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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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Trader Joe's Crunchy Curls

Lentil and potato snacks? Sounds like hippie food to me. Luckily, I'm pretty well in touch with my inner-hippie. No, I'm not really into free love or smoking pot or anything like that, but I'm all about recycling and peace and unique gluten-free snack foods.

As some of you may be aware, I am also a junk food cowboy of sorts, and I'll eat anything that's overly sweet or salty or bad for me. However, that's not the end of the story. I'm pretty open to new things, and some healthy stuff really grabs me for reasons I can't quite always explain. Like these.

Lentils are the unsung heroes of the legume world. Rich with fiber, minerals, and protein, they make good soup, and apparently, pretty decent crunchable snacky things. I've always liked the taste of lentils. So earthy and hearty...they're like meaty little vegetables. As healthy things go, lentils have just about as good a flavor as anything I've tried. Sonia is amazed that they're so filling and yet have so few calories. Good job, nature. The lentil has our seal of approval. Now...if you could do something about the taste of cauliflower...

And these lentils are spirals. They're really, really curly. There's a certain novelty to the heavily-curled nature of these snacks. Curly-fries are curled, and so are Fritos. But they're not as curly as these little curlicues. Curl-o-rama. And they're really, really crunchy. If there's one thing I'm a fan of, it's when a product lives up to its name. I don't like to be tricked. If the bag says "crunchy" and "curly," then the crunchiness and curliness factors better be well above average. And in this case, they are. I'm thinking the potatoes may be mostly responsible for the crunchiness, a la Trader Joe's Veggie Sticks.

I'm not sure why I like these so much. They aren't bursting with sweetness or saltiness or anything like that...they're just wholesome and rich—and yet somehow still light. I give them a 3.5. Sonia gives them a 4. Really darn good all the way.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

11 comments:

  1. Lentils are great. I currently live in the "lentil capital" of the United States, and my city hosts the National Lentil Festival every August :)

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    1. Would that be Washington state? Sounds like a great event.

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    2. Yep! I go to Washington State University. It is a really fun event - they make a huge vat of lentil chili and everyone gets a free bowl! :)

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    3. My wife would probably love to visit that someday. Sounds like a lot of fun.

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  2. Yep, I'll have to find those.

    However, the taste of cauliflower is perfect the way it is, you madman.

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  3. This is my "potato chip," sort of a splurge for me when I crave something savory. Knowing that they have decent fiber and protein makes them all the better.. love these!

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  4. I love these! They are super crunchy, but not greasy. Also, you get a pretty good bang for your buck from a caloric standpoint. Couldn't get my kids on board with these though. Oh well, more for me.

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  5. I love lentils. Hopefully, I see these at my TJs soon.

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  6. roast cauliflower that's been liberally coated with olive oil and salt at 400 for 25-30 minutes on a baking sheet. make sure to cut into small pieces and spread the pieces out. it's done when the cauliflower is nicely browned and crispy. I bet it will make you change your mind.

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