Spam comments are friendly. They’re weird, but they’re friendly. Certainly better than the weird shit I get from real people, ranging from complaints directed to a specific branch of a multinational corporation or disturbingly specific health issues, or personal attacks. Even the one that just said, ‘ass this is my website ass’ entertained me more than the diarrheic diatribe on…diarrhea. They keep me entertained during my long days, especially when I’ve caught up on work and have little to do but bake gluten-free muffins and dance with animatronic birds.
France, you did it! You’ve come through and all but virtually guaranteed my eating nothing but fast food for the remainder of my time here. I’m a disappointment to all who know me, but it’s okay because limited edition. McDo France has released three new sandwiches to celebrate me, I assume. Too bad they’re terrible, but we’ll get to that. McDo’s Le Casse Croute menu features a sandwich and a medium drink for 4,50 Euro, or $66,000 USD as far as I’m now concerned. The sandwiches, the Oriental, Asian-flavored burger patty with the onerously named Oriental sauce, the Poulet-Poivre, or chicken with pepper sauce, and the Mixte, with ham and Emmental cheese, are all atop a McBaguette (my love, I have been waiting for so long to type such sweet words) and adorned with potato patties.
I bought all three sandwiches. Interestingly enough, despite refusing the drink, the server insisted upon it, even though the emotional line between carrying three sandwiches to your apartment for “research” is suddenly crossed when you bring three overflowing things of soda upstairs, too. Now I have three miniature bottles of water forming an impenetrable barrier between the sandwiches and me, which is good, because they kind of suck.
Let’s deconstruct this Derrida-style, old-school, call me MacDaddy because I’m into making postmodern phallocentric references rich in cultural capital in order to maximize the time you spend on this site. Zing, am I right? Anyway, the sandwiches themselves happen to be chiasmus-angia combos. Meat, bread, potato, and sauce, though the quality is wildly different between the three. The Poulet-Poivre was my favorite, and the only sandwich I finished in its entirety. I will gladly state that for the cardiologist’s record, too. It was really just a sliced chicken patty, but it had the most fillings and the best balance of flavor, with the pepper sauce providing a zesty lubrication to the whole shebang. Vastly improved with a few shakes of hot sauce. My only complaint was that I wasn’t crazy about the fried-on-fried element of the potatoes and the chicken. It was a little too much.
The baguettes themselves, at least for 1er arrondissement standards, are not half bad. You wouldn’t confuse them for actual bread, but they mimic the sensation of bread fairly well, with a sweet, malty flavor and very crisp crust. The inside is soft and spongy, and surprisingly moist. They are also, in true McDo standards, enormous. The sandwiches require a momentary and snake-like unhinging of the jaw to fully enjoy.
And that was where things started to go downhill. I tried the Mixte next, because I was curious about how the combination of hot potato patties and cold cuts would be. It seemed like something I’d have made at home. Indeed, the cool and hot element was nice- the cheese was underneath the ham and on top of the patties, so it melted slightly, and would have been the dominant flavor in the sandwich, had McDo not tried to make it more exciting. The real Britta of the group was the fromage blanc, or white cheese sauce. It was more like white cheese mayonnaise, and it sucked. It took a clever idea and turned it into a stoner’s nightmare, where everything tastes like nacho cheese sauce and resembles your stepmom’s house.
The Oriental was up next, and if I’d thought the Mixte had won points for sucking and having the cruelest of all flavors, I was wrong. This took the cake. In its defense, it was certainly Asiatic in flavor, the problem being that the interpretation of Asiatic was apparently sourced from that one strip mall Chinese restaurant in the middle of Milwaukee with kind of okay lo mein and a shitton of soy sauce. The patties had to have been soaked in soy sauce, as they were inedibly salty and had a strange, powdery glaze on them. The sauce was nearly inedible- it was sour and creamy with a melange of spices, two of which were definitely caraway and garam masala. Completely disgusting.
So, these were a gamble, and a fairly disappointing one. The one consistently positive aspect about these is that they’re a great value- they are not snack-sized sandwiches and would definitely be a substantial lunch, considering that the potato patties also omit the need to get fries, although for your 5 Euro you could just as easily get a kebab with frites. Unfortunately, the flavors are way off the mark and are probably a bit too experimental for the French fast food palate.
I. Have. Been. Looking. At. These. Forever. I kid you not. These look like they came straight from an Ina Garten stuff-in-jars-the-equivalent-of-a-down-payment-on-a-Porsche photoshoot. They’re adorable and sleek in design while still managing to pack a metric lardton of calories into a small, reusable jar. Go green, everyone! I love them. And now they’re here. Gü Puds Chocolate and Vanilla Cheesecake may not seem like the most exciting or the most intriguing flavor out there. It was, however, the only one I could afford on my meager student’s budget of Gauloises, coffee, and KFC. This dessert features a chocolate crust base with a vanilla cheesecake filling and chocolate ganache on top. Mouth party, meet ecstasy! I screamed to no one in particular in the quiet of my apartment.
Except that before the mouth party, someone switched my ecstasy with baby aspirin. Is this it? My $3.00 didn’t buy me much. Not so much in terms of quantity, as I found this was sufficient enough dessert to last me a few hours or so, but more in terms of pleasure. I felt like I paid for a Ferrari and received a Mystique. The dessert had this irritating aura of seeming homemade, and not in a gourmet or nostalgic way, but a half-assed, 4th grade bakesale fashion.
The crust was crumbly and messy with a floury, bland flavor and dry texture, completely separating from the two wet components and managing to flake all over the place with each spoonful like faulty confetti. The cheesecake and chocolate ganache were one and the same: slippery, sweet, and milky, but little else to them aside from color differences. Pretty boring and quasi-industrial, like something you’d expect to receive in a dining hall or complimentary buffet at a casino.
I really expected more from Gü Puds. I’d been hyping them up in my own mind for years and wanted the insides to match the sleek, polished package, label design, and imaginary baker named Fred. I’m happy to give these another try and suspect that I may have to upgrade to the larger packages. I’ll be curious to find out if the individually packaged ones are Gü’s diffusion (Güffusion?) line or if they are all of similar quality.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the grocery store! I stopped by my local supermarket last night after a walk around town now that the weather has cooled down. Motivated by hubris and a strident feeling of douche-awesome stalking around the bakery section in a tank top, I decided to stroll by the cookie section. “They can’t hurt me,” I thought, “Now that I have calves of steel and buns of terror. It also helps that I forgot my wallet at home.” Of course, then I walked by the Oreos, only to do a double take halfway through the aisle. Coconut Delight Oreo Fudge Cremes! How very tropical. How “staycation” of Oreo to model their latest cookie after such a popular poolside beverage flavor. Seeing no notice of it online, merely a tantalizing “coming soon!” banner on the Oreo headquarters homepage and some blogger’s grainy iPhone photo only served to further tempt me. Obviously, I drove back to the grocery store a half hour later, coming home with groceries consisting of 40% Oreo-related content and 60% zero-calorie beverages. I do it for the kids.
Well, luckily, I won’t be ruining my sculpted physique any time soon with these. They’re solidly mediocre, on par with an $11 specialty drink at Chi-Chi’s or an $11 specialty dance behind a Hooter’s. I was initially a little worried about this flavor combination with the Fudge Creme. As I’ve lamented before, half the cookie and twice the mockolate coating does not a balanced snack make. In this case, it’s the same scenario. Would the coconut cream filling be tastier in a plain Oreo cookie? Possibly, but we’ll break it down further. The cookies smell off-putting, in a fake butter, stale popcorn artificial way. That’s the first strike. In flavor and texture, they suffer from the same imbalance of the Birthday Cake Fudge Cremes, yet lack that addictive canned frosting flavor that kept us coming back. The second strike? They’re bloomed! These are brand new and they’re already suffering from the poor quality of their outer shell.
The coconut filling is where this really fell short of expectations. These have been out for about a week, maybe even less, and the coconut is already muted and mild, with a mere hint of creaminess and toasted flavor. Were these sourced from a Taiwanese warehouse? Something doesn’t add up. These carry a very specific memory for me- once, my ever-thrifty grandmother bought two boxes of Girl Scout cookies and decided the package was superfluous. She stored the Trefoils and Samoas in a mutual Tupperware and forgot about them for six months. Half a year later, the Trefoils had a gentle infusion of coconut, not enough to significantly alter the flavor for the better, but gave them a noticeably strange hint of tropical ass. These cookies are similar- dull, sweet, and wholly synthetic.
These are the same way, reminiscent of Samoas, yet bland and overly sweet. Both the delicately salted chocolate cookie and the fruity coconut are drowned in a sea of awful coating. Seasonal flavors are a treat to see and these will do in a pinch if you’re housebound, but the waxy chocolate coating makes these pretty unappealing.
Like Junk Food Guy, I need to start unsubscribing from junk email. It’s really wreaking havoc on my dopamine receptors. I’ll open my iPod in ecstasy and see that I have seven new emails- ooh! Is it a book offer? A modeling contract? Does someone finally want to buy my third kidney off of craigslist? Oh, wait, nope, it’s a desperate promotional coupon for everything percent off from Radio Shack, when I was gullible enough to not give the haggard employee a fake email address. And a monthly newsletter from Krystal, the closest location a cool 643 miles away, or a now defunct film festival whose creepy emails contain no body, just a sad title.
Lately the biggest offender has been Hot Squeeze, the hot sauce/slather that I might have checked out on Amazon in mid-2006, my sixteen year old self giggling mindlessly at the euphemistic name before clicking off to Neopets and AIM. For whatever reason, I ended up on the mailing list for this sauce and since then have received no less than three emails a month in spam-like proportions, with titles ranging from the downright non sequitur, like “how about a Hot Squeeze of summer” to subjects that would make Howard Stern blush. Today, I decided to buck up and try the damned sauce, if only to satisfy my boundless curiosity and unsubscribe from that mailing list once and for all.
It’s an aromatic hybrid between a chipotle barbecue marinade and a smoky hot sauce. Loaded with red pepper flakes and boasting an almost malted scent from all the sugars, it seemed like it would go well with the raspberry jalapeno shredded chicken I’d made earlier that day. Eaten plain, it’s a bit overwhelming. It has an intensely umami-laden nose and flavor, with a base Worcestershire edge and a mild spiciness. Unfortunately, the “sweet” in sweet heat was a lie. It wasn’t sweet at all, but it did paired well with our nachos, lending a smoky flavor to the mild cheese and enhancing the fruit in the chicken.
However, if sauces were woman, this would be the quintessential fat girl who hangs out with all the other attractive ladies in the refrigerator and makes them look gourmet in comparison. Somehow, that analogy serves to make me look even creepier. While I love a full-bodied sauce with a sassy, bold flavor, the texture of this is an absolute trainwreck. It’s chunky and viscous, with a property similar to mucous in that regardless of how you poured it, it seemed to want to shrink back to its original shape and adhere stickily to the chip or bowl. Très clingy. It left sticky, gummy trails of its sauce wherever we put it. The texture was a real turn-off for me. It’s a sauce that would be absolutely embarrassing to serve to guests, as it’s impossible to dip food in without having your dish turn into an interactive Sarlacc pit.
Hot Squeeze says it has hundreds of uses, but I believe that to be an insufficient claim as its limiting flavor profile confines it to only neutral and bland selections. While the flavor was excellent, I can’t see any other practical applications for it outside of using it as a cooking sauce as its stickiness would ruin everything else.
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!
I can’t quite tell what this soda’s angle is. It was put out on the shelves after Halloween, yet has a jack-o-lantern on it. Because I totally didn’t find this until after Halloween, I’m going to say that this is for Thanksgiving, for the college student stranded by themselves over break with little else to eat on the holiday except for this soda and McDonald’s and day-old bakery rolls. Forever alone.
