Tag Archives: Cheddar

Deano’s Jalapeño Real Sliced Chips Sea Salt, Cheddar and Ranch

A little while ago, I got an email from someone named Doehne Duckworth offering to send me some free samples to review.

That was it. No product name, no pictures. Just two sentences. Mysterious.

Thankfully, Mr. Duckworth (whose name immediately invokes childhood memories of Scrooge McDuck swimming in a pile of gold coins) had an email address that Google led me to his product’s website: Deano’s Jalapeños. (Editor’s note: since the writing of this post, Deano’s Jalapeño’s website has gone down for remodeling. Consider this an archive of the beauty that it was before remodeling!)

I was met by fire gifs running down the side of the home page, which is always a sign of awesome. I was also met by the headline, “The Newest and Most UniqueSnack Food Available in the Universe”.

Fire gifs and typos. Red flags for most websites, but I’ve learned to take these things in stride when it comes to most small business’s sites, especially when it comes to the food industry. If I’d judged every local restaurant by their poorly-constructed website, I would have missed out on some of the most delicious food in my area. They’re doing the best they can, and sometimes that means asking your nephew to set up your website.

Plus, I could not ignore the brazen claim of being the newest and most unique snack food available in the universe. Not just the country, or even the world. The universe. Eat your heart out, Curiosity rover. Whatever you wind up finding on Mars, it won’t be anything like Deano’s Jalapeño Chips. Deano knows this.

I still didn’t really understand what these chips were, though. At first glance, it doesn’t sound that new or unique at all. Jalapeño chips? Welcome to the rest of the snack aisle, Mr. Duckworth.

But as I read on, I discovered that Deano was on to something different. To quote their website, “…everyone was trying to make their potato chips taste like jalapenos. Why not just use a real jalapeno!”

Why not, indeed! To explain a little further: “The award-winning flavor of Deano’s Jalapenos comes from the fact that there are no potatoes involved. Instead, this handcrafted snack is made from fresh jalapeno peppers that are sliced paper thin, kettle fried to a spicy crisp, and given a dusting of sharp cheddar, ranch or sea salt. It’s a snack that packs a late-hitting heat with a warm, salty flavor that becomes just a little addictive.”

Fresh, fried jalapeños? I was sold. And just a few days later, I had a lovely little package in my mailbox. To my delight, this included one package of each flavor. Here we go!

Deano’s Jalapeño Real Sliced Chips Sea Salt

I like the package design, in terms of both aesthetics and practicality. First off, Deano has chosen to go the pouch route with a tear-off resealable top. The use of the resealable top in the snack world strikes me as fairly recent; off the top of my head, it seems most popular with things like beef jerky and…well, beef jerky is all I can think of right now.

I’ve only encountered one line of chips that employs the resealable top, and the first time I saw it, I thought, why isn’t every chip manufacturer doing this? The only answer I could think of is that they’re in with Big Chip Clip. It’s like cans that haven’t yet employed pull-tab top technology – I now get irritated any time I have to use a can opener, and it’s not just because I’m left-handed.

Deano’s is a small company, however, and they don’t kowtow to Chip Clips. Thus, the glorious resealable pouch.

Each of Deano’s three varieties of chips has a different design that ties in with the flavor. With Sea Salt, we are transported to a tropical island, complete with palm tree, waves, seagulls, and a wooden surfboard.

I want to lounge on a beach while my Deano’s Jalapeño Real Sliced Chips Sea Salt are served with a Mai Tai by a hunky shirtless man who does not speak English.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened the bag. I had no idea what actual fried, sliced jalapeño chips would look like. Now that I’ve seen them? Well, they aren’t exactly pretty, but they do look pretty authentico.

Upon first glance, it was obvious that these are, indeed, real jalapeños, that have, indeed, been fried, and have also, indeed, been covered in sea salt. Truth in advertising, this is.

Deano’s Jalapeño Chips can rival any other chip in the crunch category, thanks to being fried, and they are also deliciously salty, thanks to the giant chunks of sea salt visible on each piece. Unfortunately, I had a lot less slices and a lot more broken pieces, which could have been due to shipping, but it also gave it the odd appearance of looking like fried seaweed.

