May 27, 2011

Yves Good Dog

Oh no - it's time for another hot dog review! This time, it's Yves Good Dog.

I may have mentioned before that I like to cut up hot dogs to add to my macaroni and cheese from-a-box. It's something that dates back to my childhood. Fond memories and all that. So perhaps these had a pretty high standard to live up to.

I really enjoyed the heck out of the corn dogs that Yves makes, so I was hoping for the best with the naked dogs. I followed the directions as carefully as I could, since I've gotten slammed before for making things up. I put them in a bowl of water (had to cut them in half to get them to fit properly while submerged), covered the bowl with a plate, and microwaved them for one minute. They were making all kinds of crazy noises in there, but I just kept going. When I pulled them out, they were nice and hot, but also weirdly blistered-looking. I guess real-meat hot dogs do that too, so I moved forward.

I sliced off a chunk to taste it, and discovered that the texture was pretty similar to a real-meat hot dog. It even had a bit of resistance in the skin. As it cooled, however, it started to get really tough and chewy which wasn't fantastic, so if you eat these, be sure to eat them quickly.

Flavor-wise, these weren't too bad for a veggie hot dog. I don't think they had a very hot-dog-ish flavor, but judged on its own merits, it wasn't too bad. I tried it with a little ketchup, and it was a little better, but mostly because I could taste the hot dog less. I ended up eating a little bit more with dollops of ketchup, then just eating my mac & cheese without the veggie dogs. Not a perfect substitute when the flavor is critical to the experience. On a bun with some potato chips on the side, I bet this would be perfectly adequate.

The experience:
Texture - pretty similar to a real-meat hot dog when hot, but got tougher and chewier as it cooled
Flavor - if you've never eaten a real-meat hot dog before, you could probably really get into this version - it's not bad

Final grade for this attempt: C

May 20, 2011

Trader Joe's Organic Tofu Veggie Burger

This week, it's another veggie burger: Trader Joe's Organic Tofu Veggie Burger. I cooked one of these up one night when I was short on time and just wanted something quick and easy. Definitely lived up to those expectations.

I put a little vegetable oil into a pan and cooked this burger until it was nice and crispy, tossed it on a couple slices of bread (no buns in the house, unfortunately) and gave it a taste. I tasted bread, and that was about it. It didn't taste like anything. I was very disappointed. I had our Japanese exchange student give it a taste, and she informed me that it did not taste like nothing - it tasted like tofu. Which makes sense, since that was right there in the name. But apparently to me, tofu tastes like nothing.

I even tried to jazz it up with some mayo and some ketchup. Turns out, this veggie burger had an anti-flavor - it actually removed the flavors of the mayo and the ketchup so that all I could taste was the bread. What the heck?

Now I'm not sure what to do with the remaining veggie burger in the fridge… Hopefully I can get our student to eat it, because I'm not interested.

The experience:
Texture - Nice and crispy on the outside
Flavor - Tastes like nothing tofu - maybe with some very aggressive condiments you could taste the condiments...

Final grade for this attempt: D

May 13, 2011

Lightlife Smart Sausage Smoked Style

This week, I'm tackling another sausage - Lightlife Smart Sausage Smoked Style. I'd tried their Italian style before and had good results, so I was looking forward to trying this one out.

I decided to cook up some jambalaya with this sausage. I admit - I also threw in some shrimp, but I don't think it had any effect on my review of this sausage. I made sure to not overcook this sausage, because fake meat doesn't tend to fare well if overcooked. I even had a quick taste before I cooked it up to see what kind of flavor we were working with. Unfortunately, this quick taste put quite a damper on my excitement for the meal. This sausage had no resemblance to any other real-meat smoked sausage I've ever eaten. It just had a kind of fake-meat taste to it and nothing else. I figured that since the flavor wasn't actually bad, I'd keep going.

This dish sort of relies on a strong meaty flavor to season the rest of the meal, and without any kind of flavor from the sausage, the whole meal was kind of bland. I threw in extra cajun seasoning just to pep it up a bit, but it was still lacking. Maybe if I had some MSG sitting around, I could have thrown that in and perhaps gain back what was missing, but as it was, I was just let down.

The experience:
Texture - no complaints here - fine sausage-y texture
Flavor - bland bland bland - no way to tell if this was a smoked sausage, a hot dog, or a cardboard tube

Final grade for this attempt: D

May 6, 2011

Yves Veggie Chorizo

This week, it's Yves Veggie Chorizo. I did something kind of weird to this product that I hope you can all forgive me for. I made nachos!

My exchange student was home from school for some reason, and she wanted nachos. I saw this as a great opportunity to bust out the package of veggie chorizo we had in the fridge and test it out. So (and here comes the bad part) I took a chunk of remaining-nameless processed cheese and melted it down with the chorizo. For valid testing purposes I did taste a bit of the chorizo before mixing it with the cheese, and was a little worried.

Usually, with chorizo, there's some degree of spiciness. Not the case with this one. It was actually a little bit sweet, which didn't bode well for our nachos. I thought maybe, mixed with cheese, the sweetness would subside a bit, but it did not. In fact, even with salsa, lettuce, black olives, and sour cream, there was still a pervasive sweetness that was a bit off-putting. Not terrible, but not great. I definitely prefer other chorizos I've eaten over this one.

The experience:
Texture - reasonably chewy and interesting
Flavor - totally not spicy - actually a bit sweet

Final grade for this attempt: D