Thursday, May 19, 2016

Oh Yeah! One Bars - Lemon Cake, Birthday Cake, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

I tried a few of these popular new Oh Yeah! One protein bars. As a fan of the Quest bars they're kind of emulating, who also dabbled in the original Oh Yeah! bars, I feel qualified to give my opinion. Not that being qualified to give an opinion has ever stopped me from doing it before.

Generally all these bars are softer & less chewy than the Quest bars, and covered in a thin layer of chocolate or choco-style coating. If you're sensitive to the aftertaste in protein bars I don't think these will change your mind - however if you can handle Quest bars, these are no worse. Some flavors will mask it better than others, like the first two I review. From what I've read and my own rudimentary knowledge, these are nutritionally sound with 20g of protein and just 1g of sugar. They're not 'natural', but see my dearth of Japanese novelty candy reviews to see how little I care for nature, anyway. I'll break down the first three flavors I tried, and will be updating again once I've tried the remaining 8.

Lemon Cake - I'm kinda 'meh' on lemon flavored things, but this is so accurately sweet, 'wholesome' and lemony, I actually love it. There's something to be said about accuracy in flavor making up for whether or not that flavor is actually great or not. I mean, the texture of these bars lends itself so well to something dense but not chewy, like a lemon bar.

Would I ever choose a lemon cake over a spoonful of cookie dough or a birthday cake? No. Would I choose this bar over those flavors? Oh yes, because it tastes exactly like a lemon square. I'm putting out an APB on APB - accuracy in protein bars. This one is the main suspect.

Birthday Cake - This is the flavor everyone else seems to go nuts for, so my expectations were high. I wouldn't say I was let down, but I did think it was inferior to lemon cake. I think it comes down to a personal preference thing though, as I prefer more 'strong' flavors rather than subtle. This birthday cake is pleasantly sweet & has a good base of vanilla, but it just didn't knock my out.

To be fair, I just don't think anything birthday cake flavored really would at this point. I've had it a lot, it's been a trending flavor for a few years now... while it is pretty tasty, it is basically sweet vanilla and not exactly mind blowing. I can see why people love this one so much because it does hardly taste like a protein bar (that protein taste is very well masked here!) but as someone who doesn't mind that protein bar aftertaste, I'm looking for something a bit more...esoteric. The sprinkles were cool, though.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough - This one gets very few admirers, as Quest really cornered the cookie dough fan market. You can see my review on that ol' classic here. Right away you can see that the Oh Yeah bar is covered in chocolate, while the Quest bar is left unadorned. The base flavor is pretty similar, which is salty, sweet, and indeed a lot like cookie dough.

 The main difference is that the Oh Yeah bar is covered in a thin layer of chocolate, but the Quest bar has large chunks of it throughout the bar. That emulates cookie dough far better than a thin coating. I think that the Oh Yeah bar has maybe one or two chips, but definitely no chunks at all. Then there's the issue of microwaving - the bar is coated in chocolate which would definitely melt, and make it too messy to experiment with in that way. The Quest bar, however, is elevated to perfection when microwaved - gooey & texturally accurate.

It's not a bad bar by any means, but I'd always choose Quest for this specific flavor. Over all though, Lemon Cake wins over all other protein bars I've had before!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Pancake KitKats

I know these are pretty late, but if you can still find them out in the wild - spoiler alert - definitely get them. So yes, technically these were an Easter promotional KitKat in Japan (hence the bunnies) but I don't really get what pancakes have to do with Easter, or really, any season at all. The only holiday that I can vaguely connect to pancakes is Mother's Day, just because of all the mothers in advertising who love brunch.

It's the same format as Japanese KitKats usually are, small two finger bars in a sharing bag. These are special as the two fingers are fused together to create the ears of a bunny face. Pretty cute, but forget about splitting them in two. Frankly these are so teensy I don't think anyone would be sharing a single bar, anyway!

The flavor is intensely maple and therefore incredibly sweet. The crispiness of the wafers really does bring to mind the edges of a stack of diner pancakes with tons of syrup & melty butter.

I think these would make a really good permanent edition to some KitKat line, somewhere. They're very sweet so I don't think it's something you'd necessarily binge on, but a mug of coffee or tea coupled with one or two of these would make a very tasty treat, no matter what time of the year.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Ritz Crackers Ultimate Butter

Ritz Crackers are an American classic that everybody loves; like Lucille Ball, Tillamook cheddar, and Sinbad...both the comedian and the legendary sailor. They're salty, a bit sweet, and have a buttery flavor & flaky texture. They pair well with savory toppings or sweet ones, and Ritz Bits are one of the best examples of American fake cheese snacks.

What happens though when that classic gets coated in more artificial butter flavor than it's usually coated in? Let's see!

Visibly, they don't seem all that different from standard Ritz crackers - there are visible grains of salt, cute little scalloped edges, and a golden brown color.

When you taste them, however, you can really tell the difference. They're indeed more 'buttery' in flavor, but what seems even more evident to me is that they're a fair bit sweeter than standard Ritz. That I kind of don't like...where regular Ritz can stand up to toppings and accompaniments both salty & sweet, these seem like they'd really only work on their own, or topped with like...peanut butter. I do think they'd be a nice ice cream topping, or macaroni and cheese topping. I do get a hint of nutmeg as well, which is why I think it'd couple quite nicely with mac & cheese.