Saturday, December 28, 2013

RtW: Mad Mike's Burgers - Hamilton, OH Review

To end the RtW 2013 calendar year we bring you a review of Mad Mike's Burgers in Hamilton, OH! I'd heard rumblings about this new burger joint in my old hometown that was making some waves with the beef boys and grilled cheese girls. You know, fans of fries? So I rounded up the RtW posse and we stormed that place with big appetites and a desire to get our review on. They specialize in gourmet burgers and sandwiches with all sorts of oddball names like The Mafioso, Pride of Zeus, Shroomin', Look-Out-Below, What The Cluck, and many more. I tried the Rockefeller which has Blue Cheese Crumbles, Mango Chutney, Beer Battered Onion Strings, Cilantro Mayo, and Lettuce plus I added grilled mushrooms! Come see what we all thought of this burger behemoth!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Exploring Dabbelt's Market

In this surrealist masterpiece we head downtown at night to explore Dabbelt's Market (or Dabbelt's Super-Ette) in Hamilton, OH. In one of our more unusual, mysterious videos, we present a bizarre, hypnotic, David Lynch-like uncanny avant-garde adventure. We come for the Slush Puppie drinks and bad nachos and stay for phantasmagorical thrill. "I felt like an investigative journalist on the wrong side of the tracks in a surreal dream I couldn't wake up from." - Brian

Monday, December 9, 2013

Nick's Pump Rocket & Spicy Dill Pickle Chips

One of my favorite videos of the year! It represents a beautiful, scorching hot, summer day outdoors which is exactly why I saved it for the chilly snowdrifts of December! Nick brings some sort of weird Pump Rocket toy to the park. Soon fun turns fury as Nick turns the phallic shaped projectile on the rest of us! Then we review some Spicy Dill Pickle Chips. I had this idea to spin Chris in a tire swing and toss him chips to retrieve from mid-air and it failed harder than that watercolor you tried to do of the Mississippi River. Enjoy!

Friday, December 6, 2013

B&T Show #28: Knockoff Reese's Cups & Sprecher Sodas

This time Brian and Tim sit in the ballpark bleachers trying some knockoff brand Reese's Peanut Butter Cups then sample a variety of Sprecher brand delicious sodas!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your cat, err, turkey. All people are good, so treat all people good. Save me some candied yams!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bacon Soda

Bacon soda? Yes, to celebrate Thanksgiving this year at Review the World we decided to tempt or torture our taste buds marrying two of America's favorites together: bacon and soda. Will the gristly, greasy, taste of bacon transfer palatably to liquid form? I'll give you one guess. Enjoy!

Friday, November 22, 2013

B&T Show #27: Pearson's Bun Bars & Cincinnati Reds Taffy

Your boy Brian and his odd traveling compatriot Tim take a look at several varieties of Pearson's Bun Bars then sample some Cincinnati Reds Taffy inside the ballpark!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Flav-or-Ice Squeeze Candy & Mutant Muffin

This duo video is a tag team of tantalizing footage for your optical devices. Up first the guys try a marshmallow squeeze candy based upon popular popsicle brand Flav-or-Ice. Will this gooey grape gunk be any good? Then to round us out Brian shows off and samples a rather interesting find: a neon green mutant muffin! Is something that offensively colorful really edible? Will he turn into a hybrid mutant crossed with the last animal he came into contact with?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Emperor Zurg toy & Slush Puppie Dip-n-Lik Candy

Next to a moldy house Brian reviews an Emperor Zurg toy from Walt Disney. The antagonist of the Toy Story series doesn't get enough recognition and we discuss the character and its action figure counterpart. Next up Nick is on location among the graves as Slush Puppie makes its triumphant return to RtW this time in sucker form as a Dip-n-Lik candy concoction! Obscure toys, things getting sucked on in a cemetery, this one has it all!

Friday, November 8, 2013

B&T Show #26: Sin Energy Drinks & Jelly Belly Chocolate Dips

This time Brian and Tim sample some putrid Sin Energy Drinks in-front of a dilapidated grocery store then try Jelly Belly Chocolate Dips curbside in a swank neighborhood. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Goya Malt Beverage & Tamarind Soda

This time the guys sample two unique international drinks including Tamarind flavored soda and Goya Malt beverage. Are these oddities going to win us over or leave us scarred for life? Will Eddie spit or swallow? On Parkamo Ave. the guys dabble in livid libation.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

B&T Show #25: UFO & Ghost Discussion

Originally intended to be part of this year's Halloween video a lively discussion between Tim and Brian goes 20+ minutes about all things UFO and ghosts. You don't need to go to Area 51 to get spooked. Just watch!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mountain Dew Voltage and BMX At Dark

During a quick stop at Circle K we discovered they were the exclusive home of Mountain Dew Voltage as a fountain beverage. Enticed by the purplish blue hue of the soft drink and since Nick offered to buy Brian does a live review! In the second segment Brian is joined by family, his brother and cousin, to do some late night BMX bike riding. If this were 1999 we'd call this video Xtreme!!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

B&T Show #24: 2013 Halloween Special

Our seventh Halloween special! Can't believe we've been doing these yearly since 2007. This time Brian and Tim spend an hour celebrating all things Halloween: Ghoul Aid, Jones Soda, tons of candy, and frighteningly bad attempts at humor! Enjoy and have a great and safe Halloween everyone!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Chocolate Pop Rocks

Feeling the Halloween spirit Brian rocking a vintage A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master t-shirt from '88 is joined by Eddie and Nick under a bridge to sample chocolate coated Pop Rocks! An ingenious creation if ever there was one. Or is it? How does the beloved popping candy handle going to brown town? Pop and lock your way over to the like, thumbs up, subscribe, etc. buttons to show your support!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Munchies Doritos Supreme Pizza Sandwich Crackers

The guys are downtown amid gothic churches and big business to sample some crackers with a far too long name. Surpreme pizza flavored sandwich crackers made by the unholy tag team of Munchies & Doritos. We sample the snack, get accosted by a deranged fan, answer pay phones, and more!

Friday, October 11, 2013

B&T Show #23: Mystery Comics

The B&T Show returns with a look at a box of mystery comic books we received in the mail. I'm not sure what fascinating reads reside in it but I'm hoping there's an issue of Savage Dragon the guys will toss my way!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Killer Buzz Energy Drinks

1:30AM sounds like a great time to consume a bunch of energy drinks. Right? Brian and some of the RtW gang take a look at six beverages from Killer Buzz out of Alabama. We sample Proto, Hybrid, Dragon Spit, Livid, Zilch, and Luscious Latte. Will this smaller company's underdog offerings satisfy and satiate our appetite for explosive energy, mental acuity, and maybe most importantly, flavor? What are giant hornet amino acids? We'll find out and rest assured the lethal concoction renders us slaphappy and prone to bouts of chaotic carnage as drinks go flying, a donkey eats a spinkick, and axes get brought into the fray. Watch.. NOW!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Get In the Trunk 3: All Trunks Go to Heaven

In the underground phenomenon and cult classic Get In the Trunk, #$%^@! infamous drug dealer Stretch got the best of two friends shoving one of them in a car trunk. In the sequel after disappearing for months the friend returned and sought his revenge this time stuffing Stretch himself in a trunk. The stakes are raised this time. Stretch is back in town, this time with a henchman named Constrict, running the drug game and eliminating foes while enjoying the finest hoes. The friends seek to get rid of Stretch for once and all by utilizing some "trunk magic" but will their gamble pay off? All we can say is someone's getting thrown in a trunk, b*tch!

Watch the original Get In the Trunk, #%@^&!

Friday, September 27, 2013

B&T Show #22: KFC Hot Bites & Rapid Fire Reviews

Your favorite heterosexual homeboys are back with another review for them eye sockets! Up first Kentucky Fried Chicken's latest new item Hot Bites! Spicy, buffalo-style chicken bites get served then critiqued. Then we try a new segment "Rapid Fire" Reviews where the guys do a speed round of random items inc. Takis Xtra Hot snacks, Vanilla Cupcake & S'mores Goldfish crackers, ICEE squeeze candy, and more!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Takis Nitro Habanero Lime

Hanging out on the corner of Lincoln and Parkamo Ave. on "The Knob" in Hamilton, OH the RtW gang tries out Takis' Nitro flavor a habanero and lime hybrid that's supposed to pack some serious heat to be discreet. Will our tongues get scorched or will we laugh at Takis' piquant challenge?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Sno Days Shaved Ice - Hamilton, OH

After a long day of filming we stumbled upon Sno Days during their last hours of operation for the 2013 season. Only open during the summer months this shack of sweet shaved ice serendipitously fell into our lap. Not only do we sample some delicious frozen treats but also pay our respects and say farewell to an excellent summer season as the day draws to a close. Join us on this impromptu review as we discover what exactly is Tiger's Blood and wax poetic on the passing of time.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Giants Roasted Corn Snacks

Now here's a weird one! What starts off as typical food review, this time looking at Giants brand corn snacks, both Honey Barbeque Rib and Bacon Ranch flavors, turns into something more bizarre! Feeling adventurous we ventured behind an old, dilapidated, closed grocery and entered into what resembled a post-apocalypitic playground full of graffiti, broken glass, overgrown plant life, and more. We couldn't help but explore deeper and what we found may shock you!

Friday, September 13, 2013

B&T Show #21: Bag of Crap Redux

New B&T Show! The boys return to an old favorite the infamous "Bag of Crap" only to find out they've bitten off more than they can chew with the filthiest, dirtiest, nastiest bag of thrift store junk yet!:

Monday, September 9, 2013

Randy & Sanchez Show - Chapter V

In this the fifth chapter of the Randy & Sanchez saga our hapless heroes continue their pilgrimage to the gladiatorial games. This time they run into several interesting characters, from a trash-talking skater, a curiously complimentary Rico, to another duo also in search of the games! All we can say is this episode ends with a SPLASH!

If you're new to Randy and Sanchez or just want to relive their earlier adventures they can be found below with #1-3 featured in episodes of RtW TV and #4 onward as individual videos:

Randy & Sanchez #3
Randy & Sanchez #4

The thrilling conclusion of the Randy & Sanchez show premieres Dec. 16th! Mark your calendars!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Peanut Butter and Jelly Soda

In celebration of "Back to School" we present our latest beverage brouhaha! Brian and the gang sample Peanut Butter and Jelly soda. Will it call to mind sweet reminisces of hand-packed school lunches and mom's PB&J sandwiches? Or will it taste like wet bread and nut? Don't hurt your brain grappling with those inquiries and just WATCH!

Friday, August 30, 2013

B&T Show #20: Pringles, Kids' Book, Gold Star Chili, & Cell Phone

B&T Show turns 20 with this new hodgepodge of hotness episode! Up first the guys our joined by guest reviewer Chris M. to try four varieties of Pringles: Frank's RedHot Wings, Xtra Tangy Buffalo Wing, Chile y Limón, and Lime & Black Pepper. Tim reads a children's book about poles. The guys try some chili cheese coneys and Tex-Mex nachos from Gold Star Chili. And lastly, Tim talks cell phones. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fun Dough Spring Pack

Even though it's summer the RtW crew felt it appropriate to bust out a limited edition "Spring Pack" of Fun Dough. You know Fun Dough, right? Its sort of plays the unsightly younger sister to Play-Doh's bombshell older one. While Easter is far off we still got our hands dirty with pastel putty as each of us sculpted our own unique creation. Who's was the most inventive? Original? Deranged? And will our sculptures live on to see another tomorrow or end up balled up and stuffed back into their dark containers forevermore? We answer these questions and more in this new video!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Root Beer Stand - Sharonville, OH

Brian and the Review the World crew take in some dinner at the legendary Root Beer Stand. Opening in 1957 this Greater Cincinnati landmark is known as a great place for family and friends to come for food and especially root beer! We go inside and outside the restaurant, try a variety of menu items, share our impressions of the food and ambiance, and more!

Friday, August 16, 2013

B&T Show #19: Brand Name vs. Generics - Sprite and Friends

On this episode Brian and Tim sample Sprite and 9 or so other varieties of lemon lime soda. We see if there's any real discernible difference between the name brand and the generics. Oh, did I mention these drinks had been sitting in a pantry for two years?

Monday, August 12, 2013

TMNT Raphael Toy Review & Poetry Corner

Brian and Eddie reflect on the TMNT franchise in general as they take a stroll then turn their attention to reviewing a Raphael action figure from the new TMNT toy line. Then in another edition of RtW Poetry Corner Brian breaks from tradition and instead of regaling us with his own prose turns to one of his favorite writers Jack Kerouac and reads his "Hymn".

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Totino's Pizzeria Rolls

In the underground pizza rolls scene I'm among the cognoscenti. Back in July of 2005 on the old school Review the World site (surely some if not most of you remember it designed from the start till the end gloriously with Netscape Composer '97) I held a special event: Pizza Roll Week! Technically it was only a six-day affair but at the time it was a first for me (an entire themed week) and while it left a miniscule mark if any on the Internet I felt like I was doing something special in my own little world.

The big push to do it came from the release of two new lines of Totino's rolls: Sandwich and Mexican. Everyone knows their Pizza Rolls. But these were something else! Now you could try cheeseburger and ham and cheese rolls, as well as cheesy taco and chicken and cheese quesadilla ones! I went on a mission to find them all procuring most of them at a neighborhood grocery that I'm sad to report has long since went the way of the buffalo and Dennis Hopper. If memory serves I did eat most of them in real time to keep on a tight posting schedule. Nowadays I'll often having months worth of videos in the can and stagger their post dates (hell I'm writing this in late-June!) in case real life gets too much in the way but back then I lacked that foresight.

Another reason that week and those old posts are so special to me (enough so Pizza Rolls has its own heading in the categories section on the blog) is it was a changing time in my personal life. My longtime girlfriend (and first "real" love) Molly and I had separated months prior and I'd started dating (my future wife) Amanda. I think even during one of our initial times hanging out I forced her on a run to said grocer to trek the frozen foods aisle in search of an elusive roll variety. So now I can't go back and look at those old articles without feeling sentimental and nostalgic.

This is all preface to say: eight years later Totino's has FINALLY unveiled some new rolls! I'd waited for this day for a long time. The brand new Pizzeria line! Allegedly Italian favorites this new line is something new and appealing. I'll only be reviewing two of the three flavors (the 2005 completist in me just died a little) as funds are embarrassingly low and a tip from a friend was that the Cheesy Garlic rolls blew more than Nature Calls.

Meatball Marinara

Here's the rolls pre-bake. I must say my expectations are high. Not only is this the first new Totino's flavor I've had in nearly a decade but I love meatball hoagies which is sort of the taste profile they're angling for here. There used to be a place in my childhood neighborhood called Angilo's that had UNREAL meatball hoagies. Sadly they only live on in memory like my Centipede high score.

Feast your eyes on Totino's new rolls! The blurry iPhone photo doesn't do it justice. How is it that I was taking not just sharper, clearer, but also better framed photos back in '05? Anyway, lousy picture aside, I did tip my hat to the famed Pizza Roll Week by giving a cameo to a random small toy. I did however miss the opportunity to do a real un-PC close-up, guts and all, of the roll's interior.

Verdict? It haunts me to tell you these were fairly pedestrian. I was expecting fireworks and got waterworks. They're not bad, in fairness, I ate the entire 40 count bag in the span of a week or so, but they just didn't pack much of a wallop in the flavor department. I think maybe the switch from pizza sauce to marinara was detrimental. The new sauce is awfully thick and sort of insipid. The meatballs, which should have been the star, front and center, bursting with flavor, were footnotes at best. In theory a dream roll but in execution a death toll.

Chicken Parmesan

I didn't buy these at the same time as the others. I waited a few weeks. Built that anticipation. Expectations begin raising. The afternoon I first put these in the oven I was almost giddy in excitement. I envisioned the best Totino's roll yet.

I went all out with the plate photo. If history repeats it may be another decade before Totino's rolls out any new rolls. I won't beat around the bush or the tush. These were lackluster. I was so ready to champion them but they're anemic and better left forgotten. I was more shocked than when Earthquake squashed Jake "The Snake" Roberts' snake. The Meatball Marinara seemed commonplace but at least they had some personality. These were lacking any real discernible flavor. Trust me. It pains me to say these things. This almost tasted like an ingredient-less roll. No meats, vegetables, cheese, etc. just some sauce in a boring husk. Granted, in fear of burning them (which I always do) and having their guts burst out onto the cookie sheet in the oven, I only baked them for 8 min. and as a result the cheese hadn't entirely melted and was still cubed in shape, but the "chicken" was such an afterthought it was difficult even detecting its presence.

Now, sometimes when I review food and other stuff, I'll give some ideas of my own for improvement. I think they could have really improved these. First, Chicken Parmesan is a great dish, but the chicken is breaded, the tiny, miniscule pieces of chicken in these rolls was sans breading and as such flaky, tasteless meat morsels. Also, and this may be going out on a limb, but why not include some chopped up spaghetti in the rolls? Sure, it's outside the box, but you don't eat authentic Chicken Parm on its own, it's served on or beside a portion of spaghetti. That would have added a unique component to what ended up being a tepid offering.

Overall Grade: D+

In conclusion, sure, these rolls weren't impressive. They don't touch the original Pizza Rolls, and even the not without their own flaws Sandwich and Mexican Rolls were far superior. That all being said my disappointment is masked by the pangs of joy upon fist discovering these. I'd rather Totino's try and fail then not try at all. Let's hope it's not another eight years until we get the next new ones. Philly Cheesesteak, Eggplant Parmesan, and Chicken Curry rolls, anyone?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Flamin' Hot Funyuns

The RtW boys are back with another Flamin' review! Back in July we looked at Fritos gone flaming and now we're back to look at how Funyuns fare fiery. We break tradition and shoot this review in one shot, no cuts, edits, etc. sitting around in a circle in the park Kumbaya-style passing the camera and soaking up the positive energy a picnic brings. Enjoy!

Friday, August 2, 2013

B&T Show #18: Red Velvet Pop Tarts & Kismet Game

Brian and Tim are back with another show! This time the guys sample Red Velvet Pop Tarts late at night on the mean streets of Hamilton then test "fate" by poorly playing the dice game Kismet.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Watermelon Kool-Aid, Lemon Berry Squeeze & Grapefruit Dots

In this video cornucopia Brian tries Kool-Aid's latest flavor Watermelon. Will it be juicy and sweet to help beat summer's heat? Then he's joined be some of the RtW crew to try Hawaiian Punch's Lemon Berry Squeeze and an obscure candy find Sour Grapefruit Dots. Enjoy!

Get ready for August! We've got seven videos lined up and also an article (I still write on rare occasion!). The Summer of RtW is going out with a bang, baby! Be here!

Friday, July 26, 2013

B&T Show #17: Electric Jeopardy

Season premiere of The Brian and Tim Show! This time Tim and I join forces to play some Electric Jeopardy from 1987. Who's got more useless trivia in their heads? What glamorous prizes are at stake? How many ridiculous hats can I wear in one skit? All those questions (and many more) answered in our latest video!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Buffalo Wing Soda

Do you like spicy, smoky, meaty buffalo wings? How about drinking them!? Brian and the crew samples this unique, potentially revolting beverage in our latest video. Will our throats be singed by Buffalo Wing Soda or will we rejoice in this liquid meat monstrosity?

Also, season two of the Brian & Tim Show kicks off this Fri. on 7/26 and I'll have another RtW review video up early next week.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Drinking A Can of Pepsi Summer Mix from 2007

It's summertime and what better way to celebrate the sweltering season than.. drink a can of Pepsi Summer Mix from 2007? Watch as Brian and friends sample, pontificate, and gurgle this vintage soda pop. Are the RtW boys in for putrid punishment or summery satisfaction? And will Pepsi offer indemnification if they get ill? Watch this sizzling new video and find out!

Our next update will be a video on Buffalo Wing Soda on 7/23! It's going to be spicy, meaty, and sugary next week on RtW!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Duck Jerky, Jelly Belly Tangerine Soda & RtW Poetry Corner

First, Brian and friends with mere minutes remaining on the memory card give a quick, high-energy review of both a Maple Duck Stick and Jelly Belly Tangerine soda. Duck jerky and an odd drink alongside the Great Miami River? Sure! Secondly Brian reads a poem that discusses the lack of Game Genie codes for life, disappointment in Chevy Chase's racism, and much more. Enjoy!

Next week is a big one! I dust off one of the most beloved RtW articles of all-time and my own bildungsroman 25 Years of Me and update it for the present day (31 Years of Me? Doesn't quite have the same ring to it!) on 7/16 and then.. on 7/17.. the highly anticipated Drinking An Unopened Can of Pepsi Summer Mix from 2007 video goes up! Don't miss it!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Ruffles MAX Beer Battered Onion Rings Chips & Mallo Cups

Brian is joined by Chris and Tim in the middle of the night outside a garage to try Ruffles MAX Beer Battered Onion Rings Chips and Mallo Cups. Can Ruffles encapsulate the tasty of greasy, fried onion rings in chip form? Are Mallo Cups superior than the much more celebrated Reese's Cups? We answer those questions and unravel other life's mysteries in our latest video!

We'll have another brand new video up this Thur. 7/11 so check back!  Also, forget to mention it sooner, but here's a link to my monthly film blog with a list of the movies I screened in June. If only there were more hours in the day to devote strictly to reviews and watching cartoons and films!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Flamin' Hot Fritos

Brian and the gang were familiar with some of the more common Flamin' Hot snacks (Cheetos, Lays, etc.) but sought out some of the lesser known ones. We sample the spicy snack and give our unadulterated commentary. Bring something cool to drink and join us as we brave the flames!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

AirHeads Stripes

Brian's joined by friends to try the delicious and elusive AirHeads Stripes! Each taffy contains two striped flavors inc. Blue Raspberry & Cherry, Watermelon & Strawberry, and Double Mystery! We sample some candy in alleyways and outside dilapidated vacant houses. RtW is feeling the summer spirit, baby!

Right now it looks like our next update will be on 7/2 looking at Flamin' Hot Fritos! Drop a comment here on the blog, like us on Facebook, thumbs up and subscribe on YouTube, etc. Hope you're all enjoying all the new RtW content this summer!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Crab Curls with Cheese

Brian is joined by his cousin Eric to try some Maryland crab seasoned cheese curls. Apologies for the terrible lighting, we weren't intending on filming this and it was the middle of the night, but there is a Rude Ralph sighting so that balances it out.

Next video is Tue. 6/25 and it's a candy review and one of my favorite things we've shot so far this summer. Thanks for supporting RtW!

Monday, June 17, 2013

RtW Waxes Philosophical

RtW Webmaster Brian sits down with a friend to bring you Reflections on Life, Positivity, Happiness, and Growth. This 30 min. informal conversation is just us riffing on life and attempting to find our footing in it. It's unrehearsed and (at least on Review the World) unprecedented. We hope you'll find it interesting, maybe even inspirational, and would love for you to join into the dialogue by sharing your comments.

For those wanting something a little less esoteric, no worries, we'll be back on Thur. 6/20 and Tue. 6/25 with a brand new fun review videos.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

3 UK Chips! Worcester Sauce, Roast Chicken, & Tingly Prawn Cocktail!

Brian, Eddie, and RtW newcomer Chris H. try three British chip varieties including Walkers' Simply Roast Chicken and Famously Worcester Sauce, and Skips' Tingly Prawn Cocktail! Will this "British Invasion" beset the Beatles'? Open up your eyes as we open our mouths and minds to a UK threesome.

Up next, on 6/17 a special, more esoteric video, as a friend and I sit and chat philosophy, positivity, life, etc. that if nothing else will give fans a look into the mind of RtW webmaster Brian, then on 6/20 my cousin Eric and I will be trying some crab flavored cheese curls!

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Cat Mechanic from Under the Bridge

My mind often wanders and the other day while sitting in the family room my two tiny kids rumpus in something caught my eye (no not the stack of Goosebumps 2000 books I'm working through).

Behold, the Cat Mechanic from Under the Bridge!  I don't know what it is about me that I anthropomorphize things, that is to say I ascribe human characteristics often to inanimate objects and whatnot.  I also sometimes develop backstories in my brain for said things.  Once my eyes caught this cat, likely a salaried artists' quickly forgotten sketch to finish another paid gig, I felt compelled to know more about him (or her?).  What was his story?  Why was he running a service garage under a bridge?  Did he in fact work there, or was he just a stowaway, perhaps a mechanic's beloved pet?   Tires and wrench?  Check.  Unlabeled bottles of assorted color liquids?  Check I guess?  His smile says to me that he is content with his lot in life.  I believe that he went to a trade school, knowing money was in it, unlike his older brother Samuel who went the more Liberal Arts way, spending time leisurely on promenades reading books in the shade, while our Cat Mechanic was getting oily and dirty learning how to do a proper lube job.  If you need an oil change or tire rotation tell him RtW sent you!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Randy & Sanchez Show - Cat Tastrophe

The perilous journey of our lovable loser duo advances as they continue trekking onward in search of prize money at the gladiatorial games. This time they dodge the cops, meet a feline lover of wood carvings, survive attack, and more!

If you're new to Randy and Sanchez or just want to relive their earlier adventures they can be found below featured in episodes of RtW TV:

Over on my non-RtW film blog I've posted my monthly screening list of the new movies I watched.  Did you guys see anything good last month?

Also, the Summer of RtW is underway! Expect new content all summer long. Up next, a new written piece on Fri. 7th and the next HD video up Tue. 11th!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Slush Puppie Fruity Tubes

Known in the Midwest by children of the '80's for their delicious, colorful frozen slush beverages, the Cincinnati company is now owned by ICEE, and are currently producing several different varieties of candies under the Slush Puppie name and accompanying mascot. On this review we sample their Fruity Tubes, long, unwieldy candy-filled candy tubes. Do they warm our nostalgic hearts? Taste any good? Find out!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

China Max - Cincinnati Premium Outlets

The Cincinnati Premium Outlets is sort of like an outdoor mall that wears its fanciness like a badge of honor.  Only a few years old now I've always had a bit of a grudge with it personally.  See, the owners original presence in this area was buying one of my all-time favorite places on Earth the Forest Fair Mall while it was on its deathbed and gave it life again in 2004 as Cincinnati Mills.  After a couple years it deteriorated and lost most of its tenants and instead of trying to keep it afloat they sold it off (to a group that's now sold it yet again, but I digress) and started from scratch building this brand new shopping enterprise in Monroe, OH.  I had only been here once before and it was cold and windy so not an ideal time to shop at an outdoor destination but I did recall seeing a quaint food court that caught my eye and knew one day I'd be back.  That leads us to this review!

The food court is tiny, there's the eateries above and maybe 2-3 more tops.  But given its newness it is very clean, bright, and as such accommodating.  Now, before I get into my review proper I need to say I made a mistake.  I should have ate at Steak It Out.  Now, that's not a knock per se on where I did dine, by any means, but I'm a sucker for a Philly cheesesteak, as well as eating at spots that are new to me, so that would have been a win-win and a bit more off the beaten path which I welcome.  But, I'd had a fairly heavy dinner late the night prior, with fries and all, and felt a change of style would be welcomed and opted for Chinese.

Now, "food court Chinese" is a term my wife and I coined and it's not a positive one.  We go to a lot of malls and we dubbed this term as you often order the stuff then regret it.  They yell at you to try a sample, you get pulled in, find it hard to escape, get the food, then many times feel remorseful.  Not always the case but in the realm of Chinese dining (takeout, buffets, sit-down, etc.) food courts easily ranks last.  China Max struck me similar to Max Orient which I reviewed back in 2005 (!) and not just in name.  Max Orient at Kenwood Towne Center mall is probably the leader of the pack when it comes to "food court Chinese" so I adjusted my expectations accordingly.

This is my daughter Yukari and I right as I made my decision where to get my grub on.

Here's my spread!  I did the pick three entrée plate with fried rice.  I went with Orange Chicken, I believe they called the middle one BBQ Chicken, and then General Tso's to add a little spice to my life.

A meeting of the minds!  My son Owen and I post-lunch.

The food was pretty good and I'd safely put it in the B range.  It wasn't extraordinary or surprising enough to get up to an A but I wouldn't really expect "food court Chinese" to.  Given my somewhat reserved expectations it was satisfying.  The chicken entrees were all hot and fresh (we were there fairly early so I likely got this out of the first batch of the day -- eat there at say 7:45PM and it might be a different story).  The rice was a bit deceptive as it looked better than the norm up at the counter almost as if it was cooked just a little long developing some crust and character but it actually was a bit dry and bland and given my son's love of noodles I definitely regretted not going with the lo mein to share.  I had my customary water to drink and finished the whole plate happily.

A predictable but enjoyable lunch and now I have a reason to return so I can try out Steak It Out!  I still have mixed feelings on the Outlets.  Seems more like a place to be seen then to shop or hang.  I like traditional malls because if you desire you can blend in finding nooks and crannies to just chill.  Given the high-end retailers and outdoors element it seemed many here were just excited at the first warm Ohio day post-Winter and wanted to see or be seen.  I did score a large fresh-made lemonade at a stand which is refillable for the season at $5 and $2 on return trips so I'll be sure to get some use out of that this Summer.  They've also got a Disney Store and on this visit they had a lot of close-out specials and we got a few things including something I'll be writing about down the road.

Overall Grade: B

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sonic the Hedgehog Loves Chili Dogs!

Growing up I was more of a Mario guy but my love for Sonic grew as I got immersed in some of his other non-video game areas such as the various cartoon spin-offs he starred in and the long-running comic book series.  One particular peculiar quirk about Sonic also always struck a chord with me personally -- he loves chili dogs!

Are you familiar with chili dogs?  They're known locally as coneys and I've heard them sometimes referred to by the more generic catchall name chili cheese dogs.  By locally I mean the Midwest or more specifically here in the Cincinnati area where both chili spaghetti and chili dogs are absolute staples of our culinary scene.  I won't go into detail on the history of these dishes but will say I've encountered people from other parts of the country who look at me like I'm crazy when I say we Ohioans regularly put chili on our spaghetti or hot dogs.  I can assure you here it's as normal as hamburgers, pizza, or any other American edible staple.

