Thursday, August 2, 2018

I put my hand upon my chip. . .

So, let's knock the rust off this shitty blog and start reviewing snack foods again.

I was saying to myself the other day "Self, you need an outlet. You're yelling at kids, traffic, and clouds again. Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you?  Now you're talking to yourself, and answering!" and then I threw my hands up in the air and left me in the other room while I went and played Zelda...

But I digress.  Today I managed to bring some solidly mediocre (for instant) pho for lunch today, and then managed to dump most all of it down my pant leg.  At which point I learned that the same material they add to denim to make these jeans a bit stretchy, also makes these jeans absorb stupid-hot liquids faster than a ShamWow.  After appreciating a good scalding for what it is I started walking. . . into a Walgreens?  Anyway, I needed sustenance to supplant my missing pho, and I stumbled across these. 
Wave, kids!
Two!  Count them, Two! of the "new" summer flavors that Lay's barfs up every summer as a contest of Do Me a Flavors or some shit.  (wait, it's "Tastes of America" this year...)  Anyway, the "new" is in quotes because I swear I've already reviewed the Truffle Fries, (checks post history...)  Yeah!  I did do the Truffle Fries!  I don't know what they did this time, but they didn't suck as much.  Or maybe I was hungry and that was enough.  Anyway, they still don't smell like anything.

So, my lunch was 430 calories. . plus another bag.

They did add actual Duck Fat, Black Truffle, and Chicken Fat to the ingredients, AND they're not the dead bottom of the list.  So, there's more of that stuff than. . . oh, wait.  Fuck, all the "good stuff" really is the bottom of the list, with parmesan cheese being dead last.  That would explain why these are weak sauce in general.

you need a rope to get down there to the chips...

There is the usual air filled bag protects your chips routine.  I'm starting to appreciate this for what it does, not so much how it looks.  I did get a bag almost entirely of whole, unbroken chips!  (then again, I literally stood there today as the Lay's guy was filling the shelves, stealing bags as he put them up)

I'm going to tell you how to eat these now.  Just eat the whole damned bag.  Do NOT drink anything, or eat anything else.  Consume these chips and only these chips until they are gone.  What will happen is that some of the flavors will meld together, some will pull apart.  The vague aroma that lingered at the opening of the bag will intensify as what you are pulverizing in your mouth slowly eeks up the back of your nasal passage and stimulates your olfactory lobe.  At this point, you will actually taste the truffle, some aged cheese, some parsley.  But, if you take even a single sip of cherry cola (like I did) it will all crumble to dust and you will be back to tasting Fuck All of note. 

Rating:  2 extra hearts / Hearty Truffle 

So, now we're up to 850 calories of chips for lunch...
Okay, then, Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Popper in Wavy form.  There is some serious Bag Funk going on here.  The base oil and potato combo that all chips have as an undertone is sprinkled liberally across the nose with a "Green" smell.  Like, vaguely vegital but bright?  There is also a whisp of bacon.  Looking at the ingredients it actually contains Jalapeno powder!  (also "contains pork"?!?!)  Anyway, it doesn't smell great, but it does smell interesting, which is leaps and bounds better than the vague truffle fries aroma wasteland.

I mean, at least they're in whole pieces
Pretty typical bag-fill, nice whole chips.  Like the truffle fries, all the chips were fresh and crisp.  The wavy style wasn't super thick or tooth-shattering like I like my chips, but they were reasonably crunchy.  But, that's about it.  The flavor was nice, I guess, but nothing to get too excited about.  Considering the audacity of the Bag Funk on opening, I had expected these would tickle the taste buds a bit more than they did.

I keep forgetting what I've ate, so now I write notes on the bags in case I don't post same day...
In the end, I would rather eat the pseudo-bacon jalapeno whatsits more than the sort of truffle fries.  Either would be okay as a dip chip, maybe for french onion, mostly because they won't stand up for themselves.  But alone they just kind of are.

Rating: 257 out of 900 Korok seeds

So, hmmm, 850 calories from chips, another 240 from my Sprecher Cherry Cola, some meh noodles and some broth that didn't go down my leg. . . and as much salt as giving Lot's Wife cunnilingus.

Great Lunch!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Thursday, June 22, 2017

I feel bad about this review

So. . . Tiki. . .

I like the Tiki.  I like it very much.

The rum, the decor, the rum, the music,the rum, the wardrobe, the rum...

Today I decided to arrive in person at our own slice of Aloha here in Lincoln, NE.

John J's Chow Hall is. . . interesting.  This facility resides in ground floor north of the Graduate Hotel, formerly the Holiday Inn, on 9th and P streets downtown.  I would hesitate to call John J's a Tiki Bar.  If anything it is a confused officer's bar.  The John of the namesake is General John J Pershing, Nebraska's hero General of Armies from World War 1 (note: He was not born in NE, just did stuff here, like go to college.  We're really proud of this import).  It should be noted that WWI was fought in Europe, and that JJ served only briefly in the South Pacific, in the Philippines, and at low rank from 1901-04.  So, right here, we have an odd juxtaposition in the name, theme, and history.

But let's get down to what this place is built up to be.  The decor is straight out of the Walmart/Target/Shopko Summer Collection. All deep, almost minty greens, with fronds and leaves overprinted upon each other.  The whole of the dining room and bar is well lit, with a few strategically placed palms in pots, a couple wicker-wood chairs (with modern outdoor chair cushions), and one whole wall is composed of glass-paned garage doors that can open up on reasonably warm (but not too warm) days and nights.  It strikes me as being what you might imagine an equatorial colonial canteen, if it were built today and stripped of all charm.  In a word, vaguely implying something more, but otherwise sterile.


The drinks:  Reasonably priced, interesting once.  I had two while I was there, the Specialist Mason, and the General Robson.  I preferred the Robson of the two.

The Mason comes in an Alien Head:

The Robson comes in a Pig-earred Pineapple?!?

Both could benefit from a more simple syrup, or more fruit juices, or both and a lot more booze.  I felt both were rather watered down, and in watching the preparation it was obvious that far too little ice was used while mixing.  After shaking, the Robson poured out completely liquid, having melted all of its shaker ice.  More ice in the shaker would have resulted in a colder drink that stayed cold and didn't melt as much of its ice.  The somewhat cold drink is then poured into a room-temperature mug, which slightly rewarms the liquid.  The vessel is then topped up with more crushed ice, which just made it worse and allowed even more melting/watering down.  Chill the Mug! Use bigger agitator cubes! USE MORE BOOZE!  Seriously, each of these was at most 2 shots.  I would be startled to learn that either had more than 3 oz of liquor in them.


There are NO standards of Tiki on the menu.  Everything is an "original" creation named after some famous military personality.  Those with experience will be able to tease out what each is based upon, but I was sad to see no Mai Tai, no Zombie, no classics. Otherwise, they have a full bar.  The Tiki drinks seem to be an amusement for the guests, but they cater to the harder traveling drinker with a variety of harder liquors and a rack of taps.

The menu (see above) has food on the back.  It is literally a mix-n-match affair.  They list several proteins, like beef, chicken, shrimp, etc. and a list of sides.  You order by number of meats, and number of sides.  There are no signature dishes, no imagination, and not even a hint of theme.  It is more disappointing when you expect more to begin with.

Music: Vague, background, I am guessing when I say it appears to be WWII (Not WWI, hello theme...) "military" pop songs.  Bugle Boy, your people are calling.  Not that it will matter, as there are several big screens mounted about the walls.  This is obviously hotel-bar first and Tiki-bar second, and that music is going to get muted as soon as there is a game on.

Ultimately, what we're dealing with here is someone who wants to do something inspired.  Someone wants to make a Tiki bar.  Someone wants to do something original.  Someone wanted to bring a bit of Polynesia to the Great Plains.  But, it is blatantly obvious that the hotel had certain "requirements" for their hotel bar.  I think Tiki was allowed because it would mesh with the Mid-century theme of the hotel.  But, the entire hotel was refurbished in the last 6 months, I get the idea that the budget for this particular bar was extremely limited.  This bar opened 2 weeks ago and when I randomly walked in tonight I was informed it was the Hotel's (and bar's) grand opening.  I will point out that nobody knows about the grand opening. There was no publicity, no ads, not even a social media presence.  Nobody here knows about it, and I doubt many will soon.

There is a certain critical threshold needed to put a bar over the top for fun, theme, and memorability.  I know some can do more with less, but in this case I think they could have used a lot more to begin with.  I really wonder what this place could have been if it had triple the decorating budget and mixologists who aren't afraid to make a drink that will fill the glass...

I will go back again in 6 months (if it's still open, and if they haven't read this review) to see if things improve.  But until then I'll be taking my money up to Omaha where I feel special and can live in another world for a few hours at a time.

Rating:  Capt Morgan Pirate Mascot trying to look cool at Mai Kai in Ft. Lauderdale.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Ethnic Food Cleansing...

How have I made it through this much of 2017 without making a blog-post yet?  Surely not having a computer for a while in 2016 wasn't so bad...  Surely not killing 3 hard-drives in 9 months. . .

Surely I'm not a lazy so-and-so that will do fuck-all if a routine falls out of my routine...... but I digress.

Today, against my better judgement I went a waltzing through the aisles of several ethnic groceries.  We hit an Asian Stuffer Shack, an Indian Stuffer Shack, and a Mexican Stuffer Shack.  Although, the Subcontinent rewarded us only with a huge jar of garlic-ginger paste and some dried chickpeas, so not much to report there.

First, I had to embellish my phallic symbols by not just buying and eating pockey, but buying and eating HUGE POCKEY!!!
You're killin' me Smalls...
I had originally hoped that this would be like regular pockey in that the whole box was one serving, but alas it was not so.  Our flavor-dipped rods are individually wrapped for your pleasure.
Remove wrapper before inserting... 
The big stick itself is akin to a semi-sweet bread-stick.  Or maybe a really shitty, unsalted, unbrowned pretzel stick.  It has been dipped in a vaguely flavored glaze or almond-bark substance (identical to regular pockey, and barely thicker).
Cat is unimpressed
Overall, much less than I was expecting, even if I didn't know precisely what I was expecting.  That being said, despite the individual wrappings, I have already eaten 3...

RATING:  PO.5  out of POCKEY 

Let's jump back across the big pond and focus on our southern neighbors.  I saw two things while I was buying pineapple/coconut nectar (for rum) which I had to at least try.  I think I may have spent almost 4 dollars on this experiment and it shows.

I flipped a coin, and then chose this one anyway: Rancheritos - El MERO MERO Sabor Ranchero. 

At this point I will point out that, although I spent two years taking Spanish in high school, I can't speak a lick of it now.  I literally have not goddamned clue what the fuck this is supposed to be, and after eating it I'm still not sure.
Let's just cut to the chase here, I opened the bag to a magnum opus of underwhelming WTF...  First impressions of odor were unseasoned cooked ground beef and cornchips(?)...
Do Not eat the Tabs of Orange Acid!!!
To be blunt, the flavor is the same as the smell.  Vaguely beefy, and completely boring.  I don't actively dislike them, but the bag should have subtitles in English: "Ranch-style Corn-flats - I don't give a shit flavor".

RATING:  Fritos fucked yo mama and kicked yer dawg (out of) Good Corn Chips

Lastly, we enjoy a visit from an old friend.  I saw these next to the Takis and other rolled flavor explosions and thought to myself, "I wonder if these are spicy Churros?"  So I bought this bag of Churritos - Fuego, advertised ON THE BAG as being the same spicy flavor at Takis....
Man, I sure do love a churro....
These are not Churros....  I feel lied to.  I can't even blame my lack of Spanish, this bag is in my native tongue.  (and on it...)  But, a surprise lies within these lies...
That's right, ladies and germs, we got ourselves a big ole bag of RED NUKE POWDER!!!  Oh, RNP™ I have missed you so. (/sarcasm)  I have to say, I don't think I have ever seen another snack product that has been expertly powder coated in this thick a layer of the good old RNP™. I would go so far to say that you could grind up this thin little sticks and use them to flavor other chips, and they'd still be bright F'ing Red!
They turn Trump-colored under fluorescent light...
This snack is a bit odd.  I'm sure it's some sort of heat extruded material, but with limited levening or limited opportunity to expand.  I would not be surprised if these would be Cheetos puffs if allowed to expand to their full volume. Consistency-wise, these are like Ramen noodles on Viagra, they're longer and thicker but not quite crunchier.  The RNP™ is so overwhelming on these, especially considering the cross-sectional volume of the snack, that there is no reason to ever try to put any other flavor on there.  These are RNP™ flavor, and that is all they ever want to be.  I want to hate them, but I can't.  

