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Friday, August 28, 2020

Trader Joe's Strawberry Oat Frozen Dessert

Sonia and I have lived in four different states since the inception of this blog. We traveled the country full-time with our two little doggies in an RV for 21 (non-consecutive) months. We've been to every region of the country in that time period.

During our travels, we've become hyper-aware of the plenitude of Trader Joe's locations in certain regions and the overwhelming dearth of them in others. Cities like New York and L.A. have dozens of Trader Joe's locations to choose from. Smaller cities like Omaha, Boise, and Spokane have exactly one TJ's store. Many big college towns have a single location, as well, such as State College, PA.

Then there are entire states that don't have a Trader Joe's yet. There are exactly six among the contiguous United States: West Virginia, Mississippi, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota. And many of the folks who live in those states are within a two hour drive or so to a Trader Joe's in an adjacent state.

I won't disclose exactly where we're stationed right now, but I will say that we live a little farther from a Trader Joe's than we ever have before, and that makes buying Trader Joe's frozen treats just a bit more complicated. In this case, Sonia in particular was tempted just to consume this pint of "oat cream" in the parking lot outside TJ's rather than risk it melting in the cooler on the ride home. We only consumed about half of it before packing it away, and it made the trip completely intact, despite the hot summer temps.

So yeah, Sonia's crazy about this stuff. I like it, too, but I don't think I'd put it on par with good old fashioned cow's milk ice cream. To me, most of the flavor of this frozen dessert comes from the bits of almond brittle and candied strawberry they've tossed into the mix. The taste of the oat milk cream itself seems a little on the bland side. It's not unpleasant at all, and it does have hints of that natural nuttiness you'll find in oat milk, which we both like.

The texture is near perfect to both of us, very closely approximating that of dairyful selections. It's super smooth except for the above-mentioned almonds and strawberry bits. It's pretty darn refreshing in this August heat, too.

Maybe I'm just used to the taste of cow's milk ice cream, but I probably wouldn't reach for this oat cream again. Nothing against it. I just think the taste of true strawberry ice cream is a bit more pungent and flavorsome. Sonia will probably grab a pint on her next TJ's run and finish it right after her shopping, and will eagerly await more flavors to be released.

$3.99 for the pint. Three stars from me. Four and a half from Sonia.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Trader Joe's Jicama Wraps

Time in 2020 seems different than time in any other year I've been around for. Literally, it seems that this year has been going on for years. My lovely bride and i were reminiscing the other day about a trip she took back in February, so a little over six months ago...which seems more like six years ago at this point. We both couldn't believe it.

So, listen, I have no idea when Trader Joe's Jicama Wraps debuted in stores this year. None. Zip. Nada. All I know is I heard and saw the buzz all over the place for them...and when we went to our local TJ's here in good ol' Pittsburgh PA USA...they weren't ever there. It wasn't even a popularity deal, it was more they couldn't even be ordered for who knows what reason. We're always among the last to get anything here, so I've been waiting to try these for what it seems forever...or has it been maybe three weeks max? Two months? Since yesterday? Yanked from the future? I have no idea.

I also had no idea that jicama could be used in this way, as basically a tuber-tilla. Don't know what that is? I just made it up, so I didn't until 10 seconds ago either. It's a tortilla made from just a tuber (root plants like potatoes) and nothing else, and these TJ's jicama wraps may have invented the genre. Nothing added. Nothing obviously subtracted. All these wraps are is precisely as the package states: thinly, almost translucently, sliced jicama. The roughly four inch tubertacular discs are easily rollable and bendable, not so much foldable, sliceable, and are sturdy enough to hold a small taco together while not being quite big enough to hold a lot.

They're also pretty wet, which makes sense, but could be a turnoff for some. And other than that, it's just jicama. With a slight apple-like crispness and a mild sweetness, if you're tired of the same ol' tortillas or just want a low carb alternative that's not a lettuce wrap, go for it! I made a quick lunch yesterday with some leftover chicken, shredded cheese, and salsa, and it worked great. The jicama added a freshness without interfering with any other flavors.

I briefly considered making a quesadilla with them, to see how they'd cook up, but got scared off by the notion of potentially having to scrape burned up jicama off my decrepit frying pan. It's on its last legs as is, I don't need to speed it along. But the package says they're good for did any of you try that? If so, how'd it go?

Pricepoint on these guys is about $4 for the dozen of them. Seems fair, maybe, I guess. Personally, I wouldn't drop any more than that on a regular basis for these guys, but maybe I'm just being cheap again. I like 'em, so does the fam who were brave enough to try them. There's a definite plus for the novelty, innovation and execution, but in the ned, it's still just thinly sliced jicama so I'm not sure how far we can really go here. Double fours? Sure.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Jicama Wraps: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons.

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