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Trader Joe's brand - The Good, the Bad - What have you enjoyed? tossed? bought more of? thought a bargain?

I'm from Toronto, Canada, and we don't have Trader Joe's here. But, on recent trips to Michigan, I have purchased a number of items, some of which have been fabulous (dried, unsweetened, unsulphured cherries at a great price), and some have been not so great (frozen crème brulée). It's hard to get through much of their product line with odd visits now and then.

Please share your experiences!!!

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  1. The frozen naan is our favorite must-have from Trader Joes. This is a staple in our freezer now. You throw it in the oven for about 2 mins. (no defrosting needed) and it comes out chewy and crisp on the edges. How's that for convenience! We also buy a lot of the nuts for snacks, which are always a bargain. Prepared foods have been pretty hit or miss, as you indicated.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jboeke

      Oh, yum yum. Sounds great. And naan is something I'm definitely not equipped to make at home!!! Thanks!

      1. re: jboeke

        The naan is a favorite of ours too.

      2. You might want to check out the various "Yeas and Nays from Trader Joe's" threads; I think there are three spanning a few years, but they're all still living on the board. These threads are all about answering the questions you pose: things people particularly love and those that are bad or not worth the money.

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/677442
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/635387
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/326682

        1 Reply
        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          Thank you so much! I discovered them after I had already posted. I did a search on the wrong Board for Trader Joe's, which is why I didn't find them. Thanks again!

        2. I had to take back some navel oranges in december. I had my receipt with me so it was easy as pie. I've heard that TJs issues refunds even without the receipt or even the item though. I can see where it wouldn't be worth the return trip to return an item you didn't like full tummy! My TJs has been open for over a year and I'm still nibbling my way through it. It's hard to go wrong with the cookies though. Last summer I bought the cashew and caramel cookies, they were fairly small so I ate three and thought, eh just so so. Five minutes later I was stuffing down more. Those kind of snuck up on me. They have a really good aftertaste. I bought some chocolate almond bark at Christmas and really liked it. I was hoping it wasn't just a holiday item. Sigh. Have not seen the bark since.

          5 Replies
          1. re: givemecarbs

            Thanks for the tips. Will check out the cookies.

            1. re: Full tummy

              One thing I usually grab is the wide noodles, intended for stroganoff. Made a big pot of turkey noodle soup the other night with those noodles and it is already gone. One person is lamenting that he didn't get his fair share! They are a bargain at 2.00 a package but I always buy two.

                1. re: Full tummy

                  :) On the same visit I got some gourmet pie crust. It was kinda pricy at 5 bucks for only two crusts but I wanted to try it. Other hounds have said they were disappointed with this year's new recipe but with nothing to compare it to I thought it was great. Easy to handle as long as you ignore the instructions to let the crust come to room temp. I like to use my pie crust still slightly chilled and had no problems. I made a turkey, potatoes, and carrot filling with gravy and tossed in some peas and corn. I couldn't resist brushing an egg white on the crust right before I popped it in my convection oven. It turned out gorgeous! Yummy too. I'm going to grab another next time I go to keep in my freezer. If I'm asked to bring a covered dish sometime I will be set because the crust bakes up beautifully.

                  1. re: givemecarbs

                    Sounds good. A couple of pie crusts in the freezer is extreeeeemely helpful.

          2. The Yea/Nay threads will be very helpful. Recently we've been getting the wild rice, the lightly smoked sardines (purple can), the Greek style yogurt, the frozen French onion soup. Unfortunately, many of the items that we loved (Muscovey duck breast, white truffle oil) have been discontinued.

            1. Good:
              Tuscan pane bread
              pine nuts
              authentic salsa, salsa verde
              danish dripless taper candles
              Spanish cava
              Chimichirra rice frozen

              BAD:
              gazpacho
              tea tree oil shampoo and body wash
              carne asada
              lasagna
              minestrone

              2 Replies
              1. re: AllesandroSprezzatura

                Great tips! It's good to know what to stay away from. Will have to give their salsas a try.