30 November 2016

Belgian White Chocolate & Lemon Biscuits (Waitrose) By @SpectreUK

It’s that time of year that I find myself craving biscuits. Not that I don’t like biscuits all year round, but Christmas and the winter months makes me want to kick back (especially after a trip to the gym), madly tear open a box of biscuits and down the lot with a mug of hot white chocolate or a cup or two of tea. These Belgian White Chocolate & Lemon Biscuits from Waitrose were made in Dorset and, yes you’ve guessed it, are butter biscuits dipped in white Belgian chocolate. There were seven biscuits in the box, each one with a bald top and white creamy chocolate base. The white chocolate was certainly rich, and the biscuits just melt in the mouth. The lemon flavour in the crisp buttery wheaty biscuits is quite prominent and mixes very well indeed with the creaminess of the white chocolate. I washed these biscuits down with my favourite Prestat hot white chocolate drink, which sadly they’ve stopped making and I only have a couple of boxes of it left. However, I’m sure I can pick up more of these lovely biscuits and sample at least half the paradise next time!

29 November 2016

Festive Mini Macaroons (Marks & Spencer) By @cinabar

Okay so I'll cut straight to the chase, these Festive Mini Macaroons in Marks and Spencer had a sparkly coating and thats why I bought them. Add a hint of novelty, the mention of Christmas and the chances are I'll pick a new product up.
I mention this as I think that wasn't really much of a "festive" connection for these macaroons. The flavours aren't very Christmasy, the pack doesn't seem to be designed to share with festive visitors (I ate all three with a coffee) and there isn't any seasonal designs on box. There is however a very nice message about money from each sale being donated to Shelter (a homeless charity) so it certainly meets requirements for the season of good will.
These were found in the chiller section of Marks and Spencer. The Festive Mini Macaroons are tasty, the flavours are quite mild though, but there is plenty of chocolate. The  chocolate ganache and orange macaroon had the most distinctive flavour, and the sweet citrus tones mixed nicely with the rich chocolate.
The chocolate ganache and salted caramel macaroon had the mildest flavour, with the salted caramel being barely present. No need to worry about the flavour being to salty, there was just a slight rich sugary hint mixed in with the chocolate. The chocolate ganache and hazelnut macaroon did have a nice nutty hint, but again it was delicate but still enjoyable. I liked the dominant chocolate flavour in all of them.
All of the Festive Mini Macaroons had a good texture too; soft but slightly crispy. They are light and the chocolate ganache is soft and firm. These were a tasty biscuit treat, they did seem a bit overindulgent as a portion for one on a regular afternoon, but they still get the thumbs up from me.

28 November 2016

Festive Feast Sub Sandwich (Subway) By @Cinabar

This is the first year in which Subway have brought out a Christmas special sub. It is described as a Festive Feast, and consists of turkey (which I guess we could see coming), sausage, bacon and cranberry sauce. Of course when you order this sub you still get the usual offerings of salad, and I added lettuce, tomato, cucumber and olives… yes I know olives don’t sound like they’d go, but I was thrown by the already strange combination. This sub needed gravy, not salad! The cranberry sauce looked very runny when it strewn across the filling, it also looked like a very bright shade of dark pink and not so appetising.
I tucked into the large Festive Feast Sub and realised it was not for me. There is too much meat, and the mix of flavours just meant it felt heavy and mixed up. I know people have mini sausages wrapped in bacon with their turkey dinner, but pig pieces of bacon, a full sausage and turkey sandwich was jut too much in each mouthful. The salad seemed really out of place, although all the parts were fresh and crisp. As already stated I didn’t do myself any favours with the olives, but heck I have them on their chicken tikka!
Now the major problem I had with the Festive Feast Sub was not just the overload of meat, it was the cranberry sauce. It wasn’t very sweet and seemed more acidic and vinegary. Not a flavour I wanted in an already over complex sandwich. Did I mention it was runny, it was running down my fingers, by the end of the sub I wanted to take a bath, but had to suffice with washing my bright pink fingers in the sink at work. Next ones a Big Beef Melt.

27 November 2016

Things that are not quite milk (@NLi10)

When trying to be a bit healthier and generally reduce the amount of fat and sugar you consume one of the easiest changes is to eliminate dairy products.  For me avoiding cheese is easy, so I'll let someone else tackle that - my problem is milk.

I love milk and as I try to have cereal every day for as many meals as is humanly possible not being able to have milk presents issues.  So here we have a few variations.

First up we have Lactose free milk (by Arlo), which is still milk and has all the fat and dietary issues that milk has, but if you are lactose intolerant or suspect you might be then this could be the answer.  It's essentially the UHT milk, but then they magically remove the lactose.

I tried this to see if it helped with the dairy reduction issues and it happened that I had to drink a lot of other people's milk that weekend so I never got a clear answer.  I can buy more though because the taste is fine (like those little single serving milk cartons) as you'd expect - it's milk!

They essentially use enzymes to pre-digest the lactose which is pretty cool, and could help someone. 

The ingredients and calories show that it's not that far off normal milk, and is not as healthy for fat and calorie reduction as the soy milk is.  I guess if you need it then it's not going to hurt. 

Next up we have a new variety of Oat Milk.  I've talked about Oatly before which I wanted to love but could merely tolerate. This is much closer to the almond or soy milk in taste, although they did add more to it so maybe you won't get the full health benefits.

People got very upset when they found out Sunny D had oil in it, yet these are sold as health drinks.  Odd.

1.2g of fat means that it's the closest of the three to a fat free dairy substitute, but it's borderline for salt levels and is 40kcal per portion which is practically the same as soy.

If you want to eat breakfast cereal and not put on weight and actually increase the nutritional value then these two are viable options, well the soy and the oats. I think I'd look for ones without the SOS (Salt Oil Sugar) combo added extra. It's those things that will help with the health kick, and frankly if you are eating a good enough cereal all three are similar enough to fresh milk that after a few days you don't really mind the differenc.

26 November 2016

Fourpure Pils Lager (Honest Brew) By @SpectreUK

Honest Brew very kindly sent me this lager a while ago. Fourpure Pils Lager was inspired in Munich, in Germany from their classic Pils Lager, and then brewed in London. The 4.7% volume lager has Mittelfruh, Tettnang, and Saaz hops added in the brewing, to give it a floral and spicy bitterness. The 330ml can was almost bursting with lager to spring out and bubble all over my tastebuds. I say that because lager has a habit of blowing me up with bubbles, rather than serene cooled and lightly fizzed ale. On opening the can there was a mainly floral hoppy aroma to the lager with spiciness in the background. The blonde lager poured quite cheerily into my waiting beer glass rather than fighting to escape the can and bubbling over the sides like an over excited fizzy drink. This pleased me immensely, as there’s nothing quite so disturbing as losing half your beer on pouring. This Fourpure Pils Lager had a mild wheat and yeasty initial taste, which was quickly overtaken by the floral bitterness from the hops and a light spiciness with malt and yeastiness to finish into the aftertaste. I found this to be a very refreshing lager and not the kind that’s straight off the bar that mainly ends up on your shoes, or making you belch a merry tune with the rest of your friends looking on with a mixture of awe and distaste in equal measures!

25 November 2016

White Winter Aero (WH Smiths) By @Cinabar

This is the new seasonal bar from Aero, called the White Winter. It isn't the first time that Aero have brought out a white chocolate bar, but its been a while since I've tried one. I picked this up at a branch of WH Smith where it was on offer for £1, which is good value for a big bar.

The packet does have baubels all over it, but Christmas doesn't seem to be explicitly mentioned... The bar isn't a completely white bar, which is a shame. Instead the bubbles are white and the coating is regular Aero milk chocolate. This led to me spending a few minute thinking about how this bar is made, but it turns out I have no idea. :-D
The chocolate bar reminds me of the Cadbury Snow Flake, only in that it was a white chocolate coated in milk, I used to love that bar!
The  White Winter Aero is a nice bar, it is sweet and soothing. I would have preferred the white chocolate bubbles to be a bit creamier, but the flavour was mild and sweet and still pleasant. As with all Aero bars the bubbles were spot on, I enjoyed the texture, and how a big chunk of chocolate can just melt away.
For me this was a tasty treat, and I enjoyed the bar. The winter theming wasn't overly exciting but it is the sort of bar I’d pick up again as a fun sweet treat, particularly if I see it on offer. I think Mint Aero still remains my favourite in the range, but this is a nice seasonal change.

24 November 2016

Qdo - Birdie Swing tea infuser with lid (@NLi10)

I like tea - like this old and dusty box of Jasmine tea.

Loose tea requires a way to drink it, and if you are just making the one cup it needs to be a bit portable.  Catching it's own drips would be a plus too.  This is why when I saw this Qdo tea infuser I was happy.  I bought it originally to give as a present.  When I discovered that person already had a 'good enough' solution to the problem it sat around in my kitchen for a bit.  It even lived at a friends house for ages - still unloved and un used.

As my own tea infuser was a little dated, and it was making the little birdie sad to be sitting unloved in the box I decided that he'd go to work with me. And the dusty tea.

The bird has a little hatch in the bottom and you put the loose tea in there (I overfilled it, then took a picture with just a few bits left).  Then he pivots and dunks into the hot water and the lid keeps it at a decent temperature.

He then pivots back round and sits on your PC looking majestically out over your tea, with the occasional drip from his underside into the handy tray.

It's a really aesthetically pleasing little gadget and it worked pretty well, I think it'd make a great gift for a tea drinker.  I'm sure that the plastic may not hold up all that long and I'll be fishing the poor bird out of the tea with a spoon, but until that day he'll happily pivot and drip and enable me to drink loose teas at work.  Hurrah!

23 November 2016

Kettle Chips Golden Parsnip, Sweet Potato & Beetroot (Waitrose) By @SpectreUK

Always on the lookout for alternative snacks to crisps and nuts, I may have overstepped the mark here. These Golden Parsnip, Sweet Potato & Beetroot crisps from Kettle Vegetable Chips range encompass three vegetables I’m unsure of. I like parsnips in stew and looking outside at the howling wind and freezing rain this is definitely stew weather. Cinabar would attest to how much I like dumplings, but that’s another story! I’m not keen on sweet potato, although at the hotel we stayed at recently in Bath I was surprised at how nice their sweet potato chips were with my blue cheese and bacon burger, been as though I’d tentatively tried sweet potato chips elsewhere and disliked them. I like beetroot on salad, but in fairly small quantities and definitely not in juice format! So here we go; Golden Parsnip, Sweet Potato & Beetroot crisps…

The curled up Beetroot crisps taste of beetroot without the juice, slightly salty, pepperish and strangely really moreish. The Sweet Potato crisps were slightly less curled up, having a slight sweetness that balanced the strong flavour from the Beetroot crisps. I could easily see why Kettle had mixed them both together. The Golden Parsnip crisps were long thin strips, which tasted of salty dried parsnip, which further mixed that bag of flavours. These Golden Parsnip, Sweet Potato & Beetroot crisps felt like a healthy taste combination of root vegetable flavours, which all complemented each other in different salty, sweet, or slightly pepperesque ways. These assorted vegetable crisps are really nice (no, really). Don’t be put off by the title and give them a try. I’ll definitely have these again!

Information on the packet;

The 40g packet has 206 calories, with 13.2g of fat, 8.5g of sugar, and 0.4g of salt. Having “absolutely nothing artificial” the ingredients can be seen in the photograph.

22 November 2016

Gold Shimmer Hot Chocolate (Waitrose Christmas)  By @Cinabar

Well, we seem to be well and truly heading towards hot chocolate season, (and Christmas too). Thats why this tub from the Waitrose Christmas range caught my eye! I could see from the packaging that this hot chocolate had added glitter, but I thought the flavour was a regular milk chocolate, there wasn't much evidence to the contrary on the front of the packet.
The minute the tub was popped open there was a lovely rush of christmas spice that filled the air. I scooped some powder into a mug of hot milk and stirred.

Now the edible gold shimmer was far more sparkly than the photo does justice, when stirred there was a lovely decent pearlescent sheen, but the camera couldn't quite capture it.  It did wear off a bit when the drink was still, but it was still noticeable.
Now I’ve confessed before about my love of Christmas spice, with cinnamon being top of my list, so it won't surprise you to hear I rather loved this drink. The Waitrose Gold Shimmer Hot Chocolate was sweet, with loads of milk chocolate flavour and a lovely warming hit of cinnamon and nutmeg. The spice wasn't overpowering and it worked well in combination with the chocolate. The added sparkle is a bit a fun, but it works it for me. They managed to put chocolate, cinnamon and novelty in one mug, I think I may have been the target audience!

21 November 2016

Blacksticks Blue Cheese & Figgy Pickle Crisps (Marks & Spencer) By @Cinabar

This is another new flavour of crisps added to the Marks and Spencer Christmas line. The flavour, Blacksticks Blue Cheese and Figgy Pickle, sounded like a posh cheese and pickle, but with a nice Christmas twist. We are still a little way off Christmas, so we had these with lunch as an accompaniment to smoked salmon bagels, not seasonal, but sticking with being posh!
The first thing I noticed when we poured some out was that these crisps were cooked with their skin on and that they weren’t too thickly cut. This to me was a revelation, generally the posher the crisps the thicker they cut them. I’m actually a fan of thinner cut crisps, perhaps its just what I’m used to, but it is nice to see a bit of variation in the market. The texture worked well, light but still crunchy.
The first flavour to hit is the cheese taste, it is quite strong and the blue cheese aspect adds a lovely loaded cheesy zing. I eat quite a lot of different cheeses, but have to confess to not knowing how strong Blacksticks is supposed to be but from this I’d guess quite strong. I like blue cheese, so found these to be really good cheese crisps, with loads of flavour. The addition of the Figgy Pickle was overtaken by it on some crisps, but on others was very much present. I quite liked this mix of flavour as it meant each crisp was different. The Figgy Pickle added a good balance to the taste, a sweet fruity flavour, with a nice hint of sharp vinegar too. The crisps were very moreish, and if you like cheese crisps, these are absolutely superb.

20 November 2016

Original Patty Men (OPM), Birmingham (by @NLi10) @OriginalPattyM

As part of an evening out with colleagues we decided to eat at Original Patty Men - a new(ish) burger restaurant with a 4 dish menu and a reputation for queues.  They only Open Thur-Sun so we strategically timed our visit.  Specifically the whole outing was timed so we could go after rave reviews from some of the group.

At least the wait lets you appreciate the unusual beef related art works and peruse the menu.  And do expect a wait, especially if like us you bring an awkward number of people like the 5 of us.  Pro tip may be to split in to twos and threes, or go in the summer where you can sit outside.

And try some of the more interesting drinks on offer. Ordinarily this Virgil's Black Cherry Cream Soda would be worth a whole review, but we have more to talk about here so suffice to say that it tastes of all the things it should and was a pretty deep tasting drink.  Something I'm going to get more flavours of for sure, this is a micro brewery that I am interested in!  Luckily OPM seem to have lots of flavours.

The artfully Instagrammed menus show that there are four burgers, three kinds of fries and that's about it!  The burgers are Cheeseburger, bacon cheese burger, Mushroom (for the veggies) and Krispy Kreme.  Yup - it's possibly a gimmick purely designed to get you in - but it worked on me.

You can add a second burger to the stack for £2 (which in hindsight I think I could have managed), and have Slaw with the chips (or without the chips), but the KK is the main event.  You can tell it's the real deal too - they even have the boxes in the kitchen.  It adds a sweetness to the burger, and is really light compared to a typical bun.  With the salty bacon and cheese and the meatiness of the burger it truly is a wonder.  That's proper American Bacon too!

The burgers themselves are pretty special.  Non of this super heavy nonsense - this is light, pink, beef with flavour and texture and exudes quality.  I'd expected it to be much heavier so had decided against the upgrade.  I think for this meal I could have managed.

The double bacon cheese burger looked more typical, but similarly high quality.  No one ordered the chicken burger off the specials menu, but the Mexican special looked fab too.

I declined to try the slaw, but the chips were crisp and inviting too.  Overall a great meal, making a mockery of the chains like 5 guys.  Here the gimmicks are just to get you through the door, you'll come back for the quality burgers and good times with friends.

Nothing was wasted, and the decor and cutlery are just as cool as the burgers and beer.  We will be back, at least as many times as there are specials and burgers to try.

19 November 2016

The Boiling Well Beer (Cosford Food Show) By @SpectreUK

At a fairly recent food fair at the Cosford Air Museum I picked up a 500ml bottle of The Boiling Well amber ale, and also a rather nice stout that I’m sure I’ll try in due course. The Boiling Well ale is named after the Boiling Well Meadow, which is a local sacred spring near to the Ludlow Brewing Co. This 4.7% volume ale has a sweet almost sherry aroma to it with the bitterness of the hops and malt languishing in the background. I thought this an unusual smell, and couldn’t wait to get stuck into the flavour. On first sip I found this a very fruity ale, which seems to go well with the autumnal weather outside. The sweet caramel malt shines through next mixing well with the light bitterness from the hops into the aftertaste. Apparently the brewers have a licenced bar and visitor centre made from a converted 18th century siding shed next to Ludlow railway station. So if you find yourself visiting the Shropshire town with its marvellous ruined castle and quirky shops, I’d recommend you sample their beer. This is definitely a full-bodied fruity ale from deep in the countryside. Perfect for the dark stormy night ahead!

18 November 2016

Soreen: 4 Fruit Toast Me’s (Morrisons) By @Cinabar

My grammar isn’t great, but the name of this product had me thinking… is the apostrophe in the title okay? Can you put ’s on me when you really mean multiple? I’m sure some kind soul will message me to educate me, and for now I’ll just move on. As I’ve said I’ve never claimed to be an expert on such things.

So anyway we have these new “4 Fruit Toast Me’s” from Soreen and they look like small buns, made of good fruity Soreen. They are designed to be toasted, but before your can do this you first have to slice them. This is always fun with Soreen, a product that seems happy to glue its sticky self back together if you leave it alone for a minute. The buns are smaller than a slice of bread, and I could imagine they would be very difficult to fish out of a toaster without a lever to give a bit of extra reach. Our toaster does have a bit of lift, but even so it was difficult to remove the hot pieces. Don’t use metal cutlery to help get them out though, obvs.
They actually looked really good when they were out of the toaster, they were a mix between crispy and gooey, and the texture was fab. I buttered them and found them really enjoyable. All of the Soreen currents and raisin flavour was there, but having them hot made them a yummy winter snack. I also loved the new texture and felt that the toaster was a success, even if they were a bit tricky to cut and get out of the machine.

17 November 2016

Disney Moana - Kelloggs Cereal (@NLi10)

After visiting the Cereal Killer Cafe i felt honourbound to try the new Disney cereal that we spotted. this is unusual in that it isnt a variant of an existing cereal but a whole new shape (at least to the UK).

The box is as expected - clean, clear advertising for the characters from the new movie. It looks. A lot like Pocahontas, but I'm sure it's got its own story and heart. 

It has a cute pig, so frankly it can't go wrong. 

I had it with my usual Almond milk, but in a traditional promotional Kellogg's bowl.
And as it turns out they are quite nice! The honey is good, the shape is fun and they fall to bits so you get a little variety. I think they do go a little pit too soft if you leave them, and like American cereals they are really nice dry. 

So essentially they are worth a try, and they are 79% cereals and only 21% sugar and insulin. 

Oh wait - no - that's Inulin, even American cereal manafacturers haven't had the foresight to include insulin in with the chocolate frosted sugar bombs yet.

16 November 2016

Apple Pie Flavour Popcorn (Pop Works & Company) By @SpectreUK

Pop Works & Company very kindly sent us several flavours of popcorn to try. This Apple Pie flavour caught my eye next to the Sticky Toffee Pudding flavour for a dessert snack to watch with a film. I have a fairly new war film to watch that sounded pretty grim and so I needed something to cheer me through watching it. I love apple pie, especially this time of year after a roast dinner on a Sunday with lashings of custard. I don’t think custard goes with popcorn, and besides this is Wednesday!

On opening the huge 90g bag (lucky I’d been to the gym), I was treated with sweet popcorn smell mixed with apples and oh-oh… cinnamon! Now don’t get me wrong a do like cinnamon, especially in Chai tea, which is ironically is what I had on the side to wash this huge packet of popcorn down with, but unfortunately I don’t like cinnamon in apple pie. However, my brain needs to get around this, as this isn’t apple pie or apple strudel, it is apple pie flavoured popcorn! So why shouldn’t you add cinnamon? On the first two fist-fulls of popcorn to be honest with you, I couldn’t tell you why not. The sweet apple flavour hit my tastebuds first with the popcorn providing the pie(ish) flavour, and the spice from the cinnamon waving at me gently from nearby moving into the aftertaste. Very nice popcorn indeed. Perfect for a good film or a grim dark tense thriller!

Information on the packet;

The 90g packet contains 135 calories per 30g serving, 4.8g of fat, 8g of sugar and 0.15g of salt. See photograph for ingredients.

15 November 2016

Heston Spiced Shortcrust Mince Pies With A Lemon Twist (Waitrose) By @Cinabar

Okay so I’m well and truly in the Christmas swing of things now, and although I haven’t put the tree up yet I have purchased mince pies! The Heston range from Waitrose usually brings something different to a food product and this year the additional flavour to the mince pies is lemon. This doesn’t sound as adventurous as some of his previous creations (think curry and sugar popcorn), but it does sound like it would work.

The mince pies look rather impressive, they are quite large, and have a fab crumble on top. The crumble pieces are quite big, but they have the texture of soft pastry, and are lovely and buttery. The pastry case is quite dark looking, and must be where some of the spice infusion hits, as these mince pies are full on. As someone who loves cinnamon, these pies come with a strong hit of it and all the other christmas spices. This to me was more noticeable than the lemon, which came as a refreshing zingy aftertaste. The mince filling looks quite thin, but again its rich flavours come through beautifully.
The flavours from these mince pies are strong, if like me you love your christmas spices, they are definitely worth picking up. They are very different too and certainly posh enough to serve as a proper dessert, rather than just and accompaniment to coffee. I’ll certainly be picking more of these up throughout the seasonal period. Mmm cinnamon.

14 November 2016

Mint Hot Chocolate (Costa) By @Cinabar

I’ve recently tried the new Costa Lindt hot chocolate from the Christmas menu, but this is the first of the more traditional style cream topped drinks. Mint is always a nice combination with chocolate, and I was looking forward to seeing how this translated to the new Costa Mint Hot Chocolate.
The drink arrived with cream and a cute little individually wrapped mini candy cane on the side. The photos on the board showed the candy cane hanging from the side of the mug, but this was still in its wrapper. I guess it makes it easier to save and have later, but it doesn't look as pretty. There also wasn't any sprinkles or sauce on the whipped cream which was a bit of a missed opportunity, it's a christmas drink so there is supposed to be opulence!
The mint hot chocolate does have a good flavour though, and it was very enjoyable. The mint is more akin to butter-mint, and the flavour is creamy and smooth. It wasn't too sweet and the cooling refreshing flavour of mint was surprisingly well balanced.
The new Costa Mint Hot Chocolate certainly works well, still a soothing drink but with a nice addition of extra flavour. The candy cane sweet is a nice bonus, and certainly gives the drink the required Christmas feel. I might still leave it a couple of weeks before putting the tree up!

13 November 2016

Cereal Killer Cafe - Birmingham @cerealkilleruk (@NLi10)

In the no-man's land between the Bullring and Grand Central, in an awkward little corner where the two disputed territories meet there is now a barricade of brightly coloured crates.  This creative distraction marks the edge of the Cereal Killer Cafe.

The idea of a cafe that serves predominantly cereal has been in London for a while, and merely laughed at through the pages of the Metro in the rest of the country.  Now we get to see just what kind of person is happy to have a bowl of cereal in public and pay for the privilege. 

Keen readers will know that I am one of their target market, and that I don't need an excuse to eat cereal for all meals.  For me it's not a fashionable hipster thing so much as a lifestyle choice.  While my partner intervened when the private stash hit 24 distinct cereals (not including back-ups of staple cereals like Cornflakes & Shreddies), I now tend to float around a more manageable 8, not including all the varieties of jam filled wheats that she has.

That said - I've tried a lot of the things on offer here, if not in all the odd varieties, so after a quick explore I decided to ask the staff to make a suggestion from the cocktail menu.

The first thing you notice (after the rather noisy Bullring shoppers) is the retro decorations.  These show that packaging really is a modern art form and there are many themed displays on offer.  These are all cereals based on other IP, mostly TV and movies, but with an odd Nerds cereal and a few toys on offer too.  I'm sure as with most of these kinds of things the money went on acquiring the licenses and the cereal was probably very underwhelming but the nostalgia hit is very real.  The Simpsons arcade machine is also a nice touch, but I avoided it as it's one of those games that you just have to finish once you start playing...

You can even eat cereal sitting on a child's bed.  I wasn't tempted.  The teenagers in the place seemed to love this idea so that's great as there were nice big tables for me.

Here is my Medium bowl of Don't Have a Cinnamon which is a cocktail of 3 different cereals, cinnamon toast crunch, apple jacks, curiously cinnamon with honey poured on top.  This would frankly be a great mix to eat dry as American cereals are closer to snack food than breakfast really.  I did however pour the dairy milk on top to get the full effect.  And it was pretty good - the apple really brought it together and the cinnamon is always a great taste.  A good option for a cereal based lunch.

They have lots of options for return visits to suit a variety of tastes and budgets, but due to the American style diner attitude there is a massive amount of sugar on offer and little else.  There are some bran and "raisans" options, but the reasonably healthy end of the shelf looked a little uninspired.  There are also Pop Tarts for when cold sugar isn't enough and you want it superheated and dangerous.  I'll surely try these on a future visit as like a lot of children of the 80s I wasn't allowed Pop Tarts when they launched. #DeprivedChild #FirstWorldProblems #TurnsOutTheyArentThatNice.  Luckily the CKC have American flavours so bacon Pop Tarts and similar will be amazing.  At least in theory.

They have the usual drinks and some huge shakes that were popular with the younger visitors on the beds.  I neglected to have a tea (as I was visiting my sister and tea was certainly in my future).

My meal together was £6 - but £2.20 of that was due to the Big Red, a drink i've not tried before and it's essentially a red Dr. Pepper.  Naturally, being American, it's made from High Fructose Corn Syrup which is really disappointing to anyone who has had actual sugar and survived.  Nice enough but not something I'd recommend.

As a sensible place to have lunch it fails on almost every level, but as a place that generates nostalgia and fun experiences I don't think you can beat it (short of going to the Cadbury Factory Cafe).  It has a mind boggling array of cereals (which only the most cynical and methodical would spot are mostly variants and just sugar) and frankly if I had the time and patience to go back and try all of the cocktails I would.  Someone has genuinely spent a lot of time mixing and tasting these and almost every odd-ball suggestion I could think of for these was on the menu in some form.  

You can have Banana Milk, Custard Milk, Chocolate Milk and all kinds of non-dairy options for people like me who are branching out.  I couldn't see a cocktail where they used fruit juice instead of milk, but I'm sure they did have one that was choc cereal and orange juice when I looked online (seriously - try cocopops/shreddies/orange juice).

If I were the harsh judge on the Cafe based reality show though my complaints would be that they just don't have some of the amazing Indy cereals that we have here in the UK.  Where was Lizi Shaw Granola? What about Bear! It's almost like they don't shop at Waitrose...  They did have some Dorset Cereal which is probably the market leader, but I expected them to have a weird little corner of things I'd never seen before.  I guess that the health conscious are really not the target market and it's about the treat experience so I really can't hold that against them. Brand names really are key, as Spiderman and Frozen cereals suggest.

It's a great place then, and somewhere we are already planning multiple trips back to.  My only hope is that they don't sell out of the few odd brands and variants that I do want to try before we make it there!