Posts Tagged ‘trader joe’s’

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)

Click on images to enlarge

Trader Joe’s – Chicken & Vegetable Wonton Soup – Food Review

08/06/2017

trader joe, wonton soup, price, calories, nutrition, review, chicken, vegetableAug 6, 2017

With cold, or at least cool, weather just around the corner, soup is in season.  This is a surprisingly good soup for those kinds of days, or really any kind of day.

The broth for this soup is very nice. There’s a slight sweetness to the broth, but also a bit of rebellion from green onions. As you work your way to the bottom of the bowl, where the white and black pepper settle out, the broth becomes more adventuresome. The broth has a medium consistency.

The wontons (dumplings) in the soup contain a chicken-based filling. While not as flavorful as the broth, the wonton filling is still good with noticeable vegetables interspersed throughout.  If you can manage to cut a wonton in half, letting some broth seep in, the filling is even better. The package contains a caution to, cook thoroughly. If I had to guess, the soup is not precooked. It took the full five minutes in the microwave to reach the required 165 degrees.

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Trader Joe’s Popcorn Chips – Food Review

08/03/2017
trader joe's, snack, popcorn chips, review, price, nutrition, caloriesHonestly, I picked these up just to see what they were.  Popcorn chips, how could that be?  That’s making a snack food out of a snack food.  It ain’t right.

If you’ve ever had mini rice cakes, these are very close to that experience.  The “chips” are airy in texture and dry in the mouth.  There’s just a hint of salt and sweet for flavor.  Aside from that, there’s not much to these – except some calories.  And as much as these are unexceptional, the whole bag disappeared within a couple of hours.  That’s what a snack food is.

trader joe's, snack, popcorn chips, review, price, nutrition, caloriesPrice $1.99 (4.5 ounce bag)

Calories 110 per ounce (28g, about 17 chips)

Trader Joe’s – Low Acid French Roast Coffee – Whole Bean – Food Review

08/03/2017

coffee, trader joe's, french roast, low acid, review, whole beanAugust 3, 2017

This might have been the first Trader Joe coffee that made it to the trash bin before the can was empty.  Right now I’m salvaging the coffee by grinding it 50/50 with my everyday Tarrazu coffee.

In the grinder there’s a beautiful aroma when the beans are freshly ground.  If only that could transfer to the brewed coffee.  Once brewed and in the cup, the beans turned into a very bitter cup of coffee.  If bitter is what you’re looking for in a cup of coffee, this one’s for you.  That experience isn’t for me.  A shot of Irish cream or half-and-half subdued the bitterness to tolerable levels.  But even then, there was still something about the coffee that wasn’t fully enjoyable.

As for the low acid claim on the label, without using a pH meter, we’ll just have to trust Trader Joe.  I did not feel any burn at the back of the throat or have any acid reflux problems afterwards.  Your reaction may be different.

The coffee beans are smaller than most. From the color and the small amount of oil on the beans, these are on the light side of a dark roast.  There is no country or region of origin stated for the beans. The beans are labeled 100% Arabica, as are around 80% of coffee beans overall.  Price $7.99 (13 ounce can)

Trader Joe’s – Extra Sharp Canadian Cheddar Cheese – Food Review

07/26/2017

Red Angus Heifer, wikimedia commons, Black Angus GirlJuly 26, 2017
Trade wars be damned, this is some really good cheese.  So before the great northern wall is built, get some of this.  If not, you’ll be making trips up to the wall under cover of darkness to catch packages of cheese wrapped in duct tape being thrown over.  Or Monty Python might be channeled catapulting whole cows north to south, the cheese curdling and aging in flight.  Don’t worry Canada, the cows will be quickly deported!  Street graffiti artists, please hold your enthusiasm.

Wisconsin cheeseheads stand on guard (oops!).  There’s some real competition coming south.  Have the secret cheese recipes been hacked?  Stop any bulls going north.  That lovely smiling red-headed heifer waving her tail over the border is a trap.  Keep the DNA in the USA!

And how is the cheese itself?  It’s perhaps the best pure cheddar in the TJ refrigerator case. It has a great taste and mouthfeel.  It’s sharp, but not pointy.  It’s just on the verge of being crumbly.  A few Gouda-like cheese crystals are spread throughout.  Or maybe that was one of my fillings starting to break up?  According to the label it’s aged two years.  That two-year aging accounts for all the good stuff in the cheese.  It’s also how often my dentist keeps refilling that tooth.  Hmmm?

Trader Joe's, Canadian Extra Sharp Cheddar, review, price, calories, nutritionCalories 120 per ounce, price $8.99 per pound

Heifer photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, here.  Author: Black Angus Girl

Bogle Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – Wine Review – Trader Joe’s

07/26/2017

trader joe, review, price, Bogle cabernet sauvignon, 2014, CaloforniaJuly 26, 2017

The wine has a mild earthy and mildly strong aroma in the glass.  The wine feels slightly dry in the mouth and is not fruity to the taste.  It’s a little different flavor profile than experienced in the past from a California Cab, but still of the same genre.  The second glass and thereafter has more of a California Cab experience.  There’s nothing odd or off tasting. While mildly strong as a wine, the wine is also smooth to drink.   This is a fairly good California Cab for people who might want to expand their tastes in that direction or for people who just want to chill after a hard day’s work without challenging themselves too much.  The wine works well as a sipper.  It didn’t pair well with some cheddar cheese.  It paired much better with some mildly spicy Indian food, and some not so spicy Chinese garlic chicken.  It was a matter of having enough food in the mouth to stand up to the wine.

The wine seems to be generally available at other outlets for a similar price, sometimes even a little less and sometimes a little more.  The wine receives average to slightly above average reviews by others.  Price $8.99.

Trader Joe’s – Ecuador Vilcabamba – Coffee – Whole Bean – Food Review

07/14/2017

trader joe's, review, coffee, ecuador, vilcabamba, light-medium roastJuly 14, 2017

Musical beans?  That’s what they are.  Whether scooping these out from the bag, or dropping them into the measuring glass, or even in the grinder, these beans had a clear almost bell-like ring to them.  That’s very interesting and something either not noticed or not experienced in the past with any coffee beans.  And in the cup, that smooth mellow music continues.

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Trader Joe’s Double Cream Brie – Food Review

07/10/2017

trader joe, review, nutrition, price, calories, double cream brieJuly 10, 2017

This was a much better experience than the last Trader Joe’s brie I tried.   This brie had a much firmer, but still soft, texture.  It was sliceable and didn’t run off the knife.  The taste was mild with a touch of tartness.  Overall the taste was a pleasant experience.  The texture was melt-in-the-mouth.  There was a kind of velvety mouth feel to the cheese.

For the lovers of stronger cheeses, you won’t be offended by this, but you also may not be satisfied.  For the brie lovers out there, this is probably a winner.

Price $5.99 per pound
Calories 100 per ounce
If you’re looking for double plus one creamy brie, try here.

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