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New Trader Joe's yea/nay thread - 1st quarter 2010 [OLD]

greygarious Dec 31, 2009 11:34 AM

The July thread is nearing 300 posts and it was suggested that a new quarterly one begin.
I met someone who until recently worked at TJ's in MA. She said all the TJ's milk and cream in this area is Garelick, and their yogurt is made by Stonyfield Farm. She also said that the reason the produce can be iffy and quickly perishable is that none of it has had the rinses and sprays designed to prolong the freshness of industrially-farmed produce.

  1. s
    st1023 Dec 29, 2010 10:30 AM

    Garlic naan.
    Feta and caremelized onion mini tarts.
    Mini whole wheat pitas.
    Cilantro salad dressing.
    Dried blueberries.

    Simmer sauces.

    Blueberry green tea
    Chicken stock!!! They've discontinued chicken stock!? Please say it ain't so...

    1 Reply
    1. re: st1023
      MplsM ary Dec 30, 2010 01:00 PM

      Try this thread: Trader Joe's Yea/Nay thread - 4th Quarter 2010 http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/738058
      soon to be followed by Trader Joe's Yea/Nay thread - 1st Quarter 2011

    2. alkapal Jul 10, 2010 04:09 AM

      this thread is superseded by the "second quarter" tj's thread. the link is below.

      1. l
        littleflower Jun 27, 2010 06:55 AM

        Pita Bite Crackers with Sea Salt
        Seasoned Rack of Lamb in the meat section
        Peaches - deliciously ripe without being overripe!!!
        Tuscan Pane Bread - sooo good for making Paninis
        Banana Nut Loaf Bread

        Chicken Drummettes (kind of flavorless)
        Sour Cream and Onion Puffs (one bag was good - the other had major QC issues - hard)

        Shredded Pork and Chicken BBQ in a round tub in the refrigerated/prepared food section
        (they have another type that comes in a square container but not nearly as good)

        Sumatran Coffee
        Pineapple Chips
        Fingerling Potatoes in a Bag
        Garlic Naan (to use as a crispy pizza crust)
        French Fries with the Garlic Sauce - sounds YUM
        Pumpkin Pancake Mix when fall comes around
        Chicken Meatballs in the refrigerated food section

        Has anyone tried the regular pancake mix (not the multigrain kind)? Is it any good?

        1 Reply
        1. re: littleflower
          littleflower Jun 27, 2010 07:02 AM

          Three things that I forgot to mention that I want to try after reaching this post:

          Orange Chicken
          Sea Salt
          Salsa Verde

        2. f
          Fritz Jun 26, 2010 10:31 AM

          Spanish EVOO - excellent and inexpensive
          Powerberries - yeow!
          Dark Chocolate nibs - in a tiny metal can

          1. greygarious Apr 18, 2010 12:13 PM

            NB all: there's a new thread for the second quarter of 2010. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/699865

            1. invinotheresverde Apr 15, 2010 11:19 AM

              The jarred sun-dried tomatoes in oil are pretty good, and muuuuch cheaper than anywhere else.

              The spring onion dried noodle soup is convenient and tasty. I keep a couple in my car for emergencies. They're a giant leap up from that fatty, salty Top Ramen stuff.

              The extra firm tofu is the best I've ever had and also the cheapest.

              1. k
                kt1969 Apr 11, 2010 06:48 AM

                paneer tikka masala and naan...frozen Chicken tikka masala good also. Butter chicken was NASTY the time I tried it. SO likes the channa masala a lot also, and she's picky.
                Whole milk french vanilla yogurt
                Organic gala apples in the bag
                Mediterranean hummus
                Salt and pepper rice chips
                Light string cheese [I'm addicted...weird, I know]
                Whole wheat "British Muffins"
                Meatless meatballs [frozen]
                Macaroni and cheese [frozen] also totally addicting

                My local TJ's is pretty small [and has no wine...boo!]...want to hit a bigger one b/c I think I'm missing out on some good stuff! I'm in my local once or twice a week and there is a lot of stuff I love! :)

                1. soniabegonia Apr 6, 2010 08:52 PM

                  a big yea for Pita Puffs. They have a great light crunch and are insanely addictive. They're sort of like the snack equivalent of bubble wrap, except they are crunchy... if that makes any sense?!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: soniabegonia
                    buttertart Apr 7, 2010 06:25 AM

                    It makes only too much sense. I want some!

                    1. re: buttertart
                      chez cherie Apr 7, 2010 07:40 AM

                      i've been using them as croutons for salad...cRUNch!

                      1. re: chez cherie
                        buttertart Apr 7, 2010 08:01 AM

                        Stop it! Please! ;-)

                  2. c
                    chez cherie Mar 29, 2010 04:31 PM

                    big yea to trader joe's for moving toward sustainable seafood.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: chez cherie
                      isadorasmama Apr 15, 2010 10:08 AM

                      This is AWESOME news. Hopefully they'll stick to their guns and make it happen. Wonder why it will take 2 years to implement.

                      1. re: isadorasmama
                        goodhealthgourmet Apr 15, 2010 10:23 AM

                        my guess is that it'll take them quite a while to identify potential vendors, assess the quality of their products, determine which ones have the capacity to accommodate the size of TJ's orders, AND eventually negotiate acceptably low prices. unless they can pass appreciable savings along to their customers, it won't happen...that's why they end up discontinuing so many of their products - vendor/ingredient/manufacturing prices increase.

                    2. Peachie Mar 27, 2010 08:41 AM

                      Love the Asparagus risotto in the frozen section.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Peachie
                        divadmas Mar 28, 2010 11:46 PM

                        basil in big pack.
                        have just heard most organic milk is ultra pasteurized, though I don't notice the cooked taste that ultra p heavy cream has. supposedly breaks down milk proteins and not good for you. costco organic milk ok?

                        1. re: Peachie
                          givemecarbs Mar 30, 2010 12:30 PM

                          I will have to try that risotto Peachie. Finally found the rice section in my local whole foods and tried the spinach and something or other risotto. It was very good, you have to saute the rice in olive oil first, but kind of pricey at 3.99 a box. Last night I was really tired so I bought a boneless butterflied seasoned leg of lamb from the meat section at TJ's and popped it in my convection oven. Very tasty with a few nice sides.

                        2. buttertart Mar 25, 2010 06:02 AM

                          Have recently fallen in love with their Dijon mustard. The stuff available now is really flavorful and strong! As good as the moutarde de Dijon forte from the posh French labels.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: buttertart
                            alkapal May 15, 2010 12:50 AM

                            alanbarnes said that mustard mellows quite noticeably with even a little age, so your "wow-pow" mustard may be simply "wow" in a month.

                            did you get finely ground or whole-grain?

                            1. re: alkapal
                              buttertart May 16, 2010 07:34 AM

                              The finely ground, not as fond of whole grain for some reason.

                          2. JudyHP Mar 25, 2010 05:30 AM

                            Yea to the Easter Egg Malted Milk Balls - ADDICTIVE!!!

                            1. massgirl Mar 24, 2010 01:38 PM

                              I could eat the Thai shrimp gyoza every day and not get sick of them. SO GOOD. I also love the mini seafood crab cakes and the dark chocolate pretzels. And I always buy my apples there, they are cheaper there than any other grocery store. The only place I can find them cheaper are the bags of Macintosh apples at Target.

                              1. j
                                jmarek Mar 23, 2010 12:47 PM

                                Not sure of the name, but: Almond "horn" cookies half dipped in dark chocolate. They are with the baked goods not the cookie tins. I don't love sweets, but I think these are great.

                                1. Aromatherapy Mar 17, 2010 12:50 PM

                                  The vaccuum-fried pineapple chips. Crisp, crunchy, not overly sweet, nice zing.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Aromatherapy
                                    cheesecake17 Mar 17, 2010 01:31 PM

                                    oooh those were *awful*
                                    maybe I got a bad bag- but I found them to be super oily and kind of foam tasting

                                  2. woodleyparkhound Mar 17, 2010 10:32 AM

                                    I just tried the shelf-stable Indian "Dal Makhani" I think it's called. Delicious over rice and nice and spicy (two servings per package). A friend recommended this along with some others I haven't tried yet, but I'll definitely buy this one again. I'm really surprised at how good it is.

                                    1. alkapal Mar 14, 2010 05:21 PM

                                      tell me if anyone has tried these two things which caught my attention:
                                      1. inside out carrot cake cookies
                                      2. huge mushroom ravioli in brodo

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: alkapal
                                        goodhealthgourmet Mar 14, 2010 05:28 PM

                                        alka, if you want to make the cookies yourself...

                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                          alkapal Mar 14, 2010 05:41 PM

                                          thanks ghg! the store had them for five bucks for six (?) largish cookies. i thought they were a little pricy, and knew i didn't need the calories. half the cookies in each package also seemed to have smeared their filling on the package. but i was still very tempted, indeed. (i recalled why one should not go to the grocery store hungry).

                                          they described their filling as "creamy" but not cream cheesy; if so, then they'd need to refrigerate it, right?

                                        2. re: alkapal
                                          cheesecake17 Mar 15, 2010 10:41 AM

                                          The inside out carrot cake cookies were wayyyy too sweet. Like tooth achingly sweet.

                                          I've made the recipe that ghg linked to below. Froze what was leftover, and ate them frozen. Good stuff!

                                          1. re: alkapal
                                            aunteejoy Mar 16, 2010 11:17 AM

                                            We tried the ravioli en brodo and really liked it. Chunks of beef in the broth, large ravioli. not a bad product...

                                            1. re: aunteejoy
                                              Dommy Mar 16, 2010 12:05 PM

                                              Thanks! I saw it yesterday and thought it might make a nice change of pace for lunch.... did you cook it in a Microwave or pot?

                                              1. re: Dommy
                                                aunteejoy Apr 6, 2010 10:36 AM


                                                1. re: aunteejoy
                                                  Dommy Apr 6, 2010 10:59 AM

                                                  Excellent! Thanks! :D


                                          2. d
                                            d_doubleyew Mar 13, 2010 10:04 PM

                                            New to me (from the frozen section):

                                            Italian style beef meatballs - quick and convenient
                                            Marinated chicken breasts in a sweet and tangy sauce - surprisingly moist and good
                                            Shepherd's pie - not bad, underwhelming maybe because I was expecting more

                                            1. alkapal Mar 13, 2010 07:19 PM

                                              nay on the dried tortellini. when i was boiling it, i noticed what i first thought was a vaguely eggy scent; on second thought, i figured it was the weird "off"-dairy-ish odor that must be from its dried "mixed cheese" filling. the pasta itself wasn't nice, either. it tasted old, or stale....or just plain unappealing.

                                              it wasn't terrible, but i just wished i'd bought some fresh/refrigerated tortellini (though i haven't found a national brand that is great).

                                              on the other hand, i was stuck into having to use it for a tortellini salad this morning, and some people raved about it. i did have lots of other components, of course, in the salad. i also used some extra dried rosemary and oregano -- along with some vinegar -- directly on the tortellini itself to offset (what i felt was) the odd flavor. mr. alka liked the pasta alright right from the pot. so...who knows if it was just me being tired and overly scent-sitive (HA!)?

                                              i won't buy it again; however, my tortellini salad was delicious when i blended it with, then reheated, tj's gorgonzola gnocchi for dinner tonight.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: alkapal
                                                Ruth Lafler Mar 19, 2010 09:18 PM

                                                I use the fresh tortellini to make my TJ's shrimp pasta salad: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2976... Couldn't be easier and it always gets compliments.

                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                  alkapal May 15, 2010 12:47 AM

                                                  thanks ruth, i'll get some of their fresh tortellini.

                                              2. l
                                                lodgegirl Mar 12, 2010 05:33 PM

                                                I think those giant "Pound Plus" Belgian chocolate bars may be one of TJ's best offerings: really, really good quality chocolate, so much less expensive than just about any other source. Great for melting/candy making - or just eating!

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: lodgegirl
                                                  manolid1 Mar 13, 2010 11:56 AM

                                                  Milk prices here in Southern Calif TJ stores have skyrocketted. from 1/2/2010 up 20% on quart sized containers, now this month 10 cents higher, thus used to be 99 cents, now its $1.29 each, which is a 29% increase. Whats goin on TJ?????????

                                                  1. re: manolid1
                                                    Cathy Mar 14, 2010 04:15 PM

                                                    California regulates dairy prices. http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/dairy/ There is a minimum price which must be charged.

                                                    TJs is a business and needs to make a profit. I would think their profit margin is the same as usual.

                                                2. alkapal Mar 9, 2010 03:38 AM

                                                  their cream cheese is pretty comparable to the name brand. made a nice creamed spinach dish (super easy, cook thawed bag of frozen chopped spinach in skillet, add some butter and cream cheese, nutmeg -- voilá. could add some minced shallots earlier on if you like, and garlic. sometimes, simple is just as good, though.).

                                                  i liked their halloween gummies which i just opened! wish they had gummies year round.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: alkapal
                                                    goodhealthgourmet Mar 9, 2010 08:06 AM

                                                    i don't know about the conventional cream cheese, but i've had major spoilage/mold issues with the organic.

                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                      Dnanana Mar 10, 2010 10:23 AM

                                                      Their onion/chive cream cheese is great, much better than comparable name brands
                                                      Havent tried any of the other ones

                                                    2. re: alkapal
                                                      Caitlin McGrath Mar 10, 2010 09:53 AM

                                                      alkapal, when I was growing up, a family friend made a dish like that, but used it as a pasta sauce. He started his with sauteed mushrooms. It was rich and delicious, especially with spinach linguine.

                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                        alkapal Mar 11, 2010 02:41 AM

                                                        caitlin, oh that *does* sound good! i'm going to do that next time. mushrooms and spinach go so well together. i'll bet a dash of fresh grated parm would really add a great finish, too.

                                                    3. The Librarian Mar 7, 2010 10:47 AM

                                                      I tried the Low-Fat Cottage Cheese (not the organic one): completely tasteless.
                                                      Also the Mandarin Orange Dish Soap: its cleaning ability lasts about 10 seconds - back to Dawn!

                                                      1. p
                                                        pamm5959 Mar 2, 2010 01:22 PM

                                                        frozen popovers (5 minutes versus 45 minutes, my big butt thanks you, TJ)
                                                        frozen macaroons
                                                        fresh turkey meatballs in sauce (dinner in 5 minutes)
                                                        dark chocolate covered pretzels
                                                        large selection of cheeses (in denial that I am lactose intolerent)
                                                        carne asada with new taco shells

                                                        Sesame crisp (very off flavor last time I bought)
                                                        3 layered hummus dip (watery)

                                                        9 Replies
                                                        1. re: pamm5959
                                                          Shanna Mar 4, 2010 09:53 AM

                                                          I love the new Tj's Roasted Seaweed snacks. They just about melt on your tongue. $.99 a package, and they're so tasty. My store has been out for about a week now, but they tell me they will be getting them in.

                                                          BTW, any reviews of the TJ's Oraganic Whole Wheat pasta?

                                                          1. re: Shanna
                                                            goodhealthgourmet Mar 4, 2010 01:26 PM

                                                            your store has only been out of the seaweed snacks for a week? you're lucky! they've been having supply issues, and the stores here in San Diego haven't had them for at least 6 weeks now. i had to go back to buying mine at Asian Markets and WFM, which is where i used to get them before TJ's started selling theirs.

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                              Shanna Mar 13, 2010 11:40 AM

                                                              Just spoke with them, and they'll be on the shelves tomorrow. Is WFM Whole Foods? If so, my Whole Foods doesn't carry them..

                                                              1. re: Shanna
                                                                goodhealthgourmet Mar 13, 2010 12:41 PM

                                                                yes, WFM is Whole Foods - sorry. check the ethnic aisle with all the Asian seasonings & ingredients, they're usually on a shelf there. the brand is Sea's Gift, and they're little yellow & blue packages.

                                                                i'm guessing from your posting history that you're in or near CT...? if your store truly doesn't stock them i'm sure they can place an order because you can buy them in the NJ & NY stores.

                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                  Shanna Mar 14, 2010 11:37 AM

                                                                  I'm in Ct. This Whole Foods won't put in orders for anything although they claim they will try.. I've been trying to get quail eggs and a few other products in this store that are in another store closer to NY, but so far nothing, and I've asked a few times. I'll check and see if they have the seaweed snacks. Thanks for the info.

                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                    Shanna Mar 15, 2010 08:41 AM

                                                                    Well guess what WFM here doesn't carry them. Just got off the phone with Trader Joe's, and they haven't gotten them in yet either. I asked if he knew when, and his response was 'when they show up they show up.' Nice.
                                                                    I live on the Sound, I guess I could just go diving for my own. Yeah right. Hehe.. Next stop, Asian market.

                                                                    1. re: Shanna
                                                                      goodhealthgourmet Mar 15, 2010 10:32 AM

                                                                      any decent-sized Asian market (Mitsuwa, 99 Ranch, H-Mart, etc.) should have them. good luck!

                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                        Shanna Mar 27, 2010 01:08 AM

                                                                        I never heard of those stores. Did check with Trader Joe's while there today, and they still don't have them. I got a package at a local Asian market, but it wasn't as good as TJ's. Go figure. :)

                                                                        1. re: Shanna
                                                                          divadmas Mar 28, 2010 11:41 PM

                                                                          these stores are in seattle. and the sound is puget sound.

                                                          2. goodhealthgourmet Mar 2, 2010 12:21 PM

                                                            heads-up to all and a big hooray that the *uncrystallized* candied ginger is back in stock!!!

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                              Caitlin McGrath Mar 2, 2010 12:41 PM

                                                              This must be really regional, because they've never not had it (except for in the very short term) at local stores that I've noticed. The Australian crystalized ginger, however, disappeared over a year ago never to be seen again, more's the pity.

                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                goodhealthgourmet Mar 2, 2010 01:19 PM

                                                                that's odd. the stores here in California haven't been able to order the uncrystallized ginger for several months now, and if it was available anywhere in the company-wide network they should have been able to get it. they said it was a supply issue, and actually weren't sure for a while if it was ever going to come back.

                                                                anyway, i'm just glad it returned. i prefer it to the sugar-coated stuff.

                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                  Caitlin McGrath Mar 2, 2010 04:36 PM

                                                                  It may be that the store I go to (in Oakland, CA) still had some in stock. I haven't tried to buy it in a while, but definitely did so within the last month or two. I like it okay for snacking, but the other type I think is better for recipes, with its softer texture. I can get that in bulk nearby, but TJ's had the Australian cheaper than it is elsewhere, and the Thai I buy in bulk nearby isn't as nice.

                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                    goodhealthgourmet Mar 2, 2010 05:04 PM

                                                                    oh i don't bake with it - i value my teeth too much ;) i just prefer it for straight snacking.

                                                                    have you looked for the Australian ginger online? you might be able to find a better price.

                                                            2. LA Buckeye Fan Mar 1, 2010 03:34 PM

                                                              I just love Trader Joe's Mayonnaise. It's the full fat, not olive oil that comes with a yellow lable. Best damn mayonnaise I have ever had.

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: LA Buckeye Fan
                                                                alkapal Mar 4, 2010 03:40 AM

                                                                how does it compare with duke's tastewise?

                                                                1. re: alkapal
                                                                  LA Buckeye Fan Mar 12, 2010 03:35 PM

                                                                  Sorry alkapal, just saw this question. I don't know. I've never had Duke's. My only comparison would be to best foods, and it tastes lighter and fresher than Best Foods.

                                                                  1. re: LA Buckeye Fan
                                                                    alkapal Mar 13, 2010 07:15 PM

                                                                    thanks, la buckeye fan. we're duke's fans, but i recently learned that mr. alka has been intrigued (apparently) with trying the tj's mayo. <who knew such longings lurked in the mind of my husband?! ;-).>

                                                                    to me, duke's is fresher and purer tasting than the hellman's/best foods mayo. when i run out of my duke's stash, i'll give the tj's a try.

                                                                2. re: LA Buckeye Fan
                                                                  isadorasmama Mar 15, 2010 03:51 PM

                                                                  This is hands down the best store-bought mayo EVER. I stock up every time I'm there.

                                                                3. Gypsy Jan Mar 1, 2010 01:33 PM

                                                                  Big YEA to TJ's Sea Salt Crystals and Black Peppercorns with Grinder. We live on the ocean and the regular wood/metal grinders rot out.

                                                                  Please read the label and believe it - do not hold this plastic grinder over a hot pot. Do the grinding in a cool place and add to the cooking pot.

                                                                  1. j
                                                                    J M S Mar 1, 2010 08:33 AM

                                                                    Absolutley love TJOC aka Trader Joes Orange Chicken and it continues to be my #1 item.

                                                                    Just went yesterday and spent $230 with most them being brand new items to my wife and I. We are excited to try them.

                                                                    We had the rice pudding last night which was pretty good and tonight we are having Pacific Coast Flounder stuffed with crabmeat. Pretty pumped for this.

                                                                    1. h
                                                                      hoosier_gourmetgirl Mar 1, 2010 07:23 AM


                                                                      Gyoza Sauce - Excellent dipping sauce for all things Asian. This is a staple in my pantry. It's very addictive.

                                                                      Vegetable Gyozas (frozen) - These are a great standby for a light meal or appetizer. They are like mini dumplings or potstickers and the filling is tasty. For some reason I like the vegetable gyozas a lot more than the chicken (even though I'm a meat lover).

                                                                      Mini Beef Tacos (frozen) - Maybe it's just me, but these things are like crack in a taco shell sometimes. You can put them in the microwave for a minute and they're filled with shredded beef and cheese and they're pretty delicious.

                                                                      I really don't have any nays. I'm sure there's something I don't like at Trader Joe's, but overall I love the place. They have a great selection of tasty, cheap wine too!

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: hoosier_gourmetgirl
                                                                        joe777cool Mar 1, 2010 05:02 PM

                                                                        have to disagree on the gyoza sauce.....I find it very vinegary and not at all sweet enough ala sauces i have had in the past.

                                                                        and for those counting calories - get the chicken instead of the pork gyozas, much better for you! Havent tried the vegetable ones yet

                                                                        1. re: joe777cool
                                                                          chez cherie Mar 1, 2010 05:06 PM

                                                                          you might prefer the general tsao sauce. a good balance of sweet and tang. at least, to my palate, it is great on the pot stickers and gyoza.

                                                                          1. re: chez cherie
                                                                            joe777cool Mar 2, 2010 05:48 AM

                                                                            great because i picked up a bottle of it my last visit - but it remains unopened....not for long!

                                                                            1. re: joe777cool
                                                                              alkapal Mar 4, 2010 03:39 AM

                                                                              i've never seen their general tso's sauce.

                                                                      2. c
                                                                        chez cherie Feb 28, 2010 05:15 PM

                                                                        PANKO IS BACK...sorry for shouting, and i know i'm a big tj-geek, but you have no idea how happy this makes me. their panko was the best, and even though i hoarded it, i've been out for a while, as it was discontinued about a year ago. i couldn't ever find another brand as crispy, so i'm a happy, happy camper!

                                                                        1. j
                                                                          joe777cool Feb 28, 2010 04:31 PM

                                                                          my so tried some mini crab cakes that she said were pretty good. I hate crab so dont ask me!

                                                                          1. p
                                                                            Polochick11 Feb 28, 2010 11:46 AM

                                                                            Fish sticks
                                                                            Breaded cod
                                                                            Chicken burrito
                                                                            Garlic mashed potatoes
                                                                            Greek Yogurt
                                                                            Frozen, chocolate covered bananas

                                                                            Salmon Roulette with Spinach Florentine

                                                                            1. geg5150 Feb 27, 2010 03:34 PM

                                                                              One of the things I learned recently from a very friendly TJ's staffer in Chicago is that items are discoed regionally by distribution center. So, just because it's discoed in one part of the country doesn't mean that it's discoed every where.

                                                                              Love Midnight Moo as there's not HFCS. I'm also digging the Agave/Maple Syrup..$3.99 for a bottle -- tasty and much less expensive than straight maple syrup.

                                                                              I've been told that TJ's pizza and many of their single serving frozen meals are made by Amy's Organics. Not sure if it's true, but it was a relatively reliable source.

                                                                              The Pumpkin Pancake mix from the fall was darn tasty if you can find a box, I suggest you try it. Good in a pinch.

                                                                              Not new, but I've been reacquainted with the turkey chili. It's a go to meal on nights that I need dinner in less than 10 minutes. With brown rice and a little cheese, I'm good.

                                                                              Haven't been impressed with any of the pre-marinated chix or beef. What was I thinking? Ick.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: geg5150
                                                                                lodgegirl Mar 12, 2010 05:25 PM

                                                                                Has anyone else heard this as well, about the TJ's frozen pizzas being from Amy's? I wonder... they don't have that characteristic "Amy's" taste, to me - I actually like them better than Amy's, though my kids are all about the Amy's ... in any case, I'd be really interested to know - and thanks for the tip, geg5150.

                                                                              2. d
                                                                                Dnanana Feb 27, 2010 11:20 AM

                                                                                love the sundried tomato bruschetta, great as a spread on sandwiches, unfortunately went to buy more today and it looks like its been discontinued, why must they discontinue everything I love!

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Dnanana
                                                                                  goodhealthgourmet Feb 28, 2010 12:29 PM

                                                                                  Dnanana, we all feel your pain - there have been entire threads devoted to the TJ's discontinued product phenomenon!

                                                                                2. jolinn Feb 23, 2010 01:53 AM

                                                                                  I love the chocolate covered orange sticks (much better than any candy shop).

                                                                                  And my absolute new favorite, the Himalyan Pink Salt in the grinder. It's so cheap, and it has incredible taste.

                                                                                  I also like the marsala simmer sauce. It's probably just me, but I like the way it's toned down. It's great with potatoes and naan. The fresh naan, although I've been looking at the frozen stuff and wondering if it was worthwhile.

                                                                                  The orange chicken is fabulous. Much better than anything from Panda. I also like the pecan pralines, although they're killing my teeth, they're so hard.

                                                                                  nay on the fresh sushi. It looks like rice "jam", all squished up and gooey, and all that mayonnaise is just gross.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: jolinn
                                                                                    woodleyparkhound Feb 23, 2010 05:40 AM

                                                                                    jolinn - yes. the frozen naan is worth it! I think it's very tasty and really fast/easy to prepare (a few minutes in a 400 degree oven from freezer to table). And I agree about the sushi - tried it once - VILE. Never again on that one!

                                                                                    1. re: woodleyparkhound
                                                                                      Caitlin McGrath Feb 24, 2010 12:37 PM

                                                                                      I second the frozen naan. I had read positives for it here for a few years before I tried the garlic version a few months ago. It's very fast, and also the closest texture to freshly baked in a tandoor I've seen in a prepared product.

                                                                                  2. coney with everything Feb 22, 2010 08:47 AM

                                                                                    YAY YAY YAY: Vegetable Panang Curry in the frozen case. Loved it...spicy but not mouth burning. Sweet (could be just a tad less sweet), no chemically smell or taste...delicious! On payday I'm going to TJ's and buying at least 5 of these.

                                                                                    Only downside is that the serving is 600 calories...oh well

                                                                                    1. g
                                                                                      Greg in Chicago Feb 21, 2010 03:12 AM

                                                                                      I live in downtown Chicago and have a lot of food choices available, hence, I don't visit Trader Joe's regularly. A few favorites, tho: The brioche hamburger buns are a wonderful breakfast bread, as good as any brioche I seem to find elsewhere. Although the Mandarin Orange Chicken is a bit heavy-handed on the breading, it's tasty over rice, especially if you add roasted tomato chunks, onion chunks, or the veggie of your choice. As frozen entrees go, anyway.

                                                                                      I tried the fettucine with mushrooms the other day. Even though I reheated it with, rather than water, a dash of olive oil and a splash of dry vermouth, to add flavor, it was gruel, I can't imagine anyone enjoying it.

                                                                                      I buy the frozen tuna steaks to cut into chunks, fry up with minced garlic, a bit of Riesling, and minced garlic, to toss with pasta, bay scallops, same thing. They're not terrific, but both are satisfactory.

                                                                                      I find the lowfat cheese curls not bad, not oversalted, as junk food goes. I'd love to hear opinions on TJ's pasta sauces, and also, has anyone tried the French Roast they're advertising in the monthly newsletter for $3.99 for 14 ounces? If it's any good, that's a bargain.

                                                                                      Also, although I don't bump into many surly grocery employees anywhere, I find TJ's employees to be courteous and helpful. It's a nice touch TJ's business model offers.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Greg in Chicago
                                                                                        Dommy Feb 21, 2010 10:22 AM

                                                                                        I can't stand their pasta sauces or canned tomatoes. BUT the Pasta sauce starter in the box is VERY good. Almost 100% sure it's Parmalat Sauce (Which is a staple in our home)


                                                                                        1. re: Dommy
                                                                                          LAWoman Feb 22, 2010 02:57 PM

                                                                                          Starter box discontinued (at least here in IL). I am completely bummed.

                                                                                      2. bagelman01 Feb 20, 2010 06:39 AM

                                                                                        I've never been fond of Trader Joe's, but my wife is a TJ junkie...........
                                                                                        Yesterday she brought home the Trader Ming's Spring Rolls with Shrimp.

                                                                                        The best I can describe them is vile, The Cut romaine lettuce was all brown. The cucumber was mush. The rice noodles were not chewable, and to top it off>>>
                                                                                        these were supposed to be SHRIMP spring rolls. One roll had one shrimp that had been sliced up and spread throughout the roll. The other roll had the tail from the shrimp shell, but NO shrimp.

                                                                                        What a total ripoff!

                                                                                        I won't be spending any money at TJs in the near future.

                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: bagelman01
                                                                                          joe777cool Feb 20, 2010 02:24 PM

                                                                                          return it and get your money back.....but other than that, less customers means shorter waits in line for me!! Went to the Warwick, RI one this afternoon and it was mobbed. Not everything is a great value but there are enough things that are to make it worth going. This is all coming from a person who could careless about organic vs nonorganic......if it tastes good I will eat it!!

                                                                                          1. re: joe777cool
                                                                                            bagelman01 Feb 20, 2010 06:34 PM

                                                                                            Joe, It's not worth the gas expense to return a $2.89 item. This won't stop my wife from shopping at TJs, but it will keep me away.............................

                                                                                            1. re: bagelman01
                                                                                              goodhealthgourmet Feb 22, 2010 03:22 PM

                                                                                              bagelman, keep it in the fridge and have your wife take it with her if she's going back soon...or just hang on to the receipt, call the store to tell them you need to request a refund, and they'll ok it for whenever you do get back there so that you don't have to keep the offending item around :) TJ's return policy is amazing.

                                                                                          2. re: bagelman01
                                                                                            alkapal Feb 21, 2010 12:22 AM

                                                                                            oh yes, the "fresh" spring rolls are vile indeed. i returned mine when i tried them a while back. i cannot understand who continues to buy these!

                                                                                            there are plenty of things i do get at tj's, though. usually not the prepared foods, though -- more staples, like crackers, cheese (!), frozen pepper melange, cranberry oatmeal dunkers. the gorgonzola gnocchi are good in a lazy-day pinch.

                                                                                            1. re: alkapal
                                                                                              Dommy Feb 21, 2010 10:21 AM

                                                                                              I actually really like the Tofu ones.... they sell the sames ones at Whole Foods for 2x as much!!

                                                                                          3. m
                                                                                            michelley Feb 20, 2010 06:32 AM

                                                                                            The pizza sauce is terrible! Don't know why I grabbed it without reading the ingredients, modified corn starch is number 3. I took one taste, closed the jar, and plan to return it next time I go.

                                                                                            12 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: michelley
                                                                                              junescook Mar 29, 2010 04:47 PM

                                                                                              I agree about the pizza sauce, but a jar of the ratatouille makes an interesting and nice sauce base for your apizza.

                                                                                              1. re: junescook
                                                                                                Dommy Mar 30, 2010 01:38 PM

                                                                                                Good idea! I love that Rataouille.... We also love the jarred (not refridgerated) Bruchetta as a pizza topping...


                                                                                                1. re: Dommy
                                                                                                  LAWoman Mar 30, 2010 03:45 PM

                                                                                                  Any idea how the ratatouille compares to the Eggplant Caponata? I had high hopes for the caponata but just didn't care for it.

                                                                                                  I'm still grieving for the now retired tomato chutney!

                                                                                                  1. re: LAWoman
                                                                                                    Dommy Mar 30, 2010 08:40 PM

                                                                                                    I like the flavor WAY better than the Caponata... the Eggplant in the Caponata is spongy and flavorless... The one in the ratatouille is chopped up smaller and the addiction of the little zucchini slices add a nice counterpoint of flavor and texture...


                                                                                                    1. re: LAWoman
                                                                                                      alkapal May 15, 2010 12:40 AM

                                                                                                      i'm still curious if the tj's tomato chutney was an indian-spiced one? (someone else lamented the loss, and i thought a patak's tomato indian relish might be a good sub).

                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                        goodhealthgourmet May 15, 2010 06:31 AM

                                                                                                        barely. IIRC, it may have had a hint of ginger but i think the one time i bought it i doctored it up quite a bit.

                                                                                                2. re: michelley
                                                                                                  sarabean Apr 12, 2010 03:36 PM

                                                                                                  i feel stupid for buying their jarred pesto. @ 1.99 i got what i paid for, ech. especially when i passed up some lovely looking fresh basil for 3.99...

                                                                                                  1. re: sarabean
                                                                                                    invinotheresverde Apr 15, 2010 11:03 AM

                                                                                                    I made that same mistake once.

                                                                                                    1. re: invinotheresverde
                                                                                                      sarabean Apr 15, 2010 02:23 PM

                                                                                                      my all time favorite jarred pesto is (believe it or not) made by classico. i get it at s&s.

                                                                                                      1. re: sarabean
                                                                                                        mcel215 Apr 16, 2010 07:45 AM

                                                                                                        wow... is it a refrigerated one?
                                                                                                        I get the refrigerated Pesto as Costo, spoon 3 heaping tablespoons into a baggie and freeze it. It holds up really well and takes minutes to thaw.

                                                                                                        1. re: mcel215
                                                                                                          sarabean Apr 16, 2010 09:31 PM

                                                                                                          freezing pesto is a handy pantry stocker, unfortunately it doesn't tend to stick around my house long enough to get there!
                                                                                                          classico is not a refrigerated item, and it def does not pass for fresh. just a pantry staple for me, most often i make it from scratch.

                                                                                                          1. re: mcel215
                                                                                                            alkapal May 15, 2010 12:42 AM

                                                                                                            classico is shelf-stable until opened. they also do a nice sun-dried tomato "pesto." http://www.classico.com/pesto-sauces....

                                                                                                            agree that it is a good pantry staple.

                                                                                                  2. m
                                                                                                    mom22tots Feb 19, 2010 04:53 PM

                                                                                                    Bought the chewy oatmeal cookies for the first time--not sure if they are new to TJ's or just new to me. Either way, pretty good. Has anyone ever tried the frozen meatballs? Wondering how they'd go over with my kids...

                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: mom22tots
                                                                                                      armagnac Feb 19, 2010 07:50 PM

                                                                                                      Both the Meatballs Italian Style and the Turkey Meatballs, in the frozen food section, are very tasty, in fact they taste much the same, and the texture is pleasing. (Apparently the Turkey Meatballs are a TJ's best seller.) Good enough to eat on their own or add to a pasta sauce.

                                                                                                      1. re: armagnac
                                                                                                        Dommy Feb 19, 2010 10:57 PM

                                                                                                        I LIVED on those turkey meatballs for lunch all of last year. Low fat and generally low sodium compared to the other meatballs.... now though, I like the chicken refridgerated ones. Not as healthy, but you need fewer of the these meatballs to add flavor to things like soup (My simple go to lunch is a low sodium tetra pack butternut squash soup + 2 chicken meatballs chopped up)


                                                                                                        1. re: Dommy
                                                                                                          mom22tots Feb 20, 2010 04:53 AM

                                                                                                          Thanks guys. Question...are the chicken meatballs a new product? Don't remember ever seeing them--but I will look the next time. Have you ever frozen them?

                                                                                                          1. re: mom22tots
                                                                                                            Dommy Mar 30, 2010 01:37 PM

                                                                                                            The Chicken Meatballs are in the Refridgerated Section this this good sized packet. You can't really tell from the packaging they are meatballs, but just ask a TJ employee... they are are a huge hit.

                                                                                                            Also, yes, they freeze VERY well... I do it all the time since I can't finish a whole package within a few days... So I find it safer to just freeze them all in a ziplock when i get them...



                                                                                                        2. re: armagnac
                                                                                                          Caitlin McGrath Feb 20, 2010 11:33 AM

                                                                                                          I thought the flavor of the turkey meatballs was okay, but the texture seems a little spongy to me.

                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                            junescook Mar 29, 2010 04:44 PM

                                                                                                            I found the turkey meatballs probably the most tasteless things I've bought there. Either the Quality control is not consistent (not impossible) or our tastes are very different from, eg, M. Armagnac. I now buy turkey meatballs that we love from BJ's.

                                                                                                            1. re: junescook
                                                                                                              armagnac Mar 30, 2010 11:39 AM

                                                                                                              Hmmm. Just got another bag of the turkey meatballs and they taste as savory and good as ever. So maybe there is a quality control issue. In another thread, people have been complaining about Joe's O's, the Cheerios clone. Worrying.

                                                                                                              What's BJ's? Sounds worth checking out.

                                                                                                        3. re: mom22tots
                                                                                                          twodales Feb 24, 2010 01:50 PM

                                                                                                          I normally run from frozen meatballs about as fast as a bobsled screeching down a run. Spongy and gross. Yuck! One day I sampled the mini party meatballs at TJ's and I have to admit they were very good. Much to my surprise, I actually bought them and tossed one of the Island soyaki and one of the General Tso's sauces over them and served them to some cocktail-swilling guests one night. The ladies LOVED them. Funny thing about life is there just might be some mini party meatballs around the corner to surprise you.

                                                                                                          1. re: twodales
                                                                                                            mom22tots Feb 28, 2010 01:06 PM

                                                                                                            They had the mini party mb's as a sample yesterday--cooked up with some trader joe's marinara--and I have to admit, they were pretty good. My son went back for 2nds. So into my cart they went!!

                                                                                                        4. alkapal Feb 19, 2010 04:29 AM

                                                                                                          the problem with the bland simmer sauces is that you do so much doctoring to make them taste good, you might as well start from scratch -- or use an indian paste like patak's, which will be better than the simmer sauce -- and much more cost effective.

                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                            lilmomma Mar 20, 2010 03:27 PM

                                                                                                            LEASE tell me more. I love Indian but haven't a clue how to make it. I would love to know how to use those Patek pastes to make my own from scratch.

                                                                                                            (I hope it is as easy as using the thai red curry paste to make stuff.)

                                                                                                            1. re: lilmomma
                                                                                                              alkapal May 15, 2010 12:37 AM

                                                                                                              well, pastes from patak's have instructions. tip: just warm through the paste first in a little neutral oil before adding in meats, liquids, etc. patak's also has prepared sauces nowadays -- even in the regular grocery stores. http://www.pataks.co.uk/products/product_search.aspx?tID=fc4a6845-32e2-490c-b892-05c4e28d60c1&hID=&keyW=
                                                                                                              our english friends adore the "madras" sauce and maybe add some fresh veg with the cooked meat. http://www.pataks.co.uk/products/madras-cooking-sauce.aspx

                                                                                                              ideas. products, recipes: http://www.pataks.co.uk/products/

                                                                                                              lilmomma, i'm pretty sure there was a thread on tips and "best" indian pastes/sauces. maybe GHG, the search wizard, can find it and its kith and kin.

                                                                                                          2. g
                                                                                                            gordeaux Feb 16, 2010 12:08 PM

                                                                                                            I broke down and tried one of their "simmer sauces." I don't know why. It wasn't expensive or anything, so no big loss. It was the "masala Sauce" I started my curry with fresh ginger, garlic, chopped chile, curry leaf and sweated onion. The jar just basically said to toss in a protein or veggies, and add water, but I instinctively have to use fresh ingredients. Well, it was still balnd as all get out. Tasted like 99.99 % plain tomato sauce, and maybe 1/8 tsp of cumin. I've had their frozen chicken makhani, and their frozen thai massaman curry, and a few of their shelf stable Indian pkgs - all barely edible. The massaman was like sugar sweet - totally off putting. I keep going back to try em tho. Maybe one of their ethnic inspired foods is decent. Once in a while, I just can't help trying a new one, even tho from past experience, I don't ever expect anything decent. On a better note, my last bag of cheddar/jalapeno baked cheese puffs seemed to have much more heat than the bags I've bought over the last few years.

                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: gordeaux
                                                                                                              gnosh Feb 16, 2010 06:05 PM

                                                                                                              I agree that the Indian simmer sauces are terrible--thin and flavorless. The one Indian item I've liked is the frozen paneer tikka masala. I add vegetables (frozen peas, leftover cooked broccoli, etc.) to make it more substantial.

                                                                                                              1. re: gnosh
                                                                                                                coney with everything Feb 17, 2010 04:08 AM

                                                                                                                Agree about the paneer tikka, and I like the frozen naan too.

                                                                                                                I like the frozen butter chicken sauce but the meat is variable...sometimes it's OK, sometimes you wonder what particular animal it actually came from.

                                                                                                                1. re: coney with everything
                                                                                                                  woodleyparkhound Feb 18, 2010 06:50 AM

                                                                                                                  I really like the Indian spinach simmer sauce (can't remember the official name of it) - but I always add lots of fresh spinach, lemon juice/zest and chili pepper flakes to it to punch up the flavor. By itself it's really bland. I tried a Cuban simmer sauce once (mojito??) that I thought was awful.

                                                                                                                  Thanks to this board, I recently tried the frozen naan - I had never noticed it before. I'm blown away at how much I like it and how easy/fast it is to prepare. Thanks, Chowhounds, for a great discovery!

                                                                                                                  1. re: woodleyparkhound
                                                                                                                    libgirl2 Feb 19, 2010 01:35 PM

                                                                                                                    Isn't it called Punjab sauce?

                                                                                                                    1. re: libgirl2
                                                                                                                      woodleyparkhound Feb 23, 2010 05:35 AM

                                                                                                                      Yes, it's Punjab sauce.

                                                                                                            2. buttertart Feb 16, 2010 09:59 AM

                                                                                                              Bought two truly tasty things at the Brooklyn, NY store this weekend: a delicious "Tuscan" canteloupe - has deep ridges on it - the most musky muskmelon I've had in a very long time, and their tiny potatoes which were great pan roasted in butter with salt and pepper. Their porduce can be hit and miss but these two things - along with some superb Colorado peaches I bought last August - were great.

                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                sarabean Apr 12, 2010 03:34 PM

                                                                                                                those tiny potatoes are precious and would cost 6$ or so at whole foods...
                                                                                                                i also love their bag salad blends, spec butter lettuce & raddichio, and i always find they have a long exp date and shelf life

                                                                                                                1. re: sarabean
                                                                                                                  Dommy Apr 12, 2010 07:59 PM

                                                                                                                  I also love those teeny potatoes! They taste the best roasted!


                                                                                                                  1. re: sarabean
                                                                                                                    buttertart Apr 13, 2010 09:38 AM

                                                                                                                    We're big wild arugula fans.

                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                      alkapal May 15, 2010 12:29 AM

                                                                                                                      love their arugula, too. great value!

                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                        buttertart May 16, 2010 07:32 AM

                                                                                                                        Yes, it's because of you we started buying it! (Used to get the regular grocery-store stuff, but it's now freighted with memories of a dear departed kitty who used to love it - I used to make him a little salad of it when preparing it for us. So it's easier just to rinse the packaged stuff, fewer memories of picking through the bunches for him.)

                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                          alkapal May 27, 2010 03:17 PM

                                                                                                                          very sorry. been there.

                                                                                                                2. akp Feb 16, 2010 05:49 AM

                                                                                                                  I am in love with the steamed French lentils found in the produce section next to the salad greens.
                                                                                                                  The organic gala apples in a bag
                                                                                                                  Trail mix with chocolate and dried cranberries
                                                                                                                  Not TJ brand - AkMaks
                                                                                                                  unfiltered organic apple juice
                                                                                                                  Vintj wine - when it was $4.99 - now it is 9.99
                                                                                                                  organic maple syrup - grade b
                                                                                                                  the soups in tetra packs - tomato red pepper
                                                                                                                  the frozen berries and mangoes

                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: akp
                                                                                                                    Dommy Feb 16, 2010 11:28 AM

                                                                                                                    I love those lentils too... I make them into salads with their Isreali Feta and Pomegranate Mollasses (not at TJs). I also make them hot with lots of mushrooms and herbs. Finally in soups... add just enough texture! :)


                                                                                                                    1. re: Dommy
                                                                                                                      akp Feb 16, 2010 04:42 PM

                                                                                                                      Mmm - those sounds like great ideas to try! I've been putting them warm over baby spinach with a poached egg on top with a little toasted bread on the side...

                                                                                                                      1. re: akp
                                                                                                                        Dommy Feb 16, 2010 07:15 PM

                                                                                                                        I forgot about the poached egg... yes... most excellent!



                                                                                                                    2. re: akp
                                                                                                                      alkapal Feb 17, 2010 03:33 AM

                                                                                                                      vintj's wine (they prononunce it "vintages" -- but i call it "vint j's" ) has always been $5.99 here in northern virginia -- at least for the chardonnay.

                                                                                                                      1. re: akp
                                                                                                                        sarabean Apr 12, 2010 03:31 PM

                                                                                                                        the frozen wild blueberries are AWESOME- get me through the year till our next super short berry season

                                                                                                                      2. d
                                                                                                                        Dnanana Feb 15, 2010 02:47 PM

                                                                                                                        Milk chocolate covered butter biscuits- great with tea or coffee
                                                                                                                        Sweet Potato Chips
                                                                                                                        Dark chocolate pretzels
                                                                                                                        Chocolate covered peanut butter pretzels
                                                                                                                        Jasmine green tea as well as the jasmine pearls
                                                                                                                        champignon tart
                                                                                                                        Multigrain entertainment crackers

                                                                                                                        Frozen pork al pastor
                                                                                                                        haven't had luck with any frozen mexican food, anything I am missing?
                                                                                                                        baked jalapeno cheetos things
                                                                                                                        winterfest beer

                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Dnanana
                                                                                                                          coney with everything Feb 16, 2010 06:16 AM

                                                                                                                          Dnanana, did you try the chile rellenos? I just bought them last night but have yet to try.

                                                                                                                          1. re: coney with everything
                                                                                                                            gnosh Feb 16, 2010 06:02 PM

                                                                                                                            I tried the chile rellenos, and found them OK but not sure I'd buy them again. The overall flavor was good. The texture was kind of gloppy. It did not feel like a meal.
                                                                                                                            The one frozen Mexican item I've actively liked is the cheese/chile tamales.

                                                                                                                            1. re: coney with everything
                                                                                                                              Will Owen Mar 8, 2010 11:07 AM

                                                                                                                              I bought one and had it for lunch the other day. I batter-fry my own, and was curious about this. Found it pretty good, surprisingly spicy, a bit crunchier than I would like. Good value, though. Will probably get some more.

                                                                                                                          2. y
                                                                                                                            yankeefan Feb 11, 2010 09:50 AM

                                                                                                                            Getting sick of every darn thing I like getting discontinued. Early 2010 alone, mango salsa, cranberry biscotti and now the mini vanilla meringues.

                                                                                                                            Freaking killing me.

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: yankeefan
                                                                                                                              Cathy Feb 11, 2010 11:36 AM

                                                                                                                              But that means something new took its place. I do miss some items, but never assume they will be stocked regularly. Good for a meal/snack today and I'll get to enjoy something else soon.

                                                                                                                              Pretty much if it is a "Trader Joe/Jose/Josef/Darwin brand, I figure it will probably be there next time. Everything else is a nice surprise, especially at Christmas.

                                                                                                                              I do miss the TJ brand cream top yogurt. Brown Cow is the same, but costs so much more... :(

                                                                                                                              1. re: yankeefan
                                                                                                                                libgirl2 Feb 15, 2010 05:43 PM

                                                                                                                                I almost cried when the told me no more mango salsa. And no more Porteguese muffins!

                                                                                                                              2. j
                                                                                                                                joe777cool Feb 10, 2010 07:04 PM

                                                                                                                                this trip we tried a few new things.

                                                                                                                                frozen bbq/teriyaki chicken was really good
                                                                                                                                sweet potato chips.....1 day and they were gone
                                                                                                                                joe joe "oreos" - my SO liked them better than oreos
                                                                                                                                frozen chix parm - was on display/sample and was good but for $6 for 2 portions I will make my own

                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: joe777cool
                                                                                                                                  d_doubleyew Mar 1, 2010 09:16 AM

                                                                                                                                  Went to the Trader Joe's in S. Pasadena after a long hiatus.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: joe777cool
                                                                                                                                    d_doubleyew Mar 1, 2010 09:10 PM

                                                                                                                                    Oops, just noticed that my reply got truncated. Meant to say:

                                                                                                                                    Second those frozen bbq/teriyaki chicken breasts.

                                                                                                                                    Also enjoyed:
                                                                                                                                    -frozen naan
                                                                                                                                    -frozen breaded cod
                                                                                                                                    -frozen sweet potato fries
                                                                                                                                    -frozen french fries with garlic sauce
                                                                                                                                    -frozen chocolate chip cookies
                                                                                                                                    -pizza dough
                                                                                                                                    -parbaked rolls (ciabatta?)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: d_doubleyew
                                                                                                                                      joe777cool Mar 2, 2010 05:47 AM

                                                                                                                                      "frozen french fries with garlic sauce"

                                                                                                                                      WHATS THIS???? Tell me more!!!!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: joe777cool
                                                                                                                                        goodhealthgourmet Mar 2, 2010 09:04 AM

                                                                                                                                        vampires beware!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                          joe777cool Mar 2, 2010 09:30 AM


                                                                                                                                          telling my fiancee to pick them up on the way home from work or dont bother coming home

                                                                                                                                          1. re: joe777cool
                                                                                                                                            coney with everything Mar 3, 2010 04:01 AM

                                                                                                                                            the garlic sauce is mega intense, when you open the sauce it hits you like a ton of bricks. I recommend NOT using the entire pack on the fries, and adjust to taste. I like it, my husband does NOT.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: coney with everything
                                                                                                                                              d_doubleyew Mar 6, 2010 08:56 PM

                                                                                                                                              Agreed. I only used part of the garlic sauce and saved the rest in the freezer for when I'm roasting vegetable or something.

                                                                                                                                              The french fries are really good on their own as well. (I had the fries with the TJ's codfish.)

                                                                                                                                  2. s
                                                                                                                                    susan jr Feb 9, 2010 04:20 PM

                                                                                                                                    We just tried the Smoked Salmon and Spinach Crepes from TJ's. All I can say is Yuck! My husband ate his reluctantly, but I threw mine in the trash and got a bagel and cheese. No flavor- none at all, the filling was slightly slimy, and the crepe may as well have been a piece of styrofoam. Do not buy these!!!

                                                                                                                                    On a good note, the chocolate croissants from the freezer case are really good! Four for $3.99. They proof and bake to be 4 times the size they are in the box and are worth every calorie.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: susan jr
                                                                                                                                      givemecarbs Feb 11, 2010 04:17 PM

                                                                                                                                      Those chocolate croissants are the devil. I love to eat them when they are still warm from the oven and the chocolate filling is all melty. So little effort, so much joy! I wish they had more kinds, like almond or berry filling but if they had to pick only one.....:)

                                                                                                                                    2. greygarious Jan 31, 2010 10:08 AM

                                                                                                                                      I only go to TJ's every couple of months, so I was thrilled to find this week that they still had the TJ's brand chocolate truffles in the red box, a sesonal item I only discovered in November, thanks to a CH recommendation. I am not a huge chocolate fan and would rather have none than mediocre. I was happy with Lindt until tasting the TJ truffle. One of these, stuffed into an oversized, premium dried whole Blenheim apricot (which I get online) has become a favorite mini-dessert.

                                                                                                                                      1. a
                                                                                                                                        Antigone Jan 31, 2010 09:51 AM

                                                                                                                                        My boyfriend and I both swear by their shampoo and conditioner (the spa one, not the tea tree one), the lemon verbena bar soap and the laundry detergent. I also adore their cream top yogurt, the frozen penne arrabbiata, and the chili spiced dried mango among numerous other things that aren't coming to mind. I know I've had a few 'nays' but none are coming to mind.

                                                                                                                                        1. MisaOutandAbout Jan 28, 2010 10:10 AM

                                                                                                                                          Adding their Dark Chocolate Pretzels to my "Yea" list... or as I tend to call them, "Yays."


                                                                                                                                          1. c
                                                                                                                                            crsin Jan 27, 2010 06:24 PM

                                                                                                                                            A few recent favorites:

                                                                                                                                            Chicken meatballs (the refrigerated ones with pesto and provolone)
                                                                                                                                            Frozen chimichurri rice
                                                                                                                                            Yogurt/green onion dip
                                                                                                                                            mediterranean hummus
                                                                                                                                            jars of spicy black bean dip
                                                                                                                                            Orange & bergamot green tea
                                                                                                                                            and--not TJs brand--but they're my convenient supplier of Duvel

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: crsin
                                                                                                                                              Dommy Jan 27, 2010 09:25 PM

                                                                                                                                              Those chicken meatballs are a new lunch staple for me. I put them into Pita, into soups, top with their jarred bruschetta... They also freeze well!! :)


                                                                                                                                            2. MisaOutandAbout Jan 26, 2010 06:02 PM

                                                                                                                                              New to the thread but not a TJ newb , finally back after a 5 year TJ-hiatus...

                                                                                                                                              TJ Yays:
                                                                                                                                              Mediterranean Hummus
                                                                                                                                              Dark Chocolate Nutty Bits -- makes me laugh every time I see the package, unfortunately I have Beavis & Butthead humour tendencies. These little goodies are clusters of almonds, cashews, pistachios, pumpkin seeds and a dash of fleur de sel dipped in dark choccie. Tres bon!
                                                                                                                                              Macarons -- Very nice considering they're from the freezer. Brings back fond memories of living in France (although those were much bigger!)
                                                                                                                                              Not sure what happened to it, but used to love their "Super Dark Volcano" coffee or whatever it was called. Didn't see it so bought the Sumatra and it's quite good as well.

                                                                                                                                              Old Stand-bys:
                                                                                                                                              Animal Crackers in the plastic tub.
                                                                                                                                              French Roast Coffee

                                                                                                                                              Olive Oil Popcorn -- perhaps just a bad batch, tasted rank.

                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: MisaOutandAbout
                                                                                                                                                alkapal Jan 27, 2010 02:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                dark chocolate nutty bits? LOL!

                                                                                                                                                maybe chef from south park created them.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                  MisaOutandAbout Jan 27, 2010 06:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Okay, so it's not just me then! ;)

                                                                                                                                                  Despite the hilarious name, they're mighty tasty. Forgot to say they've got toffee in them, methinks that's what's binding the nuts together.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MisaOutandAbout
                                                                                                                                                    chez cherie Jan 27, 2010 03:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                    oh, dear..these are scary-good! thanks for posting about them...i think. i will probably curse you in a few hours...thinking about crushing them a little and using as a coffee ice cream topping.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chez cherie
                                                                                                                                                      MisaOutandAbout Jan 28, 2010 08:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Sorry! Hehe. That does sound divine -- using on top of coffee ice cream. Report back on how that goes? :)

                                                                                                                                              2. xo_kizzy_xo Jan 25, 2010 01:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                That doesn't surprise me at all. Stonyfield is the only yogurt that comes in chocolate around here (Boston area, btw) and Garelick, I believe, holds the contract for all store-brand milk in the area.

                                                                                                                                                I've never trusted TJ's produce because I've seen it more iffy than not.

                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: xo_kizzy_xo
                                                                                                                                                  mcel215 Jan 26, 2010 02:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                  "I've never trusted TJ's produce because I've seen it more iffy than not."

                                                                                                                                                  I've felt the same way, but this past weekend was down in Hingham.......Wow! That store had a huge assortment of very fresh looking produce, and great prices. I usually shop at either Burlington or Peabody and they don't have nearly the same great produce.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcel215
                                                                                                                                                    aldente1 Apr 6, 2010 09:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                    Trader Joe's had strawberries from Plant City, FL last week. They were ripe clear through and sweet and delicious.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: aldente1
                                                                                                                                                      Ruth Lafler Apr 19, 2010 05:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                      I'm not sure what you mean by "ripe clear through" but whether a strawberry is red or white at the center has to do with what variety of strawberry it is, and not how ripe it is. It amazes me that marketing strawberries by variety hasn't caught on -- even at farmers markets most strawberry vendors don't know (or care) what variety of strawberry they're selling. Sometimes they're selling more than one, and you don't realize that when you sample a strawberry and then pick up a different box that it might not be the same strawberry. There are 8-12 major commercial varieties of strawberries grown in California -- and many, many minor ones. I don't know about Florida, but they probably grow different varieties that are better adapted to that climate.


                                                                                                                                                2. alkapal Jan 24, 2010 02:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                  there are at least three new products involving "chocolate dipped": belgium butter cookies (white, dark, milk chocolate dips), shortbread cookies, milk and dark. maybe a salty thing dipped, too?

                                                                                                                                                  anyone tried any of these?

                                                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                    givemecarbs Jan 24, 2010 06:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                    Saw your post awhile ago alkapal and since I was going out to give a poor girl scout some support (by buying cookies) anyway I decided to stop at Trader Joe's too. Being a chowhound is rough sometimes. :) All I could find was chocolate covered butter biscuits from France. Not sure if it was the same thing but I felt compelled to buy a box of the dark chocolate ones. Going to leave a phone message with the area CVS manager about mean-ness to girl scouts on freezing january nights and then give them a try. Jousting at windmills is hungry work.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                      givemecarbs Jan 25, 2010 11:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                      I remember girl scouts going door to door and taking orders. Simpler times. Now you can get those yummy cookies immediately but I guess it is not considered safe to go door to door these days and fewer people are home anyway. I like seeing them around my local area, a beacon of happiness during a dismal time of year here in the north east. Plus my friend John cannot resist buying a box every single time he walks past and then he drops the cookie boxes a lot. Good thing they are packaged well. Got a rustic fruit tart at TJs and a small slice really hit the spot. Nuking it gently made the flavors pop. This is embarassing but a box of dark chocolate hearts with truffle filling also jumped into my cart. The box is decorated with hearts. I haven't opened it yet but the dude ringing me up said the employees sampled it last night and it was gooood. My friend and I ended up there shortly before closing and got to see what the employees were buying. My friend saw a worker buy several of the green machine fruit juices so we decided to try that as well.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: givemecarbs
                                                                                                                                                        alkapal Jan 25, 2010 05:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                        """a box of dark chocolate hearts with truffle filling also jumped into my cart"""

                                                                                                                                                        trader joes really must try and control those wild boxes!

                                                                                                                                                        i tried the green stuff about three years ago. it had lots of apple juice. how was yours?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                          givemecarbs Jan 25, 2010 07:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                          :) Got it stashed til I run out of the Costco vats of juice which should be soon. I'll chill er down now.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                            givemecarbs Jan 26, 2010 01:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                            Just tried one of the cookies. Very nice buttery aftertaste. I wrote the wrong name for the juice I bought. It is called green plant and I'll try it tonight.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                              givemecarbs Jan 26, 2010 07:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                              Tried the green plant and my friend had some too. It was okay, I'll finish it but probably not a repeat purchase. I think my friend nailed it when he said it tasted like v-8 fruit juice. The color is so unappealing that they could really have fun marketing it. Was thinking of that one beer that comes in a bottle with a skull on it, now that looks cool. I know they can't go that far but maybe name it raw sewage or swamp essence or something. He he.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: givemecarbs
                                                                                                                                                                alkapal Jan 27, 2010 02:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                SWAMP WHIZ

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: givemecarbs
                                                                                                                                                              twodales Feb 24, 2010 01:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                              Same thing happened to me regarding the truffle hearts and boy am I glad they did!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: twodales
                                                                                                                                                                givemecarbs Feb 25, 2010 11:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                My truffle hearts are gone gone gone! And it's too snowy to get more today here in PA. I did use several to decorate a cake.

                                                                                                                                                        2. c
                                                                                                                                                          clearskies0810 Jan 7, 2010 12:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Has anyone tried the gorgonzola crackers? Any good?

                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: clearskies0810
                                                                                                                                                            jbh11 Jan 7, 2010 03:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                            I picked up a box a few weeks ago. They're OK. I was hoping for a bit more intense gorgonzola flavor. One by one, they're not too strong. I only seem to capture the cheese taste after eating several in a row.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jbh11
                                                                                                                                                              greygarious Jan 7, 2010 08:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                              Understandable, since the crackers are only an inch or so in diameter. Of their line of small crackers I like the boxed 12-Grain and bagged black sesame/soy mini-rice ones best.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: clearskies0810
                                                                                                                                                              Dommy Jan 7, 2010 04:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                              I like them, they have a creamy slight sweet taste of Gorgonzola Dolce... very munchy...


                                                                                                                                                              1. re: clearskies0810
                                                                                                                                                                invinotheresverde Jan 26, 2010 09:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                I found them pretty bland.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: clearskies0810
                                                                                                                                                                  manolid1 Mar 13, 2010 11:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  these crackers only have gorgonzola like cheddar flavor - no gorgonzolla in those boxes.
                                                                                                                                                                  they are tasty but almost cheese less.

                                                                                                                                                                2. r
                                                                                                                                                                  Ricky Jan 3, 2010 09:33 PM


                                                                                                                                                                  Yaki Onigiri - same ones sold in the frozen section of most japanese super markets, even says product of japan. Yeah I know u can make them yourself, but not bad when you need a quick fix.
                                                                                                                                                                  Spicy Hummus

                                                                                                                                                                  1. g
                                                                                                                                                                    givemecarbs Jan 2, 2010 12:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    A bright shiny new TJ's thread for the new year! My friends and family have been inhaling the bags of honeycrisp apples from TJ's so I always get a bag. Last week I was in a holiday daze and didn't look at the bag very closely but my favorite cashier had my back. As he was ringing me up he noticed that one of the apples had a bad spot. so he told us and sent a runner for a different bag. Now that's service!

                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: givemecarbs
                                                                                                                                                                      six dower Jan 3, 2010 01:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      Love Honey Crisp Apple Bags - watch for a few bad ones.
                                                                                                                                                                      Love canned salmon, greek yougurt, veg chips, Better than PeanutButter (I bought a case...I have a problem.)
                                                                                                                                                                      Nay - Popovers

                                                                                                                                                                    2. Caitlin McGrath Dec 31, 2009 05:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      In Northern California, the organic cream-top milks are understood to be Straus (Marin County organic dairy that sells its cream-top milk under its own name in glass bottles), though neither party will confirm. The other organic milks seem to be Clover, per a post in the original yea/nay thread by someone who called Clover to find out where she could find their organic milk. I don't know about the non-organic milk. TJ's organic "European Style" yogurt (whole and nonfat in the red and blue quarts, respectively) is definitely made by Straus, as it is identical in texture and flavor, which are somewhat distinctive (thin and very tangy). Some of the artisan breads here are clearly Acme (sourdough cranberry walnut, for one).

                                                                                                                                                                      1. drintastic Dec 31, 2009 01:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        I worked at one of the TJ's in New York until just recently as well. I do not know much about the milk or yogurt since my vegan self tends to avoid them but I can tell you that the produce does perish quickly because of that exact reason.

                                                                                                                                                                        New produce comes in daily and by the end of the night most of it has been bought up. Trader Joe's also has a system called "pulling codes" which is when an employee goes around the store looking at the dates and the overall quality of every single perishable item. This is supposed to be done nightly, but sometimes gets skipped or neglected.

                                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: drintastic
                                                                                                                                                                          Kazy Ctn Mar 23, 2010 10:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          I've got too many items to list out, but my general philosophy when it come to TJ's is:

                                                                                                                                                                          YEA - packaged, frozen, or prepared foods; wine and beer

                                                                                                                                                                          NAY- produce, dairy, or pretty much anything with an expiration date

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Kazy Ctn
                                                                                                                                                                            goodhealthgourmet Mar 23, 2010 10:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            my one big exception to your dairy rule - their house-brand Greek yogurt.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                              Bob W May 27, 2010 07:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              I will second that -- I tried the apricot/mango, and it was incredibly luscious. It's also 300 calories per cup, so it's an occasional treat.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bob W
                                                                                                                                                                                goodhealthgourmet May 27, 2010 05:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                i've never taken the plunge with the flavored ones - i stick with the 0% and 2% plain ;)

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Kazy Ctn
                                                                                                                                                                              isadorasmama Mar 24, 2010 01:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              That's interesting. I find their prepared foods to be nearly inedible across the board.

                                                                                                                                                                              I do like their pork roast that comes vacuum packed with a tomato-based sauce. Not sure if that would be considered prepared, though.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: isadorasmama
                                                                                                                                                                                Kazy Ctn Apr 14, 2010 08:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                You are correct - I should have said frozen/prepared dinners (i.e. the cheap stuff you would find in a bachelor's freezer). The majority the meals-to-go type stuff in the deli case are quite bad.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Kazy Ctn
                                                                                                                                                                                mdzehnder Oct 8, 2010 12:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                So this isn't a TJ's brand product per se, but the TJ's in my areas carries Vermont Creamery brand creme fraiche, which is delicious, and they stock it for at least $1.50/container cheaper than the typical grocery store price.

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