Of the cheddars reviewed here, this one is the best cheddar yet at Trader Joe’s, if you like an American-style cheddar. Aged “over” 18 months, the cheese is just starting to get crumbly. Over that time the flavor has matured into a nice tasting cheddar. Compared to a Kraft sharp cheddar, this one is a bit tastier and definitely not as creamy. Both those things are good if you’re looking for an aged cheese. While tastier, the flavor is not overwhelming as the name might imply. Calories – 110 per oz (28g). Price $5.99 per pound.
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The gimmick for this wine is the grapes grown at two different altitudes. That’s how it gets its name and label. The wine consists of 50% grapes grown at 1100 meters and 50% grapes grown at 700 meters. The idea is that each altitude (and environment) adds different characteristics to the grapes and ultimately the wine. And how does that work?
This wine is very similar to the Amancay Malbec reviewed last week. Both come from the Mendoza region of Argentina. The aroma is strong and earthy in the glass. The wine is dry and earthy in the mouth. The color is deep purple. There may be a bit more body and a bit less dryness than the Amancay. This would be a more interesting wine than the Amancay if not for a somewhat harsh aftertaste. Price $8.99.
This Malbec from the Uco Valley of Argentina has a deep purple color in the glass with a mild fruity aroma. On the first glass there’s a bit of alcohol burn in the nose and the back of the throat. In the mouth there’s a dry watery feel. The dryness is not overpowering, but definitely there on the roof of the mouth. For those who don’t mind a dry red wine, this is a reasonably good wine for the price. The simple but elegant label is a bonus. Price $6.99.
This is a domestic (US) extra sharp cheddar from Wisconsin. While it’s a nice cheese, especially considering the only $4.99 per pound price, it’s not what I’d call an extra sharp cheddar. So just as a reality check, I went out and purchased an extra sharp cheddar from Kraft. The Kraft cheese is “sharper” but not as sharp as I remember it. Still however, the Kraft has more of the cheddar flavor I was expecting. As would be expected, both have more flavor when allowed to warm to room temperature. As a comparison, the Kraft came in at around $7 per pound slightly on sale at a regular super market. The texture was similar for both cheeses, solid but soft. For those wanting more flavor in their American-style cheeses, the TJ extra sharp cheddar will give you that at a reasonable price. For those wanting a still more flavorful cheese, look elsewhere.
Calories – 120 per ounce. Price $4.99 per pound. Coming up next week is a TJ X-tra X-tra Sharp New York Cheddar. We’ll see. As an aside, I nicely paired both of the cheeses above with some Amancay Malbec.
The star here is the corn masa. The dough (masa) retains a nice taste and texture, neither too dry and certainly not wet, in its trip from freezer to microwave. Although there’s not much of it, the cheese is chewy and stringy. Green chilies are randomly placed throughout the cheese, but otherwise not very noticeable. The heat level is mild unless you get a big piece of chile, then it’s a medium heat. By far the cheese filling is a minor player. The tamales come wrapped in nicely trimmed corn husks.
Price ??? (lost receipt) – 2 tamales in package
click images to enlarge
This is another one where it would be way too easy to eat the whole package in one sitting. A very little bit of a smokey peppery earthy taste mixed in with creamy, but not soft, English cheddar is the best description I could come up with. That description doesn’t do it taste justice. It may not be to everyone’s liking, but this is very good.
Of particular note are a couple of the lesser ingredients, anchovy and bamboo fiber. What’s This For? Well I sure don’t know, but whatever the reason the whole seems to work just fine.
At $9.99 per pound, this is in line with similar cheeses at Trader Joe’s. The calories, at 110 per ounce (28g), are also similar to other cheeses.
Now I’m not the world’s most prolific falafel eater. But I have had them in restaurants. And for no other reason then to attempt to pronounce the name, you should give them a try sometime when you’re around Mediterranean food. If you do want to give them a try, DON’T (do not) try these.
A falafel is one of those foods that’s a blank canvas to which the chef has to add the splashes of color (metaphorically). These have few splashes of color.
It’s predominantly* almond (Kind) versus predominantly* peanut (Simply Nutty) in this nut-off challenge. For those who need to know quickly, Kind has the bigger nuts. That’s important, because when you bite into them, Kind requires a little more jaw power. However once in the mouth and chewed around some, the texture is indistinguishable between the two.
For those who like their nuts slightly salty, Kind would be your choice. In comparison, Simply Nutty is just that – not much of a salty experience here. Holding all the nuts together at the base, for both, is a dark dark brown chocolate. Some of the same is drizzled on the top of the nuts. I guess the drizzle is for decoration, but could be there for the lickers among us who might want to slowly savor the experience. Licking from the bottom would be too messy. So, the dark chocolate on both is very much the same, good, but nothing to write home about.
The products are very similar, with small individual preferences being the deciding factors between the two for most of us. Finally, these type of comparisons usually come down to price. The Kind bars are 4 bars for $4.99 and the Simply Nutty bars are 5 bars for $4.99.
Kind – Calories 200 per bar, Price $4.99 – box of 4 bars
Trader Joe’s Simply Nutty – Calories 200 per bar, Price $4.99 – box of 5 bars
*Based on the first ingredient listed on the ingredient label
There’s not much on the cork. In the glass there’s a deep red to purple color and not much aroma. This is a medium-light bodied simple red wine that tastes good and is easy to drink. There are a few tannins around to give the wine a little character, but not enough to upset very many people. There are no negatives.
There’s little information on the bottle or the internet about the grapes or process used to make this wine. Since it’s a Bordeaux, we can assume most of the grapes used in this wine are Cabernet and Merlot. Most other reviews on the web give this average ratings (3.5 out of 5). It’s a fairly mild red wine and should pair well with most foods except the most delicate. I could sip this all night – regrets in the morning of course. Price $8.99.