Posts Tagged ‘reviews’

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)

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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 – 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

ALDI – Bremer Shepherd’s Pie – Food Review

05/14/2018

ALDI, bremer, shepherds pie, price, review, calories, nutritionMay 14, 2018

This was surprisingly good.  The mashed potatoes topping the beef were okay. But the beef mixture underneath the potatoes was very tasty.  Tasty is one thing that’s missing from many frozen packaged items targeted to the customers’ lowest common denominator taste buds.  This is an exception.  The beef mixture was very beefy.  It also had that comfort food quality to it.  It’s something I’ll probably pick up again.

This was prepared in the microwave.  The 22 minute microwave time on the box proved more than adequate in my mid-sized microwave to reach well past the required 165 degree finished temperature.  Some of the mashed potatoes on the edges actually started to brown.  There are directions for oven cooking also which will set you back around 55 minutes.

ALDI, bremer, shepherds pie, price, review, calories, nutritionIt was difficult to remove a portion from the cooking container to the plate in the nicely layered way it appears in the box.  The beef mixture on the bottom was a little soupy and didn’t hold together well.  Oven cooking may firm up everything better, but no promises made.  Regardless, the flavor was nice.

The box suggests 4 servings per package.  However, if this is the only thing you’ll be having, that’s not going to be much of a meal.  More realistically this is enough for two people.  For 2 people, at $3 per serving, this is not a bad deal for a comforting filling dinner.  Heck, there’s even some corn, peas and carrots floating around with the beef.

Price $5.99 – 30 oz (851g) package

Calories  270 per serving (4 servings per package)

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Disclaimer:

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 – https://www.aldi.us/en/contact-us/

ALDI – Moser Roth Dark Sea Salt Chocolate – Food Review

05/10/2018

ALDI, moser roth, dark sea salt chocolate, price, review, calories, nutritionMay 10, 2018

Moser Roth is generally a step up from the Choceur chocolates at ALDI.  Like the other Moser Roth chocolates reviewed here, this chocolate is a fine European-style chocolate – meaning there’s a higher concentration of cocoa in the product than most chocolates made in the US.  Although not specified on the label, my guess is this would be around a 60% cocoa chocolate.  The label does tell us there’s sea salt added to the chocolate.  I’m not sure what the sea salt adds to the product, but more importantly it doesn’t take anything away.  Sea salt or not, this is a very nice chocolate.

In the package are 5 small bars.  Each bar is 120 calories and is enough chocolate to satisfy my chocolate urges.  That’s a nice thing, as it provides a chocolate break without having to eat a whole bar of another brand which are generally much larger.  Of course, if one isn’t enough, you can always have another, and another, and another … well you get the picture.

Price $1.99 – 4.4 oz (125g) package (5 small bars in package)

Calories  140 per bar (280g per 2 piece labeled serving size)

ALDI, moser roth, dark sea salt chocolate, price, review, calories, nutritionclick on images to enlarge

Disclaimer:

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 – https://www.aldi.us/en/contact-us/

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.

Target – Sweet Earth – Basil Pesto Lasagna – Food Review

04/28/2018

Target, Sweet Earth, Basil Pesto Lasagana, review, price, nutrition, caloriesApril 28, 2018
There’s gusto in the pesto!  The aroma of garlic permeates the room as the microwave does its thing.  St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t get any greener than this.

There’s only a sprinkle of cheese on the top.  If you’re expecting a restaurant lasagna  where the mozzarella is overflowing the plate, you’ll be disappointed.  The lasagna noodles are a little soft.  To make up for these problems there’s a nice thick layer of pesto on and between the layers.  Mixed between layers are a few identifiable pieces of mushrooms.  One final problem with the product, the plastic film sealing the container is hard to remove.

A strange thing about the packaging is the absence of the word “vegetarian.”  Sweet Earth specializes in plant-based products.  There’s nothing listed in the ingredients that would make one think this is not vegetarian.  All the cheeses used in the product list “vegetarian enzymes” as part of the cheese.  The cheeses are made from milk.  So take a look for yourself, but for now I’m listing this as vegetarian.

Target, Sweet Earth, Basil Pesto Lasagana, review, price, nutrition, caloriesAside from the above issues, overall this is a tasty take on a traditional lasagna.  It may not be traditional, but the generous amount of basil and just enough garlic make this product worth a try. Even a non-vegetarian could like this. The cat cleaned up the bowl.

