REVIEW: Leaf Hydrox Cookies (2015)

Leaf Hydrox Cookies (2015)

All over the Internet there are posts that lament and list discontinued snacks. Here are two examples:

44 Beloved Snacks You’ll Never Be Able To Eat Again

25 Foods You’ll Never Be Able To Eat Again

There are two issues with these lists. One, several products on them have come back (oops). Two, Hydrox cookies were not on either list. 

There are some of you out there pounding your desks and yelling, “Blasphemy! How dare they forget Hydrox!” But, to be fair, the people who wrote those lists might be too young to remember what Hydrox are.

For those young folks who have written a listicle with an inaccurate title, before Oreo there was Hydrox. They’re both chocolate sandwich cookies, but Hydrox made its debut four year earlier in 1908. Or, if you’re a hardcore Hydrox fan, let me rewrite that to say, Oreo totally ripped off the idea of Hydrox in 1912.

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But Hydrox cookies are back, thanks to Leaf Brands and trademark law. You can listen to all about what happened in this NPR story. But if the soothing voices of NPR personalities make you fall asleep, here’s a short version of what happened. Kellogg’s owned the Hydrox trademark, but admitted they weren’t using it and had no plans to use it. According to trademark law, if that’s the case, someone can swipe up that trademark. And Leaf Brands did that.

Unfortunately, that trademark didn’t come with the Hydrox recipe. So like the Six Million Dollar Man, a reference those listicle writers also won’t get, it had to be rebuilt. So this new version might taste different than the original. But, to be honest, I don’t remember what it tastes like. I believe the lard in the original Oreo cookies I ate as a kid have blocked most of my memories of Hydrox.

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To be honest, Hydrox and I had a rough first date. I didn’t like them at first. I thought the creme was bland and the wafers had bursts of saltiness. Also, it appeared my package was missing a cookie or two. But then we went on a second date, then a third, and then we were living together because I admitted to Hydrox that I love them. I’m going to chalk up my unfavorable first impressions to my taste buds being so used to Oreo cookies.

They’re less sweet than Oreo. I mean, they’re still sweet, but they demonstrate how hypersweet Oreo cookies are. And that hypersweetness comes from the Oreo creme. The difference between the two cremes are dramatic. The Hydrox creme is mellow like reggae and the Oreo creme is whatever noise kids are listening to these days. Get off my lawn, Oreo! 

The less sweet creme gives Hydrox a better balance with the chocolate wafers. As for the chocolate wafers, I think the Hydrox ones have a darker chocolate flavor and a lighter crunch than Oreo’s. They’re not necessarily better, just different.

But as a whole, I enjoyed Hydrox more than regular Oreo cookies. Their balanced flavor and moderate sweetness remind me a lot of Oreo Thins, which I prefer over regular Oreo cookies. Because with Oreo cookies I can eat two and have no desire to eat more. But with Hydrox and Oreo Thins, I just want to chain eat them.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 130 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 130 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Leaf Hydrox Cookies (2015)
Purchased Price: $6.10
Size: 13 ounces
Purchased at: Amazon
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: I want to chain eat them. Not as hypersweet as Oreo cookies. With creme being less sweet there a better balance of flavors between the creme and chocolate wafers. No high fructose corn syrup.
Cons: Not widely available yet (Available on Amazon and a few retailers). Some (or many) eaters might think it tastes bland compared to Oreo. My first impressions. My package looked like it was missing a cookie or two. Pricey if you’re buying it from Amazon.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.