Goody Good Stuff Strawberries and Cream

A vegan product! I’m turning pro-health. This is actually a more beneficial stance than last year’s anti-health campaign. Everyone died. This product, sent all the way from the UK, has a name that reminds me of obsolete parabolic tales about children with improbable names not following the Golden Rule and dying horribly.

“This story was in a little booklet the Corn Fluffies people had sent out. In the story some children, who were supposed not to eat some certain fruit because it was poisoned, had eaten the fruit and became sick. If they had stuck to Corn Fluffies they would not have become sick.”

In that vein, Goody Good Stuff definitely has a bad run-in with a wheat thresher.But I digress. Goody Good Stuff is, despite its ill-fated moniker, quite good. The Strawberries and Cream is, by some act of God, made without dairy products. The shape is similar to Jujubes and tastes like the exact replica of Creme Savers, were they both vegan and in gummy form. To me, that’s absolutely brilliant. The gummies are separated into two flavors, the strawberry and the cream, so that Monk can organize his into piles and eat them separately should he so choose. But for the rest of us, they are preferably eaten together in joyous harmony. The gummies are springy and chewy in texture and do not stick to the teeth, yet are not chalky and sticky like fruit snacks. For people with a constant supply of Wet Naps and Monk, though, there is a slight tackiness to the individual pieces. But it’s okay.The strawberry tastes deliciously fruity, with a distinct strawberry flavor and a somewhat floral aftertaste. I found myself preferring the cream-flavored gummies, because not only were they milky and only slightly sweet, they were not made from that pasty, slimy marshmallow gummy mutant but also actual gummies themselves. Thank god for that.I made this hollowed out grapefruit because I wanted to create a visual and simple representation of the congruity between factories and nature of these gummies and their noble goal, thusly inching society one step closer to an all-encompassing Soylent Green dictatorship. Also, because I wanted to make a grapefruit skin suit a la Buffalo Bill. Actually, that’s the only reason I did that.

On a scale of zero to Sharkies, these don’t quite have the same fleshiness nor the shape of a majestic Great White, as Sharkies do, but are a delicious alternative and rank somewhere in the second-tier level of Trolli and Black Forest. I have done far too much examination into this. My dissertation shall follow. (“Mein Snak: The Rise and Fall of the Third Mike and Ike”)

Bonomo Turkish Taffy

Because I was born in the nineties, there’s really no way I can attest to Bonomo Turkish Taffy actually being retro. You see, the concept of retro to me applies to ephemeral and long-gone things like a young, innocent Britney Spears, String Thing and Dunkaroos as a balanced lunch (with a Tang chaser), and cel animated Disney movies. While parents of real “retro” eras waxed poetically about Woodstock, I was rocking out to Pinkerton well into my…well, right now, in fact.

Point is, it’s silly to apply the phrase retro to anything that isn’t thirty years or older than you currently are now, because retroactive trends are relative to the people they surround. But believe me when I tell you that this shit is retro. And Kosher to boot! Right down to the ballooned 60’s font and complete lack of graphics, the archaic “crack it up” catch phrase, and the pastel colors. If it weren’t for the website on the back, I’d be hard pressed to believe this wasn’t directly from the 60’s and that I wasn’t ingesting 50 year old candy.
Thanks to my mom, an aficionado of all things vintage (she also provided the background for these photos!), I was able to try a few bars of this strange confection. Turkish Taffy isn’t quite a viscoelastic fluid, but it does have a few things in common with Silly Putty. The strawberry flavored bar is that same puce pink, and the candy has to be sharply whacked against a hard surface to break the molecules apart quickly enough so that one can eat small chunks at a time. I’m talking Maxwell’s Silver Hammer bashed, too. These take at least three good whacks to break into edible pieces. Whole, the bar is very difficult to break by bending or gnawing bits off and is recommended only if you’re bored and waiting for your next episode of Clarissa Explains It All to stream. It is also stretchable and can be shaped into snakes and letters and crude penises. So what’s separating this from being a scented, sticky Silly Putty?Actually, not much. The strawberry one, at least. It doesn’t fare very well at all and ended up cracking into tiny, sharp shards that both tasted and smelled like artificially scented erasers- a powdery, generic fruit scent. The instructions commanded that you let the candy melt away in your mouth. But who has the patience to suck on candy? I certainly don’t, and unless you’re one of those annoying fraudful “supertasters,” you won’t either. Because that’s bullshit. So I crunched through and found a texture similar to what I imagine dinosaurs felt in the La Brea tar pits- complete helplessness. It just stuck there and until I let it soften, there it lay.Let that be a lesson to you. It can never hurt to suck something until it gets soft in your mouth. Because otherwise, it might get stuck.

So that was the strawberry taffy. The chocolate has the same textural whimsy and a rather different flavor not unlike cocoa. Once you get over the initial chalkiness and dirt flavor of the chocolate taffy, it reaches an unsettlingly specific flavor identical to glazed chocolate doughnuts. Creepily so. I preferred this to the strawberry by far because it at least gave me a visualization of something edible I could connect it to versus the pica ramifications of the former. Fucking pica. I like these retro candies. They have a certain charm to them. They seem to last longer than today’s modern candies, contain far less calories, and are nostalgic, if strangely flavored.

Tsubu Tsubu Orange Hi-Chew

Hi-Chew, like most Japanese candies, undergoes more flavor changes and makeovers than Ru Paul and frequently keeps updating its line of limited edition and regional candy flavors. Needless to say, it can be difficult for a food blogger to keep up with the trends, especially with the high overseas shipping prices it costs to import them. But every so often, my local Asian grocery will have a few new flavors for me to try out.

This flavor plays off the idea of using Japanese onomotopoeia as a textural component. In this case, “tsubu tsubu” refers to the sensation of chewing little bits of something hard within something soft, similar to bubble tea or in this case, fruit rind bits. The candy is made up of a soft, chewy orange center and cream-based outer later studded with pieces of orange rind or imitation rind.If you’ve had Hi-Chew, you’re familiar with the alluringly unique texture. It starts out rock hard and tough to chew, and then melts away into a creamy, taffy-like sweet that lasts for about a minute before you’re able to swallow it. The pieces of rind don’t interrupt the smoothness of the candy at all, rather, they meld quite nicely into the overall experience.The flavor is mainly orange and cream, like a slightly more intense creamsicle, but with a hint of mint at the end that reminds me of the short-lived Crest orange toothpaste with a much better execution. The little pieces of orange rind provided a slightly bitter counterpart to the sweetness of the candy and gave a nice bite to the chew. I definitely enjoyed these. They weren’t the most unique or unusual Hi-Chew flavor I’ve tried but offered an authentic and satisfying taste.

Burger King Cookie Dough Pie

As I’ve mentioned before, Keepitcoming and I have vastly differing ideas of what defines “food.” So when the time comes to jump on the latest fast food products, I often have to lure her into trying them so I don’t look like a schmuck sitting in my car with three chalupas and no one to share them with.

Everyone likes cookie dough. And everyone likes pie. It’s an undisputed fact that will most likely be drafted as an addendum in the Constitution in the near future, at least before the Mayan apocalypse. When I saw that Burger King was testing this, I had to try it. Luckily, Keepitcoming was enthused and rather intrigued by the concept and was willing to check it out with me.The pie was housed in an unnecessarily large protective chamber that probably took Mies van der Rohe and a team of ten six months to design. The actual confection is roughly 3/4 the size of the box. It features an Oreo or Oreo poseur crust, looking as though it leans towards the latter as it was unnaturally brown, a whipped vanilla creme filling studded with pieces of chocolate chip cookie dough with more creme and miniature chocolate chips on top.

Shit is crammed with cookie dough on the pictures. Burger King’s graphic designer, likely traumatized with staring at The King’s lifeless, vacant face, made a cheerful presentation that gave me heightened expectations of gobs of cookie dough and fluffy peaks of cream. In reality, it was quite unappealing. The former hunks of dough were a few scattered pieces about the size of a pencil eraser, sunk to the bottom like fat kids in a pool and offering no grittiness or chips or flavor. I commend Burger King for officially creating a new way to hate cookie dough. This now bumps salmonella to number two.The whipped filling is the worst part of this pie. What was whimsical in the Butterfinger pie is now downright odious and tastes filmy, oily, and seemed to have absorbed the cardboardy flavor of the box it sat in. It sits upon a mushy and flavorless crust. The whole thing delivers a one-dimensional flavor, and that flavor is ass. Thanks to Burger King’s inferior product, I am now forced to eat my Buck Doubles in the car. Bastards.

Stacy’s Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips

Fuck yeah, pita chips. Seriously. I’m a big fan. They’re in my top three chip categories, believe it or not. On my almighty scale, which I spent about ten years of research and ten minutes drawing, they’re third in the category “pita chips that do not taste like ass.”Allow me to clarify the latter category, that being “pita chips that do taste like ass.” They’re tack biscuit hard, or Zwieback if you’re an infant, and have notes of Play-Doh or black sea salt, which incidentally tastes like eggs. These, however, are not.Keepitcoming buys Stacy’s Pita Chips as an all purpose snack. To be fair, they probably end up in the condiment designation of our skewed food shelves because we use them more as toppings on soup or as nachos than much else. I’m nuts about the plain ones because of how perfectly thick and crispy they are, so when she brought home the cinnamon sugar chips, I pounced on them and decided that they needed reviewing.These are the perfect chip base for those dessert nachos I’m always talking about making. This is second only to the FoodShouldTasteGood chocolate tortilla chip, and if the two of these chips pulled a Wonder Twins and took the form of one chip, it would be an unstoppable force. The thickness of the chip is really what allured me the most, but now instead of scattered sea salt, the chip is covered in a blend of cinnamon and sugar.It tastes like cinnamon toast, no surprise there. Part of me is pleased with the nostalgic simplicity and another part of me wants to go all Charles Laughton a la Island of Lost Souls and start experimenting with that shit. So I compromised and added ice cream. I thought it would surely be the bane of the crunch I so lust over, but to my surprise, they stayed crispy and crunchy, creating a flavor and texture like fried ice cream without the grease. A solid, portable snack and easy dessert hack.

Dunkin’ Donuts Egg White Wake-Up Wraps

Forgot to wish you guys a Happy New Year from the other side. One of my resolutions for this year was to finally stick to losing weight and keeping fit. I came into some amazing opportunities over the last year and I want to look my best for all of them. When I saw that Dunkin’ was carrying new egg white sammiches, I knew it would be a good way to balance both blog and body.

Truth be told, these aren’t really wraps, they’re more like quesadillas. If you speak Latin and you wish to be grammatically correct, quesadillae. They come in two flavors, turkey sausage and veggie. To be fair, the turkey sausage also has veggies in it, but the veggie has no meat. I tried both of these with my morning coffee after accidentally going to work two hours early. It was the silver lining to my mistake.These are surprisingly good. Egg whites have the tendency to be cooked to a rubbery fritter or a tasteless lump, so when I bit into this and got soft, flavorful eggs, I was pleased. Egg is clearly the dominant flavor here, but all else falls into place rather well. With the turkey sausage, I tasted the saltiness of the meat, which added a juicy texture despite being in small pieces. The spinach added nothing for flavor but did offer a nice color in the egg whites. To my surprise, I actually preferred the veggie wrap to the the sausage. Where the sausage wrap was kind of one-dimensional in its flavoring, the veggie wrap offered a melange of different vegetables, each coming into play throughout the wrap- three colors of peppers and green onions welcomes each bite and reminded me of one of my favorite breakfast products, Southwestern Egg Beaters.The best part of these was the cheese. I’ve had very few fast food sandwiches where the cheese plays a prominent role in seasoning and adding flavor and depth to the meat and bread, but the cheese in this was perfect. Both wraps had shredded cheddar cheese inside, and each bite had an above average amount. It was flavorful and sharp, and it added a moistness to the overall texture. One aspect I loved about these was how neat and portable they were. There was nothing dripping from the sides or leaking out and the tortillas, though crispy, did not create any crumbs. These would be easy to eat in the car or on the run from the police. Everything was held in and melded together well.These are delicious, only 150 calories apiece, and well worth your buck fifty. It’s interesting how the calories correspond with the price. Perhaps better choices would be made if that were the case for all foods. However, for the voracious eater, I’d recommend skipping these entirely. They’re pretty tiny, about the size of a dollar bill and as thick as an iPod Classic. I found that despite eating these, drinking a small coffee, and sipping from some water throughout the day, I was hungry after about three hours. The concept is bright, though, and is certainly something I’d purchase while on the go again.

Lazy Cakes

I saw these in a gas store and had a mild seizure in front of the cigarillos and Clark Bars. Really? A brownie that makes you relax? With a creepy, Mr. Hanky-esque mascot on the front? From the website www.bakedworld.com? And a fake message warning me of future overusage of the word dude? This made my inner 14 year old squeal because drugs mean rebelling against the man, yo. They’re Lazy Cakes, a brand of “baked relaxation” bringing butthurt to Georgians everywhere and a new form of rohypnol to guidos up in the cluuuuuuub. To be fair, there’s no trace of drug references (overt, at least,) in these brownies. In fact, a simple check of the ingredients tells us that the relaxation elements are no more exotic than a holistic mother’s medicine cabinet: melatonin, rosehips, and velarian root. Two out of three of those are actually known for helping relax the brain- rose hip is mainly a healthy treat for chinchillas. So we’ve looked it over and there’s no weed in this feed, but is it good?

Luckily for Lazy Cakes, they’ve baked a brownie scientifically proven to interact pleasantly with my brownie taste preferences, according to the Foodette Scale of Brownie Baking Perfection, or the FSBBP. As I’ve said here and here, my brownies must be medium rare, halfway between raw and pudding-like, and these were no exception. They had a dense texture and a chocolatey flavor and were soft and squishy. Very nicely done. They felt a little better than a Little Debbie Snack cake, with none of that chewy weirdness, but doubtedly up to the level of a homemade brownie. There were no chemically aftertastes. But taste wasn’t the only factor. I was here for the side effects, baby.I don’t know whether this is a placebo effect or not, but I’m damned tired. Swagger made me dinner and I spent a lot of time laughing at Blades of Glory, but that was the only thing I really did today and I am absolutely beat. After eating this brownie, I had to concentrate to stay awake. I don’t know the amounts of chemicals in this, as the nutrition label does not specify the dosages, but it did its job as far as I can tell. I’d have to revise the FSBBP and do some tests with my trained lab mice to get better results, but Lazy Cakes were better than I originally anticipated them to be. Good luck entering them in a middle school science fair, though.

IKEA Swedish Meatballs

There are some points in a man’s life when he just has to stop everything for just a second and re-evaluate his life and think: “What the hell did I do to end up at this point?” I encountered one of these moments when a few days ago when I was having a really busy day with interviews, working on projects, and final exams coming right around the corner. I only had about 30 minutes of time in the middle of the day before I had to meet with a group to work on a project and right after having an important interview to attend for an internship with the IRS.
Due this small time gap and the proximity of food locations in the area, the most viable option was to grab some food at the Ikea down the street. I looked at the menu and decided that the most interesting choice of food that would really define this place would be a plate of Swedish Meatballs. After I sat down with my plate of food, I looked at my food, the receipt, and the people around me. It was at that moment; I just had to ask myself “What the hell did I do to end up here?” and had to take a few minutes to re-evaluate my life. At the end of it, I felt a bit upset that this epiphany and eye opening moment came from a simple lunch break at a Swedish Furniture store, but all in all the rest of my day went perfectly.For those of you readers who don’t know what an Ikea is or what their business model is, but in a few simple words, Ikea is a cheap furniture store. Their basic business model is to provide cheap, assemble it yourself furniture that may not be the best quality but it gets the job done. The same can be said about their food. It’s really goddamn cheap, I got the entire meal and a large can or sparkling pear juice for under $5, you really can’t beat those prices. The food also closely follows Ikea’s central business model. It’s not the best quality but it gets the job done.The main meal can only be described as generic. If you just imagine generic meatballs, then generic mash potatoes, with generic gravy on top, and a generic berry sauce on the side. There you go, that’s what you have an Ikea meal. The berry sauce is supposedly made from lingonberries, which can only be found in Ikea because I’ve never seen them elsewhere. No matter what this berry sauce is made of, it tastes like a much sweeter cranberry sauce. The meatballs themselves were nothing special, I was sure they were actually made or some sort of meat and not a meat substitute but at those prices, who knows. The mashed potatoes were the quality of what I would expect from a box or a Hurricane Katrina FEMA relief kit. All in all the quality of the food at Ikea is comparable to the food you would get at a college food court. It’s not the best quality, but a poor college student can afford it and when you’re really goddamn hungry and strapped for cash, it gets the job done.