One Big Ass McGriddle

We do it all for you, readers.
Eight eggs.Two giant pancakes.
A pound of maple and brown sugar sausage.
Twelve slices of cheese.
A cup of syrup.

And the saddest motherfucking hash browns you have ever seen.
We made it last night, FF, Keepitcoming Love, and I, after watching a buttload of Epic Meal Time. While this meal isn’t so much “epic” as it is “insane” and “delicious” it does break down to a moderately sensible portion. The McGriddle is for no one man to consume, no singular being to harness. Instead, it is best served sliced like a cake. The best kind of cake. I intend on making it for my own birthday.The cooking process was fairly expedited, as we opted to bake the eggs (warning: mold-esque photo awaits) and the pancakes. We had fun squeezing the innards out of the sausages and molding them into one large patty. The only FAIL part of the job was the hash browns. We decided to try the Actifry one last time, and unlike the glass sorting gentleman in our favorite PSA of the 80’s, did not do its job. The hash browns clumped worse than cat litter and had to be emergency fried.
Once it was all finished, assembly was simple and we cut off slices. Man, this was the shit. Imagine a McGriddle, but better because it’s huge, in massive hunks able to be held and nommed.
I believe this photo best sums up the overall mood of the event: “GWAAARGRGGHHHMMM.”

It was delicious. It was homemade. All it needed was a McGriddle as a garnish on top. I’ll probably make this soon, possibly tomorrow, and next time I just might make it a double. So easy and so impressive. Lookit that layer cake action! A layer cake made of breakfast! Meat and sweet breakfast! Hella leftovers, too.
Haters, don’t hate. One of these slices is the equivalent of one McGriddle. Also the word “one” don’t mean shit. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I tried to pass off this entire cake as the nutritional equivalent of one McGriddle.
I ate it by the fistful. Just like your mom.

T-Fal Actifry

I never imagined my few summer jobs in retail would ever come back to haunt me. For instance, I’ve never been offered a free puppy from one of the two imbeciles who owned the pet store I toiled at for two and a half years, nor have I been offered a free child from any of the summer camps I worked for. However, when I worked for T-Fal last summer, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be offered the flagship product of the very store, the Actifry.The Actifry is the stuff of dreams and reality of the incompetent. Where else could you combine a hairdryer, microwave, and peoples’ dieting hopes and fears and charge $300 for it? People would come in and marvel over the two we had in stock. One couple actually decided not to buy it because it didn’t come with the premeasured oil spoon. It was something that both entranced and scared me.

When I was offered a chance to review the Actifry last week, I immediately accepted. The most lauded recipe of the product is french fries, for god’s sake. So to make sure I was adequately prepared for the ensuing wonder, I invited FF over, bought a year’s worth of vegetables, fruits, and chicken, and prepared to have a fryathon. The deal was that if the Actifry failed both to impress and satiate the three of us, we’d all go out to tapas instead and bemoan the football helmet-sized device.

The Actifry is fucking huge. And noisy. When it turns on, it scares the cat and makes a weak, yet persistent whirring noise as it churns its innards around. FF dubbed it “Baby’s First Fryer” after seeing the aftermath of 40 minutes in the chamber. This thing is pretty weak. Keepitcoming and I tried it with both regular fries and sweet potato fries when it first came in. The problem really lies in its construction. The benefits to frying are that, if done correctly, the water from the product being fried will repel the oil and cook the food as it is heated without absorbing any extra oil in the process. Add that to the straining after and frying isn’t nearly as bad nutritionally as it’s made out to be. With this, the one tablespoon of oil is swirled around and distributed, but never really focusing on the exterior of the product versus that of a fried piece of potato that eventually develops a crust. With the Actifry, the oil doesn’t so much develop a crust so much as it just unsticks the pieces after cooking. In our photos, it was sitting on top of the fries in small beads.
The real issue with this, which we found out after cooking no less than nine different traditionally fried foods, is how it’s constructed. Older models of the Actifry had a large paddle that churned the foods similar to the paddle in an ice cream maker or fraternity. The model was revised to have a spade-shaped paddle that lifted and turned the items around. This is, of course, in its most ideal setting. In the worst of all scenarios, in our case, kettle chips, the shovel/paddle/spade scoops up all the chips, mushes them together, and carries them around for the remaining 40 minutes. I imagine this could be improved if the paddle had a setting that automatically switched the direction of its rotation after a prescribed amount of time, thereby eliminating the dreaded clumping syndrome and evenly spreading around the ingredients in the chamber. We found the paddle to better distribute chunks of things rather than long strips or slices.

It’s also difficult to set the timer on the device as the angle that the display is set at is badly placed and reflects so that the dial can’t be seen. It’s also hard to use this at night as there is no backlight or setting to make it easier to see in the dark.

To exhaustively test out the mad skillz of the Actifry, we tested ten traditionally deep-fried items. As a side note, this is NOT an alternative to a deep fryer. We found it to be rather limiting with the number of things one could actually “fry.” Anything tempura-battered or gooey is out as it automatically gums up the works. Deep-fried ice cream is impossible. However, unlike a fryer, it’s easy to do like a crock pot and “set it and forget it.” So we narrowed it down to french fries, sweet potato fries, a leftover frozen Davio’s egg roll, tortilla chips, plantain chips, kettle chips, David Liebowitz’s “foolproof” Korean chicken wings, onion petals, spiced stewed apples from the included cookbook, and deep-fried Oreos.

The Actifry rests its oil-free laurels on its french fries. Spoiler alert: they’re not really that great. They come out tasting like a baked potato with less seasoning. Even my oven fry recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, which uses around the same amount of oil, has much crispier, firmer french fries. These just had a hard, crackly exterior and a somewhat gummy and wet interior.Before. How bad would thick, skin-on fries be?And, meh. Any fries over two inches long were mangled by the spade of doom. It looks like we stuck fries in a trash compactor and then ate them. We ate the whole plate of these, but it was only once we were finished that we realized we weren’t enjoying the texture so much as we were enjoying the copious amount of salt we’d put on top.Our next trial was sweet potato fries. A seemingly innocuous recipe. I expected these to be more turgid and harder to break in the cooking process because of how brittle they were when raw. Unfortunately, the Actifry pulled another Frymangling Maneuver again. These fared much better than the regular fries, but only because they were tastier when mushy. There was barely any crust on the outside. Raw fries…Turn into edible, vaguely crisped mush. And origami-like folded fries.Our next item was a frozen egg roll leftover from the last week’s review. This actually turned out to be really tasty. It didn’t break at all in the Actifry, though it occasionally got stuck on top of the rotating spade and had to be taken down so it could evenly cook. The egg roll soaked up all the oil and got very crispy without burning, as well as heating the frozen center. Delish.
We moved from Asia to Mexico with our tortilla chips. I’ve fried and baked tortilla chips before with awesome results, and this somehow screwed them up. After ten minutes, they had soaked up most of the oil, had broken up into a few small pieces, and were rock hard and over cooked, despite looking really delicious.
The plantain chips were fucking gross. Seriously. The flour and corn starch coating we applied infiltrated every bite of the chips and the slices were overcooked and brittle. Appetizing, no?
When FF arrived, we switched to a more finger-food-friendly snack, thinking that they’d be cooked well. Wrong again. While the chips were tasty, they weren’t kettle chips in any respect. The centers of the chips were cooked, but not crispy, so again carried that same wrinkled baked potato texture. The outsides were crunchy. Wholly inconsistent results.
I was most disappointed in the Korean chicken wings. The photos on David’s blog looked mouthwatering and fantastic. Using the exact same recipe, we took our chicken and coated it in the batter. It came out looking tasty, but in the scooping process, had lost most of its spicy coating. The chicken was well-cooked and juicy, but couldn’t really be considered a piece of fried chicken or chicken nugget. With the sauce, it was passable, but overall, not an alternative for the glorious bird.
The fried onion petals looked like discarded aromatics…
And the spiced apples were only partially cooked and oily. They left a film on the fryer.
I believe the above photo illustrates the success, or lack thereof, of the fried Oreos. Purchasing the Berry Blast variety only added insult to injury. Two days later, the pan is still soaking.

So, to recap. Here are our ratings for each individual item, based on flavor, authenticity/resemblance to its fried counterpart, and ease in preparation.
French fries- 2/3 for flavor, 1/3 for authenticity, and 2/4 for prep = 5/10
Sweet potato fries- 3/3 for flavor, 1/3 for authenticity, and 2/4 for prep = 6/10
Egg roll-3/3 for flavor, 3/3 for authenticity, and 3/4 for prep = 9/10

Tortilla chips- 0/3 for flavor, 0/3 for authenticity, and 1/4 for prep = 1/10

Plantain chips- 0/3 for flavor, 0/3 for authenticity, and 0/4 for prep = 0/10

Kettle chips- 1/3 for flavor, 1/3 for authenticity, and 2/4 for prep = 4/10

“Fried” chicken- 2/3 for flavor, 1/3 for authenticity, and 3/4 for prep = 6/10

Onion petals- 2/3 for flavor, 1/3 for authenticity, and 3/4 for prep = 6/10
Baked apple and apricot dessert- 1/3 for flavor, 2/3 for authenticity, and 1/4 for prep = 4/10 Fried Oreos- 0/3 for flavor, 0/3 for authenticity, and 0/4 for prep = 0/10

Machine pros: Easy to clean up if frying, set it and forget it function, knowledge of exactly how much oil is going in food.
Machine cons: Larger than Rosie O’Donnell’s left ass cheek, loud, takes a long time to prepare food, and $300.

So, either the Actifry is manufactured to only work with specific, low-calorie foods that need to be fried, and like the behavioral modifying drug Alli, discourages against using high-calorie foods in the fryer by turning them into facsimiles of poop, or it isn’t as successful a device as the world thought it would be.

Deconstructing and Rebuilding the McGriddle, Jalapeno Style

The idea had been brewing in my mind for a very long time. If McDonald’s wasn’t going to revamp or create new flavors of the McGriddle, could I? The McGriddle has the quality of being both wonderful and vexing in that it is comprised almost completely of homemade ingredients, unless you just go there and order one.It seemed pointless to go out to the store and buy frozen pancakes, so my first step was deconstructing that element. After the pancake anomaly, I figured everything else would fall into place. Unfortunately, it was 10 at night and I’d already exhausted my supply of pre-frozen ‘Griddles and had no base model to fall back upon. Luckily, the texture and flavor had been ingrained in my mind, like a pancake-bun hybrid.My first step was to freeze my syrup in one thin layer. Of course, since this was a jalapeno McGriddle, I froze some jalapeno syrup. I then started with a basic pancake recipe that, when scaled down, imitated the nutrition facts for that of two McDonald’s McGriddle cakes, with 250 calories and 7 grams of fat. With 1/4 cup of flour having around 100 calories, I figured these were less flour heavy. But how could one then make the batter doughy enough to form into that characteristic sliced shape?My pancake recipe was fairly simple. 1/2 a cup of flour, 200 calories, 1 pat of melted butter, approximately 1/2 a tablespoon, 36 calories, and 1/2 an egg. I splashed a little milk in to get the desired consistency and cheated by adding a little salt and sugar for palatability. Without the water, the mixture was too dry to absorb the flour. Eventually, it tempered down to a nice, wet pancake mix. My prototype had 1/4 of a cup of milk in it. That turned out to be bad, because the pancakes (modeled in my miniature McGriddle rings) were not airy enough and were too dense and came out tough and gummy.Adding another 1/4 of a cup of milk made lighter, fluffier pancakes, but they ended up spreading out a lot. I tried to fix this by making an initial layer in the larger foil ring molds and then adding onto it little by little whenever I flipped. Bingo. Not only did this give me a chance to put some of my frozen syrup in to each layer, but it made the resulting layers fluffy and taller than I would have had with a normal pancake.I got to work with my other layers. If the pancakes were the only unknown here, the rest should have been easy. The sausage was the easiest component, as was the obvious plastic American cheese slice. I gussied up the sausage by mixing brown sugar and red chili flakes into the meat and swapped out the American cheese for its sassier, bolder cousin, Colby Jack. The eggs were another conundrum. An egg square with literally no crisp, crunch, or texture on it whatsoever could only mean one thing: I had to sous vide my eggs.
Making the eggs was simple. One egg mashed in a bag camp-fire style with a generous squeeze of salsa from the obvious source, then pressed to ensure all the air was taken out of the bag and that the eggs were in a flat layer. I’d already started boiling a pan of water on the stove, and when it came to a gentle boil, I laid my eggs in, reduced the heat to a simmer, and waited another 15 minutes. Simply cooking each component was taking more time than ordering, paying for, and eating a McGriddle!
The eggs cooked very well, but in the process of cooking, got layered unevenly. However, the indirect heat made them very fluffy and malleable for molding into a square. And with that final component, I began the assembly.
The first, more deformed pancake, custom-cut cheese slice with pickled jalapenos, and the dolled-up sausage patty…
The jalapeno egg square…And finally, the top pancake. It was tasty, but slightly disappointing. Even with the frozen syrup chunks embedded in each pancake, the sweet flavor completely dissolved in the batter and overall flavor of the sandwich. Was it delicious? You bet your sweet ass it was. If McDonald’s came out with a recipe that was both spicy and sweet for the McGriddle, it would knock America’s socks off. However, this was merely the first of many tries. I need to get back to figuring out those syrup balls…

Newman’s Own Organics Pomegranate Licorice Twists

People who legitimately enjoy Twizzlers are assholes. I mean, seriously. It has a slightly crumbly consistency and each bite is like chewing on a GI Joe. And don’t tell me you can use it as a straw. You can use leftover pieces of tin foil as straws, too, if you’re deluded enough. There are definitely certain candies that are on their way out. And by out, I mean Babe after James Cromwell pats him on the head and the credits start rolling. Gotta eat somehow. One of them is Twizzlers. And once that reign has ended, the licorice market will officially be closed.Newman’s Own Organics will change that if I have anything to do with it.NOO’s PR firm was happy to hook me up with some of these candies. (as well as many other goodies) And lately I’ve been staying up after work to watch Mrs. Beasley-centric episodes of Family Affair and cry. It’s obviously a sign of early menopause. While I’m watching, I need something to keep my hands and mouth busy. Obviously, adding oral sex into that equation would be far too strange for even me, so I turn to these licorice sticks as a means of distraction and complete satisfaction.This particular flavor is pomegranate. The fruit comes out delicately, but obvious, within the flavor and chew of the candy. It is lightly scented and immediately recognizable. As you chew on each piece, the flavor gets stronger, much like the sensation of chewing a piece of bubble gum without the eventual tapering off. The chew of this candy is what really hooked me. I don’t like foods whose textures border on plastic. This is a very toothsome chew and reminded me more of gummy bears than licorice. Combined with the sophistication in the flavor, which has orange nuances as well as a bold pomegranate flavor, this marks it as one of my favorite fruity candies. Be warned, the trade off in having all organic ingredients is an almost Spidey sense-like sense to detect the wheat flour in a somewhat pasty afterthought of a texture. But you get used to it.Its ability to serve as a cocktail or drink straw just speaks to how freaking awesome it is. Its best pairing is clearly cranberry juice and seltzer. Cheers to Newman’s Own Organics and cheers to this incredibly versatile, quality confection.

