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Showing posts with label grains breads and cereals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label grains breads and cereals. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Trader Joe's Sonora Style Flour Tortillas


Like many young Latinas, Sonia grew up eating corn tortillas on a regular basis. Quesadillas were go-to snacks in her household. The occasional flour tortilla wasn't unheard of, but "Sonora style" was unfamiliar even to my Mexican-American wife...until now.

Sonora is a state in "El Norte" or Northern Mexico, just south of the US state of Arizona. Their tortillas are known for being stretchy and soft and for puffing up a bit when heated on a griddle. Sonia swears they were puffing up way more right until the moment I entered the kitchen with my camera. Just like photons of light, flour tortillas apparently behave differently when being observed.


And they taste different raw compared to when they're toasted. Heating these tortillas really woke up the nutty, wheaty flavors of the flour. At room temperature, I felt they were somewhat bland. They got crispy after a minute on the griddle, too, but there was still a pleasant, soft chewiness to them.

In short, we found they made great quesadillas and they'd be perfect as a shell for grilled burritos. Personally, we felt like they weren't fantastic when served raw as a soft taco shell, for example, but this is our first time at the Sonora style tortilla rodeo.


If you're familiar with Sonora style tortillas, let us know how authentic this Trader Joe's offering is. Compared to other tortillas, we both think they're interesting, tasty, and fairly versatile.

$2.99 for the 12 serving resealable pack. Would buy again. Sonia's score: 9 out of 10. Nathan's score: 8 out of 10 for Trader Joe's Sonora Style Flour Tortillas.



Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Trader Joe's Tiny Fruity Cuties Cereal


In 2013, we checked out the now defunct Trader Joe's Fruity O's. To be honest, I don't really remember what they were like, but at least I have that old review to jog my memory. I'd imagine these fruity cuties are quite similar, although I believe these are modeled after Trix while that old product was an imitation of Froot Loops.


This time around, instead of "O" shapes, we have fun, assorted fruit shapes, a la "Fruity Shapes" edition Trix cereal. Well, now that I take a closer look, are these really fruit shapes? They look like yellow and orange crescents alongside pink and purple flowers. Meh. Whatever.

It's been a hot minute since I've had Trix, but if memory serves correctly these do indeed taste similar to the classic General Mills offering. It's sweet and lightly fruity. The ingredients just say "natural flavors" so I'm not sure exactly what fruits are supposed to be represented here. I'd say it's something vaguely citrusy..? 

Most of these sugary corn-based cereals irritate the roof of my mouth after a bowlful, but I must say this one didn't seem quite as offensive as others on that front. These are just a tad softer, although I've heard this product gets stale and hard rather easily.

Despite being corn and oat-based, the product is not officially gluten-free since, according to the side panel, the product "may contain wheat." Good to know.

$3.99 for the 11 serving box. Kosher. Product of Canada. Would buy again. Sonia's score: 8/10. Nathan's score: 7/10 for Trader Joe's Tiny Fruity Cuties Cereal.



Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Friday, May 3, 2024

Trader Joe's Garlicky Pasta


I've used the word "garlicky" on this blog many times, but I still have a problem with that "k" sneaking in there. There's no "k" in the word "garlic." But I guess we would want to pronounce it like an "s" sound without the "k." In other words "garlicy" looks like "garlissy," you know what I mean? We could always just hyphenate it like "garlic-y" like we do when the word is made-up or not-yet-recognized as a real word. But apparently folks use "garlicky" enough that it has an official spelling, and that spelling includes a "k" whether we like it or not.


So...this pasta is more garlicky than anything else. I guess it's pasta-y too, but all pasta is pasta-y, so that's not even worth mentioning. But I mean, if you're gonna call it "garlicky," I'd prefer it be really freaking garlicky than, you know, just kinda garlicky. And I mean, it comes covered in a medium-thick garlic sauce that is pretty tasty. It has a decent amount of garlic flavor. I guess I just want more, but then again I am a total garlic fiend. I think chunks of actual garlic might help, too.

Sonia loves this dish although she, too, wishes there were more garlic flavor. She added red pepper flakes to her portion of the bag and says it really helped open up the garlic essences in the sauce and gave the whole thing a little kick.

Texture-wise, the spaghetti-esque pasta pieces are soft and supple. The sauce is pretty smooth with no chunks of anything except some sparsely scattered bits of parsley. I think garlic, onions, scallions, or anything from the allium family could have helped not only in the flavor department but the texture one too. Carrots and bell peppers or any other basic veggies might have worked, like in the recently-reviewed stir fry.

Sonia is definitely a bigger fan than I am, but I'm not hating by any means. It looks like four and a half stars from the beautiful wifey and three and a half stars from me, meaning she'd give it a 9 out of 10 and I'd give it more like a 7 out of 10. 

Should I just do scores that way from now on? Should we each just give an "x out of 10" score and then we just average it for the bottom line? Is that less confusing than two "x out of 5" scores? Let me know in the comments.



Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Trader Joe's Bake At Home Organic Garlic Bread


I really try not to let other people on the internet influence my opinion when writing reviews, but in this instance I couldn't escape all of the negative chatter about this product. Some folks were even circulating rumors that Trader Joe's corporate had directed store managers to take this bread off the shelves at certain(?) stores. Others said crazy things like their family of 15 couldn't even finish the six serving loaf and loads of other such nonsensical hyperbole.


I'm here to tell you it's not that bad. Is it great? No. But it's not terrible in our humble opinions. I mean, it's an odd concept: organic bread vacuum sealed up in plastic and preserved like King Tut, complete with oxygen absorber. There's even garlic spread already spread in between the two halves of the loaf. Then you unseal it, even out the spread between the halves, and toss it into the oven for 15 minutes at 425°F.

The bread kinda smelled like sourdough and plastic even after removing all the packaging. It browned nicely in the oven and came out smelling a bit better than when it went in. The top half of the loaf was inordinately thin and the bottom half was equally thick, so the top wound up being crispy and overly crunchy while the bottom remained doughy and much softer—although honestly, both halves were quite stiff and chewy.

As weird as it looked and smelled, I thought the taste of the garlic spread was okay. The bread itself wasn't bad either, but nor was it anything special. Mind you, this bread had a "best by" date of July 2nd (purchased this past Sunday). That's "fresh-baked" bread that can sit on your kitchen counter for almost three months...at least in theory anyway.

$3.99 for the loaf. Interesting concept. Don't think I'd buy again. Still, it isn't anywhere near as awful as some people are saying it is. Sonia and I polished most of it off in the course of a single day. Easy enough to prepare. It's just a little tougher than I'd have liked, texture-wise, and the flavor was just good but not stellar—far from inedible, but certainly a little weird. Three and a half stars from Sonia. Three stars from me for Trader Joe's Bake At Home Organic Garlic Bread.



Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Trader Joe's Mini Mochi Rice Nuggets


So many Japanese food products can be called "mochi," things can get a bit confusing. The first mochi I learned about were spherical ice cream treats with a soft, stretchy rice shell. Then I discovered sweet, chewy little rice bits called mochi served as toppings at all those frozen yogurt places. Then I became aware of appetizers with mushrooms inside also known as mochi. And we've seen at least two iterations of these crunchy mochi from Trader Joe's, one with a rock band theme and another with a spicy fire motif on the packaging. What do they all have in common? Well, rice, I suppose. Other than that, there's quite a gamut of Asian snacks, desserts, and appetizers all bestowed with the moniker "mochi."


But what's in a name, right? Are these little guys any good? Well, they're very much like, though not identical to, the above-mentioned rock band-themed mochi rice nuggets. The most obvious difference: these ones are smaller. You might have guessed that from the word "mini" in the product title. They are miniature indeed. They are essentially dime-sized, as seen in the photo.

