REVIEW: Taco Bell Sriracha Quesarito

Taco Bell Sriracha Quesarito

It’s hard to believe Taco Bell decided to get out of their Tex-Mex comfort zone with their new Sriracha Quesarito. But then again, I guess it was inevitable since sriracha continues to be a popular ingredient.

It’s gotten so trendy that if you went to a grocery store and threw a open bottle of sriracha at a random aisle, there’s a very good chance the mess would hit something sriracha flavored. And sriracha’s growth can also be seen in the fast food industry. Subway offered their Sriracha Chicken Melt, Jack in the Box has sriracha sandwiches and breakfast burritos, White Castle put it on their sliders, and Pizza Hut offers it as topping and crust options.

Taco Bell’s Sriracha Quesarito features a burrito stuffed with premium Latin rice, seasoned ground beef, reduced fat sour cream, and Taco Bell’s own sriracha, and a quesadilla with nacho cheese sauce and more sriracha that’s wrapped around the burrito.

Taco Bell Sriracha Quesarito 2

I haven’t had the original Quesarito, but from what I’ve read, it’s tastes and eats like a burrito. So I expected the Sriracha Quesarito to taste like a burrito with sriracha.

Let’s talk about the sriracha first.

As I ate the Sriracha Quesarito, I wasn’t sure if there was enough sauce on the one I received or if the other ingredients were muting the sauce’s flavor, because I couldn’t really taste the sauce in about half the bites. Whatever flavor I could get, I considered it to be everything I expect sriracha to be.

Garlicky? Check.

Peppery? Check.

Tangy? Check.

While I couldn’t taste the sauce too much, there was a nice amount of heat. And I imagine if the sour cream wasn’t an ingredient in the Sriracha Quesarito, it would be a bit hotter.

Taco Bell Sriracha Quesarito 3

The sauce went well with the premium Latin rice and seasoned ground beef (you can also get it with shredded chicken and steak). Actually, the cilantro, garlic, and onion in the rice paired well with the sriracha when I could taste it. The nacho cheese sauce and sriracha in the quesadilla made a nice sriracha con queso that gushed into my mouth a few times as I ate my way through the entree.

Although I didn’t get a strong punch of sriracha flavor in every bite, I did enjoy Taco Bell’s Sriracha Quesarito. I think if you’re a fan of the sauce, you should definitely give it a try. The Asian-Tex-Mex combination does work and I’d like to see sriracha in more Taco Bell items. Or I’d love to see Taco Bell’s sriracha sauce end up in packets.

(Nutrition Facts – 650 calories, 290 calories from fat, 32 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 1720 milligrams of sodium, 68 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 22 grams of protein.)

Item: Taco Bell Sriracha Quesarito
Purchased Price: $3.29*
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Taco Bell
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: It has sriracha. Asian-Tex-Mex combination works. Sauce has a nice heat. Premium Latin rice pairs well with the sriracha. Cheese from quesadilla oozing into my mouth. Addition of sriracha in the quesadilla.
Cons: Sour cream bringing down the heat. Simple combination of ingredients. Half of the time, I couldn’t really taste the sriracha.

*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.

REVIEW: Limited Time Cheetos Sweetos Cinnamon Sugar Puffs

Cheetos Sweetos Cinnamon Sugar Puffs

As anyone who has ever eaten Cheetos knows, 90 percent of the appeal is licking the disgusting (and by disgusting, I mean awesome) amount of cheese powder residue that clings to your fingers. Cheesy, salty, delicious, and basically deserving to be packaged and sold as a savory rendition of a Pixy Stix, the Cheeto powder would constitute my entire source of calcium should the world ever see the abolition of pizza. Its deliciousness begs the existential question though: is the quintessence of the Cheeto unique to the cheesiness of the powder, or is it just the presence of a lickable flavor powder in and of itself? In other words: if you take away the cheese, can Cheetos still be great?

A question as mysterious and elusive as ”why is there an Easter bunny?”, the springtime arrival of Cheetos Sweetos as a limited edition Easter-themed snack provides ample empirical evidence to finally put to rest this most vexing of questions.

