Review: Erewhon Cinnamon Crispy Brown Rice Cereal

Erewhon Cinnamon Crispy Brown Rice Cereal Box

How has there never been a Cinnamon Rice Krispies cereal before?

Okay, technically there was an Apple Cinnamon Rice Krispies in the mid-’90s, and I’m sure it tasted like a rad, cracklin’ apple crumble. But a full-blooded, spicy-sweet Cinnamon Rice Krispies cereal? Nope: there’s no mention of that in my cereal history book.

But we all know it should exist! I mean, just sprinkle the crumbs at the bottom of a Cinnamon Toast Crunch bag over your next bowl of Rice Krispies, and I’m sure you’ll agree that Snap, Crackle, and Pop should have joined forces with Wendell, Bob, and Quello years ago.

Thankfully, we don’t have to rely on Kellogg’s flavor alchemy wizards for a cinnamon-infused crisped rice cereal. Erewhon—a cereal manufacturer I had never tried before today—has a gluten-free product to fit this incredibly specific breakfast niche. It’s called Cinnamon Crispy Brown Rice, and with a name like that, this cereal needs a trio of cartoon dwarf mascots named Smack, Crinkle, and Pep.

Who said originality is dead? Continue reading

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Review: Oreo O’s Cereal (South Korea)

South Korean Oreo O's Cereal Box 2016

In the distant future, when all food is eaten in pill form and my great-grandkids ask me to describe the magic of breakfast cereal, I’ll oil my cyborg jaw motor and tell them about Oreo O’s.

I’ll tell them about the 10 glorious years America spent eating those cookies ‘n’ creme flavored rings. I’ll tell them about Oreo O’s 1997 introduction, orange-sprinkled Halloween Oreo O’s from 2000, and 2002’s marshmallowy Extreme Creme Taste Oreo O’s. I’ll captivate them with tales of sunglasses-wearing milk glob mascots who closely resembled PSY from Gangnam Style.

Then there’ll be a brief intermission as I explain what the heck Gangnam Style was. Seriously: I don’t know how it got over 2 billion views either, children of the future.

Then I’ll tell them about the tragic 2007 discontinuation of Oreo O’s. I’ll pause to build suspense, and then I’ll tell them about the legal loophole that allowed South Korean food manufacturer Dongsuh Companies Inc. to keep producing Oreo O’s as the rest of the world mourned the loss of milk’s favorite cereal. With my own eyes glistening, I’ll tell them about the E. coli contamination that forced Dongsuh to recall Oreo O’s in 2014, as well as the two-year Oreo O’s drought that followed—known globally as “The Second Dark Ages.”

But then I’ll finish with the story of Fall 2016, when an unexpected tweet from a Korean food account alerted me that the dawn of a new age was upon us. Continue reading

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Review: Kellogg’s Limited Edition Frosted Caramel Apple Pop-Tarts

Kellogg's Limited Edition Frosted Caramel Apple Pop-Tarts Box

I’ve never considered bobbing for Pop-Tarts before, but after trying Kellogg’s new Caramel Apple Pop-Tarts, I’m ready to fill a 19th century wooden bucket with water and pastries and dive in headfirst.

But before I take my triumphant Olympian plunge, let’s set the stage.

After years of dominance, pumpkin spice is starting to lose its novelty. There are only so many things you can cram ginger and nutmeg into. So like an autumnal retelling of Star Wars, apple-flavored snacks have started a quiet rebellion against the Pumpkin Empire. And I like to think that Caramel Apple Pop-Tarts are their heroic Luke Skywalker.

Luke Apple Piewalker has quite the origin story, too. While these Tarts were only formally announced about two months ago, we first leaked an early release image of them way back in April. Back then, searching for “caramel apple pop-tarts” just made Google think you were drunk.

I wondered whether these neon-squiggled rectangles would ever see the light of day, but I’m happy to say that they have. And now they’ll get to see the warming light of my toaster, too. Continue reading

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Review: Trader Joe’s “this pumpkin walks into a bar…” Cereal Bars

Trader Joe's "this pumpkin walks into a bar..." Cereal Bars Box

“They’re called cereal bars, okay? It says it right on the box! I promise, I am not a monster!” I shout to the non-existent critics who haunt my nightmares and claim that my breakfast cereal blog has strayed too far from its flaky roots.

I’m not going to feel bad about reviewing Trader Joe’s conversationally named “this pumpkin walks into a bar…” pumpkin breakfast bars, because A) It’s the witching season so there are no rules and B) I already reviewed these bars’ little brother, Pumpkin Spice Nutri-Grain bars, so I want to compare the pair.