I’m a snob. There, I said it. The hard part is over and this post can commence like a meeting of AA with better coffee and no clothes. I’m a big ol’ snob and I kind of resent the ironic tone of the Domino’s ads and pizza box. “We’re not artisans,” it begins, as if one ordered Domino’s to experience the full throttle perfection of a New Haven or Chicago pie to begin with but just got frustrated with the lack of computer systems and cute boxes. “We don’t wear black berets, cook with wood-fired ovens, or apprentice with the masters in Italy.” Nor do we trim our plush, black moustaches or refrain from using tried stereotypes, but whatever. I can deal. This is all below a line for your proud pizza parent to sign after its conception. Oy. With this strange marketing concept, eaters start with the knowledge that Domino’s, like your single neighbor Chuck and his closet full of lingerie, is desperately trying to casually deny an identity it secretly desires.
Because the one thing my diet is lacking in are the alcohol-tinged balls of quintuple bypass survivors. I think, on my ever-expanding list of things I genuinely have no interest in putting in my mouth, sweaty balls, or really, the vast majority of testicles, are close to the top. When I saw this in the stores, though, it was hard to resist. Being a lover of all things malty and chocolatey, I figured I’d give it a swirl. And since Ben and Jerry’s have had some deceptively decent flavors lately, how bad could it be?
New England is known for many things- polo shirts, PT Barnum’s freak show, and summer homes, to name a few. We’re not known for our selection of fast food. On a trip to Maryland a few years back, I made it my personal goal to visit no tourist attractions or interesting places, but to eat at every single new fast food restaurant within a five mile radius. The only real regional place New England can claim ownership to is Dunkin’ Donuts. Hardly fast food, but a delightful morning staple or afternoon snack. I personally ate at least sixty thousand buttered bagels and croissants on my morning commute to high school. We had a Dunkin’ next door. Brilliant marketing.
Had I not had a terrible aversion to mayonnaise at the time, I’m sure this sandwich would have seduced me out of my eighth period math class. My nostalgia for Dunkin’ and need for a quick snack before catching a train led to my eventual purchase of the sandwich. The press release for the new chicken salad sandwich tells me that it’s tasty and affordable. I should have known that the emphasis on cost would be its ultimate downfall as far as flavor goes, but with the influence of chicken salad in the fast food market lately, I figured I’d give it the old high school try and eat it while soaring through Connecticut.
I was initially skeptical about eating the sandwich on a croissant. Greasy filling and buttery bread did not sound like a palatable combination. And chicken salad on a bagel just seemed inherently wrong, like something I’d make at home in a pathetic, mismatched attempt to avoid buying groceries. You know the type- hot dogs on tortillas, random condiments on Triscuits. The sandwich was average in all respects. You’d think that with the competition from Arby’s and Subway, they’d try to do something to jazz it up, but this salad’s provenance is clearly from the ever-generic ChickTron 92A. It is industrial and plain, a mere step above Elmer’s glue and three steps below school lunches.
The filling was loose and goopy with small pieces of chicken no larger than a penny. There were no vegetables, fruits, or nuts, and while I generally advocate for a meat and condiment only sandwich, chicken salad really needs that extra somethin’ somethin’ to break up the banality of shredded chicken and mayonnaise. Apparently, that somethin’ somethin’ was vinegar, and lots of it. It made the sandwich filling ooze in a gloppy paste out of the croissant, which, with its center hole, looked a lot like a pustulating wound. The vinegar was all I could taste in the sandwich filling. Combined with the butteriness of the croissant, a mediocre specimen yet guilty pleasure of mine, it was astringent and overly salted.
Keepitcoming Love now uses this photo and meticulous arrangement of its subject as evidence of my obsession and insanity. She calls it Exhibit C.
As a recent convert to chicken salad, I’m certain that if this had been my formal introduction to all things mayonnaise I’d have run screaming for the hills and not come back until I’d donned a paper SARS mask and latex gloves. Its blandness and oily, sour flavor doesn’t quite make it offensive, but if I hadn’t been incredibly hungry I’d have had no problem tossing it after a few bites.