REVIEW: Dimo’s – Truffle Butter Popcorn

Rating: ©-1/2 – ©©©©-1/2 chips  (return to sender to lip-smacking – depending)

dimos-truffle-butter-popcornJust the other day we stumbled upon this popcorn while actually trying to grab a few slices of pizza.  That’s right, Dimo’s is much better known for their huge selection of pizza by the slice.  But, because we also do what we do, we had to grab a bag of this New! Truffle Butter Popcorn.

It was one of those busy days so we grabbed a handful of slices for the road and just planned on warming them up at the HQ.  We’ve pretty much perfected the re-heat of pizza at Chip Review.  Pizza stone under the broiler for 20 minutes, turn off broiler, place room temp pizza directly on stone, heat for 5 minutes – crispy crust, warmed toppings, melty cheese – perfection.

While we waited for pizza stone to get piping hot we thought we would give Dimo’s New! Truffle Butter Popcorn a taste.  We tore open the cute brown paper bag to see that the popcorn also was coated with some herbs and what appeared to be parmesan cheese.  We popped a few kernels int our mouths to discover that the popcorn was completely stale and soggy.  Practically inedible.  We all looked around at each other to confirm the disappointment.  Yep, unanimous.  But then, almost also as simultaneously we all looked towards the over.  Could this popcorn be save?!  We spread it out onto a baking sheet and threw it into the piping hot oven on the rack below the pizza stone….

A couple of minutes passed, we grabbed the sheet pan from the oven and set it on top of the stove.  We could hear the butter on the popcorn crackling and sizzling.  The popcorn looked alive again.  We let it cool for as long as we could wait and then we dug in.  A transformation miracle!  The popcorn was once again fresh, and crispy, and delicious!!

You may or may not have noticed above that we had given Dimo’s popcorn two different ratings, and now you know the reason why.  One was based on the popcorn directly out of the cute, but useless (as far as freshness goes), brown paper bag; and another rating for after we had baked the popcorn for a few minutes.  We’re pretty sure that we have never done this before, but we thought, what the heck – we had also never bought truffle butter flavored popcorn from a pizza slice joint in Wicker Park before……

As for the flavoring of the popcorn, it was really delicious.  Dimo’s popcorn definitely exuded more aromatic truffle essence than any other truffle flavored popcorns we have tried.  Coupled with the rich butter, and salty cheese, the popcorn really is fantastic (after it is warmed up).

Popcorn discovered at Dimo’s Pizza; Wicker Park-Chicago, Illinois

Dimo’s Pizza Official Website

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BIJOU-REVIEW: The Little Kernel – Truffle Sea Salt Mini Popcorn

Rating: ©©©© chips  (lip-smacking)

The Little Kernel - Truffle Sea Salt Mini PopcornWhat a cute little captain kernel, sailing his sorta sapphire sea salt sail boat with his sidekick….suidae?  Huh?!  Oh, now we get it….with his little blue, truffle hunting piggy.

The Little Kernel’s mini popcorn itself is actually cute, and is certainly on the smaller kernel end of the popcorn spectrum (probably half the size of a typical kernel).

Unlike the Himalayan Sea Salt flavor we tried from The Little Kernel just the other day, this stuff is impressively flavored.

Additionally, unlike many other truffle flavored chips or popcorn that we have tried, this popcorn impressively provides a lot of true truffle flavor!

We could have used a touch more salt.

If you like popcorn, and you like truffle, this stuff will certainly do the trick.

Popcorn discovered at Mariano’s; Westchester, Illinois

The Little Kernel Official Website

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REVIEW: World Market Presents – Truffle Butter (a frighteningly delicious movie theater popcorn)

Rating: ©©© chips  (notable)

World Market - Truffle Butter PopcornWe have to hand it to World Market, they sure know how to market for the holidays, and with some pretty witty packaging!

Upon opening World Market’s clear bag of popcorn (yes clear, we said witty packaging, not quality), the truffle and butter aromas were terrifyingly upfront, and undeniable.  Even scarier (demonstrated by the Bride of Frankenstein’s face expression) was just how frighteningly fake both the butter and truffle flavors were!  Seriously!!  Almost sickeningly so…

And yet, the popcorn is very eatable, sort of addicting, and hard to stop munching on.  Weird, rich and sweet butter cream mingles with an earthy, and pungent aroma.  The popcorn is certainly not lacking in flavor like other truffle flavor snacks we have tried, but then again, it doesn’t taste as authentic as some either.

Also worth noting is the inclusion of MUSHROOM JUICE CONCENTRATE among the ingredients.  What else can we say?!?  We’ll just leave this review with that!

Popcorn discovered at World Market; Oak Brook, Illinois

World Market Official Website

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

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REVIEW: Lay’s Wavy – Do Us a Flavor Finalist – West Coast Truffle Fries Potato Chips

Rating: ©©©© chips (lip-smacking)

Lay's Wavy - West Coast Truffle FriesSummer 2015 is officially here!  Do you know what we mean by that?  THEY’RE BAAACK!!!!!

Lay’s all new ‘Do Us A Flavor’ contest is back!  Can we just put it out there that we really appreciate and love that Lay’s has made this an annual tradition!  As humungous chip fanatics and consumers (just like you!), we cannot begin to tell you how giddy we get each time this contest comes around.  Who would have thought that just two short  years ago (when Lay’s brought us the likes of Cheesy Garlic Bread, Sriracha, and of course our personal favorite, CHICKEN & WAFFLE!!), that this contest would become a THING?  And in 2015, that THING, would be giving us the likes of Greektown Gyro, West Coast Truffle Fries, Southern Biscuits and Gravy, and New York Reuben?!?

In case there are any of you out there who are still unfamiliar with this contest.  Lay’s is once again offering up the chance for one lucky individual to win a million smackers (ONE MILLION DOLLAR$$) for creating an all new potato chip flavor.  We’re assuming that there were thousands of flavors submitted, and Lay’s has narrowed it down to four finalists.  Now it is time for us to vote on the best of those four!  This year Lay’s has once again allowed the flavor creators to pair each of their unique flavors with a specific style of chip, ensuring the best delivery medium for the flavor.  Let’s get down to business.

So far, we have reviewed Lay’s Kettle Cooked Greektown Gyro chips, and Lay’s New York Reuben chips, and we must say that Lay’s has far, far exceeded our expectations thus far!  Let’s see how Lay’s does with replicating the somewhat classic fried potato, truffle and cheese combo!

Next up: West Coast Truffle Fries

Submitted by: Angie Fu of Irvine, California

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

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

While maybe only 10 – 15 years ago truffle fries were a delicious delicacy found only every once in a while on some great gastropub’s menu, today they are just about as common, or mandatory, of a menu item as burgers and beer!!  Seriously, we feel confident that we could walk into any new gastropub that we have never tried before, take a seat at the bar, ask for a Two Hearted Ale, and some truffle fries, and both would be set down in front of us shortly thereafter.  They are the safe potato chip choice.  We think Celebuzz summed them up best when they said that they are the “Chip equivalent of: Taylor Swift…created for mass appeal.”  In other words, Lay’s West Coast Truffle Fries are what we would call, the least original flavor from this year’s line-up. Does that necessarily make them bad in any way?  No, it just means that they are missing that exotic chip flavor wow factor, and must rely more on execution and flavor accuracy.  So, how did Lay’s do?

First of all, just like with the New York Reuben flavor, we feel as though Lay’s, or Angie, or whoever’s decision it was, have once again chosen the wrong chip for the flavor.  Lay’s Wavy potato chips are probably our most favorite of their styles!  They are fun, and crunchy, and rugged and WAVY!  Truffles on the other hand, are classical, high end, delicate, and sophisticated ingredients that deserve a classic chip – aka Lay’s traditional potato chips.  We just feel like the two would have been a more natural pairing.

As for the seasoning, well, like many people on the interwebs have already been indicating, the chips’ truffle-ness is on the subtle side.  They do not encompass a very powerful truffle aroma, and you really have to crunch a handful of chips to actually distinguish that undeniably unique, funky-earthy flavor…  BUT!!  Let it be known that we actually appreciate their subtlety, as it is likely the result of Lay’s decision to use real black truffles (albeit, a very miniscule amount), as opposed to the easy out – otherwise known as truffle oil (For some reason, back in the ’90s, truffle oil became an acceptable—even desirable—ingredient for chefs to use. Coming in at a fraction of the cost of real truffles (which vary year to year, but generally run in the thousands-of-dollars-per-ounce range), it seemed like an easy way to add some truffle aroma to an otherwise boring dish.  Problem is, truffle oil isn’t even made from truffles. It’s made from an organic compound called 2,4-Dithiapentane—derived either naturally or from a petroleum base—mixed together with olive oil.”) Serious Eats

Getting back on track, we’ve tasted, and reviewed, a handful of truffle flavored snacks (predominantly popcorn) over the years, and we are happy to say that these Lay’s are among some of the best!  Not the most truffle-y, but just overall a tasty chip.  The chips succeed on hitting all of the necessary flavor notes: a little garlicky, a dash of salty cheese – parmesan or romano, parsley for color, and a touch of the earthy truffle.  The combination of course works, and delivers a very savory chip.  Probably our most favorite aspect of these chips were the inclusion of DUCK FAT!!!  That’s right, fat rendered from that annoyingly voiced Donald character! In fact, believe it or not, but our most favorite variation of truffle fries are fried in duck fat, and actually come from a place called Duck Fat Tavern!!

Overall, Lay’s Wavy West Coast Truffle Fries are a lip-smacking addition to the ‘Do Us A Flavor’ Alumni team.  If they would have been released with last years group we would have declared them our favorites, but it just so happens that they are competing against some really stellar flavors this year!  That’s just how the chip crunches.  There you have it, another ‘Do Us A Flavor’ flavor down, only one to go.  So, unless Lay’s Southern Biscuits and Gravy are an abomination (and from what we’ve heard, they are not), it is official 2015 is ‘Do Us A Flavor’s’ best line-up ever!

Chip Review’s All-time Lay’s ‘Do Us A Flavor’ rankings:

1. Chicken & Waffle

2. New York Reuben

3. Greektown Gyro

4. Cheesy Garlic Bread

5. West Coast Truffle Fries

6. Cappuccino

7. Sriracha

8. Wasabi Ginger

9. Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese

10. Mango Salsa

Still to taste: Southern Biscuits and Gravy!!  Stay tuned for our review very soon.

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

Chips ordered online from Walmart

Voting ends October 18th, so make sure you go to the link below, and let Lay’s know which flavor should stick around for longer than a minute!!

Lay’s Official vote for your favorite

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REVIEW: Pop! Gourmet Popcorn – Extravagant White Truffle Bliss Popcorn

Rating: ©-1/2 chips  (return to sender)

Pop! - White Truffle BlissComplete and utter disappointment!

Far too subtle, practically unrecognizable or indistinguishable, white truffle flavor!  But, maybe it’s difficult to capture and accurately deliver the deliciously aromatic flavors of truffle onto popcorn?  Nope, we’ve tasted and reviewed a handful of truffle flavored snacks (predominantly popcorn), and most of them have actually been lip-smacking!

We are so surprised with the verdict on this one.  We have tried other Pop! Gourmet Popcorn and they have been stellar!  So, how this one turned out so bad we don’t really understand!  The pungent truffle aroma is present, and wafts into the air upon opening the bag but as soon as we tossed a handful of popcorn into our mouths everything delicious about popcorn and truffle disappears!  The popcorn is bogged down with too much oil, with a sort of stale, lack-luster, soft crunch!  No actual truffle flavor, and really no flavor of any kind – not even salt.  We’re really starting to wonder if we were eating popcorn that had far exceeded its expiration date?!  And to be truthfully honest, we don’t know for sure!  We may have been.  If that is the case, we should probably give this popcorn another shot, but until then this is our stance on Pop! Gourmet Popcorn White Truffle Bliss!

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

Discovered at Pete’s Fresh Market; Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois

Pop! Gourmet Popcorn Official Website

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REVIEW: Pop Art – Rosemary Truffle Gourmet Popcorn

Rating: ©©©© chips  (lip-smacking)

Pop Art - Rosemary TrufflePop Art Gourmet Popcorn huh? When we think of pop art we usually think of the work of Andy Warhol, but beyond that, we also think of the way pop art seemed to take things that were popular with the mass culture, and flip them around a bit, or present them in a new way.  Well, rosemary truffle flavored popcorn seems to fit that concept perfectly!

First off, we should probably mention the artistic merits of the Pop Art packaging.  We definitely like the logo, it sort of reminds us of a bright, fun, postage stamp.  The purple backdrop to the bag is reminiscent of wallpaper, and the center flavor description, and photos of the ingredients are pretty straightforward.  In our opinion, they could have gone a lot more “pop art” with their bag.

As for the popcorn itself, lets just say that there is no better description than the one on the packaging, this is the epitome of – GOURMET POPCORN.  We’ve had rosemary flavored snacks, and truffle flavored snacks in the past, but never the two combined.  We are happy to report, that the combo is delicious, and Pop Art’s flavoring is SPOT ON!  So fragrant.  This popcorn is a great example of how aroma/smell plays so much a part of what we experience for flavor. We smell food before, and while, we taste it. Both of these ingredients are much more about aroma than actual taste to the tongue, and maybe that is why they are both such powerful flavors!  Rosemary’s fresh, citrusy, and piney notes, mingled perfectly with truffle’s unmistakable earthy, and uniquely funky, notes.  Gourmet!

The popcorn itself was no slouch either.  The popcorn was fresh and crispy, with a sort of nutty burnt aspect to the popped kernels.  The popcorn seemed a bit dry for our likes.  We could have used some moisture splashed on there in the form of oil or butter or cheese powder, just something to provide a richer mouth feel.  Also, we would have preferred a bit more salt overall.  As it turned out, the deeper we got into the bag the more abundant the salt level became, meaning that the salt was not properly clinging to the popcorn (maybe a sign of that missing moisture we mentioned before…?).

All in all, this is some great lip-smacking popcorn, and we can’t wait to spot some of Pop Art’s other gourmet flavors!

As always, these are our thoughts. Agree or disagree, make sure to let us know.

Popcorn discovered at World Market; Oakbrook, Illinois

Pop Art Snacks Official Website

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REVIEW: Popchips – Parmesan & Black Truffle Oil Risotto Chips

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

Popchips - Parmesan & Black Truffle Oil Risotto Chips

Comments:

What do we have here?  Oooh, fancy chips!  Popchips have decided to try and elevate their typical popped chips, and give them an upscale makeover!  Luckily for all of us, Popchips deliver on an entirely new taste experience!

Probably the most recognizably unique aspect of these chips are not their black truffle oil and parmesan flavor, but the risotto chips themselves.  For any of you out there who happen to be (unluckily) unfamiliar with the amazing, classic Italian rice dish known as RISOTTO, you should immediately stop what you are doing, do a quick Google search for “the best risotto in insert your neighborhood here“, throw on your hat and coat, and drive there immediately.  Thank yous can be sent to the attention of Dustin at Chip Review!

Risotto is the rice dish equivalent of the most comforting, rustically, homemade pasta dish you can imagine.  Popchips risotto chips encompass a lot of those same delicious attributes.  They have a light, smooth, and delicate crunch.  They are definitely “softer” than Popchips traditional popped potato chips.  Their texture becomes almost creamy as your mouth breaks down the chips.  Amazingly enough, the chips are actually made using the classic risotto rice called Aborio.  Who knew that this was even possible?!?

The bright white risotto chips are heavily coated with a scattering of green specs, and a liberal dosage of white parmesan cheese dust.  We tasted garlic and onion in the background.  The chips encompassed many of those same flavor layers that you get from risotto.  But most noticeably was the unmistakable scent and flavor of the black truffle oil.  A uniquely funky, earthy and fragrant ingredient that is considered one of the world’s most opulent foods!  Once again, luckily for all of us, it appears as though Popchips have gone the extra mile and opted for the more authentic, and natural, (and for this reason we must assume expensive) route, and used an olive oil that has actually been infused with real black truffles.  This would be as opposed to the far more commonly (over)used truffle flavored oil.

“For some reason, back in the ’90s, truffle oil became an acceptable—even desirable—ingredient for chefs to use. Coming in at a fraction of the cost of real truffles (which vary year to year, but generally run in the thousands-of-dollars-per-ounce range), it seemed like an easy way to add some truffle aroma to an otherwise boring dish.  Problem is, truffle oil isn’t even made from truffles. It’s made from an organic compound called 2,4-Dithiapentane—derived either naturally or from a petroleum base—mixed together with olive oil.” Serious Eats

BRAVO Popchips!  Well done!  The fragrant black truffle oil and the rich and salty parmesan cheese create a flavor storm in our mouths.  The chips are complex, yet simple.  Homey, yet sophisticated.  This was a HUGE CostCo size bag, and we devoured the entire thing in no time flat!  The more we ate, the better they tasted!  We would consider these definitely some of Popchips finest!

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

Discovered at CostCo; Oak Brook, Illinois

Popchips Official Website

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