REVIEW: Monster Energy Ultra Paradise

Monster Energy Ultra Paradise

What is Monster Energy Ultra Paradise?

Monster Energy just released “Paradise” as the newest addition to its sugar-free Ultra line of energy drinks. According to the back of the can, Monster Ultra Paradise delivers “Pure, Crisp, Invigorating Island Flavors.” The question is, what exactly is an island flavor?

Monster Energy Ultra Paradise 2

How is it?

I’m a frequent consumer of Monster Ultra, so I know the flavors can be difficult to place. Sure, Ultra Red kind of tastes like fruit punch, and Ultra Sunrise tastes vaguely orangish, but what flavor is Ultra Blue? Ultra Zero? Ultra Paradise at least gives us a hint that it’ll be tropically flavored.

Monster Energy Ultra Paradise 3

Upon opening, Ultra Paradise is a hazy light green color. The island flavor is… nondescript. Pineapple, maybe? Or maybe Pina Colada? Is the green color supposed to be a hint? It’s definitely tropical, but I still have no idea what that means exactly. You could tell me it was passion fruit flavored, and I’d believe you. (Full disclosure: those weird purple Starburst are the complete extent of my experience with passion fruit.)

Is there anything else you need to know?

Some varieties of Monster Ultra can be too sweet for my tastes, so I appreciate this one keeps it more subdued. It allows the citric acid tang to add a bit of a kick, which is appreciated when I’m looking for a pick-me-up.

Conclusion:

When imbibing a caffeinated beverage, I’m mostly interested in its pharmacological effect. Most of the time that means coffee, but if I’m at a convenience store of questionable quality, with a pot of coffee that’s been there longer than the clerk, I may reach for an energy drink instead. Monster always gets the job done with 140 milligrams of caffeine, and Paradise fits in well with the rest of the Ultra options.

Purchased Price: $2.00
Size: 16 fl. oz. can
Purchased at: Festival Foods
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 160 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 gram of protein, 100% Niacin, 100% Vitamin B6, 100%, Vitamin B12, 100% Vitamin B5, and 140 mg of caffeine.

Click here to read our previous energy drink reviews.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts Bites

Kellogg s Pop Tarts Bites

Do you wake up precisely 43 seconds before you need to be out the door? Or maybe you have a heart condition, and the sudden POP! of the toaster would too much for the ol’ ticker? Or perhaps you don’t like your kids too much, and don’t want to do anything that could be mistaken as cooking for them?

If so, Pop-Tarts Bites are the product for you! Able to go from box to mouth in under 10 seconds, these bite-sized pieces promise the classic Frosted Strawberry or Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon flavor without all that tedious toasting.

An even faster, less labor-intensive version of toasted Pop-Tarts may seem like a product in search of a problem, but I’m willing to be convinced. After all, I’m a guy so impatient that I’ve never successfully cooked a TV dinner using the conventional oven instructions. I always get tired of waiting and throw it in the microwave.

Kellogg s Pop Tarts Bites Pouches

I open a pouch of each and stick my nose in deep to sniff that classic Pop-Tart scent of slightly undercooked pastry. The Brown Sugar Cinnamon has an additional spice scent, and the strawberry strongly reminds me of strawberry jam. So far, the experience is identical to regular Pop Tarts.

I pop a Brown Sugar Cinnamon Bite into my mouth, crunch through the frosting, and into the sugary center. These taste like Pop-Tarts. The Brown Sugar Cinnamon Bites have a kick of spice to them, and the Strawberry Bites have a nice tartness, but these are fundamentally the popular toaster pastry.

Kellogg s Pop Tarts Bites Innards

If anything, they’re a bit more monotonous. With a traditional Pop-Tart, you can vary the eating experience by adjusting the amount of filled center vs. unfilled edge in each bite. I know I’m not the only one who likes to nibble away all the edge first, leaving the super sugary center for last. It’s also possible I way over think these things.

For me, the major drawback to these is that they can’t be toasted. While I understand one of the selling points of Pop-Tarts is that they allow you to eat breakfast while still in REM sleep, I’ve always preferred them toasted. Having a “cooked” breakfast will enable me to maintain the facade of being a functional adult. Plus, it gets rid of the aforementioned undercooked dough flavor. A brief 20 second trip in the microwave results in a pillowy crust and warm filling, an improvement, but one not intended by the manufacturer.

Everything you need to know about Pop-Tarts Bites is right there in the name. They’re mini bite-sized Pop-Tarts. They deliver precisely that but don’t add much to the Pop-Tarts Extended Universe.

