Thursday, August 25, 2011
TBG (Quickly) Eats: NEW Fiery Fusion Doritos and Cheetos
I've been frequenting convenience stores long enough to remember when my dad used to send me to the mom-and-pop shop two blocks from our apartment. With the two dollars he gave me; I'd buy him a pack of Kool cigarettes and in exchange for my efforts, he'd let me buy myself a Chunky Bar. And, I still came home with change.*
* -- It goes without saying that these were the early 1980s. The store owner knew my dad (and, obviously, me), the packs of cigarettes were in FRONT of the counter and nobody thought there was anything wrong with an eight-year-old boy buying smokes for his old man.
Despite my liquor store legacy, I was surprised to learn it's been 20 years since Frito-Lay first introduced their "Flamin' Hot" flavor of snack chips to unsuspecting tongues everywhere.** The company has since released a wide array of their ubiquitous, delicious junk food spiced with varying degrees of heat. I can't claim to have tried them all, but off the top of my head, I recall loving the Tapatio Doritos and loathing the "2nd Degree Burns" Fiery Buffalo Doritos.
** -- If our friends at mexgrocer.com are to be believed.
Earlier this month, Frito-Lay released two new entries onto convenience store snack racks. Their "Fiery Fusion" Doritos and Cheetos were -- according to the official press release -- "...inspired by the increasingly popular trend of pairing complex global flavors." The calories may be empty, kids, but the pretentiousness is plentiful!
Both the Doritos and Cheetos are flavored with "...cheese, herbs and spices with cayenne pepper, vinegar and paprika" and Frito-Lay promises "a unique flavor with slow-burning heat".
Given a choice between their regular flavors, I'll always choose Doritos over Cheetos. So, I was somewhat surprised to discover the Fiery Fusion flavor elements worked better with the Cheetos. Perhaps it was the denser texture, but the spices -- particularly the cayenne pepper -- seemed to penetrate each gnarled piece, blending with the corn components to create sweet notes up front and a kick of spice at the end.
The Doritos version reminded me of the Last Call Jalapeño Popper-flavored Doritos, but got the spice balance all wrong. Those Last Call Doritos weren't overly peppery and carried a fantastic creamy mouthfeel that tied the different tastes together. The Fiery Fusion Doritos are all cayenne and lack the Cheetos' complexity -- relative to the standards of 99-cent snack foods. This is still a decent little chip and I'd absolutely buy another bag, but it misses the descriptive marketing target that Cheetos hits.
Grade (Fiery Fusion Cheetos): 4 (out of 5)
Grade (Fiery Fusion Doritos): 3 (out of 5)