Kale Soda Exists, and It's Surprisingly Tasty

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JK Grence
"With real cane sugar". How considerate.

The Guilty Pleasure: Hansen's kale-flavored soda.
Where to Get It: Your favorite natural foods store, as long as their buyer has a sense of humor.
Price: Three or four bucks a six-pack.
What it Really Costs: Lucy, you got some 'splainin to do! (Also, as with any soda: Whoa, lots of sugar!)

I'm somewhat grateful that Peak Kale has passed. The cruciferous green was once relegated to decorating salad bars. Then, kale became a wondrous superfood. Kale salads, kale chips, questionable kale smoothies, you name it.

The insane demand for kale has waned somewhat in recent months. But there's still the occasional outlier who thinks that kale should go in something where kale shouldn't really be.


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Little Caesars Introduces Pretzel-Crust Pizza

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JK Grence

The Guilty Pleasure: Pretzel-Crust Pepperoni Pizza.
Where to Get It: Little Caesars, locations everywhere.
Price: Only six bucks.
What it Really Costs: Say cheeeeeeeese.

Little Caesars has been one of my favorite guilty pleasures for quite some time. Thanks to modern technology (read: warming cabinets), you can walk into a Little Caesars with five bucks (plus tax) and walk out mere seconds later with a hot pepperoni pizza. At that price, it sure as hell isn't Bianco's, but at that price, what did you expect?

While their business model seems to be working fairly well, it's still a good idea to get a boost every now and again. To do this, Little Caesars jumped on the pretzel-as-bread bandwagon that chichi burger joints got going last year.

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Arby's Secret New Meat Mountain Puts All the Meats on One Bun

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JK Grence
Good luck wrapping your lips around all that meat.

The Guilty Pleasure: The Meat Mountain
Where to Get It: Arby's, locations nationwide (participation may vary)
The Price: $10
What It Really Costs: It's a doozy, but not quite as bad as you think.

I'm stunned by the existence of a new off-menu item at Arby's, the Meat Mountain. As the story from the company goes, Arby's stores put up a poster displaying all of the different meats they use, attractively stacked in one very tall pile. People took a look at the poster, and said they wanted one of that. Never mind that the poster was just for looks, the giant stack of meat had to be theirs.

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Hostess' Strawberry, Banana, Chocolate, and Blue Raspberry Creme Twinkies: A Taste Test

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Lauren Saria
Hostess has taken a cue from Oreo and released four new flavors of Twinkies.
The Guilty Pleasure: Hostess' Summer of Twinkies flavored Twinkies
Where to Get It: Walmart
Price: $2.50 for a box of 10
What It Really Costs: Having irreversibly greasy fingers for the rest of the day

Like so many others, I felt a little twinge of panic when Hostess announced it was going away for good in 2012. At that time I genuinely wondered about whether life would be the same without the Twinkie. Would our kids grow up without knowing the beloved American snack? Of course the crisis was averted and in July 2013 the Twinkie returned to convenience store shelves -- it was really the only fitting ending for a snack that's known for its everlasting powers.

But this time around Hostess is doing things differently. They aren't about to let the Twinkie slide back out of America's culinary consciousness. They're going to be a hip, cool brand. They're going to be like Oreo, with an array of flavors for customers to choose from.

Enter, the Hostess Summer of Twinkies.


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Jack In The Box Now Sells Croissant Donuts -- And They're Pretty Damn Good

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Lauren Saria
They're not bad. Not bad at all.
The Guilty Pleasure: Croissant Donuts
Where to Get It: Jack In The Box
Price: $1.99 for 3 pieces
What It Really Costs: The torture of going to a Jack In The Box drive-thru and screaming the words "one order of Croissant Donuts" at a speaker. Probably more than once.

Ah, you thought the Cronut craze was over didn't you? Well, you're wrong. It's just that it's taken quite some time for the trendiest pastry ever created to crawl down the food chain and land at the bottom on the bucket: Jack In The Box.

As of last week the California-based fast food chain is serving its own take on New York pastry chef Dominique Ansel's world famous Cronut -- though of course, Jack can't actually call it a Cronut because Ansel trademarked the name a while ago. And while Ansel's busy trying to continue dominating the baking world with absurd new creations like the Peanut Butter Pretzel Lobster Tail (psh, whatever), I'm busy pigging out on cheap Cronut rip offs.


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Lay's "Do Us a Flavor" Taste Test: Mango Salsa, Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese, Wasabi Ginger, and Cappuccino

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Lauren Saria
We got some pretty strong reactions to this year's Lay's "Do Us a Flavor" contest chips.
The Guilty Pleasure: Lay's Do Us a Flavor Contest Finalists
Where to Get It: We found all four varieties at Target
Price: Ranges from $3.79 to $3.79 per bag
What It Really Costs: From what we can tell, no one will like all four flavors so you're going to have at least two unpleasant experiences while taste testing.

You might remember the first time Lay's did the "Do Us a Flavor" contest -- you know, the thing where millions of regular people get to submit ideas for chip flavors and then Lay's picks finalists, makes them, and allows the public to vote for a winner.

Well, it's back. And this time, the flavor finalists include Mango Salsa, Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese, Wasabi Ginger, and Cappuccino. New to this year's contest is a variety of chip styles. So while the Cappuccino and Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese flavors come on classic Lay's chips, it's the kettle cooked Lay's that get the Wasabi Ginger treatment and wavy Lay's that are coated with Mango Salsa seasoning.

Anyway, here's how they taste.


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Starbucks Fizzio Handcrafted Sodas Don't Suck (And Now You Can Have Coffee Soda)

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Lauren Saria
Starbucks new sodas are refreshing -- and caffiene-free -- summer drinks.
The Guilty Pleasure: Starbucks Fizzio Sodas
Where to Get It: Test markets, including Phoenix
Price: $2.45 for a Tall
What It Really Costs: The shame of frequenting the Starbucks drive-thru (don't lie, you know you do it)

Late last month, Starbucks unleashed its newest product on 16 states in the southern US including our own. And if you've been paying close attention, you won't be that surprised to know that the new addition to the coffee chain's menu is handcrafted sodas.

The company has been testing a line of carbonated drinks in certain markets for some time now but still hasn't announced when the drinks will be available nationwide. I'll admit I had reservations about the prospect of fancy Starbucks sodas (especially since I usually stay away from soda unless it's paired with vodka or tequila).

But after a few tries, I have to admit, they're pretty good.


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Irish Reuben Egg Rolls at Rosie McCaffrey's: The Perfect Mess-Less Drunk Food for an Irish Pub

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Lauren Saria
The Guilty Pleasure: Irish Reuben Egg Rolls
Where to Get It: Rosie McCaffrey's
Price: $9
What It Really Costs: A few hours of sauerkraut breath

It's practically scientifically proven than when you're drunk you crave food that involves two things: cheese and a deep fryer. In most situations a good plate of cheese sticks will do, or maybe a greasy slice of cheesy pizza.

But when you're at an Irish pub drinking Irish beer, only one thing will do: Irish Reuben Egg Rolls.


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Churros Rellenos de Cajeta de Cabra: Who Needs a Churro Ice Cream Sandwich?

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Lauren Saria
The Guilty Pleasure: Churros Rellenos de Cajeta de Cabra
Where to Get It: Barrio Cafe
Price: $12
What It Really Costs: Who cares? It's delicious

Ok, Phoenix. Last week we told you about the awesome-est sounding thing ever, the Churro Ice Cream Sandwich. In case you missed it, they're really happening right now in Los Angeles, specifically at Churro Burrough, where you can fill you churro sandwich with an ice cream flavor of your own choosing.

At first we were thought, "What? I can have a horchata ice cream sandwich with deep fried cinnamon sugar dough as the bread? Amazing!"

Then we realized we didn't need to make a pilgrimage to the City of Angels because we've got the best churro-ice cream combo right here in our own city.


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Filiberto's Burritos Might Not Be the Best, But They're 24/7 -- and Not as Unhealthy as You Might Think

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Heather Hoch
Sometimes reliability is all you need in your burrito.
The Guilty Pleasure: Bean and Cheese Burrito with Sour Cream, Rice, and Potatoes
Where To Get It: Any Filiberto's location
Price: $7.01
What It Really Costs: Strange Glances at the Drive-Thru Window

It's nice to eat local and organic, but after one too many drinks on a Friday night, the prospect of going home to a near-empty fridge and assembling something from fig jam and kale and whatever else you have yet to eat in there is just sad. If you can just swallow your food snob pride for a minute, Filiberto's will make sure that you never have to go home alone after a party.


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