REVIEW: Archie McPhee Clamdy Canes and Mac & Cheese Candy Canes

Archie McPhee Clamdy Canes

Except for starting with the third letter of the alphabet, there is no reason whatsoever for clams and candy canes to go together. But don’t tell that to the folks at Archie McPhee, a Seattle-based company that specializes in all things weird, including candy canes. They have unleashed a diabolical digestive debacle known as the Clamdy Cane (yes, it’s clam-flavored candy).

Archie McPhee Mac & Cheese Candy Canes

The company also birthed a sibling, a slightly less heinous mac & cheese-flavored variety, which joined a candy cane family that already included bacon, pickle, rotisserie chicken, coal (apparently smoke and cinnamon-flavored) and Krampus (also cinnamon).

For this review of the two new flavors, I tackled the challenge with equal parts excitement and fear. I consider myself to be open-minded about a great many things, including trying unique foods. Even so, it was hard not to be a little concerned that these would be biblically bad.

With that said, let’s establish that this review is not really about if these, particularly the clammy concoction, taste “good.” You don’t buy barf-flavored jelly beans or turkey and gravy soda because you think it will be delicious (trust me, it’s not), you buy it so you can say you did and that you tried it. So I did, and I did.

Clamdy Canes

Archie McPhee Clamdy Canes 2

The McPhee website says Clamdy Canes are “gray and white.” However, I found that woefully insufficient and humbly suggest a more accurate white and “dirty paint water.” I know, that probably won’t fit on a crayon, but I couldn’t help thinking the color looked like that nasty slurry after you’ve rinsed a paint brush a dozen times.

I’m happy to report that the Clamdy Canes do taste better than dirty paint water (don’t ask how I know), but it’s not exactly a convincing victory. Surprisingly, there was not much of a smell to these, at least at first. If you really try, you can get a whiff of something if you almost put it up your nose. I couldn’t place the smell, but I wouldn’t call it pleasant. Oddly, after a few licks, the scent comes out, and it’s still not pleasant. I wouldn’t say it smells like clams; it reminded me of warm, flat beer.

As for the taste, it wasn’t bad, and it was certainly better than I thought it would be. There was a hint of a fishy-like taste, but it wasn’t overwhelming or off-putting. It had a subtler sweetness compared to a traditional candy cane, and after you get past the initial thought of “ewww, I’m eating a clam-flavored candy cane,” it was palatable.

But I was a little disappointed that it didn’t taste a bit clammier and grosser. Instead, it was almost like one of those mucous-colored hard candies you see sitting in a bowl on a reception desk that you grab because you can’t pass up free candy. You pop one in your mouth but have no idea what flavor it is and would struggle to describe it to someone.

Did I finish the whole Clamdy Cane? No, but if I didn’t have the mac & cheese flavor to look forward to I could have.

Mac & Cheese Candy Canes

The mac & cheese variety had the same sneaky lack of smell at first until after my tongue caressed it. For this one, the smell is spot-on, at least for the fluorescent orange powered mac & cheese in a box, not your grandma’s homemade stuff.

Archie McPhee Mac & Cheese Candy Canes 2

But for as much as it nailed the smell, the taste was a letdown. If not for the aroma and the packaging, I’m not sure I’d even be able to place it as mac & cheese. Like the clam one, the flavor wasn’t bad. It had a nice, mild sweetness to it, but no real discernible taste and not one that reminds you of creamy, cheesy dish. The best description I can do is if you licked a regular candy cane and swirled it around Fun Dip-style in a bag of Cheetos.

Archie McPhee Mac  Cheese Candy Canes and Clamdy Canes

Overall, it’s tricky to score these. On taste alone, they are not bad, but neither one hits the mark as far as what was advertised on the box, though it could be argued that’s a good thing, particularly for the Clamdy Canes. And I do give Archie McPhee points for coming up with a couple of new flavors that stand out in a crowded field of crazy candy concoctions. So as a tasty treat that satisfies your craving for mac & cheese or clams, these are a hard pass. But as a fun holiday gift or prank, even Santa might be tempted to have a box or two on hand.

(Nutrition Facts – Not listed on package.)

Purchased Price: $5.95 each (plus $4.95 total shipping)
Size: 3.8 oz. box for a 6 pack
Purchased at:
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Clamdy)
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Mac & Cheese)
Pros: Not nearly as disgusting as you might expect. Would work well for those stupid gift exchanges at work or among family.

Cons: Bad wordplay on the McPhee website for the Clamdy Canes, including “your family will clamor for them” and “one shell of a candy.” The dancing clam with a Santa hat is a bit disturbing.

QUICK REVIEW: Kit Kat Snack Mix

Kit Kat Snack Mix

What is the Kit Kat Snack Mix?

The latest in the lineup of snack mixes from The Hershey Company; the Kit Kit Snack Mix contains pretzel balls, chocolate wafer bites, honey roasted almonds and of course, Kit Kat minis.

Kit Kat Snack Mix 3

How is it?

Quite tasty! I’ve tried just about all the snack mixes in the Hershey’s family, including M&M’s, Reese’s, Almond Joy, and regular Hershey’s (and there’s also a Take 5 version). Those all contain plain peanuts or plain almonds, but this one features honey roasted almonds, which makes it feel a little extra special and adds a more complex flavor to the entire sweet and salty mix.

At first, I thought the inclusion of chocolate wafer bites was a bit redundant because that’s basically what Kit Kats are, but the two chocolate varieties here worked well together.

Kit Kat Snack Mix 4

The Kit Kat minis have a fair amount of wafer, while the chocolate wafer bites seemed to be mostly chocolate, as you can see in the cross-sections. That gave them each a different texture and taste, so both were tasty on their own or in combination with the rest of the mix.

Is there anything else I need to know?

If I had to guess, I’d say almonds are the priciest of the ingredients in here, so it’s no surprise that there appear to be more pretzels than nuts in the mix. So if you want an almond or two in every bite, you might have to do a little digging and not get greedy with any three almond mouthfuls.

Kit Kat Snack Mix 2

In my particular canister, I found a pair of almonds and a pair of pretzels apparently making an attempt to procreate, so perhaps the pretzel couple was more successful and that explains the population disparity inside.


None of these snack mix products are going to blow your mind, and with a price that works out to nearly $10 per pound, it would be much more economical to buy the components separately and mix it yourself. Of course, I’m too lazy to do that — and I trust you are too. So if you are looking to mix up your snacking, the Kit Kat Snack Mix is one of the best options out there.

Purchased Price: $3.58
Size: 5.7 oz. canister
Purchased at: H-E-B
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 oz. serving) 150 calories, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 129 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Burger King Frosted Frozen Fanta Orange

Burger King Frosted Frozen Fanta Orange

What is it?

In case the name didn’t give it away, it’s Burger King’s new summer drink blending Frozen Fanta Orange with vanilla soft serve.

How is it?

Burger King Frosted Frozen Fanta Orange 2

Decent, adequate, ordinary.

Grab a thesaurus, or use that Google thing, and pick your favorite adjective for average. Mine is fair to middling. With a simple concoction such as this, it would be hard to envision it being incredible or terrible. And it’s not; it’s just okay.

Burger King Frosted Frozen Fanta Orange 3

I was expecting more of an orange Creamsicle/Dreamsicle taste. This will remind you of that, but only faintly. There just wasn’t much tang from the Fanta and not much sweetness from the soft serve. Also, the consistency was a touch gritty — not quite a milkshake and not quite a slush.

Maybe the BK soft serve is to blame (after all, Dairy Queen and McDonald’s are known for their soft serve; BK not so much). I’m not sure I even knew BK had soft serve before having this.

Is there anything else I need to know?

One caveat about this review: upon ordering I was given the dreaded “let me see if the machine is working” response. After a less-than-confident “I think so” from the manager, my order proceeded. And the Burger King I patronized did not have Fanta of any variety at the soda fountain, so that made me wonder where said Fanta came from for my drink. Unfortunately, the machine that might or might not have been working properly was located out of view, so the mystery endures.


