25 Chips to Christmas….


Trader Joe’s – Ghost Pepper Lattice Cut Kettle Cooked Potato Chips

Trader Joe's - Ghost Pepper Lattice Cut Potato Chips

Original Review Here

Trader Joe’s Ghost Pepper Potato Chips are delicious!  Sweet, salty and sour, with layers of flavor depth that perplexed and pleased our taste buds.  That being said, our favorite Ghost Pepper flavored chips of all time actually taste like, well, Ghost Pepper.  Which for some reason that we cannot fathom, these chips do not!  Still, they are delicious and among this year’s best!!

REVIEW: Trader Joe’s – Ghost Pepper Lattice Cut Kettle Cooked Potato Chips

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

Trader Joe's - Ghost Pepper Lattice Cut Potato ChipsHi, we’re Chip Review and we love spicy chips.  

They say that the first step is to admit it.  Obviously, the next logical step would be to go out and find some new spicy chips to satisfy our addiction!

Oh…well…hello there.  Don’t think that we have seen you around these parts before?  Are you new here?  You must be new, because we’re certain that we would have noticed you before now. What’s that?  You think that you’re not our kind of chip.  Well, you are lattice cut, but we won’t let that dissuade us from taking you home!

That’s right readers, scary new Ghost Pepper flavored Lattice Cut Potato Chips from Trader Joe’s, hitting the shelves just in time for everyone’s favorite spooky holiday!!  Like we mentioned above, we enjoy our spicy chips here at Chip Review.  We especially love our hot chili pepper flavored chips, and frankly we have tried quite a few of them over the years.  Just for reference sake, we have tasted over 100 different jalapeño flavored snacks, and about 30 different habanero flavored, but to date, we have only tried 2 other ghost pepper flavored snacks prior to these new ones from Trader Joe’s.  Plus, the ghost pepper chili would be the hottest of chili peppers that we have ever seen in chip form, but having now been surpassed in scoville ratings by both the Trinidad Scorpion, and the current hottest chili in the world, the Carolina Reaper, we expect to see chips displaying those flavor names sometime very soon (or, at least we can hope)!

First, the good.  In fact, the very, very good.  These chips are delicious!  Really super fantastic seasoning combination!!  Seriously, it is tough to accurately describe what is going on here with this flavor, we were not prepared for these to be this complex….  Touch of sweet, good dash of salt, lots of vegetal and fruity chili pepper notes, and we love-love-loved the splash of tangy vinegar and citric acid.  Of course there is some onion and garlic are in there (mandatory in every seasoning it seems), but also a touch of smoke, providing a touch of BBQ-ness!  These chips have depth, they have layers, and plain and simple they work, very well.

BUT – you knew there was a but – what about the ghost pepper heat?!?! First of all, yes, we checked the back of the bag and sure enough ghost pepper is right there near the top of the ingredients list, and yet these chips DO NOT BRING THE PAIN!!! That’s right, we said it, there is a touch of heat that alludes to the threat of tongue burning heat but never really gets anywhere near it.  In fact, the heat doesn’t even really build after many repeat visits to the delicious chip bag!  That is not to say that there is no heat whatsoever because there is a bit of tongue tickle, just nothing to the extent that we would have expected from the ghost pepper!

Our other little gripe has to do with the chips themselves, and quite frankly it is more of a personal preference than anything else.  We here at Chip Review respect the lattice / waffle cut potato chip, but we don’t love them.  We more than understand that the double sliced, criss-cross technique creates more fry-able potato chip surface area, resulting in an extremely super-crunchy potato chip, but our mouths, teeth, and taste buds would prefer a slightly less crunchy chip, with more potato flavor.

Despite our qualms with these chips, and we consider the lack of heat a fairly big one, these are some fantastic chips!  Bravo Trader Joe’s, bravo!!  Anyone out there know who is making these chips for Trader Joe’s?  Or, is it possible that they have their own amazing chip factory cranking these delicious potato chips themselves??

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

Chips discovered at Trader Joes; La Grange, Illinois

Trader Joe’s Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

© return to sender

©© tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

©©©©©“A” list

REVIEW: Paqui Tortilla Chips – Limited Edition Haunted Ghost Pepper

Rating: ©©©©-3/4 chips (lip-smacking)

Paqui - Haunted Ghost PepperEvery little detail of these chips scare us…and we haven’t even braved to open the bag yet!

First of all, the flavor name conjures thoughts of Halloween, which is both creative and of course perfect timing as the spooky holiday is right around the corner. Yet, the chips also play off the aptly translated Ghost Pepper (scientific name: Bhut Jolokia) with a cleverly ‘haunted’ pun.  The bold black and white bag is eery, and sort of conjures thoughts of a ghost, and most certainly would even more so if the colors were inverted, and white became the dominant color scheme for the bag.  Speaking of the bag, can we stop to mention how much we appreciate the bold simplicity to Paqui’s bag design.  Clever and witty, but still unassuming and straightforward – definitely contenders for best designed bag of the year!

Before getting to our review, we should mention that we did a little research around the web to find out what others were saying in regards to these limited edition, spicy, haunted tortilla chips.  And, while we may not have found too much conversation regarding them as of yet (they were just issued in limited release approximately a week ago), we did stumble upon Paqui’s own Facebook page where this photo did not help one bit to reassure our tormenting suspicions towards what lay ahead for us.  We also found two intimidating statements, both made by Paqui Tortilla Chips themselves, that got our hearts racing for sure.  The first is also from their Facebook page, simply saying “The hottest tortilla chip ever made is almost here.”  Pretty bold and straightforward statement to say the least. We can appreciate how Paqui is directly specifying tortilla chips in their case, because as some of you may, or may not know, Blair’s Death Rain also released their own Bhut Jolokia flavored potato chips some while ago (so without a chip to chip comparison, who knows….).  The other statement came from the back of Paqui’s haunted chip bag, indicating the following WARNING:

The contents of this bag are extremely frightening.  Paqui is not responsible for any injuries that may result from ingesting this delicious terror.  The use of gloves and safety goggles is encouraged.  Common side effects include addiction to burning pain, blurred vision, and unquenchable thirst.  Enjoy with caution and consider yourself warned.

We consider ourselves very warned, and want to take this opportunity to let each and everyone of you know that it has been a true honor and pleasure writing these reviews for you, and if after trying these chips you never hear from us again…..

Alright, enough lollygagging, it is time to do this!  Upon opening the tortilla chip bag and taking a quick whiff inside, we were expecting our noses to take the initial hit and feel the instant burn, but we were pleasantly relieved to find that all we really smelled were Paqui’s deliciously rustic, corn tortilla chips (for more description on those wonderful tortilla chips themselves, see our first review of Paqui’s Grilled Habanero Tortilla Chips, because this review is all about the GHOST PEPPER!).

And…..all we have to say about the flavor is WOW! What a delicious flavor seasoning blend!  Paqui’s ghost pepper seasoning truly seemed to mirror the flavors, or characteristics, of Paqui’s Grilled Habanero tortilla chips.  There were some sweet and sour tangy citrus fruit notes at first, with a balanced blend of supporting cast ingredients like garlic, onion, cayenne and chipotle.  In fact, the overall taste of the blend was actually more flavorful, and forceful, and definitely more upfront than the Grilled Habanero.  However, that is as far as the similarities between the two went!

Please forgive us at this point for the remainder of the review, as we are not very sure how much sense we are going to make anymore….

At first, we were extremely surprised by the deceiving lack of expected heat.  Pretty sure some of us were thinking “Haunted Ghost Pepper, we don’t sweat you!”  Thirty seconds have passed, and we have now each had between 2 and 3 chips, and our tunes are beginning to change – in other words, we are all begging for mercy!  Again, wow-yeow – deceiving lack of heat is right.  The ghost pepper mouth scorching heat had arrived, and continued, and continued, and continued to build until each and every one of us were wishing we had stopped with the first chip we had tried.  Our eyes began to water up blurring our vision as we looked towards each other remembering the good times, back when we were comparing these chips to Paqui’s delicious Habanero chips, all the while realizing that those time were now behind us, and from this moment on our mouths, and throats, were in a battle with the wrath that is named the Haunted Ghost Pepper!

