QUICK REVIEW: SunChips Sweet Potato & Brown Sugar

SunChips Sweet Potato  Brown Sugar

What is it?

Much like all other SunChips, it’s made with 100 percent whole grain that gets masked with whatever seasoning is involved. In this case, it’s brown sugar. Also, a quick look through the ingredients shows that it also contains butter. I believe Paula Deen gets a fraction of a cent when butter is involved, although I’m too lazy to Google that to find out if it’s true.

How is it?

It doesn’t smell like sweet potatoes, but it does smell like buttered bread at an Italian restaurant. Not what I expected, but I’m pleasantly surprised by that. The sweet potato in the chip is noticeable and the brown sugar and underlying butter enhance it. There’s enough brown sugar on every chip to give it a mild sweetness and it’s not cloying in any way. The amount of sweet seasoning varies between chips but every one I stuffed into my mouth was delicious. I bought a 3-ounce bag and ate it in a matter of minutes.

SunChips Sweet Potato  Brown Sugar 2

Is there anything else I need to know?

These bring back memories of SunChips Cinnamon. Oh, you’ve never had that? You missed out. These chips also have me thinking of candied yams and I bet this would make a great topping to give the dish some crunch. Speaking of candied yams, I need to buy another bag because I’d like to dip these in marshmallow fluff. Also, because of all the whole grain, if you eat the entire bag, you’ll get 7 grams of fiber.


SunChips Sweet Potato & Brown Sugar are wonderful and I hope its a permanent addition. I know SunChips are usually savory so the idea of a sweet one might sound weird, but if you love sweet potato this is definitely worth a buy.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 3 oz. bag
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 14 chips) 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 55 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Hershey’s Bites

Hershey s Bites

It looks like Hershey’s has been on a roll lately. First, it comes out with all those Cookie Layered Crunch Bars. Then, it created those bars of salty-and-sweet perfection appropriately dubbed as “Hershey’s Gold.” And now it’s decided to jump onto the donut-inspired-everything bandwagon with the creation of its new Hershey’s Bites.

Not to be confused with Hershey’s Snack Bites, these are, according to the package, “soft donut bites with a sweet & creamy chocolatey filling.” They seem as if a lava cake and a donut hole met up, had a few drinks together, and ending up with these little guys as a permanent reminder of their drunken love for one another.

Opening the box, I’m happy to see Hershey’s put a flap on it so that you can close it. It always irks me when food companies make multi-serving frozen snacks and then fail to give you any kind of way to re-seal the package. That said, Hershey’s only gets half credit, since it didn’t give you any kind of way to reseal the box’s inner bag, thus dooming the uneaten portion to freezer burn.

Out of the box, the bites don’t look exactly how I expected them to. The sparkly picture gave me the impression that these were going to be rolled in some kind of granulated sugar, kind of like those donuts you find at Chinese buffets. In reality, there’s no such coating, and they look like unappetizing brown lumps.

The box said I could prepare these by either baking them at 350 for eight minutes or by microwaving them for 20-30 seconds. I decided to try both methods so I could give a comprehensive analysis.

Hershey s Bites 2

The ones baked in the toaster oven had a crunchy outer shell, but the “creamy chocolate filling” wasn’t so much of a filling as it was more like a half-baked center.

Hershey s Bites 3

As expected, the microwaved ones were softer, but neither one had the texture of a real donut hole. The baked ones were more cookie-like and have chocolate flavor is, ironically, closer to an Oreo cookie than Hershey’s Chocolate. The microwaved ones reminded me of a microwaved snack cake.

Between the two, I liked the baked ones better since they had a little more texture, but both needed more filling. I was expecting something like rich chocolate ganache, but this tasted like undercooked batter.

Hershey s Bites 4

My primary complaint, though, is that both seem so incomplete without a glaze. Don’t all donuts have it or some kind of sugar coating? I made some to coat mine and it made them taste much more like actual donuts. Hershey’s should have taken notes from Pillsbury on this one and included a glaze packet, like Toaster Strudels.

Valiant effort, Hershey’s, but your newest experiment is a miss.

(Nutrition Facts – 4 bites – 180 calories, 6 grams of fat, 50 calories from fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 310 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.29
Size: 18 bites (8.8 oz. box)
Purchased at: Kroger
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Baked)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Microwaved)
Pros: Lava cake/donut hole love-child! Re-sealable box! Tastes like Oreo cookies!
Cons: Deceptive picture on the box. Inner bag isn’t re-sealable. More poop-looking snacks. Doesn’t taste like Hershey’s chocolate. No glaze included.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Szechuan Sauce

McDonald s Szechuan Sauce

Don’t mention Rick and Morty. Don’t mention Rick and Morty.

On a recent episode of Rick and Morty… Dammit!

Do I need to give you guys a recap of McDonald’s Szechuan Sauce Mania?


Here’s the CliffsNotes version – a plot line in a time-traveling episode centered on McDonald’s Szechuan Sauce from the 1990’s. Rick and Morty fans, being some of the most boisterous on the net, demanded Mickey D’s bring it back. They did. It was a disaster. Only some restaurants carried it, and entitled fanboys lined up outside like they were getting Hamilton tickets. Few succeeded. The “lucky” patient few started selling them on eBay for laughable prices, and that’s how I got mine.

Here I sit $375 poorer finally ready to try a sauce that escaped me as a child. Wubba Lubba Dub Dub!

I’m kidding. McDonald’s acknowledged the demand and brought Szechuan Sauce back. You can pretty much get it anywhere for free with your order.

McDonald s Szechuan Sauce 3

The sauce smelled like Asian ginger salad dressing to me, which I’ve always been fond of. I had to remove it from the packet to see its brownish orange color. It also had little black pepper flakes –- more on those later.

My flavor vessel of choice was the McNugget because it seemed like the obvious choice. After a dip, I noticed Szechuan had basically the same viscosity of BBQ sauce.

I apologize for being all over the map of Asia, but the flavor profiles put me in mind of multiple sauces that span different countries. I got mostly teriyaki flavor, a little sweet and sour, while also putting me in mind of that much thinner soy-based sauce you get with an order of shumai or gyoza at a Japanese restaurant.

McDonald s Szechuan Sauce 2

There was definitely a little ginger, some tang, and a pinch of citrus which I thought was from something like orange zest, but that’s not a listed ingredient. The major “flavor” lacking here was any heat whatsoever. I figured those pepper flakes would provide a nice kick, but any spice was negligible. That was disappointing.

Overall, it’s a solid McNugget sauce. I haven’t had it in years, and after eating four of them, I coulda crushed a 20-piece without much struggle.

If I had to rank Szechuan Sauce against the rest of the McDonald’s dipping sauce roster, it would land smack dab in the middle. It’s not overtaking classics like BBQ or Honey Mustard, but it’s better than Sweet and Sour. I also don’t care much for Ranch and Buffalo, so keep that in mind.

If McDonald’s decided to put out a Snack Wrap with Szechuan Sauce, it would be excellent. I’m no marketing genius, but McDonald’s should have taken advantage of the hype and released a couple other menu items that featured this sauce.

So yeah, this stuff is good, but not worth the ridiculous hype. Ya boy Rick Sanchez made it seem like Ambrosia but it’s just a run of the mill, solid dipping sauce.

(Nutrition Facts – Not available.)

Purchased Price: $1.29 for the Nuggets – I got 2 Sauce Packets for free. (To eBay I go!)
Size: 0.90 oz.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Basically a light spin on teriyaki Sauce. A solid dipping sauce. McDonald’s giving the (obnoxious) people what they want. Bonus sauce packet. McNuggets nostalgia. A review 20+ years in the making. I know how to spell “Szechuan: now.
Cons: That entire Rick and Morty fiasco. Not having a Snack Wrap with Szechuan on the current menu.

REVIEW: Nestle Butterfinger Dark Bar

Nestle Butterfinger Dark Bar

Dark and darkness.

There’s the darkness one experiences when there’s no light. There’s the dark colors of evening wear. Then there’s the darkness I keep deep down in my soul that so badly wants to come up but prevent it from doing so with every bit of my energy because I don’t want anyone to ever experience it for fear that doing so shall cause me to be shunned for an eternity by those who get the slightest glimpse at that darkness. And then there’s milk chocolate’s sibling, dark chocolate.

Nestle has been reaching into its own darkness this year by rolling out Crunch Dark and this new Butterfinger Dark. It has the same crispety, crunchety, peanut-buttery center as the original, but with a darker chocolatey coating.

Yes, chocolatey. Not chocolate.

The Nestle Crunch Dark Bar boasts how it’s made with 100 percent real chocolate, but this candy bar doesn’t make that claim. A quick ingredients list comparison shows that while the Crunch bar has dark chocolate that uses cocoa butter, this Butterfinger doesn’t.

But that doesn’t make it a bad candy bar.

After eating a couple, I find it to be a tad better than the original Butterfinger and the reason why is the same as why I love the Crunch Dark Bar. Although it doesn’t have the real chocolate deal, whatever that coating is, it makes the candy less sweet.

I know less sweet candy sounds like a bad thing, like less murderous or nudity Game of Thrones or less Dew-y Mountain Dew, but I find regular Butterfinger to be overly sweet nowadays. Get off my lawn. For example, I had a fun size Butterfinger around Halloween and after eating it I came to the realization that I wouldn’t have been able to finish it if it was a full bar. But with this, I found myself chomping away through the whole thing easily.

Nestle Butterfinger Dark Bar 2

But with that said, while the coating takes away sweetness, it doesn’t add anything because it doesn’t have the bitterness of dark chocolate. Actually, the exterior isn’t too noticeable. The whole thing tastes like what I imagine eating a naked Butterfinger with just the crispety, crunchety, peanut-buttery, crumb-causety center is like, which is still pretty good.

With the Crunch Dark Bar, the chocolate gets to shine because the rice crisps are for texture. But with this bar, the crispety, crunchety, peanut-buttery, teeth-stickety center is bold enough that it hides the coating’s flavor as well as I hide the darkness inside of me.

Nestle’s Butterfinger Dark is a pleasant variation of the classic candy bar. While I’m fine with the peanut buttery flavor standing out, I would’ve liked it more if the chocolatey layer added something. But if you enjoy Butterfinger, this candy will brighten your day.

DISCLOSURE: I received free samples from the folks at Nestle. As always, receiving free samples did not influence my review in any way.

(Nutrition Facts – 260 calories, 10 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 100 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of fiber, 23 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 1.9 oz. bar
Purchased at: Received from Nestle
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Less sweet than regular Butterfinger. Perhaps a better Butterfinger. Will brighten your day. Crispety, crunchety, and peanut-buttery.
Cons: Dark chocolatey coating’s flavor doesn’t stand out. Doesn’t seem to use dark chocolate. Still crumb-causety and teeth-stickety. The darkness inside of me that I have to battle with every moment in order to prevent it from seeing the light of day, which it will turn into darkness.

REVIEW: Chick-fil-A Frosted Sunrise

Chick fil A Frosted Sunrise

Orange you glad Chick-fil-A parlayed their popular Frosted Coffee and Frosted Lemonade formula into orange sherbet form?

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Actually, while the concept of the new Frosted Sunrise (a combination of Chick-fil-A’s soft-serve Icedream and Simply Orange orange juice) follows the same premise of the chain’s existing drink/soft-serve mashups, the marketing plan appears totally different.

Take, for example, the listing of the Frosted Sunrise under the “drink” section of Chick-fil-A’s menu and not the “Treat” section. Even the name, Frosted Sunrise, conjures up images of a 100 percent of your daily vitamin C and lasting energy to embrace your eight hours of sedentary office work.

In a word: wholesome.

And, as it happens, the Frosted Sunrise does taste more wholesome, which is exactly the last thing I want in my orange-flavored frozen dairy drinks.

Perennial child of the 90s I am, I just can’t get Orange Flintstones Push-Up treats out of my head. Together with orange sherbet, this tag-team of artificial citrus formed approximately 71 percent of my dessert intake from the ages of 7-10.

That’s not to say I don’t love me a good Florida orange (or a clementine for that matter). But when it comes to combining oranges with cream, there’s a certain level of socially-engrained flavor balance that’s to be expected. Unfortunately, Chick-fil-A’s Frosted Sunrise skews too far toward the fresh-squeezed orange, creating a clashing matchup of full-bodied and slightly bitter orange with a weak soft-serve flavor.

Overwhelmed by this cognitive dissonance, I trudged on. As I slurped more and more sunrise (note: save that phrase for a future poem) I noticed the flavors being a bit evener. The initial strong natural orange flavor, which in this application was not exactly optimal, quickly dissipated to the point where the milky sweetness of the Icedream became the guiding flavor.

Chick fil A Frosted Sunrise 2

Childhood sherbet equilibrium obtained, I was content (I also had a brain freeze, although I take full responsibility for that). Still, the fact that the flavor shifted so dramatically struck me as problematic, especially when Chick-fil-A’s Icedream lacks the rich milkfat to tame the initial heavy citrus bursts.

Overall, Chick-fil-A’s Frosted Sunrise does a lot of good things and has elements that will please both natural orange enthusiasts and artificial orange nostalgics like me. However, in doing so, it fails to leave both completely satisfied throughout, making it less enjoyable than Chick-fil-A’s Frosted Coffee and Frosted Lemonade.

(Nutrition Facts – Small – 320 calories, 45 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of sat fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 135 milligrams of sodium, 60 grams of carbohydrates, 47 grams of sugar, 7 grams of protein, 25% calcium, and 60% Vitamin C.)

Purchased Price: $2.89
Size: Small
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Strong orange sherbet finish. Healthier breakfast alternative to a milkshake (which technically you can get at breakfast but…) Clean, strong refreshing flavor.
Cons: Natural orange flavor clashes and overwhelms the dairy for half of the drink. Slight bitterness can be off-putting. Not enough richness in the dairy. Inconsistent flavor.