REVIEW: Bertolli Premium Champignon & Portobello Mushroom Pasta Sauce

While it’s impressive that it takes only 90 seconds to heat up the Bertolli Premium Champignon & Portobello Mushroom Pasta Sauce, having to wait 10-15 minutes for the noodles to be prepared pretty much defeats the purpose of the sauce’s quickness, unless you don’t eat noodles because you’ve been following the Atkins Diet religiously since 1999 and think that noodles are the devil’s pitchfork poking at your pudgy sides.

The instructions to heat this bag of pasta sauce was extremely easy. All I had to do was cut off one of the top corners of the bag to let it vent, stick it in the microwave for 90 seconds, dance during those 90 seconds, let it cool down for a minute and then pour it over my pasta of choice, which is either linguine or whatever that pasta in Spaghetti O’s is called.

But perhaps the instructions were too easy. I don’t know about you, but I like a little excitement when I’m cooking or warming up food. The chance of something exploding, me getting hurt or staining my clothing is quite exhilarating. That’s why my nipples get stiff whenever I see Benihana chefs go at some food with knives or when someone deep fries an entire turkey in a huge pot of boiling oil.

However I am thankful I can kick it how my grandma used to kick it and heat it on a stove. I won’t be able heat it up in 90 seconds, because unfortunately my stove goes up to 11 (Yeah, that’s right. I just dropped a Spinal Tap reference).

The pasta sauce was piping hot as I added it to my linguine noodles and there’s enough sauce for three servings. It was slightly chunky and there were small bits of mushrooms, but there weren’t huge slices like what’s shown on the front of the package. Even with all of those small bits of mushrooms, I could hardly taste them over the tomato sauce. Overall, it was a tasty pasta sauce, but I think if there was more of a mushroom flavor, it would’ve been even better.

The sauce may have been good, but I think I would prefer pasta sauce that comes in a glass bottle not only because it provides 2-3 times more pasta sauce than this product at the same price, but also because if I drop the bottle there is a good chance that I might get hurt, it will explode, and I will stain my clothes.

Oh! Just thinking about it almost made something else explode.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup (about 3 servings per bag) – 80 calories, 4 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 450 milligrams of sodium, 10 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, 1 gram of protein, 60% Vitamin A, 15% Calcium, 10% Vitamin C, and 10% Iron.)

Item: Bertolli Premium Champignon & Portobello Mushroom Pasta Sauce
Price: $2.50 on sale
Size: 13.5 ounces
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Tasty sauce. Slightly chunky. Convenient and really quick to warm up (90 seconds). Danger in the kitchen. Can also heat on a stove. The pasta in Spaghetti O’s.
Cons: No big slices of mushrooms, only small bits. Light mushroom flavor. Pasta sauce in bottles provide 2-3 times more sauce at the same price. Champignon is not the same as champagne.

REVIEW: Vosges Mo’s Bacon Bar

Salty and sweet should just get a room already.

A lot of confectionary companies have been putting the two together for years, but let’s make their joining official. I say we stick them in a hotel room, close the door behind us, hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door knob, and let nature takes its course, like newlyweds consummating their marriage.

Although I will feel sorry for the person in housekeeping who has to clean up that mess after salty and sweet do their thing.

One candy company has come up with a creative way to blend salty and sweet. The Vosges Mo’s Bacon Bar, on paper, is a sexy three-way copulation between applewood smoked bacon, alder wood smoked salt and milk chocolate. It’s not titillating because there’s a lot of wood involved. It’s hot because Vosges takes two things that are already sexy on their own — bacon and chocolate — and puts them together into an exotic amalgamation that your grandma wouldn’t approve of. I guess the Mo’s Bacon Bar is like the Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt of candy bars. And your grandma who wouldn’t approve of it is Jennifer Aniston.

As appealing and exciting as it seemed on the outside, the taste of Mo’s Bacon Bar on my tongue teetered on the borderline of interesting and slightly disgusting. When there was too much bacon in a bite, it tasted like what I imagine the aftertaste of shotgunning a bottle of Bac-Os would be, but when there’s only a hint of bacon its salty and sweet combination isn’t bad. The bacon not only gives this candy bar its saltiness, smoky scent and ability to make people say “What the fuck?” in the middle of a fine foods store — where you’ll probably find these — it also provides the bar with a little crunchiness, like toffee pieces would.

To fully enjoy the candy bar, there are some optional instructions: “Rub your thumb over the chocolate bar to release the aromas of smoked applewood bacon flirting with deep milk chocolate.” I did do this, but all I ended up with were chocolate covered fingers from rubbing too hard and fast, which I guess is really my fault since rubbing really hard and fast is a force of habit.

I thought bacon made everything better, but the Vosges Mo’s Bacon Bar has proven me very wrong. And now that I know it’s not true, I don’t know what to believe in anymore. Maybe there is a Santa Claus. Maybe I CAN put my entire fist in my mouth. Maybe Simon Cowell gives constructive criticism. Maybe I’m the last Cylon.

I don’t know anymore.

(Nutrition Facts – 3 squares (2.5 servings per bar) – 170 calories, 12 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams dietary fiber, 20 grams sugar, 3 grams protein, 4% Calcium, and 6% Iron.)

(Editor’s Note: Thanks to the TIB readers who recommended this product. Candy Addict also reviewed this exotic amalgamation.)

Item: Vosges Mo’s Bacon Bar
Price: $7.99
Size: 3 ounces
Purchased at: R. Field
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Not bad when there’s a hint of bacon. Bacon gives the bar a nice crunchiness. Gluten free. Being able to say “What the fuck?” in the middle of a fine foods store.
Cons: One the borderline of interesting and disgusting. Kind of gross when there’s too much bacon in a bite. Cleaning up after salty and sweet do their thang. Learning that bacon does not make everything better.

Two Quick Things

Tanya, from my favorite healthy food review blog, I Ate a Pie, asked me which of the products I reviewed in 2008 were my favorites. Click here to find out what they were.

Also, thanks to long-time TIB reader, NobleArc, I kind of feel like Stephen Colbert. In case you don’t know what I mean, on his show The Colbert Report, he sometimes asks his viewers to remix videos of him. NobleArc took my poppin’ video and added a different musical track. He said the music he used synced better with my “dancing.” Take a look below and see.

Popchips Winners Announced!!!

One of these days I want to choose winners by throwing darts blindfolded at a board containing all the entries, but I am such a poor darts thrower that I’m afraid one might ricochet and stab me or I’ll just accidently throw one directly at my foot. So instead I’m left with using an online random number generator to pick the winners.

Here are the four lucky winners of the popchips prize drawing:

Comment #13 marc
Comment #60 Richard
Comment #104 kristen
Comment #115 Alexis

To the winners, if you haven’t already, please check your email for instructions to receive your prize.

Thanks to the kind folks at popchips, each winner will receive a 3.25-ounce bag of the popchips flavor they requested. Also, thanks to 190-something people who entered this prize drawing. If you didn’t win, don’t fret because we will be having another prize drawing soon.

And now…here I am, being your monkey for 193 seconds.

REVIEW: Pizza Hut’s The Natural

They say, “Pizza is a lot like sex. When it’s good, it’s really good. When it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.”

Oh, really?

Then why do I feel so dirty after having a one night stand with the two-bit pizza from Pizza Hut called The Natural?

Why do I want to huddle in my shower fully clothed, cry like I just accidently killed a man, and let the steady stream of water try to wash away the shame that has stained my soul? If pizza is a lot like sex, then The Natural is like losing your virginity with another virgin because both of you had high hopes for it, but during it you both constantly asked each other if it feels good, and after you’re done, you’re both not really satisfied.

The Natural pizza looked delicious in the box and sounded appetizing with its, “stone-ground multigrain crust made with the goodness of five different whole grains, a rich flavorful sauce made from fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes and topped with fine, all-natural, mozzarella cheese.” But after I finished a slice I realized that this was the Diet Coke of Pizza Hut pizzas — it wasn’t close to being as tasty as the original.

The pepperoni and cheese were the only decent parts of the pizza. What brought down The Natural several notches was its stone-ground multigrain crust, which wasn’t very flavorful. But I guess the crust, with its eight grams of whole grains in each slice, was supposed to be healthy and not tasty. Although, even with all that healthiness, it doesn’t provide more fiber than Pizza Hut’s regular crust. Speaking of things that help you poop, there wasn’t a lot of grease on the pizza, which is great for napkin conservation. Something else there wasn’t a lot of was sauce, which was disappointing because I like the sauce to ooze all over and the cheese to stretch out like I was on the wrong end of a bukkake.

Overall, the crust, lack of sauce, and measly 12-inch size equated to a very bland, mediocre pizza. So thanks to Pizza Hut’s The Natural, I feel like I should edit the saying to say, “Pizza is a lot like sex. When it’s good, it’s really good. When it’s bad, you can always get something better after.”

(Nutrition Facts – 1 slice – 230 calories, 9 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 530 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of sugar, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 10 grams of protein, 8% Vitamin A, 15% Calcium, and 6% Iron.)

Item: Pizza Hut’s The Natural
Price: $12.99 ($9.99 in most states)
Size: 12 inches
Purchased at: Pizza Hut
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Eight grams of whole grains in each slice. Pepperoni and cheese were decent. Sex. Being on the right end of a bukkake.
Cons: A very bland, mediocre pizza. Stone-ground multigrain crust wasn’t very flavorful. Not much sauce. About the same amount of calories, fat and sodium as a regular Pizza Hut pizza. Being on the wrong end of a bukkake. Accidently killing a man.

NEWS: Pizza Hut’s New Lasagna Looks to Exacerbate Garfield the Cat’s Weight Problem

Whenever I look over a Garfield comic strip, I wonder two things: How should I strangle myself if they release a third Garfield movie and what are those dark lines on Garfield, stripes or stretch marks?

If they’re stretch marks, they’re about to get wider thanks to Pizza Hut’s new Tuscani Lasagna. I haven’t tried any of the other Tuscani Pasta dishes, but I’ve heard they’re pretty tasty. I guess I’ve been hesitant because I’m afraid their pastas might be as greasy as their pizzas, which sometimes makes the area around my mouth look like I made out with a penny whore. (Note: It’s totally not worth the penny when you consider the cost of the penicillin you have to take after.) The nutrition values weren’t on the Pizza Hut website, but if it’s like any of the other Tuscani Pastas it will have around 500-ish calories, 25-ish grams of fat, 10-ish grams of saturated fat, and 1000-ish milligrams of sodium per serving. For $14.99, you’ll get over three pounds of the Tuscani Lasagna and five breadsticks.