Chip Review’s Honorable Mentions – 2014

25 Chips to Christmas Honorable Mentions

25 Chips to Christmas 2014

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

(honorable mentions, in no particular order)

Archer Farms - Habanero Ranch

Archer Farms – Habanero Ranch Homestyle Kettle-Cooked Potato Chips

“First wave of flavors includes an impressively rich and creamy, sour, buttermilk flavor.   Then a wave of powerful garlic and onion!  And we do mean POWER. FULL!”

Jay's - Nacho Rings

Jay’s – Nacho Rings

“After popping one Nacho Ring into our mouths we immediately knew what we were really dealing with there.  You can’t fool us, Jay’s Nacho Rings are the amazing hybrid offspring of a Bugle and a cheese puff!”

De-lish-us - Ripple Potato Chips

De-lish-us – Ripple Potato Chips

De-lish-us just seems to consistently put out products that we are impressed with.  Simple, and straightforward.  Nothing flashy or over the top.  Simply good old, quality products!”

chipz Happen - Spice-z Garlic Parmesanchipz Happen - Cinnful Sweet Treat

chipz Happen – Spice-Z Parmesan Garlic Gourmet Tortilla Chipz

chipz Happen – Cinnful Sweet Heat Gourmet Tortilla Chipz

“First and foremost, is that these gourmet tortilla chips taste real.  They taste homemade.  In fact, they trigger tasty memories of those delicious, freshly fried, mom and pop’s Mexican restaurant tortilla chips that find their way to the table as soon as you are seated.”

Deano's Jalapenos - Ranch Jalapeno Chips

Deano’s Jalapenos – Ranch Jalapeno Chips

“These chips are not for spicy food amateurs, so don’t say we didn’t warn you!!  In fact, if we are being honest here, Deano’s Jalapeno Chips are very close to being too spicy for even us to enjoy!”

Dirty - Sour Cream & Onion

“Dirty” – Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips

“Apparently, we are not the only ones who have wondered why these chips are called “Dirty”?  According to “Dirty’s” website: “The name “Dirty” comes from the process we used to prepare our chips. The potato slices are not washed, leaving more of the potato flavor….”

Pop! Gourmet Popcorn - Huy Fong's Sriracha

Pop! Gourmet Popcorn & Huy Fong Foods – The Original Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce Popcorn

“This popcorn is really delicious!  D-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s, delicious; but with a surprisingly subtle seasoning when compared directly against the real hot sauce.”

The Better Chip - Chipotle

The Better Chip – Chipotle & Sea Salt Tortilla Chips

“A fine textbook definition of the saying: less is more.  The Better Chip keeps it simple, and merely conveys chipotle essence to the smoky chile maximus!”

Cosmos - Crushed Sea Salt Vinegar & Black Pepper Puff Corn

Cosmos Creations – Crushed Sea Salt Vinegar with Pepper Premium Puffed Corn

“We’ve tried a lot of different types of puffed corn in our time.  We’ve crunched our way through corn puffs, puffers, crunchies, kurls, doodles, dittos, and nuggets; and in the end, they are all sort of the same corn-y snacks.”

Pringles - Sriracha Asian Chili Sauce

Pringles – Sriracha Asian Chili Sauce

“Zippy and spicy, tongue tingling, Thai chili flavor, combined with a very generous dosage of powerful garlic, and rounded out with a heavy splash of nose burning vinegar!  These are tasty, tasty potato crisps.”

**Chip Review’s Top 25 list of the Year consists of chips that we tasted and reviewed during the 2014 calendar year for the first time.  The chips are not necessarily new to the industry, but they were new to Chip Review in 2014!

REVIEW: chipz Happen – Cinnful Sweet Heat Gourmet Tortilla Chipz

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

chipz Happen - Cinnful Sweet TreatCinnful Sweet Heat?  What the heck is Cinnful Sweet Heat?!?  Are these chips naughty or nice?  Is it getting hot in here, or is it just us?

It is no secret that we are fans of the sweet and salty snacks!  We love the classic interplay between the two polar opposites, and how the salt and sugar dance all over our taste buds.  But, what happens when a third element is added to that combination?  Is the perfect balance lost, or is it enhanced?  Well, the time has come to find out!

A little while ago we reviewed chipz Happen’s Spice-Z Parmesan Garlic Gourmet Tortilla Chipz, and we quite enjoyed them (again, a spicy twist on a classic seasoning combination!).  Rather than try and rewrite our thoughts on the tortilla chipz again, we figure why not just re-use those elegant words that we described them with previously:

First and foremost, is that these gourmet tortilla chips taste real.  They taste homemade.  In fact, they trigger tasty memories of those delicious, freshly fried, mom and pop’s Mexican restaurant tortilla chips that find their way to the table as soon as you are seated.  You know the ones that we are talking about, sturdy and rustic, and designed for scooping up as much of that delicious house made salsa as you can.  The chipz Happen appear to be made from quartered corn tortilla chips.  They are fairly dense and extra crunchy.  If you have a preference for light and crispy chips, then these may not be for you.  But if you like chips with a big crunch, then these would be right up your alley!

As for the Cinnful Sweet Heat seasoning, well, we are happy to report that it is crazy-weird, spicy, and cinnamon-ful, just like they say.  Truly a unique flavor combination unlike any other we have tried before!  And for that chipz Happen we say BRAVO!  Great job!!  But…when it comes down to it, we honestly can’t say that we love eating very many of the chips.  The chips are just too…sweet, too fragrant, and despite the invigorating cayenne throat burn that they deliver, are sort of lacking in flavor.  Or, should we just say SALT!  Where’s the salt?!?  Don’t they know that salt enhances everything?!  So much for our little speech about the classic sweet and salty combination above.  These chipz are simply sweet and heat!  Not a bad combo, and with the addition of cinnamon, really unique, but in our honest opinion, they would be so much better with salt!

So, in the end, we can say that were very impressed by these chipz.  We appreciate what chipz Happen has created, but we feel like these chipz had more potential.  Even just a little bit of salt added to the equation could really enhance, and compliment, those sweet, heat and cinnamon notes!  With these chipz the way they are, maybe it is just best to embrace those flavors, and take chipz Happen’s suggestion from the back of the packaging to “crunch over vanilla ice cream for a decadent dessert.”  But, we like to eat our chips, and we like those chips salty!  To each their own.

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 chipz Happen for review

chipz Happen Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

© return to sender

©© tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

©©©©©“A” list

REVIEW: chipz Happen – Himalayan Pink Salt Gourmet Tortilla Chipz

Rating: ©©©© chips  (lip-smacking)

chipz Happen - Himalayan Pink SaltThese really are gourmet tortilla chipz.  They taste homemade.  In fact, they even trigger tasty memories of those freshly fried, mom and pop’s Mexican restaurant tortilla chips that find their way to the table as soon as you are seated.  Tortilla Chips that are sturdy and rustic, and designed for scooping up as much of the delicious house made salsa as you can.  The chipz Happen appear to be made from quartered corn tortilla chips.  They are fairly dense and extra crunchy.  If you have a preference for light and crispy chips, then these may not be for you.  But if you like chips with a big crunch, and you like to dip your chip, then these would be right up your alley!

A little back story from the chipz Happen’s website:

Yes, it is another story of a family business starting in a home kitchen with an idea. (We know, right!?) But ours is quite inspiring: Our Mom is the creator behind chipz Happen. For nearly 20 years she spent many pleasurable hours in her kitchen making chipz for family & friends…. After years of trials and tribulations, we are excited to bring you chipz Happen— homemade, gourmet tortilla chipz with four unique blends.

Other than that, we don’t have too much to say about these plain tortilla chips.  Similar to the other flavors we have tried, we should mention that the top half of this bag of suffered from a bit of S.A.S. = seasoning (or salt) adherence syndrome. Don’t you just hate it when you open a bag of chips and quickly realize that you should have shaken the bag prior to opening to help distribute the seasoning/salt better among all of the chips.  Unfortunately, we did no such thing, and had to make our way to the bottom half of the bag before we discovered any of that Himalayan Pink Salt.

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 chipz Happen for review

chipz Happen Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

© return to sender

©© tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

©©©©©“A” list

REVIEW: chipz Happen – Spice-Z Parmesan Garlic Gourmet Tortilla Chipz

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

chipz Happen - Spice-z Garlic ParmesanCan you Z how many Z’s chipz Happen uses in Z bag to your left?  And, we can only assume that you have already noticed the word play going on with the the name: chipz Happen? Get it??

A little back story from the chipz Happen’s website:

Yes, it is another story of a family business starting in a home kitchen with an idea. (We know, right!?) But ours is quite inspiring: Our Mom is the creator behind chipz Happen. For nearly 20 years she spent many pleasurable hours in her kitchen making chipz for family & friends…. After years of trials and tribulations, we are excited to bring you chipz Happen— homemade, gourmet tortilla chipz with four unique blends.

First and foremost, is that these gourmet tortilla chips taste real.  They taste homemade.  In fact, they trigger tasty memories of those delicious, freshly fried, mom and pop’s Mexican restaurant tortilla chips that find their way to the table as soon as you are seated.  You know the ones that we are talking about, sturdy and rustic, and designed for scooping up as much of that delicious house made salsa as you can.  The chipz Happen appear to be made from quartered corn tortilla chips.  They are fairly dense and extra crunchy.  If you have a preference for light and crispy chips, then these may not be for you.  But if you like chips with a big crunch, then these would be right up your alley!

You know that green container of grated parmesan cheese you have in the fridge?  The same cheese that you often find next to the crushed red pepper flakes on the tables of those classic, small town, pizza parlors we all know and love.  And we are not talking about the grated stuff, but those salty, clumpy, tiny little white nuggets. Very tasty.  Well, that is exactly the same kind of cheese we found scattered all of these tortilla chips.  Truly, these chips are unlike any other parmesan flavored chips that we have ever tried.

Next, is the spice-z aspect (there’s that Z again).  Really the spice in this case does not encompass any tongue and mouth heat that we typically get from spicy chips; rather the cayenne powder delivers more of a dull throat burn.  The heat is in the background, and slowly creeps up on you.  You can taste that slightly smoky chili flavor much more than you really get any heat from it.  Just like with the parmesan cheese, the spice-z seasoning choice adds a unique take to these chips.  The spicy parmesan combo really reminded us of a zesty pizza flavored chip!

And, as for the third and final flavor component, sorry we do not really get any garlic at all.  Honestly, we do not taste any garlic.  We’re not sure if the other two flavor components simply overwhelmed the usually powerful garlic, or if our bags were just missing it.

Lastly, we should mention that the top half of this bag of chips did suffer from a bit of S.A.S. = seasoning adherence syndrome. Don’t you just hate it when you open a bag of chips and quickly realize that you should have shaken the bag prior to opening to help distribute the seasoning among all of the chips.  Unfortunately, we did no such thing, and had to make our way to the bottom half of the bag before we found any seasoning.  All we can say is that we are glad we did make our way to that bottom half of the bag because these chips delivered a very unique and tasty experience!

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 chipz Happen for review

chipz Happen Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

© return to sender

©© tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

©©©©©“A” list