2 min read

The Weird and Wonderful World of Weird Food Discoveries

In which I track down two products that theoretically are sketchy, yet end up being anything but.

One of life’s small pleasures is finding foodstuffs that fundamentally shouldn’t work, yet weirdly do. I can only imagine how the first person who tried a jackfruit felt.

I’ve gone through my share of shaky items over the year, but once in a while, one or two of them clear the bar. To wit:

Quest Tortilla Style Protein Chips: Loaded Taco

It’s safe to say we have reached the apex of packing protein into everything and anything: Protein tortilla chips? The twain should never meet. Yet, they have, and I have found myself taking a shine to Quest’s “Loaded Taco” chips.

Quest Chips in front of a large box

Even though they’re baked, the chips keep a good crunch without crumbling. The zesty taco flavors are as pungent as Doritos on their best day1, with a cleaner palate. These are legit tortilla chips, more so than being a healthy variation of them.

Of course, “healthy.” Quest makes grand promises about its product’s nutritiousness—just how true those are, depends on your point of view. On one hand, hundred-and-forty calories and nineteen grams of protein are undoubtedly impressive for one serving. On the other, two-hundred-and-ninety grams of sodium paired with forty milligrams of potassium (0% daily value) won’t do much for anyone’s blood pressure.

Armchair dietitian analysis aside: Quest is better than most baked varieties found on snack shelves. As far as I can tell, the chips are solely and strategically placed next to protein bars, so you can feel like a health nut picking them up.

In the end, it’s about the flavor. I don’t know exactly what I had expected—”tortilla style” set off warning sirens—but Quest’s chips are better than they have any business being.

More information can be found on their official page.

Trader Joe’s Jicama Wraps

Jicama Wraps package and its contents mixed with ham

Continuing down the road of Mexican-adjacent foods, we find Trader Joe’s doubling down on its jicama game. Despite the weird marketing picture, TJ’s pushes these wraps as corn-tortilla substitutes, placing them between salsas and guacamole in their fresh section. And, surprisingly, they work decently well.

First and foremost, the wraps do not fall apart even if you top them with saucy meats and accouterments. That’s a good step above most store-bought tortillas.

Secondly, they taste good, provided you like jicama. That’s all the wraps are—thinly sliced jicama. You could, in other words, buy a root and cut it up, but that sounds like an awful lot of work for very little payback.

Digression aside: The fresh jicama flavors make the wraps ideal for more tropical-flavored tacos. Top them with pineapple salsa, and you got something good going. Maybe not as good as properly baked corn tortillas, but they do add an unexpected variety to Taco Friday™.

As do Quest’s chips. Pair them up, and you have the beginnings of an interesting take on a larger Mexican-esque meal.

  1. Caveat: I cannot remember the last time I had Doritos.