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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Trader Joe's Tofu Edamame Nuggets

Prior to this, the only time I've ever eaten edamame was straight out of the pea-pod at sushi restaurants. I'd dip them in the soy sauce bowl, slurp the beans out one by one, and then discard the pod in a nearby bowl and try as hard as I could not to confuse the already-eaten bowl with the non-eaten one. (It's totally gross when you stick an empty pea-pod in your mouth that's just recently been in someone else's mouth).

Aside from the misleading photo on the packaging, featuring some exotic, delicious Asian sauce that totally doesn't come with this product, I was quite delighted with these snacktacular hors d'oeuvres. They're different. We've seen plenty of veggie dishes that blatantly try to rip off the real thing, such as chickenless orange chicken. But these don't seem to be imitating something with meat. They just are what they are. Delicious. And they happen to be meat-free.

There's a crispy outer-shell that's kind of reminiscent of the breading on a normal nugget...yet somehow better. Inside, there are whole edamame beans and...well, some other meatless stuff. There are bits of thinly-sliced carrots. There's tofu. It's a great balance of nuggetiness and bean/carrot/veggie-ness.

We ate them with a sauce that Sonia made out of mayo, lime juice, hot sauce, garlic powder, and onion powder. And also, in a separate bowl, we dipped them in soy sauce. Both sauces = yumtastic.

These nuggets were quite foreign to my tastebuds' experience up to this point, and yet, their essence was undeniably Asian. They went well with the soy sauce—also Asian, but they could have been eaten with any number of dips, too. If you dare, try them with ketchup or honey mustard or something American. But I'm pretty sure most Asian-inspired dipping sauces would totally rock with these bad boys. Sesame sauce, sweet and sour sauce, orange sauce, teriyaki sauce...and if you're really brave, try them with a thai peanut sauce or maybe even wasabi...? (Though not necessarily all together).

Definitely prepare these nuggets in the oven. Makes them happy, crispy critters. Sonia gives them a 4. I agree. Although, they totally would have gotten a 4.5 if they had come with that Asian-looking sauce in the picture. Maybe even a 5 if the sauce were any good...

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Trader Joe's Tuscan Italian Dressing

Considering Russ's last post was an Italian item—or at least an item with an Italian-sounding name, I figured I should go ahead and do this Tuscan Italian dressing and keep the theme going for a bit. I'll just start off by saying this is one of the best salad dressings I've had in a long time.

We had it with spinach and lettuce and onions and...well, you know...salad stuff. And really, just a very simple salad and this dressing is all you need for a tasty side dish. I was quite impressed.

Lately, I've come to develop quite a taste for balsamic vinaigrette, and also raspberry vinaigrette. And I've always had a thing for creamy Italian. This delectable dressing tastes like a combination of creamy Italian and raspberry vinaigrette. There's no mention of raspberry on the label or the ingredients, but to me, there's some kind of berry-esque-ness implicit in every bite. It's subtle, but I could swear it's there. Sonia agrees.

Sonia likes it because "it's not too oily or salty." She also likes it because she's obsessed with Tuscany and insists we need to go there someday. And, ah, perhaps someday we will...on our massive year-long backpacking through Europe journey that we've dreamed of since we met. And, hey, if all of the dressing there is as good as this one, I'll be a happy camper. Way to go, Trader Joe. Shoulda gone with "Trader Giotto" for this one. It's that good.

We totally dropped the ball and didn't take a pic of the nutrition information for this one. But we can tell you that there's 10g of fat in a 2 tablespoon serving, which is actually pretty average for a salad dressing of this kind.

Sonia gives it 4 out of 5 stars. I'm gonna go ahead and give it a 4.5. Imagine that: candy-craving, junkfood-loving me giving a salad accessory a near-perfect score...

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

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