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Trader Joe's Holiday Items. What are you looking forward to? [old]

madgreek Nov 6, 2009 07:11 AM

I'd like to know what holiday foods TJ's has that you can't wait to see this year. I'm always happy to see the pumpkin ice cream, peppermint bark, and Vintage Ale.

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  1. alkapal RE: madgreek Nov 6, 2009 07:28 AM

    ooooh ooooh ooooh <thrusts hand into the air>:
    white chocolate peppermint bark bar (by the checkout counter). and lebkuchen (sans chocolate).

    (i tossed out that pumpkin ice cream --- it was so intense and sooooo heavily spiced. bleh).

    5 Replies
    1. re: alkapal
      jujuthomas RE: alkapal Nov 6, 2009 09:01 AM

      peppermint joe joes! YUM

      1. re: jujuthomas
        queenscook RE: jujuthomas Nov 26, 2009 08:40 PM

        I think the Mint Oreos are far better than the Peppermint Joe-Joes. And they're available year round.

        1. re: queenscook
          CrazyOne RE: queenscook Dec 2, 2009 05:04 AM

          Hm, what I tried recently was the mint Newman-Os. Those were good but a lot more expensive than the Joe-Joes.

          1. re: queenscook
            greygarious RE: queenscook Dec 17, 2010 01:42 PM

            Tried the peppermint Joe-Joes for the first time. The mint cream is good but IMO their flavor totally overwhelms the chocolate flavor in the cookie. The supermarket version of Mystic Mints solves that problem with the chocolate coating.

            1. re: greygarious
              Ruth Lafler RE: greygarious Dec 22, 2010 07:06 PM

              But have you tried the chocolate-covered peppermint Jo-Jos?

      2. j
        Jelly71 RE: madgreek Nov 6, 2009 09:33 AM

        i REALLY REALLY REALLY hope they bring back the sea salt caramels. those were the perfect candy. i ate 3 boxes last year and i don't even like candy.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Jelly71
          madgreek RE: Jelly71 Nov 6, 2009 09:44 AM

          Ooooohhhhh. Good Call.

          1. re: madgreek
            Arthur RE: madgreek Nov 6, 2009 11:18 AM

            Based on reviews here, I bought a box of those last year and found they were highly overrated. I didn't detect much of a salty flavor and, frankly, I didn't think they were much of a step up from Kraft.

            On the other hand, I LOVE the dark chocolate-covered caramels TJ's usually has this time of year, the ones with large grains of Dead Sea salt sprinkled on top. Very sweet + very salty = da bomb!

            Also, I hope TJ's brings back their Scottish shortbread cookies, if for no other reason than they've always been outrageously inexpensive, at least compared to the identical Walkers brand.

            1. re: Arthur
              alkapal RE: Arthur Nov 6, 2009 06:33 PM

              yes, the shortbread, for sure. i'm finishing a box i saved from last year. not bad for the time in the box! not bad at all -- esp. when i dip it in milk! '-).

              1. re: Arthur
                Jelly71 RE: Arthur Nov 9, 2009 01:22 PM

                the ones with Dead Sea Salt and dark chocolate were the ones is was referring to. i didn't know there were others.

                i went to TJ on Fri nite and picked up a few boxes. a friend in OR found them at her TJ's so it looks like they are available now.

          2. g
            givemecarbs RE: madgreek Nov 6, 2009 11:03 PM

            I liked the pretzel snowflake things, pretzels covered in a yogurt frosting. I'm going to pounce on some french truffles too as soon as they appear.

            1 Reply
            1. re: givemecarbs
              greygarious RE: givemecarbs Dec 17, 2010 01:49 PM

              I discovered the French truffles in 2009 because of Chowhound, and bought 4 boxes in January to last the whole year. Word to the wise: The box I opened this fall had lost much of its chocolate punch. I tasted the oil more than the chocolate, and the cocoa powder coating had melded with the ganache during the heat of the summer. Perhaps they'd have fared better if I'd kept them refrigerated or frozen. They only had 3 boxes when I was there yesterday, so I got all of them and will chill whatever remains by Memorial Day. My favorite way to eat them is squashed between two dried apricots.

            2. coll RE: madgreek Nov 7, 2009 12:31 AM

              They always have gift boxes of chocolate, perfect for office gifts, but a couple of years ago they came in a 3 foot long skinny box that was very impressive. For under $5. Last year though just regular square boxes. I'm going to check back in early December to see if they bring those back, the girls at work were very impressed.

              11 Replies
              1. re: coll
                cheesecake17 RE: coll Nov 12, 2009 11:19 AM

                ooh that would be nice for holiday gifts! what was the packaging like?

                1. re: cheesecake17
                  coll RE: cheesecake17 Nov 12, 2009 12:11 PM

                  It was like a big fat yardstick, so easy to hand out (especially with all the swine flu around ;-) Maybe 2 chocolates wide, but delicious Belgian like they always have. I think they even came with nice gold ribbons on them, so just buy and hand out. I was so disappointed not to find them last year. The square boxes look so ordinary and nobody oohed and aahed.

                  1. re: coll
                    cheesecake17 RE: coll Nov 12, 2009 12:27 PM

                    very cool.. if you see them again, let me know

                    1. re: cheesecake17
                      coll RE: cheesecake17 Nov 12, 2009 03:08 PM

                      I'll be going there about a week after Thanksgiving, I'll post what they have this year.

                      1. re: coll
                        cheesecake17 RE: coll Nov 13, 2009 07:47 AM


                        Speaking of holiday food gifts... I bought a really nice gift set of truffle cookies last year from Costco. If TJ's doesn't have anything, I'll see what Costco has

                        1. re: cheesecake17
                          Cathy RE: cheesecake17 Nov 13, 2009 08:02 AM

                          Costco has been selling Christmas items since the end of September. Most is one time only/not renewed on the shelf. I buy now and people who only go at the last minute don't know where I got their gifts.

                          1. re: Cathy
                            cheesecake17 RE: Cathy Nov 13, 2009 08:33 AM

                            It's too early to buy gifts now... last year I went the week before xmas and found lots. The only thing Costco didn't have was the smaller ($10) Starbucks gift pack..

                            1. re: cheesecake17
                              Cathy RE: cheesecake17 Nov 13, 2009 09:02 AM

                              They had that last week or maybe 2 weeks ago.

                              1. re: cheesecake17
                                Ruth Lafler RE: cheesecake17 Nov 13, 2009 06:43 PM

                                I wonder if Costco will have V Chocolates again this year? http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/582677

                      2. re: coll
                        greygarious RE: coll Dec 10, 2009 12:47 PM

                        They were one candy wide. They haven't had them in several years, sadly. I used to buy them every Christmas. One year I left some of my TJ's haul in the car (Boston area, late November) and there was a thaw. After a day in the sunny lot at work, I had a box of melted but still delicious globs. Good thing I thought to open one to check before wrapping them as gifts!

                        I also miss the fruit jellies in the rectangular metal box (Ganong? was the brand). They were authentically fruity, not a blend of artificial, too-sweet flavorings. The kiwi, raspberry, and peach were the best of the variety.

                        1. re: greygarious
                          coll RE: greygarious Dec 10, 2009 01:23 PM

                          I'm glad I'm not the only one that remembers those chocolates, they still didn't have this year, sadly.

                  2. madgreek RE: madgreek Nov 7, 2009 02:51 AM

                    What are everyone's thoughts on the panettone?

                    I bought some last year and thought it was good, though admittedly I haven't had the bread from more than 1 other supplier.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: madgreek
                      DianeCGW RE: madgreek Nov 9, 2009 09:09 AM

                      I've always bought the cranberry panettone and I like it. However, I've never had any panettone from any other company so I can't compare.

                      I even used it last year to make french toast.

                    2. f
                      FlyerFan RE: madgreek Nov 7, 2009 05:07 PM

                      Loved the dark chocolate covered shortbread sprinkled with nonpareils. Hope they're back again!

                      22 Replies
                      1. re: FlyerFan
                        betterbeheaven RE: FlyerFan Nov 8, 2009 06:49 PM

                        wow that sounds fantastic! do you remember what the packaging looks like? i was at tj's briefly on saturday and was overwhelmed with the variety of holiday items.

                        I tried peppermint joe-joe's for the first time, excellent. Now I'm curious to try the chocolate dipped ones.

                        1. re: FlyerFan
                          Glencora RE: FlyerFan Nov 11, 2009 11:59 AM

                          I just bought some dark-chocolate star-shaped shortbread cookies sprinkled with white nonpareils. Very tasty and fairly small. If that's what you're looking for, betterbeheaven, keep an eye out for a pale blue box with a big star cut-out. The chocolate dipped peppermint joe-joes were way too big and too sweet for me.

                          1. re: Glencora
                            alkapal RE: Glencora Nov 11, 2009 12:09 PM

                            """"The chocolate dipped peppermint joe-joes were way too big and too sweet for me.""""

                            one was enough for "dessert."

                            1. re: alkapal
                              reiflame RE: alkapal Dec 14, 2009 09:24 AM

                              They are extremely rich and really, really good.

                              1. re: alkapal
                                pitu RE: alkapal Dec 16, 2009 06:26 AM

                                I like the regular peppermint jojos waaaaay better. The dipped ones...well, gilding the lily doesn't always work. I thought it was a waste.

                                1. re: pitu
                                  alkapal RE: pitu Dec 17, 2009 05:07 AM

                                  yes. it was *too much* for me. in fact, i've skipped the pepp joe joe's altogether this year. i'd rather spend my calorie budget on the white chocolate peppermint bark bars! .... and the oatmeal-cranberry dunkers with white chocolate.

                                  1. re: alkapal
                                    coney with everything RE: alkapal Dec 17, 2009 05:47 AM

                                    Love the peppermint bark bars, but I'm a fan of the chocolate covered Jo Jos. Only one a day, though.

                              2. re: Glencora
                                Ruth Lafler RE: Glencora Nov 11, 2009 01:59 PM

                                I was just thinking that no one ever mentions these and I like them a lot -- both the chocolate and the cookie are pretty good quality. The star shape and the blue box make me think they're supposed to double as a Hannukah-related item.

                                Anyone seen any kosher turkeys yet?

                                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                  chez cherie RE: Ruth Lafler Nov 11, 2009 02:13 PM

                                  the brined and kosher turkeysa are due into the stores (at least in so CA) friday.

                                  1. re: chez cherie
                                    justalex RE: chez cherie Nov 11, 2009 06:49 PM

                                    Due to distance, I'd never considered purchasing our Thanksgiving turkey at Trader Joe's. Well, happy day, the largest TJ's in the U.S. opened a scant 20 miles away in Minnetonka, MN last Friday. There was quite the crowd around the Glatt kosher turkeys. I'd appreciate any feedback anyone could give me about these particular birds. (I just couldn't bring myself to wade through the crowd to read the packaging.)

                                    1. re: chez cherie
                                      givemecarbs RE: chez cherie Nov 12, 2009 01:52 PM

                                      I'd like to try a brined or kosher turkey from TJs but I need at least an 18 pounder. That is the lowest weight that will do as there are going to be three of us for Thanksgiving dinner. Do you think they will have any birds that have some real heft to them?

                                      1. re: givemecarbs
                                        Cathy RE: givemecarbs Nov 13, 2009 03:59 AM

                                        I just got a TJs email and it says 12-16 lb Kosher turkeys.

                                        1. re: givemecarbs
                                          alkapal RE: givemecarbs Nov 13, 2009 05:07 AM

                                          >>>""""18 pounder. That is the lowest weight that will do as there are going to be three of us""""<<<<

                                          am i reading correctly that three people eat an 18-pounder?

                                          1. re: alkapal
                                            coll RE: alkapal Nov 13, 2009 05:27 AM

                                            We have 3 or 4 and I consider 20 to be minimum weight. We do love our leftovers though.

