RATING: Neal Brothers Foods – Extremely Tasty Maple Bacon Kettle Chips

Rating: ©©©-3/4 chips  (notable)

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Chips provided to Chip Review by Neal Brothers for review

Neal Brothers Foods Official Website

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REVIEW: Zapp’s – VooDoo Heat New Orleans Kettle Style Potato Chips

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

zapps-voodoo-heatLong, long ago, in a place far, far away (we’re talking at least eight, maybe even ten miles) Chip Review fell hand over mouthfuls for Zapp’s Original VooDoo chips….

So, when we first heard about Zapp’s new HEAT variation of the original lip-smacking chips we had high hopes.  Not high hopes like, oh we sure do hope this pull-tab is a $2 winner.  No!  High hopes as in these new Zapp’s chips could just be flippin’ amazing!

Before we go ahead and crunch into these new Zapp’s, perhaps a little backstory is in need.

According to Zapp’s themselves, the:

“Voodoo flavor is a result of an accident. An employee was moving a pallet of spices off the top shelf, and dropped it. While cleaning it up, someone stuck their finger into the mixture of about 5 flavors and pronounced it great.”

Now, if we had to gander a guess as to how the VooDoo Heat flavor came about, it would go something like this…

“The VooDoo Heat flavor is a result of someone (perhaps us, who knows) saying that the VooDoo flavor is lip-smacking, and wouldn’t they taste EVEN BETTER if we made them even SPICIER?!?!”

With Zapp’s original VooDoo chips we didn’t understand what exactly the VooDoo name was meant to represent (of course other than Zapp’s is New Orleans), but with these new chips, we totally get it.  These chips encompass, and deliver, and absolutely cast a delicious dusting of VOODOO flavor Magic all over the New Orleans Kettle Style Potato Chips!

You really have to taste these chips to really understand the wonderful circus of flavors they have going on.  First and foremost, the chips deliver a pungent zing of zippy vinegar.  Then came a sugary sweetness that paired nicely with the vinegar’s acidity.  Next, came the heat, and a good level of it for sure.  One taster thought that they may have tasted horseradish…?  Finally, we tasted a touch of sweet and tangy and vegetal tomato flavor, which helped round out the entire flavor combo.

All said and done, probably the best way that we can describe this delicious flavor to you would be to compare it to some spicy version of an American Chinese breaded chicken dish….sweet, tangy, sticky, spicy, and delicious in all of the right ways.

As far as the potato chips themselves go, Zapp’s knows what they’re doing.   Their Cajun Kettle Recipe makes for some really crunchy, perfectly greasy, semi-thick potato chips, that we could munch on all day.

Overall, we were really, really impressed with these chips!  And, although Zapp’s aren’t always readily available here in the Midwest, we know for certain that these chips are almost always available at Potbelly!

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

Zapp’s provided to Chip Review by MunchPak for review

Zapp’s Official Website

MunchPak Official Website

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BIJOU-REVIEW: Fresh Thyme Farmers Market – Jalapeño Kettle Cooked Potato Chips

Rating: ©©-1/4 chips  (tolerable)

fresh-thyme-jalapenoDo not let it deceive you, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market is not in fact a farmers market that specializes in fresh thyme….  It’s really just another grocery store hopping onto the farmer, fresh, healthy, etc., etc., grocery store bandwagon.

And, like any good grocery store worth a damn, Fresh Thyme of course has an aisle, or maybe it was only a portion of an aisle, dedicated to the greatest snacking food in the world – chips!

Within that aisle were these jalapeño flavored kettle cooked potato chips, branded with the Fresh Thyme Farmers Market name.

Unfortunately, Fresh Thyme’s chips are really not that good.

The kettle cooked chips themselves may in fact have been THE THINNEST, kettle cooked, potato chips that we have ever encountered.  Very thin.

This thinness resulted in an extremely light crunch, and an invariably greasy chip, with no distinguishable potato flavor.

The jalapeño seasoning was potent enough to cover up any grease flavor, but it was also more of a spicy seasoned salt blend, than it was jalapeño in any way.

In the end, just really salty, salty, salty.  Dash of onion here, a splash of garlic there, and maybe a sprinkle of jalapeño at the end.

These are our thoughts, agree or disagree, make sure to let us know!

Chips discovered at Fresh Thyme Farmers Market; Downers Grove, Illinois

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market Official Website

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BIJOU-REVIEW: 7 Select – Smoked Gouda Kettle Style Potato Chips

Rating: ©-3/4 chips  (return to sender)

7-select-smoked-gouda-kettle-styleWe picked up 7 Select’s Smoked Gouda Cheese Kettle Style Potato Chips on a recent stop at….. That’s right, you guessed it 7-Eleven.

What we wish we could say was that at a recent stop to 7-Eleven we happily did not pick up a bag of 7 Select’s Smoked Gouda Cheese Kettle Style Potato Chips….

Because these chips are B – A – D…..  Bad!

Similar to 7 Select’s Maple Bacon Potato Chips the chips suffer, actually fail, from an extremely heavy hand of salt.

Any thoughts of smoked Gouda cheese upon tossing a chip into the chompar are quickly obliterated by the true flavor of these chips – ocean water.

Maybe, just maybe, there is a hint of smoke flavor somewhere off in the distance.

The kettle chips themselves are decent enough, and certainly do their job – that is if there job is technically salt delivery.

Medium-thick cut, Solid crunch, but no potato flavor.

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

Discovered at 7-Eleven, Burr Ridge, Illinois

7-Eleven Official Website

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REVIEW: Neal Brothers Foods – Extremely Tasty Spicy Srirachup Kettle Chips

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

neal-brothers-spicy-srirachupFor many of you out there, we’re willing to go out on a limb and guess that your all-time favorite, red colored condiment, is the same as it was when you were a child.  You know what we are talking about, that french fry dipping, meat loaf topping, red squeeze bottle filled with that sweet, smooth paste from your past, as well as your present.

For a certain one of us here at Chip Review, ketchup was never a staple of his childhood.  In fact, he wouldn’t touch the stuff, or any red sauce for that matter.  Let’s put it this way, he never even tried PIZZA until he was TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS OLD!!??  And yes, he now knows that this was one of his life’s biggest mistakes, and he has been trying to make up for it ever since.

Okay, so what’s the point?  Well, now that he does enjoy red colored condiments and sauces of all types, he has realized that he hates ketchup with a passion.  To him, ketchup just seems like a horribly sweet, candy colored condiment, most likely designed to get children to consume vegetables.  Fortunately for him, ketchup flavored chips for the most part are usually rather tasty.  And just FYI, overall our favorite red colored condiment here at Chip Review is Original Tabasco (okay reddish), but Huy Fong’s Sriracha, and all of its versatility, ain’t too shabby either. 

Which brings us to the review at hand – Neal Brothers Spicy Srirachup Kettle Chips.  That’s right.  Sriracha and Ketchup flavored potato chips!!  You know what that means don’t you?  The best of both worlds!  Sriracha for those of us who like a mildly sweet, definitely tangy, garlic heavy, decently spicy, Thai chili hot sauce; and ketchup for those of us who still like to eat as if we are 5 years old….just kidding!  Ketchup for those of us who like a sweet-salty-tomato-y sauce that we have been enjoying for years and years.

Earlier this week we told you about Neal Brothers lip-smacking Montreal Steak Spice kettle chips, and we are happy to report that their Spicy Srirachup kettle chips are lip-smacking as well!  We wouldn’t say that they are quite as dynamically delicious as the Montreal Steak Spice, but we could also see a lot of people liking the Sriracha Ketchup even more.

First and foremost, the chips are tangy, tangy, tangy.  Lots of acid or vinegar, which sounds about right as both of the red condiments do have a tang to them.  Next, we tasted a good dose of sriracha’s garlic and ketchup’s tomato.  Lastly, a decent level of chili heat came creeping in and rounded the whole flavor combo out.  We were very thankful and pleased that the seasoning stayed away from ketchup’s too sweet aspect.

Once again Neal Brothers’ medium-thick cut, extra crunchy, not greasy at all, kettle cooked potato chips pair nicely with their seasoning.

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

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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

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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

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