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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Trader Joe's Cold Pressed Pineapple Juice

It's January. It's cold.

If you're anywhere in the general Midwest to NorthEast or so of the good ol' U S of A, you know this already. It's so cold here that they're closing all the schools tomorrow. I don't remember that ever happening back in my day...then again I never heard of a polar vortex until maybe three or four years ago, and somehow we've had one every year since. Windchills are going to in the negative teens or so tomorrow, so I guess it's too cold for the school busses to get their diesel engines warmed up, or too cold for kids to be waiting at bus stops, or something along those lines.

Hopefully it won't be too cold for kids at home.

I don't know why they can't just make "cold days" a parent/guardian dropoff/pick up only day, with a totally excused absence if that's not a possiblity, but that's a topic for another day.

On the dais for today: Trader Joe's Cold Pressed Pineapple Juice. There's that word again, cold. And of course, it's best served cold. Yet there's absolutely something about a warm, bright, citrusy, fresh tasting juice that conjures up a little tropical warmth, isn't there?

That's what TJ's got with this juice. Nothing flashy, nothing too special. But it's just honest and good. If like me you're unsure what the big fuss really is about cold pressed juices, this might be worth a read. "Cold pressed" always seemed like more of a marketing term than anything, but I guess I'm wrong. I mean, if the Kardashians swear by them...More nutrients, etc and whatnot. In the juice, that is. 

Well, whatever. It's tasty juice in all it's pineapplicious glory. There's a little bit of pulp, and the bottle absolutely needs a thorough shaking before consuming because of the settling sediment. Despite all that, the juice is cool, crisp and refreshing, and makes a great part of a busy morning breakfast or for a calmer treat. The degenerate in me wants to mix a little Malibu or some vodka in it, but that probably defeats the purpose.

Of course, it's a bit pricey at $3 a bottle. That's enough to make me balk at frequent buys. When confronted with a beverage choice in the $3 range, I'm likely to reach more for a kombucha than another bottle of this juice. I feel like there's a bit more value there than here. Could be wrong though, as is usual.

Nothing much else to say. We liked it. Maybe will buy again, maybe not, but worth a try. Matching threes from the wife and me.

Keep warm everybody!

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Cold Pressed Pineapple Juice: 6 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Monday, January 28, 2019

Trader Joe's Peel Away Fruit Leather Buttons

Discs. Circles. Roundels. Wheels. Planes with circumferences that are equidistant from their centers.

I don't know that "buttons" would be the first word I'd choose to describe these. It seems to me the word "buttons" indicates something with just a little more depth or girth than just circular sheets of fruit snacky material. But it does say fruit leather—not fruit snacks or fruit chunks or fruit slabs—which would suggest something thin. I guess I was just hoping for something slightly thicker than paper thin. But they're that thin. 

They seem optimized not for eating but rather adhering to one's teeth like whitening strips—except in this case, they're oranging strips. Each button is just a little tease of flavor. I guess you could peel a bunch of them off at once and wad them all together for a single larger bite—something you could really sink your teeth into with a bigger blast of fruit taste. Fifty-nine cents seems like a great deal for a pack of eight fruit snacks, but there's very little actual food in there. Half an ounce net weight. You get what you pay for. And a good bit of what you're paying for is packaging.

In addition to the cute outer wrapper, there are two long sheets of wax paper, one on either side of the discs. When it comes out of the pack, Sonia thinks it resembles... well, what do you think it resembles? I think it looks like a roll of Trader Joe's stickers—the kind they keep at the checkout counters at TJ's stores. 

Flavor-wise, they taste like natural fruit roll-up type deals. You can taste each of the constituent flavors. Mango, strawberry-mango, and grape-mango. Mango is my favorite in this case. It's the purity of the taste. There's no identity crisis like with the other two offerings.

I think grape-mango works a little better than strawberry-mango, but that's just me. I think the mango overshadows the strawberry flavor a little bit, but the grape-mango has just enough red grape potency to hang in there. None of the flavors are unappealing at all. They're just kinda random. Trader Joe's is flirting with mango mania once again.

I guess these would be pretty decent between-meal pick-me-ups or lunch box fillers, and they taste okay, too. But in the end, I'd rather just have those old fruit wraps we used to get all the time.

Three stars a piece from Sonia and me on this one.

Bottom line: 6 out of 10.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Trader Joe's Corn, Pea, Bean & Quinoa Crisps

Alright, let's get real for a minute. Reality check.

I strongly dislike reviewing items like Trader Joe's Corn, Pea, Bean & Quinoa Crisps. For real, I do. Won't say "hate" but it borders on it for sure.

Why in the world would that be?

It's not that these crisps taste bad. No, not at all. I swear each main component - green peas, yellow peas, corn, black beans, quinoa - can be tasted individually and yet as part of a bigger whole, like some conglomerated leguminous amalgam in bite-sized six-sided form. Some crisps seem to feature some ingredients more than others, as some have scarcely any peas, others are pocketed with them everywhere like teenaged acne. There's definitely a heavy earthy vibe too, and these buggers are oddly filling. I mean, think of all the fiber.

Texturewise, they work too. If you're familiar with PopChips, these are along the same lines as there's an airy, munchy, popcorn chip feel to them. These TJ crisps do seem a little denser - again, consider the fiber - but there's that sensation of light snacking that suddenly gets kinda heavy pretty quick. Of note, the quinoa doesn't stand out much as agrain, in case you were thinking it might be crispy toasted quinoa on here - there's not. And overall it's more of a baked/airpooped feel than fried, as there's not too much grease while having a certain dryness to them.

So why the dislike of reviewing such an item? It's hard to make everyone happy. Products like these toe a certain line. It's almost like a John Travolta/Nick Cage-esque "Faceoff" scenario - is it healthy masquerading as junky, or junky actually being healthy? Do they switch back and forth? In truth, as usual, it's probably somewhere in the middle - but some of y'all have pretty strong opinions and if I dare not agree with you - ooooh boy.

And then there's the salt.

Listen, I love all of you. I do, really. Well, okay, that's mostly true. But love requires honesty, right? Honestly I can't get people who complain about things being too salty when they're not really all that salty. That's just people being salty, not a product. For my day job, I read cardiac patient's medical notes all day, and I can't tell youm how many times a day I read "patient urged to reduce salt intake." I know salt is bad, you don't need to me. I try to limit myself.

But I know some of y'all will claim these are too salty. I know you will. Yet...they aren't salty. At all. Sure, there's salt in them, but an identical sized serving of Cheerios or Joe's O's has just as much if not more sodium. No one ever complains about salty breakfast cereal. but review chips, even those fairly low in sodium by chip standard? Salt, salt, salt. Hissss.

All that being said, good chips, and good for a change up from normal tortilla chips. They'd be awesome with salsa and even better with a little guac - wish I had some here to pair up. Good chips at only like $3 for the bag, and good enough for some double 4's.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Corn, Pea, Bean & Quinoa Crisps: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons