Friday, September 2, 2016

A to Z Food Challenge: S

This week has been an emotional roller coaster. So many things have gone on "behind the scenes" and I'm thinking I may do a "story time" next week. I'm not sure yet though. I've had extreme ups and hard lows this week, so with this challenge I decided to keep it as a nice and simple review of 2 "S" products, featuring items I found at good ol' Trader Joe's. Shocking I know. 

I had this whole shebang raring to go for you all, about my top favorite Sriracha recipes, but with everything that has gone on, I just couldn't produce a quality post with my Sriracha round-up. No worries though, I will do that post. It will just have to be separate from this challenge. 

Now let's get into this week's challenge, shall we?

I'm a fan of CERTAIN spring rolls and when I saw that Trader Joe's carried their very own version, I was pretty excited to try them out. The best part was that I found a complementing sauce that goes perfectly with today's food, along with our challenge. I'm talking about the Trader Joe's Sweet Chili Sauce ($1.29). The spring rolls I purchased, are called Trader Joe's Vegetable Spring Rolls ($3.99).

Seeing as how this "meal" is on the cheaper side of things (under $6), I was anxious to see if the quality would suffice as well. Also, I'd like to mention now that eating all the rolls does hold potential to filling you up, but I would recommend eating a few and pairing them up with a side dish like Jasmine Rice or Orange Chicken (also sold at Trader Joe's). 

For the spring rolls, the package does say that once you heat them, they are supposed to taste as if they were never frozen. It also says that it has mushrooms, edamame, kale, and shredded tofu. I will be honest and tell you all that I absolutely hate tofu and can't comfortably digest mushrooms, so this is a mildly altered review. When I ate the rolls, I simply removed the very few pieces of mushroom inside. I did however taste the roll WITH the mushroom inside, to see if it would be a noticeable flavor. Here's what happened. 

Upon heating these rolls in my toaster oven, I realized they were turning a nice golden brown. This gave me high hopes that they would have a wonderful crunch to them, unlike certain rolls that tend to be a bit too chewy. Unfortunately after I took my first bite, I realized that the crunch factor was applicable to the ends. When I got to the center of the rolls - while cooked perfectly on the inside - it was way more chewy than I'd hoped. 

As for flavor, I tried this 4 different ways. With the mushroom and no chili sauce. Without the mushroom and no chili sauce. With the mushroom and with the chili sauce. Without the mushroom and with the chili sauce. I know, it's confusing. Pretty much I tried the rolls dipped and not dipped in the chili sauce, with and without the mushrooms. My verdict is this. 

With mushrooms + NO chili sauce: All of the inside ingredients combined together and tasted of one thing. Oily soft white onions. I couldn't taste the edamame or the kale, nor did any of the other items stand out to me either. I tried and tried to pin point a specific ingredient, but alas all I could muster was the taste of onion. This holds true when I tried the rolls withOUT mushrooms and no sauce as well. 

WithOUT mushrooms + WITH chili sauce: It tasted like a crunchy-ish wrap with chili sauce on it. The additional flavor from the sweet chili sauce, is all that you taste. This - again - holds true when I tried the rolls WITH mushrooms and chili sauce. 

Overall I think this is a fail. I will say that I didn't taste the tofu at all, which is shocking since I can detect tofu pretty easily - mainly by the texture and consistency - but with this, everything blended together into one bland flavor. It was like eating a fried roll that was slightly chewy, filled with poorly cooked white onions, drizzled with oil. The presentation is gorgeous and the sweet chili sauce was AMAZING, but the rolls...not so much.

While on the topic of the Sweet Chili Sauce, I absolutely love it. I can see this being a perfect condiment for a night of won-tons, chicken, beef and brocolli, noodles, anything really. It has an amazingly smooth consistency, but not runny or thick. A very good in-between. The taste had an excellent blend of sweet and sour. I am a definite fan and plan on using this with my next chicken recipe! Of course I'll be sure to share with you all and let you know if my feelings change at all, which I'm pretty sure they won't!!!

Happy Labor Day weekend guys! These are the last few days before my young padawan starts his journey in the world of school. He's starting Kindergarten on Tuesday, which means it's all learning from here! It's crazy to watch him sleep at night and know that he's growing every minute. It seriously feels like just yesterday we were celebrating his very 1st birthday. 

Have an amazing long weekend everyone and please stay safe! Have fun of course, just don't be too reckless. I WILL be posting on Monday and I hope to talk to you all then. Love you my beauty queens and kings! Stay rockin'!

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