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Showing posts with label blahhh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blahhh. Show all posts

Friday, April 29, 2022

Trader Joe's Organic Vegan Nacho Dip


A little about me: I had severe allergies to wheat, milk, and sugar all through my childhood. I was deprived of the vast majority of foods that my friends and classmates got to eat on a regular basis. I was treated with daily allergy shots, often administering them to myself, and have now, for the most part, outgrown those food allergies, though I still suffer from some mild to moderate sensitivities, namely to gluten, while my wife Sonia has some mild to moderate lactose intolerance.

All through those years of food allergies, my parents did what they could to provide alternatives: goat milk or soy milk instead of cow's milk, rice bread or millet bread instead of wheat bread, NutraSweet and later stevia instead of sugar, and so on. There weren't any Trader Joe's or Whole Foods around, so our options were pretty limited. Fortunately, there were a few mom and pop's "health food" stores and some local farms that offered foods that were hard to find at typical mainstream grocery stores.

I'm actually somewhat grateful for those years of having an extremely limited diet. First, because it taught me to more fully appreciate those very common foods that most people take for granted. Second, because it forced me to broaden my horizons early. There were certain things that I discovered during those years that I would still eat and do still eat now: Rice Dream or coconut-based ice cream, for example. I still generally love things made with rice flour, too.


But there are also alternative foods that I tried back then that were so awful in my opinion that I would have rather just done without any version of said food. Sugar-free carob chips come to mind. Some might argue: "Well, Nathan, you can't have real chocolate chips, so you'll have to eat sugar-free carob!"

But then that argument doesn't make sense at all, does it? I would much rather give up on both chocolate chips and their disgusting alternative at that point.

All that to say when I review things that are dairy-free or gluten-free or sugar-free or whatever, I'm reviewing it from the perspective of a little boy who will happily try almost anything, but will then share his genuine opinion of that thing. I will not sacrifice honesty for the sake of people who might have a different opinion of a particular product. If you disagree with my assessment of an item, feel free to post your opinion as a comment on the blog or our social media, but don't accuse me of lacking "compassion" and "gratitude" because my viewpoint is different than yours. Every reviewer brings his or her own bias to the table to some degree, and I'm no different.

And along those lines, this product falls squarely into that sugar-free carob category. If I were strictly vegan or still allergic to milk, I would happily do without real nacho cheese dip AND this cashew-based alternative...because it's simply not good.

For the record: I like cashews. I also generally like anything nacho cheese flavored. But from the moment I peeled back the plastic covering, there was an off-putting smell. It was a kind of foot-esque odor, strong enough to make me wince. There was something vaguely nacho-ish about the smell, but nothing suggesting nacho cheese dip.


After heating, the smell was more heavily nacho than feet, but it still wasn't particularly pleasant. Taking a bite with an unsalted tortilla chip, there was a moment where the dip was just a flavorless mush. Then a moment later, there was a wash of vague nacho spice. Sonia's experience was very similar. The condiment never even came close to approximating the richness or creaminess of real nacho cheese, and there's just not enough spice to cover up the product's weaknesses.

Texture-wise, it seemed oddly thick and pasty, maybe a little oily. Sonia said it reminded her of toothpaste. I don't disagree, although the texture and appearance are both a notch more impressive than the flavor if you ask me.

I'll throw out one star for that reason. Sonia will go with a generous two for Trader Joe's Vegan Nacho Dip, pointing out that it might conceivably work as a minor ingredient in a grand mishmash of southwestern style foods. We'll most likely take advantage of Trader Joe's outstanding no hassle return policy and get our $3.99 back on this one.

Bottom line: 3 out of 10.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Boatswain Hazy IPA

 


Have you seen this meme? Ugh...I mean, I can't argue, really...but that doesn't mean i like it. At all. 

Sometimes the truth is tough.

Love me a good IPA and I'm always eager to try a new one, especially of the unfiltered/"hazy"/New England style variety. That's my jam. So, I was pretty excited when I spotted a new-to-me can of Boatswain Hazy IPA at an out-of-state TJ's last weekend. Didn't see a full sixpack so i just slid one into a make-your-own sampler...

Thank God.

Ugh. Straight up not good. it's...I don't know...lacking too much. There's no real full body or anything. Instead, it's just like watered-down bitterness that funkifies itself into some sort of ghastly brew. First sip to last, it's straight up not enjoyable...at all. I can't even explain how bad it is, it just is.

The can boasts it's supposed to be fragrant and offer notes from mosaic, ella and citra hops. That's uusally a good thing. But the hops used must be last year's or something. It's all...not vibrant and stagnant, and, for lack of a better word, bitter, but not in the good bitter way that an IPA is supposed to be. It's bad bitter. Really bad bitter. 

Managed to drink it all, though I was tempted to pour it all down the sink. 

For what it's worth, I think the can cost a nice price of 69 cents. So, well, there's that. But if you see this TJ's exclusive branded Boatswain Hazy IPA, spend the extra buck or two and get yourself a local or regional brew instead. You'll be much happier.

Bottom line: Boatswain Hazy IPA: 1 out of 10 Golden Spoons


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel Seasoned Kettle-Cooked Potato Chips

It's 2021 and yet my pet thought, the Chocolate Gum Theory, is still not a thing. C'mon people.

It's been mentioned on here before from time to time, so if you're familiar, feel free to skip the next paragraph or so. It's all a primer for those who aren't. So if you're still with me, gird up, it's time for an education. 

It's a very simple theory. Chocolate is good, right? So is gum. But what happens if you put those two things together? It's...not good. Basically put, the Chocolate Gum Theory states that combinations of things, even good ones, can be less than the sum of their parts. Like...chocolate and cheddar. Salmon and jerky. Babies and pocket knives. Stuff like that. Somewhat related is the Bowie/Mercury Corollary that states two great things when combined can be even greater, while the Bowie/Jagger Corollary reminds us they can be much....much....much less. 

Okay, are we all back together? That's the best. And on to today's subject, Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel Seasoned Kettle-Cooked Potato Chips.

EBTB! So hot right now. Not familiar? You should be. It's an everything bagel sans bagel. It's awesome. And who can resist a perfectly crunchy, delicious kettle chip? I sure can't, so put them together, and we gonna be Under Pressure (good) or Dancing in the Street (not so much)?

Sadly, it's the latter.

I've (literally) spent some time chewing on this to try and determine what the crux of the matter is, because simply put, these chips should be good but just aren't. The issue seems two fold. First, there's this oddly overly oleic taste and feel to the chips. I mean, even by kettle chip standards. I think it'd stand out regardless of flavor. Looking over the ingredients, maybe it's the sesame oil that adds on that little extra that turns it into too much? While not absolutely repulsive, the experience isn't enjoyable either.

And secondly, perhaps, everything seasoning isn't really meant for literally everything. There has to be a proper vehicle for it to be experienced correctly. Part of the appeal of an everything bagel is that the seasoning has a chance to permeate and enhance a warm, chewy, doughy bagel. Here it's a crunchy chip, and without some sort of fuller embodiment to spread its wings, the taste seems overly condensed and artificial. Like, the garlic seems waaaaay too funky on ours, and everything else is a tad bit overkill. On a bagel it'd probably work, but not here. Which is too bad, I love crunchy kettle chips, but with everything going on here it's a hard pass from here on out.

Not gonna lie, I picked up two bags of 'em hoping they'd be great. It took our chip-munchin'-mad fam four days to consume the first, mostly by me out of duty to this here blog. None of us are excited about the second. Might even return, along with the truffle hot sauce I got a month or more ago and can't consume enough of to properly judge as it makes me feel literally ill. There's so many better chips out in the TJ's aisle, spend your $2.49 on something else that'd treat you right.

My lovely bride is much more into the TJ's social media than we are, and it seems our thoughts align with most others publicly stated. If you like 'em, awesome, you get on with your bad self, but maybe stock up as I can see these being pulled due to unpopularity. Or, as always, I could be completely wrong. Except Chocolate Gum Theory, that's true and proven once again here. Just bleh. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel Seasoned Kettle-Cooked Potato Chips: 2 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Trader Joe's Organic Juice Shots

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm completely ignorant about the answer to the following question: What is the point of Trader Joe's Organic Juice Shots?

Up until sitting down to write this review, I was working under the assumption that these new dinky drinkies were some sort of natural energy boost type deal. In that regard, they fail miserably.

Digestive aid? Maybe. My stomach hates me enough and has enough issues that one or two of these won't sway it either way.

Anti-inflammatory? Maybe. I'm in my mid-thirties so my body is still sorting out what it's doing in that regard as well.

One objective they do miserably fail at, at least for my lovely bride and me: being a cool, refreshing, fun little beverage that nwill make me ever want to drop $1.99 each on them ever again. No thank you. No.

TJ's has these in two varieties, of which I've had a swig or two of both: No Joke Ginger and Mighty Turmeric. Let's take them one at a time.

No Joke Ginger: Ugh, these stuff is harsh.  No other word for it. This flavor was the one Sandy was more willing to try...one small sip and she nearly spat it out all over the inside of our minivan's windshield. I tried and could see why. It's pungently gingery - so strong, so harsh and when mixed with lemon juice and coconut water in the proportions it's in - ugh. Not good. This coming from a guy who loves ginger kombuchas too, so I thought I could take it. Nope. Awful. The cayenne doesn't make it any better either. I somehow gulped mine down. 

Mighty Turmeric: Better than the ginger but still not great. Everything seemed a little more well balanced, with a bit of warming glow from the turmeric that was enhanced by a little black pepper. Still, this was not something I can truly say that I enjoyed drinking. It just didn't really taste all that great. I'm kinda glad it was such a small bottle.

These two new juices are something I'm willing to be wrong about. And hey, if they work for you, and have some benefit for you that you value, I'm not gonna disparage that one bit. I'm just gonna say, it's not for us and you go ahead and enjoy. If we're not buying them again, that means more for you, right? Feel free to leave a comment or two with your take on these, especially if you like 'em. There's just no love from us. Double thumbs down.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Organic Juice Shots: 1 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Friday, May 17, 2019

Trader Joe's Cold Brew Caramel Spice Coconut Cream Latte Coffee Beverage

With Memorial Day right around the corner, it's officially turning into that time of year: cold brew season!

Hot coffee when it's hot weather is gross. Can't convince me otherwise. I want to be less hot, not more. Ingesting copious amounts of hot liquid when it's hot is inane. But you still need coffee. Hence the brilliance of cold brew.

So here's how we get an item like Trader Joe's Cold Brew Caramel Spice Coconut Cream Latte Coffee Beverage. Holy cow, what name. Except there's no cows involved here, because, well, coconuts. Dairy free, vegan, cold, caffeinated coffee, with a potentially interesting flavor combo...gotta try.

Except: don't. Believe me. This stuff is grrroooosssssssss. 

I was thinking it's just me. I'm Mr. Drink Black Coffee 99% of the Time Guy. But I can appreciate stuff with cream and sugar and whatnot if it's done well. This isn't.

What really throws the whole brew off the rails, I think, is the caramel spice. It tastes fake and cloying sweet and kinda tinny, and it doesn't jive one bit with the coconut or the coffee. And the "spice"? God knows what it isn't, I really don't. But...it just doesn't taste good. It doesn't taste right. I tried letting it linger around a little longer, but goodness no. As soon as I tasted it I wanted it gone.

That's kinda too bad. I think something like a coconut cream cold brew has a lot of potential if done right. Coconut cream is delicious and debatably healthyish, depending on your dietary approach. There's potential here, but it gets thrown all away.

As I said, I was thinking it was just me. Nope. Sandy hates this stuff, too. Hates it. Which is really difficult for her to do with coffee...but she echoed almost everything I just said. "If it were just caramel, or just the spice, it could work with everything else, maybe," she said. "But together...blecch."

And get this: its not even sold cold. I'm not even sure where in the store it is. Sandy found it, not me. It's not in the refrigerated section. So it's not an impulse, drink right away kinda deal: you have to chill it and plan when to drink it, set your whole caffeination schedule around it. That makes it even more disappointing in my opinion.

We both detest this caramel spice abomination. It's so hard to say that about coffee...but here we are. Gross. Don't buy it. Just don't. Don't encourage this kinda stuff. Sandy mustered a one for it having caffeine, and I'll match that score and reasoning with the added hit that at least it's not pumpkin spice. That'd be a awful fall coffee whether served hot or cold. Blahhhh brew.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Cold Brew Caramel Spice Coconut Cream Latte Coffee Beverage: 2 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Monday, July 30, 2018

Trader Joe's Milk & Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Bits Bar


I really can't believe what I'm about to write here...

...but, skipping all formalities and warmth and fuzziness, don't bother with Trader Joe's Milk & Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Bits Bar. At all. It's completely unenjoyable and will make you question who thought of such of an awful concoction.

No, this isn't some sort of warped attempt to dissuade all potential buyers so I can corner the market and stockpile all of them for myself. I'm serious. Don't' Buy. Ever. I don't care that it's $1.79 and sounds delicious, because that's exactly how Sandy and I got suckered in during a recent trip that we made while bordering on raging hangriness.



I'll give it this much, as it's only postive point. The chocolate, both the milk and dark (as nicely swirled on the bottom of the bar), are delicious. If you know TJ's chocolate, you know it's pretty much always on point. That's the case here, and the milk and the dark meld together nicely in a contrasting tones of creamy and solid, with sweetness and depth. That part is good, but it's what's kinda expected at this point.

Everything else? Awful. Butterscotch bits? Are you kidding me? There's probably more butterscotch bits in Milton Hershey's couch cushions than in this bar. I detected a few crystallized crumbs here and there, but it could be anything in the world, there's not enough to detect any hint of butterscotch. In the half a bar I ate, I encountered a possible butterscotch essence maybe once. It could have been miniscule bits of gravel in there for all I could tell.

But it gets worse. This is one chocolate bar that's actually painful to eat. How to explain...it'd be better if we took a picture of it but we thought the bottom swirls were pretty and more photogenic before cramming in the piehole. It's one of those bars alternates in form between divots and chunks. Like plateaus and valleys, so as to segment a bar, or as Sandy more succinctly put it, a beefed-up Toberlone candy bar. That's fine...but the "plateaus" are so tall and steep, yet so small with so little space between them, that biting into one of these is a nightmare. Your teeth naturally go sledding downhill, leaving the plateaued parts to jab your in the gums. I'm not making this up. Sandy had much the same experience. I guess, maybe in retrospect, if eaten one segment at a time and consumed sideways, it could have worked better...but still. it's as if whoever came up with the form of this bar didn't understand teeth or resented poeple who had them. It hurts. And this isn't a case of it getting too hard because of being in the fridge or freezer these hot summer months...we ate it within an hour of purchase, so it was basically at warmish room temperature.



And to top it off, it's a ten segment bar, with the chocolate bar consisting of three servings per the label. "That's not even fair or right!" Sandy the serving-size policewoman expressed dejectedly. 

Not a fan. At all. A little butterscotch could have redeemed the bar quite a bit, but I'm grasping at saying much of anything nice. Quality chocolate can be had very easily at TJ's, with actual other flavors mixed in, and so far not any other one made my mouth hurt. In all, this TJ's butterscotch chocolate bar is one of the most disappointing purchases I've ever made at TJ's, rivaled perhaps only by these failures. Maybe this is just some built up angst and spite, but I'm going zero here, while Sandy chimes in with a one simply because it's chocolate.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Milk & Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Bits Bar: 1 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Trader Joe's Soy Cheese Alternative


This product contains milk. It's not considered vegan. Which begs the question: why on earth does it even exist?

Some might say it's got less calories than regular cheese. Okay. So does the soil in your back yard—and I'm willing to bet the soil is more palatable. I guess this non-cheese is vegetarian. But then, so is regular cow's milk cheese. Know what else cow's milk cheese has going for it? It's edible.

Texture-wise, I guess this stuff isn't that far off. It feels pretty similar to traditional mozzarella, but with a detectable amount of tofu-type texture as well.


Buuuut flavor-wise, this is one of the worst things I've tasted in my life. It's difficult for me to describe the flavor. The only other things I've ever had that come close are soft, moist dog food pellets that I tried many years ago. Yes, I sample dog food from time to time...<ahem> but that's neither here nor there. The bottom line is that both Sonia and I found this product entirely uneatable. If you disagree, that's fine. Feel free to share your thoughts below. I'm sure someone will tell us there's a way to cook it or to prepare it that makes it okay, but I, for one, cannot fathom ingesting one more bite of this vile block of bean. This is a big "nope." Going back to Trader Joe's for a no-hassle refund. Half a star a piece on this one. Absolutely revolting.

This "cheese" made Sonia very sad. Please watch and like her short video review to make her happy again. 



Bottom line: 1 out of 10.



Monday, July 3, 2017

Trader Joe's Organic Lemon Ginger Herbal Flavored Water

Ah, tomorrow's the Fourth of July. And there's nothing quite as Murican as lemon-ginger-infused water to celebrate Independence Day. Let's take a look.

Imagine you just consumed a plate of lemon ginger chicken. Now imagine you rinsed off the plate and collected the water from it. Imagine further that you had a temporary lapse in judgement or some kind of heat stroke and decided it would be a good idea if you drank said rinse water. 

Ahh, refreshing right? Depending on the temperature of the water...perhaps. But still a pretty weird taste. Yeah. I'm not feeling it. And I like lemon and ginger just fine. And in case you're wondering, no, this product doesn't taste like chicken. I just couldn't think of any other legitimate reason you might have lemon and ginger on a plate.

The ghost of lemon and ginger present here is just potent enough to ruin the super-neutral taste of plain water, and yet it's not strong nor sweet enough to be any kind of delicious chuggable beverage.

And another thing: the write-up on the packaging claims this product is "Hydration with flare." "Hydration with flare"? Did I somehow miss that this water is flammable? Does the water have a high enough alcohol content to serve it flambé? Or did they mean "flair"? Or is this use of the word "flare" somehow acceptable here? Was the water flavored with road flares?

So if you ask me, just go ahead and skip this hippy dippy nonsense and go drink a tooth-rotting, high fructose corn syrup-laden Coca-Cola tomorrow while you watch those fireworks. One won't kill you. Coke is deliciously American, and this stuff just isn't. Fair comparison? No. Apples and oranges? Sure. I'm fresh out of more appropriate comparisons. This heat's getting to me.

Sonia thinks she'd just rather drink plain old water for refreshment—or maybe even sparkling mineral water. I agree. One star a piece.

