REVIEW: Cinnamon Toast Crunch Blasted Shreds Cereal

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Blasted Shreds Cereal

I do not like Brussels sprouts. I would not eat them here or there. I would not eat them in a truck. I would not eat them with a duck…-billed platypus.

Am I trying to go all Dr. Seuss on you? I could not, would not. But would I eat Brussels sprouts with cinnamon sugar?

Those are foods (assuming cinnamon sugar counts as a food) that I figured were on opposite ends of the tastiness spectrum. What would cinnamon sugar blasted on Brussels sprouts taste like? Since I’m uncertain where the produce section is at my local store (or what Brussels sprouts look like), I’ll leave that question up to you. As a close substitute, I can tell you what the new Cinnamon Toast Crunch Blasted Shreds taste like.

It was with some trepidation that I picked these up, because I put Cinnamon Toast Crunch (CTC) on the Mount Rushmore of breakfast cereals, while Shredded Wheat would go somewhere in the bowels of hell.

I remember when Cinnamon Toast Crunch came out in the 1980s, during a glorious era of sugar cereals when manufacturers didn’t even try to hide how much of the magic white crystals were in them. Just about every cereal had the word “sugar” in it, and if that wasn’t enough, there was even one called Super Sugar Crisp. Sadly, many cereals now trumpet how they have whole grains, help lower cholesterol, and other such nonsense.

So can a cereal that brings together two extremes taste good? Actually, yeah. Obviously, CTC Blasted Shreds are not as good as the original CTC, but it’s still a tasty cereal with a bonus feeling of eating something that is not completely bad for you.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Blasted Shreds Cereal 2

Upon opening the box, the Shreds did not really have that trademark CTC smell, and they are smaller than I envisioned after seeing an oversized example on the front panel. Even though they’re small, my box contained a good number of conjoined twins that looked more like the larger Shredded Wheat I remember.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Blasted Shreds Cereal 3

I’m just as likely to eat cereal straight from the box as I am with milk, and these Shreds proved to be quite good sans cow juice. They didn’t seem as heavy or dense as I thought they’d be, and the flavor faithfully replicated the original Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal while the Shredded Wheat did nothing to detract from that.

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Once you dip them in a milk bath, things get even better. The Shredded Wheat did an admirable job of keeping the milk from making the cereal too soggy while allowing some milk in, resulting in a nice crunch with a hint of softness. The overall texture of the cereal is not as rough as you might expect from Shredded Wheat either, and it still packs a potent sugar punch.

While these don’t quite match the original CTC, they do hit the sweet spot by balancing a tasty sugary cereal with healthy whole grain wheat.

(Nutrition Facts – 2/3 cup – 230 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 5 milligrams of sodium, 160 milligrams of potassium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 23.2 oz. box
Purchased at: H-E-B
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Much more fiber and protein than regular Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Tastes good with or without milk. Allows you to brag to others about eating a healthy breakfast of Shredded Wheat (feel free to omit the cinnamon and sugar blast part).
Cons: Not as good as regular Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Doesn’t have the added vitamins and minerals that are typically blasted onto breakfast cereals, which is ironic given the name.

REVIEW: Pringles Extra Hot Chili & Lime

Pringles Extra Hot Chili  Lime

The new Pringles Extra Hot Chili & Lime is a flavor so familiar that I thought it already existed, but a quick search only yielded Pringles LOUD Fiery Chili Lime and Pringles Chile Y Limon. Hmm. Maybe it was the purple packaging that reminded me of Fuego Takis.

Speaking of packaging, is it just me or is on-can imagery always fun? On the Top Ramen flavor, it’s a particularly sprightly sprig of parsley. For this fuego flavor, it features an Evel Knievel crisp jumping through a ring of chili fire. Let the LOLs ensue. Packaging aside, I had high hopes it would bring some real heat.

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I noticed that the crisps looked much like the Evel Knievel crisp on the outside, which was somewhat sparsely sprinkled with red chili seasoning mainly clustered closer at the edges. I appreciate when the actual product reflects the image on its packaging. But they didn’t smell different from the usual Pringles.

The first thing I tasted was the tanginess from the artificial lime flavor, then the chili powder heat came. It was like rapid fire ray guns of flavor: lime, chili, lime, chili (Star Wars sound effects not included). I’ve never noticed this before with other flavors, but the curved crisp shape contributed to getting the flavor effectively and efficiently. I eat Pringles by shoving it whole into my mouth, so the surface of my tongue is completely covered by the crisp. So, my entire tongue felt like it was in a pleasant state of burn.

