When buffalos fly

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

If gimmicks were nickels then the line of snack items I recently noticed in World Market could break the bank.

Yeah, these gnash daddies stand out in the aisle of crunch - and not just because they say they're all natural, low fat and contain no transfats. No, you must also tack on the facts that their five flavors are number-coded in increasing order of spicy heat and each taste style bears its own distinctive color of bag.

Oh, and the bags have a redesigned (winged) buffalo nickel as well as a much larger depiction of a seething-mad looking buffalo - with huge white wings, of course - crouching down in ready-to-pounce mode.

But wait, there's more! Fabricated mainly out of potato starch and potato flour (a la Pringles), these things are actually shaped like little chicken legs (well, sort of) and proudly lay claim to being "the original potato wing snack." Now, who could resist come-ons like that?

What I tried: Buffalo Nickel Wingers ($2.50/bag)

Get Buffaloed: Overall I found these pretty fun to munch on. Though they aren't at all greasy and 25 of them (they're not small, either) barely exceed 100 calories, they still over-promote their health claims. But I suppose they're better for you than, say, Salty Soy Sweet Nacho Cheese and Beef Butt Doritos. (Yeah, I made that up.)

The main allure of Buffalo Wingers lies in their pleasurable texture - they're light and airy little brittle hollow shells with a kooky, almost Bugle-like shape and a reliable crunch. Here's a mini-breakdown progressing spice-wise from mildest (1) to hottest (5).

By the numbers:

1. No Bull Barbecue

Not spicy at all, but sweet, slightly smoky and with a tangy tomatoey taste aided by mustard

2. Honey Mustard Horsepower

Taste exactly as advertised and ride on a little horseradish saddle

3. Nacho Chilichanga

Just a hint of heat; if you like chili powder, you'll like these

4. Caribbean Zing

Tangy citric flavors mix with a sweet and sour spicy heat that builds as you eat them

5. Fiery Buffalo Bleu

At first you mostly pick up the blue cheese, but after a handful the wing sauce fire starts to kick in

Would I eat them again?: Yeah, they go great with beer and hockey.

We tried it!

Spot a new snack you'd like Taste Test to try? E-mail