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Friday, December 7, 2018

Trader Joe's Mint Flavored Fudge Brownie Bar


Earlier this week when writing about the roasted cauliflower dip, I wrote that I dislike when I ate a lot of something and don't know if I like it or not.

You know what else stinks? Not particularly enjoying something that it seems like everyone does.

It invites too many questions. Is the product somehow defective? Did I perhaps lose some portion allotment lottery where I just so happened to receive the least choice segment that is so unlike the rest of it? Is there something wrong with me? Am I too picky? Do my taste buds work right? Do I need to see a doctor?

Such as it is with Trader Joe's Mint Flavored Fudge Brownie Bar.

No, I won't be shelling out any copays over it, but, man. Sandy and I picked this up to bring over to our good friends Mark and Emma's to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah. Figured between us and our kiddos we'd all really like it and it'd somehow match up pretty well with Emma's delicious homemade latkes (10 out of 10 Golden Spoons there).

Dessert time! Kids devoured it, as one would expect children with anything chocolate would do. Both Sandy and Emma oohed and aahed over it. I took a bite...and was not impressed.

First, the brownie portion is too small. I neglected to take a picture of the actual product but the pic on front is fairly representative. Vertically speaking, it's maybe half brownie before going into icing. I'm an icing guy. I love corner pieces of cake...but man, there needs to be something that can back that up as well. There's not enough brownie for all that rich icing, and what was there was kinda spongey. I'll give it somewhat a pass as this is a frozen product which we quick thawed in the microwave, perhaps with a different method of warming it'd turn out better.

And then, the icing.

Mint flavored? Puhleese.


Unless my tongue somehow came down with a Paula Deen version of the Midas touch, it all just tastes like butter. Butter butter butter. Where's the mint? There's maybe a scarce hint here or there, but really, it just tastes like rich, thick buttercream slabbed up on top.

The chocolate ganache does add a nice touch and for me brings the whole brownie bar back into the respectable realm, so there's that. It really needed to counteract the butteriness and pick up the brownie's slack, which it did. The ganache doesn't completely salvage the whole thing, but you'll never hear me say anything bad about ganache either.

Both Sandy and Emma admitted it could have been a lot more minty which would have upped their already positive opinion. So it's not all me...they're just more forgiving and tolerable, which is a good thing for Mark and me. Both lovely ladies graced the brownie bar with similar sentiments and scores: "Damn tasty...could have been more minty...rich and delicious though," they both more or less said before plopping about a 3.5 to 4 on it each? Me? I'd go a little lower, but seeing as that I just might be the outlier here, you may take my score with a grain of sugar.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Mint Flavored Fudge Brownie: 6.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Trader Joe's Cookies, Wafers, & Florentines... Oh, My!


A Belgian Cookie Butter Collection!? Oh wait. Nope. My bad. A Belgian Butter Cookie Collection. I read that wrong the first time. Must be the drugs talking...

You see, I just had some wisdom teeth extracted, and I've been out of commission for a couple days. I was pretty much out of commission for a few days leading up to the extractions because of the pain and the over-the-counter meds I was popping...at nearly double the recommended dosage.

Now I'm on the mend. But my mouth is still sore. So my lovely wife helmed another video review. Since we didn't have any TJ's beverages, soups, or soft pastas on hand to look at, we just decided to keep on keepin' on with the Christmas goodies we recently acquired. This one's all her. I may circle back and leave some thoughts here in the comments in a few days after my jaw is a little less sore.

Also, TJ's threw me a bone and made the very title of this product a tagline in and of itself. No creativity required on my part for that Facebook post. Good thing. My brain is still soggy.

Sonia liked some cookies a little better than others. You'll have to watch the video review to find out which ones. In case they're not easy enough to read in the video, you can see the nutrition info and ingredients at this link. You can actually also buy the cookies there, too. But we don't get any commission. Even though we should.



Sonia's overall final score: four out of five stars.

C'mon, Sonia. You give everything four stars...<grumpy face in my direction> okay, okay. Four out of five it is. And thank you for doing this review while I recover, Sonita.

So...we'll just double that score for now...

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.



Monday, December 3, 2018

Trader Joe's Creamy Roasted Cauliflower & Onion Dip

Listening to the scratch and watching the smear of windshield wipers when you can't get them timed "just right" for the precipitation. Wearing wet socks. Reading something then forgetting it five minutes laster. Hitting the 0 instead of the o on the keyboard.

What do all of these have in common?

Mild annoyances. Stuff that's not even really a deal breaker for having a good day, but something that causes a sigh and crosses your mind that you'd rather not deal with.

Okay, the wet socks is probably an extreme example. That's a day killer right there. But I mentioned it with assumption that either the socks will dry quickly or a new pair will be obtained in short matter, because nobody wants to deal with that.

Oh, another thing on my list: eating almost all of something and not really being sure if I liked it or not.

Such as it were with Trader Joe's Creamy Roasted Cauliflower & Onion Dip. Not gonna lie: I smashed this and smashed it hard the other night during a family "snacky dinner" where had some pastry pups and veggies and chips.

But did I like the dip? Tough to say. On a certain level, yes, I must have. "Creamy" is definitely the right word, and there's plenty of onion and garlic and a little herbal goodness. Still, I felt like it could use a little oomph, a little something more, like a hint of Parmesan or little more hear from some pepper. It's good, not great...I'm just glad it wasn't made ranchy.

The mouthfeel though...it could be a deal breaker for some. It's not exactly chunky but it's sure not smooth, either. The cauliflower chunks are small and plenty soft without too much bite, but it ju st kinda feels a bit off, like in the same regard if not the same way as lumpy mashed potatoes. Either all chunky would be fine, or all smooth, but in the middle? Nah.

I'm not sure if this makes sense, but I'm thinking this TJ's veggie dip would be almost better as a soup somehow. Sure, it'd have to be reconfigured a bit...but this could be a really darn good soup IMHO. There's something potentially warm and earthy here which would be better expressed in soup form.

In all, it's not bad, I guess. I'd much prefer the TJ's cauliflower dip as part of a holiday veggie tray over most run-of-the-mill dips, but I'm not sure I'll be going out of my way for it either. It's in the freezer section for a few bucks and needs a couple minutes in the microwave to warm on up. Not bad overall, I'd say. Definitely better than wet socks.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Creamy Roasted Cauliflower & Onion Dip: 6 out of 10 Golden Spoons