Hi. My name is Tony and I'm recovering Potato Chip-A-Holic ("Hi Tony!"). I've weened myself off potato chips for the past year because I would spend entire sessions in front of the TV devouring a bag of greasy goodness whilst taking in an episode of Seinfeld or desperately trying beat the computer in Madden. I decided I did not want to become another statistic on Mrs. Obama's obesity report (Let's Move!), so I had to lay off (get it? Lay off? Lay's... ugh, moving on...). Now, if I have chips, they are the "healthy" variety, like flaxseed and vegtable chips, which is basically my methadone for this situation.
But with all rules, there are exceptions: New flavors. Oh baby, am I little you-know-what when it comes to new and exotic flavors, especailly when they are formulated somewhere in along the New Jersey Turnpike in one of those many chemical flavor labs that mask the smell of actual New Jersey at night. Lay's came out with new flavors that were "submitted by fans" and the best three were chosen. I honestly do not believe they did this, and with a finite amount of flavors to choose from, who gets the credit? First submission? Random drawing? I call BS, but mainly because my submission of General Tso's Chicken didn't even get a "thank you" from the people at Lay's. I think they just made the names and flavors up. Anyways, a facebook fan vote will determine what two flavors will be kicked to the curb while one stays in production until the public gets sick of it. Voting ends on May 5th. On to the flavors...
Three demographics are being hit with these flavors. Cheesy Garlic Bread is aimed at the Heartland Olive Garden-going crowd. A safe dependable flavor idea, and it has CHEESE! Middle America loves cheese, right? Sriracha seems to be a nod to the ever popular asian hot sauce, especially to the hipster foodie crowd. I can't wait til it is shunned because it may go mainstream if it wins. If you like spicy hot chips, you are the target demo. There's there's Chicken & Waffles. This is a nod to the southern style of C&W with waffles, maple syrup, and fried chicken. The "northern"/PA Dutch version is a waffle with shredded chicken and gravy. CLEARLY, this is nod to the South, or people who like sweets on normally savory food. Let's break it down.
Submitted by Karen Weber-Mendham. Standard looking chip with standard looking "cheese" on it. At first bite, the bready garlic taste hits you, then settles in with its cheesiness, then hits you again with garlic. Not a bad chip overall, but it doesn't standout amongst the Sour Cream and Cheddar varieties that are out there. It's a good chip, but nothing to write home about. Try again, "Karen".
Submitted by Tyler Rainieri. Sriracha gets its due on a potato chip. If you haven't tried sriracha, and like hot sauce, then do yourself a favor and buy a bottle right away. It's more potent than regular hot sauce and yet, has more flavor. The chip wasn't as hot as I thought it was going to be, and yet had a slight creamyness to it to differentiate itself from a standard "hot" chip. Those types of chips have a glowing red spice that is meant to only create an exit burn, if you know what I mean. This doesn't carry that type of heat. It is flavorful though.
Submitted by Christine Abu-Judom... ok, that sounds like someone just making up a name now, C'MON! As the picture suggests, this is sweet and savory rolled into one. It has an odd brown dust over all the chips, which is not even close to appealing at all. But when you bite into it, you clearly get the hit of pancake syrup and... still pancake syrup... and...and... ahhhhh is that chicken? Sausage? Waffle? I don't know. It's something though. It's like eating a McGriddle, basically. Pancake syrup dominates this chip and struggles to balance some savory in there, but to no avail. It's not sweet per se, but just too much pancake syrup.
I wanted to like this chip so much, and I'll even put it ahead of Cheesy Garlic Bread, but my winner for this tasting is Sriracha. It also works for Lay's lineup. They have a hot-not-so-hot chip and it's not going to disgust casual customers. The biggest roadblock will be saying (or mispronouncing badly) "Sriracha"
"Hey Gladys, what the heck is slir-ayk-a?"