If you are having one of those blah days where you don’t want to be too excited about something or too disappointed, this might be the drink for you.

Purchased Price: $2.00
Size: 16 oz.
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 180 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 grams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 42 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 41 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Taco Bell Watermelon Freeze

Taco Bell Watermelon Freeze

What is it?

The latest flavor creation in Taco Bell’s Freeze line of slush drinks, this variation adds some candy “seeds” to the mix to give it a unique look.

How is it?

Gimmicky but good. The watermelon flavor is about as expected. It’s a bit milder than some previous Freeze offerings, like the Strawberry Skittles flavor, and it’s not too sweet nor too tart.

But what about the candy seeds? Well, they really don’t bring much to the table, other than slowing down the slush-making process. Your friendly Taco Bell barista must first open a little package of seeds, fill the cup about a third of the way with slush, sprinkle in some seeds, fill more of the cup, sprinkle in more seeds, and so on.

Taco Bell Watermelon Freeze 2

Eerily, the result for my drink looked like some sort of weird candy seed face starting me down, just daring me to drink it. I took the dare, and while the watermelon flavor was nice, the seeds didn’t add much flavor at all. The black coating was almost flavorless, and the inside only had a faint sugary taste, like an unflavored Smartie.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Taco Bell Watermelon Freeze 3

Nothing frustrates me more than a clogged straw caused by candy pieces mixed into an ice cream or slush drink, but there’s no need to worry about that here. The straw provided (in watermelon rind green) is of ample circumference to allow multiple seeds to easily travel from the cup to your piehole without fear of obstruction. Be forewarned though, the larger volume straw also increases the probability of brain freeze.

Taco Bell Watermelon Freeze 4

And weirdly, the seeds seem to lose their coating after a few minutes of swimming in the slush, so by the time I got to the bottom many of them had a bit of a speckled egg look.


Even though the candy seeds seem like a missed opportunity —imagine if they were kiwi flavored or something else to complement the watermelon slush — overall the Watermelon Freeze still a refreshing summer drink and quite a bargain if you score one during Happy Hour.

Purchased Price: $2.29 (or $1 during Happy Hour from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.)
Size: 16 oz.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 220 calories, 0 grams of fat, 60 milligrams of sodium, 59 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 58 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Peanut M&M’s Sweet & Salty Snack Mix

Peanut M M s Sweet  Salty Snack Mix

What is it?

A mix of two types of M&M’s — peanut and peanut butter — with peanuts and pretzel balls. There’s also a milk chocolate version available with milk chocolate and Crispy M&M’s mixed with almonds and pretzel balls.

How is it?

Peanut M M s Sweet  Salty Snack Mix 2

Solid, but unspectacular. Even though the pretzel balls are pictured sparingly on the outside of the bag, they seem to be the most populous of the residents inside the bag. The peanuts are a touch disappointing in that they are neither sweet nor salty.

It might have been better if they were salted or honey roasted; instead, they are just kind of there and don’t differentiate themselves from their brothers and sisters encapsulated in chocolate with a candy coating. Despite those shortcomings, the mix of the four components does accomplish the stated goal of being sweet and salty, and overall it makes for a tasty, satisfying snack.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Peanut M M s Sweet  Salty Snack Mix 3

Using a trick perfected by potato chip industry, the bag is much larger than it really needs to be based on the contents inside. While the label proudly trumpets that it is “Sharing Size,” I’d advise using restraint before announcing to friends, family, or co-workers that you are indeed open to sharing a bag. The label says there are “about 8 servings,” but if you invite more than two others into your circle of sharing then no one is going to get much.


There’s really nothing remarkable about this product, and it would be pretty easy to just create this mix yourself (even if you not a DJ).

With that said, I’ve never seen those little pretzel balls at the store and doing it yourself is never as easy as it looks. So if you like Peanut M&M’s, you’ll enjoy these even though they certainly won’t change your life.

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 7.70 oz. bag
Purchased at: H-E-B
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 oz. serving) 130 calories, 7 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.