REVIEW: Kellogg’s Froot Loops Rainbow Sherbet Scoops Cereal

Who among us hasn’t been eating our fruity children’s breakfast cereal and thought, “This cereal is fine, but what it really needs is to taste more like sherbet and also maybe a little like a menthol cigarette”? Plenty of us, apparently, because Kellogg’s is breaking out the Mentholation Machine first employed in last year’s ICEE Cereal.

And so although this isn’t the first cereal to use the “Cools Your Mouth!” gimmick, and it isn’t the first to use a “sherbet” twist (Post unleashed Ice Cream Pebbles on an unsuspecting public in 2015), what it’s got going for it is that it could be the worst type of cereal in both categories. Kellogg’s knows it’s important to have goals!

First, it’s vital to remember that these are Froot Loops, only in spherical form. Except that these taste nothing like regular Froot Loops. They’re closer to Trix, I think, except less fruity. In short, they are vaguely artificially fruit-like in nature. The pieces are indiscernible in terms of fruit type, which feels like a shortcoming when compared to regular Froot Loops rings; all of the balls taste the same.

Nothing about these say “sherbet,” either. It’s just multigrain cereal, through and through.

Which leaves us, I suppose, with the real attraction -— the mouth-cooling special effect. Does it work? How cool does your mouth get? What’s the point of all this?

So, when I first opened the bag and popped a few pieces dry into my mouth, I was horrified. It tasted as though someone had applied a fine misting of Icy Hot to my cereal. It didn’t burn my mouth, but it was gross and confusing. I let my 10-year-old daughter try it, and she said, “Um,

what IS that?

Weird. I don’t really like it. Can I have 20 more minutes of iPad time, please?”

I didn’t get a chance to revisit the cereal for a couple of days (clearly, I wasn’t clamoring for more), but when I did, I tried it in a bowl with milk. It grew soggy quicker than most other multigrain-based cereals and also seemed to lose any of the previously noticeable “Froot” flavor. Gone too was the “menthol” taste, but what was interesting was that I did notice a distinct “mouth cooling” feel after the first spoonful. It was unpleasant, like brushing my teeth and then immediately consuming food. I didn’t finish my bowl, and I have no desire to eat more. (Which, thanks, Target, for only having this available in the SUPER MEGA FAMILY SIZE!)

I don’t know why this cereal was made. It was a mistake, like Frankenstein’s monster or a barbwire bicep tattoo, and while I’d like to think Kellogg’s will learn its lesson and stop getting weird with food science, I’ve been in this business long enough to know this simply isn’t true.

Purchased Price: $4.76 (on sale)
Size: 12.4 oz box
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 3 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 1/3rd cup) 140 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 45 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar (including 11 grams of added sugar), and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Tombstone Tavern Style Thin Crust Pizza

Living in Chicago taught me a few important things. 1) Your eyelashes can (and will) freeze together much easier than you’d expect them to, 2) “dibs” on parking spots is a very divisive, very serious thing, and 3) the best pizza isn’t the Chicago deep dish (which, I know, I know, some don’t consider “pizza” at all) but is instead the thin, crunchy crusted, party-cut, tavern-style pie.

But what if you’re not in Chicago? Well, I’m sure you have at least one local place that tries their hand at it. Even still, if you’re like me, you like to have a frozen pizza or two on standby for an easy, cheap dinner. And if you’re even MORE like me, a general frozen pizza guideline is, “The less crust, the better.” With the exception of the best frozen pizza, period (Motor City Pizza Co.), most frozen pizza crust, to put it bluntly, sucks. That’s why I was excited when I spotted Tombstone’s new Tavern Style Thin Crust Pizza.

Tombstone tends to be one of my preferred options when it comes to the low-end of frozen pizza. The crust isn’t too thick, the sauce isn’t applied too heavily, and the pepperoni version uses round slices and the little cubed kind. When they’re on sale, and I notice it, I’ll pick one up. Would I buy the new Tavern Style again? Eh. Probably not for more than a couple of bucks.

It’s offered in two versions: The Primo, featuring pepperoni, sausage, red onions, and banana peppers, and the one I tried for this review, the Let’s Meat Up (a brief aside about products everywhere using puns for names these days: what’s the deal?) featuring pepperoni, pork belly crumbles, and, in addition to mozzarella, cheddar cheese (The Primo only has mozz). The website copy further suggests that the sauce is “zesty” and the crust is “buttery.”

