WEEK IN REVIEWS – 7/30/2011

Cap Juluca - Anguilla - Nicest Beaches

Here are a few product reviews posted this week from other blogs we follow.

Hmm. First, it was Pepsi Blue Hawaii. And now Pepsi Japan has released Pepsi Caribbean Gold. What tropical islands and color will they do next? I don’t know, but my money is on Fiji Fuchsia. (via Japanese Snack Reviews)

This bologna has a first name it’s B-U-B-B-L-E-G-U-M. This bologna has a second name it’s the sound of vomiting into a toilet. (via Clearance Cuisine)

One. Two. Three. Four. Four BK Minis reviews. (thunder and lightning) AH AH AH AH AH! (via An Immovable Feast, Grub Grade, Foodette Reviews, and Fat Guy Food Blog)

Thin ‘n Trim Garden Vegetable Chicken Sausage? I believe there are six words in the previous sentence that should never be in the same sentence as “sausage.” (via Dave’s Cupboard)

REVIEW: Kellogg’s FiberPlus Antioxidants Caramel Pecan Crunch Cereal

Kellogg's FiberPlus Antioxidants Caramel Pecan Crunch

This being my second straight review involving a fiber-heavy product, a lot of you probably expect me to lay down a bunch of infantile poo jokes.  Well, shame on you for making assumptions, because they make an ass out of you and me.  I promise that will occur only insofar as ALL of my reviews eventually devolve into poo jokes.  But rest assured, I’m not going to go out of my way to drop nuggets of fecal hilarity on you.  That would seem forced, and I’d rather just relax and let things flow naturally.  Okay?

So what we have here is a product aiming to quench my unslakable appetite for cereal, keep me healthy, and keep me, er, regular.  All without making me want to carve out my taste buds with an apple corer.  No small task, but this is an entirely different fiber-based product line from the last one, so it would be unprofessional to just assume it’s going to be bad, and that’s not what we do here at The Impulsive Buy. 

What we DO do is give unbiased reviews, and that starts with visual appraisal.  So I should note that out of the box, FiberPlus Antioxidants Caramel Pecan Crunch appears kind of… meh.  It basically looks like a bowl of Total with some random lumps of randomness mixed in.  The lumps don’t look like anything in particular, just little pellets of, presumably, flavor country.  I don’t know if I expected them to look like those little squares of caramel, but they absolutely do not.  If it is theoretically possible to look like the exact literal opposite of a caramel square, that’s what they look like.  Examination of the box indicates they are, in fact, the pecans, but you probably wouldn’t guess that just by looking at them.

Kellogg's FiberPlus Antioxidants Caramel Pecan Crunch Bowl

Still, as your fourth grade teacher took pains to impress upon you, we judge others not by what they look like, but by how they taste.  And that’s where the Caramel Pecan Crunch both surprises and, if not delights, at least generally pleases, because the flavor is far more palatable and caramel-…y than expected.  Rather than a hint, they seem to have included a smattering, dare I say a dollop of caramel in each flake, and it results in a pretty flavorful cereal.  Don’t get me wrong — it’s not going to overwhelm you with the richness of the caramel, and you’re unlikely to trick yourself into thinking you’re eating pecan pie.  But since I was expecting maybe one step above cardboard if I was lucky, a fiber cereal that has a fair amount of sweetness and actually does taste like what it says on the box is a welcome relief.

There’s no question that any pecan flavor takes a definite backseat to the caramel.  Where the pecans really contribute is in terms of consistency, as even a caramel-flavored cereal runs the risk of getting boring if it’s just flakes.  The pecan lumps both break up the monotony and provide the “crunch” promised in the name.  Admit it, “Caramel Flakes” just doesn’t sound as appealing, does it?  That said, I’d still prefer that they have a more discernible taste presence.  And be warned, Kellogg’s turned down Cap’n Crunch’s generous “protection” offer, so these do get soggy in milk pretty quickly.

I’ll concede it may be benefiting from lowered expectations, but as far as I’m concerned, FiberPlus Antioxidants Caramel Pecan Crunch does all I could ask of it: it’s fairly healthy (by breakfast cereal standards), it helps with that thing we’re all thinking of but I’ve run out of jokes for, and it’s fairly tasty.  That’s a win in my book, so if you’re a caramel fan, you should definitely buy a box and see what you think.
(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup – 170 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1.5 grams of total fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 110 milligrams of potassium, 43 grams of total carbohydrates, 9 grams of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugars, 22 grams of other carbohydrates, and 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Kellogg’s FiberPlus Antioxidants Caramel Pecan Crunch
Price: $3.49
Size: 15.5 ounces
Purchased at: Acme
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Healthy cereals that don’t taste like crap.  Real caramel taste.  Decent aroma.  Mysterious “crunch” element helps balance out the flakes.  Flavor country.  Beats other fiber-based products like they stole something.
Cons: Total + unidentified lumps = not appealing.  Understated pecans.  Predictable poop jokes.  Become soggy quickly.  Looking like the opposite of caramel squares.

REVIEW: Hershey’s Air Delight Aerated Milk Chocolate Bar

Hershey's Air Delight Aerated Milk Chocolate Bar

When I lived in England, there were three things I did routinely for fun: Drink, watch reruns of The Simpsons, and eat chocolate. Not necessarily in that order, but often during the course of a single day. There was this milk chocolate candy bar called Wispa, which was very fun to say in a British accent and unique to my American chocolate sensibilities due to the fact that it was “aerated.” The chocolate had tiny air bubbles in it, which didn’t change the flavor of the bar in any way, but did make the texture a little creamier. Cadbury’s Wispa bar was sort of interesting for what it was at the time (it was discontinued after I left and renamed Dairy Milk Bubbly, which sounds HORRIBLE), but it was still a plain old chocolate bar that melted in me gob faster than I could say “Bob’s-your-uncle.” Gov’na.

Hershey's Air Delight Aerated Milk Chocolate Bar Outtards

Inexplicably, aerated chocolate has been a trend in Europe for a long time (see also: Aero bars), and now, it’s finally landed on our shores. Hershey’s has released a similar milk chocolate bar that they have dubbed “Hershey’s Air Delight.” Just like the Wispa, it’s chock-full o’ holes. Irregularly-shaped holes. Now let’s get something nice and sparkling clear. I happen to be one of those people who has an unpleasant visceral reaction to the sight of many irregularly-shaped holes or circles clustered together on an object. Things like sea sponges and rashes make my skin crawl. I don’t believe I’m alone in this. OK, maybe I am… But at least I know that it could be a lot worse.

One of my very good friends can’t stand the sight of bubbles or a mound of beads when they are evenly-spaced and of equal shape and size, which you are probably far more likely to encounter in daily life. As a clean freak, the possibility of constantly getting the creepy-crawlies from dish bubbles would mean I was destined for a lifetime of discomfort, so I’m grateful for the small (evenly-shaped) things.

That being said, Hershey’s Air Delight Aerated Milk Chocolate uses these misshapen air bubbles to make you think they’ve packed more chocolate into the same package when they’re actually giving you less. Half of the candy bar you just bought is air. The Air Delight bar is divided into several rectangular pieces, just like the original Hershey’s bar, but the pieces are slightly thicker. When you bite into it, it feels a little bit crumblier and crispier than a normal chocolate bar, but that could be because the holes (ergh!) are collapsing upon each other. The aerated milk chocolate itself tastes like regular milk chocolate and seems a bit creamier.

Hershey's Air Delight Aerated Milk Chocolate Bar Innards

Now, let’s get to the uncomfortable part. The holes (gah!) are like honeycomb. Teensy little bubbles in the chocolate. I tried not to look too closely lest I would want to scratch off my own flesh, but it was actually not that bad. I guess the knowledge that the bubble/holes are edible and not caused by pestilence makes it more tolerable.

Anyway, Hershey’s Air Delight is a fine milk chocolate bar with a nice milk chocolate flavor, even if the aerating process doesn’t really add anything to it but a slight crunchiness when you bite and a smooth creaminess when you chew — a small reward for blowing air holes in my candy. Now if they had been speed holes to make the chocolate bar go faster, that would have been awesome.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar (1.44 ounces/40 grams) – 200 calories, 12 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 0.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 30 milligrams of sodium, 300 milligrams of potassium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 22 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein, 8% calcium, and 2% iron.)

Other Hershey’s Air Delight Aerated Milk Chocolate Bar reviews:
Obsessive Sweets
Foodette Reviews
Fat Guy Food Blog
A Taste of Koko
Random Dude Eats Random Food

Item: Hershey’s Air Delight Aerated Milk Chocolate Bar
Price: $1.19
Size: 1.44 ounces
Purchased at: CVS
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Delicious Hershey’s milk chocolate flavor. Fanciful chocolate bar names spoken in foreign accents. Bigger, thicker candy bar pieces. Has a nice crunch. Melts in your mouth. Speed holes.
Cons: Irregularly-shaped holes. Aeration process does nothing more than inject air into the candy and siphon money from your wallet. Creepy-crawlies. European candy trends that don’t really make sense. Candy bar holes are not speed holes.

NEWS: Totino’s Creates A New Way To Stuff Your Face With Their Pizza

Totino's Pizza Stuffers

The new Totino’s Pizza Stuffers look like Totino’s took their Party Pizza, folded one end over the other, and then used a mad scientist’s shrink ray to get it down to a size slightly bigger than two or three of their Pizza Rolls.

Or if you eat a lot of Pizza Hut, they look like mini P’Zones.

Or if you eat a lot dim sum, they look like pizza potstickers.

Totino’s Pizza Stuffers come in three varieties: pepperoni, combination, and cheese. Each box contains four Pizza Stuffers and are microwaveable, but, disappointingly, don’t come with crisping sleeves.

A Pepperoni Pizza Stuffer has 280 calories, 15 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 760 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, and 7 grams of protein. A Combination Pizza Stuffer has 270 calories, 14 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 700 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, and 7 grams of protein. Both were made using partially hydrogenated soybean oil.

NEWS: Subway Makes Milk Obsolete By Adding Calcium and Vitamin D To Their Bread

Subway addict ...

This week, Subway, where we can all Eat Fresh, announced it has now added calcium and vitamin D to their line of fresh baked bread. A six-inch serving of bread provides 30 percent of the daily recommnded value of calcium and 20 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin D.

For those of you who didn’t take nutrition classes or don’t read random Wikipedia entries late at night to pass the time while your torrents download:

“One of the most important roles of vitamin D is to maintain skeletal calcium balance by promoting calcium absorption in the intestines, promoting bone resorption by increasing osteoclast number, maintaining calcium and phosphate levels for bone formation, and allowing proper functioning of parathyroid hormone to maintain serum calcium levels.”

With Subway adding calcium to their bread, it’s now possible to get more than 100 percent of the daily recommended amount of calcium in one meal at Subway. Using the nutrition table on Subway’s website, I can get 60 percent if I order a footlong turkey breast sandwich using their 9-grain wheat bread, then another 20 percent if I add provolone cheese to it, and if I get the meal, I can get 45 percent if I order a low-fat milk and another 8 percent if I get a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos. That’s a grand total of 133 percent of the daily recommended value of calcium.

It’s also 1,070 calories, 31.5 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 12 grams of fiber, and 2,360 milligrams of sodium. But who’s counting?

The calcium and vitamin D fortified bread should be available now at your local Subway restaurant.