Calories  450 per container (1 serving, 255g)  –  Price around $4.19,  $3.50 on sale

Target – Sweet Earth – Chana Masala – Food Review

04/28/2018

sweet earth, chana masala, review, price, calories, nutrition, targetApril 28, 2018

Ever since discovering the Curry Tiger Burrito I’ve had Sweet Earth on my mind.  However, unlike the Tiger, this Chana Masala lacks some teeth.  This is a tamed Indian-styled entrée.

For my tastes. this is the result of not enough and the wrong combination of spices.  The tomato sauce surrounding the chana (chickpeas) tastes like, tomato sauce.  For a good Indian dish, the sauce should be a fireworks display for the mouth – hot rockets exploding into bursts of different flavors with an almost overwhelming feel.  This turned out to be a few sparklers at best.

This is a single compartment container so there’s really no way to keep the rice separate from the rest.  I mention that because I like to eat the normally companioned basmati rice separately from the sauce.  But I needn’t have worried about that because the rice here appears to be just unflavored long grain white rice with a funny yellow color.

sweet earth, chana masala, review, price, calories, nutrition, targetWhile disappointing as an Indian entrée, this is a fairly nice chickpea stew in tomato sauce.  Unlike the recently reviewed Sweet Earth Basil Pesto Lasagna, this one is clearly labeled vegetarian.

Calories  320 per container (1 serving, 256g)

Price around $4.19,  $3.50 on sale

ALDI – Earth Grown Chickenless Patties – Vegan – Food Review

04/20/2018

ALDI, Chickless Patties, review, vegan, price, calories, nutritionApril 20, 2018
Using oil to pan-fry, the patty stays together nicely.  Scrapping away some of the breading the underlying patty sort of looks like chicken.  Cooked; the breading is crisp, the mouth-feel is nice, the patty doesn’t fall apart.  The patty almost has the firmness of a thin real chicken patty.  Not surprisingly, the patty does not taste like chicken.  In fact there’s an interesting hint of fried okra.  Even with the slight taste of fried okra, the patty is perfectly edible as is without condiments.  With some lettuce, tomato, and mayo (not vegan), the taste is even better, but that fried vegetable taste still comes through some.  Substituting some aggressive guacamole for the mayo also worked well.

The product is labeled vegan.  For non-vegetarians, this soy protein based patty is an acceptable substitute for the real thing.  Unfortunately this seems to be one of those ALDI special items which are only around for a week or two.  But like most ALDI special items this one will probably make its way back to the freezer cases sometime in the future.

ALDI, Chickless Patties, review, vegan, price, calories, nutritionPrice $2.99 – package of 4 patties

Calories  150 per patty

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Disclaimer:

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 – https://www.aldi.us/en/contact-us/

Trader Joe’s – Spelt Risotto – Food Review

04/20/2018

Trader Joe, Spelt Risotto, price, nutrition, review, caloriesApril 20, 2018

They must have spelt it wrong, because by most standards this ain’t risotto.

Risotto is typically a rice dish.  More specifically it is a dish made from arborio rice.  This product is made from spelt.  No that wasn’t spelled incorrectly either.  Spelt is an ancient grain.   Basically, spelt is old wheat, or more specifically an ancestor of modern-day wheat.

Cooked and on the plate, the spelt in this product looks like small puffed wheat.  Unfortunately the spelt cooks up to a very firm texture which takes away from that nice creamy feel associated with traditional risotto.  Think of a creamy rolled oats oatmeal versus a steel cut oats oatmeal.  I even added another 4 minutes in the microwave to try to soften up the spelt.  No luck.  Reheated the next day, everything was even firmer.

Trader Joe, Spelt Risotto, price, nutrition, review, caloriesThe sauce has a bacon-like aroma and flavor, even though there’s no bacon in the product.  While not especially cheesy, the sauce had a nice flavor.

This is far from the best risotto I’ve had.  It’s rather disappointing. But considering I recently paid about $16 for a restaurant risotto which wasn’t much better, you’re only gambling with $3 if you’d like to try this and see how your ancient ancestors lived.

Price $2.99 per frozen bag (about 2.5 servings)

Calories, 200 per serving (175g)


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