Friday, November 30, 2018

Kotas Reviews Jeppson's Malort

Recently I journeyed south to meet up with some friends and attend a public event where some of those newfangled electronic sports were occurring. At this gathering of enthusiasts, one fellow hailed from the Frozen North of Chicago. From the icy wastes he brought in his pack two items native to his land: a snack food to be looked at later, and a bottle of a substance spoken of only in back rooms at a hushed whisper. Ladies and Gentlemen, today we explore the world of Jeppson's Malort.

Two-Fisted Terror!
Jeppson's Malort is a booze with a long and storied history. As noted on the label this liqueur is of Swedish origin. It seems the Swedes were known for their use of wormwood, which is a primary ingredient in this Malort. In fact, Malort is the Swedish word for wormwood. But I digress. The herbal infusion of wormwood is called besk, and was developed as a remedy for parasitic stomach worms. Somehow, it found its way to Chicago, where a man named Carl Jeppson started bottling his own recipe and selling it out of a suitcase. The local legend says that Jeppson, tobacconist and constant cigar smoker, had his taste buds scorched from his excessive tobacco smoking, and this Malort was one of the few flavors he could reliably taste. Further, it is one of the very few alcoholic beverages to be sold during Prohibition as medicinal liquor, because Jeppson would give a sample to law enforcement officers when stopped, and with a sour look on their face, they would concur that no one in their right mind would drink this concoction for recreational purposes. If that doesn't set your mouth to watering, what can, am I right? Let's see what it looks like.

Destiny, thy path awaits!
It's got a light color for a liqueur, and isn't nearly as syrupy as many of them are. In the glass it looks pale and light, almost as if it were to be refreshing. Let me tell you something, this drink LIES. The smell is that of facial astringent cleaner with a strong punch of what I guess is wormwood, very herbal and off putting. To describe the flavor, I would like to quote a friend of mine: "It tastes like regret." He's not wrong, you know. The initial flavor assault is like your yard clippings staged a revolt and forced themselves down your craw. Bracing, but actually something you can get used to. I mean, I've drunk more than my fair share of Strega over the years and while I wouldn't call it good, I can see how people might somehow enjoy it. No, what really reaches down your throat and pulls hard is the after taste. My GOD it is bitter, and tastes like an old shoe smells and it LINGERS like the hint of oppression in a prison cell. Sweat and must and exhaustion and tears, mixed with the lingering knowledge that yours is a very small place in the universe, arrayed against cosmic forces you simply do not understand nor can comprehend in their uncaring magnificence. The really weird thing? The more I drink it, the more I WANT to drink it, so I can somehow come to understand this heaving terror in a bottle. My body is repulsed, but my brain forces it forward ever ONWARD to more blasphemous and terrible vistas of knowledge. I can't explain it at all, but that's what it is. 

On the FACE Rating System, it gets 4 Frowny Faces. It is a fucking punch in the goddamn mouth of a drink, bold, brash, disdainful of you and your family, and will stay with your until you've long since forgotten why your mouth tastes like the bottom of a movie theater. As the back of the bottle says "Jeppson Malort has the aroma and full-bodied flavor of an unusual botanical. It’s [sic] bitter taste is savored by two-fisted drinkers." That's certainly one way to put it, I guess. I will say, though, it helps with stomach problems. I can see why it would be an effective treatment for stomach worms. You'll scare them to death.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Kotas Reviews Burger King Cheesy Tots

Thanksgiving is a time of horrid excess, where one's main objective is eating yourself into some sort of coma so as to avoid your family while still in the same room with them. It's a glorious thing, really and a tribute to the American tendency to do a simple thing in the most convoluted of ways. Also, there's a lot of traveling associated with the holiday, and you know what that means! Fast food on the go! Ladies and Gentlemen, let's take a look at something I found while stopping for a quick snack during the Thanksgiving slog: Burger King's Cheesy Tots.

I never knew they left, let alone came back!
It isn't a secret that I find tater tots to be one of the finest processed potato products that one can consume. There is just something super satisfying about a good tater tot: The crunchy exterior, the soft texture of the minced potato inside, coupled with a solid yet many creviced texture perfectly suitable for salt and sauce accumulation. I like tater tots is what I'm saying. Still, apart from Sonic, you don't often see tots on the menu at a fast food place. Could Burger King be looking for a way to better distinguish itself from its fellow burger slingers? Eh, probably. Tater tots sound tasty, right? As a topping, cheese is alright, so let's give these a whirl!

Well, those are not quite what I expected. They look less like tater tots and more like fried mac and cheese, which you can acquire on a stick at your local state fair. I mean, it resembles no tot I am familiar with, and the smell...the smell is distinctly NOT potato. It's sort of a vague savoriness, like...aerosoled umami, only, you know, shitty. I am highly dubious, but ONWARD!

Well, they taste like Styrofoam particles using gas station nacho sauce as a binder. It's gummy and paste like and only barely does it resemble either cheese or tot, and is certainly NOT a Cheesy Tot. They missed this flavor profile by a country mile and honestly made me question their conception of a "tater tot". Holy Jeez Burger King, these are gross!

On the FACE Rating System, these get 2 Frowny Faces. They taste bad, they look bad, they smell bad and they besmirch the good name of both cheese and tater tots. Whoever came up with these should be shunned from kitchens everywhere. You were warned.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Kotas Reviews Zone Perfect Pumpkin Spice Bars

They say that breakfast is the most important part of the day. My question is "who are they, and why do they promote breakfast with such single minded efficiency?" But we're not here to talk about that. Nope, the yearly Pumpkin Spice blight is upon us and all that entails. We've touched upon it many times on this blog, and today will shall do so again. Ladies and gentlemen, let's take a good old fashioned gander at Zone Perfect Pumpkin Spice Bars.

Now with flavor!
Zone Perfect has been a staple in my pantry for a number of years. They tend to be relatively inexpensive (for a meal replacement bar), go on sale regularly, and have a handful of decent to good flavors (though nothing particularly outstanding). So of course they had to come out with a Pumpkin Spice flavor, because if you have a lot of flavors, almost no one can resist the urge to give this one a go. The box art is okay. I like the little leaf designs, but the picture of the actual product below is highly uninspiring. Also, it cleaves to the tradition of "pumpkin spice" being represented by cinnamon and brown sugar on box art. Whatever, let's rip it open.

Looks like someone got really excited by the prospect of pumpkin spice.
Well, it looks pretty unappetizing, mostly resembling a granola bar that an overenthusiastic child glopped over with icing. It's not very attractive to the eye, is what I'm saying. Still, most people don't give three turkeys about the look, but want to know more about the flavor. Good thing I'm here to sum up: It's alright. It's not awful, but it doesn't really taste like pumpkin anything. It mostly tastes like a granola bar covered in stale icing. Why stale? It has this weird waxy...essence that makes it taste not good at all. It's tolerable, and I will finish the box, but I would never eat these again.

On the FACE Rating System, this gets a single Frowny Face. It's not good, but it isn't poison or pointless. It's just not well done. If you take all your flavor queues from competitors with shitty flavorings, your flavorings will taste bad too. Give these a hard pass. I don't care how into pumpkin spice you are. I think I can safely say at this point that Starbucks got it right, and everyone else has utterly failed to recapture that magic. Let's maybe move on to other things, okay?

Kotas Reviews Fiery Snickers

Hoo boy, it's been a hell of a month or two hasn't it? Once again I find myself talking about how it's been a long time since I wrote one of these. Well, let's just cut to the chase here: Work has been a Bear, and that bear decided my face was a delicious pile of salmon it had to try and chew off. Still, now that bears have been fended off, I can get back to what's important: Red Dead Redemption 2. Or rather, I would if I owned a video game console and also had some time! Which I don't. Let's eat some candy instead. Folks, we're looking at the Fiery Snickers today. called. They want their childish shame tactics back.
So, what the hell is a Fiery Snickers you might ask? Well, it's a Snickers...that is fiery! Much like our previous delve into "hot" candy, I question the existence of this product. Who in the hell ate a fuckin' Snickers bar and thought "You know what this needs? BURNING!" Eh, maybe it will meld better this go around? Whatever. The packaging is just insulting, but I think that if the word "Wimpy?" was replaced with "Snickers" it would at least be something that lets you know what to expect. Let 'er rip!

The prank potential is strong in this one.
Yeah, it's a Snickers bar. Nothing special about that, really. This isn't quite the laziest food change ever, but it's damn close. But we all know why you are here, so let's not beat around the bush anymore. How does it taste? Exactly as you'd expect. It's a Snickers, with some burning. The heat isn't overwhelming or gag worthy, but it is quite noticeable and adds nothing to the overall taste experience of a Snickers bar. It's just there, mocking you and hurting you with its own pointlessness, having ruined yet another candy for no good reason.

On the FACE Rating System, this gets 2 Frowny Faces. It's pointless, it's not tasty, it isn't even all that clever. Fuck off Mars with your lazy bandwagon riding bullcrap.