First, some luscious back story. Last year, I bought myself the Starbucks Verismo. Now, I could’ve been normal and went with the flow and just bought a Keurig coffee maker like everyone in America seems to own and love, but of course not! This time I wasn’t just being an oddball, I felt like “why the hell wouldn’t I want the name recognition of Starbucks emblazoned on my coffee maker?” If they lent this machine their seal of approval, there’s no reason why this coffee shouldn’t taste like it came directly from the tap of Starbucks machine at one of the bazillion locations throughout the country. So that left me with the added task of buying the specific pods for the Verismo. Here was the dilemma: Nobody carries these silly ass things. Triple B to the rescue.
On a lark, soon after I bought the Verismo, I stopped at Triple B to see if they carried the pods. Sure as shit, they carried every single variety. Not only was I able to drive a half a mile away to get coffee, but I was also able to use the coupons they send me all the time. Things were looking up, but the savings backfired. Yes, I saved money on the coffee pods, but I still had to walk all the way to the back of the store which exposed my vulnerable purchasing senses.
In other words, I conned myself into buying a bunch of other crap.
Cruising around Bed, Bath, and Beyond is overwhelming. Some people probably walk into that place and feel they NEED every single item they see. I walk in and feel I need at least 30% of all of it. I usually can hold back from getting out of hand with the spending, but during this latest visit, I couldn’t help myself.
The location I went to was newly renovated and very enticing. Their market section reminded me of Trader Joe’s with all kinds of specialty foods, drinks, and sauces. Beverages are my weakness. I noticed they were now carrying single glass bottles of various sodas – some that I had only read about or heard about from friends. Different stores around the country stock different soft drinks, but here in Jersey, it’s the same typical crap. Coke, Pepsi, and your other familiar varieties.
It was like walking through the Arkham Asylum of soft drinks. From left to right: Dublin’s Cherry Limeade, Bubble Up, Victoria’s Kitchen Almond Water, Argo Mojitea, Cheerwine, and Moxie.
I figured I’d tell you about how my taste test of these beverages went down. First, we’ll see if these drinks live up to their near legendary status and after that I’ll tell you about a few non-liquid items I picked up.
Dublin’s Cherry Limeade – Pleasing color. Decent taste overall, enjoyable, but the cherry and lime flavors weren’t prominent enough for me. I think the flavor may be a bit too mellow, needs a bigger kick of lime to tip the scales. Considering that Cherry is intended to be the dominant flavor it’s pretty weak in the cherry front as well. So, more cherry with a back end zing of lime. Too much to think about.
Bubble Up – Sadly, this one is pretty much indecipherable from 7-Up or Sprite, but this one it’s made with cane sugar. At the end of the day it’s another serviceable citrus soda.
Victoria’s Kitchen Almond Water – Sounds odd at first, right? The label could be a little more appealing, but I suppose they aren’t marketing almond water to tweens. The best word to describe this drink is unexpectedly delightful. It’s refreshing, lightly sweetened, and has a mellow and smooth almond finish. If this wasn’t so damn expensive I could see myself buying it often. Since it’s really just flavored water, it doesn’t have the harshness that soda has or the syrupy mouthfeel that some other drinks seem to have. This is how you know it’s awesome: an actual ingredient is: a lot of LOVE.
Argo Mojitea – I’ve tasted Argo’s line of iced teas previously, but this Mint-Lime Mojito flavor was brand new to me. Originally, I found other flavors at a local Walgreen’s and I enjoyed 1 out of 2. They tout their all natural ingredients which is definitely a good selling point for me. Sometimes I think a lot of people forget that food and drinks could still taste good even if they aren’t made from a bevy of chemicals and artificial flavors. The Mojito flavor was a total bust for me though. The citrus overpowers the mint. I always felt that two strong flavors like mint and lime shouldn’t really be battling with each other in the first place, but, a lot of people love it. Unfortunately, this is exactly what I imagine Iced Pine-Sol would taste like.
Cheerwine – The biggest WIN of this post. I’ve always heard great things about Cheerwine from guys like my friend Paxton Holley over at Cavalcade of Awesome, but I had no idea that it would wind up going right up there in the upper echelon of best sodas I’ve ever tasted (Dr. pepper, Fanta Kolita, and Boylan’s Creamy Red Birch Beer are my all time favorites). Cheerwine is a wild cherry flavored cola and it’s everything Cherry Coke wishes it could be. It’s smooth, fruity, and doesn’t give me that sting in my sinuses and nostrils that Coke sometimes gives me. Cheerwine is made with natural flavors and cane sugar. If you can find it at a store near you, I highly recommend picking it up.
