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Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Trader Joe's Loaded Potatoes

 Meat and potatoes. Potatoes and meat. Classic pairing, often done in various forms, almost always tasty and tough to argue with, and comes thru in a pinch. 

Please pardon the partially crinkled box of Trader Joe's Loaded Potatoes we have for this post's model. It had been lurking in the bottom of our freezer for who knows how long - few weeks minimum,  maximum of...well....I don't know. 

What I do know is the final form of this product doesn't look much like the box pic. In my state of heightened crankiness and bad hangritude (that's be hungry/angry/attitude all in one) I totally neglected to take a pic. Just imagine bigger, more starkly white potato chunks, without nearly as much sauce to cover and immerse. The pic almost looks like a tasty homemade concoction, whereas the real deal was pretty adamant it was, in fact, a freezer one. 

But no mind. It's meat and potatoes! So it's almost by default tasty. A little ground beef, a handful of tomatoes and scallions, almost enough creamy cheese sauce (nothing fancy, it's a mozz and cheddar combo with cream), coupla jalapenos and boom. Nothing fancy, and something almost like what I'd make as a 'Dad meal" from whatever I had in the kitchen. work involved. Just nuking a tray for eight-plus minutes. I'm not sure if that's a weak microwave we have or if we just had a radiation resistant batch, as directions call for five but was cold enough when pulled out that my lovely bride had to spit out her initial bite. 

What did this cost? $3? $4? Something like that. It's really not big enough to share, but is somewhat nutritionally advantageous to do so. Get some veggies on the side to fill in, as man, this wasn't close to enough. But it was tasty. Another serving idea: heat some up then scramble in a couple eggs to make some sort of cheesy breakfast kinda hash. I'm positive that'd work and be more filling too. there's not much spice to be had here, so if hot sauce is normally your kinda thing, you'll want some on hand. 

Not amazingly awesome, but not bad at all either. Meat and potatoes. Always dependable. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Loaded Potatoes: 6.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Friday, September 2, 2022

Trader Joe's Agrodolce

Agrodolce means "sweet and sour" in Italian, or more accurately, "sour and sweet." Agro = sour, dolce = sweet. Makes sense. It's nothing but grape must, which is simply a sugary reduction of the fruit, and white wine vinegar, which has a tart flavor.

The concoction is completely clear with an amber tinge. Folks apparently use it as a salad dressing, among other things. Just so happens we've got a freshly-made bean salad on hand with garbanzos, onions, and cucumbers. I think that'll be ground zero for our agrodolce experimentation.

Verdict: it works...particularly with the flavor of onions, but on the whole I think it's too sweet for this kind of salad. As a dressing, I could see it work in place of a berry balsamic on a chicken and fruit salad or something along those lines—like the topping for a Waldorf salad.

It coats like cooking oil, is almost as thick, and is at least as smooth. It's nearly invisible once applied to food. The yellow-orange hue isn't apparent except in the bottle.

"This is a very interesting condiment," remarked Sonia upon her first taste. Immediately, her culinary instincts kicked in and a little light bulb appeared over her head. She grabbed some mayo from the fridge and began swirling it around in a little bowl with a couple tablespoons of this agrodolce. I wasn't quite sure where she was going with it, but I knew better than to question her or to interrupt the process.

About a half hour later, we were dining on scrumptious pan-seared chicken breast with a makeshift aioli sauce made with nothing but regular old mayonnaise and Trader Joe's Agrodolce. I think the wifey seasoned the chicken a bit, too. But that aioli is what made it memorable. Kudos to Sonia.

$5.99 for 8.5 fl oz. Product of Italy. Not sure how quickly we'll go through the little bottle and not even sure if we'd pick it up again but absolutely glad we tried it. It's a tad pricey for just a few ounces of a condiment, although the quality of the product is hard to call into question. Four stars from Sonia. Three and a half from me.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

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