THE CRACKED CITY DOLLAR REVIEW – IN WHICH I HUNT, GATHER AND TEST THE DOLLAR LOLLY MIXES OF CRACKED CITY DAIRIES, SUBURB BY SUBURB, SO THAT YOU ARE ABLE TO ENJOY MORE FOAMY JELLIES IN YOUR LIFE, AND KEEP THOSE PROBLEMATIC SPEARMINT LEAVES TO A MINIMUM*.
For each DOLLAR REVIEW, I will gather $1 mixes from five dairies in a suburb and evaluate based on quality, quantity, freshness, packaging, variety and overall VIBE.
*PERSONAL OPINION ONLY. IF YOU HAPPEN TO PREFER THESE THE OTHER WAY ROUND. LET’S BE FRIENDS AS IT WILL WORK OUT WELL FOR THE BOTH OF US.
DOLLAR REVIEW – ROUND 3: NEW BRIGHTON
Welcome to the third installment of the DOLLAR REVIEWS. After our RICHMOND round, last month, I decided to head further East to one of my favorite Saturday hang-outs, New Brighton. With it’s abundance of op shops, quirky cafe’s, street art and that tired, seaside, time-warp charm (on a good day I do like to fondly call it the Venice Beach of Chch) , I had high hopes for this gem of a place.
After all, I figure that if most of the shops have not changed since 1995 (it’s $2 stores, used-paperbacks and skull-bongs galore), I felt it possible that the quality of the dollar mix might also remain at a solid 1990’s standard.
The five dairies up for the challenge in this round are:
- Sunlake Dairy- Seaview Road
- Bridge Street Dairy – Bridge Street
- New Brighton Mega Discounter – Seaview Road
- Union Street Dairy – Union Street
- New Brighton Lotto & Discounter – Seaview Road
1. SUNLAKE NEW BRIGHTON
Sunlake is such a bloody Classic Kiwi Dairy. If you gave a child the instruction to draw a dairy, it’d probably look like this one..
There’s that hefty old concrete pebble-dash rubbish bin with a big chunk taken out the top (how did that happen?). The metal roller door. Flaked painted awning. It’s the bloody kiwi dream.
It was also the first of a quick succession of dairies that we hit on Seaview Road, the main drag heading into New Brighton right before you hit the pedestrian mall.
It’s a shame that the dollar mix from Sunlake wasn’t such a nostalgic delight.
First of all it came packaged in a clear plastic bag, which automatically gets a point deducted. It’s just Not Cool – neither environmentally, nor aesthetically.
I want the thrill of that rustle! The exhilaration of mystery! The art of the tease!
11 sweets in total. Granted, it was a decent mix of sours vs. gummies, classics vs. modern hits. And a sea shell was a very sweet #OnTheme seaside touch.
But where was the show stopper? The one sweet so delectable that it’ll be sure to start a fight between siblings? There was nothing ‘puffy’. Nothing exciting. All very, decidedly, average.
The gummy spider looked and tasted like it was made for Halloween 1988, and the pineapple lump – probably the ‘star’ here – was all bashed up and cracked.
Freshness was not so much an issue, as blandness. It was all just very underwhelming and meh.
RATING: 2 out of 5
2. BRIDGE ST
Now if we’re talking your Classic Kiwi Experience, this is it in a dollar mix.
14 sweets, paper bag, no duplicates, each item is as fresh as the air at Tekapo.
Pineapple lump (HIT), jet plane (HIT), both sour and non sour worm (HIT HIT), milk bottle (HIT) and ALL the ‘…and cream’ varieties (HITS).
It’s Nature’s Best. The Kiwi Greatest Hits. Wall to wall low key bangers… if your idea of a banger is that Exponents song you drank RTD’s to on Kayleigh Robertson’s netball fundraising bus trip back in 2006.
No absolute showstoppers here, but not a dud to be found either.
Like I said. It’s the Nature’s Best of Dollar Mixes.
RATING: 4.5 out of 5
3. NEW BRIGHTON MEGA DISCOUNTER
My favourite thing about this dairy was the signage. It’s got it all in its weird hybrid of pier imagery, with pies and ice creams superimposed over the top, with it’s apparent partnership with Country Fried Chicken (are they sponsored?).
The rest was all a bit ‘meh’. As you can see below. It’s very same-same.
14 sweets, heavy on the berry (great if you like the berry, which I do, but otherwise you’re a bit screwed). And just look at all these duplicates – only five genres of sweet out of the 14 on offer.
A foam banana, I admit, can be a lovely wee thing if it’s fresh enough. But this one was dank and floury. And there were two to get through.
The whole mix was lacking in any flavour other than ‘SUGAR’ and it was all a bit of a headache, really.
RATING: 2.5 out of 5
4. UNION STREET DAIRY
After a detour to the Gypsy Fair (that’s a whole other story), we were getting a little desperate for our fifth dairy, having exhausted all of the main Brighton drag and the other I knew of, but stumbled on this unassuming wee Union Street Dairy right in the nick of time.
For such a humble looking dairy, I sure was excited when I took a peek at this mix, for I was greeted with a Dollar Review first: a rainbow twist marshmallow! It’s like the Harajuku of sweets!
Now this marshmallow, along with the brightness of this mix gave me a very positive first impression of what we had here. I was certain this would be the winner of the round. Despite the plastic bag it came in (tut) it really did seem to be a fun, exciting mix.
However as we delved into it, and got our chops around these fancies, the quantity of duplicates, middling freshness and sheer cloying sickly sweetness of it all started to tarnish this impression.
The fruity pals could have been fruitier. The sours pals sourer. Everything could just have been taken up a few more notches. It really got me hankering for a classic or two. A pineapple lump would not have gone amiss.
RATING: 3.5 out of 5
5. NEW BRIGHTON LOTTO & DISCOUNTER
The dollar mixes were a little inconspicuous in NB Lotto & Discounter. I very much want to just swoop in, grab my paper bag of treats, pop down my buck on the counter, and get out, all in a nice swift 20 second swoop. I get a little self conscious about that fact that I’m a grown ass adult with no kids, buying JUST a dollar mix. As soon as I ask for a ‘DOLLAR MIX’ it feels like I’m trying to use some kind of underground code word for illicit goods (I was once told about a dairy on the other side of town where if you asked for a bottle of ‘cloudy lemonade’ they’d give you a bottle of urine, to use in your impending drug test – THIS IS A TRUE STORY).
Anyway, I eventually found the mixes, hanging on rails in plastic bags (the third plastic bag this round, Brighton, you can do better than this!).
17 sweets in this gummy-fest – including one WHOA SHOWSTOPPER – this gigantic cola bottle. Wow. What a beautiful beast!
I really enjoyed the fact that this seaside dairy was committed to the nautical theme, with its medley of rainbow starfish and turtles (i’m just gonna assume these are sea turtles?).
It’s a nice, generous, bright, fun mix. But if you’re not into gummies, well you’re shit outta luck aren’t you? So many duplicates (five strawberries? FIVE!).
The freshness was decent, and you can’t knock the generosity of the mix, especially given that the giant cola bottle = about 5 sweets, I reckon.
RATING: 4 out of 5
In the end the Bridge Street Dairy took the crown for their strong, fresh ‘Nature’s Best’ greatest hits of a mix. Because when it comes down to it, the whole point of a dollar mix is a nice, well-rounded, cross-section of lollies. Something you can crack open on a road trip, with youths (is that what you call them?), or with your nana, and know there will be something for everyone.
Your likes of the New Brighton Lotto and Discounter sure are bright, generous and exciting to look at – but heck , if I wanted a big bag of gummy sweets, I’d just buy a big bag of gummy sweets.
Call me a traditionalist. Call me old fashioned. But sometimes nostalgia should not be tampered with.
Special nod, though, to the nautical themes running through these mixes. This whimsical touch was appreciated by this Queen of Twee and will go down as Officially The Most Memorable Thing About This Round.
FINAL RANKING – NEW BRIGHTON:
1st – BRIDGE STREET DAIRY
2nd – NEW BRIGHTON LOTTO & DISCOUNTER
3rd – UNION STREET DAIRY
4th – NEW BRIGHTON MEGA DISCOUNTER
5th – SUNLAKE DAIRY
If you have a particular suburb you’d like a review of, or have a hot tip of a VERY GREAT or VERY SHIT dairy that I should try, hit me up, baby.
– Bonjela x