REVIEW: Doritos Roulette Cool Ranch

Doritos Roulette Cool Ranch Bag

I’m not much of a gambler. I’ve been to Las Vegas once, a couple of years ago on a work trip, and I played (and lost) $5 in the hotel casino slot machine just so I could say I did it. It’s not that I don’t like risk; I will skydive or play basketball with brittle 40-year-old man knees or scream obscenities at a bull in Pamplona any day of the week. What I don’t like about gambling is the part where I am forced to part with money (mostly) due to things outside of my control.

But what about gambling with food? I do plenty of that, actually. I’ll eat pizza that was accidentally left out on the counter all night and slather my sandwiches with mayonnaise well north of its expiration date. As a young man brimming with virulent stupidity, I once ate a chicken tender from a trashcan on Bourbon Street. So is an extremely hot Cool Ranch Doritos any worse? (Well, okay— it’s undoubtedly safer than Trashcan Chicken, that’s for sure.) Let’s discuss.

The original Doritos Roulette chip — of the nacho cheese ilk — debuted in the US in 2015. (It’d been available abroad the year prior.) To the delight of spicy snack fans, they resurfaced last year in their original nacho incantation. But with the recent advent of Flamin’ Hot Cool Ranch Doritos, it seemed fated that Frito-Lay would eventually try its hand at Cool Ranch Roulette. So is it worth the gamble?

If you like Cool Ranch Doritos and don’t mind hot, you’ll like these chips. But how hot do they get, you’re wondering? Pretty hot. Like, really pretty hot, but not, “My nose and eyes are leaking, and I’m rethinking some of my life’s decisions, and why did I put off meeting with that guy about the living will. He said that the consultation was free unless they actually drafted paperwork” hot. Fresh jalapeño hot, but not 7 Pot Douglah hot. (It’s a pepper, look it up.) The heat is intense and lingering, and it is almost immediate.

Doritos Roulette Cool Ranch Closeup

The first chip I had was a regular Cool Ranch, and as I reached for a second, I wondered, how many hot chips are there in this bag? Is it like, 1 out of 10? 1 out of — and then as soon as I bit the second chip, my lips were burning, followed almost immediately by my tongue. Alarming as this was, it didn’t hold up statistically. I ate five or six chips before I got another hot one. (You know, just enough time for your mouth to begin feeling sort of okay again.) And really, that seemed to be about the ratio -— one out of every six or seven chips was burny.

It’s also worth noting that just because you liked the Flamin’ Hot Cool Ranch Doritos, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll like these. The FHCRD are a bit tangier and have more of a hot sauce burn, if you will, while this is much more of a pepper-based heat. Another reason that I enjoyed these more? If you have a kid who can’t yet read, it makes for a cheap laugh. (And it may also deter them from stealing your precious snacks.)

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 9.75 oz bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (12 chips) 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, 0 grams of added sugars, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Arby’s Spicy Fish Sandwich

Arby s Spicy Fish Sandwich Whole

I am not a super-regular consumer of fast food fish sandwiches. That’s not to suggest that I never have them, though. The ratio is probably just something along the lines of, for every fish sandwich I have, I probably eat ten non-fish sandwiches (aka a chicken sandwich or a hamburger). That number may be off a bit, I don’t know. I mean really, who charts what sort of animal their fast food meal came from? (As I typed this out, I realized that I actually kind of like this idea. So, I mean, I guess I might start.)

Anyway, it’s prime fish sandwich season, what with the Lent and so forth, and so all of your favorite purveyors of drive-thru delectables are either offering deals on their existing pescatarian products or coming up with new ones. Like this — the new Arby’s Spicy Fish Sandwich.

What you’ve got here is the standard Arby’s fish sandwich base— crispy fish fillet, shredded lettuce, and tartar sauce on a sesame seed bun — but you’re adding a tomato slice, fiery seasoning, and diced jalapeños to the mix. And the result? I cod eat this every time I order Arby’s. (Get it? Cod is a type of fish. We like to have a good time here at The Impulsive Buy, right?)

