REVIEW: Sir Bananas Chocolate Bananamilk

Sir Bananas Chocolate Bananamilk

Green, yellow, brown: there are three distinct stages in the life cycle of an edible banana, and each tastes different.

Young, green bananas are tropical, wild, and a little too immature to be useful. Yellows are in the prime of their life; from fondue to Mario Kart weapons, their potential is limitless. Finally, old and ripened brown bananas become progressively softer and sweeter, but they eventually reach the point where they must be mashed, pureed, and baked into banana bread.

I would say that this parallels the aging process of humans, but if I did, I’d probably receive a restraining order from every retirement home in the country.

The reason I’m pondering elderly bananas (please don’t arrest me) is the glass of Sir Bananas Chocolate Bananamilk that sits before me. The Sir Bananas line of milk claims to use real bananas, so I’m left wondering which of those three banana types it will taste like.

Sir Bananas Chocolate Bananamilk 2

As I take my first sip of the light brown milk, I’m happy to say that the flavor, too, is mostly “brown banana.” Much more rich, ripe, and darkly sweet than it is fruity, the banana taste here is authentic to its namesake without being overwhelming.

Strangely, though, the milk’s aftertaste does have a bit of a tropical bite. So either Sir Bananas used an 80:20 mix of brown and green bananas for their milk, or every old banana they used was a hip and youthful Betty White banana.

Hmm, on second sip, that aftertaste really lingers. Maybe there were some crankier “Where’s the Beef?” bananas in there.

As for the chocolate flavor, it’s much closer to a sugary milk chocolate (think Nesquik and M&M’s) than it is to a decadent Dutch chocolate or bitter dark chocolate. I would have appreciated a more complex cocoa sensation, but I don’t think Sir Bananas the cartoon monkey was trying to appeal to the “99% Pure Dark Midnight Cacao Organic Whole Foods Artisanal Holland Death By Chocolate” audience anyway. 99% of kids will love this stuff.

Sir Bananas Chocolate Bananamilk 3

All in all, the combo of banana, chocolate, and vanilla reduced-fat milk ironically produces a very tasty and unique whole. It’s pretty much a liquefied loaf of Grandma’s buttery frosted chocolate chip banana bread (note: I mean bread made by Grandma, not made from Grandma).

However, this Bananamilk does suffer from what I like to call the “Cookie Butter Paradox.” Sure, it’s good, but like a jar of cookie butter, what the hell are you supposed to do with all of it? If you don’t want to end up crying over spoiled milk, you’ll need to get creative.

Being the cereal geek that I am, I couldn’t resist using my Bananamilk to dabble in cereal mixology. 1 bowl of Froot Loops + 1/2 cup Bananamilk = 1 Banana Split Cereal, coming right up. Call me crazy, but after I defibrillated my sugar-shocked heart, I thought it tasted pretty good.

Sir Bananas Chocolate Bananamilk 4

For the adventurous, this milk is ripe (whoops, Freudian slip) with possibilities. If you buy Sir Bananas other, plain Bananamilk variety, pour it over Peanut Butter Crunch to make Elvis Cereal. If you want caffeine and potassium, spike your morning coffee with Bananamilk. Or just hook yourself up to an IV drip of it and die happy.

So if you buy this banana-flavored cow liquid, let it be a canvas for your imagination. Go ahead…

…wait for it…

…you knew this was coming…

…last chance to close your browser window…

…go bananas!

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – 170 calories, 35 calories from fat, 3.5 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 milligrams of sodium, 1010 milligrams of potassium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams dietary fiber, 24 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein.)

Item: Sir Bananas Chocolate Bananamilk
Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 64 oz. carton
Purchased at: Meijer
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Liquefied frosted chocolate chip banana bread IV drips. Banana Nesquik’s spiritual successor. My future career as a cereal bartender. A banana product without any Minions on it.
Cons: The “Cookie Butter Paradox.” Wishing for a near-death (by chocolate) experience. My impossible dream of “M&M’s milk.” Freudian slipping on a banana peel.

REVIEW: Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Banana Chocolate Milano Cookies

Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Banana Chocolate Milano Cookies

As I sit here gazing out at mounds of dirty snow piled as far as the eye can see, I dream of a better place.

So disillusioned, I choose to believe a bite into Pepperidge Farm’s new Banana Chocolate Milano cookie will result in a reverse York Peppermint Patty effect and I will be whisked away to beautiful Milan, Italy.

Perhaps one single bite will send me to a tropical island, where I can pluck ripe bananas straight from a tree. We’ll soon find out.

It seems wild to call a cookie that is shelved right next to fish-shaped crackers aimed at children “decadent,” but that’s the word that comes to mind when I think of a Milano.

I’m of the opinion you can’t screw up a Milano. I’ve tried plenty of varieties and liked em all. I’m also a massive banana groupie (that doesn’t sound right) so I have no doubts these would be winners.

Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Banana Chocolate Milano Cookies 2

I don’t know what it is with Pepperidge Farm’s packaging, but I never seem to open it properly. After tearing the bag to shreds, I was hit with an unmistakable banana scent that perked me up. It reminded me of the smell when you walk into a bakery. I was now ready to be whisked away.

Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Banana Chocolate Milano Cookies 4

When I took the first bite into the wafer, nothing happened. The world isn’t fair.

It tasted as if the wafer had a bit of banana flavor baked in. But I couldn’t really tell if it was the banana filling bleeding through. I’m pleading ignorance here. I think it just tasted that way since it’s such an airy wafer. That’s one of the best parts about Milano, the crunchy, but not at all dense cookie.

I put it in my mouth and inhaled it like a total weirdo. Who does that? I essentially tried to smoke a cookie. I can tell you there is a nice banana…um, air when you try to smoke a cookie. Don’t smoke cookies, kids.

It wasn’t until I hit the center that the banana flavor come out in full force.

Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Banana Chocolate Milano Cookies 3

There’s a thin layer of banana filling with the familiar chocolate layer. It had a similar texture to the chocolate. The bag actually refers to it as “banana flavored chocolate.”

Here’s my question: Where has “banana flavored chocolate” been my entire life? This was a revelation for me. I mean, I’m sure plenty of products have used a similar substance before, but why wasn’t I aware of it? I feel like I’ve missed so much. “Banana flavored chocolate” is awesome. I want more of this banana chocolate concoction in my life.

The banana is strong but not overly so. I think banana bread is very dependent on texture, but these should remind you of that flavor. Few things top a nice fresh slice of banana bread, but these are a great attempt at imitating the flavor in cookie form, with the added bonus of chocolate mixed in.

After the initial tasting, I kept a few aside to have with my morning coffee, and it was naturally a delicious pairing. Banana Chocolate Milano Cookies are a home run. As far as I’m concerned, Pepperidge Farm still hasn’t made a bad Milano.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Banana Chocolate Milano Cookies
Purchased Price: $3.59
Size: 7 oz. (about 16 cookies)
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Banana flavored chocolate. Milano’s consistency. Airy wafer. Great for dipping. No artificial flavors or preservatives. A short reprieve from the winter blues.
Cons: No instant transportation properties in each bite. A rapidly growing cookie smoking habit. Fear of missing out on more banana flavored chocolate treats. Pain in the neck packaging. Limited edition.

REVIEW: Cadbury Oreo Creme Egg (Canada)

Cadbury Oreo Creme Egg

How did the Oreo Creme Egg not already exist? It just feels right, doesn’t it?

It feels like the last few years of Creme Egg varieties has been leading up to this moment. Now all we need is a Creme Egg-flavoured Oreo so that the whole world can fold in on itself, like two Ron Silvers touching each other in Timecop, but on a cosmic scale.

Before I go any further, I need to talk about how amazing the new Creme Egg packaging is. I think I can say without an ounce of hyperbole that it’s the greatest thing to happen to humanity since the invention of the printing press. Gone are the days of struggling to remove the foil wrapper in one clean piece, and having to contend with fiddly little half-stuck pieces of foil that make you want to hurl yourself head-first through a plate-glass window.

Instead, you just pull apart the seam on the two pieces of egg-shaped plastic and it pops open, effortlessly revealing the Creme Egg bounty within. The whole process takes less than one second, and it is glorious. Whoever invented that packaging deserves a vigorous round of high-fives, back-pats, and hearty handshakes.

But this isn’t a packaging blog (if it were, trust me, that packaging would score 10 out of 10. No… 100 out of 10. DON’T FIGHT IT, JUST LET IT HAPPEN), so I guess I should talk about the chocolate egg nestled within that magnificent package.

I had feared that they might take the lazy way out and take a regular Creme Egg, remove the orange food colouring, throw in some Oreo bits and call it a day. But the extent to which they have successfully Oreoified the Creme Egg is kind of breathtaking.

Cadbury Oreo Creme Egg 2

The egg itself, however, is unchanged, right down to the classic star-surrounded-by-circles exterior design. This is the egg’s biggest stumbling block. Not that it’s bad quality chocolate; it has a nice creamy melt and that distinctive Cadbury milk chocolate flavour. But it’s very sweet, and when combined with the even sweeter filling, it’s sugar overload. A dark chocolate version would be perfect, but since that doesn’t even exist for the standard Creme Egg, I think it’s wishful thinking.

Cadbury Oreo Creme Egg 3

The filling is pretty amazing, though. It’s completely different from the O.G. Creme Egg, with a frosting-like, less sticky consistency that’s impressively Oreo-y without being overbearing (it’s slightly lighter and creamier than actual Oreo filling). The crunchy bits of Oreo cookies interspersed throughout the filling add more flavour and texture than you’d imagine. They give the egg a cocoa-tinged flavour and satisfying amount of crunch while further cementing its Oreo pedigree.

Cadbury Oreo Creme Egg 4

The whole thing is still two or three notches more cloying than I’d like it to be, but it definitely has a mellower, less throat-burningly sweet flavour than the classic Creme Egg. I could easily see myself eating more of these, and I usually top out at one Creme Egg per year, thanks to its in-your-face sweetness.

(Nutrition Facts – Not available.)

Item: Cadbury Oreo Creme Egg
Purchased Price: $0.97 CAN
Size: 34 grams
Purchased at: Longo’s
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Nails the Oreo flavour. Crunchy cookie bits. Not as overbearingly sweet as a standard Creme Egg. The greatest packaging in the history of packaging. Timecop.
Cons: Still sweeter than it should be. Lack of a dark chocolate variety. PTSD-esque flashbacks of opening the old foil packaging.

REVIEW: Papa John’s Brookie

Papa John's Brookie

Whether it’s Harry and Sally, Boy and World, or Scooby-Doo and the Harlem Globetrotters, we always love when two things meet. Hell, when it comes to turducken, we even love it when three meats meet.

Papa John’s must have understood this, too, because with their new Brookie, they’ve done more than just have chocolate chip cookies and brownies meet—they’ve baked their sweet, buttery essences together in a big ol’ oven of love.

Now if only Papa John’s could reconcile with his estranged son Jimmy. Maybe we’d finally get the Italian sub crust pizza the world has been yearning for.

But is it really possible for two superstars of the baked goods world to peacefully coexist under the roof of one cardboard box? Or will their sugary egos get in each other’s way? And how will Oatmeal Raisin feel about being left out of this orgy of dough?

Let’s tune in to this week’s episode of Beverly Hills 90,210 Calories and find out.

As I headed home from Papa John’s, the tantalizing, authentically homemade smell coming from my Brookie box made me check my phone to see if my technologically-illiterate grandma had somehow accidentally texted me a dozen fresh-baked cookies.

Feeling more than a little dirty, I locked myself into my room, dimmed the lights, turned on the Magnetic Fields’ 69 Love Songs, and bit into a super soft, still warm slice. Better put the kids to bed for this one.

Papa John's Brookie 2

With my mouth glued shut by dense, chocolaty goop, I observed that my Brookie’s center was far closer to batter than it was to an actual, fully cooked cake brownie. Fudgy, rich, and delicious: this sinful, eggy chocolate lava had vesicles of flaky crust on top but still melted in my hands and mouth alike. The thin bed of cookie magma it sat on was largely undetectable, but still contributed some welcome bursts of buttered dough flavor.

So while the core of Planet Brookie was molten and sugary, the thicker cookie crust was crispy and firm. It had notes of toasted sugar and browned butter with the occasional visit by a large semisweet morsel. But as a whole, the crust was far milder (and significantly less interesting) than the decadent center.

Papa John's Brookie 3

Just like how the Force needs a dark side and a light, the Brookie benefits most from the magical area where brownie and cookie crust meet to form a tasty yin yang. The “fudgy sweet” and “golden baked” flavors pair well, and the half-crisp, half-gooey textural contrast could be a real crowd-pleaser.

It could even force a truce between those people who like the middle pieces of brownies and those people who only like the corners. I say “could,” because I’m just the guy who’s alone in his room, 48 love songs deep into 69 Love Songs and dripping with fudge. What do I know?

Papa John's Brookie 4

So as you can see from my above pie chart, approximately 87.5 percent of my Brookie currently resembles Pac-Man, while 12.5 percent does not. I’m quite satisfied with the Brookie; after all, did any of us really doubt that chocolate chip cookies and brownies would work together?

It might be a little too small and a little too expensive, and I wish Oreos had been invited to the party, but I look forward to eating the rest of this. And I’ll certainly buy another Brookie in the future and bring it to a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner…

…as my date.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/8th slice – 190 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 95 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 17 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein..)

Item: Papa John’s Brookie
Purchased Price: $6
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Papa John’s
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: The best parts of an undercooked brownie and the edge pieces of a chocolate chip bar cookie. The even better part where they kiss meet. Inevitable post-Brookie milk chugging. The guiding life philosophy of cookie-brownie Taoism.
Cons: The price. The size. Washing out those tricky post-Brookie fudge stains. Still waiting on Grandma to email me an apple pie.

REVIEW: Hot Diggity Dog Pringles

Hot Diggity Dog Pringles

Hot Diggity Dog is the all-time greatest Pringles…

…name.

It’s the only Pringles flavor that I would want as my catchphrase if I was a Hanna-Barbara cartoon character. There’s a lonely picnic basket under that tree? Hot Diggity Dog! You came up with a new sprocket for Spacely Space Sprockets? Hot Diggity Dog! Time to punch out at the quarry? Hot Diggity Dog! Scooby Snacks? Hot Diggity Dog!

I love hot dogs. If I could eat them every single day without medical concern, I would. Of course, I’d get sick of them at some point and then switch to hamburgers, but I’d probably come back to hot dogs once I got sick of hamburgers. So having hot dog-flavored Pringles does excite me.

Now if you expect these potato crisps to taste like a hot dog with all the fixings — ketchup, mustard, and relish — please lower your expectations. If you have expectations that it’s going to taste like what’s on the packaging — a hot dog with mustard — then you will be pleased.

Opening the can releases a yellow mustard scent that, if you inhale too much of it, will tickle your nose. There’s also a porky aroma **sniffles** mixed in with the mustard. **sniffles** It’s really nice.

**Sniffles**

Give me a second. Still tickling.

**Sniffles**

Okay, I’m good.

As for their flavor…Oh. My. Dog. The yellow mustard flavor dominates, but they also have a salty and meaty flavor that’s similar to those hot dogs that have ingredients labels I avoid reading. I swear there’s even a slight bun flavor that pops up every so often. Eating through a can of Hot Diggity Dog Pringles is like having having $21 at Costco and eating their $1.50 hot dogs until the money runs out…or until you throw up.

Hot Diggity Dog Pringles 2

The food scientists behind this flavor did a wonderful job. Even the aftertaste that lingers tastes like a hot dog with mustard. My taste buds are so confused right now. They’re probably thinking, “Something crunchy that taste like a hot dog? What is going on? Are we in the future?”

With that said, I can understand if there are some of you out there who think this processed meat-flavored crunchy snack is absolutely gross. And I guess writing “processed meat-flavored crunchy snack” does make it sound unappealing, but I really love these.

The hot dog with mustard flavor is so spot on that I’ve had thoughts of having a hot dog-flavored Pringles eating competition, pretending I’m either Joey Chestnut, Takeru Kobayashi, or Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas, and then swallowing as many Hot Diggity Dog Pringles I can in 10 minutes.

Hot Diggity Dog is the all-time greatest Pringles name. And it’s also one of my all-time greatest Pringles.

Disclosure: I received these from the PR firm that represents Pringles. Receiving a free sample did not affect my review in any way. A glowing review probably looks like I’m in the pocket of Julius Pringles, but I assure you I’m not. So let me say something bad about Julius Pringles. He looks like a murderer in a Sherlock Holmes mystery.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz. – 150 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 190 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Hot Diggity Dog Pringles
Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 5.96 oz. can
Purchased at: Received from PR firm (available at Walgreens)
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Spot on hot dog and mustard flavor. Makes me want to pretend to be a competitive eater. Best Pringles name of all-time.
Cons: I imagine there are many people who won’t like the processed meat flavor. Comes in smaller can than regular Pringles. As of this posting, exclusive to Walgreens.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Sriracha Chicken and Spicy Beefy Nacho Crunchwrap Sliders

Taco Bell Sriracha Chicken Crunchwrap Slider

Cheap.

It’s what Taco Bell does best.

What Taco Bell is also good at is coming up with a gazillion varieties of the same products. So many different tacos. So many different burritos. So many different Freezes. And now so many different Crunchwrap Sliders.

If you’re not familiar with Crunchwrap Sliders, let me put it to you this way. If the original Crunchwrap is Khloe Kardashian, then Crunchwrap Sliders are the significantly smaller Kourtney Kardashian. Oh wait…I should really write the previous sentence this way: If the original Krunchwrap is Khloe Kardashian, then Krunchwrap Sliders are the significantly smaller Kourtney Kardashian. Now it’s korrect.

Last year, about this time, these smaller Crunchwraps debuted with three varieties — Beefy Cheddar, Spicy Chicken, and BLT. This year two of the flavors are back — Beefy Cheddar and BLT — but this time they’ve brought along the new Sriracha Chicken and Spicy Beefy Nacho.

The Sriracha Chicken comes with shredded chicken, Fritos chips, and Taco Bell’s sriracha wrapped hexagonal in a flour tortilla. The Spicy Beef Nacho has seasoned beef, Fritos chips, creamy chipotle sauce, and nacho cheese sauce in a flour tortilla.

Yes, there aren’t a lot of ingredients in each one. But the lack of components does two things: it keeps the menu item cheap and allows our taste buds to really notice the sauces in them.

The Sriracha Chicken is somewhat similar to last year’s Spicy Chicken with chipotle sauce. The only part that’s different is the sauce. I didn’t think too highly of the Spicy Chicken because it wasn’t very spicy. But this new chicken Crunchwrap Slider has a bit more heat, although I wish it had more. It’s not “Oh my God, I need some Mountain Dew Baja Blast NOW” hot, but it’s a step above what the Spicy Chicken offered.

As you can see in the photo above, the chicken wasn’t shredded, it was chopped into chunks, which I didn’t mind. It was also a little dried out, but still easy to chew. Again, because there weren’t a lot of ingredients, I could really taste the garlic and peppers from the sriracha, which was something I really didn’t experience with Taco Bell’s Sriracha Quesarito. Because of the sriracha, this Crunchwrap Slider is my favorite out of all of them.

Taco Bell Spicy Beefy Nacho Crunchwrap Slider

My new third favorite is the Spicy Beefy Nacho (BLT is my number two). The creamy chipotle sauce isn’t very spicy, but it has a nice smoky, zesty flavor that seems to work better with their seasoned beef than their chicken. Yeah, I’m talking about you, Spicy Chicken Crunchwrap Slider. The mixing of the chipotle sauce with the nacho cheese sauce created a nice queso flavor. If you liked the Beefy Cheddar version, but wished it has a bit more flavor, then the Spicy Beefy Nacho will satisfy your taco hole.

As for the Fritos chips, despite being in flour tortilla cocoons, they were able to maintain some crunchiness. And because there aren’t a lot of ingredients to get in the way of each other, I could taste the corn and salt from the Fritos as I ate my way through each one. Thank goodness because what’s the point of having Fritos if we can’t taste the Fritos.

For a dollar, both of these new Crunchwrap Sliders are totally worth it. They prove once again that Taco Bell knows how to do cheap and tasty. Now if only the chain would add these to their regular menu.

(Nutrition Facts – Sriracha Chicken – 370 calories, 15 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 980 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein. Spicy Beefy Nacho – 460 calories, 25 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 1030 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein.)

Item: Taco Bell Sriracha Chicken and Spicy Beefy Nacho Crunchwrap Sliders
Purchased Price: $1.79 each*
Size: N/A
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Sriracha Chicken)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Spicy Beefy Nacho)
Pros: Cheap. Sriracha Chicken is way better then Spicy Chicken. The sauces. Chipotle sauce works better with seasoned ground beef than shredded chicken. Fritos chips remained somewhat crunchy.
Cons: Something so small has so much sodium. Those looking to burn their mouths will have to burn their mouths with something else. Wish the Sriracha Chicken had a bit more heat. Not cheap here on this rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

*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.