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Friday, July 10, 2020

Trader Joe's Buffalo Style Chicken Poppers

Don't know about you, but I've been putting on the COVID pounds, which I'm trying to be better about...but then something like Trader Joe's Buffalo Style Chicken Poppers comes along and somehow falls into my cart and, well, what do you expect?

Look at that picture of the front. Just looook. It's a little wedge of snacky time perfection, from what it appears, right? Oozy filling, deep fried wrapper, the words "buffalo chicken" promising that classic spicy taste...who can resist? Not me.

But wait, there's more! Silly me, calling it just a wrapper. No, friends. No, It's not just any wrapper, it's phyllo dough! I mean, mathematics and philosophy and Yanni are fine and all, but phyllo just may be the greatest Greek contribution to society. All those irresistably thin 'n crispy layers, making these poppers more of a pastry than just another Chotchki's-type deep fried dish...oh yeah, for sure.

Naturally there's only one proper way to prep these: air fryer. No question. If you don't have one, you should, and you'll never look back. That's what we did, and the result was piping hot, not-too-greasy, light and crispy buffalo chicken poppers ready to, well, pop right in our mouths.

And all that phyllo...delicious. I think I'll have another bite of it, and maybe another nibble. Good, but where's the chicken? Where's the buffalo? Where's the whatever else in there?

Oooh...there it is. Sorta.

As always, it's possible we just got a particularly stingy batch of product, but that'd be one helluva unlucky streak. So I'd rather assume that the little perhaps half spoonful of chicken and cheese per popper is pretty representative, and in my opinion it's just not quite enough filling for all the dough.

That being said, the chicken-cheese-hot sauce filling is pretty decent. Personally, I woulda opted for more a classic bleu cheese or ranch to match with buffalo chicken instead of some sort of cream cheese/Cheddar hybrid. But for what it is, it's fairly tasty and proportionate to its components. I'd also add a little more buffalo to ramp up the spice, but that's not everyone's thing, I know.

In all, it's a great appetizer or snack. Pair with a cold 'n frosty IPA for a respectable bar-at-home type experience, or just nosh on for a little classic comfort vibe, and share with a friend. I was pretty happy with just two of them, which is surprising as a serving says it's three of them...maybe I'm beginning to learn restraint once more? Watch it, COVID pounds. Matching 3.5s.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Buffalo Style Chicken  Poppers: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Trader Joe's Feta, Pepper Drop and Olive Antipasto


This was a very educational purchase for me. Neither Sonia nor I had ever heard of pepper drops before. Apparently, they're native to Peru, they're sweet and sour, and they're teardrop-shaped. Not sure how I've made it this far in life without hearing about these fun and colorful little globs of flavor, but better late than never I always say. Sonia and I both thoroughly enjoyed the pepper drop element of this product. We wish there were a lot more of them.

Secondly, I don't think I've ever come across the word "toothsome" before today. It's right there on the front of the package. It's possible I've seen it before and it simply didn't register, but today is the day I'll add that adjective to my vocabulary and hopefully manage to work it into regular rotation. Although, I may alternate between that and "toothtacular," because why not?


Thirdly, I learned that when something has feta cheese as the number one ingredient, it's going to be absolutely bursting with lipids. Everything's betta with feta! Indeed. And feta cheese is the number one ingredient here. However, there's more than half a day's worth of fat in this single-serving container of antipasto. I mean, I never assumed feta was diet food or anything, so I should have seen it coming. But 54% of your RDA for fat is a little more than I was hoping for. Sonia's the one that pointed this out to me. She's actually far more horrified than I am.

It might not be a bad idea to pick up some bruschetta alongside this product so you don't waste all that good olive oil. The instructions on the container say to drain all the oil out before eating. That makes sense...because there's about a gallon of olive oil in that little 8oz package. If you're not into the whole hyperbole thing, there's apparently like an ounce and a half of olive oil, you know, if you do the math. But in actual practice, just count on a gallon or so. 

There's just lots of olive oil.


Also, there are many, many olives. I didn't mind them at first, but the wife and I were so enamored with the pepper drops that we found ourselves wishing there were fewer and fewer kalamata olives to make room for more of the tiny red and orange drops. Sonia's actually allergic to kalamatas, so I was tasked with eating them all. They are all pitted, which is a big plus. If I had to slow down and remove pits from each bite of this antipasto, it would have been a bummer. The way this year is going so far, I probably would have choked on one of them and Sonia and the dogs would have been left to weather the apocalypse without me. It would have been pitiful. Get it? PITiful? It's a joke.

Nevermind.

$4.99 for the container. Three and a half stars a piece on this product.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Trader Joe's Sea Salted Saddle Potato Crisps

Well, it's pretty plain to see where the inspiration came from here, isn't it?

For all the island vibe that TJ's has and is based on, there's still a little cowboy in there, for sure. Off the top of my head, I can recall Cowboy Caviar, Cowboy (and Cowgirl) Bark, Cowboy Quinoa Burgers, and a southwesty nut mix that I can't quite recall the name of that I likened to Sam Elliot shaking the dust out of his mustache.

So to have a product named Trader Joe's Sea Salted Saddle Potato Crisps isn't completely anew. Sure, the Beetlejuice-y looking guy riding the chip on the canister looks pretty odd and amused with himself, so maybe it's not quite classic inspiration. Plus, I usually associate  the use of the words "crisps" with British people and/or  Smeagol ("crispspspspspsps") , so perhaps that part is a menagerie of non-associated imagery that doesn't quite follow.

Except it does, because, obviously, it's a Pringles knock off. Can't call 'em that, though. So saddle crisps, because they're kinda shaped like a saddle and you can put some goofy imagery on the tubular canister? Good enough.

It's been a hot minute since I've had real actual Pringles - I've learned I have no control with them, ever - so my comparison is based on a lot of memory. It's hard to draw many differences. Same size, shape, appearance, texture, oily feel, and saltiness...it's almost all there. The *crunch* seems maybe a little different, a little lighter, a little airier. at first I attributed that to rice flour in the mix, but then doublechecked Pringles ingredients - you, Pringles has that, too. All the same ingredients, in fact, as far as I can tell. So there's not much different here - they could infact be one and the same, aside from maybe a different cooking process? This could just be me trying too hard to draw a line that doesn't exist.

All that being said, man, these TJ's saddle chips need some flavor to them, a little something something. I mean Pringles got some nice flavors...how about elote, or EBTB, or something along those lines? Please? Sea salt is pretty boring, pretty tame, pretty neutral. Do something to set yourself apart, TJ's?

Nothing too much more to say here. Saddle up for nondescript chips if you buy these for the $2ish asking price.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Sea Salted Saddle Potato Crisps: 5 out of 10 Golden Spoons