Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Reading Draft Root Beer

I opened this earlier today:



Brand: Reading Draft Root Beer.

Origin: Reading, PA.

Purchase Place: Blue Sun Soda, Spring Lake Park, MN.

Sweetener: Pure Cane Sugar.

Review: This was a very creamy root beer. It was nearly TOO creamy. It has decent flavor, but it's almost a little weak because of the creaminess. And it had just a hint of anise - not too much. Nothing too fancy, but pretty solid overall.

Score: 7.5 out of 10.
 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Cud Foods Thanksgiving Soda Display

When my boys and I stopped at Cub Foods in St. Paul (Midway neighborhood) last week, we were greeted with this "Pepsi Products" Thanksgiving turkey:


Happy Thanksgiving!!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

O-So Cherry Soda

I stopped at Lunds to get some BOGO deals, and I grabbed this in their soda aisle:

O-So Cherry Soda


Brand: O-So Cherry Soda.

Origin: Mukilteo, WA.

Purchase Place: Lunds Grocery Store, St. Paul, MN.

Sweetener: Pure Cane Sugar.

Review: This isn't a kids cherry soda. It's not overly sweet, and it's got a full, deep flavor. However, I didn't care for it a ton. It was a bit sharper than I'd care for, so I found it to be a "sipping" soda (not a "chugging" soda). If you've ever said that some sodas are too sweet for you, then you might like this. However, if you're like me and you kind of like a super sweet soda, then this might be a bit too harsh for you. It's not *bad*, but I'll rank it a bit lower than average.

Score: 4 out of 10.
 

Thursday, November 21, 2019

"Remix:" A New Candy and Popcorn Shop in the Merriam Park Neighborhood of St. Paul

Earlier this week, we stopped by the newest addition to our neighborhood: the popcorn and candy shop named "Remix." (Seen as "Remix Delights" and/or "Remix Popcorn and Delights" in a few places as well.) It's located at 2042 Marshall Ave in St. Paul - near Cleveland and Marshall, on the same block as Izzy's Ice Cream and Choo Choo Bob's Train Store.

Remix Popcorn and Delights
Half the candy at "Remix." This is the back half. There's a rack like this in the front.

The candy is all in "bulk" where you scoop your own. Everything is the same price, so you can just pick and choose as you fill you bag! My boys each picked a few treats for their individual bags, and then it got weighed at the counter.


Cassette Tapes at Remix Popcorn and Delights
The front wall is decorated with lots of old cassettes...

Cassette Tapes at Remix Popcorn and Delights
.... and the light fixtures are even made out of cassettes!

Different Flavors of Popcorn at Remix Popcorn and Delights
Decorative tubes of flavored popcorn in the front window.




They have fudge in different flavors that is $4 a piece (for a LARGE piece). And their flavored popcorn has a few different "tiers" with lots of different flavors in each tier, and different sizes available to purchase.

Fudge at Remix
Fudge!

Popcorn at Remix.
Some of the popcorn flavors.

Different size options.


No major signage out front yet, so you have to find it on Marshall!

My boys and I think it's great! Stop by sometime! 2042 Marshall Ave in St. Paul.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Cream Soda Tasting at Blue Sun Soda

Yesterday, my boys and I headed to another free tasting event at Blue Sun Soda Shop. It was similar to the tasting the 3 of us went to 2 months ago: they just set out some sodas and some mini-cups, and you can sample them all.

The "event banner" from Blue Sun Soda's Facebook page.

Cream Soda Tasting at Blue Sun Soda
Cream Sodas: Dad's, Fiz, Iron Horse, Sioux City, North Star, Tower, and Henry Weinhard.

Cream Soda Tasting at Blue Sun Soda
The "voting" table: take a bottle cap (far right) and put it in the cup that you
thought was best. They even had a roll of "I voted" stickers to put on (left foreground).

My oldest and I both agreed that Sioux City was our favorite, and my youngest voted for Dad's. I remember the North Star being very creamy (it was called "Vanilla Creme"), and I think it was Henry Weinhard's that had an odd sharpness. Fiz was decent.


Kiddie Cocktail Sodas
Some new "kiddie cocktail" sodas made right at Blue Sun Soda.

Blue Sun Soda Fountain
All the flavors of "fresh" soda at the soda counter at Blue Sun Soda.

Blue Sun Soda Fountain
My boys and I split a fresh Root Beer. It was good! My oldest got
a tear in his eye because he said it was SOOO carbonated.

I also stocked up on root beers. I had a few sodas in the basement before this trip to Blue Sun, but only 1 of them was a root beer. I took my time looking through their root beer selection, and I picked up 7 new ones (and 6 other sodas to bring home a baker's dozen). I think I've now had (or have just purchased) EVERY root beer at Blue Sun Soda Shop! Oh no! I'll need to find some new root beers somewhere else soon...

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Zevia Zero Calorie Grape

I was walking through "Fresh Thyme" in Minneapolis, and I grabbed this large can:

Zevia Zero Calorie Grape



Brand: Zevia Zero Calorie Grape.

Origin: Los Angeles, CA.

Purchase Place: Fresh Thyme, Minneapolis, MN.

Sweetener: Stevia Leaf Extract.

Review: Recent "grape soda" posts came to mind with my first sip: last month, I said "I don't know that I've had a 'bad' grape soda," and earlier this year, I said "I think most grape sodas can win me over pretty easily."

But this wasn't great. And it didn't win me over easily. I had to look at the label again to make sure I wasn't drinking flavored carbonated water. Because it had that "sharp/weak" taste of a La Croix. But no, it was a soda. Just a weak weak weak soda.

What's funny though is that the more I sipped it, the more I was OK with it. It wasn't a "drinkable" soda that you'd gulp down in 1 minute. But it was something I kept taking sips of over an hour, and I was OK with that. So initially (like after the first 2 sips), I would have ranked this more like a 3, but after spending some more time with it (in it's large 16 oz can), I became OK with it's weaker flavor and ranked it a bit higher.

Score: 5 out of 10.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Pork Roast a la Sprite

About a week ago, I got a small pork roast on sale. I used a half bottle of flat Sprite we'd had in our fridge for the last 2 weeks (from when my kindergartner was sick) to sweeten up the roast:

Pork Roast with Sprite
About 8 oz of Sprite, a 1.5 lb roast, some seasoning salt, and
an onion on top. Ready to cook for about 3 hours on high.
Pork Roast with Sprite
My 5-year-old ate it as fast as I could shred it!

Being that went over so well, I picked up a handful of pork roasts. A few days ago, I made 2 of those 1.5 lb roasts in the crock pot.  Again, I added Sprite (about 12 oz), seasoning salt, and 2 onions:

Pork Roast with Sprite
Just after pouring the Sprite - lots of carbonation.

Pork Roast with Sprite
After about 3 hours on high and 2 hours on low, here's the chunks of roast ready to be shredded.

Pork Roast with Sprite
I added some (but FAR from all) of the juice/Sprite mixture back in after shredding everything.

These meals go over well with my boys! If you haven't tried soda in roast, give it a shot in your slow cooker!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Grape Billy's Bubble Pop

I opened my "wacky" Billy's Soda that I picked up during our last trip to Blue Sun Soda:

Grape Billy's Bubble Pop
Oops! Blurry. Didn't realize it until after I drank the soda...

Grape Billy's Bubble Pop
... so here's a sharp version once the soda hit my belly.


Brand: Grape Billy's Bubble Pop

Origin: Spring Lake Park, MN.

Purchase Place: Blue Sun Soda, Spring Lake Park, MN.

Sweetener: Pure Cane Sugar.

Review: In case you're wondering, YES it's grape soda, but YES it's yellow. (See this post from a few months ago that shows a "Billy's Bubble Pop" selections where all the colors don't match the flavor.) Billy is a "lovable soda jerk" at Blue Sun Soda, and he kinda plays being a buffoon. So along with the "I made this" printed on the label, they're (kindly) making fun of Billy. My boys got to meet him in August of 2018, and he goofed around with them. Fun guy.

Anyway, back to this yellow grape soda: it's a pretty decent grape soda. It's hard to screw up grape pop. My wife mentioned that it was a little "cough syrup-y," but it wasn't too much for me - I've had sweeter/sugarier. It was almost SLIGHTLY overly smooth which was a bit odd, but otherwise it was quite good. I'll rate it slightly above average. I'll be eager to try more of Billy's soda (I don't have any more on hand - we'll have to make a trip back to Blue Sun Soda sometime soon).

Score: 6.5 out of 10.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Soda Flavored Lip Balm

I found this package of "Lip Smacker" lip balm at Target yesterday:

Coca Cola Lip Smacker

I'd probably eat the Barq's one. And I don't know how good Sprite would be on my lips...

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Oak Creek Barrel Aged Root Beer

I opened this the other night:

Oak Creek Barrel Aged Root Beer


Brand: Oak Creek Barrel Aged Root Beer.

Origin: Redding, California.

Purchase Place: Blue Sun Soda, Spring Lake Park, MN.

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: Well, I didn't realize that I reviewed this about 6 months ago. Oops. But it was a good one to crack out after not having a root beer for a while. Last time, I gave it a "9," but this time I'll give it a bit of a lower score. But it's still quite good. It's REALLY creamy, but the flavor could be a bit richer. It's very smooth and goes down down well.

Score: 8 out of 10.
 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Frostie Strawberry Watermelon Soda

I tried this last night with my boys:

Frostie Strawberry Watermelon


Brand: Frostie Strawberry Watermelon Soda.

Origin: Detroit, MI.

Purchase Place: Blue Sun Soda, Spring Lake Park, MN.

Sweetener: Pure Cane Sugar.

Review: This was really sweet, and tasted like a "kids soda." It tasted like a liquid Jolly Rancher to me. My wife agreed, and also added that it's a bit like a "Freezie." It's decently flavored, but the flavor is soft and it goes down easy. It's not a fancy "adult" soda - just a nicely flavored soda for anyone to enjoy. 

Score: 7.5 out of 10.
 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Shasta Diet Root Beer

I opened this earlier tonight while I was grading at school:

Shasta Diet Root Beer


Brand: Shasta Diet Root Beer.

Origin: Hayward, CA.

Purchase Place: Menards, St. Paul, MN.

Sweetener: Sucralose.

Review: For a diet, this was pretty average. It had a typical "weak" and slightly watery flavor, but the flavor wasn't too bad. It's pretty frothy and creamy, but it ends with a slight off/"chemically" taste. Still, pretty decent. I'll rank it right in the middle: average.

Score: 5 out of 10.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Cock N' Bull Bitter Lemon

I opened this while cleaning up last night:

Cock N' Bull Bitter Lemon

I didn't know what to expect! A "signature bitter taste?" Umm... I'm... excited?


Brand: Cock N' Bull Bitter Lemon.

Origin: Spring Grove, MN.

Purchase Place: Blue Sun Soda, Spring Lake Park, MN.

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: This was undrinkable! The first sniff / sip seemed promising... like a lemon-heavy lemon-lime. But then the last moment of each drink is a POW of bitterness. It is SO bitter. My 8-year-old was home with me, and he couldn't drink it either. I tried making a mixed drink (because it notes that it's good as a mixer, and I could see that), but what I tried with it didn't work. It still wasn't that drinkable. (Although it was better.) I can understand that this could be good in the right mixed drink, but on it's own (and how I tried it with an Elderflower Liqueur) it's undrinkable. Try it if you're looking for a bitter lemon flavor to add into mixed drinks, but unless that's specifically what you're looking for, stay away!

Score: 1 out of 10.
 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Tower Grape Soda

I opened this tonight as I was cooking:

Tower Grape Soda


Brand: Tower Grape Soda.

Origin: North Reading, MA.

Purchase Place: Blue Sun Soda, Spring Lake Park, MN.

Sweetener: Cane Sugar

Review: I don't know that I've had a "bad" grape soda. And this one wasn't bad either. It was sugary, sweet, and went down easy. It was nothing fancy or unique, but grape soda doesn't need to be. No complaints here! Tasty!

