Friday, September 11, 2015

My codependency with potatoes and salt...

The days are harder now.

The nights are long, dark and deep.

It has been so long since I felt you upon my lips, tasted you...

I find myself turning to the embrace of others.

Spending time with those I would not by choice have associated if you were near.

Where have you gone?

I see you everyday, but not with me.

Four new suitors have shouted and danced  and gyrated to garner my attention, but they are not you.

My one.

My only.

My Red Nuke Powder™...

The slog continues...
Lay's (Do Me A Flavor) New York Reuben is on the block today.  This is the 3rd of the 4 new flavors this summer.  I've only got one to go after this, and I must say so far that there are not any that stand out from the crowd.

Let's start with being mad before I even open the bag.  The Reuben was invented in Omaha, NE.  There are several restaurants who argue about who was the first, but no culinary historian worth their salt would ever dispute that the home of the Reuben is Beef-Town USA, Omaha, NE.  So, yeah, FUCK YOU, NEW YORK!!! THIS IS NOT YOUR SANDWICH, YOU ASSHOLES!!!  I mean, WTF, Big Apple?  You've already got claim to so much in this country, you gotta steal our pastrami (Or corned beef!) on rye sandwich and say it's yours?  YOU DON'T EVEN MAKE SAUERKRAUT!!!  

Okay, I'm done.

As usual, we're dealing with the "big bag, lots of air" packing method that (usually) ensures that most of you chips will still be uncrushed when you open your snack.  I understand the why, but the what is still, "Hey, I just opened this and most of it is empty already..."

Capt', the bottom looks to be about 5 fathoms down.
But, that's pretty much par for the course these days, so I'll not dwell on it.  This is the 3rd of the 4 new flavors this summer in the Do Me A Flavor promotion.  Last year, this concept brought us some really unique flavors and the awesomeness that is Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger, the chip of choice for anybody who's anybody.  I've only got one more flavor to go this time around, and I must say so far that there are not any that stand out from the crowd.

You will notice the stark lack of something that has come to represent the best (and worst) of this blog.  That's right, there is No RNP in this product.  So, we obviously think we can rely on actual flavor instead of the taste-bud equivalent of ICBMs.  (I kinda miss the RNP to be honest...)

The flavor is. . . meh.  There's potato chippy flavor and texture, they're light and crisp and potatoey and salty.  But there's no Zazz!  No Pop!  I just get these vaguely umami ambient taste tones on my tongue that trick my brain into thinking someone is slicing pastrami approximately 2 miles upwind...

These aren't bad, don't get me wrong.  They're just boring.  I suppose if you're someone who doesn't like a good salt & vinegar punch in the mouth while you have a sandwich, these would be great accompaniment to an actual reuben sandwich.  

In the end, eating something like this makes me miss last year's Mango Salsa.  Or, god forbid, the cappuccino flavored horror; not at all good, but at least interesting.

Rating:  2.blah/5.wut?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Welcome to the potato chip apocalypse...

Let's get this shit-show started!

Hey, Kid.  Wanna buy some questionable fungus flavors?
You're gonna get a two-fer today.  First up, Lay's Wavy West Coast Truffle Fries!  

Holy Crap, Man! Truffle Fries!  Do you know how much good truffle fries are worth!?!  They gotta get these pigs, see?  And they train them to sniff out these weird fungus nodules that grow underground, right?  And they sell those soil-caked mushroom lumps to high-end restaurants for a shitload of money!  It's such a unique, rich, earthy flavor that they even press smaller bits into, like, olive oil and shit.  Then these fungal geniuses fry something simple like dumb old potatoes in that oil, and Get This; Those potatoes now taste like they've got really expensive truffles IN THEM!!!

At least, that's the idea.  Let us just be subtle and say that the execution of this concept seems to lack some initiative on the part of Lay's potato chips.  I know they're a multimillion dollar company, but practically speaking you're not going to find any actual truffles in a bag of potato chips that has $1.49 stamped on the bag...
I don't even use a fish-eye lens to get the bag to look this empty...
When I opened the bag I noticed that the large, wavy chips are sprinkled in green.  I seriously thought they had put sour cream & onion chips in by mistake.  But, no, they are not, as the flavor is at once strong and yet vague.  I tried to pick out individual flavors, but all I got was a generic uncertain herbal shadow on a slightly spiced salty undertone.  There may have been something ever so tangentially related to cheese involved here as well, maybe.  I did not, in any way, taste truffles.  

I thought, "Hey, maybe I'm not smelling enough to taste the truffle?" Seeing as much of flavor is a combo of taste and smell, and knowing that truffles are aromatic as hell, I stuck my nose in the bag.  I will tell you that I did not smell herbs, spices, cheese, potatoes and I sure as hell didn't smell truffles.  To be quite honest, all I could smell was Dirt.  Fake Dirt, boring dirt, maybe dirt that had a trace of rot in it.  In an attempt to fake the flavor of truffles/truffle oil, they have succeeded in making me think of dry loam.

These chips taste/smell like seasoned crispy dirt.  And after smelling that I can't not taste it that way from now on forever...

Rating: 1.1/5.0 WTF?

What is. . . I mean. . .I guess the colors are nice.
ROUND 2: Lay's Southern Biscuits and Gravy!

How should I start this?  I'm trying to separate, in my head, these chips from the Truffle Dirt.  I opened the last bag, ate a few, and then left the rest out for the wolves in the office.  These I opened second and, assuming I wasn't so underwhelmed by the last bag by comparison, I actually thought they were pretty good.  Maybe?  Maybe only be comparison to the soil crisps?

Object are fuller than they appear...

Let's start with smell.  They smell good, or at least inviting.  I suppose I should be happy that neither this nor the last bag had any Red Nuke Powder in them.  Nothing here burns the nose hairs off.  The flavor is also attractive.  Salty, spice, a hint of umami.  Truth be told, the combination of taste and smell was actually somewhat reminiscent of actual biscuits and gravy.  But, ultimately it falls short.  Think about the actual meal.  You'll need the smell and taste of a buttermilk biscuit with salt and butter and a bit of caramelization of the carbs, and over that is a rich, salty cream/dairy-based gravy with a lot of fresh cracked pepper as well as all the flavors linked to the crumbled-up cooked sausage.  It may not be possible to get all of this in a bag of chips.  

That being said, they threw a rock at the broad side of a barn and managed to at least clip the edge.  I think these chips would stand out more if labeled as a "mystery flavor".  Don't tell anybody what they're supposed to taste like and let people make up their own minds.  Or don't try to think what they might taste like, just enjoy the flavor they are.  I can imagine these going quite well as a companion side to some cold macaroni salad or something.

Incidentally, there is a noticeable greasy sensation on the lips, this in combination with the other spices and flavors makes me think more of truffle oil than the other bag.  Not as the primary flavor, but you might have been able to convince me it was one of the ingredients.  

I actually want to split the rating on this one between what it wants to be, and what it is.

Rating:  2.0/5.0 as Biscuits & Gravy flavor
              3.5/5.0 as its own unspecified mystery snack flavor.

Coming up.... the other two.

Monday, July 27, 2015

I feel out of practice...

Hello darkness my old friend....

I've come to eat Red Nuke Powder again.

And tell the people about these chips that suck.

Or maybe be rewarded for pressing my luck.

For these chips are the warm-up to next week.

Weird flavors I seek...

Nice rich welcoming color, no blaring typesets or screaming color schemes...
Today is Lay's Sweet Southern Heat Barbecue chips.  This was the only flavor at the Stuffer Shack that I hadn't tried yet.  As you can see the label has a red chili of some sort, disemboweled for you to gaze upon.  There also appears to be a bowl of ketchup, or maybe cranberry sauce.  As usual, the bag feels light and is puffed full of air to imitate fullness.  I read somewhere that in the puff-bag model of distribution looking full and bigger is a bonus effect, the original purpose being to keep the chips inside from breaking as the container is its own airbag.  Whatever, I still feel cheated.

