Monday, March 16, 2020

Trader Joe's Scalloped Potato Chips with Five Cheeses (Trader Joe's)

Dear God these are incredible.

We were at TJ's for the first time in over three years, when these caught my eye on the "What's New?" endcap (a little ironic, considering half the store was new to us since it had been so long). Even though I really like potato chips, I did hesitate grabbing them for a second, figuring that it would taste like other cheese chips, but I finally grabbed a bag, curious to see what Trader Joe's could do with such a standard item. Beyond that, they were only $2.49 for a 6 oz. bag, which isn’t an outstanding value, but still cheaper than national brands.

I decided to crack these open one of the growing number of evenings where the cupboards were virtually bare and I was being run around by our three-year-old, mostly against my will. For some reason, we always used to be great about going to the grocery store on a schedule, but lately, it seems we always find excuses not to go, no matter how bad we need things. And that’s the mindset that leads to eating chips as a dinner appetizer.

Holy hell, I did not expect the flavor explosion that immediately befell my tastebuds, nor did I expect to find what can nearly be called the perfect chip. These are excellent, from texture on down to flavor.

And let’s start with the texture, shall we? I have to be honest: I’m not exactly sure what a “scalloped” chip is, but they seem to be somewhere between a regular chip, and a kettle chip in the crunch-o-meter, which is the name of the official device used to measure the crunchiness of a potato chip. While that might sound like a gray area that doesn’t need to exist, I find that, while most regular chips are crunchy enough, some kettle chips do go a bit overboard into almost teeth-shattering levels of crunchiness, so really, the middle ground between the two is a rather wide area that should be explored.

Now the flavor: oh man, it’s very, very good. It plays things smart by sticking only to flavors that can be replicated fairly well on a chip: cheeses. Five of them, to be exact, as you can tell by reading the front of the bag. But, unlike many other cheese-flavored chips, these somehow manage not only to avoid being overwhelming (which five of anything can easily do), but also avoid tasting like excess salt. In fact, salt content seems to be slightly less than the average chip, at 6% per 1 oz. serving (assuming the default 2,000 calorie diet). Every flavor is balanced just right, so that one doesn’t overtake the other, and while I won’t lie and say that I can differentiate the taste between every kind of cheese (romano, cheddar, provolone, asiago, and parmesan, for those that might be interested), the combined effect of them is way more delicious than I ever would have expected to be possible in potato chip form. And because of this, they go down way too easy.

About the only complaint I can come up with is that the chips still manage to be a little bit greasy—pair that up with the generous amount of seasoning and you have a snack that’s every bit as messy and gross as all the rest of them—but outside of that minor quibble, this is easily one of the best-tasting potato chips I’ve ever had. I also won’t lie and say that I will frequently go out of my way to grab these (our closest Trader Joe’s, while not a super long haul, is 15 minutes away), but I’ll definitely be sure to grab a bag of these any time I’m in the store.

Here’s to hoping it won’t be another three years.

Overall: 9.5/10. They’re still greasy and messy, and the $2.49 (for 6 oz.) price tag—although reasonable—doesn’t really scream “value”, but in terms of texture and flavor, these are some of the best chips I’ve ever had. Despite blending five cheeses, it somehow manages to avoid an overload of any specific cheese, but perhaps even more shockingly, doesn't taste overwhelmingly of salt. The end result is an enticing, cohesive combination of flavors that just demands to be binged, thanks to a nice, texture that is slightly crunchier than a typical chip, but not as teeth-shattering as some kettle chips can be. Excellent, and highly recommended.

2 comments:

  1. I love these too! My only complaint is the bags are too small. BTW, the "scalloped potato chips" name is a play on the dish scalloped potatoes, which usually has thinly sliced potatoes and is very cheesy.

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    1. Haha yes the bags definitely are too small. And I don't know how I missed that "scalloped" reference...I love scalloped potatoes! I guess my mind was just focused on the "chips" part. Thanks!

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