Well, it's also a good thing we finally discovered the goodness of Trader Joe's. Shopping there saves us easily (at minimum) about $30 a week on average versus the big local chain even when we shopped the specials and stuff. Now, we still eat plenty of beans and rice (and for that matter, rice and beans) just because we really do like them, and we're usually looking for some ways to chomp them down in some different, tasty forms. So when we spotted these on our last go-around, we figured they'd be a likely winner and a worthy purchase.
A likely winner and a worthy purchase indeed.
Unlike a lot of actual rice and bean dishes which can be heavy and filling, these are pretty light, crispy, almost flaky chips. They're made primarily of rice flour which gives them a unique texture and taste - if you've ever had a rice crust pizza, think of that crust and a tortilla chip having a love child, and that's about what they are. TJ's mixes in some corn flour to make them a little more chip like. The package proudly claims that they're made with adzuki beans. I found a website that proclaims them as the "Mercedes of beans" ... that's kind of interesting, because the name conjures up an image to me of an semi-beat up Aerio plastered with bumper stickers, not the Benz I'll be rolling up in after the Lord buys it for me despite me not having any friends who drive Porsches. But they're good. They're the beans commonly used in red bean ice creams if you're familiar with those (I'm not), which I understand are semi-sweet and nutty. I got the sense of nuttiness from them but not really the sweetness, which is probably a good thing. Between the crispiness of the rice texture, the nuttiness of the beans, and the slightly salty spiciness of whatever they put on these guys, they made a great snack.
Which isn't to say they were perfect. One of the things I look for in a chip is how well they work with salsas and dips. These were really made to be eaten on their own. They're about one inch square so they're not conducive to any load bearing of much consequence in the salsa department. That doesn't mean I didn't try, and at least with the salsa we had on hand, the flavor of the chip kinda screwed with the salsa to make it an awkward mishmash of taste jousting on my tongue. Still, they're pretty good and flavorful as is, so no need to dress them up too much.
Sandy broke these out for a girls night she had this past weekend. With the ones I wolfed down before she booted me out down the street to help a friend drink his PBR, I'm surprised they survived until the next dawn, but was definitely glad they did. It's even more surprising given that Sandy voted them a fivespot in our Golden Spoon ranking. I'll chip in with a more modest 3.5 ... they're pretty good, but just not quite pantheon-level great. No shame in that.
Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons