Chips Ahoy!
January 25, 2003 1:49 PM   Subscribe

Everybody Loves Potato Chips! But not everyone is a fan of your nationally available tripe; for the true connoisseur, regional "estate" chips are where it's at. From the delicious, slightly vinegary "Utz Carolina Style Barbecue", to the St. Louis hot sauce flavored "Old Vienna Red Hot Riplets"; from the straightforward pleasures of Tim's Cascade Style Cracked Peppercorn to the more exotic temptations of Route 11's Mama Zuma's Revenge, these "micro-fryeries" will never threaten Frito Lay for America's spare change, but for those lucky enough to travel the U.S., they are a welcome taste of local flavor. The truly tempted can scratch that itch via the miracle of e-commerce, but don't expect them to get to your house in time for the Superbowl. Any other favorites out there to keep an eye out for?
posted by jonson (37 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The web repository for all things chip related, is of course, Where else are you going to find a review of yummy Sour Cream and Clam Flavored chips.

I'm not a huge chip fan myself, but when I'm in the mood I go for something kettle cooked. They're not exactly a boutique bran, but I like Cape Codders
posted by jeremias at 2:17 PM on January 25, 2003

Terra Chips are my new favorites - yum! Potato or vegetable chips, and Belgian frites...the sweet potato and the red bliss are particularly good. I don't think these are regional, but I don't think they're owned by Exxon or Philip Morris yet, either - they seem to be still a specialty food producer. Locally, we have Cape Cod Chips which I like served with lots of Sam Adams Boston Ale.
posted by madamjujujive at 2:17 PM on January 25, 2003

I love potato chips as much as the next guy, but unfortunately many of the local indie brands are fried in animal fat... making them yummy(ier?) for some, and downright disgusting to others.
posted by maniactown at 2:29 PM on January 25, 2003

The CRUNCH and superb flavor of Tim's Cascade are unmatched in my experience...but I 've never tried the others listed here. I am especially fond of the kick in their Cajun flavored BBQ, YUM!!
posted by tdstone at 2:41 PM on January 25, 2003

Kettle Chips: habaƱero chili with ginger

These are the most sophisticated chips I've ever had. They have amazing layers of spice and flavor. I can't open a bag without finishing it. It's kind of sad, really.
posted by UrbanFigaro at 2:53 PM on January 25, 2003

maniactown .. I eat (organic) animal fats not for the taste but for the health benefits. I avoid eating things like cotton (oil) which my ancestors never ate 100 years ago much less as a monkey. I also avoid Russett potatoes since they are full of chemicals and usually GM foods to make the potato super large and uniform size/shape for the processing machines. Even the farmers of Russett potatoes won't eat them.
posted by stbalbach at 3:07 PM on January 25, 2003

Our local store began carrying Tim's about six months ago and I have to say I still prefer the Cape Cod's. Every time I open a bag of those things I lose control and am compelled to pick out and eat all of the little defective folded chippys. Before I know it, I've inhaled half a bag.

And that's why I now buy crappy Lay's.
posted by crumbly at 3:27 PM on January 25, 2003

These are so addictive.
posted by anathema at 3:38 PM on January 25, 2003

Looks like Humpty Dumpty no longer makes these. Believe it or not, they were really good.
posted by anathema at 3:48 PM on January 25, 2003

I love Poore Brothers's Habanero chips.
posted by gyc at 3:49 PM on January 25, 2003

I'm eating both these and these (purchased at the Food World across the street from my laundromat) as we speak. These are really fucking good too, as are these. And for imports, these are frapping amazing.

The general rule of thumb with chips is the rather odd principle that the cheaper the chips, the better the taste. The gourmet healthy shit usually sucks, whereas ghetto chips are almost always tasty.

I'm washing all this down with Kiwi-Strawberry flavor St. Ides Special Brew Malt Liquor the perfect accompaniment for unwanted sobriety. It also has the added bonus of, when the bubbles rise, making it look like your drinking dish soap.

Plus Mrs. Jonmc is making some Jambalaya with jalapeno smoked sausage as we speak. Welcome to the gastrointestinal olympics, folks.
posted by jonmc at 4:00 PM on January 25, 2003

Kiwi-Strawberry flavor St. Ides Special Brew Malt Liquor

As an avid drinker of Malt Liquor (Haffenreffer's Private Reserve being a chose favorite), that sounds absolutely disgusting.
posted by SweetJesus at 4:54 PM on January 25, 2003

President's Choice Rosemary Olive Oil Potato Chips are amazing, like crunchy greek-style roasted potatos. Only in Canada you say? Pity.
posted by mb01 at 4:56 PM on January 25, 2003

I grew up in the Mid-Atlantic area (Baltimore, exactly), so I was fortunate enough to get to eat some pretty awesome chips. Our neighbor to the north, Pennsylvania, was (and is) basically the mother of all snack foods.

It's hard to beat UTZ plain chips, but there is one chip that does: Herr's with Old Bay seasoning. Or, as we called them, Crab Chips. I buy a 8 or 10 bags of them every time I go home.

I always stay away from the national brands when I travel, but in Chicago I have to eat them becasue the local brands are awful. I guess there's no place like home...
posted by footballrabi at 5:18 PM on January 25, 2003

I can't find a link, but Mister Bee Potato Chips from Parkersburg, WV are the Best. Potato. Chips. Ever.
posted by Vidiot at 5:42 PM on January 25, 2003

footballrabi- Crab Chip will always mean Utz's. I'm headed up to Baltimore on Thursday and will be bringing home a few (or ten) bags full.
posted by amandaudoff at 5:47 PM on January 25, 2003

mb01 -- the rosemary olive oil chips transcend chip. Diped in sour cream it has amazing powers. It's better tasteing than gourmet hor'derves served in restaurants. Lox on top and it is a complete meal.
posted by stbalbach at 5:48 PM on January 25, 2003

amandaudoff- The UTZ Crab Chip is great, but they don't use Old Bay. My guess is that they have created their own blend, or maybe they use the competition-- Wye River seasoning. Nothing to shake a stick at, though. Eat a chip for me.
posted by footballrabi at 6:00 PM on January 25, 2003

Don't like chips. Greasy mouth. Greasy lips. Greasy fingers. Greasy spots on pants. Too salty. Makes crumbs. Makes me thirsty. Cuts gums. Shared bag = shared germs. Bad dog treats - dogs chomp too fast - shatter chips - more than one dog and they fight for shards, and grind them into carpet. Too expensive. No nutrition - bad for Third World. Packaging doesn't degrade - frustrated crabs die fighting foil reflections. They get soggy in pond water when tossed to disappointed ducks. They blow away during windy picnics. Don't like chips.
posted by Opus Dark at 6:12 PM on January 25, 2003

I grew up in NH, and I loved those Humpty Dumpty Sour Cream and Clam chips. However, my favorite is these
posted by Miss Beth at 6:44 PM on January 25, 2003

Troyer Farms in northwest PA. A very small brand but the freshest, most natural tasting bag of chips that I have ever smashed through in one sitting. The salami flavored chips when I were a kid was an experience!
posted by mischief at 7:01 PM on January 25, 2003

Esquire has a top ten list of what they're calling "estate" chips. Kitchen Cooked, number two on their list, were a stable of our pantry growing up and a fixture at every school, family, and neighborhood function I remember from childhood. And, hey! Their site is sponsored by the best little hockey team in the Midwest.
posted by uhnyuftz at 7:10 PM on January 25, 2003

A few years ago I wrote an Ode to Grandma Utz potato chips. Man, those are good.

I used to love Utz Sour Cream n' Onion (or any kind of Sour Cream and Onion chips) when I was 7, but then I pigged out on too many bags and now the sour cream and onion smell is nauseating.
posted by puffin at 7:16 PM on January 25, 2003

I'm with you Opus Dark.

I'm a thirsty kind of person to begin with so chips just make things worse (I even look at sodium content of food when I buy it at the store!).

Oh, and the gums thing - argh!

But tortilla chips with salsa, I can do that in small doses.

Now I need a snack!
posted by evening at 7:23 PM on January 25, 2003

My favorites by far are Martin's Kettle Cook'd.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:15 PM on January 25, 2003

mb01, you will be pleased to know, I hope, that I can get President's Choice brand stuff at a local supermarket here in Michigan. I may have to check out that chip..
posted by Apoch at 9:33 PM on January 25, 2003

And one I haven't seen mentioned here yet: Tom's Honey Mustard. A little on the greasy side, but perfect for those six hour drives across Texas.

Tom's and a Dr. Pepper. Mmmmmnh. There's some road trip food.
posted by amandaudoff at 9:39 PM on January 25, 2003

Original Potato Chips, no GM, still available.
posted by sheauga at 9:56 PM on January 25, 2003

mb01, Apoch: President's Choice is actually a not-uncommon "generic plus" brand in the US. We used to get it in the Harris Teeter (Hairless Peter) in sunny North Carolina.

And for my own addition, Lance "Chip Thunder" in Buffalo Wing And Blue Cheese.

Are they good? No.

Are they icky? May be.

And their name reminds me unpleasantly of how Outback Steakhouse would sell "Chocolate Thunder From Down Under." I mean... damn.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:10 PM on January 25, 2003

I love chips......mmmmmmmmm......

But the acrylamides will kill you. Best to save nasty oil for biodiesel applications.
posted by troutfishing at 11:56 PM on January 25, 2003

If you live in the Detroit are, (or anywhere else they are available) you should try Uncle Ray's chips. There are the standard flavors, but other great ones, like Ketchup, Garlic, and Coney Dog Mustard and Onion - my personal fav.
posted by CoolHandPuke at 5:38 AM on January 26, 2003

"frustrated crabs die fighting foil reflections"

If I ever start up a band, that will be the name of our first album.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:35 AM on January 26, 2003

Art's and Mary's are the best, especially jalapeno ones. They also make a great herb-garlic parmesean, and even a good no-salt chip, for those who get too thirsty.
posted by donnagirl at 11:40 AM on January 26, 2003

if you like it hot, these are hot. really hot.
posted by xmattxfx at 7:26 AM on January 27, 2003

Tim's Parmesan and Garlic are largely responsible for the weight I gained my first year in the Pacific Northwest. Mmmmm.
posted by kindall at 10:58 AM on January 27, 2003

my favorite brand of all time is miss vickie's. their jalapeno chips are rad, but original flavour is the best, imo.

and just curious, i hear that ketchup chips in the states are very hard to find? can anyone verify that? i get this a lot and have always found it interesting, the differences on the other side of the border. just like how your taco bell's don't serve fries. weeeird.
posted by anekona at 3:13 PM on January 27, 2003

We became so addicted to these (second down on the 2nd chips page) amazing Sour Cream & Sweet Chili Chips while travelling in Australia that we have them shipped to us. They're similar to the Kettle Habanero and Ginger chips mentioned above. Stateside, though, I think Grandpa's Choice Mesquite Chips, available in Ohio (anywhere else?) rule.
posted by clukasik at 3:38 PM on January 27, 2003

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