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Purchased at: Pei Wei Asian Diner
Price: $3.75 (2 egg rolls)

Pei Wei is the carryout/more wallet-friendly version of PF Chang’s, a restaurant I’ve never actually been to. I’ve never felt the need to try it because Pei Wei is so damn good. These egg rolls are no exception.

I got two, but only needed to eat one. Of course I didn’t actually do this. They’re a lot different than most egg rolls I’ve gotten from Chinese take-out places. The meat in these egg rolls is GOOD. It’s cooked, ground pork, but it isn’t dry (a problem I find happens too often with ground meat). In fact, it’s really moist and delicious. There are a lot of different vegetables in these, too -carrots, mushrooms, cabbage, and scallions – and they’re all really good. I’m not usually a fan of mushrooms, but they’re cut small enough that they add flavor, but you don’t get any huge pieces of them.

The only downside to these is the fact that they’re greasier than I would prefer. They’re great, but felt a little weighed-down with grease. The filling has a lot of flavor and is pretty rich. Two for $3.75 made a good snack at a good price, but I was really full after I ate both of them.

4.5/5

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Purchased at: Kroger
Price: $3.59

I picked these up on a whim at the store earlier today and I don’t even know why. The picture on the box didn’t look appetizing and I hate Friday’s (but does ANYONE actually like it?). I go with my friends once a year and we always complain about how the food is mediocre and overpriced. But we keep on going, because, like the song in Fiddler on the Roof, it’s tradition.

The picture I took doesn’t look very good, either. They tasted better than I expected, though. The potatoes were nice and crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The middles were a little “al dente,” but that may have been my oven. And it wasn’t terrible, in fact it was just about what I would expect to get from a frozen TGI Friday’s appetizer.

The bacon was surprisingly good. I, like many other food bloggers, really love bacon. I’ve had frozen bacon before (in Lean Cuisines and vegetable mixes) and it’s always been lackluster. It’s usually kind of soggy and floppy and fatty. Not here. This bacon is crispy and salty. In fact, it was the best part of these potato skins.

I’ll admit it. The cheese sauce scared me a little. It was neon orange and shiny…which aren’t qualities I usually want in my food. Construction barrels? Perfect. Cheese? Not so much. But, guess what? It tasted damn good.

Are these amazing? No. Do the bacon and cheese make up for the mediocre potatoes? Hell yes.

2.5/5

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Purchased At: Target
Price: $4.49

Before I get on with my actual review, I’d like to apologize for disappearing for almost three months. I had a crazy summer and barely had any time to sit down to eat a meal, let alone take the time to taste anything or write an actual review. But I’m back! I’ve settled into my usual college routine (doing the bare minimum, skipping as many classes as possible, and catching up on TiVoed reruns of “According to Jim”) and should be good to go. Anyway…

Back in the early 90s when I was a youngin’, trips to the mall meant two things: playing on giant plastic breakfast foods set up across from Hudson’s and warm, delicious cinnamon-roasted almonds from a little cart. Now, nearly 20 years later, trips to the mall mean clothes shopping and blowing money I don’t have. The plastic breakfast food playplace is still there, but now I see it as a germ-infested nightmare. And sadly, the almond cart is gone.

These honey cinnamon almonds from Target’s Archer Farms line of food products are the closest thing I can find to those sweet, sweet almonds I remember from so many years ago. They’re sugary and sweet (which is unsurprising, considering 3 of the first 4 ingredients listed are sugar, corn syrup, and honey powder), but not overpoweringly so. The outside is crunchy and brittle and adds a nice texture against the almonds. I definitely taste the honey, but the cinnamon is a little more subtle. For $4.49, you get a 12-ounce jar of these bad boys. I have to pace myself when I eat them because they’re so awesome. If I’m not careful, I’ll eat them all at once.

5/5

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Purchased at: Doc Sweet’s
Price $.59
According to the website: Bacon lovers unite-finally, you can have your dessert that also conains your favorite food group- Bacon! This maple and bacon lolli is a fiercely delicious combination of real smoky bacon bits and delicious maple syrup giving all at once savory and sweet sensation. Mmm- Bacon!

Last weekend I made my way to Doc Sweet’s, which is supposed to be the biggest candy store in Michigan. I was hoping to find some chocolate covered bacon or something similar, because I’ve never seen it before and it’s one of those things that I really want to try. Either I missed it or they didn’t have it, but I did manage to find the only bacon candy in the entire store. The Das Lollipop “Man Bait” maple bacon flavored lollipop was both horrifying and interesting. My mother and best friend were not interested in this at all, they were ONLY horrified.

Alright, so the lollipop has both smoke and maple flavors in it. And it’s studded with REAL BACON BITS. I know. I unwrapped it and stared at it in trepidation for a few minutes before finally working up the courage to try it. This is the first bacon flavored candy I’ve ever had – before this, bacon had only been served in two ways: next to a stack of pancakes or mixed into some salad that’s served at a picnic.

So how is it? Surprisingly awesome.

The maple is what hits you first, and then you get the smoke, and then the salty, bacony aftertaste. And, of course, the bacon bits. The bacon bits were the best part, and I was totally not expecting them until I unwrapped the sucker. The taste is awesome. I don’t really know what to say other than that. It tastes EXACTLY like everyone’s favorite part of a big Sunday breakfast – that moment where you dip your bacon in the maple syrup that’s left over from your pancakes/waffles. I didn’t think I would get such a natural maple OR bacon flavor from this sucker, but Das Foods really managed to pull it off. I love this thing. I’m just disappointed that I only bought one.

The only downside, in my opinion, is the fact that the actual sucker itself is the color of bacon grease, which is kind of offputting. But the taste surely makes up for it.

5/5

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Purchased at: Meijer
Price: $1.69

I’m not a big coffee drinker, but every so often, it really hits the spot. Usually, I go to Starbucks and spend an arm and a leg (or…you know…$3.50) on a caramel macchiato, because they’re delicious. Caramel, coffee, milk, and vanilla syrup. What’s not to love? Besides the price, of course.

Then I saw this at Meijer and it was like the heavens opened up. I heard organs and harps. I saw angels. Or something. 20+ caramel macchiatos, all from the comfort of my own house (+ pajamas), for $1.69? I was sold. And today, I decided to give it a shot, because I was up all night cramming for a final and speed-writing a final paper.

First off, I made the coffee a little too strong. I rarely make it at home, so this isn’t my forte. Because of this, I had to add a little more creamer than I would usually use. It smells really awesome when you mix it with the coffee – it’s that bitter coffee smell mixed with a sugary sweet caramel. If it tastes half as good as it smells, I’m all for it.

Guess what? It does! I used about a tablespoon and a half of the creamer for one regular-sized mug of coffee. It cuts the bitterness of the coffee and adds a nice silky touch. The caramel isn’t overpowering at all, and I’m not sure if there’s any vanilla here or not. Of course, it’s not the same as a caramel macchiato from Starbucks, but it’s a lot cheaper and a lot better for you (because no matter what anyone tries to tell me, I do NOT think Starbucks tastes good when made with skim milk. Go big or go home.). And it enables my laziness, because I don’t have to change out of my pajamas or go out in public to get it every morning.

It’s a good substitute and I’d buy it again.

4/5

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Purchased at: Trader Joe’s
Price: $1.99 (four bars)

It’s almost summer, which means the days are getting warmer and warmer here in Michigan. And because I work in a kitchen, I’m always hot. When I get off of work, the only thing I want is something cool to eat or drink. Trader Joe’s Fruit Frenzy bars are the perfect cold snack for a hot summery day.

First off, how pretty are these things? The colors are bright and they just look refreshing. The top layer is raspberry, the middle lemon, and the bottom strawberry. And they’re GOOD.

The raspberry section has actual pureed raspberries in it, which means it’s not as smooth and icy as a traditional popsicle. It’s pretty sweet. Now, there are quite a few seeds in this part, because it has the real fruit in it. I didn’t mind this at all – not only did they add a little texture, but it was a constant reminder that these weren’t just corn syrup and artificial flavoring.

The next layer is lemon. This one does not have any fruit bits in it, as far as I could tell. It’s tart. It’s not too sweet. It’s really nice. The best part about this layer is the little part at the beginning where the lemon and the raspberry are mixed together. It tastes like the best glass of raspberry lemonade you’ve ever had.

The strawberry layer is pretty good, but it’s also my least favorite. Again, this one has fruit puree in it, which means it has seeds and little pieces of strawberry. There isn’t anything wrong with the strawberry, but…well, I’m not a big fan of strawberries in the first place.

I am DEFINITELY going to be buying these again. They’re a really good size (bigger than most popsicles), and at only $.50 apiece, they are totally worth it.

5/5

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Purchased at: Target
Price: $2.31 (on clearance)

So, the bag of these that I picked up at Target had the word “NEW” stamped across the front, which seemed weird to me, because I picked them up from the clearance endcap in the grocery section (which is, quite frankly, one of my favorite sections of the entire store). This was last Monday, which was June 7th. The best before date? June 5th. I like to fancy myself as being pretty brave, so I decided to risk it.

First off, I hate when companies spell things with unnecessary letters as a way to be “cutesy” or something. There is no need to spell tortillaz with a z. An s would be sufficient. But I digress.

These things are made up of a mixture of puffed rice and corn (they’re air-baked instead of deep fried) and are Quaker’s attempt at making a healthy alternative to a nacho cheese Dorito. They’re the same size and shape as Doritos and they also seem to have the exact same bright orange cheese powder on them. How do they taste in comparison?

They’re a lot lighter and are, if I’m not mistaken, just thinner versions of the Quaker rice cakes. But they taste good, so I don’t mind. These things are a really good healthier alternative to Doritos. The cheese tastes exactly the same to me. They’re light and crispy and your fingers still get that orange cheese powder coating (which is either disgusting or lovely, depending on who you’re talking to. I tend to lean towards the “grossed out” side of things on this issue). The only thing that’s missing is the excessive grease that coats the inside of a Doritos bag, which also ends up on your hands/fingers when you’re eating them. I would definitely buy these again, because they’re a solid snack, even a week after their “best before” date.

4/5