Posts Tagged ‘review’

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


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)


Trader Joe’s – Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese – Food Review


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)

ALDI – Belmont Premium Ice Cream – Butter Pecan – Food Review


ALDI, belmont, premium ice cream, butter pecan, price, review, calories, nutritionJune 22, 2018

Once a month the local senior center collectively celebrates everyone’s birthday that falls in that month. When the center lost their birthday ice cream donor, we volunteered to fill that role. So once a month we trek off to Aldi to buy 4 of these (assorted flavors) for the senior center. At a total cost around $10, it’s no big deal.

The birthday celebration takes place during the senior lunch at the center.  Since I’m never present for the senior lunch, one day it occurred to me that I’ve never actually had any of this ice cream. To rectify that obvious problem, here’s a review.

No one would ever confuse this ice cream with something like Ben & Jerry’s, but it’s still pretty good on its own. While the first ingredient on the label is cream, it’s not the creamiest ice cream I’ve ever had.  But it’s still creamy enough to make the mouth feel good. The sweetness is just about right, neither too sweet, nor not sweet enough. The flavor is spot on for butter pecan. The pecans are to go nuts for. Plentiful and big, if the pecans were removed from the ice cream, and sold alone as a bag of nuts, you’d come close to paying the same price.

ALDI, belmont, premium ice cream, butter pecan, price, review, calories, nutritionWhen compared with a store brand on sale from a local full-service supermarket, this is much better.  The store brand was $4 on sale. But the real problem was the lack of quality. This is good.  The major supermarket brand was not.

So whether you’d like to celebrate birthdays with the local seniors or just celebrate yours at home, give this a try at a truly remarkable price.

Calories 170 per half cup serving (67g)

Price  $2.39 per 1.5 quarts (1.4L),  12 servings per container


This is an independent review of a product purchased from ALDI.  The author(s) are customers of ALDI and have no business or other relationship with ALDI.  If you have an issue with the product and desire to contact ALDI, either see your local store manager or use the ALDI customer contact URL immediately below to send a message to ALDI.

ALDI customer contact URL –

Trader Joe’s – Spicy Cheese Crunchies – Food Review


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

ALDI – Butter Chicken w/ Basmati Rice – Journey To India – Food Review


ALDI, journey to india, flavors of the world, butter chicken, price, review, calories, nutritionJune 17, 2018

This is another item I found marked down at ALDI.  This wasn’t as good as the Thai Red Curry, also marked down, but still worth picking up the next time it’s available.  And that next time may be more than a few months as this appears to be one of those seasonal specials.

There’s plenty of rice in the package.  And the rice is pretty good.  It tastes like basmati rice, having that nice nutty characteristic and just a little heat. The rice clumped some during cooking and came out a little dry.  A shorter, like five minutes, microwave cooking time might have been friendlier to the rice. There was a fair amount of tender chicken in a nice tomato-based sauce.  There was plenty of sauce to mix with the rice, if that’s your pleasure.  The sauce itself was good, but lacked some of the creaminess and other flavors found in a better sauce.  As for heat, the sauce rated about a medium heat that tends to build in the mouth as you near the last bite.

Comparing this review with a previous review of a Trader Joe’s version of Butter Chicken, both are good but both also have a couple of deficiencies.  This one may be slightly better.  Here’s a review of an ALDI Chicken Tikka Masala done last year which was also part of this Flavors Of The World series.

ALDI, journey to india, flavors of the world, butter chicken, price, review, calories, nutritionCalories 350 per container

Price  $1.25 (marked down) per container (12.3 oz.  – 350g), $2.50 regular price


This is an independent review of a product purchased from ALDI.  The author(s) are customers of ALDI and have no business or other relationship with ALDI.  If you have an issue with the product and desire to contact ALDI, either see your local store manager or use the ALDI customer contact URL immediately below to send a message to ALDI.

ALDI customer contact URL –

Trader Joe’s – Mandarin Orange Chicken – Food Review


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.


ALDI – Red Thai Curry – Journey To Thailand – Food Review


ALDI, thai red curry, price, review, calories, nutrition

June 13, 2018

You won’t have to journey to Thailand to find this, but you may have to wait 12 months – or at least until ALDI decides to have this special again.  I don’t know how I missed it the first time, but I did find it marked down to $1.25, half price, the next week.  Unfortunately when I got back to the store two days later, it was all gone.

This is very good.  The slight sweetness of the coconut milk contrasts nicely with the spices and moderate heat of the other ingredients in the thin curry sauce.  It’s a very good sauce approaching good restaurant quality.  Floating in the sauce are big chunks of veggies and big noodles. The wide flat noodles are thicker and wider than a linguine noodle for comparison.  The cooked noodles had a nice texture and were cooked just about to perfection. Among the veggies were baby corn, sugar snap peas, carrots and pieces of red bell pepper and mango.  Normally I don’t like baby corn, but these were different.  First, they were the size where they should be attending kindergarten.  Second, they also were correctly cooked and had none of that starchy taste of the smaller baby corn.


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


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


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


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)

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