Arby s Spicy Fish Sandwich Split

The sesame seed bun was pretty standard and bland, but it was soft and held up well. The lettuce was crunchy and fresh, but the tomato was a bit mealy. It still served its greater purpose, I believe, which was to help cut down some of the fieriness of this sandwich. And was this thing fiery? Boy howdy.

Arby s Spicy Fish Sandwich Top

There is a duality to the heat here that stems from the “fiery seasoning” as well as the diced jalapeños. It’s hard to say which packs more of a punch because your mouth is pretty much engulfed after the first bite. I will say, though, that isolating the two gives two distinct heats; the jalapeño (the fresh, bright green kind, not pickled) is an instant tongue-punch while the seasoning on the fillet — which contains chili powder and cayenne amongst other things — is a slow burn.

It’s hard to know if this heat is too much for an average pallet. I feel like my receptors are abnormal and therefore unreliable; I can have Thai-hot and be fine, but other times an unassuming “spicy mayo” will be almost too much. I found this to be a perfectly acceptable level of hot, but I’m not going to refund your money if you get it and can’t take more than a bite or two. (Nor will I be shocked if you get it and you tell me that, I don’t know, your two-year-old tried it and loved it.)

What WILL surprise me, however, is if you get this sandwich and don’t enjoy it. Arby’s crispy, crunchy, light and tasty fish fillet is elevated by the spice, but it’s never too much; the tangy tartar sauce and cool veggies counterbalance the heat in a delightfully pleasant way. It’s a shame that this won’t become a regular menu item, because I cod order it ever … wait, did I already do the cod joke? Hang on, where are you going?

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 580 calories, 25 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 1200 milligrams of sodium, 68 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 21 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Bang Energy Blue & Yellow Limoncello

Bang Energy Blue  Yellow Limoncello Can

What is Bang Energy Blue & Yellow Limoncello?

My favorite way of turning into a human hummingbird by punishing my heart with 300 milligrams of hardcore caffeine (plus SUPER CREATINE! And CoQ10s!! And zero calories!!!) gets a Walmart-exclusive (hence “blue and yellow”) flavor inspired by the traditional Italian lemon liqueur Limoncello.

How is it?

Bang Energy Blue  Yellow Limoncello Glass

Smooth and lemony with a subtle creaminess on the back-end, B&YL sort of tastes like if you made a cake with Sprite. While perusing Bang’s subreddit (which mostly seems to be extremely amped up teens angry at being unable to find certain flavors), one person suggested that it tastes like “those lemon butter cakes you find at gas stations,” another said “tastes exactly like Limoncello LaCroix,” and another user stated “tastes like zebra cake to me,” which, well, uh, hmm. I see. I agreed with the first two things, though!

Anything else you need to know?

This isn’t the first Bang exclusive to a particular retailer. Last fall, the antiquely named Vitamin Shoppe introduced Nectarine Blueberry. Once I figure out where a Vitamin Shoppe is, I’m all over this one, too.

Conclusion:

It’s a shame that this is a Walmart-exclusive flavor, honestly. If it were more convenient to pick up, I’d be inclined to work this into my Wyldin’ Watermelon/Delish Strawberry Kiss/Key Lime Pie rotation. If you’re a Bang completist — or just someone who feels like they might want to imbibe an extremely caffeinated liquid lemon cake — you’ll want to check it out.

Purchased Price: $2.08
Size: 16 fl oz can
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 0 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, less than 0 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar including 0 grams added sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Carl’s Jr. Hardee’s Bacon Beast Burger

Hardee s Bacon Beast Burger Top

When I was very young, one of my favorite fast food sandwiches was the simple, yet respectable Hardee’s roast beef. Later, in my early 20s, and with an accordantly sufficient metabolism, I would occasionally go to town on a Monster Thickburger. You know, the one with two 1/3 pound beef patties, four strips of bacon, three slices of American cheese, and a slathering of mayo. (I always appreciated how they didn’t put on airs by adding anything that came from a garden.)

