Review: Popeye’s Rip’n Chick’n

It must be Friday because Popeye’s is coming out with another limited time offering.

Popeye’s Rip’n Chick’n comes from a long line of marketing brands that center on the consumer’s interest in doing a thing and then another thing. It’s the same sort of culture that brought us Pizza Hut’s Rip and Dip breadstick crust pizza, John Daly’s Grip It & Sip It alcoholic beverages, and your grandmother’s technique of sit’n and knit’n.

But Popeye’s is here to entertain and to nourish. No, that’s not the word I’m looking for, and it wouldn’t make much sense to say that the Colonel is here to Entertain and Mansplain. I’ll figure this out before it goes to publication, but it’s something along the lines of Fry’n and Die’n. [note: make sure this gets replaced before publishing]

I found myself in the local Popeye’s ready for dine’n and shin’n, a surprising change from the usual greet’n and beat’n I get when I walk through the front doors and try to place an order. What can you expect when they franchise to those people. You know who I mean. I’m just saying, a Popeye’s probably isn’t the smartest choice of franchising for a family of militant vegans, and they force you to order the item as it’s named on the menu, but I will admit it’s the only place that still distributes the incredibly tasty Popeye’s “I’m a scumbag” Sliders. Oh and they still have those packets of spicy honey mustard, really they’re generous people.

The chicken itself is a regular chicken breast sliced down to the base, split apart, breaded, and fried in a method that pays respects to an early third century medical remedy for peeshinus, also known as the fear of using the bathroom in public.

Popeye’s describe its Rip’n Chick’n as:

“Now available in select locations!”

You slay me, Popeye.

I was surprised to see how much of a punch the Popeye’s Rip’n Chick’n packed since I assumed that this would be a standard fare spicy Popeye’s chick’n, but rip’ned into the shape of Hanson’s strong hand from Scary Movie 2. It’s like going into a fight thinking you’re opponent is a baby when in reality it’s Jimmy “Baby Faced Assassin” McLarnin, saving up for retirement by investing his foot in your ass.

It can’t be understated how much this chicken breaks the fast food standard for spiciness, leaving the Shameless Consumer coughing and reaching for a drink with each bite. And I know spicy, ladies and gentlemen, I once watched two brothers get seriously ill eating a California Reaper pepper after losing a Super Bowl bet. Sorry, that’s the Big Game bet, and one of them wasn’t actually in on the bet.

If standard Popeye’s fare runs into the realm of “too spicy for your grandma” ring, the Rip’n Chick’n blows a stop sign and runs over several pedestrians to make a no-signal left down “outing that one friend who constantly humble brags about his resistance to spicy food.” The four spice blend of cayenne, habanero, black, and white pepper left me reeling. I had no idea there was such a thing as white pepper.

Otherwise this is pretty standard fare Popeye’s chick’n, in the sense that the breading is crispy, the chicken is moist and tender, and overall it’s a pretty decent product. The spice does give it a kick, and it’s almost palatable on its own to not need any dipping sauce.

Which is fine, because the guy at Popeye’s didn’t give me any sauce. The indignity of the matter! Thankfully the Shameless Consumer hoards sauce packets like they’re used napkins, in case I need some extra barbecue sauce or FLG sauce. With some tangy barbecue sauce, I was ready to go. I guess McDonald’s dips what Popeye’s skips. This review brought to you by McDonald’s Buttermilk Crispy Tenders, now available in chicken.

The Popeye’s Rip’n Chick’n strip’n will get you Dip’n into your wallet and flip’n a snip’n of cash, no tip’n or gyp’n. What I’m trying to say is that the chicken costs $5, an extra dollar for a drink, and comes with a side and biscuit. Overall it’s a fair amount of food for its price, and your server probably won’t forget the sauce.

Verdict: 4.5/5 – My only wish is for this to become a full menu item.

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Review: Chocolate Moose Milk Chocolate Moose

The Shameless Consumer found the Chocolate Moose Milk Chocolate Moose while carousing the local not-Whole Foods store also known as Orchard Fresh. Like most items chosen for review on this website, it was picked for its strange name and fancy bottle design. It’s chocolate, so it carries an inherent whimsical side, but it’s not called chocolate milk. No, siree, the Natural Chocolate Moose Milk Chocolate Moose is described as a chocolate beverage. Think Yoohoo, but with ingredients that come from nature instead of the whatever the CEO’s pool vacuum picks up on weekends.

It’s great for adults because it brings back memories of childhood without the associated shame of drinking a boxed Yoohoo. It’s also shelf-stable, so you can take your stash of Natural Chocolate Moose Milk Chocolate Moose Beverage and hide it from the kids like a serious adult. Alternately, you can lock your kids in the basement.

North American Beverages advertises the Natural Chocolate Moose Milk Chocolate Moose Fat Free Chocolate Beverage as:

“Remember what a treat it was to drink chocolate milk when you were a kid? We do, so we created Chocolate Moose Milk Chocolate Beverage.”

Of course I remember what a treat it was. Unfortunately, now I’m an adult and can have chocolate milk whenever I feel like it, which sorta softens the flair and treat aspect. Sure, I could have some sense of self control, but the Shameless Consumer just can’t help himself when it comes to the Natural Chocolate Moose Milk Chocolate Moose Fat Free Premium Chocolate Beverage.

Taste-wise, this product is mostly indistinguishable from the Yoohoo packed with your lunch for school as a kid, or the one you fished out of the garbage can in the school cafeteria (but we’re not here to point fingers). The revelation doesn’t bring down Natural Beverages as much as it does elevate Yoohoo, what with its corn syrup solids and high fructose corn syrup.

I won’t comment on the price since I bought this at not-Whole Foods where the prices are generally marked up pretty high. Going by how much I paid for it ($2.29), I’d be willing to bet that the bottles are probably sold for $1.99 everywhere else. It’s a toss up in terms of value, since you can always play the argument that you shouldn’t be drinking chocolate beverages often anyway.

Regardless, the Natural Chocolate Moose Milk Chocolate Moose Fat Free Premium Chocolate Beverage, now in chocolate flavor, is a fantastic addition to anyone’s adult lunchbox. It offers the taste of Yoohoo with none of the artificial ingredients or synthetic shame associated with drinking a boxed chocolate drink for children as an adult, in a cubicle.

Verdict: 4.5/5 – If the Shameless Consumer had been more of an adult, he wouldn’t have lost the photos for this review.

Chefless Consumer: Spruce Up A Salad With 3 Easy Ingredients

Hey folks, Chefless Consumer here today with another tip on how to spruce up those boring meals. Before we begin, I’d like to issue an apology on behalf of Shameless Consumer Industries regarding our last piece in this segment and some negative reaction over a small joke we made about how to spruce up a Chipotle Taco Bowl.

Our lawyers have vehemently denied to the courts that our joke regarding Norovirus as a secret ingredient was in any way an indication of insider knowledge of the actual outbreak that occurred just three weeks after our segment hit the air. It was in poor taste, not unlike Chipotle’s queso, and we apologize to anyone who had the misfortune of eating at Chipotle.

Today we’re going to look at a dish that we all need to eat, as much as we really don’t want to. Of course I’m talking about salad, a food whose name is derived from the Italian phrase for “not pizza.”

I’m going to show you how with three easy ingredients, you can turn that Garden Salsad into a Garden Salglad.

Step #1: Start With Your Salad

The salad I’ve prepared for this dish is a simple combination of lettuce, onion, and thousand island dressing. Now this is a salad, which automatically makes whatever you do to it healthy, so I like to go light on the salad and heavy on the thousand island dressing. I also added a pickle for some extra crunch.

This isn’t Subway, folks, let’s not ruin another meal by putting too much lettuce in it.

Step #2: Add Cheese

What would a salad be without cheese? Praying for someone to put it out of its misery, that’s what, meaning salad and I have a lot in common with each other when in the presence of salad. Now I hit the grocery store about as often as I hit the gym, so all I had in the kitchen was some pre-sliced American cheese.

You can add any kind of cheese your heart desires, from sharp American to mild American, or even Kraft singles.

Step #3: Ground Beef

Ground beef is an overlooked commodity in salad, in fact you won’t find it in many combinations outside of the Taco Salad popularized by modern Chinese cinema. For the sake of funsies, I browned up some ground beef, drained the fat, and formed it into fun discs that can later be broken up while you eat. See? You can even have fun while having lunch, and I drained the fat from the beef which makes it healthy.

Step #4: Croutons

I’m not a fan of croutons, I find them to be difficult to chew and I’m always afraid of cracking a tooth. So to liven up this dish, while still incorporating some level of bread into the mix, I went with simple sesame buns. Sesame seeds are healthy, and croutons make for great ammunition if your friend is sleeping with his mouth open, so really we’re talking about taking this dish and having fun while staying healthy.

Step #5: Finish your Dinish

Oh no…

I must apologize to our viewers around the internet, it looks like in my pursuit of a better salad that I kinda accidentally constructed a Big Mac. I’m not sure what this is supposed to mean, other than that the Big Mac is actually healthier than nutritionists give it credit for. After all, as we have proven today it’s basically a salad.

What I’m trying to say is if you’re going to try and eat healthy, eat McDonald’s. Have a Big Mac.

(Editor’s Note: This article is not sponsored by McDonald’s, but it can be. Hit me up Ronald.)

Foodbait: Five Cheap Subway Subs For International Women’s Day That’ll Make Vegetarians Go “Blech”

(ShameCon Note: This article is not sponsored by Subway, but it can be. Hit me up, Jared’s lawyers.)

There are only two constants in this universe, the endless variety of tasty lunch combinations available on fresh baked bread and hand-crafted by specially trained Subway sandwich artists, and the equally infinite ability for Subway to cannibalize its own sales by allowing franchises to pop up everywhere. Look out for 2019 when Subway will begin allowing franchises to open up inside other Subway franchises.

In light of this understanding and in consideration of this month containing International Women’s Day, Shameless Consumer Industries came up with a list of five cheap Subway subs to enjoy while appreciating women, that would make a vegetarian shout “blech.”

1. Black Forest Ham  ($5 Footlong)

Don’t let the veggies and name “Black Forest” fool you, the only thing you’ll be finding in this forest is the tree of ham. Why not pair a Black Forest Ham $5 Footlong sub with a bag of Lays baked potato chips and a Fuze Unsweetened Ice Tea for maximum lunchtime healthy eating?

It’s the perfect combination to get together and talk about Frances McDormand’s recent Oscar for Best Actress in the hit film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and the added ham is guaranteed to make a vegetarian say no thanks.

2. Meatball Sub  ($5 Footlong)

Our researchers down in Shameless Consumer’s Vegetarian Outreach Center tell us there is compelling evidence that your average vegetarian does not enjoy a good meatball sub. It has something to do with the way the cheese is tessellated on the side, but we can’t tell because nobody has taken the bait thus far.

But why not grab yourself a tasty beverage and sit down with a nice five dollar footlong meatball sub, we won’t even tell your significant other that you skipped out on the vegetables that were so kindly placed into the photograph above to make it look healthier. Muse on life while enjoying the film Meatball Sub, starring Rhona Rees as Adele, a woman who must decide whether to save a life or eat a meatball sub.

It won’t be winning any awards, but then again neither will that marinara stain on your shirt.

3. The Spicy Italian ($5 Footlong)

Our lawyers have advised us against making any dirty jokes regarding the Spicy Italian Footlong, so we’ll use this space to point out that the combination of Genoa salami and pepperoni would likely make for a dish unsuitable for vegetarian consumption. So we’re told.

But you know who else is a spicy Italian? Monica Bellucci. Mama mia! Grab yourself a five dollar footlong Spicy Italian sub and sit down to enjoy the power of women in Hollywood with some of Bellucci’s greatest works: The Matrix Trilogy (as Persephone), Spectre (as Lucia Sciarra), and Twin Peaks (as herself).

4. Cold Cut Combo ($5 Footlong)

The Cold Cut Combo at Subway has ham, salami, and bologna, all of which are turkey based. So technically there’s really only one meat in this sub, which is two less than advertised and one more than the average vegetarian is willing to consume.

And since we’re talking about one entity playing multiple roles, why not grab a $5 footlong and a bag of cheddar baked Cheetos and spend the afternoon watching The Incredible Shrinking Woman, the 1981 film where Lily Tomlin plays Pat Kramer, Judith Beasley, Ernestine, and Edith Ann. Now that’s a role you can really sink your reward points into.

5. Veggie Delite ($5 Footlong)

The only delight you’ll be experiencing with this sub is when you pull out your cleverly hidden pocket roast beef and make this into a meal. In fact, you can pick up a roast beef sub on Subway’s Fresh Fit Choices menu and cut out the middle pocket, save that Pocket Beef®* for a snack later on at the mall, while watching the kids at the playground, and playing with the friendly Police K-9 unit.

And while the Veggie Delite may not be a Veggie Delight, why not enjoy your Pocket Beef sub while watching the hit 2013 film Afternoon Delight, directed by Jill Soloway. Enjoy how many calories your saving while engrossing yourself in the life of Kathryn Hahn’s character Rachel who, presumably fed up with her town’s lack of Subway, adopts a stripper as a live-in nanny.

*Note: Pocket Beef is a registered trademark of Shameless Consumer Industries. For your own safety we do not recommend playing with police dogs with your pocket full of roast beef.

Foodbait: Five Ways Subway Can Stop Shooting Itself in the Foot

With the news that Subway is closing down hundreds if not potentially thousands of locations, the Shameless Consumer decided to take on the task of fixing Subway’s woes by himself. As a card carrying Subway member and thus a master in the way of the sub, here are five ways Subway can stop shooting itself in the foot.

You’re welcome.

1. All Your Sandwich Artists Need Mustaches

A Simple Stache

All of them. Even the female employees.

Let’s be fair, the public doesn’t view Subway employees as sandwich artists as much as they do minimum wage fast food workers. If Subway wants to call its workers artists, they need to be appropriately adorned with an artist’s mustache. Nothing crazy, we’re not talking Nick Offerman level of facial fur. Just a simple artist cut.

Who wouldn’t want to have their Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki put together by a spry young Sandwich Artiste twirling her well oiled mustache as she asks if you’d like banana peppers or olives? If the Subway next to Shameless Consumer Industries hasn’t shut down and been replaced by a Major Magics that may or may not be haunted, I’d be in there every day for my signature cold cut combo.

Oui oui, is that enough sweet onion sauce?

2. Find Subway’s Double Down

Photographed: Artist’s rendition of possible food.

Shameless Consumer has previously referred to the Double Down as a fake food, it’s a product that really exists just to get people talking about the brand on social media, because that’s the kind of thing that drives sales in this day and age. It’s a product that is both zany and sounds pretty tasty, but you never order it because the place is always out of stock (Double Down) or the name is embarrassing (Rooty Tooty Fresh n Fruity).

Every fast food joint has to have its Double Down. Taco Bell virtually develops all of its food for social media, Burger King has its Cheetos products, Arby’s has the Meat Mountain, McDonald’s not so much, and I think you get my point. Subway needs to come out with something crazy, crazier than the thick sliced rotisserie chicken or flatbread pizzas (which are quite tasty).

Subway needs its own Double Down, and as a one time deal, I am here to offer Subway its Double Down. Here’s what you do, and you can have this idea for just 1% of your CEO’s salary (payable on approval).

Picture this commercial: Handsome fit young lady walks into a Subway restaurant and orders a six inch steak and cheese. The Subway Sandwich Aritste playfully twirls their well oiled mustache as the lady chooses her bread and type of cheese. Then the two share knowing glances as she nods and says “dip it.” The Sandwich Artiste takes her six inch steak and cheese and dunks the bastard in a container of Subway brand au jus sauce.

Next cut, the lady is very clearly enjoying her sandwich dripping with meat broth. Camera focuses in on an old couple in line and both the couple and the Subway worker are watching the woman eat with hungry envy. Zoom in on the old lady who says “I’ll have what she’s having.”

Then Alec Baldwin shows up right in front of the camera and, twirling his own oiled mustache, says “with Subway’s new Dip It Au Jus, you too can add that kick to any sandwich. Just ask your artiste to dip it, dunk it, douse it, or drown it. I’m Alec Baldwin, and as an honorary Sandwich Artiste I know a lot about Au Jus.”

Marketing material should naturally show some athletic looking dude doing extreme sports like bungee jumping or skateboarding while dunking various non-steak and cheese sandwiches, with a speech bubble that says “any Subtime, any Subway. Dunk em all.”

“You are a rude, thoughtless little sandwich.”

Bam, you can thank me for singlehandedly turning around your misfortune in the form of a lifetime of free Subway, or 1% of your CEO’s annual salary, whichever involves less paperwork. I’m not evil.

3. Roll Hard On Those Popular High Profit Margin Items

Bet you thought this photo was fake.

Does Subway sell coffee? If not, sell coffee. In fact, let’s go further. Sell Starbucks coffee. The partnership will do great things for your brand and bring in those hipster millennials who already don’t mind paying premium prices for a tasty coffee beverage and since Starbucks itself isn’t so strong in terms of meal food, probably wouldn’t mind picking up a delicious Subway flatbread breakfast sandwich or something to have for lunch with their coffee.

Now obviously the Shameless Consumer knows that Subway has coffee, since we put a photo of it right before this section. That being said, we’re willing to bet that most people reading this did not know that Subway sold coffee.

You can even roll that into your advertising. Roll out a commercial with a tired, haggard looking mom driving to work on a rainy morning. She sees a Starbucks and a Jimmy John’s across the street from each other and realizes she doesn’t have enough time to go to both places and still make it to work on time but she didn’t pack a lunch and forgot her morning coffee. Then she sees Subway with its “Now Serving Starbucks” sign and the heavens open up.

Same terms and conditions from the previous cure to your problems apply to this.

4. Your New Spokesperson

“Remember, Subway is like a Chinese dinner. It ain’t over ’til you both get your cookie.”

This is obvious.

5. Restrain the Expansion

Future Subway outlook.

