Google Tag

Search This Blog

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Trader Joe's Organic Veggie Bites

Alright alright alright....who here is HYPED for the brand new Trader Joe's Organic Veggie Bites?!?!?!

C'mon now I can't hear you!

Who here is...wait, what, none of y'all? Not even one? All of y'all getting too pumpkin spice drunk to even realize these were a thing? 

Can't blame ya one bit. On a scale of anticipation excitement between root canal and ditching the kids at my parents' and running away for a weekend with my lovely bride, these new TJ veggie tots probably registered between getting an oil change and paying the water bill for me. 

Gotta maintain your vehicle, pay your utilities, and eat your veggies. Ho-hum. Not complaining, just saying. 

All that being said, for what they are, these veggie bites are alright. If you'd like the over domineering flavor of mirepoix in a snackyish ball form, these would be right up your alley. First three ingredients are carrots, celery and onions. That'd be mirepoix, and what really rides out the flavor. Can't taste the tomatoes at all. Sunflower seeds? Nope. Kale? there visually, but not much else. Sweet potatoes, which for some reason are lumped in with the veggies on the ingredients label (they're tubers!)? I mean, yeah, they're there, mostly because something has to be the stuff that holds all of it together. But taste? Can't taste them taters so much. That, a (un)healthy dose of salt, a little pepper. Meh. 


The form itself works decently though. A few minutes in our air fryer produced the two-bite sized veggie balls that were warm, soft and a touch greasy. Those sunflower seeds must be ground up or something, because there's no sense of biting into one anywhere. 

And that's about what there is to them. Eating them straight up was kinda boring, so maybe a good dip or condiment was needed. I could see something creamy-ish working alright. Our kids didn't like them one bit, and normally they like veggies, but none of them would tell Dada what was so offputting about them. Sandy and I ate most of them, and by that I mean mostly me, and that was mainly out of a sense of obligation to not waste food. Safe to say on that hypothetical kidfree vacay, we will not be stopping at TJ's to snag a supply of them. 

Not gonna lie: probably not gonna rebuy, ever, not of spite or repulsion but more out of there's not much worthy of a return. I'm truly indifferent to their existence and would rather eat raw or roasted veggies. Double twos. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Organic Veggie Bites: 4 out of 10 Golden Spoons


 

Monday, September 27, 2021

Trader Joe's Shawarma Chicken Flatbread Wrap


Chicken shawarma...yummm! I've ranted on here before about my love of Lebanese chicken shawarma. Oh how I miss Roro's. So any time I see something called "shawarma" at Trader Joe's, I have to pick it up and see if it compares to that scrumptious slow-roasted, perfectly-seasoned dish from a hole-in-the-wall in SoCal.

So I'll just start with the good news first about this happy little snack wrap: there's LOTS of tzatziki sauce. Who could have seen that coming? If there's one thing TJ's likes to skimp on, it's condiments and sauces. By my estimation, there's twice as much tzatziki as you need here. There's literally more tzatziki by volume than chicken! It should have been called Trader Joe's Tzatziki Sauce Wrap with Shawarma Chicken.


The tzatziki is creamy, tangy, and savory to the max. It's great, so I'm not complaining...about the sauce. But I WILL complain about the rest of the wrap...because, like, WHERE'S THE BEEF? Er...I mean where's the CHICKEN? and the LETTUCE? and the ONIONS? Where did they go? You can see from the pic they're more than a little sparse for the size of that pita wrap—which was fresh and delicious and plentiful, by the way.

The shawarma spices I'm used to were lacking on the chicken, I think. It was hard to tell because there was so little of it. So let's look on the ingredients at which spices were used to season the chicken. Ah. That explains it: the number one "seasoning" listed is "potato starch." Potato starch isn't really a seasoning by my reckoning. Further down the list I see paprika and garlic powder. That's more like it. Should have loaded the meat up with those a bit more.

On the plus side, however, the chicken was cooked to perfection and wasn't stringy or chewy at all. It was absolutely spot-on texture-wise, which made the lack of seasoning and lack of quantity all the more frustrating.


Also, I must point out that I've never heard of eating cold shawarma before. I guess you could heat the meat in the microwave or something and put it back in the wrap for a hot sandwich kind of deal. There were no heating instructions, and this product was in the area with ready-to-eat cold sandwiches and stuff, so I assume they just want you to eat it cold. It was fine that way, I guess.

This product was good enough that I'd pick it up at another Trader Joe's location just to see if there's the same dearth of meat and greens. The sauce makes up for the lack of shawarma spices in terms of overall flavor, so that's not a deal breaker. I just want my wrap to be full next time. Sonia agrees. Three and a half stars from her.

Three from me.

Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Trader Joe's Kale & Cauliflower Chili with Navy Beans

 

Let's get real here for a quick mo...can anything really beat chili?

Of course, this is a seasonally qualified statement. Chili on a 100 degree/100% humidity day? No way no how. Nuh uh. Non starter. There's amendments against cruel and unusual punishments, after all. So yeah, not then. 

But on a cool or cooler day, when only something warm and hearty will do? Chili please! Keep it coming. All day long. 

Though nothing beats homemade, in a quick pinch for a bite, may I humbly suggest giving Trader Joe's Kale & Cauliflower Chili with Navy Beans a try?

Though I'm carnivorous by nature, I'm always down for an intriguing sounding veggie/vegan chili option. Chili works really well sans meat, heck, I'll even make it that way sometimes myself. This particular new TJ's chili, when spotted, became a must try, even when met with an initial wave of excitement mixed with a little skepticism. How good could it really be?

I took a taste, and now I'm a believer. 

Really, there's nothing not to like here, and nothing is missed. Big ol' meateating me loved every bite. There's the right consistency - not too watery, with plenty of bite between all the kale and beans and cauliflower crumbles. There's the right level of spice - enough to get a rise, sure, but not enough to overwhelm. It's kept in check perfectly. And there's the right amount of flavor - and it's delicoous! Kale is as fresh as can be given its circumstances, the beans add their beany goodness, all the spices are balanced in the right proportions to another. There's a pretty healthy dose of cinnamon added, which gives a nice little slant on the whole experience with a nice little warming touch that seems to really add a solid base to everything else. There's pepper and garlic and tomatoes and...it's just good. Every bite has a little bit of everything. It's awesome. 



Going back to the spice level, I'd rate it as about a 6/10 if eating straight on. It's more a flavorful spice than straight-out fire. I for one felt no need to add a little extra somethin'-somethin' to give it a kick. But , if say, one would add some cheese or pour over a baked potato (which this chili practically screams for doing) or some cornbread, I could see the heat getting dissipated a bit. For some of you, that'd be a plus, others, maybe not so much. But to me, that means it strikes about the right balance so as to be platable to the masses.

My lovely bride and I have already decided: we're stocking up. It's delicious and a jar will easily fill the two of us without giving either of us the food baby/food coma/ingested brick feeling I get with other chilis. This just may become our new cold day quick meal go to, and for like $4 for the jar, it cannot be beat. Love it. No faults at all here. Shoo the clouds away from the top of Olympus, we got a new Pantheoner here. Perfect fives and we mean it.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Kale & Cauliflower Chili with Navy Beans: 10 out of 10 Golden Spoons