Friday, January 2, 2015

Post Xmas binge. . .

It is entirely possible that this whole snack-food review thing has finally driven me completely insane.  I looked at the nutritional information and the total calories involved is in the thousands.

So, without further ado, here is your gut-distressing Holiday Bonus Episode!
Yes, these were all in my cupboard at the same time, don't judge me...
Starring:  All the crap I've bought from Trader Joe's since Thanksgiving!  Most of these are now perennial favorites in my gullet.  I have to eat these myself as others in the household won't really touch them.  Something about "Karbs" and not liking ginger. (Who doesn't like Ginger?  It's like eating lemon Pledge!)  This review gives me the opportunity to reduce some of the clutter in the cupboard by gorging myself on things that are best consumed in moderation.

Let's start off with this big bad boy right here:
This product is a few bad innuendos from a Xmas-themed porn title...
Trader Joe's brand Pound Plus imported Belgian chocolate bars are a great buy for when you want to make several gallons of chocolate mousse, or you want to bribe a child for their college money. (kids are dumb, get 'em young enough and they'll give you their own parents for a hunk of chocolate.)  This is a special case, however, and comes packed with "extras".

None of that nut-dust in this chocolate bar; you'll be getting all the big salty nuts you can stomach, and some fruit!
As can be seen above, this 17.6 oz slab of dark chocolate comes packed to the gills with almonds and dried cranberries.  Now, normally I will tell tried cranberries to fuck off, as they are the mildly less awful relative to raisins, but in this case the tart fruit is a very nice accent to this much solidified blood of cacao.  I'm also a sucker for almonds, perhaps my favorite tree nut in general, especially if you smoke 'em or cover them in some sort of wasabi powder.  But I digress...  This makes for an interesting combo of adjunct added chocolate bar you can eat one small square at a time.  DO NOT EAT THE ENTIRE BAR IN ONE SITTING, YOU WILL DIE!!!

Score: 10 Lords a Leaping/12 days of Xmas

Next is Trader Joe's brand Brandy Beans
These come in individually chambered trays for your protection...
I never bought these for myself before this year as I wasn't sure what I would be getting, nor that I wanted to put it in my mouth. However, my mother has made a holiday tradition of buying roughly 5 large crates of these and handing them out to people at work, friends, family, strangers on the street...  Anyway, after trying one (or a dozen) last year, I decided to buy a box.  You get what you see on the box here, there are hollow chocolate "beans" and they are packed to the gills with a syrup that smells and tastes like cheap brandy.  It actually says on the box that it may contain up to 4.9% alcohol, so by volume these have about as much punch as a standard beer.  I'm sure there is some lunatic on the internet who wants to be on Mythbusters and is trying to prove you could get drunk on these if you ate enough of them fast enough.  I do not want to be on vomit duty for that set clean-up. . . 
This stuff is so sticky on fingers I'm surprised it's not already covered in cat hair...
This is one of those weird things that tastes "good" because you aren't expecting to actually get a shot of booze in your mouth when you bite chocolate.  It's the surprise that keeps you coming back for more.  This is why I've had these for a month and I've only eaten about 7.  Eating more than 2 or 3 at once is not advised as they lose their charm quickly.  Also, just put the whole thing in your mouth and eat it.  If you try to break this thing or bite off pieces you're just going to get covered in boozy syrup that is the culinary equivalent of super-glue.  Nothing you can touch with those fingers will be unaffected by that sugary Velcro. This is a treat best utilized in a group of people who can eat them all so you don't have to do it yourself later.  DO NOT EAT THE WHOLE BOX YOURSELF, YOU WILL DIE!!!

Rating: 6 geese a laying/12 days of Xmas

Trader Joe's Mini Gingerbread Men:
Oh, yes, my pretties, you will sate my hunger for ginger flesh...
I am a lazy man sometimes and I can't be bothered to actually get out the baking implements every time I want a cookie.  Also, in general, I think ginger bread is only good for building shitty houses that you will try to store and display next year.  But the capacity for sugar to pull moisture out of the air and the activity of vermin will require you to bake and construct again next year lest you display a half-eaten, collapsed edifice to last years consumerism...  Long story short, just open a damned box of pre-made snacks and leave the culinary construction to Martha Stewart.

Anthropomorphized man-cookie on the front, heroin infused icing on the back...
These cookies are fresh and crunchy coming out of the cellophane and have a nice sharp ginger twang.  In fact, there are actual small bits of candied ginger in the cookies, not just ground powder.  However, now that these have been open for a couple weeks they have for a while been at the more desirable stage I like to call, "everybody thinks they're stale, but I know they're now softer and chewy."  Through design or folly, I end up buying at least 2 boxes of these every Xmas season, and will likely buy a third if there are any left when I go to buy sparkling water next Wednesday. DO NOT EAT THE ENTIRE BOX, YOU WILL NOT DIE BUT PROBABLY GET A BELLY ACHE OR SOMETHING, MAYBE DIABETES.

Rating: 9 Ladies Dancing/12 days of Xmas

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Stars:
If your holiday snacking is a Lovecraftian God, these are your Elder Signs.
I'm make this short and sweet.  These are very dense dark chocolate star-shaped cookies that are completely covered in dark chocolate and sprinkles.  You will like these, you will eat too many, you will suck the ends off your fingers when you've finished.
Look on this and despair, these are the destroyers of diets...
They are not fantastic, they are adequate.  They have that quality of Nilla Wafers wherein you think fondly upon them until you eat one, then you realize they're kind of bland and crackerish.  But they get sweeter as the enzymes in your saliva go to work on them, and soon you've shoved about a dozen into your face.  There is a obscene factory-like progression of the cookie from being whole at the front of your mouth, broken down by bicuspids, then to the grinding molars at the back of your jaw, and the thick semi-solid mass that nearly blocks the back of your maw before involuntary muscle-spasms push this black slurry down your esophagus...

Rating: 8 Maids a Milking/12 Days of Xmas

Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe-Joe's:
This is a happy looking box and it wants you to be happy, too!
Okay, so, Trader Joe's has a lot of products that are supposed to remind you of other products you already like but these TJ-branded knock-offs try to sell you on being more healthy or some shit.  This a complete bull, as there is no such thing as a "healthy" cookie or ice-cream that is worth eating or paying money for.  That being said, TJ's Joe-Joe's just suck.  They look like Oreos, and they smell and taste vaguely like Oreos, but THEY ARE NOT FUCKING OREOS!!!  You eat one and your tongue, nose and brain all instantly come to the consensus that you've made a mistake; like when you're expecting a refreshing Coke but you've been handed a dixie-cup of store-brand "cola" instead.  
Back on the home team, Oreo has been on this kick the last couple of years to make all these different flavored Oreos instead of just sticking with what worked, or what double worked with double stuffed.  Now, occasionally these are "interesting" and they are enjoyable to eat, but they are not "sit down and eat the bag because they're Oreos".  So you have a couple pumpkin spice Oreo cookies and then you're done, now you have to pawn 9/10ths of a bag off on someone else.  
Remember that time you ate a whole bag of Oreos?  Prepare for a flashback...
However, things are a little bizarre here.  These are the Candy Cane Joe-Joe's.  But wait, a flavored Oreo knock-off, these have to really suck, right?  Wrong. To put it simply, they have beat Oreo at their own game.  For you see, these are infinitely better than the regular Joe-Joe's.  This is what Oreo could be if they ground up candy-canes into a coarse sand and mixed it with their filling.  So, in a paradoxical way this cookie is both failure and success.  For this seasonal variation is so much better than the normal version as to make you really wonder why you would ever buy the normal Joe-Joe's again; but at the same time they have schooled Oreo at their own game.  Here is a bag of "flavored" Oreo-like cookies that cannot be denied entrance to the palace of my upper GI tract.  
I say bag, but we all know the bag is just the wrapping and the cookies are in trays.  Conveniently, there are three rows in the tray, as there are likely three visits to the bag before they're gone.  You can try to just take 2 or 3 cookies at a time, but you'll eat those before you get back to your seat, so you might as well pick out the entire row and make an effort of it.  These also benefit from being left open for a couple days, as the cookie part gets softer and makes it so much more efficient to grind into a paste and reduce the choking hazard as you deepthroat a stack.  DO NOT EAT AN ENTIRE BAG, (because I already did....)

Rating: 11 Pipers Piping/12 days of Xmas