Tag Archives: Chips

Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalist: Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger Potato Chips

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger Potato Chips BagThis year, Do Us a Flavor is branching out to include some of their different varieties of chips. For Wasabi Ginger, we get Kettle Cooked. This seems like a random combination, but I’m okay with it.

Wasabi Ginger is the brainchild of Meneko Spigner McBeth, who may not win the contest but definitely wins “Best Finalist Name”. She’s a registered nurse in Philadelphia, so she can help you out if you choke on her Wasabi Ginger potato chips. Just a little Heimlich and you’re right as rain.

Meneko’s grandmother apparently used to make her sushi by hand when she was growing up, which both melts my heart a little and makes me extremely jealous. So now we know why she came up with this flavor.

Meneko’s fun fact is that her friends have dubbed her “The Clearance Queen” because she always finds the best bargains. This is what your fun fact is when you have three kids. This is what your life becomes. Also, I hope she doesn’t buy clearance sushi because that’s gross.

I’m not sure what the methodology was in deciding what flavor got what kind of chip, but kettle seems to suit Wasabi Ginger just fine. Lay’s kettle chips aren’t the best on the market, but they’re passable. Also, this doesn’t seem like a flavor made for dipping, so the sometimes-crumpled-up nature of the kettle chip won’t be a hindrance.

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger Potato Chips

Wasabi Ginger was off to a good start when it hit my taste buds. The distinctive taste of wasabi was strong and spot-on. I’m using the term “wasabi” liberally, because when you eat sushi, the majority of the time you’re getting horseradish-wasabi, not actual wasabi.

Let’s just say that the wasabi you know was the wasabi that was represented in this chip. Strong enough to be delicious, but not so strong that my sinuses exploded.

I also detected a hint of soy sauce, which was a great compliment to the flavoring.

This all sounds like it’s going great, which it was, but then the ginger hit. Once again, we go back to Lay’s totally nailing the flavor, but it being a double-edged sword. After the lovely soft-burn of the wasabi, I was suddenly bestowed the flavor of those thin-sliced pieces of ginger that are served with sushi.

I did a quick Google search to verify that ginger is served as a palate-cleanser (answer: yes) and Wikipedia taught me that the actual term for it is gari, and this also reminded me of an important disclaimer:

Dear readers, I know that the definition of sushi, sushi-eating, and pretty much everything related to sushi are hotly debated. Please do not bring this debate here. We are talking about Lay’s potato chips. Give me some leeway.

Okay, got off on a tangent there. The point here is that I was perfectly happy enjoying my wasabi chips, and then the pickled ginger came along and made everything wonky. Ginger is refreshing, but “refreshing” is not really a quality I’m looking for in a potato chip.

While I was initially put off by this, I found myself continuing to eat Lay’s Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger Potato Chips. The wasabi and soy sauce combo was fantastic, and these would easily be a winner in my book if the ginger hadn’t come along. That said, it didn’t deter me enough to not finish the bag.

These chips really do a great job of emulating the whole sushi package. Chalk it up to umami, I guess? Honestly, this is one of the most unique Frito-Lay flavors I’ve tasted that doesn’t seem to be designed to be purposefully disgusting. If I had my druthers, these wouldn’t win the Do Us a Flavor contest, and then Lay’s would immediately turn around and come out with Kettle Cooked Wasabi Soy Sauce Potato Chips. Now that is something I would buy again.

Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalist: Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger Potato Chips

  • Score: 3.5 out of 5 unwanted sushi debates
  • Price: $1.49
  • Size: 2 7/8 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: 7-Eleven #21821
  • Nutritional Quirk: The label claims it contains actual wasabi. Hm!

Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalist: Cappuccino Potato Chips

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Cappuccino  Potato Chips BagLay’s is at it again with another “Do Us a Flavor” contest. The first one garnered a lot of attention, and the winner wound up being Cheesy Garlic Bread, which was surely better than Chicken & Waffles, but more boring than Sriracha, although those didn’t even taste like- you know what, not going to get into that again.

Here’s the thing, though – after the contest was over, they continued to sell all three of the flavors in stores. I feel like Lay’s betrayed us. How can I trust them again after that? What’s the point of a contest if all the flavors are just going to wind up on the shelves anyways?

Well, regardless, I feel it is my duty to cover this round of flavor finalists. This time there are four instead of three. I shall be covering all four, and I figured I shouldn’t bury the lead. So here we go, with cappuccino-flavored potato chips.

Cappuccino is, of course, is the crazywacky entry for Do Us a Flavor. There’s one in every batch. It’s the flavor that will never win, but that everyone will talk about for the weirdness factor.

I predict this will be the worst flavor, which is kind of like predicting the sky will be blue tomorrow morning. I bet it will also get a ton of votes, because people on the Internet are ridiculous, but I’m also sure this whole voting thing is rigged, so it doesn’t matter. Again: the Internet.

While we don’t get pictures or quotes on the bags this time, we get even more detail this year on the voting website.

Meet Chad Scott, a visiting lecturer at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Now you know exactly where to send your angry letters after eating his chips. What does he lecture on? I have no idea, but “creating awful chip flavors” seems the most obvious guess.

He apparently submitted this flavor because “cappuccino is his lifeblood”. I hope tasting his own chip creation does not turn him off of his lifeblood forever, because then he will die.

Each flavor finalist has a “fun fact”, and Chad’s is that he didn’t like his name as a youth so he introduced himself as Corey. This is more weird than fun, and raises many questions. Why Corey? Where did Corey come from? Was Corey more charismatic than Chad? Would Corey have taken a life path divergent from Chad, one that led him away from thinking cappuccino-flavored potato chips was a good idea? Maybe I should write a letter.

Okay, time to get to the chips. I guess. Do I have to, mom?

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Cappuccino  Potato Chips

Upon opening the bag, all I could smell was that familiar Lay’s potato chip odor. But I was not fooled. The flavor dust looked exactly as you’d expect – a brown, speckled dusting that spoke of things to come.

I’m a little confused as to whether or not I should praise Lay’s for this next statement. Cappuccino Potato Chips tasted exactly as they’re supposed to. It’s so ridiculously easy to describe: take a bag of regular Lay’s, sprinkle in one of those high-end instant coffees (something like Starbucks VIA comes to mind), and you’ve got these chips.

What makes this especially detrimental is that this isn’t straight coffee, so more than the flavor of that caffeinated beverage, you get prominent notes of milk and sickly sweet vanilla. These are not things that you want to taste on your salty potato chip.

So Lay’s nailed the flavor, but, as we’ve seen in the past, this is not always a good thing. Cappuccino is a great example of that. While they weren’t so bad that they made me gag, they were disgustingly sweet and I threw them away as soon as I’d nailed down the flavor profile, which was quickly.

Oh, by the way, Lay’s wants you to know very firmly that these potato chips do not contain caffeine. That’s a shame, because that would have been the only redeeming quality about these chips. Unless vanilla-milk-coffee-flavored chips are your thing. Which they shouldn’t be.

Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalist: Cappuccino Potato Chips

  • Score: 1 out of 5 mysterious visiting lectures
  • Price: $1.49
  • Size: 2 7/8 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: 7-Eleven #21821
  • Nutritional Quirk: No caffeine. Lame.

Ruffles Deep Ridged Classic Hot Wings Potato Chips Inspired By Buffalo Wild Wings

Ruffles Deep Ridged Classic Hot Wings Potato Chips Inspired By Buffalo Wild Wings BagDear Ruffles,

How deep do your ridges have to go until you’re satisfied? I mean, you already made ULTIMATE ridges that are HARDERCORE, whatever that means. Now you’re making them 2x as deep? Where will it end? Ridges so extreme that they look like the EKG of someone having a panic attack? Just one giant chip per bag with sharp edges that make your gums bleed? How far is too far, Ruffles?

These Ruffles Deep Ridged chips aren’t just Classic Hot Wings Flavored; they’re Inspired by Buffalo Wild Wings Classic Hot Wings Flavored!

Does this excite you? It does not excite me, because I’ve never been to a Buffalo Wild Wings so I have no idea what their wings taste like. I’m not really a sports bar kinda gal, what with having no interest in sports, watching sports, or gathering with other people who like sports.

I also just found out by looking at their website that they call themselves B-Dubs, which makes me want to punch them in the face. “Hey brosefs let’s go down to B-Dubs grab some Jag bombs and get supes trashed brah.” This is only reinforcing my dislike of sports bars.

This is not Ruffles’ fault, however, so I won’t hold it against them. What I will hold against them is what’s written on the back of the bag:

Ruffles Deep Ridged Classic Hot Wings Potato Chips Inspired By Buffalo Wild Wings Bag Back

Chicken…and wing sauce…and chicken…and wing sauce…and what the hell is someone having a stroke? Also, I feel that implying that these flavors are what taste great on deep ridges means you’re not supposed to dip them, which was what the Ultimate hardercore Ruffles were specifically designed to do. We have 2X deeper ridges for no reason at all, now. “Deeper ridges, just because we can.”

Ruffles Deep Ridged Classic Hot Wings Potato Chips Inspired By Buffalo Wild Wings

After all this bizarre marketing, I wasn’t sure what to expect out of the chips themselves. I thought they might be overly thick, but they were about the same thickness as regular Ruffles; in fact, having the depth of the ridges makes them further apart, giving them a more delicate texture, but with lots of crunch.

The heat of hot wing flavoring was immediately evident and also had just the right level of burn. The vinegar taste was also there, but it knew its place as a backup player. Given the obsessive mantra on the back of the bag, I expected some chicken flavoring, but if it was supposed to be there, it got swallowed up by the hot wing heat and flavoring. I was perfectly okay with that.

I’ve had a lot of buffalo-flavored chips, but Ruffles Deep Ridged Classic Hot Wings have managed to climb pretty far up on the list. I refuse to believe the deeper ridges had anything to do with the flavor, and I don’t think they’d hold up well with dip, but they did give the chips a different texture than regular Ruffles.

The heat and the vinegar were at just the right levels, creating a hot wing chip that, while not exactly original, managed to stand out just a little bit above some others. I have no idea if they taste anything like the sauce that Buffalo Wild Wings uses, but they’re a perfectly fine choice to pick up on the go, so long as you’ve got napkins with you so you can wipe off the bright reddish-orange flavor dust.

Ruffles Deep Ridged Classic Hot Wings Potato Chips Inspired By Buffalo Wild Wings

  • Score: 4 out of 5 violent stabs to the face for whoever came up with the term “B-Dubs”
  • Price: $1.49
  • Size: 2 1/2 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Walmart #2482
  • Nutritional Quirks: Actually contains chicken fat, but my mouth didn’t know it.

Lay’s Wavy Original Potato Chips Dipped in Milk Chocolate

Lay's Wavy Original Potato Chips Dipped in Milk Chocolate BagPeople (and by people, I mean the Internet, of course) seem to be all in a tizzy over these new Lay’s Wavy Original Potato Chips Dipped in Milk Chocolate. When I first heard of them, I thought they sounded gross. But the more I thought about it, the more they made sense. Sweet and salty snacks have been around for quite a long time.

Kettle corn. Chocolate-covered pretzels. To be even more specific, Ben & Jerry’s Late Night Snack ice cream has “fudge-covered potato chip clusters”, and it’s been a popular flavor for years now. Heck there’s even a Wikipedia entry for chocolate-covered potato chips, which is definitely not the oddest Wikipedia page I’ve ever seen, but doesn’t exactly seem necessary.

In light of all this, LWOPCDiMC really don’t seem that crazy, after all. I guess it’s just the idea that this is the first time a snack titan like Frito-Lay has taken it on. It’s also a limited edition item, and given the season, I’m guessing you’re supposed to eat them for Christmas?

The packaging certainly isn’t Christmasy, but it does has a pleasing aesthetic. Lay’s managed to cram four different fonts into the chips’ name, but they all have a nice flow to them, as does the background. Despite being rather monochromatic, it has a certain elegance to it, like a glass Christmas tree ornament with a delicate filigree design. It’s the belle of the chip aisle ball.

It was a little disconcerting to pick up a snack-sized bag of chips and have it feel so…hefty. That was the chocolate at work, obviously. I didn’t see any full-sized bags of LWOPCDiMC, which made sense when I thought about it; the weight of so many chocolate-covered chips might end up crushing the bottom ones.

With the idea of chocolate-covered potato chips settling more easily in my mind, several key questions arose, and I was ready to get under the mistletoe with these chips.

Lay's Wavy Original Potato Chips Dipped in Milk Chocolate

The picture on the front of the bag led me to believe that these were chocolate covered chips. I should have paid attention to the super-long name of the product. These are chips dipped in chocolate. And in an interesting way: I would have expected one end to be dipped, but instead, one side was dipped.

One of my key questions was, what is the quality of the chocolate? The answer, as best as I can describe, is “middlin’”. There’s an obvious hierarchy of big-name chocolate, and I would put it well above Palmer, but just a step below Hershey’s.

The quantity of the chocolate on each chip was substantial. Despite having one side of the chip (mostly) naked, the layer of chocolate was quite thick, and also quite rich.

The chocolate and chip dynamic was interesting. Lay’s was going for a sweet/salty dynamic, and while there was some salty undertones to cut through the chocolate, it didn’t seem nearly as salty as a regular Wavy Lay’s chip. It was also hard to detect the flavor of the potato chip under all that chocolate.

What the chip did add was a welcome crunch. The thickness of Wavy Lay’s bore the brunt of the chocolate well, and I was impressed at the amount of completely intact chips in the bag. They weren’t quite as crunchy as the chips would have been on their own, but the combination of chocolate and crunch worked great together. It was kind of like eating a thin Crunch bar.

I half expected to dislike Lay’s Wavy Original Potato Chips Dipped in Milk Chocolate, but I was pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong. The chocolate was of a fair quality, and the Lay’s Wavy chips added a bit of salt and, best of all, a crunch that worked perfectly with the sweetness of chocolate.

I would have liked to have had a bit more of a balance between the two – I found the chocolate a little too rich to eat a whole bag at once, and the potato flavor of the chip got overwhelmed by its sweet counterpart. All in all, however, I think anyone who enjoys a sweet treat with a bit of salt would enjoy Lay’s Wavy Original Potato Chips Dipped in Milk Chocolate.

LWOPCDiMC don’t strike me as a gimmick or one of those things people would eat for the weird factor. These chips are something you could set out at your Christmas party that people who like chocolate with a bit of salt and crunch would enjoy just for what they are.

Lay’s Wavy Original Potato Chips Dipped in Milk Chocolate

  • Score: 3.5 out of 5 gettin’ intimate with potato chips under the mistletoe
  • Price: $3.49
  • Size: 5 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Target (exclusive)
  • Nutritional Quirks: Get ready to satisfy 22% of your recommended daily saturated fat needs with just one ounce of chips. Hey, ’tisn’t the season for eating healthy, people.

Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Crunchy Taco and Cool Ranch Crunchy Taco Tortilla Chips

Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Crunchy Taco and Cool Ranch Crunchy Taco Tortilla Chips BagsDoritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Crunchy Taco and Cool Ranch Crunchy Taco Tortilla Chips are quite possibly the most meta snack to ever hit the chip shelves. They are Doritos, based on fast food tacos, which have the shell of a Dorito.

I think we can all see where this is going. Taco Bell Doritos Locos Taco Taco Bell Doritos Locos Taco… it will be the Möbius strip of food that will eventually take over Taco Bell’s entire menu and choke the chip aisle. It will be the undoing of humanity.

…Okay, maybe I’m getting a little carried away. But I think we can all agree that this is getting ridiculous.

Like the Taco Bell Doritos Locos Tacos, the Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Tortilla Chips come in two flavors: Nacho Cheese Crunchy Taco and Cool Ranch Crunchy Taco. Doritos loves to do the “two flavors in one bag” thing, so this is right up their alley.

Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Crunchy Taco Tortilla Chips

Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Crunchy Taco Tortilla Chips

Upon opening the bag, my olfactory senses were overwhelmed with the smell of taco seasoning. Like opening a pack of McCormick’s seasoning you’d add to some ground beef for “Tuesday Taco Night” with some of those pre-made shells that have a flat bottom so they stand up on their own. Man, I wish I had invented those. Genius.

Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chip

When I tasted the nacho cheese chips by themselves, it was instantly obvious that these are just regular Nacho Cheese Doritos, to the surprise of no one. They got a little bit of taco flavoring due to spooning with Crunchy Taco in the bag. Let’s face it; it’s like a forced cuddle party. There’s gonna be some contact.

Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Crunchy Taco Tortilla Chip

The Crunchy Taco flavor was very powerful. My brain went flipping through its Rolodex (my brain is technologically behind the times) of Doritos flavors, but I couldn’t quite pinpoint the flavor powder. It definitely wasn’t Taco Flavor Doritos. It was just…straight-up taco seasoning. I can’t find another way to describe it.

When eaten together, as I’m assuming God, Doritos and Taco Bell intended, Crunchy Taco overwhelmed the taste of Nacho Cheese. I could, however, get some nacho aftertaste, which did compliment the taco flavor.

Did these chips mimic a Taco Bell Doritos Locos Nacho Cheese Taco? Not even close. But if you want to treat these like Doritos Collisions or the various other Doritos “two flavors in one bag”, they’re not too bad.

Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Cool Ranch Crunchy Taco Tortilla Chips

Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Cool Ranch Crunchy Taco Tortilla Chips

It’s difficult to say much more about these Cool Ranch Crunchy Taco Doritos that hasn’t already been said about the Nacho Cheese version. Again, that taco seasoning smell was very present.

Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Cool Ranch Tortilla Chip

Also again, there was nothing new about the Cool Ranch Doritos. Like Nacho Cheese, rubbing up against Crunchy Taco resulted in some flavor transfer. I’m starting to wonder about these cuddle parties.

Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Crunchy Taco Tortilla Chip (2)

I kept some of my observations about Crunchy Taco Doritos out of the Nacho Cheese portion of this post so that I could say something here besides using the word “again” 20 times in one review.

The fact of the matter is, Crunchy Taco Doritos had too much flavor dust.

Now, usually, I savor the joy of finding those few Doritos that somehow got hit with too much flavoring in their journey from tortilla chip to flavored tortilla chip. In the case of Crunchy Taco, however, it was like every chip had been blasted to hell with the stuff.

Unfortunately, this fact worked against Cool Ranch even more than Nacho Cheese. Eating the two chips together pretty much obliterated the Cool Ranch flavor.

Mark this day in Junk Food Betty history, because I’m about to say something that I may never say again: Crunchy Taco Doritos were actually too salty. I say this with gravitas, because I am a salt vampire, so for me to say something is too salty is borderline insanity.

In the end, both flavor combos suffered from the same fault: Crunchy Taco was too strong, snuffing out the flavors of Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch. Furthermore, they tasted nothing like the tacos they were trying to emulate in a weird, meta way.

I actually liked the Crunchy Taco flavoring, despite it tasting nothing like a Taco Bell taco, but someone cranked the flavor knob up to 11, which resulted in too much salt and the obfuscation of the flavors it was supposed to compliment.

I usually find Doritos dual flavors uninspired but acceptable, but this was a strange case of flavor overload. I hope that my predictions of a Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Möbius strip don’t come true, because that is a weird vortex that I don’t want to be a part of.

Doritos Locos Tacos Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Crunchy Taco and Cool Ranch Crunchy Taco Tortilla Chips

  • Score (Nacho Cheese Crunchy Taco): 3 out of 5 questionable cuddle parties
  • Score (Cool Ranch Crunchy Taco): 2 out of 5 salt vampires saying “Whoah, too much
  • Price: $1.49 each
  • Size: 3 3/8 oz. bags
  • Purchased at: 7-Eleven #21821
  • Nutritional Quirks: I have no evidence to support this, but I believe a fire hose was brought in to spray the Crunchy Taco Doritos. Now that’s quirky.

News: Lay’s Announces the Winner of the “Do Us A Flavor” Contest!

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips BagI’m a little late to the party (try about two weeks), but Lay’s announced their winner of the Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” contest on May 6, and Karen Weber-Mendham’s Cheesy Garlic Bread won! As I posted in my review of the three flavors, I was hoping this flavor would win.

As a little side note, Karen actually emailed me after a friend tipped her off to my review. Given the fact that I’m a total jerk and made fun of her and her constant breadstick-deprived starvation, I wasn’t exactly expecting high praise.

Fortunately for me, Karen has a great sense of humor, and was nothing but gracious. We had a few back-and-forths, and she was nothing but kind.

So congrats to Karen! If I could wish a million dollars on someone who submitted a flavor for a chip contest, I couldn’t wish for a nicer person to win. Besides myself, of course.

Australian Snaxplosion: Thins Light & Tangy and Chicken Thin & Crispy Potato Chips and Burger Rings

Australian Snaxplosion Thins Light & Tangy, Thins Chicken and Burger Rings Bags2A little while back, I got an email from a stranger living in Australia. She loves Skittles. She loves them so much, in fact, that she asked if I could ship her a bag of Darkside Skittles, since they didn’t have them where she lived.

She suggested we do a snack trade. Because I noted that she had her own food website, I immediately gave her my address, because you can obviously trust a complete stranger that you’ve emailed twice on the Internet, as long as they have a food blog.

I got into a lot of white, unmarked vans as a child. Obviously unrelated, but I felt I should mention it.

We made arrangements, and a surprisingly short time later, a totally awesome box full of Australian goodies arrived at my doorstep. So full, in fact, that there was no way I could fit them all into one review. Or two reviews. In fact, I may be reviewing them forever. Keeping this in mind, I won’t be using my usual review structure – I’ll just give a quick rating at the end of each item.

That said, enjoy part one of Australian Snaxplosion!

Thins Light & Tangy Thin & Crispy Potato Chips

Australian Snaxplosion Thins Light & Tangy Bag

Thins have a pretty much identical texture to Lay’s potato chips, which makes sense, since they were once owned by Pepsico, who bought them from Smith’s, but then sold them to…you know what, nevermind. Just know that the base chip is just like Lay’s.

I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from Thins Light & Tangy, since neither of these words are particularly descriptive. Lightly flavored? Light in calories? Tangy…how?

The back of the bag offered me no clues. There was no nutritional information box, nor was there an ingredients list. I found this intriguing, since I’m pretty sure it’s a law or something to list that stuff in the United States. “Or something” – that’s good research, right there. In fact, none of the three items being reviewed today had any information on the back. You roll the dice when you snack Australian.

If you can’t tell by the pictures, all three of these snacks came in surprisingly small bags. By small, I mean, one serving. An actual serving, not an American serving. Something you would eat during a work break. It’s like comparing a 12-ounce soda to a Big Gulp. I wonder, do they offer gallon-sized jugs of soda in Australian convenience markets? My hunch is no.

Australian Snaxplosion Thins Light & Tangy Chips

Anyways, Thins Light & Tangy had a nice vinegar bite with an equal amount of…tang. I could definitely identify some onion in there, but it wasn’t sour cream and onion-flavored…perhaps a bit of a ranch flavoring? I think ranch would count as tangy.

Australian Snaxplosion Thins Light & Tangy Chips Close-Up

I won’t lie, I did look up the ingredients, but only after I’d tasted the chip. Some of the ingredients are “Vegetable Powders (Onion, Tomato), Flavour (Natural), Flavour Enhancer (621) and Herbs & Spices”.

I couldn’t taste any tomato, but the rest seemed about on point. Of course, I have no idea what 621 Flavour Enhancer is, but hey.

In the end, I never did learn what was so light about Thins Light & Tangy Thin and Crispy Potato Chips. I did, however, enjoy the taste. They had a nice balance of vinegar, salt, and a present but not overwhelming ranch-like flavor. Nothing crazy or groundbreaking, but a fine snack, nonetheless.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 kudos for using the moniker “Light” for seemingly no reason at all

Thins Chicken Thin & Crispy Potato Chips

Australian Snaxplosion Thins Chicken Bag

Chicken-flavored potato chips may seem pretty out there if you’re American, but according to my brief Internet research, chicken seems to be a pretty common flavor for Australian snacks. In fact, I got another chicken-flavored snack in my box, Chicken Twisties, but they didn’t survive the International travel very well, and by that I mean, both ends of the bag blew out. Amazingly, this was the only casualty of the whole box, so I consider myself lucky.

Maybe chicken doesn’t seem so out there when you consider the crazy flavors we’ve seen over the years. Mountain Dew-flavored Doritos, anyone? Besides that, if I had to pick a meat to flavor chips, chicken seems the most innocuous.

Australian Snaxplosion Thins Chicken Chips

Thins Chicken chips look remarkably similar to Light & Tangy, but the tastes are worlds apart. They look and feel almost identical – again, think Lay’s with some green flecks on them – but Chicken lacks all the twang that excites taste buds. Is it possible for a food to taste…matte? If it is, that is how I would describe Thins Chicken.

While the unfortunately unseen Twisties Chicken tasted like chicken bullion, Thins Chicken didn’t taste like chicken at all. In fact, I’m not sure what they tasted like. They were very salty, and there was a little onion, but that was about it.

Actually, there was a strange aftertaste that I can only describe as “chewing on an old jar of chicken bullion cubes”. It was very odd and unpleasant.

I was steeling myself for chicken-flavored potato chips when I opened up my bag of Thins Chicken Thin & Crispy Potato Chips, but what I got was actually worse. Instead of chicken, I got a flavor that was both bland and unnatural. After enjoying Thins Light & Tangy, I was surprised at how badly Thins Chicken failed to live up to its name.

Rating: 2 out of 5 ways that Thins managed to make chicken-flavored chips taste worse than chicken-flavored chips

Burger Rings

Australian Snaxplosion Burger Rings Bag

As you may imagine, Out of the three offerings shown here, I was most intrigued by this product. Burger Rings! Again, these may sound odd to Americans, and the lack of imagery plus the promise of “big burger taste” on the front of the bag may conjure memories of things like Doritos Late Night All-Nighter Cheeseburger. I know it did for me, and that was not necessarily a good thing.

Burger Rings are apparently very popular in Australia, so I thought, how bad can they be?

Australian Snaxplosion Burger Rings

That’s usually an ominous question, but for once, I was pleased to discover that they were not bad at all. In fact, I enjoyed them quite a bit.

Upon first glance, Burger Rings look like smaller, redder versions of Funyuns. They say we eat with our eyes, and in this case, my eyeballs were pretty spot-on. The texture was indistinguishable to that of Funyuns – light and somewhat puffy, but with a satisfying crunch. I would call it a “soft crunch”, if such a thing exists.

The flavor of Burger Rings was distinctly that of cheese and tomato. Breathe a sigh of relief – unlike the abominations that have been created in the US, Burger Rings made no attempt to make their product taste like meat. “Big burger taste” is just big talk.

Unlike Funyuns, Burger Rings are the perfect size for popping into your mouth. I found that I’d blown through my appropriately snack-sized bag rather quickly. With a generic cheesy tomato flavor and a crunchy but non-gum-stabbing texture, they were easy and fun to eat.

While I would have preferred something else to go with the cheese – maybe onion, or, dare I say, garlic – I can see why so many Australians like this snack. I was glad that my Aussie snack trading partner had included two bags, because one was just not enough. I’d love to see Burger Rings sitting next to Funyuns on store shelves. It’s time someone gave them a run for their money in the ring-shaped crunchy snack department.

Rating: 4 out of 5 sighs of relief that Burger Rings taste nothing like actual burgers

That wraps up part one of our unknown number of Australian snack food reviews! I’ll be back later with more treats from the land down under. In the meantime, watch out for drop bears, folks.

Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalists: Sriracha, Cheesy Garlic Bread and Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalists Sriracha, Cheesy Garlic Bread and Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips BagsThe three finalists for Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” contest have been out for a little while now. And for me, “been out” is a literal term – I first spotted all three of them at my local store and picked up the Sriracha flavor, thinking at the time that I’d review each flavor separately. When I went to the store a few days later, there was a handful of Srirachas and one Cheesy Garlic Bread bag on the shelves, which I grabbed.

After that? Nothing.

It was like they’d gotten one shipment and that was that. I couldn’t find Chicken & Waffles, the obvious crazygonuts flavor of the three, anywhere. I looked, I waited, and yet…nothing.

Just when I’d resigned myself to only reviewing two of the three flavors, leaving a large, probably-disgusting-tasting chip-sized hole in my heart, I found them. I did an actual pirouette in the store. My husband pretended he didn’t know me, which is not unusual.

So here they are. The Do Us a Flavor finalists, chosen out of 3.8 million fan submissions last summer. Lucky for me, the three people who are up for a million dollars or 1% of their flavor’s 2013 sales if they win are plastered all over each of the bags, so I get to make fun of them and/or blame them for their choices.

So let’s get to these chips, presented by coincidence in order of purchase and what I anticipate to be the best-to-worst flavors.

Sriracha

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Sriracha Potato Chips Bag

Sriracha is blowin’ up right now. One might say it is on fire, if one were to make puns about hot sauce. I used to only find it at the Vietnamese market, but now it’s pretty common on your everyday grocery store shelves. You’ve probably seen it – it’s the one with the rooster on the label, which gives everyone with a 5th grade sense of humor (me) carte blanche to call it “cock sauce”.

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Sriracha Potato Chips Tyler

Hello, Tyler Raineri from Lake Zurich, IL. I’m not going to make fun of people’s pictures, because you can’t pick your genetics, but you can pick your words. And if these quotes were what these people decided would be the best blurbs to represent them on chip bags nationwide, you can bet I’m going to dig in to them.

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Sriracha Potato Chips Tyler Quote

Grandma’s chips and sriracha seem like an odd combination, but hell, I’d put sriracha on just about anything, so I’ll let it slide.

What really gets me is the last sentence. “Nothing’s better than old memories.” It sounds bizarre and mildly sinister, for reasons I can’t explain. We all have “old memories”, but I wouldn’t say they are literally the best thing ever. I get this weird vibe that grandma’s desiccated corpse is sitting in Tyler’s basement or something, but maybe I’ve just seen too many horror movies.

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Sriracha Potato Chips

Onward to the chips. I was actually excited to try Lay’s Sriracha, because, as I mentioned, I love the cock sauce, and it seemed like a flavor that would marry well with potato chips. It’s mostly chili, vinegar, and a hint of garlic, but it has a very unique and delicious taste.

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Sriracha Potato Chips Close-Up

Unfortunately, my hopes were quickly dashed. Not just dashed, but obliterated. The chips had a bit of heat to them, and a faint garlic taste, but there was also the strong presence of cream cheese and sour cream flavors.

What? What the hell is that? I checked the ingredients, and, according to Lay’s, “sriracha seasoning” contains, among other things, sour cream, cream, onion powder, cream cheese, paprika extract, cheddar cheese, and swiss cheese.

What the fuck?

With my mouth expecting sriracha, all these cheese flavors made my taste buds instantly revolt. These chips tasted wrong, wrong, wrong. So wrong, in fact, that I went and looked at some other reviews of Lay’s Sriracha Chips – something I don’t normally do until after I finish a review, for the sake of objectivity.

To my surprise, several reviewers gave these chips high marks for tasting like the hot sauce. I’m not going to pull out my “I liked sriracha before sriracha was cool and I’m a cock sauce expert” card, but I have to say, these chips taste nothing like sriracha, and the addition of all that cheese flavoring was incredibly disconcerting.

I went back and revisited Lay’s Sriracha Chips a little later, after my mouth had had time to calm down. If you pretend these chips are called “Spicy Cheese Chips” instead of “Sriracha Chips”, they’re actually not so bad. But if Tyler’s grandma could taste these chips, she’d probably roll over in her grave. Or in her rocking chair in Tyler’s basement. Either way.

Cheesy Garlic Bread

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips Bag

With my hopes of sriracha-flavored chips crushed, I turned my attention to Cheesy Garlic Bread. I expected these to be a very middle-of-the-road flavor – take some cheese, take some garlic flavor, and there you go. However, after the sriracha disaster, I was starting to feel nervous.

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips Karen

Meet Karen Weber-Mendham from Land o’ Lakes, WI, a bold woman who is not afraid to hyphenate her name post-marriage and is also from a place that I didn’t think actually existed outside of the realm of butter.

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips Karen Quote

Everything about Karen’s quote is hilariously stupid. First off, I’m 100% positive her “favorite Italian restaurant” is the Olive Garden. It’s just one of those hunches I feel deep down inside.

Second, she’s WAITING FOREVER. That’s just bad customer service. Plus, the breadsticks are supposed to be there for when you are waiting forever. Karen, you need a new Olive Garden.

The last sentence is the icing on the cake. “Finally, the breadsticks come & they save your life!” I can’t stop reading that and laughing out loud. They save your life, people. You are sitting in a booth at the Olive Garden for so long that you are literally starving to death. I think Karen has a fondness for being melodramatic.

One more thing to nitpick about – breadsticks and cheesy garlic bread are not the same thing. If we’re taking the picture on the front of the bag to be said bread, I’ve never been to an Italian restaurant that will rock out free garlic bread like that. Maybe I was wrong about Karen’s favorite Italian restaurant. I guess I’d be more willing to WAIT FOREVER if I could get free cheesy garlic bread like that. To save my life.

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips

A strange thing happened with Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread Chips. They didn’t taste like cheese garlic chips at all. After the sriracha fiasco, you’d think this would have pissed me off. But quite the opposite.

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips Close-Up

Instead of tasting like cheese and garlic-flavored chips, these tasted like cheesy garlic bread. Seriously. I know it sounds weird and kind of stupid, but it’s damn true. Lay’s made a chip that tastes like a piece of bread slathered in strong garlic butter and topped with Parmesan.

At first, this had the opposite of the intended effect. It was so realistic, it was off-putting. Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread is in the uncanny valley of chips. The more I ate, however, the more I grew to accept this, and embrace it for its cheesy, garlicky, buttery goodness. Lay’s must be using some sort of dark magic, but I don’t care. It’s delicious dark magic.

Chicken & Waffles

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips Bag

Well, here we are. The Do Us a Flavor Finalist everyone’s buzzing about. Chicken & Waffles. Fuck.

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips Christina

Meet Christina Abu-Judom from Phoenix, AZ.

…Of course. Of course she’s from the Valley in which I live. Because Phoenix doesn’t get shat on enough as the asshole of the United States, and if you are to believe television shows and movies, every murderer and child molester comes to Arizona to hide out from the cops. Thanks so much, Christina, for improving our image.

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips Christina Quote

Aaaaaand her quote is stupid, too. Also, either her nephew is a total dick, or Christina likes to really blow things out of proportion. Can you imagine the Abu-Judom family gatherings? Either her nephew brings up this most insignificant part of his life so much that everyone tells him to shut the fuck up, or Christina herself can’t talk about anything else. “Hey nephew, remember how you never let me live down that one time I stole a bite of your waffle?” Everyone rolls their eyes and goes back to talking about how much the construction sucks on Central Ave.

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips

I’m sad to say that there are no surprises, here. These chips are disgusting. The overwhelming taste is that of maple syrup, with undertones of a buttery waffle-like taste and just a smidge of chicken bouillon. If that sentence grossed you out, congratulations, you have a modicum of common sense.

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips Close-Up

I ate the barest of bare minimums of Lay’s Chicken & Waffles Chips just so I could explain the flavor to you, dear reader. I’ve eaten several very disgusting things in my time as a food reviewer, and these are honestly close to the top. If taste buds could throw up, I believe mine would have, which probably would have made my stomach throw up, resulting in one of those chain-reaction vomits that would fill my entire apartment with maple-smelling bile.

“The overwhelming taste is that of maple syrup, with undertones of a buttery waffle-like taste and just a smidge of chicken bouillon.” I just wanted to repeat that sentence to emphasize how utterly repulsive these chips are. I knew I was in for a bad trip when I bought these, but this was like, bat country bad trip.

I can’t even give much credit to Lay’s for getting the Chicken & Waffles flavor right. The syrup flavor was dominant and cloying, and the chicken very subdued, for which my taste buds were thankful. You could taste a bit of butter and waffle, though, so at least there’s…that.

I feel bad for Tyler, because his Sriracha Lay’s wound up tasting nothing like the hot sauce and more like a spicy cheese chip.

