Smoky Mountain Trail Grub (Jerky Snack Shack) Review

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Jerky Snack Shack and all its products have become my newest obsession. Whether you want straightforward, exotic, or spicy jerky, they have got you covered. Plus, they have a line of hot sauces that’s impressive to say the least. I got to try two of them, Habanero Garlic Pepper and Peach Pepper’n Vidalla. While of them was on the lower end of Jerky Snack Shack’s heat scale, they still packed a wallop.

I couldn’t help but be impressed with the exotic jerky from Jerky Snack Shack. They sent me their alligator, python, and ostrich varieties. I thoroughly enjoyed all of them and am distraught at the idea of that being the end of my foray into their weird section. The best part about these unique jerky flavors is their flavor. Jerky Snack Shack does not want to lean on the interesting nature of the flavors they’ve chosen. They want their jerky to stand on its own regardless of its flavor.

I couldn’t help but notice that Jerky Snack Shack has a section of jerky they describe as the hottest on the planet. I was not able to try any of this jerky. I’m hoping I will have a chance to try a few of these flavors in the future. I’ve been craving a type of jerky that sets my mouth on fire. I have yet to come across such a jerky. Peppered jerky is different. That’s more of a spice. I’m talking about heat.

Speaking of setting your mouth ablaze, I have picked through the selection of hot sauces at Jerky Snack Shack. It’s beyond impressive. I’m a bit of a rube when it comes to hot sauce. I go with the normal kinds you find at the grocery store. Perhaps that approach is mistaken. Jerky Snack Shack has open my mind to more things than I can count. I would love to test my fate and add some of their 10+++ sauce to my food. Bring it on.

I love sausage. Jerky Snack Shack doesn’t disappoint in this regard either. Jerky is one thing. Sausage is something else entirely. To excel at both things is quite the achievement. I have not tried Jerky Snack Shack’s sausage, but I’m confident that endorsing it is a solid decision considering the quality of their other products. A company that’s dedicated to the quality of one of their products is almost always dedicated to the quality of all of their products.

As far as Jerky Snack Shack’s jellies are concerned, I’m intrigued but not convinced. They combine flavors that seem like they do not go together. I am also a rube when it comes to jellies though. I have never been able to get my hands on the more unique blends. I have faith in the quality of these jellies; however, I would have to withhold my endorsement until I try them.

I’m more on board with Jerky Snack Shack’s licorice. They have produced licorice in flavors that match up with things I enjoy in other types of candy. Licorice seldom strikes my fancy. In a world where Twizzler reigns supreme, it’s understandable that complacency sits on a throne beside them. Twizzler is boring. The flavors that Jerky Snack Shack puts out there is anything but that.

When it’s done right, jerky is not just jerky. It has the potential to be so much more than that. Jerky Snack Shack does jerky and so many other things right. It definitely helps that the people that run this company are some of the nicest folks you will ever come across. You will get wonderful products with even better people backing them up.

Reviewers and Their Unnatural Prose

I’ve reviewed things for a little over eight years now. I started with software and now I’ve moved on to whatever I feel like talking about. Over the years, I’ve read countless reviews from other people. I’ve noticed one major thing. The way reviewers write their reviews is so unnatural.

I repeatedly go back the old adage of “You write like how you talk.” If anyone reading this post were to ever meet me in person, they would be surprised by how much I sound like my writings in my conversation. I think about each word and the way my sentences are structured. None of these words were placed without a considerable amount of forethought.

That’s something that’s missing from a lot of review writing. The reviews I read sound more like Wikipedia pages than anything else. Don’t get me wrong. Wikipedia pages have their purpose. How many of those pages have you read from start to finish? Out of the pages you read from top to bottom, how many of them were enjoyable reads? Likely very few. 

The purpose of Wikipedia pages is to inform the audience. They accomplish this purpose in the most mundane way. You’re more likely to pick out the information you need than read a Wikipedia page in its entirety. Reviews are supposed to inform as well. There’s no reason they need to do so in such a dry boring way.

I approach my reviews like I’m telling my best friend about the product I’m reviewing. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do is bore my best friend. I’m not the best reviewer by any means. Such a distinction is subjective anyway. All I know is I try my hardest to make my reviews as personable as possible. More reviewers should do the same.

Revisiting Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC

I’ve written about Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC several times. There’s so much material there because they sell countless varieties of coffee. Each type of coffee has its own identity and is deserving of individual coverage. I feel like I keep coming back to them because of how badly I bungled our relationship. I tried their coffee years ago for the purpose of a review. I wrote the review, but I spent too much time on it. 

At this point, making amends seems like a virtual impossibility. I’ve attempted to contact them on a number of occasions to no avail. I would absolutely love to work with them again if that’s what they want. I’m hoping that, since so much time has passed, they have let bygones be bygones. I doubt that it will happen in the way that I want. Perhaps it will one day and, when that happens, I’ll be here with bells on.

In the meantime, I encourage anyone who’s reading this post to check out their page. They continue to be one of the best coffee companies I’ve ever come across. I check in on my them from time to time and they continue to impress me. I always like to mention in reviewsnumber where I’m fanboying out that I’m not being paid to write this post. I take special precautions to ensure that I maintain the highest levels of objectivity and integrity.

Every coffee drinker deserves to have the best cup of coffee on the market. I started this blog for the sole purpose that I was sick and tired of the coffee I was getting from the grocery store. When I find a type of coffee I love, I can’t get away from it. As time goes on, I come across a whole multitude of other brands. Some are good and some are bad. The only thing that remains the same is the resonance of the brands that made an impact.

In moments where you find yourself regretting an action, the idea of time travel inevitably comes up. We want the opportunity to go back in time and atone for our mistakes. Though it’s a cliche, I’m more than happy to cart it out here. I wish that I could go back in time and redo the way I approached covering Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC. If I could do it over, I would in a second.

Breakfast Time at Howard Johnson’s Restaurants 

What was breakfast like at a Howard Johnson’s Restaurant (HOJO’s)?

I’ve heard so much about lunch, dinner, and ice cream at HOJO’s. I’ve heard nothing about breakfast. Very little information is available about what was served in the heyday of these restaurants. I have been able to find some pictures of menus, but none that answer all my questions. The piece of the puzzle that always seems to be missing is the one that talks about breakfast.

I know it might seem silly for me to worry about what was served at a restaurant chain that is on the brink of extinction. I don’t care. To me, HOJO’s is an American institution that does not get the respect it deserves. In order to tell the entire story of a restaurant, you can’t focus solely on its history. You have to look at what they served throughout the day. After all, without the food, nobody would have a reason to go to a restaurant.

Based on advertising alone, it doesn’t appear that HOJO’s wanted to highlight what they served for breakfast. I’ve looked at all their advertising and it’s devoid of any mention of their morning dining options. I firmly believe that what’s available online is not a complete representation of how HOJO’s presented themselves to the masses.

After delving into the deepest depths of the internet, I came across a one page listing that has some breakfast items with the HOJO’s name at the top. I don’t know where this came from or whether it’s accurate. I would have to see a similar listing in the context of a complete menu.

Regardless of what was served at HOJO’s at breakfast time, I can imagine that it was grand. A big part of what makes a meal enjoyable is atmosphere. If there was anything at which HOJO’s excelled, it was atmosphere. They created an environment in which their guests could have the best possible experience. People couldn’t wait to get down to their local HOJO’ s.

I will continue to dig into this issue. When I find out more, I will post a follow up piece. I want to devote coverage to each meal served at HOJO’s. In doing so, I’m hoping I will be accurately and completely represent why Howard Johnson’s Restaurants were so great and why we need them now more than ever.

Here’s to the Curious Ones

As once prosperous institutions slip into the void of memory, it becomes difficult to learn things about them. The people who were responsible for moving these institutions forward have long since moved on to other things or are no longer with us. This shift makes it so the only information that’s left is what has been recorded. 

We live in a time where we take information for granted. We look at all the information we have at our fingertips and think that we know everything. The reality is that the internet has not been around for as long as we think. 

The lifespan of the internet stretches back 20 years. If you consider when it became widely available and used, you’re looking at a much shorter timeframe. The era of massive amounts of information being catalogued for each event likely started 10 years ago. Before then, there were websites, but they weren’t as plentiful or as frequently updated as they are now.

Consider events that happened before the modern era of the internet. Unless they were earth shattering, there’s little to no information about them. The news media probably covered them a little bit, but the archives that contain that information are hidden behind monthly membership walls. This leaves the rest of us to bat around the same overused set of facts that have been around forever.

What happened to curiosity? Where are the people who piece together bits of a story and are left dissatisfied with the results? I’m a tremendously curious person. I like trying new things and learning about everything. I especially like getting more information about stories that haven’t been told in their entirety. I get upset when I try to get the full story and am left with scraps.

Writing a book takes too long. I could spend excessive amounts of time writing and researching a topic and then even longer trying to sell the finished product. Expending that effort seems like a exercise in futility. 

Writing on the internet doesn’t have to be lousy. I’m baffled as to why people continuously marginalize all forms of writing. Perhaps it’s all an exercise in suppressing the truth. Either way content creators need to resist and continue to tell the stories they feel like telling. Otherwise there will be gaps in the narrative whenever the medium that replaces the internet comes into existence.

Praying for an Eggo (@eggo, @kelloggsus) – Glines Over Breakfast #2

What does a guy have to do to get an Eggo hookup? I could write to them on Twitter, but who knows where the person who responds to their tweets winds up on the corporate food chain. I’ve dealt with enough social media people to tell you that they’re customer service representatives in a different venue. All they can do is acknowledge you if you praise them or forward your concerns to the person who’s able to address them. It’s not their fault. They have a job to do and many of them do it to the best of their abilities.

Eggo waffles are part of the mythological juggernaut Kellogg’s. I will be talking about many of their products in the future. They are such an integral part of breakfast that it would be irresponsible of me to discuss breakfast and not mention their name. I have attempted to find someone over at Kellogg’s who’s willing to talk to me. No such luck. I could write to their generic contact form, but that’s a waste of time. Thousands of people likely use that form daily, leaving Kellogg’s with a pile of queries that will go unanswered.

I want to get the ear of a living breathing person working over at Kellogg’s. Someone who can take my request and turn it into action. There was a time when doing such a thing wasn’t such a chore. You could write to a company and someone would get back to you with an actual response. They wouldn’t dig a canned reply off of their pile of scripts in the hopes that you would blindly keep quiet. They would actually take the time to respond to your query in a way that would ensure that you’re satisfied.

I’m not saying that Kellogg’s has dropped the ball in any way here. I’m sure that they will be very receptive to me when I make contact with them. I just need to find the right person to contact. In a world of nearly identical job titles, it’s challenging to track down the individual who will answer your questions. You could find someone who seems like they’re in the right department only to find out that they do something completely different from what their job title signifies. Persistence is key and persistent is what I will be.


Nothing will keep me from my Eggo waffles. If you told me that there was a case of Eggo waffles on the other end of a brick wall, I would do my best Hulk impression and try to break through to get to it. I have tried almost every generic brand of frozen waffles I’ve been able to get my hands on. Some of them are alright while others are forgettable. None of them hold a candle to Eggo waffles. I fully admit that I might be susceptible to choosing Eggo waffls just because they’re a name brand. I don’t mind. In all reality, I’m sure that if their waffles didn’t taste the best, I would pass them over for waffles from another brand.

Donut Cereal – Glines Over Breakfast #1

How come nobody told me there was such a thing as donut cereal? I noticed the Captain Crunch version (the sprinkles one, not the chocolate one) at my local grocery store recently. I hesitated for a moment and decided that I didn’t want to buy it. This hesitation was a mistake because this cereal was gone the next time I went to the store. I haven’t seen a box for sale of any kind of donut cereal since then.

I decided to do an extensive amount of research to see if donut cereal was or ever had been a thing. I was surprised to find out that there had been several types of this cereal stretching back decades. I had never seen many of these products because they came out well before my time. I will tell you that they look much more interesting than what Captain Crunch decided to bring to the table. I would buy these cereals if I found them at my local grocery store.

When discussing products that come in boxes, it’s tempting to think of the old cliche “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Normally, I steer clear of this idea for the same reason that so many of us dismiss it as a cliche. You have to look at what’s beneath the surface to determine the true meaning and value. Cereal is a much different thing though. The boxes in which cereal is sold determine their entire identity.

I enjoyed looking over all the unique varieties of Dunkin’ Donuts Cereal. The box art was so appealing that it seemed like something that would work well in today’s cereal aisle. This cereal came out in 1988. I couldn’t find a definitive year when this product left the market. I also was unable track down reviews from people who remembered what this cereal even tasted like. I would assume that the reaction was less than stellar. After all, it came and went faster than we realized they even arrived.

Donuts are a major part of the imagery associated with The Simpsons. Homer Simpson loves his donuts and many episodes of this long running series are devoted to that fact. I was surprised to find that there was a Simpsons donut cereal. The choice to make it cinnamon donut flavored when Homer’s obsession centers on frosted donuts. Again, I could not find a time period during which this cereal was on the grocery store shelves. Based on the box art, I would place its existence somewhere in the mid-1990’s.


The final two entries in this series could best be described as unknown players. They are Dinky Donuts and Powdered Donutz. The box art for these two cereals places them well before my time, likely in the late-1960’s or early to mid-1970’s. I would pass on Dinky Donuts just because of how the product looks on the box. I guess this product came out before the era of food stylists. I thought that the product looked much less like donut cereal and more like an extremely unappealing Cheerios.


Powdered Donutz has the look of a donut themed version of Frosted Cheerios. Say what you will about Frosted Cheerios, but there was a time when I loved it. Taking the delightful parts about that cereal and making them donut based seems awesome. If any cereal outside of the Dunkin Donuts brand were to come back, I would want it to be Powdered Donutz.


I love donuts and I love cereals. Merging the two worlds eliminates the need for me to struggle between picking a donut over a bowl of cereal. I am despondent at the fact that there are no donut cereals on the market right now. I would assume that you can find one of the Captain Crunch donut varieties somewhere. If I see one at the store, I will pick it up. I would also love for a new kind of donut cereal to appear and change the game.

Texas Firehouse Coffee Review

Say it with me now. No bitter aftertaste! No bitter aftertaste! No bitter aftertaste! You might think that I’m a little nutty for starting an article out this way. I’m simply repeating the slog an of Texas Firehouse Coffee. They advertise the fact their coffee has a smooth taste, which is an ambitious claim that can easily be checked for accuracy. I put their coffee through its paces to determine whether it’s as smooth as they say. I will tell you that their coffee more than backs up its claims.

Coffee is a strange thing. You can read something about the coffee you’re drinking and then think that it’s accurate. It doesn’t matter whether it’s true or false. The power of suggestion overrules any doubt you might have in your mind. If someone says their coffee is smooth, your mind will remember that point and try to fool your mouth into thinking it’s smooth. I wasn’t about to be fooled this time.

To prevent casual suggestion from messing up my process, I had someone else make Texas Firehouse Coffee without telling me. I loved it. It tasted smooth, strong, and highly flavorful at the same time. You can get one or two of these things from a type of coffee, but rarely are you able to check all three boxes. I applaud Texas Firehouse Coffee for making such audacious claims and putting the work into their product to ensure that they back them up.

I was surprised to find out that Texas Firehouse Coffee doesn’t just offer coffee. Granted, coffee companies offer different products all the time. It’s not a new thing; however, based on what I found out about their coffee, it seemed like that was the only thing they have in their repertoire. I’m happy to be mistaken about this fact. Perhaps I will be able to try one of these products later on, leading to a subsequent review. I always try to talk about everything a company makes available to the public.

Coffee and firehouses are two things I didn’t previously tie together. I like the picture that this comparison paints though. The people in firehouses are tough and brave. They answer the call whenever it tolls for them. That’s what people want their coffee to do. Texas Firehouse Coffee has a lot of products in their inventory that get you going and never let you down.

Kanalani Ohana Farm Kona Coffee Review

I could spent a million years writing how much I love kona coffee, but all that time still wouldn’t get to the bottom of my adoration for this segment of the coffee universe. I used to see kona coffee as something unattainable, practically a mythological item. Those days are long gone; however, I still hold this coffee in high regard and look at it as the pinnacle of the industry. Kanalani Ohana Farm is one of those entities that does kona coffee right. It all comes down to the dedication they show from the moment they hand pick their beans until they show up in the hands of someone like me.

I can’t get enough of coffee that comes from entities that take it seriously. You are able to discern this fact from the moment you open the bag. The smell of well crafted beans is potent enough to knock you on your butt and make you want to get to your grinder like your life depends on it. From the moment you take your first smell of a type of coffee, you can almost taste what will soon be filling up your cup. It’s hard to put this level of anticipation into words.

That’s the kind of feeling I got when I broke into my bag of Kanalani Ohana Farm kona coffee. I fully understand that they offer their product on their website. Anyone can order it and have it shipped to their house within a few days. Despite all these facts staring me in the face, I somehow feel like I’m one of a privileged few. I feel like I got an invitation to a secret location in a spooky envelope. As I pour a cup of coffee, it’s almost like I’m transported into a secret bunker where I’m able to enjoy this brew with some of the best coffee minds.

Speaking about coffee in these terms might seem excessive. I couldn’t disagree more with this assertion. Any time you’re able to try something on which another person spent countless hours working you think of it as an honor. You’re not tasting coffee when you try Kanalani Ohana Farm’s coffee. You’re tasting the work that they put into it and how much they want it to be great for you. That’s not a sensation you will get when you drink coffee from many different brands. Kanalani Ohana Farm is a cut above.

Coffee Labs Roasters Review

The most intriguing thing to me about Coffee Labs Roasters is the fact that their mascot is a dog. I don’t know why this stood out to me in particular. They are not the first coffee company that I’ve encountered that uses a dog as their logo. I enjoyed the way their logo looked and it got me thinking about the relationship people have with their dogs and how that relates to the way people feel about their coffee.

A person who loves their dog more than anything in this world has it with them wherever they go. They can’t leave home without it and they want it to be the first thing they see every morning. That’s exactly how I and countless others feel about our coffee. We can’t live without it. Although its appearance and disappearance into our lives are brief, the time that we’re able to spend with feels as close to companionship as we can get.

You will find no company that exemplifies this point better than Coffee Labs Roasters. Each blend that they send out of their doors is remarkably well crafted. The people who are behind this company knows what coffee means to their customers. The last thing they would want to do is produce something that’s disappointing to anyone. I have enjoyed every moment that I have had a chance to have their coffee in my life. I plan on working towards making it a more regular part of my routine going forward.

When you drink as much coffee as I do, you’re bound to come across a few duds in your travels. Coffee Labs Roasters is anything but a dud coffee company. Although your coffee aficionado friends might not blink an eye when you tell them their name, they should pay attention.

Drinking coffee should be all about trying new things. There’s so much great coffee out there waiting to be consumed. You can’t stick with your brand, hoping that it will somehow taste different even though nothing of merit has changed. You should look at all the brands out there and see how many you can enjoy in the process.

You won’t have to spend too much time in your search before you will come across Coffee Labs Roasters. As you pour the first cup of their coffee, you will wonder why you spent so much time with your brand of choice when this coffee was out there waiting for you.