All posts by Z. Hassan

Pumpkin Spice Waffle

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pumpkin waffles box

Eggo Pumpkin Spice Waffle

I visited my mother in New Jersey this week and found myself at Target. A freezer on the end cap was filled with Kellogg’s Eggo Seasons Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Waffles. I figured I like waffles and love pumpkin so into the shopping cart they went.

Kellogg’s says “Spice up your morning with the flavors of fall. Made with pumpkin spices–cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.”

pumpkin waffle

Taking the waffles out of the box the first thing I noticed was the pleasant pumpkin spice scent. I thought to myself if these taste anything like they smell they are gonna be awesome. The color was somewhere between yellow and brown with visible spices speckled throughout. After toasting them I took my first bite…what a let down! I was expecting an explosion of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger but I got a whimper instead. Barely a hint of pumpkin spice flavor, I felt ripped off. On a positive note  they were soft and had the same texture as other Eggo waffles I’ve tried.

pumpkin waffle trio

I had high expectations for these waffles but I was disappointed. I liked what little taste they had but felt it was far too subtle.

Skip these and go for the Dunkin Dounts Pumpkin Munchkin.

Rating:  Disappointed   Skip It

Pumpkin Munchkin

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pumpkin munchkin
Pumpkin Munchkin @ Dunkin Donuts

My wife and I were walking around Greenwich Village after dinner one night when she had a sudden craving for coffee. She only drinks Dunkin Donuts coffee and there happened to be one about a block away.  While ordering her coffee I saw the Pumpkin Munchkins and had to try them.

From Dunkin Donuts’ website, “Pumpkin Donut and MUNCHKINS®: Guests can savor the season with the glazed pumpkin cake donut, which can also be enjoyed as a MUNCHKIN donut hole treat.

pumpkin munchkin

The Pumpkin Munchkins had a brown/orange color and were half covered with glaze.

pumpkin munchkin trio

Biting into the munchkin my mouth was treated to an explosion of cinnamon and spice. The pumpkin taste was muted and could have been a bit more prevalent. The soft cake inside was orange colored and had just the right density. The sweet glaze did a fantastic job balancing the spice.

If you love the “spices of the season” as much as I do these munchkins are for you. And only 60 calories each.

Rating:  Well Done   Highly Recommended

Pumpkin Granola Bar

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pumpkin granola bar box

Pumpkin Granola Bar @ Trader Joe’s

I mentioned in my Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookie review that I’m a huge fan of pumpkin foods. Since October is here I think it’s only fitting that all reviews this month will be Halloween themed which means lots of pumpkin.

First up is a pumpkin cereal bar that Trader Joe’s dubbed “This Pumpkin Walks Into A Bar…”. Trader Joe’s says these bars are “made with real fruit — in this case pumpkin — and without synthetic colors or artificial flavors or preservatives. In honor of the flavors of the season, we’ve added spices like clove, cinnamon and nutmeg to give it a real “pumpkin pie” vibe.”

pumpkin granola bar cross section

After removing it from the wrapper I thought this was a good looking cereal bar. The sprinkled rolled oats were a classy touch. It had a soft texture and the filling had a reddish-orange color. Unfortunately, it falls flat in the taste department. I could not taste any pumpkin flavor and only a hint of cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves. Don’t get me wrong these are tasty in their own right but they are lacking the flavors advertised.

Tasty cereal bars, however, as a “pumpkin bar” they miss the mark.

Rating:  Sound Asleep   Neutral

Carl’s Philly Cheesesteak

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Carl’s Philly Cheesesteak @ Yankee Stadium

According to my wife she’s been a hardcore Yankee fan since she was six years old. At the beginning of the season Yankee’s pitcher Mariano Rivera announced that he would be retiring this year. So when Mariano Rivera Bobblehead Night rolled around she wasn’t gonna miss it.

After entering the stadium I headed straight to Carl’s Steaks on field level. Having grown up in New Jersey, about half way between New York City and Philadelphia, I’ve come to love Philly cheesesteaks and I’ve definitely had my fair share.

From Carl’s website, “Carl’s authentic Philly Cheesesteaks start with thinly sliced sirloin steak grilled to perfection. We stay true to our cheesesteaks and offer the original “cheese whiz” or your choice of provolone or white american cheese with or without grilled onions. To top it off we use only the freshest hoagie roll that is fit to handle an authentic cheesesteak.”


I ordered mine with American cheese and no onions. Just a tip, if you don’t want a cheesesteak that’s been sitting under the hot lights order it without onions. They will cook up a fresh one for you so it’s worth the wait.

cheesesteak cheese

I topped my cheesesteak with some ketchup and took my first bite. The thinly sliced sirloin steak was seasoned and cooked to perfection. The beautifully melted white American cheese was smooth and creamy while the meat to cheese ratio was ideal. The bread was the right size for its contents, soft, fresh and did not fall apart.

This cheesesteak is outstanding and definitely rivals the best cheesesteaks from Philladelphia. Next time you’re in Yankee Stadium make sure your first stop is Carl’s Steaks.

Rating:  Well Done   Highly Recommended

Cookie Dough Cupcake

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cookie dough cupcake trio

Cookie Dough Cupcake @ Baked by Melissa

I proposed to my wife in May of 2010 on The High Line. The High Line is a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. Lucky for me my then fiancée said yes. Afterwards we walked along 14th street and noticed a store called Baked by Melissa. They had the cutest little cupcakes on display. We tried a dozen and have been hooked ever since.

I like to surprise my wife with a half dozen of these cupcakes every so often because they remind me of that night, and if I’m lucky she will let me have one! Her current favorite is the Cookie Dough cupcake.

According to Baked by Melissa “Our cupcakes are bite-size! They are 1-2 bites each, and are slightly larger than the diameter of a quarter.”

cookie dough cupcake

Every time I see these cupcakes I am amazed at how small they really are. I can easily eat one in a single bite but I force myself to take two bites to savor them. The Cookie Dough cupcake is a perfect combination of yellow cake, cookie dough filling, chocolate icing, and a cookie dough topping. The yellow cake is moist without being oily. The cookie dough is perfectly sweetened with a slightly granular texture and tiny chocolate chips. The icing is dark chocolate and contrasts superbly with the sweetness of the cookie dough.

cookie dough cupcake trio

These cupcakes are awesome! At just under 50 calories each these will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth without sabotaging your diet.

Rating:  Well Done   Highly Recommended