Even though the ocean's on the wrong side and the oysters taste all funny, I've gotta admit, the West Coast has a few good things going for it. Better wineries, more dog-friendly cities, and an extra three hours to sleep every morning come to mind. Not to mention Tim's Cascade Potato Chips. That last one may be reason enough to make the cross-country jump.
Tim's are as thick and crunchy as the thickest kettle-style chips around, but they take the care and effort to wash away your excess starches so that the chips stay pale golden instead of that acrid dark brown that seems to be the standard aesthetic for kettle-style chips. Think of them like standard Lay's chips, only thicker and crunchier, with a flavor that actually tastes like potatoes, not just the generic "fried" flavor of most other chips.
Want to get to the real heart of the matter? Take a look at their surfaces:
How's that for crunchy microblisters? They bubble and crisp like the best french fry, and that extra surface area adds extra crunch to every bite.
The natural salted flavor is good, but I'm a salt and vinegar man myself, and Tim's does it well. Their chips go balls to the walls with the salt and the vinegar—they're the type of chips that can shock me awake when I'm starting to nod off after a long late-night drive. The energy drink of chips, if you will.
Kettle brand chips may have won our own Salt & Vinegar Potato Chip Taste Test, open only to nationally distributed brands, but in my world, Tim's rocks all of them hard.
Dear Tim's potato chips: I think I love you.
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.