Hello, I am VICE's art editor and I am constantly judging everything that passes through my line of vision or into my body. One of my favorite things to critique is frozen food. Supposedly it's terrible for you, but the boxes are always so appealing. Being an aesthete, I'm very susceptible to advertising and attractive package design.
Are the food products as good as they look? Is anything as good as advertised? Why should you care? I'm not really sure yet. But this week I tried a bunch of different frozen Mexican food and ended up getting offered to be set up on a date with a friend of Amy—the Amy from frozen food mega-brand Amy's Kitchen. Life is funny. One day you're eating too much easily-prepared food, and the next you're potentially finding your future foodie soulmate.
José Olé Chicken & Cheese Taquitos
You'd think these would be great, but all you can taste is the flour from the tortillas. There might as well be no chicken or cheese inside the little crispy rolled up carpets of flour. Eating these felt like an unpleasant job and I was just punching the clock.
José Olé Chimichanga Chicken & Cheese and Steak & Cheese
I didn't like these. The chicken meat is rubbery and sinewy. The beef burrito was more edible, but still the main takeaway was that it was gross. The tortillas are thick, presumably to keep the burritos from exploding in the microwave. But they exploded anyway. It's hard to taste anything over the dominating flavor of the tortillas in any Jose Olé product. Are they being forced to use so much flour by the goons from Big Flour or something?
Chicken & Cheese: D
Beef & Cheese: C
Amy's Burrito Especial
This is a pretty basic little flour sleeping bag with rice and beans in it, so I added half an avocado and a ton of Cholula. It was terrific. What a meal!
But everything is great with half an avocado and Cholula on it. You could put avocado and Cholula on a steak, a salad, some hummus—the list goes on. You could put them on your failed relationship or your disappointing child that you secretly resent. You could put them on a bad day at the office or even on an insulting comment on your Instagram and everything would be as smooth and spicy as avocados and Cholula.
Amy's Cheese Enchilada
I originally posted the following review on my Instagram page:
This is as good as enchiladas I've ordered in restaurants. I'm not vegetarian and I get pretty annoyed by the vocal vegetarians who won't stop bragging, but Amy's frozen food is better than a lot of fresh made meat dishes. I realistically see myself eating a ton of these in the future, and I wonder what the real-life Amy is like. Did she rebel against her parents and open a barbecue place? What's her least favorite Amy's dish? Did she have a punk phase? How much is the Amy's Kitchen business worth? Amy are you reading this? Will you marry me?
After I posted that review I got some responses from the Amy's Kitchen Instagram account:
This is Sarah, Amy's best friend since 2001. You pose some good questions about Amy and since she's cozied in with a sweet, brand new baby—he's a week old today!—and a freezer full of pot pies (her favorite Amy's food at the moment because it reminds her of being a kid), I thought I'd answer on her behalf. 'Cause that's what BFFs do. Amy is a pretty down-to-earth gal. She's warm and ridiculously goofy and she actually really likes her parents. (No, really.) She didn't go through a full-on punk phase, but she did have a lip piercing back in the day (#rebel!).
She doesn't actually have a "least favorite Amy's dish" because her parents use her as the taste-tester for almost every product we've made (#roughjob), but I'll tell you one secret: the one ingredient no one in the family likes is eggplant.
Unfortunately, she is already married to a guy we all like but I know some other Amys who like enchiladas and artists. We could set you up if you message us.
Your review is an A+, the best we've read and yes, we read it all. I noticed you are a talented artist... maybe you want to draw a portrait of our enchiladas next?
Later I received a second comment from the same Amy's Kitchen account, this time from the Amy!
@nickgazin, I can't marry you but I can send you some enchiladas instead. Send us your address and I'll send some frozen food love. ~ Amy (yes, the real Amy)
So that's what's new with my life. I ate a frozen vegetarian enchilada and it's leading to me being set up on dates and getting more frozen enchiladas. I will let you know as this story develops.
Follow me on Instagram if you want to see what I'm eating more regularly, as well as if Amy from Amy's Kitchen can get me a date.