Review: Little Ceasar’s Thin Crust Pepperoni Pizza


Let’s get this over with.

The Little Caesar’s Extra Most Bestest Thin Crust Pepperoni Pizza makes the Shameless Consumer want to wash his hands, his skin, the inside of his stomach, and the lining of his colon. It’s the kind of food that after you eat it, you feel obligated to send your digestive system an apology card as if you dumped a horn full of mead all over its bedroom floor. The kind of food where you’re worried that you’re going to need some adult diapers over the next couple of days.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m not too happy about this review.

Longtime fans of Shameless Consumer, aka none of you, are likely well aware that ol’ Sha’Meless Consuman was able to negotiate a permanent moratorium on Little Caesars pizza in his contract following the heart-plaguing moment that was the Pretzel Crust Pizza review, which you may recall I referred to as the kind of product that will eventually be sold in the first commercially available suicide booth. I won’t go into too much detail about how I negotiated my contract, mostly because it’s a boring story involving kicking out the cane of an 81 year old man, a thirty grand bribe to a surgeon at the JFK hospital in Edison New Jersey, and two strains of rabies contained within a remote-activated sack that I’ve come to lovingly refer to as a CinnaBomb. I’m not willing to divulge much information until I’m sure that the statute of limitations has passed on what are assuredly high crimes.

Anywho, I’ve maintained a mostly untouchable status here at Shameless Consumer Industries for the past decade because I’m essentially blackmail proof. The Shameless Consumer doesn’t have any family to threaten, I think this job is proof enough that I put no value into my health, and most of my financial assets are invested in bulk quantities of that purple Heinz ketchup.

In fact the closest the Shameless Consumer has to a true love is Utz Cheese Balls and I know what you’re thinking: how can SCI threaten Utz Cheese Balls in a way that would force me to waive my contract and talk about Little Caesars pizza one more time? Just trust me, they’ve figured out a way. Help me.

Little Caesar’s Extra Most Bestest Pepperoni Pizza is so bad that my editor noted I have been unconsciously replacing mention of Little Caesars with Pizza Hut in the text of this review. I’m not entirely sure how bad a pizza has to be in order to be pining for the higher quality of Pizza Hut, but apparently this is it. If you happen to come across any references to Pizza Hut that I missed, please accept this as my non-apology. Reading this review was your choice, writing it wasn’t mine.

I hate skulking into Little Caesars because they’re generally decorated like a YMCA locker room and there’s an atmosphere of visible shame that you see cast over everyone who enters as if we’re shuffling into those curtained off areas of Family Video where they stocked the copies of Agent Cody Spanks and Frisky Business, but without the chance to retain some shred of dignity and claim you’re only renting the video to laugh at the bad acting. It’s customary at Little Caesars for patrons to enter and exit one at a time, most are intentionally built so you can’t fit more than maybe two people inside, making minimal eye contact because as much as you don’t want to be recognized, the mind knows that it’s really best for your sanity if you don’t find out that any longtime friends are sneaking in there during their lunch hour for a $5 hot and ready.

I’m against hyperbole as much as the next guy, but I did once see a grown man try to explain to an old college friend that he was only in that plaza for its convenient UPS dropbox and, oh, the guy holding his wife and child hostage back at his house told him not to return without some of that Little Caesars. Which is why he was carrying out the pizza. His buddy, for his part, said he was only there because he had a literal baseball lodged in his lower intestine that wouldn’t pass and his doctor prescribed Little Caesars as the only known laxative capable of pushing it out. Nobody likes taking their medicine.

This is normally the part where I’d make a comment about the employees but frankly I’m not that cruel. In the three times that I’ve been to Little Caesars for the sake of Shameless Consumer, the entire line of teenage male employees had the perpetual demeanor of someone who had just attended the funeral for online pornography. I’ve worked plenty of jobs where the only way to keep your sanity is to shut your brain off and hope your six hour shift with one ten minute break and no lunch goes by quickly, even if that means getting judged as a moron buy some 40 year old Starbucks barista who has to make a $5 pizza last a week.

I ordered the thin crust pepperoni pizza and the kid behind the counter tells me it’s going to take 10 minutes because they don’t keep those pizzas hot and ready until 4pm, but he explains this to me with the apprehension of a cashier getting ready to try and explain to an armed robber that the key just broke off in the safe and there’s only $30 in the register, $15 of it being loose quarters. I’d like to try and not imagine the horrors that this kid has seen that the thought of telling me I’d have to wait instills such fear in him. Immediately a woman walks in behind me and also orders the thin crust only to be told that it would be a wait. Then I understood the cashier’s fear.

She responds with the “I demand a parlay with your supervisor” temperament where I can only assume that had she been armed that weapon would be discharged at a moments notice over the lack of immediately available thin crust pizza. Given her glazed over eyes, I rest assured that, had she been armed, the most damage she could do was to accidentally eject the clip and then forget to breath.

Little Caesars thin crust pizza is like someone smeared Digiorno on a pita. No, actually it’s like someone smeared generic knockoff Digiorno on an even less leavened Matzo cracker. Little Caesars would be a model example of “you get what you pay for,” seeing as how this pizza was $6 and has enough substance to feed one person while having enough sustenance to satisfy nobody. They love using the phrase “extra most bestest,” and in this context they mean extra indigestion with the most stomach cramps and the bestest marathon sprint you’ll ever make to the toilet. To poop it out.

As far as taste goes, Little Caesars is difficult to offend and doesn’t really taste like anything. If you want bland, flavorless, coagulated, cheese-like substance that’s covered in grease and eventually solidifies into a dairy stone, you’ve come to the right place. Throw that on top a fresh dough made with the most nutritionally devoid processed flour and you’ve got a meal fit for a king, one who intends to die on the porcelain throne.

Little Caesars also takes home the record on the worst shelf life of any chain pizzeria that the Shameless Consumer has eaten at in the last five years. Papa John’s is generally fine the following two days and Pizza Hut is good the next morning if you order it with extra sauce. I can’t comment on Dominos as I haven’t eaten there since before the recipe change. As for Little Caesars, that pizza has roughly an hour from the time it comes out of the oven before the clock strikes twelve and it reverts back into a solid slab of plastic on top of a saltine coated with aspartame-sweetened faux ketchup.

One thing this pizza has going for it is that Little Caesars does make good on its claim of having more pepperoni per square inch than any other pizza. This achievement is far less impressive when you consider that Little Caesars has about twice as much pepperoni that are sliced so thin they’re about 1/3rd the weight you’d get on a normal pizza.

Ultimately the Shameless Consumer recognizes that I am not the target audience for Little Caesars pizza given that I’m not drunk or stoned, I’ve never been to a Kid Rock concert, I’ve never cracked open a Busch beer with the boys, nor have I ever unironically worn a King Dingdong shirt. It’s a pizza chain that doesn’t care what it’s selling to people who don’t care what they’re eating and frankly I’m fine with that.

Verdict – 0/5: You know, in nine years I don’t think I ever established rules for scoring. That being said, if you have any standards at all in your food, avoid this like the plague of diarrhea that it is. 

Advertisements

Review: Smart Made Grilled Sesame Beef & Broccoli


The Shameless Consumer is a well known philanthropist and connoisseur when it comes to smart things made smartly by smart people, so when the new brand Smart Made by Smart Ones smartly struck the Smart Mart where the Smartful Smartsumer partakes in what less smart people might refer to as “shopping for groceries,” he couldn’t smart up the opportunismart for a smart meal with smart smartgredients. Can someone smart me a smartbulence? I think I’m smarting a stroke.

Smart Made by Smart Ones is a new brand offshoot looking to capitalize on the whole “ingredients you can pronounce” craze that’s sweeping the nation’s 7th grade reading level, words that don’t have too many syllables and sound just foreign enough to be exotic without sounding too foreign. You don’t want to go frightening everyone in WalMart. The first product I’ll be looking at is grilled sesame beef and broccoli, a meal made only with products I can pronounce like “vegetable blend,” “cooked brown rice,” and “seasoned cooked grilled sirloin beef steak strips and corn starch product.” Gotta love that corn starch product. I can pronounce all of those, I can even partially spell them.

Smart Made describes this product as “grilled sirloin beef with broccoli, roasted red peppers and onions over brown rice lightly tossed in soy sesame sauce.”

Despite all of its boasting about simplicity, Make Good’s cooking instructions include five steps. Step one is to vent, which following a thirty minute long tirade on the statistical health benefits of gradually adding Kraft cheese powder to the public drinking water, the only thing I’d accomplished was that the meal had started to thaw and leave beef condensation on my unopened copy of Copout on VHS. In the name of time, I decided to finish up step one and throw the dish into the microwave, punch in the odd symbols, and cook the bastard like yesterday’s yogurt.

Smart Made Sesame Beef & Broccolli by Smart Ones is a smart deal, and cooks up rather nice to boot. What you get is a healthy dose of steak, veggies, and rice, and just the right amount of sauce. Not so little that you’re desperately licking the sides of the bowl, but not too much that you can’t take a mid-meal nap without worrying about drowning.

The broccoli and snap peas were all kinds of crunchy, like running over a hard shell taco on a gravel driveway crunchy, and there was a surprising amount of beef considering how much the frozen food industry likes to skimp out on the meat. I did not notice a quantifiable number of sesame seeds on my beef, but I’m holding out hope that they’ll show up thanks to a somewhat misleading phone call to the police and the resulting amber alert sent out at 3am for a ‘Sasamay Se’yad.” I know someone is going to call me out for abusing emergency services, but unless you’re one of the eight, max nine phone calls that the 911 operator told me I’d tied up before giving up and doing what I said, you’re just complaining for no reason.

Frozen dinner technology has made great strides over the years, with the end result being that vegetables come out of the microwave with an impressive level of crunch and flavor. We’re quickly hitting a point where it’s getting hard to tell the difference between home cooked and flash frozen, although in my case the latter leaves me with my eyebrows intact and the apartment smelling less someone burned their eyebrows off. Just think of how far we’ve come since Soviet scientists completed groundbreaking tests back in 1964, successfully flash freezing a German Shepard named Beef Stroganoff only to later unfreeze him with scientists remarking that the tests were 100% safe and could be replicated with a low sodium soy sauce.

The sauce itself falls into the usual category of ‘could use some pepper.’ There’s not a whole lot of variety in soy sauce mixed with pineapple juice, but the meal makes good of it nonetheless. The fact that the vegetables have their own flavor definitely brings this meal out as something worth eating.

The only shortfall is exactly where you’d expect in a meal counting calories, it probably won’t fill you up. Still, the Smart Made by Smart One uses good ingredients, it tastes good, and it’s probably good for your in some understanding of the concept of healthy. It definitely will stave off starvation, and I’m pretty sure the test results will lean toward that being a good thing.

Verdict: 4.5/5 – Better ingredients, tasty corn starch product.

Review: Watermelon Kickstart


Barely a week ago, the Shameless Consumer would have assumed that the worst thing to come out of Mountain Dew this year would be that awful puppymonkeybaby Super Bowl commercial. Yes, I watched the Super Bowl. Not because I like the game but because Peyton Manning was playing and he always seems to know what’s going on at Papa John’s.

At least, that was until I got my hands on the latest Mountain Dew Kickstart beverages. Kickstart, like the forced-meme commercial says, is a mashup of three things: energy drink, juice, and soda. I’ve tried them in the past, and actually enjoyed them, so I was hoping that the brand would improve even more going forward. It has not.

20160209_160713

Now the Shameless Consumer loves watermelon drinks, the Arizona watermelon juice cocktail has been a staple of his summertime fridge stock since the Bush administration. The first one, when he was vice president. In fact, I drank so much Arizona watermelon juice that the CEO personally wrote a letter to thank me for my patronage and to request that I seek out a nutritionist. But guess who’s still alive today? Both of us.

The odd thing about Watermelon Kickstart is that while it smells like watermelon, by which I mean the fake watermelon flavor found in Jolly Rancher candy, it doesn’t taste like watermelon. Certain flavors are impossible to recreate artificially, and watermelon is one of them. Rather companies will just use watermelon juice or some kind of chemical that doesn’t taste like watermelon at all but it’s become the staple of the artificial version of the fruit.

It’s like how the film version of Captain Kirk really wasn’t anything like the guy I watched on TV in my forties. It looks kinda like the real thing, but sure doesn’t act or taste like it, and everyone just accepts it as a fitting substitution because Hollywood tells us to.

So immediately upon your first sip the drink hits you with the one-two punch of a jilted lover, cheap fruits and artificial sweetener. Upon looking at the ingredient list, the number two most prominent ingredient is white grape juice concentrate, which also happens to be one of the cheapest juices available. It also contains Acesulfame Potassium, a sweetener known to cause mood problems. I guess that explains why I just ran over my nephew’s bike.

20160209_160630

While Mountain Dew Kickstart smells like watermelon Jolly Ranchers, it doesn’t taste like them. The flavor is more along the lines of white grape juice with a bit of coconut water, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why. Overall it just tastes disappointing, nothing like watermelon, and not in the least bit refreshing.

The sugar content isn’t so bad, 15g for 12 fluid ounces, nor is the 130mg of sodium. If you want to look at the drink from a health point of view, it does contain 100% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C, 60% Niacin and Vitamin B6, 45% pantothenic acid, and 10% phosphorus. It also contains 200% your daily requirement of wasted money.

At 68mg of caffeine, you’re better off going for a nice cup of coffee. You’ll feel more awake and the taste is a whole lot better. Mountain Dew Kickstart isn’t repulsive, but it fails the most important test of its kind of drink: Tasting like watermelon.

Verdict – 2/5: Has plenty of Vitamin C, but doesn’t taste like watermelon. 

Badvertising: Pizza Hut’s Unlicensed Music


Pizza Hut is rolling out its latest terrible commercial, this time promoting not how inauthentic their food is but instead focusing on something slightly more edible: Clothing. Now, licensed clothing from fast food places is fine if you’re still in the target demographic for kid’s meals, but no adult should be walking around wearing a Big Mac shirt. We don’t need you to wear clothing to express your unhealthy addiction to fast food, the watermelon sized paunch does it just as fine.

But since there’s nothing you can say about fast food clothing that hasn’t already been said about Princess Diana memorabilia, that it’s tacky and should probably be regarded as offensive and exploitative, I want to focus on one part of this commercial: The talking. If you listen closely, and by that I mean at all, you’ll notice a man’s voice repeats throughout the commercial.

He’s saying premiumbeat.com, it’s a watermark that they put on music samples so that you can’t just download or record the tracks and use them without paying, or everyone will know. And thanks to the power of the internet, everyone will know.

You can understand their thinking. Premium Beat wants $250 for a license to cover national advertising, which is probably way over budget and higher than target sales. Better to be able to pin the blame on an intern messing up the editing and not buying a license just in case someone’s lawyer decides to come knocking.

Menu Review: McDonald’s 2 for $2


If you look really close at the McDonald’s graveyard, past the premium sandwiches and ridiculous menu ideas from the 80’s and 90’s that populates every “top 25 failed fast food ideas” list on the web, you’ll find the dollar menu. A product mostly of its time, the dollar menu was a great way to bring in revenue from the lower end of the demographic, that being the low income bracket as well as poor drunk college students.

The dollar menu has mostly gone away, and with it so did the consumers. In an effort to pull back from its decreasing sales, McDonald’s and its competitors have been slowly reintroducing what I like to call the potato chip menu: You can’t buy just one.

The McPick 2 for $2 menu is an evolution of the previous 2 for $2.50. The initial run of the menu offers two items for two dollars, but you have to buy two and the selection is pretty limited. For what it’s worth, you have a pretty decent choice of items: The McDouble, the chicken sandwich, mozarella sticks, and a small order of fries.

You can’t really go wrong for $2, and unlike the $2.50 menu you can choose any two items rather than one sandwich plus fries. If you really want two orders of mozarella sticks, more power to you.

The longevity of this deal will depend on whether or not your local franchisees want to continue past the trial date. McDonald’s expects this to be a promotion that will drive traffic, with the expectation that it will lead customers to making other purchases (like drinks and desserts).

You can probably expect cities where fast food prices are generally gouged to ditch the menu pretty fast. Otherwise this is a great deal for people looking for a cheap meal.

Review: Epic Bar Pulled Pork With Pineapple


[Shameless Editor’s Comment: Stay tuned, this article is getting a followup. For now, I would recommend against listening to anything good I said about this product.]

Epic Bar’s pulled pork pineapple bar includes 100% natural pork, immediately setting it apart from its competition Terrible Bar, which mostly uses recycled paper that children drew pigs on with crayon. Incidentally, the Shameless Consumer gave Terrible Bar’s three-legged-pig drawing a 2/5, owing to its waxy taste and use of non-toxic crayons, with extra points for drawing inside the lines.

The pulled pork pineapple bar takes its cue from wasna, a dish created by Native American tribes who would combine acidic fruits with meat in order to preserve them. It is not to be confused with Wasna Ahmed, Indian actress most known for her role as Dhara in the popular soap opera Kasautii Zindagii Kay, or the Wasba, a celebration of life wherein the residents of Sheboygen Wisconsin get drunk on rye and beat each other with shovels.

I have to say that I’m really disappointed in this bar.

wp-1449344414013.jpg

First off, the name is misleading, this isn’t pulled pork. Pulled pork is slow cooked to the point where it becomes tender enough to pull apart. The meat that Epic uses in their bar isn’t the same stringy meat you’d get in a pulled pork sandwich, it’s ground pork.

Pulled pork is a product that relies on some form of fixing to bring out the taste, be it spices or barbecue sauce. Think of it like George Lucas, incapable of wiping its own posterior but with the help of intelligent handlers, capable of blowing your mind.

This bar, however, doesn’t have handlers. It is the prequel trilogy of protein bars. It’s like eating a snake, you’d think from the shiny outer coating that it’d be nice and moist, but it’s actually pretty dry and tasteless, not to mention more poisonous. I recently tried primal strips, a vegan jerky that manages to get the meat texture better than Epic does utilizing nothing but wheat protein and the power of self-importance.

It even smells faintly of barbecue sauce, perhaps from the combination of garlic and pepper, but there isn’t any that I can detect in the taste. The pineapple has far less flavor than a fruit of its caliber has any right to be, and it almost seems like the folks at Epic went out of their way to de-flavor the bar. I’m not sure how you take this ingredient list and end up with a product so bland, but Epic has found a way.

Ingredient list: Natural pork, dried pineapple, garlic, lactic acid, sea salt, celery powder, paprika, cumin, onion, black pepper, cilantro, oregano.

To salvage whatever I could out of this snack, I decided to grab a bottle of barbecue sauce and use it for dipping. It helped make the bar palatable, but for something that is intended to be eaten on the go, heavy doctoring should not be a requirement.

wp-1449344401569.jpg

The explosion of protein bars has essentially followed the logic of the energy drink industry, when companies realized that they could expand beyond the protein number bros and into a wider audience if they focused on a lacking factor called taste. It’s disappointing to see that some companies still haven’t gotten that memo.

Perhaps it’s a telling sign that my research into other reviews for Epic bars came up with nothing but PR-speak, endless blogs discussing how the bars aren’t tasteless like their competition but refusing to go into any detail. Almost like they hadn’t actually tried it, go figure. Incidentally, the pulled pork version is the only one that has absolutely zero reviews on Amazon, although the reviews on other Epic products refer to it indirectly as tasteless and horrible.

worst-food-product-names-27

Verdict: 1.5/5 – The Epic bar isn’t revolting, but it isn’t pleasing either. Manages to take multiple strong flavors and dull them into obscurity. Probably tastes like grandma.

Review: Burger King Extra Long Jalapeno Burger


Given that this is a Burger King review, you’re probably expecting me to start with a joke about how the service was terrible, the food was old, followed up by an obviously exaggerated joke about an employee pointing a loaded pistol at me, a joke that some lawyer will take seriously and actually email me with an offer to represent me in court. That isn’t going to happen.

I had a pleasant experience at a Burger King. My food was served fresh, in a timely manner, and the employee said “have a nice evening.” I think I even smelled lemon on the urinal puck in the bathroom, not that I got close enough to smell it, mind you.

image

You see, I learned that the answer to a nice time at Burger King is pretty much the same as buying a house: location, location, location. Instead of going to the same place as I did for the mushroom Swiss burger, I found a new Burger King that I had never frequented before, one that specifically had an “our employees are not armed” sign on the front door. That one was also a joke, Mr. Lawyerman (that’s his name, incidentally, Lawyerman, which carries as many job opportunities as my real name: Sha’Meless Consuman). I was originally going to do a mythbusters-esque review on the Halloween Whopper and its apparent effects on the body, but Steve in HR warned that we’d both get fired if I posted photographic evidence.

Anyhow, the Burger King Extra Long Jalapeno Burger is essentially the extra long cheeseburger with jalapeno on top. That’s my review, thank you for stopping by, tip your cats and dogs, always spay and neuter your waiter, and never urinate on pure bleach.

I suppose I should elaborate.

image

Burger King’s “extra long burger” is essentially fancy talk for “two burger patties on a hoagie bun.” The last time I ate a standard burger at Burger King was around the time the company had come out with their burger shots, the latest failed attempt to market said item, which Wikipedia points to taking place way back in 2009.

What you get on your jalapeño burger is two patties, onions, cheese, iceberg lettuce, ketchup, mayo, and “marinated jalapenos.” Marinated must be Italian or something, because it means pickled when translated into English. I can’t fault them for trying to spice up the language, so to speak, even if it leads to a future where Burger King starts advertising its mayo as oiled up egg yolks.

When it comes to flavor balancing, jalapenos basically represent the height of what you can expect from fast food culinary engineering. The jalapeño offers a flavorful kick to the sandwich, the capsaicin is partially neutralized by casein, a protein found in dairy products. This way you can offer a “bold” meal that won’t offend the delicate palate of the average fast food customer, the kind that guffaws at at hot salsa because medium is too hot and mild is pushing it.

It also works with the fact that Burger King tends to slather on the fixings, which goes to the benefit of the consumer because no matter how much extinguishing is going on, the jalapenos still have enough flavor to steal the show and dominate this burger. There were just enough on my sandwich to get a single pepper slice in each bite, balancing out the sweet and spicy to create what was actually a pretty good combination.

image

Presently the extra long jalapeno burger is on the 2 for $5 menu, making it stand out among the boring options of the Big Fish, the Chicken Sandwich, and Burger King’s nearly copyright-infringing Big King. I’d make a joke about the 2 for $5 menu being made for the white bread, boring, mayonnaise eating crowd, but since that’s exactly what the menu is, all I’m doing is making social commentary.

Otherwise the sandwich by itself is $3.69, in which case you’re just better off spending the extra buck and change and getting two. I’d like to see Burger King expand this line of sandwiches, since the jalapenos feel like they’d go better with some dairy-based barbecue sauce. How about an extra long rodeo burger with jalapenos?

On a side note, have you ever noticed that the ketchup on the Burger King website looks like strawberry jelly? Again this is just a side thought.

Hero-Double Cheeseburger

Ultimately the jalapeno extra long cheeseburger is one of the better “standard” burgers on the Burger King menu. Check it out.

Verdict: 3.5/5 – If you’re at Burger King and you have five bucks, pick up two of these.