Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Trader Joe's Tomato Sauce

An ordinary, humble item, to be sure, but important to keep around for recipes. I've been buying it lately to use with TJ's Taco Seasoning Mix, and it's perfect. Plus, organic, in case you care about that sort of thing.

Will I buy it again? 

Yep. Because I like the taco mix so much, this has become a permanent pantry item for me.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Trader Joe's French Crepe Wafer Cookies

These are like triangular pieces of waffle cones. They're crisp and tasty. Nina liked that they're not too sweet.

Negatives: (1) They're kind of one-note. (2) It takes a lot of packaging to keep them protected from breakage, and it feels sinful to create so much trash for a few thin cookies. (3) Imperfect resealing of leftovers in humid weather will quickly cause them to absorb moisture and become leathery instead of crispy.

Will I buy it again? 


Saturday, July 27, 2019


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

Top ten items from Trader Joe's

All about the Trader Joe's sign artists

Insider view of produce at Trader Joe's

Woman spirals into vortex of self-doubt after Trader Joe's cashier does not compliment her on selected items

Trader Joe's produce section will be getting greener

Are Trader Joe's cashiers required to comment on your purchase?

12 low-carb snacks from Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's announces packaging improvements

Trader Joe's new items for July

Trader Joe's YouTube channel is amazing and weird

The 10 best cheeses 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 cute dog with its Trader Joe's yogurt.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Trader Joe's Ube Purple Yam Flavored Ice Cream

I had never heard of ube until pictures of this new flavor of TJ's ice cream started showing up on Twitter. Apparently ube is a big thing in the Philippines.

The ice cream is very pretty. From its color, you'd expect it to be a dark-cherry flavor, or maybe blackberry. Nope. It weirdly tastes familiar, but not close enough to anything that I can name a specific flavor relative for comparison. Trader Joe's introduction to the product mentions similarity to coconut, vanilla, and pistachio. I don't think any of those is quite right--but neither is anything else. Comparisons fail me. I guess you'll just have to try it for yourself.

I liked it. So did Nina, though she was as stymied as I was in coming up with a specific point of reference.

Will I buy it again? 

Well, TJ's describes it as a "limited-edition" item, and I hear that it's already gone, so there's not really a decision to make here. If they bring it back in a year or so, yes, I'd buy another pint for the novelty value, even though it's not among my favorites.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Trader Joe's Ruby Cacao Wafers

I bought these back in February; they seemed to be part of the pink-food rush of Valentine's Day. I assume they're long gone from the TJ's shelves by now, though I haven't checked, but maybe they'll be brought back next year.

I ate some right away, but didn't write about them because I couldn't figure out what to say. I still don't know. They're tiny discs of pink chocolate--apparently their natural color, as no natural or artificial coloring agents are listed among the ingredients. (See here and here.)

They don't taste much like either dark or milk chocolate. They remind me of white chocolate, but with an added fruitiness.

Will I buy it again? 

No. I have no idea what to do with them other than just eat them straight from the bag, and they're not very appealing that way. ,

Monday, July 22, 2019

Trader Joe's Raspberry Mousse Cakes

These are basically the same as the Chocolate Mousse Pumpkins, except in raspberry instead of chocolate. They're not as good. Not terrible, by any stretch of the imagination--just not as good. And my recollection is that the chocolate had a higher ratio of mousse to cake, though I might be remembering incorrectly.

Will I buy it again? 


Saturday, July 20, 2019


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

Trader Joe's announces recall of Pita Pal hummus products due to possible Listeria contamination

5 new Trader Joe's products

17 Trader Joe's summer snacks

9 of the best frozen foods you can get 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:

Friday, July 19, 2019

Trader Joe's Saturn Peaches

I had never heard of Saturn peaches before. Here's an overview.

I bought these on a Tuesday morning. They were intended for dessert after dinner with Nina Wednesday. By that time, one of them had large, gross, soggy, brown bad spots on both top and bottom. Another had a similar spot on top. We each ate half of a peach that looked OK, but turned out to be under-ripe and not very flavorful. There is one left with some hope. I'm letting it sit a couple extra days because it doesn't feel ripe yet. But even if it's perfect, one out of four is such a poor record that I can't recommend buying these.

Will I buy it again? 


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Trader Joe's Patio Potato Chips

As you can see from the picture of the bag, we have here a mix of four different flavors of potato chips. At first I thought that all except the ketchup one had been offered for sale separately. But as I look into it more, I think not.

(1) I think the dill flavor here is not the same as the spicy dill kettle-cooked product. (2) I think the sea salt & vinegar flavor is probably not the same as the salt & vinegar chips sold separately, because nothing I tasted here was nearly as strong on the vinegar as those were. (3) Trader Joe's has never offered a standard barbecue potato chip, at least not during the 4+ years that I've been paying attention. The closest they've come is this popped potato chip variety, which is definitely not what's in this bag.

All four are OK. I liked the ketchup one the best, and would buy a bag of that flavor separately if it were offered for sale. For me, the clunker was the BBQ, which I found to be way too sweet. The dill and vinegar flavors didn't strike me as anything special.

