REVIEW: Little Caesars Hot-N-Ready Slices-N-Stix

Little Caesars Hot N Ready Slices N Stix Whole Thing

Little Caesars seems to always have a new scheme up its sleeve. One of the true masters of limited edition offerings – and that’s why you love this website, right?

From bacon-wrapped deep dish to cheese-stuffed crazy bread to my favorite, the undeniable pretzel crust pizza, it always finds ways to entice me back into its budget-friendly establishments. Its latest creation fuses an entree and an appetizer into one with the Hot-N-Ready Slices-N-Stix. Four pepperoni slices, eight Italian Cheese Stix, and a side of Crazy Sauce.

Grabbing my Hot-N-Ready pizza out of Little Caesars’ very cool and innovative Pizza Portal by scanning a QR code on my phone, I was surprised to see it personalized just for me. What I thought said “SES” on the outside, my initials, was actually S&S for Slices-N-Stix. A seemingly nice gesture from Caesar was just some insider employee scribble to make sure the pizza didn’t go into the wrong portal slot. I would have taken a picture of the sweet machine, but it was the most crowded Little Caesars I have ever been in, packed with customers and a line ten deep out the door. Friday night pizza night lives on!

Nine out of ten times when I order a customized pie, I get half and half, because who doesn’t love mixing up their bites? That desire to have slices of different identities made this latest creation alluring. I had to have it right away.

The only letdown was finding I didn’t get any Crazy Sauce in my box. I should have checked, but the location was such a madhouse that I didn’t dare open my glistening pizza in front of the 20 yet-to-be-satisfied people around me. Fortunately, my home is stocked with pasta sauce, so the evening went on swimmingly.

Little Caesars Hot N Ready Slices N Stix Pasta

Little Caesars Hot N Ready Slices N Stix Pizza Closeup

The pepperoni pizza half is exactly what you would expect. I’ve found LC’s quality in the last couple of years to be much better than what I remember from the early 2000s. The sauce is zesty and flavorful, the cheese is gooey and plentiful, and the pepperoni shiny and salty. With the foundation of a crust that has just enough heft to feel satisfying without being too bready.

Little Caesars Hot N Ready Slices N Stix Stix Closeup

This was my first time having the Italian Cheese Stix, and I really enjoyed them. Despite being on the same crust, the lack of sauce changes the dough’s flavor in a way that really highlights the fatty cheese. I loved the alternate cut style from the regular pizza half, which left me with a couple pieces that had no crust, just simple cheesy, bready bliss. When dunked in marinara, I get that classic parlor cheese bread flavor with just the right acidity amount. Yet, it still tastes different from the normal pizza slices with its altered ratios of toppings.

Slices-N-Stix is a really simple concept that’s executed perfectly. As usual with Little Caesars, it’s hard to nitpick the quality with its generous prices, and this limited offering delivers what it promises. Food doesn’t have to be crazy to be crazy good, and despite the missing Crazy Sauce, I can’t wait to have this one again before it inevitably disappears.

Purchased Price: $6.00
Size: One Pizza
Purchased at: Little Casears
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 pizza) 2950 calories, 141 grams of fat, 69 grams of saturated fat, 4.5 grams of trans fat, 355 milligrams of cholesterol, 6710 milligrams of sodium, 264 grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of fiber, 14 grams of total sugars, and 161 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Chocolatey PayDay Bar

Chocolatey PayDay Bar Wrapper

What is the Chocolatey PayDay Bar?

One of the simplest candy bars gets a new(ish) makeover. PayDay’s signature salted peanuts and caramel get dunked in chocolate for a new bar that looks awfully familiar.

How is it?

Chocolatey PayDay Bar

Unwrapped, you could have fooled me into believing it’s a Baby Ruth, a candy bar I think very fondly of that doesn’t get enough love. In a world full of Snickers and Nutrageous, there’s only so much room for the chocolate-peanut combo, but PayDay isn’t afraid, and its take is quite good.

Chocolatey PayDay Bar Interior

What makes this bar different from the one it looks identical to is the absence of nougat. While PayDay’s signature core is certainly nougat-adjacent, it isn’t quite as sweet. It’s a bit richer with a roasty caramel flavor coming through. The chocolate is typical Hershey’s quality, which is totally serviceable (“chocolatey”), but what allows this bar to stand out is its saltiness.

While not overwhelmingly salty, the savory and sweet balance is much better than your average super sweet wrapped confection. I really like the way the salt activates the chocolate and complements the fatty nuts.

Anything else you need to know?

I’ve always enjoyed the original PayDay but found it to be a bit one noted after a couple of bites despite its fun soft yet crunchy texture. The chocolate coating takes care of that problem and makes it more of a classic sugary experience.

Conclusion:

While this new(ish) treat certainly isn’t reinventing the wheel, it’s a combination of familiar and delicious flavors that any Snickers-lover will definitely enjoy.

Purchased Price: $1.47
Size: King Size (3.1 ounces)
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/3 pack) 140 calories, 8 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 55 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Hostess Strawberry Cheesecake Donettes

Hostess Strawberry Cheesecake Donettes Bag

What are Hostess Strawberry Cheesecake Donettes?

Lemon? Orange? Blueberry? Nah. This year’s quintessential summer flavor, at least according to Hostess, is a dense and creamy strawberry cheesecake. These mini donuts feature strawberry-flavored cake with a cheesecake-flavored glaze.

How are they?

They are hit or miss.

Hostess Strawberry Cheesecake Donettes Cake

The cake carries a pleasant and decently authentic strawberry flavor that I enjoy, but the moisture level is as unpredictable as a summer shower. While the sweetness level is solid, every other mini donut I try is offensively dry with a crumbly off-putting texture that kills the vibe.

Hostess Strawberry Cheesecake Donettes Glaze

The cheesecake component is relatively light, with a subtle tang that does just enough to differentiate itself from a standard glaze. While the flavor is decent, the coating lines the roof of my mouth like uncooked fat, and if that were ever served to me as a cheesecake, it would be sent back in a flash. The flavor balance is good, but like with the cake, the texture is off and takes away greatly from the snacking experience.

Anything else you need to know?

Cheesecake originated in Greece and was often served as a wedding cake. That’s pretty cool, right?

Conclusion:

When the Donettes aren’t dryer than a July night in the desert, they’re okay. But I don’t feel confident putting my hand into the bag and pulling out something that won’t disappoint. If you’re a sucker for all things cheesecake, these may be worth your time, but they miss the mark on delivering a snackable ode to a fine dessert.

Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: 10.5 oz bag
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (3 donuts) 210 calories, 10 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 16 grams of total sugars, 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Papa John’s Shaq-a-Roni Pizza

Papa John s Shaq a Roni Pizza

In 2019, the garlic sauce-soaked pizza that defined my early 2000s video gaming marathons got a massive upgrade – Shaquille O’Neal.

Shaq came into Papa John’s not only as a brand ambassador, but also a board member and part-owner of nine franchises. (LeBron James and a Blaze investment who?!) Fast forward a little over a year later and the NBA Hall of Famer gets to break the backboard of 2020 with his first signature pizza.

The Shaq-a-Roni Pizza channels the energy of Shaq and promises an epic experience of extra large, extra pepperoni, and extra cheese. Sounds like I’m gonna need some extra cardio!

Not only does this pizza sound like a good time, the chain also donating $1 for every pizza sold to the Papa John’s Foundation for Building Community – bringing relief not only to our rumbling tummy’s but the community too. Count me in.

Papa John s Shaq a Roni Pizza Box

First things first – this pizza was supposed to come in a special box with Shaq’s face on it and the saying “everyone loves pizza – pizza loves everyone” along with a QR code to unlock another level of fulfillment via Snapchat. The location I went to didn’t have the box, but the pizza itself still felt big and substantial in my hands.

Papa John s Shaq a Roni Pizza Slice

All awesome NBA tie-ins aside, this is Papa John’s attempt at making a NY style pizza, which harkens back to Pizza Hut’s The Big New Yorker that I absolutely adored in the late 90s. The dough is spread out thinner than your average Papa John’s pizza but maintains a doughy soft chew without any of the crackery crunch one might associate with a “thin” crust pizza. Picking up the slices, they flip and flop all over the place like James Harden driving into the lane, and even though I can’t stand that kind of offense, I love this kind of eating.

Papa John s Shaq a Roni Pizza Pepperoni

The pizza is large and intimidating with tons of pepperoni often overlapping each other fighting for space across the vast cheesy landscape. As you might expect, the initial taste is salty and just a touch spicy with spotted greasy pepperoni taking the star player role as I chew.

Papa John s Shaq a Roni Pizza Crust

I’ve always enjoyed Papa John’s for its slightly sweet crust that pairs oh-so-beautifully with its signature (and included!) garlic dipping sauce, and the crust and sauce are just as good as I remember. The cheese definitely feels abundant, but it’s more of a gooey texture than distinct flavor with the overlapping ‘ronis that control each bite.

This is a solid take on a big and thin, but chewy NY style slice, but it does falter a bit in its excess. While I appreciate the extra everything mentality, the sauce gets lost in the mix kind of like Shaq’s free throwing ability. I miss that sweet and zesty zing that ties everything together.

