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Lay’s Flavor Swap – Doritos Cool Ranch

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Cool Ranch Doritos used to be MY JAM as a kid. It was pretty much the only chip that I would ever pick, and it got to the point where I ate them for so long that now as an adult, I can’t even stomach the idea of Cool Ranch chips. Same thing with bananas (though, I ALSO hate the texture, so there’s that.) When I saw that Lay’s was coming out with the flavor swap chips, I knew that I would meet Cool Ranch again, and I would of course have to try these.

Original Lay’s chips are not really my thing. I find them to be unsatisfying, greasy, and just overall bland. It is always shocking to me that people choose these as their chip of choice when you can have so many other things. I do however like the Lay’s wavy chips, those are a great dip vessel and have a substantial crunch and don’t have the grease factor. Also, can we take a moment to address the font choice on the DORITOS Cool Ranch lettering? It’s really upsetting to me.

The chip base is exactly what you would expect from a typical Lay’s potato chip. The Doritos Cool Ranch seasoning has a decent coating on all the chips in the bag, assuring that you won’t bite into a bland one. These taste exactly how you would expect, minus the corn chip base. The flavor packs the same tang as Cool Ranch Doritos – buttermilk taste mixed with various herbs and spices. Over all I thought these were a decent execution of the flavor swap idea. I think I would have liked these even more if the flavoring was on the Wavy version of the chip, giving it the more hardy crunch that I am used to with a Dorito. On the plus side, at least eating these won’t destroy the corners of your mouth. Overall, if I ever get the hankering for a bag of Cool Ranch chips, I would definitely reach for the Doritos over this iteration. Fun idea, but I think the original is better.

Found at Target
August 23, 2021

Calbee Grill-A-Corn Barbecue – Import

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I must admit that I am very jealous of the snack foods that other countries get. Calbee pretty much has a golden ticket to my heart as I don’t think I have ever had something that they have made that I have disliked. Truth be told, I was on a mission at 99 Ranch to buy a bag of Orion Turtle Chips (Corn Soup Flavored). I LOVE sweet corn flavored things. A close second to these are the Pretz Sweet Corn Sticks. Unfortunately not only did I strike out with the Turtle Chips, but they were also out of the Pretz. DANG IT. I resorted to what any reasonable person would do in my situation, I bought pretty much every corn flavored snack I could find down the chip aisle. (so be prepared for those reviews coming up in the next couple weeks)

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I grabbed these for an afternoon snack. The picture on the outside looked like roasted corn, but the very small English label on the back read barbecue, so my brain instantly snapped to Americanized BBQ chips, which I was kind of bummed about because those are definitely not my chip of choice. I use a small ramekin to take photos of what the food looks like, and then I will eat that as the serving and save the rest for later. They have the exact same look (sans cheese) and texture as Cheetos. I absolutely love Cheetos – so I knew I was going to be into the texture of these. I popped one in my mouth and was very surprised by the flavor. I was fully expecting them to have a barbecue flavor, but I was met with a slightly sweet, perfectly salted, lightly flavored corn chip.

I was instantly hooked. Turtle Chip who? Just kidding, those still have my heart, but these definitely gave the Turtle Chips a run for their money. I DESTROYED this bag of chips in record time, these are absolutely delicious. The flavor is light but not underwhelming. You don’t get the Cheetos fingers however you do get some residuals from the flavoring, so if that is your jam, these are definitely for you. I looked up the ingredients and they are flavored with sugar, salt, spices and flavor (lol), yeast extract, soy sauce, roast meat seasoning, amongst other things to give you an idea of what you can expect in terms of flavor. I would say if you can get your hands on a bag of these, buy two, because you’ll want more. Next time I hit 99 Ranch, I am definitely going to buy these again.

Found at 99 Ranch Market
August 1, 2021

Paqui Haunted Ghost Pepper Chips

This is the part where I’m supposed to say hey, hello, hi. I introduce a thing with playful banter and we have a good time while I do my best to use my wordsmithing abilities and either make you laugh or make you… cry? I don’t… I— didn’t have a good time this go around, not with these chips, and I tried. I really, really tried. I slotted these into my calorie count for the day, and I finished the whole bag in an attempt to find something nice to say about them, and I came up with nil.

To preface, I’m a heatseeker, firecracker, tongue torturer kind of eater. If it’s hot, I want hotter. I use a habanero hot sauce with the pained expression of a man in a backwards hat on its label as sauce of choice. Tabasco is little more than a, “yeah that’ll do” sauce for homefries and eggs. I order Thai and Indian “hot” when I eat out. A packet of chips labelled Haunted Ghost Pepper seemed like I just had to eat them.

These chips aren’t good.

They take an odd amount of pressure to bite through and into, and the texture combined with the amount of spice mix on each chip makes them taste and feel like a harder, ground corn version of pork rinds. On the looks side, these could be cousins of the Dorito. They look like large, grown-up sized triangles of childhood favorites Cool Ranch and Nacho Cheese. But if the seasoning on those were made of salt, and fire.

Oh, I did come up with a positive. These are a sniffly, runny nose creeping heat, my favorite kind, and a sign of good flavor: but with that said, there’s so much spice mix coating each huge chip that that the amount of salt in my mouth at any one point made my tongue want to revolt. As a home cook, I do not regularly ingest large amounts of salt outside of deli meats, so everything is saltier to me. I looked at the back of the bag. 18% daily value or 420erryday mg of sodium in them. Big no.

Midway through eating these, I had to dust my body off. On top of that, the chips were so hard to break through, I started closing my eyes in fear of blasting myself in the ocular cavities with ghost pepper dust. I took precaution in eating them, using a pair of chopsticks to bring them to my face at the beginning and transitioning to using a paper towel when they proved too hard to steadily keep a grip on and bite at the same time. The plate I ate over was L I T T E R E D in spice mix.

These aren’t something I would have bought to satisfy a snack craving, and I bought them solely out of curiosity and had them with a meal. I would have bought my regular bag of salt and vinegar kettle cooked Lays for that.

Their only saving grace is their heat. Yes, the chips are hot, but not devastatingly so for somebody like me looking for that satisfaction. They’re enjoyable for what the give, but having to ingest that level of heat in this way? Let’s just say: it was an experience.

After noticing that these chips from Paqui are born and Austin, Texas-bred, I’m even more disappointed. These are a pretentious take on a spicy chip, with an overly hard, stale-tasting tortilla chip and salty, salty, dusty spice mix. They’re hot, yes, but like the ground corn tortilla chip that hot spice dust lays upon, a hard pass.

Found at Walgreens.

July 30, 2020

Trader Joe’s Sea Salted Saddle Potato Crisps

A few summers ago, Trader Joe’s introduced a ton of mango-themed items into its repertoire, a trend that would continue for a few years until all that remains is Jerk Chicken Skewers with Mango Chutney. This post is not about Jerk Chicken Skewers with Mango Chutney. It is, however, about a new item that arrived this summer, this month, in fact, at Trader Joe’s. I’m sure we’ve all noticed that sometimes our beloved TJ’s gives things very goofy, but kinda accurate-in-that-same-goofy-way names.

This tube of knock-off Pringles is blindingly orange. You could use them as traffic cones.

Sea Salted Saddle Potato Crisps. They’re Pringles. Trader Joe’s own knock off Pringles, original flavor only, ten ingredients listed on the label. Of that ten, only two are things you might not be able to pronounce(corn maltodextrin and mono/digyclerides).

These come in a blindingly decorative tube with a green-skinned, mustachioed man in a flowered suit jacket and checked pant riding a horse, gripping its saddle. But there isn’t a horse, and the saddle is a Prin— potato crisp.

I haven’t had Pringles in a long, long time, so I’m not apt to compare how they stack up(and these are completely stackable, by the way), but their flavor is… well, it’s pretty good. You can smell the almost-potato(that’s dried potato) and rice flour(that’s rice flour) as they come to your mouth, and a hint of neutral oil hits the palate being barely noticeable and exquisitely tolerable. It’s sunflower oil, a neutral oil I like to cook with in place of canola and vegetable these days.

Delicious but pale in color, one might wonder if they're cooked thoroughly.

I will say, these look rough. Straight out of the tube, they look downright uncooked, and the subtle rocky texture scarring them from a hot sunflower oil bath looks a bit off putting. But then again… Pringles are like that too, yeah? But the original is more of a golden color, while these are an even tone of pale potato. These are so pale a relative of yours might be this color.

They’re definitely tasty though. For anybody into that not-quite chip but still fried potato feel, give these a shot. They’re almost McDonald’s fry-esque, as TJ’s Spud Crunchies before them were(though those felt a lot closer), so maybe its a Russet potato and oil taste. For somebody who doesn’t eat much snack food anymore, they’re salty. But each time I popped the lid on these, I did have to fight myself not to grab a few more; luckily they’re low on calories.

My verdict? Pick them up, pop them open, and maybe think about stopping. You won’t. But these don’t have a slogan, anyway, so you have nothing to feel bad about. Nobody’s teasing you for eating too many snacks here.

Also hey, those Jerk Chicken Skewers with Mango Chutney are seasonal, and they’re absolutely delicious.

Found at Trader Joe’s.

July 25, 2020

Cheetos Stars – Summertime Ranch

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Good Morning Friends and Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas out there!

Usually I ramble a bit before getting into the review for the day, but one would say that I am slightly preturbed by these… chips? Crisps? POOFS? Whatever they should be called. So – let’s get down to it, shall we?

I bought these on a late night Walmart run recently and thought about them all day at work on Friday. Eh, let’s reel that in a little, I thought about the name all day on Friday. What exactly is Summertime Ranch? Is there a Wintertime Ranch? Is ranch best enjoyed in the summertime? So many questions. Also, my brain decided to totally botch the words to a Lana Del Rey song by inserting the name of these chips into the chorus, which has since been stuck in my head for two days now. You can preview the song here if you have not heard the song Summertime Sadness.

I’ve got that summertime, summertime ranch chips. I’ve got that summertime, summertime ranch chips.

Stuck in your head now? You’re welcome.

After a brief photo shoot of these stary crunch POOFS (you have to say poofs, POOFS. Don’t believe me? Just ask my friend Clare. I poured myself a small bowl, plopped down on the couch, before ultimately falling asleep there, and took an excited bite.

When I opened the bag, I was pummeled with intense ranch goodness. Now maybe I’m kind of an idiot here, but for some reason I expected these to be cheese flavored as well? I don’t know, cheesy ranch sounds good to me, so I was a bit surprised when I opened the bag and they were naked ranch stars.

Back to the couch goodness. I took one bite and…


This might be the shortest review in the history of this blog, but holy hell was I BEYOND disappointed. These are 100%, no question about it, Cool Ranch Dorito flavored. Womp Womp.

Overall, if you’re into Cool Ranch Dortios (which I am not because I WAY overdid it as a kid with those chips) and you’re into POOFS that ultimately get mashed into your teeth – these stars are for you. Not only was I disappointed by the lack of cheese, the lack of new ranch flavored goodness, I am now stuck with the most GIANT bag of these things – do birds like ranch? I’m kidding, don’t feed food like this to animals. Maybe I could crush them up and make them into some sort of breading for chicken strips or onion rings. But WOW. So bummed. I truly have the Summertime Sadness now.

Found at Walmart

May 13, 2018

Taco Bell – Hot Flavored Tortilla Chips

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Ding! Ding! Round Two – Fight!

Good Morning Friends! Anyone else drowning in their own body from allergy season? No? Just me? Great! I am truly miserable right now and feel like my head might just pop off. You know what might clear the sinuses? Some spicy chips!

Yesterday I talked about how I prefer Hot Taco Bell sauce on their culinary masterpieces so I was pretty excited that they decided to make that into a chip flavor.

Upon opening the bag I was immediately greeted with the strong smell of spicy. The chips did not look as covered in spices as the Mild chips did, but the deep red color of the chip said to me “I mean business”. I tried these chips two different times, the first time right after trying the Mild flavor and again the next day to confirm my thoughts about the flavors. I thought that perhaps I might have skewed the flavoring by eating something with a different flavor prior but I think I was able to get a good idea the first go around. Second time around just confirmed it for me.

Much like the Mild flavor – these chips are alright. They are nothing groundbreaking but don’t get me wrong, they are good. I would consider these kind of a slow burn hot. The more you eat, the hotter they get, causing you to eat more. Ever have that happen? Two other chip flavors come to mind when I think of the slow burn, Salsa Verde Doritos, and Spicy Szechuan Chex Mix (which I don’t think is even a thing anymore?). I don’t think I have ever demolished a bag of Chex Mix faster than the Szechuan flavor because of how spicy that stuff was.

The spiciness is a good level, not overpowering to it being the only flavor that you taste and it also has a subtle hint of smokiness. Much like the Mild flavor, I felt like these chips seemed “greasy” to me, even though they aren’t.

Overall, I think if I had to choose between the two flavors, I would choose the Mild chip flavor. While the Hot flavor is good, I felt like the overall flavor combination of the spices used in the Mild flavoring were more appealing. I also felt compelled to eat the whole bag of the Mild flavor because of the flavor, not because my mouth was on fire which I think would have been the case had I chosen to continue to eat the Hot flavor.

I think these would make really good chips in a Crunchwrap or something like that – bringing extra heat and a nice bit of crunch. Get on it Taco Bell! (just please think of me if you decide to roll with this idea – I could use a little kick back *wink* *wink*)

Found at Target

May 12, 2018

Taco Bell – Mild Flavored Tortilla Chips

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Good Morning Friends! It’s Friday! FINALLY.

If you don’t know – Taco Bell recently came out with 3 flavors of tortilla chips. I have known about these for a hot minute and the anticipation of getting my hands on them was pretty major. I had heard rumblings that someone found them at 7.11 so I made my way to the one over by my house and was greeted with nothing even remotely close. Have you ever walked every inch of a small convenience store and feel weird getting nothing so you find something to buy that you don’t really need? That is exactly what happened – though what I purchased is somewhat new so that review will be up in the next couple of days.

I would call my enjoyment of Taco Bell a guilty pleasure, but I think its best labeled a regretful pleasure. Have you ever had anything off the Taco Bell menu without cheese? It’s not even worth it – so on the rare occasion I do partake, I go hard and get the cheese. And I ALWAYS regret it later. ALWAYS.

What Taco Bell sauce do you get?

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If I am feeling saucy, I will go with hot. I enjoy spicy and hot foods but I like when the sauce adds to the flavor, not overpowers it for the sake of being hot. Ghost pepper stuff? Nah. Why obliterate my taste buds when I can get some heat and still taste the delicious meal I am eating. I once tried a tiny taste of a ghost pepper hot sauce while driving – the reaction nearly made my car become a compact if you get what I’m saying. I like one packet of sauce per item for maximum sauce coverage but not overload.

I was very surprised when I opened the bag of these chips. I was expecting the flavor coating to look some what like the flavor coating of a ranch Dorito. Why? I havn’t a clue, but that’s what my brain decided. These babies are COATED and I am here for it. Nothing more disappointing than an underflavored chip. I also immediately noticed the smell from the mixture of spices – very potent! Getting pumped! Visually good lookin’? CHECK. Smellin’ delicious? CHECK. Tasting great?! OKAY.

These chips tasted like something I have had before, and I cant’t quite put my finger on it. The chip is a bit dense – but nice and crunchy and would definitely hold up if you were working with a dip situation. I do however really like their tortilla chips that you can get at the restaurant so I kind of wished that they had used those for the chip base. The chip definitely encompasses a nice range of spices with a bit of heat, but nothing over the top hot. I was expecting these to be a little on the tame side but was pleasantly surprised how much I liked them. With the serving size being between those tiny lame bags of chips and a large bag, I could see my self accidentally killing a bag of these. My only real gripe is that the chip seems a little… greasy? You know how when you get tortilla chips that haven’t really got a proper toweling off and they get that darker greasy pseudo transparent look to them? That is definitely the vibe I am getting from these chips. While my fingers aren’t greasy, they just SEEM it.

I also had a small revelation while sitting here thinking about these chips – with Frito Lay and Taco Bell being BFFs, was the flavor that I felt so familiar with something that I have tasted on a Dorito before? How come they didn’t choose to make sauce packet flavored Doritos, then make a Doritos Locos Taco with the chip flavor?! One could argue that they have similar offerings already with their current line up, but I feel like this would be a marketing slam dunk! One thing I can definitely see myself doing is making nachos with these chips. The generous flavor coating would make for a delicious nacho-y experience.

Overall I thought these chips were good but did not knock my socks off. The flavor was evenly distributed on every chip and brought a good amount of flavor and heat to each bite. I would really love to see Taco Bell incorporate these into their every day menu items even if for a limited time offering. Check back tomorrow for the review of the Hot flavor!

Found at Target

May 11, 2018

Doritos – Heat Wave – BBQ

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Do you have a snack food that you really connect to your childhood? For me, Doritos are definitely something that when I think about, is a food that I really remember from being a kid. I used to eat the hell out of some Cool Ranch Doritos (which by the way, I can no longer stand the taste of, I guess kid me went too hard). If I had to choose now, it would probably be a really close race between Salsa Verde and Taco Flavor. I remember when they reintroduced Taco Flavor a while back, that I was working in grocery at the time and the guy I was dating REALLY loved them. He was concerned that it would only be a limited time offering, so I ended up buying him 6 bags as one of his gifts for Christmas. Try wrapping chips sometime, you’ll really question what your life has become.


The Doritos Heat Wave chips are two new (what I am assuming) limited offerings this summer. I always feel like Doritos/Frito-Lay has been mindful of the flavors they release. There are few offerings that I have felt like they were total flops. I was a bit surprised that they went with a BBQ flavor, despite having released one in the late 90’s. Doritos chips are not a chip that I really feel lends itself to a BBQ flavor, and I won’t lie, I don’t really care for BBQ chips personally. I think part of it is that I tend to find BBQ flavoring too sweet, despite having a total sweet tooth, so to me its a bit off putting. I knew with the addition of the heat element that at least if it was sweet, it would be followed with a really nice kick of spicy.

Upon first opening the bag, I was greeted with a very very potent roundhouse kick to the face BBQ flavor. It actually made me take a step back because I think I huffed these things way too hard. I thought the flavor coating looked evenly distributed and plentiful, and I knew I was in for a flavor packed treat.


I braced myself for BBQ impact but was pleasantly surprised that the BBQ flavor was subtle and an excellent mix with the heat. I was immediately hooked. I personally really like spicy food, and these do not disappoint. If you are a fan of the Doritos Roulette, I would give these a go as the heat is very reminiscent of the spiciest version of chip in that bag. The smokiness of the BBQ flavoring with the slightly sweet tones, mixed with the heat made for a match made in heaven. As someone that does not enjoy BBQ chips, I could definitely see these becoming a staple in my overcrowded junk food pantry.  Plus with as much flavor coating on this chip, you’ll get the Cheeto effect on your fingertips, its the gift that keeps on giving.

Found at Walmart

May 31, 2017

Lay’s – Limited Time Flavor – BLT

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These Lay’s potato chips are not new by any means – Lay’s has decided to rerelease two limited edition flavors, BLT and Lime and Sea Salt (not to be confused with Limon flavor) and since I was never able to try the BLT version before, I thought I would snag a bag of these before they fade away again. I wasn’t really sure how I would feel about a chip pretending to taste like a sandwich – though this is not the first time that Lay’s has created a sandwich flavored chip (the Ruben – which I thought was really good). I am not a fan of the actual sandwich BLT, except for the B part – because I don’t really care for lettuce, and I think the texture of tomatoes are gross, but what could go wrong with these chips?


I guess the real question is how do your really bring out the flavor of lettuce – Upon first taste of these chips, all I could really taste was the overpowering flavor of bacon. The chips flavor are not strong, but bacon is really the only flavor that I could pick up. I turned to the internet to see what they say and it looks like most people only really find the bacon flavor, though some people swear that it tastes just like the sandwich. I picked these up while visiting my Mom and asked her for her opinion, and she really liked them. She agreed that they didn’t taste too much like an actual BLT, but she liked the flavor. I also really think that if they had originally chosen to make these on their ridged chip, that it would have held the flavoring a little better. I am not a fan of the classic Lay’s potato chip, because to me they are just way too greasy.


Over all I think these chips are middle of the road. I did not dislike them, or like them very much. I think the bacon flavor was way more prevalent than the tomato or lettuce. I could see myself possibly eating a small bag of these with a sandwich, but only if they were the last ones left in one of those 20 packs.

Found at Safeway

May 22, 2017

Angie’s – Spooky Candy Corn Flavored Kettle Corn

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year… no it’s not Christmas, it’s Halloween time! Halloween is my most favorite holiday of the entire year. This is the time of the year that I find things in stores that I consider every day decor not to mention candy galore! I love candy corn, but rarely eat it outside of this time of the year. I am also somewhat of a candy corn purist, forget that harvest corn mix and chocolate corn and all of the other corns, give me the plain jane, ole stand by candy corn. Kettle corn on the other hand is not something that I can only enjoy in the fall. There is a local outdoor auction/farmers market that has a vendor that makes kettle corn that is absolutely divine. The thought of combining a sweet and salty treat with delicious candy corn sounds like a match made in heaven.


I really like the design of the bag, but the popcorn pictured on the outside of the bag is slightly misleading. I cracked open the bag and was immediately greeted with the sweet smell of candy corn. I’m not going to lie, this stuff smells SO good. But like I mentioned before, it didn’t really look like the picture on the outside of the bag. I was expecting fluffy kernels of corn drizzled in flavor but was met with a bag of bits and pieces. Despite the bag of popcorn crumbles, I pressed on and took a bite. WOW – I knew nothing good was going to come of this. The popcorn was slightly sweet and slightly salty with a nice overtone of sweetness from the drizzle. I don’t know if I would describe the flavor of the drizzle as candy corn, but more like cake frosting, but either way, it was really good.


I also noticed that my bag of popcorn seemed to be a little overcooked, borderline burnt. This would please my Mom greatly as she loves her popcorn charred, but I don’t think that it impacted the taste much. The flavoring on the popcorn is really melty and my bag was one giant popcorn ball when I opened it. I adopted this fancy fingertip bag holding technique that I used while enjoying this snack to keep the body heat from my hands from melting it even more.


Texture : 3/5 – The popcorn in this bag was slightly  stale tasting. I think this was partially from the coating on the popcorn that made it moist. Also, HUSK city. So many popcorn kernel husks.

Smell : 5/5 – This smells so good. I would wear this as a perfume if I could.

Appearance : 2/5 – This is solely based on the appearance on the outside of the package vs the appearance of the actual popcorn itself. My bag lacked the fluffy kernels that were pictured on the outside.

Taste : 4/5 – This treat is delicious. If it was available year round at Target, I would most likely buy it semi-regularly. The combination of sweet and salty popcorn and the sweet drizzle makes for a great snack when you can’t figure out which to choose. My only complains are that my popcorn was a little overcooked and the drizzle was REALLY melty. Licking your hand isn’t exactly the most cute thing to do in the world while eating a bag of popcorn, but its just that good.

October 7, 2013