The only other differences are alternate types of oils and lecithins used in the ingredients. Both contain rice and sea salt. They're crispy, crunchy, and very mild in terms of flavor.

I don't particularly care for them as stand-alone snacks, but Sonia likes them that way. They turned out to be great additives for soups and salads. You don't even necessarily need an Asian salad for them to work, either. Their taste is neutral enough that I loved them thrown into my typical spring mix with spinach, chickpeas, mozzarella, and Italian dressing.

Soup-wise, they work with everything from tomato to ramen to vegetable. If you're craving a crunch in your soup, these are basically just rice-based croutons. Other suggestions I've read about but not yet tried include: adding them to eggs, casseroles, or noodles, or even smashing them up and using them as gluten-free breading or crust. All of those sound tasty.

At $2 for the resealable bag, it's hard to complain about the value either. While I can't really feature myself ever craving these crispy crunchy croutons by themselves, I would totally purchase them again for their versatility as an additive to other foods. Sonia likes them both ways. Four stars from her. Three and a half stars from me for Trader Joe's Mini Mochi Rice Nuggets.



Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Trader Joe's Italian Tomato & Red Onion Focaccia


"Focaccia" sounds so much fancier than "pizza," right? Pizza is what kids eat at Chuck E. Cheese. Even "flatbread" sounds kinda lame and boring if you think about it. All bread is pretty much flat. Why would I want to eat bread thats most noteworthy feature is its flatness?


Fortunately, the bread in this product is quite delicious. It's puffy, rich, and doughy with both wheat and rice flours. It's gourmet quality all the way...and it's by far the best part of the product.

The toppings? Well, the quality is there in my humble opinion...but the quantity? That's a problem. We need more of everything. We need a sauce. We need some cheese. We need about ten times the onions and at least double the tomatoes. Sonia agrees. The few toppings that were there were all crammed in the middle, too. The outer portions were completely bare.

We need big slabs of buffalo mozzarella or some pecorino romano here. We need calabrian chili sauce or some top-shelf marinara. I dunno. It just needs...more. I know, I know, I can dress it up myself, but the packaging makes it look like a standalone appetizer if not a standalone meal.

Three bucks for a decent slab of focaccia bread isn't a terrible deal, but we both just expected better from the fixins. Probably wouldn't buy again. Three and a half stars from the beautiful wifey. Three out of five stars from me for Trader Joe's Italian Tomato & Red Onion Focaccia.



Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

Friday, March 1, 2024

Trader Joe's Organic Super Bread


Look! Up on the shelf in the baked goods section! It's a bagel! It's a pastry! It's Superbread!

I don't know if I'd call this bread "super" myself, but it is very earthy and seedy and unique, not to mention certified organic. For the third review in a row, Sonia is way more positive about the product than I am, although in the end, this product will get a thumbs up from me, too.

My in-laws have been sending us this delicious bread from Le Pain Quotidien that has nuts and seeds and dried fruit all through it. It's not dessert bread, but there is a bit of sweetness to it and it's amazing. I thought this bread might be Trader Joe's version of the same bread. And while it is similar in some ways, it's not quite as scrumptious as that LPQ selection.


Despite the "organic dried apple" mentioned in the ingredients, this bread really isn't very sweet at all. Aside from the wheat flour, seeds are far and away the dominant flavor and they add a lot to the texture, too. We've got pumpkin, flax, and sunflower here.

The most unexpected element? Carrots. I mean I guess it wouldn't be "unexpected" if I had actually bothered to read the front of the bag, but I tend to just impulsively yoink stuff off the shelves these days and ask questions later. But yeah, there are thin carrot slivers all through the bread. I wouldn't have expected that to work, but it does. Sonia is absolutely mad about the carrot bits. It'll be hard to go back to dollar store bread after this gourmet stuff.

Organic super bread isn't bad raw, but both Sonia and I prefer it toasted. It's nice with either butter or cream cheese. It's versatile enough to make sandwiches of all kinds. I don't know if I'd reach for this for, like, peanut butter and jelly. But for cold cuts and cheese it works well.

Organic. Kosher. $3.99 for the loaf. Sonia says a re-purchase is inevitable. That's fine, dear. That's fine. Four and a half stars from her. Like I said, I like it and will eat some here and there, but I can't muster quite the same enthusiasm as the beautiful wifey. Three and a half stars from me for Trader Joe's Organic Super Bread.



Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Trader Joe's Organic Red Lentil Sedanini


One comment/question/criticism about this blog that we've seen a few times throughout the years is: Why do you spend so much time on products that are somewhat lackluster or mediocre? Just come out and tell us what's GOOD at Trader Joe's. It is the name of the blog, after all.

It's a fair point to make. And to the folks that ask it, I generally just refer them to the "Pantheon" and "really darn good" links in the right side bar of the blog. Those are the links that answer the question: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?" at least in our humble opinions. And the "blahhh" and "not so great" links answer another frequently asked question: "What's NOT Good at Trader Joe's?" Again, in our minds, anyway. Your mileage may vary.


There are now over TWO THOUSAND reviews posted on this blog, many of which cover more than just a single TJ's product, so logically a lot of those items are going to fall somewhere in the middle of the pack. It's just the nature of the beast. We try to cover products objectively and accurately enough so that even if we don't love something our readers might get a hunch if they would like it, or vice versa.

All that to say that this is yet another fine product and should be a hit with folks who do the organic thing or the gluten free thing, but it's pretty much middle-of-the-road pasta in other respects. Three bucks gets you six servings of red lentil pasta imported from Italy. It's easy to make and goes fairly well with basic marinara sauce and parmesan cheese. I'm sure you could serve this sedanini any way you'd serve regular pasta.

It tastes very similar to Trader Joe's Risoni, also made with red lentils. It's an earthy, legumey flavor. Texture-wise, it's not quite a dead ringer for wheat-based pasta, but it's close. It might be a little firmer and less stretchy, if that makes sense.

Probably wouldn't buy again unless we were entertaining guests with dietary restrictions, but then again, it might be a nice break from regular glutenful pasta once in a blue moon. Three and a half stars a piece from Sonia and me for Trader Joe's Organic Red Lentil Sedanini.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Trader Joe's Organic Italian Artisan Gigli Pasta


When I see the word "Gigli," all I can think of is that 2003 masterpiece starring Ben Affleck and J. Lo. Man, that was the golden age of cinema, I tell ya. They don't make rom-coms like that anymore.

Likewise, this pasta is similarly memorable. They're shaped like little flowers. I guess "gigli" is the Italian word for "lilies." How cute. They're pretty and dainty, but there's enough dough there that you've got something to sink your teeth into. It's a fun yet practical shape for pasta. Also known as "campanelle," the shape resembles bells as well as horns or trumpets, or "trompetti."


The product is organic and kosher, but it won't break the bank at about three bucks for nine servings. We've had it tossed with extra virgin olive oil, parmesan cheese, and Italian Style Sprinkle. We've tried it with marinara sauce and ground beef. We made some pasta salad with veggies and Italian dressing. And it's absolutely delightful with the Limone Alfredo Sauce.


The "best by" date on this bag was marked as September of 2026. That's quite a long shelf life. We'll be keeping some in the back of the pantry for sure. Boil for 5 to 7 minutes and you've got the base for a tasty meal. Imported from Italy.

Three and a half stars from me, four stars from the beautiful wifey for Trader Joe's Organic Italian Artisan Gigli Pasta.



Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Trader Joe's Artichoke Bread Pudding


Hot take: Trader Joe's Artichoke Bread Pudding has both the taste and texture that I wanted Trader Joe's Artichoke Timbales to have, but it's still not something I'd reach for regularly simply because I don't crave any kind of vegetable bread pudding very often.

It's a heavy comfort food full of bread and cheese, and it also flaunts the earthy, nutty, bittersweet taste of artichokes. It's kind of a weird concept to me, but it works. It's not desserty at all. It's got more of an appetizer vibe.


There's a surprising amount of cheese in each bite. When you take a forkful of the bread pudding, strings of yummy cheddar cheese appear between the bread crumbs and artichoke chunks. The breading has a faint sourdough flavor, but it's overshadowed by the cheese, spices, and veggies. It's also buttery and rich with notes of onion, garlic, and black pepper in the background.

This is another one that took a significantly longer time in the oven than the instructions indicated. After 20 minutes at 350° the bread pudding was still frozen in the middle. All told, I think it stayed on the center rack for 35 minutes before it was completely heated through.


$4.99 for the 3.5 serving loaf. Decent product, but again, I'm not really a vegetable bread pudding kinda guy. If I had guests that were mad about artichoke, I might repurchase just to share it with them. Otherwise, this is probably a thing that was neat to try just once. Three and a half stars from me. Four stars from the beautiful wifey for Trader Joe's Artichoke Bread Pudding.



Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Trader Joe's Italian Artisan Heart Shaped Pasta


Well wouldn't you know it? Trader Joe's Heart Shaped Pasta is back just in time for V.D. season! What's V.D. season, you ask? Valentine's Day, of course. What were you thinking? Get your mind out of the gutter.

Anyhoo, it's real Italian artisan pasta that's shaped like little hearts. Apparently, it's fairly difficult to find heart-shaped pasta for under three bucks..? I don't know, personally. It's not like I was seeking it out. It was just there on the shelf at Trader Joe's screaming, "Review me! Review me!" So here we are...


I mean, the pasta is decent. If boiled correctly, it comes out tender but firm, you know—al dente if you wanna get all authentically Italian and stuff. Of course, you'll need some sauce and maybe some grated parmesan to make it a meal. If you want to go the whole nine yards, you might throw in some meatballs or garlic bread and maybe a nice bottle of cabernet. Whatever floats your boat. I'm sure this isn't the first time you've made pasta for dinner.

I don't find this product to be head and shoulders better than any other ordinary pasta. I mean, it's pretty normal in the flavor department if you ask me. The colors are kind of pinkish and off-white. They're not particularly vivid, especially after cooking them. But if we wanted neon pink and red food, we'd be shopping somewhere other than Trader Joe's and buying stuff with chemical dyes, right? This stuff is colored with tomato and beet powder.


It's cute I guess. Pick up a pack, gentlemen, if you want to keep your ladies happy for the Hallmark holiday. Or if you're single, make some for yourself. Your tears of loneliness can salt the boiling water.

$2.49 for a pound of V.D. pasta. Product of Italy. Three and a half stars a piece from Sonia and me for Trader Joe's Italian Artisan Heart Shaped Pasta.



Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Trader Joe's Baked Pizza Flavored Pillow Crisps


These are just crispy little bite-sized snacks...with absolutely nothing inside. I mean, I wasn't expecting a filling per se. I just thought there'd be more to them. The outer shells are super duper thin and crispy, and inside there's nothing but air. They're totally hollow.

Despite the crispness and crunchiness, both Sonia and I thought the product tasted and felt stale. Something about the durum wheat felt stiff in an off-putting way—almost like plastic—and the little pillows tended to shatter in such a way that sharp, angular pieces wanted to break off and stab the inside of our mouths and lips.


I was okay with the flavor, although the pizza coating could have been a lot stronger. Sonia felt they were bland overall, lacking the taste of Italian spices or cheese. We both agree there's very little that justifies putting the word "pizza" on the label.

In summary, Trader Joe's Baked Pizza Flavored Pillow Crisps are an odd whisper of tomato powder and salt on a hollow tube of stiff semolina and most definitely will not be on our list of repeat purchases. Trader Giotto would never have let this happen. $1.99 for the bag. Product of Italy. Two stars from Sonia. Two and a half stars from me.

