Saturday, April 2, 2016

Uttapam Hopes

I was going through some of the old drafts in the archives and stumbled upon this one for Trader Joe's uttapam with coconut chutney, when it occurred to me that I hadn't seen that on the shelves recently. Usually I'm at Trader Joe's at one of two times: (a) when it's really busy and I'm rushing through the aisles snapping up stuff on my list as fast as I can while trying not to get smacked with carts in every direction, or (b) late at night when a lot of stuff is out of stock. So usually I assume if I don't see something, it's probably sold out or I just missed it in my haste. But once that happens for a few months, I start to worry. Unfortunately my worries were justified when it came to the onion rings (I still check their "spot" every visit) and the spinach and kale pie (I am SO SAD that the guy confirmed on our last visit that it was discontinued; it was seriously the best "too busy to cook" dinner and I bought it all the time), and after reading a couple of tweets just now, I'm concerned that the same fate has befallen the poor uttapam.

I used to pick this up fairly frequently for lunch. It was only about $2.50, and in each little green box, there was a plastic bag with 4 uttapam inside and also 2 pouches of coconut chutney. I could usually make that last for 2 lunches (or if A and I ate it together for lunch, one box worked for both of us). It wasn't super filling, but it was a satisfying amount of food.

The uttapam was basically like a mini Indian pizza or pancake with dough made from rice and lentils, and it was topped with lots of onions, cilantro, and green peppers. I love onions and cilantro, so it was like this was made for me to eat for lunch. On top of the great flavors, it was super easy to just pop it in the microwave to heat up. The coconut chutney, which you would heat up by just letting it sit in hot water while the uttapam cooked, was so full of coconut, chiles, and spices. The whole thing was just packed with flavor, definitely not for people who prefer more bland food. It was so good.

I hadn't picked up the uttapam for at least a few months, mostly because I had been buying it a lot for lunch and wanted to take a little break and eat different things. When I started looking for it again, I didn't see it, but I never had it specifically on my list so I don't really know how long it's been gone. Sitting here now thinking about this, I'm concerned about some of our other favorites. We've already lost things like the nasi goreng and biryani that were our staple dinners 10 years ago, and countless other favorites have gone missing over the years. (I've been tormenting myself by reading all the Trader Joe's "discontinued" tweets while writing this post, and was just reminded of the jalapeƱo cheese crunchies and informed about the charmingly chewy chocolate chip cookies. Sigh.) How many boxes of something do I have to buy to stop something from getting discontinued?!

I'm hoping that maybe it's just a temporary supplier issue or maybe someone got the wrong info from whoever it was at their Trader Joe's and the uttapam aren't really gone, but I know that's unlikely. (But if it's like the soy chorizo, it can always come back!) If anyone knows for sure if the uttapam are gone, please tell me. I'll be sad, but at least it'll be closure.

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