Thursday, October 12, 2017

Tai Pei Sweet and Sour Chicken

I want to like this, but I really feel like it would taste so much better without the peppers and carrots and onions. Maybe I'm not cut out for sweet and sour chicken in a frozen meal. Anyway, the chicken is fine, some nice little chunks in there, and a few tasty pineapples too. The sauce is maybe a little too sweet, even though there isn't super much of it. The rice is fine, moist and clumpy and fairly nondescript. I feel that the "veggies" just bring it down a lot, though. They muddle the sweet-and-sour flavor with a strong "frozen pepper and onion" flavor instead. Plus it's almost 500 calories for a fairly small portion! Hoping the other Tai Pei meals are better.

Overall
Cost: 6/10 (about 3$)
Taste: 4/10

The Better Chip - Sweet Corn

These are pretty good; better than I expected. They are smaller circles, pretty dense, not super crumbly, and surprisingly sweet. I don't even know if I'd want to dip them in your typical salsa because of that, but they are good without it, too. A real strong lardy vibe, too.  They are also 220 calories for a single-serve bag, though, which is a little rich for my day-to-day blood, but OK as a nice filling snack treat.

Overall
Cost: 6/10
Taste: 7/10 (for a corn chip)

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Tai Pei Chicken Chow Mein

First off, these new containers are great. Saves me a dish AND I can eat these at school etc. Anyway, I 'm a big proponent of Tai Pei, even though I don't currently love any of their offerings, because I love the potential! They're cheap, easy, mostly fish-and-nut free, and they used to have an amazing Chicken and Brox. Sadly all of their rice dishes have peas, which I can't have, but they're always adding and changing things, so I remain subscribed to their newsletter, so to speak. (Also literally).

This one is exciting because it's noodles! Maybe it will taste like lo mein! Sadly, I've never had real chow mein so I can't really compare it to the real thing, but I will say that at minimum this doesn't taste much like lo mein. It tastes like noodles with a low-sodium soy sauce, a little sesame sauce, some very healthy-tasting chunks of chicken, and carrots/peppers/broc. So it's OK, but it's basically what I can make at home. Definitely not the Chinese food of my dreams, but honestly still a convenient, filling, decently healthy meal. As long as I ignore what could have been, I can accept this as the fine, decent, OK product that it is.

Overall
Cost: 7/10 (about 3$)
Taste: 7/10

Friday, October 6, 2017

Cow Tales Minis (Vanilla)

These are such a classically great candy. Not great like "nut free" great, but just truly great. Though they are, of course, nut free, with the little logo and everything. These have been around for a long time, and they're very similar to the caramel creme bullseyes from the same company, just a different shape. The caramel outside is floury and stiff, but creamy and sweet, which is way better than that ooey-gooey-sticky stuff. And the inner cream filling is so soft and vanilla-y, it's a perfect combo. I don't understand the people who doesn't love these! They taste great, they don't hurt your teeth, and they aren't messy. Sure, they aren't good for you, but this is candy, man! Live a little!


Overall
Cost: 6/10 (around 3 dollars for a package, or 50 cents for a single non-mini cowtale)
Taste: 8/10

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Lee Kum Kee Panda Brand Ready Sauce for Korean BBQ Stir-Fry

Dude. Dude. Dude. OK, so if you've read this blog or know me in person, you probably know that since the age of 12 or so, when I got seriously diagnosed with NUT ALLERGY BAD NUT ALLERGY, I've been on the quest for nut-free Chinese food. And not crap Chinese food, but stuff that actually tastes like the (takeout) Chinese food of my youth. However, I have been mostly unsuccessful (mild success came with Yoshinoya Beef Bowl's fried rice (RIP West coast life) and this frozen Innovasian chicken and broccoli meal, but after many attempts, I've generally come up short. Since I am usually in search of (Chinese) lo mein or fried rice or chicken and broc, I never would have thought to try this packet of Korean BBQ stir fry sauce on my own. However, blessedly, it was sent in my monthly Degustabox (fun food sub box). First downer: I have to buy meat, onions, and veg if I want veg. So this is a commitment. Then I need to marinate the meat for two hours. Whew. And they say to buy "flank steak", and I'm not very familiar with cuts of beef, being a mostly poultry-only girl left to my own devices. The only flank steak is over 10 bucks a pound at my store! Good lord! But, since the only potential alternative (London Broil Top Cut) looked really different, I bit the bullet and spent the 10 bucks for this meat, then came home and made rice and cut veg and marinated it up and stir fried the heck outta this thing! (The cooking itself took less than 10 min, which was crazy, and I don't have a meat thermometer so I was a little scared and did it on the longer side, like 8min total). And...and....it tastes EXACTLY like the beef teriyaki I used to get as a kiddo! Chewy beef pieces skewered with a wooden stick. Now as a kid this wasn't my favorite Chinese dish, my parents always ordered it, but damn if it didn't bring tears to my eyes to taste a so similar thing!!! I think it must be partially the cut of meat (damn you, beautiful chewy 10 dollar meat), but the sauce is also a really similar flavor, and it's just really great to have this. Ahhh. I think it came out well; even though I used a little less meat than called for and so I had a fairly saucy dish, when it's over rice it isn't too overwhelming or too sweet or anything like that at all. Just great. What a fun surprise! I might have to buy this again, even given the expense, maybe to make for my loved ones (i.e. parents and bf (separately)) to get their reaction. Woo! Cooking success high! :)

Overall
Cost: 3/10 (about 3$ for the sauce, which is OK, but see my meat stress above -- though I'm sure you can use other meats or veg or something instead)
Taste: 9/10 (as a meal, the sauce on its own didn't wow me, although it is good)
Nostalgia: 10/10

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Welch's Fruit 'n Yogurt Snacks - Cherry

These are pretty tasty little "fruit" snacks. To be honest, they taste more like a candy than a snack (very sweet and vaguely white-chocolatey), but they have some vitamin C and are low calorie, so I guess that's alright. The taste is a little like a cherry twizzer with the white-chocolate coating from Flipz Pretzels (RIP the days when I could eat Flipz Pretzels), and the texture is soft and a little chewy, but not too much (kind of like cookie dough bites...RIP the days when I could eat cookie dough bites). So these are a nice treat, technically not candy, and nut free! The strawberry flavor is good too. I'm here for it, Welch's.



Overall
Cost: 8/10 (about 2$ for 8 packs)
Taste: 7/10

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Tasty Organic Fruity Snacks - Super Fruit

Clever move(?) to call the brand "Tasty", but these didn't really win me over. The taste is fine, I guess, a generic fruit snack taste, and they have no major allergens, which is great, but they are also vegan, i.e. without gelatin. And whatever they used to make these chewy, I think they really overdid it, because these are super sticky/chewy. They also made me feel a little itchy, which could be entirely unrelated, but they weren't good enough for me to hazard a second trying of them. So, I recommend you avoid these!

Overall
Cost: 4/10
Taste: 4/10 (if we include texture in taste, which we (I) do)