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Monday, April 25, 2022

Trader Joe's Hold the Dairy! Mini Chocolate Frozen Dessert Cones

When they say "mini cones" they're not joking. These are obscenely diminutive desserts in my book. We've seen miniature cones from Trader Joe's before, but I think these are the smallest yet.

And it wouldn't be such a big deal but each cone is individually wrapped, and they're not super easy to get out of the packaging without mangling some of the pretty waves of coconut ice cream on top of the tiny cones. I dunno. Maybe I'm just hopelessly inept at unwrapping teensy little baby frozen desserts. I have fat hands. Perhaps I'd do better using an exacto knife and tweezers.

I'm exaggerating of course. But only a bit. My complaints about this product are primarily the format of the packaging. I'd much rather have, say, four normal-sized Nutty Buddy-style sundae cones than a dozen microscopic ones.

The flavor? It's good. It's chocolatey coconut milk. It's not a far cry from dairy. I mean, you can tell it's not dairy if you pay attention. I feel like they chose chocolate because it's rich and it overshadows the natural coconut milk flavor. I'd almost always prefer vanilla. I think it would allow the natural coconut milk flavor to shine even more. But if you're trying to trick a dairy-lover into eating something totally vegan, these are a decent choice.

The wafer cone and other ingredients are very much on par with a regular dairy-ful ice cream sundae cone, and there's nothing to complain about there. The overall effect is sweet, crunchy, and long as you eat more than one. I wouldn't have minded some nuts of some kind.

$3.99 for 12 very small cones. Not a terrible value. Just too much packaging. Dairy-free. Vegan. Coconut-based. There's actually coconut milk, coconut water, and coconut oil.

I'd probably reach for one of the other "Hold the Cone" options before I'd purchase these again, although I'd love to see these larger and with other flavor options. Three and a half stars a piece on these Hold the Dairy! cones. 

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Trader Joe's Ube Pretzels

Earlier this week, I made one of my usual, occasional laments that here in Pittsburgh, we always seems last to get anything new, TJ's-wise. Weeks will go by and my lovely bride, who's always got her fingers on the pulse of new products in the pipeline, will be showing me the latest Instagram hype of whatever's new and hot. And we wait...and wait...and wait...and finally, when we get it, not that whatever it is usually isn't delicious, but it's kinda old news for the vast majority of yinz. 

Well, perhaps Big Joe finally heard all of that and tossed us a bone to gnaw on, with Trader Joe's Ube Pretzels. 

Neither Sandy nor I had heard of them or knew anything about them. It was a complete surprise. Somehow, we got ourselves a bag. I mean, I'm positive we're not like Neil Armstrong or anything, but for once, we kinda felt the rush of being first, or at least pretty darn close enough to it. 

If that isn't true, don't ruin it for us, please!

Anyways, TJ's ube pretzels. In case you didn't know, ube is basically a purplish sweet potato that naturally sweet, a touch savory, and translates well across many dishes, notably desserts and sweets. TJ's has been on a kick with them recent years, most notably with ube ice cream. Almost anything with ube, we like. 

As you can likely see, the basic premise here is very simple: a yogurty ube-flavored candy coating over some typical salty snappy pretzels. That's it. It's simple yet fun at the same time. We couldn't wait to start crushing some, and our kiddos were pretty excited about eating purple pretzels. Win win all around. 

Except...well...don't get me wrong, I like them. The few remaining survicors in the bag can attest to how many I snatched away from them. But there's something just a touch off on them. It seems to me that the candy coating is a touch or two more straight up sugar than actual ube flavored. Like Buddy the Elf ("Does it have sugar in it?...Then yes!"), I love straight up sugar, but it just doesn't work as great with the ube and then trying to work in a salty grainy pretzel. If something is ube, I want more ube. I can save the super sugary stuff for other times. 

Other than that, these pretzels are definitely a fun little snack that's worth the try. A bag runs about $3 and will definitely get a little sugar rush for that midafternoon lull. There's a good general thumbs up all around from us here in the 'burgh, what with us being first and all. Don't ruin that illusion!

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Ube Pretzels: 6.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

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