Bottom line: 2 out of 10.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Trader Joe's Matcha White Chocolate Bar

The topic of "punishment meals" have been brought up before on this blog. The short version: days that us kids were being brats, my mom would make us a dinner we'd be sure to hate just to get back at us. usually it was tuna fish casserole. Blecccccccch.

Well, a punishment meal can have a punishment dessert, right?

Unfortunately, that pretty much exactly sums up how both Sandy and I feel about Trader Joe's Matcha White Chocolate Bar with Matcha Green Tea Filling. Sounded intriguing enough to plunk down $1.99. I really wish we hadn't.

First off, look at our product shot inside the wrapper. There's so much wrong with that picture. First off, it looks like that bar got runover by a dump truck. I get that shipping and transit is what it is, and stuff happens, but seriously? That's a bit much. Then the colors...ugh. Maybe I'm jsut much too basic, but chocolate is not supposed to be that color. It doesn't even look appetizing. Then there's that filling, oozing out everywhere, looking like little puddles of melted green Army guys. Appeal factor definitely went down a few notches there.

A lot of that can be forgiven if tasted good...no. No. No. Look, kudos for effort, I guess, but swing a miss here. The chocolate portion is actually decent enough, decidedly on the sweeter side, with a hint or two of green tea mixed in. Or maybe that's its that greenness playing tricks on me. Regardless, it's not the problem. It's the filling. Very strong green tea flavor. Very herbaceous. You could have told me it was spinach jelly and I would have believed you. And it alternately doesn't jive that well with the rest of the chocolate casing while also in conjunction with that chocolate tasting like way too much green tea.

Dark chocolate with the green tea filling might have worked. Green tea white chocolate with a regular chocolate filling would have worked. Or heck, even like a berry filling of some type with that green cocoa concoction. But as is? Too much...and I like green tea. So does Sandy.

Check here for the nutritional stats and ingredients...we neglected to get a pic before trashing the box. "Good," Sandy said. "It's awful and no one should eat it anyways." She's going with a 1 for the inspiration, but, man, that execution...ugh. I gave it a second try right before writing it and really could not think of anything all that positive to say. Candy so bad it gets thrown out in my house? Must be pretty awful.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Matcha White Chocolate Bar: 2 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Monday, August 1, 2016

Trader Joe's Sweetened Dried Orange Slices

We've seen plenty of zombified fruits from Trader Joe's before: applesbananasbaby bananas, and even other oranges. For the most part, I think those dried fruit snacks have been successful. They're sweet enough to be desserty, but natural enough not to wreck most diets. In all those previous cases, they seemed to capture the innate essence of the fruit and candy-ify it—in some cases without even adding any sugar.

Not only is there plenty of sugar here, but these don't really taste like oranges. I mean, I know they're made of orange slices. And they're definitely citrusy. But I think what throws me off is that they left the rind on. And I've mentioned before that I'm not huge into eating orange peels. I don't know many people who are. 

Perhaps there's a reason why Trader Joe's suggests you do things with this product other than eat it. The back of the packaging recommends using them as garnish on cocktails or as decorations for cakes and cookie platters. On that front, I can't really argue with them. Orange is my favorite color, and I've never minded splashes of it here and there. The write-up on the wrapper also insists that you can consume the attractive little slices, but it does so quite unconvincingly. "This stuff's non-toxic, we promise!"*

Once opened, the package gives off a bizarre fermented fragrance—not unlike what I'd imagine marmalade left in the sun might smell like after a day or so. The taste is a little more pleasant than the aroma in my opinion, but again, the bitterness of the rind spoils a good bit of the sweet flavor of the fruit itself. The slices are sticky with sugar, somewhat difficult to chew, and bits of the candied fruit cling tenaciously to your teeth once you've begun masticating.

Orange is the new blecch!

Sonia was even more repulsed than I was. She literally exclaimed, "Oh God! That's awful!" upon first bite. I think this is her first time giving ZERO stars to a product. I'll give them a generous one and a half, mostly for their decorative value. This might be a return here. Or we might throw a cocktail party and put them to use as garnish, as mentioned above. If the drinks are strong enough, some of our guests might even get crazy enough to eat them.

Bottom line: 1.5 out of 10.

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*That's not actually written on the packaging.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Trader Joe's Mango Chia Pudding with Cultured Coconut Cream

Let's see...be positive. Focus on the good stuff. Look on the bright side of life. There's good in almost everything with a little perspective. That's the proper way to look at life, right? Right?

So, as a proper challenge to that, may I present Trader Joe's Mango Chia Pudding with Cultured Coconut Cream?

Glass-half-full side first: The pudding sounds good. C'mon, admit it, it does. Even with some mango fatigue setting in, this kinda sticks out if you happened to glance upon it on the refrigerated shelf. Even without the lid's suggestion, as a small breakfast time treat, or a little snacky or dessert, it certainly sounds like an indulgence on the probably healthyish side. And hey, dairy-free for those who that's a concern for.

Then, there's everything else.

It's debatable between the wife and I about what's precisely wrong with the puddin'. My stance: it's the texture. It's kinda stiff and chunky and feels kinda slimy. There's some coconut strips in there that add an odd little fibrous bite that seems a little out of place. And then there's all the chia seeds...the cup's full of them. Top to bottom. That's just too many. Also, I'm not entirely sure if it would have been better if the seeds were, actually, you know, seed-like with a little crunch or something to them - because instead they just seem wet and bloated and soggy with scarecely any difference between them and the rest of the pudding.

That's what bugs me. What bothers Sandy: the taste. Admittedly, it doesn't taste like much at all. Mangos are naturally full of sugar, so it ought to taste sweet, right? You'd think...but maybe somehow the coconut dulls it all out, because there's next to nothing going on here. I mean, kinda look at it - it looks like it tastes. Gray. Lifeless. Just kinda there and not much else. Okay, there is a little something to it...but nothing all that much. I'm usually not a guy in favor of things like added sugar, but this could really use something to liven up the flavor a bit.

This kinda glop is usually right up Sandy's alley. She took two small tastes and made a huge "Bleccccch" face before handing over to me. I tried, and what promptly followed were two in-depth conversations: 1) Should we return it? We decided not to, because TJ's is 20 minutes away and not on our usual daily commute currently with M's preschool out. and 2) Is it okay to use the words "mango boogers" in my review? I mean, that's what first came to mind...I win, this is my review!

I've yet to hear anything positive about this mango pudding, so maybe, as our brightside takeaway, we can all be united on how not good it is. Sandy gave it a 0, I'm not much higher.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Mango Chia Pudding with Cultured Coconut Cream: 1 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Friday, April 1, 2016

Trader Joe's Cotton Kitchen Towels


Well, readers, gotta admit: all of us at WGaTJ's are a little disappointed. You see, in years past right around this time, we've been privileged to be part of the taste test process for new, interesting, exotic products before they hit store shelves. It's sorta like the once a year bone that Big Joe throws us for hosting one of the Internet's biggest rolling Trader Joe's lovefests.

But not this year. No particular reason why. Just...nothing. Maybe there's still some fallout from last year's sampling which just didn't quite meet final quality standards for some reason - what a crappy excuse. Eh well.

So, instead, we're going to branch out and give something a try that first came back to Trader Joe's shelves a few months back: Trader Joe's Cotton Kitchen Towels. They're sold in a three-pack for like $5.99, which seems to be a pretty decent value. But, really, we're confused here. Literally, there's no instructions or descriptions or anything, so it's like TJ's is selling these 100% cotton towels with the assumption that we're supposed to know exactly what to do with them.

I mean, how in the the heck are you supposed to eat them?

No preparation instructions at all, so we're just winging it here, trying to take some clues. Seeing that the towels are apparently shelf-stable and not frozen, refrigerated, canned, or packaged, we first tried them as is, just what I presume would be "raw." Bleh. Literally, no taste - with the red coloring I was hoping for at least a hint of strawberry or sriracha or bacon or something. Instead, it's just this bland, fibrous, tough cloth-type sheet that is impossible to bite through.

Giving TJ's the benefit of the doubt, we began thinking just maybe we're doing wrong here. So, with the lack of guidance, here began the experiments. We tried microwaving - just warmed it up, slightly, but otherwise identical to our first taste. We thought maybe boiling them would do the trick and soften them up - it certainly made the towels hot, wet and steamy, but the only thing that got any softer out of it was my beard. The smoke alarms made it unbearable to bake them for more than a couple minutes, and we had a nice little chat with the fire chief after trying to grill them...really, at a loss here.

I thought maybe we got a bad batch (it can happen) so on our next TJ's trip, I asked one of the crew members for a sample and some advice of how to properly prepare a kitchen towel. Much like the blank stare and head shake from the fire chief, the look we got was kinda discouraging and not entirely helpful.

Fortunately, these towels do seem to have a decent absorptive property to them. It's been a struggle over the years to scrape off every last bit of some tasty sauce or whatever from a bowl or plate - well, fortunately, these flat fiber sheets are flexible enough that I can wipe off most any dish and it'll pick up all those flavors. And apparently this is a process that can repeated over and over again, because these towels do so seem pretty durable, and there's just not any process we can find that make these towels digestible seem possible. So, there's that.

But, fortunately, I'm not alone. The Rodgers picked up this product about the same time we did. They went about the preparations a little differently, but found the towels similarly perplexing and disappointing. Here's a short video review chronicling their experience:



As you can see, we gotta go thumbs down across the board. From all of us here at What's Good At Trader Joe's: Zeroes.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Cotton Kitchen Towels: 0 out of 10 Golden Spoons

p.s. - Are these even gluten free?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Trader Joe's Thyme Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

Talk about subtle flavors! This might have the subtlest taste of any TJ's product I've ever tried. The smell of this product is at least twice as strong as its actual flavor on the tongue.

Now I'm down with oil and vinegar dressings, or most any kind of vinaigrette or what have you, but this stuff...I'm not sure where the balsamic part of it is. Or the honey part. Or the thyme part. It's basically just olive oil if you ask me—and maybe not even the most flavorful olive oil I've ever had. It's pretty bland, pure and simple. Sonia and I thought "Hmmm, maybe all the flavors are on the bottom. Maybe we didn't shake the container enough." But even after ample agitation, the trace amounts of balsamic we dredged up from the bottom of the bottle barely produced anything more tangy or tasty than the first few drab drizzles.

It's been a while since Sonia and I busted out a thoroughly negative review, and I always cringe when I have to do this, because negativity typically begets negativity. There are defenders for just about every one of TJ's products, so it tends to be safer to either just stick to stuff we like, or to downplay our negative feelings in some cases. 


If you look back through the past year or so on this blog, the "Meh," "Not So Great," and "Blahhh" categories have been dominated by Russ. He's a braver man than I am. It's not that I've lied to you about Sonia's and my scores, it's just that we've tended to review products we have neutral or positive feelings for, and we've tried to do the whole "silver lining" thing when we can. But every once in a while, we just can't. This is one of the worst salad dressings I've ever had. And to top it all off, there are 21 grams of flavorless fat per serving!

Sonia adds, "I am really disappointed. I definitely won't buy it again." On a slightly brighter note, she liked the texture of it. One and a half stars from her. One star from me. 


Unfortunately, there's an even MORE negative review than this one on the imminent horizon. You might not see it on here tomorrow, but definitely before the end of the week. Stay tuned if you love drama.

Bottom line: 2.5 out of 10.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Trader Joe's Triple Fruit Treat

The epitome of a First World Problem: Here I am, standing in my usual Trader Joe's on a snowy but busy Thursday morning before work. My desk drawer stash is completely barren, and I need me some vittles to make through another crushingly busy day...and my usual go-to goodies are gone. Out. No mas. Something about the truck being held up in the snowy storms that are common enough this time of the year. A crew member says they're busy unstocking but who knows, could be a while. And I don't have time to wait.

"Hmm, Triple Fruit Treat," I say to myself, not reading any further, as you'll see here in just a second. "Looks like pineapple, cranberry and blueberry. That's an interesting mix, and just $3.49. Let's do it."

My complete failure to read and/or lack of basic comprehension has foiled me in the past. This time is another example.

First, obviously, not pineapple. it's mango. But that's okay, I like mango. If it's actually, you know, a mango, or at least reminiscent of one. But it's not, and neither are the the cranberries all that cranberry-y or blueberries blueberry-y. That's because (and obviously, if I failed to read the front, then the ingredients list was skipped) look at all the added junk - oils and sugars and whatnot. Ugh. It's these kind of additives and extras that take a perfectly glorious piece of fruit, one of the wonders of creation, and make it a chewy, waxy, falsely sweet lump of Frankenfruit.

And that's pretty much how this tastes. It's like I chopped up some wax fruit from your Aunt Betty's coffee table and tried to ingest it. Ugh. The "mango" tastes nothing like mango, and I could only tell the blueberries and cranberries apart because of the color difference - it all just blends together in a mass produced blend o' blandness. I took a couple small handfuls hoping the experience would get better, and honestly it just left me a sticky gross sweetness in my mouth, a weird buzz in my tummy, and desperation in my soul. Yuck.   

How bad is this stuff? The following day, I came into work at 9:30 a.m., didn't leave until nearly 11 p.m. that night, and epically failed to either pack a lunch OR dinner after a meager breakfast, felt too cheap to go buy something, had these at my desk all day long...and couldn't muster up the guts to have more than a small begrudging handful. Thank goodness someone left a bag of crispy delivery lo mein noodles I claimed as mine when 9:30 p.m. rolled around. They're so bad I'm not subjecting my wife to them, and they are a strong candidate for a TJ's return (done only once for taste-related reasons).

Big Joe, as a suggestion, instead of calling these "Fruit Treats", call them "Froot Treets" to more easily tip off the oblivious shopper (namely, me) as to what they're buying, basically this ain't anything close to the goodness of actual dried fruit. I should have taken the hint that after a wintery blast, and with more snow on the way, there were still abundant bags of this garbage left.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Triple Fruit Treat: 2 out of 10 Golden Spoons  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Trader Joe's Peppermint Sandwich Cookie Cake

This item has pork in it. 

There is PIG in this product. Granted, it's just pig bones. Or possibly pig skin. But PORK GELATIN is listed on the ingredients. Didn't think we'd read the ingredients, did you, TJ's? Well, we did (unfortunately, not until after we got the cake home). And this product just isn't tasty enough for me to overlook that fact.

Putting pork in peppermint ice cream is nearly as gross as putting bugs in yogurt. Yes, Dannon and certain other brands put bugs in yogurt. LOTS of bugs. I'm not implying they put bugs in TJ's yogurts either...just yogurt in general. It's called "carmine." If you don't want to eat lots of bugs, look for it in yogurt ingredients. That being said, bugs are high in protein, low in fat, and are probably a lot better for you than the chemicals that some companies put in yogurt. But...they're BUGS. Similarly, I suppose there's not a lot of fat in pork gelatin. But pig-flavored ice cream just doesn't sit well in my subconscious. After this sandwich cookie was out of the freezer for a bit, I swear it started to smell like pork rinds, but that was probably just my overactive imagination.

Perusing the packaging of this porky peppermint product further, you'll discover even more fun facts that utterly defy logic, like "Product of France." Product of France?? They import this stuff?? What made them think this was worth importing?? You're telling me there isn't a better chocolate-peppermint sandwich cookie stateside? 

The peppermint is stiff, and it isn't particularly creamy or sweet. It's just minty. The chocolate cookie is powdery and kind of spongy. It's not very flavorful. The bread part and the ice cream part don't blend together all that well, either. You'd be better off mixing any other pint of peppermint ice cream with a chocolate Twinkie. 

This "Pork Peppermint Patty" is proof that the answer to "What's Good at Trader Joe's?" is not "everything," and this post is proof that we do not work for Trader Joe's. AdSense makes this blog lucrative for us, not TJ's. But at the same time, don't get me wrong—this blog IS a labor of love...just like this funny music video about the first TJ's in Denver, CO, or this well-written article about the guy who holds the "End of the Line" sign at a Trader Joe's in Manhattan, or this excellent cookbook about stuff you can make with Trader Joe's products. TJ's fans are enthusiastic, to say the least.

But in the end, we must give you our honest opinion. Sonia scores this product 1.5 stars. I give it half a star.

Bottom line: 2 out of 10.
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And just so I don't sound like a Thanksgiving Grinch by leaving you with a negative review right before Turkey Day (or Turkey-Less Day, as the case may be), I'd also like to say that I'm very thankful for a lot of things, including most Trader Joe's products, and you, our readers. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Trader Joe's Chicken Parmesan Lollipops

What's the deal with meat on sticks?

Sorry, that was me channeling my inner Jerry Seinfeld.

But really, what's the deal? I have a theory: Our ancestors used to have to run around and club animals with sticks then roast them over a fire to eat. But no, not our modern selves. Nowadays, we put meat on a stick for fancy occasions (say, hors d' ouevres at a wedding) or at mass gatherings of civilizations (like county fairs) or in the case of these Trader Joe's Chicken Parmesan Lollipops...well, I'm not sure why there's a stick in them. I guess it's just to remind of us of how far we've come. We're ahead. We're advanced. We're the first mammals to wear pants.

Sorry, that was me channeling my inner Eddie Vedder.

Let's talk about these inner chicken on a stick thingies. I'll try to be careful about how I refer to them, because calling them certain things sound a little, um, phallic. Use your imagination if you so choose.

Channeling my inner Abraham Lincoln, I'm going to be straight out honest with you, to perhaps a fault: I have not been this sorely disappointed by a Trader Joe's product in a long, long time. The best way I can think of to describe them is, imagine you're eating some breaded chicken parm, and some of the breading slips off and gets all mixed in with the sauce and cheese, with maybe an itty bitty teeny weeny bit of chicken in it. Taste good? Yeah, sorta. Would you pay $5 for a box of 10 McNugget sized pieces of that? No? I sure wouldn't....except I did when I bought these. I'm almost tempted to tag these as vegetarian, because I truthfully cannot verify if any actual chicken is used in these, because whatever was included was so scant it was pathetic. As one of the very few "meat cheats" I make as a roughly 85% vegetarian, it's even more disappointing, and honestly I'm feeling a little bit ripped off and cheated..

