REVIEW: Nabisco Sea Salt & Black Pepper Brown Rice Triscuit

Nabisco Sea Salt & Black Pepper Brown Rice Triscuit

Not to frighten those of you who grew up on Pokemon instead of He-Man, but your thirty-somethings will really creep up on you.

One day you’re going out drinking on work nights, then coming home and five-starring some Guitar Hero before bed. Next thing you know you’ve got muscle cramps from your adult kickball league, you can’t remember the last video game you played that wasn’t on your cell phone, and you’ve officially become the guy who reviews crackers.

Crackers! What happened to you, man? You used to be… well, not cool. Kind of cool.

But if you’re going to be dragged forcibly into the middle third of your life, might as well embrace it, right? Start wearing that baseball cap forward. Get bacon OR cheese on your burger, not both. Let your wife finally get that minivan she’s been coveting. (Only kidding, dear. We’re not doing that.) But at the same time, if you find yourself looking at a grocery store shelf full of brown rice Triscuits, well… at least get one with a little flavor to it. If you’ve got to get old, be Mick Jagger, not Gene Simmons.

This brings us to Nabisco Sea Salt & Black Pepper Brown Rice Triscuit. The front of the box tells you all you need to know about the demographic they’re shooting for: there are no dinosaurs with sunglasses or randomly slanted words, and surprisingly few explosions. Just a nondescript brown base that gradually lightens into a burnt umber and eventually orange near the top, with a bright yellow glowing orb that most of us call “Almighty Ra” or “Mr. Sun.” Below it, two bowls: one filled with black pepper, the other grains of salt. A single image of a cracker. And that’s it. You want a spokesanimal or rainbow-colored letters? Fuck you, these crackers are for adults. Leave the kiddie crap at home.

The back isn’t much more interesting, filled with imagery meant to convince your subconscious that these are wholesome and good for you: rice, a few stalks of grain, some red beans, and what I initially thought were slices of bread until the text clarified them as sweet potatoes. One side of the box suggests topping the crackers with ricotta cheese and fresh strawberries, but overplays its hand by promising this will “thrill” your guests. Nice try…stick with “mildly enthuse” and I might buy what you’re peddling, Nabisco. The other side is just the nutritional info, which isn’t bad (130 calories from 9 crackers), although the total fat is a bit more than I would have guessed, 7 percent of your recommended daily intake.

Nabisco Sea Salt & Black Pepper Brown Rice Triscuit Closeup

I know this will disappoint those of you hoping for another round of great crackers, but like my beloved Phillies this year, it isn’t going to happen. And the reason is that (like the Phils), these crackers boast a certain amount of potential but just don’t make it happen in execution. Remove one from the box and you become mildly hopeful — it mostly looks like a standard Triscuit, but there’s a slight glaze reminiscent of melted butter (Spoiler! It isn’t), as well as visible pepper flakes in little enclaves around the cracker. Turn it back and forth under a light source and you can even see the glint of salt crystals, although don’t do it when anyone’s around because seriously, you look like a tool.

Take a bite, though, and you’ll remember why no one has ever come close to being excited about the combination of brown rice and crackers: these are dry as hell. They ARE crunchy, it has to be said, but have a drink with you at all times. And not just because of the salt, which is present in reasonable quantities, though it does vary some from cracker to cracker; that’s understandable, though. The pepper flavor is distinct and probably the best thing about the crackers — it’s plentiful enough to savor without overwhelming your palate.

That said, it’s still fighting a losing battle against the dryness and the texture of the crackers. And while the sodium level isn’t bad, they aren’t reduced fat or anything that might mitigate your feelings slightly like that. Sad to say, the sea salt and black pepper are both mildly pleasant, but not magic. They can enhance a steak, but ultimately, they just aren’t enough to make these crackers exciting.

(Nutrition Facts – 6 crackers – 130 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.5 grams of total fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 130 milligrams of sodium, 55 milligrams of potassium, 21 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Nabisco Sea Salt & Black Pepper Brown Rice Triscuit
Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: 9 oz.
Purchased at: Giant
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Crunchy. Salt and pepper are both plentiful and reasonably tasty. 2008 Phillies. Pretty favorable sodium and (especially) cholesterol levels.
Cons: Quite dry, and after the crunch, not a great texture. 2013 Phillies. Does not move like Jagger. Not much excitement. Embracing your thirties.

REVIEW: Nabisco Roasted Sweet Onion Brown Rice Baked With Sweet Potato Triscuit

Nabisco Roasted Sweet Onion Brown Rice Baked With Sweet Potato Triscuit

If I was required to guess at which snack product would abandon the usual attempt to capture the taste of a nutritionally poor fast food product or even an offbeat American classic in favor of something that sounds like it came from a Giada De Laurentiis cookbook, then I would pick Triscuit.

More upscale than a lowly potato chip and much more inclusive than the crunchy, sometimes divisive malt flavor of the Wheat Thin, Triscuits are the kind of crackers you put out when you’ve invited your next door neighbors over. You know…the nicely dressed couple in their late 30s with 2.4 kids and a dog named Champ. Average. Moderate. Broad. Unassuming. They’re kind of just there. Except when Champ poops on your front yard.

I know it sounds counterintuitive, but I can admire a safe snack like that. It serves a purpose, and is something I don’t feel too bad about when going for seconds at holiday socials. This is important, because like most people, I hate talking to my annoying relatives, who tend to flock to such gatherings. But while I can admire Triscuit because they provide me a distraction when I want to be anti-social, I usually don’t go out of my way to buy them. Hard as I try, I just cannot leap for joy at cravings spawned by the taste of soft winter wheat. 

However, combining brown rice, sweet potato and roasted sweet onion in and on a Triscuit? Don’t expect me to make it and upload a photo on Instagram, but even my inner fat kid can get behind a composed flavor combination of wholesome grains and vegetables like that.

Nabisco Roasted Sweet Onion Brown Rice Baked With Sweet Potato Triscuit Closeup2

Triscuit’s marketing people did a really nice job talking up how these crackers were baked with “real food,” but from the slightly orangyish hue, an almost fried-like wheat and rice structure, and a liberally coated seasoning that looked like Doritos Cooler Ranch powder, each square resembled someone’s misplaced attempt to fry a cracker rather than an actual sweet potato or red onion. Undeterred by this bastardized cracker, my initial bite was greeted by an unmistakable shattering sensation that borders somewhere between crispy and crunchy. Wherever it is on the crunch spectrum, it’s strikingly addictive, and a textural bite I’ve really only encountered at Korean fried chicken restaurants like the chain Bon Chon. Far from the usual sturdy, if not boring, crunch of a Triscuit, I was instantly hooked.

Nabisco Roasted Sweet Onion Brown Rice Baked With Sweet Potato Triscuit Closeup

The flavoring powder is strong and slightly sweet and definitely has the red onion vibe going for it. It’s thankfully not as sharp or intense as a raw red onion, although the flavor doesn’t quite reach the mellowed, smoky-sweetness of an actual roasted red onion. Basically, someone like Scott Conant might not be “kinda angry” from eating it, but would rather be just be mildly confused. Personally, I loved it. For while the sweet onion flavor wakes up your tastebuds, a mellow, smokier and wholesome sweet potato taste permeates the backend. Think a whole grain sweet potato chip, if you’ve ever had one of those. If you haven’t, just think yummy and smile.

Through it all, there’s an almost Doritos Cooler Ranch quality to the seasoning. I can’t place my finger on it (probably because I was licking them), but there’s a slight tang that just melds everything together. Or maybe it’s just the natural reaction to licking little green herb seasoning off my fingers.

Nabisco Roasted Sweet Onion Brown Rice Baked With Sweet Potato Triscuit Side Box

The box came with a nice little recipe idea for topping my crackers with Gouda and figs, but because I chose a career in writing and editing and don’t have that kind of straight cash money, I settled for some Walmart mozzarella and a few raisins. The cracker did just what it needed to do, contributing the sharp sweet onion flavor and meaty sweet potato back notes to the earthy sweetness of the raisins and milky taste of the cheese. Not overwhelming the topping but still holding its own, my little creation was probably the closest thing I got to an actual meal all week.

Nabisco Roasted Sweet Onion Brown Rice Baked With Sweet Potato Triscuit Topped

Clearly, I’m impressed. So impressed, as a matter of fact, that I’m ready to proclaim this my favorite Triscuit and right up there with some of the best crackers I’ve ever had. What Triscuit has managed to do is create a cracker with one of the greatest textural elements of chips but also the robust flavors of, well, actual food. And they’ve done it with something that’s actually pretty good for me and combines none of that actual cooking stuff. While I can foresee those with a strong aversion to onions taking a pass on these, I think most people will be pleasantly surprised by the entire Brown Rice Triscuit line.

As for pleasing your neighbors at those awkward pre-dinner conversations? Well, you’re completely on your own there.

(Nutrition Facts – 6 crackers – 130 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 85milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Other Roasted Sweet Onion Brown Rice Triscuit reviews:
Junk Food Guy

Item: Nabisco Roasted Sweet Onion Brown Rice Baked With Sweet Potato Triscuit
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 9 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Wonderful and slightly sharp sweet onion flavor balanced by subtle molasses sweetness of earthy whole grains and sweet potato backnotes. Crispy-crunchy-shattery texture like Korean fried chicken. Real food. Whole grains. Doesn’t overpower toppings but can hold its own. Has a Cooler Ranch Doritos vibe for some odd reason.
Cons: Confusing Scott Conant and the anti-onion crowd. Might be a little intense for those who like plain crackers. Not as much fiber or protein as regular Triscuit. Assistant Editors’ salaries. Divisive cracker tastes make for awkward pre-dinner conversation with the neighbors.

REVIEW: Nabisco Dill Sea Salt & Olive Oil Triscuit

Nabisco Dill Sea Salt & Olive Oil Triscuit

Remember a few weeks ago when New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin took the NBA world by storm, creating the phenomenon known as Linsanity and the neologisms that soon followed, like Linspiration, Linderella, Linvincible, and Lincredible.

Well, there’s a dillicious baked whole grain wheat cracker that has caused a dillirious frenzy in the snack world. What snack has caused this dillirium? Why it’s the dillectable Triscuit Dill Sea Salt & Olive Oil.

Look at how easy it is to come up with a bunch of made up words using “dill.” It’s not dillficult. BOOM! I did it again. It’s so simple I’m surprised Nabisco didn’t use one and put it on the Triscuit Dill Sea Salt & Olive Oil box, not even “dillicious.” They only put boring words and phrases, like “100% Whole Grain”, “Good Source of Dietary Fiber”, and “May Help Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease.”

I wonder if avoiding neologisms was dilliberate. BAM! I am a verbal machine that dillivers! Oh snap! You can’t stop me, you can only hope to contain me!

To be honest, I’m surprised I put this box of Triscuit into my shopping cart because I’ve never really cared for them. I’ve always considered Triscuit crackers to be “not Wheat Thins” or “shredded wheat cereal rejects.” However, the combination of dill, sea salt, and olive oil compelled me to get over my Triscuit bias.

On the back of the Triscuit Dill Sea Salt & Olive Oil box, there are two suggested topping recipes, smoked salmon & dill and tangy greek. The box also says what wine would go well with these hors d’oeuvre. (Pinot Grigio, in case you were wondering.) Well, I recommend you avoid the topping and wine suggestions and just open the bag of Triscuit, stick your paw in the bag, pull out a handful of crackers, and stuff them into your mouth, because, just like women on a European beach, they’re quite wonderful topless.

Nabisco Dill Sea Salt & Olive Oil Triscuit Closeup

Each woven whole grain soft white winter wheat cracker has noticeable specks of dill, and after I ate a couple I started seeing the sea salt granules build up on my fingers. A wonderful sour dill flavor, which kind of reminded me of pickles, was all I could taste when I put this cracker in between my food mashers. However, after several chews, the dill dissipated and was replaced by the garlic and onion powder added to the cracker. Also, at this time, the sea salt was slightly noticeable. But I really wish the dill flavor hung around longer.

Overall, the Nabisco Dill Sea Salt & Olive Oil Triscuit crackers are a satisfying crunchy snack and I think they’ve helped me get over my Triscuit bias. They are dillightful and Lincredible.

(Nutrition Facts – 6 crackers – 120 calories, 35 calories from fat, 4 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 110 milligrams of potassium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Other Nabisco Dill Sea Salt & Olive Oil Triscuit reviews:
Junk Food Guy

Item: Nabisco Dill Sea Salt & Olive Oil Triscuit
Price: $3.00
Size: 9 ounces
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Wonderful dill flavor. Crunchy. 22 grams of whole grain per serving. Reminds me of pickles. Decent source of fiber. Doesn’t need toppings. My ability to coin new words using “dill.”
Cons: Dill flavor needs to hang around longer. Putting smoked salmon on a Triscuit. My Triscuit bias. My ability to coin new words using “dill” since I’ll probably only use it for this review.

REVIEW: Triscuit Thin Crisps (Chile Pepper and Parmesan Garlic)

Triscuit Thin Crisps (Parmesan Garlic and Chile Pepper)

If you’re anything like me, people are constantly stopping you on the street to ask, “Drew, how do you choose what product you’re going to hilariously [they usually cough when they say that part] review in any given week?” (I’m assuming your name is Drew. If not, sorry, but that’s on your parents, not me.) Most of them are hoping the answer is something sexy like opening an envelope from Marvo that self-destructs after reading it, or picking a briefcase at random held by bikini models. But the truth is, what products we review are largely dictated by our circumstances. For instance Marvo, debonair man-about-town and walking STD factory that he is, reviews condoms. Kelley likes armed insurrection and mustachioed men who look like they might be named Sanchez, so she opts for survivalist food and Tapatio products.

And I, devoted family man and perpetual runner-up for the Whitest Man Alive award (stupid Wayne Brady), review crackers. I’m not complaining… it’s what we do here in the suburbs. Sometimes I’ll invite my honky friends over, put my 2.3 kids to bed, and break out the chablis and a cracker platter so we can sample a few new varieties (brie optional). Usually I’ll spring for some imports — Sweden has some wheat-based thins to die for — but this time I decided to stick closer to home. Pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a man whose proudest moment was the time he was in a 3-second audience reaction shot at a Jeffrey Ross special. (I’m the handsome one.)

Triscuit Thin Crisps aren’t an entirely new product, but they have new packaging that I’m guessing is just going to annoy the hell out of stockboys. They’re thicker at the top than at the bottom, thus leaving noticeable empty space between each package. It at least looks kind of cool, if you don’t think too hard about the fact that it means you’re getting less food for your money. Along with the packaging revamp comes a new flavor, Chile Pepper, which we’ll be looking at alongside preexisting variety Parmesan Garlic.

Triscuit Thin Crisps Chile Pepper

I was both enthused and apprehensive to try the new flavor because chile pepper and I are fairly recent acquaintances. The wife finally convinced me a few years ago to try pepper flakes on pizza, and to my great surprise I ended up liking them immensely. But I’m still a skeptic at heart when it comes to new stuff; and much like putting a strapless dress on a supermodel, what works on pizza isn’t always going to work on everything else. So I was happy to bite into my first Chile Pepper Thin Crisp and discover that I liked them. They have just a little bit of heat to them, which thanks to the triangular shape of the crisps kind of flattens out over your entire tongue. But to the disgust of Texans everywhere, the spicy flavor remains infuriatingly mild. If a Texan ever ate one, he would immediately complain that it must’ve been made by a Northerner, then probably mumble something about the Alamo or giant belt buckles or whatever.

The spice is also fairly short-lived in duration; I had two beverages nearby but never even thought about reaching for either, even right after the initial crunch of flavor. To put it in perspective, my almost 3-year-old ate two in rapid succession, then asked for another as a reward for using the potty. When your spice can’t even make a toddler blanch, it’s clear you’re not pursuing the eXtreme demographic. I’ll grant that some of the crackers seemed to carry more heat than others — I don’t know if that’s due to the residue on some of them flaking off, but you could easily get one that makes you check the box to make sure it’s not the plain variety, followed immediately by one that brings the heat rushing back. They also smell extremely good, with that familiar chili powder scent. I’d go so far as to say the smell might actually trump the taste, like coffee or scented candles.

Triscuit Thin Crisps Parmesan Garlic

And hey, you know what else smells good, he segued flawlessly? Garlic and parmesan cheese. This variety also emits a nice scent, though a bit subtler… you really have to get your nose in there and sniff. Go ahead, don’t be shy — grocery store managers like when you sample their wares so you can give informed feedback to other shoppers. And really, “subtler” is the perfect word to describe the Parmesan Garlic Thin Crisps in comparison to their (semi-)spicy brother. The garlic is present but doesn’t overwhelm, and that distinct parmesan flavor that New Jerseyans constantly taste even when we’re not eating anything is present and accounted for. That said, they’re not something I could see snacking on for the entire duration of a football game or a movie. If you’re looking for a flavor explosion, you’re likely to find Parmesan Garlic a bit bland, but cracker aficionados like myself can see past all that to the pleasant neutrality contained within.

And that’s your cracker review for today from CRKR — all crackers, all the time. Neither of these varieties completely knocked my socks off, but they’re both decent flavors that could stand a little more prominent flavor profiles, or maybe just to include a prize inside the box. They’re probably a lot better when paired with cheese, but taken on their own merits, Chile Pepper and Parmesan Garlic are pretty good if unspectacular crackers. Like my high school swim team.

(Nutrition Facts — 14 crackers — Parmesan Garlic – 130 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.5 grams of total fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of mono saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 120 milligrams of potassium, 20 grams of total carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, less than 1 gram of sugars, and 3 grams of protein. Chile Pepper – 140 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.5 grams of total fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 135 milligrams of potassium, 21 grams of total carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Triscuit Thin Crisps (Chile Pepper and Parmesan Garlic)
Price: $2.99 each
Size: 7.6 oz
Purchased at: Wegman’s
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Chile Pepper)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Parmesan Garlic)
Pros: Getting fellow reviewers on the FBI watch list. Pissing off stockboys. Both smell great, especially the Chile Pepper ones. Nice and crunchy. Pleasing aftertaste. Garlic and parmesan will always be a great flavor combo. Angering Texans.
Cons: Not being named Drew. Strapless dresses on those who… should not wear strapless dresses. 3-year-olds who laugh at your heat. Uneven spice distribution. Parmesan Garlic is good, but wears out its welcome quickly. No prize in the box. A bit dull.