I Ate Crispy M&M's; Or, The Day Nostalgia Died

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Photo by Charles Lam

When I was a kid, my favorite candy was Crispy M&M's, the classic chocolate candy with a grain of puffed rice embedded in the center. I remember eating chocolate before they were released -- cheap stuff like Kit-Kats and Crunch Bars --but it wasn't until the crisps that I truly had my own favorite candy. They were perfect: They didn't melt in your hand; they weren't disgustingly sweet in the way regular M&M's are; you always felt like you were eating a lot of them; and there were so many contrasting textures.

Even physically, they were attractive, in their own every-piece-is-slightly-lumpy-but-different-and-special kind of way.

And then one day, without warning (and, according to popular legend, because they were cannibalizing the sales of regular M&M's), the crispies disappeared from American shelves.

I was heart broken (and upset several years later when the Mars company gave the blue bags to the horrible Pretzel M&M's). But then this year, Crispy M&M's came back.

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We Eat French Toast Crunch; Or Why 90s Fetishism Is a Sad, Sad Exercise

Categories: Taste Test

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Photo by Ryan Cady
It is a pretty cereal

Boy, we do love our nostalgia. Seriously, in a lot of ways, as a generation, we're holding the '90s at gunpoint and demanding more majestic feats of reminiscence. The return of Surge, every television reboot ever, BuzzFeed's entire existence -- pretending the days of dial-up were better is all the rage. I'd say I worry about what happens when we run out of stuff to get nostalgic over, but honestly by then it'll be at least 2020, and we can safely daydream about how "dope" the early 2000s were and get all teary-eyed about Motorola RAZRs and Heelies or whatever.

So with a world-weary sigh, I bring you this latest review of the Ghost of Snack Foods past -- General Mills French Toast Crunch Cereal.

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We Drink It So You Don't Have To: Absinthe-Flavored Coffee

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Photo by Courtney Hamilton
So friendly looking

On a recent trip to Santa Ana's Cost Plus World Market, I made my way to the back coffee wall, as coffee addicts tend to do. Peeking out at me, beneath the sea of French vanilla and butterscotch-flavored coffee grounds, was a curious dark green package with friendly, if not slightly psychedelic hand-drawn script. The bag read "absinthe flavored ground coffee".

Produced by San Francisco-based Mavericks Coffee, the grounds advertised a litany of botanicals that flavored the beverage -- fennel, wormwood, Angelica, Hyssop and other herbs worthy of a new age, healing crystal shop. Cartooned French gimmicks -- red windmills, the Eiffel Tower, a mustachioed man in a beret -- surrounded by a green haze, covered the packaging. Signs on the shelf read "75% off," making the coffee $2. Bizarre and cheap, how could I not buy the bag.


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We Eat It So You Don't Have To: SURGE

Categories: Taste Test

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Photo by Ryan Cady
EXTREME

"I don't even remember what it's supposed to taste like."

Like almost everyone in the 18- to 25-year-old age group this month, I was a little giddy. Surge was coming back, and it was sort of like Christmas meets Back to the Future meets 90s X-Men. It was going to be extreme. It was going to be rad. It was going to be awesome.


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We Eat It So You Don't Have To: Lay's Newest Novelty Chips

Categories: Taste Test

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Photo by Ryan Cady
Chips delirium has obviously taken hold

Look, I wanna start off by apologizing, because this article might come off as a little uninspired. There might be an underlying sense of boredom to some sections, and again, let me apologize - if you feel that, know that it's simply there because potato chips are dumb.

There, I said it.

Think about it. They're just malnourished French fries. Like, name a thing that you could do with chips, like a way that you could eat them or how you could serve them in which French fries would not be better. You can't. Because chips are just these sad little crunchy things, where if you put enough of them in your mouth you're like, "Okay, this kind of tastes like fries, I guess."

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We Eat It So You Don't Have To: 7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded

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Photo by Ryan Cady
Good lord.

Before I got a chance to try the Doritos Loaded, my working lede for this article was "Three fat white guys walk into a 7-Eleven. They never walk out."
I wish that lede were true.
I wish it were applicable.
I wish I were dead.

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We Eat It So You Don't Have To: Burger King's Fabled Chicken Fries

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Photo by Ryan Cady
Good god.

I write this from a place of ecstasy. For today, upon this green and golden earth, a benevolent God shone His mighty visage upon the human race, and smiled, raining down upon the good people of His Creation all the blessings befit a Paradise upon the Earth.

Burger King's Chicken Fries are back.


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Coffeebar Byul: OC's Most OCD Coffee Shop

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Courtney Hamilton
Nice, white space with everything in its place

By Courtney Hamilton

Husband and wife Jae-Ho Synn and Jin Sun Ahn talk about coffee and tea as if they were the very nexus of art and science. Synn drops words like "manual agitation" and "calibration" when describing brew methods at Coffeebar Byul in Irvine, while Ahn refers to the shop's drinks as her art. But whether they're the results of science or art, the drinks at Diamond Jamboree's newest coffee shop are developed with fanatic attention to detail.

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We Eat It So You Don't Have To: Frozen Bar's Fronut (With Comparisons to the Milky Bun)

Categories: Taste Test

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Photo by Charles Lam
The seal is better, I'll give them that

People really need to stop filling donuts with ice cream because if they don't, I'm not going to live past 40. First came Afters' Milky Bun, which I famously enjoyed, and now Frozen Bar, a small little ice cream joint in Garden Grove, is stuffing donuts with gelato and calling them Fronuts. I feel like this should be some sort of public health crisis.

But alas, I totally ate one, and now I'm going to tell you about it.

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Taste Test: J. Zhou Oriental Cuisine

Categories: Taste Test

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Edwin Goei
If you could only hear the Beethoven.
The following represents just a few initial impressions of J. Zhou Oriental Cuisine. This is not a full review.

First, the room is palatial--tall as a school gymnasium, decorated as though it were for royalty, with at least three kinds of dangling chandeliers and light fixtures. Also, no single wall looks the same. Look around and you notice each vertical surface has its own unique pattern or textured motif or marble that isn't repeated anywhere else in the room. And the seats: Plush. The music: Classical Beethoven.

Right now, during this honeymoon period, the service is over-the-top obsequious. Water is refilled, empty tea cups poured, finished plates whisked away. At this point, while the place is only slowly being discovered, the impeccably dressed waiters have nothing to do but coddle the few customers who've come to size up the new restaurant in town.


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