The nice folks at Mom & Popcorn Company wanted me to try some of their popcorn. The only problem was that their store is in McKinney, Texas, and Iím in California. Sure, I like popcorn, but not enough to travel half way across the country to get some. So, they were kind enough to mail some samples to me. They sent a selection of flavors and all of them were very tasty. However, one item stood out as my clear favorite Ė Peanut Butter Covered Caramel Popcorn. Wow, is it good! It has the perfect balance of peanut butter and caramel covering crispy popcorn. I think itís safe to say that it is the best tasting popcorn Iíve ever eaten. If you donít live near McKinney, Texas, donít worry. You can order Mom & Popcorn Company products through their website, www.momandpopcorn.com. Be sure to order some Peanut Butter Covered Carmel Popcorn. You wonít be disappointed, unless maybe youíre from another space-time continuum where delicious popcorn doesnít exist. By the way, my second favorite flavor was Hot Cheese.
I've always been susceptible to advertising, which probably helps explain my love of fast food and candy. During this year's Winter Olympics, I have probably seen the McDonald's promotion for their new Sweet Chili Sauce a couple dozen times. The commercial mentions how this sauce is what all the athletes in the Olympic Village are eating with their McNuggets. I guess McDonald's wants to introduce a flavor with a bold and international appeal. So today I obeyed the ads and went out to try this sauce for myself. Now, McDonald's isn't really known for spicy flavors, and I was worried that this sauce was gonna be all sweet and no heat. Thankfully, all my fears were allayed after my first dip. McDonald's has made a sauce that tastes exactly like the sweet chili sauce semi-fancy Chinese restaurants serve with spring rolls; sweet, but with a very nice pepper/vinegar burn to it. It's a shame this is a limited time only item, because it blows every other dipping sauce out of the water. The only downside is the relatively small amount of sauce you're given, so make sure to ask for two. McNuggets have never tasted better. Congratulations McDonalds, this is a gold medal winner.
I like to read the list of ingredients on food that I eat so that I have an idea of whatís in it and to practice pronouncing words like phenylalanine and disodium guanylate. I read the ingredients list on a box of new Cheez-It Italian Four Cheese crackers that I bought recently and was surprised to find not four, but six types of cheeses listed: white cheddar, Monterey Jack, romano, parmesan, mozzarella, and Asiago. I guess ďItalian Six CheeseĒ just wasnít as catchy. In regard to the crackers, they are very tasty, with a cheese flavor that reminds me of, well, six different cheeses combined together. They are one of the better tasting types of Cheez-It, but they are not without a few small complaints. Theyíre very close to being too salty for my taste and are also covered with a powdery substance, which I assume is cheese powder. This means that your fingers get covered with the stuff as you eat the Cheez-Its, which I donít like. Inevitably, the powder ends up not only on my fingers but also on my shirt, the couch, and the cat. Fortunately, there is a solution for this. Next time, Iíll just pour the crackers directly from the box into my mouth and bypass my fingers altogether.
Pepsi Throwback is Pepsi cola sweetened with real sugar, the way it used to be before the switch to high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) was made. Most soft drink makers currently use HFCS and it is very controversial because of claimed health risks. Despite the possible health risks of HFCS, I wanted to know if Pepsi made with real sugar tasted any different than Pepsi made with HFCS (letís call it ďregular PepsiĒ). So, I did a blind taste test of the two. Pepsi Throwback seemed to have slightly less carbonation than regular Pepsi. I donít know if it really did or this was just an effect of the sweetener used, but I liked it. Because of the reduced carbonation, I thought that Pepsi Throwback was easier to drink and more of the cola flavor came through. The sweetness of Pepsi Throwback was smooth and tasted more natural. Regular Pepsi, on the other hand, seemed to have more carbonation and had a sweetness that was more pronounced than Pepsi Throwback. The differences between the two sodas were pretty subtle, much more so than I expected. So, which one did I prefer? Even though the taste of regular Pepsi was more familiar to me, I preferred Pepsi Throwback because of the slightly more pronounced cola flavor and a more pleasant sweetness. Pepsi Throwback is only supposed to be available for a limited time, so get one while you can.
Winner: Pepsi Throwback
I had such high hopes for this burrito. Taco Bell had been so successful in the past with incorporating a "hidden" layer of cheese in their products (the Cheesy Gordita Crunch is an all-time fave), but this was a real let down. I should have known from the ingredients listed that the burrito would be a disappointment: beans, beef, cheese, sour cream, and nacho cheese. There was nothing to give this burrito any kick or distinct flavor, instead the nacho cheese and sour cream combined to form an overpowering yet somehow bland mush that would be better suited at a senior center. At the excellent 89 cent price point, it's a shame this couldn't be a winner, as the burrito is quite substantial and would have been a valuable component in my under five dollar Taco Bell meals.