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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Trader José's Serrano Salsa Fresca

Why is my boss younger than me?

Why can't I recognize any song on the radio unless it's tuned to the classic rock station?

Why am I more excited about my company's pledged increase to 401k contributions than its also new quarterly bonus program? Not that I'm not excited about both...

Why do I want to be in bed by 11pm, although that's rare? Why is it notable if I'm still in it after 7am, which is even rarer?

Why does my knee hurt?

And is Trader Jose's Serrano Salsa Fresca actually spicy, or am I just becoming a wimp?

I'm turning 36 this upcoming summer and it's these kinda questions I'm pondering. Growing "old" i guess...I know, I know, but it's a relative term, and so for me, I'm at least not getting younger.

Getting back to this tub of fresh salsa straight from the TJ's refrigerated section, it's a pretty potent mix. I'm actually not sure if spicy as in heat is the right word, as there's a lot of flavor coming out. Decidedly, it's a little heavy on the cilantro and garlic, so if you're not a fan of those, you're better off staying away. But there's also subtle sweetness and cooling from tomatoes, a little bite from some onions and peppers, and yeah, a good amount of heat as well. I'll admit the first bite I had seemed a bit vinegary at first, but that must have been a bad sample as none of the rest seemed that way.

Overall, there is a restaurant quality vibe to the serrano salsa. The minute little chunks and semi-wateriness seem on par with most nonjarred salsa varieties I've had at the pseudo-Mexican style joints around here in the 'burgh. That's a compliment. But after a few bites, it all begins to get a bit much, and I'm not sure if that's just me getting a little wimpy or not. I had some this morning on my breakfast eggs, and again tonight with a couple tortilla chips, and, well, let's just see what tomorrow brings, if you know what I mean. At least I haven't needed any Rolaids, yet.

Getting back to my new old man tendencies, I wasn't able to figure out how to take an adequate picture of nutritional info and ingredients, so I'll just link to it here. Didn't even need the AOL keyword to find it, so ha! Sandy and I will rank the salsa as good, not great, with me sneaking extra pointage for the use of Jose instead of Joe....I like the different characters who seem to be disappearing from the good ol' days.

Bottom line: Trader Jose's Serrano Salsa Fresca: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Trader Joe's Banh Mi Inspired Noodle Bowl

So it turns out that Cauliflower Cookie Butter isn't a thing...yet. And it also turns out that previous cookie butter selections are already vegan. I hadn't realized.

Know what else is vegan? 

Not this salad. 

But it is vegetarian, and it's also Vietnamese. "Banh mi" apparently means "bread," which is super inappropriate, because there's absolutely no bread in this product. Trader Joe would like you to purchase a baguette separately and stuff the contents of this salad into it for an authentic Vietnamese-inspired banh mi sandwich. Or you can just skip the bread and the carbs and eat it salad-style, which is exactly what we did.

I'm down with sriracha. I'm down with tofu. And I'm definitely down with sriracha-baked tofu, and that, in my humble opinion, was by far the strongest element of this exotic salad. Apparently, it can be purchased separately at TJ's. We haven't gotten around to reviewing it just by itself on this blog yet.

I'm normally a fan of most salad dressings, but this stuff was a little odd to me. It was slightly sweet, but there was also a tanginess involved that I found off-putting for some reason. It was almost sour to my taste buds. Also, the pickled vegetables were a little too pickled for me. The noodles? They were just kinda there.

Sonia? She loved it. And I'm glad, because she downed the salad quickly after I had given up on it. I wanted to like it, but there was just too much pickley tang. I gobbled up some lettuce and srirachified tofu chunks at the onset, but most of the pieces were slathered in that dressing, so I deferred to the wife at that point. I'd give banh mi another chance if I ever came across the bona fide sandwich at a Vietnamese place, but in general, I'll stick with pho.

Sonia enjoyed each element of the salad, including the dressing. She thought all the flavors worked well together, and she appreciated that the tofu was nice and firm—it gave the salad some body. She thinks it was a little too pricey at $4.99, but other than that, she'd consider getting it again.

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

Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

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