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Friday, October 21, 2016

Simply Balanced Organic Sweet Chile Rolled Tortilla Chips

I never thought of or heard of this idea before: rolling tortilla chips into little straw-like tubes. Kinda cool. Novel, at least.

Like traditional tortilla chips, these are crunchy and corn-based and great for dipping in salsa or queso, although with less surface area to scoop up the condiments, they tend not to pick up as much as regular flat chips. But they'd make an excellent addition to any southwestern-style soup or even chili.

They're not super flavorful on their own, but the heat level is nice. There's definitely a bit of spiciness that's not particularly well-advertised on the packaging. Good thing I like my tortilla chips with a little bit of a kick.

They are Simply Balanced, so they're somewhat more "healthy" than regular old Archer Farms selections. I'm not really sure if you can call them "health food" per se, considering the calories, fat, and sodium present, but one must concede they are organic, and they do pack a considerable amount of fiber per serving. Plus, I swear that spicy foods raise my metabolism and help me burn fat naturally. I'm not sure if there's much hard science to back that up, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

These resealable bags are uber-convenient and helpful. Even as quickly as the wife and I can go through a bag of tortilla chips, it's always a bummer when that last little bit at the bottom of the bag has turned stale. At $2.99 a bag, they're a pretty decent value, too.

I give these chips 7 out of 10 stars.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Archer Farms Apple Cinnamon Trail Mix

Even after hearing a number of rave reviews of this trail mix on social media, I was still skeptical. Not that it didn't sound good. I guess I just tend to have my own opinions about food products, and when I hear nothing but unanimous praise about a particular item, I don't want to get my hopes up too high since they've been let down so many times in the past. I mean, let's face it: being slightly let down by the taste of any fall-themed food product is very much a first-world problem, and not one that I'm proud about even having to mention.

However, when a random, unassuming trail mix from the shelves of the local Target store not only lives up to the buzz about it, but exceeds my expectations in almost every way, I have to admit, it puts a little extra spring in my step and a twinkle in my eye. That's what this stuff did. It's friggin' awesome.

Little perfectly-seasoned and sweetened dried apple squares? Check. Cinnamon pretzel balls? Check. Sweet craisin things? Check. And I mean, not only are these things there, but they're all on point. Delicious. They blend together so well, it's hard to describe. Last but not least, "apple pie-flavored pecans." Before I actually had any of the trail mix, I chuckled at that. As if there's such a thing as apple-pie flavored pecans. Ridiculous, right? Wrong. I could seriously see someone trying these in a blind taste test and going, "Yum! It's a pecan...that tastes just pie!"

@Jesse_NER added #TastesLikeFall to his tweet about this trail mix. And that about sums it up.

I have this foggy memory of being in a candle shop with my parents at autumn-time long ago. There was a lovely blend of potpourri wafting through the air. It smelled so sweet, cinnamony, and crisp. I thought to myself, "Someday, there will be a food that tastes just like this potpourri smells. But not in a gross way. In a really yummy way." Well, friends, that day has finally arrived. $2.99 for a bag. Not bad for a quality trail mix.

I give this snack 9 out of 10 stars.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Archer Farms Caramel Apple Caramel Corn

Ah, it's just about harvest season here in the northeast. Temperatures drop, colorful leaves paint the countryside with red and yellow accents, corn mazes and haunted houses open up—and last but not least, store shelves abound with pumpkin and apple-flavored treats.

And this is our first fall-themed product of the season as far as Target goes. So far, so good.

Just in the past twelve months, I've seen cranberry caramel corn, mango coconut caramel corn, and recently, pumpkin spice caramel corn. Not all from Archer Farms, of course, but still, it's an interesting trend—and one that I can appreciate.

I was never into caramel corn before, but now, it's fun to try all these different versions of it, infused with various fruits and flavors. And this new caramel apple flavor is absolutely on par with all the other fascinating varieties of caramel corn I've tried.

We already know that apple and caramel go hand in hand, in the manner of a traditional caramel apple. It's also a no-brainer that caramel and popcorn can work together. So by the transitive property of deliciousness, all three ingredients must necessarily blend well together, too.

The apple flavor is definitely there, but not overpowering. If anything, I'd want more apple taste in this product. A few bites contained surprisingly large slices of actual dried apple. Those particular bites were adequately applicious, but in general, I could always go for more.

The product is sticky and sugary, similar to traditional caramel corn. Likewise, the dried apple pieces are pretty much what you'd expect—and again, some dried apple pieces are huge, while most of the others are small. In general, that's my biggest complaint. More of the larger apple slices could really improve this product.

As it is, it's still worth a purchase, particularly if you love the taste of caramel apples. Thumbs up from me.

I give this snack 8 out of 10 stars.

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