Japanese Wild Cheese Cheetos

Hey, again, trying more Japanese snacks with Roomba and MM. Today we sampled some Cheetos advertising themselves as “wild cheese”. Dubious as I was, I must admit that these live up to their title of being wild.

The main difference between American Cheetos and these that you first see is the shape. These not only contain the baton, bicep, and occasionally Iowa-shaped curls, but also contain a special paw-shaped Cheeto. These are more of a Frito consistency, quite dense, and very crunchy. However, the texture of these combined with the cheese tastes a bit like eating uncooked macaroni and cheese, and often juxtaposes strangely with the softer texture of the batons.

The flavor is what really changed our rating from a lower score. First, the pieces started out cheesy, averagely cheesy, like macaroni and cheese, but got spicier with a hint of jalapeno flavoring. The flavor was identical, down to the last salty bite, of those cheap Maruchan macaroni and cheese ramen cups. These were quite tasty and we couldn’t stop eating them.

7/10- DECENT

Saralyn’s Shortbread

The best thing about shortbread is that they’re crunchy and powdery at the same time, and maintain such an incredible buttery flavor. So when Saralyn’s Shortbread offered to send me a few samples, how could I resist?

The best shortbread I have ever consumed was in a cafe in Edinburgh Castle. It was a four by four square, roughly an inch, inch and a half thick, dusted with granulated sugar and warm, fresh out of the oven. It was a chilly, cold day, and that shortbread was slightly chewy, perfectly crunchy, and buttery good.

So did this pass the test?

I received three flavors to try, none of which I’d ever seen. I’d only had buttery shortbread before, so these were a good treat to see if the shortbread flavor could hold up to other add-ins. The flavors she sent me were mint chocolate chip, peanut butter crunch, and maple walnut.

The peanut butter crunch and maple walnut were in boxes with cookies roughly the size of large buttons. They might have been the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. The maple walnut was easily the best of all three and maintained the butteriness of the shortbread authenticity, yet incorporated its own flavor, a nice, toasted walnut taste and a maple-kissed hint, into each and every cookie.

8/10- GREAT

The peanut butter crunch was also very tasty, but I found it a little too sweet for my liking. The pieces of peanut butter cup were far and few between, and the shortbread flavor was completely dominated by the peanut butter. The texture was great, as this shortbread is, and was quite crumbly and good.

6/10- NICE

The mint chocolate chip shortbread cookies were the last of the lot to try. These were delicious! They maintained a fantastic, cool, minty taste, and the chocolate chips kept the cookie moist and tasty. I’m not a big fan of things that are mint-flavored, but Roomba loved these and ate two of them! I nibbled on them. Again, texture is a huge deal with these, and they’re consistent and perfectly petite.

7/10- TASTY

Thanks, Saralyn!
www.saralynsshortbread.com

General Mills Cereal Eating Contest

In college, we have themed weeks for the dining halls. It was General Mills week this week. It was pretty relaxed, I didn’t see a whole lot going on, but I did participate in a cereal eating contest tonight.

It drummed up a lot of publicity. Six kids, myself included, participated, and the winner had to eat four bowls of cereal, Lucky Charms, as fast as they could. I placed my own personal bets on the kid next to me. He looked like he could eat a lot of cereal.

I gave a girl my cell phone camera and she took a really great photo of my arm, pouring milk, and little else.

I tried to mix the cereal with the milk so when the time came to eat it, it would be mushy and easier to eat. I think everyone had that mentality. So we started, and there was a whole crowd of people around us, going nuts. Some even brought signs.

I ended up finishing three bowls, not even starting on the fourth, when the winner was called. It was the kid next to me, and he was neck and neck with another boy. It was a lot of fun. We all got prize packs, including shirts and snacks and a miniature basket ball hoop!

I’m not sure if I ever want to eat another bowl of cereal in my life. That stuff fills up quickly. I’m so stuffed! However, this has turned me onto the fun of competitive eating.

More news. I’m participating in something extra special for General Mills week at UMass tomorrow night, something that I’m a little afraid of, but photos will come. I’m not revealing where or what I’ll be doing, but it’s going to be epic.

Until then, foodies.

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

J.B. Dough Bread Adventure #1

Oy. Today I made my first loaf of homemade bread.

It was from a package, (and beware, this is a series of 12) of bread dough from J.B. Dough company. They were extremely friendly and sent me all this bread, and today, I had some free time and decided to try my hand at it.

Ha ha. Get it? Hand? There I am, kneading the bread. I’m kneading it in an ice tray stolen from the community kitchen. In front of our window. In my dorm room.

It’s sitting on the shelf now, rising.

The view from our dorm. Some kids brew moonshine or grow weed, The Foodette bakes bread.

When I baked this, these were my potholders. Please, someone send me potholders.

Otherwise…this will happen. I still can’t quite fathom that I got a third-degree burn on my finger and yet took a photo of it before I washed it off. It’s a little pathetic and makes me worry just a little.

There’s the bread, in the oven. On the tin foil that I bummed off the dining hall in place of a pan. If someone were to send me cooking supplies, I would be most indebted.

Beauty shots of the delicious, delicious bread.

It looked so pretty.

All my friends ate the bread and we had a bread and Nutella eating party. It was the shit.

They loved it! We ate most of the loaf.

Bread and Nutella…Mmmmmm!

Your Foodette. Eating the Nutella off the knife. I AM NOT PRETTY.

The bread was really great. It had excellent cell wall definition, was puffy and tasty, and had a buttery flavor without any toppings on it. It came out crispy and had a good crust. Overall, an awesome experience.

8/10- SUPER!

Sky Bar


This bar is one of those “old-timey” candies, like Necco wafers, candy buttons, Squirrel Nut Zippers, etc. Actually, anything made by Necco is brittle and antiquated. So this is one of those classics that everyone sees but never has any desire to try, passing it up for a Snickers or other 21st century candy bar.

This rickety old fucker gives good reason for people to never wish to approach it. It has four components, each much bigger than I expected. Each component has a different flavor in it- chocolate fudge, marshmallow, caramel, and peanut butter.

Upon opening the cantankerous old man of a candy bar, I have an encounter with the worst white bloom I’ve ever seen. Is this a white chocolate candy bar or- OH GOD. Seriously. It’s got a shiny, waxy sheen that can only mean one thing- mockolate. But it’s not. It’s just authentic, awful milk chocolate, which almost disappoints me more.

So I bit into each component. The chocolate was brittle and flaked off. The first flavor was caramel, but I thought it was peanut butter because of the graininess and absolute aversion to smooth texture that the bite had. But no, it was just a sugary lump, so it must have been caramel.

The next bite held marshmallow, or if marshmallow had hung out in an old folk’s home for sixty or so years and had slowly decomposed into a sugary white goo that got all over my frigging French notes. It put me into a coma, like my geriatric candy bar, and I almost didn’t get to try the next piece.

That piece was the peanut butter. Oh yeah. I didn’t get a photo, but there was a small layer of oil from the peanut butter that made this inedible. I did not eat most of the piece as it was smelly, bitter, and oozing liquid. Again…like some old people. Shame on you, Necco.

The last piece was fudge…and I’m not even going to make a stool joke here. It was soft. It was mushy. It tasted like caranuba wax and broken dreams of dime stores.

2/10- AWFUL

Bittersweet Men’s Pocky


Swagger came by for the weekend and had a nice visit and left us food for weeaboos- dark chocolate bittersweet men’s Pocky.

We’re not entirely sure why this Pocky is just for men. Probably because it has a darker chocolate on it that might not appeal to those with sweet teeth. Maybe because it has trace amounts of hormones and bull semen for that extra muscular taste. The cracker has a salty, pretzel taste that mingles with the dark chocolate like an interracial party at a dance club. Either way, Pocky is damned good.

I’d been craving a snack I could eat in bed with. There’s not a lot of space in our dorm, so we have to eat and work in the same spaces. These are clean to eat, no crumbs or little messy bits, and you can literally overdose on these without worrying about your figure. There are at least twenty to a package, and two packages in a box. Eight grams of fat, two hundred calories. Damned delicious. More filling than a candy bar, and the ratio of biscuit to chocolate makes you think you’re eating more chocolate.

It’s edible mind control!

From the exquisitely cryptic Engrish, “Stick to fun!” on the bag, to the masculine package, this is a phenomenal snack. So, men who are keeping their figures slim, women who want to be men, and CIA members, eat this. It “brings a whole new flavor to fun.”

8/10- MMMM!

Pom Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice

We were sent these adorable bottles of juice in a special blogger package from Molly, at Pom PR, so thanks, Molly!

First, let me extol the graces of how useful POM Juice is for kids in college. We’ve had this, the Roomba and I, for about a week and it’s made our mini fridge brighter and stocked full, and is also the perfect size for bringing to class on those mornings when we have to get up really early! The antioxidants, which are molecules that prevent the oxidation of other molecules, (duh) lower the risk of heart disease and help with other health-related benefits, as well as promoting the effects of exercise when one should get up off of one’s bunked dorm bed and turn off the Food Network.

These little juices are great. For my tastes, they’re a little too rich and tangy, but that’s the price I’m willing to pay for good, pomegranate juice, not the nasty, ghetto juice with strange dirty sediment at the bottom. This shit is pure.

And like any good crack cocaine, the juices are small but intense enough to refresh without having to drink a whole lot of it. Looking forward to trying other varieties.

7/10- MMM!

Spoleto Restaurant, Northampton, MA

Last night I went on a date to Spoleto, an Italian restaurant in Northampton, MA. It’s the town next to mine, roughly ten minutes away by car. It’s a funky place to go and eat, with cool history and neat people. We went to Spoleto and had their $20 special. It consists of almost any appetizer on their menu, any entree, and any dessert.

My partner had calamari for an appetizer, while I had the carrozza, which the waitress told me I was the only one to pronounce the correct way. That was fresh mozzarella sandwiched between two pieces of bread, sauteed in a pan, with a dipping sauce. I asked for the sauce on the side, but was ignored. What I received was decent. It was filling, but the mozzarella was gooey and I expected some crunchiness to counteract that. Unfortunately, the heavy tomato sauce, most of which I scraped off, was somewhat soggy and made the rest of the dish soggy. I ate half. I would have liked to experience more of the flavor, but unfortunately, the tomato sauce also took over the majority of the flavor palate, and the freshness of the mozz was thus undermined.

3/10- SOGGY

For an entree, I had the ravoli alla vodka. It was obvious with this dish that the ravioli was homemade, and the sauce as well. I ought to take the time to mention that our waitress, although I did not catch her name, was extremely friendly, courteous, and talkative throughout our dining experience.

Back to the pasta. There were seven or eight large ravioli, each roughly the size of a doll’s plate, or an oversized watch of Flava Flav’s. They were covered in a nice tomato vodka sauce. Unfortunately, a lot of the creaminess was lost in the tomato flavor, but was still hearty and tasty. The pasta was done perfectly- al dente and soft, with the perfect amount of gooey cheese filling inside. It was a very tasty dish for a raw and rainy night. Quite filling, too. I finished half of it, but did not manage to take a photo.

7/10- LOVELY

For the last part of our dinner, we finished off with a selection from their dessert menu. Unfortunately, the dessert that I was most eager to try, the Late Summer Berry Cheesecake Bites, were sold out, and I was most disappointed. I was assured by the waitress that the strawberry cheesecake was just as good, which I ordered, and she made it special by swirling lovely designs on the plate in strawberry syrup.

