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Friday, March 23, 2012

Trader Joe's Turkey Corn Dogs

My friend Trader Joe is the corn dog king. He did Veggie Corn Dogs right. He even did some kick-butt Shrimp Corn Dogs. And slightly less weird than Shrimp Corn Dogs—he went and made some scrump-dilly Turkey Corn Dogs, too.

TJ's is batting a thousand with corn dogs if you ask me. My scores have been slightly higher than Sonia's, but she's more or less in agreement. She was never a fan of corn dogs before Trader Joe showed up on the scene. I've always liked corn dogs—even the kind from the scary, greasy lunch trucks that don't publish their ingredients and are more than likely made at least partially of pig snouts, hooves, and other kinds of scrapple-type stuff. I know it's not necessarily your forté, Trader Joe, but I certainly wouldn't mind an all-beef corn dog. I'm not much of a pig-eater anymore, but if you made an oldschool pork corn dog, I'd totally try it.

But, ah, the good people reading this post would like to know about these Turkey Corn Dogs. I think these could be the best TJ's corn dogs yet - the best TJ's food I've eaten in a while. No complaints. Had 'em with ketchup, but they were more than fine just plain. Perfect balance of cornbread outside and yummy turkey poultry meatiness inside. And it didn't taste like regular totally tasted like a turkey dog. Not that regular turkey would have been a bad taste—just kind of strange, maybe? There's a certain consistency to a good turkey dog that just rocks when served within a cornbread shell. And the wooden stick never hurts. I don't know what it is, but food always tastes better on a stick: think lollipops, cotton candy, shish kabobs, and that corn-on-the-cob that Latinos eat with butter, mayo, chili powder, and lime. Mmmm.

Sonia gives these a 4. That's a really good score for Sonia for a corn dog. And...I...think...I'm totally gonna go out on a limb and give these the first perfect score I've given anything in a long time. 5. Boom. There it is.

Bottom line: 9 out of 10.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Trader Joe's Quinoa and Black Bean Infused Tortilla Chips and Trader Joe's Edamame Hummus

Sometimes, I'll admit, I get a little tired of some of Trader Joe's offerings. Take, for example, these pretzels. I definitely think they're good and all, but I feel like I pick them up every week for work lunches along with some of the same Mexi-knockoff fare. A big part of it is, I just don't see a great alternative most of the time, so I go to what I know what I can rely on. But still, I want to try something new if TJ's could just be bothered to go put something new on the shelves. By in large, I've felt the same about a lot of their chip and dip offerings. Granted, some combos are great, but when a few months go by and it's still the same old same old, well, I begin to get antsy for something new.

Sandy and I found ourselves in this boat on our most recent trip. We had plans to have some friends and family over for some homemade calzones later that night, so dangit, we needed a great, easy appetizer. The Falafel Chips (which we've had and chomped down before we thought about snapping a decent picture of them) were out of stock yet again* so we were down one tasty (and out of consideration for one guest, gluten-free) alternative. It wasn't looking good until...

Boom! Trader Joe's Quinoa and Black Bean Infused Tortilla Chips practically rose from the dusty bin like some cheesy glowing sitcom deus ex machina. Okay, well, not quite, but you get what I mean. It wasn't even a question, especially when considering some past tremendous experiences with some other bean-and-grain chips. Man, these chips are amazing. Each chip is thick and crunchy like any good stoneground corn tortilla chip should be, but have the added texture of quinoa coating sprinkled on each "bean-wah" chip (as I've caught myself calling them). Every bite definitely delivered not only that, but also a full tasty flavor coming from the beans with just the right amount of garlic and onion salt. Some might say they're a little salty, but to me, they're just right, as each chip is fully flavored on its own, but the taste won't interfere with your dip of choice. These were a great option with some leftover chipotle hummus we had from the week before, as well as...

...some Trader Joe's Edamame Hummus we picked up at the same time. Granted, this hummus isn't exactly a new product as we've seen it a few times, but haven't really tried it out, so let's just call it "new for us," mmmkay? Kinda like our recent vehicle purchase in that regard. Anyways, as we try to coach our two-and-a-half year old nephew to say, "hummus is yummus" and this one is no exception. Edamame is the rare veggie for Sandy in that it's acceptable in pretty much any fashon at any time. To call this a "hummus" seems a little off to me. Sure, it has all the good ingredients like tahini and garlic, etc, in it, but texture-wise it seems closer to a smooth guacamole rather than the usual smushed semi-grainy chickpea-ness of typical hummus. I'd say that it doesn't have an overly strong flavor - a little garlic, a little pepper, and a little, well, edamame - but paired together with these chips, I think it was perfect. Literally. No complaints at all.

I'll switch it up and do my ratings first this time. I might just be a little excited about some new flavors, but the quinoa/black bean chips are a rock solid perfect 5, while the edamame hummus...oh, what the heck, a 5 as well. Put the two together, and it's a personal pantheon level snack. While I didn't poll our dinner guests, judging by how everyone was scrambling for the chips and digging into the hummus, I'd say they weren't far behind. Sandy, though? Maybe she's returning the favor of me keeping these ridiculously good cookies from getting perfect marks, because I know she really liked them but she won't go with full fives. "Oh, something like a four for the beany chips, and something good for the humus, like a 3 or 3.5 or something," she said. I wanted to ask for a fuller explanation but she gave me a look that indicated that wouldn't be the best of ideas, so let's leave it at that. Eh well, For me personally, I can't wait to get tired of this snackalicious combo.

Bottom lines:
Trader Joe's Quinoa and Black Bean Infused Tortilla Chips: 9 out of 10 Golden Spoons
Trader Joe's Edamame Hummus: 8.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons
* Yet another First World Problem.

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