Spudmaster ColossalChips

It’s a rainy day, and I walk in to find a large box of Idaho potatoes by the couch- but wait! They’re not Idaho potatoes! They’re chips! Chips in boxes!

The Spudmaster potato chips are a breed unto their own. For starters, they have a sexy potato logo on the front, they come in boxes, and they’re massive and extremely crunchy. Roomba and I set into them immediately.

The first one we tried was the “Shazam” flavor, which was like a combination of barbecue flavoring and a heat that warmed up and then burnt a little. It was good! The chips are huge. Heed my warnings, children. A few of these chips topped six inches, and none were really under two or three. Each chip was crunchy, to the point of where Roomba took off her headphones and just stared at me crunching for a few minutes.

The flavoring doesn’t overwhelm the potato flavor, which is good. Instead, it compliments it and brings out some of the starchier, meatier potato flavors that are often missed with a chip that is too flavorful.

7/10- YUMMY

The “no salt added” chips worried me, because I genuinely enjoy a little salt with my taters. Unfortunately, when you take away the salt, you’re left with the potato flavor and the flavor of the cooking oil, and because cooking oil is still left, you get a bit of a greasy flavor.

We agreed that these chips would be great for dipping, because there’s no interfering flavors to contend with the dip, but that on their own, they’re not as impressive as we’d have liked. The richness of the potato flavor is just bogged down by the oily taste and sheen left in your mouth afterwards. As always, the chips are still massive, in the best possible way.

4/10- OKAY

The last chip was the “original” flavor. I was really surprised to try these because I usually associate the original flavor with a plain salt chip. Instead, these had a really subtle undertone of garlic, onion, paprika, and more, that made us keep eating and eating them. They were excellent!

These chips, like the Shazam flavor, also brought out the best qualities of the potato. There was a creamy, oniony taste that made us think of a loaded baked potato. Overall, these are great! The flavored versions are a lot less greasy, too.


Overall, these are really fun, wiggly chips for a barbecue or family gathering. I wouldn’t recommend them for on-the-go snacking, as they attract a good deal of attention and with the box, are somewhat unwieldy. But they’re tasty!

Taco Bell’s Volcano Taco

On the hour of battery life I have left, I’m writing this review to you because I know I’m late. I’ve been a very bad Foodette and am reaping the punishment now. I’m writing this on a bus, albeit, a spacious one, but a bus nonetheless.

So before this singular and delightful experience, I must say, I was rather dubious of the entire concept of the “fourthmeal” that Taco Bell had been shilling in its advertising. But it was 11:38 PM, FoodZ and I were starving, and the powdered Gatorade and Doritos in the house were not cutting it. Only thing to do was take a trip.

I was hungry, but I didn’t want a meal, and I certainly didn’t want anything fried from the combination KFC. Realizing that I was late on the whole idea of the volcano menu concept, I still decided that the volcano taco was the right thing to get. And when you order at this particular Taco Bell late at night, they often stock your food with extra food or take an item off your order and give it to you free so they can get rid of extra stuff.

So, the volcano taco. It was tiny, but like Napoleon, it packed a punch and did the job. The shell was bright red, a feature I’d forgotten but much enjoyed, but was inexplicably greasy. It did a good job of holding the food in together and not making a mess. The lettuce was abundant, and I could have done without, but was pleased with how crunchy and fresh it was. The taco was not one that had been sitting for a long time under a heat lamp. The shredded cheese was also superfluous, as the taco had cheese sauce that did the job. It made more of a mess than anything else, and I ended up just scooping it out and eating the remainder of the taco plain.

Honestly, if I could have had a taco, a sandwich, an anything, topped with the beef mixture and the lava sauce, I would. Top garbage with that stuff, honestly. It was delicious. The sauce had a really nice burn, and it’s nice to see that Taco Bell isn’t afraid to add a little more spice to their products. It was cheesy, gooey, and the beef was spot on good. I like tacos to have a little more moisture. I just think it holds everything together well.

And for the price, it was the perfect thing to satisfy my hunger. I can definitely see this becoming a staple in my food, especially with the quality of meat that they use and the size of the product. I don’t need a full meal to feel satisfied. One of these will definitely do the job!

8/10- HOT HOT HOT!

Subway Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki Sandwich

Ah, the day after Thanksgiving. To be fair, I ate this coming home in the bus station, waiting for the ride back to town. And now I’m reviewing it today. It’s a favorite. Sandwiches are hard for me, because I’m really picky. I don’t eat beef unless it’s in tacos, and I think that vegetables, unless they are potatoes, do not belong in a sandwich. I’m a fan of massive, delicious ‘wiches, and just don’t like to settle.

So I got this in a fit of hunger and desperation, and also because I was so tired of seeing people order freakishly disgusting sandwiches. Tuna fish, pepperoni, and honey mustard? Really? I had my sandwich made on Italian Herbs and Cheese, chicken, the sweet onion sauce, and monterey jack cheese.

I get so flustered when I want to make a sandwich without a previous plan, simply due to the number of permutations I can get. Anyone else have this problem? It’s one thing to go somewhere and get a chicken sandwich, but it’s another to customize it. I digress, though.

The bread was a little too crispy for my liking, and when the woman made the sandwich, the amount of chicken looked really disproportionate to the amount of bread, despite the fact that she put two trays on. I should have asked for double chicken, but I really didn’t want to spend too much money. I’d say that out of the twelve inches of the sandwich, I got chicken in all but 1.5 inches total, which was very good.

The cheese was barely noticeable. If I hadn’t ordered it myself and known that it was there, I might not have noticed. It was a shame, because I ordered the monterey jack for a little more flavor. The chicken was nice and tender, unremarkable, but flavorful and had a good chew to it. And the sauce was just disappointing. I tasted teriyaki. I tasted salt and sweet. But I tasted no onion. It was like bathing my chicken in a flavorful syrup and soy sauce mixture. It was a shame. I ate the sandwich, but it just wasn’t to my likings as far as a homemade sandwich goes. For that, I require something a little more carefully made, although I do appreciate Subway’s range of sauces.


Jones Tofurky and Gravy Soda

I don’t have a photo of this, but I can assure you, it was as noxious as it looked.

In honor of Thanksgiving, I decided to take one for the team and have some Jones Tofurky Soda, debuted this year. Excuse me, tofurky and gravy. The soda is designed for all masochistic vegans and vegetarians, and believe me, there’s quite a demographic. So I bucked up and bought a bottle of this, and decided to try it for an audience of rapt friends.

In short? Utterly disgusting. If you’re squeamish, stop now.

In long. Oh, my. First opening it, it’s a lovely aroma of cat kitter, Windex, and gravy. The taste is very watery, and not at all like turkey at all, more gravy than anything else. The carbonation is the strange part. I keep expecting it to have the thick texture of gravy, but it’s so…not gravy like. It’s the Schrodinger’s Cat of sodas. Gravy and not gravy.

Overall, it’s like a Butterball turkey took me and raised me as one of its own, and sustained my frail little body by vomiting its juices into my mouth. So, for gastro-intestinal taste enthusiasts, this is all systems go. For the rest of the world, stick with what you can chew and leave the libations fruity-flavored.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Flavrz Drink Mixes

Are these for the nature conscious? Certainly not. They’ve got enough packaging for three Crystal Light drink mixes. Are these for the busy people who need a convenient drink? Not really. The package is full of liquid, and that’s kind of strange and hazardous. Does it make the drink better? Does it taste good?

Read on, Foodketeers!

Lame, yes.

Flavrz Drink Concentrates were sent to me by the company for review, in their three flavors: Cherry Berry, Lemon-Lime, and Tropical. They’re drink mixers that can be added to 12-20 oz. of water. That’s a big margin of flavor for me. It’s the difference between that abysmal Dasani “Hint” water and a nice Fruit 2 O. So how are they?

I tried the Cherry Berry in a water bottle. I figured that with the copious amount of liquid, it would be equal to the powder ratio, with a 19.6 oz. recommended mix. It mixed to a nice rose color in the water, but the taste? Bleh. Tasted just like that damned Dasani.

Another thing I noticed which I really, really disliked was the flavor inconsistency. I’m not sure if it was the agave, but inexplicably, I found that there were like, liquid pockets floating around the water, like grease on a burger, where there was more flavor, possibly due to an inability to mix? Whatever it was, it was awful and led me to sip tentatively.

2/10- GROSS

Unfortunately, no photos of that. I can’t seem to find the ones I sent to my email address from my cell phone. None of lemon lime, either. But I can save you with tropical.

The lemon-lime, I decided, couldn’t be screwed up, and also opted for a smaller ratio of water. I filled my bottle up with twelve ounces and added the liquid, then gave it a good shake to disperse whatever those greasy pockets were before. And then I took a sip.

Awful. Even worse than before. The entire twelve ounces was permeated with a medicinal, metallic taste bearing little resemblance to lemon or lime aside from a strange, not sour acidity and general lack of sweetness to the drink. Horrible. The taste stayed in my bottle for days until I washed it out with boiling water.


Although I was scared to try the last one, life has left me bereft of juice in the last week and I’m thirsty. So I bucked up for the sake of the review and tried it. It’s sweet! It’s cloying! It’s actually sort of tasty, in a strange way! The overall flavor reminds me of coconut, banana, and pineapple, and it comes in a pleasing orange color. Oddly enough, it even has that waxy coconut aftertaste. Hrm.

I don’t know how to feel about this. Even after mixing it, there were those strange, unmixed swirls, and I just didn’t like them as much as I thought. I’d never buy them unless the concentrations got better, and the greasiness went away. And they’re just not convenient for on the go. If I were to take these anywhere, they’d go right in my backpack, and I’d just worry about something puncturing one of them.


Route 9 Diner, Hadley, MA

Okay, guys, the last local restaurant review before I head home for vacation. I’m technically posting this for Tuesday, though I’ll be in classes and also on a bus for about four hours. Ah, the joys of public transportation. Anyhow, onto the review.

This place is a classic staple for students, as it’s open 24 hours a day and serves up food you wish you could make, but cannot, because you are drunk or incapable. The menu is horrifyingly expansive and offers selections like breakfast food, amazing sandwiches, phenomenal desserts, and the best waffle fries this side of Chick-Fil-A.

I went with my mother on a brief break in between shows this weekend. I’d been before, but hadn’t yet reviewed it because I wanted a more substantial meal to pick apart. I was ravenous, so I ordered the Mt. Holyoke chicken sandwich- fried chicken breast, bacon, BBQ sauce, onion rings, and cheddar cheese on a bun, with waffle fries and a diet Pepsi.

The photo is a little blurry, but there it is, in all its glory. The food came in about ten minutes, record time, but made no indication of being reheated or previously made. It was fresh, fancy, and delicious. I don’t like coleslaw, so I gave it to my mother. The sandwich itself was a monster. The bun wasn’t toasted, which I like, and also had melted cheddar cheese on both sides of the bun, enveloping the contents in a gooey seal.

The chicken was phenomenal. It was uniformly cooked to perfection, crispy, slightly greasy, and very flavorful. I don’t know how well it would have served as a solo dish (as opposed to Lenny and Joe’s,) but it’s delicious “sandwich chicken” and that makes everything all right. The bacon was perfectly cooked, but was unfortunately overshadowed by the onion rings. I think that this sandwich could have been better made with onion straws, as they give the taste and crunch of rings without the strange texture. Some of the onions slipped out of the breading as I bit, and that’s a textural component I cannot abide in the least. The BBQ sauce was there, but in the tiniest, quarter-sized pool on top of one side of the chicken and made some appearances on one side of the sandwich, but that was as far as it went.


As far as the waffle fries go, they are sublime. I’d say that in each serving, at least 60% of the fries are large, waffly slices, and at least 25% of the fries are large enough that you have to unhinge your jaw to eat whole. They come piping hot and are orange and seasoned with magical spices, but are not greasy and acid-inducing like some fries. They are crunchy in some areas, soft in others, and utterly addictive.

What I also like about the waffle fries is that they’re not uniform. I like it when there’s a slight cut that uses the really meaty end of the potato, as opposed to the standard sticks. If anything, they might need a little more salt. But trust me, if you’re going to Route 9 Diner, don’t order anything on the side but these fries. If you order them as a side order, they come piled high on a plate the size of your head. Trust me, though. You’ll finish them.


Route 9 Diner
458 Russell St. #11
Hadley, MA, 01035

Rao’s Coffee, Amherst, MA

To all 98% of my non-Massachusetts readers, (see, I do check up on my Google Analytics!)

I’m terribly sorry for doing all of these local restaurant reviews, but I keep eating out, and the food is so good, and it seems a shame to not review them for others! I have two more of these, and then it’s back to the regular stuff for a while- new and exciting developments in the snacky world.

In the meantime, it’s rainy and disgusting, which makes me want to go home all the more. Instead, I sucked it up because I have a day and a half left, and went to Rao’s coffee after getting my overdraft fees together. (This is why there’s a donation button! Hint hint!)

I saw these cupcakes, giant strawberry and vanilla babies, about two weeks ago and decided that at some point, I just had to have one. It was a beautiful and large, glistening treat, and for $2.71, it was a good deal, too.

The cake is massive. It’s more of a small cake. It was tall enough to prevent closing the little container it came in and hefty enough to throw at a robber to fend them off. I’ve eaten 1/4 of it so far and might chip away at it before relinquishing it to Roomba. It’s a dense vanilla pound cake with pretty piped strawberry buttercream on top. The buttercream is pink with little bits of real strawberries in it.

Now, buttercream is a fickle beast. The best buttercream is fresh and airy, a fluffy cream that you can bite into without getting a waxy taste over your mouth, which makes it greasy and disgusting. It’s flavorful and delicious and provides the right moisture for a cupcake. It’s like fondant- very easy to mess up, but utterly addictive if you get it right.

This is not the best buttercream I’ve ever had, far from it, in fact. The mouthfeel tastes as though the cupcake was frozen and then just thawed, and the strawberry flavor is overshadowed, aside from a small hint, by an overwhelming coffee flavor that comes from the shelves being too close to the grinder, and the frosting absorbing the taste. The aftertaste is not greasy, thank goodness, but delicate. The texture may throw people off, though.

The cake itself is more of a crumbly muffin than a cupcake. It’s a little too dense, like a pound cake, but doesn’t hold together quite as nicely. (My prerequisite for a pound cake is from my grandmother’s close friends in Georgia- one cake has twelve eggs and six sticks of butter. How’s that for comparison?) It, too, carried that slight hint of coffee flavor, but overall, had a really nice, rounded, buttery taste.

Together, they are decent. I cut my pieces into individual bites and respread the buttercream. It was okay, not my favorite. Hopefully there will be some Four and Twenty Blackbirds desserts to review for my Connecticut crew! That’s a place that makes good sweets.


With this, I had a chocolate Chai iced tea to drink. I don’t have any photos of that, so I’ve decided to overcompensate by taking more cupcake photos. The CCIT was really tasty, but came in a cup that was at least 50% ice, and that’s not fair at all. I paid $4.49 for a small drink in a 12 oz. cup and it was probably about 5% chocolate syrup, 25% water, 15% milk, and 5% Chai tea. It was delicious, don’t get me wrong. The flavors mingled really well and it was cool and creamy and very evenly distributed with the chocolate, but for the price, I feel like I ought to be getting a little more drink and a little less filler. Even Starbucks doesn’t have the audacity to price that high.

6/10- GOOD

Rao’s Coffee
17 Kellogg Ave.
Amherst, MA, 01003

Bruno’s Pizza, Amherst, MA

I’m doing two posts today because I missed out on yesterday and Friday, and, well, because you deserve it! I’ve been in a show all weekend, and after the shows I either go home and sleep or hang out with some friends. Friday night, I went back to the dorm and ordered a party pizza with some awesome friends from my dorm, Kottke, Woot, and C.

It was from Bruno’s, a local college pizza staple. Amherst has some really excellent pizza places. Bruno’s might not be my first choice for taste and variety, but it delivers a really excellent and solid cheese pizza.

For $20, this is a really excellent deal. The pizza is extremely large- I’m not entirely sure how big, because the menu doesn’t say, but it’s quite large. It’s cut into 24 pieces, so, six per person for our little party. The pizza’s crust is good- it’s not too thick or doughy, and it’s cooked well, with a nice cornmeal crunch on the bottom and no mushy patches of uneven dough. The pizza is cut into squares instead of slices, so the corner pieces have a much higher ratio of crust and that sometimes gets overwhelming. On the converse, the middle pieces are sometimes very messy.

The sauce is not bad. It’s one of those sweet pizza sauces, a little too sugary for my liking, and sometimes runny, but not bad. The cheese was also good and toasty, but spotty in places, and there were some areas when I had parts of just bread and sauce, which is a little strange. It wasn’t at all greasy, either.

Overall, I like Bruno’s. It’s a fun pizza to gulp down while hanging out with friends. It’s no gourmet, but it’s the experience of a massive pizza thing that’s half the fun.

7/10- GOOD

Bruno’s Pizza
363 Main St.
Amherst, MA, 01003

Pioneer Valley Pizza, Amherst, MA

This pizza is the first and foremost hangover remedy for UMass and other four-college kids. What is it? It’s Pioneer Valley Pizza, aka, PVP’s, famous buffalo chicken gourmet pizza. It’s simple. It’s very tasty, and it’s the perfect wake-up call after a long night partying.

I had this today after waking up around two. My production of Sweeney Todd ended last night and there was a large cast party, so I slept quite late today after that, and then realized that I was starving. This pizza is delicious- it’s a little expensive, $11 for a medium, but it is a specialty pie. It’s a cheese pizza topped with pieces of buffalo chicken tenders, blue cheese, and hot sauce.

PVP is all right with delivery. Sometimes they have trouble finding my dorm, which is odd because I’ve ordered with them at least six times, and the pizza is lukewarm when I get it. The selection of the menu is good, with wings, calzones, and assorted pizzeria goodness.

So, the pizza itself! It’s not a very big pie for eleven dollars. At the rate you’re going, it’s about $1/square inch for a medium pie. The toppings are interesting. If there are any complaints I have, it’s that you can’t eat this normally because if you eat it by biting the triangular way and don’t have a freakishly large mouth, you don’t get an even distribution of toppings and wind up with mouthfuls of blue cheese one bite and chicken the next. However, this pizza does lend itself perfectly to the case of folding into a pizza sandwich, and that makes everything mix together nicely.

The best thing about this pizza is the creaminess of all the cheeses and sauces, but not so creamy that it takes the chicken, which is fresh and very crispy, and mushes it down and makes it soft. There is nothing more disgusting than soft and mushy crust on chicken, which is why I generally order grilled chicken on pizza. But this is perfectly cooked chicken, and when you bite it, actually breaks instead of falling off, splattering molten hot sauce on your face and shirt.

It’s good. Order it with friends, order it when you’re hungry. It’s filling and tasty. The calzones are good, too. So far, from my limited view of PVP’s menu, their food is quite tasty.

7/10- NICE

Pioneer Valley Pizza
20 Belchertown Road
Amherst, MA, 01002

The Pita Pit, Worcester DC, Amherst, MA

I haven’t had good experience with this restaurant so far, so I decided to give it one last try before giving it the old heave-ho into the restaurant and food graveyard. It’s problematic. It’s open so late, and only three steps from my dorm, and uses YCMP, which means I don’t have to dig into my bank account, but the quality has just been so low.

First time I went, I ordered a falafel pita, no vegetables, with extra hummus and tahini, and received little more than a crumbly pita folded over falafel “spread,” and it was cold and mushy and quite disgusting and stale. I took a bite and threw it out.

The second time I went to order a chicken sandwich with fries, only to discover that there were no fries, and even though they were open until 1 AM, they shut off the grill at 11:45, for no reason at all. So I left empty-handed.

I went one last time, only as a last resort, and my roommate came with me, paying for my meal since I’ve used up all my swipes on the Massive Glutwich- another post, I promise. It’s only the most delicious sandwich I’ve ever had. So I went and ordered the chicken combo meal- a buffalo chicken sandwich with fries and a drink. I expected Wings quality because that’s the standard by which all chicken is judged now, and went to eat my meal.

Well, they shut off the fryer at 11:45 and it was 11:46. In fact, I saw the guy try to put some fries in but was chastised by the manager. Two or three minutes later, especially when customers are willing to pay, is rather unreasonable to simply shut off the entire operation. So, no fries. The chicken sandwich was grilled rather than fried, which is healthy, but not nearly as satisfying as the saucy, crunchy Wings chicken. Another point off. The chicken was soft and tender, though, and covered the entirety of the bun, which was fluffy and fell apart rather easily. The buffalo sauce was nothing spectacular, but it was spicy and tasty.

Overall, my experience was average. Roomba got a hummus pita, which she said was satisfying, but not the best thing she’s ever had. Too hummus heavy. It’s not enough to make me rush out and go back, and it certainly didn’t satiate my hunger, but it was all right for the time being and definitely satisfied my need for a hot meal at midnight.


The Pita Pit
Worcester Dining Commons, UMass Amherst
Amherst, MA, 01003