Lay's recently released three new flavors of potato chips: Chicken & Waffles, Sriracha and Cheesy Garlic Bread. The flavors were submitted by loyal Lay's customers, then created by the
stoner masterminds at Frito-Lays Culinary Innovation Center. Yeah, that exists. There's a twist however: Only ONE flavor will be kept around. It's up to customers to taste them all and vote on the company's Facebook page for their favorite. Well, dear reader, we did you a solid. Albertson's had a "Buy 2, Get 1 Free" deal on these bad boys, and we had nothing better to do this weekend than get high and eat snack food. So we tried all three flavors, and are here with a full report.
This flavor was submitted by Karen Weber-Mendham of Land O'Lakes, Wisconsin. I'm sorry Karen, but your ancestral cheeseheads are rolling in their graves right now. Weber-Mendham's inspiration was, "You're at your favorite Italian restaurant, you're starving & WAITING FOREVER. Finally, the breadsticks come & they save your life!" She has a point. Cheesy garlic bread is delicious, easy to make, and totally staves off hunger. Point taken. Then just make some fucking cheesy garlic bread, Karen! I love processed cheese in most forms: Kraft Singles, Velveeta, Cheez-Its, and the like, but the powdered cheese on these chips had a stale, chemical flavor and hardly any garlic flavor.
Chicken & Waffles
This flavor is a great attempt at capturing the winning salty/sweet combination of fried chicken & waffles. Submitted by Christina Abu-Judom of Phoenix, Arizona, there was a lot of hope for this flavor. The iconic soul food dish is full of flavor and texture. Unfortunately, neither was translated to the chips. Busting open the bag, I was overwhelmed by maple smell. And not like good maple syrup, but more like crappy Canadian maple candy. Then the taste. Again with the maple! Are these maple chips? I can appreciate the sweet/salty idea, but there is not nearly enough salt to balance out the sweet in these chips. There is a faint, weird herbal flavor. Is that chicken? It tastes like Shake & Bake chicken. Which means it tastes like a combination of Stovetop stuffing and Chicken In A Biscuit crackers. Any chickeny flavor is still severely muted by the maple flavor though, which I suppose is a good thing.
And now it gets serious. Chicken & waffles is iconic and beloved by many, but it's got NOTHING on Sriracha. Sriracha, aka rooster sauce (or cock sauce), has legions of fans, including Tyler Raineri of Lake Zurich, Illinois. Tyler (which is a classic stoner name. It's up there with Seth, Josh, Zach, ammiright?) was inspired by Grandma's homemade chips, which "were always accompanied with a dab of our favorite sriracha hot sauce. Nothing's better than old memories." Ahh, thanks Ty! Also, sorry, but you should go back to noshing on G-ma's chips, cuz Lay's really screwed the pooch on this one. There was so much hype and hope around these chips, but instead of Sriracha's signature vinegary, spicy depth, Sriracha-flavored Lay's just taste like spicy ketchup. They are far too tomatoey. There is a quick heat, but it fades too soon. There is an underlying sweetness that reminds me more of barbecue-flavored Lay's that it does of Sriracha. Which is too bad - Lay's had a real opportunity here. But instead of knocking it out of the park, like Doritos did with its Tapatio-flavored chips, they struck out.