When I lived in Hollyweird, California, I worked right next door to the historic Egyptian Theatre. A couple friends I knew from back east were headed there to watch a screening of a film called The Apple, so I decided to check it out with them. At the time, I'd never heard of it. Apparently, it's a cult classic, a la Rocky Horror Picture Show. It's at least as weird as Rocky Horror and maybe half as watchable. The theater was filled with costumed fanatics of the 1980 production, along with the already colorful denizens of Hollywood Boulevard. It would be a night to remember.
Friday, January 29, 2021
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Clearly it's still a work in progress.
I'm not particularly amped to write up a review of Trader Joe's Multigrain Crackers. I mean...multigrain crackers. Appreciably, they're without hyphen between multi and grain, unlike my intro there. But what is there to really say?
Well, here goes. With a bunch of young kids cramped up in the house, gotta feed them, continually, except not after midnight, like gremlins. They all love what we call "snacky lunch" which is basically deli meat, sliced cheese, crackers, milk, and fruit/veggies. They DEVOUR that. And sometimes that's just our dinner option too for low effort/everyone happy nights. And of course, snacks all day long. Our youngest one munches her way from alarm clock turning green to night night tuck in. So...in other words, we eat a lot of crackers around here, and always need a box on call.
And if not maybe we should. I just had a few, actually trying to taste them and not just take them for granted. And (un)surprisingly, they're actually pretty good! There's a lot of earthy grainy goodness, with a touch of onion and salt, sweetened a smidge with added sugar (could do without that), all wrapped up in a light, crispy, crunchy, perfectly snacky cracker. I can see why my kids like them by the handful, and why we're always pairing with some cheddar or dip or even some peanut butter. It's a pretty delicious, vaguely healthyish little disc that serves enough purpose on its own but will happy be a vehicle for whatever else you want to cram on in.
Couldn't tell you the precise price but I doubt it's more than $3. Inexpensive, high quality, healthyish and tasty - yeah there's no little "Trader Joe's-y" twist to them, but those mentioned values are always at the top of TJ's priorities, and my family's as well when it comes to noshing. So, good work once again, TJ's. The crackers aren't world changing, but keep a box around as we do. You should never take a classic for granted.
Bottom line: Trader Joe's Multigrain Crackers: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons
Monday, January 25, 2021
I've always been fascinated with maps and geography. It's also interesting how places and groups of people got their names. I'm in awe that we can still refer to islands in the Caribbean as "the West Indies" based on the erroneous assumption that 15th and 16th century explorers found an alternate route from Europe to India.
Friday, January 22, 2021
One good thing I'll take from last year is the revelation that not only I can cook, but it's actually pretty easy and I enjoy it. Lots of time at home gave a lot of time for smoking, grilling, fermenting, baking. Got a lot of new kitchen goodies, too, and finally figured out how to effectively use the cast iron.
It's January now, of course, and a new year and quite a bit colder out, with some of the same challenges in place. But we still need to eat, and I still like cooking, and it gives me a lot of joy when I have a new inspiration to work with. Sounds cheesy but true, and it's what I got.
So when there's something like Trader Joe's Cuban Style Citrusy Garlic Seasoning Blend debuting, I'm all in. And that's a good thing...
...'cause man, this stuff is legit. I don't mean legit as in 100% authentic to Cuban cuisine, because I'll be honest and admit I haven't ever had the real deal. Hope that changes someday soon.
Made a "Cuban-style bowl" the other night that you can see - chicken thighs, avocado, fried plantains, black beans, spinach and rice. My lovely bride mixed in a hearty dose of the TJ Cuban spice with the rice, and then I added a good dose atop with some fresh squeezed lime. Oh man. Easy and delicious. And that's just our first foray with the spice - I can imagine more chicken, rice, fish and pork dishes I can make with the spice. I don't think the experience would translate as well to red meat, but I'm willing to be wrong if you know for sure otherwise.
"It tastes like sunshine," says my lovely bride. Not sure I could say it better myself, and thankful for every aspect of that sentence and sentiment and source on a cold January day. And heck, even our kiddos liked it. Go on out and give it a try for $1.99. Sure to have no regrets.
Bottom line: Trader Joe's Cuban Style Citrusy Garlic Seasoning Blend: 9 out of 10 Golden Spoons
Thursday, January 21, 2021
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
It's been mentioned on here before from time to time, so if you're familiar, feel free to skip the next paragraph or so. It's all a primer for those who aren't. So if you're still with me, gird up, it's time for an education.
It's a very simple theory. Chocolate is good, right? So is gum. But what happens if you put those two things together? It's...not good. Basically put, the Chocolate Gum Theory states that combinations of things, even good ones, can be less than the sum of their parts. Like...chocolate and cheddar. Salmon and jerky. Babies and pocket knives. Stuff like that. Somewhat related is the Bowie/Mercury Corollary that states two great things when combined can be even greater, while the Bowie/Jagger Corollary reminds us they can be much....much....much less.
Okay, are we all back together? That's the best. And on to today's subject, Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel Seasoned Kettle-Cooked Potato Chips.
EBTB! So hot right now. Not familiar? You should be. It's an everything bagel sans bagel. It's awesome. And who can resist a perfectly crunchy, delicious kettle chip? I sure can't, so put them together, and we gonna be Under Pressure (good) or Dancing in the Street (not so much)?
Sadly, it's the latter.
I've (literally) spent some time chewing on this to try and determine what the crux of the matter is, because simply put, these chips should be good but just aren't. The issue seems two fold. First, there's this oddly overly oleic taste and feel to the chips. I mean, even by kettle chip standards. I think it'd stand out regardless of flavor. Looking over the ingredients, maybe it's the sesame oil that adds on that little extra that turns it into too much? While not absolutely repulsive, the experience isn't enjoyable either.
Not gonna lie, I picked up two bags of 'em hoping they'd be great. It took our chip-munchin'-mad fam four days to consume the first, mostly by me out of duty to this here blog. None of us are excited about the second. Might even return, along with the truffle hot sauce I got a month or more ago and can't consume enough of to properly judge as it makes me feel literally ill. There's so many better chips out in the TJ's aisle, spend your $2.49 on something else that'd treat you right.
My lovely bride is much more into the TJ's social media than we are, and it seems our thoughts align with most others publicly stated. If you like 'em, awesome, you get on with your bad self, but maybe stock up as I can see these being pulled due to unpopularity. Or, as always, I could be completely wrong. Except Chocolate Gum Theory, that's true and proven once again here. Just bleh.
Bottom line: Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel Seasoned Kettle-Cooked Potato Chips: 2 out of 10 Golden Spoons
Friday, January 15, 2021
Personally, if it were me designing the cover art for this product's packaging, I would have gone with a narwhal. Narwhals are the only animals with a tusk that has a girth to length ratio comparable to these cookie sticks. They're very long and very thin, hence the moniker "sticks" as opposed to "bars," "batons," or "fingers."
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Lookin' for some hot stuff, baby, this evenin'
I need some hot stuff, baby, tonight
I want some hot stuff, baby, this evenin'
Gotta have some hot stuff
Gotta have some love tonight
Monday, January 11, 2021
Friday, January 8, 2021
Somehow that's not as quite a find a memory as I thought it'd be, and kinda forgot about it 'til Trader Joe's Grainfree Granola came around.
I haven't had Renola in ages (probable coping mechanism from overdose, much like since graduating college in 2003 I've eaten instant ramen noodles maybe 5 times), so a direct comparison is tough to do on my end, but there's much the same vibe.
The main base is comprised of three components: almonds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. In an act of what I presume to be black magic, all these get transformed into a a state of pretty close to real actual granola. There's got to be something more than just roasting them - the whole feel and experience is lighter and crispier than one would expect, almost as if it were more munchy than crunchy if that sounds right. It's phenomenal, and is imminently snackable right out of the bag and would work on yogurt. Big pieces, little dusties, in between pebbles, didn't matter. All the same bite, and all delicious.
All that being said, I can see myself getting quite tired of the grainless granola quickly. Just a little extra flavor component would be wondrous, or even just a different variety to go back and forth between.
But then again, at $3.99, it's a heck of a value for what it is. Vegan, gluten free, all that...yup.
Good stuff, check it out for sure. A few handfuls will hold you over for quite a bit, that's for sure. My lovely bride isn't a big a fan as I am, as the nutritional info kinda seems to be a bit much for such a compact product, if that makes sense.
Bottom line: Trader Joe's Grainless Granola: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons
Wednesday, January 6, 2021
I'm not sure why there are so many tasty dunkables for coffee and tea in the world, but so few for energy drinks like Red Bull, for example. I wonder what an energy drink dunkable would even taste like. If I were an ambitious man, or if I knew anything at all about baking, food science, or grocery purchasing habits, I'd attempt to invent the first energy drink dunkable. It might not even be a pastry. It could be more like a pretzel, a stick of jerky, or maybe like a fruit-flavored candy cane. You'd swirl it around in your heavily-caffeinated, fizzy, sweet-tart energy beverage, and slurp the excess moisture off the end of the dunkable. It'd be fun and delicious. And energy drink consumers wouldn't feel like they're missing out on the dunk-it-in-your-drink party anymore.
Monday, January 4, 2021
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
And so on and so on with a few little pithy adages, but let's start off the new year with some initial impressions of the new Trader Joe's Crunchy Almond Butter Puffs Cereal.
C'mon, that sounds awesome, right? Boom. First impression made.
Take a look at it, too. It's rice and quinoa based, so no gluten. And as a lowkey bonus, read the description: it's not just almond butter, which is tasty enough in its own right if not a tad plain...but also cocoa powder too! So this can be a healthyesque breakfast cereal that tastes like a buttercup maybe! This train is gaining some traction here. Choochoo!
But then hold the box, or even better, try to open it. The bag inside too. Perhaps the first clue that something is a bit off. The cardboard stock to make the actual cereal box is...odd. It's not the familiar type, but instead sturdier, glossier, stockier, more rigid. It feels odd. If you happen to take a look at the bottom flaps, you'd notice it's folded together, not glued and sealed. Kinda odd, but sturdy enough given the materials. But whatever glue was spared on the bottom was more than accounted for atop, as man, these flaps didn't want to open. There's some serious papercut potential here. But once you past that, you're finally on to the big boss: the bag. It's thicker and heavier and glued way tighter than it should for easy manual opening - I gave up and used scissors to avoid unnecessary cereal explosions all over the floor. lord knows my kids do enough of those themselves.
Finally, take a bite. Or try to. These puffs are hard. "Crunchy" is an understatement. Looking thru ingredients, because it can't be just rice and quinoa..aha. Cassava flour, too. There it is. All those flours come together to make some sort of cereal kernel that's then coated in almond butter and rolled in cocoa powder. The result: a jaw-achingly crunchy cereal. Tired out my molars for sure, and if you'd think milk would soften it up, you'd be wrong.
Speaking of milk...I'd say skip it altogether for these poundy puffs. Not only does it not really appreciably soften the crunch, but it seems to cover up all the taste, too. Indeed, if eaten more as a dry snack, the flavors come out a bit more: the earthy grains, the nutty almond butter, the little tastes of cocoa here and there. It's fairly subtle and actually pretty tasty without being too much of a sugarbomb. Delicious, really. While breakfast may be important, sometimes a snack is so much better.
So there you have it. It remains to be seen how often we'll pick up the almond butter puffs for the $4 or so it set us back. I'm definitely not in as love with them as I thought I would, but I don't horribly mind them either. Some matching threes sounds about right.
Bottom line: Trader Joe's Crunchy Almond Butter Puffs Cereal: 6 out of 10 Golden Spoons.