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Friday, June 30, 2017

Trader Joe's Caramel Ginger Popcorn

"Like Cracker Jack for adults."

Those were the first words out of Sandy's  mouth after her initial sampling of Trader Joe's Caramel Ginger Popcorn. And it is kinda the easy comparison - the known American classic that pretty much anyone has at least a vague idea of what it is. Cheap popcorn, heavily coated in corn syrupy caramel with surprisingly few peanuts and a dumb sticker that sticks less than all the kernels leftover in your teeth.

I mean, who really enjoys Cracker Jack?

All that being said, this Caramel Ginger Popcorn is pretty tasty. With a caveat or two, yes, but still....much better than Cracker Jack.

First off, it's pretty decent popcorn - surprisingly fresh tasting for a bagged product. And the coating of caramelized sugar, while a little uneven and thicker at times, is by-in-large thinner and adds a more-crispy-than-crunchy element. Most bites are more sugary than anything else, but not too over the top.

Of course, there's the ginger though...the further you dig into the bag, the more it's there. Other than an occasional hint here and there, there's not much of it about at first. Midway thru, it's almost an every morsel occurrence. But by the bottom, if you don't like ginger - pick carefully. That's where all the crystallized ginger nuggets reside, bursting with ginger heat ready to singe the tastebuds. It's not entirely unpleasant if you like such things, but if you're ginger adverse, steer away.

Sandy really enjoys it, more than I do. "If it only had cashews, it'd be perfect," she said. I agree that'd be a good little addition, even if it meant slightly sacrificing the $3 price point for the sack. I'd wish there'd be a way for more of the ginger to be evenly distributed so it wasn't feast or famine in that regard. Anyways, as it is, here's an above average score. Now if it only had a really bad baseball sticker in there too...

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Caramel Ginger Popcorn: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Trader Joe's Matcha Joe-Joe's

In my ongoing attempts to be a well-rounded human, I repeatedly try things I'm not 100% enthusiastic about at the onset. Once in a while, said things I'm not super enthused about wind up growing on me. Case in point: matcha.

Trader Joe's dessertification of the earthy powdered green tea was a great excuse to give matcha another try. Well, okay, not this candy bar dessertification of green tea. Despite being a fan of white chocolate, that combo still sounds a little weird to me, and I'm glad Russ picked up a bar so I didn't have to.

But matcha in sandwich cookies? That's just weird enough to work. If it worked with coffee, then why wouldn't it work with green tea?

Will the matcha still fight cancer, lower cholesterol, boost immunity, reduce stress, and enhance my metabolism? Somehow, I doubt it. But I'm going to eat these cookies anyway.

Upon first bite, you might not notice the matcha flavor. I mean, it's there, so you might notice it if you're really paying attention, but the vanilla cookies mute the earthy green tea taste to the point where even matcha-haters might be able to stomach this particular iteration of Joe-Joe's.

For matcha lovers—if you want to prove to yourself that these cookies are well-worth their "matcha" moniker—return to your childhood by unscrewing the sandwich cookie and licking the creme center right off the cookie. Bam. It's sweet...but it's unmistakably matcha-y. I admit, it's weird that it works. But it does. Even for me, who, again, isn't super into matcha—it's so sweet that I can't dislike it.

I'm going to surprise even myself here as I toss out three and a half stars. Matcha-liking Sonia will go with four.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

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