I’ll be posting a detailed written review later this weekend, but for now, you can see my initial reactions to these new flavors. (And watch me make faces and feed chips to my dog.)      

© Maria Smith http://poison-and-antidote.net
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Cheddar Flavored Orion Yegam Baked Potato Chips - Asian Food Market: Cherry Hill, NJ

Posts might be a bit sporadic next week, I’m trying to edit and queue up what I can but, if you follow my art blog or art tumblr, you know I’ve been really busy prepping for my artist alley table at Otakon. I’m trying to edit photos and get posts ready to go, but between my 9-5 job and con-prep, I’m stretched pretty thin. (I look like I was punched in both eyes. Four hours of sleep each week night is killing me.)

Anyhoo, it’s 2AM on a work night. Let’s eat some baked cheddar potato chips.

I’ve already reviewed the normal/regular baked chips, which are packaged the exact same way, so I’m just going to gloss over the design differences. The color scheme is very orange heavy, which relates to cheddar cheese, and the box features potato chips, cartoony wedges of cheese, and a little BBQ grill. It’s cute, and the shape of the box is pretty interesting when compared to American snacks, but it isn’t as well designed as Potato Wish. (I really loved that packaging. Functional AND easy on the eyes.) Design-wise, this is better than the Baked Seaweed Lays, but it’s no where near perfect.

Inside, just like the original flavor, there is a bag keeping all the chips in a neat little stack that acts as one serving. The bag has the same design as before, but this time it has a red color scheme instead of green. To me, the red makes it feel cheaper somehow, like this is some kind of knock off product, but it functions well. 

Inside, the chips are thick cut, crispy, and surprisingly in one piece. This box fell off my counter quite a few times before I got around to photographing it (more like my cats kept knocking it over. Cats can be jerks.), but the chips seem to have survived these brutal attacks without being smashed to bits.

These don’t seem to have any scent, but they do look cheesy. (Ha! I need sleep.) The chips have an artificial orange-tinge to them that is reminiscent of fake cheese flavoring, but they are no where near Cheeto or Dorito territory.

I took a bite, and the cheese seasoning was oddly sweet. Too sweet. The first thing I can taste is this sugary sweet artificial cheese flavor, which is almost like eating Cheez-Its that have been coated with a light dusting of sugar instead of salt. After the initial sugar shock is over, the baked potato flavoring kicks in with a hint of saltiness to try and salvage this crispy snack. The potato part of this chip is pretty satisfying, it has a lovely crisp texture, but it just doesn’t overcome the candied cheese flavor.

Seriously, why are these so sweet? Is something wrong with this package? My tongue? Did my 4 hours of sleep burn out my brain? I’m starting to lose it, but it’s safe to say I am not a fan of this flavor. Cheesy chips aren’t my favorite to begin with, but sweet cheesy chips? No thank you.

Unless there is something wrong with the box (or me) I wouldn’t recommend this flavor, but the original chips are worth looking into.

© Maria Smith http://poison-and-antidote.net

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Spicy Pulled Pork Pizza - Photo © Papa John’s Pizza

Okay, the Greek and Sweet Chili Chicken pizzas weren’t that interesting for me, and to be honest this one doesn’t look too appealing either, but the spicy aspect makes me want to check it out anyway.
The promo for this pizza says that the ingredients are: 



Hickory smoked, slow cooked, tender shredded pork. Crushed red pepper, BBQ sauce, Sargento’s Habanero Pepper Jack cheese.



The ingredients sound pretty interesting, but it still doesn’t sound as good as the Double Cheeseburger Pizza. My boyfriend and I will order one this weekend and let you know if it’s any good.



© Maria Smith http://poison-and-antidote.net





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Spicy Pulled Pork Pizza - Photo © Papa John’s Pizza

Okay, the Greek and Sweet Chili Chicken pizzas weren’t that interesting for me, and to be honest this one doesn’t look too appealing either, but the spicy aspect makes me want to check it out anyway.

The promo for this pizza says that the ingredients are:

Hickory smoked, slow cooked, tender shredded pork. Crushed red pepper, BBQ sauce, Sargento’s Habanero Pepper Jack cheese.

The ingredients sound pretty interesting, but it still doesn’t sound as good as the Double Cheeseburger Pizza. My boyfriend and I will order one this weekend and let you know if it’s any good.

© Maria Smith http://poison-and-antidote.net

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gemmacorrell:

(via Four Eyes Comic Strip on GoComics.com)
Coffee and Almond Chocolate Crush Pocky - Asian Food Market: Cherry Hill, NJ

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed Pocky, I think the last time was back in September when I found that Rare Cheesecake flavor in Chinatown, but I haven’t seen any new flavors in my area. I’m not sure if they just aren’t being imported like they used to, or if there haven’t been that many new flavors released in Asia (which I doubt), but I got my hands on two new boxes to review.

