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, January 18, 2017

Trader Joe's Crispy Crunchy Okra

Ah...dry, salty, crunchified plants. America has a love/hate relationship with you, doesn't it? 

Just look at the raging debate in the comments section below our Trader Joe's Kale Chips review. "I loved these!" "I hated these!" "Great review!" "Terrible review!" There's no "These were moderately enjoyable" comments. People are passionate when it comes to their opinion about kale chips. Broccoli florets, too—which I also enjoyed. Heck, I'm a pretty big fan of Trader Joe's Contemplates...Inner Peas for that matter. 
Also see: chiptastic parsnips and beets.

But now, it's okra's turn to get snackified. 

Appropriately, Sonia and I are still meandering around the Dirty South, where okra is a popular ingredient in many local and regional cuisines. Also known as "ladies' fingers," (not to be confused with ladyfingers) each of these plants is about the size of...well, a lady's finger. They're green, full of seeds, and normally somewhat slimy on the inside. But in this case, they're delectably crisp, arid, and brittle.

There are plenty of suggestions for ways to consume these crispy little fellows on the packaging—but I'll be honest, I never got a chance to try them any way other than popping them directly from the bag into my mouth. 

Sonia only had a handful, and that was plenty for her. She said, "They don't taste like anything!" After pressing her for more details, she mentioned that she thought they tasted like green beans, but even more bland. I can understand the comparison to green beans, but I think their flavor is slightly more squash-like than that. Plus, they're salty, and the tiny bit of rice bran oil gives them flavor as well.

I didn't enjoy them quite as much as the kale chips or the broccoli florets, but I did like them and would consider purchasing them again. At $1.99 a bag, they're the least expensive of the three, and they pack plenty of vitamins, protein, and fiber along with their salty snackability. I give them four solid stars. Sonia can't give more than two. It's a definite thumbs-up from me, thumbs-down from her. Fair enough.

Bottom line: 6 out of 10.

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