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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Simply Balanced Gluten Free Blueberry Nut & Fruit Clusters

I think this is the first gluten-free product we've reviewed here on WGAAF—at least, it's the first product being marketed as a gluten-free snack option. I guess there's not a whole lot of wheat gluten in products like habanero salsa or sparkling grapefruit juice, but these clusters are snacks that might be assumed glutenful unless otherwise noted on the packaging.

So I guess this is the part of the blog post where I tell you that I'm "gluten-sensitive." It's true. Not gluten-intolerant personally, although I've known a few folks with celiac disease and Crohn's disease throughout the years, and I know vicariously that both of those conditions can be highly difficult, life-altering, and even debilitating. My sympathies if you or someone close to you suffers from either of those maladies.

"Gluten sensitive" means if I eat gluten, I feel it in my digestive system. It can be uncomfortable and make me sluggish, but it won't cause any major complications. My wife is the same way. We avoid gluten when it's practical to do so, but as you can see by the many pizza reviews on this blog, for example, we often throw caution to the wind and "bite the gluten bullet," so to speak.

All that to say that I'm no stranger to the world of gluten-free foods. Just check out our other blog. I know it can be extremely difficult to find gluten-free options, and I know that when they are there, they tend to come at a premium. Be prepared to shell out more cash if you want to go gluten-free.

This product is no different. Three dollars for three ounces of food is a bit steep. But Target knows that if you're gluten-free out of necessity, you'll go ahead and pay whatever you have to. Celiac sufferers gotta live, too. But are they worth it for the rest of us?

Their texture is surprisingly hard. The nuts are firm and somewhat crunchy, but there's also a tackiness to them that makes them just slightly difficult to chew. They're slightly sweet and there is, in fact, a detectable blueberry essence about them. They're also salty and nutty—in fact, I'd say the dominant flavor is that of almonds and cashews. They do fall apart and crumble if you attempt to bite them in half, although I was pretty pleased with the truly bite-sized squares—significantly smaller than other products labeled "bite-sized."

The flavor grew on me by the end of the bag. They're convenient and snackable...now if they can just find a way to bring the price down by a buck or so...

I give these clusters 7 out of 10 stars.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Archer Farms Fire-Roasted Pepper & Habanero Salsa

"Salsa is now the number one condiment in America."

"Do you know why?...Because people like to say SALSA. Excuse me, do you have any SALSA? We need more SALSA. Where is the SALSA? No SALSA?"

That zany Seinfeld. I loved that salsa scene back in the day, and likewise, I LOVE this salsa from Archer Farms. It says "extra hot" on the label, and it actually IS extra hot. It's not super duper painful spicy, but it's got by far the most kick of any salsa I've tried from Archer Farms, and possibly the most kick from any store brand salsa anywhere. Potent stuff.

And not only is it spicy, but it's flavorful, too. It tastes just like pepper and habanero. It's not just heat for the sake of heat. If a sauce is going to be hot, it's imperative that it flaunt intense flavor, not just searing pain. This product delivers.

The chunks of pepper aren't big, but this salsa has got some body to it, for sure. It goes best with tortilla chips, but it also paired well with those Parmesan Garlic Potato Chips that I bought at the same time. Parmesan cheese, garlic, habanero, and fire-roasted pepper...now that was a taste-tacular party in my mouth.
I still prefer it with tortilla chips since they allow the flavor of the salsa to dominate a little bit more. Also I prefer the texture of corn tortilla chips with thick and chunky salsas over that of kettle-cooked potato chips.

I do wish the jar were a little bigger, but a quality salsa like this is well worth $2.99. Low in calories, too.

This is my first salsa review in quite a while. Check out this link to read some Archer Farms brand salsa reviews from the archives.

I give this salsa 9 out of 10 stars.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Archer Farms Parmesan Garlic Potato Chips

It's been a while since we've taken a look at Archer Farms potato chips. Let's see...I think these Sweet Potato Chips might have been the last ones we reviewed, a full two years ago already. Can you believe May 2015 was two whole years ago?? Time flies.

And I'm very grateful that my long hiatus from AF chips was ended by such an excellent product. It's got the same reasonable $2.79 price tag and the same resealable ziplock-at-the-top bag as we've seen many times before.

But the flavor of these chips is great. Especially if you love parmesan cheese and garlic, which fortunately, I do.

The parmesan hits your tongue first. There's something warm and comforting about the flavor. It doesn't taste like a dusting of grated parmesan. It actually tastes like a big block of the cheese, like the one displayed on the artwork on the packaging, has been seamlessly interwoven into each chip. It's not an overwhelming flavor, but it's just right—enough to know you're not eating plain potato chips, but not so much to bowl you over.

Likewise, the garlic adds a nice earthy, herby essence to the finish that prompts one to grab another handful and keep munching. I'm sure it's enough to give you "garlic breath," so be ready with mints if you've got a hot date lined up for later.

The texture is quite firm and rigid. It's the typical "kettle chip" consistency. In all honesty, I prefer a "softer" chip, but the maximum crunch factor worked here just fine.

These chips are pretty addictive. My wife likes them a lot, too. It looks like we'll have this bag polished off by the end of the day, having just opened them yesterday. They're good enough that I'll definitely be visiting that chip aisle again soon to see what other delicious snacky morsels AF has been developing lately...

I give these chips 8 out of 10 stars.

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