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Friday, December 8, 2023

Trader Joe's Raspberry Croissant Carré

All right, we did our obligatory vegetable-based product yesterday, so it's time to get back to indulgent, fattening holiday treats. I mean, it's practically the weekend. Up next: this raspberry croissant pastry thing. I've never heard of carré before. Apparently, it means "square" in French. Pronounced like "car-ray."

Only conventional oven heating instructions are given on the packaging, but we winged it in the air fryer on low heat (325°F) for about five minutes. It worked. The pastry was still soft, flaky, and buttery on the outside—like a croissant—and the filling was nice and hot, smooth and sweet, like the center of a high-quality jelly doughnut.

The filling is made with real raspberries and lemon juice, so it tastes authentic and fruity. It's mostly sweet, but there's a nice dose of tart flavor in there, too. 

The edges of the pastry favor the bread quite a bit, while the middle is positively bursting with the purple jam. Both elements are delicious and pair beautifully with one another as a fancy and festive French dessert treat.

$5.99 for the six serving loaf. I don't even know if this is an explicitly Christmassy thing. Raspberries are kinda summer fruits, no? I'm sure they could make this with apples, oranges, figs, or plums and it would still be interesting to try.

Anyway, we would definitely buy again next year. Four stars from me. Four and a half stars from the beautiful wifey for Trader Joe's Raspberry Croissant Carré.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Trader Joe's Holiday Vegetable Hash

Trader Joe's is selling the good stuff now. And it's not just any hash, it's a special strain cultivated for this magical holiday season. But try as I may to roll it up and light it up, I just couldn't get this bud to burn. Somebody gotta tell Joe to dry his goods before selling them. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to eat these little hash chunks. They even give you suggestions for using them as edibles right on the package. You can make super stimulating soup or stoner stuffing with this stuff. Far out.

All hash jokes aside, our mixture seemed like it was teetering on the verge of being too dry, honestly. A bit more moisture would have been quite pleasant here. The squash and sweet potato bites were a little too hard and even the celery seemed stiff. We did consume it a couple days before the "best by" date, but it seemed like maybe our batch had seen better days..?

It's not a mix I'd ever want to eat on its own. In addition to the lack of moisture and abundance of firmness, it's a very odd flavor combo to me. When cold, the onions clash with the sweet potato and squash, and the herbs and spices are overrepresented.

As far as seasonings are concerned, we're looking at parsley, sage, rosemary, and...wait. What? Just parsley, sage, rosemary...and no thyme. I bet Simon and Garfunkel are rolling over in their graves right now. Wait. What? Neither of those guys are dead yet? Well, that's good, I guess. Time for a reunion tour then, maybe?

As an additive to other foods, I guess I'm failing to find a soup that suits this unusual mishmash of not-super-Christmassy oddball ingredients. Sonia sautéed it with salt and olive oil, and I must say I like this melange much better when served warm. The oil helps with the dryness, and all the flavors blend into a nice savory snack—much less harsh and bitter than when consumed raw. It works amazingly well as an accompaniment to eggs.

The beautiful wifey has big plans to serve up the remainder of our hash with a Cornish hen, but I don't think we'll get to that before this review gets posted. In light of how good this stuff is when served as a hot dish, I'll have to give it the benefit of the doubt. Sonia agrees.

$4.99 for the 18 oz container. Three and a half stars a piece from the wifey and me for Trader Joe's Holiday Vegetable Hash.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

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