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.

REVIEW: Limited Time Only Tostitos Cantina Sopapilla Cinnamon & Sugar Tortilla Chips

Limited Time Only Tostitos Sopapilla Cinnamon  Sugar Tortilla Chips

The Limited Time Only Tostitos Cantina Sopapilla Cinnamon & Sugar Tortilla Chips bag suggested I top ice cream with the chips. Since vanilla is THE neutral flavor, I went through the difficult task of finding vanilla ice cream.

Now some of you might’ve read that last line and thought I was being sarcastic because buying vanilla ice cream is super easy, but I was not.

I spent an unusual amount of time in the ice cream aisle deciding what to pick up. I’m pretty sure I looked like a shoplifter to the security guards watching me from the cameras as I walked up and down the aisle, interrogating myself about vanilla ice cream.

Should I get regular vanilla, vanilla bean, French vanilla, or Madagascar vanilla?

Should I get ice cream or gelato?

Or should I be lame and get frozen dairy dessert or frozen yogurt?

If I get the Dreyer’s, do I get Slow-Churned or Grand?

Should I buy a pint, quart, half-gallon, or that huge one gallon pail that I can reuse to make sand castles?

Do I go with the organic Three Twins?

Should I be cheap and get the store brand?

Or should I support local companies?

Do I go non-dairy?

Should I settle for Cool Whip?

But thank goodness I went through the effort and eerie feeling that someone was watching me to pick a vanilla ice cream because the Tostitos Sopapilla Tortilla Chips NEEDS ice cream or something to make them more snackable.

Oh, by the way, I picked up Häagen-Dazs.

Limited Time Only Tostitos Sopapilla Cinnamon  Sugar Tortilla Chips 3

The seasoning is inconsistent from chip to chip. Some have so much of it that they look like they were in a Tatooine sand storm. But most have a dusting that looks as if they were just standing outside on a calm Tatooine evening staring at a double sunset wanting something more in life.

Limited Time Only Tostitos Sopapilla Cinnamon  Sugar Tortilla Chips 2

The heavily seasoned chips taste very similar to the Cheetos Sweetos Cinnamon Sugar Puffs, which I did enjoy. There’s even the slight butteriness those puffs have. As for the chips that have a light dusting, there’s a hint of cinnamon flavor, but it’s not bold enough to make me want to stuff my face with them.

But did the ice cream I painstakingly picked out help make the chips more face stuffable?

Limited Time Only Tostitos Sopapilla Cinnamon  Sugar Tortilla Chips 4

Yes. The combo has a cereal and milk vibe to it, and it’s now the only way I’ll eat them. So thanks for the suggestion, Tostitos Cantina Sopapilla Cinnamon & Sugar Tortilla Chips bag.

Basically, these sweet tortilla chips are like regular tortilla chips in that they taste fine by themselves, but they’re really meant to be paired with something else — salsa for regular tortilla chips and ice cream for these.

Oh, by the way, sopapilla is now my new favorite word to say. Sorry, bumfuzzle. You have been replaced!

(Nutrition Facts – about 14 chips – 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $5.39*
Size: 9 oz. bag
Purchased at: Longs Drugs/CVS
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Reminds me of the Cheetos Sweetos Puffs. Goes great with vanilla ice cream, the combo has a cereal and milk vibe to it. Saying sopapilla.
Cons: Inconsistent amount of seasoning. Most chips don’t have a strong cinnamon flavor. Needs something else to make them more snackable. So many questions when it comes to picking up vanilla ice cream.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.

REVIEW: Ritz Crisp & Thins (Salt & Vinegar and Cream Cheese & Onion)

Ritz Crisp  Thins  Salt  Vinegar and Cream Cheese  Onion

When I first heard that Nabisco’s Ritz Crackers were moving into chips, I was terrified. I have PTSD from Cheez-It’s attempt to move into chips with Grooves. Grooves didn’t do the Cheez-It cracker justice! I have almost the same love for Ritz as I do for Cheez-It; I love those damn buttery Ritz crackers. Point is, I had high expectations for Ritz’s new Crisp & Thins.

So, what are they?

It’s Ritz’s attempt to hop on the “Better For You” train – touting oven-baked, not fried, potato & wheat chips. It launched in the U.K. first and now they’re rolling out globally. There’s a lineup of four flavors on U.S. shelves: Sea Salt, Bacon, Salt & Vinegar, And Cream Cheese & Onion. I picked out Salt & Vinegar (because I like salt & vinegar chips) and Cream Cheese & Onion (because I kept thinking it was sour cream & onion and wanted to see why Ritz had to be all frou frou about it).

Ritz Crisp  Thins Cream Cheese  Onion

I first smelled the Cream Cheese & Onion ones, which didn’t really smell like much. On that basis, I vigorously inhaled the Salt & Vinegar, which was a mistake. The pungent vinegar invaded my olfactory with no mercy. 100 percent user error, not Ritz’s fault.

The chips themselves were very, for the lack of a better word, artsy but the kind of pretentious and annoying artsy. I say this because they couldn’t just choose a damn circle or square like all other crackers. Instead, they chose a puddle shape. But we all know that it probably took their manufacturing team way too long to perfect the mold for these. These puddles also had seemingly random air pockets/bubbles.

Ritz Crisp  Thins Cream Cheese  Onion Orange

In the same vein of pretentious artsy, it looked like they tried very hard to have a baked look – one side of the chip had scorch marks. They really reminded me of naan bread – oblong-ish shape, air pockets, and with the occasional imperfect scorch marks. The Cream Cheese & Onion had a slight orange tinge, while the coloring of the Salt & Vinegar was just normal, pasty cracker color.

Ritz Salt  Vinegar Crisp  Thins Salt  Vinegar

At this point, I concluded that these would probably be nothing like the buttery crackers that I know and love. But, you know what, I was okay with it – I knew I couldn’t hold Ritz back from their healthy chip dreams.

The Cream Cheese & Onion surprisingly tasted more like subtle cheddar & sour cream than sour cream & onion. Trusty ol’ cheddar & sour cream is always salty cheesy goodness, but it’s nothing mind blowing and I’m still eye rolling at the artsy fartsiness. However, I can’t believe I dismissed the air pocket/bubbles because they made the texture. Something about the crunch of the cracker with the extra oomph from the air pockets is amazing. Never judge a book by its cover, y’all!

As for the Salt & Vinegar, same textural amazingness but unlike other salt & vinegar flavored chips, there was a subtle-y sweet aftertaste. After almost an entire bag of them, I concluded that it might just be from the chip itself being wheat and potato that’s helping to balance out the vinegar tang.

After two bags of munching, I really appreciated that my fingers weren’t left with a greasy, powdery residue. There was some, but nothing like the usual chip residue mess.

Valiant “Better For You” attempt, Ritz! It might actually work; I liked the Salt & Vinegar ones so much that I’d consider replacing my usual salt & vinegar kettle chips with them.

(Nutrition Facts – 21 Pieces – 130 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 270 grams of potassium 21 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar and 2 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price:
Size: 7.1 oz. bag
Purchased at: Kroger
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Cream Cheese & Onion)
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Salt & Vinegar)
Pros: Nothing like a Ritz Cracker, but tasty AND “better for you”. Textural amazingness. No greasy, powdery residue.
Cons: Why the artsy fartsy chip shape & names? Cream Cheese & Onion is just semantics for cheddar & sour cream.