Papa John’s Shaq-a-Roni Pizza is good, and I would definitely eat it again, but it lacks that perfect balance and feels one note after a couple of slices. Fortunately for Shaq, just like his ability to dunk on whoever he wants, that garlic sauce switches it up whenever I want a little extra depth and keeps me coming back for more.

Purchased Price: $12.00 (allegedly normally $27.99!)
Size: one XL pizza
Purchased at: Papa Johns
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (One Slice) 285 calories, 17 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 690 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of total sugars, and 10 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sweet Corn Pringles

Sweet Corn Pringles

What are Sweet Corn Pringles?

If you’re reading a review on this website, you probably like junk food and the creativity behind those products. And, as a result, you’re prepared to try some weird products, like pumpkin spice hummus or cheeseburger-flavored crackers. But the latest Walgreens-exclusive Pringles seem even more of a head-scratcher — corn-flavored potato crisps.

How are they?

It should be noted that these aren’t just imitating corn, but rather, sweet corn, which is a flavor much more popular in Japan than in the United States. As such, I have not had much experience with this outside of one comically-shaped gummy.

Sweet Corn Pringles 3

These are weird. They smell mostly like your average can of Pringles, but the flavor is wild. The taste lands somewhere between a SunChip and a buttered popcorn Jelly Belly, with a hint of garlic and onion lingering in the background.

It’s buttery and slightly sweet with a bizarre aftertaste that reminds me of something fluffy and sugary like cotton candy. They carry a solid balance of sweet and salty without steering too prominently in either direction to give the impression of salty butter on a vibrant yellow corn on the cob.

Anything else you should know?

Sweet Corn Pringles 2

Pringles are already the most Frankenstein’d of all potato chips, not actually being chips but crisps, so this makes this green can of dried and pressed together potatoes seasoned like corn all that much funnier.

Conclusion:

I said it once, and I’ll say it again — these are weird. But it doesn’t necessarily mean bad. When I first tried them, I ate 15 straight trying to wrap my head around what I was tasting. But the more I ate them, the more the flavor mellowed, and I enjoyed it.

I can’t say I would crave these when they’re done with their limited run, but it’s a fun snack that does an impressive job at corn impersonation.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 11 ounces
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (15 Crisps) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Exclusive Flavor Berry Sweet Mascarpone Ice Cream

Ben  Jerry s Exclusive Flavor Berry Sweet Mascarpone Ice Cream

What is Ben & Jerry’s Berry Sweet Mascarpone Ice Cream?

While it’s commonplace for Target, Walmart, Safeway, and even 7-Eleven to have their own exclusive Ben & Jerry’s flavors, the now Amazon-owned Whole Foods enter spring 2020 with its first special pint. Berry Sweet Mascarpone combines blackberry and mascarpone ice creams with shortbread cookies and fudge-covered almonds.

How is it?

Ben  Jerry s Exclusive Flavor Berry Sweet Mascarpone Ice Cream Top

I love blackberry ice cream, and sadly, this one really misses the mark. I get virtually no berry flavor at all from the pleasantly light purple base, and its blandness completely confuses my mind while I eat. It looks so pretty but tastes like nothing. On the plus side, the mascarpone ice cream is the same one used in the recently revived Cannoli, and it has a solid creamy and cheesy flavor with a sweet frosting finish.

Ben  Jerry s Exclusive Flavor Berry Sweet Mascarpone Ice Cream Spoon 2

The mix-ins here are good but not good enough to offset the bland berry base. The shortbread is soft and sweet with a vanilla flavor and a texture that reminds me more of cake than cookies, akin to a madeleine soaked in milk. Tasty.

Ben  Jerry s Exclusive Flavor Berry Sweet Mascarpone Ice Cream Spoon 1

I love chocolate covered nuts in ice cream, and these are the same almonds that absolutely sing in Target’s exclusive Glampfire Trail Mix. But here, without any salty component to balance out their crunch, they aren’t nearly as good and generally feel out of place.

Anything else you need to know?

As is the case with most Ben & Jerry’s pints, if there isn’t a gooey swirl of some sort to tie things together, I always wish there was. And this is no exception. Something sweeter or saltier than the other elements could elevate this mishmash of flavors. But as it stands, it just feels flat.

Conclusion:

While it’s far from inedible and far from the floppiest of Ben & Jerry’s flops, this springy pint is lacking the tart berry punch I had hoped for and is simply a franken-flavor that just doesn’t deliver.

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Whole Foods (Exclusive Flavor)
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 350 calories, 22 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 27 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein.