Hawaiian Punch vs Tiki Punch


punch cans

It seems funny that Hawaiian Punch is still around, like it should have died out when Capri Sun came onto the juice drink scene but I guess it’s one of those things that will never die.
Like with 90% of the products featured on this blog, this was a forbidden item in my childhood – Juicy Juice only.  I remember one time I was maybe 9 years old,  said something wise to my dad and held his hand up in a wimpy fist and said jokingly said “How would you like a Hawaiian Punch?” and in my childhood naivete I got all excited thinking that maybe he broke down and bought some as a surprise.   I said “Oh my gosh YEAH!  You got some!?” and he laughed and said “no” my face fell expressionless and I thought “I hate you”.  To me, that was nothing to joke about.  It seemed like everyone else got have Hawaiian Punch except us and to make light of it seemed cruel…so very cruel.  That’s how tough my childhood was.
Guess what dad?  You’re not the boss of me and I can buy whatever I want now, so…how would YOU like a Hawaiian Punch?  Um…yeah, so anyway I saw this Shasta Tiki Punch and was curious how it compared to it’s  Hawaiian counter part.

Hawaiian Punch:
Hawaiian punchI know I must have had Hawaiian Punch at some point in life but it wasn’t more recent than middle school so I was actually kind of shocked by the bright redness of the drink that is so poorly depicted in this photo (I swear it looked brighter).  One thing Ethan and I noted was how overly sweet this was, and it even smelled sweet.  The flavor was fruity Ethan described it as a melted Popsicle or like a super sweet pineapple.  I thought it tasted liked a liquified red lifesaver.  Between the uncomfortable color and the overwhelming sweetness I couldn’t finish my glass.

Tiki Punch:
Tiki PunchI wasn’t expecting Tiki Punch to be carbonated so that was a surprise.  Overall the flavor was pretty much the same.  In some way the carbonation seemed to cut the sweeteness just a little but I think it was really just that it was a bit watery, although Ethan thought it was syrupy.  I was reading the ingredients and there is some kind of gum in it  so I think is possible to be watery and syrupy.

Wrap up:
Gross and gross.  Okay, I guess I wasn’t missing out on anything as a kid by not being able to drink this.  I’m actually feeling a little nauseous as I write this and funny enough Ethan just said he feels like drinking more.  If I had choose I guess I’d pick Hawaiian just for familiarity and that it contains actual fruit juice (although less than 2%) while Tiki is nothing but scary ingredients.
I also wanted to point out Tiki Punch does have the better graphics.
guys“Punchy” not only is a heavily pixelated image but the new Punchy is way lamer than the old one. I thought it was mildly interesting that they are both making the same hand gestures.   Also while Punchy is a guy, I can’t really tell what the Tiki bro is.  He/it seems to be a face that has two legs, one arm  and that’s it.  I mean, he resembles a human but there’s a some thing missing that is a little bothersome.

Hawaiian Punch or Tiki Punch

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Lucky Charms vs Marshmallow Mateys


Lucky Charms was never allowed in our house  when I was a kid so I don’t have a huge history with it other than the few times I got to indulge at my friend’s house when I slept over.  That was how the other half lived!  Staying up past 9:00pm, drinking soda, eating oreos, Twinkies and Fun Dip all night, then waking up to forbidden sugary goodness of Lucky Charms or Pop Tarts…or both- anything went over there!
Bringing it back to 2014, Ethan and I tried Lucky Charms and it’s challenger, Marshmallow Mateys .  It seems like Mateys wanted to go a different route, avoiding any reference to being lucky or Irish or folklorey and went a different route with a nautical theme.

Lucky Charms:

I knew some of the marshmallows only from the commercials from years ago but they’ve updated and added some that I don’t know.  I think it was purple horseshoes that was the new addition last I noticed, I wasn’t even sure what some of the shapes were supposed to be.  I felt like the cereal part was very crispy and tasted like cheerios and Ethan thought they tasted like puffed rice- that not being good or bad- just very much like rice.

Marshmallow Mateys:

Mateys boast that there is no high fructose corn syrup in the product and that it somehow provides 12 vitamins and minerals (which I don’t see how that is possible).  There is no identification of what the marshmallows are, I’m guessing some fish and a random flower of some sort. In comparison to Lucky Charms,  Matey’s oat cereal had larger, puffier pieces but only one shape, Ethan seemed disappointed when he noted “it’s all anchors”. The texture is a bit different not just with the puffier pieces but we felt that it seemed “gritter” and I thought the cereal tasted very “oaty”.

Wrap up:
While there are subtle differences, I feel like Marshmallow Mateys could definitely pass for Lucky Charms in a pinch if you’re an amateur like me.  To a fan, they would probably notice the texture and ricey taste besides being well versed in the various shapes.

Lucky Charms or Marshmallow Mateys

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Cinnamon Toast Crunch vs Cinnabon

I LOVED Cinnamon Toast Crunch growing up. I haven’t had it in forever (like so many things on this blog) and I know, comparing toast to buns might not be fair,  but I was excited to see Cinnabon cereal and figured it was still a formidable opponent.
I’ve never had Cinnabon cinnamon bun, I feel like they should have them in New England but I rarely get to a mall so I just haven’t been around to try them.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch:

CTC is just like I remembered it, delightfully crisp and light  yet amazingly crunchy.  It has the perfect amount of cinnamon and sugar and kind of a buttery taste.
As an adult, I like that the ingredient list is relatively small for cereal and there;s no partially hydrogenated oil.


These had a much puffier texture yet maybe a little less crunch – though not to say they weren’t satisfyingly crunchy.  It’s just that CTC is so crunchy that it’s crisp like, these were more of a hollow crunch.
That being said, they were airy but still has substantial flavor.  Maybe a little more cinnamony than CTC.  Of course there is PHO (partially hydrogenated oil) but they do also mention it’s a multi-grain cereal- does that cancel out the badness of the PHO?

Wrap up:
I’ll go with Cinnamon Toast Crunch because I love it so much and the absence of PHO but it’s just a great cereal. I will say though that I enjoyed the Cinnabons more than I thought I would but given a choice, I’d stick with CTC.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Cinnabon?

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Ellio’s vs Betzio’s

Old school cafeteria-style pan pizza, mmmm, nothing like it.  I haven’t had this in many years, probably since middle school but maybe high school.  My sister and I loved the commercial with the kid having his big brother prepare the pizza for him and having the cheese go “blub blub blub”.
I never heard of Betzio’s before but saw it at the market and felt it was perfect for a comparison.

Um…where to start?  This is not the pizza I remembered when I was a kid, and it’s definitely not the pizza shown on the box.  First, the perferations on the dough do not let the pizza break off to make a neat rectangle.  This shape  pictured above is what Ethan got after trying to snap off the perferations.
Second, the cheese – where is it?  The pizza is sparingly sprinkled with minimal cheese revealing a somewhat “zesty” sauce but it’s really like ketchup with too much herb.  Ethan said it wasn’t oregano though because he likes oregano, so I don’t know what it was.  The dough is bland and tasteless and so chewy that I just scraped off the cheese and sauce because I couldn’t deal with it.


Betzio’s had much better everything.  The cheese tasted better and there was more of it.  The sauce was milder but the dough was much more pleasant, light, soft (but not mushy) and crisp on the bottom.
Ethan said it really reminded him of pizza he got at school growing up and it was good in a comforting way.

Wrap up:
Definitely Betzio’s.  I just can’t believe how dissapointing Ellio’s was.  Did I like it before because I was kid or has it gone way downhill in the past 25 years?  It’s almost shameful to pass this off as pizza.
Anyway, at least we’ll always have the commercial. Blub blub blub.

Ellio's or Betzio's

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Goober vs Stripes

I’ve never ever been tempted to try Smucker’s Goober.  First, because I’m not a big grape jelly fan and second I always like to have a little more control over of mt PB to jelly ratio.  Also, I am a hardcore Teddie crunchy addict.  There’s just nothing like it (to me).  But of course now that I found a doppelganger for it, I’d have to try both.

Goober looked okay with it’s smooth PB and shiny jelly stripes. 
We tasted and…blah.  I was really surprised at the total absence of peanut flavor.  the jelly was so ultra-sweet that it really just tasted like pure corn syrup with maybe a hint of grape.  the over all consistency of the product was very “manufactured”; it felt like two kinds of plastic on my tongue.  Ethan agreed.

Stripes peanut butter was much darker looking but had the same plasticy feel.  I felt it did have a little more peanut flavor but Ethan detected some bitterness too.

Wrap up:
I guess I’d side with Stripes because of the slight peanut flavor, which beat the no-peanut flavor of Goober.
Ethan sided with Goober because he liked the jelly better.  We both agreed that both are pretty gross though and won’t be eating more than the teaspoonfool we had tonight.

Goober or Stripes?

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Twix vs Jive

There’s a new store that opened not too far away that is a second rate wonderland and inspired me to hop back on the blogging horse.   I can’t tell you how awesome this place is, aisle after aisle has shelves full of beautiful knock-off products. I had to put stuff back as my arms filled up with products (I didn’t get a cart thinking I wouldn’t find much to buy) and have plenty of excuses to visit again.
We found snack-size candies called Jive that use the same format at Twix so we dusted off the white backdrop, set up the tripod and got to work!


Upon unwrapping this treat, the smell of chocolate was extremely tempting.  There’s no turning back once unwrapped.  Twix is such a perfect candy bar, the smoothness of the chocolate, richness of the caramel and crisp crunch of the cookie work so well together. Ethan especially liked the flavor of the cookie but like with the textures, the flavors of all three elements compliment each other perfectly.  We both agreed the little snack size left us wanting more.


The first thing I noticed was the absence of any chocolatey smell.  The textures were okay but the caramel didn’t taste like anything and the cookie seemed to be lacking some flavor.   In all, it was just okay but definitely didn’t leave us wanting more.

Wrap up:
Jive is all jive.  I had high hopes for it since the cashier was raving about how awesome they were but it to us, there is nothing like the reliable taste and texture of the real deal.

Twix or Jive?

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Laughng Cow vs Sonoma Jacks

I’m a fan of Laughing Cow light. I usually get their original Swiss flavor but at the Christmas Tree Shop I saw a brand called Sonoma Jacks that is the same concept but in the Garlic & Herb flavor.  I was happy to see this because as you may have noticed material has been hard to come by, so hooray, a decent looking challenge!

Laughing Cow:
In a nice, neat foil-wrapped wedge we have a 3/4 oz. of processed cheese goodness.  We found this to be very creamy smooth and very flavorful.  We also liked the slight tanginess and felt it provided a full-flavor cheese taste.

Sonoma Jacks:
These are a wider and flatter wedge and a slightly smaller .67 oz.
Ethan felt this was more oniony. I felt like it was more herby…almost too herby.
Ethan also said it tasted too “ripe”.  I feel like it was too much herb and the cheese was just a tasteless vehicle for the garlic and herb.

Wrap up:
We liked Laughing Cow’s pleasant balance of cheese taste and flavorful herbiness.  The emptiness of of Sonoma Just left a lacking cheese experience.

Laughing Cow or Sonoma Jacks?

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Mac & Cheese Michelina’s vs Stouffer’s

As I’ve mentioned before I love making macaroni and cheese from scratch but I also like testing out pre-made versions as well.  Some are terrible and some great like the very hard to find Howard Johnson’s brand mac & cheese.  I’m actually not sure if it’s even still made, it’s been at least two years since I found it anywhere.  I remember the last time I had Stouffer’s mac & cheese.  It was 2001 and had been dating Ethan for a few months.  I came over his place after working late and eating a Stouffer’s mac & cheese and around 11pm started a vomit fest in his bathroom.  I couldn’t even go to work the next day, I was too exhausted from puking all night.  Someone said it sounded like it had been thawed out and then put in the freezer again so I’m guessing that’s what happened.  Somehow I put that memory aside and Ethan and I evaluated Stouffer’s against Michelina’s.

Looks a little too familliar to my last experience but it tasted okay. Ethan liked that it had a lot of sauce and has a good cheese flavor. I felt like it was lacking a little sharpness to the cheese flavor but I did like the well-cooked pasta.

Ethan didn’t like the lack of sauce.  We both liked the flavor of the cheese but Ethan felt there just wasn’t enough  of it.  I like of liked that it wasn’t swimming in sauce and to me the flavor got to all the macaroni fine and tasted a little more realsitic than Stouffer’s.

Wrap up:
Split.  Ethan preffered the abundance of sauce of Stouffer’s and I liked the flavor of Michelina’s.  Both had pleasantly cooked pasta and neither of us threw up after :)

Michelina's or Stouffer's?

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Cheetos Crunchy vs Crunchy Kurls

I never heard of Vinter’s before.  They’re from Chicago and I lived there for a year but never noticed them, although that was in my pre-snack evaluating days.  I checked out their website, and they have quite an extensive product list.  I don’t know how but they managed to make it to the Dollar Tree in Ashland, MA. 
This bag came in a variety pack, withcorn chips and cheese puffs but since “Kurls” is spelled with a K I decided to evaluate them.


Cheetos have a nice tanginess to the cheese flavoring.  They also have a very satisfying crunch.  It seems a little weird but I liked tasting the oil in each bite and although the oil had a presence, it didn’t make the crunch heacy and they’re not oily to the touch.


These had a little less cheese flavor to them.  Well, they had decent flavor but didn’t have that tanginess, which gives Cheetos a little something extra.  The crunch was also lacking – but, I will give them a break since these were at the dollar store and not bought anywhere near the Chicagoland area.

Wrap up:
I like to support the little guy and they may not have been given a fair shake this round, but Ethan and I both preferred the Cheetos version because of the strong flavor and delightful crunch and texture.

Cheetos or Vinter's?

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SkyBar vs SkyBar

As I’ve posted before, I love Sky Bars.  I recently saw this new Twilight version and was baffled why they did this.  Sky Bar is made my NECCO (New England Confectionery Company) and I found that a lot of people outside (and actually a good amount inside) of New England are not familiar with these so how did an international phenomenon team up with such a regional candy? 
Also just as confusing is why they cut down the awesomeness of SkyBar from four to three sections.  Yeah, there’s three main characters in the movie they’re promoting, but that’s not what SkyBar is all about!  Twilight should have picked another candy that could accommodate them and keep it’s format.

My previous post about SkyBar’s images fell victim to geocities but you can read about it here.  There are 4 compartments: Fudge, peanut, vanilla and caramel.  Fudge is like…fudge, peanut is more like a peanut goo, vanilla is marshmallow and caramel is what it sounds like.  I’ll save some time and report that Sky Bar keeps it’s reliability – unless of course it’s old which is the risk you run when buying these because they’re not the most popular candy at the store but when they’re fresh, they’re awesome.

Twilight version :

The skyBar-gone-Hollywood, only features the vanilla, caramel and peanut.  The peanut is a peanut butter filling instead of the goo which is okay, the vanilla seemed pretty much the same as well as the caramel.
In general, the big disappointment was the missing fudge, which is my favorite part of the SkyBar.

Wrap up:
I can’t get over the amputation of the fourth flavor, it’s just so wrong and I’m also sick of seeing these kids from the movie all over the place who are too cool to crack a smile.  The wolf guy seems like you might be able to have a half-normal conversation with him, but the other two just look like they have nothing going through their heads – all the time.  I know that doesn’t effect the taste of candy but it doesn’t help.  I’ll take a traditional SkyBar any day.

SkyBar: Normal or Twilight?

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