Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Boston Cooler and a Coney Dog

The Trip to Michigan, Part V: The Return!

Okay, so the horror movie is over. The surviving teenagers are driving home, older and wiser. They stop at a roadside hotdog restaurant and BWAH! The monster thought slain is still alive!

On the left is a Coca Cola float, on the
right is the one that says "Bwah!"

That, my friends, is a Vernor's and vanilla float. If that idea isn't hideous enough, there is a name for this, it's called a Boston Cooler. I thought Phredd was making this up, until he used the term with the waitress and she understood. Neither Phredd nor the waitress knew why it was called a Boston Cooler, and Phredd wondered aloud if people in Boston would know this monstrosity. Really Phredd? You think people in Boston know about this? If they did, Michigan would've been sued for slander decades ago.

Speaking of things to do Michigan, this whole Vernor's thing has really given me a good idea. Instead of a bunch of Great Lakes, wouldn't it be much tidier up there with just one big one? Just sort of push Michigan underwater, no one will care.

But, that's a Boston Cooler there. I had a sip and confess it's not as bad as straight Vernor's, but you thin poop with enough ice cream and I'll enjoy that too. I might prefer some corn-ridden Rocky Road to another Vernor's.

Nobody reads this blog, so I'm not going
to bother turning this photo the right way around.

The only Michigan cuisine anybody could mention were "coney dogs". Another item named after a far-off place (clearly somebody isn't happy with where they live). The internet told me it was a chili dog with a "secret sauce". We were eating at, I think, National Coney Dogs in the airport in some place in Michigan. It was brand new airport building, and the restaurant had only been open four days. It was clean and nice, and the ketchup hadn't had the silver safety seal picked off yet. That part was kind of neat.

The coney dog was okay, nothing special. It had mustard on it, under the chili, which was kind of good. It would sneak up on you and jump out in random mouthfuls. The hotdog was good, a finely ground dog more resembling a banger in texture. It had been boiled. Not bad, but not especially special, either. Not exactly the next Juicy Lucy set to catch my heart. Even the Michiganders who told me about coney's looked mildy embarassed.

C'mon Michigan. You can do better than this. Just go buy a bunch of cheese and bacon and some random meat and do what comes natural. I know you can do it. I believe in you.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Vernor's, the Original Ginger Soda

Trip to Michigan, Part IV - The Final Chapter

If my trip to Michigan were a game, this would be the boss monster.

This is the side you put the knife in.

This is Phredd's Dad's kitchen.
Those are his chairs in the background.

This doesn't smell like ginger anything.
It smells like a trick.

Please use that flower decorated glass to ornament my grave.
Real flowers are so wasteful.

I can just spit this on the floor, right?
I mean, it's linoleum so there shouldn't be a problem.*

Vernor's, the Original Ginger Soda

Vernor's is a many storied drink. As soon as I mentioned a trip to Michigan, people started talking Vernor's. Some in the hushed tones used in Dunwich to speak of that which is not to be named, some in the hushed tones of Bible people who can't say "Jehovah". My travel buddy Phredd boasts about how great it is, another guy said he wouldn't wash his brushes in it. After a taste, I can't agree with either of those folks, but only because I don't have any brushes to wash.

First off, it isn't a ginger ale or ginger beer, and doesn't claim to be. It's a ginger soda. The Original ginger soda. I guess making up terms lets you be the original anything. I'm the original "Hoopak Devooloo Hop-Stomper", because no one else has thought to call themselves that. And, like Vernor's, I'm sure it's a stupid enough thing to not attract imitators, making the claim of originality a moot point.

I took a drink of the stuff and became confused. So many insulting things came bubbling up into my head. Unfortunately, those insulting things were the carbonation bubbles of the Vernor's. Each bubble ran up into my sinuses and popped with a little "fuck you" or "fuck you, Tim." Some insulted the vocational school I attended, others made fun of my cats.

"Gack!", I say, "it tastes like nasty bubble gum."

"Tim," says Phredd, "You say everything tastes like bubble gum."