I’m older now, and as such, I wouldn’t feel responsible ordering one of those if Hardee’s still made them. (There’s a smaller, tamer version, but it just isn’t the same.) Couple the lack-of-a-sideshow-aspect with the fact that the nearest Hardee’s just isn’t very near, and the bottom line is, I don’t get there all that often. So, when I heard about its rollout of the new “Bacon Beast” menu featuring a Bacon Beast burger, breakfast burrito, and biscuit, I wondered, will this be enough to work Hardee’s into my regular fast food rotation?

The answer, simply put, is no.

You see, the thing is, I’ve got three Burger Kings closer to me, and Burger King has a Whopper, and to that Whopper, one may add bacon and cheese. And that is, from a taste standpoint, a 98% match for this burger.

Hardee s Bacon Beast Burger Sides

The Bacon Beast consists of “a 3.5 oz patty, tomato, lettuce, pickle, yellow onion, mayonnaise, American cheese, and four strips of Applewood-smoked bacon complete with a special sauce on a seeded bun.” (You can also get it with two or three patties; I ordered a single and was given a double.) A Whopper has a 1/4th pound patty, white onions instead of yellow, and ketchup instead of “special sauce.”

The thing is, for the life of me, I couldn’t tell how this special sauce WASN’T just ketchup. It was a little sweeter, maybe? But whatever it was supposed to be, it was nearly indistinguishable from ketchup.

The other thing, obviously, is that BK flame-grills its meat while Hardee’s charbroils it. Is it different enough to be noticeable? Not to me. Hardee’s patty seemed a bit saltier than BK’s, but it was tasty. Everything else was totally standard, and totally reminiscent of a Whopper. The vegetation was unremarkable but fine, the bacon was decently thick, the bun was bland, and the American cheese was waxy and what one would expect from fast food.

Hardee s Bacon Beast Burger Split

I had no complaints about this thing, but I didn’t come away with any compliments, either. It was a bacon cheeseburger from a top-10 fast food hamburger place. Better than a prepackaged one from a hospital vending machine, but much less desirable than one from Five Guys. And while I get that a place like Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. isn’t in direct competition with a place like Five Guys or Shake Shack or Your Favorite Local Hamburger Place, if they’re asking me to pay close to that same amount, they’ve gotta give me something fun or unique. A Whopper clone with sad special sauce and a different kind of onion just won’t cut it.

Purchased Price: $6.79
Size: Single Patty
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 900 calories is the only nutritional fact available on Hardee’s website at this time.

REVIEW: International Delight Hostess Twinkies Creamer

International Delight Hostess Twinkies Creamer Bottle

What is International Delight Hostess Twinkies Creamer?

The bad boys and girls at International Delight are at it again! No longer content with simply making Reese’s into iced coffee, or infusing their creamer with Almond Joy or Cinnabon, now they’re taking everyone’s favorite indestructible snack cake and making it drinkable.

How is it?

Delicious.

International Delight Hostess Twinkies Creamer Itself

While very little of the golden cake flavor shines through, the taste overwhelmingly captures the artificially delightful cream filling. It’s super sugary, sure, but you know what you signed up for: a Twinkies-flavored creamer. There is no nuance here, so maybe that’s a bit of a missed opportunity, but if you’ve ever wanted to drinky a Twinkie, this is your chance.

International Delight Hostess Twinkies Creamer Coffee

Anything else you need to know?

I was delighted/horrified to learn that Hostess released a bottled “Twinkies Iced Latte” in 2020. If you, too, missed your opportunity to consume one of these things, you’ll be happy to note that it is currently available on eBay— along with the Ding Dong and Honey Bun varieties— for just a tick under $40.

Conclusion:

While liquid Twinkies feels a bit too novelty to become a full-time International Delight flavor, if you’re into prepackaged snack cakes, or trying new coffee creamers, or just feel like something a little less adult than “Hazelnut” or “French Vanilla,” you probably won’t regret giving this a whirl.

Purchased Price: $2.88
Size: 32 oz
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 Tbsp) 35 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 10 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of carbohydrates, less than 0 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar including 5 grams added sugar, and 0 grams of protein.