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Friday, December 29, 2017

Trader Joe's Stroopwafel

"There's only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures...and the Dutch."

A little Austin Powers humor there for you. But you gotta admit. The Dutch make a mean cookie. I mean waffle. I mean...stroopwafel. Stroop! There it is!

These things are like the sexy illegitimate love-children of a naughty sugar cookie and a super sultry, syrupy waffle. They're pretty sweet. I mean that both literally, and as in, like, "Sweet, dude!" They taste like buttery, bready sugar cookie waffle things. And the texture...the texture is even harder to describe. The packaging says "crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside." That's not inaccurate at all. But...they're so much more surprisingly awesome than that sounds. I feel like I've had "crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside" before, but I wanna say this is just a whole new mouthfeel here with these stroopwafels. Also, there's a quaint, collectible tin.

It was once suggested that we here at What's Good at Trader Joe's? are nothing but "Belgian World Domination Puppets" due to our love of speculoos cookie butter in all its majestic forms. Well, watch out, Belgium, you've got some competition. Your friendly Netherlandish neighbors are revving up their TJ's game. I'll be first in line for Stroopwafel Butter.

Watch Sonia's video for pics of the product, nutrition info, and a cool trick where you place a stroopwafel on top of a coffee cup and it gets all warm and gooey. It's like the Dutch version of a Tim Tam Slam.

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

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Trader Joe's Cocoa Almond Cashew Beverage

Here it is, just about 2018, and we still haven't solved one of mankind's most benign yet vexing issues...

No, it isn't parallel parking or the fact that the letter o and number 0 are practically right on top of each other on a keyboard. I cannot tell you how many times per review I still have to fix that while writing...and I' used a keyboard all my life. The guy who invented the QWERTY display didn't entirely think that one through.

Nope, talking about reheating properly in a microwave, namely so the vessel containing its edible treasure doesn't become so hot that it can barely be touched, without the contents still remaining cool or lukewarm at best. I've never got it licked.

Still haven't with Trader Joe's Cocoa Almond Cashew Beverage. It can served either warm or chilled, and seeing as though it was at its normative shelf-stable temp when I cracked it open, and it's now in the single digits here, you best believe I was going to try my bestest to warm it up.

Mug got as hot as a dancing bobcat with its butt on fire. TJ's cocoa-nut drink shrugged and went up maybe a few ticks. Gosh darn it.

Once I could lift my mug without fear of losing my fingerprints, I'll admit my first impression was that I was going to be underwhlemed. Sure, the cocoa smelled good...but something seeemed somewhat amiss. Couldn't put my finger on it. But the taste seemed to follw suite, naturally. Upfront, the drink is fairly cocoa-y, with a little earthiness from the almonds and cashews. And it's creamy, too, not gritty or chalky or anything like other nut milks I've had. But on the back end is its shortcoming, I think. Whereas most other chocolate drinks would perhaps go for one last sugary push to notch another level of decadence, or would at leastr attmept to hold the cocoa-line, this one just kinda quits.

As in, still vaguely like chocolate, but not as much as from the outset. And certainly not as much as it could go for. In a way, it kinda tastes like somewhat disappointing cereal milk - just enough of a tease to give ya hope, just to let ya down.

I don't mean this as a total knock. Certainly, for $2.29, it's worth a shot, especially if you have dairy issues, or for whatever reason like my wife try to avoid cow milk. But to me at least, there's a richness being sacrificed that's not worth it unless you have a compelling reason to. Make sense? I sure hope so...because my microwave sure doesn't to me, and unlike my nuker, I don't want to burn ya or leave ya out in the cold.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Cocoa Almond Cashew Beverage: 6 out of 10 Golden Spoons

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