Will I buy it again? 


I should note that Nina's reaction was hugely different. She told me that she bought a bag and ate the whole thing in one sitting. So she won't be buying them again either, but for a completely different reason than mine.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Trader Joe's Thousand Island Dressing

For the history and variety of ingredients found in Thousand Island dressing, see here.

Confession: I've never previously had Thousand Island dressing. There's a specific reason for this. When I was in high school, I worked at a restaurant, and I watched the assistant manager mixing up a big batch of their house version of Thousand Island dressing, with her bare arm deep in the pot, manually stirring in ketchup and pickle relish. It was a pretty revolting sight. Even since then, when I see it on the store shelf or hear it offered as a choice in a restaurant, I flash back to that and recoil. So buying this bottle at Trader Joe's was a step of personal recovery from adolescent trauma. (OK, "trauma" might be too strong a word there. How about "ickiness"?)

The TJ's version has water, soybean oil, tomato paste, egg yolks, dehydrated onion, salt, cornstarch, cucumber juice, and 10 other ingredients that I don't feel like typing out. It's complicated.

Is it good? Well, it's OK. I've had over half of the bottle now, over the course of maybe a dozen salads. I don't object to it, but it has not become a favorite. It's kind of a weird mix of flavors that just doesn't sit right with me. It's good enough that I'll finish it off, gradually, rather than throw it away, but not good enough to get again.

But I can say this in its favor: It has broken my reflexive aversion to the genre, and made me willing to try other brands.

Will I buy it again? 


Saturday, July 13, 2019


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

3 Trader Joe's business strategies your company needs to emulate

8 summer drinks from Trader Joe's

"Moderately Confused" cartoon with appropriate theme

Trader Joe's has revamped its famous "Mac & Cheese Bites"

9 Trader Joe's employee picks for summer

Best tweets of the week:

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

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Kase Rebellen Chili Rebel Cheese

I was stalking the Trader Joe's cheese section for any of the four peppery cheeses that I've designated as "buy again"--and completely struck out. But my eye fell on this, so I decided to give it a try. It becomes #5 on that list.

It's a medium heat--enough to be interesting and lively without being searing or overpowering. It slices easily, even very thin. My only nit to pick is that most of the heat is concentrated in the dark orange rind, with less infused through the body of the cheese. But I can live with that.

Will I buy it again? 


Monday, July 8, 2019

Trader Joe's Wild Blueberry Pie

I don't know for sure that this is a new item, but I had never noticed it before. It was being sampled at my local store last week. I didn't take a sample--I just took a whole pie, cuz that's how I roll.

Looking back through my archives, here are the fresh-baked (i.e., not frozen) pies I have tried from Trader Joe's:

Strawberry Rhubarb
Peach Crumble
French Apple Tart
Raspberry Tart
Fig, Pear, and Cranberry Tart

I think this blueberry is the best of the bunch. The berries were flavorful and the crust was a little sweet (which isn't usually the case with store-bought pies). Visually, I love the stars pattern in the crust. Nina had one piece, and I eagerly ate the rest.

Speaking of Nina's piece, she was not nearly as enamored as I was. She said the blueberries weren't as tasty as the "wild" implies, and the crust was just so-so.

Will I buy it again? 

Yes. Though without Nina's help to eat it, it can't be often. The number of whole pies that I can afford to add to my belly fat is strictly limited. 

Saturday, July 6, 2019


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

Trader Joe's announces recall of zucchini and butternut squash spirals due to Listeria concerns

5 Trader Joe's sauces that will transform even basic dishes

Favorites from Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's fan tries Aldi's

13 Trader Joe's cookies that are always worth the trip

All the Indian food at Trader Joe's, reviewed

Here's what a nutritionist buys at Trader Joe's

21 Trader Joe's 4th of July items

6 underrated Trader Joe's items

The Trader Joe's snacks you must try this summer

6 new Trader Joe's chocolate products you need to try

New Trader Joe's products for summer 2019

Best tweets of the week:

And finally, here's this week's cute cat with a Trader Joe's grocery bag pizza.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Trader Joe's Organic Cold-Pressed Fruit Stand Juice Beverage

I anticipated liking this new juice. Fruit juice livened up with some salt and cayenne pepper sounded mighty tasty.

I was wrong. The cucumber component is way too strong, and clashes badly with the pineapple. The salt and cayenne pepper are basically MIA. The overall result is just weird and unpleasant.

Will I buy it again? 


Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Trader Joe's Mini Meyer Lemon Flavored Biscotti

I had never heard of Meyer lemons before I started shopping at Trader Joe's. Of the first two Meyer lemon products I tried, one was great, one not so much. Now the tie is favor of the not-so-much. The lemon here tastes completely artificial, and the frosting on top is almost sickeningly sweet.

Will I buy it again? 


Monday, July 1, 2019

Tillamook Kosher Medium Cheddar

Nothing special. Just ordinary, boring cheddar. It serves its purpose, but you can do better.

Will I buy it again?