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Ruffles Mozzarella ‘N Marinara Chips

Turning entire entrees into chips is a Frito-Lay tradition, and they either knock it out of the park or phone it in entirely. They can rock both biscuits and gravy and an entire damn gyro, or completely fail a damn enchilada.

When you start messing with my appetizers you better come proper, and mozzarella sticks are more distinctive than you might think. Ruffles is already starting out behind the eight ball here because one of the biggest appeals of mozz sticks is that hot, gooey cheese that stretches enchantingly as you bite into the stick. There’s obviously no way to replicate that textural experience here.

There’s also the issue of breading. It’s important to get a nicely flavored breading or your mozzarella stick experience will be diminished. I would be truly impressed if Ruffles could pull off this flavor, but I do think it’s possible.

And then, of course, there’s the marinara sauce, the dip that completes this appetizer dish. This part isn’t that hard to accomplish – just use the sauce you’re using on your pizza, and if your pizza doesn’t suck then you’re all set. If your pizza sucks then you already have some fundamental problems.

I don’t usually like to make predictions, but I feel like this is going to be one of those Frito-Lay food failures. I’m picturing ketchup chips with some oregano flavoring to simulate the breading and some of the marinara. As for the cheese, it’s hard to imagine mozzarella in chip form, so I’m going to say “faint background of generic cheese”. Let’s find out.

I was surprised at the more orange and less red hue of the chips, but not so by the presence of green flecks. Green flecks = oregano, except for when green flecks = green onion. Or maybe another thing. Frito-Lay loves green flecks, it’s just a fact.

Don’t you love being proven wrong? Thanks, Ruffles Mozzarella ‘N Marinara! Most of my predictions were wrong, but took some interesting directions.

At first, the dominant flavor here tastes exactly like the cheese flavor of Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream. Ruffles, no! That’s not right at all! I could detect the oregano, though, along with every potato chip’s best friends, onion and garlic powder.

I was ready to really rail into Ruffles about this cheddar issue, but after a few more chips, some more subtle flavors began to emerge. Mozzarella, is that you? You’re shy, it’s okay. Tomato, breading seasoning, I see you in the corner. Get on the dance floor!

This is my main complaint with these chips – your tongue has to shove that initial cheddar aside to get to the finer bits that make up the flavors of mozzarella sticks. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy that I wasn’t kicked in the mouth with tomato powder, but I don’t want to have to concentrate when I’m snacking on potato chips to figure out what I’m eating.

So where does this fall on the Frito-Lay spectrum of food-to-chip success? Pretty squarely in the middle. It doesn’t smack of zero effort, but it also doesn’t scream, “Holy shit, I’m suddenly at a TGI Friday’s getting endless apps! Also, why the fuck did you abandon me at a TGI Friday’s!”

If you just take away the name and enjoy the chips on their own merit, Ruffles Mozzarella ‘N Marinara are actually very snackable. The cheese immediately ropes you in, and the subtler flavors provide a backup that doesn’t really lend itself to the taste bud fatigue that stronger flavors like, say, bacon may provide.

So while it didn’t completely nail the flavor, Ruffles did come close. And if you judge your chips on a scale of “can I accidentally eat an entire bag while watching television”, these guys score pretty high.

Ruffles Mozzarella ‘N Marinara Chips

  • Score: 3.5 out of 5 TGI Friday’s
  • Price: $4.29
  • Size: 8.5 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Fry’s Foods
  • Nutritional Quirk: Contains actual mozzarella!

The post Ruffles Mozzarella ‘N Marinara Chips first appeared on Junk Food Betty.

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