REVIEW: Cap’n Crunch’s Chocolatey Crunch

Cap'n Crunch's Chocolatey Crunch

After tasting Cap’n Crunch’s Chocolatey Crunch cereal, I decided I want to become the captain of a pirate ship so that I can hunt down Cap’n Crunch’s ship and send him and his crew to Davy Jones’ Locker using a barrage of cannonballs painted to look like Crunch Berries.

Despite it being made with real cocoa and being naturally and artificially flavored, Chocolatey Crunch’s flavor is extremely disappointing. I think they put the wrong suffix in this cereal’s name. Instead of it being called Chocolatey Crunch, it should’ve been called Chocolateish Crunch.

It’s such a let down that if I can’t become the captain of a pirate ship, I’ll try to become an admiral in whatever navy Horatio Magellan Crunch belongs to and demote the Cap’n to a ship’s bird poop remover.

The cereal itself looks like regular Cap’n Crunch that either spent a week sunbathing in Brazil or is into Japanese Ganguro fashion. It looks like it’s going to be chocolatey, but my tongue says it’s not. This tricking of my senses makes me want to put Cap’n Crunch in a cage match with Captain Hook who is armed with Captain Caveman’s club and Captain America’s shield, and has been drinking a lot of Captain Morgan.

Cap'n Crunch's Chocolatey Crunch Closeup

On a scale from one to ten, with ten being skinny dipping in the Wonka factory’s chocolate river and one being far downwind from someone holding up a spoonful of hot cocoa mix, the chocolate level of Cap’n Crunch’s Chocolatey Crunch cereal would be a three. It’s a step above Kellogg’s Cocoa Krispies, but many steps below Cocoa Puffs and Cocoa Pebbles. There’s a sweetness to the cereal, but I wouldn’t consider it chocolatey. So it appears the real cocoa doesn’t do a good job of giving this cereal or the aftermilk a nice chocolate flavor. Dammit. I never thought I’d say these words: I wish this cereal was more artificially flavored.

Cap’n Crunch’s Chocolatey Crunch cereal is lighter and crisper than regular Cap’n Crunch, so eating it won’t shred your upper palate raw. But that’s the only real positive I can think of.

I’m just extremely disappointed with Cap’n Crunch’s Chocolatey Crunch cereal. The combination of Cap’n Crunch and chocolate had the potential to be one of the greatest chocolatey cereals ever, but it instead ended up being one of the least chocolatey cereals I’ve ever had. Cap’n Crunch should be forced to walk the plank because of this cereal.

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup (cereal only) – 110 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1 gram of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 60 milligrams of potassium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, 11 grams of other carbohydrates, 1 gram of protein, and a load of vitamins and minerals.)

Item: Cap’n Crunch’s Chocolatey Crunch
Price: $3.00 (on sale)
Size: 14 ounces
Purchased at: Don Quijote
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: Doesn’t make your upper palate raw. A serving provides 100 percent of your daily value of folic acid. Sending Cap’n Crunch to Davy Jones’ Locker.
Cons: Real cocoa doesn’t make this cereal taste real good. Weak chocolate flavor. Had the potential to be a great cereal. Doesn’t turn the aftermilk chocolatey. Japanese women into Ganguro fashion

REVIEW: Quaker Chocolate Chip Instant Oatmeal

Quaker Chocolate Chip Instant Oatmeal

Oatmeal is healthy and wholesome.

Well, at least that’s what Wilfred Brimley and the guy who yells at fat people on NBC tell me. But just like wholesome Amish kids during rumspringa, oatmeal can get wild, crazy, and do unhealthy things as well.

For example, instead of using skim milk or water to make my oatmeal, I use melted ice cream and then top that with crushed Heath candy bar pieces, Hershey chocolate syrup. a small bag of M&M’s, and half a container of Cool Whip.

That sounds totally diabeteeriffic!

I can corrupt oatmeal to the point where you would have to start calling it ho-meal. But it appears Quaker has done the corrupting for me with their new chocolate chip instant oatmeal.

Okay, they haven’t really done any corrupting because there aren’t many semisweet chocolate chips in each instant oatmeal packet.

If you’d like to teach your child how to count using the chocolate chips in each packet, you’re going to have to open a number of packets to equal the level of learning your child will get from watching an episode of Sesame Street, because each one contains four or five chocolate chips. And they’re not big chocolate chips. They make the oats in each packet look bigger than they really are.

Quaker Chocolate Chip Instant Oatmeal Closeup

I made a bowl of Quaker Chocolate Chip Instant Oatmeal using vanilla soy milk and another using filtered water. Using filtered water is healthier, but using vanilla soy milk makes it taste better. But if you read on, that’s not saying much.

The chocolate chips take awhile to melt, and after they do, the oatmeal looks chocolatey. As you can see above, the liquid looks like the milk at the bottom of the bowl after eating Cocoa Puffs, but that liquid is a liar.

A dirty stinkin’ liar!

The chocolate flavor is almost non-existent. It has less flavor than the other Quaker flavored instant oatmeal varieties I’ve had. I wish Quaker had put a little hot cocoa powder in their Chocolate Chip Instant Oatmeal to make things tolerable. So it looks like, in order to get through the rest of the box, I’m going to have to make this oatmeal tolerable on my own with some cocoa power, semisweet chocolate chips, M&M’s, crushed Oreo cookies, Hershey’s chocolate syrup, chocolate sprinkles, crushed Butterfinger candy pieces, Hershey’s Kisses, and melted Häagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 packet – 130 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, 16 grams of other carbohydrates, and 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Quaker Chocolate Chip Instant Oatmeal
Price: $3.29
Size: 10 packets/1.23 ounces each
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Quick to make. Good source of whole grains. Rumspringa. Sesame Street. Decent source of fiber. Low in fat.
Cons: Really faint chocolate flavor. Really small chocolate chips. Not many chocolate chips in each packet. The liquid in the oatmeal is a liar, a dirty stinkin’ liar! Using the chocolate chips to teach your child to count won’t get him or her very far unless you open several packets.

REVIEW: Cap’n Crunch’s Halloween Crunch

Cap'n Crunch's Halloween Crunch

The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed in at over 1,800 pounds.

There’s a popular theory you’ve probably heard, that humans only use 10 percent of our brains; and if we could only tap the remaining 90 percent, we could do all kinds of crazy shit with our minds, like start fires and levitate objects and figure out why some people find Fergie attractive.  In reality, it’s bogus- not the Fergie part (some people actually do… carnies, I suspect), but about the brain.  You use 100 percent of your brain, same as I do.

I bring it up because it means that if I’m using all of my brain, then every time I learn something new, I forget something I already know.  Don’t argue, that’s science.  And thanks to the random factoids from the back of Cap’n Crunch’s seasonal Halloween Crunch, which I’ll be sprinkling throughout this review — and because God knows my brain won’t jettison crucial information like the lyrics to Denver the Last Dinosaur, or the names of the ghosts from Pac-Man (Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde, or Sue for Ms. Pac-Man) — I now don’t remember trigonometry, the date of the Gettysburg Address, or the middle names, technically, of both of my children.  (I want to say Alison and… John?  Wait, is one of them a boy?)

Jack O’ Lanterns originally consisted of candles placed in hollowed-out turnips to keep away ghosts and spirits.

But to business: Halloween Crunch.  The box depicts a cartoon jack o’ lantern with the Cap’n’s face carved into it, grinning like he just shivved a Soggy or has a girl waiting for him at the next port.  Actually, I have to give props to the design department… they didn’t half-ass it by slapping the word “Halloween!” over a regular box of Cap’n Crunch and calling it a day.  No, this is a full-assed production.  The font is a kind of eclectic, spooky-ish style, there are demonic-looking pumpkins and eyes all around, the coloring is black and dark green rather than the classic bright red.  Really, if not for the Cap’n’s distinct face, you could walk by this in a store without having any idea it was related to Cap’n Crunch.

Cap'n Crunch's Halloween Crunch Closeup

Speaking of which, I know a common complaint of Cap’n Crunch is that it cuts the roof of your mouth.  I guess what my dad told me growing up is true and I really AM tougher than everyone else, because I’ve never had that problem.  If you do, beware, because the main component of this seasonal variant remains “regular” Cap’n Crunch pieces.  They didn’t even change the color, which I would have liked, maybe shifting that classic yellow to a bright pumpkin orange.  But since they didn’t, the new pieces are what make the cereal Halloween-y.  These additions are pink, slightly larger than the classic pieces, and shaped vaguely like a ghost if you squint, in the same way that a Van Gogh painting of a flower looks like a flower.  Some of them are also covered in green speckles, which is almost certainly either mold or an intentional “slime” effect.  They’re shown that way on the box, so we’ll assume the latter and just hope the Ghostbusters aren’t feeling particularly litigious.

Seeds that are related to the pumpkin have been found in caves dating back over 7,000 years in Mexico.

But what are the new pieces like?  Well, I have this notion in my head that they taste a lot like crunchberries, but I can’t be sure because it’s been about two decades since I last had a crunchberry.  They have a tinge of that artificially-fruity-but-not-actually-anything-like-real-fruit flavor.  You know the one.  And really, it’s just a hint — they definitely don’t overpower the taste of the regular Cap’n Crunch pieces, which is good because frankly that taste is better.  Like me in a discussion of current events, the ghost pieces are amiable and pleasant enough without contributing anything of real substance.  When the nicest thing I can say about you is that you really do turn the milk green surprisingly quickly, you know you’re destined for the “novelty fad” pile.

I really don’t have much else to say about Halloween Crunch.  I’m glad I tried it as a lark, and if you’re a fan of regular Cap’n Crunch, you might as well give it a shot, since it’s fundamentally the same cereal with a cool-looking box and some vaguely fruity ghost pieces.  But it’s not going to give the Monster Cereals a run for their money, and the only real activity on the back is a template of the Cap’n’s grinning mug that you can use to carve a jack o’ lantern, in case you want your pumpkin looking like it just made a particularly timely “That’s what she said!” remark.  Plus the pieces of trivia, of course, but now you already know those.  You’re welcome!

Did you know that pumpkins are made up of around 90 percent water?

(Nutrition Facts — 3/4 cup — 100 calories, 15 calories from fat, 1.5 grams of total fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 50 milligrams of potassium, 22 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 11 grams of sugars, 10 grams of other carbohydrate, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Cap’n Crunch’s Halloween Crunch
Price: $2.18
Size: 13 ounces
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Using 100 percent of your brain.  Bitchin’ box art.  Did not cut my mouth.  Still tastes as good as standard Cap’n Crunch, with only minor variation.  Turns milk green rapidly.  Stays crunchy for a while.
Cons: Mostly flash, little substance.  Fergie’s grille.  New pieces look more like alien blobs than ghosts.  Why would I want my jack o’ lantern giving Quaker free advertising?  Very little taste deviation from regular Cap’n Crunch.

REVIEW: Quaker Chewy Chocolatey Mint Granola Bars

Quaker Chewy Chocolatey Mint Granola Bars

O’hi there, lasses and leprechauns!

St. Patrick’s Day is almost upon us, and I’ve chosen to take the fast food company approach to celebrating. As long as it’s a nice, radioactive shade of artificial green and it’s edible, it’s holiday appropriate. This brings us to Quaker’s Chocolatey Mint Granola Bar, one of the new, real cocoa-laden entries into its Chewy line of snackables. It contains eight grams of magical whole grains and absolutely none of that banshee HFCS.

In the past I’ve found that the only thing at the end of granola rainbows is a very dry mouth… and sometimes, if I’m really Irish-level lucky, honey or berries. Quaker, however, has always taken the concept in a very rice-puffed, kid-friendly direction. Chewy bars aren’t meant to see much non-paved wilderness action or to blend serendipitously with Kombucha. These are the snacks that litter the ground below the granola rainbow. That is why I chose them for St. Patrick’s Day instead of Earth Day. For Earth Day, they’d have to ramp it up about a thousand notches, maybe add some actual clover.

The bar itself imparts little to no flavor beyond a whispered hint of cocoa. It’s basically just a whole grain home for the wee little flavor chips, which are left to do all the heavy lifting. While delicious, they’re constantly falling off the bar and finding places to melt at bizarrely low temperatures, so that by the last bite, I’m left with green spotted pants and a bland rolled oat has-been bragging about a cacao tree it once knew.

Quaker Chewy Chocolatey Mint Granola Bars Naked

“Like hell,” I say. “Little cocoa bar, you’ve no more rubbed elbows with Brazilian beans than you’ve hung out on the cliffs of Moher in the late evening mist, pining for your lost love, Little Debbie.”

If that isn’t a woeful pub ballad in the making, I don’t know what is. I’m pretty sure I’m like three green beers away from penning the defining junk food anthem here. Shall we make it two?

In response to my disbelief and persistent need to make this culinary experience all about me, the chewy bar drops several more mint chips onto the carpet in my living room.

Turns out my fridge contains no green beer. My options are Belgian ale or week old two buck chuck with green food coloring. Both seem like fitting choices for this completely non-Irish snack. I graduated from a college that celebrates St. Patrick’s Day two weeks earlier than the rest of the world and, honestly, I’m not even slightly Irish, so I feel neither compelled nor qualified to include anything authentic in my holiday choices. I need a shirt that says, “Kiss me for my minty breath and do not question my heritage.”

Surprisingly, pairing the oat brick and scattered mouthwash chips with a bit of ale actually kind of brought out the missing chocolate flavor, like a secret key. Not that I’m suggesting anything to any of you wee lads and lassies, but to you hardcore, daylong, age-appropriate St. Patty’s celebrants, all I’m going to say is that these are super convenient and breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, especially if the rest of the day’s meals are going to be imbibed in liquid form. Also, let’s face it: Lucky Charms are so passé. And, bonus, you get complimentary minty freshness in this deal, which is vaguely close to attempted personal hygiene. What’s not to love?

Now, if you’ll excuse, I’m going to get back to writing that soon-to-be-beloved folk ditty. Oh, chewy bar, my taste buds they are call-ing!

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar – 90 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein, 8% calcium, and 4% iron. Not a significant source of any vitamins whatsoever.)

Item: Quaker Chewy Chocolatey Mint Granola Bars
Price: 3/$5.00 (on sale)
Size: 10 – .84 ounce bars
Purchased at: Albertson’s
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Yummy mint chips liberally sprinkled about. Inspires me to write folk ballads. Pairs well with festive spirits. Unguarded pots of honey and berries. Minty fresh breath.
Cons: Lacks hearts, stars, horseshoes, clovers, and blue moons. Chocolate bar is a tasteless brick. One must eat multiple bars to equal even a child-sized breakfast. Unrequited snack food love.

REVIEW: Quaker Life Soft Baked Nutrition Bars For Adults (Cinnamon Roll Raisin Pecan & Banana Walnut Bread)

Oh, I wish I knew where Mikey was now. I want to know so that I can find out what he thinks of the Quaker Life Soft Baked Nutrition Bars For Adults.

He’d be the perfect person to ask because he likes Life Cereal and he’s now an adult. But he’s probably too busy with real life, which may include a wife, and maybe a young Mikey Jr. or a daughter he wanted to name Mikey, but the wife shot him down. He probably works in insurance sales or is a financial planner and drives an 2001 white Toyota Camry nearing 100,000 miles with the vanity license plate ILIKEIT.

For many years, the license plate was probably one of the few reminders of his past celebrity, because the VHS tape recordings of his commercials were eaten up by a VCR with heads that were never cleaned. Fortunately, YouTube was invented and someone posted his Life Cereal commercials online. He is probably responsible for half of the 450,000+ views of his most popular commercial on YouTube.

Mikey probably doesn’t eat Life Cereal anymore because he’s become lactose intolerant and it’s hard to eat the cereal without milk. If he has a wife, he loves her, but feels she only married him because he was “the guy from the Life commercials.” He feels this way because she introduces him to people as, “My husband, the boy from the Life commercials.” He thinks his wife is cheating on him, because she bought a lot of lingerie from Victoria’s Secret that he’s never seen her wear. But he also has a mistress, who has no idea Mikey has a place in pop culture, because she was born many years after the commercials stopped airing.

Although doing those Life Cereal commercials brought him some fame, when he looks at where his life has gone, he probably sometimes wishes his parents never forced him into auditioning for those commercials. If he didn’t, he probably wouldn’t be Mikey, he would be just Mike, or perhaps Michael.

If Mikey were here and tried the Quaker Life Soft Baked Nutrition Bars For Adults, I think he would like them, even though there’s nothing that resembles Life Cereal in them. The chewy adult bars come in two varieties: Banana Walnut Bread and Cinnamon Roll Raisin Pecan.

The Banana Walnut Bread flavor actually smells like banana bread. The banana flavor is noticeable, and thankfully isn’t artificial tasting. However, it tastes more like banana chips, which have a slight greasy flavor to them. The chopped walnuts yield little flavor and they seem like they’re mostly there to provide vitamins, minerals and to compliment the crunch of the whole grain oats and rice crisps in the bar.

The Cinnamon Roll Raisin Pecan bars have a sweet cinnamon aroma. The cinnamon and frosting drizzle on top overpower the rest of the ingredients, which might make this bar too sweet for some. Even the chopped raisins got lost in the sweetness. Perhaps using whole raisins might’ve helped. As for the pecans, they play the same role the walnuts do in the other flavor, provide some nutritional value and add some crunch, but not deliver much flavor.

The folks at Quaker suggest warming up their Life Soft Baked Nutrition Bars For Adults by sticking them in the microwave for 10 seconds, which seems to soften them. Does warming them up make them better? No. Is warming them up worth the 10 second wait? No. If you were immortal, would you wait the 10 seconds? Maybe. It would depend on how hungry I am.

Overall, the Quaker Life Soft Baked Nutrition Bars For Adults are decent tasting, a good source of B vitamins and provides 5 grams of fiber per bar. But I’m not sure why they’re under the Life Cereal brand, since they’re not made with Life Cereal, and why they’re labeled “For Adults.” Because unlike other things I’ve bought that were “For Adults,” I didn’t have to pull out my driver’s license to prove my age when I bought them.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar – Cinnamon Roll Raisin Pecan – 150 calories, 4 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein. Banana Walnut Bread – 150 calories, 4 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar and 6 grams of protein.)

Item: Quaker Life Soft Baked Nutrition Bars For Adults (Cinnamon Roll Raisin Pecan & Banana Walnut Bread)
Price: $3.00 (on sale)
Size: 5 bars
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Banana Walnut Bread)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Cinnamon Roll Raisin Pecan)
Pros: Both flavors were good. Banana Walnut Bread smells like banana bread. Banana isn’t artificial tasting. Contains 5 grams of fiber. Cinnamon Roll Raisin Pecan bar have a sweet pleasant cinnamon scent. Good source of B vitamins. Full of other nutrients. Didn’t have to pull out my driver’s license to buy these adult bars.
Cons: No Life Cereal in them. Don’t know what Mikey thinks of them. Nuts don’t provide much flavor. Raisins got lost in the sweetness of the Cinnamon Roll Raisin Pecan bars. Cinnamon Roll Raisin Pecan bar might be too sweet for some. The sad world I imagine Mikey lives in.