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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Trader Joe's Fiery Chicken Curry

Despite all proceeding evidence to the contrary, I really thought this was shrimp.

Maybe it was just a weird random parallel pescaterian universe portal that let me see this, but I really thought I read this as "Trader Joe's Fiery Shrimp Curry," not "Trader Joe's Fiery Chicken Curry." I was on a solo parenting trip, so no witnessses. And it being a hot day, with no plans to go right home afterwards, and this being a frozen entree, it made a purchase unwise at that time. I thought about taking a pic, but TJ's doesn't really like that, and I've bent enough rules in the past by recording a podcast there, so I relied on my old, thought-to-be-rustproof memory. I'll just tell Sandy to get it next time she goes. No biggie. shrimpy. Internet searches and calls to all the area TJ's confirmed. It's chicken, not shrimp. It's still an acceptable protein, of course...but it ain't shrimp.

It's kinda too bad, as the chicken in the new TJ's fiery chicken curry is kinda the weak point. Not that I reasonably expect high quality pollo from a frozen dinner that cost $3.49. But I'd expect better than what I got here. The package states upfront it's chicken breast AKA white meat. Now, I have no real problem, generally, with dark thigh meat, but when you expect a few choice-ish morsels of white meat but get only three of them, and about three dense, grisly dark meat pieces it kinda throws you off. It'd be more acceptable if somewhat expected.

Everything else? On point. Gotta give it to TJ's on the sauces for their frozen dishes, particularly the Indian ones. This curry sauce is awesome. Coconutty, sweet, layered, peppery, fiery, spicy, with intensifying and lingering heat....yes to all of those. It wasn't too spicy for either Sandy or I, but could be for some of y'all out there. If the sauce were sold separately as "fiery curry sauce" we'd buy again and again and probably prop it to our pantheon on here.

Turmeric rice is turmeric rice. Helps fill out the meal and soak up all the sauce. Nice work, rice. Represent.

Still, with this being chicken and not shrimp I feel an opportunity got missed. And lo and behold I'm not completely crazy. The term "Goan-inspired" made me Wiki up some info, and, well, look: "Goan food is considered incomplete without fish." With some high quality shrimp, and even at a mildly increased price point, this dish could be a real absolute winner that'd help make up for a rare shrimp miss on TJ's part. Oh well.

The fiery chicken curry is definitely repeat purchase worthy if for no other reason than to get another hit of that tasty tasty sauce. Love it. Makes a perfect microwavable meal for my heavily birddogged no-less-than-28-but-absolutely-no-more-than-32-minutes lunch break for me. Double fours.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Fiery Chicken Curry: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Trader Joe's Honey Pale Ale Mustard

When I first met Sonia, she was going through a mustard phase. She absolutely slathered her food with mustard—even stuff that didn't necessarily call for mustard, like egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches. I thought it was weird, but you know, we all have our quirks. When friends would say, "Hey tell me about that girl you're dating now." I'd reply, "Well, she really likes mustard."

Myself? The older I've gotten, the more I've come to appreciate mustard. I wouldn't touch the stuff as a kid, but by the end of high school, I developed an appreciation for plain yellow. In later years, I came to know and love darker mustards, as well as sweeter ones. This particular selection has elements of both of the latter camps—it has a complex flavor like a darker mustard, but it also has a fair amount of honey sweetness.

I don't know about "pale ale" here. I love beer. I love ales. I love pale ales. But as far as hops, malt, and fermentation are concerned, neither Sonia nor I are tasting anything as specific as pale ale, although I do see there's a bit of it in there at the tail end of the ingredients list. 

Nevertheless, this is a tasty mustard by both our reckonings. It has the best of both a honey mustard and a dark type mustard, but without the spice of a traditional dijon. Sonia loved it with a salted soft pretzel. I had it with a turkey and swiss bagel sandwich, and it worked quite nicely. I'm sure it would go with anything traditional like burgers, too. I'd be interested if it would work with something like salmon even...? Haven't tried it yet, but let us know if you have.

It's going to get a thumbs up from each of us, though perhaps a bit more enthusiastic one from the mustard connoisseur. Four stars from Sonia. Three and a half from me.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

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