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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Trader Joe's French Toast

Dear Trader Joe's,
Really? Just French Toast? Meh. You guys do strange stuff way better than normal stuff. Since you seem to be having a difficult time coming up with unusual things to do with your French Toast, here are some ideas: Gluten Free French Toast. Dark Chocolate Covered French Toast. French Toast on a Stick. Pumpkin French Toast (seasonal). French Toast Joe-Joe's. (Bite sized French toast flavored cookie sandwiches with maple syrup flavored filling). French Toast Ice Cream (Mini French toast bites suspended in French vanilla ice cream with ribbons of maple goo swirled throughout). I apologize if any of these products already exist or are in the works. In that case, I guess you can just
chalk it up to "great minds thinking alike." I realize most of your products originate from third parties, but it's really tempting for me to imagine this carnival-like think tank full of foodies and food scientists at Trader Joe's HQ—like a cross between Willy Wonka's chocolate factory and that time Bart visited MAD the culinary equivalent of Google. If that is, in fact, what your corporate offices are like, you must hire me immediately. I would prefer your East Coast Headquarters in Boston. Consider this my cover letter.
Nathan M. Rodgers

But seriously though, plainness aside, Trader Joe's French Toast might be a viable option for French toast lovers that don't have time to whip up a batch on their own. This product was definitely one instance when the microwave worked better than other cooking options. The toaster, though simple and convenient, made the French toast too hard and kinda dry. French toast is better when it's on the soft side and almost mushy. There weren't many weird artificial ingredients, which is always nice, but the product wasn't exactly bursting with flavor in my opinion. Butter and syrup definitely helped, although it's still not the best French toast I've had. But we can't be too hard on it since it's pre-packaged and can be ready in a few short minutes. I think in this case, we're looking at 3.5 stars from Sonia and 3 stars from me.

Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.
6.5 isn't a terrible score. Don't be too hard on yourself, Big Joe. We still love you. How much do we love you? We love you 500 posts worth. That's right, the team here has collectively posted 500 different reviews, often reviewing two or more products in one article. Don't believe us? Go ahead and count 'em. We probably would have given up long ago if it weren't for you, our faithful readers. Thank you so much for your input, comments, shares, likes, pageviews, and follows.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Trader Giotto's 5 Cheese Frusta

Remember that longlost album Nathan referred to a long time ago, TJ's and DJs? I was cleaning out the attic the other day and came across the B-sides mix and found this rare gem of a song which I'd like to share. Apparently through some power of temporal paradoxes and balls of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff, even though this is an old, old song, it refers to a brand new Trader Joe's product, Trader Giotto's 5 Cheese Frusta. Ladies and gentlemen, without any further adieu, here's our take on the Young MC classic, called "Frusta Move":

This here's a pie from our guy Giotto
Delivering flavor? Yeah, that's his motto
His name's on it means tastebud lotto
Satisfaction is nearly auto
Okay busta let's talk frusta
Five cheeses on it? I say "me gusta"
Edges folded up like a flat pizza taco
Makes it more handy to go on a walk-o
Need some munchin' or a luncheon
But no need for a high class function?
If you get ten minutes and an oven
Then get ready for some pizza lovin'
It's so easy, gets so cheesy
All melted up but not too greasy
If you want a pizza with kinda a groove
Don't just sit there, frusta move!

Oh hey, just frusta move!

If you're fishin' on a mission
To find the best bite you can be dishin'
Just keep on walking down the frozen aisle
Cuz this ain't it by a mile
Taste's not poppin', needs a toppin'
Cheese is okay but it's best for proppin'
All five kinda melt into a single
Taste got all tangled in the mingle
It's alright for a small bite
Don't hate me, just being' forthright
There's some worse ways to spend two bucks
But this is one pie that sure ain't deluxe
Crust gets crunchy, makes a munchie
Eating this sure beats getting punchy
Disagree and think my rhyme's not smooth?
Not a problem, hey, frusta move!

If you want, you got it, you want it, hey baby you got it - Frusta move!

Bottom line: Trader Giotto's 5 Cheese Frusta: 6 out of 10 Golden Spoons
Pictures courtesy of No, we're not affiliated, but our new camera ate the pics I snapped. Please, Big Joe, don't be mad, we like you.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Trader Joe-San's Wasabi Peas

“The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is one of those "unsexy" bagged products that we generally avoid reviewing, at least while there are still weird, complicated dishes left on TJ's shelves that are as of yet unreviewed. But honestly, these understated little snackable morsels are what drew me to Trader Joe's in the first place, some 10 years ago. And not just the wasabi peas. When you're sitting on a park bench next to some local yokel that hasn't discovered Trader Joe's yet, and he sees you snacking on Orange Flavored (Dried) Cranberries, just think of the power you have over him when he realizes you're not snacking on raisins. Imagine that transcendent moment of mindblowing revelation that guy has—this poor schmuck who just realized that "craisins" were a thing—when he realizes you're snacking on orange flavored dried cranberries. Similar mind-altering epiphanies occur when that same dude who thinks you're crunching on peanuts realizes you're eating peas covered in wasabi mustard. If you're in NYC or L.A., you're probably thinking, "Yeah right! As if there are people who don't know about Trader Joe's Wasabi Peas yet." But trust me, in middle America, those people exist. They're still the majority in a lot of small towns. And I'm not belittling them. I used to be one of them. They're good, God-fearing Americans that aren't fortunate enough to have a Trader Joe's yet. 

But for the rest of us, the indoctrinated city-dwellers, Trader Joe's is nothing new. Sometimes when I'm meeting someone for the first time and I'm telling them about how I rob banks for a living, I often slip in something about my hobbies: this blog, for example. And I swear, on more than one occasion, the person has nodded his head, recollecting a life-changing event involving a stranger on a park bench with a mysterious snack bag, and said something along the lines of, "Yeah. That's cool. Trader Joe's. I love their wasabi peas." There's something iconic about these wasabi peas. And I'm not going to erroneously assume that TJ's is the only place you can get wasabi peas. But I might make the bold assertion that TJ's is the leading force in the world for making wasabi peas mainstream. They didn't invent the orange craisin. They brought the orange craisin to the masses. Actually, maybe Ocean Spray did that. But that doesn't support the point I'm trying to make. So never mind.

As for the peas themselves, they're very crunchy. They don't taste much like peas to me. It's more of a nutty flavor. They're similar to peanuts in terms of size and crunchability, too. Their wasabi level is not unlike that of the wasabi seaweed. Wanna freak out a Canadian tourist? Eat wasabi seaweed next to him on a park bench. Say, "They don't sell this at Tim Hortons, eh?" 

Can you tell I'm bitter about the USA not even medaling in hockey?

So if you haven't checked these peas out already, go ahead and do so. Find your favorite park bench and blow someone's mind. Be warned, though, it's difficult to eat a bunch at one time. Try them on a salad or in soup. They're tasty-ish, but the novelty factor does wear off eventually. Sonia gives them 3.5 stars. Me too.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10 stars.