Unlike the other items we've been reviewing from our recent nearly-all-Trader-Joe's dinner, this product was not a new one to us. In fact, shortly after the first time I tried it nearly a year ago, it became my favorite salad dressing.
You have to understand what a radical change this was for me. I grew up with Kraft Catalina or French as virtually the only salad dressings I had ever tried, and I saw no reason to buy anything else for years. No--for decades. I don't think I had even heard of such a thing as "raspberry vinaigrette" until TJ's opened its store in Asheville and I was wandering the aisles marveling at all the unusual things for sale.
I have since come to learn what probably everybody else already knew--that raspberry vinaigrette is, in fact, a rather common product, made by a whole bunch of different companies, not something dreamed up just by the crazy people in Monrovia, California. And I have tried several of those other products, after liking the TJ's version so much. They've all been OK, but none as good. I think it comes down to sweetness. This is completely backwards for me, but I think I like the TJ's version because it does not have the strong sweetness that the others tend to share. It adds a pleasant essence of raspberry to a salad without becoming the only thing that I taste. (Do I need to point out that raspberry makes everything better? I hope not.)
So you will now find Trader Joe's Raspberry Vinaigrette salad dressing in my refrigerator at all times. In fact, I keep a back-up bottle so that I'm never caught without it. It's not the only salad dressing I use; I still keep in the rotation some version of a tomato-based dressing (Catalina or French) and usually one other new kind that I'm trying out. But I'm always happiest when the rotation is back to TJ's raspberry vinaigrette. It's hard for me to imagine anything coming along that would displace this as my favorite.
"But," you're wondering, "is it good enough to be a Top Ten item?"
Yessirree Bob. It definitely is.
Will I buy it again?
As Randy Travis would say, "Forever and ever, amen."
Update, January 1, 2016
This continues to be my favorite salad dressing of all time. I'm not only never without it in my refrigerator, I'm never without a backup bottle there, too, for whenever the one in use runs out. That's how much I like it.