REVIEW: Sonic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups & Chocolate Waffle Cone Sundae

Sonic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups & Chocolate Waffle Cone Sundae 1

An ice cream sundae is nothing without its cone. Well, except if it’s in a cup. That’s why Madonna’s cone-bra was so ingenious — it was both cones and cups at the same time. For sanitary reasons, I should probably advise against eating ice cream out of anything that’s been near Madonna’s chest.

For a limited time, Sonic restaurants will be offering the new Waffle Cone Sundae in three flavor combinations: M&M’s Candies & Strawberry, Snickers Bar & Caramel, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups & Chocolate. If you would like to take a walk on the wild side, you can also choose to customize your Waffle Cone Sundae. Or, if you’re bland, boring, and allergic to fun, you can order a plain vanilla Waffle Cone Sundae, devoid of all toppings, for only a single dollar less.

Me? I stand somewhere in the middle. I enjoy an occasional thrill, but I’m nowhere near crazy enough to try crowd-surfing at a Yo-Yo Ma concert. That’s why I went with a pre-made flavor: the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups & Chocolate Waffle Cone Sundae.

Hmm. Sonic certainly didn’t spare the peanut butter cup topping. As soon as the carhop handed me the ice cream cone, little bits of Reese’s started falling all over the place — probably the reason why he thrust a handful of napkins in my face a few seconds later.

Sonic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups & Chocolate Waffle Cone Sundae 2

I needed those napkins, too. The waffle cone itself is crisp, yet fragile. On several occasions, a single bite caused large portions of the cone to shatter. I had mistakenly left my Patrick Bateman gloves at home, so I found myself licking frantically to prevent vanilla ice cream from dripping all over my beautiful, bare hands.

Even with such a delicate cone, the ice cream never leaked out of the bottom. This was convenient, as I didn’t want to be burdened with the task of explaining the origin of sticky, white stains on the car seats to my leasing agent.

The flavor of the Waffle Cone Sundae’s vanilla soft serve base is complemented by both the peanut butter cup bits and the chocolate syrup. The first few bites combine the two toppings in perfect proportion, a familiar blend of chocolate and peanut flavors.

Sonic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups & Chocolate Waffle Cone Sundae 4

Regrettably, the balance doesn’t last for too long, as the top layer of the sundae disappears quickly. What remains is little more than plain vanilla ice cream in a plain waffle cone — a dessert as boring as the Christmas with Colonel Sanders vinyl record. (There was so much potential. The Little Drumstick Boy? The Twelve Days of Chicken? These songs practically write themselves.) To attain a more thorough distribution of flavors, Sonic would have been better off swirling the toppings into the vanilla ice cream base.

I was disappointed to find that the waffle cone seems weakly flavored, smothered by the vanilla ice cream during most bites. As the cone begins to double-up in an overlap toward its bottom, the waffle flavor becomes more apparent, but the cone merely serves as a vessel to hold ice cream for the majority of the sundae.

The most attractive aspect of Sonic’s Waffle Cone Sundae is the price. Ice cream isn’t always cheap in today’s economy, and I definitely don’t want to resort to eating those questionable Walmart ice cream sandwiches whenever I’m craving frozen dairy treats. For just a few cents under three dollars, the Waffle Cone Sundae is a bargain.

Despite all of its flaws, the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups & Chocolate Waffle Cone Sundae remains a satisfying and inexpensive ice cream cone. Both the quantity of toppings and the waffle cone itself were less than ideal, but for the price, its peanut butter and chocolate flavor is sufficient.

On the first day of Chicken,
The Colonel sent to me:
12 pounds of gravy,
11 herbs and spices,
10 tubs of white meat,
9 thighs and drumsticks,
8 buttermilk biscuits,
7 Chicken Littles,
6 wings and sauces,
5 DOUBLE DOOOOOOOWNS!
4 Famous Bowls,
3 Go Cups,
2 pot pies,
and a bucket of Original Recipeeeeee.

(Nutrition Facts – Not available on Sonic website.)

Item: Sonic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups & Chocolate Waffle Cone Sundae
Purchased Price: $2.89
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Sonic
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Tasty chocolate and peanut butter flavors. Inexpensive. Twelve Days of Chicken.
Cons: Fragile cone. Just plain ice cream after top layer. Forgetting my Patrick Bateman gloves at home.

REVIEW: Little Caesars Soft Pretzel Crust Pepperoni Pizza

Little Caesars Soft Pretzel Crust Pepperoni Pizza

Little Caesars’ Soft Pretzel Crust Pepperoni Pizza is a pepperoni pizza with a soft pretzel crust. It’s that simple.

The meeting at Little Caesars for this pizza had one visual aid. It was a photo of a soft pretzel and a plus sign and then a photo of a pepperoni pizza and then an equals sign, and then a soft pretzel pizza.

Q: “But, Marshall, do you think we need to somehow optimize the flavors to each other?”

A: “Larry, do you or do you not want to go eat lunch?”

The meeting was six minutes long and they definitely did not eat Little Caesars for their meal.

Eating a slice of this pizza is like rummaging through boardwalk garbage. It’s a straight up soft pretzel stretched out into pizza form and had pepperoni and cheese put on it. It’s what the pawn seagulls probably bring to the queen seagull. Pretty sure Templeton from Charlotte’s Web has a slice of one of these things during his smorgasbord. I wouldn’t describe the pizza as “terrific” and probably not “humble,” but it absolutely had “some pig” in it.

Little Caesars Soft Pretzel Crust Pepperoni Pizza Crust Closeup

Yo, Little Caesars, have you ever tried your own Hot-N-Ready pizzas? Thems salty. So what did you do? You added a pretzel bread, which is saltier, and then on top of that you sprinkled that rock salt that clears New England sidewalks in the winter.

After the first few bites, I had a salt wince duck face like it was selfie time. The pepperoni was not bad. But in the context of the entire pie, it was a little much having meat discs of sodium to surf on the waves of high blood pressure. Quiz: “I’m really looking forward to more Salt.” Is that a quote from me eating this pizza or Kurt Wimmer, writer of the Angelina Jolie film Salt? Find the answer hidden in this review somewhere! (It’s Kurt Wimmer)

Of course, our taste buds adapt to change, but it was disconcerting when a couple slices in I started to get used to it. Could I ever eat anything without salt again? What if this was my new normal? I looked up from my thoughts and realized I had eaten the entire pie.

I spent weeks wandering the street as a salt junkie until I went through the twelve step salt program. I’m now a salt-free, productive member of society but every once in a while when I’m at a mid-low caliber restaurant, the shaker with the white rocks calls my name. I ignore her pleas but she knows one day I’ll crumble. She knows.

Moreover, Lil’ Caesar, I like the way you run your store. I was in and out in about four minutes and there were two people in front of me in line. Handed over payment and received my product. Someone get the guy who thought that system up to help out with hospital emergency room triage. In and out. In and out. Easy. Everybody leaving the ER has a slice of pizza in their hand. Beautiful.

Since LiCa did such a good job with replicating a pretzel for the bread, there are a couple things to consider here. First is the texture. The soft pretzel bread was very similar to what we all know as soft pretzel bread, but the question is: Do we want that chewy, chewy texture for pizza? The answer for me is that it’s fine, but ultimately I like a crispy exterior and a chewy interior. It works for the novelty, but I don’t want it for my every day pizza.

Little Caesars Soft Pretzel Crust Pepperoni Pizza Slice

Second is the cheese. There is some “real” cheese sprinkled on top but I noticed a cheddar cheese sauce that is also present, more the consistency of a thick nacho cheese. This was a cheese that tasted and felt like a dipping sauce that you might stick a soft pretzel into. It had a bit of zest and all the smoothness of Cheez Wiz. Again, fine for the novelty, but the more I think about it, it’s kind of gross. Like kissing!

It’s all a bit of an unbalanced affair and I’m not sure my hypertension can take another one, but the Soft Pretzel Crust Pizza is an interesting novelty, and a cheap one at that. If you’re ever pressed for time like those executives who thought up this pizza, and you really, really need to eat a soft pretzel and a pizza at once, the Little C got your back. Pizza pizza? Salty salty.

(Disclosure: We received a $10 Little Caesars gift card from Little Caesars to purchase the pizza.)

(Nutrition Facts – 1/8 of a pizza – 270 calories, 11 grams fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 570 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 11 grams of protein.)

