REVIEW: Nashville Hot Cheetos

Nashville Hot Cheetos Bag

What are Nashville Hot Cheetos?

According to the back of the bag, “A new way to get a kick of heat from your favorite Nashville Hot seasonings with the crunch you love from Cheetos.” This is not the first Nashville Hot seasoned snack from Frito-Lay, who pumped out potato chips with the flavor last year.

How are they?

Nashville Hot Cheetos Closeup

They smell like, um, let’s just say you wouldn’t recognize them as Nashville Hot-seasoned snacks by their smell. When I give them a quick sniff, they smell like unseasoned corn puffs. Only when I put my nose right up to them and take a long yoga-like nasal inhale do I get a whiff of something and a little itchy nose. But, again, not something that would be recognized as a regional spicy fried chicken dish.

Nashville Hot Cheetos Stick

They have a noticeable flavor that could be considered fried chicken-like, but the “authentic blend of spices” that supposedly creates the Nashville Hot flavor is bland. Initially, I thought my taste buds were broken, so I ate other things to ensure they weren’t. They were working. There’s a “kick of heat,” and it registers just below Flamin’ Hot on the Scoville, I mean, Fritoville scale. But, overall, this basically has just chicken flavor and a bit of spiciness.

Anything else you need to know?

This is currently a Circle K and Dollar General exclusive.

Conclusion:

Nashville Hot Cheetos’ seasoning isn’t that flavorful. It’s not something I must lick off my fingers or knees. And that makes for a disappointing and unsatisfying snack.

Thanks to TIB reader and regular Spotted contributor, Robbie, for sending me this bag.

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 8 1/2 oz bag
Purchased at: Dollar General
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 21 pieces/28 g) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 200 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Doritos Tangy Ranch!

Tangy Ranch Doritos Bag

Everyone has that one junk food that got away. One of the most elusive snacking memories I’ve been hopelessly clinging onto and clamoring for is Doritos Sonic Sour Cream!

The history is a bit wonky, but for ME, these Doritos popped up sometime in the mid to late 90s in a gorgeous Joker-esque lime green bag with purple accents and vanished in the early 2000s. They may have origins even deeper than that, tracing back to a Sour Cream and Onion Doritos in the 70s, but that doesn’t sound or look nearly as cool as the neon green Sonic finished with a very 90s exclamation mark. They were like Cool(er) Ranch Doritos but more seasoned, more creamy, and honestly…the bag looked cooler. I got them every time I could.

All this nostalgic babble is simply to say I was ecstatic when I heard about the new Doritos Tangy Ranch! A cool bag, albeit not quite lime green, more of a teal, but still new and slightly 90s, and the word “tangy” with an exclamation mark. Tang is definitely what comes to mind when I think about sour cream. Could these be a rebranding and relaunching of the chip that has escaped me my entire adult life? *cue Law & Order transition music*

Tangy Ranch Doritos Spill

No. No, they are not. Despite the return of the exclamation mark and the nod to the 90s design, these are not sonic, nor are they sour cream, but they are good! The first massive difference I notice when crunching into these corny chips is the aggressive garlic punch that finishes with just a touch of a fiery tickle. I wouldn’t go so far as to call them spicy, but they’re spicier than your standard Cool Ranch or Nacho Cheese. Think heavy-handed garlic combined with black pepper.

Tangy Ranch Doritos Seasoning

The flavor rounds out with a buttermilk tang and a touch of dill for a flavor that is, appropriately, pretty ranch-y. As with all Doritos, some chips are very heavily seasoned, and others are merely speckled. The ones with the most seasoning are truly tang-tactic, veering on spicy, and the speckled ones are pretty mild.

My memory of Sonic Sour Cream! is a smoother taste with a particularly white powder that emphasized the creamy, like a cousin of white cheddar popcorn seasoning, and this definitely isn’t that. But I had to know how these compare to the OG, so I went back to the store and got Doritos Cool Ranch for a side by side, and yeah, these Tangy Ranch! really do lay on the garlic.

Tangy Ranch Doritos Cool Ranch

By comparison, the Cool Ranch chips are smoother, creamier, and noticeably less zesty, but not boring in the slightest. Cool Ranch has always been my favorite of the easy-to-find original line, and I stand by that opinion. They’re so so good and endlessly snackable; I never want to stop. If you’re a fan of Doritos Cool Ranch and aren’t afraid of a little garlic breath, Tangy Ranch! is definitely worth a shot.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 2 3/4 ounce bag
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (17 chips, 28g) 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Lay’s Flavor Swap Cheetos, Cool Ranch Doritos, and Wavy Funyuns Potato Chips

Lay s Flavor Swap Bags

Looks like Frito-Lay is taking a cue from the entertainment industry and rebooting some of its classics.

Now before you start whining about your “ruined childhoods” or your disdain about swapping Chester Cheetah from corn to potato, just take a step back and admit that you’re intrigued. You know you are. You can’t tell me the entire idea of Frito-Lay Flavor Swaps isn’t exciting. I won’t believe you.

In my opinion, this is the most exciting thing it’s done in years. I was way more pumped to try these than the usual “Do Us a Flavor” releases. I mean, I already know I love the flavors. I’ve been eating them my entire life. My only question is, will said flavors translate in a potato chip form?

I figured the best way to attack the review was to tackle each flavor one at a time, then obviously compare them to the iconic snacks that inspired them.

Cheetos

Lay s Flavor Swap Cheetos Bags

First off, I’m shocked these weren’t kettle chips. Usually, when Frito-Lay does one of its gimmicky multi-chip rollouts, each style of chip is represented. I’d imagine most people think of the Crunchy Cheetos when they hear the name, so a crunchier chip would have made sense.

Whatever, I’m more of a puff guy anyway, so I’m fine with the decision to just make these Cheetos-flavored normal(?) chips. #PuffGang sound off in the comments!

Lay s Flavor Swap Cheetos Swap

Initially, these just had a generic cheese flavor. If you told me they were some kind of fancy “sharp” cheddar without showing me the bag, I wouldn’t have ever guessed “Cheetos.”

Once I tried them side by side with the actual Cheetos, I got it. I had to jog my flavor memory, but they definitely taste like Cheetos.

So yeah, they deliver. These chips taste like Cheetos dust, but they’re a little weaker. Of course, therein lies the problem – they taste like Cheetos dust, not necessarily Cheetos. More on that topic when I review the next flavor.

Lay s Flavor Swap Cheetos Bowl

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 2.63 oz bag
Purchased at: Wawa
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 17 Chips) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of total sugars, 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.

Cool Ranch

Lay s Flavor Swap Cool Ranch Doritos Bags

Cool Ranch Doritos might be one of the ten greatest flavors to ever grace the Earth. How could they possibly mess this up?

Well, as it turns out when Cool Ranch dust isn’t on a triangular tortilla chip, it just kinda tastes like a remixed sour cream and onion. Actually, I’d say it’s more like 1/4 ranch and 3/4 sour cream and onion.

Lay s Flavor Swap Cool Ranch Doritos Swap

Lay s Flavor Swap Cool Ranch Doritos Specks

I think you could be fooled into thinking that’s what they are. The chips do have that classic Cool Ranch speckle to them, but it’s not nearly as caked-on as the Doritos you’re used to. It’s kind of a bummer.

I mean, once you know what they are, you’re definitely gonna taste the Cool Ranch, but these are more like a Diet Cool Ranch if that makes sense. These suffer from the same thing as the Cheetos chips – thin potato chips are not an ideal delivery system for these flavors.

To be fair, I’m accustomed to the norm, so that might be clouding my scoring. That being said, I just think this flavor needs the crisp of a tortilla chip to really shine.

Cheetos and Doritos are as much about texture as they are about flavor. Sure, I knew what I was getting into, but when you take away that key corn-based component from both of them, the flavors really don’t pop as much.

Lay s Flavor Swap Cool Ranch Doritos Bowl

But look… it’s still Cool Ranch. Even if they lean sour cream, they’re still delicious. They’re just nowhere near the 10 out 10 Cool Ranch Doritos they’re mimicking.

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 7.25 oz bag
Purchased at: Dollar General
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 17 Chips) 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of total sugars, less than 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.

Funyuns

Lay s Flavor Swap Funyuns Bags

Now we’re talking!

For everything I just said about the texture of Cheetos and Doritos, Funyuns are the opposite for me. I love the flavor of Funyuns, but I absolutely hate the texture.

Lay s Flavor Swap Funyuns Swap

For all the crap Cap’n Crunch gets for shredding your palate, Funyuns should get double. They always taste stale and salty, so my mouth feels like the Sahara after chomping about seven rings.

These Funyuns-flavored chips are easily the best of the three, even though they probably have the most diminishing returns.

Whereas the Cheetos flavor bloomed as I went on, the onion flavor faded as I ate them, but Funyuns is the most lowkey flavor of the three, so it didn’t bother me. I ate the most of these in one sitting, and the first few chips were incredible.

Lay s Flavor Swap Funyuns Bowl

The choice to make these wavy was also brilliant. Even though I don’t like the rings’ texture, I still appreciated a bit more crunch than the usual thin chips.

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 7.75 oz bag
Purchased at: Dollar General
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 15 Chips) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of total sugars, less than 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.

So, I have to say Funyuns was the overall victor here. Can’t say I expected that. Maybe if Cool Ranch and Cheetos were wavy or kettle chips, they would have won out, but I guess we’ll never know.

Don’t get me wrong, these are all good, and I love the Flavor Swap concept, but two of the three suffer from the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” adage.

One thing that really excites me about this release is that we might be one step closer to finally getting Frito-Lay-flavored dusts in the spice aisle. I’ve been calling for that since I was a kid. If you can sprinkle a potato chip with Cool Ranch, I should be able to sprinkle a piece of chicken with it. Let me put Cheetos dust on my burgers! Is that too much to ask?!

Maybe.

In the meantime, check these out. You know you’re probably gonna anyway. Cheetos and Doritos can’t be beat, but apparently, Funyuns can.

If these do well, we might even get some more swaps in the future. Please, keep ruining my childhood.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Pringles

Wendy s Spicy Chicken Pringles Can

My Dear Impulsive Buyers,

I’ve now lost count of my days spent embroiled in the chicken sandwich war.

Whenever I feel they are close to an end, another challenger enters the fray. New culinary battles ensue.

I’ve seen some good sandwiches come and go by the wayside. Young. Fresh. Barely out of the test kitchens. KFC. McDonald’s. The Ch’King – all basically forgotten before they even had a chance.

While Popeyes remains the world superpower, I have a burgeoning respect for a chicken sandwich so battle-tested, so decorated, it has now transcended the sandwich itself – Wendy’s Spicy Chicken.

We can all learn something from Wendy’s Spicy Chicken. To survive the wars, you must adapt. Days may become months, and while boys become men, chicken sandwiches must become potato crisps… ?!

——–

That’s right, folks, Pringles has a Wendy’s Spicy Chicken flavored crisp, and I’m pretty jacked up about it.

I couldn’t even tell you how many Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwiches I’ve had in my life, but I’m pretty confident no other fast food item even comes close. So I knew I had to write this review.

Wendy s Spicy Chicken Pringles Compare

After picking up my can of Pringles, I swung by Wendy’s so I could really see if they would… stack up.

I have to say, at first, I was a little bummed.

Wendy s Spicy Chicken Pringles Closeup

The crisps tasted like poultry seasoning and heaps of black pepper, but it wasn’t distinctly Wendy’s. I cleansed my palate between alternating bites of Pringles and the sandwich, but it just wasn’t clicking like I’d hoped.

Don’t get me wrong, the crisps were delicious, but on a flavor mimicry scale of 1 to Jelly Belly, they came in at about a 6.

I think the main problem for me was the fact that they were missing a little tang of the mayo, which is a key ingredient of Wendy’s sandwich. I also think the crisps tasted like they had a slightly different tasting pepper, but the heat levels were about the same.

Wendy s Spicy Chicken Pringles Topping

I guess you lose a lot in the flavor transfer when you’re biting into a juicy chicken fillet versus a crispy potato chip, and I couldn’t get past that. I did stack some Pringles on my sandwich for a couple of bites to create a Chick-inception just for fun.

All in all, I enjoyed the Pringles, but next to the sandwich, they were only pretty good… That was until I ate them on their own the next day.

I guess the sandwich being there put too much pressure on the Pringles and my dumb brain because they tasted spot on this go around. I was blown away. The aftertaste was especially similar to Wendy’s, and I ended up polishing off the rest of the can. It was essentially like eating the Spicy Chicken Sandwich and fries at the same time.

So, my recommendation would be to just enjoy the chips as their own thing, and I guarantee you’ll notice just how much they remind you of the Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich.

This was a great effort by Pringles, and I hope Julius Pringle and Dave Thomas keep their collabs rolling. I want a line of Spicy Nugget Pringles that come in different dipping sauce flavors. Spicy Nuggets with BBQ. Spicy Nuggets with Honey Mustard, etc. Whatever. I bet those would be excellent.

——

Perhaps this crisp is what we’ve been waiting for all along. The one that will bring an end to the great chicken sandwich war. I write to you, hopeful that we will find common ground and see rise to more such chicken-based snack ingenuity.

I hope this review finds you well.

Wendy s Spicy Chicken Pringles Top
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Purchased Price: $1.59
Size: 5.5 oz can
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (About 15 Crisps) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 200 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of total sugars, less 1 gram of fiber, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Pringles Wavy Pineapple Habanero

Pringles Wavy Pineapple Habanero Can

What are Pringles Wavy Pineapple Habanero?

Move over mango; your long-standing love affair with habanero is being put on pause. The newest Walgreens-exclusive Pringles variety puts a fresh tropical twist on the classic wing pairing with a pineapple infusion.

How are they?

Pringles pretty much nailed this new yet familiar combination of sweet and heat. It follows the same trajectory laid out by mango but has a distinctly acidic and sharp pineapple flavor that works just as well, if not better, than its orange-colored sibling. The crisps aren’t overly sweet, but they have a dominant pineapple presence that starts immediately and lingers well into the aftertaste.

The habanero sits behind the pineapple and exists much more in spicy flavor than it does heat. There’s a great herbaceous and peppery flavor that builds more substantially than any fiery tingling, and even after eating seven or eight in a row, I don’t feel a need to reach for water.

Pringles Wavy Pineapple Habanero Closeup

The only real downside of this experience is the Wavy-ness. In every other situation, wavy chips trump non-ridged, but I’ve never been convinced of how the wave translates to Pringles’ pressed potato crisps. The crisps are crunchier than normal Pringles, but they strike me as feeling hard in a stale way more than crunchy, and they don’t carry any extra flavor.

Anything else you need to know?

There’s something about this flavor pairing that reminds me of Chinese food, specifically sweet and sour pork with its chunks of pineapple sitting in sweet acidic sauce. There’s no meat flavor here, but if it was added in and the name was changed, I would have no problem believing that it’s another wacky Pringles flavor.

Conclusion:

Pringles nailed the flavor, but the wavy texture needs some work. That won’t stop me from finishing the tube, though. These crisps are complex enough that it is impossible for me to eat less than six every time I pop the lid.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 4.8 ounces
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (12 Crisps) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 135 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, 1 gram of protein.