Living in an area where there’s access to good quality, authentic tortilla chips and Mexican products at most of my regular grocery stores, I have a local brand I regularly keep in my house. But you know what? Sometimes you just want Tostitos. They’re the tortilla chips I grew up on, they’re available everywhere, and they’re perfectly salty and delicious.
I have friends who can’t understand why I’d ever go to Taco Bell when there are so many great Mexican restaurants around. My answer is simple: I love them both, and stop being pretentious. Taco Bell isn’t trying to trick me into thinking it’s a Mexican restaurant, and these new Tostitos Mexican Style Three Cheese chips don’t have to do anything to win me over besides taste good. The cheeses present here are Cheddar, Parmesan, and Cotija, and they’re a winning combination.
These gently cheese-powdered little rounds have the appearance of lightly seasoned Cool Ranch Doritos, and they eat like Doritos too. Checking the ingredients, they share a handful of similarities (like buttermilk, tomato powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and cheddar) with some of the classic Doritos flavors, and that’s a solid starting point. Where they differ are the parmesan and cotija. These flavors really come through and take the chip in a different direction. Without being overwhelming, they definitely have the essence of aged cheeses. They’re salty, a little tangy, sharp, and kind of earthy. I applaud Tostitos for going for a “Mexican style” flavor profile that doesn’t end up being just some sort of pepper and artificial lime.
The package proclaims that they’re “GREAT FOR DIPPING,” and while you could dip them, I found their bite-size nature to be on the small side for that, and they have enough flavor on their own that they’re enjoyable to eat without a need for accompaniments. I tried these with a (definitely not authentic to anywhere) cheese sauce, salsa, and guacamole. In the first two cases, I felt like I was doing the chip a disservice. Don’t worry. I made amends by eating another 17 chips plain. The only one that made sense as a pairing was the more mild guacamole. They’re plenty sturdy enough for dipping but covering one in something else takes away from the chip itself. When you snack on them alone, they’re more complex and have a surprising depth.
If Frito-Lay put these Tostitos Mexican Style Three Cheese chips in small bags and included them in its multi-packs, I think it would make a lot of lunch boxes happy. I won’t be surprised if we see more cotija chips from the company in the future because, with these delightful chips, it has proven it can capture that flavor.
Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 11 oz bag
Purchased at: Mariano’s
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (About 20 chips) 150 calories, 8 grams of total fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, less than 1 gram of total sugars, and 2 grams of protein.