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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Trader Joe's 4 Authentic Belgian Waffles

What's your breakfasty carb of choice?

Speaking solely for myself, it's gotta be potattoes. Hashbrowns are king. But sweet potatoes mixed in with some eggs, cheese and salsa...mmm.

But for my fam as a whole? Undoubtably it's waffles. A freezer waffle on the go is a busy weekday morning breakfast of choice for our kiddos. There's a place within easy walking distance of our house that started a weekly waffle brunch every Saturday, and if we're in town, we're there. My brother and his wife even throw a fancy homemade "Wafflepalooza" every year complete with mountains of almost every kind of homemade waffle and topping imaginable.

So...we know our waffles.

And of course, waffles aren't just for breakfast anyways. Like with what we did with Trader Joe's 4 Authentic Belgian Waffles when we used them as a base for an open faced ham/cheese/egg sandwich for dinner. Okay, that's like breakfast for dinner, so kinda cheating...but nah.

Perhaps this is just recency bias, as we almost literally just ate them, but I cannot think of a better frozen waffle I've had in quite some time. These Beglain boys are a bit thick to fit in our toaster, so instead Sandy heated them up in our oven for a few minutes, which of course worked just as well if not even better. The outcome: hefty, square doughy grids with a crisp outer shell giving way to a warm, almost creamy interior. There's a slight sweetness to the batter which plays well with the buttery aspects. Really, it's a surprisingly decent Belgian waffle, and although a serving says two waffles, really one is reasonably enough.

And there's no way to argue it's not an authentic Belgian waffle either. They're right from Belgium, not some Belgian style imposter by way of Vancouver or something silly.

 Sandy and I were pleasantly surprised by how overall decent these waffles were. And remember: we're waffle people. Our two little waffle experts weren't as impressed, though. Might have something to do with the rest of dinner (eggs are give or take) or whatever...I'm sure if we scooped ice cream atop or covered with fruit and whipped cream or did any number of other tasty waffle options that they'd be much more amenable.

These are worthy waffles to be freezer staples. Can't believe we've not had them til now. Deeeee-lish.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's 4 Authentic Belgian Waffles: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons  


p.s. Perhaps appropriate this week while also on the topic of waffles. 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Trader Joe's Garlic Spread Dip

"Garlic ambrosia."

No, not fruit salad with marshmallows, ambrosia. Ambrosia, as in the food of the gods, ambrosia. Lemme tell ya, she's not wrong. And, as reader DogMaTX pointed out, it's very similar—if not identical—to the garlic spread from Zankou Chicken. Thanks to both of you for the heads up on this product. I feel like at least one other reader brought this to our attention on our Facebook page, as well.

It's a creamy, smooth condiment that spreads like mayo or cream cheese. I'd say the texture is right in between those two, in fact: slightly thicker than mayo, slightly thinner than cream cheese.

And it doesn't fail in the flavor department either. It's garlicky—very garlicky, but simultaneously not overpowering somehow. Where raw garlic brings a heavy staccato "punch" of garlic flavor, this spread causes a gentle "wave" of garlic to wash over your tongue. It's just as powerful, but there's a little bit more of that "mmmm" factor and a wee bit less of that "whoa!" effect.

It's strong enough that you don't need to use a ton on your food, but at the same time, if you do choose to slather it on in great quantity, it still enhances the other flavors and doesn't bury them completely. We had it with tuna sandwiches, pizza, and falafel. I know it will go well with chips, chicken, fish, and other Mediterranean dishes, too. Can't wait to experiment with it. It's a fine addition to TJ's legacy of delicious condiments.

$2.99 for the tub. Vegan. Four and a half stars from me. Four stars from Sonia.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Trader Joe's Yellow Jackfruit Curry with Jasmine Rice

Apparently I don't know jackfruit.

You probably knew that already.

My wife certainly does, bless her heart. So I was really kinda curious when she was trying to tell me that some people consider jackfruit to be kinda like a vegan pulled prok kinda deal. On the surface, that sounds kinda ludicrous to me. How can a plant be meatlike? Pssh, sounds like other crazy stuff she tries to tell me, like that Tupperware has a particular place and organizational method for storage. Yeah, right.

Anyways, in another attempt to yank my coworkers' chains, I picked up Trader Joe's Yellow Jackfruit Curry with Jasmine Rice for an at-desk lunch this week. This would have to do it, right? C'mon now.

Mission failed. No raised eyebrows. No mention of anything. Everyone was too nosedeep in gossip and TPS reports, I s'pose. 

At least I got a pretty good lunch out of it. jackfruit kinda like pulled pork?

Tough for my admitted carnivoresque self to say. Visually, I can somewhat see the similarity here - there's kinda a stringy, chunky look. In this curry's instance, though, the jackfruit gets a little lost amongst the rice. There's a soft chewy feel here and there, but not really the fleshy bite. Kinda the difference between pig and plant, I suppose.

As for the rest of the dish? Delish. Somewhat unlike the jarred TJ's yellow curry sauce, the curry here definitely has a sizable, decided kick. As in, at first, it's pretty spicy...probably about an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. Took me by surprise at first, but once accustomed to it, the curry heat took on more of a pleasant, sustained warmth. There's a little layered aspect too - I wouldn't necessarily say complex but there's some sweetness from the coconut base, the mentioned spice, and a healthy dose of turmeric as well. The only real relief from it is the few biggish bites of eggplant here and there that the curry sauce doesn't really sink into. There's something about the bell peppers that makes it kick up a notch.

Altogether, I'll admit I was pretty pleasantly surprised by the overall wholesome goodness of this curryous dish. It was no more than a couple bucks for the tray which took about five minutes in the microwave - I would have expected (and been reasonably happy with) paying for something of similar quality from a restaurant. It's all there - good flavor, good heat, good firm rice. And it's all good enough that I want to try and make my own now, too - apparently there's a canned jackfruit TJ's sells for just this purpose? I'd be down. Sandy wasn't quite brave enough to try it herself yet, but probably will now. I'm just gonna go go out on my own here and give it some double fours.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Yellow Jackfruit Curry with Jasmine Rice: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons