Thursday, April 20, 2017

Kotas Reviews the Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino

We are in a shining age of food promotion ladies and gentlemen. New exotic flavors of old favorites are being released, limited editions abound in the grocery aisles, and restaurants are feverishly trying to find the Next Big Thing that will bring you into their doors. All in pursuit of that ever shrinking "disposable income" slice of the economic pie. So, this takes us to our new trend. The Time Limited Edition. Let's take a look at that rarest of beverages...the Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino.

Fucking Majestic, right?
Starbucks is not known for its stunt foods. Other than the occasional seasonal offering that gets super popular for no reason (looking at you, Pumpkin Spice, uh, Everything!), Starbucks keeps the menu pretty stable and doesn't try too many "outrageous" promotional things. Until now that is. So, I don't know if you know about it, but "unicorn food" has been a food trend for a year (and since the New York Times is reporting on it, soon to no longer be a trend at all). The idea behind it is to take ordinary boring regular food and make it "magical" by adding an assortment of colorful dyes, marshmallows, sprinkles, or whatever to make it more cheerful or "unicorn-esque" if you will. Yeah, I don't get it either, but whatever. So this is the Conglomocorp Version of such a whimsical online trend, and boy howdy does it look it. 

So all of this leads us to the actual Frappucino itself. Well, it's brightly colored purple and blue, the sprinkles on top are cheerful, and who doesn't love whipped cream? This thing looks like something a unicorn would definitely excrete is what I'm saying. The chemical engineering here is incredible, and the visual is absolutely amazing. It is popular too, since I had to go to two different Starbucks to track one down. The closest Starbucks to my house ran out in a unicorn-based frenzy of purchases. Lucky for me, there's like 2 more Starbucks within 5 minutes of the first one I tried. At the second one, one of the baristas expressed disbelief in having a store run out of the things. She then proceeded to show me the box the various mixes came in. I left a good tip for her. Still, on with the show. Let's have a taste!
My initial sip was sort of meh. I was all "this is what people are raving about"? It was generically sweet, but it didn't have much flavor at all, which is NOT what I want from my purple-blue-besprinkled hallucination drink. So I gave it a tiny stir. Well howdy flavor, there you are! It tastes like a liquefied Sweet Tart, though occasional periods of "more sweet" and "more sour" occur as you drink it. I am given to understand it is made with a mango syrup at some point, but I tasted no hint of mango. There was a vaguely "berry-ish" overtone to both the sweet and sour portions, much more so with the sour, but it's the kind of fake flavor you get with "berry" flavored gummy snacks. The sprinkles on top are delightfully Warhead sour, for those of you familiar with the candy, and I enjoyed them very much. Once the drink blended a bit better, I enjoyed the heck out of it. I love sweet and sour candy and this hits all those marks effortlessly.

On the FACE Rating System, this gets 2 Smiley Faces. It's a stunt food that basically manages to pull off the effect it is going for, and what it is going for is something I dig. I couldn't help but grin ear to ear when I was buying this because it looks so completely insane, and the flavor, while not insane, is unusual and delicious, if completely artificial. I rather liked this drink, and I may pick up another one before its time runs out. Only available until April 23, 2017, so get out there and get one before they are gone. Unless you hate Sweet Tarts, then totally skip this one. Still, I predict that if this is popular, it will be like the McRib. Something you only see periodically through the year, and something completely fabricated in a chemical plant.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Kotas Reviews the Loaded Taco Burrito

Taco Bell is one of those places where every 3 months or so they come out with a "new" product, which is really just a new combination of their standard ingredients. I mean, what is a Double Decker Taco other than just a regular taco with a soft taco coating? The "Triple Double" Crunch Wrap is just a Crunch Wrap with a bigger portion of the same old crap scooped into it. So what happens when Taco Bell has zero fucks left to give? Ladies and Gentlemen, let's take a look at the Loaded Taco Burrito.

They just didn't care. Though, really, what were you expecting? A unicorn?
This is a triumph of either laziness or not giving the least shit about how people perceive them. I mean, it is literally the Taco Burrito. Taco Bell isn't exactly "authentic" Mexican food, but they at least paid lip service to the idea that it was based on real recipes or styles of Mexican food. This? This is "eh, fuck it. Cram a taco into a burrito and call it good". Even the advertisements assume you already thought of this and that Taco Bell is just "crazy" enough to do it. I admit that ordering this made me feel like I was in a "show within a show" or at least in this case, a commercial inside a show. This is something the Simpsons writers from 10 seasons ago would come up with to mock the very idea of stunt food, and we are. Let's eat!

Well, this is another case of something being "exactly what it says on the tin". This was in fact the contents of a Taco Supreme, along with some "crispy tortilla strips", in a burrito. "Meat", lettuce, cheese, tomato and yes, even a bit of the ol' sour cream, with a bit of crunch in a convenient tortilla wrapper. And you know what? It was actually pretty good! I mean, sure, it's just a Burrito Supreme with a few tortilla strips in it, but it totally worked! They add a bit of body and texture to an otherwise humdrum food experience, and the price was right at $1.49 (at my local location anyway). See? Sometimes good things come from not giving a shit.

On the FACE Rating System, this gets a Smiley Face. It is not my favorite Taco Bell Product but it's a fairly filling item at a good price. If you like Taco Bell food (and yeah, I realize that doesn't apply to a lot of you) definitely pick one up to try. This will not change your opinion on Taco Bell though, so don't expect miracles. It is a testament to how recklessly not caring can result in a good thing. Not a great thing, but good.