Thursday, August 23, 2012

AriZona AZ Big Boy Energy Drink Review

Just found this AriZona AZ Big  Boy energy drink at the local Associated mart couple of hours ago. I think that they just got the shipment/truck of it today, because a bunch of different cases of products were piled-up in the store, and I spotted a case (24-pk) of this stuff, and decided to puncture the plastic film and get a can to try out. After I took out the can from the case, I carefully turned the case around so it would not be visible that a can is missing from the fresh shipment.

The [suggested and possibly standard]  price for this energy drink is $1.50 and it is boldly visible just under the rim of the lid, underneath the "Big Boy!". Right next to the case of these drinks was another AZ energy drink case of the Half & Half non-carbonated energy drink, which I also grabbed and it will be reviewed in another post. On the checkout both can did not scanned, because they yet had to be input in the register system, so the cashier manually keyed-in $0.99 per can while missing the suggested "Big Boy price" of $1.50. A dollar saved (on 2 cans) mean  that I can buy another cheapo energy drink or something else, like generic 20-ounce bottle of soda.

The first thing that I noticed after I spotted the case of cans, was this ghetto-inspired grafitisized crown. Personally I have no idea why it is there, but maybe AriZona company is trying to push this energy drink into bodegas and groceries around the ghettos and projects nationwide. Or maybe they just want the consumer to feel like the king while holding the jumbo can?

As you can see, the can is almost 24 ounces (about 700ml); half an ounce larger than the "Great Buy!" $0.99 AriZona canned teas (23 ounces). So for $1.50 you are actually getting a bit more of "juice", I mean energy drink.

Made in USA is always good. [I really have nothing better to say about this photo; I just wanted to show/illustrate the irony to the photo below]

The warning on the back of the can suggests no more than 2 cans per day and that kids with pregnant women should stay clear from this energy drink. It also mentions "Product of Canada", which means that American company makes this product in Canada and then brings it back into the states. Maybe it's cheaper to churn out the energy drinks up north across the border due to the lower prices on the ingredients.

Apparently this energy drink contains 10% juice, and there are 3 servings [of 8 ounces per serving] inside the jumbo can. You also get 100 calories per serving, to the total of 300 per can.

Here you have the list of included ingredients, other than your standard energy drink energy mix of ingredients (taurine, ginseng, l-carnitine, guarana and B-vitamins).

Before I cracked-open the tab, I was really hoping for Monster clone to be inside the can due to the green lettering, but as soon I applied my nose to the lid [to get the whiff], I became a bit disappointed. Another thing that disappointed me is the fact that this energy drink has existed on the market for at least 2 years [I googled it and found that someone has uploaded a video review of it on YouTube two years ago] and that I have only spotted it today for the first time, because I was really hoping to be the 1st one to break the news. The color of the drink is murky neonish-yellow and it smells kinda citrusy and tastes a bit citrusy at first, but when I tried to break down the flavor a bit deeper, I found that the faux citrus flavor is just the mix of carbonation, bitter energy ingredients and juice (mostly pear). The mix of the mentioned ingredients was not pleasant at all at first; I drank approximately from 1/4 to 1/3 of the can and then put it into the fridge for around 5 or so hours. Now I took it out from the fridge and carbonation [which apparently aided with the bitter taste] has receded, which resulted in much more pleasant, sweeter and almost carbonation-free energy juice. The pear juice stands out [slightly] from the apple juice [nonexistent, in terms of taste] and the smooth aftertaste-free sweetness is also a plus here. In terms of energy kick, this drink is pretty solid; since I drank the whole can in 2 intervals, I really felt the initial kick and the following one [time difference is just over 5 hours]. Right now it is almost 6AM and I feel pretty charged. I can't really see myself buying this energy drink in the future, and I really wish that AriZona company would take out the carbonation, because for this product, carbonation does more harm than good in terms of taste. I rate this energy drink at 3.3/5.0 with a value rating of 4.1/5.0.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fried & Roasted Seasoned Pork Chops

Just found these pork parts/chops in the local Associated food mart. They are already seasoned with all kinds of spices [no idea which ones, I'm not a chef] and I think that the main spice is paprika and you also have some greens bits that hint toward paprika. The price was pretty cheap [$1.59 per pound with 1.69 pounds per pack, to the total of $2.69] and I am already familiar with this type of seasoned meat because I bought seasoned wings before at Associated.

I sprayed some PAM underneath the pork and on top of it and put it in the over on medium heat.

This piece did not fit inside the oven, so I decided to quickly fry it. 

After about 7-8 minutes on medium heat on the frying pan, the pork was done. It came juicy and tender; just right. The pre-seasoned spices did their job and I was very pleased with the results.

Close-up shot.

I used this ketchup as a condiment for the meat. It's a Ukrainian ketchup that they sell in the Russian stores in Brooklyn for around $1.00-$1.29 depending on location. The doypack holds 300 grams of ketchup that is formulated/flavored to along the Soviet-style shish kabob. I frequently use it with fried and roasted meats, and sometimes with/on the sandwiches. On the front it says that it is "made from the best Ukrainian tomatoes from Kherson". There is a good assortment in most Russian stores in Brooklyn of different brands of ketchup from the CIS producers, but I prefer this one [Chumak brand] because most of their products [they have all kinds of mayos, sauces and ketchups] that I have tried are tasty and of good quality, and they are priced reasonably. I also have a small pack (300 grams) of garlic ketchup (purple label) and a large pack (500 grams) of chili ketchup (orange label) [which I have yet to open and try]. They also had tomato-based sauce for the grilled meat which came in green-colored doypack, which I like a lot, but for the past 6 or so months I am having the trouble of finding it in the stores.

Baby dill pickles [cornish pickles] also go well with fried/grilled/roasted meat. These ones are not terribly sour like the bigger ones; these ones are sweet and sour, so they are versatile. I also got them at the local Russian food mart for $1.50 per 2x 17-ounce jars. It says "Home Made", but the fact is that they are made in China inside the pressure barrels.

"Mr. Garden" mascot looks a lot like George Dubya to me.

After I ate the 1st fried pork, I decided to open up the stove and tong-away the nearest piece of pork onto the fresh-oiled frying pan. Cooking time was slightly longer (around 10 or so minutes) than the previous fried pork piece, due to the thicker cut.

I'm not a chef, but I do like to put the condiments and extras on the plates. It looks and tastes better this way.

Close-up shot.

This is what came out of the oven after 1 hour or so.

The pork from the oven came out dry; very dry in the lean areas like the topmost part. The areas with fat very a bit moister, but still dry. I prefer the frying pan method over the oven: its much tastier due to the juices and its faster [10 minutes vs 1 hour or so].

Close-up shot.

Section view inside the pork.

On the weekends I been at the Brooklyn Costco and they had huge watermelons for $0.49/pounds, so I grabbed one. After my pork meal, I took out couple of slices of it for dessert: the watermelon was ripe, crunchy, juice and just sweet enough.

Close-up shot.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dorco Pace 6 Plus Razor System Review

I have been using the Dorco Pace 6 Plus for 4 shaves and I am very satisfied with these cartridge blades and the hand piece. At first I was worried that the blades would be too sharp and would cause nicks as well as irritation, but after 4 uses, there were 0 nicks and only 1 case of irritation. For the 1st time of using these blades, I used the Shave Gel for men by Greenbrier (dollar store brand) that I talked about in the previous post, and the shave went well with no irritation. But for the 2nd time of shaving with the 6-bladed razor, I used the Zirh shave gel, and the shave did not went so well: the result was not as close of a shave as with dollar store shave gel and at the end I gotten the irritation on the upper part of the neck and underneath the jaw. I also noted that with the Zirh shave gel it was much difficult to rinse away the shavings out of the blade cartridge. For the 3rd and 4th shave, I have used the dollar store gel and did not have the irritation, and the shave was much closer than with the Zirh shave gel. I think that the difficulty in rinsing away the shavings is the biggest con of the Dorco Pace 6 Plus razor cartridges, because they have less free space compared to Gillette Fusion Power razor cartridges. The biggest pro in Dorco Pace 6 plus is probably the feature of 6 blades and how fast my shaves were with this razor: I only timed the 4th shave and it only took around 6 minutes (I timed it with microwave clock): from the time that I lathered on the gel to the time that I wiped the razor blades, stored the unit on the shelf and applied the after shave lotion on my face. I confidently can say that I felt at least 1/3 of decrease in shaving time compared to shaving with the Gillette Fusion Power system. The trimmer blade on Dorco Pace 6 Plus is also very sharp, and it took me only 5-7 seconds to trim each of the sides near the ears, it is hand-down better and faster than the trimmer that Gillete Fusion Power cartridges have. In overall I am very satisfied with Dorco Pace 6 Plus razor, other than the rinsing off. I rate this razor at 4.5/5.0 with the value rating of  4.7/5.0. Like I said, I have used same razor cartridge for the 4 shaves and the lubricating strip is almost gone, and I have no plans of using the same razor cartridge again [4 shaves per cart is good enough for me], but I think that there are people out there who will be able to "squeeze" at least 2 more shaves out of a cartridge like mine. Now that I am convinced that this razor system is of quality, I will be using it from now on, but for the next several shaving reviews, I will be reviewing the 3-blade Dorco disposable razor and the 4-blade razor system. Below are the photos of Dorco Pace 6 Plus system with annotations:

Back of the packaging.

Perspective view of the Dorco Pace 6 Plus razor system.

Top view of the Dorco Pace 6 Plus razor system.

Side view of the Dorco Pace 6 Plus razor system.

Cartridge holder inside/underneath the razor stand.

Cartridge holder next to the razor and stand.

Front close-up of the razor cartridge.

Razor system next to the tube of shave gel (dollar store).

Dorco Pace 6 Plus razor system next to to Gillette Fusion Proglide Power (with Fusion razor cartridge).

Dorco Pace 6 Plus handpiece next to Gillete Fusion Proglide Power handpiece. Note the metal razor cartridge mount on the Dorco Pace 6 Plus handpiece.

 Front view of Dorco Pace 6 Plus cartride next to Gillete Fusion cartridge.  

  Back view of Dorco Pace 6 Plus cartride next to Gillete Fusion cartridge. Note the difference of space through which the water flows through to rinse the shavings.

  Top view [shows trimmer blade] of Dorco Pace 6 Plus cartride next to Gillete Fusion cartridge.    

Dorco Pace 6 Plus razor handpiece stand. The blue part flips up, for the purpose of which I do not know.

It flips like so. Let me know why this is like that or for what it is for.

Front of the Dorco Pace 6 Plus cartridge in use.

  Back of the Dorco Pace 6 Plus cartridge in use. Note how the metal cartridge mount from the handpiece goes almost to the middle of the razor cartridge and how the plastic hinge frame takes extra space for water to flow through. I believe that they call this configuration as "Venetian Flow" in the Dorco promotional video on YouTube.

For my latest shave with the Dorco Pace 6 Plus system, I have used this beaker to rinse the cartridge with, by jiggling it around. It did a much better/effective job compared to applying the razor cartirdge underneath the running faucet.

I also received the items that were out of stock when I made the whole Dorco order, and these items (pack of Dorco Pace 6 Plus cartridges and a pack of Dorco Pace 3 cartridges) arrived on August 2nd.

Front of both cartridge packages.

  Back of both cartridge packages.  

Full cartridge holder with 4 razor cartridges next to the packaging.

  Front of full cartridge holder.  

Back of full cartridge holder.