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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Trader Joe's Burrata, Prosciutto & Arugula Flatbread

In theory, a guy like me should like hockey. Preseason is only a couple weeks away, I should be stoked like all the other XY-chromosomed humanoids (and half the XX ones too, at least around here in the 'burgh). Yet....I'm not. I've tried to like hockey, and in fact I like the theory of it. I've been to a couple Penguins in person, and no sport translates better to the in-person experience than hockey (worst, by far: football). But when it comes to actually truly liking and embracing hockey....I just can't. I'm not sure what it is, and maybe I'm just missing out on something that everyone else is picking up on, but it just doesn't do it for me.

It's kinda the same with Trader Joe's Burrata, Prosciutto & Arugula Flatbread. In theory, this should be a no doubt winner, a hat trick, a biscuit in the basket. As our local hockey announcer would say, get in the fast lane, grandma, this bingo game's ready to roll.  But in the end.....meh.

Let's start with the positives. This is one exceptional flat thin crust for the pizza base. It's light and airy, yet crispy and crackery, with a little added bite. I could eat crust like this all day then wonder what happened to my waistline. And the arugula makes a nice little touch, too - I like leafy greens as much if not more than anyone (my coworkers stare in disbelief at the amount of raw, undressed spinach I eat almost every day for an afternoon snack) and there's plenty enough to go around to add a good little touch of greenery in most every bite.

This leaves the prosciutto and the burrata and other assorted cheeses. Anything cured meat related is usually right up my alley, but this meat just doesn't cut it. It comes packaged separately in some frozen thin sheets (think Steak-Umm style) which thaw out on your counter as the pizza bakes, waiting to be torn up and placed on top when ready to serve. That method works, but any prosciutto flavor just doesn't really come through except a thin trace of saltiness. I'll blame the cheese(s) - according to the ingredients list (which I'll link to, my pictures came out awful), there's six here: burrata, mozzarella, mascarpone, pecorino romano, parmigiano reggiano, and fontal. It sounds like a nice and fancy blend - I'd butcher half the names - but the outcome just isn't that great. It just tastes kinda flat, without too much flavor except a little olive-oily and salt, with some faint garlic, and more or less feels spongy on most bites. Once again, perhaps my tongue isn't sophisticated enough to enjoy the complexities of a fine cheese meld like the stuff on here, but, once again, meh.

But I guess I'd understand people liking this a lot. Like Sandy, for instance. The fact this was a fairly acceptable white pizza-esque consumable good was a big plus for her- no tomato sauce! Not like that dissuades her from enjoying regular pizza, but, anyways. The arugula and crispy crust were also a hit with her, enough to make this a desired repeat buy for the $4.99 it cost, though she'll admit there wasn't much memorable about the cheese mix except how fancy it sounded. Sandy went ahead and gave it a four. That's just too high for me - not enough flavor to really compel me, and when the absolute highlight of a pizza is the crust, I think it says more about the pizza as a whole than the crust. I just can't muster much more than a perfectly middlin' 2.5.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Burrata, Prosciutto & Arugula Flatbread: 6.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Trader Joe's Organic Sriracha Ranch Dressing

RoostersDragonsBBQ SauceJerkyPotato ChipsWontons...

The sriracha craze is still going strong, and I'm still learning new things about the mysterious Thai hot sauce. don't pronounce the first "r" in "sriracha" (Thanks, Marvo!) and that there's a heated East Coast/West Coast debate about whether to always capitalize the "s" at the beginning of the word or not. Since I'm blogging from the East Coast, I'll go ahead and follow the example set for me by The New York Times and not capitalize it in this review. Not that anyone cares or that it at all matters.

What does matter is that this dressing rocks. Finally, good old 'Murican ranch dressing has found its true calling in the form of a sriracha derivative. And I don't even like traditional ranch all that much.

But I do like fact, I LOVE sriracha. "Well, why don't you marry it?" you ask..? Because our country isn't that progressive yet. And as a political moderate, I only support civil unions between man and food.

Plus, I'm already married. Sonia might get jealous. In spite of that, I do have a pet nickname for this salad dressing. I call it "Srirancha." See what I did there? And like Russ, I'll be demanding royalties if that word ever winds up on the label of a future sriracha ranch product.

It's spicy more than it's ranchy or creamy, taste-wise. Although the texture is nice and smooth, like a good quality, traditional, non-sriracha ranch. It was actually hot enough that Sonia had to slow down from time to time and let her mouth recover. I didn't think it was quite that hot—it was just about perfect for me. It had a nice strong kick, but it wasn't overwhelming. It went great with those Portobello Mushroom Fries and even made them quite pleasing to my anti-mushroom palate. It's absolutely perfect with carrots and other dippable veggies, and it even goes great guessed it! Salads!

Sonia loves this product almost as much as I do. It's one of the best dressings I've had in a long time. It's organic, delicious, and reasonably-priced at $2.99. We're gonna go with double 4.5's on this one. Sriracha + ranch = scrump dilly.

Bottom line: 9 out of 10.

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