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Trader Joe’s Buffalo Style Chicken Poppers

Summer holds a particularly special place in my heart, and even though it’s sweltering, I hope you’re having a good one. Seasonally, it seems like Trader Joe’s changes things up more than any other store, and it’s true, ask them about Roasted Pecan Blue Cheese Dip now and a member of their crew will direct you to the later fall months. But that doesn’t mean the Joe doesn’t have a jam-packed summer selection of goodies.

Case in point: Trader Joe’s Buffalo Style Chicken Poppers. Frozen, and hopefully stocked somewhere you won’t have to ask a team member where they put them… and what else they’ve moved since you’ve last had a chance to visit. And you know, if they’re just out of Fried Rice today or if they’ll have more on the— oh, there it is, thank you.

These come in a rectangular box, glued at the ends(thankfully, because TJ’s has a problem with soft cardboard and easily opening flaps on frozen goods), laid out so that each individual popper looks like part of a triangle-only tessellation. Only delicious, and not math-based.

The instructions dictate 375F for about 20 minutes(I’ve done a perfect 20 and I’ve done 18, and like that better). The poppers take on a deep, dark golden brown coloring that makes them look like fried chicken skin paper footballs. Since they’re cheese based and hot cheese turns into hot grease, I chose to drain them on a paper towel for a couple of minutes. One of them popped, oozing buffalo chicken and cheese onto my baking sheet. No lie, they look good.

Flaky, crunchy, crusty chicken poppers plated with sour cream and a sprinkle of cilantro.

On first bite, these are unbelievably flaky, extremely crunchy and delightfully crispy. Despite probably being fried and then flash frozen for at-home reheat, there’s very little grease absorption in what is offered. These are basically Trader Joe’s Buffalo Chicken Dip stuffed into beautifully crafted isosceles triangles of flaky delight. They have a kick, though, and if you aren’t a flamechaser, maybe sit these out. These are not a children’s party food, cute as they are. Do not let these bite back at you unaware. I’d rate them as a medium heat, on par with hatch chile or on the spicier side of vinegar based hot sauces.

Lastly, these aren’t a meal. Despite a high calorie count for a small portion(these friangles are big, two or three TJ’s samosas would rival them in size) the majority of their insides are air. Flaky, flaky, crispity-crunchity air. The phyllo puffs up in size, hiding a well-portioned amount of filling.

Enough to tease, enough to tantalize, but not enough to feed.

Found at Trader Joe’s.

July 15, 2020