Posts Tagged ‘tj’s’

Mindiarte Reserva Rioja – Tempranillo – 2012 – Wine Review – Trader Joe’s

12/02/2017

Trader Joe's, red wine, review, price, mindiarte, rioja, 2012December 2, 2017

Well this is another experiment in spending an extra couple of dollars for an older red wine.  The general principle being tested here is that red wines improve with age.  With most of the inexpensive red wines on the shelves being sold at around the two to three year mark, does another couple of years aging make an inexpensive wine better?

At five years this wine is decidedly better than most of those other two to three year olds.  The wine has had time to blend itself together into more of a whole.  The wine is generally smoother than a younger wine, with less rough edges.  What does that mean?  Consider a new t-shirt, put it on straight out of the package and it feels stiff and rough.  Wear it for a while and put that t-shirt through a couple of washes and it gets softer and cozier.

This wine is relatively cozy.  There are less of those little sharp edges.  There are still a few, so maybe another two or so years in the bottle will make the wine cozier still.

Just because age tends to make the wine cozier, doesn’t mean the basic characteristics of the wine have changed.  After all, a blue t-shirt is still going to be blue after a few cycles.  This is a strong wine, very much like a strong Cab, even though the grapes are 100% Tempranillo.  In fact rather than a nice mellow blue, this is more of an in-your-face red, a red that doesn’t fade in the wash.  So buyer beware, there’s lots of character in this wine.  If you’d like to see how the various styles of Rioja wine compare, check out this.  If you like a strong California Cab this may well be the best $10 “California Cab” you’ll ever buy.   In general, the wine gets a little above average reviews on the web, 3.5 out of 5, with a few nods to the relative value of the wine (quality/price).  Price of $9.99

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Trader Joe’s – Veggie Corn Dogs – Food Review

12/02/2017

trader joe, review, price, calories, nutrition, veggie corn dogsDecember 2, 2017
The corn is there. The dog is almost there.  This dog will hunt.

I’m always on the lookout for a veggie meat substitute.  More specifically, I’m always looking for a good veggie meat substitute.  The best I’ve found so far is Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo.  These veggie corn dogs aren’t quite up to that standard.  But still, they’re pretty good.  What’s better than that is, they’re pretty good veggie “junk” food.

trader joe, review, price, calories, nutrition, veggie corn dogsThe texture of the dog is just about right. Even the color is about right. The taste is more of a neutral taste than a real hot dog. The fatty moisture from a real hot dog is obviously missing. However as long as it’s not overcooked, the dog remains fairly moist.  Watch the time in the microwave, just a little too much time (even just 10 or 15 seconds) dries out both the dog and the corn.

Overall, just like a real corn dog,  the corn bread makes up around half of the taste and texture. The veggie dog in the center adds some flavor and texture, but more importantly does not take much away in the form of negatives.

These are slightly smaller than a standard corn dog and missing the animal fat, so the calories are lower.  Unfortunately, the sodium content is relatively high just like a real corn dog.  They’re labelled as meatless and veggie, but not vegetarian.  So check the ingredient label to make sure this conforms to your personal vegetarian standards.

Price $2.99 (4 veggie corn dogs, 10 ounces )

Calories 160 per veggie corn dog

Trader Joe’s – Crispy Crunchy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – Food Review

11/29/2017

Trader Joe, review, price, nutrition, calories, cookies, crispy oatmeal raisinNovember 29, 2017

Crispy is the key word on the bag.  Pay attention.

Homemade might be another word for the bag.  What’s meant by that is; not your homemade, nor grandma’s homemade, but my homemade.  Cookies and my oven don’t get along.  I blame it on the oven, of course.  Any kind of cookie I’ve ever attempted came out thin and so crispy that they bordered on just this side of burnt.  That’s the feeling I got with these oatmeal raisin cookies from our favorite Trader.

Trader Joe, review, price, nutrition, calories, cookies, crispy oatmeal raisinThe cookies were so thin that the pretty much hard and dried out raisins tended to pop out of the cookie on their own leaving small holes in the cookie.  Look in the bottom of the bag for the raisins.  The cookies were crunchy, as most things toasted beyond tan tend to be.  Now of course, even in their current condition, I ate them up, because any oatmeal raisin cookie is better than none.  But if you prefer the softer thicker chewier kind of oatmeal raisin cookies, like I do, pass these up.

Price $3.99 (7 ounce bag)

Calories 130 per ounce (2 cookies)

Trader Joe’s – Unexpected Cheddar Cheese- Food Review

11/17/2017

Trader Joe, review, calories, price, nutrition, cheese, unexpected cheddarNovember 17, 2017

Unexpected?  You bet it was unexpected. After months of searching for this on the top shelf where all the other Cheddars live, I found this in with the Bries, Camemberts and who knows what else.

TJ says there’s a touch of Parmesan in the taste which makes this Cheddar unexpected. By my taste buds, I didn’t detect any Parmesan. And also by my taste buds, this doesn’t really taste like other Cheddars. But the taste of this cheese is very nice, having a touch of tanginess mixed with a touch of sweetness. The texture is similar to other TJ cheese blends, firm but tends to crumble when cutting. That’s not a negative, just an observation. In the mouth, there are a few bits of what seem like cheese crystals characteristic of an aged cheese. Whatever the blend of cheeses here, or whatever the process that went into making this, this is a nice cheese, perfect for enjoying by itself or even better with a glass of wine.

Trader Joe, review, calories, price, nutrition, cheese, unexpected cheddarPrice $3.99 per 7 ounce package

Calories 120 per ounce

Trader Joe’s Panama Boquete Coffee – Whole Bean – Food Review

11/05/2017

trader joe's, panama boquete whole bean coffee, review, price,November 5, 2017

The first bad sign was the tear-off tab failing while trying to open the bag.  I had to resort to a Kelly clamp to fix that.  The second bad sign was the aroma of slightly burnt coffee beans coming from the bag.  It should be difficult to burn a light-medium roast.  The third bad sign was the aroma of almost tea coming from the cup.  Or maybe it was bouillon?  The fourth bad sign was the weak bitter coffee coming from the cup.

Well I’ve had worse and despite the four bad signs, the coffee is still drinkable.  For those who prefer less body in a coffee, this one’s for you. This coffee reminds me of the recently reviewed Nicaraguan Coffee.  Trader Joe does a really good job with their medium-dark roasts, so far the lighter roasts have generally been not as good.

And Boquete?  Boquete is a small city in Panama in the western coffee growing region.

Price  $8.99 (12 oz bag)

Trader Joe’s – BBQ Chicken Teriyaki – Food Review

11/05/2017

trader joe, bbq chicken teriyaki, nutrition, price, calories, reviewNovember 5, 2017

There’s plenty of chicken meat.  But read carefully, this is dark leg meat.  While perfectly tender, the dark chicken meat has a stronger flavor than chicken breast.

At only 150 calories per serving, this is surprisingly filling.  At 3.5 servings per bag or 525 calories per bag, if you split the entire bag with another person that’s only 265 calories.  For those few calories there are 31 grams of protein, which is a big chunk of the daily requirement for protein.  Combine this with some steamed frozen vegetables and even a little butter or olive oil on the veggies and we’re looking at a filling meal at around 400 calories total.  That’s not bad.

trader joe, bbq chicken teriyaki, nutrition, price, calories, reviewThe teriyaki sauce is thin, sweetish, and soy sauce based. The sauce is hardly what is commonly called a BBQ sauce here. But the sauce imparts enough flavor to the chicken.  The sauce will not cover the flavor of the leg meat.  I didn’t find that to be a problem, so the preceding sentence was just a note for you.  There are two packets of frozen sauce in the bag.  I suppose you could only cook half the chicken in the bag using just one of the sauce packets, leaving the rest of the frozen chicken and the other sauce packet for another day.  Cooking is no more than heating in the microwave.  Coming out of the bag, the chicken looks like various shaped dark rocks.  Some of those rocks are so big you may wonder if they came from turkey legs instead of chicken legs.  These must be some big chickens.

Price $4.99     Calories  150 per serving (3.5 servings per bag)

Click on images to enlarge

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)

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)


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