Posts Tagged ‘tj’s’

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)

Trader Joe’s – Gnocchi Al Gorgonzola- Food Review

04/13/2018

Trader Joe's, gnocchi al gorgonzola, review, price, calories, nutritionApril 13, 2018

This takes mac and cheese to a whole new level. Awesome sauce, that’s the only way to describe the gorgonzola based white sauce. It’s a beautifully flavored cheese sauce, rich in cheese flavor.

Like the Gnocchi alla Sorrentina reviewed earlier, in the bag are the frozen gnocchi and thin rectangular frozen pieces of sauce. A two-step cooking process in the microwave fist thaws and partially heats the two separate components. A quick stir blends both components together. Then another turn in the microwave completes the heating process.

The gnocchi varied from perfectly chewy to some that were a bit rubbery. The few that were rubbery may have been caused by a little over cooking in the microwave as a microwave tends to cook things on the edges of the container more than those in the center. Or there may have been some freezer burn from being in my freezer a bit long.

Trader Joe's, gnocchi al gorgonzola, review, price, calories, nutritionRegardless of chewiness, all the gnocchi did their job which was to provide a place for the sauce to adhere and keep the sauce in the mouth for as long as possible where the tongue’s tiny taste buds were temptingly tantalized to tear the tasty tidbits of sauce from the twirling gnocchi. This is a sauce that deserves to be savored as long as possible.

Price $2.99 per 16 ounce bag

Calories 250 per serving (about 3 servings per bag)

Grifone – Chianti Riserva DOCG – 2014 – Wine Review – Trader Joe’s

04/13/2018

trader joes, chianti, docg, riserva, 2014, grifone, review, priceApril 13, 2018

This is a medium-bodied wine which seemed a little harsh at first, but smoothed out once opened for a while. Mild tannins leave a mild earthy feel in the mouth.  Compared to the 2010 Grifone Chianti Riserva, this one is a little disappointing.  However, while not as good as the 2010 vintage, this is still a good red table wine pairing well with food.  It’s an acceptable sipper also, although there are more enjoyable ones, but not at this price point.

Price $5.99.

Trader Joe’s – Loacker Quadratini Dark Chocolate Wafer Cookies – Food Review

03/31/2018

March 31, 2018

Little squares, that’s what quadratini means.  But these are really little cubes.  That would be six squares in a cube, if anyone’s counting.

These are just like sugar wafers in the US, except they’re different.  The typical sugar wafer is a five layer combination of  light wafer cookie and relatively sweet creamy filling, most often in the shape of a long rectangle.

The Quadratini are a similar layering of a light wafer cookie with a creamy filling between layers.  Except in this case there are nine layers in the finished product.  And instead of a rectangle, the cookies are cut so that the length and width of the cookie roughly equals the height of the layers leaving a nine layer cube of around 3/4 inches (19.05 mm) to a side.  This creates a very bite-sized, very dainty and very light cookie.

The other difference between this and the US variation, is the sweetness.  These are not very sweet.  There’s a very European feel to the chocolate wafer and chocolate filling.  The taste of high quality cocoa predominates, minus much of the sugar that makes cocoa into chocolate.  Now, if this flavor isn’t for you, there are 10 other flavors available – but possibly not all at Trader Joe’s.

Price  $3.69 per 8.8 oz. bag

Calories  150  per 8 cookie cubes

Trader Joe’s – Ghost Pepper Cheddar Cheese – Food Review

03/31/2018

Trader Joe's, ghost pepper cheddar cheese, review, price, calories, nutritionMarch 31, 2018

The heat takes a few seconds to kick in, and then builds for the next few minutes. This is going to be a little more heat than some people like. For heat lovers, it’s not a “call the fire department” kind of heat.  Along with the heat comes the flavor of the ghost pepper, which is very earthy.  Try a little paprika straight out of the spice jar on your tongue to get an idea of the earthy taste.  That’s another thing some people may not like. It is a different flavor.

While all the TJ flavored cheddar combinations reviewed so far, e.g., caramelized onion cheddar, have been more than good, this one doesn’t work for me. The combination of the cheddar, and both the heat and flavor from the ghost pepper just doesn’t work well together. Aside from the ghost pepper overwhelming the cheese, the flavors just aren’t complementary. Perhaps as a topping for a burger, this may work better.

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

DaVinci Chianti – 2015 – DOCG – Wine Review – Trader Joe’s

03/05/2018

trader joes, DaVinci Chianti DOCG 2015, review, priceMarch 5, 2018

This will bring a smile to your face.  Perhaps not a Mona Lisa smile, but a smile nonetheless.

Today’s wine comes from a wine cooperative in the town of Vinci in the Chianti region of Tuscany.

While this is a nice wine with no bad characteristics, there are equally good wines at Trader Joe’s from Tuscany for the same or lower price.  Now, a dollar or two or three isn’t much to quibble about.  But if that’s a consideration, then look further on the shelves.  Otherwise, if you haven’t tried this wine yet, here’s your chance to help the local economy and help support small local businesses as well as enjoy a very nice Chianti.

And if you’re not near a Trader Joe’s, there’s a “wine finder” on their website which will help locate another store near you that sells their wine.  How nice!  And why can’t other wine companies do the same?   Price $9.99.

Trader Joe’s – Hatch Chili Mac & Cheese – Food Review

02/09/2018

Trader Joe's, hatch chili mac & cheese, review, price, calories, nutritionFebruary 9, 2018

This is another grown-up mac & cheese. This has a nice earthy depth of flavor but less complex than the recently reviewed Truffle Mac & Cheese.  This product adds Hatch Chiles to a classic cheddar cheese base.  If you’re worried that the chiles make this mac & cheese spicy hot, no need for that.  Only a very very mild heat can be detected in sporadic bites when a bit of the green chili actually finds its way to your fork.  Mostly, the chiles just adds a secondary complementary flavor to the cheese adding to the depth of flavor.

Trader Joe's, hatch chili mac & cheese, review, price, calories, nutritionAgain, half the container was more than adequate as a side to dinner.  While I prepared this in the microwave, using the oven, taking another 20 minutes or so, might add a nice browning to the top. But I leave that experiment for you.

What’s a Hatch Chili?  Well it’s hard to say other than these chiles were grown in or around Hatch, New Mexico (according to information on the box).  For those interested here’s the Wiki link.

Price $2.99 per frozen box (two servings per box)

Calories, 260 per serving (170g)

Trader Joe’s – Creamy Toscano Cheese Soaked in Syrah – Food Review

02/09/2018

trader joes, toscano cheese, syrah, review, price, calories, nutrtionFebruary 9, 2018

This is a nice cheese, a blend of parmesan and cheddar implied by the label.  This cheese is mild with a gentle nutty sweet flavor. The texture is medium firm, and definitely not hard. The Syrah wine soak doesn’t add much to the flavor, but puts a pretty purple coating on the outside.  The cheese slices nicely and is not crumbly.  This is suitable for a cheese tray if you don’t mind some odd-shaped pieces as the cheese is sold as a wedge.

trader joes, toscano cheese, syrah, review, price, calories, nutrtionNow the interesting thing about using this on a cheese tray could be watching people try to decide if that purple coating on the outside is edible, or not.  I’m not saying.

price $9.99 per pound   calories, 120 per ounce (28g)

Trader Joe’s – Truffle Mac & Cheese – Food Review

01/26/2018

Trader Joe's, truffle mac & cheese, review, price, calories, nutritionJanuary 26, 2018

Have a handkerchief ready to catch the drool starting to form at the edge of the mouth about halfway through the cooking time as the earthy aromas start to waff out of the microwave. This is one grown-up Mac & Cheese.

Five different cheeses and truffle extract give this a very deep earthy wonderful flavor.  All the preceding adhere to short spiral shaped macaroni. This is decidedly different from the kid’s $1 a box glow-in-the-dark stuff that cooks up on the stove.

Trader Joe's, truffle mac & cheese, review, price, calories, nutritionAt $3.49 a frozen box, this might seem a little pricey.  And it is.  But consider what it would cost to make this yourself.  Just the Gouda, white Cheddar, Asiago, Parmesan and Romano alone would probably use up all that $3.49. One 290 calorie serving of this is also pretty filling and satisfying.  A little goes a long way as a side to some lighter fare.

Price $3.49 per 12 ounce box

Calories 290 per serving (2 servings per box)

Trader Joe’s – Zimbabwe Small Lot Coffee – Whole Bean – Food Review

01/26/2018

Trader Joe's, Zimbabwe, review, price, whole bean coffeeJanuary 26, 2018

The package lists this as a medium dark roast.  However the coffee looks and drinks more like a medium roast.  This is one of Trader Joe’s better African coffees.  There’s just a touch of bitterness in the coffee.  The bitterness, as well as the body, can be easily adjusted by varying the size of the grind and/or brew time.  For comparison, this is the opposite end of the coffee spectrum from a Starbucks-like coffee. But the problem may be the farm the coffee came from, the New Year’s Gift Estate.  Will it only be available every New Year’s?

Price, $8.99, 12 ounce bag.

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