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I Ate ALDI: Fancy Chips and Salsas


I Ate Oklahoma is brought to you in part by:

I spend too much time and money at ALDI, but that’s my cross to bear. And now I’m going to write about it for your enjoyment, because I assume you enjoy these things. If you don’t...sorry, I guess? You don’t have to read it. But thanks for coming by anyway.

With the Superior Bowl just days away, I decided to review some chips and salsa. Also, because I love chips and salsa.

Pueblo Lindo Homestyle Tortilla Chips

The base of any great chips-and-salsa combo are the chips. I put it to you, a jury of somewhat disinterested foodies, that decent salsa on great chips is better than great salsa on bad chips. They need salt. They need body. They need to be crisp, but not hard.

Restaurant-style chips are fine. They’re usually pretty light and crispy, but they also run the risk of being too insubstantial to handle a chunkier dip. That’s why I was really on board with the Pueblo Lindo Homestyle Tortilla Chips.

These things are heavy duty. I’m not saying you could kill someone with one of these, but I think with a little perseverance, you could definitely injure a body.

You know what’s nice about these tortilla chips? They seem like they were made using actual tortillas. Like, someone made tortillas and then cut them into wedges and then fried them. You know. Tortilla chips.

They could probably use a little more salt, but other than that, I really enjoyed these. I fed some to my co-workers (I mean, they fed themselves, because they’re COWARDS) and they were all quite appreciative of the flavor and texture of the chips.

And they were free chips (for them). People like free chips.

Specially Selected Mild Garlic Salsa

As previously discussed, I am generally a fan of the Specially Selected imprint. That hot smoked salmon is an always buy for me, at least if I can find it. So it wasn’t a big leap for me to get a couple of varieties of their Specially Selected salsas.

Between the Mild Garlic Salsa and the Hot Mango Habanero Salsa, I honestly thought I’d dig the garlic more. I love garlic. Garlic took me out after my last break-up and really listened and I didn’t feel like garlic was just waiting for its turn to talk or hitting on me.

But the garlic flavor was kind of one note. Maybe a little extra heat would have done something (granted, this was mild salsa), but the flavor was just kind of dull.

Also, it was a pretty liquid salsa. I don’t necessarily need it to be chunky like pico de gallo, but it seemed like it would be easier to eat if it was mixed into something with a little more body, like cream cheese or guacamole or Velveeta.

It wasn’t bad. I certainly ate my share. But it’s not the kind of thing I’ll look for again the next time I’m at ALDI.

Specially Selected Hot Mango Habanero Salsa

This is something that happens a lot at ALDI, at least in my experience. Flavors of newly introduced products come in twos.

It happened with the sweet-hot horseradish pickle chips and the atomic spicy pickle chips. I’m sure there’s a good business reason for it, but it’s always kind of funny to me to go from, “I’ve never bought this product from this brand before” to “I guess I’ll buy two kinds and hope I like them.”

In this case, the hot mango habanero salsa was the favorite. I don’t know that I’d classify the salsa as “hot” per se, but it definitely had a more lingering heat than the garlic. More importantly, the mango was the dominant flavor, but there was a little variety with the pepper mixed in.

This is a sweet salsa and still a bit watery, but much chunkier than the garlic style. When I cracked open the jars and watch my co-workers’ ears twitch at the sound, it was the mango habanero salsa that quickly became the favorite.

Would I get this one again? Maybe. I definitely think this salsa has a purpose, but I’m thinking maybe it would be good over a firm white fish or as a makeshift salad dressing instead of just salsa with chips.

Do you have a favorite ALDI product I need to review? Leave a comment or contact me on Twitter or come up to me on the street, lean in close and seductively whisper it in my ear. Actually, not that last one. That would creep me out.

About the Author

Founder and Eater-in-Chief of I Ate Oklahoma, Greg Elwell has been reviewing restaurants and writing about Oklahoma’s food culture for more than a decade. Where a normal person orders one meal, this guy gets three. He is almost certainly going to die young and those who love him most are fairly ambivalent about it. You can email Greg at greg@iateoklahoma.com.