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.”

REVIEW: Pirate Brands Bountiful Banana & Potato Crisps

Pirate Brands Bountiful Banana & Potato Crisps

Ahoy, me maties. What’s shakin?

I just tried my first Pirate Brands product ever.

After passing on “Pirate’s Booty” for years, I finally decided to indulge in their Bountiful Banana and “Potatarr” Crisps.

I’ve never found pirates all that interesting. I’ve grown tired of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. I’ve always held an admittedly unfair loathing of the Pittsburgh Pirates. (Go Mets!) Whenever I hear the word, I picture Jerry Seinfeld in a puffy shirt whimpering, “But I don’t wanna be a pirate!”

All of those might’ve subconsciously played a role into why I’ve never purchased Pirate Brands snacks. Or maybe my brain just didn’t like the idea of eating “Booty”?

But there is one sure-fire way to get my money, no ifs, ands, or booties, and that’s to release a snack using the one ingredient that has a gravitational pull on me – banana.

I’ll try any snack you wanna throw at me if banana is a featured ingredient. I would’ve walked the plank or fought the fabled Kraken to try a bag of banana and potato crisps. Those are things pirates do, right?

Yarrrr, these crisps be delicious. Ah geez, they got me talking like em now.

The aroma coming out of the bag after I opened it was heavenly. It smelled exactly like dried banana chips.

Pirate Brands Bountiful Banana & Potato Crisps 2

The crisps look and crunch exactly like Lay’s Baked. I know a lot of people don’t love those, but I’m a weirdo who actually prefers baked crisps over fried chips. I can demolish a bag with no problem, and like Lay’s Baked, these went down very easy.

Each potato crisp has a powdery coating that starts with sweet banana flavor, but evolves into a subtle salty banana. Shiver me timbers! (I’ll stop now.) I immediately started tipping the bag back and drinking multiple crisps at a time.

When I ate it that way (in the comfort of my own home, thank you), I realized there was a small flavor inconsistency. Some of the crisps had an overbearing sweetness that made them taste synthetic.

Luckily, that momentary disappointment soon faded. The sweetness didn’t last long enough for it to become a real problem. As I chewed, the potato took over and these basically became standard baked crisps. The starchiness of the potato crisp neutralized the sweetness, so I got banana on the nose, and potato on the finish. Not only that, a few minutes after putting the bag down, I was left with a very pleasant banana aftertaste.

So, to recap, the taste profile actually goes from banana to potato and then back to banana! Magic.

Pirate Brands Bountiful Banana & Potato Crisps 3

You’re probably wondering about the dried banana chips shown on the bag. Whoever the tallyman is, he or she needs to be fired, because I counted less than five. So they weren’t exactly “bountiful” as promised.

I wanted to cry about false advertising, but in the end I really didn’t care. The banana flavor on the crisp was the same as the dried banana chip. I tasted no difference at all when I mixed the two.

I ended up loving these. And I think I like pirates now.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 ounce – 120 calories, 30 calories from fat, 3.5 grams of fat, 30 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 4 oz bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: I just love bananas. Good crunch. Nice baked flavor. Delicious mix of salty and sweet. A reasonably healthy snack. “The Puffy Shirt” episode of Seinfeld. Ate the entire bag in one sitting.
Cons: The word “booty.” Some crisps briefly tasted synthetic. Lack of dried banana chips. Who is the tallyman? Ate the entire bag in one sitting.

REVIEW: Pepsi 1893 Original Cola

Pepsi 1893 Original Cola

Ah, good ol’ 1893. What a year.

Who could forget Grover Cleveland’s riveting inauguration speech? The first commemorative postage stamps were displayed at the Chicago World’s Fair. The most beloved Marx Brother, Gummo, entered the world. And it was with a heavy heart that we said goodbye to the 19th President of the United States, Rutherford B. Hayes.

While it could be argued the Supreme Court legally declaring the tomato a vegetable was the single biggest event of 1893, I would counter with the invention of Brad’s Drink. “Who’s Brad, and why should I care about his drink,” you ask? Why “Brad’s Drink” was the original name of one Pepsi Cola.

Now here we sit 123 years later with the release of Pepsi 1893. Brad would be proud.

1893 claims it’s a “bold” spin on an original cola, but I’m not sure “bold” was the best word to use. I was expecting to be hit with something completely foreign, but in reality it wasn’t that much different than what I’m used to.

In order to truly see what the hubbub was about, I picked up a 2016 Pepsi to compare.

Pepsi 1893 Original Cola 3

1893 looks and smells exactly the same, but it’s not as sweet as the current Pepsi formula.

It almost tasted a bit watered down, and like a mixed cocktail. Now I realize not everyone drinks alcohol, but if you’ve ever had a Jack and Coke Pepsi, I swear this tasted like a very weak version of that. It’s as if the bartender filled my glass to the brim with Pepsi, and then dropped a thimble worth of whiskey in. That said, I’m a Jack and Coke guy, so that actually worked for me.

If it interests you, I believe 1893 would make a really strong mixer. A “Jack and 1893” is a hipster drink if I’ve ever heard one.

Pepsi 1893 Original Cola 2

For the non-drinkers (Don’t drink, kids!) think of the “Real Sugar” Pepsi (1893 is made with Fair Trade Certified sugar). Now think about leaving a glass of it with a couple ice cubes on the counter for an hour. Now take a sip. The carbonation level here is not in the ballpark of what you’re used to, and it’s not a bad thing. I try not to drink soda too much these days, so every time I do, I get hit with what I call “bubble burn.” Regular Pepsi was like a shock to my system after drinking 1893.

I assume the slight taste difference is from the aromatic bitters and the natural kola nut extract, but I’m not gonna lie about knowing exactly what those taste like. I’ve never even seen a kola nut. Anyone who takes a sip of this and says “I can definitely taste the natural kola nut extract” is a try hard and you shouldn’t be their friend. Vin is your friend.

Beyond that, 1893’s can style is pretty deceptive looking. I imagine I’m not the only one who thought Pepsi may have gotten into the cola energy drink game. That being said, it’s a cool, sleek, “old school” style, and I dig it.

In the end, it’s just a slightly different Pepsi. If you’re looking for a huge difference, you’re not gonna get it. If someone three-card Monte’d 1893, Real Sugar Pepsi, and regular Pepsi and asked which was the “original” recipe, you’d pick 1893 without flinching, but that’s not a knock. This is a solid spinoff.

We also reviewed 1893 Ginger Cola! Click here to read our review.

(Nutrition Facts – 150 calories, 0 grams of fat, 55 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 39 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $1.29
Size: 12 fl oz. can
Purchased at: Wegmans
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Sleek Retro Can. Not as sweet. Less bubble burn. Cola with a K. No high fructose corn syrup. Wikipedia. Learning about the year 1893. Gummo love. Vin as a friend.
Cons: Not a massive difference. Tastes like a weak cocktail. Rutherford B. Dead. No one’s ever asked for a “Jack and Pepsi.” Tomato is a fruit!

REVIEW: Bazooka Candy Brands Crunchkins

Crunchkins

Crunchkins are a brand new “dessert flavored popper” from the Bazooka brand, despite the color scheme on the bag reeking of Wonka. Then again, if these were a Wonka product, they’d probably be called “Fling Flang Wazellydoos” or something. Nevertheless, I think we may have officially run out of clever names for candies. Crunch-kins.

And what’s with the usage of “poppers”? Is candy the first thing you think of when you hear the word “popper”? Isn’t that dated slang for pills?

But I digress. Time to di-gest. Ugh.

Crunchkins come in three flavors – Birthday Cake, Fudge Brownie, and Glazed Donut. While tons of companies have played with cake and fudge flavors, glazed donut is definitely an exciting new foray.

The poppers have a thin crispy shell, followed by a flavor appropriate layer of a chocolate-like substance, and a crunchy ball center.

The shell is thinner than an M&M’s shell, and quite frankly, pretty unnecessary. While it does provide distinct flavor, I feel like that could’ve just been infused into the chocolate more.

The crunchy center, which is more like Crispy M&M’s than a malted milk ball, tasted stale and cheap. I had really hoped these would taste like flavored Whoppers or Robin Eggs, but alas, as John Lennon famously said, “I can’t always get what I want.”

Crunchkins 2

As for the individual flavors:

Birthday Cake was the best. White and speckled – they looked like mini jaw breakers. The flavor was basically vanilla, but tasty and close enough to the standard Birthday Cake flavor. It was essentially vanilla icing candy.

Glazed Donut, like Crunchkins themselves, was a mixed bag. There was some kind of weird spice element to it that made me think of licorice Necco Wafers, and no one wants to think of those. As I chewed, the Glazed Donut flavor came through, which I enjoyed because I’ve never had a candy mimic this flavor. Still, that spice was overpowering. I do think glazed donuts have that flavor to a degree, but Crunchkins cranked it up to ten. I tried all three flavors at once, and the spice was the distinct flavor that ultimately pushed through.

Fudge Brownie was the worst of the three. I was instantly put in mind of Little Debbie Fudge Brownies, but the chocolate just wasn’t top quality. Ever have Palmer brand chocolate? It’s basically the bottom barrel stuff they put out around the holidays. It tasted more like that than premium chocolate. No offense, Palmer.

Crunchkins only seem to exist to remind me how good the snacks they are mimicking really are. While eating them, I wasn’t thinking about the candy in my mouth, but more about actual birthday cake, glazed donuts, Little Debbie’s Fudge Brownies, Nestle Crunch, Crispy M&Ms, Dunkin Donuts Munchkins, and so on. You could probably say that about most artificially flavored snacks, but I especially yearned for the old reliables while eating these.

Crunchkins 3

The texture was also a problem for me. If there was no shell, and just the chocolate coating with a malted milk ball center, I’d probably love them. That inner chocolaty component was the only texture I enjoyed.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re decent, but not something you’ll want to run back to. I’m not sure it’s fair to say these are “bootleg Crispy M&M’s,” but they are basically bootleg Crispy M&Ms. For a candy that hits the caps lock on “CRUNCH” in their name, the stale crunch may have been the weakest part.

(Nutrition Facts – 20 pieces (40g) – 200 calories from fat, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 8 grams of sat fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 50 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 25 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.38
Size: 3 oz.
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Passable snack. Birthday cake flavor is spot on. Glazed Donut was kinda good. Ambitious effort.
Cons: Confusing spice flavor. Poor quality chocolate. Stale tasting center. Not Whoppers. Bootleg Crispy M&M’s. Uninspired name. No Bazooka comic. Someone even jokingly confusing Mick Jagger and John Lennon.