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Sep 17, 2006 08:05 PM

Yays and nays from Trader Joe's, lately [OLD]

What do you love and why? What do you hate and why? (Say, of things tried in the last few months, since TJ's stock and sources change.)

Smoked trout - inexpensive tasty, long-keeping alternative to salmon
Tahini (in the veggie section) - addictive
Ranch dressing in veggie section - tasty, good ingredients
Aged steakburgers - best hamburgers in ages, full, rich taste
Thinly-slice sirloin - wonderful for quick curries etc. - cooks fast - have to use quickly too though
Cinnamon - hands down the best sweet rich cinnamon I've ever had
Butternut squash cubes - in veggie section - tasty, easy to use
Mushroom risotto - nice and quick
Frozen brown rice - pretty good for quick fixes

Hummus (not really a fan of hummus though)
Fajita meat (yuk)

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  1. All alcohols for 10-20 percent cheaper than anywhere else. I got chimay blue for 7.99.

    4 Replies
    1. re: amkirkland

      which trader joes sell alcohol around here? i love the two buck chuck.

      1. re: mojo2483

        The only one Ive been to in Jersey that offers alcohol that Ive noticed lately is westfield and I snaked the last 2 bottles of their peach lambic big boys.

        Most recent visit:
        YEA: Toasted dried unsweetened apple crisps
        NAY: Freezed dried lychee fruit

        1. re: yankeefan

          Almost bought the dried lychee last time I was there -- glad I didn't waste the $. The chocolate-covered banana chips are great. They're delish on their own, but I put them in my peanut butter swirl brownies, too -- yum!

      2. re: amkirkland

        Browse their wine selection if you haven't. Very decent quality at very reasonable prices.

        I typically like a $20-$45 bottle of namebrand champagne. Joe's offers a very nice sparkeling white burgandy for around $8 a bottle.

      3. We mostly get our gluten-free stuff there, which I wouldn't recommend to anyone who can eat normally, but recently we tried the cesar salad dressing. It was aweful! I was rather suprised.

        1. Add salsa to that list--it was half cilantro and not spicy at all. And yeah, terrible hummus. The pita chips were pretty nasty as well.

          I don't think they stock 85% of the 'yay' items in the NYC trader joes, which is depressing.

          8 Replies
          1. re: erikka

            have you tried their Roasted Garlic hummus? i am not a fan of their plain stuff but the roasted garlic hummus is pretty close to perfect for me (as far as market stuff goes)

            1. re: erikka

              Their kalamata olive hummus is really good. It's salty but addictive.

              I also like the spinach and tofu egg rolls.

              And the eggplant cutlets are a staple.

              1. re: erikka

                I have been addicted to the sun dried tomato hummus lately. I can't get enough.
                But then again, if you put sun dried tomatoes on a piece of cardboard I'd eat it and ask for seconds.

                1. re: Melissavina

                  My SO can't get enough of that stuff. Honestly, I think he would starve without it!

                  1. re: aching

                    I am a hummus afficianado and I must say beyond a shadow of a doubt the finest hummus I have ever tasted is the Trader Joes Meditteranean hummus with the pine nuts and oil and herbs on top. Divine!

                    1. re: EAH

                      I agree with you 100% on the Mediterranean hummus. It's the only hummus that I'd eat with a spoon.... or on my finger.....

                2. re: erikka

                  Just a caveat for the other people reading this thread, trader joes gets their hummus from different sources in different regions. I used to get the cilantro jalapeƱo hummus in SoCal... now in Minneapolis I have to find a new go-to hummus... unfortunately they don't have the Mediterranean hummus here either.

                  1. re: babaoriley7

                    That sadly is true about a lot of TJ's items... Even more puzzling is when an item disappears for months... and then suddenly re-appears...


                3. I've been having good luck with the meat there recently (I have one near my work, so have picked it up only because it was so convenient).

                  We've been mastering our new grill and made the large Santa Maria pre-marinated tri-tip roast and it came out AMAZING. Tender and cooked up just right with the marinade giving a bit of flavor, but not hiding the beef flavor or effecting the texture. We're going to be making again for SURE! :)

                  Also I recently made Marcella Hazan's chicken with their small Kosher Chicken, it was fantastic!!


                  Also I bought the black figs and they were VERY sweet! YUM! :


                  Finally, I was gifted their house brand small dark chocolate bar (58%) from Belgium and love it! :)

                  The only Nay recently has been the dried Blenheim Apricots. They aren't bad, just kinda 'meh' texture and flavorwise.


                  1. I'm so ashamed... I bought the pre-cooked brown rice -- you know, rip open the top and microwave for one minute -- and it's better than the brown rice I make.


                    9 Replies
                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                      My friend said the frozen was worlds yummier than the pouch one. :)

                      1. re: Dommy

                        I tried the frozen brown rice tonight and it's GREAT - perfect texture, moist but not soggy, good flavour.

                        I have previously eaten the Mr. Ben's microwave-the-pouch rice *hangs head* - and this is about 60 bazillion times better.

                      2. re: Das Ubergeek

                        I live by that stuff. Seriously. I rarely have the time or patience to make brown rice from scratch on a weeknight, but the frozen is good and easy.

                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                          Wipe away that shame - we all need time-savers on busy days. BTW-I invented a "cheater" dish using that pre-cooked brown rice - just add a container of spinach/artichoke dip to it, and YUM you have a "pseudo-fancy" side dish in 5 minutes.

                          1. re: MadAboutParis

                            What a great idea!! That dip is awesome... I've used it on pasta (kind of boring), in veggie casseroles, and topping chicken. I like the rice idea!!!!!!

                          2. re: Das Ubergeek

                            I have a rice cooker, so when I make a fresh batch (for a special meal, or when I do have the time to cook), I make extra.

                            Then I put that in single server bags, and put it in the freezer. A lot cheaper than buying it store bought. As long as you are putting it in something (like soup, or topping it with something else) it works quite well.

                            1. re: Das Ubergeek

                              YOU, DasUbergeek? Ha ha ha ha. Of all people. :)

                              By the way, it may be just personal preference, but I just love their jasmine rice (the kind you actually have to cook awhile), and found it better than the frozen bags they have, but for expediency/emergency I'll still keep those on hand. One of best-ever improvs I did was just adding coconut milk for some of the water with the long-cook variety (really while it was doing its 10-minute-steaming thing, and leaving the lid a little askew), and then frying green onions, tossing in cilantro and then quickly that rice for a few seconds. (Used coconut oil.)

                              1. re: Cinnamon

                                In the intervening two and a half years I have dramatically improved my brown rice-making skills. I bought better brown rice (from Marukai) and I don't use my rice cooker for it -- the rice is better when I make it in my little trompo-shaped 1 1/2 qt. Le Creuset pan, and it only takes 20-25 minutes, not two hours like the rice cooker.

                                So I don't make worse brown rice than TJ's now. But I still regret apologising for the occasional convenience food (he said, as he prepared to log off and go make chile-almond salsa to put on fresh halibut, tie in soaked corn husks, and grill).