REVIEW: Wrigley’s 5 Gum (Lush and Elixir)

Back in my day, the only fruit-flavored gum we had was Juicy Fruit. It came in banana yellow packaging, you couldn’t make bubbles for shit with it, it did nothing to freshen breath, and if I were caught chewing it, I got called “fruity,” which at 10 years old I had no idea what that meant, nor did the 8 year old bullies calling me that. Chewing gum companies have recently been releasing a plethora of fruit-flavored gum, like the Wrigley’s 5 Gum Lush and Elixir flavors, and I can understand why. Because all the mint flavor names are taken.

Spearmint, Peppermint, Wintermint, Chill Mint, Ice Mint, Mint Blast, Shiver Mint, Cool Mint, Fresh Mint, Mint Freeze, Frost Mint, Arctic Chill, Cool Frost, Winter Ice, Wild Winter, Vanilla Frost, Hypermint, Icy Blast, Sweetmint, Winterfresh, Polar Ice, Supermint, Crystal Mint, Winterfrost, Midnight Cool, Ice Fresh, and I could go on and on until the break of dawn, but as you can see the minds that hawk mint gums pretty much have sucked the cock of minty marketing names dry to the point where not even tickling the balls of creativity will help.

I’m of the mindset that gum should be used for freshening breath or if you want to digest something for seven years. I don’t want my breath smelling like fruit. What am I? A five dollar backalley whore? Everyone knows that high-class hookers chew minty gum, unless their client wants them to chew something else, but that usually involves a schoolgirl outfit and costs extra. However, the Wrigley’s 5 Lush and Elixir flavors are slowing making me realize that perhaps being a five dollar backalley whore isn’t so bad.

With a name like Lush, I expected it to taste like Tara Reid or any cast member from MTV’s Real World, but instead it had a tropical flavor, which tasted like it consisted of pineapple, banana, and another fruit, which I couldn’t figure out. It was good and it tasted similar to other “tropical” products I’ve tried in the past. As for the Elixir flavor, its berry taste starts out gross, but once the initial flavor subsides after about a minute or two, it becomes a decent chew and has a strawberry-ish taste. While chewing Elixir I was hoping it would increase my hit points in my RPG game called Life, but I checked my stats and I’m still a “Fruity Weakling.”

(Nutrition Facts – 1 stick – Less than 5 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, 2 grams of sugar alcohol, 0 grams of protein, 0 ounces of alcohol, and 0 hit points attained.)

(Editor’s Note: Gigi also reviewed these flavors at her blog. You can read her reviews here and here. TIB reviewed the original Wrigley’s 5 gum flavors last year. You can read that review by clicking here.)

Item: Wrigley’s 5 Gum (Lush and Elixir)
Price: $1.49 each
Size: 15 pieces
Purchased at: Wal-Mart
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Lush)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Elixir)
Pros: Tropical flavored Lush has a good flavor. Once the initial flavor subsides, Elixir has a decent strawberry-ish flavor. Sugarfree. Decent lasting flavor. 15 sticks per pack. Nice packaging. Lush doesn’t taste like a Real World cast member.
Cons: Not minty. Elixir’s initial flavor is gross. Uses aspartame. The cock of minty gum names is all used up. Elixir didn’t give me any hit points. Digesting gum. Five dollar backalley whores. I’m still a Fruity Weakling.

Costa Rican Pineapple Fizzy Lizzy

I know what you’re thinking to yourself. Who is this Lizzy? Why is she fizzy? And why can’t Lizzy take some Tums to stop making her fizzy? I could search the internet through Google, Wikipedia, or the Fizzy Lizzy website, but that would make me dizzy. However, by looking at the image on the label that probably wasn’t even modeled after Lizzy, I can figure out many things about her.

First off, Lizzy looks like she enjoys dressing like she’s from the 1920s in long sleeves and a long skirt, although that plunging neckline makes it a little more contemporary. Maybe she wears long sleeves and a long skirt because she’s “all-natural,” just like her Costa Rican Pineapple Fizzy Lizzy drink, which just consists of 37 percent triple-filtered carbonated water and 63 percent pineapple juice concentrate.

The next thing I noticed about Lizzy from the graphics on the bottle is that she either has a tree branch for a tail or likes to fart plants. This is good because it shows that she cares about the environment and loves nature, which she should since 100 percent of her Costa Rican Pineapple Fizzy Lizzy comes from nature.

(Editor’s Note: I’m pretty sure this is definitely the first AND last time Fizzy Lizzy will ever send me a product to review. Actually, I’m surprised companies keep sending us stuff.)

Another item I noticed about Lizzy from looking at the artwork on the label is that she not only loves 1920s fashion, but she also loves the original Charlie’s Angels, especially Kate Jackson, because she’s totally rocking the sexy Sabrina Duncan hairstyle. Finally, I noticed Lizzy demands perfection. I can tell this by the way she has her hands on her hips like a stern mother or a leather-clad, whip-wielding dominatrix. This perfection also shows in the quality of the Costa Rican Pineapple Fizzy Lizzy.

When I opened up the bottle, it smelled like canned pineapple juice, but its taste was not as overwhelming as pineapple juice. It was very easy to drink because it wasn’t carbonated as I thought it would be. I enjoyed it very much and it is probably the best and tastiest way to get 100% of your Vitamin C in a fizzy pineapple juice form, although before drinking it I had to do a little dance with it to mix the juice which had settled to the bottom, which bothered me because I’m nobody’s monkey, despite how hairy I am.

(Nutrition Facts – 12 ounces – 90 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 23 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, 100% Vitamin C, and 1 rhyming name.)

Item: Costa Rican Pineapple Fizzy Lizzy
Price: FREE (Retails for $1.49 – $1.99)
Size: 12 ounces
Purchased at: Given by Fizzy Lizzy…probably for the last time.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Tasty and easy to drink. Sweet, but not too sweet. Pineapple wasn’t overwhelming. Low fat. Low calorie. No added sugars. The best and tastiest way to get 100% of your Vitamin C in a fizzy pineapple juice form. Name rhymes (I’m a sucker for rhymes). Sabrina Duncan.
Cons: Having to shake its hips before placing it on my lips. Twist top was difficult to take off or I’m a total wuss. Not easily available. Pineapple may not be a fruit people are willing to drink without the colada. My poor characterization of Lizzy through the artwork on the bottle.

Starbucks Vivanno Nourishing Blends

Oh yeah, Ms. Starbucks Barista. I see you flashing your smile at me, even though I’m in the back of this line that’s ten people deep and I’m partially hidden behind the rack of CDs I would never purchase for myself, but if you want, I could purchase one just for you, even though you probably have an employee discount and you don’t buy CDs anymore since you buy all your music on iTunes.

I originally came to Starbucks for one thing, the new Starbucks Vivanno Nourishing Blends…actually, I take that back, I came for two things since these new smoothies come in two flavors, Orange Mango Banana and Banana Chocolate, but now I’m here for three things, an Orange Mango Banana Vivanno, a Banana Chocolate Vivanno, and your heart.

Oooh, you’re so hot. You put the “hot” in hot chocolate. You put the “cha” in chai and mocha. I just want to take one of these Ethos Water bottles and pour it all over you to cool you down. Don’t worry, I’ll pay for it later…with some sweet lovin’. Speaking of things involving long objects, each Vivanno includes one whole banana. The Orange Mango Banana version also includes all-natural mango orange juice, whey protein, fiber powder, 2% milk, and ice, while the Banana Chocolate has bittersweet cocoa, 2% milk, whey protein, fiber powder, and ice.

Thank you for blending these Vivanno for me. You look sexy in that green apron you have on. Maybe you’ll get the opportunity to tie me up or strangle me with it. Speaking of overwhelming, the banana flavor was quite so in both Vivanno flavors.

But alas, you and I, sexy barista, weren’t meant to be. My heart skipped a beat when you called out my name because it made me feel special that you knew my name, but you only knew because it was written on the side of the cups and not because you made every effort to sneak a peek at my name on my American Express Blue card. I also knew you and I weren’t meant to be, because both the Vivanno you blended for me weren’t very good.

The Banana Chocolate Vivanno had a decent chocolate flavor, which wasn’t too sweet and reminded me of chocolate milk. The Orange Mango Banana Vivanno reminded me of an Orange Julius, except not as orangey. The Banana Chocolate one was kind of chalky due to the whey protein powder and it didn’t have the thickness of a smoothie, like those at Jamba Juice, instead it was watery and didn’t have those ice crystals which give real smoothies a satisfying crunch. The Orange Mango Banana one was bland and also watery. I wish you put more crushed ice in there, but I guess you don’t love me enough to do so.

(Nutrition Facts – 16 ounces – Orange Mango Banana – 250 calories, 2 grams of fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 32 grams of sugar, 16 grams of protein, 35% Vitamin A, 35% Vitamin C, 10% Calcium, 4% Iron, 0 milligrams of caffeine, and 10-15 minutes of waiting depending on length of line to barista. Banana Chocolate – 270 calories, 5 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 28 grams of sugar, 21 grams of protein, 10% Vitamin A, 15% Vitamin C, 20% Calcium, 15% Iron, 15 milligrams of caffeine, and 1 ounce tears of disappointment.)

(Editor’s Note: Here are other opinions from Serious Eats, Slashfood, and Food-Notes. Also, thanks to Eric for suggesting today’s product.)

Item: Starbucks Vivanno
Price: $3.75 (16 ounces – grande)
Purchased at: Starbucks
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: A serving of fruit. If you like bananas, the banana flavor was strong in both of them. Under 270 calories. Vitamins and minerals. Fiber. Protein. Hot baristas.
Cons: One size only. Watery, not smoothie-like. Banana Chocolate one had a slightly chalky texture to it. Needed more crushed ice. Orange Mango Banana was bland. Waiting in a line of Starbucks junkies to get one.

REVIEW: Hot Pockets Philly Steak and Cheese Croissant

If Hot Pockets were a movie franchise, it would probably be Batman. Like Batman, the Hot Pocket has a crusty exterior but a center that burns hotter than a thousand blazing suns. Anyone who’s ever scorched their taste buds on a Pocket after not waiting the recommended minute can attest to this. Both franchises bring comfort to lonely nerds everywhere who will always make every new iteration a commercial success. Finally, and perhaps most regretfully, both are marred with tremendous cheesiness in the middle − Hot Pockets with a mysterious processed cheese sauce and Batman with Joel Schumacher.

The mystery sauce is no more, however, as Hot Pockets has finally decided to integrate real cheese into their product. This is definitely one of life’s pleasant surprises, like finding a dollar under your couch or witnessing MILFy Travel Channel host Samantha Brown turn into a filthy slut on her new show. It just goes to show that even simple things that are unexpected can bring pleasure to your life. If they ever decide to make it with real meat, my head would almost certainly explode with joy.

Indeed, the meat is still the same processed “beef steak” that shares textural similarities with silicon foam. To its credit, the flavor is similar enough to real chopped steak to be passable. With the peppers and cheese inside, you won’t really notice the difference. And let’s be honest; when you find yourself enjoying a Hot Pocket, you’ll probably be too drunk to care.

The addition of real cheese is immediately noticeable. The naturally stringy texture is a nice of pace from the typical radioactively bright orange sauces that Hot Pockets typically deploys. The croissant crust is flakier and more flavorful than the regular Hot Pocket crust and can almost make you forget that you’re eating a frozen sandwich product in a cardboard sleeve. Overall, this is one of the best Hot Pockets on the market and one of the few that you shouldn’t be ashamed to eat.

I pray that this is a sign of things to come and that we will never see the Hot Pockets equivalent of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze again.

(Nutritional Facts – 1 pocket – 340 calories, 160 calories from fat, 18 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 20 mg of cholesterol, 550mg sodium, 34 grams of carbs, 1 grams of dietary fiber, 6 grams of sugar, 10 grams of protein, 6% Vitamin A, 0% Vitamin C, 20% Calcium, 10% Iron, 15% Thiamaine, 10% Riboflavin, 8% Vitamin B12, 10% Niacin, 15% Folic Acid, and 10% Phosphorus)

Item: Hot Pockets Philly Steak and Cheese Croissant
Price: $2.00
Purchased at: Albertsons
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Same flavor as an authentic Philly Cheese Steak. Addition of real cheese makes it taste like something that humans should actually eat. Croissant crust is flaky and flavorful. Samantha Brown acting like a slutty sorority girl.
Cons: Still uses spongy processed meat. Eating something out a cardboard sleeve still feels humiliating. Mr. Freeze.

Kraft Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese Crackers

Somewhere on this vast planet we call Earth, there is a lazy macaroni and cheese lover who is thinking they can now have the goodness of their favorite food without the damn preparation with these new Kraft Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese Crackers. I applaud that person for their desire to be the laziest fucker on the planet, a title I twice attempted to achieve when I was too lazy pick up the remote control which was at my feet and tried to change channel with my toes and when I was too lazy to walk to the bathroom and peed in a large tumbler I was drinking from that was half full with apple juice.

The Kraft Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese Crackers are like Goldfish, except without the cuteness, like Cheese Nips, expect without the unintentional derogatory language, and like Cheez-It crackers, except without the poor second grade level spelling error. Unfortunately for the lazy bastard who loves Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, these crackers didn’t really taste like their favorite comfort food, instead they tasted just like Cheez-It crackers. However, if you love the taste of Cheez-It crackers, but are a grammar Nazi or annoyed with the hole in the middle of each Cheez-It, these elbow macaroni shaped cheese crackers might just be for you.

Despite having the iconic “Kraft Macaroni & Cheese” name supporting it, ampersand included, I wasn’t too impressed with the Kraft Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese Crackers because they tasted like other cheese flavored crackers. They were good and I had fun sucking the orange powder from my fingers, but they just don’t represent good old Kraft Mac & Cheese very well. They were crunchy, although not as crunchy as uncooked elbow macaroni. Just like my ego and Whitney Houston’s crackhead teeth, each hollow cracker was quite brittle and perhaps that was the reason why there were a lot of broken pieces in the box I purchased.

Now that there are Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Crackers, I’m hoping for either Kraft Cheese Whiz Crackers or Velveeta Crackers, just so that all processed cheese products can have their own crunchy cracker to call their own.

(Nutrition Facts – 40 pieces – 150 calories, 7 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 2.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 280 milligrams of sodium, 45 milligrams of potassium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 grams of fiber, 1 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein, 4% calcium, 6% iron, and 5 orange tipped fingers.)

Item: Kraft Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese Crackers
Price: $3.00
Size:: 8 ounces
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Good. Crunchy. Made with real cheddar cheese. Sucking my fingers. Cheez-It necklace. Real mac and cheese with mushrooms and ham.
Cons: Uninspired taste. Hollow and brittle. Tastes like Cheez-It crackers. Not as cute as Goldfish. Cheddar cheese in powder form. Grammar Nazi. Being the laziest fucker on the planet.

Lay’s Pinch of Salt Potato Chips

Like alcohol in the hands of really bored housewives, potato chips can be addictive. If I had a dollar for every time I opened a big bag of potato chips and got to the point when I said “Holy shit! I can’t believe I ate half the bag,” I’d have enough money to get the quinapril hydrochloride pills to help lower my high blood pressure for all the salt I consumed or I would have enough cash to buy more potato chips so that I can create a vicious circle of tasty, crunchy fried potatoes and high systolic and diastolic numbers.

Recently, Frito-Lay, the company that seems to promise I’ll get laid via frying, but has yet to fulfill that promise, introduced the Lay’s Pinch of Salt Potato Chips, which now allows me to have those “Holy shit” moments with less salt while watching Jon & Kate Plus 8 episodes.

The Lay’s Pinch of Salt Potato Chips have 75 milligrams of sodium per one ounce serving, while the Lay’s Classic potato chips have 180 milligrams of sodium per one ounce serving, which for those of you who have molluscophobia or just want to be a douchebag to other living creatures is probably enough salt to kill a snail. Strangely, while doing some research, I also found out that Lay’s has a Lightly Salted version of their potato chips which have 90 milligrams of sodium per serving. So I guess Lay’s is now giving you the option of which level you want your blood pressure to be at.

The low sodium chips look, smell and taste like Lay’s Classic potato chips, except obviously less salty. They also seemed less greasy, which is a bonus because my television remote control won’t be so slick when I try to grab it and change channels during commercials. Before trying these chips, I thought that the lack of salt would make them extremely bland, like most low sodium products, but thankfully, that was not the case. I do have to admit that I prefer the taste of the Lay’s Pinch of Salt Potato Chips over the original version because my taste buds and my high blood pressure think the chips have the right amount of salt on them.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 ounce/about 15 chips – 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 4.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 4.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 340 milligrams of potassium, 15 grams of carbs, 1 grams of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, 10% vitamin C, 2% iron, and 0 minutes of getting laid via frying)

Item: Lay’s Pinch of Salt Potato Chips
Price: $3.29 (6.5 ounces)
Purchased at: Star Market
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Tastes like regular Lay’s, except not as salty. Not bland tasting. Seems to be not as greasy as Lay’s Classic chips. Jon & Kate Plus 8.
Cons: Seems to be in a smaller bag. Killing snails with salt. Holy shit moments. My high blood pressure. Molluscophobia. Not getting Frito Layed.