REVIEW: Xxtra Flamin’ Hot Nacho Doritos

Xxtra Flamin Hot Nacho Doritos Bag

What are Xxtra Flamin’ Hot Nacho Doritos?

Once you go hot, you can only go up. After the successful sting of 2019’s Flamin’ Hot Nacho Doritos, Frito-Lay has unleashed the only logical progression, just one “X” away from forbidden adult entertainment: Xxtra Flamin’ Hot Nacho Doritos.

How are they?

These chips are instantly and unabashedly HOT.

Ya know how when you’re eating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and the first 3-4 are just tasty and cheesy with a little spicy zing, and then all of a sudden your mouth is tingling? There’s none of that here. The heat is immediate, one chip in.

Xxtra Flamin Hot Nacho Doritos Closeup

As usual, the chips vary from SO RED to mostly red, and the seasoning level (can we call this cheetle since it originated with Chester, or is it deetle?) will ultimately determine your tongue’s fate, but even the lesser seasoned ones pack a punch.

It’s hard to describe the specific heat as anything other than “Flamin’ Hot,” but since you’re on this website, you probably have an idea of what that tastes like. It’s just kicked up on the hot chili and toned down on the cooling cheesy. The signature Nacho Cheese Doritos flavor takes a major backseat to the flames, just barely poking its head through the fire. Surprisingly the nacho aroma from the bag is pretty strong, but the taste gets swept away when eating.

Anything else you need to know?

Xxtra Flamin’ Hot Doritos not only bring instant heat, the fire lingers too. When I eat 3-5 in a row, the burn stacks in a way that causes my saliva to thicken up and pool as a defense mechanism against a potential runny nose and/or explosion. If you’re sensitive to heat, I’d steer clear away from these. Even if you aren’t, I’d have some milk or peanut butter on hand if you want to indulge in more than a serving.

Conclusion:

I like heat. I like Doritos. And these chips delivered on their promise, but they might be a little too hot. Not that they’re too spicy to eat, but I think I prefer the 2019 version without the two X’s when it comes to scratching that Nacho Cheese Doritos itch. Growing up, I loved the Spicier Nacho variety, and there’s no denying those aren’t actually hot at all, but these Doritos are a bit too fiery for repeated snacking.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 2 3/4 oz bag
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (12 chips, 28g) 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Funfetti Light Ice Cream

Funfetti Ice Cream Tub

What is Funfetti Ice Cream?

One of the, if not THE most iconic cake mix and packaged frosting of all time, Pillsbury’s Funfetti, gets turned into a frozen scoopable treat. It features Funfetti light ice cream with rainbow sprinkles and a cake crunch swirl.

How is it?

The ice cream is…light, and taking it for what it is, it’s not too shabby. It’s relatively light, like literally in the weight sense, although not quite airy. But I’m happy to report it’s not at all gummy like other lower calorie ice creams can be (frozen dairy dessert, yuck).

Funfetti Ice Cream Top

The Funfetti base’s taste is sweet but not sickeningly so, although more notably sugary than standard vanilla. I actually wish it was a bit sweeter, as I’m very familiar with what the real frosting tastes like, and this doesn’t quite scratch that itch.

Sprinkles are sprinkles, and there’s certainly an abundance of them. They’re sweet and colorful with a pleasant waxy chew that brings the party vibes. The cake crunch swirl is the best part of this experience, with a texture that reminds me of a cross between frosting and fudge with the grittiness of cookie dough. It’s like little bits of cake crumbs rolled into soft sweetness. Delicious.

Anything else you need to know?

Funfetti Ice Cream Spoon

Like most light ice cream or anything that comes in a tub this big, I wish I had more of the best component. The cake crunch swirl wasn’t nearly as thick or ample as I would like, but it comes with the territory. It mostly appears in wispy moments that elevate the bite, but I found a couple of bigger pieces towards the middle and they were really great.

Conclusion:

Funfetti Ice Cream Dish

Funfetti ice cream is made for kids. It’s a big, bright, and light tub that does nothing new and doesn’t fail at delivering a caloric and money budget-friendly ice cream that anyone with a basic palate, or children, can appreciate.

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 1.5 Quarts
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup, 82g) 160 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Tostitos Habanero Tortilla Chips

Tostitos Habanero Tortilla Chips Bag

What are Tostitos Habanero?

Following up on last year’s super delicious Hint of Spicy Queso and the just-okay Hint of Guacamole, the latest crispy circle from Tostitos drops the “Hint” and brings the heat with habanero-flavored bite-size rounds.

How are they?

Tostitos Habanero Tortilla Chips Closeup

Continuing along the path of Spicy Queso’s cheesy footsteps, these Habanero rounds are excellent. The immediate comparison that jumped at me is Salsa Verde Doritos. They have the same authentic and richly deep pepper taste as that Doritos variety, but with a sweeter and more tomato-y flavor that gives them their own unique presence in the Frito-Lay spicy chip hierarchy. It’s that extra layer of acidity, like the difference between white rice and orange Mexican rice, that really makes the flavor stand out.

Anything else you need to know?

For a chip claiming to be habanero-flavored, they aren’t nearly as hot as I was expecting, but that doesn’t take away from how delicious they are. Their heat is a far cry from the brand’s Flamin’ Hot staple, but I find it even more impressive that they taste great and peppery in a way that isn’t just heat.

Conclusion:

If you’re looking to set your mouth on fire in the way eating a raw habanero would, this may let you down, but I’m hooked. I’ll take flavor over fire any day and these still have just enough heat to make my tongue tingle with an authentic peppery sweetness that makes them undeniable.

Purchased Price: $3.50 (on sale)
Size: 11 oz bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (20 chips/28 grams) 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix

Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix Bag

What is Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix?

If you have tiny panic attacks trying to decide which popped or fried processed corn snack you want to buy at the grocery store, Frito-Lay has swooped in and made things worse with another option — Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix. As a follow-up to 2020’s Cheetos Popcorn, the popped corn has a new corny best friend that goes by the name of Crunchy Cheetos.

How is it?

I won’t lie, when I first saw the announcement of this product, I thought it was kind of dumb, but this cheesy mix SMACKS. I’m a bigger lover of popcorn than I am Cheetos, and I don’t buy regular Crunchy Cheetos very often, but this serves as a great reminder of how satisfying the classics are. The bag is loaded with cheesy seasoning (cheetle) and is as beautifully luminously orange as ever.

Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix Closeup

In general, Cheetos are a solid snack but can be kind of heavy and greasy when eaten in large quantities, no matter the flavor. The popcorn acts as a perfect companion to the denser, greasy Cheetos. It allows for a full-on salty and creamy snack spiral without the heftiness.

It’s a fun textural juxtaposition to have two totally different types of corn with the same seasoning. They taste and feel pretty different but maintain the intense glowing cheesy symphony that builds as I crunch and crunch and crunch.

Anything else you need to know?

I would love to see a bag with Cheetos’ classic cheesy and spicy flavors combined. Perhaps incorporating Cheetos popcorn with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos for an addictive back and forth.

Conclusion:

This simple little snack surprised me, and if you like the salty cheddar explosion from Chester, there’s no way you won’t enjoy going for a cheesy dive into Crunch Pop Mix.

Purchased Price: $3.50
Size: 2.75 oz bag
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup/28 grams) 160 calories, 11 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 250 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Driftwell by Pepsi

Driftwell by Pepsi Cans

The number of times I’ve had a drink to turn up: 9,356

The number of times I’ve had a drink to get ready for bed: 0

Well, until now.

In a world run by Dunkin’, overflowing with Starbucks, and exploding (or, BANG-ing?) with pre-workout energy drinks, the latest PepsiCo’s brand addition came as a massive surprise to me. Sure, some people like a little whiskey nightcap or swear by a soothing cup of warm milk. But aside from a much needed shot of NyQuil to literally pass out when sick, I have never tried, or even seen, a drink designed and advertised to go down like a gentle lullaby.

Driftwell is an enhanced water beverage designed to help you “sip into relaxation” via 200 milligrams of L-theanine in each 7.5 ounce can. The company claims it designed the drink not as a knockout punch (like booze or marijuana) but as a stress reducer. L-theanine is an amino acid most commonly found in tea leaves and sometimes taken as a supplement in pill form that can increase relaxation without causing drowsiness or reducing your resting heart rate.

Unlike grabbing a can of REIGN from the fridge and expecting to be able to run through a wall in 15 minutes (love it!), Driftwell suggests to the brain it’s time to sleep in an even milder way than melatonin. Halfway through the can I felt a noticeable shift in my headspace and was seemingly more sleepy. It was already late, and about 30 minutes before I planned on getting in bed, so the context was right. My eyes didn’t force themselves closed, but I was excited to get in bed. My attention gently drifted away from the excellent movie I was finishing (Batman Returns), and once I hit the pillow, it was easier than usual to slip into a dreaming state. I haven’t been having problems falling asleep recently, so take it for what it is, but I think this stuff kind of works!

Driftwell by Pepsi Glass

The flavor is very subtle and mostly pleasant; it is more or less what I expected from a product that boasts zero sugar and zero calories. Blackberry Lavender is a pretty unique flavor that interestingly tastes a lot like a combination of cantaloupe and honeydew with notes of chamomile. There’s definitely a tea-like aura to the whole Driftwell experience.

I tried it both cold and room temperature on separate nights. Since the box and website have no indication of how to consume this new sleep aid, I’m going to give a formal recommendation for room temp. It reminds me a lot of Hint Water, which I find is very hit or miss with its execution. Fortunately for PepsiCo, this is a pretty solid starting point in terms of taste for a drink that isn’t supposed to erupt with flavor.

Driftwell by Pepsi Box

PepsiCo was the first of the soda titans to respond to the sparkling water craze, launching its own brand Bubly in 2018, well ahead of Coca Cola’s AHA brand in early 2020. Does Driftwell’s slow trickle into the market indicate the company is ahead of the curve again? Or is this a crazy overpriced niche market drink for yogis? I’m edging towards the latter, but time will tell. Hopefully, this makes its way into stores in smaller packs or even single cans so people can test it out for themselves. Even though it does as advertised, it is more expensive than booze, and ten cans is a lot to commit to.

Purchased Price: $22.98
Size: 7.5 oz cans/10-pack
Purchased at: Amazon
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 0 gram of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.