Tag Archives: M&M-Mars

So, Pumpkin Spice M&M’s Are A Thing Now

IMG_4674Man, people have a lot of opinions about pumpkin spice stuff.

I … don’t. Somehow. I align with exactly no side in the Great Pumpkin Spice take debate; on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is “Boo, Pumpkin Spice” and 10 is “Hooray, Pumpkin Spice”, I’d put myself at Lasagna.

But, then sometimes you walk past a bag of PSL M&M’s and you have to give it a shot.

The thing is, pumpkin spice and chocolate really aren’t complementary flavors. So what you get is a candy-coated chocolate-cinnamon-nutmeg ball. Which is weird.

I had a couple and didn’t spit them out, so I guess there’s that, but I am going to put the Did Not Like stamp on this bag. The flavors just don’t jibe.

But sometimes they do, pumpkin spice, so don’t let this negative review get you down, nor the mass backlash at your autumnal ubiquity: You keep doing you.

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Frozen Week: Celebrating the last week of summer with an objective taste-test

IMG_4490So, um, Labor Day’s next week.

Summer’s always too short! You turn around and it’s gone! However did this happen? #lovesummer

As a chronic sweater and autumn’s #1 fan, I’ve never felt particularly aligned with the widespread sadness that comes the end of the 3-4 hottest months of the year. But, as I’ve gotten older and better understood the despair that comes along with hoofing it to work on a 3-degree day in March, I’ve grown to appreciate the various joys of summer.

Beer gardens. The smell of sunscreen. Shorts, tank tops, sundresses and seersucker. Iced coffee. One of my two annual dental checkups.

Frozen candy bars.

They really aren’t as satisfying during the rest of the year, are they? I have fond memories of gnawing on frozen Snickers bars with my dad while playing golf on family vacation, or of throwing melting, near-death Reese’s from the freezer and not waiting for them to thaw. That shit doesn’t fly in November.

To celebrate the last week of summer, I’m throwing [Ed. note: Holding? Declaring? Embarking upon?] Breaking Off A Piece’s newest theme week: Frozen Week.

Let’s let it go, guys.

To kick things off, I wanted to take a serious damn look at frozen candy bars. Earlier in the month, one of my favorite Twitter follows — Grantland’s Bill Barnwell — posed a great question.

I replied to him, but given my self-assigned authority on the subject, I felt pretty silly not having a more scienticically informed answer.

I asked Abby and Alex Bar to help me fix that.

We met for dinner at Honey Butter Fried Chicken, them bringing their smiles and me bringing a large, insulated bag with frozen and room-temperatured versions of the five most popular answers to Barnwell’s question.

After the meal [Ed. note: Splendid, always. If you’re in Chicago, pay them a visit.], I laid out my wares on our pic-a-nic table and took the picture you see at the top of this post. As a brisk wind picked up and we drew a small amount of attention (Alex/Abby: “She wants to give you money for your basketball team.), we decided to pack things up and head back to the #BSMT (my small, garden-level den of an apartment) for the actual taste-test, which would feature a bite of room-temp candy bar and then a bite of frozen, to determine:

1) Which candy bar improved the most in its frozen state?
2) Which candy bar tasted the best frozen?

Up first …

IMG_4491Charleston Chew Minis
[Ed. note: I fully intended to buy full-sized Charleston Chews, but the closest Walgreens, CVS and grocery stores didn’t carry it and I wasn’t going to drive to the next town. If that makes me a half-assed candy bar blogger than so be it.]

Room temperature

Abby: “These have the texture of deflated packing peanuts. Or deflated marshmallows.”

Alex: “There is … very little flavor.”

Me: I’d grown up enjoying Charleston Chews, but only when frozen (bias revealed and admitted). The minis are a more palatable eating experience, but at room temperature both the full- and mini-sized are … laborious to chew.

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Frozen Charleston Chews what?

Frozen

Alex: “Hmm … There’s a pop that’s pretty deliberate, then it sort of melts into a gummi.” “It crunches, then it sticks to your teeth.”

Abby: [Ed. note: Unintelligible notes holy wow my handwriting is bad. Sorry, Abby.] … “These melt; the others didn’t.”

Me: Damn, that crunch makes all the difference. They’re definitely a little blander than I remember, but the stark difference from frozen to room temperature is so welcome. They almost shatter upon first bite, then melt into a comfortable chewiness until only the last remnants stick to your teeth. I’m a fan.

Preference

Alex: Room temperature
Abby: Neither
Me: Frozen Continue reading

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Happy Father’s Day

IMG_4181Dad’s the one who showed me how to conquer mountains.

Today he wanted a Milky Way.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads, dads-to-be, dads departed (tu me manques, Grand Pere) and dads-facsimile.

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WTF Are These? Starburst Minis, Hershey’s Caramels

IMG_4012True fact: It was seeing Starburst Minis at a CVS that got me to realize how out-of-touch I was in the realm of candy bars and talk about it with Alex Bar, a conversation from which came the genesis of Breaking Off A Piece.

For something of such historical significance, I sure do wish I liked them more.

Tasting Notes

– They are of a slightly different consistency than a typical Starburst. A little less chewy, a little more taffy-y. I suspect this has something to do with trying to prevent them from sticking together … but it’s off-putting.
– As one coworker described, “It tastes like medicine. And that’s why I like it.”
– The standard four Starburst flavors are included, but each one tastes … only mostly like the real thing. Starburst Minis are like Dr. Thunder.

IMG_4013– Nothing fancy about Hershey’s Caramels [Ed. note: Aside from the cursive script on the wrapper]; it’s straight caramel and chocolate.
– Similar to what you’d find in a box of chocolates [Ed. note: If you were to select a caramel one, of course.]; the caramel is solid and chewy, but not so much that you have to strain to bite only a portion.
– Thumbs-up here. I don’t think I’d go out of my way to buy one, but it’s a nice little treat.

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WTF is This? Skittles Orchards

IMG_3745Ya damn right I held this post for St. Patrick’s Day because the bag was green.

Skittles’ newest offering is Orchards, which is supposedly comprised of fruit flavors grown in orchards, even though just about everybody says orange grove and nobody knows what a peach farm is called.

[Ed. note: Thank you, M&M-Mars, for the search phrase “What determines the nomenclature of a fruit garden?”]

My theory? Orchards is the severance package they offered Lime when it got demoted from the main bag in favor of the upstart Green Apple.

Poor Lime.

Tasting Notes

– Lime: Same ol’ good-ass lime. Continue reading

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A Passage From a Novel Without Any Context: 3.14.15 Edition

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“Thank you so much. Again, I’m so sorry.”

The cashier squinted her eyes like she was smiling but her mouth never actually moved. She hated me.

They all did.

“C’mon, Toby! Come with mommy!”

His little fingers grasped my largest two and we made toward the automatic door.

“Mother of the year, right there.”

What. “Mother of the year right there”?

You have got to be. fcking. kidding me.

I turned and glared at that little bitch.

“You’ve got some nerve. You know that?”

“Excuse me, what?” Continue reading

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WTF Is This? Milky Way French Vanilla and Caramel

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– The perfect candy bar for people who want their chocolate to also taste like coffee creamer.
– A little sweet for my taste, which is saying a lot.

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The Big Rise of the Small Candy Bars

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If you’ve been paying attention to the checkout aisle lately, you’re either very upset at Chris Soules for kicking Carly to the curb or you have noticed small bags of even smaller iterations of your favorite candy bars.

I don’t have a name for this phenomenon [Ed. note: Submissions welcome], but the folks in the candy biz are jumping all-in. Whether they’re Bites, Minis or some other name that a marketing firm decided on because they realized they can’t use a derogatory term for little people any more, these candy bars allow you to take a handful of a candy bar for which you previously needed to break off a piece. People love things that are smaller than they are supposed to be, so I understand the appeal.

As I encounter these bars, I’ll take care to note the differences in composition to their original state; I already have a pretty good idea that there will be some slight variance in taste and texture. Trust, I’ll be meticulous and precise.

Tasting Notes:

– These are literally the exact same thing as regular 3 Musketeers. Just smaller in my hands.
– I feel like a giant.

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Let’s Discuss: Who Are Your Five Dating References?

IMG_3654On Monday evening, thanks to the generous, esteemed Boof Bar, I watched the Bucks get blown off the court by the Bulls. [Ed. note: It’s OK. I’m not upset. Own the future, boys.]

As is customary, we shared a postgame meal and conversation at the one and only Tater Tot Land, a swell establishment that has a kitchen open ’til 1 and serves, you guessed it, tater tots. (Also sandwiches and salads and iced tea, but who the hell wants to hear about Iced Tea Land?)

Among the topics covered in said conversation: basketball, traveling, “Bolognese”, respecting the process, roommates paying rent and/or doing dishes, Bop, work, “idiosyncrasies”, Mediterranean chopped salads, new cars, our respective adventures in the realm of dating.

Just two single fellas havin bro talk; inevitably some frustration surrounding that last topic seeped out. At one point, amongst a great deal of other points, Boof said, “It would be easier if after the first date, you could give her five people to call about you, and if she still wants to date you after that, then … let’s proceed.” (Or something like that. I didn’t have a tape recorder.)

Me: “Haha, that’s rich. ‘Hey, darlin’, I had a great time. Call these five people, and get back to me if you’re still interested.'”

LET’S DISCUSS: Assume that it’s accepted social norm that after a first date, both parties exchange a list of five references for the other to call to determine whether they want to continue to date. The references come with a maximum five-word descriptor and phone number (e.g. Will Smith: actor, rapper, Renaissance Man XXX-XXX-XXXX). These references do not know they are going to be called, but they have to at least answer the phone when the call comes.

WHO ARE YOUR FIVE REFERENCES? Continue reading

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Brit Week is Over. Where Next? SPACE.

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U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

[Ed. Note: Yeah, I know it’s a whole galaxy. But I am feeling patriotic. And, besides, more celestial bodies within said galaxy have American flags on them than celestial bodies with any other country’s flag. What a horrible sentence.]

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