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Friday, July 12, 2024

Trader Giotto's Pizza Margherita

Now here's a product that has really stood the test of time. I can't tell you exactly when it debuted, but I can tell you that Sonia has been purchasing Trader Giotto's Pizza Margherita since before we met circa 2005, so we're probably talking 20+ years on TJ's shelves. That's noteworthy. I've only had it one other time prior to this review, years ago, and it's finally time to give this bad boy its well-deserved day in the sun.

I mean it's nothing fancy. I think its simplicity is its strength. We're talking nothing more than dough, sauce, and cheese—but it's high-quality dough, sauce, and cheese. Just seven minutes at 425°F and you're ready to chow down.

The crust comes out crispy and slightly chewy. It's a relatively thin crust, which Sonia loves and I'm okay with when the occasion calls for it. If it's cold out and I'm absolutely starving, nothing but a thick, oily deep dish breading will hit the mark. But it's summertime and I'm rarely craving something so heavy, so this Pizza Margherita is just perfect for lunch these days.

There's plenty of tomato flavor, of course. The mozzarella cheese is smooth, creamy, and subtle, and it allows the basil flavor in the sauce to come through just a bit. There's also a hint of garlic and onion underneath it all. It's a nice, clean, uncomplicated flavor.

Of course, you can dress it up some if you're feeling frisky. Sonia and I were more than happy to have it plain, but it wouldn't clash with any basic pizza toppings if you wanted to add them a la carte.

$4.79 for the three serving pizza. Product of Italy. It's adequate for two adults for dinner. Will buy again. Nine out of ten stars from Sonia. Eight out of ten from Nathan for Trader Giotto's Pizza Margherita.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Trader Joe's Brown Sugar Cardamom Buns

Fun fact: cardamom is the third-most expensive spice in existence after, presumably, saffron and that stuff they get from the sandworms on Arrakis. It's apparently used widely as a baking ingredient in Scandinavian countries. Those zany Vikings and their cardamom...

But seriously though, I don't think I've had many, if any, pastries with cardamom as a prominently featured flavor/ingredient ever in my life...until now. And if I'm honest, I didn't like it that much, however, the beautiful wifey enjoyed it quite a bit. We haven't disagreed on a product this strongly in quite a while.

We both agreed that there was something fall-ish about this item. Cardamom isn't a far cry from allspice or clove in terms of flavor and intensity. It might not be a pumpkin spice, per se, but it's "pumpkin spice adjacent" in my opinion.

The brown sugar element was nice, providing a sweet, nutty essence to the bun. But the relative bitterness and spiciness of the cardamom was a turn-off for me, while Sonia thought it made the product unique and memorable. The bready part of the pastry was fairly standard, highly reminiscent of last fall's Apple Cinnamon Buns, neither stale nor unusually fresh—passable but not praise-worthy if you ask me.

$4.49 for two big sweet spiced buns, found with the other baked goods. This one will get a thumbs up from the beautiful wifey and a thumbs down from me. We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Nathan's score: 5.5 out of 10.

Sonia's score: 8 out of 10.

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