Monday, September 30, 2019

Trader Joe's Glazed Chocolate Donuts

These are cake donuts, with an overly thick and sickeningly sweet glaze. I ate them, but at no time was I thrilled with the experience.

Will I buy it again? 


Saturday, September 28, 2019


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

12 new Trader Joe's items

5 healthy breakfast recipes with just 5 ingredients from Trader Joe's

New Trader Joe's products

8 easy Trader Joe's dinners

Trader Joe's buys

My favorite Trader Joe's fall items

Trader Joe's new fall items for under $5

20 Trader Joe's fall products you need to try

These new products at Trader Joe's scream fall

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 dog treats.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Bread

I've heard people rave about Ezekiel bread. Now I've finally tried it. I don't see what the fuss is about. Though I have tried them side by side, it seems very similar to my recollection of TJ's Organic Daily Bread, except the Ezekiel has more crunchy bits that get stuck between my teeth.

Will I buy it again? 

No. I'd always choose the Organic Daily Bread over this.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Trader Joe's Black Bean & Cheese Taquitos

Back in 2015, I reviewed a similar product, though it included the word "handcrafted" in the name. In 2017, I added a note saying that I had tried them again, and liked them more than I had described the first time. Apparently that product disappeared and has now been replaced by this one. See the company's introduction to it here.

It is a turn for the worse. These are, frankly, terrible. They have been thoroughly trashed by the Trader Joe's Blandification Committee. There is zero evidence of cheese, other than the package's claims; it can be neither seen nor tasted. The filling is just a mushy black-bean paste, a substantial portion of which oozes out when they're heated.

Will I buy it again? 

No. Trader Joe's has replaced a good product with a bad one, and it's incomprehensible to me. Nina shared these taquitos with me, and agrees.

Saturday, September 21, 2019


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

13 Trader Joe's items to try if you hate cooking

Product comparison between Trader Joe's and Costco

7 three-ingredient dinners from Trader Joe's

7 ways to use Trader Joe's new Everything Bagel Greek Yogurt Dip

Trader Joe's "balancing act" on innovative products

5 healthy dinner recipes with just 5 ingredients from Trader Joe's

What to do with Trader Joe's cinnamon bun spread

3 new fall-themed products at Trader Joe's

5 new Trader Joe's products to try, and 5 to skip

6 Trader Joe's pumpkin products a dietitian loves

PETA praises Trader Joe's for removing circus elephant images from packages

Trader Joe's employees reveal what it's really like to work there

Best tweets of the week:

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

Friday, September 20, 2019

Trader Joe's Cinnamon Bun Spread

The idea is genius: take the ooey gooey good stuff that tops Cinnabons, and sell it in a jar. Convert ordinary toast into a simulacrum of the decadent breakfast that we indulge in at the airport before an early-morning flight.

But it doesn't really work. The texture is pleasantly thick and creamy, but the taste misses the mark. There's some cinnamon, sure, but it's kind of wimpy. The tapioca and brown sugar seem more prominent. And without the cream-cheese element, it can't replicate what Cinnabon does.

Now, to be fair, they're not claiming Cinnabon specifically, so I'm making a comparison that TJ's doesn't. After all, not all cinnamon buns are Cinnabons. But that's what I was hoping for, and I ended up disappointed.

Will I buy it again? 

No. It's OK, but not great. It's basically a thickened, spreadable form of cinnamon sugar. I don't need that.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Trader Joe's Super Sour Scandinavian Swimmers

This is a soured-up version of the original. See Trader Joe's introduction to the product here. "Flavors include: red berry (starfish), huckleberry (dolphin), orange (tang fish), and strawberry (clam shell)."

I liked these much more than the original. The tartness improves them by a factor of <doing math> precisely 3.8.

My only gripe was that the bag I bought was inexplicably biased toward the red berry starfish; at least half of my candies were that one flavor, with the others given short shrift. This is probably just a weird sampling problem that won't be repeated in other bags.

Will I buy it again? 


Monday, September 16, 2019

Trader Joe's Bloody Mary Salsa

See Trader Joe's description of the product here. It was introduced back in June. I chose not to buy it the first couple of times I looked at it. The reason is simple: the second ingredient, after "diced tomatoes in juice," is horseradish. Horseradish is on my list of things that I know I don't like even though I've never tried them.

But Friday I was shopping for stuff for dinner with Nina that night, and I needed some kind of dip for an appetizer, and this was still on the new-products shelf, and I felt kind of silly for being afraid of it, so I popped it into my basket.

I'm glad I did. It has a unique flavor profile, which I assume is primarily due to that horseradish. But it might also be enhanced by an assortment of other ingredients that I'm not used to seeing on a salsa jar label: pickling brine, Worcestershire sauce, capers, and lemon juice. It's like mad-scientist salsa. Another thing I've never had: A bloody Mary. So I have no idea if those things are expected ingredients, but I don't care.

Whatever crazy recipe got us here, it works. It's maybe a tad hotter than I would consider ideal (though TJ's left their usual thermometer indicator off of the label, for some reason), but I loved it. Nina and I ate about 1/3 of the jar before dinner, then the next night I blitzkrieged through the rest of the jar on my own, with the reliable Organic Corn Chip Dippers as the vehicle.

Could it be that...I like horseradish?

Will I buy it again? 

Enthusiastically. It's even under consideration for Top Ten list, though I'm not quite there yet. It's definitely joining my regular salsa rotation, alongside Fire Roasted Tomato, Fall Harvest, Cowboy Caviar, and Organic Tomatillo. Five completely different kinds of salsa, and I love them all.

For those paying attention, it has been less than four years since I first bought and ate salsa from a grocery store (see the Fall Harvest review for the story). The Bloody Mary is the 23rd Trader Joe's salsa I have tried, and of those there are now five that I eat on the regular. See? People can change.

Addendum, 9/28/19: 

I went back to TJ's to buy more today. It wasn't there. I asked at the desk. Turns out it was dubbed a "seasonal" product, and was available for only a limited time. Dammit! Why don't they tell us these things?

Saturday, September 14, 2019


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

9 best comfort foods at Trader Joe's

29 jokes about Trader Joe's

15 new Trader Joe's vegan-friendly products

My Trader Joe's favorites

Best pumpkin products at Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's newest groceries for fall

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 Honey Mints. (Note: Please do not feed chocolate to your cat.)

Friday, September 13, 2019

Trader Joe's Shakshuka Starter

I had never heard of shakshuka until Trader Joe's came out with this product. From Wikipedia: "Shakshouka (Arabic: شكشوكة‎, also spelled shakshuka or chakchouka) is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers and garlic, and commonly spiced with cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper and nutmeg. Although the dish has existed in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions, its more recent egg and vegetable-based form originated in the Maghreb region of North Africa (Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia)." See Trader Joe's description of the product here.

The directions say to microwave it for a while, then use a spoon to make two indentations in the top into which you break two eggs (not included). But it was soupy enough that the indentations couldn't retain their shape, and the eggs ended up just kind of layered across the top. That didn't really matter; it looked kinda funny, but still tasted good.

I liked it. Just the right amount of spiciness to be interesting, not too much onion or garlic for me. The quantity was awkward--a little much for one person, yet wouldn't have been enough for two.

Will I buy it again? 

Yes. I wouldn't call it a new favorite, but it will make a nice occasional change-up from my usual home menu. Nina liked it, too--maybe even more than I did.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Trader Joe's Peruvian Potato Chips

As you can see, these chips are made from potatoes of several different colors, so they're much prettier than most. In texture and oiliness, they're like thick-cut, kettle-cooked. They're sturdy enough to be good dip scoopers, though there's a lot of small and broken ones that don't do well for that.

Will I buy it again? 

No. They're fine, but I found no special advantage over my regular choices (including Ode to the Classic Potato ChipOrganic Potato Chips Kettle Style, and Ridge Cut Potato Chips with Sea Salt). I expect, however, to encounter them again at Nina's house. She loved the flavor, color, and thickness, and quickly pronounced them a new favorite.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Trader Joe's Fudgy Chocolate Quinoa Loaf & Cake Mix

This sat in my pantry for several months before I got around to turning it from a mix into a cake. Among other reasons, I had to buy a loaf pan first.

The directions call for 3/4 cup of oil and four eggs, which is hugely more than other mixes I've used before.

I used the maximum baking time recommended, and it still wasn't enough; the center of the cake had an almost liquid core. It needed probably another ten minutes.

The cake made from this mix is quite a bit denser than what I'm used to from other mixes. Maybe this is because of using quinoa instead of wheat flour? It's extremely moist, richly chocolaty.

Will I buy it again? 

No. I make cake probably only once or twice a year, and I prefer other mixes from the big-name national brands.

Saturday, September 7, 2019


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

Everything you need from Trader Joe's for a top-notch dinner party for less than $30

How much do Trader Joe's employees make?

The healthiest 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, September 6, 2019

Trader Joe's Blueberry Muffins

These are pretty good. Not as good as bakery muffins, but better than most mass-produced ones. Nothing surprising. I had one per morning for four days, and didn't detect any drop-off in freshness.

Will I buy it again? 


Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Trader Joe's Chocolate Peanut Butter Light Ice Cream

This is just so-so ice cream, not especially rich or creamy. Then there's the additional problem that peanut butter just isn't a good flavor to put in ice cream. This would be better as plain chocolate.

Will I buy it again? 


Monday, September 2, 2019

Trader Joe's Lemon Basil Pasta Salad

I found this to be perfectly pleasant, though it didn't spark joy. The bow-tie pasta was perfectly done. I liked the lemon slice to be squeezed on for an extra, final burst of lemon flavor. The green stuff is spinach, which was on the wilty side. There's Asiago cheese, which looks plentiful but is so mild in flavor that it's hard to notice. Finally, there's a few ingredients that are so sparse that one wonders why they're there at all. I'm looking at you, peas and zucchini.

As you can see, in the salad's native state, everything is segregated. You have to dump it all out into a larger bowl and stir, lest you end up with a clump of pasta here and a wad of spinach there.

I did like it as a side dish, but it boiled down to just lemon-flavored pasta with small bits of cheese, dressing, and spinach--not an ensemble in which the components had equal roles.

Nina was thoroughly unimpressed.

Will I buy it again?