Posts Tagged ‘Big Lots’

Sea20 Energy Drink

2 comments Written on October 15th, 2012 by
Categories: Drinks
Tags: , , , ,

Product: Sea2O Organic Energy Drink (don’t forget to disable the audio)
Purchased at: Big Lots (University Place)
Price:
40 cents (20% off the normal 50 cents)

Truth be told, writing reviews for beverages is always a challenge for me. Beverages can be easily divided into broad categories: alcoholic/non-alcoholic, fizzy/flat, sweet/neutral and of course, delicious/disgusting – which in turn provides little challenge for a review. At any given time, I generally have a collection of cans and bottles gathering dust on our shelves because they have nothing noticeable or extraordinary about them (I’ve since curbed my “buying-drinks-specifically-for-Clearance-Cuisine” habit). In fact, today’s product was purchased at least six months ago, but it’s still good. Still good.

When I buy a product for the site, I always try to pick things that err on the side of ridiculous, whether it’s a quirky ingredient, stupid slogan and/or mascot or a terrible Flash-based website that’s straight from the 90s. In this case, today’s feature drew me in because: the word “SEA” in the name (the sea is delicious, no?) and the concept of a non-caffeine based energy drink. After flipping the can around, I learned it also has ~organic seaweed extract~ which sealed the deal for me.

Sea2O is based locally in Bellevue, WA but I found the drink locally at Big Lots, a stark change from its suggested retail locations like Whole Foods and Metropolitan Market. The can used the word “Organic” probably around twenty times, but I lost count by the time opened the can. While I have no qualms about organic ingredients, once enough is fine for me thx.

The drink is very similar to the Capri Sun pouch drinks I grew up drinking as a kid, probably due to the sweetener (agave nectar). Though it’s touted as an energy drink, I’m of the mindset that anything you add enough sugar to, whether it be table sugar, HFCS, agave and what have you, can become energized (new marketing idea: pixi sticks as energy powder). For those asking if the drink was salty or fishy, I’m happy to confirm that there’s no seaweed taste or essence, since seaweed extract is added as opposed to the nori you’re used to wrapping around your sushi.

That said, I’ll stick to my artificially sweetened, caffeine saturated energy drinks.

Energy Dots

No Comments » Written on February 17th, 2011 by
Categories: Food
Tags: ,

Product: Energy Dots
Purchased at: Big Lots (University Place)
Price: $1.60 (originally $2.00 plus 20% off store coupon)

Marisa’s Take: There are numerous infamous examples of foods and drinks that just didn’t seem to make it: New Coke, Crystal Pepsi, Arch Deluxe to name a few. Sometimes it’s a mystery why products don’t hit it off. Unfortunately, I feel this product has several obvious reasons.

I didn’t really know what I was getting into when I picked up the box. Normally, I wouldn’t pay this much for a product to review, especially a product of which I was hesitant about the claims. When we first opened the box to photograph and eat the dots, we were greeted with strips of perforated foil and plastic pouches, each containing three dots (appearing more like pills now though). Now, I don’t want to make any judgments, but I probably would be pretty iffy about carrying around pouches of little pink tabs with just “e” printed on the outside. Maybe I’m just being paranoid.

Let’s take Some Energy Dots

I’m really not a huge subscriber to the energy drink/candy/spray/pantyhose phenomenon. If I really want to have my heart race/excel in life, I’ll go for the obvious choice. However, Energy Dots have no caffeine whatsoever – the “energy” is provided by Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin). A pack of 3 Energy Dots provides 7,500% of your daily value of the vitamin. I don’t know about you, but I get kind of nervous when a number on my food’s nutritional facts reaches quadruple digits. The back mentions two packs a day (6 total dots) is the daily limit. I did end up eating two packs worth on the day we tasted these, but honestly, I didn’t really feel any real energy boost. However, at most times of the day, I usually have a good deal of black coffee or tea flowing through my veins already.

Fun Fact: If you ate the entire box in one sitting, you would have consumed 90,000% of your daily recommended B12!

Energy Dots are available in one flavor – “Raspberry Lemonade”. You can definitely taste the tart citrus over any raspberries. It’s probably similar to receiving a pack of unlabeled Halloween candies while Trick-or-Treating marked “SWEET TARTS”, except the kids also go nuts afterwords because they’re so hopped up on B12.

Does that really say 7,500%?

Ben’s Take: Marisa and I were looking to mix up our product reviews when she happened across a brightly red box with a well pronounced neon yellow e on the front. It was rather surprising to see a product marketed as an energy supplement that rather proudly announced that it was “caffeine free.” There has been a trend moving away from hyper-caffeine doses in energy products (Five Hour Energy comes to mind) but really, a complete lack of caffeine?   Perhaps the manufacturers of Energy Dots didn’t want their products causing any undesirable interactions. (Totally low hanging fruit.)

ALERT ALERT ALERT: BORING SCIENCE STUFF AHEAD. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. PS: NOT A DOCTOR.

Now you might wonder what wonder how a dietary supplement that promotes “energy” does this without any stimulants, and believe me, I have no freaking clue. What I can tell you is what they have shoehorned into this. Let’s start with the 450mcg of cyanocobalamin. It’s a synthetic chemical that the human body uses as a form of Vitamin B12 (Vitamin B12 is actually a group of chemicals that perform the same function inside of the human body). It’s a pretty common additive in the food and dietary supplement industry because most forms of Vitamin  B12 have a rather low instance of side effects and an unestablished toxicity level. Cyanocobalamin does have a few more side effects than other forms of Vitamin B12 which can include a moderate allergic reaction, joint pain, headache, and nausea to name a few.  Even it’s relatively few side effects aren’t super deadly or even very interesting which makes the whole cyanocobalamin additive pretty boring. Heck, I don’t even know why they use the stuff.

The nutritional facts on the box also lists Malic Acid, which is a souring agent, and L-Phenylalanine which is a calorie-free sweetener, and an essential amino acid. Both of these ingredients are about as unremarkable as cyanocobalamin (unless you suffer from PKU. Then L-Phenyalanine could wreck your day).

ANYWAY. Enough of that stuff. Energy Dots are just sour little Vitamin B12 supplements that really don’t have a clinically proven effect on making you energetic. They’re pretty sour and taste somewhat like a Flintstones vitamin tablet. BOOORING.

Peeps Marshmallow Trees

2 comments Written on February 15th, 2011 by
Categories: Food
Tags: , , ,

You can't see the forest for the Peeps.

Product: Peeps Marshmallow Trees
Purchased at: Big Lots (University Place)
Price: $0.08/package (originally $1.00 – 90% holiday clearance merchandise + 20% off coupon)

Marisa’s Take: You know in romantic comedies when the leading man focuses in on the dream girl, time slows down and you know that’s the girl he’s going marry? That was me with Peeps (sadly, I cannot marry a Peep). I knew I would review them sometime within the life of this blog, but just didn’t know when. I feel they’re they’re a perfect candidate for Clearance Cuisine – holidays come and go, but hundreds of Peeps remain on stores shelves, waiting to be eaten.

Now, I’ve eaten lots of Peeps in my life. I know what they taste like. But they’re just something like a marshmallow coated in colored, granulated sugar and manufactured into a different shape for every major holiday that’s just downright endearing.

I wasn’t planning on buying any in the near future until the “90% OFF ALL HOLIDAY MERCHANDISE” sign caught my eye at Big Lots. Coupled with my 20% off coupon, this brought each box to 8 cents a piece. I grabbed the six remaining boxes and the box that they cam in and hauled my bounty to the cash register.

Now at first, I was nervous about how old my marshmallow trees would be, considering they had been produced specifically for the holiday season and now it was mid-January. To my surprise, the box said they were good until November 2012! The Hulu video linked above mentions their long shelf life – apparently some people even like to slit the plastic packaging open so the Peeps inside can “firm up” before being enjoyed (aged like a fine Peep?).

There’s nothing like biting (more like tearing) into a Peep, crunching though the sugar coating and chomping the marshmallow innards. It is a bit sadistic when it happens to be a little yellow (or lavender or orange or pink, etc.) chick or bunny as opposed to a tree.

In addition to providing a puffy sugar snack, they also provide great subjects for photos. Now you can recreate those dioramas that you had to do in middle school with cute little chicks, trees, bunnies or snowmen (as you can see we did below). Valentine’s Day happened to be yesterday, so you’re sure to find some great deals on hearts and I <3 U‘s real soon. Enjoy.

Fun Fact: Apparently, there’s a Peeps Store in Maryland! We should do a food factory/store road trip if we ever win the lottery and don’t have any commitments.

Ben’s Take: They’re peeps. That look like trees. Peeps are gross.

Buy Christmas Tree Holiday Peeps on Amazon.com!