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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Trader Joe's Spicy Lentil Wrap


I don't think a lot of kids like lentils. I know Sonia didn't develop an appreciation for the lens-shaped legume until her late teenage years. I guess I don't blame her. She had lots of tasty home cooked Mexican food as a kid and there was no need to explore unusual soups or strange beans to expand her horizons until much later.

I, on the other hand, had weird food limitations and restrictions due to allergies, so my parents always bought alternative foods and tried to get me interested in stuff like lentil soup from a very early age. I actually loved it at first bite. Lentils as the centerpiece of a meal doesn't seem strange or unappetizing to me at all. On the contrary, this product sounded pretty good to both the beautiful wifey and me.


What's working here: tasty lentils, red pepper paste, and fresh cabbage all wrapped up in a thin layer of soft lavash bread with a beautiful blend of other spices and flavors like onion, parsley, cumin, and pink peppercorn. There's actually a decent kick to the wrap, spice-wise. It's mostly a smooth, zesty mush, but the cabbage adds a welcome crunch to the texture.

What's not working? I actually wanted more cabbage in our particular specimen, mainly for that crisp crunch factor. Sonia wanted more tahini sauce. It added a nice spicy earthiness, but there wasn't enough in the packet to cover each bite of the wrap.


Also, holy high blood pressure alert, Batman! More than two thirds of your daily sodium if you eat the whole wrap in one sitting, which is quite plausible. I mean, Sonia and I shared it for lunch, but we supplemented it with other snacks. I could have easily downed the whole thing myself, and I'd bet she could have too. Sonia did complain that it was way too salty. It's a little scary that I didn't think it tasted too salty. I thought it was just about right until I looked at the nutrition info.

$4.49. Vegan. It's a surprisingly enjoyable wrap. Would buy again to share. We're both torn between three and a half and four stars a piece, so we'll go with one of each.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Trader Joe's Maple Flavored Poffertjes

Let's see...car can use that oil change. That pile of bills there should probably be looked at. Basement is a mess. That basket of laundry over there isn't gonna take care of itself. Neither will that one...or that one...or that one...

Still...

Okay, fine. Sometimes I have a hard time getting around to getting stuff done, alright? Jeez Louise, leave me alone. 

But still that doesn't explain why it took so long for us to get around to giving Trader Joe's Maple Flavored Poffertjes. 

There's no reason for procrastination here. None. Don't know what a poffertje is? No problem! As the package clarifies right off the bat for you, it's a mini pancake puff! Don't know what to do with them? No issue either! Look at how tasty they look on the package - now that's a serving suggestion if I've ever seen one. Maple flavored anything is a win in our house, and selling our kiddos on the idea of eating little baby pancakes isn't exactly twisting their arm one bit. 


The TJ's-offered poffertjes (say that 5 times fast) are really as about as straightforward as they come. It's a cheap ($3ish?) box full of frozen mini pancake bites. Bake them for less than 10 minutes, or zap them for a minute, and you got a breakfast snacky. My lovely bride and I opted for the oven approach which yielded mounds of warm, crispy outside/floofy inside pancakes just right for one of the last not-too-cold Saturday morning porch breakfasts of the year. 


There's a small little touch of maple. Not much, and it's a bit understated. i actually kind of appreciate that. nutritionally speaking, these are already a bit much of a cluster, no reason to amp it up even more. That little bit of maple sugar in the batter does stand out a smidge. If you'd like, a little more maple syrup atop, or some powdered sugar and berries as suggested, or something else wouldn't be the worst of moves, but eating them as is isn't a bad experience. We like them fair and square. 

As a quick conspiratorial sidenote: they call them puffs and notice the number of calories per serving. Coincidence? Don't think so. Take two and pass. 

Are the poffertjes truly authentic to the real Dutch deal? Don't know for sure, but it's a reasonable tribute at least. Maybe one of these days I'll find out...til then we'll double 4's them. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Maple Flavored Poffertjes: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons  


Friday, October 15, 2021

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps


This product has the "nutty, fruity glass shard" effect going on like we've seen once or twice before in Trader Joe's products. And like those other ultra-crunchy, shatters-in-your-mouth kinetic assault snacks, you could theoretically bite sharp angles around the edge of these crisps and use them in the manner of shuriken, kunei or other throwable ninja weapons. Or you can slather them in thick and creamy cheeses to mitigate potential tooth enamel wreckage and bleeding tongue carnage. While the former is conceivably more fun, the latter is distinctively more delicious. But I suppose you're here to find out what they taste like.


Not to be confused with pita crisps with cranberries and pumpkin seeds, reviewed 8 years ago this month, here we have non-pita crisps with cranberries and pumpkin powder, rather than cranberries and pepitas. The pumpkin powder blends with turmeric, rosemary, cinnamon, and nutmeg for a fancy, unique spice profile. The product is fairly spice-forward by my reckoning, particularly when consumed without cheese or dip. There's also a nutty, wheaty blend in the background, complete with golden flax and sunflower seeds. Bright notes of cranberry top the whole thing off for a surprisingly flavorful and interesting snack crisp.

Honestly, as far as taste is concerned, I think these little cracker-esque bites could stand alone without any cheese or condiments of any kind. The problem is they NEED the cheese to help the texture. If they could make a soft version, I'd inhale these things by the handful. 

The flavor, though pleasant and unique, isn't very intense or strong, so even mild cheese has a tendency to overshadow everything going on in the crisp. We tried them with goat chevre and run-of-the-mill unsophisticated cream cheese. Both yielded more or less the same result: a tasty, creamy snack with a faint pumpkin cranberry whisper in the background. There's still a significant crunch-factor, but it's not intolerably intense thanks to the cheese.

Sonia's teeth must be stronger than mine because she plowed through her share pretty quickly. She gives the product four and a half stars. I want to like them that much, but I can't completely get past the rigid texture. So three out of five from yours truly.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.