Snacking on life, living off snacks.

Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page

Review: Pita Puffs

In review on 01/30/2010 at 4:46 am

Let us begin with a brief history of the store-shelf pita and its carby spawn.

In the beginning, there was pita bread. A staple of Mediterranean cuisine, one would use this thin, flat bread to complement the thick, savory goodness of hummus. Pita bread could be found on the bread shelves of Trader Joe’s for a minimal price.

Then there was the pita chip. Elevating the pita to crispy, salty new levels, the pita chip arguably usurped the position of the pita bread as it was eminently dippable and delicious by itself– sans hummus. One could not say the same about Trader Joe’s pita bread. Alone, it was rather dry and historical-tasting.

Then came the pita round cracker. A classier addition to the Pita portfolio, these crackers could also withstand the weight of cheese,  jam,  and other heartier fare. A delicious cracker, it would not buckle under the weight of artichoke dip, whereas the less-versatile, less-sturdy pita chip might. The pita round cracker also looked better on silver platters next to the olives, whereas the pita chip was only fit for party bowls and disposable trays.  One would bring pita round crackers to a wine-tasting, pita chips to a Super Bowl party.

Then there was the reduced-fat pita chip. An attempt to expand the pita bread fan base, this product reached out to health nuts who were previously unwilling to relinquish celery and carrots as hummus-dippers due to the fat content in pita chips. Sadly, the reduced fat pita chip under-performed, as the lack of fat was compensated by an overdose of salt.

For awhile it seemed that Trader Joe’s had exhausted all the potential from the humble pita. Until…

The pita puff arrived. I first was attracted to the large Roman figure on the packaging. A sucker for antiquities and other museum relics, I was intrigued by such a cultured piece of cellophane. I also happened to stumble upon some samples in the corner of the store. The pita puff is essentially a mini-pita round with a puff of air blown into it. It was light, airy, and crunchy with just the right amount of sea salt. I was hooked. I became a PitaPuffGirl (sorry, couldn’t resist!)

It captures all the flavorful goodness of pita without the heaviness that sometimes accompanied the chip or cracker. It also was a capable dipper– especially if you eat half of it first, you can use the other half to scoop the hummus!

Pita Puffs: 5/5 pelts

Yum. My only problem is with the packaging. As much as I love TJ’s quirkiness, I do wish they would take more care to write better copy on the back. Aside from the fact that I don’t actually know if Romans ate pita (their Greek counterparts did, however. I hope Athena is not turning in her grave…err….cloud), the rambling text on the back of the bag confused me completely. As long as they don’t start labeling their sushi with “Trader Ming,” however, I’ll be good to go.

But let it be said: Trader Joe’s, if you ever need someone to write the back of your packaging, I’m your lady.

Meanwhile, pass the bag of pita puffs.

Review: Righteous Rounds

In Uncategorized on 01/11/2010 at 3:39 am

First off, apologies for the long hiatus. This blog is not going to die, I promise. There are too many random, bizarre snacks in the aisles of Trader Joe’s to be reviewed!

Starting with… Righteous Rounds. They are so named because of their beneficial ingredients. Or maybe some surfer dude named them, which would account for the waves on the package. I digress. The description and ingredient list on the back of the bag make it sound truly heinous. But is that unfair? Let’s see. To avert any sort of possible copyright violation of the delectable-sounding prose on said back of the bag, here’s just a summary:

- the cookies contain good-for-you ingredients such as fruit and vegetable concentrates including broccoli, carrot, cranberries, orange, and tomato. There’s also soy protein. I’m surprised they didn’t throw in echinaecea, gingko biloba, and wheatgrass in there either, just for good measure.

- they aren’t actually baked, they’re heated at most to 75 degrees. They’re dehydrated in order to preserve the lycopene and beta-carotene and other -enes that probably are good for us.

I was very intrigued when I saw this product, because I feel that making desserts good for you while maintaining deliciousness is a worthy cause on par with ending climate change and saving the whales.

I’m sad to report that all these issues remain intractable.

The cookies are rather hard and chalky. After I fed some to my friends, they described them as “tangy” and with “a weird aftertaste.” Luckily, none of the fruit and veggie concentrates are immediately detectable (nor will you get bits of broccoli stuck in your teeth, since all of this stuff is not visibly present), but the cookie definitely does not taste normal. If I ate this cookie without knowing the contents, I would say it was a subpar, strange specimen that tasted vaguely sour. The chocolate chips help a lot, but it’s not exactly a cookie you can’t stop scarfing down.

And maybe that is the point! For all its 12% daily value of dietary fiber and 50% Vitamin A (but props for only having 9g of sugar– that’s like three times less than some yogurts), perhaps the true public service and nutritional benefit is the fact that you really can stop eating these after one or two.

Keeping your hands out of the cookie jar. Thanks Trader Joe’s! Saving the world from too much cookie consumption– now that’s truly righteous.

Righteous Rounds: 2/5 pelts



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