REVIEW: Sonic Sour Patch Kids Slush Float

Sonic Sour Patch Kids Slush Float Whole

I had already slurped half of my Sonic Sour Patch Kids Slush Float through a straw before I started to wonder if I should be using a spoon instead, and that feeling of confusion perfectly sums up my experience with this new offering from Sonic. It can essentially be broken into three parts — the Sour Patch Kids, the slush, and the float — and they never quite work together.

The majority of this hard-to-describe dessert consists of the slush, which is watermelon-flavored and so sour that I’m glad that this isn’t a video review because the pucker it put on my face was not pretty! I was impressed with how smoothly it went down, though, appealingly liquid-y with gritty ice bits intermingled well enough to give it texture while avoiding the classic Slurpee problem of sucking out all the flavor syrup right away and then getting stranded with a plain cup of ice.

Sonic Sour Patch Kids Slush Float Spoon

The “float” part comes from the iceberg of vanilla soft serve that sits atop the slush, but I found the name a little misleading. One of the greatest pleasures of a traditional ice cream float is the way the scoops of hard ice cream melt to combine with the soda into a new substance, milky yet flavorful and somehow more than the sum of its parts. That’s what I hoped for here, but it just didn’t happen. The rich soft serve was so intimidatingly thick that not a drop could be sucked through the straw, and even as I lingered over the treat, it showed no signs of melting into something more mixable. With the unyielding ice cream trapping the slush below, I had to do some serious digging to capture both components in the same spoonful, and when I did, there was no harmonious mingling of flavors, just a cold, shockingly tart lump.

Sonic Sour Patch Kids Slush Float Lid

Of course, to complement the sourness of the slush, there are the Sour Patch Kids candy pieces themselves, but you’d be forgiven for missing them. Their signature “weird little gremlin-person” shape has been traded out for a form that looks more like Fruity Pebbles and doesn’t amount to much more than a colorful garnish. These flakes pretty much all either sat on top of the ice cream or sunk to the bottom of the slush, so they were mostly only present in my first and last sips/bites. But, to give credit where credit’s due, whenever I did encounter them, they were pleasantly chewy, never frozen stiff like I’d feared.

Sonic Sour Patch Kids Slush Float Sign

Though it had its tasty moments, my biggest problem with the Sour Patch Kids Slush Float is that it didn’t capture the versatile flavor profile so perfectly summed up by the Sour Patch Kids slogan, “First they’re sour. Then they’re sweet”. That rapid transition from intensity to relief works brilliantly in a candy where the sour coating can be sucked off to reveal the sweetness underneath, but the slush and the ice cream here never blended well enough to pull off such a trick. I kept wishing I was separately munching Sour Patch Kids candy, slurping a slushie, or licking vanilla ice cream because, like the naughty children in the Sour Patch Kids commercials, these ingredients just did not play well together.

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: Medium
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 520 calories, 11 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 200 milligrams of sodium, 106 grams of carbohydrates, 92 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Honey Vanilla Cheerios Cereal

Honey Vanilla Cheerios Cereal Box

I don’t know about you, but the name “honey vanilla” instantly calls to my mind some kind of skincare product; something sweet but not syrupy, understated and tasteful but with a hint of sumptuousness. The back of this Cheerios box, with its posh descriptors “rich,” “delightfully tempting,” and “O so joyful,” only made me more confident in this association.

Gingerly plucking a single glossy “O” before preparing my bowl (I may or may not have even felt elegant enough to do this with my pinky finger raised), the first thing I noticed was its sticky texture. Crisp and firm on the outside, this cereal glistened with a vanilla-glazed gleam. Upon my taste test, the solid interior gave way to its airy inside with a satisfying crunch. Eaten dry, the cereal tasted pleasant but not overly flavorful. It struck me as more or less just a milder version of the ubiquitous Honey Nut Cheerios, and I’m not sure I could have pinpointed which ingredients made it unique without the box’s helpful visual cues of a vanilla flower and generous honey swirl adorning the iconic heart-shaped bowl. It had a faint sweetness, but the foremost flavor was oat-y; it didn’t surprise me when I noticed the box also bore a proud (but perhaps unnecessarily capitalized) proclamation of “first ingredient WHOLE GRAIN OATS.”

Honey Vanilla Cheerios Cereal Bowl

Pouring milk over the cereal coaxed out more notes of both honey and vanilla, but it remained alluringly demure. Another word that kept springing to my mind was “mature.” I was introduced to a measured, subtle wave of sweetness, not the punch to the face of sugariness that I frankly often look for in my cereal choices. These Cheerios were also pretty quick to become mushy in the milk, and while I know that can be a controversial quality, I was personally a fan.

Honey Vanilla Cheerios Cereal Back

I’m a strong believer that the back of a cereal box should be given just as much consideration as the taste, and this one certainly fits the product’s “refined but slightly saccharine” aesthetic with its honey-and-vanilla-themed sudoku-esque visual puzzle. A high school classmate of mine infamous for his elaborate and uncomfortable outfits used to live by the motto “aesthetics over practicality,” and while our gym teachers disagreed, I think Honey Vanilla Cheerios would. This charming puzzle seemed kind of impossible to actually fill out since the six icons you’re tasked with drawing in the correct order are mostly differentiated by color, and I’m guessing most people don’t eat their cereal with neutral-toned crayons at the ready. But hey, still cute and classy!

Overall, Honey Vanilla Cheerios are plain but pleasing, an ideal breakfast for a day filled with agreeable-but-not-too-spirited activities like gracefully smelling a moderately-scented flower or playing a prim game of checkers where, win or lose, you’d never dare get in your opponent’s face about it. If the prospect of purchasing a cereal with a name that sounds straight out of Bath & Body Works excites you, these should suit you just fine.

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 14.3 oz box (“Large Size”)
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 6 out 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup – cereal only) 140 calories (180 with 1/2 cup skim milk), 2 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 170 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Papa John’s Epic Pepperoni-Stuffed Crust Pizza

Papa John s Epic Pepperoni Stuffed Crust Pizza Whole

I imagine that Papa John’s Epic Pepperoni-Stuffed Crust Pizza might have made Little Caesars — who released a similar product not quite a year ago — cry, “Et tu, Papa?” But I won’t subtract points for lack of originality. This combo feels quintessential; pepperoni and stuffed crust go together like pepperoni and pizza!

Before we get into the real meat of this review (ha, ha), I should point out that this crust is not just stuffed, but per Papa John’s website, also “seasoned.” This was a relief to read, as at first glance, the generous smattering of unexpected black flecks had me sort of concerned. The seasoning was zesty — hard to pinpoint one taste exactly, but it was simultaneously garlicky, salty, and a bit cheesy — and while I think the stuffed crust could have stood on its own, the addition wasn’t unwelcome.

Papa John s Epic Pepperoni Stuffed Crust Pizza Slice Side

Biting into the puffy, pillowy crust, I was pleased to notice that the taste of the pepperoni came through nicely but didn’t entirely steal the cheese’s thunder. It felt like a lovely complement, both in terms of the salty, meaty flavor popping against the mellower, creamy taste of the cheese, and the pop of slim, crisp texture contrasting the cheese’s silky thickness. But, while tasting this marriage of cheese and pepperoni satisfied my appetite, it couldn’t satisfy my curiosity; to do that, I had to peel back the crusty curtain.

Tearing open and rolling back the crust to reveal the cheesy, pepperoni-y secrets folded within had two effects. The first is that dissecting my pizza so thoughtfully made me feel kind of like a serial killer, or at least a very obscure sort of surgeon. The second, more pertinent point is that I could see exactly how many pieces of pepperoni went into the crust on each slice: two to three.

Papa John s Epic Pepperoni Stuffed Crust Pizza Slice Top

Honestly, that doesn’t exactly sound substantial enough to base a whole product around. Imagine how disappointed you would be if you ordered a pepperoni pizza and only got two to three pieces on each slice as a topping! You could argue that a little of this particular food item goes a long way, but I’m not sure the kind of person who orders their disc of meat and cheese with extra meat and cheese crammed inside is the kind of person who worries about oversaturation. It seems that at least three more pepperoni pieces could have been curled around the cheese stuffing without overlapping, and if you’re going to release something as all-out as pepperoni stuffed crust in the first place, why not fill every last gap you can?

Papa John s Epic Pepperoni Stuffed Crust Pizza Innards

Though maybe I’m just jealous because the site mentions that the pizza is “topped off with more pepperoni,” but mine didn’t come with any outside of what was in the crust. Maybe that’s on me for missing some step in online ordering, but I assumed a pizza with pepperoni in the name would include it as a topping by default!

I must disclose that I’m a stuffed crust fanatic, which might suggest that my bar for this offering would be quite high. But ultimately, I think it just means that I’m more willing to accept it for giving me the luscious cheese filling I crave even though its pepperoni potential underwhelms.

Purchased Price: $13.99
Size: Large
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Information not available on website.

REVIEW: Frankford Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Gummies

Frankford Kraft Macaroni  Cheese Gummies Box

What are Frankford Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Gummies?

When a friend sent me a video of a Trendy TikTok Teenager™ happening upon these, I immediately assumed it was an elaborately Photoshopped April Fool’s joke. But the siren song of curiosity compelled me to my local Five Below, just in case, and I’d never been so excited to be proven wrong. It’s not often that you genuinely have no idea what a snack food is going to taste like (or why it even exists in the first place), but this review gave me that dubious pleasure… and as it turns out, not many others.

How are they?

Frankford Kraft Macaroni  Cheese Gummies Plate

These do not, in fact, actually taste like macaroni and cheese. Nor are they supposed to. If you’re a more reasonable person than I am, you might now be breathing a sigh of relief, but I found this disappointing. Van Leeuwen’s recent (and bizarre) Kraft Macaroni & Cheese ice cream has been widely described along the lines of “Huh, this really does somehow taste cheesy and creamy and salty… and honestly pretty good,” so why couldn’t these be like that too!? But, for better or worse, their flavor is fruity—tangerine-y, but in that nebulously synthetic way common to many gummies. The texture necessitates a workout for your jaw; rubbery and requiring some effort to chew. If these gummies really were pasta, I’d send them back to the kitchen.

Anything else you need to know?

Frankford Kraft Macaroni  Cheese Gummies Compare

The box — an adorably dedicatedly crafted (or Krafted) facsimile that was probably my favorite part of this experience — cleverly gives no spoilers about what the heck these candies actually taste like, making for a prime opportunity for a prank or just a gimmicky surprise.

Conclusion:

Whether you find the concept queasy, uneasy, or just plain cheesy, Frankford’s Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Gummies probably have more shock value than flavor value, and only one of those values lasts past the first bite. I think they’re still certainly fun enough to justify a one-time novelty purchase, but fittingly for the store where they’re found, I can’t bring myself to rank them above a five (at least it’s not below)!

Purchased Price: $4.00
Size: 5.64 oz box
Purchased at: Five Below
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (7 gummies) 90 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: DiGiorno Stuffed Pizza Bites

DiGiorno Stuffed Pizza Bites Bags

Tearing open my two bags of DiGiorno Stuffed Pizza Bites (which I keep wanting to call pizza rolls à la Totino’s), I was hit with the powerful feeling that I’d just gotten home from fourth grade soccer practice and was racing to prep my afternoon snack before my favorite cartoon started.

The bag suggests three ways to cook these adorable little Hot Pockets lookalikes, but since I don’t have an air fryer, I was limited to using my oven (for 22 minutes at 350° F) and microwave (for 1 minute and 15 seconds). Regardless of appliance used, the cooked pizza bites emitted the immensely comforting smell of warm dough, grassy herbs, and tangy marinara sauce, with just a hint of processed uncanniness to really drive the nostalgia home.

The bag advises you to use the oven or air fryer if you like a crispier texture and the microwave if you seek a softer pizza bite. The bites that I baked in the oven were impressively firm with a satisfying crunch. The microwaved ones, though… varied. One of the two that I put in the microwave came out noticeably softer but not mushy or falling apart as I’d feared, and in fact, I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I preferred it to its oven-ed counterparts. The other, though, somehow ended up extremely overcooked, a thick brick with even the filling nuked stiff. Whoops. Anyway!

DiGiorno Stuffed Pizza Bites Outsides

The two flavors were unsurprisingly pretty much impossible to distinguish just by looking at their outsides, though even after a bite I couldn’t immediately identify which was which. The one that I eventually pegged as the four-cheese was an oozy, vodka sauce-looking shade of orange. The other was flecked with dark red chunks that I immediately guessed were flecks of tomato from the sauce, but ended up being the pepperoni. Whoops again!

DiGiorno Stuffed Pizza Bites Insides

The four cheese flavor’s titular cheeses are reduced fat mozzarella, parmesan, asiago, and romano. The best way I can think to describe the potent results of mashing them all together is “funky.” I could make out a fresh, creamy flavor that probably came from the mozzarella, but there were also undertones of sharpness. According to Google, that would be the Romano. There’s also a sort of earthy nuttiness that Google also tells me is typical for both parmesan and asiago. With the pepperoni flavor, mozzarella is the only one from the cheesy cacophony invited to the pizza party, so the taste was dominated instead by the meaty, faintly spicy tang of the pepperoni and marinara sauce. The four cheese flavor wasn’t bad, but I definitely preferred the simpler, more classic taste of the pepperoni.

At the end of the day, these were about what you’d expect from a pizza roll, er, bite. I appreciated their unique heft (“2x the size per piece,” the bag crows), but the experience wasn’t notably different than, say, the aforementioned Totino’s. These pizza bites might have briefly flashed me back to my childhood, but now that I’m old enough to simply order myself an actual pizza instead of rooting through the freezer for my mom’s purchases to satisfy my dough-sauce-cheese cravings, I’d rather just do that.

Purchased Price: $6.49 each
Size: 14 oz bag
Purchased at: ShopRite
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (3 bites) Four Cheese – 200 calories, 8 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 340 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein. Pepperoni – 230 calories, 12 gram of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 550 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein.