Whenever I have anything with plantains, I think immediately of my trip back in '03 to the dry coastal region of Peru for a college missions trip. Literally every morning we had fried plantains for breakfast (along with healthy doses of Inca Kola, which if you're not familiar with it, looks like Mountain Dew and tastes like Bazooka Joe), which you think would get old but surprisingly didn't. I loved it, and I've tried and failed miserably several times since to make them Peruvian style at home. Still, when I do, I like to think of the week I spent getting my butt handed to me by a bunch of 10-year old futbolistos on the hard soccer courts and teaching them all sorts of English words, up to and including "poop."
Anyways, when I saw a tall bag of Trader Joe's Roasted Plantain Chips for $1.69, I figured they were worth a munch and crunch. I knew they wouldn't replace my long-gone Peruvian pleasures (after all, those were more plank-like while these are chips), but hey, you do what you can. And you know what? They're pretty decent. If you're not familiar with plantains, think of them as kinda starchier, semi-potatoey bananas. That's about the best explanation I got. The texture of them still comes across well even after being fried in sunflower oil - think banana chips but less waxy with a softer crunch, like if they got crossed with a ruffled potato chip. Tastewise, they're more or less on the money. The chips definitely taste a little roasty, a little nutty, a little earthy, and also a little saltier then I'd think by glancing at the nutritional rundown. And really, just a regular handful of them go a long ways towards satisfying a rumbly in the tumbly. I've had other plantain chips that seemed more potato chip like than these guys, so I guess the TJ plantains are a little truer than most, which I appreciate.
Sandy's not quite as enamored with them as I am. She took a small handful and chomped them down, but afterwards said something to the effect of general indifference towards them. "I mean, I'd eat them if they were around, but give me a choice between these and potato chips, I'd take the regular chips," she said. She's going with a three. Me? I like them, they make a great on-the-sly office cubicle snack (especially if you work in an office with at least one rampant lunch thief, like my workplace*), and I'll give them extra credit for the lemur on the package and the fact that these were made in Peru. It's probably a notch or two high, but dangit, these get a 4.5 from me.
Bottom line: Trader Joe's Roasted Plantain Chips: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons
*Someone seriously stole my homemade chili for which my niece gave me the mix for my Christmas present. Seriously, wtf? I'll take the high road and assume they needed food more than I do, but still, I think they should get one of these.