Search This Blog

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Archer Farms Blueberry Granola with Flax Cereal

I love me some blueberries. Especially with milk or something creamy. Blueberry ice cream is one of the most underrated commodities in the universe. And blueberry cereals are some of the greatest accomplishments of mankind. Think Boo-berry. Or Special K with Blueberries.

But this $0.99 bag had about 4 or 5 blueberries total. And there are at least 10 in the picture on the bag. False advertising.

However, there was a sort of blueberry "dust" throughout the product, which made its overall lack of whole blueberries tolerable. I don't know, maybe there were lots more blueberries in the bag when it got shipped, but due to settling and shaking in transit, most of them got pulverized.

Either way, there was just enough blue stuff in the bag to make this cereal interesting and tasty. Let's face it: granola and flax isn't a very exciting breakfast treat. But add blueberries and the kids'll come running. (I don't have kids. The "kids" in this case are my wife and I. We're in our thirties.)

So far, none of the AF cereals I've tried stands head and shoulders above the others. Please take a look at my reviews of their Pecan Sticky Bun Granola and their Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti. None of the three have been terrible, but none of them have rocked my socks off, either.

This blueberry granola gets 7 out of 10 stars from me.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Archer Farms Bolognese Pizza

If I had to guess what this pizza was all about just based on its name, I would of course assume that it had bologna as a topping. Which, of course, would be wrong. It does, however, have a "beef Bolognese sauce." Yay! Meat, right?

Well, sort of. It's more like a "meat-flavored" sauce than a topping that contains actual chunks of beef. Don't expect a meat-lovers pizza here and you might not be too disappointed. Apparently a Bolognese sauce is a traditional pasta sauce originating from Bologna, Italy, and it's only supposed to contain very finely-chopped or minced meat—not meat chunks. If I had educated myself before purchasing, I might not have felt so let-down.

But on a more positive note, the mozzarella and fontina cheeses taste great. If you've had any other AF pizzas, you know more or less what to expect from the crust. This one boasts that it has a "hand-stretched crust," but then again, so do the Eggplant Parm Pizza and the Spinach and Goat Cheese Pizza. But to me, the crusts all taste pretty much the same as the Mediterranean Pizza, which supposedly does not have said "hand-stretched crust."

Overall, the typical AF crust, the semi-meaty tomato sauce, and the two unique cheese flavors come together to make a fairly snacktastic pizza. It doesn't have a heavy, overwhelming flavor at all. Think of the delicate flavor of a nice, fresh mozzarella cheese and add to it a mild meat-flavored pasta sauce, and you can pretty well imagine what this pizza tastes like.

This pizza earns 7 out of 10 stars.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Archer Farms Monster Trail Mix Bars

As the name would suggest, these little bars are composed entirely of Archer Farms Monster Trail Mix ingredients, namely: peanuts, raisins, generic M&M's, chocolate chips, and peanut butter chips. I'm not sure what they use to "glue" it all together into a bar form, and I looked on the ingredients list to try'n figure it out, but an answer was not readily available there. It could be the corn syrup (not high-fructose corn syrup, thankfully) or one of the scary ingredients like "methyl-propyl parabens." Yikes! If you know exactly what that is, you've either done your homework or you're a food scientist.

But like a good sheep, I ingested the candy bar without knowing what some of its ingredients were, and it tasted good! Like, really good. Like, I might buy this again good.

Of course, they're very sticky, so you absolutely have to keep them inside the wrapper as you eat them. And they're pretty small, but they still pack 170 calories, 80 fat calories into a single bar. So you probably shouldn't eat more than one at a time, unless you're looking to pack on some pounds for some reason—like maybe you're an athlete or bodybuilder trying to bulk up, or maybe you're into the whole obesity thing for some reason. Some people might accuse me of the fact, my Wii Fit video game told me how fat I was the other day. It wounded my ego. But the truth hurts.

Ahem, I digress. There are five in a pack, and prices may vary from store to store, but a box is in the ballpark of $2.50. All in all, it's a decent snackability value.

I'll give this product 7 out of 10 stars.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Archer Farms Spicy Six Grain Yellow Corn Tortilla Chips

After reviewing Archer Farms White Corn Tortilla Chips and Blue Corn with Flax Seed Tortilla Chips, I can safely say that these spicy yellow chips are my favorite so far. They flaunt the robustness of the blue corn chips while retaining some of the delicate flavors of a lighter cornmeal.

And they're spicy.

Not too spicy, to be sure. But considering none of the salsas we've reviewed on here have been all that hot, a slightly spicy chip combined with a slightly spicy salsa is heading in the right direction if you're interested in a little heat.

These chips have a great flavor just by themselves, but I'm a sucker for salsa. The best pairing I've discovered so far is these yellow tortillas combined with the recently reviewed Tomato Chipotle Salsa. The spices in both products enhance one another. It gives you a nice, rounded, peppery heat, and yet you can still taste the corn, flax seeds, and ancient grains in the chips.

I also tried these with the sweeter Mango Peach Salsa. Not a bad combo, but the spices in the chips conflict with the fruitiness of the salsa. White tortillas work well with the sweet salsas.

The texture of these chips is great, too. You don't have to worry about the chip breaking in half when you dip it in the sauce. They're very crunchy, thick, and satisfying.

These will definitely be a repeat buy for me. Spice and whole grains are an excellent combo for a tortilla chip. I'm a fan.

I give this product 8 out of 10 stars.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Archer Farms Roasted Tomato & Chipotle Salsa

Let me start off by saying that if you have a typical American's understanding of the word "chipotle," you'll no doubt be well-more impressed by this product than someone with a Mexican's understanding of the word "chipotle."

In Mexico, they actually eat chipotle chilis, which are really just smoke-dried jalapenos. But they wind up hotter than regular jalapenos, and there's way more flavor. There are definitely hotter chili peppers out there, but a true chipotle dip should never have anything other than a "hot" label on the jar—at least in the U.S.

And yet, here I am, reviewing one more salsa that barely qualifies for the "medium" label, although out of the salsas I've reviewed so far on this blog, this one is the hottest. Check out the Corn, Black Bean and Roasted Pepper Salsa and Mango Peach Salsa reviews.

But heat isn't all I'm after when I buy a salsa. I mainly just want "sabor!" ("Flavor," for you gringos). And while this sauce actually does taste a little like a chipotle pepper, with maybe a hint of roasted tomato, it just doesn't do it for me quite as much as those other two AF salsas that I've checked out. Compared to the first two varieties, this one just tastes cheap to me.

But that being said, if you're really a fan of the taste of chipotle peppers, but don't want something scorching hot, this might be something you'll want to check out.

I give this salsa 7 out of 10 stars.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Archer Farms Tex Mex Trail Mix

If it were up to my wife, this product would be getting at least 9 out of 10 stars. But unfortunately, she's not the one writing the blog. To her credit, however, she did design the lovely logo and backdrop for this page. Way to go, honey! You're a graphic design genius!

But I'm the foodie-hack blogger. And it's not that I hate this trail mix. I just don't think I'll ever pay something like $3.50 to eat this stuff again. It's just not worth it. Oh, and FYI, the bag usually does come a bit more full than the one in the picture to the left. My wife opened it and ate a good bit of it before we had a chance to take a picture of the product. I should also take this opportunity to mention how much I love the convenient resealable bags these trail mixes come in.

And I actually really like certain elements of this particular mix. The spicy peanuts, for example. They're delicious. I'd rather have a simple bag of those with none of the other distractions.

I think it's the "salsa corn sticks" and "sesame sticks" that really ruin this trail mix for me. They might as well just throw in some twigs from the neighbor's oak tree. They're very dry and they add little flavor to an already spicy mix. It's certainly not the heat I mind either. I like spices. But I usually like them best when they actually add flavor and not just heat. I like pumpkin seeds or "pepitas" ok too, but I don't really like to mix them with other nuts and things.

Since my dislike of this product may very well be due to some personal hang-ups and quirks, I won't score it too harshly. I just don't think I would ever crave this if I were actually hiking. I'd want more peanuts and almonds and fewer "sticks."

I give this product 6 out of 10 stars.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Archer Farms Balsamic Vinegar & Herb Baked Potato Crisps

I'm kinda weird when it comes to vinegar on my food. I hate salt and vinegar potato chips. HATE them. The mere idea of them kind of triggers my gag reflex. But strangely, there have been exactly 2 times in my life when I discerned a distinct craving for them deep in my gut. Both times I had been working for a long time and had sweated a lot. No doubt I had lost a lot of salt, but I craved both salt and vinegar. Each time, I found some salt and vinegar chips nearby, devoured the entire single-serving bag in a matter of seconds, and the craving passed. And I mean it was GONE, never to return. The most recent of these cravings occurred about 5 years ago. Haven't had one since.

But balsamic vinegar, on the other hand, makes a great salad dressing. If there's a balsamic vinegar option for my salad at a restaurant, that's usually the one I'll pick these days. I often get a raised eyebrow or two when I ask for the balsamic dressing. I think people expect men not to order salads, and in the rare case that they do, they're expected to ask for ranch or some other more masculine dressing. Plus, they usually mix the balsamic with some kind of fruitiness: raspberry, apple cider, pear, or something along those lines. It usually works really well, and on the inside I'm like "Oooh! How delightful! Delicious raspberries with my balsamic!" But I just mutter gruffly, "Yeah I'll have the balsamic." The waitress repeats back, "You'd like the raspberry truffle balsamic dressing with your apple pecan salad, sir?" "Yep," I grunt coolly.

Thankfully, these chips offer simple herbs with their balsamic vinegar. A great combo. And of course they're salty, so there's an easy comparison between these and traditional salt and vinegar chips. But for me, the salt and vinegar chip hater, these Simply Balanced chips are head and shoulders above other salt and vinegar chips. I can't put my finger on why. They do taste like balsamic, not just regular vinegar. And there are a few other herbs to help round out the taste—particularly garlic, which I also love. Have some breath mints on stand-by.

Texture-wise, they're similar to all other baked potato crisps I've had. I really like those things. I'm not sure how fried potato chips are still so popular. I think the crisps are just as tasty, and of course there's less fat.

Curiously, my wife who loves regular salt and vinegar chips, was not as enthusiastic about these as I was. And she likes balsamic vinegar, too. She thought they were good, but wouldn't go out of her way to purchase them again. I disagree. I think they're the bomb. I considered giving these 9 stars, but I think I'll settle on a still-impressive 8.

I give this product 8 out of 10 stars.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Archer Farms Sea Salt Caramel & Almond Granola Bites

If you're putting the word "indulgent" on your product, it's probably because you're trying to attract the dessert crowd. If you're putting the word "granola" on your product, it's probably because you're trying to attract the health-conscious crowd. If you're printing both of those words on the packaging, there's a good chance you're just trying to confuse everyone enough so that they'll just go ahead and buy the product to find out for themselves what the dilly is.

And it worked on me. A member of both the health conscious crowd and a card-carrying member of Dessert Lovers Anonymous, I simply had to try this enigmatic snack I found hiding in the cereal bar aisle of my local Target. I was also intrigued by the use of the word "bites," rather than the traditional and expected "bars." Was that just a way to make us feel better about eating something "indulgent"?

If I had paid more attention to the box, I would have noticed that there were 15 "bites" inside. There's no way you'll get even half that many "bars" into a box this size. And "bites" is pretty close to what they are. Maybe 2 bites. But "15 count 2-bite granola snacks" is clunky and doesn't work for marketing purposes.

But just in case anyone is wondering about the product itself, I'll go ahead and say that these are among the best-tasting things I've ever had from Archer Farms. Similar to other salt and caramel products I've tried, the sea salt somehow enhances the creamy caramel goodness in an unexpected way. The chocolate works well, too. There's not too much of it. It's not too dark, not too light. Perfect. The texture of the granola bar is good, if maybe a tad too stiff. It's relatively moist and chewy. Pretty standard.

Really my only complaint is about the impracticality of the individual "bites." They're too small. However, this can easily be overcome by eating more than one. Or maybe I should just take Archer Farms' cue and exercise portion control for a change. I suppose a 70 calorie shot of chocolate and caramel is plenty to spike up my blood sugar for a spell while I'm hiking or exercising or doing any of those things that I should do a lot more often.

I give this product 8 out of 10 stars.

Search The Web

Custom Search