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, November 26, 2012

Trader Joe's Cocoa Drizzled Kettle Corn

My beautiful, lovely wife Sandy, with whom I have just celebrated three years of married bliss, usually has a lot of really good ideas, but a somewhat enigmatic sense of timing with them. A recent, classic example of this is her recent push for us to join Weight Watchers. We're both packing a few extra pounds these days - she with the completely, 100% valid reason of shedding off a few more stubborn pounds after having our baby a few months back, and me with the not-as-completely, perhaps 50% valid reason of too many sympathy cheeseburgers along throughout the pregnancy. Now, I'm not opposed to joining Weight Watchers - I know it's done well for a lot of folks and hey, I could use the help - but really, talking about it the week leading up to Thanksgiving, with holiday parties and Christmas right around the corner? I mean, she knows what our moms are capable of around the holidays when the family's all together, and there's no way that's conducive to anything resembling a weight loss management plan. There's a reason why people wait until New Year's Day until to really start making a concerted effort about such things. Now, if she would have said, "Hey, let's start trying to watch what we eat, eat some stuff in moderation, mix in a salad every so often, blahblahblah" and then after Christmas drop in the bit about Weight Watchers, then there's a good chance I wouldn't consider the timing as odd.

Of course, perhaps it wouldn't strike me as odd at all if at the same time she wasn't downright adamant that we snag a bag of Trader Joe's Cocoa Drizzled Kettle Corn. Popcorn by itself is a perfectly healthy, tasty treat, and probably kettle corn isn't all that bad for you, either. And maybe even putting little chocolate stripies on kettle corn isn't the worst thing in the world, but it just seems a little, I don't know...the word "gratuitous" comes to mind. I don't think it's needed to have a little treat that's perfectly fine on it's own. At least, so I thought.

As it turns out...this is pretty darn tasty popcorn. Solely considering the "sans cocoa" portion of the kettle corn, it's pretty standard fare. It's got the right texture and the right crunch to it, with a little sweet and a little salt. There's not much to write home about it, though, which doesn't mean it's not good (because it certainly is), it just isn't amazing or even all that noteworthy. But drizzle on a little milk chocolate, and now we're talking. Unlike other salty choco-covered snackies at TJ's, there's not too much chocolate, so you can still taste the slightly salty sweetness of the popcorn while enjoying the Hershey-fied goodness. One thing about the chocolate, though, and this can be viewed as a plus or a minus: like a second degree burn or a broken-down Dalek, it's very sensitive to the touch. In just the few seconds to transfer each bit from bag to mouth via hand, the chocolate got melty enough to leave brown spotty residue all over our hands. The positive spin is, think of it as built-in portion control as grabbing it by the handful would create a mess. On the other hand, well, in the wrong hands there will be a mess to deal with. Judge as you will.

I forgot to ask Sandy how she would score this. If there's anything I've learned over the past fourish months, it's: Don't wake up the baby ever and don't wake up the mama until absolutely necessary. Asking her for her score doesn't make the cut, so I'll just have to guess it for her. Hmmm...well, despite our much-conversed about healthy eating aspirations, we both kinda housed the bag in two short sessions of watching Dr. Who (hence the Dalek reference) and I can tell we both enjoyed it roughly equally, except perhaps one of us more than the other, though I'm not sure which one of us that would be. Eh well. Split as you see fit.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Cocoa Drizzled Kettle Corn: 8.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

1 comment:

  1. "In just the few seconds to transfer each bit from bag to mouth via hand, the chocolate got melty enough to leave brown spotty residue all over our hands.

    Funny you mentioned that....
    I hate this stuff for that reason.
    Great flavor, but within 2 small handfuls, you're fingers are covered with sticky chocolate. Bleagh.

    www.tjsartisthub.com

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