REVIEW: Ruffles Limited Edition Honey Habanero Potato Chips

What are they?

Ruffles has continued its recent trend of spicy line extensions with limited edition Honey Habanero Ruffles.

How are they?

SPY-CEE. They’re hawt. Which, honestly, is a relief because I don’t support the irresponsible use of the term “habanero.” I realize that coming in hot, pun intended, on a review by jumping straight to the taste is a little out of the ordinary, but it’s definitely the first thing I noticed about these chips. They have the kind of heat that if you breathe in the wrong way while you’re eating them, the spice hits the very back of your throat and lights your whole esophagus on fire. My husband disagrees and thinks they’re not THAT hot. So I guess you should approach these with some caution, but not too much. “Habanero Peppers” are also listed as an ingredient, which I appreciate.

These stand out in a few other ways. First, they are saturated in oil and seasoning powder. The chips look remarkably similar to the graphics on the bag; no false advertising there. They are satisfyingly oily and full of flavor from the onset.

The initial sweet flavor is pretty flat. I wouldn’t say I picked up a ton of honey, even though I did see it on the ingredient line. I think it’s a hard flavor to break through all of the capsaicin, so it’s possible that without as much of the other seasonings, I would’ve picked up more honey. But I mostly just tasted “sweet” and then spicy heat. I thought the balance of sweet and then spicy was great, and these chips definitely left me wanting more, even with a mouth full of numb taste buds.

Anything else you need to know?

As you can see from the bag, there’s a Fast & Furious tie-in. There’s a sweepstakes that gives Ruffles eaters a chance to win movie tickets, Fast & Furious merchandise, or a 2023 Dodge Charger R/T. Also, did you know Vin Diesel’s birth name is Mark?


These Honey Habanero Ruffles are pretty good. The sweetness isn’t quite complex enough to be recognizable as honey, but everything else about these chips is delicious, craveable, and worth picking up if you like spicy snacks.

Purchased Price: $4.79
Size: 8 oz bag
Purchased at: Mariano’s (Kroger)
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (About 13 chips) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Frosted Banana Bread Pop-Tarts

I bet it’s really fun to work on Pop-Tarts. The brand is iconic, the average consumer understands it’s not a “better for you food” (unless influenced by Spencer Sheehan… side eye), and the product mimics any manner of other sweet food types you can think of! Like the ocean of available potato chip varieties, I’ll always be curious to try a new Pop-Tart. This is especially true about its latest — Frosted Banana Bread Pop-Tarts.

I love banana bread. It’s basically cake for breakfast. But more importantly, I think banana bread is a very authentic fit for a Pop-Tart emulation. I decided to try these in the two standard preparation styles — toasted and un-toasted. I am not dedicated to either camp. I think each flavor has a best preparation method, but neither is best for every variety. For example, I think Cherry Pop-Tarts are freaking incredible toasted. A lot of the chocolate versions are better, in my opinion, un-toasted.

Anyway, I decided to try the Frosted Banana Bread Pop-Tart un-toasted first because, well, I had to wait for the other one to toast. I know, rocket science. Its crust is visibly more brown than Pop-Tarts’ core fruit flavors, and I could see many little cinnamon speckles throughout. The crust was subtly sweet with brown sugar/molasses notes and a hint of cinnamon. Pretty tasty and plenty reminiscent of banana bread.

The flavor of the center and insides was complicated. The filling on the inside had a more realistic banana puree taste, while the icing was like artificial banana candy. It wasn’t overpowering, but they were distinct flavors. I don’t love that artificial taste, so I wished they’d released this one as an un-frosted variety. But the filling, while delicious, was just way too mild to carry this breakfast pastry alone. That would have been very boring. What a conundrum!

Around this time, my toaster oven dinged, and I got to try the whole experience again with a toasted Pop-Tart, and WOW that made a WORLD of difference. Once toasted, the crust was far more pronounced, bringing a nice cinnamon-y base layer. But the filling! The filling, when toasted, just exploded with real banana flavor. I peeped the ingredient line and realized there is actual banana powder in these, so maybe that’s what was doing it? I still could have done without the super sweet frosting, but wow. That filling and crust combo (when toasted) was great.

Overall I thought this was a fun Pop-Tart that seemed like a long time coming. The banana candy frosting isn’t for everyone, but if you enjoy that flavor, grab a box of these as fast as you can and definitely put them in the toaster.

Purchased Price: $4.29
Size: 13.5 oz box / 8 pastries
Purchased at: Mariano’s (Kroger)
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 2 pastries) 360 calories, 9 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 360 milligrams of sodium, 71 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 34 grams of sugar (including 34 grams of added sugar), and 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Frosted Lemon Cheerios

As the Northern hemisphere thaws from an icy winter and we drag our allergy-ridden behinds to the grocery store, a fresh ray of hope meets us — Spring Flavored Stuff.

Ah, seasonal flavors, you tasty little tropes. Pumpkin spice might have a choke hold on the fall, but which flavor will prevail to rule the spring? Carrots have tried, but they taste like nothing. For a moment, I thought this would be the Age of Raspberry, but it seemed that was a Valentine’s red flash in the pan. Therefore, I would like to present my case for lemon. The Year of Lemon is upon us. Will this drastically underrated flavor finally prevail? Cheerios is willing to find out with its new Frosted Lemon variety.

The delicate aromas of lemon and sugar are the first to meet my senses. Yep, smells like lemon. I was also pleased to see no signs of yellow color, natural or otherwise. Cheerios kept it au naturel in the appearance department. If you put these next to standard Frosted Cheerios, I don’t think I’d be able to pinpoint which one was which just by looking at them. The lemon scent is delightful and suggests they won’t be too strong.

Digging into a bowl prepared with 2% milk, I’m immediately reminded of Fruit Loops. Only these are a better, more sophisticated version. Think Fruit Loops’ older cousin who sometimes buys them alcohol. The lemon is not at all overwhelming. In fact, I wouldn’t mind if it was a bit stronger. The flavor is citrusy and sweet, reminiscent of a lemon cookie or lemon cake, but not too sweet. I should note that there is no actual lemon in the ingredient line here. It’s just a perfectly chosen and mindfully balanced natural lemon flavor. Hats off to you, Big G. These are great.

I also gave these a whirl as the topping for my fruit and yogurt breakfast. The lemon flavor gets lost easily in this application, so I’d stick to your standard milk and cereal preparation to get the full effect.

Overall, this seasonal variety is well done. The lemon is fresh, bright, and not overpowering. It’s a great way to start or end your day and a fine introduction to The Year of Lemon (please let this catch and become an actual thing).

Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: 14.7 oz box
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup without milk) 140 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar (including 11 grams of added sugar), and 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Little Debbie Fudge Rounds and Birthday Cakes Ice Cream

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and I will keep reviewing it. That seems to be the unspoken agreement between the folks behind Little Debbie at McKee Foods Co., the Michigan ice cream makers of Hudsonville Ice Cream, and me, the enthusiastic consumer.

Fudge Rounds and Birthday Cakes are the latest additions to the successful and vast Little Debbie Ice Cream pint lineup. I found them in a freezer endcap at a local Walmart, directly across the aisle from a Little Debbie snack cake display. Clever choice.

Fudge Rounds Ice Cream

Fudge Rounds variety swirls together two types of chocolate ice cream to mimic the Fudge Rounds’ chocolate cookie and chocolate cream filling. The two ice creams, one darker chocolate and one closer to milk chocolate, had distinct flavors on their own. Over time, though, the flavor did sort of just mellow out into one “chocolate” note.

There were some hearty chocolate cookie-ish chunks in the base, and. they were tasty, but didn’t quite taste the same as the Fudge Rounds cookie. In general, I tend to prefer more inclusion pieces, so I would’ve liked more. They offered a nice disruption to the heavy chocolate flavor and overall made the Fudge Rounds Ice Cream pretty interesting and a decent match to the bakery confection.

Birthday Cakes Ice Cream

I’d read a few early positive reviews of the Birthday Cake Ice Cream already, and I think the classic imitation vanilla and almond extract flavor of an American confetti birthday cake is fantastic, so my expectations were pretty elevated. This iteration is a reliably delicious vanilla ice cream with somehow still crunchy sprinkle bits and the occasional glob of vanilla cake, but I have to say I was a little underwhelmed. Yes, it was delicious, but the Birthday Cake flavor wasn’t there as much as I wanted. I mean, you wouldn’t catch me turning this down at a bowling alley birthday party. I just think that given the track record of absolutely nailing the Little Debbie flavors on the nose, this one could have been closer.

Overall I am happy to report that I was generally delighted by these latest Little Debbie Ice Cream additions. I like how this line started with the undisputed cult favorites and then have been working down the “Oh, but do you remember THIS one?” list. I would ABSOLUTELY LOVE to see a banana marshmallow pie iteration. Please and thank you!

Purchased Price: $2.50 each
Size: One Pint
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Fudge Rounds), 7 out of 10 (Birthday Cake)
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) Fudge Rounds – 210 calories, 10 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 20 grams of sugar (including 16 grams of added sugar), and 4 grams of protein. Birthday Cakes – 230 calories, 10 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 23 grams of sugar (including 18 grams of added sugar), and 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Doritos Sweet & Tangy BBQ

Doritos Sweet & Tangy BBQ Bag

Of all the chip flavors I’ve tried and enjoyed, I don’t believe I’ve ever had barbeque-flavored Doritos. I believe there’s a Bold BBQ flavor available in Canada, but I guess every time I’ve been north, I’ve prioritized All Dressed chips instead. BUT NOW, a new Doritos flavor is available in the US — Doritos Sweet & Tangy BBQ.

Doritos Sweet & Tangy BBQ inside the bag

True to Doritos’ well-established brand identity of delivering bold flavors, these Sweet & Tangy BBQ Doritos looked and smelled like they were full of flavor right out of the bag. There was a strong aroma of vinegar, sweet barbeque, and tons of seasoning powder.

Doritos Sweet & Tangy BBQ dark seasoning

Maybe it’s because this particular seasoning is pretty dark, but these looked very heavily seasoned, which I prefer. But the taste really did surprise me a little bit. First of all, the corn chip flavor stands out MUCH more with this than it does in the traditional Doritos Nacho Cheese flavor. I’m not entirely sure why but I think it’s because the nacho cheese seasoning is much more salty and savory, and this chip is pretty sweet.

The other surprise is the distinct lack of smoke. Maybe I should have assumed this with a name like Sweet & Tangy, but this relies heavily on the BBQ flavor spectrum of tomato, vinegar, and brown sugar. I didn’t find it smoky at all, and it was very much NOT like the standard BBQ potato chip flavors you’d find at the market. There was a crisp acidic tang in the finish and aftertaste.

Overall I found these Doritos to be pretty unique. I think they’ve managed to hit a BBQ flavor in a super specific way with the sweet acid punch while still delivering a crowd-pleaser. I still prefer the OG Nacho Cheese flavor, but this is a compelling addition to the Doritos lineup.

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 9.25 oz bag
Purchased at: Mariano’s
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 11 chips) 150 calories, 7 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.