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)
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 jalapeño 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.
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.
re: Das Ubergeek
re: Das Ubergeek
re: Das Ubergeek
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.
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.)
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).
I just bought some of the dried Rainier Cherries and they are not good. Pretty much blah flavor and not a great texture. I would be embarrassed to serve them to people.
But I love the Stir Fried Shrimp and Veggies in the Frozen Foods section. It is great for a quick (almost as quick as drive through) dinner on its own, just as the package directs, or there are infinite ways to dress it up.
Just bought the dried bing cherries. Very good out of hand, no sugar added. Looking forward to having them in my oatmeal with dried blueberries (also from Trader Joe's, also very nice.)
I did try another of their dried cherries ... the ones that say "tart" on the label, found them a bit too tart. But they went quite well in the cranberry & cherry scones my boyfriend made last week.
whole roast chicken - cooks up pretty well if you half it and put in the oven for 35 mins on 425.
Water crackers - for $1.99 a box, I'll buy these regularly over Carr's.
Mashed potatoes - better than soupy ready-to-eat potatoes I've gotten elsewhere.
New York and Rib Eye steaks - seems to be easier to find a decent looking steak here than at the local supermarket.
TJ's steak sauce - tried this recently and was surprised to like it as an A-1 alternative.
Frozen turkey meatballs - good microwaved with a sauce like Rao's.
Frozen french green beans - good for easy veg side.
Any bottled curry, masala, or korma cooking sauce - I've tried these and they always disappoint compared to getting take-out from the local place on the corner. With the effort of cooking involved, just not worth it.
TJ's salted peanuts - these tasted 'off' to me. Still prefer Planters.
Generally, their bread selection is pretty lame.
Grilled chicken strips - I used to like these. Ever just eaten way too much of something to be interested anymore?
Here are my faves:
California Style Nicoise Salad with French Vinaigrette
Green Label TJ's Marinara Sauce - Very Good
NY White Chedder
Frozen French Green Beans
Frozen Sweet White Corn
White Chedder Popcorn
Chile Lime Pistacios
Creamy Cilantro Low Fat Dressing in the Refrigerated Section
Quad-Formaggio (sp?) Cheese Pizza
Frozen Coho Salmon Filets
Four Packs of Rawhide Chews for the pooch
All Bread/pastry Products (Pretty much always stale and tasteless)
Thai freeze dried soups (salty and lack real flavor)
TJ's Dishwasher Soap
I do. Not regularly, but on occasion when it seems like a good idea for lunch.
Do you know exactly why other items get discontinued? I can't, off hand, think of a discontinued item that the sushi might have displaced. However I don't pay a lot of attention to the ready-to-eat cooler section.
I agree about the popcorn!!
Frozen veggies... freshest and cheapest
Tortillas... again freshest and cheapest
Greek style yogurt.... delish
Chocolate chips... because they are Ghiradelli, but since they don't advertise, they pay less!!
And Yay.. they brought the Wasabi Mayo back... it is so good spread thin on fresh salmon and then grilled!!
Their new Thai gyoza
The fat free bean dip.. gross
Chopped onions... great idea, but as soon as I open it, it stinks up my house for days!!
I'm relatively new to TJ's and, as you'll see, I'm not much of a cook. Just looking around my kitchen, thumbs up to TJ-branded:
Frozen creme brulees – two to a pack, already in nice brown reusable ceramic dishes
Boxes of boil-in-bag punjab choley
Garlic naan from the freezer section (but NOT the naan sold in the baked goods department)
Fire-roasted guacamole – comes with a layer of salsa that keeps it fresh long after opening
Canned onion soup
Triple chocolate-chip cookies – try to each just one!
Veggie corn dogs
Frozen pasta and gnocchi dishes – ready in minutes, great when you're in a rush (or just lazy)
Small dolmas in olive oil
Ginger-sesame potato chips – OMG!!!
Not to be found in my kitchen anymore, thumbs down to:
Pretty much anything in the baked goods department
All their dairy products, which seem to go bad a lot faster than from other markets
I like TJ's plain bagels, handmade flour tortillas and their lavash bread. The bagels are nicely dense and have a good "chew" to them. Maybe that isn't authentic but I don't like major grocery store bagels because they taste like white bread baked in the shape of a bagel - no substance to them. Their Santa Maria tri-tip, carne asada and pollo asada are also very good. For sweets their mudpie is great. Those are just some of the things I really like. Nay-wise I'd say their packaged sushi. Very boring. For me it's probably at least a 10-1 ratio of yay to nay.
You know, I see that comment about the dairy products going bad quickly all the time, and it always confounds me. I guess it varies a lot from store to store, depending on their handling practices and volume/turnover, but I've been buying their dairy products, everything from milk to yogurt to sour cream for years and I've had exactly *one* thing (a carton of cottage cheese) go bad before it was supposed to. And I'm a single person, so I don't always finish a carton of milk that quickly.
At any rate, I love their dairy products (and eggs) -- you really can't beat the price for organics (which I is almost all I buy), and the yogurt selection is great.
re: Ruth Lafler
re: Ruth Lafler
I didn't say I've experienced any TJ dairy product going bad "before it was supposed to." I said TJ's dairy products seem to go bad faster than those from other markets. So a carton of milk that I buy from my neighborhood Ralphs Supermarket will consistently taste pretty fresh for at least a week (or more) past its expiration date, while a TJ's quart will be undrinkable on or not long after its own imprinted deadline.
re: Ruth Lafler
re: Ruth Lafler
I like the goat cheese and three cheese potato chips; the chocolate-covered, peanut-butter-filled pretzel nuggets; and the sliced Tuscan pane bread, which is great toasted with butter. I also stock up on staples, like nuts, honey, olive oil, etc.
refrigerated Spinach dip- my 2 yo eats it as a veggie!
Pineapple Salsa- sweet and spicy
frozen turkey meatballs
frozen battered halibut
frozen veggie corn-dogs
lemon ginger echinacea juice- just makes me feel better thinking about it
dried rainier cherries
all of the indian-style simmer sauces
really odd soy crackers
I only buy a few things at TJ's (have a lot of other options), but I go periodically just for:
Frozen Brown Rice (super-convenient and good)
Frozen Mango Chunks (great with Greek-style yogurt w/honey)
"Nirvana" Frozen Veg Patties (primary protein is egg whites, which I prefer to soy, nice variety of vegetable ingredients, mild curry flavor)
Mango Chutney (goes really well with Nirvana veg patties)
Non-fat greek style yogurt.
In the straining it appears the lactose (carbohydrate) gets removed (6g carbs per 200g serving versus about 13-16g carbs per 200g serving of regular style plain non-fat yogurts) and it doesn't have to have the pectin that other non-fats do, so it's a very thick rich yogurt with just 100 cals per 200g (about a cup) serving. I'm living off this stuff now.
Frozen pepper strips
I haven't tried these yet, but they made for a great way to get my yogurt home cold when I had a day of errands in front of me.
has anyone tried the mozzarella di bufalo(sp). I'm curious.
The Buffalo Mozarella is delicious. I say Yay
Organic Vanilla Yogurt
Frozen pizza with carmelized onions and ham and gruyere(?)
POP CHIPS!!! Holy cow those are great
Salsa - plain red, plain green, in tall skinny bottles
Roasted pepper and tomato soup (box)
Sharp Provelone Cheese (only cheese I've ever thrown away for taste)
* 2 Buck Chuck Chardonnay to make white Sangria
* Thai Ginger Carrots (Frozen), I can see these become a problem at the Dommy Household...
* Refrigerated Bruchetta, not as good as the jarred one, but still REALLY tasty as a topping and dip...
* Packaged Peaches... I should have know... BLEH!!!
* Their Powdered Sugar... What a grainy, clumpy mess.... :PPPPP
We get as many of our groceries as we can at TJ's. Rarely disappointed. Like their cold cereals, dried fruits, Greek-style yogurts, chips, cheeses, and wines. Our cat is crazy about their canned tuna-for-cats.
Recently, Cook's Illustrated mag turned thumbs down on TJ's boxed Chicken Stock. I was a little suprised, but switched to Whole Foods'.
Reasonably priced wine
The cheese selection
Boxed Tomato/Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Frozen French Onion Soup (Plats de Jour)
Decent personal care products (shampoo, conditioner, soaps)
Best Apple Cider I've ever had
Frozen Garlic Naan
Coffee (bean form, I grind it at the store)
Chicken Stew, Beef Stew (canned)
super cheap (69 cents/lb) pasta
Frozen Chicken Enchaladas
Baked Goods - leaden, flavorless breads
Most of the salsa
According to a TJ's employee here in IL, they will no longer be carrying the Gardenburger riblets. They're going to start carrying a rib-not under their own name. TJ's was my go-to spot for the Gardenburger ribs b/c they're so expensive elsewhere. Hope the new ones are as good (or better).
Lots of people have commented on the breads. I think on their own, they are blah, but if you warm them up with a bit of oil, they are fine. The whole wheat tortillas, fried in olive oil, really come alive then. And the small bread rolls from Il Forniao, when split and placed on a George Foreman grill after you've cooked a meat patty, improve by getting chewy and picking up the flavor of the meat.
I live 1/2 block from TJ's. Overall, I love the place.
Balsamic Roasted Veggies (frozen)
Thai Ginger Carrots (frozen)
Soy Crisps-Olive Oil & Feta flavor
The original, red Salsa Autentica
Blue Cheese Pecan Dip
Any salsa besides Autentica
Hummus (weak across the board)
Frozen pasta entrees
Key Lime Pie
Throw this into the "Nay" pile:
Trader Joe's Belgian Chocolate pudding - pricier than many chocolate puddings $3.29/16 oz., this ones tastes like gloopy melted milk chocolate ice cream. It's a little on the jello-ey, too sweet side. Though far from horrid, I'd prefer the cheap supermarket brand over this any day!
Yes: Cliff bars, almonds, wine/beer prices, Quadratini cookies.
No: overpackaged non-local non-fresh produce. Ick. Oregon is so wealthy in quality produce, but you wouldn't know it from looking at their trucked-in from 600 miles California-centric mega-agribusiness crap.
Watery yogurt. Yuck.
Second that, the produce is weird.
We keep tomatoes out of the fridge above the microwave so my dog (yellow lab) has access to them. He usually won't eat tomatoes. BUT he LOVES trader joe's tomatoes, they have gone missing on me twice. Must be wax or something???
Anyway I quit buying them, they're gross anyway, I was just trying different kinds.
Also bad experiences with bagged stuff, you can't tell but it's bad quality that they're hiding in the bags.
just getting to know TJs, and I have to disagree about the canned crab meat
What I got was in the refridgerated case, and originated in Vietnam - for the princely sum of $8.99 (NYC) I had gorgeous crab cakes. I tasted it straight out of the can, and it was fine. And I grew up catching and eating blue crab in the Outer Banks of NC, so I know what I'm looking for.
the wisconsin cheddar is good. the domestic parm is not so good, but it is cheap.
flour tortillas are fine, but better are available El Rey out of Chicago that are sold in NYC
my beloved loves the Red Panang Tuna in a pouch for a cheap spicy quick work lunch -- and I'd love to know any of the other prepared foods that are up to that standard (real spice)
frozen fish we bought in the NoVA store was excellent -- wild salmon, wild cod
so far pretty UNimpressed with all the wines.
the $5 Nero d'Avola is okaaaaay, but the one I get for $9 elsewhere is more than twice as good.
I was excited and bought some of this a couple weeks ago, but I find it way too harsh to drink straight up (and I don't have a super sweet-tooth for juices). I only like the currant cut in about a 1:3 or 1:4 ratio with their Unfiltered Cranberry Blend. Any advice? Do you folks like such tart juice (it's hard to describe -- not exactly sour... more or less just really "tannic" or something).
I seem to be in the minority, but I really like the eggplant hummus. I served some at T'giving last year, and a friend who's of Middle Eastern descent raved about it. I haven't had the other varieties.
Other yays - the Total Greek-style yogurt
Sharp white cheddar cheese
5 Percent fat hamburger meat
Dog treats (says my dog)
Green Tea moochi balls (mmm!)
cheap alcohol (not just wines, their prices on hard alcohol are really good, at least here in SoCal)
La Brea Bakery breads
Super cheap bottled water
Known wines like Big House Red which is cheaper here than any place else in town. Their no-name off-brands are spottier but some bargains are out there.
Nuts and dried fruit, amazing prices!
Produce, but in particluar, bagged limes (they're cheap, but they only are good for about a day) shrink wrapped bell peppers (moldy inside more than once) shrink wrapped apples (blech)
high fat frozen/prepared products (really, check out the fat content on some of the dishes, especially things like the mini-pizza where 1 pizza is supposedly 3 servings!)
ONE MORE YAY! Their $1.99 reusable refrigerator bags are great if you have errands to run before getting your perishables home.
You aren't in the minority...some of us just aren't talking...
Its a garlic eggplant hummus and I like it better than the regualr garlic hummus...a bit lighter in garlic I guess.
New item saw yesterday is 100% organic blood orange juice in a bottle from Italy. No carbonation. 1 liter, $1.79 in San Diego. "Italian Volcano" brand...its goooood.
I keep going back to TJ's, mainly for the dairy and eggs, but it's always fun to find something new and good there, like:
Gold Kiwis (in a mesh bag):
They're egg-shaped, with a stiffer shell and completely fuzz-free. Just slice in half and eat with a spoon--fun!
Cambozola Blue Triple Creme cheese:
Developed in Bavaria to be a cross between Camembert and Gorgonzola, this is the first time I've seen this delicious ultra-creamy cheese at TJ's -- good price.
Cotswold Double Gloucester (with chives)
Another very tasty cheese I've only found elsewhere for more $$
Old Amsterdam aged Gouda (in the fearless flyer mag) Mmmm...
Btw, all three cheeses were in good condition, not overripe.
Trader Joe's Artisan brand Brioche (in a clear sack tied with raffia): Too beautiful to hide under paper. Makes outstanding toast and French toast. Same for their Challah. TJ's can't give out the bakery's name, but confirms that it's baked in Southern California--I suspect it's La Brea.
Toasted Walnut halves with sea salt and Omega 3 Cranberries: Nice combo of sweet, salty and nutty--a quality snack.
Fresh mache in a Bag: A nice alternative to spinach
Chocolate Lava Cake:
Goes directly from the freezer to the oven and cooks in 15 minutes. Top it with a scoop of your best ice cream, scatter a few berries, and you have an easy, but impressive "home-baked" restaurant-quality dessert.
Nay's: Too many to mention.
I went to TJ's over the weekend and bought their organic, unfiltered, apple juice and it was a little off. I had it before and LOVED it. I guess I will have to return it.
Most of their cheeses are great as well as their kosher dill pickles. The frozen goat cheese pizza is also pretty good when in a pinch.
For some reason their hummus tastes pretty bland, but the sea salt pita chips makes it all better
oh and has anyone tried their new frozen mac n cheese with 4 cheeses? It sounds good, but I mainly stick with baked mac n cheese and am not into creamy style.
I just tried a newish frozen vegetarian entree, the stuffed roasted Poblano peppers. I was a little worried about the "soy crumble" filling, but there's enough chipotle salsa to hide any overly soyish taste. The poblanos themselves could have been a bit more cooked, next time I'll probably microwave a minute longer. But overall they had a really nice spicing and sauce and lots of protein.
I also tried the tomato-roasted pepper soup in a box last night, and it was as yummy as promised!
My son has been really into the roasted garlic hummous lately as well as the chocolate ice cream bon-bons.
In Los Angeles, the baked goods taste fine and the dairy products last forever. Other than a cheese or two, I've never gotten anything spoiled in 15-plus years of buying nearly all my groceries there.
I also tried the soy vegetarian stuffed Poblanos. Like you, I thought the filling was surprisingly good. The only disappointing element was the pepper itself, which I found to be pretty flavorless. Maybe it was just the luck of the draw.
But as a Los Angeles resident myself, it hasn't been my experience at all that TJ's "dairy products last forever." Quite the opposite, in fact. Milk, sour cream, yogurt and cheeses that I've bought at TJ's routinely go bad much sooner than comparable purchases from my neighborhood market (Ralph's). And, sorry, but IMHO TJ's baked goods are just as mediocre in LA as the general consensus here would indicate they are everywhere else.
They used to carry pretty amazing white bread from the Brentwood Bread Co, but alas, no more. The Cranberry Orange Tea Scones are excellent though, and some of the cookies (gingeroos, sutter's formula, druid circles) are also quite good. Their bread is fine -- I buy it because it tends to have fewer preservatives than the supermarket kind, but if you're buying sandwich bread there isn't really a TON of variation.
The dairy expiration varies quite a lot depending on which store you regularly buy at. I've had good luck in West Hollywood and Pasadena, but bad luck in Eagle Rock.
Just tried it. My DH was at TJ and they were giving out samples of the cake with chocolate chips added. DH said it was good so we made it the same way. It was odd. If you've ever used natural henna powder to color your hair, the batter looked and smelled just like it. Yes, natural henna powder looks/smells just like matcha, but I couldn't get the association out of my mind, so it kind of killed the experience for me. Decent cake though. Nice texture, especially since it's from a mix.
Trader Joe's Organic Raisin Bran Clusters is my absolute favorite breakfast cereal. It is near perfect (it would be absolutely perfect if they offerred different dried fruits in it instead of just raisins). I have eaten at least a dozen boxes of the stuff. It's so wonderfully crunchy and chewy with the perfect amount of sweetness. If you love granola, you will LOVE this cereal. What makes it more spectacular is that it is as satisfying in flavor and chewiness as granola, but it's only 190 calories per cup and has plenty of fiber. Many granolas are more than twice as calorie heavy. I've taken to eating it without milk so I can maximize the crunchiness and chewing time. It's like getting up and eating an oatmeal raisin cookie but without the guilt!
I don't usually get a lot of premade stuff at TJs, but did an event and didn't feel like cooking.
Add to Nays: Mediterranean Hummus - yuk. I think it is the same as the Costco Sabra stuff, also not so great.
Spinach Sour Cream dip - the extras are going back to TJs I think.
I think after one has had enough hummus, whether store-bought, served at an eatery, or homemade, one ends up gravitating toward those creamy, smooth and rich tasting types of hummus... Those two are my personal store-bought favorites as well... Just picked up a pint at TJ's last night! Veggie sticks and anything else dip-able beware!
I miss the Chudleigh's Apple Blossoms...they were bleeping awesome.
Let's see, the falafel wasn't very good nor was the hummus that came with it. Tiger shrimp bowl was awful but I blame myself for trying it.
what I like:
I love the Soba Noodle bowl (with Asian Veggies)
The mac and cheese is decent...
Rice cracker medley
peanut butter filled pretzels
Gingerbread people cookies (seasonal)...awesome! I wish they were sold year round.
Plus, my local TJ's is in CT where you cannot (much to my chagrin) buy beer or wine there. You CAN buy beer in a regular non TJ's grocer....CT is just kind of Blue Law about that stuff.
re: masha bousha
Ahhh...Chudleighs...I was psyched to find their product in TJ. My family used to go to their orchard in Ontario...one of my best food memories. We used to bring their pies home with us until we figured out they probably had lard in the crusts (I don't think the blossoms do though). And I remember we were scandalized that you could order a slice of pie with *gasp* cheddar cheese melted on top. Hay rides, hay loft, lots of fun for kids. If you're ever up in Canada, I highly recommend a visit.
i like the extra sharp ny cheddar blocks
chili lime cashews
the new take out containers of noodles - peanut satay my favorite... especially if you add a few of the frozen chicken strips and a dollop of chili garlic sauce it is yummy... but they are fine on their own
I enjoy the chicken chili flautas
the pre-marinated carne asada - amazing for bbq fajitas
love that you can now buy apples (and soon) oranges individually
zen apple cranberry muffins
the thing that i miss is the pulled bbq pork in the fridge section
-TJ's version of Oreos (Joe-joe's better than oreos)
-BBQ soy crisps
-Frozen samosas (decent)
-Panang tuna (truly vile)
-Corn & roasted red pepper soup (sickly sweet)
-Frozen pad thai
-Better than peanut butter
-Frozen mussaman curry
I'm from Brooklyn and I go all the way to Manhattan to shop at Trader Joe's & Whole Foods. I love both. Trader Joe's is a step up though. I love to try new foods at there sample counter. recently I bought:
Garlic Naan Bread
Brittany Blend Of Vegetables
Sugar Snap Peas
Asian Vegetables/with Beijing Style Soy Sauce
Shrimp Gyoza potstickers
Breaded Chickenless Nuggets
nasi Goreng/Indonesian Rice Dish
Sesame Soba Noodles/with asian vegetables
All are from the frozen food aisle and ALL are DELICIOUS!!!
I started down the Vegetarian path 5 months ago, and Trader Joe's has made it very easy.
Have been going to Trader Joe's since 1992 (in CA) :)
Triple Ginger Snaps (great on own or to make a crust for pumpkin pie or pumpkin cheesecake)
Spicy Thai Peanuts (again, great as a snack or ground, as a topping for Thai curries/Pad Thai)
Apricot Sauce (private label of Bonne Maman--only place I know of to get it in the U.S., and makes a great sauce, together with raspberries, for homemade blintzes)
Glazed toasted pecans--great in a salad with avocado, blue cheese and asian pear
Ground almond meal--use this all the time in baking, for crusts, fruit cobbler, frangipane tarts, etc.
Bourban vanilla extract--another baking staple
Optimum Blueberry Cereal (great tasting and high protein, high fiber)
Grade B maple syrup--darker and more flavor than Grade A, great value
Sugar plum tomatoes
Palak paneer in a box--dress it up with a sprinkling of chopped fresh cilantro
Frozen Mac and cheese--great for a quick meal
Acai Mango sorbet--yum!
Won't buy again:
Spanakopita (mine is much better)
Sweet potato bisque in a box--not good
Yays in Las Vegas
Reduced fat Southwest Salad...I add more tomatoes and onions as well as a heaping tablespoon of:
Habanero Lime Salsa. This one is definitely worth a try.
Mmmm...loved those lamb tenderloins. I brined them briefly before throwing them on a hot bbq and they were sheer nirvana.
My doggies love the biscuits, too.
The fresh baby artichokes. A little hassle to prepare, but once you have your technique down, pretty easy.
Love the organic peanut butter.
Shelled edamame beans in the produce section.
Peanut butter cups...mmmmmmmm...
Not food, but the Ornithogalum plants bloom forever.
Most have been mentioned.
Had this funky chicken breast in a watery marinade and plastic bag that you nuked. What was I thinking??? Ick.
i haven't been to a TJs in at least a month, but here's what i was eating a lot of over the summer:
-frozen turkey meatballs (wonderful, simmered in sauce or fried)
-frozen naan (plain; the garlic naan burns in the oven)
-emergen-c (good for post-workout electrolyte replenishment)
-sunflower seed butter (i wish they made a low-sugar version)
-whatever the organic/crunchy peanut butter is that isn't loaded with salt and sugar
-the foil-pouch panang curry tuna (opinions on this are mixed, but i like it!)
-frozen jasmine and brown rice
-indian food in a pouch (good with rice or naan, but stay away from TJ's repulsive chutney)
-cheap wine, obviously (although my best experience has been with the slightly pricey bonny doon cardinal zin)
-blackberries (during that two-week window when they're INSANELY good)
-blueberries (when they're in season)
-bagged spinach leaves
-vegetable sushi (i wouldn't gamble with the fish, but the vegetable rolls are fine for a snack or a light dinner)
-lowfat cheeses (these are great, especially the havarti)
-milton's whole wheat/whole grain bread (very hearty and sturdy for a pre-packaged sandwich bread)
-frozen french onion soup (a little too salty though)
-frozen pizzas (although i prefer whole foods' 365-line pizzas)
I love the frozen garlic naan, buy it all the time, and it has never once burnt in my oven. Are you following the directions printed on the bag?
I've never tried TJ's frozen onion soup, which you say is a little too salty, but TJ's canned onion soup is delicious to my taste. It's also one of the very few brands I've seen that uses a vegetable stock base, not a meat one.
TJ is the closest grocery to me and since I don't have a car I go there a lot. It's nice to see your picks and pans.
frozen beef meatballs (I microwave them in paper towel - like bacon, to drain the fat. I use them in a pinch when I need beef, like for making stuffed peppers.)
thin-sliced sirloin (perfect for beef panang!)
frozen fruits - especially very cherry berry blend (I drink a smoothie every morning and love the varieties!)
lavash (I use for flat-bread pizza.)
pizza sauce (in a jar)
beef chili (I use it to top a sweet potato for a quick lunch.)
frozen dumplings and shumai (no MSG!!)
chicken enchiladas, chile verde (I can get better, fresh ones near me but good for frozen.)
refried beans (horrible!)
sandwich breads (seem to mold in days)
TJ brand yogurts
frozen spinach pie
Just tried and kind of liked:
Pappadam chips that are flavored with curry/yogurt. Not sure if they will become a staple, but for something so low in calories it tasted pretty good. Reminded me of those Quaker Rice cakes only with more flavor. The only problem is, I found out they are made with palm oil.
Rack of lamb
Best of show hot dogs
Vindaloo and Masala bowls in frozen section
Kung Pao chicken bowl
Curry simmer sauce (yes it does need additional heat).
Blueberry breakfast bars
Penang Curry Tuna
Spanikopita (which is vastly improved with tomato sauce...)
Freeze dried noodle bowl
Sushi - the worst thing they sell IMHO
Lemongrass chicken bowl
Never buy produce because it looks better elsewhere.
Avocados are cheap but small
Why did they discontinue the curry chick peas?
I've been eating the delicious pumpkin butter lately. And the Double Rainbow pumpkin ice cream is also pretty good. I also love the corn and chile tomatoless salsa. It's great with grilled meats, though I'd probably like it less on chips or something. I put together a TJ's bag as a hostess gift for a friend who lives in Austin, TX (no TJ's!) and I included the Triple Ginger Snaps, chili spiced mangos, dried cape gooseberries, pound plus dark chocolate with almonds, mint hot cocoa, rosencrunch and guildenpop, the corn salsa, and something else not sweet that I can't remember at the time.
TJ's just opened a (very small) store in Pittsburgh. On my first visit I splurged on an organic ribeye steak (about $9). Mind you, the store was so crowded that I literally had to abandon my cart because I could not move it down the aisles, so I assumed the meat case was getting a lot of turnover (much of it was decimated already).
That steak was the single most vile piece of meat I have ever had the misfortune of eating. It was actually spoiled. I tried to feed it to my dogs and they spit it on the carpet.
I will stick to Whole Foods for meat.
However, the chili-spiced mangos from TJ's were delicious, and I really liked the unsweetened orange and bergamot green tea.
Tarte d'Alsace, a flatbread with ham, gruyere, and caramelized onions). These are consisently amazing.
Chocolate covered peanut butter filled pretzels. Yeah.
Pork gyoza, although the last few bags I've gotten have been too cabbage-y.
Bean, rice, and cheese burrito. I cannot recommend these enough. The're in the refrigerated section, not the frozen. The tortilla is fresher tasting than expected, the rice is seasoned well (lime juice!) and the the meunster and queso blanco were an unexpected treat. I think they went a little heavy on the beans, but the burrito is so unbelievably delicious that I'm perfectly ok just scooping some out.
Candy cane joe-joes. These are chocolate sandwich cookies with tiny bits of candy cane in the filling. The bits are so tiny that they don't even crunch!
Papadum crisps, masala flavored. These are incredibly light and are perfectly seasoned.
Chocolate cat cookies.
Pudding, all varieties.
Madras Lentils. I think these are repackaged Tasty Bites.
Pita Crisps, especially the cinnamon sugar ones. These are just sweet enough, with an incredibly satisfying crunch.
Orange Italian soda.
Barbecue chicken pizza (dry and underseasoned, crust too thick).
Soytzel soy pretzel sticks (dry, too hard).
Chicken cordon bleu. What was I thinking?
"Brittany blend" frozen vegetables. UGH.
Chocolate covered orange sticks.
Moral fiber blueberry bran muffins.
Corn torilla chowder. I love that I can write off things that are "just ok" because there are so many amazing things!
- bagged veggies (broccoli, green bean, argula, cauliflower)
- shredded 3 cheese blend
- pate (chicken or campagne)
- wild salmon lox
- Angus tenderloin filets
- broccoli cheese quiche (son eats it for breakfast)
- canned marinara sauce
- steel cut oatmeal
- sour cream
- milk and half/half
- organic tomato soup
- mini peanut butter cups
- caramel cashew cookies
- frozen orange chicken
- frozen naan
- frozen italian style flamed grilled meatballs
- frozen chicken-lemongrass 'eggroll'
- frozen chicken shaumai
- frozen gyoza (shrimp & veggie)
- sprouted wheat pappardelle (nasty)
- quinoa (may have discontinued)
- most of their cereals
- bagged marinated lamb (in fresh meat section)
Frozen salmon fillet in chimichurri
Southwestern Salsa with jicama and cuke - jicama stays nice
and crunchy even when I cook it in an omelet.
Tomatillo salsa - um um good.
Frozen Naan - when in a hurry we just nuke 'em.
Wheat/oat pretzel sticks.
All natural sliced turkey breast with herbs - Applegate Farms
Sour cherry juice - they don't seem to carry it anymore.
Just Leaves lettuce - I don't see that there anymore.
Frozen asparagus tips
So much more...
Sushi - the rice is horrible.
Low carb tortillas - even refrigerated they mold fast and taste too doughy.
Boxed chicken broth is flavorless.
I know I'm forgetting a few nays as well.
The TJ's in MA used to have these white chocolate raspberry brownie squares that were phenomenal but I haven't seen them for a couple years. I really like their grapefruit soda and the new granola with cranberries. Their whole wheat British muffins are pretty good, and their frozen mac and cheese is pretty good. I'm not such a fan of their pasta sauces, and their BBQ chicken pizza is pretty bad as well.
I live for the frozen foods aisle:
Frozen blueberries (there are 2 brands - I forget which one has the bigger berries, but I know it's the one whose packaging picture LOOKS like it has smaller berries)
Mochi (mango for me, please!)
But, oh, that grapefruit Italian soda - I lived on it all summer! (Great for cocktails, too, mind you!) The Refresh body wash, also in the citrus family, is cheap, lather-ful and easy on the olfactory.
I don't have much to complain about. I stay out of the bread and fresh veggie sections (we have too many good local vendors here to bother with TJ's anemic selection). I also don't eat sushi when I don't know who made it. Ever. So, that frees me from the sorry sushi experience reported by so many.
But how about that cheesecake...?
Yeah, I'm not sold on TJ's cleaning products (my current fave cheap-but-nice dish soap is the pink grapefruit "M" from Target, which cuts grease very nicely).
But your mention of the chocolate-covered peanut butter pretzels reminded me that the dark chocolate pretzels (with the candy, not the chips and pretzels) are delicious: crunchy, salty and chocolatey without being very sweet.
-the turkey & swiss sandwich on pretzel bread (yowza, this is really good; i'm a big fan of minimalist sandwiches with just a couple of quality fillings and a bread that can match them, and this one pleases me greatly. maybe it's the pretzel, but there's something very rural-northeast about this sandwich.)
-the chocolate covered espresso beans (what do i even have to say about these?)
I've tried a few of their pre-made sandwiches and salads. And YUCK! No flavor, nothing resembling what they're advertised as anyway! Tried a roasted vegetable wrap the week before last, no roasted vegetables in sight. And the jalapeño dressing? I think they left that off too. Then there's the pre-packaged potato blue cheese salad. Something was off in there. The potatoes were oddly sour, the blue cheese wasn't (not sure what it was other than not any sort of blue cheese I'd ever had.) The scary part? None of these things were even close to the expiration date. So I've gone back to my normal TJ's lunch: apple and yogurt. They're safe. TJ's hasn't had the chance to muck up the flavors.
I go to Trader Joe's in SoCal at least once a week. What I really like there is their Spinach salad in a bag, with blue cheese, walnuts, dried cranberries.
Pastas in refrigerator section, esp. lately the whole wheat tortellini stuffed with gorgonzola.
The individual salads are pretty good for a qucikc lunch to take with me to work.
Juice - lemonades.
Pizzas in refrigerator section, pizza dough to make your own pizza.
Pasta sauce in jars.
Tarte d'Alsace, flatbread
Two Buck Chuck, Savignaun blanc
Dommy mentioned "YAY!
* Thai Ginger Carrots (Frozen), I can see these become a problem at the Dommy Household..."
My girlfriend had found these and loved them.
TJ's no longer stocks them - not out of stock, but no longer ordering them at all, and now she's going through major withdrawal.
Can anyone help us find these under a different label?
(TJ often has a manufacturer package a product they are already making under the Trader Joe label).
this is SUCH a helpful thread! :)
can anyone recommend any GOOD TJ's sauce in jars? the pasta sauce i've tried has always been less than stellar and the indian simmer sauces are perhaps a bit better but still nothing i would go back for.
it sounds like most people are firmly against the TJ sauces - true? or if not, can someone point out one that's really amazing?
They use to carry the best aloe vera gel! It's hard to find now, not sure if they are discontinuing the sales or what. Ask for it, they may re-stock it.
It is best for your skin after a shower, also, when you have an itch or kids have bruses, and for staying young looking, use it as the base on your face then use the finer face cream.
Ah, don't foget the Italian wines and CONDON Champagne
Frozen Chicken Masala
Frozen Tamales (especially the green chile cheese)
Fat Free Balsamic Vinigarette
Sesame-Honey Covered Almonds (Warning! Don't get started on these things, they are too good to stop eating).
Sliced Pork Tenderloin (for sandwiches in Deli case)
Frozen Fish In Marinade (usually not farmed, and their common butter and herb marinade is delish; I have had luck with all different types of fish).
Natural Style Peanut Butter
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Not so good:
Fresh Asian Peanut Noodle Salad
Unrefrigerated Asian noodles in Chinese take-out containers (I had Pad-Thai and Kung Pao - ready to eat, noodles precooked, with sauce you put on top) - aweful.
Almond Butter (but maybe I just don't like Almond Butter)
Freeze Dried Noodle Dishes (expensive, and no better than cup 'o noodles)
TJ's is the only general place that has decent frozen ethnic entrees. The Italian gnocchi and mushroom risotto are terrific. The pad thai bowl is good. Their pork gyoza dumplings are excellent. They had an udon noodle set that was tasty (but disappeared quickly).
I like their pomegranate white tea, it's tangy and refreshing.
Italian lemon seltzer is a great bargain at $1 a liter.
strawberry rhubarb pie was DELISH.
nice Sicilian olive oil.
bread products are curiously dry and tasteless (although the crumpets are ok). lemongrass chicken bowl and chicken skewers were both mediocre.
recently had some chocolate caramel tarts from TJ's. do you guys know bon maman little choco tarts in france? tasted almost alike except i don't remember bm had caramel but it's been a while. anyway, i scarfed down almost the whole box for lunch. i actually think the TJ ones are better.
I do not like these, break my heart :-/
I'm a sucker for the French jam-filled tarts. But the TJ's caramel ones disappointed me - to me, they taste strongly of what I think is condensed or evaporated milk. At any rate, something sweetish and processed-tasting. Sad ... I really wanted to love them.
Has anyone else tried the "European-Style Multi-Grain Bread?" (or is it Whole Grain bread).
Anyway, the loaf is small and dense - brick-like, really - and the slices are very very thin. It seems to have a lot of rice and other stuff in it. The flavor is very strong, and the texture is dry and generally gross.
I hated it, but maybe this is what good European-Style Multi-Grain Bread is supposed to taste like?
Marcona Almonds with Sea Salt and Rosemary. MMMmmmmmm
Yesterday I was there and tried to buy some Romaine hearts. Everything had best by dates of 12/3 and 12/8! And it the section was fronted and full. THere was a kid standing there with a box stocking greens and I pointed it out to him "oh". I mentioned it on the way out at the customer service desk as well.
Drives me crazy how careful you have to be with produce and dairy dates. This particular store is very bad about this( i have two close to me the other is better but you still need to check carefully). Makes me wonder if somehow this isn't some sort of issue coming from corporate - not getting product out of DC's timely enough, over ordering, or? and then putting pressure on stores to reduce shrink. Whatever it HAS to affect sales I only buy produce when I'm already there, need some veggies for dinner and don't want to stop again...
whew that was a long rant! But really, is there any product item that is consistently fresh?
Trader Joes Apple Pie (frozen, handmade, precooked ~4.95)
I used to love apple pie. Then the industrial apple pie movement shifted to a variety comprised of horrendous amounts of sugar, a palate blistering cinnamon shock, and a waxy, hydrogenated crust that left a pasty/oily/granulated texture in the mouth similar to a bad crisco frosting.
The TJs frozen pie has supplanted all those issues with unbridled apple goodness. Not too much sigar, hints of spice and finally a crust that allows a hound to focus on the maillard/wheat aspects rather than scrape the hydrogenated goo off the back of their tongue!
TJ apple pie. frozen, precooked. really good!
Twice a week shopper from San Francisco reporting in:
-All frozen meals (with a notable exception, see NAY)
-Toilt paper and paper towels (no harsh chemicals)
-Irish tea bags
-Cheaper than grocery store liquor
-Sushi, sushi, sushi. So many have commented on this - if gas stations had sushi this would be it. Please get a Japanese consultant to revamp these items!
-Frozen Chicken Chile Verde. This looked delicious on the package until I took a bite and found chunks of gristly chicken meat. Turned me off to all of their frozen chicken products for at least a good 6 months. Yuck.
-Freshly baked breads just aren't that good, say compared to Whole Foods.
-French liquid hand soap that smells heavenly and feels silky except that it does not clean.
-To the canned white clam sauce?
-To the lucious frozen asparagus soup with gruyere cheese on which I actually lost weight?
-To the incredible ginger ice cream?
Raves (in SF)
- Molasses cookies -- if they ever drop these, I will chain myself to TJ's in protest
- Soy flaxseed tortilla chips
- blackberry/raspberry/apple juice (fresh)
- frozen rolled chicken tacos (kids love)
- frozen sausage strombolini (ditto)
- Vanana yogurt (a bit runny, but I mix in TJ dried wild blueberries, banana, and toasted wheat germ)
- l0-fat Harvest bread (good with vegetarian sandwiches)
- lamb tenders - so easy and tender
- guacamole in the plastic pouch -- fresh tasting
- the fresh buffalo mozzy that's not the TJ brand
- I like the lemongrass chik bowl, guess I'm the only one
- frozen steel cut oatmeal
I'm still in mourning for:
- vietnamese sesame crepes
- sweet kalamata spread
- fresh apple rasberry juice
mini peanut butter cups
chocolate covered cherries
triple ginger snaps!
frozen roasted corn!
frozen brown rice
red penang curry chicken - I agree with the poster upthread who called it vile
caramel cookies - sickly sweet
chocolate covered sesame seeds - kinda tasteless
And the hideous frozen Chinese chicken - I forget its name; it comes with two pouches of foul brown sauce and the chicken was gristly :-(
I only get to TJ's when I am vacationing down in Arizona (from Utah). I grew up in SoCal and was shopping at TJ's in the 70's when their claim to fame was buying up manufacturers' leftovers/discontinued items and cheap wine. But, I still have some things that I have to buy when I find a TJ's:
Salsa Especial - in the refrigerated section. Clean taste.
dried unsweetened mangos - cheaper than what I can get at Wild Oats.
the cooked brown rice and the wild rice - in a vaccuum bag, takes 90 seconds in the microwave.
Frozen Irish Oatmeal - good breakfast on vacation!
handmade tortillas - I love them - fat and chewy. I heat one up and put on the PB&J and roll it up. Yum!
Tejava unsweetened tea. Man, I wish I could get this up in Utah!
My dog LOVES the chicken strips and the Peanut Butter biscuits.
What about the TJ's Savory Mini Crackers? I buy 10 bags at a time, they are AWESOME! (Fairly low calorie too!)If you haven't tried them you must try them!
I also like the Frozen Risottos, Frozen Brown Rice and the Spinach Artichoke Dip. My kids love the balloons. The flowers are nice there too! And reasonably priced!
The Pad Thai is gross.
So are the potstickers. Granted, I microwaved them but they were still worse than other brands. Ick....
vanilla almond cereal
banana bread mix
tamales (a bit processed but it's a quick fix when i can't get out ot the local mercado)
flowers (better quality than supermarket flowers and cheaper than florists)
breads (too hard)
frozen dim sum
korean boolgoki (cut too thick)
A couple of new items: ginger spread and citron spread. I think the ginger spread is very similar to the crystallized ginger puree they had a while back that was discontinued.
Also, I tried the Kettle baked bbq chips and they were pretty good. Not as good as the full-fat version, but they have a decent texture, unlike other baked chips I've had, which were always tough.
I don't use TJ's much (live in Philadelphia and have the Italian Market) but several things are nice and convenient. My college-aged son would happily live on the frozen chicken enchiladas and there are several very good desserts ... the gelato in a little rectangular box is lovely. They sell bags of frozen seafood/shellfish pieces that make wonderful bisques. And those bottles of fizzy juice are a good addition to any party.
But I will always think well of TJ's after a friend discovered that she was seriously allergic to canola oil and to a number of very common bread additives. TJ's variety and labeling were the saving of her.
And ...NOT FOOD... they sell this grapefruit and camomile oil and sea salt scrub that is to die for.
TJ is alway for me not a browsing grocery store. I alway go there looking for specific thing. However, this weekend, I happened by the meat section and to my delight they had Usinger's brats and knockwurst for $3/lb. I grabed some right away. Still a fan of TJ but not as much as I use to be.
I normally don't like their baked goods, but I just fell in love with their Corn Rye bread. It has lots of flavor from the caraway seeds. I'm picky about bread, so this is quite a find for me.
I made an app last night that was a big hit, all with TJ's products. I stuffed black Mission figs with goat cheese or Gorgonzola and toasted walnuts, and wrapped them in a small piece of Volpi prosciutto, then broiled it for 1 1/2 min (a crucual step). Everyone loved it!
Their unpreserved ham is not good. And the lavash bread is not soft and pliable; it became brittle quickly.
I second that Tarte d'Alsace, really excellent
Great yoghurts - see if they have the berry, Italian one in the little glass jars
Great prices on sliced cheese, good quality
Glass jar of artichoke/hearts of palm - great on crackers
Frozen gnocci and fresh tortellini, excellent
Nuts are great, use chopped pecans in cookies, etc.
The produce is too old, get home with moldy lemons, etc so have given up on the produce.
They are really excellent about returns, no problem at all.
I get there once a month and almost always end up with
- salt and peppercorn and lemon pepper grinders
- red or black salt if I'm out - best prices I've seen
- dried mushrooms
- nuts and dried fruits for baking - best prices including mail order on dried cherries, pistachios, hazelnuts, and so on
- prepared chestnuts
- the Greek style yoghurt
- kalamata olive oil - 7.99 per liter!
- frozen salmon and shrimp
- chocolate, again, really good prices on something I use a lot in baking and candy
Since I just discovered TJ's I am trying different things each time I go. It's a 50 mile drive for me, but there are bookstores and yarn outlets and outlet malls near the two I mainly go to so I double up for a nice saturday outing. This thread is wonderful, given me lots of ideas, thanks.
-They have a new fresh soup in the refrigerated section called Lemon Curry. It's got coconut milk in it and it's heavenly!!!!
- Fig goat cheese is great
- Love the Italian Truffle cheese
- Love the light European style yogurt.
- dried and salted apple slices
- unsweetened dry mango
- Charlie Bear dog treats with beef liver
- frozen mac and cheese
- I was disappointed with the chocolates I bought at Christmas time. The truffle types that were made in Ireland.
- At chistmastime they had Mosaics chocolates that sort of stunk
They have frozen presliced and prebreaded eggplant cutlets that are so thin, they turn into little eggplant crisps of yumminess. Topped with TJ's fresh bruschetta and some fontina and life is good.
Good for nuts in bulk in different combos ...roasted, raw, unsalted, salted, amazing flavour combos.
TJ's prices on most organic things is way less than Whole Paycheck...the Barbara's, the Annie's, Luna bars, chips, etc.
And my family for some reason will scarf BUCKETS of the frozen pot roast. I know my pot roast sucks, but they will suck this stuff up off the plate like it's going to get taken away from them. I keep two bags in the freezer for emergency dinner.
They discontinued the Yin Yan peanuts which were a thing of beauty and a joy. BAD TJ's!
The greek yoghurt, Fage, I think it is, is outstanding.
And one more cheer for the low acid french roast.
My wife and I drive 35 min to the nearest TJ's about every two weeks. We buy 80% of our groceries there.
Some things we love
Sprouted breads, low in carbs, hearty and moist ( freeze what you can't use in a week)
Fat free feta cheese
organic skim milk
Nonfat greek yogurt
The frozen juice popsicles!!!!!!!
Indian dishes in the foil pouches
Eggplant and garlic dips from bulgaria
100% cranberry juice ( really sour, really great)
Frozen brown rice
Not So Good
Capers ( too salty)
Organic ground turkey, tastes like dead meat
The Chicken Chile Verde from New Mexico they were advertising in their latest fearless flier. I was shocked to see how low in calories it was, and it turned out because it barely has any chicken it in! It's also terribly watery! It should be called Chile Verde broth with chicken shreads... :P
and way too salty. I give it another thumbs down.
Just got some Mango Sauce (like Apple sauce, and next to it on the shelf). Its ingredients are mostly fruit, water and sugar, so I expect it to be really good. Haven't tried it yet, but I would be surprised if it isn't a Yay. This is the kind of innovative product TJs is best at.
Tins of smoked herring and trout
chilli lime pistachios
organic peanut butter
organic mesclun salad
Ready made Dolmas
Scones - only if you pop in oven before eating
focaccia - same
dried risotto rice
dark choc truffles
coffees - organic and fair trade
"Nut About Antioxidents" trail mix - sprinkle on granola for a great breakfast!
