Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Choco Chip Oreos

I got one word for these cookies, and I hate to say it: boring.

I don't know how they screwed this one up, honestly. I used to eat Chips Ahoy Creamwiches until I popped - they were Chips Ahoy plain chocolate chip cookies sandwiched with Oreo cream. Yes I was a tubby young woman, but the late 90s - early 00s were a great era for junk food. Those halycon days of the movie tie-in soda pop...Makes me go all misty eyed.

Anyway, when I heard that the next batch of limited edition Oreos was going to include a 'Choco Chip' variety, I was pretty excited. Then I started seeing the pictures come in, and my excitement waned a bit. See, these are still flat Oreo cookies, and the flecks of "choco" chip don't really have any mass, they just look like flat, colored bits in the cookie. It's not chocolate chips - ergo, "choco" chip. They taste okay, but while I was expecting them to be like saltier, butterier Golden Oreos, they were more like sweeter & less flavorsome Golden Oreos. A real let down.

The biggest disappointment however was definitely the creme. I can honestly say it seems nearly tasteless to my palette. They would've been better off just using the plain creme. This was just sweet & gooey, not pasty like the usual creme texture in an Oreo. I felt no textured chip bits, it was just a smooth, gooey creme that tasted like sugar...brown sugar if I'm being generous. Take a look at the texture - it was really gummy. I've had that experience with a few other limited edition Oreos, think when they can't integrate the flavor well into the traditional cream they use more emulsifiers and it comes out like this.

I dunno, I'm really disappointed in these. It could be that my nostalgic desire for Creamwiches return has colored my opinion, because Creamwiches these ain't. But ... decent cookies these ain't, either. A real meh, wish I would've gotten any other Oreo.

Friday, July 8, 2016

SnackFever, June Original Box

Subscription boxes are a funny thing. The ones that I've subscribed to I've really enjoyed, but for some reason I find it harder to justify spending $20 - $30 on snacks when they come in the mail every month, versus spending that amount on snacks I've chosen at a store, online or in person. If I get right down to it, I think it's all about choosing things for myself. OyatsuBox was perfect for me as my taste seemed to run right down the line with theirs, but I'm waiting to renew my subscription until the autumn so I can get chocolate in my boxes without fear of melting. I'll be back, don't you worry.

In the mean time, I did want to get my monthly foreign snack box fix, but I didn't want to risk international shipping in the hot weather. That's when I discovered SnackFever, who are based in LA but send out Korean snacks. Sounds too good to be true, but at $20 a month for a good sized box I figured it was worth a shot. I also thought their social media was really charming, and being mere hours from LA I knew that my box would probably arrive ASAP. I'm impatient about shipping, what can I say?

One interesting thing I observed about SnackFever was that they have 3 sizes for the boxes but it's not just a matter of more stuff added on as you go along...The three boxes actually all contain slightly different things. There are some that carry-over but what your friend got in their mini box isn't necessarily going to come in your original box.

The Deluxe Box is $40, but apparently comes with more premium snacks. I'm not knowledgeable on Korean snacks in the same way that I am about Japanese snacks, so I can't say whether or not the items in the largest box are observably more 'premium', but there are definitely more of them!

The Mini Box is a pretty good deal at under $15, but I'm happy spending another $5 to ensure I get a drink & ramen, so Original Box it was!

The box itself was cool, it's nicely branded & seems very sturdy. Definitely was filled up with intriguing snacks, as well. Like I said, Korean snacks are a new world for me so I didn't recognize anything straight away. SnackFever didn't include an actual print-out explaining these specific snacks, but there was a print-out with some info on them as a company and I believe a coupon code - I lost it, though. However I did get an email explaining what was in my box, so you will have all the information you need!

So let's do a quick run down of what I received - not everything has photos because some things got eaten in a gluttonous haze:

Snack Ramen
This was a delicious instant noodle - while Korean candy & snacks are new to me, I've had a lot of Korean instant noodles & I love them. This one isn't knock-your-head-off spicy, but it's got some definite red pepper heat to it. It's a soup noodle and a bit smaller of a portion than your classic instant noodle...ergo, 'snack' ramen. There was some heat & a bit of meatiness to the broth, and the noodles had a substantial chew. Basically you can't go wrong with Korean instant noodles, in my opinion, if you love a bit of heat. This would be a good beginner-to-intermediate noodle.

Margaret Choco Cookies
Mm, this was a lovely thick cookie with a firm, almost crumbly chocolate filling. It reminded me of chocolate-filled pastries, as the surrounding cookie wasn't too sweet and wasn't particularly crunchy. More of a soft pastry texture, with a bit of chew. Went really nicely with a cup of tea - unfortunately I had to share this with my husband so I only got to try one. What a one it was, though! I'd pick up a box if I spotted them somewhere.

French Macchiato Pastry
This one was really cool, I suppose it's meant to taste like coffee but I felt it tasted like maple syrup. The SnackFever blog suggested having it with a cup of coffee, and it did pair very nicely. Could be the name is actually just meant to say, 'Have me with coffee!' not...I am coffee. It was a very crisp & thin bit of proper pastry. Again, I'd happily pick up a box.

Poteau Crackers
These were interesting! I didn't know what to expect as the blog described them as cream cookies, but they're really more like sandwich crackers in the style of Ritz or Tuc for my UK readers. Buttery & just a little salty, but instead of having a cheese filling as is customary for sandwich cracker snacks, they a butter flavored filling, that was actually a bit sweet. It was cool & I happily scarfed down the pack I had but I think my tastebud's prefer a more savory filling than these had. If I got another set in my box I'd eat them, but I won't seek them out. Unless they come in other flavors!

Candy Kitchen Hard Candies
These come with three flavors, Broccoli & Kiwi, Tomato & Grapefruit, and Carrot & Apple. Yeah, weird huh? You guys know I'm not nuts for hard candies, I understand their place in the world but I'll choose something I can chew any day of the week...That being said, these were cool and very unique. My favorite by far was the Tomato & Grapefruit, because I can taste both in equal measures. The grapefruit is the first flavor that hits, and it's a very true, not too sweet grapefruit, it has elements of bitterness that I didn't expect in a hard candy. The tomato comes out as kind of a vegetal sweetness - it's just cool & accurate. Seems like I should be eating it as an expensive salad, not a hard candy. The Apple & Carrot just tasted like an apple, which makes sense as carrots are actually pretty sweet & unassuming vegetables. The Broccoli & Kiwi tasted just like kiwi to me, but kiwi is one of my least favorite fruits so I can't judge. These are very cool, and something I never would've tried had it not been for this box!

My Chew
Nice addition to the box, but if you've had Hi-Chew you'll know what to expect. I got the grape flavor and it's a nice little taffy, but hard to shout from the rooftops. Still, good candy is good candy.

Aye-Shyuh Candy
They're not kidding folks, these are sour! Really small but powerful melon (?) flavored balls of chewy sour-osity. I had one to try it, but I'm not a sour candy fanatic so that's all I needed. if you like sour sweets though, these are the ones for you. I appreciated that they were gently chewy, and didn't get stuck in my teeth like a lot of other similar candies would. I'd buy a pack for a kid and watch their face, haha.

Pineapple Drink
My least favorite thing in the box, but I do understand the difficulty with finding interesting drinks and shipping them from overseas. Says the person who commissioned a box with two new Japanese Pepsis in it and shouted out loud about the'll see that review sometime later. Anyway, this pineapple juice drink was not bad, but it didn't feel particularly special. It was pulpy and sweet, probably could've used a shot of rum or something... Considering how awesome I thought everything else was though, it was just a bit of bonus juice really.

Kkokal Corn Honey Butter Snacks
These were delicious, and I'm just the kind of person who loves the fact that they had a League of Legends tie-in. I don't play LoL much (laptop can't take it) but I know tons of people who do, and I've watched every documentary about e-sports there is, so seeing that it ties in to the national league for Korea...that was cool. These are honey butter flavored, which was a flavor that took Korea by storm awhile ago. They're a bit salty, a bit sweet, have some of the unctuous taste of buttered popcorn but by far the best thing about them is they're basically Bugles. I haven't had Bugles in years, but they're dunce-cap shaped corn snacks that had a particularly satisfying crunch, much like these. Nice one, Kkokal Corn! I'd love to try a more savory flavor sometime.

Pororo Yogurt Mix
Okay, you mix this powder with milk to make yogurt, I think, but I actually don't much keep milk in the house. I eat cereal with, funny enough, yogurt - so I don't need milk. We do have half & half though, so I followed the instructions on the packet but subbed for half & half where it said milk. I don't know if that messed something up, or if I just didn't spend enough time mixing (about 5 minutes), but it never really thickened up much. I took a sip and it was like unsweetened plain yogurt milk. Can't say I loved it, but I definitely appreciate the sentiment & the chance to try something I'd never even heard of before. What I do love, however, is that duck & frog combo. Nice.

Over all my experience with SnackFever was great - for $20 shipped that's a load of snacks, and plenty that I would've otherwise not seen or tried. They do an admirable job of sourcing Korean snacks from within LA, and I think they also have deals with some Korean snack companies in order to bring out exclusive snacks, too! I'm looking forward to future boxes indeed.