Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Monsooned Malabar Coffee

Monsooned Malabar Coffee
Monsooned Malabar is a new coffee on the Trader Joe’s shelves (Spring 2017).  It is a medium roast 100% Arabica whole bean coffee, and the label bills it as “full body, woodsy aromatics”.  AROMATICS?  Hmmm, they are using what I think of as an adjective as a noun here, aren’t they?  Let’s look up “aromatics”, shall we??

I checked out http://www.cooksmarts.com/articles/add-flavor-aromatics/  and learned this:  “Aromatics are combinations of vegetables and herbs (and sometimes even meats) that are heated in some fat – like butter, oil, or coconut milk – at the beginning of a dish. The heated fat helps these ingredients release addictive aromas and impart deep flavors into the dish that’s being cooked.”

Well, this is COFFEE so I know they do not mean that definition.  “Aromatics” as a plural adjective sounds awkward to me, but maybe that is just because I haven’t used it that way before.  Let’s assume they have a grammar expert on payroll at Trader Joe’s corporate and roll with it, ok?

This can (10 oz) is smaller than most other Trader Joe’s coffee cans.  It is a short, squat can with pretty monsoon-like artwork. 
Coffee - the civilized way to start a day
Let’s see what David thinks of it, “I like it very much.  It is very smooth and very richly full-bodied.  “Wood-sy flavor” be any better if I knew what to call it??  (Bwahahaha – a little breakfast humor there from David, riffing on the “woodsy flavor” line on the label.)  I am gonna give this a 4.5.”

David tasting the product (and reading the paper).  He is using my currently 2nd favorite coffee mug - HRC.  Isn't it pretty?
As for me, I don’t get the “woodsy flavor” reference.  It doesn’t taste like sitting round a campfire (burning wood) or Deep Woods Off insect repellent to me.  When I mentioned this to David, he thought it meant “wood like autumn”, but that doesn’t make sense either, since they are selling it in the spring… 

$6.99 a can
I agree with David that this is a nice, smooth coffee.  It is not quite as strong as I prefer my coffee, but I liked it.  I think it is perfect for David (who prefers his coffee a bit lighter than I do).  I have no complaints about this coffee.  I can’t say it is the BEST cup of coffee I have ever had in my whole life, but it is better than some of the weak, boring varieties we have tried from TJs.  This is a fine cup of joe.  I give it a 4.

And since ol’ Neil Gorsuch endured day 2 of grilling today, I will include a photo of my current favorite coffee cup here.  It features none other than Notorious RBG, the most bad ass Supreme Court Justice ever.  May she be healthy and strong for at least 4 more years!!!  GO RUTH!!

RBG - fearlessly defined
Price:  $6.99

Rating:  4.25

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Fake Trader Joe's, Mt. Pleasant, SC Trader Joe's, and Salty Honey Toffee Milk Chocolate Covered Crackers


We are on vacation.  Of course, that means VISITING NEW (to us) TRADER JOE'S stores, so I searched on my phone to see where the local Trader Joe’s are near Charleston, SC and 2 came up – one in Charleston proper and one near Mt. Pleasant.  We were in Charleston at the time, so I put the address of that one in the GPS and off we went.

Only, it was a FAKER JOE’S!!!!

Trader Joe's my a** - this is a THRIFT SHOP!
Look!  It was a junky old thrift store!!   And it is so  junky that even as a thrift store it gets some lousy reviews on Yelp!  (Note:  I love thrift stores.  But this one looked particularly sketchy, plus it punked me…)  Doesn’t the font even look like the real TJ’s font???  I think they are walking on thin ice here…  If anyone from Trader Joe’s corporate reads this – check these people out, man!  They are trading on your good name!

Look - they even sell used furniture for college.  (Why do the last THREE items have "and"s before them?
Did they just keep thinking of more amazing products they sell and write them on the truck?
The AirBnb we are staying at is in Mt. Pleasant, so off we went toward that Trader Joe’s address (with me taking a bit more care this time to make sure it was an honest to goodness TJ’s and not another fakey fakerton!).  Found it- REAL STORE.  I think it was our 29th TJ's visited in the 14th state, and it was very nice!!

Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina Trader Joe's!!
First off – look what they have for pooches!

Awwww - isn't that sweet??  A DOGGY DOCK!
I am not a dog person, but even I think it is awesome that they treat their 4 legged friends so nicely!

Secondly, the employees were great!!  They were so friendly and helpful!  The sample area is adorable – it is set up like a light house and very welcoming.  And the employees working the floor were so sweet!!  They helped me hunt for local South Carolina stuff (scored some local brew 😊 ).  And one of them even gave me a Trader Joe’s reusable shopping bag!  Isn’t that so sweet??  (ATTENTION TRADER JOE’S CORPORATE, IT IS ME AGAIN WITH A MESSAGE FOR YOU:  SOUTH CAROLINA NEEDS STATE SPECIFIC BAGS, MAN!  If the other states can have ‘em, good old South Carolina needs them, too!  They are getting ripped off by having to sell the generic bags.  Pony up!  They are totally worth it.)

Even the bathrooms in Mt. Pleasant are awesome!!!!
Gender neutral - if you are a mermaid or a fisherdude, here is where you pee!
I really liked the layout, lighting, cleanliness, and artwork at this location.  Here is my favorite sign:

GREAT SIGN!!!  Whoever paints the signs in Mt. Pleasant deserves a raise
Isn’t it great?? 

I love this sign.  And not just because I am a mermaid and sea shell fan.  It has great info!!  Look - they will open
 anything for you and let you taste it (except alcohol).  And NO QUESTIONS ASKED for returns.  Trader Joe's rocks.
I liked everything about this store.  As we were leaving we saw this sign:

Mt. Pleasant shoppers - find TJ the Turtle!
Their mascot at this location is TJ the Turtle.  I wish we had been hunting for him while we were there!  I didn’t think of it til we saw this sign.  If we pop in again we will see if we can find TJ.

OK, now onto a review!  ,Let’s talk about Salty Honey Toffee Milk Chocolate Covered Crackers.  (We did not get these at the Mt. Pleasant, SC store, these were from our “home store” in Virginia.)

The box says CRACKERS - but are they really CRACKERS?
David’s take on this one:  “These are very nice.  There are all different kinds of sweet and chocolate-y and toffee-ish – the chocolate is very good which is nice.  The big surprise is that in the middle, where you would expect a shortbread cookie or something, it turns out to be something like a SALTINE CRACKER!  It is a little bit more substantial, but a cracker none the less.  And you think, “Well that doesn’t belong in here!!” but then, after you chew it awhile, you go, “You know what??  It is good that it is bringing a different kind of flavor to the experience!”  particularly it is bringing a blank palette – against which the chocolate and the toffee can play – and it brings the SALT, the grains of salt, which makes it so nice and tasty.  I would have to subtract .25 points though, because it doesn’t ADD cookie-ness to it, it just provides a blank canvas against the rest of the cookie can play.  I am gonna give this a 4.75.”

"I wonder what these are like!!  They have CHOCOLATE, I bet I will like them!"

This photo was the SECOND time we got them - he looks happy to be getting them again .
My take:  I also was surprised by the cracker.  Sure, the box says CRACKER, but I thought, “Certainly that can’t mean an honest to goodness cracker….”  I was certainly wrong on that.   I think this whole thing would be better if it were not so THICK.  It is just too HARD.  It is difficult to bite through it or to break it – it is super hard.  I think if they made it half as thick it would be twice as good. 
Aren't they pretty?  (This is on a tiny plate.)
The package says there is a hint of coffee but neither of us could pick up on that.  This product is quite MESSY.  I broke mine in half and then ate them and little bits flew everywhere. 

I do not dislike these, but I wouldn’t say they are amazing or anything.  The box says serving size is 2 crackers – I ate 1.5 and that was plenty for me.  I would give these a 3.5.

Price: $3.99
Rating: 4.25

Thursday, March 9, 2017


Dude!!!  Trader Joe's Bollywood Popcorn is now selling for .99!!!!!

PRICE NOW - at Silver Spring, Maryland location

Price last fall!!!
That is HALF of what it cost when I first got addicted to it last fall!!  That's great for my wallet (maybe not so great for my stomach??).

My only fear is that the big price cut means they are getting rid of it...  I worry about this because it happens at Trader Joe's - just when you find the perfect product, they decide they aren't going to carry it anymore.  Sigh.  If this sounds like a "sigh" of experience, that is because it is.  Why, just this VERY EVENING I hunted and hunted for a product that I really like, haven't posted the review of yet, and just ran out of.  Guess what?  They have discontinued the amazing Sambal Matah.  I have a draft of a review and just never fleshed it out.  Alas, if I post it NOW, you guys are going to want to get this stuff, and it won't be on the shelves.  Drat.

This is my (not quite patented) Bollywood Popcorn eating technique!  No messy fingers!
Anyway, DO GO GET SOME BOLLYWOOD POPCORN.  It is bizarrely yummy!  Complete review here:  Bollywood Popcorn review link

UPDATE:  I went to our Bailey's Crossroads (Virginia) Trader Joe's on March 12, 2017.  Every other person there was stocking up on food due to the winter weather alert we are in (big snow coming).  I, however, was snagging snacks for a road trip!  I went to get a bag of Bollywood Popcorn and was surprised that they all had a "Best Buy" date of 3 days away, March 15....  I asked a TJ's employee who was stocking corn chips nearby if they were discontinuing Bollywood.  She said she didn't know, but the store had been really "pushing" it and had been sent a ton to get rid of....  I found one bag that had a date other than March 15 - and it was March 11.  Sigh.  Alas, I do not think Bollywood Popcorn is long for this world.  If you want some - GET IT NOW.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Vitamin E Oil, Silver Spring Store, and Skin Cancer

Ok, this review is may be a bit all over the place, because I have not one but THREE topics to cover:

-          Vitamin E Oil
-          A new (to me) Trader Joe’s that I visited today in Silver Spring, Maryland
-          And a medical issue I have been dealing with for the last couple of months but haven’t mentioned here, skin cancer

Which topic shall I start with??  Maybe the biggest – the skin cancer.  Let’s discuss that quickly and get it out of the way!!

Yeah.  So.  I had basal cell carcinoma.  The GOOD parts about this kind of skin cancer are:  it is the most common form of skin cancer and super treatable if caught early.  The BAD parts about it in my case were:  it wasn’t caught early (yes, I knew I had it and delayed going to the doctor) AND it was in a hard to cut out place – the top/side corner of my nose – RIGHT BY MY EYE…  And the fact that it was THERE is why I had put off going to the doctor.  It was a spooky location to imagine someone coming at with a knife!!!

I won't show the grossest photo here, but let's peek at a shot just 24 hours after closing surgery shall we??
 But come at it with a knife they did.  I had the cancer cut out with a surgery known as MOHS earlier this month.  It ended up being a bigger “hole in my face” than they had expected, but I actually went home with said hole covered with a bandage and waited until day 2 of surgery – the CLOSE.  The MOHS doctor did not want to CLOSE, due to the close proximity to my eye…  So, she referred me to an ocular plastic surgeon to close, which turned out to be just the right thing to do since it was a tricky hole to sew up!!
Look!  96 hours after they sewed the hole up...

And here is right after they took the stitches out!

So, the long and the short of it is:  I had basal cell carcinoma on my face, one doctor cut that sucker out, and another doctor sewed me up!!  It has been 18 days since MOHS now and I am looking pretty good (if I do say so myself!).  and it is now the VITAMIN E STAGE!  This means that I am to put Vitamin E oil on the scar, with the intention of making the scar less visible.  I am supposed to apply it twice daily until I go back to the surgeon in four weeks. 

Still the same price it was when I reviewed it 2 years ago - only $3.99
And where did I get the Vitamin E Oil??  Why, at TRADER JOE’S of course!!!  I had a tiny bit at home, but bought a new bottle today.  So that leads to part 2 of this piece – VITAMIN E OIL!  It is great for your skin.  It can be found in most drug stores.  And it is expensive.  That is, unless you but it at TJ’s!  I wrote a review of it way back on day 77 of this blog (in 2015), and I still stand by it today.  Here you go:  Vitamin E Oil Review link

Now part 3 – A NEW (to me) TRADER JOE’S!!

Believe it or not there are still Trader Joe’s stores in my vicinity that I have not ever visited!  CRAZY, eh??  Last night I passed one in Silver Spring, Maryland but did not have time to stop and check it out.  So you know where I was today!  Yup, right back at that Trader Joe’s to see how it fared compared to the 27 other Trader Joe’s locations I have visited!

The way the parking lot is set up makes it hard to get a good photo of the outside of this store.
First and foremost – the parking is NOT GOOD!!!  Oh man, parking at this store is sooooo hard!  Granted, it was a Saturday morning when I was there, which is a busy time.  But still!!  NOT enough parking spots.  I even witnessed a PARKING SPOT FIGHT!!  It never got to actually throwing blows, but it was a yelling fight!  Here is what happened:  when I got there I couldn’t find a spot to park in the front, so I followed the “more parking” signs around to the back and eventually found a tight spot.  I did my shopping, and on the way back to my car I heard a honk.  I looked up to see what had happened:  a guy in an Acura mini-van/SUV sort of thing had been waiting in his vehicle for someone to pull out of a spot.  As the person was pulling out, a guy driving a Lexus stepped on the gas and whipped into it from the other direction!!!  Oh, the Acura man was not happy….  He rolled down his window and yelled, “I WAS WAITING FOR THAT SPOT!!!  I WAS HERE FIRST!” to which Mr. Lexus replied, “No you weren’t…”.  Well that is a 3rd grade response if I have ever heard one!!!  Mr. Acura would have none of it!!  “YES I WAS!!!!  I WAS WAITING!”.  And you can guess Mr. Grown-Up Lexus’ reply, “Nuh-uh….”.  Repeat, repeat…  Mr. Acura asked Mr. Lexus to leave the spot, and of course Mr. Lexus would not.  Mr. Acura ended up screaming something like, “You and your Lexus are jerks!!!”.  I stood around with my cart as the Lexus boys exited their car and sauntered into the store and the Acura guy found another spot.  I wondered if there might be a little “car scratching with a key” as he passed the offending vehicle, but he just kept walking.  Heaven knows what happened if they ran into each other in the produce aisle of the store!!!

While the parking is sparse, the cars parked there seem cool.  There were lots of hybrids, and some fun “hippy” bumper stickers, like this one (which I left a sticky note on):

Cool sticker!

And this was on another car was good, too!

The store itself is nice.  It is clean, has good lighting, and is well stocked.  The artwork is really good!  One thing they do NOT have is any alcohol.  I always feel sorry for grocery stores in Maryland because their regulations do not allow them to have even beer or wine.  What a rip off.  This TJ’s location still carries the smaller, double decker carts, which I really like to use.  But it is odd that some stores have them and others do not, because when I asked once why our usual store got rid of them, it was because many employees were getting BACK INJURIES because of bending down to take stuff out of the lower section!  That makes sense to me.  What doesn’t make sense is why some stores still have them?  Anyway, employees of the Silver Spring store were friendly.  One guy working a register was super happy and was saying loudly how he had his “swag” today 😊.  Way to bring your swag to work, friend!!

Artwork is fun

New Items sign with a stork.  Get it???  A stork!

This was my favorite artwork in the store.  The Silver Spring piece has the Maryland flag on it.  Cool!
I ended up having to go BACK to the store after I had left and park again because I got a text from David asking me to grab bananas, milk, and blueberries.  This time I had to drive all the way around the building, then still wait for a spot for a few minutes.  Ugh. 

There you have it! 

And remember friends – if you see something odd/funky/weird on your skin, go get it checked out!  Better to catch it early.  And if you need Vitamin E oil, Trader Joe’s sells it.  And if you are not an aggressive parker, don't go tot he Silver Spring, Maryland store during a busy time.  Just don't.

My scar as of yesterday (before I started the Vitamin E oil treatment!).  It is getting better!
Vitamin E oil:

Price:  still $3.99 2 years after the original review

Rating:  still 4.25

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

English Butter Fudge

If you have ever wondered if I am a Trader Joe’s employee, or are somehow getting compensated from Trader Joe’s for these reviews, you obviously haven’t read any of the “clunkers”.  Not all products we try get a rave review, that’s for sure.  And today’s happens to be one of those – let’s use “nice language” like our mothers taught us and just say, “It wasn’t one of our favorites…”.

