REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Donut

Dunkin' Donuts Pumpkin Donut

In my lifetime, I’ve put a lot of questionable things in my mouth and raw pumpkin is the least troubling of them. The other things I’d rather not say. One year, being really bored, I ate a slice when I was carving a Jack O’Lantern for our annual Halloween party. I was a bit stunned because pumpkin has no real flavor. Go ahead and eat a piece when you are carving out those triangle eyes or nose.

See? It’s like the edible version of my boring cousin who is a short wave radio fetishist…no character whatsoever. Seriously, the only excitement that guy gets is when he hits one of those weird “number stations” that repeat digits in an eerie robotic voice. Don’t even get me started with the spooky ones that have “The Lincolnshire Poacher” playing after the numbers are repeated. I’m still creeped out when I hear the sound of a recorder or a flute. It’s a bit WickerMan-ish (not the Nicolas “flaring nostrils” Cage version mind you).

Getting back to pumpkins, what we are really doing is attributing the “taste” to a combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, and some ground ginger which is the major trifecta in pumpkin pies. Think about the pumpkin beers or pumpkin ice creams you have all consumed. Nutmeg is the dominant flavor and the remainder plays varying degrees of intensity.

The nutmeg/ginger combo is perhaps the most popular flavor that invokes our mind for the year-end holidays. The next holiday flavor has to be creamy menthol which is my favorite. When done well, both can be delicious regardless of what vessel is used to transport that essence. I myself like a Midori mixed with some creme de menthe for a holiday cocktail but I have great affection for nutmeg too.

If we’re playing for keeps on holiday tastes, my shout goes for all the lucky Jewish friends I have. They get to gobble up all those latkes during Hanukkah, and who the hell doesn’t love some fried potato pancakes and that eight candle of death: The flamethrower Menorah?

Dunkin’ Donuts wanting a piece of that holiday proverbial (pumpkin) pie has intelligently chosen a donut as its vessel and just recently introduced the limited edition pumpkin donut (that has to be the most times the word “donut” has been used in a sentence). Which I suppose is much more appealing to the masses versus a fried potato flavored donut or a jelly donut filled with sweet mint cream. I would buy both but I’m also the guy who ate a 7-Eleven Banh Mi which was about as successful as the Vietnam War.

I warn you dear reader and admit that Dunkin’ Donuts can vary from locations. There is one close to me where I swear the elderly riddled with bed sores in nursing homes are given more attention. The donuts here are hard and taste like afterthoughts.

Instead, I frequent the one where every time I go, the smell of fried dough lets me know it’s always damn time they make the donuts! When a “Dunkin'” donut is hot and fresh, it can rival those of the indy (and trendy) boutique donut shops that food/travel shows like to suggest we buy from lest we are bucktoothed knuckle-draggers.

With that said, know that this review is based on a shop with significant foot traffic thanks to being a neighbor with a hospital that has a major emergency trauma center. I bought two, one to eat immediately and the other to leave in that white bag to be scarfed down the following day. I wanted to see if the flavor held up since most of us are not Steven Seagal and do not eat all the donuts in one sitting.

I mean have you seen that guy? He was the freaking “squinting eyes/taking names/kicking ass” hero in Under Siege. Now that he’s a sworn border patrol agent, I’m sure the only Mexican he is going to catch is a chicken burrito or a beef chimichanga with extra sour cream.

I shelled out under two bucks for a pair of pumpkin donuts. The smell of the donut was pleasantly intense with spicy nutmeg and faint cinnamon wafting by. It was similar to the scent of a fresh baked banana or zucchini bread straight from of the oven. Images of roast turkeys, mittens, hot cocoa, and the Holiday Crate and Barrel catalog permeated my brain. Yes, I want a fifty dollar silver reindeer candelabra to validate my life.

Dunkin' Donuts Pumpkin Donut 2

The donut has a thin sheen of sugar glaze which cracked slightly when I bit into the fried cake donut. This was a very welcoming texture and the sweet glaze was just right, not heavy like a frosting. The cake was moist and perfectly dense. Shit, this was a good donut methinks.

The taste of the donut was at the same “Oh. Em. Gee.” level. It was a great hit of autumn spices and a tinge of nuttiness. I really enjoyed the fact the sweetness of the cake came from the translucent sugary coat. Dunkin’ Donuts was smart in not making the batter overly sweet and letting the spices do the singing and the sugar glaze perform its respective job.

Dunkin' Donuts Pumpkin Donut 3

The donut was still warm and practically melted in my mouth with each bite. Instead of a pumpkin pie, I actually want a box of these on Thanksgiving which I am sure some hipster already has thought of doing so he can look so “emo” and ironic-like. Screw you and your collection of Cut Copy t-shirts.

I left the other in the bag and would eat it the next morning while watching my DVR’d episodes of The Venture Bros. Did they hold up? For the most part, yes albeit a bit stale in texture but that’s to be expected. The comforting smell was still present and the taste was not affected. I would actually dunk these in milk or an espresso just to compensate for the slight dryness in the cake. Like Henchman 21, you can depend on these being a crowd pleaser. The pumpkin donut is definitely one of the things you want to put in your mouth this season.

(Nutritional Facts – 340 calories, 170 calories from fat, 19 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 mg of cholesterol, 260 mg of sodium, 38 grams of total carbs, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 19 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Donut
Price: approximately 80 cents a donut
Size: 1 donut
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: The texture and the thin coat of sugar smartly combine into something close to mouth-feel nirvana. Steven Seagal was Above the Law and Hard to Kill. The taste is a pleasant pumpkin spice flavor that you will want to visit again. Dr. Girlfriend is really sexy if you put her on mute. This donut will invoke the holidays and make you feel festive. Cut Copy just rules, especially their second album.
Cons: This donut is only available for a short while. Steven Seagal is now Eating Burritos and is Huevos Rancheros Crazy. You need to buy from the right Dunkin’ Donuts (hint: go to the one near a hospital or other businesses that guarantee foot traffic all day and not just the morning). Brock Samson-less episodes kind of blow. Invoking thoughts of holidays suck when the only memories you have is arguing with Dad and “uncles” passing out on bitter egg nog.

REVIEW: Dr Pepper Ten

Dr Pepper Ten

The fall season is beginning to make itself known here in Orlando. We have traded out 95 degree days (with humidity so thick you can cut slices of it and serve with whipped topping) for temperatures in the mid-eighties. The trees are turning from green to the same green. The air smelling of sweat mixed with citrus perfumes are bowing out for scents of sweat and sandalwood ones. Yep, Fall is here.

Who am I kidding? We would never know Fall has arrived if not for those disgusting cinnamon brooms the supermarkets trudge out that assault our noses. The aroma drives me crazy. Why the hell would anyone want their house to smell like smoker’s sneeze? It’s that unique blend of metal and curdled milk? Sorry dad, when you sneezed, it was the olfactory equivalent of Hiroshima.

So here I was in my local supermarket searching for some pizza rolls and the sickening wafts pillaged my nostrils. I didn’t care if I stretched the neck of my fitted t-shirt but I stuck my nose under the collar. Aware that I looked like I was trying to avoid the avian bird flu while roaming the aisles, I did not care. But then I found it, or maybe it found me (cue the Zamfir).

Dr Pepper Ten! All my friends know I am a sucker for two things: soft drinks with new flavors (I’m still hunting for that elusive mint-tinged Sprite Ice) and women who wear eyeglasses (drool). I am aware of the rules because for every Pepsi Lime there is a Pepsi Holiday Spice. I remember drinking the Holiday Spice and thought there was a demand for paint varnish flavored soft drinks. SCORE!!! I held a cold frosty bottle of the new Dr Pepper Ten.

Just to let you know Dr Pepper Ten also comes in the two-liter bottle (which normally go flat incredibly fast) and the standard case of twelve ounce cans. I decided to play it safe and buy the twenty ounce bottle because I did not want to commit to a dozen cans on the chance they taste like crap.

Dr Pepper is no stranger to different varieties of its flavor. I particularly was a big fan of their Dr Pepper Berries & Cream which was short lived in stores. I have been looking for this Dr Pepper Ten for some time and couldn’t believe they were here in front of me. Since writing this piece, they seem to be widely available now. My assumption is they are preparing for a nationwide rollout.

Just to let you know, the TEN refers to the ten calories per serving the doctor has. The weird thing is the ad campaign is marketing itself as a diet soda for men. I’m not sure if it is manlier to drink a diet soda that has ten calories versus none. I’m also not sure how they came up with ten calories being the threshold for a man’s drink versus eight or eleven calories. Honestly, a man’s drink is a tall glass of cheap scotch.

I am pretty certain if I went to my neighborhood biker bar and ordered a martini straight up with two black olives, holding a Dr Pepper Ten is not going to save me from a beat-down. Also do I think a woman drinking a Dr Pepper Ten is any less feminine because it’s supposedly for men? Nope, especially if she is wearing flirty black thin-rimmed eyeglasses.

Regardless of the stupid marketing, it’s all about the taste. The almost boiling weather couldn’t stop the condensation running from the bottle around my fingers. I twisted the cap and heard that satisfying pffffsssssttttttttttttt!

“Oh yeah,” I thought to myself and that was the last of my happiness.

The more appropriate name for Dr Pepper Ten is Dr Pepper Two. Read on and I will explain because like most underwhelming sequels (Ghostbusters II anyone?), this Dr Pepper rates a two. I give it two points: one for effort and another because it is not hydrochloric acid.

Like some beers, I think soda always tastes better in a pre-chilled glass and so I poured a generous amount. The bouquet (yeah I said bouquet) did not have that unique hint of a “nutmegish” scent that Dr Pepper normally has. In fact, it had no scent.

I took a sip and was instantly depressed. There was very little taste of the famous doctor, in fact there was very little taste. I did appreciate the lack of unpleasant sweet syrup that coats your teeth some diet sodas have. However, this is canceled out by the fact there was little flavor.

In fact, it tasted close to plain seltzer which made me pine for that heavy sweetness. Actually, I wouldn’t care if it tasted like prune juice (as it is rumored Dr Pepper is made from) as my taste buds wanted to grasp on to something. It claims there are Ten BOLD tasting calories but it is no bolder than a grey argyle sweater vest.

A clean finish for sure, which many sodas do not have, but what does it matter when there is no taste? I haven’t been this disappointed since Fox unforgivably cancelled the show “Drive” with geek approved actor Nathan Fillion. Speaking of amped manliness, I keep hoping he will team up with Bruce Campbell.

You know, if there are ten calories…it has got to be from eating the cap and bottle. Dr Pepper Ten is obviously for boring men (or men with way too sensitive taste buds). It hasn’t affected me since I still shop at Banana Republic, listen to New Order and have different colognes for night or day.

Furthermore, Dr Pepper Ten states proudly “It’s not for women.” Women aren’t missing much because a poor tasting product will fail regardless of which gender they are aiming for. If Dr Pepper Ten is for men, I’ll take a “girly” Diet Dr Pepper instead. Or a scotch.

(Nutrition Facts – 8 ounces – 10 calories, 0 grams of fat, 100 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of carbs, 4 grams of sugars, and 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Dr Pepper Ten
Price: $1.59
Size: 20 ounces
Purchased at: My neighborhood Publix that sells those forsaken cinnamon brooms.
Rating: 2 out of 10
Pros: No sticky film on your teeth. Nathan Fillion. Pleasant clean finish. Women in glasses, especially with their hair pulled back. Did I mention it doesn’t leave a sticky film on your “teeths”? Banana Republic circa 2006. It is only ten calories.
Cons: No Dr Pepper taste. No sweet taste. No taste. Networks canceling shows too early thus giving us viewer blue balls. Ad campaign is moronic. Not one of the ten calories are bold. CINNAMON BROOMS. Men, Women…either way it’s not good for either.

REVIEW: Wheat Thins Smoky BBQ

Wheat Thins Smoky BBQ

Man, I love bourbon. That slow burn that creeps down your throat, when it’s so acrid you can taste the Southern anger. Mmmmmmmm! Dessert is a maraschino cherry topped in a Manhattan and breakfast is black coffee with two fingers of Maker’s. My liver says otherwise, but there is nothing like sitting in a chaise lounge with your striped pajamas on, The Weather Channel’s Storm Stories on the flatscreen and a rocks glass with some heat. I keep hoping to see Jim Cantore shoot up like that cow did in Twister.

