REVIEW: Exclusive Villains Edition Frosted Chocolate Sugar Cookie Printed Fun Pop-Tarts

Exclusive Villains Edition Frosted Chocolate Sugar Cookie Printed Fun Pop-Tarts

If you ever wondered whether or not this is the greatest time to be alive in human history, chew on this: each and every one of us can now waltz on into the local Walmart and buy The Joker, Lex Luthor and a whole host of other fictitious mass murderers and megalomaniacs in breakfast pastry form.

Capitalizing on the success of last year’s D.C. Superhero Printed Fun Pop-Tarts, these Wally World exclusives give us the downright surreal pleasure – no, the absolute privilege – of being able to eat such obscure comic book bad guys as Cheetah and Captain Cold for breakfast. And when I mean “obscure,” I’m talking super-duper-mega-hyper-obscure: if you would’ve told me this time last year Kellogg’s would be putting Atrocitus on its flagship toaster pastries, I probably would’ve tried to get you committed.

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Serving as the breakfast equivalent of trading cards, each of the 16-pack boxes (there are two in each metallic sleeve, as always) contain a random grab-bag of iconic and not so iconic rogues, including but not limited to Sinestro, Two-Face, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy and Catwoman.

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By and large, the “Tartwork” varies in quality – some Tarts look pretty smooth and colorful while others look blurred to the point of being Rorschach tests. I’m not sure how many different characters got the Pop-Tart treatment, but if anybody out there finds a Gorilla Grod, please email me ASAP.

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As for the flavor, we’re working with something Kellogg’s calls “frosted chocolate sugar cookie.” That may sound a little vanilla, but as soon as these things touch your taste buds, you’ll probably start doing backflips. Folks, these are basically OREOS-flavored Pop-Tarts, right down to the taste, texture, aroma and even mouthfeel of the interior creme. Really, it does a better job of aping Nabisco’s beloved twist-top sandwiches than even the Cookies & Creme Pop-Tarts, and those things were still pretty spot-on.

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These Tarts are good fresh out of the box, but if you really want to get your $4 worth, you have to eat them heated. The interior creme practically liquefies in the shell, and this is without question one of the best tasting fillings Pop-Tarts has ever trotted out.

I’ve got to give Kellogg’s major props here. With the D.C. character angle, it would’ve been so easy to just churn out a bland product, but they actually went the extra mile and made sure the food itself was grade A stuff.

Fast food/junk food marketers, take note: THIS is how you do a “tie-in” gimmick right.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 pastry – 190 calories, 40 grams from fat, 4.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 14 grams of sugar and 2 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.68
Size: 28.2 oz. box/16 pastries
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: The Oreos-esque flavor remains excellent, cold or heated. the interior creme is absolutely delicious. The sheer awesomeness of being able to snap Bane in half and eat him for breakfast.
Cons: Having to buy five or six boxes until you find a mint condition Solomon Grundy. Getting two Harley Quinns when you’d settle for just one Killer Croc. The way your girlfriend looks at you when you tell your toaster to “kneel before Zod.”

REVIEW: Limited Edition Dunkin’ Donuts Frosted Vanilla Latte Pop-Tarts

Limited Edition Dunkin' Donuts Frosted Vanilla Latte Pop-Tarts

Ugh. Coffee. Know what I hate about coffee?

  1. The taste. Gross.
  2. Endless choruses of “I can’t function until I’ve had my kawfeee.”
  3. Griping of coworkers choking on the terrible brew they insisted I make as an intern, despite my warnings that I was bad at it.
  4. This:

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So why am I reviewing COFFEE Pop-Tarts? Because, as a woman of many contradictions, I love java-flavored foods. Jelly beans, ice cream, potato chips – I’ll eat ‘em. Kahlua? Yessir! When the short-term marriage of Pop-Tarts and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee was announced, I was ready. I particularly coveted the Frosted Vanilla Latte flavor – I imagined it would be like eating a non-alcoholic White Russian.

But for the sake of scientific review, I had to compare them to the genuine article. So I popped next door to the Dunkin’ where they give me extra Munchkins if I go in 10 minutes before closing, got a small Vanilla Latte and hunkered down with it and my Box O’ Joe Tarts.

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I took deep breaths of each. The same lovely coffee and vanilla aroma was present in both, but the Pop Tarts had an additional, nutty/wheaty scent, which I assumed was the pastry.

