QUICK REVIEW: Baskin-Robbins Candy Bar Mashup Ice Cream

Baskin Robbins Candy Bar Mashup Ice Cream

According to everyone’s favorite feline, this time of year is all about the candy, candy, candy, candy. Fortunately, instead of placating him with an unholy lasagna ice cream, Baskin-Robbins has brought us the Candy Bar Mashup as October’s Flavor of the Month. Chocolate ice cream is swirled with caramel and then stuffed with Snickers, Twix, and Milky way pieces. 

First things first, either let yours temper before eating or don your Rockbiter costume. The sample I tried of the returning and pun-awesomely named Trick Oreo Treat contained a Baby Ruth bite that was equivalent to chewing cement.

Baskin Robbins Candy Bar Mashup Ice Cream 3

After letting it sit, my Candy Bar Mashup was the perfect consistency, no trip to the dentist necessary beyond the cavity it probably induced. If you have tried the aforementioned candy bars, then you know what to expect from this by and large. The chocolate ice cream is tried and true; and while good, the caramel swirl doesn’t bring anything new to the table as it’s a core component of the traditional bars.

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Unfortunately, my scoop consisted primarily of Twix which crowded out its cohorts and left only a couple of small Snickers pieces and a hint of Milky Way for the other bites. The experience as a whole is chameleonesque, becoming a frozen version of whatever candy bit you happen to nosh. This makes the uneven ratios an even greater shame as despite Milky Way being my least favorite of the group as just a candy bar, I quite enjoyed it in this context.

Oddly, the ingredient list mentions Twix last of the three. One would expect it to be roughly equivalent to the other pieces at worst rather than reigning as the Jack Skellington of Candy Bar Mashup Town. All in all, this is more treat than trick, and I could see myself grabbing it again while I await the Great Pumpkin on Halloween night.

Purchased Price: $2.79
Size: Large scoop (4.0 oz.)
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Single Scoop) 290 calories, 15 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 28 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Mystery Oreo Cookies

Limited Edition Mystery Oreo Cookies

There are many mysteries that surround the Limited Edition Mystery Oreo Cookies that go beyond the unknown flavor of its creme.

For example, why does it come in a 15.25-ounce package instead of the 12.7 ounce one we now always see with limited edition varieties?

Also, why can Oreo offer $50,000 to one randomly selected grand prize winner and $10,000 to five first-place winners who guess the flavor, but have no money to give out to those of us who were freaked out about Peeps Oreo turning our poop a weird color?

The limited edition snack has chocolate wafers and a food dye-less creme, but the smell that comes out of the packaging is colorful, bright, and familiar. It smells like Fruity Pebbles, which is weird because why would Oreo again offer a fruity cereal flavor a year after Fruity Crisp Oreo. It’s not much of a mystery if it’s easy to guess for eaters.

Limited Edition Mystery Oreo Cookies 3

With the first several cookies, I only ate the creme and left behind a wake of discarded chocolate wafers. The mystery creme also tastes like Fruity Pebbles, and at times like Froot Loops. But as I licked, ate, and rubbed it over my tongue, an orange and milk flavor stood out. So it got me wondering whether it could be Orange Creamsicle-flavored, which would also be a little odd because there was a Creamsicle Oreo back in 2011. Either way, the mystery creme tastes like it’s been done before.

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While it saddens me that this Mystery Oreo could be a recycled flavor, I do enjoy the creme. But it’s hyper sweet and potent, so much so that it negates the chocolate wafer’s flavor whenever I eat a cookie whole. That’s surprising since a regular complaint I’ve had with several Oreo varieties is how the wafer dampens the creme’s flavor. For some, I imagine the creme will be way too sweet.

I loved Fruity Crisp Oreo, so it’s not surprising that I like these. I also love the idea of having a Mystery Oreo, so I hope there’s a new one every year. But, next year, please don’t have a mystery flavor that tastes like a previous Oreo, those lazy bastards.

Oh, one last mystery about these cookies.

Why is Limited Edition Mystery Oreo wearing white after Labor Day?

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 15.25 oz. package
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Tastes and smells like Fruity Pebbles. Mystery flavors. Available in a size larger than other limited edition flavors.
Cons: Tastes and smells like Fruity Crisp Oreo. Creme might be too sweet for some. Mystery flavor spoilers when you visit your favorite junk food sites. Wearing white after Labor Day.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Tenders with Signature Sauce

McDonald s Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Tenders 1

The way I see it, eating McDonald’s at two in the morning is the only way to eat McDonald’s. The atmosphere is so laid back and amicable.

The employees openly discuss their love lives and curse at each other. Everything is drowned out by the sound of old Lionel Richie songs and whatever’s airing on Fox Sports 2 (usually infomercials promising to improve your golf swing). And best of all, nobody even cares that there’s a guy in the back, taking pictures of his four-piece Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Tenders meal like he was examining a C.S.I. victim — with the flash on and everything.

The more cynical sorts out there might take a look at these newfangled McProducts and immediately assume they’re nothing more than elongated nuggets. Not true. While the white meat may be indistinguishable from the McNuggets we all know and love, the breading tastes much different.

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I pick up the subtle flavor of the buttermilk batter, and the overall coating is noticeably spicier than the average McDonald’s chicken offering. The texture is also a bit grittier than what we’re used to from the chain. Imagine a breading halfway between the regular Chicken McNuggets outer shell and Popeyes’ Handcrafted Spicy Tenders and you’ve got a fairly apt description of what we’re working with here.

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But that’s not all. The all new chicken tenders also come with what McDonald’s is billing as its “Signature Sauce,” and all in all, it isn’t too shabby. I suppose the best way to describe it is a mildly tangier Catalina (French) dressing or a slightly spicier-than-normal blend of Thousand Island dressing. Regardless, it’s quite zesty, and the teensy-tiny hint of spiciness should be palatable to even the tamest of taste buds.

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And even if you don’t particularly like the Signature Sauce, the cardboard chicken tender carrier case comes with a handy-dandy double slot so you can wedge in a pair of sauce containers. As an avid sauce connoisseur, I’d suggest pairing the tenders with both the Sriracha Mac Sauce and the McRanch dressing (a great chaser to offset the spiciness of the former, naturally.)

On the whole, I’d consider the Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Tenders to be a fairly decent – albeit somewhat bland – addition to the extended McNugget family. The tenders themselves are surprisingly long (three to five inches, approximately) and they will fill you up fast, especially when doused in a goulash of sauces.

One word of warning, though: NOTHING goes well with the amalgamation of honey mustard, habanero ranch, and spicy buffalo sauce, except a bottle of Maalox.

(Nutrition Facts – 3 pieces – 370 calories, 190 calories from fat, 21 grams of total fat, 3.6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 910 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 28 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 4-pieces
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: The breading has a unique taste and texture. The tenders are crisp, juicy and filling. It’s a lot of fun to test out how the tenders gel with all those sauces and dressings. 
Cons: The Signature Sauce is a bit too weak. The tenders probably would’ve benefitted from being just a smidge spicier. The horrified glare of strangers as they watch you mix the creamy southwest dressing with Sweet ‘N Sour Sauce.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Pumpkin Spice Shake (2017)

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If you decide to share your purchase of Jack in the Box’s new Pumpkin Spice Shake on social media, Jack would like you to use the hashtag — #OMGPumpkinSpice.

This new shake shouldn’t be confused with Jack in the Box’s Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Shake that we reviewed in 2013 or the Pumpkin Pie Shake that we reviewed way back in 2004. #OMGThisBlogIsSoOld

This updated pumpkin spice shake features real ice cream blended with pumpkin spice syrup and is topped with whipped cream, gingersnap cookie crumbles, and a cherry (mine didn’t come with one). The cookie crumbles appear to be the only difference between the 2017 Pumpkin Spice Shake and the one that came before it.

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The ice cream and pumpkin spice syrup in my cup weren’t mixed well. But after some intense stirring, I got it to the color in its promotional photo. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make me think of pumpkin spice. Instead, it reminds me of the walls at my doctor’s office.

The shake’s flavor is almost as non-festive as it looks. There’s a wisp of pumpkin spice, but I don’t want a wisp. Also, the whipped cream doesn’t help. It dilutes the flavor even more.

But the doctor’s office-colored cloud has a silver lining.

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The ample gingersnap cookie crumbles amp up the flavor of the shake with ginger and cinnamon. Although they move it away from being a pumpkin spice shake and move it towards being a gingerbread shake. But they also take it from blah to rah and kind of make up for the fact that the pumpkin spice flavor isn’t strong.

The ones that topped mine weren’t crumbles. Instead, they were straw-clogging chunks that surprisingly maintained their crunchiness as they sat in the dairy.

Full disclosure: I prefer Jack’s original Pumpkin Pie Shake over the version that came out in 2013 because its pumpkin spice popped. This latest iteration might be even weaker than the previous version, but the cookie crumbles add that punch I want. Although, if I think about it, maybe the shake itself is light because it might be overpowering if both it and the cookies provide strong flavors.

Overall, thanks to the cookies, I do think this version tastes better than the previous one, and I’d buy it again. But I don’t think it beats the original. #OMGItsGood

(Nutrition Facts – Regular – 860 calories, 41 grams of fat, 30 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 310 milligrams of sodium, 112 grams of carbohydrates, 92 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.19*
Size: Regular
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Gingersnap cookie pieces take this shake from a blah to rah and kind of make up for its lack of pumpkin spice flavor. Cookie pieces maintain their crunchiness.
Cons: Shake base has a weak pumpkin spice flavor. Its color reminds me of my doctor’s office. Whipped cream dilutes the already weak pumpkin spice flavor. Gingersnap cookies make it taste more like a gingerbread shake than a pumpkin spice shake.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.

REVIEW: Arby’s Cookie Butter Shake

Arby s Cookie Butter Shake

Arby’s releases a brand new cookie butter shake the very same week Oreo debuts its cookie butter cookies? Hmmm, very interesting.

Was it a mere coincidence? Or something more nefarious, like the cookie butter gods strong-arming companies into spreading their flavor for world domination????!!!! Then again, the flavor has kind of been growing in popularity so maybe that’s just it too.

The drink has a vanilla base mixed in with a cookie butter syrup and it is topped off with whipped cream and Biscoff cookie crumbles. It is described by Arby’s to be indulgently sweet with cinnamon spice. Following the debut of the Oreos that I thought were fantastic this shake has a tough act to follow.

Arby s Cookie Butter Shake 2

It’s off to a good start with the toppings. Even though the whipped cream is your run of the mill type, it happens to be very creamy and goes great with the Biscoff cookie crumbles that shine on the first bite. Arby’s definitely didn’t cut corners with these as going with the well-known Biscoff brand was a great choice. They are crunchy, very buttery, and have a noticeable cinnamon spice flavor at the end. The texture pairs greatly with the soft and fluffy whipped cream. I just wish there were more!

After eating most of the topping, I was excited to dive into the rest of the shake to continue my cookie butter adventure. Unfortunately, though, it was a kind of a letdown. My shake was a bit thick so it was a struggle to get it up through the straw. When I was able to suck it up you can definitely taste the vanilla base but after that it varies a lot between each sip.

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I could occasionally pick up some cinnamon and spice, but very faintly. There was definitely a more overt buttery flavor and it was tasty, but a tad too sweet at times. It just needed a little bit more of the spice because all the other flavors related to cookie butter shined through.

For example, if a friend handed me this and said it was a brand new butterscotch milkshake, I would be like “yum!” Or if they said just kidding it’s in fact a new caramel shake I would be like “delicious!” Cookie butter just didn’t immediately come to mind when thinking about the flavor of the shake itself.

Don’t think for a second, though, that I didn’t enjoy the shake as I finished the entire thing. All 960 calories and, good heavens, 139 grams of sugar of it. Next time this is available I’ll probably get a small and use it to wash down the cookie butter cream that I am scraping off the Oreo cookies to really hedge my bets and get maximum flavor. Oh, and also to please those cookie butter gods who went to a lot of effort for these to come about.

(Nutrition Facts – Large – 960 calories, 30 grams of fat, 20 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 670 milligrams of sodium, 155 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 139 grams of sugar, and 23 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.19
Size: Large
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Legit cookie pieces. A pretty delicious milkshake overall. Cookie butter gods trying to take over the world.
Cons: Shake flavor that kinda tastes like cookie butter but also kinda tastes like it could be at least three other things. Playing second fiddle to Oreo cookies. Calories and sugar content that is better left unacknowledged.

REVIEW: CVS Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cough Drops

CVS Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cough Drops

A cough drop review? Don’t act like cough drop flavors don’t matter. You know you’ve felt the crushing disappointment of walking into the drug store in peak cold season with a scratchy throat to find all that’s left are the basic blue menthol Halls. Your brain runs through all the flavors you’d rather have: strawberry, cherry, citrus. Hell, I’d take honey before plain menthol.

I have to give CVS a slow clap for taking the bold (i.e. insane?) step of cashing in on the pumpkin spice trend via the cold relief aisle. Mentholated PS cough drops? My first reaction was “Whyyyyyyy?”  But I wanted to try them. I couldn’t wait to HATE them with the fire of a thousand Targaryen dragons.

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So imagine my surprise when I tasted Pumpkin Spice Cough Drops and found them – not bad at all!

It’s tough to describe the aroma inside the bag. It didn’t resemble pumpkin, spices or menthol. It was like asiago Band-Aids…but let’s not dwell on that because if you’re in the market for cough drops, your nostrils will be snot-blocked anyway and you’ll probably never actually smell them.

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When I popped one in my mouth, the first flavor to come screaming out of the gate was loud, obnoxious menthol. Yelling over everyone else and kicking chairs over. But once menthol quieted down, I started picking up on cinnamon just underneath. Not a hot fiery cinnamon, but a warm, fuzzy loved-up cinnamon. There was probably some nutmeg flavor there, too, but I’m bad at identifying nutmeg – it just ends up being in everything I describe as “autumn-y.”

I’m shocked to say this cough drop flavor works. I happen to be trying them in good health on an 80+ degree day, but I can imagine on a chilly fall or winter day when you feel like you swallowed a cheese grater, they’ll be a pretty decent option. They’re still sweet like most cough drops, but a not-unpleasant change from the usual fruit flavors. They’re not delicious, but they’re not the horror show I expected.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 drop – 10 calories.)

Purchased Price: $1.49
Size: 30-drop bag
Purchased at: CVS
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Not the worst thing I’ve ever tasted! The cinnamon/menthol combo works better than expected. (I know! I’m shocked too.)
Cons: Strange aroma – which will likely not be experienced when you have a cold and need cough drops. Do these cough drops make me look like a basic b***h?