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I have had a love affair with the ultimate spicy chicken sandwich in the business for many years . . . it has always treated me so – so right with it’s delicately sweet bun, leaf of lettuce, smear of mayo and perfectly fried and deliciously spiced chicken breast. In a world ruled by burgers – it was my haven. It was my respite. It was my shelter. I would drive by it’s home and my Pavlov mouth would start to water – even if I was already full in the belly. It was perfection – and – our relationship was bliss.

Then, something wonderfully disruptive happened . . . a new spicy chicken sandwich moved into town. I found myself looking over and past my old love to try to sneak a glimpse at the new hotness. My old sandwich seemed clunky and thrown together. It’s foibles – which I had found so endearing for so long – were now just blemishes. It’s halo’s shine was dull. It was nothing that I ever intended. It was nothing that I ever could have imagined happening . . . I was officially in love with two sandwiches – with my heart (and arteries) distinctly leaning much harder in the direction of the new – the exciting – the unknown.

It was a delicate situation – and – I knew that I would have to deal with it. It wasn’t fair to any of us to keep the charade going. No one in this triangle deserved to be left hanging. Decisions would have to be made – and – they wouldn’t be easy decisions.

I sat my old sandwich down – for the remainder I will refer to her as Wendy – and explained that it wasn’t her – it was me – and what a horrible person that I was – and that I hated that all of this was happening. She just sat there – crispy, spicy and – no doubt still delicious and said “Does this have anything to do with the new Spicy Chicken Sandwich at Chik-fil-a?” I jumped out of my seat and exclaimed to the sky that “You know it chicken!!”

Then the most magical thing happened. Wendy sighed and asked me to tell her all about the new Chik. Against my better judgement, I just started going on and on about how Chik-fil-a – who was already in possession of the simplest and most perfect chicken sandwich in the universe had done the impossible and made their sandwich even better. I told her about the buttered bun with the two or three pickles placed on top of the bottom bun. I exalted at how the spicy juices had been melded to the chicken through some otherworldly wizardry . . . then I broke down and told Wendy that I loved the new Chik-fil-a spicy chicken sandwich. A tear crept out of my eye. I reached out and Wendy just said “No.” then after a pause that lingered in the air “Go to Chik-fil-a . . . It’s what you want anyway.”

And I did.

After time, the wounds have healed – somewhat. I still see Wendy every so often – but – I know that it will never be the way that it used to be . . . because just over the fast food lunch horizon – there will always be the new Chik-fil-a spicy chicken sandwich beckoning me to come running.

Chik-fil-a . . . you have made the best spicy chicken sandwich on the block. You get a gold star. You get a blue ribbon. I hope that you aren’t some sort of special trial offer – because – I would be lost without you . . . and – at this point – Wendy won’t have me back – and there is no way that I could possible stomach the garbage that they package as a spicy chicken sandwich at Burger King . . . it is truly the pits – but that’s a gripe for another day!

There is a fountain of goodness that is flowing into the world . . . and you should hurry quickly to take a sip before it disappears. Maybe forever.

I am, of course, talking about the absolutely tantalizingly delicious treat known as the Cherry Limeade Sparkler at Taco Bell. Seriously, I can see it in your eyes that you don’t even believe me for a moment . . . but I’m not kidding. I’m not joking. My tongue isn’t anywhere near being in my cheek. There is also not a single twinkle in my eye. I just love it that much.

I’ll try to calm down a bit – now – so that I can give you some sort of moderately subjective description of my (current) favorite beverage.

It is pretty much either a Sprite – or – a 7up that has been expertly fountained on top of some cherry goopy goodness in a clear plastic cup so that you can actually see the sparkling happening in real time! The cherry is sweet – but – has a tiny bit of tart, of tang, that gives the drink a nice balance. And don’t even get me started on the fact that nestled down in the ice – there is a wedge of lime glistening an luscious green . . . like a tiny emerald lighthouse beckoning me to drink more and more and more.

This is the best drink in the universe, at least until we explore all of space and find other planets with other drinks. I suppose that – then – there is the possibility – no matter how slight – that there could be a better drink out there . . . somewhere. Maybe it is the Classic Limeade Sparkler – which I haven’t had yet – maybe that is the drink that will know the Cherry Sparkler off of it’s throne – which is on top of a pedestal – maybe – maybe.

I mean – come on people. It is a mixed drink at Taco Bell . . . that has the added benefit of potentially being healthy (don’t forget that there is that piece of real fruit at the bottom). I would like one right now.

Act quickly – because on the Taco Bell website – I found this coupon for a free Limeade Sparkler . . . so now you can tell me what you think of it.

Goooooooooooo and drink!

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Oh Colonel! my Colonel! our fearful trip is done;
I’ve looked into the face of fear and death, and fear and death have won.
You hooked me with your full-court press, your hard nosed marketing blitz.
I wish I could have turned and run . . . I wish. I wish. I wish.


I apologize for the poem . . . But, these are harsh times that we are living in. Yesterday, I was beaten soundly by a sandwich that boasts that there is “So much chicken that there wasn’t room for a bun.” A “sandwich” that consists of a crunchy chicken breast with two pieces of bacon, two (not quite at all) melted slices of Monterey Jack and pepper jack cheese, a dab of Colonel’s Sauce and then capped off (somewhat inexplicably) with another crunchy chicken breast.

I am, of course, ranting about the new KFC Double-Down. An unsightly, unseemly mess of calories (540) and salt (1380mg) and almost impossible to eat pile of whatnot and hootenanny. I need to impress fully onto you that there is no bread. There is no bun. There isn’t a place to get a hand-hold on this monstrosity. But, it wasn’t even fun to eat with my hands – like in a “I’m playing with my food” Medieval Times kind of way – – – and as a side note – – – – the only way that it was even remotely similar at all to the great castle feast was that instead of wenches – – – there were retches – from the Double-Down – get it? Ugh . . . See what I kind of tried to do there?

I am miserable.

I like – no – LOVE fast food . . . and I expect it to be terrible for me and edible. I expect it to go through focus groups that chisel ideas of granite into stone sculptures of scrumptious delight . . . The volcano taco is a splendid example of – a perfect union between concept and execution . . . the shell is red!! But, when I picked up my Double-Down, I didn’t love it. It removed all of my giddy and instead – made me feel gross. I was only able to tackle 5 bites. I could go no further.

I need you to know – that I hate to waste food . . . and so, on the way home, I threw my remaining food-stuff at a bear that was sitting on a park bench. At least, I think it was a bear. All I know is that he ate it – but I don’t really think that this event tempers my review at all, because – bears will eat anything. Especially in these tough times. Right?!

The “Colonel’s Sauce” . . . ever heard of it? I hadn’t. Sooooo, I wasn’t so sure what kind of a treat that I was in for. Well . . . As soon as I tasted it, a lightbulb went off in my head. I had tasted this taste before . . . many years ago – maybe? It had a tang – it looked a little like thousand island dressing . . . but where? And then it hit me that I was eating Zaxby’s sauce. The Colonel had evidently slipped past security at le headquarters de la Zaxby’s and swiped the secret sauce recipe. Hmmmmmmmm.

Maybe I should take a moment to digress from my review of the Double-Down to let you know that I am not a fan of fast food convergence. I understand that burger places have burgers and chicken places have chicken – – – but – – – I need some sort of line in the sand that I can use to figure out what is what in the quick gastronomic world. I’ve got my eye right on you Burger King – with your new Sausage Egg McMuffin rip-off . . . and you McDonald’s with your Chick-fil-a wannabe Southern Style Chicken sandwich. Del Taco – why do you have burgers on your menu? Sonic . . . I’m not even going to get me started on your mish-mash menu. Let’s keep it simple out there – my brain can’t take it.

Back to the Double-Down. When I managed to pick it up and take a bite, the first thing that I noticed was that there was just way too much. The second thing that I noticed was how unpleasant all of the grease and unmelted cheese and uncooked crummy fast food bacon were, and also, how overpowering the abundantly slathered Colonel’s sauce was. Then it all started to fall apart in my hands. The two napkins that I was given didn’t even last past the unwrapping of the food. There was simply no clarity of taste vision, just a Frankenstein’s monster of a meal – created in a lab and plomped onto my tray.

The commercial on the KFC website screams that I shouldn’t “just feed your hunger” and that I should in fact “CRUSH IT!”

Well Colonel . . . mission accomplished. Not only has my hunger been crushed, but, so has my will to eat anything . . . ever – ever again.

The saddest part is that I was really starting to get a hankering for Taco Bell’s new Tortada – another “un”sandwich missile in the continuing onslaught against the good and simple hoagies in the world. But, now that I have lived in the unhungry side of KFC . . . I’m just not so sure that I will be able to cross the border.

Harumph.

So, I am on a bit of a kick to clean up the house . . . One bit of ridiculous at a time. While doing that . . . I figured that I can also help out the world a tiny bit by offering up reviews of some of the fun stuff that I – sometimes to my chagrin – have ended up buying. Today I’m going to blab about mouthwash. Next week – who knows . . . it could be almost anything. I really do have a lot to get rid of.

I tend to walk through stores and quickly gravitate towards displays of new products – or – variations of products that I already have strong opinions (both good and bad) of. One day – I came across a shelf of Listerine Whitening Pre-Brush Rinse. It was in the flavor of “Clean Mint.” It was different from the other mouthwashes, in that, it was in an opaque white bottle. I was definitely interested.

I had never bought any kind of “Whitening” product – but this one was – as I already mentioned – in a white bottle. It had mystery! And a cursory glance at the ingredients informed me that it also had hydrogen peroxide as an ingredient . . . I had to try it.

So – years ago – it came home, was used a few times and was soon replaced by the old standby (Listerine “Vanilla Mint”). I didn’t think much of it . . . It was clear out of the bottle, had a taste like a cough drop and bubbled and fizzed. So what?!

Wait. What? It bubbled and fizzed?

Yes.

Then why was it just pushed to the back of the mouthwash line?

I’m not really sure . . . the only thing that I can think of is that it is better used on every fourth mouthwash – and not every time . . . I mean – who wants bubbles every day?!

I do.

Fine. Here is the odd thing. I was kind of dismissive of the whole experience . . . but – I have carried the bottle around for years. Through three different moves it has made the trip. It was even in a storage facility for awhile. I think I may have enjoyed it more than I’m admitting . . . I had to test it out again to see what was going on.

I went to my little corner of unused items, rooted around for a second and picked it up. There was a fair amount of dust on the bottle. Yes, there was dust on the bottle. I then moved to the bathroom sink, opened the bottle, looked inside to make sure nothing was growing, and poured some out. The whole sink started to fizzle! I then poured some onto a splinter that was in my thumb – and it started to fizzle as well! I was really getting excited about this.

I took a meager swig and started to do that whole mouthwash thing that people do. According to the bottle, I was supposed to go for 60 seconds. The problem with that was that my mouth was filling up with the gas from the bubbles. Even with my mouth closed and my lips pursed, bubbles were starting to escape. I couldn’t keep it up . . . it had to get out of my mouth – and so I spit it all out . . . and then the sink started to bubble again.

One important point that I should make is that if you are a gargler – then this is absolutely not the product for you. There is no physical way that you will be able to keep the precocious bubbles at bay. Be content with just swishing it around. Be content with the bubbles that you’ve got.

The end result is that initially my mouth felt stupendous. It was all kinds of clean feeling and sparkly. However, now, an hour later, my mouth feels kind of dry and spent. It is almost like the initial thought that I must have had years ago . . . My mouth simply can’t handle the daily rigors of being bubbled every single day – but maybe it is a nice alternative to regular Listerine – which – like boot camp feels the need to break my mouth down in order to make it all better – or something.

And now – I’m not even sure if I can get rid of it. It just stands there in it’s white bottle proclaiming that it is the “EASY WAY TO BRIGHTEN TEETH” . . . Promising bubbles. And who am I to deny the world of my mouth that kind of fun?

If you are thinking that you want to try it out – then try to find a travel size . . . That is my best advice. Then you won’t live your life hauling a bottle of secondary mouthwash around for years to come.

Alright –  I should probably go. I have to wash all of the dust off the bottle . . . Because that part really – really – does skeeve me out.

I can knock this review out with six quick words . . . and I will – at the very end – so – if all you want to do is read the fast and dirty . . . then go ahead and skip all of the fun build-up if you want. As for me. I have a bit of babbling to do.

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Can I tell you that I absotutely love dark chocolate? Well – I do – I do – I do. It feels like I’ve broken into my grandmother’s odd assortment of hidden chocolates – and that I’ve escaped the evil wrath that is baking chocolate. It feels like I’m a grown-up dandy – just walking along the main throroughfare with a pretty lady on one arm (you know who you are), my well trained dog walking with us – who never strays more than a couple of feet away – and this exquisite candied bar of chocolate goodness in my other hand. Life can’t get too much better. Can it?!

So – when I was checking out of big store the other day and I spied this good for the heart – full of antioxidants – and also full of the protein packed punch of glory that is peanut butter treat staring me in the face . . . how could I pass it up?! I love regular old milk chocolate Resses cups . . . and those tiny individually wrapped are even better . . . and – and – you would be hard pressed to find any better mix of chocolate and peanut butter than the assorted holiday versions (tree at Christmas, egg at Easter or pumpkin at Halloween). This was bound to be a slam dunker-oo of taste.

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And it was . . . except – the ball clanked off of the rim in a horrendous fashion. After one bite, I was left staring at the first cup – trying to figure out what was going on. I took a second bite and the answer hit me in the noggin . . . This dark chocolate was a cheap knockoff facade mockery of the normal good-for-me high-falutin dark chocolate that I had come to love . . . And the peanut butter?! The one thing that the kids at Reese’s should have had no problem with – because they probably use more peanut butter than anyone in the world . . . Well – it was made with extra portions of some sort of crazy salt.

The flavor stuck with me and my mouth felt like a dry dry desert lake on a moon covered-by-clouds darkened night. There was no hope of escaping . . . the horror.

Did I eat the whole thing? Of course. But through the entire time – as I cringed and ground my teeth in annoyance of all of the other treats that I could have picked up . . . the words that kept flip-flopping through my mind were . . . Cheapy dark and too many salts.