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

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Snack #183- Hi Tempura Spicy Flavor Tempura Seaweed

Hi Tempura Spicy Flavor Tempura Seaweed

Tempura Seaweed was not my ideal choice in spicy snack but when we were looking in the Asian supermarket and saw this specialty from Thai we knew we had to try it.  I only ate half of one because I really don’t like seaweed flavor on it’s own but they were all heavily battered and pretty crispy for being stored in a foil bag (although there was a silica gel packet in the bag- yum!).  The flavor was pretty mild and the spices were the standard onion, garlic, and chili powders.   

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 2/10
Bottom Line: For seaweed lovers only.

Snack #182- Maxi Taro Chips Hot & Spicy

Maxi Taro Chips Hot & Spicy 

These snacks are not produced internationally but the label touts ancient uses of Taro in Southeast Asia so I guess that’s why they are being sold in the Super 88 Asian grocery store.  They are mainly flavored with onion, garlic, and chili powder but the onion powder is definitely the overwhelming seasoning and it’s hard to taste the chili powder at all.  The taro creates a super light and flaky chip which isn’t as crunchy as some potato chips but definitely tastes like a lighter and possibly healthier choice.  They just fail from over seasoning and lack of heat. 

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 1/10
Bottom Line: Light and flaky but not very well seasoned.

Snack #181- KSK Boy Bawang Cornick Hot Garlic Flavor Fried Corn

KSK Boy Bawang Cornick Hot Garlic Flavor Fried Corn

This Filipino snack is puffed fried corn kernels coated with garlic powder and chili powder.  They are basically like corn nuts but lighter and fluffier.  They do still have good crunch though without being as hard as a typical corn nut.  The flavor is mostly garlic powder and only very minimal chili flavor so these snacks are way more savory than spicy but overall they are pretty tasty.  The flavors are subtle enough that you can taste the actual flavor of the corn kernel too which is nice.  Not spicy at all but overall a pretty good international snack.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 1/10
Bottom Line: Garlicky puffed corn kernels.

Snack #180- Huang Fei Hong Spicy Peanut

Huang Fei Hong Spicy Peanut

These peanuts were purchased at a local Asian foods store and are Chinese in origin.  The peanuts are mixed with whole dried chilies and some spice that tastes like possibly a clove.  The peanuts themselves are not very spicy but do have a nice savory flavor and a little heat from the chilies.  The chilies themselves are hotter, naturally, so all together this snack is pretty good.  The peanuts are smooth and salty and the chilis are hot.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 3/10 (chilies: 6/10)
Bottom Line: Salty peanuts with spicy dried chilies.

Snack #179- Doritos Fiery Fusion Sizzlin’ Cayenne & Cheese Flavored Tortilla Chips

Doritos Fiery Fusion Sizzlin’ Cayenne & Cheese Flavored Tortilla Chips

Like the Cheetos, these Doritos have a super bland cheese flavor followed by a powerful punch of heat.  It’s almost silly how weak the cheese flavoring is compared to the heat- without the heat they would be the worst cheese flavored tortilla chips ever.  With the heat added they are only marginally better- they certainly attack the back of the tongue and throat but the flavor isn’t particularly delicious.  They are definitely spicier than the Cheetos but the flavor profile overall is exactly the same.  They could benefit a lot by making the cheese flavors taste better so the heat isn’t the only thing they have going for them.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 6/10
Bottom Line: Poor cheese flavoring but a huge kick of heat.

Snack #178- Cheetos Crunchy Fiery Fusion Sizzlin’ Cayenne & Cheese Flavored Snacks

Cheetos Crunchy Fiery Fusion Sizzlin’ Cayenne & Cheese Flavored Snacks

These snacks are kind of a weird dull orange color and they are strangely flavored.  At first they taste like a spiceless, boring cheese Cheeto but then after a few seconds they start to burn in the back of the throat.  The burn doesn’t have a lot of strong cayenne or jalapeño flavor as the bag claims.  Mostly these just taste like poorly flavored cheese Cheetos with some generic spice throat burn.  They have a lot of odd ingredients like brown sugar and butter and I think the addition of the sweet flavors and multiple ‘cheese’ flavors muddles the overall taste and hides the flavors of the spices.  Not nearly as successful as some of the other spicy cheese and corn snacks we’ve tasted.

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 4/10
Bottom Line: Dull cheese flavor with surprise burn at the end.

Snack #177- Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Limón Crunchy Cheese Flavored Snacks

Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Limón Crunchy Cheese Flavored Snacks

These Cheetos are similar to the other lime and chile snacks but this time on a Cheeto base.  The lime hits first and then the heat comes in but it is more of a throat burn than a mouth burn.  They certainly aren’t as hot as the Flamas chips but overall they have the same spicy lime effect which seems to be very popular these days.  These snacks are all made by Frito-Lay so it’s likely that the seasoning blend is pretty consistent between snacks even if they aren’t labeled the same way. 

Rating on the Spice-O-Meter: 5/10
Bottom Line: Lime and chile…on a Cheeto!