Review: Smartfood Caramel & Cheddar Mix Popcorn & Reprise: Hot Clueless Girls for Everyone to See (A Rosetta Stone Story)

JFG Nation, as baseball season hits the stretch run, I wanted to re-share a baseball game story I posted back in 2012. (Sidenote: it’s interesting to see how my writing style has changed…sort of? I dunno.) Enjoy!

Junk Food Nation, I love to go to baseball games. The atmosphere, the game, the hot dogs – all good. One thing I don’t love but I tolerate are the schticky bits that occur on the Jumbotron – things like the Kiss Cam, dance contests, and the like.  Here in DC, Nationals Park is no different. Their in-stadium host, Clint, spends the game chucking t-shirts, leading cheers, and running contests with fans in the stands.

Now, it’s no secret that these in-stadium hosts try to find the most photogenic people to put up on the scoreboard for these contests… after all, who wants to look at a slob blown up to scoreboard size? (Sorry, it’s true.)  Last season, Clint managed to find these two smoking hot blonde girls to do a quick trivia quiz.  These girls were clearly in their early 20’s, had clearly just tagged along with their boyfriends (who were wearing their sunglasses on the back of their heads – AWESOME), and were clearly spending the game texting each other.  They were clueless, defined…

Clint introduces the trivia game and away we go! He reads out the question and puts three options on the scoreboard.  The question isn’t important – all that matters is that B was the correct answer. This fan behind them starts yelling “B! B!!!!!” as these two girls look at the baseball related question, look at each other, look at their boyfriends (who shrug), look back at each other and are at a loss for words.  The fan behind them is red in the face SCREAMING “It’s B!!!! IT’S B!!!!!!!!!!” Finally, the girls notice him, look at each other confused, and tell Clint, “B?”

Lo and behold they are correct! Clint tells them, “You’ve won a full software version from this question’s sponsor, Rosetta Stone!” The girls: *blank faces* …because they have no idea what the hell Rosetta Stone is. (For the uninitiated, Rosetta Stone is a language learning software that has commercials on TV CONSTANTLY. A full version can run anywhere from $200-$500).  These girls clearly aren’t thrilled because they have no idea what they’ve won.

Clint: “Ok, ladies, which language would you like?” The girls: *even more confused looks on their faces* …because they don’t know what Rosetta Stone is, they have ZIPPY CLUE how to even interpret that question.  People around me in the stands start to snicker…everyone else is starting to notice this awkwardness.  These girls literally stare at each other for a good 15-20 seconds silently, shrugging.

Clint: “Alright, ladies, we’ll give you Spanish – congratulations!” He hands over the big yellow box which contains the Rosetta Stone software, and the girls accept it, bewildered. They sort of hold it up, victoriously, but you can tell they have no clue what it is.  An old man nearby my seat yells, “My god, they don’t even know what it IS,” prompting several rows to laugh.

Was it awkward? Yes, but not for me so that made it ok. Are all hot girls clueless (which is just a kinder word than stupid)? Of course not.   Were these girls clueless? Yes.  Did I laugh at them? Yes.

I told some co-workers, both male and female, this story, and their immediate first reaction: “Dude, they got free Rosetta Stone?! That ish is expensive!” Yup. It is.

Today’s junk food: Smartfood Caramel & Cheddar Mix Popcorn!!

If you’ve never had Chicago Mix popcorn before, i.e. caramel corn and cheddar cheese popcorn mixed together, then you might find this revolting. I certainly did before I tried it years back. Caramel and cheese, I thought? WTF. I remember growing up and my dad would get those HUGE metal tins of popcorn from the holiday catalog that had butter, cheese, and caramel corn in the same tub. Not ONCE did I ever think of eating the cheese popcorn with the caramel.  Apparently, I missed out on years of this combo!


WHY OR WHY NOT? It’s important to start with the recognition that I am a Smartfood fan, and also a kettle corn mark. I.e., I enjoy salty sweet so so much. This combo pushes both of those competing flavors to the edge. Have you ever had a baked brie with honey? This combo of cheddar and caramel is the same concept. Basically a sweet creamy cheese flavor, and the cheddar adds even more salty and sharpness. Then add to that essentially cooked sugar. The combo is a BOLD combo of salty, sweet, and creaminess.

This combo works if you’re into salty sweet, and Smartfood has executed it perfectly. The caramel is crisp and sweet with good toffee notes. The cheddar is smooth and super creamy like their white cheddar variety. The combo is nothing short of bliss. The caramel has a tendency to drown out the cheddar sometimes, but a chew of two cheddar pieces for every caramel piece is perfect. I really really really loved this. Hard to stop eating. HARD TO STOP EATING.

ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD KNOW? By the way, even though most people (and hopefully you too, now) know this combo as “Chicago Mix,” there’s a very good reason this bag is NOT called Chicago Mix. Apparently, the people who originally branded “Chicago Mix” have lawyered up.

Candyland ain’t playin’.

PURCHASED AT: Giant Food, Potomac, MD.


COST? $3.50.



Discuss - 7 Comments

  1. Dave says:

    I’d love to see you do a comparative review with Amazon’s brand of caramel cheddar popcorn. They use cane sugar instead of corn syrup that is found in the Smartfood variety.

  2. Ryan Thompson says:

    Just a quick fyi for factual references – “Chicago Mix” was invented in Minnesota, Google it.

    *Glad you’re back!

  3. Jessica says:

    After spending 9 years working for an arena, I saw my fair share of video board funnies. Not so much the contests because, quite frankly they’re faked.. My favorite was Halloween when the camera zoomed in on a woman dressed like a nun. She began dancing and then revealed her thong underwear. Never saw the camera move that fast.

    Rosetta Stone is expensive but heck, Duolingo’s free (which came in very handy at the arena dealing with cocky pretending-to-not-speak-English Montreal fans). Lousy prize if you ask me.

  4. Elisa says:

    Looks like the Chicago skyline on the packaging…

  5. April says:

    Hi Junk food guy! Love your blog btw! I check your blog once a week for the latest snacks and goodies. My weak spot is chips and popcorn so I am in the right place’!

    So back to the review, I think smart food did a good job with the Carmel but they lack in the cheddar cheese one. It’s not sharp enough like real cheddar and just taste like their white cheddar which is fine if this was called white cheddar mix.

    I’m from Chicago and Chicago Garett popcorn – best Chicago mix ever- fail in comparison. The cheese G.H creator the mix does a better job imitating the Chicago taste in my opinion. Have u tried that one yet? Let me know what u think!

    • junkfoodguy says:

      @April: Thanks 🙂 I have had Garrett’s and GH Cretor. Love em. Agree with you tat the cheddar here did just taste like their white version – still, not bad!

  6. Christine Robinson says:

    It’s gone! I got hooked on the Caramel Cheddar Smartfood popcorn and now it’s gone, it hasn’t been in the stores for months.

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