Friday, October 20, 2017

Trader Joe's Sparkling Grapefruit Spring Water

Finally I have reached the end of this new line of sparkling waters. This is the last of them.

I poured small glasses of this stuff for Nina and myself at dinner Wednesday night. She asked what the flavor was before trying it. "Pineapple," I said. I wasn't trying to be deceptive. I just had a brain fart, and thought that pineapple was the last one we hadn't yet tried. (But we had.) We both sipped it, and had basically the same reaction: This doesn't taste anything like pineapple. On that basis, we faulted it for being way off.

The next morning, I sat down at my computer to write this review. I pulled the bottle out of the refrigerator to sample a bit more as I wrote. It was only then that I noticed the label: Grapefruit, not pineapple. Which, y'know, more or less explains why it didn't taste like pineapple.

So how is it as grapefruit? Well, it's accurate--it really does taste like grapefruit. And that brings the great advantage of removing the weirdness of the clash between expectations and actual flavor. But it's weak sauce. More like "hint of grapefruit" than "grapefruit," and therefore not very satisfying.

Will I buy it again? 


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Trader Joe's Cocoa Filled Pinwheel Cookies

(Note the accidental placement of three days in a row of chocolate things.)

These are some awfully pretty cookies, I'll grant them that. They really do look like the picture on the box, which isn't always true.

The outside is like a light shortbread cookie, though, as shown, it mixes regular shortbread with chocolate. The filling is a chocolate cream.

It's all very tasty--yet it still didn't move me to ecstasy or anything. Just...nice.

Will I buy it again? 

No, unless maybe I were putting together some fancy-looking things for a party tray.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Trader Joe's Sea Salt Chocolate Chunk Cookie Sticks

I dispute the existence of any proper food category that could be called "cookie sticks." I think we're all familiar with the concept of "cookie bars"--cookie dough baked in a cake pan instead of dolloped onto a cookie sheet. What Trader Joe's has done here is just take cookie bars and cut them into thin strips. This is not a new thing, it's just an old thing cut a bit differently.

I've never much liked cookie bars. I think the reason is that they throw off the ratio of surface to interior; you get too much interior texture and not enough surface texture. Obviously that problem is not cured by how you cut them after baking. As a result, I don't much care for these TJ's "sticks," either. There's very little crispness from the outer surface being in contact with the oven's hot air. Imagine taking a bunch of nice cookies, peeling off most of the crispy surface, and smooshing the resulting soft, bare insides together. That's what you've got here.

I have liked the addition of salt to chocolate in some contexts, but it didn't do anything for me here.

Will I buy it again? 

No. I rate this a pretty dismal failure. I ate one of the four "sticks" in the package. Nina ate less than half of one before turning up her nose. The remainder went back to the store for a refund.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Orange Sticks

One of the earliest members of my Top Ten list was TJ's Chocolate Orange Sticks. Like so many great TJ's products, they just vanished one day, never to return. No warning, no explanation. They're ghosted, as the kids like to say these days.

So I was surprised when this new version showed up. They're the same basic idea--an orange jelly coated in dark chocolate--but a different size and shape.

They're not as perfect as my memory has the departed original, but they're still pretty damn good.

Will I buy it again? 

Many, many times, I expect.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Protein Granola

This is one of the many, many items that I have purchased solely because they show up on the new-product shelf at Trader Joe's, and writing this blog means trying virtually anything there (except for things I know I'll hate, which I don't bother with).

It turned out to be one of those occasional pleasant surprises--a thing I like without having expected to. It's a great mix of crunchy and chewy, sweet and salty. I'm not a granola guy, so I haven't tried more than a few varieties in my life, but this is easily the best I've ever had.

My only complaint is that, while the clusters are easy to pick up and pop in your mouth, probably a third of the bag was just crumbs. There's no easy way to eat those.

Will I buy it again? 

Yes. On the days that Nina comes over to my place for dinner, I typically don't eat breakfast or lunch, but I need a little sumpin' to tide me over, and this is pretty much an ideal filler. I think it's going to be a snack I'll always keep on hand.

Saturday, October 14, 2017


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

Cheap wines from Target and Trader Joe's

The great pumpkin spice taste test

A guide to Trader Joe's cheap wine

Best Trader Joe's fall items

Trader Joe's among many commercial buildings destroyed in Santa Rosa fire (but see next item)

Contrary to early reports, Santa Rosa Trader Joe's damaged but not destroyed

Trader Joe's 6 best peanut-butter products

Trader Joe's manager does "ask me anything" on Reddit

Best tweets of the week:

And finally, in lieu of the usual cute cat in a Trader Joe's grocery bag, here's a cute kid in a Trader Joe's grocery bag:

Friday, October 13, 2017

Trader Joe's Brown Rice Medley

This is an unusual mix of brown rice, black barley, and something I had never heard of before: daikon radish seeds.

The non-rice components apparently make it slower to cook than plain rice, as you can infer from the cooking directions seen above. I still wanted to use my rice cooker, so I improvised by using about 50% more water than prescribed for plain rice. That worked well enough.

The result is really nice, with a pleasing mix of colors, flavors, and textures. It feels much fancier than plain brown rice.

Will I buy it again? 

Yes. Plain rice is fine (and cheaper) for everyday use, but I think this will be a first choice when I want to make something a little more interesting and elegant for dinner guests.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Trader Joe's Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

We have a split decision on this.

I didn't care for it much. I did like the unusually shaped pasta, but I thought the flavor was too heavily influenced by the squash, which isn't my favorite thing.

Nina, though, loved it. She thought the squash flavor was mild and a nice accent to plain pasta.

The package claims that this serves two. That's a stretch. I think I could have eaten the whole thing by myself.

Will I buy it again? 


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Trader Joe's Sparkling Cranberry Clementine Spring Water

I expected this to be a winner, possibly the best of the whole new line. It's not. It's just weird. I'm sipping some even as I write this. I'm trying to find the cranberry and clementine flavors, and failing every time. There's definitely some sort of flavor there, but damned if I can figure out what it is.

Nina tried some last night. After a sip, she screwed up her face and asked, "What is this supposed to be?"



"No, it isn't cranberry-clementine, or no you don't like it?"

"No. It's not successful."

She is, as usual, entirely correct.

Will I buy it again? 

To quote Nina, "No."

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Trader Joe's Authentic Mexican Style Handmade Vegetarian Tamales With Cheese And Green Salsa

Well. I've put off writing about these for a couple of weeks after finishing them off, because I'm not sure what to say.

I guess the first thing to note is that the cooking directions are confusing. One basic question they don't answer is whether one is supposed to remove the parchment paper that is wrapped around the corn husk. The first time, I didn't. The second time, I did. I couldn't tell much difference, except that more of the innards leaked out the second time.

I tried both the steaming and the microwave alternative directions simultaneously, as a scientific experiment. But then I stupidly got them mixed up on my plate, so I wasn't sure which was which. (Good thing I didn't try to become a scientist, eh?) Nina was with me, and she felt confident about her two, and had a definite preference for the steamed one.

The corn-flour shell comes out very soft and delicate, which I assume is what's intended. But overall they're just incredibly bland. It's been a good long time since I invoked the Trader Joe's Blandification Committee, but I must suspect that they had a hand here. There's cheese? Oh, OK, if you say so. There's green salsa? Well, sure--maybe. But really what I tasted most was corn.

Disappointing. Unsatisfying.

Will I buy it again? 


Monday, October 9, 2017

Trader Joe's Organic Daily Bread With Sprouted Wheat Berries, Sesame Seeds & Flax Seeds

I like most things about this bread. It's flavorful, hearty, works well as both toast and in sandwiches. The wheat berries provide a nice bit of crunchiness without being tooth-breakers.

But like several others from Trader Joe's, it has a fatal flaw that will keep me from using it regularly: those damn seeds on top. They fall off and make a mess on the counter and in the toaster. I don't understand why anybody thinks this is a good idea. There's another layer of seeds in the bottom crust, but those are baked in, so they're fine.

Will I buy it again? 

Probably not.

Saturday, October 7, 2017


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

Comparison test of 5 brands of shredded vegan Mozzarella 

Comparison test of Target and Trader Joe's cheap wines

Trader Joe's employees reunite lost dog with owners

Why Aldi's is better than Trader Joe's

9 Trader Joe's finds for the pumpkin-spice lover

Trader Joe's pumpkin foods rated best to worst

Trader Joe's seasonal vegan foods

Whole Foods price cuts have hit Trader Joe's hardest

A foodie's first visit to Trader Joe's

Fall favorites from Trader Joe's

Price comparison, Aldi's versus Trader Joe's

Hillary Duff loves Trader Joe's

7 Trader Joe's pumpkin products you might not know about

Top 17 Trader Joe's snacks for under $4

Best tweets of the week:

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

Friday, October 6, 2017

Trader Joe's Pumpkin & Roasted Pepitas Cookies

My first impression was that these looked and tasted like molasses cookies--but the label tells me that there's no molasses in them. I guess it was the brown sugar and spice combination that suggested that. Anyway, if you imagine crispy molasses cookies with pumpkin seeds, that's basically what you've got here.

I can't get enthusiastic about them. For one thing, the name is deceptive; there's no pumpkin in addition to the pumpkin seeds (pepitas). I can only assume that they mean "pumpkin spice," meaning that combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and allspice that pops up everywhere this time of year.

For another, they're too brittle. Most of the bag was small broken pieces, with just a handful of intact cookies.

And I guess I'm just not convinced that pumpkin seeds are a worthwhile addition to any cookies.

Will I buy it again? 


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Trader Joe's Apple Cranberry Tart

This is a new seasonal (I assume) item, and it's well worth a try.

Because they looked fully baked, I just took the first one out of the box and shared it with Nina at room temperature. I liked it a lot--nice mix of flavors, sweet and tart. There's a generous amount of filling, and it's even tucked in under the folded pastry edges. Nina liked the filling, but thought the crust was "gummy." She suggested trying the next one heated.

I did, and in the process discovered what I should have seen from the beginning: directions on the back of the box saying to give the things 15-20 minutes in the oven. That seemed like a lot, but I did it, and the result was a definite improvement. Not only was the hot tart nicer to eat than the cold one, but the baking seems to have finished off the crust, making it firmer and flakier.

Will I buy it again? 

Yes. I've had a couple of similar products from Trader Joe's before, but this is the best of them.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Trader Joe's Gummy Tummies Penguins

As the front of the package implies, these are gummy candies with a twist: a little squirt of juice in the middle. They're cute. They taste pretty much like every other kind of gummy candy.

Will I buy it again? 

No. Once was enough.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Trader Joe's Raw Milk Emmentaler Switzerland Cheese

This is the best Swiss cheese I've ever had from Trader Joe's. Its flavor is distinctive but mild, with almost none of the harsh edge that often accompanies Swiss cheese. It's also not too full of holes. The holes are cute, but they make it difficult to produce uniform slices, which annoys me.

Will I buy it again? 


Monday, October 2, 2017

Trader Joe's Sparkling Pineapple Spring Water

This is the best of the bunch so far. Just enough pineapple flavor to be pleasing, without being overpowering.

Will I buy it again? 

Still no. Fun to try once, but I still prefer plain tap water for most purposes. If I were to pick one, though, this would be first choice.

Saturday, September 30, 2017


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

10 cheap Trader Joe's chocolate treats

24 of the best healthy Trader Joe's snacks

17 awesome desserts from Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's pumpkin products

Taste test of three Trader Joe's gluten-free pastas

New vegan food for fall at Trader Joe's

10 Trader Joe's comfort foods for fall

Your favorite Halloween decor this year may be from Trader Joe's

Trying to park at Trader Joe's (funny 3-minute video)

Trader Joe's fall staples hit the shelves

3 new Trader Joe's desserts to drool over

Comparing prices at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's

Best tweets of the week:

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

Friday, September 29, 2017

Trader Joe's Apple Cider Jam

Good jam, but with a somewhat deceptive name. Yes, there's apple cider in it, but you'd have no way to know this from tasting it. After all, apple cider is just unfiltered apple juice, so it tastes like...apples. Putting it in apple jam doesn't change much.

What makes this product different from most apple jams has nothing to do with the cider. It's the addition of a medley of what we now consider traditional autumn spices: cinnamon, cloves, etc. So you know what would be a more accurate name? "Apple Pie Jam." And I'd argue that that would be not just more accurate, but also more intriguing. It's jam that tastes like apple pie filling. Who would not want to try that?

Will I buy it again? 


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Trader Joe's New Zealand Grass Fed Sharp Cheddar

Excellent white cheddar, though I wouldn't describe it as "sharp." It's definitely more flavorful than most, but without that, I dunno, "edge" of slight harshness that gets called sharpness in cheese. I guess I'd call it "mellow," without being bland or boring. It's soft and non-crumbling, making it easy to slice thin or thick.

Really, if I weren't already totally enamored with a couple of others, this would become my default white cheddar. It's just a notch below them, but head and shoulders above most of the genre (including the similarly named New Zealand Organic Cheddar).

Will I buy it again? 

Yes, though less often than my trio of favorites, Extra Sharp Canadian, Mull of Kintyre, and Lite Sharp Celtic.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Trader Joe's Sparkling Island Colada Spring Water

I've complained that some of the other products in this new line have too little flavor. This one, conversely, has too much. Where's Goldilocks when you need her?

The label lists only "natural flavors," without disclosing what they're supposed to be. But neither Nina nor I could discern anything but strong coconut--and to me it tasted strongly artificial, more like "coconut" than coconut.

Will I buy it again? 

No. While some of the others have been underwhelming, none has actually been unpleasant--until now.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Trader Joe's Low Fat Tuscano Marinana Sauce

I went to grab another can of my newly-beloved green-can marinara sauce when I spotted this next to it. It's apparently not new, as I find it archived in old online Fearless Flyers at least as far back as 2012, yet somehow I had never noticed it before.

It's not nearly as good as its shelfmate. It's chunkier, which I don't care for. But more importantly, it's just bland and boring. It has no zing to it.

It is lower in fat than the other one (presumably because of less olive oil), but the trade-off is more sugar and salt:

Note that this one does have added sugar, while the green-can version does not.

Will I buy it again? 


Monday, September 25, 2017

Trader Joe's Super Lemony Lemon Bites

I find reviews of this product dating back to 2013, so apparently it's nothing new, but I somehow never noticed it on the baked-goods table at my local Trader Joe's. I know that their bakery products are made regionally, and vary from one part of the country to another, so maybe it's new to my area.

Anyway, the first I knew about it was when Nina texted me a picture of her empty container, with this message: "Gone in 2 days. Best lemon-flavored dessert ever. I now weigh 400 lbs. I understand if you need to break up with me."

So of course I bought my own batch on my next TJ's run, so that we could both weigh 400 pounds. Except that that won't be happening, because I didn't love them nearly as much as Nina did.

They definitely have an admirable quantity of lemoniness, including that distinctive lemon sourness, which is unusual in baked goods. But I thought it was overbalanced by sweetness. The icing in particular seemed a bit much.

Also, you'd better be able to eat the whole bunch in two days, like Nina, because they dry out something terrible if left any longer than that. It's probably due to a high ratio of cut-surface area to volume in these small morsels.

Will I buy it again? 

Not for myself. But when I want to push Nina up to 500 lbs., I'll buy her a few more boxes.

Saturday, September 23, 2017


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

How to make your favorite Trader Joe's products at home

8 Trader Joe's foods I always keep in my freezer

Winning the grocery wars

What Trader Joe's figured out about work culture

Unhealthiest snacks at Trader Joe's

15 vegan Trader Joe's items

21 whole-food plant-based items at Trader Joe's

10 foods to put Trader Joe's Everything Bagel seasoning on

Target wine versus Two Buck Chuck

Marinate your Trader Joe's cheese

The annual pumpkin products are here

Best tweets of the week:

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

Friday, September 22, 2017

Trader Joe's Organic Super Fruit Fruit Spread

This is the best jam/jelly/preserves/spread I've ever had from Trader Joe's, and one of the best I've ever had from any source. Though the cherry is the most prominent, three of the four main fruit ingredients are readily identifiable (I haven't been able to make out the pomegranate component), which is not usually the case when these things get blended. It uses fruit juice concentrates as sweeteners, not sucrose. It's sweet, of course, but it doesn't taste sweetened, even though it is.

Will I buy it again? 

Definitely. I'm even adding it to my Top Ten list.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Trader Joe's Mango & Sticky Rice Spring Rolls

The "mango" part of these rolls is kind of deceptive; there's very little mango, so little that I could barely taste it.

The overwhelming sensation is of sweetness--so much that it was kind of a turn-off.

Will I buy it again? 


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Trader Joe's Shells With Brie And Asparagus

Looking around the web, I see reviews of this product dating back a few years, so it's obviously been around for a while, but I had never noticed it until a recent browse through the TJ's freezers.

It's OK, not great. I'm not a fan of asparagus, so that portion of it had to be tolerated rather than enjoyed. There's really not enough to serve two as the package claims--but I didn't object too much, because it wasn't good enough to want more. (Opening line of Woody Allen's "Annie Hall": "There's an old joke. Two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of them says, 'Boy, the food in this place is really terrible.' And the other one says, 'Yeah, I know--and such small portions.'")

Will I buy it again? 

No. The best store-bought mac & cheese I've found yet is Cracker Barrel's white cheddar. Looking at just the Trader Joe's offerings, the Organic Shells and White Cheddar is better. Or if I want really minimal preparation so that I'm going for frozen, I'd pick the Hatch Chile version over this every time.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Trader Joe's Chocolate Filled Crepes

These look wonderful in the picture on the box. In real life, however, they're unprepossessing (to use one of my father's favorite words). They don't come with the attractive shaved chocolate to sprinkle on top, nor with the freshly picked raspberries to perch on the side.

They are, however, pretty tasty, with a generous helping of chocolate filling of just the right consistency to be soft and almost liquid but not runny. The crepes themselves were a bit soggy, but better than I would have guessed you could get from a product that went from freezer to microwave to plate in less than two minutes.

Will I buy it again? 

Undecided. It's not the sort of thing I usually indulge in, and they're really not pretty enough to serve guests. So although I enjoyed them, I'm not sure they have a place in my life.

Saturday, September 16, 2017


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

About that Trader Joe's jackfruit-in-brine...

Trader Joe's bad Spanish

Best backpacking foods from Trader Joe's

8 new foods to pick up at Trader Joe's

6 ways to use Trader Joe's umami paste

10 best fall comfort foods from Trader Joe's

Best tweets of the week:

And finally, here's this week's cute cat--not in a Trader Joe's grocery bag, but cradling a Trader Joe's wine bottle, which is close enough. (Source.)

Friday, September 15, 2017

Trader Joe's Soft & Juicy Mango

That's right, folks--this is the fifth day in a row of reviewing versions of Trader Joe's dried mango, and we're still not done yet!

This one does rightfully earn its claim of "soft." It's a lot easier to bite into than the Chokanan or the Just Mango. Juicy? That's a stretch--and what "juice" there is occurs only because mango juice has been added to the product (according to the list of ingredients). I find it baffling that one would take fruit, dry it by removing the juice, then add juice back into it.

Worse, though, is that they've also added sugar. The result is definitely sweeter than the others reviewed this week, but no better than the Supersweet Dried Carabao, which remains, in my mind, the gold standard of the genre. It also stands as irrefutable evidence that you don't need to add sugar (or juice) to make for good dried mango.

Will I buy it again? 


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Trader Joe's Just Mango Slices

Eating this reminded me of that famous scene of Charlie Chaplin eating his shoe. Don't buy it. If you want straight dried mango, the Chokanan variety reviewed yesterday is better--sweeter and less leathery tough. And the Carabao variety is even better than that.

Will I buy it again? 


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Trader Joe's Mango Chokanan Variety

I don't know from mango varieties. But what's in this package is exactly what I would expect from the generic descriptor, "dried mango." It's like the texture of most dried fruit--tough, chewy, leathery. And it tastes like moderately concentrated mango.

Will I buy it again? 

I doubt it. Though they were unconventional, I liked both the crispy-crunchy and the freeze-dried better than this.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Trader Joe's Freeze Dried Mango

Like the Crispy Crunchy Mango Chips reviewed yesterday, this bag was lost and forgotten in my cupboards until I unearthed it while moving recently. It's apparently even older, with a best-by date of September 2015. And again, I don't even know if it's still available. [EDIT: It is--I saw it on the shelves just a few days ago.] I decided to ignore the expiration date. After all, they're freeze-dried and then sealed up to make them last forever, right?

The texture could not be more different from the fried chips. They're sort of the texture of puffed-corn cereal, or maybe circus peanuts that have gotten dried out. You can actually see air spaces throughout, making them amazingly light.

The only ingredient is mango--no oil, no sweeteners, no preservatives. But I would have had a hard time identifying the pieces as mango if I didn't know it in advance. I have a hard time explaining why, but I think it's more the texture than the flavor. It's just hard to believe that anything that so closely resembles Styrofoam packing peanuts is actually fruit.

But they're really good! I kept switching back and forth between these and the fried mango chips, and I couldn't decide which I liked more. They're completely different, but equally successful--and equally odd--presentations of mango.

Will I buy it again? 


Monday, September 11, 2017

Trader Joe's Crispy Crunchy Mango Chips

I bought this a few years ago--I don't really have any idea when, but it carries a "best by" date of May 2016. It got buried under other stuff in my cupboards and forgotten, until my recent move. For all I know, it might have been discontinued long ago,rendering this review useless; I haven't checked. But it was still perfectly good.

The chips appear to have been fried; palm oil is the only listed ingredient other than mango. They are extremely crunchy, like the most overdone little French fries at the bottom of the McDonald's bag. This contrast with what my brain expects mango to be was weirdly pleasant, like an intriguing paradox.

Will I buy it again? 

Yes, if they still make it. I found it to be quite a compelling late-night snack.

Saturday, September 9, 2017


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

Price comparison among Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Aldi, Wal-Mart, Publix

21 versatile Trader Joe's products and easy ways to use them

The relationship between Aldi and Trader Joe's

Typography of Trader Joe's hand-painted signs

18 insanely delicious snacks at Trader Joe's

How are Trader Joe's and Target wines so cheap? 

10 Trader Joe's products to always keep in your freezer

Best tweets of the week:

And finally, here's this week's cute cat--not in a Trader Joe's grocery bag, but with some Trader Joe's stickers.

#MeltheCat stayed home but I went to #TraderJoes #50thAnniversary and got the #special #stickers #reusablebag & #highfive on the #spin #giveaway! #caturday #catoftheday #catsofinstagram #tjs #LA #🐱 #メル #猫 はお留守番だったけど週末はあの #トレーダージョーズ #50周年 で各店舗でいろんなイベントやっててハシゴ♡ #顔ハメ したり #限定 #エコバッグ 狙いでやった #ルーレット #ゲーム はテンション高すぎる店員さんと #ハイファイブ というハズレ(笑) このエコバッグもだけど他にもフランスパンやパスタが50周年にちなんで50セントだったし色々買ったら限定の #ステッカー こんなにもらえて帰ってメルに自慢😼 @ #ロサンゼルス #カリフォルニア #皆既日食 で今盛り上がってるけど #トレジョ の次のこういうイベントは60周年?80周年?もしかしたら100周年までやらないかもしれないしこっちのがある意味貴重なんじゃないかと思ったりw
A post shared by MEG & MEL the Cat (@meg_melthecat) on

Friday, September 8, 2017

Trader Joe's Sparkling Lemon Spring Water

This is the least successful of the three flavors from this line that I've tried (see here and here). The lemon is so weak as to be barely noticeable. You end up with a highly carbonated water with just a whiff of lemon that makes you wonder whether it's really there or you're just imagining it.

Will I buy it again? 

No. What's the point?

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Trader Joe's Camel Milk Soap With Olive Oil & Honey

This was on the new products shelf at Trader Joe's (along with a similar one made from goat milk), and was only $1.99, so I decided to try it.

It seems like pretty ordinary soap, except that the shape of the bar is a lot closer to square than most hand/bath soaps. The fragrance is so mild that I couldn't make out any particular scent.

I think this is the first time I've touched either a camel or anything made from a camel. Except maybe a camel-hair paintbrush. Oh, and there was that one crazy night in Morocco, but I was drunk and the statute of limitations has expired.

Will I buy it again? 

No. Nor do I think there's any point in trying the goat-milk version. I'll just stick to my old standard, Dove, with the occasional indulgence in the lavender bar from TJ's that I like.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Trader Joe's Super Sweet Cut White Corn

Nothing special here, just frozen white corn kernels. Heat and eat.

Will I buy it again? 

No. Canned corn is just as good and easier to deal with. And if I'm going for frozen, TJ's own roasted corn tastes better.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Trader Joe's Roasted Corn

I liked this a lot. I served it to my visiting family with dinner, and it was a hit with everybody. There's nothing mysterious here--just roasted corn. But it's a lot easier to make than roasting your own. And even if yours would come out right every time, mine wouldn't, so I'm happy to let Trader Joe's do it properly. I'll just heat and serve.

Will I buy it again? 


Monday, September 4, 2017

Trader Joe's Par-Baked Organic Pizza Crusts

So far I've had just one of the two crusts that came in this package. The flavor was fine. The size was just right to serve two of us.

I was mildly irked that it did not have the raised edge shown in the photo, so it was basically impossible to keep the sauce from running off of one side while the pizza baked. I shorted the baking time by two minutes because I could see that the cheese was completely melted and starting to burn. This caused the crust to come out a little underdone and doughy. For the second one, I think I might try baking the crust alone for a few minutes before adding the toppings.

Will I buy it again? 

Probably. We'll see how the second one goes, but I think there's potential for a good, useful product here. It's sure a lot easier than the pizza dough we tried once before.


I used the second one a week later. I tried baking it for four minutes, then pulling it out to put on the toppings. But the result wasn't really any better, perhaps because this time I had failed to let it thaw beforehand. So the quest for the formula for perfect doneness continues.

Saturday, September 2, 2017


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

Man killed in forklift accident at Trader Joe's warehouse

Trader Joe's announces recall of breakfast sausage

10 best Trader Joe's snacks for under $5

Things you should and shouldn't buy at Trader Joe's

The 16 best cheeses at Trader Joe's

Can newly lowered Whole Foods prices compete with Trader Joe's?

Wine Guy tries 4 Charles Shaw wines

9 things you'll understand only if you shop at Trader Joe's

The best frozen Italian foods from Trader Joe's

We have a bumper crop of best tweets of the week:

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