Friday, September 9, 2016

Crystal Pepsi

Brand: Pepsi
Style: Crystal Pepsi
Origin: United States
Type: Soda
Flavor: Sugar with a side of sugar and some sugar on top

Verdict: Not approved :/

I was about ten years old when Crystal Pepsi was first introduced.  I remember it very clearly (oooh, pun intended?  I don't even know!): my mom and I were at Castleton Mall in Indianapolis, where I grew up, and in the center of the mall in front of Lazarus, they had a display set up.  Each person was allowed to go up to a special vending machine, push the button, and receive one FREE can of Crystal Pepsi!  It was so awesome!  As you know, any time you get to push a button when you're a kid makes the experience, like, twenty times better than it already was.

I gleefully pushed my button and got to try Crystal Pepsi for the first time.  I LOVED it!  It was sweet and cool and crisp and delicious and I wanted more more more!  My mom limited my amount of treats and had a weird vendetta against Pepsi though (Coca-Cola or die!), so I only got to have it a couple of times before it was discontinued.  Sad times for wee me :(

Great times for adult me, though, because Crystal Pepsi came back!!!  Or is it as good as I remembered...?  Watch the video to see my review!

So...maybe it was better when I was a kid.  However, much like the Swedish Fish Oreos, my sweets-loving sweetheart really loved it still!  They were more than happy to drink the rest of my bottle.  It's all yours, my love.  Yuck!

Purchased at Fred Meyer, Portland, Oregon

Friday, September 2, 2016

Boulder Canyon Backyard BBQ Chip Extravaganza!

Brand: Boulder Canyon
Style: Grilled Brats, Sweet Corn, and Peach Cobbler
Origin: United States
Type: Chips
Flavor: A complete cookout but in potato chip form!  What??!!

Verdict: Approved!

Obviously, I absolutely CANNOT resist a weird-flavored chip, and Boulder Canyon's seasonal weirdness always is at the top of my list!  They aren't always the best, but I think with each passing year, even if I don't like the flavors themselves, they are getting more and more true to what they are trying to taste like.  Today, I tried the summer Backyard BBQ set, which has Grilled Brats, Sweet Corn, and Peach Cobbler flavors.  Fun in the summer sun time!!!

Here's my video review of the flavors:

Ultimately, the sweet corn was kind of a bust, but the other two were good.  The peach cobbler definitely threw me for a loop because it tasted JUST LIKE peach cobbler!!  How they managed that, I don't even want to know!  Miracles of science, I'm sure.  It even tasted good with some vanilla ice cream - seriously.  The grilled brats didn't taste as much like what I remember brats tasting like (I haven't had one in many, many years), but they still tasted good and I definitely ate the whole bag.

Purchased at Fred Meyer, Portland, OR

Friday, August 26, 2016

Swedish Fish Oreos

Brand: Oreos
Style: Swedish Fish
Origin: United States
Type: Cookies
Flavor: Imagine the worst thing ever, then multiply that times infinity.


Several friends of mine alerted me to the existence of my latest snack: Swedish Fish Oreos.  Now I have to add a little disclaimer here that I'm actually *not* really a fan of the chocolate cookie-style Oreos to begin with, but I knew I still had to hunt a pack of these down and try them.  For science.  And because I kind of like this kind of pain (as you all probably have figured out by now).

Three Fred Meyer stores later, I finally had a pack of these in hand.  Yay!  Here's my video review: you can see here, I was not a fan of these.  Hilariously enough, however, both my partner and my producer were both REALLY into them!  I just can't comprehend why.  To be fair, my partner said they thought the combination of the chocolate cookie with the Swedish Fish filling was pretty awful, but the filling on its own was good because it just tastes like Swedish Fish puree.  I suppose I can see where they're coming from,

Purchased at Fred Meyer, in Portland, OR

Friday, August 19, 2016

Brand: Pique Tea
Style: Earl Grey, Unsweetened Black, Green Sencha, Mint Green Sencha, and Jasmine 
Origin: United States
Type: Tea
Flavor: The black teas were great, the jasmine was great, the senchas were not so good

Verdict: Approved (except for the senchas)

Thank you so much for all of your support and views of my video last week!  This week, I am reviewing Pique Tea organic tea crystals.  I ended up getting these because I got a really great coupon and, of course, I'm a sucker for weird yuppie snacks and treats.  Put organic on the label, and I am so there!  

I tried all five flavors that were in their variety pack.  First off, I was surprised that these didn't really look so much like "crystals" as little flakes.  I was expecting it to look more like brown sugar crystals or something, but looks aren't everything!  I just thought the name was a bit misleading.  Overall, they also did not dissolve completely in the water which looked slightly odd, but I didn't notice any kind of texture in my mouth while drinking it, so it didn't bother me at all.

I tried the black teas first.  The unsweetened black was slightly above average and I would definitely drink it again.  It had a good, strong flavor, and definitely tasted high-quality.  This isn't any old gross Lipton type tea!  It's the real deal, even in crystal form.  The Earl Grey flavor is the other black tea, and I actually like it the best, even though I don't normally care much for EG.  It just tasted really crisp and clean and the bergamot was strong, but not too astringent.  It would probably be really good with some milk/cream of some kind in it as well, accompanied by cookies or cake :)

The green teas didn't fare so well with me.  I found the senchas to be a very odd color (more brown than green), and the taste was not like any green tea I've had before...and not in a good way, unfortunately.  :(  It was very astringent, bitter, and just all around not good.  The mint flavor I was hoping would hide the bad green tea flavor, but it just tasted like someone dumped some spearmint mouthwash in my drink :(  Sad times!

The jasmine green tea, however, was my second favorite flavor.  I LOVE jasmine tea in general, so I was really overjoyed that this one was good!  The jasmine was light, floral, and sweet, just like it should be :)

So overall, I would approve these, I would just avoid the sencha flavors.  But the rest are good, and I would definitely order from them again.  Also, the customer service was excellent!  They made a mistake on my order and sent me a whole new order, plus a sample pack, which I will be including as the second surprise prize in my giveaway!  Please enter below!!! :)

If you would like to see the video version of this review, here it is!

Please enter my giveaway below to win a full set of Lay's Passport to Flavor chips and a sample pack of Pique Tea!  All the prizes are being provided by me, this isn't sponsored or anything, it's all out of the goodness of my snacky little heart!  Here it is:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for reading and thanks for watching!!

Friday, August 12, 2016

I Eat Snacks: Lay's Passport to Flavor Video Review and Giveaway!!

Brand: Lay's
Style: Passport to Flavor
Origin: United States
Type: Potato Chips
Flavor: Indian Tikka Masala tastes amazing, the rest are good to not very good

Verdict: Approved (except for the Chinese Szechuan Chicken)

OH EM GEE SNACKIES!!!  I am officially launching my video taste tests!!!  This project has been in the works in my snacktastic little brain for literally years, and in reality for several months, so I cannot even express how freaking excited I am right now to be sharing this with you all!  I LOVE snacks so much and all I have ever wanted to do is share my love with the hello world, here I am!  Love me!  Eat snacks with me! <3

To celebrate the launch of my new show and of the new channel I will be featured on, Querd Collective, I'm having a giveaway!  Enter below to win not only a full set of the Lay's Passport to Flavor chips, but another special snackie prize that will be announced in next week's video!  What will it be?!  Who knows?!?!  I do!  But I'm not telling :D

First off, though, the moment you have really been waiting Lay's Passport to Flavor review!  Every summer I get really stoked because Lay's always has some kind of weird flavor promotion going on.  The past few years, it's been the Do Us A Flavor contest where you get to vote on a new flavor, but this year, they are featuring four globally-inspired flavors.  I'm really excited because these were actually better than a lot of the Do Us A Flavor entries.  The flavors were stronger and felt much more inspired.

The worst flavor, by far, was the Chinese Szechuan Chicken.  It smelled like the bathroom after you've eaten too much Chinese food, if you catch my drift, and the taste wasn't much better.  It was minimally spicy, and just had a very heavy, meaty, soy sauce type flavor.  Somehow, it was complex yet boring all at the same time...really difficult to manage that, but they did it, and it was not a good.  Womp-womp.

The best flavor was the Indian Tikka Masala.  It was SO GOOD!  It smelled like the inside of an Indian restaurant in the best way.  The taste is divine.  They are in the running for my favorite chip flavor ever, and if you know me at all, you should know that is a big freaking deal!  There is a dish called Aloo Gobi that I get fairly often at my favorite Indian restaurant that's made of potatoes and cauliflower and these chips taste just like that.  I've never actually eaten tikka masala, so I can't speak for whether it tastes just like that, but it doesn't matter, because these are so, so, so good!

The Brazilian Picanha chips were also pretty tasty, although not quite as much as the masala.  These are supposed to taste like steak and chimichurri, and they didn't quite nail it, but they got pretty darn close.  The steak flavor is pretty incredible - you can definitely taste the smoky meat flavor throughout the whole bite, but the chimichurri is a little less potent.  I would have loved for these to have more of the herbal, sour, and spicy flavors of chimichurri to come through more.

Finally, the Greek Tzatziki chips - these were also pretty good.  Tzatziki is a Greek dip made of yogurt, cucumbers, dill, and garlic, and for these chips, the strongest flavor was by far cucumber.  They tasted like Bath and Body Works cucumber melon spray, but not really in a bad way.  There's a slightly sour undercurrent representing the yogurt, and at the end of the bite, you can taste the spices a little bit.

So basically, if you can get a hold of these before they all fly off the shelves, grab for the Indian ones first!!  And whatever you do, don't get the Chinese ones unless you're just looking to taste all of them.  Or do, if you like soy sauce?  *shrug*

If you would like to see the video version of this review, here it is!

Anyway, on to other important things, like my giveaway!!  All the prizes are being provided by me, this isn't sponsored or anything, it's all out of the goodness of my snacky little heart!  Here it is:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for reading and thanks for watching!!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

I Eat Snacks: Funyuns Steakhouse Onion Mini Review

Brand: Funyuns
Style: Steakhouse Onion
Origin: United States
Type: Onion Rings
Flavor: Like onion rings dipped in ranch

Verdict: Approved!

Although I began apprenticing to become a Snack Master from a very, very young age, there was one type of salty snack that I actually never tried until this past year, believe it or not!  That elusive snack was Funyuns.  I don't really understand exactly *how* that happened, given that onion rings are one of my favorite foods.  I think my mom thought they were gross and wouldn't let me have them, or something like that.  Anyway, that's neither here nor there.

What is here, in my hands, right now, is Funyuns Steakhouse Onion flavor.  I grabbed these as a quick snack from Plaid Pantry the other day, having literally no idea what to expect.  I actually don't really care for plain Funyuns for some reason; I can't quite put my finger on it, but something about them just doesn't jive with me.  These ones, however, are awesome!  They're basically like Cool Ranch Funyuns, if that was a thing.  They are super salty and savory, and basically taste like plain Funyuns dipped in ranch sauce.  Given that ranch is one of my favorite flavors, I am sooooo into these!  Approved!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

I Eat Snacks: Halfpops - Butter & Pure Ocean Sea Salt

Brand: Halfpops
Style: Butter & Pure Ocean Sea Salt
Origin: United States
Type: Popcorn
Flavor: Boring, salty, and teeth-breakingly crunchy

Verdict: Not approved

Have y'all heard about 365 yet?  It's the new "budget" grocery chain by Whole Foods.  Basically, they stock the shelves with their 365 brand products to provide less-expensive gourmet foods to people.  Supposedly.  I took a trip to the newest one in Lake Oswego, OR (because the rich people that live there, like, *really* need low-price gourmet foods) to see what all the hubbub was about and, of course, to check out the snacks.  I was super underwhelmed!  I got a couple of deals on produce, kind of, but the snack selection was sad as all getout and the prices were comparable to a regular Whole Foods.  Not worth making a special trip, that's for sure!

However, we all know I can't leave a grocery store without purchasing at least one new snack, so I grabbed a bag of Halfpops.  I'd been eyeing these for awhile - they're half-popped popcorn kernels with flavors like butter and sea salt, truffle oil, cheddar, and according to the Halfpops website, some more exciting flavors like dill and BBQ.  The selection was slim at 365, so I just grabbed the butter and sea salt flavor.  Had they had the white cheddar though, I definitely would have gone for that one instead.

These were so-so.  I've had similar half-popped popcorn to this that was, honestly, a little better.  The butter flavor was more oily tasting than buttery, and there was too much sea salt to butter.  They are also incredibly crunchy so if you have sensitive or delicate teeth, definitely pass on these ones!  The other issue I had with these is that they had not just one, but several giant blobs of powder flavoring.  I accidentally ate one (cough, cough, ewwww), then checked the bag and found two more immediately.  Quality control, where you at?!  These are NASTY!  Nobody wants a nickel-sized blob of squishy salt when they are trying to eat a crunchy snack.  Blerrghhh.

EW! Flavor powder chunk o' grossness
Basically, stay away from 365 and from Halfpops, unless maybe you're bored or something?  I don't know.  Not approved :p

Friday, July 8, 2016

TwoFer! Double Coffee Friday! Starbucks Iced Coffee and Califia Farms FullShot

Brand: Starbucks
Style: Unsweetened Iced Coffee
Origin: United States
Type: Coffee beverage
Flavor: Like a really bad Java Monster energy drink

Verdict: Not approved

Back in my youth, when I still had a stomach of steel...ish, I used to drink these really horrible energy drinks called Java Monster something or another.  I liked them because they had more caffeine than coffee and they tasted like weird metallic cookies.  I figured that the metallic taste was due to the fact that it contained dairy and was packaged in a can, and just rolled with it.  Plus, in the summer, I used to work on the Warped Tour sometimes and they would give them out for free, and we all know free is the best flavor, right?

Present day, I use this app called Ibotta to pocket a little extra cash for my vacation fun.  Basically, you buy things listed in the app, scan your receipt, and Ibotta gives you a rebate of anywhere from 25 cents to a couple of dollars, depending on the item.  It's actually really awesome, and if you don't have it, please use my referral link - - to get it.  We'll both get $5!  I'll be one step closer to all of the glorious snack options available to me on my future Tokyo dream trip, and you'll be $5 closer to whatever your snacky little heart desires <3

Everything will come together soon, I promise!  So, Ibotta had a rebate for a new Starbucks drink that actually comes in an unsweetened flavor, so I went for it!  It was on sale, and I got a dollar back, so the thing was practically free.  It's supposed to be iced coffee (not to be confused with cold brew, where the coffee is actually brewed cold, as opposed to being brewed hot, then cooled), with nothing in it but coffee.  Unfortunately, it actually tastes very similarly to one of those Java Monster energy drinks, despite it not containing milk or sugar and it being packaged in a glass bottle.  I'm not sure if I should be relieved that I wasn't somehow drinking metal particles that would eventually kill me all those summers on Warped, or if I should be more concerned that somehow it's the coffee that tastes this way on its own.  It bears little resemblance to actual coffee, even actual Starbucks coffee on a bad day, which we all know is only a small step away from Kwik-E-Mart mystery coffee-like beverage.  

Did I drink the whole bottle?  Yes, because I am a hopeless slave to the almighty caffeine.  Did I enjoy it?  Not at all.  Do I recommend anyone else drink this?  Hell no, unless you're desperate and can only afford to buy this because it's on sale and Ibotta gives you a dollar back.


Brand: Califia Farms
Style: Unsweetened FullShot Cold Brew Coffee
Origin: United States
Type: Coffee beverage
Flavor: First, coconut, then grit and grease

Verdict: Not approved

After the Starbucks Iced Coffee debacle, I should have known better than to attempt another pre-packaged coffee, but I got suckered in, yet again.  This time, I went for a high-end latte-style one: the Califia Farms Unsweetened FullShot Cold Brew Coffee.  This had a few things going for it, which is why I shelled out the ridiculous amount of money it cost:
  •  Yuppies are terrible, but usually their snacks aren't
  •  It has 6g of protein (pea protein isolate and sprouted brown rice protein; I figured I can always use more protein in my mornings)
  • It has 2g of MCT - for those of you not in the know, MCT stands for medium-chain-triglycerides and is supposed to be some kind of miracle brain juice for ultimate focus and's also the driving force behind the new "butter coffee" trend, I believe?  I'm obviously only partially in-the-know, but hey, miracle brain juice!
  • I looooove Califia Farms unsweetened vanilla almond milk and general use that in my regular coffee at home
  • It has coconut milk in addition to the almond milk
So as you can see, I was imagining some kind of yuppie goodness that would be delicious, creamy, and help me focus on work.  Did that actually happen?  Well, I'm technically supposed to be working right now and instead, I'm writing this review, can draw your own conclusion there.  Most importantly though, how did it taste?!  

Not so good, I'm afraid.  Between the coconut cream, protein, and MCT, it didn't really mix up so well and ended up having a very weird oily, gritty texture.  Call me weird, but I'm actually not a huge fan of my coffee being gritty OR oily, so...that's a big no.  Texture issues aside, it still didn't taste awesome.  The coconut is the strongest flavor, even more so than the coffee, which is okay, but not great.  I think if it didn't feel like drinking straight coconut oil, I could probably get into it, but the texture of this one is really hard to get past.  I might not even make it through the whole bottle, and you know that's saying a lot coming from me!

Added note: After drinking this and writing this review, I started to get dizzy spells for the rest of the day.  Just say no to this one!  Sorry Califia Farms, your almond milk is the shit, but this is just shit :(

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Cheetos Redux: Salsa con Queso

Brand: Frito Lay
Style: Cheetos Salsa con Queso Crunchy
Origin: United States
Type: Cheese snacks
Flavor: Spicy, like cheetos dipped in salsa

Verdict: Approved

Yesterday's Burger King Mac 'n' Cheetos adventure had me craving some real Cheetos goodness, so I decided to meander down the snack aisle and grab myself a little bag.  However, seeing as I am the Snack Master, not just some mere snack apprentice, I couldn't pass up trying out this new flavor I found: Salsa con Queso!

A very, very long time ago, I found some enchilada flavored Cheetos, and I don't really remember what they tasted like, but I feel like these are pretty similar.  When you open the bag, you get a strong cheesy, Cheetos smell, and not too much of the salsa smell.  That made me a little worried that they might not be very salsa-y, but once I tried one, my fears melted away in a wave of spicy...well, not quite bliss, but they are pretty good.  They're not too spicy; I'm not crying over them or reaching for water, but they definitely pack a little punch.  The other main flavor I get is a bit of a vinegar taste, like hot sauce, and some lime aftertaste.

These are definitely good for what they are, although they don't really taste like any salsa con queso I've ever had.  I'm trying to put my finger on why they don't really taste like a good salsa con queso, but I can't quite nail it down.  I think the tomato flavor doesn't quite come through enough, to be honest.  Regardless, I'd still buy them again!  Thank you, Cheetos, for redeeming yourselves after yesterday's blunder. our LIVE video review from Burger King yesterday!!  Mac n Cheetos and Chicken Fries:

Please comment and like and all that fun stuff, and let me know what other videos you would like to see! <3

Monday, June 27, 2016

Burger King Mac 'n' Cheetos and BONUS Chicken Fries!

Brand: Burger King
Style: Mac 'n' Cheetos
Origin: United States
Type: Fast Food
Flavor: A sad, sad letdown :(

Verdict: Not approved

After my last healthy review, I decided to swing the complete opposite direction and get my little paws on some of the new Burger King Mac 'n' Cheetos that everyone's been talking about.  I'd heard generally good reviews about them, and I had a friend that wanted to go try them with me - score!  Since they are full of gluten and other crap I can't really eat, getting a friend to taste them with me meant I could just try a couple of bites without having to eat a whole serving and causing myself endless internal pain.  Yay!

We actually ended up liveblogging our tasting to Facebook, and if I can figure out how to take that video and upload it to Youtube, I will definitely post a link up!  It was so much fun!  However, the actual food itself...not quite so much fun.

First off, the smell was terrible.  It might be because I'm recovering from a cold and my senses are still a little off, but I personally thought it smelled faintly of generic cheese curls and strongly of feet, but not in the good cheese-feet way...just...feet.  They look like weird giant fingers rolled in fish food, and ours arrived slightly burnt, much to my delight and my friend's non-delight.  I thought that the burnt parts gave dimension to what was otherwise a fairly sad flavor.  The insides tasted about as good as that one time I stupidly tried a mac and cheese frozen dinner from the Dollar Tree...more of a cheese-like food product than actual cheese, texture similar to wallpaper paste.  The outside tasted alright, but the Cheetos taste was pretty lackluster.  They really needed to be fried, then rolled in Cheetos powder to really give it that taste we all know and love!  

The texture was somehow simultaneously dry and mushy, which I still can't quite compute, but a happy medium would have been best.  I did like the crunch on the outside, though.  That was probably my favorite part, especially on the slightly burned bits.  However, I'm also the weirdo that loves the burnt parts of a good mac and cheese oven casserole, so naturally I liked those parts best.  All in all, we decided it would be way better to make a good homemade mac 'n' cheese in the oven and crumble your own Cheetos on top.

Also, pro tip - these taste way better dipped in BBQ sauce!

Bonus Review - Burger King Chicken Fries

We also tried the Chicken Fries, because neither of us had eaten them before.  I liked these better than my friend did, although they were also pretty sad.  Chicken Fries, for those of you not in the loop, are essentially very skinny chicken fingers, presumably for people who like breading far more than chicken.  To be honest, if I could eat gluten and soy without facing certain death, I would probably eat the shit out of these, even though they were, quite frankly, completely disgusting.  I think they might put drugs in the breading or something, because even though they were saltier than the Dead Sea and just as dry inside as a desert, I really wanted to keep eating them.  I had to try really hard to only eat my couple of bites, even though they were so salty!  Something about how crispy and seasoned the breading was just really made me want to take another bite.  However, I definitely was one of those kids that was way more into breading than chicken and also, I'm from deep fried country (Indiana), all makes sense, I suppose.  The best part about them, actually, was the box, which had a really cute chicken face on it.

I don't think I'll be returning to Burger King again anytime soon, though.  It was pretty sad.  Afterwards, I was really wishing I had some water with me, I was so thirsty, despite only having taken about seven total bites of all the food combined.  My stomach also hurt for a bit once I got home, but now that I've had a nice dinner of fresh vegetable soup, things are pretty much back to normal.