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Showing posts with label kosher. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kosher. Show all posts

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 28, 2024

Trader Joe's Chocolatey Drizzled Strawberry Kettle Popcorn


If you're like me, you frequently wake up in the morning contemplating how our wonderful world is so nearly perfect in every way, what could possibly make it better? Your thoughts then inexorably drift in the direction of fruit-flavored popcorn. "If only I could wake up to a handful of mango flavored popcorn, life would be perfect."

Then in June of 2016, the dream became reality with Trader Joe's Mango Coconut Caramel Corn. But alas, not only did that admittedly very tasty popcorn flavor not make my life splendid and serene like I had hoped, it was discontinued shortly after the advent of Mango Mania. "Hmm, that wasn't it. Maybe strawberry popcorn will bring completion to my life and make this world 100% flawless," I've mused daily for the last eight years. And now, finally, here we are.


In case you can't tell, I'm being facetious. And I honestly had low expectations for this chocolate strawberry kettle corn. But...I mean, it's strawberry flavored popcorn...so of course I had to buy a bag and review it.

First thoughts: this might have worked if there were way more freeze dried strawberries in the mix. You can see in the picture that most of the popcorn pieces don't have any strawberry bits fused onto them. There's chocolate drizzle on every piece...but I didn't buy this snack for chocolate drizzle. They put that stuff on everything. The only element that makes this product truly unique is real strawberry and there simply isn't enough of it.

The packaging is odd-looking and lame. Even the quality of the popcorn is a bit sub-par, which is not the norm from Trader Joe's. I bit down on a widow or two—you know, like unpopped kernels. I literally don't think that's ever happened before with these fancy schmancy caramel corn flavors from TJ's.

Sonia? She likes it. She also thinks the strawberry flavor could be stronger, but she likes that the chocolate isn't too sweet nor too hard. She thinks there's enough strawberry taste to separate this product from the pack of run-of-the-mill caramel corn. I disagree.

TL;DR — Thumbs down from me, thumbs up from Sonia, but we both agree it needs more strawberries. The beautiful wifey will easily finish the bag over the next week or so. $3.49 for the 5 oz bag. I'll throw out 2.5 stars again and Sonia's down for 4 on Trader Joe's Chocolatey Drizzled Strawberry Kettle Popcorn.



Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Trader Joe's Calamansi & Mango Sorbet


I’m on the record more than once stating that I like stuff in my frozen desserts—you know, mix-ins and chunks of cookie dough or something to bite down on. If I were to make a complaint about this sorbet, it would have to be that: the absence of fruit pieces…because there’s absolutely nothing else to complain about.

This might be the best sorbet I’ve ever tasted. The front of the pint describes the product as “tropical, citrusy, sweet, & refreshing” and I wouldn’t add or subtract anything from those adjectives. It’s just such a bright, clean flavor, I can’t imagine a citrus dessert tasting any better.


Texture-wise, the word “velvet” comes to mind. It’s a cold velvet, for sure, but very velvety nevertheless. It’s superbly smooth and light. I can’t get over how big the taste is without any kind of cloying syrupy feel. It literally and figuratively melts in your mouth.

This is only the second calamansi product I’ve ever had. The first was a citrus beverage from Trader Joe’s called Calamansi Cooler. It just works better with mango. I don’t know why. I guess I like the taste of mango. But this is somehow so much better than just mango.


$3.79 well spent. Sonia loves the product, too, but maybe not quite as much as I do. Will repurchase in the summertime for the refreshment factor. I could probably eat the whole pint in one sitting after mowing the lawn on a hot day. Vegan. Kosher. Five stars from me, four and a half from the beautiful wifey for Trader Joe’s Calamansi & Mango Sorbet.



Bottom line: 9.5 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.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Trader Joe's Chocolate Vanilla Creme Joe-Joe's


Despite the fact that we've reviewed 17 types of Trader Joe's Joe-Joe's sandwich cookies on this blog going back almost 14 years as well as numerous derivative Joe-Joe's products like ice cream, cereal, and beverages, we've never ever looked at the original flavor Joe-Joe's sandwich cookies. And since the product got a fancy-schmancy repackaging and reboot last year, I guess it's high time we took a looksee.

So...it goes without saying that these are Trader Joe's take on Oreo cookies. Plenty of other stores and brands have done the same thing: Hydrox comes to mind. Who would want to eat something called "Hydrox"? It sounds like a cookie made of hydrogen peroxide or something like that. "Oreo" sounds so much more appealing for some reason. (edit: Oreo is actually an imitation of Hydrox! Who knew?)


Joe-Joe's have forever flaunted a toucan mascot, which I always found odd. Makes me think of Froot Loops. I mean, sure, we've had plenty of fruity Joe-Joe's throughout the years. I'm thinking mango, strawberry lemonade, and ube for starters. But the originals were always chocolate cookies with a vanilla cream center...just like Oreos.

How similar are Joe-Joe's and their name-brand predecessors? Let's find out. Both products start out with unbleached enriched flour and a host of B vitamins. The ingredients then move on to "sugar" in the case of Oreos and "powdered sugar" made of cane sugar and cornstarch in the case of Joe-Joe's. Then we've got a couple types of oil and cocoa in both products. The only significant place where Joe-Joe's deviate from Oreos is when the classic Nabisco product lists "high fructose corn syrup," Trader Joe's cookies list "invert sugar." There's baking soda in both products. Trader Joe's uses sea salt where Oreos simply use regular salt. And the Joe's add a bit of "vanilla bean specks" while Oreos contain no such additive.


It's safe to say that if you like Oreo cookies, you'll like Joe-Joe's, too. Oreos will generally run you about $4 for a 13.3 oz package while Joe-Joe's are a buck cheaper at $3 for 13.4 oz. In my youth, I'd eat entire boxes of name brand sandwich cookies with reckless abandon. I liked putting three or four in a glass of milk and letting them get saturated before scooping them up with a spoon. The same goes for these Joe-Joe's.

Brand name or not, sandwich cookies just aren't my thing anymore. But considering the price and quality, it's hard to snub a decent product. These cookies get the same score we would give to Nabisco Oreo Cookies: 7.5 out of 10 stars. Three and a half stars from me, four stars from Sonia for Trader Joe's Chocolate Vanilla Creme Joe-Joe's.



Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Trader Joe's Sri Lankan Organic Mango Chutney


So this totally wasn't what I was expecting. But I'm not going to let my preconceived notions ruin my experience with this product, because it's a unique and delicious condiment in its own right. Was I expecting Indian-style chutney while this specimen is uniquely Sri Lankan? Possibly.

I fell in love with chutney many years ago. There was a place close to my apartment that had the best chicken tikka, and I'd always get naan and samosas on the side and they came with two little dishes of red and green chutney. Before I'd even start on the entree, I'd finish both types of chutney completely. I'd later find out the green one was mint chutney and the red one was tamarind chutney, neither of which would have appealed to me if I'd only heard the names of the sauces. Both were heavy on sweet coconut flavor and were very watery and thin—no bits of fruit or chunks of anything.


This product is more like a marmalade in terms of look and texture. It's quite thick. And there are indeed mango bits floating throughout the little jar. It's sweet like the aforementioned chutneys, but this one is more fruit forward and has a lot less coconut taste, despite the fact that it does contain "organic coconut sap vinegar."

There's an unexpected though not entirely unwelcome spice blend here, as well. In addition to chili powder, which gives the product a modest kick, we're also looking at cinnamon, cardamom, clove, and nutmeg. They're oddly strong, too. If it were me, I would have dialed the spices back just a tad and let the fruit flavors do the talking, but it makes for a very exotic taste combo.


This chutney went well with pan-fried chicken and rice. It complements naan bread, samosas, and charcuterie type foods. I'm sure you could use it with sandwiches, wraps, or as a glaze for meat or white fish.

Sonia says she's had chutney very similar to this one at other Indian restaurants. She's a fan. $2.99 for the 8.5 oz jar. Product of Sri Lanka. Organic. Kosher. Would buy again. Four stars a piece from Sonia and me for Trader Joe's Sri Lankan Mango Chutney.



Bottom line: 8 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.

Monday, February 5, 2024

Trader Joe's Dried Tart Montmorency Cherries


I think this is the first time I've ever heard of a "montmorency" cherry. Apparently they're a fairly common variety of sweet-tart cherry widely available throughout the US and other countries. Who knew?

This dried fruit is very flavorful. Trader Joe's Montmorency Cherries are not unlike Craisins® or dried cranberries in terms of size, color, and texture. Flavor-wise, they're similar, too, but I think these are slightly sweeter and more robust.


The bag says you can use them in muffins, salads, and trail mixes, or as a component in a meat glaze. We mostly just ate them straight out of the bag. Balsamic glaze, Brussels sprouts, walnuts, red onions and these cherries together was an oddly good combo.

We also got in the habit of dropping a few of them into different beverages. We found they gave whatever we were drinking a little sweet-tart essence and the cherries, likewise, would absorb a bit of the flavor of the drink. Think: orange juice with a twist of sour cherry and then citrus flavored dried cherries at the bottom of the glass. Tasty.


They were really handy to snack on here and there for a between meal pick-me-up, and they come in a resealable bag. One drawback: they're slightly oily and you need a wet nap after eating a bunch of them.

$4.99 for the 8 oz bag, which lasted us a good long time. Kosher. Would buy again. Four stars from me, four and a half stars from Sonia for Trader Joe's Dried Pitted Tart Montmorency Cherries.



Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Friday, January 19, 2024

Trader Joe's Double Chocolate Croissants


They need to put a huge disclaimer on the front of this package that says THESE TAKE TEN HOURS TO PREPARE. Culinary dummies like me don't take things like proofing into account, generally. Yes, we've reviewed similar products before that required proofing, but I didn't remember it took so much time. Traderjoes.com says you need to proof them "like a bakery would." Newsflash, TJ's: I don't run a bakery. I can barely toast a slice of bread correctly.


Also, our house is cold, arctic vortex and all. The kitchen is definitely not in the typical range of what might be considered "room temperature." Fortunately, I found a great reddit thread with alternative ideas for proofing. There was still some ambient heat lingering in the oven from when I heated our Chicken Shawarma Bowl, so I started the proofing process in the semi-warm oven. I waited about four hours and no visible proofing had occurred. Some folks on the thread said that if the product has been in your freezer for a significant amount of time, they won't proof correctly, but fortunately they also said the product is still delicious even if it hasn't risen like it's supposed to.


And you know what? They were absolutely right. These pastries might not have been as puffy as they were intended to be, but they sure did taste good. There's a richness to the bread that's absolutely marvelous, just like Trader Joe's other frozen croissants. The chocolate flavor is velvety and indulgent, sweet but not overly so, and the whole conglomeration is flaky and buttery as can be.

$5.49 for four bakery-quality croissants. Kosher. Would buy again in warmer weather just to try them when proofed correctly. Four and a half stars a piece from Sonia and me for Trader Joe's Double Chocolate Croissants.



Bottom line: 9 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 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.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Trader Joe's Hot Cocoa Cream Cheese Spread


Trader Joe's has gone and made hot cocoa flavored cream cheese. It's everything you'd expect it to be...I mean, unless you were expecting it to actually be hot. Of course it's not hot when you pull it out of the fridge. That would be silly to think that. I mean, I suppose you could heat it up and melt it and find some uses for it that way, but now we're getting off track...


This cream cheese looks, smells, and tastes like actual hot cocoa. It's a milky light brown color, and it spreads like any other cream cheese. It's super smooth. No flecks of powder or chunks of marshmallow or anything like that—although Trader Joe's Hot Cocoa Cream Cheese with Marshmallows doesn't sound bad to me at all.


As soon as you open the tub, the smell of hot cocoa hits your nose. And it tastes like hot cocoa, too—like a medium-sweet milk chocolate made with real cow's milk, cocoa, and sugar. It goes great on bagels and anywhere else you'd use regular cream cheese. Sonia is fond of sprinkling Trader Joe's Cocoa Cinnamon Sugar Blend on top of this stuff for an extra blast of sweetness and maybe a bit of Mexican Hot Chocolate flair from the cinnamon.

$2.79 for the tub. Would buy again. Four stars a piece from the beautiful wifey and me for Trader Joe's Hot Cocoa Cream Cheese Spread.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Trader Joe's Iced Gingerbread Squares


Few foods are as overtly Christmassy as gingerbread. Apple pie is jovial and jubilant and all, but it's just as appropriate on the Fourth of July as it is during the holiday season. Pumpkin stuff is fair game around Yuletide, but those goodies are also ubiquitous in October and November. I guess peppermint and egg nog are flavors you can't separate from late December, but as far as actual food items go, gingerbread is about as inextricably woven into the fabric of Noël as anything I can think of...and that's one of the reasons we have to hold it to a high standard.


These iced gingerbread squares aren't exactly a disappointment, but I certainly wouldn't put them at the top of my Trader Joe's holiday wish list. When it comes to appearance and texture, these morsels are about as far removed from homemade as you can get. They look and feel fake, overly processed. The perfectly squared off gingerbread pieces feel almost rubbery to the touch while the icing looks and feels like hard plastic.

The mouthfeel is fine, however. Once you start chewing the product, the gingerbread is nice and soft, the icing may be a little stiff but not hard. Still, there's the sense that these sugary slabs were made by machines rather than human hands.

There's a molasses and brown sugar sweetness to the taste, and the spices are blended fairly well. They're not overdone or harsh in any way. If anything, once you factor in the layer of icing, the squares may teeter on the verge of being too sweet.

The flavor, while pleasant, isn't particularly memorable. Of all the goodies we've sampled this year, this is about the only one that didn't disappear in short order after opening the package. Even the Holiday Vegetable Hash, after discovering a few ways to prepare it that we really enjoyed, is long gone from our fridge. Sonia and I aren't exactly fighting one another for the remaining gingerbread squares.

While it's not a terrible product by any means, this one just isn't among our favorites. About five bucks for six bars. Probably wouldn't buy again. Three out of five stars a piece from Sonia and me for Trader Joe's Iced Gingerbread Squares.

Bottom line: 6 out of 10.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Trader Joe's French Apple Tart and Trader Joe's Teeny Tiny Apple Pies


On our last Trader Joe's run, we might have overbought a little, and I don't think there's any way to review all of these goodies before Christmas. So in the interest of consolidating our blog posts, this edition will serve to compare and contrast two popular apple pie products available this holiday season: Trader Joe's French Apple Tart and Trader Joe's Teeny Tiny Apple Pies.


The first and most obvious difference between the two products is the presence of enormous apple slices on the French tart. They're both Granny Smith and Northern Spy varieties. Some of you might recall the legendary Rustic Apple Tarte employed the use of Northern Spies. It's a lightly sweet and juicy species, while Granny Smith is tart and crisp. The teeny tiny pies are filled with a more traditional apple pie filling, with very small minced pieces of fruit—again using Northern Spy apples from Canada.


Flavor-wise, the French pie not only flaunts some sour apple pieces, but it uses apricot bits as well, lending it even more sweet-tart tang. The teeny tiny iteration boasts more of a cinnamon and brown sugar flavor and a much sweeter filling blend.

As far as crust goes, the teeny tiny apple pies have a traditional apple pie crust on the sides and bottom with an apple crumble-style coating on top. The tart is much less reliant on breading with nothing but a modest layer of shortbread underneath the layers of apple and apricot. There was an odd grittiness to the shortbread on the French apple tart that was just a tad off-putting.


Value-wise, we're looking at four servings in each of the products, though Sonia and I both agree you could easily stretch the French apple tart to eight servings. However, at $7.99, it's also pricier. The teeny tiny fellows will run you five bucks for the quartet of mini pies.

In the end, the French apple tart tastes more natural, and it'll serve a greater number of people, at least potentially. The teeny tiny apple pies have a very safe, classic apple pie flavor with cinnamon and brown sugar, they offer three different heating options right on the box (while the French tart includes none). The grainy texture in the French tart's shortbread bothered me a little more than Sonia, but she did notice it. Here are our final scores:


Trader Joe's French Apple Tart            Trader Joe's Teeny Tiny Apple Pies
Nathan: 3.5 stars                                  Nathan: 4 stars
Sonia: 4.5 stars                                    Sonia: 4 stars
Bottom line: 8 out of 10.                    Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

And if you're still on the fence about which purchase to make and you don't want to try one of each, we offer this last bit of guidance: if you're a family of four or less, go with the teeny tiny pies. If you're a family of five or more, go with the French tart.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Trader Joe's Gingerbread Ice Cream


I'm definitely an ice cream-all-year-round kinda guy. Most of my life, I've lived in places with four seasons. Ice cream in December might make sense to Southern Californians, but it might not be the norm for folks in the Mid-Atlantic or Upper Midwest. 

Actually, I take that back. In my hometown in central Pennsylvania, there'd be folks in line for ice cream at The Igloo all throughout the winter months. And the Berkey Creamery at Penn State never closed even in the freezing cold. I guess it's just part of the culture when you live in places surrounded by dairy farms.


At any rate, we never shy away from newfangled ice cream from Trader Joe's even if it's cold outside, so let's dig in. The actual ice cream here is gingerbread flavored. There are also nice big pieces of ginger cookies and a molasses-esque "gingerbread swirl." I think a vanilla base would have worked a little better here than the spicy brown base they used. A bit more creamy and sweet would have helped put the ginger spices in check, in the manner of Cookie Butter Ice Cream.

Still, this is a decent ice cream flavor, particularly if you love gingerrific ginger snaps. Every few bites or so, we got a piece of powerful, sinus-clearing raw ginger. I didn't really mind it since it wasn't in every bite. There were enough sweet and desserty elements that the raw ginger bits helped to balance them out, and they blended well with the molasses, cinnamon, and nutmeg flavors.


$3.79 for the pint. In summary, this ice cream is a festive, high quality, specialty dessert. It'll hit the spot for folks that absolutely love ginger. For other folks like Sonia and me, it was fun to try just once, but we'll return to vanilla-based ice creams that balance out the ginger spices a little better in the future. Three and a half stars a piece from the beautiful wifey and me for Trader Joe's Gingerbread Ice Cream.



Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Friday, November 3, 2023

Trader Joe's Non-Dairy Pumpkin Oat Beverage


You all know me. I'm a trooper. I'll try just about anything once. There are pumpkin products I love and pumpkin products I dislike, and everything in between. But this right here is pretty gross. I imagine it's about as close as I'll ever get to drinking a pumpkin spice candle.

I mean, we don't even have pumpkin spice cow's milk. Sure, I've had some killer pumpkin pie milkshakes in my day. And there are pumpkin coffee beverages galore, some of which are okay and some of which are not. But there's not really just plain pumpkin milk. So...just maybe the world doesn't need a dairy-free version of pumpkin milk..?


We tried the pumpkin almond beverage a few years back, and it wasn't good. It might have passed as a coffee creamer, but even that was pushing it. This stuff is an even paler shade of unnatural orange—not unlike orange cream milk or an orange creamsicle milkshake. Oh how I wish to God it tasted like an orange creamsicle.

It tastes like the dirty dishwater used to clean out several bowls of plain oatmeal...mixed with potpourri and a dash of pureed squash. The aftertaste is appalling. I just barely managed to down a couple swigs of it for this review. Never again.

Sonia, predictably, isn't nearly as disgusted as I am, although even she says she can't really taste pumpkin spices exactly. She thinks it needs more cinnamon. Yes. Okay. I'll agree with that. It definitely doesn't taste like cinnamon, and the taste of cinnamon is much less vile than the taste of this beverage, ergo, it could use some cinnamon I guess.

Sonia will finish the carton using it as a coffee creamer or to make her own potpourri lattes. $2.99 for the candle. Three out of five stars from the beautiful wifey. One star from me for Trader Joe's Non-Dairy Pumpkin Oat Beverage.



Bottom line: 4 out of 10.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Trader Joe's Freeze Dried Fig Slices


A good freeze-dryer will run you in the ballpark of $2.5K. It wouldn't be a bad investment, honestly. I'd love to be able to make snack packs and meals that last a couple decades to throw in the fallout bunker (AKA the basement). Or I'd put together freeze-dried hiking packs that are super lightweight and compact. Fun fact: freeze-dried food weighs about 90% less than fully hydrated food.


But still, freeze-dryers are at least double or triple the size of a modern microwave. And preparing the food and storing it properly can be a lot of work. Two and a half grand isn't exactly cheap, either. So until we decide to shell out the big bucks, at least there's stuff like Trader Joe's Freeze Dried Fig Slices.

They're like circular pieces of styrofoam that look and taste like real figs...because they are real figs. They're crunchy and sweet, and they make you feel like an astronaut.

"Houston to Eagle. Have you touched down on the moon yet? Eagle, come in. I repeat, Eagle, come in. This is Houston requesting response. Over."

"Sorry, Houston, I couldn't hear you over the sound of these figs crunching. I can't stop eating them. They're so good. Over."

Sonia likes them even more than I do. Would buy again. $3.69 for the resealable single serving bag. Unsweetened. Unsulfured. Kosher. Just one ingredient. 

Four stars from me. Four and a half stars from the beautiful wifey for Trader Joe's Freeze Dried Figs.



Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

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