Totally Gross Soda

THANKS TO FOODJUNK.COM FOR THE SHOT GLASS IDEA!

It’s a slippery slope when you have a blog with no real direction or flow and end up reviewing private label soda. I am not sure where I am sliding to but I’ll let you know when I hit bottom.

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The good people at Avery’s Beverage out of New Britain, Connecticut have been pumping soda since 1904. Back then birch beer was what kids craved the most but they also dug baked apples and black licorice so who knows? Lucky for us, tastes have evolved and now Avery Beverages offers over forty five different flavors. That’s swell but I am only reviewing five specialty sodas. The Totally Gross Soda (IT’ SODAsgusting). And why, you may ask? I’m not going to answer that.

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Blue Raspberry/Orange Toxic Slime! I am always on the fence about blue soda. Well, blue anything.  It never seems to completely translate as an actual fruit but rather a bunch of mixed chemicals and sugar. The color is alluring, I can give it that but when it comes to a flavor I compare it to what I imagine a puree-ed TV remote with sugar. Completely alien and the absolute definition of artificial.

The glimmer of hope I saw in Toxic Slime, besides the amazing beaker with an eyeball and femur bone floating in it, was the fact there is orange flavoring to cut the plastic aftertaste. And it kinda did! But in a way that I was not expecting. Instead of an over-sweetened plastic taste it was an over-sweetend plastic cream. Weird, no?

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Strawberry/Blue Raspberry Monster Mucus! Ah shit, the two flavors science can not figure out how to duplicate. Ignore the fact blue raspberry is Rubus Leucodermis and for what ever reason it has become a mainstream flavoring that, as seen as above, has no discernible fruit taste. Strawberry suffers the same fate.

Monster Mucus confuses the palate and sends it into a chicken or egg dilemma because when you take a swig, you are waiting to see what flavor will hit first but neither does. In an unexpected twist, they both cancel each other out and you are left with the sugar water in those wax candy bottles.

Also, you may notice a soda stain on Gary Busey’s face. I had a catastrophic accident and some of this awful juice spilled on him resulting in me making a noise similar to the time I slipped and fell in a grocery store. “NNGGNOOOOO!”

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Kiwi/Pineapple Bug Barf! I had high hopes for this one because it had neither blue raspberry or strawberry. I walked into this soda review completely blind because, if memory serves me right, I have never tried kiwi or pineapple soda. Makes you wonder why two delicious fruits aren’t represented more in sodas. For some reason I feel Fanta fans might think I am from the planet Bleeptos. Tomatoes are also a fruit.

My high hopes were dashed onto the rocks of reality. Every time I think, “this has to be amazing” I remind myself not to get too excited and refer to the Pepsi Clear incident of 1988. I was hoping for a tropical tart blend of an exotic island but it was overpowered by all-purpose cleaner.

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I’m tired of trying to fight these pictures. Sorry for the weird spacing.

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Strawberry/orange Zombie Brain Juice! Here we go again. I already know what the recipe is and brother, I ain’t going to like it. I do, however, dig the brilliant red. Also, the cute zombie strolling around with his cap peeled back waiving hi to us and does not leave anything to be desired. Speaking of which, I haven’t really paid that much homage to the amazing artwork on these bottles. After all, why do you think I spent $16.95 for five of these?

Yeah, I spent damn near $4 a piece on these.

As to be expected, the Zombie Brain Juice is a mix of pixi stix and regret. The wild mix of unlike flavors doesn’t do much justice to the gross themed soda. I have no idea why I thought these would be anything more than over-sweetened artificially colored carbonated beverages but for the price, maybe I held out for something better tasting.

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Pineapple/Orange Kitty Piddle! Okay folks, this is the one I have been saving for the last review! And for good reason. First, to name a soda after cat piss is pretty hilarious. Especially for all you cat owners out there who know the best “fuck you” from a cat to its owner is through cat piss. I know this.

Along time ago in what feels like another lifetime, I was in the military. When I wasn’t off in another country or having to sleep in a mud pit for weeks of training, I had a little abode to call my own. And somehow this abode came with a cat named Snooter. As a new resident to his domain, he pissed on all of my uniforms and I went to work not noticing but throughout the day the smell became stronger and stronger. At one point we were all on the floor trying to locate the source of this oder and before lunch, I figured out that it was my pant leg.

I came home immediately to change but soon discovered that furry asshole pissed on all my uniforms in some sort of cat territorial thing. I airborne qualified Snooter.

Kitty Piddle. While it is the best of the five, I will say it is 100% Sweet Tart juice. I don’t mean that in a bad way but I also don’t suggest that anyone should consume it. Maybe if you ran a toddle fight club this would be a good “pre-fight” drink but other than that, I really advise you to just leave cat piss for the little box.

So, in conclusion I must say the concept of “Totally Gross Soda” is just aces. The artwork is cute and original, the colors fantastic and originality of the flavor mixing was great in concept. The only problem I had was the fact I am almost 36 years old and reviewing kids soda in the hope they would some how taste good. What can I expect from nuclear blue drinks now that my taste buds have evolved to not hate sardines? I can be harsh on individual flavors but never forget that deep down, I get it. It’s for an eleven-year old who thinks farts are funny.

I give Avery’s Beverages an A++++ for creativity and beyond that for still having the gusto to put out slim margined target markets for kids. I love that and I love this pure American company.

One last thing, I have finally found the finale to the dreaded champagne review my buddy Ben and I did. For some reason I could not upload this damn part which, in my opinion, is the best of the three. Partly because it was around 3am and all sense and sensibility waved bye-bye about two hours before. Watch and learn about Cupcake Champagne and I swear, I’ll never bring it up again.

MALL FOOD COURT CHINESE FOOD CHALLENGE

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 7.17.55 PMAbout a month or so ago, I got an invite from some of the coolest webmasters I know to take part in a multi-blog challenge. The challenge was to go to our local malls and test the Chinese cuisine and post it here on our little slices of the internet. Of course, I am beyond flattered to be included in this project and while many don’t take this to be a challenge, I do. I hate eating alone in public places and hate eating in food courts even more.

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This is my mall. There are many others like it but this is mine. The name is Haynes, like the underwear. That’s all you need to know about it. Well, besides the fact that if you were to travel back to 1984, the only real difference would be a lack of cellphone stores and toy helicopter kiosks. Other than that, Haynes mall is one giant time capsule.

I make every effort in life to avoid going to the mall. From the hundreds of similar stores to the confusion on walking traffic patterns,  I can honestly go my whole life without ever stepping foot in a mall again. I can’t put my finger on exactly why I disdain the mall so bad but if I was to guess, it might be the time when I was eleven and saw an old lady with dementia pull down her pants in a Walden Books. Yeah, that might have something to do with it.

Regardless of scars, this challenge needed to be met so with my enlisted help of a co-worker, we set off to Haynes Mall to eat exotic dishes from the Orient while still in a football throw distance from both Belk and Macy’s. Like I said, I hate to eat alone in a public place.

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The food court at Haynes mall has three Asian style restaurants which cover China, Japan and Thailand. Since there were two of us, I decided that we try a different restaurant to compare dishes. I figured it would put some depth into the post or at least be more than, “I got rice and chicken. Tasted like rice and chicken.”.

Right away we wrote off the Japanese place called Saporosan. I’m kidding, I don’t remember what the fuck it was called. All I know is I watched the guy giving out samples eat every other one. While amusing, I couldn’t help but wonder what atrocities where happening in the kitchen if their marketing guy could answer what really was eating Gilbert Grape. (I know that might not make sense but…work with me.)

So that left two place; ThaiMax and Mandarin Express. I went with ThaiMax because the green and white bright colors attracted me. I’m serious, I am a sucker for contemporary looking food joints. If it has stainless steel and solid bright colors, most likely I will buy something from you. My partner decided to stick to the more traditional food court Chinese food and went to Mandarin Express.

We will start with my choice from ThaiMax. (I had the theme to Title Max in my head all day after this adventure)

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I chose the spice chicken/Teriyaki Thai chicken with steamed vegetables and basil rice all for $8.00. And it was pretty damn awesome. In fact, I was so impressed with this mall food court dish I think I told my coworker if I wasn’t in a mall and she wasn’t present I would take off my shirt and paint murals of horses to the music Schubert out of pure food inspiration. She said nothing. In fact, her face was a bit contorted and rightly so. I saw what she got from…

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..Mandarin Express. Good lord, the staple of modern Chinese food in any mall of America. It looks inviting and smells alluring but what my coworker got was nothing less than terrifying.

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So apparently this is sweet and sour chicken with fried rice and steamed vegetables. I am guessing that what it was supposed to be. But judging the twenty-two year old guy on the frier named Jeff, he may have had the cookbook upside-down. And backwards.

Where do I begin? Let’s start with the sweet and sour chicken. First off, there was no visible sign chicken was ever there. It was as if they fried refried…fried. Just a big ol’ ball of fried gob dipped in sweet and sour sauce. Everytime I took a bite, it literally fought me from chewing it completely. I don’t know what they fried in there but I am hoping it doesn’t end up being a channel 14 exclusive story.

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What about the vegetables, you ask? They couldn’t even steam vegetables right but instead cooked them in some clear glop. I can take a lot of things but what I can’t take is clear glop. For obvious reasons. Also, they were as flaccid as a dude on a three-day whiskey bender. (This post is headed south fast, no?)

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I would eat that over Mandarin Express. Andrew agrees.

I felt terrible she was stuck with such a tragic lunch. Seriously, Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods would probably take issue with Mandarin Express. I demanded we trade and she ate the awesome TaiMax food and I ate shitty fried rice that was fucked up too. I couldn’t believe it! I swear, I think they get fried rice from a can.

So, in conclusion, it was a nice break from the office with tons of people watching and I was able to return some pants to Banana Republic. Since Banana Republics live in malls, I guess I am forced to venture in once in a while. This was a great excuse. And at leaset I was able to eat in the basking glow of this amazing stained glass art.

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ThaiMax: The spicy chicken/Terriyaki Thai with steamed veggies and basil rice was pretty damn awesome. Ingredients were fresh, the dude serving gave me a ton and I found no hairs in my food. All around I give it an A. If I was about to be executed for running over Michael Bay with a dump truck and this was my last meal, I would not protest.  I wasn’t expecting mall food court food to be like that. You’ve come a long way baby.

Mandarin Express: The fried nuggets in sweet and sour sauce, veggies covered in duck sperm with canned fried rice, I would say you are a disgrace to Chinese food. I know this is an American version of Chinese food but come on, you got to put some effort into it. I had to work the rest of the day close to the community defibrillator. Just in case. I grade it a G for “GOOD GOD WHAT THE FUCK?”

That is my adventure and want to thank Matt and Brian for the awesome joint project idea! You are all awesome. Please now check out the other peeps who have taken part in this journey. Click their pics and get whisked away to better reviews.

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Jay from The Sexy Armpit. He is awesome.

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Long time buddy, Brian, and the guy who is the pro at these types of reviews.

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Matt from Dinosaur Dracula. If you don’t know who he is please ring the attendant call button and someone will be by to hit you on the head with a tack hammer.

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The newest member to the blog family and awesome person, Molly from Swagger Mom Tales.

Champ-PAIN Review Part 2: Yellowtail

Oh oh oh I really do not like champagne. I have no idea why we reviewed such a drink to which I detest but it’s relevant.  Here is the second video of us drinking the Australian version of the bubbly; Yellowtail. Though I thought it was better than the Brute, it’s still horse piss. Come watch us make shitty faces and start to slur.

2014 Champagne Review! Cham-PAIN!

So this is a late one to hit the press. I had a little trouble with the audio and apparently I am limited to file sizes thanks to all the money I spent on VideoPress. Really glad I invested. Also, my sarcasm has been turned up to eleven since the new year started.

Anyway, one of my very best friends came to visit for the holidays. It means a lot to me when I get visitors who take time away from their schedules and make the trek down to North Carolina just to cause havoc with me. Especially all the way from Minnesota. So sorry about your liver, Ben.

In my plans for the visit I was able to talk Ben into shooting a review with me. It’s a weird hobby but I am glad Ben obliged. In the next three videos, we review champagne because…why not? It’s the one day during the year you are supposed to,unless you win the World Series or something. Come watch and sorry, by the time we sat down to shoot this I was pretty out there. It was New Years, for God sakes! what would you expect?

This is the first of three since one long video would probably be an overkill. I hope you enjoy and trust me, this first bottle should not be consumed unless you were in a life raft adrift without anything else. Even then, you might want to empty the champagne in the ocean and use the bottle to send a message.