REVIEW: Neal Brothers Foods – Extremely Tasty Montreal Steak Spice Kettle Chips

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

neal-brothers-montreal-steak-spiceShow of hands please.  How many of you out there have Montreal Steak Spice in your spice cabinet right now?  If you are like us, then your hand is raised to the ceiling.  Okay, so that was an easy one.  Now, a more difficult question.  How many of you out there know what constitutes, or makes up, a Montreal Steak Spice?  Crickets……

Yeah, we thought so.  Well, according to the world wide web-a-sphere: Montreal steak spice is a spice mix used to flavour steak and grilled meats that was based on the pickling dry-rub mix used in preparing Montreal smoked meat. The smoked meat seasoning is derived from pickling mixes used in Eastern Europe or Romanian Jewish cuisine. The primary constituents of Montreal steak seasoning include garlic, coriander, black pepper, Cayenne pepper flakes, dill seed, and salt. The spice mix recipe varies slightly among restaurants and manufacturers. (wikipedia.com)

Now that we have that out of the way, who better to deliver us some Montreal Steak Spice flavored Kettle Chips than two brothers from Canada (because Montreal is in Canada of course).  Who are these Neal Brothers, you ask?  According to their website, those Neal Brothers are Peter and Chris.  And the two of them started their specialty food company nearly 30 years ago.  Included among all of those specialty foods, are of course the most important of all foods – CHIPS!

Let’s start off by saying that these chips do not taste like steak at all.  So, if you were wondering about that, or hoping for that, throw that presumption/wish right out the window (and you should probably go back and read the paragraph above that describes Montreal Steak Spice).  Fortunately, we are here to say that the Extremely Tasty portion of the Neal Brothers chip flavor, does in fact hold true!  These are some delicious chips!!  Especially if you like dill.

These chips are not shy with their seasoning.  We definitely tasted some onion and garlic, mingling with a good amount of salt and black pepper, along with a splash of sour like vinegar.  On the tail end, the chips definitely deliver some chili pepper heat.  But, more than anything, we tasted A LOT of DILL.  Seriously, in a blind taste test we would have most certainly thought that these chips were some amp’d up version of dill pickle chips – which is never a bad thing in our books!

Neal Brothers have wisely chosen a medium-thick cut, extra crunchy, not greasy at all, kettle cooked potato chip to pair with the powerful Montreal Steak Spice seasoning.  Any lesser chip would have crumbled under the barrage of strong spices.

All in all, we were very impressed with these chips.  If you like dill, and prefer your potato chips loaded with flavor, then we suggest you give these a chomp!

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 Neal Brothers for review

Neal Brothers Foods Official Website

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BIJOU-REVIEW: Kitco – Arabic Spice Kettle Cooked Potato Chips

Rating: ©©-3/4 chips  (tolerable)

Kitco - Arabic Spice Kettle Cooked ChipsIntriguing…..

Very…  intriguing…..

And yet, at the same time, we find it a little perplexing that over in the United Emirates there would be Arabic Spiced Potato Chips?  Isn’t that like selling chips here in the U.S. as American flavored?  And who are these chips really targeted at? We’re guessing that it has to be all of the foreigners who are visiting the United Emirates and wanting to try something familiar, and yet a little exotic or foreign…who knows.

All that being said, we unfortunately did not taste any of the unique seasonings pictured on the front of the bag.  No star anise, no cinnamon, or bay leaf.  And is that coriander?  Yep, none of that.  Nutmeg?  Nah-uh.

Instead what we tasted was exactly what the ingredient list on back of the bag said we would – tomato powder, paprika, onion, black pepper….  So, yeah, none of those are screaming exotic, or Arabic to us!  They are screaming seasoning salt!!

The potato chips themselves are okay. They have some body to them, but with a much softer crunch.  Decent potato flavor.

Anyone else out there tried them by chance?  Thoughts?  As always we would love to hear what you think.  Agree or disagree.  Let us know.

Chips provided to Chip Review by S&A, acquired in Dubai, United Emirates

Kitco Official Website

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REVIEW: Rocky Mountain Popcorn Sinfully Thin – SuperPop Popcorn (Herb & Spice with Kale & Pomegranate)

Rating: ©©© chips  (notable)

Rocky Mountain Singully Thin - Super PopHerb, and spice, and kale, and pomegranate…huh???  Does that flavor combination sound appealing?!  And, even more importantly, does the combo sound appealing on popcorn?!?  Unusual?  Yes. Intriguing?  Sure!  Appealing?  Not so much!!

But wait, just when we thought this popcorn couldn’t possibly get any weirder, the flavor plot thickens.  A quick glance at the ingredients list on the back of the bag and we learn that this “SuperPop” flavor actually includes even more than the front of the bag initially reveals. Let’s see here, beyond the kale and pomegranate there is of course both garlic and onion (prerequisites for every seasoning since the beginning of time), as well as, dill, rosemary and celery seeds!! That’s right, just when we thought this flavor was weird enough already, it got weirder!!  We are 100% sure that it is safe for us to say that this is the only kale-pomegranate-garlic-onion-dill-rosemary-celery seed popcorn that we have ever, and will ever try!

Initial thoughts, no big surprise, we don’t like it!  The flavor just doesn’t jive with our taste buds.  Lets break it down.  The rosemary is very apparent right away, and then there is sort of a sour fruity note (pomegranate we assume) that encapsulates the palate. The garlic is also very apparent and seemed really out of place at first.  Not sure if we could actually taste any of the little green kale flecks scattered all over the kernels (but, regardless of actual taste, they did make us feel like we were eating healthy, so they did their presumed job).

As we continued our struggle of examining this popcorn something changed somewhere along the line.  Slowly, but steadily, the seasoning actually began to grow on us.  And, believe it or not, but by the time we reached the bottom the bag, we may have even said that we were practically enjoying this popcorn!  What happened?  Why did our opinion change?  We aren’t exactly sure.  Maybe our taste buds were so perplexed that they simply gave in!!  Please do understand that this flavor probably wouldn’t appeal to most, but there was just something about it that sort of worked on a really, really weird level.

As always we would love to hear what you think.  Agree or disagree.  Let us know.

Popcorn discovered at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport

Rocky Mountain Popcorn Official Website

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REVIEW: Old Dutch Crunch – Bistro Blend (with a Savory Mix of Garden Grown Spices) Kettle Chips

Rating: ©©-3/4 chips  (tolerable)

Old Dutch Crunch - Bistro BlendYou’ve had’em.  They’ve had’em.  We’ve all had’em…  Those generically seasoned, ubiquitous kettle cooked potato chips that come with so many sandwiches, at so many different restaurants!  The seasoning blend, and chip quality, may vary slightly from time to time, but for the most part they all pretty much taste the same, and they all pretty much do the job they are meant to do.  Which would be to add a salty and crunchy accompaniment to the real star of the meal, not to be a chip that you enjoy on its own.

When we first grabbed the bag of Old Dutch Crunch’s newest flavor – Bistro Blend – we really didn’t know what we were dealing with.  We’re assuming that by the red, white, & blue color theme of the bag, along with the inclusion of stars across the top of the bag that these chips are sporting some sort of 4th of July theme.  Maybe they were some limited edition?  We just don’t know.  Bistro Blend… what the heck is that??  A little front bag investigating (aka reading), we noticed that in the blue box right below the flavor name, was written Savory Mix of Garden Grown Spices.  Again, what the heck is that?!?  It wasn’t until we rotated the bag 180 degrees that we finally found the answer we were looking for: These delicious chips are served across the Upper Midwest in restaurants.  In other words, these are those generically seasoned, sandwich extensions that we mentioned in our opening paragraph.

Before we contemplate, or complain, about why Old Dutch would even package these chips for resale, lets first take care of the crunchy details.  The chips deliver that safe combination of a little sweet (sugar & dehydrated onion/garlic), a little heat (some sort of chili pepper – cayenne?), a little smoke (paprika, gives it color too), and of course a good coating of salt.  The combination melds together fine, but in the end is sort bland, like an unconvincing BBQ chip. The chips themselves encompass a lighter golden orange hue, and as with all of Old Dutch’s – Dutch Crunch line of kettle cooked potato chips, these chips are semi-thick, sturdy and really crunchy!  They are a very fine example of what we feel is the textbook definition of kettle cooked potato chips.  In the end, you know what these chips taste like?  Yep, you’re right, like those “bistro blend…” kettle chips that come with your sandwich at your local grill!!

In the end, we just don’t quite understand why Old Dutch felt the need to offer these chips for retail sale.  Sure, we’ll crunch on them if we find them sitting out in the a bowl, or if they arrived on our plate with our sandwich, but we would not ever crave these chips, or go out and buy another bag.  There are far too many more interesting and delicious chips already out there on the market, including Old Dutch’s other Dutch Crunch flavors, for us to waste any more time with these “Bistro Blends”!!

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

Discovered at Kwik Trip; Plymouth, Minnesota

Old Dutch Official Website

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REVIEW: Gaslamp Popcorn Co. – Pumpkin Spice Pie Popcorn

Rating: ©©-3/4 chips (tolerable)

Gaslamp - Pumpkin Spice PiePumpkin Spice Pie?  Does that sound oddly worded to anyone else?  Did they actually mean Pumpkin Pie Spice?  And, why not just Pumpkin Pie flavored?  It’s not as if we would actually expect the popcorn to taste like pie right?  So, we would simply be expecting those traditional pumpkin pie spices all the same.  Of course we’re nitpicking here, but either way you slice it (get it?), we just don’t think Pumpkin Spice Pie sounds right!

A couple of months ago we reviewed Gaslamp Popcorn Co.’s other holiday inspired flavor Apple Crumble Pie.  Very similar to that flavor, the Pumpkin Spice Pie flavor releases an oddly familiar scent of those traditional holiday spices combined with a savory, slightly oily, and something like creamy buttermilk essence.

So what does the unmistakeable pumpkin pie spice blend typically consist of?  Correct us if we are wrong, but we are pretty sure that it is ground nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and all spice. In other words, an aromatic wonderful of scents!  And, wouldn’t you know it, Gaslamp’s popcorn did smell and taste of all of these spices.  However, when combined with the sort of rich and tangy and oily notes of the popcorn, the seasoning did not jive very well with us.  We definitely could have used some more salt.  What this flavor really lacked that the Apple Crumble Pie delivered on was some depth of flavor.  With that flavor Gaslamp included a slight acidic touch to represent the apple part of the combo, and while we didn’t love the flavor by any means, we were very impressed.  With this flavor, we get none of that, and are really left with a, four spice, one note flavor!

Once again, in the end, we must give high marks to Gaslamp Popcorn Co. for originality, and some rather crispy and fluffy bright white popcorn kernels.  However, we can’t imagine that anyone would ever grab a bag of this stuff, and simply sit down and enjoy the whole thing!  No, this is the stuff you set out at your holiday party and watch people’s reactions.  More conversation piece than delectable treat.  We’ll stick to Pumpkin Spice Pie in pumpkin pie form please!

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

Popcorn provided to Chip Review by Gaslamp Popcorn Co. for review.

Gaslamp Popcorn Co. Official Website

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REVIEW: Covered Bridge – Montreal Steak Spice Seasoning Old Fashioned Kettle Cooked Potato Chips

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

Covered Bridge - Montreal Steak Spice Seasoning Old Fashioned Kettle Style Potato ChipsOh Canada!  Oh Covered Bridge!  We stand and applaud your Montreal Steak Spice Seasoning chips!  Yeah, you’re right, our sweet melody won’t be replacing the Canadian national anthem anytime soon, but we can tell you with utmost certainty that you should be replacing whatever you are eating right now with some of these lip-smacking potato chips!!

Truth be told, these chips, or more accurately, their deliciousness, came as a complete surprise to us.  Straight from left field, or more like, from Canada.  Little did we know that hiding inside this simply designed bag were some of the best tasting chips of 2014!

So, what exactly is Montreal Steak Seasoning Spice?  From the looks of the front of this bag it consists of two spice containers (appropriately labeled “spice”), some onion, garlic and tomato, and some flames and a giant steak.  Some of our tasters were thinking that the flavor may taste like steak itself, but based on the ingredients listed on the back of the bag, Covered Bridge seems to be keeping the recipe close to their chest.  Garlic is listed, and of course there is salt, but beyond that is simply the always illusive “spices”.  In our opinion, Montreal Steak Seasoning Spice is not very far removed from most salt and pepper flavored chips.  In fact, that is exactly what it is.  An amp’d up, or an elevated, salt and pepper variation.

The flavor starts with loads of the classic black and white spices, followed closely by hints of garlic and onion, and it even seemed like there was a little spicy heat hidden in there at the finish.  Yep, no doubt about it, when we were finally able to stop eating these chips for a second, there was definitely a light burn on our tongues and in our mouths (granted, this could possibly be from the loads of pepper being used).

While Covered Bridge’s Montreal Steak Spice Seasoning is certainly a more than acceptable seasoning blend, it is not what set these chips apart from the masses.  What exactly is it that catapults them into the illusive, nearly perfect, chip rating territory?  Plain and simple, the potato chips themselves!!!  These are SUPERB potato chips. On the thinner side, extra light and crispy, with a very substantial and prominent real potato flavor. The russet Burbank potatoes lend a darker color, with a rich, and rustic potato flavor. Some may even consider the chips burnt, but just like with Better Made’s Rainbow Dark Potato Chips, they are simply delicious!  The dark potato provides some uniquely nutty, and smoky “burnt” flavor profiles that we are simply suckers for.  If you’ve never tried dark potato chips, you should really seek them out!

Probably our only gripes with these chips, and we are nitpicking here of course, are that there were quite a few crumbs at the bottom of the bag (possibly due to how thin the chips are, or perhaps the fact that they traveled all of the way from the frozen tundra to the North). We also think that the salt level could be turned down just a touch. Don’t get us wrong, you know we love salt. Probably our most common complaint, other than chips tasting disgusting, would be that they are under seasoned. However, these chips are really, really close to being too salty!

Lastly, in case you were wondering, Covered Bridge Potato Chip’s factory is located in Hartland, New Brunswick, which is the home of the world’s longest covered bridge.  And we were wondering where the name came from – problem solved.

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

Discovered at World Market; Oak Brook, Illinois

Covered Bridge Chip Official Website

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