REVIEW: International Delight French Toast Swirl Creamer

International Delight French Toast Swirl Creamer

I’m so glad I started drinking coffee years ago.

If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be experiencing the one-upscreamership between International Delight and the popular creamer brand from Nestle that sometimes has a hyphen in its name and sometimes doesn’t. Both do collaborations with other brands. Both do unique flavors that the other doesn’t have.

Who’s winning? I don’t care. I’ll fork over my hard-earned cash for whatever either brand is peddling. The latest from International Delight is the limited time only French Toast Swirl, which promises “swirls of maple and cinnamon flavor.”

I taste cinnamon. I taste maple. I taste cream. I taste…egg?

I mean, it’s not as if there’s the taste of scrambled eggs is in my coffee, but it’s kind of like an eggy bread flavor. That combined with strong cinnamon and maple does equal to something that tastes like French toast, and it’s potent when poured into a cup of coffee. This creamer is délicieux.

International Delight French Toast Swirl Creamer Mug

Yes, eggy flavor sounds weird and it might turn some of you off, but it’s what makes this creamer stand out. Without it, it would be more of a run-of-the-mill variety. Actually, the more I think about it, and the more I drink, I realize it also reminds me of bread pudding I’ve had.

But, as someone who has tried almost every big brand and store brand creamer I can get my hands on, this coffee additive’s flavor tastes similar to another one I’ve had in the past. But after doing some thinking while sipping on a mug of coffee lightened with a healthy dose of this creamer, I couldn’t pinpoint which creamer it tastes like.

I don’t know if it’s the caffeine in my French toast-flavored coffee that’s doing the talking, but International Delight’s French Toast Swirl Creamer is tre magnifique. I enjoyed it as much as the Reese’s one, which is a variety I’ve bought numerous times since its debut in 2017.

I don’t know if my taste buds are just tired from all the different chocolate-flavored creamers recently, but this one stands out among all the varieties that have come out with the past two years from International Delight and the creamer brand from Nestle that sometimes has a hyphen in its name and sometimes doesn’t.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free sample of the product. (Thanks, International Delight!) Doing so did not influence my review in any way. Although, I can understand why you might think so with a 9 out of 10 rating. But I assure you it did not.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 32 fl. oz.
Purchased at: Received from ID
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 Tbsp) 35 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 10 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Panda Express Sichuan Hot Chicken

Panda Express Sichuan Hot Chicken

Panda Express’ Sichuan Hot Chicken is its take on crispy chicken strips, which seem to be all the rage with fast food chains nowadays. The entree is breaded all-white meat chicken tossed in a spicy Sichuan peppercorn sauce and dusted with a secret spice blend.

It’s easily the crunchiest chicken item on the menu, although that texture is on the edges of the pieces where the coating is a bit thicker. The chicken within the breading of the strips I received was juicy. Of course, your results may vary because of someone who was overzealous with the wok tossing.

The sauce isn’t sticky like Orange Chicken or gloopy like what’s on mushroom chicken. Instead, it’s an oil-based sauce with the spices swimming in it. Panda’s Sichuan peppercorn sauce with the secret spice blend is savory, peppery, spicy, a smidge citrusy, and pretty darn good.

Panda Express Sichuan Hot Chicken Make it Spicy

But it’s even better when you “Make it Spicy,” which is an option you have while ordering. If you do, your chicken will get sprinkled with an extra dose of the secret spice blend, which gives the breading an ominous look and amps up the heat AND flavor. To me, the added seasoning makes the standard Sichuan Hot Chicken pieces seem kind of bland. When I order this again, I’ll definitely “Make it Spicy.”

While the word “hot” is in its name, the regular Sichuan Hot Chicken isn’t what I would call “hot.” There’s a burn that slowly builds up to a mild level, but it doesn’t have me reaching for a soothing beverage. The “Make it Spicy” pieces are noticeably hotter, but it’s still not enough to make me want to shovel Panda’s fried rice into my mouth to relieve the burning. Also, whatever heat there is doesn’t linger for long.

Panda Express Sichuan Hot Chicken Side by Side

My biggest issue with this entree deals with size. The pieces aren’t uniform. As you can see in the photo above, the ones on the left, which is a three-piece order of the standard Sichuan Hot Chicken, are dramatically smaller than the ones on the right, which is a three-piece order of the ones made spicy. Looking at those three small pieces on my styrofoam plate, I can’t help but think I’m getting ripped off a little. But if I got three of the ones on the right or more of the smaller pieces, I’d feel a bit better.

Panda Express Sichuan Hot Chicken Innard

Sichuan Hot Chicken is another yummy sauced chicken selection from Panda Express. The Sichuan peppercorn sauce and secret spice blend are tasty, but they’re not quite good enough to make this limited-time menu item Orange Chicken-tastic or Beijing Beef-abulous.

Purchased Price: $9.20 (2-entree plate)
Size: 3-piece serving
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (3 pieces) 400 calories 26 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 910 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 19 grams of protein.

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REVIEW: Urge Glazers Donut Flavored Potato Chips

Urge Glazers Donut Flavored Potato Chips

What are Urge Glazers Donut Flavored Potato Chips?

Kwik Trip is a chain of convenience stores found exclusively in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. As a Wisconsin native, I know I can count on a Kwik Trip to have clean bathrooms, fresh coffee, and decent-for-a-gas station food. It’s solid and dependable, like the folk that live ’round these parts.

That’s why I was surprised to hear Kwik Trip was releasing doughnut-flavored chips in the form of Limited Edition Urge Glazer Potato Chips. Personally, I’m always willing to try the newest mad food science franken-snack, but it seems awfully daring for ol’ reliable Kwik Trip, more of a showy Illinois kind of thing, ya know?

How are they?

Urge Glazers Donut Flavored Potato Chips 2

Speaking of mad food science, how exactly does one make a potato chip taste like a glazed doughnut? Simply adding sugar seems like a bad idea, but is the flavor of a plain Glazer more complicated than that?

There are no visual clues, as these look like the same plain potato chips that sit next to the dip (in Wisconsin, it’ll be taco and beer-cheese dip). The scent is subtle, but with familiar caramel and vanilla notes. These smell like ice cream waffle cones.

The sweetness is immediately present as I taste one, but it doesn’t become dessert-like. The vanilla and caramel come through, with some creaminess I wasn’t expecting. These really do taste like a glazed doughnut without losing the savory quality I look for in a potato chip. They’re great.

Urge Glazers Donut Flavored Potato Chips 3

Is there anything else you need to know?

Though I enjoy trying the cornucopia of flavors that chip makers offer us these days, a drawback to many of them is that they’re often not very versatile. Do you really want to dunk southern biscuits and gravy flavored chips in the French onion dip? Or put cappuccino chips next to your tuna sandwich for lunch?

To see if these chips are more than a gimmick, I brought a bag to my family’s 4th of July party to see if they held up to the plethora of dips present. It worked well with the French onion and beer-cheese dips, both of which have a certain sweetness already. It worked less well with hot dips like chili queso and Rueben dip, which didn’t allow the glazed flavor to come through.

I can also confirm they taste good with the unholy mixture of ketchup, mustard, sauerkraut, baked beans, taco dip, and marshmallow jello salad that was left on my paper plate after I was done with it. Truly, these are a chip for every occasion.

Conclusion:

Kwik Trip’s Urge brand Glazer Potato Chips are a tasty and versatile snack. They’re great alone and with a variety of dips.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 6 oz. bag
Purchased at: Kwik Trip
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (28 grams) 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 15 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Vanilla Almond Raisin Bran Crunch Cereal

Kellogg s Vanilla Almond Raisin Bran Crunch Cereal

What is Kellogg’s Vanilla Almond Raisin Bran Crunch Cereal?

The ol’ vet Raisin Bran has introduced a new flavor to its far superior “Crunch” line – Vanilla Almond Raisin Bran Crunch.

How is it?

Literally any addition to Raisin Bran – a workman-like cereal base – is a good thing, so vanilla and almond certainly fit the bill.

Here’s the deal though, they’re not enough to truly separate this from regular Raisin Bran.

Kellogg s Vanilla Almond Raisin Bran Crunch Cereal Milk

I couldn’t even tell where the soft vanilla was being piped in, but I think the bran flakes had a sweet coating, which would be a good call. We’re talking about a bran flake here. It’s basically medicine to help old people [redacted].

This is a food review!

Giving the flakes a little more flavor was the right move. The clusters however were severely lacking. I guess I expected hearty Honey Bunches of Oats-type chunks but only got sporadic bits. They should’ve just attached the little wooden almond shavings to the clusters and make them seem bigger, because this was a real cluster[redacted].

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Kellogg s Vanilla Almond Raisin Bran Crunch Cereal Spoon

I wish the raisins had a coating, but Raisins are raisins. They’ve always been a nice textural counterbalance to the flakes, so expect no different.

Is there anything else you need to know?

They skimp on everything except flakes. Granted, the scoops of raisins probably sunk to the bottom of my box, but for this bowl I reviewed, I didn’t get a good ratio. I bet the last bowl will be 75% raisins.

I coulda used some artificial almond flavor if I’m being honest. A nice little “amaretto” punch would have improved this cereal a lot.

Conclusion:

Kellogg s Vanilla Almond Raisin Bran Crunch Cereal Bowl

Look, Raisin Bran is a decent start to the day. It’s fulfilling. It’s “healthy,” but it’s still just a step above oatmeal on the Boring Breakfast Scale™.

This is just ok, but probably a good alternative to the barrage of new cereals that seem like they were created by Pixie Stick-addled 6th graders.

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 15.8 oz.
Purchased at: Shop Rite
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup w/o milk) 190 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Krispy Kreme Original Filled Birthday Batter Doughnut

Krispy Kreme Original Filled Birthday Batter Doughnut

What is the Krispy Kreme Original Filled Birthday Batter Doughnut?

Building off of the success of the Original Filled Doughnuts, Krispy Kreme quickly introduced a vibrantly colored twist to celebrate its 82nd birthday — an Original Glazed filled with birthday cake batter, topped with strawberry icing, and garnished with psychedelic sprinkles. Party hat not included.

How is it?

Krispy Kreme Original Filled Birthday Batter Doughnut 2

Krispy Kreme’s birthday cake batter is second only to its Original Kreme filling, and quite frankly it might be tied for first. I was elated when I heard it was filling its OG with this beautiful concoction, and as usual with KK there’s plenty of it stuffed inside the humbly-sized doughnut. Unfortunately, the strawberry icing is so overpowering that I can hardly taste the filling, and it’s only distinguishable by its slight custard-y texture among the various layers of sweetness.

Speaking of sweetness, this doughnut is absurdly sweet. If you’re familiar with the Original Glazed you know it’s sugary, but the gentle yeast flavor still manages to poke its way through the layers of sweetness. That’s not the case here with the aggressive flavor of artificial strawberry taking over everything in sight. Glaze + batter + strawberry = too much.

Is there anything else you need to know?

I guess it should come as no surprise that a single doughnut clocks in at 39 grams of sugar because that’s damn near all I can taste. With the Original Filled Doughnuts, I had feared that they might be too sweet, but they didn’t go overboard. However, with the Birthday Batter version, KK tried to “have its cake and eat it too” and created a bit of misguided monster in the process.

Conclusion:

This doughnut looks incredible. The two-toned sprinkle explosion with pink-on-tan contrast and squiggle drizzle is stunning, but this birthday treat is all looks and no balance, with the end result being a rush for some water and a pending tummy-ache.

Purchased Price: $1.89
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts:: 350 calories, 15 grams of total fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 54 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 39 grams of sugars, and 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Reaper Ranch Fries Supreme and Reaper Ranch Fries Burrito

Taco Bell Steak Reaper Fries Supreme and Burrito

As the Reaper-fueled fire in my belly from the Sonic Mocktail the other day had finally become little more than smoldering embers along my digestive track, Taco Bell succinctly took over the gastric position of flavor inciter with a heated pair of delicacies that surely stoked those internal flames with its latest addition to the what-seems-to-be nationwide call for a Carolina Reaper-based line of edibles: the new Taco Bell Reaper Ranch duo of supreme fries and a burrito.

And, unlike the Sonic Reaper Margarita, this one actually does make sense, to me, at least.

Taco Bell Steak Reaper Fries Supreme

Combining the calculated burn of the diabolical Reaper pepper with the cooling vibe of ranch dressing, the Reaper Ranch sauce, as it is called here, is a prime testament to how to make this pepper work without scaring and traumatizing those who usually need to be gently coaxed into the hot tub of spicy goodness. The seasoned spice-user, on the other hand, will love the methodical slow burn of the food items, one that allows you to actually enjoy the heat and the eat.

Featuring a pliable handful of chopped tomatoes, nacho cheese and sour cream – as well as plenty of that Reaper Ranch sauce, mama — this most beautiful mixture is dropped on the chain’s specially-seasoned Nacho Fries, with plenty of largish chunks of steak to make for a dream-worthy meal. Of course, the fries give off their own zippy flavor, but partnered up on the dance floor with the specially-made sauce and you’ve got another short-term classic on your hands, Taco Bell.

Taco Bell Steak Reaper Fries Burrito

But it’s still missing something, and it’s brutally found and made mercilessly better in the tempestuously transcendent Reaper Ranch Fries Burrito. Wrapped loosely in a wide flour tortilla, this burrito showcases all the same supreme fries ingredients above but, you know, all in a wholly convenient two-handed carrier. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: nothing can force me to give any foodstuff an extra point like a tortilla, be it corn or, in this case, like I said, flour.

Taco Bell Steak Reaper Fries Burrito Innards

The Reaper Ranch gives the burrito a mature kick I wasn’t expecting, even more adult than the Rattlesnake Fries released a few months ago. Maybe it’s because all the tastes are bunched up together, but when the Reaper hits — and, man alive, does it hit — it makes for even better eating by allowing the meat, cheese, and sour cream — rather than just the potatoes — to never overpower it, instead working with it for a deliciousness that truly represents what the Reaper Ranch should be about.

The prices — $3.09 for the burrito, $3.59 for the fries — may seem a little steep at first glance, but, as these goods are available for the dreaded limited time only, now is the time to dig deep into that piggy bank and, at the very least, give one of them the ol’ college try. Don’t fear the Reaper…Ranch, that is. Cómpralo ya!

Purchased Price: $3.59 (Fries) $3.09 (Burrito)
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Fries) 9 out of 10 (Burrito)
Nutrition Facts: Fries – 470 calories, 29 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 950 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 3 gram of sugar, and 12 grams of protein. Burrito – 490 calories, 24 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 1060 milligrams of sodium, 53 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 4 gram of sugar, and 16 grams of protein.

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