REVIEW: Pepsi Shiso

Pepsi Shiso

When I opened and smelled the Japanese Pepsi Shiso for the first time, I truly wondered whether or not a Japanese game show was going to break out around me called, “Nomimasu Ka?”, which in English means, “Will you drink it?”

(Note: My Japanese is EXTREMELY POOR. I have retained very little from my two years of Japanese language in college. So my Japanese above may not be correct.)

Every summer, Pepsi releases a limited edition flavor in Japan that can be described somewhere along the spectrum of unusual on one end and fucking weird on the other. In previous years, there’s been a Pepsi Blue Hawaii and a Pepsi Ice Cucumber, both of which landed on the unusual side of the spectrum.

The Pepsi Shiso is more on the fucking weird side.

I guess I find this bathroom cleaner-colored beverage very odd because I’m not familiar with shiso. But thanks to the information clusterfuck known as Wikipedia, I now know shiso is perilla in English, it is an herb in the mint family, and in Japan it is used in salads, spaghetti, meat and fish dishes, and occasionally used as a pizza topping.

Much like the other limited edition Pepsi from Japan I’ve tried, its initial flavor was a little off-putting, but the more I drank the better it seemed to taste, albeit still weird. Unfortunately, there isn’t any real shiso in this bottle filled with a liquid that’s colored like the radioactive rod that gets stuck in Homer Simpsons’ shirt during The Simpsons opening. Since I’ve never tasted shiso, I can’t tell you if this soda’s artificial flavor comes close to it, but I can tell you it tastes like sweetened grass. I also thought there was a cinnamon gum flavor as well, but mostly grass.

If I want drink something that makes my mouth feel like there’s a party going on in it, I’ll drink a rum and Coke or a Hawaiian Punch, but if I want to drink a beverage that makes my mouth feel like there’s photosynthesis going on in it, I’ll definitely drink a Pepsi Shiso.

(Note: Orchid64, who purchased the bottles of Pepsi Shiso for me, reviewed them and so did Mike.)

Item: Pepsi Shiso
Price: 147 yen
Size: 490 ml
Purchased at: Received from Orchid64
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: A little cinnamon gum flavor. It taste a little better the more you drink. It feels like photosynthesis is going on in my mouth. Interesting. Wikipedia.
Cons: Unusual taste. Sweet grassy flavor. Available only in Japan (although if you check eBay, you might be able to pick some up). Doesn’t contain actual shiso. Bathroom cleaner colored. Radioactive rod colored. My knowledge of the Japanese language despite two years of it in college.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Cinnabon Bars (Original and Caramel)

Even if it has the name Cinnabon on its packaging, like the Kellogg’s Cinnabon Bars, how can any product reach the high level that a fresh Cinnabon cinnamon roll achieves? It’s impossible to match the orgasmic combination of warm dough, Makara Cinnamon and cream cheese frosting.

That triple threat has the power to make people push back their diets for one more day. It can make a happy, fat kid happier AND fatter at the same time. It can makes those who are anal about cleanliness say, “fuck it” and let their mouths and finger become coated with sugar, cinnamon and frosting, because they know trying to keep clean while eating a fresh Cinnabon will always be a losing battle.

Just the scent alone of warm Cinnabons baking in the oven is extremely powerful. It draws you to the Cinnabon store located at the mall. It’s like smelling pheromones or being caught in the tractor beam of the Death Star. All you can do is just give up and let the Stormtroopers board you. One whiff of it may make your mind say no, but it makes your tongue, stomach and fat ass say yes.

Comparing these Kellogg’s Cinnabon Bars with fresh (or even reheated) Cinnabon rolls is like comparing an iPhone with its cheap Chinese rip off, the uPhone. It’s like comparing Neiman Marcus with Sears or JCPenney. It’s like the difference between silicone breast implants and water-filled plastic bags with a goldfish. These bars don’t even come close to capturing the essence of a Cinnabon cinnamon roll.

Both flavors, Original and Caramel, are sweet but they don’t give me a sugar erection like an actual Cinnabon does, probably because they don’t come close to tasting like one. Neither of them contains Cinnabon’s famous Makara Cinnamon, which, again, is part of the orgasmic combination that makes a Cinnabon roll the dieter’s devil. They claim on the box that it “tastes great warm,” but I really couldn’t trust them because the microwaving instructions on the box turned out to be quite inaccurate. It said it takes 3 SECOND on HIGH, but that isn’t enough time to warm up anything. It took about ten seconds to make them slightly warm, but doing so made them extremely fragile.

The Kellogg’s Cinnabon Bars weren’t very good warm or straight out of the wrapper. They had a boring flavor to them. If they had Makara Cinnamon in them, they might’ve been better, but I highly doubt Cinnabon would let anyone near their stash. Because they don’t have that delectable spice, I don’t think they deserve to have the Cinnabon name attached to it. Besides, eating one of these bars doesn’t fill me with regret or cause me to gain a couple of pounds, like a real Cinnabon cinnamon roll does.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar – Original – 150 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 130 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 13 grams of sugar and 1 gram of protein. Caramel – 150 calories, 4 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 65 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 14 grams of sugar and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Kellogg’s Cinnabon Bars (Original and Caramel)
Price: $3.19 each
Size: 6 bars
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: Cleaner than eating a Cinnabon cinnamon roll. Healthier than a Cinnabon cinnamon roll. The smell of a Cinnabon store. iPhones. Silicone breast implants. A warm Cinnabon cinnamon roll.
Cons: Weren’t very good. Doesn’t taste anything like a Cinnabon cinnamon roll. Doesn’t contain Cinnabon’s Makara Cinnamon. Bars are kind of small. Instructions to warm them up for only 3 seconds are ineffective. Warming them up makes them fragile. Contains high fructose corn syrup. A warm Cinnabon cinnamon roll.

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THE WEEK IN REVIEWS – 7/4/2009

Here are a few product reviews posted this week from other blogs wrapped in an HTML shell and served with immature writing.

Sixteen beers and ten sake reviews in one evening? May God have mercy on their livers. (via TBQ)

Fried ice cream that’s not fried. There’s an F-word I would use to describe that and it’s not fried. (via I Ate A Pie)

Apple and banana ketchup is popular in the Philippines; apple and banana mush is popular with babies; and apple and banana martinis are popular with sorority girls. (via A.V. Club)

The only thing I think the BK BBQ Double Stackticon can transform is my beating heart into a non-beating heart. (via We Rate Stuff)

There’s a white powder energy drink mix called Blow. I’m waiting for a black energy liquid-filled syringe called Black Tar Heroin. (via Possessed by Caffeine)

REVIEW: McDonald’s Angus Third Pounders (Deluxe, Bacon & Cheese and Mushroom & Swiss)

McDonald's Angus Third Pounder

Let me start off by saying that the new McDonald’s Angus Third Pounders are the best burgers ever released by The Golden Arches. Of course, that’s not really saying much since most of their burgers suck. It’s sort of like saying Kim Kardashian is the most famous Kardashian but only because the others didn’t come out with a sex tape.

I know I’ve said in the past that I love McDonald’s Double Cheeseburgers, but I only love them because it’s a little more than a dollar and I can use the grease from them to keep my chest hair from popping out of my collar. And I know I’ve said that I enjoy their Big Macs, but only because of my affinity towards that middle bun.

I know what it’s like to be a third wheel, Middle Bun.

I may really enjoy these new burgers, but it brings up one question in my head.  We’ve been eating crappy McDonald’s burgers for years and all this time they had the ability to make a really good burger, so what the fuck have they been doing for the past decade? Have they been eating McDonald’s food, getting sleepy soon after, taking a nap and then not getting any work done, like the rest of us do?

The Angus Third Pounders come in three varieties:

Deluxe – a burger with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, pickles and mayonnaise.

Bacon & Cheese – a burger with cheese, bacon, red onions, pickles, ketchup and mustard.

Mushroom & Swiss – a burger with sauteed mushroom, mayonnaise and swiss cheese.

Which flavor you should try depends on what your taste buds yearn for and/or the amount of sodium your circulatory system can take, since each burger has between 1100-2070 milligrams of sodium.

All of the Angus Third Pounders are flavor packed. The Deluxe had a classic burger taste and I would totally do behind a shed. I could taste the Angus beef, cheese, pickles and mayonnaise (only because they put a huge glob of it on the burger), but I felt the red onions didn’t add much flavor. The Bacon & Cheese contained big slices of slightly crispy bacon that ensured I had some in every bite, although it’s taste wasn’t as prominent as I hoped it would be. Again, the red onions didn’t really provide much flavor, but the burger didn’t really need it and I would totally do it hard in the back seat of a car. The Mushroom & Swiss was probably my favorite among the three and I would do it the hardest in a janitor’s closet. The sauteed mushrooms were tasty, well sized and plentiful, but they didn’t overwhelm the sandwich, letting the flavor of the meat stand out.

The patties in the Angus Third Pounders are much tastier, less greasy and noticeably thicker than regular McDonald’s burger patties. The texture of the meat was different too, but in a good way. All of the burgers themselves were significantly larger than most other items on the menu. I hope McDonald’s keeps them that size and they don’t end up like the Big & Tasty, which started big, but now is much smaller.

Overall, I’m pleasantly surprised by the quality and flavor of the McDonald’s Angus Third Pounders. Some might complain about the $4 price tag for each burger, but the other big burgers on the McDonald’s menu are only about 50-75 cents cheaper and they’re also 50-75 percent shittier. So I think the Angus Third Pounders are worth the extra scratch.

(Nutritional Facts – 1 burger – Deluxe – 750 calories, 39 grams of fat, 16 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of trans fat, 135 milligrams of cholesterol, 1700 milligrams of sodium, 61 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber and 40 grams of protein. Bacon & Cheese – 790 calories, 39 grams of fat, 17 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of trans fat, 145 milligrams of cholesterol, 2070 milligrams of sodium, 63 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber and 45 grams of protein. Mushroom & Swiss – 770 calories, 40 grams of fat, 17 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of trans fat, 135 milligrams of cholesterol, 1170 milligrams of sodium, 59 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber and 44 grams of protein.)

Item: McDonald’s Angus Third Pounders (Deluxe, Bacon & Cheese and Mushroom & Swiss)
Price: $4.19 each
Size: Third pounders
Purchased at: McDonald’s
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Deluxe)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Bacon & Cheese)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Mushroom & Swiss)
Pros: Very tasty. The best McDonald’s burgers I’ve ever had. Fresh looking ingredients. Hefty for McDonald’s burgers. Thicker, tastier, and less greasy patties than regular McDonald’s burgers. Great source of protein.
Cons: Totally unhealthy. High in sodium, saturated fat and trans fat. Red onions didn’t add much to the burgers. Some might find the burgers to be pricey. Eating McDonald’s food, getting sleepy soon after, taking a nap and then not getting any work done.