Thursday, August 31, 2017

Kotas Reviews PB & J Oreos

Some foods were always meant to go together. Chocolate and Peanut Butter, Bread and Butter, Rum and Coke, all famous the world over and about as basic a combo as you can make. Two great tastes that just so happen to taste even Greater together, and become a staple recipe for years. So clearly we have to somehow cram this into a food that isn't remotely like either of the other two. Ladies and Gentlemen, let's reveal the mysteries of Peanut Butter and Jelly Oreos.

Because this is the face of Science.
I have a very strange relationship with peanut butter and jelly. It was a staple of my childhood lunchbox, because it was easy and quick for my mom to make, but when I got old enough I tended to leave off the jelly and just go nuts with peanut butter. To this day I am addicted to peanut butter sandwiches but only rarely, usually when I'm feeling nostalgic (or someone else made some) will I bother with the jelly side of this all time classic recipe. I can however tell you that I never, EVER considered that it might be a dessert flavoring. Oh well, let's take a peak, shall we?

The packaging is pretty bog standard on this one. Oreo logo, nominal picture of particular food and a cookie version of that same food. What throws me off here is the little green call out box that explicitly tells you what the cookie is trying to do. If a cookie has to spell out its concept for you, that does not indicate that it is confident in what it is, ya know? Let's open it.

Lackluster...that is the word I'm looking for.
I can see why they went with a Golden Oreo base here. Chocolate, while great with peanut butter, is probably not the best choice when paired with jelly flavoring. The vanilla here doesn't really match either, but it won't overwhelm the flavor of the creme. I have to say, going for the "split" look here has failed on a number of levels, because it looks so...slapdash. Like they threw some jelly flavor juice on the usual peanut butter filling and went "Ta da!". Not appetizing at all. Let's eat, I guess.

You know, I'm not a fan of peanut butter cookies really. They are okay, but finding a really good one is hard to do so I generally just don't bother. This variant is actually worse then that. The peanut butter tastes like...well it tastes like those revolting orange and black taffy bits wrapped in orange and black paper that always show up around Halloween for some reason despite maybe 1 in 100 people actually enjoying them. The completely artificial jelly flavor on top of that is...not helpful, and its sickeningly sweet TotallyNotGrape flavor makes the whole thing taste like solidified angst. No.

On the FACE Rating System, these get 2 Frowny Faces. Absolutely bad, but just "I really don't like this flavor" bad and not "OH GOD IT'S POISON" bad. This is probably one of those love it or hate it flavors too, because when I disposed of this trash by leaving it in the break room at work and my co-workers LOVED them. I personally say skip 'em, but if you are curious be my guest and try them out. Just don't save any for me.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Kotas Reviews Dunkin Donuts Mocha Oreos

Coffee. Lifeblood of our modern society and savior of our sanity in times of strife. Having once worked in a coffee shop as a young barista, I gained an appreciation for coffee I hadn't known before, and I can tell you, it has made a world of difference to me. I like coffee is what I'm saying. But, can it still be good as a cookie? Who the hell knows! Ladies and Gentlemen, let's take a look at Dunkin' Donuts Mocha Oreos.

Iced Mocha? REALLY?
Well, we have Yet Another Dunkin' Donuts themed limited edition Oreo for our eating pleasure, don't we? The last time we tried something themed after a doughnut shop was also a mocha flavor, and yet so far they haven't sponsored anything that tastes like, you know, doughnuts. Odd that. Anyway, I have to wonder at the choice to display and Iced Mocha as the "mocha" version they were going with for this cookie. I guess because it would be more visible that a hot mocha? Whatever, it's fine. Let's crack it open!

One of these things is...exactly like the others...

Yup, smells like chocolate Oreos with a hint of coffee flavor, which is right on target for a mocha. The taste is spot on too. A good ratio of coffee to chocolate flavoring, with maybe a bit more on the chocolate side that the coffee one, but still pretty darn tasty! The creme by itself though isn't very strongly coffee flavored though, which I find odd. I mean, usually the creme is much more intensely flavored and the cookie helps mellow it and make it more well rounded. This time? The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Sadly, these are kind of terrible dipped in milk. The coffee flavor completely falls away and the chocolate part is also super muted. However, dipped in coffee? These are fantastic! It's like a coffee shop in my mouth and THEY ARE MINE GO THE FUCK AWAY! MINE MINE MINE! Ahem...

On the FACE Rating System, these get 2 Smiley Faces. Pretty darn tasty, good in coffee, and wonderfully munchable, these are coffee cookies done well. If you like coffee, and most of you do, go out and get some today! Your tummy will thank you! Your coffee with thank you! Your milk...will not.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Kotas Reviews Lay's Everything Bagel with Cream Cheese Chips

So, Do Us A Flavor rolls on, and we come to our final (so far) bag of nonsense that's been released. I really have to hand it to Frito-Lay, they aren't afraid to toss out any old flavor and see what sticks. I'm still kinda sad that the Cappuccino chips didn't work out, because they made a GREAT ice cream topping, though they really weren't good for much else. Still, if you don't try everything, you might miss something, right? That's the kind of attitude that brings us to today's offering. Ladies, Gentlemen, and budgies, today we take a look at Lay's Everything Bagel with Cream Cheese chips.

Kettle Cooked even, just like Mom used to buy.
 The Everything Bagel is what you get when you mix thrift with a variety of bagels, or at least some of them. When I was a kid, I always assumed it was what you got when you took a bunch of "bagel dough scraps" left over from making OTHER bagels, and then threw them all together into a glorious Frankenstein's Breakfast sort of way. Still, considering you never saw any sweet bagel portions in it, nor more complex bagels like Asiago Cheese or Sun-Dried Tomato, I should have known it was simply a snappy name for a bagel with "a giant pile of stuff" on it. Oddly, I always thought that the onion and garlic portions overwhelmed every other flavor in the bagel sort of defeating the point of this. So, let's see what they do with the chip version eh? 

Yup, that's a bagel with cream cheese alright. The chip next to it is pretty unimpressive, but it does sort of get the point across. Not sure why they went with purple for the accent color, but what do I know about marketing? Let's crack it open!

Sad, really.
Well, color me unimpressed. These chips look like chips with coal dust on them. The smell is very strong, but more reminiscent of sour cream than cheese, though not exactly like "sour cream and onion" chips either. I suppose there's a lot more garlic notes. The chips themselves have actual poppy seeds on them, though no sesame seeds, caraway seeds, or any other kind of seed. It's practically seedless, I tells ya. But who cares how it looks, it's a chip right? How does it taste?

For something labeled "Everything" it sure tastes a lot like "sour cream and onion and garlic" chips more than anything else. The onion and garlic flavors just completely dominate, though the sour cream flavor comes out a bit sometimes. What it doesn't taste like is a bagel and/or cream cheese. Oh, there's maybe a bit more tangyness to the sour cream note, but it's still basically sour cream flavoring. It's not a bad flavor, but it's not particularly unique or interesting, and it is so heavy that unless you paired it with something equally strong it will simply be the flavor of your meal. I can tell you that if it wasn't labeled "Everything Bagel with Cream Cheese" I would have no idea that is what you were going for, unlike the Crispy Taco chips. Kinda off the mark on this one.

On the FACE Rating System, it gets an unsurprising 0 Faces. They aren't bad, they aren't good. If you really, really like sour cream and onion chips and want something with a bit more garlic, these might be up your alley. They are not up my alley though. Not bad, Frito-Lay, and I applaud your creativity, but even the most creative corporation has a flavor dud sometimes.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Kotas Reviews Lay's Fried Green Tomato Chips

The Lay's Do Us A Flavor promotion for this year continues down a strange yet somehow familiar path, it seems, as we find ourselves with a primary food item being converted into a chip version. Have we gone too far this time? Is this truly the pinnacle of our horrible Frankensteinien food experiments? Or is this simply yet another in a long line of "uhhhh...what?" flavors of chips that has come before? Ladies and Gentlemen, let's get a bite of Lay's Fried Green Tomato chips.

Wavy like a Fox!
As a resident of the South, I should probably be familiar with these, but they were never a staple of my household growing up and seeing them in restaurants was always a novelty. In fact, I can't be sure, but I think when that movie I was a bit surprised to find that they were associated with Southern Cooking. My culinary journey is stilted and weird. Anycrap, we have these things from Lay's. The green packaging contrasts significantly with the picture of the red-dust coated chip, but it maintains the same level of detail and quality as other chips in this promotion, so that's good. Let's open it up.

Uh...huh. Probably won't see these at the Whistle Stop Cafe, that's for sure.
 Well, they smell quite tomato-y, though I couldn't tell you what distinguished it as "fried green". They look somewhat less flavor dust coated than the packaging would indicate, but that's okay, these things never get it perfectly right, eh? The flavor is...well, it has its own unique charm. It's got a strong dose of tomato, though it's more like sun dried than fresh (or fried. Or Green), but it also has a highly surprising spicy kick that I was not expecting. A few mouthfuls of these beauties and you'll have the makings of a sinus cleaning amount of heat. It's not a very flavorful heat though. I mean, there's the tomato flavor and then your mouth just It's not bad, but it's really weird as I absolutely was not expecting ANY heat, let alone a decent amount of it. I'm told that fried green tomatoes occasionally have a spicy kick depending on the recipe, so that's it I guess? Weird.

On the FACE Rating System, these get 0 Faces. I don't hate them. They taste alright I guess, if you like Spicy Sun-Dried Tomatoes, but they do not really remind me of Fried Green Tomatoes at all, and yes I have had them. It's not a flavor that I would go out of my way for, but if you really want something spicy, but are sick of all the traditional "spicy" type flavors (BBQ, Flamin', Nacho, etc), these might be fun to try. Or not. For me, they are quite "meh".

Friday, August 4, 2017

Kotas Reviews Lays Crispy Taco Chips

This grand season is upon us once again, as thoughts of a young individual turn toward one thing: Potato Chips. Yes, it's time for Do Us A Flavor 'round these parts people, and I can't wait to stuff my face! Frito-Lay has been getting more and more creative in its flavorings and this year we have a relatively calm bunch to choose from (so far, as who knows what this year's Cappuccino will be). So let's tackle the one that most resembles a pre-existing flavor! Ladies and Gentlemen, let's take a taste of Lay's Crispy Taco chips.

Nice and sassy!
The packaging this go around is of the "white with color accent variety, similar to their Lay's Kettle type packaging. The font is sufficiently sassy in a corporate kind of way, and the taco picture looks pretty darn tasty, with an example chip next to it for...reasons. Anyway, I like the art, though why Crispy Taco and not just Taco? As a chip, of COURSE it is gonna be crispy, and honestly I don't know how "Soft" would be conveyed as part of a "flavor" anyway. Let's open it up!

Once you go taco, you never go..back...oh.
A close up of one of these chips would look like a Mad Max movie location. Nothing but red dust and bleak chip-based wasteland as far as the eye could see. Still, it smells pretty good, in a "taco spices out of the packet" kind of way. As a friend of mine said, it's kind of like cheating for Frito-Lay. They own Doritos, and those chips have had a taco flavor since forever. Hell, it was recently brought back as a special nostalgia promotion, right? I've had those chips and they aren't anything special. So my expectations aren't super high on these. Let's eat this over with. 

Well damn, if it doesn't taste almost EXACTLY like biting into a Taco Bell crunchy taco, down to the barest hint of lettuce flavoring. It's got that hard to describe somewhat beefy overtone, with the spicing and veggie content I'd expect. Dare I say there is even a touch of the sour cream? I mean, it's like they went to Taco Bell, ordered a few dozen tacos, processed them into flavor dust, and put them on potato chips. Hot damn, this is actually pretty tasty, and it tastes almost nothing like the "packet of spices" flavor that Dorito Taco Flavor chips have. Now, not every bite is perfect, since the dust concentrations, while heavy, are a bit inconsistent, but these are easily munchable on most occasions. 

On the FACE Rating System, these get 2 Smiley Faces. Not an every day flavor, since these super strongly flavored chips would overwhelm most traditional chip pairings, but as an "on their own" snack they are superb at replicating the Taco Bell taco experience, if not an authentic taco experience. If you like Taco Bell, you sort of have to try these. If you don't, well, don't say I didn't warn you. Now excuse me, I have a bag to devour.