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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Trader Joe's Organic Uncured Grass Fed Beef Hot Dogs

Ah, nothing's more 'Murican than throwing a package of hot dogs on the grill in the middle of the summer, sun high overhead, beads of sweat on your forehead from the heat and humidity, Old Glory waving above the front stoops of each house on the block, birds singing, dogs barking, children laughing, and the smell of salty, smoky meat wafting through the air. Almost heaven.

On this occasion, however, we opted to cook these weenies indoors. I think the George Foreman approximates a grill somewhat better than an air fryer does, plus we haven't fired it up in quite a while, so we dug deep in the kitchen cupboard and dusted off the old relic. Still worked like a charm. In minutes, we had some nice brown hotdogs ready for buns and toppings.

And the ingredients here don't get much cleaner or simpler. We've got organic beef, water, and a dozen or so organic spices and seasonings. Nice.

They tasted pretty standard for all-beef hotdogs. Not bad by any means. But honestly, I think I prefer the taste of Hebrew National for reasons I can't quite put my finger on.

Texture-wise, the casings on these dogs really hindered my enjoyment of them. With most bites, there was a moment of hesitation where the chunk of meat refused to separate fully from the rest of the hotdog and a bit of skin had me yanking the product away from my face while I clutched the beef with my teeth and pulled in the opposite direction. Once again, Hebrew National for the win in terms of texture. I'm only using Hebrew National because they're the gold standard for all-beef hotdogs in my experience, and I do believe most Trader Joe's carry them, too.

About six bucks for six hotdogs. While the ingredients are impeccable, I just can't go too high with my score since there's a better product on the shelf right next to these puppies. Once again, we're always interested in hearing your opinion of the product, so fire away in the comments section. Nathan and Sonia will go with the same score here for Trader Joe's Organic Uncured Grass Fed Beef Hot Dogs.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Friday, June 21, 2024

Meikakuna Japanese Blended Whisky

Having lived in five different US states and having at least set foot in 40 of them, I can tell you this country's attitude toward alcoholic beverages is anything but uniform. Liquor laws not only vary state to state, but also county to county and town to town.

Some places you can buy any type of alcohol in just about every type of establishment—convenience stores, grocery stores, you name it. In other locales, the only way to get booze is through government-operated "state stores" or "bottle shops." In Utah, they recently raised the alcohol-by-volume limit from 4% to 5% for beer available in grocery stores. And there are still dozens of "dry counties" and "dry communities" throughout America where no alcohol is available at all.

Trader Joe's stores have to abide by the local laws, so naturally there are plenty of TJ's stores that can't sell any alcoholic beverages. Others can only sell beer and wine. Still more can sell whatever booze products they want. Currently, our closest Joe's does indeed carry beer, wine, and hard liquor, so every once in a while, we'll sample something relatively Japanese whisky.

In case you're new here, Sonia tends to gravitate towards Irish whiskey while I consider myself a gin man. I was not particularly enamored with this product, in stark contrast to the delightful Japanese gin reviewed last year, while Sonia liked it nearly as much as her current favorite, Jameson.

We tried this beverage a few different ways. I liked it on the rocks best and Sonia preferred it neat. The whisky poured a yellowish color. On the nose and up front, we detected something lightly fruity and sweet. To me, the body tasted oddly spicy, almost like a muted cinnamon flavor at times. I thought the spices here were somewhat intense and interrupted the otherwise smooth essences of the beverage, but the beautiful wifey didn't seem to mind it.

I've heard this is a Trader Joe's exclusive. Not sure why they don't slap their name on it, but I'm sure they have their reasons. $29.99 for the 750 mL bottle. Probably would not buy again but it was interesting to try, although there's a good chance Sonia will pick up another bottle for herself at some point. Something like 6 out of 10 stars from me for Meikakuna Japanese Blended Whisky. Sonia will go with 8 out of 10.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

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