Entry #2 – Fentiman’s Dandelion and Burdock Soda

Welcome to the cross-blog Stephen O  Follow both if you like reading my words, or something.

Today on the Stephen O Show I am reviewing Fentiman’s Dandelion and Burdock Soda. Now, you may be asking yourself, what the heck is that? That is an excellent question, and one that I really still don’t know the answer to. I mean, I know that, to quote Wikipedia:

Dandelion and burdock is a beverage consumed in the British Isles since the Middle Ages. It was originally a type of light mead, but over the years has evolved into the non-alcoholic soft drink commercially available today.[1] Traditionally it was made from fermented dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) and burdock (Arctium lappa) roots.


I saw it while hunting for Guarana Antarctica at the farmers market on a tip from my buddy Jared. I did find that, and I rejoiced mightily, but I figured while there might as well get a couple of other drinks to review for the Stephen O Show.


The stuff looks great. Font choices are excellent, it really does look like an old timey soda, although I must admit the phrase ‘Fermented Botanical Dandelion’ is not particularly appetizing (to me, anyway).


This stuff smells a little like flowers, and a little like cough syrup. However, not like the super nasty cough syrup. Just the regular nasty cough syrup, but slightly more pleasant than that.

First Taste

Austin and I had the same initial reaction when tasting this soda. My taste buds just did not know what to do with it! I tasted dandelion and something else I have never tasted before (must be the burdock), but I also had a hint of… licorice! No!

I just cannot stand black licorice, and it is definitely one of the tasting notes in this beverage. Thankfully, it is a minor tasting note and I was able to get past it.

Taste Review

As I continued to drink this thing, every time I would go for a sip I would have to psych myself up. Not that it was horrible, but that it really tastes… alien to me. I have honestly never experienced any flavor like this in my life. The more I drank it, the flavor did improve but I would not go so far as to say that I actually am excited about picking up another one of these from the fridge and popping the cap.

You know what it was like? Overall, it was like drinking lightly sweetened dandelion flavored cough syrup with a touch of licorice. The dandelion flavor was prominent, and this drink was barely sweet at all. I think that what really got me was the aftertaste. It was medicinal and faintly unpleasant (to me). If you are big into botanical, I think you might actually like it.

Conclusion and Rating

Let me be fair here: these are dang interesting. They are weird but they are interesting! The flavor is bizarre but if you need a break from the norm or if you like cough syrup, licorice, and eating flowers, then this drink may be for you!

You can find this beverage at the . There are more Fentiman’s flavors. Oh goodie for me…

Rating: 2 out of 5 soda bottles

I just can’t get past that aftertaste like I just chewed up some licorice tinged dandelions and then hit that ‘tussin.

See you later today on  for the second part of my Mega Season 2014 intro post!


The Once and Future Tea

I think it is only appropriate that since tea was my inspiration for starting a review blog that it be the thing that gets me back on track with said blog. Well that is only partially true. Honestly I haven’t had any loose leaf tea in months except when visiting the Teavana store in the mall over the holidays.

This is less about tea than honey. Honey made me think of tea, but I still haven’t had any yet. In any case, I am rambling. My point is that I intend to resume posting here, which is saying something considering I never intended to stop posting here.

I have started using honey in my coffee here at work instead of sugar. Better for you etc but mainly I just love the flavor. Yes we are in fact leading up to a review here, maybe a mini review? Something, anyway.

Review: Buram Pine Honey

I got this stuff from Casablanca, a restaurant that I love. They use it to sweeten their quite frankly amazing sweet tea so I felt “how could I go wrong?”. I have had this honey for over a year and just opened it today. This is my first experience with a honey made from honeydew and… It is unique.

What you need to understand is that this stuff smells a lot like pine tree sap. It tastes more than a little like pine tree sap. I am sure that there are a lot of people who love it and I sure do in the tea. By itself? Ergh.. not so much.

It isn’t bad, not saying it’s bad, just… very different. I do not recommend it for use on toast or anything of the like, unless you want it to taste like you rubbed your toast on a tree. In coffee it’s actually quite nice, so I will retain it.

I found a LOT of honey I want to try on Amazon. Before I buy any though I want to check Fresh market and the farmers market and see what they have.