This point I conceded, because A) it's true and B) I'd seen the bad-ass photograph of Phredd being a kung-fu guy with knives. It scared the hell out of me, and I wasn't going to disagree with Phredd over anything at this point. Instead, I saw the angry look in Phredd's eye and quietly choked down another drink.

I didn't say out loud that it even smelled like bubble gum. I can only write this because by the time Phredd reads it, he'll be in Britain and I'll be safe from his kung-fu grip. Unless he can do that karate thing where his arm stretches out super long like the witch doctor guy in that side view fighting game. I'm sure if he could do that I'd've seen it by now, so I'll take my chances. I mean, c'mon, if you could make your arm stretch out super long you'd be doing it all the time, right? I'm safe.

Phredd, can I have a clean glass?
I think a clown shat in this one.

I'll take another chance and ask "Why would anyone bother to drink this stuff?" It's not hideously offensive, but it just isn't good. I think in my confused spluttering I told Phredd it reminded me of deep fried whole songbirds - if you're from them there parts then you love it. I'll add an addendum to the Vernor's and say "you'll love it if your from them there parts and you ain't never known no better."

This is an instance where I want to radio Coca-Cola and call in a saturation bombing campaign on the red states where the sell this ridiculous drink. Please Cola Gods! Hear my prayer! Raise your bloody fist and smite this wicked, backwards beverage! Destroy it with caffeine and corn syrup! Salt the earth from which it sprang! Drive it into the Great Lakes and then set them afire! Do not suffer it to live!

"Tim, drink the rest of that or my Dad won't let you sleep in the house."

My wife likes Vernor's. She told me so this morning. I'm going to go ahead and give in now and take back all the bad things I said about the stuff and say it's great. The best thing I ever drank. Not even God could make a better soda, not even with a spice grinder full of puppies to sweeten it with. Vernor's is the best.

Here officer, here's a drawing of the beast.
He... he did... terrible things... in my mouth...
Yes officer, I made the drawing on my iPhone.
Oh, I dunno, it's okay. I mean I'm glad I bought it
and feel it's worth the extra money, but I feel it could be
better designed. And the batteries don't last that long.
If you look at my soft drink blog you can see that the
built in camera has trouble in low light. I'd recommend
it though. What? Google is coming out with a phone?
How come no one told me this!

*My mouth is extra puckery and puffy because my lip is full of stitches and pus. I wish I could make a face that miserable and pissy looking in my day to day tastings. It is just happy serendipity that I happened to have just had some Vernor's and really needed that ugly look.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Faygo Moon Mist

Trip to Michigan, Part III

Oh sweet door to the past,
I do not even know I stand in your threshold...

This is what Faygo Moon Mist might look like
if it was shot close up and sort of blurry.

That barcode is the soda equivalent of a "tramp stamp".
I hope by mentioning tattoos I will make my blog more popular.
Seriously. This guy gets like a million hits a day and I get
an average of two and half.

That white safety sash identifies me as Hall Monitor. So look out.

There! See it! I'm being haunted by the past.

Faygo Moon Mist

I had to ponder for a bit before I could place the taste of Faygo Moon Mist. It was distinctly different from the Rock Mist soda I'd drank minutes before. There was something haunting about it, something that touched me deep in my earliest memories...

Then I realized it tasted just like Mello-Yello, the feisty Mountain Dew imitator of my childhood. The soda that back alley vending machines would sometimes drop in your hand instead of a Mountain Dew, when you'd have to say "At least it isn't a 7-Up."

Faygo Moon Mist, by far, has the best name of any drink I've tried so far. Moooooon Mist. That's cool, except that the moon doesn't have mist. I read a science fiction story in which the moon had incredibly fine particles of dust which fluffed up under the astronauts boots. These tricky particles then adhered to the astronauts visors via the voodoo of static electricity, putting the poor explorers in quite a pickle. They couldn't just wipe the dust off, as it was incredibly abrasive and would scratch their visors to opaqueness. They couldn't walk home, because the couldn't see. And they couldn't call for help because the author was mean.

