Archive for the ‘Recipes, food, cooking and related items’ Category

Trader Joe’s – Pineaplle Salsa – Food Review


Trader Joe's, Pinapple Salsa, review, priceNovember 26, 2016

I wonder if the jar was mislabeled?  Except for on the label, what seems to be missing is the pineapple. There are plenty of references in the ingredients to pineapple.  But if they’re in the jar, I missed them.

To be fair, wash away the red stuff and there really are pieces of pineapple in the salsa. Take a spoonful of the salsa by itself and there’s an interesting complex blend of flavors. On a chip, the complexities are muted.

I was expecting a sweet-hot salsa experience. What seems to be in the jar is a very mild tomato based salsa.Trader Joe's, Pinapple Salsa, review, price, nutrition

Aside from expectations, this is a nice tasting mild salsa.  If that’s what you’re looking for give this a try.  But if you’re expecting a pineapple experience, move on.


Calories 15 per 2 tablespoons (30g)        Price $1.99 -12 ounce jar (340g)

Président® Madrigal (French Baby Swiss) Cheese – Food Review – Trader Joe’s


president, madrigal cheese, france, trader joe's, swiss-styleNovember 26, 2016

It’s Swiss, but it’s French.  Hmm?  Well it’s a Swiss-style cheese made in France.  But saying that would probably get me thrown out of the country.  Both countries!

Let’s just say that if the word Madrigal was misread as Magical, that would be a good description of this cheese.  At $5.99 a pound this is a very good semi-hard cheese that actually tastes like a Swiss-style cheese, albeit a milder Swiss cheese.  The only thing to be careful about is the thin wax covering that sort of blends in with the cheese and tends to stick between the teeth if measures aren’t taken to avoid it.  Don’t ask me how I know.

Calories 100 per ounce (28g)
Price $5.99 -per pound

Trader Joe’s Bolivian Blend Coffee – Whole Bean – Food Review


coffee, trader joe's, Bolivian Blend, medium dark roast, fair trade, organicNovember 18, 2016

The medium-dark brown fairly oily beans produce a nice aroma on opening the can.   Once brewed, the coffee produces a strong taste which is mildly bitter on the tongue.  As it cools, the coffee transitions to an earthy taste and the bitterness declines.  The bitterness is a good bitterness, like a good beer has some bitterness to it.  However as with many things, bitterness is an acquired taste.  If you’re adverse to bitter tastes, this may not be a coffee for you.  There’s some sense of acidity on the roof of the mouth and in the stomach.

This is a good coffee for people looking for a stronger tasting coffee without going over the edge.  The coffee is labeled as both organic and fair trade.   Price  $7.99 (14 oz can)

ALDI – Clancy’s Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips – Food Review


aldi, clancy's, potato chips, sour cream and onionNovember 12, 2016

I needed to buy two bags of these chips to do this review.  The first bag had very little seasoning. The second bag had more seasoning, but still on the light side.  In other words, there wasn’t very much of that sour cream and onion flavor in either bag.  Other than the seasoning, these are nicely done chips – thin, cooked perfectly, and not very salty.  At $1.39 per bag they’re not much more than a 1 ounce bag from a vending machine.  But if you’re looking for that sour cream and onion flavor, you may be disappointed with these chips.  Calories  150/1 ounce (about 13 chips)     Price $1.39 per 9.5 ounce bag

aldi, clancy's, potato chips, sour cream and onion, nutrition

Specially Selected Colombian Popayan Ground Coffee – Food Review – ALDI


ALDI, Colombian coffee, ground, specially selected, Popayan11/12/2016

Can single origin, 2 ounces less, 30 cents more, and a map of South America make a better cup of coffee?  In short, yes if you follow directions.

There’s not much aroma coming from the bag when first opened.  There’s not much aroma coming from the cup when brewed.  There’s not a horrible taste coming from the cup, but not much of a coffee taste either.  There’s a strange earthy/woody taste on first sip ending in a slightly bitter taste on the tongue and a little bit of acid feel in the stomach.  It’s not the best cup of coffee on the planet, but it’s entirely drinkable especially when taken with food.  Based on memory, compared to the other ALDI coffees reviewed here this is a better cup of coffee.  Price: $4.29

About directions:  I used too much coffee brewing my initial cups.  When I cut the amount down to just a little more than what’s recommended on the bag, the coffee was much better as reviewed above.

Trader Joe’s Dutch Gouda Cheese – Food Review


Dutch Gouda cheese, Holland, Trader Joe's,November 8, 2016

A tale of two Goudas.  Yes, this is not the way Charles Dickens started.

Here we compare two Gouda cheeses, not two cities.  We’ll compare this cheese and the more mature (aged) Gouda cheese here.

But first, this is a nice mild soft cheese.  It’s good by itself.  I’ve also tried it melted with cheddar cheese in a grilled cheese sandwich and melted on onion soup.  Both worked well.  But if you’re looking for a stronger more mature cheese taste, this is not what you’ll want.

This cheese is soft, has little or no rind, is very mild in taste, has no crystals, is aged around 6 months, and has a red wax covering which helps tell its age.  Our older Gouda has much more flavor, is semi-hard, has a noticeable rind, contains calcium lactate crystals, is aged probably twice or thrice as long, and has a black wax covering indicating a more aged cheese.

In a nutshell, the difference between the two is the taste and texture which changes the same cheese over months of controlled aging from a soft mild cheese (this cheese) to a harder tastier cheese (here).  Oh, and, the older cheese is twice the price.  That’s the story of a tale of two Goudas.

Price  5.99 per pound              Calories  110 per ounce (28g)

Old Amsterdam Aged Gouda Cheese – Food Review – Trader Joe’s


old amsterdam aged gouda, cheese, goudaNovember 8, 2016

This cheese has a creamy, but not soft, texture in the mouth.  There’s a nice nutty flavor with a hint of sweetness.  There’s some crystallization in the cheese which you can feel as the crystals come in contact with the teeth.  That’s typical of an aged Gouda.  This is a very good cheese.


Belmont Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake – ALDI – Food Review


aldi, strawberry swirl, cheesecake, belmontOctober 29, 2016aldi, strawberry swirl, cheesecake, belmont, nutrition

Thick, creamy, sweet swirls – this couldn’t be better.  Rather than a whole cheese cake which takes up a considerable amount of space in the freezer, there are two cheesecake slices in this much smaller packaging.   The slices may seem to be on the small side, but when considering the 310 calories per slice and the feeling of satisfaction after eating, the size is just about perfect.

The cheesecake part is slightly tart, as cheesecake should be.  The nice tasting strawberry swirls add some sweetness when encountered.   The cheesecake sits on a graham cracker crust.  At a dollar per slice this is more than worth the extra time spent at the gym to work off those calories.

Price $1.99 (2 slices)       Calories 310 per slice



Korma Fish Curry – Trader Joe’s – Food Review


korma fish curry, trader joe, frozen dinnerOctober 23, 2016

The microwave has never smelled this good.  If this was just a big bowl of the sauce, I’d be perfectly happy.  Complex flavors in the sauce kept the mouth happy.  Little bits of seasoning were like Easter eggs in video games, pleasant surprises that made each bite a slightly different adventure.  Be aware, this is not for the squeamish.  Along with the flavor is a medium heat in the mouth changing to a hotter burn in the throat.

The fish was firm and not oily.  It’s hard to tell if the fish added any flavor to the dish because the sauce overwhelmed it.  My dinner contained a nice large thick piece of fish.  The basmati rice was also nice having separate dry grains of rice with a firm texture.  The rice had a slightly different taste, most likely due to the seasoning in the rice.  A bite of the rice also mediates some of the heat from the sauce.korma fish curry, trader joe, nutrition, frozen dinner

For anyone liking good spicy food, this should be at the top of your list to try.

Calories 380 per package   Price  $3.49

Frost Vs. ICE – Orange Mango – Food Review – ALDI


ALDI, frost drink, ICE drink, orange mango

October 18, 2016

The very bottom line on both these drinks is, they’re very similar sparkling sucralose sweetened flavored water with a few vitamins thrown in.  For me ICE has a slightly better flavor.  However there’s not enough difference between the two that I buy one over the other.  When in ALDI I’ll throw a few Frost bottles in my basket and when in another store I’ll throw a few ICE bottles in my basket.

There is a considerable difference in price per bottle, 49 cents for Frost and generally around $1 for ICE.  While that’s a 100% difference, the relatively low cost for either and the few bottles I purchase doesn’t break or make my food budget either way.  Sparkling Frost, I assume, is ALDI’s store brand under the PurAqua product line.  Sparkling ICE is a national brand available in many retail outlets.

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