I should also talk about Sonic and his own history with this delicious food item.  He's known most popularly for indulging in his favorite food in several of the animated series' he's in including Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog (know by fans as SatAM), and Sonic Underground.  Earliest canonical reference to Sonic's love of chili dogs appears to be in Sonic the Comic #5 from July of '93 and later in Sonic the Hedgehog #0 they added some backstory seeing Sonic and an uncle operating a chili dog stand.  Sonic's infatuation with chili dogs also bleeds into many of the video games including the ability to purchase various types of hot dogs in Sonic Unleashed as power-ups, in cutscenes in Sonic and the Black Knight, as a birthday present in Sonic Generations, and in smaller shout-outs in titles such as Sonic & Sega All-Star Racing, Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, and in the Japanese manual for Sonic Advance 3.  Heck, there was even a children's audio book that ended up having Sonic's passion for chili dogs as a major plot point!

One night I was hungry late and knew my buddy Sonic was speeding into town to watch the odd double-header of The Garbage Pail Kids Movie and Red Hook Summer with me.  I ran to Gold Star Chili (usually I'm a Skyline guy and with the threat of being too insider here I know my fellow Ohioans and transplants know what I'm talking about!) and got some chili dogs.  The one on the right is "firehouse" style meaning it's got a spicy seasoning mix sprinkled on it and some signature hot sauce blend inside.

I presented Sonic with his chili dog!  I could literally see his mouth watering.

He proved nice enough to even share a bite with me.  What a swell hedgehog!

And the only proof I have of this visit is a rancid stain on my hard to replace collectible plush doll.

And here's a random assortment of images featuring Sonic getting his chili dog on:

The official recipe for Sonic's chili dogs originally appeared printed in the first issue of Archie Sonic the Hedgehog.  Had I, I don't know, possibly planned this out at all in advance I could have taken a crack at making them myself.  But alas I urge you all to make Sonic's patented recipe and share your results in the comments and/or RtW Facebook page.  Enjoy!

Chili Dog a la Sonic
  • Brown 1 lb ground beef
  • Add ½ cup each of chopped onions, peppers and mushrooms (brown lightly)
  • Add 1 large can of crushed tomatoes
  • Add 8 oz barbecue sauce
  • Simmer ½ hour
  • Add 1 teaspoon each of chili powder, cumin, oregano
  • Add 1 large can red kidney beans (drained)
  • Simmer 1 hour
  • Add hot dogs
  • Cook 15 minutes in sauce
  • Put on toasted roll
  • (melted cheese optional)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Five for $5 Dollar Store Challenge feat. RtW, Dino Drac, & VM

Wow!  So, this is actually happening.  I'm getting to from a team with the creator of my all-time favorite website and also one of my best Internet buddies.  Together we make a sort of super-heroic all-star team of the Internet pop culture set -- as unplanned as your last pregnancy but arguably as fun!

Our mission?  Spend $5 at a dilapidated dollar store.  Share your finds.  We all went into this boldly and bravely.  Let's see what we got!

My video!

At 18 min. mine is the epic but I'm placing it here first so as not to The Godfather III myself.

Matt's (Dinosaur Dracula) video!

This is crazy.  This would be like, say, a young songwriter getting to make a cameo on his favorite musician's new record.  Or an aspiring basketball player being asked to shoot hoops with Lebron.  Just doesn't happen.  Matt's X-Entertainment and now Dinosaur Dracula are as big as part of my life as Alf and Super Mario Bros. and the pop culture stuff he so richly covers on his site.  It's an honor, privilege, and strangely arousing situation I find myself in working alongside one of my idols.  Thanks, Matt!

Will's (VeggieMacabre) video!

Will is one of my best buddies and he brings it in this video.  Also admire his amazing room decor as that wall of horror and pop culture inspired artwork is to kill for.  We've teamed up on some stuff in the past and as always it was my pleasure.

We all had so much fun working together on this oddball project.  Please comment here on this post and on the RtW Facebook and join in on chatter over on Matt's post and Will's too.  Thanks so much for the support!  Now I've got some clam juice to go clean up.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Ice Age Sour Gummies

Brian and Eddie of RtW give musings on the Ice Age film franchise and officially licensed sour gummies!  Should these movie theater castoff candies go extinct or be preserved by edible archeologists for generations to come to admire and ponder?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tastykake - Claiming Hostess' Snack Cake Throne?

Brian, Eddie, and Nick of RtW check out some of the goodies from Tastykake a potential usurper to Hostess' former snack cake throne out in the frigid cold. Sampled and soliloquized are their Reese's Peanut Butter Kandy Bar Kakes and their answer to the beloved Twinkie their Dreamies Creme Kakes.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Old Lucy Christmas Cookie

I've grown into being a huge Peanuts fan.  Back in high school I randomly picked up the Peanuts holiday specials box-set on DVD.  I didn't have a major connection to them growing up and pretty much bought it as an impulse purchase.  What an excellent decision it was.  Ever since they've become integral parts of my Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  I watch them yearly and hold them up there alongside some of my most beloved cartoons and films. Less than a year ago someone mentioned The Complete Peanuts anthologies collecting the original Peanuts comic strips from 1950-2000 (they're releasing two volumes per year and are currently up to the late-'80's) and I realized quickly how foolish I had been not to seek them out sooner and immediately set to the library to put them all on hold and ravenously read them.  I'm still working through them but it's been an amazing journey and has led me to the opinion Charles "Sparky" Schulz is one of the greatest of all American writers.  My Peanuts love even leads me to lurking almost daily the live webcams at Redwood Empire Ice Arena (AKA Snoopy's Home Ice) an awesome ice arena Schulz had built in 1969 among the towering redwoods in his adopted home of Santa Rosa.  I saw a bonus feature on the He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown DVD that spotlighted the arena and planted the seed for an eventual visit for me as I fell in love with the place in a way I can't quite articulate nor fully comprehend.

The story behind this cookie itself is also worth telling.  I was in a Hallmark store at a mall and while I usually eye stuff there I'd like to write about it's usually way out of my price range so I just window shop unless it's the holidays and I'm buying an ornament or something.  As I was looking at a birthday card featuring an orangutang in a tutu I noticed behind the racking a lone cookie lying on the floor amid the mothballs and dust.  I retrieved it, promptly paid for it, and left as if I was fleeing the scene of a crime (like when Booker T robbed all of those Wendy's' restaurants).  Research shows this was from the 2011 Christmas season and that fact will not deter me from reviewing this odd edible.  I placed it next to trading cards of Vin Baker and Jon Barry of the '94-'95 Milwaukee Bucks for to give you an ideal of scale and size.

There's the "World's Greatest Fussbudget" herself, Lucy Van Pelt!

I decided I wanted to document in some way the fact I did try to eat this and also log courtroom worthy evidence I'm perhaps not entirely mentally stable.  This picture was like killing two birds with one stone in that case.

Sorry for the unsavory photo everyone.  That's what I spit into the sink after my one and only bite.  Maybe this should have been a video review (I tend to think everything should be a video -- writing takes far longer and do people even still read in this futuristic time we find ourselves living in?) so you could have seen the entering and exiting of Lucy into my mouth (that sounded more risque than intended).  The flavor was like a wax from a melted candle covering an old Nilla wafer.  Also of note was how damn hard it was to actually break with my teeth and then there's the black icing that turned my mouth two shades darker than Don Cheadle's taint at midnight in a pitch black Louisiana bayou where he happened to fall into a mineshaft into a waiting casket that's door slammed shut.  Yes, it was that dark.

Lucy, into the far recesses of my freezer you go, next to the leafy spinach.

Overall Grade: B-

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Batman Disc Launcher Game

Brian, Eddie, and Nick of the RtW crew try out a Batman Disc Launcher game. Wanting to imitate the caped crusader high atop the buildings of Gotham we trek to a really tall... playground. Will we take out the Joker?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Potbelly Sandwich Works

There's a lot of sandwich chains competing for your munching money.  I've had most of them and the race for the top spot is not unlike Excitebike and closer than you might think.  But for me the result has been decided as Potbelly Sandwich Works is my personal favorite.  The menu may not be as extensive as some places, but they more than make up for that insufficiency with quality ingredients and craft.  I also really like the interior.  It feels like a deli mixed with an Ivy League library.  At my local location there's a very small stage in the corner where they'll have live solo singer/songwriter acts perform and adorning the walls near it are bookshelves with some choice titles (thought about leaving one of my own there).

My wife will usually get  a salad and I'll always end up chowing down on some of it also.  My son Owen likes to dig in, going after chickpeas, tomatoes, bacon, and other morsels he can nab with his tiny fingers.  This time she tried the Farmhouse Salad with comes with all-natural chicken, hard-boiled egg, bacon, blue cheese, tomatoes, red onion, and cucumbers.  With the buttermilk ranch it was both delicious and flavorful.

Here's my spread!  I order the Turkey BLT on wheat.  Now, at one point this was the advertised special sandwich (which is ever-changing) but since then it doesn't appear on the menu, I still order it by name and that seems to do the trick and I'd certainly recommend it.  I also got some Zapp's Mesquite Bar-B-Que chips (Owen was definitely a fan) and their potato salad which is out of this world.  Seriously, whether you love it or loathe it most of the time, you simply need to try theirs, it's creamy and smooth and a very nice accompaniment to a sandwich.

Sandwich perfection.  Besides the turkey, bacon, lettuce, and tomato, I also got mayo, pickles (theirs are long and thin), onions, and Italian seasoning sprinkled on for the hell of it.  Their sandwiches come in two sizes and its always a good idea to go "Bigs" which is 30% more food for just a little more.  I've tried the Tuna Salad, Meatball, and Pizza Sandwich, but right now my easy choice is this Turkey BLT.

Brandon "Big Boss" Babel: Driver, get me to Potbelly!
Driver: Sure thing, sir! Uh.. what about the bound and gagged man in the trunk?
"Big Boss": Let him wait! AHAHAHA!

Overall, I really like this place.  It's not a fancy night out or a guilty pleasure burger joint or diner, it's a sandwich shop no pretensions; but rather on your lunch break, grabbing food to go, or dining in with friends or family, it's a solid option.  Part of the reason I personally connect to it is often when my wife, our kids, and I go out to the nearby mall and shopping area, it's usually a staple in our day out as we'll grab lunch there so it holds a special place for me.  You must try some of their baked goods, grab one for dessert or to take home for a late-night snack, my wife and I are both crazy for their Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookie, it's moist and rich and we never visit without getting at least two!

Overall Grade: A-