When I was around nine years old, I stole a pack of stickers from a Hallmark store. I don’t even remember what the stickers were; probably Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or something. I have never told anyone about this before.
Oh, shit, wait – that was the wrong confession! Oh well; I’m pretty sure the statute of limitations has run out on that crime. What I meant to confess is that I’ve been putting off reviewing these Retro Doritos Taco Flavor because I never had the original Doritos Taco Flavor. The best I can do is treat it like any other product I review, offering my opinion on the flavor and leaving it at that. But after I read the comments on The Impulsive Buy’s news announcement, I became even more intimidated. It seems those who actually ate the original Taco Doritos are rather polarized; some say it tastes just like the original, and some are OUTRAGED at the fact that it does not.
Of course, all taste is subjective. Since I can’t give a comparison, I’d like to ask any JFB readers who have eaten both the original and retro Taco Doritos to leave a comment telling me what you think about the two. Also feel free to tell me I got the flavor profile all wrong. You know, whatever.
With that out of the way, let’s take a small exploration into the history of Taco Doritos. Introduced in 1967, it was the second flavor of Doritos to ever hit the streets. The first was Toasted Corn. That’s a pretty prestigious position to be in. Taco went away at some point, not sure when. In the 1990s, there was a flavor called Taco Bell Taco Supreme, which was later just called Taco, and then there was a Zesty Taco flavor in the Collisions line, but then there was also the Late Night line that had Tacos at Midnight, which apparently did not taste-
You know what, I’m basing all of this information off of Wikipedia, which, of course, you can’t cite as a source in your book report, so just read this and try to sort it all out. Long story short: lots of different taco flavors in Doritos throughout the years.
No matter what they taste like, I’m tempted to empty the bag and frame it. Doritos got me on the packaging; as part of the Nostalgia Generation, whenever I see something like this bag, I think back to my childhood, when my worst problems were making sure I didn’t miss Saved by the Bell and nagging my dad to put air in the tires of my Huffy bike. Simpler times, simpler packaging. I love it.
I find the taste of the chips simpler, too. Again, I never had the original (that I can remember), but these Doritos have a nice, clean flavor profile. I’ve never had a taco that didn’t contain some kind of meat before, but these chips have no meat flavor whatsoever, and for that I am grateful. 1967 – simpler times, when people didn’t have to worry about things that weren’t meat tasting like meat.
What it does taste like, however, is Doritos Nacho Cheese with hints of onion, garlic, and maybe a little tomato. That’s it. No crazy extra stuff, no weird aftertaste I can’t quite explain. Just a nice cheese chip with some pleasant complimentary flavors.
Given, that’s not really what a taco tastes like, and it’s not exactly a mind-blowing flavor, but I don’t care. I still like them, and have been shoving them in my mouth for almost this entire review, so that says something. I wasn’t alive in 1967, but maybe this was a mind-blowing flavor back then. Either way, I think it’s a solid chip. And I would hug the retro bag if it didn’t mean crushing all the chips.
Update: Since it took me so long to write this, Doritos has announced in their Snack Chat that Retro Taco Doritos will stay around for good! Now I can hug my bag, because I can just go get another one!
Update the second: As of me putting the finishing touches on this post, there has been TREACHERY! If you read the Snack Chat link in the first update, you will see that I was correct in saying Taco was the second Doritos flavor ever, and that it debuted in 1967. A few days ago, when I started this post, The Wikipedia link I posted reflected this fact. But look what the Wikipedia article says as of 12:37pm MST, 2/28/11: “The first flavor of Doritos was Toasted Corn followed by Nacho Cheese (known for a time as Nacho Cheesier) flavor was released in 1972 while Cool Ranch (known for a time as Cooler Ranch) flavor was released in 1986.”
THIS IS NOT TRUE! DO NOT BELIEVE WIKIPEDIA! BELIEVE SNACK CHAT! Just more proof that on Wikipedia, “any jackass could have written that”. And this is why Wikipedia isn’t allowed as a citation for book reports! Or my website, apparently!
Score: 4 out of 5 sombreros
Size: 12 oz. bag
Purchased at: Fry’s Foods
Nutritional Quirks: Despite being taco flavored, Doritos Taco does not taste like meat. GOOD.
Doritos has decided to team up with Electronic Arts and their colossus series of Madden NFL video games to produce two new “Madden NFL-inspired” flavors: Stadium Nacho and Tailgate BBQ. I’m finding the whole collaboration surprisingly difficult to describe. On the official website, they’re calling it “Change the Game”. I’m not sure what game I’m supposed to be changing. Football? Madden NFL 11, which is the newest game in the series and which seems to be the focus of the whole promotion? Hold on, let me just quote part of the website:
“…for a limited time, redeem exclusive on-bag codes for Madden Ultimate Team rewards from Madden NFL 11.”
Okay, so what the fuck is Madden Ultimate Team? Here’s the website again to help me understand:
“Madden Ultimate Team combines the best aspects of Madden NFL 11 gameplay, card collecting and fantasy football.
Earn, purchase and participate in user auctions to collect player cards, manage your fantasy roster and compete in online matches with your friends.”
I am now more confused than ever. Is it because I’ve never played a Madden game? There’s a card game? You can auction your cards? There’s a Madden-exclusive fantasy football league, or do they just mean fantasy football in general? By online matches do they mean the video game, which I would assume would have online competition functionality to begin with, or do they mean online matches with your cards? Are the cards vital to the fantasy football league? Do you have to collect enough cards, which I’m now assuming have football players on them, to have a full roster before you can engage in any card-playing at all? Is buying Doritos to get the special codes the only way you can get these cards?
To further complicate things, their website takes an intolerable amount of time to load, has an animated intro that tells you nothing, and either has very little information beyond the quotations above or makes it impossible to find any more information.
You know what? Fuck that website, and fuck me for not just reading the back of the fucking bag first.
There. Fine. Enter code. Get cards. But wait, there’s some fine print at the bottom of the bag…
“Collect all 3 ‘Ultimate Team Cards’ for use with EA Sports Madden NFL 11 Video Game with your packaging code…Limit 1 ‘Ultimate Team Card’ per packaging code. Limit 3 (1 of each exclusive ‘Ultimate Team Card’) per email address.”
So there’s only three cards available and you have to buy (or just write down from the bag in the middle of the store) three bags of Doritos to get all three cards but you can only have three per email address. And they have something to do with the video game.
You know what, Doritos? You win. I’ve been able to decipher your opium haze-induced marketing schemes for years now, but you’ve totally lost me with this one. Congratulations, your gimmicks have gotten so fucking complicated, obtuse and downright insane that I am ragequitting trying to figure this one out. I just spent 523 words trying to describe it, and I want to erase them all out of anger and just start the review with this next paragraph.
Doritos has some new fucking chips. The fucking flavors are Stadium Nacho and Tailgater BBQ. They are doing a fucking promotional tie-in with Madden NFL 11. Here is what the fucking chips taste like.
Doritos Stadium Nacho Inspired by EA Sports Madden NFL 11 Tortilla Chips
If you’ve never had literal stadium nachos, because you are a nerd or have common sense or whatever, they’re basically how you would imagine them: generic round tortilla chips with globs of processed cheese sauce. You have to close your eyes and use your imagination to believe there’s any real cheese involved. After laying out your $8 for soggy chips and tasteless chemical goo, you can fight your way through the milling masses of painted faces and foam fingers to the condiment bar, where you can ladle on enough spoonfuls of pickled jalapeño slices to fool yourself into thinking you’ve invested in something with flavor. Of course, by this time, you’re probably on your fourth plastic cup of beer and don’t really give a shit what you’re shoveling into your mouth anyway.
From this perspective, Doritos Madden Stadium Nacho succeeds greatly. I hesitate to say they taste remarkably similar to the classic Nacho Cheese Doritos, since I haven’t actually had a “normal” flavored Dorito in about 15 years, but they do seem to have that flavor, except a little toned down, which is reflected in the toned-down flavor powder colors. There appears to be flecks that would indicate some sort of pepper flavor, but I couldn’t discern anything spicy in the chip, thus ruining my opportunity to rant about Doritos repackaging their cheese/jalapeño flavor over and over again.
So, much like real stadium nachos, Doritos Madden Stadium Nachos are similar to real nacho cheese, but with less nacho cheese flavor. I’m a little conflicted – I mean, they aren’t gross, or bad, they’re just mediocre. If you’re sitting on your couch playing Madden NFL 11 and want to get that real stadium nacho feeling, these would be perfect for you. Like the guy who’s already half-sloshed on overpriced beer, you’re not really paying attention to the taste, anyway. As long as they’re a mild facsimile of the real thing, you’re satisfied.
Doritos Tailgater BBQ Inspired by EA Sports Madden NFL 11 Tortilla Chips
I went into Tailgater BBQ with low expectations. I’ve had bbq chips before. Who hasn’t? I consider Lay’s Barbecue chips to be as iconic as regular Cheetos, or, to tie this review together a little, Doritos Nacho Cheese. I see the appeal – they really do taste a lot like barbecue sauce – but I’m just not into it. Maybe I’ve grown bored of the flavor. Maybe I’m just not into that hint of sweetness. Either way, barbeque is barbeqboring. Wow that was horrible.
I figured I’d just be a little disappointed and also mention that bbq flavoring doesn’t belong on tortilla chips, but this was not the case. Tailgater BBQ goes further than just BBQ, and this is something I have said before, and will continue to say:
DORITOS: STOP MAKING MEAT-FLAVORED CHIPS. PLEASE. I BEG OF YOU.
This should be a large lesson for me as a reviewer in not going into foods with expectations. I’ve been around the Doritos block so many times now that I feel like I could write any review about their chips without opening the bag. Stadium Nacho taught me I was wrong with their lack of jalapeño flavor, and I should have taken that as a warning. Tailgater BBQ really brought the message home. Oh yes, there’s a definite barbeque flavor, although a little more subtle than a chip like Lay’s Barbecue, but there’s also a distinct meat flavor. Particularly, pork. Doritos Madden NFL 11 Tailgater BBQ tastes like barbeque ribs.
I have to say, kudos to Doritos for teaching me a lesson on expectations and also managing to create a tortilla chip that tastes like bbq pork ribs. I have no idea how much effort goes into achieving such a feat, but in my mind it seems like it would take a lot. Hundreds of hours in the flavor lab, trying to nail that balance between barbecue and meat. Not just any meat – distinctly pork. Kind of amazing, really.
After having a few more chips and thinking this over, I feel kind of bad for yelling at Doritos. I got blasted in the comments for giving Doritos Late Night All-Nighter Cheeseburger such a poor rating, and I’ve thought about it occasionally, because these are the things I think about. And I think they’re right. Doritos nailed the cheeseburger taste, and they shouldn’t be penalized for the fact that I think meat-flavored chips are disturbing. In fact, I think I may be coming around a little to the idea of eating meat chips. It challenges the palate in a way that I should embrace.
Okay, Doritos. You know what? You’ve won me over. I still hate your convoluted Madden NFL 11 promotional game with an inappropriate amount of passion, but your barbecue pork rib chips are a-okay in my book. I may not finish the bag or even eat another chip out of it, but you’ve done an impressive job on flavoring and I can’t deny that any longer.
However, I do have one more thing to yell about, now that I’ve changed my mind:
DORITOS: WHERE THE FUCK ARE MY BACON-FLAVORED CHIPS?!
Doritos Stadium Nacho Inspired by EA Sports Madden NFL 11 Tortilla Chips
Score: 3 out of 5 plastic cups filled with overpriced beer
Size: 11 1/2 oz. bag
Purchased at: Safeway #1717
Nutritional Quirks: Not much quirky going on here. They’s just cheese chips, yo.
Doritos Tailgater BBQ Inspired by EA Sports Madden NFL 11 Tortilla Chips
Score: 4 out of 5 spiritual revelations about meat chips
Price: Free (Buy one get one free sale with Stadium Nacho)
Size: 11 1/2 oz. bag
Purchased at: Safeway #1717
Nutritional Quirks: Contains no actual pork. You clever Doritos flavor lab bastards. Not sure if this is a relief or not.
Note: The Impulsive Buy has also reviewed Doritos Stadium Nacho and Tailgater BBQ Inspired by EA Sports Madden NFL 11 Tortilla Chips, with a much shorter review title. So has Food Junk, and he found the spice mine seem to lack.
I’m inappropriately excited about reviewing these Doritos 1st, 2nd and 3rd Degree chips. You see, I’ve been seeing 1st and 2nd Degree Burns in at least two separate stores. But wherever I looked, I just couldn’t seem to find the 3rd degree. I couldn’t understand – why so elusive? Why would you sell the first two, but not the third? Is it that dangerous? My frustration over my inability to locate the third burn only intensified my curiosity. And I couldn’t just review the first two, that would be…somehow wrong. Incomplete. So I was left to be constantly confronted by two thirds of a trio that I so wanted to take pictures of and write about on the Internet.
But then…then, one fateful Saturday afternoon, I walked into one of the stores that had been taunting me with burns that only required aloe vera and not a trip to the hospital and what did I see…3rd DEGREE BURN, MOTHERFUCKERS! I excitedly grabbed a bag and headed over to where the first two had been taunting me in the store for close to a month now. And yet, they were not there. I traversed the whole store, and couldn’t find them. So…you finally get the third, and then remove the first two? That don’t make no sense.
Luckily, I knew another place that also only carried the first two, so I picked those up and basked in triumph. And thus ends two paragraphs’ worth of a story that is only interesting to me.
Moving on! In case you don’t have a grasp on the simplest of medical concepts, the gimmick here is that there are three different levels of heat. Let’s take them literally, just for fun. The first degree, Blazin’ Jalapeño, will make your tongue mildly uncomfortable. There may also be some swelling. Run some cool water over your tongue for a while and stop being such a pussy.
The second, Fiery Buffalo, will…wait a second. How is buffalo hotter than jalapeño? According to the Scoville scale, jalapeños register in at 2,500 to 8,000 units. “Buffalo” isn’t a pepper, and thus isn’t on the Scoville scale, but I’ve had my fair share of buffalo sauces, and I don’t think any of them were in any way hotter than eating a raw jalapeño. I guess they could have just used a really hot sauce to make them. Well, regardless, after consuming these chips, you will experience severe pain and swelling of the tongue, as well as developing disgusting blisters. Cold water can also help here, but it is advised that you suck on the sap of an aloe vera plant throughout the day. Try not to pop those blisters that are filling up your mouth. That would probably taste pretty gross, and it’s bad for the wound. A sterile gauze bandage may be applied to your mouth to help protect the burn. I guess you should just stuff a bunch of gauze in there and carry around a pen and paper. It would probably hurt too much to talk, anyways.
The third degree, Scorchin’ Habanero, will fuck your shit up. Habanero peppers register on the Scoville scale at 100,000 to 250,000 units. It is advised that you wear protective gloves while handling these chips to prevent skin irritation. After you eat these chips, you should seek immediate medical attention. Do not remove any clothing you may be wearing on your tongue. Elevate the tongue to above the heart le- well I guess that one is taken care of. Call 911 or have someone drive you to the nearest Emergency Room; do not drive yourself, as you may go into shock and cause a car accident, which would only make things worse. Your tongue will require constant medical attention and bandage changes for weeks afterward. A skin graft may be required. They may harvest your new tongue skin from your buttocks.
After hearing all that, you must think I’m a fool for attempting to eat all three burns in one day. Well, maybe I am a fool, but I’m a fool who eats things so that you don’t have to. Some may call me a fool; others, a hero.
What I’m trying to say here, and I think you’ve all pretty much guessed it by now, is that there’s nothing new in Blazin’ Jalapeño. I could go on a giant tirade about Frito-Lay constantly recycles their flavors into new gimmicks, but I don’t even want to get started, because that would then become half the content of this website. I just need to accept it and move on.
I don’t see that actually happening.
For those of you who haven’t tried any of these other iterations, the flavor is pretty straightforward – spicy heat with an undertone of artificial cheese flavoring. I actually like them quite a bit, and they pack a surprising amount of heat. Jalapeño pepper powder is listed as one of the ingredients, and it’s definitely not shy. Anyone who is not a big fan of capsaicin definitely would not like these. They’ve got a good burn, but not so much so that the flavors are overwhelmed.
I don’t really have a lot more to say about 1st Degree Burn Blazin’ Jalapeño, other than that we’re off to a pretty promising start. If this is 1st degree, I’m eager to see how much my tongue hates me as we move on!
2nd Degree Burn Fiery Buffalo
I wondered briefly why 1st Degree got the Blazin’ moniker and Doritos didn’t take alliterative advantage (heh heh) and call these Blazin’ Buffalo. And then I remembered why. I swear I’ve had Blazin’ Buffalo & Ranch Doritos before, and I don’t recall the buffalo chips being hot at all. Just sufficiently buffalo-flavored.
Holy crap! Holy crap these chips are hot! The first chip delivered a blast that immediately hit my sinuses in a way 1st Degree didn’t. It was a feeling akin to what happens when you put too much wasabi on a sushi roll. As I kept eating them, the burn kept building. I ate about a half dozen of them and my whole mouth was on fire. My lips were burning, and continued to do so for minutes afterwards. I actually had to sniffle a few times, as the heat was making my nose run a little.
I have to say, I’m honestly blown away. These are the hottest chips I’ve ever eaten. I didn’t know you could actually make tortilla chips this hot. I’m not getting a lot of buffalo flavor (although the “fiery” part certainly is present), but I could see how these would be really great with a nice, thick ranch dip. I’m sorry, but throwing some Cool Ranch Doritos into the mix won’t help this time – you’re gonna need a pretty serious dairy product to cut through the heat.
The flavor is really kind of hard to describe…”burny” is all that comes to mind. But it’s kind of a good burn. I’ve always poo-pooed those people who like to eat super hot hot sauce. What’s the point of eating something if all you taste is pain? And yet, I really liked 2nd Degree Burn. The little masochist inside of me enjoyed the slow build of torture. I don’t think I would eat them all the time, but honestly, if I had some good ranch dip around, I could really lay into these guys, watching tv with a box of Kleenex nearby so I could blow my nose as snot runs down my face.
I’m impressed! And now terrified of 3rd Degree Burn Scorchin’ Habanero. I’m actually going to have to wait a while before eating them to get some feeling back in my mouth.
3rd Degree Burn Scorchin’ Habanero
Okay so seriously I’m a little scared. Take a look at what I’m up against:
When I was taking pictures, before any actual tasting started, I saw these and thought, oh, these are just going to be like Flamin’ Hot Doritos, because of the coloration. I’ve never had Flamin’ Hot Doritos, but I’ve had the Cheetos, and they are delicious, but not really that hot. The most threatening thing about them is that the violently brightly colored flavor powder stains your fingers, letting the world know that you have recently indulged in some form of Flamin’ Hot junk food.
Now, I am not so sure.
Well, there’s only one thing to do about it, and that is to eat them. Let’s get on with it, then! I feel like I should have some sort of spotter or sitter nearby. Maybe a LifeAlert necklace. C. Everett Coop is looking down at me disapprovingly from the afterlife.
Here we go…
SPOILER ALERT: I’m alive! And I didn’t even have to go to the hospital (yet). I actually feel like 3rd Degree is about as hot as 2nd Degree. Of course, 2nd Degree could have turned my tongue into a charred wasteland, rendering me incapable of noticing heat differences. I got the mouth and lip burn. Less sinus irritation; only one sniffle came out of it. But I did get some eye tearing with 3rd Degree, and I definitely feel it more in the throat area. While I was eating them, I got that choking, burning feeling, like when you accidentally swallow some hot, spicy pho broth the wrong way. Like I need to cough, or gag. Or make that gross “HUUUKKKGGGHHH” sound uncivilized guys make right before they hock a loogie on the ground. Even after having not eaten them for a little while, my esophagus feels a tad scorched. Scorchin’! Well done, Doritos.
I actually got a little more flavor (other than “ouchy”) out of 3rd Degree than 2nd. They taste a lot like Spicy Nacho Doritos. Spicy Nacho Doritos are the wimpy kid in middle school who gets bullied on his way home one day, and the next day his older brother, Scorchin’ Habanero, comes out and absolutely kicks the shit out of those little assholes, sending them running home crying to mama. Apparently my mouth is the gaggle of bullies, in this scenario. My mouth is misunderstood; life at home is hard, and…oh, nevermind. The burning isn’t going away as fast this time and I think it has spread to my brain and I can no longer think straight enough to complete an already poorly constructed analogy.
Doritos 1st, 2nd and 3rd Degree Burns kicked my ass, and I’m happy to say that. I’m so used to fast food gimmicks claiming to be hotter than Hades winding up being about as spicy as your grandmother’s love life that I severely underestimated Doritos. Frito-Lay comes out with a new gimmick approximately once a week, and it’s usually the same flavors we’ve seen before with a shiny new bow and a poorly-executed concept. This time, however, they took a solid concept and really ran with it. Okay, so 1st Degree Blazin’ Jalaepeño was a total rehash, but it still fit perfectly into the progression of Burns and is still a tasty product, even if this is its fourth iteration. Heck, even if 2nd and 3rd Degrees are also rehashes and I just don’t know/remember it, the overall theme is solid, fun, and goddamn painful. Painfully delicious!
Ask me to say that again tomorrow when I’m on the toilet cursing every good thing I ever said in this review while my digestive tract stages a grassroots rebellion against Frito-Lay.
Oh, and as a side note, Doritos Burns has a little cross-promo with Pepsi Max, which claims it will “cure the burn”. I think they would have been better off striking a deal with Hidden Valley.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, my mouth has a date with a wad of gauze.
I have to start out this review by saying that it would not have happened were it not for the courageous efforts of the man who mailed this bag of Doritos Late Night All-Nighter Cheeseburger Chips to me. A friend of mine alerted me to this new flavor of Doritos, saying that his friend had recently consumed them. Soon afterward, said friend emailed me, urging me to review them. I was more than willing to do so; alas, due to my location, which gets no love from the test market homies, I was unable to procure this product.
All hope was not lost, however. This friend-of-a-friend generously offered to mail me a bag, and so I gave my mailing address to a man that I had corresponded with via email exactly twice, relying on my friend’s word that he is a reputable member of society. Don’t tell my mother; she’ll have a heart attack.
A box arrived in my mailbox soon after the email. I have to mention that I am amused to no end at the image of a big city District Attorney, on his lunch break, resplendent in his pressed business suit, possibly with his DA ID tag still hanging off his lapel, going down to his local Post Office and declaring to the employee at the counter that yes, I am mailing a bag of Doritos Late Night All-Nighter Cheeseburger Tortilla Chips. I’m sure it was one of the prouder moments in his life. I thank you, good sir, for debasing yourself on my behalf. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.
Fortunately for me, the box did indeed contain a bag of chips, and not a decomposing severed head, or a bomb, or a decomposing severed head with a bomb in it. That would have been a much more difficult review. Maybe. I haven’t actually tried the chips yet, so we’ll see. We’ll also see if the bag contains actual chips and not just a mass of crumbs, due to its travel cross-country courtesy of the US Postal system.
I’ve commented on the insanity of Doritos’ marketing team before, and I’m sure that they will continue making bizarre products that will cause me to comment on it again. However, in all fairness, I have to say that their Late Night line of chips was the impetus that finally motivated me to stop just talking about making Junk Food Betty and actually get it up and running. You see, this is not the first Late Night offering. Before All-Nighter Cheeseburger, there were two other offerings – Tacos at Midnight and Last Call Jalapeño Popper. You can read a review of the former here and of the latter here. I’d love to be able to link you to my own reviews of both of these chips, but back then, I was doing reviews on my sad little LiveJournal account, and I have too much pride to link you to that. Suffice to say, writing about these two Late Night offerings finally convinced me that the world needed to see the insanity that is the junk food world, and LiveJournal was not the way to make that happen. Thank you, Doritos, for being so insane. You inspired me to make a real website that makes me spend money on ridiculous foods and brings in zero income. Thanks. Really.
Doritos’ press release for All-Nighter Cheeseburger actually sheds a little light on how the Late Night line was born. “We’ve learned that snacking at night is important to our loyal consumers because they’re usually hungry after a night out with friends, and it serves as a key social occasion to relax and unwind with those friends…The trick was to find out what they were eating at night and then turn those foods into delicious Doritos flavors.” This comes from the mouth of Associate Marketing Manager Julia Wells.
A well-worded explanation. However, I think I can translate this comment into what really happened:
“Kids these days,” said some middle-aged white guy sitting in a meeting room full of other middle-aged white guys at 8am on a Monday, “Kids these days, they stay out all hours of the night, drinking their Jaegermeisters and their tequila, whooping and hollering and carrying on. We need to find out what these drunken layabouts eat before they crash out on the bathroom floor at 4am, and we need to turn it into chips, and give it a hip name that will make them say, ‘Hey, these chips have a name that sounds like you should eat them when you’re drunk! And the flavor sounds like things I eat when I’m drunk! I need to buy these chips!’ That is what we need to do to bring in those no-good lushes.”
And so, Tacos at Midnight, Last Call Jalapeño Popper, and now, All-Nighter Cheeseburger were born. I’m on tenterhooks waiting to see what they come up with next. Let’s be honest, here; drunken college-aged kids will eat anything when they stagger home late at night. I’d like to see some more realistic offerings in the future. Here are just a few of my suggestions:
Late Night 24-Hour Diner Greasy Bacon and Eggs
Late Night Lost Pants Cold Can of Refried Beans with a Spoon
Late Night Sleeping Roommate Pizza That’s Been Sitting on the Stove for Three Days (although, to be fair, they already have that flavor in Collisions Pizza Cravers and Ranch)
Late Night Didn’t Score Improperly Microwaved Ramen
Doritos, if I see any of these flavors on grocery shelves in the future, I’m expecting some serious kickbacks from you guys!
The night is calling, people, and you better answer the damn phone before it goes to voicemail, or else the night is going to be super pissed, because it knows you’re home, and it’s tired of you blowing it off to hang out with the daytime. What’s so fun about daytime, anyways? Ohhh, she’s got a sun, and the mall is open. Big fucking deal.
Oh, no, wait, I read that wrong. You’re supposed to satisfy your craving with these chips. Phew, close call. Anyway, I always obey the back of chip bags, so let’s get on with this.
Hooray! Lots of chips, not so many crumbs! I had my doubts when I was handling the bag. Way to pack, big city District Attorney! If that whole prosecuting criminals thing falls through, you have a bright future at The UPS Store.
The flavor powder is pretty consistent with other Doritos; some get an over it, some are underflavored, but the majority have a fairly even coating. The smell when you open the bag is overwhelmingly of ketchup and pasteurized processed cheese product. Which is good coming from the angle of replicating a shitty burger bought at 2am, but not so great when you realize that these are chips. Not a good chip smell. Not good.
I forgot to mention earlier that this is not the first time Doritos has produced a cheeseburger-inspired chip. In 2007, Doritos introduced the “X-13D Experiment”, another crazy-ass marketing gimmick wherein you have an “objective”. The bag was simple and black, and had a little hint on the front that said “Tasting notes: All-American Classic”. Basically, they were implementing the “guess the mystery flavor” trick. On that other website I don’t like to talk about, I described them as tasting like “crappy McDonald’s hamburgers”. Which is exactly what All-Nighter Cheeseburger chips smell like. Will I be reliving that wonderful experience I had in 2007?
Answer: yes. I have to say, they really did nail what a shitty cheeseburger tastes like. As soon as you start chewing, there’s a bouqet of flavors assaulting you. The ketchup hits first, then the crappy cheese, along with an unsettling meaty flavor that makes you seriously wonder what ingredients have been added that would give a tortilla chip the ability to taste “meaty”. That’s just wrong. There’s even an faint onion/pickle finish as you break the chip down. How are they doing this? There’s only one answer: Doritos has finally turned to the dark arts. God help us all.
I gotta hand it to Doritos, black magic or no, they fucking nailed cheeseburger. I don’t know how they did it, but it’s all there. During some of the more destitute times of my life, I relied heavily on the $1 double cheeseburger from McDonald’s Value Menu in order to, well, not die. I am intimately familiar with how that burger tastes, and this chip tastes like that hamburger. I happen to appreciate the taste of McDonald’s shitty double cheeseburger, but I can see how other people would not. There’s just something about that crappy, terrible burger that I really enjoy. Now that I’m moderately less poor, I can afford bigger and better hamburgers for sustenance, but the shitty burger is still an occasional guilty pleasure.
So, you’re thinking to yourself, Junk Food Betty is all thumbs up on the Doritos Late Night All-Nighter Cheeseburger Chips, right?
Answer: no. Here’s the long and short of it: just because you can make something, doesn’t always mean you should. These chips are literally unsettling. It’s like that scene in Alien Resurrection where Ridley comes upon that room with all those fucked-up clones of herself. These chips are an abomination that never should have happened. It’s not about tasting bad; it’s about tasting wrong. Good for you, Doritos, you made a tortilla chip taste just like a cheeseburger. Except now your creation is writhing around on the floor, its deformed and contorted body leaving a trail of bloody mucus behind it as it struggles just to move, dragging its unnatural form pathetically as it cries out in a garbled voice, “kill me”. Doritos Late Night All-Nighter Cheeseburger Tortilla Chips, you’re making everyone very uncomfortable.
Score: 1.5 out of 5 decomposing severed heads with bombs inside
Price: Free! I don’t know whether to thank big city District Attorney again or track him down via the return address on the box and beat him with a sock full of Doritos and batteries.
Size: 11 1/2 oz. bag
Purchased at: My mailbox
Nutritional Quirks: I could read the back of the bag and find out exactly what ingredients make a tortilla chips taste meaty, but I fear for my sanity. Some things are better left unknown.
Note: Foodette Reviews also a review of All-Nighter Cheeseburger Doritos. She favored them much more than I did.
When I first saw the display of these two limited edition Doritos flavors at my local store, I was quite confused. Smokin’ Cheddar BBQ and Black Pepper Jack, both with a mysterious message on the front. What did the two have to do with each other? Why were they back to begin with? Mystified, I picked up the Black Pepper Jack and went about my business.
When I got home, I took a closer look at the bag and its mysterious message.
Okay, Doritos. I will do your bidding and see back panel for details.
If this is their idea of “details”, I’m glad Doritos is in the chip-making business and not writing furniture assembly instructions for Ikea. Mostly blank, with a couple of words urging me to commit myself, and a shadowy dude opening a door at the top. The big black box with the Doritos logo in it looks like I should be able to scratch it off to reveal something, but it’s the same material as the rest of the bag. I said whatever to these chips and tossed them in the cupboard.
It wasn’t until I was at the checkout at the same store the next day that I looked at the chip display from further away. Hmmm…orange bag, black bag, some kind of cardboard creepy something-or-other on the top of the display…
Oh fucking duh. It’s Halloween time!
Disturbed by my own complete lack of cognitive ability, I picked up a smaller bag of the Smokin’ Cheddar BBQ at a convenience store a few days later and tried to piece together this mystery. “They’re back…” is an obviously spooky saying, used prodigiously in horror movies, usually said by a small child to make it as creepy as possible (because small children are inherently creepy). After extensive Internet research of about 30 seconds, I discovered that Black Pepper Jack existed on store shelves sometime between 2004 and 2008, and Smokin’ Cheddar BBQ sometime around 2007. The latter was part of one of those “the public chooses what flavor wins” competitions. I don’t know who won. I did not have a website that caused me to care so much about flavor competitions in 2007. I am sorry.
So what’s with this asylum626.com bullshit? Again using my incredible powers of deduction, I put the name of the website and the phrase “commit yourself” together and figured that Snack Strong Productions had put together some sort of creepy interactive Halloweeny thing involving a mental asylum that had gone craaaazy, so to speak. And I was right!
I won’t go too much into it, but Asylum 626 is apparently a sequel to Hotel 626, and if you’re reading this and click that link at any time that isn’t between 6pm, and 6am, Doritos hates you and won’t let you play the game. Actually, it sounds like a pretty cool concept, and you can read a rather informative review of the game here, which is where I found out what that enigmatic black box on the back of the bag is for – apparently, it’s an “augmented reality marker”. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I do know that you need to have a bag of either Black Pepper Jack or Smokin’ Cheddar BBQ to play the game. Very clever, Doritos, but you haven’t tricked me. I bought BOTH bags.
After putting it all together, having two Halloween-colored bags of flavors that have come “back from the dead” to tie in with your scare-inducing interactive online game during the Halloween season makes a lot more sense now. Dammit. I hate it when Doritos makes sense.
But what of the flavor of these chips? Are they actually tasty, or just a shitty front for a Halloween gimmick? Let’s find out.
Black Pepper Jack – These chips smell pretty similar to Spicy Nacho Cheese Doritos. I couldn’t really detect any black pepper smell – it was more of a spicy pepper smell. Unlike Spicy Nacho Cheese, however, these chips lack the neon orange flavor powder, instead being lighter orange with little black flecks that I’m assuming are the black pepper and little red flecks that I suppose are the peppers in pepper jack cheese.
The cheese flavor is milder in these chips than regular Nacho Cheese Doritos. It has less of the twang of most of the cheese-flavored Doritos. I almost want to describe the cheese flavor as “creamy”, but calling artificially flavored chip powder creamy would be madness. Instead, I’ll call it “crammy”. Crammy cheese flavor. Yes.
There is no real black pepper taste as you’re eating the chip, but after you’ve swallowed, it hits you right in the back of the throat, along with that classic generic Doritos “spicy” flavor. If you’ve ever been the new and inexperienced owner of a pepper grinder, you’ve probably over-peppered something at some point, tasted it, and almost choked on the pepper. That’s what the aftertaste of this chip is like, but less intense and unpleasant. It’s nice that the cheese flavor has a chance to shine through, because I feel that if the pepper flavor was any stronger, it would be too powerful and overwhelm the cheese flavor. Besides, if you’ve ever eaten one of those Bertie Bott’s pepper-flavored jelly beans, you know that black pepper belongs as a seasoning, not a main flavor. And yes, I have eaten one of those jelly beans. I couldn’t tell if I was choking on the taste, or my own shame.
Smokin’ Cheddar BBQ – I stuck my nose in this bag of chips and was overwhelmed by the smell of fake BBQ seasoning, just like the smell you find on Lay’s Barbecue chips, except stronger. There’s a subtle undercurrent of cheesy smell, and even that smells smoky, like the BBQ has infected the cheese, but in a good way.
The coating on these chips is different from the Black Pepper Jack variety – the latter had a fine dusting of powder with speckles, while the former has a thick, sticky coating of what I guess you would call flavor paste. It’s like when you’ve eaten a bunch of chips and all the flavor comes off on your fingers and when you’re done, the oil from your hands has combined with the powder, causing a thick gunk that takes you several licks and sucks to get off. That’s disgusting. You’re disgusting.
The flavor is strikingly similar to the smell – overwhelmingly barbecue with a hint of smoky cheddar. Smokin’ Cheddar BBQ Doritos really deliver on the name this time. Two complaints – first, the hint of cheddar is nice, but I’d like to see it shine through a little more. Second, the BBQ taste is just…so…barbecuey. My palate is being assaulted by liquid smoke, which is not actually on the ingredients list, but I’m convinced they just dumped a whole bottle into the bag.
This is the first tortilla chip I’ve ever encountered that was BBQ-flavored, and maybe there’s a reason for that. Potato chips like Lay’s lend themselves well to the flavor, but there’s something disagreeable about it on a tortilla chip. Maybe Doritos should stick to the more Mexican-inspired flavors. Okay, so three complaints, I guess. (I’m just kidding, Doritos; never stop being insane.)
After I’d solved the mystery of these resurrected (and zombified, I’m assuming) chips, they charmed me before I’d even tasted them. During this time of the year you can’t throw a Jack O’ Lantern without hitting a Halloween-themed candy, but the other junk foods fail miserably at creating spoooky gimmicks for this holiday. For that reason, I have to admire Doritos for having the only porch light on in the curmudgeonly cul-de-sac of savory snacks. Black Pepper Jack Doritos are like a fun-sized Snickers bar, Smokin’ Cheddar BBQ is a box of raisins, but hey, at least you’re trying. I won’t egg your house, but you may be cleaning up toilet paper tomorrow. I promise to only hit the bushes and leave the tree alone.
Black Pepper Jack Doritos
Score: 2.5 out of 5 bottles of Witch’s brew
Size: 11 1/2 oz. bag
Purchased at: Fry’s Foods
Nutritional Quirks: Makes me think of Bertie Bott’s jelly beans
Smokin Cheddar BBQ Doritos
Score: 1.5 out of 5 sad, smashed Jack O’Lanterns
Price: 99 cents
Size: 2 1/8 oz. bag
Purchased at: Circle K
Nutritional Quirks: Liquid smoke not listed in the ingredients, but they’re LYING
Say what you will about Doritos’ crazy flavor ideas, and I do, frequently, but at least they aren’t content to rest on their laurels. For better or worse, Frito-Lay releases a new Doritos flavor every three days, which makes it difficult to keep up. That’s why, when I saw these Doritos Collisions Cheesy Enchilada/Sour Cream tortilla chips, I wasn’t sure if I’d missed the boat or found a new Collisions flavor. The Hot Wings/Blue Cheese and Zesty Taco/Chipotle Ranch versions of Collisions had been a staple in my local grocer’s snack food aisle for years now, and I thought that was the end of the story, but the Doritos team wasn’t done colliding deliciously compatible flavor powders yet! According to Wikipedia, there’s also Pizza Cravers/Ranch, which I vaguely recall seeing somewhere, and Habanero/Guacamole, which I have never seen but hope to, since it sounds wonderful, and, of course, Cheesy Enchilada/Sour Cream, which I hold in my hands today. Oddly, the official Doritos website doesn’t seem to recognize Pizza Cravers/Ranch or Habanero/Guacamole Collisions, which makes me wonder if both Wikipedia and my dubious memory are lying to me.
Snack Strong Productions does recognize Cheesy Enchilada/Sour Cream Collisions, however, and according to them, this flavor combo was launched in 2009, which means that I haven’t missed the boat and that the Collisions series is an ongoing Doritos project. As you can see, the front of the bag says “2 flavors – 1 bag”, which, if you’re anything like me, immediately brings up disturbing thoughts about girls and cups.
Let’s just leave that one alone and move on. As you can deduce from the front of the bag, the two powdered flavors are not combined, but are dusted separately on individual chips and then thrown into one bag together. Of course, as they rub up against each other, the powders will mix. I’m not sure if this is actually the point of Collisions or not. If it is, why bother dusting the individual chips separately? If not, then are you supposed to eat one chip at a time and enjoy the progression of flavors, or pick out one chip of each flavor and cram them both into your mouth at once, like some sort of bleary-eyed stoner sitting on his couch at 2am watching the Magic Bullet infomercial and stuffing everything within arm’s reach into his maw?
The back of the bag declares that I control the ultimate Doritos (DORITOS) flavor combination. It’s comforting to know that I’m in control of my junk food experience. I hate it when Big Chip tells me how to snack. At the bottom, the Doritos team begs me to tell them what Collisions (COLLISIONS) combo I will unleash. Exactly what kind of options do you think I have here, Doritos? I have purchased your bag of Collisions Cheesy Enchilada/Sour Cream Doritos. My options are pretty limited, here. Are you expecting me to buy all of your Collisions flavors and get freaky? Maybe a little Pizza Cravers/Zesty Taco action? How about some Blue Cheese/Guacamole?
Perhaps giving me so much control wasn’t such a good idea after all.
The bag shows the chips as having distinctive physical characteristics, namely that Cheesy Enchilada is violently orange and Sour Cream looks exactly like Cool Ranch. If my “getting intimate in the bag together” theory is correct, I won’t actually be able to tell them apart. Let’s find out.
Well what do you know, there really is a difference between the appearance of the two flavors. Cheesy Enchilada is an unnaturally bright orange with a heavy coating of flavor powder, while Sour Cream is more subtle, letting its tortilla nature shine through a milder coating of white powder dotted with little green speckles. I’ve never had sour cream with green speckles in it before, but, depending on the expiration date on the container, I might not be adverse to it.
The smell coming off the chips is nearly identical to the smell of Nacho Cheese Doritos, which doesn’t bode well for Cheesy’s success in capturing all the different flavors of an enchilada. I decided to try them separately at first, and then employ the stoner method. I tackled Sour Cream first, since its appearance and assumed lack of contribution to the aroma told me it would probably be more muted.
I guess appearances don’t lie, because Sour Cream tastes almost exactly like Cool Ranch. Maybe a bit more mellow, but that initial bit of zip, or tang, or whatever you’d like to call it, from Cool Ranch is exactly what is present here. I really don’t taste any of the essence of what real sour cream tastes like. Which doesn’t mean they’re bad, mind you; I like Cool Ranch Doritos just fine. I just don’t usually put ranch on my enchiladas, is all.
