REVIEW: Limited Edition Fruity Crisp Oreo Cookies

Nabisco Limited Edition Fruity Crisp Oreo Cookies

Well, I guess this is how it starts.

Yes, “it.”

Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. It’s only the single worst thing in the universe; the thing people have been warning us about for years. It’s the reason why I’ve been stocking up the shelves in my basement, quietly prepping for the disaster I knew would eventually befall us. And to think the harbinger of the impending doom is America’s most beloved cookie company.

The cerealapocalypse.

After tasting the new Fruity Crisp Oreo Cookies I’m convinced the end of cereal eating as we know could be near. We already knew people were ditching cereal because they’ve been too damn lazy to wash out their bowls, but now that Oreo has managed to pack the flavor of Fruity Pebbles in between their Golden wafers, well, Post might as well file Chapter 11.

Every time Oreo releases a new flavor people say things like, “This is a game-changer.” But I’m not here to tell you what is and is not a gamer changer; I’m here to tell you these cookies taste exactly like Fruity freaking Pebbles, right on down to that initial Paleolithic burst of cloying artificial fruit flavor.

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From the moment I opened the bag the unmistakable aroma of Fruity Pebbles assaulted my nostrils like a friendly prehistoric child with a large club, while an initial sampling of the Golden Oreo base revealed the distinct aftertaste of the Fruity Pebbles cereal we all remember from the days when we smuggled it into our mommies’ shopping carts at the supermarket.

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After effortlessly separating the filling from the cookies, I sampled the frosting-like creme on its own. This is not your standard Oreo creme. It’s not as chalky or stiff as regular Oreo creme, and it has a shelf-stable frosting like quality in the way you can pluck it from the cookie with your finger. The taste, bursting with crispy, fruity cereal pieces, is unmistakably milky and sweet, like cereal that’s been steeped in milk for the better part of a day. If I was going to make an ice cream out of cereal, I imagine it would taste a lot like the creme.

Yes, the cerealapocalypse is upon us.

Biting into each cookie, you get every element of a bowl of Fruity Pebbles; the milk is there, the crispy cereal texture is there, and of course, the hypersweet fruity taste dominates. Basically, each cookie renders the cereal box and carton of milk a relic from the past. As a traditional cereal eater, even I will admit it tastes insanely awesome.

But there may be one hope for those of us used to eating cereal the old fashioned way. For as much as I enjoyed the first couple of cookies, I couldn’t get into the same kind of mindless cookie eating groove that I can get into with a standard Oreo. I mean, you have to really love Fruity Pebbles to make it through an entire package, mostly because the overwhelmingly sweet, artificial taste of Fruity Pebbles is so accurate that you feel like you’ve just eaten 3-4 bowls of Fruity Pebbles after just 3-4 cookies. With that in mind, I can see some Oreo fanatics loving these cookies, but not making them a repeat purchase.

In any case, that’s my only hope for the cereal industry, because these cookies are so accurate in copying the taste of Fruity Pebbles, they’ll make you forget Fred Flintstone existed.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 80 mg of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugars, and less than 1 gram of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 10.7 oz
Purchased at: Giant
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Perfectly captures the taste of Fruity Pebbles in every bite. Milky, frosting-like creme. Crispy textural contrast. Golden wafers that have fruity cereal taste.
Cons: Exceptionally sweet and artificial, to the point where the Fruity Pebbles taste can wear on you. Packaging literally out of the Stone Age. Not as good as some of the other limited edition Oreo flavors. Needs a chocolate lovers equivalent with chocolate wafers and Cocoa Pebbles.

QUICK REVIEW: Kellogg’s Frosted Crush Orange Pop-Tarts

Kellogg's Frosted Crush Orange Pop-Tarts

Kellogg’s Frosted Crush Orange Pop-Tarts taste better than actual Crush Orange soda. There, I said it. Send your assassins after me, Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc.

In order to make that comparison, I had to buy a Crush Orange soda, which, like rock climbing and doing the Dab, is something I’ve never done before. Oh, I’ve consumed several bottles and cans over the years when it was the only choice in the cooler towards the end of a cookout. But I’ve never spent a dime on one until now.

Crush Orange tastes like generic orange tablet candy. Yes, those probably aren’t the most flattering words to describe it. I’m mean, it’s a serviceable beverage and I won’t hesitate to drink one if the only other options are bottled water and that swill known as Mist Twst.

These Pop-Tarts also have a generic orange candy flavor. But it doesn’t taste like the tablet candy you get from the junk trick-or-treat houses in your neighborhood. The filling also has a mild sourness that complements the sweet citrus flavor. Sadly, there isn’t any fruit in the filling. Instead, the flavor and sourness appears to come from orange oil and malic acid. Mmm, malic acid.

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I was worried about having hot soda flavor in my mouth due to my less than positive experience with hot Dr Pepper as a teenager, but these Pop-Tarts were great toasted, chilled, or straight out of the foil wrapper. Also, the crust and frosting didn’t dampen the filling’s flavor, which is what I experienced with the Frosted A&W Root Beer Pop-Tarts.

Overall, I enjoyed Frosted Crush Orange Pop-Tarts. They have a nice sweet and tart flavor, the orange and white icing remind me of BB-8, and they, along with the root beer ones, make me look forward to other soda-inspired flavors. Maybe Dr Pepper and/or 7Up Pop-Tarts?

Disclosure: I received a free sample of these Pop-Tarts from Kellogg’s. Receiving the sample did not influence the review.

Purchased Price: FREE from Pop-Tarts
Size: 8-pack
Purchased at: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 pastry) 200 calories 45 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Limited Batch Pecan Sticky Buns Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's Limited Batch Pecan Sticky Buns Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry’s flavors that are exclusive to one store or area carry a strong sense of injustice, for me at least. I saw a flavor last year that was exclusive to Texas. It’s like, hey, what’s wrong with (insert other 49 states here)!? You think you’re better than us?

Driving to Texas for an exclusive flavor is one thing, but it’s frustrating enough when I can’t go to my precious Wegmans to get a certain flavor and I have to go to a Target or Walmart instead. Bleh!

Even though Pecan Sticky Buns sounded really enticing, the thought of going to a Walmart in Rochester sounded anything but. I don’t think I’d been to one in a good two years. I hadn’t had sticky buns in a few years either, not since the last time I attended an adult caramel party. Think of the party from Eyes Wide Shut, only a lot weirder and with a lot more caramel.

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With this ice cream, Ben & Jerry’s did a really good job with getting certain flavors of an actual sticky bun down. The buttery brown sugar ice cream was pretty accurate. You definitely get a strong brown sugar flavor with this. I know because I used to pour a pound of brown sugar into my oatmeal when I was little.

There are chunks of sticky bun dough to further nail the brown swirly ooey-gooey parts of the sticky buns. You know what I mean. The sticky bun dough chunks were exactly like the cinnamon bun dough chunks from Ben & Jerry’s Cinnamon Bun flavor, which I’m not even sure is a flavor anymore. I know they have different names, but I’m suspicious they were the same exact chunks. Think they tried to sneak one by us here.

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The pecans were ridiculously flavorful. They appeared to be normal pecans but they tasted like those cinnamon roasted one you get at a baseball game or festival. They had that boiled in something sweet taste and it is pretty magnificent. I mean, there are not many things that wouldn’t be delicious if you boiled them in cinnamon. I bet Hannibal Lector boiled some of his victims in cinnamon before going to Chowtown. I just know there’s a deleted scene of that. Probably.

Lastly, there’s a cream cheese frosting swirl whose presence in a bite will always surprise you because it blends in perfectly with the ice cream. The swirls aren’t very thick, which was nice because you don’t get surprise flavor slammed by cream cheese, and they are a nice touch as they take you away from the cinnamon taste for a second.

Overall, it’s a good concoction, but it is SUPER rich, even for Ben & Jerry’s. I’ve had other exclusive Walmart flavors, but they were subpar (I’m looking at you, Cotton Candy). This one was worth the trip.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 300 calories, 170 calories from fat, 19 grams of total fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of total carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 23 grams of sugars, and 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.09
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Has flavors very reminiscent of real pecan sticky bun. Adult caramel parties.
Cons: A bit too rich. Having to go to Walmart to get it. Ben & Jerry’s exclusive flavor injustice.

REVIEW: Project 7 Birthday Cake Gourmet Gummies

Project 7 Birthday Cake Gourmet Gummies

Science!

It is long-winded!

What with its Bunsen burners, vacuum filters, and radioactive delocalized atoms, science can leave even the most educated scratching their heads about what in the world C12H22O11 is. Indeed, the mere mention of the periodic table can transform the average-and-everyday into the daunting, ruthless, and unfamiliar.

But, as I learned the time I used physics to whack open a piñata while bouncing on a trampoline, just because science can be unfamiliar doesn’t mean it’s bad. Sometimes one must use science to venture into the unknown. Must harness it to go where no one has gone. Must employ it to take up fly-fishing, win at Ping-Pong, or do the moonwalk in polka-dotted boxer shorts. As humans, we must push, pull, challenge, wring, and wrestle so that we may grow. Science can help us do this.

And sometimes this integration of science involves transforming a fluffy, frosted loaf into blushing ursidae-shaped confectionary. Such is the case with these Project 7 gummies, which dare to take on birthday cake as the inspiration for their squishy bears. But will science follow through? And, if so, will it serve us better? Or will we be consumed by gelatinous radioactive sludge? Fire up the atomizer. We’re diving in.

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Well, pull out your shades and put on your blinders ‘cause these bears tumble out with a red-pink hue that’d rival Kirby eating strawberries in a Hello Kitty Store. The gummies smell quite unique, wavering between whiffs of vanilla Jell-O, pound cake, and, oddly enough, that first moment one walks into a Laser Tag room when the fog machine is at full blast. Special effect smells aside, the bears are soft, squishy, and with their massive googly eyes, likely to both inspire and scare the living daylights out of you.

You wanted your birthday cake chocolate? Strawberry? Coffee caramel with marshmallow fluff? This terrain is not for you. Soft and stretchy with a hint of Chuck E. Cheese Birthday Cake, these bears are straight up vanilla. Nothing more. Nothing less. The bears start with a sweet, saccharine sugar spike that mellows out into the mellow vanilla. It’s not too exciting, but definitely pleasant enough in a humble, uncomplicated way. There’s even a certain brightness at the end, probably from the 100 percent vitamin C they’ve crammed into ‘em. That’s right: you can prevent scurvy. Birthday Cake Gummies can help.

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Science came. Science saw. Science did a bunch of chemical interactions. Maybe something exploded (because what’s good science without explosions?).

What emerged from the mist are these wacky, vanilla-forward gummies tinted in a pink so deep they could stomp on Barbie’s trademark. While the flavor doesn’t blow my mind, the vanilla is pleasantly simple and the concept of specialty gummies is kind of (definitely) spectacular. Perhaps Project 7 will Jelly-Belly-ify their gummies, expanding into the realms of pancakes and pina coladas. My appreciation of this gummy’s vanilla flavor, coupled with a hope that Project 7 will create a buttered popcorn-flavored gummy, is enough to encourage me to pick these up on occasion. If you like your pink with a shot of vanilla and vitamin C, these are worth a shot.

(Nutrition Facts – 16 pieces – 130 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 20 milligrams of sodium, 0 mg of potassium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 18 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 2 oz package
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Squishy. Sweet. Mellow, non-chemically vanilla flavor. Prevents scurvy. Kirby at the Hello Kitty Store. Using physics to whack a piñata. Polka-dotted underwear. Science!
Cons: Has googly eyes that haunt you. Not inclusive of all Birthday Cake flavors (yet). Questionable smell of fog effects at Laser Tag. May bring back traumatic Chuck E. Cheese Birthday memories. Radioactive sludge.

REVIEW: S’mores Crispy M&M’s

S'mores Crispy M&M's

Crispy M&M’s are one of those snacks you’ll find on many lists on the internet with titles like “20 Foods You’ll Never Eat Again” or “19 90s Snacks Your Taste Buds Will Never Experience Once More.” But those writers didn’t heed the wise words of Justin Bieber, “Never Say Never.”

The creamy and crispy candy came back with the might of a multi-million dollar promotional campaign about two years ago. And now there are flavored varieties. Meet S’mores Crispy M&M’s.

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If Skittles is “Taste the Rainbow,” then these would be “Taste the Neutral Color Palette in a Home Depot Paint Department.” The candy pieces come colors that I will describe using names one might find in a Home Depot paint section: Vancouver Snow, Orange Moss, and Ghana Cocoa.

While their colors might not be exciting, the smell that comes out of their bag every time I open it is an aromatic come-hither. I imagine it’s similar to what the original Ghostbusters had to smell for days after getting drenched with Stay Puft Marshmallow Man goo, a toasted eau de mallow, if you will. It’s an artificial exaggerated marshmallow aroma, but it’s still a scent I enjoy. Hey, Glade! Bottle it or turn it into a candle.

The artificial marshmallow flavor is as strong as the artificial marshmallow aroma and it has an equally strong chocolate flavor, but it’s hard to taste the graham. They don’t taste exactly like those messy treats I used to eat sitting around the campfire I had to make and later extinguish in order to earn my Fire Safety Merit Badge, but they’re s’mores-ish enough for me.

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All the flavor is in the chocolate. I thought the rice crispy center might have some flavor, but after letting a piece dissolve in my mouth, it turns out it’s blander than Rice Krispies Cereal. However, it does give each candy a graham cracker-like crunch. Oh, that crunch! That wonderful crunch that was one of the reasons why I liked a Facebook page called “Bring Back Crispy M&M’s.”

I really like S’mores Crispy M&M’s. But that’s not surprising since they have the same marshmallow flavor that’s in those great Hot Chocolate M&M’s that came out last year. I do wish the graham was a bit stronger, but I’d still recommend them. So if you see these crispy s’mores-flavored M&M’s on a store shelf, go Taste the Neutral Color Palette in a Home Depot Paint Department.

(Nutrition Facts – 1.5 ounces – 200 calories, 70 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 25 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 8 oz bag
Purchased at: Cub Foods
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: S’mores-ish. Artificial marshmallow aroma and flavor are pleasant. The crunch of Crispy M&M’s. Crispy M&M’s still live!
Cons: Hard to taste the graham. Rice crisp center is flavorless. Using the word “never” in your discontinued foods list.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Bacon Supreme Omelet Breakfast Sandwich

Dunkin' Donuts Bacon Supreme Omelet Breakfast Sandwich

Supreme is, undoubtedly, one of my favorite adjectives. It has a connotation that’s both physically big and exceptional, not to mention it lends its name to the highest court in America, a groundbreaking female vocal group, and that mysterious bad guy we saw in The Force Awakens.

Supreme is bigger, better, and tastier than super. Supreme is what superb aspires to be but will never be. Supreme is what adults say when they want to describe something but don’t want the ambiguity of stupendous.

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Dunkin’ Donuts’ Bacon Supreme Omelet Breakfast Sandwich does not look like it deserves the title supreme. Flatter than a pancake and shoved into an America Runs on Dunkin’ bag amidst the morning rush hour, its appearance might best be described as, “that’s it?”

But looks can be deceiving, and when it comes to taste, the Bacon Supreme Omelet Breakfast Sandwich delivers.

But first, a word about croissants. Yes, the French can be annoying. Likewise, I understand southern food and, by extension, biscuits are all the rage in breakfast sandwich land. But I don’t care, because even in it’s smushed, mass-produced form, a croissant is a supreme choice for a breakfast sandwich bread.

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Dunkin’s version is buttery, slightly sweet, and wonderfully compliments the hearty egg mixture. While that mixture isn’t much to look at, it has crunchy bits of flavorful potatoes, peppers, and onions, not to mention just a rich eggy flavor. A slice of perfectly melted, salty American cheese helps bring the flavors together. Finally, the bacon is exceptional. If Arby’s bacon is brown sugar bacon is divisive, then Dunkin’s bacon is a great uniter. It’s meaty and smoky, with that perfect combination of crispness and fat to appease all bacon lovers.

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For as wonderful as the buttery croissant, gooey American cheese, smoky bacon, and egg and pepper mixture come together, I found the taste exactly like it sounds: a bit heavy. It’s rich and fatty and salty and everything else I want in a supreme breakfast sandwich, but it’s also missing an element of sweetness and relief.  

I won’t lie to you; I grew up eating eggs with ketchup, and that’s exactly what I wished I had grabbed after my first few bites of the sandwich. While I doubt ketchup is something the Dunkin’ test kitchen chefs would consider, I do think the sweet crunchy flavor of good old fashioned, fresh sliced tomatoes would make a world of difference. A slice of Romaine lettuce, too, would go a long way to cementing the sandwich in the premium category, not to mention boost its aesthetic appeal beyond smushed UFO-looking vehicle of saturated fat and sodium (not that I’m complaining).

Dunkin’ Donuts’ Bacon Supreme Omelet Breakfast Sandwich is definitely super, and maybe even makes the case for superb, but without a bit of sweetness and extra heft, it’s not quite the supreme it could be. Nevertheless, it’s a tasty addition to Dunkin’s menu and a hearty start to any day.

(Nutrition Facts – 600 calories, 37 grams of fat, 16 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 245 milligrams of cholesterol, 1200 milligrams of sodium, 43 grams of carbohydrates, 2 gram of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 23 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Croissant has buttery, savory flavor that compliments the eggs perfectly. American cheese is wonderfully melted into the nooks and crannies of the croissant. Egg mixture is flavorful with ideal texture. Hearty, put-you-to-sleep type sandwich.
Cons: Could use more bacon to increase coverage to every bite. Needs an element of sweetness or relief from tomatoes. Potatoes don’t make much of an impact. Hearty, put-you-to-sleep type sandwich.