When Lay's revealed the four finalists for this year's "Do Us A Flavor" contest, we were obviously skeptical about taking some of America's most sacred foods and turning them into potato chips. How could mere chips possibly do justice to beloved dishes like biscuits and gravy, gyros, truffle fries, and New York reuben sandwiches? We tasted them and found out, and here's what you can expect as they roll out to grocery stores:
When we first got word of the reuben flavor, we knew it wouldn't be complete without a hint of pickle, you know, like you get an NYC deli. Luckily, Lay's got it right -- and also threw in plenty of vital reuben flavors like rye bread, a slight sauerkraut sourness, and tangy thousand island dressing. And if you try hard enough, you can almost imagine the corned beef, but you still have to imagine it.
Biscuits and Gravy
You can't go wrong with biscuits and gravy. Ever. Which is probably why the flavor translates so well into potato chips. The super-savory sausage gravy goodness stands out the most, but you get a little taste of doughy biscuit in there, too. There's also a nice peppery kick at the end, but it's hard to imagine eating a whole bowl of these with flavors so strong.
Kettle Cooked Greektown Gyro
Without a doubt, this is the most creative chip flavor out of the bunch. It's also the most powerful. Just one of the super crunchy kettle cooked chips packs a whole lot of gyro; specifically, Tzatziki sauce, garlic, and sour cream and onion flavors. Frankly, one is enough, or a handful at most.
Wavy West Coast Truffle Fries
This particular chip makes sense, seeing as we already know the flavor works so well on fries. And while they don't come hot and stuffed into a paper cone, the chips manage to get somewhat close to the real deal with a nice combination of saltiness, garlic, and parmesan and romano cheeses; however, we didn't detect much truffle flavor. Turns out they're more like fancy sour cream and onion chips.
We were pleasantly surprised at how close all four finalists got to the real thing, but especially the New York Reuben chips, which were not overwhelmingly flavored and disappeared the fastest during our taste test. It's time to make reuben chips happen for real, America.
Official voting for the flavors starts July 27th and ends October 18th. The winning chip will get an extended national run in grocery stores, and the flavor's creator will get $1 million or 1% of its net sales through next July -- whichever is greater.
Ultimately, all four flavors are far from your everyday potato chips, but then again, they're still just potato chips.
Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and really wants to hit up an NYC deli now. Send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.