REVIEW: Frosted Wild! Grape Pop-Tarts

An exclamation point is used to show excitement, pain, anger and, depending on the amount used, the degree of your LOL. Of those options, I’m not sure what the exclamation point in the Frosted Wild! Grape Pop-Tarts is trying to express. Maybe it’s the pain and/or anger of the grapes who are disappointed they were used in a filling for a toaster pastry instead of a fine Merlot wine from Napa Valley.

Or the unnecessary punctuation could be trying to show some excitement. Although, even though an exclamation point looks like an erection, there’s nothing really thrilling about grape Pop-Tarts. The only punctuations I feel best describe this latest Pop-Tarts flavor is a colon, following by a hyphen and then a vertical bar.

As you can see on the box, each Pop-Tart is baked with real fruit…oh, I’m sorry…Real Fruit! But this means absolutely nothing if you’re trying to consume your recommended daily servings of fruit since the filling is made up of only 10 percent fruit. Also, like all Pop-Tarts, each one is fortified with sad amounts of vitamins and minerals. These pitiful amounts are as satisfying as trying to masturbate to pictures of Amish women because only around 10 percent of their skin is showing.

If you’re expected the Frosted Wild! Grape Pop-Tarts to be healthier than, let’s say Chocolate Banana Split Pop-Tarts, because it contains a little fruit, you will be disappointed. But honestly, just by looking at it, it’s easy to see it’s not the most healthiest item you can have as part of a complete breakfast. Try to name me any product with purple frosting and a radioactive green-colored drizzle that is healthy.

I’ve tried a lot of different Pop-Tart flavors in my lifetime and I have to say the Wild! Grape flavor is probably near the bottom of my favorite Pop-Tart flavors list, although I did like it. The grape flavor is a familiar one that I’ve tasted with either a grape candy or juice and it’s not overly sweet like some of the dessert flavored Pop-Tarts. It’s decent tasting, but if I want a fruit flavored Pop-Tart I’d prefer the frosted strawberry or blueberry ones. But if I want to be masochistic, deprive myself of sugary goodness and avoid unnecessary punctuation marks, I’ll purchase unfrosted Pop-Tarts.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 pastry – 200 calories, 5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, 10% vitamin A, 10% iron, 10% thiamin, 10% riboflavin, 10% niacin, 10% vitamin B6 and 8% folic acid.)

Item: Frosted Wild! Grape Pop-Tarts
Price: $3.00 (on sale)
Size: 8 pastries
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Tastes decent toasted, straight out of the box or frozen. No trans fat. Using an exclamation point to express excitement. Exclamation point is an erect phallic punctuation.
Cons: Not one of my favorite flavors. Unnecessary use of an exclamation point. Contains high fructose corn syrup. Poor amounts of vitamins, minerals and fruit. Purple frosting and radioactive green drizzle is a little offputting. Trying to masturbate to pictures of heavily clothed Amish women. 😐

REVIEW: White Castle A.1. Specialty Slider

Even though I’m an urban dweller, I love driving. There’s just something about pushing your foot on the gas pedal and revving your engine when you get on the freeway, unless you’re rolling in some “green machine” that has an engine quieter than Helen Keller. I’m a big fan of the road trip; it is the quintessential way to discover yourself, or go on the run to escape the Feds.

Before writing for TIB, I never ate fast food. I didn’t even eat at McDonald’s when I traveled throughout Europe, but times have changed. Although I still refuse to eat meat products from the two scary fast food redheads, the plastic King and other first tier fast food restaurants, I now feel like it’s my duty to partially block my arteries on occasion and seek out what second tier fast food establishments have to offer. However, the problem with some second tier places is that they aren’t located around every corner like hookers in a shady neighborhood and Starbucks.

Yeah, I equated Starbucks with prostitutes. They’re just the hookers of the upper-middle class suburbs and chic urban centers.

I wanted to try White Castle for a while; probably since 2004 when that classic piece of cinema, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle was released. Six years ago, the nearest White Castle was about 300 miles away from me, but since then I moved closer to one of those cute little buildings that look like they were built by children playing on the beach using colorful plastic buckets. However, I never had the time, nor did anyone share my desire to spend more on gas than a fast food meal to get a fast food meal, but finally I did it and hit the road with one of my friends. We were like Harold and Kumar, except not Asian, Indian, stoners, or two guys. Maybe we were like Thelma and Louise, except neither of us killed anyone and we didn’t drive off of a cliff.

After a long drive, which unfortunately didn’t involve a Neil Patrick Harris cameo, we finally saw the little white building that is one of the meccas of all things small (which also includes the Little People of America National Convention and the primetime lineup on TLC). Apparently, 8:30 p.m. on a Saturday night is a down time for the Castle, because we were the only people inside.

The A.1. Specialty Slider was sold as a combo deal. Three sliders, a “saver sized” drink and a “saver sized” order of crinkled cut fries. I thought the saver size was a small, but it’s about half the size of a small. These special sliders are only topped with White Castle’s famous chopped onions and a generous dollop of A.1. Steak Sauce. These simple ingredients continues White Castle’s tradition of using the K.I.S.S Philosophy — Keep it Simple Stupid. This should not be confused with the KISS Philosophy, which is to bang as many women as you can while wearing glam rock makeup and holding a guitar that shoots out flames.

Now if I was drunk, or stoned, these things would have been awesome, and I probably would have ordered two combos, but since I was only under the influence of the lure of White Castle, these burgers were pretty average. Also, cheese would’ve been nice, but maybe I’m asking too much. They tasted better than the ones you can get in the freezer section at Costco, but I’m sure you can recreate the A.1. Slider easily by just putting a glob of A.1. on it. I didn’t think I could get full off of just three sliders and a Barbie-sized order of fries, but it did satisfy me and shockingly I didn’t need to use the W.C. after I ate at WC.

(Nutrition Facts – a regular slider without A.1. Sauce (nutrition facts for A.1. slider not available on website) – 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of sugar, 6 grams of protein and 4% iron.)

Item: White Castle A.1. Specialty Slider
Price: $2.99
Size: 3 sliders, a saver sized drink and a saver sized fries.
Purchased at: White Castle
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Road trips. Just enough A.1. Sauce. Enjoying White Castle while sober so I can remember it. Harold and Kumar. Crinkle cut fries were nice and hot. Not needing to use the bathroom after eating White Castle.
Cons: Would have tasted better if I was under the influence. Barbie-sized fries weren’t enough. Limp bun. Limp Gene Simmons. Would have improved with cheese.

REVIEW: Baked! Lay’s Parmesan and Tuscan Herb

There was a time when I liked Baked Lay’s and thought it was one of the greatest snacks ever invented, but I no longer have the same feelings. Of course, I enjoyed it in the late 1990s to early 2000s, when I had poor judgement and taste.

How poor?

Let me just say I had Creed’s “Higher” playing in heavy rotation on my Aiwa XP-V320 compact disc player and I wore a lot of jeans shorts with strategically placed tears in them.

But I’m glad I tried Baked Lay’s because it made me realize Creed was a shitty band and jeans shorts with strategically placed tears in them were never cool.

My love for Baked Lay’s was fleeting, just like Justin Bieber’s girlish voice will be after he passes puberty. I enjoyed it because it was a healthier alternative to regular potato chips. But the more I ate it, the more I realized it was a poor tasting substitute with the texture of a dehydrated sponge. When I finally came to this conclusion, it opened my eyes and made me realize I had no sense of fashion and that Scott Stapp was no Eddie Vedder.

Creed songs were like Baked Lay’s and visa versa. Both of them brought me no pleasure. As uplifting as their lyrics seemed, Creed songs have never made me feel good or made me want to play air guitar. And as healthy as they were, eating Baked Lay’s has never comforted me in a way that a bag of greasy potato chips does or made me want to get every last crumb of it by resting one of the bag’s open corners on my bottom lip and flicking the bag to let gravity bring whatever crumbs remain to my awaiting mouth.

Even when Lay’s introduced their cheddar and sour cream & onion varieties, I thought they were the Baked Lay’s version of Creed’s blander album Weathered. However, while Creed has gotten worse, Baked Lay’s has gotten better thanks to their latest flavor — Baked! Lay’s Parmesan and Tuscan Herb.

Unlike the cheddar and sour cream & onions versions, the Baked! Lay’s Parmesan and Tuscan Herb has a robust flavor that does a good job of hiding the fact that you’re eating a snack with the texture of a dehydrated sponge. The potato crisps (not chips, crisps) have a strong parmesan scent, which made me feel like I was snorting some lines of Kraft 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese with Chester Cheetah. However, while eating the crisps, the parmesan was less noticeable and the Tuscan herbs took over the flavor. I’m not sure what “Tuscan herbs” are, but in the ingredients list there’s basil, parsley, rosemary and dehydrated green and red bell peppers. The crisps’ flavor also has a hint of sour cream and a slight spicy kick.

Overall, the Baked! Lay’s Parmesan and Tuscan Herb was very tasty and slightly changed my opinion of Baked Lay’s. While its flavor does bring me some pleasure, it hasn’t changed my opinion that original Baked Lay’s sucks.

It sucks Creed hard.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 ounce – 120 calories, 3 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 310 milligrams of potassium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, 2% calcium, 2% vitamin E and 2% iron.)

Item: Baked! Lay’s Parmesan and Tuscan Herb
Price: $3.49 (on sale)
Size: 8.75 ounces
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Robust flavor. Has a slight kick. Better for you than regular potato chips. Pearl Jam. Snorting lines of Kraft 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese with Chester Cheetah
Cons: Texture like a dehydrated sponge. Creed. Not as comforting as regular potato chips. Creed. Jeans shorts with strategically placed tears. Creed. What I liked in the late 1990s to early 2000s. Creed. Original Baked Lay’s.

THE WEEK IN REVIEWS – 4/3/2010

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

Haagen Dazs Rum Raisin Ice Cream is an ex-girlfriend’s favorite flavor. When I see it in the store, it makes me think of her. When I think of her, it makes me wonder if I should friend her on Facebook. When I wonder if I should friend her on Facebook, I remember that I haven’t played Bejeweled Blitz in a long time. When I play Bejeweled Blitz, I forget to friend my ex-girlfriend on Facebook. (via Frozen Food Journal)

There’s a beer called Yellow Snow. I guess I’m going to have to call Old Milwaukee something else. (via TBQ)

Burger King now has a breakfast bowl that contains eggs, sausage, potatoes, onions, peppers and cheese. If The King wakes me up with one of them, I hope he also brings a fork so I can stab him. (via Hamburger Calculus and We Rate Stuff)

A chocolate egg that comes in a real eggshell. There’s a yolk out there that must be pissed. (via Foodstuff Finds)

Since I don’t drink anymore, I don’t have a use for an anti-hangover beverage. But I really could use an anti-Justin Bieber beverage because “Baby” keeps bumping in my head. (via Everyview)

I want you imagine Beavis from Beavis and Butt-Head. Then I want you to imagine him saying Chokito over and over again. You’re welcome. (via Jim’s Chocolate Mission)

REVIEW: Ritz Munchables Pretzel Crisps Buttery Flavor

Ritz crackers. If you live in most of the Anglosphere, you’ve probably eaten them before. To me, Ritz crackers are ubiquitous; they’ve just always been around, like Cheerios. You know what they taste like, but you don’t really give a crap either way. You open the cupboard one day, see a box of Ritz and think, “Huh…I don’t remember buying those.” Then you grab the 8-pack of Entemann’s chocolate donuts sitting next to the crackers and head for the couch to stuff your face while you watch the Deadliest Catch marathon that you’ve already seen twice…in the past month.

Oh sure, you’ll crack the box of Ritz eventually, as you hover over a bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup, with snot running down your face, wishing for death and hoping that you can keep down a few crackers long enough to take your seventh hellish dump of the morning without having to bring an old Tupperware with you, just in case your body decides it wants to expel both your virus-laden bodily fluids at the same time.

By the way, that’s the standard scenario I use to define what I would call a “bad day.”

Six months later, you’ll be cleaning out the pantry, notice the Ritz have long since expired and toss the remainder of the box in the trash. Poor Ritz. Possibly the most disregarded cracker in existence, hovering just above the humble saltine.

Somewhere along the line, Ritz decided it was time to expand their empire and get people excited about the Ritz brand name. Okay, well, maybe not excited. Mildly interested, let’s say. They went wild, launching new lines of crisps, miniatures, and recently, “Crackerfuls.”

The latest addition to this growing family is the Ritz Munchables Pretzel Crisps. Here’s how Ritz’s official website describes them: “What happens when you hide a bite-sized, buttery tasting Ritz cracker inside a salty, crunchy pretzel? You get Ritz Munchables Pretzel Crisps, a scrumptiously satisfying snack you just pop in your mouth.”

