Rico’s Salsa De Queso Nacho Cheese Sauce

I’ll admit that my eating habits are less than stellar. Deplorable, if you will. But I am a man who enjoys blaming all of his shortcomings on everyone but myself, so I will proceed to do so. I have had a distorted view of food since I was a small child. My parents taught me that all-you-can-eat buffets were a competition where the only way to win was to eat until you struggled to breathe. That’s how you get the edge over society and get your slice of American pie…or something along those lines, I can’t really remember the logistics of the situation.

This desensitization to crappy fried foods and imitation cheeses led to my current state of junk food codependence. I say “co-” because I feel like I have a lasting relationship with it, though I’m not sure if it’s based on eHarmony’s 29 dimensions of compatibility. High school further dragged me along this path, as the lunches provided were insufficient for rabid dogs, let alone burgeoning minds. I was left with two choices: the salad bar or nachos.

The salad bar might as well have been renamed “Hidden Valley” because everything was just a vessel for ranch dressing. Small amounts of wilted lettuce were laid out like bed sheets for macaroni and potato salads. Jugs of ranch were handed out so kids could mask any nutrients left inside. Of course, bread sticks were handed out for dipping. Ranch was fucking everywhere. Kids became addicted to it. I am convinced that I would’ve been laid if I had the foresight to pour ranch on myself.

I traveled the much healthier road and ended up falling in love with nacho cheese instead. Cheese has calcium in it, right? After rationalizing my addiction, I embraced the smooth, velvety texture of the cheese. It was laced with a hint of spiciness and the glow of neon orange. All of it came together to make a splendid sauce for the stale nachos that went down my gullet at $1.50 a tray. Throw in some pickled jalapeno slices and you’re set for any fiesta, or in my case, a night alone with the Gilmore Girls.

I had missed it in the couple of years since then, but found something appealing as I strolled through the aisles of the cursed entity known as Wal-Mart. It was Rico’s Salsa De Queso Nacho Cheese Sauce. The redundant and convoluted name didn’t strike my fancy, but the promise of molten hot nacho cheese piqued my interest.

I wasn’t expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised that it indeed came out hot and smooth from the microwave. It was good, too! It still maintained a decent amount of texture and adhered perfectly to the chips. The nacho cheese is actually made with real jalapenos, which is noticeable as you feel a tingle of heat on your tongue upon consumption. It helped me put away a giant bag of organic tortilla chips over a one week period.

The best thing about this product is that I no longer need to rationalize the nutrition value of nacho cheese. Rico’s has done already done that for me, as their stamp boasts “0% cholesterol” and “Good source of calcium.” I’ve already begun adding it to my orange juice and breakfast cereal.

But not everything is muy bueno with Rico’s Salsa De Queso Nacho Cheese Sauce. I really wish I could say something positive about Rico’s lazily-made mascot. Seriously, a fucking drop of nacho cheese? That’s the best they could come up with? At least put a sombrero on him or some maracas.

Everyone knows racial stereotypes make the best mascots.

Item: Rico’s Salsa De Queso Nacho Cheese Sauce
Price: $1.99
Purchased at: Wal-Mart
Rating: 4 out of 5
Pros: Comes out hot and creamy in microwave. Tasty and cheap as all good junk food should be. Nacho cheese may or may not get me sexually aroused.
Cons: Not all that spicy. Lacks real cheese. Lazily designed mascot without fun Mexican stereotypes. Stretching the truth about nutritional information. All-you-can-eat buffets and their damage to the psyche.

REVIEW: Nissin Thai Peanut Chow Mein

Ever been so broke that your roommate kicked you out for secretly hoarding his/her Cheese-It crackers in a pillow case next to your bed? What about that patent for that invisible dog leash that you didn’t know was already invented? Are you tearing up right now and violently shaking your head in the mirror as you read this? Of course you are. We’ve all been there, but the key is to keep from descending into a life of bootlegging porn and slinging rocks to keep your head above water.

If you’re ever down on your luck but still too prideful to live off of plain old bagged ramens, Nissin is on your side. Indeed, searching through the neighbor’s newspaper to find 10 for $1 deals on your favorite flavors can be humiliating and soul-crushing. Opening the bag and having the bits of ramen spray everywhere around your filth-ridden hovel can be even worse.

Luckily, for just ten times the price, you can avoid all of this. That’s because Nissin’s Chow Mein brand comes in its own microwavable container that you just add water to and cook for a few minutes. If they did their marketing research correctly, all of this crazy technology will make you feel like a bigger person.

After you add water to the fill line and watch it bubble in the microwave, it comes out hot and ready to eat. This should be the part where you take a satisfying bite and show the world that you will indeed make it in life, but something’s very wrong.

Son of a bitch…it’s not chow mein at all! In fact, it’s just regular ramen — as I should’ve expected all along. I would at least expect them to make the noodles bigger or change the taste a little, but they are the same ramen noodles we’ve all come to love and loathe.

What else is the packaging lying to me about? I see on the upper left-hand corner that it claims to have “stir fried noodles with plenty of vegetables” but I can’t figure out why. Obviously, the noodles have never been touched by human hands, let alone a chef next to a wok. I’m pretty sure I didn’t stir fry it in the microwave. If I did, I should be taking Criss Angel’s spot on Mindfreak. About the claim “plenty of vegetables,” I can’t imagine that tick-sized bits of red and green mystery specks could be any way construed as such things. How many lies must a man endure?

Luckily for Nissin, I am a very easy person to please. Apologies tend to warm my heart, even when they are half-assed and meaningless. I have had a whirlwind of emotions with these noodles, but I was giddy with glee as I found a small packet of crushed peanuts inside the box. Oh, the fun those peanuts and I had. After I sprinkled them atop the mound of ramen noodles, I was happy once again.

The noodles themselves tasted pretty good. They were a bit gummier than I would like, but still perfectly edible. The sauce was sweet, sour, and spicy, just as the packaging said it would be. By itself it is a rather meager meal, but the addition of your favorite meat or a simple fried egg would make it a decent lunch. All in all, the purchase did not change my life, but it kept me from a life of crime and debauchery.

Item: Nissin Thai Peanut Chow Mein
Price: 99 cents
Purchased at: Stater Bros.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Pros: Sauce tastes pretty good. Very easy to cook and eat. Small packets of crushed peanuts.
Cons: Not actually chow mein. No vegetables. Misleading claims about food preparation. Stealing cheap food from roommates.

Hello Readers of The Impulsive Buy

I never had the chance to properly introduce myself.

I’m Ace, the new writer here at The Impulsive Buy.

You probably think I came in a mail order package from a gourmet catalog. That’s not exactly true, though I have ended up here through unlikely circumstances.

I grew up in in the part of Orange County that they don’t show you on television. I was a pretty good student as a child, earning great marks in playtime and penmanship. I played with Transformers and stuffed animals and often simulated battle royals in which they would fight to the death. I was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” in junior high, which has sadly been the crowning achievement in my life. As I developed into an angst-ridden teenager, I indulged myself in bad emo poetry and became a lazy shell of a human. I started using words like “broseph” and began to sleepwalk through high school. I ended up skating by with a 2.8 GPA and needed to retake a few classes to graduate.

I am now entering my third year at Cal State Fullerton where I am working towards an English degree. I chose the school because I thought “Tuffy the Titan” was such an adorable name for a mascot. My professors are either maniacally insane or nearly comatose, but it’s generally fun. If you live in the Orange County area, feel free to join me for coffee between my classes. I have grown weary of pretending to read the newspaper.

Am I qualified to write anything suitable for human eyes? No, not really. I have done some journalism in previous years, but nothing groundbreaking. My first gig as a writer was when my friend gave me five bucks to write his article for him, so I don’t exactly have “credentials” or anything. However, I have done pretty well in my writing classes. I am accused of being a snob, though, because I like to correct papers with a giant novelty marker and loudly proclaim “Wrong!” or “You really don’t get it, do you?” as I make every mark.

Anyways, I was a long time fan of The Impulsive Buy before I began writing here. It helped me decide to make my own blog, the generically named Here To Eat, where I wrote food pseudo-reviews for dozens upon dozens of fans. I enjoyed doing it as I was free to interject my own pointless musings while talking about chicken fried steak. I guess Marvo liked it enough to offer me a home here. Since I was already a big fan and can still write freely, it was an easy choice to make.

Anyways, that’s pretty much me in a nutshell. Now that you know me, hopefully you guys will not mistake my reviews for Marvo’s. May all good things in life happen to you and only you.

– Ace

REVIEW: Froot Loops Cereal Straws

Froot Loops Cereal Straws

I must start by saying that I’ve never really liked Froot Loops. I was always more of a Trix guy growing up. I can’t say why, exactly. Maybe it was my sympathy for the Trix rabbit, or maybe it was because I never really understood the appeal of Toucan Sam. He was boring and dull, nothing like my buddy “Two-Can Sam” who earned his nickname through his method of drinking which led to alcohol poisoning. Perhaps I never really dug Froot Loops because my elementary school would feed me stale ones every morning.

It also could’ve even been the fact that my school district switched from milk cartons to milk bags in the mid nineties, forcing us to puncture the bags like savages. The milk went everywhere but in the bowl, causing me to dress the cereal with tears when the milk from the bag ran out. So maybe it was the horrible traumatization, but I can’t be sure. What I am sure of is that I no longer have to relive those memories, as Froot Loops now come in straw form.

“Straws…made of cereal? This is fucking AWESOME!”

What do you mean? That wasn’t what you were thinking? Okay, you’re probably right. On the list of “things nobody asked for, but we’re going to give you anyways,” cereal straws has to rank in the top five. On that basis alone, it was worthy of an impulsive buy. I need to drink more milk, anyways. I haven’t grown in years and the commercials say it helps prevent osteoporosis in women. I’m not sure if I need that second part, but you can never be too sure.

Upon perforating one of the two packages, the perfume of fake fruit and powdered milk permeated the air and tempted the taste buds (try to say that without sounding like Daffy Duck, I dare you). There’s something about unabashedly artificial flavoring that’s both charming and nostalgic…sexual, even. Alright, maybe not sexual, but something pleasant nonetheless. The straws were thinner than what the box indicated, looking more like real straws than giant-sized novelty pens. They are lined in the middle with that sickly sweet powdered milk that seems to be popping up in granola and cereal bars everywhere. Someone needs to tell these guys that it does NOT replace milk and that we can all tell it’s just sweetened coffee creamer. Fortunately, the flavor of that is masked by the Froot Loop shell.

The straws themselves are rather sturdy and hold up well to milk. They last a long time without getting soggy and do actually work as straws. They basically taste like Froot Loops, which is all you could realistically hope for. Sadly, the cereal straws live in a paradoxical existence; humans cannot eat and drink at the same time. Well…I guess soup makes us do that, but let’s ignore that for a second.

Once you take a single bite of the cereal straw, it becomes too short for drinking and the fun immediately dissipates. If you just sit there and drink the milk, you’ll just be wasting the straw as it imparts no flavor and is generally useless. Once you get to the bottom, you realize you have a half-soggy cereal straw with no milk to wash it down with.

God damn, it’s like a snake eating its own tail!

Alas, cereal straws are apparently too cool for the laws of this universe and exist only as fun, yet impractical novelties.

Item: Froot Loops Cereal Straws
Price: $2.00
Purchased at: Wal-Mart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Froot Loops flavor and fragrance. Snackable without milk. Actually works as a straw. My buddy “Two-Can Sam.”
Cons: Ridiculously pointless. Extremely artificial taste. Alcohol poisoning. Daffy Duck’s speech impediment. Can’t drink and eat at same time.

Libby’s Zesty Barbecue Vienna Sausage

I’ve always been told that one of the most important things one can do in life is make a good first impression. Unfortunately, I tend to ignore people I deem stupid so most advice goes way over my head. I once took a girl out on a first date and audibly complained that getting another slice of cheese on my burger costs an extra 30 cents. Later on, I mused about “really thinking about buying war bonds” and “striking it rich with Pog collecting.” After I finished explaining that “I’m not a stalker,” she seemed visibly disgusted.

Oh, the witty thought bubbles Blind Date would’ve put over our heads!

Alas, it was not meant to be.

But something I’ve learned from television is that no matter how badly you screw up, you can always dye your hair and move to a different state. This is why back in the 90’s I looked like an Asian Dennis Rodman. Not exactly a pretty sight, but that’s the sacrifice I had to make. All of that’s in the past and now I’m here with all you fine folks reviewing everything America has to offer: the good, the bad, and the Libby’s Zesty Barbecue Vienna Sausages.

Vienna sausages never made a good first impression with me. They were limp, soft, and devoid of any flavor except for perhaps urine and pig intestines. Looking like flaccid hot dogs didn’t help their case either. The fact that they even call it a Vienna sausage is obscene. It’s like inventing a “Luxembourg Sandwich” and making it with bologna and chicken gravy. Granted, that sounds absolutely delicious, but it doesn’t make it accurate.

Vienna is supposed to be a city rich with culture, history, and from what I gathered from the movie Hostel, hot and easy Euro chicks. These sausages have none of that.

Actually, I might be shortchanging them a bit — they might contain Euro chicks, since they’re already made with chicken, beef, and pork. Throw in some tuna and they could make a formidable basketball team down at the local YMCA.

Vienna sausages are life’s “fuck you” waiting in the cabinet when you’re hung over and depressed; heart welling with anguish after a long night of binge drinking because you’re wondering why Gordon Ramsey has to be so darn mean on Hell’s Kitchen. All you have left after that are these crimes against nature, which are mysteriously cheaper than cat food and come in disturbingly similar packaging. I’m not one to turn down a good can of Fancy Feast, but it’s not exactly something I’m proud of. There is a saving light, however! The sausages now come with a zesty barbecue sauce.

The makers of the sausage would like to believe that the addition of an awful sauce would make their product suitable for human consumption. My rebuttal would be a Lex Luthor-style WROOOONG!!!

Damn, where do I start?

The sausages have a distinct metallic aftertaste. I’m not sure if this is because they’ve been in a can since the first world war, but it is not exactly pleasing to the palette. The barbecue sauce is just regular Vienna sausage sauce mixed with some ketchup and brown sugar. It makes for a viscous disaster of a condiment. I tried them on a hot dog bun and barely got through two bites. I wouldn’t even feed it to my worst enemy, for I fear that upon consumption he would be stricken with so much rage that I would be immediately eviscerated.

Maybe it was stupidity or maybe it was morbid curiosity, but I was drawn to these things. For that, I am ashamed. I hope Libby’s enjoy their 48 cents, because it is safe to say that I will not be making this purchase again unless I am attempting suicide and need some extra incentive.

Item: Libby’s Zesty Barbecue Vienna Sausage
Price: 48 cents
Purchased at: Wal-Mart
Rating: 1 out of 5
Pros: Knowing that the production of this stuff at least gives people jobs.
Cons: Barbecue sauce on a god damn vienna sausage. Distinct metallic aftertaste. Complaining about the price of cheese on dates. Look like flaccid hot dogs. An Asian Dennis Rodman. Gordon Ramsey’s temper.