Fuck you Red Nuke Powder *crunch*crunch*crunch* I hate you Red Nuke Powder *crunch*crunch*crunch*  (somewhere Puddles is singing Another Tear Falls...)

RATING: Just shut up and eat them, pansy.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Stamping my Passport to Flavor!

Today we'll be reviewing the Lay's "Passport to Flavor" Brazilian Picanha chips (subtitle Steak & Chimichurri sauce).  ((wtf is chimichurri?))

Initial impressions, there are some tasty-looking street food skewers of probably beef on the front.  I'd certainly try one of those if I saw it at a cart somewhere, because beef.  MAYBE these chips will be reminiscent of meaty flavors and whatnot?  I mean, the pork rinds were great, who doesn't like meat? (vegans don't count)

Fallout of your fears about these chips...
So, yeah, chips...  I gotta be honest, I ate these a week ago and I'm trying to remember what I had.  I recall something savory....?  Let's go to the pictures, perhaps that will tickle some neurons.  Typical bag of air, but this method of packing has resulted in a bag of mostly whole chips.  I am still want to reduce the rating for this method of packaging, but I can't for the life of me come up with a better packing method for chips that would result in unbroken product.  Maybe I just want more chips?  These are only 2.75 oz of chips.  Can't I at least get 3 oz?  What about a full quarter pound?  I bet they'd fit in the same bag of air...

I'll never get used to how empty a bag of chips looks when I open them.
Okay, time to take a look at these chips.  Funky, supposedly intense flavors; what are they going to be covered with?  What's this?  A good sign?  YES!!! NO RNP!!!  Looks like flecks of actual herbage on these chips, and some light dusting of darker spices.  There's a subtlety to the flavors here.  Nothing jumps up and pops you in the schnozz.  These are edible, don't kill you over a serving, and repeatable!

I get why these are called Crisps in Yee Olde England
The individual chips were large and fresh and crisp.  I enjoyed eating these.  Not in the usual OMG EPIC FLAVORE sense that I usually like (because it makes good reviews) but in a more subdued randomly eating chips while I do something kinda way.  They don't belt you upside the head, but they don't fade completely into the background.  I could certainly see myself eating these while watching a movie or having a conversation or something.  They're reminiscent of the spices and the savory nature of steak. Considering there are steak skewers on the bag, I guess this is a success.  All that said, I'm a bit disappointed.  There wasn't anything horrible about these chips, they weren't so boring I'll forget them, and they were of a flavor that I found at least marginally pleasurable.  So, basically, this chip was a near perfect storm to not only make writing a review boring as ever loving fuck, but also make me instinctually reach for them if I see them in the store again.  I mean, when I did the pork rinds they got a ridonkulous rating because they were awesome and they were great to review.  These are a 7.  Nothing to write home about, but you're happy you're not stuck with another 3.

Lay's Brazilian Picanha - Rating: buy more yes / 5

Now let's talk for a moment about the "Passport to Flavor" that's going on.  First, I'm just seeing these lately.. So I either missed the "do me a flavor" this summer, or there wasn't one.  At the same time, these creeping up in August/September means this isn't a replacement schtick, but is probably a limited release anyway.  Second, there are 3 more to pick up and I purposely chose this one to be the first of 4 because it looked boring/safe (I was right).  I'm a sucker for kettle-cooked and that's up next. Stay tuned!



Trader Joe's Somewhat Spicy Dill flavored Kettle Cooked potato chips.

Go buy these.


Not later, not next week.  Get your ass off that chair and get moving...

They're really crunchy, mildly spicy, and not nearly as dilly as you'd think given the label, but there is a LOT of Salt and Vinegar action going on here.  You'll drink a lot of beer with these.

Rating: The Vlasic Stork just shot a hot, chlamydia-filled stream of pickle juice onto your tonsils...

Monday, August 29, 2016

A return to normalcy...


Mr. Lester's Bacon Cotton Candy.........
Yeah, this exists...

I don't know if I can do this.
I mean, seriously, who the hell thought this would be a good idea?  What monster sits in a room and thinks, "Hey, that sickly sweet sugar fluff we somehow figured out how to bag and preserve on the shelf indefinitely, what if we added a salty savory pork flavor to that?"  Good god, this is what will really be left on the shelf after the fallout...

I don't trust you Lester.
Let's get started with the "name brand" here, this is Lester.  Lester is not photogenic.  It is obvious to me that this whole company is some sort of weird ego-boost for Lester, because otherwise... why would you intentionally associate yourself with this?  If I met Lester at a road-side stand selling regular bacon I'd be wary; knowing that he's trying to hock Bacon-Flavored Cotton Candy?  No way in hell.  Seriously, Lester, the hills have eyes and I'm getting the fuck out of here.

Yes, please do
But, hey, maybe the key here is that this is intentionally a novelty product.  They know you'll only ever buy it once, and likely you will share the bag so you all don't have to buy your own.  That's what happened to this bag.  This was obtained by an associate at our local Rocket Fizz, a store for weird candy, snacks, and sodas.  We consumed it at a friendly get together where we intentionally watch bad movies.  Let's just say the cinema in play at the time I was excited to distract myself with this.  (that excitement was very, very short-lived)  Seriously, it looks like it should come free in your order from Archie McPhee,  So maybe Lester on the front is a good call?  Definitely tickles the horrible part of my brain that thinks banjos are funny/scary...  Anyway, let us actually try to eat some of this.

Obviously can't suffer too much from empty bag syndrome
This is it, this lump of lumps, this vaguely off-flesh-toned mass, like some sort of airy tumor.  It is more dense than I expected, but then again I am not very familiar with the wide world of prepackaged cotton candy.  I will say that it does not, in reality, look at all appetizing.  It is. . . well, actually, this weekend I spent an hour brushing cats excessively.  After the brushing I had a pile of removed fur that could be wadded into a relatively dense orange and grey mass the size of a tennis ball.  This felt like that.  Teasing apart a piece to eat was not unlike trying to pull out just one small bit of fur.  Almost identical tactile feedback.

I'm going to eat this?
"But how does it taste?" I can hear you asking...  At this point in the blog is when I usually go off the rails about RNP, the horror of the flavors in my face, or the off chance that I actually liked it.  The worst thing that could happen is if it were just, "meh".  So, of course, it's just "meh".  It's so "meh" I'm just "meh" trying to "meh" my "Meh" to the "MEH".  meh

It's very sweet.  Obviously, as it's just spun sugar.  But the flavor is specifically NOT BACON!!!  It's vaguely savory(?) and a bit salty.  The best way I could describe would be to imagine you had real cotton candy that you forgot in your car after the fair/circus/sporting event.  Now, imagine this lump that has allowed to settle overnight in a stale car has been very lightly sprinkled with the powder from really cheap "pork" flavor ramen noodles, and a touch of smoked sea salt.  It's not horrible, but it is also so benign that I'm having a hard time trying to describe it.  I will be clear, it is not good by any description.  Seriously, don't buy this, it's an awful concept that is poorly executed.  It only through the the application of horrible movies and hard alcohol that I was able to move passed this as a low point in my week.

Rating: 1 sad sugary slice / full 5 rashers

Thanks to Mary for providing the fodder for this review.  I promise these will get better.  I saw there wasn't a "Do me a Flavor" this summer, but the local Stuffer Shack had Four, count 'em FOUR new flavors of new chips in their Lay's Passport to Flavor promotion.  We shall see, Lay's, I am about to mushroom stamp every page of that passport...

Sunday, August 21, 2016

I have a computer again; a desktop to type on.  Based on my back-ups and whatnot I've been without for about 5 months now.  A hard five months where not much has happened too me, but I've had a lot of time to myself to think about the things that have happened around me.

Basically, I've got a lot of crap rolling around in my head lately, it's time I let some of it out.

It sounds like the most cheezy cliche thing to say this, but putting my thoughts into text is a form of therapy.  Some things I've written lately publicly and privately have really helped me rationalize and process some of my emotions.

So, don't be surprised if you see more here in the near future.

Besides, there's always more snack-foods to review!

I"ll try to be up front about how shitty the posts are going to be so you can skip ahead to me being foul mouthed about potato chips and whatnot.