Thursday, March 5, 2015

You babka be kidding me!

I was barely out the door at Trader Joe's before I reached for my phone.
"I've got a bone to pick with you" I playfully barked into the phone.
"What's wrong?" My mother's typical greeting when answering the phone was put to good use here.
"Why have I been eating babka wrong my whole life?" I pleaded. I was desperate to find out why and how something like this could've happened.
"What?" Her standard response came in handy here, though I'm never quite sure if she wants me to repeat myself because she can't believe how truly ridiculous I am, or if in fact she can't hear me. It is usually the latter.
"Why have I been eating babka wrong all these years? How could you let something like this happen?"
My faux gravity was slowly morphing into genuine concern... as it would. I mean, imagine finding out for the first time in your life that french fries were meant to be eaten hot, after eating them cold your whole life. That would majorly impact your feelings towards french fries. And rightly so.

And so there it was, at Trader Joe's that fateful day, that I discovered that every babka I had ever just sliced and eaten, I had eaten all wrong. In hindsight, my indifferent opinion towards babka seems likely, nay probable, if that was how I'd been eating it my whole life. Until the babka from Trader Joe's warmed its way into my belly and then into my heart, forever.

Not surprisingly, this is the best thing I ate this week. I could have just put this as another entry on that page, and I will. However, I feel so strongly about this travesty, that I also believe it is necessary to give a quick public service announcement on the topic of babka.

If you're anything like me, your feelings towards babka veer in neither direction. It is okay, I guess. Not exactly what I would want for dessert, and rarely my choice from a holiday cookie/cake tray scenario. It's meh, a bit dry really. Never been sure what all the fuss is all about. After doing a brief recount of all the babka I have consumed in my life (a lot really, especially considering my insouciance), I realized that my opinion must be based on the fact that I can not, at least in recent memory, remember eating my babka hot.

Ladies and gentlemen, I can now say with certainty, if you aren't eating your babka hot, you aren't eating your babka correctly.

A quick moment of praise for the specific babka that brought this into the light for me: Trader Joe's Chocolate Brooklyn Babka. Dense, chocolatey to a fault, and moist. Yes, I hate that word as much as you do, but the damn thing was so full of moisture, I find myself short of synonyms that would do it justice. Both ooey and gooey, almost caramelized when warmed up, which it should be... or haven't you been paying attention? Yet another fine offering from our friends at Trader Joe's.*

I am a huge Trader Joe's fan. So much so, that if we've ever spoken in real life, we more than likely have spoken about Trader Joe's. I find it to be a phenomenal conversation starter, middler and ender... way better than the weather or sports. I love Trader Joe's. I love talking about Trader Joe's. I talk about their produce not being so good, but that the pre-washed bag of organic spinach is pretty cheap. I talk about how my daughter wouldn't know branded Cheerios as such, due to the fact that we've always called her cereal from there Cheerios. I talk about the frozen food section, the cheap cheese, the Applegate Organic turkey being $3 less than at any other market, the cinnamon roll bread, the granola bars, the nuts... oh I talk about the nuts, the sweet potato tortilla chips, the dark chocolate caramels (seriously, if you don't know, you need to), and their affordable frozen fruit. I talk about how nice their staff is, the fact that they give my toddler stickers, the organic milk being $3 less than anywhere else, and their blondie bar mix. I joke about the line situation and I talk about the free samples.

Hi, my name is Lindsey, and I loves me some free samples. My local Trader Joe's provides us with a small cup of coffee and whatever delightful treat they've decided to clue us in on that week. Mac and cheese balls dipped in pizza sauce, who knew? Dumplings in gyoza dipping sauce at 9:30 am, yum! Mini pecan pies that, despite my claiming to dislike pecan pies, I loved. I will try anything, especially if it's free. Which is how and why I grabbed a sample of their babka.

I was walking away from the tasting station when I tasted it because I rarely actually buy the stuff they're slinging. That bite stopped me dead in my tracks. Not because it was so crazy delicious, but because it was warm. I wasn't expecting that. I went back to inspect further and noticed they had entire babkas warming in their little tasting oven. I confirmed with the lady that she was, in fact, warming them up, and then I did something I don't usually do, I took one to purchase and bring home.

I can now attest, having consumed the whole thing (ok, I shared a little), that warmed up babka is not the better way of eating babka. It is the only way.

Even if you're not a huge babka fan, I suggest you give it one more warmed-up try. I'm not saying everyone will all of a sudden like babka because of this. That would be silly. I'm just saying that warm babka is the way forward for me, and I would be doing a disservice to you, my seven readers, and babkas everywhere if I didn't spread this word like gospel.


*As of publication, I am not sponsored or compensated in any way by Trader Joe's... but come to think of it, I should be! I am a huge supporter. I talk about them so much, they should give me a little kickback. I wish I knew how to make something like that happen and would be happy for any tips. I will state here, for the record, that the first opportunity to receive money or gifts from them I will take. Hello?! I definitely do enough promoting on their behalf that they should give me something. I don't know if that will lead to a conflict of interest, but probably not since I am willing to state their flaws with their gems. For now I will just admit to taking the free samples that they offer in the store every day. So far that's all I've gotten.


  1. Thank you, I will warm it up! First time I've ever seen a Babka. Had to buy it because of Seinfeld.

    1. They were sampling it today and I bought some. ALSO because of Seinfeld! It started a great conversation with the person who was serving it. If it was good enough for Elaine to wait in line for so that she could bring it to party, it was good enough for me to try.

      When thinking of what to do with it heating it with some butter was the first thing I thought of, and did, and it was good.

  2. Replies
    1. oven, definitely. Warmed whole and then sliced for softened gooeyness or sliced thin and warmed/toasted for babka crisps. You can't go wrong.

    2. Thank you for your tip. I ate my first piece cold... meh. Then saw your post and put a slice in the oven with a pie much better. Thankful I found your post so soon.

    3. Microwave, with some butter, ~25 seconds. Delish!

  3. By the way,chocolate babka is at Aldi for only 4.99. so good!

  4. I bought some at Costco and tried a slice. Thought right away that I must be missing something.
    I didn't know whether fry it in butter,toss it in the air cooker or microwave.

  5. Dave's Market makes Babka I bought Raspberry Cream Cheese for my first time ever trying it.

  6. How long to warm the whole babka in the oven or toaster oven.


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