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Friday, June 7, 2013

Trader Giotto's Lobster Ravioli

The first and foremost thing that drew me to pick up Trader Joe's Lobster Ravioli was their appearance. For whatever reason, I didn't take a great picture (actually, no picture at all) of these big old guys with the crazy red thick red stripes on them. Perhaps I've lived a fairly sheltered life as it relates to stuffed pastas, but I've never seen such a thing as striped ravioli, or if I have, I've haven't remembered, so it doesn't count. These, though...these are loud and proud and not afraid to express their semolina selves to the world. You go, ravioli. Although, it's not like different colored pasta taste all that radically different from regular, so I'm not sure of the practical use. About the only reason I can think of is somehow a game of Ravioli Crush Saga broke out and you need to know which one you can count on wiping out an entire row. A pretty similar game is the one Shelly household obsession right now. Another one, to not the same degree, is "Kitchen Nightmares" on Netflix, and on a recently watched episode, Gordon Ramsey picked up a handful of (you guessed it) red striped lobster ravioli (dried) and unleashed a string of bleeps so superfluous that I'm not even sure what words 90% of the bleeps were bleeped for. It was amazing, and it also shows that having red-striped lobster ravioli is at least some sort of common practice.

The second thing that tempted me into buying them was the thought of tasty, chunky, lobstery, yummy bites wrapped up in some pasta and served with a little sauce. In my mind, that's what lobster ravioli is, though I have no experience to base that on. I should've figured differently, because that's not exactly what's inside. Instead of big ol' lobster chunks, it's probably something that Ramsey would call lobster baby food as it's all mashed and pureed up, and mixed in with all sorts of other stuff. Ours were a tad salty and a wee bit gritty, but overall  pretty decent. I liked the fact that, at least on a flavor and texture basis, they weren't too ricotta-like. There's just enough lobster in each one to be the dominant flavor and gets complemented well with the little shake of mozzarella they had. We served them up with a little vodka sauce, but I'm thinking perhaps a light butter or lemon pepper sauce would've been a better match. Regardless, while not overly impressive, and certainly not as fancy as their appearance initially made me think, the ravioli made a decent enough quick weeknight meal, and was close to worth the $4 we dropped on the sack of 'em.

Sandy also would've preferred bigger chunks of actual lobster in them. Then again, that'd probably jack the price up, but I could be on board for that. Other than that, she didn't have to say, which means about a three, which sounds right about right to me as well.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Lobster Ravioli: 6 out of 10 Golden Spoons.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Trader Joe's Blueberry Scones

Apparently scones are not pastries, since they are not made with yeast. I've always been aware that they were British, and that they originally went with "afternoon tea" or perhaps "luncheon" or "elevensies" if you're a hobbit. 

But I was not aware that Scots and Brits often pronounce the word as "skon." Although the common American version with the long "o" sound is also acceptable, according to British dictionaries. Phew! I'm glad I won't have to change the way I pronounce it.

And these Trader Joe's scones are pretty darn American if you ask me. They're glazed, they've got blueberries, and they're satisfyingly sweet. Maybe even a little bit too sweet to be a scone.

They're dense. And they're filling, too. In a good way. They go great with coffee, but I would think their taste is a little too strong to go well with most teas. I could be wrong because I don't drink tea all that often.

But we'll go ahead and call these a success. Now, for your next assignment, Trader Joe, I'd like you to devise a gluten-free scone. Go!

And while you're working on that, we'll go ahead and give this product 4 stars from me and 4 stars from Sonia.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Trader Joe's Tropical Fruit Juice in a Box

This stuff looks and tastes kinda like Juicy Juice. It's definitely a step-up from the Pomegranate Lime Juice in a Box that we reviewed in 2012, but it's not quite as amazing as some other juice blends we've taken looks at over the years.

It's very guava-dominant. If they had labeled the drink "guava juice," I think it would have given consumers a little bit more of an idea what they're getting into when they buy this product. However, the main juice present is "pear juice" according to the ingredients list.

In the past, I've stood atop my soapbox and preached the virtues of pear juice to my audience, so I'll spare you another lecture on that subject. But if you missed the original, just click here to partake of my pear madness and peruse a post about one of the most perfect pear products you can purchase. Long story short, pear juice makes a great sweetener. And the drink won't necessarily taste like pear, especially if there are other juices present.

And it's not too sweet, either. It's just right. It's been good for these hot pre-summer days here in southeastern Pennsylvania. Very refreshing.

And I certainly don't have anything against guava. Guava is great. But I think I would have rather had pear be the dominant flavor. That is to say, they should have added nothing but pear juice and just a few drops of other fruit juices to make it interesting. Or pineapple could have been the dominant flavor. Or passionfruit. Or peach.

When it comes right down to it, I guess guava is fairly low on my "fruits that I like list." It's on the list for sure, it's just that there are lots of other fruits that are higher. So I guess my bottom line here is that if you like guava, you'll like this beverage. And how much you like guava will likely determine how much you'll like this Tropical Fruit Juice in a Box. Am I right?

Or am I right? (Leave a comment below and let me know how right you think I am).

And even though it seems inconceivable, if you think I am not right in my Theory of Guava Affinity, you may leave sentiments to that effect in the comments, as well.

Sonia and I give this product double 3.5's.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10 stars.

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