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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Trader Joe's Hatch Chile Cheddar Seasoned Popcorn

Is it worth it? Let me work it. Put my thing down, flip it and reverse it.

Ti esrever dna ti pilf, nwod gniht ym tup.

Thanks, Missy Elliot, for the lyrical inspiration. Turns out that second line never was gibberish...duh. So obvious now, not so much back then.

And thanks, Trader Joe's Hatch Chile Cheddar Seasoned Popcorn, as well as my lovely bride, for the real life inspiration to put that line to use. Time to work it, flip it and reverse it.

Huh?

Well, for only $1.99 a bag for this new popcorn sensation sweeping TJ's shelves across the nation, I figured it'd be worth to buy two of 'em on our latest trip. You know, for science. Couldn't wait to get back home and give it a try, and when we finally did, I opened the bag atop, in the most traditional of ways, took a hand sized scoop, dumped it into my mouth, and started waiting for that hatch chile cheddar seasoning to wash over my existence and take me to a place I didn't know existed.

And waited..and waited..and waited...and waited...okay, I'm impatient, here's a fresh batch o' hatch...and waited some more...and a little more...ugh.

The issue with the hatch cheddar isn't the flavor itself. Oh no, it's nice - a nice teeny bite of white cheddar, and a great little savory, mildly spicy kick from the hatch chiles which grows a little with each bite. it's wonderful flavor, topnotch. But it's the intensity itself. It's...subtle? Subtler than subtle? I don't know. I was recently reminded how potently flavored the TJ's pickle popcorn is, with its unmistakable bite. If that's one end of the spectrum, this stuff is on the complete other end. It's...milder than mild. Weaker than weak. Wimpier than wimpy. Maybe I'm just too much of a hatch chile guy, but I'd love if the flavor were kept the same but intensified by a factor of at least four or five. It's good I want to taste more of it.

Enter the second popcorn bag, rap lyrics, and my wife.

Second bag, opened a few days after the first to be sure, she said to open from the bottom. That way if all the flavor dust kinda settled down there, we could be hit with a more intense flavor experience upfront. Duh. So obvious yet genius at the same time. Who says we always had to open the bag at the top? What am I, a sheep? No way! My house, my rules, as okayed by my wife! Let's do it!

Yeah...not much different that way either. The hatch and cheddar mix was a bit beefier, but not by that much. Sigh.

It's too bad, really. Everything else is pretty great - good sized kernels, perfectly munchy with ample fluff, not too greasy or messy. The whole experience just has to be "more hatchier" in the eloquent words of my wife. I've read some folks on the social sites when trying this popcorn added some of their own seasoning to liven it up a bit, so it's not just us.

Sigh. The hatch chile cheddar popcorn could have been an all time classic, but instead is relegated to the "maybe rebuy/maybe not" category. The lack of realized potential is really holding it back, and for some reason this kinda hurts but I can't give it much more than like a 2. It's sad, but at least my wife joins me in the grief by giving it a charitable 3.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Hatch Chile Cheddar Seasoned Popcorn: 5 out of 10 Golden Spoons



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