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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Trader Joe's Plantain Crisps


Ugh. Hate that word.

It's even worse than a word like "moist" - like, yeah, that's not pleasant, but at least it's easily pronounceable. That -sps at the end is tough. I usually end up adding on an extra S or 3 so it ends up kinda almost rhyming with however Smeagol would say "princesses." I don't like it, no sir, not at all.

But Trader Joe's Plantain Crisps? Heck yeah, I can put up with my dislike of the name for a bag of these any old time.

Holy cow. Love 'em, as I do most anything plantainesque. These crisps, however, are definitely not like the average plantain chip, which are still extremely delectable. Instead of being kinda soft and somewhat Styrofoamy, these crisps are incredibly crunchy. There's as much crunch to these as a thick cut kettle potato chip, except in a lighter form. It's almost unbelievable how crunchy they are.

And oily. Very oily. You'll get greasy fingertips for sure. And there's a lot of salt. If you were thinking these plantain chips might be a healthier alternative to regular ol' spud based chippers, well, I got bad news for ya. it's so not the case. The back of the bag mentions something along the lines of these being twice fried - given the crunch, that wouldn't be surprising. But that definitely adds some calries there as well.

Earthy, crunchy, with a hint of sweetness but not overly so, these chips taste a lot like normal potato chips, except better in a way that I can't quite easily quantify. I could easily eat the whole bag myself - I'd feel awful yet accomplished afterwards, for sure. Good thing is, everyone in the family loved 'em, even the kids were clamored for more and more of them despite snacking on them as I cooked dinner. Fortunately it didn't spoil anything for us.

The bag's about $3 I believe, so it's a good deal. Lots of munch and crunch for your money, and I can't think of a single complaint. I can't quite place them in the panteon of all time great TJ's products but I can put 'em on the doorstep.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Plantain Crisps: 8.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bisque

I've whined enough times about the discontinued tomato bisque. Amy's brand is pretty darn close, so I won't harp on about that in this post. But I will say I'm always on the lookout for a bisque experience on par with that superb—ahem, "soup herb"—tomato version.

This offering comes close in terms of quality and taste, but it's really a whole different animal altogether. It's not like tomato bisque with pumpkin instead of tomato. It is what it is, if you know what I mean. No?

Let me describe it for you. This bisque is smooth. There are no chunks of squash or pumpkin. There are tiny flecks of something—pumpkin puree I assume—but nothing to really add any body or texture. I really don't like perfectly smooth soup unless I have something to dunk into it...or crackers to crumble into it.

The flavor is shockingly sweet—honey sweet. Almost too sweet for my taste. There is a savory aspect to it, and you can definitely taste the squashy pumpkin flavor, but it needs something to balance out its sweetness in my opinion. It's creamy, and there are plenty of secondary herb flavors to keep it interesting: garlic, tahini, and onion to name a few.

Fat content? Oh my. One jar has well over a day's value of fat, saturated fat, and sodium. If this isn't one of your favorite fall items, it might not make your shopping list every time you head to TJ's just because it's on par with an indulgent dessert as far as those stats are concerned. And I should point out that this jar is more like two servings instead of the three they're claiming on the nutrition label.

After trying it by itself, I decided to mix it with some leftover potatoes O'Brien. It worked for me better than the plain bisque did. The taters added some starchiness and firmness to the texture and the flavors blended pretty well, with both elements featuring garlic, onions, and salt. It might seem an odd combo to some, but I'd prefer a potato pumpkin bisque to something totally void of veggie chunks.

Overall, it's good. It's not what I expected. Crazy sweet in my opinion. Sonia liked it a lot more than I did upon first impressions. She was torn between four and a half and four stars, but opted for the latter in the end after she glanced at the nutrition info. It took me quite a while to decide how I feel about it. I was torn between three and three and a half, and I went with the lower of those two since it's just so cloyingly sweet, especially when eaten by itself. But I must admit, it's a unique flavor: sweet pumpkin that's nothing like pumpkin pie or traditional pumpkin spice. I'd say a more fitting name for this product would be "Honey Harvest Bisque." $3.99 for the jar. 

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

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