REVIEW: Limited Edition Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry

Limited Edition Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry

What is Limited Edition Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry?

Joy to the world! It’s officially cranberry soda season, with Sprite taking the lead with its unique Winter Spiced Cranberry, a mixture of the classic lemon-lime taste of Sprite with a twist of cranberry and spiced with other “natural flavors.” What those spices are, however, I’m not sure.

How is it?

The thing about the holidays I like the most are all the surprises soda companies have in store for us. Like a carbonated Santa, the Limited Edition Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry is definitely one of them.

I’m sure by the soda’s subtitle you have a basic idea about what you’re getting, but hold it, feel it, shake it — maybe don’t shake it — and when you finally open this bottle of Sprite, the cranberry flavoring is ever so slight, with the heavily spiced (of what, I may continue to ask?) quotient truly making this a drink for the season.

Limited Edition Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry 2

With a taste that’s reminiscent of ginger ale and crushed ornaments, it’s a cool sparkling beverage that feels more like an extra-sweetened holiday La Croix than anything Sprite has ever produced before. That being said, it ain’t all that bad, especially if you need a gentle stomach-setter after eating eight or nine of Tia Lupita’s deviled ham tamales. Yum!

Is there anything else you need to know?

One 20-ounce bottle contains 109% of your daily recommended allowance of sugars. That some sugar for today, and some for tomorrow also. Space out your sips!

Conclusion:

Sadly, there’s no Sprite Zero companion liquid to this, but, still, if you need one holiday soda (that’s not cinnamon flavored, natch) to get you through the 12 days of whatever holiday you may choose or not choose, I suppose you should probably make it this one.

Purchased Price: $1.98
Size: 20 fl. oz. bottle
Purchased at: Winco
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 Bottle) 200 calories, 0 grams of fat, 110 milligrams of sodium, 54 grams of carbohydrates, 54 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sonic Garlic Butter Bacon Burger

Sonic Garlic Butter Bacon Burger

As I sampled Sonic’s spectacular new Garlic Butter Bacon Burger, it struck me as kind of odd that more hamburgers don’t offer a medium scoopful of garlic butter swathed across their toasted buns and seared into their beef patties.

It is such a rich and wealthy additive that, when it comes to such dairy products, I loudly say, to no one in particular, “To hell with cheese! Give me more of that damning garlic butter!”

I arrived at my local Sonic and was happy to see it has the Garlic Butter Bacon Burger in a Jr. size. However, as I was enjoying it, all I could think about was quickly shoving this Jr.-sized burger in my mouth and then following it with another. With such a notable taste, it’s impossible not to feel like a beef addict, needing more and more of that creamy garlic butter running through your veins.

Every bite was, of course, juicy as a flood of grease and oils flowed down my chin and onto my chest and lap, with the omnipresent American cheese seeping out of the sides. The garlic and butter concoction mixes admirably with the four or five pieces of crispy bacon and, of course, the profound all-beef patty. The taste was a unique intoxicant of everything a burger should be, fast food or otherwise.

Sonic Garlic Butter Bacon Burger Toppings

The buns, as you’d imagine, tasted like garlic bread. The tiny onions that dotted the top were unnecessary but welcomed to this feeding frenzy. Feeling, at times, more like a dirty breakfast sandwich than a sexy noontime burger, there’s a wholly sinful part of me that wants to nosh on this every day around 6 a.m. with a cup of strong black coffee. And possibly a Route 44 slush.

Sonic Garlic Butter Bacon Burger Bite

But I can’t. As it is, I had to slow down eating and catch my breath while dining on this burger. I haven’t had a non-Mexican fast food offering that aroused my lustful hunger like this in a very long time. Even after one, however, I feel like I have to cut back on food in general and hit the gym, possibly right now.

Very rarely have I ever eaten anything that left me feeling so preternaturally guilty and so predominantly proud because of its sheer butter content. Thanks, Sonic.

Purchased Price: $2.79
Size: Jr.-sized
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 530 calories, 34 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 80 milligrams of cholesterol, 1000 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 21 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Snickers and Twix Chocolate Lowfat Milk

Snickers and Twix Chocolate Lowfat Milk

What are Snickers and Twix Chocolate Lowfat Milk?

Everyone loves the chocolate-based goodness of the well-known candy bars Snickers and Twix, right? Well, now the flavors of those beloved confections are mixed with low-fat milk to form a chocolate drink of sorts, because why not, this is America.

How are they?

With a wonderfully sweet smell and a surprisingly thick consistency, the stomach growls for these dessert-like beverages as both are poured slowly into the cups of my choice.

Snickers Chocolate Lowfat Milk

The Snickers low-fat milk is undeniably sugary, with a taste very reminiscent of what you’d expect: chocolate, peanuts, and nougat. The slight difference here is the faint coffee-like aftertaste that sits in the back of your throat for minutes after drinking. That doesn’t make it a bad thing.

Twix Chocolate Lowfat Milk

The Twix low-fat milk, on the other hand, is far more subtle, almost like drinking non-dairy creamer straight from the bottle. As a rich river of chocolate and cookie flavoring bunch up in your stomach after each gulp, the remaining caramel surprising overpowers every taste bud you have left. To be honest, I felt a little woozy after polishing off my bottle.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Thinking about the coffee-friendly aftertaste, I poured a little remaining Snickers milk into my morning coffee over the past couple of days and, I gotta say, this low-fat treat works far better as an additive than a snack to drink all by its lonesome.

Conclusion:

The Snickers and Twix low-fat milks are novelty drinks that are worth trying at least once.

Purchased Price: $2.49 each
Size: 14 fl. oz.
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 5 out of 10 (both)
Nutrition Facts: (per bottle) Snickers – 270 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 24 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein. Twix – 270 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 24 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Toasted Cheddar Chalupa

Taco Bell Toasted Cheddar Chalupa

Like the bright shimmer of hidden gold from the lost city of El Dorado, Taco Bell’s newest menu item is a shining beacon of simple ingenuity filtered through pure borderland knowhow. The Toasted Cheddar Chalupa is a revelation of fried bread and cheese, combined the way Quetzalcoatl intended.

When unwrapped from its thin paper sheath, the grease stains catching the light allows the chalupa shell to portray a certain kind of inalienable beauty. Taco Bell has turned this thick carb-heavy casing into a surprising work of edible art that feels right at home in my quivering hands.

Taco Bell Toasted Cheddar Chalupa 3

The basis of the Toasted Cheddar Chalupa is the chalupa shell itself: an amazing feat of Tex-Mex handcraftiness. It’s a fried centerpiece that, now with the yellow bits of cheddar cheese clinging for additional flavor, is a treasured piece of corporate frybread that one could eat all day if they ever decided to stop living by the laws of common decency.

Seriously, if Taco Bell were to ever offer these chalupa shells by themselves, I would order a slick dozen fresh from the fryer, no problem. Call it sacrilege if you must, but I actually prefer them to the lauded Doritos Locos taco shells.

Taco Bell Toasted Cheddar Chalupa 2

The typical Taco Bell fillings are all present and accounted for — temperate ground beef, cool lettuce, chopped tomatoes, stringy cheese, and reduced fat sour cream. They all seem to be spiritually created simply to mate graphically with this chalupa shell.

It was still crunchy even after an hour or two of sitting by itself on my dining room table. Even the best tacos the Bell has to offer can’t live up to that scrutiny.

More of this please, Taco Bell.

Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: N/A
Rating: 10 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 450 calories, 30 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 550 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 16 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Reaper Ranch Tortilla Chips

Taco Bell Reaper Ranch Tortilla Chips

What are Taco Bell Reaper Ranch Tortilla Chips?

Based on the popular (I’m guessing) supreme fries and not-so-supreme burritos that were featured on the Taco Bell menu a short time ago, this is the home-game version of the Reaper Ranch flavor of the famed sauce, now in the form of a heavily-dusted tortilla chip.

How are they?

As I sat there, my mouth burning in a Carolina-based pepper-fueled ecstasy of sorts, I have to admit that I did like these Reaper Ranch spin-offs more than their Taco Bell menu board counterparts. On a tortilla chip, while the Reaper peppers are hotter than ever and the Ranch is also far more prominent, the notable flavoring beautifully covers the light and airy triangles of corn to great effect.

Taco Bell Reaper Ranch Tortilla Chips 2

Munching these considerately and carefully, I realized that years of sampling different Doritos concoctions have trained me to graciously accept the surprisingly different flavors of these Taco Bell tortilla chips. Remember those Wasabi Doritos? I loved those and, if I may, I love these as well.

Is there anything else you need to know?

After handling the Reaper Ranch chips, remember to immediately wash your hands thoroughly before touching or rubbing your eyes. It took me almost twenty minutes to get the mace-like burning to become somewhat manageable.

Conclusion:

The Taco Bell Reaper Ranch Tortilla Chips can really do no wrong, finding the niche that the fries and burrito never could. Too bad, though, that Taco Bell hasn’t made the Reaper Ranch sauce available as a kicky party dip. Imagine the meta-dining dipping these chips into that sauce. The fiery mind reels.

Purchased Price: $1.29
Size: 3.5 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 oz.) 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 120 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: KFC Mac & Cheese Bowl

KFC Mac  Cheese Bowl

Ask any small child and they’ll tell you that KFC has not only always had mac and cheese on the menu, but has always had mac and cheese with bits of chicken cut up and tossed around in the bowl. It’s a hand-mixed taste sensation that’s usually left half-eaten and thrown away by a mom tired of fighting with a child that won’t cooperate with a lunchtime meal.

From these literal mouths of children comes Kentucky Fried Chicken’s latest bowl du jour, the Mac & Cheese Bowl, an easy-enough concoction that brings the famous side to the forefront and makes it a blessed entrée for any adult that needs their food in a somewhat compact form, available in both original and, of course, spicy.

KFC Mac  Cheese Bowl Top

Despite the trouble ordering just the bowl at my area franchise — my server told me it’s only available as a “fill up” and I did not feel like arguing — when it arrived quickly on my tray, I immediately noticed it looked far less plump than the advertisements hung all around the store made it seem. While the pictures depict the bowl as a heightened foodscape of chicken and cheese dreams, in real life, it is just a low-lying valley of flat nuggets and buried cheddar.

Popping the plastic top and letting the scented heat waft upwards though, the smell was a peppy delight of warm Nashville hot sauce and melty cheddar cheese. There was a decent enough ratio of chicken to macaroni, always a plus. The spicy chicken popcorn nuggets seemed to cover the top, my fork gently stirring the mac and cheese from the bottom, like a perverted variation of yogurt.

KFC Mac  Cheese Bowl Mixed

While the spicy Nashville flavor of the chicken overpowered the well-meaning mac and cheese, it still worked here. The underlying cheesy taste is a heavenly layer of yellow deliciousness that manages to break through the thick wall of clucky goodness. It’s a taste that combines very well and, honestly, probably something that many of us already did before this even came out.

KFC Mac  Cheese Bowl Closeup

Sadly, as tasty as this is, I don’t think it makes a better combination than the typically perfect chicken and mashed potato Famous Bowl, which seems like more of a natural dish, one that has a sprinkling of cheese on it already, along with a few bits of corn. Still, if you’re ordering a Mac & Cheese Bowl, you know what you’re getting and, in that case, you’re going be mighty happy.

But, you know, if this meal doesn’t make you happy, chances are you’re just a fussy four-year-old with great reading skills.

Purchased Price: $5.00 (Fill Up Meal)
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Unavailable at post time.