Food & Drinks

Trader Joe’s Sweet, Earthy Ube Spread Is My New Frosting

It’s June at Trader Joe’s, and instead of any new cool frozen treat, I find myself eating pickle dust like it’s Fun Dip. That’s the latest “everything but the” seasoning from the grocery store that turned generic branding into a goldmine: Seasoning in a Pickle Seasoning Blend. It’s delightfully tangy and dilly, and now I know that dehydrated vinegar exists. On the other hand, I’ll perish before I ever put the new Peanuts in a Pickle to my lips again—more on that later.

So pucker up, we’ve got pickle stuff, ube spread, limoncello-flavored cheese, and a ton of other new Trader Joe’s snacks to taste and review before the clock strikes July.

A Salty Snack

Hula Crunch
Due to gravity, skimpiness, or dud luck, my bag of Hula Crunch was mostly popcorn. It’s supposed to have crunchy little mochi bites in it too, which I hunted for as if it were the plastic-wrapped prize in a cereal box, desperate, searching, unsatisfied. However, the tamari, brown sugar, and seaweed coating on the popcorn is a perfectly calibrated mix of sweet-salty-seaweedy. Put this dust in a jar and sell it, Joe!

A Single Salad

Chickpea, Kale, and Crispy Red Rice Salad
A new favorite Trader Joe salad, though it’s a low bar because they’re all plastic bags filled with 17 other plastic bags. This one is a simple clamshell with smartly layered ingredients and only one tiny bag filled with puffed red rice. The “salad” is mostly avocado-vinaigrette-marinated chickpeas (on the bottom) and a few curly raw kale wisps (on top), but we can all agree that the fewer of those, the better. I recommend this salad. For best results toss it in a bigger bowl and serve with TJ’s $5 vinho verde, my wine of summer.


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