REVIEW: Paqui Tortilla Chips – Limited Edition Haunted Ghost Pepper

Rating: ©©©©-3/4 chips (lip-smacking)

Paqui - Haunted Ghost PepperEvery little detail of these chips scare us…and we haven’t even braved to open the bag yet!

First of all, the flavor name conjures thoughts of Halloween, which is both creative and of course perfect timing as the spooky holiday is right around the corner. Yet, the chips also play off the aptly translated Ghost Pepper (scientific name: Bhut Jolokia) with a cleverly ‘haunted’ pun.  The bold black and white bag is eery, and sort of conjures thoughts of a ghost, and most certainly would even more so if the colors were inverted, and white became the dominant color scheme for the bag.  Speaking of the bag, can we stop to mention how much we appreciate the bold simplicity to Paqui’s bag design.  Clever and witty, but still unassuming and straightforward – definitely contenders for best designed bag of the year!

Before getting to our review, we should mention that we did a little research around the web to find out what others were saying in regards to these limited edition, spicy, haunted tortilla chips.  And, while we may not have found too much conversation regarding them as of yet (they were just issued in limited release approximately a week ago), we did stumble upon Paqui’s own Facebook page where this photo did not help one bit to reassure our tormenting suspicions towards what lay ahead for us.  We also found two intimidating statements, both made by Paqui Tortilla Chips themselves, that got our hearts racing for sure.  The first is also from their Facebook page, simply saying “The hottest tortilla chip ever made is almost here.”  Pretty bold and straightforward statement to say the least. We can appreciate how Paqui is directly specifying tortilla chips in their case, because as some of you may, or may not know, Blair’s Death Rain also released their own Bhut Jolokia flavored potato chips some while ago (so without a chip to chip comparison, who knows….).  The other statement came from the back of Paqui’s haunted chip bag, indicating the following WARNING:

The contents of this bag are extremely frightening.  Paqui is not responsible for any injuries that may result from ingesting this delicious terror.  The use of gloves and safety goggles is encouraged.  Common side effects include addiction to burning pain, blurred vision, and unquenchable thirst.  Enjoy with caution and consider yourself warned.

We consider ourselves very warned, and want to take this opportunity to let each and everyone of you know that it has been a true honor and pleasure writing these reviews for you, and if after trying these chips you never hear from us again…..

Alright, enough lollygagging, it is time to do this!  Upon opening the tortilla chip bag and taking a quick whiff inside, we were expecting our noses to take the initial hit and feel the instant burn, but we were pleasantly relieved to find that all we really smelled were Paqui’s deliciously rustic, corn tortilla chips (for more description on those wonderful tortilla chips themselves, see our first review of Paqui’s Grilled Habanero Tortilla Chips, because this review is all about the GHOST PEPPER!).

And…..all we have to say about the flavor is WOW! What a delicious flavor seasoning blend!  Paqui’s ghost pepper seasoning truly seemed to mirror the flavors, or characteristics, of Paqui’s Grilled Habanero tortilla chips.  There were some sweet and sour tangy citrus fruit notes at first, with a balanced blend of supporting cast ingredients like garlic, onion, cayenne and chipotle.  In fact, the overall taste of the blend was actually more flavorful, and forceful, and definitely more upfront than the Grilled Habanero.  However, that is as far as the similarities between the two went!

Please forgive us at this point for the remainder of the review, as we are not very sure how much sense we are going to make anymore….

At first, we were extremely surprised by the deceiving lack of expected heat.  Pretty sure some of us were thinking “Haunted Ghost Pepper, we don’t sweat you!”  Thirty seconds have passed, and we have now each had between 2 and 3 chips, and our tunes are beginning to change – in other words, we are all begging for mercy!  Again, wow-yeow – deceiving lack of heat is right.  The ghost pepper mouth scorching heat had arrived, and continued, and continued, and continued to build until each and every one of us were wishing we had stopped with the first chip we had tried.  Our eyes began to water up blurring our vision as we looked towards each other remembering the good times, back when we were comparing these chips to Paqui’s delicious Habanero chips, all the while realizing that those time were now behind us, and from this moment on our mouths, and throats, were in a battle with the wrath that is named the Haunted Ghost Pepper!

Honestly, we cannot convey the heat level of these chips to you accurately.  Our chests felt like we had a bad case of heartburn, our lips felt like a layer of salt had sat on them all day, and our mouths felt like they were on fire!  Luckily, after a couple (probably 10) glasses of milk, a few (probably 10) cold pancakes from the fridge, and some time (approximately who knows how many minutes we may have blacked out), the heat finally began to subdue, and our bodies began to adjust to normalcy.  The funniest thing is that almost instantly after this experience, each Chip Reviewer began contemplating if we should eat some more of the painful delicious chips….?  Maybe this time just stop with one chip, that deliciously flavorful first one?  Maybe this time we would notice the smoky depth to the chips and it would impress us.  Maybe this time we would even notice more of the intricate flavor complexities and how well salted the chips were.  And then, maybe the heat wouldn’t hurt quite so bad…

What we can tell you for sure is that these chips are deliciously amazing, and one of a kind.  They are certainly the hottest chips we have ever tried!  In the end, truth be told, if you pace yourselves, and only eat one chip every five or ten minutes, they are actually tolerable, and really, really tasty!  The only reason these chips do not covet the “A” list endorsement would be due to their heat being so extreme we can’t enjoy very many chips at once!

Lastly, we would like to know what you think, we have been contemplating as to whether or not we should set out a bowl of these for trick or treaters who stop by the Chip Review headquarters??  Or, maybe that would just be too tricky!?!

As always, these are our thoughts, agree or disagree, let us know.

Chips provided to Chip Review by Paqui Tortilla Chips for review, and to torture us….

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

© - return to sender

©© - tolerable

©©©notable

©©©©lip-smacking

©©©©©“A” list

RATING: Doritos – 2nd Degree Burn Fiery Buffalo

Rating: ©©©©-3/4 chips  (notable)

Doritos - 2nd Degree Burn - Fiery Buffalo

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

© – return to sender

©© – tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

©©©©© – “A” list

REVIEW: Uncle Woody’s Popcorn – Cinnamon Butterscotch with Bourbon Vanilla Puree

Rating: ©©©© chips (lip-smacking)

Uncle Woody - Cinnamon ButterscotchUncle Woody’s Cinnamon Butterscotch with Bourbon Vanilla Puree is some really, really good popcorn, but with the addition of one simple ingredient it could have been some really, really great popc0rn!!  That’s right, when it came down to it, we wanted, nope – we needed, SALT with our sweet caramel corn!  Of course the ingredients’ list includes some salt, but not to the level where we could actually taste any of it beyond Uncle Woody’s sweet cinnamon butterscotch coating.  All we’re saying is that we could have really used an extra sprinkling of the salty white seasoning after the popcorn had been coated with the caramel so we could actually taste it.  There we are, enough said, onto the positive.

Uncle Woody seems like the type of uncle we would want in our Chip Review family.  We can only imagine that the holidays at Uncle Woody’s house involves an array of new popcorn flavors that good old Uncle Woody has just been waiting to test out on all of us!

First up, is the unusually flavored cinnamon butterscotch with bourbon vanilla puree.  Or, as we like to refer to it as: great tasting caramel corn with a touch of cinnamon.  Plain and simple, this is rich, sweet and spot on caramel corn.  The butterscotch, bourbon, vanilla caramel coating delivers a buttery sweetness that all of us really enjoyed.  What differentiates this caramel corn from the rest (besides Uncle Woody) is the addition of the fragrant cinnamon.  The spice elevates the popcorn to a place that we all feel familiar with, but just haven’t actually been there before.  We really, really like the addition of the cinnamon, and we really, really wish cinnamon would have brought along his good friend salt!

The popcorn itself had a lighter, fresh and crispy body to it.  The level of caramel coating was just right, delivering a crunch, but also a sweet and sticky chew.

Overall, this is some really great popcorn, and we can only imagine how delicious it could have been with a few dashes of salt!  Next time, we may just salt it ourselves.

As always, these are our thoughts, we would love to hear what you think. Agree or disagree, let us know.

Popcorn at T J Maxx; Oak Brook, Illinois

Seattle Popcorn Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

© - return to sender

©© - tolerable

©©©notable

©©©©lip-smacking

©©©©©“A” list

RATING: Cape Cod – Sweet Mesquite Barbeque Potato Chips

Rating: ©©©-1/2 chips  (notable)

Cape Cod - Sweet Mesquite BBQ

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

© – return to sender

©© – tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

©©©©© – “A” list

RATING: Primizie Chile – New Mexico Mild Chamayo Chile & Lime Thick Cut Crispbreads

Rating: ©©©-3/4 chips  (notable)

Primizie - Chile

Crispbreads provided to Chip Review by Primizie

Primizie Snacks Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

© – return to sender

©© – tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

©©©©© – “A” list

REVIEW: chipz Happen – Himalayan Pink Salt Gourmet Tortilla Chipz

Rating: ©©©© chips  (lip-smacking)

chipz Happen - Himalayan Pink SaltThese really are gourmet tortilla chipz.  They taste homemade.  In fact, they even trigger tasty memories of those freshly fried, mom and pop’s Mexican restaurant tortilla chips that find their way to the table as soon as you are seated.  Tortilla Chips that are sturdy and rustic, and designed for scooping up as much of the delicious house made salsa as you can.  The chipz Happen appear to be made from quartered corn tortilla chips.  They are fairly dense and extra crunchy.  If you have a preference for light and crispy chips, then these may not be for you.  But if you like chips with a big crunch, and you like to dip your chip, then these would be right up your alley!

A little back story from the chipz Happen’s website:

Yes, it is another story of a family business starting in a home kitchen with an idea. (We know, right!?) But ours is quite inspiring: Our Mom is the creator behind chipz Happen. For nearly 20 years she spent many pleasurable hours in her kitchen making chipz for family & friends…. After years of trials and tribulations, we are excited to bring you chipz Happen— homemade, gourmet tortilla chipz with four unique blends.

Other than that, we don’t have too much to say about these plain tortilla chips.  Similar to the other flavors we have tried, we should mention that the top half of this bag of suffered from a bit of S.A.S. = seasoning (or salt) adherence syndrome. Don’t you just hate it when you open a bag of chips and quickly realize that you should have shaken the bag prior to opening to help distribute the seasoning/salt better among all of the chips.  Unfortunately, we did no such thing, and had to make our way to the bottom half of the bag before we discovered any of that Himalayan Pink Salt.

As always, these are our thoughts, we would love to hear what you think.  Agree or disagree, let us know.

Chips provided to Chip Review by chipz Happen for review

chipz Happen Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

© - return to sender

©© - tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

©©©©©“A” list

RATING: Mello’s Gourmet – Hot Cheese & Creamy Caramel Popcorn Mix

Rating: ©©©-1/2 chips (notable)

Mello's Hot Chicago Mix

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

© – return to sender

©© – tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

©©©©© – “A” list