Product Review: Tortillaz Zesty Guacamole from Quaker or …

Yes, we have no bananas


Okay, I don’t usually spend a lot of time talking about products unless I really like something (ahem, balsamic vinegar from Cherry Creek). We do have brands of things we prefer and I will mention that brand by name in recipes but I like to let most people make up their own minds.

Until now.

I discovered the Tortillaz, an air-baked rice and corn chip/cracker (officially, a crisp) at the D&W Fresh Market out in Williamston. Texture is a very important part of eating, for me. I like to have a nice balance of crisp, crunchy and soft in all my meals (along with a bit of sweet to balance out savory or vice versa). On the flip side, I’m trying not to eat too many chips and crackers as I really don’t need the carbs. Since I’m having salad for lunch today and there were no croutons for crunch, I decided to break out this bag of crisps. There are two varieties, zesty guacamole & cheesy nacho. Since I love the guac, I chose that variety. I did not look at the ingredients- I admit to being swayed by the “Air-Baked”  and “Made with Grains” plus they were in the rice cake section which just screams healthy as long as you ignore the caramel flavored ones.

Unfortunately, there is no price sticker and the receipt is long gone but I can tell you they were not cheap. At least a couple of bucks for a 3 oz bag (at 1 oz/serving).

At first glance, I was aprehensive. In fact, I saved a few bites of salad just in case I needed to cleanse my palate. The crisps are shaped like tortilla chip triangles however they have a mottled green color to them, which I guess is supposed to look as though they’ve been powdered with guacamole. Not the most appetizing look.

First bite: very crunchy, like Bugles which I really like. They were certainly zesty although I didn’t really taste guacamole. It was mostly corn with some heat and maybe a cilantro or lime like flavor. And lots of crunch- like eating a dorito with the seasoning coating your fingers.

Side note: When I was a kid, we used to put Bugles on our fingers and pretend they were long witchy fingernails, then eat them one by one.

So, they tasted good but I didn’t think I could eat a lot of them, due to the finger coating and the potential for flavor overkill. Then I looked at the ingredients and nutrition.

Nutritionally, they are fine. Ingredients? Mmm, not so much.  Okay, rice & corn I expect. Oil, yes. seasonings, sour cream, dried jalapeno. Yep, all what I’d expect. But, MSG? Maltodextrin, natural & artificial flavors, modified food starch, sodium diacetate? All of those things were above the sour cream and jalapeno. Bottom of the list were the oh-so appetizing food colorants (lakes?) and soy lecithin.

Notice anything missing? Look closely.  I remind you, these are guacamole flavored chips. The key ingredient, the one thing you must have for guacamole?

Yes, that’s right, the avocado.

Borrowed from <a href=Who knew there were so many. And who knew that you could have guacamole flavored chips with not a whit of avocado?  Okay, I admit the “natural and artificial flavors” is probably where it comes in. But you see, natural and artificial flavors doesn’t mean actual avocado or even derived from the avocado. So, guacamole without the essence of  guacamole.

I’m a bit disturbed by it all. I brought the rest of the crisps home to have Chris try them. He likes them and doesn’t care that they have no avocado.

Quick Review: Jennie-O Turkey Meatballs

Turkey meatballs, pre-made, in the freezer section. Ready in 2-3 minutes after zapping in the microwave.

NOT GOOD. Tasted like spiced wet sawdust. And the outsides were tough so it was hard to cut one in half with the side of a fork.

Recommended alternative: Trader Joe’s Meatless Meatballs.

I picked up the Turkey ones because they come in a bag and you can just pull out what you want. Last night, I made some pasta with marinara and added these in. It was late for dinner and Chris didn’t say anything one way or the other (he did like the smell of the veggies cooking earlier and the smell of my hands later- like onion). But I was disappointed. And slightly wierded out by the external texture.

Even more disappointing, you only get 3 meatballs per serving at 180 calories and 12 grams of fat! Yet somehow this is labeled as “45% less fat than the leading brand.”

TJ’s Meatless meatballs are vegetarian/vegan, have 140 calories for 6 (albeit smaller) meatballs and only 6 grams of fat plus 4 grams of fiber! Admittedly high in sodium though.

Main advantage was accessibility; the Jennie-O are available at Meijer. TJ’s of course, must be bought at TJ’s.