BIJOU-REVIEW: I Heart Keenwah – Aged Cheddar Quinoa Puffs

Rating: ©©©-3/4 chips  (notable)

I Heart Keenwah - Aged Cheddar Quinoa PuffsQuinoa = Keenwah

We still giggle a little every time we hear someone try to pronounce quinoa for the first time… Quin-noah?, is what we usually hear.

Ooooh, the quinoa puffs are in the shape of a heart. Yep, it’s those little details that really get us every time.

Well, these are certainly unique, and definitely a first.

Unfortunately, opinions seem to also be uniquely split right down the middle.

Some of us here at Chip Review really, really, appreciated the quinoa puffs, and after a couple additional handfuls, began to love them.  Extra crunchy, cheddar dusted, grain-y quinoa “croutons”.

Others of us here at Chip Review did not like them one bit.   Sorry.  Weird, hard, quinoa snack nuggets.

Hearty crunch, not a meltable texture at all. These are not puffs like we know puffs.  No corn meal melt at the site of tongue moisture here….these “puffs” have some body.  They are cruuuuuunchy!  Plain and simple, the quinoa puffs’ texture is not normal, and may even be off putting to some…..but, definitely unique!

The aged cheddar seasoning is fine. It is salty, a little funky, with a good orange color.

Some will love these, and others not so much.  We can’t wait to try some more flavors from these guys!

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

Puffs discovered at Marshall’s; Lombard, Illinois

I Heart Keenwah Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

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©© tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

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REVIEW: Terra Celery Root – Aged Cheese

Rating: ©-1/4 chips  (return to sender)

Terra Celery Root - Aged CheddarWOW!  These real vegetable chips are easily….. E-ZAH-LEE, by a large landslide, the most unique, and challenging chips that we have tried in a long time!  We’re talking more weird than Chicken and Waffle flavored potato chips, or White Chocolate Peppermint flavored potato crisps, or Thick Juicy Steak and Horseradish, or Thai Coconut Curry flavored popcorn.  Yep, Terra’s Aged Cheese flavored Celery Root Chips (yes, we said Celery Root Chips) are a first of a kind, both perplexing, and off-putting, and as much as we respect them, we just can’t quite stomach them.

First of all, can we take one second and discuss the image of the chips on the front of the bag.  Take a good look at them, and tell us what you see.  Aren’t they beautiful?  Doesn’t it sort of look like the chips have been piled up in such a way that they resemble a plant?  We’ve decided that it looks like either an exotic mushroom, or something from the bottom of the ocean.

Let’s move onto shape and texture next.  These celery root chips are extremely thinly cut.  Almost paper thin.  Lots of different sizes and wiggles and folds, all with a burnt-orange, sunset hue.  On the surface everything seems pretty normal, no red flags, but then we pop the first chip into our mouths and….are these chips CHEWY?!?  We aren’t kidding, literally chewy.  No crunch, no crispy to them at all.  We bit down, and the semi-soft celery root chip folds in upon itself, and then your teeth begin working on these chewy chips!  Unlike anything we have ever tried.  And believe it or not but the texture isn’t necessarily off putting to many of us (we’re pretty sure that it may be to the majority of people), but really just peculiar and different and unexpected.

As for the flavor, well first and foremost these chips really do taste like celery root!  And celery root tastes very much like celery, with a dash of parsley thrown in.  So, celery root chips that taste like celery, we are off to a weird start.  And then Terra, sticking with their strategy of weirdness, decides to season these new chips with what else…..aged cheese.  That’s right, now our mouths are tasting stinky, sort of sweet and bitter and tangy seasoning mingling with celery and parsley.  All we can say is that in our opinion the combination is really off-putting, and barring on disgusting.  We did not like this flavor in the least.

In the end, we recognize Terra’s willingness to push the boundaries and deliver something completely unique to the industry, but we are more than certain that all we want to do with this delivery is return it to sender!

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

Discovered at World Market; Willowbrook, IL

Terra Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

© return to sender

©© tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

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REVIEW: Crave Canyon – Aged White Cheddar & Hatch Green Chile Popcorn

Rating: ©©©-3/4 chips  (notable)

Crave Canyon - Aged White Cheddar & Green Hatch ChileChef G. began the love affair of this flavor in Hatch, New Mexico, widely known as the Chile Capital of the World. How do you romance a world famous green chile? Luck would have it that Chef G. was spelunking in the Cheddar Gorge in Somerset, England and happened upon the birthplace of the most famous cheese of them all, Cheddar. With the rich, melt-in-your-mouth flavor of Cheddar, there’s no doubt that Hatch Has Met Its Match!

Now, who the heck is Chef G you ask?!?  First of all, he is the genius behind the uniquely delicious kettle corn combinations known as, the sophisticated Cane Juice & Sea Salt Kissed With Anise, along with, the fiery Wasabi Ginger.  And, according to Crave Canyon’s website he is also:

THE MYTH, THE LEGEND, THE MAN BEHIND THE FLAVOR

We don’t think Chef G. is an elusive man by nature, it’s that he’s just too busy to be in one place for very long. But because of this, we at Crave Canyon don’t know that much about him.

From what we can gather, he’s had a culinary passion since a young age and as an adult started to travel the world to broaden his palate. He has been moving on to the next flavor adventure ever since.

We started our partnership with Chef G. when he approached us one day, eager to try his hand at creating unique popcorn flavors. Of course we readily agreed, his reputation preceding him. What resulted were the wonderful flavors we offer today. Who knows how many more he will come up with; like the man, it still remains a mystery.”

For one reason or another there just aren’t very many Hatch Chile flavored snacks out there.  Might it be because the chile is so regional?  Our research shows that the Hatch Chile is native to the state of New Mexico (we didn’t know that there was actually a city called Hatch, New Mexico – makes sense though), in fact, the chile is so popular in NM that they use it in just about everything.  Crave Canyon’s Hatch chile popcorn has a good amount of kick, but won’t knock your socks off.  The spicy vegetal flavor provided a solid base for the flavor profile, but really the star of this combo is the cheese, and the hatch only plays second fiddle!

Loads and loads of salty, and slightly aged-funky, cheddar cheese.  Chef G has not simply dusted his popcorn kernels with this seasoning, but really made sure that they are covered with a heavy cheese powder blanket.  The cheese has some depth too, likely be due to the use of a delicious blend of aged cheddar, sharp white cheddar and bleu cheeses.

The popcorn itself is not very rich, or filled with much fatty depth, but does have a toothsome, and crispy bite.  The popcorn kernels are definitely on the smaller side, but have plenty of real popcorn flavor.  Decent popcorn, but not as great as some of Crave Canyon’s other flavors.

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

Popcorn provided to Chip Review by Crave Canyon for review

Crave Canyon Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

© return to sender

©© tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

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REVIEW: Lay’s Kettle Cooked Lattice Cut – Aged Cheddar & Black Pepper

Rating: ©©©© chips  (lip-smacking)

Lay's Kettle Cooked Lattic Cut - Aged Cheddar & Black pepperA while back we asked if there was any chance that waffle, or lattice, or criss-cross cut potato chips could be the next big trend in the chip world?  Most recently the excessively POPular, healthier option, popped snack alternatives have controlled the recently arrived shelves of our local grocery stores, but in our opinoin, hopefully those days have come to an end.  It is time for some new snack faces to dominate the crowd!  And while we certainly shouldn’t call the waffle cut potato chip scene the next big trend just yet, it does become very apparent that it is at the very least a worthy contender when the big dog (Frito Lay) decides to hop on the criss-cross band wagon!

Similar to our thoughts on the majority of all things popped, we do not love the style of lattice cut potato chips.  They are unique, that is certain, and we appreciate that.  However, they feel more like a challenge for our mouths, than something to sit back and enjoy!  The double sliced, criss-cross technique results in more fry-able potato chip surface area, producing an extremely crunchy potato chip.  Imagine thick cut kettle chips gone wild!  We like our teeth, we need our teeth!  If you love crunchy chips, then these may be right up your alley.  The chips encompass a subtle, underlying potato flavor, highlighted by the appearance of a few chips still sporting their potato skin.  And, the majority of chips were unbroken and on the larger side.

So, why would these chips garner a ‘lip-smacking’ rating if we are not the biggest fans of the chips themselves?  Well, the seasoning blend of course!!  The unique, fresh take, flavor combination!  Because the end result tastes unlike any other combination of chips that we can remember tasting in a long time.  Why no one has combined black pepper and cheddar cheese up until now, we do not know!

The star of this combination is most definitely the aged cheddar cheese.  A rich, white, creamy, slightly funky, aged cheddar seasoning liberally coated ever nook and cranny of the potato chips.  Beware, this is not your usual, extra salty, bright orange, cheddar cheese seasoning used on the majority of snacks in this industry.  No, this aged cheddar has a more smooth, creamy, aged, earthy, funkiness!  When combined with a short burst of finely ground, slightly spicy, black pepper, the combination just pops!  Instantly classic flavor combination!  The two flavors juxtapose each other just enough to compliment one another!

May we just say we hope that Lay’s, or Frito Lay, decides to utilize this flavor combo on some other chips as well!

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

Discovered at Jewell Osco; Westchester, Illinois

Lay’s Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

© return to sender

©© tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

©©©©©“A” list