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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Archer Farms Maryland-Style Mini Crab Cakes

As the packaging for this product suggests, Maryland is the crab cake capital of the world. Specifically, I'd pinpoint the center of crab cake-dom on earth to be Baltimore's Inner Harbor on the Chesapeake Bay.

I grew up just 15 minutes north of the Maryland border in central Pennsylvania, and about an hour and a half from the Inner Harbor, so I've had a decent crab cake or two in my day. And if I didn't know the difference between a good crab cake and a "meh" crab cake, I might have enjoyed these guys a little more.

But unfortunately, I found them a tad disappointing. I might have written off their blandness to the fact that they're pre-packaged and frozen, but alas, I've had relatively good, pre-packaged, frozen crab cakes.

Most disappointing was the lack of traditional crab seasoning. I didn't taste it at all. There are potato chips that taste more like real crab cakes than these things do.

Also very discouraging was the surprising
absence of the taste of real crab. I'm not saying there wasn't any crab in them, I'm just saying I didn't really taste it. All I tasted were some panko breadcrumbs and tiny bits of diced peppers—which, in this product's defense, were fairly good. Plus, a sauce might have helped enhance the flavor of these crab cakes: remoulade, tartar sauce, or cocktail sauce. It wouldn't hurt to throw a packet of sauce in there for version 2.0, Target.

For those of you who've never had a real crab cake, you probably wouldn't be nearly as disappointed with these as I was. Just don't think that these are necessarily what crab cakes are all about. They don't taste bad, they just don't taste like the crab cakes I know and love.

I'll be generous and give this product 6 out of 10 stars.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Archer Farms Candy Cane Coffee

Let me start this off by saying I'm not really a coffee person. I'm highly addicted to caffeine, but I generally prefer to take it in the form of energy drinks or something cold and sweet. However, I've reviewed some of Archer Farms bottled lattes on this blog: some good, some not-so-good, in my opinion. And as far as actual ground coffees, I've taken looks at Cinnamon Vanilla Nut, and another seasonal favorite—Pumpkin Spice. So let's check out this candy cane concoction, shall we?

It's minty, that's for sure. Pepperminty. Which must be a word, if you ask me. I don't need a dictionary to give me permission to use it.

It's a light roast, so it's not very bitter. I didn't need a lot of milk and sugar in this brew. It's mild enough for me.

I felt like after drinking it my breath wasn't as bad as it normally is after drinking coffee. It's like a weird combination of sipping java and chewing breath-freshening gum at the same time.

In summary, this is one of the few hot coffees I've had that I would even consider having on a regular basis. If you're into candy canes, peppermint, or just mint in general, this is a fun, festive, seasonal brew that might be a nice break from your normal everyday roast.

I give this product 8 out of 10 stars.
Check out another review of this same item.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Archer Farms Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle Mix

Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin. I love me some pumpkin. But the main reason I review pumpkin-flavored stuff this time of year is 'cuz 'Muricans got a pumpkin jones!

I'm all about other season-appropriate items like cider and apple cinnamon flavored desserts, maybe even more than pumpkin stuff. But there just isn't enough of it out there. Or maybe I'm not looking hard enough. Either way, I'm a happy camper when it comes to fall foods.

Sonia and I actually live much farther away from Target now than we used to. We actually have to cross the Delaware River and pay a $5 toll just to go to Target these days...unless we want to drive for almost an hour. So we have to be very choosy when it comes to what items we'll be picking up and reviewing. Not that this blog has been uber-popular, particularly over the past year, but we're still getting a few hundred views a day. So I know somebody's reading. And if you folks who are stumbling on this page care to comment, I'd be happy to look for any particular products that you're curious about—if I can find them.

But anyway, I digress. On to the review. These pancakes are really tasty. They're not such a far cry from regular pancakes. Upon perusing the ingredients list, you have to go pretty far down to actually see anything pumpkin or pumpkin-spice related. And the first pumpkinesque things you see are "dried pumpkin flakes." That sounds like something crunchy. And I'm not saying they actually are crunchy...but weirdly enough, there were little crispy pieces on my pancakes. Now, Sonia claims that the super-crispy elements were just due to her excessive use of butter in the pan when we made them. But I almost want to say that the pumpkin flakes added a hint of crispity-crunchitiness to the product, not unlike the minuscule snap one felt while chewing that Cinn-a-burst gum with "flavor crystals," except pumpkin-flavored and way more appetizing than that probably sounds.

But other than that, they're only subtly pumpkinny. Spice-wise, Sonia and I felt that nutmeg was the dominant flavor, whereas with most pumpkin spice products, cinnamon is usually a bit more noticeable. We had them with maple syrup, and they were scrumptious. If you're looking for pumpkin-flavored stuff that isn't overly pumpkintastic, this product is a winner.

I give it 8 out of 10 stars.

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