This month at Trader Joe’s, the ice cream aisle was crammed with 20-somethings wondering whether or not to get the boba coffee ice cream (answer: yes) and I had to shove myself through the crowds to grab EVEN MORE new ice cream. I nabbed one featuring not-Oatly-but-suspiciously-similar strawberry oat milk and another featuring frozen chunks of cheesecake. At the checkout aisle, a chatty cashier looked me and my partner up and down and asked, “you guys headed to the beach?” and I had to reply, “no, we just dress like this.” In the summer, everywhere is the beach if you wish it so.
Here are sweltering reviews of my latest TJ’s haul, written beneath my brand-new, worth-every-penny ceiling fan:
Crispy Onion Chips
Incredible. The texture is foamy and light, with sweet onion flavor and nothing else in the way. I like them crumbled on top of things, but you’ll want to eat them straight out of the bag while the Pythagorean Theorem and the division symbol and a bunch of numbers hover around your head as you try to figure out….how. They must dehydrate the onions before frying, right? How do they do it?? I’d say these are Funyuns’s hip, younger cousins who squeal in horror at dextrose and whatever else puts the Fun in Funyun (ahem, MSG). These are just onions, rice bran oil, and salt. HOW?
Spicy Porkless Plant-Based Snack Rinds
These pea and puffed rice “rinds” look like prehistoric falcon claws excavated from a cave of barbecue-chip seasoning. I’ve called a million snacks styrofoam-y at this point, but I’m bringing the word up again because it’s accurate. If you associate barbecue-chip flavors with pork, then sure, these are “porkless pork rinds,” but that’s a poetic stretch if you ask me. And yet no one, no one has asked at all, have they?