REVIEW: White Castle A.1. Specialty Slider

Even though I’m an urban dweller, I love driving. There’s just something about pushing your foot on the gas pedal and revving your engine when you get on the freeway, unless you’re rolling in some “green machine” that has an engine quieter than Helen Keller. I’m a big fan of the road trip; it is the quintessential way to discover yourself, or go on the run to escape the Feds.

Before writing for TIB, I never ate fast food. I didn’t even eat at McDonald’s when I traveled throughout Europe, but times have changed. Although I still refuse to eat meat products from the two scary fast food redheads, the plastic King and other first tier fast food restaurants, I now feel like it’s my duty to partially block my arteries on occasion and seek out what second tier fast food establishments have to offer. However, the problem with some second tier places is that they aren’t located around every corner like hookers in a shady neighborhood and Starbucks.

Yeah, I equated Starbucks with prostitutes. They’re just the hookers of the upper-middle class suburbs and chic urban centers.

I wanted to try White Castle for a while; probably since 2004 when that classic piece of cinema, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle was released. Six years ago, the nearest White Castle was about 300 miles away from me, but since then I moved closer to one of those cute little buildings that look like they were built by children playing on the beach using colorful plastic buckets. However, I never had the time, nor did anyone share my desire to spend more on gas than a fast food meal to get a fast food meal, but finally I did it and hit the road with one of my friends. We were like Harold and Kumar, except not Asian, Indian, stoners, or two guys. Maybe we were like Thelma and Louise, except neither of us killed anyone and we didn’t drive off of a cliff.

After a long drive, which unfortunately didn’t involve a Neil Patrick Harris cameo, we finally saw the little white building that is one of the meccas of all things small (which also includes the Little People of America National Convention and the primetime lineup on TLC). Apparently, 8:30 p.m. on a Saturday night is a down time for the Castle, because we were the only people inside.

The A.1. Specialty Slider was sold as a combo deal. Three sliders, a “saver sized” drink and a “saver sized” order of crinkled cut fries. I thought the saver size was a small, but it’s about half the size of a small. These special sliders are only topped with White Castle’s famous chopped onions and a generous dollop of A.1. Steak Sauce. These simple ingredients continues White Castle’s tradition of using the K.I.S.S Philosophy — Keep it Simple Stupid. This should not be confused with the KISS Philosophy, which is to bang as many women as you can while wearing glam rock makeup and holding a guitar that shoots out flames.

Now if I was drunk, or stoned, these things would have been awesome, and I probably would have ordered two combos, but since I was only under the influence of the lure of White Castle, these burgers were pretty average. Also, cheese would’ve been nice, but maybe I’m asking too much. They tasted better than the ones you can get in the freezer section at Costco, but I’m sure you can recreate the A.1. Slider easily by just putting a glob of A.1. on it. I didn’t think I could get full off of just three sliders and a Barbie-sized order of fries, but it did satisfy me and shockingly I didn’t need to use the W.C. after I ate at WC.

(Nutrition Facts – a regular slider without A.1. Sauce (nutrition facts for A.1. slider not available on website) – 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of sugar, 6 grams of protein and 4% iron.)

Item: White Castle A.1. Specialty Slider
Price: $2.99
Size: 3 sliders, a saver sized drink and a saver sized fries.
Purchased at: White Castle
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Road trips. Just enough A.1. Sauce. Enjoying White Castle while sober so I can remember it. Harold and Kumar. Crinkle cut fries were nice and hot. Not needing to use the bathroom after eating White Castle.
Cons: Would have tasted better if I was under the influence. Barbie-sized fries weren’t enough. Limp bun. Limp Gene Simmons. Would have improved with cheese.

REVIEW: Rita’s Peeps Italian Ice

Last summer, I reviewed Rita’s Swedish Fish Italian Ice (or Water Ice where I’m from) and it certainly deserved a perfect ten rating. I mean, seriously, if this thing was in a figure skating competition, it would have wowed the judges, even the hard as nails Russian judge who gives everyone, probably including his or her mama, extremely low scores.

If the Swedish Fish Italian Ice was on this season of Dancing With The Stars, it could call Kate Gosselin a terrible mother, motorboat Pam Anderson’s wonder titties and tell Buzz Aldrin the moon landing was filmed at a sound stage in West Hollywood and it would still be adored by the judges and the other “celebrities.” Unfortunately, Rita’s Peeps Italian Ice wouldn’t be able to get away with any of this, despite Peeps being oddly adorable and resembling a yellow-colored piece of Tamagotchi poop.

Or maybe it could, because it turns out Peeps have a massive following. Heck, there’s even an entire store that only has Peeps paraphernalia. I know a lot of people are part of some fandom, but Peeps? Come on, even the Trekkies think these single, middle-aged women with seven cats fans are nerds. If you can’t get enough of Peeps after buying a year’s supply, a “Hanging With My Peeps” t-shirt and a Swarovski crystal pin from the Peeps store, you always can check out a website called Peeps Show and bask in good ol’ fashioned, sticky and sweet marshmallow-flavored food porn.

Like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, there’s more than one way to eat a Peep. Some people create Peepsicles (why does typing that give me the willies?) by freezing them, others eat them au natural, some people deep-fry them, and a few single, middle-aged women who have waaaaay too many pictures of their cats in their work cubicle hardcore fans prefer them stale and hard. For those of you who have never had the sugary pleasure of eating a Peep, it’s just marshmallow (sugar) coated with colored sugar (more sugar). So basically, it tastes like sugar, and so does the Rita’s Peeps Italian Ice, except in frozen form. This proves once again that Rita’s is wonderful at developing flavors that taste exactly like its non-frozen counterpart.

I haven’t had Peeps in years, but this frozen version brought back memories of why I never liked them. It’s sickening sweet, and this is coming from a person who sometimes adds Splenda to her Frosted Flakes. It’s so sugary that a regular-sized Peeps Ice will provide enough sugar to fuel an evening of fist pumping at a club, while wearing a dress that shows one’s lady bits, like a true guidette.

Rita’s has dozens of Italian ice flavors that are far superior, and which are also much more Italian and colorful than Snookie, so I won’t be purchasing another Peeps Italian Ice. If the taste of pure sugar doesn’t turn you off, maybe its radioactive yellow color will. Or maybe the line of single, middle-aged women who smell like cat litter hardcore fans who want to try this frozen variation of their favorite treat will.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 regular cup – 320 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 80 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 77 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, 2% calcium and 2% vitamin C.)

Item: Rita’s Peeps Italian Ice
Price: $2.39
Size: Regular
Purchased at: Rita’s
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Tastes just like Peeps. Playing with Peeps. Deep-fried anything. Smaller quantity is enough. Peepsicles. Rita’s Swedish Fish Ice. Peeps bling bling.
Cons: Way too sweet. Fist-pumping. Creepy Peeps fangirls. Even creepier Peeps fanboys. 80-year-old Buzz Aldrin punching you in the face. Cleaning up Tamagatchi dookie. Rotten teeth.

REVIEW: Philly Swirl Cereal Conez

The ice cream novelty market is always looking for new items to entice children. These products can make any school-aged kid annoy the shit out of their parents when they beg for them, and they cause junk food review bloggers to cream in their pants. But there needs to be something that stands out amongst the space-aged pellets, superhero heads with gumballs for eyes and ice pops shaped like phalluses writing instruments.

Besides ice cream, what food item do kids (and weird looking birds) go cuckoo for and that’s only for them and not white, anorexic rabbits? You got it — breakfast cereal.

The Philly Swirl Cereal Conez is the bastard offspring from the sticky lovemaking between a complete sugary breakfast and a pre-packaged ice cream and cone combo. If I wore a hat, I would tip it to Philly Swirl. Why you ask? Because there is no cereal in Cereal Conez. Instead, they got rid of the middleman, struck a deal with that pot o’ gold loving ginger and topped the cones conez with the marshmallows that are found in a certain cereal that claims it’s lucky. The next thing I want to do, is ask Philly Swirl how can I get a bag of these packing-peanut textured marshmallows without having to sift through pieces of cereal, because everyone buys Lucky Charms for the marshmallows.

Although I do love dehydrated, colorful, and ill-shaped pieces of sugar, I really wish that the Cereal Conez had cereal on them, because it would provide a crunchy texture to compliment the creamy ice cream and compensate for the somewhat soggy cone.

If cereal was added, think of the marketing possibilities. Bran Conez could be for those who need some fiber in their desserts and Frosted Shredded Wheat Conez could be for those who get off on eating adorable little mascots. I don’t think they would call them conez though, because we all know that when you slap a Z on something it’s targeted towards kids, or it’s a product from a certain gas station/fast food eatery.

There’s two flavors in the box: Chocolate Marshmallow Swirl (more like chocolate vanilla swirl) and Vanilla, but there’s no way of picking which flavor you want, because the cones are all wrapped the same way in white paper with no text. When you disrobe the cone and become excited or depressed, which depends on whether or not you received the flavor you wanted, you are greeted with a mound of “magical marshmallows” that dominates the top of the cone. It’s certainly eye opening, but it’s lousy because the first four bites or so is all marshmallow and no ice cream.

After that, it’s just a standard ice cream cone novelty, but one that’s tasty because the inside of the cone is covered in chocolate. However, by the time you reach that point, the thrill of devouring the leprechaun’s beloved “magical marshmallows” is all but a distant memory.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cone – 180 calories, 7 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 18 grams of sugar and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Philly Swirl Cereal Conez
Price: $2.59
Size: 4 cones
Purchased at: The Big Blue Supercenter
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Lots of “magical marshmallows.” Ice cream is rich and smooth. Size of each treat is bigger than I expected. Chocolate inside of each cone. Those novelties with gumball eyes. Telling the Trix rabbit he can’t have the cereal he so desperately wants.
Cons: No way to tell which flavor is which. Marshmallows aren’t “magical” enough. Cone is a little soggy. Only four in a box. Doesn’t actually contain cereal. Adding Z’s are so 90’s.

REVIEW: Blue Diamond Crunchy Almond Butter

Get ready fair readers, because I’m about to blow your mind.

According to my sources *cough* Facebook *cough*, March is National Peanut Month. After doing some research, I later found out National Peanut Lover’s Day falls on March 15th and National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day is on March 1st, which of course makes sense. However, National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month is in November and National Peanut Butter Day is in January. Shit. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I need some epinephrine to deal this clusterfuck of made up holidays.

Almonds, on the other hand, are straightforward, they don’t have an entire month devoted to them, and their day pretty much goes on without any fanfare (it’s February 16th so mark your calendars for next year, and if you’re the worst boyfriend ever, combine it with Valentine’s Day). To me, almonds are a classier, more stuck up nut than the peanut. A kid who uses his jacket’s sleeve as a tissue has the taste bud capabilities of distinguishing what makes peanuts and peanut butter yummy. Almonds, however, are certainly for a more refined crowd. Even by saying the word “almond” you can’t help but picture yourself wearing a monocle and speaking in an accent that is supposed to represent the higher echelon of society who uses the word “echelon” in everyday conversations.

The Blue Diamond Crunchy Almond Butter has a strong taste of almond (go figure), but it wasn’t as chunky as I expected. When it comes to peanut butter, I like it super, duper chunky. Hell, I like my peanut butter so chunky it wouldn’t be able to fit into the clothes in the Husky section of Sears. The Blue Diamond Almond Butter is chunky, and could fit into a pair of Husky-sized Toughskins easily, but that’s unlikely to happen since it wouldn’t be caught dead in clothes from a department store. Instead it would wear Brooks Brothers suits and ties everyday, which would be the reason for peanut butter to pick on almond butter. Despite the constant ridicule from Skippy and the gang, the Blue Diamond Chunky Almond Butter can hold its own on a nice piece of wholegrain toast with some grape jelly.

Although it tastes good, the combination of almond butter and jelly is like seeing a celebrity couple that just doesn’t look right. Kind of like Mo’nique and her skinny, slightly effeminate husband. The public knows that jelly will always be better with peanut butter and I’ve come to terms with that. But almond butter really is good and according to my sources *cough* Oprah’s bowel movement loving buddy, Dr. Oz *cough* almond butter is healthier for you than its plebian cousin. Although I don’t know how healthy it can really be when you combine it with the delectable devil’s spread, Nutella.

The Blue Diamond Crunchy Almond Butter will never be a replacement for my luscious Skippy Super Chunk, but it’s really nice to have in the pantry when you want to switch things up, or if you want to pretend you’re eating more like an adult, and less like a kid who keeps a booger collection in the pockets of his Husky-sized Toughskins.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 tbsp – 190 calories, 17 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 0 milligrams of potassium, 7 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, 7 grams of protein, 8% calcium, 40% vitamin E, 8% iron and 20% magnesium.)

Item: Blue Diamond Crunchy Almond Butter
Price: $3.69
Size: 12 ounces
Purchased at: Christmas Tree Shops
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Great natural almond taste. Healthier than peanut butter. Great way to get Vitamin E. Tastes yummy with grape jelly or Nutella. Celebrating National Almond Day. Monocles.
Cons: Usually more expensive than peanut butter. Not chunky enough. Getting caught using your jacket’s sleeve as a tissue. Dr. Oz talking about poop. Mo’nique coming after you with a frying pan.

REVIEW: StarKist Chunk Light Sandwich-Ready Tuna Salad

Tuna is a food that people either love or hate.

Now, when I say tuna, I’m talking about the shredded stuff that’s in a can or pouch form, not the high quality stuff you may find in a nice sushi restaurant, or a shady sushi restaurant that serves it on naked women. I’m talking about good old fashioned tuna that when combined with mayo and Wonder Bread creates a brown bag lunch that everyone knows is a tuna fish sandwich before you even open the bag.

Those who make their own tuna salad are pretty hardcore about it. What brand to use, whether it’s packed in olive oil or water, how much mayo, or even if they should add celery. I’m pretty straight up with my tuna and just mix it with some mayo. But when I’m feeling daring or motivated after watching the Food Network or pissed off after watching Rachael Ray on the Food Network, I like to include some sundried tomatoes, a little bit of lemon, some celery, and if I’m pissed off at Rachael Ray, I will say “extra virgin olive oil” instead of EVOO.

But most of the time, I’m lazy and rather have someone else, or a leading producer, distributor and marketer of shelf-stable and frozen seafood products in the United States, make me tuna salad when I have a weird craving for it like I did this past weekend after I saw The Vagina Monologues.

Charlie the Tuna and his StarKist Chunk Light Sandwich-Ready Tuna Salad to the rescue!

Well, maybe not. This tuna salad was pretty blah in comparison to one that I can whip up myself. Fancy Feast cat food came to mind after I opened up the package and slopped it down between two slices of bread. Tuna in a can or space-aged pouch almost always has an odor attached to it, and this product was no different. However, this tuna surprisingly didn’t have an uber fishy taste. So even though it may have smelled like cat food, it didn’t really taste like it. Now I’m not saying I’ve had cat food, but I’ve taken a whiff of some once and that shit could be used as a bioweapon.

The taste of the StarKist Chunk Light Sandwich-Ready Tuna Salad was a little tangy and it was edible, despite my comparisons to Fancy Feast, but I just couldn’t finish an entire sandwich. There’s very little mayo in it (or any at all, I couldn’t really tell), which was probably the reason why the entire pouch of tuna was only 100 calories. Too bad the sandwich I made with it was lousy and unmemorable, unlike the nice tuna sandwiches of my yesteryear with mayo on soft Wonder Bread.

Sorry, Charlie.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 pouch – 100 Calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 370 milligrams of sodium, 4 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, 13 grams of protein, 2% calcium and 4% iron.)

Item: StarKist Chunk Light Sandwich-Ready Tuna Salad
Price: $1.79
Size: 3 ounces
Purchased at: Giant
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Low in calories. Wonder Bread. Tuna in pouches for those who don’t own a can opener. Contains Omega-3’s. Convenient when you need a tuna salad fix quick. The Vagina Monologues.
Cons: Pretty boring. Reminds me of cat food. Being too lazy to make my own tuna salad. Not having a can opener. Strong tuna fish smell. Using cat food a bioweapon. Rachael Ray creating the term EVOO.