Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Snack #204- Jack ‘n Jill Vcut Potato Chips Spicy Barbecue Flavor

Jack ‘n Jill Vcut Potato Chips Spicy Barbecue Flavor

These are the final spicy snack I found on my trip to Mongolia.  The flavor is called ‘spicy barbecue’ but they don’t really taste like any BBQ sauce I’ve ever had.  The flavor is pretty mild and the flavor of the oil that the chips were fried in comes through pretty strong.  They are slightly sweet and have a little bit of heat but the light flavoring actually works pretty well for them.  They also have the benefit of being well cut and fried chips that are nicely crunchy.  So although they don’t really have much barbecue or spicy flavor going on they are pretty tasty and make a good snack.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 2/10
Bottom Line: Lightly sweet and spicy ‘BBQ’-style chips.

Snack #203- Ass Kickin’ Chipotle Premium Microwave Popcorn

Ass Kickin’ Chipotle Premium Microwave Popcorn

I found this spicy microwave popcorn in the Canyon Village Marketplace at the Grand Canyon South Rim and brought it back to the East Coast to pop in my microwave.  It popped thoroughly and evenly but it smelled like burning chemicals while it was cooking.  The first flavor that hits your mouth with this popcorn is a weird sweetness that tasted somewhat like kettle corn but more artificial.  The ingredients include sucralose which is Splenda and Splenda is gross so that is probably where the weird sweet taste came from.  Behind the sweet flavors there is a pretty big kick of heat but it doesn’t taste as much like chipotle as it should- mostly it just tastes like generic ‘spice’ flavor.  The bag smelled a lot like chipotle before we popped it but that flavor got lost somewhere in the artificial flavors.  The heat builds quickly in the mouth and after eating a handful of the popcorn my mouth was feeling the burn.  The heat also subsides quickly though so you would be able to eat the whole bag while watching a movie or something.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 5/10
Bottom Line: Fake sweet kettle corn with a fairly spicy kick.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Heat Sweets

Also at the Grub Street Food fair where I picked up the McClure's Spicy Pickle chips was something much spicier.  The lovely ladies at Heat Sweets make jams, jellys, and fruit leathers spiked with jalapeño and habanero peppers.  We tried a few samples and they were really delicious!  A nice heat without overpowering the fruit flavors.  Check them out here: www.heatsweets.com

Snack #202 - McClure's Spicy Pickle Potato Chips

At an amazing street fair in the Lower East Side last weekend, I picked up a bag of spicy pickle flavored chips.  McClure's is a small-batch pickle maker based out of Brooklyn and Detroit, and if you haven't tried their pickles yet, you should! Especially their spicy pickle relish - it's insane! Unfortunately, their chips were not.  The chips were a nice crinkle cut that managed to not get all crunched up in the bag.  The chips could have been crunchier, but that wasn't my biggest problem.  My real problem was that these were pickle chips, but they were definitely not spicy pickle chips.  The minute I opened the bag, the smell of dill came wafting out.  The chips tasted very dill-y too, but that was it, there was no other flavor besides dill and maybe some garlic.  But no spice to speak of.  It was like they accidentally put the regular pickle-flavored chips in the spicy chip bag.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 0/10

Bottom line: stick to the spicy pickle relish

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Snack #201 - Inka Chile Picante Plantain Chips

These fried plaintain chips were just ok.  Unfortunately, plantain chips tend not to be very crunchy, which is sort of a dealbreaker for me when it comes to chips.  These were actually some of the crunchier ones I've ever had though. They tasted of onion and garlic, like they'd been dipped in the mojo sauce at a Cuban restaurant.  And if I really strained I could taste some chili powder, but not heat, just a smokey flavor.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 0/10

Bottom line: A not so spicy, sort of crunchy chip

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Snack # 200 - Unique Jalapeño Splits Pretzels

Our 200th spicy snack!! And to celebrate: a jalapeño-infused pretzel.  These pretzels didn't just have spicy dust sprayed on them like most spicy snacks, there was actually ground jalapeño in the flour, and you could really tell!  The first few bites just tasted like regular pretzels - good pretzels though.  After a few more bites, some garlic started to come through.  And then, the heat.  It was a very weird tingle that started on the outside of our tongues and moved inward.  The heat definitely built up from there, but never overpowered the pretzel flavor.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 5/10

Bottom line: a truly jalapeño pretzel

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Snack #199- Jack ‘n Jill Vcut Potato Chips Sweet Chili Flavor

Jack ‘n Jill Vcut Potato Chips Sweet Chili Flavor

These snacks taste just like really sweet ketchup.  They are light and flaky and have the texture of a great ruffle potato chip but the flavor is lacking.  When you swallow you can taste the chili heat in your throat but it never hits your mouth during chewing.  They taste like the flavor should be tomato but the ingredients don’t have any tomato listed.  The sweetness of the tomato and the delay of the chili heat in the throat doesn’t help these Filipino snacks.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 4/10
Bottom Line: Tomato flavored chips with a chili aftertaste.

Snack #198- Globite Authentic Gourmet Asian Potato Chips Oriental Hot & Spicy

Globite Authentic Gourmet Asian Potato Chips Oriental Hot & Spicy

Finally!  A snack that is actually Mongolian in production.  These taste like a poor knockoff of Pringles and suffer because they are cut thicker than Pringles.  Pringles are mashed, dried potatoes smushed back into potato chip shape so you can imagine what happens when they are too thick to fry well.  Some reviewers thought they tasted like paper or fish sauce and the texture definitely hindered positive taste reviews.  They are spicier than the previous two that were rated in Mongolia and the heat hits you more in the lips and mouth than tongue.  They still weren’t very spicy though and the flavor was also pretty sweet without much other distinguishing flavor.  They tasted somewhat like a spicy oyster sauce or fish sauce which must be what makes them ‘oriental’ hot and spicy. 

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 3/10
Bottom Line: Too thick, fish sauce Pringles.

Snack #197- Cosmos Spicy Corn Chips

Cosmos Spicy Corn Chips

These snacks look like pork rinds but they are square and made out of corn.  They are pretty crispy and they have fairly sweet flavor but they do have a little kick of heat at the end.  They are Korean, not Mongolian, and they are actually relatively decent for an Asian snack.   They definitely taste like corn and are pretty sweet for a spicy snack but the slight heat helps them out a lot.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 2/10
Bottom Line: Sweet corn puffs with a slight kick.

Snack #196- Lorenz Crunchips Paprika Potato Chips

Lorenz Crunchips Paprika Potato Chips

This is the first snack I found while I was traveling in Mongolia.  These chips have a faint hint of barbeque and little bit of sweetness but no heat.  The flavor itself is not very good and they taste stale but that could be due to being imported from Europe to Mongolia.  They taste fairly nutty because they were probably fried in peanut oil and they are crispy like a standard potato chip. 

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 0/10
Bottom Line: Mildly BBQ but not very good.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Snack # 195 - Rhythm Superfoods Mango Habanero Kale Chips

Kale chips are great - super healthy and easy to make - just pop them in the oven with some olive oil and salt and you've got yourself a tasty snack loaded with vitamins and minerals. These kale chips, on the other hand, were disgusting. In the interest of bringing you the spiciest snack I could find, I chose the mango habanero flavor at the supermarket, knowing full well that the idea of kale and mango together sounded horrifying. And I was not wrong. The flavor was so overwhelmingly weird, I really don't know where to begin. I first tasted the sweetness of the mango, which as I suspected didn't really complement the green taste of the crunchy kale. And then heat - and it was HOT! That habanero flavor was no joke. After a few more bites I also tasted a cheese-like flavor, which might have been from the cashew butter in the ingredients given that this was a vegan snack.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 6/10

Bottom Line: make them yourself - without the mango

Buy them here: Rhythm Superfoods Mango Habanero Kale Chips but probably try a different flavor...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Snack # 194 - Lay's Sweet Southern Heat Barbeque

I'm not really sure what "sweet Southern heat" means, but these chips are delish!! At first they tasted like regular barbeque flavored chips with a really nice sweet, smokey flavor, but after a few more, the tingle of heat that you don't normally get in a barbeque chips started to built. It didn't get too hot, but added a nice dimension to the regular barbeque flavor. After a quick look at the ingredients, there was also apparently supposed to be cheese as part of the "Southern heat barbeque spice mix." I didn't taste any cheese, so do with that what you will.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 3/10

Bottom Line: barbeque chips, but better

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Snack # 193 - Jalapeño Cheddar Ritz Bits

I'll be honest - I was NOT excited about trying these crackers. That fake processed cheese stuff really freaks me out, especially as in this snack where the makers included little green speckles in the cheese to let you know it was jalapeño flavor. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the true jalapeño flavor that they were able to get into the snack. Normally jalapeño just means "spicy" in chip-speak, but here, I tasted the true pepper flavor of the jalapeño, and it was kind of delicious. And it went really well with the buttery Ritz crackers it was sandwiched between. Unfortunately, while flavorful, it wasn't spicy at all.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 0/10

Bottom Line: a tasty, truely jalapeño flavored snack

Buy them here: Nabisco Big Bag Ritz Bits Jalapeno Cheese (12 Pack)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Snack # 192 - Troyer Farms Buffalo Wing Flavor Kettle Cooked Potato Chips

Another Troyer Farms brand chip from the same middle-of-nowhere gas station as the last review. I would have preferred not to find these. When I opened the bag I was hit with the overwhelming scent of Play-Doh - not what you're looking for when hoping for a delicious snack. These, like the last chips, were nice and crunchy, but also incredibly salty. And what flavor I did get was grossss. I'm not really sure what it tasted like, but it definitely wasn't like any Buffalo wing I've ever eaten.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: .5/10

Bottom Line: leave these chips for the citizens of ???, Indiana

Snack # 191 - Troyer Farms Jalapeño Flavor Kettle Cooked Potato Chips

I love roadtrips - the excitement of the open road, a good mix coming out of the speakers, and weird gas stations. Yes, weird gas stations. As a longtime explorer of spicy chips those small, independent gas stations are a veritable gold mine of new spicy snacks. And this weekend on a trip with some of my oldest friends, we stopped at several choice gas stations in locations I know nothing about except their distance to Chicago. These jalapeño kettle chips were nice and crunchy. Unfortunately they were also incredibly salty - almost too salty to taste anything else. But after a few more chips I was definitely feeling the heat. The heat didn't really have any flavor though.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 3/10

Bottom Line: not my best no-name gas station discovery

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Snack # 190 - Spudmaster Colossal Chips, Shazam Flavor

These chips are huge! Really it's a simple gimmick they achieve by cutting the potatoes lengthwise, but still it was kind of cool to pull a potato-sized chip out of the box. And they're tasty too - everything I love about classic potato chips. They were salty, crunchy, and really potato-y (probably because they were thick-cut and still had the skin). These colossal chips weren't that spicy, but still had a nice garlic and red pepper background flavor. Some of the tasters thought these chips were a little greasy, but it didn't bother me, and the thickness of the chip is probably to blame.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 2/10

Bottom Line: gigantic chip, gigantic taste

Buy them here: Spudmaster Colossal Chips - 10 oz box (original flavor only)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Snack # 189 - Rebel Mary Peanuts

These flavor-dusted peanuts seek to fuse the drink and the ultimate bar snack into a single Frankenstein-esque snack. But like Dr. Frankenstein's monster, these have some hits and misses. The really weird thing about them was that each peanut I tried tasted like a different part of the Bloody Mary - one bite I got tomato, another time horseradish, and then Worcestershire. Cumulatively, it really was like drinking a crunchy, peanut-flavored Bloody Mary. These were in no way spicy though. And while Bloody Marys aren't necessarily knock-your-socks-off spicy, these promised a little more heat by calling themselves Spicy Bloody Mary flavored. My main problem with these peanuts was the flavor dust - it got all over my fingers, and to me there is nothing more gross that fingers coated in flavor dust. It makes me feel like I'm a little kid eating Cheetos with that orange powder covering everything in a 5 foot radius.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: .5/10
Bottom Line: when you don't have peanuts and a fresh Bloody Mary at the ready, try these

Monday, August 22, 2011

Snack # 188 - Famous Falafel Chips, Spicy

These organic falafel chips are made with chickpeas just like their non-chip namesake. Falafel is a seasoned ball of mashed chickpeas that is deep fried and usually served in a pita with hummus, lettuce, etc. found all over the Middle East. They're delish. And these chips manage to capture a lot of the flavor of falafel in chip form. I tasted parsley, cumin, and many of the other flavors I associate with biting into a falafel pita at the walk-up shop near my apartment. They also packed a pretty decent spicy punch. At first I didn't notice anything, but when I swallowed, the heat definitely built up in my throat. The only problem with these chips, and unfortunately it's a big one, is that chickpeas do not lend themselves to a crunchy chip, and the result leaves them tasting somewhat stale even though they're not.  But if you can get over the texture, these are pretty tasty, and probably great dipped in hummus.

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

Bottom Line: weird texture, falafel taste

Buy them here: Flamous Organic Falafel Chips, Spicy 8-Ounce Packages (Pack of 4)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Snack # 187 - Annie Chun's Roasted Seaweed Snacks Wasabi Flavor

These are pretty weird. After biting into what feels like crunchy tissue paper, these super thin pieces of roasted seaweed quickly dissolved into a gelatin like substance. Before they did though, I got a blast of wasabi flavor, and the nutty, ocean-y taste of the seaweed. These seaweed pieces (not really sure what to call them, they're definitely not chips...) are also really good for you! Tons of vitamin A and D and virtually no calories. I'm not sure that I'll be buying these again, but I like seaweed, and they were fun to try. I just can''t get over the weird texture.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 1/10

Bottom Line: if you like seaweed, definitely worth a try

Buy them here: Annie Chun's Seaweed Snacks, Roasted Wasabi, 0.35-Ounce Packages (Pack of 12)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Snack # 186 - Chip'ins Hot Buffalo Wing

The second Chip'ins flavor I tried was, despite its name, not hot by any stretch of the imagination. They were, however, one of the more successful buffalo wing-flavored chips I've tried. Normally,  buffalo wing-flavored chips ends up tasting really vinegary - which is not my thing, but these managed to capture the non-vinegar flavors of a wing. However, any heat that they might have had was cut by a ranch flavor. The bag doesn't say anything about ranch flavor, and the only thing I could find in the ingredients that was remotely close was butter. So who knows. Maybe I'm so used to dipping wings in ranch or blue cheese that my brain created the flavor itself.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 0/10

Bottom Line:[not] Hot Buffalo Wing flavor

Buy them here: Popcorn Indiana Hot Buffalo Wing Chip`ins-Popcorn Chips ( 48/1 OZ)

Snack # 185 - Chip'ins Jalapeño Ranch

Jalapeño and ranch go together like peanut butter and jelly, or as the makers of Chip'ins say: "combining outgoing jalapeño with laid-back ranch is right up there with putting wheels on luggage." While that might be a bit of an overstatement, it's definitely a flavor combination I can get behind. Unfortunately, these did not quite live up to the hype. The "chips" are actually made out of popcorn, and the corn flavor really overpowers anything they could sprinkle onto it. It did however give the chip a nice light and crunchy texture. Despite the corniness, I definitely got some ranch flavor, and eventually a pretty substantial heat built up. There wasn't really any flavor to the heat though, just hotness.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 5/10

Bottom Line: a pretty tasty popped-corn chip

Buy them here: Popcorn Indiana Popcorn Chips Jalapeno Ranch Flavor, 7.25-Ounce Bags (Pack of 12)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Snack # 184 - Rocky Mountain Popcorn Company Red Chili Popcorn

When I first opened the bag I was met with an indescribable smell.  Now, I like to think I have a pretty good palate/sense of smell, but every time I took a sniff it smelled like something different - plastic, chocolate, a nondescript poison-y "spice" smell. And unfortunately, the taste mirrored the smell. There was a horrible fake flavor that pervaded the otherwise nicely-popped popcorn. Maybe it was the "cheese blend" that was inexplicably added to this chili and lime flavored popcorn. I honestly have no idea. I just know that these tasted gross. The overwhelming artificiality of the flavor is especially disappointing given that the bag advertises that it's "not smothered with pretentious artificial flavoring" .... just lightly sprinkled with natural poison flavors. As far as the heat goes - since I know that's what you come here to read about - it hit pretty immediately on the back of the throat, but then was gone almost as quickly.

Bottom Line: if this is what natural tastes like, I'll risk the chemicals thankyouverymuch.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 2.5/10