REVIEW: Lay’s Kettle Cooked Everything Bagel Potato Chips

Lay s Kettle Cooked Everything Bagel Potato Chips

I’m from the tri-state, so I think I’ve been exposed to good bagels in my lifetime. I’ve also been exposed to bad bagels parading themselves as good bagels. I like to think I’m a trustworthy voice when it comes to bagel quality. So, when I heard Lay’s had a new Everything Bagel with Cream Cheese chip, I had to review them.

Everything is arguably the best bagel, but they’re a mess to eat and the seeds get stuck in my teeth, so I appreciate Lay’s attempting to bring these great breakfast flavors together without the hassle.

Everything bagel chips already exist and if these taste anything like them, I’ll be more than satisfied. Also, just to let you know, I like my bagels soft and my bagel chips teeth shattering. When people ask me my favorite form of gambling, I tell them “eating bagel chips.”

Nothing about the bag’s smell screamed “everything bagel.” It just smelled like greasy kettle chips. When I buy a dozen bagels, those tend to be the dominant scent in the bag. There’s none of that here.

Lay s Kettle Cooked Everything Bagel Potato Chips 4

They don’t look that special either. The only seasoning I could see were ACTUAL poppy seeds. Lay’s always puts flavor speckles on chips, why use actual poppy seeds? They’re the worst part of an everything bagel, and usually require floss.

As for the taste, there’s a small hint of cream cheese. Well, there’s a dairy taste at the very least, so they deliver in that department.

Beyond that, I didn’t distinguish the other elements of an everything bagel. There’s a tang at first, but it just tastes like a weak sour cream and onion. I’d let that go if the other flavors worked, but they really don’t.

Lay s Kettle Cooked Everything Bagel Potato Chips 3

Did I taste sesame? Not really. Was there anything “bready” about these chips? Nope. “Bready” chips are probably easier said than done, but we’re talking about bagels here. These don’t taste like bagels. I stared at the bagel on the bag, and still couldn’t convince my brain.

The thing about regular kettle chips is that the main flavor is oil. The grease is overpowering unless the chip is coated in a strong flavor base, which these chips do not have. The other problem, like always, is the fact the texture is inconsistent. Some chips are perfectly crunchy while some seem like they’re five years old.

Unfortunately, these don’t deliver on the bagel promise. They remind me of really weak, stale sour cream and onion chips. There’s no chance these win the Do Us a Flavor contest.

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(Nutrition Facts – about 15 chips – 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 8 oz. bag
Purchased at: ShopRite
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: A strong contest choice. Cream cheese comes through. Onion and garlic are noticeable. Everything bagels are delicious. Wouldn’t necessarily be a bad chip if they weren’t falsely advertised. They taste better dipped in actual cream cheese.
Cons: Greasy kettle flavor. Weak smell. Boring looking chip. Misses on some major flavor elements. Poppy seeds.

REVIEW: Lay’s Wavy Fried Green Tomato Potato Chips

Lay s Wavy Fried Green Tomato Potato Chips

First off, thank you Lay’s for retiring this nonsense about having at least one disgusting Do Us a Flavor finalists. It’s lovely to not have to take the proverbial summer bullet for the greater junk food community, and I couldn’t be happier with this year’s relatively normal finalists.

Everything Bagel? Okay, a bit out of left field, but they do make bagel chips, and they also make bagels out of potatoes. Besides, it sounds better than several of this year’s entries, among them kale salad, unicorn beef, and “hickory smoked horse buttholes.”

What a time to be alive!

I’m surprised it’s taken this long for fried green tomato to get the junk food treatment. It’s every bit as southern as biscuits and gravy or chicken and waffles. It also has that natural fried flavor affinity conducive to munchable snacks. That said, there’s a lot going on with fried green tomatoes, and I’m not talking about the subtexts in the 1991 movie.

Wavy is a solid template for the flavor; not flimsy like regular chips, but not as potato-ey as kettle chips often taste. Instead, Lay’s Wavy chips have a rounded, solid crunch, like you would expect from a fried green tomato.

The flavor starts with a buttermilk tang and slight bitterness, followed by notes of salt, garlic, and onion. This is, I suppose, where this review gets controversial.

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Contrary to its ubiquitous southern connotation, buttermilk is not essential for fried green tomatoes. While I don’t think it detracts from the chip, the powdered buttermilk is heavy, pushing these chips into the Sour Cream and ________ category of snacks.

Good? You bet. Innovative? Not in the least.

Fortunately, there are some nuances. A slight backheat — let’s call it tickling because everyone likes tickling — emerges with each bite, as does a bit of sweetness. The flavors are just enough to let you know you’re not dealing with your father’s sour cream and onion chip. They create a snackable quality that can stand on its own or serve as a perfect instrument for dipping.

