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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Trader Joe's Gluten Free 3 Cheese Pizza

If the label hadn't so boldly stated that this product lacked gluten, I don't think I would have noticed. On the flip side, I wouldn't have noticed that there were three different cheeses if the label hadn't told me so, either. But I've never been able to count cheese types once they've all melted together like that. Nor do I feel that's a skill I need to cultivate.

I really just want the product to taste good, regardless of the number of cheeses. And with 18g of fat per serving, it had darn well better be good, wheat crust or not. Who knew you could substitute grease for gluten? This pizza had a rice and potato-based crust. I'm willing to bet you could make a pizza crust out of quinoa or something, and if you slathered on enough fatty cheese, nobody would notice or care. And both Sonia and I are on the same page that a single person could conceivably eat this entire $5 pizza in one sitting by themselves...that is, unless they check the nutrition information.

I know, I know, pizza's supposed to be a treat. It's supposed to be fattening. But if you take a gander at some of the other pizzas we've reviewed, you'll note that their fat contents tend to be lower than this one's. But enough about that, because I have more good things to say about this product than bad things.

The crust was thin, and it came out crispy. The combination of cheeses was flavorful, but not overbearing. There were plenty of Italian herbs, and they blended seamlessly with the big slices of tomato. I'm not a huge fan of raw tomatoes, but when they're cooked and covered in pizza grease, bring 'em on! There was also a thin layer of tomato sauce that tied the whole thing together pretty well. And again, if you're gluten sensitive, you can eat this product and just pretend you're eating a regular pizza. It doesn't taste or feel like a gluten free option to me.

And because of that, I'm going to give this product 4 stars. Sonia gives it 4.5, stating that she wishes they sold a larger, family-size version of this pizza.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10 stars.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Trader Joe's Marinated White Fish Vera Cruz

You know that person. Every office or work place has one, and most people hate them. If you are that person at your particular place of employment, may God have mercy upon your soul. This person I speak of...well, whatever you do in the privacy and ideally foul-stank containing walls of your home, go for it, live and let live, but the person who brings leftover fish for lunch at work and has the sheer audacity to microwave it so the aroma infiltrates and rudely intrudes the entirety of the circulation/ventilation system of your workplace, so everyone has to smell the scant traces of its fishy foulness...I have no words. That is a party foul that just high-fived all of humanity in its very face. DON"T DO IT. Even if you have leftover fish and have to decide between that and a sketchy dollar burrito from the roach coach. Even if you have nothing else to eat, or God forbid, have to choose between one of these atrocities and micro-zapped pescetarian remnants from the night before.

Which is why, when Sandy and I were enjoying the a dinner of rice, steamed veggies, and some Trader Joe's Marinated White Fish Vera Cruz the other night, when she suggested I take the third filet for lunch the next day, I really had to explain the blank, open-mouthed stare I shot her direction. No, dear, I wasn't throwing a fit of serving-size righteousness and indignation, I just didn't want to be that person who got shot a stinkeye the rest of the week. Nobody would be my friend at work anymore. I would be the very shame of my particular version of Cubicleville.

Good thing, this particular fishy delight is just good enough and intriguing enough to warrant a few extra bites, so deciding to share the third wasn't too much of a struggle. By "white fish", Trader Joe's actually meant "swai fish." I thought maybe this was a Swedish/Thai crossbreed or perhaps another name for one of the Swedish Chef specialties, but no. Come to find out, it's an Asian breed of "shark catfish" that would rank behind Sharknado as the most popular shark crossover product if it were actually, indeed, shark. I don't know, Wikipedia it. It's a popular for its moist flakiness and mild flavor, which I'll agree this particular version is, and it also made a good base for the "Vera Cruz-iness" of the dish. There's fancier versions around, which I'll admit to not having yet. Think of fairly spicy, semi-sweet salsa with a heavy dose of green olives, and that's more or less the marinade and topping for the TJ's version. Ours actually veered to almost too olivey, so it was a little out of whack with the lotso-heat/little sweet flavor profile, but it worked just enough to keep us going. The fish filets themselves were marinated deep enough that a lot of the flavor worked itself right into the flesh, which Sandy liked because she scraped off anything resembling a veggie due to textural concerns.

 In all, for a couple folks who are trying to eat fish once a week and needed a change-up from our usual fish o' choice and chili lime rub, the white fish Vera Cruz (sounds like a boat name, almost) wasn't a bad choice, and it's one we'll probably make again. For $5.99 a pound and getting three good sized pieces (pictured above is one that broke in half), it seems like a decent enough value. We're not overly wowed nor terribly turned off. A little less green olive would go a long way.

Just, please, don't microwave it at work. Please.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's White Fish Vera Cruz: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons   

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