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Jul 9, 2009 07:24 PM

New Trader Joe's yea/nay thread

The current one has over 300 posts dating back over 3 years, so herewith a Lazarus version:
Yea for the Wild Mushroom & Black Truffle Flatbread. I don't know if it's new but am happy it's there to fill the hankering for truffle since the Black Truffle Oil went to ingredient heaven.
It's as good as the Tarte d'Alsace but smaller (9 oz.). Had one for dinner, adding shallot and cooked bacon, with carrot sticks on the side. But reading the package, it lists 2.5 servings of about 3.6 ounces - come on! MAYBE a half of one would suffice, IF accompanied by a big bowl of hearty soup.

The next Fearless Flyer won't be out for at least a month - any other new discoveries in the meantime?

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  1. yay/yeas:
    - New England Wild Frozen Jumbo Scallops
    - frozen avocado halves. i was skeptical, but my curiosity got the better of me. while they're certainly not as good as fresh, they're acceptable in a pinch.

    9 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      - Chocolate covered Raspberry Jellies and Chocolate Covered Cherries
      - Quarts of Trader Joe's and Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream prices

      - Frozen String Beans/Haricot Vert (terrible texture)
      - Any Bread Product, being from my area in Northern New Jersey/New York there are any number of great bakeries offering a better and fresher product.....e.g., Italian Bread, French Baguettes, Rolls, Pita Bread and Flour Tortillas.

      1. re: fourunder

        Surprised by the frozen haricot verts being on your "nay" list. That is one of my "go to" items there and I have never had a bad batch.

        1. re: mdepsmom


          I do not recall where I read the fact the string beans were a top selling item for Trader Joe' could have been on this site, or it could have been on a simple sign above the product. All I can tell you is I have given the beans three purchase/opportunities and all three were a disappointment, so for me, I cannot attribute it to bad batches. For two bucks or less, I really wanted to like the product, but unfortunately I have given up.

          On a similar note, the Costco stores in my area sell fresh Haricot Vert in 2-2.5 ounce bags in their produce department. Initially, I lived these, but my last half dozen purchases have also left me disappointed with the item. Although the green beans look perfect and pristine....for me they seem to develop a decaying odor similar to the bagged lettuce you can purchase everywhere. I can't stand that smell now it is no longer a must purchase item for me either.

          btw.....(jujuthomas) also said nay to the item as well.....

          1. re: fourunder

            I've found the Haricot Verts in the large packages at both Costco and Bristol Farms (in LA). The ones that I got from Costco a couple of months back were fine. The one that I got from Bristol Farms last weekend smelled of mildew. They looked perfectly fine - the cut tips looked fresh, not old or decaying - but that mildew smell is puzzling to me. I believe these beans are a product of Mexico - where in Mexico, I don't know. But I suspect that the weather must be warming up down there, which may be attributing to the current issue.

            1. re: rockandroller1

              I bought a bag of these for Thanksgiving, along with the boxed chestnuts to make the Epicurious recipe posted elsewhere, gee I hope it comes out OK!
              Guess I better crack the bag open and try a few.

          2. re: fourunder

            The only thing I disagree with you on is the flour tortillas. I had some recently and they were better than any of the other mass produced brands I've had in my area. As you suggest, they are definitely not like those that are freshly homemade, but I have no access to those close to where I live, so I'll try the TJs again. Unless you want to ship me some fresh ones from North Jersey...... :)

            1. re: fourunder

              I like the TJ's "bake at home" bread. It comes in a loaf (2 per pack) or in rolls (6 per pack). We don't eat much bread, so I freeze the package and take out the rolls as I need them. 10 min in the oven, and you've got fresh, warm bread.

              The TJ's brand soy ice cream is delicious.

            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Yes to the jumbo scallops. Avoid the bay scallops at all costs, the ones we had were revolting. Cat loved the jumbos, turned nose up at bay scallops...

            3. Big Yea to the mini meringue cookies. 1 calorie each which means a serving is 100 mini cookies. O.K. they are teeny tiny, but I can get on board whenever any serving size is 100!

              1 Reply
              1. re: sunangelmb

                I love these too! I had bought some in NY in hopes of bringing it back to TO but alas, finished them all before I had even landed.

                I also love their flattened bananas, dried pomelo and the Goddess dressing.

              2. Yea
                *raspberry or mango cream ice cream bars. Small but satisfying.
                *frozen battered halibut--perfect for faux Filet o Fish sandwiches
                *Hansens pomegranate soda
                *praline pecans...can only buy them occasionally as they get eaten compulsively!
                *Indian frozen foods: paneer tikka masala, chicken masala, butter chicken, naan. Fantastic work lunch!
                *freeze dried blueberries, strawberries, mangoes

                Qualified yea:
                *roast beef hash. Must be fried slowly to crunchiness

                Can't think of any recent nays

                14 Replies
                1. re: coney with everything

                  Those praline pecans don't go in my shopping cart b/c I can eat the whole box on the way home. I once used them to decorate a cake, was a big hit.

                  1. re: cheesecake17

                    I'm the same with the praline pecans.

                    New right now: bags of "milk chocolate minis" -- 28 individually wrapped bars for $2.79 (or, 10 cents a bar). The quality of the chocolate is pretty good (says "product of Colombia") -- even natural vanilla. A good alternative bagged chocolate for Halloween.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      Those I could use, not as dangerous since they're prewrapped. Are they kosher by any chance?

                      1. re: cheesecake17

                        I don't see a kosher symbol on the package.

                      2. re: Ruth Lafler

                        My husband isn't a sweet craver, but he goes wild for the mini peanut butter cups. The really tiny ones that don't have paper on them. I love the dark chocolate covered ginger, and also just got the chocolate covered toffee with roasted pistachios. That lasted about a day despite all efforts otherwise.

                        1. re: coll

                          even my iron will is no match for that dark chocolate ginger. i don't dare buy it anymore!

                          1. re: coll

                            they had those miniature peanut butter cups right next to the register.

                            i pondered buying a bag, and KNEW that they would disappear very quickly -- heading right to my hips!

                      3. re: coney with everything

                        As noted in other topics, the hash is a definite winner. I was really skeptical of something from Brazil in a shelf-stock box, but it's really good stuff (crunchy is best, as you say). My son, the big breakfast fan, was amazed and it may even get him to use the Griddler we got him for his birthday (the one that hasn't been out of the original box in 4 months). He has no stove in his loft and eats out almost exclusively.

                        1. re: coney with everything

                          TJ's "fresh" blueberries are anything but fresh!!! I've bought them twice, and each time they were rotten within 24 hours of puchase. That never happens when I buy the fresh blueberries at Costco.

                          The local TJ store manager told me that they often have problems with fresh blueberries. DUH! So, why sell them?????

                          1. re: Ricardian Equivalence

                            For the same reason, I just don't buy their produce -- except the avocados -- they are ok.

                            1. re: Ricardian Equivalence

                              produce is tricky at TJ's - very hit or miss. and i've found that each individual store has trouble with different items, so it's a matter of trial & error. but as walker already said, avocados are a consistently safe is their celery, garlic, organic zucchini, organic packaged herbs, and loose citrus (NOT The pre-bagged which *always* contains at least one moldy piece).

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                I agree that it's tricky. I don't buy much of our household produce at TJ's, but there are a few things that I do buy on a regular basis - mostly fruit. (This is in the SF Bay Area).

                                During the summer they had some pretty good organic strawberries.

                                I've actually had very good luck lately with the bagged organic Valencia oranges - very flavorful, no moldy ones. I usually store most of them in the fridge after I get them home and just take 2 or 3 out at a time to get them to room temperature.

                                The bagged organic Pink Lady apples have been very tasty in the last month or so.

                                1. re: chompy

                                  berries (of all varieties) are one of those hit-or-miss items that vary by store. the location where i used to shop back East had a serious problem - every container of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries & blackberries that i ever examined there contained at least one or two moldy berries. but the stores i go to here in SoCal have reliably fresh product - the blackberries in particular have been great.

                                  i think it's also a regional/geographic issue. the farther the stuff has to be shipped, the more likely it is to spoil.

                          2. Yeas:
                            Love the FIBER bread, whole wheat variety
                            fozen organic veggie quartet (peas, corn, carrots & green beans) is decent.
                            the bags of fresh multi-color carrots - makes me happy! :)
                            smooth and mellow coffee, and several of the fair trade varieties.

                            haricot vert - used to be very good. now ick.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: jujuthomas

                              haven't bought them in a couple of years, but i guess i won't bother now!

                              that reminds me of a nay - frozen organic broccoli florets. yellow & freezer-burnt.

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                I do really like their brittany blend, green beans, wax beans and baby carrots.

                                1. re: jujuthomas

                                  I second with a big thumbs up on the brittany blend

                                  1. re: laliz

                                    i always pass over it because i've never been a fan of frozen carrots...but maybe next time i'm there i'll try a bag.

                            2. "As good as the Tarte d'Alsace..."?? That is a BOLD statement! Guess I'll have to try that flatbread.

                              The Tarte d'Alsace is perhaps my favorite item at TJs, followed by the croissants. I also can't buy the ice cream bonbons (vanilla with chocolate cake on the bottom, covered in chocolate) anymore. I could eat the whole package in a day.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: emily

                                I agree with your assessment of the Tarte d'Alsace. I have had very good flammekuechen (same thing) at an acclaimed French/Alsatian restaurant, and the Td'A is nearly as good. Caveat: I did add granulated shallot to the flatbread before baking it, and then added a strip of separately-cooked bacon before eating it. It already had its own garlic and mozzarella. I have often looked at the croissants and passed on them because I've found their bakery section breads to often be dry. Do you mean the fresh or frozen?

                                1. re: greygarious

                                  I mean the frozen. They're excellent. The only issue can be the air temp in your house during the overnight rise -- in the winter, the croissants turn out a bit small (particularly noticeable now that I'm in Norcal rather than SoCal) and, in the summer, they can overproof a bit.

                                  1. re: emily

                                    Hmmm... the last 2 times I've purchased the frozen chocolate croissants, the results have been disappointing. Rather than being flaky, the layers tend to clump together and taste dense. Not sure if it's the croissants or how they're rising/baking in my kitchen.