REVIEW: Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix

Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix Bag

What is Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix?

If you have tiny panic attacks trying to decide which popped or fried processed corn snack you want to buy at the grocery store, Frito-Lay has swooped in and made things worse with another option — Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix. As a follow-up to 2020’s Cheetos Popcorn, the popped corn has a new corny best friend that goes by the name of Crunchy Cheetos.

How is it?

I won’t lie, when I first saw the announcement of this product, I thought it was kind of dumb, but this cheesy mix SMACKS. I’m a bigger lover of popcorn than I am Cheetos, and I don’t buy regular Crunchy Cheetos very often, but this serves as a great reminder of how satisfying the classics are. The bag is loaded with cheesy seasoning (cheetle) and is as beautifully luminously orange as ever.

Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix Closeup

In general, Cheetos are a solid snack but can be kind of heavy and greasy when eaten in large quantities, no matter the flavor. The popcorn acts as a perfect companion to the denser, greasy Cheetos. It allows for a full-on salty and creamy snack spiral without the heftiness.

It’s a fun textural juxtaposition to have two totally different types of corn with the same seasoning. They taste and feel pretty different but maintain the intense glowing cheesy symphony that builds as I crunch and crunch and crunch.

Anything else you need to know?

I would love to see a bag with Cheetos’ classic cheesy and spicy flavors combined. Perhaps incorporating Cheetos popcorn with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos for an addictive back and forth.

Conclusion:

This simple little snack surprised me, and if you like the salty cheddar explosion from Chester, there’s no way you won’t enjoy going for a cheesy dive into Crunch Pop Mix.

Purchased Price: $3.50
Size: 2.75 oz bag
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup/28 grams) 160 calories, 11 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 250 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Pringles Scorchin’ Potato Crisps

Pringles Scorchin Potato Crisps Cans

What are Pringles Scorchin’ Potato Crisps?

Why are so many foods on fire nowadays? How long until we reach the point where your snacks come with a teenage delinquent who flips a still-hot match into your mouth along with your potato chips?

Pringles Scorchin’ Potato Crisps are extra-hot and spicy, as you’d expect from the name, but even more than that, they have FLAVORS. There’s a Cheddar, a BBQ, and a Chili & Lime variety.

Pringles Scorchin Potato Crisps All 2

A few years ago, I wouldn’t have gone near anything with the word “Scorchin'” in the name, but I’ve been slowly wading into the spicy waters and not hating it. I tend to find foods that are just “spicy” to be a little boring, but spicy-AND-something I can get into. (For reference, I loved Sweet Heat Starburst & Skittles.) So, I appreciated Pringles bringing the flavors here.

How are they?

Unlike the Pringles Extra Hot Chili & Lime, which according to Tiffany’s review, quickly ping-ponged between the flavor and the heat, the Scorchin’ Pringles started out as primarily the flavor, then a very manageable heat snuck in and built exponentially with each subsequent crisp. By the third one, my mouth was crackling and I had to put them away. They weren’t the hottest food I’ve ever tried, but I didn’t have the urge to power through the whole stack like I normally would with Pringles. The flavors stuck it out, though – they didn’t hit the bricks once the fire came barging in. I liked that.

Pringles Scorchin Potato Crisps BBQ 3

BBQ was your standard fare sweet/vinegar sauce, and it had the slowest burn. I was nearly done chewing by the time it hit, then hung around the longest.

Pringles Scorchin Potato Crisps Lime 4

Chili & Lime was similar to the lime flavor in the Pringles Extra Hot review – expectedly tangy and a little artificial. Here, its heat hit a bit faster than the BBQ.

Pringles Scorchin Potato Crisps Cheddar 5

The Cheddar flavor was my favorite of the three – I liked the mellowness of the cheese paired with the spice. The heat here took over the fastest of the three flavors.

Anything else you need to know?

Pringles has had some really fun artwork on their cans lately, but these, not so much. Pringles Man has steam coming out of his ears and the colors are nice and bright, but otherwise, meh.

Conclusion:

If you’re a hardcore, asbestos-throated fire-breather, these might be tame for you. If you like your spice mixed with other flavors, these will hit you right in the hot and sweet spot. Overall, worth a try, unless you hate the heat.

Purchased Price: $2.49 each
Size: 5.5 oz can
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (approx. 15 crisps) BBQ – 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 1 gram of total sugars, including less than 1 gram of added sugars, and 1 gram of protein. Chili & Lime – 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 1 gram of total sugars, including less than 1 gram of added sugars, and 1 gram of protein. Cheddar – 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 dietary fiber, 1 gram of total sugars, including less than 1 gram of added sugars, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Doritos 3D Crunch

Doritos 3D Crunch Bags

2020 is finally over, and I’m here to say, “Out with the old, and in with the… older?”

Yeah, that’s right, we’re starting 2021 off with an Ecto Cooler-level nostalgia bomb. Doritos 3D’s are back, ushering us into the new and, hopefully, better year.

Who hasn’t yearned for these little puffed up triangle balls? They haven’t been on supermarket shelves in well over a decade, unless you live in Mexico. I loved them so much as a kid that I’ve often thought about buying bags on eBay for the price of a steak dinner.

I had given up hope of a revival until recently when I had an inkling. Call me Nosh-stradamus because as soon as Frito-Lay released Poppables (which rule if you aren’t aware), I had a feeling it was a test run for the inevitable Doritos 3D reboot.

I guess I was right because Doritos 3D’s are back and rebranded as Doritos 3D Crunch.

Gone are the days of Nacho Cheese, Zesty Ranch, and Jalapeno Cheddar. Instead, the new iteration comes in two flavors – Chili Cheese Nacho and Spicy Ranch.

So, I’m just gonna cut to the chase and tell ya these are allllmost as good as I remember.

Doritos 3D Crunch Chili Cheese Nacho

If you’ve ever had Chili Cheese Fritos, you know what to expect from Doritos 3D Crunch Chili Cheese Nacho. The scent and flavor coating were almost identical to me. I love Chili Cheese Fritos, so that was just fine, although the Nacho kinda gets lost in the shuffle. Not sure how you can release a Doritos product with “Nacho” in the name and not tap into that iconic flavor we all know and love, but these still hit the spot.

Doritos 3D Crunch Spicy Ranch

Which leads nicely into my review of Spicy Ranch. Have you ever had Spicy Jalapeno Fritos? Well, these taste very similar to those. The heat level is right on par, clocking in right around your typical jalapeno-flavored chip, but below Frito-Lay’s Flamin’ Hot line of excessively red snacks. The Cool Ranch works better here than the Nacho, pairing well with the jalapeno kick, but again, I coulda used more of it. It comes in with a bang, but gets swallowed up quickly. These are Cool Ranch, but in 2021 we’re used to Cooler Ranch!

I really liked both varieties, but still walked away slightly bummed that the two flavors didn’t pop as much as I’d hoped. I kinda wish they just released the old reliable Nacho Cheese and Cooler Ranch first instead of basically making super-hybrids of the original three 3D’s varieties. I’m sure these will sell enough to warrant more flavors, so we may still see the OGs in 3D.

As for the texture, I definitely understand the “Crunch” addition to the name. These are closer to Bugles than I remembered them being. I could be wrong, but I feel like the shape is even closer to a Bugle these days. I thought they were a bit rounder and airier back in the day.

Doritos 3D Crunch are fully enclosed, slightly crunchier versions of Bugles featuring Fritos flavors. I’d sign up for that on paper, wouldn’t you?

Doritos 3D Crunch Spill

I wanna nitpick and say I pretty much hate the bag artwork, but these were still a welcome sight. I missed 3D’s, and I had no problem polishing off the small bags I got. In reality, I’d probably give Spicy Ranch a slight nod, but since these both tasted good and boosted my spirits, it’s a dead heat.

You owe it to yourself to snag both as soon as you see ’em. Best of luck to everyone in the new year!

DISCLOSURE: I received free samples of this product. Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 2 oz. bags
Purchased at: Received from Doritos
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 27 pieces) Chili Cheese Nacho – 130 calories, 7 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, 2 grams of protein. Spicy Ranch – 130 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Lay’s Salted Caramel Potato Chips

Lay s Salted Caramel Potato Chips Bag

Lay’s Salted Caramel Potato Chips might be surprising or unusual to most. But should it be at this point in snack history?

First of all, this isn’t even the first salted caramel-flavored potato chip from a popular brand. That honor goes to the discontinued Salted Caramel Pringles (R.I.P.). On top of that, this isn’t the first out of left field salted caramel-flavored product from a PepsiCo brand. That distinction goes to Salted Caramel Pepsi.

Finally, it’s not surprising to see a sweet flavor from Lay’s, a brand that has offered Cappuccino and Cinnamon Bun flavored potato chips in the past. So if you take all of that into consideration, and the fact they all happened within the past six years, these chips are something we should’ve seen coming.

So are Lay’s Salted Caramel Potato Chips going to brighten your holiday or be the coal in your stocking?

In the photo below, the dark sections make the chips look as if they might’ve been fried in maple syrup. But they look that way due to the lighting. But they’re noticeably darker than original Lay’s potato chips.

Lay s Salted Caramel Potato Chips Closeup

But they definitely don’t smell anything like potato chips. The aroma is intense. It’s sweet, buttery, and salty. If I had someone close their eyes and had them smell what was coming out of the bag, they wouldn’t guess it was coming from potato chips. And when they open their eyes, they would learn that I snuck away.

Its salted caramel flavor isn’t as potent as its aroma, but it’s also sweet, buttery, and, surprisingly, not as salty as I thought it would be. However, unlike with the smell, the underlying potato chip is easily noticed after a few chews with some chips.

While I can totally taste how this might not be everyones’ cup of Bigelow Salted Caramel Tea, especially if you’ve never tried potato chips that are sweet, I think this is a pleasant seasonal snack. Although, I kind of knew I’d like them since I did enjoy the aforementioned Salted Caramel Pringles and Pepsi.

Oh, I should mention I found these chips odd to eat as a sandwich side, which is how I eat potato chips most of the time. So they should be enjoyed on their own. Or maybe crushed on top of ice cream.

If you wish to try Lay’s Salted Caramel Potato Chips (on or off ice cream), there are two things you should know — the flavor is available for a limited time and is a Kroger exclusive.

Purchased Price: Way too much on eBay
Size: 7 3/4 oz bag
Purchased at: eBay (but it’s a Kroger exclusive)
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 15 chips/28 g) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Paqui One Chip Challenge 2020

Paqui One Chip Challenge 2020 Box

I derive great joy from eating foods that are much too spicy for my taste buds and stomach. Call me a masochist, but I always aspire to be like the host of Hot Ones (Sean Evans) but usually end up with tears streaming down my face while blubbering, “..but it’s so good!!!” I’m going to come right out and admit that it was my first Paqui One Chip Challenge and that the reaper bested me. But keep reading for snot, tears, and antacids.

Paqui’s challenge first launched in 2016, and it’s come back every year. Over that time, it’s transformed from what could be mistaken as Flamin’ Hot Doritos to an all-black, super edgy form. Talk about a glow up. The Carolina Reaper, the world’s hottest pepper, has been the inspo and main pepper since Day 1, but the added pizazz this year is scorpion pepper and Sichuan peppercorn. I’m very familiar with Sichuan peppercorn’s delightfully numbing qualities, but had never tried scorpion pepper before.

Paqui One Chip Challenge 2020 Wrapper

Upon opening the inner package housing the single tortilla chip, the first thing I noticed was the unpleasant pungent smell. It was unlike anything that had EVER passed through my olfactory epithelium. The sour smell paired with the visual of what looked like charcoal for seasoning added to my already mounting trepidation.

Paqui One Chip Challenge 2020 Chip

The chewing experience was awful – not because it was immediately incredibly spicy but mainly because of the crumbly, stale texture. It felt like I was trying to chew through a mouthful of dried red pepper flakes.

Paqui One Chip Challenge 2020 Inside 2

As for the heat, it was the type of spicy that renders any talking, let alone breathing, impossible without wincing and choking. It was a very agonizing and intense 15 minutes of snot, tears, and saliva – even with milk. However, it was followed by capsaicin-induced endorphins. What added to this feel-good was the slight tingle from the Sichuan peppercorn. It was like Wrigley’s 5 Gum commercial vibes, but with peppers. This deluded top-of-the-world feeling almost made me feel like I could take another chip!

Paqui One Chip Challenge 2020 Inside 1

I’m glad I didn’t have another one on hand because it took a turn for the worst. Once the endorphins dissipated, I was left with lingering pain under my tongue and gums (oddly specifically just around my molars). Furthermore, my taste buds were absolutely blitzed. Everything I ate that day tasted less flavorful than usual. The cherry on top came three hours later. I was minding my own business when a roiling stomach pain came to play. It took a max antacid dose before I could begin to function again.

My ultimate measure, though, is how spicy it comes out the other end. Sorry not sorry for the TMI, but it’s important! It was surprisingly tame compared to the entire pre- and during-experience. Thank goodness.

Paqui One Chip Challenge 2020 Banner

I don’t get to proudly declare myself as The Paqui One Chip Challenge Champ, but I think I held my own. Bring it on, 2021.

Purchased Price: $6.99
Size: .21oz (6g)
Purchased at: Plum Market
Rating: 10 out of 10 (for challenge factor, but 2 out of 10 for taste)
Nutrition Facts: (1 chip) 30 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 25 milligrams of sodium, 4 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 0 grams of added sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Flipz Pumpkin Spice Covered Pretzels

Limited Edition Flipz Pumpkin Spice Covered Pretzels Bag

Some snacks are so ubiquitous that I’m surprised there isn’t more branded competition in the US retail snack world. Chocolate coated pretzels are definitely one of those treats. Everyone understands what they are, and they’re generally appealing. But there’s maybe one or two brands tops that immediately come to mind.

When it comes to coated pretzels, Flipz is that sturdy standby brand, occasionally dabbling in seasonal flavors like Gingerbread or Caramel Sea Salt. This year, it’s Pumpkin Spice Flipz, and I was cautiously optimistic that these would be delicious. The back of the bag even promises these Flipz pair well with “…friendz!” Cute.

Limited Edition Flipz Pumpkin Spice Covered Pretzels Waft

When I opened the bag, I was hit with a waft of pumpkin spice aroma so strong that I could have closed my eyes and convinced myself I was standing in the candle aisle of a HomeGoods. It was powerful. There was a slight buttery vanilla scent as well. I was a little concerned the flavor would be terrible.

Limited Edition Flipz Pumpkin Spice Covered Pretzels Innards Bite

Fortunately, the smell straight out of the bag is a strange tease compared to the actual taste of these covered pretzels. The taste is sweet and pretty reminiscent of white chocolate Flipz at first. You can taste the salty pretzel, and then there’s a lingering aftertaste of pumpkin spice.

The pumpkin spice flavor is so mild at first that I’m not certain I would have noticed it if I wasn’t trying to detect it. I do think the flavor builds as you eat more, but it certainly takes its time. Not at all like the experience of opening the bag. While a lot of pumpkin spice-flavored snacks tend to overdo it, these left me wanting more.

There was also a white drizzle across some of the pretzels, but it was purely decorative. They all had a similar blend of white chocolate, vanilla, and pumpkin spice flavor despite the amount of drizzle on top.

Limited Edition Flipz Pumpkin Spice Covered Pretzels Drizzle

Overall, these seasonal Flipz are fine. You could probably open a bag of these as a fire-safe alternative to lighting a pumpkin spice candle in a small room. Thankfully, the taste isn’t at all overwhelming, and you could easily eat a full serving without wanting to boycott pumpkin spice-flavored snacks until next August.

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 7.5 oz pouch
Purchased at: Jewel-Osco
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 oz/7 pieces) 150 calories, 5 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of sugar, 12 grams of added sugar, and 2 grams of protein.