Saturday, October 31, 2009

Duane Reade 'Delish' Taste Test: Scrumptious Brownie Bites

Looking a bit like meatballs, no?

Ok. Today's taste testers are me and the BF. No cat again today - chocolate is no good for felines.

I'm a little annoyed already (surprise face) because they have a 'best before' notice on the package...but clearly they don't label the freshness at the point of packaging. They wait until it gets to the fucking store and then JimBob or whoever tags it with a sticker gun with whatever date they feel like.


Sorry, my iPhone camera was zeeking out and not focusing. But you get my point: 'Best Before' has no date next to it. Sticker loosely posted on the packaging says 11/28/09. Therefore, if it's dusty, stay the fuck away from them.

On to the tasting. There are only four to a package, which isn't so bad, but I was surprised. Maybe because whenever I'm ready to eat brownies, there's a tray involved.

BF: Hmmm...not bad. Ok wait, there's a funky aftertaste.

Me: Yeah, like I sucked on a nickel and then ate a brownie.

BF: Yeah, like an alkali taste (note: BF is supersmart, so him referencing 'alkali' is not me padding the story).

Me Checking the Ingredients: Holy shit. Egg, Corn Syrup, Cocoa Powder - PROCESSED WITH ALKALI! Ew.

Me Eating Another: You just have to keep eating them to get rid of the aftertaste. That's how they getcha.

Final vote: 0 for Duane Reade, 2 for IHDR.
Star rating for the hell of it: 2 stars out of 5.

Next up will be Chocolate Chunk cookies I'm bringing to a Halloween party. Will be good to get a group opinion.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Duane Reade 'Delish' Taste Test: White Chocolate Drizzles

Alrighty - today's taste test is all about taking something relatively healthy, like a multigrain rice cake, and slather some chocolate all over it. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

In this case, we're tasting white chocolate multigrain DRIZZLES. Fo-shizzle. Why there's a fork and knife bookending the plate on the packaging, I'm not too sure. Is this a meal replacement? Should we be using utencils? Are Drizzles considered fine dining-zzle?

My judges are my piano teacher, Doug, and the BF.

Doug was with me when I opened the bag and took a deep sniff. What. I sniff my food. Stop judging me. Anyway, the odor whooshing from the bag was overwhelmingly maple-y. Like a maple fart.

So Doug tried it first and although he was initially put off by the 'scent,' he said he liked it. Ok - one for Duane.

The BF tried it just now and said 'Not bad.' Right. Two for Duane.

My turn. Hey, these aren't as horrifying as their moniker (which, by the by, is reminiscent of Dad trying to be 'hip' and 'withit' at my 13th birthday party). Think rice pops with a little white chocolate, but crunchier.

Damn Duane 3, IHDR 0. That's ok - they're pretty good. I wouldn't rate them up there with my current obsession, which are Sweet and Sour Twizzlers. But I'd grab them if I was craving a sweet cereal-like treat.

Final vote: 3 Duane Reade, 0 for IHDR
Star rating for the hell of it: 4 1/2 stars out of 5

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'm Gonna Vom...Duane Reade Launches Upscale Makeup Department

Are you kidding with this?

MSMPR 24 Seven has posted a pretty in depth photo montage of Duane's new powder room in their new Herald Square location. Will you take a look at this wide shot and tell me you see our friendly-neighborhood DR Cashiers manning this shit? Seriously.

I'm all for saving money, but this is yet another 'dress on a cockroach' situation.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Duane Reade 'Delish' Taste Test: Cashew Crunch

Tonight's treat is DeLisH's All Natural Cashew Crunch. I'm feeling pretty optimistic about this one because for me, you can wrap a cashew with fiberglass and I'd still eat it. The bar's pretty low.

Before we start, let's look at the marketing:

'These crunchy little morsels are Slowly Dry-Roasted [why are these capitalized?] with a pinch of sea salt, lightly glazed with sweetness, then lovingly [...] packaged to guarantee freshness.'

Isn't that precious? Oh and check out the HEALTHY BENEFITS:
  • All Natural
  • 100% Vegan
  • Gluten Free
  • Kosher
  • Wheat-Free
  • Cholesterol-Free
  • No Preservatives
  • Dairy-Free
  • Contains No Peanuts
Are we still eating food here?

Alright, enough jibba-jabba. Judges are just me and the BF tonight - can't really feed the cat sugared cashews. Anyway, we're digging in.

Boyfriend: Hmmm...that's nice. Like the roasted nut cart on the corner, but nice. It's clearly not health food. But I'm surprised...definitely not the rice cakes from Hell.

Me? Yeah, I like it. It's really pretty good. Damn you, Duane. You win this round.