Moxie – The “official soft drink of Maine” is one of those sodas that I’ve heard of since I was very young, but never tasted. Some family members used to reference Moxie as being a soda they drank back in the day. My mind running wild and the passing of time has built Moxie up to be the stuff of legend. I always imagined it to be some sort of whacked out Coca-Cola high on opium floating on a cloud, but it’s a cloud made of white and fluffy voluptuous marshmallows that sometimes stunt doubles for Elvira’s beelzeboobs. After finally sampling some Moxie, the flavor wasn’t quite so exciting.
I’ve discovered that Moxie is the one of the few sodas that you could deliberate on with soda snobs much like wine and beer snobs pour over the details of what’s swishing around in their mouths. After a few sips and really concentrating on the taste, I noticed a wide range of flavors. It’s probably the most complex tasting soda I’ve ever had. It’s interesting because its ingredient, gentian root, gives it a bitter flavor, while its other flavors are vague as it finishes with a sort of spicy kick. I’m not looking for my soda to be some outrageous Mountain Dew flavor, but Moxie didn’t quite reach the pinnacle that I thought it would for me.
I also picked up a few snacks that fall into the dessert category.
Continuing my tradition of reviewing Marshmallow filled things, I bought a Valentine’s Day themed dark chocolate Peep heart with raspberry marshmallow filling. The prevalent raspberry flavor blended well with the dark chocolate, but, unfortunately, the marshmallow wasn’t as soft and moist as it seemed to be with the mint version that I reviewed here. The firmness didn’t bother me, it was just a tiny bit more chewy. In the end, I felt it was too damn sweet and the sweetness overpowered the actual flavors. The color of the marshmallow filling was the best part.
Dr. Pepper “Candy Twists” a.k.a what I like t o call Dr. Pepper flavored Twizzlers. Not made by Twizzlers, but that’s the most comparable candy. As I ripped the bag open I noticed they smelled just like Dr. Pepper, which was encouraging. After I devoured a few, I noticed that the flavor was ridiculously good and extremely accurate to the 23 flavors of Dr. Pepper, but holy shit they were chewy. It was like trying to chew up a delicious garden hose that was irrigating Willy Wonka’s soft drink cascade. They’re one level tougher to chew than your typical Twizzler, but that didn’t stop me from eating the entire bag though. Now I feel gross.
Sheila G’s Mint Chocolate Brownie Brittle – These “cookies” were excellent. Although I’m not a fan of really crunchy things for dessert, these didn’t break my teeth that much. Typically, if I were to have a cookie, I prefer a soft one, and if it’s not soft, I submerge it in milk forever until becomes a complete mess. Couldn’t do that with these though. Their crunch was at near-Biscotti levels. The mint chocolate chip flavor was superb. Be careful though – it’s very easy to eat the entire bag of these.
I feel like the fattest fuck right now.
I’ll be showing you a couple of things I did manage to find in a moment, but first, something I DIDN’T buy. Usually I buy two of everything regardless of knowing if it’s good or not. That’s a complete mistake because more than half the time, it usually sucks. I’m an easy target for gimmicky shit and limited edition crap, but this time I didn’t let myself get suckered.
Take pumpkin spice M&Ms for example. It’s not like I don’t enjoy M&M’s because, what’s not to like? They’re little pellets of chocolate covered in a colorful candy shell. They come alive as wide-eyed candy mascots on TV too. All I’m saying is that I wouldn’t ordinarily go out to purchase a bag of M&Ms. On a rare occasion I might get a craving for a fun sized pack of peanut M&Ms at a vending machine, but I’ve been burned many times on the full sized gimmick bags too many times.
Any time a new variety comes out like Peanut Butter or Coconut M&Ms, I’m usually disappointed. I wasn’t going to be seduced by a cute orange M&M dressed up like a pumpkin on the front of the bag leering at me in Target. As I picked up a bag of Pumpkin Spice M&Ms excitedly, I was overcome by dejavu, and then I threw them back on the shelf, and walked away proudly. Not before taking a picture of course. I’m sure they’re delicious, but I’ll never know because they don’t sell packs of just 3 M&Ms just for tasting purposes.
My best purchase so far isn’t what you’d think. When it comes to beer I don’t have expensive taste. I always prefer the middle of the road beers. I don’t enjoy ales or trendy microbrews. That said, I’ve spent the last few fall seasons buying literally cases of beer that went to waste because I wound up hating it. This year I was on an A-Team style mission. I visited all of my local liquor stores to find a pumpkin beer that I would enjoy the taste of and would bring to mind the flavors of the season. I realize that a lot of the seasonal pumpkin beers really work for many of you, they just aren’t for me. Drinking an ale makes me feel like I’m drinking bitter muddy water.
Since my taste preference is for the basic type of beer, I looked for a pumpkin lager, not an ale or IPA anything else that might exist. During a trip to the local Joe Canal’s, I found a 6-pack of Lakefront Pumpkin Lager and I was really excited. I brought it home and chilled it for a while. Later I cracked one open and was immediately smitten with the taste. It was exactly the pumpkin beer I was looking for, but where has it been all my life?
A little further investigation lead me to find out via the Lakefront Brewing website that it’s the ONLY pumpkin lager brewed in the WORLD. How the hell is this possible? If the highest selling beers in the country are the most basic beers that exist, why wouldn’t the pumpkin beers get a wide release in that same style? Who cares, I finally found what I was looking for, but what were the chances? If I never found this I would’ve kept looking for one seasonal style of beer that is nearly non-existent.
Miss Sexy Armpit and I each enjoyed one last night. The lager is brewed with pumpkin and spices and it’s definitely apparent. The consistency is smooth, and almost creamy for a lager. There’s not much effervescence and the head is minimal, but the aftertaste is amazing. It left a resounding pumpkin pie and spice flavor in my mouth. It’s one of the most enjoyable beers I’ve ever had. Snotty beer connoisseurs would scoff at this. Keep in mind that I am used to drinking typical lagers and pilsners, so if you are like me, then you’ll LOVE this. Now, onward!
Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts wasted NO time hitting store shelves. In fact, they were my first purchase for the Halloween season several weeks ago along with candy corn and mellocreme pumpkins. To me, Pop-Tarts are rarely bad unless they are some zany variety like Wildlicious Wild Berry, and yes that’s actually a real flavor. These have a decent pumpkin flavor and they come through to fill the void in your breakfast portion of your fall lineup. I’ve yet to try them toasted, but I imagine they would be even better. Some people think toasting a Pop-Tart is grounds for the death penalty, but not me. I reserve toasting for special occasions though, and by special occasions I mean when I’m not being too lazy to get the toaster out.
Next up, we have the Tazo Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte. Tazo is now a division of Starbucks and this one of their pre-made mix cartons that you can serve either hot or cold. I prefer to have it cold, which is not only tastier to me, but also easier to prepare. Just pour equal parts milk and the latte mix over ice and whammo – you have a cold Pumpkin Spice Latte. Definitely a nice addition to the barrage of pumpkin stuff hitting stores.
Out of all this stuff I’d easily say the Lakefront Pumpkin Lager was my favorite purchase and I recommend it to you. Thanks for stopping by and come back to The Sexy Armpit soon for more of the Halloween countdown festivities!
Dark Chocolate is said to produce a euphoric sensation in your brain. I’ve eaten plenty of it and it hasn’t been known to set my mouth on fire. Jersey Devil Chocolates can do both. The local company based in Madison, NJ offer their own devilish spin on the classic chocolate bar.
Plain old Hershey chocolate bars are classic, but it seems there’s a trend for spicy chocolate these days. Personally I’m not sure if I’d dig a hot pepper flavor in my candy bar, but I’m sure the legions of people who are into that type of thing know what they are talking about. The company describes their 54% cocoa dark chocolate bar as a “hot and spicy chocolate taste experience.” The bar contains chipotle flavor which adds heat and then dried cranberries provide the tartness.
This ties back to Jersey because we are known for our cranberries, especially the ones that come from the Pine Barrens. In fact, some tales of the Jersey Devil were told to keep people out of the Pine Barrens all together. The Barrens are a protected forest area in South Jersey with loads of natural resources, pure water, cranberry bogs, and rare species of animals and bugs living within it.
At their official site, Jersey Devil Chocolates posted a picture of their 14 year old son’s sketch of his idea of what their logo should look like and they refined it and used it for their official company logo! If you are interested in trying one of these chocolate bars, the company makes their chocolate available via their website for purchase of single bars, wholesale, and for fund raising.
Here’s the official Sexy Armpit mascot of M&M candy! I made this little guy at the M&Ms website where you can create your own character that can be put onto t-shirts and other swag. I wouldn’t normally go to M&M’s website, but not too long ago I walking down the Atlantic City boardwalk and took my typical stroll through the It’s Sugar candy store which prompted me to visit the M&M website. They have a dizzying array of various candy products as well as a humongous replica of the Jersey landmark, Lucy The Elephant. I definitely recommend paying them a visit next time you are in Atlantic City.
What I found really cool in the store was their color separated assortments of M&M’s. They even had M&M’s blended by colors that represent local sports teams. Below are two pictures I snapped and cut together to show off their New York Giants and New Jersey Devils M&M assortment. I’m sure if I go back I can make a special Sexy Armpit edition, but I’d prefer to wait until I can get the the limited dark chocolate edition!
I had myself a Christmas candy bonanza. As if I don’t eat enough junk during the holidays, there was still more to be consumed and reviewed. Unlike Easter, Christmas isn’t known for it’s superb candy as much as it is cookies, but there are a few items worth inhaling. Read on as I make a marshmallow world of my kitchen.
I kicked off this holiday taste test with the Russell Stover’s Maple Cream Santa since it was the most enticing to me. I can’t remember if I’ve ever actually had this flavor before, but after one bite I was immediately seduced by it’s heavenly consistency and luscious flavor. If you dig maple flavor anything, then mark my words, you will fall in love with this. If you missed out on Russell Stover Christmas candy, then make sure get one of these suckers next year.
At first glance, this basic run of the mill Russell Stover marshmallow Santa Claus might seem like “schwag,” (underworld marshmallow slang term for low grade marshamallow) but as always it was completely satisfying. The marshamallow center was moist and more like a whipped marshmallow, not that odd styrofoam type marshmallow like in mallomars or moon pies. This was like eating chocoate with fluff in the center. What’s most apparent is that this basic version is the only one that features an actual mold of Santa Claus, and in comparison to the other pear shaped shit nuggets, this one is actually fairly accurate.
The strawberry cream version was next on the agenda. If you’re a fan of strawberry flavor then this will exceed your expectations. The pink filling is moist and the strawberry flavor doesn’t taste too artificial, but it’s still very sweet of course. Russell Stover seems to have the Christmas candy title all locked up. I’m looking also forward to trying these in dark chocolate, which is my preference, as well as their varieties of mint chocolates.
In a fierce contrast to the aforementioned Russell Stovers chocolates, Melster’s Cherry Cordial marshmallow reindeer was an gigantic fail. I’ve read a few other reviews of Melster marshmallow candy and they haven’t been favorable either. What are you trying to pull here Melster? This is an outrage. The mold is terrible, it looks like a siamese cat instead of a reindeer! The cherry flavor goes overboard on sweetness, and the marshmallow is way too fluffy and lacking the creaminess of Russell Stovers. You better step up your game Melster or the elves will stage an intervention!
The Operation Game History at Hasbro.com offered some insight. Unbeknownst to me, Operation was updated in 2008 to add “funatomy” parts. This means nothing to me. Changing anything about a classic game like Operation is like changing the formula to our beloved breakfast cereals. When are these companies going to learn not to f-ck with Trix, Fruit Loops, Fruity Pebbles, and they sure as hell shouldn’t mess with our board games. I can handle the breadbox, butterflies, and whatever other silly objects are in the original game, but birds and frogs? That’s exactly what our youth needs, a game informing them that when people get older and need Operations, all they have to do is remove the birds and frogs that are fluttering and leaping around in the persons body.
The Sexy Armpit wishes all of you a Happy Halloween, and to celebrate here’s some NJ related videos from YouTube that will scare up the spirits:
YouTube user clarkkent1367 posted a news clip reporting when Castle Dracula burned down.
Mike Spade’s legendary Halloween display:
Here’s one that I first saw at our friend The Retroist‘s site, A Halloween Safety video from 1977! The adviser was the Toms River, NJ Chief of Police! Posted by YouTube user vancefink.
Right now it’s a marshmallow world in New Jersey thanks to the mild winter storm that passed through over the last couple of days. Not too long ago, during Halloween, my world was filled with actual marshmallows. I made a few new friends who called themselves Marshmallow pals. These pals were a freaky gang of mooshy ghouls including the likes of Dracula, Frankenstein, a pumpkin, and a witch. Recently while cruising the aisles of Toys R Us I gained a few more pals, but this time they came straight from the North Pole.
This set of Frankford Marshmallow Pals features Santa, Mrs. Claus, Frosty, and Santa’s Elf.
I don’t consider myself a full fledged grinch, but I did what needed to be done to things that are so sickeningly cute and festive.
I commited mass marshmallow murder.
I love how a gnarled hunk of Mrs. Claus’ remaining head remains atop her neck. That’s what she gets for offering me home made gingerbread cookies. bitch.