REVIEW: Jeni’s Lonely Ghost Double Dough Ice Cream

Jeni's Lonely Ghost Double Dough Ice Cream Pint

Orange Blossom Chiffon.

Powdered Jelly Donut.

Sweet Potato with Torched Marshmallow.

Everything Bagel.

These are all Jeni’s Ice Cream flavors that existed before the company had its own chocolate chip cookie dough. Until now, the super premium ice cream company from Columbus, Ohio has steered clear of the American favorite made popular by Ben & Jerry’s in the 80s; yet apparently, the scoop-shop-staple is in demand on the other side. A brand new limited time collaboration with streetwear brand Lonely Ghost has gifted basic flavor lovers with Double Dough — chocolate chip cookie dough swirled into a buttery brown sugar custard.

Jeni's Lonely Ghost Double Dough Ice Cream Top of pint

The premium price tag of Jeni’s pints comes at the cost of the premium ingredients they source, and this flavor is a shining example of just how good a top-tier grocery store ice cream can be. The brown sugar custard is incredible. It is dense, it is rich, it is sweet, and it is surprisingly salty. There is an impressive buttery depth to the texture from the use of egg yolks that makes the execution of custard versus ice cream really apparent. It’s beautiful, and it really does bring the rich molasses-adjacent notes of brown sugar to the foreground in a way that perfectly honors eating raw cookie dough.

Jeni's Lonely Ghost Double Dough Ice Cream Spoon with bits of cookie dough

The lone mix-in is the dough itself, and while initially I was thrown off by their small size, what they lack in heft, they make up for in density. The pieces are small, pea-sized balls of cookie dough that are far from what most chunk-enthusiasts want to see when popping off the lid on a premium pint. However, they’re everywhere, and they’re packed full of gritty cookie dough texture that really brings the double dough concept to life. With how strong the brown sugar is in the base, there isn’t a ton of extra flavor from the pieces, but the crunchy bittersweet chocolate chips stand pretty firmly against the wash of lovely sweet and salty custard.

While it doesn’t push the boundaries of ice cream innovation like many of Jeni’s more recent releases, Double Dough is an elevated take on a fan-favorite flavor that is sure to satisfy both creamy connoisseurs and more standard scoopers alike.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free product sample from Jeni’s. Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: One Pint
Purchased at: Received from Jeni’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup, 127g) 330 calories, 20 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 80 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 28 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.

Click here to read our previous Jeni’s Ice Cream reviews

REVIEW: Lay’s Kettle Cooked Ruffles All Dressed Potato Chips

Lay's Kettle Cooked Ruffles All Dressed Potato Chips Bag

When Ruffles All Dressed burst onto the American scene in 2015, the stateside ridges game was forever changed. Simply put, Ruffles rule, and this new, formerly Canadian-exclusive flavor instantly became one of the best in the brand’s salty arsenal. The elusive and mysterious sweet and savory combination of BBQ, ketchup, salt, vinegar, and even a dash of sour cream and onion reads like it could be too much, but somehow, it’s just enough.

In 2021 Ruffles took back its love for the USA and returned All Dressed to being Canada-only. But what does Frito-Lay love doing more than anything these days? That’s right, putting the same old stuff on some other stuff, and thus, Lay’s Kettle Cooked Ruffles All Dressed Potato Chips have arrived.

Using the name Ruffles alongside All Dressed feels like a bit of a hat on a hat, but I understand the need to solidify that this is the same seasoning from the currently unavailable chip. These kettle cooked chips do not have ridges, but they carry a decent amount of the glowing red/orange powder that will soon be coating my fingers.

Lay's Kettle Cooked Ruffles All Dressed Potato Chips orange and red seasoning.

All Dressed remains delicious. I’m getting a touch less of a flavor punch than on the Ruffles, but it’s undoubtedly a tangy vinegar-forward BBQ with some extra onion on the finish. Citing sour cream and onion is a bit of a stretch, but there’s absolutely an oniony accent that stands out from your average BBQ.

What these chips lack in ridge-amplified flavor they almost make up for in satisfyingly bold crunch. These chips are LOUD, and I certainly think they’re proud, too (Canada’s never had All Dressed THIS crunchy, right?). With Lay’s Kettle Cooked, the thick chomp-y texture is no doubt the highlight, bringing a pleasantly hard-fried greasy potato undertone to the tangy, savory fireworks of All Dressed. The taste isn’t nearly as bold as I remember from my last bag of the Ruffles version, but it’s been a couple of years, and these chips are undeniably difficult to stop eating. There’s a level of intrigue in the seasoning; some are more sweet, some are more salty, and some are more tangy, which keeps me wanting more. Food Science 101: they got me.

Lay's Kettle Cooked Ruffles All Dressed Potato Chips up close and personal

Aside from trying this killer seasoning on a different extra crunchy vessel, the other revelation of this bag is the insane amount of fold over chips. From what I recall, these folded over gems used to be more of a rarity, and here they make up a solid 65% or more of the bag, and I’m here for it. The Lay’s Kettle Cooked version of All Dressed won’t top the Ruffles for me, but they’re without a doubt one of the best flavors Frito-Lay has released with this line and one that’s worthy of a pickup.

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 8 oz bag
Purchased at: Nob Hill
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (15 chips, 28g) 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Papa Johns Garlic Epic Stuffed Crust Pizza

Papa Johns Garlic Epic Stuffed Crust Pizza Whole

When Papa Johns showed up fashionably late to the stuffed crust pizza party in December of 2020, it may not have been timely, but it certainly arrived with a splash. The somewhat silly-titled “Epic Stuffed Crust” was no different than what Pizza Hut innovated in 1995, and yet, in my humble but experienced opinion, the Papa beat the Hut at its own game.

As a child of the 90s, the stuffed crust is an ever-shining beacon of culinary genius and one that will keep Pizza Hut in my heart forever. But its quality has gone so downhill in recent years that I never go there unless it’s to try a new unique item, unlike Papa Johns, which I keep on speed dial. For its third iteration of the Epic Stuffed Crust, Papa makes the pizza even more Papa-ified by incorporating the signature garlic sauce that makes it stand out amongst the other chains. It’s an Epic Stuffed Crust Pizza with a garlic parmesan seasoned and drizzled crust, original pizza sauce, melty cheese, and your choice of one topping, which comes standard as pepperoni.

Papa Johns Garlic Epic Stuffed Crust Pizza Crust

This review is pretty straightforward – if you like Papa John’s Stuffed Crust and its Special Garlic Dipping Sauce, you’ll like this pie. In fact, I only have two gripes with this pizza.

  1. I just moved to a denser and crazier part of the city where, for some reason, the one topping promotion is $20.99 instead of $13.99, so it cost more than I expected.
  2. I wish there was more garlic.

Papa Johns Garlic Epic Stuffed Crust Pizza Cheese

This is a cheesy, indulgent, downright delicious, and addictive pizza that very well might be my favorite iteration of Papa John’s best-in-class stuffed crust, but it isn’t all that garlicky. The seasoning on the crust is excellent and does very well to elevate the epic-ness of having tons of perfectly ooey gooey cheese in the crust, but it leans much more into the parmesan than the garlic for a nice crunchy umami bite that’s wonderful, but not garlicky.

Papa Johns Garlic Epic Stuffed Crust Pizza Slice

The toppings at Papa Johns have always seemed like the freshest and most abundant of all the mainstream chains, which is why it has been my favorite for over a decade. The sauce is sweet yet robust, the cheese has a nice dense flavor, and the pepperoni brings a nice crispiness and a hint of spice. Speaking of which, any time you’re ordering a pizza from a chain like this, make sure to get it well done. You’re very rarely, if ever, going to get a burnt pie, but these places crank out so many pizzas at such a fast rate they may pull it when it’s a touch underdone, and requesting well done, like I did, will ensure you get a properly cooked and delicious pizza.

While this could use some actual diced garlic like you’d find on garlic knots to really bring the concept home, it’s still an absolutely delicious pie that’s, without a doubt, my favorite new fast food item this year. Plus, if you’re getting this for $14 instead of $21 like my unfortunate metropolitan-dwelling self, it’s a helluva deal, and I’d grab it while you can.

Purchased Price: $20.99 (but should be $13.99 in your area)
Size: Large 1 Topping
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 slice) 420 calories, 16 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 990 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 16 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Trader Joe’s Coffee & Dark Chocolate Joe-Joe’s

What are they?

The latest in a line of premium single-sleeve coated Joe-Joe cookies from the best grocery house brand in the game; chocolate sandwich cookies with coffee creme in a dark chocolate and coffee coating.

