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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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Trader Joe's Uncured Black Forest Bacon

There comes a time when you just have to be honest and come clean. That's me right now. As much as I've tried to delude myself into thinking I'm a vegetarian, as much as I've actually wanted to be a vegetarian, I no longer honestly refer to myself that way. I've tried living a more-or-less meatfree existence the past few months, partially for health reasons (I've dropped close to 40 pounds since January!), but man, meat keep sneaking it's way back in. At first I was okay with still eating fish and shrimp and stuff like that, so much more accurately, I was pescetarian. Then I tried the mantle of "gracious vegeterian", as in, if I'm somewhere for dinner and meat's what's for dinner, I will graciously accept that, I just won't choose to eat it if given the choice. That worked for a bit. Then...well...onwards and forwards and blah diddly blah blah, Sandy and I thought it'd be okay if we purchased a weekly "meat cheat" and since our last one was so severely disappointing, we had to make up for it this time around.

Hence the Trader Joe's Uncured Black Forest Bacon we picked up our last trip. Oh goodness. No picture I could take of the this bacon could truly do it justice. It's thick cut, with much more meat per slice than first glance, and dark and sweet and savory. Being semi-lazy and weary of grease spatter burn circles on my forearms, when making bacon I usually opt for the baking-in-the-over option. Though easier, it's also much easier to overbake and blacken, which is a death knell for many an inferior pork strip. Not so with these guys. Even when they got a little scorched, the crisp and crunch remained in tact, with the full flavor of sweet salty pork, without even a trace of it turning to charcoal. There's some other TJ bacon that I've enjoyed, and perhaps maybe it was more the previously bacon-less existence I led for far too long talking, but man, this was absolutely terrific and well worth the fivespot we dropped on the package.

It was after we cooked up the second go-around that Sandy and I came to the realization that yes, we cannot honestly call ourselves vegetarians. I think we're okay with that. We'll probably still skip it at least a few nights a week, so a little more intentional that just observing a Meatless Monday. I'm just glad we made this decision before heading up to Cleveland and hitting up the Westside Market because man....so much good looking meat there, we packed up a Styrofoam cooler to truck back down to the 'burgh, along with some TJ drinky drinks we'll review soon. Thanks, bacon, for being yummy and keeping us honest. Sandy goes with a four, as do I, plus an extra half-spoon just 'cause.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Uncured Black Forest Bacon: 8.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

3 comments:

  1. I tried being the 100% vegetarian-- can't do it either... our bodies need some form of protein-meat that is... I will have the applewood bacon from tj every now and then... no shellfish since they're bottom feeders... any wild fish-no farm raised...and chicken every so often. the best diet is the mediterranean one.. its well balanced minus the lamb...

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  2. You should check out paleo! I've been paleo for the past month, and I've shed a few pounds. Basically, I avoid grains, legumes, and dairy, and focus on veggies, meats, nuts, and fruit. Best of all, I eat whatever and whenever I want to eat. And I've felt much more energetic than before.

    I suggest you give it a try! Just google "paleo diet" and tons of resources pop up. Honestly, I used to be a vegetarian and finally switched over to paleo when I found that I could eat MEAT while staying healthy and happy. I know, it sounds too good to be true, but it really did work for me!

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  3. I tried this bacon and it was so awful I can't begin to tell you. I love bacon and don't worry about what category of food it is because good nutrition is not achieved that way, but the celery taste in this bacon made it inedible to me. Down with celery powder in bacon. I will never eat bacon with this ingredient again.

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