Friday, June 22, 2012

Margarita Chips, Lay's Brand in Colombia

Frito-Lay (owned by PepsiCo) has many labels around the world. Their label in Colombia is Margarita and at the time I was in Colombia, they were having a flavor contest for consumers to vote try these limited edition chips and choose which one will become a new Margarita flavor.

Hamburguesa flavored actually tasted like a hamburger. When I crunched on two or three chips at one time, I got distinct flavors of a grilled patty, pickles and tomatoes, maybe even mustard. I'm always amazed at chips that are able to accomplish that feat. I enjoyed these.

Pollo (Chicken) flavored chips unfortunately tasted and smelled like a Vienna sausage. There was no sense of chicken in there at all. That bag was never completely consumed, although I kept trying a chip here and there for a little while, just in case the chips needed to breath. This flavor was not apart of the flavor contest. It was already a regular flavor in Margarita's repertoire. Ugh.

Costillitas flavored chips were basically barbeque flavored. In fact, Ruffles was circulating Smokehouse Style BBQ flavored chips in limited quantities around Los Angeles. The Costillitas and the Smokehouse Style were virtually identical in flavor. The difference was one was a smooth Lay's style and the other was the crinkled Ruffle's style. They were good, but not distinct enough to warrant searching out Costillitas over any other BBQ flavored chip.

Onduladas con Sabor Tomate flavored chips tasted like potato chips with ketchup. It was a very simple flavor despite the length of their title. I did enjoy them.

Zapp's New Orleans Kettle Style Spicy Cajun Crawtators

This bag of Spicy Cajun Crawtators chips (SCC) is the last of three bags I bought from World Market during a hang out trip with my best friend. This is also the worst tasting flavor of the three. I can demonstrate that by telling you I haven't finished the bag. If you haven't guessed from my love of chips, bags of chips don't last long in my presence. So if I don't finish the bag, that is significant.

Back to SCC: These kettle style chips have a great crunch. The scary thing is that after weeks of leaving this open bag of chips at various locations in my kitchen, the crunch is still pretty great. Does kettle cooking add a preservative quality? I don't see any crazy preservatives in the list of ingredients. Seriously, I'm writing this review weeks after I originally tasted the chips and I just tasted one now and its fine (as far as crunch quality).

If you've ever had any seafood flavored chips, Utz Brand's "The Crab Chip" come to mind, you know they usually use that Old Bay type seasoning, which is salty and has so long been associated with seafood flavor that once you smell or taste it your brain (if conditioned) thinks "seafood," but really its just another seasoning salt. This flavoring is what they use on the SCC chips, but in their case the flavor is harsh. Its like they put more of the seasoning salt so that they are uncomfortably salty. You know when the flavor hits the base of your jaw on both sides of your head... then stings? That. And then added a mean extra dash of pepper, meaning that I like pepper, but when I eat these I imagine an evil scientist looking guy adding one and a half portion of extra pepper than the originally recipe required. He's pushing a wheel barrow people.

Wouldn't you know, Zapp's is owned by Utz. I won't totally write them off, but it seems that evil scientist has too much liberty in the Zapp's factory. Terminate that dude, or get him his own laboratory to terrorize late at night. These chips get 1 out of 4 potatoes.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Kettle Brand Krinkle Cut Potato Chips Buffalo Bleu

During a random stop at an AmPm on the way to a wedding, I picked up a bag of Kettle Brand Krinkle Cut Potato Chips Buffalo Bleu. I thought I had tried every flavor of Kettle Brand, but I couldn't remember what the deal was with Buffalo Bleu. So I decided to buy them. Why not!
Yum! After three weeks of not-so-great chipping, these were a wonderful surprise. My only experience with buffalo flavor is with the chicken wings. I didn't really have that flavor come through. It was more like a mild spicy yummily buffered by bleu cheese. I checked the ingredients and they include “bleu cheese flavor,” which, not surprisingly, is made from real bleu cheese! Ha! I thought that was funny.
So, back to the wedding. I know you're asking: “why are you stopping at convenient stores before a wedding and buying crunchy chips to leave a trail of crumbs on the front of your dress. ” Well, maybe you're not that curious, but I'd like to explain. We got there an hour and an half before the wedding was set to start and we were all hungry. And the wedding started about 45 late, so we had our convenient store snacks plus hors d'oeuvres! These get 3 out of 4 potatoes.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Lay's Dill Pickle Potato Chips

This is a potato chip I discovered on the East Coast, specifically in Pennsylvania, while visiting family. Finding these in a Walgreen’s in San Francisco while inspecting their chip selection for anything of note was a great eureka moment. I didn’t think I would see these ever cross the Mississippi, but here they are, in my West-Coast-residing-hands and they are good! The dill pickle flavor is not mean and overpowering like you’d imagine adding the flavor of a salty pickle to a salty potato chip would be. The chip tastes like they took a potato and marinated it in pickle juice then cooked it. I like pickles so that works for me.

After I first ate these in PA, I returned home and attempted to create a homemade version. I mandolin-sliced some potatoes and soaked them for about an hour in a jar full of leftover pickle juice. Then I cooked them in the microwave. They came out delicious! The flavor wasn’t as pronounced as the Lay’s, but still distinct.

I’m looking forward to tasting other pickle chips!

Pop Nation Ice Pops (aka Paletas)

At the San Francisco Carnaval Festival my friends and I came across an interesting looking paleta vendor. I can't pass up good ice cream, so I put the booth on my short list of things I was definitely going to get myself into. I ate three Pop Nation ice pops over the weekend and for $3 a pop (Ha!), it was totally worth it! Here's a brief description of my exploits:

Spicy Bangkok Night Market

Rich and creamy coconut milk or cream (probably cream) mixed in with a lot of chili and some other seasonings/herbs is what this delectable paleta tasted like. I asked the pop creators why it wasn’t spicy as advertised and they said it was a mild batch, explaining that you have to add more chili to the mix because since freezing causes chili to loose its potency. I do have to say that by the end of pop, I was a little tired of it, since it was so rich, but that ‘s another good thing about these pops, they’re the perfect serving size to just get a good go at the flavor and then its over. Its like a satisfying walk around the block: You wanted to get out of your apartment, but you didn’t really want to go anywhere. Okay, so I’ve gone off in a totally different, and strange direction. I’ll stop here.

Lemon-Lime Kiwi Ginger

Tart and serious is the best way to describe this paleta. Serious? How is food serious? Well, thank you for asking! What I mean by that is that it tasted like it was good for me and going to do great things to my body, especially my digestive track. This flavor wasn’t as fun as the others, but it was still an yummy blend of tangy and sweet, and the only pop that I tried that didn’t have cream in it.

Strawberries N' Cream with Basil

My friends and I were leaving the San Francisco Carnaval Festival and I wanted to try one more paleta. There were a couple flavors I was considering but I took a risk on Strawberries n' Cream with Basil. I’m not big on strawberries and cream flavored stuff, but I tried this paleta because I figured it would probably taste better using fresh ingredients and not the artificial or “all natural flavoring” that you usually find down grocery store freezer aisles or the candy rack. Of the three I at this one was the best. A big smile formed on my face every time a bite captured both the creamy strawberry flavor and a bit of basil. What a glorious combination!

Yay for Pop Nation!