Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review: Quest Protein Bar Chocolate Brownie

Have you ever been so excited about something you were anticipating, and then been disappointed because it didn’t live up to your expectations? Not because it wasn’t great, but because your expectations were unreasonably high. I do this a lot with parties, imagining all the great food and games, and when I get home and ask myself, “Was it fun?” I usually respond with an eloquent “Meh.”

I was so afraid that’s what would happen with this Chocolate Brownie protein bar that I got for free from Quest Nutrition. Its sibling, the Cinnamon Roll flavor, was literally the best protein bar on the planet, so this bar had some pretty big shoes to fill. Despite my worries I grabbed it on the way out the door this morning.

On a random side note, they shoved a magnet in there with my protein bars:

It’s nice to know somebody believes in me. ;)

Anyway, I ripped the bar open with half excitement and half trepidation and saw...

...a brownie! Wow, there’s definitely no false advertising so far. It looks like a Little Debbie, doesn’t it? This bar isn’t as sticky as the Cinnamon Roll; it came away from the wrapper easily and my keyboard bears no evidence of my breakfast. :)

The weird thing is, it smells really familiar. Chocolatey, yes, but sort of imitation-chocolatey. This is really going to bug me. Sometime in my childhood I ate something that smelled exactly like this, and whatever it was it’s bringing back good memories, so at least that’s promising.

That in mind, I went ahead and took a bite.

Chocolate seems to be a pretty dicey flavor when it comes to protein bars (see Brownie Crunch and Chocolate Fudge from thinkThin). There’s really no way you can replicate that flavor, and with most bars it all pretty much comes from the coating. But this one is unique. The chocolate flavor is in the bar (uh, well there is no coating). That is totally impressive.

I should clarify here. It doesn’t taste exactly like a homemade brownie. It’s sort of like one of those Cosmic Brownies you buy in the checkout line (you know, the ones with rainbow candy-coated chocolate chips on top?). But that’s not an exact match’s coming--

IVE GOT IT!! I have eaten this before, only in another form. Remember when Pop Tarts used to make Snak Stix? My sister was a humongous fan of the Double Chocolate variety and since we always had them in our house growing up I ate my fair share too. The smell and taste...well, the taste might be slightly flatter, but it’s like Quest stole Pop Tart’s recipe and waved a magic wand to make it nutritionally worthwhile. Cool. (Now can they do that with Ben and Jerry’s?)

Obviously that’s where the similarities end, though. This bar is not frosted, nor does it have the texture of a Pop Tart. I would say it’s more brownie-ish, but it’s tougher than that. With brownies you expect soft and gooey. I would call this soft and chewy. OK, think of a Tootsie Roll, only slightly more malleable. It’s still possible to break off a piece, but there is some fun bending and stretching going on:

This bar took me a while to finish, because I took small bites. You almost have to. It’s a little gummy but not in a bad way, and the “juiciness” I noticed in the Cinnamon Roll bar was also here to some extent. According to the Crazy Food Dude, if you heat them in the microwave they get soft and gooey like a real brownie, which I didn’t know until after I ate it. But I kind of liked it with its solid chewiness. It did make me thirsty, though.

Whew. Sorry, this was a monster review. Blame it on Pop Tarts. Bottom line: it was good. But bear in mind that it’s a protein bar, and set your expectations accordingly. I was satisfied, but I don’t think it would stop my craving for a real, homemade brownie. That said, it filled me right up--which is saying something! I’m just now getting around to lunch because for once I wasn’t hungry. No, I didn’t enjoy it as much as the Cinnamon Roll, but I certainly wasn’t disappointed!

(One more random side note: it made my teeth feel really clean. I should have eaten this the day I went to the dentist!)

Taste: 9--a chocolate protein bar where the protein part is also the chocolate part. Think Pop Tarts.
Texture: 9--like a soft version of a Tootsie Roll.
Health: 10--this was definitely a power breakfast. Gluten free, lots of protein, high in fiber, and low in other carbs.
Eat Again? Yeah...although they come out to at least $2.00/bar, so I would probably make do with the cheap Life Choice bars or wait for a sale. Or just win some more ;)

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