Bottom line: Buram pine honey is exactly that

Talk to you soon, more Stephen O Show is on the way including:

  1. movie reviews (Hobbit, Jack Ryan)
  2. restaurant reviews


The beginning of things

I have a feeling this “chocolate bar review extravaganza” is going to be the “first post” that takes six weeks to do, so I am going to do a “soft open” as it were. Wow, too many quotation marks. Anyway, I figured I would take this first post to let you know how the various and sundry reviews are going to work, and how the scoring method is going to function for each. I want this to be interesting, although if complexity bogs me down I reserve the right to revert to a simple “out of five stars” or “out of ten” ranking. All of this is subject to change at any time. We are just getting started here.


These reviews are not changing.  Where appropriate, however, I will make additional notes for my friends.


This category encompasses everything from sodas to energy drinks, coffee to tea. The review elements will change based on the type of drink, as detailed below. I will also detail any ingredients that are odd or appropriate based on the type of drink.

Energy Drinks: Energy Level, Twitch factor, Flavor, Value
Sodas/ Cold Teas/ Misc: Flavor, Value
Hot Tea: Aroma, Flavor, Replay
Coffee: Aroma, Flavor, Energy Level
Purposeful Brews: Effect, Flavor

Some minor notes. Twitch factor is how twitchy the drink makes you. The best energy drinks will give high energy for low twitch. Replay is how good is the tea when you re-steep it two or more times. A Purposeful Brew is a beverage that claims to have some value other than “energy” or refreshment.


Ah, movie reviews. Some of you who know me are out there going “Well, everyone knows Stephen loves everything!” This is patently untrue. With movie prices out of the frame, I usually only go see movies I am reasonably certain I will enjoy. Therefore, I have a higher than average rating on the movies I review. Once you understand that, I think you will understand why I skew higher than most other people.

Movies will receive the following ratings: ROF (rip-off factor), Glutton for Punishment, Plot, Special Effects, Man Score, and Overall. ROF is how ripped off I feel at paying $10 for the movie, Glutton for Punishment is a score representing the chance that I would pay to see it again at the theater, Man Score is how manly the movie was. It is possible to get a negative in this category.


Reviewing books is something I have never attempted before. Due to the nature of the beast, and how tastes change over time, I will be doing Ancient and Current reviews. Ancient reviews will be of what I remember, Current reviews will be of books I have read or completed reading in the past 12 months. I would like to post an Ancient review of a book, re-read it, and then post a Current review. Categories are: Addictive, Boredom, Care factor, Replay, and Overall. For non-fiction books, there is also the category of Absorption (did I learn anything?).

Care factor means that I actually care about what is happening in the book. The best books draw you in and cause you to care. It is possible to have a good book with no care factor, i suppose, but it is one of the things I value most highly. Addictive books are page turners, and boredom just measures how boring the book can be. Even really good books have boring bits in them sometimes.

TV Shows

I have never done this one before either, but here are our categories: Must See TV, Entertainment, DVR. Must See TV represents how badly you absolutely have to watch every episode every week. DVR means that you consistently give up a coveted DVR time slot to record the show.


Another new one for me. I haven’t even decided on the categories yet. On my first music review post, we will knock that one out.


When reviewing food, I will use whatever categories are specific to the type of item (e.g., Chocolate) I am reviewing.

I know I am biting off a lot with this blog, but I am always getting requests from people to review more stuff, so here it is. Also, and most importantly, I enjoy it. Thanks for reading, hopefully post my first review tonight/tomorrow morning.

Another Blog?!

Yes, I have created another blog. I wanted a place where I could review stuff.  I love doing reviews, and this will give me an outlet specifically for that purpose.

What kind of reviews? Well, I am open to your suggestions but right off the bat:

  • Food
  • Drinks (energy drinks, tea, coffee, soda, you name it!)
  • Movies (oh snap!)
  • Books (yes, I read)
  • TV (I have opinions on those too)
  • Technology (gadgets, etc)
  • Games

Ok, well, I hope to have a first review post today at some point. I actually bought several chocolate bars to review for a big launch of this blog. That is coming soon!