Friday, November 4, 2016

French Onion Soup AND Reston, Virginia Trader Joe's

GUYS!  We visited ANOTHER TRADER JOE’S!  I think this was our 27th store to visit since January 1, 2015 (in 14 different states, well, 13 states and one District). 

The newest store (new to us) was on Killingsworth Avenue in Reston, VA.  The night before Halloween I surprised David by driving us out to a house I had found online that was all lit up for Halloween and had the lights danced to music!  Anyway, when we were done enjoying that, we Googled and saw that there was actually a TJ’s nearby that we had never visited, so off we went!

Here is the Halloween house!  See those jack-o-lantern lights?  THEY SANG!  It was cute.
The Reston, Virginia Trader Joe's is very nice!  It is big, well stocked, well lit, clean, and has wide aisles.  They also have something that I have not noticed in any other Trader Joe’s around the country:  a little play kitchen for kids!  We got there shortly before closing time, but this little girl was enjoying the play area!  Isn’t it adorable??  I bet kids love it (parents, too).  I talked to a super friendly, really nice employee named Kimberly who didn’t know that her store was SPECIAL by having the play kitchen J.  I was like, “Kimberleeeeeey, no, not all stores have those!  It is amazing!”

LOOK!  A little kitchen to play in!!!
Another really cool thing this location has is MULTIPLE STUFFED ANIMALS TO HIDE…  Do you know about the TJ’s stuffed animals?  Each store has one (at least I thought they only had one!) and they hide it on the shelves.  Kids that are shopping hunt for the animal, and if they find it they report it to the customer service area and get a treat.  But Kimberly explained to me that she feels like it shouldn’t be too hard for kids to be successful in this adventure, and that is why she deploys MULTIPLE ANIMALS!  Isn’t that kind (and smart)??  I love it!  Lucky Reston kids.

Shhhh, one of the animals in hiding in the coffee department in Reston!
Oh, and get this…  The store captain is named SUNSHINE HAVEN!  With someone named SUNSHINE running the place, how could it NOT be glowing and lovely??  I hope to go back sometime and meet Sunshine.  And hey – Sunshine – Kimberly is a great representative of your store and the TJ’s brand.  I don’t know if it is within your realm of power, but if it is, give that lady a raise, she is great. 

The Reston, Virginia store has a very nice feel
We picked up several items while we were at this location, one of which was the luxurious advent calendar I wrote about recently Super Amazing Fancy Advent Calendar Review .  the item I am actually reviewing today did not come from this particular store, but I am sure they carry it. 

French Onion Soup.  David, who lived in Paris for a few years, has eaten some French Onion Soup in his day.  Here is what he thought of this version from Trader Joe’s:

“Very, very good.  I have had me some French Onion Soup, and I love it, but it is often a disappointment.  This one is FULL of flavor, very rich, although we should point out that we ended up cooking it 15 – 20 minutes longer than the insructions said to, so I think it reduced a little bit.  But still, the balance of the onions, the soup, and the cheese (which is not overdone but which is very flavorful) is, I would say, perfection.  The only downside is that you have to think about cooking it about 40 – 45 minutes before you are actually going to EAT, and that is usually outside our zone.  But, IF you can remember to do that, and go do something else for half an hour while this cooks in the oven, I think this is a winner.  I give it a 5…  Well, I have to give it a 4.75 because of the TIME it took.”

Oh my…  This is embarrassing…  My sweetie and I normally agree on stuff, but on this one, not so much…  I do not think this soup is that good…  It is more like a GRAVY than a soup (that could be because we cooked it too long…).  We ran out while it was in the oven (one of the places we ran was to Trader Joe’s, so that should count for something!).  But this soup is too “beefy” for me. 

Plus, there is not enough cheese.  I like French Onion Soup like in PARIS – you put your spoon into a big ol’ GLOB of cheese…  Then it kinda bloobles on your spoon.  That is what I was HOPING for, but this isn’t it.

You can tell even when it is still frozen that there isn't going to be enough CHEESE on it.  Not enough for me, anyway.
The packaging is sort of weird.  The soup comes in two little frozen “blobs”, which you put in your bowl and then cook in the oven.  I personally don’t think this one was worth the time to cook.  The thing I liked most is that cooking this gave us an excuse to use these delightful little Le Creuset dishes we inherited from David’s mom.  We keep them high up in a cupboard and always forget we have them, but they were perfect for this soup because you need an oven safe bowl to cook them in.

I wouldn’t buy these again for me, but David really love it, so we probably will get them again.  I talked to a woman in TJ’s recently who adores these (she microwaves hers because she doesn’t have an oven).  I don’t think this product is horrible, it just isn’t as good as French Onion Soup should be in my opinion. 

I like that it came in two easy serving sizes, but I don’t like the taste.  I sadly give it a 2.75.

Price – $4.99

Rating (average of 2 raters) – 3.75

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