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Friday, March 22, 2019

Trader Joe's Organic Coconut Almond Chia Cereal

Just as in childhood, there are subtle yet unmistakable steps of maturation in adulthood, right? Or at least, definite benchmarks of getting old. Like...

...realizing your bald spot is, in fact, pretty bald.

...waking up and being sore for no apparent reason.

...turning down the volume while blasting '90s music alone in your car because it's "too loud."

...realizing the only reason why you're listening to Pearl Jam is because only God knows what the kids are listening to these days but my goodness it sounds like garbage. Drake? Post Malone? Cardi B? Who are these people?  Are they people? Or robots? Because robots make music these days. Crazy.

And most pertinent to this review: realizing that some cereal tastes much better without any added sugar.

Such is the case with Trader Joe's Organic Coconut Almond Chia Cereal.

That's a lot of natural goodness here. The inherent earthy graininess of the flakes. Tasty toasty almond slivers. Light coconut flavor all abound. If anything there's a lack of chia seed clusters, at least in the top half of the box thus far...maybe them little buggers worked all their way down.

Listen to me. Complaing about not enough chia seeds in my cereal. I do sound old.

It's tasty, tasty cereal for sure. And I'm not usually a cereal person. The flakes are solid and crunchy enough to be fully submerged in milk and still maintain a high factor of munchitude. Probably, if you're a yogurt and cereal person, this would work. And even adding some banana wouldn't be the worst idea.

My one small complaint, though: When I added milk, some of the bites tasted almost vaguely buttery. I'm wondering if it was the wetness unleashed/embellished some of the coconut and oil a little bit. It's not noticeable when dry, and I didn't taste it as much the second time around...but it was a little weird.

All those grains...and proteins...and fiber...and calories...this is hearty, filling cereal for sure! A few small handfuls killed my hunger for quite some time.

Anyways I mentioned the "tastes worse when sugar added" thing to Sandy, and she gave me one of those "well duh" looks before stating many cereals taste that way. It's worth noting she's almost exactly two years older than me and females mature quicker than males and all I'm catching up, love. But yeah, extra sugar kinda kills off half the good stuff about this cerea. Which is a shame because it's pretty darn good in fact. 4.5 from me, 3.5 from the older, maturer missus.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Organic Coconut Almond Chia Cereal: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons  

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Trader Joe's Organic Dark Chocolate PB&J Minis

Ah, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. "Sandwiches." Did I ever tell you guys that when Sonia and I first started dating, I noticed she pronounced "sandwich" funny? I learned quickly that it's basically the same word in Spanish as it is in English, and she was pronouncing it the Spanish way. It's almost like "sandweech" in Spanish. Also, the "a" sound in the first syllable tends to be enunciated more when a Spanish-speaker says it. I mean, maybe that's just my opinion, but the bottom line is that I immediately seized the opportunity to make fun of her to no end like a good boyfriend should. I began exaggerating her odd pronunciation more and more every time sandwiches would come up in conversation. "Saandweech" became "saandoweech" became "saandamoweeacha" and so on. At first, she was slightly miffed but then eventually succumbed to the absurdity of my annoying attempts at mocking her and started smiling when I said the word. To this day, I can't say the word "sandwich" around her normally, and we both kind of chuckle when I find a way to butcher the word even further.

However, like its 2013 predecessor, this candy is definitely NOT a PB&J sandwich, nor is it trying to be one. It's just a one-of-a-kind candy—well, I guess it's a two-of-a-kind candy now...sort of.

Let's start with the similarities. Both this candy and the PB&J chocolate bar have peanut butter, raspberry jelly, and chocolate. Both are snacktastic, TJ's-esque, and have exactly one thing in common with a PB&J sandwich: peanut butter—two if you're a weirdo that makes PB&J sandwiches with raspberry jelly. 

As far as dissimilarities go, there are quite a few. The product is organic now. It's miniature and individually-wrapped. They're using dark chocolate here instead of milk chocolate and—it's been a while since I've had a PB&J chocolate bar—but I think there's a bit more jelly in this mix. Sonia thinks the extra bit of jelly works since the sweet and tart of the jelly is balanced by the bitter aspects of the dark chocolate, as opposed to milk chocolate. Also, she wished for more jelly in the bar version—and now she got her wish. 

I agree that dark chocolate works better when there's more jelly, but I still prefer the combo of milk chocolate and not that much raspberry jelly. Another gripe about this product: I feel like these are way too big for a single bite, but they get quite messy if you bite them in half. In short, I like the bar a tad more, Sonia likes these minis a tad more. At $2.99 for the bag of eight squares, it's definitely a fun snack worth a purchase or two. 

The little missus gives these four stars. I give them three and a half.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Trader Joe's Barbeque Popped Ridges

There's a certain order for most things, right? And when that order is out of whack, it causes a bit of confusion. Sometimes we're not even aware that there is an order until it is disrupted.

Such as it is with Trader Joe's Popped Barbeque Ridges.

Whoops, there, I did it again. I mean Trader Joe's Barbeque Popped Ridges.

See what I mean? Putting "Popped" first seems more natural, doesn't it? There's a natural order to adjectives in the English language, and while the name of this snacky TJ's new particular item isn't a textbook example (though a new particular snacky TJ's item could be), it brought this to mind.

I keep wanting to put Popped first. But it's second. Maybe it's all so I can't refer to these chips as TJ's PBR and get some hipsters really confused.

Anyways, the chips. I guess you can call them that, but as you can see, the packaging refrains from describing these snacks in that way. The texture and crunch of these ridges is more like potato stick mixed with corn chips with a little extra styrofoam. It's a little offputting and is my major demerit. I don't eat junk food like this all that often, so maybe there's other similar products out there that have the same kinda structure to them. I've had popped items before, though, but none of them struck me like this.

Everything else is pretty on par. The barbeque seasoning is pretty representative - a little tangy, a little sweet, a little smoky, a little salty. Sandy described it as "cheap bbq flavoring" which is more or less accurate - TJ's went the tried-and-true route and didn't swing for the fences here.

Not sure what else to really say about them. In all the popped ridge thingamabobs are okay, and aren't terribly pricey at less than $3 a bag. I can't see these being a new favorite, though. If these were 100% potato chip, they'd be unremarkable but fine. If they were 100% corn chip, it'd also work. But as a half-and-half conglomeration of crispy crunchy snacks, well, they're just odd. Kinda offputting. We're likely to finish the bag just fine, but it won't be in one sitting for sure. Not that bingeworthy. They are gluten free but that's likely not a huge surprise.

Sandy musters them an uninspired three while I'll slide in half a spoon behind.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Barbeque Popped Ridges: 5.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons