SNACKDOWN: Chocolove Pretzel in Milk Chocolate vs. Zoe’s Pretzel Bar

Fifty Shades of Single Origin Hell (Part 2 of 13) 
Erotic chick-on-choc action in the style of E.L James
By Winterbottom Foodeater

 They were on my table, unwrapped. In my dreams, it was like eating a Snickers bar, but better. I didn’t quite know how to express it, but it was more wholesome, more elevating. The deep, thick milk chocolate coating a barely contained layer of silky, chewy nougat, caramel, and crunchy roasted peanuts. It was almost too much for me to bear. I picked the bar up and turned it around in my hands, admiring the contours and weight of it, before I lifted it to my lips and–

A knock rapped at the door, urgently, interrupting me from my thoughts. Who could that be? I wasn’t expecting any guests. My dear, wonderful father lived a few states away, fishing and grunting in his endearing, monosyllabic way after mom died last year. And as an internet famous, notoriously funny food blogger, my company was spent with only my cats and my computer as companionship.

I opened the door to find Chocolove, the pretzel candy bar I’d been lusting over for the last few weeks! Oh my god…they looked so lost, so vulnerable, the chocolate coating slightly melting in the sun. I just wanted to hug it like I hugged and cuddled my best gay friends.(AN: Love you Zack and Ross! Let’s get married tomorrow.)

“Chocolove…what are you doing here?” I put my hands on my hips to convey the impression that maybe I was a little mad, but I mainly wasn’t, because seeing Chocolove in a place like this was so awe-inspiring, so beautiful, so jaw-dropping. It was like seeing a Monet in a gas station bathroom.

“I came to tell you that I…I…” Chocolove, so normally composed and brilliant, always handy with a note or love poem, was at a loss for words. “I love you, Jessica Jasmine Isabella Marysue Hershey Omnipotent McProm-Wedding!” For a moment, I paused, struggling to comprehend the gravity of those eleven incredible words. America’s most eligible, romantic, wealthy, pretzel-studded bachelor loved…me!? But we couldn’t be any more different! I, the lowly food blogger, and Chocolove…a household name!

It was almost too much to bear, so I stopped thinking and started doing, my inner goddess cheering and grinding against my temporal lobe, and I let Chocolove enrobe me. “Chocolove, your pretzel pieces are rock-hard!” Chocolove murmured against my ear, “And they’re salted, too.” I groaned and took another bite. The pieces, so small and yet, so infused with the salinity and crunch of tinny pretzels, were melting within me, overpowered by the sweet, sweet chocolate.

“Jessica…you shouldn’t,” Chocolove said, pulling away with a tortured glance. “I’m no good for you.” I gasped. “Chocolove, don’t say that…I’ve seen the articles and the reviews. You’re made with premium beans- you’re even certified kosher by the Scroll K Kashruth! You’re completely free of GMO’s! Please, don’t say that…I love you, too.” My lips shuddering and my stomach growling- damn it, I needed Chocolove now to satisfy my hunger, I moved closer, caressing the delicately embossed milk chocolate as we…

“Am I interrupting something?” Chocolove and I tore apart, breaking off like pieces of a Kit-Kat and turned to face my neighbor, Zoe’s Pretzel Bar. Zoe and I had been neighbors in the apartment complex for years, and I’d always sensed a tantric connection, a chemistry, between us. Life was so hard! Wasn’t there anyone around here who didn’t want me to eat them!? YOLO, I thought to myself sadly, YOLO. Chocolove backed away, the milk chocolate darkening at least 15% as they left in the elevator.

“I have to go,” I tore myself from my computer, pausing the episode of Grey’s Anatomy I’d been watching. “Chocolove, no!” But it was too late, and I could see the doors shut on the bronze-wrapped demigod I had loved for so long, too late, but too sweet for my affections. I turned to Zoe, or P, as I called them. “P, you shouldn’t have done that,” I said. P came toward me, dark chocolate up front and bold in my face.

“Don’t you see? I had to. That Chocolove is no good. Jessica, you could do better. I’m artisanal. I’m sophisticated. I locally source my pretzels.” P’s aromatic dark chocolate glistened in the sun as they lowered their voice. “Do you know how Chocolove gets those pretzels?” Smiling, they turned toward me. “I’m more cost-effective and I’m wrapped in an aesthetically pleasing, brown paper casing.” I took another look at P, realizing that its dark chocolate was alluring. It did have more pretzels per bite than Chocolove, and a slightly saltier, much darker flavor, an exotic flair hinting of smoke and lavender wrapped up in its imported dark chocolate. Turning once back to see Chocolove leave, I gazed into the dark soul of P, realizing that I never really did like Robert Browning’s poetry anyway, and my lips fell open in arousal as I licked the chocolate slowly, but surely. P was the winner, sure as I was of anything in my life, including my love of romance novels and baby squirrels.

“Come,” said P, “I can show you things far darker than that,” and we turned, entering the apartment to explore places heretofore unknown, and I knew my 120 days of chocolate were to commence…

To be continued…

SNACKDOWN: The Velveeta Embargo of 1931

WE’RE KICKING OFF DORM WEEK! Featuring a TON of microwavable, frozen, gross college foods for you and me. Especially me, though. Because I’m in a real live dorm. Thanks for all the wonderful birthday wishes and comments! I do it for you.And that’s why I’m kicking off the week with not one, but TWO relatively gross single serving macaroni and cheese cuplets. In the 1920’s and 30’s, Velveeta cheese reigned supreme. That shit was tops, and with the relatively burgeoning Kraft company, it was easy to see how they succeeded.

But a new dog entered the scene. This was Kraft Dinners, more commonly known as the quintessential blue box mac and cheese we all know and love, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Thus, a battle began within a powerful and cheesy nation- the Kraft Company, and the two dinners have been fighting mercilessly ever since.

Today, I decided to try one of each dinner in an easy to serve format, the “easy” cup, and decide for myself who the dairy-laden glory would go to. And thus, a battle began.They look almost identical on the shelves. Small microwavable cups, sandwiched among the Hamburger Helper easy mac that nobody wants because the beef pellets look like rat poison, they’re both blue and orange and kind of unimpressive. Making them is a cinch. 3 1/2 minutes on each, and then stir in the sauce and let them sit. There’s white powder in each of them, but it’s not cocaine. My guess is that it’s evaporated milk. The cheese and noodle shape is where they each differentiate. While Kraft, (and I know they’re both craft, but for the sake of this review, it’s now Kraft) has a powder, Velveeta has a tiny packet of their cheese sauce. And Kraft has those funky elbow noodles, where Velveeta has little shells. After mixing in each sauce, I found that the cheese sauce with the Velveeta definitely adhered to the shells well, creating those little flavor pockets we all love and cradling the sauce lovingly, and thickening up nicely, even going so much as to strand off when I took a forkful. The shells, though, were sometimes a little undercooked and had a habit of sticking together while cooking, like those crustaceans that pile on top of one another, and thus didn’t get the same amount of cheese that the loners had. Still, though, the cheese was creamy, rich, and oddly enough, had a really nice cheesy flavor. A little sharp, very indulgent.The Kraft definitely had the best noodles. They’re those skinny, skinny elbow noodles that always remind me of emo jeans. How can the cheese possibly fit in there? They’re like syringe thickness. But they’re tender and very soft and adhere really well to the fork. They just never slip off. Unfortunately, the cheese sauce is loose in some places and clumpy in others, and somehow, never seems to dissolve completely, with some granulated pieces hanging around. The flavor is much sharper than the Velveeta and the texture is just kind of saucy and wet.They’re both pretty substantial and tasty. Good snacks. But the real deciding factor is the taste and texture. If I had it both ways, I’d mix the Velveeta cheese with the Kraft noodles, but that would cost twice as much and leave me with a gross tasting loser. So, I decided that I can live without the delicious noodles, but it was a very close call.And with that, THE WINNER IS VELVEETA! Here’s to a fantastic start of Dorm Week, and a lifetime of better food for you all.

The Vitamin Water Challenge, Part 2: Orange

Okay, guys. If you remember the last Vitamin Water Challenge, it was apparent that the brand name really did trump the little guy. But what about a new flavor? Today’s challenge is the Vitamin Water Orange versus the Kirkland Signature Orange Mango. Will the new flavor addition save the day? Or is the power of marketing just too clever and honed to be defeated?The two flavors start out differently and end differently. Cup B is a violent orange color, the kind reserved for Pauly D and most carrots, and Cup A deviates more towards a yellow-orange, sunnier color. Both are scented mildly, to the point where I can’t tell which is which. That’s a good sign.Cup A is orange flavored, and reminds me of drinking a watered down Hi-C. Like if you leave a glass of it out in the sun with some ice, it’ll taste like this. It’s orangey, but very subtle and diluted in flavor. Only when you drink the entire bottle at once does it then start to taste a little more flavorful.Cup B is definitely the orange mango. There’s much more flavor, but it still retains the same density as the water and doesn’t get syrupy or bogged down, and the mango flavor is delicious and mixes really well with the orange. Both flavors are present within the drink and neither one takes a spotlight over the other. There’s an even balance of sweetness, too, whereas if the orange flavor is too natural, it will get bitter, or just taste too sugary. This one retains the fruit’s characteristics without getting too much like a kid’s juice box.Aaaaaand, the verdict. Cup A was Vitamin Water, Cup B was Kirkland Signature. Are you surprised at how much better it tasted? I am, especially with the results of the last Vitamin Water Challenge. It’s nice to see the underdog win once in a while. I think I’m the winner overall, because I get to enjoy these waters and this gorgeous day, but for the sake of the challenge…

WINNER: KIRKLAND SIGNATURE

Delish! I’m pleased with this one and, once again, no calories! Until the next challenge, (two flavors left!) I’m the Foodette!

The Vitamin Water Challenge, Part 1: Dragonfruit

I recently got some Kirkland Signature vitamin-enhanced beverages (shhh! The feds are always watching!), and was curious as to how they duked up to the regular Vitamin Waters in a taste test. There were four flavors, each corresponding to the Vitamin Water equivalent. I wonder if there will be more, too, for the new flavors?Today’s challenge is sort of a Snackdown, I guess, for the “dragonfruit” flavor. I chilled both drinks for a few hours in the fridge, and then took them out and did my tests. Drink A is very pink in color, much brighter of a color than drink B, and has a very tart flavor, with a slightly bitter edge to it. It’s sweet, but not too sweet, and falls somewhere in between the Hint waters, where you can barely taste the fruit, and juice. It’s right in the middle, and provides a nice moderation.Drink B is a tepid pink color, and tastes sweet. I don’t really taste dragonfruit unless I taste a big gulp of it, and it’s got less complexities than the other one. It’s mainly sweet, but I can get the idea of it. There’s a different sweetness to this one, where drink A was getting a fresh, sweet flavor, this one is mainly sugary and a little more watery. For some reason, I also got a cane sugar flavor in it, too, but that might just be wishful thinking.Drink A, as you might have guessed, was Vitamin Water Power C, and drink B was the Kirkland Signature brand. Though I’m generally one to defend the little guy, Vitamin Water has it down quite well. Here’s an interesting fact, though. The flavor, though top notch, is no match for the vitamins in KS’s water. For all the health and wellness Vitamin Water promotes, there’s 150 calories in the bottle and plenty of sugar, but Kirkland Signature has none at all. The winrar is Vitamin Wataaaar.WINNER: VITAMIN WATER

We’ll see how the next few rounds go.

What would you do? Also, here’s an extremely asinine article about how phallic Gatorade and Vitamin Water bottles are. Latent daddy issues, anyone? I see no resemblance other than it’s a freaking drink bottle. Jesus.

So, readers, do you see the peen? And what do you think of Vitamin Waters, anyhow? I’m personally addicted. Got the ass barcode and everything.

SNACKDOWN: A Tale of Two Sandwiches, or, Price vs. Vice

There are two competing sandwich places at the UMass Campus Center, both at The Blue Wall Eatery. One offers pre-made, organic sandwiches for an obscene price, and another, customized sandwiches with “lesser” ingredients, in the eyes of some, for a better value. Both sandwiches are delicious, but today’s review is open-ended. I’m not giving either sandwich a rating. I’m giving YOU the option, readers…what would you do? And what goes on your sandwich?
Here are my options. At the organic eatery, I’ve ordered a chicken breast sandwich on ciabatta bread, which comes with baby arugula, red peppers, goat cheese, and a garlic aioli. The sandwich is very small. Many readers may feel unsatisfied after eating it because it falls a little under six inches. (That’s what she said!) It’s also rigid in its construction because they’re premade, so should one want the goat cheese on one of the other sandwiches, say, on the ham sandwich, they will politely tell you that’s impossible because they’re constructed. And because of this preconstruction, they’re not fresh, so the vegetables are mushy and limp when they arrive. However, all of the ingredients are free range, organic, and from local farms in the area.
I still ordered it, because at the deli option next door, there’s no option for grilled chicken. And with the goat cheese and ciabatta, I must say, I was quite pleased. I felt like I was at a Food Emporium. The garlic aioli was disappointing as hell, because I was looking forward to a high quality sauce for the high prices that it cost me- $6.75 for the sandwich, with nothing added. At a rate of $1.12 an inch, I could have bought six self-rising pizzas at a budget grocery and had some friends over instead. So, I couldn’t taste the garlic, but the chicken was tasty and tender, and the goat cheese was very creamy, and with the ciabatta, I still felt like it was good. I ended up picking off the veggies because for one, they have no place on a sandwich, and for another, they were more flaccid than Carrot Top’s career.
Onto the Glutwich. You won’t think you’re in Manhattan. It’s from the customizable stand, where, at a fixed price, you can add as many toppings as you want onto a small or large sub roll or wrap. The pros? They have flavored mayonnaise, which my dining commons do not have, in flavors like chipotle, garlic, and herb. They have better quality bread. And they have more toppings. So, onto my sandwich. It’s deceptively simple, but so incredible. It’s just chipotle mayonnaise, American cheese, ham, and french fries with salt and pepper. It’s fat, carbs, and sodium, but it’s wonderful.
For $8.04, you get a drink of your choice, the french fries, and a small sandwich, which is quite heavy and measures in at about 8.5, 9 inches long. There’s no toasting option, though. The flavor is great, and I feel like the ingredients always taste fresh and nice. Sometimes the fries have been sitting so they’re a little cold when I bite into the sandwich, but if I get it and they’re very crispy, it’s wonderful with the spiciness of the mayonnaise and the ham underneath. It’s a fantastic sandwich for a hungry college student!

So, answer in the comments section! What do you do? And would you choose health over wealth?

SNACKDOWN: The Cider Wars


Hello, foodies! I have another snackdown for y’all today, in the spirit of the quickly chilling weather.

Ew, did I really just say y’all? I’m very sorry. Regardless, I have two contenders up for speculation today. Representing the home team is an apple cider from the dining commons, brewed fresh out of Atkins Farms, in Amherst, MA, and representing the “new and fresh-faced” section, in the opposite corner, is the new kid from Naked Juice- Chai Spiced Apple Cider. So, who will win? Will it be the rookie in the game, the Chai cider, or the reigning champion, Atkins Farms?
Atkins Farms’ cider is a really well-crafted drink. It’s full of spices that don’t dominate the apple flavor as a whole and provides a really tasty, not-too-tart flavor. It’s a little sweet, which is a complaint many might have, and if you don’t shake it enough, there’s a little watery flavor at first, but really, I have no complaints to speak of. It’s a delicious cider.

The chai-spiced cider was really disappointing. It didn’t taste like cider at all! It was really just apple juice, a really artificially-flavored apple juice, with cinnamon and some other subtle spices. There’s a nutmeggy aftertaste but I couldn’t taste any of the other flavors typically associated with chai, like masala spices, ginger, or cloves. And it just didn’t have that “fall” (read: unpasteurized!) and raw, delicious taste that regular cider has, that implies that fall is nigh and you should drink cider all the time. I was kind of upset that this was so hyped and yet such a failure in the autumn department. Good cider, regardless of when you drink it, should transport you back to autumn, with falling and changing leaves and smoky smells.

ATKINS- 8/10
NAKED- 4/10

WINNER: ATKINS

SNACKDOWN: Japanese Oreos vs. American Oreos

My apologies to Saralyn- I bumped up your post to tomorrow, but rest assured, it’s going to be awesome!

Today is a well-deserved Snackdown with two kinds of Oreos, one from the vending machine downstairs and one from Japan. The Japanese Oreos come in a tube, with two tubes per bag, apparently the equivalent of the Oreo box here, and the American Oreos come in the standard “six-pack”.

The Japanese, lucky for them, never got the memo about downsizing the Oreo size, so as a result, theirs are much larger than ours are.

The American Oreos have that standard, sweet-sweet taste to them, with a creamy filling and that crunchy texture, a nice mixture of sweet and…er, sweet. Almost too sweet. The cookie is pretty dense and crunchy and maintains a nice flavor.

The Japanese Oreos are completely different. The cookie is almost a light, fluffy crunch, that can only be likened to panko, it seems. If I were to liken this to anything, it would be to the Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers that are used for making damned good icebox cake.

Even the frosting is different on these. As you can see on the American cookies, the frosting is gooier. It has a marshmallow, vanilla-y taste to it, and is very soft and oily, making it easy to peel off if one should wish to.

The Japanese frosting tastes more like a plain frosting and is very dense, to the point of almost flaking off. It’s the same overall taste, but the texture makes it more lush, like halvah.

Overall, I really did prefer the Japanese Oreos. They were much different than the American ones and reminded me of the dessert my mother likes to make. I especially enjoyed the crunchiness.

JAPANESE- 7/10
AMERICAN- 5/10

WINNER: JAPANESE OREOS

SNACKDOWN: Newman’s Own Organics Fat-Free Fig Newmans vs. Newman’s Own Organics Low-Fat Fig Newmans

Image Copyright SnackFace

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.

1/10- HORRIBLE

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

SNACKDOWN: Wendy’s 99 cent Crispy Chicken Sandwich vs. Burger King’s Spicy Chick’n Crisper

I’m back, the AP tests are over, and I celebrated with a small brunch: A Snackdown!

Today’s Snackdown was between two value menu chicken sandwiches, from Wendy’s and from Burger King.


Image Copyright Behind the Hype- I’ll have a new camera soon!

Many people have said the BK sandwich was dry and flavorless, so I wasn’t expecting much, but it was very, very tasty. Mine looked just like this, but no lettuce. It’s very true that the Wendy’s Sandwich was much thicker, but this sandwich was very good. I liked the flavoring. It wasn’t very spicy like the Wendy’s regular spicy chicken sandwich, but it had spices to it, and flavored very well.

The Wendy’s sandwich is clearly the best value and quality for its price. At 99 cents, the chicken patty is freaking huge and the bun is the softest and tastiest bun you could eat. The chicken breading is really good. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s not greasy, and it might be panko crumbs. Regardless, it’s good, and the chicken is very thick.


Image Copyright Brand Eating

Unlike the Burger King, the Wendy’s is definitely a real, whole piece of chicken, whereas BK is somewhat reconstituted. But I’m torn. Who will win this Snackdown? They’re both amazing.

BURGER KING- 8/10

WENDY’S- 8/10

I have to judge this as a draw, though. However, the real winner would be if Wendy’s put their amazing chicken in a spicy sandwich. GrubGrade is right. We need a 99 cent spicy chicken sandwich. It would be Jesus.

-Foodette