Taste Test: Which tortilla chip is tops?

In a sampling of popular grocery items, we pick the best out of three. Items are evaluated for flavor and presentation. Price is not a factor, as it is too subject to change. This week: tortilla chips, that Super Bowl staple snack.

What a difference a hint of lime makes. In a sampling of three, plain yellow-corn tortilla chips, none emerged a runaway winner. Each chip brought something to the table - dip heft, salt, corn flavor - but none of our three samples were something we'd snack on plain as a salty treat (unlike some chips we've encountered at restaurants and among other brands). With dip, any of these chips are satisfactory but not spectacular. We're eager to do another round with some of the options found at boutique grocery stores.

Now, if we had sampled the Hint of Lime Tostitos, this would be a very different contest...

Tostitos Original Restaurant Style: These big chips offer lots of dipping space and an almost buttery corn flavor - if, of course, you can get past the saltiness. Thinner than its competitors in this contest, these chips tended to break off in salsa.

Garden of Eatin' Yellow Chips: These are smaller triangles of corn and the saltiest of the lot. They reminded both tasters of school-days bags of Fritos; that is, they were a bit oily and strongly corn-flavored. (We hope it was corn, at least...)

Santitas: While these chips presented a nice compromise of heft - not too toothy, not too wispy - these salty chips emerged a pale version of the Tostitos, flavor-wise.

Winner: Tostitos. That slight flavor nuance pushed these chips above the competition by a whisker.

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