I knew it was coming but little did I know that I would transport Lay’s across state lines for research. I have transported many things in my lifetime but chips? It was all for science and I was so excited when I was picking up a few things prior to our leaving Iowa at Target and spied the new flavors. I texted a picture to JeniEats and the rest is history. You see we already had planned to stop to see Jeni in St. Louis on our road trip to Alabama and it seemed like the perfect idea to do a taste test with the new flavors because after all we had done it before. Remember the Lay’s Taste Test from the North Iowa Bloggers last year?
Chris was probably very tired of hearing me say “Watch out for the chips!” “Don’t move that there because it will crush the chips!” “Be careful!”. But the chips made it to St. Louis in good shape and we were all excited.
We met Jeni at The Hilton Garden Inn near the airport and the staff was amazing. We had a delightful dinner with Jeni where we feasted on really good food. Jeni had a burger that looked amazing and Chris and I both had the Veggie Burger which was the perfect meal after a long day and a week of eating less than healthy.Our waiter was Dan (the Man). We were basically the only ones in the restaurant when we arrived so we had him all to ourselves for quite some time. He was a great waiter and we shared our request with him to have some extra plates so that we could do our scientific study. In the meantime quite a few of the other employees came over to check out our “display”.
We tried to do the taste testing as objectively as possible. We opened each bag and smelled it. I have to be honest. I did not love the smell of any of the chips. Last year I had no problem smelling the flavors but that was definitely not the case this year. 2 of the 4 smelled really strong and I don’t really have the words to describe them. It took all I could do to actually taste those two.
So on to the chips. I LOVE Reubens. Always have. The combination of rye bread, corned beef, thousand island dressing and sauerkraut has always been a favorite of mine. I can trace my love of the reuben back to my parents. There is something about that combination of flavors that tickles my palate.Until these chips. I know that creator Jeff Solensky had a great idea but these tasted a lot different than the reuben that I know and love. Seriously different. There were strong pickle tones, I think, and I think there were just too many flavors all meshed together. I don’t know. I do know I did not like them.
Then there was the bag of Greektown Gyro chips submitted by James Wagner.I can not even begin to explain how these smelled. Perhaps a mix between a pair of dirty sweaty gym socks and a stale wrestling ring. The smell was so off-putting that I had to really force myself to eat them. I had one chip and that was enough. I could not stomach going back for a second. The after taste lingered and I had to quickly wash it down with my water. I am a fan of any greek food and gyros are absolutely wonderful but not in a chip form. The only thing this chip had going for it, in my humble opinion, was the Kettle cooked texture. James Wagner had a great idea but the execution was not working for me.
Next up was the West Coast Truffle Fries chip. Truffle fries are apparently a thing these days in the culinary world and the use of truffle oil is quite common place because it is a less expensive alternative to using actual truffles. Truffles are a highly sought after as a delicacy and are a fungi which explains my feeling that I was eating dirt when I tasted them. I really thought these would be my favorite chips of the 4. They sounded exotic and enticing and lovely.
I was wrong.They looked pretty enough – all coated with lovely green flakey herbs and flavorings but once a chip entered my mouth I decided they were too exotic for my palate. I guess it is not refined enough. Angie Fu – hats off to you for your creativity but I could not like these at all.
The final contestant this year for Lay’s Do Us a Flavor were the Southern Biscuits and Gravy. Let me start this off by saying I am not a fan of biscuits and gravy. Chris loves this combo but I have never bought into it so I was a bit skeptical about this flavor. It smelled the best of the four bags of chips so I was game to give it a go.I could taste overtones of gravy and the chip was kind of “biscuity” to begin with so the combo seemed to work together to create a chip that was edible. It was not overly flavored that it was overpowering and maybe that is why I liked these the best of the 4 offerings. Creator Hailey Green had the right idea. Take a well loved regional food and turn it into a chip. I guess I may be southern after all, right?
I love that Lay’s does this every year. It is a great way to get consumers involved and free marketing at the same time since we all write and tweet about the crazy flavors that are created. I would say that none of the ones this year really were ones that I would seek out and buy. I think they should have gone with my son Micah’s suggestion of Green Curry. That would have been a fun flavor. This year the choices were just not up to the greatness that I expected. Perhaps it has run its course? I don’t know. What I do know is that I won’t be buying any more bags of these and the Hilton Garden Inn staff got to enjoy the leftovers.
If you want to play along and do a taste test of your own the voting begins today. Just click here to go to the Lay’s Do Us A Flavor page and cast your vote. It’s all for science, right?