While I wouldn’t necessarily call the sauce “zesty,” it was mildly noticeable. It tasted like generic frozen pizza sauce. The crust was in no way buttery. It was bland and inoffensive, but it held up fine under the weight of the… okay, there was no weight to the pizza. The pepperoni— which was your run-of-the-mill round Tombstone pepperoni— was sparse. So, too, was the application of “pork belly crumbles,” which were salty and crispy. They reminded me, for better or worse, of pre-cooked bacon crumbles you get in a bag to put on a salad. I enjoyed their presence, as they were the only thing keeping this from being a completely pedestrian and unmemorable frozen pizza. The cheese types were indistinguishable from one another; you could’ve paid me a thousand dollars, and I’d have never been able to tell you it had mozzarella AND cheddar.

I’m willing to bet these will be quickly gone, like your dibs in some neighborhoods, and not exactly missed, like the sensation of your eyes freezing together on the Montrose Brown line platform at 7 a.m. in the middle of January.

Purchased Price: $5.99 (on sale)
Size: 19.8 oz
Purchased at: Hy-Vee
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/4 pizza) 350 calories, 19 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 870 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar (including 5 grams of added sugar), and 15 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Pepsi Peach

I think I’ve said it before on this website, but I’ll repeat it for those who don’t meticulously consume each of my reviews like the delightfully greasy bacon-double cheeseburgers of words that they are: I love flavored Coke. And by “Coke,” I mean, soda, and by “flavored,” I mean, well, you know… something other than the soda’s normal base.

But I don’t discriminate by soda type. I love the Strawberries and Cream Dr Pepper, as well as the Cream Soda version. I like Sprite when it gets weird with Cherries or Cranberries. Cherry Vanilla Coke is incredible, and I still lament the fact that poor sales (maybe?) killed its Orange Vanilla brethren. And Mango Pepsi is the best Pepsi.

And so it was with great anticipation and arousal that I awaited the appearance of Pepsi Peach at a retailer near me. I was so excited, in fact, that when I finally spotted it at my local QuikTrip, I went ahead and got it EVEN THOUGH they didn’t have the zero sugar version, which, in the case of all the aforementioned sodas, is generally my go-to.

Was it everything I hoped for?

Sadly, it was not.

If you don’t want to read a lengthy explanation, just know this: if you blindfolded me and had me drink this, I’d be extremely hard-pressed to tell you what soda flavor this was. The end.

But I’ll go a little further if you’re into details. The scent you get when opening the bottle is very identifiably peach, which makes the absence of actual peach flavoring all the more puzzling. I took a drink— riding high on hope and scent— and then went, “Wait, what?” But the thing is, this doesn’t taste like straight-up Pepsi, either. It’s Pepsi, but it’s a little sweeter than usual, and there’s a unique aftertaste that sets it apart as well. But at no point in the consumption process did I think, “Mmmm, peachy!” It was just mildly fruity.

And that’s a shame, really, given the way they do a great job capturing mango flavor. I was expecting so much more.

While it’s not bad, per se, it’s also not what it’s supposed to be. If it had been marketed as “General Fruit Pepsi,” it would have made so much more sense. I’d buy it again, I guess, if I was ever in a situation where I couldn’t find Mango Pepsi. Or Strawberries and Cream Dr Pepper. Or Cherry Vanilla Coke. Or… you get the idea.

Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 20 oz
Purchased at: Quiktrip
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 250 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 55 milligrams of sodium, 68 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 68 grams of sugar (including 68 grams of added sugar), and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Cinnamon Toast Crunch Waffle Cereal

Quite recently, on this web page, I spent a few hundred words bemoaning the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Committee’s efforts at integrating its product into places it maybe didn’t belong. The product of my focused ire in this specific instance was its attempt at crossbreeding its fine cereal product with Old El Paso taco shells. As part of my hard-hitting expose, I also mentioned its failures related to soft-baked cereal bars and peculiarly large “Stuft” marshmallows.

Garbage, all.

The good news about the new Cinnamon Toast Crunch Waffle cereal, though, is that it is, in no uncertain terms, a cereal. And if there’s one thing Cinnamon Toast Crunch shines at, it is being cereal. In fact, at any given moment, it is a Top 3 cereal. Maybe even Number 1. And its offshoots — for not being straight-up, dyed-in-the-wool CTC — are reasonably decent. The little balls they made were okay. The Rolls, various Leche(s), and French Toast riffs are all above average.

So what of this new Cinnamon Toast Crunch Waffle cereal?

The website acts like this is simply alternatively shaped CTC. It states, “Cinnamon Toast Crunch Waffle Cereal pairs epic cinnamon-sugar CINNADUST with crispy cereal pieces shaped like mini waffles. The whole wheat and corn cereal delights taste buds with real cinnamon and a crispy crunch.” But here’s the deal: I absolutely detect waffle flavoring in here as well. There’s a syrup-like undertone at the beginning and back end of each bite, and the whole shebang is covered in a ton of heavenly Cinnadust seasoning. It is, simply put, incredible. It took a lot of willpower to not eat more than one large bowl in my initial serving. It was just that delicious.

If I have one minor quibble — something that keeps this from being a perfect 10 — it’s that structurally, it doesn’t hold up well to milk. And on account of this is a cereal and all, that’s kind of problematic. This stuff gets soggy QUICK. Not inedibly soggy, no, but the crispness is deflated by a solid 65% within 30 seconds of a milk bath. On any lesser cereal, this would be a much bigger deal, but because this stuff was so good, all it did was make me eat it as fast as humanly possible.

I don’t know if General Mills intends on keeping this around as a regular offering or not, so my suggestion is to get several boxes now, and freeze-dry the ones that you… oh, who am I kidding— there’s no saving this stuff for later. Eat and enjoy while you can.

Purchased Price: $4.93
Size: 18.2 oz
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (41 grams) 170 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar (including 10 grams of added sugar), and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sonic Oreo Big Scoop Cheesecake Sundae

I recently ignited a small firestorm of controversy on a personal social media page by declaring, after my first visit to an In-N-Out, that the universally lauded burger was “fine” and “honestly, not quite as good as a cheeseburger from my closest Sonic.”

And while I do occasionally appreciate a good old-fashioned online riling, that’s not what this was. I meant it.

In-N-Out was perfectly fine. The burger was tasty, and the produce — though too plentiful — was fresh. It was very affordable, which was great. If I had an In-N-Out near me, I would probably get it occasionally. All this being said, it was not manna from heaven.

My nearest Sonic, though, is incredible. Everything always comes out flawlessly assembled and picturesque. The meat is always hot and well-seasoned. The produce is always fresh and applied in just the right amount. This Sonic is, I understand, likely an anomaly.

Even still, I think even the worst Sonic location is capable of pulling together a decent dessert, and I submit, for your consideration, the new Oreo Big Scoop Cheesecake Sundae or Blast.

For the sundae, which is what I had, vanilla soft serve is layered with Oreo cookie pieces, and topped off with a big ol’ scoop of Oreo Cheesecake. (According to the website, the Blast is described as “creamy cheesecake soft serve,” but under the “what’s included” heading, it suggests that it too uses vanilla soft serve but also “Cheesecake Syrup” in addition to the cookie pieces and cheesecake ball. I’m not sure which is correct.)

Sonic’s vanilla soft serve is pretty straightforward — creamy, sweet, and of typical soft serve consistency. The Oreo pieces were layered throughout in perfect execution, as promised, and with a clear purpose — each spoonful contained at least a few bits of chocolate cookie crumble. The real star of this show was the cheesecake orb at the top of the sundae. I don’t know if it comes from a giant bucket of Oreo cheesecake mixture or what, but this golfball-sized sphere of deliciousness was perfectly creamy and cheesecake-y, and I would eat fistfuls of the stuff if someone would let me. My only quibble with this sundae — and it is a nitpicky one — is that I wish the cheesecake could be interspersed throughout. (And if we’re indulging fantasies, perhaps some sort of fudge inclusion wouldn’t be the worst thing.)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to see if I can find a bucket of Oreo cheesecake mix to nosh on while I read the hate-filled death threats I’m sure to get from the In-N-Outarians in the comments section.

Purchased Price: $3.99
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 570 calories, 30 grams of fat, 17 grams of saturated fat, 90 milligrams of cholesterol, 420 milligrams of sodium, 65 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 43 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein.