QUICK REVIEW SHOWDOWN! See’s vs. Trader Joe’s

20+ years ago, in a different lifetime, a good friend of mine brought me a tin of See’s Toffee-ettes from one of her trips to Los Angeles. And oh my God, I was instantly in love! On a recent trip to Colorado I was super-excited to learn that my hotel was close to a See’s shop! So of course I dropped in and got a tin of Toffee-ettes. But imagine my surprise when, just a few weeks later, I was at Trader Joe’s and found their almost-identical “English Toffee with nuts”.

Which candy will reign supreme? Let’s find out:

Quick Review Showdown!

The Toffee-ette is shorter but fatter, rounder and more irregular in shape. The almond bits are also much larger than the Trader Joe’s product, which looks like a “log” of toffee that’s cut to size (which, to be fair, probably is how its made, through an extruder, like pasta).

On taste, See’s kills it, you guys! The almond bits are great – with that crunch-forward bite – and then there’s the “candy shop chocolate” taste. You know what I’m talking about. You go to the beach or somewhere with a fresh candy shop… you know what that FRESH CHOCOLATE tastes like! Yeah, that… but then there’s ANOTHER crunch from the toffee, which is straight-up sugary, buttery heaven. The folks at See’s have been doing this for a long time, and they know what the hell they’re doing.

As mentioned, the Trader Joe’s candies have much smaller almonds on the outside. So, much less crunch. In fact, it almost seems like the almonds are there just to keep your fingers from melting the chocolate. Incidentally, I find it curious that almonds are the only nut listed on the ingredients label, but all the packaging just refers to them as “nuts”. You’d think ALMONDS would be a selling point. I mean, See’s mentions almonds TWICE on their label! The chocolate on the Trader Joe’s candy is commercial- grade chocolate – not terrible, not anything to get excited about either. And that’s when I notice a taste I don’t like. It’s a very faint, yet VERY THERE sour taste. It’s not the dreaded “Hershey’s Sour”, but it’s very close. It only lasts a second or two, but it takes me out of the dream. Just then, the sugary toffee hits. And it’s pretty good. Again, nothing to hoot or holler about, and maybe a bit too burnt for my taste? Where See’s toffee is a beautiful café au lait color, Trader Joe’s is quite obviously several shades darker.

But then there’s this: See’s are only available in their own shops (which don’t exist on the east coast) or via Internet. And they’re expensive: $25.99/pound (454g). Trader Joe’s gives you almost twice as much (30 ounces, almost two pounds, 850g) for over 60% less: $10.99.

When it comes to overall flavor, I’m ridin’ and dyin’ with See’s here. I don’t know if this is a year-round Trader Joe’s item (doubt it), but if it is, that could change the equation a bit. Getting a tin of these from my local TJ’s in the dark of February or for my birthday in March would be nice!

Realistically, though, either of these candies are something I’d only buy once or twice a year anyway. If this was going to be an “everyday” candy, I could see TJ’s being the better “bang for the buck” option. But as an annual treat, I say spend the extra for the good stuff.

One (minor) complaint about Toffee-ettes: you better eat them outside or over the sink, ‘cos almond bits are gonna fly everywhere when your teeth hit that toffee!

WINNER: See’s

ISSUE: Firefox and Microsoft Subdomains

UPDATE: According to Bleeping Computer, this should be fixed in Firefox 95.0.1, which should be available now.

So… I’m one of the last 25 people still using Firefox. And over the past couple of days, I haven’t been able to access my Microsoft Rewards dashboard. Any attempt to access rewards.microsoft.com gets me this error:

MS Rewards Error Page

For the search engines and people on mobiles:

Secure Connection Failed

An error occurred during a connection to account.microsoft.com. The OCSP response does not include a status for the certificate being verified.

Error code: MOZILLA_PKIX_ERROR_OCSP_RESPONSE_FOR_CERT_MISSING

  • The page you are trying to view cannot be shown because the authenticity of the received data could not be verified.
  • Please contact the website owners to inform them of this problem.

Learn more…

I did some googling of “OCSP Firefox” and found some bug reports from 2015. They didn’t seem to help much. I tried all the usual stuff, but that didn’t help. On a hunch, I opened Firefox’s hidden settings, changed a setting and.. HOORAH! It worked again!

I normally would have left it at that, except I was reading Google News on my phone a few minutes ago and saw this post by Vishal Gupta at AskVG. He was having the exact same issue with docs.microsoft.com and other Microsoft subdomains. Like me, Vishal tried all the usual fixes: dumping the cache, loading the page in “Troubleshoot Mode”, etc. It worked fine in Chromium Edge, just not Firefox.

Vishal and I had the same idea. He also went to Firefox’s deep settings and  turned off two options. I’m sure he knows far more than I do about it, so I’d hope you’d trust his work over mine. But I only set this setting to false:

security.ssl.enable_ocsp_stapling

And that fixed the issue for me. At least until Microsoft fixes the issue with their cert, or Firefox fixes the bug that’s triggering the warning.

If you’re having this issue, please go to Vishal’s page and read his thorough instructions (if you know what “about:config” does in Firefox, you’re halfway there already).

Local Time

For thousands of years, timekeeping was kind of a loose thing. When the fastest anything can travel is on horseback, exact times aren’t, strictly speaking, necessary. So in England, as in most places across the globe, someone in a village or town – the local priest maybe, or a prominent citizen – would use simple instruments to figure out when the sun was directly overhead (a.k.a. “noon”) and set up a sundial or clock accordingly. And the rest of the town would be synced to that. And if it wasn’t 100% accurate, or if the village 5 miles away decided to make their clocks an hour earlier – or 20 minutes earlier, or 14 minutes later, or whatever… it just didn’t matter all that much.

Then one day the railways came, and it was nigh impossible to schedule trains using every tiny village and town’s version of “local time”. Thus, the concepts of “standard time” and “time zones” were born.  And then the Statutes (Definition of Time) Act 1880 was passed by Parliament, making Greenwich Mean Time the one official time on the island of Great Britain. Because the channel islands are not part of the United Kingdom, GMT wasn’t adopted in the Isle of Man until 1883, Jersey in 1898 and Guernsey in 1913. Ireland, then a British colony, didn’t switch until 1916.

Interestingly, there are a handful of public clocks built in Britain during the transition period between the two systems. The clock pictured behind Victoria and Jimmy on this QI screencap is in Bristol. It has two minute hands. The black hand is for Greenwich Mean Time. The red hand is for the local “Bristol Time”, which was 10 minutes behind GMT:

QI Bristol Time