REVIEW: Minions Cinnamon Banana Cheetos (Japan)

Minions Cinnamon Banana Cheetos (Japan)

Over the past year we’ve seen a lot of products with movie tie-ins. But it seems most of them have come from three movies — Frozen, Star Wars, and Minions. Sorry, Avengers: Age of Ultron and whatever DreamWorks Animation movies that came out this year.

Thanks to the shape and color of Minions and their love of bananas, it’s been easy for companies to produce fun products. One that comes to mind are the Tic Tacs with Minions faces printed on them. Another are Twinkies that can be decorated to look like Minions. And then there are these Minions Cinnamon Banana Cheetos from Japan.

Their bright yellow color instantly makes me think of Minions, but it’s a bit disappointing they’re crunchy Cheetos and not Cheetos Puffs. And it’s even more disappointing they’re not Cheetos Puffs shaped like Minions with their faces printed on them. Come on, Japan! You can make soccer playing robots, but not Minions-shaped Cheetos. You’re slipping!

What’s also disappointing about these Cheetos from Japan are how they don’t have much of a banana flavor. There was a banana aroma that came out of the bag when I first opened it, but subsequent openings produced a strong cinnamon smell.

Minions Cinnamon Banana Cheetos (Japan) 2

Instead of banana, their flavor reminds me of churros, which is still awesome, but not the flavor I was hoping for. The snack also has a slight butteriness to them that’s similar to what I experienced with the Cinnamon Sugar Sweetos released earlier this year. So if you had those, you have a general idea of what these Cheetos taste like.

The Minions Cinnamon Banana Cheetos are tasty, but the lack of banana flavor drove me…bananas. I’m sorry. That was horrible. But not horrible enough for me to use my arrow keys to erase it from the internet.

There is hope though. The Minions movie made a BILLION dollars worldwide, so there’s a BILLION percent chance there will be a sequel. And when there’s a sequel and more money to be made, there might be another version of this snack that’ll be Cheetos Puffs shaped like Minions with their faces printed on them that are banana-flavored.

(Nutrition Facts – 75 grams – 418 kcal, 24.8 grams of fat, 194 milligrams of sodium, 45.2 grams of carbohydrates, and 3.6 grams of protein.)

Item: Minions Cinnamon Banana Cheetos (Japan)
Purchased Price: $6.98 (includes shipping)
Size: 75 gram bag
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Tasty. Tastes like churros. Bright yellow like Minions.
Cons: Doesn’t have banana flavor. Could’ve looked like more like Minions. Can’t remember what the last DreamWorks Animation movie was.

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: Frito Lay Mountain Dew Corn Snack (Mountain Dew Cheetos)

Mountain Dew Doritos 1

I like spaceships. Serenity, the Enterprise, Galactica, Bebop, the Nostromo, the Yamato, the Heart of Gold, the Protector, the Discovery, Prometheus. All of them. I even like real spaceships like the space shuttle Atlantis and the Millennium Falcon.

They represent what’s out there. The great unknown. The vast expanses of the galaxy and the universe. And it saddens me that the national space program is in such a state of decline. If we don’t continue to expand our presence into the Local Group, how are we going to colonize and terraform Mars? How are we going to make first contact? How can we even start to think about making the Kessel Run in under twelve parsecs?

The answer is that none of these things is going to be happening anytime soon unless we find a major reason to motivate us. Clearly the huddled masses aren’t interested in learning or human achievement, so I believe the motivation lies in snack food.

At some point, we’re going to run out of food ideas. Mathematically this seems inevitable. There is a finite number naturally occurring foods on our planet, so there is an equally finite number of ways to combine them. We are already there. When molecular gastronomists are forced reduce garden peas to their essence to be huffed from a balloon animal made from a section of a bison’s intestinal tract, it seems the end is almost nigh.

We’ve already started remixing with our processed foods. Bacon’s been smashed into every product in every grocery aisle. Name something you bought in October or November that didn’t have pumpkin in it. Impossible.

Even the corporations who are in charge of these things are running out of ideas. They’ve been reduced to farming out ideas to the common man through flavor contests.

The end is on its way, you guys. And that end, that day when everything has been combined with everything else, is going to be the day we head back into space. People may not be excited about studying moon rocks, but they’ll sure as hell be excited about the possibility of Limited Edition Romulan Ale Doritos and Blue Bantha Milk Oreos.

Until that day, we’ll continue dreaming and smashing together things we have. And we do that today with these Mountain Dew Cheetos from the Japanese arm of Frito-Lay.

Mountain Dew Doritos 3

As with the Pepsi-flavored Cheetos I reviewed a while back, the color of these things bothers me. Not making them bright Mountain Dew green is a wasted opportunity. This kind of product is a novelty and an attention getter, and their color should reflect that. Orange Cheetos-dusted fingers are a tradition. How great would obnoxiously green Mountain Dew Cheetos fingers be?! Pretty damn great.

The nosegrope of these Cheetos is very intensely citrus. There is a lot of lemon, and they smell sweet. There is also an underlying current of stale, flat cola. They smell very similar to the Pepsi Cheetos but with the lemon ratcheted up.

The flavor recreation they were going for falls a bit short of their goal. There is an initial blast of sour lemon flavor that is followed by some underlying sweetness. The lemon flavor tastes pretty artificial. I don’t have a problem with artificial flavors, obviously, but it tastes artificial to the point where it forces you to stop and think of the artificialness.

Mountain Dew Doritos 3

The sour blast is a bit too much here. It takes the Cheetos from the realm of “Mountain Dew” to the realm of…something with a lot of lemons. I know people who have consumed a Star Destroyer’s worth of Mountain Dew in their lives, and I’m not confident they could blind taste this and come up with anything other than a quizzical “something lemony.”

Like the Pepsi Cheetos, the aftertaste of these lingers for a very long time. I also didn’t get as much mouth-fizzing action as I hoped for. The Pepsi Cheetos are definitely the superior hybrid food, but that’s not saying a lot.

Mountain Dew Doritos 2

These are not bad. A lemon-flavored corn snack is not a terrible idea, but a lemon-flavored corn snack is really all we get here. Nothing transcendent, nothing revelatory. Just a good idea that is off the mark.

I’m already looking forward to Dr. Pepper Cheetos (and distantly to Klingon Bloodwine Kit Kats.) Until then!

(Nutrition Facts – 188 kcal, 10.3 grams of fat, 221 milligrams of sodium, 22.1 grams of carbohydrates, and 1.8 grams of protein.)

Item: Frito Lay Mountain Dew Corn Snack (Mountain Dew Cheetos)
Purchased Price: $4.50
Size: 35 grams
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Lemons. Sour blasts. Spaceships.
Cons: Wrong color. Too much lemon to be Mountain Dew. Lingering aftertaste. Lack of fizz.

REVIEW: Frito Lay Cheetos x Pepsi Shuwa Shuwa Cola Corn Snack (Pepsi-Flavored Cheetos)

Pepsi-flavored Cheetos 1

In 1818, Mary Shelley publishes Frankenstein, arguably the world’s first science fiction novel. It tells the harrowing tale of Victor Frankenstein, a single-minded student of science driven to ruin by his obsession with bestowing life on inanimate matter.

In the 1990 documentary RoboCop 2, director Irvin Kershner leads us on an exploration of the science of transferring human consciousness into deadly law enforcement robots. We quickly discover the dangers of such a procedure, as multiple test subjects commit suicide after finding themselves forever trapped in their mechanical bodies.

In 1994’s Jurassic Park, noted chaotician Dr. Ian Malcolm sums up the fears of late twentieth century society when commenting on the science of an island resort filled with genetically resurrected dinosaurs, saying, “your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

Time after time we are warned against charging recklessly into the untamed wilderness of science and technology, yet even in the last few years we find ourselves with peanut butter and jelly vodka, cronuts, Doritos Locos Tacos, Cherry Coke, and pizzas with hot dogs in the crust. These aren’t dinosaurs or robots. These are things we put willingly into our bodies.

So today I publish this review not so much as a review but as a mile marker for future historians to look to when our inevitable self-destruction finally occurs.

These Pepsi-flavored Cheetos are the latest food hybrid to spit in the eye of Mother Nature. They are from Japan.

Pepsi-flavored Cheetos 3

The nosegrope upon opening the bag gave me pause. I immediately identified something very close to flat cola. Flat Pepsi? I dunno. My nose palate is not so refined. Something else was there in equal measure and it took me a moment to realize that the aroma was the same given off by powdered cinnamon donuts. You know, the Entenmann’s ones in the three pack with powdered sugar and plain.

