Battle Pocket isn't about finding a winner -- it's about crowning a decent loser. I honestly had not consumed one of these things in about 15 years. Memories of a burnt tongue drove me away from The Pocket. But I'm back, pitting Mean vs. Lean. Hot Pocket Meatballs & Mozzarella takes on Lean Pocket Meatballs & Mozzarella.
I'd like to say Hot Pockets have come a long way in the last 15 years. It's more like a few steps. All and all though, they're not too bad. On the positive side, the suggested microwave time allotment heated the entire pocket to a humane temperature. The fatty little meatballs were pleasant, and the canned-tasting tomato sauce worked well with the gooey mozzarella. The crust never got crispy, but the hardened cheese shreds provided some tastiness. Various highlighted features on the box included the use of "Real Cheese" (as opposed to what?), 0 grams of trans fat per serving, and seven essential vitamins and minerals. One Hot Pocket is good for 340 calories, of which 150 were from fat.
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The Lean Pocket was an utter disaster. I was even willing to back off on the harshness based on the "lean" factor. I knew going in that the taste would not measure up to the Hot Pocket, but I was hoping it would get in the ballpark - and if it did, considering the difference in calories, the Lean Pocket would have a chance. It did not. Unlike Hot, Lean's center was cold. The cheese, even after putting the entire pocket back into the microwave for 30 more seconds, never quite melted like its fat cousin. The meatballs tasted about the same, but the sauce was bland and less in quantity. Now to the really bad part - the crust. It tasted like a manila folder. Lean Pockets' box promoted a "Satisfyingly Delicious" taste (wrong), with 290 calories per pocket, of which 80 calories were from fat.
Hot Pockets in a landslide. I'm still not sure what the appeal is to eating a Lean Pocket. If you make the decision to eat one, are you really going for the whole "lean" thing? I say go, all in and enjoy a Hot Pocket. One factor that should not be overlooked is the latest cooking sleeve technology for both versions. You're now able to "fold & eat." Oh, the possibilities!