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.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Ritz Ultimate Butter Crackers

Limited Edition Ritz Ultimate Butter Crackers

Butter.

It makes bread taste better. It makes theater popcorn less healthy. It made Paula Deen a multimillionaire. And it helps take off rings that have gotten stuck on fingers because folks have eaten either too much buttered bread, theater popcorn, or Paula Deen’s cooking.

Butteriness.

It’s one of the defining characteristics of the iconic Ritz Cracker. Crumbly is also a defining characteristic, but I’m not here to talk about the mess Ritz Crackers make. I’m here to discuss whether it’s necessary to take the already buttery Ritz Cracker and make the Limited Edition Ritz Ultimate Butter Crackers.

The cracker has a strong artificial butter flavor, which isn’t surprising since the words “artificially flavored” are printed on the front of the box in tall thin letters and they have a smell that’s similar to what you’d get with anything that’s “buttered popcorn” flavored. 

Limited Edition Ritz Ultimate Butter Crackers 2

The first cracker is a bit odd, but not odd enough to make me go “nope,” walk away, and leave the other seven Fresh Packs for birds. But if you have an aversion to Buttered Popcorn Jelly Belly Jelly Beans, I imagine you won’t enjoy these. 

However, after that initial cracker, the artificial butter flavor fades, which I guess is a good thing. But even with a muted flavor, they’re still noticeably more buttery than regular Ritz crackers. I think they’re not bad on their own and they’re as crispy as any Ritz cracker, but I definitely prefer regular Ritz Crackers over them.  

On the Limited Edition Ritz Ultimate Butter Crackers box, it suggests you create “Ritzwiches” featuring steak and potatoes, corn and bacon, and caramel corn. Seeing those suggestions got me thinking that maybe these crackers were really meant to be eaten with toppings. 

Since I lack the drive to prepare fancy toppings like steak and potatoes, I went with whatever was in my fridge — processed American cheese. I have to admit the American cheese between two crackers was surprisingly good. It tasted as if I was eating a grilled cheese sandwich.

Limited Edition Ritz Ultimate Butter Crackers 3

I also used another ingredient from my fridge to make cracker sandwiches — butter. Let’s face it, using a pat of butter as the filling for a cracker sandwich with these extra buttery crackers would truly make them the ultimate.

So how did it taste? It tastes just like a pat of butter or licking the paddle attachment of a KitchenAid Stand Mixer that was just used to soften butter.

Remind me to not eat that again.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 Fresh Stack – 200 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 370 milligrams of sodium, 40 milligrams of potassium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 11.5 oz.
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: As crispy as regular Ritz Crackers. Not bad after the first cracker. Tastes surprisingly good with American cheese. Butter.
Cons: First cracker has a heavy artificial butter flavor. If you don’t like Buttered Popcorn Jelly Belly, you’re not going to like these. Maybe not meant to be eaten without toppings. Making cracker sandwiches using pats of butter.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Even Thinner Wheat Thins

Limited Edition Even Thinner Wheat Thins

I. Hate. You. Limited Edition Even Thinner Wheat Thins.

While I’ve made the New Year’s resolution to lose weight for the umpteenth year, and will fail to stick to that resolution for the umpteenth year, you’re skinnier than the ALREADY SKINNY Wheat Thins. Yeah, I’m jealous…and jiggling a little as I stomp in anger, because again I never follow through with my annual New Year’s resolution.

I’m not bitter, but this new snack sounds like someone lost a bet. It’s as if two Nabisco executives were playing Wheat Thins football and one says to the other, “If I make this from across the boardroom, I can make whatever product I want no matter how cockamamy it is.” Then the other one said, “Deal.” And so here we are with thinner Wheat Thins.

So how much slimmer are these?

Since I don’t have an iPhone app that can measure them for me, I had to find an ancient instrument called a ruler. Regular Wheat Thins looked to be three millimeters, while these new ones appeared to be one-third skinnier. Suck it, iPhone! No, really. Suck it in if you want to be as skinny as these crackers.

A serving size of the thin version and thinner version have the same amount of calories, fat, carbs, fiber, sugar, and protein, so binge eating either box while binge watching Jessica Jones on Netflix, binge sitting on my couch, and binge putting up my legs on an ottoman will have the same nutritional result. Although the svelte ones do have 30 milligrams less sodium.

