REVIEW: Cheez-It Buffalo Wing Crackers

Cheez It Buffalo Wing Crackers

It’s officially football season (a.k.a. Americana foods season) and Cheez-It is getting into the spirit with its Flavor Playoffs. It’s a face-off between cheeseburger, cheese pizza, and cheddar nachos-flavored Cheez-It crackers and snack enthusiasts like you and me can choose the winning flavor.

Around the same time, the brand released a Walmart-exclusive Buffalo Wing flavor that features the same packaging but isn’t part of the promotion. Weird. But, that’s okay. It wouldn’t have been able to hold its own against the other classic tailgate flavors anyway.

Cheez It Buffalo Wing Crackers 2

The crackers looked like the typical orange squares in a box of regular Cheez-It, but with some extra dusting. It would have been a nice visual touch to see the crackers bright red-orange to mimic a beautiful fried chicken wing doused in red-hot Buffalo sauce. I could also see the light dusting was inconsistent across the crackers, so I knew some were going to be more flavorful than others. I was even more surprised that for a flavor as pungent as Buffalo, these didn’t smell too different.

Cheez It Buffalo Wing Crackers 3

Not surprisingly, the lackluster appearance and smell translated into a lackluster taste. I wanted it to be as flavorful as Cheez-It’s Sriracha Snack Mix, but it was nowhere close. Any initial Buffalo taste was quickly drowned out by a mild bleu cheese taste and then the sharp cheddar flavor that typically accompanies the regular flavor. The crackers that were extra toasted and extra seasoned were closer to that bold Buffalo flavor, but still not quite. This is the only time I will EVER say that the 100 percent real cheesy goodness did not work in its favor.

Cheez It Buffalo Wing Crackers 4

When it comes to Buffalo wing-flavored snacks, the gold standard is the Pretzel Pieces version from Snyder’s of Hanover. So, I pitted the two against each other. The Snyder’s one was hands down better and continues to be reigning champion. It not only packed a flavor punch, but it also didn’t have any seasoning inconsistency as it didn’t look like they used powder only. But, I will say that the pretzel pieces didn’t capture the bleu cheese flavor as well as Cheez-It.

For good measure, I also tried Rold Gold’s Buffalo Wing Thin Crisps Pretzels and I’m happy to share that Cheez-It won that round. You could taste the Rold Gold’s Frito-Lay backing as it reminded me of Cool Ranch Doritos more so than Buffalo.

At the end of the day, Cheez-It crackers are damn delicious no matter what seasoning you sprinkle on it. So in that vein, this isn’t the bottom of the barrel when it comes to Buffalo-flavored snacks, but it isn’t best-in-class either.

(Nutrition Facts – 25 pieces – 150 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of total fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.88
Size: 12.4 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: It’s a Cheez-It. More complex flavor journey than other Buffalo flavored products: Buffalo then bleu cheese then sharp cheddar. Beats the flavor of Rold Gold’s Buffalo offering.
Cons: Seasoning inconsistency. Wanted that Buffalo flavor punch but it doesn’t deliver. Not as good as Snyder’s Buffalo Pretzel Pieces.

REVIEW: Cheeseburger, Cheese Pizza, and Cheddar Nachos Cheez-It Crackers

Cheez It You Choose The Champion Flavors

Having to choose a favorite between cheeseburgers, pizzas, and nachos is like trying to pick a favorite child.

Just kidding. It’s not.

First born.

Just kidding. I don’t have kids…that I know of.

Cheeseburger.

But having to choose a champion between cheeseburger, cheese pizza, and cheddar nachos-flavored Cheez-It crackers is difficult.

Just kidding. It’s not.

Cheeseburger.

But why do we have to choose a champion? Can’t we give everyone participation trophies? Because while I enjoyed the cheeseburger flavor more than the other two, they are also worthy of recognition. Actually, this whole You Choose The Champion line deserves some kind of award because it’s nice to see Cheez-It offer flavors that are more complex than different types of cheeses, like cheddar, white cheddar, sharp cheddar, Italian four cheese, baby Swiss, Colby, mozzarella, provolone, and pepper jack.

Cheeseburger

Cheez It Cheeseburger

It’s my favorite of the three because it did a great job with replicating the flavor of a McDonald’s cheeseburger. It smells like steak sauce, but it’s got the pickles’ tanginess, the onions’ bite, mustard, of course, the cheese, and there’s a little bit of beef patty flavor. If you’ve had cheeseburger-flavored snacks before, besides those horrible Cheeseburger Goldfish, you’ll know what these this like. Although it’s not an original flavor, it’s the one that tastes most like what it’s trying to emulate.

Cheese Pizza

Cheez It Cheese Pizza

To be honest, it’s a little boring that it’s cheese pizza and not something a little bit more complex, like a pepperoni pizza. After all, there’s beef flavor with the cheeseburger, so why not add extra spices and artificial flavoring to get some pepperoni.

But with that said, I also enjoyed this flavor because, with almost every one I put into my mouth, it was as if I was putting tiny cheese Totino’s Party Pizza in my mouth. The crackers capture the cheese, sauce, and herbs one would taste and smell on those wonderful cheap pizzas, which I adore. Even the crispy texture of the crackers kind of reminds me of the Party Pizza’s crust.

Cheddar Nachos

Cheez It Cheddar Nachos

I’m not sure why the cheese needs to be announced for this flavor. I mean, the word “nachos” alone excites me and including the word “cheddar” makes it a little less mysterious. Like the other two flavors, this one also reminds me of something else and that is Taco Bell’s nacho cheese sauce.

There’s also a paprika-level of spiciness that builds up, but it more of a tickle than a slap. But to be honest, it’s good, but is the least impressive because it’s not as complex as the other two. This flavor could just be one of the regular Cheez-It flavors, but with a slight kick.

Cheez It  Cheddar Nachos Closeup

While all three flavors vary from great to good, there’s an issue with them. The application of seasoning is inconsistent. Some are blasted with it, some aren’t seasoned as much, and others have so little that they taste like regular Cheez-It crackers. But I imagine shoving handfuls into your mouth, and not eating it like a bird, which I do, will solve that problem.

NOTE: Thanks to Impulsive Buy reader Carla for sending these to me.

(Nutrition Facts – about 25 crackers – Cheeseburger – 150 calories, 70 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 220 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein. Cheese Pizza – 150 calories, 70 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 200 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, and 3 grams of protein. Cheddar Nachos – 150 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 230 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, and 3 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 12.4 oz. boxes
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Cheeseburger)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Cheese Pizza)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Cheddar Nachos)
Pros: All munchable. Cheeseburger tastes like cheeseburger. Cheese Pizza tastes like Totino’s Party Pizza. Cheddar Nachos reminds me of Taco Bell’s Nacho Cheese Sauce.
Cons: Inconsistent seasoning. Having to choose between cheeseburgers, pizza, and nachos. Cheddar Nachos has a very light spiciness.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Triscuit Pumpkin & Spice Crackers

Limited Edition Triscuit Pumpkin & Spice Crackers

Call me basic, but I am all about the pumpkin spice craze. However, when I first heard about Triscuit’s attempt to sit at the pumpkin spice table, I was completely taken aback by Pumpkin & Spice. Please carefully note that strategically placed ampersand, you hipsters.

As I was opening the box, I was wondering to myself what Pumpkin & Spice even meant. Is it sweet? Spicy? Savory? I had no idea what to expect so I was imagining worst case scenarios of it tasting like a Yankee Candle or overzealous holiday potpourri.

I was disappointed that the box smelled mainly like cardboard with a hint of nutmeg & cinnamon (see what I did there with the ampersand?). In case you ever want to season your cardboard, nutmeg & cinnamon really complements the smell of cardboard! The crackers themselves just looked like a regular Triscuit in all its beautiful whole grain glory that could’ve been woven by Rumpelstiltskin himself.

