REVIEW: Nabisco S’mores Chips Ahoy Cookies

Nabisco S'mores Chips Ahoy Cookies

Ahoy-hoy!

It is believed s’mores were invented in 1927. Chips Ahoy (!) first hit shelves in 1963. We had to wait ’til 2016 for the first collaboration. What took so long?

Just in case you live under a rock that rests under a boulder and don’t know what’s in a s’more, please allow Hamilton “The Great Hambino” Porter from The Sandlot to explain the recipe:

“First you take the graham. You stick the chocolate on the graham. Then, you roast the mallow. Once the mallow’s flaming, you stick it on the chocolate. Then, you cover it with the other end.”

Graham. Chocolate. Marshmallow. Simple as the simplest of pies.

So, after 53 years in the making, do S’mores Chips Ahoy stack up to the classic campfire staple? The better question would be, is “s’more” the singular or is it always “s’mores”? Inquiring minds (me) would like to know.

Nabisco S'mores Chips Ahoy Cookies 2

Nabisco claims their new S’mores Chips Ahoy cookies contain choco and marshmallow flavored chips. Despite no hint on the packaging, they seem to have tweaked their classic cookie recipe to make it taste like a graham cracker. I think. I’ll get back to that.

Nabisco S'mores Chips Ahoy Cookies 3

Each cookie has standard chocolate chips and a chocolate center, which instantly put me in mind of the brownie-flavored Chips Ahoy put out recently. From memory, the taste was almost identical.

I tried my best to dissect the cookie and eat a white chip by itself. They’re supposedly “marshmallow flavored” but they just tasted like indistinguishable vanilla chips. Marshmallow flavor only goes so far, you really need the texture to go along with it. That was definitely the most disappointing part.

These cookies really just taste like a regular Chewy Chips Ahoy with extra chocolate. They are a campfire misfire! The middle should have been marshmallow. I don’t understand why they didn’t go that route. Why skimp on arguably the most important detail? You’re killing me, Smalls!

What about the graham?

Each cookie has a tinge of cinnamon, which I assume was their attempt to mock the graham flavor. I had to eat a few and really think about whether or not I tasted it before I read the ingredient list to confirm my cinnamon suspicions.

A crunchy graham cracker is the foundation of a great s’more. Sure, they’re a pain in the neck to eat, but not having one is akin to making a BLT with a pickle instead of a tomato. No one’s ever heard of a BLP!

That actually sounds kinda good. Scratch that from the record. Still, without a tasty graham, you’re only two-thirds of the way to a s’more.

You’ll never hear me say what I’m about to say again. I wish these were regular crunchy Chips Ahoy. I’m of the opinion that since the advent of the chewy variety, the blue bag has been rendered pointless, but when we’re talking s’mores, I need a crunch substitute for the graham cracker.

Nabisco S'mores Chips Ahoy Cookies 4

The package advises to pop these in the microwave for ten seconds. While they didn’t get super gooey or “s’morsey,” they did taste a bit better. But again, it was just a warm Chewy Chips Ahoy.

I don’t think you’d ever in a million years guess the flavor of this cookie without a hint. They don’t look like a s’more, they don’t smell like a s’more (but they still smell delicious), and they don’t taste like a s’more.

I’ve whined a lot, but in the end these taste like a Chewy Chips Ahoy, and I like Chewy Chips Ahoy.

They still go down easy, but if you’re expecting that classic s’mores flavor, tough break.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 Cookies – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 9.6 oz.
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Chewy Chips Ahoy are a solid cookie. Chocolate center is fine. Even though they don’t smell like s’mores, they smell delicious. Cinnamon Suspicions is a good band name. The Sandlot. BLPs.
Cons: Tastes like previous flavors. Marshmallow chips don’t taste or feel like marshmallow. Needs s’more graham. In no way, shape, or form a s’more. Punctuation in product names.

REVIEW: Hi-C Ecto Cooler (2016)

Hi-C Ecto Cooler (2016)

There’s something strange in my neighborhood. Unfortunately I didn’t know who to call. I couldn’t find one store that carried Ecto Cooler. Half of the places I called didn’t even know what I was talking about!

(That sound you hear is the collective gasps of every 90’s baby reading this blog.)

Then a little ghost told me that Cinemark Theater chains were selling cans. So while you may not go see the new Ghostbusters at the theater, you may have to go there to get your Ecto Cooler.

You remember Ecto Cooler, right?

Hi-C’s popular green “Citrus Cooler” flavor is back for the first time since 1997! I can’t believe it’s been that long since we’ve seen this school lunch staple. You’re probably wondering if it’s as good as you remember. I’m gonna try my best to not let sentimentality cloud my judgment. What exactly does nostalgia taste like?

It tastes like a sugar loaded tangerine orange drink. From what I recall, it’s the same, but it’s really not that good.

Hi-C Ecto Cooler (2016) 2

I made a Vigo the Carpathian face when I took my first sip. It was such a jolt, I couldn’t even register if it was sweet or sour. How can something citrus be so cloyingly sweet? The sugar was so pronounced, it left a film on my tongue.

Everyone remembers Ecto Cooler fondly. I don’t blame you one bit, but your adult taste buds may no longer love the taste.

Ecto Cooler has basically always been a marketing gimmick and we all know it. It’s just orange drink dyed slime green. Was the flavor ever the main appeal?

I’m an adult now (debatable), and frankly, juice isn’t my go-to beverage. I don’t drink actual juice often, let alone Hi-C “juice,” so while I’ll admit it’s cool to reminisce for a minute or two, I didn’t even want to finish this.

That aside, the taste wasn’t my biggest problem with this new incarnation of Ecto Cooler.

So far, the marketing for this Ghostbusters movie is a mess. Where the heck is Slimer on this can? I can look past some subpar trailers, but that’s the most egregious misstep imaginable!

In my opinion most of Ecto Cooler’s appeal was seeing Slimer on the box/can. No Slimer is crazier than female Ghostbusters!!!

Relax, I’m kidding. I really don’t care about that “controversy” one bit. I mean, by all accounts the new movie is something weird and it don’t look good, but this is a food blog, not some clickbait, “hot take” movie site using beloved favorites from your past to conjure up more views. 🙂

Hi-C Ecto Cooler (2016) 3

So, there’s no Slimer, but slime is well accounted for. The can looks like it said “I don’t know” on Nickelodeon’s You Can’t Do That on Television. (Whoa, super nostalgia! Click. Click.) They used a special thermal ink that glows when the drink is cold. The “Hi-C” and borders changed from yellowish to green. That’s basically it. I guess that’s kinda cool, just not Slimer cool.

There are two things I ain’t afraid of – no ghosts and telling it like it is. Ecto Cooler just doesn’t do it for me anymore. I understand I’m probably in the minority.

The can has its gimmick. The color is awesome. The name is really awesome, but the actual drink is about as good as that Ghostbusters cartoon with the gorilla.

So rejoice, 90’s kids. We may not be getting the movie we wanted, but we did get Ecto Cooler back on (some) shelves. It’s too bad we couldn’t somehow swing some Hostess Ninja Turtles Pies.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 can – 150 calories, 0 grams of fat, 25 milligrams of sodium, 41 grams of carbohydrates, 41 gram of sugars, and 0 grams of protein, 100% of your daily Vitamin C.)

Purchased Price: $3.50
Size: 11.5 oz can
Purchased at: Cinemark Theater
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: That Bobby Brown song from Ghostbusters 2. Proton Packs. Ghost traps. The REAL Ghostbusters cartoon. Turtles Pies.
Cons: Not a great flavor. Only 10% fruit juice. Having to go to movie theater to find it. No Slimer on the can. Clickbait. The new movie looks pretty weak.

REVIEW: Lay’s Creamy Bacon Potato Salad Potato Chips

Lay's Creamy Bacon Potato Salad Potato Chips

Barbeque season is upon us once again, and your old friend Vin is here to share a dirty little secret with you.

No one really likes your potato salad.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the side dish you made/bought is not as big a hit as your well-meaning friends are making it seem. There’s a reason it’s the last thing remaining on the table as the sun drops, just rotting there in a warm, gelatinous clump of misery as the guests head for their cars.

In terms of the salad offerings at any given BBQ, potato almost always ranks behind macaroni. If chicken salad is on the menu, forget about it! Hell, potato salad usually ranks behind regular salad. With all due respect to all the red headed stepchildren of the world, potato salad is truly the you of summer BBQ staples.

Lay's Creamy Bacon Potato Salad Potato Chips 2

Crispy chips are tastier than starchy spud cubes slathered in a gross mayo concoction and the good folks at Frito-Lay are well aware of this. That’s why they’re ready to make the summer of ‘16 potato salad-free with the introduction of their “new” flavor, Creamy Bacon Potato Salad.

Now that I think about it, potato salad was probably an easy flavor to reproduce in chip form. You’re already working with potato. Add a buzzworthy ingredient – possibly the buzziest – in “bacon,” and yup, this seems like it might actually work.

They certainly smell the part. These are the best smelling chips I’ve had in some time. Upon tearing open the bag, I was hit with the aroma of bacon bits. It’s a bit more artificial than freshly cooked bacon, but amazing nonetheless.

I guess the initial flavor is the “salad” component of the chip. There’s a sharp vinegary, mayonnaise taste, but that is immediately trounced by bacon. Beyond that quick surge, these are basically a loaded baked potato.

Lay's Creamy Bacon Potato Salad Potato Chips 3

Sure, I was put in mind of potato salad for a split second, but it doesn’t seem like they even tried to steer this away from loaded baked potato. Sour cream, onion powder, and cheddar cheese are listed in the ingredients. It’s a potato chip and bacon is the star of the show. What’s missing? That’s a loaded baked potato.

Think of them like this – If you filled three-fourths of a bowl with 3/4 loaded baked potato chips and then filled the rest with salt and vinegar, this would be the end result.

These chips are a delicious sham. Lay’s repackaged a slight variation on an old flavor and designed a shiny new bag. I’m not mad at ‘em, and when you try these, you won’t be either. I am however mad about one minor thing.

I realize sour cream and onion is one of the most popular chips in the world, but why is “Creamy” necessary here? First of all, “Creamy Bacon” is a weird combination of words that illicit some weird thoughts in my brain. Second of all, it’s a chip. It’s not creamy. Even if you’re mimicking the taste of “creamy” potato salad, we don’t need to know it’s creamy, it’s assumed. Not to mention, “creamy” is a disgusting word. It’s my “moist.” This concludes my creamy rant.

Next time you’re considering bringing potato salad to a BBQ, think better of it. Grab a bag of these and pick up some macaroni salad. Your hosts/guests will appreciate it.

Fans of any of the numerous bacon-centric flavors Lay’s has put out in the past will love these. If you like potato skins appetizers, you’ll love these. If you like summer, you’ll love these.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 ounce – 150 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 1 gram of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.48
Size: 7 3/4 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: One of the better new flavors in a while. Worthy replacement for gross potato salad. Smells great. Buzzworthy bacon.
Cons: Basically a retread flavor in a shiny new bag. Imagining what creamy bacon might taste like. The word “creamy” in general. Potato salad.

REVIEW: 7-Eleven Blue Raspberry Slurpee Donut

7-Eleven’s new Blue Raspberry Slurpee Donut

Well folks, it’s that time of year again. The weather is heating up and the chum is in the water. That can only mean one thing…

*Cue a knockoff version of the theme from JAWS, because I couldn’t clear the rights to the John Williams original.*

It’s Shark Week!

Ok, ok, I jumped the flare gun a bit there, Shark Week isn’t actually until the end of June. While you can’t get your fix of ridiculous Megalodon myths and pulse-racing Surfer-Brah horror tales until next month, you can currently get a taste of Shark Week at your local 7-Eleven.

One of the big merchandising tie-ins for this year’s Shark Week is 7-Eleven’s new Blue Raspberry Slurpee Donut.

Why?

Well, it’s blue. The ocean is blue. Sharks live in the ocean. The week is named after sharks. So, there ya go.

Let’s all kick back and enjoy Shark Week with a Blue Raspberry Slurpee Donut! We’re gonna need a bigger belt!

As an unapologetic man-child, there are few things that excite me more than blue foods. I’m also a lifelong Slurpee devotee, so I naturally had to try one of these.

I’ve had some wild donut varieties in my day, but this might take the cake donut. What we have here is a plain cake with Blue Raspberry Slurpee-flavored icing and blue sugar crystals.

The sky blue icing’s texture is more cupcake than donut to me. I think I prefer a different kind of frosting on my donuts, because they tend to harden up and glaze over a bit – think of a chocolate frosted donut from Dunkin’. The icing here is very soft and mushy and it dissolved quickly in my mouth. Not a huge deal, but I think this would have benefitted from having more of a shell.

For the first few seconds, the icing made me think of sour blue raspberry candy. I wasn’t expecting that. While it was distinctly raspberry, the sour kick was shocking.

The raspberry flavor wasn’t all that appetizing until it mixed with the cake donut itself. At that point, it became harmonious. The donut helped neutralize the sourness, and made the flavor satisfying as a whole. The cake donut was fluffy and fresh, so that helped the cause.

The crystals were supposed to give the donut an “ice-like crunch.” While there was nothing “icy” about it, the sugary crunch did add a nice element to the finished product, and I appreciated their inclusion.

As powerful as the flavor was, I was surprised at how little a scent this donut gave off. It didn’t smell like raspberries. It didn’t really smell like anything.

7-Eleven’s new Blue Raspberry Slurpee Donut 2

I picked up a Blue Raspberry Slurpee just to compare flavors and I think blue raspberry makes for a better Slurpee flavor than donut icing. 7-Eleven was definitely on the right track, but the donut’s icing was a lot sourer than the drink. So again, be prepared for that.

I give 7-Eleven credit for thinking outside the tank. This is a decently fresh take on two old favorites. Would I rather have a different flavored donut and a Slurpee on the side? Sure. I’ll probably go that route when the next Shark Week rolls around in three months, but I’d say this donut’s limited run is worth dipping your toe in the water.

(Nutrition Facts – 270 calories. No other nutritional info available.)

Purchased Price: 99 cents
Size: N/A
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Tastes good once everything mixes. Fluffy cake donut. Crunchy sugar crystals. Awesome appearance. Solid effort. Slurpee drinks.
Cons: Sour icing. Blue tongue. Lazy tie-in. Shark Week every week. The spoon on Slurpee straws is super tedious.

REVIEW: Cold Stone Creamery Blueberry Donut Shake

Cold Stone Creamery Blueberry Donut Shake

I’ve been living under the assumption there are approximately four Dairy Queens, two Carvels, two Baskin-Robbins, and a Häagen-Dazs between my house and the closest Cold Stone Creamery, so I never saw it necessary to trek out to one.

Well guess what, folks? You know that Blimpie a town over from me? C’mon, you know the one. No, that’s a Subway. Right. That place! Apparently, that’s a half-Blimpie, half-Cold Stone Creamery!

All this time I could’ve had my ice cream slapped and folded at a fancy “Creamery” by someone I presume is called a “Creamer.” Instead, I’ve just been opting for boring scoops elsewhere. Ridiculous.

With this newfound knowledge I immediately perused Cold Stone’s menu to see if anything struck my fancy. Something did. In fact, I can’t recall the last time my fancy was struck as hard as it was when I noticed they now serve a Blueberry Donut Shake.

A blueberry donut shake?! It’s like they made that specifically for me. I love ice cream shakes, and my go-to donut is the blueberry cake variety.

I set a course for Blimp Stone Creamery. Cold Stone Blimpery?

The “Creamer” mixed two scoops of sweet cream ice cream, a few blueberries, about 1/3 of a blueberry cake donut, and a little milk into a perfectly blended lavender shake.

Cold Stone Creamery Blueberry Donut Shake 2

Not only did the shake feature those quality ingredients, he topped it off with a dollop of whipped cream, and perhaps the greatest garnish of all time – a frozen blueberry cake donut.

*I pause this review to decree that from this point forward, all desserts must be garnished with a donut We now return to your regularly scheduled review.*

Speaking of donuts, the shake instantly reminded me of the blueberry cake donut from Dunkin’. If you’re not familiar, it’s not too far off from a blueberry muffin.

Is “Blueberry Muffin a la Mode” a thing? Try to picture that, in shake form.

The ingredients worked perfectly together. The ice cream (which honestly tasted just like vanilla) gave it a sweet base, while the donut gave it a perfect hint of cake flavor. The blueberries provided an acidic fruit kick that also emanated a pleasant blueberry scent.

It was the smoothest ice cream shake I’ve had in a while. There were no floating bits of donut or blueberry clogging the straw. I finished it off without even a hint of brain freeze, so that’s worth a point in itself.

I saved the frozen donut for last. It was still pretty firm when the shake was gone, but tasted good enough. I don’t think it would have been too far off from Dunkin’s if it were fresh from the fryer.

As great as this shake was, I had a few minor gripes.

The whipped cream was pretty bad. It reminded of Cool Whip, which I’ve always found disgusting. Whipped cream in a Starbucks drink tends to liquefy towards the bottom. In this shake it remained a firm clump the entire time. Couple that with the still frozen donut, and it ended with a bit of a whimper.

The $6.75 price tag was outrageous, but this replaced my lunch, so I guess that’s a competitive price in that sense. It’s all about perspective. I couldn’t find the nutritional “value” of the shake on Cold Stone’s website. It’s probably best not to know. But hey, I know the blueberries provide some valuable antioxidants. The milk undoubtedly had some protein too. Perspective!

I really hope Cold Stone drops more donut-based shakes, especially now that I know there’s one nearby.

(Nutrition Facts – Not available on Cold Stone Creamery website.)

Purchased Price: $6.75
Size: Love It (Medium)
Purchased at: Cold Stone Creamery
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Delicious blend of blueberries, donuts, and ice cream. A blueberry cake donut garnish. No brain freeze. Finding out there was a Cold Stone nearby.
Cons: Frozen donut. Lardy whipped cream. Crazy price. Unknown nutritional facts. Cool Whip. “Creamers.”