Tag Archives: product reviews

Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Flavoured Squares Review

Cheesy crackers…

What can I say about cheesy crackers? They’re amazing? I wish I didn’t put off trying them for so long? I wish I could order a case and just always have them in my house?

I could say all that, but that doesn’t really make for a good review. Doesn’t really tell you much other than that I like them. And while I’m sure there’s some of you out there who value my opinion, I don’t think I’m quite popular/famous enough to have you flock to stores to go buy something just because I said so.

So, until that day comes (and mark my words, it will come!) I guess I’m stuck writing an entire article. But that’s also okay, because I talk a lot, sooo, let’s get started, shall we?

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These Earth Balance were actually hard to find. I had spotted them for the first time a few years ago at Good Rebel but at the time, I was on a mission looking for one of the other foods I’ve done for a different review, so I had to pass them by, but I made a mental note to go back and try them.

Well as we all know, life likes to get in the way of things, and by the time I remembered I wanted to try them (and was back at Good Rebel), they weren’t available anymore. So I started doing some online digging, and I came across something that said Earth Balance was actually discontinuing the crackers. I basically gave up hope after that, until I finally found VeganSupply. They’re a Canada-wide vegan only online grocer, and I was super excited to find them! Until I saw the shipping price.

I understand they’re in B.C., and I’m in Toronto, but there’s a reason ‘starving artist’ is a phrase. So I perused the site, and built up a list of what I’d get once I saved up enough to actually place an order.

Flash forward to last October (Oct. 2020), the stars had somewhat aligned, and I decided the time was right to finally place the order. And boy am I glad I did! Most of the stuff in that order (which can be seen here) I’m actually using as product reviews for this and next year, which is how I justified spending so much money on non-essential foods. (My order total for those 7 items was $59.74)

After all that, I finally had my hands on the box of crackers! (Although it was a slightly wet from me washing it. Important tip: don’t wash things that come in cardboard) Now, I haven’t had cheesy crackers since… well I don’t actually remember, but I do remember I was little, like, early-grade-school-little. (Before we learned of my dairy allergy)

That said, I loved these! They taste like what I remember Goldfish crackers tasting like, but they are firmer than I remember. (I remember Goldfish being not very ‘cracker-y’ and being more ‘stiff bread-y’) They were quite ‘cheesy’ – not in the way nooch is cheesy, but in a similar way to how Skinny Pop White Cheddar is cheesy – and they were actually crunchy as well. (Unlike my distant memory of Goldfish crackers)

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They also got a little too salty after eating a bunch of them, though that was probably my bad. If you plan on eating half the box in one go, you’re definitely gonna need water! After the initial hype wore off and I was more in control of how many I was shoving in my face (for some reason my brain came up with ’10 is a good snack amount’) the saltiness was no longer an issue.

Another kind of downside to these crackers is that they get stuck in your teeth. Similar to what happens when you eat Vegetable Thins, there is some soft-like cracker residue that you need to pick out of your teeth when you’re done. (Oh don’t give me that look, I know it’s a universal human thing) So depending on how gross that sounds, you may want to try one to start, and then see how it goes.

And of course, my always complaint to most vegan foods: there could’ve been more crackers in the box! The crackers were in what looked like a foil bag inside the box, and there was a good amount of air space in them. Now, I’m no expert, but I know certain chip brands need the air in the bag to prevent the contents from breaking, so maybe that’s what’s going on here, but to that I say: make a bigger box! Or have a special or something where you sell them in a three pack or something, because seriously, trying to make that one box last longer than a week was a struggle.

All in all, these crackers are a great snack and I wish I could order them more often, and I highly recommend you try them, too. If you like cheesy things, and you like crackers, there’s really no downside.


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Gardein Original Breakfast Saus’ge Patty Review

I don’t think there has been a product from Gardein I’ve tried that I haven’t liked. I don’t know how, but they keep coming up with awesome new foods to try, and I’m always game!

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So, Gardein actually has 2 kinds of these breakfast sausage patties, they have these plain/original ones, and they have maple ones. They taste exactly the same, but the maple one has maple syrup on it, so this is going to be like a combined 2-in-1 review.

These sausage patties are pretty small, which I like, because they fit perfectly on an English muffin. They have what I believe would be a ‘classic’ sausage taste, and have a good consistency, as well. They aren’t too squishy, and have a good bite to them. Pan frying them with some oil gives them a nice ‘crust’ on the outside, so they get a bit more crunch to them. I don’t know if you’d be able to tell by the consistency if they weren’t meat, but from what I remember, they’re pretty close. (Though I’m at 5 years vegan now, so my memory may be fading)

The only problem with these – as with most vegan products – is the amount that comes in the bag. 1 pack only comes with 5, which leads to disappointment when you open it, because they’re so small, so it makes the bag look even emptier. You could easily fit at least 2 more patties in the bag. Or, if you don’t want to add more patties to the bag, you could use a smaller bag! The bag is the same size as all the other products, and honestly I think that’s just a waste of packaging. Either add more product, or make a smaller bag.

I wish they had these, or the maple ones, as actual breakfast sausages (the round kind), that would be even more perfect. Because while these patties are great, if you don’t have English muffins on hand, they look so sad in a regular bread sandwich, or even on a bagel. If they made ‘real’ sausages, then you could have them on the side, instead of turning them into a sandwich, and that would lend itself well to not feeling like you need to make a sandwich for breakfast. And yes, I know you could have these patties on the side, but I feel like they look weird being ‘on the side’ instead of in a sandwich.

If you’ve been looking for something to elevate your breakfast sandwiches, you definitely have to try these. Either the plain or maple ones. They make great breakfast sandwiches, especially with some black salt and nooch on a toasted English muffin. Which is funny, because that’s one of those things I didn’t realize I missed until I had it again, and then I was like, ‘oh, yeah….’

I don’t often eat breakfast type foods, but these are definitely going on my regular shopping list.


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Culcherd Herb and Garlic Cheese Review

In keeping with my theme of last year, I decided for this years’ Valentines’ review, that I’d do another cheese. Because even though I’ve yet to try it, fondue just seems very romantic. And you can’t do fondue without cheese, right?

This cheese is by a company called Culcherd, and honestly I’d never heard of them before. Credit to this review goes to my friend Blair, he got his hands on some and was kind enough to share it with me. (This was back before COVID broke the world)

I was slightly hesitant to try it, as I am with most companies I’m unfamiliar with, but I’m glad I did. Also, it came in a hexagon box, so how bad could it have been? I was mildly disappointed that the block wasn’t also a hexagon, but I guess some things are still out of reach.

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Aside from my disappointment that the block wasn’t a hexagon, it was also actually quite small, even for a vegan cheese. The base was just smaller than my palm. (The widest part is just under 3in, or about 7.5cm – and yes, I just measure that for you. You’re welcome) So, it didn’t come with very much cheese.

Up until now, I’ve tried to steer away from reviewing products I didn’t really like, because I don’t want to be shit talking what I’m sure is a great company. However, this cheese just wasn’t my jam. (No pun intended)

I tried it first by itself – as I think you should with any new food – and I have to say, I didn’t really like it. It was quite tangy. Like, over-powering-ly so, and was definitely not the taste I was expecting when I think of ‘cheese’. (Though, to be fair, I mostly ate goat cheese before being vegan, which is quite game-y, so maybe I just don’t know what ‘real’ cheese tastes like?)

It reminded me more of pasta salad sauce than cheese. It had that very tangy/vinegar-y taste. The consistency was soft, making it very spreadable. It was a little firmer than hummus, actually. It’s also one of the very few cashew based cheeses I’ve tried, so I’m not sure if that’s just a thing with turning cashews into cheese, I did notice the other cashew based cheeses I tried had a slight tang to them as well. (Definitely not as strong as this one does, though)

It didn’t go to waste though! I ended up using it as a spread in a wrap, and that made it way better. I used maybe a teaspoons worth, and it was just the right amount for one of those big (12 inch) wraps. My non-vegan brother had some of it on a burger he made, and although he didn’t outright complain about the taste, I could tell it wasn’t his favourite. (Though he’s usually just happy if there’s any cheese he’s ‘allowed’ to eat)

Another thing that surprised me was the price. Even though my block was free, I took the liberty of price comparing it at Good Rebel. (If you haven’t checked them out yet, you should, they’re an awesome vegan grocer here in Toronto) There, the block was $11.99, and on the official Culcherd website, it was about the same ($11.47, but that was marked as the ‘on sale’ price). For reference, on Good Rebel, the Daiya blocks are 6.75, and bigger. So, while I’m glad mine was free, this cheese definitely counts as expensive.

All in all, I don’t think I’ll be buying this cheese again anytime soon, definitely not unless it’s on sale. I do want to try the other blocks and products from this company, because I don’t want to write them off after just trying one product.


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Bailey’s Almande Review

This product review was written 20.06.12, while COVID lock down restrictions were just beginning to ease. Please excuse any reference/joke that’s no longer relevant.


This is the last post of 2020!

As per last year, I will be taking the last half of December, and first half of January off from posting.

Posting will resume on January 15th, which will be the 1st Throw Away Fic of the new year!

I hope you all enjoy your holiday festivities, and get some much needed rest after what a crazy year this has been.

I’ll see you guys in the new year!


Now that we’ve made it to the end of the year, I thought it fitting to make the last product review a celebratory one. Because let’s be honest, 2020 was not what anyone expected, and we definitely deserve to have a (socially-distanced) party.

And what better way to say ‘party’ than to booze-it-up?

I’ve never had ‘real’ Baileys before, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect from this. Some of the Youtube reviews I saw said it just tasted like almond milk. I figured how bad could it be?

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Baileys Almond is 13% alcohol, which is way above my usual 5-7% Smirnoff Ice and Blackflys. I tried it by itself initially, to see if it really needed to be added to something else. Immediately, I tasted regular almond milk, but when I swallowed, I got that familiar burn-in-your-throat ‘this is alcohol’ taste. It was a lot stronger than what I was expecting.

To actually drink it, I mixed it 2 shots of it into a regular cup (500ml) of Silk Chocolate Almond, and after mixing it with the drink, that burning alcohol taste completely disappeared. It just tasted like a regular glass of Silk.

Buzz wise, it was pretty good but it did end up giving me a headache. (Maybe I just drank it too fast/have a low tolerance?)

All in all, I would say that if you like almond milk, you’ll definitely enjoy it, and if you need a boozy vegan creamer, I think this would work pretty well.

They don’t make small bottles of it, though, which kind of sucks, because the 750ml bottle is $33, so if you don’t end up liking it, you’ll be stuck with a lot.

Or at least, you’ll have to throw another party so you’re not stuck with it.


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Gardein Chick’N Scallopini Review

I don’t know what a ‘scallopini’ is supposed to be, honestly I think a better name would’ve been a ‘cutlet’ (like their breaded turk’y cutlets) so this review may not be the most accurate.

Call that a disclaimer or warning, whatever floats your boat, but yeah. If I miss something that has to do with it being called a scallopini I apologize in advanced.

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I want to start this review off by saying there’s only four that comes in a bag, similar to the Chick’N Burgers.

Also similar to the Chick’N Burgers and nuggets (and tenders) is the flavour of the chick’n minus the breading. They’re also similar in size to the cutlets which I like. They’re not too small or too big. They’re roughly the size of a chicken breast (I think) albeit they’re not nearly as thick as a non-vegan breast. They’re actually about the size of my palm, which is about 3in x 3in. (Yes, I did just measure that)

They’re a good texture too. They’re not too squishy like some tofu nuggets I’ve had, they have a good bite to them, and you have to put some pressure to the knife if you want to cut them.

The first way I tried one was just pan fried (no oil) and I topped it with some Daiya shreds and put it on a sandwich.

My dad even tried a piece and said he liked it!

Taste-wise there’s not really anything new – if you like their other chick’n products, you’ll probably like this too. Also, the texture is pretty much the same as all their other chicken products. It’s that firm-soft texture that uncooked meat has. (If you remember that)

I think the best way to cook these is in a pan. I think the instructions on the back say to cook them in the oven, but that just takes way too long. Why would I put them in the oven and wait 20 minutes, when I could pan fry and have them done in 10? Also, if it’s a tad under-cooked, it’s still fine, because it’s not actually raw meat, so you don’t need to worry about getting sick. (I’m not a doctor, so don’t quote me on that)

One of the things I’ve actually noticed since going vegan is that most of the premade stuff takes so much less time to cook, it’s insane! That’s definitely another bonus of these, and a lot of the other Gardein products, too.

All in all, these are pretty much their Chick’N burgers, if they were naked instead of being breaded. I like them a lot, and similar to the Chick’N Burgers, I wish they put more than 4 in one bag!


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Vegan Rob’s Cheddar Puffs Review

These things are amazing!

I’m not entirely sure if they’re supposed to be a straight up replacement for Cheeto’s or something, but I know these are definitely worth trying/buying all the time!

The bag they come in is somewhat small, which I don’t like, but that’s pretty much the only thing I don’t like about these!

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The puffs themselves are pretty big in size, and have a great amount of cheese-y dust on them, that gives them a great flavour. It doesn’t taste like nooch to me, which is good news for all you nooch haters.

They do get pretty dusty, so make sure you have some napkins handy, because that dust gets pretty much everywhere. Also, be sure to have water, because they will dry out your mouth. But, they’re delicious, so it’s definitely an okay trade off!

They have a good crunch to them, too. Again, I’m not sure how the crunch of other puffs compare, but these have a great one-bite crunch to them. It actually kind of reminds me of the consistency/crunchiness of Corn Pops. They have an initial hard crunch, and then almost basically dissolve in your mouth.

There’s really not too much more I can say about these, other than I hope you run out and buy them, because they’re awesome!

This Vegan Rob’s company makes a few different kinds of puffs, not just these Cheddar ones, but I’ve only tried these and the beet ones, and those were…. Well, they tasted like beets, and as someone who doesn’t like beets I did not like them. (They were given to me as a gift, btw) So, I can’t personally recommend checking out their other flavours, because I haven’t yet, but I definitely recommend trying out these Cheddar Puffs, and supporting this company!


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Gardein 7 Grain Crispy Tenders Review

These are some of the very first things from Gardein I ever tried.

I’m not gonna lie, like most of the other chick’n Gardein products, you probably already know what these taste like, so if you like those, you’ll like these.

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One thing I actually don’t like about these, is the fact they only come 10 to a bag. I know from personal experience you can fit 20 into the bag. And, while 20 did slightly overfill the bag, you could definitely put more than 10. Even 15 would be better. I really don’t understand the obsession with vegan companies not making foods in family sizes.

I don’t know about other people, but I don’t want to go shopping every week, and like to buy the biggest quantity of something I can, so I’m not constantly running out to the store for supplies. (And, in light of COVID happening, I think it’s more important than ever to buy things in bulk to limit your amount of outings)

Aside from the lack of food, these are as I said above, not very spectacular. But that’s okay! I actually really enjoy these, they’re pretty fast to make in a pan, and can be eaten by themselves as nuggets, or you can add them to other dishes, like pastas or rice.

The 7 grain breading on them is pretty good, too. While I can’t really describe it – I don’t actually taste 7 different grains, for example – but I can say it’s definitely different than the breading on the Mandarin Orange Nuggets. One thing I can tell you though, is that this breading is way more crumby than the other. It’s not really a big deal, but even after washing my hands I still feel like the crumbs are on me, so be wary of that.

As for the innerds – as I said, it tastes the same as their other faux chicken products. The texture is a bit tougher than the nuggets, though. It’s closer to the texture of the faux chick’n burgers.

Another thing I’d like to mention, I recently noticed that the Gardein bags have changed texture, they don’t feel quite so ‘plastic-y’ anymore. So I did some recon, and discovered they changed their bags to be made out of ____ which is awesome, because this means that while they still come in packaging, they’re more recyclable, and – as someone who recently started getting into the zero waste lifestyle – this is awesome! So while I try to move away from pre-packaged foods, I will still continue to support Gardein.

I feel like the Beyond Burger (and Impossible Burger and the like) are more of the flashy/Instagram-y side of veganism, trying to seem interesting and enticing – while Gardein is more like an old friend who’s always there.

If you haven’t tried their products yet, please go out and support them!


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Hellmans’ Carefully Crafted Dressing and Sandwich Spread Review

I don’t know why, but for some reason, almost no one I know in my adult life liked/grew up eating Miracle Whip. They all liked mayo. Let me tell you: mayo is straight up gross. All it does is taste like eggs. Who wants every sandwich they make to taste like eggs?

Needless to say, I was pretty hell-bent on finding a vegan alternative to Miracle Whip, and not just a vegan mayo. I even found one, that had unfortunately been discontinued. I thought I was doomed to using salad dressing for all my deli sandwiches… which is fine, but you can’t exactly put ketchup on a breaded chick’n burger. It just doesn’t taste right!

That’s why I was over the moon when I discovered Hellmans’ Carefully Crafted Dressing and Sandwich Spread.

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This stuff is literally an exact replica of Miracle Whip, which I’m not sure if it’s because it came from the same company, or just because Miracle Whip isn’t exactly that hard to get right, but I am so glad I discovered this!

There used to be another egg-free dressing from the No Name brand, but I hadn’t had it in a while as they ended up changing the recipe and thus it was no longer suitable. I hate when companies do that, by the way. There was no reason to change the formula!

Anyway… this stuff does everything I expect a good Miracle Whip sub to do: lends itself awesomely to cold-cut sandwiches, chicken burgers, and even makes great pasta salad!

The only thing I don’t like about this product is the name. Having to memorize exactly this title to get it to show up search results and to ask about it kinda sucks. No one knows it as ‘Hellmans Vegan Spread’, when that would’ve been a much better name. (Or, pretty much anything with ‘vegan’ in the title)

Another good thing about this product, is that it’s actually comparably priced when matched with similar items. For example, at Loblaws, the Vegan Spread is listed as $5.99 for the 710ml container – which is the exact same price as the 710ml of the Extra Creamy Mayo. (‘Regular’ mayo didn’t come in a 710ml, it was only listed as a 445ml [which was $4.79] or an 890ml which was $5.99)

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It’s so awesome to see it’s not $8 or even $10 for this product, unlike most other vegan subs that are out there. And I understand, Hellmans may be able to give us a lower price because they aren’t just selling vegan products (which is a smaller market), but it saddens me whenever I see vegan products listed well above the ‘regular’ items next to it – how can we expect more people to try going vegan when all the subs are priced so much more expensively? And again, I understand the basis of a (good) vegan diet shouldn’t be these subs, but still.

The taste of this product is very similar to what I remember Miracle Whip being. It’s light, tangy, and perhaps most importantly: doesn’t taste like eggs!

It was a breath of fresh air after forcing myself to eat Veganaise. I’m definitely a fan, and would like to personally thank Hellmans for making such an amazing vegan substitute! (And beg them to please never, ever discontinue this product)


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Subways’ Beyond Meatball Marinara Sandwich Review

I got to try this sandwich back in February (it was actually during my birthday week) and I’m glad to say I loved it!

I had to do some other shopping before I was able to sit down and eat it, so the sandwich was a bit smushed when I finally got home and was ready to dig in. (This is also why I’m using the official picture)

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First thing I want to say, was while I was ordering, I wasn’t too excited to try it. The Subway I went to was pretty small and busy (I inadvertently went there around the lunch rush) so I felt very rushed.

Unlike when I tried the Beyond Burger at A&W, it was slower and I was able to ask some questions before completing the order. I had asked an employee specifically about their marinara, and while he didn’t seem sure, I was able to check the website when I got home, and am happy to report the marinara is vegan!

I told them to hold the cheese (obviously), and then for veggies, I got: lettuce, cucumbers, spinach, green peppers and tomatoes. I had some Daiya Smoked Gouda at home that I added as well.

The sandwich itself was pretty substantial. I got a footlong, and I’m happy to report they gave me 9 meatballs. (5 on one half, and 4 on the other) I’m not sure how many were ‘supposed’ to be placed in there, but the worker didn’t count them out either. He just took a scoop of the meatballs (covered in marinara sauce) and rolled them out onto the bread.

Honestly, when he did that, it looked kind of gross. Just splatted on the bread… But I’m glad my first impression was wrong because it was actually pretty good!

Aside from the mess, the taste was good. The Beyond Meatballs tasted similar to the A&W Beyond Meat Burger, (which didn’t surprise me because it’s the same company) and they weren’t too big or too small either. They’re about the size of a loonie, which I think is a good meatball size. I believe they’re the same size as the Gardein Meatballs, too. I’m glad they weren’t too small, like almost every other pre-packaged vegan food is. They had what I’m going to call the ‘typical’ Beyond Meat taste.

A friend tried one of the meatballs and they said ‘you could fool a meat-eater with that. Seriously.’ I personally can tell it’s not real meat, but maybe that’s because I don’t eat it anymore? My palate is now fine-tuned to veggies!

The marinara sauce was a little on the herb-y side, and it kind of reminded me of the Roads’ End Savoury Herb gravy. Y’know how some herb-y heavy sauces have that ‘light’ taste? It was like that. They also put way too much sauce on my sandwich, it leaked out all over the plate. But that’s the risk you take when getting a meatball marinara, I guess.

I’d definitely recommend adding your own vegan cheese to it, as the Daiya cheeses’ smoke-y flavour lent itself well to the over-all taste. I’d definitely get this again, but I wouldn’t put cucumbers on it. It’s not that it was bad, but it was definitely one of my least favourite parts.

The sandwich itself was $11-something, and the combo with drinks and chips I got it for $16. That’s actually a pretty good price for a vegan sandwich. Especially because of how filling it is – not in that I’m-so-full-I-can’t-move-and-feel-gross way, but in a highly satisfied way. It’s pretty bang for your buck, if you ask me.

If you want something non-saucy, the website and posters do say there is a non-marinara meatball version, though I didn’t see it out in the trays. (Though this might have been more because I was rushed and am too short to see over the counter)

So the Beyond Meatball Marinara, have you tried it? What’d you think? Let me know in the comments below!


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Que Pasa Nacho Chips Review

I first discovered these chips in April last year, thanks to Eamon and Bec and HotforFoods’ Youtube channels. (I recommend checking out these guys, btw, they’re both awesome!) They each had videos that were only a few days apart featuring this snack, so I took it as a sign that I should try them.

And boy, am I glad that I did. They are awesome!

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They’re like vegan nacho Doritos. Or at least, they’re what I imagine nacho Doritos taste like, as I’ve never had them myself. The only kinds of Doritos I’ve had are the Sweet Chili Heat and Ketchup ones. Those two are great flavours as well, but I’m always down for discovering a new vegan snack.

They’re smaller in size to Doritos, though they’re still the classic tortilla chip shape. They’re pretty cheese-y as well, and not in a nooch-y way. I’m not sure what they use for the vegan nacho flavour, but it’s really good. It actually tastes a bit similar to the Skinny Pop White Cheddar popcorn. (Which I also recommend)

Now, these chips do have a bit of a kick to them, so if you’re sensitive to spicy food, or can’t handle spicy food, I recommend not eating the whole bag at once. (Trust me, it does not make for a happy stomach) The fact that they’re spicy is one of the only bad things about them. If they were not spicy cheese-y chips I’d definitely get them more often.

Another bad thing about them? I can barely find them anywhere!

I was able to find them at No Frills when I posted the pic to Instagram, but since then? I haven’t been able to find them.

Seriously, I don’t know if they’re getting discontinued, or if other vegans are just beating me to the punch, but I haven’t been able to get my hands on them since.

The size of the bag is another thing I don’t really like. They are similar in size to Vegan Rob’s Cheddar Puffs. That kind of bigger-than-single-size-but-not-big-enough-for-family-size bag that I hate. Either make them small enough for one person, or as big as regular chip bags! (Preferably the latter)

It sucks that they’re so hard to find though, because they’re one of the best vegan snacks I’ve tried.

…. Maybe they’re just hating on Canadians?

I don’t know, but one thing is for sure: You find them in a store? You buy 3 bags.

Do you know of a store that has a secret stash of these chips? Let me know in the comments below!


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