Snack Review: Route 11 Sweet Potato Chips
Growing up the son of a Nurse Practioner, I can firmly remember my mother’s insistence that our family eat dinner each night with the three major nutritional components of most American meals; meat, vegetable, and starch. While I never had much trouble with the meat (or vegetables for that matter) I always struggled with whatever starchy object was usually on the table that night. No, it’s not because I was some 13 year old on Atkins, but rather because as the culinary prodigy I was and was bound to become, the prospect of plain white rice or boiled potatoes just didn’t tickle my fancy. And no, not even when I would lather them up in Old Bay and BBQ sauce. The one exception was sweet potatoes. So sweet, so delicious, so simple; the humble tubor was a starchy food that even a kid with HFCS raging through his veins could love. And love them to this day I still do, so you can only imagine how stoked I was to recently receive a sample of Route 11’s Sweet Potato Chips.
I have to admit that I had never had a pre-packaged sweet potato chip before. While I vaguely remember having a great sweet potato fry a time or two, I literally went into this snacking experience having no idea of what to expect. That being said, my first bite into the chip was kind of like The Office season finale. It was like ‘Wait, that’s it?’ Frankly it was kind of tasteless. Don’t get me wrong; it had amazing texture with its firm, restaurant-style-cut thickness and strong crunchy appeal, but I have taste buds for a reason you know, and they weren’t getting much from that first crunch. As is often the case however, a few seconds in the old chompers revealed a decidedly different story, as the subtle but full bodied natural sugars of the chips began to come out. A writer of my caliber should really be able to come up with more for a product this good, but the most exact way to put this was that it just tasted like a sweet potato. A really good and good for you, honest to God, no other flavor necessary sweet potato. Somehow this chip was even able to silence the additive and seasoning fiend in me, so much so that I didn’t even bother trying to throw some cinnamon, cloves, and brown sugar onto a chip for the sake of experimentation.
Route 11 chips can be tough to find, especially if you don’t live in the Mid-Atlantic and doubly especially if you don’t usually hit up those emasculating au natural food market type places (darn you, societal pressures!) You can however check a list of local distributors on the Route 11 website, as well purchase the chips directly from the company. If by chance you ever do run across these chips in the store I IMPLORE you to buy them. They seriously outrank any “specialty” chip I’ve ever had, and at 210 calories per 1.5 oz bag they are more than reasonable in the nutrition department. Frankly these are so good that if I wasn’t such an upstanding, law-abiding citizen I would probably tell you to just steal ’em, but then again that would probably make it tougher for sweet potato addicts like myself to hoard them.
- Pros: Natural sweet potato taste is classic, full bodied, and not overly sweet. Has a great “back sweetness” and earthy quality that comes from chewing. Outstanding texture with solid, “thick” crunch. Reminds you of dining in some upscale southern “Grill.” Comparatively healthy to other fried chips with only 7g fat and 120% of DV of Vitamin A per serving. The most natural thing I probably ate all week.
- Cons: May be a little too under-salted. While the natural flavor of the potato chip works well, one wonders how awesome these could be if enhanced by classic “fall” spices or brown sugar. The realization that I may have just exposed the greatest sweet potato product ever known to man is causing me to consider just telling you that these suck and to never waste your time buying them, in the process sending Route 11’s stock plummeting and giving me the opportunity to blow my college fund in a leveraged buyout of the company.
GrubGrade: 9.00/10 (Exceptional)
Price: 1.5oz bag retails for $0.99 cents
Nutrition Facts – Route 11 Sweet Potato Chips
Serving Size: 1 oz (10-12 chips)
Calories from Fat: 60
Saturated Fat: 1g
Total Carbohydrates: 19g
Dietary Fiber: 2g
For more Route 11 flavored chips, please visit their “Chip Gallery.”