REVIEW: Lay’s Frank’s RedHot Hot Sauce Potato Chips

Lay s Frank s RedHot Hot Sauce Potato Chips

I have been known to liberally drown potato chips (and all chips, really) in excessive amounts of hot sauce. I tend to make a bit of a mess when doing this, but it’s absolutely worth it. So, I feel fairly qualified to review the new Lay’s Frank’s RedHot Hot Sauce Potato Chips (that’s a mouthful).

Previously, Lay’s released a Tapatio potato chip that I enjoyed. In that case, it wasn’t as good as putting actual Tapatio on potato chips, but it was still a winner. I set my expectations for a similar experience here, even though Frank’s and Tapatio are different beasts entirely.

These new chips from Lay’s hit my nostrils with a welcoming aroma of spice, not unlike that of the Tapatio or other spicy chips that I’ve had. With these, however, there is a very prevalent fragrance of vinegar. It’s not the same sensation as smelling the hot sauce directly, but it does evoke memories of it.

Lay s Frank s RedHot Hot Sauce Potato Chips Closeup

They are appropriately orange, much like a barbecue chip. I was worried there was going to be obnoxious bright red powder coating them, which I’m not a fan of. The tried-and-true Lay’s crunch is the first thing I notice. Not that I was expecting anything different, I feel obligated to mention it.

There is a strong taste of vinegar and some noticeable cayenne pepper flavor. They have all the components of Frank’s RedHot and conjure up its essence. There are also elements of garlic and onion. They’re a tasty chip, but not quite the same as pouring the hot sauce on a plain potato chip.

The heat is interesting. They’re pretty mild at first, with a few rogue spicy chips mixed in. After eating more, though, a slow burn kicks in. It was a touch spicier than I was expecting, which made for a nice surprise (but still not as hot as I would like).

Frank’s is far from my favorite hot sauce, but it will always do in a pinch. That’s how I feel about these chips. I would prefer to have the Tapatio Lay’s back, but these totally work. It would be fantastic if Lay’s branched out and partnered up with more hot sauce companies in the future.

Purchased Price: $1.68
Size: 7 3/4 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (15 chips) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat,1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Ritz Tabasco Crisp & Thins

Ritz Tabasco Crisp  Thins Bag

What are Ritz Tabasco Crisp & Thins?

They are Ritz’s crispy potato and wheat chips seasoned with, according to the ingredients list, Tabasco Brand Spray Dry Flavoring. That sounds like something teenaged Crisp & Thins would use to coat themselves with before going out, like a perfume or Axe Body Spray for chips.

How are they?

I should preface this by saying my taste buds have enjoyed almost every Ritz Crisp & Thins flavor they’ve come across. The Jalapeno Cheddar one from last year can burn in Hell, which it might be because it was a limited edition. But this Tabasco variety might be my favorite because it apparently can make me forget willpower exists.

Now I don’t want to spread any horrible rumors about me on the Internet, but I may or may not have eaten the entire bag in two hours.

Okay, 90 minutes.

Ritz Tabasco Crisp  Thins Closeup

First off, the chips have that delightful crispiness that comes in second after potato chips. Secondly, the Tabasco flavor rings with every chip. The peppers. The vinegar. The smokiness. I adore these.

These are not only my favorite Crisp & Thins, but they might be the best tasting Tabasco snack I’ve ever had. Although, to be honest, I forgot what other Tabasco-flavored products I’ve had over the years. Obviously, they weren’t memorable, but I will remember Ritz Tabasco Crisp & Thins 4EVA.

Is there anything else you need to know?

I don’t know if I’d consider them spicy because at no point while eating the whole bag in an hour (alright, you got me, it wasn’t 90 minutes!) did I think I could use some cold liquid to calm any heat. But, as we all know, people have different heat tolerance levels, so your experience may vary. However, I did need to drink some because my mouth was parched from eating all those chips in 45 minutes. Dammit!

I was super hungry, okay! And they were just so damn tasty!

Conclusion:

I hate to admit it, but I sometimes forget Tabasco exists. It seems as if it’s a Tapatio and sriracha world right now, with the two attached to so many products. So I’m glad these Ritz Crisp & Thins are there to remind me that the peppery sauce from the McIlhenny Company is still around. Although I do wish these chips had a little more kick to them. But, if you love the flavor of Tabasco, you’ll enjoy these.

Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 7.1 oz.
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (21 chips/30 grams) 130 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, less than 1 gram of added sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Ruffles Lime & Jalapeno Potato Chips

Ruffles Lime  Jalapeno Potato Chips

What are Ruffles Lime & Jalapeno Potato Chips?

They’re lime and jalapeno-flavored Ruffles, of course, and the output of the first-ever “Chip Deal” between NBA All-Star Anthony Davis and Snack Food Company All-Star, Ruffles.

Why didn’t they name this a “partnerCHIP”? Talk about a missed opportunity.

Do I imagine, in my blind optimistic ignorance, Anthony Davis in a lab coat tasting chips and giving feedback like, “No, not enough lime. Season it more!”? Of course, I do. Doesn’t that sound amazing? Let’s assume that’s how these were made and pray that Ruffles will eventually release that B-roll footage as a media play.

How are they?

I have definitely taken down an entire bag of Tostitos Hint of Lime Tortilla Chips in my youth (also by Frito Lay), so I was hopeful the citrus flavor would hold up in this version.

Ruffles Lime  Jalapeno Potato Chips 2

The chips appear evenly seasoned with “Lime and Jalapeno seasoning” that includes visible green flecks, which I’m assuming are dehydrated jalapenos and spices. I was also impressed with how remarkably accurate the front of pack picture was. I had several chips inside my bag that looked identical in seasoning coverage.

The upfront flavor is exactly what lime-chip lovers would expect, bright, fresh, clean citrus flavor that makes your mouth water but also leaves you wanting another chip indefinitely forever. Mmmm…delicious addiction.

Ruffles Lime  Jalapeno Potato Chips 3

The jalapeno flavor tastes like peppers, not just heat, which is something not all “hot” chips get right. The lime flavor passes to the pepper flavor for the assist and leaves you with a lingering natural heat. Perfect.

Is there anything else you need to know?

This release came with three exclusive bag designs, and a sneaker called the Ruffles Ridge Tops. Ruffles has teased in several press releases that we can expect to see more from the A.D./Ruffles Chip Deal, and I have to say, they’re off to a solid start.

Conclusion:

These chips are a slam dunk. Yes, I heard your eyes roll just now. But, unless you hate lime-flavored things, these are worth a try. They’re nicely balanced and aren’t artificial tasting at all. Anthony Davis signed his name to a good one here.

Purchased Price: 2/$5 special
Size: 8.5 oz. bag

Purchased at:
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (14 chips/28g) 150 Calories, 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Zapp’s Evil Eye Potato Chips

Zapp s Evil Eye Potato Chips

What are Zapp’s Evil Eye Potato Chips?

The Louisiana-based company invoked New Orleans voodoo practitioner Marie Laveau to inspire the newest flavor of its famous kettle style potato chips: a subtly hot, Cajun-spiced flavor.

How are they?

I was excited to try Zapp’s Evil Eye Potato Chips for a couple of reasons:

First, the brand’s parent company, Utz of Hanover, is based in my home state of Pennsylvania, and we Pennsylvanians take our potato chips very seriously. (I have vivid memories of a first-grade field trip to Troyer Farms, where our class observed potato chip production under the watchful eye of the brand’s charming farmer mascot.)

Second, I can’t resist the novelty of snacks inspired by spooky lore.

Zapp s Evil Eye Potato Chips Uneven

Zapp’s Evil Eye chips are heavily–although unevenly–powdered with red seasoning. The aggressive color, similar to a “Flamin’ Hot” anything, is misleading, though, as the first taste yielded a sweet, tangy tomato flavor that brought to mind one word: ketchup. As I ate, the flavor grew rounder, with notes of vinegar, onion and garlic, and a paprika-dominant Cajun spice mixture. Hints of cayenne and black pepper contribute some heat, which slowly builds and ranges from subtle to mild, but noticeable.

As the spice level fluctuates, the tomato flavor is squarely in the foreground until everything fades in the aftertaste to a vague onion flavor. After the initial ketchup taste becomes more complex, the flavor profile is like what would happen if you combined a barbeque chip with a Salsa Ranchera Tostito.

Meanwhile, the texture is everything you would want from a kettle style chip: thick, hearty, and crunchy without an oily feeling or aftertaste. Zapp’s products are cooked in 100% pure peanut oil, which apparently contributes to the characteristic crunch.

Zapp s Evil Eye Potato Chips Closeup

I needed to taste at least five chips before I decided that, yes, I like Zapp’s Evil Eye Potato Chips. I needed several more bites to figure out why, ultimately deciding that I owe my enjoyment to the fact that these chips taste different from any other salty snack I’ve eaten. The tomato-forward flavor will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it definitely makes for an interesting, easy-to-eat bite.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Although its website offers smaller-sized packages, I could only find a 9-ounce “party size” bag in-store. Zapp’s must anticipate that its customers will enjoy Evil Eye chips at Super Bowl or Mardi Gras parties. But if you are like me and do not celebrate either, beware not of the evil eye, but the danger of reaching into the depths of the enormous bag and gradually coating your sleeves with red dust.

Conclusion:

Zapp’s Evil Eye Potato Chips deliver a perfect texture and unique seasoning blend that skews heavy on tomato and light on Cajun spice. I enjoyed the flavor profile immensely, but if you are looking for intense heat, the evil eye is not on your side.

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 9 oz. bag
Purchased at: Giant Eagle
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 1 oz/about 20 chips) 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein

REVIEW: Lay’s Sea Salt & Vinegar Poppables

Lay s Salt  Vinegar Poppables

To determine whether you’ll love Lay’s Sea Salt & Vinegar Poppables, you have to ask yourself three simple questions.

  1. Do you like salt and vinegar potato chips?
  2. Do you enjoy the crispy texture of Lay’s Poppables?
  3. If it was discontinued, would you send a tear-jerking email to Frito-Lay about how there’s now a hole in your heart that could only be filled with Lay’s Salt & Vinegar Poppables?

If you said “yes” to all three questions, I now pronounce you husband and life snack or wife and life snack. You may now eat your life snack.

Well, actually, if you said “yes” to the first two questions, then you’ll probably end up enjoying this salty and tangy version of the airy potato snack. It has the same flavor you’d taste with Lay’s original and Kettle Cooked Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips, and the same satisfying crispiness as all the other Lay’s Poppables.

It’s exactly what I expected, and I LOVED them.

Yes, past tense.

That deep affection from eating the first few handfuls blinded me from realizing something disheartening about Poppables — there’s not much of it in the bag.

When I mindlessly eat regular or Kettle Cooked salt and vinegar potato chips, which happens more often than I’d like to admit, I can look into the bag after munching for a while and see that I’ve put a noticeable dent into what’s there. But there’s still a lot left.

Lay s Salt  Vinegar Poppables 1

With these Poppables, I did the same mindless eating, and when I checked to see how much was left, I was shocked that three-fourths of the bag was gone.

I guess I never paid attention to how much is stuffed inside. A regular bag of Kettle Cooked has eight ounces, and standard Lay’s has 7.75. Poppables has just five.

So that made me ask myself, “How much do I like Poppables’ crispiness?” Is it enough for me to overlook the fact that I can get more salty and tangy munching satisfaction with its crunchier chip cousins?

I took a hard look at myself in a mirror and thought I didn’t truly LOVE Lay’s Sea Salt & Vinegar Poppables. I really like them, and I’d take them over any other Poppables variety, but if they ever go away, I won’t be writing a sad email to Frito-Lay. I’ll move on and chomp Lay’s Kettle Cooked Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips.

Purchased Price: $5.89*
Size: 5 oz. bag
Purchased at: Times Supermarket
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 28 pieces) 140 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 220 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.

REVIEW: Reuben Pringles

Reuben Pringles

There are people out there who reject rye bread, cold-shoulder corned beef, swear against Swiss and sauerkraut, and “thank you next” Thousand Island dressing. But those people can’t deny that when these ingredients come together, the result is a delicious Reuben sandwich.

Given its flavor complexity, I was eager to see how it would be executed with the new Reuben Pringles.

First things first, this package stays true to the hilarious anthropomorphized Pringle format by featuring a lone crisp sitting at a deli counter with bib affixed and ready to snarf down a Reuben, which is larger than the Pringle itself. In case anyone was wondering, my second favorite anthropomorphized Pringle artwork is the Dill Pickle flavor.

Reuben Pringles 2

When you pop (the fun don’t stop) the top off this Pringles tube, the first thing you’ll smell is rye bread. It’s an overwhelmingly spot on caraway rye aroma. Glancing inside the container, the crisps appear lightly seasoned, but at closer inspection, they look that way because one of the two visible powders is white. Because the other powder was a maroon color, I was hoping this meant these would have a unique corned beef taste.

Reuben Pringles 3

The flavor is really interesting. First, I got an oniony kraut, then a savory nuttiness that I guess is a blend of corned beef and Swiss. Then it was THOUSAND ISLAND TIME as the dressing taste comes through STRONG. If Pringles could partner with McDonald’s to do a Big Mac variety, I think they’d nail it by combining this Thousand Island seasoning and its previous cheeseburger item. The lingering aftertaste is pure caraway rye, and then this flavor roller coaster is over.

Reuben Pringles 4

Overall, I was slightly let down by the sauerkraut and corned beef not being more distinct and thought the overall flavor could have been stronger. For this reason, I think being “Limited Edition” is appropriate for this crisp. I liked it once but probably wouldn’t add it to the standard rotation.

I definitely don’t think Pringles did anything wrong by the Reuben in making this crisp! In fact, the flavors they were able to pack in are pretty impressive. If you like Thousand Island, you’ll like this. The sauerkraut wasn’t completely distinct, but they didn’t miss the mark, so if more kraut varieties show up, I’ll be hunting them down.

Purchased Price: $3/5 (sale)
Size: 5.2 oz. can
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (15 crisps/28 g) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.