REVIEW: Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake

I am generally a fan of Kashi products — being a lazy pseudo-hipster who likes to buy overpriced food that’s touted as healthy without having to go through all of the effort of visiting hippie food stores and co-ops to make my own healthy food. It’s what I like to refer to as “The American Way.” And when it comes to frozen meals I’ve found that Kashi tends to be the Cadillac of the frozen food aisle. Or rather, should I say the electric Cadillac-hybrid with a solar powered espresso maker in the dash.

Kashi’s Mayan Harvest Bake was really no exception. Perfect for autumn, the harvest bake (or, harvest microwave, technically) consisted of plantains, kale, sweet potatoes and black beans over a bed of Kashi’s trademark 7 grain pilaf, polenta and amaranth — whatever the hell amaranth is — covered in a spicy Ancho sauce. It’s like, seriously Kashi? Sweet potatoes, plantains and black beans? (Oh my!) Those are only some of my favorite things in the food universe. The only way I could have been more content eating this meal would be if Kashi accompanied it with a warm towel and back rub.

Oh! Oh! Oh! And did I even mention the pumpkin seeds? The glorious, glorious pumpkin seeds? Indeed, the meal came with a generous portion of pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top, which I picked off and ate separately because I am what I like to call a “food separatist.” Seriously though, name me another frozen meal out there that comes with actual pumpkin seeds. See? You can’t even do it.

Lucky for food separatist me, the mish-mash of a food bowl was layered in such a way that I was able to eat the plantains, which were plump and delectable despite somehow coming from a tray out of the microwave, apart from the sweet potatoes, which were charred on the edges in such a way that I assume the product had once been, in fact, baked. The Ancho sauce complimented the meal well, which was sweet, spicy and delicious, although while the plantains and sweet potatoes were flavorful enough on their own, some of the parts on the pilaf underneath didn’t get much sauce on it, making it taste a bit bland.

The Mayan Harvest Bake is one of Kashi’s vegan meals, which means it’s also ideal for lazy pseudo-hipster vegetarians. It’s also all natural, which means Kashi didn’t want to make us have to pay another dollar for it by making it say “organic.” It’s really considerate of them, if you think about it. The Harvest Bake is also a nutritional smorgasbord, touting an impressive nine grams of protein (for something that doesn’t contain any meat), eight grams of fiber and 400 milligrams of potassium from the plantains, which is basically just a fancy way of saying “banana.”

Unfortunately, for the steep price tag of over $5.00 a box, regularly priced, it would probably be more cost-efficient to get your potassium intake the old fashioned way by just eating actual bananas.

(Nutrition Facts – 10 ounces (1 package) – 340 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 380 milligrams of sodium, 58 grams of carbohydrates, 8 gram of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, 9 grams of protein and 20% iron.)

(NOTE: I Ate A Pie also reviewed it.)

Item: Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake
Price: 2 for $6.00 (sale price)
Size: 10 ounces
Purchased at: Fresh Grocer
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Delicious. Sweet potatoes. Black beans. Fancy bananas. Pumpkin seeds, bitches.
Cons: No warm towel or massage with meal. Goddamn expensive regularly priced. Not stocking up on more Mayan Harvest Bake while they were on sale.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Double Bacon Deluxe

The Wendy’s Double Bacon Deluxe is kind of humdrum.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s frickin’ tasty and if I felt like I could survive another onslaught of 1,880 milligrams of sodium, I would consume another, but it doesn’t stand out or get me excited. Just like my inability to differentiate between all of the CSI and Law & Orders, I could easily get this burger confused with another.

The reason why is because it’s a classic burger with normal ingredients. It’s made up of two beef patties, a slice of American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, a pickle, mayo, ketchup, and four strips of Applewood smoked bacon on a Kaiser bun.

As you can see, there aren’t any frills. No “secret sauce.” No flame-broiled beef patties. No beef from a magical cow. No F-list celebrity in a bikini eating it in a commercial. No fancy foreign bread with a hard-to-pronounce name.

Speaking of names, the name Double Bacon Deluxe is also unimaginative, forgettable and could easily be on the menu at some mediocre diner whose patrons consist of seedy characters. Couldn’t they have called it the Baconator 2?