Let’s start with this coffee and chocolate Almond Crush Pocky!

The packaging may seem similar to the Almond Crush Pocky I’ve reviewed in the past (I still gotta convert that post to Blogger), but the design has gotten a lot more sophisticated. Instead of a gaudy gold box with a tea set that made little-to-no-sense, this packaging as a caramel colored gradient with a semi-matte finish and a little-to-no-sense draped fabric and bow themed background. Although the backdrop seems just as random and out of place as before, it creates an elegant and sophisticated feeling for this item. I can’t speak for it’s target audience in Japan, but I think this flavor combination and packaging would really appeal to people in their late 20’s or older here in America. (I’m 26 and it got my attention.)

Again, just like before, the Pocky sticks are sealed in individual packages containing four sticks each. Due to their double-dipped chocolate coating and ground almonds, these biscuits are a lot thicker than normal Pocky flavors, so four to a package works out quite well.

I opened the package and plucked out my first stick of Pocky. Surprisingly, it doesn’t smell strongly of chocolate. The first thing I can smell is the nutty aroma from the almonds, and that’s followed by a hint of mocha coffee. The scent is not overly sweet, even though this looks like milk chocolate, and I found it to be really appealing.

I took a bite, and the chocolate began melting right away. (It’s summer here in New Jersey and it’s averaging about 80+ degrees F each day, plus these were under hot photo lights, so it’s to be expected.) The chocolate is mild, but sweet, about on par with a Nestle chocolate bar but no where near as sweet as Cadbury, and the almonds are crispy and flavorful. Actually, the almond seem to steal the show. Their strong flavor and texture is front and center while the coffee and chocolate take a back seat. I really enjoyed the chocolate and almond flavors, but the coffee notes were a bit hard to place. It isn’t until everything is chewed and swallowed that you’re left with that dry bitter aftertaste that I relate to coffee.

After eating an entire 4-stick portion of these, the coffee flavoring builds up a bit, but it isn’t all that powerful. (Until you get the lingering coffee-breath aftertaste.) I gave a package to my coffee loving boyfriend and asked him to guess the flavor, and it took him quite a while to guess coffee, so you coffee addicts out there will find this flavor to be pretty disappointing in the coffee-department. Personally, I really liked these. The coffee flavoring is subtle, and this tastes just like dipping biscuits into melted Hershey bars with almonds and a bit of instant coffee. I would buy another box of these for my desk at work, they’d be a nice weekday pick-me-up, and the box would look pretty nice on my desk.

© Maria Smith http://poison-and-antidote.net

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listoflifehacks:

If you like this list of life hacks, follow ListOfLifeHacks for more like it!

More mouthwatering food hacks here

Lemonade Gummy Candy - Philadelphia’s Chinatown, PA

Although I’ve eaten and reviewed quite a few Kasugai gummies here on my blog, the flavor selection in my area is quite limited. I can always find a bag of strawberry, mango, lychee, or melon, but the seasonal and Japan-local flavors (like Yuzu) are hard to find. (At least in my area of New Jersey.) Practically everything is available on the internet these days, but I prefer buying my candy in person, so I’ve never had the chance to try some of the more exotic or seasonal flavors. That’s all about to change, recently some of the summery Kasugai gummy flavors have made their way to my neck of the woods. First I found the watermelon, which were delicious, and now I’ve found this bag of lemonade flavored gummies!

As always, the gummies are kept inside a foiled plastic bag with an all over photo print that relates to the flavor. This time you can see a basket full of fresh lemons, sliced citrus, and a tall glass of lemonade with a cute striped straw. I love everything about this packaging, but I am an absolute sucker for good food imagery. Remove all the text, and this image could easily be a print! (I’d buy it.)

Large bags of Kasugai gummies are always individually wrapped, which is perfect for maintaining freshness or sharing, but it does make a lot of waste. With the recommended serving size being eight candies, that means eight wrappers end up in the trash. Maybe this form of plastic is recyclable in other areas, but in my area it just ends up in the garbage. I’m nit picking, but really it does make a lot of trash. (Which is a pity.) 

Unwrapped, the candy is soft and bouncy, just like the other Kasugai gummies I’ve reviewed, and it smells incredibly authentic. I can smell lemons, sugar, and a hint of zesty citrus rind. In fact, the aroma is so zesty, it is almost ginger-like, but that only happens when I get uncomfortably close while sniffing. (I may or may not have some of the sugary coating on my nose while I type this. Doitfortheblog.)

I took a bite, and it was deliciously soft and chewy, as always. Kasugai never lets me down! The flavoring doesn’t taste as zesty as it smells, but it’s really delicious and realistic. This really does taste like a strong glass of lemonade!

I’m not sure if this is a seasonal flavor for summer, it seems like it, but I could see this selling well year round. The citrus flavoring makes it really refreshing, but it’s tart enough to prevent the candy from being overly sweet. These lemony little gummy discs are delicious and absolutely addicting. I would easily buy another bag, and I recomend them to all citrus lovers.

© Maria Smith http://poison-and-antidote.net

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Moist & Chewy Cake - H-Mart: Cherry Hill, NJ

I’ve seen this package in a few Asian grocery shops and I had always passed it by. I’m not a fan of snack cakes, I always feel like they’re really oily and processed, so these little fish-shaped sweets never appealed to me. I really don’t know what caused me to finally buy them, but I’m very happy I did.

I absolutely love the packaging. Everything about it is thoroughly thought out and there are so many textural elements! Starting with the box itself, it has a faux kraft-paper texture and it features complimentary colors with a playful fish-cake theme. The overall layout and design is bubbly, bright, and the colors work very nicely together.

There are two ways to open this box. One way is to peel the front cover open, creating a little cardboard basket of-sorts, while the other is just to open the resealable tab-style flap on the side of the package. (Imagine the top of a cereal box.) I hate ripping the tops off of my packages, it’s just a weird pet peeve of mine, so I opted for the resealable cereal box route.

Inside, the little cakes are wrapped with beautiful metallic pearl waxed paper! As if the lovely pastel and gold colors weren’t eye catching enough with their pearly sheen, each bag had a uniquely adorable print. My favorite had to be this one with the paw prints and simple kitty illustration, but

The other packages were really adorable as well. The champagne-gold paper was my favorite of the colors, and I had two of these in my package, but the kitty design is my hands-down favorite. (I’m not so secretly a crazy cat lady.)

I opened up the gold wrapping, since I had two, and inside there was a delighfully detailed fish-shaped snack cake.  It might not be as precisely detailed as the fish pictured on the box, but you can easily tell what this cake is trying to mimic.

As expected, this snack cake is processed, just like Tastykakes and Hostess sweets that are readily available here in America, the cake smells sweet, oily, and chocolatey.

My first bite consisted of sweet pound cake, which was dense and oily, red bean paste, and chocolate flavoring. I’m not sure if there was chocolate mixed into the bean paste itself, or if the chocolate flavoring came from the chocolate details on the fish, but it tasted far better than I ever expected and you would definitely know that chocolate was hiding in there somewhere. .

The cake was moist and processed tasting, but it wasn’t that bad. I feel like this is a little step up from a Krimpet or Tastykake, but it is still very unnatural and processed tasting. Towards the end of my little fishy there was some kind of chewy yellow confection that I couldn’t suite place. It didn’t taste like much, but it did add a bouncy chewy texture. Maybe this is a gummy or some kind of gelatin based filling? Or mochi? I’m not really sure, so I tried to google this stuff to find out, and…

Apparently this item has been discontinued! What a pity! I may not be a huge fan of the taste, but my boyfriend really enjoyed them and I absolutely loved the packaging. I might have to grab another package or two before they disappear from the shelves completely. These would also be really adorable to include my next giveaway.

If you are able to find a box of these before they disappear, I recommend scooping it up. The packaging is lovely, the snack itself is adorable, and if you like snack cakes that is just an added bonus.

© Maria Smith http://poison-and-antidote.net

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Dark Chocolate Pear & Almond Bar - Whole Foods: Marlton, NJ

Unlike my last post, this was a food item that I was really looking forward to.

Pears are one of my favorite fruits and it’s very rare to see them used in American candies, let alone mixed up in a dark chocolate bar. (Which is my favorite type of chocolate. The darker the better!)  Even though all of the the ingredients sounded really appealing, my track record with items from Whole Foods has been very hit or miss. Maybe this item will tip the scales in their favor?

The packaging for this candy bar is similar to Ghirardelli, Lindt, and other higher-end chocolate bars, but I feel like the overall design is more modern and a bit less sophisticated. Since I am more of a modern art fan, and I love faux texturing, I really like this package. Nothing is perfectly centered, and I think that makes everything a lot more interesting, plus there are little detailed design elements everywhere. You can see a hint of the UV gloss scroll pattern at the top of the packaging, and the rest of the matte cardboard box has a faux marble overlay. This little candy box makes me very happy as a graphic designer, although I feel like the text on the back is a little bit too large. (Then again I have a tendency for my designs to have thin and small texts, and I have very good eyes. It might just be my personal preference.)
Inside the box, the candy bar is sealed inside a sheet of shiny silver foil. The foil wrapping is plain and unmarked, but it’s actual foil! It’s been a while since I’ve had a candy bar that was sealed in foil and not a silvery plastic. It might seem a bit plain, but the cardboard sleeve more than makes up for the lack of design.

I peeled back the foil and…

Oh dear, is it supposed to be spotted? I scratched at one of the spots with my nail and it turned into a power, so it isn’t bit of exposed pear or almond, but maybe it’s supposed to look like that? I have a feeling it isn’t, maybe the chocolate has been sitting on the shelf for a while? Welp, spots or not spots, I’m gonna eat it.

The candy snapped into nicely portioned squares, about the size of an individually wrapped Ghirardelli chocolate square, and it smelled like bitter dark chocolate with a hint of fruitiness. Even though I love pears, I’d never be able to tell that this was pear infused chocolate from it’s scent alone. The aroma is more generically fruity, almost like a trail mix, than distinctively pear.

I took a bite, and it was absolutely delicious and everything I had hoped it would be. The chocolate has a satisfying snap and it melted slowly in my mouth with a nice amount of bitterness. Inside, there were crispy bits of pear and almond to add texture as well as flavoring. I could tell that this was meant to be pear after my first bite, but I was really looking forward to this fruity flavor, so those of you who aren’t so keen on pears might have mistaken this for another fruit. Personally, I am not only happy that a pear infused dark chocolate bar exists, but that it actually tastes like it says it will!

The most surprisingly thing about this candy was that the little slivers of pear were so crisp and flavorful, especially when they were sliced so thin. The slivers of almond and fruit were almost the same size and thickness as shredded coconut, but they stayed really crispy in the dark chocolate. How do they do it?

It’s safe to say that I absolutely loved this candy bar, and I would gladly repurchase this in the future. It didn’t seem like the spots caused any damage to the flavoring, but maybe they are supposed to be there after all. I’ll have to buy another bar to find out. (Or maybe two…or three…)

© Maria Smith http://poison-and-antidote.net

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Super Ginger - Asian Food Market: Cherry Hill, NJ

Oh boy, I’ve kind of been avoiding these and reviewing other items, but it’s finally time to try Super Ginger. About two years ago I bought a bag of Super Lemon from the same grocery store and I instantly fell in love with the brand’s Pop Art packaging and lemon flavored candy. Since I liked it so much I was really excited when I saw a different flavor on the grocery store shelves. The packaging looked orange from a distance, so I assumed it was another citrus flavor, but it was ginger. Only recently have I started to warm up to intense ginger flavoring, and I am scared this might be too much for me. Growing up I always liked gingerbread and spiced cookies, but anything with actual grated ginger in it make me feel like I am eating Pine Sol. (Although I do like it in beverage form.)

Recently I’ve been warming up to grated ginger by using it in my cooking, but I am still far from loving this intensely flavored mandrake-looking root. Maybe this candy won’t be so bad?

The packaging for this flavor has a similar Pop Art feel, but it doesn’t give off the same Pop Art vibes. Instead of a brown paper bag background and texturing, this flavor feature a mostly white design with brassy metallic foil accents. I’m not loving it nearly as much as the original. I feel like the color choices for this bag are very dull and red-orange-heavy, which might be intentional to go along with the theme of ginger, but the bright colors don’t stand out from the white as much as they did before. Maybe if the panel behind the gasping woman was a bright yellow it would pop a bit more, but this design just isn’t doing it for me.

Inside the candies are individually wrapped, just like the lemon version, but this time the wrapper is a pumpkin-y orange color.

Then, inside of that, we have the little sphere if ginger candy. It has a powdery coating on the outside and it smells like a mixture of cleaning products and ginger ale. Okay, time to actually eat this thing… (I’m honestly not looking forward to this.)
My initial reaction was…not good. The powdery outside coating is pretty intense and it really does give you a spicy sensation on your tongue. I don’t mind the spiciness, but the powdery ginger flavoring has that same cleaning product flavoring that makes me hate a lot of ginger heavy foods. Thankfully, once the powdery coating dissolved, the candy itself was really tasty. It’s sweet and there is a decent amount of ginger flavoring, but the candy itself is more like a ginger ale than anything else. Once and a while I get a little spicy tingle, which I like, but overall the candy is sweet. There is a spiced/tingly sensation to this candy that is similar to red hots, but it isn’t nearly as intense.

Once I get past that powerful powdery stage, this candy is really enjoyable. This kind of reminds me of Warheads. Once you get past the not so yummy outer coating, the inside is like a pleasant candy oasis, but this time it has a spicy kick to it.

If you like ginger, or Jin+Ja, you’ll love this candy. I am a recovering ginger hater and I actually liked this stuff!

© Maria Smith http://poison-and-antidote.net

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cookingchannel:

Ladies and gentlemen, one of the world’s most pressing problems has finally been solved. There are now fully edible cupcake wrappers. Sorry to those of you who were hoping for world peace or Segway 2.

cookingchannel:

Ladies and gentlemen, one of the world’s most pressing problems has finally been solved. There are now fully edible cupcake wrappers. Sorry to those of you who were hoping for world peace or Segway 2.