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Showing posts with label blahhh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blahhh. Show all posts

Monday, February 6, 2012

Trader Joe's Pasta with Sockeye Salmon & Asparagus

This is the fishiest thing I've had in a long time. Maybe ever. And relatively recently, I've had some day-old scallop soup from an all-you-can-eat buffet in Atlantic City that made me puke a couple hours later. In defense of this Trader Joe's concoction, it did NOT make me puke. But quite honestly, the semi-rancid scallop soup tasted a heck of a lot better on the way down.

The word "sockeye" doesn't sound particularly appetizing to me. Of course, salmon is almost always delicious. Sonia has always been a huge fan of salmon. I like fish in general, and pretty much any sort of seafood or swimmy animal meat (except for acquatic mammals, of course, but I don't think people really eat them anyway). Mahi-mahi, or "dolphin-fish," is not really dolphin. It's fish. But that's neither here nor there, so let's get back to this revolting, fishy pasta medley.

It's not the pasta or the veggies that ruined this dish. Not by a longshot. The pasta, veggies, and sauce were completely forgettable. Which is good in a way. If they had been any worse, I might have been tempted to stop shopping at TJ's altogether for fear of ever having another product as revolting as this one could have been. But if they had been significantly better, it would have been a crying shame that they were so utterly ruined by the fishiness of the fish they were packaged with.

The only thing that was really terrible about this dish was the fish. I've never had such fishy salmon. I've never had such fishy fish. Ever. And I've eaten Shark, Tilapia, Trout, Sunfish, Mahi-mahi, Salmon, Anchovies, Tuna, Halibut, and probably dozens of other varieties of fish. Sonia and I debated whether or not the stray cats in the neighborhood, who are no doubt on the verge of starvation here in the middle of a Pennsylvania winter (albeit a very mild one) would eat this most fishiest of fish meat to save their scrawny hides from a sad, slow, and painful death. We never came to a definitive conclusion.

My advice is that unless you have some really bizarre proclivity for unbelievably fishy-tasting things, that you should avoid this product at all costs. This is the most disappointing salmon I've ever had. Period. The salmon in $2.00 Lean Cuisine frozen meals is pure gourmet, top-shelf delectability compared to this. When asked what she had to say about the product, Sonia simply replied, "disgusting." She gives it 1 star out of 5. I was tempted to give it less than one full star, but I'll give it a 1 since the non-fish ingredients weren't terrible. But overall, this is an epic fish FAIL.

Bottom line: 2 out of 10 stars.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Trader Joe's Name Tag Classic Lager

Sandy and I could not do anything else other than look at each other and make a quizzical face. We were away for the weekend at a resort in Ohio this past weekend, at dinner Saturday night at the onsite restaurant, and when we requested a refill on our Sprites, our waitress brought them at a a Styrofoam pour right into our glasses...right in front of us. If we weren't the only ones there and would have been so obvious, we might have busted out laughing at the absurdity of it. I've never seen this before, and while a valid way to refill a drink, I suppose, it certainly made me feel a little more confident about our decision to pass up the "unbeatable price" and "tremendous value" of the time share spiel we had to sit through earlier that day.

Of course, the weekend wasn't a total loss. It's always great to have a little time away with your better half, and always funny when a buffalo almost gets its head stuck in your car window on a drive-through safari (true story). Plus, the fine citizens of Ohio have some privileges that we, the plebes of Pennsylvania, don't, like certain types of products available for purchase at Trader Joe's...uh, not that we did...the beer fairy came by again....yeah, that's it...

I shoulda told the beer fairy to not bother at all with the Name Tag Classic Lager. It's so bad that Trader Joe didn't even really put his name on it, though like the kid with muddy boots on standing on a messy carpet, it's obviously his fault. Look at the font used and the flower, and the familiar oval-shaped name tag logo....yeah, it's his. And it's bad. Listen, I went to Penn State, then lived near Pitt campus in Pittsburgh for a while, and have been flat-out broke at times, so I know what crappy beer tastes like. This, simply said, might be the absolute worst. The first ice cold sip I took tasted like literally nothing except a faint sickly sweetness at the end, which was kinda gross. Subsequent sips were tastelessly bitter and bitterly tasteless, if that's even possible. Finally, it got to the point where I could discern what this tasted like...precisely just like the metallic innards of the can. This putrid, super light, watery, nastastic spew was so utterly devoid of its own flavor it had no choice other than to absorb whatever it could from an aluminum can. To my memory, this was only the second beer I've ever tasted that, based on sheer nastiness, the remaining gulps were poured down the kitchen sink and not into my belly. This is terrible stuff, and to make it even worse, no hot chicks other than my wife appeared, no parties broke out, no one pointed out all the other "unmanly" things I'd done that day already (like stop and ask for directions at a gas station), no silver bullet train ran through the living room...nothing like that when people drink other crappy beers on TV. I just kinda sat there feeling numb and depressed over a horrible beer while making all sorts of grimacing faces. Sandy didn't have to taste it to know she wouldn't like it. Ugh. I think PBR or even something called Beer 30 Light that my younger bro mentioned to me the other night would be at least ten, if not twenty, times better than this. It's just that bad. At least it's cheap at $2.99 for a six pack, but I'm certainly more than glad we, uh, the beer fairy, procured us some other inexpensive TJ adult beverages, or otherwise the shopping trip would have been a complete disaster.

It's so bad, in fact, while deliberating a score, I seriously wondered if I should set a precedent by giving something negative Golden Spoons. But I can't do that, for two reasons. First, if this, or even this, doesn't garner a negative score, nothing can, even though I think this may be the absolute worst TJ's product I've tried yet. Secondly, some of this crap-veza might have a valuable use, and no, I don't mean giving the leftovers out to the random adults who insist on trick-or-treating in our neighborhood. I've found that bad beer often is a valuable ingredient when used in making a good crockpot full of chili, and as it's getting colder, I feel my first batch coming on soon. My brother and sister-in law, who also choked down a few gulps before ditching the can, pretty much agreed. For that, and that only, I think between the three of us we can muster a total of half a spoon from the three of us. For one of the very worst (if not THE worst) beer any of us ever tried, that has to be considered more than fair.

Bottom line: 0.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Friday, July 8, 2011

Trader Joe's Breakfast Burritos

If you look back over the last 10 or 12 posts, you might notice a trend: most of my reviews have been fairly negative. Strangely enough, the majority of Russ's posts have been quite the opposite. He's lucked out with a streak of mostly excellent products.

Despite the fact that Russ is the reviewer that actually gave a Trader Joe's product a zero, I'm slowly starting to feel like the group's Simon Cowell. And it certainly didn't help that Russ wrote up our group review of the Wild Blueberry Vanilla Chévre, and my score was by far the lowest out of the four of us. Now, I'm going to be honest: I like to complain, and I'm really good at it. I can almost always find something to complain about. Just ask my wife. (Although, she's a champion griper as well). But gradually, we're learning to be thankful in all circumstances. However, we have complaining down to such an artform, that even with things we're quite thankful for, we can still manage to find some fault to whine about. But seriously, we are grateful as well, that God has been gracious and put up with our terrible attitudes all this time.

Nevertheless, because of my duties as a foodie-hack blogger and grocery-informant, I must unfortunately continue on my sad tirade of moans and groans with this tragically tedious excuse for a breakfast burrito, and hopefully, I'll save a handful of people from being utterly disappointed with their morning meals.

Really, Trader Joe's? Really? C'mon. I'm just going to go ahead and say skip these and stick to whatever kind of breakfast burrito you can buy off the roach coach that pulls up to your office parking lot in the morning. It might not be healthy, but I can virtually guarantee it'll have more flavor. Sonia immediately proclaimed "These taste like cardboard." That says it all. They do. I'm not sure what process can prevent the natural flavors of eggs, potatoes, turkey bacon, and cheese from coming through at all, but TJ's has apparently discovered one. Honestly, to call these "bland" would be a gross understatement. I slathered my burrito with Cholula hot sauce and was able to finish it. Sonia finished hers, too, but only because she really doesn't like to waste food.

In the burrito's defense, the texture wasn't bad. It at least felt like a real breakfast burrito even if it didn't taste like one. You can certainly tell there's a tortilla with some potatoes and eggs and maybe some other stuff just by the feel of it.

Sonia said she can't give them more than half a star. Just because they didn't completely butcher the texture, I'll be kind and give them a 1.5.

Bottom line: 2 out of 10.


P.S. -- I am having some technical difficulties with posting comments on this blog for some reason. We do appreciate all the comments you leave on our posts. I will respond to you as soon as the problem is rectified, or if you leave comments on our Facebook page, we're usually pretty quick to respond to those. Thanks!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Trader Joe's Turkey "Meatloaf Muffins"

Let me explain something.

I love meatloaf. I think meatloaf belongs on the pantheon of great meats, joined by bacon, a good medium-rare steak, and buffalo chicken dip. If I go out to dinner at a diner, meatloaf is a given, a nearly sure-bet to satisfy. If the meatloaf there turns out to be bad, I have a hard time trusting any of their other food. I have been known to judge entire establishments based solely on their meatloaf. There's practically nothing more that I love than a homemade meatloaf dinner, and practically no sandwich I love more than a slab of meatloaf and a slice of American cheese on white bread. It's so simple and good. It should be a given that it's good. I would be a happy man if I could eat meatloaf every day for the rest of my life.

All that being said, I have never bought anything at TJ's that I was so apprehensive about purchasing and (even more so) consuming.

There were so many red flags going off in my brain about this. First off, they're called "meatloaf muffins," with the quotation marks clearly on the package. Listen, you can't put quotation marks around the word meatloaf - it's either meatloaf, or it isn't (though it could still be, technically, a loaf of meat). And then they're called muffins as well. The picture on the box led me to interpret that the mashed potatoes served a frosting-esque purpose, which, alliteration be damned, makes them a cupcake. Cupcakes have frosting; muffins are mere naked cupcakes. Look it up. Add to that the fact that the meatloaf is made out of ground turkey. I'm a fan of turkey burgers and all, but for some things, only some beef cuts it. Meatloaf is one of them. End of story.

Anyways, I finally worked up the courage to try these out Thursday night when Sandy was babysitting. She had no desire to even attempt one of these bad boys. I can't blame her, I was so skeptical myself. I told myself I was going to try to like them, that there had to be something good about them. It's Trader Joe's, it's meatloaf, how bad can it be? I wanted to like them, at least a little, so as to not cast a shadow over the Trader Joe name.

Oh man.

First, Trader Joe's takes the whole "muffin" concept a little too far. They come in a plastic muffin tray of sorts, and since they're frozen in, I had to get a knife to cut around the sides to get one of these meat cakes out. Secondly, their "preferred method" of preparation is two minutes on high in the microwave. Under no practically no circumstances should meatloaf be microwaved, let alone as a "preferred method" ... it just does something to it that I can't explain but it makes not nearly as good. I microwave it anyways, because if Trader Joe says this for the best, well, okay. Anyways, the microwave dings, I get my fork (even though muffins are supposed to be a hands-on food), and take a bite.

Again, oh man.

Usually, Trader Joe's does a great job of selecting products, but when they fail, they do so epically. Consider these the Titanic. These are so bland and tasteless. In fact, what I tasted the most was the spinach they squeezed between the meat and mashed potatoes. Of course, the spinach was limp, watery, and kinda gross by itself. The potatoes were definitely of the powdery box variety, kinda grainy, and barely hinted of the Parmesan flavor they were advertised as having. And the meatloaf ... I weep. It was just bad, completely devoid of any semblance of flavor. I tried a little chunk of it by itself, tasted nothing, but when I looked closer, I saw it was still pinkish. It wasn't even fully cooked. I know you can get away with that for steaks and burgers (in fact, it's encouraged) but to my knowledge, meatloaf is not something to be consumed in a semi-raw fashion. Honestly, the "meatloaf" (definitely use the quotation marks for this junk) reminds me of canned cat food, in semblance, presumable taste, and texture. Just awful. Put it all together in a four-bite sized morsel, and it's a dinner-time catastrophe. I'd almost rather have eaten Spam from a can, it's that bad.

I was going to eat another one, just to make sure they were gross (and if so, if hot sauce could salvage them), but my eyes slid over to the Nutrition Facts panel. Over 20% of my fat, cholesterol and sodium intake for my day in just one of these? I'm no prude when it comes to this stuff, but if I'm going to eat something that horrendous for me, it has got to be worth it. I settled for the timeless bachelor option of a bowl of cereal and a beer. Combine that info with their price tag ($6 for a box of four = $1.50 each), and let's just say I'm glad TJ's has a good return policy. I have nothing even slightly redeeming to say about these. At least TJ's has enough other really good stuff so I can't dismiss them completely as a company, but if this were my first ever purchase from them, I'd never go back.

In conclusion, to paraphrase the classic Meatloaf song, I would do anything for 'loaf,' but I won't do these. Ever again.

Bottom line: 0 out of 10 Golden Spoons

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