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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Trader Joe's Pinks & Whites Dark Chocolate Bar

To the tune of Michael Jackson's Black or White: 

I gave my baby a big chocolate bar
It came from TJ's
I drove there in my car

And I do believe in miracles
Even though one didn't happen tonight

(heee)

But if you're thinkin' bout' my candy
It don't matter if it's pink or white

They put my review in the Saturday Sun
I wrote my thoughts down, yeah, but it wasn't fun

And it's only an opinion
It's not like one is wrong or one's right

But if you're thinkin' 'bout my candy
Well I don't like this one pink or white

(uh hee hee)


And I think the clerk agreed with me
when this checkout gimmick entered his sight

He said, "The thing about this candy
is it ain't great, it's just pink and white"

It's pinks, it's whites
It's tough to say it's a good buy
Yeah, yeah, yeah

It's pinks, it's whites
It's tough to say it's a great thing
Yeah, yeah, yeah

That's all I got. I didn't write all the lyrics for that segue in the middle of the song where Macaulay Culkin raps on the stoop in the hood. If anybody feels inspired, please drop a few lines in the comments.

It's a very run-of-the-mill 54% dark chocolate base. There's shortbread and sprinkles fused onto the surface of the bar. It's very pretty and springy. I'll give it that.

That's about the longest ingredients list I've ever seen on a Trader Joe's brand product. $2.99 for the 3 oz bar. I believe it has already been discontinued. This is one I won't be heartbroken over.

Two and a half stars from me for Trader Joe's Pinks & Whites Dark Chocolate Bar. Three and a half from Sonia, who seems oddly impressed with the bites that include a lot of cookie.

Bottom line: 6 out of 10.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Trader Joe's Guajillo Salsa

In almost 1,750 posts, the only other time the word "guajillo" was ever mentioned on this blog was during a review of chili flavored chocolates. I'm not really familiar with this particular breed of chili pepper, but the beautiful wifey is. She grew up with it. Her mom, in particular, would seek out the actual peppers themselves at markets in Southern California and eat them with her meals.

In the same way that chipotle peppers are the ripened, dried form of jalapeƱos, guajillos are the dried form of mirasol chilis. With significantly lower scoville heat units associated with them than, say, ghost chili peppers, they still pack a significant kick and deliver a lot of flavor in every bite. This salsa is no exception.

While Sonia can to some degree vouch for its authentic flavor, I can only give you my raw, uncensored—and admittedly uneducated—opinion. It's got an earthy, smoky flavor. It's rich and dark, both in appearance and flavor. There's almost something lightly fruity about it, too. It's easy to see how this flavor blended so well with chocolate. Plus, the medium heat level is just about perfect for Sonia and me.


Texture-wise, there's a smooth base with a moderate amount of chunks. Pretty sure most of the chunks are tomatoes. Still, they give the salsa a welcome heartiness and thickness.

I think this salsa shines brightest when mixed into Mexican or Tex-Mex dishes. It's adequate for a simple "chips and salsa" snack, but there's something about the flavor that enhances the taste of everything around it. It goes especially well with beans. We made turkey tacos with black beans, sour cream, and this salsa, and they were amazing.


While this isn't the first salsa I'd turn to for a stand-alone snack, I must admit it's great for adding flavor to Latin cuisine. Sonia loves it in every application, including just "chips and salsa." $2.79 for the 12oz jar. Perfect five stars from the beautiful wifey. Four stars from me.

Bottom line: 9 out of 10.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Trader Joe's Papadums

Ever kinda bite your tongue and try to hold back because you know whatever you have to say is gonna be unpopular but you kinda have to say it anyways.

That's where I am when it comes to Trader Joe's Papadums, with one key exception: I'm biting my fingers, not tongue, cuz I have to type this all out instead of just saying it, hoping it goes unnoticed. 

I......do not like the TJ's papadums. Not at all. 

This is completely contrary to every other opinion I've seen on them online. I kinda get it. The idea behind them is wonderful. From what I can tell, papadums are a traditional Indian snack, with some variation, but a lot are crispy, crunchy, crackery chiplike guys made from lentils and chickpeas. Texturally, they're a lot like sweet potato tortilla chips. So far, so good. Flavorwise, there's not much except the natural lentil and chickpea flavor, with a small dash of cumin and salt. Again, we're off to a good start here...

...it's just...

...there's something about the taste. Upfront there's no offensive or wrong, but after a crisp or two, the flavor "turns." I don't know how else to describe it, but it changes from a pleasant earthy crispy crisp to something I can only liken to dirt. Just...gross dirt. Like dried up, bottom of the soccer cleat kinda stuff. No, I don't actually know what that tastes like. But it's just so off-putting.

I tried, really, I did. I ate multiple papadums in multiple sittings, just to see if it was my mood or something else. Nope. Each bite was worse. Can't take them any more. 

Now, sure, I'm sure some of you will say you had to try them with a dip. I'm sure that'd cover up some of their unpleasantness. But to me, for a product to be good, it has to stand independent from anything else, and not be reliant on something else to make up for what it lacks. That's not where I am here with these.

I don't know, maybe this papa is dumb for not liking the papadums. Everyone else does, including my lovely bride, so that means more for you all I suppose. Enjoy for me, I'm gonna be sitting these out from here on out. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Papadums: 4 out of 10 Golden Spoons