Saturday, December 9, 2017

Orange You Glad I'm Posting Reviews? - Root Beer & Orange Crush Pop-Tarts

Root Beer & Orange Crush Pop-Tarts - Ollie's Bargain Outlet
Limited Edition Pop-Tarts, unlike Oreos, are pretty low-risk when it comes to writing food reviews. I can easily recall a few failure/nightmare Oreo products that haunt my tastebuds to this day, but when it comes to Pop-Tart flavors, I have no regrets. 
Even the slightly more risky flavors, like Maple bacon were pretty great! I liked them so much that I bought several clearance boxes for my at-desk snacking needs. Unfortunately, Pop-Tart's winning track record is now being put to the test with these new Soda flavors.
...a Tinder themed comic? Really, Pop-Tarts? 
Hot soda-flavored pastries do not sound like a good time, but in my humble foodie opinion, root beer is the worst offender. This isn't the first time a grocery baked good has tried to push Root Beer as a flavoring, a few years back both Oreo and Chips Ahoy! released Root Beer Float themed cookies, and I hated them. That's right! I said "hate." 
I never got around to posting my Root Beer Float Oreo review, because I put them off for so long that they weren't relevant anymore. I actually ended up throwing them away, but here are some photos as proof that I had them ready to review and everything!
You guys know how frugal I am, and how much I hate wasting food, yet I chucked those things in the trash and never looked back. THAT was how much I hated Root Beer Float Oreos. (Also, not sure if I've ever written that I hate a product/flavor before on the blog. It's a day of firsts!) Root beer flavoring needs to stay in hard candies, sodas, and adult beverages where it belongs! (Stay in your lane!) I guess this must be an unpopular opinion, because here it is again! In Pop-Tart form. (Along with the less-risky but still not mouthwatering-sounding Orange Crush.)
Without further delay, and fear of me chickening out and tossing these into the trash like it's Oreo brethren, here we go! 
First up. Orange Crush. (The safer of the two.)
Orange Crush is the Pop-Tart no one ever asked for, but it's actually quite enjoyable. 
The crust and icing layers are classic vanilla (with a squiggle of orange colored icing), so all the orange soda flavoring in contained in the bright red-orange colored filling. Smell-wise, it's sweet, zesty, and mild. Very mild. Like barely orange-y at all. As always, first I'll try it raw, right out of the box (my normal way to eat Pop-Tarts) then toasted. 
To my surprise, there's nothing soda-like about it. No attempt at carbonation, or popping candy mix-ins, just a mild orange pastry. It's surprisingly breakfast-y, like eating a slice of toast with marmalade, and I like it way more than I ever thought I would. It's not something I fell in love with on first bite, but after finishing the first pastry I found myself excited to eat the next one.   
Toasted, the orange pastry smells more tart, like a hot glass of orange juice. Which is not an improvement. I took a bite, and it's not lost all it's marmalade-like charm. The crust and icing benefit from toasting, since it makes them more flavorful, but the filling suffers.  
In the end, I'm a big fan of the raw Orange Crush Pop-Tart, and would actually buy another box of these for breakfast on the go, but I recommend eatting them right out of the box. 
Here we are, no avoiding it, time to eat a Root Beer Pop-Tart, and worse-yet, toast it! (The horror!)
Unwrapped, it doesn't smell as bold as I'd expected. Un-toasted, this has a sweet, mellow, root beer aroma that makes me think of flat soda and pie crusts. Far from mouthwatering, but I'm not recoiling in horror (yet.) Something I noticed right away is that the crust is a tannish-brown color that's different from the usual chocolate Pop-Tart base. Maybe it's flavored? There are also tiny red-brown sprinkles that are giving me Maple Bacon Pop-Tart vibes, and I kind of dig that. Perhaps this won't be all that bad? 
When eaten raw (untoasted) the filling is oddly thick and molasses-like, much thicker than other Pop-Tart flavors, and the flavoring is thankfully mild. It's not as bold and obnoxious as I remember the Oreos being, but I still don't like it. 
I don't really want to take another bite. The filling is thick, with a slightly grainy apple-butter-like texture, but with a mild root beer flavoring and not much else. I'm also detecting some licorice notes in there, which is a flavor that has grown on me in recent years, but not enough to salvage this toaster pastry. 
Ug, I have to try it toasted. Bleh...
Actually. the toasting process makes the smell a lot more pleasant. It's more molasses-y and brown sugar-like than it was right-out-of-the-package, but there is still a flat- root-beer like aroma that is putting me off. 
After taking a bite I've decided that it's honestly not that bad. Toasting helps the sugary icing and crust overshadow the filling just a bit more, making this more enjoyable, but the second you're finished the root beer flavoring starts to take over in the form of a sad, slightly medicinal, root beer after taste that just won't go away. I gave it a shot, and the final verdict is: these are gross. 
Who is this mystery consumer market targeting? I can't even give these things away to friends and family. I tried putting these in my family's lunch-station (full of stuff to put in lunches for work/school) and someone opened a package, ate part of one Root Beer Pop-Tart, and put them right back in the box. 
Pop-Tarts finally has a "flop-tart" worthy of their little cartoon doodles, and it's got Root Beer written all over it. 
Orange Crush is surprisingly okay though, and I'd actually like to see it stick around.  
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