The only thing I wished Lay’s could have worked in was an authentic cornmeal taste. Where buttermilk is optional, cornmeal is essential. Without it, you’re losing something intrinsically fried green tomato in your fried green tomato. Because the Lay’s chips hardly have any of it, they’re only good, not great.

I’ll probably vote for Lay’s Wavy Fried Green Tomato for two reasons. One, the chip’s submitter, Gregory Pope, grew up in Georgia, so he might be salty about the Super Bowl. So I want to help him out. Reason two? The flavor is solid and better than half of all the previous Do Us A Flavor finalists.

(Nutrition Facts – about 15 chips – 150 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 0 gram of dietary fiber, 1 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.48
Size: 7 3/4 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Wavy template fits the flavor perfectly. Nuanced flavors and spices mirror fried green tomato breading. Familiar enough taste to not be caught off guard. Lay’s marketing people taking the job back from their 5-year-olds.
Cons: Slightly heavy buttermilk flavor makes the chips taste like sour cream and onion. Very little, if any, cornmeal flavor. Knowing there’s someone alive who wants to eat potato chips that taste like “hickory smoked buttholes.”

REVIEW: Lay’s Crispy Taco Potato Chips

Lay s Crispy Taco Potato Chips

First off, let me address the large potato chip in the room. Or seven potato chips, actually.

Lay’s decided to reveal the ten semi-finalists before announcing the top three and my taste buds were bouncing off the walls of my mouth with the imminent possibilities.

Smoked Gouda and Honey? Interesting, but still sounds yummy. Toasted Ravioli? Now you’re talking, Lay’s! Bring ‘em on! However, this new information soon turned to dread when the ten were whittled down to three.

This is it? The best you could do? Where’s the really off the wall flavor, like Cappuccino? Are you telling me Avocado Toast didn’t make it??? But it’s so trendy right now!!!

I was thoroughly disappointed. But, of course, I had to try the finalists.

Crispy Taco was the one I was the least excited about because it was probably just some of taco seasoning on a chip. Wow, how innovative Lay’s (here is exactly where I would be sending a side-eye emoji if I was texting my BFF). After opened the bag I got a big whiff of, yep, taco seasoning, just as I had suspected. The chips themselves are intensely covered with an red/orange color and a plethora of seasoning.

Lay s Crispy Taco Potato Chips 2

My first few bites were pretty uneventful. I only tasted taco seasoning. However, I was eating these with a friend who mentioned biting into a head of lettuce. I was very perplexed. But then, as I put another few in my mouth and focused, it hit me.

These are the Willy Wonka of potato chips! As in, instead of a three-course meal in one piece of chewing gum, these are potato chips that embody an entire crispy taco with all the toppings. Once you start chewing you get a little bit of the lettuce flavor then it morphs to the creaminess of some sour cream. I swear there were also tiny hints of cheese and tomato. The end of the bite turns into the common taco seasoning but you also get the meaty, ground beef flavor as well. There also seemed to be a bit of a corn taste representing the shell at the very, very end.

Lay s Crispy Taco Potato Chips 3

The more I ate these chips the more I liked them as it seemed like each time I would notice a new component in the flavor profile. The flavor is intense though, so I could only eat so many before it was too much to handle. I was also slightly concerned about succumbing to Violet Beauregarde’s fate and perhaps transforming into the world’s largest crispy taco that would have to be carted off somewhere for processing.

Even though my fingers are still crossed for Avocado Toast, these were fun and tasty. I’m sorry for suspecting they were made with just a simple seasoning packet, Lay’s.

I’ll never doubt you again!

(Nutrition Facts – about 15 chips – 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.48
Size: 7.75 oz. bag
Purchased at: ShopRite
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Willy Wonka’s chewing gum in taco-flavored chip form. Multiple layers of flavor. Not judging a potato chip by its boring flavor name. Eating new chips with friends.
Cons: ay’s pulling back the curtain on some of the Do Us a Flavor Competition while crushing dreams at the same time. Big flavor that is sometimes overpowering. Turning into a giant taco that can’t be simply juiced like a blueberry. RIP Avocado Toast. Not having emojis when you desperately need them.

REVIEW: Nissin Top Ramen Chicken Pringles

Nissin Top Ramen Chicken Pringles

If you want an inexpensive, crunchy snack that tastes like Chicken Top Ramen, you could take the dried block of instant noodles and sprinkle the broth seasoning onto it and enjoy. Or you could buy a can of these Nissin Top Ramen Chicken Pringles.

Nissin Top Ramen and I go way back.

It was the first food I prepared on a stove when I was ten years old, and it was also the first food I ruined on a stove when I was ten years old. It got me through lean times during college. It got me through lean times after college. It got me through lean times last week.

And through all those times it’s been the chicken flavor, because, let’s face it, the traditional beef and shrimp flavors are THE WORST. Okay, they’re not horrible, but I’ve always considered the chicken one to be far superior to the other two.

Even though I’ve eaten over 1,000,000 milligrams of sodium-worth of Chicken Top Ramen, I’ve never gotten sick of it. It’s a cheap comfort food and a decent soup replacement when you’re too sick to go out and get a can of chicken noodle soup. I love it and will never forget its flavor.

So it’s awesome that these Pringles smell and taste EXACTLY like the sodium saturated broth made from a flavor packet and boiling water. For those sophisticated palates who have never crossed paths with chicken flavored instant ramen, it’s like a cheap, herbaceous chicken broth. And I get to experience that flavor without burning my mouth, overcooked noodles, undercooked noodles, or wondering what’s wrong with my life.

Nissin Top Ramen Chicken Pringles 2

As enjoyable as these crisps are, after eating several of them, I felt they were beginning to be a bit too salty. But then I thought, “THAT’S JUST LIKE CHICKEN INSTANT RAMEN!” And that brought smile to my face.

Now if you think about it, we could make these seasoned potato crisps at home. We just need to dump the seasoning powder into a can of Pringles and gently combine the two. And I might just do that because these Pringles are awesome and they’re available for only a limited time.

Sure, there’s a much cheaper way to enjoy Chicken Top Ramen, which is to buy an actual package of the instant ramen that costs a fraction of these Pringles. But if you don’t want to deal with flavor packets, boiling water, bowls, or lots of sodium, these Pringles are the next best thing.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 ounce (about 15 crisps) – 150 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: A lot since I had to buy it on eBay
Size: 5.5 oz. can
Purchased at: Dollar General (by eBay seller)
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Tastes and smells just like Chicken Top Ramen.
Cons: Currently a Dollar General exclusive flavor. Cheaper to buy actual Chicken Top Ramen. Limited time only.

REVIEW: Cheetos Crunchy Flamin’ Hot Chipotle Ranch

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, which I refer to endearingly as OG Hot Cheetos, and I go way back. Almost three decades ago, its street cred and my love for them was established. They were basically the currency of my elementary school days – traded in snack-size Ziploc bags for durables like shakeable Dr. Grip mechanical pencils (very cool back then too).

Of course, my enterprising after-school institution caught on. They sold “individual packs” to us crazed hooligans for 25 cents. Adult me is pretty sure that those one-ounce packs were the kind you buy in a variety pack labeled “not for individual sale.” Point is – the OG trusty, just-enough-heat deliciousness has never failed me.

So when the new Cheetos Crunchy Flamin’ Hot Chipotle Ranch hit shelves, I thought, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” However, I went in with little to no expectations because I wasn’t quite sure what chipotle ranch was supposed to taste like dusted on a “cheese-flavored snack.” To me, it sounded more like a dipping sauce or something over-slathered on a sad sandwich.

There was no shock value when I opened the bag because they looked like the same ol’ same ol’. When examined closely, I saw more flecks of seasoning so it looked slightly redder, but that was about it. What did shock me was the BBQ-esque smell coming from the bag. I rationalized that chipotle was supposed to evoke a smokier connotation, which could be similar to BBQ. I also couldn’t un-smell Fritos Honey BBQ Flavor Twists.

Even as I took my first crunch, the more pronounced corn flavor totally reminded me of said Fritos. The initial corn note evolved into a whisper of ranch – thank goodness, the last thing I wanted was cool ranch-esque flavoring – that was rounded out by a slight smokiness from the chipotle, and ended with heat.

I will say that it wasn’t spicy as the OG. The ranch seems to dampen the heat, but I was okay with that because it didn’t completely kill the burn. The diminished heat actually allowed me to shovel them into my mouth at a quicker pace. There was definitely still an undeniable addictiveness. But it was a mind-trip the entire time like when I ate a deconstructed Caesar salad at some hoity-toity restaurant. It tasted like Caesar salad but the form looked nothing like it. But in this case, I was tasting Fritos Honey BBQ Flavor Twists but seeing Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

Just to make sure, I did a taste-off between the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Chipotle Ranch and Fritos Honey BBQ Flavor Twists. They definitely smelled similar, but said Fritos tasted way more pungently BBQ, sweeter from the honey, and weren’t spicy at all. So there’s definitely a difference.

If you put a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in front of me, I’m going to eat them no matter what flavor. But, if I had a choice, I’d stick to the OG.

(Nutrition Facts – about 21 pieces – 170 calories, 11 grams total fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, less than 1 gram sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 8.5 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Still have an addictive quality. Diminished heat allowed me to shovel Cheetos into my mouth at a quicker pace. Not exactly like Fritos Honey BBQ Flavor Twists. Complex flavor journey – giving R&D props!
Cons: OG Flamin’ Hot Cheetos still taste better. Tasting Fritos but seeing Cheetos. Lots of justification needed for the flavor nuances, like why it’s less spicy, etc.