Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hot Pockets Four Cheese Garlic Pasta Bake

Foods that combine carbohydrates with other carbohydrates are always fun in a ridiculous and decadent way. You'll occasionally see potatoes on pizza or in a pasta dish, or even stuffed in pasta like pierogi, rice inside burritos, and plenty of people like to put potato chips in their sandwiches. I personally like to put spaghetti onto garlic bread.

Hot Pockets have decided to join this silly trend by stuffing a bread pocket with a creamy penne. After baking the snack according to the directions, (which is my preferred way to cook Hot Pockets... I'm a very patient person) I found that perhaps these are the most aesthetically attractive Hot Pockets I've ever seen, with green flecks of parsley folded into the dough and what looks like perhaps some crusty pieces of Parmesan cheese melted on top. Lovely!

After taking a bite, I was surprised at how good this silly Hot Pocket was. The filling in this pastry is softer that any of this brand I've ever had. With that said, the pasta inside is cooked to a perfect al dente and is chewy and pleasant. The thick sweet sauce is strong with garlic and heavy with cream, and it has a pungent kick of Parmesan.

Despite that I thought this product would be a joke, it is instead delicious, and is probably something I would have bought regularly, should it have been available permanently. It easily hits the 3-NOM rating, and is perilously close to hitting the 4-NOM level.  One of the best Hot Pockets I've ever had.

Hot Pockets Four Cheese Garlic Pasta Bake: - Great
Hot Pockets Pepperoni Pizza(for comparison): - Good

Acquired: Harris Teeter

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Nabisco Chewy Chips Ahoy! Made with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Note: This is a Presumptive Ephemeral Nom.

As far as I'm concerned, putting Reese's Peanut Butter Cups into other sweet foods is like putting bacon with savory food: it's a way to make something better that's so easy, it's like cheating.

Chewy Chips Ahoy! cookies seem to me like they need no improvement, but my curiosity was piqued by these.

These taste like about what you may expect.  The cookie is soft and pliable and yet resists a bit when you bite with a sublime chewiness.  The peanut butter cups offer an expected saltiness and peanut butter which goes just fine with the cookie, though it doesn't necessarily elevate it.

There's only one problem: Nabisco decided that the peanut butter cup pieces weren't enough to achieve the flavor they wanted, so they also added peanut butter chips/morsels to the cookie.  This move was detrimental.  The flavor and texture of the chips are completely different and inferior to Reese's peanut butter filling, and they serve as a distraction.

I'm inclined to knock this snack down a mark, but I just can't, because the Chewy Chips Ahoy! base is so, so good.  This is worth buying if you're a peanut butter fiend, but I would sooner suggest the original version of this product instead.

Chewy Chips Ahoy! Made with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups: - Great
Original Chewy Chips Ahoy!(for comparison): - Great

acquired: supermarket

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Doritos Jacked Smoky Chipotle BBQ

 Note: This is a Presumptive Ephemeral Nom.

This is the 2nd flavor that Doritos rolled out in their initial (and perhaps only) Jacked line.  I reviewed the first one here.

It's simultaneously bizarre and pleasant to experience a barbecue aroma and flavor on Doritos, simply because it's so seldom done.  (This reminds of when I recently saw Sour Cream and Onion Doritos but stupidly didn't pick them up.  It looks like I lost my one chance.)

The initial flavor hit is of a traditional barbecue seasoning like you'd find on any potato chip.  The ways in which this one is different is with increased amounts of tomato powder and sugar, which make this seasoning one of the sweetest I've ever had on such a chip.  The sweetness is there for a reason, because these chips are quite spicy.  You knew that sugar is really the only thing that counteracts capsaicin, right?

It was a friend who finally tipped me off to the fact that these taste almost exactly like the now-discontinued Kentucky Fried Chicken Honey BBQ wings.  It's uncanny.  I haven't had them in years, but these taste almost like an exact replica of that sticky wing sauce.

