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Food/drink product roundup: Hint Water, Hungry Man Pub Favorites and Sledgehammer Wines

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.

Chef Jim

Hungry Man Pub Favorites—In promoting their new iPhone app, the Growlator (how great is that name?), the folks at Hungry-Man have introduced a new line of Pub Favorites including beer-battered chicken, tacos and popcorn fish. Since they don’t ship samples, the company did send me a few free coupons so I could grab one at the store. My local grocery store (Copp’s in Madison) only carried one, the Beer Battered Chicken, which comes with a side of cheese fries. Yeah, pure man-heaven, right? Well, I was set to make this in the conventional oven, because the thought of soggy breaded chicken is gross. So I baked it for the 40 or so minutes and then let it cool before trying. But first, the chicken and fries were all melded together, so I couldn’t take the film off just the chicken as it suggested. Anyway, the chicken was delicious—crispy and it tasted better than most frozen chicken you’ll find. But the fries were a mess—soggy, and the cheese sauce didn’t have much taste. And another drawback is that this is a meal to feed a small-ish hungry man, not a big dude. I’m guessing it would take three of these to feed a football player. But hey, it’s frozen food, and definitely worth trying for the chicken alone.

Sledgehammer Wine—Imagine my delight when I opened a package addressed to me and it was two bottles of wine. Since I didn’t want to bother shipping this to our wine expert, I decided to try it and write about it here. This is a new company and its first two offerings are a 2007 Zinfandel and a 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon. I like red wine but I’m no expert, but the thing is, they’re trying to reach guys like me. They’re billed as big and bold (hence the name) but this wine is not too oak-y or hard to gulp down—it’s smooth, mild and yet has a full-bodied taste. It’s just what a red wine should be. The Zinfandel is just a touch smoother, while the Cabernet has that hint of barrel to it. Sorry, you have to remember this is coming from a non-expert but someone who likes the stuff. Anyway, go try Sledgehammer if you like wine or even if you are looking for a substitute for beer as the weather turns colder. Also check out www.sledgehammerwine.com for more info.