Bottom line: 4.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Trader Joe's Vanilla Overnight Oats and Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Overnight Oats


Trader Joe's Apple Overnight OatsBottom line: 8 out of 10.

Trader Joe's Vanilla Overnight Oats: Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Overnight Oats: Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Trader Joe's Almond Butter Chia Overnight Oats: Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

Monday, January 8, 2024

Trader Joe's No Boil Noodles


Ah, here we have deliciously convenient No Boil Noodles. Let's make some for lunch today, shall we? I bet they're crazy easy to prepare. That's nice to not have to boil them. Let's see the heating instructions. <flips package>​ First, "Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil." Wait. What? <Rubs eyes> "Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Cook 5 minutes. Drain and serve." <flips package again> Reads product name: "Trader Joe's No Boil Noodles." <shakes head> For being "no boil" noodles, there's more boiling involved than I would have assumed.

Okay, okay. To be fair, that's only one of the recommended heating methods. The other simply involves stir frying the noodles with whatever sauce you want and does not involve boiling. But still...


No heating method seemed to give these noodles the perfect texture. They weren't hard per se, but they never got truly soft either. Cheap ramen has a better mouthfeel than these guys.

The noodles come in super-tangled nests. Only after heating them for a good long time do they start to unravel. Like most noodles, these are quite boring by themselves and are completely dependent upon sauces and additives to make them flavorful. We added onions, peppers, broccoli, and teriyaki sauce for a makeshift stir fry and found it palatable enough.

Sonia is pretty picky about her noodles and has tried many, many Asian noodle-based dishes. She's not exactly a connoisseur, but she knows what she likes and doesn't like. She's not hating on this particular product, but she definitely likes the Momofuku style squiggly noodles better than these.

$2.49 for 8.8 oz isn't a bad price. Product of Italy. We polished off the bag in short order but wouldn't buy these again. There are plenty of other cheap noodles out there that we like better than Trader Joe's No Boil Noodles. Three stars a piece from Sonia and me.

Bottom line: 6 out of 10.

Monday, January 1, 2024

Trader Joe's Apple Overnight Oats


Well, 2023 was an interesting year. There's no doubt 2024 will be even more so. I've mused about New Year's resolutions before on this blog, so there's no need to wax philosophical today. Suffice it to say that if I were to make any intentional changes in my life, eating better and being less fat healthier is always somewhere on the list.

I like oat-based cereal, oatmeal, and overnight oats. Sonia has some oaty stuff on hand more often than not, so I'm not sure why I don't eat it more frequently. It's filling, nutritious, and generally not very expensive. This product is no exception to those rules.


Plus, this oat and almond-based breakfast tastes surprisingly good. Overall, it's nutty and hearty, and there are plenty of sweet date and apple pieces throughout. Honestly, I didn't notice the dates until I looked at the ingredients. They just blended in with the slightly more familiar taste of apple, and there's plenty cinnamon flavor too—for a distinctly apple cinnamon vibe.

There's a good bit of moisture all through the oats. It's almond milk, mostly...er, sorry—it's almond beverage. Is there a copyright on "almond milk"? Meh. Who cares? Anyway, the mixture is nice and wet, but it's still quite thick. I was pleasantly surprised at how dense and rich the mixture was. It's not watered down at all. Sonia actually wanted the overnight oats to be thinner, with more liquid. Interesting. That's the only point we disagree on.


We both like the product quite a bit and are eager to try other flavors. $1.99 for the 5.5 oz cup. Gluten free. Kosher. Would buy again. Four stars a piece from Sonia and me for Trader Joe's Apple Overnight Oats.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Trader Joe's Raisin Walnut Apple Bars


Looks just like some kinda fancy raisin bread broken up into mini-loaves for easy consumption, but I can't tell for sure. Let's see the write-up on the packaging. I'm sure it will tell us what the gimmick is here and how best to heat these little morsels. But...um...nope. No write up.

Traderjoes.com to the rescue. Ah, these are protein bars? I never would have guessed that in a million years. And they contain "high gluten enriched flour." Does that mean they add extra gluten? I guess whatever they remove from the gluten free products has to wind up somewhere, right? What a clever use for repurposed gluten.


Anyway. The bars. How are they? They're like really dense, really doughy raisin bread but with dried apple bits and walnuts, too. Kinda sweet. Kinda soft. Kinda chewy. They're much more filling than just a typical slice of cinnamon toast or other specialty breakfast bread. Not bad, not bad.

But they're so much better toasted. A little butter or cream cheese here goes a long way here since there's already a natural richness to the product. Filling, sweet, nutty, and fruity, I don't even know if these are supposed to be holiday or not, but I think something like this would do well year-round.


About 6 bucks for 8 bars. Sonia likes them a lot. Would buy again. Four stars a piece from the wifey and me for Trader Joe's Raisin Walnut Apple Bars.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Trader Joe's Cheddar Cheese Sticks


"Cheese sticks." Hope nobody got a pay raise or promotion for coming up with that creative product title. Why not cheese swords or cheesy rods or cheese branches or cheesy trees? Oh wait. They already did that one. The packaging is lackluster at best, and these crispy little do-dads don't even have a listing on traderjoes.com as far as I could tell. Oh well.


Thanksgiving week tends to be the slowest time of year in terms of blog traffic, so I often throw out kind of oddball generic reviews of boring-ish products during that time because, hey, what have I got to lose?

What's working here: the texture is nice and crispy, crunchy, but not overly hard. The sticks are brittle but even my sensitive teeth and gums aren't irritated even after gnawing on a few of these sourdough sticks. They pair great with almost any kind of soup, especially tomato-based ones, and who needs croutons for a salad when you have these? The sourdough flavor is pleasant, as well, but not overpowering. 

What's not working here: there's definitely some cheese flavor, but I think they could have packed them with a bit more. I guess too much cheese would reduce the shelf life of the product and make it more prone to spoilage, but doesn't all that salt help with preservation?

$2.99 for approximately a dozen cheese sticks. I guess we'd buy this item again just to have it in the back of the pantry to serve with tomato soup in lieu of grilled cheese or something more elaborate. Three and a half stars a piece from Sonia and me for Trader Joe's Cheddar Cheese Sticks.



Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Monday, November 6, 2023

Trader Joe's Onion Confit Swirls


I guess if I were a real foodie, I'd know what the word "confit" meant without having to look it up. I've heard the phrase "duck confit," but that's about the only context in which I've ever actually noticed the word before. And to be honest, I have no idea what duck confit is.


I'm quite familiar with and fond of onions, however, so I thought I'd give this product a whirl. I looked at the packaging and saw a sort of dark brown swirl on these crackers. My brain immediately made the connection to caramelized onions since that's the first place my mind goes when I think of onions in a dark brown format.

And...yeah...no. That's not what these are. Apparently confit is anything cooked for a very long time at a low-ish temperature in grease or oil. Even if I had been aware of the meaning of the word "confit," I still don't think I would have imagined the taste of these swirls even semi-accurately. I would have imagined something, you know, greasy and oniony.

These crackers are dry as can be, if but maybe a tad oily...and they don't really taste like onions, sadly. Onion powder is the third ingredient after wheat flour and butter, and I guess there's a whisper of oniony essence, but not much more. I thought they'd be similar to those crispy onion chips, which were freaking amazing, but with maybe a bit more breadiness to them.

I don't know how I'd eat these things other than tossing them into savory soup of some kind. Honestly, I don't know if I'd ever reach for these puppies over classic croutons or even saltine crackers. They just need more onion flavor to be worth it. And they're extremely tiny. I wouldn't have minded if they were, you know, bite-sized...instead of half-bite-sized.

$2.49 for the 2.5 serving box. We will polish off the box within the week with the help of some tasty bisque or stew, but we probably would not buy again. Three and a half stars from Sonia. Three from me for Trader Joe's Onion Confit Swirls.



Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

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