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, November 13, 2013

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Cashew Brittle with Sea Salt

Have you seen those Jimmy Kimmel videos of parents who tell their kids that they ate all of their Halloween candy? It's so cruel yet just so hilarious. I'm not sure that I'd ever do such a thing to my daughter when she's old enough for trick-or-treating and a big pillowcase full of candy to gorge herself on within three days just like how dear ol' dad used to do.

But I have no problem doing that with Sandy. None whatsoever. So one night, as she was coming down from upstairs, I hid the last few remnants of our box of Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Cashew Brittle with Sea Salt in our utensil drawer. When she asked where it was, I simply said, "Umm, sorry, ate it all." Please note: this was entirely plausible, as let's just say I have a history. Her reaction: Perfect, from the initial eyebrow raising, to the lip mini-quiver, to a definite pout, to only semi-playfully punching me in the arm. By that, I mean it's a good thing I don't bruise easily. It's also good that I'm a terrible liar (I smile waaaay too much), so she only half-believed me and took it easy. To really sell this next time, maybe I need to go get that plastic surgery some poker players get to help disguise their tells. 

Long time readers may know of my crazed, professed love of Trader Joe's Peanut Brittle. Seriously, it got weird for a while. It's safe to say I'm not quite as enamored with this particular version. It's not that it's not tasty or anything like that. Quite to the contrary. Much like it's aforementioned brethren, there's plenty of pieces the size of Greenland mixed in with itty bitty shards. Each piece is also definitely thicker than most brittles, adding an even bigger-than-usual crunch, and the sea salt makes a nice little addition. That's all well and good.

But there's two issues: the nuts and the chocolate. By "nuts" I more precisely mean nut distribution - some of those mega pieces had scarcely a nut or two in them, and if they were in there, they were hiding pretty deep down where you couldn't see them - like I said, it's very thick brittle. Meanwhile, some of the postage stamp-sized pieces had five gazillion cashews in them, which seems impossible except it isn't. Must be Time Lord technology, being bigger on the inside and all. And the chocolate - well, it's certainly good chocolate, as is most if not all of TJ's dark chocolate selections, but it just doesn't add that much, and instead kinda muddies the flavor some. Think about it this way: you already have a bunch of salty nuts fossilized into a rock solid chunk of corn syrup - how much more do you really need to play up the salty/sweet angle?

All that being said, yeah, Sandy and I housed it over two nights. The box isn't that big where we feel too guilty about it. It wasn't a terrible pick up for the four bucks or so, and it stands a more-than-decent chance to be a repeat purchase, even if just for something like a worky-office-holiday-party-type thing. Sandy's between three and a half or four spoons, and I'm a smidge behind that.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Cashew Brittle with Sea Salt: 6.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons  

1 comment:

  1. The candy cane truffles, also of the holiday candy section, are seriously fantastic. I picked up a bag yesterday, and cannot stop eating them.