                                            1. re: coll
                                              alkapal RE: coll Nov 13, 2009 05:34 AM

                                              how many pounds of meat do you get from a 20# bird?

                                              1. re: alkapal
                                                coll RE: alkapal Nov 13, 2009 03:31 PM

                                                Usually it's supposed to be 25% bone to 75% meat when figuring portion size. But since we don't eat the dark meat (goes into stock pot and then into enchiladas etc) it's not all that much. Enough for 4 or 5 days of sandwiches and asst leftovers. I don't go to all that trouble to only eat for one day!

                                            2. re: alkapal
                                              givemecarbs RE: alkapal Nov 14, 2009 09:29 PM

                                              If we must, alkapal. I think about four years back I managed to wrangle a 28 pounder, now that rocked.

                                              1. re: givemecarbs
                                                shoelace RE: givemecarbs Nov 15, 2009 05:39 AM

                                                a 28lb that was kosher???

                                                1. re: shoelace
                                                  givemecarbs RE: shoelace Nov 15, 2009 08:17 PM

                                                  No, not kosher. Thinking of trying a kosher bird from TJ's this year if I can find one big enough. Last year's selection was kinda puny but they may have been picked over. I was being kind of a smart aleck. Alkapal asked me if I really meant an 18 pound turkey for three people, and I said yes, if that is what I have to settle for. I really do like to get a heftier bird than eighteen pounds, that is my minimum requirement. Bigger turkeys are a dream to cook. lots of filling and great gravy, and it is much easier to get the dark meat cooked while keeping the white meat moist. What can I say, I can be kinda lazy. And all those leftovers. I love dinner the day after Thanksgiving. So easy after all the effort getting everything hot to the table. I'm smiling right now thinking of my plate piled with all those wonderful leftovers. This year I'm thinking about a turkey pie a few days after thanksgiving. I made one years ago with just a bit of rutabaga in it. I love Thanksgiving!

                                            3. re: givemecarbs
                                              Humbucker RE: givemecarbs Nov 13, 2009 10:05 AM

                                              Wow, 18 lbs for 3 people! I had a 14 lb. bird for 7 last year and had a lot of leftovers.

                                              You should change your name to givemeprotein!

                                              1. re: givemecarbs
                                                puddin head RE: givemecarbs Nov 14, 2009 07:22 PM

                                                went to TJs tonight, and they had 18 pounders.

                                          2. re: Glencora
                                            greygarious RE: Glencora Dec 11, 2009 05:33 PM

                                            Several years ago they had rectangular cookies (now I can't remember if they were shortbread or graham or something in between) covered with a thicker-than-typical dark chocolate. The box was cardboard, oval, with stripes in several shades of blue, with a blue cloth bow. Can anyone who has had those, and the current star-shaped cookies, compare and contrast?

                                        2. t
                                          trhirsh RE: madgreek Nov 10, 2009 03:47 PM

                                          It would be the frozen pumpkin pie - but no - I've been told no frozen pumpkin pies this season.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: trhirsh
                                            madgreek RE: trhirsh Nov 11, 2009 11:52 AM

                                            I never even noticed if TJ's has one. I did find a frozen pumpkin pie locally for $1.25. At that price, I couldn't say no. Not to mention it was all natural (all the same ingredients I use in my recipe) and tasted freakin' awesome!

                                          2. twodales RE: madgreek Nov 13, 2009 06:07 AM

                                            Escargot? I have heard that they have a decent escargot app on the West Coast but have never seen it in the Chicago area. Nothings says "Holiday" like snails...

                                            Any info on this????

                                            1. operagirl RE: madgreek Nov 13, 2009 06:16 AM

                                              The last couple holiday seasons, they've had these stacks of single origin dark chocolate bars from around the world. The chocolates are delicious and it's really fun to pick out the nuances in flavor between each one. I think there were 9 or 10 bars to a stack, around 3" square, very reasonably priced.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: operagirl
                                                alkapal RE: operagirl Nov 13, 2009 07:59 AM

                                                that sounds fun. i haven't seen those, operagirl. but, now i'll be on the lookout.

                                                1. re: operagirl
                                                  alkapal RE: operagirl Nov 13, 2009 08:03 AM

                                                  not to derail this on costco stuff, but now is the time when you should be able to buy their chocolate-covered dried fruits -- in the plastic tray-like container (sometimes oblong, sometimes circular). dried cherries, blueberries, apricots, etc. dee-licious.

                                                  1. re: operagirl
                                                    potato or yam RE: operagirl Nov 18, 2009 01:03 PM

                                                    Those were great. They were really high quality but cheap enough that I could buy them in large quantities for holiday baking (though it is a pain to open so many small packages).

                                                    1. re: operagirl
                                                      operagirl RE: operagirl Dec 18, 2010 07:06 PM

                                                      Single origin chocolates are definitely back this year! I bought a pack for $9.99 last week. Yum.

                                                    2. alkapal RE: madgreek Nov 13, 2009 08:00 AM

                                                      a few years ago, they had round straw trays of mixed nuts. i liked them (and still use those trays as plate holders when watching tv).

                                                      has anyone seen mixed nuts this year?

                                                      10 Replies
                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                        Woof Woof Woof RE: alkapal Nov 14, 2009 11:04 AM

                                                        I went to TJ's today. OMG I felt like a kid in a candy shop. I couldn't stop tasting and trying things and deciding what to buy. It was rediculous. I literally just walked down the candy aisle and sampled 3 or 4, maybe 5 different things. It was like lunch almost lol.

                                                        The Those Dead Sea Salt Caramels covered in Chocolate, i tried those they were very good and like fattening too I think 11g of fat for 1..wow. And their were some other kind of caramel I picked up a box of those, not chocolate covered though, but its in my pantry now though lol..has like a sea salt too, very good and soft and creamy in a white box. i think what another poster said "sea salt caramels"

                                                        Saw the usual P Joe Joes..now they have some new Joe Joes? like Extra Thick kind? I didn't try those, by the time I got to those I was full of the caramels! Are they good eh? Maybe next time I will sample.

                                                        Oh I tried some Dark Chocolate Covered Caramel in plastic container..Awful. I spit it out. It was hard as rock and tasteless.

                                                        So next time I think I will look for the choc. pretzels and some shortbread ...they are pretty good eh?

                                                        And the turkey..it's good? I've always been weary bout meat from TJ's. I mean they did just have an ECOLI recall :/

                                                        1. re: Woof Woof Woof
                                                          alkapal RE: Woof Woof Woof Nov 16, 2009 03:29 AM

                                                          i may be alone in this, but the chocolate covered pretzels were just "meh" to me.

                                                          1. re: alkapal
                                                            Ruth Lafler RE: alkapal Nov 17, 2009 09:51 AM

                                                            They actually have three different types of chocolate covered pretzels (actually, now that I think of it, maybe there are four). If you only tried the milk chocolate ones, try the dark chocolate ones, which come in both the "knot" shape and in the thin, crisp style (the fourth would be a vague memory that they also have chocolate covered "baton" shaped pretzels). The chocolate covered thins fall into the "I can't buy them because I'll eat the whole package in one sitting" category for me.

                                                          2. re: Woof Woof Woof
                                                            Steve Green RE: Woof Woof Woof Nov 16, 2009 07:35 AM

                                                            woofwoofwoof said: "I literally just walked down the candy aisle and sampled 3 or 4, maybe 5 different things. It was like lunch almost lol."

                                                            You're trolling again about sampling without permission, aren't you?

                                                            1. re: Steve Green
                                                              givemecarbs RE: Steve Green Nov 16, 2009 03:25 PM

                                                              I caught that too Steve. I admit it does sound like fun.

                                                            2. re: Woof Woof Woof
                                                              jsaimd RE: Woof Woof Woof Nov 16, 2009 08:56 PM

                                                              I tried the dead sea salt caramels and didn't like them at all. I LOVE salted caramels and try them at most chocolatiers I visit. I was hoping these would be a lower cost option, but they had such a strong palm/coconut oil taste I spit it out. Sorry chowhounds have to disagree on this product.

                                                              1. re: jsaimd
                                                                Arthur RE: jsaimd Nov 16, 2009 11:04 PM

                                                                I've got a box in front of me, jsaimd. There is no palm oil listed in the ingredients. The caramels do contain what appears to be a small amount of coconut oil, listed about 2/3 of the way down. To each his/her own, but I highly doubt many people will be as offended by the trace flavor of coconut oil as you seem to be.

                                                                And Woof: There are 11 grams of fat in a serving of THREE pieces, not in each piece. Huge difference.

                                                                1. re: jsaimd
                                                                  Ruth Lafler RE: jsaimd Nov 17, 2009 09:45 AM

                                                                  I noted the coconut oil taste when I first reported on them last year (or maybe the year before). To me, I can taste it but it's not unpleasant.

                                                                  1. re: jsaimd
                                                                    pitu RE: jsaimd Dec 16, 2009 06:29 AM

                                                                    Thx for being specific about the coconut oil taste. I generally notice and don't care for that either.

                                                                  2. re: Woof Woof Woof
                                                                    greygarious RE: Woof Woof Woof Dec 10, 2009 12:55 PM

                                                                    The main blame for tainted food recalls belongs with the processing companies, not the retailers. I have read posts knocking TJ's for milk and meat that isn't fresh but my experience has been just the opposite. Both keep longer in the fridge than that at my local supermarket (Market Basket), and the first time I bought TJ's ground beef I was pleasantly shocked at how much better the flavor was than what I was used to buying.

                                                                2. Ruth Lafler RE: madgreek Nov 14, 2009 01:27 PM

                                                                  Just back from TJ's in Alameda (Northern California). Turkeys are in, both kosher and "natural." Fresh Italian chestnuts, $4.99/lb.
                                                                  Brussels sprouts on the stalk
                                                                  Organic canned pumpkin, pumpkin butter
                                                                  Chocolate Palatte: a stack of 9 different single-origin dark chocolates is back

                                                                  They were tasting the turkey gravy and I wasn't impressed.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                    alkapal RE: Ruth Lafler Nov 16, 2009 03:30 AM

                                                                    pumpkin butter is a real winner! i'm *thinking* that they may have it year round, now.

                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                      Arthur RE: Ruth Lafler Nov 16, 2009 11:26 PM

                                                                      Ruth, they have had the organic canned pumpkin year-round.

                                                                      Pumpkin butter, though, has definitely been a seasonal item, and I see no reason to believe TJ's will change that. After all, this is the store that recently gave ordinary pie crust a seasonal designation.

                                                                    2. s
                                                                      shaebones RE: madgreek Nov 15, 2009 10:20 PM

                                                                      The wafer thin crackers w the cranberries in them.

                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                      1. re: shaebones
                                                                        stevuchan RE: shaebones Nov 16, 2009 03:35 PM

                                                                        Guindilla peppers are very good as are the pumpernickel pretzels.

                                                                        1. re: stevuchan
                                                                          Woof Woof Woof RE: stevuchan Nov 17, 2009 04:36 AM

                                                                          Hey (And not talking horses here), TJs allows for open and free sampling. I for one did not want to buy the whole aisle of Holiday Selections. I tried a few things new to me, and bought those Sea Salt Caramels, after sampling a couple of course cause they were excellent. I left the box for others to try too :) (Could of bought the Dark Choc. Sea Salt ones too...delicious as well)
                                                                          Can't wait to be back to try the Pretzels, Shortbread, Peanut Brittle, & Choc. Covered JoJos :)

                                                                          1. re: Woof Woof Woof
                                                                            coney with everything RE: Woof Woof Woof Nov 18, 2009 04:02 AM

                                                                            I know this has come up before, but I cannot believe TJ's encourages this behavior. I would NEVER take a sample from a box left open on a shelf. How do you know if it's been tampered with?

                                                                            There's a reason things are sealed to a fare-thee-well these days--can you say Tylenol in Chicago??


                                                                            1. re: coney with everything
                                                                              alkapal RE: coney with everything Nov 18, 2009 04:10 AM

                                                                              i've never seen it done "on one's own", but if you do want to try something, you can take it back to the gal at the sampling station and she'll open the box and give you some. that's how i first tried the white chocolate peppermint bark bar (actually, no, i was asking about peppermint bark, and the gal recommended the bar instead, and then went and got one, cracked it open, and gave me a chunk.).

                                                                              1. re: coney with everything
                                                                                Steve Green RE: coney with everything Nov 18, 2009 04:21 AM

                                                                                Yeah, it came up before, and it was the same poster. Woof must be trolling. T.J.'s would never let this person in the store again if he/she were continually opening up packages and sampling without permission as claimed. I fell for it last time like everyone else, but I just don't believe this any more.

                                                                                1. re: Steve Green
                                                                                  givemecarbs RE: Steve Green Nov 18, 2009 10:23 AM

                                                                                  I'm with you Steve. But alkapal that was pretty awesome that the sample monger did that. I'll have to ask about prime rib next time I go. :)

                                                                                  1. re: givemecarbs
                                                                                    Steve Green RE: givemecarbs Nov 18, 2009 10:54 AM

                                                                                    I did have a similar experience to alkapal's once. I was at checkout and told the checker that I'd changed my mind and didn't want a particular item -- that I didn't want to take a chance on it (it was some cookie IIRC). She said in so many words, "Hey, wonder what it's like -- let's try it", and proceeded to open it up and hand samples to me and other nearby customers. I ended up not liking it, but that was a nice gesture on her part.

                                                                                    1. re: Steve Green
                                                                                      coll RE: Steve Green Nov 18, 2009 12:02 PM

                                                                                      That was nice, but I'm not surprised, they have some of the nicest employees there. But everything is so cheap that I'm willing to take a chance occasionally, and I'm rarely disappointed.

                                                                                    2. re: givemecarbs
                                                                                      alkapal RE: givemecarbs Nov 19, 2009 03:54 AM

                                                                                      yes! prime rib! http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/576308

                                                                                2. re: Woof Woof Woof
                                                                                  Jacey RE: Woof Woof Woof Nov 18, 2009 03:37 PM

                                                                                  Um, I think this might be called illegal, as in stealing. Yes, TJ's allows sampling but via the sampling station. It would be a health code if you opened up a package yourself, put your dirty hands in the package and left the rest for others to do the same.

                                                                                  I just don't get the entitlement and thought processes of some people.

                                                                            2. s
                                                                              schmecky RE: madgreek Nov 17, 2009 05:31 AM

                                                                              I LOVE the Wintry Blend coffee, but they seem to only have pre-ground this year.

                                                                              I have already written them a strongly worded (aka begging) email for the whole bean. And we may try to make our own at home.

                                                                              Also, another huge vote for the dark chocolate covered caramels with sea salt. YUM.

                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                              1. re: schmecky
                                                                                givemecarbs RE: schmecky Nov 17, 2009 07:45 AM

                                                                                I was going to buy that coffee but wanted whole bean also. I wonder if TJs powers that be ever reads our comments here?

                                                                                1. re: givemecarbs
                                                                                  Woof Woof Woof RE: givemecarbs Nov 18, 2009 11:34 AM

                                                                                  T.J.'s would never let this person in the store again if he/she were continually opening up packages and sampling without permission as claimed.

                                                                                  What are you talking about? Everybody does this. It is even written on the TJ's page that they guarantee their products. Why should a person buy a product, waste gas driving home, trying it, having it taste awful, then waste gas driving gas back to the store?

                                                                                  Peppermint Bark sounds good too :)

                                                                                  1. re: Woof Woof Woof
                                                                                    coll RE: Woof Woof Woof Nov 18, 2009 12:04 PM

                                                                                    I thought guarantee meant buy it, and if you don't like it, bring it back no questions. Not free lunch anytime you're in the area. Poor TJs, I feel for them.

                                                                                    1. re: Woof Woof Woof
                                                                                      Ruth Lafler RE: Woof Woof Woof Nov 18, 2009 12:07 PM

                                                                                      The TJ's policy doesn't, however, say you can go around the store opening packages you have no intention of buying and then leaving the open packages sitting there, or opening a package, sampling, and then buying an unopened package (all situations you've described when this topic came up before). As other people have pointed out, once the package has been opened and left on a shelf it would have to be discarded, since there is no way of guaranteeing it hasn't been tampered with. If you were really serious about wanting to sample the product with the intention of buying it and not just grazing for free, you could have it opened by one of the crew members. And no, "everybody" doesn't do this -- I've shopped at TJs for probably 20 years now and I've never seen anyone do it, nor have I seen evidence in the form of opened packages lying around indicating someone has done what you described.

                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                        puddin head RE: Ruth Lafler Nov 18, 2009 06:55 PM

                                                                                        Seriously. The only packages I open in TJs (and other stores) are those meant to distract my toddler so I can actually get some shopping done...and I buy them whether she likes them or not.

                                                                                        WWW just likes to get people's feathers ruffled with talk of renegade sampling.

                                                                                        1. re: puddin head
                                                                                          newfoodie RE: puddin head Nov 19, 2009 11:53 AM

                                                                                          Well put puddin head.

                                                                                          1. re: newfoodie
                                                                                            Woof Woof Woof RE: newfoodie Nov 19, 2009 06:35 PM

                                                                                            Wow, haters. I still stand my ground that it is not a crime or much less wrong to sample the products at TJs before buying. Now, would I open a package I did not intend to buy at regular ol' Giant of course not.
                                                                                            But TJs ENCOURAGES one to sample their variety of constantly changing products :) I went again today and gave the sample lady the choc. covered JoJos to try. Thought they were a new thing for 2009. She handed me a whole cookie. I was impressed, and bought a box. Very good.

                                                                                2. Steve Green RE: madgreek Nov 22, 2009 11:25 AM

                                                                                  Still waiting on the Scottish shortbread (I ran out last July) -- they say December, if at all. Has anyone seen it yet?

                                                                                  Yesterday they were handing out samples of the cornbread/sausage stuffing (prepared fridge item). It was excellent.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: Steve Green
                                                                                    Jacey RE: Steve Green Nov 22, 2009 03:34 PM

                                                                                    I'm not a fan of TJ's cornbread products.

                                                                                  2. c
                                                                                    CrazyOne RE: madgreek Nov 22, 2009 03:44 PM

                                                                                    Any sign of stroopwafels (usu in the blue and white tins)? I saw a few things in local TJ's on Friday, but not those. I didn't bother to ask. They did have a few boxes of Candy Cane JoJos, also the chocolate covered ones, and a few other bits of this and that for holiday stuff, but it clearly was not out in force yet.

                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: CrazyOne
                                                                                      coll RE: CrazyOne Nov 23, 2009 02:18 AM

                                                                                      Last year when I was looking for my gift boxes of chocolate, they told me they don't put out most of their Christmas stuff until after Thanksgiving. What a unique idea!

                                                                                      1. re: coll
                                                                                        coney with everything RE: coll Nov 23, 2009 04:33 AM

                                                                                        good, there's still hope for the peppermint bark candy bars. They had the tin in stock last week, but no sign of the bars or the chocolate covered jo jos.

                                                                                        1. re: coney with everything
                                                                                          alkapal RE: coney with everything Nov 23, 2009 04:41 AM

                                                                                          coney, i just bought a case (12 count) of these yesterday, when they told me they were only getting one shipment (which was in) but that would be it for the season -- and there weren't that many on the shelf (maybe 5 more cases). this is falls church in virginia store.

                                                                                          they were on an end cap display with most of the other holiday items.

                                                                                          go to the customer service people if you don't still find them -- maybe they put them in a different place (like my store, which used to keep them at the checkout counter display).

                                                                                          1. re: alkapal
                                                                                            coney with everything RE: alkapal Nov 23, 2009 04:50 AM

                                                                                            Man, I hope I didn't miss them, alkapal. But I see that Target has the Dove peppermint bark on sale this week--I might have to make do :)

                                                                                            1. re: coney with everything
                                                                                              alkapal RE: coney with everything Nov 23, 2009 04:52 AM

                                                                                              call your store and ask them. you think they might have sold out?

                                                                                        2. re: coll
                                                                                          givemecarbs RE: coll Nov 23, 2009 10:34 AM

                                                                                          Ha ha ha coll! Glad I wasn't drinking when I read your post.

                                                                                        3. re: CrazyOne
                                                                                          gnomatic RE: CrazyOne Nov 24, 2009 06:32 PM

                                                                                          I have been looking for the stroopswafels too, though I forgot to ask. I stockpiled a dozen cans when they were discounted after Chistmas.

                                                                                        4. alkapal RE: madgreek Nov 25, 2009 04:12 AM

                                                                                          is it just me, or are this year's lebkuchen a bit wimpy in the flavor department, and too soft in texture? ;-(.

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: alkapal
                                                                                            shoo bee doo RE: alkapal Nov 25, 2009 03:57 PM

                                                                                            That's because the lebkuchen is fresh. Let it sit for a few weeks. The texture and flavor will get better. If I can't wait to eat them, I open the package and let them air out for a few days. You can also store them in a tin container for a few weeks.

                                                                                            1. re: shoo bee doo
                                                                                              alkapal RE: shoo bee doo Nov 26, 2009 03:04 AM

                                                                                              you are correct! they're too fresh. ha ha!

                                                                                              1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                shoo bee doo RE: alkapal Nov 27, 2009 08:04 AM

                                                                                                For real.:-) I lived in Germany for a while and this is what the Germans told me. They always said that about their good breads also. Maybe it had to do with digestibility or something.

                                                                                          2. alkapal RE: madgreek Nov 26, 2009 03:05 AM

                                                                                            the new-to-me cranberry covered chevre log!!!!! on the savory crackers....TASTE-EEEEE!

                                                                                            the cheese is a super bargain at $3.99 --- and the crackers for $1.69, a nice cocktail hour munchie.

                                                                                            PS -- the french truffles are "in."

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: alkapal
                                                                                              Woof Woof Woof RE: alkapal Nov 26, 2009 01:31 PM

                                                                                              This "junk" is OK to freeze too I heard if wrapped well. And if you don't have cheap Freezer, but one that keeps products VERY, VERY COLD/FROZEN (Like a Sub-Zero).
                                                                                              I heard if you get the Extra Heavy Duty Reynolds Wrap and do a few wraps, followed by a Ziploc Freezer Bag, and put it in a nice glass container that seals VERY well, you can have some Dark Choc. Sea Salt Caramels, P. Bark, Choc. Covered JoJos, and a few other things for a few months throughout next year...Just some kind advice :)

                                                                                            2. f
                                                                                              frrozenblueberry RE: madgreek Nov 28, 2009 05:13 PM

                                                                                              Does anyone know if they are going to have the mint hot chocolate again this year? I couldn't find it last week, but I'm holding out hope that maybe it just hasn't come in yet. :)

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: frrozenblueberry
                                                                                                greygarious RE: frrozenblueberry Dec 10, 2009 01:02 PM

                                                                                                I didn't see it this week when I was buying the tall brown tin of Sipping Chocolate, which I have bought before but did not see last year.

                                                                                              2. Dommy RE: madgreek Nov 30, 2009 03:38 PM

                                                                                                I got the nifty new post-thanksgiving holiday flier and I darn near fell over when I read they are going to have macarons in the frozen case... has ANYONE tried these yet? OMG.. I am a Macaron fiend and will just have my heart broken if they are terrible...


                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Dommy
                                                                                                  Dommy RE: Dommy Dec 14, 2009 09:17 AM

                                                                                                  Update! I just could not resist and bought a pack... They pretty darn awesome, especially for the price... the chocolate ones were okay in texture but they had a rich chocolate taste... the vanilla ones were the best... great texture, strong clean vanilla taste... They were so good I bought another box to put them on my cookie plate next to my homemade cookies at a cookie exchange... I only had two left after the night was done. :)


                                                                                                  1. re: Dommy
                                                                                                    jsaimd RE: Dommy Dec 14, 2009 12:39 PM

                                                                                                    I tried these. The texture is a bit dry and certainly not as good as fresh bakery ones, but definitely edible. I agree that the vanilla had a better texture, but I thought the chocolate flavor was better. Both fillings were sweeter than I like. Won't beat Paulette's or my favorites in France, don't really come close, but not bad.

                                                                                                2. b
                                                                                                  BeachBacchus RE: madgreek Nov 30, 2009 04:03 PM

                                                                                                  I've not lived near a TJ in a few years but will be visiting close to one right after the Christmas holidays. What are the chances that these 'favorites' will be there one or two days after Christmas day?

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: BeachBacchus
                                                                                                    givemecarbs RE: BeachBacchus Dec 1, 2009 12:14 AM

                                                                                                    Last year the truffles and the yogurt covered pretzels stars stayed around for a bit. Oh, and the almond cookie snowmen. Not sure if the pretzels and snowmen are back this year though. Hope some goodies are left for you BeachBacchus.

                                                                                                    1. re: BeachBacchus
                                                                                                      Jacey RE: BeachBacchus Dec 1, 2009 09:06 AM

                                                                                                      You can ask them to hold some non-perishables for you in the back.

                                                                                                    2. coll RE: madgreek Dec 1, 2009 12:59 PM

                                                                                                      Just got back and my basket consisted almost entirely of new things (to me) recommended here. I searched high and low for the popovers, when I mentioned at the cash register I couldn't find them, the bagger left his post and said he knew where they were, but they were all gone, boo hoo. Samples were a ratatouille in pastry appetizer, they have the best ideas. I did find something no one has mentioned yet (I think) a small Baklava Ensemble tray with 3 or 4 types, one even has chocolate on it. I'll let you know tomorrow how it is, I'm afraid it's going to be out of this world.

                                                                                                      To alkapal: I bought 2 logs of the cranberry chevre, they say they are good til the middle of March so I won't be freezing them!

                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: coll
                                                                                                        alkapal RE: coll Dec 1, 2009 01:21 PM

                                                                                                        coll, i'm working my way through those savory thin crackers (addictive) with the cran chevre. the problem is, it is too easy to eat, so i think my extra one on the freezer will soon be thawed. hope you enjoy it as much as i do.

                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                          coll RE: alkapal Dec 1, 2009 01:23 PM

                                                                                                          Lots of times, I put stuff in the freezer just so I won't eat it all at once!

                                                                                                        2. re: coll
                                                                                                          Nina RE: coll Dec 1, 2009 05:48 PM

                                                                                                          Just ate a popover (bought this afternoon at the TJ's in Millbrae, CA; in the middle of the frozen aisle with the pizzas and such). Good, but not as good as a well-made from scratch popover. It misses out on crispiness and was not as brown as I like. But better than the rare occasion that I've had a leftover made-from-scratch popover from the previous day....always a soggy, chilly mess. I find popovers quite easy to make, so I don't expect to buy them again. But last year, when I was renting a place with no oven, I would have been overjoyed. Also a good thing to have if you're single (as I am) and/or on a diet (as I ought to be but am not) and don't want to eat six popovers at a time. 4 to a box, wrapped individually, 15-45 seconds in the microwave.

                                                                                                          1. re: Nina
                                                                                                            coll RE: Nina Dec 2, 2009 12:47 AM

                                                                                                            I was looking for it because I've never gotten popovers to cook right from scratch. Well I guess I've only tried once or twice. I'm making a rib roast for New Years and thought it would be an easy side dish. But the baklava I mentioned above were not that great, very dry, so if the popovers don't get a big thumbs up, I'll try making from scratch again, and not overthink the method so much.

                                                                                                        3. queenscook RE: madgreek Dec 2, 2009 02:27 PM

                                                                                                          Has anyone seen cookies called "Orange Cardamom Star Cookies" this year? Last year they had them, and they were great. They came in a star-shaped tin, and the cookies themselves were small, star-shaped cookies. I haven't been to TJ's since a few days before Thanksgiving, so I haven't seen all the holiday stuff yet.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: queenscook
                                                                                                            Cinemaverite1 RE: queenscook Dec 9, 2009 07:17 PM

                                                                                                            I've been on the lookout for these star cookies too! The cardamom flavor was so good with tea. Haven't seen them the last time I went, which was about a week ago ):

                                                                                                          2. c
                                                                                                            CrazyOne RE: madgreek Dec 9, 2009 06:33 PM

                                                                                                            In yesterday, still no stroopwafels. :-( Anyone seen them? I'm guessing they're not coming this year. I got a box of the dark chocolate stars, though, dark chocolate covered shortbread cookies shaped like stars. Like those, although they're nothing truly fantastic. No sign of pumpkin ice cream either, and I think someone has already said they're not doing this.

                                                                                                            I bought the sea salt caramels too, then realized what I really wanted was the dark chocolate covered caramels which I'm sure I would have found if they were there even though I didn't remember that's what I was looking for. Didn't see them. Or did I? Now I'm thinking maybe I did and didn't get them. Or maybe it was the previous visit. Argh. I dunno. ;-)

                                                                                                            1. m
                                                                                                              missinglink RE: madgreek Dec 9, 2009 09:15 PM

                                                                                                              For me, it's the Marzipan Stollen. Not the one packaged in the box, but the fresh one that is just wrapped in plastic near the bread and cookies.

                                                                                                              I've probably had about 4 or 5 of those since they first arrived. Very fresh tasting, but they have to be eaten relatively quickly after you first cut into it, as they dry out fast. Great marzipan filling, and a nice balance of sweet and tart fruit, with plenty of crunchy nuts.

                                                                                                              I also tried the Sea Salt Caramels, and I have to say I'm not really a fan. On the other hand, the new Dark Chocolate Crisps are great, and fairly light for a simple fix of chocolate.

                                                                                                              I also liked the Chocolate Covered Gingerbread Cookies from Germany. The first one was a bit 'eh,' but they grew on me fast.

                                                                                                              I'll probably pick up the Pfeffernusse next. The Panettone is nice too, and I'll probably pick up one before the holiday season is over.

                                                                                                              1. greygarious RE: madgreek Dec 10, 2009 01:08 PM

                                                                                                                I buy the small TJ's pumpkin spice bundt cake (cinnamon only, so not really a spice cake, IMO) and combine it with Hood's Pumpkin Eggnog and eggs for an exceptionally good bread pudding, with more nog drizzled over the warm pudding as a sauce.

                                                                                                                1. alkapal RE: madgreek Dec 14, 2009 06:44 AM

                                                                                                                  dark chocolate after dinner mints are very nice -- good chocolate flavor, creamy mint filling that's not overwhelming in the mint department, elegant in appearance (smooth, with little ripples in the chocolate on top) -- just right for offering on a pretty little silver tray with a doily on the buffet, or passed after dinner.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                    rich51 RE: alkapal Dec 14, 2009 03:33 PM

                                                                                                                    was just going to recommend them myself. similiar to after 8 mints but a crisper chocolate. will hsve to stock up as these are surely seasonal

                                                                                                                  2. y
                                                                                                                    Yokel1081 RE: madgreek Dec 14, 2010 01:45 PM

                                                                                                                    I found the best TJ's cookies. I think they're called Holiday Chocolate Drizzled Stars (I don't know - I ate em all and threw away the pkg). They look like typical chocolate stripe cookies except they're an 8 point star shape with a hole and sprinkled with big sugar crystals. They have such a distinctive rich taste and satisfying snap/crunch. Very addictive. Product of Netherlands I think.

                                                                                                                    Taste very much like Chocolate Crunch Cookies that Jewel (Albertson's?) used to sell at holiday time, but no more.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: Yokel1081
                                                                                                                      givemecarbs RE: Yokel1081 Dec 17, 2010 12:31 PM

                                                                                                                      Hmm. Was looking at those and the flyer said something about hanging them on your tree. Thanks Yokel, now that I know for sure they have holes for hanging I'll buy some. Thinking of doing mostly edibles on my tree this year.

                                                                                                                    2. greygarious RE: madgreek Dec 17, 2010 01:38 PM

                                                                                                                      I wasn't at TJ's since summer, so yesterday was a big haul. I was hugely disappointed that the canned fried onions are gone - the manager said they are only ordered for Thanksgiving and had sold out. I'll have to get the Asian market equivalent, which is smaller bits and not quite as good, though cheap.

                                                                                                                      1. s
                                                                                                                        SandyCat RE: madgreek Dec 17, 2010 01:46 PM

                                                                                                                        Peppermint Joe Joes and European Drinking chocolate for sure!

                                                                                                                        1. twodales RE: madgreek Dec 18, 2010 03:29 PM

                                                                                                                          Brandy Beans.

                                                                                                                          1. queenscook RE: madgreek Dec 19, 2010 12:18 AM

                                                                                                                            I was in my local TJs tonight and I was really surprised that a full week before Christmas, they were sold out of many of the holiday items. I asked about a specific one, and was told that it won't be restocked.

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: queenscook
                                                                                                                              CrazyOne RE: queenscook Dec 22, 2010 07:15 PM

                                                                                                                              Yeah, was in yesterday, many things gone. And yet, pretty sure it was no more than 2 weeks before, seemed like lots of stuff. The Peppermint Joe-Joes appeared to be gone even though there was a huge display before. But what I really wanted was more Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels, holy crap, after finally trying them. Amazing! All gone, of course. Next year I'll buy 10 boxes when I see them. ;-) The did still have pumpkin ice cream though, and that is good as ever.

                                                                                                                            2. s
                                                                                                                              skippy66 RE: madgreek Dec 19, 2010 04:43 AM

                                                                                                                              The other day I bought one of the stollen (Edel-Marzipanstollen) to see if I could avoid having to make one myself from scratch. It was OK if that's all you have or have never tasted one that's home made. But, in my opinion, it was pretty flavorless and there was waaaay too much powdered sugar on it. I won't be buying it again. Home made is the way to go for me.

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: skippy66
                                                                                                                                Tripeler RE: skippy66 Dec 19, 2010 05:02 AM

                                                                                                                                Yeah, home made is probably the best way to have some of those Stollen Moments.

                                                                                                                              2. greygarious RE: madgreek Dec 22, 2010 03:58 PM

                                                                                                                                They've dropped the price on the Sugar Cookie Kit (new this year, AFAIK) from $3.99 to 99cents!
                                                                                                                                Even if you aren't keen on the prepackaged icing or the ordinary cookies, it's worth it for the colored sugars and the cookie cutters that are included.

                                                                                                                                1. c
                                                                                                                                  crabtree RE: madgreek Dec 22, 2010 05:59 PM

                                                                                                                                  Has anyone tried TJ's frozen Buche de Noel? I saw it in the store today, but the picture on the box looked so unappetizing (well, a lot like meatloaf) that it scared me away from buying it. I'd love to know if it tastes better than it looks.

                                                                                                                                  1. s
                                                                                                                                    somervilleoldtimer RE: madgreek Dec 22, 2010 06:21 PM

                                                                                                                                    My mother likes their pannetone. I can't remember if I've had it!

                                                                                                                                    1. greygarious RE: madgreek Jan 6, 2011 09:35 AM

                                                                                                                                      I think the 2x2x6" vertical rectangular tin of Sweet Sticks is a new holiday item in 2010. They are 4 each of 6 flavors of individually wrapped candy "canes", without the bend. The nice flavors are cranberry, orange, caramel, pomegranate, cinnamon, and peppermint. They make a nice stocking stuffer and the unique shape of the can adds appeal. Hope they bring it back this year.

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: greygarious
                                                                                                                                        SuperGrover RE: greygarious Jan 19, 2011 06:35 PM

                                                                                                                                        I'm looking forward to seeing frozen shrimp again. Every year they get cleaned out at Christmas time and they still didn't have more in as of last weekend. :(

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