The great underdog the PAC-NW has got regional chips! Tim’s is available at every corner store. They are “Cascade Style” and promise to be “extra thick and crunchy.” I got Sour Cream & Onion, I would say in general my favorite “classic” flavor of a chip. These were exceptional! A perfect kettle-cooked crunch is driven home by the awesomely mild and flavor-packed sour cream & onion seasoning. It doesn’t try to overwhelm the potato itself like so many flavored chips do, rather it’s a perfect ratio; it’s a potato chip where first you taste the potato and then the flavoring. Tim’s are great! I also tried a friend’s Jalapeno, also awesome. Support your local chip company, people! Think Global, act local!!!

Zapp’s Potato Chips is a company based in Gramercy, LA. They have limited nationwide distribution and are, or at least try to be perceived as, a mom and pop organization. I can say that their chips’ packaging is very handsome: Simple, classic design, with different primary colors calling out different flavors. I went for the Spicy Cajun Crawtators and I’m disappointed to report that they are NOT GOOD. The kettle-crunch is there (apparently not so difficult to get right, I’m learning, or maybe from here on I should pay more attention to the nuance of the kettle crunch.) Anyway, it just seems that these chips were tossed in with a box of Old Bay seasoning. They’re intense in a bland, broad way; they’re spicy but hollow - where’s the excitement? I can’t believe I got ZAPPED in the PAC-NW!


The availability of local or regional brands of chips falls off dramatically once you cross the Mississippi, so much so that I traveled from that river to the foothills of the Rockies without finding a single exciting bag of chips. In Couer D’Alene, Idaho, I picked up my first truly national chip – or pretzel. Do pretzels count? Snyder of Hanover’s Sourdough Nibblers. I appreciate this line of Snyder’s – the flavored pretzel, usually something subtle, savory, and addictive. The sourdough flavor is mild, not too salty, and you can easily eat a whole bag and not feel gross. I wish I’d had cranberry juice to accompany these, because cranberry juice with pretzels is one of life’s finest pleasures. I would say try it on a plane but for some reason most airlines only have CRAN-APPLE juice, which significantly diminishes the experience. Also, shout out to the window bag. It’s nice to see what you’re getting yourself into. Bring back the Dorito window bag!


A friend told me that Mike-sell’s potato chips are considered some of the best in the country. They are fromOHIO, and have been around forever. I tried something from their Kettle-cooked line – a moniker which raises expectation of a harder, denser chip with a strong crunch. I got the Bold Bahama Barbeque flavor at a gas station in Bloomington, Indiana. The crunch was a satisfying kettle-cooked chomp, but the flavoring was odd. It was too intense to want to eat a whole bag; after a few chips I was left for want of water. There was no subtlety in the flavoring and although it implies some Carribbean connection, I couldn’t figure out what made it thus. These chips didn’t taste like the tropics!

coming soon...

I want to let you guys know how strong my love for Dorito's The Quest is, only i dont have the time to put that love into words yet. Stay tuned.

Acceptable Chip Substitutes

1. French Fries especially shoe string fries....sorry Jada I know you may disagree.
2. Pretzels but only the flat pretzel chip that Dan mentioned before or Snyder's Pretzel Nuggets.
3. Popcorn preferably flavored and/or homemade.
4. Tater Tots
5. Dry Roasted Edamame

Never substitute these:

1. Pork Rinds.....I can appreciate the texture but these are so wrong in so many ways!
2. Crackers...Too sophisticated, better served with cheese or salad. Couldn't be eaten with a sandwich or solo.
3. Baked Chips....What's the point? They may as well be crackers.

You will see these again soon in my Do's and Don'ts!

First reports from the field - DF

I need to say first that I do not like Trader Joe’s. I don’t respect that it’s they’re ingenious marketing and business acumen that’s made them a success rather than their product. To me it’s obnoxious how they take another company’s idea, embellish it, mass produce it, brand it, and sell it for less than the original makers are able. Therefore, it is with reluctance and a hypocritical guilt that I say that their Pretzel Slims Everything chips blew me away. My friend in Brooklyn had a bag at her house, and when I crunched down on my first chip I felt like the first person that bit into the first potato chip must have felt; it was revelatory. An impossible crunch, a wonderfully thin pretzel-cracker, flavored with a sweet and savory combo of sesame, poppy, caraway seeds, onion, garlic, and maple syrup. They’re ripe for dipping, and they aren’t greasy or too salty, so you could easily eat a whole bag in a sitting and not feel terrible about yourself. To assuage my guilt in making my first entry on Chip Web about a Trader Joe’s product, my next few chip posts are certainly going to be more locally spun! Steal this chip bag!

Pennsylvania seems to be chip country and so I got a bag of Snyder chips while in Pittsburgh. Snyder – of Berlin, apparently - the potato chip home of the more famous Hanover side of the family - has been making potato chips since the 1940s, and they are competent, if unremarkable, in their original flavor. A crunch on the softer side somewhat lessens the otherwise decently salted chip. It tastes like a potato chip, no frills.

Conn’s is based in various locations in Eastern Ohio, and while at an ice cream/hot dog stand in downtown Cambridge, Ohio I chose from an assortment that also included original, BBQ, and salt and vinegar, the oddest flavor: Green onion. These chips were disgusting. A weak-crunching chip covered with a synthetic-tasting Green Onion powder, as if an evil condiment had been simply sprinkled over the final chip. I could only eat a few before discarding the unfinished bag and it took an hour and many sips from my new stainless steel canteen to completely relieve the taste from my mouth. And it’s a shame too, because I wanted to like these chips, as the charming design of the bag had raised my expectations.

more than just nutrition

Chipweb welcomes new Investigative Field Reporter Dan Fetherston!

Starting next week, chip magnate (and magnet) Dan Fetherston will be traveling across the country sampling and reporting on regional chip varieties for you, the chipweb reader. Dan's credentials include twenty-some-odd years of loving chips and also taking pictures of chip bags on his camera phone. Welcome Dan! Stay tuned...