Yes, trying and reviewing food and drink, and even alcoholic drinks, is a tough job. But someone has to do it. Here are a few new products that either came to me with promotions attached to them or not:
Hint flavored water–I drink a ton of flavored seltzer, so the thought of non-carbonated water scared me just a bit. But alas, this Hint stuff is pretty damn good. They sent six flavors, including Watermelon, Blackberry, Mango-Grapefruit and Strawberry-Kiwi. The Strawberry-Kiwi flavor comes with a special label–that of Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo to promote the new Yogi Bear movie that debuts in December and stars Justin Timberlake and Anna Farris. You can win tickets to the movie by visiting www.drinkhint.com/yogi. Anyway, this stuff is delicious, and it doesn’t come with a sugary aftertaste because there is no sugar at all. If you need a break from carbonation or need flavor in your water, definitely start here.
A-B InBev is straddling the fence in the current beer market. Anheuser-Busch has long been the dominant American brewer in the domestic market, but when it joined the InBev group, the Budweisers were suddenly in the same family with traditionally highbrow beers like Leffe, Stella Artois, and Boddingtons. Even though your average beer geek will start wailing and gnashing his teeth at the mere mention of Anheuser-Busch or any of its products, most of America still drinks domestic, lager-style beer.
In order to help its customers branch out a bit, A-B InBev put together a free iPhone app called iLoveBeer (iTunes Link). The app is supposed to promote zythology, the study and appreciation of beer, by helping consumers find new beers to try, offering meal pairings, and providing detailed descriptions of proper pouring procedure for several of the brands. While none of these features – with the exception of the pouring instructions – are particularly detailed, I think getting these ideas into the hands of American consumers can only help improve the national beer experience. Most beer drinkers still think their decision is simply between Bud or Bud Light and MGD or Miller Lite. iLoveBeer aims to put more options in front of the consumer and to remind people that beer can provide a sophisticated dining experience that would turn up the noses of the wine snobs in our lives. Also, who’s to say that the guy who tries a Michelob Porter won’t love the style and start to branch out and try a Fuller’s London Porter or a Bell’s Expedition Stout.
Though iLoveBeer is simple, I think A-B InBev is doing both a smart thing and a good thing for the consumer market with the app. It raises awareness of the wide selection of InBev beers and encourages beer drinkers to branch out. What so evil about that?
Halloween is always a big party, so we’re going with some simple but fun for this week’s drink – The Hornitos Pop Rocket. The recipe for this shot is very simple. Start with Hornitos Premium Tequila (Plata), then apply Agave nectar to the rim of the shot glass, and then use Pop Rocks to coat the top of the shot glass. The result is delicious.
There’s nothing like premium tequila to get a party going, and this shot will get everyone’s attention, particularly all the ladies in their sexy Halloween costumes! Hornitos tequila is amazing and it will become one of your favorites.
All guys (ones that I know anyway) love a good burger!
If you are looking for the ultimate guy’s burger, then look no further than the Wendy’s Baconator Triple. I say the ultimate guy’s burger because I can’t imagine any sane woman wanting to eat such a huge burger unless she was answering to a dare or a lost bet.
The Baconator Triple sports three 1/4-pound fresh, never frozen patties, 3 slices of cheese, 9 smoked bacon strips, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, 4 dill pickles, onions (4 rings), 2 slices of tomatoes, lettuce and a premium bun. All that good American dish for a staggering 1360 calories!! You also have the option of “personalizing” your Baconator for even larger stats.
Hey, Wendy’s didn’t create this beast for the faint of heart or those counting calories, and as long as you know what you want and how to handle it, this is one great burger!
Since McDonald’s launched the McGriddle breakfast sandwich back in 2003 I still haven’t found anything that compares when it comes to taste and convenience. You see the beauty of a Sausage, Egg & Cheese McGriddle is you get the great taste of pancakes with the hearty bite of an omelet.
It’s important to give yourself plenty of fuel before a long day at work, and the McGriddle can do just that. If you think an apple or a granola bar can hold you over till lunch, you might be sorely mistaken, aching for some sustenance before long.
The soft and warm pancakes buns with maple flavoring really set off this fast food masterpiece for guys on the run like myself. If you haven’t tried a McDonald’s McGriddle yet you’re missing out on a great breakfast wrapped in a very good price.
It sure is nice when companies send samples of new food and drink products to review! Here are a few more we tried recently:
Unwind (TM) Low Calorie Relaxation Beverage–This is the opposite of Red Bull. In fact, it’s the polar opposite of those high caffeine drinks. Unwind contains a natural blend of melatonin, valerian root, rose hips and passion flower, and comes in Goji Grape, Pom Berry and Citrus Orange flavors. I tried them all, but not all at the same time. Let me tell you, this stuff works. I would advise that you drink it in the evening or before bed, because it relaxed me to the point of making me extremely sleepy. Not only that, this stuff, despite being low in calories, is delicious. The citrus is a tad bitter but the grape and berry flavors are awesome. Now I need to find more of it. If you’d like to, check out the Unwind website. Happy relaxing!
Lucky us, we get to review new food products that are sent to us! Here are a few awesome new ones that we recently received:
Utz Pub Fries/Cheddar Cheese Flavor--Leave it to the folks at Utz to take a product that someone else is making and make it better. I remember the Andy Capp’s “Fries” as a kid and these are like an upscale version. There is a strong onion undertone but the burst of real cheese flavor makes up for it.
There’s a lot of buzz out there around the new Domino’s Pizza, so when Bullz-Eye.com was invited to spend a day the at the Domino’s headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan, we jumped at the chance. I first tried the new Domino’s back in May and I really liked the new pizza, so I was looking forward to going behind the scenes to meet the brain trust.
When arriving in Ann Arbor I was met by the reps from Domino’s, other media bloggers and writers from other guy-related websites. Our group hit it off right away and the Domino’s team was first class from the start. When I made it to headquarters the lobby and artwork told the story of a company that has been around for 50 years (they are celebrating that milestone in December 2010) and a company in resurgence. We settled into the comfortable board room and enjoyed some refreshments to get things underway. Phil Lozen, the Social Media Specialist for Domino’s, took us to the Michigan Supply Chain Center about 20 minutes from headquarters. It was at the distribution center that we witnessed the precision and commitment to quality that is the engine that keeps this company running. The dough making process is clean, accurate and streamlined. The quality control system is also excellent, as Domino’s is careful to x-ray each dough ball to ensure that there are no objects in the dough that don’t belong. It was also interesting to see how important the distribution center is to Domino’s franchisees as they not only deliver the ingredients but help manage and stock inventory at individual Domino’s stores.
Our way back to headquarters brought us to the test kitchen where our media team had the pleasure of learning all about the ingredients from Brandon Solano (Vice President Marketing & Retail Innovation, Head Chef) and Sam Fauser (Training Specialist). Both of these men are seen regularly in Domino’s TV commercials, but they are down to earth and really, really passionate about Domino’s and it shows. In the test kitchen we also learned about the improved ingredients that go into the dough, sauce and toppings at Domino’s and the numerous trial runs to “get it right and tight.” No crazy photo shoots are needed to make Domino’s pizzas look good – check out this video and you’ll see how things used to be done.
Then it was time to make our own Domino’s pizza and I must say mine came out even better that I could have imagined. Regular dough, plenty of sauce, mixture of cheeses with provolone, pepperoni, onion, roasted red peppers, sun dried tomato and the kicker was new sliced sausage that was simply off the charts. Once my pizza went onto the oven it took 6 minutes and 30 seconds to bake. (Their newest oven can pump out pies in approx. 5 minutes flat!) Once the pizza is taken out of the oven those who want the garlic butter crust apply the goods on the crust and it melts right in. This gives each customer the choice of having garlic butter crust or just sticking with the regular crust. I should have entered my pizza in the Domino’s “Show us your Pizza” contest because mine was a winner. Our media crew did pretty well (hey, we had serious help) and once we headed back to the board room to chow down everyone loved their pizza.
Towards the end of lunch executives from Domino’s joined us for sneak previews of some new commercials and a wide open question and answer period. This was very informative for all parties present as it was made clear to me that Domino’s has some very sharp people in charge of branding, marketing and product development. This isn’t the Domino’s of the 80′s and 90′s and when their team talks about quality and transparency they mean it! Let’s face it, Domino’s has been running a great marketing campaign over the past 8 or 9 months and that’s what convinced me to try their pizza again. But without the product to back it up any company will eventually fall short.
With somewhere around 5,000 stores in the U.S., Domino’s pizza is being put to the test just about every second of every day. When I tried the new Domino’s and was asked by folks how could the new Domino’s be that good at such a competitive price point I told them to try it for themselves and the feedback was positive. The Domino’s team understands that it takes time to change perceptions and with the new products and brilliant offline and online campaigns Domino’s is turning into an American comeback story!
We recently reviewed Utz Pretzels and talked about how generally awesome they are.
But Utz, like most snack companies, is constantly trying to improve their brand and to compete with other snack makers. So for this summer, Utz introduced, among other new snacks, these pretzel pieces in three flavors–Cheddar, Buttermilk Ranch, and Honey Mustard and Onion.
Now, these aren’t like regular pretzels that are crispy and malty and salty and awesome. The flavored pieces are more like a different kind of snack altogether, with the pretzel being a vehicle for the flavor of choice. And Utz brings the flavor in a big way, in some cases a bit too much. Here is how we sum up these pretzel pieces:
Cheddar–Okay, scratch what I just said about not being like regular pretzels. Because one thing you notice here is that these are Utz Pretzels, which are in a different class than most pretzel brands. Then you get the big cheddar flavor, which is sharp and bold and holds up to the palate of this Wisconsin based cheese snob.
Buttermilk Ranch–Well, this one wasn’t as pleasant. The ranch flavor is quite processed, like they took the pretzels and shook them in a bag of Hidden Valley ranch dressing mix. It also had an unpleasant onion-y aftertaste.
Honey Mustard & Onion–Unlike the ranch and cheddar, this flavor wasn’t as potent, but subtle enough to where you keep tasting the different flavors coming together as one. And with that, you want to keep eating them. Or at least I did. These are actually NOT too onion-y, and the sweet mustard flavor is awesome.
We received samples of all of the new Utz Snacks, so we’ll be reviewing more in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, if you try these pretzel pieces, feel free to leave your own comment in the space below. Thanks for reading and munching with me!
If there’s one thing the good people of Jamba Juice know, it’s fruit. So why would they try to get into the burger business? In truth, they aren’t – this video is just a strong right hook at the fast food industry, which has started to encroach on Jamba Juice territory by offering concoctions they try to pass off as smoothies. Those abominations are about as much smoothie as the cheeseburger shake is a burger, and yet, people order them. That got us to thinking, if people are willing to eat fast food smoothies, who would be willing to eat a cheeseburger shake?
1. Frat guys – If fraternities have a reputation for one thing, it’s their filth. It’s not networking, job prospects, close friends, or even great parties. The real frats, frats that people like you and me went to skill with, were disgusting. They had horrific hazing rituals. Their members (my friends among them) would find absurd bets like “who can kill the most wounded soldiers at the next house party.” These guys would love to ingest a cheeseburger milkshake. You can almost guarantee that a brother at your local party school has tried this very thing to rid himself of a nasty hangover or win the approval of the rest of the house.
2. Hot dog stand regulars – At three in the morning, few things sound quite as good as a hotdog loaded down with onions, jalapenos, chili, coleslaw, and healthy squirt of stadium mustard across the top. For some people, that sounds good at nine in the morning. And for lunch. And as a mid day snack. When you’re in such a hurry to give yourself kidney stones, why not slurp the food through a straw, right? Right.
3. Extreme runners – When I first read about Dean Karnazes I was enchanted. The guy lost it at a party, sprinted into the night and didn’t stop running until morning. That was just the beginning of an insane career. He has gone on to compete in marathons and supermarathons, sometimes entering himself in team competitions and running against five other men by himself. He ran 50 marathons in 50 days across 50 states. He’s completely insane, but he keeps his body going by guzzling calories as he runs. He orders pizzas on the go, snacks on eclairs mid-run. He needs the ridiculous caloric intake just to keep his body running. The cheeseburger shake is perfect for this guy – a calorie bomb you can sip as you sprint.
4. Fast Food fanatics – If you’ve seen Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me,” you know there are people in this world that would prefer the Big Mac to a nice hand-pattied burger. For those few people, you can imagine the cheeseburger shake would be the perfect treat. It’s salty, disgusting, and consumable in three minutes or less. What more could you want?
5. Britney Spears – Britney Spears is a wreck. A complete and utter mess of a human being. When she isn’t flashing her hoo-hah or pressing ham for the paparazzi, she’s busy driving with her kids on her lap and having public – very public – psychotic breakdowns. She’s also known to step into gas station bathrooms barefoot. I don’t know what kind of gas stations you go to, but the bathrooms I see at the local Kwik-N-Go are like something from a horror movie. If the walls aren’t smeared in human excrement there’s usually used toilet paper strewn about and a cocktail of bodily fluid stewing in the turlet. If Britney can stomach that mess without so much as a pair of shoes (much less a biohazard suit), you can bet she’d be willing to slurp down a burger shake without thinking twice.