Limited Edition Even Thinner Wheat Thins 2

Chain eating both varieties to figure out any difference in flavor made me blow past any serving sizes. You’d think if this newer variety was made out of the exact same ingredients as regular Wheat Thins, they would taste exactly like regular Wheat Thins. But, surprisingly, that’s not the case.

The nuttiness in the now chubby regular Wheat Thins is a bit more noticeable than in these slender ones. Although Nabisco isn’t promoting these as “diet,” their slightly lighter flavor is diet-like. But with that said, I think folks would only notice the difference if they were eating the two varieties one after another.

The cracker’s thinness did cause an issue with me. While stuffing my Wheat Thins hole with these skinnier crackers, I somehow sort of stabbed my upper palate…twice. No blood, but it did hurt a little. That thinness also makes these more crispy than crunchy, which is kind of nice because eating a lot of regular Wheat Thins tends to give my jaw a workout.

Now with all of that said, I don’t really hate these, but I think they’re silly. Tasty, but silly. Making Wheat Thins slimmer didn’t make them better, more snackable, or more appealing. It seems like Nabisco is trying to capitalize on the success of Oreo Thins by trying to figure out what other flagship brands they can turn thin. So I guess we’ll be seeing Chip Ahoy Thins soon.

(Nutrition Facts – 22 pieces – 140 calories, 45 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 90 milligrams of potassium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Limited Edition Even Thinner Wheat Thins
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 8.5 oz. box
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Tasty. I don’t hate them. More crispy than crunchy so it doesn’t give my jaw a workout. Binge watching Netflix.
Cons: Silly idea. Slimmer doesn’t equal to them being better, more stackable, or more appealing. Stabbing my upper palate with them. Makes me feel bad about breaking my New Year’s resolution already.

REVIEW: Cheez-It Extra Toasty Crackers

Cheez-It Extra Toasty Crackers

Cheez-It and I have been on bad terms lately.

I recently tried their Crunch’d cheese puffs and they were a 3 out of 10 at best. Horrendous. They tasted like cheese flavored Cap’n Crunch. No bueno. It’s time for Cheez-It to win me back.

Sunshine, the maker of Cheez-It, have apparently been getting bombarded with requests for an “extra toasty” flavor of their flagship cracker. Now look, I’m not saying Sunshine is lying about the claim, but I would have never considered “extra toasty” a “flavor.” Maybe I should have.

I realized as I was eating these Cheez-Its that I love toasty and burnt snacks. This notion never dawned on me until that very moment. I love extra dark pretzels. I like that one over-browned Saltine in the sleeve, burnt chocolate chip cookies, and that one extra crispy French fry at the bottom of the bag. I even order my pizza “well done” so the crust is burnt and crispy. The people who were requesting extra toasty Cheez-Its were definitely on to something, and Sunshine delivered.

Extra Toasty Cheez-Its are friggin’ delicious. These are one of the most satisfying salty snacks I’ve had in a long time. In my opinion, they’ve improved on the regular ones in just about every way possible. I’m not positive the difference will blow everyone away, but I don’t see any reason to ever go back to the regular variety. If Cheez-Its were a Hollywood movie, these would be the ever-so-popular dark, gritty reboot of the outdated original that didn’t quite hold up over the years. These extra toasty ones are just flat better. Get with the times.

Cheez-It Extra Toasty Crackers 3

Cheez-Its always did the cheddar flavor right. It doesn’t overpowering you with the artificial stuff that other brands go overboard with, and these keep that family tradition alive with 100% real cheese. That being said, the “cheez” flavor wasn’t even really the star of the show for me, it was the flakey crunch of the extra toasty cracker itself. Add the perfectly complementing salt element on each piece, and they really hit a home run here. There’s a perfect balance happening. After every bite I wanted to yell “Toastttty” like that random dude who used to pop his head into Mortal Kombat levels…too obscure?

The aftertaste is pleasant as well. The flavor doesn’t dilute at all after you swallow. In fact, that might be a problem to some because it’s addictive, and you’ll want to just keep shoveling more of these down for the crunch factor.

As much as I wanted to give these a perfect ten, there is a bit of a grease factor. These would fall somewhere between Goldfish and potato chips on the grease scale. I noticed the paper plate I was eating off of was almost translucent once I finished.

