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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Trader Joe's Crispy Onion Chips

I never really got Funyuns.

Considering how much I love the taste of onions, I'm just never in the mood to have oily corn meal rings that vaguely taste like the popular root vegetable. I mean, they're not terrible. I just always wondered why they couldn't have some actual onion bits in them. 

Sure, they're optimized for sitting in unrefrigerated vending machines for weeks or months at a time, which wouldn't work with real onion pieces. But what if the onion pieces were dehydrated? Hmm. Then we might have a real winner.

And what if, furthermore, there was no cornmeal at all and the only ingredients were "onions, rice bran oil, and salt"? Well, then, my friends, you would have these: Trader Joe's Crispy Onion Chips.

I'm not saying everybody will enjoy these unique chips as much as I do. In fact, I'd be shocked if many people are with me on this one. The chips flaunt a texture not unlike that of styrofoam. Crispy? Yes, but they melt in your mouth in the most delightful and unexpected way.

The natural flavor of onions is on full display here. They almost taste like a rice-based snack, dusted with some complex array of garlicky additives and exotic seasonings. There's even something buttery about them. But all that's there is onion, salt, and oil. Amazing, really. 

If you don't have a weird affinity for onions like Sonia and I do, you might not be as enthused. But for all onion-lovers, I'd say these are worth at least one purchase. $2.69 for the 1.4 oz bag. It says it's one serving, but even Sonia and I managed to stretch it to multiple sittings. If you eat this whole bag all at once, then dang, I guess you must really, really like onions.

Four and a half stars from me. Four and a half from the wifey.

Bottom line: 9 out of 10.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Trader Joe's Cajun Style Alfredo Sauce


Ah, the old familiar refrain, sung daily from the shorter, stinkier faction of my evergrowing family. 

To which I always respond: Hamsters.

Heck, I'd go all Bubba Blue on them, too.  Hamsters are like fruit of the earth. Barbecue, boil, broil, bake, saute. hamster kebobs, creole and gumbo...I could go on and on. Usually it quiets them down. 

Please note: We don't actually eat hamsters here. It's all lighthearted diversion, as well as a subtle shoutout to one of the finest cartoons series to ever grace this earth

All that being said, if not some hamster, man, something else is really needed to make Trader Joe's Cajun Style Alfredo Sauce work.

As perhaps the fatal flaw for our dinner and this pertinent review, my lovely bride and I splashed a ladelfull over this new Cajun-inspired pasta sauce on just some plain rigatoni the other night. Kids had marinara so we didn't have to hear complaints of "too spicy." The result was pretty meh. 

With giving the chance to shine all by itself atop just some plain noodles, the sauce doesn't hold up well. There's a bit of cool creaminess, a bit of bite from the cheese...and paprika. Lots and lots of paprika. Paprika is all there is for spice. Paprika is good and all, but the whole spicy sensation defaults to solely that so it all feels a little one note. Sure, the grana padano slips in there too, with its parmesanesque twinge, but in the end, it's not unpleasant but seems a bit incomplete. 

Atop some roasted veggies, though? It's a better experience. Perhaps some of the taste and texture of our broccoli and Brussel sprouts took away just enough of the creaminess so other aspects of the sauce began to emerge, like pepper and  garlic and chili and fennel. Granted, paprika was still the dominant spice force, but at least it wasn't by itself. 

I'd give this another try, but would be sure to grab some chicken or sausage or hamster-stuffed alligator (for the true Cajun experience) or something to mix in with some hearty pasta and veggies. That'd seem more like it. Some sauces are meant to shine, and others meant to throw assists to the meal components, and the TJ's Cajun alfredo seems to be the latter. By its lonesome, though? Pretty meh. We'll both toss it a 3. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Cajun Style Alfredo Sauce: 6 out of 10 Golden Spoons. 


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