How are they?

It should come as no surprise — these are awesome. The first thing I notice upon close inspection are the little specs of espresso bean within the drizzle, and the flavor comes through swimmingly. There’s no doubt that these are chocolate-forward, but a bold espresso flavor pops in pretty prominently right after the bittersweet and creamy dark chocolate coating finishes up its opening flourish. The cookie is very crunchy, almost to a fault in that it threatens to explode and crumble everywhere if you’re not careful enough. Luckily, I am a professional.

These dunked and drizzled cookies remind me a lot of a chocolate-covered espresso bean but with reverse ratios of coffee to chocolate. The stronger components are chocolaty sweet — the dark chocolate coating and the wafer cookie — but there’s no denying the presence of ground coffee in the creme and drizzle that gives it that bold bean-adjacent flavor. They’re excellent.

Anything else you need to know?

In 2017 Trader Joe’s beat Nabisco to the punch and released Mocha Joe-Joe’s mere months before the Limited Edition Dunkin Donuts Mocha Oreo debuted. Both were solid cookies, but the Joe-Joe edged out the Oreo just a bit, largely thanks to its bold and authentic coffee flavor. Six years later, TJ’s still hangs its hat on that coffee intensity, and the extra layer of chocolate is a higher quality than anything Nabisco has ever rolled out.

Conclusion:

Trader Joe’s Coffee & Dark Chocolate Joe-Joe’s are not for those who aren’t into the true flavor of coffee, but they’re not reserved for those (like myself) who prefer their coffee black either. They have a brilliant balance of in-your-face-taste and creamy satisfaction that will leave most, if not all, coffee drinkers pleased with their purchase.

Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 6.8 Ounces
Purchased at: Trader Joe’s
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cookie, 24g) 120 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Mousse Pie Ice Cream

Chocoholics unite! The final new flavor from Ben & Jerry’s 2023 launch lineup is an ode to one of the essential French-inspired American desserts, which definitely hits me with a bit of Americana nostalgia. Mousse Pie is milk chocolate ice cream with chocolate mousse swirls and chocolate cookie swirls.

Ben & Jerry’s chocolate base is a topic of contention amongst many ice cream bloggers. Some seem to think it’s lackluster and one of the lowlights of the brand, but I like it quite a bit, especially in my favorite classic flavor Phish Food. Regardless of my enjoyment of the normal chocolate base, I’m always happy to see the oft-forgotten milk chocolate get rolled out for a new creation. The base here is lighter and sweeter with a smooth milky flavor that reminds me of a throwback chocolate malt without the malty funk. Not quite as light as a vanilla-leaning Wendy’s Frosty, but it’s devoid of all the bitterness one usually gets from a typical chocolate base, and I enjoy it.

What I enjoy more, though, is the textural contrast with the chocolate mousse swirls. Unlike Topped Bossin’ Cream Pie, I’m actually able to differentiate between the base and the swirls in this pint, and I do get a lighter, fluffier texture that somewhat emulates the airiness of a mousse. It’s a fun and unexpected switch-up that really comes to life when you let this pint get all the way tempered to just shy of melty — if you pick this up, make sure to give it enough time to show its true colors.

As fun as the base and mousse are, the highlight of this pint is the chocolate cookie swirls. I’m no stranger to this staple B&J mix-in, and there’s a reason why it gets used so much. It’s gritty and buttery with a bittersweet chocolate taste that is very welcome amongst the milkier components. It has that classic Oreo-adjacent cocoa flare that drives home the flavor of the pie crust perfectly. It pops up in some bigger chunks throughout that carry a hearty, satisfying crunch — it’s a lot of fun.

Mousse Pie is essentially a lighter, in terms of both texture and taste, version of Ben & Jerry’s classic Chocolate Therapy. Overall I prefer Chocolate Therapy, which makes this one feel a bit redundant in the scope of the prolific and often innovative Ben & Jerry’s arsenal. However, I can’t deny how well the components play together, and the addictive-ness of that gritty swirl is enough to keep me happily digging to the bottom of this chocolaty abyss.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free product sample from Ben & Jerry’s. Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: One Pint
Purchased at: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup, 139g) 390 calories, 24 grams of fat, 14 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 34 grams of total sugars, and 6 grams of protein.