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REVIEW: Taco Bell Grande Scrambler Burrito (Bacon and Sausage)

Written by | July 31, 2014

Topics: 8 Rating, 9 Rating, Fast Food, Taco Bell

Taco Bell Grande Scrambler 001

I’m a big fan of breakfast. Like most things bad for us, it has that magical power of wrapping together comfort food and guilty pleasure into an eternal dance. It’s like the edible yin and yang: bacon and eggs; pancakes and syrup; butter and toast; chicken and waffles; bourbon and Frosted Flakes. You get the point.

And with that great pleasure comes the other end of the spectrum, uncontrollable rage. There was this time when I had thick cut bacon that was overcooked to hell. I’ve seen relics that remained from the ghastly A-bomb drop in Hiroshima that were less scorched. This built up my inner rage to a maximum, ruining my day.

I also once threw a disproportionate fit at a hipster breakfast joint because the promised rye toast finally came when my wife’s southern fry plate was half done. A lot of beards, let alone my patient wife, were unhappy with me that day.

I just ask for one simple thing, please don’t fuck with breakfast.

When Taco Bell first introduced their breakfast line, particularly the breakfast burrito, I was disappointed and pissed off. How can one mess up salty, fatty, porky sausage and eggs with melted cheese wrapped in a tortilla? Taco Bell did.

In fairness, everyone deserves a second chance even if someone rendered so much fat from thick cut bacon, I’ve seen Ethiopians that were chubbier (Zing! The 80’s want their tasteless jokes back). Taco Bell updated and tweaked their brekkie line with new menu items, which is a sign of encouragement to their dedication to the breakfast menu.

The Taco Bell Grande Scrambler Burrito comes with bacon, sausage, or their questionable and dreadful steak. Simply put, this is an upgraded breakfast burrito from the original and comparing the two is like comparing a greasy road map (the ones you have to annoyingly fold back correctly) to a GPS.

Taco Bell Grande Scrambler 004

I ordered both the bacon and sausage to appease my piggy meat breakfast fervor. The first sign I knew the Taco Bell Grande Scrambler Burrito was traveling on a different path from its predecessor was how surprisingly weighty it was. There was a comfortable heft to them that whispered, “I’m the real deal jackass.” The warmth of holding it in my hand was comparable to pulling fresh boxers out of the dryer on a cold morning.

Sinking my teeth into the Grande Scrambler Burrito with bacon, I immediately noticed the eggs were fluffy and looked scrambled. They were rich and buttery, the way my Grandma never made because she made me eat ginseng root soup instead…stupid Grandma!

The warm nacho cheese sauce, which normally makes me gag because I hate that stuff, worked well with the cold sour cream. They melded in supreme fashion together and the slight acidity of the sour cream cut right through the heavy nacho cheese. There to add another layer of flavor was the pico de gallo. It had fresh chunks of tomato, which also coursed successfully through the heavy nacho cheese sauce.

Taco Bell Grande Scrambler 005

The bacon was in “Bacobits” style, but that in no way muted the salty and crispy bite we demand. I do wish the chunks were bigger to make the bacon flavor more prevalent, but it’s there. The melted shredded cheddar cheese was surprisingly not drowned out by the nacho cheese sauce and it competed well with the tanginess from the pico.

However, the true star of these burritos were their “seasoned breakfast potatoes.” They were perfectly seasoned and had a hybrid tater tot/home-fries like consistency. The only way these could be better is if they were actual tater tots. The potatoes add a satisfying texture to the delicious gloppyness of the burrito. To crank the achievements even more, the tortilla was fluffy and warm like a pillow birthed from a smiling cartoon cloud pooping a rainbow.

Taco Bell Grande Scrambler 006

With that said, the sausage one yielded even better results. The sausage’s peppery flavor imparted a nice compliment to the chunky pico de gallo and it swathed right through the nacho cheese sauce. Although the sausage was in that crappy “kibble” form, it still provided that salty and fatty mouthfeel we crave. Again, the melted cheese and potatoes nicely rounded out the burrito. This time, Taco Bell was less heavy-handed with the sour cream which was fine because it could easily wash away the spicy notes from the sausage.

The price is $2.49 for each, which seems reasonable to me considering the generous size of the burritos. I’m not one of those old timey types that cry out, “you get what you pay for.” Despite that, like scotch or dildos, you really get what you pay for in regards to a breakfast burrito.

