NOVABLOG 2: THE SQUEAKQUEL

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Monday 09/10/18

Great Value Thin Crust Pepperoni Pizza Review

I usually avoid store brand pizza since it usually doesn't turn out very well, but I figured maybe the thin crust kinds might be better.

This was cheaper than Jack's by a little bit (like $2.80, whereas Jack's is usually $3.00?) and I figured it'd probably be similar to Jack's. It was. It's got similar pepperonis and similar crust, and it's crunchy and nice. In contrast to the rising crust store-brand pizzas I've seen it's got flavor, though nothing particularly exceptional. I did like the cheese though.

I feel like if you want cheap pizza a better option is getting Tony's. They're even cheaper ($2.50) and they're similar to Red Baron, with an emphasis on flavor.

Wednesday 08/15/18

Banquet - Chicken Fingers with Mac & Cheese Review

This is the same sort of thing as Banquet's Chicken Nuggets and Fries meal, a pair of food items being sold for $1. The chicken seems like it's exactly the same as the nuggets, just longer, so see that review for information. You get a decent amount of chicken (three fingers). The macaroni and cheese is okay, I don't particularly love it but I'm pretty spoiled with deluxe macaroni and cheese so I think it's probably up to individual taste. It's decent though.

Definitely worth keeping around for $1, though personally I would get the nuggets and fries.

Sunday 08/12/18

Tony's Pepperoni frozen pizza review

I've reviewed other Tony's products that went in the microwave that I did not enjoy much, but this one goes in an oven, which is a great start. Apparently this is the first frozen pizza brand available too?

Instead of the microwave situation where the whole thing is usually soggy or tough and not fun to eat, this was pretty fine. It's actually kind of similar to a Red Baron pizza. I've primarily been getting those for my frozen pizza needs because they're flavorful and very nice, but it seems like Tony's might be a decent alternative.

The crust is a bit fluffier and softer than Red Baron usually turns out, but it's still actually crunchy in a pleasant way. I like it. The pizza also has no trouble holding itself together, though that's probably helped by only having pepperoni.

The pizza has a slightly spicy/savory flavor going through it like the Red Baron and Freschetta does, though it's cheaper than both of those options. The pepperoni isn't really anything special - it doesn't turn out crispy or anything and it tastes sort of average, but it's pepperoni for sure and it contributes to the pizza.

I'd say it's definitely worth getting if you want cheap but decent pizza, though also consider Red Baron if you want something slightly better.

Monday 07/09/18

Cheese Club - Shells & Cheese Review

Because ALDI tends to vary a bit in quality, I figured it'd be helpful to point out which ALDI products are worth getting so people can know in advance.

This is pretty much the same product as those "deluxe" macaroni and cheese boxes that include pasta and cheese sauce you're supposed to squirt onto and mix into your pasta as-is. I usually get the Kroger version, but the ALDI version here seems like it's actually nearly the same.

The cheese felt just a tiny bit cheap compared to the Kroger equivalent, but it wasn't bad and they're still nearly identical, and I would definitely recommend picking up some of these if you're already going to ALDI for other food and you need some deluxe macaroni and cheese too. I don't remember it being significantly cheaper than getting it at Kroger so it's really fine at either place.

Wednesday 07/04/18

Banquet - Chicken Nuggets and Fries Review

Banquet is usually hit-or-miss with me. I've had some meals I enjoyed, and they've been okay for things like their chicken pot pies and their chicken fingers meal (which included three nice-size chicken fingers, macaroni and cheese, and a brownie) but some things have been kind of bad (like their fish stick meals that weren't great and only included a few fish sticks).

The fries and nuggets meal was $1 which is about as cheap as you usually expect from these sorts of things from Banquet. It only includes fries and nuggets, no other extras like brownies or anything. I made it in the oven so it's as good as it'll possibly be, and because I'm not low on time.

The fries aren't crunchy. Instead they sort of feel like what you might get from a cut potato without doing a ton of stuff to it, in that they're somewhat slick? They're chewy but not unpleasantly so, and they're okay as fries.

The nuggets were actually pleasantly crunchy on the outside and they tasted good, with the chicken very similar to what's in the chicken finger meals I remember. There were quite a few of the small nuggets and I think the nuggets are definitely the highlight of this meal.

In conclusion, this meal is actually pretty good for $1 and I would be happy with stocking up on a few and keeping them around. They're actually a pretty decent way to get your nugget fix from the store without buying a whole more expensive bag of Tyson nuggets or whatever.

Friday 06/29/18

Review: Totino's Party Pizza - Combination

I saw this pizza for $1.36 and decided to try it; if it was good then I have a cheap pizza to get alongside my usual Red Baron. If it's bad, I didn't waste very much money. I used the oven instead of microwaving it, which made the crust come out very satisfyingly crispy. and crunchy. Unfortunately, I think the crust might have been the best part of the pizza.

You don't go into a $1.36 pizza expecting a lot, so I kept that in mind. It's much better than the Tony's Microwaveable Pepperoni rectangle but this wasn't exactly fair since I baked this and microwaved that. I can happily say that the Totino's version was not very greasy in comparison. I used a napkin to try and sop up grease but there wasn't really much. I didn't really end up feeling gross afterwards either.

The sausage part reminded me of the sausage component of a combination pizza roll. In fact, I think the product in general reminded me of a pizza roll, not surprising since it's the same company and all. The flavor is a little "off" for pizza but not in a necessarily bad way? I tried to see what I thought of the sauce and the cheese but there weren't really much to either of those. That's party of why I think the crust is probably the best part. It's crunchy and airy in an interesting way and it's pleasant.

In the end, it's fine for $1.36 but for cheap pizza in general I would stick to Jack's, and for slightly more expensive pizza I would stick to Red Baron, though they're pretty different experiences. A big plus is that Totino's is microwaveable, so if you can put up with a softer pizza it can let you make a pizza very quickly. I would also rate their other product, pizza rolls, as being much better overall. You can get a 20-roll box for a bit more than a Totino's Party Pizza but I'd say it's worth it if you want to stick to cheap pizza-like products.

Monday 11/07/16

IPFW Walb Jr. Cheeseburger Review

Aside from the Charbroil Pizza with Cheese, almost every burger you can get from a vending machine at IPFW is pretty terrible.

I was hungry and there were no pizza burgers in the vending machine, so I decided to go and actually eat a burger from Walb.

The Junior Cheeseburger was $2.99 (with tax it was like $3.20 and that's way too much for a junior burger) and for once, I was eating a regular burger at IPFW that was not a soggy mess with weird tasting beef.

The burger actually strongly resembled Wendy's in taste, except the beef was just a bit tough. You also have to open it up to apply ketchup if you want it since it doesn't come with it.

If you absolutely need a burger at IPFW I would eat one of these but with the price I wouldn't really be able to justify it otherwise. It does taste good though.

Wednesday 11/02/16

Pierre Jumbo Cheeseburger

Against my better instincts I decided to try another cheeseburger from the vending machine. The Pierre Jumbo Cheeseburger ($2.75) doesn't come out super soggy. It comes out soft but not necessarily soggy. The beef patty is extra big which means that it's a little difficult to actually get enough ketchup coverage since it extends past the bun. The beef tastes alright, nothing special and still lower quality than a fast food place but it's a fast way to get a cheeseburger. It's like the frozen cheeseburgers from stores.

I'd still prefer the Pizza Charbroil with Cheese which tastes better and is cheaper, but it wasn't available.

Wednesday 10/19/16

Double Charbroil Deluxe Review

With how much I love the Pizza Charbroil with Cheese I decided to try the Double Charbroil Deluxe I saw. The name made it sound like one of those actually good, with the "deluxe" and all but it was not. I think it was a different company, too.

I microwaved it and it came out ultra soggy, unlike the pizza one which doesn't, and since it doesn't come with any toppings you have to manually add ketchup, but the buns melt together so much and it's difficult to do that without tearing the bun. The whole thing stuck together pretty poorly for me and the bottom bun came off easily. The beef doesn't hold up very well taste-wise, it's like stereotypical middle school cafeteria food and it's this weird gray thing.

It was $2.75 and I can't recommend getting this at all. Please go down to Walb and order one of the cafeteria burgers if you want a burger. Do not buy these. Starting to rethink trying random vending machine meals too.

Tuesday 10/04/16

Tony's Deep Dish Pepperoni Review

This is another microwaveable pizza. I was very wary because of the pizza rectangle I bought previously from the Tony's brand but this one was okay.

it was unbelievably greasy as usual but I dabbed up as much of it as I could with a napkin and it was still very greasy but okay. It was tough and not too easy to cut through but I guess that's to be expected when it's deep dish. It was chewy but not soggy. The pepperoni wasn't tough like in Lunchables and was pleasantly spicy. In fact the whole thing had a nice spiciness to it and was sort of flavorful.

I guess it's okay for $2.25.

Tuesday 09/20/16

Hungryman Selects Classic Fried Chicken Review

I like fried chicken, but fried chicken in the microwave is pretty awful most of the time. The chicken always turns out soggy and it's not very good.

So I put this meal in the oven. That's right, I actually used the comical "cook for 45 minutes" oven instructions. Most of the time I would ignore them and just use the microwave because it's always like 40 or 30 minutes but this time I decided not to because it's so awful to microwave fried chicken.

The meal has fried chicken, a brownie, mashed potatoes and corn. The corn and brownie came out as you'd expect, and there wasn't anything really special about it. They always come out the same way. The mashed potatoes were not even as good as instant mashed potatoes. They're not very thick, but I doubt an oven is a very good thing to make mashed potatoes in. The chicken though was actually pretty good. The crust was really crispy and the chicken tasted nice, and there wasn't very much fat or anything.

I guess it's a good meal overall but the 45 minute cook time is kinda bad.

Sunday 07/31/16

Papa Johns Pan Pizza Review

I got a pepperoni and sausage Papa Johns pan pizza because they were only $10.

Usually I associate pan pizza with Pizza Hut. It reminded me of their pan pizza a lot, and it was like some weird hybrid between the two. I think the crust was thinner than Pizza Hut is but it was thicker than the usual for Papa Johns. The crust was sort of crispy and it was actually a little tiny bit burnt on the very edge but it didn't affect anything. I wouldn't be surprised if Papa Johns is still sorta figuring things out since pan pizzas are new for them.

Taste-wise it was the same as a regular Papa Johns pizza, and it was sort of odd having a pizza that feels and looks like a Pizza Hut pan pizza without all the grease. The crust is definitely a lot less of the taste than it is for store-brand rising crust pizzas, even with how thick it was.

I dunno if I'd pay extra for a pan pizza, but when it's on sale it's nice to get.

Sunday 07/17/16

Freschetta Pepperoni pizza review

Another rising crust pizza. Except, this tastes a lot better than the usual generic rising crust pizzas, like how DiGiorno does. It has a pleasant spicy and savory taste to it and the crust actually reminds me of IPFW's crust. It's nice and soft and doughy, while still crunchy. Actually, now that I think about it it's good in a lot of the same ways IPFW's pizza is.

I recommend it.

Prego canned tomato sauce review

I love Prego sauce in a jar. In a can though it's a lot more liquidy. In a jar, Prego is really thick and awesome but in a can it's not thick at all.

It actually resembled Lunchables pizza sauce, especially smell-wise, which isn't necessarily bad, but not something I expect from Prego.

Wednesday 07/13/16

Pepperoni Pizza Funnel Cake Review

Against my better judgment I tried pepperoni pizza funnel cake.

It's sugarless funnel cake with a layer of sauce, then a layer of the kinda cheese they put on pretzels and nachos, then pepperonis.

The cheese was a poor decision and they should have figured out how to put melted mozzarella on it. That would have been so much better. I found it hard to eat after awhile since it was pretty gross after the novelty wore off. I started wiping the massive amounts of cheese off and even then it was kinda hard to eat. I couldn't finish it.

Not worth $9.

Sunday 06/19/16

Kojak's Pizza Puff Review

I was told that Kojak's Pizza Puff was like an oversized pizza roll, so I got one.

It was big alright, and the outside seemed a little burnt, crust like frozen pizza that had been left in just a tiny bit too long. It was very distinctly pizza crust though unlike the tortilla-like crusts in some of IPFW's vending machine selections.

The burnt taste gets overpowered quickly though because as you bite in you get to the doughy, tasty inside. There's what seems like little bits of pepperoni and sausage chunks and it's somewhat spicy, probably because of all the meat. It wasn't messy to eat at all.

It also tasted pretty much exactly like a big pizza roll, which is wonderful.

Culver's Strawberry Smoothie Review

Apparently all the smoothies had an additional lemon flavor. There were strawberry chunks and it was sweet, tasty and thick, but also sour. The lemon taste was kind of overpowering everything else later on in the drink and it really reminded me of raspberry lemonade, but with strawberry instead of raspberry.

Portillo's cheeseburger and strawberry/banana smoothie, Review

I dunno about the toppings, since I don't usually get many toppings (I picked off the onion and asked for no tomato in this case but kept the rest), but the cheeseburger was indistinguishable from a Five Guys burger and it was $5 even. It was pretty good.

The smoothie was flavorful and thick, and it had visible and noticeable separate strawberry and banana portions, probably because they have separate smoothies and they probably just mix both of them together.

Red Baron Pepperoni and Sausage Pizza, Review

I tried a Red Baron frozen pizza and it was alright. It had a decent amount of spiciness and the crust and pepperoni were both really spicy and lovely. The pepperoni was flavorful and the sausage was juicy. However, the meats really took up most of the taste and covered up the rest, so I can't really comment on the cheese or sauce.

Monday 05/23/16

Tiny chicken strip pieces that will just burn, Review

Usually after you've taken out most of the chicken pieces in a bag of chicken strips you're left with these tiny little pieces of chicken that are just going to burn if you put them in for the normal time and some people just throw them out. BUT if you take them out a little early, you can have bonus bite-size chicken!! Highly recommended!

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