Tagged: Habanero / Scotch Bonnet

REVIEW: Barcel Takis – Zombie Nitro (habanero & cucumber)

Rating: ©©©-3/4 chips  (notable)

Taki's - Zombie NitroBarcel chip company specializes in chips/snacks targeted at the Latino community.  The company must be doing very well because Barcel’s snacks can be found almost everywhere these days.  And if we had to summarize the Barcel brand using just one word it would be “SPICY!”.  Nearly every single one of their chips has some level of heat to them.  So, if you can’t handle the heat, you may want to pay extra attention to which bag you pick up!

Barcel’s Takis are a riff on the uber popular gas station delicacy, the taquito.  For those of you completely oblivious to gas station food, or Mexican cuisine (flautas), taquitos usually consist of corn tortillas filled with meat/cheese, rolled into cylinder shapes and then deep fried.  Barcel’s Takis aren’t filled with anything, but they are corn tortilla chips that have been rolled tight, deep fried and then seasoned.

Plain and simple, these are our most favorite Takis that we have ever tried.  The Zombie Nitro – Habanero & Cucumber flavor is POWERFUL!!  Barcel blasts us with the most maximus flavor onslaught that we have encountered in quite some time.  The actual amount of tongue tingling chile-lime-cucumber seasoning physically clinging to each Taki would even impress Doritos top seasoning experts.  Seriously, it is as if the Takis chips have been battered with the bright neon green seasoning!  That’s right, neon green!  As if the Takis weren’t already unnatural enough, now Barcel has taken it one shade further!

Zombie?!?  We did not encounter any zombies inside of this bag.  Maybe Barcel is referring to the eery green color, but other than that we don’t see the connection.  We also did not encounter any real habanero flavor inside of this bag.  The chips do bring the heat, but not in the form of the deliciously fruity (and of course spicy) habanero chile pepper.  Rather, this seasoning tasted more like an extremely acidic, and spicy version of the classic chile limon flavor.  Toss in a subtle layer of vegetal cucumber notes and we’ve got something more unique than the neon green seasoning on our hands.

We simply do not love the shape, crunch or consistency of rolled tortilla chips, which of course includes Barcel’s Takis.  Every time we try a new version of these rolled chips we miss the classic tortilla chip edge that we can run our tongues across, and lick the seasoning.  The Takis do not have much licking surface area (we like two sides to our chips!).  The crunch and consistency of a rolled tortilla chip is always a bit heavy and dense, but Takis are even more so, and we simply prefer a lighter and crispier crunch and consistency.

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

Takis discovered at Shell Gas Station; Hillside, Illinois

Barcel Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

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©© - tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

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REVIEW: Chex Mix Xtreme – Habanero Lime

Rating: ©©©©-1/4 chips  (lip-smacking)

Chex Mix Xtreme - Habanero LimeThe Chex Family appears to be on a unique flavor renaissance as of late.  It started with the recent release of four different flavors of Chex Chips (which we were pretty big fans of).  And now, two new XTREME flavors of Chex Mix (stay tuned for our Sweet & Spicy Sriracha review soon).

Most of us here at Chip Review are from the generation raised on homemade Chex Mix!  There really was not much better than coming home to discover a giant roaster full of still warm from the oven Chex Mix.  All of those pieces deliciously saturated with unctuous amounts of butter and Worcestershire sauce, many of them still a bit soggy, never fully crisping up during the baking process.  So incredibly, and absolutely, delicious!  And while the Chex Mix that many kids these days are growing up with may seem miles away from that delicious homemade stuff, every once in a while Chex Mix comes up with something brand new and pleasantly surprises us!

Whoa, what the heck are these?!  The habanero lime flavor combo registered thoughts of Thai food with our tasters’ palettes.  The initial blast of strong citrus lime flavor combined with the chile, garlic and some sort of vegetal notes, brought us straight to our favorite Thai restaurants (we even thought we noticed the most subtle touch of fish sauce hidden somewhere deep in the background).  Oh, and yep, there is heat! Lots and lots of spicy habanero heat.  Not blow your mouth off, or among the hottest snacks out there heat.  More like a pleasantly surprised to actually be feeling and tasting habanero heat.  Bravo Chex, we really didn’t see it coming.

We were also pleasantly surprised with the choice of pieces in this specific mix. Of course there were the standard rice or corn chex pieces, and the pretzels, but this particular mix also included what we like to call bagel chips. Those thicker, dried out and crispy round discs of white bread.  However, the real kicker in this mix, were some deliciously crunchy puffed corn sticks. Think Cheetos, only a lighter white-ish yellow in color, minus any cheese, and seasoned with a habanero lime seasoning blend.  These were a really unique addition to the mix.

Like we said earlier stay tuned for our review of the other new Xtreme flavor Sweet & Spicy Sriracha coming soon (and further affirming our declaration that sriracha has been chosen as the flavor that every brand must include in their flavor arsenal).

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

Discovered at Jewel Osco; Westchester, Illinois

Chex Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

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©© – tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

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REVIEW: Archer Farms – Habanero Ranch Homestyle Kettle-Cooked Potato Chips

Rating: ©©©©-1/4 chips  (lip-smacking)

Archer Farms - Habanero RanchWell look at you Archer Farms.  You’ve gone ahead and redesigned your packaging.  We have to admit that we like it.  The re-vamped design feels more natural, streamline, and fresh. Great big, clear picture of the main ingredients, with the AF logo and description simply floating inside of a dark green square in the upper left side of the bag.  Works for us.

In case you have never heard us say it, Archer Farms really puts out a lot of great chip products.  Their vast selection, originality, and quality are definitely near, if not, at the top of the grocery-store, exclusive line of chips.  And, in case you are somehow unfamiliar with Archer Farms – SHAME ON YOU, and you should probably check out What’s Good at Archer Farms?!!  And, in case you decide not to, Archer Farms is Target’s exclusive line of food products.

Archer Farms’ homestyle potato chips are thicker cut, hearty, with a robust, kettle cooked crunch.  These are commanding potato chips, with super crispy edges, and are definitely up there with some of the crunchiest chips on the market.  Visually, they are a light golden color, and come in every shape – large circles, folded half moons, wiggles and bunches.

Ranch AND Habanero?!  We are there!!  Initial reaction, these are pretty tasty.  First wave of flavors includes an impressively rich and creamy, sour, buttermilk flavor.   Then a wave of powerful garlic and onion!  And we do mean POWER. FULL!  You will be tasting those sweet pungent flavors for hours to come.  Then the heat creeps up suddenly appears! It is most certainly present and powerful and packing a spicy punch. The heat level is certainly representative of habanero, but we can’t really taste any of habanero’s delicious citrus and floral notes that we love!  Lastly, just at the tail end of the tasting experience, the chips settle with a rich, salty layer of cheese…?  Do our taste buds decieve us?  Ingredients list says: NOPE! Cheddar cheese is right there on the list.

In the end we would describe them as spicy & creamy garlic and onion flavored potato chips!  But whatever we call them, they are lip-smackingly delicious!  We just love how it seems like our society just continues to require, or demand, more and more heat!  First it was ranch, then it was peppercorn ranch, then it was jalapeno ranch, and now we’ve transitioned to habanero ranch!  At this pace we should have fire and ranch combined into one bag in no time!

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

Discovered at Target; Hillside, Illinois

Archer Farms Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

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RATING: Doritos – 3rd Degree Burn Scorchin’ Habanero

Rating: ©©©©-1/4 chips  (notable)

Doritos - 3rd Degree Burn - Scorchin' Habanero

Chip Ratings Scale:

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REVIEW: Route 11 – Mama Zuma’s Revenge Potato Chips

Rating: ©©©©-1/4 chips  (lip-smacking)

Route 11 - Mama Zuma's Revenge - HabaneroBy now, most of you know that it is no secret here at Chip Review we love our hot and spicy chips!  We are always on the lookout for any sort of new spicy chips that we can find!!  Heat seekers!  And while it seems like there are so many spicy new chips hitting the market each and every day, none of those chips would even exist if it weren’t for those “classics” that paved the fiery way for those other chips!

The story of Mama Zuma’s Revenge is a great story!  Apparently, since she lost the love of her life in a bizarre and tragic potato peeler accident, she has been hell bent on burning every mouth she kisses with her special brand of passion.  Her weapons are the hottest jalapeno and habanero peppers this side of the Rio Grande.  In other words, be forewarned and keep your distance!

Like we’ve said in the past, Route 11 has some of the best packaging design in the potato chip market, bar none!  Mama Zuma’s Revenge (as you can see) is no different – creatively artsy.  She’s so spicy that she is carrying a burning red habanero, every cactus she passes goes up in flames, and she has a bandolier loaded for more chiles!!  Route 11’s packaging is simply creative, fun and very well executed!  And when compared to a few of the ridiculous bags we have seen recently (sorry Brad), Route 11 really shines.

Mama Zuma’s Revenge potato chips have been available for years, and we know that we’ve tried them a handful of times over the years, but for one reason or another, we never put our thoughts down on paper, or keyboard.  So, after grabbing another bag a couple of days ago we thought, hey, why not tell the world about these fiery chips?  So…

These chips are a single dash away from being practically perfect.  The chips have some great flavor profiles, like smoky, sweet, garlic, and chile notes.  Like Route 11 describes them, a combo of habanero and barbeque.  But, what these chips are really missing, and what we really wish there was more of was S – A – L – T!!  Salt!!  Salt-salt-salt!  Due to their lack of salt, all of the great flavors we just mentioned seemed toned down a bit, and sort of muted.  A good sprinkling of salt would emphasize and enhance those flavor notes so much, and really take these chips to the next tasty level!

The potato chips themselves are top notch.  Semi-thick, crunchy, kettle cooked potato potato chips, with lots of potato flavor, and just the right amount of oiliness to them.  We would rank the chips themselves up there with some of the best!

While these potato chips may not seem like they are the hottest chips at first, their sneaky, delayed, habanero heat, brings the spicy vengeance!  We’re pretty sure that back in their day these chips were one of the hottest chips around!  On a heat scale, we would give these chips a solid 7 out of 10.  Hot for sure, but not burn your mouth and stop eating!

So, there you have it, beware of Mama Zuma’s Revenge, not because she will scorch you (unless you are a real woosy!), but because she may leave you wanting for more salt!

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

Discovered at Pete’s Fresh Market; Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois

Route 11 Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

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RATING: Blair’s Death Rain – Habanero Kettle Cooked Potato Chips

Rating: ©©©©-1/2 chips  (lip-smacking)

Blair's Death Rain Habanero

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RATING: 7 Select – Fiery Habanero Kettle Style Potato Chips

Rating: ©©©©-1/4 chips  (lip-smacking)

7 Select - Fiery Habanero Potato Chips

Chip Ratings Scale:

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