Alcohol Hit-Or-Miss News

Zima Has Officially Returned To The United States, Now Being Sold At Wal-Mart

It’s been more than a year since I tracked down the whereabouts of Zima to Japan. Since then, only rumors that the popular, lemon-lime adult beverage of the 1990s would return stateside.

Well, thanks to Zima’s distributor, Molson-Coors, the clear malt beverage has returned to the United States, and is currently being sold at Wal-Mart.

A Wal-Mart Communications representative confirmed through email that Zima is, “hitting shelves at Walmart stores now,” in a “limited edition” release.

On May 20, Zima’s Facebook page changed their cover image, confirming a national reintroduction, “on or before July 4th.” Talk about patriotism.

As the return of Zima spreads 90s nostalgia to the masses, Zima aficionados must be aware that unlike our unfading memories of Zima, this national reintroduction of the alcoholic beverage will not last forever.

“We’ll sell as much as we have, but when it sells out, its gone,” according to Wal-Mart communications.

However, if the U.S.’s Zima supply runs short this summer, there are alternatives in the form of this proxy service that will ship internationally. They hit me up on Twitter —  because they probably think I’m obsessed with Zima. I might be.

Hey, cheers ‘Murica.

Opinion Sweets Tastemade/Snapchat

The Timeless Treaty of Jolly Ranchers

A photo posted by Jo Earle (@joanna_earle1) on

I recall loving Jolly Ranchers as a kid, but never buying them with my allowance or making it my one-candy choice when my parents took us tiny doofuses to the movies. Jolly Ranchers were sort of like this gift from adults. They always seemed to have them on hand.

My grandparents had them when they felt too wild for caramels, usually in the summertime. My principal had them in her office, though I only got to eat them when I was there for a good reason. And it was more or less a universal strategy by my teachers, doctors, and babysitters to shut me up, since snacking on those treats felt like an exhausting several-hour endeavor for my little motormouth.

But Jolly Ranchers weren’t flashy, a surprise move for a multi-colored snack. There wasn’t some loud, psychedelic talking animal wearing a sports jersey trying to kickflip his way into my tiny heart, pressuring me to buy his damn candies (which, I assure you, I loved at the time).

Maybe I only noticed that because it seemed like Jolly Ranchers were the one candy that everyone of any age could agree upon. My young love of Raven’s Revenge was way too much for my grandparents, and their darling black licorice wasn’t even close to enough for me (I still find it infuriating, actually).

“… so maybe these harlequin handfuls that older ladies and gents used to give me were their way of keeping nostalgia shining bright with their passing of the torch.”

That universal approachability of a snackable color spectrum likely had to do with the classic candy’s creators, a warm, friendly married couple.

The Jolly Rancher Company, founded by Coloradans Bill and Dorothy Harmsen, made ice cream and chocolates in addition to candy. All of their products were originally sold at local Ranch Maid Ice Cream stores and killed it in the summer, but struggled in the winter.

The company came into existence in 1949, when the United States was settling into backyard parties and Sunday drives, so maybe these harlequin handfuls that older ladies and gents used to give me were their way of keeping nostalgia shining bright with their passing of the torch.

Even the name Jolly Ranchers itself — a tender evocation of western hospitality — was a sign of that attitude: cherished offerings from a mom-and-pop operation that started out by making treats in their farm’s barn.

From there, the company grew and evolved, later purchased by Hershey in 1996, ultimately branching out into a whole score of jazzy hybrids, like jelly beans, lollipops, and popsicles.

But I remember those candies for what they were in my youth, a treaty for the ages — the right amount of sugar most adults trusted me with, the minimum buzz I was willing to take. It was the slow nod of give and take, the beautiful product of a bygone era.


Our Tumultuous Relationship With FRUIT GUSHERS

Fruit Gushers, hexagon-shaped fruit snacks that “gushed” with a thick sweet fruity liquid every time you bit into one.

Where Did Gushers Come From?


Ask The Red Gushers, Tumblr

They’ve been around since 1991, and came packaged in pouches just slightly puffier than a condom. Within each package came a handful of Gushers, little quarter-inch hexagon-shaped gelatin casings with thick juicey liquid in the center.

We all remember the box:



The Mean Streets Of Middle School Lunch Areas

Gushers had a ubiquity in the school lunch snacking circuit. Memories of tearing open the packages to find a block of Gushers that always seemed to have gotten stuck together.

When I was in junior high, my time with Gushers involved diving into my sack lunch in hopes of finding a pack hidden underneath my pita sandwiches (Lebanese mom) and glass Perrier bottles (Lebanese dad).

If it wasn’t my lucky day at the bottom of the paper bag, I’d immediately have to get my bartering skills on. I’d scan the lunch tables looking for stray smiles with gusher residue still on their teeth.

When I spotted someone, I’d prey. How about this Perrier for some of those Strawberry Splash Gushers? No? Well, how about this tuna pita sandwich for your Tropical Variety Pack? Oh you have an undeveloped palette and tuna grosses you all-the-way out? That’s cool, can I still have a Gusher though?

They weren’t the healthiest snack, albeit they were “made with real fruit juice” and maintained an “excellent source of vitamin C,” but my mom read through that propaganda early on. I wasn’t allowed more than a pack a week in my lunch, which made me savor the sweet juices all the more.


Where Are They Now?

My tumultuously up-and-down personal inventory of Gushers seemed to parallel the real world battle the snacking industry felt as soon as more mothers began reading the nutrition labels.

In 2011, a class-action suit was levied against General Mills suggesting that their fruit snacks, Fruit Gushers included, was guilty of deceptive marketing for suggesting their fruit snacks are, well–fruity. You mean that exploding geyser of fruit liquid on the Gusher packaging isn’t 100% fresh squeezed Strawberries?!

Reality set in, and even though General Mills tried to get the suit dismissed, general perception set in and folks were now aware that very little real fruit, if any, was actually in these deliciously gummy and messy morsels.

Gushers are very much still available at grocery stores (and in monster packs on Amazon), but you won’t find them in the check-out aisle. They now sit just a bit lower out of eyesight, both in the stores we frequent and in our general consciousness.

I still love you Gushers.


A Frozen SURGE Could Be Coming to Burger King

UPDATE November 4,  6:20 p.m.: If you take a look at Burger King’s updated nutritional information for November, 2015, there’s already info provided on the Frozen SURGE in 12, 16 and 20-ounces. Right above that is another 90s nugget that might make you freak out with nostalgia in the Vault soda (Not frozen, apparently.)

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 6.08.11 PM

An anonymous tipster sent us an internal document showing that Burger King might be planning to debut a frozen SURGE drink from November 16 to January 31.

Yes, we’re talking about the same cult-classic Surge that was discontinued back in 2003 and has made a recent comeback.

Mostly for nostalgic purposes, Surge had fans urging the radioactive-looking 90s drink to make a comeback and now that is available in stores again, it looks like Burger King is jumping on the chance to make something awesome with it.

Here’s a photo with specific instructions given to the Burger King staff on how to get the frozen Surge operating. It sounds like they’re just going to do a quick swap with their pre-existing frozen drinks:


Burger King stores will have the Surge product sent to them by November 15, and it looks like they’re probably getting Surge promo items sent as well:


Burger King has not made any official announcement, and it could just be a test run at a few specific stores, but hopefully we’ll all be enjoying a Surge brain freeze later this November.


Photorealist Artist Creates Incredibly Realistic Paintings of Snacks and Comics


I have a tremendous respect for photorealist painters. To capture on a canvas what many people fail to capture through a photo takes incredible talent. When I discovered Doug Bloodworth created a series of paintings combining two of my favorite loves, he immediately jump shot to the top of my list of artists.

Through oil-based paintings, Bloodworth formed a theme of vintage snacks paired with old-school comics and funny books. The Florida painter definitely knows how to hit the nostalgia bone.

Using grids and a blank canvas, each piece can take Bloodworth more than two months to complete. The end product, however, is absolutely worth the time spent. Check out some of his paintings below.

Comics-Snacks-Quik-PeteComics-Snacks-Angel-PeteComics-Snacks-Pie-PeteComics-Snacks-Hulk Comics-Snacks-WonderWoman-Pete Comics-Snacks-Superman-Pete

Picthx Doug Bloodworth


Lee Marshall, the Voice of Tony the Tiger, Dies at Age 64


“If God ever wanted to make a speech, Lee Marshall would get the call,” former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda observed.

Lee Marshall, one of the iconic voices behind Tony the Tiger, died of esophageal cancer on April 26 at Santa Monica Hospital, according to the LA Times. Marshall was 64 and is survived by his  son Jason Marshall VanBorssum, wife Judie, stepdaughter Eve Borders Ottis and granddaughter Kate.

Tony the Tiger’s famous line, “They’re grrrreat,” became a nostalgic piece of our childhood, something we heard while watching Saturday morning cartoons and remembered every time we spotted Frosted Flakes in the grocery aisle. Marshall took over for the original Tony, Thurl Ravenscroft, when he passed away in 2005.

Often, strangers would recognize Marshall’s voice and ask him to “do” Tony, said his friend and former KRTH-101 colleague Tom Kelly. “He wouldn’t do it with children around,” Kelly told LA Times. “He was very protective of Tony’s image.”

While no official statement has been made on who will continue the role of Tony the Tiger, whoever is chosen will most likely need to carry on the character’s classic “basso profondo” — deep bass — roar.

Fast Food

Oversized McDonald’s in Peru Lets You Relive Your Fondest Childhood Memories


Remember the good old days, when we were too small to talk or buy anything so instead we’d point and sooner or later, those things would just magically appear in our hands?

A McDonald’s in Peru remembers. In an effort to help adults see the world through a child’s eyes, the Lima-based location hired local advertising agency Fahrenheit DDB to install too-tall ordering counters, forcing guests to look up and point out their orders. Workers also handed out colored balloons to giggling customers, who, sadly, still had to pay for their food like grown-ups.

Now if only they could make an adult-sized Play Place . . .

Picthx Design Taxi


Taste-Test: Ranking the Best Grocery Store Mac and Cheese


While restaurants around the world trick out macaroni and cheese with truffle oil or dumb it down into hamburger buns, true mac and cheese fanatics know there’s no place quite like home.

The mac that most people remember fondest came from a rectangle box with a powdered flavor packet that should never be tasted on its own, unless you’ve always wanted to ingest a neon orange lump of sodium phosphate. Mac and cheese has come a long way since then, as evidenced by the results of this taste-test of eight top national brands.

This may shake your macaroni and cheese beliefs to their cheesy core.


The contenders: Velveeta, Kraft (Monsters University edition!), Annie’s, Back to Nature (Crazy Bugs!), Quinoa, Mrs. Leeper’s (…gluten-free), Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods 365.

Half of the recipes called for added butter, while the rest listed it as optional. But everyone knows when it comes to butter, optional means mandatory. Mmm, a stick in every spoonful!



Ranking: 8th

Brand: Quinoa Mac & Cheese

Cheesiness: 1 — It doesn’t even taste like cheese, it’s more straight up pasta. It’s as if the macaroni shampooed itself with cheese sauce and washed it off. All that’s left is the smell.

Artificial flavor: 5 — The flavor had hints of paper and sterilizer, but was so neutral that it earned average marks.

Pasta: 3 — The sauce formed to the macaroni, giving it a rough texture that was pretty horrid. It didn’t have an aftertaste; it had an aftertexture.

Overall flavor: 2 — This is an embarrassment and shouldn’t even be called mac and cheese.

Final score: 2.75 — DON’T EAT THIS, EVER.



Ranking: 7th

Brand: Mrs Leeper’s Gluten-free Mac & Cheese

Cheesiness: 4 — Creamy and full of flavor up front, but with highly diminishing returns. Each bite tastes less cheesy.

Artificial flavor: 6 — Turmeric and paprika do a good job of masking the artificial flavors until the stainless steel aftertaste overpowers them.

Pasta: 1 — Definitely the worst. Their slogan “keeping the taste in and the gluten out” is only technically accurate. It didn’t keep consistency at all. Damn you, rice flour!

Overall flavor: 2 — The fakeness of the pasta took center stage, detracting from a decent cheese flavor.




Ranking: 6th

Brand: Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Monsters University Edition

Cheesiness: 2 — Not cheesy at all. The sauce doesn’t envelop the macaroni, it just tastes like it’s been dipped in cheese water.

Artificial flavor: 3 — An overwhelming chalkiness that tastes like childhood, though it’s nothing like those knuckle sandwiches you used to eat.

Pasta: 6 — Cute, but you can’t really tell what these are supposed to look like. The added surface area gives it a chewy mouthfeel that helps make up for the lack of creaminess.

Overall flavor: 3 — Mostly water with a hint of cheese.




Ranking: 5th

Brand: Trader Joe’s Organic Shells and White Cheddar

Cheesiness: 3 — Although this uses real cheese, it’s lacking in full-bodied flavor and never reaches true creamy heaven. Also, white cheddar mac is the equivalent of Diet Coke.

Artificial flavor: 3 — Surprisingly astringent and harsh given the organic nature. Bitter cardboard aftertaste.

Pasta: 6 — Thicker, higher quality pasta. Nearly hearty enough to be a meal.

Overall flavor: 4 — The pasta is really the main event, but when you do get a rare pocket of pure cheese it makes for a satisfying bite.




Ranking: 4th

Brand: Velveeta Shells & Cheese

Cheesiness: 6 — The only non-powdered cheese tested, Velveeta lived up to its reputation for explosive creaminess, making for several blissful bites. Downside: the thicker cheese was quick to harden and overburden the macaroni.

Artificial flavor: 6 — You can taste a bit of the metallic packaging and an overwhelmingly synthetic dairy finish.

Pasta: 3 — Way too flimsy a vessel for such a full-bodied sauce.

Overall flavor: 6 — This is what your childhood tasted like on days when mom splurged at the grocery store.




Ranking: 3rd

Brand: Whole Foods 365 Macaroni & Cheese

Cheesiness: 4 — Strong mouthfeel with real hints of cheddar, but lacking a creamy spark.

Artificial flavor: 7 — When you exhale (make sure not to wait, à la Angela Bassett), you don’t get that metal feeling. It’s smooth like a nice Merlot.

Pasta: 7 — Soft, enjoyable texture. Lots of give.

Overall flavor: 5 — Solid all around, but lacking that X Factor.




Ranking: 2nd

Brand: Annie’s Shells & Real Aged Cheddar

Cheesiness: 7 — The creaminess lights up your mouth. You can really taste the aged cheese, which will ensure this won’t stay on your shelf for long.

Artificial flavor: 8 — There’s a bit of a sour, moldy kick that earns it high points for cheese authenticity.

Pasta: 8 — The shells were just firm enough to support the powerful cheese flavor. Near perfect balance.

Overall flavor: 7 — The real cheese is a game-changer, but some MSG would really take it to the next level.




Ranking: 1st

Brand: Back to Nature Crazy Bugs Macaroni & Cheese Dinner

Cheesiness: 10 — This is what you’re looking for. So creamy and rich, you just want to keep it in your mouth for awhile before chewing. Tastes decadent. You could cover actual bugs in this and we would eat them.

Artificial flavor: 9 — The box proudly boasts no artificial preservatives or flavors. This is like the white whale of mac and cheese.

Pasta: 8 — Even the insect gimmick really works well here, giving the creamy cheese tons of extra pockets to hide in.

Overall flavor: 9 — It’d be easy to walk right past this in the supermarket and think it’s nothing more than a stale, eco-friendly mac alternative that only moms in Lululemon would buy. But think again! This is the total package. Perfect cheese, no harsh taste of science, and a cute-but-functional pasta vessel. The kicker? Proceeds benefit the Nature Conservatory, so your next mac and cheese dinner is basically a charitable donation.


Kudos Thrillist