Final vote: 2 Duane Reade, 0 IHDR.
Star rating: 4 out of 5 stars. (Come on, Ed McMahon didn't give these out lightly, so neither am I.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Duane Reade 'Delish' Taste Test: Spudzz

I'm taking one for the team and reviewing some of the 'food' 'products' Duane Reade has to offer. You probably have seen their new line of food stuffs called 'Delish'. FYI: there is already a food website run by MSN/Hearst called Delish, but I guess the DR really won't be competition, b/c it's not like they're going to suddenly have a nationwide boom for their overpriced cranberry juice. But I digress.

Today's taste testing: Delish Spudzz Sea Salt Baked Potato Chips...wait is it DeLISH? Oh jesus jump down, RaNdom cApitaLizati0N wILL g3t YoU nowherE, Duane.

First off, I try not to eat anything with two 'zz's in the name. Can you hear my eye roll?

Secondly, can we talk about the phallus?

Ok now the judges: Me, of course. My unsuspecting boyfriend who doesn't know he's going to be participating. And Chloe, the calico cat. Hey, I needed an impartial third judge and she has a better palette than I.

Boyfriend: Rice cakes. Salty rice cakes.

IHDR: 'Would you eat them again?'

Boyfriend: 'Well, that's different from saying I'd buy them.'

IHDR: 'Well would you?'

BF: 'Nah. Wait, they're baked...that explains some of it.'

Ok my turn. I know, guys, that I'm supremely biased. But, I like baked chips, so this may turn in their favor.

OH f*ck my lawn these are HORRIBLE! oh, jesus, it's like...Ok, you know when you make instant mashed potatoes from the box and you have to drown it in butter to get rid of the manila folder taste of it? Yeah, like that, but no butter.

Last up: Chloe.
Sniff test. She's taking her job very seriously.

Not sure...

She crunched it a bit, but really just liked the salt.

Final vote: One for Duane, Two for IHDR.
Star Rating for the hell of it: 2 out of a possible 5

Let me know if you guys try this stuff. Am I crazy or do these serve us better in skeet shooting?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Oh Dear.

I know I'm not the first one to discover the magic that is 'Potted Meat Food Product' or 'generic Spam'. Hell, there's even a tribute page dedicated to the damn thing.

Really shouldn't be surprised there's a section of Duane Reade dedicated to canned meat. But wow. Wanna know the ingredients?

Ingredients: Mechanically Separated Chicken, Beef Tripe, Partially Defatted Cooked Beef Fatty Tissue, Beef Hearts, Water, Partially Defatted Cooked Pork Fatty Tissue, Salt. Less than 2 percent: Mustard, Natural Flavorings, Dried Garlic, Dextrose, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite

I won't ruin you completely by telling you what mechanically separated chicken is. You can put on your vomit bonnet and read for yourself.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Letter to the DR - Sounds Familiar, No?

'A L' wrote in today and was kind enough to share a letter sent to Duane Reade. I think we've all been there. Pretty sad, actually, that pretty much every DR customer has faced this situation at least once. And good point here:

"You can make as many superficial changes as you want, whether you change your stores' layout or redesign your logo."

Agreed. Talk about 'lipstick on a pig' (ugh, and I hate that I think of Sarah Palin when I say that) can dress up your hip new store, Mr. Reade, but with sub par customer service? You're not fooling anyone.

Full letter:
"I really have to commend you all at Duane Reade. How you manage to stay in business despite poor prices and nonexistent customer service is a testament to your stunning business acumen. I salute you. I've been a customer at various DR stores throughout the city and if there's one particular trend I've noticed is that you all hire the worst, or shall I say greatest, derelicts and degenerates for your staff. The fact that I can buy the same items at CVS, Target or even Bed Bath and Beyond at the same or cheaper prices does not even bother me so much as your staff who are often outright rude and/or totally inept. I don't think these are isolated incidences but a problem across the board. This, however, will no longer be an issue for me as I plan to never step foot inside another Duane Reade again.

Today I was in one of your stores, located at 42-28 Main St., and I could already tell that the lone open cashier serving the line that was 6 or 7 customers deep was going to provide me with another memorable Duane Reade Shopping Experience. I watched this esteemed employee get irritated with a mother who decided she no longer needed the extra can of baby formula. After waiting a good 10 minutes, as 3 or 4 other employees were idling nearby, it came my turn to check out. Not only did your esteemed employee return my Duane Reade card by tossing it on the counter as I held my hand out, he practically threw the change in my hand, causing all the coins to drop. Nary an apology or attempt to help pick up the coins. Meanwhile, his manager Carlos, who was also idling nearby after voiding the previous customer's purchase, watched without uttering a word. This is a typical shopping experience for myself and all the customers who have ever shopped in this store.

You can make as many superficial changes as you want, whether you change your stores' layout or redesign your logo. The real problem lies in the fact that you are consistently losing customers due to noncompetitive pricing and your mentally deficient employees. So it does not surprise me now that your company is drowning in debt or that your corporate leaders are in hot water with the law. From the top down, you all suck."

From what I'm told, it's been a year since this letter was sent and no response from our friends. I would recommend the customer service Twitter feed...but they haven't written shit since May.