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Friday, July 23, 2021

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Coffee Buzz Bars

 A normal ounce of dark chocolate contains roughly 12mg of caffeine according to the allknowing Googlemachine. That's...not a lot. 

A regular cup of coffee contains about 90mg of caffeine. Sometimes that's not nearly enough, other times, well, could be a bad idea if you need a little shuteye soon enough, or if you've already had a couple cups. 

So, Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Coffee Buzz Bars, with 70mg of caffeine per serving, seems a happy medium between the two, with a little bit of both all mixed up.

Really, the easiest way to describe the taste of these bars is as a chocolate-covered coffee bean, in bar form without the crunchy bean. That's really pretty much it. Pretty heavy on the bitterness, and decidedly more towards coffee as the caffeine content alludes to, there's still enough chocolate to be had to help balance out this fairly bittersweet little treat.

 It's one of those kinda deals where a little could go a long way, and thankfully the packaging allows for it. I believe my lovely bride referred to it as a portfolio. The outer package has four smaller bars nestled inside, individually wrapped for an easy purse/manbag grab. As decadent as these choo-coffee bars are, just a dab will do you most likely, so I'm thankful for not one huge solid bar to try and manage. Good call here, TJ's. 

Good stuff, and it's a treat that's absolutely for the grownups. Sandy loves them as they combine two of her top five favorite things in one tidy little package. If only there was a way to also incorporate puppies, bacon, and Lin-Manuel Miranda she'd be set...but she'll go ahead give it a perfect five anyways. Loves it. Me? I'm not as huge but am not opposed either, but it's not nearly as much my thing. I'll go with a 3.5. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Coffee Buzz Bars: 8.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Trader Joe's Pineapple Fruit Spread

Jam, jelly, preserves, spread, compote, marmalade. I won't pretend to know the differences among them. A thirty second internet research session on the subject illuminated a few key points: first, jelly is smooth with no fruit chunks. So this is most definitely not jelly.

Second, fruit spreads contain nothing but fruit...unless they're from Trader Joe's, in which case they contain cane sugar and coconut milk, among other natural additives. Depending on which set of criteria you go with, this product might actually qualify as marmalade more than any of the other categories since it has fruit chunks along with sugar, but I guess pineapple isn't technically citrus, so that disqualifies it. But I digress. My point is that there isn't a whole lot of consistency among definitions on the internet as far as jarred fruitstuffs are concerned.

Speaking of consistency, this stuff is chunky. It's thicc with two c's. There are big wads of pineapple chunks here and there. There are also generous quantities of those stringy, pulpy sections of pineapple scattered throughout. I wasn't a huge fan of those. The base of this spread is nice and smooth, so the stringiness kinda gets in the way if you ask me. It wasn't a dealbreaker, though. It's still a great product, versatile and unique.

It's very sweet, tart, and pineappley. If you're so inclined, you could spoon it straight from the jar. I put it on a piece of toast with a little butter, and it's pretty freaking tasty that way. As is the case with many different fruits and fruit spreads, it goes great with cottage cheese. Another idea we haven't tried yet but are fairly confident will work: throw it in a blender with vanilla ice cream and make a pineapple milkshake.

Sonia was grossed out by this, but I'll share it anyway for those of you with strong stomachs: I made a peanut butter and pineapple fruit spread sandwich. It totally worked, IMHO. Not saying you need to try it that way, but maybe if you're feeling adventurous, you know... I'll still take grape jelly over pineapple spread for my daily PBJ, but hey, variety is the spice of life as they say.

We're going to baste some salmon in this stuff tonight with a bit of teriyaki sauce glaze, too. We'll report back if anybody's interested.

It would also make a great dip/topping for coconut shrimp. I also thought of putting pieces of turkey bacon on a pizza and then adding a few dollops of this spread for a makeshift kosher Hawaiian pizza, but nah, this stuff's too sweet methinks—too much sugar for an application like that.

Pineapple fans, have at it. I just wish it were a little less stringy. Sonia gives it four out of five stars. I'll go with three and a half.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Trader Joe's Everything and the Elote Greek Style Yogurt Dip

 Ever bite into anything unsuspectingly and kinda hope for the best? 

For the unobservant, which surprisingly included my lovely bride in this instance, it can absolutely happen with the new Trader Joe's Everything and the Elote Greek Style Yogurt Dip. 

The name gives a small clue - the "and." Not a "but" like we've seen for elote seasoning, and is common in the "everything but the..." product lines, most notably with bagels. It's an "and," and in what I'm pretty sure is a somewhat inaccurate expansion of the definition of the word "elote," there's actual corn in the elote dip. Like, elote is a type of seasoned Mexican street corn, and not just corn itself, right?

Anyways, yes, there's corn in the yogurt dip, And to be honest, it's an odd feel. It's not off putting, just...odd. Personally, I would have done without and it's kinda weird in the occasional bite when chomping on a chip with a dab of creamy yogurt dip to bite into a smushy corn kernel. Might have worked better during development stages, who knows. If it were up to me, I'd say no corn and keep everything else as is, or if you insisted on corn, making more of a corn salsa-style product and skip the Greek yogurt altogether. There's too much of it to ignore, not enough to really make a central feature of the product...between all or none they went for the middle and missed IMHO.  Knowing when it was coming made it a better bite, but the best were the ones without any corn.

No other real complaints, though. I love anything elote and there's plenty of that here. A little heat, a little smoke, lots of spicy depth balanced out nicely with the cool creaminess - it's delicious and kinda addictive. The heat isn't overwhelming, so it may be somewhat of a toned down experience, which has its plusses and minuses. Tons of flavor, though, so I'm not gonna complain much. And the nutritional info isn't as awful  as one may expect for something of  the sort, unless you eat half the tub....

Still, the corn...

The tub of elote dip was about $3 and worth a buy for sure. Just know what's coming. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Everything and the Elote Greek Style Yogurt Dip: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons

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