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Friday, May 13, 2016

Trader Giotto's Trofie Colore

With five different colors represented, this imported Italian spiral pasta looks super exotic and exciting. Unfortunately, it doesn't taste that way.

Like Russ's toddler being disappointed that the black bean rotini noodles weren't chocolate, I was similarly saddened that these weren't, like, the same five flavors as Life Savers. I mean, the red, orange, yellow, green, and ivory are pretty much exactly the same colors you get in both cases. That's tantamount to false advertising in my book. I was hoping to pair some sweet, fruity noodles with pineapple salsa or something.

I'm actually just kidding about thinking they would be fruit-flavored, although I was hoping they'd have a flavor as flashy as their look. But alas, they're just normal noodles. If anything, they're even more bland than other plain pastas. If you're going to check these out, they're going to depend entirely on the sauce you choose to serve them with.

Since they're actually a type of macaroni noodle, we decided to go with something cheesy and Italian: Trader Giotto's Three Cheese Pomodoro Pasta Sauce, which, much to my surprise, has already been reviewed on this blog. And as that four-year-old review suggests, the sauce is really darn good, and was a much bigger hit than the pasta itself, which will certainly fade out of memory quickly, despite its attractive packaging and colorful presentation.

To be fair, though, there are a few other saving graces in regards to this product. The texture was nice. Cooking them according to the instructions yielded a nice soft batch of semi-tender, twisty, fine-grain pasta. It was filling enough, and for under two bucks, you can hardly complain about the value. I'll offer three stars here. Sonia will go with two and a half.

Bottom line: 5.5 out of 10.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Trader Joe's Gyro Slices

Yes, they exist.

No, I'm not talking about cell phone batteries that don't die every five minutes, pens that don't stop writing with only half the ink used, or a Justin Bieber song that doesn't suck. It's a not that good of a world out there. But at least we do have Chuck Norris-approved roundhouse kicking jeans. Listen, with those hidden gussets not binding your legs, you got some full leg-swinging freedom there, partner.

Nope, I am talking about Trader Joe's Gyro Slices. They do exist. I know, because I just had them for dinner. But if you're searching the shelves for them, good luck...much like their distantly related riced cauliflower cousin, you're much more likely to spot that Bieber character in your local TJ's than this particular meat package. It's that popular with demand that far underestimated that warehouses are out, so get yourself on the waitlist, and if you see any, stock up and sell on eBay.

Are the gyros worth the hype, though? Ehhhh...debatable. Don't get me wrong - I enjoy gyros at local Greek food festivals just as much as anyone reasonably can, so I was pretty hyped up as well. But the TJ gyro slices just aren't quite as good as those - close, but not quite.

The reason? Possibly ignorance, probably perception bias. But I've always thought that the meat in gyros at the food festivals was lamb, or at least mostly lamb. Now, there's lamb in these guys too...listed as the last ingredient before the "Contains 2% or less of the following" part of the credits. So, there just might be as little as 3% lamb we're talking about here...probably more than that, but undoubtedly more beef than lamb. As a result, I swear these taste more beefy than other gyro meat, which kinda comes off as vaguely Steak-Umm-esque, but how accurate that is debatable at best.

That sounded like an insult. I didn't mean it that way. In every other regard these seem spot on, with the breadcrumbs adding the right mealy-meaty feel, and spiced appropriately with the pepper and garlic and whatnot. And I'd be danged if altogether both Sandy and I didn't enjoy a good made-at-home gyro that we'd be more than eager to do again, all for the fraction of the price of gyros out. It helped that when all the sandwich components were together, the perceived beefiness became a lot less noticeable.

For the requisite "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" reference, I won't vouch these are entirely authentic, but will say spraying Windex at them will certainly not make an improvement. If you see 'em, snag 'em. Double fours.

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