Sunday, March 24, 2019

Arizona Nachos n' Cheese Dip Combo Tray (Dollar Tree)

I mean, aside from being totally pointless, these aren't bad.
I always thought Arizona was a beverage brand, mostly known for their collection of teas. But lo and behold, I stumbled on a tray of Arizona Nachos and Cheese at Dollar Tree, which I'm assuming is their attempt to break into the food market. Either that, or Dollar Tree bought all their stock of these because it was their failed attempt to break into the food market. 

At any rate, I was as intrigued as I was hesitant, so I decided to give them a shot.

As can be expected, we get a ton of salty, round chips, and quite a bit of salty, disgusting-looking nacho cheese. Prepwork is easy: simply peel the plastic off, and throw this in the microwave, chips and all. I was a little alarmed right off the bat, because the cheese is literally just that...cheese. I expected it to be in its own container, but nope...it's pre-filled right in the crevice. I guess it's no different than the Lunchables nachos, but it was still kind of gross, especially considering it's a lumpy, sickly-looking texture that reminded me of snot. Even a few seconds in the microwave didn't change that.

If you can get past the gross texture, it tastes about on par with most similar products, so your fondness for gas station and stadium nacho cheese will largely decide whether or not this is the snack for you. The cheese also has some red and green things floating in it...I'm just going to go ahead and assume that they are peppers, and leave it at that. The peppers don't add much in the way of heat, nor flavor, so it seems that they are thrown in for visual appeal more than anything else.

Curiously, at the bottom of the tray is the logo of a Blue Luna Cafe, which has locations in New York, Paris, London, and Rome, and probably far away from any Dollar Tree locations. It's kind of a weird little advertisement, but there must be some kind of reasoning behind it.* 

*After a little online search, these chips are manufactured under the Blue Luna brand name. Rather oddly, however, there is no evidence of any locations in New York, Paris, London, or Rome as the ad on the tray bottom insinuates...the only one that exists is in Mexico, and it appears to be totally unrelated. The only other info I could find is an old Facebook page for a Blue Luna Cafe, with the same logo, that suddenly stopped posting things in 2014, as well as an article from 1998 (yes, the year that occurred 21 years ago) about AriZona's “first foray into food”, which is referring to these food trays. The AriZona website currently lists nothing about these under the “Chips” category, which made me think they were being offered as a closeout product, but I've seen them off and on at various Dollar Tree's throughout the years, so it seems to be a pretty consistent inventory item.

Overall: 5.5/10. This snack tray, from the AriZona brand most associated with large canned beverages, is strongly reminiscent in taste of the chip and cheese trays you get at ballpark concession stands (or gas station convenience stores), which should automatically tell you whether or not it's the kind of product for you. If you do enjoy those (and I have to say I do) then you will probably dig these, as the cheese has that fake-but-oh-so-inviting flavor you've come to expect from stadium nachos, but for a fraction of the price you'd get gouged for at a sporting venue. I don't think I would pick these up again, simply because I never really have a craving for stadium nachos unless I'm in an actual stadium (something about the atmosphere seems to make them oh so inviting), but these certainly make for a passable snack at a decent price.



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