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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Trader Joe's Mini Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Wedges

The packaging for this product claims that it's "an ice cream that thinks it's a cheesecake." Now where would ice cream get a silly idea like that? Maybe because you put the word "cheesecake" in the title of this product even before the words "ice cream," Trader Joe. I think you're largely to blame for this poor dessert's identity crisis. Is it a fruit? Is it ice cream? Is it cheesecake?

I think it may be all of the above. All at once. It seems paradoxical, but just in the same way that I am a son, a husband, and a friend all at the same time, this dessert may be multiple things at once. In both cases, it's kind of a beautiful mystery.

Of all the things that this product is, if there were one that I think it should try to be a little more, it would be blueberry. There are a few graceful swaths of a blueberry gel swimming through the frozen cheesecake, and right in the center of the dessert, there's a larger cache of sweet blueberry goodness, with perhaps a hint of actual blueberry. But Sonia and I both agree that the blueberry-ish center of the ice cream is the best part of the whole thing. We want more blueberry. It already has a fair amount of it. But we want more. We're both only children and we're used to getting our way.

It's creamy, it does taste like cheesecake, complete with a graham cracker crust, and it's frozen, with plenty of ice cream-ish properties, too. The only thing we weren't pleased with was the decision to place this product on a stick. In some cases, like this delicious snack, sticks are great. And there are plenty of successful frozen desserts on sticks like this one. But for some reason, both Sonia and I thought the sticks in these particular treats made the cheesecake taste just a bit like wood. Now, we may be nitpicking, but we both think these would have been better just served on a plate with a fork, a la traditional ice cream cake. They are a bit crumbly, so you might need a plate or a bowl to catch the mess anyway.

Considering how indulgent they taste, 100 calories per snack isn't that bad. Though they are quite small. I could probably have eaten the entire box of six in one sitting, though my sweet Sonia may have scolded me in that sassy Latin way that I love so much for doing so.

Because of the wooden taste, Sonia docked a few points, though overall, she agrees that these wedges are a win. 3.5 stars from Sonia. I think she's blowing the wooden thing a bit out of proportion. These sweet treats are unique and delicious, and I can't go lower than 4.5 stars.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10 stars.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Trader Joe's Organic Orange Strawberry Banana Juice

It's pretty tough for me to imagine it, dear readers, but Sandy and I went over a month without going to Trader Joe's recently. Between being busy with a newborn and the incredible influx of homemade food from friends and family, in addition to the giant stock-up trip before, well, we just didn't have a need (much less the time or energy) to go at all, so we didn't. But that's not the amazing part to me. When we finally made our way back about a week ago for a few small supplies, like drinks and snacks (we hit up farmer's markets for meat, fruits and veggies, usually), after scouring the aisles for anything new and exciting, well, we kinda came up empty-handed. There just didn't seem to be anything new that we wanted to pick up. One would think that the sample station would help save that, but the drink was the green plant juice that we're not that move by one way or the other. The food sample? It was some new pulled pork something or other, and in a phrase I never thought I'd think and/or write, after friends twice dropped off a plethora of pulled pork, and my folks bringing some to town when they visited, I had eaten entirely too much pulled pork in the previous week to be interested in it whatsoever.

So, anyways, we settled for a juice I'd seen a couple times, Trader Joe's Organic Orange Strawberry Banana Juice. I've think I've written previously about my juice addiction, and I know Nathan's a sweet juice fiend, so it kinda baffles me that we haven't reviewed this yet, because it's pretty terrific. It seems to be a base of orange, apple and grape juice (what DON'T they put grape juice in these days?) with pureed strawberries and bananas mixed in. Or so they say. I mean, I can definitely taste them, but when I think pureed fruit, I think of the smoothies I've made and the little chunkies in there, and there's absolutely none of that in this smooth blend. It's sweet, smooth, clean and refreshing, and while delicious on its own, making smoothies or popsicles with the juice both seem like worthwhile causes, not to mention perhaps using it as a good mixer.

As usual with liquid refreshment, I'm a bigger fan of it than my beautiful wife. While not scolding me for drinking more than my fair share, Sandy's made a remark or two about it smelling like bubble gum, and said that she's pretty much in the middle about it, and gave it a 3.5. For me, I like how tasty it is, and like that it's organic so i can try and tell myself that it's even healthier than think it is, and so I feel less guilty as I guzzle it down. Good stuff. I'll slap it with a 4...nah, it helped save our maiden TJ voyage as a family of three...let's say 4.5.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Organic Orange Strawberry Banana Juice: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons

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