Shaped like Easter Eggs (or, presumably, drops of cheetah poop) each cinnamon sugar puff is light and airy with a dusty brown complexion one might associate with a well-aged gouda. There the similarities with cheese cease, as the hollow crunch of each puff flees from any notion of the salty Cheeto we’re accustomed to. The powder, too, is not quite as intense in its coverage, and while a fair amount of the advertised cinnamon-sugar transferred to my fingers, I didn’t find myself in need of a good Beethoven slobbering to remove it. I considered this most unfortunate.

Now that I think about it, that’s probably because the taste falls below expectations. For something which has adopted one of the most basic adjectives in flavor for its namesake, Cheetos Sweetos don’t initially taste very sweet at all. If anything, the pieces taste like an over-buttered but under-sugared piece of slightly soggy toast, with loads of cinnamon seasoning but nothing particularly salivating about that seasoning. To put it more bluntly; they’re straight-up bland.

Cheetos Sweetos Cinnamon Sugar Puffs Closeup

The buttery coating isn’t bad, and really, the amount of actual cinnamon flavor is quite admirable, but each puff plays it too safe in the sweetness department, like some kind of alternative cereal ever cognizant of a dreaded lecture by the health food police. What I was expecting, and what my and I’m sure most sweet snack food eaters would have preferred, was something like Post’s Mini-Cinnamon Churros cereal. Likewise, the corn base and cinnamon flavor leave my taste buds grasping for a point of reference, one which inevitably turns to the sturdier crunch of sweetened corn-based cereals. In this case, the puffed approach hinders old Chester, who would have been better to market these in the traditional, crunchier texture of a regular (crunchy) Cheeto.

To be fair, Cheetos Sweetos aren’t bad. But they’re far from memorable, and I wouldn’t choose them as a snack over the multitude of very good cinnamon-sugar cereals out there. If nothing else, they’ve established a fundamental and universal truth that we Cheetos lovers have long pondered over. Yes, the greatness of the Cheeto resides not just in the fact that you get miles of flavored powder to lick from your fingers, but in the unique and especially savory cheese flavor of the powder, and no amount of buttered and slightly sweet cinnamon coating can ever come close to replicating that deliciousness.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 ounce/about 13 pieces – 160 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 1 grams of protein.)

Item: Limited Time Cheetos Sweetos Cinnamon Sugar Puffs
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 7 oz. bag
Purchased at: Weis
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Pretty solid buttered cinnamon-sugar toast flavor. Strong and authentic cinnamon taste. Easter-themed treat which isn’t dark chocolate. Discovering the real essence of Cheeto deliciousness.
Cons: Sweetness is dull and bland. Mild corn aftertaste is distracting. Doesn’t work well in puffed form. Not getting to slobber up Cheeto powder.

REVIEW: Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Chocolate Chili Milano Cookies

Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Chocolate Chili Milano Cookies

During June and July of last year, Pepperidge Farm allowed Milano fans to vote for a future flavor. The candidates were mango ginger, green tea, and chocolate chili. As you’ve probably figured out from reading the title of this review, chocolate chili won and it probably did so with promises of chocolate with a spicy kick.

But after tasting it, I’m not sure it should’ve been victorious.

On the back of its package it describes the cookie as, “The perfect contrast of rich luxurious chocolate and spicy chili flavor.”

Yeah…about the “spicy chili flavor.”

If you’re a heat head, let me disappoint you by saying your internal Scoville scale won’t register anything while eating these cookies. Not even eating several of them one after another will build up a satisfying heat. There is a tickle of something that lingers, especially at the back of my throat, but I’m not sure most would consider it spicy.

Looking at the ingredients list helps explain the lack of heat. There’s no mention of any kind of chili pepper. Not even the vague “spices” is listed. But there is the even more vague “natural flavors.”

The cookies smell like chocolate cake with a hint of chili pepper. Each cookie has two thin layers of chocolate. After nibbling the chocolate at the edges, it tastes like both layers have chili pepper flavor, but it’s very faint. It becomes more so when the cookie is eaten whole. The light, crispy cookie dampens the flavor.

Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Chocolate Chili Milano Cookies Closeup

I’m torn about these cookies.

Even with a hint of chili pepper flavor, these cookies still gave me some delight. They had a spicy cinnamon or Mexican hot chocolate vibe to them. And, they’re frickin’ Milano cookies, for goodness sake!

But, I can’t help but be disappointed with them. Seeing the words “chili” on the front and “spicy” on the back gave me expectations of the cookie reaching a level of heat that gave them a pleasant warmth.

Or, perhaps, I have it wrong about its spiciness.

The Milano is a classy cookie with a European name that’s presented in white paper baking cups. Having a cookie with an almost uncomfortable amount of heat is something the crazy food scientists at Nabisco would probably do with an Oreo cookie.

If the Milano is a reserved white ballgown and the Oreo is a sexy tight black mini dress that’s up for anything, then perhaps a Milano that burns one’s mouth would be unsophisticated.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 130 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Chocolate Chili Milano Cookies
Purchased Price:
Size: 7 oz.
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: They had a faint spicy cinnamon or Mexican hot chocolate vibe to them. They’re frickin’ Milano cookies! No worries for those who are afraid of burning their mouths.
Cons: A bit disappointed they aren’t spicy spicy. Chili pepper flavor could’ve been stronger. Target exclusive.

REVIEW: Rah-Rah Raisin Girl Scout Cookies

Rah Rah Raisin box

First, I decided: these are not “raisin cookies.” They are galletas de pasas.

A “raisin cookie” sounds like something your grandmother forced you to eat because you had already eaten too much chocolate that day. “Galletas de pasas” sound like an exotic biscuit blended found at a market where they sell Art Deco and hand-woven rugs and play Johnny Cash in the background. Something obscure and enigmatic, yet also specific.

Despite all that self-imposed delusion, all I could read was, “raisin,” and my head—my very stubborn head—kept shouting, “Wrinkly, dry nubs! Stay away!”

My head is no longer allowed to make decisions. These cookies? Put it down. As the perfect entry-level raisin cookie, the small, mini-chocolate-chip-sized fruit bits dot their way along the crispy surface, providing a slight chew and grapey tang that’s effective without being intrusive. The yogurty chips are sparse but wonderful: sweet with a hint of tang at the very end, contrasting and complementing the chewy raisin.

And let’s not forget about the cookie foundation. The cookie is sandy and crumbly, far more so than the Trader Joe’s shortbread I enjoyed earlier this month. While this dough lacks any hint of butter, it dissolves into a fizzle of sweet, sugar-cookie-like dough with the barest bit of molasses at the end, which serves to amp up those the raisins and yogurt chips.

Rah-Rah Raisin Girl Scout Cookies are crumbly

Of course, this crumbled texture brings a hazard for the cookies. Without any protective plastic tray, the biscuits have trouble maintaining their shape. In my box of 14, three cookies came fully intact. I also realize this could’ve resulted from a bum sample or a transit flub. New York roads are bumpy.

But let’s be real: Girl Scout Cookies aren’t about the looks. While the cookie’s sturdiness might be a tragedy for its aesthetics, it’s all the better for you as you are left with a big pile of crumblies at the end of your cookie-eating experience.

Instructions for dealing with crumblies include:

  • Tilt head back.
  • Pour contents of cookie bag into mouth.

Rah Rahs just before they crumbled

So, yes, the cookies and their crumblies are good (so good!). But I am filled! With! Hyperbolic! Agony! At $3.50 per 6-cookie box, my hope to also purchase 18 bajillion boxes of Tagalongs and Thin Mints and Samoas dwindles at the edges. I want to buy more cookies, Girl Scouts, but my bank account suggests otherwise. Oh, catch me! I’m fainting in despair…

And yet that $3.50 is going toward instilling kids with self-esteem and business skills and Girl Scout trips involving s’mores, and what kind of miserable, lonely person discourages putting more self-efficacy and s’mores in the world?! I’d dip into my 401k before I deprive anyone of that.

Leadership Skills, Rah-Rah Raisin Girl Scout Cookies, and you

Overall, these are a pretty swell addition to the Girl Scout line-up. While they may not muscle out my Girl Scout favorites, I’ve only had this one box, which is unfair given that I have over 20 years experience with the traditional cookies. If given time, maybe a sturdier cookie base, and more yogurt chips, I could foresee these, too, heaving themselves up the line of Greats. Not only did they convert the wrinkly raisin-hater inside my heart, but I’m looking for a reason to buy them again. “It’s Thursday!” may have to suffice.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 120 calories, 45 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 135 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, Less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Rah-Rah Raisin Girl Scout Cookies
Purchased Price: $3.50
Size: 6 oz. box
Purchased at: A sidewalk from a small child
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Crunchy. Sweet, melty yogurt chips. Small, chewy raisins. Crumblies. Converted raisin-opposed brains. Galletas de Pasas. Johnny Cash.
Cons: Not as good as Tagalongs. Small raisins may not appeal to raisin fanatics. Pricey for 6 oz. box. More yogurt chips would be nice. May induce stressful situations in which you debate your 401k.

REVIEW: Trader Joe’s Sweet Sriracha Uncured Bacon Jerky

Trader Joe’s Sweet Sriracha Uncured Bacon Jerky

Trader Joe’s Sweet Sriracha Uncured Bacon Jerky may be a bit of a misnomer.

I’m not completely sure it should be labeled as a jerky. Maybe it falls under the technical definition of “jerky”? Let’s look it up and see. Okay. Jerky. “Characterized by abrupt starts and stops.” Hmmm. I guess so? I guess my jaw was abruptly starting and stopping in a chomping motion. Is that just considered “chewing”?

Anyway, I wanted to point out off the bat that the jerky is wet. It’s probably the “sweet sriracha” glaze or whatever but it’s certainly a surprise when you reach into a factory sealed plastic bag and come out of it with a fistful of wet meat.

Also, I wanted to point out the fact that this jerky is “uncured.” It’s unclear what that officially means but probably something like it wasn’t brined or preserved in a certain way, like most jerkies are. Like if Han Solo in carbonite is “cured” then Tom Hanks sitting in the sun talking to a volleyball for four years is “uncured.” Soylent Green is people. And honestly it would probably be sold at Trader Joe’s.

Why the word police? Well, it’s just that this is basically cooked bacon in a bag. Like, bacon you would take out of the oven at home. Imagine you are a food corporation. Now imagine you try to sell “bacon in a bag.” Forget the internet trend and imagine all the moms and dads in the supermarket scrunching up their faces like, “Bacon is for breakfast and Wendy’s Quadruple Baconators only.” But designate bacon a jerky, and poof, there’s a familiar snack that is entirely meat and everyone eats. So familiar it’s, like, the oldest food ever. Yes, even older than Crystal Pepsi. So, in the name of tradition, go ahead and shove that bacon in your maw.

Trader Joe’s Sweet Sriracha Uncured Bacon Jerky 2

All this being said, it’s not an unpleasant product. It is wet and sticky at first, but biting into the jerky is fine. It has the texture of some well-cooked bacon on the chewier side. The crisp factor seems to be turned down a bit and there are some pockets of fat. There is a wave of sweetness that dovetails into a bit of heat, and if more than a few pieces are consumed, the spiciness elevates to a nice sharp numbing.

Here’s a riddle: What starts off wet and sticky and ends up meaty and numb? Answer: Trader Joe’s Sweet Sriracha Uncured Bacon Jerky! That’s what this review is about. Nothing else.

Trader Joe’s Sweet Sriracha Uncured Bacon Jerky 3

While I’m unclear about the jerkization process used here, I can tell you for sure this thing is being sold at jerky prices. It’s almost six bucks for two ounces, whereas the regular beef jerkies cost about five bucks for four ounces. That’s a lot more for a lot less, and knowing that is pretty much the only reason why we all take 12 years of math. Well, at least I took 12 years of Jerky Pricing. I majored in Jerky Pricing! I’m in data entry right now, but I still do Jerky Pricing in the evenings and the weekends.

I think I read the wrong definition of “jerky” in the intro. Here, it’s actually: “foolish, stupid or rude.” Look it up. Here’s a new riddle: What begins with abrupt starts and stops and ends foolish, stupid and rude? It’s this review! Good night, Pigs.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz. – 140 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 600 milligrams of sodium, 6 grams of sugar, 6 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein.)

Item: Trader Joe’s Sweet Sriracha Uncured Bacon Jerky
Purchased Price: $5.49
Size: 2 oz.
Purchased at: Trader Joe’s
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Good texture. Nice elevating spice kick after a base of sweetness.
Cons: Sticky. Seems like just bacon you can make at home. Fairly expensive.