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Showing posts with label pork. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pork. Show all posts

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Trader Joe's Uncured Apple Smoked Bacon

Really, can it get any better than bacon?

I don't think so.

Not to get too Lady Gaga on you, but baby, I was born this way (nature). I also grew up in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, the unofficial "home of the smiling porker" and have so many fond memories of Saturday mornings with cheese omelets and bacon for breakfast (nurture). I just love the greasy salty goodness of a few choice crinkley slices of pure heaven, and I know I'm far from the only one. Sandy doesn't like most pork products but she salivates at just the thought. Among my Facebook buddies, I have friends who do such things as making bacon-wrapped scrapple (freakin' delicious) and regularly track down and share pictures such as this. Studies have even shown that bacon is the number one temptress meat for vegetarians, simply because we as humans come wired to seek and crave this stuff. I have yet to meet anyone who can say anything bad about bacon.

So how does TJ's Uncured Apple Smoked Bacon stack up?

I busted out our package yesterday morning (it was Saturday, after all, and Sandy had some tasty omelets on her mind). Once I opened it, the aroma of slightly sweet smokiness hit me, that drew me in for a closer smell. Sandy gave me a weird look and was probably wondering why it looked like I was huffing bacon fumes, until I let her have a good whiff, too. Really, this stuff smells pretty impressive. I prefer to bake bacon in the oven (just easier, with a pretty reliable result) and even hours later, when we got home from a concert at about 1:30 a.m. last night/this morning, the aroma still permeated the air like the best Scentsy product ever. This stuff is of the thick cut variety, and we prefer our bacon good and crispy (Sandy goes as far to just say "burnt"), so it definitely took a while. The bacon strips seemed to have a pretty healthy meat-to-fat ratio, with the fat more concentrated on one side, the meaty parts on the other. Anyways, the fatty sides definitely crisped up pretty well, I saw, as I pulled our breakfast treat out of the oven. The smell was literally intoxicating at this point, so delectable and pheromonesque that it would make even the most militant vegan spiral out of control.

Tastewise, it's pretty darn good. The fatty sides were definitely savory, delicious, comforting, melt in your mouth good. The meatier sides, because of the thickness, were a little chewy and more leathery, but pretty tasty. You can definitely taste the smoke flavor and slight apple-y sweetness which works pretty well with the salt and gristle. Really good and satisfying, and a little tough to stick to my spouse-allotted ration of 3-1/2 pieces. Yes, I would steal bacon from my wife, and not feel too bad. Still, I was left with the feeling that this stuff smelled a lot better than it tasted, but overall I was fairly pleased.

Sandy wasn't as much of a fan of it as I was. She prefers more thinly cut so it burns up a little better and gets crisped up a little more evenly. A valid point for sure. She liked that taste though, and gave it a three. I'll go with a four. I think, for me, it comes down to gustatory preference. Apple smoked bacon makes a great accessory meat, like on top of a cheeseburger, but for stand-alone meat munching, I like either regular or pepper-crusted better. So even though our cumulative score is a seven, if you and your kin are aficionados of good, thick-cut apple smoked bacon, get this stuff and I'm sure you'll be well-pleased.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Friday, January 14, 2011

Trader Jacques' Ham and Cheese Croissant Sandwiches

Yay! Another "international" TJ's product. This time it's from Joe's arrogant French chef friend, Jacques. No, I don't think all French are arrogant. Of the many French people I've met, only one or two were arrogant, and the rest were friendly, down-to-earth folk.

However, we know that this Jacques fellow is an arrogant jerk. Just look at that fancy type-face on the box. It's a ham and cheese sandwich for cryin' out loud. You stick it in a croissant, and what, you think we're eating gourmet all of a sudden!? At $4.69 for two of them, they darn well better be gourmet...2 frozen ham and cheese sandwiches for $5...<huff> the arrogance! Pretentious Frenchious.

(Again, I have no problems with the French. I've been to Paris, and I thought the people were lovely.)

And what kind of person puts 95% of the US RDA for saturated fat in ONE ham and cheese sandwich!!?? An arrogant one, that's for sure! No ham and cheese sandwich is worth that much fat, not even one as scrumptious as this. Maybe the French national RDA for saturated fats is much higher than ours...? Somehow I doubt it.

But they are pretty yummy. Their taste almost justifies their fattiness. The cheese and croissant bread are pretty indulgent, and they come out soft and fluffy. But, there's not nearly enough ham inside. It's like they took one single ham cold cut slice and hid it beneath layers of bread and cheese. (Oh, but it's "Black Forest Ham," straight from the Schwarzwald of Bavaria, I'm sure.) Wait, isn't that in Germany? Shouldn't Jacques have chosen Bayonne Ham instead?

There aren't any cooking options that don't involve the oven. You may thaw it in the microwave, but you've got to fire up that big bad boy and bake it proper for at least 30 minutes.

These might be an option if you're really looking for a once-in-a-great-while kind of treat...but at 34g of fat (19 of which is saturated fat), and 550 calories per sandwich, it's just not worth it, in my opinion. Also, the 30+ minutes to cook them and the nearly $5 price tag make these puffy little pastry sandwiches a pass.

I give them 3 out of 5 Stars. Sonia gives them a 3 as well. Bottom line: 6 out of 10.