Last month, potato chip brand Lay's brought back its "Do Us A Flavor" contest, which invites fans all over the nation to submit their ideas for the next great potato chip flavor. What's in it for the fans, you ask? Well, a $1 million grand prize, for starters. Plus eternal glory and ultimate bragging rights in front of all your annoying friends on Facebook and Twitter.
Now through April 5, 2014, entries can be submitted for three potato chip forms -- Lay's Original, Lay's Kettle Cooked and/or Lay's Wavy -- with up to three flavorings of your choosing for each entry. And this year, the company has upped the finalists from three to four, meaning four flavors will be created and brought to store shelves for fan voting.
Well, since this is all too exciting and we want to revel in the fact that Houston has one of the most badass food scenes around, we've come up with a few chip ideas of our own, based on some of our favorite dishes in Houston.
Here are Five Houston Dishes that Should Be Lay's Next Flavor:
5. Tex-Cajun Poutine
Based on: Tex-Cajun Virgin at BB's Café Chip form: Original (crispy, light crunch) Chip flavors: Roast Beef, Chile Con Queso, Gravy
Because poutine -- that's fries drenched in gravy and topped with crumbles of cheese curd, for those who have been extremely missing out -- is so popular now, it may be an obvious flavor choice. But not when you add spicy queso and chipped roast beef à la our favorite late-night snack at BB's Café. We'd flavor the thin-cut chips with a rich gravy, slow-roasted beef and jalapeño-and-chile-studded queso.
It's like a gravy-drenched roast-beef po-boy and queso-smothered fries in one. God, we want BB's right now.
4. Bangkok-Style Salt & Vinegar
Based on: Bangkok Fries at Boheme Cafe & Wine Bar Chip form: Kettle-Cooked (thick-cut, extra crunch) Chip flavors: Curried Pork, Hoisin, Sriracha
Ever heard of salt and vinegar chips? We'll replace the salt with caramelized pork and replace the vinegar with sweet and acidic hoisin sauce. Now add a bit of Sriracha and pile in hints of yellow curry, sesame and cilantro, just like Boheme's famous fries.
Each chip would strike that perfect balance of sweetness, acidity, saltiness and spice.
3. Pecan-Smoked Oyster
Based on: Oysters Gilhooley at Gilhooley's Raw Bar Chip form: Wavy (crispy, crunchy ridges) Chip flavors: Oyster, Smoked Pecan, Garlic-Parmesan
These chips would taste like the ocean...with a little bit of Texas flair. Gilhooley's namesake oysters are sprinkled with Parmesan and garlic butter before being smoked in a pecan wood-fired barbecue pit.
Mimic these flavors and you'd have a chip that's sweet and smoky, nutty and buttery, garlicky, and, of course, fresh-out-of-the-sea briny all at once. One can only dream.
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2. Curry in a Hurry Morning Thali
Based on: Morning Thali at Pondicheri Chip form: Original (crispy, light crunch) Chip flavors: Beef Keema, Cumin-Spiced Carrot, Curried Eggs
Pondicheri's morning thali is no joke. The Indian variety plate comes with beef keema, uppma, potato curry, saffron yoghurt, carrot paratha and a fried egg.
We think the next Lay's flavor should be a mixed bag...literally. Each chip could be a different flavor -- rich, cinnamon-and-clove-spiced beef, cumin-scented carrot, and eggy chips dusted with turmeric, chili, ginger and fennel seed.
1. Crawfish Pho
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Based on: Crawfish Pho from LA Crawfish Chip form: Kettle Cooked (thick-cut, extra crunch) Chip flavors: Pho, Crawfish, Andouille Sausage
We could see the masses suggesting a crawfish flavor, but we can't see them suggesting what is perhaps one of the most unique and iconic dishes in our fair city: crawfish pho.
The thick-cut chips would have hints of briny fish sauce, buttery crawfish, spicy andouille sausage, jalapeño, lime and lemongrass.
We think we have ourselves a winner. What Houston dishes do you think would make Lay's Next Great Flavor?