Archive for April, 2009

2007 Bandit Merlot

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

“What is thisthe Generalissimo asked when I handed him the container.

“It’s called wine.”



“But the container…”

“I know, I know. It’s not a box in the way you know and love them, but it’s still box-like.”

“But, where is the spout?”

“It’s got a screw cap.”


I unscrewed the top and poured him a glass. “Give it a shot.”

He stared at the glass, his lips curled into a frown that matched the curve of his mustache. He picked up the glass, tentatively bringing it to his nose. He sniffed.

2010 Kia Soul

Monday, April 27th, 2009

I wasn’t expecting much from the Kia Soul when I got to the dealership. It’s a cool looking car, with its trendy box shape (you think Volvo might go back to it now?), squat stance, and a greenhouse that looks like a nice pair of sunglasses. But it could have been oh so much more.

We drove the base model, because that was the only one they had with a manual transmission. It was black, the interior was basic, and the engine was gutless. Not a big deal. But they several others on the lot with better packages. The Soul+. The Soul!. The Soul sport.

Bon Appetit cheese croissant

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

I like creativity. I applaud it, even. But some formulas should not be messed with unless you’re a professional. And the people at Bon Appetit are…not.

The idea probably seemed like a good one at the time. Take a croissant. Everybody loves croissants. Add some cream cheese filling. Everybody loves cream cheese filling. Then put it in a package.

Um, aren’t we forgetting something here?

Yes. FROSTING!!! I know, it’s not advertised as a cheese Danish, and can therefore ignore the formula, but come on. To be even mildly successful, you need good ingredients. The croissant wasn’t bad. It wasn’t nearly flaky enough, but the moisture was pretty good. The flavor was unimpressive, which shouldn’t surprise me. Anything purchased at a gas station should come with some kind of warning, unless the fact that you BOUGHT IT AT A GAS STATION wasn’t enough of a hint.

2009 Scion xB

Monday, April 20th, 2009

The Scion xB’s styling has always struck me as something a five-year-old would design: lots of right angles and a profile only a cardboard box enthusiast could love.

But looks, as they say, can be deceiving. Lurking under the cubist exterior is enough interior space to host a banquet. Yao Ming wouldn’t run out of headroom in this car. Er, truck. Minivan. SUV? Maybe minus the Sport part of the acronym. A mobile office space for urban professionals who can’t afford a car payment and rent.

Acceleration won’t snap your neck, but the handling isn’t bad. Sure, it feels really, really wide, almost ponderous, but it never threatened to topple, even when the Generalissimo decided to give it the old Scandinavian Flick.

2007 Bota Box Pinot Grigio

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

This was my first foray into the exciting world of boxed wine, and the Generalissimo insisted we start off with something simple: a 2007 Bota Box Pinot Grigio.

Thank God.

My wine palate is a lot like my finger painting palate: minimal, trending toward the mundane, with an odd fascination toward anything showcasing shiny colors and smelling faintly of vanilla.

The Pinot Grigio was fine. It smelled like wine, tasted like wine, and didn’t burn my throat on the way down. The box said it “has rich aromas of tropical fruit and citrus which perfectly complement its light, crisp flavors of pears and peaches.” Um, okay. All I tasted was a slightly sweet wine with undercurrents of mediocrity and a light dusting of alcohol.

“It has the nose of a much younger woman, with extracts of nutmeg and allspice!” The Generalissimo sniffed his glass like he knew what he was doing.


“I certainly hope so!”

“And the taste?” I asked.

“Tastes great! Less filling!”

“I meant—”

“I can taste the ocean! And the subtle aroma of misplaced keys, interrupted by an incandescent effervescence of intransigence!”


“I like it!”

“Effervescence of intransigence?”

“Indubitably! I give it six mustaches!”

“Out of?”

“Out of petty cash!” He drained his glass and went searching for the box. Again.

I’ll give it a:


2009 Mazda 3 5-door

Monday, April 13th, 2009

This one was a head scratcher. It didn’t help that we drove the Mini Cooper half an hour later and saw how a small hatchback should be done.

The car is good value for money at a base price of $19,295. The front seat was a little snug on my oversized butt, which really shouldn’t cross it off your list. The sunroof was small and the trunk will only hold one body with the seats up (2-3 with them down). The headroom was fine. Rear passenger space is small but okay for short trips or short people, your choice. It had four cup holders up front, and four in the rear, though I can’t imagine ever remembering to use the ones in the door panels.

Tina’s Lemon Cheese Turnover

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Tina’s Lemon Cheese Turnover is not a cheese Danish. Let’s just be perfectly clear on that before we continue. Tina’s makes Danishes, but I have been unable to find them. Don’t think this means I’ll stop.

The first thing you’ll notice is the total lack of frosting. Yep, that’s minus ten points right there. Then there’s the lemon filling. It’s not very good. It also looks (from the outside of the package) that there’s enough filling in this thing to give me diabetes. Nope. And it’s not very good. It’s sorta sweet, but lacks punch. It’s all rather bland. Same with the read. It’s smooth and soft, with some moisture, but not lots. And the flavors, when combined, create a giant ball of nothing.

2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

Monday, April 6th, 2009

The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is the answer to a question no one was asking.

The basic two-door Wrangler is an institution. Few cars can take you anywhere for so little money. It’s not flashy; it’s not meant to be. The interior is cheap but functional. The dashboard has what you need and nothing more (unless you spring for the navigation system, which sorta defeats the purpose of “getting lost” off-road). It’s not a car you’d take to the opera, but to an amphitheater ten miles from the nearest road.

There’s plenty of cargo room. Plenty. Fit and finish are less than stellar. The steering wheel wasn’t on straight. The passenger door wouldn’t close without slamming. It drove well enough, but the stick shook in my hand under acceleration off the line. Speaking of which, the Unlimited wanted more gas from a standing start than my right foot wanted to give. I’m ashamed to admit I stalled it twice. I had to rev it well above two-k to get it going. Yeah, not gonna happen on a daily basis with EPA estimates of 15 city/19 highway.

Wal-Mart cheese Danish twist

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to feed a small family, then this is the way to go. If you’re looking for a refined taste experience, keep walking…

“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” the Generalissimo barked in my ear.

I hadn’t heard him come in. No big surprise there. “So you liked it?”

“Not really!”

Didn’t think so. It’s not that it’s a bad Danish; it’s not. It’s just not a good one. The bread is okay. The texture is less traditionally flaky, but still pretty good. In fact, I’d say it’s the highlight of this Danish. The taste was bland. The moisture was there, but not in quantities to overcome the lack of flavor.