Wednesday, March 7, 2012
TBG Eats: Doritos Dinamita Nacho Picoso & Chile Limón
Current Weight: 171.0 lbs.
Over the next 24 hours, you are going to be inundated with tweets, news and reviews for Taco Bell's soon-to-debut Doritos Locos Tacos. It is inevitable. It will be inescapable. And, since Doritos are my eight-year-old son's favorite snack chip; I'm already anticipating his participation in his first hype-filled fast food "event".* However, the kind-of-contrived union between Doritos and Taco Bell isn't the only faux Mexican roll out from our friends at Frito-Lay.
* -- MY first fast food "event" was in the fall of 1985. McDonald's introduced a "lettuce and tomato" hamburger -- the McDLT -- to their ubiquitous menu of off-flavored meat and famously overrated fries. The obese, pre-teen version of me had previously been a Quarter Pounder with Cheese loyalist. But, I fell the catchy ad campaign and allowed myself to stray. A fat kid, his allowance and McDonald's access that was five minutes away. Around the same time, the Pizzazz Pizza debuted at Taco Bell (10 minutes away!)
This past weekend, I discovered Doritos Dinamita chips during my weekly post-haircut junk food foraging at the gas station/convenience store adjacent to my barbershop.
I presume every review of this product must include a condescendingly-delivered translation of Dinamita, so here goes: for those of you wondering, Dinamita is "dynamite" in Spanish. And, I can only imagine how much funnier reruns of a certain 1970s sitcom would be with the addition of the SAP button.
Dinamitas are the familiar Doritos triangles rolled -- think taquitos -- into the shape of a common explosive. To the naked eye, they're more "firecracker" than "dynamite", but I'm guessing "Doritos Petardo" didn't test as well in the focus groups.
Doritos Dinamita comes in two flavors: Nacho Picoso and Chile Limón.
I really enjoyed the subtle heat and better balance of flavors of the Nacho Picoso. The front of the bag identifies jalapeño as the taste they were targeting and -- like the pepper -- the spices here are mild and not overpowering. There's the tiniest hint of cheesy-creaminess on the back end of each bite that reminded me of one of my favorite recent Doritos flavors.
Admittedly, it's a bit silly to throw around edible adjectives such as "nuanced" to describe salty empty calories, but compared to the Chile Limón flavor, Nacho Picoso is positively complex.
Visually, the brick-red color of the Chile Limón chips is actually appealing. Just on looks, these could stand alone under a "Firecracker" sub-brand, if Frito-Lay ever wanted to put someone in a decision-making capacity who just so happened to earn his marketing degree from San Diego State University.
The taste, unfortunately, was an overly-assertive mix of spice and citrus. The idea that Hispanic-inspired food -- or its junk food facsimiles -- has to be obnoxiously hot is an ill-formed archetype not far removed from the Frito Bandito. Similarly, lemon and lime are best used sparingly in any dish, save for pies of the key lime and lemon meringue persuasion.
It takes a few bites to get used to the texture of Doritos Dinamita. They're firm and a bit stiff on the teeth, initially. If the seasonings had been dialed back a bit on the Chile Limón flavor, the texture might've been my only nit to pick. Now, I can only hope that Chile Limón's reputation doesn't sully the good name of Nacho Picoso.
Grade (Nacho Picoso): 4 (out of 5)
Grade (Chile Limón): 1 (out of 5)