Thursday, February 28, 2019

Trader Joe's Organic Thick & Chunky Salsa

This is a new product; see Trader Joe's own description of it here.

My first impression was that it was nearly identical to my favorite Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa. That prompted me to open a jar of the latter (which I always have sitting around) and try them side by side. They're close, but distinguishable. The new one is a little chunkier, a little hotter, a little less sweet, and a little more oniony. On every one of those parameters, I prefer the old favorite; i.e., I like less chunky, less hot, more sweet, and less onion. The only characteristic on which I judge it better is that it's a little bit thicker--less runny--and therefore doesn't have quite as much tendency to drip off the edges of tortilla chips before they get to your mouth.

Will I buy it again? 

No. It's good enough to finish off one jar, but I wouldn't pick it over the Fire-Roasted Tomato.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Trader Joe's Malabari Paratha

This is a new item; see Trader Joe's introduction to it here.

The directions are to heat it from frozen on the stove in a lightly oiled pan, adding a bit of browning. I did this, then served it topped with a mixture of Yellow Tadka Dal (which I said I wouldn't buy again, but then forgot) and some fake meat. The result wasn't one of my best culinary creations; it was all kind of dull-looking and dull-tasting.

The TJ's web page explains the difference between paratha and naan, but I sure wouldn't be able to tell which one I was eating if you put one of them in front of me, except perhaps by the spiral pattern on the paratha. Nina said that the paratha wasn't as puffy as they're supposed to be. I wouldn't know, having never ever heard of it before, let alone eaten it.

Will I buy it again? 

No. As a carb base for protein and veggies, I prefer rice or some form of noodles, and I don't think it's good enough to have by itself on the side. It's not that it's a bad product; I just don't see a role for it in my eating.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Another Twitter outing

Trader Joe's generally has a strict prohibition on its suppliers identifying themselves as such. But once in a while, one of them breaks the rules. Assuming the tweeter here is being honest, it's another instance of this phenomenon:

Screen shot, just in case that link dies at some point:

Monday, February 25, 2019

Trader Joe's Vacuum Dried Crunchy Red Dragon Fruit Chips

I've never eaten dragon fruit. It's a weird, scary-looking thing. Fortunately, the dried chips made from it are much less intimidating. They're still plenty strange, but at least they don't look, I dunno, lethal. Just looking at them, I would guess them to be some sort of red corn chips with maybe chia seeds--like a new variation of these chips. But nope--that would be way off.

The texture really is--as the name implies--like chips. The flavor is hard to describe, other than being obviously fruity. I found it to be sort of halfway between cherry and strawberry, but with an element unlike either of them. Not unpleasant at all. And, oddly, seeming familiar and unfamiliar at the same time.

Will I buy it again? 

No. But it's definitely worth trying once just for the new experience.

Saturday, February 23, 2019


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

This smart oven knows how long to cook Trader Joe's frozen food by scanning the bar code

Making a living reselling Trader Joe's products on Amazon

Trader Joe's announces recall of Gorilla Munch cereal for undeclared gluten

A love letter to Trader Joe's

CBS's "48 Hours" focuses on the Trader Joe's hostage situation

7 pet names based on Trader Joe's foods

What to do with Trader Joe's new amba mango sauce

7 new desserts to try at Trader Joe's

New affordable, organic products debut at Trader Joe's

Most searched-for Trader Joe's item in each state

15 keto-friendly Trader Joe's snacks

Best tweets of the week:

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

Friday, February 22, 2019

Trader Joe's Broccoli & Kale Pizza Crust

"I don't think that ever in the history of pizza has anybody said, 'What I need is broccoli and kale in my pizza crust.'"

So said Nina last night after trying a few bites of this. I had made a pizza with this crust, TJ's Fat Free Pizza Sauce, TJ's Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, and my favorite fake chicken strips, from Beyond Meat.

In that configuration, I found that the corn flour of the pizza crust came through more than the broccoli and kale, but I could taste those portions if I cut off a little piece of the crust and ate it without the toppings.

Physically, the crust held up well, with no significant sogginess.

Because of a long history of TJ's frozen foods requiring longer in the oven than specified on the package, I maxed out the baking times from the ranges suggested in the directions. Here's my advice: Don't do that. I seriously overcooked it, and we had burnt edges all around. Go with the minimum suggested times.

Will I buy it again? 

A week ago, I didn't know that broccoli & kale pizza crust existed, and had never even imagined that it could exist. I would be happy to subject myself to the memory-erasing flasher thing from "Men In Black" and return to that state of blissful ignorance.


In other words, no.

If you want or need a gluten-free pizza crust, TJ's own cauliflower-based one is better. It's both more neutral in flavor, and, well, not green. Pizza crust should not be green.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter Cups

The buzz about this is that it's a healthier alternative to the classic Reese's. I think that's bunk. ("Bunk," by the way, is derived from the name of the politician for whom Buncombe County, North Carolina--where I now live--was named.) I see no reason to believe that sunflower seed "butter" is better for you (or less bad for you) than peanut butter.

It certainly has less flavor. The center of these candy cups has sort of a buttery texture, but little discernible taste--very unlike peanut butter. I got the sense of just eating congealed vegetable oil surrounded (or, in Trader Joe's favorite word, "enrobed") by dark chocolate.

Nina and I each had one. I finished mine, reluctantly. She took two bites and refused to have more, sensibly saying that there's no point eating chocolate that is not enjoyable.

Will I buy it again? 


Monday, February 18, 2019

Trader Joe's Roasted Gorgonzola Flavored Oven Crisp Crackers

Weird experience last night. Nina had me over to her place for dinner, and opened this box of crackers to have as an appetizer with some Pepita Salsa. I knew that I had bought and eaten these crackers before, and even that I had shared them with Nina, but I couldn't remember whether either of us liked them. So I looked for my review. Couldn't find it. Searching for "Gorgonzola" correctly brought up this review of TJ's Champagne Pear Vinaigrette With Gorgonzola, so the search function was working. I looked through all 38 previous reviews with the "cracker" label, in case I had misspelled the name of the cheese when writing the review. Nothing. So apparently I never got around to writing about these, after buying and eating them specifically for the purpose of doing so.

I like them OK. I would like them more if they were larger. They're too small to spread, say, peanut butter on. They could scoop up only a tiny portion of salsa each. (But the taste combination of these crackers and that salsa was quite good, and I ate enough of the combo to seriously spoil my appetite.) I've never had Gorgonzola cheese, so I can only guess at what it tastes like from the flavor component of these crackers that's unlike any other I've had before. I doesn't wow me, but I can live with it.

Nina loves these crackers--which is surprising, because she distinctly does not like blue cheeses generally or Gorgonzola specifically.

Will I buy it again? 


Saturday, February 16, 2019


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

Trader Joe's is finally getting cat treats

Trader Joe's beauty products for under $10

Taste test of 25 beers from Aldi and Trader Joe's

Preview of CBS "48 Hours" about shooting at Silverlake Trader Joe's

Best tweets of the week:

And finally, we again had no new pictures of cute cats in Trader Joe's grocery bags posted, so here's an old one of my Lucy:

Friday, February 15, 2019

Trader Joe's Cold Pressed Pineapple Juice

It's excellent pineapple juice, without question. But, absent a side-by-side comparison, I can't tell that it's any better than the excellent TJ's pineapple juice in cartons, and it's a lot more expensive.

Will I buy it again? 

No. Well, I suppose I might buy it once more just to do that comparison, but unless the results really surprise me, I will always pick the carton.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Trader Joe's Organic Spinach And Riced Cauliflower Salad

Trader Joe's seems determined to put cauliflower in everything. Within a few years, I fully expect to see TJ's stores stocked with cauliflower lollipops, cauliflower coffee, cauliflower bagels, freeze-dried cauliflower, and chocolate-covered cauliflower. And why not? People apparently make such products fly off the shelves. For the manufacturers, it's great to be able to use, instead of throw away, the cauliflower stems that are left over after they bag the more desirable florets.

Here, though, the finely chopped cauliflower plays second fiddle to the spinach. It's basically flavorless, adding nothing except a bit of crunch. Those bits tend to glom together, not disperse evenly.

The golden beets and almonds are so scarce as to be basically AWOL.

So what you're left with is basically a bag of spinach. It's perfectly decent spinach, but not very interesting. I, for one, want more from a salad than spinach.

After one bowl, I was kind of dreading the thought of eating my way through the rest of this. So Nina took it home and added it to a far more diverse salad that she was making to take to a potluck dinner with friends. It worked fine in that role.

Will I buy it again? 


Monday, February 11, 2019

Trader Joe's Corn, Pea, Bean & Quinoa Crisps

These are odd little chips. They're mostly flat, but with a lot of puffed-out areas. The color is non-uniform--kind of a dirty yellow, with bits of color here and there, including the unexpected green, where the odd pea has been embedded.

I wish I could say that I could taste each of the individual components, but I can't. They're quite bland, with not enough salt, and basically taste like unsalted (almost) corn chips. I had them with some hummus, and with my leftover Creamy Cashew Fiesta Dip. Their flavor was neutral enough to work well with both, and they were large and sturdy enough for scooping.

Will I buy it again? 


Saturday, February 9, 2019


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

Ranking Trader Joe's frozen foods

15 best frozen party foods from Trader Joe's

17 new products to try at Trader Joe's in February

All hail the freezer section of Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's leaked info on 7 new products coming soon

Trader Joe's best frozen foods

16 Trader Joe's pre-made desserts for Valentine's Day

5 tasty Trader Joe's Valentine's Day treats and gifts for under $4

29 high-protein vegan products from Trader Joe's

Best tweets of the week:

And finally...we went another week without anybody posting a new picture of a cute cat in a Trader Joe's grocery bag. C'mon, people--do better!

Friday, February 8, 2019

Trader Joe's Freeze Dried Red Seedless Grape Slices

These are a trip to eat. Sliced grapes--but they crunch when you bite them and disintegrate into grape-flavored powder. It kind of plays with your brain, because the texture is so foreign to what your whole life's experience tells you to expect from a grape.

They're extremely sweet. Which makes sense--because grapes are almost all water and sugar, so when you take away the water, guess what's left?

Will I buy it again? 

No. But I strongly recommend trying it once just for the new experience of it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese

This is perfectly decent white cheddar--but I don't understand why Trader Joe's sells it. TJ's is weirdly and massively redundant in the white cheddar department, with lots of choices that are barely distinguishable from each other, and this is just another of them.

I have no idea what they mean by the "East Coast bite" referred to on the label. Nothing bit me.

Will I buy it again? 


Monday, February 4, 2019

Trader Joe's Fruit & Nut (& Other Stuff) Crisps

In texture, these are much like a trio of previous Trader Joe's "crisps": Raisin Rosemary, Pumpkin Cranberry, and Mango & Ginger. That is, they're dry and crispy almost to the point of being brittle, kind of like Melba Toast, but with lots of embedded chewy bits of fruit. These, however, are quite a bit larger than the previous three products.

I didn't really notice them being sweet, apart from the occasional hunks of fruit. But Nina immediately declared that they were more akin to cookies than crackers, on account of the sweetness. And sure enough, sugar is high on the list of ingredients.

We ate them with sharp cheddar slices, a pairing that worked well enough that I wasn't interested in trying them any other way.

Will I buy it again? 

Not for myself; I didn't like them enough to displace or join my usual cracker lineup. But I would definitely consider them for an appetizer before dinner with guests, or as part of a cheese tray for a party.

Saturday, February 2, 2019


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

All the best new Trader Joe's products

Actor Geoffrey Owens gives a shout-out to Trader Joe's at SAG Awards

New Trader Joe's products for January

50 ways to use Trader Joe's cookie butter

9 great Trader Joe's appetizers for a Super Bowl party

18 Trader Joe's appetizers for your Super Bowl party

5 new Trader Joe's products that are surprisingly healthy

Trader Joe's ending grocery delivery program in New York City

Arsenic found in Trader Joe's apple juice

Taste test of 30 beers from Trader Joe's, Aldi, and Costco

Game day snackdown: Trader Joe's versus Whole Foods 365

Taste test of 20 brands of mac & cheese

6 foods you should never buy at Trader Joe's

Supplier of contaminated Trader Joe's salads closes plant

Best tweets of the week:

And finally, I found no new pictures posted of cute cats in Trader Joe's grocery bags this week, so here's one of my many old ones of my girl Lucy:

Friday, February 1, 2019

Trader Joe's Smoked Salmon Trio

I bought this even though I have never before eaten smoked salmon (as far as I can recall, anyway), and even though I had no idea what I might do with it. I ended up sharing it with Nina on Triscuit crackers as a late-afternoon snack before we went off to a yoga class. I did not ever think that my lifestyle would involve smoked salmon and yoga, but here we are.

The fish here is thinly sliced, very tender, and can be pulled or cut apart with ease.

I liked the dill best, maybe just because it was the most distinctive, combining two familiar flavors that I had never put together before.

Neither of us could taste the expected beet flavor in the middle one, though its effect on the color was obvious. Nina said that this was her favorite of the three, simply because it was excellent lox--never mind the presence or absence of beetiness.

I thought that I would like the black pepper best, but was disappointed to find that the pepper flavor was mostly AWOL.

Will I buy it again? 

No. It was an interesting experiment, but I just don't like salmon enough to buy more. I gave the leftovers to Nina, who is a much bigger consumer of fish than I will ever be. She wanted to try it on crackers less salty than the Triscuits.