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Showing posts with the label chips and crisps

Kroger Now That's Cheesy! Cheese Flavored Puffed Corn Curls (Kroger)

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What you're expecting: no more, no less. Kroger’s “puffed corn curls” are perhaps better known as “cheese puffs”, as you can tell from the image on the packaging. And if there’s any one item I’ve had where virtually every brand tastes and looks exactly like the others, it’s cheese puffs. Is the formula so well known that every brand just copies off an existing recipe? Or is it just one company who has a monopoly on the cheese puff market and makes every single private label brand across the nation?  The latest challenger to this concept, Kroger, only further enhances my own beliefs on the subject: these are cheese puffs. The texture is light and airy, which is probably what you’re expecting because so is every other brand. There’s a slight crunch once you bite in, which quickly dissipates once the curl starts melting in your mouth, the way all of them are designed to do. The powdered cheese coating gets all over fingers and mouths, the way it does across the board; it is also almos

Circle K Cheddar and Sour Cream Ridged Potato Chips (Circle K)

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I know what you're thinking, and you're probably wrong. We’ve been going to Circle K a lot more all thanks to the special deals from GasBuddy and GetUpside…especially lately, with gas prices seemingly climbing every week, we can use all the help at the pump we can get. Lately, I’ve been noticing that they’ve expanded their snack selection to include their own brand of potato chips. I thought it was weird that a convenience store would have their own brand of products, but I guess it makes sense; besides 7-Eleven does it (we sadly have no more 7-Eleven stores in our neck of the woods, as they all closed down years ago).  After waffling about the idea a few times, I finally decided to grab a bag of Circle K's cheddar and sour cream rippled potato chips. Anyone who's read probably any chip review on this blog knows that I'm a huge fan of ripples over the plain flat chips, which I find to be pretty boring. (I also think the ridges do a much better job of holding the fla

Clancy's Cheese Pizza Flavored Baked Pita Puffs (Aldi)

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Cheese pizza in a bag! (Sarcasm) Here’s a little something I’m just wondering out loud: Why are chips and other snack foods always named after something they’re supposed to taste like, but very rarely do? They have buffalo wing chips, and chips made to taste like hamburgers…are we Americans so obsessed with junk foods that we even have to imagine we’re eating a different junk food than the one we’re currently eating? It just doesn’t make much sense to me. And yet here we have another such example of that trend: introducing Clancy's cheese pizza flavored pita puffs, which are available as a limited-time special buy from Aldi stores. It should come as no surprise that these don’t really taste much like pizza, although if you think about it, would we honestly even want them to? Why would anyone want a chip flavored like cheese pizza when cheese pizza itself exists? No one's like “Oh I'm hungry for pizza, but I know a great bag of chips instead.” It's one of those annoying

Meijer Cheesters Cheddar Cheese Baked Snack Crackers (Meijer)

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It started with the name "Cheesters" and still somehow managed to go downhill from there...  If there’s one product I have the utmost faith in, just based on personal experience, it would be cheese baked snack crackers. I’ve had them from a couple different places (Aldi and Dollar Tree) and both of them tasted at least pretty close to the national brand, while being far cheaper. So it is with this in mind that I sat down to a box of Cheesters Baked Snack Crackers, which is Meijer's equivalent to the national brand. First of all, before I begin, what kind of name is Cheesters? I could see if maybe it was a take-off of the national brand cheese curl (or puff), whose mascot is named Chester, but there are no references to that, and this is a totally different product altogether. Really, Meijer is just the worst when it comes to names. First, there’s Crystal Quencher, the name of their sparkling water brand, and now Cheesters? It’s almost like they’re trying to get their prod

BUDGET BREAKER: Paqui One Chip Challenge (Circle K/Various)

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Buy the hype on this one...these are hot as shit. We’re going to switch things up a little bit, because this is not a budget-minded item by any stretch of the imagination. It’s a single chip inside coffin-shaped packaging that costs $7, which I bought out of pure impulse from a gas station convenience store. Wait, what? Well, judging just from this explanation, you know it’s not just any chip, and the fact that “challenge” appears in its name should give you an even further clue as to what you should be expecting. It’s a single tortilla chip made up of Carolina Reaper and Scorpion peppers which, to my knowledge, are two of the hottest peppers on the planet. Together. On one chip. Now I understand why there were warning signs all over the display that housed these at our local Circle K. Speaking of which, out of all places, why are these being sold at Circle K? And why did I not have to show my ID when purchasing it? I mean, if these got into the wrong hands, it could scar some poor kid

Fresh Finds Crunchy Cheese Curls (Big Lots)

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Fresh Finds strikes again! We’re back with some Big Lots reviews, and let me just say: it feels like I’ve just been reunited with an old friend. Granted, that old friend has changed a lot, and mostly for the worst, over the intervening years, but if you look hard enough, you’ll find some good qualities that remind you of the old times. One thing that I have kind of missed is their Fresh Finds products, which is their own in-house food brand. Toward the end of my shopping tenure there, I had grown to really like some of the chips they offered, and was happy to see that their selections have expanded throughout the food department, with lots of trail mixes and dried fruits to choose from.  In a fit of hunger after a workout with my wife, I was determined to buy something to try, if for no other reason than to see if the brand was still as good as I remember it. After spending way too much time browsing their mostly familiar inventory - the same chips they had when I stopped going there -

Poore Brothers Kettle Cooked Jalapeno Potato Chips (Dollar Tree)

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This is a rather "Poore" example of a jalapeno chip. A couple weeks back I went to Tennessee with my wife to visit the good ol' in-laws, who just recently moved there. Most of the trip consisted of the usual: bickering over what to do and where to go. Thankfully, for a very small window, my wife agreed to accompany me on a quick trip out, just the two of us (she's attached to her parents at the hip). The point of the trip was kind of depressing—aside from a bookstore I had never heard of, we just hit up Big Lots and Dollar Tree, two places we have within a mile of our own homes—but I wanted to see just how different the inventory was between states. To my surprise, Big Lots' inventory seemed to be the most consistent from Ohio to Tennessee, at least in the few aisles that I went down. I thought, with the nature of closeouts, that inventory would vary widely, but it was pretty much exactly the things that we had at our store. Of course, any corporation is going t

Clancy's Nashville Hot Chicken Kettle Chips (Aldi)

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Nah. I gotta be honest here: I love me some fried chicken, but I’ve never had it Nashville hot chicken style. This is despite having a popular hot chicken place open up relatively close to our home about 6 or so years ago (maybe longer...it’s amazing how time disrupts all but the most steadfast memories); I made a mental note to check it out, and then, true to form, lost interest a short while later. So I figured I would live vicariously through this bag of hot chicken chips, which is being featured as an Aldi special buy. Let’s crack open the bag and see what we can get into, shall we? It actually smells pretty good...I could see it being the first smell that wafts into your nostrils as you walk into a fried chicken joint, something I haven’t done in such a long time that I’m actually kind of embarrassed. Especially since I would consider fried chicken to be one of my favorite foods, yet go months without even thinking about it. There’s the inviting hint of spices in the aroma, and y

Clancy's Cinnamon Apple Straws (Aldi)

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In my opinion, better than the national brand. My wife and I (what an adorable little gal) have this little running “joke” (if that’s even the right term) that Aldi listens to our conversations when deciding what to offer for Special Buys. This came about because it seems every single thing we say we need (or just want) - whether it be some shoes for our child, socks for me, shirts for my wife, or stuff for the home - ends up in the following week’s Aldi ad. I’m not a believer in “fate”, or any idea like that, but it really has happened enough times that it’s almost bizarre (even though I’m sure it’s just marketing and psychology doing their parts). The latest example of this: Clancy’s Cinnamon Apple Straws. My wife had just purchased the national brand apple straws just the other day (after not buying any for over a year) and, voila! That next week, Aldi’s version appears in the ad. Even though she had a couple bags of the “original” at home, I decided to splurge on Clancy’s version,

Clancy's Cantina Thin and Crispy Tortilla Chips (Aldi)

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Just a typical tortilla chip, for better or worse. I didn’t even recall seeing these on Aldi store shelves, until one day they happened to appear in a clearance cart at the front of the store for a mere $.50.  For that price, there aren’t many things I WON’T buy, so we put away the Blue Corn Tortilla Chips we had in our hands (our favorite from Aldi), and grabbed a bag of these instead.  We already had some other chips that we purchased from Trader Joe’s, but my wife was making her delicious guacamole, and the more chips, the better. We like the chips from TJ’s a lot because they’re only lightly salted, and taste a lot like chips you would get in Mexican restaurants.  They don’t taste like typical tortilla chips, and so they tend to go even better with salsas and other dips.  That’s what we were hoping we were in store for with these--a lighter chip with a big flavor and just a little salt.  That’s not really at all what we got. All these are, are your typical tortilla chips, only slig

Savoritz Four Cheese Parmesan Crisps (Aldi)

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Warning: may replace your heroin addiction. Usually I give some semi-long, rambling build-up to the actual review. This is used to "create suspense", I suppose, but also to feel like I’m actually doing work and accomplishing something, as it would only take me 10 or so minutes to type up just the review part. And I feel like you guys deserve more than just a half-assed effort.  But you know what? I'm going to jump into this one by foregoing all that additional BS and just exclaim right off the bat that these are incredible. You know when you’re cooking (or in my case, when my wife is cooking) something with lots of cheese, and some of that cheese falls over the edge onto the cookie sheet, and turns into a blacked, crispy mess? Do you know the incredible taste of those? Well that’s about what these are: an entire bag of circular, crunchy spheres made up entirely of crunchy clusters of cheese, only without the burnt taste (which I actually happen to like, but to each their

Crunchy Cravings Honey Roasted Sesame Chips (Dollar Tree)

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These are pretty damn spectacular. I've been going through a sesame stick phase these past few months, and I don't know why. I've always really liked them, but outside of trail mixes, never really came across them that often; because of this, they never entered my mind as a potential candidate for snacking on their own. One day in October, I came across some honey roasted ones in a farmer's market and decided to buy them; I never even knew flavored sesame sticks existed, but I downed a whole bag within a couple of days. Two weeks later, I saw some regular ones in line at a supermarket, and didn't hesitate to buy them—within two days, that bag also met its fate. To say that I've been obsessed with them lately might be a bit of an exaggeration, but they've been on my mind more than ever before. Imagine my surprise, then, when I saw a bag of them inside Dollar Tree. They were going in my basket regardless, but then I noticed a couple of differences from regular

Clancy's Ranch Veggie Straws (Aldi)

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Not quite as good as "the real thing", but quite good. I don’t always try the national brand version of these items before trying Aldi’s version—in fact, there’s probably a good many products on here that I’ve never even tried the version Aldi is knocking off. This would definitely be true for these vegetable straws had my in-laws not packed them as a snack for a long trip a few years back…I instantly fell in love with the seasoned ranch straws—and then promptly forgot all about them. Flash-forward a few years, and we saw them in private label form at our local Aldi. I believe they used to be a special buy, but have now become part of the store’s growing inventory—a good thing, considering these are one of the few things our son will voluntarily eat. So we make sure to keep these on hand as much as possible. Like father, like son, eh? The shape is interesting, more or less earning its “straw” moniker; unlike other crunchy snacks, these are elongated tunnels of potato chip-lik

SNACK CRATE CANADA: Old Dutch Ketchup Potato Chips

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This is the first review in a one-off bonus series covering the items in a Snack Crate subscription box, which found its way to my parent's mailbox. For more details on this, check out the  introductory post . These aren't for me, but I can kind of see the appeal. I feel like ketchup chips are one of those sought-after items that people clamor for, yet I am out of the loop on. I like ketchup, and I like chips, but the thought of blending the both of them is just absolutely disgusting to me. My wife, on the other hand, is firmly on the ketchup chip bandwagon: she loves ketchup, and doesn't typically like chips. Hmm...it will be interesting to see what she thinks of these. Anyway, after cracking open the bag, you're met with the scent of...ketchup mixed with chips. I have to say that it's quite disgusting, and further reason that I can't see the appeal in such a combination. However, I guess now that I think about it I'm not really a fan of ketch

SNACK CRATE CANADA: Humpty Dumpty BBQ Ringolos

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This is the first review in a one-off bonus series covering the items in a Snack Crate subscription box, which found its way to my parent's mailbox. For more details on this, check out the  introductory post . These are weird, but different enough to be intriguing. What in the hell are these? A lot of the products in the box have been least similar to things that we have in the U.S., but Humpty Dumpty's BBQ Ringolos are slightly more weird and different: they're just barbecue-flavored, circular-shaped potato snacks. The rings are much smaller than, say, the "fun onion rings" line of snacks here in the U.S., in that they can fit on the fingers of a smaller child (although they were even too small to fit on my pinkie). Even though they're also pretty thin, they are much “tougher” than the onion-shaped snacks which, to my knowledge at least, are about the only major brand of ring-shaped “chips” that us Americans have, leading to crunchy bites rather tha

Zapp's Voodoo New Orleans Kettle Style Potato Chips (Big Lots)

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NOTE: We're breaking the "budget" theme for this one, but these chips are too good not to have a huge following. I picked them up at Big Lots a while back, but they slowly look like they are becoming more widely available. Potato chip perfection? I had no idea what I was getting myself into, when a spur-of-the-moment decision lead me to grab a bag of Zapp's Voodoo Chips from Big Lots one day. I mean, how could I? It's impossible to differentiate between the thousands of brands and products that flow in and out of a closeout store in any given year, and so all I thought I was grabbing was yet another failed product that never registered with audiences, and were thus being relegated to the shelves of Big Lots to live out the rest of their miserable, man-made existences. I sure as hell had no way of knowing that I had stumbled on a potato chip gold mine, until I made it home and, in a state of utter curiosity, immediately pulled up the chips online. How could I

Clancy's Sweet Maui Onion Kettle Chips (Aldi)

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Some things just shouldn't be translated into chip form. I’m going to say it for the millionth time: I eat a lot of potato chips. It’s not something I’m proud of, nor is it something I aspire to do. It’s just that, packing four out of my five working days every week, it’s something I can easily just toss in a bag and be on my way. Even better, they can be pretty darn cheap, especially at Aldi, where a typical bag retails for under $2. This isn't a flavor I'd normally be interested in at all, but sometimes you get sick of all the standard flavors, and just want to try something new. And hey, how else are you going to find out if you like something or not? That was the mindset I was in when I grabbed a bag of Clancy's Sweet Maui Onion Kettle Chips; after all, I really enjoy sweet things, and was interested in how that could be implemented in potato chip form. These aren’t exaggerating when they call themselves “sweet” chips. The onion taste somewhat reminds me of

Specially Selected Lattice Cut Aged Cheddar and Black Pepper Kettle Chips (Aldi)

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Interesting and delicious. “What are lattice-cut chips?”, you may be wondering, just as I was before scooping them up one day at Aldi. Well, the image on the front of the packaging sums it up well: imagine a waffle fry fucking a potato chip, and you’ll pretty much be in the right ballpark. But how does that affect the actual texture, in practice? It delivers the extra crunchiness of a kettle chip (because that’s what these technically are), but manages to be slightly unique thanks to the wavy, “grid-style” ridges. The end result is a thin chip with some small, pin-sized holes throughout.  Honestly, I like that a bit more than most typical kettle chips, simply because there’s less chip here; this means they don’t get overly crunchy like some of the “normal”, thicker kettle chips do. But no food product can be good if it’s lacking in taste, and I am proud to announce that these pass the flavor test with flying colors. I will say that I think there tends to be a little bit to

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

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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 m

Great Value Jalapeno Jack Tortilla Chips (Walmart)

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Not really my cup of tea in terms of flavor, but still an exceptional value. I was once again on the hunt for some kind of chip-like product to take to work with me, something I tend to do just about every week. Only this time, something was different: I found myself in unfamiliar territory: With our local Aldi temporarily shut down for a rebuild/renovation, we opted to forego our usual backup plan (Meijer), and instead headed to Walmart for groceries. I stumbled into the chip aisle, with no specific options on my mind; all I knew is that I wanted something that I couldn’t get at Aldi. With that very broad criteria in mind, my eyes finally settled on a bag of Great Value Jalapeno Jack tortilla chips, a knockoff of the national brand flavored junk food tortilla chip. I never tried the “actual” version of these, so it won't function as a comparison between the two, but rather a look at this on its own merits. The smell is jalapeno through and through, with no suggestio