Friday, February 24, 2017

Kotas Reviews Dunkin' Donuts Chocolate Mocha Pop Tarts

When I was a kid, I can honestly say I never thought that cross branding would be a thing. If you had told me when I was 8 that there would some day exist Swedish Fish Oreos or Peeps Strawberry Milk, I'd have laughed at you and told you that you were crazy, and yet...this is the world we live in. Also, I suppose Pop Tarts are a good vehicle for that sort of treatment. Let's take a long hard look at Dunkin' Donuts Chocolate Mocha Pop Tarts.

Limited Edition, which is always a symbol of quality.
Well, there it is. It's no Baconated Grapefruit, but hey, what is in this wild workaday world? So, let's talk packaging. It's fine. The Dunkin' Donuts logo is front and center, along with a small yet tasteful picture of a drink served in no Dunkin' Donuts ever. Oh, and I guess the Tart itself is prominent. There has been a trend with these specialty Pop Tarts to put a decorative swirl on the frosting, and I have to admit the pictured one looks pretty good. Then again, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice... Let's open this puppy up.

Double Helix? What does it Mean?! Mediocrity, probably.
Well, this looks mostly like the package, which is usually a good sign. The smell is mostly chocolatey, with a hint of something coffee-ish to go along with it. The filling looks like their standard chocolate filling like that used in the S'more flavored Pop Tarts. Let's eat!

The flavor is very chocolate in nature, with some vanilla or cream flavoring from the frosting. It is very sweet, but not overpoweringly sweet, which is a nice change of pace. The "mocha" side of this, by which I mean coffee, is mostly non-existent in the taste. There is almost a hint of it in a bite or two, but it doesn't linger and isn't really noteworthy. If I didn't know these were supposed to be Chocolate Mocha, I probably would have just called them Chocolate Cream Pop Tarts or something along those lines.

On the FACE Rating System, these get 0 Faces. They taste fine, but they aren't worth seeking out, and they basically fail to live up to half of their flavor name. Try them, if you are in the mood for a sweet, but not too sweet, Pop Tart experience, but don't expect to get Mocha'ed in the face or anything. It's just not there.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Kotas Reviews the Taco Bell Naked Chicken Chalupa

Ah February, the month where we are supposed to focus all of our romantical feelings into a single day that happened on Tuesday. So I guess we're done with that, eh? Well, not quite. You see, occasionally a person will get a hankerin' for something a bit scandalous. A little risque. Perhaps showing off the goods a little more than usual. Or just baring what hasn't been bared before. Then a large corporation tries to resurrect a stunt food product that someone else came up with years ago. Ladies, Gentlemen, Voyeurs of all Appropriate Ages, let's take a long, hungry gaze at...the Taco Bell Naked Chicken Chalupa.

Now, need to be coy. Let's get a bit more comfortable.
Way back in the ancient days of 2010, KFC introduced the tragicomic sandwich known as the Double Down, which is a Double Decker Chicken Bacon Cheese Sandwich, hold the Bun. Seriously, it's two chicken fillets with cheese, bacon, and "secret sauce" (OOOOH MYYYYY) on it. It is a greasy, caloric bomb of a food product, and you bet yer ass I tried it. TL;DR - It was okay, I guess. Nothing special. Still, it was incredibly popular, got a LOT of media attention, and is now a permanent menu item. So clearly it was a success.

I'm sure none of this was on Taco Bell's mind when they came up with this product, right? To be fair, Taco Bell is basically the Stunt Food King right now, with its myriad of taco reshells (ha), Whatevercharitos, and the Doritos Loco Everything, so I guess this makes sense....still, it is a shameless ripoff, er "homage" to what came before it and is a spin on the idea of "what if the bread product was instead a meat product?". Let's take a look at it. And yes, I'm using my Hungry Gaze.

Try not to drool too much folks, you know you love it.
Alright, I have to admit it actually looks pretty much like the advertising pictures. Just a chicken patty, folded up, with taco-ish stuff inside. Said Taco Stuff is basically tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, and some sort of spicy sauce. It comes in a little cardboard holder to keep it together, and also serves as way to hold this thing while eating it and, in theory, not get your hands greasy. Let's sink our teeth in!

Actually, the flavor isn't bad. It's certainly "fast food fried chicken" but the sauce is decent and the toppings add some nice variety to each bite. That said, it's still nothing particularly special. I've had this sauce before, this chicken before, and these toppings before. It's perfectly fine, but it's not "Oh Em Gee Look at this Cray Cray sammie ya'll" kind of stuff. The presentation is solid, though they could have just as easily called this the "naked chicken taco" instead of "chalupa". In fact, I'm pretty sure this resembles a chalupa only in "vague outline" sort of ways. 

On the FACE Rating System, this gets Zero Completely Nude Faces. It's fine, I suppose, but I could take it or leave it. If you enjoy stunt food and you enjoy Taco Bell, it's not a bad thing to eat. However, it won't exactly blow you away or anything. It's perfectly fine. And thus perfectly average. Still, I did feel a little naughty eating it, which shows you the power of advertising.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Kotas Reviews Chocolate Strawberry Oreos

Well, it's that time of year again, when young children exchange mass marketed cards with television and toy icons on them and eat cupcakes, while adults explode in a mass marketed made up obligation of excess affection. Also, it's Valentine's Day, so let's eat some freakin' Oreos. Of course it was Oreos. Let's take a look at Chocolate Strawberry Oreos.

The Return of the Easy Open Package. Smooth like jazz and twice as saucy. 
I'm not sure why chocolate covered strawberries are the Ur Confection for Valentine's Day, though I suspect it is the combination of a red, juicy berry with the nigh ubiquitous chocolate that seems to set the proper tone of "decadent, yet comforting, and maybe a little naughty" we as a society seem to desire. Or maybe, if you squint, it looks like the severed head of a saint. Tough call, really! Still, it's nice to see Nabisco bringing this out for the holiday. The packaging is damn near perfect, with a big ol' picture of a chocolate covered strawberry, along side a picture of the ACTUAL treat that awaits us inside. It's even in the Easy Open package. Kudos! Let's open it up! Slowly.

Just screams romance, doesn't it?
 Well, they look like Oreos alright, and the scent of fake strawberry is strong. They do not pass the Twist Off Test with flying colors, but it's not like it was an abject failure or anything. Still, about what I expected. This is another of the "multi-color" fillings, like the dreaded "Filled Cupcake", with a splort of different flavor in the middle. Heh heh. "Filled".

The inner cream is a thick chocolate-esque flavor, but the strawberry shines through just fine. It is super artificial tasting though, so if you don't like fake strawberry you certainly won't like this. As a whole, it tastes a lot like you'd expect. A Lotta Chocolate with a Little Fake Strawberry, with a side of Chemical. Not bad, really.

On the FACE Rating System, these get 1 Smiley Face. They are exactly what they say they are, and that's a good thing, but I'm not beating a path to Nabisco's door to get more of them. Certainly worth trying if you are a flavor aficionado, but steer clear if you don't like artificial strawberry tastes.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Kotas Reviews the Salted Caramel Moon Pie

Well, we've got quite an event coming up at the end of this week, what with a full moon, lunar eclipse, AND a comet all happening at once. So, I says to myself "Self, how best to celebrate this?" The answer of course was with a Moon Pie. Though, I didn't exactly wait for tomorrow now did I? Let's take a look at the Salted Caramel Moon Pie.

What, no RC Cola? BLASPHEMY!
I've enjoyed Moon Pies for many many years. My personal preference is the Single Decker Chocolate one, though honestly they might as well just call this one "Default". Moon Pies come in 3 sizes: Single Decker, Double Decker, and Mini. They also come in a variety of flavors, though not all flavors are available in all sizes. The Moon Pie has been around since 1917 when it was developed at the Chattanooga Bakery in (naturally) Chattanooga, Tennessee. Often associated with RC Cola or "working folk" Southern cuisine, the snack tends to be looked down upon as a bit tacky. Fuck that, I love the damn things, and they haven't added much to their standard fare since...uh...a while. So when a friend of mine [REDACTED] handed me this, I was ecstatic! Let's open it up!

Well, it's....brown.
I can't say I was thrilled with this pie. I mean, "tan circle" doesn't inspire any thoughts of deliciousness, at least not from a manufactured treat. That said, it certainly has a sort of caramel-ish smell about it, and it looks exactly as I would picture a Caramel flavored Moon Pie to look. Let's eat!

Yup, definitely a Moon Pie. There is some bit of caramel here, but nothing that really stands out too much past the general "Moon Pie" flavor and certainly nothing that would say this was Salted Caramel as opposed to the regular Unsalted Caramel that respectable citizens would scorn. It's pretty good, but only in the way that Moon Pies in general are pretty good. To really get a stand out flavor you have to go way stronger than this (see: Banana Moon Pies, which basically melt down Laffy Taffy to get the Banana part across). It's nice, but nothing special.

On the FACE Rating System, this gets 0 Faces. I like Moon Pies, and therefore since this tastes pretty much like a Moon Pie, I like this, but I have no reason to go out of my way to acquire this flavor. The upside is there does not appear to be a price premium placed on this, so go nuts and get one the next time you have a hankerin' for a Moon Pie. You won't regret it. You won't adore it either. Such is the way of things, I suppose.