Sandy was even more enthusiastic initially about them then I was, and as I pulled them out of the oven, she excitedly ran to the fridge, curiously yanked out her self-proclaimed "favorite condiment" and then as she picked up her first chicken stick, dejectedly exclaimed "Ugh! Why's there red stuff in it?" I was very confused about this sequence of events until I realized she transposed the words "chicken" and "parmesan" and was expecting slightly cheesy chicken nuggets ideal for dipping into mustard, not infantile quasi-Olive Garden knockoffs. She harrumphed the rest of the night away. "They'd be okay for appetizers but that's about it," she said. She also noted the complete absence of discernible clucky parts, so it wasn't just me. Sandy's giving them a two, graciously, I think. Me? When the best thing you can say about a product is that it comes with it's own toothpick, that's not really a ringing endorsement. Perhaps I'm just unreasonably grumpy about the whole thing, but I'm channeling my inner Richard Dawson. Survey says....

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Chicken Parmesan Lollipops: 2 out of 10 Golden Spoons     

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Trader Joe's Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats

In a change from my usual tack, I'm gonna be real upfront with you right off the bat: Trader Joe's Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats will be the very first product, in the nearly 400 reviews on this blog to date, to earn two different scores on the very same review. It is equally true that this particular oatmeal is very, extremely delicious (you know, as oatmeal goes) and yet....ugh. It all depends how you make it.

I've heard that "it all depends how you make it" statement made about many things, upto and including those gawd-awful turkey meatloaf muffins. Apparently, if you ignore the stated "preferred method" notes (as I didn't), bake them twice as long as need be, broil them, slather them in cheese, deepfry them, add gravy, wrap in a wonton then saute in some olive oil and hot sauce and top with a cherry while singing loudly to Justin Bieber, they're good. Or something like that. Why the heck they're still available, I have no idea.

But I digress. Back to the oatmeal. Here's the breakdown:

Trader Joe's Quick Cook Steel Cut Oatmeal is GOOD when: you make it on the stove top. Oh yes, very good, indeed. Sandy and I made up a couple bowlfuls (pictured) this past weekend to have for breakfast along with a fresh French press full o' coffee. I added some grade B maple syrup and toasted almond slivers to mine. Deeeeeee-lish. Extremely good, and very easy to make, taking roughly the eight minutes or so the package says it takes. It's kinda fun watching the little oatmeal granules take in the water and turn into mush. Which brings to mind: why the big deal about oatmeal being "steel cut"? I suppose, living in Pittsburgh and all, that ought to make me proud in a way, but what does it matter what oatmeal is cut with? What if it were cut with titanium? Or adamantium? Or if it were just repeatedly crushed by a Thwomp Brother? I just see those clever marketng buzz words "steel cut oatmeal" all the time. I guess if you can't make oatmeal sexy, make it sound exotic. Or something. Regardless, yes, stove top prep method = healthy nomnomnom.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons when cooked in a pot
 
Trader Joe's Quick Cook Steel Cut Oatmeal is NOT GOOD when: you use the microwave. Nope. Believe me, I've tried, three times, with three different methods, and they all have failed. The first time, and this was probably my underestimating of the matter, I had my quarter cup of steel cut oatty bittybits, three quarters cup of water from the hot water tap at work (you know, what you'd use to make tea), put it in roughly a container with a two cup volume, and nuked it for three minutes. My visual estimation was, after only three minutes, roughly 60% of the oatmeal and water boiled over, causing a huge mess. I took two dish towels to clean up. I didn't dare nuke it again, and so instead ate what was left with almonds and berries. Ugh. Definitely not cooked all the way - all grainy and mushy and kinda chewy. Okay, I said to myself, I need a bigger container. So the next morning, I used roughly a container with roughly a six cup volume. After three minutes, there was no boil over....instead, all the water evaporated and left a dry, crusty oatmeal reside layer. The word that comes to mind is bird suet. It was inedible. Okay, I said, maybe a smaller container, with a smaller surface area but still tall enough to handle the boil-over potential. So I got a Chinese delivery quart size container (like one for wonton soup) and tried that, and I guess a little mindful of the last round of squirrel bait I made, added just a the tiniest of smidges of extra water. Nope, it boiled over, again after just two and a half minutes, leaving me with halfcooked breakfast and a mess. This time I guess it was about 20 percent, and it took one dish towel. After that, I quit. Back to my usual Clif bar for a midmorning at work snack.

Bottom line: 1 out of 10 Golden Spoons when cooked in a microwave

So, there you have it. Stove = good. Microwave = blecch. When made right, it's good enough I'm willing to bump it into our semi-regular weekend breakfast rotation, as both Sandy and I enjoyed ours. I can also see this working well for something like a backpacking trip, as it makes a good, simple, stick-to-your-ribs meal. I just wish it'd be a viable solution for work. Maybe you're a microwave master and can tell me how to do it. No, I'm not going to cook it for realz at home then reheat at work. Tell me how to do it, and you'll be my hero. It's $2.49 for the can.

Bottom Bottom line: Use the stovetop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Trader Joe's Chicken Breast in Poblano Sauce

A poblano is a type of pepper. Beyond that, my wife and I aren't sure if the word means anything—and Sonia is fluent in Spanish. If we had to take a guess just based on the sauce on this TJ's dish, we'd probably guess that "poblano" means "bland." If we had to take a guess based on the dish as a whole, we'd probably go with "nasty."

At some point not too long ago, we had a TJ's fan write on our Facebook page that this particular Chicken Poblano item was excellent. Now, mind you, we know that from time to time there are extreme discrepancies between regions when it comes to people's experiences with Trader Joe's products. The Sockeye Salmon comes to mind. Apparently, in most places, the salmon Trader Joe uses in that product is barely fit for consumption by your cat, let alone yourself. But here and there, you'll find a batch fresh enough that it's not only passable, but relatively tasty.

So I'm not going to call that person out there who claims that this Chicken Poblano is delicious a liar. I'm merely going to state matter-of-factly that our experience was something entirely different—and Sonia and I are 100% on the same page about this one. We were both thoroughly disappointed.

The chicken itself was barely enjoyable. It was fatty and gristly. Both Sonia and I got at least one bite that we had to spit into our napkins because of an excess of...??...something unchewable. Overall the chicken lacked flavor, and the bites of tender, juicy white meat were far and few between.

The sauce was even worse. It was virtually flavorless. With so many ingredients, we both hoped that at least one of them would come through to spice up the dish. But nothing. Just a bland mush. We were both independently shocked by the lack of flavor. We both expect more from TJ's.

I never want readers to think we're taking a cheap shot at Trader Joe's. We're fans and always have been. But once in a while, we come across a product that is so sorely disappointing that if it had been our first experience with TJ's, it may have also been our last. This was one of those meals. I'm not saying that someone else couldn't have had a very different experience...because I know at least one person out there is somehow a fan of this product. I'm interested to see what kind of comments we get with this one. Whose dish was the anomaly? The person who loved it? Or Sonia and I?

Sonia gives it 1 star, stating simply, "terrible." That sounds about right to me. We'll never buy it again.

Bottom line: 2 out of 10 stars.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Trader Joe's Uncrystallized Candied Ginger

There's definitely some foods in the world that can be easily filed under "acquired taste." I think that drinks like coffee and beer are pretty common ones. Indeed, I hated both beverages for probably the first couple dozen times I had them, and now I've gotten to the point where they bookend my day at least half the time. All in moderaton, of course. Also, as a kid, I hated burgers, which is definitely not the case now. I'm not sure, but there might be such a thing as an "un-acquired taste." Case in point: I used to thrive on spicy foods to the point where a semi-bashful waitress at a Thai restaurant once told me she'd never seen a white person eat as spicy food as I did. I took that as a huge compliment. Now, I haven't completely taken up a full time BRAT diet by any means, but there's times I catch myself checking how many shakes of hot sauce I pour on my food. Me from 10 years ago would be mocking me now. I guess that's just part of getting older, along with mortgages and emerging bald spots.

What does this have to do with Trader Joe's Uncrystallized Candied Ginger? Admittedly, not that much. C'mon, you've learned to expect that from us now. But, I guess that ginger is one of those other acquired tastes as well. I thought I knew more or less what ginger tasted like growing up before knowing much better - ginger ale, gingerbread cookies, the occasional ginger snap, other ginger-tinged goodies. Ginger candy is something newer for me, but I got some that I really liked at the 99 Ranch in San Diego, and those were much more intense than what I was used to.

These TJ guys, though? Like Tufnel Marshall's amp, these go to eleven. Seriously. Short of hacking off a chunk of actual ginger root and chomping directly down on it, I can't imagine a more intense ginger flavor. Each piece is soft and chewy, kinda like dried pineapple except a little softer in that regard. If you bite a piece in half you'll see there's still some fiber-y stringy insides, but they're not noticeable otherwise. For flavor, each candied ginger piece starts off kinda mild and sorta sweet taste from the light dusty sugar coating, but quickly morphs into an all out ginger blitz that sets the back of your throat aflame. That's even after just one piece. That "sweet and smooth" tagline TJ's puts under the product name? I think that's their attempt to generally describe most gingers like myself and Nathan (both of us redheads, and we're both definitely sweet and smooth - just ask our wives! *cough*) and certainly not these candies - I couldn't think of two words that I'd wouldn't use more than those. Overzealous and napalm-esque? Sure. Sweet and smooth? Heck no.

Sandy absolutely hated these. We cracked a bag open on our recent road trip. After one bite, in my peripheral vision, I saw her make a face like I just forcefed her a meatloaf muffin. "Blahhh," she said. "Enjoy your ginger candy, ginger boy." She slightly changed her tune later and said she could imagine having some of these if she were feeling a little ill in the tummy, and for that reason only, she'll grace them with a one. To me, it's kinda funny she said that, because I swear each time I try them, my stomach feels a little off afterwards. Not sick, but not all that happy either. Yet, kinda like something that hurts only when you poke it, I keep trying them. I don't completely hate them, but it'll be a struggle to finish the bag nonetheless. I might try to return them, but seeing as though they cost only about $2 and I've had about half of them, I might not. I can imagine some of y'all like them, but for me, not so much. I think I'll go with a one as well. All out ginger assault is one taste that's far beyond me at this point.


Bottom line: Trader Joe's Uncrystallized Candied Ginger: 2 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Monday, February 6, 2012

Trader Joe's Pasta with Sockeye Salmon & Asparagus

This is the fishiest thing I've had in a long time. Maybe ever. And relatively recently, I've had some day-old scallop soup from an all-you-can-eat buffet in Atlantic City that made me puke a couple hours later. In defense of this Trader Joe's concoction, it did NOT make me puke. But quite honestly, the semi-rancid scallop soup tasted a heck of a lot better on the way down.

The word "sockeye" doesn't sound particularly appetizing to me. Of course, salmon is almost always delicious. Sonia has always been a huge fan of salmon. I like fish in general, and pretty much any sort of seafood or swimmy animal meat (except for acquatic mammals, of course, but I don't think people really eat them anyway). Mahi-mahi, or "dolphin-fish," is not really dolphin. It's fish. But that's neither here nor there, so let's get back to this revolting, fishy pasta medley.

It's not the pasta or the veggies that ruined this dish. Not by a longshot. The pasta, veggies, and sauce were completely forgettable. Which is good in a way. If they had been any worse, I might have been tempted to stop shopping at TJ's altogether for fear of ever having another product as revolting as this one could have been. But if they had been significantly better, it would have been a crying shame that they were so utterly ruined by the fishiness of the fish they were packaged with.

The only thing that was really terrible about this dish was the fish. I've never had such fishy salmon. I've never had such fishy fish. Ever. And I've eaten Shark, Tilapia, Trout, Sunfish, Mahi-mahi, Salmon, Anchovies, Tuna, Halibut, and probably dozens of other varieties of fish. Sonia and I debated whether or not the stray cats in the neighborhood, who are no doubt on the verge of starvation here in the middle of a Pennsylvania winter (albeit a very mild one) would eat this most fishiest of fish meat to save their scrawny hides from a sad, slow, and painful death. We never came to a definitive conclusion.

My advice is that unless you have some really bizarre proclivity for unbelievably fishy-tasting things, that you should avoid this product at all costs. This is the most disappointing salmon I've ever had. Period. The salmon in $2.00 Lean Cuisine frozen meals is pure gourmet, top-shelf delectability compared to this. When asked what she had to say about the product, Sonia simply replied, "disgusting." She gives it 1 star out of 5. I was tempted to give it less than one full star, but I'll give it a 1 since the non-fish ingredients weren't terrible. But overall, this is an epic fish FAIL.

Bottom line: 2 out of 10 stars.