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Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Trader Joe's Sourdough Sliced Bread

One summer during my college years, a fellow student named Tim rented one of the vacant rooms in the house I lived in. As I was going about my business in the common areas one day, I noticed a bowl of...something on the seldom-used dining room table. It looked like a science experiment of sorts and smelled vaguely tart.

Tim later explained that it was sourdough starter and that he was going to bake his own bread. He mentioned the sourdough starter needed to rot a bit just sitting at room temperature because that's what made the dough sour. I was a little grossed out but after a day or so, he baked the bread and let me try a bite. It was surprisingly tasty. I mean, I'd obviously had sourdough before, but after seeing it in its primordial form, I didn't expect Tim's batch to taste so good. I've never looked at sourdough the same since.

And if anything, Trader Joe's Sourdough Sliced Bread is above average for store-bought pre-sliced sourdough. It's got just the right amount of tang and sourness, and just the right amount of wheat and barley goodness. The texture is just a bit chewier than regular white bread, and it's perfect plain with butter or as the outer layer of a sandwich. It's become one of our regular purchases at TJ's.


I believe it was $2.99 when we bought this last loaf, but it might have gone up recently, as many bread products have. If you feel like getting crafty, there's a recipe for Sweet & Spicy Pimento Grilled Cheese on TJ's official website. It sounds pretty yummy, but what are the odds I'll remember to pick up all those ingredients on the same trip?

Sonia gives Trader Joe's Sourdough Sliced Bread four and a half stars out of five. I give it four.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Trader Joe's Dried Cantaloupe Slices


So this item is very similar to
2019's Watermelon Jerky, a very polarizing product. My guess is this one will be, as well. It's the same idea: dehydrated melon in a bag. They don't call this one "jerky," but simply "dried."

Neither Sonia nor I were huge fans of the watermelon version, and we're finding ourselves in the same boat with Trader Joe's Dried Cantaloupe Slices. While I generally enjoy more traditional dried fruits like raisins, dates, and dried apricots—and I was pleasantly surprised with products like Trader Joe's Dried Baby Bananas—I guess I just have to admit that I'm not a fan of dried melons.


Sonia swears she can taste the sulfur dioxide in the cantaloupe. I'm not sure if that's what I taste, but I'd just say it's like cantaloupe flavor but not as sweet. Texture-wise, it's like cantaloupe but stiff instead of soft, leathery instead of juicy. So, in other words, it's just like real cantaloupe, but it lacks everything that makes actual cantaloupe melon good: the sweetness, the softness, the moisture.

Some of you will find it a unique, convenient snack. I'm not saying you're wrong. I want to like it. I'll probably be able to finish the bag slowly, one or two pieces at a time. It's just not something I'd ever seek out after trying it this one time. Sonia agrees.


$2.99 for the 4 oz bag. Two and a half stars from Sonia. Three from me for Trader Joe's Dried Cantaloupe Slices.

Bottom line: 5.5 out of 10.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Trader Joe's Super Seedy Cheese Snack Bites


Mmmkay. This is one of those "sexy" new items I was talking about last week when I promised I'd review something more interesting than common pantry fare soon-ish. Trader Joe's Super Seedy Cheese Snack Bites are definitely new, but are they really that sexy?

Welp, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say...no. But let's look at both sides of this equation. There are some things working here. Let's try to be positive and look at that stuff first.

Parmesan cheese. The number one ingredient. I like parmesan. These are indeed parmesan-laden and cheesy and that's the "CHEESE" part of the product title. In my humble opinion the cheesiness is good and the intensity is about right.


What else is working? The texture. These things are crispy and crunchy in a very unique way. I tried to capture the texture visually with the new macro feature on my phone camera. Pretty cool, right? You can see all the rifts, ridges, nooks, crannies, and seediness up close. 

Of course, that photo is larger than life. I mean...depending upon the size of your monitor screen. Maybe if you're on mobile right now, it's just about life size. But then I don't know how big your phone is. Maybe I should just tell you how big they are. Fortunately, there's a ruler right behind me as I write this.

They are 1.25 inches by 1.375 inches on average. Nearly square. Like maybe two or three small bites a piece for me.

So let's move on to what's not working: nearly everything else. The overall taste of these is like black pepper. And I like black pepper. Is it the peppercorns? I guess. They're overwhelming. It's a pungent, acrid, bitter pepper punch in each and every bite. Actually some bites are worse than others. It builds up on the tongue and honestly I can only eat one or two crisps at a time. They're very light, too, in terms of density. If the peppercorn flavor were tempered a bit, I think I'd plow through the bag in one or two sittings easily.

TL;DR - Crunchy parmesan aspects are nice. Peppercorn element is overpowering.

$3.49 for the 2.8 oz bag. I give Trader Joe's Super Seedy Cheese Snack Bites with Puffed Quinoa & Whole Peppercorns two out of five stars. Sonia liked hers in tomato soup okay, although she agrees they're not great on their own. Three stars from her.

Bottom line: 5 out of 10.