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Trader Joe's Yea/Nay thread - 4th Quarter 2010 [OLD]

Ok, my turn to start this thread. :)

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  1. I got a bag of their new semisweet chocolate callets (melting chocolate) for coating truffles. They melted and tempered really easily, and I loved the level of bitterness. Great price, especially relative to the couverture chocolate that I usually get. I really dislike the TJ's 'Pound Plus' chocolate bars for truffles, but I'll definitely be stocking up on the callets for the holiday baking season!

    1 Reply
    1. re: ThymeTruffle

      Those are great! I made fabulous chocolate peanut butter brownies with the unsweetened variety (Gluten Free Girl and the Chef cookbook, which is absolutely lovely). 1.99 for 8 oz - fab. I am going to buy a slew to put aside, in case they discontinue.

    2. two big new YAYs! fleur de sel caramel (in a jar). was it wrong of me to open that in my car,and test it with my (just washed) fingers? dear lord, that's some yummy stuff!
      also new to tj's, peppadews in a jar. they have some "joes-ian" name, like peri-peri peppadrops? whatever...i recognize them as peppadews, and can't wait to stuff them with some chevre.
      a gooood day at tj's!

      29 Replies
      1. re: chez cherie

        oh my god, that fleur de sel caramel sounds amazing! what are you planning to do with it (besides eat it straight from the jar)?

        1. re: mollyomormon

          gonna play with it this weekend....first up, a hazelnut caramel tart.

          1. re: chez cherie

            a honeycrisp apple, wedged, dragged through a puddle of that fleur de sel caramel made both my husband's and my eyes wide with surprise and delight.

            1. re: chez cherie

              Oh my GOD does that sound fantastic!

              I've done the Marzettis apple dip, this has got to be a million times better!

              1. re: chez cherie

                mmm that sounds amazing! i just bought a jar of the sauce so i may be doing the same thing...

              2. re: chez cherie

                chezcherie, if that tart worked out and was not oozy, but firm, would you plse share recipe? thanks so much

            2. re: chez cherie

              I agree-fabulous. Never made anything with it-just ate the whole thing.

              1. re: chez cherie

                I was so bummed when I finally got around to going to TJ's today and they didn't have this fleur de sel caramel in stock. I didn't even see a spot for it anywhere, but when I asked staff about it they said they were just out of stock. I'll have to go back in a week or two to see if they have it.

                1. re: DarkRose

                  Served some with pumpkin cheesecake last weekend-it was very nice :)

                  1. re: girlwonder88

                    Ooh that sounds awesome, girlwonder :) I was thinking of maybe spreading it on some fudge brownies, or maybe with some apples in a tart.

                    yfunk - no, the caramels in the balsa box, while very good, (my partner bought me a box for Christmas last year) aren't what I'm referring to. This is actually in a jar and intended, I assume, for baking.

                    1. re: DarkRose

                      Oh! Okay. Will have to search for it myself next time! I did see in passing a shelf of chocolate and caramel dessert sauces, so perhaps that was it. It'd be great to make a salted caramel apple pie!

                      1. re: yfunk3

                        The TJ's by me had it on the shelf above the ice cream. It's pretty good.

                  2. re: DarkRose

                    At my local TJ's, they were in a special section for seasonal items (obviously themed for the holidays right now). In a round balsa box, right? There were tons in the TJ's near me, so maybe you need to move to the DC Metro area! LOL

                    I picked up the two-pack of oven-ready baguettes in the bakery section today (only $1.49, so it was hard to resist). Baked one today for a sardine sandwich, and it was great fresh out of the oven. Had the other half for dinner and not as great after a few hours, but still better than the ready-to-eat baguettes available locally here.

                    Also picked up the new cha siu bao. Waiting to see if that's better than the ones you can get at any Asian supermarket...it sure is closer and more convenient for me to go to TJ's than to the closest Asian supermarket.

                    The soft egg nog cookies are weird, very chemical-tasting to me. Not horrible, but not worth the $3. Glad I picked up the peppermint Jo-Jos to make up for the egg nog cookies!

                    1. re: yfunk3

                      I tried a couple of the cha siu bao today as a quick lunch when I got home. Not having a steamer, I stuck them in the microwave as directed. The 45 seconds it suggested wasn't quite long enough so I hit it another 30.

                      I'm not wholly familiar with what good steamed buns should taste like, as until recently I'd only had the baked version, but these were pretty darn good, and much better than the ones my local Chinese buffet has on offer in their steam tray. The dough wasn't too thick or too heavy and to me was pleasantly chewy, but not gummy. There could be more filling, but what's in there was tasty, not overly sauced and not too sweet.

                      I dipped the buns in some of TJ's Sweet Chili sauce - not sure if this is a new product, but it was new to me. I'd never seen it before, though it's been a few months since I've been. The sauce was very good. Sweet, but not overly so, with a discernible hint of vinegar, a bit of garlic, and (to my admittedly heat-wimpy palate) a decent chili kick. It reminded me of the sweet chili sauce McDonald's offered this year for chicken nuggets during the Olympics, only not quite as sweet as that.

                      1. re: DarkRose

                        Another thumbs up on the pork buns. Just tried one now and it was sooooo good. 45 seconds worked perfectly for me though.

                      2. re: yfunk3

                        I also bought both the Eggnog and Peppermint cookies the other day. The Joe-Joes were gone that night. The eggnog cookies didn't fare as well...

                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                          I found the eggnog cookies much better when eaten with something similarly spiced, such as SILK Pumpkin Spice soy milk. But alone? It was like a holiday assault on your tongue. :o)

                        2. re: yfunk3

                          those choc. mint jo jo cookies are tremendous AND seasonal, so we stock up w/ enough to last us til the following Xmas.

                      3. re: chez cherie

                        A baaaaad day at TJ's today: they've discontinued the peri-peri peppadrops, which I am addicted to. It seemed like a relatively new item. Interestingly, I just looked at the website for the company on the label (Mozambique Spice Company), and they cost more than twice as much as TJ's was charging. So maybe that's why they were discontinued.

                        1. re: nandrew

                          nooo! i *just* finished off a jar of the peppadews tonight, and forgot to pick some up when i was there this afternoon. grrr.

                          1. re: nandrew

                            Yeah, same here... TJs used to have these great crackers and I tracked down the company that makes them and not only is the 'original' product way more expensive, they also are only sold in the Bay Area (And I'm in LA!)

                            --Dommy!

                            1. re: nandrew

                              nandrew, are you SURE about the peppadrops? i stopped into my store today to get some and i asked why such a new item was being discontinued. one of the guys looked it up in the system and said there's no indication that they're going anywhere! of course he then suggested that i stock up just in case because - and i quote - "after all this *is* Trader Joe's so you never know." :) nice to know the employees have a sense of humor about their reputation.

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                My TJ's had a sign next to these when they first came in that said they were a one-time order so would be gone forever after they ran out... bummer!

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  Are they still around, goodhealthgourmet? If so, where is your store? I'm in Cambridge, MA. My local Whole Foods does have the same kind of little peppers in their olive/marinated veggie bar, so I've been buying them up. They're not quite as plump (maybe because they haven't been sitting in a jar), but they're a pretty good substitute.

                                  1. re: nandrew

                                    bought a jar 3 days ago here in LA...and the "New Item" sign is still on the shelf. they don't appear to be going anywhere!

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      Thanks--maybe I'll complain at my local store (or on the website).

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        Hi goodhealthgourmet, Here's the response I got from Trader Joe's today (I'd buy a case if I were you):

                                        Thank you for your email. The Peri Peri Peppadrops were an opportunity
                                        buy, which means they were purchased in limited quantity as a one time
                                        deal. Unfortunately, we have already depleted our stock in the east
                                        coast. We still have some supply for a few more weeks of stock on the
                                        west coast, so these customers can purchase them for just a short while
                                        longer.

                                        If we are able to acquire another harvest opportunity buy in the future,
                                        they will return to all stores.

                                        1. re: nandrew

                                          now nandrew,plse. tell us where you wrote that actually answered you! that is very impressive! good for you!

                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                            Hi opinionatedchef, If you go to traderjoes.com and click the little "contact" button at the bottom of the page, you can submit questions. Usually they answer in a day or 2; this time it took longer.

                              2. The frozen crepes filled with smoked salmon and spinach. Made in France. Just in the cardboard box and not in plastic and not freezer burned. Not huge and not overly seasoned/ flavored; heat three in a buttered pan maybe 4-5 minutes each side and serve with a salad and ...so nice. 10 in the box for $4.

                                The frozen pesto scallops on half shell. Small but packed with flavor.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Cathy

                                  haven't been to TJ in months and I used to go there every week.
                                  These crepes sound great. Thanks Cathy.

                                  1. re: Cathy

                                    I haven't tried these, as I'm not a big fan of smoked salmon, but a woman in the office I'm temping at did and wasn't a fan, said there wasn't enough flavor and the consistency was off.

                                  2. We just enjoyed the stuffed poblano peppers (shrimp, rice, corn, black beans) and the chimichurri rice. It was a rice overkill freezer dinner, but as far as TJ's emergency dinners go, very tasty indeed! The peppers had enough heat to make my nose run, which is a plus in my book!

                                    1. The new peanut butter cookies - they're a little cookie, topped with peanut butter, dipped in chocolate and then sprinkled with chopped peanuts. Not sure the official name for them but they're new and oh soooooo yummy.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: HastaLaPasta

                                        I saw those today and didn't buy them because I have a long night of reading/studying ahead of me and knew the entire box would be gone...they look yummy!

                                        1. re: Fromageball

                                          Yeah, I was astounded as to how quickly I polished off the box of them, until I realized that there are "only" 16 cookies in the box (sure seemed like there'd be more)- just as well for the sake of my waistline!

                                        2. re: HastaLaPasta

                                          The actual name of these cookies is Peanut Butter Goodies. I picked up a box of them yesterday and had a couple with a cup of cocoa last night. I'm a HUGE peanut butter fiend, and really want to like these more than I do. Not that they're bad, per se, but to me, the cookie has a weird, overly crunchy texture, and tastes almost like there might be a sugar crust between the top of the cookie and the peanut butter (as if to keep the cookie from getting soggy or something). And the chocolate the cookie is covered in is too sweet, and too thick at the top. Again, not BAD overall, but I don't think I could eat more than two every couple of days.

                                          1. re: DarkRose

                                            I picked up a box of these yesterday b/c I, too, am a huge PB fan. I haven't tried them yet. I also picked up a package of the peanut butter sandwich cookies in the bread aisle -- anyone tried them? They are two kind-of peanut-shaped cookies (think Nutter Butter) filled with peanut butter cream. Not a huge PB taste, but very good nonetheless. Thankfully there are only 8 to the package.

                                            1. re: mdepsmom

                                              Hope you enjoy the Peanut Butter Goodies more than I did, mdepsmom. I honestly haven't felt compelled to have more of them since my initial post more than a week ago. They're still sitting in my cupboard :-p The shortbread cookies with the chocolate thumbprints, however, are almost gone, and my partner just picked up a box of the vanilla bean cream Joe-Joes when she ran to the store for a few things yesterday. Those are ridiculously good - MUCH better than Oreos, imo, and I LOVE Oreos.

                                        3. Just got a bag of TJ's new frozen dutch pancakes/aebleskivers. Couldn't wait to heat them properly, so I ripped the bag open as soon as I brought them home and popped a couple of them in the microwave for about 50 seconds. REMARKABLY GOOD!!!

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Arthur

                                            Gahhh!!! So glad to hear... I was so charmed by them, I actually took a picture of them so I would be reminded to buy them when I have to bring breakfast for my team...

                                            http://www.flickr.com/photos/dommichu...

                                            1. re: Arthur

                                              Agree that the aebleskivers were very tasty, almost surprisingly so. My partner and I had a few for breakfast this morning. Heated them in the oven for a bit shy of ten minutes, which produced a nice, slightly crisp exterior and wonderfully light and airy interior. I was afraid they'd be too doughy and cakey, but no, they were perfect, and have a nice faintly lemony flavor. My partner dipped hers in good maple syrup and I had mine with a bit of melted Nutella. Will definitely be picking up more of these in the future.

                                              1. re: DarkRose

                                                just discovered those myself. what wowed me was the lovely CREAMY insides. They tasted sooo fresh! i rolled mine in cinnamon sugar w/ cardamom.

                                            2. The demo at my local TJ's yesterday was cinnamon pita chips topped with their new pumpkin cream cheese. Great combination, and a nice sweet treat.

                                              8 Replies
                                              1. re: chinchi

                                                last night in a tj's cooking class, we baked the new tj frozen ebelskivers (danish pancakes), split them and filled the center with that pumpkin cream cheese. a generous drizzle of the fab new fleur de sel caramel sauce. wow.

                                                1. re: chinchi

                                                  pumpkin cream cheese?! is this at all trader joes? i just got back from a TJs run and am pretty sure I would have seen this...

                                                  1. re: Fromageball

                                                    Pumpkin cream cheese was in the Fearless Flyer I got in the mail a couple of days ago.

                                                    1. re: Fromageball

                                                      just saw it on the shelf at mine, along with the other cream cheese, etc.

                                                    2. re: chinchi

                                                      There was no pumpkin cream cheese at my TJ's. I was very disappointed.

                                                    3. Just was reading the new Fearless Flyer. Has anyone bought the:

                                                      Char Siu Bao (frozen)
                                                      Tom Yam Wonton Soup (frozen)
                                                      Vegetable Pad Thai (frozen)

                                                      Boeuf Bourguinon (refrig)
                                                      Beef Stroganoff (refrig)
                                                      Chicken Pot Pie (refrig)

                                                      They all sound good, but you never know. Thanks!

                                                      7 Replies
                                                      1. re: The Librarian

                                                        the bao are pretty good. we like them with some gen tsao sauce for dipping.
                                                        the chicken pot pie is hearty, with nice chicken chinks and a flaky crust (at least if you cook it in the oven. can't imagine that the microwave would do good things to the pastry?)

                                                        1. re: The Librarian

                                                          I bought 2 new items advertised in the current Fearless Flyer:

                                                          1. fettuccine alfredo with grilled chicken - pass. The bland sauce lacks the flavor of parmesan cheese, which should be the main delight of this dish. The pasta and chicken themselves are fine.
                                                          2. Foccacia verdure stuffed with eggplant, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, emmentaler and mozzarella cheeses - pass. The cheese is paltry (I expect the cheese to be oozing all over) and the vegetables need more seasoning.

                                                          Hoping for better results with the other new items.

                                                          1. re: elise h

                                                            hmm...kind of glad to hear that about the foccacia verdure, I almost bought this today. I tried the "pizza primavera" a month or so ago and was disappointed so I wasn't sure about this one...

                                                          2. re: The Librarian

                                                            I got the Tom Yam Soup, and wasn't expecting much, but it was better than I thought. The idea of frozen spice pack was intriguing and actually worked! The only thing that was off was the Won Tons (Too mushy texture and would have prefered shrimp filled to the herbal spinach) and the texture of the soup. The flavor was there, but the texture was not as satisfying as a Tom Yam. It could be improved by adding some non-frozen coconut milk to it, but by then, you miss the whole point of quick and easy meal...

                                                            --Dommy!

                                                            1. re: The Librarian

                                                              I've bought the tom yum soup(haven't tried it yet) and vegetable pad thai( :(( did not like)...honestly, I have never tried a packaged/prepared pad thai that I've liked though

                                                              1. re: Fromageball

                                                                Thanks for reporting on the Pad Thai... I was tempted, but knew I had a better odds with the soup...

                                                                --Dommy!

                                                              2. re: The Librarian

                                                                I was really surprised and delighted that the Pad Thai with Tofu (in a green box) was very good on its own. But I perfected it thusly: Right when I removed it from the microwave, I mixed in 2 T. of tamari, 1/2 T. lime juice and 2 T.chunky peanut butter (i don't like the TJ pnut butter; I like Arrowhead.) and some blanched snow peas, slivered red pepper and slivered leftover roast chicken. Terrific quick one-dish meal!

                                                              3. Looks like plenty of new things to add to the list of staples from TJ's!

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: irishnyc

                                                                  Frozen croissants and chocolate croissants. TJ chocolate dipped almond biscotti. TJ EVOO from Spain. Alsace Pizza/flatbread. All are "Yays"!!!

                                                                2. not super-new, but i'm loving that they have defatted peanut flour because i don't have to order it online anymore!

                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                    What do you do with the peanut flour?

                                                                    1. re: jrmd

                                                                      bake with it, add it to smoothies, stir it into oatmeal or yogurt, use in savory sauces or stews...anywhere you'd use peanut butter. i just adjust the salt level to my taste, and depending on the application sometimes add a touch of stevia or raw sugar for sweetness. it's insanely versatile, handy stuff, and much lower in fat than PB.

                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                        Interesting! So could I sub it for the PB in my favorite PB and banana smoothies? Does it have any protein?

                                                                        1. re: girlwonder88

                                                                          yes, and yes :)

                                                                          nutritional info per ounce: 110 calories; 4g fat; 0.5g sat fat; 8g carb; 4g fiber; 16g protein.

                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                            Nice! And I'm so annoyed I forgot to look for this yesterday when I was there.

                                                                            1. re: girlwonder88

                                                                              definitely ask someone where they keep it at your store. when it first came out, mine had it on the new products display, then they moved it to the baking products, but when i picked some up a couple of weeks ago they had hidden it on the bottom shelf next to the nuts & nut butters - i was walking in circles trying to find it!

                                                                              the packages are hard to spot because they're surprisingly small (it's vacuum-packed) and the color sort of blends in with the shelving. here's a photo so you know what to look for:

                                                                              http://theworldaccordingtoeggface.blo...

                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                thank you sooo much; i knew nothing of this product before. now i can use this instead of pnut butter to doctor the already good TJ veg. pad thai(plus tamari and lime juice and veggies.)

                                                                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                  just a note that the flavor turned out to be a bit more muted than i prefer. i'm accustomed to dark-roasted peanut flour, but the TJ's is a light roast...i've gone back to ordering the other product online.

                                                                  2. Petite Cocoa Batons-- holy moley! They're tiny little snacks--1 inch x 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch of thin crispy wafer wrapped around a center of something resembling a truffle filling. Good chocolate flavor, good crispy/soft contrast-- totally addictive. And get this... $1.50 a box (5 oz, which is a good sized bowl full). Buy two. Or three.

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: chococat

                                                                      Are these like Peperidge Farm's Pirouette's, only shorter / smaller? It sort of sounded like them on the box when I saw them the other day but I wasn't sure.

                                                                      1. re: HastaLaPasta

                                                                        That's what I was expecting, but these are a little different. The "cookie" part is much more dry and wafer-like-- less oily than the pirouette, which is more cookie-like, and there's more filling-to-wafer with the TJ's baton since the wafer is wrapped around a little nugget of soft chocolate.

                                                                        1. re: chococat

                                                                          Cool, thanks for the details description. They sound worth a try.

                                                                          1. re: chococat

                                                                            Interesting - I did indeed try these the other day and I found them to be exactly as I had thought - very similar to Pirouettes just smaller and probably a little more wafer vs. filling since the ends of these are pinched off instead of left open. Any differences in texture, oilyness, etc. were pretty subtle.

                                                                            1. re: chococat

                                                                              chococat, your description of them is accurate. they are NOT like pirouettes because the pirouette 'wrappers' are a totally different animal, in reality a very thin cookie. these baton wrappers are what professional bakers call 'feuillete', a far siperior product with its shatteringly crisp thinness.

                                                                              but aside from that technical point; i do not like eating palm oil dominated sweets. not good for you. these are made in indonesia.Marshall's used to sell a canned version of these batons- that look just like pirouettes in shape, with hazelnut filling, etc.

                                                                        2. I finally got around to trying the coconut water. I was reading the package and liked how they claimed it might help a bit with a hangover. Not that I can get beer or wine at my TJs.
                                                                          The nice dude checking me out reminded me to chill the water down first, and they had a friendly tj's sign next to the water saying to serve cold too. I tried it cold and then forgot to finish the little container, probably reading chowhound or something. I took a sip of it at room temperature (65F here in Pa) and liked it better. I could taste the coconut more and preferred it that way, but the coconut water right from the fridge was certainly refreshing. Going back for more tomorrow and another try for the pumpkin ice cream they were out of on monday. I need to have both on hand to test this whole help with hangovers theory this weekend. A hound's research is never done!

                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                          1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                            Speaking of Pumpkin Cream Cheese, I was digging in the freezer and I spied "Pumpkin Ice Cream." It was well over $4 and I really, really wanted to try it before I bought it and lugged it home. I was curious if it was spicy, too Pumpkiny, tasted "Pumpkin-Pie-y...
                                                                            So I took it to the sample station - the TJ Sample "Snob" (lol) I don't know what else to say...told me NO. Just buy it and if you don't like bring it back.

                                                                            O, Joy. I'd love to buy expensive ice cream, have it taste weird, then risk it making a mess in my car taking back after it has been opened...

                                                                            1. re: JamesPapa

                                                                              Just bring the receipt. They are good about returns. Way good.

                                                                              1. re: JamesPapa

                                                                                I'm surprised they said no James. Usually the employees love it when you ask to sample something as the rest ends up in the break room. I scored mine last night! Two containers woot! And I scored some of that caramel sauce too! They only had three jars left but I restrained myself and only bought one.

                                                                                1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                  I would imagine that sampling ice cream is a bit challenging, with the melting thing and all...

                                                                                  The caramel sauce...heated up on pumpkin ice cream...yum.

                                                                                  1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                    They have Microwaves/Toaster Ovens to heat samples, surely they have a mini-fridge/freezer "back there" for samples, lol.

                                                                                    Anyway, the C. Sauce sounds good. Would be great w/ some Apples and Tis' the season.

                                                                            2. Nay for the frozen Coq Au Vin. Tried it for the first and last time yesterday for dinner.

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: chinchi

                                                                                Holy crap that was awful. They were sampling it the day I shopped and it was delicious. The package I bought had a small piece of boneless dark meat, a thigh, and a wing. Gross. The sauce was good, salty, but good, but the meat was horrid.

                                                                                1. re: irishnyc

                                                                                  We're in agreement about the meat...it seemed like such low quality. My non-picky boyfriend took one bite of the wing and couldn't stomach anymore...the fowl tasted foul :(

                                                                                  1. re: chinchi

                                                                                    Sorry to hear about the Coq Au Vin..last trip I stocked up a bit and that was a new purchase I haven't tried and was curious-esp since that is something I have never had. Sounds like maybe at least the sauce will give me a clue on the taste..then to commit to making it.

                                                                                    1. re: dklipscomb

                                                                                      I am currently eating this as I type and I have given up on the chicken...it is quite foul. The sauce, however, is ok enough to eat with some bread....which is what I am doing. Definitely not worth a re-buy.

                                                                              2. I don't know if they are newish, but I think I would have bought them before if I saw them:
                                                                                HUGE yay for the sweet potato kettle chips.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: gordeaux

                                                                                  I first bought them at least 3 yrs ago.

                                                                                2. Just returned from a trip to TJ: decided to try the gorditas (frozen masa things with cheese, refried beans and chile (where was it?). I'm going to return it -- only way it'd be okay is if you'd been hiking for 8 hours and were starving.

                                                                                  Has anyone tried the pumpkin cheesecake? It just arrived and the TJ clerk had not yet tried it.

                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: walker

                                                                                    I had their pumpkin cheesecake quite a few years ago and found it weirdly chalky, though the flavor was fine. But that may not be the same product they are selling now.

                                                                                    1. re: walker

                                                                                      I had such high hopes for the gordita. Microwaved one yesterday for about 40 sec, then put in a nonstick skillet, flipped it and browned until it puffed up. Not much flavor. It makes a good carrier for the salsa verde, Will try a second one before I give up on the box of four.

                                                                                      1. re: AreBe

                                                                                        I returned the gorditas box for a refund. They were completely tasteless! The manager agreed with me. For all of the fat that those contain, I expected much more flavor.

                                                                                        1. re: AreBe

                                                                                          Gorditas: arebe, i followed the same technique but used a little bacon fat in the griddling. I think the gorditas have a very good masa flavor (they even use STONEground cornmeal) but the filling is skimpy, so I used them as a carrier, as you said. I put my chorizo/tomatillo sauce taco filling over them and they were excellent; very toothsome. i might also experiment with combining their frozen carne asada w/ their salsa verde and using that as a topping.

                                                                                          ** I do NOT think these would be good just nuked, or oven baked.

                                                                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                            Take a pass on the carne asada. Tried it once and it was positively nauseating. Same with their al pastor pork. Had a very porky flavor, but not in a good way, if you know what I mean.

                                                                                        2. re: walker

                                                                                          They were giving out samples of the pumpkin cheesecake yesterday so I tried it . . . I wasn't impressed at all . The lady behind the counter said she thinks it's going to be HUGE for thanksgiving. I disagree, not a lot of spice/pumpkin flavor there.

                                                                                          1. re: walker

                                                                                            I wanted to like the gorditas, and they just weren't good. At all.

                                                                                          2. Yea: All Natural Uncured Beef Hot Dogs. Bursting with flavor.

                                                                                            Nay: All Natural Uncured Turkey Hot Dogs. Kind of like turkey bologna in tube shape.

                                                                                            Nay: Cajun Style Blackened Chicken Fettucine Alfredo. Gloppy Alfredo sauce, the chicken looks but doesn't taste blackened, and there's nothing Cajun about it.

                                                                                            1. Yea to the cinnamon spiced pear cider- the spiced apple cider is a bit too spiced for me, but the pear is just right.

                                                                                              Does anyone know if their "sipping chocolate" is any good?

                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: ThymeTruffle

                                                                                                  The sipping chocolate is wonderful! Rich and delicious. I've also concocted a brownie recipe using it, which yields extremely rich, silky and dense brownies.

                                                                                                  1. re: operagirl

                                                                                                    I concur on the sipping chocolate. I often add it to coffee for a rich mug of mocha.

                                                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                      I tried the sipping chocolate and the bittersweet peppermint hot cocoa... yea to both!

                                                                                                      1. re: ThymeTruffle

                                                                                                        Yes I like the peppermint hot cocoa very much, too! I use it to make a peppermint mocha latte.

                                                                                                  2. re: ThymeTruffle

                                                                                                    Serious yea to the sipping chocolate. We bought four tins last shopping trip just in case they run out again. I don't even like chocolate that well, but this stuff is amazing.

                                                                                                  3. Nay- Ham and cheese croissants. I was happy to see this new item, but I should have known better. After baking it, it was soggy on one side and it had this awful, bland cottage cheese like mixture inside.

                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: mrsjoujou

                                                                                                      Bummer, they looked tasty in the package. I almost picked up some to try the other day, but decided I had enough stuff in my basket as it was. Glad I gave them a pass, if that's how they came out.

                                                                                                      1. re: DarkRose

                                                                                                        i had already bought them before i read this. my reaction:
                                                                                                        everything is good about them except the thick cheese fondue textured cheese glop inside. The croissant is a good product; there is alot of good quality parm on the outside;the onse piece of ham inside- is good quality; they bake up crisp when baked right on an oven rack (with pan underneath rack to catch drips).

                                                                                                        I scraped out the glock, added another piece of ham and some grated gruyere(both of which i keep on hand for making ham and chese croissants with their fresh " butter croissants") and they were excellent. but i understand that may be too much bother for some.

                                                                                                      2. re: mrsjoujou

                                                                                                        They were making these as the sample item the other day when I was in the store - it looked like the clerk had nearly burned them to a crisp but the tiny little bit they gave me as a sample tasted good and didn't seem soggy - though if my piece came from the edge instead of the middle it might have been deceiving. In any case, reminded me of something similar I used to have as a kid from Sarah Lee - if I weren't dieting right now I'd give TJ's a shot.

                                                                                                        1. re: HastaLaPasta

                                                                                                          Anyone know if the DARK CHOCOLATE Peppermint Jo-Jo's and DARK CHOCOLATE Sea Salt Caramels are in stores yet?? I bought them last year on Nov. 19 (2009) ...

                                                                                                          1. re: JamesPapa

                                                                                                            Yes, they are! I was just at TJ's (I'm in SoCal) and they're both in stock. Those dark chocolate sea salt caramels are so delicious!

                                                                                                            1. re: mollyomormon

                                                                                                              They also have a variety pack of four different flavors of the chocolate-covered JoJos- dark chocolate/peppermint, double chocolate, milk chocolate/peanut butter, and white chocolate/ginger. Yum!

                                                                                                              1. re: ThymeTruffle

                                                                                                                Oh man, I saw those and didn't grab any, and now I wish I had! Hopefully they will have them on my next trip.

                                                                                                                1. re: ThymeTruffle

                                                                                                                  Wow, I'm definitely going to keep an eye out for those!

                                                                                                                  BTW, just a note on the dark chocolate sea salt caramels: in the past, some people have really disliked the fact that they have a faint coconut flavor from the coconut oil they use (I personally don't mind it).

                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                    ruth, thank you so much for that note. very helpful.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                      So I tried to chocolate covered Jo-Jos variety pack. I thought two of the four were winners: the dark chocolate peppermint and the double chocolate. I didn't like the texture of the milk chocolate peanut butter, and the white chocolate ginger was waaaay too sweet (and I have a sweet tooth). Too bad, because it would have been yummy with dark chocolate, but I guess they were going with the whole "variety" theme.

                                                                                                                      Still good: the dark chocolate covered shortbread stars (in the blue box). I haven't seen the chocolate covered caramels with sea salt at my TJs this year (sniff).

                                                                                                          2. the pumpkin cream cheese was maybe a bit too sweet/cheesecake like to be used as a dip with chips or veggies. though i imagine you could create an amazing cake, cupcake frosting, cheesecake, or pumpkin pie with it.

                                                                                                            i bought the coq au vin and am now scared to try it cuz of the bad reviews. my boyfriend had tried the beef bourguignon frozen thing and said that was gross as well. no trader joes you haven't mastered the art of anything if the meat is shitty.

                                                                                                            i bought the turkey meatloaf muffins since they seemed intriguing. i liked them but the meat seems fattening, like their classic meatball meat. it also takes so long to cook in the oven. havent tried the microwave suggestion yet, too scared of what microwaves can do to foods

                                                                                                            the foccacia verdure was kind of boring. if you want something pizza like get the tarte d'alsace (like a flammenkuche) or the pesto-y flatbread. those are great.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: jessw11

                                                                                                              The pumpkin cream cheese is very good on whole wheat bagels or toast - the whole grains help balance the sweetness. Delicious, autumn-y tasting breakfast!

                                                                                                            2. I like the (frozen) whole wheat/seeded German rolls.

                                                                                                              1. Have a few more things we've recently tried, all resounding YEAS:

                                                                                                                Pita Bite Crackers - not sure if these are new or just new to me, but we picked up a box to enjoy with some cheese, and they were very nice. Very crisp with a definite taste of pita. I wanted a cracker that wouldn't overpower the flavor of the cheese, and these fit the bill nicely.

                                                                                                                Chevre Cheese Log with Honey (not sure what the actual name of it is, but that's close). I had read about this in the last Fearless Flyer and it sounded amazing. It tasted amazing too. There was a definite but not overpowering honey flavor that tempered the tang of the cheese without completely overriding it. We had this on the above crackers, topped with TJ's spicy candied pecans, which paired nicely with it all. I think next time I'm going to stuff some pitted dates with the cheese and top it with the nuts.

                                                                                                                West Country English Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese Truckle. I'm honestly not the biggest fan of cheddar, especially if it's anything beyond mild, but this one has won me over. Jill picked it up because she's a cheddar fan, and for her, the sharper, the better. This one has a pleasant tang to it, but not obnoxiously so. We had this with some red grapes and it was just delicious.

                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: DarkRose

                                                                                                                  Those Pita Bite Crackers are indeed yummy. I discovered them when the sample in the store was dipping these crackers with their Edamame Humus dip. Its a *really* good combination.

                                                                                                                2. Strong approval from this corner for the pumpkin ice cream (on pumpkin pie, natch); and the crinkle-cut potato chips. The salt-and-pepper variety should be illegal, just because they're so damned tasty.

                                                                                                                  1. Not sure how new these products are, but I just tried them so...

                                                                                                                    YEAs: Spiced Cranberry Cider (great balanced flavor), Jalapeno Pub Cheese (didn't last long!), Bool Kogi (not new but makes great Korean tacos w/corn tortillas, shredded cabbage, sauce of your choice!), Au Gratin Potatos (frozen, just sampled today)

                                                                                                                    NAYs: Chicken Chow Mein (cooked in pan, noodles too gummy-flavored, too salty overall); Take-out Thai noodle boxes (small size, blah taste and texture); Chicken Vindaloo bowl (frozen--not bad, but not spicy at all and vindaloo should be VERY spicy!)

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: drmoze

                                                                                                                      Disagree on the Spiced Cranberry Cider. It wasn't to my liking and two others tried it and were not happy with it either. So I took it back. Huge mistake. A lot of the holiday offerings were there and I ended up spending way too much! I would have been better off using that cider to water my plants he he!
                                                                                                                      Thanks for the heads up on the Rondele Cranberry Orange cream cheese, was thinking of trying it. I enjoyed the little sweet potato tartlets I bought but I was dazzled by old holiday favorites. I knew not to pass up the dark chocolate almond bark, might not be there next trip, but trying to hold off on eating it just yet. The peppermint jo jos I started in on are helping greatly with that! I'm also now addicted to the vanilla and cinnamon black tea, just opened my second box.

                                                                                                                    2. Huge NAY to the frozen cannoli. The filling had a weird, chalky mouth feel, and the shell itself had none of the crispness that a good cannoli should have. It was limp and chewy, the exterior feeling almost dusty. A huge disappointment all around.

                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: DarkRose

                                                                                                                        I found they left an aftertaste of stale grease! Also, tried the frozen pumpkin pie and was disappointed. It was rather grainy instead of velvety smooth.Read the ingredients and first one was heavy cream and none of the other ingredients sounded like they would contribute to this. The crust was totally undesirable.

                                                                                                                        1. re: marti

                                                                                                                          Agree re. the pumpkin pie. They were giving out samples today, and even for free it was yucky.
                                                                                                                          Basically tasted like cold, sweet paste and had no pumpkin taste.

                                                                                                                          1. re: gnosh

                                                                                                                            They were giving out tastes of pumpkin pie in my local store the other day; and, when asked, made a point of specifying that it was the fresh pie, rather than the frozen. The fresh pie was OK (if just), but ever so much better heated up and with a scoop of pumpkin ice cream!

                                                                                                                      2. yea: Chile-Spiced Pineapple. i was already hooked on the mango, but this is even spicier, which is better for me.

                                                                                                                        nay: Cranberry-Orange Relish. a new seasonal product they were sampling today. this stuff is GNARLY. cloyingly sweet with an artificial orange flavor...i discreetly spit it into a napkin.

                                                                                                                        oh, and i actually have to vote "nay" on the Peanut Flour. i was so excited to find it there, but i'm accustomed to a darker roast - theirs is too light, and the flavor just isn't bold enough for me. back to ordering it online!

                                                                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                          re: Chile-Spiced Pineapple, the bag I got tastes so strongly of paprika with very little chile that I am totally grossed out and will be returning it. Biggest TJs fail I've experienced in years.

                                                                                                                          To end on a positive note: The Gingersnap House Party cookies are amazing! $2.99 for a full pound of spicy, crispy goodness.

                                                                                                                          1. re: bbq babe

                                                                                                                            really? i wonder if you got a bad bag of pineapple...or maybe i just go a particularly good one (i've only bought it once). the thing i liked about it was that it was heavier on the chile than anything else!

                                                                                                                            as for the "biggest fail in years," talk to me after you've tried the Tom Yum or Thai Lime & Chili Cashews ;)

                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                              When I returned the pineapple, the customer service guy started nodding like a mad man and leaned WAY over the counter to take the bag from me. He didn't even bother to ask for the receipt. The product was a big miss for him as well. It happens.

                                                                                                                              As for the Tom Yum cashews, I enjoyed them, just not enough to put them in the regular rotation.

                                                                                                                              At least we agree on the Peppermint Coffee.;)

                                                                                                                              1. re: bbq babe

                                                                                                                                wow, i really must have gotten an unusually good bag of the pineapple! i haven't bought it since, and i think now i won't bother again :)

                                                                                                                                those Tom Yum cashews were so heavy on the lemongrass that to me they just tasted like soap.

                                                                                                                                but yes, we can certainly agree on the peppermint coffee - nasty stuff...then again, i can't stand flavored coffee, period, so even if it was "good" to people who usually enjoy things like that...

                                                                                                                                speaking of coffee, if you're a fan of dark roasts, their whole-bean Sumatra is surprisingly good.

                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                  "wow, i really must have gotten an unusually good bag of the pineapple!" I like them, so do many of my friends and family, and I highly doubt you got "an unusually good bag." They're not a new product and have been at TJ's for at least a couple of years now, so their continued availability after all this time means other shoppers must agree with us as well. Feel comfortable buying them again. Different strokes...

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Arthur

                                                                                                                                    thanks for the feedback - i actually thought it was relatively new because i've been enjoying the mango for quite some time, but had never seen the pineapple before now.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                    tom yum cashews are very fishy. [noted for those with allergies.]

                                                                                                                                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                  Man, I loved those Tom Yum cashews. My local store couldn't keep those in stock, they sold so fast. I was sad when they vanished.

                                                                                                                              2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                plse would you tell us the brand you prefer and a link?

                                                                                                                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                  sure! sorry, i didn't notice this before i posted my earlier response :)

                                                                                                                                  http://www.byrdmill.com/gourmet_peanu...

                                                                                                                                  i buy the Dark 12%.

                                                                                                                                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                  Oh, what do you do with the peanut flour? I bought some and need to figure out the best way to use it.

                                                                                                                                3. Nay on the new Rondele Cranberry Orange cream cheese - kind of blah and very pink.

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                                                    ITA, Berheenia. I was so excited about it, too, but it wasn't nearly tart enough.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                                                      @Berheenia & coney, i suspect they just mix in the Cranberry-Orange Relish i tried...very, very sweet, not tart at all. blech.

                                                                                                                                    2. This past weekend there was a woman giving out samples of a blueberry goat cheese, and a Vintage Cheddar from England. I grabbed the toothpick with the cheddar and walked away as I was putting it in my mouth. It took one minute for me to make a beeline back the woman who had them. Probably one of the very best cheddars I've ever had, and I'm a huge cheese addict.. Highly recommend this Vintage Cheddar from England. Just incredibly good. I hope they have more tomorrow cause our pack is empty.

                                                                                                                                      1. Just wanted to chime in on the post-Thanksgiving feast a week and (10 pounds natch) later...

                                                                                                                                        YEAs:
                                                                                                                                        turkey breast with stuffing (frozen, for 2 people) - I was really nervous about this coming out really badly, but it was pretty darn decent -- enough turkey and stuffing for two people for two meals -- all for $9.99 - no complaints here! turkey was flavorful and juicy and liked the stuffing --wished they had more - next time, I'll make the cornbread stuffing box

                                                                                                                                        mashed potatoes (frozen) - made with real butter and added a little nonfat milk - this was yummy yum...

                                                                                                                                        pumpkin cheesecake (frozen) - excellent! :)

                                                                                                                                        cornbread (box) - nicely done...although a few corn kernels in the mix stayed hard and dry all the way to the end -- next time I may just add my own drained can of corn

                                                                                                                                        cranberries (fresh) - made the recipe on back with orange juice - excellent!

                                                                                                                                        Nays
                                                                                                                                        green bean mushroom casserole (refrigerated section) NASTY- inedible -- I had tried the brussel sprouts combo in the store and that was pretty good, but b/f wasn't going to do that, so I took a chance...bad mistake

                                                                                                                                        sausage stuffing (refrigerated section) - NASTY, I threw out the sample...gross...

                                                                                                                                        turkey gravy - bland beyond belief -- needed some serious doctoring that I did not have time to do

                                                                                                                                        graham crackers -- was craving these and they didn't look that great, but the cashier assured me that they would be great -- NOPE -- they sucked! We ended up buying some at CVS that were better -- stick to HoneyMaid...it's the only way

                                                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: melisky

                                                                                                                                          I had that turkey gravy last year, melisky, and ITA with you. Needed salt or something...flavor maybe?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: melisky

                                                                                                                                            Don't get the boxed Graham Crackers... get the ones in the tub... MUCH better..

                                                                                                                                            --Dommy!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Dommy

                                                                                                                                              Agreed! The tub grahams are addictive.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: melisky

                                                                                                                                              I tried the cornbread and it is way too sweet for my liking. .So sweet in fact that after I tried a piece I frosted the rest like a cake. For a quick cake it's good, but it ain't cornbread to my way of thinking.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                                                I like your approach MplsM ary! Mise well make it what it wants to be. I think sweet cornbread is a yankee thing.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                                                                  I think sweet cornbread is a yankee thing.
                                                                                                                                                  ~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                  yeah, growing up in NJ i only knew cornbread as sweet...then i went to college in ATL. the first time i had cornbread at my roommate's parents' dinner table, i thought her mother had just made a mistake and forgotten to add the sugar :)

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                    here's what my MS friends(in their '60's) say about this:
                                                                                                                                                    "Cornbread in the South is definitely NOT sweet. We have not located a place in the North ( mainly barbeque places ) that makes it correctly and we don't eat whatever they do prepare. They only encourage the myth that cornbread is sweet. What's wrong with Northern cornbread is that it lacks icing. If I want cake, I'll buy cake."

                                                                                                                                                    i will say, however, that i think Jiffy mix has alot to do with influencing contemporary cornbread- all over the u.s.- to be sweet.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                      sounds about right! i only knew the sweet stuff for the first 18 years of my life. but in college, my Southern friends - by way of Louisville, Nashville & Atlanta - were horrified by the notion :)

                                                                                                                                                      i still love sweet cornbread and corn muffins, BUT i've only ever liked them as a snack or dessert on their own with a nice cup of tea or coffee - never *with* a meal...and i absolutely appreciate & enjoy savory versions as a component of a meal.

                                                                                                                                            3. A general, year-round NAY for their online Fearless Flyer. Granted, I have a dial-up connection but am signed up for their bulletins. When I open one of their e-mails, I have to click the "see the flyer for your area" link. I do, and the next page already has my correct state in the location box. When it finally finishes loading, which takes forever even if it DOESN'T freeze, which it usually does, I have to again click to get the flyer pdf to load, and make a cup of coffee while it does so. Seems to me a redundant number of steps. Should be able to click my region's pdf download right from their e-mail.

                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                I am currently obsessed with their New Zealand organic cheddar cheese, Wintry Blend Coffee, gourmet jelly beans, mango sticky rice...

                                                                                                                                                1. re: coastalgypsy

                                                                                                                                                  ooh, i'm glad you mentioned coffee!

                                                                                                                                                  yay for the cans of Sumatra Whole Bean Coffee. great flavor & great price...i just wish the beans were less oily because they really gunk up my grinder.

                                                                                                                                              2. Nay on the vacuum-packed steamed & peeled chestnuts. i was really hopeful about these because i loved the shelf-stable ones they had the past couple of years, but these were a real disappointment. chalky & bone-dry to the point that each one disintegrated when i tried to remove it from the package.

                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                  Thank-you! Now I can stop feeling guilty about shelling out 12 bucks for the shelf stable jar at WF!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                    okay, update on the chestnuts...i bought another package on a whim today and these are much better. relatively moist, not chalky or crumbly at all - last one must have been a fluke. change my vote to yea!

                                                                                                                                                  2. i keep forgetting to post this one. packs of 2 fennel bulbs (1.25 lbs total weight) for under $2!

                                                                                                                                                    1. Yea - refrigerated Lentil Soup with 'Ancient grains"

                                                                                                                                                      1. Two of my most recent "nays": Pumpkin Cheesecake. I really wish I had consulted this thread first. Had a horrible texture and a hardened 'gummy' layer on top. Bleh.

                                                                                                                                                        ... and the "nay" from this very evening: Peppermint Coffee (comes pre-ground). My oh my. The write-up in the flyer made it sound quite nice. With vanilla beans, peppermint leaves and red peppercorn mixed in with the coffee (instead of just added flavouring). What we got instead was a mild coffee with a very faint peppermint flavour. To me, it actually tastes like a strong black peppermint tea. Ever drink tea when you're expecting coffee? Ugh. Going to try shaking the can and adding double the amount for the next experiment. Might have to update afterward if it improves any.

                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MisaOutandAbout

                                                                                                                                                          That Peppermint Coffee did seem promising from the flyer. I was lucky my store sampled it which allowed me to avoid buying it. Your description is spot on except the tiny cup I tried tasted like WEAK tea, which is even worse I imagine.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bbq babe

                                                                                                                                                            Haha, YES! I realised I should've clarified that remark about it tasting like tea... it wasn't the peppermint flavour which was strong when I brewed a pot but the tea taste. How is this possible? Urgh.

                                                                                                                                                            So I made another pot this morning; this pot included freshly ground Dark Sumatra beans with a few generous scoops of the Peppermint Coffee -- the scoops of Peppermint Coffee were run through the bean grinder. Similar result. Even mixed with Dark Sumatra, the taste was very underwhelming and *still* tasted of tea. Bleh. I've read of others returning items that weren't up to snuff, think this is going back.

                                                                                                                                                            One for the "yea" category: Minty Mallows. Covered in dark chocolate. Pretty tasty.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bbq babe

                                                                                                                                                              i always stop by and grab a little sample cup of coffee to sip as i do my shopping at TJ's. unfortunately, today i did just that - as i always do - *without* first noticing that today's sample was actually the peppermint coffee. ugh! not only was it awful, it was even worse because it was unexpected. i sort of choked a little but managed not to spray it all over myself...the cup went directly into the trash.

                                                                                                                                                          2. A fresh 'Nay' (although I like the vast majority of my TJ purchases!): The coconut shrimp (frozen box) was 'meh' at best. Tasted too much like the batter, not much coconut flavor, not much shrimp flavor. And the texture was flat, despite having baked them tom a slight crisp.

                                                                                                                                                            1. Huge yay! Sweet hot mustard is back! No, it is not the original supplier, and the formula is not identical. But it makes me happy. I was told it is a seasonal item-- and that season is "ham season"...in case that confuses you as much as it does me, apparently ham season runs thanksgiving through Easter..!

                                                                                                                                                              1. has anyone tried these frozen items:
                                                                                                                                                                - the various mochi ice creams and decorative shaped mochi ice creams
                                                                                                                                                                - deep fried seafood crepe cylinders with curry sauce
                                                                                                                                                                - vegetables w/ panang sauce
                                                                                                                                                                - turkey bolognese sauce
                                                                                                                                                                - eggplant and zucchini and pepper ziti
                                                                                                                                                                -stacked eggplant parm towers in box
                                                                                                                                                                - carne asada in bag?

                                                                                                                                                                thanks much.

                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                  I've had the frozen carne asada and I have to say I'm not wild about it. The pieces are very small (it's chopped, not sliced), and it's a little sweet, not smoky. I mix it with black beans in burritos and it's ok but not what I was really wanting. Someone mentioned a refrigerated, sliced carne asada that sounds better.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                    I've tried a couple.....

                                                                                                                                                                    I tried the mochi a long time ago and wasn't impresed -- not sure if the newer designs for the holidays are any better or if I just don't have a taste for mochi.
                                                                                                                                                                    The deep fried cylinders with curry sauce were ok, nothing spectacular. A little fishy taste that overwhelmed the curry, but no revolting. I wouldn't buy again.
                                                                                                                                                                    The Vegetables in Panang Sauce is one of my favorite items ever from TJ's. We try to keep at least 3-4 in the freezer so we always have a quick lunch if we forgot to prepare one for the day at work.

                                                                                                                                                                    Best of luck on the others!!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                      The Turkey Bolognese sauce (Frozen) sadly was a nay. It was inspid and had that musky turkey taste. It needed some serious doctoring to make it taste good and then what's the point of a convience product? I rather make and freeze my own sauce...

                                                                                                                                                                      --Dommy!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                        Mochi ice creams aren't really too much like real mochi stuffed with bean paste. I prefer the ice cream filling, and I find them pretty delicious (except for the mango flavor, which was REALLY sour). Green tea and strawberry are the best, imo. Chocolate is okay. Stay away from mango! And they definitely taste better if you let them soften a bit outside of the freezer, maybe about five minutes in room temperature.

                                                                                                                                                                        Not related to the above thread, but I tried the cha siu bao last week and was very disappointed. Everyone was telling me that it was an adequate-but-not-great substitute for when you want to sate your cha siu bao craving, but I found them flavorless. The texture was fine all around, but the filling was just disappointing and worse than most of the frozen brands you can find in any Chinese/Asian supermarket. They might be more accessible to lots of people, though.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. - dark chocolate covered stars- they were shortbread cookies dunked in chocolate with some white sprinkles on top. Really good and not too sweet.

                                                                                                                                                                        Not sure how new this is... but I loved the tart frozen yogurt. Tasted just like pinkberry...

                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                          I love the chocolate covered shortbread stars. I look forward to them every year.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                            "... but I loved the tart frozen yogurt. Tasted just like pinkberry..." Actually, I found it quite a bit more tart than Pinkberry's.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Arthur

                                                                                                                                                                              agreed, but i prefer the more tart flavor of the tj's!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Arthur

                                                                                                                                                                                I didn't find it to be much more tart than Pinkberry.. but then again I have not had Pinkberry in a while...

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Maybe an old Yay (possibly 2Q or 3Q?) but I love the Trader Joe's Yogurt Stars! Little star shaped cookies covered in vanilla, blueberry, or rasberry yogurt. Even better than the old Mother's circus animal cookies.

                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: stomsf

                                                                                                                                                                                Yeah, I bought them because I ADORE circus animals. the thing is the berry taste is kinda fakey and since the Mother's didn't have a defined taste, it was a bit weird at first...

                                                                                                                                                                                Still, I ended up liking them. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                --Dommy!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: stomsf

                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes!! The Yogurt Star cookies are my favorite TJ item. Perfectly bite sized and they come in cheery colors. Even just the idea of them makes me happy.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Yeas: goat cheese croissants - really delicious with a subtle tartness from the goat cheese. They are much smaller than they seem, however, so it's pretty easy for two people to polish off an entire box...or at least it is for us. =)
                                                                                                                                                                                  - truffle mousse pate - I think this is seasonal rather than brand new, but it's very tasty. My only complaint is the loaf-shaped packaging - it would be so nice to turn it out on a plate for a party appetizer, but it looks like, well, a lump of liver. Maybe next year they can put it in something with fluted edges or what-not.
                                                                                                                                                                                  - crescent rolls: Less greasy than the Pillsbury or generic grocery equivalent, bready without being heavy. Very nice!
                                                                                                                                                                                  - goat milk brie - I'm trying to cut down on cow products, and this brie was a nice alternative. We wrapped it in the crescent rolls and served it with honey mustard for a nice brie en croute. Melted much more quickly and more watery than traditional brie, and a tangier flavor, but overall very good.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Nays: Eggplant and Zucchini Ratotouille (or something like that) - this isn't that new (I think it was revamped over the summer), but it's not nearly as good as their old Ratatouille. They replaced some of the freshness of the veggies with spices, I think. It's just heavily-spiced mush with a faint ratatouille flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Has anyone tried the Hollandaise Sauce or the Pumpkin Souffles? Both of those caught my eye but I wasn't sure about them...

                                                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: thursday

                                                                                                                                                                                    I bought the Hollandaise sauce in the jar (if that's the one you're referring to) and it was so disgusting I took it back (which I hardly ever do).

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                      I bought the refrigerated one-kind of like a yogurt carton. No all that bad but would not buy again and I love hollandaise! I just seemed to be lacking something. I tried adding lemon and also salt but neither on took care of it!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: marti

                                                                                                                                                                                        That's disappointing on both counts, but not unexpected...pre-processed Hollandaise does seem a little much to expect, even from TJs...

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: marti

                                                                                                                                                                                          I actually liked the refrigerated Hollaindaise, although I did add some lemon juice to bump up the acid. Definitely buying again

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                                                                                            I tried the hollandaise sauce and found it very convenient. I wasn't expecting much, I added a lot of lemon juice and put it over the fresh brussel sprouts TJs has also been selling. Love those sprouts! They sell them in a whole branch and keep well. The first time I saw the Swords of Brussel Sprouts I grabbed one and held it over my head and proclaimed "by the power of greyskull!", but I was hearing the sound bite from Legend of Zelda. I am such a geek. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. i loved the sample of the gruyere and black forest ham in puff pastry (was it a croissant?). it was so rich and decadent. i knew if i bought it, i'd be a goner for the gazillion calories it packed.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, this came up earlier in the thread - some folks complaining they get soggy. I tried a sample in the store and it was really good, but very much not compatible with my diet.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: HastaLaPasta

                                                                                                                                                                                          i saw the soggy complaints, too. it was very "soft" but not soggy in my estimation. i didn't care; it tasted so ooey-gooey decadent-delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Has anyone tried the frozen chocolate and vanilla macrons? Or the chocolate peppermint marshmallows?

                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DarkRose

                                                                                                                                                                                          yes and yes. i'm a macaron snob, and the frozen tj ones are prettty darn good, i actually like the vanilla ones better than the chocolate ones, which is unusual for me.
                                                                                                                                                                                          the choc peppermint marshmallows are a good flavor balance. not TOO minty---i think the dark choc is a good choice. wouldnt have liked them with milk choc, but with the dark, i vote yes!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chez cherie

                                                                                                                                                                                            Another vote for the frozen Macaron.. I am also a complete macaron snob and now resist the urge to stash them for parties because I know I'll get to them first! LOL!

                                                                                                                                                                                            --Dommy!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Dommy

                                                                                                                                                                                              I also like the frozen macarons. I find the vanilla to be somewhat soft right out of the freezer (could it be the vanilla extract?)... no need to wait for them to soften. Along with the frozen vanilla bonbons, I can eat a whole package in a day (much to my dismay).

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Nay: Tried the scallops appetizer in a pastry cup with some type of sauce. It was gross. Had it at the sampling station, so I didn't have to return it.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: spinachandchocolate

                                                                                                                                                                                            I tried it too and had to spit it out in a napkin.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                              Ha, me too! I've come to the conclusion most of TJ's frozen appetizers suck.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Seems like an awful lot of nays. We should be giving TJs our feedback maybe, they are not making good choices here.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I had not been to TJ's since August, so yesterday's tab of $208+ was my personal best, or worst, depending on how you look at it. Largely staples that will last till summer but also a bunch of holiday stuff. I am SO disappointed that the fried onion bits were for Thanksgiving only, and are gone. I'll have to settle for the Asian market version.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I think someone on this thread or earlier segments thereof recommended the mac&cheese bites. I should have studied the label before buying. I was thinking cheddary but they used mozzarella, with the result that there's no cheese taste. I get nutmeg and cream sauce with mushy elbows (the pasta being too soft is not a surprise given the nature of the dish). My initial take was that I'd finish them at some point but not re-buy. On second thought, I gave the remaining two thirds to the dogs, who had no complaints.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Also, meh to the chocolate-covered soft peanut brittle. Poor quality chocolate, and more krisp than nuts in the brittle. A Whatchamacallit bar is better.

                                                                                                                                                                                              The (small green cellophane bag) edamame mini-crackers are too salty. I love the similar-sized 12-grain and mini-soy rice crackers, which I have bought regularly for several years, so I had high hopes for these.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Hope this isn't a trend for the rest of the new-to-me items!

                                                                                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                hi greyhound girl, i urge you to ask for a refund on whatever you didn't like. you do NOT have to have the wrapper/container. we just show our receipt. the seasoned TJ workers never say a word except sorry; newbies might say something but not much. our weekly TJ shopping lists always have attached to them a former receipt, for refund, because we try many new things Sometimes we have forgotten our receipt and we are still refunded. we take full advantage of this special aspect of TJ; it encourages us to try new things more than we ever would otherwise. they are a huge business and can easily absorb the minor loss..... and just think, you'll have more funds to donate to the needy greys!

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                  On rare occasions, I've returned things to TJ's but I won't do it just because something doesn't appeal to my particular taste buds, or when, if I had read the label, I'd have realized there were ingredients I wouldn't like. And most often it would cost more in gas to make a return trip than the item cost.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                    "you do NOT have to have the wrapper/container."

                                                                                                                                                                                                    That statement may be true regarding many stores' practices, but it's false and terribly misleading as a general rule. Yes, many/most (if not all) TJ's will routinely give refunds without having to return the actual container that was purchased; in fact, some will issue refunds without even so much as a receipt, just a verbal request or complaint. However, please don't represent such magnanimous generosity as the store's policy when it very clearly and officially is not. We had quite a ruckus on this board almost two years ago about the false sense of entitlement this notion has given to certain shoppers: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/581529

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Arthur

                                                                                                                                                                                                      arthur, if you work for TJ, which it sounds like, would you plse tell them to work on their floral area maintenance? 2 yrs ago, i sent corporate a long letter of suggestions about the money pit their flowers must be to them, because of bad vendors and TJs' lack of staff direction and training/ maintenance of their flowers. never rcvd any reply nor have practices changed in the TrJs i frequent in the Boston area. such a shame.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                        You've drawn a very bizarre conclusion. I do not work for Trader Joe's nor do I have any professional relationship with them whatsoever. I just shop there regularly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The flowers are not a money pit in San Diego. Always fresh in the morning and sold out each evening.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Cathy

                                                                                                                                                                                                            mmmm,lovely. would that i were there, for many reasons.at the boston area stores, flowers are riddled w/ problems from when they arrive at the stores. water is not replenished/changed; rejected bunches 'returned' to pots but not even touching the water (by crummy customers). They seem to have stoppped carrying gerbera bunches (12) in the boston area but when they did (prompting me to write that long feedback letter 2 yrs ago) the bunches ALWAYS had ONE dead gerbera so that i figured the vendor was doing it purposefully and this sleazy act had been overlooked by TrJ staff. For the last year, they have favored mixed bunches and the aesthetics of their choices have plummeted(imo).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Any yay/nay on the refrigerator cinnamon buns? Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                                                                                                                      You mean the ones in the can, a la Pillsbury? I give them a big yea. Better than Pillsbury, imo. Good cinnamon flavor, and very yummy icing. Makes me wish I had a can in my fridge right now, I could go for a couple with a nice hot cup of coffee this morning!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DarkRose

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yippee! I have a can for xmas morning. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I bought the "chickenless nuggets the other day.. sent them with husband for lunch and he said they were really good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Package said 15 minutes to cook, but I found it took more like 20-25 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah, my kids, especially the one who hates chicken, love them. Why do you think the box says not to cook them in a toaster oven? I always do, with no ill effects for the nuggets or the oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sciencediet

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Don't know.. but I cooked them in the toaster oven yesterday! Nothing exploded.. so I think it's ok :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Yay: Frozen beef taco appetizer. These were crispy little tacos with a slight zing of spice. Delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Butternut squash ravioli --refrigerated--gets a big thumbs up. Except that, of course, they are usually sold out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. this is a thread i wrote about How to Make Certain Tr Joe's Products Excellent by Home Tweaking, in case any of you might find it useful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7558...

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. yay on frozen chicken tenders. quality meat, quick to fix into dishes. just made white chicken chili the other day. thai curry is next.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I finally remembered to buy the oft-recommended frozen chocolate croissants and agree with the raves. I thaw, proof, and bake only one at a time since croissants in general have short primes. Equally outstanding, I find, is the pear/frangipane tart, which just needs to be thawed.