* Updated: 05/05/2013
Rating: ©©©©© chips (“A” list)
At long last, the finalists for Lay’s ‘Do Us a Flavor’ contest have finally arrived!!! To chip fanatics such as us it seems like forever ago that Lay’s first announced the chance at a million dollars for creating a new potato chip flavor for them. We know that you are probably wondering if we submitted any flavor ideas to Lay’s, and the answer to that is, “of course!” Exactly how Lay’s had the nerve to pass on our ideas for Anchovy-Garlic, or Black Truffle & Manchego potato chips, we’re not sure…
Actually, we do know how, and it’s because Lay’s opted for a trio of more main stream, or at least u(sa)niversally palatable, flavors; albeit, relatively creative ones, that if executed effectively, could result in some genre stretching surprises, and highlights, within the industry!!
For the record, we here at Chip Review have been huge fans of the wonderful combination of fried chicken and waffles for many years now, and we’ve tried numerous versions of the dish. However, when we asked around, we were surprised at how many people had never actually tasted the soul food staple before. We were even more surprised by people’s reactions, and assessments so far, to Lay’s Chicken & Waffle Potato Chips.
So, in our humble opinion, how well has Lay’s executed the sweet and savory, breakfast-dinner hybrid, flavor-finalist, chicken and waffle combination?!?! Very, very well. And, how well does the flavor concept translate onto potato chips??? We think, extremely well!! These chips definitely rank among the best chips we have tasted so far in 2013, and we wouldn’t be very surprised if they ended up on our Top 25 Chips of the year. However, we should just get it out of the way, and forewarn you – we seem to be in the minority here at Chip Review. Everywhere we looked on the internet, negative reviews for this flavor combination seemed to be popping up. None, more so than the Impulsive Buy’s take….which we can’t disagree with more (and we normally agree with their assessments).
First of all, the appearance of these chips is very appealing. The slightly thicker than normal Lay’s potato chips, are combined with a rich, caramel looking seasoning that had our mouths watering even before crunching a single chip. We thought that the bag smelled of sweet caramel corn, with notes of onion, but others (Impulsive Buy), thought these smelled of mold (to each their own)?!? The sweetness level can seem a bit abrupt, and overwhelming, at first, but once you get into the groove, and settle into what these chips are all about (sweet-salty-savory interplay), the sweetness level subdues a bit.
These chips will most likely be a flavor challenge to many. We are fairly certain that you have never tasted chips such as these before, and here at Chip Review we are so thrilled to be tasting something we honestly never could have imagined we would get to taste in chip format. We can agree slightly with many of the detractors that the chicken flavor level is a relatively minor, but when you really think about it, when chicken is combined with any more powerful flavor, in this case it would be syrup, it always plays second fiddle. To enhance the chicken flavor recognition aspect, garlic and onion seasoning have been added, and they do help with that aspect. Although others have said that there are no herbs present, a few of us at Chip Review could swear that we tasted rosemary hidden somewhere in the background (there are some very small and sparse green specs scattered throughout the chips so….who knows). Our only qualm with these chips and flavor may be their after taste, which reminded us slightly of a bouillon cube.
So, in the end, you may think we (along with Lay’s, and Christina Abu-Judom (the submitter of the flavor) are a bit crazy, and you could be right. However, in the case of these chips we’re just so elated that a unique chip such as this has been released, and stirs up such buzz, and contemplation, and conversation, that we don’t care if we are in the minority, and we are perfectly fine with having to defend our opinions….
As always, these are our thoughts, we would love to hear what you think. Agree or disagree, let us know.
Chip Ratings Scale:
© – return to sender
©© – tolerable
©©© – notable
©©©© – lip-smacking
©©©©© – “A” list