Astute readers of this esteemed comedy blog may remember that I (Ben) went on vacation to California last month. You would remember this because it meant that you, the reader, had to go a whole week with only the disconnected comedic stylings of Mr. Tom Lorenzo to sustain you.
I wouldn’t subject you to such an indignity unless my absence was entirely necessary. And, in this case, it was. For when I went on vacation I did important research in the field of Mexican candy and convenience store snacks. As a result of my studies, I have come to believe that Mexican candy and convenience store snacks are superior to their American equivalents in every way (except the dangerously high lead content). I now will comment on a few of the Mexican candy specimens I found during my travels in southern and central California.
Exhibit 1: Mango-flavored Chilibonchas Hard Candy
Mild by Mexican candy standards, these rough-edged oblong beauties tasted like typical fruit-flavored hard candies until one reached the pungent chile-flavored middle. If one sucks on a few of these consecutively, he or she will find that their tongue has lost much of its sensitivity to the nuances of texture and flavor. Or, at least that’s what happened to me.
Exhibit 2: Pica Limon
This stuff was rough, bro! Pica Lemon — which cost me 25 cents at a gas station outside of Joshua Tree National Park — is a small packet of lemon-flavored salt. It tasted like Kool Aid before you add the sugar, and resulted in an involuntary “bitter beer face”-type facial expression. More, please!
Exhibit 3: Candy Fiesta-Brand Habas Enchiladas
These were flat-out great: dried Lima and Haba beans coated with a sticky, spicy-sweet chili seasoning. I ate these compulsively while driving a rental car, and got the steering wheel all sticky. When I returned the car, the guy at Avis was like “What happened to the steering wheel?”, and I was like “Habas Enchiladas, dude!” Upon hearing that, he smiled and gave me a fist bump.
Exhibit 4: Elotitos X-Treme
Outside of the lame “X-Treme” in the product name, I have no criticism of these corn-shaped chile-flavored lollipops. An excellent mixture of spiciness and sweetness that is totally foreign to the American candy connoisseur.
note: When I typed Elotitos X-Treme into Google images, this picture came up. I presume that this is because Jesus is up there on the cross enjoying an Elotitos X-treme.
Exhibit 5: Rockaleta
Upon seeing these individually wrapped lollipops, I was totally psyched. Just check out the product description: “Lollipop with 4 chile layers and mango artifically flavored gum center.” However, after just a short time in my mouth, the Rockaleta simply disintegrated into a microscopic piece of gum. I was unable to enjoy the subtle taste nuances as one layer gave way to another. Some information on the back of the package goes a long way toward explaining my disappointment: “Manufactured for Frito-Lay”. Those jerks just can’t be trusted. Hey guys — stay out of the Mexican Candy business!
note — at the same convenience store that I bought the Rockaleta, I also got a bag of tiny dried shrimp that came with its own packet of hot sauce. These were excellent, but I have since lost the wrapper and cannot report on them formally. One thing I can tell you for sure is that they were not manufactured for Frito-Lay.
Exhibit 6: Lucas Bom Vaso
This was my favorite! A sweet lollipop that could be repeatedly dipped, Lik-M-Aid-style, in a small plastic container of chili powder. I only bought one of these, and oh how I wish I had bought more. Lucas Bom Vaso’s are a singular taste sensation.
Exhibit 7: Limonazo
This was similar to Pica Limon, but came in a circular plastic container and contained 10x more powdered goodness. Being much more salty than sweet, it caused an immediate mouth-puckering reaction. The label (which features a flexing lime) boasts about “Vitamina C”, but if you’re getting your supply of Vitamin C through a product such as this then you have some serious problems. The guy at the gas station I bought this at told me that people put this stuff on the rim of their beer glasses, and I can totally see that. I mean, why use an actual lime? I ended up carrying this stuff around in my pocket for about a week, occassionally pouring out a small dose into the palm of my hand, and then licking my hand. I pretended it was a drug that gave me superhuman strength, a fantasy that was always dashed as soon as I tried to test my newfound abilites. On one particularly embarassing occasion, I couldn’t even pick up two hardcover dictionaries for an old lady at Barnes and Noble.
This concludes my report on Mexican candy and convenience store snacks. Thank you for taking the time to let me educate you on such an important and oft-neglected topic.