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I also sampled Takis to gauge heat level. They’re spicier and, of course, the corn flavor was very forward. Also, the heavily-seasoned rolled shape delivered a very pungent punch. To be fair, Takis claims to be extreme while Pringles just wants to be extra hot.

I think this Pringles delivers on the promise of extra hot and is well-executed. While Takis may be too extreme for some, these Pringles will keep chiliheads content but might be a stepping stone for those still building their capsaicin tolerance.

This doesn’t dethrone my favorite Pringles flavor, cheeseburger, BUT I’d be more than open to stacking a cheeseburger crisp with this one to make a spicy cheeseburger. Woo, the possibilities are endless! I know this slogan is old, but I think it still rings true – “Once you pop, you can’t stop!”

(Nutrition Facts – 15 Crisps – 150 calories, 9 grams of total fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 grams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of total carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.39
Size: 5.5 oz. can
Purchased at: Kroger
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Crisp actually looks like the image on the packaging! Rapid fire ray guns of flavor: lime, chili, lime, chili. A tolerable kick that keeps chiliheads content, but also appeals to folks still building their capsaicin tolerance. Curved crisp shape contributed to getting the flavor effectively and efficiently.
Cons: A smidge of artificial lime taste. Still doesn’t dethrone as my favorite Pringles flavor (cheeseburger)!

QUICK REVIEW: Baskin-Robbins Love Potion #31 Ice Cream

Baskin Robbins Love Potion  31 Ice Cream

I often wonder if my solitary Valentine’s Days are born from the sharing of my encyclopedic knowledge of esoteric nerdom such as Vulcan mating rituals with my dates.

Nah, probably not.

Whatever the cause of my party for one dinner reservations, my experience with love potions begins with #9 and ends with hormone-fueled Hogwarts’ hijinks. When said potions are described as smelling of turpentine, it does not exactly inspire confidence in the alchemical arts.

Baskin-Robbins has remedied this issue by once again bubbling up a cauldron of Love Potion #31 which consists of chocolate chips and raspberry-filled chocolate hearts and a raspberry swirl mixed within both raspberry and white chocolate ice cream.

Baskin Robbins Love Potion  31 Ice Cream 2

Evident at first sight, the color of love is fully on display due to the judicious application of actual raspberries that lay an authentically natural saccharine foundation. Every bite is awash in an intense raspberry essence as aggressive as a Vulcan on bath salts during pon farr.

Playing a complementary role, the white chocolate half of the ice cream in this witches’ brew of dairy delight exudes a dulcet butteriness. Wisely eschewing the standard eye of newt, the pervasive dark chocolate flavored chips perfectly complement the powerful raspberry sweetness with nary a note of excessive bitterness.

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Its rarer raspberry-filled candy companion shares a similar excellent balance in a heart shaped package born of cocoa rather than the unsavory bits and bobs of creepy crawlies. They present a slightly milkier chocolate and syrupier raspberry filling than the main bowl that makes the occasional bite really pop.

Love Potion #31 presents a delicious holiday inspired flavor with an adorably heart shaped, raspberry filling on top candy flourish. Embracing this deliciously dark dairy art, I might finally get to show off my collection of Klingon themed bondage gear.

Purchased Price: $2.39
Size: Small scoop (2.5 oz.)
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Small Scoop) 170 calories, 9 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 16 grams of sugar, 1 gram of dietary fiber and 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Hostess Suzy Q’s (2018)

Hostess Suzy Q s  2018

Suzy Q Review: Take 2.

Back in 2015, I reviewed the re-release of Hostess’s Suzy Q’s and absolutely hated them. To this day they’re the lowest rated food I’ve ever had the (dis)pleasure of reviewing for this site.

I remember being timid when submitting the negative review, thinking the comments section would light me up for blaspheming a classic snack cake. Thankfully, everyone kinda agreed. We all seemed to have some Q’s for Suzy.

There was a social media outcry for Hostess to fix their mistake, and they did, by re-re-releasing Suzy Q’s.

Guess what folks? They’ve now gone and *REEEEE-MIXXXX* re-re-re-released them.

Here we are in 2018 and Suzy is finally back and better than ever? Let’s find out. Everyone deserves a fourth chance.

Hostess snack cakes all have the same welcoming smell of oily processed chocolate goodness, so these started out on the right foot. The smell instantly put me in mind of a Drake’s Devil Dog. These even look like a Devil Dog’s stubbier little sister.

These new Suzy Q’s boast 50 percent more cake, and 50 percent more crème. I’ll let you do the math there. I will not fat shame Suzy, but I do feel the need to shame Hostess.

