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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.