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The appearance wasn’t exactly exciting. They looked pale – not like the rich tones Pop-Tarts usually come in. The pastry, frosting and filling were all a washed-out monochromatic tan with a white squiggle blended in on top. It reminded me of squirting SPF50 on my embarrassingly colorless skin during a tropical vacation.

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On first bite, I loved the taste. As I suspected, this was a Pop-Tart White Russian. (I know there’s a Big Lebowski joke to be made here, but I’ve never seen it, so…) They were coffee-ish, milky and sweeeeeet – exactly what I hoped for.

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Next, I downed a mouthful of the DD Vanilla Latte, which confirmed my hatred of coffee. The Pop-Tarts don’t have the bitter punch of the latte. I appreciated that, but if you’re looking for that edge, it’s not there. That could be due to the lack of actual coffee product in the ingredients list. I guess “natural and artificial flavors” don’t impart quite the same zip.

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Overall, I really enjoyed these Pop-Tarts, but I’m cool with a less-than-authentic flavor. If you’re not, you might want to dunk them in the real McCoy.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 pastry – 200 calories, 50 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.00 (on sale)
Size: 14.1 oz. box/8 pastries
Purchased at: Food Lion
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: It’s a White Russian Pop-Tart! Spot-on coffee aroma. Delicious, sugary approximation of taste.
Cons: Won’t get you drunk like a real White Russian. Ghostly appearance. If you want authentic coffee flavor, look elsewhere.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Spicy Sriracha Chicken Sandwich

Wendy's Spicy Sriracha Chicken Sandwich

Jack and Wendy went to the levee to fetch a pail of water in preparation for her new spicy innovations. Jack fell down and broke his crown because Wendy’s Spicy Sriracha Chicken Sandwich blew away his expectations.

That’s how the nursery rhyme should be updated because Wendy’s take on sriracha is impressive. My complaint with most fast food “spicy chicken” is that it’s never actually spicy. Wendy’s takes the pedal to the medal – quite possibly in a Lexus Sriracha IS – and delivers. It’ll make any O.G. Huy Fong Sriracha fan tear up.

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They say you eat with your eyes first and Wendy’s nailed it with the vibrant but non-off-putting colors – the orange/red palette with the sriracha-infused bun, golden chicken breast, red onion, fresh green spring mix in a bright red box was working for me. Maybe there was some food psychology at work there.

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I was also impressed by the size and poundage of the sandwich. Wendy’s didn’t skimp on the ingredients. There was a large piece of breaded chicken overflowing from the bun, a solid layer of spring mix and an appropriate amount of bacon.

The first thing I did was taste-test the bacon because soggy and stringy bacon can ruin a sandwich. Crispy? Check! The thick-cut bacon was a thing of beauty. I then proceeded to devour the sandwich. The breading itself was already a little bit spicy so I was enjoying the heat. On my third bite, I got to the sriracha aioli in all its glory and boy was it packing heat! As a balance to all the heat on heat on heat, I appreciated the red onion. It not only added a brightness to the sandwich – visually and taste-wise – but it also added a pleasant textural crunch.

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About half way through, my nose started to run a little bit from the heat; the sriracha taste bud onslaught was in full force. Each sniffle exponentially increased my love for this sandwich. I loved the “afterglow” as well; my mouth had a pleasant spicy tingle after each bite. Related to the hefty size and poundage, every bite had the perfect ratio of chicken, spring mix, red onion, sriracha aioli, and bacon.

If I had to nitpick, I couldn’t taste the sriracha jack cheese at all. It was completely overpowered by the spice in the chicken breading as well as the sriracha aioli. I also don’t think the sriracha-infused bun added anything. It was a soft bun, but nothing about it seemed sriracha-infused because there was no heat to it. Also, the more I stared at the orange-colored bun, the odder I thought an orange-colored bun was.

Regardless, I didn’t mean to eat the entire thing but I did because it was so dang good.

(Nutrition Facts – 670 calories, 35 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 110 milligrams of cholesterol, 1690 milligrams of sodium, 51 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber, and 39 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $5.39
Size: N/A
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Wendy’s packs heat and makes any O.G. Huy Fong Sriracha fan proud! Crispy thick-cut bacon is a thing of beauty. Red onion works well. Pleasant spicy tingle after each bite.
Cons: Sriracha jack cheese and sriracha-infused bun didn’t really taste like anything.

REVIEW: Starbucks Snickerdoodle Hot Cocoa

Starbucks Snickerdoodle Hot Cocoa

I used to call Starbucks’ Peppermint Mocha a holiday in a cup. Well, move over, Mocha, there’s a new drink in town and I’m obsessed. One sip of the Starbucks Snickerdoodle Hot Cocoa and I was instantly transported in front of a fire with holiday decorations surrounding me and an overwhelming feeling of coziness.

The first thing I love about this drink is the fact that even though it’s hot cocoa, you’re getting white chocolate. You guys, I love white chocolate but sometimes I forget it’s even a thing thanks to its more popular brother. The second thing I love is how smooth this goes down. It’s definitely a drink for sipping and not chugging due to the sweetness. But that’s okay, because I wanted it to last as long as possible.

The snickerdoodle flavor comes in the form of cinnamon dolce syrup plus the cinnamon sugar on top of the whipped cream (Pro tip: Do NOT skip the whipped cream.) One thing I noticed right away is that the cinnamon is apparent at first sip, hitting you right away with the flavor. And bonus: The flavor stayed throughout the whole drink. You know how sometimes it seems as though a syrup wasn’t mixed all the way through? And you only find it right on the top or all the way at the bottom? Yeah, not the case here. Full on snickerdoodle in every sip.

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My one gripe was that the hot cocoa was warm, but not piping hot – a problem that could be easily solved by asking for the drink extra hot. (I also ordered the drink when it was -876 degrees outside. Okay, I’m exaggerating. It was 28. But regardless, that was my mistake not to order extra hot for extreme warmth.) It was hot enough to melt the whipped cream into the liquid as I drank, creating an almost eggnog-like color by the time I was almost done.

I’m really hoping Starbucks keeps this one well into the winter and not just the holidays, because it’s a slam dunk. If you don’t think it tastes like one of your Aunt Lisa’s snickerdoodles, the ones where you typically shove about five in your mouth because Mom’s not looking, then you need to come find me and we’ll have a chat.

(Nutrition Facts – 12 oz – 310 calories, 120 calories from fat, 13 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 38 grams of sugar, and 11 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.25
Size: 12 oz. (tall)
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: All the white chocolate. Cinnamon is natural tasting and all-around awesome, making the drink true to its snickerdoodle name.
Cons: Whipped cream melted a little faster than I would have liked. But if that’s the only con I have, then we’re doing pretty well.

REVIEW: Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Brussels Mint Cookies

Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Brussels Mint Cookies

Pepperidge Farm has a whole line of lesser known cookies that most of you probably can’t name. To see if I’m right, I made a list of four possible Pepperidge Farm cookies below. One is real. Guess which one it is without using the internet.

  • Madagascar
  • Rochester
  • Verona
  • Montenegro

Okay, now you can use the internet to check your answer.

While you may have had trouble determining which one is a real Pepperidge Farm cookie name, the one everyone can name is the Milano. It has to be the most popular of all gazillion PeFa cookies (I’m trying to make PeFa a thing because I’m tired of typing Pepperidge Farm). But right now, I’m about to say something that might be blasphemous. It’s not their best cookie. That, my friends, goes to the Brussels.

For those of you not familiar with the original Brussels, the Pepperidge Farm website describes them as “lace-thin, crisp cookies embrace a layer of smooth, luxurious, dark chocolate.” Perhaps a better description, using fewer adjectives, would be calling it a thin sandwich cookie.

Granted, the first time I’ve ever tried a Brussels was when I tasted these Limited Edition Brussels Mint Cookies. But it took just one cookie to know they’re better. Sure, they look like Milano cookies that got run over by a steamroller before being baked, but they have a satisfying crunch that makes the crispiness of the Milano seem quaint.

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The mint version out for the holidays has the same thin crunchy wafers and layer of dark chocolate as the original, but it also has a blanket of mint creme. At this point, with the combination of chocolate and mint, you’re probably thinking these might taste like Girl Scouts Thin Mints, and they do. They don’t make my mouth as minty, but, dare I say, because of that thunderous crunch, they’re better than Thin Mints.

Yup, I said it. These are awesome and kick Thin Mints butt!

You don’t control my wallet anymore, Girl Scouts.

Oh wait. These are limited edition.

I’m sorry, Girl Scouts. I’ll take four boxes of Thin Mints.

(Nutrition Facts – 3 cookies – 190 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 100 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 6.25 oz
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: I think they’re better than Thin Mints. I think Brussels are better than Milano cookies. Wonderful crunch. Supporting Girl Scouts even though the prices for the cookies seem to be increasing while the size seems to be shrinking.
Cons: Limited Edition. Trying to make PeFa a thing. Not supporting Girl Scouts.