I didn’t think it was possible to embarrass a country whose people, six or seven generations back, spawned the Jersey Shore cast members (with the ignoble exception of J-WOWW) but Davio’s manages to do so. Here, we have Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse Frozen Philly Cheesesteak Spring Rolls. As you may know, spring rolls, especially ones of the Philadelphia sandwich-based ilk, are a huge staple in Northern Italian Steakhouse cuisine, often known as “cazzatietta” by the locals, a colloquial term for “little bullshit.” They are usually accompanied by other traditional Northern Italian Steakhouse favorites like crab cake sandwiches, Chicken McNuggets, and the leftover dregs of a discarded Mountain Dew.Davio’s Philly Cheesesteak Egg Rolls seem to have a rather varied cult following, ranging from one supposed Michelin-rated thrill seeker’s notion that these are the best things he’s ever eaten, (suck it, Bouloud!) to others emphasizing the somewhat Applebee’s-esque nature of the whole thing. Having no interest in driving to one of the restaurants, I picked these up while they were on sale at Stop and Shop, interestingly devoid of paper towels, bottled water, and duct tape. Northampton, where is your pride?!On the package, Davio’s goes as far as to rhetorically ask me, “Yeah, they’re Philly Cheesesteak Rolls. What are you going to do about it?” What indeed, Immanuel Kant? Allow me to utilize the categorical imperative and assume that, if I bought these, I must eat them. Doi. Davio’s recommends no less than sixty thousand methods of preparation with a separate Amazon bestseller rated booklet sold separately, but I chose for the ever-reliable nuke and sear method while Keepitcoming was at hot yoga. I never fail to disappoint.The egg roll dough errs toward the thick side and tends to get gummy toward the middle, but the innards are plentiful and don’t disintegrate in the cooking process. The filling can best be described as frozen cheeseburger dip or the gunk inside a White Castle cheeseburger as it is extremely rendered down when you prepare them, with the obvious replacement of the squishy bun with a crispy, greasy egg roll shell. I knew when I bought these that they wouldn’t be “tender shaved steak with a blend of Italian cheeses,” but I figured that I’d like them just the same. And in all honesty, I do, especially with a garnish of Italian Sir Kensington’s Spiced Ketchup and Italian Salsa Verde. Despite that they are very small and not filling in the slightest and that the cheeses taste scarily identical to the flavor powder on Cheez Doodles, I think that if these were stripped of their pretension and restaurant-generated “reputation” they’d make a fantastic appetizer or party snack, but the price is so high at $6 for 6 rolls and $13 for 4 rolls at the restaurant that it’s almost not worth the corners they cut. These would be just as easy to make on your own and you could probably make twice the yield for the same price.
Here’s a snack from Brothers All Natural, a mixture of strawberry and banana fruit crisps. At first, I was really excited to eat these, because I saw the words “freeze dried” and that made me think “astronauts and pee bags,” but then I realized that these were not even remotely affiliated with astronauts. I’m all for eating healthy and organic, but to me, these feel like a consolation prize of a snack than an actual treat.
These were interesting. Part of me felt like I was being a good girl and eating something light, and another part of me felt like I was eating baby treats. When I poured them out of the bag, they made a crinkling sound like broken glass on the desk, a slightly disturbing sound for something I would later ingest.
The banana crisps were slightly better than the strawberry crisps, in that they actually tasted like bananas. That was where the similarity ended. They were milky and creamier than real bananas, but not in a good way. More of an, “I think these are overripe” way. On the Official Scale of Banana Hierarchy, (OSOBH) they were one step above plantain chips, two steps above overripe, bruised, mushy nanners, and one step below delicious green bananas.
I have decided not to draw this out for you, by popular request.
The strawberry crisps had a weird tang and crunch, as though they had way too many seeds inside, and left a chewy, sticky film in my mouth. They turned gummy and flavorless as soon as they hit liquid. I tried to resuscitate them with water, but to no avail. They were dead on arrival.
I had a hard time photographing this, because I had so many thoughts about mortality and fruit. I ended up doing a twelve photo composition with simulated fruit husks and a three page dissertation, but it was completely useless and also non-existent, so I’ve just included some photographs. I wish these were tastier.
Sometimes, it would do a Foodette well to listen to the advice of her readers. In this case, a new reader, Rosa, begged and pleaded with me for my life’s sake in the upcoming event of a Snackdown, this one, between Newman’s Own Organics Fat-Free Fig Newmans and the Low-Fat Fig Newmans.
I opened the fat-free FN’s. They smelled okay. I sniffed them again. And then I tried to take one out, and all the crust fell off it.
I bit into this, and it glued to the roof of my mouth. When I finally did unearth it, the crust was flavorless, and the middle was like a gelatinous, gluey Jell-o type texture, with an aftertaste that lingered in my mouth for about ten minutes of fermented raisins.
I did not like this. If you need a fat-free cookie, there’s no need to torture yourself. Newman’s Own Organics is an amazing company, but these were just awful.
The Low-Fat Fig Newman fared much better. It was like a gourmet Fig Newton, a little thicker, and none of that gelatinous texture of the fat-free. The cookies did not stick together, and the crust was buttery. There was no aftertaste.
The texture of these was much better. I could tell the difference between these two in an instant. I personally loved the low-fat ones, and recommend them for people with kids or people who love Fig Newtons. They’re better. Not my favorite, as I am a chocolate aficionado, but I like the less pedestrian idea of incorporating figs into cookies. It’s good.
Another really sweet aspect of the entire Newman’s Own Organic line is the little stories they put on the back of the packages. I really enjoy reading this, and hope they continue to incorporate these into their future packages and products.
You can find these at many stores around the country. One important thing to know, though, is that Newman’s Own Organics is a different subsidary than Newman’s Own!
7/10- VERY GOOD
WINNER: LOW-FAT FIG NEWMANS