Let’s get something out of the way. We love (that is, LOVE) Fritos brand corn chips. To an almost unnatural degree. They’re not for everybody; for some, the combination of extreme crunchiness, thick, oily texture, and profound ground corn flavor is a little too intense for casual snacking.
But for us, the combination is perfect; in fact, unflavored, plain Fritos are one of the snacks we almost never buy, because it’s nearly impossible to start a bag without getting swept up in a black Fritos vortex, an MSG-fueled fugue state from which we can’t possibly emerge to resume our normal lives until the entire sack (and associated 1440+ calories, for the whole bag) has been mysteriously Hoovered into our round bellies.
It’s with this in mind, then, that you have to understand that we are approaching Fritos new “Spicy Jalapeño” flavored corn chips from a less-than-objective position.And it’s with this in mind, that you should consider the following statement:
Fritos “Spicy Jalapeño” corn chips may currently be the best godamned flavored snack chip on the market.
Flavored Fritos aren’t usually the way we go; too often, the flavoring (your “Ranch,” or your “Chili Cheese,” for example) obscures the overwhelming ground corn flavor of the chip, resulting in a flavor combination that’s most reminiscent of a recently exhaled burp.
In this case, however, Frito-Lay absolutely NAILS the subtleties of a carefully nuanced artificially flavored laboratory jalapeño. The Spicy Jalapeño Fritos don’t deliver a wallop of heat, instead offering a creeping spiciness, a warming glow, and distinct notes of charred, blackened pepper flavoring that perfectly compliments the corn masa flavor of the chip.
It is, at long last, a flavor the enhances, rather than obscures, the inherent Frito-ness of a Frito. And for that, we are eternally grateful.
Fritos “Spicy Jalapeño” chips are available nationwide now. They don’t bear a “limited time” stamp, so with any luck, they’ll be around for a long, long time.