should be fudge melting polar ice caps. Then when people eat the ice cream and really look at what they’re eating they may think, “Oh my god, what have I done! I’m devouring the world!” and change their Styrofoam burning party ways.

See, when I saw the ice cream cones I just thought of a hot, carefree summer day, where I don’t think about saving our swirled, er, I mean world. But if I saw a fudge melting polar ice cap I would actually be concerned.

I know Ben and Jerry run an ice cream company, but ice cream isn’t the answer to everything. If it was, I’d be a happy billionaire who lived in a mega tower and hang glided to work everyday. But alas, I’m just a poor salaryman who eats way too much ice cream.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 250 calories, 110 calories from fat, 12 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 50 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 27 grams of sugars, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Ben & Jerry’s Save Our Swirled Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Wegmans
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Raspberry ice cream is delicious. Swirls blend really well together. Styrofoam burning parties. Hang gliding off a mega tower.
Cons: Too many fudge cones. Sobbing in Wegmans. Swirled War 3. Helpless sweater cows.