Archive for the ‘ Beverages ’ Category

Private Selection Holiday

Two reviews in one day! Woohoo! (Ok, well, a review and a half, but who’s counting?)

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a big fan of Private Selection products in general. I usually find that they are at least comparable in quality to name brand items, with a much better price. And in fact, I’d like to start this post off by mentioning two PS products I enjoyed this holiday season that were not part of this bzzCampaign – their premium hot cocoa mixes, and the spiral sliced glazed ham. The cocoa mixes come in four flavors – double chocolate, mint, caramel sea salt, and cherry cordial -and they are all delicious. I recommend the variety pack, though if I had to pick a favorite, I’d go with mint. I will be drinking a lot more of this winter staple in the next few months. As for the ham, I enjoyed it at my Mom’s house on Thanksgiving. It was juicy and delicious, and didn’t feel cheap or fatty like a lot of hams do. My Mom commented that it was one of the best hams she’s prepared, and was even better than the Honeyglazed she usually gets.

On to the bzzCampaign.

As a part of this campaign, I received a bag of Costa Rican Tarrazu coffee and a box of Water Crackers in the mail, as well as coupons for a free jar of olives, a free package of sliced deli cheese, and a free jar of pasta sauce. I also got a coupon for $0.75 off three greek yogurt containers. The coffee was okay. It was a little darker than what I usually get and was pre-ground (I usually grind my own) but I do regularly buy and enjoy other PS coffee flavors. They have a very good selection. I don’t eat olives, but my husband does, so I picked up a jar of garlic-stuffed olives (mostly for my own amusement.) I can’t comment on them in detail, but he mentioned that they were generally good, but the garlic was a little powerful. I saw him use them in an omelet with picked green tomatoes this morning. The crackers were fine. That’s all you can really ask for from a cracker that’s meant to play second fiddle to whatever topping you’re using as an appetizer, so I guess it served its purpose. I had some at a Christmas party with a variety of toppings and it went well with all of them.

I picked up the Herb and Garlic cheese slices. I was hoping to try the Buffalo Monterrey Jack, but my store didn’t carry that variety. The cheese was good, but the herb flavor might have been just a smidge overpowering. I used it on some turkey burgers to help kick the flavor up a bit, and it was excellent. I also picked up the Roasted Garlic pasta sauce variety (can you tell I like garlic? So much so that I want everyone else to eat it, too!) but oddly enough, I found that it tasted and smelled kind of vinegary, even though that’s not listed as an ingredient. It is a thinner pasta sauce, so if you like your sauce chunky (like I do) you may find it a bit lacking.

I also picked up some of the yogurt while I was in the store – and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why they package it the way they do, with the fruit partitioned off they way they do with crunchy toppings. It makes sense with crunchy things that you don’t want to get soggy, but it’s just annoying when you have to scrape the fruit into your yogurt, and then stir it in. Why not just put it on the bottom like everyone else? The flavor was fine, I tried Cranberry-Pomegranate and it was not too sweet or tart, but I just can’t get past that mind-boggling packaging.

All in all, I was mostly impressed with the offerings and will definitely be buying some of them again in the future.


Family Night With Kroger®

This is kind of a strange name for a campaign, but it’s all about bringing your family together for a fun and inexpensive evening at home. My family consists of myself, my husband, and a two-year-old toddler, so late nights and crazy parties don’t happen so much anymore. I actually enjoy snuggling up on the couch with a DVD on these days anyway.

That considered, we didn’t make a “family night” with these Kroger products, but we enjoyed them anyway. The BzzKit came packed with a bag of Tortilla Cupz (cup-shaped tortilla chips, Kroger’s version of  Tostito’s Scoops) and a bottle of orange starfruit Vitamin Enhanced Water, along with coupons (including two for free frozen pizza and frozen fruit bars.) I drank the vitamin water right away, because I’m the only one in the house that will drink it. My husband thinks they taste like chewing up vitamins. I don’t normally drink artificially sweetened drinks, so I wasn’t crazy about the zero-calorie vitamin enhanced water, but I do think they have a good flavor variety (peach and blackberry and black and blueberry are also available), and didn’t expect that from a generic beverage. I’ll probably stick with my name brand Vitamin Water though, unless Kroger comes out with a non-diet variety.

We all enjoyed the Tortilla Cupz. We ate most of them with some really garlicky hummus. My son devoured them! The pros: they stand up well to dipping and are great for scooping up lots of salsa or dips. The cons: I thought they were overly salty  (but I”m a little sensitive to salt), and they are sort of an awkward size – too big to eat in one bite, but kind of difficult to bite in half.

The pizza was your standard rising crust frozen pizza – we got pepperoni, and added lots of veggies and some feta cheese on the top. The pepperoni was well distributed (I hate when you take a frozen pizza out of the box and the toppings are all frozen together in a clump on one side.) It baked up fine in our oven. Not much to say about it, but nothing bad!

The fruit bars  have a nice flavor variety to choose from. We picked the pomegranate kind, and they had a great mouthfeel (not super soft, like pudding pops, but not hard ice like popsicles). They were also not too sweet or too tart, and of course, they’re way easier to eat than an actual pomegranate! The size was spot-on too, and left my sweet tooth satisfied without feeling like I ate too much sugar.

Be. Wines

Let me start off by saying I vastly prefer red wines to white or blushes, so that definitely has an effect on my opinion of this brand. I was a little disappointed when I found out that Be. wines only come in four varietals, each branded with a mood: Chardonnay (Fresh), Pinot Grigio (Bright), Pink Moscato (Flirty), and Riesling (Radiant). Oh well, I’m not one to turn down wine, so I went to the store with my $5 rebate in hand, hoping to pick up a bottle of the Pinot (lesser of four evils?) The first store I went to, Giant Eagle, didn’t even seem to have it in stock. That’s not the only place I do my grocery shopping though, so I checked Kroger the next time I went out to buy food. They only had the Pink Moscato left in stock (everything else was sold out) so I picked that up and set it aside for a rainy day (or girl’s night!)

I had a little sticker shock when I saw the price – $16.99? Unless it’s a special occasion or for someone else, I rarely buy wines outside of the $10 range. There are lots of decent wines at that price point, so I expect a lot out of a bottle if I’m spending more. Luckily it was on sale for $7.99, bringing the cost to about $3 after the rebate. Definitely worth a trial at that price.

Last week we went to a cottage with some family members, one of which also happens to be a BzzAgent (with her own bottle of Be. Pinot Grigio to share.) We cracked open the Moscato. First impression – wow, this is sweet. Cloying. It tastes like melted lollipops. Not my style, but after drinking a majority of the bottle, I did find myself feeling a little Flirty. Is that how this is supposed to work? We tried the Pinot next, which was drier and much more to my liking, but my taste buds were a little compromised after the first bottle. Maybe if we had the Pinot first, I would have been Bright enough not to drink so much of the Moscato. Or do they mean Bright as in shiny? Either way, I wish someone had brought along the Chardonnay, because I certainly was not feeling very Fresh the next morning.

This BzzKit came with Be. branded mints, a mirror, and lip gloss. I actually feel a little insulted by the marketing of this wine. As a woman, do I really need my very own wine, with cute matching moods and stylish bottles at an inflated price? Isn’t wine already mostly marketed to women anyway, without the need to pigeonhole us into some vapid stereotype?