Moon Lodge The Whole Shabang Potato Chips
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Taste: A few years back, we got our hands on a bag of Moon Lodge's Hot, Hot, Hot! Barbeque Potato Chips, and we were pretty thrilled about it. Having reviewed 1500 kinds of potato chips, the thrill was not because they were such a flavor standout — though they were good — but because of Moon Lodge's unusual distribution network. Word is, Moon Lodge chips are only available in jails. And it's probably that limited availability that has made these chips such a legend.
Since we posted that review, many folks who had regular access to Moon Lodge chips for some period of time have contacted us to ask where they can buy some. In particular, questions have focused on this flavor, The Whole Shabang, which people have just raved about, while being frustrated by their inability to buy some. This lead us to wonder, are the chips really that good, or merely good and just seem that good when one's food options are limited by incarceration.
We opened the bag to find that unlike the hot ones, this version had no ripples. Most of the pieces were on the small side, with a fairly uniform yellow-orange color, some small bubbles embedded inside, occasional darker skin areas on the edges and some areas of browning on a small minority of the chips. In summary, they looked like fairly ordinary potato chips.
The idea behind The Whole Shabang flavor is that it's a mix of all seasonings — barbecue, vinegar, onion, garlic, ketchup, etc. Other snack companies have made flavors like this before, including California Earthquake Chips, Funky Fusion from Dirty Chips and various all-dressed chips from Canada.
We crunched in to find a good crispness and a light crunch, with a taste similar to those other flavors just mentioned, a bit of vinegar zing and a mix of various savory and sweet condiments. Some of the snackers who tried some noticed a barbecue flavor. It was a good taste, tangy and fairly strong. But in the wide universe of potato chips, nothing about this flavor made it such a standout to merit all of the attention that it has gotten. They're good chips, but it might not be worth serving time to get some.
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Aroma: Kind of vinegary and barbecuey, but fairly mild.