Trader Joe's is legendary for taking the ideas of other food producers, improving on the product, then selling them at its stores under the Trader Joe's name. So on a rare trip to the store, I figured the above snack would improve on Cheetos, not only in the health arena, but also in the flavor–contain the cheesiness to an assertive tone instead of Cheetos' jet-engine screech, impart the jalapeño's verdant essence instead of the cloying mystery that is the Flamin' Hot ingredient.
Trader Joe's Baked Jalapeño Cheese Crunchies were as bland as cardboard–this isn't me using a cliché, but the truth. Stale, lifeless, with not even a whisper of cheese, and jalapeño flavor that attacked the tastebuds with the coolness of mint instead of heat. I only had a handful before schlepping the above bag to my best pal, who'll eat anything–except these. I've haven't been so disappointed culinarily since Carl's dropped its small cheeseburgers, and this is a shocking lack of effort on the part of Trader Joe's. Betcha it's crying all the way to the bank on this, though. . . .
Here's to hoping it never dares to try to copy Tapatío-flavored Fritos. . . .