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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Favorite Day 25 Days of Chocolate Joy

I don't think I've ever mentioned it on this blog before, but I built my very own time machine out of an old recliner and some spare refrigerator parts. It's called the magical DeLorean TARDIS time sled hot tub—you know, as an homage to some of the greatest time machines throughout classic literature and cinema. I use it whenever I need to travel back in time to check out products that are no longer available in stores OR whenever I need to jump forward a few days in time to see what treats I'll be getting in my advent calendar. I'll be traveling to December 5, 2023 this time—a full five days beyond the date of this blog post's original publishing. In the future, I'll sample each flavor of candy present in this Favorite Day 25 Days of Chocolate Joy advent calendar and report back. Here we go...

Whoosh! I'm back. Holy cow. I'm still shaking. Here are the findings from my research.

Friday, December 1 — It was a chocolate star wrapped in gold foil. It was just your basic solid chocolate with some peppermint flavoring. Actually, I don't see anything about peppermint flavoring on the ingredients. Come to think of it, all of these chocolates tasted a little like peppermint. I think since they all sat in the same package for so long, a bit of the mint flavor rubbed off on everything.

Saturday, December 2 — I got a dark chocolate raspberry truffle. Initially, the flavor of this one tasted great. The raspberry flavor could have been stronger, but it was a nice combo of rich dark chocolate and fruitiness. There was a bit of an aftertaste, though—not unlike purple cough syrup.

Sunday, December 3 — Chocolate with sea salt on top and caramel in the middle. The whole sea salt caramel thing isn't really my favorite flavor, but it was done well in this instance. It tasted fairly high quality to me.

Monday, December 4 — I had a case of the Mondays this coming Monday. White chocolate is usually my favorite, but the nice subtle sweetness of it was completely overpowered by the intense peppermint flavor. Way too much peppermint oil! I wish they would have left it out completely.

Tuesday, December 5 — It was like a mini Oreo covered in chocolate and sprinkles...with some mint flavor. Again, I don't even think they added mint to this one, it just absorbed it via osmosis or whatever that weird process is called. It's like when you have something pungent like onions in the fridge and it makes everything else smell and taste a little bit like onions. That happened here except with peppermint. Meh. I'm over cookies already and there are still weeks and weeks before Christmas.

The presentation is interesting and there are two magnetic doors on the sides of the calendar. You could save the box and use it next year, putting your own little goodies in the compartments. The candy is definitely not my favorite, but it's not awful, either. Fifteen bucks at Target. Would not buy again next year.

I give this advent calendar 6 out of 10 stars.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Good & Gather Elote-Inspired Mini Empanadas

I've reviewed empanadas before. And I've reviewed elote-inspired dishes, too. And I've tried each dish from street vendors and restaurants. But I've never ever heard of elote empanadas before laying eyes on this product. Mexican street corn stuffed into a little fried bread pocket? Sounds absolutely delish.

After a spell in the air fryer, some of the filling started popping out the sides of the little turnover pastries and flowing onto the bottom of our Ninja's basket. They smelled pretty good, though. And they looked decent, too: the breading turned crispy brown and the filling was full of corn and creamy cheese.

They tasted vaguely like elote, I guess. There was definitely some mayo in there, or "mayonnaise-type dressing" as it says in the ingredients list, as well as citrus flavors, corn—obviously—and some nice herbs and spices like cilantro, oregano, chili and onion powder. They had a tangy, creamy flavor. I wouldn't have minded more cheese in the mix. Although sour cream, cream cheese, and parmesan are all listed in the ingredients, they kind of just stayed in the background.

$5.79 for eight tiny little empanadas. Certainly not the best value at Target or anywhere else for that matter, but worth a purchase if you're looking for a unique appetizer or convenient snack. The packaging says it's two servings, but I could have demolished this whole package in a single sitting easily. I was nice and shared with the wifey for lunch the other day, so we had to supplement with other snacks, sides, and Thanksgiving leftovers. My score would have been higher if there had been more food in the box. As is, I might buy again.

I give this appetizer 7 out of 10 stars.

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