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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

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

      nays:
      - 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

          mdepsmom,

          I do not recall where I read the fact the string beans were a top selling item for Trader Joe's....it 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 myself....so 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 bet...as 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.

                            Nays
                            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.

                              2. My single favorite item is Organic Marinara Sauce. It has almost no sodium (important in our household) having only 25 mg per serving vs as much as 700 mg in chain store brands. Very tomato-y, no preservatives, just wonderful. Runner-up, a smoky low-sodium chipotle salsa that has many cooking applications. And I second the mention of the mini-meringues. If you toss a bunch onto your ice cream and give a squirt of Redi-Whip you can pretend you're eating Meringue Chantilly someplace nice. I assume everyone already knows about the individual frozen Chocolate Lava Cakes, the mango Mochi Japanese ice cream thingies, the crab-stuffed flounder filet, and the frozen croissants that you leave out overnight on the counter to thaw and rise then in the AM you bake them for 15 minutes. INTERESTING NOTE: If you live in a state where TJ's hugely sells wine, you may be astonished (as I was) to learn that in some states, TJ's is dry.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: Querencia

                                  Yes - TJ's has a regional headquarters in MA, but state law limits supermarket chains to 3 locations with liquor licenses, so Boston, Cambridge, and Framingham are the only ones that aren't dry.

                                  1. re: Querencia

                                    TJ's Organic Marinara is definitely the best low-sodium i've ever found. it's my go-to for doctoring up when i don't have the motivation or the time to make a sauce from scratch.

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      I buy that one too.. always have a jar in the pantry to whip up a quick baked ziti. or even to just toss on pasta with some cheese as a quick dinner. My husband's grandparents are on a low sodium diet, and I always pick up a few jars for them.

                                    2. re: Querencia

                                      I'm not astonished about the dry TJ's. I live in Pennsylvania. /cry. Doubt they are new but I really liked the maryland style crabcakes I tried. Next time I'll follow the package directions and remove the cakes from the packaging Before thawing. :)

                                      1. re: givemecarbs

                                        Tennessee too, as any fool would guess, though they should and probably do sell beer. Tennessee's alcohol statutes lump wine and liquor together, reportedly at the firm and ongoing insistence of the beer distributors' lobby. I lived there almost 30 years and I never did figure it out...

                                        Back on topic: Yea to frozen fish (as long as the packaging hasn't been breached), the fabulous dijon mustard, and my favorite condiment the WASABI MAYONNAISE!
                                        The only Boos or Nays I can think of, if they even still have them, are the low-carb bread and the mushroom/spinach lasagna, neither edible. SO glad of their money-back policy (yea!).

                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                          Dang, almost forgot the Flourless Sprouted Wheat Bread. Not like your usual horse-food "healthy" crap, but really good bread for toast or sandwiches, and cheap! Yea!

                                    3. I usually get the usual frozen things Kung Pao, Vindaloo, and Sesame Chicken Noodle Bowl for lunches (WHY IS THERE NO CHICKEN TIKKA ON THE EAST COAST ANYMORE??)

                                      Just tried the channah masala and it is really spicy for a frozen thing but I agree with others that it could use some rice.

                                      I also like the hot dogs (the sort of generic ones...not those Applegate farms ones. THOSE turn a very unappetizing green if you don't eat them all right away)

                                      The one new thing I tried was the Dijon Mustard and MAN is it strong. I usually put tons of mustard on my hot dogs and when I did that with this stuff, I was practically crying. So if you like strong mustard, this is it! I actually had to be a little more sparing.

                                      12 Replies
                                      1. re: jcmods

                                        The Hagan Daas Honey Bee vanilla ice cream is beyond phenomenal. I went to get more this weekend and they were either sold out or it's no longer being produced... I think it was a short-term item. :(

                                        I tried the frozen avocado halves too, and I agree... they are fine in a pinch.

                                        I don't really like the white wheat bread... it tastes okay, but the texture is weird and it falls apart easily.

                                        I love the Shepard's bread!

                                        1. re: jcmods

                                          i *love* their Dijon mustard! it's nice & thick, and that sinus-clearing kick is a bonus :)

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            Me too! It is almost a combination Dijon/Chinese mustard. Makes a killer Honey-Mustard dressing (with a lot of yellow mustard thrown in for color).

                                            I crusted some tofu with the TJ's Dijon mustard and after frying for a minute I found out why mustard gas is blinding. Not smart. I ended up adding bread crumbs and transferred the dish to the oven. In the end it was tasty.

                                            1. re: MplsM ary

                                              The only secret to the mustard is that it's rarely over two weeks old. TJ's has a sort of just-in-time shipping arrangement with the company in France, which ensures the freshness that is responsible for the sinus-clearing qualities. If you got some Maille or GP right off the production line you'd probably be amazed how strong it was. My pa-in-law used to import the mustard that comes in those ceramic pots, can't remember the name, and he told me that's why he's such a fan of TJ's mustard. That, plus the price!

                                              1. re: Will Owen

                                                I don't think the age is the only secret because it sometimes takes me a number of months to finish a jar, yet it remains far more potent than Grey Poupon even towards the end. I suspect the lack of significant amounts of vinegar may also be a factor. I love the mustard from Philippe's in LA, which is similarly hot, yet it loses potency fairly quickly, maybe because it's somewhat vinegary.

                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                    alka, my guess is that he was talking about the Pommery mustard from France that comes in the earthenware crocks.

                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                        YES! pommery! http://www.worldsfoods.com/upload/ima...
                                                        i thought that other label didn't look like what i remembered!

                                                        i have a crock from 1980 (group house in college) or so that i now use for housing spatulas, spoonulas & wooden spoons. it's made 3 moves with me.
                                                        ;-).

                                                        pommery is expensive mustard, and good stuff, too. my college housemates were food illiterates.

                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                          "my college housemates were food illiterates."
                                                          ~~~~~~~
                                                          so were mine...but i taught them well :)

                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                            We have two cases of empty crocks that Mrs. O insisted on salvaging from the dozens we tossed in the dumpster, last time we were cleaning out two of Papa's old storage units. She used to have to clean them out when she was a kid, but these are so old and encrusted I'm not sure what she was thinking...

                                                            It was Pommery, and the label does say Aux Anysetiers du Roi. There are labels for both coarse-ground and Dijon style.

                                                1. re: jcmods

                                                  Ohmigod I finally found the chicken tikka at the Scarsdale location (Route 22). I have to say it is one of my favorite things now.

                                                2. "Soy Dreamy" vanilla ice "cream."
                                                  Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.

                                                  1. Lemon Bread
                                                    Low Fat Marinara
                                                    Harvest Grains blend
                                                    Brittany Blend (frozen)
                                                    Blue Cheese w/pecan dip (OMG)

                                                    1. This post reminded me that TJ's in SoCal have carried an English Muffin Bread that is really very good - great texture; almost like a muffin if you cut it instead of pulling it apart. Haven't thought about it in a while but will look next time. I just hope it doesn't send me to the "Things TJs doesn't have anymore" thread.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Midlife

                                                        Saw that at a TJ's in San Francisco yesterday.

                                                      2. Yea:
                                                        * crumpets
                                                        * spicy sweet pecans
                                                        * feta cheese/carmelized onion frozen appetizer

                                                        Nay:
                                                        * a frozen chicken product whose name I can't remember--maybe New Mexico Chicken? The kind of thing you might put into a burrito. It was a soupy Mexican mix of shredded chicken, red peppers, etc. The chicken was dogfood quality, hard chunks, sinewy shreds, etc. The texture was slimy, the taste was overly red-peppery. Ick. Also, it was expensive.
                                                        * avocados in bags. I bought some once out of l laziness (too lazy to go to the produce store across the street). They are the size of large grapes. Mushy.
                                                        * the cheapest TJ's marinara sauce. I guess you get what you pay for, but I thought the idea of TJ's was that cheap can be good. This was more like V-8 than pasta sauce.

                                                        Meh:
                                                        * channa masala
                                                        Not much of a spice profile. More salty than spicy. The Tandoor Chef brand is a million times better.

                                                        14 Replies
                                                        1. re: gnosh

                                                          gnosh, if you like the spicy sweet pecans, try the "Sweet & Hot Sesame Nuts." but i'll warn you now, they're completely addictive!

                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                            oops, got a little dyslexic there...it's Hot & Sweet Sesame Nuts.

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              I will try them! Also in the spicy/salty/sweet department, they have a great mix that includes wasabi nuts, cranberries, other nuts, etc. Can't remember what it's called, but it has "wasabi" in the name. You might like that.

                                                              1. re: gnosh

                                                                thanks for the rec. unfortunately i'm pretty sure that particular mix contains wheat flour, which i can't eat...but i'll double-check when i'm there today.

                                                                1. re: gnosh

                                                                  just double-checked on the "Wasabi Wow" - it contains wheat flour and sulphur dioxide...neither of which i can eat. but it's no big loss because i don't like raisins in my trail/snack mix anyway ;)

                                                                  thanks for the suggestion!

                                                              2. re: gnosh

                                                                yeah, the marinara was not good.

                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                  I've not liked any of their jarred sauces, BUT the "starter' sauce in the carton is excellent... I'm pretty sure it's Pomi (since it's made in Italy and they carried Pomi for years) and is perfect for exactly what it says... I add sauteed onion and garlic, mushrooms and bell pepper and LOTS of spices and it came out awesome this week!

                                                                  --Dommy!

                                                                  1. re: Dommy

                                                                    dommy, what's it called, please?

                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                      It's called Tomato Starter Sauce. It's in a little box just the Pomi boxes... you find it on the highest shelf in the Spaghetti Sauce Section.

                                                                      --Dommy!

                                                                      1. re: Dommy

                                                                        thanks! i just bought a bunch of canned peeled plum tomatoes, and i usually use those to start pasta sauces.

                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                          I've never liked their canned tomatoes either (I perfer San Marzano Brand you can get a Whole Foods) but for a quicky sauce this little box was PERFECT! :)

                                                                          --Dommy!

                                                                          1. re: Dommy

                                                                            my tomatoes were from harris teeter, but i can't recall the brand name right now. the deal was buy 2 get 3 free! i've never tried the trader joe's.

                                                                2. re: gnosh

                                                                  The avocados in bags at my TJs were worse than mushy - they were black and moldy on the inside. I've been cured of my produce laziness now.

                                                                  1. re: anne7134

                                                                    I had the same problem with the organic avocados... the employee who gave me a refund told me I'm better off with the conventional avocados.

                                                                3. yay: the ginger snaps - they have real ginger in them, almost impossible to find. Little and addictive.

                                                                  Frozen: The red pepper penne is fantastic, as is the mac & cheese (4 servings in a box my ass!) and the pasta with the eggplant and other goodies in it, it's got a purple wrapper, can't remember what it's called.

                                                                  I also really like the sesame covered cashews but had to quit buying them. Soo many calories, and they disappeared too quickly :)

                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                  1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                    "I also really like the sesame covered cashews but had to quit buying them. Soo many calories, and they disappeared too quickly :)
                                                                    ~~~~~~~~
                                                                    that's what happened to me with the Hot & Sweet Sesame Nuts. dangerous stuff!

                                                                    1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                      I love the triple ginger snaps, great for eating straight and adding to recipes. Just discovered the iced oatmeal cookies. I'm eating the oatmeal cookies every morning for breakfast, they are the best I've ever had.

                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                        the old fashioned iced oatmeal cookies are something my mom loved and would buy for us while i was young. i'll check out the tj's version.

                                                                        coll, have you tried the oatmeal?/cranberry dipping cookie -- looks somewhat like biscotti and comes in a clear plastic tub? i haven't met a single person who doesn't love them (and many are picky men).

                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                          No, I'll look for that next time, just realizing how good their cookies are. Could probably pass them off on my Christmas cookie platter!

                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                            to clarify, the shape is elongated, but the texture is not like biscotti at all. the cookie has a little white chocolate drizzle.

                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                              My friend John tells me that his cousin passed off the TJs chocolate truffles as her own at Christmas. He realized it when I insisted that he try a truffle from TJs, the french ones that are so buttery and tender and dusted in cocoa powder. Dang. Now I want one!!!

                                                                              1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                the tj's french truffles are a very tasty bargain. word to the wise.....

                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                  I'm just thinking what I used to do before TJs came to town, I only can get there a few times a year but there are so many things that are staples for me now.

                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                    coll, be sure to get that cookie, then. or a couple.

                                                                                    and if you love choco and mint, you must (repeat: must) get the candy bar by checkout -- what's it called -- peppermint bark bar? better than any other peppermint/choco product, bar none. look for it.

                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                      I've seen it, I'll be back there before Christmas. I'm starting to think I could just bake 8 different cookies instead of twelve....

                                                                      2. I generally like their nut butters, but the Valencia Peanut Butter with Roasted Flaxseeds is like freakin' crack to me! I'm not sure I'll be able to buy this again anytime soon--WAY too tempting. I quite like the Peach Salsa as well.

                                                                        Meh on the TJ's 2% Greek yogurt--I've had several containers that had a slightly off taste, though the current container is just fine.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: nofunlatte

                                                                          you know, i had high hopes for the Valencia PB because i love the texture from the flaxseeds, and it's much lower in sodium than some other brands...but i still thought it was way too salty. i guess i'm just too accustomed to eating unsalted PB.

                                                                          re: the TJ's Greek yogurt, i've never had a problem with it. the Fage, on the other hand, was always a nightmare in terms of spoilage, and once they started producing it in the States i couldn't stand the taste or the texture...i'm totally converted to TJ's now.

                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                            Interesting--for me it has always been the other way around. I've had consistently good Fage, but inconsistent TJ's. The bad batches came from 2 different stores.

                                                                        2. Yea to the Sweet, Salty and Nutty Trek Mix (or those words in some order--just finished the bag, so it's not in front of me now.) It's got peanuts, cashews, almonds, honey-roasted peanuts and cashews and peanut brittle. The whole mix is just right, although I'll confess to searching for bits of brittle to savor. I also enjoyed the sea salt brownies.
                                                                          Nay to the shelf-packaged dhal makhani and the cilantro-lime prepared rice. The dhal smelled like what I remember chefboyardee to smell like and the rice was just too salty.

                                                                          1. Has anyone tried the egg white chives salad yet? It's new to the East Coast. I've had it in the West Coast stores, and I think this version tastes a little different (even though it appear to be the same product).

                                                                            Has anyone had trouble finding the spice 21 seasonings at their local TJ's?

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Jacey

                                                                              Jacey, do you mean the 21 Seasoning Salute? i'm positive i saw it at my local NJ store recently. it's always a good idea to go to the customer service desk & ask about the status of whatever you can't find. sometimes they just haven't re-stocked the shelves yet and have the item sitting in the back (in which case they'll send someone to bring it out for you). or if the warehouse is out or it's unavailable (or discontinued, a phenomenon that all TJ's shoppers have grown to know and dread), they can tell you that as well so you don't waste time or make yourself crazy looking for it time and again.

                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                No, it's a seasoning, like a Mrs. Dash. I did talk to someone there. They said their having warehouse issues but it's not discontinued...we'll see.

                                                                                1. re: Jacey

                                                                                  i know, it's a spice blend called the "21 Seasoning Salute." comes in the standard TJ's glass spice jar with green label & cap. i have one in the back of my cabinet somewhere.

                                                                                  glad it wasn't discontinued!

                                                                            2. Had our first TJ miss.......Half Caf 100% Arabica coffee beans that are half dark roast and half light roast. I have been making my own blend for years from beans from a local roaster with good success and a taste I and others like. This TJ blend was bitter and undrinkable. I'm sorry I loaded it up into my burr grinder, I guess I'll need to clean that out now and take the coffee back. We've been shopping weekly at TJ for 6+ years now and this is the first thing we haven't liked other than a few spoiled dairy items.

                                                                              1. Their chocolate chip cookie in the see through plastic tin is unbelievable.

                                                                                1. goodhealthgourmet - have you tried their gluten free ginger snaps? Pretty good, and work well crushed as a pie shell.

                                                                                  I've had mixed results with their gluten-free mac and cheese. Some boxes turn out well, others you have to cook at least 3 minutes longer than the time on the box in order for it to be reasonably al dente.

                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: cmvan

                                                                                    i have tried the ginger snaps - i bought them a couple of years ago to keep om hand during the holidays in case i needed to throw together a pie or tart crust in a pinch. i've gotta say, i know a lot of people love them, but they're too sweet for me. since i started doing all my own baking several years ago i find that i really don't like the excessive sugar content in packaged goods. i was bummed that i didn't like them, because they're the only GF ginger snaps i've found that aren't made with soy flour.

                                                                                    thanks for the heads-up on the mac & cheese. i spotted it on the shelf during the winter, grabbed a box...and it's still sitting in the cabinet, unopened :)

                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                      ghg - I well understand what you say about doing your own baking, being wheat/gluten-intolerant myself. I've come to rely on Bette Hagman's cookbooks, Living Without magazine, etc. for doing-it-myself. Especially bread - have yet to find a decent loaf that's not better off as a doorstop.

                                                                                      I did finally find a GF pizza crust recipe (http://www.livingwithout.com/recipes/... ) that I'm pretty happy with - not like a cracker, not like bread, but crispy and chewy.

                                                                                      And to stay in line with this being the Chains board, if you haven't yet tried Whole Foods' gluten free pie crust, give it a try - it comes in a 2-pack and is usually in the cooler with the other GF bread/pastry items. Much better than I've been able to make myself, and hard to tell the difference from a wheat-based crust.

                                                                                      1. re: cmvan

                                                                                        do you have any idea if the WF pie crust soy-free? i can't have soy flour either. as for that pizza crust recipe, i bookmarked it ages ago and never tried it - now i'll definitely have to one of these days :)

                                                                                        thanks for the suggestions!

                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                          Good news! No soy in the pie crusts! Just checked the bag in the freezer.

                                                                                          1. re: cmvan

                                                                                            awesome, thanks! i may have to pick one up sometime in the Fall to stash in the freezer in case of emergency ;)

                                                                                  2. The frozen Tofu Pad Thai is freaking horrible. I bought it because it was cheap and fast and vegan, but no amount of Sriracha and lime juice could save it.

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: eraserheadgirl

                                                                                      I agree. Most of the frozen "ethnic" food at TJ's is bad unless it has lots of cheese to save it. There is a health-food store brand of veg. pad thai that is actually pretty good, considering. I think it may be Green Guru.

                                                                                      1. re: gnosh

                                                                                        I agree with that, except for the frozen Indian stuff. Quite tasty!

                                                                                        1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                          I am ADDICTED to the new Frozen Chick Pea Entree... I got so many people at worked hooked on it, we have to write our names on the boxes now because there has been some friendly swiping (Oh! I was SURE I bought two boxes this week...)

                                                                                          --Dommy!

                                                                                    2. Here are good tasting *healthy* items at TJ's, which are low in saturated fat:

                                                                                      - TJ's whole wheat pizza dough, in the refrigerator section. As far as pizza in general goes, it's good; however, in the specific category of whole wheat pizza, it's very good. (See photos)
                                                                                      - Hanson's diet Ginger ale soda
                                                                                      - TJ's organic hummus
                                                                                      - frozen grilled eggplant
                                                                                      - pumpkin butter
                                                                                      - the bread loaves that are par-baked, so you cook them for a few minutes to get fresh-out-of-the-oven fluffy bread.
                                                                                      - TJ's organic marinara sauce
                                                                                      - whole wheat pasta
                                                                                      - turkey meatballs
                                                                                      - sundried tomatoes
                                                                                      - whole wheat couscous
                                                                                      - hemp granola cereal
                                                                                      - praline granola cereal
                                                                                      - Fat free fudge brownie mix + fat free vanilla yogurt
                                                                                      - cornbread mix (use two egg white instead of one egg, and use canola oil)
                                                                                      - almond milk (original flavor; vanilla is too sweet)
                                                                                      - strawberry flavor soy yogurt (the other flavors are meh)
                                                                                      - Schloss Biebrich champagne (best in the store, and it's cheapest, too).
                                                                                      - TJ's brand belgian ale (it's as good as Chimay. Actually, it probably *is* Chimay).
                                                                                      - pine nuts
                                                                                      - sliced raw almonds: toast them, then sprinkle them on top of their vanilla soy ice cream, then add a shot of espresso for a "TJ's affogato"
                                                                                      - crystalized ginger (even better than the candied ginger)
                                                                                      - vanilla soy ice cream (the chocolate flavor sucks)
                                                                                      - tofuti cutie ice cream sandwiches, made with soy

                                                                                       
                                                                                       
                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: ssfire

                                                                                        low in saturated fat does not automatically = healthy...nor does soy instead of dairy. some of those items are chock full of sugar.

                                                                                        i do like the organic marinara though - it makes a great base for a quick, doctored-up tomato sauce. and i used to love that Nature's Path Hemp Plus Granola back in my gluten-eating days. sigh.

                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                          Agree, just because it's low in saturated fat doesn't mean there aren't a lot of calories, sugar, salt, fat, lack of nutrients, etc.

                                                                                        2. re: ssfire

                                                                                          I prefer TJ's hummus over that at Whole Foods or most chain markets. Also, it's one of the few places that offers a pretty decent variety of pita chips.

                                                                                        3. Anyone try the salmon crepes? They had an empty box on display in the 'new items' display, but they were all out in the frozen section.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: gemsquash

                                                                                            Haven't seen those yet but I was curious about the salmon mojito. They had a whole little frozen section devoted to them. The fearless flyer says to nuke it up.

                                                                                            1. re: gemsquash

                                                                                              You may have tried them in the meantime - I don't mind them even if I am not a big fan of salmon (but I am a big fan of crepes).

                                                                                            2. Based on a rec from this board, I had a package of the frozen marinated salmon steaks in the freezer. Thawed them, tossed them on the grill, and dinner was served. SE and I loved them, but I wish I could remember the sauce that someone recommended to put on them.

                                                                                              1. I think the frozen pithivier is new - almond cream filling in puff pastry that you bake from frozen. I did it in the toaster oven, which may account for the soggy bottom crust; other than that it is very good. LIke all puff pastry, it gets soggy if it sits so is best made on an occasion when the whole thing will be eaten. The package suggests that it serves 5 - counterintuitive for an almost-square rectangle that begs to be quartered. I suppose they did that so that a single portion would be under 300 calories.

                                                                                                For the pups, the natural dog treats (in assorted flavors or all peanut-butter) have returned from a 5yr absence so my dogs are constantly hopeful that I'll give in and dole out more than one a day. They come in various shapes in a cereal-box sized package, and smell really tempting even to a human nose!

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                  I almost grabbed the frozen pithivier last nite. But the minature breakfast buns jumped into my cart instead. Next time. I asked my friend to grab me one of their refresh shampoos, I was afeared of lingering too long in that store. He grabbed me the bath and shower gel that looks identical so I guess I'll give that a try. Love that shampoo though. The breakfast buns were exactly the kind of thing TJs excels at. My kitchen smelled wonderful when I popped the buns into the convection oven, and they were a warm delicous treat on a cool autumn evening. Best of all I nuked the last two for breakfast this morning. Hot and delicous, plus the smell of fresh baking, and zero effort.

                                                                                                2. the frozen premade steel cut oatmeal has been a real breakfast saver for me this week! throw in a little pumpkin spice soymilk and i'm good to go! :) I bought a box of the irish oats (?) i want to make them ahead and reheat in the mornings. anyone tried that?
                                                                                                  thanks.

                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                    juju, search home cooking for threads on steel-cut oatmeal for lots of testimony on reheating. In other words, yes, you can definitely make the Irish Oats, refrigerate, and reheat in the microwave.

                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                      awesome, thanks Caitlin! I might make some tonight. :)

                                                                                                    2. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                      I really liked the frozen oatmeal too, even on it's own, it has a subtle mapely flavor and the texture is great! Sadly for two pucks per package, it's a little pricy when I compare it to the quick steel cut oats I usually make...

                                                                                                      --Dommy!

                                                                                                      1. re: Dommy

                                                                                                        Frozen oatmeal? This might be taking things too far. I think instant would be better than this!

                                                                                                        1. re: Jacey

                                                                                                          It's steel cut, so there is no real 'instant' of that... and actually even rolled cut oatmeal freezes REALLY well...

                                                                                                          --Dommy!

                                                                                                          1. re: Jacey

                                                                                                            I was skeptical as well, but I think it has a nice texture, and the flavor, as Dommy says, is very good. At my TJs it is only $1.49 for the box though. :)

                                                                                                      2. ixnay on the soft almond cookies. i looooove almond anything, including marzipan. but this cookie was waaaay too almondy (as in ....extract?), and had a weird dry and crumbly texture, though it would seem to be a moist cookie.