Feta cheese - excellent creamy taste - sooooo good!
"Salsa Especial" - hot for a wimp like me, but excellent flavor
Organic tortilla chips - very light and tasty
Tomato basil hummus - my SO lives on it
Crystallized ginger - delicious, but more importantly SO reasonably-priced compared to other grocery stores
Orchids - not to eat, of course, but I find them well-priced and long-lasting
Zen Bakery muffins (I think that's just in LA)
butternut squash soup...while cooking ,it developed little "pellets". Yuck! i think the thickening agent must be the culprit. (?)
the ground flax seed; it tastes burnt. (That negates the benefits, too)
i agree--dairy is iffy. Check for mold on the cheese, and that your yogurt lids are still on, before you buy.
the carrot soup didn't pellet :)
the fire-roasted salsa; the guac in the bags/boxed
the plain goat yogurt
the pizza bread; spread it with
the olive bruscheta; top it with
the roasted bell peppers and marinated artichokes
(fresh produce is generally good, too, as is smoked fish and pastrami and pickels)
this list is a great resource. looking it over there seem to be a few consensus items we've never tried in my house that we should--frozen naan, Tarte d'Alsace.
For us, yays--
handmade tortillas--having moved from LA to Mass, these are the best we can find here.
guacamole in a bag
marcona almonds--a great deal compared to Whole Foods
dried organic pasta
Niman ranch bacon, and ribs--again, cheaper than elsewhere
our toddler likes the mac and cheese, so do we
frozen meatballs, esp. good to have on hand for kids
recently had frozen apple strudel, we were surprised how good it was
simmer sauces, haven't liked any Indian food from there
pasta sauces, except*Organic Vodka which is good in a pinch
agree, freshness of produce is not their strong suit
definitely the baked goods--why is that?
frozen pizza is nothing special
frozen chinese foods always seem to be gloppy sauces and gristly chicken
canned soups--no thanks
most of what's in the meat case, but that does seem to be getting better; I've been shopping at TJs off and on for 15 years, quality overall seems much improved.
Fat free cottage cheese - way better than any other brand
Tangerine juice - really good in a mimosa
Honey Whole Wheat pretzel sticks - good in the sun dried tomato hummus
Frozen pot stickers
Precooked brown rice in bag
Cranberry apple muffins (if you can eat them before they mold)
Wine and alcohol - so cheap!
roasted and salted macadamia nuts
Most of their cheeses
Organic braeburn apples
Roasted corn salsa - sweet but so SO good.
the fact that they don't have a cooler for some drinks - would be nice for lunchtime shopping
pre packaged sushi - no shocker there
bottled ranch dressing - runny and gross
soy beans - usually sticky and bad by the time I get them home
Trader Joe's is where I do most of my shopping. When I went in after a bad breakup the checker asked why I looked a little sad. I told her that I just got dumped, and the guy bagging my food grabbed a big handful of daffodils and stuck them on the top of my bag... it made my day (and he was sort of cute too - which didn't hurt.)
* The Whole Wheat Gnocchi: Had it last night with pesto and grilled chicken and it was FAB!! 8 Grams of Fiber too!
* Whole Wheat CousCous: Again, trying to be healthy but was greatly rewarded. The texture is also great! :)
* Low Fat Balsamic Vinegrette: In an effort to reduce the destruction of my waist to chowhounding, I have taken up eating salad for lunch. This by far is the best salad dressing I've had from them and very low cal. Like 25!
* Fire Roasted Asparagus: Again, in the same salad kick I've tried a bunch of different toppings and this is my favorite! Great texture and taste. :)
* Goat Cheese Crumbles: Salad girl continues, they are tangy and the perfect size and great container.
* Fresh Mozzeralla Perlinni: This salad experiment was a dud, they added absolutely no flavor...
Yay: Frozen peas and corn and haricot vert, brown rice, indian food, canned beans, marcona almonds, pistachios, dried fruits, confetti baby potatoes and heirloom tomatoes and the best deal on meyer lemons is season
creme fraiche, cheeses, rosemary ham, bulgogi, olive oil and balamic vinegar, plugra butter and scones. No pudge brownie mix
Nay: clam chowder, veggie burgers that are not gardenburgers, discontinued items I can't live without...
Yay! Chocolate covered fig nuggets, whole wheat couscous, edamame (dry roasted and frozen), stir fry frozen veggies with salt (just add tofu!), vegan pizza, a nice assortment of cheeses, chevre with fig, greek yogurt, chocovic bars, saffron is inexpensive and tastes fine to me, ginger spread, . . . the list keeps growing
i took a chance and bought an angus strip steak there the other day and was very pleasantly surprised. extremely tender, very flavorful and so well trimmed that my cat missed out on her usual ration of scraps. $6.99 a pound. i've also had very good luck with their extra lean hamburger.
A TJ's is set to open up within walking distance of my house, so my list of yays may well grow. For now it includes curry simmer sauce, canned black beans, cheeses when we're doing a large gathering (they don't really have anything wildly unusual or subtle, but they have lots of utility players), fresh arugula (much cheaper than the other markets), cliff bars (ditto), dried fruits, bagged nuts, mixed wasabi cracker thingies, the crumb covered coffee cake, Total Greek yogurt 2%, peanut butter dog biscuits, and (obviously non-edible) orange hand soap, candles and citrus body wash.
Nays are prepackaged fresh vegetables and fresh kosher chicken. I got one that was totally rotten. Obviously not a good thing, and for me personally somehow even more reprehensible in anything representing itself as kosher.
"Just a handful" unsalted almonds. Individually packaged portions of Almonds. Just the right amount, prepackaged (13 to a bigger bag). Healthy (good cholesterol, but high in fat), and super convenient. This is my favorite product from them in a very long time (and it is so simple).
Its been mentioned a ton, but the Tart D Alsace is absolutely wonderful (just had it again this weekend). The ingredients taste so fresh (even though it is a frozen item), and the crust is flaky and wonderful. If I was served this at a fine restaurant, I would be pleased, but out of my oven, is fantastic.
Also have been really happy with their regular lowfat yogurt (8 ounce cups in Peach or Lemon). Had this almost every morning for a month. They don't have any of the weird aftertaste that alot of other commercial products have. I also like the size - many other commercial products are only 6 ounces, which isn't enough for me).
100 Calorie bags of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies. Mostly hard and dry. Not very oatmeally or chocolately.
Yay: homemade flour tortillas. Nice texture, puffs up just right. Tasty.
Nay: corn torillas. These are the nastiest, most horrible corn tortillas I have ever tried. They reek of lime and are just plain ugh. Plus they are expensive relative to other brands that taste like real tortillas.
Too many Yays, so here come the NAYS:
Coffee section - everything I've tried was pretty bad, not nearly as good as Lavazza.
Bread section - I don't think a good fresh baguette is too much to ask.
Sushi section - barf.
WINE - I'm sorry, am I missing something? Everything I've tried so far has been bad. Can anyone recommend a good red from there?
Coffee: New Mexico Pinion (this is awesome)
Snacks: Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels, Marcona Almonds, Tempting Trail Mix, Chile
Spiced Mango, Apricot Fiberful Bars, Cranberry Dunkers, Dilletante, Aussie Black Licorice
Refrigerated/Cheese: Goat Milk Yogurt, Olive Tapenade w/Goat Cheese, Cilantro Yogurt Dip, Silver Goat Log, English Cheddar w/Caramelized Onions
Other: 21 Seasoning Salute, Brown Rice Medley (dry), Sundried Tomato Bruschetta, Frozen Carrot Cake, Frozen Haricot Green Beans, Vegetable Masala Burgers & Roasted Vegetable Pizza.
Grocery: Better n' Peanut Butter (the worst), Canned Salmon, Vegan Mayonaisse, Vegetable Medley Soup, Toilet Tissue (too hard for my bum), TJ brand toothpaste
Snacks/Sweets: Unburied Treasure Popcorn (no flavor at all), Flourless Chocolate Cake, Dried Cinnamon Apples, Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers
Frozen: Blueberry Waffles (blah), Any soy-based frozen product (corn dogs, burgers, chix nuggets), Mac n' Cheese (too many calories not enough flavor to compensate), Gelato (wierd aftertaste), Asparagus Spears
Yay: Surprisingly, the shrink-wrapped mussels; tried them last night in a light garlic/wine/cream sauce over spaghetti (used some of the liquid in the packet in the sauce). Easily good enough to do again, and I might make it for company.
Nay: The fact that I keep picking up capellini (which I don't like) instead of spaghetti because somebody has misplaced it in the wrong area and the two look almost identical (obviously, I don't read the label!).
* Pretzel Slims... so much better than pretzel sticks or anything elese! I'm not a huge prezel lover even.. but these just have the right amount of salt and crunch to statisfy the munchies...
* Sesame Melba Toasts... Another 'better' for you snack. Also very sturdy so they make a great cheese cracker!
* Honey Sesame Cashews... Not too sweet, not too cashewey... Just really yummy
* Chipotle Lime Chicken Skewers... sounded interesting, but in the end not much flavor...
And the new Red Bliss/olive oil ridge chips. With these two new additions to their chip line it's fairly obvious that Terra chips is making their gourmet chips (the parsnip and other root veggie chips, blue and red bliss potato chips).
I just made a swing through TJ's, and when I was done, I realized I'd bought all dairy products (with the exception of the Red Bliss chips and the Charlie Bear dog treats, which are great):
organic sour cream
organic heavy whipping cream
Fage 0% fat yogurt
Double Rainbow vanilla ice cream
Low-fat buttermilk (wish they had organic!)
These are all tried and true favorites at my house!
One unmentioned item:
Pie dough and pizza dough are pretty good, when you don't have time to start from scratch. Pie dough has no trans fat or lard (hard to accomplish) and the pizza dough makes a decent "homemade" pizza, my personal dumping ground for random fridge items, and is only a dollar. Tip: use parchment paper, it sticks.
Ooh, good one. I love those premade doughs. SO much better than boboli. The whole wheat dough is my favorite.
The garlic Naan is also really good. I like to use them as mini pizza crusts, put some sauce on, some cheese, and whatever else. I recently tried vodka sauce with basil and chicken. Really good and super fast in the toaster oven.
The ingredient list on the kibble is pretty good, but not great. I'd buy it in a pinch, but the best cost/quality ratio is the Kirkland (Costco) organic chicken kibble. On the other hand, we're never without the Charlie Bear liver treats at my house -- a $3 bag lasts a long time, and they're great for training because they're small enough for the dog to swallow quickly and refocus on the task, and you can carry them in your pockets.
I love love love TJ's...this list is awesome for trying new things because it's true that a lot of things are hit or miss....some of my fav's..
blueberry crumpets (warm them and drizzle on a little bit of real maple syrup..divine)
the unsweetened green tea/and orange green tea (only 99 cents!)
chocolate truffles (I ate the ENTIRE box in about a day..they're really addicting)
All of the frozen fruit - I put the strawberries/raspberries in shakes...
Frozen string beans
Frozen aparagus..(sauteed with a little garlic and butter in skillet, awesome quick side dish)
Olive Oil Spray
Rice Noodles (healthier alternative, except they turn to mush if you dont eat them right away)
TJ's Tradional Marinara Sauce (99 cents!) I come from a large Italian family, growing up my parents NEVER used jarred sauce - this stuff is the best tasting could pass for homemade sauce i've ever tried.
Turkey burgers - cheap and yummy
Eggplant humus - I'm not really a huge fan of humus, but this had a great taste - losts of flavor.
100 Calorie Pack CHOCOLATE CHIP OATMEAL COOKIES (OMG OMG OMG....I LOVE these...especially dunked in hot cocoa...they're small and awesome..and only 100 calories...i almost cried when I thought they discontinued them)
Actually, I like most of the 100 calorie pack - multigrain crackers are great - I imagine little kids would love these, they're shaped like toucans...and taste yummy.
MILK! I always buy milk at TJ's.
Cottage cheese - I really like theirs...I noticed not a lot of people do...to me Krugers/Lucrean (sp?!) tastes funny...
Trader Darwins Whey Protein....mostly just a lot of vitamins...good flavor (Chocolate and Vanilla...i always add fruit..touch of vanilla....good meal replacement shake or post workout.)
My little doggie seems to really love the bones
American blend fresh bagged lettuce
Chocolate bars - the low carb dark chocolate is REALLY good, but even better is the TJ's brand Dark Chocolate truffle...,mmmm
RANCH FRIES...oh man..avoid these at all costs....repulsive on every level
Frozen chicken breasts...they taste funny..and they're HUGE...making me question what kind of steriod empowered chicken they came from...
Fresh Spinich...it tastes and smells like dirt, even after washing...and then it goes bad in about a day.
Parmasean Ranch dressing...they may have discontinued this - it was a long time ago....It was watery..and had a creepy texture and even stranger taste......
I'm sure I have more, but this is all for now. Sorry this is sort of all over the place!!!
Goat cheese crotins, nicer texture than the log
Lemonade and iced tea in cartons (sugar, no high fructose CS.)
Niman Ranch applewood smoked bacon--the BEST BLT's
Poland Spring flavored carbonated waters
Various trail mixes
Prosecco, Viognier, sherry to cook with
Tempeh and tofu
Chocolate Chip almond cookies
Choc covered pretzels, and the truffles in season
Ice cream bonbons
organic chocolate syrup (again, sugar sweetened)
organic frozen blueberries
canned black beans
trail mix granola
snap pea crisps for salads
coconut curry stix, lemongrass chicken stix (eggrolls)
Tuscan pane bread
prepared sandwiches (mushy and gross)
frozen wild mushroom fricasee
pineapple salsa (boring)
TJ canned coffee (they dropped a brand that was much better than their own)
frozen meal bowls (chicken vindaloo, etc. tasted chemical)
3 buck chuck--drinkable but spend the extra 3 bucks for better
flour tortillas--overpriced. WF has organic for about a buck, TJs are +2.00
Pancetta crumbles--weird flavor
bread other than tuscan pane
All that being said, I walk into TJ's for a couple of things and inevitably spend about $50
My mom and I went browsing in the frozen food section - with all of the chocolate:
Chocolate lava cakes - a little sweet for someone that cuts the sugar in baking recipes by half, but they are a great treat. If you feel like eating some but not the entire thing, it's a great thing to share with another person :D
Chocolate ice cream bonbons - too salty without enough sweet, and my mom and I both felt queasy from it. Not sure if it was because of the product or if something got into it. Ended up melting it into the disposal with hot water.
Handmade Chocolate Ganache Torte - You might as well just peel off the ganache part and eat it, because that was the only delectable part of it. As a whole, the cake was just an okay, but it was disappointing cutting into a dry cake and not very flavorful filling, especially after the description sounding so great.
a HUGE nay [can i give it multiple votes?] for the refrigerated containers of 'just chicken.'
not the sort of thing i'd normally waste my money on because i always prepare my own chicken breasts to keep in the fridge for convenience. but the latest issue of one of my nutrition newsletters gave this product a big thumbs-up, so i figured i'd give it a try.
this stuff was truly vile. slimy, spongy, gristly...and the flavor of canned chicken broth/seasoning was so overpowering i might as well have been eating a straight bouillion cube.
i'm so glad it's not just me! [although i'm sorry other people were subjected to the experience as well.]
i'm headed to tj's today, and i honestly think i'm going to tell them they have no business selling that product. i'm pretty sure even a starving stray dog would pass on it.
The imported from Italy frozen pizzas. Put some prosciutto di parma and arugula on top, and you have something reminiscent of an Italian pizza.
Cheap, tasty brie
Fiber bread (6g per slice, hooo-ah!)
4 avocados for $3
Phad thai box (too sweet, weird noodles)
Satay box (ditto)
Simmer sauces (too bland)
Salsas (all of them; I really wish they'd bring back the "Fire in the Hole Habanero Salsa" which was so good)
YAYS: Gravenstein applesauce, dried cape gooseberries, dried montmorency cherries, plain pizza crust (refrigerated), irish oatmeal, chana masala sauce, veggie/tofu sushi, Straus yogurt (though I really wish they sold the nonfat!), soymilk, and just about any kind of wine/booze. NAYS: I'm sure I've encountered some, but I can't remember them.
the tarte d'Alscace - ohhhhh so good! just make sure it browns all over. yum!
the tri-tip, marinated or not. I have served this to some pretty discerning eaters and have received compliments every time. just follow the directions on the sticker
the giant chocolate bar - I am a chocolate fan, but kind of a picky one. this bar reminds me of Cadbury in its super creamy flavor.
the baby beets from the deli case.
also, the chicken breasts that are individually vacuum packed are great because they freeze and thaw really nicely and are a great price for high quality.
I had some horrendous mochi (sweet japanese rice balls)
All in all, I love TJ's. It's such a CA thing - I'm so glad so many more of the country gets to scour the aisles now. Happy hunting!
TJ's is a recent addition to this locale....
When pricing is factored in, some of the yay's are as follows.
Their instant coffee (when quick fuel is a necessity)
Their whole bean coffee's
The Tuscan Pane....great for grilled cheese or panini's
Their mango chutney
Many of their primal cryo meats....ie filet rst, tri tip....
Their fresh squeezed OJ (with pulp)
and most recently their cranberry lemonade.....can't keep it in the frig
Only real bad experiences have been their baguettes....store brand chilean farm raised atlantic smoked salmon was weak.....
All alcohol prices seemed reasonable ...particularly the specials on many wines.
Their return policy is a breeze....so you really ca'nt go wrong.....it seems like the perfect "family on the go"/singles type of supermarket.....not to mention a place to meet and greet.....
My recent yays:
Mango & Ginger Go Nuts trail mix
Gluten free ginger snaps -- light and tasty
Wildwood veggie burgers (refrigerated), good w/TJ chutney
Boxed tomato and roasted pepper soup -- poach an egg in it and it makes a great lunch, also works with the carrot and other soups
The 2 packs of greek yogurt with cinnamon or berries
Prepeeled garlic -- it keeps well
Birds nests -- frozen, sort of a veggie tempura
I've stopped buying most of their produce -- tasteless and costs as much as most other stores.
Frozen: 1) Chocolate croissants---you lay them out the night before, let them rise and thaw 9 hours, bake them 30 minutes in the AM, great for overnight guests. 2) Chocolate Lava Cake---really good. 3) Apple Blossoms (tarts from Canada). 4) Flounder filet stuffed with crab (my store is always out of this, very popular here). 5) Broccoli flowerets, better and cheaper than most fresh broccoli. 6) Huge bags of tiny green beans from France. 7) Artichoke-filled tortellini + artichoke hearts + lemon juice and olive oil = a good pasta salad; 8) Pineapple (extra-sweet). 9) Black raspberries---two bags make an old-fashioned pie. Or add some Chambord and have them on vanilla ice cream.
Little snacky things that are probably meant for parties but to my husband are "football [game-watching] food": Miniature spankopita, mushroom turnovers in cream cheese pastry, chicken enchiladas, and Prelude to a Quiche. These are all good. And for anybody who actually IS having a party and needs a lot of them, I notice that similar items at WholeFoods and my local "nice" market cost around 3 x as much as at TJ.
Yea: New company policy that allows employees to now work amongst customers on the floor if they have less than five facial piercings or tattoos.
Nea: Dropping the Duck Liver Pate with Truffles
What irks me most is that the sniveling turds at the home teepee kowtowed and capitulated to the Save the Ducks, a butt munch group protesting the inhumanity to ducks….hello they are ducks!!!!
After they saved the ducks, that same group changed directions as they are now working to save all root vegetables! Do not pull that carrot from the ground unless you are prepared to hear it’s high-pitched screams and agonizing death rattle for days and days in the crisper drawer!
Recent discoveries: (man, I love this place)
-Naan bread no longer in my TJs, better be back soon
chili spiced mango
turkey sausage selection
papadums (please add more flavors)
flax seed chips
Trader Joes just opened a location near me (Queens), and I have been there twice so far.
NAY: Checkout people inspecting your food and commenting on your groceries ("Say, you really like peanuts, huh?"). This has happened both visits. About half of everything that gets price-scanned apparently needs a comment ("You should try that with some olive oil and chopped garlic!")
I live in NYC so I'm used to sullen clerks who won't even say "thank you" (even after you, the customer, says it). But lets not go overboard. It seems like the management at Trader Joes sent out a memo: BE FRIENDLY!!!
Just ring up my groceries, please. I'm not shopping at Trader Joes so I can discuss my dietary choices with the employees.
We do not have a TJ's in my home area, but I travel to Chicago every now and then and have a few must haves to bring home, including: Organic Tomato Soup; Chowder Crackers; Chocolate Covered Blueberries and Ginger Cookies (for the kids); organic honey crunch and oats cereal (TJ brand).
Last visit I brought a small cooler and brought back the following items that we will target to get the next trip: Canned crab meat (better than we can get locally and much, much more reasonably priced); variety chicken sausages - apple and spicy cilantro (cut up for pasta dish.)
Nay's - Squash Soup (probably more of a personal taste thing.)
frozen garlic naan
cabernet pot roast
chocolate covered dunkers
dark chocolate toffee rolled in pistachio evilness
crab and corn chowder soup
frozen brown rice
nonfat greek yogurt blueberry or pomegranate
turkey with cranberry stuffing
ny extra sharp cheddar
masala simmer sauce
all of the gyoza
frozen mandarin chicken
frozen garlic fries
Pork Chile Verde
Curry Chicken Tenders
This thread is making me hungry....
Hurrah! This post is back! My favorite! :)
* Vietnamese Chicken Wrap - I was shocked at how good this was... and relatively healthy compared to their other sandwich offerings. The dipping sauce is also really yummy! :)
* Prig King Sting Beans: Got this on a whim and was surprised at how fresh and spicy they turned out. My only complaint is that TJs always had to add so much sauce to things. I used just one package and it came out excellent!
* Multigrain Oatmeal: Absolutely BLEH!
* Jarred Mango Slices: Taste too acidic
* Cheesey Jalapeno Bread: It went moldy a day after I bought it! Ick!
Tuscan canned bean mix(with the addition of salt)
Mini-tacos...both chicken and beef, tho' admittedly, at least for me, a little goes a long way...they're a bit palate fatiguing in their one note-ness
(however, they're the only remotely palatable product in TJ's typically awful line of burritos,
Frozen chicken enchiladas in salsa verde
Dark-chocolate-covered Jo-Jos (these are life-changing. Try putting them in the freezer)
Edamame hummus (doesn't really taste like edamame to me... it's just good)
This isn't really their product, but Fage Total yogurt that they carry.... mmm, even the fat-free is AMAZING.
Various sorts of granola bars (I don't know, something just tastes... off)
Low-fat or lite or whatever French onion pita chips (blech... weird sweetness to them)
the oatmeal plus (I like that I am getting all those vitamins and minerals, and it is really filling and gives me energy, but to eat it I have to drown it in honey)
nay fish tacos:
maybe it's just me, but I'm p*o'd I have to heat all four tacos at once(the instructions and prep demand one do so...but, not at the behest of any packaging mojo: see, below). Yeah, yeah...frozen fish tacos...I know...
the good: the corn tortillas actually taste of corn and maintain a certain integrity
the bad: well, I went ahead and attempted to pry the tacos apart(they're glued together with the much-vaunted in the catalogue poblano/ranchero cheese salsa) and...that's fun...
the "salsa" burns(and the fish turns to jerky) if you attempt to microwave the tacos separately according to full-pack directions...btw: it's not special microwaveable packaging that's the issue...
the instructions read: peel off film and cover with a paper towel, etc.
the problem is, I dunno, ancient microwaves in the TJ's "test kitchens" and the need to cement everything in that salsa
so...if one bothers to stand watch over the tacos one hasn't incinerated one gets a kinda sorta edible product
if you follow in my footsteps and own a contemporary microwave(not one built of magic and bones 800 years ago)...pry apart the tacos to your liking, cover with paper towel, MW on high for two minutes then shoozj from there...and still be prepared for half the salsa to slough off into an acrid, carbonized pile while the fish remains chill to the touch...
Here's one I always forget to mention in posts like this - TJ's organic mayonnaise. Mayo is not the sort of thing I usually wax poetic about, but my goodness - it's such a delicious, full-flavored product that barely resembles its commercial equivalent. So so good.
We just got Trader Joe's kettle corn here in Michigan (at least at my store.) I was warned by the clerk that I'd eat the whole bag in one day. "Oh, no," I said. Confession: I did.
We also just recently got tempura chicken and I am on my second bag. I don't toss it in the sauce; I doctor up the sauce with a little rice wine, and some lemon juice because otherwise it is too sweet. I also steam broccoli and make the TJ's brown rice to go with it.
I had a recent TJs run (since we don't have one in the state we live in). We picked up items to eat on our trip to the Grand Canyon and for home.
Sliced honey turkey
Apple strawberry fruit strip
Chinese chicken salad
Freeze dried mango
Trail Mix (raisins and nuts)
Frozen fettucini alfredo
Frozen orange chicken
Frozen jasmine rice
Chinese Chicken Salad (prepared)-was great. Nice flavor, fresh cabbage, the wonton crisps added a nice touch.
Jo-Jos (chocolate cookie with vanilla creme filling)-these tasted ok but I prefer the taste of Oreos
Apple Strawberry Fruit Strip-these were excellent. Not too sweet, not too tart. Only bad thing about these were the price.
Freeze dried mango-had this funny texture upon the first bite but they are pretty tasty
Sliced honey turkey-this is the best sliced lunch meat turkey I've had. The entire package was gone.
The frozen fettucini alfredo (cooked in a crock pot) needed more sauce and flavor. Taste may have been altered since it was done in a crock pot.
The frozen orange chicken (cooked in a crock pot) needed more sauce. I think this one could have been a winner if cooked on a stove/oven. Served with the frozen jasmine rice that I didn't particularly care for.
My newest Trader Joe's obsession:
Dark Chocolate Mint Creams.
I also like:
Cabernet Beef Pot Roast
Breaded Cod Filets
Assorted Fruit Bars (leather) - except for Gooseberry
Everything Bagel Chips
Parmesan Garlic Pita Chips
Almost any fried fruit (although the section has been shrinking steadily over the last few years)
Australian Red Licorice
Mini peanut butter cups
I've just bought my last TJ's frozen entree. It was a disgusting and meager Sweet and Sour shrimp stir fry w/rice. It's supposed to serve 3. The shrimp were tiny and salty. The veggies were limp and almost non-existent. I had to add some frozen scallops to the mix to stretch it for 3 people (2 women, 1 man) and add some Uncle Ben's brown rice. I'm so incensed, I'm taking the empty package back for a refund.
Their produce is iffy at best. Always a bad pepper, apple, lemon or whatever i the bag. I think most of their bakery products are pretty bad too.
Yays: their square bottle of cheap balsamic vinegar. It's super for the money.
Fage yogurt, organic ginger snap cookies are fabulous. Frozen squares of garlic and herbs are great timesavers. Parm & garlic pita chips.
- tarte d'alsace - definitely sprinkled with crack or some other highly addictive substance. whenever i go to the NYC union square location, or either northern jersey location, i have to ask the employees to go get more boxes in the back. they always reply, "OOHHHH, that one's SOOOOO good." (has happened a few times)
- frozen tamales, slathered in TJ salsa verde. microwaved a tad extra long so the cheese oozes out and burns a little bit :)
- frozen potato latkes with TJ's chunky spiced apples
- party size mini meatballs with the (old) tsaziki sauce (the new one sucks!)
- thai chili lime cashews
- mochi ice cream, left out to slightly thaw for about 7 minutes, chewy outside, perfect cold creamy inside
- chicken sausage, half the price of whole foods. some flavors are better than others
- flash frozen chicken thighs, defrost and cook as you would raw chicken
- flash frozen orange roughy plain, the seasoned one is too strong. i like to defrost these for 24 hours in the fridge, and then slather them with Nobu's recipe for saikyo miso (super easy, and you can keep a tupperware in the fridge of it for months) marinate overnight. broil. this fish picks up that flavor so well, and is a much cheaper alternative to black cod. garnish with scallions.
- frozen organic greens with envy (do they carry this anymore?)
- frozen brown rice - uber convenient
- whole frozen edamame- quick easy healthy treat
- frozen risottos, mushroom and asparagus, easy side dish
- organic avocados, in bags of 4
- scallions in resealable bag - totally a waste of money compared to chinatown, but i like these scallions for some reason. they're really pretty and uniform sized.
- 99 cent TJ mushroom rice noodle soup bowl - just add hot water, very low in fat, totally savory with a touch of sambal olek hot sauce (made by rooster sriracha company, the one that has seeds)
- bagged and washed organic mixed salad leaves - great but you have to eat within a few days b/c of early expirations
- cheap cheap pasta.
- cheap cheap cheese. when i make martha stewart's world's best mac and cheese, at a NY grocery, the cheese costs me about $25. at TJ's it's only $12-14 (white cheddar and gruyere). that recipe is KILLER, i highly recommend, despite the long prep time. sometimes i cut up small cubes of TJ chicken sausage, sautee it in a pan so it's got a bit of crisp, and toss it into the mac before i bake.
- lime habanero pistachios
- marinated pork loin - bought this once. dinner for two and 4 more lunches.
- wine. nyc has a TJ wine store separate (weird law about not selling liquor in the same place you can sell beer). the selection is great. they carry my favorite pinot noir that i've been drinking for years for cheaper than i've ever found it. cheap sake too.
NAY: (i am not going to be very popular after this, a lot of these are people's YAY's)
- green curry simmer sauce - everything i've made with this, i've wanted to throw straight in the trash. after 3 dishes, i finally threw out the sauce.
- frozen apple tartlets - ok, but i actually think these are too sweet, with the caramelized sugar crystals, it's overkill
- frozen french onion soup - a bit too salty for my taste, and i actually love salty foods
- curry with tuna in pouch - gross. i love thai flavors, and i was looking so forward to trying this. i had the red, and had to throw out most of it. i have the yellow one left, maybe i will give it another go
- bbq chicken pizza - this was the worst. sounded like a cool concept, but they use bbq sauce instead of tomato. really just a strange combo with the cheese
- 4 cheese pizza - didn't like the crust
- green beans prik king - maybe i made these wrong, but they came out super soggy and the taste was flat
- TJ fine sea salt. bought this and it was all clumped together. so much so that i couldn't pour it out of the large container into my shaker. i gave up and just ended up using the large container as my shaker.
- frzozen spinach spanikopita. i don't know. these just didn't do it for me. i had it with tsaziki too. they tasted off. i found myself slathering these in tsaziki to cover up some weird taste in the pastries.
- frozen potato and cheese pierogies. shell had really bad consistency. doughy and dry at the same time.
- THE LINE IN NYC. wow, i have never been to the union square store where the line hasn't almost gone out the door or has been physically at the door entrance. it moves relatively quick (20-25 min) but still it winds through the whole store, making it impossible to shop and see stuff properly (double line in front of the fridge display that you have to muscle your way through). NJ was heavenly in comparison. although today in edgewater, we found 2 things in the fridge that expired in feb. gross. on the contrary, NYC sells out of a lot of stuff by end of day.
but i do wait on that line often, so that shows you how many ppl in NY really like their TJ.
i bought some frozen tropical fruit mix and frozen raspberries a while back cuz i read they were good. but now i don't know what to do with them. any recommendations, chowhounds? much appreciated.
re: coney with everything
Oh man, I haven't. I'm lactose intolerant so I've been sticking to the vegan stuff. Sounds AWESOME though. Belgian...chocolate...pudding. Oh man. Also, their chocolate ganache cake is only $8 for a whole cake and outstanding.
The following are all vegan:
The dark chocolate covered pretzels (at only $3.99 a bag). A $4 snack. That was awesome.
Also, how could I forget the brown rice krispie bars, at only $1.99 a box. Now, they're not as chewy and gooey as the original, a little crisper, but they're still sickeningly sweet and it was extremely easy to eat the whole box. I mean there are only 6 bars anyway.
I also still love the Mediterranean hummus and I think their best tapenade is the green olive one.
I love the cheap marinara sauces.
I love the soy ice creams.
Okay I'l stopp
De Ultimate Trader Joes post LIVES!!
* The Unsweetened Apple Sauce in the Jar... really nice flavor a great texture!
* Chipote Lime Chicken Patties... a lunch staple for me now!
* Peeled Chiopinni Onions... An absolute staple for us... SO YUMMY!
* The Multi Veggie Egg Pasta Ribbons... absolutely No flavor!
* Law Fat Cheeses... See above, sticking to Jarlsburg
* Asian Marinated Fully Cooked Frozen Chicken Breasts... I should have known this was a bad idea... but they taste fishy!! I certainly wasn't expecting THAT!
They are in the refridgeraged produce section, but not in the salad section. They come in little pouches. As usual, there is tons of package waste... but they really liven up stews, roasted veggies or again, are wonderful as a side dish on their own (I like them grilled!)
Oh my gosh...I thought I was going insane, but I thought the asian marinated chicken breasts tasted like fish (salmon specifically), too!!! I'm saving the one I didn't eat for the next time I go so I can return it. Blech!
A yay for the Green Onion Soup though (comes in a little microwavable bowel with seasonings). I actually made it on the stove top and drizzled in some egg for protein - yuuummmmmm!
YAY: Bite size mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches. Addictive and not as bad for you as you'd think. Pumpkin butter. Morningstar farms Pizzaburgers (I can only find them at TJ's). Baby cucumbers, usually come 6 to a pack, unsweetened applesauce. Turkey meatballs. Chicken teriyaki (frozen)
Oh, and those incredible flax veggie tortilla chips. AND THE REDUCED FAT CHEESE CRUNCHIES - watch out, these are addictive.
Still unsure how I feel: Apricot kernels. Anyone try them?
NAY: Chipotle Lime Chili Chicken Burgers - they were recently recalled! Sprouted wheat bread (very dry, falls apart)
I had never tried them before now, and am snacking on them now. It is interesting how they seem to have a bit of apricot essence to them. I think I like them, but I'm just not sure...
also, NAY on the tomato bisque in a can, which i tried for the first time last night. Not good.
Just wondering why you travel all the way to Los Angeles, bypassing New Mexico (one in Sante Fe and two in Albuquerque) and Arizona (two in Scottsdale, one in Mesa, three in Phoenix and one in Tempe); both have several stores in these states. New Mexico could be a weekend day drive, to get away for a bit, you would just bring a cooler and plan on stopping somewhere to eat. It would be like me driving to Portland, Oregon from Seatte; with lots of tourist attractions on the way to make a day of it.
Made a TJ's run yesterday and just opened a container of caramel cashew cookies. They smelled wonderful. The first one was okay but they seemed to grow on me, each one tasting a little better. I ended up eating four of them. I think the caramel needs to be dialed down a bit but for the price and taste they are a good value. Anyone try the fried seasoned green beans snack packet yet?
I'm addicted to their new mini chicken & cilantro mini dumplings which heat beautifully in the microwave. I dump half a package on to a plate, add a couple of spoons of water, then cover with another plate. Perfect steamed dumplings in 2-3 minutes. They're also great pan fried, but I usually microwave them to save on calories.
Has anyone seen that they replaced the King Arthur's with their own brand? I love KA and they had it cheaper than anywhere else. Their brand is even cheaper, but I wonder if it's as good.
I say YAY:
paso robles zin - all brands have been good
frozen black raspberries
frozen salmon with the skin on (HB loves the skin)
new flavors of emergen-c
Their new version of canned tomatoes - their more expensive than the last version and terrible. Really bland and terrible texture. I had to use ridiculous amounts of spices for a decent tasting sauce.
artichokes - I've had them two times now and both times they were bitter
their brand of greek yogurt - terrible - awful flavor and not as nice as other brands
ah. well, in my opinion it'd be ok for granola, too. maybe adding granola would sweeten it up -- or counteract the tartness. bottom line: it is just more tart than i expected. i stirred some into my chick pea and spinach curry last evening. i will also be using it to marinate my chicken tikka, and make some labneh (yogurt cheese).
alkapal, is the TJ's European-style yogurt organic? The TJ's organic milk in No. California is said to be Straus Creamery (neither Straus or TJ's will confirm, of course, but local hounds are convinced), and I've heard the European-style yogurt is also Straus European-style, which fits your description.
In general, any Italian and Mexican themed products are good. The Chinese and Japanese themed products are terrible. The sushi is the worst in the whole U.S. market. The Indian and Thai food are reasonable.
Frozen Chicken Pomodoro/Serenada/Gorgonzola
Frozen Teriyaky Chicken
Lemon chocolate cookies
Frozen Cilantro Wanton
Kung Pao Chicken
- Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo & Conditioner. i love how they leave my hair & scalp feeling, they're *so much* less expensive than salon products (and even some brands you buy in the drugstore), and the shampoo doesn't contain any sulfates. hooray!
- Organic Hemp Vanilla Protein Powder - i can't believe they have this at such a good price. i stopped buying hemp protein for a long time because it was so pricey, but theirs is only $9.99 for a one-pound container, and it's good!
YAYS: frozen plain naan, unsalted organic creamy peanut butter, pizza crust (plain & wheat are both great), low-fat muenster cheese, vegetable sushi
NAYS: Have not had good experience with meats. In fact, I get meat almost exclusively at Fresh & Easy now. Helluva lot cheaper than Whole Foods!
yay: frozen mixed seafood (scallops, calamari rings, shrimp) -- sourced from vietnam, thailand and peru. reasonably priced, too.
it was tender and fresh-tasting. i let it thaw, then gently warmed it through till done in a simple garlic, lemon, white wine sauce, with some alcaparrado http://www.latinmerchant.com/productd... tossed in). 'twas delicious. i'll definitely buy this again.
nay: "fresh" summer roll. blah, blah, and tasteless blah.
That frozen mixed seafood is great with their frozen cioppino sold in their freezer case. The soup base is excellent, but it needs more seafood topping. The frozen mixed seafood is also great for Nigella Lawson's quick fried seafood with cornmeal coating. Just throw the dry ingredients into a ziploc bag, add the thawed seafood pieces, then fry lightly in a pan. Quick and surprisingly tasty!
cvhound, i like the fried seafood idea, but i love cioppino, too. guess i've got to buy more of that seafood.
weren't you surprised how fresh and tender it tasted?
on the other hand, the party sushi platter (halibut and california rolls, and shrimp sashimi) i got was rubbery, and the flavorings overpowered the fish component. plus, don't "california rolls" by definition have avocado? no avocado to be seen! plus, the shrimp still had their scaly old tail section on!
I never buy sushi from a grocery store, period, end of story. I'm pretty picky about my sushi rice and I find the grocery stores also add way too much rice and not enough filling to their rolls.
The frozen cioppino at TJ's works great as a base for homemade cioppino! I take the frozen soup packet and add more canned Marzano tomatoes which I sautee with garlic and olive oil, add more clam juice (or in a pinch, homemade chicken broth, but prefer the clam juice which I try to keep on hand just for this dish), dash of wine (white, red, or vermouth, almost any kind will do), dried oregano and other herbs, S&P, etc. and now you have enough to easily serve 4 to 6 people if you add your own seafood.
If I don't have time to go to the market, I'll add the frozen seafood packet from TJ's. Otherwise, I go to our fish monger for fresh clams, shrimp, crab, firm white fish, and anything else that looks good. Give it a try. You'll be surprised how well it comes out!
freeze dried bananas... soooo addictive
butter croissants in the bakery section
ready to bake rolls and baguettes
strawberry and blueberry perserves - i eat this right out of the jar...
white cheddar popcorn
bags of apples (in plastic packaging) - these are always really crisp!
frozen teriyaki shrimp bowls - my bf and i both love these!
whipped cream cheese - really creamy, can't go back to philadelphia after this!
pesto sauce in a jar
dehydrated garlic mashed potatoes - i cook this with evaporated milk and add grated cheese to make it really creamy and taste like homemade mashed potatoes
butternut squash boxed soup - i like to add a little garlic salt and fresh ground black pepper
chili in a can
4 cheese pasta sauce
their dried pastas are sooooo cheap! love the cavatapi
water with electrolytes - this saved me when i had food poisoning. the only fluid i could keep down!
most of their red meat... i always find it really tough and gristly
frozen kalbi short ribs and refrigerated bulgogi- great taste, horrible cuts of meat: all fat!
dried mango - i'm used to eating dried mango from the Philippines which is sweet and soft and mmmm yummy. this was hard and had a weird flavor to it...
ARRGH! I want sustainable seafood, so Nay on the frozen fish. I was lulled into consumer numbness by the label saying "wild" and "Alaska", but now I see this campaign by Greenpeace USA alledging mislabeling:
I am totally bummed about this. I was already avoiding some of their offerings for this reason, but it's worse than I thought.
here's greenpeace's beef:>>>"""the Trader Joe’s seafood section is stocked with a
plethora of red list items, including orange roughy,
Chilean sea bass, Atlantic salmon, and monkfish.
To make matters worse, Trader Joe’s actively dissemi-
nates misleading information about its seafood selection.
Red List Seafood Sales: Greenpeace surveys
found Trader Joe’s sells 15 of the 22 red list seafoods:
Alaskan pollock, Atlantic cod, Atlantic salmon,
Atlantic sea scallops, Chilean sea bass, Greenland
halibut, monkfish, ocean quahog, orange roughy,
red snapper, redfish, South Atlantic albacore tuna,
swordfish, tropical shrimp and yellowfin tuna."""<<<<<<
pitu, tell me please about this claim, if you know: ""Trader Joe’s actively disseminates misleading information about its seafood selection. """
and does this mean i'm helping to "destroy the ocean" if i eat atlantic scallops? or gulf-shrimp? or red snapper? etc?
I've bought the frozen bison burgers before and found them rather tough/rubbery compared to when I buy fresh ground bison, but the latter is pricey and sporadic in the supermarkets I frequent. So when I noticed that TJ's had frozen bison burgers with onion, mushroom, and cheese I bit, but I don't think the taste of the add-ins comes through, and there's no difference in texture. I'm not sure if this is a new item.
I like their french-fried onions, in a cardboard canister. Better onion flavor, and less salty, than the Durkee/French product.
This may make me unpopular but I am not a fan of TJs. The few things I might buy there dont merit a special trip for me and I can't justify making a special trip for a store that doesnt offer fresh (not frozen) meats and fish and a wide array of produce. I have many friends who cook a lot and love TJs, I just cant seem to get on board.
my all time favorites of theirs: the guacamole (i love how fresh it is in the air-tight container!), the frozen macaroni and cheese (the pasta is never mushy and it really is so cheesy and tasty), and the frozen teriaki chicken, SO TASTY!!
other yays: their goddess dressing (I actually like their version better than the Amy's one), the Tzatziki dip, the frozen spinach and artichoke dip (it's so thick and melty when warmed), the refrigerated turkey meatballs (really tasty and good texture), the frozen naan
nays: really not many, but i do have to say that I tried the refrigerated chicken marsala awhile ago and remember really liking it. I got it again recently and it was awful! I guess the sauce was okay, but the chicken breading was so soggy, and fell right off the chicken. I couldn't finish it. I've also never been impressed with their breads, or their tomato sauces. I always found that they had an inconsistent taste and grainy texture. and I gotta say, I wasn't impressed by the frozen individual quiches. I thought the crust was bland and too crumbly.
yea: soycutash (corn, edamame, red bell pepper).
good flavor, texture overall. sweeet corn. the photo on the bag seems to have "more" edamame than the actual product.
i made it a/c instructions, but did add salt 1/2-way through. drained, cooled, then i dressed it with lemon juice, cider vinegar, garlic powder and a little pico de gallo. also, some torn sage leaves from the garden, and rosemary leaves (not chopped, just left whole to flavor) and some dried organo, rubbed to get more flavor. this dish is fat free summer goodness!
i wish i'd omitted the pico b/c i wanted to have the non-hot flavors of corn and edamame shine on their own. still delish as a summer side. plus, i was craving veggies, and this fit the bill. would be good with some buttery sauteed bay scallops, i'm thinking -- or in a scallop soup or creamy chowder.
roasted garlic marinara. "heavy" and "dull" tasting. i wanted a brighter flavor. wouldn't buy again. added some red wine vinegar to save it. it helped, but then i felt it was too sweet. go figure!
pet peeve: out of my delicious gorgonzola gnocchi ;-((.
I'm in California - we've never had issues in general about the quality of the almonds, but I think this is a product grown in California. I have to wonder if there is some sort of issue when it comes to what transpires between the warehouse (I'm assuming starting in California) to the various end points throughout the US.
the *canned* marinara sauce is quite tasty; i didn't even have to tweak. served it with their pappardelle, which we really enjoyed.
i also like the organic yellow tortilla chips (round). they are not too salty (thank goodness!) have a good corn flavor, and stay fresh a long time.
i yay the following:
lemon pepper fettucine (with some butter and asparagus, s&p...YUM. even better, throw in some fresh crab meat.)
fresh pizza dough (plain flavor only). discard all of the printed directions, halve the dough and make 2 pizzas. it is way too much dough for one pizza. stick a pizza stone or untreated ceramic tile in the oven (a la alton brown) and CRANK the broiler for 15-20 minutes. stretch your dough and add toppings (not too many, don't even do sauce. cheese+red onion+sausage+red pepper flake=perfection. add oil dressed arugula after baking.) bake till crust is puffed and blistered...you'll thank me tomorrow!
I also LOVE their citrus champagne vinegar, it is so flavorful that i use it as dressing without oil, or hardly any oil. great for diets!
recently i discovered that they carry TJ's brand burrata, by no means is it better than italian burrata but at $5 for 3 small balls it does the trick. especially compared to $25/lb burrata.
i think they are good for cheeses in general, and i have had good luck with their meats as well.
i try to avoid produce, especially since i live in san francisco and have access to so much amazing produce. something about having everything shrink wrapped kinda squicks me out.
Love the pork gyoza. Love the Cafe Feminino (plain old good coffee, plus it's from a women's coffee collective in Peru!)
Once tried the hash, many years ago. I can't explain why I would have done that, since I don't like hash anyway. It was as bad as I expected.