Has anyone tried this?
I bought some of their Bella Vita lo carb penne a few months ago (around October/November 2003) from the Pasadena location and it was really quite good. The pasta was the color of whole wheat, a light brown, and when cooked for 10 minutes had a smooth, bland, slightly chewier than normal texture, but most acceptable for the sake of keeping my blood sugars down. (I eat lo carb because it is diabetes friendly, not to lose weight)
After a couple of months, the pasta all but disappeared from TJ's store shelves. Every store I went to told me they were out of stock. I gave up hope.
Well I recently stopped in to my local TJ's to see that Bella Vita lo carb pasta had returned, and in several different shapes (spirals, rigatoni, spaghetti, angel hair!) When I took a close look at the box however, it looked different... the pasta was a much deeper brown than it had been, and the edges spiral pasta looked broken off and "gritty". "No matter," I thought, and bought 4 boxes.
So I got home and boiled up a serving of the rigatoni. The proof is in the tasting, as they say, and the tasting unfortunately had to be spit out. Whereas the earlier Oct/Nov 2003 pasta had a bland flavor, this batch had a very strong, unpleasing flavor-- I don't know what to compare it to, but it was quite foul. And although a foul tasting pasta could, in theory, be covered up by a strong garlicky sauce, its gritty, unpalatable texture cannot.
Has anyone else encountered this same experience? What happened? Usually TJ's has such high quality control standards that I'm quite shocked that this one slipped past them.
I'd be very curious to hear if any other hounds have had a similar experience.
Also, I'd love to hear your suggestions for consistently good lo-carb pasta (either for retail sale, or at restaurants)