Lake Champlain Chocolates Five Star Peanut Bar

You know what they say. There’s a sucker born every minute. And if I’m in a grocery store, there is no doubt in my mind that I am unequivocally that sucker. New pizza from a brand we hate? I’m still buying it. Creepy, pig-based gelled meat in a dusty jar at the Asian grocery with an expiration date of 1999? It’s already in the cart. I don’t consider these purchases so much as impulse buys as they are investments. For my belly. This purchase, however, was too hard to resist. I mean, isn’t it cute?! It’s like a tiny, chubby, Lego block without the rivets. And for $2.89 at our co-op and a “five star” rating from Lake Champlain Chocolates, I expected greatness. And peanut butter.
Color me gauche, but like most chocolate-blooded Americans, my gold standard for a peanut butter + chocolate equation is a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. I’ve had gourmet peanut butters, artisanal chocolates, and truffled sea salts, but nothing beats the precision and texture of a Reese’s. It’s like my McDonald’s theory. It’s engineered to perfection, like puppies and kittens and atomic bombs, to completely know your consumer inside and out and be able to hit their desired targets in one swoop. Such is the Reese’s.
So, with that being said, this candy bar had a tall order to fill. And after a dinner of homemade pasta and sauce, what could be better? Well, the Lake Champlain Five Star Peanut Bar was aptly named. As we broke into it, the bar was studded throughout with whole peanuts. Dissected, it resembled layers of an edible sedimentary rock. They packed quite a few into such a small bar. Unfortunately, the flavor of the roasted peanuts was greatly diminished by the filling that surrounded it, like receiving a gigantic package in the mail only to discover that 90% of it is packing peanuts. No pun intended. The “peanut butter” inside was more like a thick peanut buttercream icing. It was rich and oily in the mouth, but with little flavoral payoff. The texture was crumbly, but not in a tender, moist, peanut butter way, but in more of a flaky halvah sense. It wasn’t very flavorful at all and overwhelmed both the chocolate and peanuts. If the ingredients were of a high quality, it really didn’t show.
The saving grace in this candy bar was definitely the rice crunchies. They added an extra crisp to the bar and a pleasantly wheaty flavor that somehow got past the peanut butter. Really, though, I saw no difference between this bar and substandard bars for a cheaper price. Keepitcoming liked it enough to muster up a six. For me, unless they throw in small pieces of Champ on top, it’s staying there.

Jello Temptations Boston Creme Dessert Kits

I love pudding, but I’m not too keen on pudding cups. I don’t know. Between the creepy flavors and the overall irritation of spilling pudding down my shirt, it just doesn’t do it for me like pudding mix does. Of course, there are more pitfalls of pudding mix than pudding cups, like lumpiness, the fact that sometimes your pudding looks like swirls of dog crap, and the inevitable horror of discovering that you have turned into your own grandmother, but I’ll take it any day.Lately, Jell-O has made valiant attempts to make pudding really, really sexy for all the stay at home moms whose hot Bolivian gardeners have Tuesdays off and have created the Temptation line for that very reason. You may recognize that line from the time Swagger and I almost nearly caused a bomb scare on my campus with an expired box of pudding cups. Ah, fantastic times.This time around, I chose a safer route for exploration, in the form of Temptations Dessert Kits. Of the two flavors on the shelf, I chose Boston Creme Pie, because after all, I do have to stay true to my collegiate roots. The mix was simple to prepare, just like instant pudding but with a topping. Somehow, I wasn’t convinced that simply combining the powers of chocolate and vanilla could take the form of Boston Creme Pie, unlike the Wonder Twins, so I followed the suggestion on the box and crumbled up some graham cracker crust pieces on top. I also made a miniature pie out of the leftover pudding, because it just had to happen.

The pudding sets for a half hour after you dribble the included package of chocolate stuff on. Spoiler alert, it’s basically Magic Shell in a foil bag, the condiment that has the consistency of a melted Barbie arm. Mmmm. But it solidifies well. We didn’t have little cups and I didn’t feel like making 50 shot glasses’ worth of pudding, so I just poured it into two large goblets. It made me feel like a king.Overall, the flavor isn’t really like that of pastry cream, unless you’re talking about the stuff that grocery stores put in their cakes. It lacks the egg yolk and vanilla bean flavors that are so essential to the stuff, but it’s a tasty pudding. I’d suggest using smaller cups to get a better chocolate to pudding ratio as well as using the graham cracker crumbles on top. They really are essential to adding extra texture and flavor to the pudding. As a snack, though, I’d try it again. It was tasty and felt more satisfying to make and eat than eating a pudding cup.

Yankee Stadium Garlic Fries

As the official writer for the male demographic who read this site, I feel that it is my responsibility to go to all places that are symbolic of manliness and testosterone and let the readers of this blog the glory that is stadium food. Sadly, Foodette is often unable to go on these cool locations to experience the fun that is a sporting event because of her old ball and chain which keeps her chained up at home or to things such as vintage clothing shows when I get to go to stadiums to drink beers with the bros, eat greasy fried foods, and make an ass of myself on the Jumbotron.

As a fan of the glorious Yankees baseball master race, I feel it is part of my fan duties to try to convert as many people to the saved side as possible. In return for my services towards converting nonbelievers, the people at Major League Baseball decided to give me a nice little cameo on nation television (I am seen at the end pointing and telling my friend in front of me how great the fries in my hand was). So here I am, offering to you, the readers, one of the many great food items that are available at Yankee Stadium.

After wandering through the many concession stands at the stadium, I came across this classic Yankees staple. I present to you an amalgamation of potato, garlic, cheese, grease, salt, and just plain godliness. The Yankee Stadium garlic cheese fries. Compared to most other stadium foods such as the six dollar hot dog, the ten dollar chicken strips basket, or even the eight dollar beer; the garlic cheese fries was the best deal of them all. They came in two sizes, a seven dollar small plate, or a ten dollar large plate. The small plate was rich and decadent enough for a meal and the large is rich enough to feel an African child for days.

The fries themselves were covered in a thick layer of garlic butter with plenty of crushed garlic and parsley flakes to boot. On top of all that there was a thick layer of nacho cheese. This item is definitely something for someone who really loves garlic and probably does not give a fuck about how their breath will smell like afterwards.

The first bites into this platter of fries were just absolutely heavenly. I felt my arteries immediately start and I could not care less. The fries a perfect blend of garlic flavor and cheesiness. As the game went on, the fried started to get cold and the grease started to settle. The platter of hot fries became like eating cooled garlic flavored cheese and grease and it was glorious. This small platter of fried kept me occupied for a better half of the game and I was really quite full after finishing the whole thing. For the low price of just seven dollars, this is probably the best deal for food at the stadium. It’s got great taste and great value, and you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished a real feat if you are able to finish it.

Crave Original and Strawberry Chocolate Milk

Every year, my university has an exhibition similar to a smaller scale, collegiate Fancy Food Show. The entire stadium is converted into a hall full of booths, presentations, and contests. Last year Ted Allen and the New England Patriots cheerleaders came. For me, it’s a chance to scout out interesting brands and new products- test items always seem to be given to hungry college guinea pigs!When I went this year, I was immediately drawn to the Crave line.One of my favorite beverages is chocolate milk, and I’d never seen a flavored variety outside of the ubiquitous Hershey’s offerings. I took a sample, traded business cards, and two weeks later, arrived home to see two cases of Crave on the doorstep!
Needless to say, we’ve been drinking chocolate milk for weeks. We’ve been passing it off to neighbors and family and have toasted to the glorious chocolate cow. Crave’s original flavor is a very sophisticated cocoa flavor that belies its presentation. In all honesty, I found that its flavor was more developed than that of Cocoa Metro’s. It had a creamy, airy consistency like a frothy milkshake when chilled, with a very bold flavor, but not one that is too sickly sweet or sugary. It’s just chocolate. Really, really nice chocolate. The bottle it comes in is all metal so it’s easy to chill it for a little while and keep it cold. I find that chocolate milk like this is really best served ice cold. It’s such a fantastic drink, but calorically, it’s not your best bet. The benefit of having a screw on top makes it easy to take quick sips every so often when you’re craving sugar and then pop it back into the fridge.
With that as our standard for excellence, we figured the strawberry chocolate milk would have to be pretty good to beat the original. It’s deceptively similar to the original in color, providing an iocane-esque conundrum for all you Princess Bride fans out there. Unfortunately, this idea wasn’t so tasty in reality so much as it was in conception. This milk was billed as tasting like a liqufied chocolate-covered strawberry, but it didn’t resemble one at all. It was an unfortunate combination- the dairy equivalent of mixing all the sodas at the soda machine together. It wasn’t that there was anything particularly bad about it, just that it was strange. Luckily, the strawberry flavor, a mere whisp of cough syrup, faded out as quickly as Gael Green’s ugly hat phase did and receded to that chocolate flavor we knew and loved. Like the original flavor, it was much better chilled and lost the bulk of the sharpness from the strawberry. However blah it was, it definitely intrigued me. We’ve seen it with cupcakes, peanut butter, and Kit Kats- are gourmet chocolate milk flavors not far behind?

Fiber One 90 Calorie Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

This is a snack that could, and did, survive our most recent (and possibly first ever) tornado. Look, we all know the commercials with the smooth talking genie who offers wishes and fiber and shit. I wasn’t initially sold because I like to think that I eat enough to warrant roughage and fiber (Robot Editor’s note: SENTENCE REDACTED. CLEANER JOKE IMPLEMENTATION IN SESSION.) Puppies and kittens aren’t as cute and as wonderful as this brownie! No poop jokes at all!Anyhow, Keepitcoming and I were in Target, or “Tar-Jay” for the ladies, when we saw these brownies. Quick side note. Have you ever been so hungry while in a grocery store that you’ve just grabbed a package and started eating out of it? I’ve never done it but I feel that it represents a darker side of humanity. A person can get away with a lot in a grocery store. In seedier areas, like when Swagger and I go to C-Town, it’s not unusual to find chip packages jammed in between boxes or spilled Oreos near the meat. Sometimes people bring cups from other places like 7-11 and just leave them on displays. And then we get it on a bigger scale, like with the creepy old videos of supermarket sweeps. Every contestant has the same zombified, singular minded gleam in their eye when they’re told they can essentially loot a store in ten minutes as they blindly flail their arms and knock 322 boxes of toothpaste into their cart just for the hell of it as Yanni’s “End of August” blares while stock boys weep.
Um. Brownies. Yeah. TL;DR, we ate these in the Dick’s Sporting Goods. After paying for them. And they were incredibly tasty. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that this is one of the nicest, most developed flavors I’ve had in a snack that billed itself as healthy. While the bar is definitely much smaller than its packaging, it has a flavor and satisfyingly dense texture reminiscent of a really well-made snack cake.The flavor was extremely rich and chocolatey with a forward coffee flavor and scent. I checked the ingredients and, sure enough, chicory root extract, a natural substitute for coffee, was right on top. With companies and factories whose chief “homemade” taste comes from a blend of hydrogenated oils and sugars, seeing an ingredient my mom or I would use to boost the flavor in our own brownies was refreshing. The texture of the brownies was soft and chewy, much like an actual one.If I had any real criticisms for this particular variety, I’d have to say that the peanut butter definitely takes a back seat to the cocoa and coffee flavors. Calling this a mocha brownie would not be out of the question, but calling it peanut butter seems like a stretch as the chips and icing are somewhat overshadowed. Nevertheless, this makes a filling snack and blows other “diet” or low fat flavors out of the water. I was so impressed with these and hope that Fiber One continues to experiment with their varieties.

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.