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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Trader Joe's Grass Fed Buffalo Milk Butter

Ladies and gentlemen, consider the American buffalo. A strong and mighty animal, a national icon, revered by generations and immortalized by legend, songs, and even our currency. They're also scary as heck. Source: One stuck his/her head into my open car window at one of those drive-thru safari-type deals in central Ohio. Now, I know that buffalo are not carnivorous beasts but I feared my arm would get chewed off, and hearing the air shuffle in and out of a buffalo's nostril from like six inches away is intimidating at the very least. I'm glad that when I drove off, it didn't take my car door with it.

There's also all sort of buffalo meat products, some of which covered on this blog, like burgers and jerky and whatnot. Lean, meaty, tasty. Just like a good animal should.

And apparently, there's also now Trader Joe's Grass Fed Buffalo Milk Butter.

Returning once again to my albeit limited knowledge of buffalo, I know that buffalo are mammals. Mammals make milk. That also means that buffalo have nipples, which I never thought of until now, but came to mind because one of Robert DeNiro's greatest cinematic lines ever. Baby buffs need to eat somehow, I suppose....still. Buffalo nipples. No thanks.

Moving on....with buffalo milk you can make buffalo butter. That's what TJ's did, because, well, why not, right? If that doesn't sound exotic enough, it's "lightly salted with pink Himalayan salt." Hoo boy.

Despite all that, this butter tastes not all that different from regular butter. There's no overriding "weird factor" at play here. Maybe the only weird thing is how normal it is. If anything, the butter tastes a little milder, and maybe a touch less salty, but there's nothing abundantly different with it. We're primarily Kerrygold fans in our house (please, no "vegetable oil spreads" for us), and there's a difference: that aforementioned mildness.There's an extra something to Kerrygold which isn't there with the TJ's buffalo butter, but that's not meant as a pejorative. I can only taste the difference because, for the sake of the blog, I sampled both straight off a spoon* and I'd say is a tossup which one I like more. That's some praise.

I will add that the buffalo butter isn't too prone to spreading. It's hard when chilled, and even if kept out for a bit, the butter never really spreads that much. It's not a big deal for me, as the only time I spread butter is on top of something fresh out of the toaster, and this butter melts nicely when given the right conditions.

We like it. Seems healthier than regular butter - less cholesterol? I'm a guy reaching my mid 30s. Yes please! - without sacrificing too terribly much. I'm not sure if this "our new butter" or not, but I've caught both my wife and my kids eating it just straight*, a smidge here, a tidbit there after using it on toast or a waffle. I don't get it, but it's part of the package deal. The small tub was only a few bucks and worth the pickup. Sandy's only real complaint was it's tub form, making it more difficult to measure for recipes and the like. No other real complaints one way or another.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Grass Fed Buffalo Milk Butter: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons
* Eating butter straight is disgusting. I only sampled some straight off a spoon for the purpose of this blog....people like my wife and kids do this willingly. Ugh. Cold lardy spread with nothing else? Gross. Really gross. Don't do it. Ever.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Josephsbrau Spring Prost

Following in the footsteps of other Gordon Biersch-produced, Trader Joe's-distributed, seasonally-inspired Josephsbrau brews, here we have a delightful vernal offering of Maibock style lager.

I retained enough of my high school and college German to know that "Mai" means May, and that these beers are traditionally served at spring festivals in that particular very merry month. And while we're still just getting into the swing of my other favorite month that starts with "M," it is feeling significantly warmer than Sonia and I are used to this time of year since we're still exploring the Carolinas—a great deal farther south than we've been at this time of year for the past six years or so. All that to say, it feels appropriate enough to be consuming spring-themed products at this particular juncture.

I have certainly heard of bocks and Maibocks before, but I've actually never heard of a "prost" prior to laying eyes on this product. They probably deliberately avoided the word in our German classes because teaching it to us would have been construed by certain overprotective parents and/or uptight faculty as encouraging underage drinking, since the word is inextricably intertwined with beer, and is used to say "cheers" auf Deutsch.

As far as the actual product goes, I think I enjoyed this one the most of any Josephsbrau beverages that I've tried thus far. It was somewhat foamy, with a larger-than-usual head, and it poured a color I'd put somewhere between mahogany and amber. It tasted nutty, caramelly, and moderately bitter. I found it slightly smoother and more drinkable than most beers, and I'd happily purchase it again at $1.17 per bottle. Sonia tried it and was similarly pleased, but perhaps not quite as much as I was.

Three and a half stars from her. Four from me.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

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