Trader Joe’s Vegetable Samosas

I love Indian food. Some future Shameless Foodette posts focus on some Indian food exploits that Erik and I made for Sherlock. So when we saw that we had these in the freezer, we thawed them out to try. (Oh, and these were pre-lightbox, so sorry!)

Erik had had them before, and didn’t want me to have a biased review, but all he said was, “I think you’ll see what I mean when I say that they’re interesting.” So already, my interest was piqued. An interesting flavor. They’re cute little dumplings, much smaller than the traditional anvil of a samosa that I’m used to in a restaurant, but not so dauntingly big that I wouldn’t feel comfortable serving them to guests without whacking them up first.
The box said to cook them for ten minutes in a 350 degree oven, but when I went to eat one, it was still cold and stiff, and sparkly inside, much like a vampire’s member. Gross, Edward Cullen! Disappointed, I put them back in for another five, and they were fine.

The ingredients listed said that there were the traditional potatoes and peas with the mix of spices- curry, turmeric, cumin, etc, but also had carrots, and that was just strange. Moving on, though, I bit into it, expecting the restaurant quality flavor I got in the normal ones, and got…an Asian inspired amalgam? It was overly spicy, had way too much shredded carrot in it, tons of peas, and only the tiniest speck of potato. What gives, Trader Joe’s?
Honestly, they never specified, and maybe I’m egregious in my assumption that “samosas” are traditionally South Asian and mainly Indian, but if I hadn’t known that, I would have pegged these for wonton like or Chinese inspired dumplings. Lame, Trader Joe’s. Lame, lame, lame. Too spicy, crappy cooking instructions, and crappy vegetable distribution. I spit them out and gave them to Erik, and he threw them out. Inedible is inedible is inedible. It’s the first Trader Joe’s product that I’ve been less than satisfied with.

Velveeta Shells and Cheese

I consider myself a macaroni and cheese connoisseur. I mean, it’s hard to screw up. It’s a tasty food, it’s heartening, it’s delicious, and it’s easy to make and customize in many ways.

So why, Velveeta, have you managed to take one of the paragons of my childhood and turned it into such an awful food?

I brought this box with me from home, in August, like some sort of a latter-day Oregon Trail trek, carrying it with me in my box o’ stuff intending on saving it for a day when I absolutely could not stomach the dining hall fare any longer, and could not stand to leave the confines of my dorm room for takeout. And when I did make it, I took the utmost care and time to stir it and rinse it and make sure all the noodles were evenly boiled, and Velveeta defiled me.

The result, humans, is a salty, gluey mess, much like the ones the gigolos named Hans leave after hosting policeman-themed birthday parties. Vaguely cheesy tasting and the type of orange you could throw at people at a rave and watch glow in the dark, but with an overall flavor of salt, MSG, and dreams deferred, Velveeta just makes me sad. And just like those oysters that change gender when their shells clump together, all these shells are stuck in one giant clusterfuck.

Velveeta, you have broken my pathetic, college cooking heart. I’ll never be the same.

Jones Tofurky and Gravy Soda


I don’t have a photo of this, but I can assure you, it was as noxious as it looked.

In honor of Thanksgiving, I decided to take one for the team and have some Jones Tofurky Soda, debuted this year. Excuse me, tofurky and gravy. The soda is designed for all masochistic vegans and vegetarians, and believe me, there’s quite a demographic. So I bucked up and bought a bottle of this, and decided to try it for an audience of rapt friends.

In short? Utterly disgusting. If you’re squeamish, stop now.

In long. Oh, my. First opening it, it’s a lovely aroma of cat kitter, Windex, and gravy. The taste is very watery, and not at all like turkey at all, more gravy than anything else. The carbonation is the strange part. I keep expecting it to have the thick texture of gravy, but it’s so…not gravy like. It’s the Schrodinger’s Cat of sodas. Gravy and not gravy.

Overall, it’s like a Butterball turkey took me and raised me as one of its own, and sustained my frail little body by vomiting its juices into my mouth. So, for gastro-intestinal taste enthusiasts, this is all systems go. For the rest of the world, stick with what you can chew and leave the libations fruity-flavored.

0/10- INEDIBLE

Happy Thanksgiving!

Buffalo Chicken Hot Pocket


Okay, normally I’m a fan of all things Hot Pocket. Comes with the territory, I’m a Jim Gaffigan fan and a college student. But last night, dear readers, in a drunken haze, I attempted to consume something so horrendous I cannot even believe I’m here to report the news.

So it’s a Hot Pocket, advertised innocuously as pieces of chicken in a buffalo sauce. Okay. But then you look at the ingredient list, and that’s where the utter horror kicks in.

“Chopped and formed chicken with binder and caramel added.” So the regular normal chicken wasn’t good enough, so they processed it, ground it up, and made it into neat, little uniform chunks- chicken ice cubes, if you will, and added caramel to color it like…dark meat?

This makes the chicken gooey and taste like mushy tofu. And the buffalo sauce, I figured, might redeem the strangeness of this true mystery meat, but no! It was the spiciest, most acidic sauce I have ever had. Even the strange bread didn’t redeem it. I took two bites and left it, staring in my beer haze…something…is…not…right…

0/10- INEDIBLE

Adore A Jar Bakery Treats

A few things from Adore A Jar…clearly, things in jars are the newest trend! Move over, chipotles and sea salt!

The first cake was a “Cha Cha Chocolate Cake” and it was quite good. The cake was very moist and rather dense and tasted less like chocolate than cinnamon, actually, with a very subtle chocolate flavor. It was interesting. With the chocolate frosting, I’d have definitely considered it a chocolate cake, but without, I’m not sure that I would have been able to ascertain what flavor it was and definitely would not have considered it chocolate. I asked my roommate to do a blind test, and she thought it was zucchini bread. Not sure what the deal is, but it definitely needs more chocolate.

5/10- CONFUSING

The frosting “caboose” that was sent along was really delicious. It was a rich chocolate frosting that was extremely fluffy, and had a subtle marshmallow-y taste. It was really nice, and I’m going to use it in the future to spread on other confections.

8/10- TASTY

The next jar cake was a Guinness gingerbread cake. You could smell the Guinness as soon as you popped open the jar, and the alcoholic flavor was extremely concentrated. I liked the flavor of the gingerbread, but because of the intensity of the alcohol, I’m not sure how well this translated into a jar cake. It was interesting, but a little strong for my tastes. Again, props to the moist texture!

5/10- OKAY

The protein bar was unfortunately, one of the worst things I have ever attempted to consume. In its defense, there was a lot of protein, but this definitely needs work. The taste was oaty, date-like, and awfully strange. In addition to that, the structure of the bar wouldn’t have been convenient to the prime demographic of protein-bar eaters. It was gooey, too soft, and very squishy. Whatever was wrong with it was just not good. The combination of flavors made me spit it out.

0/10- INEDIBLE

The next treat was really delicious! Emily’s Vegan Chocolate Chip Banana “muffies”- a cross between a cookie and a muffin. They were awesome. The texture was nice and oaty. I feel like this would make an even better protein bar, as it was so filling! They were the perfect combination of a subtle banana flavor and the punch of chocolate chips. I am definitely going to buy these for my vegan friend Sherlock! A great snack that can easily be dressed up and added to a dessert or fly solo.

8/10- AWESOME

The last treat was a lemon bar. I wasn’t as impressed with the taste or texture of this as I like my lemon bars to contrast a little. A good lemon bar has a tangy flavor with a jellified top, offset by a crunchy or at least textured crust, and a little sugar on top to take off some bite. This lemon bar was too gooey and soft. The overall thought in my mind was that it was doughy, like an underbaked pie crust. It wasn’t as good as I feel a lemon bar ought to be.

4/10- MEH.

Adore A Jar Bakery
www.adoreajarbakery.etsy.com

Diet Dr. Thunder


Here’s Walmart’s rebuttal to the popular Dr. Pepper soda brand.

It’s in a silver can, same size, same brown liquid, same scent of cherries, even, but when you take a sip, you taste…nothing. It’s as though Dr. Pepper was filtered through someone’s system a few times, the flavor was leeched out, and you were left with carbonation and little else. There’s no flavor. There’s not even a sugary taste. It’s like drinking scented seltzer.

The bubbles are nice, but it’s essentially, brown seltzer. And who drinks that? This soda isn’t worth the low price you pay for it. I keep opening cans, thinking they’re flukes, and just pouring them down the drain. This is one disgusting soda.

0/10- INEDIBLE

Taco Bell Grilled Chicken Gordita

Well, you readers asked for it, and it’s my job to deliver- fast food is the choice. In honor of the passing of Gidget, the Taco Bell Chihuahua, I went to my local Bell and got three gorditas- one for me, one for my Chihuahua, and one for the big Taco Bell in the sky.

I ordered a grilled chicken gordita with no lettuce and tomato and Lava Sauce, and got a grilled chicken gordita with lettuce and tomato and sour cream. Strike one.

The gordita was so loosely wrapped that it spilled its fresco toppings all over my car, and the cheese wasn’t at all melted on the inside. I never could understand why they put unmelted cheese on. Surely they don’t fancy their products to be so hot to melt cheese!

I got home and microwaved it to make it edible. Unfortunately, that didn’t do it. I opened it up and examined the contents. In the entire gordita, I found maybe five pieces of chicken, and all the sour cream was jammed up at one end of the sandwich. The breading was like eating a very bland Hot Pocket crust, and nothing went well together. The cheese was slimy and still cold, the lettuce and tomato bits kept getting in the way, the sour cream was all at one end, and the chicken was MIA.

I ate half and gave the rest to my dog. Gidget, I hope this doesn’t disrespect your memory.

0/10- INEDIBLE

Buffalo Wild Wings Garlic Parmesan Chicken Flatbread

I went to the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant today with some co-workers. It’s a nice place, new, and has lots of televisions and good deals on wings, like forty cent traditional wings on Tuesdays. We got takeout and took it back to work.

I ordered the garlic parmesan chicken flatbread “pizza” thing. I thought the crust would be much puffier, like a gordita bread, soft, but it was basically a brittle and cracking tortilla wrap with sauce and meat on it. The chicken was a nice, soft white meat, good chicken, sprinkled liberally throughout the pizza. There was enough sauce on it so that everything stuck to the bread without falling off and making a mess.

The flatbread was easy to eat, but was just overbearingly crispy and very dry. The chicken was moist, but the cheese was melted on in such a crispy way that it lost any gooiness of a pizza and was just hard and tough to break through in my mouth. The parmesan garlic sauce was good, a little spicy, and tasty. It was more garlic than parmesan, but was smooth and not chunky or too overbearing.

4/10- NOT WORTH IT

The french fries were absolutely disgusting. For some reason, every time I go to BWW…sorry. BWW sounds like a bad personal ad. But every time I go there, my food is always a shade lukewarm. The fries were no exception. No fry I got was longer than an inch or an inch and a half and they were skinny and absolutely soggy to the touch.

Each fry was greasy, despite being overly soft and mushy, and had no salt or pepper flavor to speak of. I didn’t even finish half of these fries. They were absolutely awful. If you go to BWW, stick to their Buffalo Chips or sour cream and chive potato wedges.
0/10- INEDIBLE

Asian EXTRAVAGANZA! Part 1: Drinks

Okay, so a little background. My friend Swagger and I went out yesterday on a delightful quest for an Ocean State Job Lot, which turned into a huge adventure finding and retrieving items from an Asian Grocery.

We got some beverages first, for review. I’ll be doing it all in part by cuisine. We found dollar store beverages and Asian things to show you today.

First up was the Wang Dream aloe juice. After giggling profusely at the funny name, we took a sip. The texture is very strange. It’s a very thick juice, and the texture is only comparable to drinking melted Jell-O. At first taste, it tasted like apple-scented shampoo would taste like. On the second round, it developed a muscat-like taste, and the little beads of aloe tasted much better. It was, in all, a really refreshing drink and not horrible for costing $1.70. The texture is a little off-putting, though. I kept expecting it to develop a skin on top, like its Jell-o imitation.

5/10- OKAY

We also found a treat I’d been dying to try, but hadn’t really wanted to order online: soda for weeaboos, AKA ramune. The ramune was immensely fun to open, like a grenade launcher, and I felt a real sense of accomplishment when I got the marble down and the soda tried to explode all over my hands.

Unfortunately, the taste was really disappointing. We had the choice of original, melon, Hawaiian blue, and strawberry, and chose strawberry. Swagger said the Japanese don’t like things too sweet, and it was evident in the taste. If anything, the ramune tasted like watery and minimally flavored seltzer. If that was strawberry flavored, plain must be really gross. A huge disappointment, even if the packaging was awesome. We loved the Engrish on the label, too. “Enjoy pop soda!”

4/10- DISAPPOINTING

That was it for the Asian beverages, as we’d already stocked up on discounted sodas at an Aldi and Ocean State Job Lot before. Onto the discounted stuff. We bought two sodas from a company called “Snow,” advertising crisp, minty beverages, and one ominously nomikered Java Pop.

The “Icy Green Tea- Light” Snow pop thing was nothing special in the way of bottle mechanics, like the ramune, and it was encouraged to serve “ice cold”. Okay. So we put our ice batons and waited. We took a sip.

The smell was intense, like we’d just sauntered into a Colgate factory on a hot day. It looked like beer, and tasted like sparkling Listerine. There was no green tea flavor at all. We now understand why these were three for a buck. They were loaded with sugar, 35 grams a bottle, but had no sugary or sweet taste to speak of, and were horrible. We spat them out and dumped the remainder of the soda in the yard.

0/10- INEDIBLE

Okay, so after that astronomical failure, we popped open the Whiteout Peach flavor. Not looking good so far, Swagger said. So we opened it, poured it into our glasses with ice batons, and waited. Took a sip. Again, we hated it. Just spitting out the drink made me feel much better.

I don’t know what was wrong with these two beverages, aside from the glaringly obvious fact that we bought them from a dollar store. But the Whiteout peach was exactly the same. There was no peach taste to find, it smelled like toothpaste, and was sugary on the label, but had no sugar to be found. These just sucked, completely.

0/10- INEDIBLE

I’m not proud to do it, but I have to give the Snow Pops my first zeroes. We spit them out. They were horrific.

Last up was the ever-intriguing Java Pop, in vanilla flavor. It boasted being all organic, all seeing, all knowing, with pure sugar cane.

We opened it and poured it into the bottle. It had a sickly sweet flavor of sugar and vanilla, like snorting powdered sugar. Upon trying it, we smacked our lips a little, probably trying to see if they stuck together. It did taste like vanilla coffee, that was accurate. In fact, if you condensed it, it would probably taste even better sans bubbles. But this combination was just gross. Soda and coffee is really disgusting. And the sugar this one had almost negated the fact that it was organic. Just disappointing.

1/10- GROSS