THE WEEK IN REVIEWS – 11/21/2009

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

When I look at the Japanese Royal Milk Tea Kit Kat box, all I can think about are the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. (via Japanese Snack Reviews and Jen Ken’s Kit Kat Blog)

I love the color of this matcha milk chocolate candy bar because it reminds me of those small plastic green army men I used to blow up with firecrackers. (via Pocky Watch)

Doesn’t something called Montezuma’s Acid Zest sound like a product that causes Montezuma’s Revenge? (via Jim’s Chocolate Mission)

Pitting a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup with any other peanut butter cup is like having a real monster truck go against a Hot Wheels toy. Something will get smashed. (via Second Rate Snacks)

And now for something that’s not candy — a review of canned corned beef hash. (via Cheap Eats)

REVIEW: Amy’s Ravioli Bowls

Nothing beats a home cooked Italian meal. The smell of the sauce simmering, the perfectly cooked al dente pasta and enough garlic to keep a Hot Topic-clad Twilight vampire poser at bay is certainly a premature foodgasm waiting to happen.

When I’m in Philadelphia and away from my mommy (yes, I still call her mommy) and I’ve devoured all of the frozen casseroles of freshly made eggplant and chicken parmesan she so graciously made for me, I pretty much throw myself to the wolves. When I say “wolves” I mean the crazy people that stroll through the aisles at Whole Foods.

I don’t hate Whole Foods; I just don’t like dodging the swarms of hybrid vehicles in the parking lot. Yes, I applaud you for driving an eco-friendly car, but that doesn’t mean you have the right to drive like a total douche. (Side Note: I have yet to see a Hummer at a Whole Foods. I guess they’re too scared to go there because their precious road beast will get pelted with organic, hormone-free eggs.) Despite the high probability of being hit by a Prius, I do head over to Whole Foods because they have the biggest selection of Amy’s Organic frozen meals.

Amy’s always comes out with some great frozen meals that don’t have me questioning my sexual identity when I’m eating one, unlike when I consume Hungry Man dinners. These organic pasta pillows filled with ricotta are really freakin’ good. The sauce, which is made from organic tomatoes, was plentiful and wasn’t too acidic, nor was it really sweet. They reminded me of ravioli that you would order at — dare I say it — Olive Garden. I added a bit of grated Parmesan cheese to the top, but it really didn’t need it since the sauce and ravioli are so damn tasty.

Although Amy’s may appear healthy, since many people associate the word “organic” with something that’s good for them, this is most definitely not health food. If you compare it with a deep fried cheesesteak, then yeah it looks healthy. There is a lot of fat packed in this little bowl; 12 grams of it to be exact (4.5 grams of saturated fat) and it felt like lead in my stomach a minute after I inhaled this meal. Although that could be from not eating anything all day and scarfing down my dinner, so individual results may vary.

It’s really worth the price tag even though you can live off of Banquet Meals for at least four or five days for the same price of one Amy’s Organic Ravioli Bowl. I’m saying “live” loosely here, because I think your quality of life after a few days of feasting from the Red Box of Death might be affected. But in all fairness, if you decide to go all out and splurge and eat Amy’s Organic Ravioli Bowls every day your vital organs will not be thanking you.

However, your taste buds might.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bowl – 380 calories, 12 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 680 milligrams of sodium, 55 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, 14 grams of protein, 15% vitamin A, 20% calcium, 20% vitamin C and 15% iron.)

Item: Amy’s Ravioli Bowls
Price: $4.39
Size: 1 bowl
Purchased at: Whole Foods
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Excellent quality for a frozen meal. Ravioli are a good size. Organic. Home cooked Italian meals. The free glass of wine at the Olive Garden. Foodgasming.
Cons: Not health food. Douchey hybrid car drivers. Expensive for the size. Living off of Banquet frozen dinners. No Hungry Woman available yet. Premature foodgasming.

REVIEW: TerraCycle/Fashionation M&M’s Candy Wrapper Speakers

The company TerraCycle is much like a music producer who has to deal with Britney Spears’ recording sessions, they both take trash and turn it into something that can be marketed and sold. TerraCycle calls what they’re doing “upcycling,” while Britney’s music producers probably like to describe what they do as “panning in a river of diarrhea for gold.”

Some examples of what TerraCycle has done include: Taking discarded Capri Sun drink pouches and turning them into backpacks, using old circuit boards to make picture frames, making pencils out of newspapers and creating pencil cases out of Chips Ahoy packages. One of the company’s latest products is their M&M’s Candy Wrapper Speakers, which they created with a company called Fashionation and can also be found made with potato chip bags.

According to the packaging, these speakers are made with up to 80 percent of recycled materials, which is a lot, but significantly less than what can be found on an album by the cover band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. The speaker’s box is made out of a big M&M’s Fun Size package and cardboard that looks like it’s been made out of recycled paper. However, I’m not sure how much of the cables and speaker components are made out of reused metals and plastics.

The speakers fold into 3.25-inch cubes and can be unfolded flat again for easy storage and transportation, but I wouldn’t recommend doing it often because I found it difficult to reinsert the tabs into the slots needed to turn them into cubes. The uncooperative tabs and slots caused me to do a little digging, which caused me to accidental peel some of the M&M’s wrapper. When in cube form, they’re front-heavy, like Morganna The Kissing Bandit, so if you put them on an uneven surface, they might topple forward.

The speakers are attached to a standard 3.5 mm headphone plug, so you can connect it into your iPod, laptop, desktop computer or auto-reverse Walkman cassette player. Because the speakers don’t run on batteries, the plug also powers them.

If you’re an audiophile, or an audiophile poser, these candy wrapper speakers won’t come close to satisfying your hoity-toity tastes. They don’t come with a subwoofer made out of recycled candy wrappers and they aren’t very hi-fi, so they sound as good and treble-y as a cheap AM/FM radio alarm clock.

I connected them to my iPod and they have the ability to fill a small room, but in order to do so I had to turn up the volume on my iPod to at least 75 percent to get a decent amount of decibels, which can be a problem if you don’t remember to turn it down before you plug in your earbuds for some personal listening.

I thought the TerraCycle M&M’s Candy Wrapper Speakers would be a useless novelty, like glow-in-the-dark condoms. But they weren’t bad, considering they’re mostly made out of recycled candy wrappers and cost less than $20. At that price, I don’t feel bad if I have to destroy the speakers when a Britney Spears song comes out of them.

(NOTE: Below is a video demonstrating the speaker’s audio quality.)

(NOTE: Grub Grade has a couple of posts about turning potato chip bags and Capri Sun containers into purses and handbags.)

Item: TerraCycle/Fashionation M&M’s Candy Wrapper Speakers
Price: $16.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Radio Shack (or The Shack, if you want to be lame)
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Decent sound for something made partly out of candy wrappers. Sound from them can fill a small room. Made from mostly recycled materials. Foldable and portable. No batteries required. Has a standard 3.5 mm headphone plug.
Cons: Not for audiophiles or audiophile posers. Can be difficult to repeatedly put together. May topple forward on uneven surfaces. Have to turn up the volume on your device in order to get a loud enough sound from the speakers. Using references that are older than some of your readers. Britney Spears.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Mint Fudge Covered Oreo

They say every time you reject a Girl Scout’s offer to buy their cookies, you take one step closer to hell.

Because I believe there is some truth to those words, I have yet to decline the saleswomanship of a Girl Scout who comes up to me as I walk out of my favorite grocery store and ask, “Would you like to buy some Girl Scout Cookies?” It’s also hard to decline them because they say staring into the eyes of a Girl Scout is like staring into the eyes of an angel.

But whenever I’m posed the question of whether or not I would like to buy Girl Scout Cookies, an internal quandary occurs. My cold heart says, “Begone Brownie Scout for I wish not to partake in your hedonistic cookies,” but because my heart is connected to my circulatory system and not my digestive system, which my mouth and stomach are a part of, it has no say in the matter when the following words come out of my cookie hole: “Do you have Thin Mints?”

My cold heart feels the way it does because deep down I want to reject every Girl Scout that steps in front of me, just like every girl who rejected me when I needed a date to my Junior Prom. I don’t care if I’m going to end up in hell, because all of my friends are going to be with me. I want to break free from this stranglehold because my wallet cannot take being asked every week if I want to purchase Girl Scout Cookies. But it’s difficult to do so due to the guilt I may bring upon myself from bruising the confidence of a young woman, because I remember the pain of having my ego bruised by the throngs of women who rejected me before bids were due.

But I think I may have found a weapon to help break the chains of guilt and to block the pleas of Girl Scouts — the Limited Edition Mint Fudge Covered Oreos.

Just like German pornstars are comfortable with being covered in bodily fluids, Oreos are no stranger when it comes to being covered in fudge, having been coated with regular fudge and white fudge in the past. The mint fudge used with these Oreo cookies made them taste like Nabisco stole the recipe for Thin Mints, because they taste surprisingly similar. Although, the Mint Fudge Covered Oreo has less of a minty flavor than the Girl Scout Cookie. But nonetheless, these cookies are good enough that they make me want shove my hand in the face of a Girl Scout and say, “Not this year, tween she-devil! Not. This. Year.”

As good as these cookies are, I wish they tasted a little more like an Oreo. The mint flavor seems to have nullified the white vanilla filling. Also, I was disappointed the box contained only 12 cookies. Sure, the fudge causes the cookies to be a little thicker, but the amount of cookies makes me feel like I’m getting jacked.

Girl Scouts may make me feel guilty, but they don’t make me feel like I’m getting screwed.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cookie – 90 calories, 5 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 40 milligrams of potassium, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein and 4% iron.)

Item: Limited Edition Mint Fudge Covered Oreo
Price: $2.79 (on sale)
Size: 7.5 ounces
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Tastes very much like Thin Mints. Allows me to say “hell no” to Girl Scouts. It’s fudgerrific! Has one gram of monounsaturated fat. Staring into the eyes of a Girl Scout is like staring into the eyes of an angel. Breaks the chains of guilt.
Cons: It’s frickin’ limited edition. Couldn’t taste the white filling. Only 12 frickin’ cookies. Contains high fructose corn syrup. Bruising the egos of young women. Bruising the ego of a guy looking for a date to the prom.