Archive for the ‘Trader Joe’s’ Category

Trader Joe’s – Joe Coffee – Medium Roast – Whole Bean – Food Review

06/28/2018

trader joes, whole bean coffee, joe, medium roast, review, priceJune 28, 2018

With the unfortunate demise of TJ’s Tarrazu coffee, it’s time to search for another daily drinker.

Previously reviewed was TJ’s Joe’s Coffee in a dark roast.  Here’s a TJ Joe Coffee, but in a medium roast.  While this medium roast is drinkable black, it’s not entirely likeable that way.  There’s just something missing in the flavor along with an unpleasant aftertaste.  Eventually I resorted to adding some vanilla flavored almond milk to the coffee to make it more palatable.  My preference for additives to not-so-good coffee is half-and-half or Irish cream.  Neither of those two was in the house.  At any rate the almond milk made the coffee more enjoyable, but still not what I’m looking for.

The beans in this medium roast coffee, appear to be roasted just right. They have a nice brown color and just about no oil on the beans. There’s not much aroma coming from the can when opened.   There’s a surprisingly full mouthfeel for a medium roast.  But that fullness comes at the expense of flavor and may be responsible for the aftertaste.

Price $4.99 (14 ounce can)

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Trader Joe’s – Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese – Food Review

06/27/2018

Trader Joe's, kerrygold, dulbiner, cheese, review, price, calories, nutritionJune 27, 2018

If only there was a pint of Guinness and some crackers sitting on the table along with this.  Sigh!  As the name suggests this cheese has its roots in Ireland. Dublin is its namesake.

The web site says this has characteristics of a Cheddar with hints of Parmesan.  I can buy that, even if I didn’t exactly have the same impression. The first takeaway is, the flavor of this cheese is a little different. That adds a little mystery and conversation as you and any others partaking of the cheese discuss your own interpretations.  My interpretation of the flavor is a cross between a Cheddar and an aged Gouda. The second takeaway is, this is a nice cheese.

The cheese is firm and slices nicely.  Because it’s sold in nice rectangular blocks, it’s easy to divide into cubes for a cheese tray.  While it’s an aged cheese (over 12 months according to Wiki), I did not find any cheese crystals making this also a very smooth cheese.   It melts nicely.  I used some of it as a three cheese combination in a grilled cheese sandwich.  It added a little flavor pop over a straight American cheese grilled sandwich.  In the fine print on the label are the words, “suitable for vegetarians.”  That takes the guesswork out the equation when you try to figure out whether the cheese is vegetarian friendly.  As it’s not an exclusive at Trader Joe’s, it’s likely you can find it at a different store near you if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s close by.

Price  $7.99 per pound      Calories  110  per ounce (28g)

Trader Joe’s – Spicy Cheese Crunchies – Food Review

06/19/2018

Trader Joe, Spicy Cheese Crunchies, price, calories, nutrition, review, snackJune 19, 2018

Have you ever gone on a family road trip and arrived at your destination looking like everyone in the car has just left a zombie brain orgy?  It’s the Simply Irresistible snacks like this that fill every rest area vending machine that are the cause.  No, these will not turn you and the kids into mindless zombies.  It’s the colorful coatings of these snacks that make it appear so.  Whether flaming red, Big Bird yellow or the newly trendy orange-hair orange, these snack coatings with the tenacity of tattoos are sure to find their way from the food onto the hands, face and clothes requiring a visit by Shakespeare to remove them.  “Out, damned spot!” 

 

 

Trader Joe, Spicy Cheese Crunchies, price, calories, nutrition, review, snackGetting back to the review.  These remind me of Flamin’ Crunchy Cheetos or any one of several similar snacks.  Trader Joe puts plenty of heat onto the snack.  If you like that kind of heat and like snacks, you’ll no doubt like these.  And like mine, your rather large bag of this snack will empty out just as fast as those smaller bags from the vending machines.  Enough said.

Price   $1.99 – 6.5 ounce bag (184g)

Calories  130 per 1 ounce (28g) serving (about 33 pieces)

click images to enlarge

Trader Joe’s – Mandarin Orange Chicken – Food Review

06/14/2018

Trader Joe's, mandarin orange chicken, review, price, calories, nutritionWhen I read on the internet somewhere that this was one of the most popular items at Trader Joe’s, I knew I had to pick it up.  Unfortunately, or fortunately as it turned out, I didn’t read the cooking directions first.  This requires real cooking.  And there’s no microwave easy way out!  Well that turned out not to be the end of the world.  What I got in return was some pretty good takeout quality sweet-sour chicken.  And there was a lot of it, just like takeout.