I guess I should also warn you that the salt was pretty excessive here. That was not even remotely a problem for me, but I could understand it being a turnoff for some.

Cheez-It Extra Toasty Crackers 4

So, basically, my one complaint about the Extra Toasty Cheez-Its is that I wanted to finish the box in one sitting, but couldn’t thanks to a bit of heartburn. But I probably could have powered through it if I wanted to, so that’s not even a strong complaint.

If I learned one thing from eating these, it’s that “toasty” should absolutely be the new trendy “flavor.” More brands need to embrace this. I want burnt Ritz. Burnt potato and tortilla chips. Burnt Goldfish. Take your recipe and add an addition 5-10 minutes of baking time, slap a new name on the box and you’ve got yourself a sale. I have become a food pyro.

My hat goes off to Cheez-It for changing the cracker game, and for making the decision to put the hyphen in their name after the “Z.” No matter how good these tasted, I would have never bought a snack called “Chee-Zit.”

(Nutrition Facts – 27 crackers – 150 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Cheez-It Extra Toasty Crackers
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 12.4 oz. box
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Toasty is the new Orange is the New Black. Perfect flavor harmony. Flakey crunch. Crazy addictive. Proper hyphen usage. Fan requests. Mortal Kombat’s “Toasty” guy.
Cons: Greasy. Might need a Tums handy. Food pyros. Cheese flavored Cap’n Crunch.

REVIEW: Honey Maid Birthday Cake Teddy Grahams

Honey Maid Birthday Cake Teddy Grahams

Bears and birthday cakes do not mix.

At least that’s what the security guards told me when I tried to feed Greg the Grizzly a slice of red velvet with cream cheese frosting. Those misinformed fuddy-duddies. If bears don’t actually want to eat cake, then why are they always stealing picnic baskets? Who are we to say no to bears?

In spite of these warnings, Honey Maid has defied zoo security and mixed bears with birthday cake as part of their newly released Birthday Cake Teddy Grahams.

Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve never tasted a bear before — Greg’s guards told me no nibbling allowed. I have tasted Teddy Grahams, though, and I consider myself a fan of those teeny-tiny ursine cookies.

If you’ve never tried Teddy Grahams, they’re nothing more than little crackers that resemble happy cartoon bears. Each of these bears has either both its arms up, or both its arms down. The result is one of the lamest attempts to dance to “Y.M.C.A.” that the world has ever seen.

Honey Maid Birthday Cake Teddy Grahams 2

Because these particular Teddy Grahams are birthday cake-flavored, each cracker is speckled with rainbow color, as if it has contracted a fabulous version of measles. Discomeasles, anyone?

Their scent is somewhere between Nilla wafers and cupcakes. Their flavor is…not what I was expecting.

When I think of “birthday cake,” I imagine strong flavors alluding to vanilla frosting and rainbow sprinkles. These Teddy Grahams are heavy on the graham flavor with merely a faint hint of birthday cake sweetness. It’s an accurate imitation of cake batter, but it only shows up after the graham flavor begins to dissipate.

At first, I was a bit disappointed the birthday cake flavor was this mellow, but these Teddy Grahams have quickly grown on me. Because they’re so plain, they’re very easy to eat in large amounts. I no longer have the sweet tooth of an 8-year-old child, and these Teddy Grahams allow me to snack without feeling like I’m injecting sugar directly into my bloodstream. I honestly prefer them over the other Teddy Graham flavors: honey, cinnamon, chocolate, grizzly, panda, polar, etc.

Though different from what I had anticipated, these Birthday Cake Teddy Grahams have earned my approval. I’m glad Honey Maid chose “birthday cake” as their new Teddy Graham variety, and not another trendy flavor. I can just imagine sea salt caramel, coffee, and sriracha Teddy Grahams. Those would have been unbearable. (Stop complaining. I had to fit in a bear pun somewhere, okay?)

(Nutrition Facts – 24 pieces (30 grams) – 140 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.5 grams of total fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 55 milligrams of potassium, 22 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Honey Maid Birthday Cake Teddy Grahams
Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 10 oz. box
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Not overwhelmingly sweet. Super snackable. Discomeasles…? Bear puns.
Cons: Primarily graham-flavored. Zoo security. Bear puns.