REVIEW: Pepperidge Farm Twisted Grilled Cheese Goldfish Puffs

Pepperidge Farm Twisted Grilled Cheese Goldfish Puffs

I won a goldfish from the fair when I was ten. I was so excited holding him in his bag on the drive home. Oh the fun we were gonna have… Then, I realized all he did was swim in circles. About a month later I had to flush him down the toilet. That was basically the same experience as buying and eating Twisted Grilled Cheese Goldfish Puffs.

The instant you tear open the bag, you’re met with no smell. Seriously, there is barely a hint of a scent from these things. I’ve never had a cheese based snack that didn’t have a distinct aroma. These smell like cardboard.

The lack of smell didn’t bother me at first because artificially flavored cheese isn’t exactly my favorite cologne, but then I tasted them and, yeah, we’re just dealing with a bland product here.

The flavor itself reminded me of Wise Cheez Doodles, only with much less flavor. These are the cheese puff equivalent of Fruit Stripe gum. The instant you get hit with the cheese flavor, you lose it. The only other sensation I got was a “corny” aftertaste. Not “corny” like my writing, but “corny” like “I just ate corn.”   

I’ll tell you one flavor I never thought of once while eating these – grilled cheese.   There’s really nothing “grilled cheese” about them. I kinda figured you’d get a nice buttery element with the cheese, but nope. Nada. 

They could have tagged this with any description they wanted and it would have been on par with “Twisted Grilled Cheese.” That name is strictly a marketing ploy. I was really hoping they would have been more in line with the Flavor Blasted Cheddar Goldfish crackers, but alas, they were just weak cheese doodles.

Pepperidge Farm Twisted Grilled Cheese Goldfish Puffs 2

You’re probably wondering where the “twist” comes in. So am I. Each puff has little green sprinkles on them, which I assume are pepper flakes, because there is a small heat element. Very small. This of course is backed up by the fact that neither “pepper” nor anything really relating to “pepper” is listed in the ingredients. So…either way, the heat lingers on your tongue longer than the actual cheese flavor.

It’s not all bad though. The texture is the saving grace – on a scale from “fresh puffed Cheeto” to “stale Cap’n Crunch cereal piece,” it definitely lands closer to the former.  There is a nice light crisp to each bite, but in time, I could feel them shredding the roof of my mouth.

And ya know why? Because I’m still eating them as I type. Here I am, talking about how boring these Goldfish are, yet they’re going down like water…which is ironic because I think Pepperidge Farm’s main reason for shaping their crackers like fish was due to the fact they pair so well with water. I’ve never eaten any variety of Goldfish without chugging a bottle of H2O due to excessive salt dehydration. These are certainly no different. Salt city.

Pepperidge Farm Twisted Grilled Cheese Goldfish Puffs 3

Twisted Grilled Cheese Goldfish Puffs are probably the worst Goldfish product I’ve ever had. Not to go all superficial on you guys, but they aren’t even as cute as regular goldfish. They’re fatter and more squished in appearance. There’s a certain sadness hidden behind each of those smiles. Although to be fair to Twisted Grilled Cheese, the original Cheddar sets an unrealistic standard for Goldfish alike. Real Goldfish have curves.

So, in conclusion, are these better than most puffed cheese snacks? No. Are they better than regular cheddar Goldfish crackers? Not even close.

There are so many cheesy alternatives in the supermarket, there’s almost no reason to buy these unless you are a Goldfish completist. Still, I can’t give them a super low score because of their inherent eatability – which I’m being told is not a word. Tomato, tuh-ma-toe.

(Nutrition Facts – 1.1 oz – 140 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, .5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 260 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Pepperidge Farm Twisted Grilled Cheese Goldfish Puffs
Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: 6 oz. bag
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Light and crisp. Addicting. Snack smiles back. Catchy advertising jingles of yore.
Cons: Bland. Salty. Mouth roof rippers. False grilled cheese advertising. Weakest twist since M. Night’s most recent flick.

