Monday, October 31, 2016

Kotas Reviews the Paqui Carolina Reaper Chip

Happy Halloween, my lovelies! Today is a holiday celebrated around the world in service to the acquisition of sweet treats by deception and/or extortion. You might know it as Trick or Treating, but I know the terrible truth! That said, for tonight's entertainment, we have a very special meal for you all. Well, really for me. For tonight, we dine with death. Ladies and Gentleghouls, tonight we taste the Carolina Reaper.

I was first introduced to the Caroline Reaper chip by the tremendous marketing engine of Paqui, the parent company. There was a countdown clock until October, when the chip would finally be released, the very iconic imagery of the "grim reaper of chips", and to top it off, they issued a challenge to record yourself eating the chip for like, a free bag of chips. Woo hoo? No. Still, I had to admit that as soon as they were available I scoured my local area to purchase one. Best or worst $5 I ever spent? Let's find out!

Homemade Hell? I think not. You were manufactured by a large corporation! Homemade Hell my ASS.
This chip's claim to fame is to have been made with the legendary Carolina Reaper pepper, the hottest pepper in the world. According to Wikipedia, it has on average a bit over 1.5 million Scoville Heat Units, with the highest individual measure topping out at 2.2 million Scoville Heat Units. I've eaten spicy nonsense in the past, but this one really takes the cake with the marketing campaign. I mean, I have to admit it was effective, drawing me into its stupid hot flame like a moth to a more different flame, but at the same time...$5 for a chip that I probably won't even like? I must be insane to eat this thing. Well, let's open her up, shall we?

Pictured with milk, because I'm stupid, not crazy.
I actually put on gloves to open the package, Stories of spice gone wrong from others has said that this is definitely a flavor dust you don't want in sensitive areas, such as the eyes, mucus membranes, or the uvula. Two out of three ain't bad, I guess. It smells like...burning and smokiness. This is in no way a "good" chip, because I've seen its like before. Hot for the sake of hot, presented as some sort of challenge. Well Paqui, ya roped me in. Now let's destroy our insides!

SWEET MOTHER OF SHIT! Okay, at first it had something vaguely resembling the flavor of "stale corn chip" mixed with "something that might have once been pepper flavored" but all of that was completely overwhelmed by the intense burning sensation that rocks through your nerve endings and plays a discordant melody on your pain receptors. Why? Because fuck you, that's why. This chip certainly lives up to its promise of "Deathly Hot", and yet I feel...sad and oddly, angry as hell. Not just because I'm gargling milk trying not to have my insides prolapse in terror, but because I expected more from this. There should have at least been a rush of actual flavors preceding the crescendo of agony that is the legacy of the Carolina Reaper in this chip. Instead, I got a shitty fucking corn chip laced with pain for the sake of pain and nothing else of value. In short, I was fucking scammed. This isn't a "unique taste experience that only the most robust of individuals ought to try". Instead, it's a trick to get you to punch yourself in the face (well, taste buds) after spending FIVE. HAUNTINGLY DAMNED. DOLLARS. on a Single. GODDAMN. CHIP. 

On the FACE Rating System, this gets Four Flaming Frowny Faces. Fantastic Marketing that's sole purpose is to trick you into selling your tastebuds' souls to the Reaper Man and get nothing but pain for pain's sake, while Paqui laughs all the way to their hellish back account. Well, you got me good Paqui. I hope you choke to death on your next marketing stunt. Stay the fuck away from these things, they are a waste of time, effort, and money. At least I had ice cream afterwards. Don't fear the Reaper, punch him right in the dick while yelling "BOO, MOTHERFUCKER!"

Friday, October 21, 2016

Kotas Reviews Candy Corn Oreos

Well folks, it's definitely the Fall season. The Halloween decorations are out! No, really, like they are out the door and the Christmas stuff is already starting to pile up in shop windows. I remember a time when you could pop into any old store on October 30th to grab some last minute Halloween decorations and maybe a cheapo costume, but those days are NO LONGER. Ah well, at least one thing is back on the shelves for the foreseeable future: Candy Corn! So of course Nabisco made an Oreo out of it. Let's take a look at...well, you know the drill.

This is why you are here, isn't it?
To be fair, I'm late to this party. They came out last year, I believe, but I was never able to get a package...until now! Well, the package looks nice. The Candy Corn is obviously the focus here, and the picture of the Oreo is accurate, which is to be expected from Nabisco. The "easy open" flap is missing again, which is weird. Nabisco is remarkably inconsistent with its use of this feature, so I keep wondering why it isn't bog standard. Oh well, let's rip it open.

Seems Legit.
Well, they smell...sweet, though not really like candy corn. The vanilla cookie is a given, since that wold pair a lot better with any candy corn flavors. The creme in the middle is delightfully two toned in proper colors and easily passes the twist off test. It mostly smells like a generically sweet cookie though, and not much like candy corn. Let's eat!

So, you've all eaten candy corn at least once, right? It's waxy, honey tinged sweetness is like nothing else that is manufactured. This cookie only reinforces that fact, as it tastes exactly nothing like candy corn. It's very sweet, much sweeter than regular Oreos. There may be something that resembles honey flavoring too, but candy corn they most certainly aren't. 

On the FACE Rating System, these get a frowny face. In every conceivable way these are a failure, but they aren't terrible. If you like super sweet cookies, they are probably quite tasty. As a candy corn flavored treat though they are just not even in the right ballpark flavor wise, though they do manage to hit the cheap seats in the color department. Nice try, Nabisco, but stick to things that can actually successfully translate into cookie flavoring. You've managed to pull off this before, but that triumph of chemical engineering only led to mixed results.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Kotas Reviews Choco Chip Oreos

Here at Kotas Reviews, we often see food that is flavored like "more different" food. Cookies that taste of ice cream. Ice cream that tastes of bacon. Admiral Crunch. However, it is not often that we get a food that is trying to disguise itself as one of its peers. Ladies and gentlemen, today we have a gander at Choco Chip Oreos.

Because you knew it was Oreos. It was ALWAYS Oreos.
I'm not even sure where to begin here. I actually enjoy cookies like Chips Ahoy and other mass market chocolate chip cookies. They do not hold a candle to their homemade counterparts, but much like Hostess Cupcakes, they sort of fall into their own category of treat that satisfies a certain ineffable desire to eat artificial flavoring. Chips Ahoy was always my favorite of the "mass produced" cookie, because it was not that weird fake soft type of cookie that just overflows with "this was made in a laboratory" overtones, rather than the more subtle nuance of the simple, yet crumbly, Chips Ahoy cookie. So what the FUCK is Oreo trying to do here? "It's a cookie! That tastes like a different kind of cookie!" I mean, it's certainly unexpected, and not nearly as lazy as some previous efforts, but did anyone ask for this? When I go to eat an Oreo, the very LAST thing I think is "I wish this tasted like a Chips Ahoy" because if that were true I would just GO EAT A CHIPS AHOY. Anyway...the packaging is exactly what you'd expect, with a "no really, just a generic cookie and not a Chips Ahoy" in the background and an accurate image of the cookie within the bag. The "easy open" tab is also there, which is good. Let's easy open it up!

Pretty much what I imagined it to look like.
They certainly smell like Chips Ahoy cookies, mixed with a bit of Oreo-ish-ness as well. The look is pretty nice, the creme being about what I expected, but the real surprise is the cookie itself, which is speckled with dark brown swirls that looks like they threw in some "choco-chips" to the cookie dough part. You get an A on the look, Nabisco. Let's taste 'em!

Yeah, they taste like a mash up of Oreo and Chips Ahoy, with the Chips Ahoy part mostly in the flavor, and the Oreo part mostly in the texture. It is exactly what I would imagine a mash up of these two cookies would be like, which is good. My big question is why bother? Nabisco owns the two biggest brands in each of their respective category (Oreo - Sandwich Cookie::Chips Ahoy - Chocolate Chip Cookie), so it's not like you are stealing customers from a competitor. Maybe they are trying to get some crossover appeal for people who only like one or the other? It is a mystery.

On the FACE Rating System, these get 0 Faces. There is nothing wrong with them, but I have exactly no reason to ever eat them when I could instead just go get the actual cookie I want to eat. They don't taste bad, but they are a more expensive way to enjoy a different style of cookie that maybe you aren't used to. My suggestion in that case is just "go buy a bag of the other cookie". Maybe next time, Nabisco. Maybe next time.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Kotas Reviews Calbee

Today we dip back into the Mystery Box for spooky treats from beyond the pale...or at least treats we don't really have in this part of the world. Seems the world over loves crunchy snacks, and this one purports to be...well, why don't we just get started with Calbee...whatever the hell this is.

Canadian Bacon and Asparagus, the Snacking Duo I Never Expected!
Yeah, I don't know what this is. It has a little giraffe person on it that seems cute enough. Honestly, at first I thought this might be some form of instant noodle soup, but then I noticed the picture of the vaguely "hot fry" looking things and dared open it. I tried to glean information from the lid, but to no avail for I am an ignorant soul.

Well, I did learn that I shouldn't microwave it.
Every culture has a different flavor profile for snack food that is generally tailored to either an every day flavor or an exotic one. Of course, such things vary and in this case...ham and asparagus. Not really a flavor I look for when snacking, but hey, I suppose it fits the exotic category for everyone. Let's open this thing up!

Vastly underwhelming.
I can honestly say I was not expecting it to look like someone took Andy's Hot Fries, stripped off the "hot" and replaced it with random flecks of green and red. Still, I am a fan of potato stick type snacks, so how bad could it be? Well let me tell you how bad it can be. First, a positive. These things have tremendous amounts of crunch. Now for the rest of it. These things do, in fact, vaguely taste like asparagus and ham. Old nasty dried up asparagus and slightly off, shriveled up ham. It's not "spit out bad", unlike some other things I've tried, but it isn't the most pleasant of flavors. Thankfully both flavors are pretty muted compared with the overwhelming taste of whatever these things are mostly made of. Corn maybe? It isn't much like other corn snacks. It's not much of anything, yet somehow this overwhelming non-flavor mutes the other flavors so that you don't taste much of them. 
On the FACE Rating System, these get 2 Frowny Faces. I find the mix of flavors to be less than enchanting, but the odd anti-flavor that the sticks themselves have is off putting. Visually, they aren't very appealing, and while they are super duper crunchy, I think I can find a better flavor combination than this sad sack of fail. Not recommended unless you REALLY like old asparagus and ham bits, I guess. Bleah. The good Mystery Box Giveth, the good Mystery Box Taketh Away.