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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Trader Joe's Marbled Mint Crunch Chocolate Bar

Another day, another Trader Joe's chocolate bar.

This one has white chocolate, dark chocolate, and swaths of minty magic running through it. Also, there's a nice little crunch factor here. If you like sweet treats with that crispy cookie vibe, a la Crunch, Krackel, or Kit Kat, then look no further. And I know some of you are chocolate mint or "grasshopper" fans. If so, this is the candy bar for you.

Just imagine those original Andes candies with all the layers marbled instead of laid flat on one another, and then changed into perfect squares instead of rectangles. Then imagine each piece with small bits of cocoa cookie biscuit inserted into it, to provide a delicate crunchable brittleness to each bite, and then lay eight squares together in two rows of four squares each, and fuse them all together to make a chocolate bar. That's what you have here.

In my opinion, it's a nice balance of mint and chocolate. Despite the fact "white chocolate" is listed first on the ingredients, the bar neither looks nor tastes that way. If I had guessed at the type of chocolate employed here without looking at the back of the packaging, I might have wagered it was milk chocolate. I guess the white and dark balance each other out somehow. Sonia thinks the mint is a little too strong. But then again, she's not a big fan of mint and chocolate together. I think the ratio is just about right.

If I were to change anything about this bar, I'd ask for more crunch. There are probably more than enough cookie bits for the average person, but I think they make the texture more interesting, so I wouldn't mind if the crunchability increased dramatically.

Another point to ponder: it's a product of Ireland. I'm not sure how that makes sense economically to import something as simple as chocolate and mint, but I don't presume to question the methods of Almighty Joe. 

Three and a half stars from me. Three from Sonia.

Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Trader Joe's Organic Cold Brew Coffee

"Hi, my name's Dada, and I need to eat more coffee."

When they're not too busy calling me "Uncle Russ" or "Rusty" or threatening to eat my head, this is how my kids (almost five and two and a half years old) are choosing to mock me these days. I suppose it could be worse.

But imagine a little voice saying that, in a mockingly deep and somewhat serious tone.

And yes, it's a true statement. Except for eating part, especially that the TJ's coffee craze has seemingly subsided.

Now that it's after Memorial Day, it's officially cold brew coffee season. Hot coffee, when hot outside, is awful. No one needs that. But a well done cold brew coffee? Rich and smooth and delicious, with a roasted sweetness tacked on? Yes please. All summer along.

Trader Joe's Organic Cold Brew Coffee is precisely that. If not for the new coffee shop that just opened down the street from us, I'd be stocking up even more on the TJ brew. There's not much to nitpick here. Heck, I even love the bottle, with the oddly satisfying pull-ring pop cap. When that cracks open, it did something for me. Can't explain it. But it did.

The cold brew is decidely dark, with a full on flavor that I thoroughly enjoyed drinking black over some ice. One is supposed to "pour hard" to apparently activate the nitrogenation of this, okay, sure. there might be something to that. I'd be lying to say that I noticed one way or another, so if that is a failure of my pouring technique, so be it. I did what I could.

I heard from our TJ's cashier that some have said this coffee is decidely high octane with extra caffeeine. It might be that espresso they tack in. Again, haven't noticed that myself, to be honest. At time of writing I drank this several hours ago while grilling dinner, and I could go to bed within five minutes and be fine. Must be those kids driving me crazy over a long holiday weekend.

A bottle costs $1.99 and can be found in the refrigerated area, in our particular store near the yogurt and juices. Compare to the normal coffee shop prices, and it's not an awful deal. I'd tell you what Sandy thought of it, but I kinda, without thinking too hard about it, drank most of it with her getting only a small sip or two. I don't know why she didn't get her own. Oh well. Must have been lack of coffee - it's not just Dada who's so caffeine dependent, after all.

No real complaints, and is in fact pretty robust and tasty, so let's just say it's pretty darn good.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Organic Cold Brew Coffee: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons

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