Now, let’s try Cheesy Enchilada. Hey! They’re not exactly like Nacho Cheese Doritos! Color me pleasantly surprised. There’s a definite cheesy flavor present that is reminiscent of the Nachos, but it’s a little less overpowering. Which is great, because that allows the second flavor to come through – a hint of smoky spiciness that stays with you after the chip is gone. The two flavors really play nicely with each other, creating a tasty snack with a bit of complexity.
And now, of course, for the true test: the Collision. To ensure accuracy, I took two similarly-sized chips and shoved them into my mouth together, creating a rain of crumbs on my kitchen counter and the uncomfortable feeling that someone could see me doing this. It is quite the flavor explosion, although I can’t say that the two flavors marry very well. There’s a lot of cheese and ranch, and even a little bit of the smokiness comes through, but at no point did I close my eyes and get transported to a fine Mexican restaurant, where I was eating a delicious cheese-filled tortilla smothered in enchilada sauce with a dollop of sour cream on top. Instead I was a woman, disgraced, standing alone in her kitchen, mangling two chips together so they would both fit into her mouth at once.
As a tag team, Doritos Collisions Cheesy Enchilada/Sour Cream chips don’t really work, which is sad because that is the whole premise of this gimmick. Apart, however, they are both tasty tortilla chips. It’s like being friends with a married couple who should have gotten divorced years ago; together, they are constantly at odds, and you are mildly embarrassed to be seen with them as they quarrel in public. However, separately they are both fun, decent people. Plus, there’s a lot less crumbs involved.
Score: 3 out of 5 hamburgers Collided; 4 out of 5 hamburgers separately
Price: $3.29, $2.88 on sale
Size: 11 3/4 oz. bag
Purchased at: Fry’s Foods
Nutritional Quirks: Not much surprising here, although sour cream is actually listed as an ingredient. Mud on my face, I guess. COOL RANCH-FLAVORED MUD.
Doritos has been going off the rails for years now, from their “X-13D Flavor Experiment” to “The Quest” to their recent “Late Night” line. The Flavor Department (I’d like to think such a thing exists) has been given carte blanche to create whatever gimmick they conjure up in their fevered delusions, and that is why we have things like Doritos Flavor Shots.
I have chosen Atomic Chile Limon, but you can also treat your taste buds to Blazin’ Buffalo Rush. The complicated process, as illustrated on the back of the bag, is as follows:
Open the bag.
Take out the “flavor shot”, which is a little packet that looks just like the packet on the front of the bag, except it comes in a little clear wrapper that makes you think you’re pulling a toy out of a cereal box, except instead of being covered in sugar, it’s covered in nacho cheese flavoring, and instead of being a toy, it’s a packet of atomic flavor.
Open the packet (the clear packet protecting the flavor packet actually opens quite easily, which I found surprising; I expected an epic five-minute battle culminating in a pair of scissors) and sprinkle the impossibly neon orange powder inside into your bag of chips. This is described on the bag as “unleashing flavor”.
Experience the “FULL FLAVOR FORCE!”
The base chips, as proclaimed on the bag, are indeed identical to Doritos’s nacho cheese flavored chips, so if you drop the flavor packet on the floor of your car, at least you’ve got nacho cheese as a backup. I unleashed the flavor and shook the bag for a few seconds to ensure as even a distribution of the powder as possible. I then made the mistake of opening the bag and sticking my nose in it, which was kind of like snorting a line of chili powder. After I could think again, I figured this was a positive sign; at least the chile part of the chile limon was present.
The first chip I picked looked like it had about half the powder from the flavor packet on it, which I had figured would happen, seeing as how I am a human being lazily shaking a bag of chips for a few seconds and not a giant metal cylinder constantly rotating a batch of corn chips while a line of nozzles evenly sprays flavoring on them for what I’m sure is a well-researched period of time. Which started to get me kind of irritated. You know, Doritos, I’m not paying you for atomic chips so that I can then do all the work. I don’t go to a restaurant so that I then have to cook my own food, and I don’t buy a bag of chips so that I have to add my own flavoring. I buy a bag of chips because I’m a lazy fuck who can barely muster up the strength to open the bag itself, let alone struggle with a double-wrapped packet of neon orange powder.
Inappropriate anger over chip gimmicks aside, the first chip’s flavor was actually rather mild. Between the blast of pain my nose received and the thick coating of powder on the chip, I was expecting the FULL FLAVOR FORCE! that was promised to me on the bag. Instead, I got the flavor of a nacho cheese Dorito, with a hint of chile flavor and some spice on the back end. Not very atomic. However, I ate a few more to give them a chance and finally came upon one that delivered. The only hint of limon I detected in the first couple of chips was probably only in my imagination, but this was was fairly bursting with what I can only describe as artificially flavored margarita mix with some chili powder mixed in. The lime-ish flavor recedes, but as you eat more chips, the spice starts to build in your mouth not unpleasantly. I wouldn’t call it fiery hot, but if you’re a giant sissy, you might find yourself fanning your own mouth and reaching for a glass of milk.
Resentment over having to do all the flavor work aside, I probably won’t be buying another bag of Doritos Nacho Cheese Flavor Shots Atomic Chile Limon chips again. I’m just not that fond of chips that taste like a non-alcoholic, spicy margarita. It almost makes me think of lime Lifesavers, which I believe no longer exist, which makes me feel old. Not to mention, I do not believe chips should taste like fruit-flavored candy. The strikes are piling up against you, Doritos.
In conclusion, if you like fruity chips, or you like the idea of violently shaking a bag of chips until it is nothing but crumbs, these Flavor Shots may be for you. If you like the latter but aren’t too crazy about the former, you could always try the other Flavor Shots flavor, Blazin’ Buffalo Rush. I will say this for them, though – out of all the Doritos flavors I’ve tried over the years, I’ve never encountered any that taste like a spicy margarita. Points for uniqueness. Well, maybe not points. Point. Half a point.
Score: 2 out of 5 hamburgers
Size: 2 1/5 oz. bag
Purchased at: Circle K
Nutritional Quirks: The flavor packet adds 25% more sodium to the chips.
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