The quality is not anywhere near you would get from a good breakfast house that seductively charms you with the aroma of bacon and fluffy pancakes. Yet, for fast food, it really puts some of those meager fast food breakfast burritos to shame. Taco Bell set the bar pretty high and I would bet, if it didn’t violate my probation, that some of the other chains may follow suit. If not, they’re stupid idiots like my grandma who fed me ginseng root soup for breakfast.

(Nutrition Facts – With Bacon – 680 calories, 320 calories from fat, 36 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 195 milligrams of cholesterol, 1570 milligrams of sodium, 68 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of dietary fiber, 5 grams of sugars, and 22 grams of protein. With Sausage – 670 calories, 330 calories from fat, 36 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 195 milligrams of cholesterol, 1410 milligrams of sodium, 67 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of dietary fiber, 5 grams of sugars, and 19 grams of protein)

Item: Taco Bell Grande Scrambler Burrito (Bacon and Sausage)
Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Taco Bell
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Bacon)
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Sausage)
Pros: The melted cheddar cheese, the warm nacho cheese sauce, the sour cream and pico de gallo all complement each other. The potatoes are texturally and flavorfully awesome. The $2.49 price tag is more than reasonable. Piggy Meat Breakfast Fervor (best name for a band that never existed). Getting angry and shouting.
Cons: The bacon could be bigger, thus the bacon flavor would be more prevalent. The sausage is in “kibble” form. When servers bring toast late, it’s like the fries come last after you have received your cheeseburger. The spouse dealing with you getting angry and shouting.

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REVIEW: Red Bull Summer Edition Energy Drink

Written by | July 24, 2014

Topics: 8 Rating, Energy Drink, Red Bull

Red Bull Summer Edition Energy Drink

Sure, Red Bull’s Summer Edition Energy Drink looks like a urine sample sitting in a drug testing lab. But, to be fair, regular Red Bull also looks like a urine sample sitting in a drug testing lab, but from someone who’s dehydrated because they’ve been hanging out for too long in the summer heat.

If you happen to find yourself parched from the summer heat, near a 7-Eleven, and with a couple of bucks, you can purchase a somewhat refreshing 12 ounces of this tropical flavored Red Bull in a can that will remind you of the sun that caused your current parched predicament. Or you could buy a more refreshing two liter bottled water that you can drink and, with the likely leftovers, use for an impromptu wet t-shirt contest, with you being the only contestant.

Red Bull Summer Edition is a 7-Eleven exclusive flavor. It joins a long list of exclusive beverages the convenience store chain has gotten this year, like Solar Flare Mountain Dew, Green Apple Gatorade Fierce, Raspberry Citrus Vitaminwater Energy, and Dale Jr. Sour Amp Energy Drink. Suck it, Circle K!

This yellow-colored energy drink has a generic tropical aroma. If you’re wondering what generic tropical smells like without having to buy anything, go to your local Walmart. Then mosey on over to the air freshener aisle, find a spray with the word “tropical” printed on it, spray some of it into the air, and inhale those chemicals. After all that, I think you’ll get an idea of what Red Bull Summer Edition smells like…and get dirty looks from Walmart employees.

Red Bull Summer Edition Energy Drink Closeupd

The beverage is lightly carbonated, which makes it easy to consume, but is less nose-tickling fun when poured into a glass. However, it’s taste bud-tickling fun when consumed. It has a delightful sweet flavor that wasn’t too syrupy. I could taste pineapple, orange, papaya, and maybe mango, but the pineapple stood out. It was almost like drinking pineapple juice, but there isn’t any pineapple, orange, papaya, or mango juice in the ingredients list. But there is “Artificial and Natural Flavors.” Vague? Yes. But not as vague as the last ingredient listed…

Red Bull Summer Edition Energy Drink Colors

…Colors.

I’m someone who likes the odd medicinal flavor of regular Red Bull and the odd medicinal artificial sweetener-laden flavor of Sugar Free Red Bull. I’m also a fan of the Red, Blue, and Silver Editions. But Red Bull’s Summer Edition is now my favorite flavor. It has a nice tropical flavor with a slight sour back end, it’s not too syrupy, and it comes in 12-ounce cans and not the smaller 8.4-ounce one.

I see myself urinating it out a lot this summer.

Disclosure: I received a free sample of Red Bull Summer Edition from Red Bull. I believe this satisfies the FTC requirement. If not, I shall add, I did not receive any monetary compensation for this review.

