Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Dollar Store Random Candy Bar Collection

Many months back I raided a local dollar store to build a stash of munchies for my eating pleasure.  It was a successful trek, but long since, the food has been eaten and largely forgotten.  They had a special where you could get three candy bars for $1.00, and if I remember correctly I ended up walking, no actually I was running, out of there, with around 15 candy bars.  Originally I was going to review them all, pitting candy bar against candy bar, in a tournament of tastes the likes of which our existence has never seen.  Sadly, that never happened; but, last night, while looking through my ridiculously large collection of digital pictures, I stumbled across some photos I’d taken to accompany that aforementioned piece.  It’s snowing like crazy, I’m supposed to be at work, I figure… why not, let’s review some lousy candy!

These beasts reared their delectable head and made their emergence on the candy aisle scene well over a year ago.  The packaging is admittedly pretty well done; it’s bright, eye-catching, and only marginally exploitative.  Destined to catch the eye of passerby, especially young children, these bars, featuring either peanut butter or crispy M&M minis, were flying off the shelves faster than copies of Mutant League Football for the Sega Genesis in ’93.

Here’s our bar, featuring M&M characters posing and poising in provocative and thought inspiring positions.  These aren’t as big as most candy bars, but they’re certainly tasty.  For me, the biggest draw isn’t the miniature candies inside the chocolate, but the chocolate itself.  It’s a delicious milk chocolate that’s comparable to most others I’ve tasted.

Not as pretty from the back—looking slightly like a sculpted turd with M&M’s inside it.  Although not bad, it’ll never compare or be able to compete with actual M&M’s or other popular candy bars, and I think it’ll always be kind of jealous of them; kind of like Reed Richards is whenever Sub-Mariner gets around Invisible Woman.

NestlĂ©’s Toll House is prepared to enter the candy domain, with their bold entry, the soft and chewy cookie candy bars.  While the packaging is promising us a cornucopia of chocolate, the skeptic in all of us is wondering, are these any good?

Although they make look positively inconspicuous, once you bite into one of these morsels be prepared for a mouthful of flavor.  In fact, I feel that therein lies their biggest flaws—there’s too much going on here!  Imagine mowing the lawn, adjusting your finances, and swapping The Fat Boys mp3s all simultaneously.  You’ve got chocolate, chocolate chips, caramel, and cookie competing for your palate’s primary attention.  Although not a bad idea, flawed execution leave me to believe these won’t be around too much longer.

Hershey’s has always been one of America’s foremost leaders in chocolate awesomeness, in many splendid forms.  Although the packaging pegs Cookies ‘n’ Mint as limited edition, from my recollection these have been available for those willing to seek them out, for easily years now.

Here’s our candy bar, looking a little dated, as is evident by the odd discoloration seen on the left side.  Still, I found it as irresistible as trying to beat my brother’s high score on The Adventures of Bayou Billy, and immediately attacked it with uncanny fervor.

The back looks less appetizing, appearing oddly similar to the dimpled ass of Mark Henry; just don’t ask how I know that.  Still, this is a mighty fine candy bar, that is if like me, you enjoy the combination of mint and chocolate.  The cookies are a nice addition, too.  My favorite way to eat this particular candy bar is to take a bite, let the chocolate slowly melt in your mouth, then chew up the crunchy cookie bits.

In conclusion, for a $1.00 my findings were beyond sufficient.  If you find similar deals, don’t be afraid to try them out, and it’s always most fun to try at least one candy bar that’s foreign to you.  They say variety is the spice of life, I can’t concur, as I was always led to believe Mark Henry’s dimpled ass was—to each their own.

Overall Grade: B 

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Ultimate Muscle - Kid Muscle toy

Back in the 1980’s there were these one-inch pink toys titled M.U.S.C.L.E. (Millions of Unusually Strange Creatures Lurking Everywhere) depicting all sorts of bizarre monsters and beasts that competed in an intergalactic wrestling promotion.  Sound crazy?  Believe me, it definitely was; and although reaching a cult status here in America, over in Japan they were a certifiable phenomenon.  In Japan, not only were there action figures galore, but also an extremely popular manga (comic book) series, and other merchandise.

A couple years ago, a new Saturday morning cartoon lineup was announced boasting all kinds of awesome shows that had us geeks salivating, titled FoxBox this four-hour block of cartoons was animated nirvana.  One of the shows announced was titled Ultimate Muscle — I instantly connected it with the line of miniature action figures from my childhood, and upon doing some research, found out that my suspicions were correct.  Conceptually, it’s a brilliant idea for a cartoon; you’ve got aliens, animals, masked thugs, and a whole assortment of other misc. creatures brawling it out for supremacy.  The show ended up shattering my expectations, mixing not only action, but tons of comedy, plus an engrossing ongoing storyline.

Here’s our man… Kid Muscle!  When he gets the rare bout of courage, he becomes one of the top combatants in these interplanetary slugfests.  But, most of the time, Kid is a complete coward.  He’s afraid of just about absolutely everything, is completely lazy, and isn’t particularly interested in doing much of anything.  His one true love is… food!  He’s addicted to food, of all varieties, shapes, colors, and sexual predilections.   We’ll touch more on that momentarily, but for now, it’d be remiss for me not to say, without a doubt, this is one of the most downright hilarious animated characters of all time.  If you haven’t seen this show, which likely applies to all of you, except that one kid with the contemptible hair that sends me those funny pictures, you’ll probably think I’m just overselling it – but I’m not being factitious, this show is genius.  And the toys that represent it, well, they’re pretty freaking awesome, too!

Here’s Kid Muscle’s championship belt, which he won defeating a horde of crazy competitors, proving his critics wrong and gaining the glory his father, King Muscle, once held.  If I had a belt like this I’d probably wear it, and nothing else, the next time I went club hopping… with your Mom.

Kid Muscle loves food, and his favorite meal of all… beef teriyaki and rice!  He actually sings a rather infectious song about it, sung in a positively annoying and obnoxious way; it goes something like this, “With my rice like I some cow, cow, cow!  It tastes so very good I don’t know how, how, how!”  Did I say how brilliant this show is?

Here are some bonus cards that come with the toy, which I know little to nothing about.  Apparently, there’s some sort of “battle game” you can play with other friends armed with their own cards, creating your own wrestling wars anywhere you please.  As tempting as that idea sounds, I think I’ll pass.  If you look closely at the card on the left, it instructs you to make your wrestler stand up, and according to the upper left hand corner of the card, standing up is worth 7,000 battle points.  Jesus!  I wonder how many points kicking a guy’s head is worth, 25,000?

In all seriousness, this toy rocks; but, my friends, the real joy is the animated series Ultimate Muscle, which sadly was cancelled here in America after only two seasons or so.  You can find some episodes on DVD at most online retailers or wherever you purchase movies, though, and I’d imagine if you tried hard enough and scoured the Internet, you could probably find a whole lot more than that.  I give it my highest recommendation.

Brian: I think I love you…

Kid Muscle: Would you like to go get some rice and cow?

Brian: Yes, yes I would.

Overall Grade: A+ 

Girl Scouts - Caramel deLites

We all know about Girl Scouts and their infamous cookies.  They’re addicting, plus, how can you say no to a Girl Scout?  Unless they’re asking you to pay for sexual favors – then you just need to get the hell out of there.  I’ll usually be coerced into buying multiple boxes of these fattening fan favorites.  Now, I’ve been told in the past that I’m a gullible guy.  I mean, when I was a kid, after playing Super Mario Bros. for the first time, I immediately rode my bike to the local pet shop.  I purchased a turtle, took it out to the parking lot, and began jumping up and down on it, wondering why I wasn’t receiving my unlimited 1 Ups.  I don’t even want to get into the story of the vomit stained college party, that I tried to leave via using a whistle, like Link did in The Legend of Zelda – but, I digress.

What makes these cookies so irresistible?  It’s not their rarity, because these things aren’t that rare.  When I use the term rare, I’m not talking, like obscure German expressionist film rare – I’m talking Michael Keaton blowjob Polaroid rare.  You dig?  There are many varieties, but I’m partial to Caramel deLites, a delicious blend of chocolate, caramel, coconut, and that perfect cookie crunch.  The cookie per cash ratio isn’t very high, but damn if those Girl Scouts don’t know how to make some wicked sweets.  You won’t be disappointed, like getting a handjob with no climax, or watching The Rock and his one-dimensional performance in Doom, it’s guaranteed, or some sacred Girl Scouts oath or something.  Eat these, and then eat yourself… later!

Overall Grade: B 

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Mexican-Style Chicken Fiesta Bites

We’ve all had chicken nuggets before, or at least presumably I’m going on that notion, but I’d wager cash (if I had any) that none of us equate processed chunks of chicken with the word “fiesta”—that is… until today.  I was walking around a local dilapidated grocery store the other week; you know the type… aisles in array, upon closer inspection a heavy amount of generic brands at arm’s length, and most notably, the defeat of not being able to compete with national and more popular stores and veritable “super” groceries ever apparent.  I stumbled upon this bag rather by chance, but knew at once that it was fate.  I was destined to eat “taco shell breaded bite size chicken patties”.

 There are a couple gimmicks involved here, actually; the first, the aforementioned taco shell breading that substitutes for the boring nugget variety we’re all accustomed to, and secondly, each nugget contains hints of real cheddar cheese and mild jalapeno peppers.  I figured if Redi-Serve had gone through this much effort, I’d do them proud by having a fiesta of nuggets complete with a margarita, sombrero, and a willingness to succumb to cheap labor.

Here are our pals in their frozen form, preparing to meet the inside of my oven in a one-night stand of pure unadulterated passion.  I apologize to my vegetarian readers out there; chicken nuggets conceptually are insulting enough, but to see said pieces of chicken meat crudely designed in what appears to be the shape of a nondescript hot pepper must be revolting.  Let’s eat!

The bag was supposed to be able to be reused utilizing this crazy new technology but failed miserably.  I ended up destroying it completely by accident during my frustrating attempts at freeing my precious chicken treats inside.

Here we see our mascot from the back of the bag—I’ve dubbed him “Cowboy Chicken” and he likes to party.  He likes long walks on the beach, Jell-O, amateur porn, and trying to beat others’ high score on Frogger.

Here’s the finished product!  Baked to a golden brown, these tasty morsels were now prepared to teach my palate a thing or two about partying.  I must admit though, before gushing, that my initial feelings were much more skeptical.  The odor of the frozen chicken nuggets wasn’t pleasant, a musty smell almost, like your next-door neighbor buried under a big pile of wet wood.  That and a series of other unfortunate events and I was almost prepared to scrap the fiesta entirely.  Let’s see what happened…

The first bite wasn’t impressive.  The meat seemed dryer than most frozen chicken I’ve encountered, and I wasn’t so sure these were such a hot idea in the end.  But, after only a couple more bites I changed my mind completely!  I used ketchup as a dip, although not the most appropriate choice, it’s about the only condiment in my fridge at the moment.  These things were a little spicy, but not overtly so, and the cheddar cheese complimented the other flavors perfectly.  In the end, I was pleased with my purchase—the bag contains enough for several servings, and it’s almost too unique a concept to not experience firsthand if given the opportunity.  Amigos, I suggest seeking a bag of these out; if you have any luck, drop a comment and I’ll report any findings in the future.  Adios!

Overall Grade: B