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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Trader Joe's Fireworks Chocolate Bar

As a self-professed non-fan of dark chocolate, some of you are probably starting to wonder why we review it so much. Well, the main reason is for you, our loyal readers. Many of you are curious about TJ's products, and it has become our momentous duty to try them on your behalf. When a product is Spotted on Shelves by Marvo and friends, and brought to our attention via Twitter by an account called Strange Snacks, as well as posted on our Facebook page by reader Janice, then you can be sure it's a treat worth trying. (Thanks to all of you for the heads up!)

And boy are we glad we did. Just for the novelty factor alone, this $2 candy bar is worth a purchase. Guys, I'm telling you, get your sweetheart one for V-Day. It's unique, spicy, and hot, just like your little ladyfriend. It's full of crackling pop-rocks-type candy and cayenne pepper. The dark chocolate is pretty standard other than that, but it blends so seamlessly with the weirdness of the crackling and the spices that it's still a must-try in our books. 

The "pop-rocks" don't really taste like candy, they just provide a popping, crackling sensation. They sound and feel like mini-fireworks in your mouth. The "attack" of the bar is heavy on the popping, yet the "finish" is when you feel the heat. It's an experience that's hard to describe in words—one that's sure to evoke some "Oohs!" and "Aahs!" I won't prattle on too much about it since Sonia and I took the opportunity to bust out another video review. But I'll give you our final scores: 4 stars from me. 4.5 from Sonia. The taste is definitely better than most dark chocolate, in my opinion, primarily because of the cayenne pepper—but the base is still dark chocolate, to be sure.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Trader Joe's Triple Fruit Treat

The epitome of a First World Problem: Here I am, standing in my usual Trader Joe's on a snowy but busy Thursday morning before work. My desk drawer stash is completely barren, and I need me some vittles to make through another crushingly busy day...and my usual go-to goodies are gone. Out. No mas. Something about the truck being held up in the snowy storms that are common enough this time of the year. A crew member says they're busy unstocking but who knows, could be a while. And I don't have time to wait.

"Hmm, Triple Fruit Treat," I say to myself, not reading any further, as you'll see here in just a second. "Looks like pineapple, cranberry and blueberry. That's an interesting mix, and just $3.49. Let's do it."

My complete failure to read and/or lack of basic comprehension has foiled me in the past. This time is another example.

First, obviously, not pineapple. it's mango. But that's okay, I like mango. If it's actually, you know, a mango, or at least reminiscent of one. But it's not, and neither are the the cranberries all that cranberry-y or blueberries blueberry-y. That's because (and obviously, if I failed to read the front, then the ingredients list was skipped) look at all the added junk - oils and sugars and whatnot. Ugh. It's these kind of additives and extras that take a perfectly glorious piece of fruit, one of the wonders of creation, and make it a chewy, waxy, falsely sweet lump of Frankenfruit.

And that's pretty much how this tastes. It's like I chopped up some wax fruit from your Aunt Betty's coffee table and tried to ingest it. Ugh. The "mango" tastes nothing like mango, and I could only tell the blueberries and cranberries apart because of the color difference - it all just blends together in a mass produced blend o' blandness. I took a couple small handfuls hoping the experience would get better, and honestly it just left me a sticky gross sweetness in my mouth, a weird buzz in my tummy, and desperation in my soul. Yuck.   

How bad is this stuff? The following day, I came into work at 9:30 a.m., didn't leave until nearly 11 p.m. that night, and epically failed to either pack a lunch OR dinner after a meager breakfast, felt too cheap to go buy something, had these at my desk all day long...and couldn't muster up the guts to have more than a small begrudging handful. Thank goodness someone left a bag of crispy delivery lo mein noodles I claimed as mine when 9:30 p.m. rolled around. They're so bad I'm not subjecting my wife to them, and they are a strong candidate for a TJ's return (done only once for taste-related reasons).

Big Joe, as a suggestion, instead of calling these "Fruit Treats", call them "Froot Treets" to more easily tip off the oblivious shopper (namely, me) as to what they're buying, basically this ain't anything close to the goodness of actual dried fruit. I should have taken the hint that after a wintery blast, and with more snow on the way, there were still abundant bags of this garbage left.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Triple Fruit Treat: 2 out of 10 Golden Spoons  

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