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Friday, March 4, 2016

Trader Joe's Sweet Plantain Chips

My apologies for my review on the dark chocolate pistachio toffee earlier this week, for two reasons: 1) I am clearly in the minority in regards to my opinion about the product and 2) In retrospect, after Nathan's reviews on both the Baby Bananas and the Apple + Coconut bars, it's apparent that this is simply fruit snacks week here. Let's not derail that train, please, and go full steam ahead with one of the newer taste sensations out there, Trader Joe's Sweet Plantain Chips!

Particularly astute readers, undoubtedly like yourself, may be thinking right now..."Didn't TJ's already have plantain chips?" Short answer: Affirmative. But they are not sweet. Instead, the ones that have been around for quite some time are a saltier, savorier cousin of these noobs. Those are kinda like potato chips, except made from plantains (duh). These sweet guys, though similar in crunch and texture, are something else altogether.

If for some reason you're not really sure what a plantain is like, every time you read it, think "starchier banana" and you'll be on the right path.

I'm trying not to get hooked on them. Trying very, very hard. Plantains always have had a soft place in my heart after a trip I went on down to Peru back in 2003, where I ate fried plantains for breakfast every morning. And these chips are just about the sweetest variation I've found yet...and it's all natural! Nothing added! Except a little oil to fry them up in, of course. But, there's this whole write up on the back, where the plantains used for these crunchers were allowed to sweeten and ripen to twice the sugar level (apparently measured in something called "brix," I never heard of it either) of normal plantains. How much of that is marketing and how much is accurate, well, I don't know - but dang. Very, very sweet, in a very ripe sense of the way, almost like these fruits were just abound freezerbound for plantain bread before they got swooped in on, sliced, fried, and bagged. Sneaky.

The end result are these oblong crispity-crunchety chippies that are arguably healthier than most potato chips, with an almost-not-quite-kettle crunch. They're perfect for kids, too - my 3.5 year old and almost 16 month old both love them, as well as some of the kids Sandy babysits a couple days a week. Also, they're very budget friendly at only a $1.79 for a fairly large bag.

No real complaints from me, although perhaps a slight smattering of cinnamon would help cut through the sweetness and tamper it down a smidge. But man...good chips. Sandy's not as huge a fan as I am - she's eaten a couple and shrugged. This just might turn into one of those "more for me" kinda scenarios, and believe me, no complaints.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Sweet Plantain Chips: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Trader Joe's Apple + Coconut Fruit Bar

The last product I reviewed contained exactly one ingredient. This product contains exactly two. All fruits. That's some good eatin'. If only I stuck to such a diet all the time... 

A while back, we looked at the Apple + Banana and Apple + Mango Fruit Bars and found them to be fairly successful. This is apparently a new flavor—or perhaps one that somehow slipped through the cracks before. Either way, it's new to us, and we felt compelled to try it. For those of you not familiar with these bars, they're basically just pieces of two different fruits smashed together into a bar shape. Not very complicated, yet decidedly different from other fruit bars, fruit snacks, or dried fruit pieces you'll commonly find in supermarkets.

This flavor is most definitely my favorite so far. I was wondering how the unique texture of coconut would affect the bar and also how they'd incorporate the coconut pieces into it. Would they be coconut chipsStrips? Slivers? Slices? 

I think the best way to describe the coconut in this case is "bits." They're teensy tiny little coconut bits. But so too is the apple component of the bar this time. Apple bits. The fruits are all but pureed here. But they're seamlessly blended together to make one scrumptious, natural snack bar. It's moist, but not wet. And the flavor is absolutely stellar. It's nutty, sweet, and tastes like something way more indulgent than just coconut and apple. This simple product is much more than the sum of its parts. Four stars from Sonia. Four and a half from me.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Roasted Pistachio Toffee

"Hrmm...what's that last word there? Squares? Alrighty, sounds perfect!"

That must have been my thought when picking up a tub of Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Roasted Pistachio Toffee...because I was downright surprised to bite into a big ol' thick chunk of toffee the first time I popped one of these in my mouth. And, I will admit, dismayed. It's not that I don't like toffee - I do, very much - but toffee and chocolate aren't always a perfect match for me. An exception can be made for Heath Bars, and I'm not sure if that's more the milk chocolate, or the thinner, crispier brand of toffee. But for these TJ's tidbits, there's just a thin coat of dark chocolate over a veritable chunky slab of toffee that threatens the integrity of your dental work with every bite. It doesn't help that's there just so. much. toffee. that its flavor overwhelms both the chocolate and the pistachio exoskeleton. I'll happily admit I liked the small palmfuls of nuts I could pick out off the bottom with a little chocolate attached ...I'd probably say 80% of the pistachios fell off and could be enjoyed sans toffee.

Bought the tub for four bucks-ish on a solo parenting/two kids in tow trip on a day Sandy didn't feel so great as a little cheer-up treat for her. That explains my lack of basic discernment in product comprehension, but at least I knew enough to get something right up her alley. I definitely made her happy with a two thumbs up and a four score from her. I don't share the same enthusiasm, but, as usual, I'm willing to be wrong here. Click here for the nutritional stats.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Roasted Pistachio Toffee: 6 out of 10 Golden Spoons