Sunday, May 27, 2012

Ruffles Ultimate: Kickin' Jalapeño Ranch Chips & Smokehouse Bacon Dip

I have to admit, I do enjoy being one of the first to try the newest stuff, especially when it comes to food items.  I also tend to be adventurous when it comes to wanting to try all the "wild" snack flavors that come out--most of which don't end up staying on the shelf long, but hey, I was one of the ones that got to taste them.  So, that means that when I saw these new "Ultimate" Ruffles chips in the store the other day, there was no question that they were going to take a ride in my shopping cart.  I settled on the Kickin' Jalapeño Ranch flavor to try first, and I noticed that on the bag it suggested that they should be paired with the Ruffles Ultimate Smokehouse Bacon Dip, so into my cart that went as well.  I had to try the combo, right?

Ruffles Ultimate Kickin' Jalapeño Ranch Potato Chips
Made By:  Frito-Lay, Inc.
160 calories per 1 oz. serving (pictured)

The first thing I notice about the chips once I open the bag is that the shape is a little different than regular Ruffles chips; instead of the tiny "ridges" that everyone is familiar with, the shape and texture is very similar to Wavy Lay's chips, except the "waves" are a bit more angular.  I guess the sharp corners make them more edgy and cool or something.  The flavor is really quite nice!  The trend in novelty chip flavors recently had been to just make things extra spicy and call them "extreme," so I was kind of expecting something along those lines.  Instead, these are just mildly to moderately spicy, and the main flavor note is a fairly good rendition of the 'green' flavor of a jalapeño pepper.  I am pleasantly surprised!  :)

Ruffles Ultimate Smokehouse Bacon Dip
Made By:  Frito-Lay, Inc.
70 calories per 2 tbsp. serving

I'm just going to get straight to the verdict and say that the dip is another pleasant surprise!  In this case, the "Ultimate" factor seems to be the thickness of the dip; it is really rather thick, and loaded down with a generous amount of real bacon bits.  The sauce is very creamy, and seems to be somewhere between a sour cream and an alfredo-style flavor.  I actually had to warm up to it, but I think that's because of what I didn't taste more than what I did--my 'usual' is a Hidden Valley Ranch dip mix in sour cream, and I think I was used to the tartness of the buttermilk and sour cream, which is really not present in this dip.  After I got used to the flavor, though, I started really liking it on most things I tried it with, especially raw veggies like snap peas and baby carrots.  Even my sweetie, who is not really a big dipper, told me she enjoyed this.  I really only bought this because the potato chip bag told me to, but out of the two products, this one is the one that stands out to me--I don't feel like I would have to have more of the chips once the bag is gone, but I've already purchased another jar of this dip for when the first one runs out.  :D

And finally, of course, I had to try the two of them together!  I would have to say the bag was right--they do pair together very well!  The flavors seem to combine to make something new; the creamy base of the dip seems to mute the jalapeño pepper flavor a bit, which lets the underlying ranch flavor of the chip come through more.  The result is a nice balance of creamy ranch and bacon, with the jalapeño becoming the undertone.  So I guess the bottom line is, if you do get the chips to try, go ahead and get the dip to go with them and you shouldn't regret it.  And if the chips don't sound like your kind of thing, the dip is really good anyway.

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