BIJOU-REVIEW: Fresh Thyme Farmers Market – Jalapeño Kettle Cooked Potato Chips

Rating: ©©-1/4 chips  (tolerable)

fresh-thyme-jalapenoDo not let it deceive you, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market is not in fact a farmers market that specializes in fresh thyme….  It’s really just another grocery store hopping onto the farmer, fresh, healthy, etc., etc., grocery store bandwagon.

And, like any good grocery store worth a damn, Fresh Thyme of course has an aisle, or maybe it was only a portion of an aisle, dedicated to the greatest snacking food in the world – chips!

Within that aisle were these jalapeño flavored kettle cooked potato chips, branded with the Fresh Thyme Farmers Market name.

Unfortunately, Fresh Thyme’s chips are really not that good.

The kettle cooked chips themselves may in fact have been THE THINNEST, kettle cooked, potato chips that we have ever encountered.  Very thin.

This thinness resulted in an extremely light crunch, and an invariably greasy chip, with no distinguishable potato flavor.

The jalapeño seasoning was potent enough to cover up any grease flavor, but it was also more of a spicy seasoned salt blend, than it was jalapeño in any way.

In the end, just really salty, salty, salty.  Dash of onion here, a splash of garlic there, and maybe a sprinkle of jalapeño at the end.

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

Chips discovered at Fresh Thyme Farmers Market; Downers Grove, Illinois

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market Official Website

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REVIEW: Kettle Brand – Moscow Mule Potato Chips

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

kettle-brand-moscow-muleWe finally found you!  That’s right, you thought you could hide from us by completely selling out of the entire Chicago area, but NO! we have Chip Review friends everywhere, and with their help you have shown up at our front doorstep, ready to be reviewed just like all the others!

First of all, we’re going to assume that most of you out there know what a Moscow Mule is.  If you do not, a quick Google search will solve that, and we would also recommend finding your local watering hole and procuring one.

Next, let’s take note of the gorgeous copper colored packaging that Kettle Brand has chosen for these chips (sorry our pic is not as nice as it could be – here are some more examples).  There’s no doubt that the shiny metallic top-half of the bag is meant to represent the classic copper mug that a proper Moscow Mule cocktail is traditionally served in.  We are very impressed with the amount of creativity and consideration put into this packaging.  In fact, we’ve quite liked the packaging for all three of the newer Kettle Brand chips.

As far as the Moscow Mule flavor itself goes, well, it is another delicious home run from Kettle Brand.  For what it is worth, it has become very apparent to us here that Kettle Brand has either gone GINGER CRAZY – because all three new flavors that we have tried of theirs, have all been very ginger focused; or, perhaps Kettle Brand just came across a free supply of ginger and thought that they would make the best out of it?!  Either way, it has worked out in our favor, because these are really delicious.

These chips may not be for everyone as they do definitely lean towards the sweeter end of the flavor spectrum, but there’s just something about that unique sweet-sour-pungent combination of ginger and lime that we really enjoy.  The chips are just so aromatic, and refreshing, and tropical, that we felt like they perfectly compliment Kettle Brand’s always fantastic, medium-thick, slightly greasy, potato-ful kettle cooked potato chips.

Don’t quote us but as far as we know it, both these Moscow Mule, along with the new Korean Barbeque, can only be acquired at World Markets. That’s all we know, and we’re sticking to 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 LRH & RLH for review (thanks you two)

Kettle Brand Official Website

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BIJOU-REVIEW: Herr’s Kettle Cooked – Smoked Chipotle Potato Chips

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

herrs-kettle-cooked-smoked-chipotleThese are really quite tasty chips.

After eating quite a few handfuls of these chips the heat of the chipotle chilies did begin to build.

Smoked Chipotle…? Hmmm, that’s sort of redundant isn’t it?  A chipotle by nature is a smoked jalapeño.  So, it is sort of like calling salt, salty, or a grilled cheese, as grilled-grilled cheese.

Overall, we have a tough time calling these CHIPOTLE flavored chips. They are certainly delicious, but we don’t think that chipotle is an accurate description of their flavor – especially the emphasis on the SMOKED.

In fact, these are some of the least smokey chipotle chips we have ever tried.

Let’s just call them some deliciously spicy BBQ potato chips.

And as usual, Herr’s fantastic kettle cooked potato chips do not fail.

Just the right amount of hearty crunch, and potato flavor.

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 Herr’s Foods for review

Herr’s Foods Official Website

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REVIEW: Kettle Brand – Korean Barbeque Potato Chips

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

kettle-brand-korean-barbecueWOW! These are really, really deliciously funky and quite spicy!!

We have not tasted very many Korean BBQ flavored chips. But, just one bite and we can tell you that these are LEAGUES above both Lay’s versions of Korean BBQ chips that we have tasted, and we weren’t even as unimpressed with Lay’s most recent attempt the way that Junk Food Guy was.  We can’t wait to hear his thoughts regarding Kettle Brand’s rendition.

Seriously, we are very impressed with these chips.  These are easily some of the best Kettle Brand Potato Chips that we have tasted in quite a while!  We also can’t wait to find Kettle Brand’s other new flavor that they just released.  Two intriguing new flavors…thank you Kettle Brand!

We are not going to pretend like we know very much about what real Korean BBQ food actually tastes like, or even what all it entails.  Our only insight into Korean food is the likes of kimchi, good old twice fried chicken, and of course the fantastic Chicago restaurant that is Parachute!  In fact, we’re fairly certain that we’ve never actually had Korean BBQ.

Apparently, the main flavors/ingredients associated with Korean BBQ are – soy, sugar, garlic, onion, sesame, ginger – according to what we found on the internet.

As for Kettle Brand’s Korean Barbeque seasoning, the first taste is of classic BBQ chip flavors – sweet, tomato, garlic, onion, with maybe a splash of smoke?  The next wave of flavor includes some more of those funky, or uncommon notes like ginger, soy, sesame, and the realization that there is a LOT of sweet onion flavor.  On the finish an impressive level of heat appears, and decides that it is staying for the entire party. The flavor tastes a lot like Kettle Brand combined their Spicy Thai, Organic Chipotle Chili Barbeque and Roasted Garlic Potato Chips, and then added a splash of soy.  All in all, the whole Korean Barbeque shebang just works.  To top it all off, it works extremely well with Kettle Brand’s deliciously crunchy kettle cooked potato chips.

And may we just point out how much we love the appearance of this bag.  First of all, bright blue is not a color we see very often while walking down our favorite aisle of the grocery store.  Secondly, we very much appreciate how Kettle Brand has yet to succumb to what seems like a recent chip industry standard of displaying the actual potato chip product on the front packaging.  We much more prefer the simple representative image that describes the flavor inside.  In this case, that image is a Korean tabletop grill with chopsticks.  Very simple, yet descriptive.

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

Chips discovered at World Market; Oak Brook, Illinois

Kettle Brand Official Website

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REVIEW: Lay’s Kettle Cooked – Passport to Flavor – Indian Tikka Masala

Rating: ©©©© chips (lip-smacking)

Lay's Kettle Cooked - Indian Tikka MasalaBehind door #3 of Lay’s ‘Passport to Flavor‘ showcase showdown we have an affordably exotic trip to: India!  Brought to us through the dish of Tikka Masala.  Otherwise known as – Chip Review’s taste bud confusing jumble of spices and flavors!

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, or you do not read about chips (which, just FYI, you are technically doing right now), and you have somehow, for some reason, not visited the chip aisle of any grocery store recently, then we are going to guess that you have heard about Lay’s new ‘Passport to Flavor‘ promotion.  And, we are also going to guess that we do not have to tell you that Lay’s new flavor foursome are obviously being released in correlation with this year’s Summer Olympics being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

A few days ago we reviewed Lay’s Brazilian Picanha (Steak & Chimichurri Sauce), and last week we reviewed Lay’s Wavy Greek Tzatziki.  So far, we have Greek Tzatziki wearing the gold, and Brazilian Picanha taking the silver, and not to give anything away but, Indian Tikka Masala will be walking away with the bronze, unless the last flavor – Chinese Szechuan Chicken – has anything to say about that!  All that being said, we must say that we have been pretty darn impressed with Lay’s showing so far at these Passport to Flavor Olympics!

Chip Review’s flavor creativity rating for Tikka Masala (scale: 1 – 10): 5

Chip Review’s excitement for this Tikka Masala flavor (scale: 1 – 10): 3

Chip Review’s rating of bag design and color (scale: 1 – 10): 7

Our first Chip Review taster initially stated – “Honestly, the first thought I had were of my mom’s ginger snap cookies…???”  We’re not going to pretend like we are Indian cuisine experts here, because honestly we are far, far from it.  We have of course eaten it, and we have more often than not really enjoyed it, but for the most part, we have found that Indian flavors or spices are all far too often just too powerful for chips to handle.  So, with that being said, here is our minor assessment of these new chips.

First, we always associate Tikka Masala as the most “mainstream” or safest Indian dish there is….  Is this in fact true?  Not sure.  Either way, we’re guessing that many, many people out there who have never even tried Indian cuisine, may actually know this dish by name.  Maybe only more common would be the generic use of the word ‘curry’ in regards to Indian cooking.

Secondly, here’s what we taste in these chips: creamy sour cream and tomato (unique), almost overwhelmed by assumed spices of cumin and tumeric.  The flavors are definitely savory, and certainly bold.  We don’t love these chips, but we certainly do appreciate them.

We feel like the kettle cooked variety of Lay’s was definitely the right choice for this flavor.  A thick and crunch chip, to combat a powerful seasoning.

For a more in depth take on these Tikka Masala chips, check out Junk Food Guy’s.

So there you have it, all four ‘Passport to Flavor’ chips eaten and reviewed.  We were pretty pleased with this new flavor line-up.  Here is how we would hand out the ‘Passport to Flavor’ medals:

Gold – Chinese Szechuan Chicken

Silver – Greek Tzatziki

Bronze – Brazilian Picanha (Steak & Chimichurri Sauce)

What’s after Bronze? – Indian Tikka Masala

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

Chips discovered at Walmart; Hodgkins, Illinois

Lay’s Official Website

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REVIEW: Alaska Chip Company – Katmai Volcano Jalapeño Potato Chips

Rating: ©©©©© chips  (“A” list)

Alaska Chip - Volcano JalapenoJust as we were beginning to believe that the Alaska Chip Company made much better popcorn than it did actual chips, along comes these amazing Katmai Volcano Jalapeño flavored gourmet kettle cooked potato chips!

So, what exactly is Katmai Volcano?  According to the world wide web’s technical gobbledygook, Mount Katmai is one of five vents encircling the Novarupta volcano, source of the VEI 6 eruption and associated voluminous pyroclastic flows in 1912…..  Um, yeah, we’re just going to go ahead and say that the Mount Katmai Volcano is the namesake to easily the most deliciously spicy jalapeño flavored potato chips that have ever erupted our taste buds from the great state of Alaska!

What Alaska Chip Company delivers for jalapeño flavor is most certainly a deliciously unique rendition.  An ingredient combination that had us saying HUH? WHOA. WOW! from the very get go!  Sour, and tangy, and pickle-y, and of course the usual spicy, and vegetal.  This creative jalapeño flavor variation is the result of garlic, onion, vinegar, citric acid and yes, lemon juice – Boom!  Heck, A.C. Co. even throws in some parsley just to class the chips up a little bit!

The kettle cooked potato chips themselves are on the thinner end of the spectrum, with a decently solid crispy crunch.  A little bit oily, but in delicious mouth pleasing sort of way, and at the same time, delivering a good amount of real Alaskan potato flavor.  All in all, extremely impressive gourmet kettle cooked potato chips!

Alaska Chip Company’s Katmai Volcano Jalapeño Potato Chips are so tasty that we had to update our Top 5 (actually Top 9) Jalapeño Flavored “Chips” of all-time.  So, if you happen to find yourself in Alaska, and you have that craving for some deliciously spicy kettle chips, these are your no brainer choice.  And while you are there, if you could pick us up a bag or two, we would really appreciate it!

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

Chip provided to Chip Review from Alaska Chip Company for review

Alaska Chip Company Official Website

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BIJOU-REVIEW: Herr’s Kettle Cooked – Old Bay Seasoned Potato Chips

Rating: ©©©© chips (lip-smacking)

Herr's Kettle Cooked - Old Bay SeasoningLooking for a review of Herr’s Old Bay Seasoned potato chips – then you can head right on over HERE.

That’s right, a couple of years ago we reviewed Herr’s Old Bay Seasoned Potato Chips.  Now, Herr’s has add the Old Bay Seasoning flavor to their Kettle Cooked line-up.  And you know what?  Everything we said in our original review holds true for these.

Obviously the only real difference between the two chips is the cooking process.  Kettle Cooked vs. Traditional.  While both hold their special place in our hearts, we would have to give this Old Bay Seasoning battle to the new kettle cooked version.  The kettle cooked potato chips just seem to be able to stand up to the abrasive seasoning a bit better than the original version.

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 Herr’s Foods for review

Herr’s Foods Official Website

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