And always accompanying my vice is that recognizable yellow box of Wheat Thins. For as long as I can remember, Wheat Thins slathered with supermarket onion dip or a gummy block of cheap Monterey Jack cheese has always been my drunk eats. Bourbon and Wheat Thins are like peanut butter and jelly to me. I love my bourbon and I love my Wheat Thins. Making me decide between either is like asking who would I choose, saving my wife or my collection of Morrissey albums from Ragnarock (neither, I would choose my bourbon).

One note, if you hate Wheat Thins…you can stop reading. This product will not change your mind. And if you hate Wheat Thins, you need to do a self-evaluation since there are more important things to hate than a snack.

I was very surprised when I walked in from the awful day of work and noticed a box of Wheat Thins Smoky BBQ crackers on the counter that my wife bought me. Now I have never been a big fan of the flavored Wheat Thins because I have a rule, why mess with perfection unless it includes a hand shandy? Looking at the box, coupled with my recent behavior of “drinking too much” (as if there is such a thing), I knew I was not getting either.

Defeated, I grabbed the box and sighed. I was leery of them because it seems like every snack has some version of BBQ flavor. So I took off my jacket and tossed it on my stained ottoman. Loosening my collar and tie, I folded my sleeves 50’s dad style and walked over to my wet bar. I grabbed a glass and poured a couple of shots of hello dolly.

After a swallow or two or five, I returned to the box and decided to give them a chance. The box promises a whole 10 grams of whole grain per serving which is fine and dandy, but I was more interested in the taste.

Wheat Thins Smoky BBQ Closeup

The crackers had that recognizable square shape and a very faint orange-red shade versus the mustardy brown color of Wheat Thins. They smelled like the normal ones, toasted grains and wheat.

Wow! The sweetness was a wonderful contrast to the subtle smoke (as the ingredients list natural smoke flavoring). The smokiness was a punch of garlic and onion. The sweet taste was definitely from the tomato powder used and let me tell you, it was “sucking on a ketchup packet” good. I know you readers out there suck on ketchup packets when no one is looking. It is okay, I won’t tell anyone. As long as you ignore that everyone’s hands have probably molested the hell out of those things, you’re in for a good time normally.

Anyhow getting back to the Wheat Thins, the sweet flavor is not candy sweet nor is it a heavy syrupy sweet. It may not appeal to everyone, but I loved it. I can’t think of anything close to the flavor because while it is similar to other barbecue chips, it has its own character. The Smoky BBQ deserves a try at the very least.

I thought these were damn-o-riffic! The barbecue flavor wasn’t that fakey sugary musk that cheap BBQ potato chips have. I also wouldn’t say it was savory like umami (what an overused term that I now have partaken in) but the taste was close to that sweet and savory thing we all love. It’s similar to Kansas City style barbecue, heavy on the tomato paste and sweeter than other barbecue sauces. After eating more than I should, the flavor was never tiring. Now make sure you have something to drink, the crackers can get a bit salty if you eat too many.

Snacking on these alone are perfect enough but if you want to change it up a bit, an aged white cheddar or some other mild tasting milky cheese would absolutely work. I think brie or even a tub of cream cheese would be a fine accompaniment which would mellow some of the BBQ flavor. A box of Silk Cut ciggies would do the same, but smoking and eating at the same time is gross.

I ate so many that half a box was left after I went to town on them and didn’t care how awful I looked with my joe boxers (those smiley face ones), black socks and a stained white T-shirt.

I have to admit, Wheat Thins BBQ Thins don’t mix well with bourbon but I doubt many of you will be drinking that while eating them. I went ahead and brushed the crumbs off my shirt and onto my lap. I drained my glass after I was rebuffed by the wife again and took comfort knowing that I could place my paws all over the Wheat Thins Smoky BBQ. Yum Yum Yum.

(Nutritional Facts — 14 crackers — 140 calories, 5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 3 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 65 milligrams of potassium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Wheat Thins Smoky BBQ
Price: $3.99
Size: 9.5 ounces
Purchased: Publix
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Unique and great addictive barbecue taste. You will not get tired of the flavor. Morrissey. That scene when the cow shoots up rocket style in Twister, man I still laugh pretty hard. The barbecue taste is not fake tasting. Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma.
Cons: It may be a bit too sweet for other people’s taste. If you dislike Wheat Thins, do not bother. Can be a bit salty. Helen Hunt’s forehead, it’s so big I can scrawl another face on it. Jim Cantore’s delivery. The word Umami.