Item: Little Caesars Soft Pretzel Crust Pepperoni Pizza
Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Little Caesars
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Fun to eat two food items at once. Cheap.
Cons: Extremely salty. Texture of bread is not pizza bread

REVIEW: McDonald’s Purple Sweet Potato McShake (Japan)

McDonald's Purple Sweet Potato McShake (Japan)

When I dream I often come across magical dream items I wish existed in real life. If only I could Inception myself or have a dream thief Inception me (That thought makes me all warm and tingly) so these mystic items could be extracted into reality.

I mean, imagine if you could have a guitar that doubles as a television remote. Then you wouldn’t have to stop playing for a moment to turn the channel! Or a toothbrush that simultaneously flosses your teeth and then rinses your mouth with Listerine. Sure it sounds dangerous, and it probably is, but you’d still want one. I know I would.

So when I encountered McDonald’s Purple Sweet Potato McShake on a walk through Osaka, I bit myself as hard as I could on the hand to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Pinching yourself is so outdated. Get with the dream times, people! The milkshake was real (as was the blood running down my hand and arm) so I wasted no time in going in and getting one.

Irasshaimase!!!” said the workers.

Expect to hear this whenever you walk into just about anywhere in Japan. One time I swear I heard a toilet say it to me as I entered a restroom.

After using my pathetic routine of pointing at the item I want and saying “this one, please” in Japanese and the magic dream item extraction began. Now I know purple sweet potatoes are a real thing, but come on, when do you ever see one of them? I’m close to 30 and I have yet to encounter one, so to me this is as magical a milkshake as there is.

McDonald's Purple Sweet Potato McShake (Japan) 2

The color was very off-putting. It is a vibrant purple, which is really confusing because you think it will taste like black raspberry, or grape, or just something that is purple, yet the shake is similar to a traditional sweet potato with the orange center. It not only tastes like one, it tastes like one that has been buttered. I shit you not.

McDonald’s was able to replicate this Thanksgiving staple without being overly rich. A welcome surprise. The shake is not triple-thick like the ones in America, so you don’t have to worry about any “God Damn It All The Shake Won’t Come Through the Straw” frustrations. It’s a tad thinner than I usually like my milkshakes but the flavor more than made up for it.

Now I personally love buttered sweet potatoes, so for me this shake was amazing but I could see some people not liking it just because it doesn’t seem like a milkshake flavor that is meant to be.

The one real obstacle you have with this milkshake is the psychological game it plays with you. Imagine if you were given a milkshake that appeared to be vanilla but in fact it tasted like strawberry, or a chocolate-seeming milkshake that in fact tasted like butter pecan. Can you say, “mind fuck?” I can! It’s actually fun to say, rolls off the tongue really well. Give it a try!

So to amplify the MF experience, I drank the milkshake while walking through the famous Dotonbori area in Osaka, which is filled with all sorts of crazy mechanical crabs, electronic signs, and numerous oddities, not to mention the thousands of people walking about trying to decide which delicacy to try.

If you had told me, “Hey, Trev, you’re tripping balls right now,” I wouldn’t have disagreed with you. I would’ve been angry at you for slipping me something, but only for a minute, because what’s the point in getting angry?

Now I can’t tell you to hop on a flight, go to Japan and get this McShake because…wait, no, I can tell you whatever I want. So go book a flight, preferably leaving tomorrow, fly into Tokyo or Osaka, get the McShake and then do whatever else you want.

If you don’t speak Japanese, no worries! A combination of pointing, the words, “I don’t understand,” and crying will get you through most situations.

Ganbatte!

(Nutrition Facts – (Editor’s Note: I’d like to put the nutrition facts here, but I don’t know where it is on the McDonald’s Japan website.))

Item: McDonald’s Purple Sweet Potato McShake (Japan)
Purchased Price: 195 yen
Size: Medkum
Purchased at: McDonald’s Japan
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Actually tastes like a sweet potato. Buttery flavor is delicious and a minor miracle. Being in Japan. Being incepted.
Cons: Milkshake is a tad thin. Dollar to yen confusion. Irasshaimase gets old fast. Shake is a real mind fuck.

REVIEW: Pizza Hut Bacon Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza

Pizza Hut Bacon Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza

All right, dammit! I admit it, I like Pizza Hut?

As a former Manhattanite who grew up on real pizza, I think my family and friends in the Big Apple just hung their heads collectively in shame and disgust. I would probably garner a better reaction if I yanked my vintage Bugle Boys pants down and angry-sharted on my grandparent’s ugly Thomas Kinkade print (..alas, aren’t they all ugly?).

Since I’m in a mood to confess…I also secretly love dog-shaming pictures. You know the ones where the owners hang a sign around their necks proclaiming they did something bad.

And I not only love Pizza Hut, I also love their stuffed crusts. I see your head shaking, I know. Despite eating at some of the best pizzerias in New York and Chicago, I come to you throwing myself on the sword asking, “What’s so wrong with Pizza Hut’s pizzas?”

Besides, I now live in a major city in Florida where everyone proclaims their pizza is “New York”-style when in actuality, it is about as New York as the set of Jackie Chan’s “Rumble in the Bronx.” How many mountain ranges can you name that’s in the middle of the Bronx?

For pizza chains, in my experience, Pizza Hut is the most consistent overall. The sauce always has a nice subtle earthy and peppery flavor that pairs well with the tangy acidity of the tomato sauce. Furthermore, the pizza satisfies my cravings when the only local pizzeria around also specializes in Mexican food. Those in Ketchikan, Alaska know what I’m talking about.

After diving into several hours of Destiny, what perfect food than pizza can accompany hours of button mashing? I don’t have time to coordinate with a fork when I’m too busy coordinating the controls to grind levels.?
The delivery was quick and upon opening the box, the familiar fresh smell of fourteen delicious inches of hot pizza rose up and jacked my nostrils into heaven.

Pizza Hut Bacon Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza Slice

Noticeably, the pizza looked a little weird because the crust was almost an inch and a half wide, which contained a mixture of melted cheeses and hardwood smoked bacon. The bulging crust begged to be ripped apart so the cheddar, provolone and mozzarella mixture could ooze out. I tore it apart and although there was no oozing, there was a rush of smoky bacon that filled the air around my face.

The crust was buttery with a pleasant chewy texture and the mixed melted cheese imparted a nice creamy taste, like the inside of a crab rangoon without the fake cream cheese flavor. The small bits of bacon cut through the cheese and it was awesome enough for me to eat just the crusts of several slices alone.

Pizza Hut Bacon Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza Innards

Initially, I was not happy with the paltry amount of bacon in the stuffed crust but it turned out it was the right ratio. The cheese mixture really carried the bacon well and amplified that salty and fatty porky taste. There was also a slight onion flavor in the mixture that was well received by my mouth as I continued to hand cannon aliens in the hope of grabbing some elite stuff.

The $11.99 special allowed one topping and I opted for the mushrooms, which was stupid. Pizzeria chain mushrooms are either rubbery or so thin that they are dried up like mummified corpses. I had the latter. The pizza was good but the mushrooms detracted from the pizza and I picked them all off. However, I take the blame and should have ordered onions instead.

The pizza itself sans mushrooms was good as the cheese was perfectly stretchy and the sauce lifted the flavors well. The chewiness of the crust extended to the slice and, as a whole, the pizza satiated my craving. Yet, to be honest, I would be satisfied just eating the crusts and leaving the pizza in the box.

If you’ve eaten the stuffed crust before and didn’t like it, no amount of bacon is going to change your mind. If you were on the fence, bacon does actually make it better. If you liked it, then get ready for Valhalla of epic stuffed crust-pizza proportions. While it’s not as gooey as I hoped, like a fried mozzarella stick, the taste was good enough to overlook this.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 slice w/o toppings – 340 calories, 140 calories from fat, 16 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 810 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 grams of sugar, and 16 grams of protein.)

Item: Pizza Hut Bacon Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza
Purchased Price: $11.99
Size: Large
Purchased at: Pizza Hut
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: The cheese mixture carried the bacon well. The stuffed crust was buttery and had a nice chewy texture. Bacon and melted cheese, what is there not to like?
Cons: The cheese in the crust wasn’t gooey. The dried mushrooms sucked the life out of a good pizza. Laughing at dog shaming photos, I’m embarrassed to admit I laugh at those.

REVIEW: Baskin-Robbins Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream

Baskin-Robbins Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream

Since the dawn of civilization cheesecake and pie have been wrestling in a titanic struggle of after-dinner supremacy. No flavor or ingredient has been off limits. From plump summer blueberries to decadent combinations of chocolate and peanut butter, the two desserts have been firing salvos at each other for years

Thanks to an urban chic food trend in embracing American comfort food, pie seems to have delivered most of the damage (calorically, of course) in recent years. It’s even become part of our lexicon, practically becoming synonymous with all things Americana and just damn yummy. That’s not to say cheesecake hasn’t had some good showings, but with fall dawning on us and Dairy Queen doing double-duty with seasonally themed Pumpkin Pie and Apple Pie Blizzards, it’s going to take more than a proverbial trip to The Cheesecake Factory to steal some of the glory.

Fortunately, Baskin-Robbins is fighting back, indulging my love for both pumpkin and cheesecake with September’s Flavor of the Month. With both a cream cheese ribbon and cheesecake ice cream base it covers almost enough dairy as a Wisconsin 4-H fair, adding gingersnap cookie pieces which promise to add a bit of crunch and crust to the pumpkin ice cream.

That’s right, pumpkin. Not “pumpkin flavored,” and not just orange color with some vague spice flavor, the ice cream base nails an authentic pumpkin taste buttressed by a wonderfully autumnal sweetness and cinnamon spice. Bordering on cloying but thankfully neither earthly nor artificial, its distinct brown sugar notes are balanced by the taste of fresh cream and milk. It’s that taste which keeps the base from the heavy connotation pumpkin pie sometimes conjures up, and despite what I’m sure is a veritable calorie overload thanks to no less than 11 different sweeteners in the recipe, a modest-sized cone isn’t enough to make you want to unbuckle your pants and watch Tony Romo throw six interceptions on Thanksgiving.

Baskin-Robbins Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream 2

The cheesecake flavor is really quite splendid, and I mean this in the most endearing way possible. Despite a fascistic ONE SCOOP FOR YOU policy instituted by my local Baskin-Robbins, a thorough probing (also known as licking) of the base reveals a well-integrated cream cheese ribbon with varying degrees of tang and richness.

There’s a smooth mouthfeel throughout, and no sign of the chalky or gritty “cheesecake” chunks that one sometimes finds in frozen yogurt shops. On two separate swipes on the tongue I caught a burst of tang, which illuminated my palette amidst the sweet cream high. It encompasses both a distinctive cheesecake vibe and indulgent cream cheese texture, and together the two elements of cultured dairy work magnificently.

Insofar as flavor is concerned, the gingersnap pieces aren’t bad—the distinct taste of ginger adds a great balancing depth to the sweetness of the ice cream—but the crushed snaps aren’t exactly crust worthy. With a soggy texture and almost no crunch to speak of, they’re actually kind of lost amidst the overly viscous ice cream, which seems especially prone to melting on even a modestly warm fall day.

Baskin-Robbins Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream 3

Actually, my biggest gripe was the deteriorating texture of the ice cream. While it starts off exceptionally creamy and smooth, it doesn’t hold up to the tongue and quickly melts, leaving one with less with the impression of pumpkin ice cream and more with the notion of chilled pumpkin bisque. It’s enough to make me kind of wish I was getting pie.

Is Baskin-Robbins’ Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream enough to deal a game-changing victory in the war between pie and cheesecake? Not quite, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious or seasonally appropriate. With a no-nonsense pumpkin flavor and distinctive cheesecake richness and tang, it definitely fires the first shots in this year’s fall flavor battle.

(Nutrition Facts – 4 oz scoop – 260 calories, 110 calories from fat, 12 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of sodium, 135 milligrams of cholesterol, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 27 grams of sugars, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Baskin-Robbins Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $3.39
Size: Regular Scoop
Purchased at: Baskin-Robbins
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Pumpkin cream cheese base has loads of cinnamon and brown sugar flavor. Avoids gritty fake cheesecake pieces. Gingersnap crumbs contribute good spice. Nice bursts of cheesecake tang. A solid showing by team cheesecake in the never-ending battle of desserts. Thank God I’m not a Cowboys fan.
Cons: Gingersnap pieces aren’t very crunchy and get lost amidst the ice cream base. Melts entirely too quickly. Feeling like Oliver Twist as the Baskin-Robbins employee haphazardly scoops my ice cream.