REVIEW: Ruffles Limited Time Only All Dressed Potato Chips

Ruffles Limited Time Only All Dressed Potato Chips

Update: These chips are now a regular flavor in the U.S.

This is the Canadian citizenship test. It’s two questions.

Question 1: Who is the best rapper?

a. Jay-Z
b. Notorious B.I.G.
c. Eminem
d. Drake

Question 2: Please describe, in 500 words or less, the flavor of Ruffles All Dressed.

In short, they are delicious.

I’d heard about Canada’s Ruffles All Dressed years before I got to taste them, little rumblings here and there about how great they were. While I never made it over the border to give them a try, Frito-Lay has finally decided to bring them to the United States (or ‘Murica, if you are an unfunny person) for a limited time.

All Dressed is not just a Ruffles flavor. Other chips also feature this taste and their recipes may differ. But overall, All Dressed usually displays elements of barbecue, salt and vinegar, sour cream and onion, and ketchup. (“Ketchup” flavor is a whole other Canada thing entirely, which I have eaten and is unique but too ketchup-y.)

Ruffles Limited Time Only All Dressed Potato Chips 4

The Ruffles All Dressed bag from Canada features pictures of a halved onion, a white vinegar dispenser and maybe a tomato, but it might actually be a red bell pepper. The Ruffles All Dressed bag from America—stamped with a maple leaf—has a picture of an open bottle of barbecue sauce, some off-color vinegar in a carafe and a spilled jar of paprika. This marketing difference exists because Americans hate vegetables and love spilling condiments. It’s a bit vague what elements are exactly featured in this version of the chip.

Actually, it’s pretty apparent. It’s a bunch of chemicals. But I can say I love those chemicals so much.

The introduction is a tangy hit. It’s not as sharp as a cheese chip, more rounded like a blunt spear of ketchup. Then vinegar-flavored flecks dance on the tongue and send up acidic flares, which eventually dip into a smooth taste not unlike the Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream.

Ruffles Limited Time Only All Dressed Potato Chips 3

The flavors are nuanced with a light touch and many dimensions are present, which makes the chip extremely easy to eat. As my mouth adapted to each taste, new corners appeared and others disappeared. Some chips had the mouth cloud of a barbecue chip, others had the pleasantly harsh spank of a salt and vinegar. Handful after handful, a prevalent aftertaste emerges —- light ketchup, a sweet-savory tomato hug. The flavors interplay well and complement each other like no other potato chip I’ve had. All Dressed is optimized for consumption. I obliged.

The only downside of this chip is what all Ruffles suffer from: The mealy, warm mush that ends every mouthful. Also they aren’t as crispy as I have come to expect from a “good” potato chip. But it’s unclear whether this flavor would reign on a Kettle Brand or a Cape Cod. The oily, ridged, soft body of a Ruffle thrusts the flavors into center stage, unobstructed by mountain ranges of crunch. I ate half a bag in a day and then another half a bag during that same day. So a full bag. If these leave America, so will I. And if this happens during a draft, then All Dressed will still be the number one reason.

I hope this chip is the same as the one I had heard legend about and not some tweaked American version. Because if it is this same fabled mutant flavor, I can agree with my Canadian brothers and sisters and people who have visited and smuggled back cheap pharmaceuticals. I am casting my vote for Ruffles All Dressed for Prime Minister.

(The correct answer to question one is, strangely, “b.” Canada recognize.)

(Nutrition Facts – 1 ounce – 150 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Ruffles Limited Time Only All Dressed Potato Chips
Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 7.75 oz. bag
Purchased at: Ralphs
Rating: 10 out of 10
Pros: Tasty flavors with lots of dimensions. Easy to eat so many.
Cons: That hot, mealy Ruffles mush that sits in your mouth after a few bites.

QUICK REVIEW: Ruffles Ultimate Loaded Bacon & Cheddar Potato Skins Potato Chips

Ruffles Ultimate Loaded Bacon & Cheddar Potato Skins Potato Chips

Purchased Price: $5.39
Size: 7.5 oz. bag
Purchased at: Longs Drugs
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Cheesy. Slight smoky bacon flavor. Sprinkled with bits of green onion. Cheddar & Sour Cream Ruffles. Great replacement if you can’t find this, this, or buy some frozen bacon and cheese potato skins.
Cons: Crunch feels more cracker-like. Regular Ruffles have a better crunch than these. I highly doubt anyone is purchasing this because it has deeper ridges than previous Ruffles Ultimate. Tastes too similar to previous bacon and cheddar potato skin Ruffles varieties. Potato skin flavor has been overused by Ruffles. Has more food dyes than I’d like when it comes to potato chips.

Ruffles Ultimate Loaded Bacon & Cheddar Potato Skins Potato Chips Closeup

Nutrition Facts: 1 oz. – 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, 170 milligrams of sodium, 310 milligrams of potassium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Ruffles MAX Flame Grilled Steak Flavored Potato Chips

Ruffles MAX Flame-Grilled Steak Flavored 1

I’ve no idea how it actually works, but I like to imagine that at every major chip company, the marketing and R&D people have a big meeting every six months or so. They BS a little, remind everyone which varieties have been introduced and retired lately, and then the important work begins: brainstorming for the next six months.

This has to have gotten harder over time, which accounts for the increasingly unconventional chip varieties we’ve seen in recent years. And while I’m sure Ruffles isn’t the first company to release a steak-flavored potato chip, they’re probably the first to instill each chip with the MAX amount of steak flavor possible, right?

It’s not hard to follow the train of logic of whomever came up with the idea of steak-flavored chips. Beef and potatoes have a long, proud tradition of pairing together, and while chips usually slum with hamburger while steak paints the town red with a baked potato, you can’t fault them for aiming higher.

The packaging makes it clear this isn’t some cafeteria mystery meat, showing a really good-looking steak cut into strips. It can’t be a shade over medium-rare, which is interesting; I’m surprised they let it appear so bloody. Nonetheless, it looks damn tasty, and the logo promises not just steak flavor, but flame grilled steak flavor. Seriously, they are going to kick your mouth in the balls. Or the lady balls.

Speaking of which, the back of the bag tells you exactly what demographic they’re targeting.  Hint: it does not suggest which wine cooler to pair with these chips. Seriously, there are words about MEAT! and cavemen and “clubbing something” (direct quote) and it’s all very Freudian. The blurb blatantly suggests pairing the chips with Pepsi Max, which… nice try, Ruffles, but I’m pretty sure they still make Coke Zero, so go screw yourself. I also don’t drink PBR when Sam Adams is available, in case you were wondering.

Still, the irony is not lost on me that Pepsi Max is all about having zero calories, whereas steak-flavored potato chips are most likely to be purchased by those who couldn’t give less of a shit how many calories they’re consuming.  I look forward to someday buying a gallon of ice cream with an ad for Gold’s Gym on the back.

When you open the bag, the first thing you’ll notice is the smell. That is also the second, third, and fourth things you’ll notice, because holy cow is it powerful. Opinions vary — I found it strong and mildly off-putting, whereas my wife swore it to be the grim harbinger of a fetid, moldering grave. Either way, it isn’t good. It actually does smell a bit like grilled steak, but very artificially so, like a robot that looks juuust enough like a human to be creepy.

Ruffles MAX Flame-Grilled Steak Flavored 2

The smell dissipates some over time, but you’ll still notice it, even if you come back after a week’s vacation and reopen the bag. As for the chips themselves, they look like regular Ruffles except a little darker and splotchier. Bizarro Ruffles, if you will.

Taste-wise… boy, it’s hard to describe. They’re unmistakably Ruffles, from the crunch and wildly varying sizes to the ridged texture. They’re as salty as regular Ruffles, though they also have pepper like any good steak, which does enhance the flavor. And darned if they don’t taste a little like steak — within reason, and that’s a key distinction. If you actually thought these were going to taste like someone lopped off a cow’s tuchus and deep fried it, you are going to be disappointed. If you expected a chip with a little smoky flavor, pepper, and something that kind of approximates the juice in a steak despite not having any juice whatsoever, you’re in luck.

Not for nothing, but I anticipate these being a highly divisive product: either you’ll think they’re pretty okay, or you’ll hate them. I fall into the former camp — wouldn’t want to get ’em every week, but as a one-off experiment, I’m glad I tried them. My wife was far less enthusiastic and can’t walk past the pantry without narrowed eyes and involuntary hissing.

If you decide to buy a bag, make sure you have a friend or spouse or roommate to share them with, just in case. And ladies, the back of the package leads me to believe you will need to have a male present to buy a bag, so take that into account. Nothing’s worse than getting busted for illicit purchase of Man Chips.

(Nutrition Facts – 28 grams/~11 chips – 160 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of total fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 320 milligrams of potassium, 15 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, less than 1 gram of sugars, 2 grams of protein.)

Other Ruffles MAX Flame Grilled Steak Flavored Potato Chips reviews:
Junk Food Guy

Item: Ruffles MAX Flame Grilled Steak Flavored Potato Chips
Purchased Price: $4.29
Size: 8.5 oz bag
Purchased at: Wegman’s
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Hard to go wrong pairing potatoes with meat.  Coke Zero.  Same great Ruffles texture and crunch.  Good pepper distribution.  The smell will not actually make you vomit.
Cons: Smell is crazy strong and mildly to extremely unpleasant.  Pepsi Max.  Exclusionary ad copy.  Chips just look kind of dirty.  Taste isn’t really good enough to put up with the smell for long.

REVIEW: Ruffles Cheese Crispy Fries

Ruffles Cheese Crispy Fries

Ah, summer.

A time for ice cream cones, days at the beach, and jealousy for all of us who didn’t take that career path known as “public school educator.”

If you’re anything like me, chances are you’ll be embarking on another rite of the All-American summer again this year. And no, I’m not just talking about attempting to fit a triple-double s’more into your piehole.

It’s the road trip, of course!

Whether to your nearest recreational and beachy abode of choice, or just to your buddy’s cabin at the lake, we’re all entitled to venturing out for a little R&R this time of year. Having graduated from backseat “are we there yet?” queries and being forced to hold in a bladder the size of a nine month pregnant woman (it’s OK, we’ve all been there) because of families’ totalitarian pit stop policies, it’s likely you and I will use the power of discretion by stopping for replenishment on these sojourns.

Junk food is a prerequisite, but logistics are not on your side. Take what the Golden Arches have called “Frydration.” Sure, sustaining your vigilance behind the wheel is all the easier with a container of French fries at your side, but from the moment you pull into the drive-through to that first dip of spud into ketchup, your food clock is ticking.

Too much time in the bag and your steaming, already inconsistent fries turn to soggy mush, while any attempt to postpone your trip for a proper chowdown could leave you fighting rush-hour traffic once you hit the road again. And besides, plain fries can be boring. But throw in finger licking, guilty pleasure toppings like cheese and you’re starting to deal with a seriously gross steering wheel.

Thankfully, Ruffles has come up with a cheesy French fry in potato chip guise, and 7-Elevens across America have been given exclusive license to carry them. 

Granted, Ruffles new Crispy Fries aren’t the first potato chip/fry hybrid on the market, but unlike brands like Snikiddy, Ruffles isn’t giving me any of this “baked” bullshit. Let’s get one thing straight: the only baking I want to do on my summer vacation is on the beach.

Ruffles Cheese Crispy Fries Closeup

As for my road trip munchies, that sacred territory is reserved for fried and chemically engineered flavors that only heavy hitting brands like Ruffles can come up with. And do they ever with these little guys.

The cheese seasoning is applied very liberally to each side of the fries, and aside from an addictive buttermilk and processed cheddar cheese taste, there’s a nice kick of black pepper and garlic powder that conjures up pleasant memories of T.G.I. Friday’s French fries. I was pleasantly surprised by the authentic French fry vibe, right on down to the skin-on ends of a number of the fries.

I like how they have a crunchy nature, although I do find myself missing the fluffy interior that comes with perfectly fried fries. Considering how many fast food places screw that up, though, makes it easier to forgive and forget.

Ruffles Cheese Crispy Fries Innards

As for the insides of Ruffles’ Crispy Fries, they’re interesting; at first I was expecting a hollow interior, but instead the insides are filled with hardened fried potato “stuff.” As you chew the fry, you find that potato “stuff” less like a potato chip and more like, dare I say, reconstituted mashed potatoes. I like it. It works. It shouldn’t, but it does, and it’s surprisingly potato-ey on the backend.

Ruffles Cheese Crispy Fries Back of Bag

I have to admit, these are really good, and it’s not just the hyperbole-laced pep talk from the bag talking (although points for referring to me as “champ”). They’ve got good cheese flavor, a little bit of sweetness, plenty of crunch, and a similar finish to actual fries despite the lack of a fluffy interior.

Ruffles Cheese Crispy Fries Greasy one

I even liked that there were some especially crispy and oily fries, which gave off the whole horrible-for-you but oh-so-tasty vibe you get from fast food. If you’re a fan of anything crunchy and cheesy, these are definitely something worth making a detour for during bathroom break stops when you hit the open road this summer.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bag – 230 calories, 140 calories from fat, 15 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 0 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 430 milligrams of potassium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Other Ruffles Crispy Fries reviews:
Food Junk (Original)

Item: Ruffles Cheese Crispy Fries
Purchased Price: $1.09
Size: 1.4 oz. bag
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Crispy potato chip texture in French fry guise. Good cheese fry flavor. Surprisingly strong potato taste. Tasty black pepper kick. Mashed potato vibe. Not as messy as actual cheese fries. Being called a “champ.” Not having to be subjected to my father’s totalitarian car rules and bathroom stop criteria any longer.
Cons: Lacks the fluffy interior of perfectly fried French fries. Only available in small bags at 7-Eleven for a limited time. Road trip traffic to get to the beach.

REVIEW: Ruffles Ultimate Sweet & Smokin’ BBQ

Ruffles Ultimate Sweet & Smokin' BBQ

I don’t like starting this review with a dictionary definition, like a fourth grader begins his or her science presentation, but here I go.

According to the dictionary, the word “ultimate” means “being the best or most extreme example of its kind,” and I believe that was the definition Frito-Lay wanted associated with their new Ruffles Ultimate Potato Chips, which are thicker and have deeper ridges than regular Ruffles.

I’m no potato chip maker, heck I don’t even own a deep fryer, but I’m pretty sure Frito-Lay could’ve made these Ruffles Ultimate potato chips even more extreme.

Are these ridges really “the ultimate”? I’ve seen deeper ridges in light wavelength diagrams and Zen garden sand. Also, are the thickness of these chips really the thickest Frito-Lay could’ve gone? I don’t think so. They should’ve been so thick and crunchy that chewing on them with your mouth open creates booming sound waves that have ridges as deep as the chips themselves.

Ruffles Ultimate comes in two apostrophed flavors: Kickin’ Jalapeño Ranch and Sweet & Smokin’ BBQ.

Ruffles Ultimate Sweet & Smokin’ BBQ is made using three ingredients: potatoes, vegetable oil, and something called Sweet Smokin’ BBQ seasoning, which consists of about 20 ingredients. Those ingredients includes sugar, brown sugar, chipotle chili pepper, molasses, onion powder, tomato powder, paprika extracts, garlic powder, and honey.

Ruffles Ultimate Sweet & Smokin' BBQ Closeup

Ruffles Ultimate Sweet & Smokin’ BBQ smell like Lay’s barbecue potato chips, and the two chips also kind of taste alike. However, these Ruffles Ultimate chips have a little heat and smokiness to them, thanks to the chipotle. The spiciness isn’t noticeable at first, but your mouth will begin to feel it after the second or third chip. They have less heat than the Doritos Jacked Smoky Chipotle BBQ, so having your Brita pitcher at the ready is unnecessary. The chips are also a little sweet, thanks to the sugar, brown sugar, molasses, and honey, but they’re more spicy than sweet.

Ultimately, the Ruffles Ultimate Sweet & Smokin’ BBQ potato chips are a tasty, crunchy snack, but they don’t rock my snacking socks off. Its flavor is too similar to other barbecue Frito-Lay chips and, while the ridges are bigger, you’re getting an ounce less of chips per bag than the 9-9.5 ounce bags of regular Ruffles at about the same price. So I don’t consider these chips to be the ultimate, instead I think they’re unremarkable.

(Disclosure: I received this bag of Ruffles Ultimate Sweet & Smokin’ BBQ for free from Frito-Lay. I also received a bag of the other flavor, but that was already reviewed by another reviewer, who paid for it. I also received a jar of Ruffles Ultimate Smokehouse Bacon dip for free, but I’m probably not going to review that. I also received a rash from something, but I don’t know from what.)

(Nutrition Facts – 1 ounce – 160 calories, 90 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 330 milligrams of potassium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Other Ruffles Ultimate Sweet & Smokin’ BBQ reviews:
Chip Review

Item: Ruffles Ultimate Sweet & Smokin’ BBQ
Price: FREE
Size: 8 ounces
Purchased at: Received from Frito-Lay
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Tasty. Crunchy. Slight smoky heat from chipotle. Light sweetness. Not called Ruffles Extreme.
Cons: Unremarkable. Tastes too similar to other Frito-Lay chips. Ridges and thickness weren’t as ultimate as they could’ve gone. Chewing with your mouth open. Beginning a review with a dictionary definition.

REVIEW: Ruffles Ultimate Kickin’ Jalapeño Ranch

Ruffles Ultimate Kickin' Jalapeño Ranch

I have a lot of pet peeves and I collect them like weird old Memaws who hoard those cloying Precious Moment figurines. What is with those scary things? They are always displayed on the dusty shelves of the entertainment center or a bannister. And those black empty dewy eyes staring at me (which I know are really portals to Hell)…it gives me the creeps enough to piss me off.

You know what else pisses me off? When I take a chip and dip it into a bowl of creamy French onion and it breaks off. I’m left staring at the other half stuck in a white thick pool like someone in quicksand. And then I take another potato chip hoping to rescue that one and it breaks too. And then I take another one…well, you get the idea.

By the end, there are so many potato shards sticking out of the bowl it looks like an unholy creation of the unhealthiest cereal ever made… and sometimes when no one is looking, inebriated and alone, I’ll take a spoon and eat it. I just need a chip that can withstand the simple act of dipping.

Ruffles Ultimate has provided the solution to that very problem. However, there is a slight catch because these are only for men. For those of you who drink Dr Pepper Ten, you now have something to eat while watching bum fight videos.

Now if a chip specifically made for the male gender sounds very stupid, it is. I’m not really sure what distinguishes these from the asexual kinds except for the vapid “bro-speak” that adorns the bag. The variety I bought is not just Jalapeño Ranch, they are also graced with “kickin'”.

Too cool for the letter “G” and apparently much too cool for women, hermaphrodites and anyone who isn’t man enough to eat these. Besides, sissies, these ain’t just Ruffles…these are Ruffles Ultimate (rolls eyes). I mean these are so manly that Maxim magazine, home of the ubiquitous 100 top hottest whatever lists, threw a party heralding the second coming of Christ in chip form.

If I sound jaded, I am, because it gets worse. Basically, we have potato chips for the Axe fragrance crowd.

Ruffles Ultimate Kickin' Jalapeño Ranch Closeup Ridges

There is a nice earthy musk that greets you when you open the bag. The chips are thicker and “tougher” like kettle chips on steroids. The ridges of the chips are comical as they look exaggerated and the grooves are deep, like miniature fjords. In fact, they appear like the way comic strip artists draw a ridged potato chip. The package even says in fake chalk writing, “Hardercore Ridges for Hardcore Dips.”

Hardercore? Yes, Frito-Lay not only introduced us to potato chips for a man but they gave us a new word as well. I can only wait for the inevitably Hardestcore snack that someone will manufacture to top it. Maybe it will be aimed at jacked up he-men with two penises (one for doing it and the other so he can take a leak while doing it because he is 110 percent man, yo! ONE HUNDRED TEN PERCENT!!).

Frito-Lay must think men are idiots because right on the bag is an arrow pointing to a jar of their hardcore dips like Ruffles Ultimate Smokehouse Bacon. “Oh, is that what they mean by dip??? I thought they meant the handicapped kid I picked on because I’m a real macho man!” (Note: If you do pick on people with handicaps, there is a special place in hell for you.)

There is also a Beef N’ Cheddar Ruffles Ultimate dip, and you know that’s definitely for a man because it’s “N”, not the wussy proper spelling “and.” Maybe I should change my name to “J’ff” because only wimps need that dopey “e.” All this aggro speak makes me want to smash stuff and urinate on something to mark my territory.

I mean, do you expect anything less? They have the gall to call these Ruffles the ULTIMATE version. The only ultimate thing these have accomplished is a huge failure. Sure they can withstand the dip. I’m pretty sure you can dip these in ice cream and they won’t break…but the taste is damn awful. The chips immediately have a grassy cucumber flavor which is revolting. I like a Pimm’s cup or a floral gin and cucumber cocktail every so often, but in a chip? It is disgusting.

Ruffles Ultimate Kickin' Jalapeño Ranch Closeup

Even though the oversized flecks of green are supposed to resemble its hardercore ranch, it has a faint ranch taste. The heat of the jalapeño is even more timid and flaccid. Seriously, people who like hot peppers treat jalapeño like candy. Granted, I am one of those people, but even for the ordinary consumer, the pepper should have way more fire. Disliking this chip is an understatement…I loathe it.

Is there anything positive? A few things come to mind. Now the weak heat lingers like a whining baby and the chip is not greasy which is surprising considering the hardercore thickness of these. Logically, these chips will not break on your average onion/ranch/southwestern chipotle cream blackbean bacon dip unless it is made of cement mix.

I must admit that I am getting damned tired of this new trend of food products aimed at men because it’s just dumb. I haven’t tried the other varieties of this Ultimate Hardercore chip, but I will be avoiding these chips like the way I avoid Diane Keaton movies.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 ounce/about 10 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, 170 milligrams of sodium, 310 milligrams of potassium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 1 gram of sugars, and 2 grams of protein)

Other Ruffles Ultimate Kickin’ Jalapeño Ranch reviews:
The French Ghost
Fatguy Food Blog

Item: Ruffles Ultimate Kickin’ Jalapeño Ranch
Price: $4.29
Size: 8.0 ounce bag
Purchased: Publix
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: It will stand up to dips and not break. It is not greasy. It will complete your image of a studly man’s man who is secretly insecure. Changing my name to J’ff. The idea of what one can do with two dingalings instead of one.
Cons: Grassy flavor. Flaccid heat. Food products made for men, Geeze give it up already. Bro speak. The only thing Ultimate is the failure these chips are. The word memaw…it’s not endearing, it’s sad. And those damned Precious Moment figurines which are really vessels to the Devil himself.