Monday, July 30, 2018

Trader Joe's Chantilly Cream Vanilla Bean Mini Sheet Cake

This is obviously the same basic concept as the Chocolate Ganache version discussed here a few days ago. I was surprised to find that I liked this better, which usually isn't the case when comparing a vanilla and chocolate pair of options. This was mainly because of the excellent frosting, which is rich with that intriguing vanilla bean flavor. The underlying cake is merely so-so.

Will I buy it again? 

No. It's more interesting than the chocolate, but still not good enough to beat what I would make for myself.

Saturday, July 28, 2018


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

8 new Trader Joe's products to try

Shooting and hostage situation at L.A. Trader Joe's  more  more  more  more

Trader Joe's issues statement on shooting at Silver Lake store

Lawsuit claims Trader Joe's manuka honey is deceptively labeled

10 things to try if you're new to Trader Joe's

You can't call yourself a Trader Joe's fan until you've tried these 30 products

Best tweets of the week:

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

Friday, July 27, 2018

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Ganache Mini Sheet Cake

This is a small, flat cake. It's entirely acceptable, but nothing special. The frosting's excessive thickness is my only specific nit to pick.

Will I buy it again? 

No. On the rare occasions that I'm going to have chocolate cake, I strongly prefer the ones I can easily make at home with any of several excellent mixes. Besides, chocolate cake is better with cherry frosting than with chocolate frosting. That's just science.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Cartwheel Cookies

Two bites into one of these, Nina said, "I declare these to be awful."

She is not wrong.

First, every single one of them was badly broken. They're unusually brittle, and they shatter, leaving crumbs everywhere.

Second, they're supposed to be peanut butter cookies, with more peanut butter in the filling. But the cookie part has zero peanut butter flavor; they seem to be just grossly over-sweetened sugar cookies.

Third, the peanut butter filling doesn't seem like real peanut butter. Though it does taste like peanuts, it's kind of dry and stiff. The box calls it "creamy." This is a lie.

Will I buy it again? 

No. I powered through 2/3 of the box over the course of a few nights, hoping against hope that my perception of them would improve. It didn't, and I threw the rest away.

For a perspective so different that it's hard to believe we ate the same product, see this from the good people at the "What's Good at Trader Joe's" blog.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Trader Joe's Tomme De Savoie Raw Milk French Alpine Cheese

I had never heard of this variety of cheese before, but it was the featured "spotlight" cheese this week, so I found the smallest block I could (because it's expensive and it might be awful) and brought it home.

It was not awful. In fact, I liked it a lot. Soft and rich. As happens so often with new-to-me cheeses, I'm at a loss for how to describe the flavor, but it's quite different from anything I remember having before. Here's Wikipedia on it.

Will I buy it again? 

Yep. Next TJ's run I'm going to grab a bigger chunk. Get it while you can; it won't last long.

Saturday, July 21, 2018


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

8 seemingly healthy Trader Joe's products that actually aren't good for you

Comparison test of vegan ice creams

Trader Joe's employees share the best parts of the job

Comparison test of mayonnaise

Taste test of WalMart and Trader Joe's wines

Taste test of grocery store hot dogs

A&E guide to Trader Joe's snacks

Guide to vegan shopping at Trader Joe's

5 dairy-free coffee creamers you should try

Does Trader Joe's alkaline water come with false implied health claims?

7 Trader Joe's vegan products to try 

27 Trader Joe's frozen foods people swear by

Best tweets of the week:

And finally, here's this week's cute cat dogs in Trader Joe's grocery bags.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Another Trader Joe's supplier outs itself on Twitter

All sorts of articles about Trader Joe's scattered across the intertubes speak of what an iron-clad secrecy agreement the company's suppliers must sign in order to provide food items to sell under the TJ's label.

But as I've been watching the #TraderJoes hashtag on Twitter for several years now, I've seen a number of suppliers apparently so excited to land the TJ's contract that they're unable to refrain from outing themselves. The one pictured above just happened today.

Here are some others I've previously noticed:

When I find these, I always wonder if the tweets get the supplier in trouble with TJ's. But I don't expect to ever find out.

I tweeted this question to the Underwood Ranches account. If I get a response, I'll post it here.


The reply:

Trader Joe's Tikka Vegetables

This is the second of two new heat-and-serve pouches of "Indian Fare" sauces Trader Joe's has recently released. (For the first, see here.) I liked this one much more than the first. Not too hot, with a variety of flavors and textures, all with virtually no work of preparation (except for cooking the rice to go under it).

Will I buy it again? 

Yes. It's hard to beat the combination of price ($1.99), convenience, and flavor.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Trader Joe's Yellow Tadka Dal

Nina bought and served both this new product and its shelfmate. (See Trader Joe's introduction to these items here.)

This one, oddly, was simultaneously spicy and bland. That is, it had a fair amount of peppery heat, but otherwise was nearly flavorless. I found nothing objectionable in it, but also nothing to make me actually enjoy it.

Will I buy it again? 


Monday, July 16, 2018

Trader Joe's Mouth Wash With Tea Tree Oil & Cool Mint

This is pleasant enough, though the tea tree oil component lends it a bit of an odd taste that I haven't gotten used to even after using this for a few weeks. I wish it had a cap that could be used for measuring a dose, like nearly every other mouthwash on the market has.

Will I buy it again? 

No. I want my mouthwash to have fluoride in it, though I admit that I might just be deceiving myself that that small amount is doing any good for my teeth.

Saturday, July 14, 2018


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

12 Trader Joe's products for vegetarians that are out of this world

Best Trader Joe's cheeses

21 favorites from Trader Joe's

The 9 best beauty products at Trader Joe's

Deer has Trader Joe's peanut butter jar stuck on her jaw

Best tweets of the week:

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

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Trader Joe's Mint Chip Ice Cream

I love this. It's the best mint/chocolate chip ice cream I've ever had. The mint and chocolate are better balanced than in most, with generous chips. I love that they don't bother tinting the ice cream green, as most do. It's one of my favorite TJ's ice creams.

Will I buy it again? 

Yes. I'm adding it to my Top Ten list.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Trader Joe's Moroccan Inspired Cheddar Cheese

This is now the 9th peppery cheese I've bought from Trader Joe's. (For a list of the others and links to their review, see here.) It may be the best of the bunch. It's at least tied with the Toscano Cheese with Black Pepper, and along with that one will be joining my Top Ten list.

Unlike most of the others, the blend of spices here adds a lot of flavor, rather than just heat. Now, I can't identify exactly which flavors are doing what; the harissa paste and "spice blend" and crushed chili peppers and cumin powder all contribute in ways that my palate is too dumb to identify separately. But the sum is an absolute delight.

Will I buy it again? 

I already have. Before I had even finished the first block, I was back at the store and bought three more for the freezer. Sadly, this is the "spotlight cheese" of the month, which means it's likely to go away in a couple of weeks and never come back. Get it while you can.

Saturday, July 7, 2018


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

10 keto-diet things to buy at Trader Joe's

Best of Trader Joe's: Haul and readers' suggestions

We tried and ranked every single-serving Trader Joe's frozen meal

Best tweets of the week:

And finally...nothing. I found no pictures of cute cats in Trader Joe's things this week. Sad!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Trader Joe's Peach Crumble Pie

I knew there was trouble when I spotted a fruit fly flitting around under the plastic window as I was trying to open the box.

But ultimately, the unpleasantness of the pie had nothing to do with the insect(s) it brought along. Nina summed it up best: "The crumble topping is gritty, the filling is slimy, and the crust is gummy."

Let the record reflect that "gritty," "slimy," and "gummy" are not favorable adjectives when describing a pie. (However, a law firm called "Gritty, Slimy & Gummy" would be amusing.)

I'll add that the filling was was too sweet. Nina also thought that the peaches tasted artificial, though I didn't share that opinion.

Will I buy it again? 

No. This is going back to the store for a refund--and quickly, before that fruit fly's eggs hatch.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Chimay Spring Limited Edition Washed Rind Cheese

I had never heard of Chimay cheese, so I was pleased at the chance to add another variety to my experience.

I wish I hadn't. I found it deeply unpleasant, due to a strong bitter flavor throughout. When I Googled it to try to figure out what was causing the bitterness, I learned that it's washed in beer, and I was likely tasting hops and malt.

Will I buy it again? 

Ugh, no. I've never tasted a more bitter cheese than this, and I hated it.