REVIEW: Mentos UP2U Gum (Sweet Mint/Bubble Fresh and Daylight Mint/Mintnight Mint)

Mentos UP2U Gum (Sweet Mint/Bubble Fresh and Daylight Mint/Mintnight Mint)

On the growing list of things I do not look competent doing, gum chewing is right in between “throwing a football around with the guys” and dancing. After a marathon of John Woo films in college (Dolph Lundgren wasn’t so bad in Blackjack, right?), I caught myself in the mirror chewing gum. Instead of that cool and casual look almost everyone has when they chew, I looked like a hamster with a bunch of sunflower seeds in my cheek. I don’t hate gum chewing; I just hate myself chewing gum.

Having a pleasant breath is important to me. My job entails a lot of talking to an audience, a great deal of whining, some begging, a bit of folding my arms as if I am making a point and an uncomfortable amount of quiet farting. …You know what I am talking about.

Speaking of unwanted odors, I am hyper aware of bad breath. I habitually pop Altoids in my mouth and avoid gum. I one time had a piece of Wrigley’s because I was out of mints and the result was at Hindenburg levels. I was just nibbling the gum which made me look like I had that “grinding teeth” problem and I ended up biting the side of mouth. The mint gave way to the copper taste of blood that my unforgiving teeth drew. That was the last time I can remember chewing gum.

As I was in the line of impatient customers waiting to check out at Target, I saw the usual suspects of candy bars and ultra-mint gums that promise refreshment that will give you icy cold breath that act like Mr. Freeze’s ray gun. However something caught my eye. It wasn’t that pack of Stride with Shaun White eerily staring and beckoning me to walk into oncoming traffic.

It was gum made by Mentos and I couldn’t stop staring at the package because the name was so weird if not a bit annoying. UP2U gum by Mentos and the name was boldly stamped across the pack. The UP2U was in all caps and the name was so strange. It felt like I was reading those awful vanity plates on the road that say “B Kewl” or “IM Awz0m”. UP2UdamnU! UP2ME? Well then I had to try it since it was UP2WHATIWANTED2DO and NO1 can tell me what 2DO.

See what I mean? A bit annoying, L-O-L. L-M-F-A-O and all that jazz.

The package proclaims “2 Flavors. 1 Pack. You Decide.” Kind of like our electoral process don’t ya think?

I felt compelled to try them since I’ve been a fan of Mentos from the early days of their odd Eurotrash-like commercials. Each package had two flavors, and there were two varieties so I had to try both of them, which is really four of them since, so I had to try all four of them…God, this is more complicated than string theory.

Okay, to simplify I bought the pink pack which had Sweet Mint and Bubble Fresh while the blue-green pack had Daylight Mint and Mintnight Mint. I believe there are other flavors but my Target only had these two.

Mentos UP2U Gum (Sweet Mint/Bubble Fresh and Daylight Mint/Mintnight Mint) Inside Packs

I have to admit that the packaging is quite chic, albeit a bit pretentious. In fact it looks like a sleek compact minus the brush and makeup. They both open like a mini book where one flavor resides on each respective side. The pink one with Sweet Mint/Bubble Fresh has a quote by poet John Millington Synge while Walt Whitman (it would be cool if they called him Walt Whitmint) greets me on the other one.

The effect is no different than cracking open a fortune cookie and scoffing at the supposed inspiration (i.e. “You have many friends” or “A man with a great heart is richer than the man with the great wallet”—pphht!). It’s chew time.

Mentos UP2U Gum (Sweet Mint/Bubble Fresh and Daylight Mint/Mintnight Mint) Unwrapped

Mintnight Mint is not as minty nor as mintnighty as I would like. It’s a bit like that tiny bottle of no name hotel mouthwash that sits next to the shower cap. The mint tastes like timid spearmint but an unappealing rush of sugary sweetness overrides everything. I’ve smoked menthol cigarettes that had a stronger mint taste. Hell, the Girl Scouts’ Thin Mints cookies are more minty. The flavor also dissipates quicker than your average stick of mint gum. The name however, is amusing as I picture a vampire with fresh breath.

Daylight Mint, its resident brother has a weird texture. It was stiff not unlike those crappy sticks you would get from ripping open a pack of baseball cards and had a give like gummi bears. The mint was even less intense than the Mintnight one.

If you consume saltines or seltzer water, this mint will struggle to mask your breath. The mint tastes like the wintergreen variety but after the first few chews, this flavor goes away and again is replaced by that syrupy sugar taste. I wanted to spit this out immediately. Like Neil Tennant sang in Brit supergroup Electronic, “Dissapointed…”

Do not depend on the package containing Mintnight and Daylight mints to do anything to freshen your breath. I’m not sure what qualifies as a daytime or nighttime flavor but they should not be chewed anytime.

Mentos UP2U Gum (Sweet Mint/Bubble Fresh and Daylight Mint/Mintnight Mint) Pieces

Bubble Fresh is an interesting flavor. It tastes like the usual bubblegum but there is a tang like those sour candies without the sourness if that makes any sense. I really liked this flavor as it was a good play on the ordinary bubblegum flavor we all know. It was not overly sweet and there is a bit of a mint that works well, hence the fresh part. The gum itself was a very soft chew which is nice. Both combined flavors lasted quite some time and the mint lingered for a while.

I recommend this one if you love mint but you want a new spin on the flavor. I would equate it like this: sometimes you just want a comfy old burger with that melty processed cheese but once in a while you want a burger topped with yummy Applewood smoked bacon, aged cheddar and onion jam. By no means is Bubble Fresh as good as bacon but it’s familiar in taste with a surprising twist.

Sweet Mint is funny in a good way. It is the least sweet of the four and the most intense in mint. The taste is very pleasant as the mint slowly builds in your mouth and then it fades into the sweetness. This is the important factor, the sweetness is not cloying or fake sugary like that weird aunt you hate. Additionally, the mint stays in your mouth and with each chew, it maintained a freshness in my breath.

I can recommend the Sweet Mint/Bubble Fresh pack. The flavors are good, the mint stays with you and the package despite its snobbery, is fun. The Daylight/Mintnight is a fiasco and if it were UP2U…I would avoid it.

(Nutritional Facts – 1 piece – less than 5 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, 1 gram of sugar alcohols, and 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Mentos UP2U Gum (Sweet Mint/Bubble Fresh and Daylight Mint/Mintnight Mint)
Price: $1.29 each
Size: 14 pieces per pack (7 pieces each per flavor)
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Sweet Mint/Bubble Fresh)
Rating: 2 out of 10 (Daylight Mint/Mintnight Mint)
Pros: Sweet Mint is a good mint gum that’s not really sweet. Bubble Fresh is indeed a fresh take on the mint gum. John Woo’s Hard Boiled (Only the Cantonese version). Old Target commercials with the coolest indy songs. The packaging is admittedly cool.
Cons: Daylight and Mintnight mint gums are weak in the mint and taste department. The texture of Daylight is stiff. John Woo’s Mission Impossible 2 (any version). Those old weird Mentos commercials. Vanity plates. Bad breath. I chewed all four together, that was a mistake.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Gluten Free

Kellogg's Rice Krispies Gluten Free

I believe Gwyneth Paltrow was the first big celebrity to bring it to the attention of the mass public. Gluten free is supposedly the new rage diet of those settled in the film industry. But I ask you, what do they know? These people are the same dum-dums that gave us The Human Centipede and still allow Owen Wilson and Diane Keaton to collect a paycheck. Ask anyone with celiac and I bet you they would prefer to go back to a normal diet instead of that no wheat crap. So if you’re gluten free by choice, I have to say you are a tool with a glutton for punishment. Is it hip to say you choose to have herpes? Neither is it cool to say “I’m choosing to be gluten free” moron.

Eating and being afflicted with celiac is akin to that one bad relationship we all get ourselves into. You know where the sex is good but you have to put up with the needling snipes, the roll of the eyes, and the hours of arguing only to be followed by steeping oneself in cheap gin and tonics. As an aside, I will tell you that I was lucky because my comic book collection shielded me from many intimacies. You could say I was a connoisseur of scrambled porn. In fact, I watched so much of it in college that Picasso’s figures appear normal to me. (I lurve you channel 68!)

Celiac is the awful curse of being allergic to anything with wheat and my wife has it (Yes, I still have my comic books but she needed a green card). Seeing her bowled over in pain when she accidentally eats something with wheat is awful. Yet even with the stomach pangs and crippling discomfort that she suffers, my wife still misses eating a real slice of pizza or twisting her fork in a bowl of noodles. As a lark, I sometimes secretly toss flour in my wife’s food when she and I have a disagreement. Score one for the passive aggressive psychopathic behavior.

Amongst the quinoa pastas and breads made with tapioca flour, I have the misfortune of trying many things that are gluten free. A lot of them taste terrible or weird and some are passible. Now I have to admit, most gluten free versions suck but I have to believe when Marie Antoinette said let them eat some damn cake, she meant people who have celiac too.

So like most couples do on a mundane Sunday morning, we were shopping at our local supermarket hoping to beat the crowds and old people who leave their carts in the middle of the aisle looking for foot ointment.

Perusing the cereals, my wife let out a scream I haven’t heard since she got her said green card for our sham marriage. She stumbled on a box of the fabled Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Gluten Free. Leery of the cereal, I had to try it for myself. I was suspicious as Snap, Crackle and Pop had a fake smile on the box, but most elves do, right?

Upon opening the package, I noticed the corner was stamped “Whole Grain Brown Rice” in a cartoony font. Now all my friends know my extreme loathing for brown rice so this gave me a slight dramatic pause. We went ahead and tossed it in our cart and scurried home to try it.

I reached in the box and grabbed a handful of kernels to examine. They looked like the real stuff, felt like the real stuff but I was unsure if they would taste like the real stuff. Munching on a few, the familiar toasted rice flavor was immediate. The cereal was not too sweet like the normal version. So yes, despite using brown rice, they taste just like the ordinary Rice Krispies. I ate a bit more just to make sure because I couldn’t believe it was made from brown rice and they were gluten free.

Kellogg's Rice Krispies Gluten Free Bowl

I poured some in a bowl with milk, still not convinced they would still taste the same. I usually use skim milk but I selected the 2% in anticipation that it would taste bland. Like alchemy, the cereal let out that nostalgic popping once the milk touched the rice. Spoonful upon spoonful, it was hard to believe but these things tasted exactly like Rice Krispies. The cereal held up in the milk too, retaining that crispness.

These are a summer release and hopefully will be a part of Kellogg’s regular offerings. I am sure that if someone switched the cereals on me like those old Folgers coffee commercials, I would not be able to tell the difference. This was a winner in my opinion and for a gluten free option to taste like the real thing…well it’s rarer than me getting lucky in college.

I was excited because the back of the box has a recipe for Rice Krispies Treats. There is a shortage of really good tasting sweets that are wheat free so I’m sure this will be a godsend to my wife and others who have celiac. I plan on making a batch of these since we bought so many boxes.

This cereal is an example that gluten free is not synonymous with repulsive. I hope other manufacturers can take a page from Kellogg’s and give people suffering from celiac a delicious option. You truly do not appreciate great tasting gluten free choices until you’ve eaten a pretzel devoid of wheat or downed a sorghum beer. I think I would rather eat exactly what those girls did in The Human Centipede, which is probably gluten free too when you think about it.

(Nutrition facts – 1 cup is 120 calories, with ½ cup of skim milk, 160 calories, 1 gram of fat – none being saturated, trans, polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats, 0mg of cholesterol, 190 mg of sodium, 90mg of potassium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, less than 1 gram of sugars, 25 grams of other carbohydrates, 3 grams of protein and NO WHEAT)

Item: Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Gluten Free
Price: $2.99
Size: 12 ounces free of wheat
Purchased at: Publix
Rating: 9 out of 10 (if you like Rice Krispies)
Pros: You cannot tell they are gluten free. They still snap, crackle, and pop. Being able to tell if those are boobies or legs.
Cons: May be hard to find right now. Sham marriages. Choosing to be gluten free. Celiac sucks too.