I am already wary.  Is that RNP or Tang?
The chips themselves taste fresh and they are quite crisp.  The color is off-orange of sorts, usually indicative of RNP but in this case may be purposeful coloring to suggest BBQ sauce.  The flavor is not the usual round-house kick to the tonsils I've been experiencing lately, but it isn't subtle.  There is a nice, semi-sweet flavor of a well spiced barbecue sauce over a mild but defined potato flavor.  But then the magic happens...

There is some heat here.  Not the weird chemical warfare that happens to your face when you eat anything with Red Nuke Powder on it, but heat none the less.  It grows slowly, so much so that I didn't notice it until I was on my 4th or 5th chip.  It also has a nice plateau of heat that is well below tolerable, if not actually pleasant.  It's as if the chips themselves are saying, "Yeah, man, I'm spicy.  But it's the kind of spicy you like.  I want you to finish my bag without pain or suffering.  Just a pleasant low simmer for you to enjoy at your leisure..."

Thanks, chips, I think I will.

Rank 4.1/5.0 - These were actually quite good, I would eat them again. I imagine these would be great old school baloney sandwiches and some Kool-Aid.

So, this was the warm up.  Something easy to work out, like a slow walk on a sunday morning.  But, worse things are coming.  You know what I mean.  The Lay's "Do Us a Flavor" promotion has started.  Be on the lookout in coming weeks for the following atrocities:

Kettle Cooked Gyros  <--I had 1 single chip of these already, in a word: bland
Wavy West Coast Truffle Fries  <--I already know these will suck because real truffles will not be involved
Southern Biscuits & Gravy  <--I reserve judgement on what appears to be horrible
New York Reuben <--First, Nebraska invented the Reuben, so fuck that noise.  Also, will probably suck because it has the option of being great and so the furthest to fall.

So, yeah, look forward to these trainwrecks.  I can't help but feel that, compared to last year, these are all weak-sauce flavors.  None of them are uniquely weird like the cappuccino of last year, they're all kind of a safe bet.  But I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Friday, April 10, 2015

In which I judge a book by it's cover...

This is in my hand, mistakes were made...
I'm a sucker and perhaps a glutton for punishment.  I have purchased, on purpose, another (new!) flavor or Dinamita Doritos.  This time "Mojo Criollo" flavor.

Next time I'm in bed with someone I'm going to say "Mi Explotar de Sabor!"
More and more of the packaging for this product line is being printed in Spanish.  I mean, the ingredients and legal warnings/wavers are in english (by law) but the big bold text on the front and back is starting to make me wonder if I am not the target audience.

Now I know mistakes were made...
The next question about these is, "what the hells is Mojo Criollo?"

Seriously, what is it?  I had to look on wikipedia and determined that it is some breed of horse or sheep.  So, these are horse-flavored snacks?  This could be interesting....   Nope, I found a recipe for a Cuban marinade with Citrus juice(s) and Garlic.  Actually, that sounds better than horse, maybe.  But before I've even opened the bag I've seen enough and felt enough and remembered enough of other flavors that I'm thinking, "there is no way in hells that these are going to score over 2/5..."

Hang on, where's the RNP?
And I was wrong.  I opened the bag to be shown this rather bland looking pile of pale yellow sticks.  I actually said out loud, "These aren't swimming in Red Nuke Powder!"  And then I ate one.

They were. . .  good!  They are a little zingy from a not overpowering portion of the chemical citrus juice flavor I've tasted before, and the rest was garlic and unidentified spices.  I was now kind of excited, as these did not rip out my face, violate my throat, or shit on my tongue.  The flavor was mild and did not linger overly long.  I actually thought at first that these could be a 5!  But, alas, I've become so used to the GRRRR  ARGH FLAVOR FACE FUCK of other chips that I actually became bored with these.

I think they'd be great for dipping into . . .something, but by themselves they ended up left by the wayside.  At the end of the day I threw away about 1/2 the bag, not because they were bad, but because I was bored with them.  I couldn't even justify taking the rest home with me.

Like this post, they were so boring you'll forgot you read it an hour from now...

Rating: Meh 3 / Meh 5

Friday, April 3, 2015

Okay, this is just getting ridiculous...

So, here we are again, it's been awhile.  How have you been?  Things going well?  Good, good. . .

OMG it's DORITOS JACKED 3D!!!!!!!! (Jalapeno Pepper Jack flavor)

With Avengers 2 movie tie-in!
I'm cautiously optimistic about this

Tiny Triangles, very dense, hurt teeth

Okay, maybe optimistic is not the right word.  The bag is smaller than your average chip bag and the contents are small and heavy.  The aroma is "Dorito" but weakly so.  Considering the density of the chip-material and that the bag only weighs 3 1/8 oz., you can imagine that you can have a few big chippy things, or a bunch of very small ones.

I am underwhelmed

Apparently they went with the small/many combo...

But what do they taste like?

Let me try one....










Friday, February 6, 2015

I have beheld a more glorious dawn, and mine eyes can see to eternity...

We've been together a while here, and we're starting to become familiar with some of the things that will make me hate your potato chips or other bagged snackfood.  This may well be the snack that bucks the trend completely, so let's break it down.

First and foremost, a bag that feels light or full of air will piss me off before I ever taste or smell your product.  As we can see from the above photo, this thing is packed to the gills with goodness.  Not a lot of ounces, but there is an inertia of snack when you shake the bag that makes it feel good in the hand.  Secondly bad sign, it's that whole bullshit "contents may have settled" statement on the bag.  Again, if you filled the damned thing there wouldn't be room for contents to settle.  As seen above and below, this glory is full-on three-dimensional roughage that isn't going to collapse in on itself.
There will be no "settling" here...
Like a said, no nancy pansy snacks here, these hold their own space and they are suitably sized (even compared to my paws and sausage fingers).  Now, what's the other thing that pisses me off?  That's right, too much Red Nuke Powder (RNP).  We have a very very light sprinkling of RNP here, or so I thought and then I checked the ingredients.  That's right kids, that's not RNP, that's real spices including honest to god Paprika.  Fuck Yeah, we got a solid snackfood all up in this shit!

Large crunchy portions
Now, what about those spices?  How does that flavor grab you?  I'll tell you, it grabs you pretty damned well.  This crackling sidles up nice and smooth, lures you into a sense of comfort, and then locks a steel grip on your junk and proceeds to lift you off the ground by your scrotum!  (do not try this at home)  And you know what else?  This is some crunchy shit right here!  What do you want?  You want some of this!  This is a slab of pork flesh that has been fried so long that it puffs up like popcorn and solidifies like epoxy foam insulation.  Your mouth will wish it could kiss itself so it can kiss you for being kind enough to let it eat some of this!

"Bite" size
This amazing, crunchy, tasty, and sweet smelling bag-snack is a slap of pork-flavored awesome right up the side of your head!  You're going to eat the hell out of these and you're going to like it, Francis!  There is a great porkiness that is not overpowering, and they spices are reminiscent of a light barbecue sauce and there is some actual heat in there.  It doesn't linger, and it is not oppressive, but there is still a great tingle in the back of the throat that lasts through the bag.  Assuming that bag lasts long at all:

Good to the bottom of the bag
To recap:
1) Full Bag
2) No Settling
3) No RNP
4) Full Flavor
5) Crunchy as Fuck

Final Rating: P16!/5.0

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go out barefoot in the snow and kill a bear with my own teeth and hands!  RAWWR!!!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Because I'm still not comfortable writing humorous essays about my personal problems...