REVIEW: Pepperidge Farm Cheeseburger Goldfish Crackers

Pepperidge Farm Cheeseburger Goldfish

Look, I know.

I know I shouldn’t have tried to pogo through Times Square. Or put the Tootsie Roll in the Easy Bake Oven. Or tried to build a tent in gale force winds in the middle of the Mexico desert. I do ridiculous things sometimes because I’m curious if they can be done. Somebody should stop me.

But nobody did. Not when I was walking to the grocery. Not at the back of aisle 3. Not the guy hacking up sirloin at the meat counter. So, unhindered by human or meat cleaver, I dive in to Pepperidge Farm Cheeseburger Goldfish Crackers, one-by-one.

Pepperidge Farm Cheeseburger Goldfish 4

Starting simple, the cheddar is familiar and orange as the hunk of cheese from whence it came. It’s wonderful in that nutty, salty, and savory way. It’s perhaps a bit too safe, but it’s also nice to be reminded that there’s a reason these have been bobbing about since 1962.

I’m surprised and disappointed to find the ketchup tastes much similar to the cheddar cracker, but with a very, very, very, very minuscule hint of canned tomato paste. Some may say the tomato isn’t there at all, but, if you close your eyes and use your imagination, you can taste a tomato-y afterthought at the end. Those looking for the sweet tang of ketchup shall be sad in this tomato effort, but the sprinklies of salt coating each fish help things along. It’s not a bad fishy, but not noticeably different enough from the cheddar to declare its taste as unique.

Now, on to the most curious beast: the burger cracker.

No skipping around the tulips: it’s pretty good. No hints of metal, artificial smoke, or burnt-charcoal. There’s a salty, savory, roasted-portabella edge with a hint of caramelized onion bits found at the bottom of the pan. Sure, it may not be the medium-rare hunk of cow I look for, but it holds its own, and, in that capacity, it goes excellently with the cheddar. The two eaten together may encourage you to shovel up every last crumb of the bag as if you were raised by wolves. Do not be ashamed of being raised by wolves: scoop those crackers down, you wolf-human.

Pepperidge Farm Cheeseburger Goldfish 3

Maybe it’s the smell of charcoal in the air, but I think I like these. I really do. They’re not spectacular, even a little too safe, but they’re also not putrid.

They’re savory, nutty, cheesy and easy to chomp. It would be exciting to see Pepperidge Farm go further with the idea of the burger: give me some jalapeño, Colby, and mustard-coated Goldfish. Bacon and bleu. Give me all the pickle-flavored fishies you can muster. I shall eat them. Eat them all. If I’m going off the deep end, so be it.

But maybe you will join me? Here? In the deep end? It’s nice. And way fun. And has lots of crackers.

(Nutrition Facts – 56 pieces – 140 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Pepperidge Farm Cheeseburger Goldfish Crackers
Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: 6.3 oz. bag
Purchased at: Morton Williams
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Nutty. Savory. Burger cracker not gross. Cheddar remains unchanged. Brown bits of caramelized onions. Salt sprinklies. Benefits of being raised by wolves. Pogo sticks.
Cons: Ketchup tastes like cheddar. Absence of tang. Can’t order medium rare. No pickles? Trying to set up a tent in gale force winds.

REVIEW: Wheat Thins Toasted Pita Crackers (Original and Garlic Herb)

Wheat Thins Toasted Pita (Original and Garlic Herb)

I rarely dip my crunchy snacks because I believe dips are just speed bumps on the road to gluttony.

But if you’re reading this review in the middle of the grocery store deciding on whether or not you should buy a bag of Wheat Thins Original Toasted Pita, let me give you words of advice before you make up your mind — make sure you have something to dip them into. I don’t care what it is. Hummus. Salsa. Chocolate sauce. Cheese sauce. Peanut butter. Guacamole. Spinach artichoke dip. Baby food. Anything.

Original Wheat Thins are so great because they can be enjoyed naked. They have a salty, nutty flavor that stands out on its own. Even Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips taste great by themselves. But these pita crackers need something, so much so that, after opening the bag and trying a few, I felt compelled to drive back to the store to buy some kind of dip. I ended up buying hummus.

Wheat Thins Toasted Pita Dip

To be fair, the back of the bag screams that they need to be dipped. But Wheat Thins’ cousin, Triscuit, screams about how they should be topped, although not as loud as these pita crackers, but without toppings they still have a strong munchability. I can’t say the same about Wheat Thins Original Toasted Pita. They have a saltine cracker-level of boringness, and kind of taste like them.

Wheat Thins Original Toasted Pita

Fortunately, these oven baked pita crackers do go well with hummus (and peanut butter), and their thickness does extremely well with thick dips. They have a nice crunch, but not as hearty as Stacy’s Pita Chips. Also, I think they would be a great replacement for saltine crackers when eating soup.

Wheat Thins Garlic Herb Toasted Pita

Wheat Thins Garlic Herb Toasted Pita Crackers are a bit more munchable than Original version. Actually, they’re, if you’ll excuse my poor attempt to be clever, Pitastic.

They smell and kind of taste like a white pizza, which isn’t surprising since each cracker has a light sprinkling of garlic, herb, and cheese seasoning. They don’t have an overpowering flavor, but I found myself mindlessly snacking on them. Like the Original version, the packaging screams that they should be dipped, but they’re fine with or without.

Speaking of dip, the Wheat Thins Garlic Herb Toasted Pita Crackers have enough flavor that I want to crush them into crumbs, add some water, and create a slurry that I can use as a dip to help the Wheat Thins Original Toasted Pita Crackers taste better.

(Nutrition Facts – Original – 15 crackers – 140 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 65 milligrams of potassium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein. Garlic Herb – 14 crackers – 140 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 70 milligrams of potassium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Wheat Thins Toasted Pita Crackers (Original and Garlic Herb)
Purchased Price: $3.50 each
Size: 8 oz. bag
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Original)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Garlic Herb)
Pros: Garlic Herb smells and tastes like a white pizza, and doesn’t need a dip to make them tasty. 10 grams of whole grain per serving. Can handle thick dips. Phones that allow you to read reviews in the middle of the grocery store.
Cons: Original version doesn’t have a unique flavor, tastes like of like a saltine cracker, and needs a dip. Dips are usually just speed bumps on the road to gluttony. Using the term “Pitastic.”

QUICK REVIEW: Nabisco Sweet Barbecue Rice Thins

Nabisco Sweet Barbecue Rice Thins

Purchased Price: $3.00 (on sale)
Size: 3.5 oz box
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed these and they satisfy my taste buds as much as any Wheat Thins. Bold, sweet barbecue flavor, with a very slight kick, that made me forget I was eating something called Rice Thins. Better for you than Wheat Thins. If you’re allergic to gluten and want a crispy snack that’s full of flavor, you can’t go wrong with these.
Cons: The negative rice snack stereotype I created in my head thanks to being fed rice cakes as a child. Picking up a box will make you think you’re packing on some muscle, but it just that this snack is super light and airy. It’s a bit too easy to eat through an entire box.

Nutrition Facts: 13 pieces – 120 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Nabisco Limited Edition Dill Pickle Wheat Thins

Nabisco Limited Edition Dill Pickle Wheat Thins

Consistency is a glorious, necessary trait for humanity. Not just being consistently good at something, mind you—like the SEC’s year in and year out domination of college football—but in being predictable in any sort of behavior or result.

It’s the kind of attribute which keeps order in the universe. Which allows us, at the end of the day, to know Jack Bauer will save the world from a catastrophic nuclear incident, or regardless of whatever the new Star Wars movies feature, the Stormtroopers are still going to suck at shooting.

You know what’s not consistent? Wheat Thins’ Limited Edition Dill Pickle crisps. They’re so woefully inconsistent. They remind me of what would happen if an NFL team ever alternated Tom Brady and Tony Romo for every other snap (note to Madden players, this is not advisable on All-Madden mode.) Rarely have I encountered a snack I’ve wanted to love so much and wanted to hate so passionately; seldom have I partaken in a game of flavor roulette like the one I experienced when dunking my hands into the neon-green pickle graced box.

I guess I should go back to the start of this love-hate relationship. I had high hopes for these given that I’m a card carrying dill pickle fiend. Okay, not so much that I would name my second-born son after the combination of herbs and vinegar, but enough that I get chided by friends for adding dill pickles to every sandwich imaginable. BLT? Better make that a BLTP. Peanut Butter and Jelly? Hey it’s not as crazy as it sounds! And don’t ask me to exercise restraint in the presence of Route 11’s Dill Pickle potato chips, which have just the right amount of zing and zang to perk up an otherwise refreshing and floral herb flavor.

Nabisco Limited Edition Dill Pickle Wheat Thins Closeup

The aroma of the crackers is intense, with a sort of unnatural and heavy smell that’s more reminiscent of a straight-up jar of Mt. Olive pickles than your standard dill pickle potato chips. The seasoning seems twofold in nature, with specks of both green dried dill weed and an odd powdery white substance adorning the crackers in varying levels of coverage. It’s this inconsistent coverage which I soon found to be the crackers’ undoing.

Those which aired on the lighter side of seasoning, with less of the powdery white substance and more of the dried dill, had a restrained vinegar flavor that perked my taste buds to the ensuing malty, wheaty sweetness of the cracker. Just the right amount of salt rounded out the sweetness, which reaches its apex upon the trademark crunch and glutinous chew.

That was cracker number one. Cracker number two proved less enjoyable. A lot less enjoyable. The chief culprit seems to be the powdery white substance. Heavy like the seasoning for sour cream, it’s got a buttermilk funk and an overbearing vinegar flavor that tastes way too much like pure dill pickle brine. Not the pickle, mind you, but the freaking brine. It’s just too strong and lacking any of the floral qualities of dill to render it as a true dill pickle flavor. In fact, it’s so overwhelming I would have thought I was eating white vinegar-flavored Wheat Thins. The worst part of the experience? The flavor overwhelms the backend malty sweetness, and damages the otherwise worthy Wheat Thins base.

That was cracker two. Cracker three was somewhere in between these two extremes, while cracker four was even better than cracker one, having little of the white residue to torment me with its excessive fermented funk. It was at that point that the Limited Edition Dill Pickle Wheat Thins and I decided to take a break from each other. Rather, it was at this point that I decided I needed a snack I could count on.

Nabisco Limited Edition Dill Pickle Wheat Thins Dill

The Limited Edition Dill Pickle Wheat Thins are the worst kind of snack imaginable because they manage to be both maddeningly heavy and repulsive but also herbaceously crunchtastic at the same time. Depending on the level of seasoning you encounter you’re either facing third and eleven with Tony Romo bound to screw it up, or Tom Brady ready to deliver a comeback touchdown toss. That kind of inconsistency is fine if you’re trying to test the limits of Madden NFL 2015, but it’s definitely not something I want in my snacks.

(Nutrition Facts – 14 crackers – 140 calories, 45 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 180 milligrams of sodium, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of sugar, 4 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Nabisco Limited Edition Dill Pickle Wheat Thins
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 9 oz box
Purchased at: Giant
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Wonderful dill pickle flavor can be balanced, giving just the right combination of vinegar tang and herbaceous relief. Wheat Thins base is excellent as always. Background malt flavor meshes well with the dill. Crunchier than regular pickles and not as slimy. Knowing Stormtroopers will still suck at shooting in Episode VII.
Cons: Depending on the amount of seasoning, can be overbearing and excessively briny. Like drinking pickle juice on a hot summer and then taking a three mile run. Unrealistic hypothetical NFL personnel decisions only possible in Madden