People that know me know I’m serious about three things: Dogs that look like people, “Three’s Company” fan fiction – and snack chips. There’s nothing worse than going to someone’s house for a party, and finding out their idea of the best chips ever is a half-open bag of store-brand potato chips, with some organic veggie chips that they claim, “Tastes like real food!”
So my intention with this post is to educate everyone. It’s to help people understand that they don’t have to be the party host that everyone avoids come Super Bowl time. I’ve done mock drafts on things like “Best Candy Bars Ever,” “Best Classic Rock Albums Ever,” and “Best Fantasy Football Draft Party Locations,” but this one hits close to my heart. This Best Chips Ever Mock Draft should help everyone understand that there are certain chips that are keystones to every get-together, and some chips that play supporting roles.
The rules are – these snack chips have to be available at most grocery stores in the nation (Zapp’s makes it in the second round, despite being a mostly Cajun country chip), and they have to be found on the chip aisle (no crazy organic ones found in the organic aisle). While some chips are much better with dip, these chips below need to be able to stand on their own. That means plain old Tostitos ain’t makin’ the cut! You need salsa for the complete tortilla chips experience.
Best Chips Ever Mock Draft
1.01 Nacho Cheese Doritos
Yep. Doritos. You need to have an “on-its-own” chip at the top of the list, and Nacho-flavored Doritos are just that. It brings its own cheese dip taste! It’s like Marshall Faulk, bringing receiving touchdowns to go with his rushing touchdowns. If you show up to any party with Nacho Cheese Doritos, the worst case scenario is that it’s a second bag – and everyone’s still happy. This flavor was the original, introducing us to a “nacho cheese” flavor that was essentially unknown before 1966. (Lil’ known fact: They were originally created in a restaurant at Disneyland!)
Best with: A second bag of the best chips ever
1.02 Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream
This one comes out of left field, but to my knowledge, no one has ever passed over a bowl of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles without grabbing one. Kids love them, parents love them – everyone loves them. Much like the Nacho flavored Doritos above them – they are a complete snack, with no need for anything else.
Best with: Coca-Cola
1.03 Original Ruffles
Introduced back in the late ‘50s, believe it or not, these relatively plain chips became THE dipping chip for America for the next five decades. While their ridges lend its self to dipping, their thickness worked well as a side to most sandwiches. I know, top three!?!?!
Best with: My Mom’s Famous Chip Dip
My Mom’s Famous Chip Dip
- 1 Block of Cream cheese – softened
- 1/2 Cup of Sour cream
- Add 2-3 TBSP of Milk
(add a little at a time and stir until you’ve reached your favorite dipping consistency)
- Either 2 tsp Garlic powder – taste
— then, if not garlicky enough, add more
— if too garlicky, add more sour cream
- OR 2-3 TBSP Chopped Chives
1.04 Cool Ranch Doritos
The year was 1986. I remember it like it was yesterday. The Bangles were walking like Egyptians, Wang Chung was demanding everyone to have fun on that specific night, and Balki Bartokomous left Mypos to join his cousin Larry in Chicago. My cousins and I enjoyed/endured all of these things with a bag of the new Cool Ranch Doritos, Mountain Dew and faces as oily as an Alaskan oil spill.
Best with: Mountain Dew
1.05 Wavy Lay’s
Wavy Lay’s are such an interesting product. Lay’s already had the Ruffles brand, which essentially cornered the market on dipping chips. Yet, they still found the need to create a second dipping chip. It’s like Cheerios coming out with a larger, thicker Cheerio. These are some of the best chips ever by themselves – especially the folded up ones, but they’re even better with —
Best with: My Mom’s Famous Crab Dip
My Mom’s Famous Crab Dip
- Can of crab meat (where tuna fish cans are sold)
- 1 Cup of Mayo
- 1/2 Cup Sour cream
- 1 TSP of sherry
- 1 TBSP Lemon Juice
- 2 TBSP Fresh Parsley
1.06 Cape Cod Salt & Vinegar Chips
Well, this one comes with a caveat. If you bring them to a party, you must put up a sign in the bowl that tells everyone these are S&V chips. (Did you know that whiplash caused by people eating salt & vinegar chips when they thought they were eating regular potato chips is the third-biggest reason for party injuries — behind only drunk dancing and nacho cheese burns?) These chips are one of the only chips that make a person crave them at absolutely random times, and yet they also force someone to eat enough of them to burn their mouth.
How does someone even come up with this flavor!?! Sprinkling vinegar on French fries dates back centuries, but this creation was pure genius!
Best with: Fried fish sandwich.
1.07 Fritos Scoops
Our forefathers grew up with regular ol’ Fritos corn chips. You know the kind – the small ones that looked like your Uncle Ted’s toenails? They were mediocre at best, with a cold Tab to slosh it down with. Well, decades later, the Fritos Scoops mean much more to the world. Cheese dips and salsas became even better. And each Fritos Scoop chip can be perfectly placed around the form of the tongue, allowing its user to suck the salt through the chip in a particularly self-indulgent act.
Best with: A bowl of Spicy Chili and melted cheese
1.08 Spicy Nacho Doritos
Let me preface this with letting you know about a great injustice done to this world. At some point in late 2010, Doritos discontinued making “Fiery Habanero Doritos,” which were easily the best chips ever at the time. And I love spicy snacks, like spicy popcorn! But while these chips were great on their own, as a ridiculously spicy chip, but Sara talked me into dipping them into sour cream, and it was like when chocolate met peanut butter or when pepperoni met pizza! Please join us in the good fight to get the Frito Lay company to bring back the Fiery Habanero Doritos! While you are waiting, please enjoy these Spicy Doritos that are also awesome dipped in sour cream!
Best with: Sour cream
1.09 Lay’s Potato Chips
This is a tough one, since they are relatively plain and non-descript. But regular ol’ Lay’s potato chips are still just an awesome chip on their own. First, they are great with sandwiches of any type – burgers, grilled sandwiches, PB&Js, cold cuts – these guys are versatile. A folded Lay’s potato chip is just this side of perfection. While flavored chips are more exciting, these chips are meant to be the complement to everything else.
Also, one should note that the proper order to eating a plate of potato chips is this:
- Small broken chips
- Large broken chips
- Small whole chips
- Large whole chips
- Chips folded over
Unfortunately, when you do this at work or around other people that don’t have access to a bag of chips, this usually occurs:
- Them: “Ooooh! POTATO CHIPS!?! Hey, can I have a chip!?!”
- You: “… Sure … Absolutely … Please don’t choke on it and die.”
- Them: “Thanks!”
And then they proceed to grab the largest whole chip on your plate – like you were saving it for them.
Also, if you ever worked with a guy named Dan Dobish, then you know that he would just walk over and poke his finger into your pile of chips, breaking every whole one into 12 pieces. And then he would laugh as he walked away, with his soul-crushing streak intact.
Best with: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
HOW CAN CHEETOS BE PART OF THE BEST CHIPS EVER MOCK DRAFT!?! I can change the rules on the fly, that’s how. I love both kinds of Cheetos, but there’s something about melting these fluffy Cheetos in your mouth that makes them just a notch better than the Crunchy Cheetos. My biggest problem with Cheetos is that they really are not a good party food. From the random cheese fingerprints that you’ll be finding all over your house for months, to the extreme displeasure you get when you bite into a stale Cheeto that has been sitting out too long – you really have to have a perfect Cheetos environment to enjoy them completely.
Best with: A dehumidifier
1.11 Fritos Chili Cheese
These are kind of tough to find. At Publix, in the southeast section of the United States, they have them in cans over near the Chex Mixes and the Pringles. They’re great on their own, and offer a ton of flavor from a tiny little chip. You’ll want a couple handfuls of these chips after trying just one or two.
Best with: Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale
1.12 Wavy Lay’s Ranch
Lil’ known fact: The actual flavor of “Ranch” came from a literal ranch in Santa Barbara, California. The owners of the ranch served a salad dressing that consisted of buttermilk, salt, garlic, onion, chives, parsley and dill, and it became so popular, the Hidden Valley Ranch began selling it in bottles. Finally, they sold the recipe in the early ‘70s. Did you know that the “Ranch” flavor is primarily unknown outside of North America? I just blew your mind.
Best with: Sprite
2.01 White Cheddar Popcorn
2.02 Cheetos Crunchy
2.03 Gibble’s Red Hot Potato Chips
2.04 Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips
2.05 Tostitos Lime
Best with: Tequila!
2.07 Cape Cod Original Potato Chips
2.08 Miss Vickie’s Jalapeno
2.09 KC Masterpiece BBQ Lay’s
2.10 Chex Mix – Hot & Spicy
2.11 Ruffles Loaded Potato
2.12 Ranch Pringles
Honorable Mentions: Lay’s Sour Cream and Onion, Kettle Red Chili Potato Chips and Onion and Snyder’s Honey Mustard & Onion Pretzel Nibblers.
Do you have a favorite brand of chips that fell out of the first two rounds? Am I missing the next Robert Griffin III of potato chips!?!
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.