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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Trader Joe's Sweet & Salty Snack Mix

Ah, December. 

If you're a real TJ's fan, you know exactly what time of year it is officially now: time to run to your local shop and snatch up anything and everything covered in chocolate. 'Tis the season. 

Granted, there's nothing really definitively overtly holidayish about the new Trader Joe's Sweet & Salty Snack Mix.I mean, there's not even a reindeer or elf on the packaging, let alone little fun shapes or something. But c'mon now. Look at that little bowl on the front. Wouldn't that look great as part of your holiday spread?

There's four main components to the mix, two of which incorporate a good thick drizzle to coating of good ol' silky smooth rich milk chocolate. 

First and foremost would be the caramel popcorn - that seems to be the real base of the snack, as I'd say it's at least 70% popcorn. That's not a bad thing, as it's decent munch crunchy popcorn. With the substantive carmale overlay, the popcorn packs a good crunch even though it's kernel-free (or however you would describe the floofiest part of regular popcorn), and hits some rich notes with the chocolate on top of that. Lots and lots of caramel and chocolate, in a highly snackable form. Yum.

Let's keep on the choco-choo-choo by hitting the real winning tidbits here: Little shards of chocolate coated potato chips. Deeeeelish. Addictive. Too few of them so far, though I'm hoping there's a little pocket further down the bag of them. I'd feel like I hit gold. I kinda want to go mining for them, but thats against the rules with snack mixes in our house. You get what you get and you don't get upset...but man, hit me up with these choco-chips anytime. Thick, crunchy, salty, chocolatey. Yum. 

Those first two items have enough chocolate that none is really needed for the mini peanut butter filled pretzels. They're naked, regular, ol' pb pretzel nuggz in baby form. Tasty of course, with a surprising amount of peanut butter sensation despite its diminutive form. Regular sized nuggets would have taken over the feel and texture of the mix, so the smaller sized ones were the right call, despite me craving a touch more peanut butter...

...which perhaps is why there's roasted peanuts in there, too. Yup. Regular ol' roasted peanuts. Not bad at all but what can be said?

Altogether this $4ish grab bag of snacks would be a fine addition to pretty much any occasion. Or, if you're like me, for getting that early to mid afternoon sugar rush to finish out the work day. you really need justification to get it? No way! Treat yo'self. 

Double fours. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Sweet & Salty Snack Mix: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons


Monday, November 29, 2021

Trader Joe's Sugar Plum Sparkling Beverage

Plum just isn't a part of daily life for most people. It does come up each year during the Christmas season once or twice. I guess they put it in Christmas pies..? There's that nursery rhyme everybody knows. I think it goes something like this:

Little Jack Horner
Sat in a corner
Drinking his sparkling beverage
It had real plum
So he thought he'd gift some
To his boss for maximum leverage.

Or maybe not. Some people might not even like this stuff. In which case, the rhyme might be more along the lines of:

Little Jack Horner
Sat in a corner
Sippin' on sparkly plum drink
It wasn't that sweet
He thought it tasted like feet
So he spat what was left down the sink.

Or for those who like to get festive with adult beverages:

Big Jack Flair
Sat in a chair
Chugging his Christmas bevvy
He poured in some rum
To mix with his plum
And said, "Man I can't drive my Chevy."

That's right folks. Drink responsibly if you do decide to add something stiff to this sparkling beverage. I'm not even sure what would go with it, honestly. I think it's pretty decent as it is. I immediately thought of cranberry while tasting it for the first time. Sonia thought of raspberry. Now that I think about it, raspberry might be a better comparison. It's not quite as intensely tart as either cranberry or raspberry. It's subtler than that. Just a hint of sour tang and it's also pleasantly sweet, bubbly, and refreshing.

It's festive and Christmassy because it's presented well, and since plum is such a rare ingredient in our food and beverages, it just makes this product seem even more distinguished. This year, it was sort of our toast to the kickoff of the Christmas season. We'd buy again next year and save for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Three and a half stars from me, four from Sonia.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Trader Joe's Wine Infused Sea Salt Seasoning Grinder

For years, my grandmother's side of the family would gather all together for Thanksgiving. It was (and still is) a pretty big crew...enough great uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, whatever else that we would have to rent an auditorium at a local campground to fit all 70+ plus of us. Huge. Overwhelming. And awesome. It was tradition for each family to bring things, with a whole system worked up by my great uncles and aunts, and it would be tradition for any newlyweds to bring only things like some butter, salt, or at most a veggie tray. You had to earn the right to bring dessert or a turkey. 

Anyways, though we no longer gather together like that any more, and my lovely bride and I aren't exactly newlyweds any more either after our recent double digit anniversary, I really wonder what would have happened if we were ever to be entrusted with bringing salt and pepper, and brought in something like Trader Joe's Wine Infused Sea Salt Seasoning Grinder. 

Probably some of my more conservatively minded aunts would be concerned if the wine in the salt would make them drunk. Probably a few of my uncles would hope it would. Of course, that wouldn't happen...and I'd like to think everyone there would realize it...but there'd be a stir regardless. Russ and Sandy, with their fancy salt. With booze in it. There'd be stories to tell from it, no doubt. 

Anyways, for a big fancy salt grinder, this ain't bad. It's real simple yet somewhat elegantly composed of sea salt infused with rosé, mixed with pink peppercorns and a touch of rosemary. those components all add a nice little savory touch that puts a little extra taste in other than just plain ol' salt. Subtle and nice. i like it. 

Could easily see some sprinkled atop some roasted turkey or stuffing or veggies or whatever else you may want to sprinkle some salt on. Given the rosemary, I'm not sure it'd be a good match for anything going for a salty/sweet combo, like some type of dessert....but as always, I could be wrong. It's only $4.99 for this banana-sized salt grinder too, so I have a feeling we'll have this a while. 

Here's to hoping you and yours have a Happy Thanksgiving. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Wine Infused Sea Salt Seasoning Grinder: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons