j

jon44's Profile

Title Last Reply

Trader Joe's Yea/Nay Thread - 3rd quarter 2012 [OLD]

Ground Turkey Breast: Good tasting and good value. Tastes like real turkey breast

Ground Beef ("100% Grass Fed," from Australia): Not fit for human consumption. Really disgusting (and not in a "I'm used to conventional meat, not gamey meat" way). And considering the relatively low amount of protein you actually get from it (21 grams per 4 oz.), it's not really even that good a deal (if you come from protein-centric perspective to eating, like I do).

Sep 29, 2012
jon44 in Chains

Trader Joe's Going Downhill?

I don't know, the same thought occurred to me with things like their avocado's. They look just like the one's from Whole Foods (but half the price), but then never pass through a stage where they're edible--they go directly from bright green and hard to brown and mushy (with brown insides). I always assumed it had to do with something they do to them (gas?) to lower costs in distribution or storage.

Interesting site, Steve. I appreciate that you have a visual rating to sum up your posts. Can I suggest a quick verbal summary on top as well? (You get points for talking just about the food, as opposed to some other unnamed sites where you have to wade through: "Babs and I were going to visit her parents in Toledo and thought we'd go to TJ's for some appetizers, but you know how Bab's parents are. Why just last week her mother.....)

Sep 27, 2012
jon44 in Chains

Trader Joe's Going Downhill?

I waded through one of the posts on "What's Good at Trader Joe's" and he made a good point that the food from there always seems to go bad before the "Sell By" data and hypothesized its because they "buy food that's close to it's expiration date [then freeze it or whatever] and sell it for a discounted cost"

This would explain a lot, if true...

Sep 27, 2012
jon44 in Chains

Pastured meat in Greater Boston

That's an interesting issue that I wasn't aware of. But I wonder if corn is a problem.

I had some Stillman's beef yesterday, and was a bit disappointed, comparing it with other grass-fed beefs I had. The fat profile just didn't taste as good (i.e., it tasted more like store-bought meat) and I wondered if it wasn't quite as grass-fed as others I've tried.

Sep 17, 2012
jon44 in Greater Boston Area

Best Way to Store Partially Consumed Glass of Liquor?

I have some expensive Absinthe, and wasn't in the mood for much of it after I poured a big glass. Is there some standard way of storing "leftover" liquor like this? E.g., is it worth pouring into a small, sealable mason jar, or is just some saran wrap over the glass sufficient?

Sep 15, 2012
jon44 in Spirits

What's a good quality yet affordable vodka?

Yeah, I can't find the original source on that and must have misunderstood it. Their point was something along the lines of distillation methods and starting materials gives you different components in the end product.

Sep 10, 2012
jon44 in Spirits

What's a good quality yet affordable vodka?

Could you please explain "grain neutral"--does that mean the final product just reflects "neutrally" the grain it was distilled from?

(And I still don't understanding the Smirnoff/Paint Thinner similarities?)

Sep 10, 2012
jon44 in Spirits

What's a good quality yet affordable vodka?

My understanding is that it's more than just "congener"--it's the type of alcohol that results from distillation. Smirnoff tastes like paint remover to me. In contrast, Tito's tastes like a completely different alcohol.

Sep 10, 2012
jon44 in Spirits

Trader Joe's Going Downhill?

Just to answer your specific question, I'm comparing it to about 10 years ago. Used to be able to buy fresh produce and overall have a good experience--now I find it's the opposite. Same with nuts. And the little things like packaging design seems worse.

To be fair, on the plus side, I have noticed an improvement in freezer burn issues with things like frozen shrimp (but that could be due to me now shopping at the larger TJ's in the Boston area versus the smaller stores, which always just seem more poorly managed)

Sep 10, 2012
jon44 in Chains

Quality of Frozen Fish at Bazaar?

I just noticed the very inexpensive frozen fish at Russian Bazaar in Allston.

Unsurprisingly, the first articles that popped up on the web when I sought info on the cheapest fish--Bassa--was that it's contaminated with mercury and everyone should stay away from it.

Just wondering if people had experience with the more mainstream fish species they sell (e.g., good prices on cod, flounder)?

Sep 09, 2012
jon44 in Greater Boston Area

Trader Joe's Going Downhill?

The evidence:

- Macademia nuts blatantly rancid (not even a close call)
- Less and less times that it's possible to get decent produce (typical thing is avocado looks decent outside and then completely rotten inside.)
- Olive oil tastes suspiciously not olive oily, cap doesn't fit, drip-free spout drips.
- Sea salt dispenser poorly designed, so impossible to get more than a few grains out at a time.
- Greek yogurt: yuch.

Any others have similar experiences?

Sep 09, 2012
jon44 in Chains

What's a good quality yet affordable vodka?

I think the consensus answer to this question from Vodka aficionado's is Tito's. (And tastes good to me...) With Luksusowa a very close second (and also just offering a different taste).

Sep 07, 2012
jon44 in Spirits

What Percent of Protein in Nuts "Count"?

I've read in various sources that only a certain percent of the protein in nuts and vegetables is absorbed by your body, even in the best of circumstances (something to do with it being bound up in a vegetable fiber matrix.).

Can anyone point to data saying what percent this is?

Thanks

Jon

Aug 08, 2012
jon44 in Special Diets

Is Halal Meat Generally Better Quality?

Just wondering if I'm looking for highest quality meat possible when eating out, is it worth seeking out "Halal" meat? (I'm thinking in particular of seeking out Schwarma...)

Thanks,

Jon

Aug 05, 2012
jon44 in Special Diets

Kaffir Vodka

By coincidence, I also just picked up a bottle of the same and am really enjoying it.

If you look at the review at Drinkhacker.com (which gives this particular Hangar One a rare "A+" rating) they mention that the fruits are extremely hard to source, so I wouldn't think making the effort to do it on your own really makes sense. (And for the quality, it doesn't seem that pricey.)

Jul 30, 2012
jon44 in Spirits

Vanilla Bean added to Vodka Made it Bitter; What Happened?

I had some fairly old vanilla beans (about a year old), that looked to be in still good shape and added them to a bottle of Tito's Vodka.

By itself, the Tito's had a nice smooth taste to it, but after 10 days with the vanilla, a certain bitterness crept it. It didn't taste "off," rather more like cheaper vodka.

So, what would cause the bitter taste? Is that just somehow part of the vanilla bean experience?

Jul 27, 2012
jon44 in Spirits

How do I turn Ricotta cheese into a "zone" snack?

Whey protein has a strong positive effect on my body and I'm starting to play with ricotta cheese as a natural way to get it.

Does anyone have any suggestions for eating the stuff that results in something approximating "40/30/30" type meal?

(I realize mixing fruit in with it is an obvious thing to try, but in general I try to avoid mixing fruit and dairy.)

Jul 19, 2012
jon44 in Special Diets

What's the best basmati rice?

Am I unique in having a problem with Tilda that I always find little pieces of translucent plastic in with the rice? (I assume it comes from the low-grade plastic used at the opening.)

I'm planning on trying one of the other brands mentioned just to try to avoid this...

Jul 16, 2012
jon44 in General Topics

Smoothest, Least GI-Irritating, Vodka

Thanks. I don't fully understand why they get to call that Vodka and not Rum...

Jul 07, 2012
jon44 in Spirits

Smoothest, Least GI-Irritating, Vodka

I'm trying to find a new vodka to drink and my only real experience is with Triple 8, which I like, but find has a bit of a harsh aftertaste.

I'm trying to find something that's both pleasant to drink and easy on stomach and parts below... I've heard good things about "Imperia," but sounds pricey, so wonder if there are more economical alternatives.

(And FWIW, I plan to throw some whole vanilla beans into to flavor the Vodka--not sure if certain brands work better for that or not.)

Thanks,

Jon

Jul 06, 2012
jon44 in Spirits

Vanilla vodka recommendations

I'd like to try making my own by sticking 2 vanilla beans into plain Vodka (which is what Triple 8 does, and it tastes great). Can anyone recommend a reasonably price vodka that would serve the purpose (i.e., are there any special qualities in a vodka you look for when flavoring it?)

Jul 04, 2012
jon44 in Spirits

Vanilla vodka recommendations

Not sure--triple 8 vodka from Nantucket has 2 vanilla beans in the vodka.

Jun 30, 2012
jon44 in Spirits

Anybody doing Paleo?

I think the only real answer is almond flour bread (decent cookbook is available from Amazon).

Jun 27, 2012
jon44 in Special Diets

Paleo / Zone Diet Friendly Food Around Boston?

Thanks for helpful suggestions.

Just a quick note on carbs. For the goal of insulin control, key thing about carbs is looking for those with moderate to low "glycemic index" (GI). Sweet potatoes are good, but there's a common misconception about brown rice. The GI of rice has much more to do with long versus short grain than it does with if rice is brown or not. So white basmati rice is a lot better than a brown short-grain rice (which is usually what's used for sushi).

Jun 11, 2012
jon44 in Greater Boston Area

Sugar-free/low-carb icecream for diabetics?

Making your own frozen (greek) yogurt is incredibly easy and taste very very good. I haven't tried it yet, but I plan to use Stevia to sweeten a batch (in which case, it'd be very low carb, as Greek Yogurt is low to begin with).

Jun 11, 2012
jon44 in Special Diets

Paleo / Zone Diet Friendly Food Around Boston?

Problem with sushi is type of rice (short grain = high GI). Sashimi works when I bring my own oat cakes, but is expensive.

Problem with steak houses is not enough carbs in vegetables. So it becomes an issue of the junk they put on the meat and carb side dishes.

Jun 11, 2012
jon44 in Greater Boston Area

Shwarma- Best Of, and Jerusalem, Garlic 'n Lemons, Falafel King, etc., plus Lamb Kabobs

I find Azama also has dry, creepy-textured chicken--I had to stop going there even though I like everything else about their sandwiches (and free Wi-Fi).

Jun 10, 2012
jon44 in Greater Boston Area

Paleo / Zone Diet Friendly Food Around Boston?

To control my insulin levels, I eat pretty carefully and follow a diet along the lines of "The Zone" (40% Carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat, and bunch of restrictions on type of carbohydrate and type of fat). So a typical "acceptable" meal is bunch of grilled turkey on a bed of long-grain rice, with olive oil.

Problem is I'm kind of sick of just eating rice dishes (and most restaurants use fats I'd consider "off-diet" (e.g., canola or sunflower oil) or cheaper quality rice. Can anyone suggest some new alternatives?

Thanks,

Jon

Jun 10, 2012
jon44 in Greater Boston Area

Ways to Heat Own Food When Away from Home? [moved from Special Diets board]

Like probably a lot of people following special diets, I prefer to eat my own food whenever possible. I'm just seeking ideas for how to heat food in a pyrex bowl (typical meal for me is precooked rice and meat) when away from home. I know sometimes gas stations have microwaves in the area they sell convenience foods in, but in a city, these can be hard to come by.

And I think I've tried every type of contraption around (hot plate that plugs into car power outlet, self-heating type camping meal heaters, etc.), but haven't found one that works too well.

Any ideas appreciated,

Jon

Jun 03, 2012
jon44 in Cookware

Best Sweetener for Homemade Frozen (Greek) Yogurt?

I've been enjoying making frozen yogurt in a home ice cream machine, but I wonder if it could be better than it is. I've used the very simple recipe of full-fat Fage yogurt, vanilla beans, and sugar--but I use a sugar that's lying around the house, which is brown sugar.

Just wondering if other sweeteners would dissolve better or impart a better flavor to "play off" the tartness of the Fage yogurt. I'd be curious to hear any suggestions.

(And in particular, wondering if anyone has any experience using maple syrup, powdered sugar (maybe the cornstarch in it would add body to the end product?) or granulated brown sugar (I'm not really clear on what granulation does, but some recipe' specify it.)

(And FYI, Trader Joe's now has (reasonably priced) Maple Sugar (just dried up maple syrup)--I'm eager to try it as soon as there is another good ice cream day in New England....)

Apr 21, 2012
jon44 in Home Cooking