Google Tag

Search This Blog

Friday, February 12, 2021

Trader Joe's Vegetable Samosa Burrito

I'm not into globalism as far as politics are concerned, but I must admit, when international cultures entwine, some pretty interesting and enticing culinary combinations result.

I'm thinking taco pizza, curried chicken salad, or Chicano hamburgers...or the fact that you can put sriracha on anything American and make it better. Fusion food. The only thing finer than one tasty tradition is two or more combined in the same dish. And now they're doing stuff like sushi corn dogs, kimchi quesadillas, and pierogi poutine...? What the what? I'll have to try those things some day...but until then, I'm glad there's Trader Joe's.

So it's a the form of a burrito. Sounds good. If you use the microwave, this happy little lunch item goes from refrigerated to piping hot in just two minutes.

Despite being a little stuffy from the excessive cold we're feeling here in the upper midwest, that familiar curry-esque samosa smell cut through the kitchen and piqued my appetite immediately. Sonia and I cut our burrito in half and ate it with some other leftover Indian food and rice. By itself, it would have been the perfect size for a stand-alone lunch or even dinner for one person.

There were big chunks of potato, cauliflower, and carrots, plus plenty of large whole peas throughout the dish. The texture of the veggies was just about perfect. The tortilla would have been a bit more crispy had we used the oven, no doubt, but we were fine with it being soft and supple. It's definitely a secondary element after the veggie chunks.

To me, "tomato chutney" doesn't sound particularly appetizing or exciting. But it tasted great. Just look at the ingredients list. There's onions, garlic, mustard, vinegar, white wine, ginger, paprika, turmeric and rosemary, just to name a few of the represented flavors. The taste was every bit as complex and bold as you might expect from those elements. It's a uniquely Indian flavor in the familiar format of a burrito. Would buy again.

$3.99 for the product. Four stars a piece from Sonia and me.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Trader Joe's Plantain Croutons

As a young kid if I were to be at a restaurant with a salad bar, here's precisely what my plate would look like if given the chance: piles of shredded cheese. A couple cucumber slices. Maybe some sliced bell peppers. Handfuls of bacon bits, even more so if those little generic red tinged Bacos or even worse, generic Bacos. A couple of those mini cookies or muffins that are always there. And a tiny piece of lettuce to let my mom know that I, indeed, had made a grown up salad. 

And croutons. Hills and mountain ranges of croutons. 

I mean, what kid doesn't like croutons? My kids love them and call them "crunchers" or "crunchies" or "munchies" or whatever else pops in their head. They eat them by the handful, happily. generally speaking, croutons are classic, and it's really hard to mess with classics. You gotta be fearless. 

Fearlessly indeed, here's Trader Joe's Plantain Croutons. 

What the what? Imagine the classic basic garlic crouton, and instead of the crunchy, bready bite, it's the starchy banana/potato crossover that's been popping up more and more at TJ's. Plantains are the next mango or cookie butter (and they pair well with both!). 

The croutons themselves are far tinier than most of their carby counterparts, and it's for good reason. Whereas regular croutons are still quite crunchy, there's still the softer toasty touch that make them manageably munchable for most. They can afford to be the size they are. It's not quite the case here. These plantain nibs are denser, cruncher, much harder to chew through. Use caution with small kids (between size and density, they're potential choking hazards) or expensive dental work. It's not enough to be offputting to me, but it's absolutely noticeable if you're craving the reliable comfort vibe of a regular ol' crouton. 

Aside from that, it's straight up crouton. There's plenty of garlic - more than expected, my grandma (rest her soul) would appreciate them - and perhaps they're a little heavy on the salt too. I'm not sure if that's just more noticeable since it's a plantain or if it's deliberate on behalf of the manufacturers because it's a plantain and so you have to counterbalance the natural sweetness and starches of a plantain. But it works. 

Gluten free and vegan. Always a plus. They're acceptable crouton-like crunchy cubes for the masses! YAYYYY! *Kermit arms*

I actually haven't had them on a salad, though they'd work well. Instead, I've had them more as a quick afternoon snack here and there. Salad, soups, etc for use, and just now typing this up I wonder if they'd work in something like a homemade Chex Mix. Gonna have to find out. Not quite double fours from my lovely bride and me. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Plantain Croutons: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons


Monday, February 8, 2021

Trader Joe's Heart Shaped Macarons

Each February, I'm hard-pressed to fulfill my husbandly duties of surprising Sonia with goodies on back-to-back special occasions. Today is her birthday, and less than a week from today is, of course, Valentine's Day. Fortunately, neither she nor I tend to put a lot of emphasis on V.D. so a casual edible novelty or two and a cozy movie night generally fits the bill.

Since today is Monday, any birthday festivities for the wifey took place over the weekend. She opened some gifts—most of which she ordered herself online and then I wrapped—and we had some Shari's Berries instead of a traditional cake, a few special appetizers and beverages during the Superbowl, and finally, we decided to break out these strawberry and raspberry flavored macarons.

I've ranted about silly heart-shaped things before on this blog, so I'll spare you my diatribe a second time. Seasonally appropriate? Check. There's the obligatory white, pink, and red colors that scream "Valentine's" all over the packaging. Easy enough for me to prepare? Check. All that's required is thawing in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for an hour.

Flavor-wise, they're pretty decent. They've got an almond meal base, with egg whites as the secondary ingredient, followed by white chocolate. They didn't overdo the sweetness at all. In fact, I almost want them to be a bit sweeter. The "vanilla creme with strawberry center" ones—the white ones—are slightly better than their pink counterparts in my opinion, although there's very little strawberry filling at all. They're mostly just vanilla.

Sonia likes the other flavor better—the pink ones. The outer shell of the raspberry flavor tastes almost freezer-burnt to me. Our box has a best buy date in January 2022, so freshness shouldn't be an issue. Maybe I'm just not used to the ingredients used here...? I must admit, however, the raspberry creme filling is pleasantly sweet and tart, and there's more than enough of it in each little heart-shaped bite.

These are a suitable alternative to the common V.D. box of chocolates. For $4.99, you're paying as much for presentation and pretty packaging as you are for the actual food. Product of Belgium. Again, why does Trader Joe's need to import them from another continent?

Three stars from me. Three and a half from the missus.

Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

You Might Like: