Monday, March 23, 2015

Cheetos USA Sweetos Cinnamon Sugar Puffs

I know this is a "Lay's" blog... but every once in a while I have to digress. I mean, how could I NOT do a taste test on these Limited Edition Spring Cheetos?? These crazy looking things are "Cinnamon Sugar Puffs" and are cutely shaped like decorated Easter Eggs. I really loved these. They are a little bigger than a quarter and have the texture of Cheetos Cheese Puffs. The flavor is similar to a Mexican Churro, (or the cinnamon twists from Taco Bell) with the Cinnamon and Sugar flavor. But I also got an aftertaste that kind of reminded me of Butter. That was the only semi-weirdness, because these were pretty dang delicious. I took these to the park with my nieces and nephews who loved them, and then the next day had them in a hotel room in Vegas being devoured by late-night drinkers.... so LITERALLY this bag can be for anybody and any occasion. I think it's a pretty big win for Cheetos.
... and just a little fun fact for those in the "Cheetos have to be Cheesy" camp (I used to be that person)... Cheetos have always been Cheesy (or Cheese and Jalepeno-y) here in the States. But, a lot of other Countries brand Cheetos completely differently. In Colombia, Cheetos are a plain corn crunchy snack. In Korea, the standard flavor is BBQ. Sweet Cheetos have been made in Yogurt and Strawberry flavor too... so the Cinnamon Sugar idea isn't that odd.
I love to see these fun and odd ideas see the light of day here in the US, especially when executed well. For me, this is a pick up... and you better swoop on it soon before it's limited run is over. It's not exclusive to any stores, but I found mine again in the Target seasonal section (next to some yummy looking seasonal Angie's popcorn in flavors like Lime White Chocolate mmm). If you love Cheetos or Churros you gotta give this a try!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Frito-Lay Central America Kachitos Arepitas Mantequilla

This was a weird but fun bag to try. The bizarre story of determining what these actually are begins as such: My cousin brought these with him from Bolivia... but I'm guessing these were imported from Central America to Bolivia because the back of the bag lists off several Central American countries that it may be sold in, and no South American countries like Bolivia... and since it is pretty far from that region I think it was imported (I've seen it before, Sweden doesn't carry Lay's but some stores get the Danish ones that are meant for just Denmark).
The bag is filled with corn tortilla rounds called Kachitos Arepitas, in the flavor of "Mantequilla" which is Spanish for "Butter".
Now, I'm Colombian, so I know that Arepitas is a nickname for small-Arepas.

Arepas are these DELICIOUS cake/bread/pancake things made of corn... they look like thick tortillas.

In many Countries, Arepas are cut open and stuffed... but in some places, like Colombia, they are eaten just plain with melted Butter (or a piece of cheese) on top. They are pure delicious-ness in any recipe, but I love them plain with Butter. So, when I saw they were called Arepitas with Butter flavor, I thought YUM YUM, I've had something like these before!
In Colombia, there is a brand of chips called "Yupi" and they manufacture "Tosti Arepa", a tortilla chip flavored like Butter that are literally mini-Arepas. They are frikin awesome! If you can find them, I recommend them.

So, I cracked this bag open looking for the smell of Butter... but I couldn't find it... weird... then I smelled Cheese... like Aged Cheese... weird...
I tasted one... it tasted like Cheese... weird...
I flipped the bag over and read the ingredients... "queso"... that means Cheese... wtf was going on here!!?

I had another chip, I could taste the Butter come through as a secondary flavor. But it was no match for the Cheesiness. I figured the bag just didn't taste good, I mean, it say's "Butter" flavor, but it just doesn't taste like "Butter". A little investigating, and now, I think I understand what is going on.
I THINK, Kachitos are cheese flavored... like, always. I THINK, the standard base flavor is Nacho Cheese... very similar to Nacho Cheese "Doritos".
There are several bags of Kachitos brand products, but I believe the main bag is called "Kachitos Nachos: Clasico" and they are Nacho Cheese flavor. They are rounds and the bag shows off some liquid Nacho Cheese. This would explain why the Cheese flavor is not mentioned on the outer packaging of these. And the "Arepitas" bag is distinguished solely by it's addition of "Butter" flavor.

Here is a picture of the other options in the Kachitos collection.
The only evidence I have to support this crazy theory I have is that the Red bag pictured on the left is listed as "Kachitos Antojitos: Picante" flavor (Snacks: Spicy) but on Kachitos facebook page the flavor is described as 'Bacon and Cheese flavored with a hint of spice' and seeing as how the shape of the chips in that bag match the shape in the "Kachitos Clasicos: Bacon Queso" bag... It would be another example of them presuming someone knows the "Classic" flavor and only describing the bag by the additional flavor.

IT IS SO CONFUSING!! So basically all of these bags are Nacho Cheese flavored, whether they say it or not.

So what is my final review of this misleading bag of chips?? Well, I think for a chip similar to Doritos, it was actually pretty good. The cheese flavor was well developed and didn't overwhelm the chip. The Butter flavor comes through and gives the chip a fun, decadent taste. The crunch is well done, and you taste the yummy corn chip flavor. The color was nice. It was a tasty tortilla chip. However, I feel that the confusion about the flavor was distracting and frankly, poor branding. Since there are chips that exist that are butter flavored, others could very well have the same expectation I did. If I wasn't writing a blog and investigating, it would have quickly gone in the trash, I would have thought the chips were rancid... really. Because the flavor was so far away from what the bag said.
But, from a position of knowing that it is a Nacho Cheese flavored chip, I think it's worth a taste. If you like "Doritos", or even "Chili Cheese Fritos", I think you will enjoy these.


BONUS ROUND: It looks like Taco Bell Panama does in fact see these as comparable to "Fritos", because just like Taco Bell USA has stuffed "Fritos" into all their delicious treats, so has Panama done with "Kachitos"... so if you want to try some fun food in Central America, check out these beauties that are available now.


PS If anyone has any more insight into what the actual Kachitos flavors in each bag are please comment below or message me. I'd love to know!!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Gotta Get At This: Lay's South Africa Prego Sauce Flavour

Lay's South Africa has a new flavor that South African and Portuguese fans will probably enjoy. This bag is Prego Sauce flavored... NO, Not THAT Prego Sauce. Prego Sauce is a Portuguese Sauce used on Prego which is Flank Steak that has been tenderized. Prego can usually be found in Prego Rolls, which are sandwiches made of Prego inside of Portuguese bread (called "Paposeco") with Prego Sauce on top. The Prego Sauce itself is a creamy, bright orange, Portuguese sauce made with vinegar, garlic, onion, spices, bay leaves, other herbs and a hint of Chilli's. The Portuguese sandwich is a favorite in South Africa and now the sauce flavor can be found here in this bag. The bag is a Limited Edition release to coincide with the 2015 Cricket World Cup, with this bag and the regular range potentially carrying tickets to the Cricket World Cup in a random bag. Love the promotion, and the unique flavor, very fun. Looks good South Africa.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Love is in the air: Lay's Canada Wavy Milk Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

Are you missing the Wavy Milk Chocolate Covered Lay's from Christmas? Well hurry up and drive to Canada, because our Northern Neighbors have released the bag in celebration of Valentine's Day. I'm guessing that just like it was a seasonal Holiday item here, the same will apply to this batch, meaning it may be gone very very soon. Canadians who want to read my review of the American bag can check it out here. They are definitely a home run, and I'm looking forward to them making their return next Christmas.

So what are you waiting for, get your passport and GO!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Contest: Lay's Greece Μάντεψε τη γεύση Mystery Bags

The thrill of the secret bags is coming to Greece! Greece has launched their Μάντεψε τη γεύση (Guess the Taste) Mystery Flavor contest. The rules are simple, Greek consumers can hit up their local shop that carries Lay's and pickup any of the 3 Mystery Bags; Purple, Blue, or Green. Then they are asked to guess the flavors and submit those guesses to www.LaysGuess.Gr And The bags might be giving up a couple of hints...
 The Purple Bag (#2) shows off Tomato's and Peppers and Onions, The Blue Bag (#1) shows off Chicken and a variety of spices, and the Green Bag (#3) shows off Cheese and Scallions. Could these be the ingredients in each bag?
Each bag represents a dish created by award-winning Chef Hector Botrini. If you guess a flavor correctly you'll win 10,000 Euros. (NOT BADDD)

So, what do you think these could be? Have you tried one? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Lay's USA Simply Lay's Sea Salted Thick Cut Potato Chips

Well well... Here is a US bag I've never seen nor heard of. I was driving from Phoenix, AZ to LA after enjoying the Superbowl weekend festivities (my Pats won, eeeee), when I pulled into a random truck stop for gas. The place was massive and on my way down the chip aisle I discovered these. I figured I had to pick them up. They're called Simply Lay's and they make a very clear distinction that they are free of artificial flavors and preservatives, as well as being thick-cut. The ingredients list is wonderfully short; just Potatoes, Expeller Pressed Sunflower Oil, and Sea Salt. I ripped this bag open mid-drive and taste tested them. And sadly, they were very very very unimpressive. The Salt Level was flat out scary. It was like licking a salt brick. I figure this is done to compensate for the cheap quality of flavor in the potatoes Lay's uses (literally the chip alone was flavorless), and also to compensate for the lack of crazy oil mixes they use that usually impart flavor in their chips (like Corn and Canola). The chips were beautiful and had a nice yellow color with very rare burnt bits. I included a chip in this photo for you to see how large the chips were on average. Most were bigger than the Lay's logo (this is the large $3.49 bag to give you a size comparison)... and VERY few were broken, which was cool. But, these chips had something just straight-weird going on with the texture. The closest thing I can compare it to is staleness. The chips are thick cut, so they have a hard crunch, but then the center is kind of soft, and somehow the combo makes them taste very stale... and I don't know if it was legitimate staleness due to the lack of preservatives or just because these chips are wack... it was very weird and off-putting. The weirdest thing though was, the freshness of the sunflower oil. See, with such a flavorless chip, after I ate a few chips and drove, I started to get that taste you have after you eat shelled sunflower seeds. The nutty but light flavor of Sunflower. Since I was driving, not reading the bag, I didn't connect the dots, and I thought it was suspicious (hmm, why do I feel like I just ate Sunflower seeds? Weird) but, reading that the oil comes untarnished from an expeller press, it makes perfect sense that the oil would retain it's maximum flavor and infuse that into these chips. So, I have to give them a bit of kudos for the quality of the cooking oil. But, sadly that's where it ends.

I'd love to see them use a more flavorful, and high quality, potato for these bags. And generally, you find that kind of flavor in smaller potatoes than those Goliath slices I was pulling out of the bag. I'd also like that flavor to speak for itself, so a less heavy handed approach to the salt would have been welcomed. If both of those elements had been on point, I could forgive the weird texture.

At the moment, this is not the healthy alternative to Lay's that I would be looking for.
And in regards to that, I'm sure Lay's know it's not up to snuff, because a little internet digging told me that this bag started it's life as "Natural Lay's" then "Simply Natural Lay's". Since then, the term "Natural" has received quite some criticism, so the collection was re-branded as "Simply Lay's" in January of last year... which is a much more suitable name for what is in this bag.

All in all, I like what they were attempting to do with this product, I'd just love to see it perfected.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Lay's USA Do Us A Flavor Contest 2015: Tastes of America

It's back-back y'all! Lay's has relaunched their hit contest "Do Us A Flavor" this year with the subtitle "Tastes of America". They want contestants to submit flavors that are reminiscent of their own hometowns. Contestants can head on over to www.DoUsAFlavor.com to submit their entries before March 30th 2015. Starting August 10th, 4 finalist flavors will be available to buy and try on store shelves, and final voting closes in October.
2 years ago we got the predictable but delicious "Cheesy Garlic Bread" out of this contest, and last year's contest recently crowned the surprise hit "Wasabi Ginger"... so the game could play out any which way. We'll have to see!
Sooo, what are you gonna submit this year? Any home town flavors that are inspiring you? Is there a regional flavor you miss from your youth you want to see captured in chip form? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below. And Good Luck!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Lay's USA Wavy Dark Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

HEADS UP! These are available right now in the Holiday Clearance section of Target. Hoard up!

This year, Lay's introduced the Dark Chocolate variant of their existing Holiday treat of Milk Chocolate covered Chips. 
I used to be a huge Dark Chocolate fan, but more recently, I've been choosing Milk Chocolate over Dark... so, I'm pre-warning you guys that this review may possibly be biased. I will nitpick after this notice: If you are a Dark Chocolate fan, just go buy these now, you don't need to read what I'm saying.

As with my review of the Wavy Milk Chocolate covered chips, you can see the lovely perfectly golden chips peeking out from the underside of the chocolate coating. The chips are beautifully even and crunchy with just the right thickness to carry the chocolate. The Chocolate is smooth and shiny (although some of these I ate had that white dusty old chocolate look, but that didn't effect taste). The Chocolate, in my opinion, is too thick. The ratio of Chocolate to Chip is about 2:1, so you are basically eating Dark Chocolate with a bit of Chip. Where the Milk Chocolate succeeds is that the Sweet Chocolate contrasts nicely against the Salty Chips... sadly, that can't be said for this bag. Instead, the Dark Chocolate is bitter and only semi-sweet paired with the Potato Chip. This just doesn't stir up the same interesting contrast for me. Maybe if you are not a fan of Sweet, or you like flavors that are tepid and subtle, you would appreciate this bag more than I did. But, for me, the small bag and $3.99 price tag are too much for a bag that I didn't necessarily love. It was fun to try, but not my favorite.
So... Did you love this? Do you disagree? Let us know in the comments below. Happy Hunting!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Lay's USA Wavy Milk Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

HEADS UP! These can now be found in the Holiday Clearance section at Target. Hoard up!

So I finally got to taste the Holiday Lay's Spectacular known as Milk Chocolate covered Lay's. Wowser. These are delicious. The smell from the bag is wonderful. DECADENT Chocolate... mmm. The chips themselves are thick and sturdy Wavy cuts. Usually the Chocolate only covers one side of the chips, so you can see a lovely perfectly cooked yellow underside. The bottom showcases Lay's USA's concerted effort to improve their chip quality which is not going unnoticed. In contrast to the crunchy, perfectly salted chip, is the sweet, luxurious Chocolate coating. For me, as a non-junk food eater in my everyday life outside of this blog, the Chocolate felt VERY heavy handed. The ratio of Chocolate to Chips was about 2:1. It's a doubley thick layer of Milk Chocolate on top. Even with that thick layer of Milk Chocolate, this all comes together wonderfully. The saltiness of the chips contrasted by the sweet of the Chocolate is a such a great combination, and I really have to credit that to the quality of both elements. The Chocolate is smooth, creamy, and sweet... much better quality that most candy bars. The bag may be a bit small, and $3.99 is kind of overpriced for the small bag, and I think the Chocolate could be a bit thinner on top... but I can't really complain about any of that, because the chips are just so GOOD!
So, have you tried these? Did you love them like I did? Let us know in the comments below.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Gotta Get At This: Lay's Portugal Gourmet Colors and Artesanas Snacks de Milho

2 new bags from Portugal...
Lay's Gourmet colors, using naturally colored potatoes. The Gourmet line already contains one bag of just simple gorgeous salted chips. These are Awesome, I have not seen a cool bag like this from Lay's before. It probably looks fantastic poured in a bowl at a party!
Lay's Artesanas Snacks de Milho (Corn Chips). The Artesanas line exists in a few different countries, but I don't think I've seen it include Corn Chips before. This bag is flavored with Salt, Pepper, and a touch of Garlic. Sounds YUM.

So here are some new Portuguese bags for you to hunt down in your foodie adventures. Let us know in the comments if you get the pleasure of tasting these beauties. Enjoy!