REVIEW: Pringles Food Truck Flavors Kickin’ Chicken Taco

Pringles Kickin Chicken Taco

Unless you were living on the planet Uranus and happened to miss the Super Bowl and all of its commercials, you no doubt know that a truck can change the way people feel about a guy. But can a truck also change the way people feel about a chicken taco-flavored crisp which is approximately only 42 percent potato?

Such is the question posed by the latest Pringles innovation, Food Truck Flavors Kickin’ Chicken Taco.

To give you some perspective, I guess I should start out by saying I like, but do not love, Pringles. I’ve always found them a serviceable crisp, but let’s be honest, anything you can buy in a can for under two bucks probably isn’t going to conjure up adjectives like “artisan” and “game-changing.” The plainer flavors tend to have an off and fake potato aftertaste, while inconsistent spice coverage always seems to leave the more inventive seasoned crisps falling short.

Yes, a chicken taco from a food truck sounds great, but could chicken taco be any more ambiguous? I mean, chicken taco encompasses quite a spectrum of possibilities; anything ranging from Taco Bell’s “grilled” chicken in a hard shell with iceberg and cheap cheddar cheese to fried and crispy breast tenderloins doused in a bulgogi-style sauce from an up-and-coming fusion chef. The vagueness of it all is enough to make a guy wonder if it’s just another variation of sour cream and onion with a dash of back heat.

Julius K. Pringle clearly had other ideas in designing these crisps because they more than lived up to the unique mashup of flavors that make food trucks such a hit. The first flavor to hit my tongue is the unmistakable taste of braised and specifically dark meat chicken. Intrepid and worldly snackers have seen chicken-flavored crisps before, but unlike Lay’s somewhat recent rendition of Chicken & Waffles, the deep, unmistakably meaty taste isn’t offensive or fowl, at least not as foul as the egregious poultry-themed pun I seamlessly worked into this review.

Pringles Kickin Chicken Taco 4

After the initial blast of braised chicken, a veritable Williams-Sonoma catalog of spices hits me. At first there’s a strong taste of cumin and coriander, with a peppery, cayenne-like back heat which slowly builds. The heat reaches a crescendo, however, and gives way to a slightly floral and acidic note. I hesitate to proclaim it cilantro (or is it parsley?), but there’s definitely an element of relief from the earthy heat of the spices in the seasoning powder. That seasoning gets good coverage overall, appearing on both sides of the crisps.

Pringles Kickin Chicken Taco 2

They end on a distinctly citrusy and curiously sour note, in this case the unmistakable association of a squirt of fresh lime or lemon juice. Maybe the best part is that overly fake potato flake taste is completely absent.

Needless to say, my taste buds have been blown away. There are multiple influences of street food at play on each crisp, ranging from the aggressive spices and slow roasting of the Middle East’s shawarma, to the classic back heat and citrusy relief of your more traditional shredded chicken tacos from Latin America. If combining those two influences in a fusion-style taco was their goal (and seriously, I can pull up a Google search of dozens of food trucks around the country doing this) then Pringles has nailed the flavor with uncanny accuracy.

In 26 years of Pringles eating, this is, unequivocally, the most complex Pringle I have ever tasted, and probably the most realistic mashup of the fusion-inspired food truck flavors a snack food could ever hope to capture. It’s definitely changed the way I feel about Pringles, but is it for the better?

Truth be told my taste buds are confused, caught off guard by flavors I probably wouldn’t seek out had I known they’d be so authentic. Whether or not you find them satisfyingly addictive or unnervingly too accurate probably will depend on your attraction to the combination of assertive Latin and Middle Eastern spices, but one thing’s for sure. This ain’t a trip through the drive-thru and it will definitely leave you with a new perspective on Pringles.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz./about 15 crisps – 150 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 170 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein..)

Item: Pringles Food Truck Flavors Kickin’ Chicken Taco
Purchased Price: $1.50
Size: 5.96 oz. can
Purchased at: Harris Teeter
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Multilayer seasoning shows evolution in flavors from meaty to earthy to piquant to cooling. Strong poultry taste reminds me of pulled adobo marinated chicken thighs. Uncanny resemblance to Middle Eastern and Latin fusion flavors in taco form. Everything’s better with a truck.
Cons: Not the most craveable flavor. Lacks broad appeal of “simpler” seasoning. Could probably be better as a Pringles Tortilla flavor. Tastes about 0.5 percent potato.

REVIEW: Limited Time Only Cinnamon Sugar Pringles Tortillas

Limited Time Only Cinnamon Sugar Pringles Tortillas

Like a mannequin in New Era Caps or the former major league outfielder Matt Stairs, Julius Pringle might well be called a man of many hats. Between bacon and sriracha, reduced fat and diarrhea-inducing “Fat Free” crisps, he lays claim to a snack food empire with more flavor variations than a Coke Freestyle machine. And while he’s re-released his seasonal Pecan Pie Pringles in time for the holidays, he’s also donned a sombrero just in time to wish you and I a Feliz Navidad.

I speak, of course, of the new Cinnamon Sugar Pringles Tortillas. The flavor coincides with the annual need to turn savory into sweet this time each year, joining fellow new limited edition Pringles flavor, milk chocolate, on grocery store shelves.

Limited Time Only Cinnamon Sugar Pringles Tortillas 5

Also consistent with the season: the shoddy packaging, which, much like the millions of gifts shipped in oversized containers and without proper padding, tends to leaves the Pringles battered and broken. It’s mitigated somewhat by the more sturdy nature of the tortilla base compared to regular Pringles, but it’s still annoying. Although not as annoying as waking up Christmas morning to a cracked HDTV.

If you’ve ever had the Tortilla Pringles before you know the crisps enjoy a mild corn flavor with an enjoyable but none-too-bold toasted flavor. There’s an earthy note of black beans and a moderate crunch and saltiness, but overall, it’s a crisp that’s not going to offend anyone.

To pick back up on the holiday theme, it’s the kind of crisp that talks about the weather at parties, perhaps munching on a sugar cookie in the corner while smiling pleasantly and staying as far away from the eggnog as possible. God forbid it might sing along to a Bing Crosby song, it instead hums an ambiguous classical note in the background.

Limited Time Only Cinnamon Sugar Pringles Tortillas 3

The addition of cinnamon sugar really doesn’t deviate too much from this philosophy. Coating only the “underside” of each crisp, the cinnamon sugar is pretty tame. With no notes of toasted, caramelized sweetness it’s as one-note as cinnamon sugar comes, and feels detached from the corn crisp beneath. It’s kind of a shame, really, because for a brief moment there’s a nice salty-sweet combination that feels natural amongst the tortilla base.

The excitement dissipates quickly though, and like a kid at Christmas who’s just opened up a buttload of wrapped gifts only to find clothes, the anticipation is replaced by a functional reality. In other words? Prepared to have some kind of salsa on hand.

For some reason I thought the Pringles Tortillas Cinnamon Sugar would taste like churros, or at the very least open a new front in the ever chic line of salty-sweet combinations. It manages to hint at the latter, but completely falls short of the former. If nothing else it just provides an adequate and mildly enjoyable corn chip for your holiday get-togethers filled with weather conversations and reduced fat sugar cookies.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz./about 14 crisps – 150 calories, 80 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 110 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 3 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein..)

Item: Limited Time Only Cinnamon Sugar Pringles Tortillas
Purchased Price: $1.50
Size: 6.42 oz. can
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Enjoyable lightly toasted corn flavor with earthy aftertaste. Lickable cinnamon-sugar coating. Functional tortilla chip not the least bit off-putting.
Cons: Cinnamon sugar coating is only surface deep. Not as salty or bold a corn flavor as Fritos. Chips shatter easily. Aftertaste is kind boring. Christmas morning with twelve new turtlenecks.

REVIEW: Limited Time Only Milk Chocolate Pringles

Limited Time Only Milk Chocolate Pringles

It’s that time of year again!

It’s that time when 90 percent of the children who ask for a pony for Christmas don’t get one, the Today Show has segments about the most popular and the most dangerous toys this holiday season, and when Pringles comes out with a new limited edition sweet Pringles flavor.

This year, Julius Pringles is pushing Limited Time Only Milk Chocolate Pringles.

For those of you who have been living a sheltered life for the past few years, this whole sweet Pringles thing started back in 2012 when Pumpkin Pie Spice, White Chocolate Peppermint, and Cinnamon & Sugar Pringles were released.

Last year, White Chocolate and Pecan Pie Pringles popped up on store shelves here in the U.S. and Mint Choc Pringles in the U.K. With Milk Chocolate Pringles now available, I predict we’ll see Sea Salt Caramel Pringles in 2015.

After peeling back the foil top of the Pringles can, I took a whiff. It smells like I was a mile downwind from a Color Run that used only brown Nesquik and the course went around a potato chip factory.

Limited Time Only Milk Chocolate Pringles Closeup

The sweet seasoning, which is brown in color and made with cocoa, makes each crisp look like it was used as a Swiffer cloth. But I don’t believe there’s enough flavoring on each potato crisp, because it doesn’t equate to a noticeable milk chocolate flavor. I had to French kiss several Limited Time Only Milk Chocolate Pringles at one time to get a decent milk chocolate flavor. Actually, I wouldn’t even call it “milk chocolate.” If they called this flavor Hot Cocoa, that would be more believable.

Also, whatever chocolate flavor there is doesn’t last very long. And once it’s gone, all that’s left is the underlying dry potato crisp. You might think, “Hey, if it’s a dry potato crisp, then it must taste like a regular Pringle.” Oh no, my soon to be disappointed friend, the flavor that remains is not like regular Pringles. There’s not much salt to hide the potato crisp’s naked flavor. It’s not gross, but I imagine it’s what a very low sodium Diet Pringles would taste like.

Overall, Milk Chocolate Pringles is my least favorite of all the sweet Pringles flavors I’ve tried. Instead of milk chocolate-flavored Pringles, I wish the Kellogg Company used all the processed food technology they have at their disposal to make milk chocolate-covered Pringles.

Of course, there might be problems, like potato crisps sticking together because of melted chocolate or me reaching 300 percent of my daily saturated fat in one day because I might eat the entire can in a 30 minute session. But I say it’s worth the risk.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz. – 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, 95 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Limited Time Only Milk Chocolate Pringles
Purchased Price: $3.99*
Size: 5.96 oz.
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Tolerable. Learning the mustached one is Julius Pringles. Getting a pony.
Cons: More hot cocoa than milk chocolate. Faint cocoa aroma. Chocolate flavor disappears quickly. Cocoa powder looks like dirt on a Pringle. Not chocolate-covered Pringles.

* I had to buy this off of eBay because it hasn’t show up here on this rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. If you find them in stores, you’ll probably pay $1-$2.

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.

REVIEW: Pringles Tortillas (Truly Original, Nacho Cheese, and Southwestern Ranch)

Pringles Tortillas (Truly Original, Nacho Cheese, and Southwestern Ranch)

I’d like to introduce you to the new Pringles Tortillas.

If you’re a junk food nerd, you’re probably pushing up your glasses with your pointer finger and saying, “TECHNICALLY, Pringles Tortillas aren’t the first tortilla Pringles…DUH!”

Yes, junk food nerd, you are correct. Torengos are the original tortilla Pringles, although they were their own brand and later brought under the Pringles label. They were triangular like most tortilla chips, concave to make them dip friendly, and had a uniform shape so they could be stacked, like Pringles.

Update: It turns out there were Pringles Tortilla Crisps before Torengos. Hat tip to commenter CulinaryZerg.

These new Pringles Tortillas aren’t triangular, but they are shaped like the potato crisps we all know and occasionally use to make it look like we have duck bills. They also come in the same cans some of us get our hands stuck in and are available in three flavors: Truly Original, Nacho Cheese, and Southwestern Ranch.

(Although, if you’re a junk food nerd, you might be saying, “TECHNICALLY, there are four, if you count the Walmart exclusive flavor, Zesty Salsa and they’re not the same cans since Pringles now come in taller cans…DUH!”)

Pringles Tortillas Truly Original

Truly Original Pringles Tortillas truly taste like triangular tortilla chips from a bag, although they’re not as crunchy and perhaps not as thick. If you truly stare at an individual crisp, you’ll see there are randomly scattered small holes. Because of them, you might be wondering if Truly Original Pringles Tortillas can truly handle something like truly chunky salsa. But don’t worry, much like my excessive use of the word “truly” in this paragraph, your concern in unnecessary because I was able to easily glide every crisp through a small bowl of salsa without any breakage.

Pringles Tortillas Truly Original Salsa

I liked Truly Original Pringles Tortillas, but I ate my way through the can slower than the other flavors. If I love a Pringles flavor, this is what happens: I’ll feel shame after realizing I ate half the can in one sitting, but then shake that off and eat more. I didn’t experience that with these plain tortilla crisps, not even when I ate them with salsa. By the way, the tortilla crisps’ shape does well as a salsa scooper.

Pringles Tortillas Nacho Cheese

As for the Nacho Cheese flavor, let me ask you the following question, “Do you love Doritos, but wish your tongue didn’t look like you’ve been licking Sesame Street’s Ernie every time you ate some?” If so, Nacho Cheese Pringles Tortillas might be perfect for you because they taste exactly like Nacho Cheese Doritos, but don’t turn any of your body parts into a different color. They have a flavor intensity that’s higher than a Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco shell, but noticeably lower than Nacho Cheese Doritos. This is due to the fact they’re seasoned on one side only.

Pringles Tortillas Southwestern Ranch

Since the Nacho Cheese Pringles Tortillas taste similar to Nacho Cheese Doritos, I wasn’t surprised to find out the Southwestern Ranch Pringles Tortillas taste like Cool Ranch Doritos. But just like the nacho cheese variety, they were less intense than the Doritos.

Unlike the Truly Original Pringles Tortillas, I found myself feeling shame after eating half the can of the Nacho Cheese Pringles Tortillas in one sitting and half the can of the Southwestern Ranch Pringles Tortillas in another sitting. And in both instances, I shook off the shame and ate more. So, yes, I very much enjoyed both varieties.

However, if I want a crunchy snack that tastes like Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch Doritos, I’m not going to buy these Pringles Tortillas, I’m going to purchase Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch Doritos. I like it when the seasoning accumulates on my fingertips, leaving sort of a savory digestif. Plus, the Doritos are healthier (I know. It’s weird seeing “Doritos” and “healthier” in the same sentence). They have half the saturated fat and lower sodium numbers than Pringles Tortillas.

But if you enjoy the possibility of getting your hand stuck in a Pringles can, demand snack shape uniformity, and want a nacho cheese tortilla snack that doesn’t make your tongue and fingers look like they stroked The Muppet Show’s Scooter, these Pringles Tortillas are for you.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz. – Truly Original – 150 calories, 80 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 160 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Nacho Cheese – 150 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 240 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Southwestern Ranch – 150 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 260 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Pringles Tortillas (Truly Original, Nacho Cheese, and Southwestern Ranch)
Purchased Price: $1.98
Size: 6.07 oz. (Truly Original)
Size: 6.42 oz. (Nacho Cheese & Southwestern Ranch)
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Truly Original)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Nacho Cheese)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Southwestern Ranch)
Pros: Nacho Cheese and Southwestern Ranch taste like Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch Doritos. Truly Original is tough enough to handle chunky salsa. Healthier than Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch Doritos.
Cons: Truly Original is not as addictive as the other two flavor. Nacho Cheese and Southwestern Ranch taste like Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch Doritos. I miss the buildup of seasoning on my fingertips. Licking a Muppet. The shame of eating half a can of Pringles in one sitting.