Burns My Bacon: Oreo Thins


The skinny Oreo. Yes, you heard it right, Nabisco is giving in to the effed up health-conscious world to bring you “Oreo Thins.” Supposedly, Nabisco is not trying to offer a healthier option than their Crisco-filled counterparts, but they project sales to increase from offering this wafer-like substance formerly known as an Oreo. Yes, these are more sophisticated snacks “for adults” according to the Associated Press. Nabisco claims that adults don’t want to twist or dunk their Oreos. Instead, adults want to chomp down on some thin piece of cardboard that does not have nearly enough sugar-lard filling and claim that they are satisfied. I call BS.

Let’s be real. First off, since the dawning of the Oreo, debates among young and old centered around the question: to dunk or to twist? “I prefer to eat my Oreo dry, with less filling, and untwisted” – said nobody. Further, when given the choice between a regular Oreo and Double Stuffed, I am willing to bet that 9/10 people will choose the double-stuffed. I mean, I’ll take two double-stuffed Oreos, twist off precisely so that all of the cream is on one side, and then sandwich the two double-stuffed sides together. I am not alone. And yes, on most days, I am an adult.

Finally – let’s talk about the Oreo brand. Oreo makes their money off of the “twist vs. dunk” debate. Endless advertising highlights the debate – even including adults. I recall an ad with a father (adult) and his son (to be an adult some day) by which the father teaches his son “the proper way to eat an Oreo.” I believe he actually followed the twist and dunk technique. What a simpleton.

PHOTO: Associated Press

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Chew on This: Pistachio Rum Mini Bundt Cakes

Pistachio Chewy Bite Mini Rum Cakes

In one of those epic which-ice-cream-to-buy battle of the minds, a friend recently called me an “old man” for wanting to choose pistachio. Is this warranted? I mean, I know it’s not chocolate chip cookie dough, but it’s not rum raisin either. So maybe pistachio isn’t the most cutting-edge of all dessert flavors, but it’s freaking delicious. I was stoked to discover this new recipe from Heather Goldberg and Jenny Engel of Spork Foods, who combine the nuttiest of nuts with lots of wintry spices, yes, a little bit of rum, but yay, no raisins, for what they call Pistachio Chewy Bites. Yes, please.

Mini Pistachio Chewy Bite Rum Bundt Cakes

Yields 12 personal bundt cakes

3/4 cup un-sweetened almond milk plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 3/4 cups organic un-bleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup evaporated cane sugar
1 tablespoon organic black strap molasses
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup rum
1/4 cup neutral tasting oil (Safflower)
1/3 cup finely ground pistachios
3 Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites
1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
2 teaspoons un-sweetened almond milk

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Burns My Bacon: The Sudden Decline of Pumpkin Spice

Pumpkin Spice Latte

PHOTO: Starbucks

Pumpkin flavored anything is on the top of my list from mid September up until the day after Thanksgiving. Yes, that’s right, I celebrate fall from beginning to end. Apparently, I am in the minority. Approaching a day of meetings, angry co-workers, and tons of stress, I decided to get a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks. I enter Starbucks, proudly present my Starbucks app (I’m a Gold member), and order my latte with a sprinkle of extra fall. What do I get after I actually order and start waiting? “Oh, we don’t have pumpkin spice anymore.” Day. Ruined.

I’m sorry, did I miss the fall foliage, carved pumpkins, horror movie marathons, trick-or-treaters, and high school football season? Nevermind Thanksgiving – that’s a battle that will never be won. But to take pumpkin spice off the shelves before Halloween?! What is the world coming to? Are we all that ready for Christmas? Do you REMEMBER what last winter brought? Tons of snow! I love skiing, but I’d like to enjoy the full extent of the fall season. That includes the special pumpkin taste of fall. Don’t give me the BS about “your market hasn’t demanded the product.” All that is telling me is that the region I live in sucks. They are a bunch of namby pamby rich snobs that are entitled to the point that they believe they should be showered with gifts and attention even longer. STOP IT. In all fairness to Starbucks and my barista – they did comp my hazlenut latte (said in a dull and drab voice) because of my visible distress given the situation. But that could also be because I am a gold card member.

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Halloween Must-Have: ORANGE Milk!


Tick or treaters, horror films, American Horror Story, Walking Dead, Hocus Pocus marathons, ORANGE MILK. The list can go on (do I see a Halloween must-have list in our near future?) but for now, let’s talk about this awesome idea from TruMoo: Orange and Scream Milk. The green-dyed milk for St. Patrick’s day is cool, but does it change the flavor of the milk? NO. Orange and Scream is a play on words of…you guessed it – orange and cream. Not only is the milk a kick-ass Halloween orange, but it also tastes like a delicious creamsicle! I’m picturing myself downing tons of Halloween candy with a nice cold glass of orange milk. This could really change things for me…

Parent company Dean foods figured it out – you can get your kids their calcium while also tasting delicious and fitting the theme of the Holiday. More importantly, they even suggest some “Halloween concoctions.” First, there is the Monster Mash Float, which “comes to life by combining the limited edition milk with frozen yogurt topped off with chilled seltzer.” Then try the “Paranormal Pudding.” which “appears by combining instant vanilla pudding with TruMoo Orange Scream and layers of granola.”

I sent several emails to TruMoo and Dean foods to find out where I can get this ghoulish beverage. Unfortunately, the snobs in my region apparently don’t demand the product so I can’t find it near me. They did suggest to ask the local store managers to get some in. Obviously, an email has already been sent. I haven’t given up yet on finding this thing and neither should you. In fact, if you do find it, let us know and tweet us with your best HALLOWEEN milk mustache! Game on. Happy Halloween, Bitches.

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Plate It or Hate It: Fall 2014

Recent food world discoveries the ES crew is loving and hating…

Hate it: Overpriced Food & Drink Festivals

We LOVE that Oktoberfest is sweeping the nation, bacon festivals are occurring on the east coast, and people are excited to experience food. However, some of these prices are ridiculous. For instance, the Philly fest is asking $25 for general admission and THREE samples. C’mon now!

Plate it: Whiskey Wedge

The makers of corkcicle bring us a new and improved way to drink our whiskey without diluting the drink. Review to come!

Hate it: Christmas-Themed Food in OCTOBER

Peppermint Mocha Liquid (seasonal)

Somehow gingerbread flavored creamer ended up in my fridge. We’ve seen candy canes and chocolate oranges in the grocery stores. Apparently the supermarkets and the food corps want to push Christmas on us already. Well… we are not ready. Put the holiday foods/drinks/scents away! At least let us get through Halloween!

Plate it: BOOK IT! Alumni Program

Join the Alumni Program

Remember those buttons we would get in school with the purpose of filling it with stickers to earn your personal pan pizza? As we realize the Book It! program is 30 years old, we all realize that we’re not as young as we think we are. Now you can re-enroll online as an alumni and get a free pizza!. Nostalgia awaits you.

Plate It? The Olive Garden Foodie Strikes Again

Grand Forks Herald columnist Marilyn Hagerty is seen in an undated portrait. Hagerty, a North Dakota newspaper columnist, focuses on local food and...

Merilyn Hagerty strikes again as she reviews Applebee’s and their ground breaking Oriental Chicken Salad. While “lunching” with a friend, she helps us determine whether or not to go with the half or full size salad, and “regular customers know how to order two full sized entrees and one appetizer to share.” While insulting at one level, it’s pretty damn hilarious on another. We give the woman credit for getting by on these pieces. The publication – not so sure.

Hate It: The Neelys are Getting Divorced?!

Neelys Divorced Food Network

WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?!?!?! Love is officially dead. Bye forever, everyone. (Image credit: internet ruiner of dreams, TMZ.com)

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Just Give In: A Pumpkin Spice M&Ms Review

Pumpkin Spice M&Ms Flavor Taste Test

So, the internet has collectively decided that liking pumpkin and pumpkin spiced flavored things makes you a basic white girl. There have been many online thought (well, “thought”) pieces written about this, including one fairly accurate Buzzfeed list. If you’re really interested in the history of being basic, the truth is that everyone has taken a phrase coined a few years ago and twisted it into something completely different meaning ordinary/boring. New York Mag has a pretty good piece on it, and over on The Awl they have an interesting 2013 read about the fetishization of pumpkin and pumpkin flavor. If you’re interested into delving into this weirdly specific trend/topic.

Anyway, whatever. If liking pumpkin shit and football and boots makes me basic, then basic it is. Pumpkin is delicious, football is an amazing justification for day drinking, and boots keep your feet warm and dry.

All that being said, what up with all the pumpkin-flavored stuff in stores these days! It’s getting borderline ridiculous. Apparently these limited-edition Pumpkin Spice M&Ms debuted last year, but I never experienced them in-person until this year, the year of our lord 2014. SUPPOSEDLY there are also Pumpkin Spice Oreos out there now, but I have yet to see them in stores them despite a semi-intense search at Target last week. But let’s rewind a sec to the M&Ms.

I was in said Target purchasing my new Crock Pot (one more step in my quest to be the most basic white girl in the fall, I guess) when a garish display of seasonal M&Ms caught my eye. Nestled among the Halloween-themed regular flavors were Pumpkin Spice and White Chocolate Candy Corn varieties. Clearly the powers above were sending me a message, and that message was: you must sacrifice your pre-vacation crash diet and sense of pride. You must taste test these cheap, bandwagon-y limited edition candies.

I decided to save the candy corn flavor for a later unfortunate date, but purchased the pumpkin spice kind and tore into them in the car ride home (obv, why would I delay this flavor experience longer than necessary?) To the disappointment of my friend and myself, they were barely pumpkin-tasting at all. If anything, I would describe these M&Ms as “Mexican chocolate,” that is, regular milk chocolate infused with a tiny bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, and generic “spice.”

When I got home, I introduced them to Rob in a BLIND TASTE TEST and he thought I was just feeding him regular milk chocolate M&Ms. Another failure.

But… something strange started to happen. The longer the weekend went on, the more we snacked on these little nuggets of dubious seasonality. And the more we snacked on them, the more we liked them. Soon we were saying things like “You know, maybe I CAN taste the pumpkin spice” and “Well, I actually really like these, they taste like fall” until we were full-on making conversation with each other about how we might be borderline addicted to Pumpkin Spice M&Ms.

What does this all mean? I suppose if the summary of my review is “They don’t taste that great at first, but just keep eating them and eventually you’ll think you can taste the difference, start to like them, and eat way more than you meant to in one sitting” that might not be high praise. But, this is kind of how I feel about pumpkin spice and fall in general. You resist at first, you think you’re better than it, but you’re not. Just give in.

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Burns My Bacon: Secret Menus


Not sure if you’ve heard, but apparently it’s still cool to be a hipster. I thought now that being hipster is cool, being hipster is no longer cool. But anyway, I digress. I’ve noticed many of the flannel and skinny-jean fashioned patrons at restaurants ordering Starbucks drinks that weren’t listed. I admit, I am a Starbucks snob who knows that they shouldn’t be charging you for “one pump” of syrup, but that’s as far as I go. I looked up “Starbucks secret menu” and realized that Starbucks isn’t the only place that has a supposed secret menu.

Several other chains have “secret menus” published online. I have a problem. Nay, several problems. First off, the publishing of a secret no longer makes it a secret.

Second, why? Why have a secret menu? Who are you helping? Is it really generating enough revenue within that hipster or foodie crowd who really want to know something that everyone else doesn’t? Or is it that the secret menu offering items are too expensive to be on the menu? Well here’s an idea – rotate the menu!

Third, a secret menu defeats the purpose of a regular menu. Patrons look at a regular menu with the understanding that the items listed are the only items available at the time. Now, the regular menu really has little meaning if we are looking online for secret menus, coming to a restaurant, and asking for something that is NOT on the menu. I’m just not seeing the logic. Custom orders are one thing…but even so – STOP IT.

Maybe it is just for the novelty of it all. Maybe there are so many self-righteous people out there that the industry now has to make everyone feel even more special than they already do. If you need to “feel special,” there are plenty of “services” you can purchase to get that special feeling. Or, just get over yourself and realize that restaurants have a select offering of food items that they specialize in. If you are not happy with the offerings of chain restaurants, maybe try something new. We have enough snobbery going around these days; we don’t need secret menus promoting even more snobs.

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