If you thought that last month’s Double Cheesy Gordita Crunch was one filling S.O.B., the Triple Double Crunchwrap is back to prove you woefully wrong, and this time, it’s got some seriously sassy backup in the form of a seriously spicy chipotle sauce.
I hope you have some of that Baja Blast waiting off to the side, son.
The infamous disc-like shape of the Crunchwrap effortlessly holds the best and brightest of Taco Bell’s menu in an easy-to-transport carrying case, barely containing plenty of cheese, plenty of meat, and plenty of chipotle. It’s a monstrosity, a real two-hander judiciously wrapped in a mostly-bulging tightly-pressed tortilla, ready to carnalistically explode in a flame of intense flavor.
Once again, the patented Taco Bell nacho cheese sauce takes full control here, mixing most hedonistically with the heated chipotle sauce, bringing an unexpected twinge of sweet hurt to the proceedings, a small controlled burn that only a culinary arsonist could ever truly love. Without a doubt, the cheese and the chipotle are the true crossover stars here, mostly thanks to those unsung taco artists back in the kitchen doing an excellent job of laying it on thick and heavy.
The top layer of lettuce and tomatoes are a veritable bed of much-needed greens for vitamins and minerals, but are quickly forgotten when the hidden action that lies in Taco Bell’s always provocative seasoned beef is devoured. Spread across two hard tostada shells and wrapped in the aforementioned pressed tortilla with a good bit of reduced-fat sour cream here and there in the folds, this might be the Bell’s best creation yet.
An exciting improvement to the original Triple Double Crunchwrap — which is back on the menu too — this chipotle variation is not just another random notch on Taco Bell’s belt, but instead, a welcomed, spicier take on some of their best menu items, with only one real minor drawback. This thing is so massive and filling that you’re not going to have room in you for anything else, except for that Baja Blast.
Is it too much of a good thing? Perhaps, but I’ll take it anyway. Sure, they may be going back to the well two (or three) times over, but each new additional ingredient, no matter how small, proves that Taco Bell keeps on knocking it out of the border ballpark with every ingenious turn of the tortilla. Cómpralo ya!
(Nutrition Facts – 770 calories, 38 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 gram of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 1650 milligrams of sodium, 86 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein.)
Purchased Price: $3.49 Size: N/A Rating: 10 out of 10 Pros: Ingenious move. Absolutely huge. Great oral burn. Cons: No need to order other items other than a Baja Blast.
After discontinuing the “really freaking hot” Hot & Spicy variety, Chex Mix is back with a new “scary hot” Ghost Pepper flavor.
How is it?
Chex Mix is my all time favorite snack (they’re all good, except Bold Party), so naturally, I’m a fan.
Ghost Pepper Chex Mix smells and even faintly tastes like Honey BBQ Twist Fritos, which are underrated and delicious. That was a welcome surprise because I had no idea what I was in for.
I’ll be honest. I was expecting torturous heat. I like spicy food, but any time I tell people that they tell me I’m a wimp for liking foods that barely register on the Scoville Scale.
While these aren’t in the ballpark of those Paqui Carolina Reaper chips, they’re still pretty hot. Are they “scary hot” like the bag says? Not really.
Is there anything else I need to know?
These get you with an all-encompassing mouth heat. It’s not just gonna get you in the back of the throat. My lips burned, but at no point was I running for the milk.
They lose a bit of that initial BBQ-like flavor as the heat grows, but they’re still tasty. I also felt a soft burn for a good 15 minutes after eating them.
I only ate about two handfuls before I stopped. I’m not sure that’s even a full serving, so these could very well continue to build to the point they become unbearable if you eat too much.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, you get all the standard Chex Mix favorites represented – Chex, Pretzels (windows and circles), Pumpernickel Bagel Chips and Breadsticks.
If you like spicy food and Chex Mix, these are a no-brainer purchase. Don’t be afraid, as I’m not even positive these are hotter than the Doritos Blaze chips.
I like it, but Ghost Pepper is not a Chex Mix flavor I can polish off like I usually would, so I’ll personally never repurchase them.
They ultimately just made me yearn for a Honey BBQ Chex Mix variety.
Purchased Price: $3.19 Size: 8.75 oz. bag Purchased at: ShopRite Rating: 6 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (1/2 cup) 130 calories, 4 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.
Nestle offers up their break-n-bake cookie dough in a Maple Walnut flavor for all those looking for something else fall-related after they tire of pumpkin-flavored donuts, coffees, snack bars, cereals, muffins, and, of course, after they’ve already indulged in the Nestle Toll House’s Pumpkin Spice Cookie Dough. This seasonal batch of cookie dough is chock-full of walnuts and what Nestle is calling maple flakes.
How is it?
I much prefer maple-flavored things over pumpkin, so I was very excited to try these, and in a nutshell (sorry!!) they didn’t disappoint. As mentioned above there are a good amount of walnuts present here, and the maple flavor is intense. It smacked me in the face when I opened up the package but in no way am I complaining about that.
After baking, the nuts still offer a nice earthy kick even if they’re rendered a little rubbery instead of crisp and crunchy. I didn’t see any so-called flakes, but the maple flavor is present regardless. It’s almost as if maple syrup was just poured into the batter. They are definitely a tad sweet with the maple intensifying the sugar notes.
Is there anything else I need to know?
The singular squares of these usually come out a little a crispy for me so if you like your cookies a bit softer and chewier make sure to keep some clusters of squares together when baking.
As always these cookies are a cinch to prepare and, while very sweet, they do have a strong maple flavor that’s a nice indulgence for a chilly fall night and to offer respite from that pumpkin spice hangover.
Purchased Price: $3.19 Size: 16 oz. Purchased at: Giant Rating: 7 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (1 Cookie) 80 calories, 4 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 11 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.
In previous years, Lay’s rolled out several flavors at one time for its Do Us A Flavor promotion. Many of us would purchase all three to fill out stomachs with potatoes and fill Frito-Lay’s coffers with that sweet, sweet Do Us A Flavor money.
This year, with its Tastes of America promotion, it’s different. We couldn’t go to the stores and purchase all eight of the new flavors. Instead, they were spread across the country regionally and the only ways to taste all of them were to take a road trip across the U.S. (not feasible), buy them all from Lay’s website (if it didn’t sell out first), buy them all in a special pack from Amazon (if it didn’t sell out), or purcase all the flavors from someone on eBay (for double what the seller bought them in the store for).
Thank goodness we have writers across the country. Although, not all the flavors are covered. Hope to add those later.
Lay’s Chesapeake Bay Crab Spice Potato Chips
Lay’s is certainly not the first chip brand to release a flavor using crab spices. Herr’s has a partnership with Old Bay seasoning for one, and the gold standard (in my opinion, of course) Utz has “The Crab Chip.”
Knowing each of those chips pretty well, I was really pumped to see how Lay’s would stack up in the Chesapeake Bay Crab Seasoning-flavored chip race.
Long story short, Lay’s has done an admirable job.
Although not in the ingredient list, I got a vague vinegary tanginess that led nicely into the paprika heavy burn of the crab spice. It’s not spicy hot, but will leave you feeling like you’ve recently ate something spicy.
Like the Lobster Roll chips (read review below), these aren’t flavored after the shellfish itself, but rather the spices said protein is usually prepared in. I still would have liked for them to at least try to add more actual crab meat flavor, but as I said in the other review, it was probably a smart decision to avoid seafood altogether.
I’d say these live up to their name better than New England Lobster Roll, but aren’t that much different in the sense they just basically removed the Sour Cream and Onion taste and went all out on the crab seasoning. I did however crave crabs more after eating these than I did lobster after the other.
One negative I’d give is these left me with a bit of agita, so I gave New England Lobster Roll a tiny edge. Still, if you like this flavor, these are exactly as advertised.
Purchased Price: $2.99 Size: 7.75 oz. bag Purchased at: Wegmans Rating: 7 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (about 15 chips) 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.
Lay’s Chile Con Queso Potato Chips
Chile Con Queso, or chili pepper with cheese, or simply “queso” is a melted spiced cheesy dish popular in the Southwest that to me truly defines TexMex cooking.
The chips have a pungent cheesy aroma with a little bit of a spicy kick that let’s my nose know this isn’t just a bag of Sour Cream and Cheddar. The initial flavor actually tastes more like its mellow counterpart than I expected, but the flavor quickly evolves into something more complex with the distinct herbaceous pop of bell peppers and sharp zing of garlic. They finish with the slightest bit of heat but not enough to warrant being called spicy, as its more of tickle than an actual sensation.
I oftentimes associate this type of dip with ground beef but there’s no meaty flavor to be found. That’s alright, since the packaging doesn’t imply that and I don’t need artificial animal taste sprinkled in my chips to be enjoyable either.
While this type of seasoning feels generally more at home on a tortilla chip it works pretty well with potatoes and should satisfy those that like a creamy cheesy chip with just the hovering essence of spice.
Purchased Price: $1.69 Size: 2.75 oz. bag Purchased at: 7-Eleven Rating: 7 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (about 15 chips) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.
Lay’s Deep Dish Pizza Potato Chips
As a newly minted Midwesterner that frequents Chi-Town often, I get differing and strong opinions on whose deep dish pizza is the best. The usual suspects are: Pequod’s, Lou Malnati’s, Giordano’s, and Pizzeria Uno. Not sure how Lay’s landed on Giordano’s as the inspiration for their Heartland and Mid-America flavor, but it’s a dang good chip!
Don’t let the fact that it looks like a BBQ flavored chip fool you. The Lay’s Deep Dish Pizza (Flavor Inspired By Giordano’s) tastes like the best part of a pizza – which is the sauce. Don’t @ me! Note: Giordano’s is more known for their cheese pull. But, po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe.
I will say that the first flavor my taste buds detected was indeed cheese though. The cheese flavor was more parmesan than mozzarella, but I’ve never met a cheese I didn’t like. Then, it quickly becomes a comforting tomato-y pizza sauce flavor. The lingering garlic and oregano notes, which could be easily confused as sour cream & onion-like, were on point too! Even the residue on my fingers was tasty.
If you’re a pizza sauce person, you’ll love the execution of this flavor! I also noticed that Lay’s is offering a $5 off coupon code if you want to try Giordano’s.
Deep dish pizza with a side of deep dish pizza chips anyone?
Purchased Price: $3.00 Size: 7.75 oz. bag Purchased at: Target Rating: 8 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (about 15 chips) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.
Lay’s Fried Pickles with Ranch Potato Chips
Pickle flavoring on crunchy snacks is hard for taste buds to miss and easy to distinguish among other flavors. Well, that’s what I thought until I had Lay’s Fried Pickles with Ranch Potato Chips.
The first chip I shoved into my mouth had a strong pickle flavor. It’s a familiar taste I’ve experienced many times with any crunchy snack labeled “cheeseburger.” With those, there’s a detonation of dill that dominates whatever else is on the snack. But, while the first chip was a delicious pickle explosion with a hint of ranch, the subsequent chips had less of it and soon the buttermilk seasoning swamped the headlining act. Still tasty, but not what I was hoping for.
After letting my taste buds reset, the bold dill came back when I tried the chips for the second time, but, again, it faded away after chomping on a few more and was replaced by the ranch. It’s a vicious circle for those who love pickle-flavored chips, but, I guess, heaven for those who love ranch-flavored snacks. There’s a hint of dill in the aftertaste with the ranch-strong ones, but I wish EVERY CHIP had a better balance.
I guess if I want the pickle flavor with every chip, I could eat a few, walk away to let my taste buds normalize, drink a glass of water, and then come back for more. But that’s no sane way to eat potato chips.
Purchased Price: $19.99 (as part of a multi-pack with all the flavors Size: 2.75 oz. bag Purchased at: Amazon Rating: 6 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (about 15 chips) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.
Lay’s New England Lobster Roll Potato Chips
I live in New Jersey, but consider myself a bit of a Lobster Roll aficionado. I’ve eaten plenty of them while trekking up to New England, and I could make a case for it being a top five sandwich. So, with that said, I was pumped Lay’s finally got around to this flavor.
Was my hype warranted?
Well, these are delicious, but not really because they nailed the flavor of a Lobster Roll.
I couldn’t tell you the exact spice mix a New England-style Lobster Roll usually has, but one of the main ingredients here is literally “New England Lobster Roll Seasoning.” That makes perfect sense because “seasoning” flavor is the standout. I’ll get back to that shortly.
The chips have a quick tang of mayo and a buttery vibe which is good because what’s lobster without butter? The lobster flavor itself is subtle. Seriously, they’re not fishy at all, and I could be convinced it’s another type of seafood altogether, but I still enjoyed it.
They tasted like a flavor I’ve had before, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Finally, I settled on a mix of weak Old Bay seasoning sprinkled on a familiar Sour Cream and Onion flavor. The lobster poked through most on the aftertaste for me. The aftertaste is actually great. There’s a small kick of heat from the spices too.
So, I wasn’t smacked with Lobster Roll flavor, but it was probably for the better. Had Lay’s gone out of their way to ramp up the lobster flavor, these could have been a fishy, unappealing mess. As for now, I dig em.
Purchased Price: $2.50 Size: 7.75 oz. bag Purchased at: ShopRite Rating: 8 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (about 15 chips) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.
Lay’s Pimento Cheese Potato Chips
It’s Sunday afternoon here in North Carolina. Tomatoes are abundant in gardens. If you’re a true southerner, you’ll slice up a juicy homegrown tomato and slap it between two pieces of soft white bread, smothered in Duke’s mayo, and call it “lunch.”
However, there’s another southern sandwich staple that doesn’t grow in any garden: pimento cheese. No, no. Pimento cheese is only “grown” in country kitchens or on the shelves of the Piggly Wiggly.
When I saw Lay’s Pimento Cheese flavored potato chips debut as the Southeast’s flavor in its “Tastes of America” series, I wondered if the pimento cheese would be reminiscent of sandwiches at church, bridal luncheons, or baby showers or more like the overpriced pimento cheese I see on menus at food truck rodeos or hipster bars.
Well, as much as I loved these chips, I think they were a bit spicier and tangier than the classic creamy pimento cheese favored by most Southerners. These chips are a close cousin to Ruffles Sour Cream and Cheddar chips, with sharp cheddar flavor muted by other tangy dairy flavors. However, these chips had a very notable kick to them from the pimento pepper, though it was more spicy and not obviously pimento-y. Most pimenna (as Southerners pronounce it) cheese I’ve had isn’t overwhelming hot-spicy. These chips caused the inside of my mouth to pucker, but that didn’t stop me from devouring them.
These chips were a perfect pair to my tomato sandwich, y’all. Go git yerself some.
Purchased Price: $2.48 Size: 7.75 oz. bag Purchased at: Walmart Rating: 8 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (about 15 chips) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.
Serving as a whimsical and colorful foil to Zebra Cakes, these magically-inspired second cousins of Little Debbie’s classic equine-themed treats feature strawberry-flavored cake with a strawberry filling, white icing, and bright sprinkles.
How is it?
Before I even get started on how these cakes taste, can I stop for a moment to mention how pretty they are to look at? Between their nearly perfect hexagonal shape, even coating, careful color balance, and personalized cellophane sleeve, I found these to be a pleasure to admire.
Moving on, Little Debbie lived up to my expectations by making each one of these cakes taste as great as they looked. The cake itself is appropriately soft and buttery, with a thin layer of whipped filling in the middle to separate the two cake layers.
The cake and filling are strawberry flavored, and I have to hand it to Little Debbie here for executing the strawberry quite well. It’s subtle, but definitely there, and I found it worked well alongside the rest of the cake. In fact, its subtlety is what allows the strawberry flavor to work in the first place because it never comes across as overly artificial. I’ve always had issues with fruit-themed cakes tasting anything but authentic in the past.
While the outer coating doesn’t add much flavor-wise, it helps keep the cakes within moist, and the glittering purple sprinkles on top give a hint of grit that keeps me entertained texturally.
Is there anything else I need to know?
Even though I’m well aware that Little Debbie isn’t the most risk-taking snack brand in the grocery store, they could have elevated the whole “Sparkling Strawberry” idea a step further by scattering strawberry-flavored popping candy pieces on the top rather than regular old sprinkles.
Being a treat that’s pretty, tasty, and slightly fruity, Little Debbie’s Sparkling Strawberry Unicorn Cakes are a much-appreciated respite during a time of year that’s typically dominated by heavy autumnal spices and dark, earthy colors.
Purchased Price: $2.00 Size: 10 cakes Purchased at: Walmart Rating: 7 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (2 cakes) 330 calories, 160 calories from fat, 16 grams of total fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 35 grams of total sugars, 35 grams of added sugars, and 1 gram of protein.