After I graduated and moved back home, I discovered that one of the wonderful things about suburbia is that in order to keep up with your friends, or catch up with long-time-no-see friends, you might have to drive 45+ minutes one way to meet halfway between you to hang out for a couple of hours. So the question is this - if Trader Joe's were a friend, would I be willing to drive 40 minutes one way to hangout for like 20 minutes? If so, how often am I willing to do so? And if I'm willing to do it weekly (let's be honest. No.), or biweekly, or triweekly, am I willing to do that to see friends? Oh how revealing. :P
I haven't really had a single salsa from Trader Joe's that I really didn't like. I've tried a bunch, most of which I have never ended up on the blog, only because I've consumed it faster than I have been able to sit down, recall what it tasted like, and say something intelligent. Or funny. Apparently some of you think this is funny. This here cowboy caviar isn't anything new - it's been around for a couple of years and I only tried it for the first time last year. Funny though, I don't recall it making much of an impression on me.
But perhaps since TJ's is so far now (far relative to where I used to live), that sense of distance and MO (not FOMO aka fear of missing out. There's no fear here. I'm just missing out) augments the taste of everything.* Living so close not only spoiled me but probably numbed my senses to the beauty that is Trader Joe's. To the uninitiated who say, "what's so great about Trader Joe's?" Uhhh...read my blog, where I give you the helicopter view to help you connect the dots to comprehend why TJ's is great. :P
*Almost everything. Some things are totally depraved beyond redemption, like that salad.
I'm a stickler for tomato salsas, because to me salsa is a condiment used to enhance other food. Why would I use food to augment the taste of other food? But whatever, I gave it another go and wondered why I wasn't particularly impressed the first time. It's quite good and wonderfully complex in texture and flavor! No tomato here, which probably would produce too much liquid that would affect the chunkiness going on. The corn, beans, and peppers comprise a hearty trifecta that makes this "caviar" seem more like a salad than a salsa. Flavor-wise, it resembles something more "TexMex" than something authentic, which is fine by me. The adobo seasoning holds it together and with the jalapeños produces a hefty cowboy kick. It is definitely medium to medium-hot but not flaming-going-to-burn-your-mouth-and-bowels-hot. It's not overly salty and has a bit of sweetness, maybe from the corn and peppers, that I would normally find repulsive (particularly in a fruit salsa) but actually rounds out the taste here and balances out the sour/spice components.
So yes, I can see why people are gaga over this. It's pretty good and not something easily found in other supermarkets. Trying my hardest not to consume the jar in one day with tortilla chips, eggs, toast, really anything that will take a corn salsa. Perfect if you want something different for Cinco de Mayo! And all the other days in May for that matter. $2.49 for a 13oz. jar.
TL;DR: Trader Joe's Cowboy Caviar. Classic TJ's Texmex. Chunky corn, black bean, and pepper salsa with a kick. 8 out of 10.