My mom

David's mom - they taught us well :)

Here is what we thought of Trader Joe’s ENGLISH BUTTER FUDGE.

Let’s get David’s take first.  Remember, David is a man who loves him some desserts.  He eats cookies.  He eats cake.  He eats candy.  And he loves chocolate bars.  In fact, before trying the English Butter Fudge, he was eating a fancy candy bar I got him for Valentine’s Day from Harris Teeter (shhhh, it is another grocery store, a competitor of Trader Joe’s, and the fact that I went there is another dead giveaway that I am not on the TJ’s payroll!). 

It LOOKS tasty enough
David:  “I never thought I would say this, but it is TOOOOO SUGARY.  (Much laughter from me upon hearing this statement, as this may be the first time in my nearly 30 years of being with the man that I have heard these words come out of his mouth.)  This is probably what the English eat for FUDGE.  I think it needs more CREAM, rather than that glucose syrup condensed milk stuff.  I give this a 1.5 rating."

This is, of course, in the store BEFORE he tried this sugary fudge!  He looks happy, doesn't he??
Little does he know what he is in for....  
Susan:  The box says this is a product of England.  The first ingredient listed is, indeed, SUGAR.  However, the title of the product does not have the word SUGAR in it.  I expected more buttery-ness!  And some FUDGE-Y-NESS for heaven’s sake.  It is called English BUTTER FUDGE, is it not?  I think a more accurate title would be “Super Ass Sugar English Butter Fudge”!!

Other ingredients listed make your teeth hurt to read.  It is basically sugar, sugar, sugar with a little bit of butter.  It says a serving size is 4 pieces, but I defy anyone to stomach that.  David says, “You would have to be drinking a lot of unsweetened tea or coffee to eat 4 pieces of this...  I say no, no.  I think we should take it back.  I can’t imagine eating that!”.

This is what he looked like AFTER he tried this English Butter Fudge.
I like the packaging of this “fudge”, and I like that it was something we haven’t had before.  It looked interesting.  I also was probably also attracted to the fact that it was from another country.  David adds, “Of course, not remembering when we saw it was from ENGLAND that English people at the highest amount of sugar per capita of any people in the world!” (editor’s note: I did not fact check this statement J ). 

Susan:  I had one piece.  The best thing I can say about it is that the pieces are too small.  If the good thing you have to say about a product is “the pieces are small”, then this is probably not the product for you.  David suggests dropping one piece of this in a cup of hot tea and you will be fine.

If you really, really like sugary stuff, you might like these.  We, however, did not like them.  I agree with David on the rating of 1.5.  We returned this product to Trader Joe’s and they happily took it back.  They are great about returns.  Thanks Joe!

Price:  $2.99

Rating:  1.5

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Chicken Burrito Bowl

First, let me say right off, I have the flu.  It’s not the “throw up” type of flu, it is the fever, exhausted, and every inch of your body ache type of flu (it even hurt to COMB MY HAIR this morning…  Huh?)

Oh, I feel muuuuuch better than I felt yesterday, where I lie in bed ALL DAY and night long, freezing cold (with a fever) even though I was snuggled under the electric blanket.  I now have a super expensive ($117 after insurance???) prescription of TamiFlu to take (geez Louise, that works out to almost $12 per pill – I could buy 2 bottles of wine at Trader Joe’s for every pill I am taking!  Priorities, people…)

Not gonna lie...  I sat in the waiting room of the doctor's office for 45 minutes to get in to see her.  And the whole entire time I was wearing the ridiculous mask UPSIDE DOWN and INSIDE OUT.  And they never told me!  Can't they TELL I feel awful by looking at me??  When I finally got called back the nurse said, "Oh, put the PURPLE side out!  You are gonna suffocate!"  Gee, thanks.
So anyway, I am not feeling dapper.  Also, I am home alone.  David is at rehearsal for “Gogol’s Nose and Other Strange Tales From the City”, a show he is co-directing at George Mason University.  It opens March 29th and YOU should come see it if you are in the Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC area J.  Here is a link to the university performance calendar so you can check it out:  link to Gogol's Nose!

David has been at rehearsal in the evenings quite a lot lately, which has meant a change in diet for me.  No longer are we doing “team cooking” – me focusing on veggies and him doing starch or meat…  No, now it is things like, I kid you not, a dinner of Girl Scout Cookie Thin Mints for me!  Oh yeah, steppin’ it up a notch in the cuisine department. 

So, tonight I pulled a little something out of the freezer that I purchased with the intention of eating for a LUNCH – a Trader Joe’s Chicken Burrito Bowl.  Since David wasn’t here, I ate that whole sucker myself.  And here is what I thought of it:

Here you have it: dinner in a box.  Just add wine!
This is the first time I have had this item.  I was imagining MOE’S (a chain restaurant) when I bought it.  it was super easy to prepare – I microwaved it for 4.5 minutes, stirred it, let it sit a minute, and it was ready to roll.  I topped it off with the last bit of Hatch Valley Salsa I had (which I am kinda sorta addicted to and reviewed here:  Hatch Valley Salsa link  ).  (It is garbage and recycling night, and using the salsa means I can get the jar out of the fridge and recycle it!  But don’t fret, I have my back-up jar in the cupboard!)

My first bite of chicken in this burrito bowl was way too big, it was like the size of 3 bites!  That put me off a bit, but subsequent bites were better sized.  Sadly though, the chicken was really bland.  The black beans, corn, and peppers were much tastier. 

Ahhh, fancy dinner!!
This burrito bowl is listed as one serving, and that seems right if you are hungry.  It would make a good lunch.  It is nothing that is going to knock your socks off – it is NOT like going to Moe’s.  For some reason this Trader Joe’s bowl is just not all that flavorful.  It needs much more spice. 

Reasonably priced and NEW
So, while I would rather have a bowl or burrito from Moe’s (which ironically is right next to our usual Trader Joe’s!), this is not a bad substitute.  It’ll do if you wanna just sit on the sofa, eat, and watch CNN.  I might buy one of these again to keep in the freezer for a lunch or solo dinner – it was filling enough anyway. 

Price:  $3.49
Rating: 3.5

Friday, February 10, 2017

Tulip Time

In 2016 I reviewed Trader Joe’s tulips bulbs in a glass vase.  I loved them.  You can see that review here:  2016 review of Tulip Bulbs in Glass Vase

Looks like last year I scored PINK tulips!
Less than 2 weeks after I reviewed them, they BLOOMED, and I posted a reminder that life is, indeed, short, and you should just buy the damn tulip bulbs while Trader Joe’s has them briefly in stock.  You can see THAT review here:  2016 tulip reminder

And boy were they gorgeous when they bloomed!!

So, now it is 2017.

Have you figured out the pattern yet???

YES!  Trader Joe’s has once again started carrying their seasonal TULIP BULBS in a GLASS VASE!!  This is the time, friends!  This is when you need to treat yourself.  Maybe it is cold where you are (as it is right now in Washington DC where we are).  Maybe it is sunny and warm (like, if you live in Austin, Texas or something).  But whatever the weather, wherever your location, YOU DESERVE THESE TULIPS. 

I GOT YELLOW ONES THIS YEAR!!!  Picked them up at the Bailey's Crossroads, VA Trader Joe's.
Trader Joe's has not raised the price on these one penny, and they are worth the (almost) $9.00 they cost.
A sign that SPRING is on the way - the birds are checking out the backyard looking for ideal nesting spots!
Mrs. Dove is BACK!
Treat yourself.  Treat your friend.  Treat your neighbor or your lover.  GO GET SOME TULIP BULBS IN A GLASS VASE and marvel, like I am, as they come to life on your coffee table!

Price:  still $8.99
Rating:  still 4.75

Another sign that SPRING is coming - it was 70 degrees one day this week!  Look, David wore SHORT SLEEVES!
(The temperature later plummeted that same night...)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Mini Sugar Hearts

David and I normally review Trader Joe’s stuff TOGETHER, sitting at the same table, chomping on the same food, and then reviewing it.  Today was different…  David was working (teaching), and I was working from home.  I was tempted to open a package of Mini Sugar Heart Cookies we got at Trader Joe’s last night and have some for breakfast, but I felt bad doing that without David here…  But I NEEDED a cookie…  So let’s just say - my guilt didn’t last long, and I ripped that bag open and sat down to try these puppies out!

David looked like a fan of these cookies in the store,
but when it was time to OPEN them and EAT 'em he was no where to be found!
Boy was I surprised!!  First off, these cookies are teeny tiny!  I took a photo of them on a small plate next to half a kiwi so you could see their size.

Adorable little heart cookies!
I am not sure why I expected these cookies to be bigger.  I guess it was because of the picture on the packaging showing a big ol’ cookie getting dipped into a small tea cup.  Of course, when I look at the package now that I have eaten a cookie (or two or three…) I see that the drawing is totally out of proportion and was not meant to be an accurate representation of cookie size.  My bad.

Purple!  And see the BIG cookie in the tiiiiiny yellow tea cup ?  Subconsciously tricked me!
This bag of cookies caught my eye on the Trader Joe’s “New Products” end cap last night.  It does not look like most TJ’s packages – it is PURPLE, which is a color not often used in their palette I guess, because it really stood out.  The package describes these as “sugar sprinkled cookies”.  From the packaging, I expected these cookies to taste like a French cookie called a palmier.  We lived in Paris for a while, and I learned that French desserts are almost always gorgeous, but to my palate almost always bland tasting and unsatisfying.  French desserts (in my opinion) are rarely worth the energy to eat (and even more rarely they worth the expense of buying them…).   So, I THOUGHT, from the looks of the packaging pictures, that these would be palmiers and I wouldn’t really like them. 

Flashback Photo!!!  Us on the banks of the Seine in Paris.  Hey, neither of us had any grey hair back then...
I was wrong!  They are not palmiers and I DO like them!!

They are little, rather bland (in a good way!), heart shaped cookies.  The “sugar sprinkled” claim does not seem all that accurate to me, as they are not very sweet.  But not being sweet doesn’t mean not good!  The package emphasizes over and over that you want to eat these cookies with coffee or tea (I had mine with a double cappuccino).  As TJ’s puts it, “If coffee and tea could fall in love with a cookie, the romance would be with Trader Joe’s Mini Sugar Hearts”.   I think that is a good recommendation – these pair well with a hot beverage.  I didn’t dunk mine, but that would be a good thing to try with these.

A serving size is listed as 14 cookies!!!  I admit, had I read THAT in the store I would have KNOWN that these were going to be baby sized cookies!!  I am in favor of the size – to me they are one bite cookies.  I like these!  They are simple and plain.  I think BISCUIT is a better name for these than COOKIE, as they are not sweet. But they are good biscuits!  They would be nice any time of day: with an afternoon cup of tea or your morning coffee.

Very affordable Valentine's treat.
These are CUTE.  They are little hearts, which make them nice for upcoming Valentine’s Day.  I think you should give them a shot.  Heck, you should get some for your Valentine and surprise her/him.  They are more creative than your run-of-the-mill box of chocolate and will be more appreciated than one of those silly life sized stuffed bears that you see advertised this time of year.  (Note to men – just don’t on the expensive life sized teddy bears, ok?)  But hey – if you take me up on my suggestion to get your sweetie these cookies, get her/him a little somethin’ else to go along with them, ok?  Cuz they are only a buck 99….  And she/he is worth WAY more than that.

Price: $1.99

Rating: 4.25

Bonus flashback photo.  Ahhhh, memories.  This is a gentleman who we often smiled at in Gare du Nord train station in Paris.  He couldn't talk. and he lived in the station.  He had his knees wrapped with heavy cloth, then covered by RUBBER.  Hence, I am a bit embarrased to admit, our name for him was "Kneesie".  One time we talked to a homeless lady who was sitting by him and she told us his real name was Marcel.  He was VERY SWEET.  We sometimes brought him food.  Often he was asleep/passed out in this exact spot where he is sitting now, so we would just leave the food by him.  Things I love about this photo:  Kneesie's smile, the little Camembert cheese box next to him (typical!), his wheelchair covered in stuff, the fact that his fly is not all the way closed (also typical), and the fact that I held his hand.  His hands were not, how shall I say, clean...  He couldn't walk, so would pee in a water bottle and dump it RIGHT BEHIND HIM (which in this photo is right behind US...) in a little groove.  Kneesie's section of the train station was a bit smelly...
 But oh he was sweet!!