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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Trader Joe's Scalloped Potato Chips

Well, here's a pic of a rare sight: a full bag of chips in our household.

That's a rarity because a) We next to never buy chips because 2) When we do they get opened and inhaled almost immediately which leads to d) deep, deep disppointment from my lovely bride and darling kiddos as they get left in the crumby wake of my work. Yes, I'm talking about me. I'm a chip monster for whom there is little hope except avoid, avoid, avoid. Love chips. Can't help it, can only hope to manage it.

Such is much the same with Trader Joe's Scalloped Potato Chips. I'm guilty of eating nearly the whole dang thing myself. It's not my fault, it's Sandy's for buying them. She knew what she was getting into.

Cheesy scalloped potatoes is such an obvious taste choice for a chip. Why is it that I didn't think of it first? And maybe this is my ignorance, but I'm unaware of any other "scalloped" flavor for chips out there.

It's not the flavor that draws me in. Don't get me wrong, the five-pronged throng of cheese tastes mighty fine with no complaints. I wish when it come to cheese blends I could differentiate them better, like to say here, I taste the points of parmesan, the charge of the cheddar, the accents of asiago tinged with romantic flourishes of romano, and, well, provolone. Hooray provolone. Yippee. I just can't, not in general, and not here. It's certainly a complex enough taste to be appreciated though, that much I can say. There's a little garlic, salt and spices mixed in, as would be expected, but the cheese blend really takes the center stage.

Nah, it's really the feel and the crunch of these scalloped chips. The chips seem a little extra thick and crunchy, but not in a kettle-cooked kinda way. Nah. They're a little extra hard and crunchy for sure but not overly greast. I can't recall another chip that felt much like these.

I like 'em, I like 'em enough to know I should probably avoid them as I do most other chips. Sandy, who scowled as she reminded me she had less than a full serving, stated much the same as I did. Yumz, good chips. Double fours.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Scalloped Potato Chips: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Trader Joe's Organic Acai Bowl


I've rambled on before about how I'm a fan of acai and I used to down multiple acai smoothies every week. The smoothie joints I frequented sold acai bowls, too, but I always stuck to smoothies for a number of reasons, most notably that the bowls were a little pricier—in the ballpark of $7 a pop.

So at $3.99, this selection was a bargain. It had a good mix of the acai base, berries, and granola topping. Fruit-wise, there were lots of big strawberry slices, nice plump whole blueberries, but I didn't notice as many banana slices in my bowl. They were far and few between, and I wouldn't have minded a good bit more of them. There was, however, plenty of granola for my taste—just enough to make things crunchy. The coconut slivers added a bit of...well, coconuttiness, I guess, and it all blended together pretty well with the lightly sweetened, rich acai berry flavor.


The most frustrating aspect of this product was preparing it. I wish I'd thought ahead and used the refrigerator method of defrosting: just take out of the freezer and let thaw in fridge overnight. The preparation instructions for procrastinators like me involved popping the product in and out of the microwave numerous times, stirring it the first time, and then checking to see whether it's thawed or not on each subsequent occasion. It specifies to heat "in 15 second intervals" after an initial period of 45 seconds. I felt like I was walking a thin line between an ice cold solid block of frozen fruits and a piping hot bowl of acai soup. But I did manage to end the process somewhere in the middle, although the acai base was much more thawed than the fruit chunks. Throw room-temperature granola into the mix, and you've got three distinct climates in one tiny bowl. A lot of stirring seemed to abate that issue, for the most part anyway.

There aren't many breakfast foods I can think of that would pack more nutrition and energy into a single serving than Trader Joe's Organic Acai Bowl. It's extremely filling for so relatively few calories. Obviously fruits and granola are great for sustained energy and nutrition, and acai is known to be high in fiber and it contains a natural stimulant that provides energy without the typical "caffeine crash." All things considered, I'm a fan.


Sonia sat this one out. She would have liked it if I had saved any for her.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Trader Joe's Broccoli & Cauliflower Saute Kit

Alright, I dont  get it.  At all. Nope.

Seriously...Trader Joe's Broccoli & Cauliflower Saute Kit? What gives?

Alright, alright, alright. I can hear it right away. Major convenience points. Hey I've let quite a few items slide by based soley on that factor before - caulifower rice, anyone? - but what is this really saving here? A couple quick chops off a crown on the cutting board? Big whoop. I'm a busy boy and all, but man, if I don't have time to guillotine a couple trees and whittle them down to sizable chunks during dinner prep, it calls to question if I really have time for dinner at home or not. It takes literally no time.

As a quick aside for something purporting to both broccoli and cauliflower, there was almost all broccoli here. I like both. I want both. And perhaps it was luck of the draw more than anything else but I didn't feel like I got both. Not when there was only one sizable stalk and a couple tidbits of cauli. Not representing the caluli love there.

Ok, so what else is in the kit, because maybe that'll make up for it, right? That's a valid train of thought that unfortunately derailed once it left the station. After sauteing for a couple minutes in some BYO EVOO, there's a "marinade" packet to add and toss the veggies in. Never mind the fact that the veggies never actually marinate in the marinade, but it tastes like nothing. Nada. Tasteless. Tasted my BYO EVOO more than whatever the heck it was I added in from TJ's.

Forgot to mention the walnuts. That's alright, I almost forgot to taste them. Why walnuts? I have no answer for that. Definitely when quick cooking a 92% broccoli/8% cauliflower mix, walnuts are about 187th on my list of things I'd toss in...

...which is way higher than I'd consider tossing on croutons when it's time to serve. And then it'd have to really good croutons, like parmesany and garlicy with some character and spice, right? Definitely not boring old super generic croutons that taste like dried out stale bread and not much else. Definitely not the ultra basic bland croutons that you'd feed your kid when the only thing worse than listening to them crunch on them was whatever noise they were making previously. Definitely not any sort of crouton like, like, like....the ones present here. Disappointment croutons. Boring croutons. Crappy croutons. IRS croutons. Ugh. 

I don't understand this TJ's offering. I can buy into many things they try, and at least say an A for effort, but this? Nope. When the biggest props I can say is the veggies were still fresh and good two days before their best-by date, that's not a ringing endorsement. I don't know how much this cost. I don't want  to know (though one of your kind readers can please mention in the comments for the sake of your TJ's brethren?). But whatever it was, I know it coulda been better spent on some fresh veggies and a couple dashes of actual flavor courtesy of my spice rack.

Don't dig it. At all. The saute kit doesn't make a terrible product - our veggie chompin' crew ate it happily enough - but there's nothing here that suggest it should be a standalone product. I'm thumbing down with a one. My lovely bride, as always the more graceful one of us, will be nice and give it a two.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Broccoli & Cauliflower Saute Kit: 3 out of 10 Golden Spoons