Google Tag

Search This Blog

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Trader Joe's Gelato Filled Panettone

This item wants to be eaten like a cupcake. I mean, look at it. It's got "icing" on the top with mini chocolate chips instead of sprinkles, a body made of something bready and cakey, a liner/wrapper thing, plus a yummy creamy filling. 

On the other hand, when I eat things like this with my hands, I tend to look like a baby by the end of it. Some part of the pastry winds up on my fingers, my face...and often in my lap, and I'm sitting there helplessly flailing around trying to lick some of the dessert out of my goatee. Not that babies have goatees. And not that there's anything wrong with getting in touch with one's inner child—however, I'm not nearly as comfortable with wearing my food as most infants are.

So I opted for the refined adult approach. I broke out a real metal fork and our finest dish (which happens to be made of plastic right now—don't ask). I set the thawed panettone in the middle of it, and dug right in. At first bite, I was mesmerized. Part of me wished I had opted to eat it with my hands so I could shovel it into my face faster. But then that seldom heard-from and even more seldom listened-to adult voice rang out in my head: "Slow down, my friend. This dessert wants to be relished and appreciated."

Because it's awesome—by far the best panettone we've had from TJ's. It's still the same fluffy, soft bread, and it still has some interesting dried fruits in it, but man oh man, that gelato is just amazing. It's both sweet and sophisticated—worthy of a top-notch Italian restaurant. It's worth using a fork just so one can measure out equal parts of gelato, cake, dried fruit, and chocolate bits in each and every bite.

Since the gelato is vanilla bean and there are lots of tasty chocolate drops, there's almost a cookies n' cream vibe about it. It's amazingly rich and creamy, and it blends together with the panettone bread and dried fruit much better than I would have guessed. 

There are pieces of candied orange peel, which I'm admittedly not a fan of just by themselves, but in this case they were so tiny that their texture was a complete non-issue. I thought they flaunted a poignant citrusy zing that really added something nice to the other elements. There were only a couple raisins, but they worked somehow, too. I could have sworn I saw a dried cranberry in there as well, but it may have just been a raisin with a sunburn or something.

If you like good gelato and/or panettone, go ahead and pick this up and thank me later. It's one of the best desserts I've had in a while.

Bottom line: 9 out of 10.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Trader Joe's Soft Baked Drizzled Gingerbread Oat Bars

Must be bear season at Trader Joe's.

For the second time in scarcely over a week, here's another new, presumably seasonal product featuring a friendly, partially clothed bear offering some sort of treat. This time around it's Trader Joe's Soft Baked Drizzled Gingerbread Oat Bars. I mean, look at this bear - rosy cheeks, glasses, an ornament. Heck, (s)he's even holding a couple of the bars in a heart shape. I want this bear to be my friend. The fact (s)he's promoting a healthyish snack bar probably means I'm less likely to be eaten as well.

But that's not all that's on the box front. You'll have to look somewhat closely, but there's two, fairly often contradictory terms: "soft baked" and "gluten free." I'm not gluten-sensitive or anything by any stretch of the imagination, and I appreciate all the efforts that TJ makes to be celiac-friendly. That being said, whenever trying any product that's sans gluten, more times than not, to me, the texture leaves something to be desired. If this were truly a "soft baked" oat bar, it'd be quite a feat.

Unsurprisingly, the TJ's oat bars would not be what I'd describe as soft baked. Not at all. Dry, tough, and chewy? Yes, yes, and yes. It's a work out for the molars. Take a look at the ingredients - oats, almond butter, fig paste - there's no way it wouldn't be otherwise. The bite feels like a cross between a semi-stale Nutrigrain bar and my grandmother's molasses cookies (which I like by the way, Grandma!) that would be less disappointing if not promising to be "soft baked".

Aside from that, I like the bars quite a bit. Not a lot, if any of the almond butter or fig paste taste pop through - it's instead mostly oatty goodness with a heavy ginger bite. Seriously, the crystallized ginger in the bars are actually pretty close in potency to the Triple Ginger Snaps, so if a lot of ginger isn't your thing, stay the heck away. It's sugared over somewhat by the fair run-of-the-mill icing scratched over the top.

I think my kids liked them - which is odd, because if it's not mac n cheese or ice cream it takes them 45 minutes of begging to have them eat - but I wouldn't be surprised if that's not the norm. Between the chew factor for little teeth and the spicy ginger, it'd be hard to imagine them being a huge hit, cute polar bear be darned.

Anyways, for an on-the-go snack, or maybe even as a breakfast with an apple and coffee, you could do a lot worse. The price at $2.49 for a five piece box seems fair. Sandy didn't have much one way or another to say about them, so I'll assume that means a three. For me, I'll toss in a four - a lower score would be unfair to bear.


Bottom line: Trader Joe's Soft Baked Drizzled Gingerbread Oat Bar: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Trader Joe's Chicken & Sweet Potato Sausage Bites with Cranberries Jerky Dog Treats

Happy December, everyone! Alfred and Sadie have stepped in to give us another dog treat review. Is this even a holiday item? We're treating it as if it is. There are cranberries in there, after all. And what's more holiday-ish than a cranberry?

These things smelled like the Wild King Salmon Jerky, much to the dogs' delight. How TJ's can make chicken and sweet potato smell like salmon, I'm not sure. Sonia thought they smelled like bacon. Maybe some kind of goofy rancid bacon, but hey—dogs love stuff that smells kinda funky.

The video features antlered pets (Sadie better watch out she doesn't wind up in that Venison Burger!) ...as well as Sonia's take on the dog treats. They're still a little big and firm for our small dogs, but maybe not as bad as some of the treats we've seen in the past. Our dogs loved the taste.



Bottom line: 8 out of 10.