Huge Potato Chip Tasting
- Jim Leff
I'm about to do a major potato chip tasting, and would greatly appreciate any tips for really good brands (including small, local companies).
The following are the ones on my list which have previously been discussed on these boards. Please chime in with any other faves (I'm only looking for really good ones), including any info you have...company name, rough location, and which of their products you recommend (I'm including flavored chips in the tasting, though I'll also cover plain ones).
Eagle (esp. their dark and crunchy)
Gibbles (aka Nibble With Gibble's)
Goods in blue bag
Herr's ("old fashioned" lard and heinz ketchup)
Humpty Dumpty (bbq, bacon, dilly, clam, hot dog, salt & vinegar )
Krunchers (esp. by Guy's Foods) (plain, bbq, jalapeno)
Lay's Lime and Salt and Vinegar
Maine Coast (made by Humpty Dumpty)
Maui Chips (out of biz I think, replaced by frito lay)
Nibble With Gibble's
Tim's Cascade's (Portland, Oregon)
Utz (Ripples, Grandma Utz, Utz Kettle Classics and Old Bay Seasoning)
"We don't wash our potatoes..." etc
And last but not least...the blessed chips from La Palma Mexicatessen in SF
The only culinary contribution of Bowling Green, Ohio (unless you count the Heinz Ketchup plant) is Cain's Marcelle Potato Chips. These are not delicate chips, but are thick beasts. Cain's was making these ridged chips in the 1930s.
I haven't sampled one since the 1980s, but they were still wonderful then, and a great chip vehicle, since they are so sturdy.
Dave--I just got back from Perrysburg, Ohio, where my folks live, and there is ONE other culinary contribution from the Bowling Green area: This REALLY good bottled marinade/salad dressing called "Garlic Expressions." You can get it all over Northern Ohio--not sure about anywhere else. It's "all natural," no preservatives, and it's great for grilling steak or fish, but I, who loathe salads, wolf down mesclun that's been dribbled with the stuff.
Oh--I just looked at the bottle. They have a web site www.garlic-expressions.com and you can order 6 bottles for $24 bucks! Life is good.
"We called Lay's about getting the Lime flavor in the NYC area--they said it's doubtful they'll bring it back."
SOB! LIME, we hardly knew ye! Does this mean Lime was ALREADY in the NYC area and I missed it??? Say it ain't so. Or do you mean, the flavor, itself, has been abandoned by Lays? I've been hunting it down in NYC ever since my January introduction in Colorado -- and have NEVER seen it. Perhaps it was marketed on the East Coast, but not NYC...?? Until I hear further on this Lime 'situation,' I will be keeping my spirits up with Salt and Vinegar. Oh! Where can I contact Lay's? - couldn't find an email address on their website. Guess I could try snailmail. (Only in our 'Chowhound world,' here, can I be such a big baby about potato chips! LOL!)
re: Tom Steele
This is good bottled dressing, and do use it as a base for marinades as well as a salad dressing. However,like so many non-emulsified dressings I find the oil/vinegar ratio out of whack with way too much oil. When I shake, the dressing separates again before I can pour and results in very oily salads. With Garlic Expressions I pour out and dispose of most of the oil. This is fairly wasteful but I do love the remaining vinegar, garlic and goop mixture in the bottle with just a little bit of oil.
C'mon throw in Wises and Pringles! a few more calories won't hurt and it would be fun to see where they stack up.
I think you HAVE to include our old friend, Wise -- it's been such a staple for chips in this area. Been eating them since I was a kid and I'm now an aging baby boomer. Please don't leave out this wonderful old geezer of chips. (They have an tasty oil flavor unlike any other chip I've tasted.) Thanks, Jim. Looking forward to the results of your tasting!
Potato chips are one of the very few items where I'm as well-versed with the cooking as with the eating. And I'll tell you a secret that I don't think anyone else has ever noticed: if you deep fry your chips, they come out tasting more or less like Lays. If you pan fry them, they taste more or less like Wise.
It's not the oil flavor that's different with Wise; I don't know how it translates on their mega-scale of production, but it's a prep method thing.
Omigod. Wise is still cranking out those greasy yet somehow crispy chips? As a mere youth in NJ about 600 years ago, my buddies & I misspent years of our lives figuring out how to boost cases of nickel bags of chips from the nearby processing plant. One score would keep us happy for weeks (prob was days, really). As a hound-in-training, I prob got higher from those nickel bags then kids today get from their nickel bags.
Lay's has just introduced a line of "gourmet" chips here in San Francisco (I'm not sure whether this is a regional test or whether they have full national distribution.)
They're called Lay's Bistro Gourmet Potato Chips and they come in a variety of flavors:
Roasted Garlic & Herb
Applewood BBQ & Smoked Cheddar
Sharp Cheddar and Jalepeno