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Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - August 2015

I like these but I'm not sure how best to cook them. I used a perforated pizza pan, since the instructions say either "lined with paper or perforated." The pieces varied wildly in size, and the larger ones were still pretty wet when I gave up and took them out. I didn't want to leave them in longer because mushroom juice was leaking out of the pan. :/

I made a dip with goat-milk yogurt and some spices, but they didn't really need it. Good flavor, just would like to not wind up with so many wet ones. We'll buy them again, though, I think.

about 1 hour ago
wintersweet in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - August 2015

Shishito peppers: yay! There were 3 in the bag that went bad quickly, so I had to use the rest well before the sell-by date. I didn't feel like dealing with cast iron and I don't have a grill, so I roasted them in a pan with oil at 425 F, then put some of that pyramid sea salt and a little sesame oil. I made a dip from sour cream, Kewpie mayo (not much), a little sriracha, and ponzu. Really tasty. Only one pepper was hot at all, and it was...mild-medium.

Frozen bread pudding: yay? But the instructions for preparing it are weird, and half of the slices didn't have any of the caramel filling. (But I had some pumpkin caramel sauce to put on top, and that worked out. Next time: peaches.)

about 18 hours ago
wintersweet in Chains
1

Restaurant with private room + TV in the Concord area?

Something around there would be good for people BARTing in...guess I could just call each of them (I wish restaurants had more useful information and less flash/video/music/pointless animation on their websites!).

Restaurant with private room + TV in the Concord area?

All right, this might be impossible, but I thought if anyone would know, Chowhounds might! I want to do something for mr. wintersweet's birthday that would involve inviting a few people over, having some dinner, and watching something from my laptop. Does anyone know a party room or private room in the Concord, CA area that includes use of a TV? (I remember seeing some places like that when I was a kid, but you know, I haven't been in that many pizza parlors lately. :)) Any kind of food is OK as long as it's decent.

It's a long shot, but worth a try...Thanks for any ideas!

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - August 2015

My spouse feels the same as you, goodhealthgourmet. He prefers spicier but really likes the flavor.

Aug 20, 2015
wintersweet in Chains

Bon Jour Bakery in Concord

This Korean bakery (re-?) opened recently. It's in that massive strip mall that includes 99 Ranch Market, but down near Lulu's Kitchen (a good source for regional Chinese food). They have a LOT of seating, free wifi, and your standard serve-yourself tongs and tray setup. I got the chocolate manju stuffed with white bean paste (no comment; I forgot I'm not a manju fan) and a sausage roll. The sausage roll was good, but a little higher-priced than I'm used to--$3.25. They also had sweet potato tarts, pumpkin manju, a "french toast" item that appeared to include a fried egg, and lots of other things. Items are labeled in a mishmash of romanization, translation, invention, and loanwords that have gone through a few languages--so you'll see manju, croquette, castella, and macaron bun (it looks like melon pan??). There's something labeled a mont blanc that I don't think is what a mont blanc is in either France or Japan. At any rate, expect a lot of things that have gone from France -> Japan -> Korea -> here, mutating in both good and odd ways. Fun for food historians!

They also have breads, which I haven't tried yet.

This area has been in need of an East Asian bakery for a long time, so I hope they can succeed. (The Sogo's inside 99 Ranch Market barely counts, and I like Valerio's Tropical Bakeshop a lot, but SE Asian baked goods are very different. And Goldilocks' stuff is not worth eating IMO. Their ingredient lists tell the story.)

Anything at all in east Contra Costa County...

Looks like I forgot to update this with Bob Sang Korean BBQ in Pittsburg. They opened about a year ago. The first time we went in, the ladies behind the counter were so happy to see us--they're from the Bob Sang AYCE k-bbq in south Fremont. Alas, no AYCE or tabletop grilling here. They have your basic items like bibimbap and spicy pork, and they also have a Korean burrito. It's all pretty good, and it's by far the closest Korean place to Antioch/Pittsburg/Brentwood. (For Korean fusion food, I like Kalbi'n'Things in Concord more. They do fries and kimbap and other goodies, too.)

