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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Trader Joe's Banana Date Nut Bread Crisps

For reasons mostly unbeknownst to me, we have all sorts of treat stashes for ourselves in our house. It's almost like a video game come to life with loot boxes here and there if you only know where to look. Must be at least partially because aside from me, everyone else in the house eats treats at a snail-like pace. We still have Easter candy left...from last year.

But the kids will ask for treats, of course, and they'll ask for where they want their treat from instead of what. "Can I have a treat from my treat box?" "Can I have a treat from my Easter basket?" Can I have a treat from my Halloween bucket from when I was a baby?" And so on. Still it stumped me when my four year old, B, asked me if she could have a treat from "the little yellow box."

You guessed it...she meant Trader Joe's Banana Date Nut Bread Crisps.

Admittedly, these crisps are pretty treat-like. I mean, it's based off banana bread. Thank God someone figured out how to make such a delicious thing out of rotting bananas.

The loaf that goes into making these crisps is something else, though. Scan the ingredients and you may see some that Betty Crocker didn't use. First: dates. Huge date fan, so this is a plus in my book. Also Greek yogurt? Himalayan pink sea salt too? Goodness. Not just almonds but also walnuts and pecans? I'd love to try the bread uncrispdefied for sure!

So the end result is a pretty terrific banana bread in a sliced up, crunchy form. Well, almost. There are still some pockets of moisture here and there - that might be the dates - but when first opened, there are some decidedly softer spots. It's a little odd. Let the crisps get some air over a couple days and they do crunch up quite a bit more. I kinda like 'em better that way.

I didn't really notice the walnuts or pecans either. It's impossible to miss the almonds. And there's so much good, rich banana bread flavor - perhaps amped up a little bit - that I'm not really sold on having to try and pair the crisps with something else. My lovely bride feels a little differently and is thinking either something close to cream cheese or a nice light chevre might be a nice addition. She's probably right.

Definitely a tasty treat overall. Somebody hit me the price - I know it's not much but I misplaced the receipt and my memory is faulty. I'm thinking the banana bread crisps are in the $2.50 to $3 range, though. Nice work, as usual, TJ's.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Banana Date Nut Crisps: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Trader Joe's Sour Strawberry Ale

Last week, a daring young gentleman tweeted about turning this sour ale into a float. He asked the simple question: "Good idea or bad idea?"

My gut reaction was disgust. You wouldn't make a float out of this stuff for the same reason you wouldn't make a float out of Bud or Miller—it's beer. We sampled the cranberry version of this sour ale last year, and it was super sour. Still beer, but sour. Definitely not sweet at all.

But what if an outside element were to sweeten this sour beer...something like, say, vanilla ice cream?

It works. Against all odds and all my instincts, it somehow works. This isn't the first time beer has surprised me with its versatility. It's amazing that Guinness mixed with Bailey's functions so well as an Irish Car Bomb. I'm still in awe that beer can turkey is a thing, although I do have a terrible time removing the shards of aluminum from the stuffing mix. Just kidding.

On its own, this product is exactly like its cranberry counterpart, but, you know, with strawberry flavor instead of cranberry. It's still quite sour, although not quite as harshly tart as the cranberry version. It's surprisingly not sweet, and maintains its identity as an ale—not a wine cooler or girly-sweet fruit beer. No offense to you ladies. 

Speaking of ladies, Sonia has become an aficionado of sour beers as of late. She's into the gose-style brews that have been somewhat trendy in this country in the past couple years or so. So how does this sour cerveza compare? It's good, she thinks. She likes the overall flavor and sourness level, but she's had a few brands of gose that she prefers and thinks are much sourer. This particular beer isn't really a gose. It's a witbier, produced by Petrus, just like its cranberry predecessor. Overall, I think this flavor is a tad more drinkable and probably works better for floats and other off-the-wall ale experiments.

Three and a half stars from Sonia. Four from me. If you do pick up a bottle, be sure to grab some vanilla ice cream, too.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

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