Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Trader Joe's World's Puffiest Sour Cream and Onion Corn Puffs

Hey everybody! Sorry for the extended break ... just a few days after the latest post, family Christmas celebrations kicked into high gear, and in my family that means lots and lots of food, homemade, nonstop. I'm talking hundreds of cookies, cheesebread, Swedish tea ring, pork roast, mashed potatoes, ham, mac and cheese, cheese omelets, etc. All that good I thought I was doing at the gym went down the tube (kinda literally!). Mix that in with a few days of recovery time, a little rest for the taste buds, and finally I feel like I can make honest reviews again. No offense to Trader Joe, but there's nothing that he can offer up that can compete with any of my family's homemade goodies.

Quick sidenote: My sis got me not one but two TJ cookbooks where everything in the recipe is made from TJ foodstuffs. Awesome gift, and looking forward to trying out some dishes - if I stumble across anything particularly good, I'll share for sure.

TJ's Sour Cream and Onion Corn Puffs made a good first entry back into regular non-holiday fare. I'll take his world that they're the "World's Puffiest" - I haven't exactly spanned the globe a la Andrew Zimmern and tasted corn puffs from across the international food spectrum while making as many happy sighs and groans as he does. But they are pretty puffy. Texture-wise, they are a treat. Although in appearance they resemble packing peanuts, they're definitely crunchy on the exterior with their puffy popcorn-like interior filling out the shell, so they're not quite like Cheetos either. They'd be pretty crappy if they were all puff and no crunch. In case you were wondering, they're strictly puffs with no kernels like popcorn. They're light and easy to munch down, not terribly filling, which makes grabbing a couple handfuls and chowing down just a little too easy to do. They're just okay taste-wise, I'd say. The onion flavor is subtle yet prevalent - it seems to be a light coating of mild onion salt (i.e, complete opposite of Funyun-style salt orgy). The sour cream doesn't seem to make its way on every puff. It's more like little sour cream pockets here and there that are pretty noticeable when your taste buds find them. I guess this way they're better by the handful then they are individually.

These guys are kind of hard to rate. Both Sandy and I like them, but don't consider them to be that spectacular. Yet when we tried them the other day, we had to rip the bag away from us and close it up after eating way too many of them. Maybe it was their crunchy, puffy texture or maybe it was their little sour cream blasts, but we wolfed down half the bag in not a lot of time. Of course, it could have just been our appetites still coming down off their holiday high. Sandy gave them a solid 3 out of 5 Golden Spoons - "a good, average snack" is what she said. I agree with her assessment and give them a 3 as well. The jury's out to see if they'll be a repeat buy.

Bottom line: 6 out of 10 Golden Spoons

1 comment:

  1. I like the white cheddar version of these better... but yes, waaay too easy to eat the better part of a bag without really noticing!

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