REVIEW: Popchips Ranch Tortilla Chips

Popchips Ranch Tortilla Chips

The Egyptians loved triangles.

I mean, they preserved their dead leaders in them, trusting that this big 5.9-million-ton, three-dimensional triangle would protect the soul of their worldly demi-gods and unleash curses onto unsuspecting grave robbers. That’s faith, people.

Call me a sucker for massive archaeological structures, but I think those ancient Egyptians had something going with their devoted adoration of triangles. Triangles do great things for the world. They inspired cinnamon scones and chiming musical instruments and, now, these Ranch Tortilla Popchips.

Without question, I dig these modest little chips. Crispy and a tad crunchy. The texture’s slightly less dense than a Dorito, but definitely more dense than a Cheeto (a Chorito??).

I like my flavored chips with lots of flavor dust on each chip and those Popchip folk made sure they didn’t skimp on this bag. If this chip were a geological formation, the ranch dusting on these suckers forms the entire crust while the stone-ground corn base serves as the tortilla planet’s core. (Wouldn’t that be cool: if the world’s core was made of tortilla chips?)

Popchips Ranch Tortilla Chips Cavern

Just imagine: all that ranch-y, tortilla goodness in the Earth’s core…

The corn is a great foundation, tossing around texture and a dash of sweetness all willy-nilly. And, just when you think you’re done, you get that little nostalgic hint of ranch dust that gets left on your fingers, which is perfect for consumption upon your completion of said crunchy snack.

Plus, they’re ranch! Ranch is the culinary embodiment of fun. It calls forth hammocks and lemonade and trampolines. Alchemists accidentally discovered it in their search for gold and uncovered that it made broccoli especially tasty. Without question, ranch, done well, is great, and it’s definitely been treated with the love and care it deserves here.

Popchips Ranch Tortilla Chips Closeup

With only 4 grams of fat and 120 calories for sixteen chips, these are pretty dad-gum good for you. They’re trans-fat free, void of red dye #5, and have 10% of your daily needs for calcium. If King Tut had been buried with a stash of these babies, I’ve no doubt his calcium-fortified spirit would’ve punched out the Egyptians’ half-jackal, half-human god of Death (that’s Anubis, for all you Jeopardy fans out there…).

The biggest conundrum? These buggers are hard to find. I discovered these sitting between the Flintstone vitamins and overpriced nail polish while I was pandering about at a Duane Reade pharmacy, but have yet to witness them appearing in the groceries. Perhaps it’s because they’re in the test-market phase of their life or perhaps it is because I live on a sinking rock in the Atlantic Ocean, but, either way, they’re so good that I hold on with hope that they will appear more often in the future.

Triangles are simple, which is beautiful, for it is with this simplicity that triangles create especially cool things. There’s the Flatiron building, cherry turnovers, mysterious voids in Bermuda and, now, Popchips in Tortilla form. No question. The ancient Egyptians had it right all along: triangles are amazing.

(Nutrition Facts – 16 chips per serving/28 grams – 120 calories, 35 calories from fat, 4 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Popchips Ranch Tortilla Chips
Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 3.5 ounce bag
Purchased at: Duane Reade
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Crunchy. Low fat. No artificial dyes. Ranch dust. Calcium. Triangles. Trampolines. King Tut’s mummy punching the Ancient Egyptian god of Death in the nose.
Cons: Difficult to find. Not yet available in plain. Kooky grave robbers. Overpriced nail polish. The world’s core is not made of tortilla chips.

NEWS: Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Pringles May Scare Your Taste Buds

Pumpkins

As you know, pumpkin is an extremely popular flavor this time of year.

It’s so popular that Kellogg’s, the new owners of the Pringles brand, will soon be releasing a limited edition Pumpkin Spice Pringles flavor. Yup, your eyes just read that and your brain is comprehending it.

I know Pumpkin Spice Pringles sound gross, but Kellogg’s has a good track record with pumpkin-flavored products, so I look forward to trying them.

Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Pringles will be a Walmart exclusive.

If you’ve tried them, let us know what you think of them in the comments.

Source: Kellogg’s

Image via flickr user RichardBowen / CC BY 2.0

NEWS: Pizza Hut…Um, I Mean Domino’s Launches Handmade Pan Pizzas

Domino's Delivers

Oh, it’s on like Donkey Kong!

With the introduction of Domino’s Handmade Pan Pizza, we’ve just entered Pizza War II. Or it could be Pizza War III, I’m really not keeping track. With their new pan pizza, they’re trying to do what Pizza Hut has been doing for decades — make a pizza with a crispy golden crust that has a buttery flavor.

In a press release, Patrick Doyle, Domino’s Pizza president and chief executive officer, said, “There is a standard out there for pan pizza that we realized could be better.”

Oh snap! Pizza Hut burn!

The new Domino’s Handmade Pan Pizza are made from fresh, never-frozen dough and features two layers of cheese and toppings. To celebrate the new pan pizza, Domino’s is offering a medium two-topping Handmade Pan Pizza for $7.99 each at participating locations.

Our friends over at Grub Grade have a review.

Image via flickr user Caveman Chuck Coker / CC BY ND 2.0

NEWS: Lean Pockets Goes Limited Edition With a Three Cheese Tomato Melt Variety

Limited Edition Lean Pockets

Since 2011, there have been several limited edition Hot Pockets. There’s the Spicy Hawaiian Style Pizza, Four Cheese Garlic Pasta Bake, Chili Sauce Cheese Dog, and BBQ Recipe Bacon Burger. After the last two Limited Edition Hot Pockets releases, I began to wonder what new Hot Pockets varieties they could surprise us with next year (I hope it’s spaghetti and meatballs) and why there weren’t Limited Edition Lean Pockets.

Well, I no longer need to wonder about Limited Edition Lean Pockets, because, during a trip to Target, I discovered the Lean Pockets Limited Edition Three Cheese Tomato Melt. This particular Lean Pocket is made up of tomatoes, low fat mozzarella, reduced fat cheddar and provolone cheese with a creamy sauce in a seasoned crust.

So how lean are these Lean Pockets? One has 230 calories, 5 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 420 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein.

I’m not sure if this is the only Limited Edition Lean Pockets available right now. If you’ve seen others, let us know in the comments below.

REVIEW: Burger King Chicken Parmesan Sandwich

Burger King Chicken Parmesan Sandwich

When I think of Italian comfort food, Burger King comes to mind.

Mmmm…rich garlicky marinara, creamy mozzarella, and herbaceous basil. Wait a minute, you don’t think of Burger King? Neither do I but when I found out BK was putting a Super Mario Bros. twist on their menu, I just had to try it.

Wait. That’s an understatement, I must try it!

I really wanted to grab their new Italian Breakfast Burrito, which is an amusing name if you think about it hard enough, but I was too late. However, I didn’t go away empty handed because I was greeted with their new Chicken Parmesan Sandwich. Admittedly, I am biased because I have a disturbing obsession with chicken parmesan. And while the ingredients are simple, the execution is not.

Chicken parmesan is my litmus test for an Italian ristorante. It’s like how egg rolls or fried dumplings can tell me how good a Chinese restaurant will end up being. If they cannot make a staple dish, their General Tso’s chicken most likely tsucks.

Ah, but let’s not kid ourselves, this is Burger King. I’m not even going to compare the level of its Italian items to depressing faketalian Olive Garden. I would probably place the sandwich at the expectations of canned Chef Boyardee pasta. Until that creepy spider fiasco, I was a connoisseur of canned ravioli and Boyardee was the bareback cowgirl of awesomeness. Damn you spiders, damn you all to hell.

I should also note I was given the option to have the chicken grilled or breaded. Grilled? You might as well serve me sushi made with brown rice or mix twelve year Van Winkle “Lot B” bourbon with Coke. I opted for the only correct choice which is breaded and if you’re wondering what the grilled version tastes like…tough, I’m not eating that (or so I thought, more on that later).

Burger King Chicken Parmesan Sandwich Top

So now that I properly shifted my paradigm, I looked at the sandwich and couldn’t help but feel sad. It looked like their normal fried chicken sandwich with some tomato paste jizzed on it as an afterthought. I couldn’t taste the “shaved” parmesan and BK’s definition of artisan style (their words, not mine) must mean shabby. And, as a final “eff you”, the mozzarella is just drooped on top of the fried ugliness.

I guess the chance to get this “grilled” should have been ominous enough but who else can say they ate a BK Chicken Parmesan? Probably the homeless who scoured garbage cans and found these half-eaten chicken sandwiches tossed out by unhappy customers.

Burger King Chicken Parmesan Sandwich Split

Indeed there were a couple of slices of mozzarella but when I split the sandwich in half, you can see where one layer was placed on top of another. Both layers were pretty much unmelted. I think the cadavers in the autopsy rooms at the local morgue are warmer.

Burger King’s website states that the chicken is generously breaded but my chicken was entombed with batter. It was like eating a brick filled with white chicken meat. Not surprising, the marinara was dreadful and tasted like pasty ketchup. Those On-Cor frozen chicken parmesan family entrées in the unattractive yellow boxes taste better.

Italy hasn’t been this disappointed since pre-tomatoed Mussolini. Yeah, I was pissed. Coupled with the fact that this sandwich was also expensive ($5.89!), I was ready to chalk this up as a big fail. Alas, (overdramatic sigh) I wouldn’t be giving a fair review if I didn’t purchase another one at a different Burger King.

Try Number Due. (Get it? It’s Italian for two.)

Here is something annoying to me and I’m not sure this is the case at all Burger King locations, but if you do not specify you want the chicken grilled or breaded, it will come grilled. That makes no sense for two reasons:

1. I don’t know of any restaurant that offers chicken parmesan grilled.

2. Every picture BK has of this product, from their menu in the eatery to its website, shows that it’s breaded.

Needless to say, I didn’t indicate which one and was handed a grilled chicken version. I took a bite and was happy the cheese was melted but the chicken was spongy and bland. I returned it and got the correct artery clogging breaded sandwich.

The cheese was melted properly and this made a huge difference. The creamy mozzarella followed by the breaded chicken was excellent. The chicken was breaded with the right amount, unlike the “colostomy in your future” fried rock in my original sandwich. It was not as light as tempura (which would be gross) but heavy enough to give it that crispy bite. I could actually taste the parmesan, but suspect the cheese was sprinkled from a can versus shaved.

Burger King Chicken Parmesan Sandwich Top 2

There was still too little of the marinara sauce, which tasted like tomato paste out the can, but the melted cheese carried the sandwich’s flavor. Also, the artisan bun the second time was devoid of weird flecky sesame seeds and other random speckles, but it didn’t affect the sandwich’s flavor.

The second Chicken Parmesan Sandwich from the second Burger King was miles better than other one I tried. That is shitty because we shouldn’t have to play Russian roulette with our Burger King locations.

I really enjoyed this sandwich even though it’s still a bit pricey for a fast food sandwich. Not sure if Little Caesars still sells their own chicken parmesan sandwich, but I believe theirs is the best fast food version I’ve eaten.

Using an old slogan of Burger King’s, my suggestion is to ensure that the cheese is melted by telling them you want to “have it your way.” And for God sakes, demand the breaded one or you will eat something horrible.

The Burger King Chicken Parmesan Sandwich won’t blow your mind (maybe your arteries and heart), but I do think it’s a great option if you don’t feel like eating a Whopper or have always dreamt of having onion rings with your chicken parmesan.

(Nutrition Facts – 470 calories, 15 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 1600 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of sugar, and 37 grams of protein.)

Item: Burger King Chicken Parmesan Sandwich
Purchased Price: $5.89
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Melted mozzarella on breaded chicken. Burger King offering something different from the norm. The sandwich is a hit, but it depends on the BK you go to.
Cons: Grilled chicken parmesan sucks. Expensive. Having to specify which chicken you want is stupid. The sandwich is a hit, but it depends on the BK you go to.