BIJOU-REVIEW: the GOOD bean CHIPS – Jalapeño Cheddar

Rating: ©©©© chips  (lip-smacking)

The Good Bean - Jalapeno CheddarThese were surprising chips to say the least!  As most of you may know, we are not usually the biggest fans of bean chips.  More often than not the bean chip texture is just too brittle and crumbly, and worst of all, amazingly mouth drying!!

However, true to their name, these are really good BEAN chips.  It must be due to their unique chip recipe, which according to the back of the bag includes: chickpeas, navy beans, red lentils, pea protein, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and quinoa!!

Triangular in shape, with a really firm texture and crunch.  We would definitely refer to these chips as crunchy, and not crispy.  SOLID – that’s a good word to describe them.

But, MOST IMPORTANTLY, these beans are not excruciatingly moisture absorbing!

The seasoning is true to its name – we taste both cheddar cheese and jalapeño chiles.  Unlike most cheese flavored chips The Good Bean Chips’ cheese seasoning tastes more like real cheese than it does salty cheese powder.  The white dusting is practically creamy when it touches the moisture on the tongue.  The jalapeños give off an undeniable vegetal aroma and taste, as well as, the expected (somewhat) spicy burn.

We were quite impressed with these chips, and not only because we did not have any expectations due to their bean-ness, but because they are also a respectable addition to the chip market!

Chips discovered at World Market; Oak Brook, Illinois

The Good Bean Official Website

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RATING: Bakol – Au Natural Kettle Cooked Sweet Potato Crisps

Rating: ©©©-1/2 chips  (notable)

Bakol - Sweet Potato Crisps

Yeah, wouldn’t it just be easier if everyone, all around the world, would agree on what a crisp is?!?  In our opinion a chip must be an actual slice from a potato – no manipulation required.  A crisp on the other hand may be shaped like a chip, but has been forced into that shape (Pringles would be a good example of a crisp).

Crisps provided to Chip Review by Goldbaums Natural Food Co. for review

Goldbaums Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

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REVIEW: The Original Saratoga Chips – Sweet Potato Chips

Rating: ©©©© chips  (lip-smacking)

Saratoga Chips - Sweet PotatoBe honest with us here, how many of you out there actually love sweet potato chips??  Not, we’ll take them if that’s all you’ve got, but LOVE them?!  Love – as in… you actually select and purchase sweet potato chips over more traditional white potato chip varieties!  In fact, love – as in… you actually go to the grocery store with the words sweet potato chips written on your grocery list?!  Or perhaps, love – as in… your nickname, or youngest child’s middle name is SWEET POTATO!

Here at Chip Review, one may say that the majority of us share an appreciation, or respect for the sweet potato variety of potato chips, but we do not really love them.  It has taken many, many bags of chips, but we have discovered, and determined that we sort of have a love-hate relationship with the reddish hued tubers.  We very much enjoy the potato’s natural sweetness, especially when combined with oil and Himalayan Sea Salt; but we can’t seem to forgive their all too dense and crunchy texture.

For any of you out there who have never tried sweet potato chips of any type (where have you been…?), let’s just start off by saying that they are of the more toothsome variety.  There is really no better way of describing them than toothsome…tough…dense…almost leathery, but still in a crunchy sort of way.  Obviously the thinner that the chip company decides to cut them, the less apt we are to run into the overly chewy chip texture; and in this case, The Original Saratoga Chips did a pretty darn good job.  These chips are just thin enough to deliver a little crispy crunch, but refrain from too much of that pesky dense texture.

Flavor wise, the sweet potato chips plain and simple, emit pure, unadulterated sweet potato essence.  Naturally sweet (of course), with an edge of earthiness, and all balanced with a kiss of salt.  The Himalayan Sea Salt delivers this almost tangy salty flavor.  The finely ground sea salt gradually coats the lips during the chip eating process and tingles them, enticing your tongue to eventually take a pass, and taste that powerful salty goodness!  Plus, come’on let’s admit it, using Himalayan Salt is trendy and sounds really cool!

The more we think about sweet potato chips, the more we realize that very, very few chip companies seem to want to try and actually cut, or subdue, any of the natural sweetness using a dash of seasoning blend (other than salt of course).  Most chip companies seem perfectly fine with either letting the sweet potato chips’ natural sweetness speak for itself, only complimenting it with a touch of salt, or embracing that natural sweetness, and even trying to enhance and compound that natural sweetness, by adding further brown sugar with aromatics like cinnamon or nutmeg, to the mix.  Sorry chip companies, we are not fans of those types of chips.  We need, we want salt!

So, there you have it.  Are Saratoga Chips’ new Sweet Potatoes better than their Original Potato Chips, not in our books.  But for those of you out there who may be big fans of the sweet potato chip variety, then these are certainly at the top of that chip chain.

Before you leave, just in case you are unfamiliar with Saratoga Chips’ tasty back story, let us indulge you.  In the year 1853:

“A patron at Moon’s Lake House ordered fried potatoes with his meal. The diner complained that the potatoes were too thick and sent them back to the cook.

The cook at the restaurant was George Crum, who is described as Native American in some accounts and an African American in others. There is agreement, however, on Crum’s disposition—he was generally ornery. Upset that someone would criticize his cooking, Crum sliced a new batch of potatoes paper-thin, fried them in boiling oil to a crisp, and then salted them.

But what was intended as a stunt turned into an instant hit – the fussy patron and his friends loved the “crunch potato slices.” Soon the chips became known as Saratoga Chips. At first they were served in restaurants throughout the region. When George Crum left Moon’s Lake Inn to start his own restaurant called “Crumbs House,” he placed large baskets of the chips on every table. It was not long before Saratoga Chips could be found in restaurants up and down the East Coast. Soon they became known as potato chips.” (www.originalsaratogachips.com)

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 Saratoga Specialties Company for review

The Original Saratoga Chips Official Website

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REVIEW: North Fork of Long Island – Sweet Potato Chips

Rating: ©©©-1/2 chips  (notable)

North Fork of Long Island - Sweet Potato Chips

Comments:

Can we be honest with you for a moment?  Which is not to insinuate for even one second that we aren’t always being honest with you!  Maybe, we should have started with something more along the lines of – ‘Can we let you in on a little secret of ours?’  Yeah, that sounds better. 

Well, whenever we are sent a variety of different flavored chips from some generous chip company (as was the case here with North Fork), we like to examine the entire lot, and more or less, determine our munching order right from the get go.  We take a multitude of factors into consideration during this process (ie. are there certain flavors trending more than others, what time of year it is, close to any holidays, etc,); but more than anything, we take our own personal preferences into account.  We almost always pick out the one bag that sounds the most delicious to the majority of us, and declare that we will save it for last!!  Our theory being, saving the potential best for last gives the other flavors a more fair chance.  On the flip-side, sort of like ripping off a Band-Aid, we like to simply get the “hard work” of eating those less desirable flavors out of the way!

Lets assume you caught onto the introductory picture we just painted, and no doubt understand how this is all leading up to the fact that we did not have very high hopes for this initial bag of North Fork’s Potato Chips. As a whole, we have discovered that we are not the biggest fans of sweet potato chips.  In fact, we sort of have a love-hate relationship with the reddish hued tubers.  We love the potato’s natural sweetness, especially when combined with oil and salt; but we can’t seem to forgive their all too dense and crunchy texture.

North Fork’s Sweet Potato Chips emit pure, unadulterated sweet potato essence.  In fact, these chips only have two ingredients – sweet potatoes and oil (for kettle cooking).  Wait…that has to be a typo right?  Where is the salt??  Sure enough, North Fork for one reason or another, has gone against all rational thinking and opted to completely embrace, and highlight, the natural sweetness.  We understand the theory and really do appreciate the notion, but most of what makes sweet potato chips good in our opinion (when they are good), is the yin and yang of the sweet and salty.  Throw that out the window and we might as well be eating dessert!

All that being said, we honestly can taste the terroir of these chips.  Much like the way the ocean effects, and resonates within, great seafood, we felt like we could taste the earth in these chips (unfortunately, not even the taste of dirt could cut through their sweetness!).  And on that note, we have no more to say, and we will simply leave you with a snippet from North Fork’s website that further exemplifies what this company and their chips are truly about:

“In case you’re wondering why North Fork Potato Chips have such an authentic potato flavor, it’s no secret. We’re one of just a handful of potato farmers left who make their own chips. Plus, the north forks abundant sun, ocean precipitation, and great soil make for great flavor. We only use the very best chipping spuds. And, while some suggested cooking with cottonseed oil like the bigger chip makers do, Carol insisted on using only real sunflower oil. It costs more but nothing tasted quite as good or lets the flavor of the potato come through as much. Plus it’s as healthy as olive oil.”

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 North Fork of Long Island for review

North Fork Official Website

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