BIJOU-REVIEW: T.G.I. Friday’s – Buffalo Ranch Party Bites

Rating: ©©©-3/4 chips  (notable)

tgi-fridays-buffalo-ranch-party-bitesPARTY!!!

TGI Friday’s is back again with another restaurant themed line (if two flavors can constitute a line) of crunchy RTE snacks, that should be available in a snack aisle near you this month.

These Party Bites, if you haven’t already read for yourself, are “Premium Puffed Corn Snacks”; or, as we like to call them – PUFFS.

The Party Bites are roughly a third of the size of a standard cheese puff, and maybe 3/4’s of an inch long.

In other words, perfect for popping handfuls of bites all party long.

TGIF’s Buffalo Ranch seasoning is a tasty combination.  Nice, sharp, tangy and slightly spicy buffalo flavor, supported by a sour, herbal, garlic-onion background flavor.  Seasoning wise, these are very solid.

That being said, the puffs – wait, sorry, the Party Bites – are lacking the typical, rich, mouth-melting texture of the best puffs.

We’re guessing that there are two reasons for these Party Bites not bringing the delicious  thunder.  1) they are baked (are the usually fatty puffs baked?), and 2) they are lacking the usual presence of rich and smooth cheese powder.

Despite their texture lacking a bit, TGIF’s new Party Bites are a solid new snack item.

Bites provided to Chip Review by T.G.I. Friday’s for review

TGI Friday’s Snacks Official Website

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BIJOU-REVIEW: Deep River Snacks Honchos – Ranch Tortilla Chips

Rating: ©©-1/4 chips  (tolerable)

deep-river-honchos-ranchWe have been huge fans of Deep River Snacks for quite some time.  We respect the company’s decision to provide us with a more nutritious snack option, and we quite simply love a lot of their chips.

Unfortunately, these Ranch flavored Honchos are not among that long list of the Deep River chips that we do love.

We were going to simply chock these chips up to being tortilla chips, and that Deep River Snacks perhaps had not yet perfected their new Honchos line, but then we remembered that a couple of years ago we reviewed, and loved, their lip-smacking Peach Habanero Tortilla Chips.  Today these chips are apart of the Honchos line, but back when we reviewed them they were just tortilla chips with In Your Face Flavor!

But, enough about those great chips, today we are dealing with these only tolerable chips.

At first we thought that we were going to really like these chips.  All the usual ranch flavor notes were present and accounted for, but then somewhere in the background was a weird, sorta tangy and very salty intruder…..

And there it was, smack-dab in the middle of the ingredients list – cheddar cheese?!?  Huh?  Sorry, cheddar cheese is not meant to be used in ranch dressing.

Unfortunately, that is not our only issue with these chips.  We are also not very huge fans of the tortilla chips themselves.  Maybe we let the chips slip too close to their expiration date, or maybe they had already taken a wrong turn down the too hard and crunchy chip highway.

No light and crispy chips here.  Simply too dense, too hard and rigid tortilla chips for lthe likes of our palettes.

Sorry Deep River but these are not among our favorites from you.

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

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BIJOU-REVIEW: Kernel Season’s – Ranch Crunchin’ Kernels

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

Kernel Season's - Ranch Crunchin' KernelsFirst, there was Gladcorn.  The original corn trail blazer!

Next, came Pop’d Kerns with “a corn crunch like no other!”

Heck, even Trader Joe’s tried their hand at a couple of ‘Partially Popped Popcorns’.

And now, Kernel Season’s Crunchin’ Kernels are joining the “half-popped popcorn” club!

For more on Kernel Season’s Crunchin’ Kernels see our review for their Original Corn Flavor.

Surprisingly, the super flavorful ranch seasoning pairs lip-smackingly well with the half-popped popcorn.

Creamy, herb-y, tangy, with a good bit of garlic, onion and other seasonings.  The Kernel’s ranch recipe hits all of the necessary flavor notes.

Really quite impressed.

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

Crunchin’ Kernels provided to Chip Review by Kernel Season’s for review

Kernel Season’s Official Website

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BIJOU-REVIEW: Chef’s Shoppe – Jalapeño Ranch Cheese Popcorn

Rating: ©©©-1/2 chips  (notable)

Chef's Shoppe - Jalapeno Ranch PopcornThis is not Chef’s Shoppe’s best offering by a long shot….

Maybe they just set the bar too high with the likes of their amazing Sriracha, and Beer, and Bacon Cheddar flavored Popcorns.  Or, maybe we just scrutinize them too harshly??  Either way, this flavor doesn’t come close!

Too salty.  And we love salt.

Too cheesy.  What?  Too cheesy?  That’s right, in this case the cheese powder completely overwhelms the other flavors.

Ranch = creamy garlic.  That’s we really taste.  No tang, and certainly no mention of any herbal notes, like dill.

Wheres the jalapeño?  Sure, we feel that tickle in the backs of our throats, but we don’t really taste any of the actual vegetal chili flavor.

Of course the Chef’s Shoppe’s popcorn itself is top notch as usual, but all we were thinking the whole time we were eating this flavor was why we hadn’t just gotten bigger bags of those other great flavors mentioned above?!

Popcorn provided to Chip Review by J & V for review

Chef’s Shoppe Official Website

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BIJOU-REVIEW: Snyder’s of Hanover – Everything 50% Less Fat Pretzel Pieces

Rating: ©©©-1/4 chips  (notable)

Snyder's of Hanover - EverythingLast month we tried Snyder’s of Hanover’s other New 50% Less Fat Pretzel Pieces flavor – Zesty Ranch.  And to say that we were disappointed would be a grave understatement.

In short, Snyder’s of Hanover had taken practically everything we loved about their classically fantastic Buttermilk Ranch Pretzel Pieces (one our all-time favorite ranch flavored snacks), and replaced them with mouth drying, unimpressively seasoned, pretzel pieces!

In other words, we were more than a little hesitant to give this other new less fat flavor a try, despite our love for anything-everything!!

Thankfully, these are much better than their ranch flavored compadres.

All of the usual everything flavor suspects are present.  We’ve got poppy seeds, sesame seeds, onion, garlic and salt.  And of course, the flavor combo works on bread-y pretzel pieces.

Do these pretzels blow us away?  No.  They fall short of the majority of Snyder’s delicacies.  The pieces are still very dry and lacking that Snyder’s of Hanover typical rich and fatty mouth texture appeal.

Once again we’ll be sticking with Snyder’s original pieces!

Make sure to let us know your thoughts.

Discovered at Target; Willowbrook, Illinois

Snyder’s of Hanover Official Website

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BIJOU-REVIEW: The Popcorn Factory – Buffalo Ranch Popcorn

Rating: ©©©-1/2 chips  (notable)

The Popcorn Factory - Buffalo RanchWe’re guessing that a lot of the popcorn we eat is made at a factory, but apparently this stuff is from The Popcorn Factory.

Large, fluffy, white, almost round popcorn.

Very, very, very salty seasoning.

We do get plenty of tasty, and tangy, and slightly spicy vinegar and cayenne notes from the buffalo flavor.

As for the ranch, well, we taste flavors of garlic and onion, and there is also a good layer of rich, creaminess….BUT, that apparently comes from the inclusion of cheddar cheese?!? Huh?  Apparently, we were not aware that buffalo ranch included cheddar as well.

Either way, the “buffalo ranch” seasoning is certainly not short on flavor by any means.  Maybe a bit perplexing, and definitely over-salted (and we are self proclaimed lovers of the sodium chloride), but in the end, still pretty easy to toss back and crunch.

Popcorn discovered at Jewel Osco; Westchester, Illinois

The Popcorn Factory Official Website

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BIJOU-REVIEW: Snyder’s of Hanover – Zesty Ranch 50% Less Fat Pretzel Pieces

Rating: ©-3/4 chips  (return to sender)

Snyder's of Hanover - Zesty RanchWe’ve told you before, but we’ll tell you again…. Chip Review can still remember the very first time we tasted Snyder’s of Hanover’s Buttermilk Ranch Pretzel Pieces.  Rainbows! Fireworks!! Pure Pretzel Perfection!!!  Easily one our all-time favorite ranch flavored snacks.

Which is why it is SO very difficult for us to say that these latest ‘Zesty Ranch’ Pretzel Pieces are not worth the chew it takes to eat them, or maybe the bag they are packaged in (you get the point)!

Sorry Snyder’s but we really, really want the other 50% back.  We get it, the world needs healthy options, but when they come at the expense of taste, we have a tough time enjoying, or supporting them!

Practically all of the deliciously rich and savory notes we have come to expect and love from Snyder’s Of Hanover pretzel piece bites, have completely vanquished from these 50% less fat pieces.  Feels like we are eating crunchy, extra dry, mouth moisture absorbing, old bready pretzel pieces!

Also worth noting is that the zesty ranch seasoning is not nearly as delightfully flavorful as the original buttermilk ranch recipe. This ‘Zesty Ranch’ has plenty of onion, garlic, tomato and maybe a light kiss of zesty heat, but it is entirely devoid of any rich and creamy ranch essence, as well as, aromatic dill weed herb.

Maybe we are being a little bit harsh here with our overall assessment, but when we compare these new 50% less fat Snyder’s to their absolutely delicious buttermilk ranch pretzel pieces they do not hold a candle, and all we want to do is return to sender!

Snyder’s of Hanover may be the masters of pretzel snacks, but if they really replaced the original fat buttermilk ranch pieces with these new 50% less fat zesty ranch ones, we are not happy crunchers!.  #BringBackButtermilk

Discovered at Target; Willowbrook, Illinois

Snyder’s of Hanover Official Website

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