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Friday, September 20, 2019

Trader Joe's Spicy Shrimp Appetizer Duo

Ah, nothing says "fall" like spicy shrimp appetizers. In fact, I think we might have a Chinese New Year theme going on here. That was only back in February, over seven months ago...but it feels like yesterday, doesn't it? Anyway, I found these in the back of our tiny freezer, covered in frost, which probably served as camouflage for those many months, which might help explain why they weren't reviewed long ago.

I cleared the frost off of the packaging and thought, what the heck? I remembered we had some frozen appetizers hidden away, but for some strange reason, I was thinking they were chicken. Spicy Chicken Appetizer Duo. Weird, huh? Maybe Trader Joe's should offer a box of those, too.

Shrimp appetizer duo it is. So we tried them. And they're definitely worthy of review. I shrimply couldn't resist. I promise it has nothing to do with the fact that we are in desperate need of a TJ's run and haven't purchased any of the new fall items yet. <readers can't see that my fingers are crossed.> Apologies if this item is discontinued or out of stock. Hopefully they'll have them back for the next Chinese New Year season, a mere four months away.


Both items in the duo are quite tasty and high-quality. Let's start with the kung pao shrimp spring rolls. There's a decent bit of shrimp in them—more than I was expecting. There are also veggies, a light, crispy wrapper, and some spicy kung pao flavors. I wouldn't call either of these overly spicy. I wouldn't have minded a great deal more heat, but the overall effect is pleasantly garlicky, salty, and savory, with just a hint of an Asian spice kick.  

You can actually taste the lemongrass in the wontons. It's not over-the-top, though. The wonton bread is nice and thick, yet it's supple and flaky. The meaty insides of the wontons are soft, and they flaunt a fair amount of real shrimp, like their spring roll counterparts.


Other than the lack of heat, our biggest complaint is the lack of dipping sauce. There's a pic of sweet Thai chili or something on the cover art, and as is typical, the words "serving suggestion" are printed in a tiny font right next to it. We didn't have any sauces on hand, but we enjoyed them enough plain that they'll still get thumbs up from both Sonia and I. Fifteen minutes at 450 degrees. $4.99 for package of 12 appetizers. We're looking at four stars from Sonia and three and a half from me.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Trader Joe's Maple Streusel Bread

Pumpkin spice? Where we're going, we don't need pumpkin spice.

*flips down sunglasses*

Yes, yes, I know...it's that time of year. As sure as the turning of leaves and late summer into early fall, here come all the social media posts about pumpkin spice this and that and everything else conceivable. I see them all over the TJ's fan pages. I don't blame you...but I just can't join you. Not that huge a fan.

Give me maple all day every day instead. And if you can, give it to me as the new Trader Joe's Maple Streusel Bread. 

Oh. Mah. Goodness.

Let's not deceive ourselves here. There's nothing healthy about this. Even I cringed a bit looking at the nutritional stats the first time, and I'm no prude. Nor is maple truly an autumnal flavoring - mapling season runs late winter into early spring.

But still. Everything about this maple bread evokes fall. Warm up a slice and taste for yourself. Warm gooey maple ribbons, brown sugar swirls, maple glaze with buttery streusel around the perimeter, densely decadent dough with a hint of mild maple...oh man. Sensory overload. It's like every slice is a syrup-logged piece of French toast, except of being soggy and limp, it's dry bread. It's amazing.

And so, so rich. The first slice was so amazing I had to go back for more. About halfway thru the second, I questioned my judgement. Literally, this stuff sits like a brick in your gut. For a quick and easy breakfast-y kinda deal, I truly appreciate that to keep me going. Pick it up and you'll feel it - the loaf feels way more chunky than it looks.

I mentioned French toast. This streusel bread would probably also make awesome French toast, but man, it tastes so good as is I didn't try that yet. But I will. Ohhhhh I will.

No complaints from me. None. There's almost even a homemade quality to it that I'd love to try and pass off as my own. Your unscrupulous Aunt Millie just might. Sandy loved it as well, though she noted she wished it had even more maple. She's a mapleholic though on the level of Buddy the Elf.

It's $3.99 a loaf which strikes me as a very fair deal. And like squirrels readying themselves for winter, you better bet we'll be stocking up for a long winter ahead. Y'all stick to your pumpkin spice, we'll be quite happy, thank ya.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Maple Streusel Bread: 9.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Trader Joe's Organic Pita Chips with Sea Salt

There are instances in life when classic potato chips just won't cut it. Likewise, there's a time and place for tortilla chips...and a time and place to refrain from the consumption of tortilla chips. To everything, turn, turn.

Enter: the pita chip. Thicker, denser, more rigid than its commonplace counterparts, the pita chip has long been a friend of middle eastern condiments like hummus, tzatziki, and zhoug, as the back of this packaging suggests. 

But if there was ever an All-American pita chip, this is it. Made with wheat flour, these pita chips are thick, strong, and crunchy. They'd go great with dense cheddar cheese dips, onion dips, or, as Sonia and I can personally attest, spinach dips.


And yes, in case you were wondering, the product picture in the middle of this review is actually the exact same picture we used for the spinach dip review, although each is cropped differently, as you might have noticed.

We did also try these chips with some non-Trader Joe's hummus. Sonia has been purchasing little single serving packages of Sabra hummus as of late, and they go great with that stuff, too. I just feel like they were born to be paired with that spinach dip for some reason.

There's a fair amount of sodium in these bad boys. But hey, it's sea salt, right? Sea salt doesn't raise your blood pressure, does it? Actually it does. 

And that might be my biggest complaint about these chips. There's too much salt, and I'm not sure it helps the taste all that much. That rich bready flavor and big dramatic crunch are the reasons we'd possibly purchase this offering again. There's not many ingredients, and a thick and rigid texture. 

$2.29 for six ounces of snacky satisfaction. Not a bad value, either. Double fours here.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.