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Friday, August 23, 2013

Trader Joe's Tropical Sweetened Matcha Green Tea Mix

I've never been a huge fan of matcha, but Sonia loves the stuff. The first time I ever had it was in a Jamba Juice smoothie. It was the first Jamba product I didn't like. Since then, I've had matcha mochi and regular green tea matcha. In each case, not a fan. 

Some types of green tea products do float my proverbial boat, although our cross-state blogging comrades might not be quite as enthused. Sonia's tried everything matcha mentioned above, and then some. She particularly likes the matcha green tea from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. She's an aficionado. She thinks it's delicious. Well...most of the time.

In this case, there's an abundance of mango and passion fruit flavor. Those seemed like odd flavors to mix with matcha to us, but who are we to question TJ's zany ideas, many of which actually work?

It's a very sweet mixture, and Sonia and I agree that the fruitiness outshines the matcha-ness. But conversely, the matcha is there enough to prevent this from being a fruit-flavored beverage. To both of us, it's just a very strange flavor that doesn't quite work. If it had just been me, we might have chalked it up to my not liking matcha, and had it only been Sonia, we might have attributed it to her being a matcha snob. But considering we both dislike this product quite a bit, we're going to have to declare this a Trader Joe's FAIL.

It's kind of "apples and oranges," but if you're looking for a sweet TJ's tea mix that's actually good, we recommend the Salted Caramel Chai.

Sonia gives this product 2.5 stars. I give it 2.

Bottom line: 4.5 out of 10

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Trader Joe's Organic Corn Chip Dippers

Alright, so, listen: there's not too much point in delaying to make the obvious comparison here: Trader Joe's Organic Corn Chip Dippers, on first impression at least, are pretty much just like those big ol' Frito scoopers you can get at pretty much any corner store these days. I'm pretty sure the average consumer (who I definitely lump myself in with) would not be able to tell the difference in a blindfolded taste test. In fact, I can't convince myself that these TJ dippy chippies are not Fritos. That's an intentional double negative there, folks. It means two things: it's 1 a.m. when I'm writing this, and I mean business.

All that being said, there might be a small teeny tiny infinitesimal difference tastewise between the two possibly competing brands. I think these guys are a little thicker, a little crunchier, and perhaps a tad less salty and greasy. I don't eat Fritos often though, and when I do it's normally the regular sized ones, so maybe I'm pulling that comparison out of my arse. I don't know. But I like the fact that these are organic, and while not perfect, Trader Joe's has a respectable enough hisotry with labeling their snackfoods while Frito-Lay....not so much. Not that if I'm to be watching my health and caloric intake that one type of corn chip is really all that better in the grand scheme than another, but any slight edge here and there, I'll take.

Though certainly not bad, these dipper-doodles aren't quite perfect. The lovely specimen I have pictured to the left (smothered in Wal-Mart brand salsa, which is as appetizing as it sounds) is a fine chip made for heavy dipping and lifting duty, I could probably use it as a soup spoon. Too bad not all the chips were like that. Naturally some were more hairpin or latched shaped which made for suboptimal performance. It's a good thing these taste fine enough on their own, or good crumbled up on top of a bowl of chili, that the slightly-more-than-occasional faulty fellow isn't too much of a loss. 
 With football season in a few weeks and baseball playoffs starting just a little after that, I'd humbly recommend adding these to the snacking rotation with some guac or salsa or the TJ's pub cheese I keep meaning to try. Just skip the TJ black bean dip because nothing tastes good with that junk, unfortunately. If you're having the gang over and you're concerned that your moronic buddy who always calls end-arounds a reverse will start making foo-foo jokes about your dainty organic chips, just dump them in a bowl and he'll be none the wiser. It'll also save a couple bucks too - I think these were about $2 while the big boys cost something like $3 or $4. Sandy had a complete lack of anything interesting/slightly comical/vaguely embarrassing things to say about these chips, but I know she liked 'em, as did I, so split the score as you see fit. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Organic Corn Chip Dippers: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

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