PopChips Jalapeno Potato

"Of all the wonders of nature, a tree in summer is perhaps the most remarkable; with the possible exception of a moose singing "Embraceable You" in spats." -Woody Allen

Let's go right ahead and add hot peppers to that list. While I can't deny the irresistible appeal of George Gershwin, the sweet sultry smack of spices and heat knocks the song right off my personal list of wonders of nature. While perusing the fare of the Fancy Food Show, I came across the latest from PopChips. In its four years of business, I feel like a proud cousin, once removed, for I've watched their quirky snack go against its regal siblings, the Dorito, the Cheeto, the potato chip, with an angle unlike any other. It has imitated, it has trailblazed, and now, it is a teenager, and with its jalapeno potato flavor, is rebelling from the norm in a most delicious fashion.
Starting with the advertising, it's worth noting that the conspicuously innuendo-laden pins and coupons will do everything to draw me in. The PopChips folks gently pressed "nooner, anyone?" buttons into my hands and weighed down my arms with lanyards that proclaimed, "bite me!" It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The jalapeno potato flavor really pushes this new image, the edgier side of PopChips- ironically taking the "potato" descriptor as an afterthought while making sure you know what it tastes like. Its grassy green package mirrors its grassy scent. Someone developing this flavor did an excellent job of really coaxing some of the more organic scents from its slice. It reeks of garlic, of body odor, of a beat poetry class at Hampshire College, and it succeeds in its endeavors. We were reminded of flavors that translate less delicately to the untrained tongue. We'll go with cumin.
The chip's texture is a throwback to its hippie upbringings. Regarding the mouthfeel, I can't say that I'd necessarily pick these over a greasy bowl of chips, as the texture is crispy at first but gummy if it sticks in your teeth, but the flavor makes too much of a difference to worry about that. Perhaps the most outstanding aspect of this chip's flavor is its usage of dehydrated vegetables. Without tasting like the pathetic veggie packet in a ramen noodle bowl, the chips carry bold, tangy, fresh flavors that, with very little flavor dust and no artificial coloring, carry a lingering sweet heat to the tongue. These chips punch with a set of homemade brass knuckles. I was impressed with these, and chomped down the bag with a tear in my eye. Whether it was from the poignant moment of seeing a company I love blossom, or the delightful heat in these chips, I do not know.

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