Friday, April 8, 2016

Ritz Salsa Verde Corn Chips Review

(The following article was my second entry sample for a snack food reviewer position on another website. While my Batman cereal review had gone over well enough to place me in the second round, this one obviously didn't fare quite as well since I didn't get the job.
In the interest of never letting an article go to waste and making a quick post during a rather busy week here's the second food review. Enjoy.)

It seems we're living in a renaissance of entertainment, not so much in quality as quantity. There are more television shows than at any point in history, not to mention movies, novels, comics, games, sports, songs, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, and livestreams. How we haven't grown permanently attached to our chairs is a mystery. It could be argued that there's no need for this much content. Lord knows I tap out at two shows about hunting Bigfoot. What can't be denied is that people need fuel to power through all these delightful distractions. Thankfully the modern snack aisle is equipped to meet this growing demand with an ever changing supply of salty treats. Case in point, new Ritz Salsa Verde Toasted Corn Chips.

Through the years, Ritz brand has made multiple attempts at branching out of the traditional cracker mold. Several of these efforts have been decent enough to stay on the market, though none offer enough pure enjoyment to emerge as top tier treats. Their rather lackluster track record held my enthusiasm in check when I approached a display of their latest offering. I was also wary because chips and crackers face a tough audience in my home, where not only must they satisfy my needs, but also the needs of the hungry mini hippos, otherwise known as corgis, who gather around at the sound of the first crunch.

Opening the bag provided quite the surprise as I was smacked by a powerful, almost body-odor-like scent. Such a scent usually accompanies chipotle flavored snacks which made it seem as if Ritz may have grossly miscalculated the intended flavor. Over time, however, this scent mellowed significantly, an improvement as this first whiff has as much in common with these chips as Prince does with sensible fashion.

After sampling the rather strong scent, I imagined an equally robust flavor. Imagine my confusion then as I met with a very light and balanced taste. There's a pop of spice accompanied by traces of vegetables, all held in just the right ratios. No single element ever outweighs the others. Likewise, the spice only provides a warming sensation, never a full burn. The overall effect is almost refreshing as it wakes up your senses without overstimulating them.

Soon enough the idea struck to try these with dips and spreads. Usually I avoid such combos as flavored chips tend to clash with or overpower other foods. Not the case here at all. Items as simple as traditional hummus all the way to bold horseradish cheddar combined wonderfully with the crisp salsa taste of each chip. Bonus points for them being sturdy enough to withstand a good dip or two.

Sadly, it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Despite the balanced flavor, these chips offer a halfhearted texture that starts crunchy before turning to grainy mush. This isn't a major issue at first, but over time it becomes akin to something not unlike wet insulation. This makes each chip slightly less enjoyable than the last. For someone watching their weight, consider this a bonus as it makes them significantly easier to put down.

Poor texture choices aside, these are still a solid snack. Sure, they aren't liable to change your lifelong eating habits, but they provide a nice alternative for those times you're craving something a little lighter. I'm positive they'll sustain you through half a weekend of true ghost stories, and satisfy roaring corgis.

Item: Ritz Salsa Verde Toasted Corn Chips
Purchased Price: $3.19
Size: 8oz bag
Purchased at: Meijer
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Crisp, balanced flavor. Pairs excellently with dips and spreads. The first chip bag in months that hasn't exploded or shredded apart completely upon opening.
Cons: Initial scent is totally misleading. Dull, mushy texture. Prince's work with the New Power Generation.

Nutrition Facts: Serving Size 1 oz. Servings per container about 8. Calories 140. Calories from fat 60. Total fat 6g. Saturated fat 0.5g. Trans fat 0g. Polyunsaturated fat 1.5g. Monounsaturated fat 3.5g. Cholesterol 0mg. Sodium 140mg. Potassium 60mg. Total carbohydrate 19g. Dietary fiber 1g. Sugars 2g. Protean 1g.

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