The folks at Lay’s have schemed up a rather ingenious business plan. First, allow people all over the world to go absolutely nuts by submitting suggestions for some of the wackiest, most intriguing, or most disgusting potato chip flavors ever dreamed up. Then take the “best suggestions” and make them a reality. Finally, create a stir all over again when said “wacky flavors” hit the market, and every junk food-loving couch potato is scrambling to inhale a bag of their new chips for curiosity’s sake, if for nothing else. Whether or not Lay’s actually intends to keep any of their new flavors around for the long haul is irrelevant…they’re raking in buckets of cash currently, and they’re going to ride this wave as long as possible.
Admittedly, I’m as big a sucker as the next guy. I saw the huge Lay’s display in the center of my grocery store isle and thought to myself, “Those chips all sound terrible…I must try them all.” And try them all I did. So my fellow junkies…allow me to “do you a flavor” and inform you what to expect should you also feel the need to consume any of these new Lay’s potato chip flavors.
Southern Biscuits & Gravy – On initial sniff test (meaning I stuck my face in the bag and inhaled before actually eating them), I got a surprisingly true-to-form aroma of biscuits and gravy. It really did smell like a plate of classic southern breakfast. (It’s actually sort of frightening to think about the kind of Frankenstein flavors science is able to conjure up.) The chips did have a flavor that mostly reflected a creamy pepper gravy, without anything tasting of actual “biscuit”. The verdict: Not terrible, but not fantastic.
Greektown Gyro – The thought of artificial lamb flavoring dusted across my potato chips was actually fairly revolting, honestly. Yet I pressed on, plunging my face into the next bag and getting back an aroma that resembled those cheap 10-cent ramen noodles we all survived on in college. The artificial tzatziki flavor tasted more like sour milk that a fresh yogurt sauce. The chips were heavily seasoned and crispy, but there was almost no hint of rich, succulent lamb meat. Maybe it was better this way. The verdict: Bleh. Just go eat an actual gyro.
New York Reuben – There are so many complex and varied flavor profiles involved in an actual reuben sandwich — corned beef, swiss, sauerkraut, rye bread, Russian dressing — it seemed unlikely that this could accurately be replicated in a potato chip, but I gave them a fair shot. The whiff test brought a fairly prominent “pickle” scent and a hint of freshly baked rye. Their flavor was heavy on swiss cheese and just a hint of beef. The verdict: I did not vomit. But I won’t be purchasing them again.
West Coast Truffle Fries – I imagined these had the highest chance of being successful…and they were, for the most part. Fries are simply potato in another form, and it shouldn’t be a huge stretch to recreate these in chip form. Truffle flavoring, of course, has been whored out by restaurants across the country as a quick and easy way to “make it fancy”. You’re not getting actual truffle here…not even close, but these chips were actually decent. The truffle flavoring is not overpowering, but present enough to achieve their intended flavor. The verdict: I’d eat them again.