Y'all should know, as a grandma at heart, I'm perpetually behind on pop culture. Which brings me to Parks and Recreation. I'm now on the last season - except I don't want it to end, so I've stopped watching it because not watching it means it won't end until I want it to...? Anyway, I'd like to credit Leslie Knope and her love of waffles for my recent growing infatuation with brunch. She's had such an influence that even A, who has grown tired of toast, requested waffles. But then again, he has also requested bacon. A lot. A la Ron Swanson.
Unlike most commercial supermarkets, Trader Joe's carries fewer products (around 4000 stock-keeping units compared to about 50,000 stock-keeping units at a typical store), which means fewer waffle varieties but higher product turnover and sales per square foot. And actually it's really good for indecisive people - anyone ever read The Paradox of Choice? When there's only three different waffles to pick from, the choice is simple. In my case, it took less than one minute, and I chose to buy all of them. :D
1. Blueberry Waffles
The quintessential choice. Actually it'd either be chocolate chip or blueberry for me. But I think blueberries is a more socially acceptable breakfast food.
Did you know these waffles are made with whole wheat flour? And they don't have preservatives, artificial colors, and or artificial flavors. Which is definitely why they did the blueberry and not the chocolate chip.
Very slight blueberry taste, kind of healthy tasting if you ask me. Don't really see blueberry bits at all but occasionally you do get a touch of blueberry-resembling sweetness. Pairs well with blueberry jam.
2. Multigrain Waffles. Or Multi Grain Toaster Waffles. How else would you toast your waffles?
This is the "healthy" choice.
I didn't bother taking a picture of these waffles. They look darker than the other two but other than that, they're just waffles. Actually, these waffles aren't all that different from the blueberry ones. A says it doesn't even taste healthy. The ingredients are about the same. In fact, the blueberry ones have slightly more calcium and iron, less sugar, and the same amount of dietary fiber as these multigrain ones. They don't taste that much healthier. Nothing bad, nothing special.
3. Gluten Free Toaster Waffles.
It's gluten free! OOOOOO. Buzzword! But guess what, these waffles cost $1.99, which is the same as the other varieties. DOUBLE OOOOOO.
There's no disclaimer on this box saying that this comes from a shared Canadian facility with products with tree nuts, wheat, or milk. Don't know what to make of that, but if you're ACTUALLY gluten free for a medical reason, I guess you're in the clear? *shrug*
These are paler than their gluten-filled counterparts. It has a potato-y, chewier texture and a neutral taste. I have to toast it a little longer than the other two waffles to get it to the texture that I like, but it's pretty good. In fact, the texture complements savory waffle toppings better than the other two.
Avocado waffles with sea salt and lemon pepper. Delicious.
So in short, nothing remarkably exciting about these waffles. They toast well straight from the freezer. You douse them in syrup. Or jam. Or cookie butter. Or cookie butter ice cream. Or you eat them plain because they taste pretty good dry and boring too. It's pretty affordable as far as frozen waffles go at $1.99 a pop. And the gluten free option is not bad at all! So even if you do the gluten free thing just for kicks, go right ahead, these waffles have the Mantou Joe stamp of approval. Maybe not Leslie Knope though. I don't know how she feels about gluten free waffles.
"We need to remember what's important in life: friends, waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn't matter, but work is third." - Leslie Knope
TL;DR: Trader Joe's Waffles. In Three Varieties Only. Just pick one. But if you have to pick two, I'd go for the blueberry and gluten free. A says just go for the blueberry.
Trader Joe's Blueberry Waffles. 7 out of 10.
Trader Joe's Multigrain Waffles. 6 out of 10.
Trader Joe's Gluten Free Waffles. 7 out of 10.