Google Tag

Search This Blog

Friday, April 29, 2016

Trader Joe's Island Salsa

Memorial Weekend is only about a month away! You know what that means - the unofficial start of summer and all that. And that means vacation time! For a lot of you out there, that means one big thing: the beach.

Listen: I'm not opposed to beaches. I can spend a day there and reasonably relax. But maybe it's my fair gingery complexion that causes sunburn too easily, or my general aversion to sand in uncomfortable places, but given the choice, send me off to the mountains (cannot wait for a weekend canyoneeering in Zion National Park in June). For the whole family, we have our sights set on a Pirates road trip which true to tradition will probably include a stop at TJ's and a zoo. We'll probably spend a day at Presque Isle (best lake beach!) but other than that, islands? Beaches? All that? not in our plans.

Buuuuuuut...if you want to send your tastebuds on an early tropical vacation, you can easily pick up a jar of Trader Joe's Island Salsa. $2.99 on your local TJ shelf.

Even for us admittedly nonbeachy folks, this is some good, good salsa. The mango and pineapple base offers a sweet citrusy opening flourish that, while a little cloyingly candylike, quickly resides. In the middling transition, there's a quick hit of the bell peppers and onions before ending up with a mostly subtly spicy bow. Now, I said mostly. Depending on perspective, if you get the right or wrong bite into one of the very ripe red jalapenos, the heat goes up quite noticeably. But if that happens, just pop in another bite real quick, and chances are, the smooth sweetness will soothe your burning buds.

Like most fruit salsas, it is kinda delicate in flavor. The salsa was a great accompaniment for some tortilla chips, and atop a mahi mahi burger....heaven. Grilled chicken would also be a great pairing, whereas things like beef tacos I wouldn't see as much, unless you're into that kinda thing. 

I'm not quite sold on the word "chunky" in the description, though. Really, the whole salsa flows fairly alike to crushed pineapple, so there are small little chunks, but no mega veggie or fruit boulders. I guess if pressed I could say chunky, but to me, it's much in the moderate middle between smooth and chunky.

Also, as a huge bonus for my beloved wife: no tomatoes. None. That's got to be the reason she gives it a perfect five. I'm not able to ask her, since she's not quite 18 months old yet, but I'd love to know what my younger daughter B thinks - she was eating this by the spoonful as happy as could be. Well, until she caught that one jalapeno...but even though, after making a face for a couple minutes, she went back for more. Regardless, Sandy in a rare flash of exuberance goes with an all-out perfect five for her score. I want to go there myself, but fruit salsa aren't my bag, but this is undoubtedly the best fruit salsa I've had that I can remember (at least in the jarred grocery category)...alright, alright, we'll Pantheon it.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Island Salsa: 9.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Trader Joe's Hot & Spicy Chicken Wings Sections

There's a few different ways to prepare wings. Grilling, smoking, deep frying...those are all valid methods. Baking though? And from frozen? Listen, if you're willing to sacrifice some quality on the altar of convenience...well, sure, I guess. After all, it is still a chicken wing, but you can expect a little soft mush instead of firm bite with crispy skin.

Such is the shortfall of Trader Joe's Hot & Spicy Chicken Wings Sections. Convenient? Heck yes. Just need a few minutes in the oven to warm up these fully-cooked frozen fowl fragments. But, if you desire the usual feel of a good wing, or need more spice than the usually toned down variety made for mass consumption, these won't quite hit the spot. Spend the little extra time to get some fresh wings, make your own hot sauce concoction, and go for it.

All that being said, for what they, these aren't a bad bunch of wings. There was about an even ration of wings to drumsticks, and all were meaty enough, with just enough heat to keep me interested but still well below my admittedly high threshhold. There were about 15 in there, and cost maybe $5 or $6, so a good value. Still, if you're hankering for some truly great wings, you're better off somewhere else.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Hot & Spicy Chicken Wing Sections: 6.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

You Might Like: