We've reconvened our V.I.A. Fast Food Panel in order to get to the bottom of the most important question in Canada right now: are the Justin Bieber Timbiebs any good?
Members of our panel are reporters Brendan Kergin whose credentials are that he once worked at a snack stand at a waterslide park, Cameron Thomson who once held the position of "Scrambled Egg Slopper" aboard BC Ferries vessels, and Thor Diakow who self describes as "a frequent purveyor of fast food."
I'm on the panel because I say I'm on the panel, and I've added our managing editor Lindsay William-Ross who is a bonafide food expert that serves on VanMag's restaurant awards jury. We bring in others from our newsroom from time to time to assist in these very important stories.
THE LEAD UP
Our panel hasn't yet reviewed something so highly-anticipated in Canada, and it's safe to say most were feeling some pre-Timbieb jitters.
The Timbiebs packaging could best be described as cute - like the Biebs back when he was a prepubescent little guy posting videos to YouTube.
Each cute, branded box holds a variety of 3 different Timbiebs (Birthday Cake Waffle, Chocolate White Fudge, Sour Cream Chocolate Chip), in a supposed quantity of 10 (some of our boxes held 9, others 10, and one even had 12).
The panel stands somewhat stiffly in a lineup in the V.I.A. lunch room, each perched in front of their individual box.
We discuss the overall issue of donuts, and what sort of baggage and biases we're each bringing to the lunchroom.
Thomson lets it be known that he "occasionally" eats donuts and he enjoys Timmies, while Kergin laughs that he eats them "more than occasionally."
Kergin describes that while he frequently finds himself inside Tim Hortons locations he views their business as "an essential service," in that "you don’t enjoy being there, but you have to be there,” because you like sweet, convenient snacks.
William-Ross and Diakow eat donuts when they're handed to them on silver platters or when they appear in the lunch room for free. Neither are regular donut purchasers, though they both say they prefer Lucky's, Lee's, or Cartems Donuts (the finest donuts in the city, but only if they're free).
I grew up on Timbits that a friend's parents provided, made fresh at their Tim Hortons franchise and eaten while attending Boy Scout field trips in a bus provided by the franchise owners for free. I've held a personal grudge against the chain since they stopped producing their donuts in-house many years ago, but still hold a soft spot in my heart for them due to the kindness of those franchisees in the mid-1980s.
As mentioned, on offer are three new flavours of Timbits that are Justin Bieber-approved. Heck, they might even be his "favourites."
We sink our teeth into Birthday Cake Waffle first, and...
...drum roll please...
The panel is collectively underwhelmed and all but Thomson feel it's "too sweet."
Second up is the Chocolate White Fudge Timbieb.
The panel is even more underwhelmed with this selection, and WIlliam-Ross sums it up by saying it's like a "chocolate-adjacent cottonball," that "has no flavour."
Redemption comes in the form of a Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Timbieb, which is well received by all.
In the end, none of us feel we would get these again, and if we were to buy Timbits we'd go with "the classics."
While not a total disappointment, the Justin Bieber and Tim Hortons co-branded donut holes left quite a bit to be desired.
The V.I.A. Fast Food Panel is a lighthearted series of stories, published once per month. We are not connected to or compensated by the chains we feature, however a PR agency supplied us with the Timbiebs for this review. Our aim with the panel is to offer honest takes about fast food available in Vancouver, while having a bit of fun.