Friday, March 9, 2012

Review: Charley's Famous Fresh Tortilla Chips and Salsa

When I stopped for my daily Starbucks on Wednesday morning, there was a van parked in "my" spot. The sign plastered on the side said "Charley's Something-or-Other". I didn't read the whole thing since I was trying to park somewhere.

As I was walking into the grocery store, which houses my favorite Starbucks, I saw a man coming out pushing a big wheelie-cart, walking toward the Charley's van. I noticed he loaded some things in, but then didn't pay any more attention, lest I appear creepy by staring as I walked past.

I ordered my drink and made conversation with the lead barista when I heard a voice behind me say something. I turned to see the Charley's man standing with a bag of chips and told me they were free. I thanked him and he moved along.

I told my lead barista friend that he had no idea who he just handed those to! Hah! Right away I had plans to blog about the chips. Between all of my connections on social media, I reach around 1400 people per day, maybe more if others share the love with their connections. (Crazy! JUST as I was typing that, someone re-tweeted one of my tweets to 1902 of his followers!)

So here is my review of Charley's *Famous* Fresh Tortilla Chips!

Most important to me, Charley's is a local product, from Wyoming, MI, and I always love supporting our local businesses. They come from Charley's Pub and Grill on 28th Street, which I didn't even know existed, but the menu looks pretty good. I don't think I would eat there often since I don't see a lot of whole-foods options, but there is a great variety of burgers, appetizers, Mexican, pizza, etc. (And the menu is just fun to read, especially the children's section!)

My son had the morning off from school (bonus of being a senior), so he and I together opened the bag and taste-tested the chips.

When we opened the bag, they smelled wonderful! And definitely restaurant-ish.

We ate one. We loved them!

My son, who is a "Nacho Libre" fan said, "These really are dee Lord's cheeps!" (If you're not a Nacho Libre fan, move along.)

So we ate a bunch more then I put them away before we chowed down the whole bag! (They are not low in calories or fat!)

They are seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic and tasted very good by themselves. Some chips almost had a little too much seasoning on them and there is a garlic aftertaste. (Eating too many will also create little sores in your mouth.)

I like that the ingredient list is small and there are no hydrogenated oils: yellow corn, canola oil, salt, pepper, garlic

I usually have tortilla chips in the house because my men like them and Charley's will be one of the varieties we keep around.

They were $2.95 per bag, but I don't know if that's an "introductory" price or the everyday price. The sign was not clear, so I'm assuming it's an everyday price.

Charley's also makes a salsa that I picked up to try with the chips. The salsa was $3.49 for a 16 ounce container.

Again, I like that the list of ingredients is all pronounceable and additive-free: tomatoes, onions, peppers, cilantro, sugar, salt, spices

There are a few different varieties: Atomic Blaze (guessing that's the hot one?!), Original Mild (the one I tried) and Smoothie (which looked like the mild, only maybe having been through a food processor).

The look and smell of the mild variety that I bought was beautiful. I smelled garlic when I opened the container and look at those gorgeous chunks of veggies.

My only complaint is that it is way too sweet! I know a lot of people use a bit of sugar when they make their own, but this was overloaded, at least for my taste. With 6 grams of sugar, that equates to 1-1/2 teaspoons per half-cup serving! That's too much. Sorry, Charley, you're salsa's not a winner in this house.

What kind of tortilla chips are you a fan of? Are you able to get your hands on something local? (Hey, we're blessed in West Michigan to have a couple of local places to provide us with great tortilla chips!)

Read my previous post: Rosemary Roasted Vegetables
Read my next post: Granola Chicken

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