REVIEW: Neal Brothers Foods – Extremely Tasty Montreal Steak Spice Kettle Chips

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

neal-brothers-montreal-steak-spiceShow of hands please.  How many of you out there have Montreal Steak Spice in your spice cabinet right now?  If you are like us, then your hand is raised to the ceiling.  Okay, so that was an easy one.  Now, a more difficult question.  How many of you out there know what constitutes, or makes up, a Montreal Steak Spice?  Crickets……

Yeah, we thought so.  Well, according to the world wide web-a-sphere: Montreal steak spice is a spice mix used to flavour steak and grilled meats that was based on the pickling dry-rub mix used in preparing Montreal smoked meat. The smoked meat seasoning is derived from pickling mixes used in Eastern Europe or Romanian Jewish cuisine. The primary constituents of Montreal steak seasoning include garlic, coriander, black pepper, Cayenne pepper flakes, dill seed, and salt. The spice mix recipe varies slightly among restaurants and manufacturers. (wikipedia.com)

Now that we have that out of the way, who better to deliver us some Montreal Steak Spice flavored Kettle Chips than two brothers from Canada (because Montreal is in Canada of course).  Who are these Neal Brothers, you ask?  According to their website, those Neal Brothers are Peter and Chris.  And the two of them started their specialty food company nearly 30 years ago.  Included among all of those specialty foods, are of course the most important of all foods – CHIPS!

Let’s start off by saying that these chips do not taste like steak at all.  So, if you were wondering about that, or hoping for that, throw that presumption/wish right out the window (and you should probably go back and read the paragraph above that describes Montreal Steak Spice).  Fortunately, we are here to say that the Extremely Tasty portion of the Neal Brothers chip flavor, does in fact hold true!  These are some delicious chips!!  Especially if you like dill.

These chips are not shy with their seasoning.  We definitely tasted some onion and garlic, mingling with a good amount of salt and black pepper, along with a splash of sour like vinegar.  On the tail end, the chips definitely deliver some chili pepper heat.  But, more than anything, we tasted A LOT of DILL.  Seriously, in a blind taste test we would have most certainly thought that these chips were some amp’d up version of dill pickle chips – which is never a bad thing in our books!

Neal Brothers have wisely chosen a medium-thick cut, extra crunchy, not greasy at all, kettle cooked potato chip to pair with the powerful Montreal Steak Spice seasoning.  Any lesser chip would have crumbled under the barrage of strong spices.

All in all, we were very impressed with these chips.  If you like dill, and prefer your potato chips loaded with flavor, then we suggest you give these a chomp!

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 Neal Brothers for review

Neal Brothers Foods Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

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REVIEW: Paqui Tortilla Chips – The One Chip Challenge – Carolina Reaper Madness

Rating: ©©©©© chips (“A” list)

paqui-carolina-reaperThere’s no turning back once you enter Homemade Hell.

— Inside: One Deadly Chip —

The reaper is waiting.  Any last words?

IT’S DAMN HOT.

#onechipchallange

We could go on, and on, referencing Paqui’s quippy packaging slogans, but all we really want to do is say:

Bravo Paqui.  Bravo.

We don’t normally show you more than a single picture from the front of the bag, but we’re feeling like this packaging warrants a couple more shots.

paqui-carolina2paqui-carolina3

Details (“warnings”) from the back of the coffin, and the single Fear the Reaper chip bag from inside.

In all seriousness, Paqui’s new One Chip Challenge may just go down in history as the single greatest chip marketing promotion that we have ever encountered!  The videos posted all over the internet of people attempting the One Chip Challenge, combined with Paqui’s absolutely, freakishly, fantastic packaging, had us fearing these chips even prior to tasting them.

Quick backstory on Chip Review and Paqui. We reached out to Paqui Tortilla Chips over three years ago about reviewing their small-ish line of chips.  After a few weeks of back and forth, Doug finally got a sample box out to us.  If you have ever checked out our 25 Chips to Christmas then needless to say that we were WOWED by the amazing quality of Paqui’s Grilled Habanero flavored tortilla chips.  Not just for their spot on attention to flavor detail but also for their willingness to really push the heat level to somewhere we had never tasted before.

Later that year, around Halloween time, Paqui reached out to us about being the first to taste, and review, their Limited Edition Haunted Ghost Pepper flavored tortilla chips.  Once again, if you have ever checked out our 25 Chips to Christmas, then you know that we were wowed by these as well.  Once again, Paqui pushed the heat to a level we had never before tasted on chips.

Fast forward to today: Paqui Tortilla Chips – The One Chip Challenge – Carolina Reaper Madness.  Lets break these chips, hold on, sorry, this chip experience down for you.

Truth be told, we typically start out by licking a chip.  We like to get a taste of the seasoning on its own.  This time was no different.  Lick 1 – wow, really delicious.  And, yeah, that’s pretty spicy.  One more lick – yep, these are very delicious.  Another amazing seasoning blend by Paqui.  Fruity, smoky, floral chile notes…..

Hold on now, wait a second…..

Oh yeah, there it is…..

Oh……

OMG!!!!!!! HOLY HELL!! F&$^(#F!!!!

Yep, that’s right, Paqui brought the heat once again!  It takes a little while to really hit you, but then once it does, you can expect some compounding, persistent, PAIN!  The tongue was actually throbbing. Two glasses of milk, and about ten minutes later and the heat practically disappeared.  We survived.

We are calling these chip, “A” list – perfect, not because they are our most favorite chips, or even that we would want to taste another one, but because they live up to everything they promise, and everything we expect from Paqui.  Without a doubt, the spiciest chips of all-time!

Bravo Paqui.  Bravo.

As always, these are our thoughts, agree or disagree, let us know.

Chip provided to Chip Review by JK, for review, plus to torture us….

Paqui Tortilla Chips Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

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BIJOU-REVIEW: Pringles – Consomme (Japan)

Rating: ©©©-1/2 chips  (notable)

pringles-consommeThis past week Chip Review was lucky enough to be shipped a box full of different chips, and chip like snacks, from our new friends at MunchPak.  The box included chips from all over the globe.  Everywhere from Germany and Korea, to Ireland and of course Japan.  It was would be fair to say that the majority of these chips were new to us.

So, who is this MunchPak?  Well, according to their website:

At MunchPak we are just a bunch of devoted snackers! We love to share our passion for foreign and familiar snacks with you and therefore only ship out a MunchPak that we ourselves would enjoy. We also strive to make your MunchPak experience on our site fast, convenient, and customizable….  Whether you’re sticking to your usual treats or are a more adventurous snacker, you can easily customize your order to include your favorites or be able to add a different kind of rare item that you wouldn’t have normally tried. No other subscription based snack service offers such customization and customer driven choices. We aim to satisfy even your most insatiable snack cravings. No one makes it as easy or as convenient to discover the best snacks from around the world like MunchPak does!

Well, that sure sounds like a cool concept to us.  And, in case you are interested in such a service, make sure to tune in and pay attention to the unique chips we will be reviewing over the next few weeks.

First up from our worldly munch-pack are these Consomme flavored Pringles from Japan.  Just in case there are any of you out there who do not know what consomme is, basically it is concentrated broth or stock.  In other words, a clarified soup.

The Japanese Pringles are a bit smaller in size than our U.S. version, as well as, a bit thicker, with a more hearty than crispy crunch.  We prefer the U.S. Pringles.  As for the consomme seasoning, well, these taste pretty darn accurate.  In other words, the crisps tastes just like they have been coated in a  chicken flavored ramen seasoning packet, or a crushed buillion cube.  The seasoning is salty and works fairly well with the potato crisps.

All in all, these Japanese Pringles were notably good.  We think that we would have liked liked this flavor even a bit more on our U.S. Pringles, but we get it, that is sort of like saying that we want to have our chips, and eat them too!

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

Pringles provided to Chip Review by MunchPak for review

Pringles Official Website

MunchPak Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

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BIJOU-REVIEW: Deep River Snacks Honchos – Ranch Tortilla Chips

Rating: ©©-1/4 chips  (tolerable)

deep-river-honchos-ranchWe have been huge fans of Deep River Snacks for quite some time.  We respect the company’s decision to provide us with a more nutritious snack option, and we quite simply love a lot of their chips.

Unfortunately, these Ranch flavored Honchos are not among that long list of the Deep River chips that we do love.

We were going to simply chock these chips up to being tortilla chips, and that Deep River Snacks perhaps had not yet perfected their new Honchos line, but then we remembered that a couple of years ago we reviewed, and loved, their lip-smacking Peach Habanero Tortilla Chips.  Today these chips are apart of the Honchos line, but back when we reviewed them they were just tortilla chips with In Your Face Flavor!

But, enough about those great chips, today we are dealing with these only tolerable chips.

At first we thought that we were going to really like these chips.  All the usual ranch flavor notes were present and accounted for, but then somewhere in the background was a weird, sorta tangy and very salty intruder…..

And there it was, smack-dab in the middle of the ingredients list – cheddar cheese?!?  Huh?  Sorry, cheddar cheese is not meant to be used in ranch dressing.

Unfortunately, that is not our only issue with these chips.  We are also not very huge fans of the tortilla chips themselves.  Maybe we let the chips slip too close to their expiration date, or maybe they had already taken a wrong turn down the too hard and crunchy chip highway.

No light and crispy chips here.  Simply too dense, too hard and rigid tortilla chips for lthe likes of our palettes.

Sorry Deep River but these are not among our favorites from you.

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 Deep River Snacks for review

Deep River Snacks Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

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REVIEW: Kettle Brand – Moscow Mule Potato Chips

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

kettle-brand-moscow-muleWe finally found you!  That’s right, you thought you could hide from us by completely selling out of the entire Chicago area, but NO! we have Chip Review friends everywhere, and with their help you have shown up at our front doorstep, ready to be reviewed just like all the others!

First of all, we’re going to assume that most of you out there know what a Moscow Mule is.  If you do not, a quick Google search will solve that, and we would also recommend finding your local watering hole and procuring one.

Next, let’s take note of the gorgeous copper colored packaging that Kettle Brand has chosen for these chips (sorry our pic is not as nice as it could be – here are some more examples).  There’s no doubt that the shiny metallic top-half of the bag is meant to represent the classic copper mug that a proper Moscow Mule cocktail is traditionally served in.  We are very impressed with the amount of creativity and consideration put into this packaging.  In fact, we’ve quite liked the packaging for all three of the newer Kettle Brand chips.

As far as the Moscow Mule flavor itself goes, well, it is another delicious home run from Kettle Brand.  For what it is worth, it has become very apparent to us here that Kettle Brand has either gone GINGER CRAZY – because all three new flavors that we have tried of theirs, have all been very ginger focused; or, perhaps Kettle Brand just came across a free supply of ginger and thought that they would make the best out of it?!  Either way, it has worked out in our favor, because these are really delicious.

These chips may not be for everyone as they do definitely lean towards the sweeter end of the flavor spectrum, but there’s just something about that unique sweet-sour-pungent combination of ginger and lime that we really enjoy.  The chips are just so aromatic, and refreshing, and tropical, that we felt like they perfectly compliment Kettle Brand’s always fantastic, medium-thick, slightly greasy, potato-ful kettle cooked potato chips.

Don’t quote us but as far as we know it, both these Moscow Mule, along with the new Korean Barbeque, can only be acquired at World Markets. That’s all we know, and we’re sticking to it!

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 LRH & RLH for review (thanks you two)

Kettle Brand Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

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BIJOU-REVIEW: Herr’s Kettle Cooked – Smoked Chipotle Potato Chips

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

herrs-kettle-cooked-smoked-chipotleThese are really quite tasty chips.

After eating quite a few handfuls of these chips the heat of the chipotle chilies did begin to build.

Smoked Chipotle…? Hmmm, that’s sort of redundant isn’t it?  A chipotle by nature is a smoked jalapeño.  So, it is sort of like calling salt, salty, or a grilled cheese, as grilled-grilled cheese.

Overall, we have a tough time calling these CHIPOTLE flavored chips. They are certainly delicious, but we don’t think that chipotle is an accurate description of their flavor – especially the emphasis on the SMOKED.

In fact, these are some of the least smokey chipotle chips we have ever tried.

Let’s just call them some deliciously spicy BBQ potato chips.

And as usual, Herr’s fantastic kettle cooked potato chips do not fail.

Just the right amount of hearty crunch, and potato flavor.

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 Herr’s Foods for review

Herr’s Foods Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

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REVIEW: Trader Joe’s – Bollywood Popcorn (Vegan Tikka Masala)

Rating: ©©©©-1/2 chips (lip-smacking)

trader-joes-bollywood-popcornIs Tikka Masala the new BBQ or Cheddar?  Most likely not, but the Indian flavor does seem to be picking up some traction, as Trader Joe’s Bollywood Popcorn is the second Tikka Masala flavored snack that we have reviewed in as many months.  We can tell you without a doubt, that TJ’s snack version of the flavor, is easily the far superior one!

Every year Trader Joe’s always seems to knock a couple of their new snacks out of the park – last year we loved their Ghost Pepper Lattice Cut Kettle Cooked Potato Chips and the Partially Popped Popcorn …with Butter & Sea Salt, and two years ago it was their Potato Chips with South African Style Seasoning, this year we already praised their Somewhat Spicy Dill flavored Kettle Cooked Potato Chips – and it is fair to say that TJ’s Bollywood Popcorn has joined this lip-smacking list!

To accurately describe to you what exactly this popcorn tastes like we would have to have a much better understanding of Indian cuisine overall.  So, rather that do a half-popped job with that we are just going to plagiarize a few key descriptive words from What’s Good at Trader Joe’s review:

a big, aromatic cloud of cloves and cumin and garam masala, which quickly laid to rest how potent the seasoning might be on a simple popcorn base… Potent is an understatement. My goodness. The best way I can explain it is a “happy heat.” …it builds slowly but surely, with a lot of warmth, and it just lingers on and on, but it’s never overbearing.”

We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves, and so we didn’t.  The popcorn is amazingly fragrant, dusted perfectly with those exotic spices.  And it certainly brings a slightly spicy, steady warmth after a few handfuls.  But above all else, we would describe the popcorn as balanced, and extremely SAVORY.  We just loved it!  If you like popcorn, then you owe it to yourself to give this stuff a try!!

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

Popcorn discovered at Trader Joe’s; Oak Park, Illinois

Trader Joe’s Official Website

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