2020’s Hottest Holiday Junk Food, Part 2!

I’m posting this on a Saturday night, which doesn’t strike me as the best time to launch thousand-word articles about milkshakes and peppermint bark. Oh well. It’ll still be here on Monday.

Get set for the second edition of 2020’s Hottest Holiday Junk Food. If you missed the first edition, it’s over here.

Cheetos Popcorn Tin!
(Found at Walmart)

Christmas isn’t Christmas without the traditional three-flavor popcorn tin, but if I was going to allow any substitution, it’d be for this sexy thing.

I love the weird modernity of it. You know there will come a day when I find that popcorn tin at the back of a closet and think, “Wow, that’s so 2020.”

Inside are individual bags of Cheddar and Flamin’ Hot™ Cheetos Popcorn. The tin doesn’t include a cardboard divider, but that’s okay, because the best way to present those two flavors is by mixing ’em together and letting each handful act as a game of hot-or-not roulette.

GRADE: A+. If you’ve never had Flamin’ Hot™ Cheetos Popcorn, it’s spicy, but not excessively so. The red color mostly comes from food dye. Like, enough food dye to camouflage one of those extra-big elephants from LOTR.

Pepsi Apple Pie!
(Coming soon?)

Sorry, you’re not going to find this in stores. 1500 bottles of Pepsi Apple Pie were given away on social media, and I was among the winners. If you’re envious, just keep in mind that this free bottle of soda was pretty much the best thing to happen to me the entire year.

I’ve heard that Pepsi does have plans for an eventual retail rollout, and GOD I hope that’s true, because this is THE BEST PEPSI FLAVOR I’VE EVER HAD. No hyperbole! Do away with the crust and picture the spiced innards of an apple pie, and then apply that to soda. It’s freakin’ incredible, in everything from smell to taste.

Some have asked if it’s anything like the old Pepsi Holiday Spice. I mean, I guess a little, but this one is less about the bite and more about the appley sweetness. But much like Pepsi Holiday Spice, I imagine that it’d make a great mixer — a theory I intend to test literally ten seconds after I hit “publish” on this article.

GRADE: A+. I know some will ascribe my high praise to being on the take, but screw that. If I have a price, be assured that it’s a whole lot higher than a bottle of soda. This stuff is just GOOD.

Frosted Snowflake Donut!
(Available at Dunkin’)

New from Dunkin’, this donut reminded me more of Mortal Kombat II than Christmas. I’m not complaining!

If the overwhelming amount of purple frosting was supposed to have any special flavor, I didn’t detect it. Taken as a whole, the donut tasted like a cupcake from my third grade birthday party. I enjoyed it while sitting in the car, waiting for a veterinarian to look at our cat’s ass. That cost a lot more than the donut, btw.

GRADE: B+. It’s pretty enough, but a more distinctly “Christmassy” flavor would’ve put it over the top. (And if that’s what you’re after, you can try their new Sugarplum Macchiato. I didn’t, mostly out of fear of mispronouncing in public.)

Winterfest Shake!
(Available at Carvel)

It’s 2020, we can be honest about it: Sometimes we go for limited edition foods more for the photo ops than because we’re dying to eat them. I’m looking at that ghastly shake, and I cannot imagine a scenario wherein the person ordering it wouldn’t be at least 50% driven by the photo potential.

Despite the intense colors, it’s just a normal vanilla ice cream shake — a standard at Carvel. This one was begging for a minty flavor, and I can’t understand how Carvel missed that opportunity. The shake looks like someone puked up fifty packs of Winterfresh gum, and that’s exactly what it should taste like.

That said, I’m a sucker for blue foods. In a year where you cannot do anything or go anywhere or see anyone, an ice cream shake that looks like Aayla Secura really can make a day feel special.


Oreo Peppermint Bark!
(Found at CVS)

Hey, you know that one aunt you have? You get along well enough, but you’re not very close. This thin box of Oreo Peppermint Bark is what she tapes the ten dollar bill onto. That’s her Christmas gift to you. There’s no name tag, and someone drew devil horns on Alexander Hamilton.

For a mass-produced retail candy, they really nailed that “homemade” feel. It’s perfect in its inelegance, if that makes sense, and it tastes like what I wanted that weird Carvel shake to taste like.

Never have I been more disappointed to be old, because had I received this as a kid, I absolutely would’ve used it as a magic carpet for my He-Man figures.

GRADE: B. It’s not up my alley, exactly, but this screams “Christmastime in the pharmacy’s seasonal section” louder than almost any other candy. I enjoy that vibe.

Thanks for reading. I hope I’ve helped you decide what to eat this season. Flamin’ Hot™ popcorn and severely purple donuts. Your poor GI tract.