Honestly, we cannot convey the heat level of these chips to you accurately.  Our chests felt like we had a bad case of heartburn, our lips felt like a layer of salt had sat on them all day, and our mouths felt like they were on fire!  Luckily, after a couple (probably 10) glasses of milk, a few (probably 10) cold pancakes from the fridge, and some time (approximately who knows how many minutes we may have blacked out), the heat finally began to subdue, and our bodies began to adjust to normalcy.  The funniest thing is that almost instantly after this experience, each Chip Reviewer began contemplating if we should eat some more of the painful delicious chips….?  Maybe this time just stop with one chip, that deliciously flavorful first one?  Maybe this time we would notice the smoky depth to the chips and it would impress us.  Maybe this time we would even notice more of the intricate flavor complexities and how well salted the chips were.  And then, maybe the heat wouldn’t hurt quite so bad…

What we can tell you for sure is that these chips are deliciously amazing, and one of a kind.  They are certainly the hottest chips we have ever tried!  In the end, truth be told, if you pace yourselves, and only eat one chip every five or ten minutes, they are actually tolerable, and really, really tasty!  The only reason these chips do not covet the “A” list endorsement would be due to their heat being so extreme we can’t enjoy very many chips at once!

Lastly, we would like to know what you think, we have been contemplating as to whether or not we should set out a bowl of these for trick or treaters who stop by the Chip Review headquarters??  Or, maybe that would just be too tricky!?!

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

Chips provided to Chip Review by Paqui Tortilla Chips for review, and to torture us….

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

© return to sender

©© tolerable



©©©©©“A” list

REVIEW: J&D’s – Ghost Pepper Nacho Popcorn

Rating: ©©©-1/2 chips  (notable)

J&D's - Ghost Pepper Nacho PopcornAnytime we discover a delectably spicy new snack on our store shelves we pounce on it!  We just have to try it!  And, when that spicy snack has the words ‘ghost’ and ‘pepper’ in the title, we are even that much more thrilled!  Just how excited were we to try J&D’s Ghost Pepper Nacho Popcorn?  Well, just imagine how excited you are to try these, multiply that times five, divide by three, add fifteen, carry the one and round to the nearest tenth! Yeah, we were that excited!!  But, as so often happens, our inflated expectations were simply too much to live up to.  That, or the product just really is only as good as it is.  Either way, you get the picture, despite being a perfectly notable popcorn, J&D’s G.P.N.P did not really impress!

First, the positive.  The seasoning mixture that amply covers each puffy popcorn kernel is extremely flavorful.  First, and most prominently, is the cheddar cheese aspect of the nacho flavor.  The yellow dusting adds a deliciously salty and tangy presence that we all have come to love on popcorn.  Next, we definitely noticed a decent amount of garlic.  Apparently, garlic + cheese = nacho.  Who knew?  Of course there is the heat in the background, but we will get to that below.  The popcorn kernels were large, white and dare we say plumpy.  They had a bit of chew, and “meat” to them.  A tad bit on the dry side, but the cheese seasoning helped combat that.  So, there you have it, Spicy Nacho Popcorn.  Decent enough.  But, oh yeah, wait, this is supposed to be GHOST PEPPER Nacho Popcorn.  Let us proceed.

As you probably already know, we like our heat here at Chip Review.  No, we love our heat.  And, for most of us, we can handle our heat too.  Which is why we are so disappointed when a popcorn calls itself ghost pepper, and yet we could have devoured the entire bag without so much as a glance towards a glass of milk.  In a blind taste test, we may have guessed that this popcorn was supposed to be jalapeno cheddar flavored, but certainly not ghost pepper, and really not even anything close to habanero heat.  Don’t get us wrong, there is some heat to this popcorn.  After a few handfuls the backs of our throats did burn a little bit.  But again, a “little bit” is not usually the words used to describe the heat level of the ghost pepper.  Come’on, there is even a bottle of ghost pepper hot sauce on the front of the bag.  Bring the heat already!!

J&D’s could definitely take a few pointers from Paqui’s Tortilla Chips.  Let’s just say, we were hoping for, and really expecting, a reaction a little bit more like the one we had to Paqui’s chips: “…we cannot convey the heat level of these chips to you accurately.  Our chests felt like we had a bad case of heartburn, our lips felt like a layer of salt had sat on them all day, and our mouths felt like they were on fire!  Luckily, after a couple (probably 10) glasses of milk, a few (probably 10) cold pancakes from the fridge, and some time (approximately who knows how many minutes we may have blacked out), the heat finally began to subdue, and our bodies began to adjust to normalcy.”

We rest our case, and we will leave it at that.  The popcorn was flavorful, just not spicy.

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

Discovered at World Market; Oakbrook, Illinois

J&D’s Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

© return to sender

©© tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

©©©©©“A” list