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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Trader Joe's Broccoli & Cauliflower Saute Kit

Alright, I dont  get it.  At all. Nope.

Seriously...Trader Joe's Broccoli & Cauliflower Saute Kit? What gives?

Alright, alright, alright. I can hear it right away. Major convenience points. Hey I've let quite a few items slide by based soley on that factor before - caulifower rice, anyone? - but what is this really saving here? A couple quick chops off a crown on the cutting board? Big whoop. I'm a busy boy and all, but man, if I don't have time to guillotine a couple trees and whittle them down to sizable chunks during dinner prep, it calls to question if I really have time for dinner at home or not. It takes literally no time.

As a quick aside for something purporting to both broccoli and cauliflower, there was almost all broccoli here. I like both. I want both. And perhaps it was luck of the draw more than anything else but I didn't feel like I got both. Not when there was only one sizable stalk and a couple tidbits of cauli. Not representing the caluli love there.

Ok, so what else is in the kit, because maybe that'll make up for it, right? That's a valid train of thought that unfortunately derailed once it left the station. After sauteing for a couple minutes in some BYO EVOO, there's a "marinade" packet to add and toss the veggies in. Never mind the fact that the veggies never actually marinate in the marinade, but it tastes like nothing. Nada. Tasteless. Tasted my BYO EVOO more than whatever the heck it was I added in from TJ's.

Forgot to mention the walnuts. That's alright, I almost forgot to taste them. Why walnuts? I have no answer for that. Definitely when quick cooking a 92% broccoli/8% cauliflower mix, walnuts are about 187th on my list of things I'd toss in...

...which is way higher than I'd consider tossing on croutons when it's time to serve. And then it'd have to really good croutons, like parmesany and garlicy with some character and spice, right? Definitely not boring old super generic croutons that taste like dried out stale bread and not much else. Definitely not the ultra basic bland croutons that you'd feed your kid when the only thing worse than listening to them crunch on them was whatever noise they were making previously. Definitely not any sort of crouton like, like, like....the ones present here. Disappointment croutons. Boring croutons. Crappy croutons. IRS croutons. Ugh. 

I don't understand this TJ's offering. I can buy into many things they try, and at least say an A for effort, but this? Nope. When the biggest props I can say is the veggies were still fresh and good two days before their best-by date, that's not a ringing endorsement. I don't know how much this cost. I don't want  to know (though one of your kind readers can please mention in the comments for the sake of your TJ's brethren?). But whatever it was, I know it coulda been better spent on some fresh veggies and a couple dashes of actual flavor courtesy of my spice rack.

Don't dig it. At all. The saute kit doesn't make a terrible product - our veggie chompin' crew ate it happily enough - but there's nothing here that suggest it should be a standalone product. I'm thumbing down with a one. My lovely bride, as always the more graceful one of us, will be nice and give it a two.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Broccoli & Cauliflower Saute Kit: 3 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Friday, February 14, 2020

Trader Joe's Honey Baguette

Valentine's Day. Bread is a way more appropriate gift than chocolates or jewelry for Sonia. She's just a bread and butter kind of gal. And French things are always fitting when it comes to romancey stuff, right? Oui. We don't really call each other "honey," but if we did, this product would be even more relevant for V.D.

Confession: we ate this yesterday, a day before Valentine's, just so we could have the review up for you all today. You're welcome.

Sonia's had many baguettes before, including a few during her visit to Paris. This one doesn't quite compare to those, but for $1.79 and the convenience of not having to travel across the Atlantic Ocean, it's not too shabby.

There's just a hint of honey sweetness and lots of rich, dense doughiness. We both feel like this loaf might be a tad denser than other baguettes we've tried. It wants to crumble a lot, too.

We picked up two loaves, because why not? For the first one we just ripped off pieces straight out of the bag. We tried it plain, with butter, and with some provolone cheese slices. But this bread really only shines after being warmed up. I nuked a few small pieces of the bread for 10-15 seconds, and they came out soft and just warm enough to melt a pat of butter on each little square of bread.

When heeding the preparation instructions on the bag, 400° for 4-6 minutes, it yields a crispy outer crust, which we did with our second loaf. The heating really releases the flavors of the bread, and the texture becomes a bit more appetizing.

Honestly, though, I think I preferred the my improvised microwave heating method over the oven. The soft outer crust might not be as authentically baguette-ish as a crispier crust, but it worked for me.

Found in Trader Joe's bakery section, this honey baguette is certainly more interesting than Wonder Bread, and it's well worth a try for less than two bucks. We didn't make any sandwiches with ours, but it could definitely serve that purpose. If you've got a bread-loving S.O., it's still not too late to swing by TJ's on the way home from work to pick up one of these, some exotic cheese, and maybe some flowers, too. 

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Trader Joe's Coconut Crispy Rolls Wafer Cookies

You'll have to pardon me, I've had Combos on my mind.

Past couple months have been brutal at the day job. Terrible. Busy. Terribly busy and busily terrible. Comes with the territory of what I do sometimes. It's been enough that I've made a somewhat regular habit of working my full normal shift, coming home for a few hours to have dinner, run kids to dance class, and get them in bed....just to go back in for a few night owl hours. When I do that, I encounter the late night crew, who are about as equally stressed out, so a few times I've stopped on the way in to buy a small package of cookies, a Mt Dew Kickstart or two for me since I'm running on fumes...then a few times a little baggie of Combos too.

Cracker shell ones are boring. Pretzel ones will do. The tortilla shells? A revelation, especially with the 7 Layer Dip filling. Delish.

You know what else would make a good Combo shell? Trader Joe's Coconut Crispy Roll Wafer Cookies, that's what.

I was actually kinda disappointed at first that these weren't a Combo style snack with a filling. There's nothing on the box or packaging or description that really overtly implies they would be...except I saw that the holes from the sideview shots were darkened. I hoped it was chocolate or something. Nah, just shadow.

But then I actually tasted the cookies. There's a lot here at crispety-crunchety play. There's a mild, pleasant coconuttiness accentuated by some black sesame seeds that play into a sweet-savory taste. This is even enhanced by the structure of the cookie - thin, multi-layered dough that's not quite phyllo but in the same family, rolled up then either baked or fried - I'd go with fried, since there is a slight, pleasant greasiness to them, though I am open to correction. The crunch really makes the cookie here.

Nice thing is, for whatever reason, I can enjoy them and not eat too many of them. A serving is 10 of them, and routinely I'm good at five. Not sure why. Not full. Not overwhelmed. I like them. But at 5, I'm done...hey that sounds like a lovely work motto now doesn't it?

Good cookies, and pretty inexpensive - maybe $3? Maybe you can match them up with a small dip of some type of a DIY Combo, or you can get over that as I did and enjoy as is. Decent chance at a rebuy. My lovely bride and I don't need to quarrel over who gives them a 3 and who gives them half a spoon more, so here's a 6.5 from us - not bad, not bad at all.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Coconut Crispy Rolls Wafer Cookies: 6.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons