Thomas’ Banana Bread Bagels

Thomas’ has meta food down pat. A breakfast food flavored like another breakfast food in breakfast food form. With food like this, who needs enemies? Take note, ye Pop Tarts and Toaster Strudels of the world, now might be the time to cash in on that unlikely partnership with Ruffles or Jif. This is meta-food at its best…and worst.

So this is the Thomas’ Banana Bread Bagels, made of neither banana bread nor bagels. Instead, it’s classic supermarket bagel-bread taking the form of bagel only to provide a scantily flavored vehicle for cream cheese, butter, et al. And it smells. That’s the first thing you’ll notice. The second thing is that it’s impossible to photograph these correctly without looking like you’re intentionally trying to create a moody, trash-laden urbane piece for a high school photography show with the theme “hope.” Thomas’, I need these in a box next time. The good thing is they went apeshit (you thought I was going to say bananas!) with the fruity clip art, throwing bananas all over the place and even on the logo. I wholeheartedly approve of this and refuse to buy another product that doesn’t smack me in the face with its protruding flavors and additives.

That being said, they weren’t abhorrent. Granted, I see absolutely no situation where this would be sufficient grounds to settle between wanting a bagel or banana bread. It lacks the crumbly, moist vivacity of the latter and doesn’t bring the same flavorful contrast to the toppings as either bread does. Instead, it falls somewhere in the middle. It is more scented than sweet, with a sugar and cinnamon bread base and small chunks of walnut and banana fondant sporadically scattered throughout, like a streusel. 

Thankfully, the flavor is not too artificial. It’s decent for a sweeter bagel as it’s nowhere near as indulgent as a sugar-topped or cinnamon swirl bagel, but it still has a restrained base flavor that disappears with cream cheese or yogurt toppings. Even honey comes across as cloying and overpowering on this. Its shock value flavors fall flat when it is called upon to perform. It’s the Gael Greene of bagels. It’s best with a little salted butter, as the savory flavors bring out the spices in the bread, but ultimately, it doesn’t stand well on its own and is, at best, a banal novelty item.

(Adult) Capri Sun Big Pouch Maui Cooler

I grew up in the 90’s. Yes, I’m part of Generation X…for EXTREEEEEEME sports, television shows, utensils, clothing, spy kits, video games, stranger danger activity kits, and most importantly, snacks! I’ve taunted you before with displays of nostalgic food and beverages to delight your childlike tastebuds. And now, all of your dreams, (except for the one where you’re flying naked through space with Jessica Alba) are going to come true. Capri Sun has introduced its exact same formula in a larger, more adult-friendly pouch with Capri Sun Big Pouch. And for the sake of this review, we’ll call it Adult Capri Sun.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: there is a literal caribiner atop this extravagant mess. It’s a juice bag for those in the know, and chances are, if you’re calling it a juice bag and using its non-functional rip-top extreme cap, you might be best classified as something that rhymes with one, too. The new Capri Sun Big Pouch comes in three flavors, Maui Cooler, Strawberry Kiwi, and Fruit Punch, only one of which I’ve decided to review today.

Visually, this is a portable wine cooler meets Camelbak meets children’s beverage for people who rarely leave the house. The rhetorical question on the back of the bag, “What’s your traveling record?” is a bit of a joke for its core demographic likely doesn’t stray beyond the warm embrace of their mother’s basements. Insert fact about wakeboarding and other activities given up in the 90’s, generic disclaimer about fermenting Capri Sun, and you’ve got yourself a new drink. It’s worth noting that there was an iteration of this back in the mid-2000’s, the Capri Sun Big, but that basically bridged the gap for children who felt the need to get something a little stronger with a little more heft than their kid sister’s Fruit Punch. This is literally marketed toward adults with Facebooks and jobs.

Googling this yields little more than a Tradmarkia result. Luckily, we’ve got the scoop for you here. I can proudly proclaim that this is no different than any Capri Sun on the American market today. Your 88 cents and 11.2 ounces buys a thin, yet sugary mouthfeel, slightly sticky, and a generic blend of tropical-esque fruits and leaves with an aftertaste of stale bubblegum and apple juice. The only difference is that it comes housed in what looks like a used vaporizer for the discerningly extreme gentlemen. Pro tip: if you’re having sex with someone who has one of these looped to his belt like he’s getting in a quick one before he climbs Mount Discovery Zone, stop.

 Also, here are some facts so you know exactly how stupidly face-saving this packaging is. One of these costs around 88 cents. A pack of Capri Sun (10 pouches, 6.75 ounces) for little diaper babies costs $2.88 on average. The Big Pouches are 11.2 ounces, so one of them holds roughly 1.66 kid’s pouches. Basically, they’re charging you the cost of ten pouches for the liquid of five. ALL TO SAVE FACE AND LOOK LIKE AN ADULT WHO IS NOT DRINKING CAPRI SUN. However, this is good for one thing: at least with the resealable version you can drink half of it and fill the rest with actual booze. Enjoy your Rugrats orgies and Cousin Skeeter fanfiction.

Burger King’s New Chicken Strips and Roasted Jalapeno BBQ and Kung Pao Sauces

Now that the iconic fear-paralyzed face of the Burger King royalty is gone, who will usurp the noble throne? Built on ketchup slicks and nuggets seized from the crownius region of the chicken, the fast food restaurant has decreed a complete overhaul of its restaurants. My local BK, not a king, but not yet a lounge, has been partially remodeled but is stuck in a strange dead zone where the only recognizable theme is the leftover St. Patrick’s Day decorations from last week.
Aside from the new menu cards, BK has introduced a few new menu items, expanding to the cafe-style foods and coffee beverages to garner business from some of their obvious competition from Ronald the Court Jester. I guess if they play their cards right and assume that the law of gravity holds, it would be the most obvious and closest place for me to go for a mediocre frappe. But only if my Rascal stopped working and I had to…walk. Along with these, they’ve introduced a new chicken strip to go along with their new chicken tenders, released around this time next year. T’wasn’t the poultry that intrigued me, but rather, the debut of their two newest sauces, Kung Pao and Roasted Jalapeno BBQ, that carried me into my local establishment on this, the day of the newly released chicken strip.
Touting the strips in both a 3 and a 5 pack for $3.29 and $4.49, respectively, it works out to just over a dollar a strip if you’re going for the small pack. Not the most economical choice unless you’re just really, really into chicken strips. The strips are billed as being marinated and breaded in a seasoned coating, but eaten plain, salty, mediocre chicken was the only noticeable flavor. The breading was crisp, but lacked the crunchiness its counterparts have in abundance and clung closely to the chicken like a too-tight tube top on a girl making a duck face on Facebook. It was surprisingly devoid of oil, but left a very salty, onion-heavy aftertaste and had a bone-dry chewiness more appropriate on jerky than chicken. Only one of the strips was longer than a ballpoint pen and all were tough in texture. Hideously underwhelming, and they made me glad I’d anticipated the worst and bought a cheeseburger to eat instead.
I figured the sauces would be my saving grace for these strips, and let’s face it, they were really just a vehicle for them anyhow. Boasted as being “totally sweet” by my server, the new sauces don’t try to mimic anything I’ve seen from the competition. They blaze their own trail. The roasted jalapeno barbecue suffered from a lack of two things- enthusiasm and proper nomenclature. Assuming that titles as well as ingredients are listed in their order of amount from largest to smallest, I came into this carrying the expectation that “roasted jalapeno barbecue” would be peppers first and barbecue second. Not a chance, unfortunately. It was gummy and sweet when sampled on a spoon, with a heavy brown sugar assault and the clean, lingering bite of jalapeno peppers after. But eaten with the chicken strips or spread on a little bite of burger, the spiciness drowned in the rich ingredients that outnumbered it, leaving a generically sweet flavor with a touch of cayenne, like Sweet Baby Ray’s. I would have loved if there had been chunks of fresh pepper in this or even pickled rings.
The Kung Pao sauce, on the other hand, was perfectly executed and tasted like delicious, cheap Chinese takeout sauce with a more pronounced set of flavors. Hell, this even encompassed some of the cheaper takeout chicken sauces, at least around here. Wafting sharp, sweet pickled ginger aromas from the moment I opened the packet, I knew this would be a great addition to the sauce line. I’ll give it this- it completely blows McDonald’s Sweet Chili out of the water. This sauce had large pieces of ginger, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes and brought an umami-laden depth to the traditional flavor profile of sweet and sour with an aggressive, lingering spice. Slightly tinny at first, but nothing repulsive. This was the only sauce we went back for seconds on.
I’m not typically crazy about fast food chicken as I’ve started making my own nuggets at home, but the new sauces are unique enough that I’d definitely consider getting the Kung Pao if I were ever at a loss for condiments around the house. Not that that will ever happen, but it’s a pleasant deviation from the standard ketchup ‘n’ mustard set.

belVita Breakfast Biscuits: Apple Cinnamon, Blueberry, Honey Oat

Cookies for breakfast! No, your inner nine-year old didn’t mishear you. And we’re not talking about the Hollywood Cookie Diet, either. These are honest-to-goodness cookies…probably the ones your inner child would make a face at, but still. Cookies. You win some, you lose some. Already a hit in the UK, much like One Generation, Nutella, and the Royal Wedding, people are crazy about belVita. Although “belVita fever” does actually sound like some sort of jungle-based disease straight out of Conrad.
Kraft sent these over in the three varieties currently available- apple cinnamon, blueberry, and honey oat. A few logistical issues presented themselves immediately after opening the box. For starters, while the UK is clearly a very educated and clever place in close proximity to France, where the name’s double entendre invokes whimsical thoughts of a “good life.” Here, it just rhymes with Velveeta, an association nobody really wants to have when they think of breakfast or cookies. In the packaging department, while belVita markets itself as an on-the-go supplementary alternative to less healthy foods, it lacks the structural support of a granola bar to just toss in a purse or bag and forget about. Even before we tried transporting these, they were crumbled out of the box and broken in many places. Trying to bring them somewhere would likely reduce these to crumbs.
So, the flavors. Unquestionably, blueberry was our favorite out of the three. It tasted like a buttery cross between a Lorna Doone cookie and a muffin, complete with chewy dehydrated blueberries in each cookie. The combination of the crispy, dense oats and the fruit was delicious and it made a great addition to oatmeal as well as a fine stand-alone snack. Honey oat was more basic and would likely be good in the morning as a bland, easy snack before your taste buds wake up and demand real food. The only one that we really disliked was apple cinnamon. It had a fake, synthetic flavor that seemed more like the aftermath of chewing green apple bubble gum and then eating a cookie than a flavor unto its own. It was far too sweet and had a grittier texture than the rest. All were sweet, but could have used a little more salt to enhance the buttery cookie base.
While I like the concept of belVita- eating a few different things for breakfast to mix up the selection, I don’t think it’s a very healthy way to start the day. Its fiber is really the chief appeal- it adds an extra 280 calories and 8 grams of fat to whatever you eat. Although I’ve never been much of a breakfast person and prefer to nurse a cup of coffee, I still think that this is counterproductive if one is trying to eat better. That being said, one of these made a wonderful topping for my salted molasses oatmeal.

Askinosie Dark Chocolate + Coffee CollaBARation Bar

When I was a kid, I was really into reading books. That hasn’t changed to this date, but my taste was far less refined and far trashier than I’d ever imagined. Eschewing the best of Chaim Potok and throwing away my parents’ copies of the New Yorker, I had a friend who would supply me with the most sordid of romance novels. When I wasn’t nose-deep in His Potent Rogue’s Scent or The Very Virile Visigoth, I was paging my way through my grandmother’s old copies of Women’s World, which she would pass onto me after reading.

God, I loved those magazines. There’s nothing in there that compels me to read them now, but the diet tips never failed to amaze me. It seemed like every month there was a new scientific breakthrough about how eating dark chocolate- or drinking a glass of wine, having coffee, or eating muffins, could somehow help you shed your waistline, live a hundred years, or just feel awesome. These tricks aren’t new, though they are somewhat exaggerated. All of the above foods (with the exception of muffins) are rich in antioxidants and help to promote the production of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, like anandamide and other endorphins, which in turn induce euphoria.
All of these foods are also high in flavonoids, a type of polyphenol, that along with other phenolic compounds, helps affect the flavor and mouthfeel of all of these foods. And since chocolate, wine, and coffee are relatively simple compounds harvested from around the world, all will essentially have unique “varietal” characteristics, to borrow a wine term, based on their country of origin, exposure to sunlight, and other variables. So aside from their health benefits, they have the potential to be extremely varied. We’ve all seen the surge of interest in single origin and bean-to-bar chocolates, and wine aficionados are well aware of the importance of appellation d’origine contrôléethe French classification of geographical indications dating back to the 15th century for wine and other food-producing regions, a standard other countries have been quick to jump upon.
So with all of this deliciously territorial information in mind, I approached the latest Askinosie CollaBARation with trepidation and curiosity. The bar is simply constructed, made with Askinosie single origin cacao from Davao, Philippines, and Intelligentsia single origin coffee, from La Perla de Oaxaca, Mexico. Like the first CollaBARation, the packaging is minimal and striking. With a scant ingredient list and two mammoth flavor profiles, I wondered if the two would mingle sultrily in my mouth or if it would be a veritable clash of the titans on my tongue. Although the bar is not studded with coffee beans, the strong scent of coffee was immediately pervasive and lingering, and the dark chocolate was smooth and crisp, snapping audibly in my hand.
This is a strong, forceful bar, definitely one that could fell the family pet if consumed by the wrong party. It goes more along the lines of something you’d want to eat slowly after dinner rather than wolf down at a Riefenstahl film. It has a very slow, cool melt and creamy texture, initially chalky on the tongue. The coffee flavors are forward and present themselves in a fruity, dark flavor, like a good dark roast, but regrettably, there are just too many good things going on and too few fillers to balance it out. I’m all for stellar combinations of flavors, but this bar just doesn’t nail it. Good dark chocolate already has notes of coffee, caramel, and red fruit on its own. Adding more of these potent esters tips the scale too far and tends to be overkill. The flavor lingered and deepened on the tongue with this bar, and eventually settled with a slightly burnt, overly steeped flavor, bitter like an old cup of coffee. Albeit good coffee, but who’s counting when it’s that flat?

Unfortunately, the lack of sweeteners or emulsifiers, to stabilize the bar’s flavor and accentuate its more subtle notes, just threw me off. Despite the richness of the bar, I couldn’t eat more than two pieces. It was just too strong for my taste. While I’m normally a supporter of coffee and chocolate, the infusion of the two flavors proved to be this bar’s downfall. I’d be curious to see more infusions of Intelligentsia coffee in Askinosie’s bars, as they blended it superbly without any grittiness or sandy texture from the beans, but not with a cacao this forceful.

Angry Birds Fruit Gummies

Manual dexterity is not my strongest suit. My face catches flying objects better than my hands, or “trout” as I like to call them, do, and most of the time I try to fashion small bulbous garments for my arms so I can simply convince people that I don’t have fingers. It would make social interaction much easier.
I was surprised when I fell in love with Angry Birds last year because I didn’t expect to be good at it or enjoy it. Granted, it has the graphics and soundtrack of a more sophisticated episode of Tom and Jerry and the complexity of a four-piece puzzle, but damn it, I liked it. The marketing craze expanded a little beyond my level of caring, as I’m really not a member of the core demographic of Angry Birds feminine hygiene products or Angry Birds humidifier and filter sets, but when I saw these sweet Angry Birds gummies in a gas station, I figured my buck and a half would not be better spent elsewhere. Except on those 7-11 buffalo chicken Slurpees or whatever they’re hawking nowadays.
The Angry Birds gummies come in six flavors and colors representing the six primary characters in the game– red cherry basic birds, yellow lemon fast birds, green apple pigs, purple bomb birds, blue raspberry little birds, and strawberry big birds. The scent is generic but nostalgic, and reminds me less of gummy worms and bears than of the earthy, rich fruit snacks of my youth. The flavors range from sugary to spot-on, though after a while they all start to taste the same, and each gummy is carefully molded, although I did see a few creepy deformed characters.I WIIIIIIIIIIIIN.

Basically, for players of the game, it’s as entertaining and fun as eating Pokemon Kraft mac and cheese as a kid or having Power Ranger Eggo waffles for breakfast before school. The characters are appropriately colored and recognizable, a feature my compulsive mannerisms appreciate as it always wigged me out to see puce sharks or tangerine severed Scooby Doo heads in my lunch box at school.
While the flavors aren’t as subtle or complex as Bissinger’s bears, they have a good, meaty chew and don’t put you in an immediate sugar coma. They won’t replace my beloved Haribo Gold Bears, but made for an interesting change of pace. Fans of the game and fans of general adorable foodstuffs should check these out. They made for a fun photo shoot, too, with Dr. D’s iPad!

Zapp’s Voodoo Potato Chips

Some people are easy to please. Not me. I could never figure out the motives someone who was able to go to the movies and feel satisfied with a small popcorn, sans salt, butter, or smuggled cheese sauce, never mind passing up the litany of candies and Slurpees along the way. I can’t go to a barbecue that lacks thirty flavors of mustard and ten different artisanal sausages, and I rarely order a pizza that isn’t buried under a glut of toppings.

So you’d think I’d be pleased to find these potato chips, which are not only a total sensory overload with the aesthetic simplicity of a Magic Eye, but also an homage to one of life’s creepiest regional quirks, voodoo. Another particularly bratty habit of mine. I’m not big on chips without dip, nor pretzels without mustard. Unadorned junk food just doesn’t do it for me. Zapp’s is an elusive potato chip company from some region in the US with a large concentration of sports teams. I don’t know, I don’t follow cricket. Whatever. It’s rare to find these chips in their limited edition flavors, unless, of course, you check out Big Lots! It really is my new favorite hookup for discontinued products and hookups. This flavor, Voodoo, is less Santeria-style chicken heads and entrails and more “whoops, due to a carefully controlled employee mishap at our factory, we came out with this flavor” deal. I tell you, that shit would not fly at a CDC testing facility, no siree. Kind of uncanny how often that happens. Maybe they shouldn’t hire voodoo dolls as employees any more. Note that there is unfortunately no gris-gris at the bottom of the bag. Collect them all!
While I normally try to avoid kettle chips as they invariably get stuck in my soft palate, I bought these out of a weakness for the visual design. Look at this bag and tell me you don’t want to get it tattooed on your bicep, crazy-colored dolls, neon script, and all. Or at least commission a loud shirt out of the basic design. The backstory is mild in comparison, though, as are the cutesy phone order and computer graphics on the back. Opening the bag, I was immediately hit by a blast of tangy vinegar, salt, and the brown sugar paprika sweetness of barbecue. A good sign, if unoriginal. The chips are softer than the average kettle chip, although they do still fracture into a kazillion pieces upon impact and have a lot of surface area and curling to catch a good amount of seasoning in the cooking process.
The flavor is hard to pin down, starting with an acidic kick of vinegar and then morphing into a combination of sugary barbecue with an end result almost identical to the tomatoey sweetness in a bag of Herr’s Heinz Ketchup chips. The chip’s heavy garlic and onion influence and crisp, slightly greasy texture lend an almost chickeny flavor and feel to the chip, which is unique but not completely welcomed. It’s definitely a snack with an identity crisis. I’m not beyond new combinations and ideas, but I wasn’t seeing any congruent theme in this chip that made me want to go back for more. As hokey as it seems, surely a company wouldn’t completely throw caution to the wind and just let the production of a flavor happen accidentally with no science behind the flavors? It was too sweet and too sharp for my liking and just didn’t make a whole lot of sense.
What I really wanted with these was a kick of heat. I solved the problem by dipping them into some salsa verde until I realized that the only reason I was eating the chips was to have something as a vehicle to eat the salsa with short of pouring it into my mouth. Even with sauce added, there was just something off about these chips that didn’t quite make them regular players in my lunch box.

JetPuffed PumpkinSpice Mallows

Yesterday, I may have convinved you that I do not like pumpkin. This is a lie. Of course I like pumpkin. I was referring to pumpkin the vegetable that I hate, not pumpkin the artificial flavor! And believe me when I tell you that we are getting pumpkin cuh-razy up in this bitch.
I found these yesterday in the same aisle as the pumpkin spice kisses, and when you see two adorable, seasonal candies nestled in the same area, how could you not? It would be like tearing one puppy away from its littermate. If you don’t take the plunge, you’re a soulless bastard. So plunge I did, into a package of Jet Puffed Pumpkinspice marshmallows. And yes, that’s Pumpkinspice. On the package, it’s all capitalized like a generic medication. PUMPKINSPICE, now with extended release nutmeg.

About four of these marshmallows equal one regular sized ‘mallow, and they’re an orange shade of taupe and roughly shaped like pumpkins. I am not a fan of the color at all. Eaten out of context, they look like a candy inspired by the most boring paint schemes available at Home Depot. Because of their squishy texture and raised shape, they end up looking more like scallops before they’re cooked. As marshmallows go, I appreciate the sizing down because these are damned sugary. But because they’re so small, more like mini marshmallows, they don’t really hold up well to roasting. Not to say that our autumn s’more wasn’t totally boss, but they dangled off the skewer and browned unevenly, which made them resemble wrinkly testicles. No joke. But the spice flavors were decent.
They didn’t have the same strength as the Kisses, and had more of a weak, generic spice blend flavor. The texture of the marshmallows was also pretty inconsistent. Some were fluffy and smooth and others were strangely sticky, as though they’d leaked their spice formula, and wrinkled. While fun and festive, they weren’t ideal for snacking on due to their sweetness, and would probably be better for baking in a sweet potato casserole or some killer rice krispie treats. I’m smitten by their charm, but I’m kind of bored with them. If these were stuck in a burning house and I had to choose between these or my broken coffee machine, I’d probably halfheartedly grab these until I realized they were melting in the heat and then abandon them. But I would have thought of them first.

Sukhi’s Chicken Tikka Masala Naanwich

It is genuinely detrimental to shop while you’re hungry. In our case, it could mean the difference between wandering in the frozen food section to grab an extra pizza to hoarding artisanal, free-range, cruelty-free chocolate bars simply because of our gay homing mechanism that insists we shop at the organic local co-op. Dating a girl is hard. But seriously, shopping when you’re hungry is a terrible, terrible thing.

And like an orphaned puppy or a teenage runaway sitting sullenly in the bed of our pickup (there is no pickup) that’s kind of how we ended up with this “naanwich.” Like breakfast in bed and the musical stylings of Yes, it seems immaculate in theory yet proves to be disastrous in practice. Indian food? In my sandwich? According to Sukhi’s, it’s more common than you think. It seemed like one of those good-bad ideas. Take the messiest food you could find (was a spaghetti and meatball sandwich already taken? How about a milkshake sandwich for dessert?) and slap it in between bread. Luckily, chicken tikka masala is one of my favorite foods, and sandwichifying it only makes it more appealing to my childlike palate.
Not only is this Oprah recommended, it’s microwavable. Hot damn, hello, 21st century. And may the grand reign of Oprah rest in peace. $3 and 90 seconds later, which, for the record, took me longer to calculate to microwave than I’m willing to admit, and we had our snack. According to the nutritional facts, this is a mere 310 calories, bread included, with only 6 grams of fat. Eating at an Indian restaurant, a typical serving of tikka with the naan, hefts a total of 836 calories and 42.5 grams of fat. And that’s if you opt out of having it with rice. While I’m a little more willing to eat that kind of food in the winter when I can hide it under bulky jackets, in the summer it’s less than desirable. Being able to satisfy that craving for creamy tikka was a definite advantage.
However, this didn’t exactly deliver the type of comfort and satiation I desired. Keepitcoming Love and I split the sandwich as a snack. When it came out of the microwave, the pillowy-looking naan had dehydrated and ended up being soft and crumbly in the middle, with a fantastic herbed flavor, but chewy and tough on the edges. The ingredients were clearly top of the line and authentic, with a bold cilantro flavor permeating the filling, which was mixed with long strips of sweet onion and a thick, robust sauce. Personally, I felt that it didn’t have the creaminess essential to a tikka masala. There was plenty of chicken to speak of, though it cooked unevenly and left us with a few unpleasant cold spots in each piece. While the innovation in this is mouth-watering over pedestrian PB&J and the typical turkey and cheese, there are a few too many flaws for me to buy this again. Try as I might, I just couldn’t eat this without thinking, with a pang of guilt, that for a mere buck and a half more I could have gotten a loaded Roast Beef Smitty with homemade boursin cheese at State Street Deli.

McDonald’s New McNugget Sauces: Honey Mustard, Creamy Ranch, Non-Buffalo, and Sweet Chili

Getting sauced at McDonald’s. Man, maybe it’s strange to wander in there and order four McNuggets and one of every sauce. But it’s even stranger to then check to see if all the sauces are in there. AND THAT’S WHY I’M NOT REVIEWING MY OBVIOUS PREDICTED FAVORITE, SPICY BUFFALO SAUCE. GOD DAMN YOU, 16 YEAR OLD BORED EMPLOYEE. ALL THE SAUCES MEANS ALL THE SAUCES. DOES DADDY HAVE TO TEACH YOU-

Oh, sorry. I didn’t see you there. I was about to relive one of my therapist’s favorite childhood ex-boyfriend memories of mine, but then I remembered how anxious you were when you called me on the phone, baby girl, asking me to review the new nugget sauces. Well, here I am. Minus one sauce, but who the fuck cares, anyhow? We’re here and we’re droppin’ dollas and chompin’ chicken, son.In this photo, there are five sauces. There are supposed to be six. Two of the five sauces above are OG. This introduction is starting to look like it will be automatically harder than the hardest question on the SAT if I continue. There are four new sauces, two of which look like they’re definitely repurposed Chicken Selects sauces (yeah, honey mustard and ranch, I’m talking to you.) and one of them is not so much new so much as back from the dead, last year’s hit from the Winter Olympics, the sweet chili sauce itself. And the other will have to wait for another time. I don’t know. My forecasting figures that it will be better than most commercially viable creamy buffalo sauces, of which there are currently zero, but not as good as the zesty/buffalo sauces from Burger King. I’ll have my analysts check that out. Jesus, I’m resentful.In addition to the three new sauces, I got one of each of the current favorites, sweet and sour and barbecue. Oddly, no hot mustard, and I’m dearly hoping they haven’t phased it out as of all the sauces, it’s by far my absolute favorite, despite being more vinegary than hot. While I had a hankering for mustard, I tried the honey mustard. Meh. Meh to honey mustard. Years of slathering it on has dulled my senses. I want brown sugar mustard. I want maple mustard. Honey and I are on good terms, but she just doesn’t do it for me any more. It had a flat flavor and a sweet, inoffensive bite. It’s not hot mustard. That woman is my mistress.The ranch looked lazy and repackaged but was, to my surprise, far superior to its “select” counterpart. Not only was it thicker and completely devoid of watery texture, it had a flavor similar to sour cream and onion potato chips, which means the food scientists are doing their job. Good show. It had a slight peppery bite and visible herbs and spices and all sorts of shit. My favorite of the new ones so far.The last of the new sauces was the sweet chili sauce. As far as I can tell, this sauce hasn’t been upgraded or downgraded at all. If you chopped up a three piece of Chicken Selects, tossed them with this sauce and sweet and sour, and placed them on a lettuce slice you’d have an instant Chinese-American entree of Crispy Northern Style Warrior Rolls, available at your local PF Chang’s for just $14.99. And yeah, I like that sauce, much as I love Tong Sing’s homemade mustard and duck sauce. It’s generic but it’s likeable.Overall, I’m not too impressed with the sauces, with the exception of the fact that they are genetically engineered to go perfectly with nuggets and literally nothing else. We tried the sauces on tortilla bits after we plowed through the 4 spot, but they ended up tasting crappy and made me feel cheap. On the inside. I don’t understand what’s so “new” about taking a leaf from Taco Bell’s book and just reintroducing the same product over and over with new packaging. Bringing back an LTO is a nice perk, though. Gotta say, I expected more from McDonald’s, especially with this new addition to their sauce line. Granted, it’s hard to think of different kinds of sauces that the public will enjoy. Personally, I think an avocado sauce, like Subway is now trying, or a honey lime sauce would be tasty. Maybe a sauce similar to Chick-Fil-A’s Polynesian. Who knows? In any case, you can do better, McDonald’s. You can do better.