Chip Review’s Honorable Mentions – 2016

25 Chips to Christmas – 10 Honorable Mentions

25-chips-to-christmas-2016

These chips nearly made our Top 25 of the Year, and deserve some recognition too!! (alphabetical order)

Burt's - Guinness Rich Chili
“If there is one thing we want you to take away from this review it is that these chips are savory.  SUPER-DUPER SAVORY.”

“…leave it to a small town Minnesota gas station to surprise us with these ‘new’ (to us at least) Hot and Spicy Fries!  And to that, all we really have to say is ‘Chip lovers start your fry chompin’ engines!!’

Herr's - Chickie's & Pete's Famous Crabfries seasoned Potato Chips with White Creamy Cheese Sauce flavoring

Herr’s – Chickie’s & Pete’s Famous Crabfries seasoned Potato Chips with White Creamy Cheese Sauce flavoring

“While these chips may include (although we cannot confirm) many of the same spices found in Old Bay… they also include a touch of heat to spice things up, and a good dash of tangy cheese powder to smooth things out.  In other words, they improve upon the iconic East Coast seasoning!”

Ikea - Potato ChipsIkea - Sour Cream & Onion

Ikea – Potatischips Satade (Salted Potato Chips) & Potatischips GRÄDDFIL LÖK (Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips)

“It seems like so many people who shop at Ikea always make a stop at the cafeteria for a bit, but we will be making a decision to grab a bag of these prior to our future shopping excursions!”

Keogh's - Sweet Chilli

“The Sweet Chilli & Irish Red Pepper seasoning is fantastic!  Love, love, love the addition of ginger and coriander, and also what appears to be licorice root – all adding flavor notes that are uncommon in most seasoning combos.”
Lieber's - Barbecue Potato Chips

Lieber’s – Barbecue Potato Chips

“Having been in this game for quite some time now, we can tell you that it is a very rare occurrence when we grab a $1 dollar buyout special bag of chips on the way up to the cash register and it turns out that those chips are actually tasty.”

Meijer - Grilled Pineapple and Jalapeno

Meijer – Grilled Pineapple and Jalapeño Potato Chips

Who knew that grilled pineapple and jalapeño worked well together??  Well, apparently anyone who has enjoyed one of these pizzas.  Or, anyone who loves some good al pastor tacos with some spicy jalapeños in there, that’s who.”

Rachel's - Sriracha Sour Cream

Rachel’s – Sriracha Sour Cream Gourmet Kettle Chips

“Wow Rachel, been a long time.  And what’s this…you’ve changed your look, haven’t you?  Well, just wanted to let you know that we like what you’ve done with your style!”

ten-acre-the-day-sweet-and-sour-became-friends

Ten Acre – The Day Sweet and Sour Became Friends Hand Cooked Crisps

“Probably the best way that we can describe this seasoning to you would be picture a salt & vinegar chip crossed paths with a ranch flavored chip who had brushed up next to a BBQ flavored chip.”

Uncle Ray's - Roasted Garlic

Uncle Ray’s – Roasted Garlic Potato Chips

“We can really appreciate the simplicity of these potato chips. There is not one shred of doubt regarding what the intention of these chips really is. Plain and simple, garlic flavored potato chips.”

**Chip Review’s Top 25 list of the Year consists of chips that we tasted and reviewed during the 2016 calendar year for the first time.  The chips are not necessarily new to the industry, but they were new to Chip Review in 2016!

REVIEW: Dale Jr Foods – Hot and Spicy Fries

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

Dale Jr - Hot & Spicy FriesRecords indicate that it has been a few years since we tried anything new from Nascar racing superstar Mr. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (and yes, that’s right, Dale does chips!); but leave it to a small town Minnesota gas station to surprise us with these ‘new’ (to us at least) Hot and Spicy Fries!  And to that, all we really have to say is ‘Chip lovers start your fry chompin’ engines!!’

We wouldn’t say that we have tried a lot of different crunchy fry snacks over the years, but for the most part we have never really been huge fans of any that we have tasted (until now!).  Honestly, crispy potato fry snacks just seem like they are trying to be, and inevitably wishing that they were, classic corn puffs.  But, what we have discovered is that “puffed” potato fries just don’t have the same crispy, yet delicate, and most importantly melt-able, mouth texture that everyone’s favorite cheese puffs do.  The fries are certainly crispy, crunchy in fact, but the potato just doesn’t evoke that same silky, smooth mouth feel, and certainly do not melt down into a rich pool of fat upon the tongue.

As we indicated above, these Hot and Spicy Fries from Dale Jr. Foods are surprisingly delicious!  Coated with a bright red dusting, and apparently a seasoning combination that includes cheese, of course the usual suspects of garlic and onion, plus a real dash of both jalapeño and habanero chili peppers.  Despite the chili peppers addition, we wouldn’t say that these are really hot and spicy.  The peppers do eventually make their presence felt after a few handfuls but won’t be sending anyone to the fridge for the milk.  More impressive than the heat was simply the overall flavor spectrum of this seasoning.  The flavor combination really came together as a whole and complimented the crispy fries to the best of its ability.