And finally, let’s not forget why Subway is partially in this pickle (or banana pepper, your choice) in the first place: Senseless expansion. Subway needs to stop letting its franchises open competing restaurants so close to one another.

To understand where the Shameless Consumer is coming from on this, take this test: Go to Subway’s website and type your zip code and see how many locations are within five miles of your location, and then ten. For the Shameless Consumer, there are ten locations within a five mile radius, and twenty within a ten mile radius.

Now compare that to Burger King (3 & 10), McDonald’s (4 & 12), Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, etc. Subway has about as many franchise locations as Starbucks and McDonald’s put together, and around a third of them are allegedly unprofitable.

In a way, Subway franchises have become just as expendable to Subway corporate as Subway employees are to Subway franchises, because the corporate body keeps the price to buy in as cheap as humanly possible and because the franchises barely make a fraction of what the competition brings in. As such, Subway costs about a tenth to own a franchise of what McDonald’s costs, for instance, requires less money, and also makes a small portion of their revenue.

So maybe try to assist your existing franchises before you double down on bringing in new ones.

Shameless Consumer Welcomes 2018

Happy new year, fellow shameless consumers. As we head into the new year, your old pal Sha’Meless Consuman wanted to touch base and talk about our plans here at SCI for the new year.

First off, nothing says a new year like the annual changing of the cups. The official Shameless Consumer beverage glass of 2018 tops this piece with all of its gold splendor, adorned with an S for symbolic reasons that will certainly come back to me at some point before this goes up to publish. Can someone in editing please make sure that this does not get published with these notes intact?

Anyhow, 2018 is set to bring in new things for Shameless Consumer, including a more consistent content schedule. Yea, we tried it in 2015 and it didn’t work out, then we tried again in 2016 and it didn’t work out, so we tried again last year twice and it still wasn’t so great. But hey, 2018 is young.  There is still plenty of time to screw up this promise.

So here’s to 2018 and to Shameless Consumer.

Review: Burger King Farmhouse King

Those of you who read this website (and are not my mother) are aware that the Shameless Consumer has two Burger Kings near his house, the good one and the bad one. The good one serves fresh food in a timely manner and probably prays to Jesus every night. The bad Burger King, on the other hand, not only worships the god of room temperature beef but as I noted in the previous review, its employees are armed and very much against the concept of extra ketchup packets.

Well folks, after years of complaining on the internet, my hard work has paid off. Following a call back from Burger King corporate in response to my Mushroom Swiss Big King and I was told in no uncertain terms that any further reviews would result in a defamation lawsuit, I convinced my neighbor who looks a lot like me to head over to Burger King in his trademark trench coat and Groucho Marx glasses and buy the Farmhouse King on my behalf, with my credit card, therefore not technically violating the restraining order because it wasn’t me.

It looks like they’ve cleaned up their act. Service was quick, I’m told, and the fries were fresh, allegedly. The burger was served hot enough to sort of melt the cheese, and they trained the dog that sleeps in the kitchen to not lick the patties as the workers are adding the condiments. A+ improvements!

Whereas the Big King line of burgers were either nasty mushroom/mayonnaise abominations or low quality Big Mac ripoffs, Burger King decided to open their creative side with the King line of burgers, by which I mean reaching back into the Greg Brenneman playbook of piling meat and cheese, and by god is it glorious. Forget ripping off McDonald’s with the “Big” prefix, this burger is the king full stop.

Currently Burger King is running three variants of the King: Farmhouse King, Rodeo King, and Bacon King Jr. You heard me right, this burger is the junior version.

This is the Bacon King for those of you willing to clog your face arteries.

The Burger King Farmhouse King brings together the Shameless Consumer’s favorite parts of fast food, farmhouses and kings, combining breakfast and royalty together in such a way that hasn’t been seen since Ted Kennedy shot a White House intern for stealing the last Eggo waffle, thus coining the iconic phrase “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

The Farmhouse King according to Shameless Consumer’s Nutritional Outreach Division is the most unhealthy item on Burger King’s menu, which explains why this thing is so damn tasty. No lie, this monster rakes in over 1,200 calories, more than the Triple Whopper or Arby’s Meat Mountain sandwich. It also boasts 2,050mg of sodium (about a 5 on the TGIF Loaded Potato Skin meter), 63g protein, 335mg cholesterol, and 80g fat.

To put this into further perspective, if the Farmhouse King burger was Clint Eastwood’s pistol in Dirty Harry and the sodium count was his bullets, then the whole product would probably be incredibly unsafe to flame broil. It’s actually much safer to deep fry a .44 magnum than it is to flame broil, for you gun nuts out there.

Burger King describes this burger as:

The FARMHOUSE KING™ Sandwich features more than ½ lb.* savory flame-grilled beef, topped with thick-cut smoked bacon, American cheese, crispy onions, ketchup, our creamy signature sauce and a fried egg all on a toasted sesame seed bun.

And congratulations to Burger King for doing something new, well sort of. What stands out in this burger more than anything is the signature sauce. I’m pretty sure that this has never been used in another Burger King product, but at the same time it tastes a lot like honey mustard. It’s quite potent and a small amount of sauce goes a long way. A surprise since Burger King tends to slather on the fixings enough to be considered assault with a deadly condiment.

What I’m trying to say is that there is a hell of a lot of burger here, enough to actually justify the $7 price tag. The specialty sauce adds a nice sweetness to the burger, which goes well with the crunchy canned onions and bacony baconness of the bacon. You’ll need to come into this meal with an appetite and maybe a blanket and pillow, as about halfway through I could already feel myself about ready to fall asleep. Or perhaps it was sodium shock, I’m too tired and dehydrated to figure it out.

The Farmhouse King is proof that a sandwich is a sandwich, but a Manwich is a meal and the Farmhouse King is your three day emergency food ration. In fact, Shameless Consumer’s Apocalypse Reserach Foundation is looking into taking the Farmhouse King and freeze drying large quantities of it to use as a food source for the inevitable nuclear war, or for those horrible all nighters, whichever comes first.

Don’t come to this sandwich with some snack-level appetite, Burger King is coming to the fast food heavyweight championships and they’re aiming to go home with the belt. This burger is tasty, filling, and has just the right combination of meat and sauce. I don’t recommend it as a regular meal, but as a once in a while “haven’t eaten all day and now I’m too tired and hungry to cook,” it’s a good deal.

Verdict: 5/5 – A delicious, not-so-nutritious meal that puts the king back in Burger King. Puts the competition to shame and has more salt than a Saltini family reunion.

Review: Fish People Wild Crab Bisque

Today’s review comes to us from our good friends over at Nature Box, but it isn’t actually a Nature Box branded item. It is Fish People Wild Crab Bisque, but you probably already knew that if you read the subject line.

Fish People’s soups cost about $6 in stores and you get about 10 ounces of soup for your troubles. Not the cheapest product in the batch, but you should expect to get higher quality than your average Campbell’s Chunky or Progresso Low Sodium. The soups come in a handy pouch and take up minimal space, offering plenty of room in the cupboard for whatever else you put in a cupboard apart from a single packet of soup.

IMG_20171029_190623

One cool aspect of Fish People Sea Food is that they include a 7-digit code on the back of every package that tells you exactly where your product came from. This search function is probably more powerful than it needs to be, as I quickly discovered that the specific crab in this bisque was named Burt Shelldin of 82 Salt & Pepper Boulevard somewhere off the coast of [redacted] American Waters. While it’s great that Fish People wants to be transparent, I feel like they’re going overboard and almost trying to justify killing this crab, because it also included a mug shot and rap sheet, ending with an arrest in 2016 for “in-sea-dent exposure,” a charge which tells me that undersea police are either relentlessly stupid or really desperate to make ocean puns, highly inappropriate considering he allegedly exposed himself to tadpoles.

Like I said, it’s a unique feature but I could have lived my entire life without knowing that the crustacean community is experiencing a rampant herpes epidemic, or that enterprising little cretins like the one in my bowl had figured out a way to make millions of whatever the hell currency they use by cornering the market on vaccine supplies. The cure to crab herpes is crab bisque, in a morbid turn of events.

Fish People’s Wild Crab Bisque describes itself as:

This popular seafood soup serves up the Best of the West. Delectable crab and Pacific Pink shrimp, harvested from the depths of our local waters, are combined in a light cream sauce with sherry, sweet onions and hints of orange and cayenne.

The package claims that it feeds one hungry person, so I went and found a hungry person. Her name, incidentally, was Sherry. She was a vegan. I tried convincing her that this was vegan wild crab bisque, whatever that would look like, but she wasn’t taking the bait. Evidently the giveaway was that the food smelled edible. By this point I had worked up quite a hunger myself, so I set to work.

IMG_20171029_190023

The Shameless Consumer has two rules when it comes to seafood: Never buy gas station sushi and never turn down a good seafood bisque. This pouch can be microwaved or boiled in a pot of boiling water, but either way you’re probably going to want a bowl to pour it into, so the Shameless Consumer brought out his trusty Field & Stream brand mug, fit for only the heaviest of chowders and bisque.

Fish People’s crab bisque is delicious by the way, for those who haven’t already stopped reading after that whole bit about crab herpes. The ingredients are fantastic, a heavy cream bisque with a fair amount of crap shredded in for good taste. It isn’t heavy on the salt, like most other bagged seafood soups wind up being, and it perfectly hits the spot and warms the heart on a cold October evening.

Best of all, you can eat it right out of the pouch, making this a fine soup to eat at work and then dispose of in your neighbor’s cubicle. It’s oddly filling as well, not in the sense that you’ll be full to bursting but enough to satiate those hunger pains until dinner or second lunch, whichever comes first for you.

Ultimately, Fish People brand Crab Bisque is a tasty treat that can’t be beat, given its $6 price tag I would recommend having a few in the cabinet for the occasional pick me up. They are very shelf stable, the pouch that I bought didn’t expire until 2020.

Nutritional Highlights:
Calories: 310
Total Fat: 22g
Saturated Fat: 13 (65%)
Cholesterol: 135mg (45%)
Sodium: 560mg
Protein: 13g

Verdict: 4.5/5 – Eaten as quickly as it was cooked, the Fish People crab bisque may be gone, but our review shall forever leave imprinted on your mind the concept of crab herpes.

Review: Cotton Candy Twinkies

It’s Twinkie time! Special thanks to Bostwick Saltini of Bologna for sending this treat over, Bostwick’s note reads “your website is hilarious, please continue spreading the truth about the history of food. Also please don’t mention my name in your shoutout as association with Shameless Consumer is punishable by prison time in my country after you disparaged us in your Salted Caramel Moonpie review.” Thanks for the support, Bostwick. I don’t know if they have Olive Garden in your country, but I’m sending you a gift card regardless so you can taste some authentic Italian food.

Twinkie is as American as apple pie, moon pie, and cow pies, which means that any deviation from the norm is bound to cause controversy. The last thing you generally want to do with an iconic food is to muck with the ingredients, and new flavors with bad results will have a manufacturer strung up at high noon faster than you can say ‘treason is punishable by death.’

You may know of the Twinkie as that delicious snack cake that went away for a while a couple of years ago and then pretty quickly came right back. It’s a treat that has found its way into children’s lunchboxes for well over a millennia.

The real history is a little different, however the Taste in Reviews board at Shameless Consumer Industries will not allow me to discuss the true history of the Twinkie as it was deemed too pornographic for the general audience. I won’t go into much detail, but I think most adults can figure out the origin behind a “pound cake” stuffed with “banana cream filling,” especially when you look at the close connection between the Twinkie and the tater tot. You getting me? Wink wink, nudge nudge, you might want to look at Weird Al’s Twinkie Weiner Sandwich.

The Shameless Consumer has an affinity for the Twinkie because it reminds the Shameless Consumer of the Shameless Consumer. We’re both rubbery, a bit on the sweaty side, and we’re both chock full of banana flavored filling. One is an American tradition, the other simply an American hero. If the Moon Pie is the Batman of this story, the Twinkie is Robin and candy corn is the Solomon Grundy.

Cotton Candy flavored treats have a habit of carrying an oddly bitter aftertaste. Thankfully replicating cotton candy is easy since you can actually use the cotton candy sugar in the recipe, and thus not have to go through the arguably pointless process of artificially recreating what is already artificial. That’s too far down the rabbit hole, and frankly you’re already too deep when you’re making cotton candy flavored candy.

The Twinkie itself is your standard pound cake shell, it’s a bit greasy and mostly serves as the carrier vessel for the filling inside. The filling is nice and fluffy, almost pillowy, reminiscent of those times when I would come home late at night from the fair and hide some cotton candy under the pillow for some early morning snackage. Don’t knock bed cotton candy until you’ve tried it.

File this one under enjoyed more than I thought I would.

Verdict: 4/5 – A very potent snack that won’t change the opinion of anyone who already hates Twinkies. In fact, it’ll probably reinforce how much you dislike them. Something to buy once and then laugh over its memory.

Dollary Duesdays: Fast Bites BBQ Rib Sandwich

(Editor’s Note: This review is not sponsored by McDonald’s, but it could be. Hit me up, Ron.)

Going into this review, the first ground rule that the Shameless Consumer must throw down is that I love ribs, but I’m not a fan of rib sandwiches. Why? Because I love ribs, and part of the experience of eating a rack of ribs is ripping the meat from the bone like an animal. It’s one of the few times you really get to eat with your hands, like corn on the cob or a nice heavy chowder soup.

Rib sandwiches, meanwhile, very rarely have any actual rib meat in them. They’re like the blondes of the fast food world, you constantly find yourself wondering if they’re natural or not. In the case of the McRib, the meat is actually various parts you wouldn’t think about from the pig, like the heart, stomach, etc. It’s tasty, but it’s not a rib. For Banquet’s rib patties, I assume it’s mostly taint, eyeballs, and tongue drippings that the butcher’s dog chewed up before losing its appetite.

Back in 2005, McDonald’s held a competition where they asked the public to submit their own backstory for the McRib. In reality, this is because McDonald’s doesn’t have the story on file, and they were hoping some smarty pants would point it out in an effort to look smart. Their historian tragically left the company in 2012 after someone ate his last ice cream he’d kept in the freezer for a Friday pick-me-up, you know the Popsicle Sprinklers? They don’t make them anymore, and who the hell does Rich from accounting think he is eating someone else’s ice cream when just last week he’d been whining about people drinking his San Pellegrino, reminding everyone how expensive the prickly pear flavor is. But that’s neither here nor there.

Thankfully Shameless Consumer Industries has built a reputation on stealing corporate secrets and hiding them away in our vault, never to be released unless a review demands it. The real history behind the McRib is pretty boring, dating back to 1956 with the honoring of Marshall Cleyton Ribinski, Barbecue Lord of Wilmington Delaware. Marshall Ribinski’s life was saved responding to an armed robbery at a local diner that he just so happened to be patronizing, when a bullet aimed for his ribs was deflected by a jar of barbecue sauce.

Ribinski disarmed the thief with a well aimed pork rib, cementing his status as Barbecue Lord and from that point on everyone in town called him Marshall McRib.  Since Marshall McRib took on his duties across numerous towns in Delaware, he only showed up for a little while every couple of years, and as such he became something of a legend whenever he did appear in town. Incidentally the Marshall’s arrival seemed to coincide with low pork prices, but that could just be an old wive’s tale.

In August of 1980, the Marshall decided to eat lunch at a local McDonald’s while doing his rounds in Smyrna, Delaware. Confused when the Marshall was greeted by an old friend in line, the cashier mistakenly placed an order for a McRib, which the chef naturally did not know how to cook. The issue was sent up the corporate line to Michael Quinlain himself, who found interest in the idea of a McRib and ordered the McDonald’s McResearch and McDevelopment team to McFigure it out. After briefly fighting over who got to lick the spoon, the team produced a boneless rib sandwich and the rest, as they say, is history. The first McRib was actually served in Smyrna in 1981, although not to Marshall Ribinski as his wife was no longer allowing him to eat high cholesterol foods by that point.

We know that McDonald’s supports our boys in blue as the McRib itself is a living reminder of Marshall Ribinski. You may have seen the four stripes on the McRib and thought that they were supposed to represent rib bones. They aren’t, that would be disgusting to simulate bones in a sandwich. Rather, you’ll notice that each McRib always has four points. This is to signify the four times that the Marshall had responded to cases at the McDonald’s in Smyrna. The odd addition of pickles is to honor Delaware, where Vlasic’s manufacturing plant remained in Milsboro until 2012. The onions are in honor of ancient Delaware beliefs that onions and pork could cure inflammation and soreness, effectively qualifying the McRib as a health food. As for the sauce, well sometimes you just have to keep a secret.

And you all thought that the McRib looks this way by luck.

But today we’re talking about the Fast Bites barbecue rib sandwich, not so much the John Lennon of rib sandwiches as it is the Yoko Ono. Its ingredient list is longer than your average Grateful Dead concert and contains 2% or less of the following products: food, but it does have enough acid to satisfy a crowd of disappointed Woodstock hippies. Maybe that’s the problem, the Shameless Consumer didn’t do enough acid before eating the sandwich.

Naturally the rib sandwich looks nothing like it does on the box, much like hooking up with someone you found on Tinder only to realize that the photo was taken five years ago of her twin sister, the one who actually took care of herself.

The sandwich itself is actually rather boring, its barbecue sauce is the same generic stuff that you find in every frozen barbecue meat. It’s tomato based, sweet, and not awful but highly generic. As for the pork patty itself, I’d get a more satisfying grill mark by setting it down on hot pavement and letting it cook for a good hour or so. So I did, the flavor increased tenfold.

Unfortunately the bun was terrible, becoming hard in the microwave and chewy. Ultimately, the Fast Bites Barbecue Rib Sandwich fulfills its role: a cheap $1 rib sandwich for when you’re drunk and out of money, and McDonald’s doesn’t feel like selling the McRib. It isn’t nauseating, like the Dollar Store Steak, but that’s a story for another day.

Verdict: 1/5 – Generic barbecue sauce with generic low quality tasting pork. Not the dollar store steak.