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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Trader Joe's Pomegranate Blueberry Sherbet

I grew up calling sherbet "sherbert," which is apparently incorrect. According to Grammarist, the original Turkish word from which the English word is derived is more similar to the word "sherbet." So TJ's got it right. But I didn't.

I was so distraught at being wrong (something I'm certainly not accustomed to), that I decided to drown my sorrows in a sweet dessert. Even though it was a painful reminder of years of mispronunciation and misspelling, I reached for this stuff.

And let me tell you it's so friggin' good, I forgot all about the  whole "sherbet/sherbert" debacle. This is probably the second best Trader Joe's brand frozen dessert we've ever had—right after the Lemon Triple Ginger Snap Ice Cream. TJ's is very good at these creamy, fruity, frozen things. And more good news: this stuff isn't even that fattening. It's sweet and sugary, but what sherbet isn't?

It's more refreshing in extreme heat than thick, lard-laden ice cream with chocolate goodies, and it's way creamier than the cheapo store-brand sherbet from other grocery stores. Plus, it's got real fruit chunks, and it actually tastes fruit-juice-based.

Sonia and I polished it off on the same day we opened it. We fought bitterly over the last few bites—got into a sort of spoon-fight duel. We compromised and shared it and have since made up. Thanks for your concern about our marriage.

It's light and fruity, yet somehow thick and creamy at the same time. Perfect for hot, humid August weather. It's conceivable that some would want to pass on this item if they're not fans of blueberry or pomegranate, but Sonia says she thinks it tasted like raspberry. I'm with TJ's on this one—"pomegranate blueberry" seems as accurate a description as any, with maybe a slight emphasis on the blueberry.

But we both agree it's good. Really darn good. Double 4.5's, for Sonia and my highest score since April and a very near miss on attaining Pantheon status.

Bottom line: 9 out of 10.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Trader Joe-San's Shrimp Fried Rice

Okay, true story time: A little over five years ago, while still very much a bachelor, I lived in a house with a bunch of other guys, one of whom we found on Craigslist. Now, I won't say anything bad about him, because overall he and his girlfriend were pretty cool day I got a call from him at work. He had never called me before. "Ummm, yeah, we, uh...we burned down the house," he said. Wha!?!? Apparently they neglected the chicken they were frying on the stove top in favor of watching Judge Judy and some grease caught fire and POOF. The entire house didn't quite burn down, and most of our stuff was okay, but my favorite recliner had to be pitched due to smoke damage, so I was NOT happy. Ever since then I have made two pledges: Never find people to live with on Craigslist, and always watch whatever I'm cooking very carefully, especially if it's something spattery.

I mention all that because combine that story, along with new parent jitters as I attempted to make my wife and I bacon and eggs after being home from the hospital for just a few days, and man, that was so incredibly stressful. I kept having to turn off the burner as she asked me to get this and do that so it took me an hour to make breakfast. A freakin' hour. I told myself whatever I made next on the stove top had to be a lot easier.

Thankfully, Trader Joe-San's Shrimp Fried Rice is pretty easy. If you have about a large fry pan or wok, 5 minutes, and two tablespoons of olive oil, you got yourself a pretty good dinner. Note the take-out carton icon on the package - that's a pretty accurate assessment, and for a fraction of the cost. Our favorite local Chinese place sells a quart of shrimp fried rice for about $7, so once we pay tax and tip the driver and his little assistant we call Short Round (see this for that story), it's pretty much $10. This? $2.99. That's it. More importantly, tastewise, it's about right on par with typical takeout fare. All the rice and veggies taste right, and it has about the right amount of shrimp, which also tastes right, like most TJ shrimp offerings. I have only the smallest of complaints, and really, it's more like a quibble: I personally think it's kinda weird that's there frozen scramble eggs in it. Not that they taste bad, and I certainly include eggs while making my own fried rice, but frozen eggs kinda skeeve me out, and I'd rather have the option of including my own. That may be just me.

Sandy's a little less high on it than I am. I think it's because I have her spoiled. Not to brag, but for a pasty, gingery Pennsylvania Dutch boy, I make some darn good fried rice. She likes all the little spices I mix in, and I also make sure to dice the onions smaller just the way she likes them so she can't really see them, either. Admittedly, since I also favor my own, next time we pick this up (and there will be a next time) I'll dress it up a bit as it's kinda, well, not bland but more like just plain and unspicy like what you'd expect from a restaurant. As is, Sandy will give it a three, but since I think it deserves a better fate than that, I'll overcompensate a bit and go with a four 'n a half.

Bottom line: Trader Joe-San's Shrimp Fried Rice: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

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