Well, here we are again.  It's as good as being a snow day here at work, so you get this for your lunch-time reading enjoyment.

Last week, on Friday, I went into the grocery store and found two new bags that caught my eye.  The Salt & Vinegar is not a "new" flavor, but if you believe the website this is the first time that Lay's has offered this particular combo.
This is a strangely attractive bag.  Nice blue background, and a magic flask with alchemy ingredients.
Needless to say, I am a big fan of both salt and sour (being two of the main flavors my tongue can detect) so the prospect of trying them together has me really excited.  So, bag one goes into the cart.  Then I saw this hanging out on an end-cap, surrounded by "snacks" but not other chips.  As if to say, I am better than the mere fried potatoes in this aisle, I am something more.  It also says "Limited Edition" on the package, so that means I gotta do this now or the chance my never come again.  Right?  

I could have bought a huge bag of chips and a Hershey bar for this. . .
Now, I have to not only eat my usual pair of roller-dogs for lunch, and drink a ridiculously large (and completely necessary) soda, but also eat TWO bags of chips!  However will I manage to stuff all this in my gullet?
"Contents may have settled" = We lied about how much you're actually going to get.
Oh, apparently I don't have to make up that much room...  At least the chocolate ones will be bulky, right?

We couldn't be bothered to coat both sides...
It seems I am being groomed for a lifetime of disappointment.  Also, who the hell coats anything with chocolate these days without either doing 1) just one side, or 2) complete shell?  Seriously, it's like the neighborhood bake-sale committee needed to fill out the table and so they asked your Aunt, who lives like her idol Joanna Lumley from AbFab, to make something.  She got bored with the idea after half a box of wine and just used the chocolate fountain from her 3rd marriage to haphazardly dip some store-brand wavy chips and then throw them on a wire rack to cool.  

It's like, what if you had only 2 ingredients to make a dessert on Cutthroat Kitchen, but you already bought enough sabotages that your competition is unable to do anything?  You watch the other contestant crumble into a complete train-wreck and all you have to do is bring anything to the table and collect your winnings.  It might look like these chips with their half-ass chocolate coating.

I was going to go for a third rambling description of how lazy these are, but I only have a little more effort in me than the people who made the chips.

Only the finest Idaho Russets for your crisps!
Back to the salty pirate.  Large chips are good, but they need to be more than paper-thin.  These chips were new and fresh (and tasty for what they are) but they just shatter in the mouth and are quickly rendered to powder with no fanfare.  I really can't overstate how much better a crispy kettle-cooked chip is to these lame-ass old-school flats.  Why still make these?  Nostalgia?  Nostalgia cannot magically make the texture of these chips not suck.
This looks like the dry dog turd I peeled off the tread of my sneaker.
Back to Patsy's party chips:  This is the chip's good side, do not turn over.  This was the moment, I was going to experience chippy bliss in a chocolate overcoat.  Or not.  The chocolate is barely like magic shell, except it apparently stays solid in the store up to just under body temperature. I now have chocolate marks on my pants from just touching these (or looking at them for more than a few seconds).  I think they would liquefy if I just breathed heavily on them.  The result is a messy chip covered in crappy chocolate, where the chocolate has robbed the chip of any crispiness it may once have held and replaced it with a dull cardboard rigidity.  No crunch, but at least it's not complete mush.

Lies, all lies...
Children hate adults because this is what they call magic.  My only saving grace is that each of these mediocre snacks was far enough apart on opposite spectrums that sampling back and forth made for an interesting point, counterpoint on my tongue.

Mistakes were made...
In the end, I will not buy either of these again by themselves, or together.  The chocolate chips are a gimmick that is poorly executed and the S&V are just too insubstantial to bother with when there are better chips out there of the same flavor.

Overall Ratings:
Choco-flops: 2.22/5.0
Salt and whinegar: 2.5/5.0

Monday, January 12, 2015

My failure to create meaningful content has resulted in another snackfood review...

Interviewer:  You’re in a desert walking along in the sand when all of the sudden you look down, and you see a tortoise, it’s crawling toward you. You reach down, you flip the tortoise over on its back. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can’t, not without your help. But you’re not helping. Why is that?
Subject:  A TURTLE BIT ME ONCE… <30 seconds of silence>
Interviewer:  Describe in single words, only the good things that come into your mind about your mother.
Interviewer:  You're watching a stage play - a banquet is in progress. The guests are enjoying an appetizer of raw oysters. The entree consists of boiled dog stuffed with rice. The raw oysters are less acceptable to you than a dish of boiled dog.
Interviewer:  A final question:  A stranger comes up to you on the street and hands you a bag of Sabritones Chile & Lime Flavored Puffed Wheat Snacks.  How does this make you feel?
Interviewer:  I'm sorry Leon, but you have failed this Exam. . . 

This is a really big bag, but it weighs barely over 3 oz....
I learned today that if you run out of stupid shit to write about in your blog, and you're still not ready to dredge up the dark recesses of your soul, you might as well go to another stuffer shack to see if they have different snacks than the usual place that you get your rollerdogs.
Look for the smiley logo, as warning.
I almost gave up on today before I saw these on the opposite side of the store from the normal snacks, nestled in what I can only refer to as the "ethnic section".  Apparently these were segregated out to accommodate the number of "not-white" construction workers that patronize this particular stuffer shack out by I-80.  It was surrounded by Takai's and "other" snacks of a similar nature. (oddly enough the Nachos were very centrally located near the rollerdogs)  I cannot confirm nor deny that they also have a colored fountain drink machine...
Remarkably air filled for such an already airy snack.
Of course, once I opened the bag I realized that the segregation of snacks was in no way related to some flawed back-woods mentality on the value of race, but purely so they could not taint the other snacks with their awfulness.(it also explains the DINAMITA bags over there)  When I first opened this I seriously thought I had a mispackaged bag of pork rinds.
They're all like this, slightly curled formerly square puffed fried blistery whatsits.
However, my hope at pork rinds would soon be shattered by putting one in my mouth.  They are not pork rinds.  They are also not chips, crisps, puffs, corn-chips, or anything else I've ever encountered.  The closest I could come is that time I ate on a dare some of those puffed starch biodegradable packing peanuts they used back in the late 90's (or might still use today, I haven't been in receiving for awhile).  But that's not really accurate either, as they do have a bit of crunch to them.  Almost as though you described to a being not of this earth what your imagined memory of a pork rind was.  It crunches, and then immediately shatters into powder.  This powder then sucks all the moisture out of your mouth to make a vaguely gritty slurry that isn't so much swallowed as allowed to slowly ooze out the back of your mouth.

The flavor is bland.  Ironically, it's like they tried to make Red Nuke Powder, but couldn't find enough food coloring or harsh chemicals to make the RNP really pop.  Weak flavor, horrible texture and a heaping helping of self loathing; this may be the worst thing I've ever reviewed for this blog.  At least Cracker Jacks had a shitty prize and some sugar...

Rating: 0.95/5.0 and dear god don't try to eat these while drinking coffee, you might wish you could vomit from the aftertaste...

Friday, January 2, 2015

Post Xmas binge. . .

It is entirely possible that this whole snack-food review thing has finally driven me completely insane.  I looked at the nutritional information and the total calories involved is in the thousands.

So, without further ado, here is your gut-distressing Holiday Bonus Episode!
Yes, these were all in my cupboard at the same time, don't judge me...
Starring:  All the crap I've bought from Trader Joe's since Thanksgiving!  Most of these are now perennial favorites in my gullet.  I have to eat these myself as others in the household won't really touch them.  Something about "Karbs" and not liking ginger. (Who doesn't like Ginger?  It's like eating lemon Pledge!)  This review gives me the opportunity to reduce some of the clutter in the cupboard by gorging myself on things that are best consumed in moderation.

Let's start off with this big bad boy right here:
This product is a few bad innuendos from a Xmas-themed porn title...
Trader Joe's brand Pound Plus imported Belgian chocolate bars are a great buy for when you want to make several gallons of chocolate mousse, or you want to bribe a child for their college money. (kids are dumb, get 'em young enough and they'll give you their own parents for a hunk of chocolate.)  This is a special case, however, and comes packed with "extras".

None of that nut-dust in this chocolate bar; you'll be getting all the big salty nuts you can stomach, and some fruit!
As can be seen above, this 17.6 oz slab of dark chocolate comes packed to the gills with almonds and dried cranberries.  Now, normally I will tell tried cranberries to fuck off, as they are the mildly less awful relative to raisins, but in this case the tart fruit is a very nice accent to this much solidified blood of cacao.  I'm also a sucker for almonds, perhaps my favorite tree nut in general, especially if you smoke 'em or cover them in some sort of wasabi powder.  But I digress...  This makes for an interesting combo of adjunct added chocolate bar you can eat one small square at a time.  DO NOT EAT THE ENTIRE BAR IN ONE SITTING, YOU WILL DIE!!!

Score: 10 Lords a Leaping/12 days of Xmas

Next is Trader Joe's brand Brandy Beans
These come in individually chambered trays for your protection...
I never bought these for myself before this year as I wasn't sure what I would be getting, nor that I wanted to put it in my mouth. However, my mother has made a holiday tradition of buying roughly 5 large crates of these and handing them out to people at work, friends, family, strangers on the street...  Anyway, after trying one (or a dozen) last year, I decided to buy a box.  You get what you see on the box here, there are hollow chocolate "beans" and they are packed to the gills with a syrup that smells and tastes like cheap brandy.  It actually says on the box that it may contain up to 4.9% alcohol, so by volume these have about as much punch as a standard beer.  I'm sure there is some lunatic on the internet who wants to be on Mythbusters and is trying to prove you could get drunk on these if you ate enough of them fast enough.  I do not want to be on vomit duty for that set clean-up. . . 
This stuff is so sticky on fingers I'm surprised it's not already covered in cat hair...
This is one of those weird things that tastes "good" because you aren't expecting to actually get a shot of booze in your mouth when you bite chocolate.  It's the surprise that keeps you coming back for more.  This is why I've had these for a month and I've only eaten about 7.  Eating more than 2 or 3 at once is not advised as they lose their charm quickly.  Also, just put the whole thing in your mouth and eat it.  If you try to break this thing or bite off pieces you're just going to get covered in boozy syrup that is the culinary equivalent of super-glue.  Nothing you can touch with those fingers will be unaffected by that sugary Velcro. This is a treat best utilized in a group of people who can eat them all so you don't have to do it yourself later.  DO NOT EAT THE WHOLE BOX YOURSELF, YOU WILL DIE!!!

Rating: 6 geese a laying/12 days of Xmas

Trader Joe's Mini Gingerbread Men:
Oh, yes, my pretties, you will sate my hunger for ginger flesh...
I am a lazy man sometimes and I can't be bothered to actually get out the baking implements every time I want a cookie.  Also, in general, I think ginger bread is only good for building shitty houses that you will try to store and display next year.  But the capacity for sugar to pull moisture out of the air and the activity of vermin will require you to bake and construct again next year lest you display a half-eaten, collapsed edifice to last years consumerism...  Long story short, just open a damned box of pre-made snacks and leave the culinary construction to Martha Stewart.

Anthropomorphized man-cookie on the front, heroin infused icing on the back...
These cookies are fresh and crunchy coming out of the cellophane and have a nice sharp ginger twang.  In fact, there are actual small bits of candied ginger in the cookies, not just ground powder.  However, now that these have been open for a couple weeks they have for a while been at the more desirable stage I like to call, "everybody thinks they're stale, but I know they're now softer and chewy."  Through design or folly, I end up buying at least 2 boxes of these every Xmas season, and will likely buy a third if there are any left when I go to buy sparkling water next Wednesday. DO NOT EAT THE ENTIRE BOX, YOU WILL NOT DIE BUT PROBABLY GET A BELLY ACHE OR SOMETHING, MAYBE DIABETES.

Rating: 9 Ladies Dancing/12 days of Xmas

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Stars:
If your holiday snacking is a Lovecraftian God, these are your Elder Signs.
I'm make this short and sweet.  These are very dense dark chocolate star-shaped cookies that are completely covered in dark chocolate and sprinkles.  You will like these, you will eat too many, you will suck the ends off your fingers when you've finished.
Look on this and despair, these are the destroyers of diets...
They are not fantastic, they are adequate.  They have that quality of Nilla Wafers wherein you think fondly upon them until you eat one, then you realize they're kind of bland and crackerish.  But they get sweeter as the enzymes in your saliva go to work on them, and soon you've shoved about a dozen into your face.  There is a obscene factory-like progression of the cookie from being whole at the front of your mouth, broken down by bicuspids, then to the grinding molars at the back of your jaw, and the thick semi-solid mass that nearly blocks the back of your maw before involuntary muscle-spasms push this black slurry down your esophagus...

Rating: 8 Maids a Milking/12 Days of Xmas

Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe-Joe's:
This is a happy looking box and it wants you to be happy, too!
Okay, so, Trader Joe's has a lot of products that are supposed to remind you of other products you already like but these TJ-branded knock-offs try to sell you on being more healthy or some shit.  This a complete bull, as there is no such thing as a "healthy" cookie or ice-cream that is worth eating or paying money for.  That being said, TJ's Joe-Joe's just suck.  They look like Oreos, and they smell and taste vaguely like Oreos, but THEY ARE NOT FUCKING OREOS!!!  You eat one and your tongue, nose and brain all instantly come to the consensus that you've made a mistake; like when you're expecting a refreshing Coke but you've been handed a dixie-cup of store-brand "cola" instead.  
Back on the home team, Oreo has been on this kick the last couple of years to make all these different flavored Oreos instead of just sticking with what worked, or what double worked with double stuffed.  Now, occasionally these are "interesting" and they are enjoyable to eat, but they are not "sit down and eat the bag because they're Oreos".  So you have a couple pumpkin spice Oreo cookies and then you're done, now you have to pawn 9/10ths of a bag off on someone else.  
Remember that time you ate a whole bag of Oreos?  Prepare for a flashback...
However, things are a little bizarre here.  These are the Candy Cane Joe-Joe's.  But wait, a flavored Oreo knock-off, these have to really suck, right?  Wrong. To put it simply, they have beat Oreo at their own game.  For you see, these are infinitely better than the regular Joe-Joe's.  This is what Oreo could be if they ground up candy-canes into a coarse sand and mixed it with their filling.  So, in a paradoxical way this cookie is both failure and success.  For this seasonal variation is so much better than the normal version as to make you really wonder why you would ever buy the normal Joe-Joe's again; but at the same time they have schooled Oreo at their own game.  Here is a bag of "flavored" Oreo-like cookies that cannot be denied entrance to the palace of my upper GI tract.  
I say bag, but we all know the bag is just the wrapping and the cookies are in trays.  Conveniently, there are three rows in the tray, as there are likely three visits to the bag before they're gone.  You can try to just take 2 or 3 cookies at a time, but you'll eat those before you get back to your seat, so you might as well pick out the entire row and make an effort of it.  These also benefit from being left open for a couple days, as the cookie part gets softer and makes it so much more efficient to grind into a paste and reduce the choking hazard as you deepthroat a stack.  DO NOT EAT AN ENTIRE BAG, (because I already did....)

Rating: 11 Pipers Piping/12 days of Xmas