Note: I call Pumpkin Spice Nutri-Grain the little brother not just because TJ’s bars have existed longer, but also because of each bar’s respective aesthetic. Trader Joe’s pumpkin bars seem like the hippy college student who dropped out to join the Peace Corps, while Nutri-Grain bars feel like the 1st grader who’s still making fuzzy spiders out of pipe cleaner pieces.

While you digest that mental image, I’ll start digesting this “this pumpkin walks into a bar…” bar. Continue reading

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Review: General Mills Count Chocula Monster Cereal (2016)

Count Chocula Monster Cereal 2016 Box

I feel like I’m giving a toast at Count Chocula’s wedding. I mean, what is there left to say about an old friend who has been by my side nearly my whole life? Am I right, folks?

I definitely remember having a box of the Count by my elementary school-aged side during those otherwise dismal autumns that heralded the return of homework and playground bullies. And this fanged friend reliably returned year after year like a bloodthirsty Santa Claus. It doesn’t matter that General Mills’ annual Monster Cereal news in late August is like a new Fast & Furious film announcement: we all may know it’s coming, but we still collectively lose our minds anyway.

The only bad part about Count Chocula & Friends’ yearly visit is that they must at some point leave us. And even though the Monsters’ departure from shelves is more of a slow bleed out (I’ve found Boo Berry in close-out stores through late July of the next year) than an abrupt goodbye, Monster-less November mornings are nonetheless marred by a few milky crocodile tears.

So this night’s for you, Count Chocula: may your marriage to the Countess be happy. But enough sentimentality—just because I’ve reviewed Count Chocula cereal before doesn’t mean I can’t make it my fall tradition. Who knows, maybe I’ll taste something I missed before.

Let’s free these chocolate ghosts from their plastic sarcophagus. Continue reading

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Review: Quaker Breakfast Flats Golden Raisin Cinnamon Breakfast Bars

Quaker Golden Raisin Cinnamon Breakfast Flats Bars Packaging

“Gimme a fat stack of phat Breakfast Flats, STAT!”

Now that Quaker’s new-for-2016 Breakfast Flats—which come in Cranberry Almond, Banana Honey Nut, and Golden Raisin Cinnamon—are on shelves, you probably hear that phrase around all the time.

Or more likely, you’ve probably never heard it, since I just made it up. Plus, no one has used the word “phat” since the Taft administration. He was the raddest, coolest president, after all.

All William Howards aside, a fat stack of 3 plastic-wrapped Golden Raisin Cinnamon breakfast bars sits in front of me. Full disclosure: the main reason I’m reviewing these is because my loving grandmother gave them to me as a thoughtful gift, knowing how much I love Raisin Bran.

So this one’s for you, Grandma. Time to make you proud by photographing sticky glazed raisin rectangles. Continue reading

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Super Cereal Time with Gabe Fonseca!

Player 1, please press start. Because we’ve got a heck of a cereal adventure ahead of us.

But I’m not talking about Chex Quest—though I always wish that I am. No, I just want to share the latest videos from cereal high scorer Gabe Fonseca’s Cereal Time YouTube series. On every episode of Cereal Time, Gabe dives into his personal breakfast archives to share the history and continued legacy of cereals both famous and obscure.

And this time, he’s pulling an arcade cabinet classic out of his cereal cabinet.

The first video we’re sharing is about Pac-Man Cereal! There’s something so magical about video game cereals (it’s actually a topic I had the chance to write about recently!). Whether it’s the way they infuse neon-tinged nostalgia into every piece or the way their sugary taste pairs perfectly with secret late night gaming sessions—don’t crunch too loud, or Mom will hear—video game cereals are like distilled geometric bits of pure childhood. Continue reading

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Review: Kellogg’s Limited Edition Chocolate Frosted Flakes with Skeleton Marshmallows

Halloween Chocolate Frosted Flakes with Skeleton Marshmallows Box

The world would be a much happier place if there were skeleton-shaped things in every food.

Spaghetti with skeleton meatballs. Pistachios with skull-shaped nuts inside every shell. Or here’s a really crazy one: chicken wings with actual bones in the middle!

Wait: one of those things is not quite like the others. But it doesn’t matter, because the point is that Kellogg’s newest Halloween cereal is Chocolate Frosted Flakes with Skeleton Marshmallows. It’s the logical next step up from this summer’s Frosted Flakes with Marshmallows, because when you’ve already paired a sugar-coated cereal with concentrated bits of sugar, the only way to make it sweeter for the sweetest season of the year is to add another glaze of corn syrupy malted cocoa.

At this rate, Kellogg’s will be selling Frosted Flakes with complimentary maple syrup bottles and sugar beet seeds in every box by the time Christmas comes around. Continue reading

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