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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Trader Joe's Truffle Flavored BBQ Sauce

Apparently my lawn has a lot of moisture in it, because this spring a large patch of mushrooms decided to sprout out. Was eyeballing it the other night when I was grilling out again...which made me question my use of condiments.

Yup, it was Trader Joe's Truffle Flavored BBQ Sauce. 

Sure, whatever fungi is afoot in my frontier is favorited to be funky than fancy and frankly not fit for food, but still. 

Anyways, as for the barbeque sauce, I had mixed hopes. Truffles can easily go either way for me, and sometimes make my mouth itch. Still, I was intrigued enough to give it a try.

As it turns out, I need not worry too much about the presence of truffles here...because there's not much more than a palpable hint of them in this new sauce. Seriously, it's just enough to be tasted, and not much else. The trufflometer certainly doesn't go sky high here. There's just enough of that familiar umamilicious essence to be noticeable and discernible, but not enough to take over. 

The remainder of the sauce seems to be a pretty basic Kansas City-type recipe - a little smoky, a little sweet, a touch of spice. It's kinda thick and rich and a touch gloopy. The truffles do add a nice little touch to the flavor, and it works together well, but some of the sweetness seems to cover up the truffles. Honestly, a little more truffle wouldn't have hurt. 

Or...maybe I'm a mad man...but something like a more mustard-y BBQ base, like Carolina style sauce, with truffle added? I can see that being anywhere from 0 to 11 on the ol' Golden Spoon chart, but I'd definitely have to find out, and would think it'd be a more intriguing choice than the "standard" TJ's went with here. 

Don't love it, don't hate it, will definitely use what I got and see where my hand reaches next time I wander near the sauce shelf. Use as you would with BBQ sauce of course. I think it was pretty cheap for the small bottle - in the $3ish range - so worth the gamble if you can tolerate truffles even a little, because thats about what you're gonna get.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Truffle Flavored BBQ Sauce: 6 out of 10 Golden Spoons


Monday, May 23, 2022

Trader Joe's The Spice Market

Lucky me. Three fifths of this review is already written. Here are the relevant links:

Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend

Trader Joe's Chile Lime Seasoning Blend

Trader Joe's Everything but the Elote Seasoning Blend

Apparently the other two spices from this multi-pack are exclusive to this product. They are Trader Joe's Cocoa Cinnamon Sugar Blend and Trader Joe's Spicy Italian Style Sprinkle. Let's take a look at both.

First up, the cocoa cinnamon sugar dealie. I like it. It makes a killer cinnamon toast with a twist. Just add butter to plain toasted bread and a generous dusting of this stuff. Cinnamon toast with a bit of a chocolate flair. Beautiful. Sprinkle on plain oatmeal for a sweet breakfast treat. The kids wanted Death By Chocolate brand cereal but you've only got the plain stuff? Trader Joe's Cocoa Cinnamon Sugar Blend to the rescue.

Next, the Italian sprinkles. The base is really just salt and pepper. Pretty safe. But it would also be pretty boring if it stopped there. The medley of garlic, paprika, rosemary, and fennel, among others, really takes this stuff to the next level. It can turn any ordinary savory dish into an authentic Italian cuisine experience. I just had some with a cheesy spinach and onion omelette, and it was decidedly tasty. The spices added more than I expected them to.

$9.99 for three very popular Trader Joe's spices and two that you can't buy outside of this pack. The spices are $1.99 each when purchased individually, so you're not really saving money, but you're not losing any either. The presentation is pretty sweet, and this product would make an outstanding gift, particularly for anyone who cooks a lot but doesn't have regular access to a Trader Joe's store. If scoring the two exclusive blends individually, they'd get 7.5 stars and 8 stars, respectively. If you average out all the scores for all five spice blends, they're a solid 8 stars at least. So...that's it for Trader Joe's The Spice Market Set of Curated Unique Blends.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Trader Joe's Strawberry Lemonade Joe-Joe's


Somewhat disappointingly, no, it's not a first. 

For a hot minute I thought that the Trader Joe's Strawberry Lemonade Joe-Joe's were the first non-chocolate Joe-Joe's. There's been numerous variations over the years, but they all had chocolate, right? or so I thought before consulting the Google machine. Apparently there's been all-vanilla Joe-Joe's, but let's be honest, how would those be memorable? And a little over five years ago (which seems several lifetimes) there was a matcha variation reviewed right here on this very blog. That sounds....odd. Thanks Nathan for taking on that one.

Huh. Well, okay, let's re-spin this about the first Joe-Joe that I'd be eager to try that doesn't incorporate any chocolate? Unless there's some other type out there from over the years...anyways...

Strawberries and lemonade, a classic pairing. Sweet and tangy, it's a flavor combo that screams summer. Granted, that's usually in a tall icy glass, but here it's the classic sandwich crème cookie form. And not surprisingly, it works well.

Off the bat, the most prevalent flavor by far is the strawberry creme. It's rich and sugary and sweet, just like a good creme for a cookie should be. There could be a little more actual strawberry to it IMHO, but what's there works well. The "lemonade" is all from the cookies. At first bite, it's not all that present and is more overwhelmed by the strawberry, but about midway through first bite is when it begins to really kick in and offer more balance. The end result is a tasty, tangy, sweet little offering of a a delicios drink, but in familiar, comfortable cookie form. Deeeelish. 

No real complaints, except I want to eat more than just two of them, to just enjoy a little bit more of that final taste combo. My lovely bride and I plan to hide the box out of sight and reach from our little never-ending wild pack of little munchers who'd surely ravage the entire box if given the chance...that sounds cruel of us to do. We'll enjoy that, or just grab them another pack for the $2.99 next time we go. 

Summer fun in cookie form. Double fours. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Strawberry Lemonade Joe-Joe's: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons