QUICK YOGURT REVIEW: Chobani Limited Batch Cinnamon Pear Greek Yogurt

Chobani Limited Batch Cinnamon Pear Greek Yogurt

Chobani’s Limited Batch Cinnamon Pear Greek Yogurt has 140 calories. So this review will be exactly 140 words.

Cinnamon pear is the new pumpkin spice! Okay, that’s not true. But I’d be happy if it was because my experience with this yogurt makes me hope there are more cinnamon pear products in the future.

I did enjoy the yogurt despite the fact that there weren’t many pear chunks in it. My tongue counted three. That’s too bad because I love the texture of pears. But there’s a noticeable natural pear-ness in the yogurt. There’s also a good amount of cinnamon which gives the yogurt a flavor that helps me forget there aren’t many pear pieces. Pears plus cinnamon plus Greek yogurt is a winning combo. I have to say I enjoyed this yogurt more than Chobani’s pumpkin spice Greek yogurt.

Chobani Limited Batch Cinnamon Pear Greek Yogurt 2

Purchased Price: $1.49
Size: 5.3 oz.
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 140 calories, 25 calories from fat, 2.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of potassium, 65 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, 12 grams of protein, and 15% calcium.

REVIEW: Monster Pipeline Punch Energy Juice (7-Eleven Exclusive)

Monster Pipeline Punch Energy Juice


It’s a word that can mean hello or goodbye.

But here in Hawaii there’s also non-verbal way to say either hello or goodbye, and it’s the hand gesture at the bottom of the Monster Pipeline Punch Energy Juice’s can. It’s called a shaka.

I hope I never have to use a shaka to say goodbye forever to this new 7-Eleven exclusive energy drink because it’s so damn good. Now some of you might be thinking, because I live in Hawaii and this beverage is paying tribute to a popular surf spot here, I’m being kind of a homer. But I assure you that this energy drink is, as we like to say in Hawaii, winnahs.

Its combination of guava, passion fruit (which we call lilikoi here), orange (which we call orange here), apple, and pineapple is so delicious that it makes me want to tank the entire can in 30 seconds, which is fine for my taste buds and if I want to jumpstart my heart with its 160 milligrams of caffeine.

The guava and passion fruit are the stars here and because of that this energy drink reminds me of another. From the first sip, it brought back memories of Rockstar Energy’s Guava Punched, which I also loved.

Monster Pipeline Punch Energy Juice 2

What makes Pipeline Punch stand out among the other energy drinks I’ve tried is that it’s an energy drink that doesn’t taste like one. The fruit juices and purees do an excellent job at masking the bitterness from the caffeine and herbal supplements in it.

If you handed me a glass of this and I drank it, I’d probably think you just gave me some POG or some other tropical fruit juice. The only way I’d know if it was an energy drink was if I happen to see the can in your sink or recycling bin, or if I decided to take my pulse soon after drinking it.

With all that said, I imagine some folks will find it to be hypersweet, and I would agree with that assessment. Not only are there fruit juices and purees, but there’s also added sugar. But I still love it.

Sadly, Monster’s Pipeline Punch Energy Juice is around for a limited time. But I hope it comes back again for a little while or permanently. It better or else my shaka will turn into a less flattering hand gesture.

(Nutrition Facts – 16 ounces – 200 calories, 0 grams of fat, 60 milligrams of sodium, 48 grams of carbohydrates, 46 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, 200% riboflavin, 200% niacin, 200% vitamin B6, and 200% vitamin B12.)

Item: Monster Pipeline Punch Energy Juice
Purchased Price: 2 for $3.75
Size: 16 ounce cans
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Tropical fruity flavor is wonderful. Doesn’t taste like an energy drink. Goes down easy. Dual usage for aloha and the shaka.
Cons: Some might find it to be too sweet. Available for a limited time. Only at 7-Eleven.

REVIEW: Pumpkin Spice Latte Milk Chocolate M&M’s

Pumpkin Spice Latte Milk Chocolate M&M's

As I write this review from a prominently visible window seat at my obscure local coffee shop, I heave an exaggerated sigh and wipe my thick-framed, non-prescription glasses so that passerby will notice the towering pages of the novel manuscript that sit next to my vintage typewriter—which I hauled all the way here from my fixed gear bicycle because modern day computers simply can’t compete with the satisfying *clack* of old keys.

My novel is called (M)issed Connection, and I wrote it to impress that cute girl sipping the Pumpkin Spice Latte across the room. What’s that, you say? “That girl” is just the Brown M&M mascot on a bag of Pumpkin Spice Latte M&M’s?

Hey, maybe “anthropomorphized, chocolate-filled oblate candy spheroid” is my type. Or maybe I just want to eat her limited edition M&M’s.

That’s right, Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Latte M&M’s are Mars’ attempt to give a rejuvenating jolt to last year’s lackluster Pumpkin Spice M&M’s. As a coffee snob, I’m hoping there’s a whole “latte” improvement between the two with the drink’s name tacked on. But will it “mocha” difference? Now that I’ve filled my bad coffee pun quota, let’s find out.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Milk Chocolate M&M's 2

These M&M’s are beefier than their normal counterparts, edging close to “a dime on Viagra” sized. The scent wafting from the bag reminds me of my “Pumpkin Splendor” scented candle that I’ve considered eating more times than I’d like to admit. This is a good sign.

I pop one into my mouth, chew, and then immediately shovel a whole handful into my gaping maw. Regardless of your religion’s stance on the existence of the Great Pumpkin, you’d better believe that these suckers are real -— real tasty, that is.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Milk Chocolate M&M's 3

Coming as a delightful surprise, they taste exactly like a pumpkin spice latte in solid, shelled form. But what that means is that, like a real PSL, the coffee flavor in these M&M’s is smothered by cream and sugar.

If you’re expecting the strong, earthy, bitterness of espresso, you’ll be disappointed. Instead, the coffee taste of the chocolate here is a sweet, lightly nutty java experience with faint caramel notes. Accompanied by a tinge of cocoa and a heaping helping of milk chocolate’s dairy creaminess, it’s akin to one of those bottled Starbucks Chocolate Mocha Frappuccinos.

Unlike the burning aftertaste of last year’s M&M’s, the smooth pumpkin flavor here is seamlessly blended with the chocolate and hits fast. In terms of pumpkin spice’s “Big 5,” these M&M’s are heavy on the ginger and sweet cinnamon, light on the nutmeg, and nearly imperceptible in terms of cloves and allspice. This means the M&M’s lack any of the pungent, sinus-clearing spice action you’d get from opening your spice cabinet and huffing the jar of cloves (the things I do for this blog…sheesh).

Pumpkin Spice Latte Milk Chocolate M&M's 4

And that’s good, because when people buy a PSL, we don’t really want bitterness, spiciness, or even authentic pumpkin-ness. We want the delicious, sugary equivalent of melted coffee ice cream blended with a hefty squirt of fake pumpkin liquid. And that’s a pretty darn good way to summarize these M&M’s.

Sure, they taste synthetic and have a throat-coating syrupiness. And sure, you’ll probably see some post on “Natural Yoga Mama’s Spirit Cleansing Mommy Blog” about how artificial pumpkin flavorings are co-conspiring with aspartame to overthrow capitalism. But like any PSL, over-the-top fakeness is what makes these great!

So if you’re like me and enjoy “basic” pumpkin spice lattes, you’ll love these M&M’s.

And if you don’t? Well, I think I might have a can of Libby’s Pumpkin you can jam a straw into.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/4 cup – 210 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 30 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 27 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Pumpkin Spice Latte Milk Chocolate M&M’s
Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 9.9 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Bite-sized pumpkin spice latte facsimiles. Frappuccino chocolate = pure Frappiness. Safely indulging my candle-eating fantasy. Candy mascot fanfiction. Learning what an “oblate spheroid” is.
Cons: Won’t convert PSL haters. Artificialness will disappoint pumpkin farmers. Socially taboo human/candy romance. Huffing cloves for “research purposes.”

REVIEW: Lay’s Do Us a Flavour Montreal Smoked Meat Potato Chips (Canada)

Lay's Do Us a Flavour Montreal Smoked Meat Potato Chips

It’s a good thing I don’t live anywhere close to Montreal, because if I did, I’d be at Schwartz’s (which is the most famous –- and arguably the best -– smoked meat joint in that city) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And brunch. And a mid-afternoon snack. And what’s that Taco Bell thing? FourthMeal? Yeah, that too.

Suffice it to say, I’m a fan of Montreal smoked meat, so when I found out it was going to be one of the new Do Us a Flavour flavours, I knew I’d be eating the hell out of it (admittedly, I was probably going to eat the hell out of any new chip flavour regardless, but I digress).

When you think about it, Montreal smoked meat, with its distinctive spicing and universally appealing flavour profile (seriously, if you don’t like Montreal smoked meat or its close cousin, pastrami, and you’re not a vegetarian, then you’re a monster and I have nothing but scorn for you), I’m surprised it’s taken Lay’s this long to get there. It seems so obvious.

Lay's Do Us a Flavour Montreal Smoked Meat Potato Chips 2

It’s a natural flavour for a chip; the chip performs a similar function, taste-wise, as the starchy bread. Plus, these sandwiches are often served with French fries or even latkes, so smoked meat + potato is definitely a combination you can feel good about.

But of course, as seemingly perfect as this flavour is, there’s no guarantee that Lay’s isn’t going to mess it up (*cough*Butter Chicken*cough*).

Happily (and shockingly, given how thoroughly they bungled the butter chicken flavour), this is pretty much the ideal version of this chip. Everything about it is just right: the spicing, the slight mustard flavour, the pronounced but not overly assertive peppery bite… it’s weirdly perfect.

Lay's Do Us a Flavour Montreal Smoked Meat Potato Chips 3

I kinda wish it was paired with the more assertive crunch of a kettle chip, but then I wish that of pretty much every non-kettle-chip chip, so that’s probably more about my own personal preferences than anything else.

Seriously though, you need to try these chips. They absolutely nailed the flavour. It’s like they took a smoked meat sandwich and used some kind of magic ray to transform it into a bag of chips.

It’s like the future is here, and you can eat it.

(Nutrition Facts – 50 grams/per 27 chips – 270 calories, 17 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 260 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of fibre, 1 gram of sugar, and 3 grams of protein..)

Item: Lay’s Do Us a Flavour Montreal Smoked Meat Potato Chips (Canada)
Purchased Price: $2.99 CAN
Size: 170 gram bag
Purchased at: Sobeys
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Captures the flavour of Montreal smoked meat perfectly. Magic. The future.
Cons: Would probably work a bit better as a kettle chip. Proximity-based inability to eat Schwartz’s for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and FourthMeal.

REVIEW: Cheez-It Extra Toasty Crackers

Cheez-It Extra Toasty Crackers

Cheez-It and I have been on bad terms lately.

I recently tried their Crunch’d cheese puffs and they were a 3 out of 10 at best. Horrendous. They tasted like cheese flavored Cap’n Crunch. No bueno. It’s time for Cheez-It to win me back.

Sunshine, the maker of Cheez-It, have apparently been getting bombarded with requests for an “extra toasty” flavor of their flagship cracker. Now look, I’m not saying Sunshine is lying about the claim, but I would have never considered “extra toasty” a “flavor.” Maybe I should have.

I realized as I was eating these Cheez-Its that I love toasty and burnt snacks. This notion never dawned on me until that very moment. I love extra dark pretzels. I like that one over-browned Saltine in the sleeve, burnt chocolate chip cookies, and that one extra crispy French fry at the bottom of the bag. I even order my pizza “well done” so the crust is burnt and crispy. The people who were requesting extra toasty Cheez-Its were definitely on to something, and Sunshine delivered.

Extra Toasty Cheez-Its are friggin’ delicious. These are one of the most satisfying salty snacks I’ve had in a long time. In my opinion, they’ve improved on the regular ones in just about every way possible. I’m not positive the difference will blow everyone away, but I don’t see any reason to ever go back to the regular variety. If Cheez-Its were a Hollywood movie, these would be the ever-so-popular dark, gritty reboot of the outdated original that didn’t quite hold up over the years. These extra toasty ones are just flat better. Get with the times.

Cheez-It Extra Toasty Crackers 3

Cheez-Its always did the cheddar flavor right. It doesn’t overpowering you with the artificial stuff that other brands go overboard with, and these keep that family tradition alive with 100% real cheese. That being said, the “cheez” flavor wasn’t even really the star of the show for me, it was the flakey crunch of the extra toasty cracker itself. Add the perfectly complementing salt element on each piece, and they really hit a home run here. There’s a perfect balance happening. After every bite I wanted to yell “Toastttty” like that random dude who used to pop his head into Mortal Kombat levels…too obscure?

The aftertaste is pleasant as well. The flavor doesn’t dilute at all after you swallow. In fact, that might be a problem to some because it’s addictive, and you’ll want to just keep shoveling more of these down for the crunch factor.

As much as I wanted to give these a perfect ten, there is a bit of a grease factor. These would fall somewhere between Goldfish and potato chips on the grease scale. I noticed the paper plate I was eating off of was almost translucent once I finished.

I guess I should also warn you that the salt was pretty excessive here. That was not even remotely a problem for me, but I could understand it being a turnoff for some.

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So, basically, my one complaint about the Extra Toasty Cheez-Its is that I wanted to finish the box in one sitting, but couldn’t thanks to a bit of heartburn. But I probably could have powered through it if I wanted to, so that’s not even a strong complaint.

If I learned one thing from eating these, it’s that “toasty” should absolutely be the new trendy “flavor.” More brands need to embrace this. I want burnt Ritz. Burnt potato and tortilla chips. Burnt Goldfish. Take your recipe and add an addition 5-10 minutes of baking time, slap a new name on the box and you’ve got yourself a sale. I have become a food pyro.

My hat goes off to Cheez-It for changing the cracker game, and for making the decision to put the hyphen in their name after the “Z.” No matter how good these tasted, I would have never bought a snack called “Chee-Zit.”

(Nutrition Facts – 27 crackers – 150 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Cheez-It Extra Toasty Crackers
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 12.4 oz. box
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Toasty is the new Orange is the New Black. Perfect flavor harmony. Flakey crunch. Crazy addictive. Proper hyphen usage. Fan requests. Mortal Kombat’s “Toasty” guy.
Cons: Greasy. Might need a Tums handy. Food pyros. Cheese flavored Cap’n Crunch.