REVIEW: Doritos Tangy Ranch!

Tangy Ranch Doritos Bag

Everyone has that one junk food that got away. One of the most elusive snacking memories I’ve been hopelessly clinging onto and clamoring for is Doritos Sonic Sour Cream!

The history is a bit wonky, but for ME, these Doritos popped up sometime in the mid to late 90s in a gorgeous Joker-esque lime green bag with purple accents and vanished in the early 2000s. They may have origins even deeper than that, tracing back to a Sour Cream and Onion Doritos in the 70s, but that doesn’t sound or look nearly as cool as the neon green Sonic finished with a very 90s exclamation mark. They were like Cool(er) Ranch Doritos but more seasoned, more creamy, and honestly…the bag looked cooler. I got them every time I could.

All this nostalgic babble is simply to say I was ecstatic when I heard about the new Doritos Tangy Ranch! A cool bag, albeit not quite lime green, more of a teal, but still new and slightly 90s, and the word “tangy” with an exclamation mark. Tang is definitely what comes to mind when I think about sour cream. Could these be a rebranding and relaunching of the chip that has escaped me my entire adult life? *cue Law & Order transition music*

Tangy Ranch Doritos Spill

No. No, they are not. Despite the return of the exclamation mark and the nod to the 90s design, these are not sonic, nor are they sour cream, but they are good! The first massive difference I notice when crunching into these corny chips is the aggressive garlic punch that finishes with just a touch of a fiery tickle. I wouldn’t go so far as to call them spicy, but they’re spicier than your standard Cool Ranch or Nacho Cheese. Think heavy-handed garlic combined with black pepper.

Tangy Ranch Doritos Seasoning

The flavor rounds out with a buttermilk tang and a touch of dill for a flavor that is, appropriately, pretty ranch-y. As with all Doritos, some chips are very heavily seasoned, and others are merely speckled. The ones with the most seasoning are truly tang-tactic, veering on spicy, and the speckled ones are pretty mild.

My memory of Sonic Sour Cream! is a smoother taste with a particularly white powder that emphasized the creamy, like a cousin of white cheddar popcorn seasoning, and this definitely isn’t that. But I had to know how these compare to the OG, so I went back to the store and got Doritos Cool Ranch for a side by side, and yeah, these Tangy Ranch! really do lay on the garlic.

Tangy Ranch Doritos Cool Ranch

By comparison, the Cool Ranch chips are smoother, creamier, and noticeably less zesty, but not boring in the slightest. Cool Ranch has always been my favorite of the easy-to-find original line, and I stand by that opinion. They’re so so good and endlessly snackable; I never want to stop. If you’re a fan of Doritos Cool Ranch and aren’t afraid of a little garlic breath, Tangy Ranch! is definitely worth a shot.

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

REVIEW: Little Caesars Planteroni Pizza

Little Caesars Planteroni Pizza Whole

I’m not a vegetarian, but I’m no stranger to meat substitutes. My grandfather and stepdad are both vegan, my girlfriend used to be vegan, and I spent two years in college as a pescatarian (eating only fish). While I’ve settled in my omnivore ways as a taxpaying adult, I’m not opposed to a nice Impossible Burger or Tofurky Sausage, and I am legitimately fascinated by the huge wave of plant-based options that have swept fast food in recent years.

If you had told me Little Caesars would beat McDonald’s to the punch in adding a fake meat offering, I’d call ya crazy, but that’s exactly where we’ve landed. Little Caesars’ Planteroni Pizza is a large round pizza with Field Roast Plant-Based Pepperoni.

Little Caesars Planteroni Pizza No Ads

Pulling up to my second closest Little Caesars (my closest is usually a jam-packed nightmare I wanted to avoid), there were zero advertisements of this new plant-based ‘roni, likely because this item hasn’t rolled out nationwide. Although it still seems like a secret, even locally, it was prominently featured on LC’s terrific app under Limited Time Offers, and ordering went off without a hitch.

Little Caesars Planteroni Pizza Pepperoni

It looks great — nice and shiny cheese with a fresh and zesty aroma that instantly makes my mouth water. Field Roast’s “pepperoni” are faux meat made up of canola oil, wheat gluten, potato protein, and pea protein, along with a ton of other binders and flavors. They have a deeper color, thicker cut, and way less greasy shine than your average pepperoni.

Unfortunately, their different look and lack of shininess translate to a lackluster flavor as well. I have no issues with the tougher texture of plant-based proteins, but the lack of salty and fatty intensity really brings down the experience. With pepperoni that isn’t chockfull of salt and animal fat, the cheaper components of Little Caesars’ pizza are exposed, and the crust and sauce both taste weaker and less impactful than any LC’s pizza I’ve had in the last two years.

The saving grace was the Butter Garlic sauce I added to my order, which, hot take alert, is even better than Papa John’s with a more robust and intense garlic flavor. When dunked into that glorious silky sauce, the pizza is pretty good, bringing the necessary salt and fat desperately lacking from Field Roast’s creation.

Another issue with this is that it’s not vegan. Nothing has changed about this pizza except for the pepperoni, and I don’t see this as an improvement over plain cheese or a wonderful veggie combo like mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers for those who don’t eat meat.

Little Caesars Planteroni Pizza Cheep

At the price point that Little Caesars is offering this pizza, $8.49, it should at least be an ExtraMostBestest, with extra cheese and pepperoni, but it isn’t, and that lack of indulgence makes for something that’s pretty underwhelming. For a $2.50 upcharge (the most I’ve ever paid for an LC pizza), I don’t think the Planteroni delivered anything exciting to the Little Caesars experience, aside from a cool and catchy name.

Purchased Price: $8.49
Size: Large
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 pizza) 2180 calories, 84 grams of fat, 32 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of trans fat, 150 milligrams of cholesterol, 4580 milligrams of sodium, 256 grams of carbohydrates, 14 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, 107 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Fruity Cereal Kit Kat

Fruity Cereal Kit Kat Wrapper

One of the best progressions in junk food over the last four years has been Hershey’s edging closer and closer to mimicking Nestle’s insane Kit Kat flavor production in Japan.

While stateside we’re still nowhere near the heights of experimentation reached overseas, we’ve had a myriad of interestingly flavored wafer bars that began with 2017’s relatively blasé California Strawberry from the Flavors of America line. Since then, we’ve been gifted Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie, Sweet Cinnamon, Lemon, Raspberry, Birthday Cake, Key Lime Pie, Witch’s Brew, and the latest exciting addition: Limited Edition Fruity Cereal.

Kit Kat is one of those candy bars that I don’t want to call underrated because they’re very popular but feels at times underappreciated, even by myself, in its purest form. Milk, white, and dark without any limited time bells and whistles always deliver on a light and crispy sweet treat whenever they cross my path. This new Fruity Cereal version falls right in line with the expectation set by their core lineup; it’s refreshing, tasty, and not extreme in the slightest.

Fruity Cereal Kit Kat Fingers

The opaque pink color dotted with specs looks like it could be crumbs straight out of a bag of Fruity Pebbles. The bar carries a gentle fruity aroma that smells more white chocolate sweet than distinctly berry or citrus. The flavor goes along with the muted color, which is not necessarily bad; it just doesn’t punch me in the face. I get creamy white chocolate followed by a mild strawberry (a spooky hint of Franken Berry, perhaps?) that finishes with the lemon-lime citrusy zing I associate with most “fruity” cereals.

Fruity Cereal Kit Kat Layers

When I think fruity cereal, I autopilot to Fruity Pebbles, my personal favorite. This Kit Kat makes my brain go right to Froot Loops, which I’ve always enjoyed but associate with less of a citrus intensity and overall flavor wallop than Pebbles. Maybe it’s also recency bias from the amazing Fruity Pebbles Candy Bar that came out earlier this year, studded with actual cereal that leaves me searching for that magnitude of flavor. In any case, this Kit Kat is good!

Although the flavor is mild, it’s enjoyable. There’s a distinct creaminess that comes with any variety of Kit Kat, which takes center stage here. While it doesn’t knock my socks off the way my first Japanese Green Tea Kit Kat did or come close to the absolute perfection of Pumpkin Pie, it’s a solid ode to a crunchy breakfast that any Loops or Pebbles fan can break off a piece of.

Purchased Price: 88 cents
Size: 1.5 ounces
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 package) 220 calories, 12 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 20 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Lucky Charms Marshmallow Clusters Cereal

Lucky Charms Marshmallow Clusters Cereal Box

What is Lucky Charms Marshmallow Clusters Cereal?

Rice Krispies Treats Cereal’s reformulation is one of the most controversial topics in cold breakfast history.

Introduced in 1993 and taken away for seemingly no reason in 2018, the cereal delivered an extra crunchy version of a Rice Krispies Treat that could hold up in milk and still provide a super sweet spoonful of satisfaction.

Kellogg’s brought the cereal back in 2019 and replaced the chunks of treats with sweetened puffed rice and marshmallows. The new version wasn’t awful, but a far cry from its former self, which is why I was ecstatic when I saw the latest release from General Mills: Lucky Charms Marshmallow Clusters. Did Lucky swoop in and save Snap, Crackle, and Pop from themselves? I sure hope so!

How is it?

Lucky Charms Marshmallow Clusters Cereal Dry

Well, it isn’t Rice Krispies Treats Cereal. I try to go into every new product with an open mind, but the comparison was inevitable and set me up for a bit of a disappointment. But it’s not all bad.

The sweetened corn and rice clusters remind me of a crunchier version of Kix, and despite their pleasantly mild vanilla taste, they aren’t nearly sweet enough to remind me of a marshmallow treat.

Lucky Charms Marshmallow Clusters Cereal Milk

The mild flavor gets even milder, almost extinct when added to milk. I also find their size kind of bizarre. They aren’t quite big enough to dominate a spoon like Frosted Mini-Wheats, but they’re far from Cap’n Crunch territory too, making the proper spoon balance tricky. There’s a reason most rectangular cereal pieces aren’t this big and flat.

Anything else you need to know?

The Lucky Charms marshmallows are excellent. Vibrantly colored and full of crunchy-yet-soft freeze-dried splendor, their pronounced sweetness brings a very welcome balance to the unfortunately bland clusters. Although Lucky Charms isn’t one of my favorite cereals, I prefer its normal Cheerios-adjacent glazed oat pieces to these new hypothetically sweeter and more fun clusters.

Conclusion:

Whether or not I had inflated expectations, this cereal would have been a letdown. Between its odd shape and texture and too mild flavor, this just makes me miss the 90s classic even more.

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

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 11.2 oz. box
Purchased at: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup/37 grams) 150 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Pringles Wavy Pineapple Habanero

Pringles Wavy Pineapple Habanero Can

What are Pringles Wavy Pineapple Habanero?

Move over mango; your long-standing love affair with habanero is being put on pause. The newest Walgreens-exclusive Pringles variety puts a fresh tropical twist on the classic wing pairing with a pineapple infusion.

How are they?

Pringles pretty much nailed this new yet familiar combination of sweet and heat. It follows the same trajectory laid out by mango but has a distinctly acidic and sharp pineapple flavor that works just as well, if not better, than its orange-colored sibling. The crisps aren’t overly sweet, but they have a dominant pineapple presence that starts immediately and lingers well into the aftertaste.

The habanero sits behind the pineapple and exists much more in spicy flavor than it does heat. There’s a great herbaceous and peppery flavor that builds more substantially than any fiery tingling, and even after eating seven or eight in a row, I don’t feel a need to reach for water.

Pringles Wavy Pineapple Habanero Closeup

The only real downside of this experience is the Wavy-ness. In every other situation, wavy chips trump non-ridged, but I’ve never been convinced of how the wave translates to Pringles’ pressed potato crisps. The crisps are crunchier than normal Pringles, but they strike me as feeling hard in a stale way more than crunchy, and they don’t carry any extra flavor.

Anything else you need to know?

There’s something about this flavor pairing that reminds me of Chinese food, specifically sweet and sour pork with its chunks of pineapple sitting in sweet acidic sauce. There’s no meat flavor here, but if it was added in and the name was changed, I would have no problem believing that it’s another wacky Pringles flavor.

Conclusion:

Pringles nailed the flavor, but the wavy texture needs some work. That won’t stop me from finishing the tube, though. These crisps are complex enough that it is impossible for me to eat less than six every time I pop the lid.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 4.8 ounces
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (12 Crisps) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 135 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, 1 gram of protein.