Search This Blog

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel Seasoned Kettle-Cooked Potato Chips

It's 2021 and yet my pet thought, the Chocolate Gum Theory, is still not a thing. C'mon people.

It's been mentioned on here before from time to time, so if you're familiar, feel free to skip the next paragraph or so. It's all a primer for those who aren't. So if you're still with me, gird up, it's time for an education. 

It's a very simple theory. Chocolate is good, right? So is gum. But what happens if you put those two things together? It's...not good. Basically put, the Chocolate Gum Theory states that combinations of things, even good ones, can be less than the sum of their parts. Like...chocolate and cheddar. Salmon and jerky. Babies and pocket knives. Stuff like that. Somewhat related is the Bowie/Mercury Corollary that states two great things when combined can be even greater, while the Bowie/Jagger Corollary reminds us they can be much....much....much less. 

Okay, are we all back together? That's the best. And on to today's subject, Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel Seasoned Kettle-Cooked Potato Chips.

EBTB! So hot right now. Not familiar? You should be. It's an everything bagel sans bagel. It's awesome. And who can resist a perfectly crunchy, delicious kettle chip? I sure can't, so put them together, and we gonna be Under Pressure (good) or Dancing in the Street (not so much)?

Sadly, it's the latter.

I've (literally) spent some time chewing on this to try and determine what the crux of the matter is, because simply put, these chips should be good but just aren't. The issue seems two fold. First, there's this oddly overly oleic taste and feel to the chips. I mean, even by kettle chip standards. I think it'd stand out regardless of flavor. Looking over the ingredients, maybe it's the sesame oil that adds on that little extra that turns it into too much? While not absolutely repulsive, the experience isn't enjoyable either.

And secondly, perhaps, everything seasoning isn't really meant for literally everything. There has to be a proper vehicle for it to be experienced correctly. Part of the appeal of an everything bagel is that the seasoning has a chance to permeate and enhance a warm, chewy, doughy bagel. Here it's a crunchy chip, and without some sort of fuller embodiment to spread its wings, the taste seems overly condensed and artificial. Like, the garlic seems waaaaay too funky on ours, and everything else is a tad bit overkill. On a bagel it'd probably work, but not here. Which is too bad, I love crunchy kettle chips, but with everything going on here it's a hard pass from here on out.

Not gonna lie, I picked up two bags of 'em hoping they'd be great. It took our chip-munchin'-mad fam four days to consume the first, mostly by me out of duty to this here blog. None of us are excited about the second. Might even return, along with the truffle hot sauce I got a month or more ago and can't consume enough of to properly judge as it makes me feel literally ill. There's so many better chips out in the TJ's aisle, spend your $2.49 on something else that'd treat you right.

My lovely bride is much more into the TJ's social media than we are, and it seems our thoughts align with most others publicly stated. If you like 'em, awesome, you get on with your bad self, but maybe stock up as I can see these being pulled due to unpopularity. Or, as always, I could be completely wrong. Except Chocolate Gum Theory, that's true and proven once again here. Just bleh. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel Seasoned Kettle-Cooked Potato Chips: 2 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Friday, January 15, 2021

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Cookie Sticks

Personally, if it were me designing the cover art for this product's packaging, I would have gone with a narwhal. Narwhals are the only animals with a tusk that has a girth to length ratio comparable to these cookie sticks. They're very long and very thin, hence the moniker "sticks" as opposed to "bars," "batons," or "fingers."

If I were instructed by my creative director to steer clear of narwhals for some reason—perhaps they're too freakish looking for a box of cookie sticks, or they carry connotations of cold climates and frigid waters, or they're just too cumbersome-looking in general—the next obvious choice is a unicorn, right? I mean, they're not real, and their horns are significantly shorter than these sticks in relation to their thickness, but at least everybody knows they're fun mythical animals with horns coming out of their heads.

Instead, Trader Joe's packaging artists decided upon a zebra-like animal to grace the cover of this cylindrical container. Regular zebras don't even have horns. Only unicorns do. So, logically, this would be a zebracorn. What's a zebracorn, you ask? It's pretty much my favorite animal. It's like a zebra and a unicorn mixed...bred for its skills in magic.


You feel me?

The tubular box is unique. There's a tab around the middle that you tear off and then the top separates so you can access the cookie sticks, and it slips right back onto the bottom when you're done. It's not air-tight, though, so it does little to prevent exposure. We found the sticks got stale in fairly short order. 

Even on day one, they weren't exactly show-stoppers. There's a lightly sweet and salty bread as a base and a semi-sweet dark chocolate coating. They tasted fine to both of us, but we weren't blown away. We tried dipping them in coffee, but they don't retain the liquid very well. They're vaguely crunchy, nearly pretzel-esque, texture-wise. It's a nice mouthfeel, but they seemed to lose some of that initial crispness if you don't finish them right away.

I must admit, they're convenient and snackable. I just wish they delivered a little more in the flavor department. For the price, $1.69, they're a decent enough value. Not sure if we'd purchase again, though. Three stars a piece for these zebracorn horns.

Bottom line: 6 out of 10.


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Trader Joe's Hot Hot Crispy Habanero Sliced Peppers

Lookin' for some hot stuff, baby, this evenin'
I need some hot stuff, baby, tonight
I want some hot stuff, baby, this evenin'
Gotta have some hot stuff
Gotta have some love tonight

Well, thanks Donna Summer and Kygo (whoever you are) for what should be the official entrance music to one of the latest (and literally hottest) condimental offerings from all of ours' favorite grocers...

It's Trader Joe's Hot Hot Crispy Habanero Sliced Peppers!

Hot stuff indeed.

Hot hot haaaaaaaaaahhhhhht. 

I mean, duh, the primary ingredient is, of all things, habaneros. They're not the spiciest peppers in the world, but starting at at least 100k+ on the Scoville scale, they're not exactly slouching it either. Habaneros are likely the hottest pepper I've ever ingested and would ever want to, and now, here they are, dried up in a jar, coated with a little olive oil, ready for me to sprinkle on anything I want. 

That's the real cool part, the texture. If you're familiar with the popular TJ Chili Onion Crunch, or even better, various LaoGanMa sauces, you'll know about what to think of here. The peppers are like crackly skins, dehydrated and very light and extremely crispy. It's fun, whether it's bigger pieces or itty bits. The word "mummified" comes to mind. really, check it out.

But don't mistake the peppers appearance for a lack of potency. No, no, no. There's still so much burn to be had. Granted, I'm more a "throw caution to the wind/full effect" kinda guy - the peppers had me bawling at how good they tasted. or so I told my kids, who eagerly watched my every reaction. And normally I'm not like that too much...am here. Holy cow. hot, just like a good habanero should. 

Yet the great thing is, for all the heat and sizzle, there's still some great complementary flavor that's imparted. it's not just heat for the sake of heat, it's...different. And while the main licks of flame are strong, they neither linger too long nor overpower the rest of the flavors of whatever else you're eating. Instead, after a moment or two, it's nice, casual, residual heat that will leave you wanting, cautiously, for more. 

What will go undescribed is a certain day after side effect, at least by me, as we're classy here. I instead once again invite you to enjoy this classic Johnny Cash tune

Love them, can't get enough. Breakfast sandwiches, tacos, sauces, with pasta, in stir fry, on pizza, in a fresh baked challah or babka....yes to all that. And more. I want it all. 

Hot stuff, baby, this evenin' indeed. lovin' it. I'm smashing the peppers with a perfecto and my lovely bride isn't quite there herself, but close. It's the first smash hit of 2021 for sure. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Hot Hot Crispy Habanero Sliced Peppers: 9.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons