REVIEW: Thomas’ Plain Bagel Thins

Let me start out by saying that I’m not much of a breakfast girl.

I mean, you got cereal, which is cold and unforgiving, and better suited as a late night snack if you ask me. (Especially if the cereal is Cap’n Crunch.) Then there’s oatmeal, which sometimes I will force myself to eat because while nutritionally it’s good for you, it’s kind of gross; especially if you make it from scratch. And I figure if either it’s artificially sweetened and flavored, overly processed gloppy glop from a packet or it’s naturally prepared gloppy glop from the canister, I guess I’ll take the gloppy glop from the canister and enjoy the benefits of a regular bowel movement. Oh, and yogurt? Don’t even get me started on effing yogurt.

Pretty much the only breakfast foods I enjoy are the ones that aren’t good for me, and as summer approaches and I go through my yearly ritual of “Operation Fitting Into Shit Again,” it really limits my options. Sometimes I will literally go the whole day without eating just to avoid breakfast, and then 5 o’clock hits and I eat things like a giant take-out burrito the size of a baby. And that is about as counterproductive as it is delicious.

One “healthier” option I’ve found that I do enjoy eating for breakfast is a low-fat or whole wheat English Muffin. Sure, I can deal with that. However, my last trip to the English Muffin aisle in my local grocery store yielded an unexpected and delightful surprise: Thomas’ Bagel Thins. Really Thomas’?

You mean to tell me that I can have all of the deliciousness of a bagel for roughly the same amount of calories as an English Muffin? And that I no longer have to stare with envy at my boyfriend’s Trader Joe’s Sesame Seed bagels sitting on the shelf, because he’s a bastard with fast metabolism and can eat giant doughy balls of seed-studded carby goodness for breakfast? This is the best thing to happen to my waistline since that time I got my wisdom teeth out and I couldn’t eat solid food for an entire week. And Bagel Thins won’t even give me the dry socket!

With an impressive four grams of fiber, Bagel Thins are nutritionally comparable so I don’t even have to feel guilty about replacing it with my usual whole wheat English Muffin. And with a couple of tablespoons of 1/3 less fat cream cheese — because everyone knows that fat-free cream cheese is basically like eating caulk — the whole shebang still clocks in under an impressive 200 calories. Heck, I can even throw in a glass of low-sugar orange juice into the mix for those numbers! Another way Bagel Thins are better than English Muffins is that, for about the same price, Bagel Thins come eight to a package whereas English Muffins only come with six. You don’t have to be a Harvard-educated mathematician to know that eight is better than six.

Thomas’ Bagel Thins are chewy and bagely, basically just like a regular bagel, and are about the same size, so it actually feels like you’re eating something substantial. Unlike one of Thomas’ sad little “mini bagels,” anyway – I mean, what are those even good for? My only real (albeit minor) gripe with the Bagel Thins was that because of their thinness, they unfortunately got cold really fast — especially if you’re slathering it with cold cream cheese from a cold refrigerator. Although on the other side of the coin, I could see the thinness lending itself perfectly as a bread/roll replacement for a sandwich or veggie burger. Quite frankly I’m surprised it took this long for America’s obsession of thinness (models, cell phones, televisions, etc.) to revolutionize the modern bagel, but it’s a trend I would like to see continue.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 Bagel (46 grams) – 110 calories, 1 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein and 8% iron.)

Item: Thomas’ Plain Bagel Thins
Price: $3.29
Size: 8 Bagel Thins
Purchased at: Supreme Shop N’ Bag
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Low-calorie. Tastes like a real bagel. Only 110 calories. Eight is more than six. Fitting into shit again.
Cons: Fat-free cream cheese. Oatmeal. Boyfriends and their stupid fast metabolisms. The aftermath of gorging on baby-sized burritos.

REVIEW: Kashi Caribbean Carnival Pizza

You know that expression: “You can please some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time?” Well, Kashi should just stop making pizzas, because they are pleasing none of the people none of the time. Seriously, I really wanted to like this pizza. I’m normally a fan of everything Kashi – their frozen meals, crackers, granola bars, cereals, etcetera, etcetera. But in the past I have been let down by Kashi pizzas. Yet, I decided to give them one more chance to make amends when I saw the new delicious-sounding “Caribbean Carnival” Kashi pizza.

Spoiler alert: While I expected Kashi’s “Caribbean Carnival” pizza to invoke delightful imagery like friendly anthropomorphic parrots and jovial dark-skinned men wearing brightly colored beads in their hair; this pizza was neither “Caribbean” nor a carnival in my mouth. (Discuss!) Being a healthful eater, I normally resent when others disparage health food as tasting like cardboard – however, tasting like wonderful, delicious cardboard would probably be a lofty goal for this pizza.

Its promise of plantains, kale, fire-roasted red onions, mangoes and a “sweet and spicy Guava-infused jerk seasoned sauce” yielded a smattering of toppings lumped all in one corner of the pizza, which I meticulously picked apart and spread about before putting the pizza in the oven. Below all of that was some of the nastiest pizza crust known to mankind. I would like to know what think tank thought it would be a good idea to make a pizza crust out of ingredients like buckwheat and brown rice. Poor Antonio Pizzarelli, the inventor of the pizza pie*, would be spinning in his grave if he only knew. Normally the crust is one of my favorite parts of the pizza, and I couldn’t even get it down. Even the dog gave me the stinkface when I tried to pass it off, as if to say, “I’ll eat this because it’s technically contraband people food; but only begrudgingly so.”

The “toppings” provided little relief to the gritty taste bud-assault that was the crust. The pizza was covered mostly in kale and diced tomatoes, and I think I saw a few specs of yellow that was supposed to be mango. The best part of the pizza was undoubtedly the plantains — as I have expressed my enthusiasm for Kashi products featuring plantains in the past. But unfortunately the pizza only contained four slices of plantains and two bits of something that were probably the bodily remains of brave, fallen plantains who likely fought to the death against being put on this terrible pizza. And as for this alleged sweet and spicy Guava-infused jerk sauce…Well, I did detect some kind of flavor between the cheese and the crust, but I don’t think it tasted so much like jerk sauce as it did like “a funk.”

What separates Kashi’s Caribbean Carnival Pizza from your garden variety “fail” to an “epic fail,” is that it’s not even particularly healthy. One pizza, which is a reasonable-sized meal for most people, clocks in at over 800 whopping calories. You could probably eat two slices of real pizza for that and not feel let down like a kid who gets socks for Christmas.

* Look it up!

(Nutrition Facts – 1/3 pizza (120 grams) – 280 calories, 8 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 590 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, 14 grams of protein and 10% iron.)

Item: Kashi Caribbean Carnival Pizza
Price: $6.99 [sale price, reg. $7.99]
Size: 12.7 ounces
Purchased at: Shop Rite
Rating: 2 out of 10
Pros: The bites with plantain on them were almost not terrible. Pleasing all of the people all of the time. Friendly anthropomorphic parrots.
Cons: Pizza crust tasted like puppies crying. No mango. Not enough plantains. Eating this instead of real pizza. Horrible taste plus not great nutritional value plus outlandish price like getting raped in three orifices. Getting socks for Christmas.

REVIEW: Ed Hardy Sangria

Ed Hardy (by Christian Audigier), the leading purveyor of fine douche-wear such as faux-tattoo print T-shirts and trucker hats, have finally taken the next logical step and created their own “V.I.F. Drinks” (which I assume stands for Very Important Fuckface) beverage line. You know, like that old saying goes: If you can do one thing shoddily, why not do a lot of things shoddily. Or something like that.

Sangria isn’t what is traditionally known as a “manly” thing to drink – what with the wine and the fruity bits and whatnot. And despite the skull wearing a cowboy hat with an arrow through it and a snake sitting on top of the hat and an eagle attacking the snake and some other snakes and fruit and stuff juxtaposed about the label, Ed Hardy Sangria still doesn’t strike me as a particularly manly thing to drink. Like for instance, I don’t know if I could see Jon “Fat Asian Spencer Pratt” Gosselin actually drinking Ed Hardy Sangria, but I could definitely see it as something he would offer to one of the many low-class women he attempts to bed. For anyone unfamiliar with sangria in general, here is the testimonial that can be conveniently found right on the back of the Ed Hardy Sangria bottle:

Produced in Spain and popularized throughout Europe for hundreds of years, Sangria is the perfect party drink. Mixed hundreds of different ways, or just poured over ice, fruity and delicious, Ed Hardy Sangria is everyone’s favorite, fashionable party guest.

Although after sampling this product, I personally don’t really see how Ed Hardy Sangria can be mixed “hundreds” of ways. In fact, I can really only think of “two” different ways it can be served: In a glass by itself or in a glass with a handful of roofies mixed in. Because while real sangria is mixed with ingredients like red wine, brandy and fruit liqueurs, and packs quite a punch; Ed Hardy Sangria contains a laughable 7 percent alcohol per volume and therefore would probably not get a young lady intoxicated enough to have sexual relations with Jon Gosselin on its own.

Likewise, Ed Hardy Sangria doesn’t taste particularly “alcohol-ey” either. It mostly tastes like something I would have sipped out of a little box and straw when I was in elementary school. If I had to compare it, I’d say the flavor most resembles Capri Sun’s Fruit Punch. On that note, while at face value I really wanted to hate Ed Hardy Sangria, I couldn’t even muster up the hatred for it that I usually reserve for things that come packaged in Ed Hardy, like 33-year-old men who hit on college girls. It was sweet, but not obnoxiously or cloyingly so, like eight letters handwritten in crayon pleading for daddy to come home for Christmas – and overall fairly innocuous. There was just nothing notable about it whatsoever, positive or negative. As far as alcoholic beverages go, it was just pure, unadulterated mediocrity.

To compare it to leading competing products, I would have to say it’s definitely more pleasant-tasting than your Boone’s Hill or Arbor Mist. But overall, if you were in the market for a cheap wine(-ish) product that doesn’t really taste much like wine, I’d go with something in the Franzia family. Because not only does Franzia give you a bigger bang for your buck, but you’re also not putting your money into encouraging what could eventually be Ed Hardy brand® breakfast cereal and Ed Hardy brand® toilet paper.

Item: Ed Hardy Sangria
Price: $6.99
Size: 750 ml.
ABV: 7%
Purchased at: Pennsylvania State Liquor Store, Philadelphia 40th & Market Location
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Was surprisingly not gross. Convenient screw-top cap. Real homemade sangria.
Cons: Ed Hardy, obviously. Fat Asian Spencer Pratt. Won’t get you drunk. The fact that this product even exists.

REVIEW: Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake

I am generally a fan of Kashi products — being a lazy pseudo-hipster who likes to buy overpriced food that’s touted as healthy without having to go through all of the effort of visiting hippie food stores and co-ops to make my own healthy food. It’s what I like to refer to as “The American Way.” And when it comes to frozen meals I’ve found that Kashi tends to be the Cadillac of the frozen food aisle. Or rather, should I say the electric Cadillac-hybrid with a solar powered espresso maker in the dash.

Kashi’s Mayan Harvest Bake was really no exception. Perfect for autumn, the harvest bake (or, harvest microwave, technically) consisted of plantains, kale, sweet potatoes and black beans over a bed of Kashi’s trademark 7 grain pilaf, polenta and amaranth — whatever the hell amaranth is — covered in a spicy Ancho sauce. It’s like, seriously Kashi? Sweet potatoes, plantains and black beans? (Oh my!) Those are only some of my favorite things in the food universe. The only way I could have been more content eating this meal would be if Kashi accompanied it with a warm towel and back rub.

Oh! Oh! Oh! And did I even mention the pumpkin seeds? The glorious, glorious pumpkin seeds? Indeed, the meal came with a generous portion of pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top, which I picked off and ate separately because I am what I like to call a “food separatist.” Seriously though, name me another frozen meal out there that comes with actual pumpkin seeds. See? You can’t even do it.