                                                                                                        1. Thanks to all for the roast beef hash rec. It's really tasty stuff and so easy. I also am loving their new mini whole wheat chocolate chip cookies. I think something like 3 grams of fiber per serving!

                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: mollyomormon

                                                                                                            ooh! i'm going to have to look for those on my next visit. are they in a box or in the clear plastic tubs?

                                                                                                            1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                              in clear plastic tubs. they have great crunch and flavor. mmmm....

                                                                                                          2. The Indian Black "curried Lentils" and rice were kind of a let down. Probably my least favorite Indian frozen entre. The taste was of cardboard. Plus the packing is terrible. Why do they always put rice in one side and lentils in the other. I wish they would just have one compartment with rice on the bottom. Always bugs me! The other problem was it was hard to get the plastic off without it shredding into a million pieces and then you get sauce all over.

                                                                                                            1. i got the lentil soup in a pouch recently and really didn't care for it. I can't really explain why... it tasted a little chemical-ish I guess.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                Chemical-ish is the word. I think I tried some sort of lentil byriani (in that microwave pouch that gets stored at room temperature) that someone left in the office. It was so bad I threw it out.. Now that you mention it, I thought the same thing about those Spanish Fabada beans in a bowl. They store at room temperature and are microwavable. Awful taste.

                                                                                                              2. Had high hopes for the frozen Morning Buns (croissant dough with cinnamon + sugar), but they had little flavor. Kind of greasy, too.

                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: emily

                                                                                                                  emily, did you leave them out for a bit before baking? When I baked mine, I meant to leave them out for just a few minutes but I started reading chowhound and it ended up being an hour. The rolls rose a bit more I expect and were lighter. I baked mine on one of the first raw chilly nights here in PA. when it was raining and the wind was gusting. The house smelled so good while the rolls were baking that my friend and I had to stop playing cards and just pop them into our mouths when they were barely cool enough to eat. Mmmm warm and buttery and filling. But I have to admit the weather certainly added to the enjoyment. I was thinking you could sprinkle a small amount of cinnamon on top if you wanted but for me the warm dough was just the ticket. Heh. I picked this user name for a reason. :)

                                                                                                                  1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                                    I made these this past Saturday morning and left them out for the hour before as the instructions indicated. After baking, they wouldn't release from the pan without prying and they tasted almost like they were not cooked, even though they were. Will not try again.

                                                                                                                    1. re: DianeCGW

                                                                                                                      Doh! That sucks Diane. Hmmm. I forgot to mention that I bought a convection/toaster oven for 50.00 at Costco, it is the Oster brand and I have been baking all my goodies in there for awhile now. I wonder if the convection oven could possibly making that big a difference? The buns came out easily for me.

                                                                                                                      1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                                        givemecarbs, is your costco oven a good size? great price!!!!

                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                          alkapal, it is almost 20 inches long. There was another convection/toaster oven there for a hundred dollars that seemed to be the same size. It was all digital where the Oster has dials. After I lost a lot of appliances to a nasty power surge I'm liking digital less. And those guys are Still working right across the street from me.

                                                                                                                        2. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                                          I should check out that oven next time I'm in Costco buying my $200 toothpaste ;-). Not necessarily for the rolls but just because I could use a new toaster oven! The other thing I thought could be the problem is that it said to let them stand one minute and then remove, and they probably ended up in the pan for a few minutes as I was trying to get my poached eggs out before they overcooked!!

                                                                                                                    1. re: sadiefox

                                                                                                                      oops, hit "post" before I could say it is yummy!

                                                                                                                    2. Yeas:
                                                                                                                      - frozen naan bread
                                                                                                                      - frozen channa masala (I don't mind the lack of rice as I eat it on the abovementioned naan)
                                                                                                                      - frozen soy corn dogs (I don't eat them, but my kid likes them - he hasn't noticed that they're meatless)
                                                                                                                      - frozen cubes of garlic/basil/dill (very handy)
                                                                                                                      - organic marinara sauce
                                                                                                                      - English coastal cheddar
                                                                                                                      - baked pita crackers
                                                                                                                      - tri-tip roast (can't get tri-tip in Canada)
                                                                                                                      - whole wheat olive oil tortillas/wraps (in the bakery section)
                                                                                                                      - TJs ketchup
                                                                                                                      - chocolate truffle bars
                                                                                                                      - JoJo cookies (my kid again)
                                                                                                                      - mini peanut butter cups (dangerous)
                                                                                                                      - TJs organic cocoa powder. I have been hoping to find cocoa powder (not hot chocolate mix) at TJs for a long time, and was delighted to find it this week. I don't know if it's new, or seasonal, or it was just well-hidden before, but I bought a can.

                                                                                                                      Nays:
                                                                                                                      - fresh produce
                                                                                                                      - fresh baked goods (in the bakery section)

                                                                                                                      FYI: I live near Vancouver, British Columbia, and make a monthly shopping trip to TJs in Bellingham, WA. Those $3.49 sticks of pepperoni cost $9.99 at my local Safeway, so the price differences make it worth the drive (not to mention the nearby Target and Kohls stores).

                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: KGill

                                                                                                                        I just tried the frozen garlic naan for the first time a couple of days ago, and was favorably impressed. After a couple of minutes in the oven, it has the blistery texture of baked-in-a-tandoor naan.

                                                                                                                        1. re: KGill

                                                                                                                          The cocoa powder is seasonal - I was glad to see it return. The sipping chocolate is also back and makes nice hot chocolate. Now I'm hoping for vanilla marshmallows!

                                                                                                                          1. re: chompy

                                                                                                                            The Return of the Sipping Chocolate is good news indeed!

                                                                                                                            I bought the 1000 Layer Crackers which are good but pricey. The box was in the cupboard when I went looking for some unrefrigerated provisions to take along to the hospital, in case the food situation there was bleak. That's when the individually-wrapped crackers came in very handy, in addition to some prunes and dried apricots. I'll buy the crackers again for just such circumstances.

                                                                                                                        2. Went to TJ's this past sunday night about seven thirty pm, my favorite time to go, and tried a couple of things I haven't tried before. The beer bread mix was fun to make and eat. You have to add a 12 oz bottle of beer. I used a nice dark ale and was very happy with the results. I also tried the pastry filled with almond creme. It turned out perfect, with so little work. I was glad I already had the confectioner's sugar on hand to dust the top with, twas a thing of beauty. for about two seconds! Anyone try the carne asada in the frozen food section yet? They didn't seem to have the maple cookies in yet from their flyer but I did see a few pie crusts, which people are discussing on another thread. I almost bought a bag of their dog food, not sure if it is better than Iams or not.

                                                                                                                          1. Yea to:
                                                                                                                            Roasted Red Pepper Soup, in the carton.
                                                                                                                            Fresh OJ
                                                                                                                            Frozen Orange Chicken
                                                                                                                            All dried fruits
                                                                                                                            Nay to:
                                                                                                                            Fresh produce has always been sub-par for me.

                                                                                                                            1. Was just there last week and they were sampling a new item, Arancini Appetizers. I tried one and immediately grabbed a box for the holidays. So did everyone else, I heard the manager say there were none left in the freezer. Perfect bite size and tons of cheese inside, I think gruyere? Also love all their pastas, especially the lemon pepper pappadardi and the mini ravioli (in the dry section, they are really mini and great for soup).

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                I bought a box of these also last week after tasting them. I agree - they'll be perfect appetizers for the holidays.

                                                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                  they were sampling those arancini at our tj's, too. i didn't try one because it was mobbed. thanks for the head's up!

                                                                                                                                2. They came out with several varieties of oat bran/oatmeal muffins that are fantastic. I particularly like the berry and carrot ginger flavors.

                                                                                                                                  1. how are the frozen langostino tails, anyone?

                                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                      Not great, but they will do...I make sure to thaw and give them a GOOD ice water rinse... pat dry and cook VERY quickly....

                                                                                                                                      --Dommy!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Dommy

                                                                                                                                        I agree with Dommy - they'll do in a pinch but DO NOT leave the stove while cooking. They wll go from perfectly cooked to overdone in the blink of an eye. If your store stocks the Argentinian Red Shrimp, those are really tasty for a frozen shrimp and worth stocking up on.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                                                                          Thanks! I'll keep an eye out on those... I tried their Mexico Gulf shrimp and did not find them appealing at ALL...

                                                                                                                                          --Dommy!

                                                                                                                                      2. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                        i wasn't impressed at all. maybe it was just the bag i bought, but they were pretty much tasteless :(

                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                          Reasonably tasty but a bit odd-textured - sort of wooly and watery at the same time.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                            my best description would be spongy...i forgot that i didn't like the texture either!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                              Yeah, exactly, sort of weird. I used them in a seafood stew I found in "My Bombay Kitchen" by Niloufer King which perked them up considerably.

                                                                                                                                        2. i've been meaning to chime in with this one for weeks but kept forgetting!

                                                                                                                                          yay for the jarred guindilla peppers. i now slice them into salads in place of the jarred pepperoncini that WFM seems to have stopped carrying.

                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                            I just bought a jar for my Christmas antipasta, they are such a nice size and I'm hoping they're a little spicy.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                              unfortunately they're really not spicy...but they are nicely acidic.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                Thanks for the info, they will be aesthetically pleasing anyway! I'll think of something else spicy to add.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                  Served the peppers yesterday, I thought they were just right spicy for the general public. I have a couple of hot pepper connoisseurs and they didn't seem to mind the heat scale, ate plenty although I'm sure they'd rather have been crying tears of pain..... but not me! I was afraid there'd be no heat at all. Nice change from pepperocini.

                                                                                                                                          2. I went Sunday and bought some new (for me) items... all were really good
                                                                                                                                            - cranberry dippers (not really a biscotti but like a biscotti shaped cookie with icing)
                                                                                                                                            - mini peanut butter cups (they're teeny- like the size of my pinky nail- 27 for 210 calories)
                                                                                                                                            - chocolate covered peanut butter filled pretzels (omg)
                                                                                                                                            - sourdough rolls (nice flavor when toasted)
                                                                                                                                            - rosemary garlic crackers (thin and crisp)

                                                                                                                                            oldies but goodies-
                                                                                                                                            - bake at home rolls (my husband LOVES these and they're so easy to prepare)
                                                                                                                                            -joe joes- regular type
                                                                                                                                            - kalamata hummus

                                                                                                                                            The produce is never so great, but this time it looked really yucky. The bags looked picked over, and it seemed so expensive.

                                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                              I don't why they cannot solve this lousy/old produce problem -- it's every store I've tried so I've given up on the produce.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                Strange. Our TJ's are in South Orange County, CA and the produce is as good as at most Ralph's, Albertson's, Stater Bros, Vons. I tend to shy away from it because of the multiple unit packaging, but when we do buy it it's fine. Not a great selection, but they cover the basics.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                  The store I go to in Long Island has decent produce. I don't usually stock up there b/c it's expensive, but it's ok for a few items.

                                                                                                                                                  Maybe the produce looked lousy b/c it was a Sunday afternoon? It seemed like every bag was picked over and tossed aside a few times.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                    expensive? really? the Jersey & Southern California stores usually have great prices on produce, it's the quality that can be hit-or-miss. i'd say that 98% of it is cheaper than Whole Foods (though i know that's not really saying much), and even places like Kings and Ralph's.

                                                                                                                                                    oh, and in the interest of staying on-topic for the thread...*HUGE* yay for the return of my beloved in-shell pumpkin seeds this week!!! this is the third incarnation, we'll see how long it lasts before they disappear yet again...

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                      It's not as expensive as Whole Foods. But, the produce at TJ's is much higher priced than what I can get in my neighborhood in Brooklyn.

                                                                                                                                                      Small lemons at TJ's were 40 cents/pc-- I paid 20 cents/pc for large lemons
                                                                                                                                                      Carrots were over $1/bag-- I bought 4 bags for $1
                                                                                                                                                      Apples- don't remember the price- but I paid 69 cents/lb for granny smith and 99 cents/lb for pink lady

                                                                                                                                                2. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                  Peanut butter-filled pretzels are in the not-safe-to-buy-because-they're-instantly-gone category. Double for chocolate covered. Mini peanut butter cups? Forget it.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                    The pb choc pretzeles- I are one- then gave the bag to my brother in law. They were sooo good!!! Not totally dangerous though, bc they were very rich

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                    those cranberry dunkers are fab-u-lous! EVERYONE loves them!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                      I'm going to bring them to work this week so I don't finish the whole tub!

                                                                                                                                                  3. My wife is addicted to Tofutti Cuties. TJ's seems to carry only the vanilla ones but I've bought chocolate at Whole Foods and I could get that addiction pretty quickly. Do any of the TJ's carry Chocolate? I need to ask our TJ's manager if he can get them............ or maybe not, since Whole Foods is 30 minutes away and TJ's is only 5. :o))

                                                                                                                                                    1. Not sure how new this is but it's new to me. Roast Beef hash in a packet. Just crisp up in a pan. I would keep a splatter cover near by though as the spuds tend to pop!

                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: twodales

                                                                                                                                                        Covered in detail above but it IS a great product. The popping thing is true, through many people say it cooks better at lower heat, which should help the popping. I've just frozen the remaining half of a packet. Never tried that before, but it should work.

                                                                                                                                                      2. I just picked up Trader Joe's Shrimp Etouffee from the Freezer section (near the Indian entrees like Channah Masala). While I would not mistake it for the real thing in New Orleans, I thought it had a pretty good flavor for a frozen thing. (At least it was not way off....could taste the worcestershire, Andouille etc.).

                                                                                                                                                        I liked it enough to get at least 3 next time and put it into the regular lunch rotation. Has anyone else seen it? I am wondering if it is that new. If they came out with more New Orleans frozen things I would be happy (especially gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice).

                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jcmods

                                                                                                                                                          It's new, they were demo'ing it last week and I picked it up. It has nice flavor and the ingredients were well cooked despite being frozen (I was really sketchy on the shrimp). But it is a nice warm change of pace from my usual lunch...

                                                                                                                                                          --Dommy!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jcmods

                                                                                                                                                            I teied the Etouffee also and liked it. My microwave might be a bit sluggish, I had to over-nuke just a bit to get the shrimp to lose their translucent appearance and be done to my liking, but I really enjoyed it and the shrimp were not at all tough or chewy. I got the maple leaf cookies finally. They weren't in last time I went. I'm not a big fan of packaged cookies, creme filled cookies or maple syrup but the leaf shapes were so autumnal that I just had to try them. I ended up eating three with a cold glass of milk. The maple taste is not overpowering and I was impressed at how fresh the creme filling was. Great mouth feel too. If I was going to a party or Thanksgiving dinner I'd be tempted to put these cookies in a nice dish and take them along as a hostess gift. But now other creme filled cookies are completely ruined for me I guess.

                                                                                                                                                          2. New to me, the Chicken-less strips in the refrigerated section. Big thumbs up.

                                                                                                                                                            I've been playing around with barbecue sauces, trying to figure out my mom's ginger-garlic-chili bbq sauce she used to make and this was the perfect foil for my experiments. Just like chicken it takes strong flavors well and the texture is similar to tempeh. It was even tasty cold, the day after.

                                                                                                                                                            I first tried the strips naked by preparing them according to directions (dry fry in a nonstick pan over medium heat for 2 - 3 minutes). Just like chicken, it was boring but fine. It would make a good faux chicken salad.

                                                                                                                                                            110 calories and 20 grams protein per serving makes it a great product for anyone looking to boost low cal protein.

                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                                                              I agree about chicken-less strips, and same goes for the vegetarian beef strips. i'm not a vegetarian, and i don't think they necessarily taste like chicken and beef, but they have a good flavor and texture. my cousin made a wonderful Indian stew with them (i believe he used a TJ's jarred Indian sauce).

                                                                                                                                                              I have to bring up the mushroom and black truffle flatbread again, because it is probably my all-time favorite item at TJ's. I could honestly imagine getting served this in a good Italian restaurant. Oh, and it is just plain ADDICTIVE.

                                                                                                                                                              the pumpkin bread mix is really yummy, i added chocolate chips to it, and it was more cake than bread!

                                                                                                                                                              Old stand-bys: frozen mac and cheese, guacamole, chocolate dippers, frozen teriyaki chicken, refridgerated mushroom ravioli and gorgonzola ravioli.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jhfinxy

                                                                                                                                                                Happy heads up! TJ's has two new items to try: buttermilk biscuits in the refridgerated section, and popovers in the frozen section. I picked up both today... can't wait to try them! The cashier said both were brand new...

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jhfinxy

                                                                                                                                                                  do you mean gorgonzola gnocchi? i haven't seen any gorgonzola ravioli, but i'd sure like to!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                    Just tried the buttermilk biscuits... they were heavenly! On to the popovers next...

                                                                                                                                                              2. We hadn't been to TJ's in ages when we went a couple weeks ago. Now, my partner can't stop snacking on the garlic marinated mushrooms. And, I was impressed with the proof-and-bake frozen croissant dough. Make a quick sauce from some frozen fruit in the freezer and served them for dessert the other day to guests. Super tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                1. Canned "Cuban Black Beans". Surprisingly blah. Can't explain why. Would not get again.

                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jcmods

                                                                                                                                                                    Tried the frozen haddock filets. Yuck. Would rather have Gortons.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jcmods

                                                                                                                                                                      I've had those. They're watery if used as packaged but fine if thoroughly drained (at least 10 minutes in a colander) and used as regular canned black beans.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. Yea:
                                                                                                                                                                      Joe's Joe's vanilla cookies
                                                                                                                                                                      Frozen pork gyoza
                                                                                                                                                                      The Brazilian instant corned beef!!!!
                                                                                                                                                                      Yummy Gummy Penguins with soft tummies!

                                                                                                                                                                      Nay:
                                                                                                                                                                      mushroom risotto

                                                                                                                                                                      Meh:
                                                                                                                                                                      Creamy Tomato soup

                                                                                                                                                                      1. this is a seasonal item in stores now, but it is a YAY!!!: cranberry covered chevre log. only $3.99!! what a deal. (it was demonstrated on the savory crackers -- also YAY! they're savory thin and super-crispy rice crackers with hint of tamari).

                                                                                                                                                                        i'm thinking of freezing some chevre logs for later in the year. has anyone frozen chevre, and how does the texture flavor hold up? i know cream cheese doesn't keep its texture, but i freeze cheddar, etc. all the time.

                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                          In my experience, goat cheese is one of the best cheeses for freezing. I'll be looking for it when I go Tuesday.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                            thanks for the freezing go-ahead.

                                                                                                                                                                            as a deal, it is at least half the price of other goat cheese rolls elsewhere.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                            I usually freeze my plain goat cheese. Makes it easier to slice into rounds when it's frozen- no messy crumbly edges. Wrap it in foil, so you won't 'discover' it and finish it off too soon!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                              Just picked up this log, it was recommended by a friend who raved about it.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. They're decadent, so restricted to a holiday treat, but I just polished off one of the frozen chocolate croissants--well, I mean, I baked it first :) In my opinion, this is one of the most utterly delicious items to come out of a home oven. And generally I'm not that big a fan of TJs.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. Avoid the croutons. Look beautiful, taste like burned garlic.

                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Emm

                                                                                                                                                                                  Speaking of cheese, the 4 Cheese pizzas, they are still pretty good aren't they? I notice they have a few varieties now, of the cheese kind that is. I am not talking the weird Spinach Avocado Vegetable mess. But there is like 4-Cheese and I thought I saw a 3 Cheese. It's the 4 Cheese one everybody loves, right? :)

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Woof Woof Woof

                                                                                                                                                                                    Tried another of my purchases last night. Avoid the "frying cheese" which has less flavor than old rubber tires, and about the same texture. I'm pretty sure this is the exact same cheap string cheese the supermarkets sell, just in a different shape, but TF's is priced at something like $7.99 a pound. Major ripoff.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Woof Woof Woof

                                                                                                                                                                                      The 4-Cheese from Italy is still good, yeah. Had it recently for the first time in a while.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. the apple cider in the fridge case is very mediocre. it's such a shame, as i was geared up for a tremendous apple "pop." not so much. ;-(.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Smoked Herring was pretty awful. The smoke was so intense it was like licking an ashtray. It's too bad because the Sardines are fine.

                                                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jcmods

                                                                                                                                                                                        The Apple Cider was very good here in Baltimore, MD. For unpasteurized Apple Cider I thought it was pretty good. Appley-ly and sweet. No Zeiglers crap. Maybe you got a bad batch Alk? I asked the Trader Jo Ho Sample Lady to try some before I bought a Half Gallon and it was great, so in my buggy it went.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Woof Woof Woof

                                                                                                                                                                                          The apple cider at my Trader Joes is definitely pastuerized, that's a rare find. I can't even find unpastuerized at the apple farms around here.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                            there is a farm stand in vienna, va that may have some unpasteurized. i guess maybe i'll have to go directly to some nearby orchards.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                              Here in NY, people love to sue over anything, so no one takes any chances. Not saying it doesn't exist but I sure haven't seen any lately.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Woof Woof Woof

                                                                                                                                                                                            here in falls church, northern virginia it is pasteurized, and distributed from the tj's offices in needham, mass.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. 2 new yeas:
                                                                                                                                                                                          - Eggplant Hummus - nice & garlicky, and you can actually taste the tahini. the consistency is a bit loose for my preference, but it makes a great topping for steamed veggies!
                                                                                                                                                                                          - Dark Chocolate-Covered Cacao Nibs - just spotted them on the new product display a couple of nights ago. it's their version of Sweetriot at a better price. hooray!

                                                                                                                                                                                          ETA: just remembered a big, fat NAY. one of the guys was walking around the store the other night handing out samples of flavored chocolate truffles. i have no idea what the other flavors were, but orange was the only one left when he approached me about trying them, so that's what i got. i took a bite, and it was so nasty i literally spit it in the trash.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Yay - sheep's milk feta in brine

                                                                                                                                                                                            Nay - Sweet potatoes with maple and pecans - they were way too sweet!

                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jeni1002

                                                                                                                                                                                              of their fetas, the israeli one is the best (i'd say it's more refined in flavor, and not as salty as the tj's own brand) -- but it is more expensive.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                I love that israeli feta... it's one of my favorite buys there....

                                                                                                                                                                                                --Dommy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Dommy

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I will definitely try it! Thanks for suggesting it :)

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Nay-Organic Vodka Sauce (for pasta). Looked good and creamy and chunky. Tasted, no exaggeration, like tomato-flavored salt water. Stunningly bad. (And I LOVE salt.)

                                                                                                                                                                                              Yay-Cranberry goat cheese log.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. i don't know if this is seasonal, but it's there now: dillettanté chocolate covered dried cherries, and chocolate covered mixed fruit. they are a bargain at $5.99 -- i'm thinking for 12 ounces (?). harry and david's version is $26.95 for a pound!!! http://www.harryanddavid.com/gifts/st...

                                                                                                                                                                                                this dillettanté brand is the same that i've purchased (in a larger container, wheel shaped) at costco beginning around thanksgiving time. i haven't been there in years to see if they still have them and at what price, but i *think* it might be a better deal there at costco compared with trader joe's. has anyone seen these lately?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Just tried the poblano peppers stuffed with Spanish rice and shrimp. I baked them in the oven. Not a huge portion so big eaters beware but these are very, very good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Purchase their salted popped potato chips immediately. I just ate the entire bag and spoiled my dinner. They taste like munchos (my favorite chip of all time) but they aren't fried. Delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. i'd have to say Nay, personally, for the egg white salad with chives. the flavor wasn't terrible, but it wasn't very good either. there were too many crunchy bits in it for my taste, and the celery was badly cut so it was stringy. WOn't be buying that again. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I don't know if it's new, but a big yea to the 100% Florida grapefruit juice in the refrigerated section. Expensive for a quart (3 bucks I think it was), but man it's good. After using it up quickly I decided I liked having that juice around (can't drink orange from a jug/carton, too much heartburn, but grapefruit is okay turns out) and got a jug of Simply Grapefruit at the regular supermarket. Not nearly as good, not even close really.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: CrazyOne

                                                                                                                                                                                                          crazyone, have you tried the indian river grapefruit juice? http://www.indianriverjuice.com/irj-p...
                                                                                                                                                                                                          i'm from florida, and this is the best national brand i've tasted from a grocery store. how does it compare with the flavor and texture of the tj's brand, if you know?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          ~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                          i've never tried "simply grapefruit," but *adore* "simply apple"!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't think I've ever seen and haven't ever tasted the Indian River juice. Sounds like it would be good too. The web site says "throughout the eastern United States" but the map photo only shows the southeast. Dunno. It doesn't have a real store locator, but it has Whole Foods and Target on the list so maybe one of those carries it around here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            It's possible, as I'm sure you know, that the Trader Joe's product is packaged by the same people. Whatever it is, it's good, but it's pricey compared to Simply Grapefruit, which is about $3-4 for whatever that jug size is (I believe a sneaky not-a-half-gallon size of probably 56 oz or something) vs this TJ's juice which is $3 for a quart.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Yea:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Eggplant hummus. I don't always like hummus with "stuff," and while I adore eggplant just about every way, I'm not a huge fan of baba ganouj, but this is great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cranberry chevre. A delicious combination. This would be an easy DIY (roll a log of fresh goat cheese in chopped dried cranberries), but while they have this, I'll take it at $3.99 for 8 oz.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Frozen spinach lasagne. I don't buy much frozen/prepared food, but while this is not stellar, and definitely tastes of frozen spinach (that slightly waterlogged texture and flavor), it's pretty tasty for an emergency meal and a good value at $1.99. I heated it in the toaster oven, which browned the cheese nicely (yay, cardboard tray - oven-friendly and can go in the city compost collection).

                                                                                                                                                                                                          For those times when I resort to prepared food, I also like the stuffed peppers in the refrigerated case: red pepper halves stuffed with a rice/ground turkey/tomato mixture that's well seasoned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yea/nay:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Roasted red pepper and artichoke tapenade. Overall, the flavor is good, but it's too salty. Okay for mixing with something else non-salty, but too salty to eat by itself on a cracker, at least for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Nay:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Multigrain savory thins. I had high hopes for these, but they're just too salty. I did finish the package, topping or dipping them with/in non-salty things, but I won't buy them again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Recently they were sampling the frozen two-bite three-cheese souffles. They weren't exactly airy like a real souffle, but they had good cheese flavor, and might be a good choice for people who look to the frozen hors d'oeurves for holiday get-togethers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Caitlin, i think you & i have similar palates :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            i just posted a yea the other day for the eggplant hummus (FYI, it's wonderful on steamed vegetables)...and that tapenade *is* way too salty, but i found a terrific use for it - it goes great with eggs! either stir a spoonful into scrambled, or spread a little bit over the top of a frittata.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The tapenade would def. be great with eggs, and I plan to do that. It needs to be added to something unsalted, for sure, so used as an ingredient, stirred into Greek yogurt for a sauce or dip, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I liked the spinach lasagne too Caitlin. And I am pretty proud of how my homemade lasagne turns out. But this was a night where I had zero time and wanted some hot food in me. I wasn't expecting much, but dang!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Got stuck wife-less last night and didn't feel like cooking (though I usually am the cook in our house). I stopped at TJ's for a few basics and picked up a frozen 3-cheese wood-fired oven pizza for $3.99. How bad could it be?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I didn't wait to find out the answer. I added some sliced tomatoes, dried basil and oregano, some feta cheese and some parmigiano reggiano during the last 3-4 minutes of baking. A drizzle of olive oil just at the end too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Now I tend to be pretty picky about my pizza, but I have to say that for the 3 minutes of extra work it took me to doctor up this thing............... it was pretty darned good. I assume the underlying basic product is OK too, though it obviously looked too plain to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. NAY: On my last trip, I picked up a couple packages of what had always been some of my favorite bagels, the sprouted wheat sesame bagels (Trader Josef's brand - in the bread aisle), only to find that they've either changed the supplier or the recipe. How disappointing. Not only are they not covered w/ sesame seeds like they used to be, but they are dry and tasteless.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I finally tried the peppermint bark bar (holiday item) and a big YAY on that one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. In this thread or another, the Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Mini Bites were recommended. I just tried them - the best packages CC cookie I have ever had! About an inch across, they are only 16 calories each and for me, 4 will suffice, nursed with a mug of coffee. Yea as well to the Tarte au Champignons, a vegetarian cousin to the Tarte d'Alsace,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Because of this thread, I not only realized that Trader Joes has the best cookies: I bought 5 different ones to try, but if I ate them all I'd have to kill myself. Then I realized I can make a few less Christmas cookies and pad the plates with a few Trader Joes. That's how good they are, just hope no one asks for the recipe or I'll have to come clean!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Nah, just say it's an old family recipe and it's never been divulged.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah, or I could give them a similar recipe off the internet and say I can't figure out why it came out so different for them..... Not that I've ever done anything like that, of course.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Nor I...heh heh...but that was my second thought on how to handle it. Once sent Moravian spice cookies (the really thin ones) to my mother-in-law who served them to some friends who asked for the recipe - major hemming and hawing ensued (she is known to be an excellent cook and baker and has a rep to live up to in the small town where she lives!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Well, once at a neighborhood party I served my world famous brisket chili and also a vegan four bean chili for the veggies (a decent foodservice brand that restaurants serve: I wouldn't know where to start with vegan), and all the women asked for the vegan recipe: I just blurted out that I got the recipe from one of the Moosewood cookbooks, but made a bunch of impromptu changes that I couldn't recall anymore, like adding pumpkin puree and ...thickened with oatmeal and....gee, I really can't remember, it was a quick last minute thing, didn't write it down, so sorry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The men all ate the brisket chili, a couple of bowls each, but no requests for that one, sigh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              yeah, coll, but how often do men ask for recipes, anyhow? never in my experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Unless they're in the food business, you're right. Probably an ego thing, several are retired and consider themselves gourmet home cooks. I'm pretty generous with recipes I have, and used to tell people when things were outsourced, but they react so strangely........disbelief and sadness...I'm too kind to hurt them that way. Much better to lie!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What they don't know won't hurt them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    hey, they won't ask for directions driving, either! {;^D.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think that was my recommendation. Yay! I'm so glad you liked them. I am a big fan and also think the nutritional info is great for a packaged cookie. Yea also on the Candy Cane green tea. Really delicious, although I apologize to anyone who shops at my Tj's because I think I bought out their supply.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mollyomormon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          insider tip if you have trouble tracking down the tea...it's a Celestial Seasonings product. you can find it at a lot of supermarkets and drug stores.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mollyomormon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              my pleasure! i've been drinking the Celestial Seasonings version for a long time, so i laughed when i saw how excited everyone had gotten about the TJ's product.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I hate their cookies ..... well hate is too strong. I hate to go to TJs when I'm hungry coz I buy them dang cookies and knock them out on the way home. Frightfully good.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The druid circles, triple ginger, some spice bar biscotti type thing, cinn cookies.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Chicken sausages, many varieties, though I do miss the chorizo ones.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          All the nuts.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The coffee.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The decaf IB tea.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Lemon curd.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          raw almond butter.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "British" muffins.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          frozen quiche
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          fresh mushrooms
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          milk,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          euro yogurt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          butter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          most of the herbs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          alot of the dark chocolate bars
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          dark choc espresso beans
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          multi grain hot cereal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          various corn chips
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          various hummus
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          organic marinara sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          lots of the pastas

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm sure I've had some losers, but I don't remember what they were.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I think it s time for a new yea/nea thread already.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: shaebones

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Haha, maybe so, Shaebones. It DID fill up quickly!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              YEAS
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mediterranean hummus (HIGHLY addictive!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Boxed panang tuna

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Dark chocolate-covered macademias

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Spiced apple cider -- make a special trip every winter to stock up because they ALWAYS sell out by Christmas

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              NAYS
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Jarred TJ pasta sauces (on the advice of a friend I tried three different varieties -- one was a marinara -- and they all sucked)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Macademia popcorn -- expensive, total ripoff, mostly popcorn with very few macs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Frozen organic berries -- can't recall what they were (wild blueberries?), but there wasn't an intact berry in the entire bag, only pieces of berries. I swore never again!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Parmesan Pastry Pups -- A very poor combination. (What was I thinking?) Flavorless too. Dry, need some type of dipping sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Frozen lime bars -- Tasteless. For a little more money one can buy the 365 brand at Whole Foods that are MUCH better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Lemon cookies for $5 that I bought at checkout -- Not very lemony, and VERY dry. Liked that they were almost see-through they were so thin. Needed some lemon curd or pudding or something.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Currently in my freezer are frozen French Onion Soup, arancinis, two-bite three-cheese souffles, and TJ's breaded chicken cutlets. Will review those later!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ApartmentDweller

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Where did you find the boxed penang tuna! Was it a recent buy? I loved these things, but my TJ's hasn't had them for over a year and said they were discontinued. Are they back?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Dnanana

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh sorry Dnanana! It's been quite a while since I've had those... Since I just discovered this thread I was reviewing some older purchases too. I had to stop eating them (I LOVED THEM!!) because I had them so frequently I developed an allergy to something in there. That was a couple of years ago. Their discontinuation of items seems to be a real problem...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: ApartmentDweller

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  UPDATE: I can emphatically, unequivocally state that the ARANCINI BITES rock!!! Do yourself a favor and serve them smothered in marinara... I used Amy's jarred marinara simmered w/ ground buffalo, green bell pepper, and onion.... Vundeba! Almost as good as the arancini at Gino's in Baton Rouge which are baseball-sized and have meat in them!! Yummy.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ApartmentDweller

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    OK, fellow Chowhounds, I've had the opportunity to try more stuff:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    TJ'S FROZEN MASHED POTATOES IN POUCH: (These are actually mashed potato medallions.) Don't bother. Not any better than flakes, and for me it just meant another dirty saucepan (flakes can be made right in serving dish) and more space taken up in my tiny freezer. The ONLY advantage over flakes IMO would be if there are less preservatives and/or pesticides in TJs', which may be the case but unfortunately I don't have a package of flakes to compare with. Whole Foods may have "healthy" flakes, and if so I will go with that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LEMON COOKIES: The lemon cookies that sucked that I posted about before (an impulse buy at checkout) were Meyer Thin Lemon Cookies (I found the old receipt). They don't have enough lemon flavor for my taste and are a bit dry but would be good with lemon curd or pudding or something. I LOVED the thinness of them, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    FROZEN MINI CHEESE SOUFFLES: (These are actually cheese "balls" or "nuggets" that you place in a small [4-oz.] ramekin and bake.) 4 servings in a bag. These ROCK! If you enjoy cheese souffles you will love these.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    FROZEN BREADED CHICKEN TENDERS: These are superb! Quality meat; tasty, crispy breading; and, best of all, these are NOT the slightest bit greasy!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ApartmentDweller

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for reporting on the Frozen Mini Cheese Souffles. I love to have things on hand in my freezer, for impromtu lunches. These sound just perfect with a nice green salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I bought the Chocolate Croissants and served them Christmas morning with Brunch. They were excellent. Everyone raved. In a box of 4 for $3.99, they rise overnight and cooked up light and airy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcel215

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It was my pleasure. :) Thanks to the posters here, I have compiled quite the list of items to try from TJ's. It certainly will save me from wasting money on duds.... I will add the chocolate croissants to the list!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tonight I had the FROZEN FRENCH ONION SOUP. 2 servings in a box, and the croutons and cheese are already on top. You bake this in an oven-safe bowl. It is so-so. A little too salty for my taste, and I like a stronger onion/beef flavor, which unfortunately has been muted by the bread and cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ApartmentDweller

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thumbs down for the SWEET ORGANIC FROZEN CORN. This is the stuff one would feed to equines: LARGE kernels, VERY yellow, and sickeningly sweet. If you're looking for the taste of corn, forget it: you won't find it here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: shaebones

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  let's start in january? call it "Trader Joe's 2010, First Quarter Yeas/Nays""

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4. The frozen macarons! Gluten free (though not labeled as such, but I didn't see anything that worried me too much) and fun. The chocolate were better than the vanilla, but still, what a fun treat.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Vetter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Vetter, can you do me a huge favor and post the ingredients? i'm really curious as to why they're not labeled as GF if they're safe...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Vanilla: sugar, almond meal, powdered sugar (sugar, cornstarch), egg white, cream (milk), butter, egg yolk, water, vanilla, cornstarch, gelatine(bovine), egg white powder.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chocolate: dark chocolate (cocoa liquor, sugar, soy lecithin, vanilla), sugar, almond meal, powdered sugar (sugar, cornstarch), cream, egg white, butter (cream, milk), water, cocoa powder (processed with alkali) egg white powder

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It does say it is processed on shared equipment with other tree nuts, wheat and soy in a facilitythat processes peanuts. Also says "Our vendors follow Good Manufacturing Practices to segregate ingredients to avoid cross contact with allergens."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Cathy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        thanks so much!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i guess maybe they're just playing it safe if they can't guarantee the cornstarch and powdered sugar haven't somehow been contaminated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. the box of crackers for entertaining is a great value! it has four types of crackers, including an excellent pepper-laced water cracker. very nice with brie!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    the half-fat brie ain't bad at all. i'd buy it again.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      it's called "cracker assortment" in a primarily black box. better than pepperidge farm's assorted cracker box, for sure -- and cheaper, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        alka, reduced-fat brie??? now *that* works for me :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          that's what i thought too. it's firmer than full fat double or triple creme, but it has a decent brie flavor, though obviously it's not as buttery. the rind seems thicker, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i'm wondering how it'd work in a baked brie application -- if it would get gooey enough. a favorite in college was putting butter and sliced almonds on top of a brie round, then baking it till the center got very soft (near collapse) -- then eating it on a fresh french baguette. (of course, the butter on top sort of defeats the purpose, but maybe just use less.... the sliced almonds make the dish, though!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wow, that sounds sooo good. Better than pastry (which seems superfluous to me). And putting butter on something lowfat is just irresistible!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I will, next time we have folks over. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. just a heads-up for any Toblerone lovers...TJ's now has the monster 14-oz bars for $4.99!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Based on the newly published favorite items list from TJ's ( the newsletter subscriber survey) I bought the Wintery Blend coffee. Argghhh! Ghastly. First time I will bring an item back. A big nay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. While I am a big fan of the Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup for sipping, I have to give a nay to the other tetra-pak soups I have tried. Butternut Squash was thin and one-dimensional, and while Creamy Corn and Roasted Pepper had good background flavor from the roasted poblanos, as with the squash, I found the sweetener intrusive and unnecessary. Has anyone tried the sweet potato bisque?

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i've only seen one mention of it in another thread and it was a nay...i'd probably skip it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That was my inclination, based on my experiences with the others. I'll stick to the RRPT only.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I remember trying the SP bisque a few years ago and not liking it but am not sure why - maybe it had too much cumin, or I wanted chicken stock in it. I know that I doctored it up a lot and never bought it again. I'm a fan of the RRPT too, so I suggest you try the other one I like, the Cream of Tomato. My only quibble with it is that the color is a bit brown. If that really bothers you, stir in a tiny bit of tomato paste. I think it is considerably better than adding dairy to a can of Campbell's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've had it before and it is a nay. No sweet potato flavor, just, blah.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. We buy their Sumatran and French Roast coffees - the coffee is decent but I absolutely hate those stupid paper/metal cans it comes in. You can't do anything with them - they're not washable. Wasteful. There must be a better way of packaging it.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i have to say, i bought my first can of the Sumatra this week and i'm really not loving it. the flavor isn't as rich as what i'm used to. after i finish it i'm going back to the bulk beans at my local Henry's Market, and maybe i'll use the can to store those beans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Ratatouille Bites-unimpressed . Same for the Cheese souffle bites.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes to the Brandy Beans (Dark Choc filled with brandy-how can you go wrong?) Def Yes to the party mini meatballs. I usually HATE packaged meatballs. Top with gyoza sauce, or Island soyaki(or mix the 2) or peanut sauce or make your own!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Everyone in my family loves the Arancini Bites. And I always keep a frozen spinach pizza from TJ's in the freezer for the kids. And there pizza dough is handy to keep around. The kids each get half a pack of pizza dough and make their own pizzas. Topped with some of TJ's fresh mozz. Everyone gets what they like, kids have fun and so much cheaper than crappy delivery. And LOVE the booze prices here in CA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Not sure how new these are but I LOVE the Dutch almond windmill cookies. The shame: I ate almost the entire box over a few days. If you love not-too-sweet almond-flavored cookies, try these.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Friends have highly recommended the White Balsamic Vinegar from TJ's. I just bought a bottle, it's really good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. FYI - As was suggested since these threads let overly long, there's a new one for the first quarter of 2010: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6774...