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Showing posts with the label chips and crisps

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

Clancy's Stackerz Cheddar Cheese Potato Crisps (Aldi)

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Tastes as cheap as the cardboard packaging feels. Aldi has carried the name brand potato crisp snack for quite a while now; so long, in fact, that I have completely started ignoring them. That's one problem I've been noticing with Aldi recently, and that's that they are slowly giving in to more and more “mainstream” American supermarket staples, such as having an increased number of name brands taking up their aisles. I know in the past, they have gone on record saying that the only name brands they consistently carried (special buys excluded) were products they couldn't find a suitable private label alternative for, which is admirable. But lately, in some cases (such as with their excellent "Infuse" sports drink line), the national brand product has actually replaced their own store versions. I read the reasoning for that is that some customers are loyal to certain brands, so Aldi wanted to become more of a "one-stop shop" by including these

Savoritz Original Clubhouse Crackers (Aldi)

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Buttery as all hell, and melt-in-your mouth good! It’s kind of an odd thing, but aside from the baked cheddar kind, we don’t buy crackers very often. Especially given the amount of cheese we plow through in a typical year, which we tend to put on toasted breads, or just eat by themselves, right out of the package. This time, however, we put crackers on our grocery list, with the plan of them accompanying either tuna (a delicious and very simple snack), or one (or more) of our beloved cheeses. I made the mistake of letting my wife choose the crackers, and was dismayed to find that she picked up a box of Savoritz Clubhouse Crackers. That’s not to say that these are bad--quite the contrary, these are fantastic--but everyone knows that tuna goes better with the grainy stuff; ditto for most cheeses. One thing these crackers do go perfect with though, are cheese spreads, and we happened to have some that was a part of a meat and cheese Christmas gift that my grandmother sent to us. Sur

Private Selection Aged Cheddar and Sour Cream Potato Chips (Kroger)

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$3 for "average" just doesn't cut it. It’s no secret that I enjoy a good sour cream and cheddar chip. Well, I guess I enjoy pretty much all sour cream and cheddar chips…save for one brand, who shall remain nameless. It’s just one of those classic combinations, which is why every chip company seems required to have it in their roster. I was perusing the selection at Kroger, desperate to find something on sale, but was coming up with nothing that looked good. Then, among the Private Selection options, which seem to be entirely made up of regional barbecue variations, I saw it…an aged cheddar and sour cream blend. It was a little pricey, at $2.99, but it was the only thing that looked good, so I set aside my price hesitations and went for it. May I remind you (or inform you, if you are unfamiliar with my growing body of work) that Big Lots has one of my favorite cheddar and sour cream chips, and this set me up for something similar. However, it’s nothing like it at

Private Selection Texas Barbecue Potato Chips (Kroger)

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A pretty decent chip. Well here we are again, right back at it with another chip review! This time, we’ll be taking a look at Private Selection’s Texas BBQ chips, one of the many regional-themed barbecue chips offered up by Kroger’s hit-or-miss private label line. I’ve never been to Texas, so I can’t vouch for the authenticity (which, let’s be honest here, wouldn’t be best suited for a chip in the first place), but this is a pretty tasty little chip, with a strong vinegar taste giving way to some barbecue-infused sweetness. It all leads to a slight smoky finish in the back of the tongue. The more and more you eat, however, the vinegar becomes the most pronounced flavor, so unless you’re a fan of salt and vinegar chips, I would probably stay away from these. I’ve grown to like salt and vinegar as a combo (at least, in moderate amounts) so I enjoyed the taste to some degree, but it’s too sour for me to pick them up more than once in a while. The biggest “win” for me, and this pre

Fresh Finds Kettle Cooked Jalapeno Extra Crunchy Gourmet Potato Chips (Big Lots)

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Not the best jalapeno chips, but far from the worst. I already reviewed the “ Jalapeno Popper ” chips from Fresh Finds, which are essentially cheesy jalapeno flavor, and I thought that was it for their spicier offerings…but a recent trip to Big Lots unveiled that I was mistaken. After searching high and low for some new flavors, I finally stumbled upon plain Jalapeno Kettle Chips under the Fresh Finds moniker. Well how do these compare to the rest of the chips in the line? I don’t get plain jalapeno chips very often at all, but I have to say these hit the spot. I worked with a lady who brought bags of expensive name brand jalapeno kettle chips all the time, and the flavor of these is strongly reminiscent to those. They’re salty, but with a great kick of authentic-tasting jalapeno powder; and boy is there a lot of powder to go around! Despite this, they’re not super-hot, but there was a time I shoved a few chips in my mouth at the same time, and they all had so much taste on them tha

Gourmet Select Baked Onion Rings (Big Lots)

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A decent little snack for the price. I shouldn’t have to tell you the myriad of ways purchasing an obscure brand from Big Lots can go completely wrong. First of all, unlike places like Aldi, these aren’t brands that work with Big Lots under stringent standards…they’re usually things that Big Lots just happens to get for really, really cheap. This can also happen for a variety of reasons: the product could be discontinued, could have gotten new packaging or a new formula (so they’re getting rid of the old stuff), or it could have just sucked so bad that the company is trying to cut their losses, so they sell it to Big Lots at a deeply discounted rate. That’s what tends to make purchasing stuff from closeout stores such a risky proposition--you can’t really tell why those items are there specifically. I have had some less-than-stellar performance out of a couple different mock “onion ring snacks” before, and that didn’t set the bar very high for the plain-looking bag of Gourmet

Simply Nature Green Pea Crisps (Aldi)

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The perfect snack for when "vomit" is the flavor you crave. I like trying unique things, and things don't get much more unique than Simply Nature's Green Pea Crisps. In my mind, what could go wrong with taking the deliciously-natural flavor or green peas, and then dehydrating them into a crunchy, chip-like snack? As it turns out, a lot of things. This is the kind of snack that will probably "appeal" to the rice cake crowd...and only the rice cake crowd. And by "appeal", I mean it's something they'll learn to force down despite getting nothing satiating out of it. For starters, its taste doesn't even resemble that of a pea or pea-pod, which is kind of ironic given that it was made from dehydrated green peas—it tastes kind of like bad-breath with a crunchy outer-layer. Seriously, the taste is very hard to describe...it's not sweet whatsoever, but it's also not bitter, yet it's simultaneously not identifiable with any v

Munch Rights Cheddar & Sour Cream Baked Veggie Puffs (Dollar Tree)

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Ignore the brand name, and the fact they're in Dollar Tree: these are actually pretty good. Oh man, how I hate buying food from Dollar Tree. Don’t get me wrong: I’m open to trying new things, so that’s not at all the issue. The issue is that a lot of the things I have tried from there have ended up being virtually inedible: their cereals are probably the worst offenders, but there have been a large quantity of items that have left me either disgusted, at worst, or disappointed, at best.  And yet, as the old adage goes: You never know unless you try it, which is the mindset that keeps me (occasionally) trying things that I’m pretty sure I won’t like. (Well, that, and “Well, what do I have to lose, it’s only a dollar!” which should seriously be the company slogan.) Here we have cheddar and sour cream baked veggie puffs, which sound pretty good, by a brand called Munch Rights, which sounds nauseatingly awful (is it a requirement that cheap brands have to have a name that make