Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Kotas Reviews the Dunkin' Donuts Croissant Donut

Ah the simple doughnut. A ring of dough that is deep fried and then maybe coated in some variety of sugar topping. Simple enough, right? Well, I have news for you. Doughnuts are in as wide a variety of types and flavors as any food you'll see. I ain't just talking about the topping selection either. There is cake and yeast dough types, a nearly infinite variety of shapes and textures, and of course the various toppings, fillings, glazes and so forth. Still, it is not often that we get a base variation on the theme. With that in mind, we examine today's item: the Dunkin' Donut Croissant Donut.

Nothing says special like a special container...and price.
The idea of the Croissant Doughnut, or "Cronut" as the food media has termed it seems like a slam dunk. Take the croissant, which is one of the finer baked products to come out of France, and fry the dough up like a doughnut. Voila! The moist flakiness of the croissant paired with the sweetness and robustness of the doughnut. Perfect for your morning coffee or any time. Several bakers claim to have "invented" the Cronut, even as early as the mid 1990s, but it rose to prominence in the public eye a couple of years ago in boutique pastry shops. Now, it has finally hit the mainstream. Let's see how it compares, eh?

Premium Packaging. Premium Pricing. Rather Pedestrian Appearance.
I'll be honest, this thing? Does not look all that special. It comes in its own little box that you have to purchase separately from any normal amount of their other doughnuts and costs $2.50 plus tax at my local Dunkin'. Seems they could have made it look a little better than "Kroger Bakery Glazed Doughnut" really. It has that same hexagonal shape as many grocery store doughnuts and that does not scream "premium doughnut".  Dunkin' Donuts is not known for the quality of its plain glazed doughnuts, though their cake doughnuts are excellent, but I still might have tried to class it up a bit.

The taste is decent I suppose. Chewier than their usual yeast glazed doughnut, and not really very flaky or light. It does not hearken back to a croissant much, though it is fairly tasty, beating out their regular glazed handily...but not 2.5 times tastier. Their regular doughnuts sell for $0.99 each, less if you buy in bulk. This is good, but not "super premium" good, so the value just isn't there.

On the FACE Rating System, this doughnut gets zero faces. It's fairly tasty, and certainly better than their usual plain glazed offering, but the super high price is just not worth paying outside of "for curiosity's sake". If you are a doughnut fan, give one a try, but I wouldn't expect it to change your standard doughnut consumption habits at all. If they ditch the premium price and bring it into their usual rotation of doughnuts though, it would definitely become a regular in my dozen. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Kotas Reviews The Sonic Peanut Butter Caramel Pie Milkshake

We're still wrapping up business from last year here are Kotas Reviews Everything, so prepare for more food reviews. I think I will try to review more non-food things this year, but that doesn't mean we can't have fun with desserts, right? Because I love dessert. Granted, desserts are not helping my already far too ample waistline. With that in mind, let us turn to today's subject, the Peanut Butter Caramel Pie milkshake from Sonic.

And that is the Medium shake folks.
Good Lord this thing is enormous. I got the medium shake, expecting a cup that was roughly 16 oz. But look at this thing! LOOK AT IT. It is more like a 24 oz cup, and it is topped with whipped cream and a cherry. I didn't measure it, but it was certainly bigger than I thought it would be.

That's what she said!
Note the graham cracker dust on the top there? That's not merely decoration. I believe it constitutes the pie portion of our little adventure. How does it taste? Well, it took me approximately 7 minutes to answer that question, because Holy Jeez is this shake thick. How thick? Well, have you ever seen one of the old paste jars, where you take the cap off and there's a little stick attached to the inside of the cap, and you are expected to smear the paste with that? When you would open a new jar of paste, that applicator stick would be buried in paste, and require some effort to extract. This shake was not quite that bad, but almost. My cheeks collapsed painfully trying to pull some of this shake up through the straw. I had to wait for it to melt enough to try and drink.

I finally managed to get some of the shake onto my tongue, and it was certainly peanut buttery. Mixed in was plenty of that graham cracker dust, so it was pie-y as well. You know what it wasn't? Caramel. There was only the veiled suggestion of blasphemous caramel within this tangled skein of a shake, and it was not very present. Of course, getting any kind of good taste was difficult because of the prevailing thickness of the shake. It took 45 minutes for me to consume this shake, most of that time waiting for it to melt so I could drink it. In the end I resorted to a spoon to mix it up to speed the process. The final insult? This bombshell was 1600 calories. I should probably be dead, but hey, I guess I was just made stronger. At least my cheek muscles are stronger at any rate. 

On the FACE Rating System, this shake gets 1 frowny face. It doesn't taste bad, but it is missing 1/3rd of its advertised flavors. I am being generous with the pie flavoring too, since it was just a ground up graham cracker. The peanut butter part of the shake was fine, and fans of that flavor would probably like this....but they would be better served just getting a plain old peanut butter shake. It was also so thick as to be a chore to consume, even after waiting a reasonable (and then unreasonable) period of time to let it melt, like, say, a car ride home. Totally not worth the calories to bother eating, and a lazy entry into the boutique shake flavor market.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Kotas Reviews Southern Comfort

Ah, the New Year is here! You know what that means, finishing up all the crap you put off until the New Year! With that in mind, let's take a look at something I consumed in 2014, but didn't get around to writing about until now: Southern Comfort.

These seems neither Southern nor comforting.
I've already reviewed their entry into the eggnog realm, and that inspired me to check out the actual booze. Southern Comfort is a fruit and spice (with whiskey flavoring) liqueur originally born out of New Orleans' French Quarter by bartender Martin Wilkes Heron but now owned by a giant corporation. It comes in numerous proofings (100, 70, and 42) and versions (Special Reserve, Lime, Bold Black Cherry), but our specimen is the 70 proof original version. I most remember it from a taste long ago and those annoying "SoCo and Cran" commercials from years back. What I remember is that it is sweet. Let's see how she looks in a glass.

Yes, that is a Harvard Shot Glass. Classin' it up here at KRE!
Well, it looks...brown. This is not at all a surprise, actually. The scent is very sweet with fruit overtones and a bit of whiskey in there as well. The taste? Sweet. Super Sweet. Sickly Sweet. It is very fruity and it has some spice, but mostly what I taste is too much sweetness. It's not awful, but it is overwhelming and changes the focus of the drink from the fruit, spices, and whiskey to the sugar. This is not a good thing at all. Sweetness should accentuate other flavors, not sideline them. A little ice helped, but it was still very sweet.

Not to be deterred, I dumped it into some leftover eggnog (no, not the namesake brand). Lo and behold, it was good. Really good. I won't call it a perfect matching, but the eggnog and booze melded together very nicely and it was a fruity, spicy, boozy eggnog that was delicious. I was honestly surprised, given I was mixing sweet with sweet but gosh darn it, it worked.

On the FACE Rating System, I give Southern Comfort 1 smiley face. The flavor is nice enough if you can cut the overwhelming sweetness back, and it mixes very well (with eggnog at least), but it's not a sippin' liquor by any stretch. Unless maybe you are Willy Wonka.