What the fuck, Ritz? Have you gone crazy?

It’s like Ritz has hired Dr. Frankenstein to come up with their new products, because there’s no other explanation for it. Who else would think of putting a Ritz cracker inside a pretzel? It’s madness, pure madness.

Madness aside, it’s actually already been done, in a sense, by Keebler. A few years back, they introduced Town House FlipSides, which are a cracker on one side and a pretzel on the other. I thought it was ridiculous then, and I still think so. I guess Nabisco wanted to step it up by having the pretzel actually swallow the cracker. I don’t like where this particular competition is headed.

Pretzel Crisps currently come in two flavors, Buttery Flavor and Cheesy Sour Cream & Onion. I was drawn to the latter, of course, because the more flavors you pack into one snack product, the more intrigued I am. However, I figured Buttery Flavor would give me a better idea of what a regular Ritz cracker tastes like…inside a pretzel. That doesn’t get any less weird, no matter how many times I type it.

You know what also was a little weird? The image on the back of the box. There’s guy shoving a basketball into his crotch with another white guy and a black dude who all look like they’re having a brodown over a local sports team’s basket, goal, touchdown, or whatever. But it also looks like they just watched the revealing of some dumpy chick’s “new look” on TLC’s What Not to Wear. Seriously, I’ve never seen a “candid shot of guys celebrating something out of frame” manage to look so completely emasculated. Adding a basketball doesn’t make it any more manly when it looks like the guy is using it to hide the boner he’s getting from holding hands with his friend that he’s secretly had a crush on for years.

I didn’t have any preconceptions on how the crisps would taste going into this. I guess my mind couldn’t even come up with what a Ritz cracker pretzel would be like. I think my thought was basically, “Danger! Warning! Bad!”

The Ritz Munchables do look like little Ritz mutants, with their signature round shape and pattern of holes, but smaller, thinner and less heavy than regular Ritz. The outside is darker, more indicative of a pretzel, and it’s also smoother. As you can see from the one I broke in half, there’s no scary surprise inside. It looks just like a regular ol’ pretzel chip.

And, while I don’t think I’ve ever had a pretzel chip, I’d imagine these Munchables are pretty much what they taste like. Crunchier but less crumbly than Ritz crackers, with a mild pretzel-flavored finish. I can’t really detect any of Ritz’s traditional texture here, but I think what makes it believable as a cracker/pretzel hybrid is the presence of Ritz’s signature buttery flavor. It’s not as noticeable as in a regular Ritz, but it’s enough to turn it from a bland pretzel snack into a slightly buttery-tasting bland pretzel snack.

I think if I’d purchased the Cheesy Sour Cream & Onion flavor instead of Buttery Flavor, all resemblance to a Ritz cracker probably would go right out the window. It’s only the butter taste that makes it seem like a pretzel/Ritz hybrid. Personally, I require my pretzels to either be pre-flavored or dipped in something tasty. The butter taste just can’t save these Munchables from being Blandsville to me. I can imagine enjoying them with a nice, heavily-processed nacho cheese sauce, but they’re too small to dip into anything without getting dip all over your fingers.

Also, have a tall glass of water handy, because the Ritz Munchables Pretzel Crisps Buttery Flavor will suck your mouth dry, just like eating a handful of plain pretzels. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t eat these as a regular snack, but if I found myself hovering over a bowl of tomato soup, feeling miserable, these would be a good “try to get some solid foods into you” option. But then, so would saltines, and I don’t think they’re ever going to win any “Flavor of the Year” awards.

The Ritz Munchables Pretzel Crisps Buttery Flavor – a great choice if you’re having a “bad day.”

(Nutrition Facts – 15 pieces/29 grams – 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 340 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 2 grams of sugars, 2 grams of proteins, 0% vitamin A, 0% vitamin C, 4% calcium and 6% iron.)

(NOTE: Yum Yucky also reviewed them. Here’s another review. And one more.)

Item: Ritz Munchables Pretzel Crisps Buttery Flavor
Price: $2.49 (on sale)
Size: 12.25 ounces
Purchased at: Fry’s Foods
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Hint of traditional Ritz buttery flavor. Having a basketball around to hide your boner. Crispy and crunchy. Dr. Frankenstein running the Ritz R&D department.
Cons: Too bland. Bodily fluids coming out both ends. Too small for dipping. Unrequited man crushes.