an mcu journey: a progressive dinner & daddy issues

for once i am writing about this next leg in our journey the day right after the event! perhaps with everything fresh in my mind my review will be fair and accurate.

so, as everyone knows, with each new movie we have been ordering dinner from a restaurant new to all if not most of us. now, i love having someone else cook for me as much as the next full-time working 30-something, but this time we mixed it up and, if i say so myself, had the best time. we have, now that i think about it, an absurd number and variety of grocery stores around us. kroger, publix, whole foods, walmart, lidl, aldi, fresh market. you name it, we probably have it. however, one that i do not frequent but that has been in town for ages is the local trader joe’s. i wouldn’t say i don’t go because i don’t like it; rather, when my grocery run truly is a run for the essentials and not a stroll through the store kind of event, there are many stores closer than tj’s that will get the job done. and i know how popular tj’s is across the country and that it has a huge loyal customer base. so, what did we do for dinner last night? we ravaged the local tj’s for a bunch of their customer favorites and had a progressive dinner together!

my shopping experience wasn’t as relaxing as i wanted it to be (i mean, 5 o’clock on a saturday probably was not the best time to go), but after i conquered my anxiety, the result was well worth the effort. listed in no particular order, here are all the goodies we dined on last night and our general review of each. i think it’s safe to say that we will try making tj’s a more regular stop on our grocery route!

  • pork & ginger soup dumplings – these were a winner among the crowd. easy to prepare and perfectly steamed, i am convinced it would be quite easy to eat a whole box myself. do be warned, though, that you really do need to like ginger to like these dumplings.
  • cauliflower jalapeno dip – this dip was talked up on a website i visited but really failed to deliver on the cauliflower or jalapeno flavor. it was nice and creamy, i’ll give it that, and gave us a good excuse to try the pita bite crackers. however, this dip will not be on my re-buy list.
  • salsa – thinking the dip was going to be too spicy, we grabbed a jar of salsa as a nice mild option. however, this salsa had more kick to it than the dip! but, we all agreed it was more flavor than heat and paired perfectly with the blue corn tortilla chips.
  • chicken burrito – everyone had a half a burrito as a little appetizer, and everyone had the same opinion: please, no more. in a pinch? sure. if you had to eat it to survive, okay? however, there was not much depth to the flavor, and unless i followed the heating instructions incorrectly, the burrito really was not heated through consistently. maybe if i had flipped them in the microwave halfway through they would have been better? maybe, but i don’t know that i will go buy more just try my theory.
  • cauliflower gnocchi – more cauliflower? why not! decadent gnocchi are a treat for me, and a cauliflower version sounded like a pretty safe version. as much as i wanted this one to be a winner, i’d say it probably took home the bronze. the texture was the slightest bit gummy, but i cannot fault them for taste. these little pillows were packed with cauliflower flavor, and i am betting that if i had first boiled them and then finished them off in the pan for a little browning that they would have been even better.
  • mac and cheese bites – these little buddies got high marks all around. i’m not sure there’s much to not like here. crispy outside? yes, please. creamy mac’n’cheese center? of course! these were right on in every way and would be good to keep in the freezer for when family or friends come over.
  • mandarin orange chicken – everything i read/heard told me this chicken has been a top-seller for years, and for once, the reviews did not steer us wrong. i baked the chicken in the oven, heated the sauce in the microwave, and prepared some rice on the stovetop. one bite altogether, and it is like you are in takeout heaven, but it’s better than takeout because it does not cost as much and is ready in minutes (no waiting on delivery or going out in your jammies for pickup!). due to the sheer amount of food we had throughout the evening, there were leftovers, but i don’t expect them to last long.
  • snacks – throughout the night we also munched on other snacks like the plantain chips (so crispy and flavorful and salty), the white cheddar corn puffs (i may have eaten half the bag during the movie), and bite size everything crackers (these were INCREDIBLE).
  • desserts – and you can’t forget about the sweets! the dark chocolate peanut butter cups and crispy crunchy chocolate chip cookies were nearly gone by night’s end. gotta balance the salty with the sweet!

now that we were filled to the brim with flavors of all kinds, it was time for guardians of the galaxy vol. 2. i will certainly get more detailed with my review, but at the end of the film, realizing that this one’s purpose was primarily necessary for character building, i said, “alright, if they insist.”

ego and his planet and his whole “expansion” thing were quite over the top (again, i know that’s how these stories go, but still). additionally, the movie was about 30 minutes too long in my opinion, but this is coming from the girl who likes movies 2 hours or shorter. as i sit here and reflect, i think those were my biggest gripes. then, if i really put some thought into what i did like, i’d say there were a good handful of things, but just not enough to outweigh my general apathy towards this film.

drax was my favorite character, and i hope we see more of him later. knowing a character’s backstory seems to be my thing, as i really liked learning more about gamora’s and nebula’s past. i wasn’t so sure about baby groot, but the scene when he is supposed to get the fin for yondu was too funny, and i especially thought the extra clip at the end with teenager groot was particularly precious. oh, and how could i forget about poor taserface? he never stood a chance.

i feel like we are in the final lap of this adventure and will be very interested to see if anything can dethrone iron man or trader joe’s (yes, we have a new number 1!) in these last few films. anything is possible!

EATS

  1. trader joe’s
  2. sweet octopus
  3. alessio’s
  4. gordo’s pizza
  5. alebrije mexican restaurant
  6. jim’n’nick’s
  7. burger 21
  8. jerusalem bakery
  9. armando’s caribe
  10. honeypig
  11. sonny’s bbq
  12. cue barbecue
  13. lon u
  14. rose and olive
  15. wayback burger
  16. 2 nyers pizza
  17. tokyo shokudo

MOVIES

  1. iron man
  2. ant-man
  3. spider-man: homecoming
  4. guardians of the galaxy
  5. captain america: the first avenger
  6. black panther
  7. thor: ragnarok
  8. thor: the dark world
  9. captain america: civil war
  10. guardians of the galaxy vol. 2
  11. thor
  12. avengers: age of ultron
  13. captain america: the winter soldier
  14. doctor strange
  15. iron man 3
  16. the avengers
  17. iron man 2

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