Cheetos Crunchy vs Crunchy Kurls

I never heard of Vinter’s before.  They’re from Chicago and I lived there for a year but never noticed them, although that was in my pre-snack evaluating days.  I checked out their website, and they have quite an extensive product list.  I don’t know how but they managed to make it to the Dollar Tree in Ashland, MA. 
This bag came in a variety pack, withcorn chips and cheese puffs but since “Kurls” is spelled with a K I decided to evaluate them.


Cheetos have a nice tanginess to the cheese flavoring.  They also have a very satisfying crunch.  It seems a little weird but I liked tasting the oil in each bite and although the oil had a presence, it didn’t make the crunch heacy and they’re not oily to the touch.


These had a little less cheese flavor to them.  Well, they had decent flavor but didn’t have that tanginess, which gives Cheetos a little something extra.  The crunch was also lacking – but, I will give them a break since these were at the dollar store and not bought anywhere near the Chicagoland area.

Wrap up:
I like to support the little guy and they may not have been given a fair shake this round, but Ethan and I both preferred the Cheetos version because of the strong flavor and delightful crunch and texture.

Cheetos or Vinter's?

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Cool Ranch vs Chillin’ Ranch

I both remember and forget when Cool Ranch Doritos came out.  Sometime when I was in Middle School, I  think (I forget), and I remember thinking Nacho Cheese is so perfectly awesome, why create another flavor?  But I have to say they won me over even though I’m not a big corn chip person.  I can’t stand Fritos or things like that but there was something about Nacho Cheese and then Cool Ranch that made corn chips so enjoyable.
Although honestly, the last time I had a Dorito of any kind was in September of ’08 so I’m still not a die-hard fan but I guess I’m due for some corn chip evaluation.

Doritos Cool Ranch:
They don’t look to exciting but the taste was totally what I remembered it being like from past experiences.
Flavorful with a slight tang that made it so “ranchy”.  It’s interesting that there really isn’t a creaminess quality but they still somehow capture the essence of “ranch” so well.  Ethan they make his “taste buds tingle.”   The only thing Ethan said was kind of a minus was that the corn chip itself didn’t taste as good as Nacho Cheese Doritos.  He couldn’t tell if it was the chip or that the ranch flavor overpowered the flavor of the chip.

Harvest Snacks Chillin’ Ranch:
These looked pretty much the same, even had the specks of red in the flavor powder that Doritos had but the taste was off.  We couldn’t put our finger on it but there was something missing and added that made it taste weird.  The only thing that came to mind was “chemically tasting”.  One thing I felt might have also made a difference was the chip tasted like it was too toasty even though it didn’t look burnt, it had that overpowering toastiness.

Wrap up:
It seemed that the Cool Ranch flavor over powered the chip while the Chillin’ Ranch toastiness of the chip kind monstrously harmonised with the chemical taste of the ranch flavoring.
We both agreed Doritos was a better chip because of the flavor being so good and because of that it wasn’t a big loss not to be able to taste the chip.  Ethan and I both had to eat a couple of Doritios to get the Chillin’ Ranch taste out of our mouths.

Cool Ranch or Chillin' Ranch?

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Ahoy! Cape Cod vs Nantucket

I remember when Cape Cod potato chips came out.  I had never had kettle cooked chips and thought they were too hard and tasteless. But I eventually grew to enjoy(?) them.   I’m not too familiar with Nantucket chips but they’re the same style chip and just a ferry ride away from the Cape, so it made sense to compare.

 Cape Cod:
These are light in color and, like all chips do, crumble when bitten into.  But the kettle cooking must do something to make these extra crunchy, which normally I like, but it’s a harsh crunch.  Not terrible, but not as comfortable as a Wise, Lays or Ruffles chip. We found these to be salted proportionately and to have a very mild potato taste, which makes these good for dip since they would let the flavor of the dip shine on it’s own.

These have even more of a hearty crunch, which I’d go so far as to describe as severe. Another difference we noticed was how oily they were.  It was almost like oil came out of the chip when bitten into.  We noticed there was really no detectable potato flavor, and these were definitely saltier as well.  Ethan described them as just “crunch and salt”.

Wrap up:
Interesting how two chips that are so similar in appearance definitely have their differences.  At the time we felt maybe Nantucket was too crunchy, too oily and too salty yet that bag is gone now and there are plenty of Cape Cod chips left.  Ethan said he might have liked the Nantucket more because of the saltiness.  I’m still not a huge fan of this style of chip in general, but I used to really like Cape Cod’s Dark Russet variety, but then they changed that to “Robust Russet” which weren’t as dark.  Anyway, I’m inclined to say Nantucket is the better of these two.

Cape Cod or Nantucket chips?

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Ruffles vs Ridgies

I wasn’t able to find any information on this, but I believe Ruffles was the first chip with ridges. I always have a soft spot in my heart for Ruffles, not because they taste better than other chips but I will never forget Halloween of 1985 when one house was giving out full-size bags of Ruffles AND they let us pick the flavor we wanted(I chose Sour Cream and Onion).  I still get a little shiver of excitement just thinking about what a treat that was.
Wise has a version of ridged chips called Ridgies which I’ve never had but felt they just scream “second rate”.

Ruffles have a nice, light texture and a good amount of salt. These were strong enough to confidently scoop up dip. They were kind of greasy but then again it IS a potato chip. One thing we noticed was they kind of didn’t taste like anything. If someone told me these were made of paper, I might believe it.
Ethan detected some mystery flavor that he could not put his finger on but he liked it. I tried to figure it out but just didn’t taste anything unusual so I’m not sure what it was.

Ridgies were more browned and had a good solid crunch. They were a little thicker in texture, Ethan felt they were a little too hard. These were less salty than Ruffles but had much more potato flavor, which to me made a huge difference. I found myself enjoying these more because of that but Ethan wasn’t too impressed.

Wrap up:
Split decision. Ethan preferred the texture, saltiness and “mystery flavor” of Ruffles but I was a fan of the strong potato flavor of Ridgies and liked their hearty texture.  I will agree with Jon that the evil eye logo is a little unsettling because it looks angry, although it does fit with the challenge “Dare to dip”. 

Ruffles or Ridgies?

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Sun Chips vs Snyder’s Sunflower Chips

We usually go through cycles of having Sun Chips in the house; two bags in the house for while and then none for months.  Like some relationships in life, sometimes you just need a break and then you find a re-kindled appreciation for it.  Chips, people, it’s all the same.
Ethan likes to say Sun Chips are “healthy” because the commercial says their factory runs on solar energy.  Wow, it’s like eating a piece of the sun!
Snyder’s is from PA but I had a hard time finding these in Boston (although we have plenty of their pretzels) and found them on the west coast.  So I’m not sure of their availability.

Sun Chips:
Ethan thought these had a nice density to them and described them as having an “honest crunch”.   He also thought these had a nice tang.  There is something “earthy” about these, which is good when you’re in the mood.  I like the crunch of these but the taste is just okay.  I thought it was kind of interesting that these had more fiber, but also more sugar and fat.

You can’t tell from the picture but these were a little smaller than Sun Chips.  Ethan thought they smelled weird and that the crunch was disappointing.  These lacked “substance” and were very airy like Muncho’s.  Ethan thought they had a bland, vague flavor.  I liked the subtleness of the flavor and the delicate texture.

Wrap up :
Different but the same.  These both fit the bill of crunchy, grainy chips with flavor powder on them. Ethan continues to prefer Sun Chips but I liked Snyder’s for the lighter texture and smaller size.  Although we preferred opposite chips, I don’t think we’d refuse the other if that’s all that was around because they’re still very similar.

Sun Chips or Snyder's Sunflower Chips?

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Funyuns vs Onyums

I’ve only had Funyuns in the past but there are actually quite a few versions of puffed “onion” rings (actually puffed corn) which I was totally unaware of before I started looking for them.  The most similar in name was Onyums so I picked those.  Tonight’s tasting was with my sister, Elaine and brother-in-law, Zac.  We dug into these and evaluated.

We felt the Funyuns had a very good, satisfying crunch and a nice oniony flavor.  I felt they were a bit too salty but Elaine liked that and thought they were seasoned just right.  Zac liked these too but felt they were some what “drying” – maybe because of the salt that they left him reaching for a drink.

The first thing we noticed was that these were much lighter in texture and much “airier”.   Because of the airiness it was kind of like biting into styrofoam. These did not taste like onion very much.  Zac felt they tasted a little like ranch.  Elaine said she had to eat another Funyun just to get the taste of the Onyum out of her mouth.

Wrap up:
Funyuns wins this round, we felt they were just more tasty and satisfying in general but Zac did say if he didn’t have Funyuns right there to compare to that he’d probably just eat the Onyums if there was nothing else around.  I did notice though that between the two that Funyuns have partially hydrogenated oil and Onyums don’t so for health reasons (although you’d probably avoid either of these if you’re watching your health) you might want to go for the Onyums.

Funyuns or Onyums?

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Friday’s Potato Skins vs Tato Skins

I used to love the original version of these chips that were Tato Skins but they were made by Keebler, I’m not sure when the transition was made to another company but I guess it has been some time now.
Tato Skins, which seem to only be sold at Dollar Tree, are like pringles in the way that they are made from dehydrated potato but have a browned side that resembles (or is supposed to resemble) the skin of a potato and therefore…better for you?  I used to think so when I was a kid anyway.

Tato Skins:
First I’d like to apologize for the terrible pictures, I’m not sure why all my close ups have the same quality of lost footage from a bigfoot expedition but you get the idea.  Tato Skins had an okay crunch, the sour cream & onion flavor was somewhat sweet and had good potato flavor.

Friday’s Potato Skins were very similar, we found the flavor powder was kind of tart and it overshadowed the potato flavor of the chip.  We also thought it had a slightly better crunch. 

Wrap up:
These chips are basically the same thing, we found out they are marketed by the same company but somehow the Tato Skins do taste more potatoey and if I had to pick a bag to have again I’d pick those, but I can’t guarantee I’d know the difference if someone put Friday’s in a bowl and told me they were Tato Skins.
Either way, I think they both are a nice change of pace from the everyday potato chip.

Friday's Potato Skins or Tato Skins

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Doritos vs Uncle Ray’s

I never noticed Uncle Ray products until I started this blog, but he likes to take a swing at popular products like Doritos so I thought we’d compare these two.  One of the first things I noticed was the similarities in package design with a red background and two chips.  Uncle Ray’s backside (wait, what?) tells a tale of some sort of life lesson.  On the back of this bag was Chapter 30, a story of how he still feels guilty about eating some peaches from a neighbor’s tree when he was 10, and gives advice on demonstrating self-control.  Anyway, both of these are of the Nacho Cheese variety.

Between 4 of us tasting these we agreed that Doritos have a nice roasted corn flavor and good crunch.  There was just enough flavor on the chip and we found there was a nice mild tang to to the cheese.

Uncle Ray’s:
We noticed these were paler than Doritos and had less flavor.  They also seemed very dry and overbaked.  Someone said these were like “toasted cardboard” and smelled like “dry catfood”, which after hearing, Ethan couldn’t get out of his head because it actually did.

Wrap up:
Some things are worth the extra 30¢ and Doritos is one of them.  The difference was clear.  I never thought of Doritos as a high-quality product but compared to Uncle Ray’s, they really are.  I will give Uncie Raysome credit though for having a more interesting bag by including one in a series of life lessons and giving you something to ponder while eating “toasted cardboard”.

Doritos or Uncle Ray's?

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Andy Capp’s vs Johnny Rapp’s

I never got pub fries, they just left me craving real fries but I like the idea making a fry-like snack.  Maybe for those people who want fries but just have a convenience store in walking distance of their house.
I don’t understand how Andy Capp, a wife-beating drunk, is associated with fries but some things you just don’t bother to question anymore.  What I would like to know is what Johnny Rapp’s deal is.  He doesn’t have a comic strip and doesn’t appear on the package.  We can’t see what he looks like, but going by the description “Totally Cool!” on the bag, I picture Johnny as more hip, easy going guy who doesn’t wail on his wife if his dinner is cold.

First up, Andy Capp’s Cheddar Fries:
For this tasting we had our friends Mark and Sarah help with the evaluation. Mark found the green (parsley?) specks visually pleasant. Sarah found them to not have a lot of cheddar flavor and were a little too salty.  We all agreed they had a nice crunch, similar to a Cheeto.

Johnny Rapp’s Cheddar & Bacon Fries:
We found these to be even crunchier than Andy Capp’s.  Mark noted they have a strong smokey smell.  We found the cheddar taste to be stronger and sharper.  The bacon flavor was just enough to compliment the cheddar.

Wrap up:
We were surprised to find ourselves enjoying the Johnny Rapp’s more than the Andy Capp’s.  Johnny’s has more flavor and a better crunch -but, Ethan said the flavor gets to be too much after a little while so if you’re looking for some short-term snacking with good flavor, Johnny is your man.  If you’re looking for something to munch on during a movie, then go with the Andy Capp’s.

Andy Capp's or Johnny Rapps?

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Pringles vs Stax

Pringles totally had the market cornered on stackable deydrated-potato chips until Lays came out with Stax in 2003.  I never had Stax, I never see people eating Stax but I guess I don’t see people walking around with canisters of Pringles either.
Also, I’d like to note that when I went to my local grocery store to get some Stax, I couldn’t find them and asked the guy stocking the shelves in the snack section where they were and he told me “Those are discontinued…you can’t get them anymore.”   I was heartbroken, the one time I wanted to eat these and they were discontinued??  We ended up finding these randomly at a KMart in New Hampshire and I thought we hit the Stax jackpot, but since them I have seen them in some other places so I’m not sure if they’re discontinued or that guy just didn’t know what he was talking about.

Okay, first you get the flavor….

Pringles have a light, crisp, delicate body, that provides a lovely crunch. The salt-to-chip ratio is good and they have almost a buttery flavor.
Ethan described them as being the “essence of a chip”.

Stacks were noticeably thicker and didn’t shatter as easily when bit as did the Pringles.  Ethan said these were more like a “real” chip.  The thickness is like 2, maybe 3 Pringles and the taste is somewhat bland.  The amount of salt did seem balanced for the chip though.

Wrap up:
While I can appreciate Lay’s effort, I think Pringles has the upper hand with it’s leaf-like thinness and I think because of that, it provides more satisfaction when crunching into one.  The Stax almost seemed too thick.  Instead of a nice crisp “crunch”,  Stax had a dull “crack” when biting into it, and no butter-like flavor.

Which is better, Pringles or Stax?

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