Friday, December 30, 2011

Walkers UK Salt & Vinegar

mmm. Walkers Salt & Vinegar. These just make me stupidly happy. Walkers, as usual, offers up a scrumptious, light, perfectly crisp chip. It's full of potato flavor (100% British Potato flavor lol). Perfect potato yummyness. The seasoning on these is light and evenly applied. The overwhelming difference between these and the US Lay's is the amount of Vinegar used. While the US counterpart burns your mouth and feels soaked in Vinegar; these are comfortably seasoned with Vinegar. Walkers seems to be making chips for people who want to eat a POTATO chip with Vinegar on it. These don't burn, or make you overwhelmingly thirsty. They are just a simple seasoned bag of chips. All around, this is a fantastic bag of chips, it trusts that the eater doesn't need to be overwhelmed with seasoning, even a flavor as delicious as Vinegar. This bag, just like the Kettle Cooked counterpart from the US, is just made for a different Vinegar chip fan. This is the bag for someone who doesn't need to be smacked in the face with Vinegar to enjoy it's combination with a rich, salty, crispy potato. Grab these at a local British Grocer or on Amazon... they are really some of the best chips around. Highly recommend!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Lay's USA Kettle Cooked Sea Salt & Vinegar

You should read my last 2 posts to find out how I suddenly got really into these Kettle Cooked Lay's. They are pretty addictive. They're all crunchy and potato-y and yummy. Anyways, here's a quickie. The Vinegar on these is bomb, a little bit less abrasive compared to the regularly cooked Salt and Vinegar chips, but still pretty strong stuff. It doesn't burn your lips but you are still getting a good kick on the tongue. The chips have that stiff Kettle Cooked crunch to them and a nice potato flavor.
I would say if you were looking at both on the shelf and debating which one to buy; these are the ones you get when you want a more potato flavored, thicker cut, crunchy experience with a zing... and the regular Lay's would be for when you want a lighter, airy chip with a ton of Vinegar on it. They are both good, just depends on your preference. As for the Sea Salt, it just makes you want them more (its a marketing thing), flavor wise, salt is salt. You aren't getting big chunks of salt so it doesn't really make a difference. The only difference comes in the fact that they are fried in small batches which help it retain potato taste. I think I would crave these somedays and the regular Salt and Vinegar Lay's on other days. Either way, it's a bomb flavor. MMM.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Lay's USA Kettle Cooked Jalapeño

The Kettle Cooked line from Lay's got me really excited for domestic US Lay's chips again, especially because the flavor offerings are a bit more exciting. On another note; I've also been introducing a lot of new flavors into my diet, and only started eating Jalapeños this year... but they quickly became a veggie I get excited about. Anyways, when I stumbled across this bag at a little convenience store I got really excited and nervous at the same time. I wanted to try them, but I'm still a pepper novice and was scared these would melt my face off. I bought em anyway.
These have the awesome texture of Lay's Kettle Cooked. They aren't rock hard like most Kettle chips, they are perfectly crunchy and a bit thicker than a regular chip. They have a nice rich potato-y flavor that comes out through the thicker chip. The seasoning is light and evenly applied and when you do pick it up on your palate it is almost like having a fresh cut piece of Jalapeño on your chip. It wasn't insanely hot at all, in fact it was subtle and refreshing. I was shocked by how great this bag of chips was, especially because I don't usually finish a whole bag so quickly and these were gone pretty fast. The Jalapeño came across very lively, and had a very "fresh Jalapeño" taste to them. To find an imperfection, I would say there was maybe too much garlic seasoning, because some chips had a weird creamy/cheesy taste to them (I know garlic is not dairy, but that was the only ingredient on the list that could possibly account for that weird cheesyish taste). I would say this seasoning was like 90% of the way to perfection. But, if you like fresh Jalapeños this chip is definitely for you.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Lay's USA Kettle Cooked Creamy Mediterranean Herb

Kettle chips are way too crunchy. That is just how I feel. I paid a lot of money to have nice teeth and I always feel like Kettle chips are gonna snap a piece off. Then I found Lay's Kettle Cooked, and my whole world changed.
Lay's has found the PERFECT balance of crunch and crisp with their line of Kettle Cooked chips. They have an awesome crunchy texture compared to plain chips, but without going overboard and making potato flavored rocks.
The first flavor I tried was the Creamy Mediterranean Herb. The potato was what I dream of from a Kettle cooked chip texturally; and the texture, along with the cooking method, really helped to bring out the potato flavor in the chip. Now, here is the downside to this bag... the seasoning. Unfortunately, I was NOT astounded by this flavoring. It tasted like Italian salad dressing and Ranch salad dressing had a baby. No joke. I make a lot of Italian dressing at home and this was SPOT-ON the flavor of the flavor packet. But with the added twist that it is creamy, it also reminds me of the Ranch dressing seasoning mix (because it's creamy not because these taste like Ranch). Anyways, I didn't like the creamy element. I thought these would taste much nicer, and less heavy or rich, if they were just "Mediterranean Herb" flavored. The other problem was these were soooo over-seasoned. It really is unnecessary for Lay's to drench these chips in seasoning when a little would go a long way (especially with flavors this intense). So, my honest feelings are that, while these chips have a awesome texture and flavor alone, this particular seasoning just was too overwhelming. The Kettle Cooked line are for sure my favorite chips made by Lay's US and my favorite Kettle style chips, but this flavor is a mess. Meh.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Lay's USA Salt & Vinegar

Hey hey, here's a review of one of my favorite flavors.... Salt and Vinegar, mmm. This is Lay's US's version of S&V. These chips pack a punch, and I highly suggest eating these with lip balm or a tall glass of water or both. Ok, so we've got the chip, these are huge slices of HUGE potatoes! They don't taste very potato-y but you get a hint of the flavor. They have that weird over-fried texture that Lay's have here. I wish I had taken a picture, because I was getting chips here that were almost the size of my whole hand. The flavor in this bag is awesome, but like most of these Lay's they are seasoned heavy-handedly. I think for the cut of potato, and the lack of flavor the base has, it somehow works. It's like the Salt and Vinegar pick up the slack for the potato. This is the kind of Vinegar flavor that starts to burn every crease of your lips before you're halfway through the bag. The best word I can use to describe it is "potent". The vinegar is bright, tangy, and certainly wakes up your palate; while the salt seems to cut through it and bring the whole thing together. These are a fun bag of chips to snack on, and I've already picked them up twice since. My mom and dad love them now too. If you are a vinegar lover these are drenched in it so you will like them for sure. For me personally, while I like the flavor, I can barely eat half a bag without burning my lips and giving up.
PS, I got these in 2 different bags, I am trying to figure out if there is a difference; got one labeled "all natural" (top left) and another without the label... I didn't notice a taste difference though.

Lay's USA Garden Tomato & Basil

So here's my first review of domestic US Lay's which are not really my favorite chips. I mean they are pretty good for what is available in the US but they will always be a less flavorful, over-fried potato, with TOO much seasoning. That is just how it is. But, since they are the common, easy to find chip, I still like to go out and try the different flavors... ever hopeful I'll find the diamond in the rough.

So we'll get to business, here's a bag of Lay's Garden Tomato and Basil, part of their regionally inspired flavors. These are inspired by the Mid-West and are available nationwide. Let's talk about the potato; the chips are relatively large, the texture is a bit rough, and the chip has very little potato flavor. My biggest complaint is how these are fried. It seems they are over-fried, like they are left to long in the oil or something. As for the seasoning, which there is WAY too much of; it doesn't really taste like garden tomato and basil necessarily. It's got a really nice flavor, but I wouldn't really use the word "Garden", in my mind, it tastes more like Tomato and Basil pasta sauce. Because the chip doesn't have a noticeable potato flavor, and is just a blank canvas starch, the taste is like tomato basil sauce and pasta. In my opinion it doesn't really have a fresh from the garden taste to it whatsoever, and for that reason and the other issues I talked about, it doesn't receive high marks from me. But, if you are a fan of Lay's chips and are looking for an interesting flavor then you can give these a try. Don't get me wrong, they are far from inedible; they're actually tasty, but by comparison they are over-fried, over-seasoned, and the flavor is inaccurate. A quick fix would be to ease up on the flavoring and label them "Tomato and Basil pasta sauce", but in the end the quality of the chip will always hinder the taste of Lay's. It's not a complete misfire, but not a favorite.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Walkers UK Tomato Ketchup

Full disclosure: Ketchup Chips are not my thing. I've got friends who RAVE about how much they love Ketchup chips but I've never really been a fan (save for some freshly made chips from a lil joint at the Shops at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, mmm). So, here's a bag of Walkers Tomato Ketchup.
We've got a perfectly made 100% British Potato crisp. Full of robust potato flavor, perfectly fried, just enough crispy crunch to satisfy. Seasoning is a reddish color, flavor is bright and sweet, definitely ketchup, evenly applied with a delicate hand. The potato flavor shines through. This reminded me instantly of "In N Out" French Fries with Ketchup. "In N Out" is a US West Coast hamburger chain, known for using fresh potatoes that they slice and fry right before serving. When served up with delish Heinz Ketchup they have a very distinctive taste compared to any ol' fries. (In my fantasy, they would taste like In N Out's Animal Fries... but I digress. ) These chips are just like having the yummy fried potato strings simply dressed in Ketchup. It was crazy coming to the realization mid-chew.

If you love fresh cut fries and ketchup, these were made for you and I think you'll love them. They still haven't got me converted, but I know a well made chip when I taste one, and these are bomb.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Walkers UK Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli

Here's a quickie, I only had a handful of these because my British friend had picked them out for himself and I instead opted for Worcester Sauce... but what I tried was awesome! These are the Walkers Sensations line: Thai Sweet Chilli. They're sweet and spicy and delicious lol. All I recall is that the idea of Thai Chilli had scared me away, but after some convincing I tried one. It hits you with a lot of sweet flavor at first and the heat creeps up on you. I'm not a hot food lover; these were not just bearable, they were actually enjoyable. It's made for people who like a kick of spice, not palate sadists. It's a really well rounded and exciting flavor. As for the 100% British Potatoes, they, as always, were beyond perfect. Flavorful, rich, and potato-y. mmm. I will for sure be giving this bag another try next time I hit up the British grocer. Highly recommend.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Walkers UK Worcester Sauce

These are SOOO GOOOD. This is a scrumptious bag of Walker's Worcester Sauce crisps. I grabbed these darlings at a great little British Grocer in L.A. and was really hesitant because I wasn't sure if I'd ever tasted Worcester sauce before. I haven't, so I don't have a comparison for these... but delicious is delicious, so it doesn't really matter. The potato is Walkers, 100% British potatoes, and seriously, they're some of the best. Walkers makes Lay's look like deep fried cardboard. They are potato-y, the perfect texture, perfect level of crispness and crunch. They are just great chips. The flavor was awesome; it was a hint meaty, with lots of bite like a salt and vinegar chip would have (but not as strong). Walkers never over-season, so it was a great balance between rich flavor, acidic tang, and hearty potato. These instantly became some of my favorite chips. I highly recommend these. They aren't terribly hard to find, at least not in Southern California... I think they are even on Amazon too.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Margarita Colombia Costillitas BBQ Caramelizadas

Finally, the winner of Margarita's 2011 Flavor contest "Un Sabor Para Ganar"... drumroll please... The Winner is....
Costillitas BBQ Caramelizadas de Daniel!! (English: Daniel's Caramelized BBQ Ribs)

"Wait, really??"

That was my reaction when I heard this was the winner.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself, first, lets talk about this chip. Again, Margarita produces an AWESOME potato product; delicious, light, crunchy, potato-y, everything you want in a chip. The seasoning is rich and meaty, a bit like traditional US BBQ chips, but sweet, and you can taste the caramelized sauce. It was a good chip. And if I had tried it alone would have considered it a well executed sweet BBQ chip. BUT it wasn't alone. It was in a contest to win a permanent spot on store shelves against 2 unique and awesome other bags of chips. And my judgement was that the other 2 were in a whole 'nother league.
SO, how the HELL did this flavor win??
My guess is Colombia just really loves meat. It's a country where steaks are common mall food court offerings. Beef is fairly abundant there and eaten often. So maybe they're meat obsessed.
but maybe... this was all a con by Frito Lay, because .... HAMBURGUESA WAS ROBBED!!!! Hamburguesa deserved to win and we all know it!!

I'm sorry, I'm still a bit emotional about all this.

Anyways, if you like BBQ chips/ meaty chips, these are really nice. The seasoning is a little unique because of the caramelized flavor. You can pick them up whenever because they are allegedly becoming a full time flavor, so no rush. I don't think these are worthy of booking a flight to Colombia, or spending hours online trying to track down. But I think if you come across them they will make you happy. The best part for sure, in my opinion is the high quality potato, that alone make Margarita's worthy of a try.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Margarita Colombia Onduladas Salsa Carbonara

Bag 2 of 3 from the Margarita Flavor contest. Flavor: Juan Camilo's Carbonara Sauce aka Salsa Carbonara de Juan Camilo in Spanish. This is the second bag i'm reviewing from the contest recently held by Margarita Chips from Colombia. This are Onduladas, basically Ruffles. Let's talk about the chip, it's nicely cut... with Ruffles you generally don't have much variation across countries because they all kind of taste the same. They're thick and crunchy. You do get a bit more potato flavor out of the chip but it's not really noticeable because of the seasoning. The seasoning is crazy, if you are a bacon fan this will definitely appeal to you in a way that I don't know if we've seen before. Because this is based on a cream sauce, its got the creaminess of, say, a cheese flavored chip or ranch flavor. But, it still tastes like Bacon. I don't eat a lot of Carbonara dishes... so I've just been describing it to friends as "Creamy Bacon". That is really the best way to describe it. If you are a bacon chip fan, this is a must try, its incredibly unique. It was also my second favorite of the 3 flavors, behind Hamburger. Unfortunately, this too was not the winner and will soon be discontinued. So, if you think this is something you wanna try, hunt it down now.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Margarita Colombia Hamburguesa A La Brasa

These might be one of my favorite bags of chips I've ever had. This is a bag of Margarita chips from Colombia. Flavor: Claudia's Grilled Hamburger or Hamburguesa a la Brasa de Claudia. These were 1 of 3 flavors to take part in a contest to pick a new permanent flavor for Margarita. 3 Chefs were chosen from online submissions to create 3 flavors. After several months on store shelves one would be chosen as the new flavor.
The potato itself is perfect texture; light, airy, and tastes like potato, as it should. The texture is comparable to Walkers. The seasoning is on point; it is just SOOO good. You get a savory meaty bbq'd hamburger taste, but that is beneath the tangy mustard, hint of ketchup, and kick of pickle. The chip itself kind of conveys the bread taste. It's an entire burger in a chip and will trip you out the first time you taste it.
Sadly, these did not win the hearts or votes of the Colombian public, so they are being discontinued. My cousin is grabbing me a couple dozen before they run out, so I highly recommend tracking these down before they are gone forever.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Lay's France Max Pizza Pepperoni

Here's a bag of Lay's Max from France, comparable to Ruffles here in the States. Flavor: Pizza Pepperoni. Now, I've never been to France, but if this is their idea of Pizza I feel horrible for an entire nation. The crisps are fine, the texture is on point and has a hearty potato taste. The crunchiness is what you would expect from a thicker ruffled chip. But the flavor is a hot mess. Literally. Imagine, if you will, a sad slice of cafeteria pizza, now take off the cheap pepperoni, drain the neon orange grease, pour it on some plain Ruffles... and Voila! You have a bag of Pizza Pepperoni Lay's Max. The chips are even the color of pepperoni grease. They're spicy, meaty, and greasy. You do get a hint of that pork-y taste, but it is subtle and hidden behind the italian style spices and grease taste. Now, maybe I misunderstood (there is a bit of a language barrier); I saw the Pizza image on the bag and assumed it was "Pepperoni Pizza" flavor and expected Pizza taste. But, it does say "Pizza Pepperoni" so it is probably only supposed to taste like the greasy meat slices, and I believe that is what it is intended to taste like. So to a certain degree they were successful, it does taste like Pepperoni. The problem here is that it tastes like depressing hospital food Pepperoni. I haven't been able to finish the bag, and I've given some away to fellow chip lovers who also didn't really like them. I think if you love late night gas station pizza then you'll enjoy the flavor, but it was just too much like Pizza grease for me to enjoy it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Lay's France Poulet Roti et Thym

Here's a LOVELY bag of Lay's from France. Flavor: Roast Chicken and Thyme or Poulet Roti et Thym in French. The potato has a delicate light crunch, not as smoothly crisp as Walkers, almost seemed a bit thinner. The seasoning was perfectly applied, you could see herbs on each chip. The flavor was more like a roasted Thanksgiving Turkey as opposed to a roast Chicken, but it was still really yummy. If you like really savory, meaty flavors this is a nice bag. I recommend if you see them, pick em up.


Welcome to The Chip Report. Whenever I feel like it, and with no sense of obligation to my readers, I will be posting some photos of Chips, Crisps, or Papitas... along with a mediocre review. Enjoy.