Karen got her wish, because Cheesy Garlic Bread tastes eerily like what it’s supposed to taste like. I was put off by this at first, but came to embrace the accuracy and tastiness of these chips.

I hate Christina for her stupid story and her even more stupid flavor suggestion, but I hate Lay’s the most for picking it as a finalist. You know they did it just to be jerks, and they succeeded.

I find it hard to believe that out of 3.8 million submissions, these three people made unique suggestions – especially sriracha. Regardless, you can vote on your favorite on Lay’s Facebook page until May 4, 2013. If I were the Facebook voting type, which I am not, you’ve probably gathered that I would vote for Cheesy Garlic Bread. That way, Karen could keep a bag in her purse at all times and never have to worry about starving to death again.

Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalist: Sriracha Potato Chips

  • Score: 2.5 out of 5 opportunities to say cock sauce
  • Price: $3.19 (on sale; regularly $3.49)
  • Size: 9 1/2 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Fry’s Foods
  • Nutritional Quirks: It bears repeating: contains sour cream, cream, onion powder, cream cheese, cheddar cheese and swiss cheese,none of which are actually in sriracha hot sauce

Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalist: Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips

  • Score: 4.5 out of 5 uncanny valleys of snack food
  • Price: $3.49
  • Size: 9 1/2 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Safeway #1717
  • Nutritional Quirks: Dark magic not listed as an ingredient, but gouda cheese is. Fancy!

Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalist: Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips

  • Score: 0.5 out of 5 fuck you Christina
  • Price: $1.99 (on sale; regularly $3.49)
  • Size:9 1/2 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Safeway #1717
  • Nutritional Quirks: It’s gross. Also contains “natural flavor (including chicken flavor)”, which is not a phrase I find at all comforting.

Other Do Us a Flavor Finalist reviews: The Impulsive Buy (Chicken & Waffles, Sriracha, Cheesy Garlic Bread), Junk Food Guy, So Good, Fat Guy Food Blog

Kettle Brand Potato Chips 30th Birthday Limited Batch Red Chili, Jalapeño Jack, Salsa with Mesquite and Cheddar Beer

Happy 30th Birthday, Kettle Potato Chips! I realize I’m a little late. Consider this your belated birthday card. Pretend it says something “funny” about me being old and forgetful. Preferably with the word “fart” involved, because that’s comedy gold in the world of greeting cards.

But this is not about me. This is about Kettle. You can read a little bit about the history of the company here, but here are the salient points: busted-up van selling chips and a picture of six people that shows definitive proof that Kettle Chips did, indeed, start in 1982.

Seriously, go look at that picture. We’ve got two guys wearing all white, one that looks like a professor of Sociology who has experimented liberally with LSD while the other is rocking a badass ‘stache and probably drove a sweet ’78 Camero with an extensive Zepplin cassette library in the center console.

The lone female in this picture looks like she’s wearing a stylish cowgirl shirt. She probably makes a mean pot of chili. She’s sitting comfortably close to a man wearing a knit cap before knit caps were cool and sporting an impressive beard. The familiarity of the two in the photo suggests they’re a couple; he probably chops his own wood and shoots deer for food, not sport. Maybe he even mined for gold before mining for gold was the subject of 700 different Discovery Channel reality shows.

In the middle we have the very picture of early 1980’s youth – a magnificent mane, moppy and tow-headed, a wide smile on his face conveying optimism and a healthy work ethic. He appears to be wearing a rubber apron, which means he either shucks oysters after school to help out his family or they make him do all the chip frying because he’s the low man on the kettle totem pole. If he played his cards right, he is probably very rich now.

Last but not least, we have Cool 80’s Dude. Everything about him, from that haircut to that stylish jersey shirt to that smug smile says, “Hey ladies.” More interested in chasing tail than making chips, he was probably in charge of standing outside the van, flashing those pearly whites and using his obvious charisma to draw in sales.

I also hope their van had a kickass mural of a barbarian dude in a loincloth standing in front of a volcano, sword held high in the air, while two scantily-clad ladies cling to his massive, muscular thighs. The other side has a wizard summoning lightning from the sky while a unicorn rears up in glory.

In reality, the van probably just had a bunch of chipped avocado-colored paint and maybe the words “Kettle Chips” crookedly stenciled on the side in spray paint.

Enough picking the low-hanging fruit of mocking the way people looked in 1982. I’m lucky Kettle blessed me with that photograph, because their packaging is severely lacking in ridiculousness to make fun of. It’s clean, it’s simple, it’s classy, and it’s the same format for all four flavors. Kudos for that, Kettle, even though I’d have had more to work with if there was a panda doing an ollie over your logo or something. That’s okay; we’ve got a lot of chips to check out, here.

A little blurb from Kettle:

There’s a reason why timeless classics never go out of style, and why we’ll forever covet dad’s vintage cars and grandma’s pearls. We’re bringing back four of our favorite retired flavors to celebrate turning the big 3-0 this year: Red Chili, Jalapeño Jack, Salsa with Mesquite and Cheddar Beer. Our four limited edition flavors celebrate 30 years of what Kettle Brand® does best: coming up with innovative flavors and making great tasting products, naturally.

Well, these flavors must have gone at least a little out of style, considering they were all discontinued. And I’m not even gonna touch that “grandma’s pearls” comment. Let’s just look at the chips.

Kettle Brand Potato Chips Red Chili Limited Batch

Kettle says:

Hold on to your time machine, because it’s a blast from the past with this sweet and spicy flavor classic. Red Chili was our very first flavor produced in 1982, after Sea Salt, and marries the flavor of sriracha sauce with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper for a searing chili sensation that leaves just the right amount of heat on the tip of your tongue. We’re sure this Kettle Brand® flavor favorite will set off a symphony of fireworks in your mouth.

I love that Red Chili was the second Kettle Brand flavor ever created. Most companies would go for salt and vinegar, or maybe cheese, but not Kettle Brand. Red Chili! With sriracha, no less! I’ve seen sriracha rise in popularity in recent years, even inspiring a popcorn collaboration with The Oatmeal. I guess you know you’ve arrived on the Internet when you get your own food product. Junk Food Betty Smothered Meat Patties, anyone?

Anyways, there was no Internet to go insane about foods in 1982, so I count Kettle using sriracha as an ingredient in their chips to be way ahead of the curve. Feel free to say something like “I was eating chips with sriracha before sriracha was cool” if you actually ate these Red Chili chips back in the day.

While there’s not much to say about the nicely-designed front of the packaging of these 30th birthday chips, each bag has a cute little blurb on the back that I’d feel remiss if I didn’t include them.

You go, Jimmy. You’re an inspiration to us all.

I tried the chips before I read Kettle’s description of Red Chili, and while I guess my palate isn’t refined enough to have immediately identified the sriracha, once I knew it was there, it explained how nicely Kettle Brand managed to capture the flavor of chilis.

I’ve eaten a lot of “chili” chips in my day, and Kettle Brand Red Chili was among the best, in my opinion. Instead of just being generically spicy, there was the actual flavor of chili, not just the heat. In fact, the flavor came through even before the heat, which built nicely but didn’t overwhelm. I’m glad they didn’t actually “sear”, as Kettle’s description says.

I really was impressed by these chips, and am sad that they are a limited edition flavor. Perhaps someone will start an Internet petition and bring them back! Internet petitions always work, right? JIMMY, GET ON IT!

Kettle Brand Potato Chips Jalapeño Jack Limited Batch

From Kettle:

Who needs the cheese slice when you have this Southwestern cheesy blend on a crunchy, perfectly cooked chip? The second oldest flavor in the collection, this 1989 classic has the same creamy flavor as Jack cheese but packs a fiery punch with peppercorns and jalapeño pepper that you can actually see.

Jack is obviously an egomaniac, but I feel I’ve learned so much about him in these two little paragraphs that I really don’t have the heart to tell him that his name is also a cheese. He also must not know much about cheese.

I came into Kettle Brand’s Jalapeño Jack with the feeling that I’d be tasting something I’d tasted a hundred times before: spice + cheese. Woohoo. Furthermore, we’re talking about Jack cheese, which has a mild taste that most chips render invisible by overpowering it with spice, or add a cheese flavor that doesn’t taste anything like actual Jack cheese.

Without trying to sound overdramatic, this was possibly the first time I have ever actually tasted Jack flavor on a chip that claimed to have Jack flavor. I don’t know what kind of dark magic Kettle used to achieve this, but it was wonderful to taste.

This feat is even more impressive when you consider that Jack’s companion is jalapeño. Kettle taught jalapeño some manners – it politely let the flavor of Jack go first, and then came in soon afterwards to compliment it instead of overwhelming it. There was just the right amount of heat. I wouldn’t go so far as to never buy jalapeño jack cheese ever again – I could give about a dozen answers to the question “who needs the cheese slice” that Kettle imposed – but these were some damn hell good chips. I found myself wishing once again that these weren’t a limited edition flavor.

Kettle Brand Potato Chips Salsa with Mesquite Limited Batch

From Kettle:

We all know the chip is a vehicle for party dip, but our Salsa with Mesquite cuts out the middle man for a smoky-sweet salsa everyone can agree on! No chunks in this one-just the unmatched flavor combination of sweet tomatoes and bell pepper, with a sneaky and sultry mesquite smokiness. Launched in 1999, our fans have been pining for this zesty dip-on-chip ever since.

Much like with pepper jack cheese, I think we all know that a salsa-flavored chip could never replace actual chips and salsa. However, Kettle Brand does their best, and they do a pretty good job. I could definitely taste the tomato and onion flavors, and there was a bit of zip without really being spicy, which I guess I could attribute to the bell pepper.

The mesquite flavor was a subtle finish. I wouldn’t exactly call it “sultry” – in fact, please kick me if I ever describe a chip as “sultry” – but it was a nice touch.

Salsa with Mesquite is a solid chip, but I didn’t exactly find anything surprising or groundbreaking about it. The taste delivered, but there’s a lot of other chips out there with similar flavor profiles.

I could go without hearing the phrase “smoky two-step for your tongue” ever again. And the hips reference just made me cringe. I’d prefer to hear more about Jimmy and Jack.

Kettle Brand Potato Chips Cheddar Beer Limited Batch

Go Kettle:

Who can resist the hearty flavors of the Midwest? Robust and malty beer notes are layered on this chip with extra sharp and tangy cheese for a perfect balance that goes down smooth. Smooth as a beer we think, but we’ll let you decide. And we have to tip our hats to the fans on this one, who chose this flavor during our first People’s Choice vote in 2005.

I love that Kettle chose to use the word “partying” when they obviously mean “getting super drunk off of kegstands, hitting on your best friend’s girlfriend, and then puking over the banister”. We all know what you mean, Kettle. And I wouldn’t worry about the chips part – I don’t think anyone considers making potato chips “partying”. Then again, people build boats inside bottles for fun, so.

There’s a reason you shouldn’t let people on the Internet decide what flavor your next chip offering is going to be, and Cheddar Beer is a good example. I’m sure people saw “beer” and went “FUCK YEAH BEER CHIPS!”

There’s also a good reason these were discontinued, presumably not long after 2005. The chips started out with a pleasant although mild cheese flavor that would have made for a perfectly acceptable chip.

However, the cheese flavor soon gives way to an odd, bitter taste, that only resembles beer if you’ve been drinking some very crappy beer. I guess that keeps with the spirit of “partying”, since frat parties aren’t exactly stocked with the finest beers from the local microbrewery.

The bitterness stays long after the cheddar has disappeared, along with another, more subtle flavor, which I will blindly attribute to the ingredient “tortula yeast”, which makes me think “tortuga yeast”, which seems bad in any situation.

Kettle Brand Cheddar Beer Chips have at least taught me one thing, and that is that you should not make beer-flavored chips. This is one flavor I’d like to see kept retired.

All in all, I like that Kettle Brand Chips decided to trot out some old-timey flavors to celebrate their 30th birthday. It’s a fine gimmick, the bag design is well-executed, and I love all the little blurbs on the back that tell a little story about the flavors. It makes me feel like Kettle is still being run by six people in a shitty van and not some giant, faceless mega-corporation. Whether or not this is true, I don’t care. I had fun eating them, writing about them, and taking 700 pictures of them.

Kettle Brand Potato Chips 30th Birthday Limited Batch Red Chili, Jalapeño Jack, Salsa with Mesquite and Cheddar Beer

  • Score (Red Chili): 4.5 out of 5 “I knew sriracha before sriracha was cool” old hipsters
  • Score (Jalapeño Jack): 5 out of 5 egomaniacal security guards
  • Score (Salsa with Mesquite): 4 out of 5 unwanted honest hips
  • Score (Cheddar Beer): 2.5 out of 5  puking frat boys
  • Price: $14.99 (before shipping)
  • Size: 5 5 oz. bags (including Sea Salt; not pictured)
  • Purchased at: Kettle Brand’s website
  • Nutritional Quirks: Sriracha! Yay! Tortuga yeast. Boo.

Limited Time Only Pringles Cinnamon & Sugar and White Chocolate Peppermint

In my last post about Pumpkin Pie Spice Pringles, I mentioned that Pringles went insane three times this holiday season, and that I would get to the other two at another time. Well it turns out that time is now!

Reviewing Pringles twice in a row is a bit of a challenge, since I blew my preamble wad on the last review, what with the discussion about feeling like a cheap whore after eating Pringles since they are not actually chips and what have you. A friend of mine suggested some freestyle rapping, at which point I grabbed his face, got Batman Close, and asked him if I looked like the kind of person who would freestyle rap.

After he ran away crying, I looked at the blinking cursor mocking me on my monitor and actually gave it some consideration.

Realizing that it was sad that it had come to rapping about poppin’ and not stoppin’, I decided maybe it would be best to just jump into things. Then I realized Kris Kringle rhymes with Pringle, and hit ctrl+b before I lost my shit completely. Oh my god, I can’t stop rhyming. Please help me.

Limited Time Only Pringles Cinnamon & Sugar

Sometimes I feel like the title of my posts ruins the fun. It’s a necessary evil, but it’s a total spoiler. I just want to get the elephant in the room out of the way and say that Cinnamon & Sugar Pringles are not the most exciting part of this review. Sorry guys, but it’s true.

However, in my family we had a rule on Christmas morning that you had to open your stocking before you could open your presents. So let’s wade through this metaphorical menagerie of oranges, toothbrushes, Hot Wheels and dollar bills before we get to the big-ticket item. It’s only proper.

 

Now, don’t get me wrong – cinnamon sugar flavored potato crisps are still sound weird and unnatural, even if they may seem tame in comparison to the other Pringles in this review. But then I remembered last year’s experience with Mission Sugar Cinnamon Tortilla Chips and realized that maybe I shouldn’t judge a can by its cover.

That said, let’s judge a can by its cover.

Like Pumpkin Pie Spice Pringles, Cinnamon & Sugar gets all meta with their can-on-a-can design. C&S doesn’t get anything as cool as a can-shaped pumpkin, though; instead, they get some little swirlies that don’t have much to do with cinnamon, sugar, or Christmas in general. Pft.

As if to make up for this, the metacan is stuffed to the gills with cinnamon sticks. I’ll admit that it’s probably difficult to represent sugar in any way that wouldn’t make it look like a pile of snow and/or blow (the rhyming, it haunts me), so I guess those little twinkles on top of the sticks are supposed to be sugar. That, or magic.

Trust me, it’s not magic. As I popped the top, I was met with the odor of cinnamon almost as strong as those damn pine cones they put in the front of grocery stores every Christmas that make me sneeze. I was okay with that, though; I took it as a good sign.

And indeed it was. There was a heavy dusting of both cinnamon and sugar on each potato crisp, and both flavors were pleasant and worked well with each other. Because the flavors were so strong, they blocked out most of the flavor of the actual potato crisp, which was a good thing.

Note the word “most”, though. You can’t keep a mediocre potato crisp down, so inevitably I got some Pringles flavor creeping in at the end, ruining the fun cinnamon and sugar party.

Limited Time Only Pringles Cinnamon & Sugar aren’t completely awful, they just aren’t in any way impressive. Furthermore, there’s no real reason for them to exist. Do you want Pringles? Buy some Pringles. Do you want cinnamon and sugar? Buy a coffee cake or some shit. But really, who wants Pringles and cinnamon/sugar? The answer is no one. Well, there’s probably someone out there. But not the type of person I’d want to associate with.

Limited Time Only Pringles White Chocolate Peppermint

We’ve arrived. White Chocolate fucking Peppermint fucking Pringles. Again, there is no reason for these to exist. This is a road that can only lead to bad things.

To add insult to injury, this was my White Whale. Call me Ahab. I went to two different Walmarts and two different Targets just to find these goddamn things. Like I didn’t hate the idea of eating them already, they made me go to two Walmarts. In the spirit of the Christmas season, I mangled a public domain song in their honor:
Pringle bells, oh Pringle bells
Pringle hate in my heart
Oh, how sad it is to walk
With an empty goddamn cart

Yeah, it’s no good. I should have stuck with Kris Pringle.

When I finally found these Pringles, it was a bittersweet victory, for obvious reasons. As I was checking out, the cashier rang up the can, and then looked at it, seemingly puzzled. “Huh, I’ve never seen these before,” he said, which is telling, since he worked there. I take this as proof that I was the first and only person to buy these, because they are stupid.

I should know better than to engage people in conversations when I’m buying review food. Case in point: the Double Down incident.

But I never learn my lesson, and for some reason I felt the need to explain my purchase, so I casually mentioned that I review weird foods on the internet.

Whoops.

The cashier then launched into this thing about how when he likes to try weird foods, a statement that I for some reason found unsettling from the start, he goes to the nearby Vietnamese market, where you can “try things like durian”. He was super into telling me about this place, which really had nothing to do with what I’d said, and which I already knew existed. For some reason he left the can of Pringles on the counter as he bagged the rest of my purchases.

This left me wondering if he’d just become distracted, or if he left them out like some half-drank water bottle somebody picked up while they were shopping. Did he think I would be needing them immediately? That I would have the urge to rip off the top and start munching on them in the parking lot? I have no idea. I just wanted him to stop talking. So I bagged them myself, which for some reason felt even more embarrassing than just buying them.

Also, you can’t fool me, Target cashier. I know what durian is.

The White Chocolate Peppermint Pringles can is deceivingly cute. Awww, it’s a candy cane can, with white chocolate melting out over the top, and a bunch of candy canes inside! The white chocolate also resembles the top of a Christmas stocking, or maybe snow. Or maybe it’s trying to escape, because it knows it doesn’t belong in a can of Pringles.

Even the Pringles man seems to be looking up at the candy canes with an expression that says, “Really? We’re going to do this?”

So yeah, here are these fucking White Chocolate Peppermint Pringles. They look fairly innocent. I am not fooled.

When you pop open the can, there’s a smell akin to ripping open a box with a Barbie doll inside on Christmas morning. Just vague plasticness. There’s really no peppermint or white chocolate smell at all. Is this a good sign or a bad sign?

Oddly, there were little black flecks sprinkled on most of the otherwise white dust-covered Pringles. If Pringles were chips, I’d chock that up to a little bit of burning during the frying process. But Pringles are like plyboard, and I’d never seen these flecks on any other Pringle. Why are they there? Then again, we’re talking about White Chocolate Peppermint Pringles. None of these things should be there.

I had no idea what to expect when I tasted these Pringles. There are times when I hope something will actually taste like what it says it tastes like, and then there are times when I pray that things taste nothing like what they’re supposed to taste like. In the case of White Chocolate Peppermint Pringles, I was hoping for the latter.

Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed.

These Pringles tasted exactly like how they’re supposed to, and my taste buds wanted to go to their special place and pretend this wasn’t happening. They tried desperately to pretend they were experiencing the best spinach artichoke dip in the world, or the most juicy, flavorful steak.

But try as they might, my taste buds could not deny what was happening. There was no happy place. Immediately upon hitting my tongue, there was the unmistakeable and rather strong flavor of white chocolate.

This was soon engulfed by a strong peppermint. But not just any peppermint – it really did taste like candy cane peppermint. In fact, it tasted like someone had shoved a candy cane right in my mouth. Unwillingly. The flavor powder got on my lips, so that even after I’d choked down the chip, it felt like I’d just applied a coating of holiday-themed lip gloss, complete with mild mint burning sensation. My poor lips, even they were not safe.

Should I give points to Pringles for nailing a flavor so unlikely for a potato crisp? No, because they’re gross. They’re gross and disturbing. Do you pop a mint right before you dive into a plate of nachos? Of course not. White chocolate and peppermint have their place in the Christmas flavor spectrum. They even go well together. But Limited Time Only Pringles White Chocolate Peppermint are so very wrong, and I’m sure they were created purely for the Internet hype machine that loves bizarre foods. If you don’t trust me, make a batch of instant potatoes and stir in a white chocolate candy bar and some crushed candy canes. Enjoy, you freak.

Limited Time Only Pringles Cinnamon & Sugar

  • Score: 2 out of 5 piles of blow. I mean snow. I mean sugar.
  • Price: $1.50
  • Size: 6.38 oz. can
  • Purchased at: Walmart
  • Nutritional Quirks: Both cinnamon and sugar are listed as ingredients, which makes the flavor powder on these Pringles more “real” than the crisps themselves.

Limited Time Only Pringles White Chocolate Peppermint

  • Score: 0.5 out of 5 Kris Pringles looking disgusted
  • Price: $1.52
  • Size: 6.38 oz. can
  • Purchased at: Target
  • Nutritional Quirks: Is it the anhydrous milk fat or the sweet cream solids that make these so magical? I can’t decide!

Dinosaur Dracula, So Good and The Impulsive Buy also braved these holiday Pringles.