All-Dressed Potato Chips Are the Best Flavor of Potato Chips in Existence
Late last year, for reasons unknown to me, Ruffles invited journalists to an event to try chip flavors paired with various beers. This was a no-brainer "yes" for me.
The event was held just before Esquire introduced Drunk on Chips, and I won't object to the idea that it was the a-ha moment that catalyzed our little weekly* column here. I discovered three things while I was there. First, I could talk a lot of bullshit about potato chips to anyone who'd listen. Second, they were putting Flamin' Hot dust on regular Ruffles now. Third, and most important, the taste of All-Dressed flavored chips.
All-Dressed chips are staples of the Canadian chip aisle. They weren't sold in the U.S. until 2015, when our friends at Frito-Lay introduced the Ruffles version of All-Dressed. The flavor is a brilliant cocktail of barbecue, salt and vinegar, and ketchup. I will admit, the last flavor on its own is quite unfortunate. If All-Dressed were the 2018 Cleveland Cavs, Ketchup would undoubtedly be its J.R. Smith: you can't give it the ball and expect clutch play.
With All-Dressed, you get the best of every world. The vinegar shines, but doesn't tear you apart the way it does when dancing with salt only. The barbecue is vibrant, but not so powerful that you can't taste potato. The ketchup adds a hint of necessary sweetness to the mix. Altogether, the flavor of these chips is as exciting and complex as any flavor on the market.
Throughout the past half-decade, at least, chip brands have invented wild and complex flavors, many of them inspired by actual meals: BBQ Ribs, Buffalo Ranch Wings, Lay's Cheesy Garlic Bread. Many of the complex flavors you hear Top Chef judges wax poetic about are now available in chip form to enjoy on the living room couch where you're watching the show. We've talked about many of these flavors here-Lay's even has an annual rollout tied to this tactic, and they do it quite well.
But I can confidently say that All-Dressed chips are the best flavor of chips you could hope to come across, because they accomplish simplicity and complexity in the same bite. Where a Lobster Roll flavored chip might make you think too much, and a Lightly Salted chip not enough, All-Dressed are like training wheels for the budding food critic. Just three-four, if you count potato, which you should-flavors to contemplate. There's a little garlic, a little onion, maybe some pepper in there for those with more advanced palates to acknowledge, but the MVPs all make themselves apparent. And they're all good. It won't tear your mouth apart, it might leave you with some interesting breath, and it definitely will leave you wanting another bag-if not for yourself, at least to tell someone else about.
In the months following my discovery at the Ruffles event, I started hearing more and more about All-Dressed. At a wedding, my cousin Annie said she had a recco for me; my friend Mia, a week later, said the same thing. They were both talking about All-Dressed, and they both got me bags they wanted me to try.
Mia was in Toronto, and brought home an All-Dressed from a brand I'd never seen before, Ridgies. The ripples are tight, and the chips are dense and consistently medium-sized. Annie's husband Sean, who is Canadian, mailed me a bag of Ruffles's version. They're everything you know and love about Ruffles, but equipped with the best flavor around. I wish every brand had an All-Dressed offering. Imagining Cape Cod's perfect crunch coupled with the complexity of All-Dressed seasoning makes my mouth water. The thought of stacking at least five All-Dressed Pringles and shoving them into my mouth, ever-so inelegantly, is the most tantalizing thought I've had in years.
Alas, I've tasted only two brands of All-Dressed-Ridgies and Ruffles-so please recommend (or send me) more. Thanks to the Internet, I can buy all the Ruffles I want, but I dream of a day when I can walk into a bodega and see All-Dressed on the shelf.
It's not just the universal legalization of recreational marijuana and Justin Trudeau's handsome face that America's hat has done right. Chalk up another win for our neighbors to the north-they've brought us the best chip flavor a U.S. Dollar can buy.
How about some poutine: Why not keep the theme going and tip your cap to our neighbors in the north. This is what happens when you're aggressively kind and progressive. You come up with great ideas like All-Dressed. America should try it for a change.
Another person: You have to share these with someone who's never had them. I'm grateful for the Ruffles plug for introducing me, and for Mia and Annie for their tips. Everyone needs to know about All-Dressed.
Honestly, nothing at all: These chips can fend for themselves. They're worthy of your full attention, should you be without a pairing.