Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Come take a ride on the Deep River! It's the five chip mega-review! Ninja Ginger, Zesty Jalapeno & more!

Whenever I'd sitting around with fellow food bloggers, talking shop, and the conversation steers itself towards chips, I never fail to bring up one of my favorites of all time. Aged Cheddar Horseradish kettle chips from Deep River Snacks. When I bring them up I'm often met with blank stares or some nonsense about how they don't like horseradish. Doesn't matter. I'm already wishing I had a bag of them. They are so damn good! The most intense horseradish chips around, with a great sharp cheddar added taste. So let me tell you, when I got a box in the mail from the folks at Deep River, I was pumped to see what they were rolling out as some new offerings. 

So let's jump right in. First up? Three flavors of HONCHOS! 

One thing you gotta know about Deep River Snacks is their tag line, "because we give a chip!" They really do! It shows when you take a look at the bag and see these chips are made with 99% Organic ingredients, are gluten free, and contain no GMOs. All good stuff. But let's face it, we're here to talk about taste! We've all had the nacho cheese tortilla chip. Doritos are the king of that realm and it seems every chip company at one point or another tries to crack the code of what makes them so damn delicious. Nacho Cheese Honchos will not knock Doritos from that throne, but they are a decent healthier option.

The chip definitely has a bit of a crunchier feel to it and the flavor itself it good, I just felt like they needed maybe twice as much flavor dust. Maybe three times. It definitely feels like they didn't try to mimic the Dorito flavor, they just made their own version of a classic. Similar, but different. 


The bag of Ranch Honchos has a picture of a hand holding up one of the chips. When you look at it, it appears to be blasted with flavor dust. So I had high hopes that perhaps Ranch Honchos wouldn't fall victim to the same issues as Nacho Cheese Honchos. Sadly, my friends, this is not the case.

Ranch Honchos taste good, but there's just not enough flavor on them. Look at those chips there. They look like someone licked all the flavor off of them and put them back in the bag. That's not how you want your chips to look, even when you are opting for the healthier option. Sadly, Ranch Honchos aren't anything special. 

Next up is the flavor I was dreading the most. Peach Habanero Honchos. I'm a wimp about hot stuff. Habanero is usually something I steer clear of. I like a little burn, but I don't like it to stick around. I prefer flavor over heat and so I was not pumped about trying these, but my duty is to the readers! 

I bet you're reading this thinking, "Man, Rich starts out by telling us that these guys have one of his favorite chips and then he just starts crapping all over Honchos." You're just expecting me to dislike these too, right? Well you are wrong as hell! Peach Habanero Honchos are fantastic. From the pictures they look like they suffer from not enough flavor, but I will tell you that is not the case. These burst with sweet peach flavor at first, and the quick blast of salt from the big chunks on the chips. But then a burn begins to build. Being a wimp about hot stuff, I have to say, after eating a bunch I had to take a break to let my mouth cool down. But then I went back for more. 

This is one example where the flavor is not diminished at all by the heat. You get a sweet and salty flavor blast followed by the heat. These chips take you on a flavor ride through so many different areas that your brain won't know what to do. But take that ride, and ride it to the very end. You won't regret it. If you're more of a wimp to spicy things than I am, you might want to steer clear. Peach Habanero Honchos don't mess around when it comes to big flavor and a steady burn! 

Next up, a bag of chips that won me over with it's name before I even took a bite, limited edition Ninja Ginger! 

Yes, it's true. Before I tasted one of these chips I was already imagining how I could spin this review to talk about ninjas. Why? Well, because, if you were like me, a guy growing up in the 80's and 90's ninjas have not only always been a part of your life, but they were always cool. You grew up pretending to be a ninja on the playground. Then, as you start to gobble up cartoons and movies, you realize that ninjas are usually the faceless bad guys that they feed to the hero in great numbers to help him kick serious ass. But they are STILL cool and mysterious and if you name a snack food after a silent assassin who can wield any number of martial arts weapons, I'll buy it every time.

These have a flavor EXPLOSION! Also...the movie Ninja Assassin rules.

But could any chip live up to a name that cool? Let me tell you, if someone came up to me and said, "hey, want to try these ginger flavored potato chips?" I would instantly say no. It's just not a flavor I would imagine wanting on a chip. But when presented as Ninja Ginger, I wanted to try them so bad I nearly tore the bag in half. The verdict? They are awesome.

Right off the bat they are on the winning side by being on the ever fantastic Deep River Kettle Cooked chips. Crunchy and thick, I'm not sure any chip does the kettle chip as good as Deep River. The Ginger flavor is wonderful. It's not overpowering, but there's a lot of great flavor going on here. They are sweet, but also there's a great mixture of spices going on. Then, after all that, your taste buds get assaulted with a slow burn. The more you eat, they more that burn intensifies.

The bottom line here is that this is one ninja you DO want to scuffle with. They are limited edition so who knows when they will stop making them! Scoop up a bag the next time you see them and you won't be sorry!

Last but not least... Zesty Jalapeno!

This is another time I was dreading a chip and found myself pleasantly surprised. I think I have to change my old song and dance about spicy things. These were excellent. Thick, salty kettle chips that have a great jalapeno pepper flavor before the heat ever hits. I was surprised to find that they only have four ingredients!  Potatoes, Sunflower oil, Jalapeno chili pepper and salt. That's it!

I'll warn you though, these are definitely spicy right out the gate. But these more than any of the others got hotter as you went. There were a few times I had to put the bag down and walk around sucking cold air in through my pursed lips. Exclaiming to whoever would listen that my mouth was on fire. With most chips that would be the end of it for me. But with these, once the burn calmed, I found myself going back for more. Compared to the greasiness of some chips, I felt like these were a whole different animal. You could taste that they aren't loaded with gross random chemicals.

Zesty Jalapeno aren't a flavor I thought I would be into in a million years, but I was. Great flavor, minimal ingredients, thick kettle cut chips, and a serious burn, make these chips all around fantastic.

Let's review:
Nacho Cheese Honchos: Add three times as much flavor dust and we'll talk. D
Ranch Honchos: These might need four times as much flavor dust. D
Peach Habanero Honchos: Flavorful and hot! Damn good! B+
Ninja Ginger: Bad ass name and an even more bad ass flavored chip? A
Zesty Jalapeno: Surprisingly delicious with a steady burn! A-

In closing, I'm excited I got to try these flavors from Deep River Snacks. These guys take some chances on crazy flavors and have been putting out great chips for a long time. Their Aged Cheddar Horseradish and Sweet Maui Onion are some of the best chips on the shelves. Give them a try!

Check out their website for more info!

Review by Rich Brunelle, who currently resides in Seattle, where he tries his damnedest to leave the city whenever humanly possible to escape into the wilderness.

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