Monday, October 5, 2020

Kit Kat Countdown: Apple Pie

 

Celebrating the spooky season we try Japan’s Halloween-themed apple pie Kit Kats! With purple packaging adorned by jack-o’-lanterns & ghosts these are perfect for horror’s favorite holiday. Put on your favorite ghoulish mask or paint your face and watch right now!

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Kit Kat Countdown: Japanese Black Tea

 

The boys of summer have gone but our year-long Kit Kat Countdown presses on! The boys sit on some bleachers at the ballfields but instead of watching a game they’re chomping on Japanese Black Tea flavored Kit Kats! With an earthy scent and a robust flavor profile these are likely to conjure Ice-T lyrics and British humor but our fearless taste team endures all and gives you a verbose verbal assessment.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Kit Kat Countdown: Whole Green Tea Leaf



We’re halfway into the year-long Kit Kat Countdown and since we started back in March with a matcha green tea flavor we found it appropriate to sample the Whole Green Tea Leaf edition at this milestone moment. At the same ballfields Brian played shortstop at as a youth the boys eat an incredibly grassy-looking Kit Kat bar. Go green with the RtW team and knock these green tea goliaths out of the park!

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Lay's Yogurt Soda, White Grape, & More Chips!


We're going international with some of the most bizarre flavors of Lay's (or any other!) chips I've ever encountered. When you're the kind of person for whom new or unique flavors of sundry food items is cause for celebration then you'll know the joy I felt finding these out in the wild. And by that I mean out on store shelves, not in the wild like a rain forest, although strangely I was wearing a safari hat that day.



I got these gems at CAM International Market. It's an Asian grocer that I've been frequenting for RtW fodder for over 15 years. If you look closely during the opening credits of the old RtW TV you can see me in its aisles holding a fish! How could I resist buying these? Yogurt. Soda. Yogurt Soda? And in chip form? I couldn't believe my eyes.


And White Grape Soda? Now they're just taunting us and challenging decency. We're talking about a beverage in chip form? We're mixing fruity with salty? We're out of our minds. Japan has always been one of the leaders in radical flavors and fun gimmicks when it comes to candy and snacks. They've further earned that reputation heartily when they ushered these into production and subsequently into our unsuspecting homes.


Mexican Chicken Tomato flavor

I had two revelations when trying these four bags of  Lay's. The first is that these, with the unlikely mouthful name of Mexican Chicken Tomato, are absolutely awesome. If you'd asked me previously what my favorite Lay's were I'd have said Chicken & Waffles (love that maple syrup-savory fried chicken hybrid) and Southern Biscuits & Gravy (pure nostalgia calling to mind my Dad's version of the dish). But now these are among the best Lay's I've ever tasted. Sure, the name is a head-scratcher, and if you look at the first picture way above and see the fuchsia colored bag, it's hard to discern what you're getting into with the halved tomato taking up the lots of real estate on the front. The flavor itself is sweet and tangy, I did see in its ingredients list soy sauce, which really adds to its uniqueness. These almost tastes like a housemade sweet and sour dipping sauce from a nice Thai restaurant. Incredible find.


White Grape Soda flavor

Things were about to get weirder. A lot weirder.


Tiffany handed out the goods. The first of two soda-flavored potato chips we were willfully ingesting. There's also the other little glaring fact: they were fruit-flavored! I'm trying to think if I've ever seen an apple, orange, pear, watermelon, plum, or peach potato chip on the market. And I don't mean chips made with healthier ingredients like veggie or banana chips; but instead legitimate potato chips with fruit flavoring. Nothing comes to mind. We couldn't wait any longer. Most of our foursome of taste testers myself included were feeling varying degrees of nervousness.


Let's let Tiffany's initial reaction, captured here in vivid detail, say it all.


In all my years of reviewing food randomness online these rank among the most outrageous things I've had the privilege of sampling.  Somehow, inexplicably, they've shrunk down the explosive zest of bubbly soda pop and jammed it into a potato chip. There's no other way to adequately explain it. These taste like a mouthful of seltzer water. I'm no food guru or chemist but there's something here that creates this unsettling sensation. I saw something in the ingredients list called sodium carbonate and suspect it may be the culprit but I could be way off. There's a sharp hint, almost acidic, of a vinegar-like grape flavor profile, but all we could talk about was how in the world these chips had the mouthfeel of drinking soda pop.


Deep Ridged Pepper Chicken flavor

I didn't get a lot of photographic evidence of our trials with this flavor. It was a last minute add-on purchase at the store, more out of curiosity, and ended up being the least distinct of the bunch. The chips themselves, ridges and all, were denser and had a dry, cardboard-like quality. The flavor itself wasn't bad, the bag promised fireworks with its image of broiled chili peppers and rotisserie chicken, but the end result was lackluster, made even more disappointing with the subpar chips that housed the seasonings. 


Yogurt Soda flavor

This was the one we were all justifiably antsy over. The idea of yogurt soda itself was borderline repulsive. Like Terror Toad levels of gross. They're two distinct things that until now we'd never thought coexisted. And then there's the whole other added element that we'd be experiencing this ungodly grouping in the form of a potato chip.


My crew did a smell test first and I recall Tiffany suggesting they smelled like Fruity Pebbles. We counted to 3 and all took a bite at the same time. Immediately after we were all making faces like Aargh. These tasted like spicy carbonated milk. Not spicy in the sense of heat but more like that sensation of really strong mint taking your breath away. They played rough with your tongue and even less gentle with your spirit. They were the executioner's guillotine and ended our fun jaunt into wacky Lay's with a suddenness.

Overall, this was a ton of fun. Super thankful for Japan bringing the bonkers snacks. Big shoutout to CAM International Market but please bring back the boba bubble tea! I urge you all to seek out odd edibles and partake in some fanciful feasting with friends or solo.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Kit Kat Countdown: Party Ice Cream



July hosts both Brian and Eddie’s birthdays so for the 5th month of the Kit Kat Countdown we’re trying the Party Ice Cream edition from Japan! A flavor emulating those tastes from childhood birthday parties where you’d have a scoop of vanilla ice cream on your paper plate right next to a huge piece of birthday cake. Will this be a celebratory occasion paying proper tribute to the boys’ birthdays or a rotten present like when Aunt Victoria gave you argyle socks?

Monday, June 29, 2020

Star Wars Nerds Rope


This past Friday while recreating the Fridays of my own misspent youth I ventured into the local video store to corral some righteous snacks and a few digital video discs for my eyes’ consumption. Towards the checkout desk was an egregiously diverse and ample candy display. I saw lots of stuff I’d love to cover on RtW but this time I left with these Star Wars-themed candy ropes.

Their registered trademark says NERDS but let’s simply say Nerds, shall we? My own history with Nerds has one standout memory. As a youth when I’d be brought to Dairy Queen and get to pick an ingredient for my Blizzard (for those without Dairy Queen, for starters my condolences, but Blizzards are essentially ice cream whipped in a blender with candies and other toppings mixed in) I’d bypass the more popular choices like Reese’s Pieces or M&M’s and in a totally six-year-old move get Rainbow Nerds in my ice cream. The sum total of this edible experiment would be a tie-dyed taste terror of sour, crunchy sugar bits tainting a perfectly fine vanilla robbing it of its smooth finish with shards of squalid sugar crystal.


In years past I’ve come to know Nerds for their seasonal fare: Spooky Nerds (Halloween), Frosty Nerds (Christmas), Valentine Nerds (‘natch), and Hoppin’ Nerds (Easter). But this? We’ve gone to a galaxy far, far away and brought back Star Wars Nerd Ropes. Up first is the Light Side Raspberry edition. This loopy, limp candy rope dons the blue hue utilized in the lightsabers of such Jedi luminaries as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Plo Koon. I think there’s a scene in The Last Jedi where Kit Fisto is eating a candy rope but it got left on the cutting room floor. That’s Hollywood for you. 



Then you’ve got the cool, raging Red of Dark Side Cherry! Donning the darkness of the red lightsabers used by such fan favorites as baddie Darth Vader and Depa Billaba. This one may seem on the surface the more ordinary of the two but packs a sour wallop that’d even make Even Piell’s ears stand up straight.



Unlike actual lightsabers we quickly found these aren’t ideal for duels. Instead it became a whipping fight better suited to an Indiana Jones promotional tie-in as we smacked candy ropes, clattering in combat, loose Nerds shooting astray, until one victor remained standing: Dark Side Cherry. Personally, I think the Light Side rope is dreamy, I’m loving the shades of blue and standing up for all that’s right and light in the universe, but the Dark Side is strong, its allure undeniable, and its flavor unmatched.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Chips Ahoy! Sour Patch Kids


A month or so ago I was doing a routine grocery run. While picking up my usual items, some beef jerky and snacks for those late nights watching movies or UFC events, my kids’ favorite edibles (strictly of the Teddy Graham variety, no hallucinogens here), I stumbled upon an item in the cookie aisle that made my face aglow like a child actor in an ‘80’s TV ad. Chips Ahoy! Sour Patch Kids unbelievably existed and I’d found them in the wild.


I quickly took to Twitter to deliver a slap that’d make “Dr. D” David Schultz proud. I posted my findings not knowing that the majority of my friends and followers had never even knew of their existence! But neither had I until seconds prior. I believe the last time I had a junk food scoop of that magnitude was when we were first to cover the Jones Soda Easter flavors (editor’s note: still a personal favorite video, our energy level was through the roof).


These days the preferred format of RtW tomfoolery is video content but with the tragic pandemic halting life as we formerly knew it these cookies sat atop my fridge for far too long. So today I unsheathed these bakery boys from their slumber and prepared myself for an awkward encounter. This is far from the first time Sour Patch has appeared on my beloved blog. Just last Fall my children joined me for a review of Sour Patch Cereal, back in May of 2018 while in the Texas heat I sampled Sour Patch Kids Fire with friends, and atop a rooftop in downtown Hamilton, OH I was joined by buddy Nick to investigate Extreme Sour Patch Kids.


All pretense aside I know you’re here predominantly because you want to know how these monstrosities taste. I’m going to jump right out in say in flavor they’re somewhere between licking in-between Moss Man’s toes and snorting sour powdered candy with Goldenrod. These are an epic misfire. Which, maybe, makes them even more memorable? The Sour Patch cereal referenced above was begrudgingly edible, hell, my kids genuinely liked it! But these cookies are putrid pieces of poopy awash in garishly colored candy chips. You see the green chip near the bottom? Those are fairly fine, and I foolishly expected the cookies to be traditional Chips Ahoy! with a few “sour” chips mixed in for fun. Where these step off the cliff into uneatable territory is the rubber bits of actual Sour Patch Kids gummies! See the orange rubbery pieces near the top of the cookie? That’s actual gummy candy inside a cookie. The incongruity of crunchy cookies melded with chewy, sticky candy is one I’ll likely not soon forget. I’m about as least a picky eater as you’ll find but I only needed one of these cookies to forever close the book on their rancidness.


In closing, their legacy may be miniscule, these haven’t appeared to have made much a dent or impact on the online circles I frequent. But nobody can deny their batshit insanity. We’ve seen cookie companies like Oreo bastardize their good name unloading untold amounts of odd varieties onto store shelves but Chips Ahoy! has outdone them all. I let Godzilla do the Humpty Dance on them until they were crumbs.

Overall Grade: C-

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Kit Kat Countdown: Premium Mint from Japan



We enter the fourth month of the Kit Kat Countdown with Porta Potty hijinks, Japan’s riff on a dark chocolate and mint Kit Kat, and a deep, abiding love for all things wafer. Mere inches away from a portable toilet the guys discuss and dissect, giving a puerile pontification on Premium Mint Kit Kat from Japan. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Kit Kat Countdown: Duos Mint & Dark Chocolate



Kit Kat Countdown continues! For our third entry we venture stateside to try the Duos Mint & Dark Chocolate edition! Just like when Hogan & Savage formed the Mega Powers a colossal combo has formed with mint & dark chocolate! A sophisticated flavor that you know we’ll savor!

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Haribo Sour Cubes - Exotic Flavors



Brian and the gang tackle Haribo’s ‘Exotic Flavors’ edition Sour Cubes! Like Thanos’ Cosmic Cube these things are coveted! Gooseberry, Plum, Dragon Fruit, Blood Orange, Mango, and Passion Fruit gummies! We embark on an in-depth exploration of these uncommon flavored candies! Enjoy!

Monday, April 6, 2020

Kit Kat Countdown: Ruby Chocolate



From the shores of Japan to a picnic shelter in Crawford Woods … the Kit Kat Countdown continues! Our year-long trek through 12 unique Kit Kat flavors enters into April as the boys sample the Ruby Chocolate edition. Enrobed in a royal purple chocolate and covered with crunchy almonds and dried raspberry this is truly a Kit Kat like no other!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Brian's Top Films of 2019


For the fifth consecutive year I've assembled a wide swath of pure cinema constituting my absolute favorite films of the last calendar year. Life is short and movies to me are pure joy. I've tried to remind myself of that this year. Anytime I'm sitting in a darkened theater, clicking on a streaming title, or finally getting my hands on a hard to find DVD, it's reason to smile. I hope you'll use this list as big batch of recommendations with lots of stuff herein to satisfy and satiate moviegoers of any taste.

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50. Peterloo (Leigh)



49. Nightmare Cinema (Brugués, Dante, Garris, Kitamura, Slade)



48. Furie (Kiệt)



47The Dead Don't Die (Jarmusch)


46. Depraved (Fessenden)


45. Monos (Landes)


44. Shadow (Yimou)


43. Atlantics (Diop)


42. Light of My Life (Affleck)


41. Apollo 11 (Miller)


40. The Lighthouse (Eggers)


39. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Heller)


38. American Woman (Scott)


37. High Flying Bird (Soderbergh)


36. Ad Astra (Gray)


353 Faces (Panahi)


34. The Image Book (Godard)


33. Queen & Slim (Matsoukas)


32. Black Mother (Allah)



31. Honey Boy (LeBeouf)


30. Girl on the Third Floor (Stevens)


29. The Beach Bum (Korine)


28Luce (Onah)


27. Avengement (Johnson)


26. Long Day's Journey Into Night (Gan)

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25. The Art of Self-Defense (Stearns)


24. Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (Smith)

 

23. Love, Antosha (Parnes, Price)


22. Dragged Across Concrete (Zahler)


21. The Irishman (Scorsese)


20. Climax (Noe)


19. One Cut of the Dead (Ueda)


18Toy Story 4 (Cooley)


17Chained for Life (Schimberg)


16Pink Wall (Cullen)


15. Paddleton (Lehmann)


14. Ash Is Purest White (Zhangke)


13. Her Smell (Perry)


12. Midsommar (Aster)


11An Elephant Sitting Still (Bo)

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10. Transit (Petzold)


9. Uncut Gems (Safdie, Safdie)


8. Us (Peele)


7. Parasite (Joon-ho)


6Waves (Shults)


5. Marriage Story (Baumbach)


4. Under the Silver Lake (Mitchell)


3. The Last Black Man in San Francisco (Talbot)


2. Relaxer (Potrykus)


1. A Hidden Life (Malick)

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Here are links to the 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015 editions of Brian's Top Films. Thanks so much for your time my brothers and sisters in cinema.