SPOTTED ON SHELVES – 2/6/2013

Here are some interesting new and limited edition products found on store shelves by us and your fellow readers.

Limited Edition Frosted Wild Berry Bloom Pop-Tarts

The Limited Edition Frosted Wild Berry Bloom Pop-Tarts are so pretty and pastel that I want to hide them in a yard and have children look for them. (Spotted by Marvo at Target.)

Honey Maid Strawberry Yogurt Creme Grahamfuls

If you’re a fan of strawberry banana, you could wait for Honey Maid to come out with a strawberry banana creme Grahamfuls. Or you could take these Strawberry Yogurt Creme Grahamfuls and combine them with Banana Vanilla Creme Grahamfuls. (Spotted by Marvo at Target.)

Starburst Very Berry

I love berries, so I hope these Very Berry Starburst are berry good. Oh, did you see what I did there? I know, that was unberryble. Oh, I did it again. This paragraph probably makes you want to berry me alive. I’m berry sorry. (Spotted by Marvo at Target.)

Claussen Hot & Spicy Pickle Spears

Usually, I don’t cover products that have been available for about a year, but I’m a sucker for hot and spicy products. And pickles. And saying the name “Claussen” over and over. And saying the word “pickles” over and over. Here’s a review of the pickles.. (Spotted by Dusty at Walmart.)

Blue Diamond Coffee Almonds

The internet tells me eating one ounce of these Blue Diamond Coffee Almonds will give me the same amount of caffeine in two ounces of coffee. The internet also tells me almonds are a great source of vitamin E. Unfortunately, the internet can’t tell me if these Coffee Almonds are any good. (Spotted by Jamie at Target.)

Thank you to all the photo contributors! If you’re out shopping and see an interesting new or limited edition product on the shelf (or really unusual), snap a picture of it, and send us an email (theimpulsivebuy@gmail.com) with where you found it and “Spotted” in the subject line. If you do so, you might see your picture in our next Spotted on Shelves post.

REVIEW: Pizza Hut Big Pizza Sliders

Pizza Hut Pizza Sliders

These Pizza Hut Pizza Sliders are so cute. Wook at how wittle they are. Who’s a wittle pizza? You’re a wittle pizza!

How wittle are each Pizza Slider?

The mini pizzas are 3.5 inches across and about a inch tall. To give you an idea of how big that is, a Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pizza is six inches in diameter.

Oh, that’s not enough to satisfy your pizza-eating, number-crunching brain?

Well then, according to the Pizza Hut website, a Pizza Hut Pepperoni Personal Pan Pizza weighs 201 grams (or 7.1 ounces) and, according to my heavily used postal scale covered in a thin layer of white powder, one Pizza Hut Pizza Slider topped with cheese and pepperoni weighs 68 grams (or 2.4 ounces). As you can see, there’s a significant difference in size. However, the Pizza Hut Pizza Sliders are available with three or nine pieces. So, if I were to use the power of addition, it turns out three Pizza Sliders weigh 204 grams (7.2 ounces) or roughly the same as a Pizza Hut Pepperoni Personal Pan Pizza.

Math!

Pizza Hut Pizza Sliders Closeup2

With the Pizza Sliders, you’re allowed up to three topping in three different topping combinations. Although, if you want to be complete asshat to a Pizza Hut employee, you can do so by ordering the nine-piece Pizza Hut Pizza Sliders and asking to have each one customized. I’m not an asshat so picked up the nine-piece Pizza Sliders and asked for three pizzas with pepperoni, three with sausage, and the last three with sausage, red onions, and tomatoes.

Pizza Hut Pizza Sliders Back

If you’re familiar with Pizza Hut pizza, then you’ll pretty much know what Pizza Hut Pizza Sliders taste like. The pepperoni and sausage ones I ordered tasted just like regular pepperoni and sausage pizzas from Pizza Hut. Although I thought the crust wasn’t as buttery and crispy as a Pizza Hut Pan Pizza’s crust. Also, each pizza didn’t have much sauce underneath the cheese. If I were to order this again, I’d spend the extra cash and get a dipping sauce to make them a little more exciting.

