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Friday, February 16, 2018

Trader Joe's Glazed Walnuts with Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup

Congrats, it's been done. It was bound to sooner or later.

After eight years and hundreds of reviews, I've been thoroughly stumped as to how to otherwise start a review of a TJ's product.

Usually I have a slice of life or dumb joke or mini info-burst about something that at least tangentially has to do with something, but not this time with Trader Joe's Glazed Walnuts with Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup. I've been mulling it over for close to a week, but I got nothing.

Nothing new to say about snacky nuts or bourbon or maple syrup or anything that has to do with these nuts. No great stories. No puns or jokes or anything. Just me and a bag of nuts that sound pretty amazing.

I'll grant that these bourbon maple glazed walnuts are good...but odd. There's a definite added buttery taste (it's the second ingredient) that adds an unexpected creamy blast, with all sorts of added sugar too. And not maple syrup-kinda sugar...just sugar.

So these are some pretty sweet walnuts, practically candy. There's some sweet maple taste at the end, for sure, but it's really tough to pick up on any bourbon aspects. The package says something along the lines of "earthiness" which isn't there, either, aside from the inherent nutty taste. It's some pretty good quality walnuts, by the way - nice and chunky, definitely munchy, a little roasty.

They're tasty by the handful, and would probably be good in things like brownies. The package recommends atop salad as well - in the right kind, that could work. Still, I feel as if the buttery coating holds back the product from it could fully be - some more straight up bourbon-y maple would be fantastic. Eh well. Still pretty tasty, and both Sandy and I had to hold ourselves back from chomping down the whole bag - they're pretty snackable for sure, so watch out.

For $3.99 for a half pound bag, it's a fairly respectable value as well. I'd get them again for sure, and maybe by then I'd think of some sort of wittier intro...but right now, it's just driving me nuts.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Glazed Walnuts with Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Trader Joe's Coconut Water with Pineapple Juice

It seemed to me I'd heard once that, in a pinch, one could use coconut water as IV fluid. I opened up Google and started typing "use coconut water" and sure enough, an auto-fill option popped up that read: "can you use coconut water as IV fluid". Apparently, the answer to that unpunctuated question is... "kinda."

There are actually multiple anecdotal reports of doctors successfully administering coconut water intravenously in cases of extreme dehydration when traditional IV fluids were absent. For some reason, I'm thinking these were cases of final desperation, rather than calculated medical maneuvers, but hey, I'm no doctor. I guess the bottom line here is that coconut water is just really darn good at providing hydration to the human body.

Now I'm guessing the addition of pineapple juice is a big "no-no" when attempting to inject the liquid directly into a vein, but when ingested orally, it makes coconut water a moderately enjoyable beverage, as is the case here. And when I say "moderately enjoyable," I mean that as a relative term. I mean that people who just barely tolerate the taste of coconut water (like me) will tolerate it with significantly less of a grimace on their face now that it's available with pineapple juice mixed in—unless, of course, said person is also not a fan of pineapple juice.

Sonia generally enjoys regular coconut water and thinks this mix is even better. "It's like a really watered down pina colada," she says. I won't argue with that, though I'd emphasize the "really watered down" part. It's about $4 for four small cans, which isn't cheap. Sonia would like to point out, though, that while sick with the flu, she used this beverage to stay well-hydrated. Not only that, but there's a good bit of vitamin C in there, too. So if you think of it as medicine, the price point seems more reasonable.

Sonia gives this coconut water 4.5 stars. I give it 3.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Trader Joe's Creamy Tomato Soup Seasoned Crackers

My wife doesn't always believe everything I tell her.

For whatever reason, I'm struggling to think of a concise, simple example of this that I'm openly willing to share. And I'm not talking about a nefarious, relationship-straining kinda doubt. It's more the "have to hear it from someone else" kinda deal. In all, it's pretty harmless, and it's never been over something too deeply serious.

I'm gonna use Trader Joe's Crwamy Tomato Soup Seasoned Crackers for an theoretical example, actually.

This actually didn't occur this way...but if I were somehow to get my hands on a boxful and try them out before she would, and told her that they taste like pizza, she'd probably be reluctant to try and may not even. She's not a tomato fan at all, and abhor tomato soup, so this is a product that would take some convincing for her to try.

But, I guess these soup-flavored crackers made their way on a TJ's fan page somewhere, where a few people all said "These crackers taste like pizza!" and so with that, she made sure to get them, probably mostly for a snack for our tomato soup lovin' girls, but she was pretty pumped to give them a try without any prodding from me.

I disagree, though. These crackers do NOT taste like pizza.

Sure, there's a vague similarity. The earthy soup flavors with a zesty spice flair (pepper, garlic, etc) could be construed as marinara-esque. I didn't pick up on it much, but folks with more attuned taste buds *might* be able to pick up on the asiago cheese. Primarily composed of rice flour, these crackers are light and ultra crispy with a sizable crunch, with the bonus of being gluten free.

But like pizza? Nah, not's something else...

Pizza Combo filling.

Obviously, in a different form and all, but to me, the similarity is there. Well, maybe less salty. But everything else? Yup. I'm not talking about the pretzel tube part or whatever else, but just the filling in the middle. Tomatoey with generic spice and a hint of cheese. It's there, and it's not necessarily bad, but if these crackers taste like pizza Combos, but if pizza Combos really don't taste all that much like pizza, the transitive property states that these crackers don't taste like pizza. Although I can see why people would think that way...

Am I mad? Crazy? Would this argument hold up in court? I have no idea. You tell me!

In all, our family enjoys them just fine. I like them as a snack that I feel no need to binge on, as does Sandy. But like pizza? Nah. Maybe you'll just to believe me...

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Creamy Tomato Soup Seasoned Crackers: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons