Several weeks ago I did a rundown of a few Trader Joe's products. It turned out to be a very popular post. I go to Trader Joe's at least once a week and am constantly trying items that are either new or I have not tried before. Here are some more of them.
(This was inspired by a quote my friend Tracie gave the other night during our Summer Solstice pizza party: "If I can't live in Tuscany or the South of France, I refuse to live more than ten minutes from a Trader Joe's.")
CARAMELIZED ONION DIP
In the above picture I am eating the dip with Ruffles, but my preferred vehicle for delivering the dip to my mouth is TJ's pretzel slims. The saltiness and crispiness of the pretzel crackers plays beautifully against the creamy, smooth onion taste.
MINI CHICKEN TACOS
There isn't a whole lot of texture to the interior of these tacos - it's kind of a paste - but it definitely tastes like a chicken taco. It would take too many of these to constitute a full meal, probably at least a dozen, and eating that many might get boring. But cooking up four or five as a snack? Awesome.
CITRUS CHICKEN SALAD
But sometimes I do get salads - often I will get one or two for Elizabeth to take to work with her, and sometimes she chooses not to and I eat them - and the citrus chicken salad is one of my favorites. It has several ingredients, including green papaya and daikon. The citrus dressing is quite nice - tangy and sweet.
Like I wrote, I don't love these salads, but every once in a (great) while I don't feel like eating anything deep-fried, and this is a nice alternative.
GRILLED CHICKEN CAESAR WRAP
I had high hopes for this one, but unfortunately I have to put it in the "disappointing" category. The dressing was great, I will say that. And the chicken and lettuce were both relatively fresh. But there was hardly any of it. One half of the wrap contained two tiny pieces of chicken. The other half had more, but still not very much. It was $3.99, which can hardly be called "expensive," but with the measly amount of ingredients, it was not a good deal.
PASTRAMI REUBEN WRAP
And that's before we come to the nutrition. As you can probably guess if you have checked out this blog for more than a week, nutrition always takes a backseat to taste for me. But I have to point out the numbers here because they blew me away: 780 calories and 46 grams of fat. For a wrap! A Burger King Whopper "only" contains 670 calories and 40 grams of fat.
I won't be eating one of these ever again. (That evening, when Tracie was at my place flipping through the photos in my camera, she came across the above picture of the unfurled wrap and shrieked "Eww, what is that?" I explained it was my lunch. She was not impressed.)
BEEF & GREEN CHILE BURRITO
There are three main ingredients here: the beef, the seasoned rice, and the green chile. All three of them were delicious but my favorite was the green chile. Elizabeth said these would be even better with cheese but I disagree. I liked it just fine as is, although for my last few bites I added some Pico Pica hot sauce.
I plan to try these again. I wish they didn't take so long to cook, but I guess I should just learn to plan my life at least 50 minutes in advance.
It didn't fall apart but with just a little pressure it crumbled. I removed the layer of fat and diced up the larger pieces into small bits.
"You know, when you get old, in life, things get taken from you. I mean, that's... that's... that's a part of life. But, you only learn that when you start losin' stuff."
I've tried to replicate that sauce from memory, but it's no use. So when I saw TJ's was selling a "Peruvian style" chimichurri rice, there was no doubt I had to try it. Maybe it would contain a faint trace of that chimichurri taste from years ago.
A few minutes in a covered wok and it was hot. And it was delicious, too. There were more chunks of tomatoes than I would have preferred, but they were barely noticeable mixed in with the peas, shallots, garlic and ginger. And the peppers, cilantro and lime provided a great spice - not too hot but definitely noticeable. Did it remind me of the chimchurri sauce that I loved? No. But it was still very tasty.
Finally I will close with a shot of Elizabeth's new flowers, also from Trader Joe's: