REVIEW: Fanta Piña Colada

Fanta Pina Colada

What is Fanta Piña Colada?

Fanta adds a new flavor to its extensive collection of fruit sodas: a combination of pineapple and coconut inspired by the tropical cocktail.

I found this one at Country Fair, a regional convenience store and gas station chain native to northwestern Pennsylvania. According to some guy on Yelp, Country Fair is known for its kind employees and suspect pickled eggs.

How is it?

Before we begin, let’s all make a pact not to mention that famous song in which a certain tropical cocktail is mentioned alongside surprising circumstances of inclement weather. That tune has been running through my head on a continuous loop for the past 24 hours, and I would appreciate your cooperation as I regain full control of my brain.

Now back to our regularly-scheduled review.

Fanta Pina Colada Outdoors

Among its rainbow of products, Fanta Piña Colada is an opaque white color and smells of faintly of coconut. The first taste is a mellow pineapple flavor that is all sweetness with very few notes of acid. The artificial flavor reminds me of the pineapple Lifesaver from the original Five Flavors pack, but is much more subdued.

The coconut taste subtly smooths out the pineapple, but does not stand out immediately, revealing itself more in the aftertaste. Although the coconut “dilutes” the pineapple taste and prevents this very sugary drink from being too cloying, pineapple is still the star of each sip.

This Fanta flavor mimics that of a real piña colada (minus the rum), but the drink was not as refreshing as it could have been. Compared to other sodas, it felt more lightly carbonated, falling flat only a few minutes after being poured into a glass. To achieve the taste of a piña colada, Fanta had to go easy on the acid, but the flavor combined with weak carbonation prevented the soda from fully quenching my thirst.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Fanta Piña Colada contains no juice, no caffeine, and (clearly) no alcohol. Feel free to add your own!


Coconut is pineapple’s supporting player in Fanta Piña Colada, a smooth, sweet drink that lacks a sharp element needed to be truly refreshing. If you like piña coladas (sigh…) better than bubbles, give this one a try.

Purchased Price: $1.16
Purchased at: Country Fair
Size: 20 oz. bottle

Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 bottle) 230 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 61 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 61 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Zapp’s Evil Eye Potato Chips

Zapp s Evil Eye Potato Chips

What are Zapp’s Evil Eye Potato Chips?

The Louisiana-based company invoked New Orleans voodoo practitioner Marie Laveau to inspire the newest flavor of its famous kettle style potato chips: a subtly hot, Cajun-spiced flavor.

How are they?

I was excited to try Zapp’s Evil Eye Potato Chips for a couple of reasons:

First, the brand’s parent company, Utz of Hanover, is based in my home state of Pennsylvania, and we Pennsylvanians take our potato chips very seriously. (I have vivid memories of a first-grade field trip to Troyer Farms, where our class observed potato chip production under the watchful eye of the brand’s charming farmer mascot.)

Second, I can’t resist the novelty of snacks inspired by spooky lore.

Zapp s Evil Eye Potato Chips Uneven

Zapp’s Evil Eye chips are heavily–although unevenly–powdered with red seasoning. The aggressive color, similar to a “Flamin’ Hot” anything, is misleading, though, as the first taste yielded a sweet, tangy tomato flavor that brought to mind one word: ketchup. As I ate, the flavor grew rounder, with notes of vinegar, onion and garlic, and a paprika-dominant Cajun spice mixture. Hints of cayenne and black pepper contribute some heat, which slowly builds and ranges from subtle to mild, but noticeable.

As the spice level fluctuates, the tomato flavor is squarely in the foreground until everything fades in the aftertaste to a vague onion flavor. After the initial ketchup taste becomes more complex, the flavor profile is like what would happen if you combined a barbeque chip with a Salsa Ranchera Tostito.

Meanwhile, the texture is everything you would want from a kettle style chip: thick, hearty, and crunchy without an oily feeling or aftertaste. Zapp’s products are cooked in 100% pure peanut oil, which apparently contributes to the characteristic crunch.

Zapp s Evil Eye Potato Chips Closeup

I needed to taste at least five chips before I decided that, yes, I like Zapp’s Evil Eye Potato Chips. I needed several more bites to figure out why, ultimately deciding that I owe my enjoyment to the fact that these chips taste different from any other salty snack I’ve eaten. The tomato-forward flavor will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it definitely makes for an interesting, easy-to-eat bite.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Although its website offers smaller-sized packages, I could only find a 9-ounce “party size” bag in-store. Zapp’s must anticipate that its customers will enjoy Evil Eye chips at Super Bowl or Mardi Gras parties. But if you are like me and do not celebrate either, beware not of the evil eye, but the danger of reaching into the depths of the enormous bag and gradually coating your sleeves with red dust.


Zapp’s Evil Eye Potato Chips deliver a perfect texture and unique seasoning blend that skews heavy on tomato and light on Cajun spice. I enjoyed the flavor profile immensely, but if you are looking for intense heat, the evil eye is not on your side.

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 9 oz. bag
Purchased at: Giant Eagle
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 1 oz/about 20 chips) 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein

REVIEW: Canada Dry Bold Ginger Ale

Canada Dry Bold Ginger Ale Can

Update 12/1/21: We also tried the limited edition Vanilla Bean flavor! Click here to read our review.

What is Canada Dry Bold Ginger Ale?

Canada Dry Bold teases a more intense ginger flavor in this variety of its sweet, dry ginger soda.

How is it?

Greetings from the land of illness and misery, otherwise known as Julie’s place of employment. Luckily, my immune system of steel has prevented me from falling prey to a cocktail of insidious germs, but my poor colleagues can’t say the same. On a lunchtime run to pick up Kleenex and hand sanitizer, I stumbled upon Canada Dry Bold Ginger Ale, a new product from, in my opinion, the best commercial ginger ale brand out there. Although I associate the beverage primarily as a panacea for everything from colds to hangovers, I always enjoy a fizzy ginger drink…but is bolder better?

Canada Dry Bold Ginger Ale Fizzy

Upon first pour, Canada Dry Bold has a richer, gold color and more fizz compared to the original variety, along with a sharper scent that brought a tickle to my nose. The first sip tasted very similar to Canada Dry or any other standard ginger ale: sweet and refreshing, with a hint of ginger, although missing a hint of its characteristic crispness. With another sip, the ginger taste became more noticeably more pronounced. But at this point, “bold” seemed like a strong word — more like “enhanced” or “elevated.”

Canada Dry Bold Ginger Ale Color

After a few moments, the drink built up to spicy sensation, a peppery warmth without flavor, that lingered in the throat for several minutes. The feeling was definitely pleasant, and because of my tendency to rely on the brand for comfort in times of sickness, I appreciated the “burn” as an extra kick in a still-soothing, palatable drink.

Because that kick hesitates, the drink may disappoint enthusiasts looking for a fresher, more robust flavor in the vein of ginger beer.

Is there anything else you need to know?

You don’t NEED to know this, but I found it interesting: Both the original and bold varieties contain less than 2% ginger extract, which is apparently not enough to merit the claim that Canada Dry is “made with real ginger” and boasts related health benefits. After a 2019 false advertisement lawsuit, the brand opted to relinquish that statement, instead describing their drinks as having “real ginger taste.” Don’t let that knowledge ruin the placebo effect the next time you reach for a Canada Dry to soothe your queasy stomach.


Canada Dry Bold is more like Canada Dry Moderate, but its enhanced ginger taste and resulting warm spice sensation will still refresh and soothe whatever might ail you.

Purchased Price: $5.79
Size: 12 pack of 12-ounce cans (2-liter size also available at some locations)
Purchased at: Giant Eagle
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 12 oz. can) 140 calories, 0 grams of fat, 50 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 36 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Galactic Fruit Gushers with a Mystery Flavor

Limited Edition Galactic Fruit Gushers Mystery Flavor

What are Limited Edition Galactic Fruit Gushers with a Mystery Flavor?

General Mills is re-releasing a limited edition lunchbox favorite: Galactic Gushers, featuring Asteroid Apple, Berry Star Clusters, and a Mystery Flavor (“Unidentified Flavored Object”). The product is available exclusively at Walmart.

How are they?

First, if you have never eaten a Gusher, a) do you eat vicariously through junk food bloggers? and b) they are kind of their own species. Not quite gummy candy, not quite fruit leather, Gushers are dense and chewy with a burst of fruit-flavored liquid in the center.

Galactic Gushers, to reinforce the outer space theme, are the Jupiter of Gushers in that they are large in mass and volume. This box – well-decorated with glittery letters and a rich purple celestial background – contains 20 pouches, each of which holds about 8-10 Gushers.

Limited Edition Galactic Fruit Gushers Mystery Flavor Colors

The flavors are distinguished by color: bright green (Asteroid Apple), sapphire blue (Berry Star Cluster), and dark purple (Mystery Flavor), a color combination that could be recycled if Jewel Tone Gushers or Cool Side of the Color Wheel Gushers ever hit shelves. Details like a swirl motif and edible glitter to resemble planets and stars would have been a fun addition to boost the galaxy imagery.

The Asteroid Apple’s hint of tartness tastes like a typical artificial green apple flavor, and the Berry Star Cluster mimics the concentrated sweetness and flavor of blueberry jam.

Limited Edition Galactic Fruit Gushers Mystery Flavor Innards

The Mystery Flavor was harder to pinpoint, because the taste of each purple Gusher seemed to vary slightly. Perhaps primed by its purple shade, I first guessed grape, then recognized a sweet note that reminded me of boysenberry.

For help, I turned to the Galactic Gushers promotional site, which lists the following as potential flavors:

  • Big-Bang Blue Raspberry
  • Meteorite Mandarin-Melon
  • Satellite Strawberry-Kiwi
  • Light-Year Lemon-Lime

One more taste detected acidity in the Gusher goo that seemed to point to Big-Bang Blue Raspberry as the Mystery Flavor.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Limited Edition Galactic Fruit Gushers Mystery Flavor Back

You can guess the mystery flavor at daily through April 30th for a chance to win prizes like gift cards and Gushers swag.

As of this writing, “Big-Bang Blue Raspberry” is in the lead with only 48% of the vote. I wonder if Gushers purposefully designed the Mystery Flavor pieces to taste inconsistent, or if the minor flavor differences I detected among them were just my imagination.

*X-Files theme plays*


After the novelty of the Mystery Flavor wears off, you are left with three perfectly acceptable Gushers flavors and perhaps a reinvigorated urge to storm Area 51.

Purchased Price: $5.88
Size: 16 oz. box (20 – 0.5 oz. pouches)
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 pouch) 80 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: General Mills Hershey’s Kisses Cereal

Hershey s Kisses Cereal

What is Hershey’s Kisses Cereal?

General Mills and Hershey’s have joined forces to bring the Hershey’s Kiss to your breakfast table with Hershey’s Kisses Cereal: chocolate-flavored corn puff pieces shaped like the classic candy.

How is it?

Half of the fun of candy- or dessert-inspired cereals is discovering how closely the it physically resembles the original product. While Hershey’s Kisses Cereal does not precisely replicate its namesake, its appearance is clearly inspired by Hershey’s Kisses: its dime-sized pieces are shaped like triangles with flat sides and smoothed edges.

Hershey s Kisses Cereal Comparison

Most of the pieces boast a droopy, rounded stem in place of the candy’s signature pointed tip, so whether you perceive the cereal as tiny Hershey’s Kisses or something else is a matter for Rorschach. (To me, they resemble the poop emoji. I’m sorry, but it had to be said, and I promise not to bring it up again.)

Hershey s Kisses Cereal Pieces

Anyway, a chocolate cereal by any other shape would be just as sweet, which Hershey’s Kisses Cereal definitely is. It tastes very similar to Cocoa Puffs, with its cocoa powder sweetness and crunchy texture. It took a few bites to discern a difference, but I tasted just a hint more richness with this.

Hershey s Kisses Cereal Milk

Adding milk enhances the dry cocoa flavor to something closer to milk chocolate. With only one or two stirs, the milk begins to turn brown, and with more time (or if you are like me, impatient agitation), a rich, thick chocolate milk appears.

Although I haven’t broken out my crazy straw in a couple of decades, the cereal milk did remind me of using Hershey’s syrup to make chocolate milk, as visible chocolate swirls move throughout the milk and streak the sides and bottom of the bowl. As this transformation occurs, the cereal retains its taste and texture. Although this is a solid chocolate cereal when eaten dry, I highly recommend adding milk for the full chocolate-y effect.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Hershey s Kisses Cereal Bowl

In a blind taste test, I could not have pinpointed the Hershey’s association, but the list of ingredients does include Hershey’s Cocoa Processed with Alkali as the brand’s contribution.


Although comparable to many chocolate cereals on the shelves, Hershey’s Kisses Cereal is enjoyable and, with milk, will give you two chocolate treats for the price of one.

Purchased Price: $3.64
Size: 19.8 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup) 140 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.