Score: 8 out of 10.
 

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Pop Machine Options




Personally, I couldn't do it. I'm usually in the mood for a *specific* kind of soda, so I couldn't leave it up to the Lord.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Whistler Lemon Lime Soda

I opened the first of the 8 bottles that I picked up from Blue Sun Soda this past weekend. It was a Whistler Lemon Lime:

Whistler Lemon Lime Soda

Whistler Lemon Lime Soda
Proof that it was Lemon Lime (the bottles all look the same, but the bottle caps have stickers).


I've had issues with Whistler sodas not being sealed (like in my last one which I drank shortly after purchasing it and it STILL had an issue), so I drank this one 3 days after purchase. Luckily (and FINALLY), this soda "psssssstt"-ed when I opened it.


Brand: Whistler Lemon Lime.

Origin: Spring Lake Park, MN.

Purchase Place: Blue Sun Soda, Spring Lake Park, MN.

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: This was a really sweet lemon lime. I really enjoyed it! It was heavy on the lemon, and NEARLY seemed "thick" because of how sweet it was. Finally, a Whistler that I enjoyed! I knew I'd like some of their flavors, but they just kept selling my un-sealed bottles that had lost all carbonation. Maybe they figured it out, or maybe I just got lucky with this one, but it was good.

Score: 8 out of 10.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

"State Fair" Soda Tasting at Blue Sun Soda

Saturday, the boys and I stopped by Blue Sun Soda Shop for a little tasting event they had advertised on Facebook. I knew it would be small (nothing like the big outdoor tasting event last year), but it was an excuse to get to the soda shop.

Blue Sun seems to be changing/expanding every time we stop. Last time we were there, this was where all the pinball machines were, and now it's an "old fashioned" soda shop:


Lots of flavors of soda, and also ice cream floats! (And hot dogs and chips.)


We found the soda tasting at the back of the store, which was just some open bottles and tiny plastic "sipping cups:"

"State Fair" sodas in front of John Wayne.


We all had tiny pours of all 5 kinds of soda. I looked on the labels and saw that the State Fair sodas were made right there at Blue Sun Soda. Here was my ranking from favorite (on the left) to least favorite (on the right):

"Cotton Candy" was like liquid cotton candy! Sweet and tasty! "Kettle Corn" was pretty decent,
tasting like sweet popcorn. "Rocket Bomb Pop" was just OK, "Mini Donut" was cinnamon-y
and alright, and I didn't care for "Chocolate Chip Cookie" that much.

Henry's ranking: he liked Rocket Bomb Pop and Cotton Candy a lot.
Neither of my boys cared for Kettle Corn (ranked last).

New sodas: the boys met Billy last year, and they liked his goofy sodas here. The colors
don't match the flavors. (I bought a grape Billy's Bubble Pop, and that was the yellow one.)

A previously closed space in the back is now the arcade!

The other side of the arcade on the other side of the air hockey table.

The boys using their last quarters, with 2 other kids at the air hockey table.


In that first shot of the arcade, you can see my basket of sodas in the foreground. I walked out with 8 bottles, making it one of my smallest trips to Blue Sun. Thanks for the fun tasting event! We'll be back!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Fluids Soda Green Cooler

Yesterday, I started a quick 3-day project in our basement and up the basement steps. I opened this while working:

Fluids Soda Green Cooler
After a few hours of scraping and caulking, before getting a coat of primer on last night.


Brand: Fluids Soda Co. Green Cooler.

Origin: Camarillo, CA.

Purchase Place: Blue Sun Soda, Spring Lake Park, MN.

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: Much like my first "Fluids" soda earlier this summer, I didn't know what flavor this was when I opened it. I guess I wasn't too surprised with this neon green turned out to be "green apple" flavored. It was OK. It was a little harsh, and it had that slight "wet cardboard" taste. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great either. I'm ranking this just below average.

Score: 4.5 out of 10.


Sidenote: here's my "before" shot of scraping from yesterday, and my "during" shot from right now after caulking and a few coats of primer on the bare spots:



Time to paint tomorrow! (Just got back with paint from Menards - all ready to go!)