Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dry Soda: Cucumber

Brand: Dry Soda
Style: Cucumber
Origin: USA
Type: Soda
Flavor: This is delicious...if you enjoy drinking carbonated cucumber-melon lotion
Verdict: Fail, fail, fail!

I went to get my haircut the other night, and my barber was ranting about this cucumber soda that his coworker had brought in from the Starbucks down the street. He said it was awful, but me being me, I had to go buy one immediately. Maybe it was inspiration from the pickle chips? The world may never know.

When I stepped into the Starbucks and boldly strode to the counter with it in hand, I asked the barista if she'd tried it. She assured me that A. yes, she had, and B. it was delicious. I asked if it tasted like cucumber water, as in water with a slice of cucumber in it, a refreshing treat I sometimes enjoy. I was also assured that this was the exact flavor of the soda, so I purchased it in good faith that no one at Starbucks would ever lie to me.

I have never been more wrong in my life. Ever. The thing with this pop is that when you first drink it, it tastes like plain club soda. The problem is, about a half-second later, the fake cucumber taste kicks in, and it's the worst thing ever. It's exactly like what I would imagine drinking cucumber-scented lotion would taste like, which is not something that I've ever in my life wanted to do. However, if that's a goal of yours, I highly suggest you go the less-toxic route and drink this pop. You'll love it.

Purchased: Starbucks, Portland, OR

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pringles: Extreme Screamin' Dill Pickle

Brand: Pringles
Style: Extreme Screamin' Dill Pickle
Origin: USA
Type: Potato Chips
Flavor: Salty, pickle-y, like eating chips dipped in the juice from the pickle jar
Verdict: Approved, but these might not be for everyone...

Pickle-flavored chips are something I'm always skeptical about, even though I'll eat dill-flavored chips with no qualms. I suppose it's something about the 'extreme' pickles on the can of these Pringles that makes me a little weary? Or perhaps just the thought of trying to cram the complex flavor of one of my favorite condiments into a chip is what I find bothersome. I'm not quite sure, but either way, I'd been avoiding buying these guys for awhile.

However, seeing as I've tried nearly every other flavor of Pringles on the market, it was inevitable; the divine force of fate would see that the screaming pickles and I would someday meet. (I think that would be an awesome band name, BTW. If you want it, it's yours!) I saw the can sitting on the shelf at the drugstore, and before I could tell it to stay back, it had leaped into my hand!

I'm glad it did, though, because these are actually pretty delish! Sure, the MSG is starting to give me a rash even though I've only had about 10 crisps, but the aftertaste of pure pickle on my tongue is still making my taste buds tingle with delight. These do taste, like the name implies, pickles. I'm not exactly sure where the 'extreme screamin'' part comes in, they taste just like every other pickle chip I've had, except possibly a little better (hello, MSG!), but I'm willing to deal with the inexplicable name for the great taste.

Purchase: Rite-Aid, Portland, OR

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Doritos: Last Call Jalapeno Popper

Brand: Frito Lay
Style: Doritos, Last Call Jalapeno Popper
Origin: USA
Type: Corn Chips
Flavor: As the title implies, a jalapeno popper from a dive bar
Verdict: Approved, although would probably taste even better drunk than sober

Ah, Doritos, how I love ye plentiful and varied flavors. Some are hits, some are misses, some...some fall into the realm of the completely unexplainable (X13 anyone?). They've released two new flavors under the "Late Night" name: Last Call Jalapeno Popper and Tacos at Midnight. I'm not entirely sure where they got the protocol of eating tacos two hours earlier than jalapeno poppers, but apparently the folks at Frito Lay are well in the know of the proper etiquette when ordering spicy bar food.

When I first tried these chips, I'd eaten some actual jalapeno poppers about a half hour before, then happened upon these chips in an unforeseen chain of events. It was deja vu all over again! These chips really do taste like jalapeno poppers - greasy, deep-fried, crusty poppers with too much breading and not enough cheese. However, you can distinctly taste each element of the popper on the chip. There's the tangy, mild burn of the pepper, the bready coating, and the creamy cheese. I almost feel like Violet Beauregard from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory eating these things! This seems to be an interesting trend in snacks, this whole taking a food and putting it on a chip thing. Pringles new Restaurant Cravings line is another example of this type of flavor sensation.

All in all, these chips are approved. I wouldn't eat them every day, especially given how they make me crave actual jalapeno poppers, but it's safe to say that they're going in my regular rotation of snacks. Score one for Doritos on this one!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Calbee: Snappea Crisps

Brand: Calbee
Style: Snapea Crisps
Origin: USA
Type: Puffs
Flavor: Like split pea soup flavored cheese puffs, without cheese
Verdict: Approved wholeheartedly!

God bless the USA. My friend recently acquired food stamps, now that she and her job have unfortunately departed, and they gave her approximately 4 times what I spend in a month on food. Naturally, the first thing we did was run out to the store to buy snacks! After realizing that food stamps work at Whole Foods, we went there, because they have the best weird snacks. One of the treats we ended up with is Calbee's Snapea Crisps.

Now, the picture on the front of this bag is highly misleading, because it depicts some crispy looking peapods. I'd assumed that this would be some kind of baked-not-fried in tact vegetable snack, like Trader Joe's green bean snacks. I could not have been more wrong! As you can see in the photo above, they are vaguely peapod-shaped puffs, made of rice and pea flour. The flavor is distincly pea, but with the puff texture and the salty tang, they taste a lot like some bizarre vegan Cheeto.

I realize that my description makes these sound awful, but honestly, they're simply scrumptious! My friend is picky about my 'weird' food choices, but she and I actually agreed on these ones. Definitely worth a try, and they aren't nearly as healthy as they seem. They paper I set them on to take the photo was covered in grease spots afterwards. Om nom nom!

Purchased: Whole Foods, Portland, OR

Friday, May 1, 2009

Brand: Herr's
Style: Old Bay
Origin: USA
Type: Potato chips
Flavor: MSG and overwhelming celery salt
Verdict: Failed

I'm on the road today, having left my ever-green mountains of the Pacific Northwest and ventured across the spacious skies and over the amber waves of grain all the way to the Big Apple! It's snack central up in here, so I'll be posting as much as I can with all of these exciting new (at least to me) treats!

I've heard of the nearly-mythical Herr's brand of snacks for years, but had yet to try any of their potato chips. I've eyeballed the website and almost bought myself a variety pack about ten times now, but never could talk myself into hitting purchase. Fortunately, they sell Herr's here in New York, and being ever-adventurous, I went for the weirdest flavor on the shelf: Old Bay. The crabs on the bag were definitely the selling point for me, as I have no idea what Old Bay is. I don't eat seafood, but I'm assuming it's some kind of shellfish seasoning? It reminds me of Johnny's seasoning, although Johnny's is traditionally reserved for french fries, mashed potatoes, and other starchy goodies (and Tim's Cascade Johnny's Seasoning chips!), so I'm not exactly sure why there are crabs on the Old Bay bag.

The thing is, though, Johnny's has A. stopped using MSG, and B. has a much better balance of spices. I keep eating these wretched things, hoping for them to grow on me, or some how magically taste good, but they're really, really gross. I've had about five now and I already feel like I'm going to break out from the amount of MSG in them, and the lingering taste of celery salt and a mild spice at the back of my tongue is making me feel like I just ate at some all you can eat truck stop. It just tastes like cheap, crappy junk food. It's hard for me to explain it any other way; I think these just need to be experienced to understand the horror.

Purchased: Associated Foods, NYC