(Nutrition Facts – 160 calories, 0 grams of fat, 200 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 39 grams of sugar, less than 1 gram of protein, 140% niacin, 120% vitamin B12, 360% vitamin B6, and 70% pantothenic acid.)

Item: Red Bull Summer Edition Energy Drink
Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 12 oz. can
Purchased at: Received from Red Bull
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Nice tropical flavor. Not in an 8.4-ounce can. 114 milligrams of sweet, sweet caffeine per can. Smooth. Passing drug tests.
Cons: “Colors” is an ingredient? 7-Eleven exclusive. Limited edition. No juice. Not passing drug tests.

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REVIEW: Sonic Cheesy Bread Dog (Ultimate Cheese & Bacon and Garlic Parmesan)

Written by | July 21, 2014

Topics: 5 Rating, 8 Rating, Fast Food, Sonic

Sonic Ultimate Cheese & Bacon Cheesy Bread Dog

Is there any sight that makes you want to scream “America!” more than a hot dog? Well, I guess the American flag. Oh, and a bald eagle. A soldier in uniform. Eating loaded cheese fries a monster truck show. Rappers sipping on purple drank in music videos. Playing video games on the toilet. The government spying on us. Going to other countries and asking, “Don’t you speak English?” Hulk Hogan.

Okay, so there are plenty of other things that say America more than a hot dog, but the fact is the beef treat still says America, and in a different voice depending on what city you are in, as places like New York and Chicago are famous for the toppings they use. There’s also pretzel buns, which totally changes the game of a dog.

Now, Sonic is changing the game again with the new Cheesy Bread Dogs.

The last time I was excited by a hot dog to the level the Cheesy Bread ones brought me to was my first and only time at Wrigley Field in 2010, when I ordered a famed Chicago Dog.

A Sonic Drive-In obviously isn’t as scenic and majestic as Wrigley but if I imagined really hard the concrete turned to grass, my car seat to a seat in the bleachers, and my Sonic car server person (their official title, I’m assuming) morphed into Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro. Usually in my dreams I’m the one delivering hot dogs to Starlin! I mean… that’s never happened.

I did go into a slight panic when the Sonic worker brought the food to my car, as I had never eaten at the drive-in before and was not sure if these people get tipped or not. He dropped a “well, have a nice day,” and then hesitated before leaving, so I’m assuming I was supposed to tip him. Great, like I need more bad karma!

I ordered both varieties, Garlic Parmesan and Ultimate Cheese & Bacon, but what you want to know about is the cheesy bread, right? I hope so; otherwise I look like a damn fool.

Sonic Cheesy Bread Dog Bun

The first thing you’ll notice before you even taste the bun is how greasy it is. I use a lot of napkins to begin with but I really went over board on these. You can just poke it gently and your finger would be glistening like you just wiped your sweaty brow, which maybe you got from playing pickup basketball, or walking your dog on an exceptionally sweltering afternoon.

This minor inconvenience is quickly dismissed once you taste the bread though. It’s very doughy, and kind of reminded me a stuffed crust pizza because of the cheese flavor, which was a pleasant cheddar. It is a thick bun, too, and I’d be careful ordering two as you may come to regret it later. I know I did. But that’s one for the vault.

The better of the two was easily the Ultimate Cheese & Bacon. Why? AMERICA! It’s the same thing as the Cheesy Bacon Pretzel Dog Sonic offers, but when you replace the pretzel bun with cheesy bread you really get one ultimate cheese and bacon experience, hence the name of the hot dog. It’s a hot mess of cheese, bacon and grease, and I’m using hot mess in a good way. The salty bacon, mild cheddar on the bun, and creamy, sharp cheddar cheese sauce blend together in an explosion of tasty, salty goodness.

The only knock is it’s a bit salty. I happen to enjoy salt so it was fine by me but if you’re not in love with a salty taste I would look to the Garlic Parmesan Cheesy Bread Dog.

Sonic Garlic Parmesan Cheesy Bread Dog

It has a creamy garlic parmesan sauce and onions. I was a bit confused by this one, as I wasn’t really sure how I felt about the sauce, and the onions seemed out of place to me. I think the onions could easily be lost and the dog would be just fine. The sauce seemed out of balance to me, as it was unlike other garlic parmesan sauce I have tasted. I suspect too much or too little of one of garlic or parmesan. Still tasty but could have been better.

Again, the cheesy bread makes these dogs quite filling (especially the Ultimate Cheese & Bacon) so unless you want to see how both taste, just order one. Maybe complement it with a nice slushie? Don’t complement it with tip confusion though. Seeing that Sonic worker do a sad Charlie Brown walk after not receiving a tip has been in my nightmares ever since!

(Nutrition Facts – Ultimate Cheese & Bacon – 550 calories, 290 calories from fat, 32 grams total fat, 14 grams saturated fat, 60 milligrams cholesterol, 1580 mg sodium, 47 grams total carbohydrates, 2 grams dietary fiber, 3 grams sugar, and 21 grams protein. Garlic Parmesan – Not available on website.)

Item: Sonic Cheesy Bread Dog (Ultimate Cheese & Bacon and Garlic Parmesan)
Purchased Price: $2.89 each
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Sonic Drive-In
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Ultimate Cheese & Bacon)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Garlic Parmesan)
Pros: Bun is cheesy, doughy, and delicious. Ultimate Cheese & Bacon ingredients blend perfectly. America! Hulk Hogan. The power of imagination.
Cons: Bun is annoyingly greasy. Unbalanced garlic to parmesan ratio in sauce. Purple drank. Spying government.

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REVIEW: Nabisco Limited Edition Limeade Oreo Cookies

Written by | July 11, 2014

Topics: 8 Rating, Cookies, Oreo

Nabisco Limited Edition Limeade Oreo Cookies

I’d be lying if I told you I haven’t been more than a little hesitant about some of Oreo’s most recent flavors.

As America’s favorite cookie continues to test its boundaries, you are bound to get some exciting, albeit hellishly unnerving, flavor combinations. While the new Reese’s Oreo leans more towards chocolatey and ready to be dipped in milk, flavors like the pungent Fruit Punch represent some of Oreo’s more interesting varieties that, let’s just say, might not be compatible with Oreo’s signature companion beverage (to each his own, though). In that same vein we are introduced to Nabisco’s newest flavor, the summer-ready Limeade Oreo.

I always get excited to see what summer flavors companies will go for. Unlike fall standbys of pumpkin, candy corn, and caramel apple, as well as the winter classics of gingerbread, egg nog, and sugar cookie, summer, much like spring, is often a bit harder to place flavor-wise. As a Rhode Islander who knows his summer season—shout out to the beaches of the Ocean State—I highly doubt that Oreo will start making such summery flavors as clambake, corn-on-the-cob, or beer. However, a limeade flavor is certainly a welcomed refreshment.

And let me tell you, in all the ways a cookie can be, and as weird as it might be to say, Limeade Oreo is indeed refreshing. The green creme, which is a brighter shade than Nickelodeon Slime, is tasty enough to take the edge off of the summer heat.

Let me just stop for a second and say, to anyone who has ever seen those commercials claiming the proper way to eat an Oreo is to remove the top cookie, take a big slobbering lick of the creme, reassemble, and then continue eating as you would any regular cookie, I choose not to eat Oreo cookies the “proper” way. Maybe once or twice during my “experimental phase” early in college, but never happily…or soberly. There is something about eating an Oreo that has never made me wish I had just protected it from being eaten by a seventh grade bully with a penchant for snatching up others’ snacks.

Nabisco Limited Edition Limeade Oreo Cookies Innards

I say all this because that creme in the middle of the Limeade Oreo is so good that I found myself enthusiastically eating that bright green paste off of each Oreo like it was Nutella on a day when I was feeling sad. Despite the collective tendency to confuse lemon and lime flavors, this Oreo variety did a great job of matching an actual lime’s sweeter, less sour taste. Although a small part of me wishes the cookies used were the traditional chocolate ones, Oreo’s Golden wafers allow the emphasis to remain on that fantastic lime creme. 

Unfortunately for me, I suffer from what I like to call “Double Stuf Syndrome.” Like many, I have chosen the noble Double Stuf as my default Oreo, making all regular-stuffed Oreo cookies seem under-stuffed. Just like with drug use, my body now craves higher levels of that creme, which, unlike “cream,” lacks dairy and (hopefully) the sexual innuendo when combined with the end of this sentence, for maximum satisfaction. If they ever make a Double Stuf version of this cookie I might actually die, but until then, Limeade Oreo is a damn fine summer treat that I would absolutely buy again. Keep the bizarre flavors coming Oreo!

