Your choice for Trader Joe's BEST item
What is your very favorite item from Trader Joe's and why? My choice is their Pastry Bites with Feta Cheese and Caramelized Onions appetizer in the frozen section. Trust me.
This is hard...only one? Probably tops would be their frozen veggie enchilada (not to be confused with their black bean enchilada). It's cheesy and delicious and actually quite healthy.
Their super thin banana crisps are a close second...oh wait, the steamed lentils. Hm...or maybe it's the Druids cookie??
re: Clare K
Haven't seen the banana crisps around lately. I did hear. though, that the nutritional information was VERY wrong on the packaging. Supposedly for each serving, there is 4X the amount of calories, and 16g of sugar compared to the 1g listed on the package. I knew these things were too good to be true--they tasted so good.
Does it piss anyone else off that TJ didn't double check on this?
Not much you can do, agreed that it can be pretty frustrating going in both directions.
I recently borrowed a food scale for baking pretzels and used it to weigh some foods. I realized that you can get screwed in cereals where they dont offer as many as they say but one treat was a loaf of bread that said 5 2oz servings but the thing weighed over a pound. sweeet!
Sorta basic, but what keeps me coming to TJ's two or three times a week is the milk -- at least 50 cents per half-gallon cheaper than the supermarket.
This is tough!!!! How do you choose????
I'd have to go with the frozen spinach and artichoke dip. And now I have to make some when I go home =)
My favorite at TJ's right now is the HUGE prawns in the frozen seafood dept. They are prepped, ready to cook and did I mention HUGE?
Hmm, I guess the one thing I have to buy every time is the frozen mushroom fettucine. I cook it longer than the directions state, until the sauce rduces some, then "kick it up a notch" with a good amount of fresh cracked black pepper and red chili flakes. If I served it to you and you didn't watch me cook, you would never know it was pre-made and frozen.
When you're lazy and want something quick, delicious and relatively healthy, it can't be beat! And if I recall correctly, it also contains nothing but real ingredients, not a bunch of additive crap.
Things I really like:
turkey bacon (very thick, low calorie and nice smoked flavor)
eggs (super cheap)
balsamic chicken in the prepared section (nice to keep at work at cut up for salads during the week)
red pepper and eggplant spread
jalapeno chicken sausages
honey sesame almonds (i can't buy these or i'll eat the whole bag in one sitting)
These are all such interesting, helpful and wonderful suggestions. How fun it will be to shop on my next trip. I also loved the Just Salmon but haven't seen it in months. Thanks so much for all these tasty favorites!
My must-have at TJ's? Frozen fruits (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, Bing cherries, pineapple chunks, mango chunks) - much much cheaper than at standard groceries and always high quality. Throw into hot cereal to take it quickly down to eating temperature, or just add to plain yogurt. And great for quick snack.
That is probably the one item I buy more than any at TJ's, because it's good (nice texture to the rice), super easy and goes with so many things.
I try and eat healthy so I typically grill several chicken breasts over the weenkend, then have those throughout the week with some rice and a bit of hot sauce for spice. Easy, delicious, good for you and filling.
Only downside is that the rice isn't always available... I've learned to load up on it when I see it in the freezer case but clearly others do the same.
Hands down, the carne asada in the refridgerated section. It comes in a package sliced thin, beautifully seasoned and ready for the grill. It is outstanding! They also have a korean beef my husband loves even better.
There is not a Trader Joe's in my area...but when I have access to one...I think the dried pasta and EVOOs are pretty decent. I haven't had the opportunity to try much more.
pesto sundried tomato torte
honey mango shaving cream
I haven't been to a TJ's in at least a year and these are the things I can come up with at the top of my head. I'm sure there are more.
Organic Raisin Bran Clusters- As close to perfect as a breakfast cereal can be. The Organic Morning Lite is also pretty good if you want something less heavy (also makes a great "Rice Krispie" treat).
I love the nuts and dried fruits - great prices - and the products move so you know that it hasn't been sitting on the shelf for years. I love to try the more exotic offerings: dried mangoes with chili (not for everyone, but if you love mango and paprika..) and dragonfruit. The no salt options are nice too.
Wine selections are reasonably priced. You can sample different varieties without spending a fortune. I
The olive tapenade (the one in the hexagon jar) is good.
Hard to pick just one.
All the trail mixes, especially the tempting mix with dried cherries and dark chocolate bits
dried fruit, pineapple rings are so good
pizza dough is my favorite, but the runner ups are carne asada, korean beef, museli mix (with the crossword on the front)
oh, man...i have so many favs...i'll try and limit to 5!
woodfired pizzas (and alsacian tart)
dark choc chunk cookie dough
struedel (berry is best)
vegetarian (non-dairy) enchiladas (frozen)
that was tough (and 6) i could do 6 more!
i'm addicted to their cranberry rounds cookies. like oatmeal raisin, only with cranberries. Just the perfect amount of chew. mil served them as part of a holiday cookie platter, saying that only one cookie was homemade. the homemade one turned out to be the mediocre lemon squares. i would have sworn the cranberry rounds were homemade.
Oh goodness, we live off Trader Joes! Almost all our meat, cheese, milk products and nuts come from here.
BUT, if I had to name one unique TJ product, it's the dark chocolate-covered toffee brittle with pistachio nuts! YOW. When I first tasted the sample at the check-out, I swallowed it, looked up at the cashier and said, "You people are absolutely cruel. WHAT aisle are these on?"
Then I ran back to that aisle and threw them into my order.
Hard to name just one! The frozen pizzas are good in a pinch.
Love the frozen soy "chicken" nuggets for quick junk-food lunch
LOVE the frozen brown rice
Love the indian simmer sauces with a healthy handful of extra-hot red pepper flakes thrown in
Green garbanzo beans-a new item, great with indian sauces
tomato-vodka sauce (jarred)
We're going to be moving within the year and it just makes me so sad to know there's a good chance I'll get a job in a place with no TJ's. It would seriously be a hard adjustment to make! :(
Cornbread pizza dough (but are they ever going to get it again?)
Pastry bites with feta cheese and carmelized onions.
Tenderloins - actually more like petit filets
I loved their gyozas but the supplier went bankrupt. Supposedly, they are looking for a new one...
Frozen chocolate chip cookie dough
I was disappointed to find yztziki (spelling?) sauce but no gyro meat at my store...Heck, I used to be able to get that in the 80s at my neighborhood Jewel in N. Illinois...
1. D'Aquino organic expresso. 2nd best coffee I've had, they didn't have any on my last visit and I was sad. It is also a full pound as opposed to 13 oz one their other varieties for about the same price.
2. The Thai lemongrass chicken rice bowls. I crave these enough that I will be rude and clear the freezer which I don't usually do with other items.
3. Their whipped cream cheese.
Heh, I like the Thai Lemongrass bowls too, although my current favorite has been the Chicken "Vindaloo". Really, I don't think it's much like true vindaloo, but it makes a reasonable quick lunch at work. Rounding out that trifecta is the Thai Mussaman curry bowl, but I don't like it quite as much as the Vindaloo
The Lemongrass stands out especially for having probably the lowest sodium I've ever seen in such a frozen meal concoction.
I think the "best" item I had, though, was the aforementioned Marcona Almonds with Rosemary. Worth every penny the couple times we bought them (really expensive for that bag, something like 8 bucks, but oh so good).
Other repeat offenders, bought more than once since opening (TJ's only opened here a few months ago, and it's some 30 miles from the house so we only go every few weeks generally) include:
frozen meatless meatballs
any of the imported from Italy frozen pizzas
single servings of plain nonfat yogurt (elsewhere you have to buy this in a big tub)
masala simmer sauce (tried korma too but liked masala better)
frozen panko breaded tilapia (we have the worst trouble cooking most fish at home, fresh, frozen, whatever, but this comes out good)
corn and chile salsa (we use it with the tilapia)
some frozen vegetable mix we keep getting (can't remember what it's called)
"Moral Fiber" lowfat bran muffins (couldn't pass up the name!)
Next repeat offender will be Organic High-Fiber O's cereal (most nutritious Cheerios-style cereal I've ever seen, nice break from all the twigs and such of most high fiber cereals)
None of these in the list are really knockout great fantastic "You must try this!" items. They're just enough different from what we can get in other stores near us, and we like them, so we go there to stock up occasionally. TJ's is near the only Whole Foods in the area, so we usually go to both. (WF again is enough different from other offerings.) We live way out in the north suburbs of Pittsburgh, so there's nowhere out there to shop for this kind of stuff. We await the eventual arrival of a TJ's out there, or something similar.
If TJ's had wine (not possible in PA right now) that would make the list I'm sure.
Now that TJs has dropped the D'Aquino organic expresso...... and especially since it was your "2nd best coffee", what is your #1 coffee please? Hopefully, it is organic because that is the only kind I will consider but I would appreciate knowing your favorite regardless.
By the way, if lots of people call TJs corporate and request that they bring the D'Aquino organic expresso back, they PROBABLY will. TJ's Corporate is 626-599-3817. FYI.
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the refrigerated Genova (? I think the 'v' should be in there...) Pesto. I always keep a stash in the freezer - it's great over pasta as a quick dinner when I don't feel like cooking.
The meatless meatballs are amazing. Generally fakemeat repulses me, but these are to die for.
Also, the petite peas! So little and wonderful and cheap!
I'll second that vote for the pesto. I use it all the time and it's divine. Also, love the 100 calorie packs of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies, Hummus, Hand Made Wheat Tortillas (my all time fave TJ item), fresh medium salsa, Egg-less Egg Salad, Orange Juice (really the best!), Tangerine Juice, Blood Orange Juice..oh so many more that I can't even remember them all! The one I miss the most was a package of 2 lemon tarts in the refrigerator section. They were discontinued years ago, but I still miss and crave them.
Regarding the Genova Pesto, if you make your own pizza, this is what we utilize for the sauce. I can't make pizza with tomato-based sauce since trying this. It makes a GREAT pizza. If you want to try it, we usually put the pesto on a pre-made pizza crust (Alvarado bakery from Whole Foods since TJ's no longer carries), then pesto (after removing excess oil with paper towel), then TJ's sliced crimini mushrooms, onion or shallot sliced thinly, red bell pepper strips, toasted pine nuts, and parmessan cheese. Additional options are small blobs of shevra (goat) cheese, and a sprinkling of finely chopped parsley (before the parmessan). Enjoy.
The best thing they had was Ginger Joe Joes, but they don't make them anymore.
As others have said, the microwavable brown rice packets are convenient and good.
I like the Assam tea in bags.
I forgot about their chocolate chips. They are the best best best I've ever had. Even if I have to bake 300 cookies, I would rather use the 12 oz bags of TJ's over any other chip. (even better when made with Plugra butter)
I work at TJ's, so I tend to eat a lot of the food, between grocery shopping, quick lunches at work, and regular tastings of new products. The most crack-like items I regularly devour are: the frozen mac 'n' cheese, wasabi tamari almonds, triple ginger snaps, Moroccan oil cured olives, and TJ's Vintage Ale. I probably spend more of my paycheck at work than I'd like to know.
TJ's green curry sauce is amazing, and makes for some incredibly delicious, quick meals.
I also like their fruit and nut granola bars.
the mini peanut butter cups sound dangerous. i have resisted the temptation so far.
chocolate caramel tarts,
frozen organic blueberries and frozen cherries
frozen japanese scallops
cherry chip soy delicious ice cream
most of their chocolate bars
kosher ribeye steaks
-- some more that i forgot
morningstar veggie corndogs (frozen)
frozen profiteroles with chocolate sauce
Frozen pizza Margherita.
Frozen soy nuggets- I ate them every day for lunch for about 2 years. I even convinced a hard-core carnivore to try them once, because they smelled so yummy.
The vast juice selection.
Love Trader Joe's. We just spent $163.00 there before sending our daughter back to college. Some of the things we bought are:
Frozen green beans (yum)
Frozen brown rice
the mozzarella balls in herbed oil (mix 'em up with chopped tomatoes and you have an instant caprese salad)
and... don't forget... the Avocado's Number guacamole!
The roasted 1/2 salted cashews, almonds, shelled pistachios, and the dried montmorency cherries. Can't live without them.
The house-brand olive oil.
I have recently discovered their "Ginger Spread" in the jam area of the store. WOW. WOWOWOWOWOWOWOW! It's entire ingredient list: ginger root and cane sugar. It is soooooo good. Very spicy, slightly sweet. I've been adding it to everything, and have found it's excellent stirred into a bowl of plain oatmeal, and also great as a "tea": one spoonful in a mug of hot water is more gingery and better than any bagged ginger tea I've had.
My latest is the packets of dried wild mushrooms, only $1.99, I'll never use fresh mushrooms again..until they don't have them next time. I used to love their frozen mushroom mix, but this is even better.
I spent seven years in Orlando - every trip "home" (to northern CA.) or when family/friends would come to visit, involved a long list of "gotta purchase at TJ's and ship to Orlando" items. Pre-9/11 I'd also fly back with an ice chest (checked through as baggage) full of their frozen items.
Depressingly, I ended-up on their "Fearless Flyer" mailing list, and when that'd arrive in the mailbox I'd sit and salivate and feel grumpy and exiled - all at the same time. I was pathetic.
I just got a bottle of TJ's new California Grapefruit Vinegar, and it's a winner. I used it in a vinaigrette with avocado oil, really good.
i miss the blue jalapeno corn bread. did anyone ever try it?
i also like:
mini whole wheat pita rounds with their hummus.
dark chocolate chip cookies with almonds...healthy right? ;)
veggie chips (their version of terra chips can't remember exactly what they call them)
boxed indian cuisine
Dried fruit and nuts and their peach salsa which is not nearly as good out of the fridge so we just eat the whole jar each time we open one.
I have a new favorite in the new items: Vegetable Masala Burgers. These things are amazing! First tried yesterday. There's no meat and NO SOY in these at all, just vegetables and roughly Indian seasoning. Hardly need to put anything on them. I wanted to see what it tasted like then happily ate mine plain (on a whole wheat Pepperidge Farm english muffin, which is our house standard "bun" for veggie burgers). In the frozen section, package of 4 for $2.49 in our store, which is much cheaper than the everyday non-sale prices of any veggie burgers in our local supermarkets (usually $3.99). Try these!
No one has mentioned Uncrystallized Ginger? Love it!
And the Dry Roasted (green) Edamame
Agreed about the frozen Green Garbanzos, too.
i love the coffee i can get there. i get 3 pounds for a dollar more than i pay for a pound at DD, and it tastes so much better. i am working my way through a bay blend tub right now and it is delicious. also a big fan of the frozen fish and the vegetables when they are in season are great.
rack of lamb
thai chicken sticks
frozen haricots verts
two buck chuck, shiraz and sauvignon blanc
precut fresh butternut squash
Finally got to try the tamale's. So far I've had the green chili and cheese and the beef. Both were excellent and made a great lunch. I think the beef are more authentic to the ones I use to eat in California. Those were homemade by a friends Mexican mother. Trader Joe's were very close. I haven't tried the chicken ones, my son stole them out of the freezer before I could get to them. Kids!!! Anyway, I added a little salsa, sour cream and cheese and they were wonderful. I also tried the chicken and green chilis burittos and they were also good. You can't beat the price for a great lunch or hearty snack.
Their frozen roasted corn and frozen Haricot Verts ( french green beans) are excellent, as is their Tarte D' Alsace, Handmade French Apple Pie with Rainbow Vanilla Ice Cream, Organic cold pressed olive oil, Grilled Vegetable Tapenade in the glass jars on the condiment aisle, I love their prepackaged herb salad, refrigerated ( new item) sun dried tomatoes, Niman ranch uncured bacon and hot dogs (YUM!), frozen chicken gyoza, Plugra butter (great price), The BBQ potato chips ( in a red bag I think) rock and the Trader Joe's version of Nutella, can't remember what it's called now, is waaay better than Nutella. As has been mentioned before their Triple Gingersnap cookies are awesome. I love the Grana Padano cheese that comes in the twist and grate tube, freshly grated Grana Padano that doesn't turn hard and stale, great product. They also have come out with a new Chili Lime Chicken Burger in their frozen food section that is wonderful! Great flavor, absolutely NO preservatives! I regularly stock up on the frozen organic brown rice, balsamic vinegar ( small red bottle) Vodka marinara sauce, organic chicken stock in a box.
"Nuts About Antioxidants" trail mix! Okay, the name perhaps could use some work, but I just love it on any cereal, especially granola. The cherries, the goji berries, the slivered almonds - so good! And guilt-free, or so I tell myself - in fact, with all the buzz about antioxidants, I have actually convinced myself that I am doing myself a favor every time I eat it!
See also this similar thread for other TJ's advice: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/326682
Here's my list:
1) Frozen brown rice
2) Greek salad (but be sure to check the expiration date. Sometimes the cucumbers are soggy)
4) Just a handful packets, especially the new dried cranberry/cashew/almond ones (I take these on business trips)
5)frozen basil and cilantro cubes
6)100-calorie packages of cookies and crackers
7)frozen mini beef tacos, which seem ridiculous and are quite tasty
8)the new "artisanal" breads especially the mini baguette
9) frozen fruits
10) sparkling lemonade and limeade
11) candy coated peanuts. You can eat the whole box in two sittings
12) frozen chocolate chip cookie dough (but be careful, those little balls are 120 calories each!)
One thing I've had lots of problems with is their milk. It goes bad after only a few days, well before the sell-by date. I'm not crazy about the TJ brand yogurt, the Total is better.
Frozen sugar snap peas
Frozen large raw shrimp
Thai spiced peanuts
Frozen fruits (berries, etc.)
Sundried tomato in oil
BBQ hawaiian potato chips
Herb pizza dough
Pastry bites with feta and caramelized onions
Trek mix with almonds, white chocolate and cranberries
Chicken apple sausage
I think that I can keep going on and on as I cannot simply choose one BEST item. Everything there is great..My favorite store.
I do want to try their macadamia cashew nut butter but I am afraid that I will love it too much and eat the whole jar in one sitting.
Ran in tonight to pick up dinner (bagged Herb Salad, Margharita Pizza, and Pear and Champagne vinegar salad dressing) and they were sampling a new item; Lemon Tart. They carry it in their bread section ( next to muffins). It was DELICIOUS! Shortbread crust and really good tart lemon curd.
Thanks for the lemon tart tip--will try that. this is seasonal, but I adore their holiday marzipan stollens. Great with coffee. Second (third?) the peanut butter cups and also the frozen choc. chip cookie dough is a must-have. They're already in ready-to-bake little portions. Addictive.
Yep that chx apple sausage is among the most natural tasting and least processed.
And now to my few of many favs:
Wild Mushroom Rissotto goes well w/....
Rack of Lamb
Ahi Tuna Steaks (a bit thin but can'tbeat the price)
S.W. Chix burgers
Chinese Chix w/ rice noodles. -- try it romaine leaves
Aged balsamic..a steal
Spray Canola and Olive Oils
Their oreo-type cookies..and no transfats. Nabisco is jumping on that bandwagon.
Angel Food Cake
stop me now...
Oh wait..don't forget the great service. One of the most interesting corporate cultures. Never questions asked when you need to return something. Bravo.
Wow, tough choices. I'd have to say that I love frozen mango chunks (though the supply is erratic). Also the red enchilada sauce makes any quick nacho snack taste pulled together and I have am addicted to the thai lemongrass rolls (freezer section). Great with the mango too.
I tried the mini chocolate bundt cakes with chocolate chips and they were horrible!
I greatly miss the mini sesame fortune cookie discs they used to have next to the chips and crackers. Wish I could find those somewhere else. I loved the size and the sesame seeds and they were just the right flavor.
Hmmmm, let me see.... Everything they carry are the best quality for the best price there is.
Love the beef tenderloin ends, believe they make a fantastic filet steaks. The thick Greek yogurt, which I found only at T.J's. The French "Madrange" hams. The frozen Onion and Ham Tart. The breads, the cheeses. And agree with everyone's selection. Great Store and great service. Although I have not won yet their $ 50 shopping gift card, only carry my own bags for grocery shopping.
thank goodness it's $50 here in l.a...even that doesn't get you much anywhere else in this town besides tj's!
but i'm beginning to wonder if they really ever do those drawings. i've been filling out that little ticket every time - at least once a week - for years now, and still haven't won...
- Fage yogurt
- Frozen Hariot Vert (BEST frozen green bean hands down)
- Raw mac nuts, raw cashews, and pecans - great for candy making where skinned, raw, unsalted nuts are often used.
- Dipper cookies, the cranberry oatmeal are really terrific (these cookies look a lot like a flat biscotti and come in a variety of flavors. The chocolate chip is pretty good too)
re: Sugar Jones
The Margharita Pizza
Canned marinara (green label)
Frozen thai dumplings
jarre Pitted Kalamata Olives
The italian Yoghurt that comes two little jars in a package-Apricot whe they have it
Eggplant Parm (baked not fried)
Ready to cook whole plaintains
Salsa Especial (killer)
french Onion Soup (frozen)
Agree about the wine-two buck Chuck? ewwwww
I can't believe nobody has mentioned the frozen flounder filet stuffed with crabmeat. Is it just regional? In Chicago it's usually sold out. At $2.99 it's an entree that would cost about $18 at any local restaurant. Also, the frozen chocolate lava cake is wonderful. And the dried Montmorency cherries. And the peanut butter, so good that I've stopped making my own.
I think my favorite is the cheapest '$5.99 red wine "merlot" surprisingly good
in FL, there are no TJs near me -- but we're flying to indianapolis next wk for the F1 race and i was very happy to see that there is a TJs quite near where we're staying -- and we'll have a mini kitchen so this thread has been invaluable with the frozen entree, microwaveable, and snack items. thanks!
I used this last night on top of stuffed peppers, it's great...oh man, I didn't go try TJs at first, somebody I knew didn't like it, so it was such a pleasant surprise when I did go there. I don't know why they don't open more stores midwest and east, they get mobbed when they do. I hear NYC has check out lines that snake around the store. Hope you get one near you soon.
frozen turkey meatballs
thai spiced cashews
tuna in green curry (packets)
i pack lunches all the time straight from the freezer of brown rice, spinach, and a few meatballs. the tuna in green curry is awesome over rice or when drained, as a sandwich filling. and i had to stop buying the cashews, I was eating too many of them at once. all their nuts seem to be pretty good, and generally much cheaper than you can find them elsewhere.
i like their celery hearts too, in the produce section.
oh and their gingersnap cookies! i brought a tub into the office once, and people couldn't stop eating them.
based on recs here, on our trip to indy i tried the turkey meatballs and the chicken drummies. i loved them both but my son did not like the chicken at all. (keep in mind we only had a microwave to heat them)
i also loved a bag of green veggies i grabbed - can't remember the name - it had edamame, asparagus, spinach, broccoli and green beans in it.
i tried and liked the ham/onion/creme fraiche pizza tart thing - again, had to nuke it - i imagine it's much better baked properly.
i liked the TJs lowfat yogurt, but it wasn't to die for. (i guess i shoulda grabbed a fage just to try it)
i wanted to try the shrimp and the tilapia, but that would have been too much food (we had to eat out a bit too!)
overall, i liked the store very much - although the beer selection wasn't the greatest.
OH, ok - i see! ;0)
no, they didn't have hitachino in indianapolis.
even so, i can get hitachino here in FL and i was more interested in midwestern or northeastern microbrews that i can't get in FL. (of which there are a ton)
i think i was expecting TJs to have a large selection, like whole foods does.
i was not able to find many of the items mentioned here, at the NYC trader joe; like the tuna and green curry, indian simmer sauce, brown rice ball, ready to cook plantains etc.
Dried Wild Bluberries! I'm eating them right now. You can put them on so many things, cereal, yogurt, salads...and a great healthy snack.
An Australian wine I really like: Rosemount Estate Traminer Riesling is light and crisp. I've only seen it at the 2005 Disney World Epcot Food & Wine Festival and at Trader Joe's this year. I had been looking for it since the festival and was so happy to see it at TJs this year!
Thai birds nest appetizers (frozen), easy to back and delicious.
Little rolls of guava paste, individually wrapped, 10 in a box, great sliced on a piece of cheese on a cracker.
Dynamo mixed fruit juice, 100% fruit, lots of vitamins, no HFCS, and delicious.
All the simmer sauces.
WOW. Hard to choose one, glad to see this post started up again.
Dried apple crisps
Freeze dried mangosteen/mango/
Frozen Naan bread
much much more.
Pumpkin Pie!! It's that time of year again. Trader Joe's frozen Pumpkin Pie - First ingredient is whipping cream, then pumpkin. I've never really been a lover of pumpkin pie, but this one is light while rich and flavorful. Price is $4.49.
Definitely the frozen fruit. I am there every week for fruit. I pay $1-$1.50 less per package than in the chain markets, and TJ carries black raspberries, which I have never ever seen frozen in any other store. Also, their pineapple is sweet and doesn't make your mouth burn. I always have fun at TJ and stagger out with a load of stuff but it's their fruit that's a staple for me.
Trader Joe's is a very dangerous place for me! After even if I tell myself that I'm only going in there to look, I walk out with a plastic totebag full of stuff. I seriously love alot of their products, and have eaten just about everything they have. So far these are my all time favorites:
(Holiday) Peppermint Joe Joe's
Peanut Butter cups
Chocolate Soy Milk
Peach Blueberry Panna Cotta
Rice Crispy Treats
Crab Cakes( frozen, refrigerated, and mini)
Raspberry & Brie Phillo Dough appetizers
The list goes on and on! At this point it's a miracle I haven't just moved in next door to my local Trader Joe's
Frozen chicken shumai
Frozen shelled edamame
Unsweetened chai mix
Gyoza dipping sauce
Sprouted wheat pappardelle
Gourmet fried onion pieces (fabulous on almost everything)
The two Trader Joe's items I adore the most are the Chicken Tamale Pie (chunky chicken in spicy sauce topped with black beans topped with a cheesy slurry topped with poufy, tender cornbread) and the Triple Ginger Snaps. The Ginger Snaps in particular I can't keep in the house, or I will eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night snacks.
What are these Peppermint Jo Jos? A cookie? A candy?
re: Steve Green
Can't wait to try these Peppermint JoJos -- I am a huge fan of any chocolate/mint combination.
We perused this thread prior to our last TJs run (one hour from home, so not tooo bad) -- so we walked in armed with an extensive list. That Mandarin chicken is indeed exceptional -- wow! Much better than the orange chicken at many take-out Chinese places, and you know you can eat it piping hot when you're heating it up yourself!
We are big fans of the mushroom turnovers, veggie egg rolls, coconut chicken sticks, and the tart with ham and Gruyere... we heat up a few of each for "TJs Tapas Nights" -- these are quick dinners, indulgent :) and perfect for curling up to watch a movie.
I make my own quick dipping sauce for the egg rolls and chicken sticks -- spicy Thai paste, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, one clove crushed garlic. We serve chicken sticks and egg rolls with this sauce and the TJs sweet and sour -- which stains our plates, by the way... an excellent combo of sauces to accent these treats!
re: foxy fairy
Hells Yeah, Foxy Fairy! Coconut chicken sticks all the way!!! Throw these in the oven when you are making the run to pick up thai or viet take out. They are prob better than a lot of thai places' fried egg roll renditions I've had. These are right up there with some of the homemade lumpia I've been lucky enough to have a few steady sources for. I can't praise these things enough. Probably be pretty good combined with tj's thai peanut sauce if it's any good. I also dig on their spinach / feta puffs. Not nearly as salty as most prefab brands.
The half sour kosher pickles, armenian flatbread in the bakery section and the nice small packages of fresh produce. Unfortunatly, I live in a state that is a culinary disaster area and can only enjoy TJ when I travel. Another really great chain are the Sunflower Markets in AZ & CO, very inexpensive.
The shocking thing to me is that they list that thing as 3 servings I believe. Screw eating a bag, I could sit down with some good peanut butter to dip in and put away two bags easy.
so delicious. went there yesterday and lucky to see they still had it. Just in case, I bought several bags.
Call me crazy, but I like their plain flour tortillas--not the "handmade" looking ones, the ordinary ones that go for about a buck-fifty a dz. I grew up on really thin flour tortillas (like paper thin, almost translucent), and since I moved to l.a. 14 yrs ago, I've never been able to find any thin enough to my liking. That is until I discovered TJ's version. Now that's the only brand I'll buy, at least until I make a trip to Phx to get a stash at Carolinas!
Also, while I managed to avoid buying it each year, this year I finally succumbed to all the glowing recs on this board about the pumpkin butter and pumpkin ice cream. Now I'm addicted. Thanks a lot, you evil people! ;-)
Green chile-cheese tamales in freezer section
Family pack of cheese enchiladas in freezer section
Frozen veggies (esp. the french green beans)
Rosemary demi baguettes
Oh there are so many things I like there I could go on and on!
Well, I tried to resist but I finally gave in to the siren song of the Mandarin Chicken.
Oh my gosh...it was delicious. I also bought a few packs of the veggie fried rice and prepared it in a skillet with a couple of eggs scrambled into it and it was delicious. Much better than most takeout I've had.
My top other top faves:
Frozen Mac and Cheese
Pre-sliced Havarti slices
Par-boiled cornmeal pizza crust - where did it go? *My* TJ's doesn't carry it anymore... :(
Mochi ice cream that comes in four flavors: green tea, strawberry, mango, and chocolate
Or, their frozen four cheese macaroni and cheese that's made with gouda, swiss, havarti and cheddar.
I love 'em both!
Hands down, the "Trader Giotto's" bruschetta in the refrigerated section next to the pasta. It's unbelievable!!! After that, I would say the Korean bulkogi beef...
TJ creamy peanut butter with salt. It is the absolute BEST tasting peanut butter. I send it to my daughter in Alaska where there is no TJ; her family begs for it. They also love the peanut butter filled pretzels with salt.
I was shoveling down this green olive tapenade at this fancy Hollywood party the other week and found (to my utter surprise) that it came from Trader Joes and is about $3 a jar! Dangerous information. At the party, they also had TJ's black olive tapenade and it didn't taste as good (at least to me).
It would be quite a list, but if I have to list only 1- probably harricot verts (frozen tiny french green beans). But I also have to mention frozen roasted corn, british cheddar with carmelized onions, greek yogurts, hummus and multigrain pancake mix.
BTW, they used to sell the most wonderful Mascovy ducks- lean and flavorfull-they dissapeared a couple of years ago and I am upset ever since...Anyone knows what happened?
Friends, I just purchased the dark chocolate covered caramels topped with sea salt (flat box in the refridgerator section of my T.J.'s.) They are out of this world. The caramel is melty, not solid, so be careful as you bite into them. The quality of the chocolate is amazing and the salt is an extra bonus.
FYI - they're discontinuing their Edamame. In fact all food from China. I'm hoping they can find a substitute suppllier soon.
But my favorite item - love the roasted red pepper and eggplant spread (in a jar and bright orange/red). It's amazing on a cracker atop goat cheese. A simple and impressive app. Not to mention cheap! It's under $3 a jar.
Just tried their frozen asparagus risotto last night. Really liked it, esp. connsidering how much time it saved me from the real stuff.
A few of my favorites:
Cheddar Cheese crackers (like cheez-its but SOOO much better flavor)
Fresh Mozzarella in brine(?) - super cheap and delicious
Thai Tuna packets
Jarred Klamata Olives
now discontinued but I will never forget- White Cheddar Hawaiian Style Potato Chips
Man I love this post. I just read the entire thing at work and now I want to make a trip to TJs for the second time this week!
Gnocchi Sorrento (sp?) - so cheesy and yummy.
Loaker Lemon cookies
Thai Shrimp Dumplings (frozen foods)
Australian strawberry licorice (worth the $3.99)
Fire roasted vegetables with balsamic
Vegetable Chips & Sweet Potato Chips
I loved the Thai Lemongrass Rice Bowls - but my TJ's stopped carrying them.
Thank god we finally got a TJ's in Manhattan... blocks from my home!
Thai tuna curries (made in Thailand!)
"Indian Fare" products (made in India! I like Jaipur vegetables, but they're all good)
Both of these products are best when you actually boil them in the bag, as the directions suggest - one of each and some of their jasmine rice cooked up in a good rice maker is simple and tasty.
Almond bark (seasonal for the holidays and very addictive)
Salted chocolate covered caramels (same warning as above)
Best of all, THEIR RETURN POLICY!
amidst the gems there are some clinkers, but you can always get your money back.
Peanut Butter Crack Balls (okay they're malt balls but careful they ARE habit forming)
Thai Chili Lemon Cashews AND Pistachios
Capitola Cashew nut mix with chili and dried fruit and seeds
Balsamic frozen vegie blend (save some of the sauce patties for your meat)
Lava Cakes.......such a great back up for dinner parties. Come in 2 packs
Balsamic Glaze (haven't seen this one on the shelves in a while
Stilton with Apricot or Cranberry
India Relish!! Mix it in soups or try with Apricot Preserves in Meatloaf.
The frozen brown rice is fluffy and nutty. Better than what often comes out of my rice maker
Pineapple or Mango Salsa
cuban black beans
Orange Chicken, even though others are raving about it, It is dark meat and tastes greasy to me. I prefer Costco's version
The Frozen Indian entrees taste watered down and bland
The frozen Thai bowls..ditto
NON FOOD HAVE TO HAVES:
Chewable Melatonin (for some reason the chewable works better but I double the dose they recommend)
Pine Kitty Litter. Good for the environment (you can use it for mulch) and keeps the odor at bay.
French Lavender Soap bars
Oxi clean granules (aside from laundry,cleans moss off your roof and driveway),
I finally tried the cheese filled frozen pastry bites and wished I'd bought them earlier. They are divine.
