Friday, March 25, 2016

Limited Edition Maple Bacon Pop-Tarts!

Sooner or later every snack company answers the call of Bacon. Consumers and foodies love it. Pop culture has embraced it. Bacon is king and we all know it. But there are times where bacon makes it into the snack world where we scratch our heads and wonder if we ever needed it. Enter...Maple Bacon Pop-Tarts...

When I first heard about these I didn't think they were real. When I saw the box I thought for sure it was a photoshop job that someone tossed up online to get people talking. But then one of my pals back in New Hampshire let me know that they were real and he had tried them. So my search began. They finally showed up out here in Seattle and I scooped up a box as quick as I could. I was excited to try them but also expecting to be disappointed. How could the bacon work? Was it going to be those gross crunchy Bacos type pieces? Or would they go with something new?

Like most Pop-tarts, these aren't the best right out of the package. Some hold up better than others. I personally love Strawberry Frosted right out of the package. Many a camping trip have found me Straight Pop-Tartin' like a boss. 48 pack slung over my shoulder, slapping packs into the palms of my buddies as they woke up in the morning and crawled from their tents. But these? These you definitely want to toast up. It helps. Because the bacon is weird. It's a strange chemical sprinkle that kind of tastes like fake bacon and smoke. It's not overpowering, but it's not really the best taste either.

Luckily the maple inside is where these really shine. It seems like a flavor they should have been making since they started. Perhaps that's because I'm from New England and nothing makes me happier than Maple flavored EVERYTHING. But once you toast these up, they aren't bad! The bacon gives off a nice, little bit of salt flavor that goes well with the icing and sweet maple innards.

In the end I'm going to give Maple Bacon Pop-Tarts a C-. The bacon is fake and weird. But the Maple is pretty tasty. Toasted, they are alright. Maybe pairing meats with sugary toaster pastries isn't the best idea. As a man who loves bacon, I wanted nothing more than to tell you all that these were awesome and that the bacon revolution continues to dominate all it comes into contact with...but I would be lying. There are some times when bacon isn't the right choice. This is one of them.

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Review by Rich Brunelle, who currently lives in Seattle, Washington and spends his days being a one man neighborhood watch and tracking down elusive candies.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Qdoba just opened 3 new locations in Seattle, so we went to a VIP event to drink all their beer!

One of the perks of being a world famous food blogger, is that once in a while you get invited to big events put on by some of the biggest restaurant chains in the world. It's the food blogger version of walking the red carpet. Anyone who's anyone in the food blog world is there. So you can't pass these events up or someone might think you fell off your game. Well you know that the Fatguyfoodblog crew doesn't play like that. So when Qdoba hit us up with an invite to their latest shindig, you can bet I RSVP'ed, PLUS ONE. 

Not only did Qdoba just open three new locations in Seattle, but they also just started offering a great selection of local craft beers and wine to pair with their food. On top of that, they have a new loaded tortilla soup. With all of this in mind, my lady and donned our red carpet outfits and hopped in the Fatguyfoodblog stretch Hummer and pulled up to the University Plaza location and got out like Brad and Angelina. 

After signing a few autographs and posing for some pictures with people, we made our way inside. We were greeted by the awesome staff and directed to our seats. Almost at once things began being served. When the Assistant Manager Cody asked me which beer I would like to try, he took one look at the FGFB shirt I was wearing and decided that instead of just bring me one of the beers, he was going to bring me all of them. And the wine too. See, this is the kind of stuff that happens when you're sporting a Fatguyfoodblog t-shirt. This logo demands attention and is well respected in the food world. Those who own one will back me up. If you want to join the elite, you can get one here!

Now that I've successfully plugged our designer t-shirts, let's get back to the review. The first thing to arrive was the Loaded Tortilla Soup. Let me tell you, this is not an item I would have ordered usually. Why? Eh, I'm not much of a soup guy. If I go to a rad place like Qdoba that's rocking tacos and burritos all day, the last thing I'm thinking is soup. That's why it was such a great surprise. Chock full of fresh veggies and chicken with slabs of tortilla shell sticking out of it, you couldn't go wrong. Usually it comes in a massive tortilla bowl, but since we weren't that pumped about it beforehand, we asked for a smaller sample. MISTAKE. It was excellent. The drizzle of sour cream over it ended up being the proverbial icing on the cake. It's like your favorite taco, in soup form. I would 100% get this again.

Then came the beers. Three at first, Schwarzbier from Dru Bru, Boombox IPA from Hilliard's, and Dru Bru IPA. A few minutes later he added to that Manny's Pale Ale from Georgetown and the Dru Bru Kolsch.  So many beers! My lady isn't one for beer so luckily they were all mine. As quick as I slugged them down they would bring another. I felt like Thor in a diner.

Of all of them I had only had Manny's before. But there wasn't a beer I had that I didn't enjoy. They told me which beers paired really well with specific tacos but I'll be honest, I glazed over. My plan was to just drink all the beers and eat all the tacos. I was surprised that I ended up liking the Schwarzbier so much from Dru Bru. I'm not usually a fan of darker beers. They end up being really heavy in my guts and make it hard for me to perform at top level. Aka: eat a lot of tacos. But this one went down smooth and wasn't heavy like I expected. I was pleasantly surprised.

When presented with the option of wine, I wasn't too keen on it because let's face it, I write for a blog called FATGUYFOODBLOG. I look like a barbarian. What do I want with wine? Ale? Mead? Fine drinks. I usually leave wine for those with a more refined taste. But when I heard it comes in a can and has a money on the logo, I told them to sign me the hell up. It's called The Infinite Monkey Theorem and they offered both red and white wine. I'll tell you what, if you're a wine snob, you probably won't be into this. If you're the opposite of a wine snob, this might be the wine for you. THERE'S A CHIMP ON THE CAN. A CHIMP! I feel like someone needs to tell Joe Rogan about this stuff.

Then a full run of the Knockout Taco's arrived. You may remember these from our review a little while back. This was a nice surprise, but what surprised me the most was when the Assistant Manager, Cody, delivered them and told us every single ingredient that was in each of the different tacos right off the top of his head. This guy is a Knockout Taco expert and blew my mind with his knowledge. When I praised him at being able to do this he shrugged it off like a boss. True professional.

The Knockout tacos didn't disappoint. Just like last time, the Two-Timer ended up being my favorite one. But a lot of these shined in ways that they didn't the first time around. I think the issue with the first time around was that we tried them literally days after they dropped. I don't think the crew at the location we went to really knew how to make them yet. This time around the Mad Rancher wasn't just a pile of lettuce. These were very well done and you know what? Beer went a lot better with them than fountain soda, that's for damn sure.

Lack of bacon was not an issue this time around. When bacon was on one of these, it was there in FORCE. Also, did I mention the wine had a chimp face on it?

A few fans came up to take selfies with me so I paused from the meal to duckface and throw up a peace sign or two.  Signed a girls boobs, which my lady did not approve of. Then I went back to decimating this spread. I think between the two of us, we did a pretty good job. Also I drank lots of beer and wine so I was glad that the FGFB Stretch Hummer had a driver because if I drove home it would have probably looked like a scene from Mad Max: Fury Road.


As we finished up we were given our VIP gift bags. Inside there was so much Qdoba swag. I decided I needed to put a bunch of the stuff on at once and pose with the Qdoba Luchador. This new location is definitely one of the best Qdoba's I have ever been in. Not only is the layout great, but it has a very comfortable atmosphere and you can tell they spared no expense stepping it up to the next level. I really loved all the artwork and the soft lighting. Let's face it, any place that has a masked luchador wrestler on the wall is going to get a thumbs up from me.

I blame this shot on all the beer. 
Before we left I asked a couple of the dudes who helped make this thing possible to take a moment and let me grab a shot of them so I could give them a should out here.

Cody Fasching, the assistant manager. Extremely nice and a damn Knockout Taco expert. If you walk into a Qdoba and see this dude working, you know you're in good hands. He also knew everything there was to know about the beers and wines. Assistant Manager? Qdoba, what's the deal. Jump him up to full on manager ASAP. Seriously.

Then there was Keith Johnson, the director of west region operations for Qdoba. He might be the high up brass of the company, but for this event it was all hands on deck and Keith was awesome. He had a lot of excitement about the different items I tried that night and you could tell that he knows more about this stuff than I could know in ten lifetimes. Awesome dude and he made a great amount of time to stop and chat with each of the VIP guests like myself.

As we said our goodbyes and made our way out the secret back exit to avoid the throngs of fans outside, I felt a slight sadness. Like when a really raging party dies down and everyone goes home. Luckily Seattle has plenty of Qdoba locations to visit, so I knew I would be back. Soon. Really soon. Like...maybe even the next day.

Big thanks to Holly for being my +1!

In the end, I have to say this was a great event that won't soon be forgotten. Got to try a bunch of great stuff, got to drink a ton of great beer and wine, and went home with some freebies. Not to mention getting to experience one of the newest and coolest Qdoba locations on Earth. If Qdoba ever has another one of these parties in my neck of the woods, you can bet I'll be there.

For more information on what Qdoba has to offer, check out their website!

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This review was by Rich Brunelle, who currently lives with the lovely lady in the picture above and a giant cat that enjoys licking laundry.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Ben & Jerry's Limited Batch: Cake My Day!

Every single time I go to the grocery store, I walk by the ice cream like there's an elderly couple having sex in the middle of the aisle. Not because I don't enjoy it, but because I realize that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. But because of my troubling financial circumstances I recently had to cancel my subscriptions to a few certain websites, and I needed to fill that shameful void somehow- enter Ben and Jerry's Cake My Day.

Well my day was certainly caked... it was... cade... my day was cake... well... uh. The Ben and Jerry's was on sale for $1.99. So the decision to buy this ice cream was a piece of cake!!! Yeah, knew I'd find that sooner or later. Anyway, Ben and Jerry's pints for $1.99. Sometimes, Shaw's and Star Market just has unbelievably stupid deals on these pints. If you've got one in your 'hood, keep your eyes peeled. I was going to take a picture of the sign but I didn't think of it soon enough and the sale ended, so you're going to have to just believe me here. And if you don't, then why are you getting your food reviews from a source you've deemed untrustworthy? Like there's not enough pictures of cats on the Internet to keep you busy for five minutes, and you're just browsing through shady food reviews. Go outside.

Ben and Jerry's Cake My Day will Cake Your Day the Fuck Up (TM). This ice cream tastes more like cake then it does it does ice cream. It tastes more like cake then fucking cake does. Cake is actually suing Ben and Jerry's right now, and I'm a star witness. Tom Carvel tasted it and hung himself. The Friendly's closest to your house is now a Mexican restaurant. 

Why does it taste so much like cake? Because it's a vanilla cake batter ice cream with vanilla cake pieces and butter cream frosting and raspberry swirls. Observant readers may note that the raspberry swirls in the last sentence is smaller than the other words in the same sentence. Totally intentional!! This Ben and Jerry's flavor could use more raspberry swirls, or some chocolate fudge pieces or macadamia nuts or just pretty much anything else. Because it just tastes like vanilla cake I left in the freezer for eight months after the most depressing solo birthday party I've ever had but now I'm out of food because I spent all my money on certain websites and there's nothing left to eat! But good news if you like vanilla cake this is definitely the ice cream for you! 

I'd probably be doing a disservice to our readers if I didn't mention that the cake pieces actually have the consistency of real cake- no gimmicks there. That being said, I'm going to give this Ben and Jerry's flavor a C+. Guess what the C stands for. Personally, I wouldn't get this again, because I'm not that huge a fan of super sweet flour sugar combinations traditionally combined with a softer flour-free version of more sugar. So we picked the wrong guy to write this review! But that tag line was just too good to give up.

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Monday, March 14, 2016

The Tuckaway Tavern & Butchery

Being a man young in age, sometimes you're oblivious to things. Sometimes you're too busy chasing skirts, looking at car magazines, racing hot rods, and smoking cigarettes outside of a bowling alley to notice when something incredible is right in front of your face. If this were not a food blog, I could quite possibly be speaking of a long lost girl in high school, a pretty face you glance at through a crowd, but nope, you're right. It's about food. It's always about food. Welcome my friends, to a place I've lived 35 minutes from for 4 years, The Tuckaway.

The Tuckaway isn't just your ordinary tavern with bar food and a few beers on tap. When you walk in, after you put your name down, you have the option to visit their world renowned butchery. As I walked up and down, the displays overloaded my eyes and ballooned my want to buy everything that's showcased. I mean, you walk in starving wanting to eat, and there it all is....

After salivating over various meats and treats, me and my roomates sat down and waited for our name to be called. Early afternoon on a Sunday there was a small wait, I can imagine this place fills to the brim Friday and Saturday nights. 

even as a professional food blogger, I still feel weird taking pictures in restaurants.

the menu. pretty goddamn cool!
The menu boasted so many great things. A typical American New England steakhouse burgers and ribs joint, with a dash of seafood, a few salads, and a few southern style BBQ plates to round out everything quite nicely. I ended up settling for something I think any Fat Guy Food Blog fan would approve of, The Pig Pile. A Bacon Cheddar Onion Burger with layers of Bacon, Cheddar, American, and Swiss Cheese. But before we get to that, let's see what kind of an appetizer I decided to go with. 

Rooster Balls: Shredded Chicken, Cream Cheese, Vegetables, Honey Buffalo and Cilantro Ranch

These were absolutely delicious. When you bit into them, the crunchy deep fried breading squished down and pushed shredded chicken and cream cheese into your mouth, with the buffalo and cilantro ranch taking your mind away from what would ordinarily be a bad texture, and turned it into this pleasing mouth experience that made you want to keep eating them. No real heat to these, just a familiar buffalo sting on the outer edges of the tongue. 

With the Rooster Balls being out of this world, and seeing other plates of massive meat and piles of fries delivered past me, I was pumped to see what was in store.


ordered medium rare
Alright, I know if it were Rich reviewing this burger, he would have passed by this in favor of something covered in various amounts of sauces, and different gimmicks. And believe me, I wanted to go there too, but after the first bite into this burger, I knew I made the right decision. This is hands down, the best, straight up non gimmicked burger I've ever had to date. What I mean by this, is that this burger doesn't rely on a fancy sauce, doesn't let odd condiments take you away from what this burger is all about. This burger lets the goddamn burger do all the talking, but making sure it is on it's A game being surrounded by such a strong cast of cheese and bacon. The squishy bun makes sure to not get in the way, and only act as a way to keep you from getting grease on your fingers.

Cooked to perfection, perfectly sized, amazing grilled burger taste, a stack of bacon that doesn't overwhelm the burger flavor, and a thick layer of cheese. All around awesome. My only gripe with my entire meal was that it seems The Tuckaway hasn't seen itself unaffected by the social disease that is the lack of fries on a plate. We hammered on Friday's for long enough, and they listened. Hopefully The Tuckaway and others can free themselves of this affliction soon!

The Tuckaway is exactly what it says it is, a rather large tavern and shop tucked away in the small town of Raymond in southern New Hampshire. They had so many options, and if this is the starting line, I absolutely cannot wait to enjoy the journey through the entire menu. The Tuckaway Tavern and Butchery gets an A.
- Review by Josh

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here's a few bonus pictures of my roomates meals, just to give you something else to make you get in the care and drive there as fast as humanly possible. 

full rack of BBQ Baby Rack Ribs!

Classic Mac and Cheese for the man who only wanted to eat as many carbs as possible that day

Friday, March 11, 2016

Lay’s Flavor Swap: Smoked Gouda and Chive vs. Korean BBQ Chips!

Thank you Lay’s. Thank you for the addictive Bacon Mac and Cheese and Truffle Fries flavors. The Biscuits and Gravy and Chicken and Waffles flavors roused taste buds I never knew I had. But for every triumph like Cheesy Garlic Bread-drool-there’s been a few misfires.

How Cheesy Garlic Bread Chips make me feel.
The Gyro chip tasted like regurgitated Arby’s sandwiches. Did you try the Crunch Sauerkraut, wait, nope, I meant the Reuben? Unappetizing.  And don’t get me started on the Kim and Kanye flavor. Repulsive.

Because of the ingenuity and forward thinking in the Lay’s development department, I’m always game to try their new flavors. We also need to give props to their marketing team for rolling out new flavors in a deathmatch competition that’s sure to end in a bloodbath. Instead of introducing four new flavors, Lay’s is making four old chips battle four new ones. To the winner goes an eternal position in the chip aisle. So, how do some of these fried potato slices taste?

Lay's Chips Deathmatch Roster!

First up were the Korean BBQ.

When I think Korean BBQ I think YES. NOW. It’s so savory and succulent and always provides a good reason to binge eat. I think of the combination of soy sauce, pepper, honey and onion. They made a chip that tasted like loaded potato skins so why not Korean BBQ? Unfortunately, this flavor fizzled. The smell was right-just like a pork spare rib-but this chip tasted like an ordinary BBQ chip. It was bland. Muted. A flop. Honey BBQ wins.

Full disclosure, I had some of my students help me with the taste testings...

Next up, the Smoked Gouda and Chive.

Rousey vs. Holm. Palpatine vs. Yoda. Smoked Gouda vs. Cheddar and Sour Cream?

Gouda is one of my top 7 favorite cheeses. It’s smoky and creamy and pairs well with my mouth. Lay’s nailed those exact attributes-they had a velvety and smoky taste with the added funk of some chives. They were satisfying. Better than the venerable Cheddar and Sour Cream though? That’s a tall order. I’d say simultaneous knockout. They’re both winners.

Final decision: While neither of these new flavors were as awe-inspiring as some of the previous offerings, the Smoked Gouda and Chives was a worthy opponent to its competitor. Skip the Korean BBQ and head to your nearest K-BBQ restaurant.

Smoked Gouda and Chives: B+
Korean BBQ: C-

Review by Mark!

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Feel the burn! Poppin' Jalapeno Doritos!

What's your favorite flavor of Dorito? Everyone has one. Some people like to rock the Cool Ranch. Others keep it simple and roll with the original, Nacho Cheese. Over the years Doritos have added a bunch of other flavors to their stable. Some as permanent fixtures, like Spicy Sweet Chili, and Spicy Nacho, and others as special limited time offers, like Black Pepper Jack and Pizza Supreme.  Doritos have remained one of the biggest selling snack chips year after year by keeping the classics around, but also trying out something new quite often. Well, that and they usually have ridiculous over the top commercials.  

Well before our boy Mike rode off into the sunset and left the world of food blogging behind, he instilled in me a strong love for Spicy Nacho Doritos. I stand firm that those are my favorite. But that belief has since been shaken. By new Poppin' Jalapeno Doritos. Yup. Right out the gate I'm letting you know that they are that damn good.

With Spicy Nacho, I love that you still get your intense Dorito cheese flavor, but along with it you get a slow burn that steadily builds the more you eat. After a while your tongue is on fire, but it's a flavorful fire that you've earned through ripping through half a bag of chips. Well Poppin' Jalapeno are exactly the same, except with an added jalapeno pepper flavor, and just a little bit more of a burn.

So yeah, these are basically jalapeno popper Dortitos. Cheesy, pepper flavors and a nice burn. I also noticed that there were more chips in this bag that seemed to be heavily blasted with the flavor dust than usual. If you're like me, whenever I'm eating a Dorito, no matter what the flavor, I always like getting the ones that seem to have extra Dorito dust. They are the diamonds in the rough. You spy one down in the bag and your fingers descend into the darkness like the robotic arm on an aquatic sub trying to carefully collect a sample from the ocean floor. And when you raise it up and the Dorito is caked with flavor, you smile, because you know it's going to be awesome.  There were a ton of those in this one small bag that I had! By the time I polished it off I had a solid mouth burn going. You know, the good kind!

Poppin' Jalapeno Doritos are great. If you're into a solid tongue burn and a heavy amount of cheesy pepper flavor, you will dig these. I have yet to see a big bag of these so I'm going to go ahead and say they don't exist. I could be wrong! If I am, drop some comment knowledge on me. But then drop everything else and go get a bag of these. Heck, get ten. Buy the store out of their stock, because once these are gone, they are gone...well...unless Doritos decides to add them to the regular rotation. Which I heavily endorse. Poppin' Jalapeno Doritos get an A+, the highest FGFB rating! BOOM!

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Review by Rich Brunelle, who currently resides in Seattle where he stalks the streets in search of Phoenix Jones, in hopes of becoming his superhero sidekick.