REVIEW: Lay’s Cappuccino Potato Chips

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Cappuccino Potato Chips

There are two types of people in this world. There are those who play it safe and those who do not.

The former group slows down at yellow lights, blots the grease from their pizza, and runs the ball on third and one in Madden. The latter blows through red lights, pours grease from their buddy’s slice of pizza onto theirs, and calls an Annexation of Puerto Rico on fourth and forever.

But none of these actions match up to the ultimate litmus test in living safe or dangerous: choosing which Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Chips to buy.

Last year, I faced danger with Lay’s Chicken and Waffles Potato Chips. But, despite my awful experience, I wasn’t going to let the hacked together taste of poultry and Eggo stop me from checking out this year’s finalist out of left field. We’ve seen various salty and sweet chips before, but I’ve never seen potato chips that taste like coffee and milk. As for what Chad Scott was thinking when he submitted cappuccino to Lay’s, well, I’ll play it safe and guess he had good intentions.

After strutting through Harris Teeter with a bag in hand and dropped jaws and slow claps of less intrepid snackers around me*, I opened it, which released a mellow, but prominent coffee aroma. It was stronger than coffee ice cream and only a few notches down from a college English class at 7:30 in the morning. It wasn’t unpleasant, but it definitely was unnatural. In fact, when contacted for comment, Mr. Potato Head confirmed it was certainly the most intense out-of-body experience he’s had since Toy Story 3. Like I said, it’s about living dangerously.

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Cappuccino Potato Chips Closeup

I raised a single chip and brought it closer to my nose, taking a moment to harness my senses in that cultured thing coffee people do before they take a sip. Then I remembered I was sitting in my office with a potato chip held up to my nose, and realized how freaking ridiculous I looked. I sampled the seasoning by licking the fried exterior of the spud clean.

Its flavor is maddeningly indescribable. I’m taken aback at first, completely unable to harness dozens of hours of GRE verbal practice tests in assessing what the flavor is.

It’s slightly bitter with an odd sensation from the aftermath of lactic sweetness. It leaves a light roasted coffee flavor hanging on the roof of your mouth. I taste more chips and I’m dumbfounded, searching for a salty-sweet affirmation of what I thought the chips would taste like.

Instead, I’m only left with the idea of sweetness and a memory of cream, as the way too authentic taste of light roasted coffee continues to linger even as the clashing but familiar earthiness from the potato comes around at the end. Several chips down, and I’m utterly confused.

Lay's Do Us a Flavor Finalist Cappuccino Potato Chips 2

This is not exactly living dangerously through snacks. Unencumbered, and perhaps believing that stuffing multiple chips into my mouth at once will harness some undiscovered salty-sweet synergy, I find the taste more palatable. There isn’t a salty-sweet combo going on here, the salty flavor is almost nonexistent, but there is a somewhat cocoa-like effect that isn’t too bad. But it’s hardly bold and it’s not particularly addictive or snackable.

There’s just no other way to say it: Chad Scott, you got your wish. These chips taste just like a cappuccino, or at least insofar as the cappuccino flavor you’d expect from a Jelly Belly Jelly Bean. They’re not throw-out-the-bag horrible, but they’re not something I’d buy again.

The flavor is just out of place on a fried tuber and ends up splitting the difference of two different sensations which match up about as gracefully as a Mormon in a Starbucks (it’s okay, I’m from Utah). Buying them might boost your credibility as a vanguard snacker, but enjoying them probably just means you like the taste of coffee too much.

*Possibly. Or maybe not.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz./about 15 chips – 160 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 330 milligrams of potassium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalist Cappuccino Potato Chips
Purchased Price: $2.00 (on sale)
Size: 9.5 oz bag
Purchased at: Harris Teeter
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Not detestable in an OH THE HUMANITY kind of way. Classic Lay’s crispiness. Decently snackable when eaten in droves.
Cons: Cappuccino flavor is way too authentic for a potato chip. Bitterness. Out of body snacking experiences. Lacks salty-sweet synergy. Does not affirm the desire to live dangerously.

REVIEW: Doritos Roulette (Canada)

Doritos Roulette

This could very easily be the shortest review in the history of this site. Doritos Roulette are Nacho Cheese Doritos, with the occasional very spicy chip mixed into the bunch. The end. Mic drop.

But I guess I should probably justify my existence here and write a bit more than that. Now where’s that mic…

Not much needs to be said about Nacho Cheese Doritos. They’re the original Doritos flavour, and arguably the tastiest. If you’ve somehow never had them and need me to describe the flavour, then I’m going to assume that you stumbled onto this site by accident. Perhaps you were looking for the Impulsive Buoy, the boating website? Because I’m pretty sure if you did a Venn diagram of “people who read junk food blogs” and “people who have tried Nacho Cheese Doritos,” the two circles would be pretty much right on top of each other.

But fine, for the boat enthusiasts among you, I’ll throw you a bone: Nacho Cheese Doritos are cheesy (I know, shocker, right?) — cheddar in particular — with a salty, fake-in-the-best-way possible flavour, and enough else going on to make them irresistibly addictive. They’re a classic for a reason. They’re hard to dislike.

As for Roulette, the bag is predominantly Nacho Cheese Doritos, which are just as tasty as ever. However, about 25 percent, give or take, are a little different than your standard Nacho Cheese chip: they’re spicy. Very spicy.

Now, I’m no slouch when it comes to spice. Typically, mass-market snacks or fast food items labeled as spicy register for me as a vague tickle, the equivalent of a small kitten playfully batting at your hands. I say this not to boast, but to provide context for this statement: these are legitimately spicy. They’re certainly not the hottest thing you’ve ever had, but you’re definitely going to feel (feel feel) the heat.

If most so-called spicy items are the aforementioned kitten, this is a solid slap in the face.

Doritos Roulette Closeup

Aside from the spice, these chips look and taste just like a regular Nacho Cheese Dorito. So you really have no idea what you’re going to get until you pop it in your mouth (must… resist… “that’s what she said” joke).

It’s actually really good! The combination of regular chips and super spicy ones work surprisingly well. I don’t know if I’d want a whole bag of Doritos this spicy, but here, where you get a few regular chips to cool your mouth between the hot ones, it’s actually quite satisfying.

And of course, that’s not to mention the potential hilarity of eating these with a spice wimp and watching them squirm when they get a spicy one.

I was expecting these to be more of a novelty item than anything else, but I actually wound up enjoying them far more than I thought I would. I’m assuming these are a limited-time-only deal, but if they weren’t, I’d definitely add them to my regular Dorito rotation.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 package (80 grams) – 420 calories, 22 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0.2 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 600 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams fibre, 1 gram sugar, 6 grams protein.)

Item: Doritos Roulette (Canada)
Purchased Price: $1.49 CAN
Size: 80 gram bag
Purchased at: International News
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Classic Nacho Cheese flavour. Good balance of spicy and not-spicy chips. Entertainment value of eating them with people who can’t tolerate spice. The ability to make Passenger 57 references while you eat.
Cons: Might be too spicy for some people. Realizing that a lot of people probably won’t get that Passenger 57 reference.

REVIEW: Doritos Jacked Test Flavor 855

Doritos Jacked Test Flavor 855

What’s fun about the Doritos Jacked Test Flavors is trying to figure out what flavors they are. Looking at the ingredients list is the equivalent of shaking a Christmas present to determine what it could be.

What’s on each Doritos Jacked Test Flavor 855 chip reads like result of a McCormick spices factory being dropped on a dairy and a Chinese restaurant. There’s paprika, spices, salt, sour cream, cayenne pepper sauce, onion powder, MSG, sugar, garlic powder, butter, cheddar cheese, buttermilk, and blue cheese.

A number of those ingredients make each chip look dark red, and a bit ominous, as if Lucifer stood above them, rubbed his head really fast with his hands, and let his dandruff fall on them.

The chips have a heat that matches their color. It’s the spiciest of the three Doritos Jacked Test Flavors, but it takes a few chips before the heat builds up to its maximum. Those who have a high tolerance for spiciness will consider these chips to be all show, no whoa. They didn’t make me want to reach for any soothing liquid, but they did make me yearn for tacos.

I guess I can blame the sour cream flavor that instantly hit my mouth when I started eating the chips for my tacos jones. It stood out like clowns on stilts with yellow crushed velvet track suits, oversized sunglasses, rainbow afro wigs, and erections. I liked the tangy sour cream flavor that cut through the heat of the chip, plus I now know what it’s like to make out with a Taco Bell sour cream gun.

Doritos Jacked Test Flavor 855 Closeup

The sour cream was followed by waves of spices — paprika, cayenne, onion powder, and garlic powder. The paprika and cayenne were the most noticeable of the bunch. The sour cream and spices combination caused the chips to taste like a spicy taco supreme…no wait. A spicy burrito supreme. No, um…chili cook-off chili with sour cream on top. No. A Taco Bell Cool Ranch Spicy Chicken Doritos Locos Taco. No, um… As you can see, I’m not sure what flavor they are, but these red chips are my favorite of the three Doritos Jacked Test Flavors because of its spiciness and the bold sour cream flavor.

With that said, they are also the least intriguing of the three. The other Doritos Jacked Test Flavors have ingredients like lime juice solids, orange juice solids, cocoa powder, chocolate liquor, and brown sugar. Test Flavor 855 has components that seem like they’ve flavored many other Doritos products. I guess one could say, except my computer’s spellcheck, they are the normalest of the three.

