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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Trader Joe's Peppermint Joe-Joe's Cream Liqueur

The way the title of this product is written on the label, you might think it should be called Trader Joe's Joe-Joe's Pepper Mint Cream Liqueur. First off, we all know "peppermint" is one word. Furthermore, there's no such thing as a Joe-Joe's Pepper Mint. There are, however, Trader Joe's Peppermint Joe-Joe's, and several spinoff varieties thereof. Also, I don't like saying the name "Joe" three times in such succinct succession.

It is therefore more appropriate to call this beverage Trader Joe's Peppermint Joe-Joe's Cream Liqueur. No nutrition information is given anywhere on the bottle because nobody would ever be curious about the ingredients of an alcoholic beverage—never in a million years. High fructose corn syrup? Arsenic? Rat poison? Meh. It's all good. I trust that Trader Joe's and their mysterious third party suppliers have my best interest at heart...

But all sarcasm aside, this is a tasty beverage. There's very little harsh vodka flavor despite the only hint about the libation's composition being a note reading "made with vodka" on the festive, tastefully-designed packaging.

This product sat for a few days before we consumed it. There were a few whispers of sediment at the bottom of the bottle. To my surprise, the sediment wasn't white or pink, but a dark chocolate brown. I think that's the "Joe-Joe's" part of the equation. Like, they put in something chocolatey to approximate the cookie part of the above-mentioned Peppermint Joe-Joe's.

It's mostly a sweet vanilla and peppermint flavor, but there's also something faintly chocolatey. It's quite delicious and surprisingly smooth and velvety. I've heard rumors on the interzones that people make Peppermint White Russians with this stuff. Yikes. That sounds dangerously delicious. Don't let Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski know about that recipe.

If we had Kahlua on hand, I'd give you the lowdown. So far, I've just had this stuff on the rocks, and IT. IS. YUMMY. You could easily add more cream if it's too much alcohol for you.

Conversely, you could add more vodka if it's not stiff enough for you. Not that I recommend that. Just sayin'.

We've had pretty good luck with these holiday liqueurs throughout the years. See Trader Joe's Egg Nog and Ginger Bread varieties. Eggnog? Gingerbread? Maybe it is "Pepper Mint" after all.

I digress. $8.99 for the 750 ml bottle. 14.75% ABV. A mere three and a half stars from Sonia, who wants there to be a little more of that chocolatey flavor. Perfect five from me for Trader Joe's Peppermint Joe-Joe's Cream Liqueur.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Trader Joe's Nuts About Rosemary Mix

I grew up calling hazelnuts "filberts." After a quick internet search, I found people claiming that they're the exact same thing and the two monikers are interchangeable. I also found people stating that although somewhat similar, they are, in fact, two different types of nuts. I found claims that Americans say "hazelnut" while Brits and Europeans say "filbert" for reasons they failed to adequately explain. Further, some said that they were called "filberts" after St. Philbert's Feast, which is held in France near the time of hazelnut harvest.

At any rate, Trader Joe's calls the ones in this mix "hazelnuts." I'm fine with that. I like them. I like this mix okay. But wouldn't you know it: this mix tastes like A LOT of rosemary. Who'd have guessed?

As is typical, I was racing through the aisles at Trader Joe's shortly after opening, trying to score some as-yet-unreviewed items before the store got even more crowded. I guess I was thinking this was more of a snack mix, following in the tradition of Trader Joe's Step Up to the Snack Bar Mix from four years back, or Trader Joe's Stepping It Up Spicy Snack Bar Mix from just a couple years ago, both reviewed during the month of December on this blog. But it's all nuts. It's all nuts and rosemary.

And if you're nuts about rosemary, that's a good thing. There are visible flecks of the stuff on nearly every nut. And it's a great lot of nuts for just about seven bucks. The vast majority of the nuts in our tub were completely whole, with a minority of the cashews being halves. They're all seriously high quality.

I think I might have enjoyed this more if there had been crackers or crisps or pretzels of some sort to soothe the raging carbivore within me. There's a fair amount of sea salt here, and just a hint of sunflower oil and sugar, so the nuts aren't entirely undressed. Fortunately, Sonia and I like cashews, pecans, almonds, and hazelnuts quite a bit.

Rosemary? I'm good with rosemary when it plays second fiddle to other flavors. The nuts are fairly rosemary-forward here. I'm totally down for a handful or two at a time, and then I have to back off. Sonia's the same way, but in general, she's a tad more wary of too much rosemary.

Wary of rosemary. Heh. That rhymes.

But she actually threw me a curveball here. She thinks the rosemary balance with the nut flavor is just about right. She's significantly more into these than I am, and she's on record not liking products because of "too much rosemary" in the past. I'm thinking specifically of Trader Joe's Turkey-Less Stuffed Roast we reviewed many years ago.

I'll go with three stars here for the good quality and decent value. Sonia will throw out four stars. I'll just say if you LOVE the taste of rosemary, I think a projected score for this one might be closer to 8 or 9. But for us, we'll give Trader Joe's Nuts About Rosemary about seven total stars.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Friday, December 2, 2022

Trader Joe's Mini Peppermint Meringues

I've admitted before on this blog that I'm not big into the texture of meringues. I think it was in a review of the
Vienna Coffee Meringues that I likened the texture of Trader Joe's meringue cookies to chalk. These are really no different. So why try them at all you ask?

Because sometimes Trader Joe's surprises me. And even more frequently than that, I surprise myself. Somehow, peppermint lends itself to crunchy, sugary stuff more than most flavors. I guess I'm thinking of candy canes. I'd always be too impatient to suck the thing slowly, and I'd just snap a big piece off and start crunching away, much to the chagrin of my parents and childhood dentist.

Anyway, if I could chew hard candy peppermint as a kid, I guess I can give these airy, crunchy peppermint dealies a try. At least these are meant to be crunched rather than sucked, so there's that. However, I can't imagine they're much better for your teeth than a candy cane.

The flavor is fine. It's candy cane-esque, with sugar and egg white mixed in there. I still can't fully get past the texture, though. I'm fine chomping on one or two at a time, but I could never really see myself craving these sweets over any other type of cookies or candy.

I guess one reason people like them is the zero fat content and low calorie count. If not for the sugar content, these might be considered keto-friendly. In fact, the serving suggestion says 11 "cookies" are only 80 calories. I had to see what other folks were saying about these meringues around the web and stumbled across a review that summed up my feelings on the subject nearly exactly: "I'm convinced that eating 11 of these would put you in the hospital, needing an IV insulin drip."

He's right. Eating 11 of these in one sitting should be called the Trader Joe's Mini Peppermint Meringues Challenge and should be regarded with the same contempt that sane folks have for things like swallowing an entire Carolina reaper pepper or a whole shaker of cinnamon while filming oneself on TikTok.

$2.99 for the tub of ~38 mini meringues isn't a bad value. I definitely wouldn't buy them again. Predictably, Sonia tolerated them a bit better than I did, but she's not down for a repeat buy either. I think we're looking at about three stars each on Trader Joe's Mini Peppermint Meringues.

Bottom line: 6 out of 10.