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Friday, May 22, 2020

Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel Greek Style Yogurt Dip

PumpkinMangoCookie ButterCoffee

Trader Joe's latches on to certain themes and just goes downright crazy from time to time. I think we're on our fourth or fifth EBTB product at this point.

The thing about EBTB is that it comes in a shaker. It's designed to be put on/in anything and everything you want to try it with. It'd be pert near impossible to get pumpkin, mango, cookie butter, or coffee in the right ratios in the products that Trader Joe's has offered, but Everything But the Bagel Seasoning? I might be overestimating the average TJ's shopper, but I think we can handle mixing it into stuff ourselves.

If you do internet searches for "Everything But the Bagel Dip" you'll inevitably run across more than one result that mentions "Copycat Everything But the Bagel Dip."

The process for creating this copycat dip goes something like: 1) Take Greek yogurt 2) Add Trader Joe's Everything But the Bagel Seasoning.

As culinarily dim as I can be sometimes, I think even I might have been able to figure that one out.

So...most of our complaints about this product aren't that it tastes bad or has a poor texture, but rather that it couldn't possibly hurt to simply make your own. Sonia wanted lots more EBTB flavor. I thought the amount was just about right, but just for kicks, I tried adding my own, and I felt that the seasoning was somehow a little more crisp and potent when freshly added. 

I felt like something was lost by having the EBTB seasoning submerged in the yogurt indefinitely. The seeds just crackled in my mouth a bit more when they were fresh. I guess seeds don't really get "soggy" but perhaps they were a bit too soft...? Also, by adding your own EBTB to a yogurt dip, you can purposefully keep the dip dry and on top of the mixture, whereas all the elements are thoroughly stirred together in this mixture. An even better idea would be to have two separate little dishes side by side: one with Greek yogurt, and the other with Everything but the Bagel. Then you could roll your yogurt-covered carrot or what have you in the EBTB, getting just as much of it to stick as you'd like. You'd maintain the crunch and dryness of the EBTB while still adding Greek yogurt flavor to the mix.

Taste-wise, there's plenty of Greek yogurt tang in this dip. You can taste most of the constituent seasoning ingredients, as well, although your mileage may vary when it comes to whether you think there's enough of it or not. 

$3.50 for the tub. The nutrition info is innocent enough at 60 calories per serving. It's a tasty condiment, and it goes with just about anything you'd want to eat with yogurt dip. Even though it's traditionally cream cheese you put on a bagel, this works in place of it passably despite its relative thinness, in case you're looking for a lower calorie alternative. 

I just can't see us buying this product again, as we'd almost universally prefer to create our own concoctions with EBTB. Three and a half stars from the missus. Three from me.

Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Trader Joe's Dill Pickle Hummus

Probably like most of you, I've spent a lot more time with my kids the past two months or so. And like most anything, it's somewhat of a mixed bag. Don't get me wrong, I love e'm a whole heckuva bunch, as I remind them to the point of eyerolls almost every day. They're incredibly smart, creative, funny, and remarkably full of grace. Somehow they took all the best parts of my lovely bride and I and made them even better. 

But man...they're also gross.

Like...please flush. And don't get cat food in the sink and just leave it. Also, I didn't think I'd have to tell them to not put random sticks from the neighborhood creek into their mouths, but here we are...and if given the chance they were double, triple, quadriple, and possibly even quintuple dip a chip into any dip they like.

Like the new Trader Joe's Dill Pickle Hummus, for instance.

We are a hummus and pickle loving fam, for the most part. But never did we think of combining pickles and hummus...although I don't see why not, I guess. There's enough natural overlap and complementary flavors that it could totally be a thing.

And make no mistake: this isn't merely dill pickle flavored hummus...there's dill pickles in the hummus. Just look at the ingredients. It's between the chickpeas and the tahini. Full out dill pickles, blended or mashed or whatevered in.

There's no textural disruption to this. Nah, it's just the classic smooth, creamy, cool hummus mouthfeel. There's some green flakes here and there, but nothing else to really tip off the presence of pickles either by sight or feel.

But taste and smell? Yup. Definitely dill pickles. The dill comes out a bit strong, and the vinegar and whatnot give a little extra tangy sour kick, but it's nothing unwelcome provided you like pickles. It all meshes well with the garlic and other other spices as well as the otherwise traditional earthy hummus taste. It's as smooth and scoopable as the day is long...and these are indeed long days, my friends.

No wonder my kiddos loved digging in their pita chips none stop. Heck, I wanted to, too, as I really didn't want more pita chips...I wanted more pickle hummus. Maybe those kids got my instincts with a little less manners cultivated as of right now...we're working on it. For now, we had to settle for separate bowls for everyone, so everyone could do as they wished. Hooray for more anyone else's dishwasher running nonstop? Ours absolutely is, except when we're doing laundry or we're showering. No wonder the water bill I got yesterday was twice as high as normal. Yeesh. Gonna be one of those summers, but fortunately we got a new tasty TJ hummus to help us get through. It's a tour de fours all around.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Dill Pickle Hummus: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Monday, May 18, 2020

Trader Joe's These Sprinkles Walk Into a Sandwich Cookie

I'm cookie-jaded. 

I've just seen way too many cookies from Trader Joe's. They just keep churning them out year after year, and we, foolishly-enough, just keep reviewing them. 

Since Sonia and I don't have any human children of our own, to get a more accurate score, it occurred to me I should hop in the car, drive into a nearby suburban neighborhood, and offer the local kids some of these Sprinkles Walk Into a Sandwich Cookie treats. And it immediately occurred to me thereafter that it might turn into an episode of Nathan Walks Into a Prison Cell if I did that. I mean, I'd have the best intentions, of course. But creepy old bald dudes waving colorful sweets around probably wouldn't be welcome around unfamiliar neighborhoods during these trying and paranoid times. Obviously we do have some friends and acquaintances with kids, but none of them are close-by at the moment. Anyway, I'm getting off the subject.

Cookies. Gosh-darn, freaking, bloody heck. Why'd it have to be cookies? Why did we even buy these cookies, you ask? Because once in a while they impress us. And when you're shopping with low blood sugar, almost anything seems like it'll be appetizing and delicious once you get back home.

So...considering how sick of cookies I am, these are another noble effort on the part of TJ's, I guess. Couldn't they make them organic or throw fair-trade quinoa into them somehow? Guess not. Sprinkles this time. Colorful, festive sprinkles—to celebrate the partial re-opening of our nation or something like that.

We've got above-average quality butter cookies here. They're not soft or anything. They're crispy, which is fine. But I always prefer soft. The sprinkles are super bright and happy, you know, if you're into that sort of thing.

But that buttercream frosting...that's the highlight for me. It's a little sweeter than I would have preferred, but there's a very rich authentic dairy cream flavor that's scrumptious. It's a fresh milky taste that I've never experienced in pre-packaged shelf-stable cookies before. That's what sets these jovial sandwich cookies just a notch above most other big name sandwich cookies I've had.

I can only eat one of these at a time. They're very rich, buttery, super sweet, and dense. They go great with a glass of cold milk. Just one cookie, and I'm ready to down the whole glass, you know, just chugging away.

Repeat purchase? Heck no. Trader Joe's will have some newfangled cookie nonsense we'll have to review before we could ever purchase these again, even if we did have a specific hankerin' for them, which, as good as they are, I don't think would ever really happen. 

To score, I'll suppress the cookie cynic and put myself in the shoes of someone that might be in the mood to eat cookies regularly. Um...three and a half? Yeah that sounds fair. Sonia? Three and a half as well. She's not as jaded about cookies as I am, and she really loved the packaging here, but she was appalled by the fat content at 8g per cookie. Her grown-up cookie-consumer insight of the day: have sugary cookies with coffee to mitigate the sweetness. Brilliant.

Seven stars total seems objective enough to me. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.