While the salt and crunch were excellent, I struggled to find the true taste of the jalapeño pepper inside the chip. Oh, don’t get me wrong; Deano’s brought the heat. That part was unmistakable, and kept building as I ate, until I was wishing for that Mai Tai.

However, part of the reason I love fresh jalapeños is their flavor, and I had a hard time finding it here. Maybe it was the frying process. Maybe the heat overwhelmed it. But the true taste of the pepper got a little lost somewhere. While that was disappointing, I still found myself tossing these crunchy little critters in my mouth, even as that genuine pepper heat started to make my nose run. Snot just adds to the flavor!

Deano’s Jalapeño Real Sliced Chips Cheddar

Deano’s took a mildly different turn on their Cheddar Jalapeño Chip packaging. Added are the phrases “try a slice of spice” and “made in Vermont”, which should inspire confidence, because when I think spicy peppers, I think…Vermont.

Cheddar’s packaging has the standard Deano’s logo, but varies from Sea Salt in ways I find, frankly, confusing. Gone is the surfer/beach theme, now replaced with…flames? I don’t know what cheddar has to do with flames. They’re still jalapeño chips, which means they’re all hot, right? And what’s with the generic green tattered-edge cheddar logo? That would have been a good place to stick a cheese wedge or something.

I want to be surrounded by kokopellis and  cute little gecko lizards while I eat Deano’s Jalapeño Real Sliced Chips Cheddar. A man wearing a sombrero and poncho should bring me a margarita.

More slices and less broken pieces in this one. Also, a familiar friend – neon orange flavor powder!

Having eaten pretty much every one of Frito-Lay’s 2,000 “cheese plus spicy flavored” chip iterations, I was curious to see how Jalapeño Real Sliced Chips would compare. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the cheddar flavor tasted more like actual cheese than your run-of-the-mill cheese-flavored chips.

The spicy heat was present, just like with the Sea Salt variety, but I actually found more of the jalapeño pepper flavor itself present in in Cheddar chips. I have no idea why, but it was there, and it was welcome. The pepper flavor, the heat and the cheddar all worked in unison to create a delicious crunchy snack.

Deano’s Jalapeño Real Sliced Chips Ranch

Let’s call Deano’s Cheddar packaging a misstep, because Ranch brings it back around. Here we have a beautiful sunset as a backdrop to some cacti and desert brush. The flavor is announced on a perfectly appropriate wooden sign that is askew, because every ranch sign should be askew. And check out that jalapeño – it’s been lassoed. Yee-haw!

I want a dude to ride up on his horse and pull me up onto the saddle as a woman in a pearl-studded cowboy shirt rings a triangle, letting us know it’s time to eat some Deano’s Jalapeño Real Sliced Chips Ranch. I would also like to be served a mug shaped like a cowboy boot containing some Shiner Bock to compliment my chips.

The Ranch Jalapeño Chips looked remarkably similar to the Sea Salt variety; there was no dusting of little red and green flecks that I generally associate with ranch-flavored chips.

At first glance, I attributed this to Deano’s being a smaller company that used more “authentic” means of flavoring. Don’t ask me what authentic ranch flavor powder consists of; I was just giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Unfortunately, it seems that the ranch flavoring was hard to find because it wasn’t really there in the first place. I caught a bit of the familiar tanginess of typical ranch chip flavoring as an aftertaste, but for the most part, Deano’s Ranch Jalapeño Chips suffered the same problems as Sea Salt – nice heat, but little pepper flavor. At least with the Sea Salt variety you got a lot of saltiness to go with your heat; with Ranch, it was mostly just crunch and spice, through and through.

I had high hopes for Deano’s Jalapeño Real Sliced Chips. In the end, there were ups and downs. If you want to compare them to regular chips that claim to be spicy, Deano’s definitely wins. They’ve also got a great crunch to them. Out of the three varieties, I enjoyed the Cheddar the most, but the other two fell short on delivering the true flavor of jalapeño, and while the Sea Salt was, indeed, salty, the Ranch chips couldn’t bring the flavor.

Despite some their shortcomings, I still found myself liking Deano’s Jalapeño Real Sliced Chips in general. They are, indeed, quite the unique snack. You’re going to look way cooler eating a bag of Deano’s than a regular ol’ bag of Doritos. Even if looks like you’re eating fried seaweed while snot runs down your face.

(Editor’s Note: Deano’s Jalapeño Real Sliced Chips were provided for free courtesy of Deano’s Jalapeños. Thanks, Mr. Duckworth!)

Deano’s Jalapeño Real Sliced Chips Sea Salt, Cheddar and Ranch

  • Score (Sea Salt): 3 out of 5 people who think you’re eating fried seaweed
  • Score (Cheddar): 4 out of 5 missed cheese wedge opportunities
  • Score (Ranch): 2.5 out of 5 cowbells
  • Price: Free!
  • Size: 2.25 oz. bags/pouches
  • Purchased at: Received in the mail for free, but once Deano’s Jalapeños website comes back up, you should be able to purchase them there.
  • Nutritional Quirks: Real fried jalapeño slices. Beat that, Doritos! Also, the Ranch variety contains parsley. Parsley…ranch?

Burger King Jalapeño & Cheddar BK Stuffed Steakhouse Burger

The Internet is mildly abuzz about Burger King’s Jalapeño & Cheddar BK Stuffed Steakhouse burger. It’s the first “wacky” fast food item to debut in 2011. I’ll let Burger King’s official press release explain. Imagine The King staring at you from outside your window while you read it. Don’t imagine him saying it though; The King does not talk. Little known fact: this is because The King got involved with some very shady characters a while back, and he saw too much. He paid the price; he’ll never squeal again. I should probably not explain any further. I’ve already said too much.

Anyway, press release. “This premium sandwich packs a flavorful punch of robust ingredients with bits of jalapeño peppers and Cheddar cheese inside the juicy flame-broiled burger that’s topped off with creamy poblano sauce, ripe tomatoes and crisp lettuce on a premium bakery bun.”

I don’t really understand all the hubbub. Oh my god, they put what would usually go on top of the burger inside the burger! They must be crazy! My husband has been doing that for years. Garlic, chipotle, onions, you name it. Right in the raw ground beef, then right into the pan. How is this strange or overindulgent? Have I finally lost my grasp on the last shred of understanding how normal people see food? It’s a very real possibility.

I do like one other tidbit from the press release. According to Jonathan Muhtar, vice president, global product marketing and innovation, Burger King Corp, “With our first ever stuffed sandwich, we’re giving our guests what they want – juicy 100-percent beef infused with jalapeños and Cheddar for an experience you can see and taste in every bite.”

I like to imagine hundreds – nay, thousands – of angry emails coming in from faithful Burger King lovers, demanding that BK start shoving shit into their meat patties. Vehemence. Violent threats. Back against the wall, Mr. Muhtar had no choice. This is where all of his global product marketing and innovation were going to be put to the test. It was go time.

Jalapeños and cheddar are pretty pedestrian items when it comes to violating a meat patty, but I’m intrigued by the “creamy poblano sauce”. The poblano pepper is generally a very mild pepper. It’s the pepper vessel used in the dish chile relleno, if that gives you any further context. I’m curious as to why this particular pepper was chosen to be incorporated into a sauce. I guess the only way to find out is to eat the thing.

My first impression of the Burger King Jalapeño & Cheddar BK Stuffed Steakhouse burger (do we really need the BK? It’s a long enough product title and I’m pretty sure I know where I got it from, I’m not Sammy Jenkins) was that it has a nice heft and is quite large. Large enough that my petite mouth could barely take a solid bite. Imagine one of those sexy Carl’s Jr. commercials with Kim Kardashian messily eating a burger, except replace her with some dumb food blogger wearing an oversized Newcastle Brown Ale shirt with no pants on watching the awful reality tv show of your choosing. Ladies eating giant burgers aren’t always sexy. Trust me.

The lettuce was not the best, but that’s to be expected from a fast food joint. All those white pieces did add a nice crunch, though. The tomatoes tasted fresh. The bun, described as “premium”, was a little different than your usual stepped-on-looking bun. It was nice and fluffy, and was topped with corn flour instead of your typical sesame seeds.

Of course, the important part was the patty. As you can see, there are visible bits of jalapeño and cheddar embedded in the burger, as advertised. After eating a few bites, I was already appreciating the heat of the jalapeño. Fast food joints tend to play up the spiciness of their food, but this burger had legit heat. By the time I finished, my nose was running a little. That’s the sign of some legitimate capsacin in the house.

While the heat was a surprising and welcome addition, I found the star of the show was really the creamy poblano sauce. I’ll admit, I struggled to find any true poblano flavor. But nonetheless, that sauce was delicious and plentiful. It seemed more like a southwest mayo, but with a little something I couldn’t quite place. I hate it when there’s that little touch of flavor that I just can’t nail down. The sauce wasn’t really spicy, but it had lots of flavor that played really well with the heat from the jalapeño chunks.

What was sadly missing from this otherwise tasty group of ingredients was the cheese. I really tried to taste the cheddar, but I just couldn’t find it in there. Maybe there was a subtle creaminess of cheese, but not really any cheese flavor. Heck, the creaminess could have come from the sauce, for all I know.

The Burger King Jalapeño & Cheddar BK Stuffed Steakhouse Burger isn’t that wacky, but it is a quality burger. The runny nose effect shows that it has a good amount of heat. I loved the poblano sauce too, even though I was mystified as to what was making it taste so good. The lettuce was weak and I had a hard time getting any cheddar flavor, which was the most disappointing part. But even without the cheese, this stuffed burger is spicy and tasty. It’s available for a limited time only, but hopefully it will be successful enough to inspire more Stuffed Steakhouse burgers. I know from personal experience that chipotles and sriracha sauce both make good stuffings. Just a tip, in case The King is reading this. Stay clean, man, you don’t want to lose any more body parts.

(Note: The Impulsive Buy, GrubGrade, An Immovable Feast and Me So Hungry have also reviewed this burger.  J & C BK Stuffed Steakhouse is the belle of the ball!)

  • Score: 4 out of 5 eerily silent Kings
  • Price: $3.99
  • Size: 1 burger
  • Purchased at: Burger King #17145
  • Nutritional Quirks: There doesn’t seem to be any nutritional information available from BK for this burger, but I’m dying to know what’s in the creamy poblano sauce. Maybe the secret ingredient is magic!

(Edit: Thanks to The Impulsive Buy and Burger King’s PR department, I now know that this burger has a surprisingly low 590 calories, but you can take heart in the 34 grams of total fat which includes 12 grams of saturated and 2 grams of trans.  Also enjoy your 1,240 milligrams of sodium!)

Limited Edition Cheetos Mighty Zingers CRAZY Cheddar and WICKED Picante Flavored Snacks

I’m stupid.

Okay, maybe I’m not completely stupid. But I am overzealous. When I read this in Frito-Lay’s Snack Chat blog, I got to “a limited-time snack with a special Halloween twist” and my brain went YAY! So much yay, in fact, that I didn’t put it together that CRAZY cheddar and WICKED picante actually meant sharp cheddar and salsa picante, a flavor of Mighty Zingers that I already reviewed here. It even explicitly states this in the next sentence, but I paid no attention. You put the words “limited edition” and “Halloween” together, and I lose all sense of control or logic.

So I picked these up at the store and soon realized my folly. You’d think I would have just given up there, but NO! This is Halloween, dammit, and if Frito-Lay is going to repackage an already-existing flavor for the holiday and trick me into buying it, then I’m going to review it, even if it means I have to photograph yet another incredibly shiny foil bag that turns every shot into an all-out glare-fest. Seriously, Cheetos, stop it. I only know how to do three things in GIMP, and removing glare is not one of them.

There are three things of note about this product, however. First of all, I bought a “Hungry Grab”, which is a bag size I’ve never seen before. It’s about the same width as a “Big Grab” bag that you usually find in a convenience store, but longer. I believe you would have to be rather hungry to finish off one of these bags in one sitting. It contains quite a few grabs.

Second, while re-purposing a flavor for Halloween is kind of weak, at least they tried to give a little backstory on the back of the bag: “Chester’s lab experiment went haywire causing Cheetos Mighty Zingers snacks to make a transformation”. I’ve seen Chester’s lab, and the idea of one of his experiments going haywire is very plausible. This brings me to my third point:

GREEN CHIPS! Or “snacks”, to be more precise. This is not the first time Cheetos has gone green. It may not even be the second or third, I gave up looking after a two-second Google search. Doesn’t matter. Green Cheetos are awesome.

If you want to know more about the actual flavor of these Cheetos, I refuse to repeat myself, so go read the article linked above. I will say, however, that it’s delightfully disconcerting to eat Flamin’ Hot Cheetos leftover bits that are green instead of fire-truck red. One might even call it…MADNESS! MUAHAHAHAHA!

On a final note, I now demand Christmas Flamin’ Hot Cheetos with red and green in the same bag. I will throw a candy cane-induced temper tantrum if this does not happen.

  • Score: 3 out of 5 hungry grabs
  • Price: $1.29
  • Size: 3 1/4 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Fry’s Foods
  • Nutritional Quirks: Green Cheetos.  ‘Nuff said.

Cheetos Mighty Zingers Sharp Cheddar & Salsa Picante Snacks

Cheetos, widely known as being the favorite snack of nerds, has been on a roll these past few years, releasing several different twists on their traditional gnarled, neon orange, dust-covered “snacks”. They’ve gone giant, they’ve gone white, and now, they’ve gone tiny and, uh, zinged.

Earlier this year, Frito-Lay introduced Cheetos Mighty Zingers. There are two flavors: Ragin’ Cajun & Tangy Ranch and Sharp Cheddar & Salsa Picante. Their press release states that “Cheetos lovers are in for the ultimate treat, because Chester Cheetah is today unleashing a new cheesy innovation called Cheetos Mighty Zingers – the tiniest Cheetos snacks ever made and marketed.”

I’m sorry, are you looking for a gold star or maybe a smiley-face sticker? Congratulations, you made Cheetos that are smaller than normal Cheetos. Holy shit, alert the press! Wait, that’s actually exactly what they’re doing. You’re already annoying me, Cheetos.

Mighty Zingers’ gimmick is one that seems to be gaining popularity: take two differently-flavored products of the same type and pack them into one bag. The general idea seems to be to have one spicy flavor and one cooling flavor, like the classic buffalo wings and ranch combo. Nobody’s ever sat me down and explained it to me, but I’m assuming you’re supposed to shove them both into your mouth at the same time to achieve the spicy-then-soothing effect. Your results may vary. The idea here seems to be more in the category of complimentary flavors. Who doesn’t love salsa con queso? Communists, that’s who. Don’t be a pinko; eat the fucking chips. Er, snacks.

One thing I love about these snacks right off the bat is that they have taken an age-old snacking problem and finally found a solution for it. The problem: I want to get as much processed food into my mouth as fast as I can, but when I tip back the bag and start pouring them into my giant, unhinged maw, chips start flying everywhere and I get flavor dust in my eyes! The solution? Well, again, I think Cheetos’ press release says it best: “There’s even a playful perforated ‘pouring tab’ up top, making it easier than ever to pop a delicious handful of Mighty Zingers straight into your mouth.”

I think we all know that they don’t intend for you to ever be touching these Cheetos with your hands. That bag, with its “playful pouring tab”, is going straight to your lips. I assume this is why they have made these the tiniest Cheetos ever(!) Easier to pour them into your mouth. Who has time for things like reaching into a bag? There’s a motherfucking raid going on with my guild over here, folks! Of course, this does eliminate the need to suck sticky flavor dust off your fingers. So maybe they are on to something, here.

Somebody on the Cheetos marketing team thinks they’re Charles fucking Dickens, because there’s a goddamn novel written on the back of the bag. Since the picture is probably too small and probably blurry (thanks again, metallic bag), I’ll write it all out for you:


These tiny Cheetos Snacks are mighty in taste.


Together these Cheetos Snacks create a cheesy flavor that’ll shove your tongue around.

Their numbers will amaze you. Their tastes will astound you.

There are endless ways to enjoy this mixture of mightiness. Sort them, combine them,


I can’t tell if Mighty Zingers are going to delight my palate or come out of the bag and kick my ass like Guido coming to collect on an outstanding loan.

I expected the playful pour tab to rip down the entire side of the bag, creating a giant mess, but it tore almost exactly on the perforation, creating just the right hole to pour these little choking hazards right down your gullet. The cheddar does indeed look sharp, and the salsa, picante, so they got the colors right, at least. Let’s check the flavors.

I tried them individually at first, of course, because I’m such a rebel. I had a hard time distinguishing Sharp Cheddar from regular-flavored Cheetos, but I guess that makes sense. Regular Cheetos are already neon cheese-flavored, so why go through the trouble of making up a new flavor? I did detect a little bit of spice, but I think that’s from getting intimate with Salsa Picante in the bag. I could see little red dots on the Sharp Cheddar pieces where the powder had rubbed off onto them. This is why you shouldn’t put two flavors together in one bag; you don’t know what’s going on once you’ve vacuum sealed those two edges together. Cheetos be gettin’ freaky on the store shelves. This is making “sticky Cheeto fingers” even more unappealing.

Uh oh. I should have seen this coming. I should have known. I should have chosen Ragin’ Cajun & Tangy Ranch. I have chosen…unwisely.

SALSA PICANTE IS FLAMIN’ HOT CHEETOS! (Spoiler alert.) It’s not like I haven’t run into this before; Doritos has repackaged its Cool Ranch as just about every flavor under the sun. But usually they at least try to make something about one of the flavors a little bit different. Not so here. You know what Cheetos Mighty Zingers Sharp Cheddar & Salsa Picante Snacks really are? Cheetos All the Little Pieces You Find at the Bottom of the Bag That You Wind Up Throwing Away Cheese & Flamin’ Hot Cheese-Flavored Snacks.

I am outraged.

Maybe I shouldn’t be, but there are several factors here. First and most obvious is the recycling of the flavors. Then there’s the gimmick that “oh we made them small!”, when, seriously, these could just be leftover broken pieces from the factory for all I fucking know. The real coup de grace is that, unless you literally are pouring these directly from bag to mouth, they are practically impossible to eat. I’ve been snacking on the ones I poured out in the picture, and even my tiny, delicate, feminine fingers can’t manage to pick up more than one at once without Cheetos flying everywhere half the time. So I’m supposed to pour them into my hand, eh? Oh okay, let’s do that. Then I can lick the flavor powder off my palm like I’m cosplaying Chester fucking Cheetah grooming himself at a fucking furry convention. Okay, yes, I will stand in my kitchen with no pants on and pour these little fucking choking hazards that I could have gotten by buying two bags of differently-flavored Cheetos straight into my mouth, but you know what I won’t do? You know where this person, this person who has eaten AN ENTIRE SMOTHERED MEAT PATTY, draws the line? Licking my hand after eating handfuls of broken-up Cheetos, and then looking down to see my cat performing the same action. I just can’t go there. My cat also licks his own ass.

One more little factoid you should probably know about Cheetos Mighty Zingers Sharp Cheddar & Salsa Picante Snacks – Flamin’ Hot Cheetos turn your fingers red. For like, the rest of the fucking day. I don’t care how many times you wash your hands, your fingers tell the world, “I ate an inappropriate amount of an unhealthy spicy junk food.” Hence, if you eat these Mighty Zingers in handfuls, you’ll literally be caught red-handed. JUST LIKE I CAUGHT YOU RED-HANDED IN A WEB OF DECEIT, CHEETOS.

  • Score: 2 out of 5 broken bits of boring old Cheeto flavors in a stupid metallic bag
  • Price: $2.99
  • Size: 9 1/2 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Fry’s Foods
  • Nutritional Quirks: I dunno, just go read a regular bag of Cheetos and account for a “broken-up handful” serving size, I guess.