REVIEW: Fritos – Chorizo & Chipotle (Mexico)

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

Fritos - Chorizo and ChipotleThese are, far and away, without a shred of a doubt, the best Fritos we have ever, ever-ever-ever, tried!  Where have you suckers been all of our life?!?

THANK YOU – Hinsdale Tollway Oasis 7-eleven gas station!  If it was not for you and your little rack of Frito Lay Mexico snacks then we may have never found these fantastic corn chips!  Which brings us to ask one simple question – why is this flavor not made or produced in the U.S.?  Why?!?  Here’s a suggestion – make these available everywhere in the U.S.  And heck, while you are at it, bring back Frito Bandito – he would pair perfectly with these!

Wow, these have some real Mexican chorizo bite –  an unmistakable funk, a tang, a rich & zesty sausage flavor!  It’s almost as if these Fritos have been sprinkled with actual Mexican chorizo in seasoning form!

Right from the get go you can tell that these dark Fritos are bringing another level to their corn chip game.  Besides the spicy aroma that permeates from the bag, grab a handful of these corn chips and they are heavy, and almost wet, or sort of greasy….kind of like chorizo.

Fritos hearty corn chips go very, very, very well with this chorizo and chipotle seasoning blend! And, come to think of it, why wouldn’t they?  Corn is a major staple in Mexican cuisine, and of course it pairs perfectly with other staples like chorizo sausage and chipotle chilies!

Speaking of that other flavor component – chipotle, we don’t really taste any of this chili’s usual smokey notes.  Sure there is plenty of zesty heat present, but we can neither confirm, nor deny, that it is coming from the addition of chipotles.  What we can confirm is that we DO NOT CARE, because whatever this seasoning is made up of is delicious just the way it is!

Come’on Fritos!  Do us a solid and put these on our U.S. shelves everywhere regular Fritos already are.  And to you Fritos lovers out there, if you cross paths with these delicious chips, do not hesitate to buy every bag you see on the shelf!!

Junk Food Guy reviewed these about three years ago, and his opinion is quite different than our own.  Our best guess is that his taste buds were off from too many delicious vacation margaritas!

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

Discovered at 7-eleven; Hwy. 294, Hinsdale Oasis, Illinois

Fritos Official Website

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BIJOU-REVIEW: I Heart Keenwah – Aged Cheddar Quinoa Puffs

Rating: ©©©-3/4 chips  (notable)

I Heart Keenwah - Aged Cheddar Quinoa PuffsQuinoa = Keenwah

We still giggle a little every time we hear someone try to pronounce quinoa for the first time… Quin-noah?, is what we usually hear.

Ooooh, the quinoa puffs are in the shape of a heart. Yep, it’s those little details that really get us every time.

Well, these are certainly unique, and definitely a first.

Unfortunately, opinions seem to also be uniquely split right down the middle.

Some of us here at Chip Review really, really, appreciated the quinoa puffs, and after a couple additional handfuls, began to love them.  Extra crunchy, cheddar dusted, grain-y quinoa “croutons”.

Others of us here at Chip Review did not like them one bit.   Sorry.  Weird, hard, quinoa snack nuggets.

Hearty crunch, not a meltable texture at all. These are not puffs like we know puffs.  No corn meal melt at the site of tongue moisture here….these “puffs” have some body.  They are cruuuuuunchy!  Plain and simple, the quinoa puffs’ texture is not normal, and may even be off putting to some…..but, definitely unique!

The aged cheddar seasoning is fine. It is salty, a little funky, with a good orange color.

Some will love these, and others not so much.  We can’t wait to try some more flavors from these guys!

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

Puffs discovered at Marshall’s; Lombard, Illinois

I Heart Keenwah Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

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BIJOU-REVIEW: Mariano’s – Fresh Fried Seasoned Deli Chips

Rating: ©©©-1/4 chips  (notable)

Mariano's - Delit Style Potato ChipsThose of you living outside of the Chicago area may not be familiar with Mariano’s grocery stores, but who knows, with the way that they have been expanding lately, you maybe familiar with them one day….very soon.

In a nutshell Mariano’s is an “upscale” grocery store that includes all of the typical big box grocery store items, but then then at the same time also includes higher end amenities such as a sit down sushi bar, beer and wine available to drink while you shop, wood fired pizza, an in store popcorn “shop”, and much more.  Long description short, they are a great place to pick up something to eat, while shopping for groceries.

On our most recent visit to Mariano’s we spotted this bag of Fresh Fried Seasoned Deli Potato Chips, and thought they deserved a quick crunch and examination.

First thing we noticed right off the bat is that these are some really thick cut potato chips, delivering an extra hardy crunch.

But with that thick cut also came lots of fry oil potato absorption…..aka, greasy, or let’s say oily chips.

To go along with that, the potato chips themselves do not have very much potato flavor.  All we really tasted was the oil, and the deli seasoning.

The deli seasoning seemed to be a riff on the traditional salt and pepper combo.  It contained plenty of salt, and big black pepper specs, as well as some garlic and onion for flavor.

The seasoning, along with the crunch, were the best things about these chips.

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

Chips spotted at Mariano’s; Westchester, Illinois

Mariano’s Official Website

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REVIEW: Late July – Sriracha Fresca Tortilla Chips

Rating: ©©©© chips  (lip-smacking)

Late July - Sriracha FrescaIt was about a year ago this month when we first spotted Late July’s current bag design; which at that time was coinciding with the release of their Taco Truck inspired Clasico Tortilla Chips.  Both creations, the bags and the chips were pretty terrific.  We wrote the following words in regards to those newly designed bags, and those same words surely apply here with Late July’s latest aggressively green specimen!

Anyone who tries to tell you that appearance doesn’t matter is kidding themselves!  Appearance does matter, even when it comes to chips, and Late July Snacks really seems to understand this with the design of their new….bags!  Just look at that electric green bag to your left!  Eye catching isn’t it?  Great sense of style.  Bold, yet refined.  Simple, and yet so poignantly candid with their visual message that our mouths start salivating just by looking at the bag. 

Sriracha Fresca?!  Hmmmm…..  fresh sriracha huh….?  We sort of doubt that these chips have been covered in freshly blended, Thai chili, sriracha hot sauce.  Wouldn’t that make the tortilla chips really soggy?  Either way, nit-picking aside, Sriracha Fresca is a perfectly acceptable flavor name variation of the popular flavor!  Late July being the latest of chip companies adding another mark to the ever growing list of sriracha flavored chips!

Sriracaha hot sauce really goes well with everything!  And, sriracha hot sauce flavored seasoning goes well with every crunchy snack as well!!  However, in our opinion, the snack food seasoning version does go best with potato chips, as opposed to tortilla chips or popcorn.  That being said, these are probably the most delicious sriracha flavored tortilla chips that we have tasted thus far.

For one reason or another the combination of corn tortilla chips, and sriracha’s slightly spicy, slightly sweet, and extra garlicky flavor notes always make us think of other tortilla chip flavors that already existed prior to SRIRACHA EVERYTHING – flavors like sweet & spicy chili, or sweet chili & red pepper.  In other words, they do not really offer up anything new to the chip game.  Late July’s version does offer the addition of lime juice (we’re assuming this is the fresca aspect), and we can appreciate the slight variation, but it is not nearly enough for us to say WOW! These chips have something very different about them!

Late July’s tortilla chips themselves are pretty fantastic!  Easily among the best tortilla chips out there.  In fact, these tortilla chips could even quite possibly be mistaken for a Doritos tortilla chip in a blind crunch test.  Light and crispy, with those lovely little air pockets that give our mouths some real enjoyment.  They also deliver a good amount of real ground corn flavor.

So, in the end, these new Sriracha Fresca tortilla chips are lip-smackingly eatable, but if you are looking for something that scream unfamiliar, or even makes you actually think of real sriracha from the bottle, then these probably aren’t it.

If you see Late July Organic Chips in your neck of the woods, do yourself a favor and give them a try – all of them!

Chips discovered at Whole Foods; River Forest, Illinois

Late July Organic Snacks Official Website

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BIJOU-REVIEW: Nick’s – Hot Potato Chips

Rating: ©©©-3/4 chips  (notable)

Nick's - Hot Potato ChipsYou know, we were expecting a bit more out of these potato chips, after having tried Nick’s other hot flavored chips.

Not that these are bad in any way, it’s just that they are pretty standard hot potato chips, and certainly not as fantastic as Nick’s other hot flavored chips.

The red seasoning uses a classic combination of paprika, chil, and a touch of smoke.  Not all too different than a BBQ seasoning.

The flavoring mingles and compliment the potato chips very well.  Not exactly a complex flavor playground.  More of a one note, very savory, slightly spicy seasoning blend.

Nick’s potato chips are large in size, with a thin and crispy body.  They more than do the trick.

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

Mix provided to Chip Review by Nick’s Chips for review

Nick’s Chips Official Website

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REVIEW: Brew Foods – Salsa Verde Corn Tortilla Chips

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

Brew Foods - Salsa VerdeA few weeks back we reviewed Brew Foods’ Chipotle BBQ Corn Tortilla Chips, and we thought that they were some very tasty chips.

We told you how Brew Foods is a new tortilla chip company focusing their efforts on the beer drinking masses, in other words, the vast majority of us!  We also told you how we paired those chipotle bbq tortilla chips chips with a Ballast Point Pineapple Sculpin India Pale Ale, and how the combination of the two did in fact work quite well.

Well, this time around we are here to tell you to throw all of that other stuff out the window!  Brew Foods’ Salsa Verde Corn Tortilla Chips may in fact pair very well with an ice cold brew, but we cannot deny or confirm that with you because we tried one chip, and the rest was history.  We devoured the entire delicious chip bag before we even had a chance to crack open any bottle of beer!  Who needs beer with chips this fantastic!?!

First, lets get one thing out of the way before we do anything else.  These salsa verde tortilla chips are not quite as delicious as as our most favorite salsa verdes of all time – Doritos!  But, Brew Foods’ Salsa Verde Corn Tortilla Chips are fantastically delicious in their own different sort of salsa verde flavored way!

We say sort of salsa verde flavored because more than anything else these chips make us think of – ONION RINGS!!  Yep, that’s right, bar food staple, beer battered onion ring flavored corn tortilla chips.  Seriously, unanimous among all of the reviewers, these chips trigger thoughts of onion rings!  But, not just any onion rings, slightly spicy, very vegetal and tangy flavored onion rings….aka, our new favorite kind of onion rings!

The chips do have many of those typical salsa verde ingredients like tomato, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, but we can’t help but notice that onion powder is the very first flavored ingredient on that list.  In other words, these chips exude sweet and fragrant onion-ness, and if you are not a fan we suggest you stay the heck away!  But, if you are like us, and love onion rings and corn tortilla chips, you will be in for a treat with these unique chips!

Brew Foods’ crunchy corn tortilla chips are thinner cut, small batch, with loads and loads of corn flavor.  The chips are light, and yet deliver a substantial toothsome chew.  Think more like fried tortillas, than tortilla chips with lots of air pockets.  Any which way we describe them, just think tasty and unique salsa verde corn tortilla chips.

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 Brew Foods for review

Brew Foods Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

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BIJOU-REVIEW: Snyder’s of Hanover – Everything 50% Less Fat Pretzel Pieces

Rating: ©©©-1/4 chips  (notable)

Snyder's of Hanover - EverythingLast month we tried Snyder’s of Hanover’s other New 50% Less Fat Pretzel Pieces flavor – Zesty Ranch.  And to say that we were disappointed would be a grave understatement.

In short, Snyder’s of Hanover had taken practically everything we loved about their classically fantastic Buttermilk Ranch Pretzel Pieces (one our all-time favorite ranch flavored snacks), and replaced them with mouth drying, unimpressively seasoned, pretzel pieces!

In other words, we were more than a little hesitant to give this other new less fat flavor a try, despite our love for anything-everything!!

Thankfully, these are much better than their ranch flavored compadres.

All of the usual everything flavor suspects are present.  We’ve got poppy seeds, sesame seeds, onion, garlic and salt.  And of course, the flavor combo works on bread-y pretzel pieces.

Do these pretzels blow us away?  No.  They fall short of the majority of Snyder’s delicacies.  The pieces are still very dry and lacking that Snyder’s of Hanover typical rich and fatty mouth texture appeal.

Once again we’ll be sticking with Snyder’s original pieces!

Make sure to let us know your thoughts.

Discovered at Target; Willowbrook, Illinois

Snyder’s of Hanover Official Website

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