REVIEW: Pizza Hut Pepperoni P’Zone (2019)

Pizza Hut Pepperoni P Zone

When it comes to junk food nostalgia most of my flashbacks are of the sweet variety. Dunkaroos, Surge, and WWF’s Hulk Hogan cereal always pull me back to the simpler days, but there are a few savory items that I look back on with glowing glee as well. 3D Doritos tend to be at the top of most older millennial’s junk food wishlists, and I personally loved the Taco Doritos that seemed to vanish sometime in the early 2000s.

But recently, very recently, in fact, I was wondering what the hell happened to Pizza Hut’s P’Zone. For a company aligned with Taco Bell and known for making zany limited time items, I couldn’t understand why the company’s financially friendly twist on the calzone disappeared years ago without a proper farewell.

Suffer no more, the giant Hot Pocket of meat and cheese that I fell in love with as a stoned teenager in smoky basements is back, and it got a bit of a facelift.

Pizza Hut Pepperoni P Zone 2

The most immediate difference is in the appearance of the outer crust. While the 2019 P’Zone has the same shape and general size of the original, it’s covered in a toasted orange Parmesan that immediately evokes an asiago bagel. The original P’Zone was garnished with traditional pizzeria-style parmesan sprinkles and parsley, which sat nicely atop of golden brown dough. The new iteration still looks good, but it’s not the same as the one I fell in love with, and I just have to learn to let go.

The bagel experience doesn’t end with appearance. When I bite in, I wonder if I’m sitting inside of a Noah’s at 8 a.m. or on my couch with remote in hand at 8 p.m. The parmesan’s funky intensity stands out, but almost to a fault as I find it to be a bit distracting. When you pair the distinct sharp cheesiness with the bread’s pretty prominent fluffiness, the 2019 P’Zone does feel a bit more like a bagel than a pizza.

Pizza Hut Pepperoni P Zone Innards

The P’Zone was never as loaded as a true calzone, which tends to be thicker and taller and oftentimes a knife-and-fork situation; whereas Pizza Hut’s take is much more of a finger food with a flatter profile. The toppings inside, although not extremely dense, are good and present enough to bring the pizza pizazz I’m looking for.

Pizza Hut Pepperoni P Zone Dipped

Taken as it is the P’Zone is good but a bit underwhelming. However, when dunked into the generously sized cup of marinara sauce, it’s damn good. The pizza sauce brings some poppin’ acidity and moisture that makes the ‘zone taste much more fresh, engaging, and something I want more bites of.

While it isn’t quite as sensational as I remembered as a stoned teenager, I can’t help but be excited about the return of the budget-friendly and filling option at Pizza Hut. In the scope of chain pizza restaurants Pizza Hut isn’t really on my radar unless I’m craving its stuffed crust, but even then Little Caesars does an admirable job at a lower cost.

That being said, the P’Zone being back, as an apparent permanent addition to the menu, ensures I’ll be back at The Hut before the end of the year, and the buzz of its return is sure to lure many other early 2000s nostalgia hunters through its greasy shop doors in no time.

Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/2 P’Zone) 460 calories, 16 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1170 milligrams of sodium, 60 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 19 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Cap’n Crunch’s Chocolate Berry Crunch Cereal

Limited Edition Cap n Crunch s Chocolatey Berry Crunch Cereal

What is Cap’n Crunch’s Chocolate Berry Crunch?

It’s Cap’n Crunch’s newest creation and ode to Valentine’s Day – Chocolate Berry Crunch. According to the box, this cereal is “decadence – if you like the taste of chocolate – Love. This. Crunch.” Combining the Cap’n’s classic red crunch berries with a choco-fied version of his usual yellow lined rectangles, this is a cereal that wants to lure you seductively into its milky bowl.

How is it?

Limited Edition Cap n Crunch s Chocolatey Berry Crunch Cereal 2

Truth be told it’s not nearly as sexy as the Cap’n wants us to think, but it’s also far from bad. The leading flavor is the very familiar nondescript fruit and sugary pop of red crunch berries, which comes along with a solid fluffy yet firm texture that soaks pretty easily in milk.

The chocolate pieces seem to be outweighed by the berries at around a 1-to-3 ratio, being much less dominant in most bites. The pieces themselves carry a mild cocoa flavor without any bitterness or sharp notes like in Cocoa Puffs. A little chocolate comes through the berry-forward mix, but even on spoonfuls of mostly crunchy rectangles, the chocolate is gentle, almost to a fault.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Limited Edition Cap n Crunch s Chocolatey Berry Crunch Cereal 3

The chocolate pieces stay firmer and soak up less milk than the berries, which towards the bottom of the bowl creates an interesting textural contrast. I also noticed that the leftover dairy carried a more chocolaty flavor than most of the eating experience, which made for a nice finish.

Conclusion:

This is a tasty cereal that falls right in line with the things most people love and expect from Cap’n Crunch, but it isn’t anything super new or groundbreaking you need to rush out and get before some new version of the Cap lines the shelves.

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 12.5 oz. box
Purchased at:
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (3/4 cup) 100 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 0grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Oreo The Most Stuf

Limited Edition Oreo The Most Stuf

Most. Creme. Ever.

Those are the remarkable words I’ve dreamed of seeing since the day I was born. Or at least since the day I ripped into my first Oreo and thought, “Damn, that’s good, but what if…”

No longer are the days of dreaming, as the biggest baddest Oreo of them all is a new limited edition reality. Amidst the slew of fruity, cakey, bizarre, sometimes delicious, and sometimes dysfunctional flavors being cranked out by Nabisco, the cookie gods finally gave us what we all truly wanted – The Most Stuf.

Limited Edition Oreo The Most Stuf Tray

Opening up the package is indeed a visual show stopper. Each cookie takes up a noticeably larger space than your average Oreo and the abundant amount of creamy white filling is nearly oozing from the edges of the wafer. I expected them to be one big clump of crème, but it looks like two regular circles of crème filling smushed together to form one big blob – truly an actual double stuffed, or maybe even triple stuffed, cookie.

Limited Edition Oreo The Most Stuf Stack

The crème is soft and pliable, and biting into one causes the massive mound to squish out of the sides like an epic Oreo Whoopie Pie. The taste is immediately noticeably different, with the creme’s intensely nondescript sweetness taking center stage above the now small-seeming bittersweet wafer.

The lack of vanilla, spice, or anything to make the flavor more than just purely sweet is more apparent than ever, and while it’s no doubt a tasty, if not cloying, treat, it’s almost…too much?

Limited Edition Oreo The Most Stuf Topless

I’m not gonna lie, I felt romantically attached to these cookies before I even found them, and much like a friend who tells you a movie is the greatest film of all time before you even see it, my expectations were high just at the thought of so much stuf. I’m not sure exactly what I expected but what I’m experiencing is different from whatever notion I had in my head.

The usually slightly bitter cocoa notes get drowned out by the sugary crème, and I miss a bit of that balance that is undeniably perfect in the pink-clad Double Stuf. The epic amount of filling makes me realize how much I enjoy the Oreo’s dark chocolaty wafer, and I miss that bold flavor I usually get along with the still present crunch.

This reminds me of the idea that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Not that these are bad by any means, but they lack balance. I loved mashed potatoes and gravy, but I don’t want every bite of potato smothered in gravy, taking away from the nuance of the potato. I like a nice smear of mayonnaise on a sandwich, but I don’t want mayo dominating every other flavor in a nice composed sub.

The Most Stuf Oreo is a fun and whimsical junk food creation, but the ideal grocery cookie already exists, and that’s the tried and true Double Stuf Oreo, emanating perfection since 1974.

Purchased Price: 2/$3.00 (sale price)
Size: 13.4 oz.
Purchased at: RiteAid
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cookie) 110 calories, 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Krispy Kreme Trick-Or-Treat Doughnut

Krispy Kreme Trick or Treat Doughnut

What is the Krispy Kreme Trick-Or-Treat Doughnut?

Krispy Kreme’s new deep-fried homage to trick-or-treating. An Original Glazed doughnut dipped in salted caramel icing and topped with pieces of Snickers, Twix, and M&M’s Mini’s.

How is it?

Krispy Kreme Trick or Treat Doughnut 2

When you take the already terrific Krispy Kreme OG and cover it in caramel and candy, it seems like something that would be pretty damn hard to mess up, and KK delivered a nearly perfect ode to the best part of Halloween.

The doughnut is dipped in caramel icing and is drizzled with even more of it, laying a solid foundation for the sugary overload of this spooked out treat. The pieces of Snickers bring a mild peanut flavor while the M&M’s provide a solid toothy chomp that plays nicely with the soft, fluffy yeast doughnut.

I don’t get much Twix shortbread flavor, but the ample amounts of caramel help fill the void of a Twix-y experience. But I can’t imagine the cookie would have maintained its texture too well if there had been more of it anyway.

Krispy Kreme Trick or Treat Doughnut 4

The doughnut as a whole is very sweet, but I would expect nothing less from something that should remind me of the annual cascading sugar highs I experience on October 31.

Is there anything else I need to know?

When put into the microwave, all of the candy components and caramel melt into a gooey somewhat unidentifiable glob of hot sweetness. This is one of the rare situations where I wouldn’t recommend heating the doughnut. It has a better flavor and texture straight from the case.

Conclusion:

Krispy Kreme Trick or Treat Doughnut 3

The Krispy Kreme Trick-Or-Treat Doughnut isn’t the most creative one in the world, but trick-or-treating really means one thing — candy. And if you’re going to make a doughnut to honor the late October tradition, there’s only one way to do it, and this is it.

Purchased Price: $1.89
Size: N/A
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 370 calories, 16 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 53 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 36 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Krispy Kreme Coffee Glazed Doughnut

Krispy Kreme Coffee Glazed Doughnut

What is the Krispy Kreme Coffee Glazed Doughnut?