Lucky for food separatist me, the mish-mash of a food bowl was layered in such a way that I was able to eat the plantains, which were plump and delectable despite somehow coming from a tray out of the microwave, apart from the sweet potatoes, which were charred on the edges in such a way that I assume the product had once been, in fact, baked. The Ancho sauce complimented the meal well, which was sweet, spicy and delicious, although while the plantains and sweet potatoes were flavorful enough on their own, some of the parts on the pilaf underneath didn’t get much sauce on it, making it taste a bit bland.

The Mayan Harvest Bake is one of Kashi’s vegan meals, which means it’s also ideal for lazy pseudo-hipster vegetarians. It’s also all natural, which means Kashi didn’t want to make us have to pay another dollar for it by making it say “organic.” It’s really considerate of them, if you think about it. The Harvest Bake is also a nutritional smorgasbord, touting an impressive nine grams of protein (for something that doesn’t contain any meat), eight grams of fiber and 400 milligrams of potassium from the plantains, which is basically just a fancy way of saying “banana.”

Unfortunately, for the steep price tag of over $5.00 a box, regularly priced, it would probably be more cost-efficient to get your potassium intake the old fashioned way by just eating actual bananas.

(Nutrition Facts – 10 ounces (1 package) – 340 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 380 milligrams of sodium, 58 grams of carbohydrates, 8 gram of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, 9 grams of protein and 20% iron.)

Item: Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake
Price: 2 for $6.00 (sale price)
Size: 10 ounces
Purchased at: Fresh Grocer
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Delicious. Sweet potatoes. Black beans. Fancy bananas. Pumpkin seeds, bitches.
Cons: No warm towel or massage with meal. Goddamn expensive regularly priced. Not stocking up on more Mayan Harvest Bake while they were on sale.

REVIEW: Goya Cola Champagne

I’ll get straight to the point here: I’m what you’d call a “classy” broad. I enjoy the finer things in life, such as dining at upscale restaurants that aren’t so upscale that they don’t accept coupons; wearing designer clothing that I find irregular or on clearance; and looking at the furniture in the Crate and Barrel catalog.

So when I saw Goya’s Cola Champagne, I said to myself “Ooh la la! Now there is a soft drink for me.” Surely this was to be a superior, top of the line beverage — despite being manufactured by the same company I normally associate with black beans and adobo sauce.

After opening the bottle and letting the cola breathe for a bit, I poured myself a glass. But the ironic thing about Goya Cola Champagne is that it tastes like neither cola nor champagne, but instead like carbonated sugar water with strong notes of bubblegum and hints of orange cough syrup. Actually, I don’t know if that’s “ironic” in the actual definition of ironic sense of the word so much as the Alanis Morrissette song “Ironic” sense of the word. Really, Alanis? You know I love you girl but rain on your wedding day and a fly in your Chardonnay isn’t ironic, it’s fucking unfortunate. Learn the difference.

At any rate, even though the product didn’t taste anything like actual champagne, (not even the five dollar bottles you find on the bottom “shelf of indignity” in the sparkling wine aisle of the grocery store) it wasn’t entirely unpleasant.

It was also very Bazooka Joe-ish on the nose, which added to the bubblegum sensation I got while drinking it. And really, I’m down with other bubblegum flavored products such as bubblegum jelly beans, bubblegum ice cream and, you know, bubblegum itself; so going by those standards it wasn’t too bad. My biggest complaint was that it left my mouth tasting like bubblegum-flavored bile after drinking it. I think “refresco” must be Spanish for “bad aftertaste.”

Overall, while it wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t especially memorable either. So next time I’m in the mood for cola or champagne I’ll probably stick to my usual Coke Zero or champagne with actual alcohol in it, even if I have to resort to the shelf of indignity in the liquor store.

(Nutrition Facts – 12 ounces (1 bottle) – 200 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 60 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 0 gram of fiber, 45 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein and 0% iron.)

Item: Goya Cola Champagne
Price: 2/$1.59
Size: 12 ounces
Purchased at: Supreme Shop ‘N Bag
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Shit that’s bubblegum-flavored. Crate and Barrel furniture. Being a classy broad.
Cons: Bad aftertaste. Rain on your wedding day. Flies in your chardonnay. Having to resort to the shelf of indignity at the liquor store.