Google Tag

Search This Blog

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Trader Joe's Non-Dairy Maple Oat Beverage

Ah yes, it's that time of year at last.

Warm summer afternoons fade into cool nights. There's small incremental tinges of oranges and reds and yellows in the leaves. The kids are finally back at school...kinda, but in our dining least there's no mad morning rush to catch the bus this year...still, I digress. Crockpots are being taken out of storage, football is about to be back, and the Pittsburgh Pirates have a less than 1% chance of making the playoffs. All of these are sure signs that fall is peeking just around the corner.

There's one last autumnal harbinger, one that's kinda a big deal for most of you, but that I detest: it's pumpkin spice season. Blahhhh.

I'm sure in the litany of this blog I've posted a lengthy tirade against pumpkin spice everything at some point. I lack the energy or desire to do so again. Plus there's too much other animosity out there these days. I've made my peace with pumpkin spice - if you enjoy your pumpkin spice lattes and enchiladas and TP and who knows what else, go for it, I won't be partaking so there's more for you.

And meanwhile I'll be focusing on maple. Yes, I know maple season is really late winter into spring when the sap is collected and boiled...but there's almost always more maple products this time of year. I guess it has something to do with it being a tree flavor.

New to the maple lineup this year is Trader Joe's Non-Dairy Maple Oat Beverage. granted, oat milk isn't the first thing I'd think to add a hint of maple too...but it's a good concept, right? Oatmeal by itself is kinda plain, but adding milk and maple syrup turns it into a verifiable treat. Now you can get some of the residual tasty treeat without the big bowl of oatmeal first.

Or something like that. Indeed, that's really what the TJ's maple oat beverage tastes like - the milk left over in the bottom of the bowl of oatmeal with maple syrup and milk. Less chunky, of course, and that's a good thing. It's still creamy, however, like a decent "regular" milk but with a slight touch of graininess mixed in. It's neither distracting nor unpleasant, but occasionally noticeable.

The maple flavor itself is actually scarcely more than a small hint. I think that adds some versatility to the product - use as a regular drink, pour over a wide variety of cereals (not Pumpkin Spice O's though), add a splash to coffee instead of creamer and sugar. The maple beverage isn't an all out maplicious sugarbomb of a treat, but more of a subtle pleasure. Me personally? I'm not much of a milk person in any way, shape or form, so while I've tried it I'm not going to be guzzling down this beverage by any means. But it's still a legit treat. Gotta love anything maple.

My lovely bride is more gungho than I. She's been scheming different ways to use the milk, as well as already lamenting its eventual seasonal rotation out. Til then, she'll be using a lot in her coffee as she helps oversee a couple kids navigating elementary school on Zoom calls and iPads. You know, like the good ol' days. Or something. Her only maple oat drink-related wish would be for it to be a touch more maple-y, but she's in love as is. Four from her, and I'll tack on a few of my own.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Non-Dairy Maple Oat Beverage: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Trader Joe's Corn & Green Chile Pepper Quiche

I've been watching a bunch of 80's movies on Amazon Prime lately. What a weird decade. I mean, it was so carefree compared to today. Everything was loud and goofy, from music to clothing to hairstyles. It's such a stark contrast to 2020, which is why I've been finding it so refreshing to bask in all the gaudy glory of 1980's American cinema. Plus, there's not a lot I want to see in the way of new stuff right now, and it still costs $20 just to rent the third installment of Bill and Ted.

Also from the 80's: a book called Real Men Don't Eat Quiche. I mean, it's apparently satirizing the idea that certain things are more masculine to consume than others, but still...I must admit I don't know many dudes obsessed with quiche. In defense of my own masculinity: the three quiches I've reviewed on this blog represent more than half the quiche I've consumed in my entire lifetime. And so far, all of those specimens have fallen into a kind of "take it or leave it" status with me and the wifey.

As is standard for a quiche, this one's primarily made of eggs. I heated ours for 25 minutes in the oven rather than the microwave, and the insides came out surprisingly mushy, especially when one considers the outsides were extremely crispy. I know quiche should be soft, but I felt like the insides had an excess of moisture and the outsides were, if anything, a little too dry. 

Sonia pointed out that there was a decided lack of veggies, corn in particular, in the filling. We were expecting a whole bunch of corn kernels as well as more substantial chunks of chile, too. I guess we were pining for a sort of savory corn and veggie pie rather than a quiche.

Flavor-wise, it's eggy and quichey—not overly salty, sweet, or cheesy. It begs for a little help, honestly. Some salsa and/or hot sauce is definitely in order here. We had no trouble finishing it, but for two thirds of your daily saturated fat and 98% of your cholesterol, I was hoping for just a tad more piquancy. More green chile peppers would have unquestionably made it more memorable for Sonia and me.

$4.99 for the 9 oz quiche. Probably not a repeat purchase for us. Three stars a piece.

Bottom line: 6 out of 10.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Bar Thins

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Bar Thins are a small, quick, easy, simple fun little treat. No rocket surgery here. So let's do this review in much the same manner.

Take the requsite high quality TJ's dark chocolate. If you've had anything with TJ's dark chocolate, you know what I'm talking about. They (or more accurately, their supplier) really got this stuff nailed. However one inserts a small reservoir of salted caramel goo into it and make a thin wafery bar, they do. That's it, that simple. And so good.

Pros: There's three such bars in the package. Each bar is segmented and snaps easily into three segments. It's a perfect format for a light bite or for sharing easily. No drama there.Each bite is well balanced between the chocolate and caramel to give a rich but no overwhelming flavor that's ideal for a quick sugar rush. Since it's Belgian, could we get a speculoos variety please?

Cons: Uh...not many? I didn't taste THAT much salt in the salted caramel, which isn't all that negative. Perhaps the thin set up makes it harder for the bite of salt to stand out.

Really good, and worth a quick pickup for the maybe $2 without overthinking it. Just like this review.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Bar Thins: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons