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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Trader Joe's Chocolate Peanut Butter Mochi


Mochi, the traditional Thanksgiving treat. Right?

Right?

No?

Oh well.

So many good seasonal treats out at TJ's right now....problem is, we seem to have covered most in years past, or just haven't spotted them. Didn't eat it, can't review it. So that's how we got stuck with posting about Trader Joe's Chocolate Peanut Butter Mochi the day before Turkey Day Stuff Fest.

If you've had TJ's mochi in the past, you know more or less what to expect here. This particular interpretation has much the same touch and feel of other TJ mochi offerings - dry, chewy rice flour exterior, firm, chilly, surprisingly melt resistant ice cream in the middle. Highly portable, very snackable and just plain fun, except this time with the classic pairing of peanut butter and chocolate.

Well, peanut butter at least.

That's the main problem. The chocolate rice mochi shell is scarcely cocoa-fied at all. It's...bland. It's...just kinda there, and that's it. If I strained my taste buds enough, there's some strands of chocolate to be detected, but there's not nearly enough.

The pb ice cream is more towards the subtle side too, instead of extra sugary over the top like some commercial offerings. That's fine and it totally works - it's pretty darn tasty. It's just that it'd be really nice to have that play off some chocolate a bit, and it just doesn't happen.

Eh well. The moch are still pretty decent as is - my beautiful bride, our kiddos and I had no issue downing our share. I don't recall the price but it's no more than a couple bucks for the box of six, which is reasonable enough value. Double threes.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Chocolate Peanut Butter Mochi: 6 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Monday, November 25, 2019

Trader Joe's Cauliflower & Cheesy Pasta Shells

At first, I thought Trader Joe's was substituting pasta shells completely with cauliflower in this dish. It seemed like the most Joesian thing to do. 

You feel me on the use of the term "Joesian"? It means Trader Joe's-esque, as in, What Would Trader Joe's Do? Because Trader Joe's loves to swap out normal foods with cauliflower. It's super Joesian.

Just check the search term "cauliflower" on our blog. We've seen them swap out pancakes, rice, pizza crust, mashed potatoes, and much, much more...with cauliflower. Nothing but cauliflower.

Now they're keeping the pasta, but throwing cauliflower into the mix. I guess it's lower in carbs, but obviously not carb-free. I honestly wouldn't have minded a dish sans pasta. Cheesy cauliflower with a little panko would have been just fine with me. The pasta shells keep the look, feel, and taste just a tad more familiar...and it works.


In truth, I don't think the cauliflower adds a whole lot. But like I said, it might be taking away some of the carbs. It smells of cauliflower even more than it tastes like cauliflower, in my opinion. 

This dish is tasty because of the oodles of warm, gooey ricotta and fontina cheese, with just a bit of dry, crunchy complexity from the panko. I love panko bread crumbs. Wouldn't have minded a whole lot more of it here in Trader Joe's Cauliflower and Cheesy Pasta Shells.

It's possible to tell which little bits of the dish are pasta and which are roasted cauliflower pieces, but they really don't taste all that different to me. I went the lazy route here and microwaved the dish, although both microwave and oven heating methods are listed. During the stirring process, I mixed most of the panko into the mostly melted cheese, except around the edges, where a nice, firm panko crust remained. I wish I'd left the panko-encrusted top intact, because it was probably my favorite part of the meal.


There's still plenty of fat and cholesterol in this product, so it's not really diet food, unless you're just aiming to consume slightly less carbs. I mean, pasta isn't the first thing you'd want on a low carb diet, but if you were going to splurge, cauliflower plus pasta is better than pasta alone I suppose. I give three and a half stars to this cauliflower & cheesy pasta shells microwave dinner. Sonia gives it four. 

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Trader Joe's An Assortment of Boozy Little Chocolate Truffles


Overall, Pennsylvania is a pretty good state to live in. Respectable weather more times than not, decent economy, reasonable cost of living (especially around Pittsburgh), good schools, two major cities with plenty enough culture and opportunities between them, lots of mountains and lakes, lots of cool, interesting towns. I've lived in three different parts of the state and have loved them all.

But not to say we're perfect. Biggest thing: Our so-called "blue laws." Although not really enforced, in some places it's technically illegal to play pool on Sundays. One law that is: can't buy cars on Sundays still. And most pertinent to this review: can't buy alcohol at grocery stores or gas stations, at least without jumping through some hoops.

So, yeah, while most of you enjoy the glory of TJ's with some sort of alcohol at them, we don't. So when superfans of our blog like Elaine from California offer to send us stuff like Trader Joe's An Assortment of Boozy Little Chocolate Truffles (can't buy 'em here!) we're all on board. Thanks Elaine!

Yup, at no more than 2.2% alcohol, these truffles are too boozed and infused to be on the shelves here. Though, let's be honest, at such a low percentage you're more likely to get buzzed from all the sugar instead of any of the spirits.

As you can see, there's four types of truffles here. Each kind is distinctly marked, roughly marble-sized, and packaged as nine pieces, so there are 36 truffles altogether. All have a soft chocolate shell with a oozy boozy caramelly center. Let's break down each, in order of preference.

Prosecco: Enrobed in white chocolate. Delish. These are easily the sweetest of the bunch. The sweetness of the white chocolate and prosecco play very well off each other, and is quite a pleasant experience. Sandy's favorite, and my second.

Scotch whiskey: Dark chocolate. Definitely the other end of the spectrum from the prosecco ones. Perhaps the most decadent of the bunch? I'd definiterly say the most rich. But the dark chocolate really is a good framework for the earthy goodness of the whiskey to shine through. My favorite, Sandy's second.

Navy rum: Navy rum? Never heard of navy rum. I blame my Puritancal upbringing. These are milk chocolate with a dark chocolate drizzle. Not terribly notable, a good solid truffle, and one can definitely taste the rum, but they are definitely the least distinct of the bunch.

London gin: Probably love or hate, depending on how much you like gin. There's definitely a certain sweet pine-y gin flavor poking thru the regular chocolate. I liked my second more than my first, but still, not the best here. Not awful. Sandy's not huge on them, making them the lowest on the totem pole here.

So there ya have it. Candy with booze for all the grownups for your holiday get-together. I'd say slip a few to the kiddos to make them crash, but that's irresponsible and would probably backfire anyways - much more sugar than spirits here.

Each box runs $6.99 which seems pretty reasonable all things considered. Must be 21 and not in Pennsylvania to buy. We like 'em just fine.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's An Assortment of Boozy Little Chocolate Truffles: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Trader Joe's Hold the Corn! Appetizers



Hold the corn! That must be a pun on "Hold the phone!" But wait, that doesn't rhyme—not even close. Ah, Trader Joe's must be making a play on "Hold the cone!" which is, in turn, a pun on "Hold the phone!" I guess TJ's is making fun of themselves. Unless this is somehow a play on "Hold the horns!" you know...like you "hold the bull by the horns," buuut that's a stretch.

The inspiration behind the title of this product means nothing if the product doesn't taste good. Fortunately, it does. Oh how it does.

The rice wrapper here is crispy, dry. The veggie-based filling is moist and fairly rich, but not overpowering in any way. The primary flavors are sweet corn (imagine that) along with some onion, the rice from the shell, and juuust a hint of spice from the red chili powder, green peppercorns, and garlic.


I could have sworn I detected the taste and texture of quinoa up in the mix, but alas, there is none listed on the ingredients. They aren't excessively greasy or oily. The nutrition info here is very reasonable, considering how utterly delectable these things are.

There's also the slightest suggestion that these are somehow veggie spring rolls that want to be dipped in a sweet and sour sauce of some kind. I might have tried that pairing if we'd had any packets laying around. Most people might not have that inclination—Sonia certainly didn't—but I'm big into condiments, and I always want to dip my appetizers in something—maybe an avocado salsa or chipotle sauce would have worked here...? I would have even slathered them with melted cheese of some kind—not that they really needed it. They didn't last long enough to be experimented upon. Perhaps we'll try them with dips upon the next purchase—and there will be a next purchase.

Served as appetizers, these will certainly make your guests ready to eat more food. The only problem I can foresee is that the only thing they'll want to eat is more of these delicious cones of corn. Each one is like a mini cornucopia, perfect for Thanksgiving...or any other time for that matter. $3.99 for 12, found in the frozen section. Two big thumbs up and a very high recommendation from this nomadic half of WG@TJ's. Four and a half stars from me. Five stars from Sonia.

Bottom line: 9.5 out of 10.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Trader Joe's Rose Fingerling Potato Chips

Ooooh la la. Don't these sound fancy now? They're not just Trader Joe's Rose Fingerling Potato Chips, they have French Grey Guerande Sea Salt sprinkled on them! Never heard of that? Me neither! But sounds so fancy!

And look at them! They're called rose for a reason - they're pink! Well, they have pinkish swirls in them, at least. As the only male inhabitant of my household, I can attest to the fact that this only adds to the excitement of the purchase for most of my crowd, particularly the younger constituents.

Sound fancy, look fancy...do they taste fancy?

Mehhhhhhhhh.

In a blind taste test, I don't think I could tell these apart from any other crunchy kettle cooked chip. There's really nothing overly special here that I can detect. Crunchy, earthy, a little greasy, salty - yep, a good chip, for sure, but really not anything more than that.

Couple points though. First, either my local store's shipment had a particularly harrowing journey or these must be very fragile chips. I say this because the bag we bought was only about half-full, with lots of spud shards at the bottom. This seemed more than the norm. It's a good thing my girls and I like the little crumbies in our tummies because there were ample to go around.

Also: the price. It's not too horrible at $2.99, but that's more than the average bag at TJ's. It's also much smaller. Portion-wise, you're not getting as much bang for the buck as you could with other chips, which would be fine if the fingerlingers were a little more unique.

It's possible that maybe I'm just not sophisticated enough to fully appreciate the divine nature of these chippies, but neither would be my lovely bride, who is usually more attuned to those type of things. She took a bite or two and promptly labelled them as mediocre then let me and the kiddos squabble over the rest. 

We're unlikely to repurchase, as we don't buy chips too often anyways, and these were just meh at best.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Rose Fingerling Potato Chips: 5.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Friday, November 15, 2019

Trader Joe's Advent Calendar For Dogs


Do furry animals that sniff each other's butts, chase their own tails, and sleep at least 19 hours a day really need a countdown calendar to the wildly speculative birthdate of the central figure of a human religion? Probably not. But their owners definitely do—particularly ones that failed to procreate human offspring and fantasize about their canine "kids" being their actual children and spoil them with all manner of toys, clothing, and now decorative day-by-day treat-filled chronologies of the Yuletide season.

Like TJ's other advent calendars, the art work here is whimsical and cute. And like human advent calendars, there are 25 little perforated windows to open from December 1st until Christmas Day. Most of the doors have writing on the outside—blurbs from some very strange dog's Christmas list, including things like "my very own pet orca" and "a play date with Kwazi." Kwazi is apparently a gray parrot. Don't ask me.


Unfortunately, there's only one kind of treat within—the previously-reviewed salmon and sweet potato dog treats. I was hoping they'd throw our pooches a proverbial bone and mix it up a bit from day to day. Half the fun of an advent calendar is the surprise of what's behind the door. But I suppose the dogs don't know that. At least the treats are in different shapes and sizes—that is, some days have two treats, some have square treats, some are star-shaped, and Christmas Day has a big bone-shaped treat, but they're all the same flavor.

However, half the fun of a canine advent calendar is the thrill the pups' owners get when opening the door each day. I wish there were at least different bible verses or funny jokes behind the doors. They could have done something delightfully blasphemous like changing the passage about the three wise men into a story about a pug, an akita, and a Chinese crested from the east that came to admire a magical puppy in Bethlehem. Even if they had put the items from the dog's holiday wish list on the inside of the doors rather than the outside, at least there would have been some greater element of surprise.


Alfred and Sadie like the treats pretty well. They're not super picky when it comes to between-meal snacks—dog food, yes. They'll turn their noses up at anything that's not Fresh Pet these days.

There's little competition in the world of advent calendars for canis lupus familiaris, so these things apparently sell out very quickly from most Trader Joe's stores. There are cat calendars, too. 

At $5.99 for 25+ treats, it's not a bad value. When we reviewed the salmon treats before, Sadie seemed a little more eager to eat them than Alfie. This time around, Alfred didn't hesitate at all. In fact, he tried to break open the calendar for more. So...we'll say four paw prints a piece from Alf and Sadiebug.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Trader Joe's Holiday Herb Rolls

Every holiday meal we get together with my family, no matter all the other awesome stuff my family makes, it's always her cheesebread I look forward to the most. Philly cheesesteaks aren't Philly cheesesteaks if not on an Amoroso roll. Sandy's homemade rolls really make a great compliment to whenever I smoke some pulled pork.

There's just something about great bread that really makes a meal complete. Evidently it's called "breaking bread" for a reason.

In stores now, for those times you need a festive bread but are in a pinch, is Trader Joe's Holiday Herb Rolls.

Naturally, I'm not gonna tell you these rolls are as good as any respectable homemade bread. "Decent" is about all most rolls like these can aspire to. I don't feel like a snob in saying that, but maybe I'm just spoiled by too many good bakers.

Dinner last night was these savory rolls, sandwiching turkey, provolone and cranberry sauce and warmed in the oven. Nomnomnom. Thanksgiving in a sandwich, practically. Karen, our favorite TJ's employee, made that suggestion and my goodness it was another winner.

Ingredients, herbwise: parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme. Like the lyrics to "Scarborough Fair", except these rolls just also have to have marjoram as well - oh well. Let's not quibble too much here - the spice blend works very well all together, and compliments the enriched wheat base well.

Heated up in the oven, these savory herb rolls got a little crispy/toasty on the outside and filled our kitchen with their herby aroma. Inside the rolls, the dough still remained soft and chewy when eaten - perfect. My kids loved them, even my oldest who randomly decided she didn't like cranberry sauce. Sandy loves anything with rosemary, so these were a win with her, easily.

Easy rolls for a festive get-together in a busy upcoming holiday season - they're worth a buy at only about $3 for a dozen pull apart rolls. Likely, these rolls will pair well with most meals or menus. For those times when homemade just isn't possible, these should do just fine.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Holiday Herb Rolls: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Trader Joe's Fall Zucchette Pasta

In the whitebread central Pennsylvania neighborhood I grew up in, there weren't a whole lot of Italian folks. I had a long-time babysitter with the last name "Capriotti," but minestrone soup was probably the extent of Italian culture I experienced under her care. Of course, every American eats his share of pizza and spaghetti throughout childhood and beyond, but even now at forty, I'm still learning about Italian pastries and pastas that are completely new to me. "Zucchette" is a prime example.

Googling the term wasn't much help in this case. There's not even a wiki for zucchette pasta as far as I can tell. In fact, this Trader Joe's product is one of only a handful of references on the entire internet. I'm gathering that "zucchette" might just mean the pasta is inspired by or contains gourds, pumpkins, or squash. This product does both—that is, it contains butternut squash, and its shape is evidently inspired by pumpkins.


The taste is quite a lot like any other pasta I've had, with just the slightest hint of something earthy. That subtlest hint of extra richness must be, I guess, from the dehydrated butternut squash within. It's a shame we only had traditional marinara sauce on hand. I would have liked to try this with the Autumnal Harvest Creamy Sauce. Its squashy flavors may have helped bring out the butternut squash flavor in this pasta here. As it stands, any squash taste is completely and utterly overshadowed by whatever cheese or sauces you might serve this with. 

Still, it's a bag of decent pasta, each little pumpkin shape a substantial bite. Sometimes a dab of sauce and cheese fills the void in the center of the pumpkin, and you get a particularly robust forkful of flavor. 

For $1.99, this isn't a bad purchase at all. It's plenty for a meal for two adults, or as a side for four or so. I'm guessing this product might be done for the season already, unless there are a few specimens lingering on the shelves in your area for some reason. In all likelihood, it will be back circa September 2020. Or...maybe not.

There's not much improvement here over traditional shells or what have you, but nothing is taken away, either. If that butternut squash flavor were a bit more potent, we might have had a real winner here. Four stars from me. Three from Sonia.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Trader Joe's Focaccia Bread

When/where/how did the term "Karen" become such a pejorative?

"Ugh...she was a real Karen."

"She's got that Karen haircut."

"I'd like to speak to the manager...oh."

We can get our laughs, but know this doesn't apply to everyone named Karen. Especially Karen, who works at the Pittsburgh North Trader Joe's, the one my family and I happen to shop at the most.

She's awesome.

Understatement? Yes. She recognizes us everytime and asks how we're doing. My kids love her. She's always full of recommendations and if she happens to be working the sample station, she'll sneak me and the kids extra. Always friendly, and it's not just to us. A few years ago, she was recognized for outstanding service TJ's by getting to ride their float during the Rose Bowl Parade.

So, when Karen sneaks a loaf of Trader Joe's Focaccia Bread into your cart and says "this one's on me," you go with it, review it, and give her a little shout out. Thanks, Karen!

Solid recommendation here. I'll admit, stuff like this isn't on our usual radar. But man, it should be. This bread is awesome.

Opening the bag lets out a hearty aroma of roasted tomato, parmesan, a little olive oil and carby goodness. It's intoxicating. And it gets even better when warming up in the oven, if that's your thing. Anticipation levels were running high.

When ready...oh man. Super crusty outside, warm soft inside, doughy, full of bite...it's got the feel that literally says nomnomnom.

The parmesan and roasted tomatoes add a mild flavor that doesn't overpower the bread. It's a light and pleasant flavor, perfect for spreading on a little butter or dipping in some olive oil. Or you can be weird like my almost five year old and put strawberry jam on it....okay maybe not that last one. Whatever, she was happy.

I'm not sure how this tastes so fresh, without there being an instore bakery, because it really does have that freshmade feel. In all honesty, this is one of the best store bought breads I've had in quite some time. The TJ's focaccia is pale in comparison to anything homemade, so don't worry Mom, your cheese bread is still king, and Sandy, I'll nom on your challah anytime. But I'm so happy with this.

This focaccia admittedly was a freebie for us, so I can't tell you a price. But I'll tell you I'm being honest in my assessment. Four spoons from both my lovely bride and me. Even the Karen-est of Karens (which our Karen is not!) can live, laugh and love with this loaf.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Focaccia Bread: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Trader Joe's Mixed Mushroom & Spinach Quiche


Yes, yes. I know, I know. I shouldn't review something with an ingredient I don't like. 

I've confessed on this blog before that I don't like mushrooms very much. I even have a mild allergic reaction to most mushrooms. But every once in a while, I'll eat them anyway—like, just because they're there and I'm too lazy to go to the store and purchase a mushroom-free alternative. Sonia used to have weird reactions to certain species of mushrooms, too, but she seems to have outgrown that sensitivity. That's one of the many reasons why she purchased this product.

I'm pretty much okay with this quiche, because, as Sonia noted, there aren't a ton of big mushroom chunks. There's a moderate amount of shroomy bits floating about the mixture, but they get overshadowed by the spinach, cheese, and buttery crust.


"Shouldn't the word 'spinach' go before the word 'mushroom' if there's more of it in the mixture?" asked the wife. "I guess they were listing them in alphabetical order," she mused.

I think they were going for alliteration with the pairing of "mixed" and "mushroom" side by side and also, perhaps, mushrooms are a bigger selling point for most people, so they wanted to lead with that. Whatever. Doesn't matter. We both agree there's more spinach than mushrooms. I guess that's the point I'm trying to make.

The overall flavor is eggy, cheesy, and buttery. It's nice—kinda typical for a quiche, I guess, but since I don't have quiche all that often, it still feels like a treat in a way. It's fairly rich, but when you consider the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol, I'm actually kind of surprised it doesn't taste even more indulgent.


In light of the nutrition facts, I'd say a couple should split this one quiche between the two of them and pair it up with some sides, rather than eating it as a single serving as the package suggests. That's basically what we did, except if I tell you what we had as our sides, you'll never ever read my reviews again because you'll realize how far from foodie-hood we really are. What do you even serve quiche with? A salad? Soup? I don't even know. Okay, I'll tell you what we had it with. Sonia had it with a bowl of blueberry Kashi cereal and I had it with a piece of peanut butter toast. Don't judge.

And in case you're wondering, no, I do not recommend either of those sides as a pairing for this quiche.

The price is right at $2.49 for the fairly filling dish, but I don't think we'll buy it on the regular because atherosclerosis doesn't sound like fun. Three and a half stars a piece.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Trader Joe's Cuban Style Citrus Garlic Bowl

For a dude who's been co-writing this blog for over eight years now, you think I'd have a better pulse check on the new products pipeline for Trader Joe's. Lol. Nope, not at all. It's not accurate to say "painfully oblivious" as TJ's tends to be quite secretive about things, but normally I don't hear or see anything new until my lovely bride tells me about an Instragram or Facebook post she saw. That makes me about 1,876,542nd in line to hear about anything.

I'd settle for just jumping her place and finding out about anything before she even has a chance to tell me about it.

And finally, I got my chance with the new Trader Joe's Cuban Style Citrus Garlic Bowl.

Ha! I told her about it! I'm the one who tagged her and got her to say "oooo" with that gotta-try-that inflection. I'm the one who went to the store and hunted it down while corraling our Halloween costume-wearing kiddos, not her. I won. O'Doyle rules! This has got to be a winner....right?

Right?

Only kinda sorta, unfortunately, if only for spousal bragging rights.

Let's look at the premise here. Plentiful chicken bites - I don't mind dark meat if it means a few more bites. Seasoned yellow rice - likely means turmeric. Black beans and plantains - two of my favorites. Zesty citrus and garlic sauce - sounds intriguing. Looks like some bell pepper and some other goodies in there too. Looks like a Cuban one way ticket to Flavortown, sans Guy Fieri. 

But for all of that, there's just not much flavor. "Bland" isn't the right word. It's more perhaps "understated" or "muted." Most of the mix doesn't taste like much except a faint hint of orange and some subtle, subtle heat. Really, the only bites that pop are the plantains, which there were far too few of. With their natural sweetness and earthy starchiness, the plantains made a perfect platform for the spices and flavors to really come out and play, especially the garlic which I detected nowhere else in this dish.

That doesn't make the TJ's Cuban bowl a bad dish, it just could have been better. My suggestion; more plantains! Heck, I'd even sacrifice the chicken if it meant room for more plantains. That's saying something here.

As usual, my lovely bride may have put it best. "For all the salt and calories and everything else in there, I just felt it wasn't worth it," Sandy said. I'm inclined to agree. At $3.49 for a one serving microwavable paper dishful, there's certainly far worse options out there, but there's better ones too. This TJ's Cuban bowl seems like one of those products teetering on the fine line of flash-in-the-pan and longterm staple product availability, so if you see it, give it a try, but don't expect to be wowed.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Cuban Style Citrus Garlic Bowl: 5.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Friday, November 1, 2019

Trader Joe's Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Bagels

Apparently, you can't find gluten-free pumpkin spice bagels on every street corner. Just Google the name of this product, and you'll see countless blogs and websites from the gluten-free, celiac, and Crohn's communities absolutely rejoicing that FINALLY there's a gluten-free version of Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spice Bagels.

Honestly, I feel like pumpkin spice is on its way out, and the poor gluten-free folk are a little late to the party, by no fault of their own, of course. But if this product floats your boat, I definitely don't want to rain on your parade. These aren't a bad purchase at all. But our job as folks who aren't on a strict gluten-free diet is still to give it to everyone straight: what we think is working here and what we think isn't. So here goes...


Flavor-wise, they're virtually identical to regular glutenful bagels. Sonia was a little dismayed that "there wasn't enough pumpkin or pumpkin spice flavor." I'll admit, they aren't bursting with either real pumpkin taste, despite displaying a few visible specks of pumpkin puree throughout, or pumpkin spice flavor, despite smelling of it quite a bit. But my reaction was more along the lines of, "That's good they didn't overdo the pumpkin spice thing." If you're really craving pumpkin spice, you might be disappointed, but thankfully, there's a remedy: pumpkin cream cheese.

Texture-wise, they do that gluten-free thing, where they want to be chewed like regular bread, but there's something just ever so slightly off-putting about the mouthfeel. It's just a tad chewier, rubberier, and stiffer than what we're used to. For people who are strictly gluten-free, you'll likely be just fine with it. It's not a deal-breaker even for me. Sonia and I often do gluten-free because we are both gluten-sensitive, while neither of us is totally gluten-intolerant.

Not that I'll be craving pumpkin spice bagels any time soon, but if I do, I'd just as likely reach for these puppies again, rather than the forgettable non-gluten-free pumpkin bagels from TJ's—which have mysteriously never been reviewed on this blog. Neither version is a real show-stopper in our opinions, but at least these are appropriate for a group of people with significant dietary restrictions, and they can feel like there's one less gimmicky, pop-culture food they're missing out on, for whatever that's worth.

Me? I give 'em three out of five stars. Sonia will go with three and a half.

Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.