Thursday, October 30, 2014

Trader Joe's Kettle Cooked Olive Oil Potato Chips

Trader Joe's packaging sometimes makes it hard to tell what the exact name of the product is. Here, for instance, I'm not sure if "olive oil" is part of the name or is just a helpful bit of information that happens to be plastered there between "kettle cooked" and "potato chips." I guess it doesn't matter a whole lot.

Nina and I were just writing about TJ's classic potato chips the other day, noting that we both preferred the kettle-cooked variety. Apparently TJ's, like the NSA, is monitoring our emails, because I popped into my local store soon thereafter, looking for some travel snacks, and spotted the above package on the shelf. Obviously they rushed it into production just for Nina and me.

OK, it's theoretically possible that they've been selling these chips for quite a while, and I just didn't notice. But that theory isn't nearly as much fun.

Anyway, I approached this bag optimistically. They smelled OK. Texture was nice--good, hearty crunch, yet not too thick. Decent flavor.

The big flaw, however, was a near total absence of salt. It does say "salt" right there on the front of the bag, but they sure didn't use much. Nina even asked me if I had accidentally picked up a low-sodium version, and I had to recheck the label to be sure, because it seemed like a distinct possibility. Nope. I've never in my life added my own salt to potato chips, but I'm going to be tempted to try it with these, because as they are, every chip I bite into leaves me dissatisfied and thinking, "These really need some salt."

Will I buy it again? 

After one tasting, I'm thinking no. But it's possible that digging a little deeper into the bag, and/or adding a little salt of my own, might change my mind.

EDIT: After writing the above, I did indeed apply the obvious remedy. I added some salt to the bag, then gently inverted it several times to distribute the salt without breaking the chips. It worked perfectly, and the result was some of the best potato chips I've ever had.

Nina's View

What can I say? The man is correct. Not enough salt.

I like everything else about these chips. Nice and potatoey. Crunchy. Not too oily. (Although what's with the olive oil? You can't heat it up enough for deep frying, what with its low smoke point and all. Must be used for flavoring? Or just hip healthy labeling cred?). These are good, but they are seriously insufficiently salted.

But I like them enough that I would consider adding my own salt.

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