Lay’s Do Us a Flavor: New York Reuben Chips Review

And then there was one. I hadn’t intended to eat an entire contest’s worth of chips in one week, but if there’s anything I’ve learned in life, it’s that anything is possible if you believe in yourself. These are the dreams worth realizing.

I saved the New York Reuben chips for two reasons: the snazzy red bag made me believe that these would be the best flavor and the Reuben chips looked like they’d taste a lot like barbecue chips, which are my absolute favorite form to consume potatoes in (if a chip can still rightly be called a potato after the ways it’s been processed). It seemed likely that they’d at least beat West Coast Truffle Fries and Greektown Gyro even if Southern Biscuits and Gravy went unseated for its understated yet compulsively snackable flavor.

To be honest, though, I was beginning to lose my faith in the contest’s integrity. There was something mysterious about the site’s state-by-state voting tracker, which seemed never to change. Plus it just seemed a little too convenient how regional people’s tastes seemed to be, like how all of the west coast seemed to be really into the West Coast Truffle Fries while New York Reuben was sweeping the east and Southern Biscuits and Gravy claimed the heart of the Midwest. Perhaps most personally insulting was the fact that my home, Oklahoma, was a “Greektown Gyro” state. Say what you will about our political leanings, but we know what does and doesn’t taste like meat. Getting to the truth wasn’t just about journalistic integrity and the pursuit of truth. I had to absolve Oklahomans from looking like morons.

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New York Reuben Chips Review

Smell: This was another pungent one that was difficult to place. Like with the Greektown Gyro chips, there was the suggestion of “meat,” but in a more vague, theoretical way than in actually giving something a meaty smell. My roommate nailed the scent down to “pickles,” which seemed true once I made the connection. Artificial flavor science is weird.

Look: Honestly, disappointing. The bag promised a rich adobe-colored snack and the reality was indistinguishable from a plain potato chip. I freely admit that my desire for a ruddier chip probably ties back to me just wanting these to be like barbecue chips, but still. The bag promised.

Taste: As if the smell weren’t enough of a hint, these chips came on way too strong. My roommate’s boyfriend described these as tasting of “old ham,” which, if you also add the artificial pickle flavor, gets pretty close to the truth. It’s basically like consuming the smell of your fridge’s meat and cheese drawer. This was another bag I couldn’t finish.

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Verdict: Greektown Gyro should have prepared me for the fact that a chip themed after a meat flavor was a bad bet (but then how does barbecue remain such a divine taste?!) Everything about these chips was less than promised. But we’ll learn to love again.

Contest Conclusion: The winners and losers are clear. Greektown Gyro and New York Reuben are abominations that don’t deserve to be called food and should be avoided at all cost. I revisited West Coast Truffle Fries because I still had half a bag left in my desk at work and found they weren’t as nauseating as I’d remembered, though I could still only eat a few chips before feeling unable to continue. They would actually be great if you love potato chips but feel like you eat too many of them and want to control your portions more diligently. But the clear winner of this contest is Southern Biscuits and Gravy. They’re light and flavorful and worth keeping around. So stand on the right side of history and vote for the true winners to keep this country great.

Post and Photos by Bailey James.

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