Ranch dressing. This stuff has taken over. People put it on everything. From fries to pizza to burgers, ranch is the “go to” dressing.
And what’s not to love? The stuff has a nice, even flavor that goes well with just about anything.
It also seems that there are millions of brands of ranch. As far as we are concerned, there is only ONE ranch brand that matters. HIdden Valley. Yes, Hidden Valley is the original and the best. The flavor is just better than other brands. Put Hidden Valley up against Kraft. Go ahead. It won’t take long to see why Hidden Valley is the winner.
We drink almost as much of this stuff as we do beer. Well, not quite. But you get the idea. So it was a given that we would review the new Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoned Crinkle Cut Fries. Herman came across them at the grocery store. We had no idea they were available, and had not seen them before. In fact, Hidden Valley’s website doesn’t even show them. Mystery fries, you see.
We gotta say, our question was, “Why hasn’t this happened before??” It seems like Hidden Valley Ranch branded fries should have been available years ago. But we’ll take them now. Better than nothing!
The minute that we opened the bag, the smell of these suckers hit us. It smelled like a truck filled with ranch got into an accident with a truck carrying potatoes. Seriously.
We preheated the oven as instructed. We didn’t have any parchment paper available. What are we, aristocrats? Seriously, do you really think that people who make frozen fries are going to have friggin’ parchment paper handy? No! So we used foil instead. We are lazy bastards. We always use foil for frozen stuff. You think we want to clean up a mess? Hell no. That takes time away from drinking beer!
So, we dumped ’em out…
We baked these bad boys for 15 minutes. We forgot to “stir” them halfway through though. Whoops. We wanted them a little more done, so we gave them another 5 minutes. We don’t follow instructions, people. After 20 minutes…
Our test fries were nice and golden with some darker parts. Because that’s how we like them. Or, we got too drunk and left them too long. That’s possible.
We were happy with the fries right off the bat because they browned up nicely. They have a nice crispness to them. There was much more crispness than we expected for baked fries. The consistency and texture of the fries is excellent. They are loaded with potato. Each fry was pretty much the same, too. Our expectations were greatly exceeded here.
The potato flavor is there, and it is very good. The potato is creamy. These don’t taste like frozen baked fries. We bet you could fool people with these. They wouldn’t think the fries are baked if you don’t tell them. And really, why tell them? Tell them you made them! Sure it is all bullshit. But who cares!
Time to get to the real meat and POTATOES (HA HA! We’re comedians!). The real highlight here is that these fries are ranch seasoned. So what about that? Well, here’s where it gets interesting…
These fries are not bland. They aren’t overly salty. There is a nice seasoned flavor to these fries. But here is the deal…the seasoning doesn’t taste like ranch! We hate to say it. We really do. The smell before cooking was hardcore ranch. But after baking them, not so much. The strong ranch smell was gone. And there just isn’t a ranch flavor.
The seasoning has a great flavor, but it just doesn’t taste like ranch. It isn’t nearly as strong as ranch. The seasoning is more subtle. We get hints of buttermilk. But other than that, we can’t really put into words what the seasoning tastes like (yes, we know. It is our job. Blah blah). It may be a slight onion and garlic flavor. But again, it is slight. The fries are missing that tangy zip that you get with ranch. We wonder if this is due to the baking process. When ranch seasoning is added to fries, it is usually added after they are cooked. In this case, it is obviously there before.
All of that said, these fries are very good. We both really liked them. The flavor is very good, even if it doesn’t taste like ranch. Yes, we expected ranch. Yes, they are Hidden Valley branded. But regardless, they kick ass. So, whatever. And if you are really missing the actual ranch flavor, just do what everybody else does. DIP THEM IN RANCH! Problem solved!
These would go great with hot dogs, burgers, or even by themselves as a snack. They would really be good for drunk food!
A bag set us back $2.75. There are plenty of fries in the bag. The price is on par with any other frozen fries. So, you get the extra seasoning at about the same price as regular fries. There is plenty of value here. The fries are great, and they are pretty cheap. Winning.
This is pretty incredible. These fries do NOT taste like what they are supposed to be, yet we love them anyway. And we’re not even completely loaded yet!
You win, Hidden Valley. You win.
Give these a try, people. You’ll thank us. And if you try these, let us know what you think in the comments.