Saturday, June 30, 2018


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

8 things Trader Joe's employees wish customers would stop doing

34 Trader Joe's snacks we could finish in one sitting

11 vegan things we're loving at Trader Joe's right now

Taste test of frozen cod fillets

10 Trader Joe's secrets for saving time in the kitchen

Easy summer meals you can buy at Trader Joe's

9 new Trader Joe's items you'll fall in love with (Note: They're lying, as several are NOT new.)

Trader Joe's settles lawsuit over alleged misrepresentation of cage-free eggs

The new Trader Joe's products you need in your life

26 recipes using Trader Joe's cauliflower gnocchi

Best tweets of the week:

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

Friday, June 29, 2018

Trader Joe's Bite Size Crispy Cookies Filled With Belgian Chocolate

Pretty good cookies! The shortbread-ish cookies and dark chocolate filling are nicely balanced and both taste and feel of high quality.

My only complaint is excessive packaging materials--a plastic tray and Mylar wrap inside the box. I hate filling my trash with so much waste, for so few cookies.

Will I buy it again? 

Undecided. This one is right on the edge of repeatability. They're tasty, but in addition to the packaging waste, there's the problem that I have so many other cookies that I like even better.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Trader Joe's Chocolate Covered Wafer Cookie

A frequent category of Trader Joe's products is those that are clearly copycat versions of some well-known national brand. Or perhaps I should say copyKat version here, because this is nakedly an attempt to reproduce the Kit Kat bar under the TJ's label. The duplication is so blatant that I'm kind of surprised they didn't go for one of their wink-wink product names, like Scandinavian Swimmers, or Quasar Bar.

I've always been basically meh on Kit Kats, and that feeling carries over here. Dull, cheap-tasting milk chocolate thinly layered on crisp but mostly flavorless sugar wafers. I just don't get the appeal. It's been so many decades since I last tried an actual Kit Kat that I don't dare make direct comparisons, but it doesn't feel any more important to figure out which is "better" than to declare a winner between the Ford Pinto and the Chevy Vega. Neither one is worth having.

Will I buy it again? 


Monday, June 25, 2018

Trader Joe's Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Butter Spread

This is a small tub (you can't tell scale from this photo, but notice the number of ounces of product) of butter mixed with brown sugar and cinnamon. If you spread it on hot toast, you'll get essentially the same result as if you used regular butter and then sprinkled a cinnamon/sugar mixture on top--for very slightly less effort.

It's fine, but it's just not a product I need. It's terrible to try to spread when cold, so despite the "keep refrigerated" instruction, I've been leaving it out on the kitchen counter, alongside the regular butter. But I don't have cinnamon toast often enough to use it before it goes bad, so it's likely a lot of it will be wasted.

Will I buy it again? 

No. I'll just continue to use regular butter and McCormick cinnamon-sugar mixture. (Not the Trader Joe's one, for reasons explained here.)

There's also a companion product, "Roasted Garlic & Herb." I did not buy it, and won't, because I don't care for garlic.

Saturday, June 23, 2018


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

A trainer's 13 favorite items from Trader Joe's

5 must-buy items from Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's scores third among Americans' favorite grocery stores

Why indie rapper Junglepussy wrote a song about Trader Joe's

Best tweets of the week:

And finally, here's this week's cute cat in a Trader Joe's grocery bag on a Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Trader Joe's Golden Caramel Swirl In French Vanilla & Chocolate Ice Creams

If I just dip my spoon in and eat this, I like it. But if I compare it with what I expected it to be from the product name, description, and package images, I'm disappointed.

The ice cream doesn't strike me as a "super premium"--not by a long shot. Neither the chocolate nor the vanilla is particularly rich in flavor.

But the most disappointing thing is the lack of caramel, which was what I was most looking forward to--the feature that I thought would set this apart from other chocolate/vanilla combos. I've had two servings of three scoops each, and in only two or three bites was there enough caramel for me to be able to detect its presence, visually and/or by taste.

It appears that I am not alone in this criticism. The good folks at the "What's Good at Trader Joe's" blog described the same problem nearly six years ago. The fact that TJ's has done nothing to improve the product since then goes to show you the immense influence we bloggers have over the company....

Will I buy it again? 


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Covered Bridge Cheddar

I found this in the cheese section at Trader Joe's while looking (without much hope) for two favorites that are apparently discontinued.

It's nothing special. It has a harsher edge to it than I like. But it slices easily and is overall pleasant enough.

Will I buy it again? 

No. I would instead pick this one or this one, which I think are the best of the remaining TJ's white cheddars. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Trader Joe's Cinnamon Coffee Cake

I thought this was a new product, because I don't remember seeing it among the baked goods before, but there was a Fearless Flyer article about it last year, so I guess not.

I liked it a lot: light, moist, heavy on the cinnamon-sugar. I spooned some generic Cool-Whip kind of stuff on top, and it was just right.

I did not, however, have it with coffee, which Nina says means I didn't eat it right, and my review may not be valid. So be it.

Will I buy it again? 


Saturday, June 16, 2018


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

The 5 best Trader Joe's wines

Why I'm (kind of) over Trader Joe's

Best tweets of the week:

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

Saturday, June 9, 2018


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

10 of the best gluten-free products at Trader Joe's

The best wines you can buy at Trader Joe's

13 new Trader Joe's products to try in June

Trader Joe's launches "Your Friendship is Worth $3" line of wines

Best dried gluten-free pastas

Trader Joe's top picks

15 new vegan products to try at Trader Joe's

22 tweets about Trader Joe's

16 Trader Joe's items for summer beach trips

Trader Joe's announces recall of cantaloupe slices

Best tweets of the week:

Sadly, I found no new cute cats in Trader Joe's grocery bags this week.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Trader Joe's Thai Green Curry Simmer Sauce

Two years ago, I bought a jar of an identically named TJ's product, used it to cook up some fake chicken, put the mixture over rice, and ended up loving the result. At that time, I intended to do more cooking with the sauce--but then I forgot about it and never did.

A few months ago, Nina was making dinner at her place, and I noticed that she was using a jar like the one shown above--very different (and far more boring) from the one I remembered. Clearly TJ's had changed the recipe, and probably the supplier. Comparing the two lists of ingredients makes it even more obvious that this is not the same stuff, despite the same name. They're similar, but with different proportions and spices.

I did basically the same thing with this as I had with the other one. I liked the result just fine. However, I was less excited about it than I remember being with the original. I'm not sure if that's because of the changed formula, or changed expectations on my part, or maybe the use of a different brand of fake chicken (this time, one called "Comrade Cluck," from the Asheville-based company "No Evil Foods"). The coconut component seemed less prominent, which was one of the things I most liked about the previous version. Most unfortunately, the color was about as unappealing as it could be--an icky gray-brown--though this may have been largely the fault of the Comrade Cluck, not the sauce, or perhaps a specific interaction between them.

Will I buy it again? 

Yes. I wish I had jar of the old stuff to compare directly; maybe they're more similar than I'm thinking. But regardless of what might have changed, I like the result enough to add it to my regular rotation.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Trader Joe's Foaming Hand Soap--Peony Blossom

This is very like the "Botanical Bounty" version from two years ago.


  • The scent is much stronger than I remember of the other one. 
  • I'm not sure I could identify the smell of peonies to save my life; it reminds me mostly of strawberries. 
  • I apparently got a bad sample, with a pump mechanism that doesn't work smoothly. It makes an irritating grinding/squeaking sound when in action. 
  • It rinses off quickly and easily, unlike its predecessor. 

But the bottom line is basically the same: It's expensive, too smelly, and not refillable/reusable.

Will I buy it again? 


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Trader Joe's Multi Grain Toaster Waffles

These are completely dull, ordinary frozen toaster waffles, except a little browner and with a slightly "grainier" taste than most.

Nothing to see here. Go back to your homes.

Will I buy it again? 

No. They can't hold a candle to the Belgian Waffles.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Trader Joe's Gone Berry Crazy!

Think of Trader Joe's Gone Bananas. Now substitute strawberries for the banana slices, and you've got this.

Even though I generally like strawberries more than bananas, I prefer the original to this. Maybe it's the relative novelty of the banana/chocolate combination, compared to the commonplace strawberry/chocolate match-up. Or maybe it's how the banana slices seem pleasantly cold but not really frozen, whereas these strawberries have a definite sense of ice crystals throughout.

Anyway, they're really good, and I could eat a ton of them. But they're short of the Top Ten amazingness of their banana brethren. Note also that they're more expensive--$2.29 for 150g versus $1.99 (I think) for 227g.

Will I buy it again? 


Saturday, June 2, 2018


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

13 foods Trader Joe's employees can't resist

How much longer will Trader Joe's last?

5 things you shouldn't buy at Trader Joe's

A Trader Joe's marriage proposal

12 new Trader Joe's items perfect for summer picnics

Best tweets of the week:

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

Friday, June 1, 2018

Trader Joe's Vegetable Pastry Puffs

These are strange things, without parallel in my memory. Little puffs of admirably flaky pastry, topped by a dollop of a vegetable puree. But that puree is so dominated by the tomato that the overall effect is like pizza sauce.

Will I buy it again? 

No. There's nothing bad about them, really, but I just don't see a need for tiny pastry squares with pizza sauce on them.