Hostess Suzy Q s  2018 2

Hostess Suzy Q s  2018 3

Hostess Suzy Q s  2018 4

While the cake is spongy and moist enough, there’s too much of it. Sadly, it’s still the highlight here.

The crème is out of control. There’s wayyyyy too much crème. It’s thick, slightly gritty, cloying, and overbearing after two bites.

After the first bite, I was ready to say these tasted like Hostess’s famous cupcakes without the top coating and swirl, a.k.a. the best part. After the second less pleasurable bite, I knew exactly what these tasted like – Whoopie Pies.

Are you all familiar with Whoopie Pies?

My mother used to go to Pennsylvania Dutch Country and buy these Amish-made hockey puck-sized Whoopie Pies and that’s exactly what these put me in mind of. That may not exactly help you, but if you’ve ever had a Whoopie Pie from a Farmer’s Market type place, that’s a circular Suzy Q. They basically taste like a more processed knockoff of Whoopie Pies, and I was never a big fan of those to begin with.

For those reasons, Suzy Q’s almost taste like another company trying to mimic Hostess’ formula. I realize these were one of the O.G. Hostess cakes, so maybe I’m just not well versed in Hostess’ taste history.

In the end, these were an improvement from the last time, but I still think they’re in the bottom rung of Hostess products. The previous duds were definitely a more manageable size. With all the variety on shelves, I see no reason to ever buy Suzy Q’s.

Suzy Q, baby, I don’t like you.

I’m gonna freeze the rest of the box, because I feel like the crème will taste a little better cold and hardened, like my soul.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cake – 260 calories, 100 calories from fat, 11 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 520 milligrams of sodium, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 27 grams of sugar and 2 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.97
Size: 15.66 oz. (6 cakes)
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Much better than last time. Extra point in rating for Hostess admitting to its mistakes. I’ll probably like these better when I find ’em in the back of the freezer in a couple months. CCR is the greatest American rock band, don’t @ me.
Cons: Way too much crème. Too much cake. Tastes like a Whoopie Pie knockoff. Fool me twice, shame on me.

REVIEW: Doritos Blaze

Doritos Blaze

Blaze. Inferno. Flame. Burn. Fire. Heat. Heatwave.

Already used.

Wildfire. Firestorm. Angry. Fury.

Hmm, possibilities.

Combustion. Conflagration.

Okay, scraping the bottom of the barrel, but I guess they would work.

What am I doing? I’m coming up with new spicy Doritos flavor names using my computer’s thesaurus. As you can see, we’re going to run out of names soon.

But that issue is for the future. Today is today and today we have a new spicy Doritos flavor — Blaze.

On the back of the bag, it says Doritos Blaze is like licking a volcano. After I read that, I wasted about an hour or so wrapping my head around what is quite possibly the dumbest thing ever printed on a Doritos bag. Are we talking active or dormant? If it’s dormant, it doing to taste like the Earth. If it’s active and you’re trying to lick the lava that’s pouring out of it, I’m pretty sure your face will melt off, along with your tongue, before you can do so. Yes, this is what I spent an hour thinking about.

The next hour was spent wonder why I don’t like Doritos Blaze.

Its aroma reminds me of bell peppers. It also has a sweet and spicy smell that makes me think of Panda Express. Inhaling the air in the bag also gave me clues that these chips were going to burn.

I’ve had spicier chips, but these are packing some decent heat. The first chip isn’t so bad, but eating more will cause the heat to spike (Doritos Spike?). At a point my mouth begins to feel like I’m playing out a scene from a Game of Thrones fan fiction focusing on dragon erotica. There you go, the person who came up with the “It’s like licking a volcano” line, a line that’s dumber than yours.

Doritos Blaze 2

After consuming a few chips I had to stop eating them, but not because the heat was getting to me, even though it was and I had to grab some water. Instead, I had to stop because I didn’t care for their taste. Along with the heat, there’s an underlying sweet, peppery flavor, but it doesn’t make me want to eat more. Although they’re Doritos, there isn’t a cheesiness to them. I wish there was because they might’ve been better tasting.

Doritos Blaze is one of the most disappointing varieties of the popular tortilla chip I’ve ever had. It’s definitely spicy, but it doesn’t have a flavor that makes me yearn for it. Maybe its new name should be Doritos Bummer.

(Nutrition Facts – about 12 chips – 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 180 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 9.75 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Spicy. Cool name.
Cons: Sweet, peppery flavor doesn’t work for me. Doesn’t have a flavor that makes me want to eat a lot of it. Saying “It’s like licking a volcano.”