And that's a problem.  It's a problem because these are not honey bbq chips, they are smoky chipotle bbq chips.  As a side note, I enjoy cooking, and I do it often.  One of the ingredients I find excuses to use more of are chipotles, whether they be dried or, even better, canned with adobo sauce.  As someone very familiar with the flavor of chipotles, these taste nothing like them.

There's another problem that reared it's head with the last Jacked flavor: the chip itself.  This ultra-thick chip is severely crunchy, and I feel that Doritos may have made a misstep in trying to achieve this dubious characteristic.  These chips somehow achieve their amount of crunchiness by containing less-than-normal amounts of fat, which usually lend a tenderness to snacks like these.  This lack of fattiness, however, is to the detriment to the snack as a whole, and not just its structural nature.  The lack of fat prevents these chips from having an aftertaste; that is to say, after the swallow, except for spiciness, these chips leave very little flavor in your mouth.  It may sound pleasant, but it is instead very dissatisfying.  A bit of extra grease would carry the flavor a bit more, but as it stands now the flavor's a bit too ephemeral, dare I say.

If this snack used a normal Doritos chip type, it would have been Great, and if it had also been labeled as "Spicy Honey BBQ", it would have been Outstanding.  But as it sits, even though it's a fascinating snack, it won't get past the 2-NOM barrier.

Doritos Jacked Smoky Chipotle BBQ: - Good

Doritos Nacho Cheese(for comparison): - Great

acquired: supermarket

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

3 Musketeers Coconut

Note: This is a Presumptive Ephemeral Nom.

As a coconut fanatic, I was quite excited when I found this bad boy.

Unfortunately, this product seems like an afterthought from Mars.  It feels like they put in a few drops of coconut extract while folding the nougat in the factory, and the result tastes more like cheap coconut rum instead of, say, a Mounds bar.  The flavor is less vibrant and inviting than if they had perhaps used real bits of coconut, and somehow it doesn't pair beautifully with the 3 Musketeers signature nougat.

I daresay that this combination almost makes it drop down a NOM rating from the original, but not quite.

3 Muskeeters Coconut: - (Great)
Original 3 Musketeers(for comparison): - (Great)

Acquired:  7-Eleven

Monday, July 2, 2012

Vintage: Sprite Aruba Jam Remix

I know what you're thinking, and the answer is "Yes! Occasionally I'll get my hands on Ephemeral Noms from the past!"  Such noms shall be marked as "vintage" whenever they appear on this site.

This is one of my favorite Ephemeral Noms of all time.  In the early 2000s Coca-Cola began releasing a new line of Sprite-related drinks called Sprite Remix.  Each flavor was released individually and stayed in production for about 6 months before the next one.  Wikipedia tells me that Sprite Remixes are still available in Canada, Barbados, and Turks & Caicos... is this true?? Anyway, aware of its ephemeralness, I nabbed a few 12-packs of Sprite Aruba Jam Remix before its production stopped.  I've kept them for 6+ years, and as I drink my last few cans for this review, they're almost as good as the day I bought them.

Similar in flavor to the first Sprite Remix iteration, Aruba Jam was the third, and my favorite of the three.  The nose of the stuff is similar to normal Sprite but has a hint of pineapple.  The taste initially seems simple, and it takes a lot of effort to pick out its components.  One of the most prominent flavors is the aforementioned pineapple, which really gives it that overall "tropical" feel.  I can also swear that I'm getting a bit of coconut here.  A strained attempt picks out some orange as well.  My favorite part of this stuff is the aftertaste, which is of strawberry, but it combines with the Sprite's lemon-lime flavor to somehow make it taste like real strawberry, and not the fake strawberry that you'll find it most soda or candy.  This stuff is overall sweeter than original Sprite.

Sprite Aruba Jam Remix is one of the most complex and tasty sodas that I've ever seen sold.  It's a damn shame that Coca-Cola feels that it, much less the whole Sprite Remix line, is not worth having as a permanent product.  As these last cans of mine dwindle, I can only try to savor these last sips as best I can.

Rest In Peace.

Sprite Aruba Jam Remix: - (Outstanding)
Original Sprite(for comparison): - (Good)