Posts Tagged ‘tj’

Trader Joe’s – Collier’s Welsh Cheddar Cheese – Food Review

10/16/2017

TJ, trader joe, Colliers Welsh Cheddar Cheese, price, review, nutrition, calories
October 16, 2017
A cheddar with hints of an aged Gouda?   This is a fine tasting, slightly crumbly, but still creamy in the mouth, cheese.  While the length of aging of this cheese is not specified on the label, it’s just on the verge of developing those cheese crystals like an aged Gouda.  This is a “mature” tasting cheddar, meaning it’s not a mild cheddar.  But it’s also not a sharp cheddar. It’s an extremely nice and enjoyable cheese.

Collier’s refers to Welsh miners, called Colliers (think “coal ers”). The miners used to take this cheese down in the mines for lunch.  And for an interesting movie, based on real events in 1984, explaining how these same miners found common cause with a seemingly unlikely group, try Pride (2014) while you snack on the cheese.

Price  $7.99 per pound      Calories  120  per ounce (28g)

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Trader Joe’s – Organic Nicaraguan Coffee – Whole Bean – Food Review

10/16/2017

TJ, trader joe, Nicaraguan Whole Bean Coffee , price, reviewOctober 16, 2017

This coffee is somewhat: weak, bitter and bad tasting.  The negatives go away some on cooling to a slightly sour taste.  While not especially good for a Trader Joe coffee, this is still likely better than some coffees at other supermarkets for the same price.  While taste is a personal preference, and some people may like this coffee more than other coffees, there are better coffees at Trader Joe’s for the same price or less.

The coffee is labeled as organic.  The coffee is packaged in a tall, thin bag which makes it somewhat difficult to get the coffee out, especially near the bottom of the bag.

And if you look at the label this is a “honey processed” coffee.  I guess some things don’t change no matter where people live.  “Oh honey!  Can you go process some coffee for me.  And, take out the trash.”

Price $8.99 (12 ounce bag)

For another take on this coffee, try Become Betty here.

David Frost – Shiraz Blend – 2015 – Wine Review – Trader Joe’s

10/03/2017

Trader Joes, wine, review, price, David Frost, Shiraz blend, South Africa. 2015October 03, 2017

There’s no doubt about it this is on the strong side of the wine continuum.  It’s also a little harsh on the mouth and throat.  The wine is mildly fruity with a bold taste. The harshness mellows out some as it sits in the glass allowing some decent earthy tannins to peek through.

The combination of this and a tomatoey lasagna did not work well.  Paired with a second pasta dish, this did not work equally well. Finally, paired with a spicy bean curry, this balanced and stood up to the curry nicely.

For the price this is a decent wine if you like strong wines, don’t have a sensitive throat and are on a budget.  In fact, it generally gets good reviews in other places on the web, with a few people even stocking up when it’s available.  Price $6.99.

And, for the curious,  David Frost is a South African professional golfer who as a kid used to pick grapes in the family vineyards to buy golf balls.

Trader Joe’s – Five Country Espresso Blend Coffee – Whole Bean – Food Review

09/23/2017

trader joes, coffee, whole bean, five country espresso, review, price, fair trade, organicSeptember 23, 2017

Since espresso is a method of making coffee and not a particular coffee bean, the name is slightly misleading.  However, since most coffees, including this one, can be used in espresso machines, we won’t quibble.  And since I don’t have an espresso machine, this coffee was prepared by my usual French press method.

Typically coffee beans meant for espresso machines are dark roasted.  This coffee fits in the Trader Joe’s medium-dark roast category (labeled dark roast on the can).  It produced a nice cup of coffee in my press.  It was largely indistinguishable from my everyday Tarrazu drinker.   Perhaps it was a little more bitter.  Regardless, it should work nicely in an espresso machine if that’s your preference.

For the extra two dollars per can over the Tarrazu, what are we getting?  This coffee is labeled both organic and fair trade.  That could be one reason to spend the extra two dollars.  As for the word espresso on the can, it’s your decision whether this will produce a better espresso shot than your current coffee.   Price $8.99  (13 ounce can)

Trader Joe’s New Zealand Grass Fed Sharp Cheddar – Food Review

09/23/2017

Trader Joe's, New Zealand Sharp Cheddar, review, price, calories, nutritionSeptember 23, 2017
I didn’t know cheese ate grass?  This is a grass-fed sharp cheddar cheese from New Zealand.

While the package says aged 6-12 months, I suspect my package was aged at the low-end of this range. The cheddar was not very sharp at all. The cheese was dense and semi-soft with no crumbling while being cut. There was a mild cheddar flavor and sharpness to the cheese.

At $6 per pound this is a good cheese, but nothing special.  The price is right for using this as you would any other mild cheddar that fills the refrigerator cases in most supermarkets. But the good news is, once it’s wrapped for sale, it no longer needs to be fed grass!

Price $5.99 per pound      Calories 120 per ounce.

Trader Joe’s – Sriracha English Cheddar – Food Review

09/06/2017

Trader Joe's, Sriracha English Cheddar, review, price, calories, nutritionSeptember 6, 2017
Looking for love in all the wrong places.  Yep, just like the song says, that’s what I was doing.  But wait, no, no, no,  not that kind of love.  And, . . . not that kind of love either.  I was looking for the love of a sharp cheddar.  Don’t anyone urban dictionary that.  And if you do, don’t tell me what it means.  Please don’t.

This cheese is a mixture of English aged cheddar and sriracha sauce.  And that aging of at least 8 months, according to the label, is one of the factors that helps produce sharpness in a cheddar.  But the sriracha is the thing that puts this over the top.  Here the addition of sriracha is more than a marketing gimmick.  The sriracha is actually noticeable and good.  Mixing in the sriracha sauce gives the cheese a looser, more crumbly, texture.  There’s a nice contrast between the noticeable, but still not extreme, hotness of the sriracha and the smooth creamy feel of the cheese as it warms in the mouth.  As those two factors meld together, the sriracha starts to take over producing a sharp finish as it all exits the mouth and starts down the throat. It’s a different kind of sharpness than a 100% cheddar.  Still, it’s a nice flavor and experience.

This is the third or fourth cheddar mixture I’ve tried at Trader Joe’s.  All of them, including this one, have been winners.

Price $8.99 per pound     Calories 100 per ounce

Trader Joe’s – Incanto – Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano – 2012 – DOCG – Wine Review

09/06/2017

trader joe, wine, vino nobile di montepulciano, docg, italy, sangiovese, review, price, 2012, incantoSeptember 6, 2017
The last time I reviewed this wine was 2011.  The wine hasn’t changed much since then, including the price!  The 2012 vintage is still a very nice wine as was the 2007 vintage back then.

The mild tannins on the roof of mouth and back of throat are still speaking after all these years giving the wine a mild earthy feel in the mouth.  As it was before, the wine is smooth but still with a slight edge to the taste.  There’s just a hint of grape if caught at the right temperature.  In my opinion, still no forest floor taste as one reviewer noted of the 2007 vintage. For most of us, that’s a good thing.  And sticking with my original comment, this is probably a better food wine than a sipper.  However when sipped among a group, it’s likely to lead to some interesting conversations.

 Although the primary grape in this is Sangiovese, the taste is bolder than a typical Tuscan Sangiovese.  It’s not as bold as a Cabernet Sauvignon, but still up there one notch on the scale. And this is likely more enjoyable than a Cabernet Sauvignon in the same price range. The bottle states 13.5% alcohol.  Incanto may want to recheck their instruments.  This wine has a substantially greater kick to it than most wines labeled 13.5%.  Price $10.99

Casone Toscana IGT – 2010 – Wine Review – Trader Joe’s

08/11/2017

trader joe, casone, toscana, 2010, review, wine, price, IGTAugust 11, 2017
I was especially excited to see this on the TJ selves. It’s a 2010 IGT wine from Tuscany.  It’s not normal to see a 7-year-old wine at TJ, especially at this price.  Just the added storage costs alone is reason to charge more for a wine that’s been around an extra few years.

While the Italian wine classification is not supposed to be a reflection of the quality of the wines, in my experience the better the classification, the better the wine. The IGT classification is a lower classification, more specifically one that is usually broader in scope as to the grapes and methods used to produce the wine.

Now in my limited and personal experience with Tuscan wines, the IGT wines are edgier and less refined than the higher classified (more restrictive) DOC and DOCG wines.  I’m sure there are some exceptions to that experience.  And those exceptions likely command a higher price than the wines I usually review.

My question in picking up this wine is, how does aging affect an IGT red wine?  In theory a red wine improves with age up until a point where too much age negatively affects the wine. Most of us personally know how that too much age thing works with people.  The rest of us will find out.

While I didn’t review this particular wine back when it was 2 or 3 years old, compared to similar IGT wines from the era that I have tried, this is a big step up.  This wine has smoothed over the IGT rough edges leaving a very nice, really smooth, mellow, nothing bad, or even close to bad, fine Tuscan red wine. And an absolute bargain. I hope there’s still some left on the shelf.  Price:  $10.99

Trader Joe’s – Asparagus Risotto – Food Review

08/11/2017

trader joes, asparagus risotto, italy, frozen entree, review, price, calories, nutritionAugust 11, 2017

On first opening the package you’ll notice two strange things, broken up sheets of frozen sauce and plain white rice.  More about these later.

When prepared according to the package directions, this risotto obtains a nice light yellow/green color from the  creamy sauce. The sauce has a wonderful flavor and texture. The rice has a nice bite to it.  It’s not overcooked.  A fair amount of thin green asparagus is distributed throughout in the form of inch long pieces.  These pieces also lend a touch of green asparagus flavor to the sauce.

Obviously this was not prepared in the traditional manner. The rice is parcooked separately from the other ingredients. The sauce also appears to have been cooked separately, flash frozen in thin sheets and then broken up in pieces. The asparagus also is likely cooked or partially cooked separately. All three components, we could guess, are then combined in a frozen state in the bag and shipped off.

trader joes, asparagus risotto, italy, frozen entree, review, price, calories, nutritionThe package will make enough for two (maybe three) portions as a side dish.  In this case, I ate the whole package as a main dish, thoroughly enjoying it all.

There may not be an army of nonnas standing over stoves, constantly stirring in broth to Arborio rice until the moment of perfection, making risotto in the traditional way. However what comes out of this package is almost as good. And by definition, it can never be as good as Nonna’s. Know what I mean?

Price $2.99

Calories  160 per serving (3 servings per package)

Trader Joe’s – Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina – Food Review

08/06/2017

trader joe, review, calories, nutrition, price, gnocchi alla sorrentinaAug 6, 2017
This is pretty good stuff, but you might not think so as it cooks.

Straight from the freezer this is a mixture of the frozen gnocchi (small flour dumplings) and frozen flying-saucer-shaped chunks of sauce. Heating in the microwave is a two stage process. After heating for 4 minutes, the mixture needs a good stir.  At this point you’ll wonder, what have I done wrong, as the sauce and gnocchi appear very watery. After stirring, put it back in the microwave for another 3 minutes and the magic happens.  The second heating totally changes the appearance, by thickening up everything into a coherent whole.  Pan heating instructions are also provided.

Throughout the cooking process the gnocchi retain their consistency.  After heating they have a nice chewy texture in the mouth.  The sauce thickens nicely thanks to the cheese in the sauce (that’s the magic).  This allows the sauce to coat and cling to the gnocchi.  The combination of the complex, but not over the top, sauce and chewy gnocchi works extremely well.  A sprinkle of parmesan is always useful, but really not needed.

trader joe, review, calories, nutrition, price, gnocchi alla sorrentinaFor us, the package yielded two modest servings working out to around 300 calories each.  The package claims three servings.  Even though our portions were only 300 calories, the gnocchi were very filling – and tasty.

Price $2.99     Calories  200 per serving (3 servings per carton)

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