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less 0mg cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 12 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Nabisco Limited Edition Limeade Oreo Cookies
Purchased Price: $3.00 (on sale)
Size: 12.2 oz.
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Great summertime vibe. Creme tastes fantastically like real limeade. “Creme” not “Cream.”
Cons: “Double Stuf Syndrome”. Only available for a limited time. Oreo not having a beer flavor.

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REVIEW: Pillsbury Melts S’more Sensation Filled Cookies

Written by | July 9, 2014

Topics: 8 Rating, Cookies, Pillsbury

Pillsbury Melts S’more Sensation Filled Cookies

The Pillsbury Doughboy sat back in his recliner, grimaced, and with his finger placed on the trans-fat laden rolls on his triple chin, proceeded to take up a position of pondering. It had not been a very promising summer in the mass-produced, ready-to-bake sweets business.

Not only had his brother, the Michelin Man, begun a diet eschewing Grands biscuits and cinnamon rolls in favor of Eggo S’mores, pancakes, and Krave S’mores cereal, but preliminary second quarter reports showed a bottoming out of his cookie sales, with the culprit identified as a new cookie flavor developed by those damn elves at Keebler.

If that weren’t bad enough, he had spent the last month with a nonsensical ditty stuck in his head, something about “some more for you and some more for me,” that managed to give him an inexplicable urge to get some ice cream.

That was when it occurred to him; he, master of sweets and lover of all things giggly and ticklish, was late to the party. Suddenly seized with the same innovative spirit of Dr. Emmett Brown following a nasty spill on the toilet seat, he set off to develop a s’mores-inspired treat that would outdo any packaged Keebler cookie or Dairy Queen Blizzard with an annoyingly melodic theme song.

Pillsbury Melts S’more Sensation Filled Cookies Before

I speak, of course, of the new Pillsbury Melts S’more Sensation Filled Cookies. Some people look down upon ready-to-bake cookies, but I am not one of those people. Like any Pinterest browsing cookie fanatic who has never quite mastered the creaming method, I appreciate the dummy-proof nature of a 350 degree oven and 11 to 15 minutes of my time. I also get off on breaking rules like “Do Not Eat Raw Cookie Dough,” but that’s a completely different and much more frightening story.

Pillsbury Melts S’more Sensation Filled Cookies Baked

In any case, the adorable, square-ish cookies are delicious. There’s little to no graham flavor to speak of, but you’ll hardly notice thanks to the winning combination of that classic chocolate chip cookie taste and the oooey-gooey marshmallow filling, which bursts out in an abundant river obstructed only by crunchy semi-sweet chocolate chips and a light, brown-sugar crumb that’s altogether crispy on the cookie’s edges. It’s this winning texture of crunchy edges and super-moist filling which makes eating a single cookie a mathematical impossibility, while a liberal dose of the hyper-sweet chocolate icing provides an extra punch of cocoa flavor reminiscent of Hershey’s syrup.

Pillsbury Melts S’more Sensation Filled Cookies Closeup

Complaints are minor; the icing is more chocolate syrup than ganache, while the cookies’ unique filling makes them extra soft when pulling from the oven. There are no instructions for baking over an actual open flame and nine cookies per package seems like an odd number for all those not living in a mixed family with the last name of Brady. All can be forgiven, however, thanks to the marshmallow crème filling, which remains admirably gooey even a day after baking and still provides the needed burst of unabashed sweetness to compliment the eggy and toasted cookie flavor.

Pillsbury Melts S’more Sensation Filled Cookies Sexy Sexy

The Pillsbury man need not fret over his business prospects for the second half of 2014, because the S’more Sensation Filled Cookies are a worthy addition to the ever-growing array of campfire-inspired sweets that arrive this time each year. With a more enjoyable crust than the ubiquitous S’mores Pop-Tart and a fresher, more authentic s’mores flavor than cereal or prepackaged cookies, you might even be able to pass them off as homemade.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cookie with icing – 150 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 14 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Pillsbury Melts S’more Sensation Filled Cookies
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 11.5 ounces (9 cookies)
Purchased at: Harris Teeter
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Like eating a chocolate syrup and marshmallow panini inside a chocolate chip cookie. Oooey-gooey filling, even when cooled. No stand mixer required. One of the few Pillsbury ready-to-bake products not containing partially hydrogenated oil.
Cons: Graham flavor is lackluster. Could have a richer chocolate coating. The ever-present temptation of eating raw cookie dough.

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