Purchased Price: $4.98
Size: 10 pouches/box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 pouch) Strawberry – 150 calories, 3 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein. Brown Sugar Cinnamon – 150 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 grams of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Diet Coke Blueberry Acai and Strawberry Guava

Diet Coke Blueberry Acai and Strawberry Guava

What are Diet Coke Blueberry Acai and Strawberry Guava?

After decades of merely fiddling with its Diet Coke lineup with the occasional vanilla, cherry, or lime addition, last year Coca-Cola let its food scientists run wild and released four new and exciting flavors aimed at the Millennial demographic. Diet Coke isn’t just for your mom anymore! Today, Coke adds two more: Blueberry Açaí and Strawberry Guava.

How are they?

Diet Coke Blueberry Acai and Strawberry Guava Cans

Both of these sodas have a strong fruity flavor, though I don’t taste much of the second listed fruit in either case. The Blueberry Açaí Diet Coke mostly tastes like blueberries, perhaps with some extra tanginess. It’s like how a fruit snack can somehow be more like its fruit flavor than the actual fruit itself.

Diet Coke Blueberry Acai and Strawberry Guava Closup

The Strawberry Guava Diet Coke mostly tastes like strawberries, though a bit mellowed in this case. It seems inadequate to say the guava adds a tropical flavor, but here we are, me having written the obvious and you having read it.

Is there anything else you need to know?

A confession: I know that readers rely on us at The Impulsive Buy to be your knowledgeable guides through the ever-changing culinary world, but I have to admit that I had no idea what açaí actually is. I don’t even know how to make that weird “c” thing (Thanks, spellcheck!)

Sure, it’s trendy, so I’ve eaten it in various bowls, smoothies, and other overpriced preparations, but what exactly is an acai? Google tells me that it’s a “small edible blackish-purple berry.” So it’s a blueberry. That explains why I could only taste the blueberry flavor in this soda. Or was I just tasting the açaí?

Conclusion:

If you’re a diet soda fiend like me, you’re always happy to have more options at hand. Man cannot live on Coke Zero alone. These two new additions may not be as exotic-tasting as their names suggest, but they’re tasty nonetheless.

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 8-pack
Purchased at: Festival Foods
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat,0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Java Monster Swiss Chocolate

Java Monster Swiss Chocolate

What is the Java Monster Swiss Chocolate?

It promises “the taste of Swiss chocolate paired with premium coffee and cream and supercharged with our Monster Energy Blend.” It’s currently a Dollar General exclusive flavor.

How is it?

Java Monster Swiss Chocolate 2

When poured, the color is the same as heavily creamed coffee, with a scent to match. The java flavor is strong without being overpowering. It’s not as tooth-cracklingly sweet as some other pre-made coffee beverages I’ve had, though it still has a “syrupy” character.

As a regular energy drink consumer, I’m on the lookout for that medicinal energy drink aftertaste, the one that makes it seem like the manufacturer crushed up a multivitamin into your drink. I detect some, but it’s so small that it could easily be a sense memory of the hundreds of other energy drinks I’ve had.

Java Monster Swiss Chocolate 3

The chocolate flavor is very slight. I don’t want to alarm you, but it’s possible the chocolate element in this beverage actually has no connection at all to Switzerland, and “Swiss” was added to the name in an attempt to brand the product as more exotic and exciting than it really is. Shocking, I know. There’s so little of it here that I don’t think it deserves top billing, naming-wise.

Is there anything else you need to know?

I usually drink my coffee hot, so I was curious what would happen if I heated this in the microwave for a few seconds. I’m secretly hoping the added thermal energy will have some strange alchemical effect and transmute the Monster Energy Blend into a Jekyll/Hyde concoction, allowing me to unleash the beast within.

Alas, the beast must remain chained, as heating only has the effect of making it hotter. If anything, the heat distracts from the already very slight Monster Energy Blend flavor, turning this into a plain hot cup of joe.

Conclusion:

Java Monster Swiss Chocolate delivers a decent coffee flavor with a slight chocolate note. It’s not bad but doesn’t separate itself from a hundred other options.

Purchased Price: $2.10
Size: 15 fl. oz.
Purchased at: Dollar General
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 210 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 440 milligrams of sodium, 500 milligrams of potassium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 35 of sugar, and 8 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Lindt Limited Edition Snickerdoodle White Chocolate Truffles

Lindt Limited Edition Snickerdoodle White Chocolate Truffles

What are Lindt Snickerdoodle White Chocolate Truffles?

In search of a seasonal treat that didn’t involve pumpkin, spices, peppermint, or any of the usual suspects, I came across Lindt’s Snickerdoodle White Chocolate Truffles. After years of spiced lattes and eggnog mochas, I’m ready for something different.

These truffles have a snickerdoodle-flavored white chocolate ganache center surrounded by a white chocolate shell with cookie inclusions.

Lindt Limited Edition Snickerdoodle White Chocolate Truffles 2

How are they?

Clearly, these won’t appeal to the white-chocolate-isn’t-really-chocolate-and-shouldn’t-exist crowd, but those grinches would probably object to snickerdoodle being called a seasonal flavor in the first place.

Lindt Limited Edition Snickerdoodle White Chocolate Truffles 3

Both the shell and center have a flavor reminiscent of speculoos cookies, which are like fancy European snickerdoodles made with brown sugar and spices. The cookie pieces remain crispy and add a bit of crunch, something I usually don’t care for in my chocolate. In this case, it brought to mind the eponymous cookie, so I didn’t mind.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Pro Tip: Maximize your enjoyment of these truffles by not munching down on them like they’re M&Ms. Pop one in and let your body heat melt the outer shell. By the time that happens, the ganache center will also have begun to melt, and then burst out in a flavor avalanche. Yes, I’ve put too much thought into this, but I’m serious about my chocolate.

Conclusion:

These truffles don’t taste like grandma’s snickerdoodles, which might disappoint some. Personally, I’ll take the deeper, more complex flavor of a speculoos over an ordinary snickerdoodle anytime. (Sorry, Grandma.)

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: 6 oz. package
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (3 truffles) 220 calories, 17 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 15 grams of total sugars includes 12 grams of added sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Halo Top Peanut Butter & Jelly Ice Cream

Halo Top Peanut Butter  Jelly Ice Cream

The existence of high-protein, low-calorie ice cream is a point of dispute in my family. I mean, no one thinks that the pint sitting in the freezer is a mere illusion, only that it shouldn’t exist.

The entire point of ice cream is that it’s an indulgent calorie-bomb. The most thought one should give to an ice cream’s caloric content is to purposefully turn the nutrition facts away as you scoop out a second serving, some say.

Back when these healthy ice creams more resembled frozen protein shakes than real ice cream, I tended to agree. Then Halo Top came along and introduced a product that made me say, “Hey, this isn’t that bad.” That may seem like faint praise, but Halo Top has been a regular part of my diet ever since, so I was excited to taste the new Peanut Butter & Jelly flavor.

The people at Halo Top recommend letting the pint soften a bit by letting it sit out a few minutes before eating. As a practiced hand at eating these pints, I can confirm these instructions should be followed; otherwise you’ll need an ice pick. By which I mean you should toss it in the microwave for a few seconds (remove the foil top first). I’m hungry now, and if I had any self-control I wouldn’t need to stock my freezer with this stuff!

Halo Top Peanut Butter  Jelly Ice Cream 2

A fairly uniform white surface presents itself upon uncovering. I was hoping for some distinct ribbons of peanut butter and jelly to swirl themselves throughout the pint, but at most there are some vaguely brownish areas. This is disappointing, and it doesn’t get any better as I dig through the container. I’m willing to forgive this and still have high hopes. Some may eat with their eyes first, but I mostly eat with my mouth. How does it taste?

Halo Top Peanut Butter  Jelly Ice Cream 3

I scoop a measured, sensible portion into a bowl, cover the rest, and place it back in the freezer for a later time.

This is a lie.

I ate the entire pint! That’s the entire point of Halo Top. Remember: no self-control.

Readers shouldn’t take my weakness of character as a statement of unrestrained endorsement. I like it because there’s a strong peanut flavor, and the jelly has enough tartness to make it interesting.

Halo Top Peanut Butter  Jelly Ice Cream 4

There are some shortcomings, however. The flavor immediately reminds me of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but in an indistinct way. There’s jelly, but I have no idea what kind. There’s not really peanut butter in it, but more of a peanut butter essence throughout. It’s peanutbutterandjelly flavored. The gritty texture is an issue as well, and it doesn’t go away no matter how soft it gets.

Is Halo Top as good as Haagen-Dazs? No, of course not. It’s as good as that ice cream that comes in the giant gallon bucket. Generally speaking, that’s good enough for me. This flavor succeeds by tasting as it should but is one of Halo Top’s lesser attempts. Try it if you’re already a fan, but it won’t change anyone’s mind.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 90 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 130 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, 4 grams of sugar alcohol, and 5 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.59
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at:
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Tastes like a peanut and butter sandwich.
Cons: Indistinct flavor. Gritty texture.