Extreme Heat Crunchy Fries

I mostly associate TGI Friday’s with feeling 100 years old as I mistakenly call it TFI Friday and am momentarily dragged back through time to an age where Adidas tracksuit bottoms were the height of fashion and people did the Macarena unironically. Well no more! TGI Friday’s now brings us a new, EXTREME snack that comes foil wrapped in a typographers waking nightmare:

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At least seven fonts going on here and not even an attempt at a ‘fry-day’ pun?  Call me.

Snack: TGI Friday’s ‘Extreme Heat’ Crunchy Fries

             Bought at: Tesco (in the American import section)

             Price: £1.00

             Available from: Tesco

First Impression: those fries look really, really red. ‘Allura Red’ E129 to be exact, according to the ingredients list. A lot of American crisp manufacturers seem to put a ton of this red colour on their salty snacks. Does it help you locate them in the desert or scare bears away or something? Because it seems a tad unnecessary.

We are assured by the gaudy bag that this snack will be a one way ticket to Flavourville but our instinct is that it’s all talk. Only one way to know!

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#Gotta get down on Fryyyyy-daaaay#

Well, thankfully they aren’t nearly as red as advertised. We take a big whiff of the open bag expecting an intense hot and sweet aroma akin to Chilli Heatwave Doritos or Flamin’ Hot Monster Munch but… nope. Smells very faintly of fried corn snacks. Perhaps the EXTREME flavour is locked within. We go in for a taste, braced for flavour impact…

 

Lottie: ‘AAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHH THAT BLOODY CANES!’

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The pain caused by inserting a papercut finger into the bag of salty, chilli infused fried corn knives is certainly EXTREME.

 

The taste however is pretty mild as expected -predominantly salty, with a subtle suggestion of cheese, followed by a medium heat from the chilli. They are essentially Ready Salted Chipsticks with a sprinkle of chilli powder. The heat is somewhere between Chilli Heatwave Doritos and Sriracha Sauce. EXTREME in flavour they are not.

Disappointing after the hype and not really worth the inflated import price.

4/10

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Katsu Curry Sticky Rice Chips

M&S seem to be at the forefront of snacking innovation these days – a quick trip down the savoury-things-wot-come-in-bags aisle yielded several promising new treats. We have high hopes for our first foray – Katsu Curry Sticky Rice Chips. *exciteclaps*

“What is a sticky rice chip when it’s at home?!” I hear you cry! It’s a tortilla chip with some rice in it. Sorry.

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Look, they’re gluten free too! They do contain honey though – “Not suitable for children under 12 months” – so bad luck if you were hoping to feed these to your discerning toddler.

Snack: M&S Katsu Curry Sticky Rice Chips 150g

Bought at: M&S

Price: £1.50

Available from: M&S – in-store only, AFAIK

They are diamond-shaped (ooh) with red and green speckles of chilli and herbs. They even smell fancy!

“Like proper food.” – Lottie.

On first whiff you can tell that these have actual real spices in, and not just mysterious ‘flavourings’. They smell like a homemade curry, and, diving right in, they actually taste like one too! I’m not sure I’d immediately peg it as katsu curry, but it’s certainly a curry of some sort, and it’s tasty. There’s just the right amount of heat for me – warming but not overwhelming.

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High-quality speckles.

Texture-wise, they’re pretty much a standard tortilla chip, with perhaps a little more of a rice-y crispness. You actually can taste the rice a little, which obvs goes pretty well with the whole curry experience.

We polished these off pretty quickly (the packet claims to serve six which – lol), and rather enjoyed them, but they are definitely crisps to serve to guests you’d like to impress a little. Guests who you’re hoping think you are actual adults and not people who sit around discussing the finer points of crisps on a regular basis. Lottie declares them tasty but “not like super-salty junk chips, which is what I’m after to be honest”.

So the final verdict: very nice, but these are pretending-to-be-sophisticated crisps, not pushing-them-in-your-face-in-your-pyjamas crisps. We’re totally trying the other two flavours though.

7/10

Cheese ‘N’ Cracker Bizarre Bar

Back in 2002, my English teacher asked Form G to come up with an imaginative new product to shill to the masses. This product would then be marketed in an advert (in poster form naturally), to allow us to practise our persuasive language and, presumably, give the poor woman a break while we coloured in for a bit.

I thought long and hard about what the British people yearned for…. What did they want more than anything else in the world?…

The answer was cheese👊  flavoured👊 chocolate👊

My teacher did not agree:

‘Charlotte.’

‘Do you really think people would want to buy cheese flavoured chocolate? I am not sure you are taking this task at all seriously! Come up with something more sensible please.’

Well Miss Millington.

Do I have news for you:

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BAM.

 

 

The packaging tells us that this bar is handmade from Belgian chocolate alongside cheese oil and crackers. So we guess it will be similar to those awesome Ritz bars surrounded by Cadbury chocolate with a hint of fromage?

The wrapper also describes the intrepid travels of their head of product development Cedric Bizarre. Sounds like a cool guy. They even include his picture:

 

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Not what we were expecting tbh.

 

     Snack: The Chocolate Smith’s ‘Cheese ‘N’ Cracker Bizzare Bar’ 100g

     Bought at: Received at Christmas as part of a gift hamper. (Cheers Dan and Lisa!)

     Price: Free obvs, but usually  £3.95

     Available from: Wow Thank You

 

We open the chocolate up with enthusiasm and are immediately met with a pungent Grana Padano/feety smell. I can also detect the sweet, fragrant aroma of vindication but perhaps that is just me.

