Tuesday 28 February 2017

Today's Review: McVitie's Digestives Mini Caramel Crispies

Bite size cakes have been a thing for a while in terms of supermarket brands, but it seems the heavy hitters are catching on, as we've seen tubs of tiny cakes appear from Cadbury, and now McVitie's. This is a fairly sizeable tub containing mini caramel crispies, digestive pieces and cereal, mixed with caramel and covered in chocolate.

I was fairly excited for these, I figured you can't go wrong with a caramel crispy, and on the whole it's not bad. It has a fairly nice crispy crunch to it, and the caramel comes through very nicely, and blends in well with the chocolate. One thing I can't get on board with is the digestive chunks. I'm not sure what it is, but the combination of those and the cereals tastes a bit off to me. It's not bad by any means, but there's something in the contrast of the darker, fuller flavour of the biscuit and the fluffy crispiness of the cereal that sort of throws off the overall taste. Still, it's chocolate, caramel and biscuit, so it's fairly nice, I've certainly had worse mini bites. Hopefully the other varieties in the range will impress me more.

My rating: 3/5

Monday 27 February 2017

Today's Review: The Real Pork Crackling Co. Pork Crunch

I recently received some samples of Pork Crunch, a pork scratching snack that promises half the fat of others on the market. I consider it a mission of mine to try and get into as many foodstuffs as possible, so I've dabbled in pork scratchings before. I've always found them pretty difficult to eat though, I'm always worried I'll end up breaking my teeth. That's where these ones stood out for me, they promised to be more like "pork puffs" than scratchings, and you know, they are. 

There are a few varieties of these, but I started with the "golden", which seemed to be the most original scratching experience. They're light and fluffy, pretty much in between the texture of a scratching and a Quaver. The taste of a pork scratching is somewhat acquired I'm sure, but these are pretty nice. That definite pork, fatty flavour, but it's not overwhelming, and coupled with the puffy texture it's pretty good. They're a whole lot less greasy than regular scratchings as well, so you don't have to worry about the state of your fingers.

Now we're talking, a bit of jalapeno makes everything better. This adds a certain spiciness to the mix, it's not a particularly strong flavour, but it's a nice addition layered on top. It doesn't reach my list of all time favourite snacks, but it's a lot better than any other pork crackling I've tried.

Now we're talking, this flavour is fantastic. The habanero spice is bold, perhaps a little too spicy for some, but the smokiness there takes the edge off. I could eat a whole lot more of these, the pork taste still comes through, and the level of heat is just right for me.

So there we have it, a selection of puffy pork scratchings that won't break your teeth, and on the whole taste pretty good. On top of the nice flavours, these are also have pretty nice nutritional values. If you're a low carb kind of person, these possess a perfect combination of protein and fat, with very few carbs, so they're a great snack for your Atkins or similar diets. Also, they're gluten free, which is a bonus. Obviously vegetarians need not apply. Pork crunch is available from supermarkets such as Asda and Sainsbury's, for 99p a bag. Well worth a try, even if you've been put off pork scratchings before.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 26 February 2017

Today's Review: Kraft Bacon Macaroni Cheese

Hey, I just got in, it's 11:15 and I'm tired, so here's a quick review. Remember how I tried out the chipotle mac & cheese a little while back? Here's a link if you don't. Well, I went back and got the bacon one, as evidenced by the title and the picture. It's a pot of mac & cheese with bits of bacon in it, and you blitz it in the microwave. Well, this one has a more pleasant yellow colour, not that the slightly brown look spoiled the taste of the other pot. This one is pretty great too, some good quality mac & cheese, especially from something you chuck in the microwave. The bacon is a nice addition, a nice meaty flavour thrown in on top, although the strips aren't as plentiful as I'd hoped, and they're a little thin. Still, I managed to get some bacon in every mouthful, and while I wish there'd been more, this is a pretty decent pot that makes for a good, quick snack.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 25 February 2017

Today's Review: Starburst Orange Drink

I was walking past a hot drink vending machine earlier, and nestled among the instant cappucino and hot chocolate was this brightly coloured button. A Starburst orange drink? I'd never heard of such a thing. I had no idea what to expect, apart from it being an orange flavoured drink. Was it hot or cold? Does it taste just like Starburst, or something else? There was only one way to find out, so I popped a pound in.

Turns out this is a cold orange squash drink, and a small cup of orange squash at that. Definitely not worth £1. It's not a bad orange drink, but it's definitely not the most natural. The closest thing I could compare it to would be the flavour of an orange Calippo, but not quite as sugary as that, because that would probably be revolting. I don't really know what else to say, spending that much on it has left me with buyer's remorse, but I can't blame the drink for my reckless spending. Still, it's a pretty average orange drink, so I would recommend going for one of the hot ones instead.

My rating: 3/5

Friday 24 February 2017

Today's Review: Carters Root Beer

I've found myself intrigued by root beer several times over the last few years, and while it is an acquired taste it is one that's grown on me. Trouble is, it's fairly hard to come by without visiting an import shop, and then you'll end up paying a pretty penny for just one can. But a trip to Asda recently saw me walking away with this six pack of root beer for a mere £1.65. It's not one of the famous brand names, sure, but I had faith this would deliver an authentic experience.

This stuff has that distinct root beer taste that took me so long to get used to. It's something like antiseptic, almost like the stuff you wash your mouth out with at the dentist. It took a few sips to get used to it again, but once I got past those, I was pretty hooked. It's a very unique flavour, but one that's actually pretty refreshing. I think it helps that the drink itself doesn't have that slightly syrupy, gritty textures that a lot of sugar filled sodas do, it's just a thirst quenching drink that has a great taste. It's not for everyone, and I admit I still haven't gotten so used to it that I can count it among my very favourite drinks, but this is a good root beer for a very reasonable price. Good luck hunting it down.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday 23 February 2017

Today's Review: Reese's Peanut Butter

I've tried many variations of Reese's candy over the years, but as of a few days ago I'd never tried just the peanut butter itself. You can pick up Pieces, Cups and all manner of chocolate covered stuff quite easily here in the UK, but I only just decided to bite on this jar of plain old Reese's for £2.50 in B&M. A pretty reasonable price for an import.

Peanut butter is one of my favourite things, so it's clear I'm not going to score this one low. I must say though, it's not as good as I thought it would be. I've stepped up my peanut butter purchases recently from the Sunpat and supermarket own brands to the more organic varieties like Whole Earth, and they tend to shift more towards the peanuts than the butter. I think that might be why I found the Reese's to be very sweet, perhaps too sweet. It's creamy, as the jar implies, but I guess there's just a bit too much sugar in there for my liking. I'm not saying this is bad peanut butter, it's good in fact. It's pretty much the same stuff you find in all the candy bars, but I think when it's surrounded by chocolate and other sweet stuff, that sugary side isn't as immediately apparent as it is here. But the peanuts do still shine through with this stuff, and it's easy to see why it's a classic American brand. Definitely not your healthy living type of peanut butter though.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday 22 February 2017

Today's Review: Tango Orange Popcorn

Not content with flooding the sweet market, Tango have decided to expand to popcorn as well. I heard about Tango popcorn a while back now, but only finally managed to pick up a couple of bags the other day in B&M. This popcorn comes in this orange variety, as well as apple. Both pretty distinct flavours for popcorn actually, so I was intrigued from the start. Let's start with the orange one, because that's the one I just ate.

Orange isn't normally a flavour I'd associate with popcorn, but it turns out it's actually a good pairing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this stuff has an authentic, natural orange flavour, it's pretty much the taste of orange Tango smothered on popcorn, down to a slight fizzy tang. It's perhaps a little too sweet at times, but at least it's not bland. The popcorn itself great, the flavouring on top gives it a satisfying crunch, and the insides are nice and soft. On paper it sounds odd, in reality it's a good combination. This is a great, tangy, orange popcorn, I'll definitely be picking it up again when I next see it.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Today's Review: Walkers Mediterranean Cracked Mixed Pepper

Walkers have introduced a new line of share bags under the name "Mediterranean", which promises "100% Olive Oil". I wasn't sure if they meant they were made from 100% olive oil, but that wouldn't make much sense. Turns out they're actually 32.5% olive oil, but I guess the olive oil is 100% pure olive oil? I don't know, marketing is strange sometimes. All I will say is these crisps are made with olive oil, and given a mixed pepper flavouring. These don't come in many particularly comprehensive flavours, but I figured I'd give these a go.

Turns out I was right to be confused by the blurb on the front, while these aren't made entirely of olive oil, they seem like more than 32%. They're greasy, and the olive oil taste is the first thing I noticed when I started eating. It's not particularly nice, and it even dampens the crunch of the crisps a little. The pepper does eventually come through, and it's not a bad flavouring, it's just the olive oil is always there, and it just doesn't work with me. I'm sure Walkers were going for a more upmarket pack of crisps, but I just can't recommend these.

My rating: 1/5

Monday 20 February 2017

Today's Review: Kit Kat Peanut Butter Bites

Oh my, oh my. I try not to make assumptions, but I had an idea that these would be great as soon as I saw them. The peanut butter Kit Kat Chunky came out so long ago, a time before peanut butter and chocolate was even thought about in this country. It's a classic, and one of my favourites, and now here it is, in bite-size, small finger Kit Kat form. I found the original variety of these Bites to be pretty bland, but I had every faith that these would shake it up a bit.

Sometimes things live up to the hype, even if the hype was just in my own mind. These bites are fantastic. At its base is the classic Kit Kat, a fabulously crispy wafer covered in creamy chocolate, but in between is a substantial layer of peanut butter, salty and creamy, the same good stuff you'd find in the Chunky. The levels are just right, the peanut butter doesn't overshadow the chocolate or wafer, it all works together to form a perfectly balanced bite. It didn't take me long to get through these, and I can see myself picking up a whole lot more in the future. Get these now, they're fantastic.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday 19 February 2017

Today's Review: Reese's Rounds

Reese's still seems to be an emerging brand over here, so it's sometimes easy to forget that there's probably a slew of products from the US that I've never even heard of. Case in point, these Reese's Rounds I picked up from B&M yesterday. They're Reese's biscuits, biscuit topped with peanut butter, and all wrapped up in chocolate. What could go wrong?

Nothing really, these are some damn good biscuits. The biscuit part has an interesting texture, sort of crumbly, with a little chewiness to it, almost like the crispy part of a Butterfinger, if you know what I mean. It also seems to have a peanutty hint to it, so the peanut butter on top does a good job of letting the flavour permeate throughout the biscuit. It's good peanut butter too, creamy and flavoursome, as we'd expect from Reese's, and you can never complain when it's all wrapped up in chocolate. This is a good, balanced biscuit, packed with peanut butter goodness and a satisfying crunch. Well worth picking up.

My rating: 5/5

Saturday 18 February 2017

Today's Review: Kettle Honey & Black Pepper Veg Chips

Regular Kettle Chips are great, but their Veg Chips are pretty good too. A selection of sweet potato, beetroot and parsnip, they provide some interesting flavours and textures, as well as colours. Vegetable chips seem to be a relatively new addition to the crisp aisle, and so far there haven't been too many variations on the simple salted flavours. But Kettle Chips have recently added a few new bags to the range, and this one sounded the most interesting, a combination of honey and black pepper.

The chips themselves are of good quality, as I expected. They have a nice crunch, and some distinct tones of flavour depending on which vegetable you go for. The stuff layered on top, however, is a little bland. The honey is the most noticeable element, and while it's good that it's not layered on thick, I feel it could have been a bit stronger. As it is, it's weak, and only provides a hint of sweetness. It works quite well paired with the saltiness and the vegetables themselves, but it left me wanting more. as for the black pepper, I can't say I really noticed it at all. Sure, there's a taste of seasoning on these, but I couldn't particularly identify black pepper, so that could definitely have been better represented. So some good, some bad, these chips looked promising, but in reality they're nothing special. I'll keep an eye out for the salt & vinegar bag to see if they're any better.

My rating: 3/5

Friday 17 February 2017

Today's Review: Doritos Heat Burst BBQ & Chilli

After trying out the chipotle cream version of these Heat Burst Doritos the other day, I picked up this smaller version of the BBQ variety from a local newsagent. I wasn't sold on the flavour changing chips from the last bag, seeing as the chilli overtook all the other flavours, but I had faith that these could be different.

Turns out these chips are a lot more balanced. The initial BBQ flavour is bold and smoky, similar to the BBQ Rib Doritos, but, you know, without the rib. The chilli kicks in soon enough, but the flavourings seem to work well together, the smokiness is retained while the heat kicks in to a nice level. I think the chipotle cream doesn't work as well because the first flavour already has spice, only to be overwhelmed by a stronger one. In this bag they're both different enough to work, and I must say they're very tasty. Good BBQ, great chilli, awesome heat burst.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday 16 February 2017

Today's Review: Cadbury Mini Eggs Choc Tarts

The Cadbury new product train is chugging along this year, and here's yet another addition to their Easter range. These Mini Egg Choc Tarts are coming out alongside the less seasonal Flake, Crunchie and Caramel ones, but I figured I'd try these ones out first, as they're likely to disappear once Easter's over. These consist of a chocolate flavoured pastry filled with chocolate flavoured brownie and topped with icing and a Mini Egg.

Notice the use of "chocolate flavoured", you can tell this doesn't contain the most authentic stuff. It's not so bad, but it's noticeable The chocolate parts are a bit bland, and on the whole the tart is pretty dry, the only relief coming in the form of the fondant, and a little moistness in the brownie. To be honest, the brownie is pretty good, and tastes pretty chocolatey, but it's overshadowed by the crumbly pastry, and overall this is somewhat disappointing. I'm hoping the other varieties have something better in store, but this tart is not a particularly good effort.

My rating: 2/5

Wednesday 15 February 2017

Today's Review: Cadbury Dairy Milk Oreo Mint

Another day, another Oreo themed Dairy Milk bar. So let's skip the introductory paragraph and get into it. This bar is modelled after the more recent mint variety of Oreo, and as such is filled with both Oreo crumb and a mint creme. Dairy Milk tackled the mint creme a couple of years ago with their Puddles bar, and while I found that to be a pretty decent level of mintiness, I feel that this bar is a bit much. It does even out after a while, but the initial blast of mint was enough to overpower the rest of the bar. The Oreo flavour does emerge eventually, and the crunch provides a nice texture throughout. All wrapped up in the good old Dairy Milk chocolate (or bad new Dairy Milk chocolate, but it's not so awful when there's stuff packed inside). I'd say this is another good Oreo bar, a bit heavy on the mint but a very decent effort. Now I'm just waiting for the Oreo Strawberry Cheesecake bar...

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday 14 February 2017

Today's Review: Cadbury Dairy Milk Oreo Peanut Butter

We've had Dairy Milk Oreo, based on the regular old Oreo, but since then the UK market has seen the arrival of a few new Oreo flavours, and it seems the chocolate bars are following suit. You can now get Dairy Milk in both mint and peanut butter flavours, and of course I was more excited about the latter, so it's the first one I'm going to review. I wasn't a massive fan of the biscuits themselves, but I had faith there'd be more to this chocolate creation.

This is pretty much the same as the regular Oreo Dairy Milk, the filling consists of Oreo biscuit pieces and creme, except this time the creme is peanut butter flavour. The one thing I wasn't fond of in thge biscuit was the lacklustre flavouring, and this one goes some way to solving that issue, but not completely. It's a very creamy filling, and the flavour is bold, but it seems to be more buttery than peanutty. The overall taste is there, and it's pretty good, but the levels are a little bit off. The rest of the bar is pretty great, the chocolate and Oreo chunks are as good as always, and while I wasn't a massive fan of the peanut concoction in the middle at first, I did get used to it as I went on. This is a good attempt at a new Dairy Milk bar, and it's probably the closest we'll get to a peanut butter offering from Cadbury for a while. I know they can do better, but this is a good start.

Monday 13 February 2017

Today's Review: Kraft Chipotle Macaroni Cheese

I tried out mac & cheese from the famous blue box a while back, and it was actually pretty delicious. I paid import prices on that one, but I was pretty pleased to find a selection of Kraft dinners in Asda nestled among the Pot Noodles. It's macaroni cheese that's pretty much ready to eat, it just needs to be nuked for two minutes. It also comes in a variety of flavours, so of course I went for the one that promised spice.

It doesn't look appetising, that's for sure, but don't let that disgusting brown colour fool you, this isn't actually too bad. It's not as good as brewing the stuff from the box, but it's a good quantity of soft macaroni, smothered in a fairly decent sauce. The chipotle is present in the form of a smokiness mixed in with the cheese, it's a very mellow heat, but it's present throughout, and the overall flavour is pretty good. I think I prefer the macaroni with more of a cheesy flavour, but this is a pretty good alternative. This isn't the best macaroni cheese, but it's good for a quick two minute blast in the microwave.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 12 February 2017

Today's Review: Doritos Heat Burst Chipotle Cream & Chilli

It seems the flavour changing craze has gone from sweets to crisps, now there's a couple of new Doritos bags that have "2 experiences in 1 chip". A chip revolution indeed. Basically, these Doritos start off as one flavour, before providing a "Heat Burst" in the form of an emerging chilli. There are two varieties available, this chipotle cream and a BBQ. I went for the former, as it's sounds like an interesting new flavour.

The chipotle cream is interesting, kind of like a smoked sour cream, it's pretty nice, sort of sweet. It doesn't take long for the chilli to kick in, and that's a satisfying heat that sticks around for a while. It's not exactly the same as the chilli heatwave spice, but it's the same sort of level. Both flavour are pretty great actually, and the changeover happens very effectively. But there is a problem with the very idea of these. Sure, the first chip has that nice chipotle cream taste, but after the chilli kicks in, it sort of overpowers everything, and after eating a few the chilli is the only noticeable thing. Sitting back a bit between chips, or having a drink in between brings back that creamy taste, but I'm one of those devour the entire bag kind of guys. Still, it's a couple of good flavours, and even if you can only mostly taste the chilli this is still a good bag of chips. If they got the balance on the flavour changing right, I'm sure these could be perfect, but the chilli is just a bit too much. A neat idea though, and worth checking out. I'll pick up the BBQ flavour when I get the chance.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 11 February 2017

Today's Review: Peperami Peanuts

Yeah, Peperami peanuts, because the next logical step from spices salami sticks is to branch out into peanuts. Actually, that does make some sense, they're both snack foods. It certainly worked for me, because as soon as I saw these on the shelf I just had to try them out. In case you hadn't figured it out, these are peanuts, covered in a Peperami flavoured coating. 

The premise is pretty clear, but what about the taste? I have to say, I can't fault it, these are some damn good peanuts. The coating is a crunchy, satisfyingly thick shell, on top of which is layered a generous amount of flavouring. It's smoky, slightly spicy, and undeniably meaty tasting, it tastes just like a Peperami, but, you know, without the Peperami. These peanuts lasted pretty much no time at all, they're great, a lovely amount of spice layered on top of some good quality peanuts. Well worth the purchase.

My rating: 5/5

Friday 10 February 2017

Today's Review: Chupa Chups Mini Candy Sushi

I spied this nice little selection of candy in Poundland a little while back, it's like sushi, but made of sweets! A novelty this may be, but I've had the Chupa Chups pizza before and found it pretty damn good, a nice selection of sweets on top of a juicy, jelly pizza. I was hoping to get the same experience here.

This isn't bad actually, but it's not great either. As you can see from the picture, there are some fizzy belts and jelly fish in here, and those are pretty good. The little round speckly sweet at the bottom right is my favourite, it's a kind of jelly sweet with a tanginess to it, and the bobbles provide a nice crunch. My issue is with the white bits, you know. The bits that represent the rice, where the candy equivalent is just marshmallows. Plain, boring, white marshmallows. I mean, they're not bad marshmallows, but I was expecting something a bit more, especially when they take up over half the pack. Plus, I don't think they work too well when paired with fizzy sweets, so this pack is a bit hit and miss for me. It's an interesting pack to try, but it doesn't beat that candy pizza.

My rating: 3/5

Thursday 9 February 2017

Today's Review: Posh Choc Nibbles

Last year I reviewed Choc Nibbles, chunks of chocolate and caramel goodness that didn't look appetising, but tasted amazing. Now it seems they've gone "posh", and apparently "posh" means "coated in chocolate", because that seems to be the only difference between these and the original. A thorough chocolate coating does make these look more like a human snack and less like a rodent one, but what effect does it have on the taste?

Underneath the chocolate is still the same old good stuff, a great blend of chocolate and caramel that's sweet and creamy, and even the icing sugar dusting is intact, giving a satisfying texture with an extra burst of sweetness. The chocolate coating on top of all that is still great, these guys know how to do chocolate. The only thing is, I feel it's a little too much chocolate per piece, and I found these were quite filling after a few handfuls. Of course, the whole bag isn't meant to be eaten in one go, but I feel it would be more challenging to down these than the original variety, the chocolate on top makes them a tiny bit sickly. Of course, I have no evidence for this, because eating entire share size bags of things is something I'd never do...

These are still good though, good quality chocolate throughout, as well as all the other stuff chucked in there, it's just the poshness is a little too much. Still better than a lot of stuff out there.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday 8 February 2017

Today's Review: Magnum Double Coconut

I reviewed the new Magnum Double Raspberry a few weeks back, and found it very much to my liking. I mentioned then that I'd probably wait for a deal on the Double Coconut before I picked them up, and today was the day. They're currently £2 in Tesco, so now's the time to dive in. This coconut version consists of a coconut ice cream, covered in two layers of chocolate with chocolate sauce in between.

Yes, the stuff in the shell isn't coconut flavoured, but I figured that was okay, as it's concentrated in the ice cream instead. As a matter of fact, it seems that's the way it should be, as these Magnums are good. The coconut is prominent throughout the ice cream, not an overwhelming flavour, but definitely bold and sweet. It's paired very nicely with the chocolate, which provide a satisfying crunch and creaminess. The double shell and sauce does get a bit much at times, taking over from the coconut a little, but the ice cream mostly holds its own, and all round this is a very nice effort. I was a little apprehensive about trying these, but they're on par with the raspberry variety. Well worth picking up, especially for £2.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday 7 February 2017

Today's Review: New York Bakery Co. Cheese Bagels

I love bagels, despite their tendency to drop crumbs all over the kitchen side when I slice them, and the near constant supervision they require to be browned to a satisfactory level in the toaster. My toaster even has a bagel setting, and they still don't toast properly. Of all the bagels on the supermarket shelves, the New York ones are probably best. I'm pretty satisfied with just the plain variety, or the cinnamon and raisin if I'm feeling adventurous. Here's a new flavour though, a cheese bagel .It's a bagel, but with cheese. Also, it's topped with cheese.

A lot of people seem to be a fan of cheesy bread, but I can take it or leave it. There's always some browning of the topping going on that doesn't sit well with me, but I can tolerate it. Therefore, I wasn't expecting to like these too much, especially when I picked them up and could feel the greasiness through the bag. A healthy bagel this is not, but it's actually a pretty good cheesy bread. The grease does persist on the bagel itself, but it's mostly a surface issue, and the stuff inside is pretty good, the same good old bagel you'd normally get from the New York guys, with a nice hint of cheesiness that doesn't get too strong. The topping isn't perfect, a bit of browning, but it's tolerable, and all in all this is a pretty decent bagel. It's not up there with my favourite flavours, but I wouldn't mind having them again.

My rating: 4/5

Monday 6 February 2017

Today's Review: The Lego Batman Movie

The Lego Movie was a big surprise for me when it came out in 2014. What looked to be a shameless cash grab based on plastic building blocks, reaching across several franchises, turned out to be an exciting, laugh a minute (or half minute), and actually thoughtful production. We're still waiting on the sequel proper, but in the meantime Batman has got his own Lego movie. Again, from first glance it seems like a cash grab, especially considering the amount of merchandise that's hitting the shelves as it arrives in the cinema, but with The Lego Movie already under Warner Bros. belt, I had faith this one would be handled pretty well too.

The Lego Batman Movie follows Lego Batman, obviously, as he fights a colourful array of villains, single handedly, as Batman is wont to do. But when a new police commissioner arrives on the scene, stating the desire for the police to work together with Batman, Batman begins to confront his isolation and fear of commitment. To be fair, the plot isn't anywhere near Oscar worthy, but it has some clear character development and it doesn't get too convoluted, so it's decent enough for a kids' movie. The characters themselves are all well acted. Will Arnett keeps up with his fantastic Batman role from The Lego Movie, and there are some great turns from a wide array of comedic actors, such as Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera and Jemaine Clement to name but a few.

Not that there's a lot of time to pause and appreciate each individual role, and therein lies one of this movie's strengths, but also one of its weaknesses. This is truly a fast paced movie. The original Lego Movie was something of a whirlwind of action sequences and clever references, and The Lego Batman Movie ramps it up to 11. The action comes thick and fast, dialogue gets banded around at breakneck speed, and there are so many references and gags packed in that it would probably take many repeated viewings to catch them all. It doesn't always work, at times there's so much coming out of the character's mouths, while the whole screen fills with fighting, explosions and Lego bricks, and another instantly recognisable song is pumped out over the top. It's hard to keep track of at some points, I found myself trying to process one thing while having my attention pulled over to another, and it did get a little exhausting. 

But that's what makes it exciting too. For those few, fleeting moments where there was just so much going on, the rest of the movie is a fantastically funny, action packed experience. Every aspect is finely crafted from Lego bricks, and the references and nods to Batmen of the past come thick and fast, and always presented in a way that made me chuckle. The dialogue is great, there are probably enough visual gags to fit into three movies, this is just an insanely fun movie. Another great addition to The Lego Movie franchise, and while they maybe need to slow it all down just a little, this movie gives me great hope for the Lego Movie sequel that's soon to come. 

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 5 February 2017

Today's Review: Walkers Max BBQ Pulled Pork

I regularly forget that Max crisps exist, they were a big thing when they were brought out years ago, but I can go for years at a time without giving them a thought. But now they've brought out a new pulled pork flavour, so when I caught the packet in the corner of my eye at the petrol station, I had to grab a bag. I've long stated I'm not a massive fan of meat flavoured crisps, but they're always worth a try, right?

I wasn't particularly impressed with the first few crisps. There was a certain meatiness to them, but I wouldn't say it fit the BBQ description. That changed as I made my way through the rest of the bag though, a distinct BBQ sauce taste crept up, and by the end it was a prominent flavour, a smokey, slightly sticky seeming goodness, underneath which the meat flavour was still present. I can't say it perfectly encapsulates that pulled pork taste, but the flavourings all work together nicely to give a somewhat authentic experience. These are some good meaty BBQ crisps, some that I wouldn't mind picking up again.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 4 February 2017

Today's Review: Pringles Screamin' Dill Pickle

I was in a Sainsbury's today that had a particularly lengthy import food aisle. Nestled amongst more commonplace American foods I found this interesting tube of Pringles. Now, for a long time I did not consider myself a fan of pickles, or rather gherkins, but I have grown very fond of them over the last few years. So the idea of Pringles that taste like gherkins was very exciting, especially as we don't seem to have many interesting flavours over here. I believe these are a US import, the tube features both English and Spanish, and says they were made in Tennessee, so I assume you can pick these up around the border.

I wasn't sure how they'd pull off gherkin crisps, but they definitely have. I took a big whiff when I opened the tube, expecting a meagre scent of a lacklustre flavour, but it caught me off guard. A very authentic gherkin smell to back up a fantastic taste. These taste like pickles, there's not much more I can say about them. They have a perfect hint of sourness, the distinct flavour, and the salt on the chips just serves to accentuate those flavours, and works extremely well. This is just a fantastic, unique variety of Pringles, and I wish we had more like them over here. These are well worth picking up if you can find them.

My rating: 5/5

Friday 3 February 2017

Today's Review: Maryland Crispies

Maryland have been releasing cookies in all shapes and sizes recently. Well, all sizes anyway, they're generally quite round. We've had large chunky ones, chocolate covered bite size ones. But here is a new variety of the original sized cookie. Maryland crispies are Maryland cookies with crispy pieces in. Also some flavourings. So here we have choc chip & caramel, and choc chip & coconut.

I'll say it right now, the addition of crispy pieces seems... unnecessary. Maryland cookies are already pretty crispy, and I must admit that I hardly tasted any additional crispy bits while making my way through these. I managed to isolate a single piece at one point, but eating that on its own wasn't exactly a fantastic experience. It seems like a pretty weird gimmick, and it doesn't really work. The flavourings, however, are pulled off pretty well. The caramel can become a little sickly, but it's a smooth, sweet flavour that permeates well through the cookie. The coconut ones are actually pretty good, not an overwhelming coconut taste, but one that's definitely noticeable throughout. So really, these could have just been new flavours of Maryland cookies and I wouldn't have noticed any difference. The crispy pieces are pointless, barely identifiable, so it's really a mixed bag of stuff in these packets.

My rating: 3/5

Thursday 2 February 2017

Today's Review: McCoy's Chip Shop Salt & Vinegar Chips

I love McCoy's. They provide me with salt & vinegar crisps that threaten to cut my mouth open after over-consumption, and that's just how I like them. Now they've unveiled a new range of crisps, or should I say "chips"? Or both actually, because they're crisps that are shaped like chips. Not the American ones, the British ones. Yes, these chip shaped potato chips (okay, this is getting confusing) are available in a range of chip shop inspired flavours.

Actually, it seems like there are only two flavours. One is salted, and one is salt & vinegar. Yes, I know that technically those are chip shop flavours, but those are flavour that already exist in standard McCoy's form. So what we have here are just McCoy's crisps that have been cut into chip shapes. It's not bad taste wise, the flavouring is still as strong as ever, bold and pleasantly caustic. The smaller crisps are a little easier to handle as well, I've had a few big McCoy's crisps in the past that are hard to fit in the mouth. Still, the whole idea seems pretty sloppy when you see there are only two pre-existing flavours available. It seems a bit like a cash grab, a pretty small share bag released at an inflated price. I can't fault the crisps themselves much, but the execution is not great.

My rating: 3/5

Wednesday 1 February 2017

Today's Review: KFC Zinger Mini Fillets

I got through the KFC drive through today with very little resistance, so I didn't get the full opportunity to look through the new menu items. I was shown a glimpse of the Zinger Mini Fillets though, so I added some on top of my bucket and drove on home. It's later I found there's an entire Zinger Boneless Box, complete with Zinger fries, so now I wish I'd done my research before pulling up, but c'est la vie, that just means I need more KFC another day. But for now, I can give you my thoughts on the Zinger Mini Fillets. They're like Mini Fillets, but, you know, Zingered.

I was thinking these would pack the same kind of heat as a hot wing, but I was wrong, these are distinctly different. The spice isn't noticeable at first, but it creeps up pretty quickly, building to a pretty fiery heat, and enough of a peppery flavour to give it something of a salsa-like kick. At time I'd say it's hotter than the wings, but it all rounds out to a comfortable spice in the after taste. It's blended into the coating pretty well, it's a nicely covered bit of chicken. The only thing I would say is that the meat underneath seemed a little chewier than normal. I don't know if I got an off batch, or if there's something in the batter that affects the chicken slightly, but it wasn't too bad, just different. These fillets are a neat little addition to the Zinger range, one for those who like it spicy and boneless. Now I just have to try out those fries...

My rating: 4/5