Overall, Pizza Hut’s Pizza Sliders are good, if you enjoy Pizza Hut pizza because they taste just like Pizza Hut pizza. However, because they taste just like Pizza Hut pizza, they aren’t very noteworthy.

(Nutrition Facts – It’s Pizza Hut pizza, so don’t imagine it’s healthy food.)

Other Pizza Hut Pizza Sliders reviews:
Grub Grade

Item: Pizza Hut Big Pizza Sliders
Purchased Price: $12.00 (for nine)*
Size: 9 Pizza Sliders
Purchased at: Pizza Hut
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Adorable. Tastes just like regular Pizza Hut pizza. Three Pizza Sliders are the same weight as a Personal Pan Pizza. Allows you to test different topping combinations. Math!
Cons: Crust less buttery and crispy than Pizza Hut Pan Pizzas. Not very innovative. Didn’t have much sauce under the cheese. Only allowed three different topping combinations. Asshats who ask to customize all nine Pizza Sliders.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, I pay more for things. You’ll probably pay $10, like most of the country will.

REVIEW LIGHTNING ROUND (STORE BRAND EDITION) – 2/5/2013

CVS Pharmacy revamped their Gold Emblem line of snacks and they sent us a bunch. Here are quick reviews of a few of them:

Gold Emblem Classic Blend Trail Mix

Closeup View

Item: Gold Emblem Classic Blend Trail Mix
Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 16 ounces
Purchased at: Received from CVS Pharmacy
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Really good. Uses real M&M’s. Has a lot of peanuts, raisins, and M&M’s. FreshLock zipper is strong enough to turn bag into pillow on trail. No trans fat.
Cons: Basic trail mix. Could use more cashews and almonds. Having to share these with others on a trail. Raisins weren’t very plump. Makes horrible markers to trace your way through a forest because they’ll be eaten by forest creatures.

Gold Emblem Dark Chocolate Covered Jumbo Cashews

Closeup View

Item: Gold Emblem Dark Chocolate Covered Jumbo Cashews
Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 10.5 ounces
Purchased at: Received from CVS Pharmacy
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Good. Decent dark chocolate. A little addictive. Thick coating of dark chocolate. Decent source of fiber. 50 percent cacao (I think this is a good thing). I can pretend I’m eating human kidneys.
Cons: Cashews weren’t very crunchy and their flavor got lost in the chocolate most of the time. Cashews were normal sized, chocolate made them look bigger. Contained several opposite of jumbo cashews.

Gold Emblem Black Cherry Flavored Sparking Water

Item: Gold Emblem Black Cherry Flavored Sparking Water
Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 33.8 fl. ounces
Purchased at: Received from CVS Pharmacy
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Pleasant cherry aroma. Decent mild cherry flavor at first. Calorie free. Fat free. Clear.
Cons: Flavor becomes less appealing the more I drink it. Weak carbonation. Loses whatever carbonation it has really fast. Artificial sweeteners seems to leave a coat in my mouth. Contains no juice. Caffeine free.

Gold Emblem Absolute Divine Chocolate Chip Cookies

Closeup View

Item: Gold Emblem Absolute Divine Chocolate Chip Cookies
Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 10.6 ounces
Purchased at: Received from CVS Pharmacy
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Surprisingly, they’re slightly better than Chips Ahoy. Addictive. Bigger chocolate chips than Chips Ahoy. Loaded with chocolate chips. No trans fat. Ate half the box in one sitting.
Cons: Not absolutely divine. I had divine cookies and these aren’t even divine. As bad for you as Chips Ahoy. Packaging isn’t resealable. Forgetting to try them after microwaving them for 10 seconds. Ate half the box in one sitting.

REVIEW: 7 Up Ten, A&W Root Beer Ten, Sunkist Ten

7 Up Ten, A&W Root Beer Ten, Sunkist Ten

According to basic high school chemistry, which I managed to somehow retain despite frequent non-approved nap breaks during 10th grade, a single gram of carbohydrates contains exactly four calories*.

*3.9 if you want to get all technical about it.

According to even simpler preschool math, I have also managed to remember (although in this case, I credit school-sponsored naps) one plus one equals two and four plus four equals eight. So with two grams of total carbohydrates, it’s perfectly reasonable to think the eight calories per can of the new 7 Up, and Sunkist low-calorie sodas would take on names like 7 Up Eight or Sunkist Eight. Likewise, you might think the folks at RootBeer.com would piggyback “Twelve” onto the end of the name for their new low calorie, three carbohydrate version of A&W Root Beer.

Except they didn’t, mostly on account of the FDA having this whole rounding thing going when it comes to calories, but also because saying you’re an “eight” is like wearing a pin that sports how moderately above average but not spectacular you are.

It makes sense when you think about it. I mean, when was the last time you bragged to your friends about scoring that “eight” at the bar or walked into an interview touting the fact that you earned the equivalent of a B- grade point average? Face it. An eight is like losing in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. It’s not horrible, but nobody really cares or remembers. And 12? Don’t even get me started on 12. Hyperbole might be all well and good for cartoons, but when it comes to superlatives in my food, I can see right through that marketing fallacy.

So we’re left with rounding up on two new sodas and rounding down on one new soda to get us to the magic ten calories which give the new 7 Up Ten, Sunkist Ten, and A&W Ten sodas their names.

It’s not the first time a “Ten” soda has been released. Aside from their calorie (or lack thereof) content, the only thing the new flavors of “Ten” sodas have in common with the previously released Dr. Pepper Ten is that they’re owned by the same company. Otherwise, I would have pegged them as the last sodas to get an upgrade in flavor. Popular Coke or Pepsi products, or something otherwise legendary and iconic? I could see that. Who wouldn’t kill for a Cheerwine 10? But 7 Up, A&W, and Sunkist? This is like the cast of characters that come back for reality shows like Rachel Vs. Guy Celebrity Cooks. But considering this is the most play 7 Up has gotten since Spot Goes to Hollywood hit the Sega Saturn and the most love any flavor of orange soda has gotten since Kel Mitchell went all PG-13 on that bottle in All That, well, I guess it was time for something different.

7 Up Ten

I started with 7 Up Ten because that seemed like the soda that could be the least offensive of the three. Or as I like to say, boring. Go figure, boring is exactly how it tasted. It has your characteristic diet soda body in that it didn’t leave any syrupy sensation going down, and it lacked the “bite” or harshness which something like Sprite Zero or Diet Sierra Mist has. The carbonation meter on 7 Up is still on the wimpy side, while the taste lacks any zing or pizzazz or other onomatopoeic word you would use to describe soda. It’s terribly typical, and almost indiscernible from Diet 7 Up. I was not a fan.

Sunkist Ten

Next, I moved on to Sunkist Ten because the taste of 7 Up Ten left me feeling pretty plain about my soda drinking and because I thought it would help my self-esteem to be kist by the orange sun of celestial citrus goodness. Of course, I’ve had Diet Sunkist plenty of times in my life and have found it to be about as dull and exciting as getting kist by a grey sun peeking through the fog on a cloudy day.

Sunkist Ten, for some reason completely unexplainable to me, has a much greater intensity and brighter orange flavor than Diet Sunkist, putting it closer to our image of an actual sun kisting you. The carbonation walks the line of being just enough to give you a few quiet burps but not enough to make embarrass you at the office lunch meeting, while the sharper flavor of the orange and citrus do a much better job at covering up the harsh aftertaste of aspartame. Quite frankly, it’s about damn time we got low calorie orange soda that didn’t suck, and would give me cause to consider why someone like Kel Mitchell would kist it back.

A&W Ten

With two flavors of ten sodas down (that’s 16 calories, for those keeping track) I moved on to A&W Ten, which prides itself on having aged vanilla flavor.  I’m going to have to take their word for it because I don’t think I’ve ever had aged vanilla before, unless you count the pint of nine-month expired Ben and Jerry’s I once bought at a thrift grocery store.

I thought the taste was a moderate improvement over regular Diet A&W, with the actual liquid having a bit more body and the vanilla and sassafras flavor coming across as sharper and better defined. It’s a good low calorie root beer, although it’s still not nearly as good as Barq’s Zero, which has a serious bite and no calories, but is only available through Coke Freestyle machines. I don’t think they sell those in 12-packs though, so I consider A&W Ten an acceptable substitute for the time being.

The cynic in me wants to back up the assertion that making sodas out of two of the most hated ingredients – high fructose corn syrup and aspartame – isn’t going to please anyone in the regular soda vs. diet soda debate, and if I was going off of 7 Up Ten alone, I’d probably just tell you to buy regular Diet 7 Up or 7 Up depending on your preference.

But as I lifelong diet soda drinker who occasionally dabbles in the empty sugar rush of HFCS-sweetened beverages, I can say there’s a real improvement of flavor and body in both Sunkist and A&W Ten that makes them highly preferable to their zero calorie predecessors.

(Nutrition Facts – 12 ounces – 7Up Ten – 10 calories, 0 grams of fat, 45 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbs, 2 grams of sugars, and 0 grams of protein. A&W Root Beer Ten – 10 calories, 0 grams of fat, 80 milligrams of sodium, 3 grams of carbs, 2 grams of sugars, and 0 grams of protein. Sunkist Ten – 10 calories, 0 grams of fat, 130 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbs, 2 grams of sugars, and 0 grams of protein.)

Other 7 Up Ten, A&W Root Beer Ten, Sunkist Ten reviews:
BevReview: 7 Up Ten, A&W Ten, Sunkist Ten
Purple Knee Socks
Diet Coke Babies

Item: 7 Up Ten, A&W Root Beer Ten, Sunkist Ten
Purchased Price: 25 cents each
Size: 12 ounce cans
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 3 out of 10 (7 Up Ten)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (A&W Ten)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Sunkist Ten)
Pros: Low calorie. Sunkist Ten is like being kist by the sun without the risk of skin cancer. Aged Vanilla in A&W Ten actually tastes more defined and sharper than in diet version. Busting out the Sega Saturn references. School sponsored naps.
Cons: None have heavy bite and carbonation that will get you through the first half of burping the alphabet. 7 Up Ten tastes just like Diet 7 Up. Contains a whole bunch of chemicals that the internet says will give me cancer. Still have Diet Soda body, and not the body you get from abstaining from regular soda, if you know what I mean.

SPOTTED ON SHELVES – 2/4/2013

Here are some interesting new and limited edition products found on store shelves by us and your fellow readers.

Limited Edition Chocolatey Chocolate Chip Eggo Wafflers

“No syrup needed!” I am not going to let a frozen food box tell me when syrup is needed or not needed. I am an adult. I am old enough to make my own choices. I am going to smother these Limited Edition Chocolatey Chocolate Chip Eggo Wafflers with Hershey’s syrup. I am also going to go into a sugar coma after, but again, I am an adult who made that horrible choice. (Spotted by Tracy at Target.)

Limited Edition Kellogg's Apple Jacks with Marshmallows

If marshmallows are what it take to make a Kellogg’s “limited edition” cereal, then I look forward to Limited Edition Cocoa Puffs with Marshmallows, Limited Edition Frosted Flakes with Marshmallows, Limited Edition Corn Pops with Marshmallows, and Product 19 with Marshmallows. (Spotted by Cortney at Shoppers Food Warehouse.)

Special K Berry Streusel Pastry Crisps

When Special K Pastry Crisps started popping up on shelves, we reviewed a few of the original flavors. Pastry Crisps can’t be put in a toaster, but I think of them as adult Pop-Tarts. Also, you’ll have to eat four of them to get roughly the same amount of calories, fat, and sugar as one Pop-Tart. (Spotted by Marvo at Target.)

Screamin' Green Apple Yoplait GoGurt Twisted

I’m not so sure what’s so screamin’ about Yoplait’s Go-Gurt Twisted Screamin’ Green Apple. Does the screaming happen after I tell children they ate something healthy or after I tell them they’re eating green alien blood and red alien intestine? I’m going to be an awesome parent someday! (Spotted by Marvo at Target.)

Thank you to all the photo contributors! If you’re out shopping and see an interesting new or limited edition product on the shelf (or really unusual), snap a picture of it, and send us an email (theimpulsivebuy@gmail.com) with where you found it and “Spotted” in the subject line. If you do so, you might see your picture in our next Spotted on Shelves post.