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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.