Limited Edition Triscuit Pumpkin & Spice Crackers 2

The first bite was a subtle brown sugar, cinnamon-y crunch. After a few more crunches, it just tasted like a regular Triscuit. To test for flavor consistency, I continued eating. Half a box later (whoops!), I concluded that it was just a regular Triscuit with a dusting of pumpkin spice and sugar. Meh. It wasn’t offensive, but not as tasty as regular Triscuit (my record is a whole box in under 15 minutes.) Plus, because it’s so subtle, it was like the sweetness started to become less and less noticeable the more I ate.

Triscuit is always pushing itself as an appetizer to be topped with garnishes, so I had to try it. The box’s “3 steps to Delicious” panel comprises of gouda cheese, cranberry sauce and sage leaves but ain’t nobody got time for that! I slapped some cheddar cheese on it because cheddar’s mildness works with everything…except Pumpkin & Spice. While the sweetness is subtle as previously mentioned, I just couldn’t get past the sugary notes. Triscuit are supposed to be savory!

If you stuck these with these a batch of regular Triscuit at a party, no one would be able to tell the difference. People would probably just assume the sweetness came from cross-contamination from neighboring appetizers. As a result of its lackluster attempt, Pumpkin & Spice definitely doesn’t get to sit at the pumpkin spice table. Back to the kids’ table with Pumpkin Spice Twinkies and Pumpkin Spice Milano Cookies, Triscuit!

(Nutrition Facts – 6 crackers – 120 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 80 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 9 oz box
Purchased at: Kroger
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Didn’t taste like a candle or holiday potpourri! Same Triscuit texture and addictiveness.
Cons: Weak attempt to cash in on the pumpkin spice craze. Triscuit are supposed to be savory!

QUICK REVIEW: Limited Edition Triscuit Sriracha Crackers

Limited Edition Triscuit Sriracha Crackers

To be honest, I’m more interested in the Limited Edition Triscuit Sriracha box than the actual crackers inside of it. What can I say, the black box is sexy. You may disagree, but it definitely looks better than every Triscuit box that’s come before it.

The sexy box suggests putting shrimp, avocados, peanut sauce, and cilantro on the sriracha-seasoned crackers to make hors d’oeuvres. Since I don’t have fancy ingredients around me and shrimp makes me pass out, I ate them sans topping.

They have a sweet, savory, peppery, and garlicky flavor, and that’s almost everything I want sriracha flavoring to be. Yes, almost. It’s lacking in one of sriracha’s most notable characteristics — spiciness. The crunchy crackers barely register a blip of heat on my tongue. They’re Doritos Nacho Cheese spicy. But they’re also Doritos Nacho Cheese delicious, if you’re into sriracha.

Limited Edition Triscuit Sriracha Crackers 2

However, the crackers in the box had varying degrees of flavor. It’s easy to tell the differences by looking at them. Some looked like plain Triscuit, but had a light sriracha flavor; some had a stronger flavor and looked like they got caught in a paprika dust storm; and some were sriracha potent and so red that they could be served to folks waiting to get through the Gates of Hell.

Maybe it’s a production error or maybe it’s Triscuit getting back at me because I’ve always said Wheat Thins are better. But I think the seasoning should’ve been applied evenly on every cracker.

Limited Edition Triscuit Sriracha Crackers are a nice addition to the vast Triscuit lineup. But it’s a bit disappointing they’re a limited edition, not spicy, and the seasoning wasn’t applied evenly. If they were to fix those issues, I’d probably like them more than the sexy box they came in.

Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 9 oz box
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (6 crackers) 120 calories, 35 calories from fat, 4 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 120 milligrams of potassium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Honey Maid Vanilla Graham Crackers

Honey Maid Vanilla Graham Crackers

In 1829, minister Sylvester Graham invented the graham cracker as an intentionally bland food that would suppress “carnal urges.” No, I’m not making this up:

Graham crackers want you to stop masturbating.

But despite Sylvester “No Fun Allowed” Graham’s best efforts, people have continued masturbating for 187 years, and they seem to have no plans to stop masturbating in the immediate future.

If regular old crackers weren’t exciting enough to get people to choose grahams over ‘gasms, I can only imagine that Honey Maid’s new Vanilla Graham Crackers are another attempt to make a properly thrilling masturbatory alternative.

Honey Maid Vanilla Graham Crackers 2

And just look at them: with their supple graham pores, their lithely aerated edges, and their dazzling crystal coating, these are sexy crackers. In fact, they’re so attractive, I could just about…

Keep it together, Dan! At least take them out for dinner first!

Speaking of eating, these babies are still very similar to plain Honey Maid Graham Crackers at their wafered core. The base tastes of mildly sweetened, brown sugar-dusted wheat flour. This is veiled in a thin layer of golden toasted, slightly floral honey.

Honey Maid Vanilla Graham Crackers 3

Upon first bite, the smattering of sugar crystals on top provides only a subtle kiss of vanilla extract stickiness. But if you really kiss the crackers (and I mean full on “sliding into first base like a hungry Frenchman” kissing) the syrupy honey and vanilla flavors blend into something vaguely like birthday cake frosting.

Of course, becoming a snack time succubus like this leaves behind a fairly gritty and dry cracker. And like all graham crackers, flour chunks will inevitably get stuck in every toothy crevasse. This may be a massive low point for some meticulous munchers, but I personally enjoy tasting graham-flavored phantoms on my palate for an entire afternoon. After all, if I’m picking crumbs out of mouth, my hands are too busy to do “other things.”

Honey Maid Vanilla Graham Crackers are certainly pleasant, but far from mind-blowing. They’re essentially flatter, more rectangular Nilla Wafers that are better for making s’mores.

And speaking of s’mores: s’mores! Besides boring ministers and that weird kid you knew in 3rd grade few people eat graham crackers plain. That’s why this review wouldn’t be complete without a crackpot cracker concoction.

But since these aren’t your Grandma’s graham crackers, the ordinary “Jet-Puffed and Hershey’s” s’more simply won’t do. No, we need a hip, extreme s’more for a hip, extreme generation. Since I’m a dumb, poor college kid with the heart of a dumb, imaginative child, I’m gonna have to take a few creative liberties.

Honey Maid Vanilla Graham Crackers 4

I proudly present my “S’More v2.016.” In lieu of a toasted marshmallow, it has a rainbow gob of half-melted Lucky Charms marbits. And in place of Milton Hershey’s famous, yet boring chocolate? The frosted and fudgy decapitated top of a Hostess Cupcake. This s’more tastes fantastic, but it also kinda tastes like I belong in a mental hospital.

Despite their lack of originality, these graham crackers are a sweet platform for the imagination. In fact, I’d say they’re my favorite commercially available graham snack that isn’t bear-shaped. They’re also in third place behind powdered doughnuts and cocaine binges when it comes to covering everything in white powder.

Honey Maid Vanilla Graham Crackers are just good, wholesome fun. But sorry, Sylvester: most people still won’t be “picking the vanilla bean” instead of…well, you know.

(Nutrition Facts – 8 crackers (2 full sheets) – 130 calories, 30 calories from fat, 3.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 50 milligrams of potassium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 14.4 oz box
Purchased at: Meijer
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Guts made of good ol’ graham. Suckling on birthday cake pixie dust. Postmodern s’mores. Snack cake lobotomies. Being a dumb, imaginative child.
Cons: Not quite enough vanilla. Won’t reshape autoerotic history. The divisive nature of graham-flavored tooth cement. Naming your kid “Milton.” Being a dumb, poor college kid.