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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Repeat Customer Podcast: Beyond Cookie Butter

A few weeks ago, our very own Russ and Sandy Shelly got to be guests on a brand new podcast called "Repeat Customer." They showed the podcast's host, Toronto-based Mio Adilman, around their local Pittsburgh TJ's—his very first visit to a Trader Joe's store.

Also check out the podcast on iTunes and Zendesk!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Trader Joe's Butter Spreads

Must be butter because we're on a roll.

Butter. What else can be said? Whether or not any of us really should, we all like butter in some way, shape or form. It's an essential ingredient, and makes almost anything taste better. I mean, dry toast? No thanks.

Flavored butter? Even better. So here we go with two new varieties, Trader Joe's Roasted Garlic & Herb Butter Spread, as well as Trader Joe's Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Butter Spread. One savory, one sweet. Life is good.

There's not much reinvention or novel interpretation here. It's butter...with stuff in it.

But man, both are good. Let's start with the roasted garlic and herb. There's a heavy hit of garlic right upfront, as one would expect, with both roasted and crushed garlic puree mixed right in. The overall creaminess mellows it out, though, and gives way to onion and basil and whatnot. That's really about it to the butter, but the applications, of course, are endless. It's garlicky enough to McGyver garlic bread if toasted with an appropriate loaf. Over noodles, rice, veggies, anything else...yup, that'd all work.

Much the same with the cinnamon sugar variety. "Cinnamon toast without the effort!" Sandy exclaimed. I'm...not really sure what effort she is referencing. Nonetheless, that's a great idea, although the idea of melting over some sweet potatoes is a pretty enticing idea. I'd say there seems to be more cinnamon than brown sugar, at least in the bites I've had, but the balance seems right. I mean, butter, sugar, cinnamon...there's no way this can be bad.

Both TJ's flavored butters are pretty decent, and for $2.49, not a bad price either. There's nothing too terribly extra special or "Trader Joe's-y" about them either, so I'm not going to rave too highly. Liking the ampersands in both product names, though - they seem to be making a comeback, and I fully support that effort. Fours all the way around for each.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Roasted Garlic & Herbs Butter Spread, and Trader Joe's Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Butter Spread: 8 out of 10 each

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Trader Joe's Crunch Dried Honeycrisp Apples

Our sweetness streak continues with this applicious snack, but in this case, there's absolutely no added sugar, and you definitely can't say we're not getting some fruit in our diets...

I've had apple chips before, but none have been as sweet or as flavorful as these. The Fuji Apple Slices received less than a stellar score here on the blog, but I think this honeycrisp variety might work slightly better for people craving something a little more sweet and a bit less tart. 

They flaunt the same delicious honey-esque flavor of a honeycrisp apple. Very little is lost in the drying process. Obviously they lack the juiciness of a real apple, but taste-wise, I think they're remarkably close.

The largest apple slices were big enough to be called "chips," but as we neared the middle of our bag, the pieces were more like "shards" of apple. Toward the bottom, we found what I'd probably refer to as "bits" or "crumbs." They were pulverized, presumably in transit, to the point where they became difficult to eat. 

That's really my only complaint about this product: only the largest pieces could be called "slices" or "chips," and those were by far the best. Pouring a bag of apple dust into your mouth isn't nearly as convenient as snacking on dried fruit chips.

The texture is crunchy, crisp, and brittle. They're less rigid than, say, banana chips, but slightly firmer than other dried apple chips in my experience.

Who says you have to wait for fall apple harvest to enjoy apples? I'm pretty sure this product was just released this spring. Even in light of the shattered pieces, I'd buy this bag of dried apples again since it's tasty and not particularly fattening. Also, the "Best By" date on our bag is October 24, 2020. Might not be a bad idea to stock up in case that long overdue zombie apocalypse finally occurs.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.