REVIEW: Limited Edition Volcano Queso and Scorpion BBQ Takis

Limited Edition Volcano Queso and Scorpion BBQ Takis

Because Photoshop exists, I will not be posting on the internet pictures of my face with my blue-green colored tongue to show Limited Edition Volcano Queso and Scorpion BBQ Takis’ new color-changing effect.

But I will post my thoughts about how two limited time only tortilla chips taste.

Limited Edition Volcano Queso Takis

Volcano Queso is described as habanero pepper cheese flavored tortilla chips. With it including habanero, I was expecting the spiciness to be a bit more extreme. But I found the heat level to be less than anything with Flamin’ Hot seasoning. The cheese seasoning tastes like nacho cheese, so when combined with the habanero, the combo is like chili con queso, which is expected with a name like Volcano Queso.

Not having a habanero-level of heat was, at first, a little disappointing. But after eating a few more, I didn’t care about that because I realized these chips are fantastic just the way they are.

Limited Edition Scorpion BBQ Takis

While the Volcano Queso met my cheesy expectations, Scorpion BBQ was **researching scorpions** all metasoma, no venom. I assumed with the word “Scorpion” in its name that the snack would provide some burn. Instead, they have a slight kick.

No, “slight kick” is too strong of a phrase to accurately describe it.

It’s as if I was moving around rocks, and underneath one of those rocks was a scorpion, which freaked me out and caused me to accidentally drop the stone on the scorpion, squashing it. The feeling I notice with these Takis is as if the ghost of that scorpion stung me with its ghost tail, which made me think, “Did I feel something? Nah.”

The barbecue flavor is smoky, slightly sweet, and if you eat enough, you’ll probably also feel as if you might’ve gotten tapped by a ghost scorpion, but it’s also kind of blah. Scorpion BBQ was definitely a letdown in terms of spiciness and flavor.

Now let’s go back to the color-changing effect. I understand having my tongue turn blue-green definitely contrasts the color of the rolled tortilla chips. But I wish the Volcano Queso turned my tongue orange and the Scorpion BBQ made my mouth black.

Overall, get the Volcano Queso Takis if you love chili con queso, but you can skip Scorpion BBQ, even if you love BBQ.

Purchased Price: Way too much on eBay
Size: 9.9 oz bags
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Volcano Queso), 5 out of 10 (Scorpion BBQ)
Nutrition Facts: (1 oz) Volcano Queso – 140 calories, 8 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Scorpion BBQ – 140 calories, 8 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Lay’s Flavor Icons Potato Chips

Lay s Flavor Icons Potato Chips Bags

This is one of my favorite times of the year.

Seriously, I love it when Lay’s does its big multi-flavor rollouts, whether it be the jealousy-inducing “Do Us a Flavor” finalists, the recent music inspired flavors, or its “Tastes of America” campaign that these new “Flavor Icons” seem to be a continuation of, I’ve pretty much enjoyed every single special chip they’ve put out.

This year, the “Flavor Icons” are chips inspired by foods from famous American eateries. As an East Coast guy, I’ve personally dined at two of the five, so I guess I can say I have a frame of reference on a couple of these flavors.

I’ll rapid-fire through these reviews starting with the two places I’ve eaten at:

Lay’s Kettle Cooked Grimaldi’s New York Style Pizza (Brooklyn, NY)

Lay s Kettle Cooked Flavor Icons New York Style Pizza Potato Chips

Grimaldi’s is a chain of pizza places that originated where I originated, Brooklyn. I haven’t had it in years, but I do recall thinking the pizza was a little overrated. Needless to say, it’s a super famous NYC pizza joint, and that was a blasphemous opinion to anyone I mentioned it to.

Anyway, these chips hit me like a massive nostalgia bomb when I popped open the bag and got a whiff of the old Keebler Pizzeria Chips. I was probably in elementary school last time I had those, but it all came back to me.

Speaking of memories, these hit me right in my taste receptors because WOW(!!!), they tasted exactly like how I remember Grimaldi’s. The chain makes a very saucy pizza, and they definitely gave their secret recipe to Frito Lay. I’d describe it as “gourmet,” with all the ingredients you’d expect from a pizza sauce – onion, garlic, oregano, basil, olive oil, etc.

I’m more of a cheese guy, so I loved the fresh mozzarella flavor and tiny bit of parmesan on the backend. I do not think they needed to be kettle-style, but it reminded me of a crisp pizza crust, so it worked. Pizza is usually hit or miss in chip form. These may be the best pizza chips I’ve ever had.

Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 7 3/4 oz bag
Purchased at: ShopRite
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (18 chips) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 180 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of total sugars, 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.

Lay’s Geno’s Philly Cheesesteak (I’ll give ya a hint, PA)

Lay s Flavor Icons Philly Cheesesteak Potato Chips

I’ll tread lightly because I don’t know how to talk about Philly cheesesteaks without breaking the rules. Last time I went to Philly, I got a steak at Geno’s… then I walked across the street and got one at Pat’s, so I don’t have a preference. Cheesesteaks are just awesome.

These chips start out tasting just like Cheddar and Sour Cream, but as I went on, I started to get a “meat” flavor I guess you’d classify as beefy. Beef and even a hint of peppers remain as an aftertaste. So, it starts with the cheese “whiz” (did I do that right?) and some onion, and ends with the beef and peppers. It’s actually pretty complex, and I thought these were excellent.

Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 7 3/4 oz bag
Purchased at: ShopRite
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 15 chips) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 210 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of total sugars, 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.

Lay’s Wavy El Torito Carnitas Street Taco (Marina Del Ray, CA)

Lay s Wavy Flavor Icons Canitas Street Taco Potato Chips

Now we get to the places I’ve never been to. Carnitas were my go-to Mexican order before I decided to stop eating pork. Well, I broke my resolution because these chips actually have pork listed as an ingredient. They definitely taste like charred pulled Mexican-style pork, albeit weakly.

They start with a very slight sweetness that I attributed to the sauce El Torito must use to simmer the pork. There’s a little blast of lime and fresh chopped onion in there too. There’s a weird, dull “dryness” to these that I persuaded myself was supposed to mimic the tortilla. These don’t POP as much the rest of the lineup, but they’re still pretty tasty, and I love that they’re Wavy.

Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 7 3/4 oz bag
Purchased at: ShopRite
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (15 chips) 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 210 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of total sugars, 1 gram of fiber, and 1 gram of protein.

Lay’s Cocina Azul Chile Relleno (Albuquerque, NM)

Lay s Flavor Icons Chile Relleno Potato Chips

Full transparency, I didn’t even know what this was – some kinda egg and cheese mix stuffed inside a pepper? Sure, why not, that sounds good. Well, after eating the chip, I’m gonna make it my duty to seek out the actual dish.

These chips smell and taste like a light queso dip. The chile pepper tastes both crisp and vibrant while giving off the perfect amount of heat. They’re not really too spicy, which I appreciated. There is also definitely an “eggy” taste, like cheesy scrambled eggs that peek out towards the finish. These are probably the saltiest of the bunch, and I imagine some may think they’re too mild overall, but I’m a big fan.

Purchased Price: $1.89
Size: 2 5/8 oz bag
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (15 chips) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 180 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of total sugars, 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.

Lay’s Party Fowl Nashville Hot Chicken (Guess Where, TN)

Lay s Flavor Icons Nashville Hot Chicken Potato Chips

Now I’ve had plenty of hot chicken in my life, but I’ve never had Nashville-specific hot chicken, so forgive me if I say anything out of line.

As you’d expect, these are the hottest chip in the bunch. I’d put them slightly under the standard “Flamin’ Hot” heat, which keeps them very snackable. These are undeniably chicken-flavored, but they mostly tasted like crispy chicken skin to me.

They had that “dryness” that I mentioned in the Carnitas review, that I can’t quite find a better word for. I like it, though. The hot sauce flavor doesn’t have any particular ingredient I can pinpoint. Google tells me they usually use cayenne and brown sugar, but I didn’t necessarily get that, nor were they listed as ingredients.

There’s a pickle on the bag, but I don’t believe this has any pickle flavor. I would have loved a little splash of dill, but not a huge deal.

Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 7 3/4 oz bag
Purchased at: ShopRite
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (15 chips) 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 190 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of total sugars, 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.

Lay s Flavor Icons Potato Chips 2

So, there ya have ’em. I pretty much loved all five, but a couple were near perfect. I can’t be super confident that three are perfectly accurate to the specific restaurant dish they’re copying, but judging from the two I know, I bet they’re pretty spot on.

Maybe I’m just an easy (Frito) lay, but I’m really impressed. These might be the most complex flavor profiles Lay’s have tackled to date, and they nailed ’em. Basically, every intended ingredient of each dish came through for me. That never happens.

According to the bags you have until 9/10/20 to try these. Don’t drag your feet. Otherwise, you’ll have to drive coast to coast to try the real things.

Oh, and if anyone from Frito Lay is reading this, I dare you to make my last flavor submission – Onion Knish with Spicy Mustard!

REVIEW: Doritos Tangy Pickle

Doritos Tangy Pickle Bag

What is Doritos Tangy Pickle?

It’s a pickle-flavored Doritos that’s exclusive to Dollar General and Circle K locations. (Why does it seem as if Dollar General gets all the cool exclusive flavors nowadays?) This pucker-inducing tortilla chip variety made its North American debut in 2018 in Canada under the name Doritos Intense Pickle.

How is it?

If you’ve had any pickle-flavored chip, these have that same salty and tangy flavor. But the smell and taste aren’t as potent as I hoped. When I stick my nose into the bag, the aroma is surprisingly not dominated by tangy fumes. The corn chip base comes through as much as the seasoning.

As for how they taste, with the first few chips, the pickle flavor is potent. But, the more I ate, the less prominent it became, allowing the corn base to be more noticeable than I’d like. I solved this issue by allowing my taste buds to rest and reset every so often.

Doritos Tangy Pickle Back

The back of the bag shouts, “Crunch Sour Punch.” However, while the chips are crunchy and somewhat sour, I’m not sure they pack a sour punch. Well, I mean, they don’t meet my expectations and desires.

I don’t know if other people experience this or if I should see a doctor, but every time I eat something really sour, I feel it in my jaw with a weird tingling sensation. And what I’m about to admit might be too much information, but I REALLY enjoy that feeling. Sadly, these chips don’t offer that to me.

While not perfect, these are tasty enough that I greedily went through both bags I purchased within several hours and would buy more if I could easily buy them without resorting to eBay. (I don’t have Dollar General or Circle K stores near me.)

Anything else you need to know?

Doritos Tangy Pickle Closeup

The tortilla chips aren’t green. Although the image on the front of the package sure looks like they are. Or maybe my eyes are influenced by the rest of the artwork? In real life, they do have a faint white coating.

Oh, while I’m on the subject of green Doritos, Mountain Dew-flavored Doritos need to come back for a limited time. This year would be appropriate since it’s Mountain Dew’s 80th birthday. DO THE DEW…DORITOS! (But don’t make it a Dollar General exclusive!)

Conclusion:

If you’re one of those people who purchase pickle Pringles or pick up pickle potato chips, Doritos Tangy Pickle will appeal to your taste buds.

Purchased Price: A price that’s more than I should pay on eBay
Size: 2 3/4 oz. bag
Purchased at: eBay (available at Dollar General and Circle K)
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 12 chips) 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 260 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Pepper Puffs

Cheetos Flamin Hot Pepper Puffs

I’m more impressed with the shape of the Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Pepper Puffs than how spicy they are.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, these bring some heat, but I can’t help but admire how these look. In the photo below, it appears as if I’m holding a semi-cooled, pepper-shaped nugget of lava.

Cheetos Flamin Hot Pepper Puffs Pepper

Of course, Frito-Lay has shown over the past few years that it knows how to shape a corn puff. We’ve seen eggs, bones, paws, stars, snowflakes, and shapes only eBay sellers can see, but this one deserves the chef’s kiss because I imagine it must’ve been difficult to include the stem, which really sells the pepper shape.

The stem also has been influencing how I eat them. With each one so far, I’ve grabbed it by the small extension and used it as a handle to put the puff into my mouth. I think, and I’m sure it will never happen, this should be the default shape for any Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

Cheetos Flamin Hot Pepper Puffs Closeup

The bag claims it’s the “Hottest Ever!” but I’m not sure of that because I have more painful memories with Xxtra Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. The heat takes some time to kick in, so these puffs kind of trick you into thinking they aren’t so bad. But these are noticeably spicier than original Flamin’ Hot Crunchy Cheetos, maybe 50 percent more intense.

I definitely can’t chain eat them like regular Flamin’ Hot products. Instead, I’m enjoying the puffs in small doses, like five or so. Even my nose knows these are spicier because normal Flamin’ Hot doesn’t turn my nose into a snot faucet when eating them.

In terms of flavor, these have the familiar Flamin’ Hot seasoning but amped up a bit. While they are spicy, they’re not so hot that it completely distracts your taste buds from the peppery, oniony, garlicky, and slightly cheesy seasoning.

Obviously, Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Pepper Puffs are not for everyone. If you find Flamin’ Hot, well, flamin’ hot, then I don’t need to tell you to avoid these. If you’re a card-carrying member of the Flamin’ Hot fandom, then you have to get them. But they’re around for only two weeks, so you should’ve started looking yesterday.

DISCLOSURE: Although, I bought this bag on eBay, I later received a free sample of the product from the folks at Walmart. I probably didn’t really need to tell you that since this review was finished before obtaining the sample. But I guess I disclosed it to let you know I like these enough that I’m happy I got another bag of it.

Purchased Price: Too much on eBay
Size: 7 oz. bag
Purchased at: eBay (being sold at Walmart)
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 24 pieces) 170 calories, 11 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 310 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Baconator Pringles

Wendy s Baconator Pringles

Like many of you, I imagine, going to the grocery store is one of my absolute favorite things to do. When I turned 30, I got a birthday card that said on the inside, “You have a favorite grocery store now” as though I hadn’t had one since my 20th birthday? Ha!

Anyway, there I was this past Tuesday, strolling along the aisles of the Skokie Jewel-Osco (an Albertson’s chain, for anyone eager to find these crisps) when I spotted an endcap display wall of glowing Wendy’s signs. Okay, they weren’t glowing, but the bright illuminated red Wendy’s sign graphic on the black tube of Pringles made it LOOK like they were glowing. This store had the new Limited Time Only Wendy’s Baconator Pringles.

Pringles has pulled off some pretty complex flavor combinations before, and I was eager to try these out. The image on the front is the classic, original Baconator with two quarter-pound patties, six strips of bacon, cheese, ketchup, and mayo on a bun.

Wendy s Baconator Pringles 2

Wendy appears on the pop-top lid and there’s a code printed on the underside of the lid for an offer for a free Baconator, Son of Baconator, or Breakfast Baconator with a purchase when you order using the Wendy’s app.

Wendy s Baconator Pringles 3

I was ready for this tube (can? cylinder?) of Pringles to have an overwhelming bacon smell, but it actually was balanced from start to finish, and the crisps were visibly seasoned with a light orange powder (I always prefer it when I can see the seasoning, don’t you?).

There are an awful lot of artificial bacon flavored and scented items out there, and some of them are offensive – this isn’t one of those items. These crisps have tangy sauce flavor, onion, and a great balance of bacon and charred burger.

Compared to the Baconator itself, the crisps could have used a little more bacon flavor, but I appreciate that they didn’t just make a bacon-flavored chip. These crisps taste like meat.

Wendy s Baconator Pringles 4

The aftertaste is slightly sweet, almost like Cheerios. Maybe they were going for bun flavor? But if you don’t like the aftertaste, just shove more meat crisps into your gob, you goof.

Overall these are a surprisingly balanced crisp that do taste like all the elements of a Baconator. Maybe Pringles will bang out a fried egg-flavored crisp next and we’ll have an excuse to eat Breakfast Baconator Pringles in the morning.

I’d try it.

I sincerely hope you’re able to locate these Baconator Pringles. If you’re in the Venn Diagram of people who love Wendy’s and people who love Pringles, these are a little slice of heaven just for you.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 5.5oz can
Purchased at: Jewel-Osco
Rating: 9 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, 220 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Sweet Corn Pringles

Sweet Corn Pringles

What are Sweet Corn Pringles?

If you’re reading a review on this website, you probably like junk food and the creativity behind those products. And, as a result, you’re prepared to try some weird products, like pumpkin spice hummus or cheeseburger-flavored crackers. But the latest Walgreens-exclusive Pringles seem even more of a head-scratcher — corn-flavored potato crisps.

How are they?

It should be noted that these aren’t just imitating corn, but rather, sweet corn, which is a flavor much more popular in Japan than in the United States. As such, I have not had much experience with this outside of one comically-shaped gummy.

Sweet Corn Pringles 3

These are weird. They smell mostly like your average can of Pringles, but the flavor is wild. The taste lands somewhere between a SunChip and a buttered popcorn Jelly Belly, with a hint of garlic and onion lingering in the background.

It’s buttery and slightly sweet with a bizarre aftertaste that reminds me of something fluffy and sugary like cotton candy. They carry a solid balance of sweet and salty without steering too prominently in either direction to give the impression of salty butter on a vibrant yellow corn on the cob.

Anything else you should know?

Sweet Corn Pringles 2

Pringles are already the most Frankenstein’d of all potato chips, not actually being chips but crisps, so this makes this green can of dried and pressed together potatoes seasoned like corn all that much funnier.

Conclusion:

I said it once, and I’ll say it again — these are weird. But it doesn’t necessarily mean bad. When I first tried them, I ate 15 straight trying to wrap my head around what I was tasting. But the more I ate them, the more the flavor mellowed, and I enjoyed it.

I can’t say I would crave these when they’re done with their limited run, but it’s a fun snack that does an impressive job at corn impersonation.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 11 ounces
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (15 Crisps) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.