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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Trader Joe's Sour Strawberry Ale

Last week, a daring young gentleman tweeted about turning this sour ale into a float. He asked the simple question: "Good idea or bad idea?"

My gut reaction was disgust. You wouldn't make a float out of this stuff for the same reason you wouldn't make a float out of Bud or Miller—it's beer. We sampled the cranberry version of this sour ale last year, and it was super sour. Still beer, but sour. Definitely not sweet at all.

But what if an outside element were to sweeten this sour beer...something like, say, vanilla ice cream?

It works. Against all odds and all my instincts, it somehow works. This isn't the first time beer has surprised me with its versatility. It's amazing that Guinness mixed with Bailey's functions so well as an Irish Car Bomb. I'm still in awe that beer can turkey is a thing, although I do have a terrible time removing the shards of aluminum from the stuffing mix. Just kidding.

On its own, this product is exactly like its cranberry counterpart, but, you know, with strawberry flavor instead of cranberry. It's still quite sour, although not quite as harshly tart as the cranberry version. It's surprisingly not sweet, and maintains its identity as an ale—not a wine cooler or girly-sweet fruit beer. No offense to you ladies. 

Speaking of ladies, Sonia has become an aficionado of sour beers as of late. She's into the gose-style brews that have been somewhat trendy in this country in the past couple years or so. So how does this sour cerveza compare? It's good, she thinks. She likes the overall flavor and sourness level, but she's had a few brands of gose that she prefers and thinks are much sourer. This particular beer isn't really a gose. It's a witbier, produced by Petrus, just like its cranberry predecessor. Overall, I think this flavor is a tad more drinkable and probably works better for floats and other off-the-wall ale experiments.

Three and a half stars from Sonia. Four from me. If you do pick up a bottle, be sure to grab some vanilla ice cream, too.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Trader Joe's Jerk-Style Plantain Chips

Of course it can't be found now, but earlier this week I somehow stumbled across a blog detailing a couple's weight loss journey after adopting a plant-based diet. Not to be disrespectful, because that's AWESOME and they were apparently very succcesful with it, but that's not the part that caught my interest. Nope. Instead, it was how they got started that did. Namely, and this really can't be fully recommended across the board, but...they ate nothing but plain potatoes for two weeks to kick things off.

Really.

From what I surmise, it was like to reset their tastebuds, a little sensory deprivation so they'd more easily adapt to finding enjoyable flavor in their new diet...but still. Props to them, and it's only weird if it doesn't work.

One small step up from that would be plantains, I'd think. Similar plainness and starchiness. A little sweeter, sure, but not as much sugar as even like a banana. Plantains are plenty tasty, but they could at least occasionally use a little livening up, too.

So, hey...here's the new Trader Joe's Jerk-Style Plantain Chips!

If you're not familiar with plantain chips, they're still a little crispy and crunchy, but there's also kinda soft-ish Styrofoamy kinda feel to them, too. They're sorta an odd mix between potato chip, banana chip, and disposable coffee cup. I personally love that kinda texture, but it can be offputting to some.

That's what we got going on here, but the chips are coated all over with jerk seasoning. And it's potent. Hooo-hoo. My four year old took one lick of one chip and immediately reenacted Buddy the Elf and passion fruit spray. Not for her, for sure...but man, it's for me. Plenty of heat, plenty of spice. But there's also a certain "warmness" that plays into the natural flavors of plantains. I think that derives from the allspice and cinnamon. So it may not be a true "jerk" seasoning blend (hence the "jerk-style", I suppose), but there's still the garlic and pepper and chili and everything else, so it works and therefore is not weird.

Delicious chips. A bag sets you back only $1.79, and I kinda can't believe that it's not a single serving, because I could devour the whole thing. Could. Shouldn't. I won't say that I won't ever. Excellent chips in my opinion. Are they healthier than potato chips? Who knows? But I like them as a variation at the very least. Check 'em out for sure! Double fours.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Jerk-Style Plantain Chips: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Trader Joe's Organic Chunky Apple Cinnamon Bread


So much symbolism with the apple. "Eve ate the apple," even though it wasn't really an apple. "As American as apple pie." Newton's apple helped discover gravity. The Mac computer symbol is an apple with a bite out of it. "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree," as they say. 

So what do I have to say about this appley product? Applicious? No, unfortunately. 

App-palling? Nah, I wouldn't quite go that far. 

Un-app-pealing? Maybe.

We both found this stuff disappointing. Our loaf was very dry on this inside, and Sonia and I both came up with the adjective "oily" to describe the outer portions. Not moist. Oily.


There's a decided lack of apple pieces. Apple chunks? No way. Not one. Not even a ton of apple flavor. Cinnamon, yes. If anything, there's way too much cinnamon. That's the primary flavor. And we both like cinnamon. There's just something about our loaf that makes us want to cough. It's not that we can feel the cinnamon granules. It's just an odd, dry, cinnamon vibe that's devoid of the juiciness of apples or the softness of a traditional loaf of cinnamon bread.

The norm is that we find a product at Walmart that can compare to something at TJ's, and the latter almost always outshines the former. Price, quality, organicness. You name it—the Joe's version is better in almost every way. It's generally laughable to even compare the two. However, in this instance, Sonia recently discovered some apple cinnamon bread there that blows this loaf out of the water. Unfortunate for this product. No, the Wally World bread isn't organic, nor is it "good for you" in any way. But it tastes the way we wanted this stuff to taste.

Just FYI, the top part of the nutrition information got lost in the glare. It states that there are seven servings per container, each one two ounces.  

Two and a half stars from this guy. Only two from the missus.

Bottom line: 4.5 out of 10.