REVIEW: General Mills Pokemon Berry Bolt Cereal

General Mills Pokemon Berry Bolt Cereal Box

What is General Mills Pokémon Berry Bolt Cereal?

As part of the Pokémon franchise’s 25th anniversary, General Mills has created a cereal to mark the occasion. The Berry Bolt flavored cereal is themed around everyone’s sparky little favorite yellow Pokémon, Pikachu. Berry-flavored, sweetened corn puffs with Pikachu and lightning bolt-shaped marshmallows make up this limited offering.

How is it?

General Mills Pokemon Berry Bolt Cereal Dry

Much like many special tie-in cereals, this one doesn’t bring anything new or innovative to the table. The puffs themselves, a vibrant red and blue color, have that truly generic “berry” flavor you find in a lot of cereals that merely say the taste is “berry.” I got a heavy blueberry flavor whereas my husband swears it was cherry. Also, no, the red and blue puffs don’t taste different.

General Mills Pokemon Berry Bolt Cereal Wet

The marshmallows add a small texture difference and more sweetness to an already sweet cereal. It is a cereal that will absolutely satisfy what a kid wants: sugar, sugar, and more sugar.

Anything else you need to know?

General Mills Pokemon Berry Bolt Cereal Box Back

I found it odd that there was no toy or card tie-in. After some recon on the Pokémon message boards, apparently, there will be a card tie-in promotion in late February to coincide with the 25th anniversary. The boxes out now have no 25th branding, but there are three different ones based on the three different starter types in the game.

Conclusion:

Unless you or your kids are die-hard Pokémon fans/collectors, I’d pass on this. While the cereal is perfectly serviceable, we live in an age where you have whole aisles dedicated to cereal and offer almost endless choices. I’d also say if you are curious, wait until at least the 25th branded boxes with cards come out.

Purchase Priced: $3.50
Size: 17 oz box
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 ¼ cup) 150 calories, 1 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Rockstar Juice TMGS Energy Juice

Rockstar Juice TMGS Energy Juice Can

What is the Rockstar Juiced TMGS Energy Juice?

It’s the third installment of the Rockstar TMGS line. For those not in the know, TMGS stands for tangerine, mango, guava, and strawberry. It follows the delicious original TMGS and the delightful lime-infused TMGS Twist.

However, unlike the previous two, which were sugar and calorie-free, this version has some sugar and calories because there’s actual fruit mixed into it. Granted, there’s only 8 percent, but that’s enough to boost the beverage’s nutrition facts to 20 calories and 4 grams of sugar.

How is it?

Rockstar Juice TMGS Energy Juice Glass

You’d think adding real fruit would make the already excellent original TMGS even better, but I can’t say it does. The fruit seems to make the beverage a cloudy orange color, which is dramatically different from the original’s cloudy pink.

If you’re familiar with the original TMGS flavor, you’ll have an idea of what this tastes like. The guava and strawberry are the most noticeable, while the tangerine in the background. But the mango is hard to notice.

It’s a tasty start, but then the sweet, tropical goodness lacks staying power. I mean, it’s not as if it’s sort of reverse Jesus-ed in that juice is turned into water. But when I finished the can, I didn’t have the same OMG I love you reaction I get from drinking the original Rockstar TMGS.

I thought I could blame artificial sweeteners, but there were artificial sweeteners in the previous versions, which are more satisfying than this.

Anything else you need to know?

As of this writing, it’s an ampm exclusive, but so were the others because TMGS not only means tangerine, mango, guava, and strawberry, but it also stands for ampm’s slogan, Too Much Good Stuff. That is something I didn’t know with the previous two. So obviously, I have failed Convenience Store Slogans 101.

One last thing. This has 160 milligrams of caffeine, while the previous two had 240 milligrams. Less flavorful AND fewer milligrams of caffeine! Don’t sign me up!

Conclusion:

If you love the original Rockstar TMGS, stick with it for your caffeinated tangerine, mango, guava, and strawberry-flavored needs. Rockstar Juiced TMGS is fine, but it pales in comparison to the original.

Purchased Price: More than one should pay
Size: 15 oz can
Purchased at: eBay (available at ampm)
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 20 calories, 0 grams of fat, 120 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of sugar (includes 0 grams of added sugar), 0 grams of protein, and 16 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Raisin Bran Toasted Oats & Honey Cereal

Kellogg s Raisin Bran Toasted Oats  Honey Cereal Box

When I was younger, I developed a fondness for Raisin Bran Crunch. It elevates Raisin Bran to a higher level and brings it closer to Honey Bunches of Oats. From both texture and taste standpoints, it was dramatically improved for me. With the release of Kellogg’s Raisin Bran Toasted Oats & Honey, I wondered if it would be in the same vein.

The box claims that the cereal consists of “Delicious raisins & toasted bran flakes sprinkled with hearty oats and honey.” Based on the box’s image, I knew to not expect the same crunch levels of Raisin Bran Crunch. It appeared to have single oats sprinkled on the flakes.

Kellogg s Raisin Bran Toasted Oats  Honey Cereal Dry

Upon pouring the cereal, I noticed there were even less oats than the box had led me to believe. There were tiny flecks of oats clinging to the flakes. It was difficult to even distinguish them as being oats.

I tried the cereal dry and it tasted how I expected based on the aesthetics. The bran flakes are slightly crunchier than usual, with a faint oat flavor. The honey is more noticeable and imparts a gentle sweetness on the flakes.

Kellogg s Raisin Bran Toasted Oats  Honey Cereal Spoon

Adding milk allowed the cereal to come together. The honey flavor was significantly more prevalent and each bite was sweeter than those of traditional Raisin Bran. It did not taste like there was actual honey drizzled on the flakes, but it was distinctive enough to know what they were going for. The oats’ flavor remained understated, but they showcased an important feature in milk: they helped the flakes stay crunchy for much longer. This is definitely appreciated.

Kellogg s Raisin Bran Toasted Oats  Honey Cereal Back

On the back of the box, there is a random image of a package of Raisin Bran Crunch. I am not sure why it is there, but it feels like Kellogg’s is taunting me. “We know this is what you really wanted,” it seems to say.

While not a radical departure from traditional Raisin Bran, this cereal is an upgrade on the tried-and-true formula. Given the choice, I would pick Kellogg’s Raisin Bran Toasted Oats & Honey over the original, without hesitation. If given yet another choice, I would choose Raisin Bran Crunch over both, every single time.

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 15.6 oz box
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 7 out of 10
?Nutrition Facts: (1 cup) 190 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: KFC Chicken Sandwich (2021)

KFC Chicken Sandwich 2021 Wrapper

Here in Kansas City, we don’t get many cool new things.

We got a great—like-once-in-a-lifetime-level-great—quarterback a few years ago, but that was after decades of mistakes, cast-offs, and retreads. We have a few of those places where people throw axes, all paint the same picture, or play golf in a giant net, but we only got them after they’d been elsewhere for years.

So imagine my joy when I learned Kansas City was one of the select cities receiving a sneak-peek of KFC’s new chicken sandwich. We are in, after all, the Golden Age of Chicken Sandwiches, and what better place to unveil a new version of a breaded bird on a bun than the grandfather of fast food fried chicken, KFC.

Then imagine my disappointment when I got my sandwich.

KFC Chicken Sandwich 2021 Whole

KFC describes it as “… (a) quarter-pound, all-white meat, double-breaded, Extra Crispy chicken breast filet… freshly-toasted buttery brioche bun, crispier, thicker pickles, and the perfect amount of the Colonel’s real mayo or spicy sauce.”

KFC Chicken Sandwich 2021 Top

KFC Chicken Sandwich 2021 Split

What I got was a piece of chicken only a smidge bigger than a deck of playing cards. Further disappointingly, it even seemed absent the Colonel’s traditional 11 herbs and spices. I tasted salt and dry, chewy chicken breast. The “double-breading” made no impact whatsoever, though there was plenty of it (sans chicken, mind you). Nor did the pickles, which were limp and thin, much closer to McDonald’s pickles than anything I was expecting.

The brioche bun seemed like it had the potential to be the best part of the sandwich — which, let’s just let that sink in for a moment — but half of the bottom half was stale. How do you get half of a half of a stale bun, you ask? So do I. Let me know if you have an answer. The mayo was tangy and good — quintessentially KFC mayo — but the best mayo in the world couldn’t save this wreck of a sandwich.

Look, I like KFC. I like its original chicken and the Extra Crispy variety. I love its Nashville Hot Chicken tenders. If I could only choose Popeyes or KFC for the rest of my life, I’d have a hard time deciding; it’d be a tossup, honestly. But not when it comes to their signature sandwiches, oh no.

If Popeyes’ sandwich is a Picasso, KFC’s offering is a 3rd grader writing a swear word in the dirt on the back window of his mom’s minivan. This chicken sandwich isn’t even in the same league as Church’s, frankly. It’s seriously weird that KFC is proud of this.

In 2018, KFC unveiled a new chicken sandwich called “The Crispy Colonel.” For the life of me, I cannot figure out how this sandwich differs. In fact, the couple of Crispy Colonel’s I’ve had have been considerably better than whatever this abomination was. Back to the test kitchen, KFC.

KFC Chicken Sandwich 2021 Take 2 Split

Due to the sandwich’s abysmal initial showing, my esteemed editor kindly asked that I try another, you know, to assure that the first one wasn’t an aberration. And the verdict? It wasn’t. While the chicken breast on this one was meatier than the first, it was no juicer or more flavorful. (In fact, the extra size maybe gave it more of a chance to be drier while also amplifying how bland it is.)

KFC Chicken Sandwich 2021 Take 2 PIckles

The pickles still weren’t crispy, and the bun on this one — while fresher — certainly wasn’t “buttery” as the copy proclaims. This sandwich is still a huge disappointment, and you’d do better to stick with Popeyes. Or Chick-fil-A. Or Wendy’s. Or Church’s. Or Sonic. (Hey, I think McDonald’s has a new chicken sandwich coming out soon, too!)

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 3 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 650 calories, 35 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 90 milligrams of cholesterol, 1260 milligrams of sodium, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 6 grams of total sugars, and 34 grams of protein.