Perhaps you've seen one of our write-ups from The Daily Meal* that have circulated around the Interwebs to sites like Huffington Post and Shine by Yahoo! and the like. That might even be how you found our site. By far, my favorite part of those articles is perusing the reader comments. Needless to say, some folks don't share our taste buds (eh, to each their own) or think we're major dopes (we never said we weren't), which most of those types of comments give me a good laugh. The one type of comment that I didn't really understand was the ones that ripped Trader Joe's as being full of trendy hipsters and pretentious overpriced food. Listen, I'm not a TJ's apologist by any means, but that hasn't been my experience at all. If I wanted to pay a premium for my chow, I'd get it from the Sharper Image, or at least the big local chain that I paid double the bill at before I stumbled across TJ's. As far as being pretentious, etc...well, okay, it is a little but not overly so, at least not in Pittsburgh. I see more families with kids than doofy-haircutted-tight-Goodwill-pantsed kids prattering on and on about The Avett Brothers shopping there. That criticism, which I've seen repeatedly, doesn't ring true to me, and makes me wonder where those folks get their grub at (McDonalds? No wonder they're in a bad mood). TJ's isn't exactly above reproach, but in my mind, they do more right than wrong.
Okay, it's Italian Mini Ravioli time. This is pretty unpretentious, see? It's not even Trader Giotto-branded. And face it, it's mini ravioli. In a statement that I am completely unsure as to if it'll make people more or less likely to purchase it, one can choose to think of this as cook-at-home Chef Boyardee. The package contains a pound of the little good fellas and costs $2.something. That's not expensive at all.
As far as taste goes, they're alright. Sandy stated it fairly accurately when she said, "They're more than half good." I'll complement that thought by saying they're less than half bad. We boiled some up the other night to serve with some meatballs and sauce for a quick, easy dinner. Even though they were swimming and rolling over in the pot for a decently long while, when we sank our teeth in, they seemed kinda undercooked and therefore slightly hard/chewy. That's more our bad, I guess. The pasta tastes like the typical semolina offering, while the filling leaves a little to be desired. It's made of Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs that, while not being all that bad, strayed a tad towards salty and gritty. Still, they're decent, and we had no problems finishing up our bowlfuls, though we won't be stumbling all over ourselves to have them again, either. Next time we do, though, we'll probably go more of the chicken broth soup route because, to us, they seem like they might be a little tastier that way.
Sandy gives them a three, as she said she's had better ravioli, like the fresh packages you can buy at some stores. Maybe some of their downside lies in the fact that they're a dry good and made to last forever (maybe a good thing for us East Coasters this week...an earthquake and a hurricane? Can we just go back to ungodly humidity? Stock the shelter!). As Sandy explained, a three is better than half good because half the maximum she can award something is 2.5. And to think, she usually asks for me to figure out anything math-related (that's roughly akin to asking me for directions in a foreign country). I see her three and match it.
Bottom line: 6 out of 10 Golden Spoons
* Gonna be working on yet another collaboration with them soon! Keep tuned. One day, God-willing, this will lead to us being interviewed by Katie Couric.