The latest glaze-makeover from Krispy Kreme in celebration of National Coffee Day pairs two of the culinary world’s best friends. There’s no longer a need to dunk your doughnut in coffee with KK’s Limited Time Coffee Glaze.

How is it?

I gotta tip my hat to Krispy Kreme for the super obvious but fresh innovation at play here. Because for as many times as I’ve had a cup of black coffee alongside a doughnut (90 percent of all the time) I’ve never had a doughnut flavored like the bitter beverage.

Krispy Kreme Coffee Glazed Doughnut 2

Like most alternative KK glazes this one is subtle and does a good job of tempering the usually hyper sweet wash of sugar that defines the experience of the OG. The coffee flavor is there but doesn’t hit you in the face like a bold coffee ice cream or candy like the recent Crunchy Espresso M&M’s. It’s delicate and soft with just a touch of bitterness. The modified glaze is a bit thicker than the regular one and has a darker tan color.

The coffee flavor is a bit more pronounced on the finish, as it leaves a taste in my mouth like I had coffee three minutes ago. The fluffy texture of the yeast doughnut is amazing as always, and I enjoy eating this even if it is a bit underwhelming.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Krispy Kreme Coffee Glazed Doughnut 3

Popping the Krispy Kreme Coffee Glazed Doughnut into the microwave for the suggested six seconds is never a bad idea, and the result with this one is pretty damn good. The coffee flavor doesn’t intensify, but the bitterness is a bit more subdued. The warm, soft texture is much more like doing an actual doughnut dunk, and the overall experience is incredibly satisfying.

Conclusion:

This is yet another limited Krispy Kreme glaze that’s good but nothing mind-blowing. The OG is so strong on its own that slight variations still yield a delicious doughnut, but nothing so extreme that you should go out of your way for it.

Purchased Price: $1.29
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 200 calories, 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Carl’s Jr. Froot Loops Mini Donuts

Carl s Jr Froot Loops Mini Donuts

I love hip-hop.

And I love junk food.

Those may seem like unrelated interests, but truth be told, they have a lot more in common than you think. They both have very high highs – Travis Scott’s Astroworld and Krispy Kreme’s Reese’s Outrageous Doughnut, and very low lows – Hostess’ Cotton Candy Twinkies and the general existence of Lil Pump. They both simultaneously flourish and hurt themselves with excessive output.

Like Nabisco’s continual push to release more Oreo flavors than the year before with only a few true gems, or when E-40 released “The Block Brochure,” with nearly 60 songs and only a handful worthy of repeat listens. But the shining light of commonality between these two separate things is their ability to thrive in collaboration. Hip-hop tracks that bring together three or four of the hottest MC’s in the game are almost always bangers, and when junk food titans join forces to create a cohesive product, it isn’t always great, but at the very least it’s fun.

Welcome to the world, Carl’s Jr’s Froot Loops Mini Donuts!

First things first, the packaging is fantastic. So much of the allure of limited time junk and fast food lies in the bag or box that it comes in, and this Froot Loops-branded carton that looks like it could house mozzarella sticks or jalapeno poppers sets the stage for a wonderful fulfilling experience before the eating even begins.

Carl s Jr Froot Loops Mini Donuts 2

Opening the box is a sight and smell to behold, with five different colored donuts that mimic Froot Loops’ signature rings perfectly and carries the bold, strong scent of the cereal with absolute precision. It’s a sensory symphony of artificial fruit flavor and sugar. Some of the donuts have a thicker coating like a layer of frosting, and some have a thinner, more dissolved look like a traditional glaze.

Carl s Jr Froot Loops Mini Donuts 4

My hypothetical rule of collaborative truth continues to thrive as these donuts taste as good as they look and smell. Super soft and slightly crispy, the donuts burst with a perfect fruity citrus-forward flavor that tastes EXACTLY like the love child of Little Debbie and Toucan Sam. This revelation leaves me with some pretty haunting visuals, but it’s the absolute realest description possible.

The rings with a thicker, more visible layer of icing unsurprisingly pack a heftier taste bud punch, but the lighter glazed ones still get the point across, just a bit less convincingly. Like the actual cereal pieces, despite the glaringly different colors schemes, they all taste the same, like “froot.”

Carl s Jr Froot Loops Mini Donuts 3

In the vast land of junk and fast food collabs I can safely declare Froot Loops’ appearance at Carl’s Jr. a super hot feature. It’s such a natural and well-done pairing that I can’t believe one of the bigger companies like Dunkin’ or Krispy Kreme didn’t get to it first, but as a company known for welcoming bigger brands into their home with open arms, Carl’s Jr. just earned themselves another gold star.

(Nutrition Facts – 5 donuts – 320 calories, 15 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 360 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 24 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 5 donuts
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Perfect Froot Loops flavor packed into a soft mini donut. Great box art. Awesome vivid colors
Cons: Slight inconsistency in the glaze/coating that leaves some donuts a little less spectacular than others. $2.99 is a bit high for 5 donuts, but I saw in other markets it’s $1.99, which seems perfect