REVIEW: Dunkin’ Breakfast Empanada

My local Dunkin’ was giving out free samples of the new Churro donut the other day, so I pocketed one to eat later in the day. Ya know, because I didn’t wanna spoil my supper.

Alright, I lied, I grabbed three little baggies on my way out when they weren’t looking. I know, you don’t have to say it – I’m what’s wrong with society. Believe me, I fully expect to see a printed camera shot of me on the wall with the words, “Do Not Serve This Slob,” next time I get a coffee.

Anyway, when it came time to sample said donut bites, two of them weren’t donuts at all. They were little bites of the new Breakfast Empanadas – ice cold bites of a sausage, egg and cheese empanada.

Serves me right, I guess… but ya know what? As gross as an empanada sitting in the car for five hours sounds, it wasn’t bad. In fact, it was good enough to go back the next day and try one hot out of the (microwave) oven.

The breakfast empanada consists of egg, cheese, and sausage paste baked inside a pastry shell. That’s not the most appetizing description, but it’s essentially what it is. The contents are like that of a Pillsbury Toaster Scramble, while the taste was similar to Dunkin’s Omelet Bites, just not as dry.

The crust is greasy and flakey but still quite enjoyable. I wouldn’t say it’s completely authentic to a traditional empanada, but maybe closer to a pot pie. It has a “sheen” to it, like a knish from a Jewish deli. I actually think the crust may have been the best part.

The inside is fine but leaves a little to be desired. The flavors blend well, but it can’t shake an underlying “cheap” taste that I don’t think a lot of other Dunkin’ foods have to this degree. I think it stems from the scrambled eggs that needed to be a little firmer. Some bites were so mushy they bordered on liquid and really relied on the crust to sop it up.

The sausage crumbles also didn’t have much texture, but they still boasted one overwhelming spice I couldn’t pinpoint. It made me think the empanada might’ve needed a zesty sauce or salsa to counter it. If the middle wasn’t an egg porridge, I’d say the crust-to-filling ratio was too high, but I appreciated the empanada shell’s role in this situation.

It’s funny; the hot version wasn’t much better than the cold. I should’ve Goldilocks’d it and waited about fifteen minutes, so it was just right.

In the grand scheme, this is probably a one or two-time purchase, but it’s not surpassing the Wakeup Wraps or Breakfast Tacos for me.

Still, you know how the menu works. The empanada will probably be gone in a month, so it’s worth a try. It’s a pretty convenient and satisfying meal. If not, you can always just steal three samples instead.

Purchased Price: $4.29
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 470 calories, 33 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, 130 milligrams of cholesterol, 760 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of total carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 4 gram of total sugars, and 12 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Cheetos Crunchy Buffalo

Puffy or crunchy?

Blue cheese or Ranch?

These questions have plagued humankind for… I don’t know how long, actually. I could probably research that, but I’m not here to do research. I’m here to review Cheetos Crunchy Buffalo.

Yup, we’ve got Buffalo-flavored Cheetos now – a massive win for the permanent orange-stained finger community.

At the risk of being shunned from society, I have a confession to make. I don’t worship Buffalo wings like seemingly every other dude on Earth. I like ’em. They’re fun every now and then, but I don’t inhale trays like you, Tim. I know you’re reading this, Tim.

The reason these appealed to me was not so much the Buffalo flavor but the fact they mixed said flavor with the standard Cheetos-style cheese. Sure, Buffalo and cheese isn’t exactly a novel duo, but Buffalo and that distinct Cheetos taste seemed like an interesting pairing.

My suspicions were spot on because these strike a nice balance between Buffalo sauce (do I need to capitalize Buffalo every time?) and a standard Cheeto.

The cheese acts as a chill pill for the Buffalo flavor, which I find to be a sauce that can easily go off the rails. I’ve tried Buffalo sauces that are so “Buffaloey” that they almost have an off-putting sour finish. You don’t get that here. They’re really good.

I might actually like these more than regular crunchy Cheetos.

I certainly like them more than Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, which I’m on record calling one of the most overrated snacks on Earth. These have a heat to them that probably makes them more similar to the Flamin’ Hot line than the original. On a Buffalo wing sauce scale of “Mild to ‘You’ll Hallucinate Lucifer,’” these check in at around “Comfortably Hot.” I’d put the heat level a tick below Flamin’ Hot.

Since you’re wondering, yes, I dipped them in the superior chicken wing sauce, Ranch. It worked. I don’t think I’ve ever dipped Cheetos in anything before, but adding that Ranch cooling factor made me hope for a Buffalo ranch version someday.

I’m pretty impressed. These are Cheetos with a little twist, and dare I say the twist makes them better overall. They were some of the freshest Cheetos I’ve ever had and even lingered with a pleasant spiced corn aftertaste. I don’t know why I dug that, but it was a great capper.

My one complaint was not giving Chester a new, edgy Buffalo buddy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a buffalo in Oakleys before. They coulda named him “Butchie,” or “Bloo Cheez,” or “Dude, stop rambling and finish the review already.” I don’t know. Just something to keep in mind for the next bag.

Pick these up for sure. Hopefully, they’re successful, and Frito Lay runs the gamut on Cheetos and sauce pairings. BBQ, Ranch, Sriracha, whatever. Buffalo Cheetos made me think a lot of them would work.

Purchased Price: $4.38
Size: 8.5 oz
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (21 Pieces) 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 150 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of total carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of total sugars, less than 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Peanut Butter Oreo Cakesters (2024)

What is a Cakester exactly? Is it:

A. a baker of sweets?
B. a name that 90’s bullies would yell at portly children?
C. a soft-baked Oreo cookie?
D. a portmanteau of “cake” and “gangster?”

If you guessed “D,” you are correct. “Cakesters” are lackeys in the cake mafia. You might know them as the “Slob Mob.” Cakesters work under the Don who goes by the name “Cake Boss.” Yeah, I’m on to you, Valastro. That man is NOT our Buddy. When you hear him talking about “icing,” it ain’t about fondant.

Alright, if you guessed “C,” you’re also right, but now you know the clear inspiration for the name.

Oreo Cakesters came back in 2022, and now the peanut butter flavored crème version has returned. These are essentially just snack cakes with an Oreo nametag. They’re built like Oreos but it’s an entirely different experience. I’ve never even really thought they tasted too much like Oreos. Honestly, these could have any snack cake branding, so you’re probably wondering if they stack up to the big dogs in the snack cake arena?

Yeah, I think these are right in line with Hostess, Drake’s, Tastykakes and Little Debbie.

They taste like a slightly worse patty-shaped version of my all-time favorite, the Devil Dog. I’ve always preferred a snack cake that isn’t slathered in a sheet of plasticized chocolate.

The cake is a little denser than the typical, but it’s good because it helps emulate an Oreo a little better that way. Flavor-wise, the chocolate tastes vaguely like Oreo wafers at best, but it’s still quality.

The peanut butter filling is very nice texturally. It’s not Oreo crème, it’s more whipped to better fit the snack cake norm. I guess part of me is always disappointed by that. I’d kinda like to try that gritty Oreo crème between two cakes, but I like this too.

Flavor-wise, I have to say the crème is a little too mild. There are some bites where you don’t even really register the peanut butter. It gets swallowed up by the chocolate cake.

I wanted the peanut butter to punch me in the face like one of Buddy’s Cakesters when you don’t have his flour. (That’s what they call money… and also flour. It gets confusing.)

Here’s the thing though, peanut butter crème snack cakes tend to lean toward a synthetic pb flavor. Think of Funny Bones as an example – I’ve never been a huge fan of that peanut butter, and I feel like that’s the standard. These are better than Funny Bones.

Ultimately, I think original Cakesters are superior to these, but I probably like these a little better than regular overrated Peanut Butter Oreos. They’re satisfying if not a little boring, but still well worth a purchase. Peanut Butter Cakesters basically land smack in the middle of the entire Oreo product scale AND the snack cake scale.

Speaking of scales, I don’t wanna sleep with the fishes, so if you’re reading this, I was just messing around earlier, Mr. Valastro.

Purchased Price: $4.19
Size: 10.1 oz package (5 2.02 oz packs)
Purchased at: Shop Rite
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 Pack) 260 calories, 13 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 260 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 20 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Kirkland Signature Double Chocolate Chunk Cookie

Ah, the Costco food court.

There’s nothing better than spending hundreds of bucks to stock your bomb shelter, then trying to weave your tank of a cart around the guy filling a soda cup next to his parked orange flatbed that has an IMAX-sized TV hanging off it.

I just want a hot dog the size of my arm. Sir, can you scootch over a bit?

Everything’s bigger in Texas? I beg to differ; everything’s bigger in Costco. I don’t even wanna ponder what a Costco in Texas must be like, my megalophobia can’t take it!

Ok, now that I got all that hacky “Costco be big” stuff out of the way, let me tell you about the new Double Chocolate Chunk Cookie they’re baking fresh in the food court. It be big. This edible frisbee measures 7 inches across and 1 inch thick while weighing in at a whopping 5.5 ounces.

The “all butter” cookie features both bittersweet and semisweet chocolate chunks, and I reiterate – I love the Costco food court. This is a quality cookie.

