BIJOU-REVIEW: Miss Vickie’s – Lime & Black Pepper Kettle Cooked Potato Chips

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

Miss Vickie's - Lime & Black Pepper

Aren’t Miss Vickie’s available here in the U.S.?  Yeah, we’re positive they are, but apparently Miss Vickie’s is actually a Canadian chip company that just so happened to be acquired by Frito Lay a few years back.  In other words, Frito Lay does offer a certain few of Miss Vickie’s kettle cooked potato chips throughout the U.S., but for the most part Miss Vickie’s offers their large flavor line-up in Canada.

We have tried a number of Miss Vickie’s chips over the years, but it is safe to say that these are certainly our most favorite of the bunch!

All at once salty, creamy, sour and even a touch spicy, the combination of lime and black pepper is not a flavor combo we see very often.

The black pepper is very fragrant, and permeates the nostrils; actually delivering a spicy tickle to the mouth that we don’t normally get from just black pepper.

The lime aspect doesn’t necessarily taste anything like the real green citrus fruit but more like that fake, overly acidic, tongue punch we’ve come to expect from salt and vinegar chips….and don’t get us wrong, that is not a bad thing, we often crave that flavor.

Miss Vickie’s medium-thin kettle cooked potato chips are delightfully crispy, with just a touch of greasy.

In case you were interested in a little backstory on The Real Miss Vickie.

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 JK – acquired in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Miss Vickie’s Official Website

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BIJOU-REVIEW: Popchips Potato Ridges – Chili Cheese

Rating: ©©©© chips  (lip-smacking)

PopChips Ridges - Chili CheeseEver since we tasted Popchips lip-smacking Potato Ridges earlier this year we have been excited to try another flavor from this same “new” style of Ridges Popchips.  Well, finally that time has come, and the newest flavor offering is Chili Cheese.

First of all, the chili cheese flavor is not as tasty as Popchips’ cheddar & sour cream flavor.

Second of all, they are still very crunchable.

There may not be anything extraordinary about them – they don’t taste like some extra funky or tangy cheese, and they don’t use some especially unique chip flavor chili seasoning like Ancho, or Aleppo – but, overall, they are exactly what you would think, or in the end hope, they would taste like…..

Delivering an ever so slightly spicy chili flavor, with a good dashing of salty cheese powder.

Certainly savory.

And maybe a touch heavy handed with the chili powder…but then again, Popchips is making sure that there is no denying what we are tasting.

The seasoning mingles pretty well with Popchips greatest chip creation – their ridged style of potato chips.

You know what, maybe this seasoning would pair even better with some ridged corn tortilla version of PopChips that have not yet been created – but they should be!

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

Chips discovered at Jewel Osco; Clarendon Hills, Illinois

Popchips Official Website

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BIJOU-REVIEW: Simply Balanced – Sweet Chile Organic Rolled Tortilla Chips with brown rice, sesame seeds and flaxseeds

Rating: ©©-1/2 chips  (tolerable)

Simply Balanced - Sweet Chile Rolled Tortilla ChipsSweet Chili flavor, as far as chip flavors go, has forever been one of those flavors we do not get excited for.  If we were picking our own flavor team, we’re more than certain that sweet chili would be one of the last picked, if picked at all.  Sorry Sweet Chili, you and Sweet BBQ are going to have to try again next year!

Another thing we noticed regarding sweet chili flavored chips is that here at Chip Review we tend to enjoy the sweet chili seasoning much more on a potato chip, than we do on a corn tortilla, or some other style chip.  We’re not going to try and determine why that is, we just wanted to let you know.

All that being said, here we have Simply Balanced (Target) Sweet Chile Organic Rolled Tortilla Chips with brown rice, sesame seeds and flaxseeds, and wouldn’t you know it, we don’t really like them for any reason.

The best part of these chips by a long side is the inclusion of the seeds strewn throughout.  The seeds add just enough textural difference to entice the pallet but not quite enough to distract us from the seasoning like we wish they would.

The sweet chili seasoning is exactly like so many others we have tried before.  Of course sweet, very sweet in fact, followed by a strong presence of garlic, and finished with a touch of flavorless heat.

The rolled tortilla chips are fine.  We could certainly crunch on them if someone had set them out at a party or something, but nothing about them has us screaming for more.

Well, there you have it.  Anyone else out there tried them yet?  Thoughts?  As always we would love to hear what you think.  Agree or disagree.  Let us know.

Chips discovered at Target; Hillside, Illinois

Simply Balanced Official Website

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REVIEW: Lay’s – Passport to Flavor – Chinese Szechuan Chicken

Rating: ©©©©-1/2 chips (lip-smacking)

Lay's - Chinese Szechuan ChickenAlright chip fans, like we so often do, we’ve done it again, we’ve saved the best for last! 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know, we are pretty late to the Chinese Szechuan Chicken flavored potato chip review ball!  For the most part everyone else has danced their last dance.  But, the very last song is playing, and luckily for us, that song happens to be our most favorite so we are going to get down like there’s no tomorrow.

Chip Review’s flavor creativity rating for Szechuan Chicken (scale: 1 – 10): 8

Chip Review’s excitement for this Szechuan Chicken flavor (scale: 1 – 10): 10

Chip Review’s rating of bag design and color (scale: 1 – 10): 7

For whatever reason we here at Chip Review appear to be in the minority on this flavor.  All of the other “big boy” reviewers have already chimed in, and overall they just don’t seem to really enjoy these.  So, let’s take a look at some of these other reviews and try to understand why they may not love these, and whether we have anything to say about that or not.

First up, The Impulsive Buy’s review

They were spicy, sweet, and unusual to the point where I’m not sure if I liked them.

All of those adjectives have a little something to do with why we actually like them so much!  They are a touch sweet, they do bring some heat, and there are certainly some unusual flavors in there that we haven’t necessarily tasted on other chips (which is why we love them so much).  Although The Impulsive Buy calls them adventurous and spicy, the review also mentions that these are their least favorites of the four flavors.   TIB also posed the question – “what’s wok flavor?”  Well, we are pretty sure that Lay’s is referring to “Wok Hei”, aka “the breath of the wok”, which is the flavor or essence imparted by the wok when cooking over very high heat. The characteristic flavor is due to the the Maillard reactions caused between the high heat and sugar, in the end, the charring of the ingredients.  Shout out to In on Thai’s extremely WOK HEI-FUL Spicy BBQ Pork Fried Rice!!

And, Junk Food Guy’s review

I’m more offended by this: The white takeout container????

SALT BOMB. After eating a good bit of the bag, my stomach definitely started to feel sour. These are FINE, but I won’t be eating them again. A little too sodium packed for me, overwhelming normal chip balance. Nope. 

Offended by the white takeout container, really??  Come’on Junk Food Guy, we value your opinion very much, but we cannot agree with that statement.  In fact, our three most favorite Chinese restaurants in the Chicago area all still utilize these “classically iconic” take out containers.  We can agree with JFG’s assessment that they are salty, because they most definitely are, but we never got to the point of feeling like they were too salty.  And regarding the overall chip and flavor balance, well, we can also agree that they are very well balanced, but that is part of what we loved about them.  They kept us intrigued, perplexed, and were something new for our chip loving mouths to enjoy.

Lastly,  Junk Banter’s review

I think I’ve submitted every single Chinese dish as a Lay’s Do Us A Flavor submission in the past. Chinese food is awesome, but sometimes I am too lazy to pick up a phone and have someone bring me food. Lay’s Chinese Szechuan Chicken fulfills my dream of having Chinese food that I can eat from a bag with my hands.

We too can reiterate the statement that we’ve submitted so many different Chinese dishes as possible flavors for the Do Us a Flavor competition each year.  That being said, never has one of those submissions been Szechuan Chicken.  Overall, we agree with most of Junk Banter’s review of these chips, accept where as Junk Banter feels like this seasoning, doesn’t jive with the potato chips, we feel like it does.  The seasoning may not work as well as other classic matches, but we just love that we are tasting these flavors on fried potato chips!

Rich, foreign, exotic, flavors.  Our most favorite aspect of these chips is that they do in fact contain Szechuan peppercorns.  We actually got some of that undeniable mouth numbing characteristics of these unique peppercorns.

So there you have it, all four ‘Passport to Flavor’ chips eaten and reviewed.  We were pretty pleased with this new flavor line-up.  But, how about next time Lay’s just goes ahead and releases four new Chinese food flavors!  Here is how we would hand out the ‘Passport to Flavor’ medals:

Gold – Chinese Szechuan Chicken

Silver – Greek Tzatziki

Bronze – Brazilian Picanha (Steak & Chimichurri Sauce)

What’s after Bronze? – Indian Tikka Masala

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

Chips discovered at Walmart; Hodgkins, Illinois

Lay’s Official Website

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Pretzels – Tell us what you think

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REVIEW: Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels

Rating: ©©©©-3/4 chips  (lip-smacking)

Dot's PretzelsIt was a year ago or so that we first crossed paths with Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels.  To say the least, we were very, very impressed!

Fast forward to this year’s annual jaunt to northern Minnesota, and what do we find on a quick stop into L&M Fleet?  Yep, that’s right, Dot’s delicious pretzels!  But….something is a little different.  Oh, look who got a makeover – last year’s bag on the left, and the new and improved design on the right.  Dot’s Pretzels Company must be doing very well for itself these days.

A little backstory on this small, family owned operation:

Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels have been around for many many, years made in Dot’s own home outside of Minot, ND. They were a special family snack for football-watching, family gatherings, and every day yumminess, of course. In 2012, two families began a business centered around the snack they’ve been enjoying for years.

Probably the best way we can describe Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels would be something akin to a cross between the seasoning from Chex Mix Traditional flavor, and Old Dutch’s classic Butter Spindles.  In case that description doesn’t work for you, then try to imagine braided pretzels, about two inches in length, coated in a just fatty enough butter flavor, and dusted with an addictive seasoning blend of tangy buttermilk, garlic, onion and some secret spices.

Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels are really lip-smacking.  Easily among the best pretzel snacks we have ever tried.  In fact, Dot’s Pretzels got us thinking that we should probably put together our Top 5 Pretzel list – so that’s what we did.  And we’re not talking about snacks or mixes that include pretzels, but solely pretzel based snacks.  Make sure to check it out.

P.S. – if you ever happen to cross paths with Dot’s, do your self a favor and grab a bag!

Pretzels discovered at Simonson’s and L&M Fleet; Bemidji, Minnesota

Dot’s Pretzels Official Website

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