Slim Jim Dare Beef Jerky

No Comments » Written on June 24th, 2013 by
Categories: Food
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Product: Slim Jim Dare Beef Jerky
Purchased at: Grocery Outlet (North Tacoma/6th Ave.)
Price: $1.99

Although inspired in part by a true incident, the following story is fictional and does not depict any actual person or event.

Obligatory sound effect to put you in the mood


(Courtroom. Judge is presiding. Attorney is presenting.)

Ladies and gentleman of the jury, I’m here today to present the case that this dried meat product violated my client’s right to choose her food blog review candidates and in fact, dared her to try it.


Exhibit A: Our defendant in this case. Not sure where it got that big knife from.

(Gasps emerge from the courtroom audience. An older woman clutches her pearls in an unintentionally comedic moment.)

The court calls Marisa from to the stand.

Ma’am, please state your name and any other important details for this trial.

My name is Marisa and I have no idea why you’re doing this. Must be all Law & Order on Netflix I’ve binged through this year.

Ma’am, stick to the facts please. This is a court of law, not an opinions column. Moving on, where were you the afternoon of Sunday, June 16th, 2013?

I was at the grocery store, picking up more test subje…err, food items to review for the upcoming weeks. Junk food tends to stay good for months, you know? In regards to the product, with its menacing colored flames and CAUTION warning, I thought it would actually pack some heat. Later I would find out it was lies. ALL LIES!

(The plaintiff breaks down in anguished sobs at this point.)

Okay, no need to get upset. What did you discover about the product when you returned home?

It’s one of the most disappointing beef jerkies (is that the proper word?) I’ve ever tasted. The “Kinda Hot” notice on the front was a sham. Why dare your customers to try your product when you admit it’s not that spicy to begin with. Calling this jerky “kinda hot” is like calling mom jeans “kinda sexy”. It’s terribly misleading. Other than that the flavor was quite lacking. At that point, I was considering snapping into a Slim Jim, but reading those ingredients and one of their marketing slogans (“Made from stuff guys need“) turned me off even more.

Exhibit B: The "daring" jerky itself.

Exhibit B: The “daring” jerky itself.

Attorney:Were you aware that this brand also offers a Jalapeno (aka “Freakin’ Hot”) and a Habanero (aka “Really Freakin’ Hot”) flavor?

Yes, I am aware of that, Mr. Attorney. However, there are two problems with that argument. First, shopping at discounted grocery stores leads one to purchase only what’s in stock and this is all I was able to get. Secondly, “Really Freakin’ Hot” sounds like a phrase a teenage boy would use to describe his friend’s 40-something soccer mom.

No further questions.

Where is the defendant in this case? This heinous beef jerky that you keep describing?

Well your honor, at this point  I hope you realize that is product/individual we’ve been discussing in an inanimate food item in a plastic bag. It cannot speak, move or even think and is therefore is unable to testify on its behalf.

Fine. The jury will now convene to discuss their verdict.

(Jury exits then re-enters the room ten seconds later, a courtroom world record.)

Has the jury reached a verdict?

Jury Foreman:
Yes we have, your honor. Ahem.

We the jury, find the “Dare” beef jerky guilty of making outrageous claims of its spiciness and going to deplorable lengths of daring certain people to taste it. However, we also find the plaintiff Marisa guilty of wasting of our time and bringing this stupid case to trial. Stick to Judge Judy next time, sweetheart.

(Court dismissed. Fade to black. Executive Producer Dick Wolf.)

Yoplait Original Cosmopolitan-Flavored Yogurt

3 comments Written on June 17th, 2013 by
Categories: Food
Tags: , , , ,

It’s 5pm somewhere.

Product: Yoplait Original Cosmopolitan-Flavored Yogurt
Purchased at: Grocery Outlet (North Tacoma/6th Ave.)
Price: $1.99

*The following conversation may be fictionalized for dramatic effect*

Recently, my significant other asked me how he could get me to write again (coincidentally in the grocery store aisle). Sensing a bribe approaching, I replied:

“Darling, make me quit my 9-to-5 overtime-eligible job and I swear to you, I will write twenty new blog posts a day, on topics I have yet to determine at this time.”

“We can’t have that unfortunately, sweetheart. We’ve got bills to pay, a spoiled cat to feed and blogging just doesn’t put food on the table. Unless you count the food you review, that is.”

I grabbed an unsuspecting item from the dairy case, whipped my hair around in a fashion that L’Oreal (because I’m worth it) commercials would envy, and proclaimed, “This. This is the product that will rejuvenate my semi-humorous, grammatically incorrect food blogging career.”

And this, ladies and gentleman, is that product.

Yoplait has a history of making yogurt flavors for women that are decadent/sinful/what have you but they love to brag about how good they are or they they’re losing weight eating it (you know that one, I can’t find it on YouTube at the moment). Apparently, it also prevents you for binging and purging. I did a marketing project in college dealing with yogurt advertising tailored towards women so I thrive in this stuff. On with the review.


I grow mint in my backyard specifically for this reason.

Since this is a limited edition product that came from a clearance grocery store, of course it ended up being the only one there. Research (Googling the product name) shows that there’s also a Pina Colada variety, somewhere out there in the grocery store wild. Apologies, no Jagermeister Yoplait for your alcohol enthusiasts.

Mind you, there’s not actually any alcohol in this yogurt, but who wants cranberry lime yogurt when you can have Cosmopolitan flavor? AM I RIGHT, LADIES? Today’s product proves women can be wild and eat all the pink colored dairy product they want and still keep their figure.

Side note: I love reading food marketing press releases. They’re generally pretty cheezy and I try to imagine a really enthusiastic pitchman (or in this case, probably a pitchwomen) reading this glurge.

The yogurt is a tangy, tart oversweetened item. I mistakenly threw away the container that listed the ingredients so I’m unsure what gives it the alcohol-esque pucker so if someone could let me know the chemistry of alcohol flavored yogurt that would be awesome. I only ate a spoonful of one of the containers that came in my four-pack so I didn’t get the best value out of my yogurt purchase. Also I didn’t count the seltzer water I swished around in my mouth to get the flavor out.

Please women of the world, just drink a Cosmo instead of scooping up this saccharin spatter.

Big Island Candies Corn Chip Crunch Bar

2 comments Written on April 19th, 2012 by
Categories: Food
Tags: , , ,

Product: Big Island Candies Corn Chip Crunch Bar
Price: Free (Ben liberated it from his company’s snack jar)

Even though Hawaii is the 13th best travel destination in the world according to “” (which apparently has such an eye for travel that they ranked Orlando, Florida number on the list), I’ve never been there, partly due to the fact that I am a shut-in whose alabaster skin crisps like bacon at even the faintest hint of sunlight. Nevertheless, as a food adventurer, I’m always looking to broaden my culinary horizons and venture across the Pacific to my neighbors in the west. It’s perfect for today’s product, a chocolate treat that Ben picked up from work

I started where any typical American tourist would go: The FAQ page of the Hawaii Tourism Authority website.

Who knew that I don’t even need a passport to visit this tropical paradise because it’s a part of the United States? And they accept US Dollars?! Hot damn! And did you know that anytime of year is a good time to visit Hawaii? That’s unlike the Pacific Northwest where the answer usually is “sometime in June” or frankly “never”.

If you’re sick of co-workers bringing back Hawaiian Host chocolate covered macadamias or repulsed that they brought you Spam flavored nuts, but you’re still looking for a sweet AND salty fix, Big Island Candies Corn Chip Crunch Bar might just be the treat for you.

The Corn Chip Crunch Bar is described by Big Island Candies (or for my sake, BIC) as a “crunchy, sweet and salty delight. With a peanut center filled with corn chips and covered in milk chocolate, you will definitely enjoy this new confection.” I’ve pretty much resigned to calling it “Fritos ‘n’ Chocolate.”

The crunchy, creamy, sweet and salty combo is a pleasant surprise. While I would never think about putting chips in a chocolate bar (Doritos, you’re next) BIC has pulled off a successful junk food fusion that will probably contribute to my beginning stages of heart disease.

(Ben: It’s not secret that Marisa and I are total nuts for savory corn based snacks. I just can’t stuff enough of them into my face fast enough to satisfy my love of the crunchy corny goodness but that’s neither here nor there since none of them came doused in a liberal amount of rich chocolaty chocolate.)

Speaking of corn snacks – if you’re ever feeling adventurous and want to blend some more random foods with your favorite corn chips, check out the Fritos brand recipe page. You can create culinary delights such as: FRITOS® Ranch Chicken Delight, Apple Hash and Pumpkin Gravy FRITOS® Pie or Hawaii-inspired Hawaiian Pineapple Ham FRITOS® Pie. If you don’t like it, maybe the kiddos will or your dog. Also, dear Fritos: the chips don’t count as part of the recipe if you’re serving them on the side.

Big Island Candies also feature loads of other delicious looking chocolate that I am too cheap to buy, so try some out and let me know what you think!

Biscoff Spread

9 comments Written on April 10th, 2012 by
Categories: Food
Tags: , , ,

Product: Biscoff Spread (Creamy)
Purchased at: Grocery Outlet (North Tacoma/6th Ave.)

America is all about recreating food into the most easily eatable forms. May I draw your attention to Easy Cheese, Wrigley’s Extra Dessert Delights Gum and of course, KFC’s Double Down. However, the product I’ll be reviewing this weekend is a little red-lidded jar that comes to us all the way from Belgium. Spoiler Alert: This, my friends, is creamy sugary delicious in spread form (no offense Nutella). This is Biscoff Cookie Spread.

As many products that originate in foreign lands, I was initially unaware of what Biscoff actually was before purchasing this product. They’re a small cookie that features sweet blend of cinnamon and caramel flavor that are great with coffee and let you sip and extend your pinky in proper sipping fashion. Now take that a step further: this spread is literally pulverized cookies in spreadable form so you can forget about even using those jaw muscles you have and the arduous task of eating cookies one bite at a time. The label/jar even suggest the truly outrageous idea of dipping a Biscoff cookie into Biscoff spread for a Biscoff explosion of flavor.

Since it mainly consists of dairy & egg-free cookies and oil for smoothing it all out, Biscoff Spread is also vegan and nut-free (it’s the same color as peanut butter but don’t be fooled). Everyone can enjoy sweet European indulgence! They also have a crunchy variety but I have yet to locate it in any local stores (hint to PR folks at Biscoff reading this).

You know how all the Nutella commercials have kids spreading the stuff on bread, waffles and other bland breakfast items? You don’t do that with Biscoff. You take a huge dollop directly from the jar and savor that while you veg out in front the computer or couch (Ben will know this).

Trader Joe’s actually featured a very similar seasonal product recently for Winter 2011 called Speculoos Cookie Butter. It’s the same concept using traditional European Speculoos cookie and pulverized into a creamy spread. If you can’t find Biscoff spread, I would suggest seeing if you local TJs has it. It’s been rumored it’s been reappearing…plus anything worthy of a Facebook Fan Page must be in high demand (Biscoff Spread also has one too).

According to Biscoff’s website, the spread is currently available at Walmart, Paris Grocery Seattle, Giant Food Stores and Cost Plus World Market (though at CPWM it costs $5 as I found out last week). Check it out!


Snap-N-Glow Pops

No Comments » Written on April 5th, 2012 by
Categories: Food
Tags: , ,

Meh, I ingest enough chemicals as it is.

Product: Snap-N-Glow Pops
Purchased at: Valley Liquidation
Price: 50 cents a bag (2 lollipops/bag)

Ah, novelty sweets – not so much about the candy but the plastic/colorized/motorized container it’s in. From the ever illustrious Ring Pop to the classic Batman spin pop (because what’s more intimidating that the Dark Knight with a giant pink lollipop whirling around above his head), you’re essentially paying for the packaging over the pop. Hence, I had no qualms over dropped 50 cents on a set of suckers that are literally supported by a plastic tube filled with glowing chemicals.

“Snap-N-Glow Pops” is a bit of a misnomer. It’s not the pop that glows, just the stick. And it’s not just that: they’re dim and hard to crack as well. But thanks to Koko’s Confectionery & Novelty (A Division of A & A Global Industries), we now have a product that can serve as both a candy and a disaster preparedness item and/or accessory at an all-night rave.

In a drastic turn from my usual gluttonous style, I didn’t finished eating this product; I didn’t even go past two licks. The hard (yet oddly squishy) had almost fused entirely with their outer plastic wrap and after dealing with that, I was left with an old, outdated sucker that reminded me a lot of those that you purchase from an obnoxious kid through a school fundraising effort. Neither the blue raspberry nor lemon had any outstanding qualities other than being terrible.

Guess I’m just a sucker for disappointment.

Lucas Pelon Roller Tamarind

No Comments » Written on March 2nd, 2012 by
Categories: Food
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Product: Lucas Pelon Roller Tamarind
Purchased at: Grocery Outlet (Lakewood)
Price: 8/$1 or around 13 cents each

I’d like to think I’m somewhat of an Andrew Zimmern of the grocery store, but instead of indulging in durian (me: done), snake penis (me: maybe) and balut (me: no way), I sample possibly expired treats, discontinued finds and occasionally unfamiliar territory. Also, Mr. Zimmern – you owe me big time for blatantly advertising your show right there.

I’m not too familiar with Hispanic candies, though I’ve browsed through popular choices like hot & spicy mango lollipops and those little tubs of flavored powder at our local market (they also sell pork rinds [chicharones] here at big as your forearm – Atkins dieters rejoice). So as something that’s previously unfamiliar to me, I’ll be using Google and Wikipedia to do some research; I’m also writing this at 5am so it’s a bit of déjà vu from my college years (thank you Wikipedia for helping me spell déjà vu right there).

What you may not know is, over the past few years a variety of candies have been removed from shelves due to possible lead contamination in the packaging. I noticed this list had “Pelon roller tamarind flavored syrup candy” on it – so I hope I don’t get an extra surprise with my purchase. For those of you worried about me, Wikipedia notes “As of July 2008, this and other similar Mexican candies are safe to eat.”

Tamarind isn’t widely used in American candy (then again, neither is spicy chili powder), but it’s the main component of this candy. The liquid tamarind roller candy is so popular it even has its own Wikipedia page.

Even those this candy is a liquid (sugar, water, glucose, chili powder, citric acid, xanthan gum, and tamarind extract), you don’t squeeze it into your mouth as much as you roll it with the circular application tip. Without risking this sounding like a set of tampon instructions, I’ll stop right there for my sake.

Contrary to the label that the candy is “Mucho Fun!”, it smelled and tasted like the sticky liquid you find pooled and encrusted underneath the ketchup, mustard and mayo bottles sitting in your fridge door. It was not an enjoyable experience, so suffice to say, it was no mucho fun. The brown color of the syrupy liquid didn’t really help that fact.

Now I expect to get some feedback from folks who have grown up with this candy and love it to death, but it really didn’t jive with me. I don’t care for the idea of any liquid candy and I think the tamarind flavor works much better in drinks and other foods.

Grocery Outlet (in Lakewood) still has a whole mess of these sitting in their candy aisle, waiting to be purchased by adventurous people like our dear readers. Try one if you’re inclined to roll a sticky, sour liquid on tongue (that’s all the innuendo you get for today). Happy Friday!


Iron Man Popsicle

No Comments » Written on February 9th, 2012 by
Categories: Food
Tags: , , , , ,

Product: Iron Man Popsicle
Purchased at: Grocery Outlet (North Tacoma/6th Ave.)
Price: 3/$1 or 34 cents

One of my cherished moments as a child was the neighborhood ice cream truck. And not just the truck itself – the thrill of hearing a constant repeat of “Pop Goes the Weasel”, “Turkey in the Straw” or the classic Scott Joplin piece “The Entertainer” becoming louder and louder as the truck traveled closer to my neighborhood. Mind you, the music didn’t mean we would be going to be visited by the truck, since our neighborhood was a looped dead-end that saw the truck less often than we did a new year.

When we (my brother and I) could confirm the truck was actually headed towards us, we made the mad dash of emptying pig banks, scraping through the couch and grabbing those quarters out of conveniently placed spare change dishes.

Looking back, the selection was always generally underwhelming: maybe some Ninja Turtles with bubble gum eyes or a Mickey Mouse novelty molded to include ears. In fact, most of the treats were just popsicles instead of actual ice cream. But jack up the price of those suckers by 1000% and you’ve got scores of kids chasing after your vehicle. A $1 treat from the truck always tasted better that a Fudgesicle from Fred Meyer that your mom bought in a 48 pack.

Oh boy, fat free with natural* colors and flavors!

Liquid Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup and Corn Syrup.

Sadly, now I’m too old to go chasing after ice cream trucks and buying things made of pure sugar that aren’t Starbucks Frappacinos. However, I am not immune to bright colors and movie tie-ins (the children’s cereal aisle is a no-fly zone for me) so I couldn’t resisted buying IRON MAN’S FACE – in popsicle form.

Contrary to my usual modus operandi, I actually have seen Iron Man 2, instead of catching it when it appears on Saturday night basic cable. I can appreciate Robert Downey Jr.’s sarcastic character and Scarlett Johansson’s skintight leather, though I’m not sure the target audience of this product would.


Iron Man’s big identity reveal in the film was a little more well-received that this unveiling. Poor frozen novelty Iron Man didn’t hold up too well after melting a bit in my grocery bag and refreezing in the meantime.

Iron Man’s face was a sickly syrupy sweet frozen mass of cherry and lemon. If you’ve ever had a “Firecracker” Popsicle, this pop was reminiscent of the first two cherry and lemon sections. All in all, a syrupy sweet artificial tasting frozen novelty that’ll make your heart race and possibly overload your Arc Reactor.

UPDATE – Last time I visited Grocery Outlet, the price of the remaining stock of these had been updated to 8/$1 or 12/$1, can’t remember which.

Yves Veggie Cuisine Shrimp Scampi

5 comments Written on January 30th, 2012 by
Categories: Food
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Product: Yves Veggie Cuisine Shrimp Scampi
Purchased at: Grocery Outlet (Lakewood)
Price: $1.99

I recently remembered an intense conversation I had with a friend that took place years ago at a local popular Chinese buffet (shout out to Super Buffet in Dupont) on the topic of shrimp. As we peeled the clear shells off of our chilled crustaceans, she mused how gross it was to see the shrimp’s visible intestinal tract (now you know) before popping it into her mouth. Now even though that tube is pretty much filled with algae, plankton and other harmless goo, she just had to take it a step farther, splitting open the shrimp’s back and rubbing the brown innards between her fingers.

Recently, I picked up a box of veggie shrimp scampi (seen before) partly prompted by my buffet experience but also because I wondered what in the world faux shrimp could be made out of.

Now I am not vegetarian, but I’ve dabbled with all sorts of meat substitutes, just for experimentation. Things like the good old veggie burger/Gardenburger, Boca Burgers, weird soy based “ribs” covered with a goopy sauce, Chik’n nuggets but also less processed choices like tofu, seitan and TVP. These veggie shrimp are composed not of soy or grains, but glucomannan (used in lots of weight-control related foods), potato starch and whey protein. Nom nom.

Obviously creating shrimp from starches is gonna bump the carbs up and knock the protein down (an impressive 1g per serving) but nevertheless, it’s a low calorie meal at 200 calories per box.

Click for large.

The box including the vacuum-sealed packet of “shrimp” (lovingly colored red with paprika extract) and a goopy packet of scampi sauce, made with garlic purée and canola oil. I’m glad they didn’t pre-mix them, because I can only take so much sauce with my meat-and-seafood free shrimp.

The contents.

Prep was pretty easy. The veggie shrimp is already pre-cooked so I took the liberty of using the fancy, non-bachelor route of actually putting the ingredients in a sauté pan as opposed to zapping it in the microwave.

This is another one of those products that I cannot find any official listing on the manufacturer’s site so I’ll go ahead and assume it’s discontinued, given the absence of information and the overabundance of these at my local Grocery Outlet recently (I saw the veggie tuna on sale last week for a measly 50 cents a box, so I might have to pick up one of those as well).

I cooked the shrimp until they were deemed “cooked” (lukewarm, in this case) and dosed them out on a plate. I did cook them with the included sauce, but only about a fourth of the packet, as to preserve the delicate glucomannan and potato starch flavor.

As far as the taste and texture goes, I was pleasantly surprised. The veggie shrimp successfully obtained a chewy, meaty texture without being too gummy or crumbly. They did have a slight fishy flavor, which I’m curious how this happened without using actual fish (anyone want to weigh in?).

I didn’t really care for the scampi sauce. Unlike the scampi I’m used to, it was mainly canola oil as opposed to butter which gave it a slick, greasy taste. Note that I didn’t eat the veggie shrimp with any sort of pasta or rice as suggested, but I imagine those would soak up a bit of the oil.

All in all, an interesting concept but looks like it didn’t catch on. I probably wouldn’t buy these again, mainly because I don’t feel real shrimp are that unhealthy (but I am a meat eater after all) and they’re definitely more filling due to the protein content. Worth a try though if you’re vegetarian and looking for something fishy.

Other Reviews for Yves Veggie Cuisine Shrimp Scampi:
Adventures in Fake Meat

Stouffer’s Corner Bistro Stuffed Melt and Soup

No Comments » Written on November 7th, 2011 by
Categories: Food
Tags: , , , , ,

Product: Stouffers Stuffed Melts and Soups (CORNER BISTRO® Steak and Swiss Stuffed Melt with Broccoli Cheddar soup)
Purchased at: McChord AFB Commissary
Price: free (prize from STOUFFER’S® Match ‘Em Up Game Facebook contest)

Now as someone who runs a site called “Clearance Cuisine”, one would assume that I’m probably extreme couponer, but I’m actually a sucker for in-store and online contests. This also saves me from scissor-induced Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and aggravating grocery store cashiers on a daily basis. Not wanting to pass up a chance at winning something, I ended up playing an instant win game on the Stouffer’s Facebook page back in February, and hey, I happened to win a free frozen meal (well, a coupon for one that arrived a couple of months later).


We’re happy to let you know that you’re a winner in the STOUFFER’S Stuffed Melt and Soup Match ‘Em Up promotion! You’ve won a coupon good for a free stuffed melt and soup combo, which has an approximate retail value of $3.69. Congratulations! There’s nothing you need to do except look for your prize within 8-10 weeks.

After getting the coupon in the mail, I picked up the meal on a shopping trip with my dad to the local military commissary (hooray for dependent benefits) in March and it’s been aging nicely in the freezer since.

The front of the box proclaims “Bakery Fresh Taste IN MINUTES” (5 and 3/4 to be exact), but that’s a tough claim to back up for a frozen meal. The sad fact of the matter is that I live within 3 blocks of both a bakery that makes tasty goods AND a soup shop that makes an infinite amount (literally) of delicious, fresh soups. However, I must do my duty as a food writer/experimenter and try this concoction. Good thing the best before date is March 2012!

The instructions call for peeling off the top cardboard part of the box, microwaving only the plastic-covered soup first for 90 seconds, then popping in the “stuffed melt” with the requisite crisping sleeve with the soup for the remaining 3 minutes and 15 seconds (in my case, I just did three minutes out of laziness and the high probability the extra fifteen seconds wouldn’t make or break the meal). The inside of the box also had a special code, most likely I had the winning box for three lifetimes worth of Stouffer’s meals.

As many of the popular reviews I also spotted for this product (The Impulsive Buy, Freezer Burns, Brand Eating) also mentioned, the “stuffed melt” is less of an artisan meat and cheese bistro treat (“Herb-Topped Focaccia Bread Filled with Beef Steak, Onions and Mushrooms in a Swiss Cheese Sauce”) and more of a small, pretentious Hot Pocket. The filling was almost the exact same filling as a Philly Steak and Cheese Hot Pocket, but just a little tougher. The cheese sauce even spurted out while microwaving in traditional Hot Pocket style.

If I haven’t had read the box, I would have never guessed there were mushrooms also in the melt. Everything stuffed in there had the same texture. The watery cheese “sauce” had gooey cheese chunks as well. It’s also pretty small for a sandwich that’s half of a 400 calorie meal (see the photo with my little hands/diameter of the plastic soup bowl for reference).