I was a little confused by what “all butter” meant at first. How could it be “all butter?” If it was “all butter,” it would be a stick of butter. What about the chocolate? Is that “all butter?”

Well, after I took a bite, I got it. This sucker is buttery, probably a little too buttery. That, coupled with the massive lakes of gooey chocolate, make this a cookie you’re probably gonna want to share. It’s really good, but a few bites go a long way. I ate mine in shifts.

The first few bites had a delicious “out of the oven” softness because they’re served hot and fresh. When I let it sit for a little while, the edges crisped up while the center remained soft and lukewarm. I ate the last third the next morning for breakfast, and it was firm but still chewy. I can’t think of three better cookie experiences texturally, with the middle shift being my favorite.

If you’ve ever bought a box of chocolate chip cookies in the Costco bakery section, these are pretty much just them on steroids. It’s what I expected, and it’s what I got.

So, if you like Costco baked goods, you’re gonna like this. Try one… half of one at most. Just be aware of the challenge you’re in for. I’m a grown man (questionable), so I don’t use the word “tummy,” but the thought of eating this cookie in one sitting makes my tummy hurt. The mere thought has devolved my stomach back to a “tummy.”

I really should stress again how big this behemoth is. I called it a frisbee earlier, but it could probably be used as a discus in the Ozempics – which is a food-based Olympics I’m workshopping and you’re rolling your eyes at.

As far as the loss leaders at the glorious Costco food court go, I still think the hot dog and pizza are king, but this cookie is superior to the churro it’s replacing nationwide. Just go for it. You already bought enough food to feed an army; what’s another 750 calories?

Allow me to lay down a challenge – buy two cookies and a kiddie pool-sized vanilla ice cream, then make the world’s thickest Chipwich. You won’t do it. … Coward.

(Please do it and report back… Coward.)

Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: ~5.5 oz
Purchased at: Costco
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 750 calories. No other nutritional info is available.

REVIEW: Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn

Spicy cinnamon is a flavor profile that’s never really taken off.

Unless we’re talking pre-Great Depression era JawBreakers, Hot Tamales, Big Red gum, or a shot of the worst whiskey on the shelf, I can’t even think of anything else with that kinda burn that’s made it to the mass market.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. Back in high school, I developed a little bit of an addiction to cinnamon-flavored toothpicks. I used to chew on those Fire-pix so much that the corner of my lips started to look like bootleg Joker makeup.

The reason I bring those toothpicks up is because I needed one after eating a few handfuls of new Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn, a popcorn that almost turned me into a bootleg Joker because they left me wanting to watch the world burn!

Ok, that’s extreme, but this popcorn is Flamin’ Hot Garbage.

I’ll preface the review by saying I’m not the biggest fan of the “Flamin’ Hot” line from Frito Lay. I think the heat tends to alter the iconic flavors. With that said, I do like a little heat, I love cinnamon, and I dig Cheetos Sweetos. How could these possibly be a miss?

Before even getting into the flavor, this is just trash-tier popcorn. It tastes stale and has more rogue kernels than a treasonous misspelled army.

The “flavor” is the ultimate killer though.

If I reviewed these on the instant flavor burst of the very first bite… this would still be an extremely negative review.

These literally just taste like “hot.” That’s the flavor, “hot.” When you put a piece in your mouth, it’s like an air of cinnamon for half a second, and then it tastes like nothing but “hot.”

I expected these to taste like spicy Cheetos Sweetos with the sweetness still coming through. For something labeled “cinnamon sugar,” there is a blip of sweetness. Half a blip. A bl–. They barely taste like cinnamon, let alone sugar. Why couldn’t these be both sweet and hot? Have taste buds not evolved to experience both of those sensations at once?

It’s a shame because the level of heat is kinda perfect. I think it’s slightly less than the usual Flamin’ Hot stuff. I would have no problem eating a decent portion of these if they actually tasted good and weren’t popcorn rejected from the three-flavor Christmas tins. I enjoyed the after-burn feeling in my mouth more than the popcorn itself.

The pieces being bright red like regular Cheetos made me mad. The bewildering quote on the bag, “Deck the sweets with pops of heat,” made me madder. I’m not sure I’ve ever used the word “hate” in a review, but I think I hate these. I’m flamin’ hot!

Ok, ok, I’ll calm down. “Why so serious,” and whatnot. I just really wanted these to be something new and exciting.

Like my terrible book, “The Hangman’s Folly,” it was a novel idea with a totally botched execution. I’ll bump it up one for the idea, but this attempt at spicy cinnamon crashed and burned.

Purchased Price: $4.38
Size: 6.5 oz bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 2 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2 1/4 Cups) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 130 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of total carbohydrates, 4 grams of total sugars, 2 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.