But I guess its simplicity is what makes it good, since a “secret sauce” could easily fuck things up; the flame-broiling technique is probably patented; special beef would make it pricier; a commercial with an F-list celebrity would make Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas, who starred in many Wendy’s commercials, roll over in his grave; and fancy breads would make it seem douchey.

The Wendy’s Double Bacon Deluxe had a nice heft to it, thanks to the two square-ish beef patties. You can make it heftier by getting the triple version or lighter with the single version. What you decide depends on how hungry you are or how much you hate your body.

The bacon is supposed to be a “thick cut” of Applewood smoked bacon, and they were thicker than the others I’ve had on fast food burgers, but not by much. However, the bacon wasn’t chewy and it’s flavor was lot more noticeable than the others I’ve had. The beef patties were good and not as dry as some of the patties from the competition. The vegetables were crisp, the bun was soft and there were just the right amounts of mayo and ketchup to add some additional flavor, but not enough to overpower the beef and bacon, like they were condiment dominatrixes.

Overall, the Wendy’s Double Bacon Deluxe is a quality burger. It’s delish, but I don’t even think that’s enough to help me remember it in the future.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 burger – 860 calories, 50 grams of fat, 21 grams of saturated fat, 2.5 grams of trans fat, 200 milligrams of cholesterol, 1880 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, 56 grams of protein, 15% vitamin A, 20% vitamin C, 20% calcium and 40% iron.)

(NOTE: Grub Grade gave the Bacon Deluxe a taste too.)

Item: Wendy’s Double Bacon Deluxe
Price: $7.59 (combo)
Size: 1 burger
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Tasty. Nice heft. Four strips of bacon. Crispy veggies. Soft bun. Just the right amounts of ketchup and mayo. Comes in also single and triple sizes.
Cons: No frills. Kinda pricey. Almost 2,000 milligrams of sodium. Almost 1,000 calories. Has a name that’s easy to forget. Douchy fancy breads. The number of Law & Order and CSI spinoffs.

REVIEW: Quaker True Delights Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond Granola Bars

I could call many things in life delightful, but then I would sound like a snooty woman who comes from old money and has never worked a damn day in her life A crisp autumn breeze is delightful. A properly poured pint of Guinness is delightful. The chance for a certain baseball team to bring home the bacon two years in a row is delightful. But to call a granola bar delightful, that’s just pushing it.

I feel bad for granola bars, even though they’re the whores of the snack food world. All they want is to be loved and enjoyed; instead they’re used as substitutes for what we really want. People, including myself, generally have an “Eh, I guess I’ll have a granola bar to tie me over until I have REAL food” attitude when it comes to the slutty snack that prostitutes its way from children’s lunch bags to the desk drawers of CEOs who had to abandon their three martini lunches because of the economy.

The Quaker True Delights Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond Granola Bar is trying to be the Pretty Woman of the snack bar world. Dressed in its sexy black wrapper (a.k.a little black dress), it appears to be better than your run-of-the-mill granola bar that you can find slutting it up everywhere. My mother (and every “Very Special Episode” 1980’s sitcom) told me that the inside of a person, or in this case, a granola bar is what matters.

Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the inside is just like any other granola bar. However, I wouldn’t totally dismiss it. This classy beauty wasn’t like her co-worker, Quaker Chewy bar, because she didn’t skimp on the good stuff like chocolate and nuts. In fact, she was chock full of nice semi-sweet dark chocolate chunks and crunchy almonds. Of course, the raspberry flavoring wasn’t that strong, but if you’ve read any of my reviews that include pseudo raspberry flavoring, I’m always bitching about that.

The bar was tasty, but you can find heartier granola bars, like the Nature Valley Trail Mix for less cash. Paying $3.49 for a box of five bars that each weigh a slim 1.2 ounces isn’t worth it. It’s pretty bad when the picture on the box says “enlarged illustration” and even that isn’t big. (Good thing they don’t show “enlarged illustrations” on bottles of Viagra)

These petite bars are good, but one won’t even satisfy mediocre hunger pains that always hit at around three in the afternoon. So what’s the point of getting a high class hooker granola bar that’s more expensive when it won’t even curb your need for something to keep your stomach from growling to the beat of the next annoying Black Eyed Peas single?

Where’s the delight in that?

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar – 140 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, 2% vitamin C and 4% iron.)

Item: Quaker True Delights Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond Granola Bars
Price: $3.49
Size: Box of 5
Purchased at: Giant
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Black wrapper adds a classy touch to a whorey snack. Dark chocolate tastes good. A lot of almonds. Adds more variety to the granola bar category. The Phillies.
Cons: Having to settle for a granola bar. Small size. Lack of a strong raspberry taste. Using the word “delight” inappropriately.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Black Jack Taco

As you can see, the most intriguing ingredient of the Taco Bell Black Jack Taco is its black shell, which looks like its been either out in the sun for too long, touched by the Grim Reaper or farted on by someone who just ate food from Taco Bell.

The black taco shell is the ONLY thing interesting about the Black Jack Taco and I think it’s the ONLY reason why people are buying it. It’s just like Playboy Magazine; guys only buy it for the pictures of nude women inside. The articles are only there so that they have something to read during their refractory periods.

While it may look interesting, the black taco shell is like Lady Gaga when she picks something to wear, it doesn’t have much taste. It tastes like Taco Bell’s normal yellow taco shell, which I guess I should be glad about, since my imagination believes if the black taco shell were to have a flavor it would be gangrene.

The filling has the same seasoned ground beef, shredded lettuce, and shredded cheese you will find in 75 percent of the items on Taco Bell’s menu, so it’s not worth writing about beyond the almost 40 words in this sentence.

The Black Jack Taco also comes with a white pepper jack cheese sauce. The white sauce combined with the black shell give the taco a color contrast usually found with piano keys, TV’s made before the 1960s and Spy vs. Spy comics. While not as interesting as the black taco shell, the slightly spicy pepper jack cheese sauce does give this menu item some flavor and spice, although it’s not as tasty as Taco Bell’s nacho cheese and Volcano sauces.

With all the ingredients combined, it creates a taco with a taste that doesn’t really impress me. The pepper jack sauce isn’t bold enough to me and the shell is only for show. But it’s what I expected from Taco Bell — taking whatever ingredients they have, pouring them into fine China, sticking them in a China shop, releasing a bunch of bulls in the shop and whatever ingredients weren’t trampled on gets chosen for the next menu item.

The Black Jack Taco is only around for limited time, but it’s not something I’ll miss when the Fast Food Grim Reaper takes it away.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 Black Jack Taco -210 calories, 17 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 430 milligrams of sodium, 6 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 8 grams of protein.)

(NOTE: Grub Grade said it was decent. Junk Food Betty liked it a lot. Review Spew gave it a 2-star rating…barely. Fast Food Reviewed said it was okay. Would I Buy It Again wouldn’t buy it again.)

Item: Taco Bell Black Jack Taco
Price: $1.09 (almost everywhere else it’s 89 cents)
Size: 1 taco
Purchased at: Taco Bell
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Black taco shell looks interesting. Something different to order. Pepper jack sauce had a little spice to it. Playboy Magazine.
Cons: Black taco shell is just for show. Pepper jack sauce wasn’t bold enough for me. Not something I would miss when it’s gone. Lady Gaga’s wardrobe choices. Black taco shell looks like its been touched by the Grim Reaper.

THE WEEK IN REVIEWS – 10/17/2009

Here are a few product reviews posted this week from other blogs we like.

If there’s one thing small beer companies know how to do better than the big beer companies, it’s give their beers names that sound unappetizing and not refreshing. (via TBQ)

If it seems like I link to a lot of Japanese Kit Kat reviews, I do. I’m just fascinated with Nestle Japan’s ability to churn out new flavors, like the Blueberry Cheesecake Kit Kat, at the rate they do. It’s like they have Kit Kat fertility drugs or something. (via Jen Ken’s Kit Kat Blog)

I’m poor and hungry, so I have no standards. I would totally wrap my lips around a cheap microwaveable burrito. Heck, I’d take two of them in my mouth, if I could. (via Frozen Food Journal)

If I want a Milky Way shake I’ll just stick ice cream, some whole milk and one two an entire bag of Fun Sized three Milky Way bars in a blender. (via Chocolate Thunder)

This truly looks like a wiener in a blanket. (via Japanese Snack Reviews)