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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Simply Balanced Coconut Pineapple Essence Water

In lieu of a season-appropriate product like Cupid's Crunch Trail Mix, which is unfortunately not available at any of our nearby Targets, we're going to take a look at this "essence water" today, which was on sale for something like 69 cents at a local Target a few months back.

In its favor: it's light and moderately refreshing. I think it would be better in the hot summer months—perhaps after an afternoon of grueling yard work or sports. It would make a nice, lightly-sweet thirst-quencher. It's only 10 calories, yet its main sweetener is real sugar. I think that's where the "essence" part comes in—it's mostly water, and all the other ingredients are there in just enough quantity to add a minimal amount of sweetness and flavor. It's not an overbearing taste at all.

But there are plenty of things working against this product, too. For one, this flavor, in my opinion, just didn't taste that good—and I generally enjoy anything coconut and/or pineapple-flavored. Had the taste been more than an "essence," I would have liked this product even less. I think I'd rather drink half a cup of real pineapple juice and then just chase it with regular water. Also, in addition to real sugar, there's a sweetener called "rebiana" near the end of the ingredients. I guess they used it to keep the calorie count so low. But still, there is a tiny hint of that artificial sweetener taste that lingers in your mouth just a bit after you finish drinking the product.

I'm wondering if these beverages were on sale because they're on their way out...anybody else tried them? I found a review of the blood orange flavor that's a bit more positive than this one. Maybe that flavor is just better...? Or maybe I'm just being more critical...? Either way, I think 6 stars is about all I can muster for this happy yellow beverage.

I give this drink 6 out of 10 stars.

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.
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Check out another review of this same item.

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