Category Archives: Reviews

Trader Joe’s – Poutine Review

I’ll be the first to admit that I was never a fan of Trader Joe’s. I remember when family members would make a trek to one store, nearby downtown Milwaukee, and as we recently had one built not too far from where we currently live. I’ve been there, once, and bought random frozen products, only to be nearly disappointed every time I tried one of their products. I’ve asked my coworkers who live near the downtown location, and they also did not believe the hype. They’ve stated (and others) there are a couple of things that they did like about some of their stuff, including some of the jarred salsas, frozen Indian food, and wine specials. That is about it. Regardless, during last year’s Christmas season, my colleague gave me and my coworker a bag of Trader Joe’s poutine, yep, that’s how we roll in our office. Months later, I figured I would give these a try. As much as I love poutine, and I’ve made it before back in 2007, as well as put a twist on a chicken satay poutine (which rocked  by the way), who could go wrong, right?

Trader Joe's Poutine - Product Review

While looking at the bag, I had to somewhat drool. If you never had poutine, you are essentially getting french fries, drizzled or soaked in great gravy, and smothered with cheese curds. It’s pretty awesome. So when I opened the bag, I got a frozen packet of gravy, a frozen packet of cheese curds, and frozen french fries. Directions were simple, bake the fries until done, and simmer the two packets in hot water until cooked through.

Trader Joe's Poutine

When everything is ready, go ahead and assemble. I laid out the cooked fries, which looked good, onto a serving plate, then cut open the bag of gravy and curds. I squeezed the gravy all over the fries, and layered on the curds.

I then dug in. My first bite was just OK, second bite, less then OK, and it seemed to hang at that point from there on out. In all honesty, I was tasting every bite as though I was doing a product review. The fries were just OK, maybe slightly less than OK. I had to add salt, even though there was gravy and curds to be dealt with. The cheese curds kind of freaked me out to the point where I no longer wanted to eat them. Granted, the cheese curds had a great squeak to them, as every good cheese curd should, but the texture was totally off, and that is when the squeak freaked me out. I did not even want to look at the ingredients, or better yet what the hell that squeak was.

Overall, I would not purchase a bag of Trader Joe’s Poutine again, but I was appreciative of my colleague giving us the bag as a gift during that time. It really confirmed why I do not shop at Trader Joe’s, and I will continue to not believe the hype. If you are wanting poutine, make your own. You know what you are getting, and putting into your dish. Have you tried this product, and if so, what were your thoughts?

Dash Juicer

So I turned a year older, and it was a blast to say the least, celebrating with family. My brother and sister-n-law brought in a extremely large box, and it surprised me, only due to the fact that I was not expecting much of anything, from anyone for that matter. But it came time to sing the birthday song and open gifts, and when I opened the bag, sure enough it was a juicer! Now I have been making smoothies during the work week to start my morning, but there was something that I never really enjoyed with the smoothie, and that was the consistency of it. It always felt like I was drinking a shake, but what I was looking for was a much thinner consistency. This juicer really got me excited.

Here is my take on the product review. As I have never researched juicers, as I know they can be expensive, I decided to jump on Amazon.com and read reviews to see what I was getting myself into. The reviews were average, and a lot of folks did seem too happy with it, but I thought I would give my own take on it, and began juicing at the start of the work week.

Dash Juicer

What comes out of the box is is a nice looking juicer. It has two speeds for juicing, a collection compartment, a grinder, and a collection cup for the juice, a cleaning brush, and a rubber nozzle. At first, I was a bit intimidated. It was big, and weighs eleven pounds. It takes up a big part of my counter space as well. I read the directions, then realized how easy it was to assemble.

So came Monday morning and I had everything prepared. I started by juicing two apples, two peeled oranges, a cucumber, a pint of blueberries, and a peeled kiwi. I inserted everything into the middle hopper, and used the plunger to push everything down. It ground so quickly, producing juice immediately. This yielded close to three cups after all said and done. Both my wife and daughter were super excited to try it. I added some ice to some glasses, poured, and slammed it down. We all agreed it was awesome. There was a bit of extra foam in our glasses, but we did not mind. We have been juicing every morning now for the last ten days with no issues.

Dash Juicer

The Dash Juicer does extract a lot of pulp compared to juice, and the cleanup takes me about 5 minutes, or so. I think I will insert a bag into the pulp compartment for easier cleanup and save time for me in the morning, but overall we still love it. We have been juicing lots of vegetables and fruit every morning. It’s fills us up, and makes us feel better as well.

I will give it a couple of more weeks. Many of the reviews say the motor burns out in three weeks. I’m really hoping it does not.

Flagship Pineapple Corer and Slicer – Product Review

I was thinking lately that I really never have participated in product reviews, and well, I think it is time to give my thoughts on various items that I use on a regular basis, and really determine if they are worthy of a review. Much like many of you, I probably have tried various gadgets, knives, and other utensils that I often get excited about when purchasing, but only to come home and have them fail, and get disappointed. Now I know I could log into Amazon and give my reviews, and I have in the past, but I thought I would use my site as an opportunity to share as well. This is one of them, and it is my experience with the Flagship Pineapple Corer and Slicer.

Flagship Pineapple Corer and Slicer

The product is simple, take it out of the box, snap in the top part of the handle, and you are ready to go. I typically only purchase fresh pineapple when they are on sale. To me, there is nothing better than freshly sliced pineapple, and as I am aware that you can purchase pineapple in plastic containers, well, I’m just not a fan, especially not knowing when they were sliced. As I recently purchased a pineapple from El Rey, I decided to use this corer. I should also note that in the past, I was never a fan of slicing the flesh of the pineapple, not knowing how dirty it could be, and then slicing into the flesh. This product allowing me to not even touch the flesh, only to discard it.

The goal is to slice the top of the pineapple to expose the yellow fruit. Insert blade of the corer into the top, and begin turning it, which is an easy process due to the dual blade, and twist until you have reached near the bottom. Simply lift up and out, and you have yourself a super clean, cored pineapple, along with the rings of the fruit. Yes this thing even provides pineapple rings! The core remains within the corer so you just push it out and discard. It’s genius.

Cored Pineapple

This Flagship pineapple corer and slicer removed 99% of the fruit, leaving only the shell. My wife and I were giggling because of how easy it was, plus cleanup was a cinch! The juice from coring remained on my plate, so that I could use it later, and was not running all over my cutting board as if I were simply running my knife down it and cubing it as I would have in the past.

Toss the shell, run warm water throughout the blade, and you are done.

Am I happy with this product? Yes, I am, and I believe I picked this up online for only like six dollars, if not something under ten. Well worth it in my opinion in terms of ease of use, clean up, and quality control.

Red Elephant Chocolate

This week I was fortunate to receive a sample of Red Elephant Chocolate. Red Elephant Chocolate? I thought the same thing when I heard the name, and as I am anxious to find out how this company came about their name, I am equally as excited to try all of their products. I normally do not write about any particular products besides Nueske’s, as we all know how awesome Nueske’s is, but I thought that I would give it a shot. If someone took the time to write to me and send me product, then heck why not.

Please keep in mind that these reviews are subjective in nature, and only my opinion. Your acceptance of these products may vary.

Red Elephant Chocolate in Milwaukee

When I got home from work the other day, my son said, A Fed Ex person dropped something off for you today. I knew exactly what it was. I opened the package and my first reaction was ‘what very cool, and clean packaging’. It was simple. Red and white colors with a prominent logo of an elephant. It made sense in terms of the name; Red Elephant Chocolate. Their tagline is “A Chocolate Experience You’ll Never Forget”. Awesome. I could not wait.

Let me stop for just a second and let you know that I am typically not a ‘sweets’ person. I am typically not the person who order dessert after a meal, nor am I one sitting around eating candy or sweets. I know, crazy right?

I was actually excited to open the box of chocolates. The last time I received quality chocolate was from one of my vendors during a website redesign, and that was very cool. I never realized chocolate like that existed, so I was anxious to see what Red Elephant Chocolate had in store for Milwaukee.

Red Elephant Chocolate in Milwaukee

The box contained an array of dark and milk chocolate including their elephants on parade, chocolate coconut macaroon, bittersweet orange truffle, red elephant ganache footprint, tumbled almods, coffee beans, sea salt caramel, and a cashew cluster. Not only did they nail it in clever names, but lifting up their tag sheet unveiled a beautiful assortment of chocolate.

Again, I am not really a sweets type of guy, but excitement moved through me. I almost felt like I was a kid in a candy store. Maybe it was the names alone that excited me, or maybe it was how pretty each one looked. Whatever it was, I was thrilled.

After our Friday night fish fry (yes, this is how we roll in Milwaukee), I brought the box over to my wife and told her the story of what I knew of Red Elephant Chocolate. I then exposed the chocolates. I can tell you she was just as excited reading the names as I was, and then at first sight the expressions were the same. “Wow, those are gorgeous!”.

Red Elephant Chocolates in Milwaukee

We began sharing the chocolates. Starting with sea salt caramel, over to the cashew cluster, and then the ganache, and then a couple of almonds.

All I can say is that each of these chocolates were not only elegant, but they were loaded with amazing chocolate. I can say that products like these can easily sway a non-sweets guy like myself.  Did I mention they also have premium coffee and hot chocolate?!

I am excited for Milwaukee, and Red Elephant Chocolate. Their store will be opening this November in Milwaukee.

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Red Elephant Chocolate Café
333 N. Broadway St.
Historic Third Ward
Milwaukee