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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Trader Joe's Cinnamon Croissant Loaf

If you love loaves of cinnamon bread and you have an affinity for soft, fresh croissants...

then reach for a piece of Trader Joe's Organic Watermelon Jerky!

LOL! That wouldn't make any sense, now would it? Besides, watermelon jerky isn't real...

What I meant to say is: "then reach for Trader Joe's Cinnamon Croissant Loaf!" 

It's apparently the illegitimate lovechild of one stupid, steamy night between a loaf of frisky cinnamon bread and a sultry croissant. I don't want to get into the logistics of that whole thing, nor do I want to be too judgy...but just suffice it to say that it's a beautiful mistake—a happy accident, if you will.

On its own, the bread is nothing to write home about. It's croissant-ish, but wants to be warmed up even more than a traditional croissant. There's some cinnamon flavor, but it's not overbearing, and it's not really sweet, either. Also, it's just not quite flaky enough straight out of the bag. 

Toasted with butter, on the other hand, this product is simply scrumptious. It's all the deliciousness of a croissant with all the convenience of sliced bread. The melt-in-your-mouth factor increases exponentially when toasted or warmed, as well. It's still not really sweet on its own, so just sprinkle a little extra sugar on top for killer cinnamon toast.

We read online that people were making French toast from this stuff. I twisted Sonia's arm into making some for me since French toast is above my pay-grade as far as culinary endeavors are concerned. It was worth every ounce of effort Sonia put into it. Simply delish with some nice sweet syrup. Hey, I did my part, too. I made sure the dogs didn't eat any when the wifey put the finished product on the table. 

Let's see: they've done cinnamon croissant bread and pancake bread so far. What's next? Waffle bread? Bacon and eggs bread? Cereal bread? Those zany product developers always keep us on our toes.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Trader Joe's Ruby Cacao Wafers



No. No. No.

Just to make sure I wasn't crazy, as least not as it pertains to the definition of a wafer, I Googled it. There it is, first result, right up top, set forth by whichever source Google deems as most trustworthy...


Dictionary result for wafer

  1. 1.
    a very thin, light, crisp, sweet cookie or cracker, especially one of a kind eaten with ice cream.

So imagine my surprise then, when opening a bag of Trader Joe's Ruby Cacao Wafers, that I did not see any wafers any where. None.

What I see instead: all these little roundish flat purply brown rose colored morsels that looked like a nonpointy ill chocolate chip or a baby candy melt.

No cookie. No crispy stuff. Nothing waferesque at all. Just these little pebbles that would look at home in an aquarium. I was sold a sack of lies.

Fortunately, whatever you may call them, these TJ's ruby cacao thingermabobs are actually pretty tasty.

My lovely bride, ever the source of new, trendy, cool stuff she sees all over Instagram, says that ruby cacao is a newish fad sweeping America, and that in Japan there's like ruby cacao KitKats. Or, you know, things with actual wafers. I digress. Never heard of it, so here's my first go...

Wow. Unique. I'm still struggling to come up with the right descriptors. Obviously, there's a healthy chocolate element, definitely towards the darker, deeper end. Yet there's so much sweetness - not even like from a chocolate covered berry, except similar. It's just not as potent, yet fruity in a different way. I checked the ingredients to see if any fruit flavors added - nope. Apparently it's what the beans taste like, and best I can tell you is, try some for yourself if you haven't already.

The morsels are soft, softer than most chocolate chips and closer to the aforementioned candy melts, except not as chalky. Speaking of melts, the cacao bits seem to do a good job of that - pop some in your mouth but keep 'em there for a few to let the taste come alive a little and wash all over. I also nuked a few and they melted right on up without much fuss. I suppose they could be used to dip all sorts of stuff in if that's your thing.

Sandy's not overly impressed. She had a couple then opted for a cookie for her night time treat, as did our daughters. I had a few small handfuls to try and get a better sense - I'd use the word interesting or intriguing more than delicious for them. They're kinda odd, but in a good way...probably. I dunno, try them for your self, kids. Middle scores here because we don't know what else to do, the only thing we're not wavering on is these aren't wafers. Period.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Ruby Cacao Wafers: 5.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Friday, February 15, 2019

Trader Joe's Crispy Vegetable Pouches

Who wrote the rule book that says bite-size little fried dealies have to be served before the main course of a meal? Why do salads have to be eaten before the main course? Why dessert after?

Just to spit in the face of such tyrannical traditions, I've eaten appetizers as the main course of my meal as often as I have had the opportunity to do so. I've also eaten desserts first and salads last...because I'm a rebel like that. I've upset many a waitress pulling such stunts, which, incidentally, is why I don't eat out very often anymore. Except Cracker Barrel. We eat there a lot...because they let us stay overnight in their parking lot. And even then we don't eat in the restaurant, but we get take-out and we eat at the dinette in the RV, where I'm not likely to upset our server with my unorthodox dining practices like consuming those tasty biscuits at the end of the meal rather than the beginning.

All that to say: it just goes to show you how woke TJ's is—they specify on the side of the box that this extremely appetizer-esque product can be served "as a light entree." Right on. Free the app. Free the app from its predetermined role on the dinner table. Let it be whatever it wants to be. Free your mind first. Then free the app.

So free the app we did when we had these as our main course for dinner the other night.

They're basically crispy little egg rolls, but served in a different configuration. They contain many of the same ingredients as a typical egg roll, all rolled up into a mini pouch-shaped wonton, with a funky little flower-like bundle at the top. The veggies have a nice flavor, with plenty of oomph from the spice blend, which includes garlic, ginger, and salt. They might even be a little too salty with the soy sauce already added to the vegetables. 

That was Sonia's main complaint: there was no dipping sauce included. I wish they'd have refrained from adding soy sauce to the product itself and left a little packet on the side. Yes, yes, I know...more packaging is bad for the environment. But at least we could have administered the amount of soy sauce of our own choosing. These probably would have been killer with a bit of sweet chili sauce, too.

There's not quite enough in the package to serve as the main course for two people. It says there are 2.5 servings in there, but that's if they're acting as an appetizer, methinks. I probably could have polished off the whole pack myself. We ate it with a little leftover catfish from Cracker Barrel, and that worked out nicely. Southern-Asian fusion isn't a thing as far as I know, but perhaps it should be.

Sonia gives these vegetable pouches four stars. I give 'em three and a half.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.