County Market (re-?) opened a while back in Antioch, convenient to Highway 4. I keep forgetting to go here, but it's useful. They have steam table food and about 1/4 of the items that a Lion or 99 Ranch Market has. They have a small selection of Korean (kimchi) and Japanese items.

i-Tea also opened on Loveridge Road in Pittsburg near Highway 4. It's a Taiwanese-style (I think) bubble tea place, with some of the ShareTea-style fancier drinks. It's by far the smallest bubble tea place I've ever been, but I hope they make a go of it. A new Quickly is going in behind a gas station on Lone Tree Way in Brentwood; I hope it's one of the good ones and not one of the bad ones, if you know what I mean.

I also went to Iron Kitchen once. It's an odd place; definitely aimed at American palates, but with good ingredients and tasty the one time we went there. They're the only local place that purports to have dim sum, but based on the limited list, I'm pretty sure they're just steaming the same frozen buns that I can buy myself at 99 Ranch Market.

Anything at all in east Contra Costa County...

Looks tasty. If I can divert the husband from La Costa (not easy!), we'll have to try it.

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - August 2015

We picked up the Green Dragon sauce--just as I suspected, it appears to be virtually the same as Fresh & Easy's Green Sriracha sauce. The ingredient list is identical, just slightly rearranged.

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - August 2015

Funny, same way for me (though dark chocolate has also started to give me migraines, boo). I think there's been kind of a renaissance in milk chocolates--there's some high-quality stuff out there right now.

Costco Food Finds - 3rd Quarter 2015

Yes, sorry! In the (greater) Bay Area, even. Hope you get your mangos!

Aug 05, 2015
wintersweet in Chains
1

Costco Food Finds - 3rd Quarter 2015

No idea whether these are new or not, but the creme caramel with crumbled crepe cookies = delicious. They're in the refrigerated section and come as a set of 6 in little glass ramekin things. The flavor is rich but not too sugary, and the crumbly topping really does add something to it (and also conceals the none-too-attractive top layer).

Aug 04, 2015
wintersweet in Chains

Costco Food Finds - 3rd Quarter 2015

Thanks for the tip! Our Costco had Keitts and Ataulfos, a nice change from the Tommy Atkins (or, as my husband calls them, "trash mangos").

Aug 03, 2015
wintersweet in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - August 2015

At least at ours--we went to TJ's a week ago and checked the new product section (nothing new), and then we went on Saturday and...pickle-flavored popcorn. We bought it right away because we have family staying with us and pickles have become a running theme/joke. :)

Aug 03, 2015
wintersweet in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - August 2015

If you think that you would like dill pickle popcorn, then TJ's pickle popcorn is exactly the sort of thing that you would like. (It rates a "meh" from me, but a "YAY!" from the pickle fans in the household.)

Things you might not know about Walmart and/or Kewpie Mayonnaise!

I wouldn't contaminate real wasabi with mayo, but everyone's different. *shrug*

Jul 30, 2015
wintersweet in Chains

Trader Joe's New Product Guesses

I saw pumpkin spice rooibos tea today--can't remember if that's a year-round thing or not.

Speaking of which, since TJ's loves pumpkin stuff and has been adding more Korean stuff over the years, it'd be cool if they carried frozen pumpkin/kabocha hobak hotteok (chewy rice cakes stuffed with brown sugar and stuff). Any Korean or Japanese kabocha items could be a hit, I think...

Jul 28, 2015
wintersweet in Chains
1

Things you might not know about Walmart and/or Kewpie Mayonnaise!

Sriracha + Kewpie = delicious junky condiment heaven.

Jul 28, 2015
wintersweet in Chains
1

Trader Joe's New Product Guesses

More hummus. Because apparently they can't have too much hummus.

Sriracha bacon hummus? Cookie butter hummus? THE SKY'S THE LIMIT

(yes, I do think TJ's spends too much shelf space on ersatz hummuses. :P)

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - July 2015 [Old]

They used to have a lemon artichoke spread thing that was lovely as a sauce on that pasta. There's a new artichoke thing that we've just bought and we'll probably try it as a sauce again...I do think a bolognese would taste odd on it. Olive oil or butter, garlic, and pepper would be fine though.

Jul 25, 2015
wintersweet in Chains

Asked to leave the building after ordering take out

In some places there's a tax difference, too. I don't know if restaurants can get in trouble for circumventing it, but maybe.

Still, I would also be irritated to be asked to leave.

Jul 13, 2015
wintersweet in Not About Food

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - July 2015 [Old]

Yes--I got something a month or two ago that had instructions printed on it that were *clearly* delusional. :/

Jul 10, 2015
wintersweet in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - July 2015 [Old]

I thought they were delicious--have never had the real thing, though.

Jul 10, 2015
wintersweet in Chains

Costco Food Finds - 3rd Quarter 2015

As far as I can tell, they always have it at the Fremont CA Costco. So maybe it's nonexistent at some, intermittent/seasonal at others, and ever-present at the rest. Weird.

It's not a brilliant kimchi, and it's pretty mild, but it has neither MSG nor shrimp--which is great for me. (However, it's not vegetarian/vegan; it does have fish in it.)

Jul 04, 2015
wintersweet in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread-June 2015 [OLD]

The Greek cheese spiral at my TJ's (California) is definitively savory, and must be baked because the dough is uncooked.

Jul 02, 2015
wintersweet in Chains
1

Hearth & Table in Lincoln City, OR

My partner and I found ourselves in Lincoln City, OR, a few weeks ago. The place we stayed in was great, and the beaches were beautiful, and the bookstores were great, but the food situation seemed kind of...lacking. We decided to try Hearth and Table, and it was a good choice. At dinner, they have various small plates/snacks/appetizers and pizzas (good, not great--but we picked the ingredients, so that might have been our fault). I think I would order more of the small plates if I went there again, and get their recs on pizza. They had what looked like a pretty good beer list. Atmosphere's minimal, but service was good. You order at the counter and they bring out the food. Anyway, give it a try if you're in the area. Pictured is the scotch egg that we ordered, on top of what tasted like house-made mustard. The sausage is local (I forget the name). It was my first scotch egg, so I can't compare, but it was delicious.

Jul 01, 2015
wintersweet in Pacific Northwest

Costco Food Finds - 3rd Quarter 2015

Yeah, I heard that sometimes they just straight up have Hodo tofu, but since I'm still working my way through a case of organic Morinaga, I didn't look very hard. I'm looking forward to trying the yuba despite my skepticism. :)

Jul 01, 2015
wintersweet in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread-June 2015 [OLD]

The new kimchi STILL hasn't shown up at my TJ's. I did ask, about a month ago, and they said it was coming. :/ (And thus I had to make a pilgrimage to a Costco an hour+ away, which carries the big jars.)

Jul 01, 2015
wintersweet in Chains

Costco Food Finds - 3rd Quarter 2015

Fremont, CA: Yuba "noodles" from Hodo Soy in Oakland, two flavors (sesame, spicy) in one $8.99 package. Haven't tried them yet. When I had yuba in Kyoto, it was a revelation. Not too sure about this version.

Also, Indian sweets from Nanak Mithai, including kaju katli, kaju rolls, and rasmalai. These are in big boxes in the refrigerated section, $10-12 a box. I wanted some, because I enjoy the dense, fudgy nature of this kind of sweet, but a whole box? Maybe not.

These items definitely aren't carried at my "home" Costco an hour away. Sigh. (I was in there for a giant jar of kimchi, also not available at my local Costco.)

Jul 01, 2015
wintersweet in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread-June 2015 [OLD]

I like most of them; none of them are brilliant, but they offer a pretty good taste-to-ease ratio (never mind the low price!). You can add more pepper or cheese or whatever to them for more flavor. Some nights it's just nice to only make the protein main from scratch and then heat up one of the grain + veggie sides...

I do NOT like the Chicken Fried Rice; there's just nothing good about it, IMO. (However, the Japanese Style Fried Rice is pretty tasty, and even better with additions. I keep it around for emergency meals.)

Jun 22, 2015
wintersweet in Chains