So, if you, like us, have never really considered yourself a fan of potato fry snacks, we suggest you give these a try and see if Dale can change your mind just like he changed ours!

As always we would love to hear what you think.  Agree or disagree.  Let us know.

Fries discovered at Holiday Gas Station; Bemidji, Minnesota

Dale Jr Foods Official Website

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REVIEW: Dale Jr Foods – Zesty Jalapeno Potato Chips

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

Dale Jr Foods - Zesty Jalapeno Potato Chips

Comments:

Every once in a while we luck out, and without even planning it, or expecting it, we happen to save the best flavor for last!  In this case, Dale Jr.’s Zesty Jalapeno potato chips, just so happen to be that flavor.   Although, we appreciated each of Dale Jr.’s flavors, these jalapeno ones just seem to be a bit more ahead of the pack (notice that racing analogy?).

If we had to describe these chips using only two adjectives, we would have to choose: “tasty”, simply because they are…well, tasty; and then we would also choose “weird!”  Weird, weird, weird!  Why weird?  Why not!?!  This is our review, we can choose….sorry, we apologize, sometimes we just get a bit defensive and sensitive when it comes to our reviews.

We would choose the adjective “weird” because these ‘Zesty Jalapeno’ chips are just not what we typically taste when we munch on some jalapeno chips. Sure, the usual attributes of a jalapeno chip are present.  They smell of fresh, vegetal, chile peppers, and they of course bring a nice and even spicy kick, but these typical jalapeno aspects don’t even begin to describe what these chips actually come at you with.  With these chips we also tasted: sour cream, garlic, onion, sweetness, saltiness and an overall richness.  The only basic taste that these chips seemed to be missing was bitterness.

So, what is keeping these chips from being “A-list”, perfect?  Well, as we mentioned above, these chips are salty, quite a bit too salty in our books (and we like our books salty).  Also, the chips were quite greasy despite being on the lighter and thinner side.  Although the jalapeno flavor is apparent, to simply name these as such, does not do them descriptive justice!

As far as the potato chips themselves go, like we told you in our other Dale Jr. reviews, the chips are on the thinner side, very crispy, made up of mostly unbroken, large potato slices.  Their texture, and potato flavor, are top notch, but at the same time, cannot quite handle the onslaught of flavor explosion that coats each chip.

As always we would love to hear what you think.  Agree or disagree.  Let us know.

Chips provided to Chip Review by Barrel O’ Fun Snacks for review

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REVIEW: Dale Jr. Foods – Creole & Green Onion Potato Chips

Rating: ©©©-1/4 chips  (notable)

Dale Jr Foods - Creole & Green Onion Potato Chips

Comments:

Little did we know the same day our review for Dale Jr.’s Creole & Green Onion Potato Chips was set to drop, Taquitos.net had plans to publish their own take on the creatively-named-but-executed….only so-so, potato chips.  However, according to Taquitos.net’s review, they were a little bit more impressed with them than we were.

First, Barrel O’ Fun gave us Larry The Cable Guy’s Tater Chips, and as much as we wanted to laugh at the thought, and dismiss the chips as simply a clever marketing gimmick, in the end we had to give props to B.O.F., and Larry for giving us some very solid and tasty tater chips.  However, it is becoming more and more evident that Dale Jr. doesn’t have the same affinity for potato chips as Larry.

Like any good food “analysts” we made sure that we knew, and understood, the product we were going to review.  So, according to Wiki: “Louisiana Creole cuisine is a style of cooking originating in Lousiana, US which blends French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Native American, and African influences, as well as general Southern Cuisine.” Wikipedia

In other words, Creole cuisine is a giant mish-mash of cultures and cuisines, and that’s basically what we can say about these chips (that, along with the bold addition of Green Onion of course).  In fact, they are so convoluted with ingredients that we almost cannot recognize, or establish any of the flavors, except for garlic.  Lots of garlic.  Lots and lots of garlic.  Which obviously, makes these chips very flavorful, but we also find that this Creole & Green Onion flavor combo is a bit harsh on our pallets.  Basically, it is as if garlic (lots of it) has been combined with pungent onion, and zippy jalapeno, and warming paprika, and salt. The Creole flavor gang has teamed up to attack and numb our taste buds into submission.

Dale Jr’s potato chips themselves are on the thinner side, very crispy, made up of mostly unbroken, large potato slices.  Their texture and potato flavor are top notch, but at the same time, no match for the flavor tornado that Creole & Green Onion bring down on them.  We can appreciate B.O.F. and Dale’s attempt to provide us with a flavor that we have yet encountered within the industry, but if this is as good as this flavor example can be, we don’t see it becoming a mainstream flavor at all!

