When I think of the phrase “all-star,” I think of the classic hit by Smashmouth.
Then, after I’ve listened to that a few dozen times, I think of the actual meaning of “all-star”: it’s usually used to refer to an athlete who’s being recognized for an outstanding performance. You know, like Michael Jordan, or Tom Brady. Those guys are all-stars.
The good people at Lay’s appear to have a different understanding of the phrase. To Lay’s, “all-star” means “something nobody liked enough to make it worth keeping it around.” You know, like Cookie Dough Oreos or Ultimate Butter Ritz. Those guys are all-stars too, apparently.
Lay’s new Flavor All-Stars aren’t actually “new.” They’re really losing flavors from past competitions that have been resurrected because Lay’s
thinks knows that they can just shove potato chips in our faces, and we’ll just shove them in our mouths. The All-Stars are: Chicken & Waffles, Truffle Fries, Smoked Gouda & Chive, and Sriracha. I’m stunned that Lay’s didn’t bring back their Cappuccino flavor from a couple of years ago, because that was such a winner. I still haven’t forgiven you, Chad Scott.
First up: Chicken & Waffles. I’d eat chicken and waffles for every meal if I could, but my diet is already shaky at best as it is. Regardless, I’m coming in with high hopes for this flavor. Immediately, I tasted brown sugar, but that quickly disappeared and gave way to a strong meaty flavor. The chicken taste in these chips is strong, and it builds to a mix of onion and some garlic. If the sweet flavor had lasted through the chip, I maybe could have imagined the maple syrup and chicken combination…but it would have been a stretch.
butter Fries are next. Did you know: a truffle isn’t just candy that comes in a fancy box–apparently it’s a tasty delicacy that can sell for over $3,000 per pound. That means if I were made of truffles, I’d be worth…a lot of money. Good news: these chips nailed the oily, buttery taste of real truffle fries. There’s a noticeable creamy flavor here, too–the ingredients list several flavors of cheese (cheddar, romano, and parmesan), and it’s evident in the taste. There’s a slight earthy flavor from the black truffle at the end of each chip, but it’s not particularly strong. This struck me as a decent chip that probably benefitted from its wavy texture.
I grew up eating Cheddar & Sour Cream and Sour Cream & Onion potato chips, so Smoked Gouda & Chive just seems fancy to me. It says a lot about me that I consider a potato chip “fancy,” but let’s leave that for another day. Wow–the smoked gouda flavor is strong right from the start. This isn’t your typical “cheesy” chip. It’s pungent and slightly nutty, like actual gouda cheese. The smokiness is there too, thanks to a hint of liquid smoke. Unfortunately, all of the smoked gouda overpowers the chive, which is a letdown. Still, if you like gouda, you’ll enjoy these chips.
Last but not least: Sriracha. Sriracha is a flavor that’s often attempted but rarely perfected. When I reviewed Sriracha Triscuits, I noted that they captured the complex flavor of sriracha sauce but totally whiffed on the heat factor. These Lay’s Sriracha chips flip that completely. They lead with a strong taste of tomato, and then a wave of heat sets in. But other than a slight hint of onion, there are barely any spices to be found. These chips just don’t have the chili/garlic combination that makes sriracha sauce so immediately recognizable.
Having tried all four of the Flavor All-Stars, I can see why they weren’t kept on shelves during their first run. If I had to choose, Smoked Gouda & Chive seemed to best achieve its flavor, but none of these really blew me away. And if I had to choose between any of these and Smashmouth’s Greatest Hits album, gimme ol’ chinstrap up there every time.
|Item:||Lay’s Flavor All-Stars Chips|
|Price and Place of Purchase:||$2.50 each at Walmart|
|Nutrition Facts (serving size-1 oz):||Chicken & Waffles: 160 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 135 milligrams of sodium, 320 milligrams of potassium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 2 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein.
Truffle Fries: 160 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 150 milligrams of sodium, 330 milligrams of potassium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 1 gram of sugar, 2 grams of protein.
Smoked Gouda & Chive: 160 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 135 milligrams of sodium, 330 milligrams of potassium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 1 gram of sugar, 2 grams of protein.
Sriracha: 150 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 135 milligrams of sodium, 320 milligrams of potassium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 1 gram of sugar, 2 grams of protein.
|In a Nutshell:||Smoked Gouda & Chive is good, if you like gouda. Other flavors are average. Smashmouth > Cappuccino potato chips.|
|Overall Score:||Chicken & Waffles: 6 out of 10
Truffle Fries: 7 out of 10
Smoked Gouda & Chive: 7.5 out of 10
Sriracha: 6.5 out of 10
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