REVIEW: Frito Lay Cheetos x Pepsi Shuwa Shuwa Cola Corn Snack (Pepsi-Flavored Cheetos)

Pepsi-flavored Cheetos 1

In 1818, Mary Shelley publishes Frankenstein, arguably the world’s first science fiction novel. It tells the harrowing tale of Victor Frankenstein, a single-minded student of science driven to ruin by his obsession with bestowing life on inanimate matter.

In the 1990 documentary RoboCop 2, director Irvin Kershner leads us on an exploration of the science of transferring human consciousness into deadly law enforcement robots. We quickly discover the dangers of such a procedure, as multiple test subjects commit suicide after finding themselves forever trapped in their mechanical bodies.

In 1994’s Jurassic Park, noted chaotician Dr. Ian Malcolm sums up the fears of late twentieth century society when commenting on the science of an island resort filled with genetically resurrected dinosaurs, saying, “your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

Time after time we are warned against charging recklessly into the untamed wilderness of science and technology, yet even in the last few years we find ourselves with peanut butter and jelly vodka, cronuts, Doritos Locos Tacos, Cherry Coke, and pizzas with hot dogs in the crust. These aren’t dinosaurs or robots. These are things we put willingly into our bodies.

So today I publish this review not so much as a review but as a mile marker for future historians to look to when our inevitable self-destruction finally occurs.

These Pepsi-flavored Cheetos are the latest food hybrid to spit in the eye of Mother Nature. They are from Japan.

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The nosegrope upon opening the bag gave me pause. I immediately identified something very close to flat cola. Flat Pepsi? I dunno. My nose palate is not so refined. Something else was there in equal measure and it took me a moment to realize that the aroma was the same given off by powdered cinnamon donuts. You know, the Entenmann’s ones in the three pack with powdered sugar and plain.

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In these snacks the cheese powder has been replaced with a cola powder that is disturbingly not brown. The first sensation, which I did not expect, was a very acidic bite. It’s very citrusy, almost sour. And it hits hard. It tries to capture the citrus notes of Pepsi, but it’s over the top. Too lemony. The sweeter cola flavor is there but it’s subtler and overpowered by the intense citrus. The flavors are very distinct and don’t really ever mesh well together. But they do linger in the mouth for quite a while to leave you with a weird, marginally accurate, if lemony, Pepsi aftertaste. The corn puff tastes like it should. It doesn’t do a lot besides acting as a vehicle, which is good because there is already a lot going on.

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Oh, did I mention these also fizz a little?! Yea! Not like crazy Pop Rocks fizzing, but there is some definite popping and crackling. It’s all about attention to detail, guys. I tip my hat to Frito-Lay for that one.

Overall, this is a pretty accurate flavor recreation. It’s an impressive effort to be sure. That said, I don’t like them. I could only get through a few of them. They’ve got a lot going on and are kind of intense. A few tweaks to the levels of citrus and cola and these could be passable.

These wouldn’t be in my top 100 dream flavor what-ifs, but I’m glad they exist. They either point to a futuristic flavor-fusion utopia in which anything is possible or an apocalyptic hell place where cyborg velociraptors chew our faces off with laser teeth.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 package – 414 kcal, 24.8 grams of fat, 614 milligrams of sodium, 44.6 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Frito Lay Cheetos x Pepsi Shuwa Shuwa Cola Corn Snack
Purchased Price: $3.99 (plus shipping)
Size: 75 gram bag
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Pepsi-ish. A for effort. Fizzing snacks. Science.
Cons: Lingering aftertaste. Lemon. robot dinosaurs.

REVIEW: Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalist Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips

Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalist Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips

Of the three Lay’s Do Us a Flavor finalists, Chicken & Waffles sounds weird, Sriracha sounds exotic, and Cheesy Garlic Bread sounds…boring?

Well, compared to the other two, they’re definitely as boring as your sister’s diary with empty pages. But “boring” isn’t really the word I’m looking for.

Oh, I know. Perhaps the best word to describe this cheesy and garlicky chip is “safe.”

It’s the flavor that sounds as if it’s the least likeliest to make your taste buds go, “WTF!” It’s also a flavor you wouldn’t be embarrassed to take home and introduce your mother to. So if your taste buds aren’t adventurous, then Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalist Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips are for you.

Karen Weber-Mendham from Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin suggested Lay’s make cheesy garlic bread-flavored potato chips, and they did. I guess if someone were to suggest a cheesy chip, it would be someone from Wisconsin.

On the back of the Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalist Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips bag, it has a quote from Karen about what inspired her to suggest this flavor.

“You’re at your favorite Italian restaurant, you’re starving & WAITING FOREVER. Finally, the breadsticks come and they save your life!”

Karen. Karen. Karen. Karen. Karen. Karen. Karen. Karen. Karen. Kaaareeen. WAITING FOREVER? There’s a simple solution to ensure you never have to wait forever.

When the waiter/waitress passes by, raise your hand to get their attention, ask them for bread, then tell him or her if they bring it over within the next two minutes there’s an extra 10 dollars in their future, and then start counting out loud. Or if you want to take the low road, you could type out a negative review on your smartphone using the Yelp app, ask for the manager, and when the manager shows up, threaten to post your negative Yelp review if you don’t get some damn bread in front of you.

Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalist Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips Closeup

As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, the best word to describe the Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips is “safe.” Another reason why I consider them to be “safe” is because they have enough garlic flavor that I think eating them will keep me safe from vampires. There was also a strong garlic aroma that wafted out of the bag after I opened it, so if I was a vampire, I would’ve covered my face with my cape and run away yelling, “Bleh! Bleh!”

Oh, but it’s not only the garlic that attacked my taste buds, it’s also the dairy. The number of cheeses found on this chip would impress a Hickory Farms. It’s got cheddar, parmesan, swiss, monterey jack, and gouda. The chips are also flavored with cream and butter.

Because these chips are heavy on the garlic and cheese, I adore them. But it’s not only the garlic and cheese that make these chips taste so wonderful, it’s also the buttery and slight herby flavors. And by bringing together all these different seasonings, I think the crazy food scientists over at Lay’s have created a complex flavor that tastes very much like cheesy garlic bread and made me wish I had some pasta to eat it with.

(Editor’s Note: We reviewed the other two Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalists. Click here for the Chicken & Waffles flavor and click here for the Sriracha flavor.)

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz./about 17 chips – 160 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 330 milligrams of potassium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalist Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips
Purchased Price: $4.29 (on sale)
Size: 9.5 ounces
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Wonderful garlicky and cheesy flavor. Tastes like cheesy garlic bread. May keep you safe from vampires. The power of Yelp.
Cons: Boring flavor compared to other Do Us a Flavor finalists, Sriracha and Chicken & Waffles. Vampires will not enjoy it. Not getting bread at your table in a timely manner. The power of Yelp.

REVIEW: Ruffles Ultimate Sweet & Smokin’ BBQ

Ruffles Ultimate Sweet & Smokin' BBQ

I don’t like starting this review with a dictionary definition, like a fourth grader begins his or her science presentation, but here I go.

According to the dictionary, the word “ultimate” means “being the best or most extreme example of its kind,” and I believe that was the definition Frito-Lay wanted associated with their new Ruffles Ultimate Potato Chips, which are thicker and have deeper ridges than regular Ruffles.

I’m no potato chip maker, heck I don’t even own a deep fryer, but I’m pretty sure Frito-Lay could’ve made these Ruffles Ultimate potato chips even more extreme.

Are these ridges really “the ultimate”? I’ve seen deeper ridges in light wavelength diagrams and Zen garden sand. Also, are the thickness of these chips really the thickest Frito-Lay could’ve gone? I don’t think so. They should’ve been so thick and crunchy that chewing on them with your mouth open creates booming sound waves that have ridges as deep as the chips themselves.

Ruffles Ultimate comes in two apostrophed flavors: Kickin’ Jalapeno Ranch and Sweet & Smokin’ BBQ.

Ruffles Ultimate Sweet & Smokin’ BBQ is made using three ingredients: potatoes, vegetable oil, and something called Sweet Smokin’ BBQ seasoning, which consists of about 20 ingredients. Those ingredients includes sugar, brown sugar, chipotle chili pepper, molasses, onion powder, tomato powder, paprika extracts, garlic powder, and honey.

Ruffles Ultimate Sweet & Smokin' BBQ Closeup

Ruffles Ultimate Sweet & Smokin’ BBQ smell like Lay’s barbecue potato chips, and the two chips also kind of taste alike. However, these Ruffles Ultimate chips have a little heat and smokiness to them, thanks to the chipotle. The spiciness isn’t noticeable at first, but your mouth will begin to feel it after the second or third chip. They have less heat than the Doritos Jacked Smoky Chipotle BBQ, so having your Brita pitcher at the ready is unnecessary. The chips are also a little sweet, thanks to the sugar, brown sugar, molasses, and honey, but they’re more spicy than sweet.

Ultimately, the Ruffles Ultimate Sweet & Smokin’ BBQ potato chips are a tasty, crunchy snack, but they don’t rock my snacking socks off. Its flavor is too similar to other barbecue Frito-Lay chips and, while the ridges are bigger, you’re getting an ounce less of chips per bag than the 9-9.5 ounce bags of regular Ruffles at about the same price. So I don’t consider these chips to be the ultimate, instead I think they’re unremarkable.

(Disclosure: I received this bag of Ruffles Ultimate Sweet & Smokin’ BBQ for free from Frito-Lay. I also received a bag of the other flavor, but that was already reviewed by another reviewer, who paid for it. I also received a jar of Ruffles Ultimate Smokehouse Bacon dip for free, but I’m probably not going to review that. I also received a rash from something, but I don’t know from what.)

(Nutrition Facts – 1 ounce – 160 calories, 90 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 330 milligrams of potassium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Ruffles Ultimate Sweet & Smokin’ BBQ
Price: FREE
Size: 8 ounces
Purchased at: Received from Frito-Lay
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Tasty. Crunchy. Slight smoky heat from chipotle. Light sweetness. Not called Ruffles Extreme.
Cons: Unremarkable. Tastes too similar to other Frito-Lay chips. Ridges and thickness weren’t as ultimate as they could’ve gone. Chewing with your mouth open. Beginning a review with a dictionary definition.