Pepsi-flavored Cheetos 4

In these snacks the cheese powder has been replaced with a cola powder that is disturbingly not brown. The first sensation, which I did not expect, was a very acidic bite. It’s very citrusy, almost sour. And it hits hard. It tries to capture the citrus notes of Pepsi, but it’s over the top. Too lemony. The sweeter cola flavor is there but it’s subtler and overpowered by the intense citrus. The flavors are very distinct and don’t really ever mesh well together. But they do linger in the mouth for quite a while to leave you with a weird, marginally accurate, if lemony, Pepsi aftertaste. The corn puff tastes like it should. It doesn’t do a lot besides acting as a vehicle, which is good because there is already a lot going on.

Pepsi-flavored Cheetos 2

Oh, did I mention these also fizz a little?! Yea! Not like crazy Pop Rocks fizzing, but there is some definite popping and crackling. It’s all about attention to detail, guys. I tip my hat to Frito-Lay for that one.

Overall, this is a pretty accurate flavor recreation. It’s an impressive effort to be sure. That said, I don’t like them. I could only get through a few of them. They’ve got a lot going on and are kind of intense. A few tweaks to the levels of citrus and cola and these could be passable.

These wouldn’t be in my top 100 dream flavor what-ifs, but I’m glad they exist. They either point to a futuristic flavor-fusion utopia in which anything is possible or an apocalyptic hell place where cyborg velociraptors chew our faces off with laser teeth.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 package – 414 kcal, 24.8 grams of fat, 614 milligrams of sodium, 44.6 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Frito Lay Cheetos x Pepsi Shuwa Shuwa Cola Corn Snack
Purchased Price: $3.99 (plus shipping)
Size: 75 gram bag
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Pepsi-ish. A for effort. Fizzing snacks. Science.
Cons: Lingering aftertaste. Lemon. robot dinosaurs.

REVIEW: Cheeseburger Cheetos (Japan)

Cheeseburger Cheetos (Japan)

I’ll tell you what I like about living in the 21st century. I mean besides the whole finding cures for terrible diseases and having a lot of great shows on Netflix.

What I like are the rabbit holes.

Just recently I fell down a rabbit hole when I watched the episode of Family Matters where Urkelbot first appeared. I wanted to know who was playing the robot. Who wouldn’t? It was Michael “Boogaloo Shrimp” Chambers from the 1984 movie Breakin’. From there I stumbled into Electric Boogaloo, then Cannon Films, then New Line Cinema, then the House Party Trilogy. Needless to say I watched all those movies and now own the discographies of both Kid ‘n Play and Tony! Toni! Toné!.

The internet is great.

This review led me down the path of food mascots, and eventually to food mascots that had their own video games. The 80s and early 90s were a magical time, you guys. I feel like branding and marketing was in its golden age then. It was the perfect nexus of junk food, fast food, video games and the cartoon arts.

How else can you explain the fact that Chester Cheetah had not one, but two video games? I knew he had one, but was surprised to find that 1992’s seminal Too Cool to Fool spawned a sequel called Wild Wild Quest. I want to live in the time when that was possible.

Not to be outdone, Ronald McDonald and the Noid both had a pair of digital adventures, and who could forget Kool-Aid Man’s eponymous Atari 2600 classic.

Not impressed? The 7-Up Spot had three games! Three! He was huge in the 90s! Wonder what he’s doing now. Probably directing.

But my favorite of all food mascot video games, and sneaking in just before the dawn of the millennium, was the Japanese release of Pepsiman for the original Playstation, starring none other than Pepsi Japan’s thirst-quenching superhero, Pepsiman. I had no idea that Pepsiman existed, and I feel like I missed out. He looks awesome! Equal parts Silver Surfer and Generation Next, if he commanded me to drink Pepsi, you bet your sweet sugar syrup I would. Needless to say, I’m marginally obsessed and want to eBay everything I can get my hands on. Sidebar: I love the bottle caps Japan does with the little figures on top? Why don’t we do that in the states?

Anyway, until my Pepsiman collection is complete, Chester Cheetah and this bag of Cheeseburger Cheetos will have to do.

Cheeseburger Cheetos (Japan) 3

This variety is the newest limited edition from Frito-Lay Japan. I find it exciting, as I’ve never tried a Cheetos variant that wasn’t just a new level of spice with a new corresponding color of red.

Realistically, cheeseburger flavor is always a problematic endeavor. What does “cheeseburger” mean? Does it mean beef and cheese? Beef, cheese, and bun? Beef, cheese, bun, lettuce, tomato, onion, and relish as the photo on the bag suggests? You get the idea. It’s downright philosophical really.

Cheeseburger Cheetos (Japan) 6

And speaking of the bag, I’m saddened Chester has been relegated to the back. He needs to get in touch with Spot’s representation.

Cheeseburger Cheetos (Japan) 5

The nosegrope is unusual. It’s a weird blend of pickles, mustard, and, of all things, rye bread.

The flavor is an equally unusual blend of rye bread, cheese, pickles, mustard, and onion.

If that’s not helpful, I can pinpoint the flavor exactly. You know how you buy a McDonalds cheeseburger and it’s all delicious and wonderful? Have you ever purchased too many and put one in the fridge? These Cheetos taste like a day old, refrigerated then microwaved McDonalds cheeseburger. I don’t know if that’s what they were going for, but they nailed it. Seriously, it’s uncanny.

Cheeseburger Cheetos (Japan) 4

The flavor is bizarre but it sort of works. These are maybe the most interesting Japanese snack I’ve had. I don’t know if I love them, but I am definitely intrigued by them. I always recommend picking up Japanese snacks for fun, but you really do have to try these.

Besides Chester could use the scratch. He’s on the back of the bag, and he’s not getting a third game any time soon.

(Nutrition Facts – 448 calories, 25.7 grams of fat, 579 milligrams of sodium, 49.6 grams of carbohydrates, 4.6 grams of protein.)

Other Cheeseburger Cheetos reviews:
Grocery Gems

Item: Cheeseburger Cheetos (Japan)
Purchased Price: $3.29
Size: 83 grams
Purchased at: NapaJapan
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Scarily accurate and possibly unintentional flavor recreation. Pepsiman. Cheeseburger philosophy. Non-spicy Cheetos variants.
Cons: Lingering aftertaste.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Smoked Cheddar Cheetos Puffs

Limited Edition Smoked Cheddar Cheetos Puffs

Smoked cheeses usually have a brownish exterior, but these Limited Edition Smoked Cheddar Cheetos Puffs don’t have any similar color characteristics of smoked cheese. Instead they’re just noticeably less radioactive orange than regular Cheetos.

Of course, because of the shape of Cheetos Puffs, if they did have a brownish exterior, they would look like poop.

It seems whenever Frito-Lay wants to get fancy with Cheetos Puffs, they break out different cheddar varieties, like white cheddar. And if they want to go the opposite of fancy, they create pizza-flavored Cheetos. There are dozens of cheeses they could’ve gone with, but they stuck with what they know (and can pronounce) — cheddar.

I mean, there are so many cheeses with butcherable names they could flavor their cornmeal puffs with.

Here’s a list. Say them out loud and give your mouth a workout. Then guess which one of them is completely made up…without help from the internet.

There’s Gruyère, Boerenkaas, Taleggio, Montcabrer, Scamorza, Robiola della Alta Langa, Courgherst, Fium’Orbu, Neufchatel, Rauchkase, Camembert de Normandie, Nevat de Oveja, and Époisses.

(The answer can be found in the Cons section of this review)

But the fine food scientists at Frito-Lay didn’t pick a cheese with a tongue twister for a name, they decided to combine the flavor of smoked cheddar with their iconic snack to create the Limited Edition Smoked Cheddar Cheetos Puffs.

Limited Edition Smoked Cheddar Cheetos Puffs Closeup

Regular Cheetos Puffs have a strong cheesiness and it’s what makes them so great. But these Limited Edition Smoked Cheddar Cheetos lack that, even though they’re flavored with smoked cheddar, regular cheddar, blue cheese, and parmesan. Instead these crunchy puffs had a mild cheese and equally mild, slightly off-putting artificial smoke flavor.

The lack of cheesiness made me hesitate when it was time to decide whether or not to suck the Cheetos dust off my fingers. However, because I was too lazy to grab a napkin or to walk to a sink, I sucked my fingers clean. But I didn’t enjoy it.

The superimposed smoke that surrounds the Limited Edition Smoked Cheddar Cheetos on the front of the packaging makes each one look like it’s losing its soul. The image is fitting because the lack of cheesiness make these Cheetos taste like they’ve lost their souls.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 ounce/about 13 pieces – 150 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 250 milligrams of sodium, 13 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Other Limited Edition Smoked Cheddar Cheetos Puffs reviews:
Junk Food Guy
Chip Review

Item: Limited Edition Smoked Cheddar Cheetos Puffs
Purchased Price: $4.39
Size: 9 ounces
Purchased at: Foodland
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Crunchy. Not colored like smoked cheddar. Less radioactive looking. How easy it was to come up with a fake cheese name.
Cons: Not cheesy enough. Artificial smokiness was a little off-putting. Cheddar being the default cheese flavor for snacks. Made me hesitant to suck my fingers clean. Courgherst.