Whatever Doritos Jacked Test Flavor 855 is, when Frito-Lay announces what flavor it is, it better have a jacked name. Might I suggest Doritos Jacked Devil’s Dandruff.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 ounce – 140 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 240 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Doritos Jacked Test Flavor 855
Purchased Price: $3.79 (on sale)
Size: 10 oz bag
Purchased at: Times Supermarket
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Spices and sour cream is a tasty combination. Nice medium heat that slowly builds up. Makes me yearn for tacos. If Frito-Lay ends up calling it Doritos Jacked Devil’s Dandruff.
Cons: Looks like it’s been coated with Lucifer’s dandruff. I have no idea what flavor it is. Least intriguing Doritos Jacked Test Flavor. Heat heads won’t be impressed with the level. Definitely won’t be called it Doritos Jacked Devil’s Dandruff.

REVIEW: Doritos Jacked Test Flavor 404

Doritos Jacked Test Flavor 404

I’ve always been a huge fan of Doritos’ test flavor gimmicks. From the cheeseburgery reveal of Doritos X-13D to Doritos The Quest, which turned out to be Mountain Dew and was surprisingly good. I’m glad Doritos brought back this stunt, even if it’s for their stubborn sibling, the Jacked line.

I have to say the packaging really piques my excitement. I’m not sure if it’s the silver faux-futuristic bags that echo Fritz Lang’s Metropolis or maybe it is the words “TEST FLAVOR” themselves. Either way, the people that designed this get my high fives.

When they were first announced, it was 2007 all over for me again where losers were wearing blinged out pseudo ripped jeans, had fauxhawks, put on aggro printed t-shirts and topped off their ensemble with Von Dutch caps. And the damned music…Daughtry and Paramore were overplayed (why they were played at all, I am unsure), while all of us geeks swooned over Morgan Webb and discovered the Midnight Juggernauts.

Feverishly, I went to various Walmarts, Targets and Publixes to no avail. After a couple of weeks of looking, I gave up and decided to do something more productive and level up my monk in Diablo III: Reaper of Souls.

One afternoon at lunch, I needed to buy some three ring trading card nine-pocket plastic sheets for my Wacky Packages (another reason why the ladies love me). Ironically, the Target I found them in was the one I’ve avoided because it’s near a huge university and seriously…I don’t have time for that bullshit.

There they were in neatly stacked piles. The last time I gawked stupidly at foil packaging was when a past girlfriend asked me, annoyed, what’s taking me so long to get a rubber. They were all the 404 version and although I was sad that the other two test flavors were not there, I grabbed two packages and gleefully ran out.

Upon ripping open the bag, I buried my nose into it like it was the 80’s, Miami Vice-style, and inhaled. There was a deep and earthy molasses/brown sugar scent that is immediate. It then faded into cumin-like tones with a light fake-citrus smell. I can compare the earthy wafts to a fresh out of the oven baked sweet potato if you squeezed a lemon on it.

Doritos Jacked Test Flavor 404 Closeup

The chips themselves had a burnt orange “spray tan look” that were a few shades darker enough to let you know that it meant fucking business. You could see the seasoning flecks as if your eyes had microscopic vision and the chips felt heavier.

I know it sounds crazy but I like the lighter feel of normal Doritos chips and think the more rigid Jacked chips take away from the crunch experience. However, those powdery flavor dustballs have enough heft that they shake off your hands easily.

Eating one, the smoky tortilla corn chip was the most prevalent flavor at first. Then a rich sweetness with garlicky notes washed my tongue as I chewed. There was an unidentifiable complexity in the chip that almost tasted like five spice powder. Last, a citrusy tart zing that tasted of key limes and kumquats grabbed my taste buds and doggy styled it into submission. There was also a faint tinge of heat, which was nice.

I couldn’t really say what the flavor was except that it definitely had this Asian Thai sweet chili sauce thing going on. Looking at the ingredients, I saw lime juice solids and orange juice solids, which may explain the slight tartness that sort of made my cheeks tickle.

The bold flavors joined in a symphony that demanded you pay some friggin’ attention. These chips were the aces! I was impressed and surprised that Doritos was able to bring a flavor that I had not really tasted yet or could truly compare to another flavor. In fact, my only gripe is that the chips seemed too heavy and stiff (thanks Jacked) but who cares once you get to that flavor.

If Frito-Lay wants to make any one of the three a regular flavor, they will probably pick the safest route and these will go the way G4TV did (damn you Esquire channel). If you can find Doritos Jacked Test Flavor 404, I highly recommend picking these up because I doubt they will be made again.

I have to commend Frito-Lay for really pushing the envelope on its Doritos flavors, even if it’s a limited time thing. Sure I may never get a second round of Doritos Mr. Dragon’s Fire Chips but these 404, if they become a regular offering, will satiate my wants.

(Nutrition Facts – 6 chips – 140 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Doritos Jacked Test Flavor 404
Purchased Price: $4.29
Size: 10 ounce bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: The Asian-like complex flavors that are earthy, tart and sweet. The flavor dust easily shakes off your hand. The Doritos line has brought back the test flavors gimmick. G4’s Attack of the Show!
Cons: The heavy stiff chip is not the best. It’s hard to find these in my area. Blinged out faux ripped jeans. Esquire Network’s Lucky Bastards.

REVIEW: Sriracha Pringles (Walmart Exclusive Flavor)

Sriracha Pringles

I couldn’t tell you the last time I had Pringles. I used to munch on them quite a bit when I was younger, but once Baked Lay’s came out I was extremely loyal to them, and me and the ol’ Prings just drifted apart.

After Lay’s recently changed Baked Lay’s to the abominable Oven Baked Lay’s, my one true chip love was taken away from me. But now I was free, back on the chip market! Sorry Baked Lay’s, but you knew what this was…

When I caught wind of sriracha-flavored Pringles, it was the perfect chip rebound for me. Man do I love that rooster sauce. It’s spicy, but not too spicy, and it has nice tanginess with a hint of garlic. It really is a great sauce.

Before I could take the new chip plunge though, I had to get over a few Pringles-related issues of mine. First off, I don’t understand why they put so much effort into trying to be so rebellious and different by being in a tube instead of a bag. It’s kind of like those people who stop listening to an indie band once it is discovered by the masses. Secondly, their advertising campaign from the old days was full of lies. Once you pop you can’t stop? I can confidently say I popped and then willfully stopped many times in my youth. They’re just chips after all, not meth.

Sriracha was too much to turn down though, and I castaway my feelings and made the drive to Walmart – the only place they are sold – to pick up a can. The bad news about this is the closest Walmart is 30 minutes away. The good news is I found Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole in the five-dollar DVD bin. I didn’t even have to dig. It was right on top! Gotta appreciate the small miracles in life.

Sriracha Pringles 2

After finding the bargain of the year I made my way to the snacks section to grab the Pringles. I found them almost instantly, and this is because the odd dragon on the can really makes them stand out. What’s going on with this thing? It has three antennae or chopsticks or legs, I don’t know what the hell they are, but they protrude from the dragon and each one holds a chili pepper, a bottle of sriracha sauce and a sriracha-flavored Pringle, respectively. I wonder if a real dragon would carry those around? Odd indeed.

It looks like a Pokémon that didn’t make it past the drawing board. Srirachamon, go! I bet an intern at Nintendo drew it up, got laughed at and subsequently fired, and it was stored away until the people at Pringles somehow got their hands on it. Definitely wouldn’t have found a spot on my badass Pokémon roster.

I somehow got over my amazement with Srirachamon and popped open the can. Immediately I noticed there was no distinct smell of sriracha, and I got nervous Pringles had let me down again. This would not be the case at all. The chips do a surprisingly good job of capturing the sriracha essence and it comes pretty close to tasting like the actual sauce. It’s not spot on, but it’s close enough to where if you were blindfolded – by choice, hopefully – and ate one, you’d say, “Hey, that kind of tastes like sriracha.”

It’s not all kittens and rainbows though.

Sriracha Pringles Closeup

The flavor of the chip is solely dependent on how much powder is sprinkled on it. Some have hardly any, and they just taste like plain Pringles, which are just sort of bleah. While the sriracha flavor is good, there’s an almost instant vinegar aftertaste. It’s not terrible, but at the same time I wish the sriracha flavor would linger just a bit more. The other drawback is that if you sit down and eat 20 or 30 in a row like I did, some spiciness will remain upon your lips for a few minutes. Yes, I am being a bit of a nitpicking pansy with that last one, but damn it, it is an uncomfortable feeling!

If you’re a fellow sriracha fan, these are definitely worth trying. Not the greatest by any means, but not bad either.

Can we get back to the can for a minute? God I hate it! The more chips you eat, the harder it gets to reach down into the can to grab more. I mean, unless you have tiny hobbit hands, you have to tip the can down and wait for them to fall within your reach, and sometimes there are broken chips and crumbs fall out of the can and make a mess. It’s like the can is punishing me for being gluttonous. Yeah, Pringles cans are kind of jerks.

(Nutrition Facts – 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, 280 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, 1 grams of protein, and 6% vitamin C.)

Item: Sriracha Pringles
Purchased Price: $1.50
Size: 5.96 oz.
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Chips did a good job of capturing sriracha flavor. Owls of Ga’Hoole DVD for five bucks. Learning to give second chances.
Cons: Flavor doesn’t linger long enough. Vinegary aftertaste. Srirachamon. Tube frustration. Spice lingers on my sensitive pansy lips.