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The bar itself has a few air bubbles and bits where the crackers are poking out which makes it look all rustic and homemade. As for the taste, the chocolate is creamy and smooth as you might expect from Belgian chocolate… but the cheese flavour is very mild and not at all like the intense smell that assaulted us upon opening it.

Is the cheese flavour nice? Does it add anything?

It’s just sort of there to be honest. A weirdly separate flavour to the chocolate, despite them both happening at once. The closest thing I could describe the sensation as is eating a bag of mini cheddars out of your packed lunch and immediately going on to a penguin. The cheese flavour is still there, but nothing to do with the chocolate you are eating. An out of mouth experience if you like. Spooky.

The crackers are not crunchy and savoury as described but soft and chewy which is quite pleasant. They also are not at all salty which, if they were, could perhaps help to bring all the flavours together?

In conclusion – a fun snack and certainly a unique experience, but not any more delicious than a bog standard bar of Belgian chocolate.

6/10

Trocadero

Trocadero. We saw it in all the Swedish convenience stores by the Pepsi and Julmust but could not for the life of us work out what it was. We, of inquisitive snacking dispositions, decided to get one to find out once and for all.

Wikipedia informs us that this drink was invented in 1953 immediately after the ‘ban on colas in Sweden was lifted’ which….wot??

Megan: ‘This is a design that says 90’s leisure centre.’

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Megan is not wrong. This label suggests tropical aspirations that will remain largely unfulfilled like a Council leisure centre erecting a lonely palm in the attempt to create an ‘oasis zone’.

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#Drinks at club Trocadero are freeeeeeeeeeeee#

The ‘Troca.Troca.Troca.Troca…’ around the label is cute. Is it onomatopoeia of the chugging about to happen? LETS FIND OUT.

      Drink: Trocadero 50cl

      Bought At: 7-Eleven, Stockholm, Sweden

      Price: 22KR (about £2.00)

      Available from: Not in the UK 😦

 

The bottle opens with a gentle *pshht*. This beverage does not appear to be highly carbonated which seems to be a theme in all the Scandinavian soft drinks we have sampled thus far. It also smells like a REAL ORANGE, which is weird because orange juice does not smell like that.

The label appears to list the orange alongside apple and caffeine(??) as ingredients which, as far as I recall, I have never had in a drink together before. I await a fruity party in my mouth as I take the first swig…..

and it does not arrive. The flavour is mild and… hard to define.

Megan: ‘It tastes familiar… but of what???

Lottie: ‘It’s a bit like the ghost of orange juice and lemonade. With an apple wafted over it.

After some careful thought we arrive at the conclusion that, despite its actual fruit content it tastes most like cheap lemonade and cherry brandy. Yes we do in fact drink cheap lemonade and cherry brandy. #sorrynotsorry

In conclusion, Trocadero is unique and might perhaps be a pleasant drink in the summer when you want something mild and fruity to quaff that wont give you that nose-on-fire feeling from something fizzier.

Not bad.

5/10

Dip Mix – ‘American’ flavour.

The Dip Mix. A revelation to us uninitiated Brits.

We have heard tales of this innovation across the pond in the USA, so imagine our surprise/excitement when we found a whole rack of these at a Coop supermarket in the centre of Stockholm, Sweden! 🙌🙌🙌 We obvs bought the whole range. For science.

We start with ‘American’ – that flavour flavor we all know and love.

Lottie: ‘What do you think America Tastes of?’

Megan: ‘Meat.’

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              Snack: Estrella ‘American’ Dipmix

             Bought at: Coop Centralplan, Stockholm, Sweden

             Price: 11KR (about £1.00)

             Available from: Ocado

The packet instructs us to add the contents to 3dl of sour cream. We used creme fraiche instead because we are fancy like that. After checking Wikipedia to confirm that a decilitre is in fact 100ml, because we have literally never used the measurement outside of GCSE maths, we have a cheeky lick of the spoon. Mmm promising. Now we put it in the fridge for 20 mins as instructed and wait for the magic to happen…

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Magics that have happened = 0.

It tastes exactly the same as it did before it went in the fridge. But the taste is GOOD. The flavour is predominantly tomato in a cup-a-soup sort of way with an oniony finish. When coupled with the cool and creamy creme fraiche it creates a flavour approaching marie rose sauce. In essence we are dipping our plain salted tortilla chips in prawn cocktail flavour which is all at once comfortingly familiar and defiantly revolutionary.

Despite the name, it in fact seems to have a very British flavor flavour – prawn cocktail was such a huge British food trend in the 70s that it remains one of the most popular crisp varieties in the UK to this day. We guess that Estrella were going for a Thousand Island type flavour flavor like the sauce on ‘Murican burgers, but missed out the all important vinegary pickleness that seperates Thousand Island from Marie Rose.

 

In any case, a good effort from the Dip Mix. Would eat again! 

7/10 

 

 

Welcome to Our Snack Odyssey!

Welcome to Off the Bitten Track in which we will nom far and wide to discover delicious snacks that deserve celebration.

We will analyse Amazon.

Peruse pound shops.

Inspect International Food Halls.

Go to Asda if the weather is nice and we can be arsed.

All in order to find the best hidden gems of the snackiverse. At no point will we use the blog to talk about where you can find a delicious and very reasonably priced meal in Sheffield city centre between the hours of 8am and 2.30pm.

 

 

 

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