I'm sure if those astronauts had Faygo Moon Mist, they could've just poured it on their visors and washed the dust off. The game master would ask, "Wait, do you have Faygo Moon Mist written down on your character sheet?" to which one of the players would lie and say yes. Cheating astronauts. They don't deserve to go back to the moon.

So yes, Faygo Mooooooon Mist tastes like Mello-Yello. But with a difference, albeit a minor one. Faygo Moon Mist leaves a strange, waxy feeling in my mouth, like I'd been eating a candle. A plain, waxy candle, not the kind impregnated with rose petals and crap. Maybe like a candle shaped like a little wizard holding a crystal ball, the kind your not supposed to light but just look at.

Good stuff, if I lived in one of the backwards states that offered Faygo I'd drink this. Except that I don't drink caffeiney drinks, so I would instead slip a full bottle into bed with me and just cuddle it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Rocky Mist, Meijer store brand

Look at that foul "Tradewinds Sweet Tea" skulking in the background. It's the bottle with the blue cap and the garrote.

Hmmm... Concentrated orange juice? Clearly this stuff is healthy.

Rocky Mist, Meijer store brand

I'm going to steal a word from Phredd. "Analog". You'll see this word later in the review, when you do you can know that this word was offered up by Phredd, I use it with his permission. It's a good word, and I appreciate it. Thanks Phredd.

The trip to Michigan was a whirlwind, not a lot of time between the drive and the airplane. I had no car, so I was at the mercy of Phredd for access to convenience stores and Phredd was at the mercy of a merciless clock which knew no mercy. We had to return the rental truck to a Pensky dealership, while Phredd gassed it up I dashed into the station and was met with a wall of store brand soft drinks.

A "Meijer" store is a Michiganish chain similar to Wal-Mart, but apparently without the Chinese collusion. Or at least without the coast to coast coverage. Like all good chain stores, they have store brand knock-offs of popular drinks. Including Mountain Dew.

Back in the day, I used to collect imitation Mountain Dew. I had an impressive collection, but it all wound up in tears so I won't go into that now. Maybe another, braver day I will pry the lid off that coffin and share my pain. Needless to say, I was pleased to find two Mountain Dew knock-offs in the Meijer gas station, one being "Rocky Mist".

Rocky Mist is a pretty great name. Sounds cool and delicious, but not as early morning as Mountain Dew. Rocky Mist you can enjoy any time of day, provided you are in a shady cleft or valley, Mountain Dew you put on your cereal. Whatever you do, don't try to enjoy it with Listerine slime in your mouth, it's not fair to you or the soda.

Rocky Mist is a great Mountain Dew analog (please see first paragraph), smooth and syrupy like a good canoeing river which hasn't been filled with beer cans. Probably better than White Lightning, the Wal-Mart house soda. Rocky Mist does lack something, it doesn't have that delicious bite of Mountain Dew, that electrifying tingle when the MD hits your tongue. But it's good. I recommend it.

My only regret is that I couldn't drink the whole bottle, as I had to get on the airplane in three hours and that much caffeine would've had me running on the ceiling after chewing through my seatbelt.

I don't know if "love" is the proper word here.
I think we need to spend some time apart.

Missed it by THAT much...

One of you bums had to click on thirteen cent ad instead of a twelve cent ad. I'm a penny away from being totally rad.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tradewinds Sweet Tea

Part II of my trip to Michigan:

Tradewinds Sweet Tea, Tradewinds Beverage Company

Having the photo's subject slightly to one side is considered
good composition. This bottle should have been moved
about fifty feel to the left, and smashed against a tree.

I bought this stuff because it was made in Cincinnati, like my wife.

That sixth pair of eyes helps watch for hawks and owls.

Okay, I bought this stuff because I went "Internet Crazy" in a rest stop somewhere in Pennsylvania. "Internet Crazy", as far as I understand, is when people do stupid things that they regret doing in the public realm, then they blame it on the "Internet Crazies" and deny all responsibility. While I think the Internet is usually involved in the Internet crazies, I feel comfortable in using the term in relation to my buying "Tradewinds Sweet Tea", it was a mistake and I deny any wrongdoing. I'm not the asshole here, YOU ARE.

