White Cow Dairy Chocolate Malt Yogurt

I think more grocery staples need makeovers. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition has been done to death, as has the plastic surgery version. I want to see a show that directly impacts my pantry. And I want the team to start with yogurt. While I don’t see a need for extreme quinoa or a new frontier for beans, yogurt is crying for a new look. It’s worked hard all its life to prevent indigestion through the magic of Jamie Lee Curtis and the more awesomely named Suleiman the Magnificent. It’s one of those foods that has been around since 2000 BC and, like the Magical Girl in all films ever made, just needs to take off its glasses and bland background and get with the cool crowd. And White Cow Dairy is its new fairy godmother. Or Clinton Kelly, your call.
Chocolate malt yogurt, people. This ain’t your mother’s key lime pie Yoplait. And this yogurt is freckled. And it comes in a squat milk bottle. The packaging is gorgeous and adorably prim and kind of makes me feel like I’ve been transported to a quaint Greenwich Village farmer’s market that serves as the backdrop for an adorable scavanger hunt set up by my girlfriend, Zooey Amelie Unicorn Cactus Flower. . Move over, pudding cups and step aside, Dannon. This is bringing sexy back for yogurt in a whole new way. Now, let’s see how it tastes.
The nitty gritty: This particular flavor has a caramelized note that intensifies the nuttiness of the malt powder, but is a little overshadowed by the zippy tang from the cultures in the yogurt. It’s a very mature-tasting yogurt, not something you’d buy for little Timmy as a compromise between Ho-Ho’s and carrot sticks. The sugar is minimal, but interacts well with the Dutch chocolate, giving the yogurt a mellow, fruity flavor like raw cocoa nibs. Unfortunately, the malted milk flavor was barely there at all, imparting a mere whisper of barley and cream. The entire concoction stuck to the cheeks and worked its way into the corners of our mouths with its gritty texture and left a bitter aftertaste, mollified only after a glass of water. While this flavor wasn’t perfect, I have faith in the wonders of science once more. I’m almost convinced that there’s a bright future for cottage cheese.

Big Bamboo Jamaican Irish Moss Peanut Drink

I don’t know if I can adequately vocalize the specific brand of rage I reserve for U2’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” Yes, I know it’s by Band Aid. But with the level of simpering, holier-than-thou pretension, they may as well have just said it was all Bono. Seriously. That’s not a Christmas song, because it contains a distinct lack of singing reindeer, beleaguered couples, and commercial joy. Also, because it’s not Christmas in East Haven. Case closed.
And don’t even get me started on Christmas Shoes. I mean, seriously, songs that are marketed toward a strictly Christmas audience (different from a Christian audience, but similar to an audience that responds positively toward the music played in department stores) are not automatically Christmas songs. Likewise, flavors that appear to be holiday-themed may, in fact, be the exact opposite.
I don’t know what holiday Irish moss officially represents. Let’s go with “Pick that thing up and put it in your mouth! Day” because like mushrooms, this drink is primarily derived from a food that should have never been consumed in the first place- Chondrus chrispus, also known as carrageen moss. Unlike mushrooms, it’s used as a popular aphrodisiac in Jamaica, colloquially “putting the lead back into your pencil.” Hi-ho, Ticonderoga, indeed. Did I mention this is inexplicably called the Big Bamboo? Fear for me, readers. Also, pray.
So I bought this because it was 75 cents and had snowflakes on it, which I now realize are an artist’s renditions of Irish moss and peanuts, hence my associating it with holiday foods. If soda was a nightmare, this is what would appear out of the darkness just before you wake up, biting off your head and lower intestinal area. Actually, I partially take that back. This isn’t really a soda, though it comes in a soda can. It looks like I’ve been suckered into buying another one of those FEMA nutritional drinks again. The nutrition facts on this read like a Stephen King novel. I’m not sure why someone put a peanut butter milkshake in a soda can and labeled it as a marital aid- maybe for Homer Simpson? But here it is.
Also, the can tab displayed remarkably faulty craftsmanship as well as visual comedic gold. Classic, Irish Moss, classic. The beverage is tan and HOLY CRAP IT’S CHUNKY. No. No. No. There shouldn’t be visual, pointy chunks in a peanut butter milkshake. It smells inoffensive, like granulated sugar and Mary Jane candies. Like grandmothers, but so, so far from that. The consistency is a little gulp-worthy, with a thick, gelatinous pour. It separates easily and has a foamy, oily texture that leaves a sheen on the fingers. As I expected, the flavor is pretty decent, as most products with 98% milk, peanut butter, and sugar ought to be. It has a clean, persistent roasted nuttiness and a pleasant salinity from the seaweed. Two flavors that surprisingly work well together, neither one overwhelming or strangely flavored. The aftertaste was slightly metallic.
Aside from the sheer creepiness of drinking this, for the most part, it was innocuous and tasty, with a balance in sweetness that most soft drinks seem to miss. Of course, that still doesn’t account for the 33 grams of sugar, but at least you don’t feel like it’s rotting your teeth as you drink it. Unlike “Christmas Shoes.” The chunks, whatever the hell they were, dissolved before I had the chance to strain them out and examine them. Despite the Freudian euphemistic signs that are as overt as a Blue’s Clues show, I’m totally above telling you that everything about this drink reminds me of sex. Oh, damn it. I mean, come on! Flesh tone beverage? Gently shake before opening? I’m not crazy. As for the side effects? Let’s just say that I didn’t feel any enhanced mistletoe interactions or heavily decked halls. Because those are completely meaningless terms, and I’m a Jewish girl. Damn you, Big Bamboo! Damn you to hell!

Crave Original and Strawberry Chocolate Milk

Every year, my university has an exhibition similar to a smaller scale, collegiate Fancy Food Show. The entire stadium is converted into a hall full of booths, presentations, and contests. Last year Ted Allen and the New England Patriots cheerleaders came. For me, it’s a chance to scout out interesting brands and new products- test items always seem to be given to hungry college guinea pigs!When I went this year, I was immediately drawn to the Crave line.One of my favorite beverages is chocolate milk, and I’d never seen a flavored variety outside of the ubiquitous Hershey’s offerings. I took a sample, traded business cards, and two weeks later, arrived home to see two cases of Crave on the doorstep!
Needless to say, we’ve been drinking chocolate milk for weeks. We’ve been passing it off to neighbors and family and have toasted to the glorious chocolate cow. Crave’s original flavor is a very sophisticated cocoa flavor that belies its presentation. In all honesty, I found that its flavor was more developed than that of Cocoa Metro’s. It had a creamy, airy consistency like a frothy milkshake when chilled, with a very bold flavor, but not one that is too sickly sweet or sugary. It’s just chocolate. Really, really nice chocolate. The bottle it comes in is all metal so it’s easy to chill it for a little while and keep it cold. I find that chocolate milk like this is really best served ice cold. It’s such a fantastic drink, but calorically, it’s not your best bet. The benefit of having a screw on top makes it easy to take quick sips every so often when you’re craving sugar and then pop it back into the fridge.
With that as our standard for excellence, we figured the strawberry chocolate milk would have to be pretty good to beat the original. It’s deceptively similar to the original in color, providing an iocane-esque conundrum for all you Princess Bride fans out there. Unfortunately, this idea wasn’t so tasty in reality so much as it was in conception. This milk was billed as tasting like a liqufied chocolate-covered strawberry, but it didn’t resemble one at all. It was an unfortunate combination- the dairy equivalent of mixing all the sodas at the soda machine together. It wasn’t that there was anything particularly bad about it, just that it was strange. Luckily, the strawberry flavor, a mere whisp of cough syrup, faded out as quickly as Gael Green’s ugly hat phase did and receded to that chocolate flavor we knew and loved. Like the original flavor, it was much better chilled and lost the bulk of the sharpness from the strawberry. However blah it was, it definitely intrigued me. We’ve seen it with cupcakes, peanut butter, and Kit Kats- are gourmet chocolate milk flavors not far behind?

GNC Lean Shake Cookies ‘n’ Cream

This shake exists so that I can impress the ladies, and by ladies, I mean gentlemen, too. Any takers? Jesus just posted a cryptic Facebook status about our “tOrRiD lOvE xXx” and Sarah Silverman’s got me on speed dial. Plus I have a date with Kelly Keagy tonight and we’re going to play Sister Christian all night long, if you know what I mean. (We’re totally going to make out.) Of course, it’s all due to the large success of this lean shake, which I have been drinking for three days like a fine scotch whisky, brother.

Because I’m starting a new job at a facility that requires me to rely on my innate feminine wiles and toothy charm to extract blood money out of kids my own age, I wanted to check this shake out. Luckily, my mom was around to offer me a ride to the supermarket and we picked this up together.After working out with Keepitcoming Love, I paired this with a scrambled egg to see how it was. My first observation was how much of the mix was skimmed off the top. I wasn’t expecting it to be hard packed inside, but I also wasn’t expecting 1/5th of the cylinder to be empty, either. What is this, a potato chip bag? The side of the package recommends one to two scoops for every eight ounces mixed with either skim milk or water. I tried both. With water, the mix was clumpy and chalky, even when blended thoroughly. The cookie pieces all sank to the bottom and it developed a foamy, airy texture with a milky flavor and weak sugary undertone.Luckily for this, I didn’t give up right there. When blended with milk, the flavors were much more developed and the mixture was more cohesive and shake-like. If you blindfolded me, hung me out a helicopter, and put me over an active volcano with nothing but this to drink for hydration and pour over my head so I wouldn’t burn to a crisp, I would not be able to associate it as cookies and cream. It has the idea of cookies in little brown specks dotted throughout the shake mix, but as far as real cookies go, it is sadly lacking. Just cream is fine, though, and as a descriptor, more accurate than I expected. It tastes a lot like artificial coffee creamer. Still good in my book, though.

Cocoa Metro

We’re rounding the last five days of regular blog eating before we move on to Healthy Month for April. My steady diet of pork belly and pancakes is already regretting this, but a deal is a deal. This obviously means that I am treating the last week of March as though it were my latter-day Last Supper and I, its Jesus. Obviously. One of my favorite treats is chocolate milk. National Chocolate Milk day IS on my birthday, after all. Having it on tap fairly frequently at the dining hall, you’d think it would make me sick of it, but that’s definitely not the case.
I first encountered Cocoa Metro a few years ago in my persistent quest for the best chocolate milk. Shunning the siren’s call of Hershey’s syrup and the cougar classicism of Ovaltine, I set out on a quest. With a few careful Googles, I found that the object of my desire was indeed in existence- Cocio, the mecca of all milks. But alas, she was in Denmark- so close, yet so far. However, my searches led me to a more localized beverage, Cocoa Metro. Sold in specialty stores throughout Boston, I was gifted a bottle while on an outing with Keepitcoming Love and First Tracks.
The chocolate milk has slightly different packaging than what is shown online and represented in the bulk of consumer photos I’ve seen. I’ve done extensive research. It is now labeled as Belgian chocolate + milk with various witticisms around the label. I didn’t see any sign of dark chocolate or any particular percentage designation so I cannot accurately tell you if this was indeed made with dark chocolate or not. It certainly tasted like a milk chocolate but lacked the irritating sugar rush that commercialized chocolate milks have. It was utterly refreshing. No sticky corn syrupy taste. No fake saccharine flavor. Just natural, delicious ingredients. It was also extremely smooth and milky with the perfect consistency.Also quite tasty as a coffee-free latte.
Though it was clear that chocolate was the main focus in this, it could have been bolstered by the addition of a few other ingredients to accentuate its flavor. It was certainly delicious and smooth, but for a milk that touted a complexity that “doesn’t exist” outside of this particular brand, it needed work. That being said, I would drink this again in a heartbeat- we polished off the entire quart in a sitting. No regrets, readers. No regrets.

King Car Yogofresh

Swagger speaking. On yet another routine trip to the Asian grocery, I caught this sketchy bottle in the corner of my eye. The badly drawn picture of what I can only think of as an Asian representation of Andy Roddick called out to my curiosity and pulled my hand to reach for the bottle. Before I knew it, I was out of the store less $1.30 in my pockets and with this drink in hand.

The bottle itself is not very descriptive of when one should drink this strange beverage. Being a yogurt flavored drink; I thought it would be some sort of breakfast supplement. Upon further investigation I was able to find that the drink itself had consistency close to a bottle of water rather than a milk based drink. Not knowing what to think, I went by the picture on the bottle and came to the conclusion that it should be consumed after some sort of strenuous activity, such as tennis. Being too well dressed for any sort of sport at the moment, I decided on the next best thing, some hardcore Halo on Xbox Live against random internet 12 year olds.I feel that the vocabulary of some of these potty mouthed children can also be used to describe my experience with this strange drink so here are a few select phrases.

“Here comes a tea-bagging and I never wash my balls!” – Well, I’ve never had the awful experience of being tea-bagged but I do have a good sense of personal hygiene and I do know that the scrotal sack will get sweaty and if you don’t wash it and it will become quite funky. In fact that’s a word I’d use to describe this drink “FUNKY”. The liquid itself was very watery and tasted very watery too. Imagine someone took a tablespoon full of vanilla yogurt then watered that down then left it in the sun for a few hours. It didn’t taste too good, but still drinkable, kind of funky.

“You camping piece of shit! When I find you I’ll fuck your mother in the ass with a chainsaw!” – What aggressive words for a 12 year old, oh gosh. Well, for those of you who don’t know what a camper is in the world of videogames, it’s someone who hides and gets kills and doesn’t go away unless you take drastic measures. This drink is somewhat the same as a camper. There is an after taste that is of bad tasting vanilla yogurt that really won’t go away no matter how much water you drink. The only real way to get rid of the bad after taste is to drink more of this the strange drink or to have a nice healthy dose of Listerine to burn it away.

This drink didn’t make me feel more refreshed or revitalized as the bottle would have led me to believe. I don’t know what the nutritional value of calcium or vitamins this offers compared to milk but if I was poor and desperate enough, I could see myself getting this versus a nice bottle of blue Gatorade.

F’Real Classic Milkshakes

On late nights, (probably the same kind of nights Fleeper, Erik and I go out searching for Chinese food) we generally make a stop at a Cumberland Farms or a 7-11 to grab some snacks and see what kind of strange convenience store offerings they might have. You might recognize this theme from my berth of Slurpee posts late last year, and now we’ve found a new frozen treat to try: F’Real Milkshakes.

They just looked…slightly unreal. Milkshakes just have no place in a convenience store. And a milkshake that’s stored, indefinitely, in a freezer, and then taken out with the possibility of having an altered texture is just strange. Yes, that’s right. You can grab the milkshake and not only have it prepared, but have it to your textural preferences as well- regular, extra thick, or less thick.

We tested two of these to see how good they’d be in comparison to a regular milkshake at regular prices- milkshakes from Herrell’s in Northampton and Bart’s, both roughly in the $3-4 range, respectively. Compared to this shake at $2.50, this was a steal. We tried chocolate malt and vanilla.The range of flavors is unimpressive. The line itself has a spattering of coffeehouse frappuccinos, smoothies, and the like, but it seems like they’re spreading themselves out too thin in a chilly, bipolar episode with all the attempts to pinpoint the trends. Sticking to ice cream seems to be a wise decision. The chocolate malt, on “regular” setting as a control, turned out to be pretty decent. The milkshake came up through the straw at an even consistency and didn’t give any extra uneven chunks of ice or leftover powder and the flavor wasn’t bad at all.I can’t say that it was entirely impressive. It was your average, run of the mill chocolate, and there was less malt than I personally prefer, but if it’s 2 AM, where else are you going to get a milkshake fix?The vanilla fared worse for the ware. Deciding to make a thinner milkshake, we experimented with the machine’s settings and ended up with something thicker, almost at the consistency of regular ice cream. It was very disappointing, and the flavor was less vanilla and more frozen milk. It was average and we sipped lazily at it before setting it on the table to thaw out a little more, and before we knew it, we’d forgotten about it completely and threw the rest out.

Capri Chocolate Goat Cheese

Recently, I was sent some goat cheese from Westfield Farm, in Westfield, Massachusetts, including chocolate goat cheese. I’d tried this at a tasting at Whole Foods and fell in love, and when I was sent a log of it, couldn’t wait to try it with a small recipe.The cheese is very soft, and has the texture of a nice cream cheese. It’s firm, but melts very quickly and would make a fantastic fondue. The flavor, like most goat cheeses, is slightly chalky, but slowly goes away when the chocolate, a rich Dutch milk, comes through. It’s a very milky, very creamy and succulent flavor that really gets down deep into the taste buds. There’s a buttery flavor in the cheese that adds a hint of salt, and overall, makes it wonderful.
I feel like this cheese isn’t like regular goat cheeses in that it’s also really versatile- I could spread it on a bagel. I could make it into a frosting, or whip it into a cheesecake filling. I feel like it lends itself to a whole lot more variations of cooking simply based on its flavor depth, which makes it that much more awesome.With this little recipe, we made canapes with shortbread and strawberries, and the flavors mingled together well. The strawberries cut out a lot of the chalkiness from just tasting the goat cheese alone, and the crumbliness of the shortbread made it really wonderful. I loved this recipe, and I loooooooooved this goat cheese. It’s like the best sex ever, on top of the Moon.

Whippers Twisted Smoothie Drinks

Here’s a quiz, readers. What demographic is the Whippers beverage line catering to? Health-conscious and “green” dominatrices with a soul? Whipped boyfriends in need of a pick me up? Whippet aficionados? Victims of whiplash? Either way, they’re a little confusing.

When I saw them in the grocery store for 99 cents apiece, I thought they’d be the drunken one night stand of a juice box and a Yoplait Whip, reviewed here on Cheap Eats, and that, when shaken, they’d get fluffy and “whipped up.” Turns out, they’re nothing like that. They’re just…a twisted smoothie. Milk…and juice. Isn’t that what a smoothie’s supposed to be? Milk and juice? Whippers are touting that like it’s the holy fucking grail and how shaking that will create some incredible amalgam of combination, like an a-bomb of flavor in our mouths, when in reality it’s like the lazy man’s Jamba Juice.
I’m here to judge the taste, though, not the mildly retarded advertising campaign and slogans, which I will also be more than glad to thoroughly rip apart. Starting with the Strawberries and Cream flavor- oh, for the love of god, why is it brown? It’s like someone took off-brand Pepto-Bismol and vomited it back up. It’s tepid. I drank it out of my little shot glass, though, and wasn’t too upset. I expected serious chalkiness and a thickness that I couldn’t attribute, probably from actual chalk, but what I got was liquid smooth, and a nice flavor, albeit a little watery, but indeed, one that did embody both strawberries and milk. It was artificial. But it was both. And that’s all we asked it to do.Derrida said, “I do everything I think possible or acceptable to escape from this trap.” Obviously, the trap in question was the Orange and Cream flavored Whipper. Admiral Ackbar, it’s a trap. It’s a giant, fucking trap hidden inside this St. Joseph’s baby aspirin-flavored thing.
The smoothie looks innocuous. It looks like someone, maybe a sweet child with an adorable speech impediment dropped their creamsicle into my shot glass and left it to melt on a nice, summer day, and now it’s here for me to drink.

WHY IS IT BITTER? For the love of God, why is it bitter and tangy? It tastes like sour milk. I checked the sell date on this, it’s like, three years from now. There is no reason this should taste like orange rind and sour milk. It’s a smoothie, not a torture device. Oh god, make it go away.With my friend Swagger, we realized the key to all knowledge blueberry. It sounds like it will taste fantastic in a drink, but after you take the first swig, you realize how little it actually does translate. It’s the literal embodiment of Lost in Translation. That’s exactly what they were talking about in the film. Blueberry flavored drinks. This smoothis is pretty average, but then the “acai” flavor hits you after. I have had dried acai berries in Whole Foods as a sample. They were dry and tasted like the sampling man had handed me cut up bits of bitter plastic instead of tasty berries. The flavor of acai is a slightly acidic, nutty, and very sharp at the end, and cut through the blueberry and milk flavor when I swallowed it, and made me question the milk’s freshness. But no, it was just the damned miracle berry.

I couldn’t finish this berry because the acai just kept turning me off of it. I want normal fruits. I don’t care about the energy. The blueberry and cream aspect would have been nice if the flavors were more natural and cultivated, but the fact of the matter is, it’s an artificial drink trying to imitate many others, and it’s pretty gross.

Whippers. I hate that name. What do you put in your smoothies, readers?

Hood Small Curd Cottage Cheese With Pineapple

I’ve always had a thing for salad bar cottage cheese. I remember there was a time when I was on a sixth grade field trip, and there was a salad bar at lunch, but sans salad dressing. Therefore, as a (rather un-thought out) solution, I just piled on a tower of cottage cheese as compensation. And it worked.

I’ve been on the lookout for healthy and filling snacks, and cottage cheese is infamous for being healthy and filling, so I decided to give it a try…went down to Big-Y yesterday and picked up four kinds of Hood cottage cheese available…regular, country style, chive, and pineapple.
This particular cottage cheese boasts 130 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 20 mg of cholesterol, 320 mg of sodium, 15 grams of sugar, and 10 grams of protein per serving (113 g). It’s somewhat unimpressive considering the high and mighty health food pedestal that cottage cheese is often placed upon, but it’s probably better for you than a sack of potato chips or something. Really not impressed with the amount of sodium, but regardless…
Now, I had read from several online forums that many people preferred their cottage cheese with fruit, especially pineapple. I’ve never been able to understand that–for me, cottage cheese has always been associated with romaine lettuce and fluorescent salad bar lighting. But considering the high volume of pro-pineapple propagators, I decided to give it a try.
I don’t know if it was just me or if it was just Hood, but I was unimpressed. The cottage cheese part tasted…well, like cottage cheese. It was a little more watery and crumbly than I would’ve liked, even for small curd cottage cheese. But nonetheless, the cottage cheese itself was tolerable.
The pineapple, however, was not. Now granted, this is Hood, and if they ever mass produce pineapples, that’s probably what they used in this cottage cheese. There were little bits of pineapple fibers scattered around the cup (rather evenly, which was interesting), but the cottage cheese just had a weird pineapply feel to it. I didn’t really like it, personally….I got the vibe that Hood decided to throw in some leftover bits of pineapple and squirt in some pineapple juice concentrate into every cup before packaging. Not that the pineapple tasted fake or anything….but just slightly suspicious.
Or, rather, I’m thinking it could just be me and my distaste for the pineapple-cottage cheese combo. Either way, however, I’m the one writing the review, so…
I am looking forward to trying the chive flavored cottage cheese tomorrow…stay tuned!