Snack Review: Spicy Chipotle Sun Chips
Wednesday was Cinco de Mayo (which Rob apparently doesn’t do), and deciding that I needed an Americanized snack fix to still appease my ‘ethnic’ curiosity, I decided to bust open a bag of Spicy Chipotle Sun Chips. I couldn’t remember what they tasted like though, mostly on account of images of Bobby Flay screaming at me every time I took a bite.
Chipotle is one of those flavors which was once really cool, new, and ultra-chic. Then Bobby Flay came around a ruined it for the world. Wait, scratch that. He eventually ruined it for the world. You see, it was great to learn what a chipotle pepper actually was way back in 2003, but the fact that Bobby still seems to get a kick out of explaining the taste complexion behind the smoked jalapeño a full seven years later never seems to mystify me.
Anyways, back to the chips. Ugh. Excuse me. Multigrain crisps. I have no idea if this flavor of Sun Chips is new, although I have to admit that they might as well be, since the SunChips.com website doesn’t list them as a flavor, and I can’t (and still haven’t) remember having seen them in stores. This being the case, I was thus drawn to the several 1.5 once bags I saw sitting around the dining hall the other day, and picked up enough to rectify my first ill-fated tasting attempt.
For the record, I liked Sun Chips before they were even cool. Way back in 2001 I was eating these things because “sustainability” and “multigrain” were even in the snack food lexicon, much less buzzwords for marketing. I’ve cooled on Sun Chips as I’ve grown into my roll as a Grade A Potato Chip Snob, but I still eat a bag or two (mostly of the Garden Salsa variety) every week. So yeah, I’m kinda an authority on the subject.
Speaking of the Garden Salsa flavor, the inevitable comparison beings up the problem with the Spicy Chipotle flavor. Garden Salsa Sun Chips represent the perfect multigrain to me. Complex and brimming with a mellow sweetness and just enough cheese and pepper flavor, they epitomize balance and give great body to the multigrain element of the chip. You’re not overwhelmed by a single flavor, and get notes of tomato, Parmesan, cheddar, wheat and corn in every single bite. But where the Garden Salsa chip works, the Spicy Chipotle fails.
Sure, these babies pack some heat. They certainly have the biggest kick in terms of Sun Chip flavors, and their bold(er) heat definitely lingers on the palate with each bite. That being said, the jalapeño flavor is intense and almost all-encompassing. The seasoning mixture itself indicates the presence of multiple cheese and sour cream flavors, but all I got was the heat from the jalapeño and a dull artificial smoke flavor that seemed divorced from the flavor of the pepper. Considering how strong the back heat was, I wasn’t able to enjoy the earthy sweetness that usually comes in the chewing stage of Sun Chip eating – often times my favorite flavor profile in the multifaceted chip.
Lays’ Spicy Chipotle Sun Chips are bold and packed with jalapeño flavor. If you’re a heat junkie who digs anything with a kick, then these are for you. If you like a little more complexion to your snacks, then I think that you’ll find these acceptable, but probably won’t be wowed into thinking they’re anything special. As for me, I felt as though I lived boldly enough for Cinco de Mayo this year, if for no other reason than the fact that I can’t seem to get Bobby Flay and his most beloved ingredient off my mind.
Pros: Celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a kick. Good spice flavor with respectable amount of heat. Hey, it actually tastes like a jalapeño! 30 % less fat, whatever that means.
Cons: Bobby Flay. Explaining what a Chiptotle pepper is. For the 7 bazillionth time in my life. Heat overwhelms other elements of chip and doesn’t seem to go with the multigrain blend. Could use balancing sweetness and a little more salt.
Price: .99 cents (1.5 oz bag)