Sweet tea is one of the finest things in the world. When it's good it's great and when it's bad it's often still pretty good. Great sweet tea is bought at good barbecue restaurants, very good sweet tea is bought at White Castle (it's true). Tradewinds Sweet Tea is pretty bad, but still drinkable because of the innate power of sweet tea-ness. The sweet level is a little low, unusual for a drink like this, but the whole thing is plunged into the realm of gross by the syrupiness.

It's sweetened with corn syrup. The flavor element is pretty low key, but the viscosity is completely wrong. It's THICK. It's thicker than a flat soft drink. Tea should be watery in consistency, this stuff is watery in flavor. Yuck yuck yuck. I take back what I said earlier, it's really NOT drinkable. I didn't finish the bottle - it sat in the truck and was passed over by Phredd when he scavenged my Frozen Run Bear Mountain Birch Beer.

On the back of the bottle they have all these assertions about how healthy the stuff is. That it's kettle brewed and full of hippy goodness. Great, kettle brewed sounds wonderful! Believe it or not, I like healthy drinks and I like the idea of drinking healthy drinks. I eat healthy much of the time. It's true. But NOTHING IS HEALTH ABOUT CORN SYRUP! Don't do all this steeping and brewing and sacrificing-to-the-nature-god and then pour in a bunch of corn syrup. Shame on you. Whoever made that decision deserves all the horrible names that their health-minded underlings called them.

I remember the word "flavinoids" being used. Flavinoids are robot mascots the company uses to attract kids. The Flavinoids fly around and make things taste like imitation tea...

Oh man! I almost missed the chance to make a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy reference. My god, I'd've had my install of Dwarf Fortress confiscated. Okay, here goes:

"Tradewinds Sweet Tea tastes almost, but not totally, unlike tea."

I hope I got that right. I'm not going to look it up.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Frozen Run Black Bear Mountain Birch, David Beverage Group

Trip to Michigan, Part I

Okay, so I took a trip to Michigan with my pal Phredd. I rode from NYC to wherever-the-heck, MI with dreams of finding mysterious sodas and bizarre drink concoctions. Images of cheap Coke knock-offs sitting on a banjo-strewn porch, shotgun across the knees. Blah blah blah. So I'm going to do a quick series on the things I drank on this trip. I won't cover the boring stuff, nor will I mention the many trips to the bathroom. I'll certainly skirt the fact that I only tasted a lousy five new drinks. Feh.

So first:

It looks like I smeared the camera lens with vaseline
to make the photo look artsy.
Actually, I just like smearing things with vaseline.

With design work like this, I suspect they used "Ctl-C"
to steal this from the internet instead of "Apple-C".

Phredd took this photo. This is one of those "ethical quandry" photographs:
Why didn't the photographer intervene and help the subject,
instead of merely recording the event?

I am now picking a tree to crash the truck into.
Preferably not a birch tree.

Frozen Run Black Bear Mountain Birch, David Beverage Group

First off, I'm not sure what this stuff is actually called. It looks like the name is "Frozen Run" and it's a mountain birch drink, but then one has to parse out where the "black bear" part fits in. Is it black bear flavored? I dunno. So tentatively I'll call it "Frozen Run Black Bear Mountain Birch". It's also not clear what it's supposed to be, but "birch" usually indicates a "beer", so I guess I'll stick with that.

Nice label, eh? I think black bears are sorely underrepresented on soft drinks, and far over represented on mid-western sweat shirts. Bears, wolves, and "phat" Disney characters should go on a sweater strike. And I think that little bear should have a word balloon saying "I sure hope you folks don't mind a cheap clip art bear".

The back has blah-blah about black bears. I skipped along till the word "aroused" caught my eye. Sadly, it wasn't bear porn of any stripe. Not even bear erotica. Maybe, maaaaybeeee, this might be the sort of thing that a literate bear cub might be aroused by, the equivalent of a twelve year old human looking at a National Geographic to be titillated the topless women. I feel it necessary to say that I always read "Nat Geo" for the articles.

You can see I'm stalling. Clearly there is something here I wish to avoid. Oh yes, opening it up. I guess that has to come next. No way about it.

When you do science like this be sure to wear big dopey goggles.
My big dopey lip is puffed out from dental surgery.

When I finally cracked the stuff open, the car was immediately filled with a smell that Phredd described as "1900s medicine". If 1900s nostrums smelled like "fake birch smell X45", then I agree. I'll give it to the Frozen Run Black Bear Mountain Birch - it certainly had a lot of smell. In that I feel I could give it a run for the money.

But that taste. Oh the taste. My initial sip was overwhelmingly foul, but that wasn't the sodas fault. I was recovering from horrid dental surgery and had to keep washing my mouthful of stitched out with Listerine.

The loyal Listerine sallied forth from a bile fortress to defend its turf from the vile plague of birchy black bears. A Tolkienesque battle was fought, heroes died, but the black bears won the day. Sadly, these aren't Beorn bears, but wicked little Biblical she-bears come to devour the naughty children, then cover my tongue in she-bear poop shot through with child-hair and indigestible plastic toys.

Well, maybe it wasn't as dramatic as that. It's more like the she-bears jumped out and yelled "surprise!" and hosed my tongue down with bubble gum flavored silly string. They realized they were at the wrong house and then skulked away. Seriously though, as each sip hit my tongue the first sensation was overwhelming bubble gum. Go figure. After the bubble gum went away, it was standard birch flavoring with too much fizz.

"Tim," says Phredd, "you say everything tastes like bubble gum."

"Phredd," says I, "why do you hate America?"

With a name as cool as "Frozen Run", I had high hopes for this stuff. The bear theme was neat, too. Overall, this feels like a local bottler dumping a generic flavoring packet into their big soda making machine. They just got lucky and made a cool label.

I'm all for small bottlers dumping flavoring packets into big machines, but I also want that small bottler to go the extra yard. Sugar, my friends. That's the key. "Frozen Bear Run Monkey Mountain" lists "corn sweetener" on its ingredients list. While I'm sure it's just another name for high fructose corn syrup, it sounds WORSE than high fructose corn syrup. My god, it sounds awful. It costs nickels more to add sugar and that wee bit of extra investment puts you head and shoulders above the King Corn Colas. Thats the sort of love that makes me order cases of local sodas from Connecticut, even though it's a stupid waste of money.

At this point I thought the story over. The "Froze Rum Bean Bear Beer" sat in the bear beer holder in the truck, half drank and all shunned. The next day Phredd samples it and declares it delicious. Phredd, as you will see, has a questionable sense of taste. His being a vegetarian, I also question his drinking something made of bears.

But Phredd liked it. Maybe after sitting over night, the overkill fizz dampened down into a more manageable flatness. I'm sure that my near diabetic-sugar-shock spittle mixed in with the stuff and livened it up, too.

To sum this stuff up: If I lived in the distribution area, I'd buy two liters of the stuff to take to RPG game nights. That way I'd have an almost-passable drink which the other players would have no interest in sharing. It's sad that my villainous greed so smothers my desire for tasty drinks.

Here's a "behind the scenes" photo of the magic in action.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Natakhtari Graps

Natakhtari Graps

Funny talk side...

...still funny talk. Except for that typo there,
they wrote "Graps" when they meant "Craps".

In my country, soft drinks drink YOU!

Okay, you got me. Very funny.
What is this stuff really?

The first thing one realizes when the first drop of Natakhtari Graps touches the tongue is that a game is afoot. You have mere moments to chug down the entire bottle before your body begins to react to the syrupy sweet stuff in a negative way, producing .5L bottle sized white blood cells ready to sally out and absorb the beast.

Sadly, I cannot gamely accept this challenge. I must go slow and mull over each mouthful, balanced on the razor's edge of joy and revulsion. This is a difficult drink to understand, and not just because of the funny talk on the label. This is the bastard brother of the Sangria I tasted earlier, its the brother with the oddly shaped head. The brother who plays in the backyard because they won't let him in the front. His sickly sweet smile, well-intentioned though it may be, makes everyone uncomfortable.

I'm uncomfortable drinking this stuff right now. I wish I didn't have to do it. It tastes like grapes, but not the kind of grapes that hang around with the nice kids. It leaves an aftertaste of pure utility, grape shaped footprints that are a little too perfect. Both perfect footprints are leading through the snow and into the dark, dark woods, no doubt leading into a trap.

Know ye, that this is a "drink" and not a soda. There's no carbonation, not even a bit. A little bit of fizz might've gone a long way to help this stuff out. I can't read the ingredients list, so who knows if this stuff is sweetened with sugar or corn syrup or anti-freeze.

Regardless, you know that it is "100% Quality" because the label says so. Good to know. It's also "BEST BEFORE END: See Cap". Also good to know. The cap was unable to offer up any more information about the "END", though. It keeps its secrets well.

I bought this while in Midwood just off the Q train, Di Fara's pizza. A friend of mine took me there and we accounted for one pizza between us. Amazing, amazing pizza - a little burned, really oily, etc. Wandering around the Jewish neighborhood afterwards, I found this and some other drinks that went in the refrigerator, filed away for the future. The man behind the counter told us Natakhtari is a Georgian drink, which immediately made me feel bad. But not as bad as the drink itself did.

I can't read the label, but I'm glad they included a little picture
of a guy throwing this crap away.

In cartoons it's funny, in real life not so much.
(screen capture stolen from here)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Coca-Cola Slurpee

Coca-Cola Slurpee from the 7-11

The Double Gulp cup.
Just the thing to impress they ladies.

This is how much Slurpee I consume
between the 7-11 and home.
I'll need to start taking two cups.

The only fault of the Double Gulp sized cup.

It's like that shaft Luke Skywalker fell down
at the end of the Star Wars movie.

"Why? Why do you keep annoying me with these stupid soda photos?
There's not even a joke here!" shouts Buck the Cat.

Oh, Coke Slurpee, we've had a long and tumultuous relationship. I loved you, you know. Then you betrayed me.

It was sometime in the mid-90s. Probably 1995 or 96. I know we were still on speaking terms in 1994, during that tough Kansas City winter when I made it a point to bring a Slurpee to my college classes any day it was below twenty degrees. That was a lot of Slurpees, all of them delicious.

My Slurpee intake dropped after I moved out of the swiss-cheese illegal warehouse in which I was living and into a proper apartment nearer my school. A 7-11 was no longer convenient to my daily travels. It may have been months before I realized The Change had taken place.

One day I bought a Slurpee and it tasted terrible. Like a Coca-Cola scented candle, like a Sweettart version of "cola". The next Slurpee and the next were identical, apparently a recipe change had taken place. Panicky letters were written to 7-11 HQ, no response. No response? Yep, not even a form letter thanking me for buying at 7-11. My heart was broken.

I left Kansas City and wound up in NYC. 7-11s were rare here in the late 90s, maybe nonexistent. I was still drinking Slurpees, rarely, on my trips to the Midwest. Each was a disappointment, the Change was still holding strong.

During these sad times, a friend of mine showed me a trick of cutting the Slurpee with regular fountain Coke to get the flavor closer to something palatable. It was such an obvious trick that I claimed to have always known about it. It helped, but there was still a cloying hint of Bed Bath and Beyond about the drink. My soul was dark and cloudy, I could not shake a deep seated feeling of betrayal.

One day, though, a second Change. Perhaps a reversion. A return to normalcy, maybe something new and better. The old Slurpee taste is lost to history, but this new taste, this third taste was better than ever. It tasted like Coke again, but BETTER than Coke. It was sweeter than Coke, it didn't taste burned and foul. Even the melted Slurpee sloshing in the bottom of my cup/bucket was delicious!

My lost love had returned with the soft drink equivalent of a breast enlargement.

Back on the road with the Coke Slurpee, there are some things to know:

  1. You still cut it with straight fountain Coke. Fill the Slurpee up half-way, add about a seconds worth of Coke from the nearby soda fountain, and then top it off with more Slurpee. Don't try to add the fountain Coke with the Slurpee dome lid on, that's a recipe for heartbreak - the nozzle of the dispenser won't fit into the opening. Don't add the fountain Coke first, as the liquid makes its way down to the bottom anyway, plus its fun to add the Coke to the Slurpee mass and watch it bubble back up out of the mess like a volcano.
  2. You can mix other Slurpee flavors in with your Coke Slurpee. I used to do cherry. Go crazy. I'm not sure if the other flavors still taste like crap, though, so be careful.
  3. It's obvious, but make sure you top off the Slurpee with the dome lid on. I've watched people fail to do this. Ignorant, ignorant people.
  4. Nowadays you can keep your Slurpee cup and get a discounted refill. This helps ease my conscience, as I make it a point not to buy plastic soda cups. Now I buy one and get to use it all I want. Actually two, one for home and one for the studio. Be careful carrying the empty cups in a bag, they can break.
  5. This is important. Slurpees settle. Fill the thing up and then spend a few minutes wandering around the store. Get some nachos, watch the hot dogs and meat things roll on the rollers, admire the pretty lottery tickets. When you return your Slurpee will be several inches lower in the cup, more if you added fountain soda. We cannot let 7-11 gyp us out of good Slurpee so top off and head for the check-out.
  6. I think that in all of New York I am the only person taking advantage of the refill offer. If your getting a refill expect suspicious glances. Be strong. Also be ready to get hassled. I use the 64 oz soft drink cup for Slurpees, this is apparently against 7-11 policy. A loosely enforced policy, though. If they didn't want Slurpees going into a Double Big Gulp cup, why do the dome lids fit? I sometimes get scolded over using the big cup, and threatened about having to pay more. The secret, of course, is that I don't care about paying an extra twenty-five cents if it saves me from wasting a new plastic cup.

So do it. Go buy a Slurpee.

Slurpee trivia: In Australia, the 7-11s I saw there had generic "cola" Slurpees with a small "c". No Coca-Cola Slurpees there. They tasted great, though.

This is a second Slurpee my wife brought me
because I am miserable with dental surgery.
It was practically prescribed by a doctor.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Old Jamaican Ginger Beer, Ting Jamaica

Old Jamaican Ginger Beer, Ting Jamaica

If I'd known it was going to be as good as it is,
I'd've been more careful making the picture.

I think I can see God.
Or at least a guy with a beard.
Oh wait, that's just me.

Don't let the boring, out-of-focus bottle fool you, this stuff is incredible. Forget all about that molly-coddling, vegan-appeasing, sugar-free Reeds stuff, this is the real thing. How the hell can you have a Jamaican type soda without SUGAR. Jamaica IS sugar. Of course, this particular bottle was made in Canada, but no doubt under Jamaican overseers.

This stuff is sweet and burney, like crystallized ginger. In fact, this is exactly like liquid crystallized ginger. It even has that flat cardboard taste that ginger gets when it isn't stir fried. But good cardboard. It's so sugary that the residue on my lips tastes sweet when I lick it off. Normally the stuff I lick off my lips is a little more salty, and shameful.

Towards the middle of the bottle the sweet shock has worn off and the hot is building up. The heat lingers in the back of my throat, like syphilis after a night in prison. But in a good way. A happy way. A "let's try that again and this time I won't struggle" way.


Filtered water
Natural and artificial ginger flavors
Gum arabic
Citric acid
Sodium Benzoate
Carbon dioxide

This is the first drink I've seen that lists water and carbon dioxide separately.

We can learn from this stuff too, the bottle says:

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) A perennial herb of the ginger family considered to be a native of tropical Asia, the tuberous rootstock has been used as a spice and in medicine from very early times as an aromatic stimulant.

That's one big sentence. A big old sentence worthy of this rocking beverage. Properly sugared up I could write sentences that long but this stuff is so great, I couldn't possibly do it justice, no matter how long my run-on sentence.

Of course, it isn't a Bundaberg, but what ever could be?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Plantation Style Mint Julep, Natrona Bottling Company

It makes me uncomfortable just having this stuff in the house.

Wife, drink this.

This stuff is "Plantation Style". I'm not quite sure what that means, but I locked up my overseers whip just in case I got out of hand after a few swigs. Can't be too careful. I can't imagine buying this in the store, either. I'd have to have it delivered to my house in plain brown packaging.

Now, I'll admit I've never been on a plantation, but I think it takes more to evoke the atmosphere than: Carbonated water, Sugar, Flavor, Citric Acid and Color. That's a pretty funny ingredients list. "Flavor" and "Color" don't really belong there, they aren't specific enough. It might as well say "Ingredients: Flavor, Color, Wet". Seriously folks, we need more information.

And I've got to say that whatever they use for "Flavor" doesn't quite do it, and maybe it hasn't yet earned that coveted title. It tastes like weak 7-Up drank right after I brushed my teeth.

I'm not really pro-Disney, but one thing they do right are Mint Juleps. My good friends Brian and Becky took me to the Disney place in Los Angeles and bought me a mint julep drink there, it was incredible. I was so happy with it that they bought one of the big bottles of the syrup and sent it to me as a gift. Sadly I didn't know it was syrup and took a big swig directly out of the bottle, I almost died. I staggered around holding my throat, gagging, but still marveling at how delicious the stuff was.

That was good, gagging aside. This stuff isn't so good, it's too weak. My wife likes it, though, which means I'm wrong. It's delicious.

Anyone whose ever played the game Puerto Rico
knows why I'm showing this image. "Colonists" my eye.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Loux Sour Cherry

Nothing on the label lies,
as nowhere does it say "delicious" or "palatable".

This looks like the beginning of a Disney movie
about three likable ragamuffins trying to find their way home
against all odds. I hope it's a snuff film.

Lacking any other worth,
the sour cherry dances for nickels in the street.

Loux Sour Cherry Drink

First off, this bottle of Loux is hardly carbonated. Barely a tingle. That was the greatest shock, and it managed to confuse away my trepidation at the "sour cherry" element of the drink. It tastes watery, but not flat, but still very sour cherry.

Sour cherry. Soooouuurrrr cherrrrrrrry.

I've never cared for "sour cherry" anything, putting it right next to "spoiled nectarine" flavor-wise. What the heck is sour cherry supposed to mean and why do these heathenish foreigners love it so? It's a common flavor in Polish boxed juices, as well. Does some secret, unholy Greco-Polish alliance exist? Are they plotting to reinvent college wrestling? Will a swarthy foreigner stumble against me on the streets of Providence, slaying me with a poisonous needle in order to keep this foul secret hidden?

I dunno about this stuff. The first drink was pretty good, the next drink was better as I got over the shock of there not being any carbonation. The third drink started the slide downhill, now I'm not sure if I'll be able to finish it. I'm a cheap fat fuck, and for me to not finish something is the biggest indicator of "bad" I can think of.

The stuff does get a thumbs up for its ingredient list: Carbonated water, natural sour cherry juice, sugar, citric acid, and only two preservatives. Not bad. I mean, it tastes CLEAN. It goes down easy, I just don't want to let it get there. And I don't like the way it hangs around in my mouth, I'll need a drink to wash out the drink.

Yeah, I don't think I'll be drinking this again. Even in the baby 11 ounce bottle it's more than I can handle.

Edit: Okay, fifteen minutes after writing this, I'm feeling a little ill. This stuff is way TOO sweet, way TOO syrupy juicy. I'll stick to Haloumi cheese from the Greek market, thank you.

Haloui is the best. I use it to make Polish style "Knopki" sandwiches: A cross-wise slice of french bread, butter, salt and pepper, a slice of haloumi, a slice of tomato, maybe a slice of radish. Hell yeah. Make about ten of the little fuckers and eat them all up, it rocks.