The Papal Chase – Cinnamon Roll, Cheeseball, Fish & Pie

pic     Vending Machine Gross Item of the Week Awards    pope 2

Welcome back fellow de-vo-tees!  After another unfortunately long absence, we’re back and we’re ready to fulfill all your culinary curiosities with another round of oddities from the vending machine magnates of mischief!  This week as we celebrate the Papal visit of Pope Francis to the United States, we’ve tried to select a few items that would satisfy even the perky pontiff himself!  A Pope’s gotta eat, right?!  Why not hook up the holiness with some vending delicacies?  Maybe he’ll stop by to partake in what we have to offer from the benevolent box of vending fun (and hopefully one of his peeps will bring some Tums or some club soda…)

Big Texas Cinnamon Roll


A peckish pontiff may decide he needs a little nosh before he steps out to meet the masses at the masses.  What could be better to abdicate his hunger than a Big Texas Cinnamon Roll?  Flaky layers of pastry filled with cinnamon, butter and a nice, sweet sugar glaze?  On second thought, they should include a wet nap lest he get his rosaries sticky.  That could potentially not be a good scene and raise some eyebrows!

Cheeseball & Crackers


I imagine life in the Vatican can be pretty decent.  I’m sure the Pope has access to some tasty gourmet foods and wine, however, wouldn’t he be surprised to see that as a culture, we embrace the finer things such that we actually have cheeseballs in vending form.  He may be looking for a little snack to share with his entourage, and that would be the perfect treat!?  Cheese in ball form with a side of crackers?!  Holy moley!!  I confess, it’s a good time to be alive!

Fish Sandwich & Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie


Today’s entrée and dessert are an interesting duo that you surely would not want to Passover.  We have a tasty breaded fish on a Kaiser roll with a nice, shiny packet of tartar sauce.  Yum!  And for dessert, you’d be excommunicated if you didn’t enjoy this delightful piece of strawberry cream cheese pie!  Sacrilicious!

Wine Pairing:

Such a broad range of foods requires a bold wine, and luckily, I Noah guy!  This week’s paring is none other than Efeste “Big Papa” Cabernet Sauvignon right from Columbia Valley, Washington!  Across the board, this wine satisfies all religious backgrounds and beliefs with its oaky, chocolate and licorice palate.  Parish the thought of anything else!

Beer Pairing:

This week’s beer is special.  The Cape May Brewing Company in New Jersey have created a special craft beer just for the occasion of the Papal visit.  YoPo Beer (cause “You’re Only Pope Once”) is a special, limited release beer that we’d have to be crazy not to match with this week’s vending items.  How does the Pope make beer?  Hebrews it, of course!

So this week as the people gather and sing praises to the cute little Jesuit Pope in the white hat, let us be grateful for the bounty we have (even in vending form) from those fun disciples of Warren, Ohio.  May they Sheppard us through another week of indigestion and the extraordinary!


Vending Machines for this Occasion:

Here’s an unusual vending machine that actually vends holy candles!

Is there anything they haven’t thought of?  The vending magnates are always sure our needs are met, even if they are spiritual!



Barbecue Rib Sandwich

Vending Machine Gross Item of the Week Awards

 Folks, I’m not gonna lie.  It’s been a while.  Life gets crazy and the vending machine oompa loompas don’t provide.  For many reasons, it’s been longer than usual.  That being said, I think we’ve found a special bile-in-the-back-of-your-throat winner with this week’s award recipient…

 Barbecue Rib Sandwich  rib

Barbeque… you almost can’t say it without salivating a little.  We all have great memories of warm weather (remember warm weather??), corn on the cob, barbeque grills and potato salad!  Today, however, we have an exception.  This chunk-a-delic masterpiece just wants to make you rethink your obligation to the gods of the grill and stay in the cold air just a bit longer!

Because you may not be able to see it in this picture, I’m going to point out one of the funniest things … listed as the first ingredient… “soy”.  Say whaaaa???  Shouldn’t the first ingredient be… oh I don’t know… ribs?!?!  It’s like saying “Let’s fry chicken” and throwing a Hershey bar into the pot?!  What gives you crazy people from Warren, Ohio?!  Apparently in your crazy world rules just don’t apply!!

Wine Pairing:

To go with this week’s Barbeque Soy-burger-rib-thing, I’m recommending Four Vines “The Sophisticate” Zinfandel.  This rustic red will make even the most pleasant hybrid sandwich taste better!  Touches of boysenberry, vanilla and butterscotch make this unusual wine just lively enough to make the meal worthwhile!

Beer Pairing:

When you’re pairing beer and ribs, the choices are endless… even if the ribs are made of soy.  So this week our beer is Old Chub Scotch Ale from the Oskar Blues Brewery!  It’s smoky!  It’s chocolaty!  It’s beech wood-smoked!  And really, do we need to say more?!  Something has to wash this bad boy down…

So this week when you’re considering all the options the vending universe has at its disposal, consider the Barbeque Soy burger of questionable happiness and possibly ill tidings.  If nothing else, the person that packaged it probably had a rib!!

What’s new in vending machines:

From the Land of the Rising Sun: sake and beer from a vending machine!!  Where’s my passport?!saki

Cryptacular Trio


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 Welcome to a special Halloween edition of the Vending Machine Gross Item of the Week Awards!  This week we have a couple cryptacular specials served up with a cadaverous dessert!  From the bowels of hell (also known as Warren, Ohio), today we give you…

Spooky Salisbury Steak Combo v3


v4Creepy Club Sandwich


Chilling Chicago Style Cheesecake v5


Salisbury steak is an ambiguous thing at best.  Much like Frankenstein’s monster, it’s made up of parts.  We won’t get into which ones, we’ll just leave it there.  This nice grey slab of pre-formed morbid meatiness just stares back at you from inside the box of doom – watching… waiting… potatoes and gravy on the side!  If you look closely, I think you might even see a mushroom or two peeking from behind the label.

Our club sandwich is piled high with cheese and pieces of greying meats served with a packet of mayo.  I’m not sure what kind of meats are in the club, but it wears its Halloween disguise well by being mysterious!

Ok, cheesecake, not gross, but it maintains an air of foreboding just by the fact that it’s served up in vending machine form.  We’ll just call this one “screamy, creamy cheesecake” and ponder how long ago it was actually baked.


Wine Pairing:  A ghoulish meal deserves an equally ghoulish wine!  This week, for obvious reasons, our choice is the Ghostly White Chardonnay from Elk Creek Vineyards.  Apparitions of apple and citrus bring just enough flavor to wake the dead and make them dance a little!


Beer Pairing:  A supernatural stout to slake your thirst for this week’s fright fest is Dead Guy Ale from Rogue Brewery.  This hoppy, full-bodied ale has hints of fruit and, fortunately, no hints of actual dead guy, but certainly casts enough of a spell to be a great match for our otherworldly delights!


So tonight as you dispense your own treats and contemplate the macabre and the mysterious, we hope you’ll also consider the phantom machine of eerie snacks and bizarre delights!  You may just find your own tricks or treats!!

 **Costume Contest**

These crazy vending machine fans have really thrown down the gauntlet with their creative costumes!!!  I like that the little dude on the end seems to only charge one price for everything, but the others have a bit more variety.  Way to go vendites!!!  Way to commit!!

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Burger Quad

Vending Machine Gross Item of the Week Awards

 After a long hiatus, the Vending Machine Gross Item of the Week Awards has returned!  More mystery!  More intrigue!  More gross items in crinkly cellophane!

 To my returning vendites, welcome back to the frying pan!  For new folks who are just joining the melee, culinary greetings!  I know it’s been a while, but it’s been very exciting to have so many requests for a return to fun vending facts and curious canapes.  I’ve missed bringing them to you and hopefully can get back to a more “normal” schedule!

 That being said… this week we return with an inquisitive quad!  The culinary masterminds of Warren, Ohio have presented us with a rather interesting sandwich foursome, all unique and slightly different, and all gruesome enough to come in vending machine form:

 White Castle Hamburger Sliders

 “The Boss” Cheeseburger

 BBQ Beef Sandwich


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To folks who are new to our awards, the idea isn’t so much that the sandwiches themselves are to be considered “gross”, but the fact that they were made, prepared, wrapped and are now sitting in a vending machine waiting for your $1.75 is slightly on the nasty end of the culinary scale.  Gordon Ramsay would set a whole new level on the swear spectrum with these bad boys, so let’s take a moment to appreciate them!

Let’s start with the initial overall impression.  Each of these fine concoctions has a really alluring film of condensation, just making the item inside mysterious enough for you to wonder “could it really be so tasty, or could that be the start of botulism?”  Hmm….

White Castle Sliders:

Most people know White Castle has those tiny little re-hydrated onions on their sandwich.  So, let’s think about that.  The onion grew, was chopped, de-hydrated, sat, was shipped, re-hydrated, put into these burgers, wrapped, shipped again, and now sits on a shelf in our machine.  It is distinctly possible that Winston Churchill was walking the halls of 10 Downing Street when those onions were harvested.  If that’s the case, I’m thinking the burger might also have a fine aged quality as well…  Spoiler alert: Germany did not win the war, little onions!

“The Boss” Cheeseburger:

Past the smoky botulistic cellophane, one can’t help but admire the natural greyness of the meat patty cleverly peeking at you from outside the bun.  Who doesn’t like their meat just the right shade of mink!  I don’t know, however, if I like the fact that my burger has a bossy attitude.  This one is truly the “bad boy” of the burger lineup.  If this line-up was a boy band, he’d be wearing leather!

BBQ Beef Sandwich:

Typically there’s nothing like a good BBQ beef sandwich.  A nice, tasty beef with a tangy, spicy BBQ sauce just hits the spot, however, I’m thinking there’s a good chance the sauce has probably receded to the bottom of the package, which means the roll could possibly be soggy.  Soggy bread… ewww.


This concept is interesting because the Warrenites have given us the blending of two worlds: an old fashioned American burger with some nice Italian cheese and marinara.  Intriguing…  Kind of like a George Clooney wedding, domestic AND international!!

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 Wine Pairing:  I couldn’t help but feel the only way to go this week was with a deep, domestic hearty red.  This week’s wine is none other than the Aquinas Cabernet Sauvignon from the heart of Napa Valley.  Layered flavors of cherry, tobacco and vanilla from aged oak would be just the right touch to wash down these delightful delicacies!

 Beer Pairing:  Our beer this week is the Samuel Adams Honey Porter.  Again, a nice dark flavor to go with these happy, beefy burgers.  Strong taste, spicy aroma and a slight hint of sweetness match “just right” for these sammies!


To “wrap it up” (pun intended), if you’re feeling peckish and need a little pick-me-up, take a jaunt down to the vending machine of prizes and delights for a tasty treat!  You never know what you’ll find!!

Crazy Vending Machines in the News:

 Check out this vending machine in Beverly Hills that sells caviar!!!  What’s up with that?!



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Chicken Parmesan and Spaghetti

Vending Machine Gross Item of the Week Awards

 It’s time once again for a nod to the best cuisine in vending form and yet another look at what makes vending food great!  Such a bounty of foodie opportunities we have, all within reach, wrapped in pretty, crunchy cellophane paper and most for under three bucks a pop, direct from the fine folks of Warren, Ohio!

This week, we have another culinary favorite!  In the world of fine food, it’s hard to beat anything Italian.  Those folks from Southern Europe know how to eat and they know how to party!  We’re grateful to their contributions to fine cuisine and even more grateful that they are represented in vending form.  Today’s winner is nothing but the best!  This week, we give you…

 Chicken Parmesan and Spaghetti

 chick parm

 Just imagine… you’re having a bad day.  You’re tired.  You’re hungry.  You drag yourself down the hall looking for that one little ray of golden sunshine that will leave you feeling like today just may not suck so bad.  And there it is!  A reason to go on living and pushing through the muck!  Chicken Parm and Spaghetti just waiting to be plucked from the mediocrity of the yogurt and gum in the machine.  If you listen closely, you can almost hear angels singing!  It’s glorious!  Once crispy breaded chicken submersed in what we can only assume is a fine marinara and topped with a delicate blanket of tasty mozzarella…Viva Italia!!

Wine Pairing:  This week we’re pairing our lovely Italian entree with a fine 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from Caymus.  This newly released vintage is bold and powerful with a hearty blend of cherry, raspberry, oak and spice.  It’s a perfect duo to please the palette.

Beer Pairing: As unlikely as it sounds, we were able to find a beer to match up to our chicken parm!  Our beer is the Peroni Red from Italy.  This golden lager has just the right balance of barley and hops to make it pair nicely with our Italian dish.

So this week when life gets you down, take a virtual Southern European trip to the vending machine of pace, amore & e felicita.  Your tastebuds will thank you and you still may have a little money left over for a candy bar!

COMING SOON!!:  As many of you are aware, our tricky Warranites held a taste testing event of all their palatable products in March.  I accepted their challenge and attended and have had every intention of writing it up for you, but have been so busy wearing far too many hats to get to it!  You should shortly be receiving this Pulitzer Prize winning piece of journalism (hey, a girl can dream!)

FUN FACTS:  Today’s fun fact is about the origins of our vending food, Warren, Ohio!  Did you know Warren housed the world’s first 2-story McDonalds and the Neil Armstrong First Flight Memorial?  Go Warren!!


Potato Soup and Beef Ravioli

Vending Machine Gross Item of the Week Awards

 Welcome to another exciting edition of the VMGIOTWA!  This week our hard-core vendor has left us fully stocked for the cold weather and has given us a couple tasty temptations to help keep us warm in the frigid polar vortex!  Because you really want something toasty to fill your tummy on these cold days, this week we give you a tangy duo of savory flavors…

 Potato Soup

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 Beef Ravioli with Meat Sauce

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 Somehow I’m sure the Irish never imagined their hearty potatoes would end up in vending machine soup.  None of us did (except maybe those crazy kooks from Warren, Ohio), however, here we be!  Nice, hot chunks of potato in a creamy broth served in a stylish plastic cup with a dash of herbs and spices – you just can’t beat that!  The only way you could come close would be to follow it up with a hot entrée of beef ravioli and meat sauce!  Little pillows of pasta filled with savory cheese and covered in a nice, meaty marinara – not even Frosty the Snowman would object!  How could you?

Wine Pairing:  today’s delightful dishes are being properly paired with the Poggio Bonelli Tramonto d’Oca.  This Tuscan red is a blend of sangiovese and merlot with flavors of spicy sweet tobacco, plum and currants.  A nice warm finish on a cold winter day!

Beer Pairing: for those of you adventurous types who want to pair a bottle of ale with your entrée, we recommend the Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company.  This amber brew has a caramel finish blended with a hint of tart apples, cinnamon and malt.  Just the right (and unique) blend to dance off the pallet with our ravioli!

 So this week as the artic winds descend upon us and leave us all running for warmer places and spaces, get ready to bundle up and feast on some fine vending fare!  If you’re lucky, these happy dishes will leave you with warm, cozy thoughts and help you pass the days until spring thaw!

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More Weird Vending Machine News:

Because we like to educate you in the ways of the vending world, check out this interesting machine!  Our Asian friends have all kinds of unique vending opportunities and this puppy is no different – BUT – don’t make the same mistake we did.  It doesn’t actually vend a Smart car, but instead marketing material on the car itself. Personally, I’d like the option to vend the car.  Maybe you’d be tired of walking or perhaps just feeling the need to make an impulse purchase.  Whatever your excuse, it would be kind of fun to pay your fee and watch a vehicle dispense!

vend car

Smoked Sausage and a Tall Texan

Vending Machine Gross Item of the Week Awards

Life is all about choices…  You’ll choose what you wear, where you go to school, who you marry, who your divorce attorney will be, and, of course, what you’ll eat… it’s all about options.  The compassionate folks of Warren, Ohio understand this and share a desire to provide us with festive feasting opportunities and some darn good food.

 This week is no exception to their culinary rule!  They’ve given us a couple nice choices to consider while we deck the halls and celebrate the season’s festivities.  Not to be outdone by the mall Santa and his styrofoam reindeer, this week we give you….

 Smoked Sausage stuffed with Cheddar Cheese on a Fresh Baked Roll

 vend bratt


 Tall Texan Cheeseburger

 vend burger

Nothing says “tis the season” like aged meats in the refrigerated box of comfort and joy!  This month we have 2 special treats filling our stockings!  Johnsonville makes a second appearance on our awards list, this time a sausage stuffed with a fine, creamy cheddar cheese and slapped on a fresh baked roll.  It may have been freshly baked this year or perhaps when Rankin/Bass were making those delightful holiday specials in the 60’s.  It’s anyone’s guess really, but a nice holiday surprise nonetheless!

 Treat #2 (appropriately enough and perhaps prophetically so) is the Tall Texan Cheeseburger.  Wrestle yourself up some meaty holiday goodness with this tall drink of burger!  It’s meat, cheese and a bun… what makes it tall and Texan is anyone’s guess.  Again, another fun festive holiday happenin’!

 Wine Pairing:  In the spirit of the season, this week our fine sandwiches are paired with the Brotherhood Winery’s Holiday wine.  A soft mulled wine with spicy holiday goodness, this is the perfect match to go along with your sandwich and sugar plums!

Beer Pairing:  Anchor Brewing has graced our holiday table with the perfect beer!  Their Christmas Ale is only available for a limited time, but has a nice aroma, rich malt and a light touch of holiday spices!  It just goes super with either sandwich!

So, whether you’re opting for a smoky sausage or a tall Texan to give you the energy to finish that last-minute holiday shopping, just remember to enjoy the season and to stop at the pharmacy for some tums or pepto.  It might be the best gift you give yourself!

Happy Holidays and Bon Appetite’!


A Vending Mitzvah:

So, lest we forget Hanukkah!  Here’s an interesting vending machine for our friends who keep kosher!

If you see no danger, neither do we!  Es gezunterheyt!

vend mitzvah