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Friday, May 13, 2022

Trader Joe's Guajillo Salsa

In almost 1,750 posts, the only other time the word "guajillo" was ever mentioned on this blog was during a review of chili flavored chocolates. I'm not really familiar with this particular breed of chili pepper, but the beautiful wifey is. She grew up with it. Her mom, in particular, would seek out the actual peppers themselves at markets in Southern California and eat them with her meals.

In the same way that chipotle peppers are the ripened, dried form of jalapeƱos, guajillos are the dried form of mirasol chilis. With significantly lower scoville heat units associated with them than, say, ghost chili peppers, they still pack a significant kick and deliver a lot of flavor in every bite. This salsa is no exception.

While Sonia can to some degree vouch for its authentic flavor, I can only give you my raw, uncensored—and admittedly uneducated—opinion. It's got an earthy, smoky flavor. It's rich and dark, both in appearance and flavor. There's almost something lightly fruity about it, too. It's easy to see how this flavor blended so well with chocolate. Plus, the medium heat level is just about perfect for Sonia and me.


Texture-wise, there's a smooth base with a moderate amount of chunks. Pretty sure most of the chunks are tomatoes. Still, they give the salsa a welcome heartiness and thickness.

I think this salsa shines brightest when mixed into Mexican or Tex-Mex dishes. It's adequate for a simple "chips and salsa" snack, but there's something about the flavor that enhances the taste of everything around it. It goes especially well with beans. We made turkey tacos with black beans, sour cream, and this salsa, and they were amazing.


While this isn't the first salsa I'd turn to for a stand-alone snack, I must admit it's great for adding flavor to Latin cuisine. Sonia loves it in every application, including just "chips and salsa." $2.79 for the 12oz jar. Perfect five stars from the beautiful wifey. Four stars from me.

Bottom line: 9 out of 10.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Trader Joe's Papadums

Ever kinda bite your tongue and try to hold back because you know whatever you have to say is gonna be unpopular but you kinda have to say it anyways.

That's where I am when it comes to Trader Joe's Papadums, with one key exception: I'm biting my fingers, not tongue, cuz I have to type this all out instead of just saying it, hoping it goes unnoticed. 

I......do not like the TJ's papadums. Not at all. 

This is completely contrary to every other opinion I've seen on them online. I kinda get it. The idea behind them is wonderful. From what I can tell, papadums are a traditional Indian snack, with some variation, but a lot are crispy, crunchy, crackery chiplike guys made from lentils and chickpeas. Texturally, they're a lot like sweet potato tortilla chips. So far, so good. Flavorwise, there's not much except the natural lentil and chickpea flavor, with a small dash of cumin and salt. Again, we're off to a good start here...

...it's just...

...there's something about the taste. Upfront there's no offensive or wrong, but after a crisp or two, the flavor "turns." I don't know how else to describe it, but it changes from a pleasant earthy crispy crisp to something I can only liken to dirt. Just...gross dirt. Like dried up, bottom of the soccer cleat kinda stuff. No, I don't actually know what that tastes like. But it's just so off-putting.

I tried, really, I did. I ate multiple papadums in multiple sittings, just to see if it was my mood or something else. Nope. Each bite was worse. Can't take them any more. 

Now, sure, I'm sure some of you will say you had to try them with a dip. I'm sure that'd cover up some of their unpleasantness. But to me, for a product to be good, it has to stand independent from anything else, and not be reliant on something else to make up for what it lacks. That's not where I am here with these.

I don't know, maybe this papa is dumb for not liking the papadums. Everyone else does, including my lovely bride, so that means more for you all I suppose. Enjoy for me, I'm gonna be sitting these out from here on out. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Papadums: 4 out of 10 Golden Spoons
 

Monday, May 9, 2022

Trader Joe's Organic Poppy Seed Dressing

I want to throw this question out there for our readers: is canola oil healthy or not? I mean, I don't know. I don't have a horse in this race. I know at least one or two of our readers have expressed concerns over it in the past, stating that they would not purchase any products containing canola oil. Well, it's the first​ ingredient in this product.

I know there are other controversial substances that I do have an opinion about: high fructose corn syrup, for example. My sensitive system tells me that stuff is a no go. I can have a small amount once in a while and not suffer any major consequences, but regular fountain sodas are absolutely off-limits for me these days.

My body seems to be fine with canola oil, but that doesn't mean there aren't some kind of long term consequences going on behind the scenes. I found a number of "alternative" sites claiming that canola oil can cause everything from inflammation to cancer. On the other hand, it seems like all of the "official" state-sponsored, Ministry of Truth-approved sources say that canola oil is just hunky-dory—organizations like Mayo Clinic and Harvard University. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.


Normally, that alone would make me automatically suspicious of the substance in question, but since my body isn't sensitive to it...I just don't know. So if you, our readers, have an opinion about canola oil one way or the other, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below. That said, let's look at this poppyseed dressing.

It's surprisingly sweet. It's a tad tangy. If I were trying it in a blind taste test, I might think it was a honey mustard dressing of some kind. You can see, feel, and taste the poppy seeds. They add some texture and nuttiness to the equation. The mouthfeel here is medium-thin, smooth, with a relatively low viscosity. It coats nicely.


It worked well with our kale and cabbage salad. I think Sonia liked it a little more than I did. $3.69 for 12oz. Organic. Don't consume before taking a drug test. We're on the fence about a repeat purchase. Four stars from Sonia, three from me for Trader Joe's Organic Poppy Seed Dressing.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.