LITTLE SALAD BAR CAESAR SALAD KIT
|Without hyperbole, the best Caesar salad I've ever had.|
My wife used to eat these quite frequently, often as the main course for dinner. I never understood why. What’s so special about a salad? How can a salad be filling? As a member of the male species, I refused to try it for the longest time. Then, one day, I took a bite…and then I understood.
I’m probably going to go into a hyperbolic rant, so please forgive me for a while, but this salad is hands down the best bagged salad I’ve ever had. It’s ridiculously good. I’d go so far as to call it “restaurant quality”, only that brings me thoughts of this being served at chain restaurants…it’s even better than that. It’s a rare occasion that we don’t have at least one bag of this in the house at any given time.
Probably the only “underwhelming” component of this kit is the lettuce, which I guess is pretty understandable, considering the whole point of a salad is to make the lettuce taste good. As with most such salads, the bag contains a large helping of Romaine. Next up is the Caesar dressing, conveniently contained in a little pouch with a tear-apart opening. Now I certainly didn’t have much hope for this, expecting it to be a watered-down, cheap dressing wannabe, but I was blown away…this is a full-flavored Caesar dressing that doesn’t mess around. It’s almost tart it’s so strong, and it’s what kept me coming back for more bites. Perhaps most importantly, however, is that there is plenty enough to coat every bit of lettuce in the bag, so you won’t have to deal with dry bites as you get toward the bottom.
The parmesan cheese, contained in a separate pack, was also a surprise. I expected dried-out cheese, but it somehow tastes fresh. It would probably be a stretch to say it tastes like freshly-grated cheese, but considering it’s a component in a bagged salad mix, it’s closer than you would ever think possible. Last up are the croutons, which are usually my favorite part of a salad. That they are very good, yet somehow end up being my least favorite component, should tell you just how good this salad is as a whole.
It gets full marks from me for taste, but gets just as many for value, as a generous 10.5 oz. bag is just $1.99. That might not sound like much, but considering most of the kit is made up of lettuce, which is pretty much light as a feather, means you really do get a lot of salad for your money. I have a pretty big appetite, and even I have problems finishing this by myself. Also works excellently as a side dish, which is generally the way we enjoy it. If you’re eating it alone and can drag it out to two servings, that’s only a dollar per serving, which isn’t bad at all.
Overall: 10/10. Flawless salad perfection in a bag. The Caesar dressing is super strong and full-flavored, the croutons are delicious, and the parmesan cheese tastes surprisingly fresh. There’s a lot of lettuce in here, but plenty of the dressing, cheese, and croutons to cover it all. Making it taste even better is the price: $1.99 for a 10.5 oz. bag that’s easily enough to feed two adults, or one person over two days. We also tried the national brand, and it didn’t even come close. See why this has become a staple in our house, and make it one in yours by giving it a shot!
FRIENDLY FARMS LIGHT SOUR CREAM
|About 95% as good as regular sour cream.|
Sour cream is delicious. While I don’t get to use it very often, my wife likes to make tacos every once in a while, and they are a required condiment for those. I also like to put some on Aldi’s own Mama Cozzi’s Taco Pizza, which is one of the best frozen pizzas I’ve ever had two dozen times.
Like a lot of people these days, though, I try keep an eye on what I eat. Now this doesn’t mean I won’t down a whole frozen pizza occasionally, or I won’t slather some ice cream with unhealthy chocolate and cookie toppings; it just means I try to at least make up for the extra calories somewhere else, whether it be cutting back on soda, or drinking more water or healthy juice, or cutting back on portions of something else--anything to try to offset the added calories at least somewhat. But when I stumbled on Friendly Farms' Light Sour Cream, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The term “light” always tends to make me very nervous, and other light sour creams that I’ve tried were…well…disgusting, to say the least. But for the same price as regular, I decided that we could give it a shot.
It’s now all that we buy. Now, let’s be clear here: Of course, a lighter sour cream doesn’t mean it’s at all “healthy”, or that you can slather it all over everything with no health consequences; this is still some pretty unhealthy stuff. But it does manage to cut just about everything back in half; whereas the “full flavor” tub has 5 g of fat per 2 tbsp serving, the light version has just 2.5. Ditto for saturated fat (3.5 g “full”, versus 1.5 g light), and cholesterol (20 mg “full”, versus 10 for light). Even calories are cut down by one-third (60 vs. 40) which can be a help to those counting calories.
How does it taste? I’d love to set up a blind taste test, because it’s so close to the real thing that I’d say it’s virtually indistinguishable. Others I’ve tried had a gross “diet” taste--you know, that terrible fakey sweetness that is so repulsive, I wonder how people even attempt to drink diet sodas--but Friendly Farms somehow almost packs full flavor flavor into a lighter package. Now, I did say it’s “virtually” indistinguishable: I’ll admit that I can taste a bit of a difference just taking a sample straight out of the tub, but I truly hope you’re not just going to be shoveling this into your mouth by the spoonful. On the other hand, when it’s used as a condiment, I really can’t tell this apart from the “full flavored” version, which is more than enough reason to keep purchasing this. One of our staples, and a hidden gem!
Overall: 9/10. While eating it straight out of the tub reveals that the taste is just slightly off from the “full flavored” sour cream, I can’t detect a difference at all when using it as a condiment on, say, tacos. And who the hell eats this straight out of the tub, anyway? It’s not like this stuff is “good” for you, but it does cut back on the fat, and sometimes every little bit helps. As a result, this has become the go-to sour cream in our household, especially since it's the same price as the regular stuff. Unless you're a sour cream snob, you probably won't be able to tell the difference!