Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Trader Joe's Original Savory Thin Mini Crackers

I think these are made with the same recipe as the Original Savory Thins. But they have little of the unpleasant, bitter taste I detected in those. They're OK, but too small. I still managed to use them for scooping up some thick hummus and Chipotle Black Bean Dip. They were, surprisingly, strong enough for this without much breakage. One advantage is that they hold so little at a time that it feels like you've eaten a lot when you really haven't.

Will I buy it again? 

Probably not. The mini size is the main impediment to most uses.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Trader Joe's Shaved Cheese Blend

This is a superb cheese blend. All three components are strong and flavorful, without clashing. It tastes great.

There are, however, some practical problems with its use. First, though I can't be absolutely sure of this, it seems that the three cheeses are shaved differently. I think all the smallest bits are Parmesan (and they're all on the bottom), and the largest are cheddar (and they're all on the top). It's hard to grab some and get a good mix of all three parts. Second, it started going moldy faster than bags of shredded cheese usually do. I don't know if that was an anomaly in my one sample, or if it's an intrinsic risk of the product. Third, it's expensive.

But if you can tolerate or work around those issues, you'll have a fine blend to work with.

Will I buy it again? 

Not regularly, but I expect there will be times that it will prove useful.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Trader Joe's Queso Cheese Dip

Good queso. Just the right amount of spiciness and chunkiness. Of course it's loaded with everything that's terrible for your diet, but you don't exactly buy queso because of its medicinal qualities, do you?

Will I buy it again? 

Yes. It's too fat-laden to become a staple, but I think I'll indulge as an occasional treat.

Saturday, June 24, 2017


This is my weekly compilation of news and other links about Trader Joe's.

12 of the best dips from Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's beauty products

The best vegan products at Trader Joe's

10 things I buy from Trader Joe's for no-cook dinners

20+ summery snacks from Trader Joe's

Best frozen entrees from Trader Joe's

Make jalapeno margaritas with this Trader Joe's mixer

New products spotted on Trader Joe's shelves

Best frozen treats at Trader Joe's

Brits can't believe Trader Joe's is taking credit for inventing the sausage roll

Best tweets of the week:

And finally, here's this week's cute cat in a Trader Joe's grocery bag:

A post shared by Tracy Yndestad (@yndetr) on

Friday, June 23, 2017

Trader Joe's Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina

Pasta, tomato sauce, and cheese. Entirely serviceable, but also entirely boring.

Maybe it's just me, but the oddly ridged shape of these nuggets made me think of inset pupae:

(Photo from here.)

Will I buy it again? 


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Trader Joe's Savory Thin Mini Rice Crackers--Multiseed With Tamari Soy Sauce

Here's a quick primer on tamari soy sauce, in case, like me, you don't know what it is. Turns out I like it, at least as it is embodied in these little crackers. They're crisp and savory, full of flavor. I used them to scoop up some Chipotle Black Bean Dip, and it was a better pairing than I imagined--the only problem being that the crackers are too tiny for effective scooping.

Will I buy it again? 

Tough call. I like the taste, but the size makes them impractical. If they came out with a version that was more standard cracker size, then definitely.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Trader Joe's Marinara Sauce

I first learned of the existence of this sauce when in January my daily Google news dump for anything with "Trader Joe's" in it brought me this odd article about a man upset with Trader Joe's for discontinuing his favorite marinara sauce. I next heard about it in May, when the same man wrote about his "victory" in getting TJ's to bring it back.

Now, I don't know if his blog post caught TJ's corporate attention and made them reverse course. Given my experience with TJ's products randomly disappearing for a time and then reappearing, it seems to me more likely that whatever happened had nothing at all to do with his writing. They changed to a different supplier, or the supplier had a fire at the factory and took a while to get production ramped up again, or TJ's and the supplier had a dispute about pricing that took time to resolve. Who knows?

Anyway, when I first noticed it at my local TJ's recently, I naturally had to try it to see if it was as good as Joseph Farah claimed.

I'm here to tell you that it is.

I served it with spaghetti and a fake ground beef for a dinner with Nina. She was all "meh" about it, but I immediately took to it. I finished off the can over the next two days with the leftover pasta, and liked it more with each serving.

It tastes simple and pure. The ingredients list bears this out: tomatoes, tomato puree, olive oil, onions, herbs, garlic, salt. This is probably the first commercial pasta sauce without sugar added that I've really liked. It shares a tomato-y acidity with another TJ's marinara that I like.

The container is a bit odd. TJ's choice of a can instead of a traditional jar precludes the usual easy way of putting leftover sauce away. But I can just dump what's left into a reusable plastic tub. No big deal.

I'm sorely tempted to plop this right onto my Top Ten list. I'm going to resist, at least until I've had a chance to try it again after waiting a bit, to see if I still feel it's worthy. Whether or not it ever makes that list, it's definitely not only one of my favorite TJ's pasta sauces, but one of the best commercial pasta sauces I've ever had from any source.

Will I buy it again? 

Of course. I'm confident that it will become a staple.