Hard for me to choose one favorite......I always purchase Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice from the dairy case. It is always delicious and less expensive than supermarket Tropicana.
I have to agree with others on the steamed lentils. My favorite new meal from TJ's: steamed lentils, bag of baby spinach, and TJ's goat cheese (best value around). Salt and pepper some lentils, top with a handful of spinach, pour some olive oil and white wine vinegar on top and microwave. Stir until the spinach is wilted, then add dollops of goat cheese and stir again. It's divine!
Also just tried their baby red beets. Delicious on a spinach salad with some goat cheese. Mmmmmm.
The garlic naan is back. Thank you TJs, youve got me back.
Im astonished and extremely irked that theyve discontinued selling the balsamic vinegar in spray bottles- it was a perfect designed product. please bring that back.
I didn't read all the posts here so i don't know if someone has already mentioned these.
The age balsamic at @$4 is a steal. It's 10 years old!. Try to find it anywhere else under$15.
The EVOO(I hate using that term, reminds me of that bubblehead on TV) is also a steal i think the last price I remember is $8
I think my favorite has to be the Pound Plus Chocolate bars. It's imported from Belgium. I think it rivals the big name chocolates. I use them for deserts and baking as well as just popping a sqaure in my mouth and letting it slowly melt
I have a feeling that every product they offer is probably listed above-lol. TJ's is (deservedly) much loved. I just wish it were much closer (1 hr drive), but it could be worse.
Many of the above are great recommendations, btw. I especially love the vegetable masala burgers, and the frozen seafood trio (along with about 95% of the products I've ever tried from there).
Has anyone mentioned the carmelized onion, pancetta, and gruyere tart yet? I need one immediately!
I just discovered Saint Andres triple cream cheese from France. It's pretty creamy & tasty. About $5 a block.
I love their hummus though it's salty. I like it better than other brands.
I think Im officially off TJs or picking items that I like the best.
Every.. single... no fail.... gets discontinued. Im fed up.
the good stuff:)
french village yogurt
peppermint jo jos
vegan pad thai
mediterranean feast platter
roasted vegetable pizza
frozen edamame beans
coffee blast ice cream
carrot cake rice ice cream
cranberry- hibiscus juice
peanutbutter filled pretzels
My favorite TJs items are:
-cinnamon almonds (sweet but not too sweet, crunchy and YUM!)
-the cheap but tasty Orange Juice (1.99!)
-frozen brown rice.
-plantain chips (cheaper and nicer than the ones at Whole Foods)
-The flatbread crackers (again, 1.99 and YUM...I can't remember their name exactly but they have honey and flaxseeds)
-Vanilla Almond Granola clusters
-Lite feta cheese
-Green tea with pomegranate juice (cool and refreshing with ice)
-The most yummy organic ginger cookies, which are incredibly moreish and have not an additive in them, just ginger, butter, flour and a couple of other ingredients.
-The red pepper spread is lovely, and I also love the jars of roasted red peppers which I just cut up and toss on pasta with garlic, parsley and lemon juice.
-The pre-packaged beets (pickle 'em in balsamic, they're yum)
-The cheap bagged spinach
-The microwaveable fingerling potatoes. Easy peasy.
For me the only downsides of TJs are the fresh produce. A lot of it is conveniently packaged, but I have noticed the fruit is generally not very good tho the veggies are OK. The biggest drawback is the herbs are overpriced and often wilting. I get my herbs at other stores, plus stuff that TJs doesn't have like kale and cartoned coconut milk. If they expanded and improved their fresh produce section it would be the best grocery store in America, hands down! Cheap, healthy and convenient food. Yahoo!
My latest obsessions:
- the peach, mango, orange juice. better than regular ol'orange juice anyday. can't start the day without it.
- their salted pita crackers. a perfect app. with TJ's brand goat cheese and the roasted red pepper eggplant dip.
- their dark chocolate covered caramels. OMG! I may have to stop now on the way home. I lucked out on my last visit. I got home and somehow there they were in my bag. I didn't buy them. I know, I know, I should have taken them back and paid for them. Instead I just devoured the whole container in two days!
Can't believe nobody's mentioned the tempura shrimp. Convenient and almost as good as neighborhood Japanese restaurants. Also oriental dumplings (shrimp and pork), pizza dough and fresh mozzerella from San Francisco. Fresh naan was good but not as good as our Whole Foods which is just a couple of blocks away. We also keep a supply of frozen sole fillets on hand. Very good and cheap, too, at least in NC.
Brittany Blend Frozen Veggies
TJ California Olive Oil
TJs Asian Ginger Salad Dressing
cream of tomato soup
sundried tomato pesto
TJs blue cheese dip
Everytime I say I love something at TJ's they discontinue it.
So today I tip my hat to the long departed salmon chorizo.
It looked like a turd, but oh my god, my wife and I still crave this some three or four years after the fact. For a while they repackaged it as "Salmon Chorizo Fajitas" but we think that was just to bury it in a bag of peppers and onions in an attempt to hide how bad it looked. We'd buy it anyway and throw the frozen veggies out.
I have my current favorites, but I know TJ's is watching so I'll just be quiet ;-)
I like most of their vegetables especially the shredded cabbage. Love the dairy products. The middle eastern flatbread. The "Reserve" Cabernet Sauvignon.
I *heart* their stir-fry veggie mix and pre-cut mushrooms! Wonderful stuff, I just threw it on a skillet with some canned chicken and PRESTO dinner and breakfast!
1. Orange Cranberry Bread -- to die for!
2. The spinach puffs they used to have :(
3. Thai spiced cashews
4. Chocolate Truffles
5. Figs (packaged)
6. Packed microgreens - makes any appetizer you are serving look amazing and restaurant quality!
7. 100 pack chocolate chips..OMG is all we can say around our house!
8. TJ's sparking water....all flavors..cheap although it is super bubbly when you first open it so watch out for spray
9. Cranberry/Blueberry muffins - so delish
10. The new Applesauce Crushers - great for kids!! they love them! if you have kids, get these for sure.
1. Cilantro & Jalapeño Hummus
2. Veggie Pad Thai (frozen)
3. True Thai Tom Yam Soup (frozen)
4. Biryani Rice (frozen)
5. Spanikopita (frozen)
6. Goddess Salad Dressing
7. Spiced Chai Tea
8. Variety of Trail Mixes
9. Breaded Eggplant Cutlets (frozen)
10. Pesto Sauce
Yum - cannot wait until my next Trader Joe's trip!
Blueberry green tea
Those round tins of dark chocolate they keep by the cash registers
Peanut butter (crunchy)
PEPPERMINT JO JO's (maybe they're in already!)
Arancini (in the frozen food aisle)
Alsace pizza (we keep 3 or 4 on hand)
Sea salt & pepper crisps made w/ rice (1 bag = 1 serving, I think!) originally bought w/ our GF friend in mind, but WE love them so much now, we buy them for ourselves.
I can't believe no one mentioned the sun dried tomato hummus, it is a great binge item!
I also couldn't live without their fresh pizza dough, which I use to make flat bread. Super easy to do: take out of the package to rise in a bowl, pour some good quality olive oil over it (I infuse mine with thyme and rosemary), and then break into pieces, flatten them out, and grill on the BBQ. Top with good quality sea salt and pepper, and your favorite seasoning. Your family will love it. BTW, the dough also makes fantastic garlic knots with very little effort.
If you have a gluten free person in your midst, as I do, try the GF frozen pancakes, they are a staple in our house.
The pumpkin pancake mix is wonderful, but I miss their chocolate pancake mix they discontinued some time back.
Frozen puff pastry - seasonal - so stock up!
I had forgotten about the flavored green teas, those are also very nice.
Canned tuna in olive oil. Outstanding quality and can't beat the price. I will look for the Thai tuna packets, they sound wonderful. Never seen them. Maybe they were discontinued?
Lot's of great suggestions above, I will take my time next shopping trip and study all the selections to see if I can find all the gems mentioned.
As for the prepared meal items, I am still waiting to be wowed.
Frozen chocolate croissant dough.
Full fat Greek Yogurt. It is almost impossible to find full fat Greek yogurt anywhere!
I vote for the Tarte d'Alsace. Unhealthy as all heck for you, but soooooo delicious. I know you're not supposed to eat the whole dang thing in one go...but I totally do. Heh heh. I've tried recreating it on my own with the same ingredients, and it's close...but never as perfect as the TJ's version.
Lately they've been featuring "Power Berries" at the cash register. They're dark chocolate balls with various centers made from cranberries, blueberries, pomegranate and acai berries. These should be prescription only, as they are seriously addictive!
We had one of the marinated roasts last night that had amazing flavor. Probably would've been better on the grill, but that's what you get with condo life... We tried the frozen mac and cheese as well. OMG! Cooked it in the oven while the roast was resting, stirred, topped with some panko, put back in oven for a few minutes, and YUM!!!
I resisted the orange chicken for a long time, thinking there was no way frozen chicken would be crispy or that I would actually find white meat under the breading. I was WRONG! I'm pretty picky about frozen meat, but I've bought this at least once a week for the past month!
LOVE the Powerberries, but have to hide them from my husband. The choc-covered pomegranate seeds are good too.
The Chili-Lime chicken (cooked and in refrig section) made amazing quesadillas on their tortillas.
Frozen party meatballs are awesome and easy to throw together for a snack or football app!
My discovery of TJs has ended my culinary hobby for now. It's cheap, fresh, and tastes just as good as restaurants - if not better!
The low fat rice and bean burritos are awesome, especially doctored up with a bit of salsa or hot sauce. Mmmm.
And after today, I am now 100% addicted to the marcona almonds with rosemary and the chili lime mixed nuts. I am going to have to make my husband hide them from me. We also tried the tempura shrimp. Coming from the coast where I am used to eating shrimp that had been caught that day, I'm obnoxiously picky about seafood. I actually enjoyed the tempura. I baked it and it came out very crispy withouth that nasty fishy flavor that non-fresh seafood has. The sauce that comes with it was awesome.
Has anyone had the korean boneless shortribs in the refrigerated section? I bought them on a whim and have read mixed reviews, but most of the bad reviews were about frozen bone-in ribs.
Had some hot apple cider watching the snow fall this afternoon and was in heaven!
My favorite item is the Super Spinach Salad. I love it because it tastes great and contains good things like edamame, spinach, pumpkin seeds and quinoa.
Late to the thread, but I really miss TJs since we moved away from close access to one. I make a monthly pilgrimage to pick up staples that we just can't get anywhere else:
Chicken/beef/veg stock--boring, yes, but their price beats any grocery store and the TJs stock is better tasting. I use it as soup base, sauce base, in a ton of dishes.
Green olives--Maybe it's the brine, or just a better class of olive, but the colossal garlic stuffed green olives are the best around
Mochi--I turned the kids on to these bite size frozen treats. Now I can't keep them in the house long enough to enjoy one myself, and it's not like I can hide them in my desk drawer or anything.
Kauai coffee--same part of the world as Kona, at a fraction of the price.
Marcona almonds--first ran into these at TJs and have never found an equal anywhere else. Fortunately, the kids *don't* like these, so more for me.
Fortune cookie crackers--little rice wafers that taste like fortune cookie. A huge weakness for me, and the first bag often doesn't last the trip home.
Pureed garlic--the first garlic-in-a-jar that tastes like garlic, not like chemistry.