Sunday, September 21, 2008

Snack #67 - Wise New York Deli Kettle Cooked Potato Chips, Jalapeno

After experiencing the XXX throwdown on my taste buds that was Blair's Death Rain Habanero, I feel like I could handle anything the spicy chip gods throw my way. These jalapeno flavored chips, while tasty, were nothing but a tingle comparatively. They tasted less like jalapeno and more like a spicy sour cream and onion chip, which as it turns out is really delicious. Lots of onion and garlic flavor as the ingredients indicate while the jalapeno's only contribution is a nice gradual heat. My one complaint is that the chip did not live up to the crunchiness standard I have come to expect (and enjoy) in a kettle cooked chip.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 4/10

Bottom Line: Sour Cream and Onion with a kick

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Snack #66 - Blair's Death Rain Cajun Kettle Cooked Potato Chips

Perhaps I shouldn't have tried these chips so close on the heels of the previous review... I admit my taste buds may be a little (permanently) fried, but these chips are pretty hot too. Not the XXX heat I previously endured, but definitely a quick and powerful heat build-up. They have a nice Cajun flavor, whatever that means. Through the heat I got some tomato, garlic, and maybe chili powder flavor. These were pretty tasty and just hot enough to let you know who's boss. They definitely have lingering heat, your tongue will be tingling for quite some time.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 8/10

Bottom Line: Hot and Cajun-y

Snack #65 - Blair's Death Habanero Kettle Cooked Potato Chips

Holy Sh*t!! These are without a doubt the hottest chips I have ever tasted. The unassuming smell upon open the bag had me fooled, but the second one of those bad boys hit my tongue it was game over. Stupidly, I tried a few more, thinking I needed to figure out the "flavor." The flavor is fire. The bag says XXX Hot, which apparently means cough-inducing, sinus-clearing, eye-watering hot. I literally drank an entire bottle of water and ate several pieces of cheese in a futile attempt to put out the fire. I worry I will never taste again.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 11/10

Bottom Line: for masochists only, and even then, have some milk handy

** I just tried these chips again (Why, I don't know...I'm just so dedicated to the cause) and just before I ran to the fridge for more dairy I got a hint of smokey flavor, lending further credence to the phrase "where there's smoke, there's fire."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Snack #64- Chicharrón Picante (Spicy Pork Rinds)

Chicharrón Picante (Spicy Pork Rinds)

These pork rinds are a little intimidating because I generally prefer my snack foods to be vegetarian. Something about fried pig skin doesn’t sound very appealing but they do say picante so they must be tasted. They taste more like bacon than I ever expected, but with a spicy edge. The spice is like hot barbeque sauce, not a bad flavor but the whole puffy fried bacon in a bag deal threw me off. They are super crunchy, probably because they are deep fried fat. But true to form, the snacks from Panama are spicier than the ones from Costa Rica. If you like pork rinds, then these might be a salty, delectable barbeque snack choice.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 2.5/10
Bottom Line: Extra crispy bacon, bbq style

Snack #63- Doritos Spicy Nacho flavored Tortilla Chips

Doritos Spicy Nacho flavored Tortilla Chips

Initially, these chips are not very spicy, but they do have somewhat of a hot aftertaste. The heat comes on slower than with many other chips that we have tested. The flavor is also artificially cheesy, like the Ranchitas chips, but possibly with less cheese flavor. They don’t have a whole lot of flavor overall, the taste of the corn chip underneath is detectable and masks the flavor on top somewhat. Being American made, we were expecting more spice and flavor, but the raters were surprised to enjoy the local Costa Rican cheese and jalapeño combination tortilla chips more. Overall, these chips were somewhat of a letdown given our expectations of spiciness. It is possible that because these were packaged for export the flavor could have been altered; I haven’t rated this particular flavor in the States before.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 2/10 (probably actually less, but my taste has been distorted by bland Costa Rican chips)
Bottom Line: Somewhat cheesy fake-nacho flavor

Snack #62- Ranchitas Sabor Xtremo Jalapeño Fogoso Tortilla Chips (Extreme Flavor Ardent Jalapeño)

Ranchitas Sabor Xtremo Jalapeño Fogoso Tortilla Chips (Extreme Flavor Ardent Jalapeño)

These tortilla chips are very similar to Doritos, and basically taste like jalapeño and cheese, which is exactly how they are advertised. The cheese flavor is fairly artificial, similar to the cheese color on the actual chip. But they are still pretty tasty for a Costa Rican snack chip, although not particularly spicy. They are also very salty, and the flavoring is not that evenly dispersed, some bites are spicier and some are cheesier. They burn in the throat a little bit when a few are eaten in rapid succession but that might be a slight exaggeration. But overall they give a nice pepper and cheese tortilla crunch and are pretty satisfying, even if they don’t induce jumping in the air like the happy people on the bag.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 2/10
Bottom Line: Artificial cheese and jalapeño goodness

Snack #61- Rizadas Con Sabor a Picanticas (Hot Flavor Potato Chips)

Rizadas Con Sabor a Picanticas (Hot Flavor Potato Chips)

These chips came from Panama! I recently took a trip across the border and picked up little bags of as many spicy snacks as I could find, hoping that people like things with flavor in Panama. These chips are nice and crispy, they have ridges and are a little thicker than the typical paper thin Costa Rican potato chips. The ingredients don’t specify which spices were used but there is definitely some interesting combination of spices. They almost taste like sour cream and onion chips but with a spicy component added. Definitely not like any other spicy chip I’ve had. They are somewhat spicy, not hot like American hot chips but lightyears ahead of Costa Rican “heat”. There is even a cumulative heat that builds in the mouth and could be referred to as a burning sensation. It’s hard to define the spice taste, there is a lot of salt and something sort of peppery, like black pepper and maybe a little cayenne. I actually really enjoy these chips though, even though the spice is relatively subtle.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 2.5/10
Bottom Line: Panama knows spice better than Costa Rica

Monday, September 1, 2008

Snack #60- Sabemas Tortillitas De Maiz Sabor Chile Jalapeño (Jalapeño flavored tortilla chips)

Sabemas Tortillitas De Maiz Sabor Chile Jalapeño (Jalapeño flavored tortilla chips)

These chips are very similar to the preceeding ones but they are slightly different. They have less of a tortilla chip texture and are lighter and fluffier. The only American equivalent I can think of is a Bugle. They crunch well but are crispier than tortilla chips. The flavor is stronger than the PRO chips, they taste more like jalapeño and onion and garlic and overall have an enjoyable flavor. They are tasty and crispy and a nice snack, although they are also not spicy. Costa Rica just doesn’t have spicy snacks it seems.

Bottom Line: Light and crispy tortilla chips
Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 1/10

Snack #59 -PRO Torti Jalapeño Tortilla Chips

PRO Torti Jalapeño Tortilla Chips

These don’t have a very strong flavor, but they do have a nice flavor. They are very crunchy, thicker than normal tortilla chips and a little different in texture, closer to maybe a cracker or something. The flavor is a little sweet, and has a nice pepper flavor although it isn’t very hot. We actually really like the texture, even though it is unusual, and the flavor is subtle but good. I think the texture is like a tortilla chip mixed with a Bugle and a Triscuit, maybe because they are made with corn meal instead of corn flour. They have a definite jalapeño flavor that brings a little heat after 5 or 6 chips. Overall, a nice tasty chip.

Bottom Line: Crunchy and simple jalapeño flavor
Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 1/10