The cake came on a plate accompanied by whipped cream, homemade that morning. I was surprised to see that the cake was not a cheesecake with strawberry topping, but rather a cheesecake with strawberries incorporated into the mix. It was delicious, tangy, and flavorful. The crust was crumbly and soft, and the cake was very filling. I ate half and put it in. The syrup and cream made it an enjoyable texture adventure.

8/10- DELIGHTFUL

Spoleto Restaurant
50 Main Street
Northampton, MA, 01002
www.spoletorestaurants.com

Coco-Luxe BONANZA.

I got a package from Amy at Coco-Luxe with a selection of their famous chocolate bars and chocolate truffles. My roomba and I are going to try them for a delicious review!

Expect a Halloween review soon! Nyahahahahaha!
The first bar we tried was the Roark, a dark chocolate bar with cocoa nibs. It was partitioned into little squares, which Roomba adored. The Roomba is a dark chocolate connoisseur, and instantly informed me that it is a 72% dark chocolate. It was sweet enough, but not too sweet, had the crispest bite I’ve ever felt in a chocolate, and had an added wonderful crunch from the cocoa nibs.

The bar wasn’t bitter at all, and tasted of coffee reminiscent and had a nice, milky and smooth taste with a fantastic, clean aftertaste.

8/10- AMAZING
The next bar was the Spumoni bar, which is a white chocolate bar with dried cherries, pistachios, and cocoa nibs. The bar was yellow than most whites I’ve seen, which implies a higher butter content, so that made me happy. It was delicious, and the pieces of fruit and nut crunched nicely. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to taste a lot of them, as the pieces were drastically overpowered by the white chocolate.

The chocolate had a clean taste, but I wish there were more essences or pieces of the other components in the chocolate. It had all the makings of a Spumoni dessert, but very muted tastes of it.

6/10- DECENT
Another crisp, clean bite to this one. This is the Good Fortune bar, a dark bar with pieces of crystallized ginger and fortune cookie bites. Instantly, even before you tasted the chocolate, you got a delicious, but not overwhelming, taste of ginger. The chocolate was clean and had a light taste to it, rich, but not overpowering. All the flavors just went well together.

The fortune cookie pieces mingled and crunched well, with a light vanilla-y taste to them. The bar just went extremely well with everything. It was crisp and so tasty. I might eat more later.

8/10- DELIGHTFUL

The next selection of things to try were the caramels. Three were in the selection, butterscotch, coated in white chocolate with a dash of Sonoma salt, praline with milk chocolate with Alaea salt, and shoo fly pie with dark chocolate with some Salish smoked salt.

The salt on the praline was very subtle, but made for a more exciting caramel experience. The praline caramel was rich, rich, rich, and had a toffee, coffee, tasty taste. The texture was phenomenal. It was chewy, but not so chewy that it stuck to my teeth. The chocolate melted around the caramel and mixed in. Overall, delightful.

7/10- MMMM!

The salt on the butterscotch was sweeter, a little more acidic in taste, though. I was extremely surprised when I bit into the butterscotch, because the texture was unlike any caramel I’d ever had. It was soft, like a ganache, and the density reminded me of a brown sugar truffle.

Without the salt, this would be almost grossly saccharine, but there was enough salt to make the sweetness a little better to take, and balanced out the flavors so none were too intense.

8/10- INCREDIBLE

The salt on the shoo-fly pie was easily the most complex. It had a dark, gritty taste to it, but still the salty properties. It reminded me of camping by the sea, with woodsy and smoky tastes, but a salty finish. This truffle was obscene. The molasses flavor was to die for, the texture was perfect, a mix of the white and the milk’s caramel components, and the dark chocolate melted beautifully. This truffle has airs of cinnamon, anise, nutmeg…tons of spices, making an amazing chocolate.

10/10- SUBLIME

These were great truffles and bars! Look forward to the Halloween review!