I chose to cook the prebreaded chicken pieces in oil rather than cooking them in the oven.  That also gave me the opportunity to use my wok-like pot that I only use about once in a decade.  The flat bottom on the pot works well on our electric stove.  The chicken came out nice and crispy.

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Trader Joe’s East Timor Whole Bean Coffee – Medium Roast – Food Review

06/12/2018

Trader Joe's, coffee, review, price, east timor medium roast, whole beanJune 12, 2018

Have you ever wanted to try a Starbucks double espresso?  This coffee will come close to that experience.  The only problem is, you may not find either a good thing.

There’s not much aroma coming from the package when first opened.  The color of the beans is a little darker than the indicated medium roast.  The beans also have more oil on them than might be expected from a medium roast.  The beans vary in size.  Some are rather large beans.

When brewed in a coffee press, the coffee was bitter and left a feeling of fine grit in the mouth.  The fine grit thing was interesting, but unwelcomed.  Even when brewed through a standard drip coffee maker filtered through a paper filter, that fine grit feeling was still there.  It and the bitterness were reduced as the coffee cooled.

Overall, this tastes like a lesser coffee than just about all the other Trader Joe coffees reviewed here.  If you’re a Starbucks double espresso person, you may like this.  For the rest of us, it’s probably better to leave this on the shelf.

Price $8.99 for a 12 ounce bag

Trader Joe’s – Reduced Guilt Spinach & Cheese Shells – Food Review

05/28/2018

Trader Joe, Stuffed Spinach Cheese Shells, review, nutrition, calories, price, reduced guiltI still feel guilty.  That’s the same way I felt after reviewing the last reduced guilt pasta I tried.  While this is okay, there are better alternatives in the TJ freezer case.

The sauce has a mild tomato flavor, but is otherwise bland. The shells are stuffed with 50/50 spinach/ricotta mixture .  The mixture produces a nice flavor.  The shells themselves feel mushy and overcooked.  There’s a low sauce to shell ratio, meaning it would have been nicer to have some additional sauce.  The sauce becomes rather thick because the sprinkled on cheese mixes in with the sauce.

The cooking directions seem strange.  After a minute in the microwave you’re asked to remove the container and  stir around the inside edges.  In retrospect, I assume this was to prevent what happened.  The sauce/cheese mixture in the corners overcooked bigly.  This created some nicely burnt to really burnt bits of cheese and sauce in the corners.  The nicely burnt pieces were enjoyable, depending on personal preference.  The really burnt bits were not so enjoyable.  One other item of note, a knife was needed to cut through the shells.

Trader Joe, Stuffed Spinach Cheese Shells, review, nutrition, calories, price, reduced guiltOverall this has; a nice filling, badly cooked shells, not enough of a bland sauce and a sauce that mixes too readily with the cheese sprinkled on top.  And, you’ll probably feel just as guilty after trying these.

Calories  270   Price  $2.69

Trader Joe’s – Chocolate Almond Granola Cereal – Food Review

05/23/2018

Trader Joe, cereal, Chocolate Almond Granola Cereal, calories, price, nutrition, reviewMay 23, 2018

Need a chocolate fix in the morning?  This will get it done.  This is an adult cereal.  By that I mean it’s not sweet, even though the second ingredient on the label is milled cane sugar. The almond slivers and the few chocolate chunks in the cereal are inconsequential.  Both are overwhelmed by the cocoa flavor.  Cocoa powder is the 4th from last ingredient on the label.  But it punches well above its weight in dominating the flavor.  For this household that’s a good thing.

Nutritionally, like most breakfast cereals, there’s not much here.  Even though not sweet to the taste, total carbohydrates are 38g per serving size. That’s equivalent to around 3+ slices of sandwich bread.  Since rolled oats are the primary ingredient, there are 4g of fiber per serving.

The calorie count per listed serving size is 250.  However if you visually fill the bowl your serving size is likely to be bigger.  That’s because the “clusters” (if they can even be called clusters) here are very small.  So if you want to keep your calorie count down to the number on the box, weigh this one or underfill your bowl compared to other cereals.  Part of the small cluster size may be from the granola breaking apart during shipping.  Regardless, be aware.

Trader Joe, cereal, Chocolate Almond Granola Cereal, calories, price, nutrition, reviewThis was eaten dry, as a snack, and with almond milk.  Both testers liked the cereal.

Price $2.99 -16 ounce box

Calories 250 per serving (55g)

(about 8 servings per box)

Trader Joe’s – Pasqua – Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore – 2015 – DOC – Wine Review

05/15/2018

trader joe, wine, review, price, valpolicella ripasso, pasquaMay 15, 2018

The wine has a mild earthy aroma translating to a dry and earthy feel in the mouth. There’s a slight burn as it exits at the back of the throat. It’s a little edgy which some people would call character.  This is a well made wine.  For many people this will probably work better as a food, or table, wine.   For people who like this style of basic old world wine it’s also a good sipper.

Most reviews on the web give this an above average rating and prices to match that.  At $9.99 a bottle it’s a bargain at Trader Joe’s.  If you’d like to expand your experiences with Italian wines, this is a good one to try.

 Price $9.99

Trader Joe’s – Cotswold Double Gloucester Cheese – Food Review

05/07/2018

Trader Joe's, double gloucester cheese, review, price, calories, nutritionMay 7, 2018

A little bit of mold later and I’m still alive.  Some scrapping with a knife took care of the mold before the actual tasting.  That’s one of the problems with storing cut cheese.  Even in a cold refrigerator, it can get a little moldy on the outside.  Of course I was 3 weeks past the “sell by date” on the cheese before I got around to digging this out of the depths of my refrigerator for review.  In the future I’m just going to have to eat faster.

Semi-hard or semi-soft, you decide that.  The consistency is close to an American cheese.  There’s a nice flavor to the cheese, produced by the cheese and the caramelized  onions and chives added to the cheese.  Overall, this is a mild cheese with a good flavor.  The cheese is not quite spreadable, but soft enough to stay on a cracker.  The cheese nicely paired with some wine for part of the review.

The cheese melted easily in the microwave.  The warming also enhanced the flavor.  In fact, the best use may be as a topping to vegetables or a burger.  Just add the cheese near the end of cooking.  The cheese also did nicely in a grilled cheese sandwich, producing a mildly stepped-up experience from the traditional American cheese.

If you’d like to find out how the cheese gets its name, click here.

Price  $9.99 per pound      Calories  110  per ounce (28g)

For a similar and more flavorful cheese, you may also want to try Trader’s caramelized onion cheddar.

Meat Lovers Vegetarian Chorizo Queso Dip – recipe

05/04/2018

recipe, queso, cheese, dip, vegetarian, chorizo

Here’s a vegetarian version of my original queso dip recipe with a vegetarian soy chorizo product substituted for the original Italian sausage.  In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t actually measure the spices.  So vary the guidelines below to your taste.  As is, this is a fairly spicy hot recipe.  However it was always well received at work with repeat requests.

1 pound Clancy’s CheeseMelt (ALDI) or similar vegetarian cheese

1 package (12 oz) Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo or similar vegetarian product

1 – 10 or 14 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies

1 tablespoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 teaspoon oregano

2 teaspoons crushed red peppers

4-8 tablespoons olive oil, or oil of your choice

1 medium diced onion

Add 4 tablespoons oil, oregano, crushed red peppers, basil, black pepper, parsley, onions to a skillet.  Heat and stir for about 2 minutes over medium heat to flavor the oil with the spices.  Remove the soy chorizo from the plastic casing.  Add soy chorizo to the skillet and continue to cook for about 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until done (see package directions.)  While cooking, add additional oil as needed to keep the soy chorizo from drying out.

Cut the cheese into 1 inch cubes while the soy chorizo is cooking.  Add the cubes to a large microwave safe bowl.  Melt the cheese in the microwave for about 2 minutes.  Remove and stir.  Return to the microwave, reheat and stir as needed until the cheese is soft and fluid.

Add the cumin and diced tomatoes with chilies to the melted cheese.  Add the cooked soy chorizo and spices.  Deglaze the skillet with wine or water and add to the cheese mixture.  Stir together.  Heat the final mixture in the microwave as needed.

That’s it.  The final product tends to be a little too thick for easy dipping.  Spoon over tortilla chips and go at it slowly at first.  Your mouth will be hit with a progression of different flavors ending with the heat.


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