The soup was just as disappointing – a viscous, orange solution with some bits of broccoli (most of it being the stalk, the least tasty part). I nibbled on some of the broccoli, trying to justify it as “eating healthy”, though most of it went back in the freezer to harden it up into an ice puck to toss in the trash later.

As a meal, you’d be more satisfied to whip up your own Hot Pocket (Lean Pocket for the ladies) or Campbell’s and pairing them together. You’ll probably save some calories too. At around $2.50-$3.99, you can do it for much cheaper as well.

(ICED) ENrG Frozen Bar Energy Supplement

2 comments Written on October 31st, 2011 by
Categories: Food
Tags: , , , ,

Product: (ICED) ENrG Frozen Bar Energy Supplement (Berry flavor)
Purchased at: Grocery Outlet (North Tacoma/6th Ave.)
34 cents or 3/$1

While Halloween would seem like the ideal time to write about some discounted candy or some weird chocolate we recently found, sadly I’ll have to disappoint you this year. Admittedly, all chocolate products in this household are generally consumed within mere hours of its arrival here and the only candy I have is some mint gum (trick-or-treaters, you’ve been warned. Thankfully it’s not feasible to egg just one apartment door).

Under the neon lights.

In the meantime, I picked up this frozen bar last week and spent sometime researching it. This is a bad habit from my college days, with just a dash of obsessive-compulsiveness mixed in. Who made this product? Why is it only 30 cents? Who in the world thought an energy popsicle ice pop (Popsicle is a brand name) was a good idea? I could probably make it as an investigative journalist, but I’m afraid I’m much too non-confrontational and timid to do anything like that.

Curiously enough, I found no official product page from Dreyers/Nestle (the maker of the product) for the (ICED) ENrG. The only references I found online were some other reviews (linked at the end of this article) from late 2010. A couple of these websites also mention the complete lack of marketing. I ever went as far as emailing Nestle last weekend for an answer but no response yet. It’s apparently one of those products that’s been banished to the product marketing black hole. Keeping this in mind, I wouldn’t be surprised if a huge batch of these were produced in late 2010 (perhaps around November, judging by the best buy date) and quietly phased out shortly afterward.

I'm gonna "RECHARGE"

Personally, I’ve never really been a fan of popsicles ice pops. They’re simply a lower calorie alternative to ice cream bars without the creaminess of dairy but still the pancreas-seizing amounts of sugar. But an energy popsicle ice pop? The (ICED) ENrG Frozen Bar Energy Supplement has caffeine (45 mg), taurine (150 mg) and some vitamins and additives (like Vitamin B, C and niacin). It also qualifies as one of the most annoying product names to type, since I don’t have time to superscript the R or insert superfluous parentheses (part of its downfall, perhaps?)

The (ICED) ENrG pop is “berry” flavor, though whether that’s raspberry, blackberry, blueberry or the ever mysterious mixed berry, is up for discussion. but the ingredient list only includes “pomegranate fruit juice concentrate, vegetable and fruit juice colors” and “natural and artificial flavors”. Fun fact: see “Karaya Gum” on the ingredients? Wikipedia notes it’s “used as a thickener and emulsifier in foods, as a laxative, and as a denture adhesive”.

The pop is slightly larger than the norm, with a plastic stick instead of a wooden one (and no eye-roll worthy jokes either) and it tastes like pomegranate-raspberry followed by a slight chemical-like bitterness, most likely from the energizing additives. If anything, it was a strong recollection of chomping down on a purple Chewable Flinstones multivitamin as a kid. Nowadays, kids are spoiled with gummy vitamins, so they’ve never had to deal with that acrid, medicinal flavor of lots of vitamins and minerals attempting to hide in a sugary package.

The back recommends “Suggested Use: 1 Frozen Bar Daily”. (ICED) ENrG also warns that it’s not recommended for kids of pregnant women, though I can’t see anyone other than a kid trying to get a serious energy boost from something like an ice pop. At 24g of sugar (equal to an 8oz glass of orange juice) and 45mg of caffeine (same amount as a Diet Coke), you’re probably better off sticking to your morning joe than unwrapping this sticky mess.

Other Reviews of (ICED) ENrG Popsicle:
Caffeine A Holic
ED Junkie
Possessed by Caffeine