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Showing posts with label really darn good. Show all posts
Showing posts with label really darn good. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Trader Joe's Dill Pickle Mini Falafel


In case you're new here, I should mention that I really love chickpeas and chickpea derivative products like hummus and falafel. Neither Sonia nor I are vegan or vegetarian, but we both enjoy Mediterranean dishes and we've reviewed numerous other falafel products from Trader Joe's right here on this very blog. See: Trader Joe's Heat & Eat Falafel, Trader Joe's Falafel Chips, and Trader Joe's Falafel Mix. And we've reviewed a bunch of pickle-flavored stuff, too.


Evidently, this pickle falafel has been around for at least two years. Not sure how it evaded my sights all this time, but we're finally getting around to buying and trying it now. Better late than never, I always say.

Only conventional oven and microwave heating instructions are listed on the bag, but a quick internet search revealed that 390° for 7 minutes in an air fryer works just fine too. The product smells faintly of dill pickle and other falafel spices like garlic and onion. They're called "mini falafel" because they're about half the size of your typical falafel ball. They're still a bit too big to be considered "bite-sized" but they're headed in that direction.

The pickle taste is faint but there. It compliments the flavor of the garbanzo bean base. Anything you'd pair with traditional falafel would work with this product—tzatziki, hummus, tabouli, tahini, or zhoug. You could serve it with rice, pita, or a salad. Or you could do like we did and make falafel soft tacos with tzatziki, shredded cheese, and arugula in a flour tortilla. Yum.

They're crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and quite dense. They're not too dry, not too oily, and plenty versatile.

They contain canola oil, as many TJ's products do, which we're not thrilled about, but all things considered they're tasty and convenient and we'll each throw out a score of 8/10. $4.29 for the 12 ounce bag, found in the frozen section. Vegan. We would buy Trader Joe's Dill Pickle Mini Falafel again.



Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Friday, July 12, 2024

Trader Giotto's Pizza Margherita


Now here's a product that has really stood the test of time. I can't tell you exactly when it debuted, but I can tell you that Sonia has been purchasing Trader Giotto's Pizza Margherita since before we met circa 2005, so we're probably talking 20+ years on TJ's shelves. That's noteworthy. I've only had it one other time prior to this review, years ago, and it's finally time to give this bad boy its well-deserved day in the sun.

I mean it's nothing fancy. I think its simplicity is its strength. We're talking nothing more than dough, sauce, and cheese—but it's high-quality dough, sauce, and cheese. Just seven minutes at 425°F and you're ready to chow down.


The crust comes out crispy and slightly chewy. It's a relatively thin crust, which Sonia loves and I'm okay with when the occasion calls for it. If it's cold out and I'm absolutely starving, nothing but a thick, oily deep dish breading will hit the mark. But it's summertime and I'm rarely craving something so heavy, so this Pizza Margherita is just perfect for lunch these days.

There's plenty of tomato flavor, of course. The mozzarella cheese is smooth, creamy, and subtle, and it allows the basil flavor in the sauce to come through just a bit. There's also a hint of garlic and onion underneath it all. It's a nice, clean, uncomplicated flavor.


Of course, you can dress it up some if you're feeling frisky. Sonia and I were more than happy to have it plain, but it wouldn't clash with any basic pizza toppings if you wanted to add them a la carte.

$4.79 for the three serving pizza. Product of Italy. It's adequate for two adults for dinner. Will buy again. Nine out of ten stars from Sonia. Eight out of ten from Nathan for Trader Giotto's Pizza Margherita.



Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Trader Joe's Brown Sugar Cardamom Buns


Fun fact: cardamom is the third-most expensive spice in existence after, presumably, saffron and that stuff they get from the sandworms on Arrakis. It's apparently used widely as a baking ingredient in Scandinavian countries. Those zany Vikings and their cardamom...

But seriously though, I don't think I've had many, if any, pastries with cardamom as a prominently featured flavor/ingredient ever in my life...until now. And if I'm honest, I didn't like it that much, however, the beautiful wifey enjoyed it quite a bit. We haven't disagreed on a product this strongly in quite a while.


We both agreed that there was something fall-ish about this item. Cardamom isn't a far cry from allspice or clove in terms of flavor and intensity. It might not be a pumpkin spice, per se, but it's "pumpkin spice adjacent" in my opinion.

The brown sugar element was nice, providing a sweet, nutty essence to the bun. But the relative bitterness and spiciness of the cardamom was a turn-off for me, while Sonia thought it made the product unique and memorable. The bready part of the pastry was fairly standard, highly reminiscent of last fall's Apple Cinnamon Buns, neither stale nor unusually fresh—passable but not praise-worthy if you ask me.


$4.49 for two big sweet spiced buns, found with the other baked goods. This one will get a thumbs up from the beautiful wifey and a thumbs down from me. We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.



Nathan's score: 5.5 out of 10.

Sonia's score: 8 out of 10.

Friday, July 5, 2024

Trader Joe's Coconut Macaroons


As a kid growing up with allergies to wheat and milk, my diet was pretty limited especially when it came to baked goods and cookies. Coconut macaroons were one of the first types of confections I was allowed to have that I actually liked since they consisted of not much more than coconut, egg, and sugar.


My parents would routinely get a brand of individually-wrapped macaroons—the name of which escapes me now—for me to have as a snack or dessert since most other treats were off limits. I ate so many coconut macaroons in those early years that I got quite sick of them. Eventually, I grew out of said allergies and once wheat-based cookies were fair game, I seldom looked back to the macaroon.

$3.79 for about ten fresh-made coconut cookies seemed like a fair deal, and they looked tasty enough, so I decided to take a trip down memory lane and sample this Trader Joe's offering. 

Maybe it's nostalgia talking, but if anything, I'd say these exceeded my expectations. Sonia agrees. She's had some decent coconut macaroons in her day, and she was surprised how fresh and sweet these cookies tasted.

They were very soft and supple. The coconut shavings were the perfect size, too. There was nothing stiff or hard about them. I'm not in the mood for coconut macaroons very often, but if I were, I'd buy this product again.

Found in the baked goods section. Kosher. Eight out of ten stars from me for Trader Joe's Coconut Macaroons. Sonia will follow suit.



Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Trader Joe's Bubble Waffles


Oh I get it now. They're just pancakes with mochi rice cakes baked into them. That's what the big lumps are. They come from Thailand.

At first, I didn't get it. Why would anybody want waffles with egg-shaped bubbles baked into them? I assumed it was just air or something, or maybe like wads of waffle batter. Mochi makes sense. Did I mention this is a product of Thailand? They apparently love mochi over there.


I've seen social media posts with people rolling these bubble waffles up into cones and putting ice cream in them. That's fun. I also saw an Instagram post where they just plopped a scoop of that amazing horchata ice cream right in the middle of the waffle on a plate in lieu of syrup or whatever. I've actually heard they go great with condensed milk, too.

Anyway, the horchata ice cream and bubble waffle combo is excellent. Butter and syrup works just fine. The regular flat part of these treats is crispy and soft and the mochi part is even softer and slightly chewy, just like a mochi rice cake you'd get at one of those frozen yogurt places as a topping, except here, they're baked right into the batter.


I think the mochi makes these waffles even more filling than regular waffles or pancakes. There's a nice coconut and vanilla sweetness about them that's not over-the-top but lends a moderate comfort food vibe to these breakfast treats that could also serve as a snack or dessert. The smell and taste of the batter is reminiscent of funnel cake in a way.

$4.49 for four bubble waffles. Vegan. Would buy again. Put Sonia down for 9/10 stars on Trader Joe's Bubble Waffles. I'll go with 8/10.



Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola


When I was a kid, I had to have sugary cereal first thing in the morning. Nothing else would get me out of bed. Bacon and eggs? Nah. Not my thing, certainly not minutes after waking up. Sugar was like my caffeine up until the age of 22 or so. After that first dose of candy coated morsels in a bowl and an episode of Inspector Gadget, I was ready to face my day.


Now I'm the opposite. Lately, cereal has been like a mid-afternoon sweet tooth craving type snack for me rather than breakfast. I do like some sugar in the form of a beverage in the morning, but the food I crave first thing when I'm up is more like lunch or dinner fare. Peanut butter and chocolate on rolled oats with milk sounds like a nice pick-me-up later in the day.

Some granola can be unpleasantly hard. I feel like this product has a nice granola crunch, but the mouthfeel is tempered by copious amounts of peanut butter and chocolate, both of which are much softer than plain granola. Mix some milk into the equation and we've got some bite-sized nuggets that are downright soft on the outside but still firm and crunchy underneath.

Flavor-wise, there's a pretty nice balance of chocolate and peanut butter. I'll almost always err in the direction of peanut butter when mixing the two—not that I have anything against good chocolate. It is "dark chocolate," which is generally not my preferred variety, but I feel it works quite well in this case when played against peanut butter, sweetened crisp rice, and vanilla in the background. This product tastes vastly better than Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Protein Granola in my humble opinion, but then again, this one doesn't have pea protein, so it was always going to do better in the flavor department.

It's great for turning plain yogurt into a Reese's-esque treat, or it's fine in milk or even just straight out of the package. It could serve as breakfast, dessert, or a mid-day snack with equal proficiency in each case. It's one of the better granola products I've had recently and I really can't think of any major complaints.

$3.99 for the resealable bag. Kosher. Would buy again. Nathan's score: 8/10. Sonia's score: 9/10 for Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola.



Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Trader Joe's Organic Italian Dressing with Romano Cheese


This is a really nice creamy Italian dressing with a surprising amount of Romano cheese flavor and good, quality organic ingredients. It's moderately robust and tangy, flavor-wise. As far as texture is concerned, it's medium thick—thicker than most oil and vinegar type salad dressings but not quite as thick as other cream-based condiments.


We've had it with spring mix, spinach, arugula, and cabbage slaw, and it works well in each case. We've tried it in sub sandwiches in lieu of typical mustard and mayo and it's great in that context, too. I'm sure it'd be fine if you used a thin glaze of this dressing on a pasta salad or maybe even something like the feta, pepper drop, and olive antipasto.


The cheese tends to settle on the bottom of the bottle so some agitation is required before pouring. The cheese bits are very fine—not chunky at all. For the most part, they don't separate from the liquid part of the dressing when poured as larger pieces of cheese might have.

$2.99 for the 12 serving bottle. Would buy again. Nathan and Sonia both give the same score for Trader Joe's Organic Italian Dressing with Romano Cheese



Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Trader Joe's Dutch Griddle Cakes


Those Dutch are apparently pretty savvy when it comes to breakfasty, carby, cakey stuff. Stroopwafels, anyone? These aren't quite as desserty as stroopwafels, but they're thick and hearty and bread-o-riffic, and they go great with butter and syrup and anything you might put on a good ol' 'Murican pancake.

And that's probably what they're most obviously comparable to: pancakes. But there is an element of something...denser than a pancake. I wanted to say, like, an English muffin or a Welsh cake, but no. Neither of those are quite right. When all else fails, I check to see what traderjoes.com says, and they nailed it when they compared these puppies to crumpets. Those TJ's crumpets might have been the only honest-to-goodness crumpets I've ever had, but I remember the texture and it was just delightfully deep and dense, and wasn't too far a cry from these doughy Dutch discs.


They're a little buttery even before you put butter on them. Maybe it's the canola oil? Are we even supposed to be eating canola oil? I've given up on figuring out what's good for me these days. That young muscular guy who never wears a shirt says donuts are good for me and that crazy old man with the suit and bowtie says I shouldn't be eating garbanzo beans. Me am confusion. I digress.


A reader mentioned that these go great with the recently-reviewed chicken breakfast sausage patties. Dang, I wish we had saved one because I bet that would be an excellent combo. But these are very tasty on their own, too—pancake style.

$3.49 for eight griddle cakes. Product of the Netherlands. Would buy again. 8 out of 10 stars from both Sonia and Nathan for Trader Joe's Dutch Griddle Cakes.



Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Friday, May 31, 2024

Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Joe's Os Cereal Bars


We've never reviewed the original Joe's O's cereal on this blog. We have, however, reviewed the Honey Nut O's, the Organic High Fiber O's, the Fruity O's, the Triple Berry O's, the Pumpkin O's, and the Hot Cocoa O's. Joe's O's and their derivatives share some obvious similarities with classic Cheerios cereal, namely: whole grain oat-based morsels in little "O" shapes.


These cereal bars are nothing but Joe's O's, peanuts, and peanut butter all smooshed together into individually-wrapped bars. There's a really nice balance of sweetness and rich, creamy peanut butter flavor. The oats are filling and wholesome but they don't overshadow the dessert-ish aspects of the bars. Both the beautiful wifey and I were pleasantly surprised with the flavor.

Despite their overall softness, there's a crispness to them that's nice, too. I was thinking there was some rice in there somewhere, but nope. It's all just oat cereal and peanut stuff.

The serving size is adequate to grab a breakfast on the run or to curb your mid-day sweet tooth. The fat, calories, and carbs aren't too bad, considering how relatively indulgent they taste. 

They're a little messy, particularly in the heat, but thankfully you can keep them in the wrapper while you eat them to avoid getting oily peanut butter all over your hands.

$2.99 for five bars. Kosher. Yet another product of Canada. Would buy again. Sonia and I are both on board for the same score: 8 out of 10 stars for Trader Joe's Joe's O's Peanut Butter Cereal Bars.



Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

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.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Trader Joe's Mini Chocolate Mousse Flowers


Ah, those cute little flowers. So springy. So chocolatey. So...exactly like the pumpkins, presents, hearts, and Easter eggs. And yet...I dunno. Did they change the recipe recently?

I checked the ingredients for Trader Joe's For the Love of Chocolate Mousse Cake and compared them against these happy morsels and discovered that their ingredients are not exactly the same. Sonia and I felt like these were just a shade better than all those other options but failed to pinpoint why.


One theory I have is that every other time we've tried them, it's been quite cold. Think about it: Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine's Day are all generally chilly times of the year. Easter is often cold here in the Upper Midwest, too. We finally tried them in the relative heat and found them much softer and a little more melt-in-your-mouth delightful.


I mean, they're still nowhere near as good as the Raspberry Mousse Cakes in my humble opinion, but these aren't bad at all. They still have that half cake, half mousse filling with a soft, sweet confectionery candy shell, and of course there are some fun, springy colors and packaging. Definitely a step up from Little Debbie or any other cheapo snack cake from a mainstream grocery store. I've heard some folks like to freeze these before consuming, but I'm skeptical...

I think we'd buy again. Four bucks for six little flowers. Sonia's score: 8/10. Nathan's score: 8/10 for Trader Joe's Mini Chocolate Mousse Flowers.



Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Trader Joe's Chicken Breakfast Sausage Patties


Long before we met, growing up over 2500 miles away from one another, Sonia and I both decided we weren't huge fans of traditional pork breakfast sausage. I know many of you are fans of pork sausage, so I won't ramble on about it too long. I mean, "you do you," as they say. I get it that we're the oddballs. We're the weirdos, not you. I just want to establish that before I get inundated with comments about how this chicken sausage tastes nothing like classically-seasoned breakfast meat.


And that's why we like it. It's a distinctly chicken flavor with a nice subtle spice blend that complements the patty. It has a "lighter" taste than traditional sausage, if that makes sense. The sausage is perfectly palatable on its own, but it blends well with English muffins, eggs, cheese, and other breakfast sandwich type ingredients. I'm usually the ketchup fiend, but Sonia found the sausage paired well with the tomato-based condiment, while I threw a bit of mayo on mine. Pretty sure mustard, hot sauce, or any other common topping would work here as well.

Despite there being air fryer instructions on the bag, I opted to heat these on the skillet. Sonia even let me use her super expensive Gordon Ramsay HexClad pan for the first time. That's just eggs on the pan, by the way. They were cooked immediately before these sausage patties. I don't want people to think we don't wash our cookware. Anyway, the patties darkened nicely and had a great taste and texture right from the get-go.


There are six of 'em in the resealable bag. Three bucks for the whole thing. That's 50¢ per patty. What can you get for 50¢ these days? Not much. Not a whole lot of delectable breakfast items, that's for sure. Good value, I'd say.

Would buy again. Antibiotic free. Hormone free. Gluten free. Sonia's score: 9/10. Nathan's score 8/10 for Trader Joe's Chicken Breakfast Sausage Patties.



Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Trader Joe's Dulce de Leche Ice Cream


Before we dive into this ice cream review, let's talk about dulce de leche: what it is and our previous experience with it. Years ago, we reviewed Trader Joe's Dulce de Leche, a pretty basic caramel spread, and I took a lot of flack in the comments from people who apparently have more experience with it than I do. The literal translation of dulce de leche is "sweet of milk." I'm not saying that's a good translation, I'm saying that's what those words literally mean.

With the source language set to Spanish and the input words as "dulce de leche," Google translate now comes back with "caramel sauce" in English. That's really all it is. This Trader Joe's product is from the US. It's not imported from another country, as many of their products are. I'm pretty sure they call it "dulce de leche" simply because it sounds more exotic than "caramel."


Sonia grew up eating a Mexican caramel known as "cajeta," which is basically a rich, sweetened reduction of goat's milk. I grew up with good old American caramel, routinely debating friends and strangers alike on the proper pronunciation of the word. It's CARE-a-mel, btw. You CAR-muhl people are wrong. Fight me.

At any rate, this is some good ice cream. Sonia says it's on par with Häagen-Dazs as far as richness and creaminess goes, and she loves the caramel swirl. I wish there were just a tad bit more caramel, but it's pretty delish as is.


I generally prefer ice cream with chunks of something like pretzels or cookies or cookie dough, but as far as smooth ice creams go, this is definitely above average. It's especially good when it's nearly melted. One of our readers mentioned that it pairs well with those dark chocolate waffle cone tips we reviewed recently, as TJ's was serving them together at their free sample station. I absolutely agree that the combo works quite well.

$3.79 for the pint. Kosher. Would buy again. Sonia's score: 9/10. Nathan's score 8/10 for Trader Joe's Dulce de Leche Ice Cream.



Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Trader Joe's Cinnamon Sugar Almonds


AI is scary. I asked perchance.org for "the latest Trader Joe's food product" and within a couple seconds, it had formulated Trader Joe's Chicken & Waffle Flavored Potato Chips, complete with an enticing product description and images of said fictitious food product. Of course the writing on the packaging is all gibberish and the description doesn't provide actual ingredients, but heck, I'm starting to wonder if Trader Joe's hasn't been doing this all along. I mean they do have some pretty tasty stuffing flavored chips, at least around Thanksgiving time.

What other ideas did artificial intelligence come up with? Products like Trader Joe's Mini Gummy Bears on a Chocolate Pool Day come to mind. I mean, whose brain thinks like that? WTF is a "chocolate pool day"?


All that to say that this isn't really all that weird an idea. I'm glad the guy who wants to dip everything in dark chocolate was absent at the product development meeting that day. Because these things are perfect just the way they are. They're delectable little bite-size candies with a whole almond and plenty of cinnamon and sugar.

In fact, if I had to complain about anything, I might want a little less cinnamon, sugar, and confectionery coating and more nut flavor. These little treats are creamy, sweet, and they have enough real cinnamon that you might start coughing if you eat them too fast.


Some of the spheres are bordering on being too big to eat in one bite. When you break them in half, you can see more than 50% of the product is that vanilla candy coating, so these are definitely heading in the direction of indulgent dessert rather than salty, nut-based snack. Sonia agrees, but she's definitely a big fan of these almonds.

$3.99 for the eight serving resealable bag. Would buy again. 9/10 stars from Sonia. 8/10 stars from me for Trader Joe's Cinnamon Sugar Almonds.



Bottom line: 8.5 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.

Friday, April 26, 2024

Trader Joe's Breaded Cheddar Cheese Curds


I was born and raised in the Northeast, and since then I've lived in the South, on the West Coast, and in the Midwest. So I can tell you from experience that cheese curds are very much part of midwestern culture in a way that folks from other regions might not understand. For example, many midwestern fast food joints and mom and pop's restaurants offer your choice of French fries or cheese curds to go with your hamburger.


The cheese in most curds that I've tried is stiffer than what you'd find in a typical mozzarella stick. It's "squeaky" cheese. Like mozz sticks, however, they tend to be a little greasy and covered in a thin breading. Cheese curds are served hot, and they come to you nice and soft with a few little cheese bubbles on the outside of the breading, but they're rarely melting and oozing the way mozzarella sticks do. They're part of the comfort food culture here in the Upper Midwest and Sonia and I have taken quite a liking to them, particularly when served in tomato soup.

We used the air fryer heating method which involved pre-heating for about 5 minutes and cooking for an additional 5. The curds came out crispy and lightly brown on the outside and soft and squishy inside. They might have been a little softer than your average midwestern cheese curd, but the flavor was delightful—a robust burst of rich cheddar in every bite.

Folks round these parts tend to eat their cheese curds with ranch or gravy, but I prefer marinara sauce when it comes to dipping these delicious do-dads. Trader Joe's Cheese Curds don't really need any condiments, but they pair nicely with tomato sauce or ranch. I also made a spicy, exotic international dip that worked well by mixing ranch with sriracha and gochujang. The artwork on the packaging appears to depict a serving suggestion that involves dipping cheddar cheese curds into...more cheddar? That seems inappropriate...perhaps even vulgar.

But I'm not one to judge. Folks from Wisconsin would probably say it's blasphemous to eat cheese curds with spaghetti sauce but that's still my favorite topping for these noshable niblets. Sonia likes them sans sauces. Whatever tickles your pickle, as they say.

$4.99 for the 5 serving bag. Would buy again. Four stars a piece from the beautiful wifey and me for Trader Joe's Breaded Cheddar Cheese Curds.



Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Trader Joe's Lemon Flower Cookies


I'm on record saying lemon is an excellent summer flavor at least once or twice on the blog. If I had to pick a season other than summer when lemon snacks can shine bright like the sun, the obvious choice would be spring. There are bright yellow flowers everywhere in the springtime...and serendipitously, lemons are bright yellow, too.

In the tradition of Trader Joe's Raspberry Hearts, these are seasonal shortbread sandwich cookies with fruit flavored filling. This time it's lemon instead of raspberry...which most of you probably figured out already. The shortbread is once again high quality, fresh, crumbly, and sweet, and the jam is delectably lemontastic.


I was pleasantly surprised with the level of lemonosity in these yellow yum-yums. I generally have to complain that Trader Joe's lemon products aren't lemony enough. These cookies might not be the most lemon-laden treats I've ever tried, but they pack a pungent punch of citrus satisfaction.

Sonia is hit or miss with lemon sometimes, but she genuinely enjoyed these flavorful flowers. Once again, they are two typical shortbread cookies stacked on top of one another with a layer of lemon lusciousness in between the two cookies, which yields a fairly fat cookie. If the beautiful wifey and I have one complaint about these, it's that they're too tall. We'd prefer flat shortbread cookies with lemon filling baked into them somehow.


But that's being picky. These are great sweet, tart, buttery cookie treats, and yes, we'd both buy them again. $5.99 for 18 cookies. Four and a half stars from Sonia. Four stars from me for Trader Joe's Lemon Flower Cookies, found in the baked goods section.



Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

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