Tag Archives: ranch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deano’s Jalapeño Real Sliced Chips Sea Salt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deano’s Jalapeño Real Sliced Chips Cheddar

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deano’s Jalapeño Real Sliced Chips Ranch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jack in the Box Mini Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwich

JitBMiniBuffaloStackAmongst the junk mail that arrived in my mailbox recently was a coupon for buy one order, get one free for Jack in the Box’s Mini Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwiches.  Free, you say?  Buffalo sauce and ranch, you say?  Don’t mind if I do, Jack.

I’m glad I hadn’t seen the commercial for these sandwiches, because if I had, I might have thought differently.  You can view it on YouTube here.  The song alone is supremely annoying, even compared to your average commercial jingle.  I mean, it’s no freecreditreport.com, but I still wanted to strangle the woman singing it.  Lucky for her, I was soon distracted by the image of Jack dancing with cowboy midgets.  Just to reiterate that point, the Jack in the Box ball-head guy was dancing with some midgets dressed up as cowboys.

I’ve been on the Internet long enough to know where this is headed.

Before my brain starts melting out of my ears from thinking about that for too long, let’s move on to the sandwiches. One order contains three sandwiches, because, as the name of the sandwich proclaims, they are miniature.  This is not the first time Jack in the Box has gone tiny-sized – they also have Mini Sirloin Burgers.  Their commercial, my research shows, also contains midget cowboys, but we’re just going to leave that one alone.

I have a beef, pardon the pun, with the recent trend of fast food restaurants miniaturizing their burgers.  You can call them mini burgers, you can call them “Burger Shots” like Burger King does, but let’s face it – they’re Sliders.  Or Slyders, or whatever the hell.  White Castle introduced Slyders over 70 years ago, and for a long time, that was the only small hamburger most people knew about.  I live on the west coast, so I’ve never been to a White Castle, but I know people on the east coast, who say that you go to White Castle a.) because you are drunk and crave bad, greasy food, or b.) because you are hungover and crave bad, greasy food.  From what I have been told, there are usually regrets later on in the day.

It seems like recently, Slyders have become popular amongst the hip crowd.  Much like how it’s now cool to buy a shirt that looks like it’s already seen 100 wash cycles, it is now cool to eat the cheap, greasy burger of the proletariat.  Other fast food chains have noticed this, and probably thought, “Hey!  We can make small burgers, too!  Look at us, hipster college kids, we have Slid- I mean, mini burgers!”  I’m surprised they aren’t rushing out to get licensed to sell beer so that they can make a Pabst Blue Ribbon/mini burger combo meal.  Their stores would be flooded with moppy-headed guys wearing girl jeans.

So I suppose you could sum up my problem with the influx of mini burgers by imagining an old woman shouting at the kids to get off my lawn.  I guess I’m just too old to appreciate national chains pandering to the trends of a younger generation, and I don’t see the point in eating a bunch of smaller burgers when one larger burger would suffice.

But what about the food?  The wha?  Ohhh, the food!  Right.


Well, they don’t exactly look like the fluffy little guys in Jack in the Box’s official picture up at the top there, but that’s pretty much to be expected.  Let’s check out the innards.


I see chicken, red sauce, and white stuff, so that’s promising, right?  The lettuce looks a little sad and sparse, which is confirmed upon taking a bite.  I was hoping the lettuce would produce a nice, crunchy foil to the texture of the chicken and the softness of the bun, but that didn’t really happen.  The chicken is acceptable; it sort of falls in the middle of the spectrum between the disturbing flavor of a chicken nugget and an authentic, breaded chicken breast.

The sauces are what I was hoping would be the real stars of the show.  The buffalo sauce is actually Frank’s RedHot, which calls itself a hot cayenne pepper sauce, but does taste almost exactly like buffalo sauce.  I definitely got a hint of it as I ate the sandwich – I would have preferred a stronger presence, but I’m a saucemonger, and I’m assuming Jack’s testing determined that most people don’t want a wave of buffalo sauce flooding their mouth upon every bite.  The ranch manages to be even more elusive.  For those who know nothing about American bar food, ranch is traditionally served with buffalo wings, as a dip, to foil the heat of the sauce, which is why ranch is such a natural addition to this sandwich.  I can detect a hint of tangy ranch flavor, but it gets a little overwhelmed by the flavors of the buffalo sauce and the chicken.  They probably could have gotten away with omitting the ranch altogether, seeing as how there’s not really enough buffalo sauce to require something to quench the heat, but the occasional tang is a nice little addition.

I could only put down two of the three sandwiches, but I have the small appetite of a dainty, proper lady, so three is probably just the right number for most people.  Overall, I was underwhelmed, but at the same time, hadn’t really expected to be blown away in the first place.  The chicken is decent, the lettuce is sad, and the sauces are subtle, but present.  An average sandwich from a national fast food chain – what more can you expect?  If you’re in a hurry and crave a little buffalo, then give them a try – at least until a regular-sized version comes out, in which case, fuck mini sandwiches.  Also keep in mind that they work out to over a buck a sandwich, and you can get a larger chicken sandwich for less off the value menu.   If you’ve got a little time on your hands, this would be a pretty easy sandwich to assemble at home, and it would probably be a lot more flavorful.

  • Score: 2.5 out of 5 hamburgers for the sandwich; 4 out of 5 Internet horrors for the commercial
  • Price: $3.89
  • Size: 3 mini sandwiches
  • Purchased at: Jack in the Box
  • Nutritional Quirks: Nothing too quirky here; just as unhealthy as you would expect a fast food chicken sandwich to be.