REVIEW: Ruffles Baked Flamin’ Hot Potato Crisps

Ruffles Baked Flamin Hot Potato Crisps Bag

Frito-Lay’s Ruffles Baked is like Val Kilmer Batman. They’re both okay, but it hard to get excited when I know there are tastier options out there. Original Ruffles is like George Clooney Batman because both are hard to resist snacks. Nom nom nom. NOM.

If Ruffles Baked is like Val Kilmer Batman, then adding Flamin’ Hot seasoning to the potato crisps is like the addition of nipples on the Batsuit in Batman Forever. Both make things spicy.

I’ll admit I don’t regularly buy snacks from Frito-Lay’s Baked line, but I’m not dissatisfied when I do. But any Baked version of a Frito-Lay chip lacks the one thing fried chips have — addictiveness.

Okay, maybe addiction is too much on one side of the spectrum because I would not do unmentionable things to get my hands on a bag of Ruffles.

But, if a Ruffles Baked bag is placed in front of me, I’ll gladly munch on it. However, there’s an excellent chance there will still be some left. With, let’s say, a bag of regular Ruffles, there’s a 100 percent chance I will demolish that bag’s contents unless it’s taken away from me by force or if my doctor happens to be in the same room and he gives me a disapproving look.

Ruffles Baked Flamin Hot Potato Crisps Closeup

With that said, the familiar, slightly cheesy, and spicy Flamin’ Hot seasoning instantly makes these potato crisps my favorite variety in the Baked line that I’ve had so far, which I will admit is not many. Maybe four or five? And that doesn’t include the Cheetos Baked Flamin’ Hot.

But, even though these Ruffles are nicely coated in the red seasoning, it doesn’t completely hide the baked potato crisps’ flavor, which I’ve always thought tastes more like a cracker than a potato chip.

Ruffles Baked Flamin Hot Potato Crisps Closerup

Nevertheless, these crisps are hard to put down thanks to the flavor and heat from the red seasoning. But, oddly, I didn’t feel the need to put them down to drink something because, and maybe this is just my imagination, these don’t seem to be as spicy as regular Ruffles Flamin’ Hot or Flamin’ Hot Crunchy Cheetos.

While I very much enjoyed Baked Ruffles Flamin’ Hot, I can understand why others might not feel the same way because of the underlying crisp’s flavor. But, if you’re okay with Frito-Lay’s Baked line, which I imagine is a lot of people because it’s been around for years, then this is definitely worth a try.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free sample of the product. Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 6 1/4 oz bag
Purchased at: Received from Frito-Lay
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (28 grams/about 11 crisps) 120 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Tostitos Hint of Guacamole Tortilla Chips

Tostitos Hint of Guacamole Tortilla Chips Bag

What are Tostitos Hint of Guacamole Tortilla Chips?

The next evolution of Frito-Lay’s “Hint of” Tostitos is good ol’ guac.

How are they?

Tostitos Hint of Guacamole pack a big flavor for a chip that only promises a little. They’re essentially “Hint of Doritos,” and for that reason, I loved them.

There’s a fresh avocado taste despite no avocado in the ingredient list, which was a bit weird. I guess that’s an expense thing? Either way, the taste came through.

Tostitos Hint of Guacamole Tortilla Chips Bowl

There’s a nice “hint of” heat that I was able to decipher, and then confirm, as jalapeno. The flavor reminded me a bit of Jalapeno Fritos, which I can absolutely demolish in one or two sittings.

I also noticed a – I guess the name really fits – a “hint of” cheese, which the ingredients confirmed as cheddar and Swiss. I wasn’t expecting that, but it definitely enhanced the overall flavor.

These have all the elements of a great guacamole. Except for peas, which everyone knows is the key ingredient to a great guacamole dip. (Relax internet, I’m just kidding… although I would try that with zero remorse.)

Anything else you need to know?

Tostitos Hint of Guacamole Tortilla Chips Closeup

Tostitos Hint of Lime might be my favorite tortilla chip, but the size and shape are annoying. You can easily break them into pieces, but let’s be real, we all try to shove the entire massive triangle into our mouths in one bite.

Hint of Guac are the ideal size. I don’t dip flavored chips, so I want them to be snackable, and I gotta give Frito-Lay credit for opting to make these “bite sized rounds.”

As I mentioned above, some chips are so caked in flavor, they might as well be guacamole-flavored Doritos – a variety I know exists, but has somehow eluded me my entire life. Maybe if enough people like these, Frito-Lay will take the hint and make those a year-round release.

Conclusion:

Tostitos Hint of Guacamole Tortilla Chips Bag Bowl

Despite the mild spice and an overload of sodium, I found these deliciously snackable.

I think I’ve had most of the “Hint of” line, and would probably slot these just under Lime. I’d actually really like to try mixing these, Queso, and Lime together for a big “Hint of” Mexican dinner flavored mix. Someone test that out and get back to me.

Purchased Price: $4.29
Size: 12 oz
Purchased at: Acme
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (20 Chips) 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 150 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of total carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of total sugars, 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Cheetos Mac ‘N Cheese Cups

Cheetos Mac  N Cheese Cups

I’m as angry red as the Flamin’ Hot version of Cheetos Mac ‘N Cheese (there are also Bold & Cheesy and Cheesy Jalapeno varieties).

For years, I’ve been longing for Cheetos-flavored seasoning to be bottled so that we all can sprinkle some Cheetle on whatever our taste buds desire. But here we are with a Cheetos-flavored powdery substance, but it’s not bottled. Instead, I have to mix it with cooked noodles and water to make mac ’n cheese in a cup.

WHY CAN’T WE HAVE NICE THINGS, LIKE BOTTLED CHEETOS SEASONING!

(Oh, Cheetle is the official term for what we’ve all called Cheeto Dust. Since Cheetos sent me these, I thought I’d be courteous and use the correct terminology.)

Can you imagine topping pasta with Cheetos seasoning instead of grated parmesan cheese? Or maybe put it on McDonald’s French fries, scrambled eggs, potato chips, hash browns, chili, anything from Taco Bell, anything made by Chef Boyardee, a Costco hot dog, Costco pizza, Costco rotisserie chicken, the frozen cauliflower crust pizza I always pick up from Costco…

Sorry, as you can see, I’ve imagined a life with Cheetos seasoning for a long time, and I often shop at Costco.

Cheetos Mac ’N Cheese is available in these single-serve cups, but they’re also sold as box dinners that involve doing more than adding water and mixing.

Cheetos Bold  Cheesy Mac  N Cheese Cups

The Bold & Cheesy variety is pretty much the adjective-heavy way of saying original Cheetos flavor. Does it taste like the beloved snack? It does, but it’s a bit unsatisfying to get the famous cheesiness this way. I’ll explain more after I go through all the varieties. But this one is my favorite of the three.

Cheetos Cheesy Jalapeno Mac  N Cheese

Cheesy Jalapeno is a Cheetos variety I’ve eaten twice, but I can’t remember the last time I had it or how it tastes. So I don’t know if this mac ’n cheese’s flavor comes close to it. It has a strong jalapeno scent and taste that’s slightly more potent than the cheese. It’s also a tad spicy, but not as much as the Flamin’ Hot one. As I ate it, I kept thinking chile con queso.

Cheetos Flamin Hot Mac  N Cheese

As for the Flamin’ Hot Mac ’N Cheese, it was, unfortunately, disappointing. It made me sweat a little, but I don’t know if it was the hot noodles or Flamin’ Hot seasoning that caused it. Also, it started off tasty, but about halfway through the cup, it became a bit bland, and the spiciness kind of fizzled. Also, and this might be just me, the angry red/Swedish Fish/B-movie blood color is a little off-putting.

The Bold & Cheesy and Cheesy Jalapeno varieties are decent, but with all three, it’s like I’m eating a cheesy Cup Noodles instead of mac ’n cheese. Look, I’ve had Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Cups, so I kind of expected the slightly watery texture of the sauce. But I feel like something that’s Cheetos flavored deserves better because most variations of the snack are addictive and hard to put down. I can’t say the same about these.

Cheetos Flamin Hot Mac  N Cheese Powder

They could be improved, though. Most of the appeal for Cheetos is its cheesiness, but there’s also the crunch factor, which these lack. Yes, we could add some of the crunchy snack ourselves, but it would be easier for Frito-Lay to include some crushed Cheetos that we could use like bread crumbs to top the mac ‘n cheese. I’m pretty sure the folks there have no problem getting access to tons of the stuff.

As I mentioned earlier, Cheetos Mac ’N Cheese is also available in boxes that call for butter and milk to prepare them, which seems like you’ll get a better end result. So I’d recommend purchasing those instead of these single-serve cups.

DISCLOSURE: I received free samples of the product. (Thanks, Cheetos!) Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 2.32 oz cup (Bold & Cheesy), 2.25 oz cup (Cheesy Jalapeno), 2.11 oz cup (Flamin’ Hot)
Purchased at: Received from Cheetos
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Bold & Cheesy), 6 out of 10 (Cheesy Jalapeno), 4 out of 10 (Flamin’ Hot)
Nutrition Facts: (1 package) Bold & Cheesy – 240 calories, 5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 690 milligrams of sodium, 43 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein. Cheesy Jalapeno

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: Doritos Flamin’ Hot Limón

Doritos Flamin Hot Limon

Nowadays, if you throw a Doritos chip while blindfolded in the chip aisle ninja star-style, there’s an excellent chance it’ll hit a snack that has “Flamin’ Hot” blazed across its packaging. That’s because Frito-Lay has been in the giving mood with the seasoning over the past couple of years. It has found its way onto Ruffles, popcorn, pretzels, and more.

Last year, some of that love got us Doritos Flamin’ Hot Nacho. This year, we have Doritos Flamin’ Hot Limón, a new spicy chip to chomp on while watching football, binge-watching something on Netflix, or Googling to find out if “limón” is Spanish for lemon or lime.

With Doritos Flamin’ Hot Limón, there’s no confusion whether it’s lemon or lime, thanks to the green color that takes up most of the top half of the chip’s bag and the lime wedge image sitting at the bottom of the bag that might secretly wish it was at the top of a Corona bottle.

Full disclosure, I didn’t fully enjoy the previously mentioned Doritos Flamin’ Hot Nacho. Its cheesiness didn’t help make it stand out from other Flamin’ Hot products. If it flamed out and disappeared to the depths of hell, I wouldn’t care. But I feel a lot different towards this citrus-flavored version.

Doritos Flamin Hot Limo?n Closeup

While they appear spicy, nothing about the chip’s look or smell gives away that there’s a bit of lime. But its sweet and tangy flavor is noticeable with every chew. It’s as potent as the Flamin’ Hot seasoning. Actually, it might be even more so because the citrus seems to temper the spiciness, making these chips a little easier to eat than other Flamin’ Hot products. But, for the heat-adverse, they’re still quite spicy.

Oh, there are a couple of cheeses listed in the ingredients, but they get lost among the bombardment of pepper, spice, and lime. And I don’t care because, with the way they are, these chips are my favorite snack of the year. Yes, I’m writing this in the first half of January, but I’ve been enjoying every moment with them.

Although, I have to admit I like them a little less than I did when I first tried them. That happened because my curiosity got the best of me. I wondered in the back of my head, “Didn’t Frito-Lay already have something like this?”

That, of course, led me to the internet, which took me to Doritos Flamas, a spicy, lime-flavored chip under Frito-Lay’s Mexican Sabritas brand. That led me to a review of those chips, written by a former TIB writer who, on his blog, described them as tasting like a very spicy lime Froot Loop. I haven’t tried Doritos Flamas, so I can’t make a comparison. But when I read that description of it, it made my tongue and brain think in unison, “Oh, this does too. That’s super weird.”

But even with that nugget of slight buzzkill stuck in my head, this combination of lime and Flamin’ Hot seasoning is extremely tasty.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free sample of the product. Doing so did not influence my review in any way. Although, it totally seems like it. But I assure you it did not.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 9 3/4 oz. bag
Purchased at: Received from Doritos
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 12 chips) 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Ruffles Double Crunch Sweet & Smoky BBQ Potato Chips

Ruffles Double Crunch Sweet  Smoky BBQ Potato Chips

Ruffles’ Double Crunch lineup has been quite promising so far, albeit a tad derivative. The chips live up to their name by delivering a satisfying crunch and seem to have extra coatings of their respective flavors. The cheddar and buffalo wing varieties are tasty, but not that original.

Ruffles has ramped up the flavor library of the Double Crunch line with the “new” Sweet & Smoky BBQ. They appear to be similar to the old Ruffles Ultimate Sweet & Smokin’ BBQ, but I don’t remember what those taste like, so I can’t say for certain.

The ridges on the chips are more pronounced than those on standard Ruffles. The chips are generously covered in a welcoming burnt-orange dust. They appear to be as heavily seasoned as their cheddar and buffalo wing counterparts.

Ruffles Double Crunch Sweet  Smoky BBQ Potato Chips Bag

The aroma wafting from the bag is that of typical BBQ chips, but with a little hint of vinegar and a more pronounced spice. Vinegar isn’t listed on the ingredients list, so it could very well be a trick of my imagination. Regardless, it’s very inviting.

The flavor profile hits hard with brown sugar, onion, and paprika at the onset. As I chew, hints of molasses, tomato and garlic start to shine through. They’ve got more of a kick to them than standard BBQ chips. I don’t taste any actual vinegar on the chips themselves. Upon looking at the ingredients, that all checks out. The proprietary BBQ seasoning has sugar, salt, brown sugar, paprika, spices, molasses, onion powder, tomato powder, garlic, honey, and delicious, magnificent MSG. There’s nothing new or original here; it’s like every BBQ chip I’ve ever had, just done a little bit better.

Ruffles Double Crunch Sweet  Smoky BBQ Potato Chips Closeup

While the crunch is not as pronounced as it is on a kettle-cooked chip, it still delivers a rewarding bite every time.

I find myself losing control and shoveling more of these chips into my mouth. I’m typing this review with one hand, so I don’t get magical BBQ dust on the keyboard from my chip fingers.

Ruffles Double Crunch Sweet & Smoky BBQ are definitely good enough to become a staple in my rotation, but I feel like they won’t be around long. Ruffles’ website makes no mention of the product, so I assume it’s a limited offering. They’re definitely worth your time if you enjoy BBQ chip, so give ‘em a shot before they’re gone.

Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 7 3/4 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (10 chips) 140 calories; 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.