Anyone else remember the good ol' days when there was just the variety pack from Quaker Oats, and not much else? How innocent and quaint.
I guess portable snackage is on the rise with our busy lifestyles. Like a lot of you, I'm sure, I got kids and fairly regular 10 hour work days to make ends meet. Food intake is sometimes completely dependent on what's convenient, but since I want what I eat to be healthy (or at least healthy-ish), as do a lot of folks, but everyone has their different ideas...well, that explains the market maybe.
Adding to the noise is good ol' TJ's with the new line of Trader Joe's Simply Nutty Bars. There's three varieties, of which I've sampled the two pictured, the Dark Chocolate, Nuts and Sea Salt bar as well as the Dark Chocolate, Walnut, Peanut, Fig & Date Bar. Not shown, and not tried, because it sounded the least interesting of them all, is the Dark Chocolate, Peanut and Almond Bar which comes in a orangey box. It's different from the sea salted bar mostly because it lacks walnuts and sea salt from what I can tell, so probably a little plainer.
Out of these two, I'd say I probably enjoy the dark chocolate, walnut, peanut, fig and date one more, and it's not just for the always appreciated ampersand. They're not figgy or date-y like Larabars (which I really enjoy, for the record), but instead they get reduced down to a paste that kinda fills the gaps between the nuts while adding a flavor depth, if that makes sense. The sea salt bar is pretty good in its own right, but it sticks mostly to a classic nut and chocolate mix with a trace of salt added. There's just something more to the figs and dates one.
Oh, and chocolate. Oh yes. There's a pretty good drizzling on the topside of each bar, with the backs completely dipped. And, as is custom with pretty miuch anything TJ's with dark chocolate, it's fairly high quality and tasty too - not exactly Belgian, but not Hershey's either. I'd reckon it's in the 60% dark range or so, and there's enough in there to give me the midafternoon chocolate boost I need, with enough nuts and protein to keep me from getting too hangry, that make skipping my cubicle neighbors' candy dishes so much easier.
Sandy and I both like what we've tried. We're suckers for this kinda stuff, and at $4.99 for a five pack, TJ's seems to be selling them at more than fair market price. At some point we'll probably try out the Dark Chocolate, Peanut and Almond Bar, but if you have, please comment away and let us know if we've missed something special (or not) there. We approve.
Bottom line: Trader Joe's Simply Nutty Bars: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons (both varieties)