Combos including sweet beans & chili powder, chocolate and potato make Mr. Sato wonder if he’s just getting too old for this.

As we reported earlier, the discount convenience store Lawson 100 came out with a unique line of baked goods called the Above and Beyond Series as a part of their Value Line (VL) store brand. This series was made up of three seemingly bizarre combinations of ingredients that the store claims taste much better than you’d expect.

When their release date of 17 April rolled around, we sent our ace gourmet reporter Mr. Sato to try them out. And after putting it off for about a week he finally summoned the courage to try them out.

Another reason for his procrastination was the hope that by the time he went to Lawson 100, at least one or two of the kinds would have been sold out. However, when he trudged over to his third-nearest location, the shelves were fully stocked with all the Above and Beyond items. It turned out the demand was far lower than he had hoped.

After buying them there was no turning back, so Mr. Sato headed back to the office to taste them once and for all.

He decided to start with the Pickled Ginger Lovers’ Donut, which is an enclosed ball of fried dough stuffed with a tangy pickled ginger known as beni shoga that is slathered in mayonnaise. He had had mayo and pickled ginger before so he sort of knew how this one would play out.

After cutting into it, he was surprised at how plentiful the ginger and mayo was. It was a good value for only 100 yen (US$0.90).

Eating it turned out to be exactly as he imagined. The mellow taste of the mayo soothed the sharp tinge of the pickled ginger for an overall pleasant taste experience.

It was just a shame that he couldn’t have quit while he was ahead.

Next was the An Donut (with Violently Spicy Seasoning) which was a donut filled with anko (sweet bean paste) and dusted with a fair amount of chili powder on top.

Mr. Sato was surprised at how much powder there was. It looked disturbingly spicy.

The concept seemed the same as the ginger donut in that the sweetness of the anko and spiciness of the powder would balance each other out. However, in reality the sweetness was just too mild, and the taste left Mr. Sato feeling rather annoyed. 

He just couldn’t fathom how this ill-conceived idea got through the taste-testing stage.

Finally, there was the Choco Choco Croquette Burger which got its repetitive name from two layers of chocolate cream sandwiching a puck of deep fried seasoned mashed potato. There was so much chocolate that right after opening the package he could see it seeping out.

Lifting up the bun revealed a dab of lightly colored chocolate cream.

And after lifting up the croquette there was an even thicker wad of darker chocolate which appeared to have some of the croquette’s breading mixed in with it.

Cutting it in half gave a better sense of the proportions he was dealing with. But to Mr. Sato, who was still feeling burned by the anko chili donut, the word “delicious” wasn’t springing to mind.

Then it suddenly struck him; Maybe it was him. Maybe at the increasingly crusty age of 40-something he was loosing the adventurous spirit to keep up with Lawson 100’s bold offerings. He tried to shrug off his preconceptions and instead take on the Choco Choco Croquette Burger with an open mind…

With the same gusto of the guy in his 30s who once took on 100 slices of onion, he dug into the chocolately potato.

But then, the same dark cloud of cynicism that once hung over the guy in his 40s who ate a spicy donut returned. 

If Mr. Sato were to describe the taste of the Choco Choco Croquette Burger, it would be as if the chocolate were saying to the croquette, “Who the hell are you?” and have the croquette respond, “Who the hell am I?! Who the hell are you guys?!”

That’s what it tasted like.

But again, maybe Mr. Sato is getting too stuck in his conventional ways of love potions and cardboard toilets to properly embrace the Above and Beyond Series. So, please give them a try for yourselves next time you visit Lawson 100.

Images: SoraNews24
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