I have to start out this review by saying that it would not have happened were it not for the courageous efforts of the man who mailed this bag of Doritos Late Night All-Nighter Cheeseburger Chips to me. A friend of mine alerted me to this new flavor of Doritos, saying that his friend had recently consumed them. Soon afterward, said friend emailed me, urging me to review them. I was more than willing to do so; alas, due to my location, which gets no love from the test market homies, I was unable to procure this product.
All hope was not lost, however. This friend-of-a-friend generously offered to mail me a bag, and so I gave my mailing address to a man that I had corresponded with via email exactly twice, relying on my friend’s word that he is a reputable member of society. Don’t tell my mother; she’ll have a heart attack.
A box arrived in my mailbox soon after the email. I have to mention that I am amused to no end at the image of a big city District Attorney, on his lunch break, resplendent in his pressed business suit, possibly with his DA ID tag still hanging off his lapel, going down to his local Post Office and declaring to the employee at the counter that yes, I am mailing a bag of Doritos Late Night All-Nighter Cheeseburger Tortilla Chips. I’m sure it was one of the prouder moments in his life. I thank you, good sir, for debasing yourself on my behalf. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.
Fortunately for me, the box did indeed contain a bag of chips, and not a decomposing severed head, or a bomb, or a decomposing severed head with a bomb in it. That would have been a much more difficult review. Maybe. I haven’t actually tried the chips yet, so we’ll see. We’ll also see if the bag contains actual chips and not just a mass of crumbs, due to its travel cross-country courtesy of the US Postal system.
I’ve commented on the insanity of Doritos’ marketing team before, and I’m sure that they will continue making bizarre products that will cause me to comment on it again. However, in all fairness, I have to say that their Late Night line of chips was the impetus that finally motivated me to stop just talking about making Junk Food Betty and actually get it up and running. You see, this is not the first Late Night offering. Before All-Nighter Cheeseburger, there were two other offerings – Tacos at Midnight and Last Call Jalapeño Popper. You can read a review of the former here and of the latter here. I’d love to be able to link you to my own reviews of both of these chips, but back then, I was doing reviews on my sad little LiveJournal account, and I have too much pride to link you to that. Suffice to say, writing about these two Late Night offerings finally convinced me that the world needed to see the insanity that is the junk food world, and LiveJournal was not the way to make that happen. Thank you, Doritos, for being so insane. You inspired me to make a real website that makes me spend money on ridiculous foods and brings in zero income. Thanks. Really.
Doritos’ press release for All-Nighter Cheeseburger actually sheds a little light on how the Late Night line was born. “We’ve learned that snacking at night is important to our loyal consumers because they’re usually hungry after a night out with friends, and it serves as a key social occasion to relax and unwind with those friends…The trick was to find out what they were eating at night and then turn those foods into delicious Doritos flavors.” This comes from the mouth of Associate Marketing Manager Julia Wells.
A well-worded explanation. However, I think I can translate this comment into what really happened:
“Kids these days,” said some middle-aged white guy sitting in a meeting room full of other middle-aged white guys at 8am on a Monday, “Kids these days, they stay out all hours of the night, drinking their Jaegermeisters and their tequila, whooping and hollering and carrying on. We need to find out what these drunken layabouts eat before they crash out on the bathroom floor at 4am, and we need to turn it into chips, and give it a hip name that will make them say, ‘Hey, these chips have a name that sounds like you should eat them when you’re drunk! And the flavor sounds like things I eat when I’m drunk! I need to buy these chips!’ That is what we need to do to bring in those no-good lushes.”
And so, Tacos at Midnight, Last Call Jalapeño Popper, and now, All-Nighter Cheeseburger were born. I’m on tenterhooks waiting to see what they come up with next. Let’s be honest, here; drunken college-aged kids will eat anything when they stagger home late at night. I’d like to see some more realistic offerings in the future. Here are just a few of my suggestions:
Late Night 24-Hour Diner Greasy Bacon and Eggs
Late Night Lost Pants Cold Can of Refried Beans with a Spoon
Late Night Sleeping Roommate Pizza That’s Been Sitting on the Stove for Three Days (although, to be fair, they already have that flavor in Collisions Pizza Cravers and Ranch)
Late Night Didn’t Score Improperly Microwaved Ramen
Doritos, if I see any of these flavors on grocery shelves in the future, I’m expecting some serious kickbacks from you guys!
The night is calling, people, and you better answer the damn phone before it goes to voicemail, or else the night is going to be super pissed, because it knows you’re home, and it’s tired of you blowing it off to hang out with the daytime. What’s so fun about daytime, anyways? Ohhh, she’s got a sun, and the mall is open. Big fucking deal.
Oh, no, wait, I read that wrong. You’re supposed to satisfy your craving with these chips. Phew, close call. Anyway, I always obey the back of chip bags, so let’s get on with this.
Hooray! Lots of chips, not so many crumbs! I had my doubts when I was handling the bag. Way to pack, big city District Attorney! If that whole prosecuting criminals thing falls through, you have a bright future at The UPS Store.
The flavor powder is pretty consistent with other Doritos; some get an overdose of it, some are underflavored, but the majority have a fairly even coating. The smell when you open the bag is overwhelmingly of ketchup and pasteurized processed cheese product. Which is good coming from the angle of replicating a shitty burger bought at 2am, but not so great when you realize that these are chips. Not a good chip smell. Not good.
I forgot to mention earlier that this is not the first time Doritos has produced a cheeseburger-inspired chip. In 2007, Doritos introduced the “X-13D Experiment”, another crazy-ass marketing gimmick wherein you have an “objective”. The bag was simple and black, and had a little hint on the front that said “Tasting notes: All-American Classic”. Basically, they were implementing the “guess the mystery flavor” trick. On that other website I don’t like to talk about, I described them as tasting like “crappy McDonald’s hamburgers”. Which is exactly what All-Nighter Cheeseburger chips smell like. Will I be reliving that wonderful experience I had in 2007?
Answer: yes. I have to say, they really did nail what a shitty cheeseburger tastes like. As soon as you start chewing, there’s a bouqet of flavors assaulting you. The ketchup hits first, then the crappy cheese, along with an unsettling meaty flavor that makes you seriously wonder what ingredients have been added that would give a tortilla chip the ability to taste “meaty”. That’s just wrong. There’s even an faint onion/pickle finish as you break the chip down. How are they doing this? There’s only one answer: Doritos has finally turned to the dark arts. God help us all.
I gotta hand it to Doritos, black magic or no, they fucking nailed cheeseburger. I don’t know how they did it, but it’s all there. During some of the more destitute times of my life, I relied heavily on the $1 double cheeseburger from McDonald’s Value Menu in order to, well, not die. I am intimately familiar with how that burger tastes, and this chip tastes like that hamburger. I happen to appreciate the taste of McDonald’s shitty double cheeseburger, but I can see how other people would not. There’s just something about that crappy, terrible burger that I really enjoy. Now that I’m moderately less poor, I can afford bigger and better hamburgers for sustenance, but the shitty burger is still an occasional guilty pleasure.
So, you’re thinking to yourself, Junk Food Betty is all thumbs up on the Doritos Late Night All-Nighter Cheeseburger Chips, right?
Answer: no. Here’s the long and short of it: just because you can make something, doesn’t always mean you should. These chips are literally unsettling. It’s like that scene in Alien Resurrection where Ridley comes upon that room with all those fucked-up clones of herself. These chips are an abomination that never should have happened. It’s not about tasting bad; it’s about tasting wrong. Good for you, Doritos, you made a tortilla chip taste just like a cheeseburger. Except now your creation is writhing around on the floor, its deformed and contorted body leaving a trail of bloody mucus behind it as it struggles just to move, dragging its unnatural form pathetically as it cries out in a garbled voice, “kill me”. Doritos Late Night All-Nighter Cheeseburger Tortilla Chips, you’re making everyone very uncomfortable.
Note: Foodette Reviews also a review of All-Nighter Cheeseburger Doritos. She favored them much more than I did.