REVIEW: Goldfish Mega Bites Cheddar Jalapeno

Goldfish Cheddar Jalapeno Mega Bites Bag

What are Goldfish Mega Bites Cheddar Jalapeño?

Like many of us, Goldfish came into the new year with a resolution — to get JACKED. Pepperidge Farm’s classic cheddar cracker goes Mega, doubling in size and bringing the heat with Cheddar Jalapeño seasoning.

How are they?

Goldfish Cheddar Jalapeno Mega Bites In the Bag

They’re good, but not super exciting. I was really surprised by the intensity and accuracy of last spring’s Frank’s RedHot collaboration, and with those lingering in my memory, I want a more robust taste from something with the word “mega” on it. The jalapeño is definitely there, bringing a nice heat to the tried and true cheddar flavor of the standard Goldfish cracker, but it doesn’t really wow me.

I’ve found with the Flavor Blasted line that the dusty seasoning applied is never as potent as a proper junky potato chip, and that applies here. I want a bit more bite from the fish as a whole.

Goldfish Cheddar Jalapeno Mega Bites Spill

One of the elements I really enjoy about Goldfish is their volume, and I’m not sure the bigger size adds anything positive to my preferred snacking experience. They’re not bad or stale, but the texture is ever-so-slightly less enjoyable than the original size. The crunch isn’t quite as tight, and I can’t get as many into my mouth at once, so there’s a less satisfying crunch.

Anything else you need to know?

A serving of regular Goldfish clocks in at 55 pieces for 30 grams, whereas the Mega Bites come in at 22 for 30 grams, officially making them MORE than twice the size of the classic fishies. While there’s also a 10 calorie boost for the Mega Bites, I would say it’s safe to assume each Mega is about 2.25 times the size. For reference, here’s a Mega next to a classic Golden Oreo.

Goldfish Cheddar Jalapeno Mega Bites Size

Conclusion:

While this review may seem negative, I actually think Goldfish are underrated. Cheez-Its are my favorite cheesy cracker, but right behind them are Goldfish, and they’re frequently on hand as a go-to snack for my partner. These fishies will absolutely be devoured, but I wouldn’t repurchase them, as I don’t think the bigger size leads to bigger satisfaction.

Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: 5.9 oz
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (22 pieces/30 grams) 150 calories, 7 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 320 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Ultimate Chocolate Oreo Cookies

Limited Edition Ultimate Chocolate Oreo Cookies Pouch

While we may be many years removed from the peak experimentation that delivered divisive flavors like Swedish Fish and Cotton Candy, Nabisco has yet to miss releasing a new Limited Edition Oreo during the first week of January for as long as I can remember. This year’s theme seems to be, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, with the introduction of the Ultimate Chocolate Oreo.

Following in the tradition of last January’s Brookie-O Oreo, Ultimate Chocolate ups the ante of Oreo’s iconic creme filling via a triple stack that pushes it beyond the density of Double Stuf. The layers have three distinct colors, although the actual cookie has much less separation between the tones than the packaging implies. The stack goes from light-ish brown to brown to black.

Limited Edition Ultimate Chocolate Oreo Cookies Colors

When thinking of chocolate types, my brain goes to milk, dark, and white, which Nabisco claims these flavors to be, despite the clear absence of a white creme. I also don’t really get a directly sweet white chocolate taste, but rather chocolate with varying bitterness levels. The package proudly boasts a massive chocolate cake slice, and as someone who just had a birthday and ate four cupcakes for breakfast, I think that’s spot on. The layers remind me of a cake with three types of chocolate – a standard chocolate sponge, a lighter chocolate buttercream, and a richer darker chocolate ganache topping.

There’s not nearly as much nuance in an Oreo cookie as there is in an actual slice of layer cake, but the beefed up creme filling sandwiched between two bittersweet wafers draws a fairly accurate comparison for a five-dollar bag of cookies. All the cremes become one concentrated flavor, and if I had to guess, I would say the stack is Oreo’s regular chocolate creme paired with the excellent dark chocolate creme and one we haven’t had before.

Limited Edition Ultimate Chocolate Oreo Cookies Side

The squishy filling oozing out against the firm and crumbly cookie conjures memories of diving my fork into the end of a cake slice with the perfect concentration of rich frosting. It’s delicious. Even better yet, take the top wafter off and you’re talking a legit 2-1 creme-to-cookie ratio, heading into double dark chocolate Dunkaroo territory (Betty Crocker…let’s work!)

Limited Edition Ultimate Chocolate Oreo Cookies Open

What these cookies lack in originality or newness, they make up for with their decadent satisfaction. No matter how hard companies try to experiment with new flavors, and don’t get me wrong, I LOVE creativity, there’s nothing quite like chocolate, and this cookie proves sometimes it pays off to simply play the hits.

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: 13.2 oz
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2 cookies) 180 calories, 9 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 95 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Turkey Hill Mystery Flavor Frozen Dairy Dessert

Turkey Hill Mystery Flavor Frozen Dairy Dessert Tub

Mystery flavor Doritos in plain silver bags marked only with test numbers. Mystery flavor Mtn Dew VooDEW that creeps around for Halloween. That one time Oreo made a mystery flavor that turned out to be Fruity Pebbles with a chocolate cookie. These are some of the many notable mysteries in junk food history, and to kick off the new year, we have a game-changing mystery on our hands — mystery ice cream.

Never, in all my years of scooping, have I heard of a mystery flavor ice cream. For 2022, Turkey Hill invites customers to grab this 48-ounce container of its finest frozen dairy dessert, scan the QR code (or visit www.turkeyhill.com/mysteryflavor), and try their hand at solving the creamy puzzle for a chance to win free Turkey Hill ice cream for life. If you want to go down this rabbit hole yourself, it’s time to turn away because detective Sean has arrived, and it’s spoiler season.

Technically this isn’t ice cream. Due to its lower milk fat content, it’s considered frozen dairy dessert, but I’ll refer to it as ice cream in this review because that’s how most people view it. Since it’s lower fat and far lighter than anything with any premium tag attached, the texture is a bit airy and fluffy. Although fluffed out, it has a decently lush mouthfeel, with a smooth creaminess that intensifies the more it tempers. Sometimes frozen dairy desserts have a wateriness and lack any depth of flavor, but that’s not the case here, and I’m pleasantly surprised.

So what IS the flavor?

Turkey Hill Mystery Flavor Frozen Dairy Dessert Top

It’s a bit of a letdown. It’s a white base with a blueberry swirl, and that’s it. When I say “white base,” I mean that it’s kind of hard to nail down because it’s not jumping out with anything notable. Again, it has a pretty decent mouthfeel that reminds me of something richer than it is, like cream cheese or even cheesecake, but it isn’t too tangy. It’s also not floral like a proper vanilla bean, so the base flavor lacks character beyond its surprising texture.

Turkey Hill Mystery Flavor Frozen Dairy Dessert Top 2

The swirl is just okay. Slightly tart with a fruit-meets-candy blueberry taste that reminds me a bit of Pop-Tarts without going fully processed. My issue with the swirl isn’t in the taste though, it’s in the quantity and texture. There isn’t nearly enough of it, both in terms of density and actual thickness, to bring any real textural character to the decent but un-exciting base. There are some denser pockets towards the middle of the container, but in those thicker slabs, a more noticeable iciness comes through, a common problem with fruity swirls that take away from the smoothness.

Turkey Hill Mystery Flavor Frozen Dairy Dessert Middle

So the answer to the mystery is — blueberry? Maybe blueberry cheesecake? Blueberries and cream? Having only one swirl is a massive missed opportunity from Turkey Hill to make something more complex and fun. Add in a graham cracker swirl and a slightly more complex base and this could be a fantastic low cal Blueberry Cheesecake. Amplify the vanilla and add in a regular crust or streusel swirl and it’s an excellent Blueberry Pie a La Mode. But as it stands? It’s a really fun idea that falls flat to deliver on the excitement it promised via the cool and mysterious magnifying glass on the carton.

Turkey Hill Mystery Flavor Frozen Dairy Dessert Scoop

DISCLOSURE: I received a free product sample from Turkey Hill. Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 48 ounces
Purchased at: Received from Turkey Hill
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup, 90g) 150 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 95 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 21 grams of total sugars, and 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Popeyes Chocolate Chip Cookie

Popeyes Chocolate Chip Cookie Wrapper

What is Popeyes Chocolate Chip Cookie?

As the smoke finally clears from the drawn-out and bloated chicken sandwich wars that it started, Popeyes has set its sight on something many of its competitors already offer — chocolate chip cookies. Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, and even KFC, all who were challenged by Popeyes’ titan of a chicken sandwich in 2019, have all offered cookies for years, and this time it’s Popeyes showing up fashionably late to the party.

How is it?

What set Popeyes’ chicken sandwich apart from the rest was its hand-breaded freshness. While I know it’s a fast food sandwich, it still felt like a step above the price point and an experience that lived up to and exceeded the hype.

Popeyes Chocolate Chip Cookie Top

It’s with that mindset that I was immediately let down when handed a chocolate chip cookie inside of a cellophane bag, clearly not baked on-site and far from fresh.

Popeyes Chocolate Chip Cookie Split

Maybe my expectations for Popeyes are too high, but this cookie tastes about as generic and nondescript as you can imagine. The base has a typical brown sugar and vanilla flavor with a less than desirable amount of semi-sweet chocolate chips throughout. It’s a bit dry and crumbly, not stale per se but a far cry from the soft and fresh texture of a place like Subway. This cookie isn’t awful, but for such a late entrant into the cookie space, it’s wholly unremarkable.

Anything else you need to know?

Popeyes Chocolate Chip Cookie Bottom

Did this cookie come from Safeway? Costco? KFC? If I didn’t walk into Popeyes and buy it with my own two hands, I would never be able to tell — it’s the definition of underwhelming and basic.

Conclusion:

For a chain that delivers an apple pie with a legitimately crispy crunchy fried outer shell and pulled off freshly fried chocolate-filled beignets, this cookie feels like the definition of an afterthought and not one worthy of capping off a meal that starts with Popeyes’ fantastic sandwich.

Purchased Price: 79 cents
Size: One Cookie
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cookie) 190 calories, 08grams of fat, 5 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 130 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Bang Whole Lotta Chocolata

Bang Whole Lotta Chocolata Can

What is Bang Whole Lotta Chocolata?

After cranking out over 30 different flavors of highly caffeinated bubbly drinks, including varieties like Candy Apple Crisp, Sour Heads, and Rainbow Unicorn, Bang has taken on the one flavor I’m pretty sure I never wanted to drink — chocolate. Okay, okay, yes, chocolate milkshakes are great, but a clear-colored, sugar-free carbonated drink with 300 milligrams of caffeine marketed to gym rats? This is a doozy.

How is it?

It is…not good.

I’ve had most Bang flavors and absolutely consider myself a fan of the brand, but this is up there (down there?) with the worst of ‘em. I went into this experience with a lot of optimism, and my first sip wasn’t awful, but the more I drank it, the less I enjoyed what was coming out of the ice cold tall can.

Bang Whole Lotta Chocolata Pour

The most prominent and expected flavor is artificial chocolate, very similar to the classic cheap taste of a Tootsie Roll. After the chocolate comes a bit of creaminess, like a cream soda, and then a bizarre touch of sour on the finish. The libation gets perpetually more confusing and less appetizing as the sips go on. Sadly, there is no redemption arc in store for this villain of a drink.

Bang Whole Lotta Chocolata Glass

Anything else you need to know?

In the aftertaste, especially when assisted by a little burp, I tasted something bitter and hoppy like in an IPA beer. Toss that into the equation with the chocolate, cream, and sour, and this beverage is beyond confusing. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone told me there was booze in this.

Conclusion:

I’ve had a chocolate Coke at a restaurant when the bartender was doing his best to channel a 1950s soda jerk, and I’d like to think this is what Bang was trying to achieve this release, but sadly, this ain’t it. Whole Lotta Chocolata isn’t un-drinkable or repulsive, but it’s a whole lotta something I never want to buy again.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 16 fl oz can
Purchased at: Lucky
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.