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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Trader Joe's Organic Frosted Pumpkin Toaster Pastries

About this time each year, Sonia's skin begins to turn a bit orange. I'm pretty sure it's from all the pumpkin products she consumes. Plus, her skin is naturally a sort of brown/red, so orange isn't that much of a stretch for her. She's technically Native American, of the Zapotec tribe from Oaxaca, Mexico. That makes her a "redskin," like my NFL team, who have obviously been cursed by the Native Americans who find that term racist and offensive. I certainly can't blame them. To put my own spin on a famous Chris Rock line: "Havin' a team called the Washington Redskins is kinda like havin' a team called the Harrisburg Honkies or the Carlisle Crackers."

Another unfortunate side effect of the mass consumption of pumpkin is that my wife's taste buds become "immune" to the taste of pumpkin. It's truly an addiction because she needs more and more of the substance to achieve the same effect. We're setting up a pumpkin intervention for poor Sonia. She tasted some pumpkin in the cream cheese, but she claims to have tasted very little in these toaster pastries. I think she just wants everything to taste like pumpkin pie. I'll go ahead and tell you that she only gives this product 3 out of 5 stars. That's too low in my

These are pop-tarts for all intents and purposes. And there's a much higher crust to filling ratio in pop-tarts than in pumpkin pie. Since I'm a carbivore, I didn't mind what Sonia perceived as a lack of filling at all. I think there was an adequate amount of filling and pumpkinnish flavor. It was very similar to a cinnamon raisin type taste. But instead of raisin, it was pumpkin. Distinctly pumpkin. Subtle, yet still pumpkinlicious. I will say this, though: toast these pastries. Unlike many other pop-tart flavors, these guys taste way better hot than raw, IMHO.

For those of you who suffer from similar pumpkin addictions, go ahead and type "pumpkin" in the search bar below the blog description to find page after page of pumpkin-thing reviews. More coming soon.

I give these toaster pastries 4 out of 5 stars.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10 stars.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread

Russ was right. And I look dead sexy in my yoga pants. I might not, however, after I gorge myself on every pumpkintastic item I can get my hands on because I will have gained about 30 pounds by the end of this season. As of Sunday, it's officially fall. And yes, like any red-blooded American man with northwestern Euro-mutt roots, I love me some Oktoberfest beers, but the giggly 21-year-old college girl living inside me loves pumpkin ales just as much. Guess what else she loves?

This pumpkinriffic cream cheese. It's super soft and plenty punkinny for me. It's a nice balance of cream cheese, pumpkin spices, and actual pumpkin. Sonia seems to think it needs more pumpkin flavor. I disagree. It's not pumpkin pie here. Nor is it pumpkin pudding. And along those same lines, one should definitely not eat this stuff straight out of the tub with a spoon, tempting as it may be. It's meant to top a bagel. I actually think the pumpkin-factor is a bit too much when it's spread on
toast. A bagel has enough breadiness—enough substance—to put this pumpkin cream cheese in check, just like regular cream cheese works with a bagel while butter and jelly works with a piece of toast. 

But I will say this: there is something light and fluffy about this cream cheese. It almost feels whipped. It's not as dense as a regular cream cheese if you ask me. When you're knifing it out of the tub, it comes out with ease. There's very little resistance. But the full-bodied flavor is still there somehow. It's a miracle of science. It's a miracle of nature. Just like the pumpkin. And the pumpkin spices. And the drool that now covers my desktop as I sit here and pine for more pumpkin. Stay tuned to WG@TJs for more ridiculous, fictitious, pumpkin-based adjectives like "pumpkinlectable" and nouns like "pumpkinnishness." 

When we made our latest TJ's run, the checkout guy looked at Sonia and I and made a funny face. "I see you've been stricken with the same pumpkin affliction that I have, too." We both just nodded and slobbered all over the counter and grunted out a zombie-esque "Puuuuumpkiiiiin."

I give this pumpkin cream cheese 4.5 stars. Sonia gives it a 4.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Trader Joe's Chicken Pot Pie Bites

This is going to be a boring blog post. I'm just warning you now. Unless you're seriously considering purchasing this product from TJ's but you're on the fence for some reason, you should probably just move along and read something more entertaining like Russ's most recent postThe Unofficial Foodie-Hack Blogger Credo, my old review of TJ's Chicken Pot Pie, or this heart-felt love letter. This post has nothing profound to offer, and since I've already used the line "No, kittah, this is mah pot pie" in a different review, there will be nothing even remotely funny or interesting for the rest of this article.

Why am I doing this, you ask? Why am I being so down on myself? Because I just ate this whole package of miniature pot pies without Sonia tasting even one. While she was on her way home after a hard day's work, I heated these babies up and devoured the entire package myself. And they weren't even that good. This is my public penance for a terrible sin of gluttony. I could try to justify it by telling you that I was purposely sheltering her from a not-particularly-good TJ's product, but that's not really the truth. The truth is that I was just so hungry that I would have eaten a shoe and not saved anything for anybody else.

So I figure a good way to punish me for my crime of selfishness is to boycott this blog post entirely. Please don't read it. And if by some chance you're still with me, please go ahead and leave me a derogatory comment below. Something that will make me feel remorse for my insatiable appetite and thoughtless action.

Plus, I don't want any of you to see this picture of the product after baking. I'm pretty sure I did something wrong. This is a sad pic of pot pies. They look awful. And they didn't taste much better. It's almost as if all of the liquid and softness baked right out of each pie and only a crispy little shell was left. A greasy, buttery, empty little shell. I thought I followed the baking instructions. I thought they'd at least resemble the pot pies in the packaging picture. Not so much. There were just weird little pieces of chicken clinging to a dry, empty shell made of fattening breadiness.

Those were my pot pies. And I know some of you are going to tell me that I should have left space between them when I cooked them. I did, I swear! But it looks like they melted while they cooked. How was I supposed to know the pot pies would melt rather than bake?

About the only really good thing I can say is that the pieces of chicken were small enough that they weren't nearly as rubbery as the chicken pieces in the aforementioned TJ's original Chicken Pot Pie. And as I said before, Sonia wasn't around to taste this abomination, but if she had been, she would have given this product 2.5 stars. That's what I give them, too.

Bottom line: 5 out of 10 stars.

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