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Friday, June 23, 2017

Trader Joe's Calamansi Cooler

If you were to juice an octopus or squid and turn it into a drinkable cocktail, it might be a faint clear-yellow-orange color, and you might call it Calamari Cooler.

Because of its unfamiliarity, the word "calamansi" didn't exactly roll off our tongues, so we opted to be silly and call this drink "Calamari Cooler." We'd pour a can into a glass and offer our guests some Calamari Cooler and were met universally with surprise and/or disgust.

Only then would we explain that we were just being weird because that's just kinda what we do and then we'd show them the can. Neither Sonia nor I nor a single one of our friends had heard of the calamansi fruit before encountering this beverage. We Americans are so sheltered when it comes to exotic fruits. Thank goodness for Trader Joe and his daring ventures into Southeast Asia.

It's a strange flavor, especially at first. But it certainly grew on me since my initial reaction. It really does fall very close to a lemon-lime sort of taste, but there's something else there that's very difficult to put my finger on—almost something tangerine-esque. Sonia thinks it might be more like grapefruit.

The flavor is light, refreshing, and not very intense at all except for some moderate tartness. Despite the fact that sugar is the second ingredient, it's not overly sweet.

It's a nice summer beverage for sure. We'll probably buy it again to beat the summer heat. $2.99 for four cans. Four stars from Sonia. Three and a half from me.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Trader Joe's Kitchen Sink Dunkers

"Comparison is the thief of joy."

I've heard it said and quoted so many times...a quick Google search says its Theodore Roosevelt who coined the phrase. I'm pretty sure I've heard it was someone else...but then that's like comparing sources, and well, that's contradictory to the purpose, is it not? No matter who spoke it, it's no less true.

I say this because - Sheetz Trash Can Cookies. You ever one? If you haven't, and live near a Sheetz, or ever happen to be traveling by a Sheetz on an journey, go get one. Preferably immediately. If you have, i hope you know what I'm talking about - amazing cookies. Soft mealy, with a plethora of ingredients ranging for chocolate chips and Reese Pieces to popcorn and pretzels. Awesome cookies, one of our faves for road trips.

Was really hoping for a similar vibe with Trader Joe's Kitchen Sink Dunkers. The name carries the same implication, a little of this, a little that, and then there's that other stuff. Kitchen sink, as in, "everything but the..." Gotta be a lot of stuff, right?

Can't say they fully delivered. I like the premise, more or less, but the name sets up a little bit for failure. These dunkers are basically oatmeal cookies trying to pose themselves as being a bit more fancy then they actually are. I got nothing against pecans, or sunflower seeds, or chocolate chunks, because they can all make a fine cookie, but mixed all together with some rolled oats, there's not much that stands out or is terribly descriptive.

At least there's no...oh wait, yes there is. Not sure how they snuck in. But there's raisins in here too. So it's a showboating oatmeal raisin cookie. Listen: Nobody I know likes oatmeal raisin cookies. I only eat them when I didn't look close and thought they were chocolate chip, and am then immediately disappointed. Everyone I know thinks the same way, and so must a lot of y'all, because why then aren't raisins mentioned mentioned on the front of the package, hmm? It's a conspiracy 

Of course, as a cookie made for dunking in coffee, the dippy dunkers are pretty rigid when dry but soften in a crumbly way significantly once met with coffee. I personally did not have a chance to sample hem this way, but Sandy said so, so it must be true.

Not awful, not terrific. Could use a lot more pizzazz in my humble opinion. I'll munch on them but not seek them out. Too many other great cookies out there...these dunkers just don't really compare.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Kitchen Sink Dunkers: 5.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Monday, June 19, 2017

Trader Joe's Ranch Seasoned Crispy Chickpeas

Chickpeas. Garbanzo beans. Doesn't matter what you call them. In my opinion, they're nutritious and delicious. I'm a big fan and always have been.

In fact, I put my love of chickpeas on display in a salad dressing review last year. I called my salad the "garbanzaganza." Interestingly, Trader Joe's calls this product "a garbanzo bonanza." I suppose you can and should make the distinction that my fictitious word is a mashup of "garbanzo" and "extravaganza," while TJ's uniquely employed the use of the word "bonanza" for this chickpea product.
Therefore, this product shall henceforth be known as the "garbanzonanza" because I'm big into fictitious words, contractions, portmanteaus, and all manner of linguistic tomfoolery.

Then I began to muse about the squirrel on the packaging. Wasn't aware squirrels were into garbanzos—or any beans for that matter. They're more into seeds and nuts. And that's why I think he's there: because this product has a distinctly nutty flavor. Plus, these chickpeas are indeed crispy like nuts, by virtue of them being fried and dried. Texture-wise, they're very similar to wasabi peas.

Flavor-wise, in addition to the aforementioned nuttiness, they're salty, savory, and do taste vaguely like normal garbanzo beans. 

They're "ranch seasoned," but honestly, they're not exactly bursting with ranch taste in my opinion. It's detectable, but it plays second fiddle to the natural taste of the beans, along with the other seasonings like onion and tomato powders.

$2.99 a bag, a good bit of fat and sodium, but also rich with fiber. Sonia will go with four and a half stars, stating, "I really like them a lot." Me too. Four stars here. Very unique.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.