As always we would love to hear what you think.  Agree or disagree.  Let us know.

Chips provided to Chip Review by Barrel O’ Fun Snacks for review

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REVIEW: Dale Jr Foods – Carolina Barbeque Potato Chips

Rating: ©©©-1/2 chips (notable)

Dale Jr Foods - Carolina Barbeque Potato Chips

Comments:

We thought the opening paragraph for our review of Dale Jr’s Original Crispy Potato Chips worked well, but we’re fairly certain that it’s even more appropriate for these chips.  So, we’re not going to try and recreate the wheel (paragraph) here, we’re simply just going to use it again.

What’s more American than Nascar?!?  You could definitely present us with fair arguments for baseball, cheeseburgers, or apple pie, but we’re fairly certain that on a great percentage of lists, Nascar racing would definitely be included.  At the top of Chip Review’s American shortlist would be chips (duh)!  So, what do you get when you combine “3” great American classics?  Well, Dale Jr Foods Carolina Barbeque Potato Chips OF COURSE!!!

First, Barrel O’ Fun gave us Larry The Cable Guy’s Tater Chips, and as much as we wanted to laugh at the thought, and dismiss the chips as a clever marketing gimmick, in the end we had to show props to B.O.F. and Larry for giving us some very solid tater chips.  And, so far, the same can be said for B.O.F. and Dale Jr.’s products.

WHOA!!!  Yep, we’re talking Joey Lawrence from Blossom kind of WHOA!!  These Carolina barbeque chips may just be the smokiest chips we’ve ever tasted!!  How smoky are they?  We’re talking Hickory wood blazing, face over the chimney, salty-meaty-JERKY kind of smoky.  We say jerky because one taster mentioned that they thought these chips tasted eerily similar to jerky, and almost every taster agreed that the chips evoked some very strong thoughts of meat.  We can only imagine that this is what Carolina barbeque really tastes like.

Dale Jr’s potato chips are on the thinner side, very crispy, made up of mostly unbroken, large potato slices.  These chips pack a flavor explosion of almost unbearably overpowering BBQ-ness.  The positives with that are that they have many different flavor layers, or levels.  First, it’s immediate smoke, then a vinegar zing with a touch of mustard, next a sweet-savory tomato and brown sugar combo, and finally everything is rounded off with just a tiny bit of spicy heat.  We love that the chips are not overly sweet.  The cons: the smoke level is too much for us!  The chips are also a little overly rich; so much so, that we couldn’t eat very many of them.  Lets just say that if you are a real meat/bbq/jerky lover – these would be right up your alley!!

As always we would love to hear what you think.  Agree or disagree.  Let us know.

Chips provided to Chip Review by Barrel O’ Fun Snacks for review

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REVIEW: Dale Jr Foods – Crispy Original Potato Chips

Rating: ©©©-3/4 chips (notable)

Dale Jr Foods - Crispy Original Potato Chips

Comments:

What’s more American than Nascar?!?  You could definitely present us with fair arguments for baseball, cheeseburgers, or barbecue, but we’re fairly certain that on a great percentage of lists, Nascar racing would be included most of the time.  At the top of our American shortlist would be potato chips (duh)!  So, what do you get when you combine two great American classics?  Well, Dale Jr Foods Crispy Original Potato Chips OF COURSE!!!

As far as we can tell, you are witnessing a potato chip exclusive right now.  If we are incorrect, please let us know, but according to our limited internet search capabilities, we here at Chip Review are the first ones to taste, and review, Dale Jr Food’s potato chips!!  We know what you’re thinking.  And yes, we have, we will, and we always do……

First, Barrel O’ Fun gave us Larry The Cable Guy’s Tater Chips, and as much as we wanted to laugh at the thought, and dismiss the chips as a clever marketing gimmick, in the end we had to show props to BOF and Larry for giving us some very solid tater chips.  And, so far, the same can be said for BOF and Dale Jr.’s products.

We have been on a “plain” potato chip terror as of late, reviewing everything from the original potato chips to potato “crisps” from our friends across the big pond. We have been truly amazed by how different “plain” potato chips can actually taste from one manufacturer to the next.  As for Dale Jr Foods Crispy Originals, these are straightforward, perfectly acceptable, tasty and simple.  Plenty of large, unbroken, light and crispy potato chips.  They exhibit a good potato flavor, are appropriately salted, and are a little bit heftier than the typical thin cut potato chip.  Similar to how we described Charle’s Chips, we would enjoy Dale Jr.’s Crispy Originals as a side kick to our meal, but we’re not going to sit down and crunch through a whole bag the same way we do with so many seasoned chips…..but that’s just us.

As always, these are our thoughts. Agree or disagree, make sure to let us know.

Chip provided to Chip Review from Barrel O’ Fun Snacks for review

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