The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Flour Tortilla Chips: I Am Not Ok With You (When I'm Expecting Corn)

I first started writing this post in January, when my brain was still fresh with tortilla chip-induced rage. After I lashed out at Whole Foods with the almighty power of the written word—which isn't that powerful when it's sitting as a draft in Gmail for four months—I realized how dumb it was to care that much about tortilla chips. ...Well. Maybe "dumb" isn't the right word. But my first impression was something like, "Man, that's dumb." And I definitely spent too long drawing the doodle below. That was probably a bad use of my time. I've been told I need to sleep more to stave off death. On the other hand, I thought, "Well, I already spent too much time drawing that doodle; I don't want that to go to waste. All that hard work. I even shaded the thing. I am rarely compelled to shade." The real reason I decided to finish this post, though, was because I found a brand of tortilla chips I really liked and I thought it was worth blogging about, even though I rarely blog about snack products. Aaaand the end. You probably didn't need all that explanation.

Sometimes, this is how I feel.


I don't usually think that loudly while shopping at Whole Foods, but my bag of chips was right there, and I wasn't expecting to find it. What I wanted was, quite specifically, a small-ish bag of tortilla chips fit for one woman and a bowl of guacamole (as opposed to the more typical one-pound bags fit for a Super Bowl party-for-20), filled with chips of the thick and freshly fried variety. My shopping basket was chip-less as I reached the store's final frontier of prepared foods and steam tables. I was ready to give into subpar tortilla chips.

But on top of the salad bar was a row of small, lunch-sized paper bags filled with freshly fried tortilla chips—"Our Own Homemade Tortilla Chips," according to the Whole Foods-branded sticker on the bag. The chips looked appropriately golden and thick. Could...could it be? Could I be this close to filling my mouth with the painfully sharp shards of crunchy, corny awesomeness I so madly craved? I could see my future in those chips, the grand night of tortilla-chip-and-homemade-guacamole that would ensue, aka "EPIC ROBYN PARTY FOR ONE."

And then, as soon as I got home and dumped all my stuff on the ground because that's where stuff goes (my mom didn't teach me that; I learned it on my own, after many years of honing my dumping technique), I hastily shoved a chip in my mouth. And that high I was riding—the high that comes when you get something you really wanted but didn't expect—suddenly stopped. And, following the laws of physics, even though this is metaphorical, I was flung off into a wall of disappoint (which is a bit different from disappoinment, but I don't feel like explaining that now). After one bite, the chips crumbled like my dreams-of-one-second-ago. The chips looked hearty, but it was a lie; their texture was brittle. They looked corn-alicious, but their flavor was wan and marginally salted. And then the ingredient list gave away their substandard origins: They were made of flour tortillas.

Why? Why would you do that, Whole Foods? If the label had said "Shitty Pita Chips" then I wouldn't have been as disappointed because it would've tasted like what it said on the bag. (I continued to eat a handful of chips, trying to convince myself it was worth saving, In the trash the bag went.) And while you technically delivered "Homemade Tortilla Chip" as advertised, I don't know why you're catering to whatever microscopic subset of the tortilla chip-eating population that expects flour tortilla chips instead of corn tortilla chips when they see the words "tortilla chips." These people are fools, FOOLS; let 'em fend for their own weird chip preference selves*. I'm telling you, most people would expect corn.

* Sorry if you prefer flour tortilla chips over corn. ...Ok not really. But I'll add that I freakin' love good pita chips. They're almost right up there with a good, hearty tortilla chip.

Image: Laurie's Buffalo Gourmet

But, months later, Whole Foods redeemed itself by giving me my first taste of Laurie's Buffalo Gourmet's Thick and Hearty tortilla chips. Prominent display + two bags for $5 price = okay, I'll try it. And, jeez, it worked; I'm hooked on these chips. They're now my favorite mass-market brand of tortilla chips, my favorite tortilla chips overall being these guys from a Mexican supermarket in Phoenix. They're super thick, corn-tastic, well salted, and if I didn't chew well I'd fear those heartily crunchy shards would threaten to pierce my throat. Aw yeah, that's the stuff.


Louisa / May 16, 2012 7:01 AM

I don't bother buying corn chips any more. Homemade are the easiest thing in the world. Cut up some corn tortillas, deep fry them and salt them. They are so awesome!

roboppy / May 16, 2012 11:01 AM

Louisa: I actually have a whole pack of corn tortillas that I don't have much of a plan for...I could try it out this week. :) Thanks for the reminder! (I must admit I don't like deep frying things, though. I mean, eating them, yeah. But experience has told me I'm bad at frying. I'm not very good at cooking, so I guess this makes sense.)

Angeline / May 16, 2012 8:49 PM

You can brush the tortillas with oil and bake them, not nearly as good but if you don't like deep frying...

roboppy / May 16, 2012 11:22 PM

Angeline: Oh no, I want the deep fried. :) I just don't feel like doing it myself, especially when it's easy for me to buy chips I like.

Nicholas / May 18, 2012 6:08 PM

It's okay, I feel hurt and betrayed when flour masquerades around all pomp and shiz like corn. You're not corn. Stop frontin'.

James / May 28, 2012 11:46 PM

There's gringo Mexican restaurant on the west side of Berkeley called Juan's Place. They specialize in free, giant bowls of humongous, freshly made flour tortilla chips served with giant bowls of sweet-ish red salsa. While I'm generally a downer on most things involving flour tortillas, those chips were always INEXPLICABLY, STOMACH-EXPLODINGLY GOOD. Like hot, crisp pillows of pita that just descended from the sun. How do they do it?! I don't know, and apparently neither does every other person who makes chips out of flour tortillas. In other words, great doodle!

Anonymous / September 15, 2013 8:00 AM

I for one would love to get Flour Tortilla Chips, if I could find them. My body has trouble digesting corn & so when I do eat it(which is not very often anymore), it causes me alot of stomach pain. So I say YAY!! TO FLOUR TORTILLA CHIPS!!

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