Chicken of the Sea Mandarin Orange Salmon Cups

I take back everything bad I said about other things I reviewed, this is proof that the devil lives among us. And apparently the devil takes on the form of a blonde mermaid who hocks packaged fish products. Nice try, you sleazy merchant of lies. You don’t even really exist in nature, your origin came about when drunk and horny pirates mistakenly identified a seal. Maybe next time wear a clamshell bra like Ariel from The Little Mermaid if you want to win my trust and make me have a disturbing, sexually confusing crush on you.

How I came about stumbling upon this box of evil seemed innocent enough. I was minding my own business, shopping at the gigantic corporate mega mart that simultaneously fuels and ruins our country, when I had a sudden craving for tuna. I skimmed the aisles until I found the cheapest can I could and then noticed something beside it. Like a siren, it called to me. I picked it up and threw it in my cart. Little did I know I was in possession of a product that was more akin to Pandora’s Box than a can of tuna.

I related to the small sealed cup because like myself, it had a massive identity crisis. The label is a true orgy of bullshit that I had to wade through just to figure out what the damn thing was. First of all, it was from Chicken of the Sea, which I’ve been conditioned to believe sells tuna.

However, it is addressed as a salmon cup, which is neither chicken nor tuna. To make matters more complicated, the words “Mandarin Orange” are included in a big box as if to indicate that this was indeed a fruit cup and that everything else was included for the sole purpose of pissing me off.

After my head exploded and the minimum wage worker lazily wiped the remains off the floor, I checked out. I mentioned to the cashier, “You do realize that this is fucking ridiculous, right?” but only received a puzzled look in response. I took the cup home and decided to give it a shot.

This is by far the most vile thing I’ve ever attempted to consume. The scent is somewhere between orange scratch-n-sniff and demon breath. I am convinced that if Syracuse University’s orange mascot died in a football celebration gone terribly awry, this is what he’d smell like after two weeks. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think this thing came straight out of an H.P. Lovecraft novel.

By this point I had confirmed that it was indeed salmon in some type of mandarin orange sauce. My first taste was one of bewilderment and disgust. “I don’t recall salmon tasting like syrup, orange liquor, and charcoal,” I thought to myself.

Needless to say, I quickly spit it out and burned the plastic bag just in case it decided to return and make me eat it in my sleep. I ran into the garage seeking sandpaper to lick so I could get rid of the taste.

They say that which does not kill you makes you stronger, but those people apparently never tasted mandarin orange salmon cups. The sadist in me wants you to try it with your family and share in the pain that I’ve felt, but the Jesus complex in me wants to save you from this horrible wreck.

It’s your call, but don’t come back crying when your spouse leaves you and your oldest daughter becomes a broken emo girl that I may or may not try to sleep with at a party.

Item: Chicken of the Sea Mandarin Orange Salmon Cups
Price: 85 cents
Purchased at: Wal-Mart
Rating: 1 out of 5
Pros: Hot animated mermaids. Hermetically sealed packaging.
Cons: Dead orange mascots. Smell from said dead orange mascot. Abominable taste. the shame of shopping at Wal-Mart. Confusing labels. Salmon officially losing all of its dignity.

REVIEW: IceBreakers Ice Cubes

I am a bit wary of buying things that I haven’t seen any advertising for. I tend to feel that the product has something to hide. I don’t know if it’s a nasty side effect, a lack of extreme attitude, or a criminal record, but I am always a bit hesitant. Generally, I never know if I should buy something unless a kid is skateboarding with it or a hot chick is deepthroating it in an ad. These are the things that I think about as I go shopping.

I made an exception with the IceBreakers Ice Cubes because of its novelty factor. This isn’t IceBreakers’s first foray into the world of gimmicky products, so they should know what they’re doing. Anyone remember Liquid Ice and how stupid those commercials with the Duff sisters made you feel? Now that they’re out of the equation, no longer will you question whether it’s liquid, it’s ice, or if anyone gives a damn about your inane queries. It’s all been settled, and ice has apparently won the battle.

IceBreakers Ice Cubes also appealed to me because breaking the ice in a social situation has never really been my cup of tea. This is a big problem in all of the facets of my life. Take philosophy class for example: “According to the rules of Fight Club, isn’t this sentence paradoxical?”

Or pickup basketball games: “Dude, can’t you toss it in? Your balls keep dangling around the rim!”

And especially first dates: “I’ll be honest, one of my guilty pleasures is getting naked in front of a mirror and loudly singing the Pokemon theme song as I gyrate and let ’em bounce around.”

So I was hoping that these particular IceBreakers would break the streak of bad ones. As I opened the small box, I was immediately hit with the headache-inducing fragrance of fake mint and xylitol. It was not a promising start.

Xylitol is apparently an alternative to sugar that’s supposed to have a natural cooling effect on your tongue. It can also cause nausea and act as a laxative in high enough doses, but the same could be said about almost anything I eat. I’m not going to hold that against it. However, I can’t excuse the fact that it’s a pretty horrible sugar substitute.

Like all of my other icebreakers, these particular cubes failed rather miserably in providing any type of freshness. Not only are they sickeningly sweet, but they have a grainy and unpleasant texture to start. Any cooling effect you’re supposed to get is completely masked. Worst of all, I didn’t even win the damn Singtone contest that I had banked my future on. How will I survive college if people can’t hear my rendition of Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield” every time my phone rings?

Overall, the only thing these cubes have going for them is their convenient shape. Now I can see why there are not seen suggestively licked on billboards. If you are the type of person who enjoys munching on sugar cubes and would like to replicate the experience in gum form, then this is the treat for you. For everyone else, the money spent purchasing these supposed “ice cubes” would be better served going towards some real ice cubes and crushed mint.

Admittedly, that would only lead you to heavy drinking after you figure out that you’re halfway towards a mojito, but I can hardly be blamed for your alcoholism.

Item: Icebreakers Ice Cubes
Price: 79 cents
Purchased at: Circle K
Rating: 2 out of 5
Pros: Extremely convenient shape and packaging. Decent enough after initial grainy stage of chew. Possibility of winning a Singtone. The original Pokemon theme song.
Cons: My icebreakers. Way too sweet and grainy. High possibility of not winning a Singtone and the ensuing disappointment. Letting creation of your own mint ice cubes lead you down path of alcoholism.

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