Dollary Duesdays: Shrimp Tempura

It’s Dollary Duesday time, and that can only mean one thing: Heading back to the only store where lead paint isn’t just a condiment, it’s a way of life. But not everything in the Dollar General food bin is a rough conglomeration of compost, wood chips, and concentrated botulism sweetened with aspartame, and occasionally the Dollar Store comes out with something that’s not just safe to eat, but downright tasty.

Take for example the Bon Vivant Kitchens Shrimp Tempuras, brought to us by the culinary minds at Bon Vivant. Bon Vivant is a kitchen store that sells appliances, kitchenware, and actually offers cooking classes to the youth and adults. So they know how to make a good shrimp tempura, flash freeze it, and put it on sale for a buck. Maybe they can teach Chef’s Request how to not gutter oil to make their food.

The Shameless Consumer meant to review this product a good two years or so ago, and found it to be a rather tasty slurry of meat. I picked up a box of the shrimp on my rounds grabbing another set of review items that will never be published and found that Bon Vivant has actually changed the recipe since then. It still contains mostly shrimp.

Bon Vivant’s shrimp tempura is not a shrimp that has been tempura’d and fried, I don’t think anyone would expect such out of a dollar store product. You get six “shrimps” in a pack, each approximately the size of an adult thumb. The meat inside is a combination of shrimp, squid, fish, and other seafood edibles encased in a tasty, crispy, exterior of what appears to be knockoff Rice Krispies.

It also has no microwave instructions, so you know this product is the real deal. Protip: You should never microwave seafood. Ever. Just don’t. It’s actually a crime in the geneva conventions, you can trust me enough to not look it up yourself.

The best comparison I can give to the texture of the meat is fake crab, which makes sense since the two ingredient lists are virtually identical, except this one has fake crab. In fact, as I chowed down on the six shrimps, it dawned upon me that the filling meat is almost identical to imitation crab meat, with a little more fishy/squidy flavor. If you peel apart the shrimps, it has that same layered sort of texture.

And I should note that I’m not giving this a higher score on the grounds that it’s a decent item in a sea of sickness and Chinese poison masquerading as the food section of the Dollar General, this is a quality product that stands on its own. If Bon Vivant had sold larger packs in the regular grocery store, I’d buy them. I make it a habit to pick up a few boxes of these whenever I happen to be there.

That being said, I would never eat shrimp tempura on its own when the opportunity to pair it with a nice cocktail sauce arises. I recommend of course that you purchase a cocktail sauce with horseradish because it’s delicious.

Nutrition-wise, Bon Vivant’s shrimp are high in fat (25%, 35% saturated), have a decent amount of sodium (14%), and if you poke around deep enough you might find some iron and calcium. Otherwise this isn’t bad for a fried food.

Verdict: 4.5/5 – My only complaint is that these shrimps have a habit of unevenly cooking.

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Moxie Mini-Review and the 2019 Shameless Cupsumer

I love cola.

The Shameless Consumer loves craft cola, it’s one of those things that I drink just rarely enough for it to be something of a special treat. The topic of today’s review has been sitting in my fridge for the past couple of months quietly awaiting the new year.

Moxie is an odd cola, it has been the official state beverage of Maine for years and you’re probably even less familiar with it than you are the state of Maine. You may be asking yourself, why should I care about a cola bottled and sold only in Maine? If you’re reading this, you’re either a regular Shameless Consumer viewer, or you specifically Google’d Moxie soda, so you tell me.

But to answer your question, the reason this drink came to the Shameless Consumer’s attention is because it was sent to us by our single dedicated reader. It is partially because the brewing company was recently bought up by Coca Cola, and that acquisition has dramatically increased the likelihood that this drink will see a wider release in the near future. Moxie is an odd cola, its flavor is divisive even in Maine because of the addition of a gentian root extract that has found its way into the recipe.

I’ve never seen this anywhere else.

Moxie is an oddly sweet soda given its sugar content is 37 grams per 12oz bottle compared to Pepsi which has 41 grams and doesn’t taste nearly as sugary. It is mostly natural (sans artificial flavors), uses real sugar, and it markets itself as distinctly different.

I have no clue what I think about this soda.

Honestly, this drink has me stumped, and that’s why I’m writing this as a mini-review rather and not scoring it rather than as a full spiel where I tell you about how Cola was discovered by Franklin Delano Cola, the same man who climbed Mt. Olympus in 1855 in order to milk the fabled Cola trees. Moxie was invented in 1885 and, like Coca Cola, was marketed as a healthful drink.

Most foods can generally be summed up as having a taste and an aftertaste. Moxie has this weird property where it has multiples of both, in sweet and bitter flavors. I don’t think that I’ve ever had a drink that I’ve simultaneously enjoyed and hated alternating so many times in a single sip.

It’s an honest to god unique tasting cola. It does leave a bad, medicine-like bitter taste on your tongue once you’re done drinking it, and the aftertaste seems to come and go at such a rate that when it’s gone you’re not entirely sure that it ever existed.

I don’t know what to think about Moxie, and you can find a dude on Ebay who sells 12-packs of the cans for $20, which is a ridiculous price to pay for soda but far less than you’ll be spending on, say, Amazon for the same product.

This also gives me the opportunity to introduce 2019’s official Shameless Cupsumer beverage vessel. I’m pretty sure I picked this up at the Hobby Lobby although it might have just been another Target clearance product. Unfortunately the 2018 Shameless Cupsumer was accidentally murdered while your pal Sha’Meless Consuman moved into his new house, which is partially why there were no drink reviews dating back to August or earlier.

I’m also openly inviting thoughts from people who have drunk Moxie. What did you think?

Review: Taco Bell Double Chalupa

We here at Shameless Consumer Industries generally don’t like to review limited time items for obvious reasons, but we had to take a look at the Double Chalupa from Taco Bell while that pending lawsuit complaint from the McDonald’s PR firm makes its way through our counsel’s small intestine. The double chalupa isn’t new at Taco Bell, it shows up once every few years.

This year it even comes with a spicy version, chock full of enough jalapeno to make you say “that wasn’t as spicy as I thought it would be” while simultaneously putting your grandmother and white friends in the hospital. Not much more to say about the marketing campaign, so let’s dive in.

In order to fully understand the double chalupa, we must go back, BACK I SAY, to the ancient days of yore, long before the age of written word, when monks passed along history from one generation to the next solely through verbal conversation, good memory, and hot iron branding. These are the ages in which we find our hero, Lupa, a fair maiden living her life in the fields of what is present day Mexico.

Lupa tended the lush and prosperous fields day in and day out, as she kept her village fed with plentiful bounties of corn, lettuce, and tomato while raising her much beloved cattle for their beef, cream, and three cheese nacho blend. Her father a mighty warrior and her mother a sitting judge for the ninth circuit court of appeals, Lupa worked the fields by day and by night she experimented with new and interesting ways to turn her produce into fanciful meals for the peasants in her village who had only known the pure horror of existence.

You see, for the village of Cuarta Comida was just a blip in the kingdom of Tacomartes who up until five years prior had been living under the horrible and tyrannical rule of the Duchess of Hamburg. The Duchess in her unending cruelty passed decree after decree, limiting how those under her rule could live their lives. The beef, she declared, shall only be ground and served in a patty-like form. The grain shall only be formed into small, hand-sized loaves to be filled and eaten as one meal.

But Lupa’s father, as the legend goes, was awoken in the night by an angel who tasked him with freeing his country. “The Duchess controls everything, so you must be cunning to defeat her,” the Angel said as it floated above his bedside. “She has nigh unlimited power, but her creativity is restrained by her breaded abomination. In order to defeat the Duchess and free your people, you must be willing to think…outside the bun.” Lupa’s father drew his sword, mounted his steed, and was away at once toward the castle in which the Duchess lived. If he was going to strike, he needed to strike now.

Taco Bell’s $5 Double Chalupa Box unlocks the chance for fans to win a custom Xbox One X Platinum Limited Edition Bundle only available at Taco Bell. (PRNewsfoto/Taco Bell Corp.)

This is the part of the story where the legends start to split in their recounting of the tale. Most historians generally agree that Lupa’s father poisoned the Duchess however his poison of choice is not entirely set in stone. What we do know is that the poison was apparently applied to her pillow, and the Duchess later died due to complications arising from a particularly aggressive form of conjunctivitis (pink eye). In his will, Lupa’s father thanked her for he could not have completed his holy mission without Lupa’s delicious sustenance.

As the years went on following the death of the Duchess of Hamburg and the disappearance of Lupa’s father, the town prospered and grew enormous in its population. Lupa gave birth to five children, two boys and three girls, all of whom she named Marion. Her five children left upon reaching adulthood at the ripe age of eight and Lupa was once again left alone to tend the fields and feed the needy people of her village.

And one day, a sick traveler came upon Lupa’s house. He had great pains in his stomach, and was afraid that he would surely die if not tended to. Lupa brought him into her house and, in a fit of ingenuity, decided to use the man as a guinea pig for her big experiment. With the precision of a master, she molded and baked her corn tortilla shell, added the seasoned beef, nacho cheese sauce, sour cream, lettuce, tomato, and the three cheese blend. The sick man now on the verge of death, writhing in pain on her cot, Lupa fed the man her concoction.

He grew still, and for a moment Lupa thought him to have passed. Seconds turned into minutes, and around a half hour later the man suddenly bolted up from his rest and ran out the door full of piss and vinegar. Lupa was shocked, she didn’t know how to react. Several minutes later the man entered back into the house looking much more energetic and lively. He thanked Lupa for her nourishment and apologized for, as he put it, painting the wall of the neighbor’s house brown.

For months he had traveled the lands looking for someone who could help him wreak revenge upon the demon that blocked up his body with a diet of beer and raw meat. He pointed to the remaining meal and said “in my village a fair maiden such as yourself created a dish very similar to this. We called it a charosa, as her name was Rosa. But you, you made something so much more. This meal is filling and invigorating, yet light enough to have for a meal after dinner. You should call it a double chalupa.”

The man could not pay her, as he did not have any money, but he promised to spread the story of her good deeds far and wide, and would make it his life’s mission to have her sanctified by the church of something (church may be a mistranslation as there was no known organized religion at this point in history). As he left, Lupa asked the man’s name. Montezuma, he replied.

Unfortunately this was also the olden days when thirty five was considered geriatric age, and giving birth five times with no hospitals and evidently no male partner had hastened Lupa to her end of life duties. She summoned her children via carrier slave, and they rushed to her side to see her off on her deathbed and to bequeath upon them her final gifts.

To her son Marion, she gifted her tortilla mould. To her daughter Marion, her three cheese nacho blend recipe. To her other son Marion, her tortilla recipe. To her daughter Marion, the family cattle. To her other daughter Marion, the family farm. And to her final daughter Marion, the writing utensil she had borrowed about ten years prior.

And as her life faded before her family’s eyes, Lupa gave her final speech. “My children, you must travel north and bring the prosperity that I have left you to all of those that you meet. Even if it takes a hundred generations, I want you to spread my message of love, of good food, and more importantly, the greatness that can come when you think outside the bun. Spread our authentic cuisine or my name isn’t Lupa Ruiz  de Juno Nepomuceno María de los Concerto Cinco Dólares por Pie de Largo Cajita Feliz y Tacobel. Now go, and live mas.”

As for the Taco Bell Double Chalupa, it’s pretty tasty. Great deal since the $5 box includes another taco, churros, and a drink.

Verdict: 5/5 – Tasty, filling, and a great deal.

Review: Sweet Earth Benevolent Bacon

For this week’s review, I’d be dishonest if I didn’t admit to my audience that your pal the Shameless Consumer is basically blind as a bat, if that bat recently went blind thanks to the sodium content of a dollar store beefsteak. While my friends and family, as well as that nice paramedic, keep telling me that I’ll need to wear glasses for the next year or two until my vision corrects itself, I can’t find them. I’m blind.

I may or may not have accidentally baked my glasses into a rhubarb pie and mailed it to my local congressman, not as some sort of threat but out of genuine gratitude for paving over my neighbor’s dog. I guess I’ll find out eventually, but the reason that this is relevant to today’s review is because I picked up a package of my old comfort food, bacon, and brought it home for an old fashioned Italian reviewccini alfredo.

You’ll have to bear with this review having minimal details, because I can’t read the ingredients list or the small print. It is bacon, after all, so I’m pretty sure I can cook it despite the lack of reading capability.

I’ll be Frank with you, folks. As of a few weeks ago, I didn’t think that any product could honestly smell worse than the dollar store bacon wrapped beefsteak. If the sodium hasn’t addled my memory I recall referencing to as a dumpster fire outside a port-o-john factory. This is worse.

It’s a good thing that the Shameless Consumer is moving out of this now-condemned building within the week, because this bacon has left an unmistakable scent of pepperoni dog farts, and it’s clear that this smell is permanently burned into the material that makes up the popcorn ceiling of my kitchen. I’ve never stir fried dog food, but I do recall the unforgettable smell of a dog’s BM that’s been baking on pavement in the hot August sun, and this isn’t nearly as appetizing.

All I can say about Sweet Earth bacon is that it doesn’t act like bacon. Generally with bacon you throw it on the pan and get a nice sizzle that almost sounds like clapping, like a pat on the back and a quiet affirmation that a tasty side to your breakfast or garnish on your salad is more than worth the subjugation, torture, and murder of an entire species of animals. This stuff sizzles a bit and almost looks pre-cooked, pre-burnt, as if breakfast is a sin for which you must be punished.

Bacon is also sustaining, in that you’re bound to end up with a tasty soup of grease at the bottom of the pan that can then be immediately used to cook your eggs, or save it for later for future cooking purposes, to fix a squeaky door hinge, or to boil and freeze into popsicles and hand out on Halloween to the neighbor kids. Try this, the kids will be so happy that they will buy and hand deliver eggs to your house like the kids in my neighborhood do.

At the end of the day, people are Grand Slamwiches.

This bacon doesn’t leave behind a grease trail as much as it does piddle out some brown substance that looks like taco seasoning, at such small quantities that I couldn’t even use it to flavor my coffee. It did serve as an excellent pesticide, as I accidentally left some droplets on the stove and returned later that afternoon to find several dead flies, a written and signed death threat from my landlord, and a note from my neighbor that he would be vacating his house effective immediately.

Incredibly, and despite the pungent aroma that I experienced when first opening the package, the bacon lost almost all of its smell and flavor after cooking. Objectively, I can’t comment on whether this is a net positive.

Sweet Earth bacon isn’t the worst thing that the Shameless Consumer has ever eaten, but only because I once had a bottle of Coca Cola shatter in my mouth and swallowed some of the shards of glass. Statistically speaking, this job has only poisoned me

Verdict: 0/5 – Smells like dog food. Tastes like dog food. I don’t think this is real bacon.

Review: Hungry Man Handfulls Philly Cheesesteak

Hungry-Man is a bit of an enigma in the frozen food industry, specifically in that the nerds over in high finance can’t figure out for the life of them how a brand based on big portions, low nutrition, and man-sized appetites is growing in a world where frozen foods are seeing steep declines in sales and people are generally turning to healthier alternatives. Hungry Man not only survives but succeeds and grows in an environment where branding your food “eat like a man” would get you strung up in an instant if your average vegan had any upper body strength available.

Hungry Man meals generally satisfy the five basic man food groups: Salty, meaty, cheesy, greasy, and salty, and this big pocket of hot meat doesn’t fail to satisfy that list. I’m quite surprised that Hungry Man didn’t go for the term “Man-fulls” with this product, but this blank check from Scotch Buy cigarettes for the purpose of funding the Shameless Consumer Podcast, aka Spoiled: A Shameless Consumer Podcast brought to you by Scotch Buy brand cigarettes, has me reconsidering my idea to question Hungry Man’s marketing team.

I don’t know why, I’m just feeling less inquisitive all of a sudden. This check is printed on fancy paper.

The filling is more of a combination of the thin slices of steak you see on the packaging and a slurry of beef and cheese, like a baby food for manly babies with manly baby appetites. The box says that the contents include beef, peppers, onions, and american cheese and…sure. I’ll take Hungry Man’s word for it that there are onions and peppers in this concoction. I could definitely taste hints of onion and pepper among the mixture of beef and cheese, but there definitely wasn’t the minuscule trace of visible veggies as seen on the box.

Which is fine, the less my manly eyes have to look at vegetables, the less I need to be aware that I’m eating them. Vegetables are for vegetarians, berries are for bears, and Trix are for kids, but meat? There’s no I in meat, but there’s a ME and incidentally no u, so stop I’ing me steak, if u know what’s good for u.

The Hand Full weighs in at about 9oz of food, making this a little over a half pound for about half the price of a full pound Hungry Man Dinner. I would even go so far as saying that it’s just the thing when you come from work and you don’t feel like cooking, or ordering out, but you still want something kind of resembling a Philly Cheese steak. It’s also filling, which is what you want when you’re hungry.

Getting a good Philly Cheese steak outside of the fair, a sandwich shop, or a restaurant is pretty difficult, so I’m going to grade on a curve and say that the Hungry Man Manfuls Philly Cheese Steak gets two thumbs up. It’s filling, it’s tasty, it doesn’t have a lot of vegetables, honestly the only thing I could ask for is an hour of your time with Spoiled: The Shameless Consumer Podcast brought to you by Scotch Buy Cigarettes, assuming our first episode ever gets released.

All Hungry Man needs is a catchy phrase to go with it, like snap into a Slim Jim, or mmmm, beefy. Speaking of Hungry Man, have you tried the Sixlicious new flavors? I don’t know what that means either but I’m going to find out.

Verdict: 4.5/5 – I lost the photos to this review, again, and ultimately decided not to steal snapshots from the various Youtube reviews of this product. Otherwise the only complaint I have is that a Philly Cheese Steak-like product will ultimately serve to remind you that you’d like a nice Philly Cheese Steak.

Clearance Stack: Good Food Made Simple Vermont Maple Syrup Oatmeal

Vermont Maple Syrup Oatmeal is good food simply made by Good Food Made Simply, and the first review for Clearance Stack, where we take a look at foods that found themselves on the clearance rack at the local grub hub outside of Shameless Consumer Industries (your mileage may vary). It comes in a plastic packet because disposable bowls are a waste. These are likely to be a bit shorter than the standard review, and thus release on a more consistent basis.

Ah who am I kidding?

But first let’s talk about the history of oatmeal. Oatmeal’s origins date back to about the year 1,000 BC and actually originated as weeds in and around central Europe. They’re actually one of the last cereal grains to be cultivated by farmers and were slow to become mainstream due to their image as a barbarian food, and due to the fact that they go rancid very quickly after harvesting if they are not processed quickly enough.

I bet you thought this review was going to talk about how oatmeal was first discovered by Transpacific adventurers and lawfully wedded couple Jacob Oates and Bethany Smeal, entrepreneurial chefs who traveled across the world in the second century BC to find the perfect coupling for their raisin cookies. The Oates family may have brought oatmeal to the coastal city of Mafra, Portugal, but they discovered the crop in the same way that Devlin Chakram “discovered” the source material for his bestselling book, 99 Uses for Belly Button Lint.

Now the Shamless Consumer loves oatmeal as much as he loves his other staple breakfast food: Garlic bread, and oatmeal has a really important added benefit: It’s very hard to screw up, both from an industry and consumer point of view. Steel cut rolled oats are cheap as hell and you throw them in a pot of boiling water (or milk) until they’re tender, toss some tasty maple syrup or brown sugar (or fruit) on top, and you’re good to go. The most important oatmeal of the day as part of the most important meal of the day.

GFMS’ oatmeal is simply made with five ingredients: filtered water, organic whole grain steel cut oats, organic vermont maple syrup, organic brown sugar, and sea salt. Presumably neither the sea salt nor the filtered water is organic.

GMFS describes its food as:

“Oatmeal doesn’t have to be the mushy stuff your mom used to make. Made with organic steel-cut oats, and with a nutty texture, it’s an oatmeal both you and your mom can love.”

Okay, GFMS, let’s clear the air. First of all, my mom didn’t make me oatmeal as a kid. Thanks for the reminder. Second, my grandma did make me breakfast but it was Farina brand farina, not oatmeal, and she melted real chocolate into it to cover the taste of the cigarette ashes that fell in because she liked to smoke over the stove. Again, thanks for the reminder.

The instructions are just as simple: Rinse under warm water, remove the oatmeal from the package, place into a bowl, and microwave for three and a half minutes.

While our product cooks, I’d like to take a minute and apologize for the rather boring history lesson at the top of our program. Not every food has a crazy origin, you see. This dish does give the Shameless Consumer time and opportunity to dive into our historical records and instead talk about the USDA, otherwise known as the organization founded by United States President Abraham Lincoln out of a deep desire to know what his neighbor, Thaddeus Tate, was having for dinner and if he could have a bite without looking like an intrusive schmuck. The organization’s initial goal was to knock on Thaddeus’ door each night and demand samples of his dinner under the guise of a suspected plague.

Incidentally this ruse continued for two years before Thaddeus knocked on Lincoln’s door and extended a hand of amicability. Misreading his movements, Thaddeus was quickly shot by Lincoln’s secret service. It is estimated that Lincoln’s scheme saved the country an hundred dollars in food costs, or about $3.6 million in today’s money.

Now the Shameless Consumer likes his oatmeal like he likes his women: Thick, steel cut, and covered in maple syrup, and Good Food Made Simple delivers on all cylinders. What you get is a thick, chunky, oatmeal with a sweet mapley syrup that is there without being too there if you catch my leftovers. It’s sweet without feeling sweetened and at 11 grams of sugar it’s nothing to write the dentist about.

Oatmeal is a great filling way to start the day, and this product does not disappoint. My only wish is that ol’ Abe Lincoln was still around to have a bite and admit that his secret service couldn’t kill me from point blank range all those years back. That’s right, Lincoln, you won’t be tasting any of my delicious dinners anymore.

Verdict: 5/5 – Good Food Made Simple’s Vermont Maple Syrup Oatmeal is tasty, filling, and high quality and even at the standard price of $3 for two servings, it’s worth its weight in grain.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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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.