Saturday, December 16, 2017

Roundup

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


First visit to Trader Joe's

Five holiday movies paired with Trader Joe's snacks

12 favorite food finds from Trader Joe's

We taste-tested Trader Joe's holiday treats

Best holiday comfort foods and desserts at Trader Joe's

Taste test of egg nogs

Taste test of maple syrups



Best tweets of the week:










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

Friday, December 15, 2017

Trader Joe's Mini Chocolate Mousse Presents


These are the same basic product as has appeared in two other holiday guises in the past--see here and here. Which means that they're wonderful and delectable and you should run out and get some while you can.


Will I buy it again? 

I will buy one container every time TJ's issues them in any form.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Trader Joe's Cheesy Trees


In their favor, these are the cheesiest cheese crackers I've ever had.

But on the demerit side, they're unforgivable brittle. No more than a quarter of the crackers were intact in the box, and even those would break on the first dip into anything denser than water. This property renders them useless for anything other than eating straight, or perhaps crumbling onto the top of soup.


Will I buy it again? 

No.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Trader Joe's Holiday Frosted Sugar Cookies


These are OK, but not great. They're among the softest sugar cookies I've ever had, which is not a compliment. A little frosting on sugar cookies is acceptable, but it's much too thick here.


Will I buy it again? 

No. Store-bought sugar cookies are never as good as homemade, but even with appropriately lowered expectations, these don't measure up.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Trader Joe's Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Cake



The texture of this is not bad for a gluten-free cake--surprisingly normal, in fact.

The flavor is strong on the orange, not so much on the cranberry portion. I didn't like the big dollops of icing on top. Let's stick to the traditional even layer, please.


Will I buy it again? 

No, it didn't excite me that much. But if you're going to have holiday guests who eat gluten-free, it's not a bad choice.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Trader Joe's Hasselback Potatoes With Butter & Sea Salt


What you see is what you get (though the bits of green garnish in the photo are a "serving suggestion," not part of the product you buy). It's a potato, sliced, with butter and salt, and baked for you--though it still takes 30 minutes in the oven to take it from frozen to hot enough to serve.

It's hard to see the point of this. There's so little butter and salt that both Nina and I decided we needed to add more anyway. It's an entirely average potato otherwise--nothing special.

And do we really need to be flying potatoes here from FRANCE? Did Idaho and Oregon fall off the continent without anybody telling me?


Will I buy it again? 

No.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Roundup

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


6 specific feelings you'll only understand if you shop Trader Joe's on weekends

Trader Joe's peppermint items tasted and ranked

10 stocking stuffers from Trader Joe's

25 Trader Joe's holiday treats tasted and ranked

Trader Joe's frozen foods that are high in salt, and ones that are not




Best tweets of the week:








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


A post shared by Stephanie Vie (@viestephanie) on

Friday, December 8, 2017

Trader Joe's ABC + K Slaw



Eating this slaw was the first occasion in my life in which I've been inclined to say, "There's not enough kale here."

Because of how it's packed, with the kale on top, it's easy to believe there's more of it than turns out to be so. In reality, you end up with a kind of gloppy mix of carrot shreds and beet shreds, with an occasion stray kale leaf, and some glops of apple. Nothing mixes together well.

That said, when I bought it I thought there was about a 75% chance that I'd hate it and not even finish one serving. I didn't hate it. In fact, I liked it better than Nina did, which I would have estimated had a 0.00000001% chance of being true. That doesn't mean that I loved it, but I didn't mind it--and I ate all of mine, while she quit about halfway through hers. I even went back and had two more servings of it over the next couple of days.


Will I buy it again? 

No. I think apples, beets, and carrots pretty much need to stay in their own lanes.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Trader Joe's Marbellous Chocolate Bar


As you can see from the packaging, this is intended as a gift. It even opens as a gift card before you get to the pouch that holds the chocolate. (The back of the package steals the strange phrase "strikingly visual bar" from the Marbled Mint Crunch Chocolate Bar. Both are listed as products of Ireland. Dollars to doughnuts, they're made by the same supplier.)

The chocolate bar is really pretty--even more so than the small part you can through the window above. But it's kind of odd-tasting. I think this must be because of the large percentage of white chocolate. The dark chocolate parts remind me strongly of Hershey's chocolate syrup from my childhood.


Will I buy it again? 

No. One was plenty.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Trader Joe's Pitted Amarena Cherries With Stems In Syrup



I had never heard of Amarena cherries before spotting this jar at Trader Joe's. I bought it anyway. They're cherries; they can't be bad.

And they're not. But the way they're presented here, you can't just sit down and eat a bowlful. (After all, life isn't just a bowl of cherries.) The syrup here is heavily sugared, turning the cherries into something akin to Maraschino cherries--preserved, essentially. They work as a garnish, but in no other way.


Will I buy it again? 

No. I just don't have any use for this kind of thing.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Trader Joe's Unsulfured Dried Pear Slices



I expected that I would love these, but they were no good. Too dry and tough, not flavorful enough.


Will I buy it again? 

No.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Trader Joe's Chocolate Mint Flavored Cupcakes


Oh, these are truly excellent--and an innovative twist on the age-old chocolate/mint flavor combination. At least I've never seen anything like them.

All the description you need is right there under the product name on the label. What you need from me, then, is simply confirmation that it's not misleading or overly hyped. It is, in fact, quite accurate on all points. But they left out that there's a mint-chocolate star cookie on top.


Will I buy it again? 

Well, they're far too rich to have often, even if they were going to be available all year 'round. But if Trader Joe's could suck all the calories out of these cupcakes without ruining them, I'd snarf them down daily.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Roundup

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


Why nutritionists love these 17 Trader Joe's foods

The 10 best Trader Joe's snacks

The 10 best Trader Joe's cookies

Trader Joe's swears it's not selling that drug from "Riverdale"

9 Trader Joe's products that make great stocking stuffers

Discover Trader Joe's gingerbread products



Best tweets of the week:










And finally, here's this week's cute something with a Trader Joe's something:


Friday, December 1, 2017

Trader Joe's Winter Snowflake Pasta


In flavor, this is, predictably, just like any other dried wheat pasta. It takes a little longer to cook than thin strands, but that's a minor inconvenience. Somewhat surprisingly, there wasn't much damage to the shapes from being agitated and stirred in the pot of boiling water. I thought they might fall apart, but no.

It's unusually pretty on the plate, for not being a multi-colored beauty like this one or this one. The snowflakes also make convenient bite sizes.

But its greatest advantage over standard pasta shapes is that all the little holes and ridges are supremely good at holding on to pasta sauce. I like that. In fact, I usually go out of my way to buy "rigate" forms of pasta specifically because I like having more sauce cling to my pasta. This is absolutely the best pasta form I've ever encountered for this quality.


Will I buy it again? 

Yes. In fact, I liked it so much that I'm going to stock up on it while I can, then mourn the day that I use the last of it and have to wait until next winter to get more.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Trader Joe's Super Sweet Fresh Corn



This appears to be a new product at Trader Joe's. I mean, corn on the cob is not exactly a new product, but this particular packaging is.

And I don't get what the point of it is. What's wrong with selling individual ears of corn in nothing but the convenient, natural packages of their husks? It appears that TJ's has either people or machines cut off the ends to a uniform length, partially (but not fully) remove the husks, and wrap them in plastic on a plastic tray. This just seems bizarre, unnecessary, and wasteful.

I might forgive it if the corn inside were special in some way. It's not. It was neither "super sweet" nor especially "fresh." Of course, it was "fresh" if that word is understood merely to mean "not canned or frozen"--but not if it is understood to mean "picked very recently."


Will I buy it again? 

No.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Trader Joe's Fleur De Sel Caramels



The addition of a pinch of salt is the only thing that sets these caramels apart from any others--and it's not enough to make them especially interesting or desirable.


Will I buy it again? 

No.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Trader Joe's Apple Cider Caramels



Well, these are definitely something different from any candies I've had before. The apple infusion is strong--I actually noticed it before the taste of caramel hit. It's an unusual combination, and I don't think it works particularly well. Not terrible by any means, but just...off. The caramel-apple center is also really runny, and you basically can't bite into it without getting it on your hands. I don't like chocolates being messy.

Note, finally, that you get only four to a box, which seems kinda chintzy.


Will I buy it again? 

No.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Envy apples



I saw somebody on Twitter excited to find her favorite variety of apple at Trader Joe's. I had never heard of Envy, but I looked it up, and of course the brand's web site makes it sound fabulous. So I grabbed two of them on my last TJ's trip.

I am underwhelmed. They are extremely crispy, I'll give them that. But it's almost to a fault; they're actually physically difficult to bite into because of being so firm.

Other than that, I found no extraordinary qualities. They're not especially sweet or juicy.


Will I buy it again? 

No. I'd pick a honeycrisp over Envy every time.

And, do we really need to be flying apples in from New Zealand, which is about as far from the US as it's possible to get?

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Roundup

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


5 cheap Trader Joe's snacks any kid will adore

Trader Joe's announces recall of three varieties of fresh salad due to foreign matter

New vegan food at Trader Joe's for the holidays

Every pumpkin-spice item at Trader Joe's ranked

Trader Joe's $3.99 wines ranked

Top 10 Trader Joe's products you need this holiday season

6 easy Trader Joe's dinner ideas

Four-way grocery price comparison

13 new vegan products at Trader Joe's



Best tweets of the week:










And finally, here's this week's cute cat in a Trader Joe's grocery bag with his Trader Joe's scratching pad.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Trader Joe's Gluten Free Egg Fettuccine Pasta


Nina took one look at this package and said, "Oh dear." She thought it had no chance of being successful. Was she right?

Well, yes and no. It's not great--but it's OK. And being just acceptable is a significant win for a gluten-free pasta. (Rice flour is its primary ingredient.)

With a bold, spicy sauce (Mario Batali's Arrabbiata) and some fake ground beef sprinkled on top for protein, I really didn't notice anything out of the ordinary about it. I don't think I would have noticed that it was a gluten-free product in this configuration, though perhaps I would have if it were served in a way that required the pasta to stand up for itself more. Nina, though, insisted that she still noticed that it was a little off, even as well-disguised as it was. But she conceded that just being mediocre among the ranks of all pastas, instead of really awful, makes it among the best of the gluten-free pastas we've tried.


Will I buy it again? 

Not for myself. But I'd eagerly recommend it to those who need gluten-free products, and I'd buy it if I were going to have dinner guests who needed gluten-free alternatives.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Trader Joe's Veggies & Greens Salad Kit


I was about to describe this, but you can just read on the front of the package what's in it. It's all chopped, mostly quite finely, so if you like big leaves and hunks of veggies in your salad, you're out of luck. (The leaves pictured on the package are a lie.)

The bag contains three small bags, in addition to the main contents. These contain the dressing, the pistachios, and the "dried pear crumbles."

Put together, it makes for a rather interesting salad. I've never had either dried pears or pistachios on a salad, let alone both at once. But it was too heavy in kale and Brussels sprouts for my taste. Nina, however, liked it a lot--except for the honey-ginger dressing, which, predictably, she found too sweet. I, predictably, thought that was the best part.


Will I buy it again? 

No, but I'm not sorry I tried it. I started this as a side salad for a dinner with Nina, and finished the bag on my own over the next few days. Which means that I didn't dislike it so much that I threw it out, or returned it to the store, or gave it to Nina to finish (all of which are things I routinely do when I hate a TJ's product).

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Trader Joe's Pineapple Rings


I've looked for a product like this several times before and never found it until last week, so I believe that it's new.

It is absolutely not worth buying. This small container cost $3.49. It had only seven thin pineapple rings in it. And they weren't especially good--just mediocre. Ingles, the locally dominant grocery chain, sells a whole pineapple, with the outer hull and core sliced out, for about the same price, but there's at least twice as much in the container. True, you still have to slice it, but that's not much trouble. And they're always excellent--sweet and fresh-tasting.


Will I buy it again? 

No. I have long wanted TJ's to carry a product like this, but now that they do, I'm bitterly disappointed in it.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Trader Joe's Hi-Protein Veggie Burger



Trader Joe's has carried some of the Dr. Praeger's line of veggie burgers for a long time. I've never tried them, but I've noticed their packaging, and when I first saw this new TJ's product, I thought that they were not-so-subtly trying to suggest a connection. Compare the photo above to Dr. Praeger's box:



I thought it likely that this new TJ's burger was just a Dr. Praeger's rebranded. But I've looked over the various offerings of the latter company on their web site, and I can't find any that seems even remotely like the ingredients of TJ's. Dr. P's burgers all contain chunks of vegetables, while TJ's are blended smoothly, and none of Dr. P's seems to have pea protein as its first ingredient.

Regardless of the origin, the TJ's product is not a great success. The breaded coating is nice, and they physically hold together well, which isn't always so for veggie burgers. But that's about the best thing I can say in their defense. They're expensive--$3.49 for just two patties. The texture is kind of unpleasantly gritty. And the taste is, well, just kind of nothingness. (Nina said "sawdust," but I think that's being unfairly harsh.)

On a bun with cheese, pickles, and ketchup, they'll do, but more in the sense of "edible," not in the sense of "enjoyable." You're much better off with any of several other choices, including those from MorningStar, Boca, and Gardein.


Will I buy it again? 

No.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Trader Joe's Turkey & Giblets Dinner Premium Cat Food--reconsidered



I discussed all three varieties of TJ's canned cat food two years ago, here.

Back then, I settled on Newman's Own brand for my Lucy. I stuck with that for quite a while, but then started doing a lot of experimenting with different brands, trying to find one that was higher in protein and lower in fat. Lucy tended to be OK with some of the products for a while, then sour on them. For about a year now, though, we've both been happy with giving her this stuff from Nutro/Max Cat.

But recently there has been a huge change in the cat scene around here. I got a second cat, Oliver:


Oliver's tastes are quite different from Lucy's. At first he seemed to be an omnivore, willing to gobble down anything I put in front of him. The cat-food field was wide open.

You might think the obvious choice is to give him the same thing I give Lucy. But there are reasons not to. First, it's expensive--especially because I've learned, with weight monitoring, that Oliver's caloric needs are a lot higher than Lucy's. Second, he has no teeth (long story), and Lucy's food comes in big chunks. He really needs a pate style. Third, ideally I'd prefer them each to get a food that the other won't eat, so that I don't have to worry about whether one is stealing the other's food without my knowing about it.

Lisa Pierson is a veterinarian who is passionate about good nutrition for cats. She compiled the 2012 table of commercial cat foods that I relied on previously. Earlier this year she updated it for 2017, here.

I culled that list of hundreds of wet foods down to 40 that met all the parameters most important to me, then narrowed it down to two that I thought best. I bought six cans of each for Oliver, the previous omnivore--and he turned up his nose at both of them! These were genuinely premium products, some of the most expensive available. (We're talking more than $2/can.) But you know what he loves? Trader Joe's Turkey & Giblets--a real steal at just $0.79/can.

Its nutritional parameters haven't changed between Dr. Pierson's 2012 chart and the 2017 chart.

First, you want less than 10% of calories to be from carbohydrates. This has 9%--not quite as low as I'd prefer, but acceptable.

After that, you want the highest possible percentage of calories to be from protein. There are a couple of brands that have real standouts in this category (Tiki Cat and Weruva), but those are all shredded, not pate. I tried a can on Oliver, and he seemed to have difficulty eating it, what with the toothlessness. The best pates go over 35% of calories from protein; the worst are down around 25%. Lucy's food is an outstanding 40%. TJ's is 32%. Not quite as good, but not bad.

Then you want a low phosphorus level, because excessive phosphorus is hard on the kidneys. I'd like under 300; TJ's Turkey & Giblets is better than average, at just 235.

So it's nutritionally acceptable, cheap, and Oliver loves it. I'll keep Lucy on the Nutro (unless she starts rejecting it, as she has other previous favorites before), but it looks like Oliver is going to be a Trader Joe's cat. (I already bought him his own Double Wide Scratcher, and he loves it.) I expect to save over $600/year getting him this instead of either of the two that I had originally planned to feed him.

I concluded two years ago, "among the wet cat foods that are in that price range, you'd have a hard time finding anything of better nutritional quality, and among those in the same general range of quality of ingredients, you'd have a hard time finding anything cheaper."

I stand by that as an accurate assessment--but I think I should have worded it even more strongly: At this price point, I know of no other food that you should be willing to feed your cat, because all the others are crap. And if you look at all the ones that are comparable in nutritional quality, this Trader Joe's product costs in the range of one-half to one-third as much as most of them. It's not the absolute best in quality, and it's not the absolute cheapest in price, but nothing else on the market can touch it in terms of nutritional bang for the buck.


Will I buy it again? 

It looks like I'll be buying a lot of it. It has my recommendation--and Oliver's.

(Note: The above is not true of the other TJ's varieties. They are not as good in their nutrient profile, primarily because of higher carbohydrate content.)

Bonus Lucy picture just because she's so adorable and nobody could possibly ever have seen enough of her: 





ADDENDUM, November 20, 2017

Life comes at you fast.

I wrote the above last week. Since then, Oliver has started to show less enthusiasm for the Trader Joe's Turkey & Giblets than he had originally. He still eats it, but instead of snarfing it all down as fast as he can, he eats a little at first, then returns to graze on it periodically.

So I began looking at specific online prices for some of the others to experiment with. Contrary to my assertion above about Trader Joe's being uniquely cheap, I was surprised to find two others that were much cheaper than the $1.50-$2.00 that is typical for 5.5-ounce cans of cat food of what I consider acceptable nutritional quality. Both come in larger cans, which undoubtedly contributes to keeping the price down:

1. Dave's Naturally Healthy Grain Free, in either chicken or turkey varieties, comes in a case of 12 12.5-ounce cans for $23.88 from Chewy.com (and even less if you subscribe to a regularly scheduled purchase). That's 16 cents/oz, pretty close to the 14 cents/oz for Trader Joe's. At a pet store near my house, it costs $1.99 per 12.5-ounce can, which is identical to the online price.

2. Triumph brand chicken & liver comes in a case of 12 13.2-ounce cans for an astonishing low price of just $15.99, also from Chewy. That works out to just 10 cents/ounce, about 40% less than Trader Joe's, while still meeting all my nutritional parameters. I'm floored by this. The Triumph brand isn't carried by any stores in the Asheville area, so I ordered a case from Chewy. It hasn't arrived yet, so I don't know if Oliver will eat it, but I thought it was such a good potential value that it was worth ordering one case to find out.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Roundup

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


Trader Joe's announces recall of yogurt dip and tahini sauce due to Listeria

Favorite Trader Joe's pumpkin-spice products

Suburban New Jersey's obsession with Trader Joe's

How to make a killer Trader Joe's appetizer spread

Comparison test of grocery store cranberry sauce

What to buy--and skip--at Trader Joe's this Thanksgiving

Comparison test of grocery store stuffing mixes

Trader Joe's is selling Thanksgiving in a box

Trader Joe's Thanksgiving for less than $25

6 Trader Joe's products to shortcut Thanksgiving

Comparison test of canned pumpkin for pies

17 easy Thanksgiving recipes with stuff you can get from Trader Joe's

Affordable Thanksgiving menu from Trader Joe's

Comparison test of four brands of turkey gravy

Vegan whipped creams



Best tweets of the week:














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

Friday, November 17, 2017

Trader Joe's Fire Roasted Tomato Cranberry Salsa


Trader Joe's Fire Roasted Tomato Salsa remains my favorite--the one I would pick if I could eat only one commercial salsa for the rest of my life. So when I saw on TJ's web site the announcement of a product that sounds like that with added cranberry, I really wanted to try it. It sounds like it should be, at least, interesting, and possibly great.

It is not.

I scooped some up on a TJ's Organic Corn Chip Dipper and popped it in my mouth. "That's weird," I said to Nina. She tried the same thing, and said, "That's weird."

The terrible mistake they made was overly sweetening it. This results in a completely absence of cranberry tartness--which is what should make this interesting. Worse, it ruins the salsa base. Sweetness should not be the first taste sensation you get from a salsa, but here it's so heavy that that's the result.

TJ's says that this is "like cranberry relish." I suppose that's true, but then why sell it as salsa instead of as cranberry relish?


Will I buy it again? 

Not a chance. I ate five or six chips dipped in it, then couldn't stand the thought of even one more. Nina gave up even faster than that. This is going back to the store for an extremely disappointed refund.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Trader Joe's Les Petites Carrots Of Many Colors



It's weird to mix French and English in the name of a product. But once you get past that, these are just like TJ's Organic Carrots of Many Colors, except smaller. Which means that they're also just like ordinary carrots, except smaller and prettier.


Will I buy it again? 

Not for everyday use. But on occasion, when I want to fancy up a dinner for guests, sure.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Trader Joe's Pain Au Lait


My first impression was that these are pretty ordinary dinner rolls, with only an elongated shape setting them apart. But as I got more bites into it, I started noticing the extra sweetness, and I liked it. In fact, I finished it, and went back to the bag for another. And then another.

I polished off the whole bag by myself--not with dinner, just as snacking--over the course of three days. I never even added butter or jam, nor did I heat them up, though I suppose that such steps would make them even better.

I think I still prefer some of the canned-dough rolls. (TJ's own crescent rolls are a favorite.) But that's largely because of the sensory advantage of the straight-from-the-oven heat. For pre-made rolls in a bag, these are the best I've ever had.


Will I buy it again? 

Yes--even though it seems weird to me to have bread made in France and flown across the ocean.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Trader Joe's Mountain Goblin Semisoft Cheese From Switzerland




I have no idea what "Mountain Goblin" cheese is, and the first couple of pages of a Google search did not enlighten me at all.

This is another occasion where I regret lacking the vocabulary to describe something adequately. It's quite different from any other cheese I have in my memory banks. Sort of nutty, unusually earthy, maybe a little goaty (it might actually be goat cheese, for all I know), with a distant edge of bitterness, which is surprisingly agreeable in this context.

I definitely liked it (ate the whole block in two sittings), but it's so different that I have a hard time placing it on a spectrum of preference compared to other cheeses.


Will I buy it again? 

Well, I suspect that this is one of TJ's many one-time-only specialty cheeses, so I may not have another opportunity. But yes, I would. I don't think it would ever become a staple, but it would be nice for a change from the routine. And it would make a fine addition to a cheese sampler plate, as something that I suspect most people will never have experienced before.


Monday, November 13, 2017

Trader Joe's Bamba Peanut Snacks





Following the #TraderJoes hashtag on Twitter, I learn about a lot of new products before I spy them on the shelves at my local store. But once in a while, a new product really stands out in terms of both the number of people tweeting about it and the level of their enthusiasm. This is the latest such. It seemed obvious that TJ's had a major hit on their hands, even before I had seen a bag with my own eyes.

The hype continued with an unusual number of news/feature stories on a wide variety of web sites, which came to my attention from an ongoing Google News alert service. From these I've learned that:
  • Contrary to its usual practice of secrecy about its suppliers, TJ's allowed the Israeli manufacturer of the original Bamba to announce that, yes, they're the ones making this, and it is the same product in a different bag. I assume that this was because the original is so popular that TJ's wanted to capitalize on its fame, and not have people worry that it was an inferior knockoff. 
  • About 90% of Israelis buy Bamba regularly; it is by far the most popular snack food there. 
  • There is some evidence that the Israeli practice of introducing Bamba to their kids at a very early age contributes to an unusually low prevalence of childhood peanut allergies there. 
The universal description of the product is that it's like cheese puffs (e.g., the baked version of Cheetos), but peanut instead of cheese. That's pretty accurate.

And how are they? They're great--extremely tasty, just the right amount of salt, incredibly munchable, with a lovely, delicate crunch. They're instantly addictive.


Will I buy them again?

Oh, yes. Even after just one bag, I'm confident these are going to be a new staple in my snack cupboard. They're also the newest member of my Top Ten list.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Roundup

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


Trader Joe's voted worst parking lot in Sacramento

10 Trader Joe's fitness products one fitness editor can't live without

TJ's new "Bamba" is made by the manufacturer of the original

28 fall finds to pick up from Trader Joe's

Quiz: Which Trader Joe's drink are you?

Trader Joe's vegan Thanksgiving options

Comparison test of 5 grocery store guacamoles

The cost of a Thanksgiving dinner from Trader Joe's



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 AJ Colombo (@ajcolombo606) on

Friday, November 10, 2017

Trader Joe's Chile Spiced Mango


This is a seriously strange product. It's soft, fairly thin-sliced mango coated in what is basically a mixture of paprika, sugar, and powdered chiles.

Judging by reactions I've seen posted on Twitter, a lot of people fall in love with it instantly. That wasn't me. My first impression was that it was too hot, and the flavors didn't blend well. But as I ate more, it definitely grew on me, and by the end of the bag (spread out over five or six sittings), I was really digging it. It's hot enough that I don't want to eat more than about four pieces at a time, but that's plenty for a nice little snack, jam-packed with flavor and interestingness.


Will I buy it again? 

Yes. I think this is a winner--strange but good.



Thursday, November 9, 2017

Trader Joe's Organic Cranberry Spiced Apple Kombucha


The only kombucha I've ever had before this has been a few varieties from a locally made brand called Buchi. I liked them, but I don't think they're particularly representative of the genre. Then again, neither is this new product from Trader Joe's. I'm guessing that it's seasonal but who knows?

It was OK, though--of course--entirely different from the ones I've had before. But frankly, I would have been happier with a cranberry-spiced-apple juice than I was with the same flavors mixed into a kombucha.


Will I buy it again? 

No.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Trader Joe's Organic Stock--Vegetable


I'm not sure is this is replacing the product that Trader Joe's has called "Organic Hearty Vegetable Broth," or if they will be sold side by side. Online sources disagree as to whether there's any actual difference between "stock" and "broth" when applied to non-meat-containing soup bases.

I didn't bother tasting this on its own, because who would use it that way? I made a batch of my favorite chili with it, and it was as good as always. So the stuff works.


Will I buy it again? 

Yes. I always keep a container of some such product around for when I get the impulse to make that chili, and this is as good as any.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Trader Joe's Vegetable Panang Curry With Jasmine Rice



Everything about this is just OK, with no features that are either outstanding or terrible. Makes for a decent fast meal in a pinch, and you won't hate yourself, but you well might think with every bite, "I wish I had something better." If I went to an Thai restaurant and had this served to me, I wouldn't go back. But for something that you can have from freezer to microwave to plate in less than five minutes, it'll do.

It's a very generous serving for one (the designated amount on the box), but probably would not be enough for a main dish for two.


Will I buy it again? 

No.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Trader Joe's Canola Oil Spray



This works as well as Pam--which I've used my entire adult life--and seems to be less messy.


Will I buy it again? 

Yes. I'd rather give my money to Trader Joe's than to (insert name of company that makes Pam because I'm too lazy to look it up).