REVIEW: Late July – Bacon Habanero Clasico Tortilla Chips

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

Late July - Bacon HabaneroWell, if you can’t beat’em (and in the case of flavored tortilla chips, we’re guessing no one will ever come even remotely close to really competing against the little golden triangles…), then why not join’em!!  Following in the footsteps of Doritos lip-smacking JACKED Spicy Street Taco (last year’s eventual winners of the Bold Test Flavor Experience), Late July has created an entire new line of Taco Truck Inspired Flavors!!  Stay tuned for our reviews of Late July’s other delicious sounding flavors coming soon…. Jalapeno Lime anyone?  How about some Nacho Chipotle??

Here at Chip Review we have a lot of respect for companies that work hard to produce a chip that is healthier than other chips on the market; and when those companies can actually deliver their healthier options that also taste as good as, if not better than, those unhealthier options, we are thrilled!!  Late July Organic Company is just that, a small family owned operation (or at least they were…), giving us a more conscientious chip, and certainly a delicious product!!

These are some really really delicious chips!!  In fact, without actually going back through all of our bacon flavored reviews from throughout the years, we’re willing to bet that these are probably the most bacon-y bacon flavored chips that we’ve ever tried! Seriously, these permeate profusely with a pronounced porky presence! Try and say that five times fast!!   First, the smoke hits and sort of engulfs the entire cavity, then a dash of sweetness tickles the taste buds.  The combo really, really evokes thoughts of sweet-smoky bacon!  Working with the bacon flavor were also those standard staple ingredients – onion and garlic – that when combined with the smoke and sweet, really made us think of bbq seasoning.

We love like these chips a lot!!  If you happen to be thinking to yourself “why do they keep crossing out words? Why do I feel like there is a ‘but’ somewhere hidden here within this review…?”  Well, that is because there is a but.  A big BUT!!  A wish there wasn’t but there is but!  We really like these chips……. ‘B-U-T’ – habanero is practically no where to be found!!  That’s right, the cursive half of this delicious flavor combo has sent in the second string, or maybe third.  Don’t get us wrong, there is certainly a delayed heat that does develop over time, and it is a bit spicy, but when you start throwing around the ‘h’ word (habanero) we expect to actually taste those deliciously fruit and floral chile peppers! And we didn’t.  Also, we expect our mouths to be on fire!!  Which they were not.  As good as these chips are, and they really are, we think that they could have been really, really GREAT!  Late July just couldn’t commit to the habanero half and deliver some authentic street taco flavors!

All that being said, the tortilla chips themselves are fantastic!  Easily our favorite new tortilla chips since Paquis Tortilla Chips a couple years ago.  In fact, these tortilla chips could even be mistaken for a Doritos tortilla chip in a blind taste test.  Light and crispy, with those lovely little air pockets that give our favorite style of tortilla chips their delicious texture!

So, in closing, love the bacon, miss the habanero, can’t wait to try the other flavors.  Great job Late July!

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

Chips discovered at Whole Foods; River Forest, Illinois

Late July Organic Snacks Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

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©© - tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

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REVIEW: Nick’s – Hot Habanero Tortilla Chips

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

Nick's - Hot Habanero Tortilla ChipsWe are always pleasantly surprised when we cross paths with a local or regional chip brand while we are traveling.  Especially one that is as lip-smacking as these Hot Habanero!!  We spotted Nick’s tortilla chips while visiting the Detroit area, and after a little bit of research, it appears as though Nick’s chips are actually based in the Detroit area, and we’re guessing that their distribution is predominantly limited to that area as well.

WHOA – flavorful!!  First crunch, and we can tell instantly that Nick is our sort of chip guy!  No subtle dusting of a delicate seasoning blend in this case.  Rather, a potently spicy, full-flavored, no holds barred – CHIPS!!

In fact, surprisingly enough, Nick’s Hot Habanero Tortilla Chips are sort of reminiscent of Doritos long lost Fiery Habanero from years back! And, of course by surprisingly enough, we mean awesomely enough!!  Easily some of the best Doritos of all-time!!

Nick’s hot habanero seasoning blend has an initial zip to it.  Sort of a spicy, tangy, slightly acidic combo, finished with a nice splash of salty cheesy-ness to smooth things out!  That initial tangy burn doesn’t last very long, and while the cheese flavor does mellow it out to certain extent, the powerful, slow burn from the habanero heat creeps up, and plants a nice wallop on the backs of our tongues and throats!  No joke, this heat continually gains and retains!  Be warned, by the bottom of this bag our tongues were sweating and throbbing a bit!!

The tortilla chips are decent, but have that slightly more toothsome, or the best way we can describe it is sort of “stale” texture to them.  Who knows, maybe our bag was actually stale, maybe one day we will get the chance to compare.  Either way, we usually prefer more crispy, light and fragile tortilla chips, but with this powerful hot habanero seasoning blend, it’s probably best that the chips had some body to them.

Overall, just really tasty chips.  We can’t wait for our next excuse to visit the Detroit area and search out Nick’s chips once again!!

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

Chips discovered at random gas station; Detroit, Michigan

Nick’s Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

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©© - tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

©©©©©“A” list

REVIEW: Diego’s Hot & Spicy – Habanero Potato Chips

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

Diego's Hot & Spicy Chips - HabaneroThese chips had us excited from the get go – habanero!  Come’on, look at that sharp black bag, with two bright and spicy chiles staring at us like a pair of red and green eyes, and floating atop a glowing, golden-yellow sun, almost like a framed picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe!  Classy, bold, and smart!  How could these chips possibly be bad?!?

On the back of the bag Diego informs us that his chips will take your taste buds on a journey to el otro lado (the other side), and that they are a sure-fire snacking adventure.  And, while we wouldn’t necessarily go THAT DRAMATICALLY FAR, we would have to agree that we did quite enjoy the hot & spicy tasty trip we embarked on!

Diego’s potato chips are on the larger, mostly full, semi-thin end of the chip spectrum.  Nice and light, with a crispy crunch to them.  The chips had a few rustic potato skin edges, and a really decent amount of potato flavor, seamlessly complimented by the salty seasoning blend.

As Taquitos.net has already pointed out, Diego’s habanero seasoning blend includes not only real habanero (yes please), but jalapeno as well (double yes please).  So, you can’t blame us for expecting these to live up to their hot & spicy moniker.  But, what we discovered was more of a subtle mouth heat, with a moderately pronounced spicy tingling and  in the backs of our throats.  It wasn’t until the seasoning had some time to mature in our throats and mouths that we really got some of that lingering habanero burn.  The seasoning itself is delicious – really delicious.  Very garlic and onion forward, with jalapeno and habanero chiles dancing around in the background.  Of course we wish that we could taste more of that fruity and floral habanero (because we always wish that), but we’ll simply be happy that we could taste any at all!  We definitely tasted more of the vegetal jalapeno chile powder that habanero.  In fact, they should rename these to jalapeno & habanero potato chips.  They already have a green and reddish-orange chile on the front – only makes sense to us?!

All in all, these are pretty great potato chips.  Are they the hottest & spiciest potato chips out there – NO, definitely not.  Are they deserving of two chiles gracing the front cover, and a lip-smacking Chip Review rating? – Most certainly!!  So, if you spot Diego’s Chips on your grocery store shelves why not give them a try, and see how spicy you think they are.

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 Open Road Snacks for review.

Diego’s Chips Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

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©© - tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

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REVIEW: Deep River Snacks – Peach Habanero Tortilla Chips

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

Deep River Snacks - Peach Habanero Tortilla ChipsDeep River Snacks Peach Habanero Tortilla Chips –

In Your Face Flavor!?  Yep!

In Our Mouth Flavor!!  Triple-double yes!

We must admit, these chips really snuck up on us.  We were simply minding our own business, methodically scanning the snack shelves of our local grocery store and all of a sudden – wham! A sharp, eye catching, rich black and electric green bag with the words Deep River Snacks, and more importantly, Peach Habanero!  Where the heck did these come from?!  Why have we not heard of these before right now?!?  What are we doing asking all of these questions instead of digging into these exciting new chips!?!

Initial reaction: sweet, salty, sour, tangy and very spicy!  Pretty much nailed every single taste bud we’ve got!  These chips have got it all.  A real funky whirlwind of flavors, and yet able to come together very cohesively.  The peach habanero seasoning really, really reminds us of Hawaiian’s Mango Habanero kettle chips; in that at first we thought the chips were on the verge of being too cloyingly sweet, but then our taste buds settled in and accepted the sweet peach flavor.  Some people may be turned off by just how intensely sweet these chips are at first, but if they hang in there for just a couple chips more they should soon experience the harmonious deliciousness that these chips deliver!

Once the sweet peach nectar powder subdues, the tangy vinegar notes, and fruity, floral notes of the habanero appear.  Each complimenting the sweet stone fruit, while also helping to subdue and cut through some of the sweetness.  The seasoning works very well with the corn tortilla chips.  On the tail end is where the heat finally comes in.  And we are talking about some real heat here.  Maybe not quite the heat of some other habanero flavored chips but still anytime you have real habanero powder listed in among your ingredients, you know they are going to be spicy!!  The best part of it was, unlike with most snacks claiming to be habanero flavored, we could actually taste the habanero chile, even through all that heat.

The tortilla chips themselves are pretty good.  Light and crunchy, with a rustic corn flavor.  They sort of remind us of Doritos, except a bit heavier.  Very easy to crunch through a whole bunch of them a short amount of time!

Overall, these are fabulous, fun, unique and tasty! We feel like it is our chip duty to also mention that these chips are much, much better than Lay’s current delve into the fruit flavored chip realm with their Mango Salsa potato chips (much, much better).  It’s funny, many of these unique flavored chips don’t seem like they should work, and many don’t end up working, but some brands seem to have that secret recipe and we are all better for 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 Deep River Snacks for review

Deep River Snacks Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

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©© - tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

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REVIEW: Barcel Takis – Zombie Nitro (habanero & cucumber)

Rating: ©©©-3/4 chips  (notable)

Taki's - Zombie NitroBarcel chip company specializes in chips/snacks targeted at the Latino community.  The company must be doing very well because Barcel’s snacks can be found almost everywhere these days.  And if we had to summarize the Barcel brand using just one word it would be “SPICY!”.  Nearly every single one of their chips has some level of heat to them.  So, if you can’t handle the heat, you may want to pay extra attention to which bag you pick up!

Barcel’s Takis are a riff on the uber popular gas station delicacy, the taquito.  For those of you completely oblivious to gas station food, or Mexican cuisine (flautas), taquitos usually consist of corn tortillas filled with meat/cheese, rolled into cylinder shapes and then deep fried.  Barcel’s Takis aren’t filled with anything, but they are corn tortilla chips that have been rolled tight, deep fried and then seasoned.

Plain and simple, these are our most favorite Takis that we have ever tried.  The Zombie Nitro – Habanero & Cucumber flavor is POWERFUL!!  Barcel blasts us with the most maximus flavor onslaught that we have encountered in quite some time.  The actual amount of tongue tingling chile-lime-cucumber seasoning physically clinging to each Taki would even impress Doritos top seasoning experts.  Seriously, it is as if the Takis chips have been battered with the bright neon green seasoning!  That’s right, neon green!  As if the Takis weren’t already unnatural enough, now Barcel has taken it one shade further!

Zombie?!?  We did not encounter any zombies inside of this bag.  Maybe Barcel is referring to the eery green color, but other than that we don’t see the connection.  We also did not encounter any real habanero flavor inside of this bag.  The chips do bring the heat, but not in the form of the deliciously fruity (and of course spicy) habanero chile pepper.  Rather, this seasoning tasted more like an extremely acidic, and spicy version of the classic chile limon flavor.  Toss in a subtle layer of vegetal cucumber notes and we’ve got something more unique than the neon green seasoning on our hands.

We simply do not love the shape, crunch or consistency of rolled tortilla chips, which of course includes Barcel’s Takis.  Every time we try a new version of these rolled chips we miss the classic tortilla chip edge that we can run our tongues across, and lick the seasoning.  The Takis do not have much licking surface area (we like two sides to our chips!).  The crunch and consistency of a rolled tortilla chip is always a bit heavy and dense, but Takis are even more so, and we simply prefer a lighter and crispier crunch and consistency.

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

Takis discovered at Shell Gas Station; Hillside, Illinois

Barcel Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

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©© - tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

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