You know how when you were a kid, there was that kid down the street that you were friends with?  You weren’t best friends or anything, they were just one of the kids in the neighborhood.  So you played with them because they were nice enough, and they had the cool Nintendo games that you didn’t.  Then one day they asked you to stay for dinner.  And you kind of didn’t want to, but eventually you said yes.  And at dinner, the meatloaf they served didn’t quite taste like the kind your mom made.  And the mashed potatoes tasted weird.  And they had peas, when you would have had green beans.  The food was ok, but it was just a little off.  Then you caught a peek at their pantry and you didn’t recognize any brands.  Maybe you caught your first look at a Hydrox.

These TGI Friday’s Spicy Buffalo Sticks would have been the snack in that family’s pantry.

If you’ve been following my love/hate relationship with the TGI Friday’s snack line you know the score is 1-1.  Bacon and Cheddar Potato Skins were greatJalapeno Cheddar Potato Skins were repugnant.  After trying their Buffalo Sticks, the score now stands at 1-2.

These are not good.  They’re structured like cheese puffs (not the giant cheese puffs, or Cheetos, the size in between).  They’re bright red, because bright coloring equals quality.  I’ve never had any of the hot or spicy Cheetos, but I imagine they’re like these Spicy Buffalo Sticks, but better.  I couldn’t imagine how they could be worse.

These taste like buffalo sauce, like McDonald’s hamburgers taste like beef.  They get close enough to trigger some sense memory of the actual flavor, but in reality, they’re not that close.  But maybe that’s a bad analogy as I actually like McDonald’s hamburgers (or have slowly reprogrammed by genes to crave them over 3 decades of overconsumption).

These are spicy.  There is a tangy component of some kind.  You can feel them on your tongue, and the kick lingers. But it’s a generic spiciness that no one would ever want to eat regularly.  I would change the name of this flavor from “Spicy Buffalo Sticks” to “Spicy Red Snack Puff.”  It’s kind of a flavored product, but not really.

Don’t even waste your time with these.  I found them at the Dollar Store and they deserve to be there.  More accurately, if there was a retail venue below the Dollar Store, they’d deserve to be there.  Or in a landfill.  A bright red landfill.

TGI Friday’s, I am seriously starting to doubt why we are even in this relationship.