REVIEW: Trader Joe’s – Sriracha Lattice Cut Kettle Cooked Potato Chips

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

Trader Joe's Lattice Cut - SrirachaAs we snatched that bright red, hopefully promising, bag of kettle cooked potato chips from off the store shelf we paused for a second, and realized that it had been quite a long time between Trader Joe’s visits.  Which made us sad.  Shame on us Chip Review.  SHAME ON US!  Luckily, TJ’s delicious Sriracha chips turned our frowns upside down, and made us happy!

You know how we know that it has been a long time since our last TJ’s visit?  Well, this visit was our first time seeing the lattice cut sriracha flavored potato chips (and it’s not like we somehow over looked the bold, electric-red bag of sriracha flavored chips).  And we know that they have been available for a while now as they were SPOTTED over two months ago on The Impulsive Buy, and very positively reviewed nearly just as long ago by What’s Good at Trader Joe’s?

First of all, can we just point out the ferocious looking creature who appears as though it is about to smash a giant stack of lattice cut potato chips.  According to our younger chip reviewers this creature is obviously a dragon cat; and apparently there are plenty of examples of this out there on the internets!  Quite frankly, we don’t get it.  We don’t understand the correlation between the uber popular Thai hot sauce, and the winged feline?!?  Now, if TJ’s would have gone with a cat rooster, or a rooster dragon, now that is something we would associate with sriracha!  But what do we know, maybe dragon cats are popular in Thailand?

Trader Joe’s Sriracha Lattice Cut Kettle Cooked Potato Chips are lip-smackingly tasty…..but we feel like we may have already told you that….last year!  Okay, while technically we are reviewing them for the very first time, we sort of feel like we reviewed, and praised, these chips last year, only they were called Ghost Pepper Lattice Cut Kettle Cooked Potato Chips…  Yes, we know that those were different chips (at least we are supposed to think they were), but hear us out here!

Touch of sweet, good dash of salt, lots of vegetal and fruity chili pepper notes, and we love-love-loved the splash of tangy vinegar and citric acid.  Of course there is some onion and garlic are in there (mandatory in every seasoning it seems)….That’s right, we said it, there is a touch of heat that alludes to the threat of tongue burning heat but never really gets anywhere near it.  In fact, the heat doesn’t even really build after many repeat visits to the delicious chip bag!  That is not to say that there is no heat whatsoever because there is a bit of tongue tickle, just nothing to the extent that we would have expected from the ghost pepper!

The above italics were taken straight from our Ghost Pepper review, however for the the most part, a large portion of these descriptions could be used to describe Trader Joe’s Sriracha chips.  We would be willing to bet A LOT of $$$ that TJ’s did not start from scratch with their sriracha recipe, and much of the inspiration for derived from the ghost pepper recipe!  Is this a bad thing?  Certainly not, especially when the ghost pepper chips were so lip-smacking!!

Overall, we liked these sriracha chips quite a bit.  If you like sriracha hot sauce, and you like crispy potato chips, then you would certainly like these.  Sriracha may not yet be as popular of a flavor as say nacho cheese, or barbeque, but it is sure making a run for it, and as far as the dozen or so sriracha flavored chips we have tried thus far, these are definitely somewhere in the top 5!

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

Chips discovered at Trader Joes; La Grange, Illinois

Trader Joe’s Official Website

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25 Chips to Christmas….

#10

Trader Joe’s – Ghost Pepper Lattice Cut Kettle Cooked Potato Chips


Trader Joe's - Ghost Pepper Lattice Cut Potato Chips

Original Review Here

Trader Joe’s Ghost Pepper Potato Chips are delicious!  Sweet, salty and sour, with layers of flavor depth that perplexed and pleased our taste buds.  That being said, our favorite Ghost Pepper flavored chips of all time actually taste like, well, Ghost Pepper.  Which for some reason that we cannot fathom, these chips do not!  Still, they are delicious and among this year’s best!!

25 Chips to Christmas….

#19

Cape Cod – Kettle Cooked Waffle Cut – Farm Stand Ranch – & – Barbeque Ranch

Cape Cod Waffle Cut - Top 25

Original Reviews Here and Here

Here’s the plan, we’re going to take a thick cut kettle cooked potato chip and slice it two ways until it looks like lattice work.  We will call it ‘Waffle Cut’.  Then, we coat the chips with our amazingly tasty ranch seasoning blend.  And since one flavor probably isn’t enough, let’s just throw some BBQ seasoning on with the ranch, and we’ll call it ‘Barbeque Ranch’.  Genius, we can’t lose!

Bravo Cape Cod, bravo!

REVIEW: Trader Joe’s – Ghost Pepper Lattice Cut Kettle Cooked Potato Chips

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

Trader Joe's - Ghost Pepper Lattice Cut Potato ChipsHi, we’re Chip Review and we love spicy chips.  

They say that the first step is to admit it.  Obviously, the next logical step would be to go out and find some new spicy chips to satisfy our addiction!

Oh…well…hello there.  Don’t think that we have seen you around these parts before?  Are you new here?  You must be new, because we’re certain that we would have noticed you before now. What’s that?  You think that you’re not our kind of chip.  Well, you are lattice cut, but we won’t let that dissuade us from taking you home!

That’s right readers, scary new Ghost Pepper flavored Lattice Cut Potato Chips from Trader Joe’s, hitting the shelves just in time for everyone’s favorite spooky holiday!!  Like we mentioned above, we enjoy our spicy chips here at Chip Review.  We especially love our hot chili pepper flavored chips, and frankly we have tried quite a few of them over the years.  Just for reference sake, we have tasted over 100 different jalapeño flavored snacks, and about 30 different habanero flavored, but to date, we have only tried 2 other ghost pepper flavored snacks prior to these new ones from Trader Joe’s.  Plus, the ghost pepper chili would be the hottest of chili peppers that we have ever seen in chip form, but having now been surpassed in scoville ratings by both the Trinidad Scorpion, and the current hottest chili in the world, the Carolina Reaper, we expect to see chips displaying those flavor names sometime very soon (or, at least we can hope)!

First, the good.  In fact, the very, very good.  These chips are delicious!  Really super fantastic seasoning combination!!  Seriously, it is tough to accurately describe what is going on here with this flavor, we were not prepared for these to be this complex….  Touch of sweet, good dash of salt, lots of vegetal and fruity chili pepper notes, and we love-love-loved the splash of tangy vinegar and citric acid.  Of course there is some onion and garlic are in there (mandatory in every seasoning it seems), but also a touch of smoke, providing a touch of BBQ-ness!  These chips have depth, they have layers, and plain and simple they work, very well.

BUT – you knew there was a but – what about the ghost pepper heat?!?! First of all, yes, we checked the back of the bag and sure enough ghost pepper is right there near the top of the ingredients list, and yet these chips DO NOT BRING THE PAIN!!! That’s right, we said it, there is a touch of heat that alludes to the threat of tongue burning heat but never really gets anywhere near it.  In fact, the heat doesn’t even really build after many repeat visits to the delicious chip bag!  That is not to say that there is no heat whatsoever because there is a bit of tongue tickle, just nothing to the extent that we would have expected from the ghost pepper!

Our other little gripe has to do with the chips themselves, and quite frankly it is more of a personal preference than anything else.  We here at Chip Review respect the lattice / waffle cut potato chip, but we don’t love them.  We more than understand that the double sliced, criss-cross technique creates more fry-able potato chip surface area, resulting in an extremely super-crunchy potato chip, but our mouths, teeth, and taste buds would prefer a slightly less crunchy chip, with more potato flavor.

Despite our qualms with these chips, and we consider the lack of heat a fairly big one, these are some fantastic chips!  Bravo Trader Joe’s, bravo!!  Anyone out there know who is making these chips for Trader Joe’s?  Or, is it possible that they have their own amazing chip factory cranking these delicious potato chips themselves??

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

Chips discovered at Trader Joes; La Grange, Illinois

Trader Joe’s Official Website

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REVIEW: Cape Cod – Kettle Cooked Waffle Cut – Farm Stand Ranch

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

Cape Cod Waffle Cut - Farm Stand RanchTo some, the waffle cut potato chip is the most perfect example of a fried potato slice – an extra crunchy, unique chip experience.  To others, the fried potatoes feel more like a challenge for the mouth, than something to sit back and enjoy!  The double sliced, criss-cross technique results in more fry-able potato chip surface area, resulting in an extremely super-crunchy, lattice shaped, potato chip.  Just imagine thick cut kettle chips Gone Wild!  Here at Chip Review we like our teeth, we need our teeth!  So, we have always been a bit weary of the waffle cut potato chip, but if you love crunchy chips, then these may very well be right up your alley.

While it may seem like we had it in for the waffle cut potato chips over the years, it also seems like Cape Cod is determined to single-handedly change that stern opinion, and convert us to big fans!  Honestly, when we look back through all of our ratings and reviews for Waffle or Lattice Cut style potato chips over the years, we’ve noticed that the majority of them are actually very good ratings.  Might we be waffle cut closet people?!  Maybe we are!  Maybe…that additional surface area that we do not enjoy, also provides more area for seasoning adhesion – WHICH  WE LOVE!  Well, either way you crunch it, if brands like Cape Cod continue to create tasty flavor combinations such as these Farm Stand Ranch, or the recently reviewed Barbeque Ranch, there will be no denying our love for the lattice!!

Ranch is that flavor that we are all familiar with, and pretty sure that we all love!!  Right?  But, typically when we ask people about what ranch consists of, what exactly the ingredients are, very few of them say much more than buttermilk, or sour cream, and maybe they mention dill, or garlic.  One of the reasons that we here at Chip Review love ranch seasoning so much is that there are many, many different variations on the classic dressing.  We feel like it is fair to say that with this Farm Stand Ranch flavor, Cape Cod has created one of the best ranch recipe versions that we have ever tasted!!

Tremendously rich, with a fantastic contrasting acidic vinegar tang that marries with the creamy buttermilk, and at the same time cuts through the richness just enough!  Flavorful would be an understatement!  Cape Cod’s version is heavy on the black pepper, we really love the usage decision of the complimentary “heat” that the pepper adds to the mix.  All of the usual ranch characters were present: Mr. Garlic, Ms. Onion, Lil’ Dill, Old Chives, Big Mustard, Franks Paprika, and so on, and so on.  The giant combination of flavors were powerful, and yet so well balanced!  The perfect pairing for Cape Cod’s rugged Waffle Cut Potato Chips!

The back of the Farm Stand Ranch bag reads: “The simple flavors of celery, carrot, onion, and dill are blended with creamy buttermilk and our cream” and “The result is a perfect match for the robust potato flavor and hearty crunch of our waffle cut kettle cooked potato chip!!”  We could not have said it better ourselves!  Plain and simple these are some of the best ranch flavored chips that we have ever tried!!  In fact, they have actually crunched their way into our Top 5 Ranch!

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

Discovered at Jewell Osco; Oak Park, Illinois

Cape Cod Official Website

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REVIEW: Cape Cod – Kettle Cooked Waffle Cut – Barbeque Ranch

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

Cape Cod - BBQ RanchAlright, we’ve been rethinking things a little bit around here regarding waffle cut potato chips.  Up until now most of us at Chip Review have always been an adversary of the uniquely cut chips; more specifically a kettle cooked waffle cut chip.  We’ve said:

“...too much fryable surface area – we get the idea, it’s new, it’s different – and, we appreciate the effort, but give us some crinkle cut any day!  The potato chips’ aerated waffle texture adds a weird kettle cooked super-crunch that is somehow not too dense, and not too hard…

“They are unique, that is certain, and we appreciate that.  However, they feel more like a challenge for our mouths, than something to sit back and enjoy!  The double sliced, criss-cross technique results in more fry-able potato chip surface area, producing an extremely crunchy potato chip.  Imagine thick cut kettle chips gone wild!  We like our teeth, we need our teeth!  If you love crunchy chips, then these may be right up your alley.”

BUT!  As we look back through all of our ratings and reviews for Waffle or Lattice Cut style potato chips, we’ve noticed that the majority of the chips have very good ratings.  Are we waffle cut closet people?!  Maybe we are!  Maybe… that additional surface area that we do not enjoy due to super-crunch, also provides more area for seasoning adhesion – which we love?  We’re guessing, in the end, we are going to have to accept our love-hate relationship with these waffle cut chips.

Barbeque and Ranch.  Do you see that?  Barbeque and ranch together in one bag of chips!  Believe it or not, this combination is extremely rare.  In fact, we could only find one example of ever trying it before, and just like with these chips, we thought they were lip-smacking!  First thing that comes to mind to describe the bbq ranch flavor combo would be TANGY.  Tangy ranch sour cream notes mixed with tangy-sweet tomato and vinegar flavors.  Tangy, tangy, tangy, and delicious!!  The ranch flavor half is what pops off first.  A touch of creamy sour cream, with a dash of those supporting flavors of garlic, onion, red bell pepper, and black pepper.  We really, really love the tangy tartness of this seasoning; which appears to be the result of a combination of sour cream, lactic acid, citric acid and apple cider vinegar.  That’s a whole lot of tangy tongue tingling, if you ask us!  The barbeque seasoning is there too, but does definitely play second fiddle to the ranch.  A sweet and smoky pairing, rests in the background and supports the ranch notes perfectly!!

Plain and simple, the bbq ranch chips taste like both flavors, and the combination of both.  It works!!  It works so well that we think more brands should give it a whirl!  We can hope.

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

Discovered at Jewell Osco; Westchester, Illinois

Cape Cod Official Website

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REVIEW: Chester’s Poppers – Cheese Pizza Waffle Rounds

Rating: ©©©-1/4 chips  (notable)

Chester's Poppers - Cheese Pizza WaffleDear Chester,

You are famous and loved for your cheesy connection to that most popular of all crunchy puff brands.  You are the cheetah that famously coined the classic saying “it ain’t easy being cheesy.”  You will forever be the poster boy for Cheetos!  So…what has happened?  Have the two of you split ways?  Were you feeling creatively stifled, and needed to branch out on your own?  All we can say is that there is a reason your relationship is an iconic one, and there is a reason why Cheetos are loved by millions world wide!

Sincerely,

Chip Review

Now that we have that off of our chest, let’s get down to real brass tacks.  Chester recently released a new trio of snacks appropriately labeled Poppers.  Poppers because all three of the snacks are of the puffed, or popped, style; or possibly named Poppers for their ability to easily be popped into the mouths of the snackers.

Once again, as was the case with Chester’s Popped BBQ Spirals, the waffle rounds were not made of puffed corn as we expected them to be.  Rather, they were made from some odd combination of potato and wheat.  Of course we assumed that with Chester’s connection to Cheetos that the waffle rounds would most likely be made of puffed corn, and in turn, encompass that same lovely, melt-able, soft crunch texture that we all have grown to love.  But, apparently Chester is rebelling against all things Cheetos, and simply wants to separate himself, and crunch his own snack path.  As we’ve pointed out before, the puffed potato snacks are not as light and crispy as the corn puffed snacks.  We prefer the corn!

All in all, the Cheese Pizza Waffle Rounds were OK.  At least a little better than the BBQ Spirals.  They were shaped exactly as they appear on the front of the packaging.  Imagine a waffle or lattice cut potato chip that has been popped.  And speaking of popped, let’s just say that if there are kids in the vicinity that they will definitely be popping these into their mouths by the fist full!!

The pizza seasoning is pretty tasty, in a fake-y sort of way.  There was certainly no skimping on the loads of orange seasoning coating the waffle rounds, and yet the pizza flavor was still not overwhelming.  The seasoning combo tasted primarily of cheese first and foremost.  The blend of cheddar, parmesan, mozzarella, and jack provided a good foundation for the flavor, and tasted like pizza cheese, aka pecorino.  Throw in some very sweet tomato substance, garlic and onion, most likely some mix of oregano and other seasonings, and sure enough these taste like a snack that has been flavored to taste like pizza.  You all know what we mean.  Pizza flavored snacks do not really taste like real good pizza, rather they sort of taste like the worst of pizza impersonators, aka Totino’s Pizza.  But, when thrown onto a snack, the flavor is tasty enough.

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

Spirals discovered at Target; Hillside, Illinois

Chester’s Snacks Official Website

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