REVIEW: Pillsbury Donut Shop Glazed Donut Toaster Strudel

Pillsbury Donut Shop Glazed Donut Toaster Strudel

There are a few childhood joys that I vividly remember: snow days, skipping math class, faking a sick day, etc.

You get the idea.

Almost nothing could make me happier as a child than neglecting my education. The only thing that came close was seeing that mom had decided to splurge on Toaster Strudels instead of the unfrosted store brand Pop-Tart knock-offs that she usually bought. You got to frost them yourself! They were virtually fine dining in a toastable format.

It’s been years since I’ve eaten a Toaster Strudel, so I was excited to try Pillsbury’s new Donut Shop Glazed Donut Toaster Strudels. The box promises that they’re “Like a donut, but even better!” That’s a strong statement, but given my childhood affection for the pastries, I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, even if it does come from a piece a sentient dough like the Pillsbury Doughboy.

Toasting the strudels for the manufacturer’s recommended 1 to 2 cycles at low to medium heat results nicely browned pastry. Even better is the sizzling sound they make while toasting. I don’t know if these can replicate a true donut flavor, but a little bit of fried taste would go a long way towards convincing me.

Pillsbury Donut Shop Glazed Donut Toaster Strudel 2

I tried to recreate the frosting face from the box, but it got just as messy and disfigured as one might expect. It always frustrated me as a kid that I couldn’t get the frosting to look as lovely as on the box. It’s why I eventually just began to eat the frosting separately… Ok, that’s a lie. I ate the frosting separately because I couldn’t wait for the toaster to pop up. I would’ve failed the marshmallow test.

The first bite doesn’t disappoint. The crust is flaky and crisp, and there is indeed a flavor that’s reminiscent of a donut fresh out of the fryer. There’s a whiff of that weird artificial pastry flavor that frozen baked goods often have, but it’s not overpowering. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Go smell a partially defrosted pot pie sometime.)

Pillsbury Donut Shop Glazed Donut Toaster Strudel 3

The filling is strange. It’s plain. I was expecting the filling to deliver the glazed donut flavor if glazed donuts have a flavor besides “sweet,” but it doesn’t. It tastes like a simple vanilla filling. It’s not bad, but it means that these come much closer to replicating a Bavarian cream filled donut than a glazed. I guess I was hoping that Pillsbury food scientists would have somehow distilled the essence of the glazed donut and injected it into the pastry, but I’ll choose a filled over glazed donut any time.

Pillsbury Donut Shop Glazed Donut Toaster Strudel 4

As a child, I ate childish things. When I became a man… I still eat childish things, but now I have to buy them myself instead of having mom do it. These are worth price even if they don’t live up to the promise of providing glazed donut flavor.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 pastry – 170 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 mg milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.59
Size: 6-pack
Purchased at:
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Crisp and flaky crust that gets a bit of fried flavor from the toaster.
Cons: It doesn’t really replicate the flavor of a glazed doughnut. It’s just a Toaster Strudel with vanilla filling.

REVIEW: KFC Pickle Fried Chicken

KFC Pickle Fried Chicken

KFC’s Pickle Fried Chicken is the latest addition to their lineup of southern-inspired sauced chicken options. Described as “crunchy fried chicken covered in a delicious dill pickle sauce,” at first glance KFC’s Pickle Fried Chicken appears to veer closer to a Double Down-style stunt offering than the Nashville Hot, Georgia Gold, or BBQ Smoky Mountain varieties.

As a Yankee from the Midwest who’s only occasionally traveled below the Mason-Dixon line, even I’m aware that the South can do some pretty creative things with pickles. Don’t misunderstand me, as a fan of all things salty, sour, sweet, and weird in various combinations, I wholeheartedly approve.

I’ll try your Kool-Aid pickles, pickled watermelon rind, and pickled pig’s feet. I can’t guarantee I’ll try them twice, but I’ll certainly give them the benefit of the doubt. It turns out Kool-Aid pickles don’t deserve that benefit, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

KFC Pickle Fried Chicken 2

So, if I’ll eat a koolickle, why am I skeptical of this chicken? It must be because my only experience with the chicken+pickle flavor combination is Chick-fil-A’s namesake sandwich, whose only adornment is dill pickle slices. It’s always left me a bit underwhelmed with its plainness.

I know. Boo! Hiss! Thrown Tomato! But pickles don’t seem like a substantial enough addition to elevate a fast food item.

I ordered a Pickle Fried Chicken Tender Basket, which comes with mashed potatoes, gravy, and a biscuit. I also got a Pickle Fried Chicken Little. (The mashed potatoes and gravy is school cafeteria-level, but the biscuit is fantastic.)

KFC Pickle Fried Chicken 3

Despite my skepticism, these tenders are very impressive. They’re juicy, and I’m pleased that the extra crispy chicken remained so after the 20-minute drive home. These aren’t heavily sauced, but the dill pickle flavor asserts itself well. It’s not a novelty flavor like I initially suspected.

Instead, the dill compliments the chicken and a slight vinegar tang cuts through the grease. Make no mistake, these are greasy, but when it comes to fried chicken, I consider that a feature and not a bug. Taking a bite with the accompanying pickles is peak-dill, and good enough that I wish KFC had given me more of them.

KFC Pickle Fried Chicken 4

The Chicken Little is good, but a bit less impressive. The addition of bread and mayonnaise serves to mute the dill pickle flavor of which I’m a newly converted fan. By the way, why doesn’t KFC serve sandwiches on their biscuits? Their current biscuit would be perfect for a slider, and a more massive biscuit sandwich would be a real winner. I’ll take my royalty fee in coleslaw, Colonel.

After tasting KFC’s Pickle Fried Chicken Tenders and Chicken Little, the problem with Chick-fil-A’s sandwich becomes clear: not enough pickle. This is a limited time offer, so I recommend trying it before it’s gone.

(Nutrition Facts – Unavailable on KFC’s website.)

Purchased Price: $5.59 (Chicken Tenders Basket/$1.39 Chicken Little Sandwich
Size: N/A
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Extra Crispy Chicken Tenders)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Chicken Littles Sandwich)
Pros: Well balanced dill pickle flavor. Crisp coating with juicy chicken.
Cons: Perhaps too greasy for some. Pickle flavor can get overwhelmed by bun and mayo.

QUICK REVIEW: Milka Double Chocolate Oreo Candy Bar

Milka Double Chocolate Oreo Chocolate Candy Bar

What is it?

The Milka Double Chocolate Oreo Candy Bar features bits of Oreo cookies in chocolate crème and covered in European Milka chocolate.

So, it’s chocolate inside of chocolate covered in even more chocolate. I’m guessing a person’s opinion on the bar will depend on two things: do they believe there is such a thing as “too chocolatey” and just how fancy in this European candy anyway?

How is it?

Milka Double Chocolate Oreo Chocolate Candy Bar 2

As expected, this bar is very chocolate-forward. There’s a surprisingly sharp dark chocolate bite, but as a fan of the stuff, it isn’t unwelcome. The crème adds to the choco-overload nature of the bar, with a pleasing smooth texture. At least, it would be smooth if not for the Oreo bits. They’re too small to add any real textural interest, instead contributing a gritty mouthfeel. If there’s anything special about the Milka chocolate, it’s lost in the other elements.

This bar is missing balance. The other Oreo candy bars, cookies & crème and mint, succeed because the flavored crème balance the chocolate. Oreo cookies work for the same reason (Keep your Double Stuf. I need the perfect cookie-to-crème ratio of the original). The crème here doesn’t offer any complimentary flavor, so I’m left thinking I’d be better off just eating a plain chocolate bar for my fix. Or an Oreo.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Milka Double Chocolate Oreo Chocolate Candy Bar 4

How do you like to eat your chocolate? Do you chomp down on it with wild abandon, munching it in an attempt to shove as much of it in your face in as short a time as possible? Or do you like to let it slowly melt in your mouth, luxuriating in the silken texture as your body heat slowly releases the subtle flavors and aromas of your single source free trade organic bar?

I tried both ways, and this is a bar made for munching. The problem is that single note chocolate flavor doesn’t offer enough excitement as compared to other candy bars.

Conclusion:

The Milka Double Chocolate Oreo Candy Bar is missing the balance of the other Oreo candy bars, and of the Oreo cookie itself. It’s a decent product that won’t totally satisfy anyone.

Purchased Price: $1.50
Size: 3.52 oz. bar
Purchased at:
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (5 pieces) 190 calories, 12 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 mg milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Great Value Associates Choice Apple Pie Ice Cream

Great Value Associates Choice Apple Pie Ice Cream

What is it?

Great Value Associates Choice Apple Pie Ice Cream features vanilla custard flavored ice cream with an apple butter ribbon and cinnamon sugar shortbread pieces.

You know that small diner down the street? The one that will totally blend up a piece of their apple pie in a milkshake if you ask? Ideally, that’s what this is, just in your grocer’s freezer instead.

How is it?

I’m not sure what the difference between vanilla ice cream, frozen vanilla custard, and “vanilla custard flavored ice cream” is, but this tastes like plain vanilla ice cream to me. It’s good ice cream with a mild cinnamon spice flavor, but vanilla ice cream nonetheless. After it gets a bit melty, a very subtle apple flavor appears and completes the pie flavor.

Great Value Associates Choice Apple Pie Ice Cream 2

The shortbread pieces have a 50/50 shot of being either impressively crispy or as soggy as you’d expect. Their flavor contribution is modest in either case.

Is there anything else I need to know?

The apple butter ribbon is almost completely absent, which is a shame because it’s an unconventional ice cream inclusion that could’ve elevated it above other store brand ice creams.

Great Value Associates Choice Apple Pie Ice Cream 3

Plus, I really like apple butter, so I was looking for it. Believe me, I dug as greedily and fervently as the Dwarves of Moria. If I had delved any deeper into that carton, a Balrog of Morgoth may have been awakened. Then my ice cream would’ve melted.

Conclusion:

Great Values Associates should be a bit choosier. It’s not a bad product, but some shortcomings keep it from achieving its full potential.

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: 48 fl. oz.
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (68 grams) 150 calories, 7 grams grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 50 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Arby’s Texas Brisket Sandwich

Arby s Texas Brisket Sandwich

Years of Grumpy Cat and Bad Luck Brian memes has proven that the internet is fertile ground for viral ideas. They don’t even need to be true to spread; I hear Scumbag Steve really got his life on track.

Fast food is no exception.

We’ve all heard that Taco Bell gives you diarrhea, that KFC can’t use chicken in their name because they use vat-grown chickenoids, and that Four of the Guys killed and ate the other to gain his power. We know that no one likes Arby’s.

See what I mean? The Simpsons make a joke twenty years ago, the idea goes viral, and the conventional opinion of a fast food franchise is set for decades.

I like Arby’s. It has a consistently good core menu and often has some interesting limited time items. Plus, any franchise with the guts to serve Bambi on a bun gets my support.

One of Arby’s newest offerings is the Texas Brisket Sandwich, featuring smoked brisket, crispy onion strings, dill pickles, and Texas-style barbecue sauce on Texas toast. Arby’s has had success with its brisket in the past. How does this one stand up?

Upon opening, I’m underwhelmed. I understand that “toasted” often needs to be put in quotation marks when it comes to fast food, but I was hoping that this Texas toast would live up to its name and offer a crispy counterpoint to the soft brisket. At best, this looks like it was angrily glared at by a cowboy who’s had his cattle rustled. Or maybe by a fast food patron who was expecting his Texas toast to at least be thicker than regular bread.

Arby s Texas Brisket Sandwich 2

On the inside, Arby’s is keeping things simple with just meat, sauce, onion strings, and pickles. This can work when the fundamentals are strong, and Arby’s brisket has impressed me in the past, so I was hopeful.

Arby s Texas Brisket Sandwich 3

The first bite is tangy. Very tangy. The sauce dominates every other flavor, and the pickles offer a very unneeded sharp bite at the end. “This is fine,” I tell myself. Any moment now that fatty, unctuous brisket will cut through the sharpness and bring everything into balance. Another bite reveals a mild smokiness, but the brisket itself remains dry and disappointing.

I remember Arby’s brisket being much better than this. Have they changed it recently? The Smokehouse Brisket sandwich was delicious when I had it. Then again, that one does feature copious amounts of cheese and mayo. As a Midwesterner, I admit it’s easy to trick me into thinking that something tastes good with the ol’ add-cheese-and-mayo trick, but I swear the brisket itself was better too.

So, it turns out that Terri and Sherri Mackleberry were right twenty years ago. Arby’s is kinda mediocre, at least with this offering.

(Nutrition Facts – 620 calories, 29 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 1450 milligrams of sodium, 53 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 37 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $5.69
Size: N/A
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Mild smokiness is pleasing when it presents itself.
Cons: Tanginess doesn’t balance with other flavors. Brisket is dry and missing the fatty element needed to balance the sauce and pickles.

ANNOUNCEMENT: New Impulsive Buy Reviewer Mike

Hello, fellow candy connoisseurs, french fry fiends, and pretzel… appreciators. I’m Mike, a new reviewer here at The Impulsive Buy.

As I sit here looking out the window at the Wisconsin winter, there are only a few things that would convince me to venture into the sub-zero temperatures. The first is going out in search of new snacks. While some Wisconsinites get by on a steady diet of beer, cheese curds, and the ironically named summer sausage, I like a bit more variety in my diet. I’m the guy who still gets excited about the latest Taco Bell iteration of meat-cheese-vegetable in a tortilla, or the newest Oreo flavor. If it’s new, I want to try it.

The second reason is to go to class. Immediately post-high school, I had dreams of being of a chef, and so went to culinary school. The crushing reality that working in the restaurant industry is the worst possible existence (unholy triad of low pay, long hours, and brutally harsh conditions) had me back at square one education and career-wise.

I’m currently finishing up a degree in English. With my dual degrees, you could say I have a very particular set of skills. They may not make me a nightmare for people like you, but they are virtually useless except for reviewing Pop-Tarts. Watch out, Liam Neeson. I’m a quarter Irish, too.

The third reason is to go to my job, where I work for a major food manufacturer. “Wait!” you might say. “How can we trust you to be honest about the industry you’re a part of!”

Fear not, gentle reader. Though I know how deeply in love with their job everyone is, how fundamental it is to their sense of self, and how it shapes their every thought every waking hour, I promise to put aside such things in the name of journalistic integrity. I’ll not be reviewing items made by the company I work for, and I promise to give my honest appraisal of those made my its competitors.

I look forward to many years of sharing my thoughts on one of my favorite subjects: food, and the eating thereof.