Review (x3): Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread, Chicken & Waffles, Sriracha Potato Chips! Three Flavor Finalists! Vote to Save Your Fave! MEGA REVIEW!
Junk Food Nation, Happy Monday! Happy Presidents’ Day! There’s so much to talk about, isn’t there? George Washington’s birthday – there’s a good topic. How about the friggin’ meteor that exploded in Russia? That’s only extremely terrifying. The NBA All-Star Game! I couldn’t care less…I’m sorry, Junk Food Nation, I just CAN’T joke around schtick it up because omgomgomgomg they are finally here FINALLY HERE!!!!!!! I MUST EAT THESE NOW!!!!
The review you’ve ALL been waiting for – today’s junk food: Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread, Chicken & Waffles, Sriracha Potato Chips!!!!
Days ago, I Instagrammed this picture after Doctor Sis spotted these chips at a local Harris Teeter. Buy one get one free? It’s like Harris Teeter was trying to make its customers extremely happy or something.
For the uninitiated, here’s the gist: Frito_lay is currently having a contest. A few months back, they invited fans to submit flavor ideas for a brand new Lay’s potato chip. Lay’s potato chips are those really good, really thin, salty potato chip which we all know and love growing up. And Lay’s wanted a new flavor to add to their traditional sour cream and onion, ranch, BBQ, etc. It marks the first time Lay’s has allowed the public to select a new flavor profile for their flagship chip in ….well, EVER.
There were approximately 3.8 million submissions, and here are your three Flavor Finalists: Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread, Chicken & Waffles, Sriracha Potato Chips!
The most amazing thing about this contest: the winning flavor amongst these Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread, Chicken & Waffles, Sriracha Potato Chips will win $1 million dollars, OR “or one percent of the chip’s 2013 sales, whichever is more.” HOLY MOLY. Equity?????
But obviously the most important thing to ME, the Junk Food Guy, is HOW DO THESE TASTE!? LET’S DO IT!
First up: Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips!
Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips is a great contestant. As a big fan of cheese-based chips, or cheese-based anything, how can you go wrong here?
I mean, just look at this photo? Cheesy melted cheese bubbling on crusty crusty buttery garlic bread, covered in some herbs….mouth. Watering. And those slightly charred darker bubbles of cheese? STOP IT.
Karen Weber-Mendham of Land O’ Lakes, WI, is right…who DOESN’T like cheesy garlic bread? Especially at a nice Italian restaurant. When that basket arrives, I can crush five or six pieces before my meal even arrives.
Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips actually have butter as an ingredient. LOCK IT UP. Is this contest over before it even begins?
When I opened this bag of Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips, the first smell I got was, strangely, a sort of malty cheesy smell. Reminded me a LOT of the Cheddar Beer Kettle Chips I tried before (WHICH AHEM I LOVED). But the more I sniffed, the more I DEFINITELY got the smell of cheesy garlic bread! The malty smell became more of a bread-y buttery smell, and the cheesy aroma was unmistakable. Slightly garlicky, a tiny bit herbacious. For me, the smell of these chips was pretty much spot on.
Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips went into my mouth, and I was overjoyed. These tasted pretty much exactly like how I wanted them to taste. Cheese flavor? Check. Immediate, and wasn’t just a generic cheddar flavor – I could taste (I swear) the swiss, the parmesan, and the monterey jack. It was cheesy yet creamy and smooth. Very tasty.
The garlic? CHECK. VERY garlicky! Which was good – that cheesy garlic flavor was such a good savory combo, that it reminded me of the nice contrast between cheddar and sour cream in my favorite Lay’s chip ever. The garlic flavor gave the initial taste a bit of bite, too, and helped curl the cheese flavor at the end to a nice savory finish.
But the best part of these chips, honestly, was this overtone of buttery creaminess! This is what really helped bring the “garlic bread” flavor together – not just the cheese and the garlic, but that buttery flavor that fills your mouth when you bite into a crusty piece of restaurant garlic bread. Since there was no “bread” flavor added to this chip, it’s the butter plus the starchiness of the chip that ties the other two flavors together.
All in all, really solid. Tasted pretty spot on – these reminded me of cheesy garlic bread, through and through. Awesome start to this contest!
Next up: Lay’s Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips!
I’ve only had Chicken & Waffles twice: one time was in Detroit, where the chicken was on the side of the waffles, and it was more of a dessert/dinner thing. Then, in LA, I had the chicken ON TOP Of the waffles, where they dumped maple syrup over ALL of it, and it was meant to be eaten together. Which is correct, Nation?
I have to admit, as I stare at this image of the Chicken & Waffles, my stomach is growling. Why am I not eating waffles every day? That slight crustiness, toasted flavor, and then covered in maple syrup? Someone get me some breakfast please.
Lay’s Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips were suggested by Christina Abu-Judom of Phoenix, AZ, which to me, is odd – I’ve read SO Many origins of where Chicken and Waffles began, and none of them began in Arizona. Still, I guess it’s not THAT hard to transplant – it is, after all, a rather simple dish.
Lay’s Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips worry me, because I don’t see the presence of chicken FAT amongst the ingredients. Those who remember my review of the Lay’s Buffalo Wing STAX remember that I loved the addition of chicken fat to the chip, which I thought enhanced the flavor and made it taste more chicken-y. This is the same company, isn’t it? What gives, Frito-Lay??
OK, I’ll admit – these Lay’s Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips smelled sort of funky when I opened the bag. The sweet smell I got was immediate and had a strange chemical tone to it. The more I smelled, however, that chemical tone took on sort of a greasy oily smell…which maybe was the point? As someone imagining a piece of fried chicken with syrup on it, this smell reminded me of what that combo would taste like in my head. Did that make sense? I’m not sure. Basically, I could smell a very sweet maple-y aroma with some greasy chicken undertone. Which I realize doesn’t sound that appetizing, but…let’s reserve judgment.
Honestly, the first thing I thought when I ate these Lay’s Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips was “This tastes JUST like breakfast sausage and maple syrup, a combo I love and often intentionally create when I eat at a Diner.” And THAT is EXACTLY how it tastes….so if you like that combo, you will love this chip.
The first bite produces a sweet meaty flavor immediately – my mouth filled with a slight bouillon flavor while being complemented with brown sugar taste. There was a salty, almost soy-sauce-y flavor to the meaty chip, which reminded me so much of BBQ chicken, or like soy garlic chicken. The brown sugar sweetness, to me, tasted less like syrup/waffles, and more like a sweet glaze. Once my mind accommodated that interpretation, I was able to dig into these chips whole heartedly.
I thought these were actually pretty good, surpassing my expectation. The Impulsive Buy hated these, but I think they got a bad wrap. Plus, there is a good amount of rosemary flavor that helps push the overall taste back towards chicken, rather than any other meat.
Did this taste EXACTLY like chicken and waffles? I can’t say that it did…but did it taste good to me, and remind me of a nice rosemary chicken with some kind of sweet dipping sauce? YES. I’d definitely eat these again. It’s sort of like kettle corn – sweet and savory. And people LOVE kettle corn. I think you’d all like these.
And finally: Lay’s Sriracha Potato Chips!
The existence of Lay’s Sriracha Potato Chips illuminates one immutable fact: PEOPLE LOVE SRIRACHA. I LOVE SRIRACHA. WE ALL. LOVE. SRIRACHA. This Asian sauce is garlicky, sweet, spicy, and oh so good.
Sriracha is all OVER pop culture. Chefs use it, not only in Asian cooking, but in so many other areas too. The Oatmeal has dedicated a whole cartoon to it. One of the greatest tragedies is that the Sriracha Documentary never got made!!!!
Lay’s Sriracha Potato Chips were suggested by Tyler Raineri from Lake Zurich, IL. One thing that occurred to me: Tyler cannot be the ONLY one in 3.8 million entries to suggest sriracha, can he? Same goes for the other flavors. I wonder how he got so lucky! Damnit. Now I’m sort of bitter.
Lay’s Sriracha Potato Chips contain a whole lotta cheese flavors. Weird. Maybe they were added to round out the savoriness of the chip? Still, normal sriracha doesn’t contain milk, so……yeah.
This bag of Lay’s Sriracha Potato Chips smelled just like hot sauce. JUST LIKE HOT SAUCE. REALLY cool aroma! When I stuck my nose in, quite honestly, it smelled like Frank’s Red Hot, my favorite of all the sauces in the WORLD. I could smell the chilis and the definite sweet tanginess that a hot sauce typically has. Definitely a tiny bit of garlic to it as well. I think smell like sriracha more, they could’ve added more garlic – but I’m not complaining. These smelled heavenly. Time to taste!
Before I tasted these chips, I got my bottle of sriracha, tasted a bit, and then washed my mouth out. I popped some of these Lay’s Sriracha Potato Chips into my mouth and…FLAVOR EXPLOSION. VERY close representation, albeit less spicy.
The first taste I got was the tomatoey tang of the typical sriracha. Like real sriracha, the tomatey flavor carried through and provided a little bit of sweetness to the overall flavor. Then the garlicky flavor kicked in, aided in part by some of the cheese ingredients we saw. It rounded out the savory flavor of the chip, and brought the tang back into manageable range. But then the CHILIS kicked in, and the flavor TOOK OFF. Nice and spicy, these had a slow burn that increased and tickled my tongue a bit after I swallowed. Sweet, spicy, garlicky – these were pretty spot on.
My friends at the Impulsive Buy thought these tasted more like Tabasco, and I respectfully disagree – I thought these tasted more like sriracha in that there wasn’t an EXTREME vinegar taste to this like Tabasco possesses. If I had one criticism of this chip, it’s that it could use even MORE garlic.
I had reviewed the sriracha popcorn by J&D’s before, and I liked it – tasted like sriracha if the spice was entirely muted. But in these chips, the spice was NOT muted. Not as spicy as actual sriracha, these chips are VERY CLOSE to what I felt like potato chips covered in sriracha would taste like. A+!
So, all three were pretty damn good! I must commend the flavor scientists behind these – these were some incredible chips. ALL THREE. Complex and tasty.
So, which was my favorite? DRUMROLL PLEASE…….. my vote will go to……
Here’s why: I think, actually, as far as eatability, I could see myself eating those Cheesy Garlic Bread chips multiple times with no problem. Even seeking them out. But, the honest truth is there already IS a chip I love with that similar flavor profile: Lay’s or Ruffles Cheddar Sour Cream Chips. So while I really enjoyed the Cheesy Garlic Bread flavor, I’m not sure it’s unique enough to save.
The Chicken and Waffles Chips I thought were plenty unique and would have staying power along the same lines as a kettle-corn-style chip – a little sweet, a little savory. Like I said, sort of tasted like a nice sweet glazed roasted chicken. And while I did enjoy it, I’m not sure if I would ever crave it. It’s in the same vein as how I don’t really crave Kettle Corn, at all. I’ll have some if they’re around, and that’s it. I don’t seek it out. I wouldn’t seek the Chicken and Waffles chips out, despite how much I liked them.
So that leaves Sriracha, and I think it’d be a great addition to the line. “Why?” you might ask, “There are so many hot chips on the market already of all different varieties!” That is true, but I haven’t tasted one as close to Sriracha as this one. Buffalo chips and spicy chips are some of my favorite, but these Sriracha chips are different. They come so close to tasting like the real thing. And as far as I know, there is no other chip line out there doing this. There are Tapatio chips. There are Frank’s Red Hot chips. There have been no Sriracha chips. IT’S TIME. And that’s the Junk Food Guy endorsement.
In sum, all three were amazing, and I am casting my vote for the red one. Vote to Save YOUR Fave! Vote on Facebook here, by texting “VOTE” to 24477 or through Twitter using the hashtags #SaveChickenWaffles, #SaveGarlicBread or #SaveSriracha. Happy snacking!
PURCHASED AT: Harris Teeter
COST: Buy one get one free ($4.29 for two bags, or $2.15-ish each. I saw them on sale at Giant Food, NOT on sale, for $4.29 full price. GOOD LORD. Pricey pricey.)
Junk Food Guy