Saturday, August 31, 2019


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

8 best Trader Joe's baked goods to hit the store this past season

9 decadent Trader Joe's desserts for under $6

Spending $50 for school lunch ingredients at Trader Joe's

21 Trader Joe's products that are dietitian-approved

The essential Trader Joe's items you need in your freezer

Trader Joe's superfans have visited 40 stores in 4 months

Best tweets of the week:

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

Friday, August 30, 2019

Trader Joe's Organic Sparkling Apple Cider Drinking Vinegar--Cucumber & Mint

This is, obviously, the shelf-mate to the strawberry/basil version that Nina and I tried last week. We both liked this one better. It's cool and refreshing. I expected to like it less because cucumber isn't a favorite flavor. But it's mild and unobjectionable. The mint, too, is subdued, not shouting its presence. The vinegar component is even less pronounced than in the other variety.

Will I buy it again? 

Yes. I think it can be an occasional treat.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Trader Joe's Chocolate Hummus

This is some weird-ass shit.

I have no idea what the intended use here is. At first, I thought that it could be used like regular hummus, and that the "chocolate" was maybe a modest infusion of unsweetened cocoa that didn't overpower the hummus but complemented it in some unexpectedly delightful way.

Nope. Dip a corn chip or tortilla chip into that stuff, pop it in your mouth, and you'll immediately know that you've made a mistake.

The texture is like canned cake frosting--stiff. It's not that sweet, though it's sweet enough that it falls squarely in the "dessert" category. The only thing I could think of to do with it was to use it as a fruit dip. So I bought some strawberries, and dipped them in the hummus. This actually worked. The combination was not bad.

A one-pound container of berries got me through about 2/3 of the hummus. I threw the rest away, because, though it was tolerable, I didn't enjoy the combination enough to get more strawberries and do it again, and I couldn't think of a single other way I might want to use the stuff.

Will I buy it again? 


Monday, August 26, 2019

Trader Joe's Neapolitan Joe-Joe's Ice Cream

I had a peculiar reaction to this product.

I made myself an ice cream cone (using Trader Joe's perfect waffle cones). While eating it, I kept wishing the ice cream were different: more strawberry ice cream (they're stingy with it), and more fudge pieces (also scarce). But then I finished it, and had an intense craving for more. So I made a second ice cream cone, and devoured that. The next night I made a third, which emptied the carton, so when I had eaten that cone and again wanted a second, I couldn't indulge.

The peculiar reaction, then, is that I love it while wanting them to change it quite substantially. I cannot explain this.

Will I buy it again? 

Yes. I'm rather taken by it.

Saturday, August 24, 2019


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

10 best cleaning products at Trader Joe's

Shopping experience: WalMart versus Trader Joe's

Comparison test of 8 name-brand products and their Trader Joe's counterparts

Best tweets of the week:

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

Friday, August 23, 2019

Trader Joe's Organic Sparkling Apple Cider Drinking Vinegar--Strawberry & Basil

I passed this by a couple of time because the very idea of "drinking vinegar" seemed like a big bowl of wrong. But I gathered my courage, bought it, and shared the bottle with Nina last night.

Upon unscrewing the cap, the distinctive smell of vinegar hit me immediately, and I was worried that drinking it would be more of the same. It wasn't--not at all. It's a peculiar but pleasantly surprising mismatch. It's mostly just like drinking ordinarily sparkling apple cider, though with more than the usual amount of vinegary sensation, more in the nose than on the tongue.

As for the strawberry and basil, I had to close my eyes with a swig of the cider in my mouth and go on a mental hunt for them. I found them that way, but I never would have noticed them if not for the words on the label.

Will I buy it again? 

No. But it's definitely worth having once.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Trader Joe's Organic Pita Chips with Sea Salt

These are unforgivably dull, lifeless, tasteless. The "touch" of salt is practically undetectable.

Nina's reaction was similar.

This product is a total fail, and after eating just a few, the rest of the bag is going back for a refund.

Will I buy it again? 


Monday, August 19, 2019

Trader Joe's Joe-Joe's Cookies & Cream Light Ice Cream

This product is part of an industry-wide trend toward "healthier" ice creams, with more protein, less fat, and fewer calories. See here for a Consumer Reports article on the subject.

This new Trader Joe's offering is just so-so. The flavors are on the dull/weak side. The texture is not especially creamy.

It was rock-hard straight out of my freezer. But it softened up enough for scooping after being left out on the counter for 10 minutes.

Will I buy it again? 

No--it's not good enough to bother with.

Saturday, August 17, 2019


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

10 of the best lunches at Trader Joe's for under $7

6 best Trader Joe's items from summer 2019

6 Trader Joe's items for the home for under $10

26 Trader Joe's employees name their favorite items

Whole Foods disappointing compared with Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's leads entire retail industry in customer satisfaction

19 real moms on what they always buy at Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's employees sing and dance to stop a toddler's tantrum

7 reasons people are obsessed with Trader Joe's

Best tweets of the week:

And finally, here's this week's cute cat in a Trader Joe's grocery bag dog with her head in a Trader Joe's yogurt cup:

Friday, August 16, 2019

Trader Joe's Organic No Joke Ginger Juice Shot

This is some serious, wake-you-up, kick-your-butt, take-no-prisoners peppery juice. Between the ginger, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper, it will burn your throat and clear your sinuses. I'm not sure I'd call this a pleasant experience, but it's definitely interesting. It makes the potent Triple Ginger Brew look like Kool-Aid in comparison.

Will I buy it again? 

No. It was far more memorable than the relatively tame turmeric version, but not something I need in my life--especially for $1.99 per shot. But do try it once, then get the t-shirt bragging that you survived it.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Verry Cherry Plums

I'm not sure if these are an actual hybrid of plums and cherries, or just plums that have been selectively cultivated for a cherry-like flavor. But however they were made, I think they're excellent. Now, the cherry thing is a bit oversold; it's subtle, not front and center. But it is definitely present.

Every single plum in this container was perfectly ripe, sweet, and fully flavorful--not a bad one in the bunch--which is rare for produce, especially (forgive me) at Trader Joe's.

Will I buy it again? 

Yes, eagerly.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Trader Joe's Organic Carrots Of Many Colors--Dehydrated Rainbow Carrots Snack

These are slices of dried, multicolored carrots. They taste like (wait for it)...carrots, though somewhat sweeter than typical carrots, presumably due to the natural sugars being more concentrated after dehydration. They're fairly crunchy. I wasn't thrilled with eating them straight out of the bag, but they worked well for dipping in hummus.

When I went to have a second serving a week or so after the first, I discovered that I had not resealed the bag all the way. Humidity had gotten in and the remaining carrot slices had gone limp and chewy. This was not an improvement. In fact, it spoiled the pleasure of eating them enough that I threw away the remainder. My bad.

Will I buy it again? 

No. It was fun to try once, but not something I need to repeat.

Saturday, August 10, 2019


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

17 true tweets about Trader Joe's cashiers

15 best vegan items at Trader Joe's

What Trader Joe's crew shirts mean

7 products we never buy at Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's employees share 3 things they wish customers would stop doing

Trader Joe's is not your synagogue. But what if?

3 groceries you should buy at Trader Joe's instead of Aldi

Best tweets of the week:

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

Friday, August 9, 2019

Trader Joe's Organic Mighty Turmeric Juice Shot

Wow. $1.99 for two ounces of "juice"--which is actually mostly coconut water. Plus two pieces of plastic added to the landfill, at a time when Trader Joe's says it's committed to reducing the amount of plastic packaging it uses.

It's hard to describe this accurately, because there's so little of it that it was hard to analyze before it was gone. But my overwhelming impression was of the turmeric and black pepper, not the coconut water or lemon juice.

Will I buy it again? 

Absolutely not. This strikes me as a very un-TJ's-like product: Expensive, pointless, and wasteful.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Trader Joe's Pimento Cheese Dip

If kept refrigerated, the texture of this cheese dip is surprisingly firm and solid--not at all like the Queso Cheese Dip or the Pub Cheese. You'll need to use stout chips to scoop it up. Trader Joe's Organic Corn Chip Dippers were up to the task; some more delicate restaurant-style tortilla chips were not, crumbling under the pressure.

I liked the flavor of the cheese. The pimentos added nothing but color, as far as I could discern.

Gripe: On the 7th day I had this home, I was preparing to finish it off as my evening snack, when I noticed areas of mold on the surface. It had been kept refrigerated the entire time, except for two or three roughly 30-minute periods when I was actually eating from the container. That seems unusually fast for a product like this to go moldy. Maybe it was just a fluke. But if it's a systemic production problem, that's going to be a limiting factor. I don't think I would consistent finish off a tub in six days by myself.

Will I buy it again? 

I certainly liked it enough to give it another try. But if mold is a recurring problem, then I would limit future purchases to the rare setting in which I'll have other people over who can share it and get through a container more quickly.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Trader Joe's Ketchup Flavored Spud Crunchies

These are just like the original Spud Crunchies, but with a coating of ketchup flavor--and yes, they really do taste like French fries dipped in ketchup, which is the proper way to eat them.

Will I buy it again? 

Yes. I like them even more than the original.

Saturday, August 3, 2019


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

14 summer drinks from Trader Joe's to beat the heat

18 gluten-free snacks from Trader Joe's your kids will love

15 meals from Trader Joe's that take 10 minutes or less

Ranking of all nut butters at Trader Joe's

25 Trader Joe's school lunch ideas

Trader Joe's "grocery ghosting"

5 groceries that are cheaper at Aldi than 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 its Trader Joe's vanilla wafers.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Trader Joe's Chocolate Chip Muffins

Not bad at all. In fact, they're almost more small-bakery-shop quality than grocery-store quality.

Will I buy it again? 

No. I like chocolate, of course, but I don't think chocolate chips are the best thing to feature in a muffin. Besides, muffins seem most appropriate as breakfast food, and I mostly don't eat breakfast.