I couldn't help but notice that since the beginning of January, there's been extra traffic at Trader Joe's. In the parking lot. In the store aisles. Especially by the refrigerator case right by the salad greens. It's like salad is the new cookie butter or something (KIDDING. Salad can NEVER replace cookie butter EVER). This trend usually slows down in a normal supermarket, right about now around the end of January when people start throwing in the towel on their New Years resolutions, but at TJ's? There's always a steady stream of people buying
overpriced salad.* How do I know? In my experience of peeping** at what other people are buying, the consumers in my area actually purchase a surprising amount of vegetables and other healthy food. Not everyone goes to TJ's exclusively for four bags of sriracha chips snacks.
*Overpriced is a relative term. It's overpriced if you compare it to the normal cost of salad greens that require washing, drying, and chopping. It's affordably priced if you compare it to say..most supermarkets sans sale or my favorite overpriced organic grocer, Whole Paycheck.
**Yes. If I see you in the line at Trader Joe's I probably will take a casual glance at your grocery cart to see what you're buying, because occasionally somebody will buy something that looks moderately interesting that ends up in my own cart and on the blog. :P
Right then, salad. A new salad blend! With pak choi. Oooo what's that exotic vegetable??
Pak choi (PACK CHOI) is British for bok choy, a Chinese cabbage that has become more mainstream in recent years. Is this a British product? I have no idea. No indication on the packaging to indicate that this is or isn't a US product. All I know is I've been eating bok choy my entire life, and all of a sudden the hipster veggie-eaters out there want to put it in salad, which is perfectly fine. Throw in a British term, and now it can compete with cauliflower, seaweed, swiss chard, and collard greens to dethrone kale as the next trendy vegetable.
This looks like a heftier, sturdier spring mix. I'm assuming the darkest leaves are the pak choi. The internet says they are red pak choi, which are more red/purple compared to the typical bok choy you normally find in stores and also more palatable raw. This was a nice vegetable blend - neutral tasting spinach, slightly bitter/spicy pak choi, and even spicier/zestier mustard greens. Overall, this blend does lean more towards the bitter spectrum of salad greens, but it wasn't as tough or bitter as raw collards or kale. My fridge was down to barebones the day I had this as a salad, so I tossed in tomatoes, seaweed, and sesame seeds with a rice vinagrette to make it asian-ish. Pretty good!
Might I add that this blend also MICROWAVES nicely? Sometimes when I don't have time or feel too tired/lazy to make a vegetable, I just throw in a handful of spinach into my lunchbox, so when I heat up my dinner in the microwave BAM I have something green. But this! Microwaved, it tastes like a vegetable typical on the Chinese family dinner table. Green, leafy, and a little spicy. A agreed that it made excellent lunchbox veg and tasted more interesting than our usual back-up spinach.
$2.49 isn't bad for an organic, moderately exotic spinach salad blend. I'm still overpaying for leafy greens, but every now and then it's not bad for the convenience, especially for the versatility as a salad or a sautéed veg. Repurchase approval! And thank you TJ's for introducing us to the world of red choi!
TL;DR: Trader Joe's Organic Spicy Spinach Blend. Organic, versatile, and mildly British. 7 out of 10.