Tasting One for the Team: Lay’s Thirst Trap 2015

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As much as I love Tasting One for the Team – which is a whole heckuva lot, ICYDK – I have to admit I feel a little bamboozled with this one. Let me just lay (HA!) out the series of events that led up to this:

– Lay’s announces their 2015 “Do Us A Flavor” flavors.
– The internet freaks out.
– I freak out.
– I worry that I won’t be able to find all the flavors.
– I get jealous when I see someone else on social media who found one of the flavors.
– I happen to find all the flavors together in a grocery store.
– I freak out again.
– I buy all the flavors.
– I bring them in to work and show them off to everyone.
– The realization slowly dawns on me that I’ve been bamboozled.

Of course, this whole thing is an annual ploy to get silly ding-dongs like me to buy these once, try them and talk about how crazy they are, and then never buy them again. The end. That’s the whole point.

Friends…I admit it. I am part of the problem.

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I suppose I can be happy that our flavor-engineer friends over at Frito-Lay got to push the envelope a little. We still tasted them, and we still had fun doing it. And I still hope that you enjoy the results.

It’s just important to me that you know: I’m not the wide-eyed innocent that I was before we started this whole Lay’s thing.

The flavors are ostensibly a gastronomic trip around our great country, to be conducted from the comfort of your own home: Wavy West Coast Truffle Fries, Kettle Cooked Greektown Gyro, New York Reuben, and Southern Biscuits & Gravy.

I have so many questions! How did they settle on a coast, a neighborhood, a state, and a region, respectively? Why are Truffle Fries from the West Coast? Isn’t making “fries” a potato chip flavor sort of cheating? Where exactly is Greektown, USA located? Do they cook gyros in a kettle there?

Guess we’ll never know. Let the tasting begin!
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We went in groups this time to expedite everything: owners vs. staff. We had four flavors to get through and I’d be damned if I’d let it take one second longer than it needed to. We also alternated turns, so neither team would have to go first (or second) every time.

After extensive perusal of the names, ingredients, and images on the packaging, we decided we’d go in ascending order of anticipated grossness:

1. Truffle Fries – truffle is delicious and this seems the most innocuous.
2. Gyro – we anticipated a dilly tzatziki situation. Sounds okay by me!
3. New York Reuben – some kind of salt and vinegar deal with a meaty twist, perhaps?
4. Biscuits & Gravy – soooo many milk ingredients, and we’d been burned before.

 

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MONIQUE, MICHELLE, JESSIE

(Sniffing them) “It’s like herbs with a note of foot.”
“It smells herby and greasy.”

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They eat. They all look slightly confused.

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“I don’t get it. It tastes like…chip.”
“It just tastes like Sour Cream & Onion.”
“I don’t get truffle at all. …oh, wait…I’m kind of getting truffle.”
“I don’t think so.”
“It’s minimal truffle.”
“It tastes like oregano. It’s just very cheesy.”

Underwhelming so far. Our turn!

JEN, LIZ, JOAN

“It has that kind of blue cheese thing at the end.”
“It smells kind of…B.O.-y.”

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We taste them.

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“Yeah, sour cream and onion. It’s boring.”
“I’m getting a little truffle, but you have to work for it. You have to inhale like when you’re tasting wine or something.”
“These are like a salt delivery system. They’re tasty! They will get eaten.”

Huh. Well, so far, so “meh.” On to Greektown, USA!

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Just as a reminder, a traditional gyro, according to Wikipedia, is “a Greek dish made of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie, normally beefvealmuttonpork or chicken…usually served in a pita or sandwich, with tomatoonion, and tzatziki sauce.” Tzatziki is yogurt mixed with olive oil, garlic, cucumbers, and various seasonings (and it’s one of the most delicious things ever invented, IMHO). So, just keep that in mind.

JEN, LIZ, JOAN

We sniff them.

Whoa.

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“OOOOOOH NOOOO. It smells like a gyro! It smells lamb-y!”
“It smells like a dirty bodega.”

Not promising. We eat.

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[varying sounds of distress]

“It’s SOOOO lamb-y!”
“There’s cucumber, for sure. Or dill. It tastes like lamb.”
“It’s very weird at the end.”
“I can taste the tomatoes! It’s like that gum in Willy Wonka! There’s a weird layering effect going on, like I can taste one thing after the other.”
“It’s like eating a gyro, but awful! There’s this weird cognitive dissonance happening.”
“That is SO F***ING WEIRD.”

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Godspeed, ladies.

MONIQUE, MICHELLE, JESSIE

“It smells like an attic. Like a dusty-ass attic.”

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Money where your mouth is, y’all.

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“Oh my god. Oh no. Hmm-mm.”
“I taste the yogurt!”
“That’s terrible!” Michelle cannot stop laughing.
“So much lamb!”
“It’s very bizarre.”

Wow. All downhill from here, I guess? Reuben’s up next.

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A Reuben is corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing sandwich, served hot on rye. It’s one of Jen’s favorite sandwiches. When done well, of course. Three guesses as to how this is going to go.

MONIQUE, MICHELLE, JESSIE

Olfactory inspection first.

IMG_5934“The smell is really vinegar-y.”
“I kinda don’t mind the smell, actually.”

Reactions are very thoughtful upon eating.

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“It’s fine in the beginning…then it tastes like sauerkraut.”
“It really is layered. At the top there’s the cheesiness; there’s a little pastrami in the middle; the creaminess from the dressing is, like, all around; and at the bottom is the sauerkraut.”

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“Oh, I taste the pastrami now.”
“It’s really rye-y at the end.”
“It’s very strange, but it’s not as terrible as that lamb one.”

JEN, LIZ, JOAN

“It smells like a straight-up Reuben.”

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“Oooh. Oh. Oh, no no no. Up front, really gross…though the rye evens it out at the end.”
“I feel like eating another one, because the beginning disappeared so quickly.”
“The beginning tastes like actual barf. Like I ate a Reuben and barfed it up.”
“This is still way less offensive to me than the gyro because the gyro is, like, AGGRO.”

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“If I were high I would probably continue eating these.”
“It actually kind of nails a Reuben. It tastes like eating a Reuben.”

Hoo boy. Let’s get this over with, we’re all suffering from tastebud fatigue at this point. We begin to scheme about bringing handfuls home to foist on our friends, roommates, and loved ones. Let’s see how Biscuits & Gravy fares!

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JEN, LIZ, JOAN

“Oh no, it smells like breakfast sausage…it’s got that sage-y…sweet. Smell.”

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“Ooooh. It starts out okay…”
“It’s really sausagey. It’s mostly sausage.”
“Why did they pick three milky-flavored chips for this?”
“They should pepper it up way more.”

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“I don’t like the beginning notes. It’s very creamy. It’s gross.”
“I feel like I just ate a bite of sh***y biscuits and gravy. But I only ate a chip.”
“This is like Bob Evans. Like that diner sausage and that horrible gristly sausage meat.”

MONIQUE, MICHELLE, JESSIE

“It smells like stuffing. Like Stovetop stuffing.”IMG_6089

“Ohhhhh MAN.”
“I kinda like it. I actually kinda like it.” (Exsqueez me, Michelle?)
“Me too. I like it.” (NOT YOU TOO, MO)

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“It tastes like those little sausages that you get out of the freezer and microwave them. Like…freezer burn.” (Yes, Jessie. You’re correct.)
“I like it. I’m eating these.”
“I mean, they’re kind of disgusting, but…I like them. It tastes like nostalgia to me.”

VERDICTS

Truffle Fries: Zero BLERGHs. Disappointingly un-truffley, but pretty tasty. The waviness helps. Would eat again.

Gyro: Four BLERGHs. The aggressive gaminess was off-putting, but – weird as it was – you have to give them credit for the bizarre, clearly-sequenced, separate flavors of lamb, tomato, yogurt, etc.

Reuben: Three BLERGHs. Less offensive than the gyro, but again with the weird ingredient/flavor stages.

Biscuits & Gravy: I have to average this one out. Jen, Joan, Jessie and I hated it. Michelle and Mo liked it enough to have several, but got sick of them after three or four chips. 3 BLERGHs.

What do you think, guys? Have you tried these? Did we miss the mark? Let us know your strong opinions about these weird-ass chips! Until next time…

xoxo
Liz and the Liddabit crew

 

PAST TOFTT POSTS
Harvey Wallbanger Cake
Blue Doom: Part 1
Blue Doom: Part 2
Hot Fruit Jerky
Moar Chips!

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Just a reminder that we are gluttons for punishment and welcome submissions. Just stuff something gross into an old pillowcase, write the below address on it in glitter glue, and bring it into your friendly local post office for prompt delivery. Don’t forget to bring a jar full of dimes to pay the postage!

Liddabit Sweets
c/o: Liz Gutman
220 36th St.
Unit 113
Brooklyn, NY 11232

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