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Trader Joe's Yea/Nay Thread - 1st quarter 2012 [old]

Starting anew in 2012.

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  1. Happy New Year everyone! For New Years breakfast we had a bunch of stuff but the star of the show was the Trader Joe's Multi Grain Croissant with Sunflower seeds, Flax seeds and Sesame Seeds. They are oven ready and don't need to be thawed. Not very traditional but great nonetheless. So a big Yea for them!

    Steve

    www.clubtraderjoes.com

    1. Just finished our NY 'breakfast' of eggs benny with ham and spinach, and used TJ's hollandaise. SO good! easily warmed in the micro at 1/2 power, and a nice balanced lemony taste. I see no need to make home made sauce with that great product in the fridge now.
      The only down side is, I have the better part of a container in the fridge that is now going to temp me.... way to blow my NY resolutions on dieting!
      Happy New Year, fellow Chowhounds!

      1. Yay:
        Trader Jacques' La Fondue. Pretty darn tasty for a microwave cheese fondue. The container says it's a product of France. I could definitely taste the white wine. I added some freshly ground black pepper, and served it w/ chunks of French bread, celery and apples. I'd definitely buy it again.

        Raisin rosemary crackers (I think that's the name - I already threw away the box). These are more like crunchy little toasts than crackers but terrific flavor straight out of the box, and a great accompaniment to goat cheese.

        Nay:
        Pistachio-crusted goat cheese. The Chevre is good quality; however, the pistachios are soggy and the strong cheese flavor completely overwhelms the nuts. I wouldn't buy this again.

        Blueberry scones. This is a frozen product. What's weird is that there are two sets of instructions. One side of the box says to let them sit out for 15-20 minutes, then bake; the actual "baking instructions" say to keep frozen and don't mention anything about sitting out on the counter first. They tasted good, but mine spread quite a bit and burned on the bottom.

        Black licorice candy - think Good & Plenty in the movie-theater size box. The ratio of candy coating to black licorice was completely off (too much candy coating).

        8 Replies
        1. re: HeyImBack

          I those rosemary crackers! Not salty so it doesn't, overpower cheesesmbutma touch sweet to bring out theIr flavor!

          For the party I hosted the pistachio goat cheese was a hit. But I totally agree with you...with the prackage nature of the item affecting it. Next time I'll get a log of their honey goat cheese & chop some pistachios myself...

          --Dommy!

          1. re: Dommy

            The rosemary raisin crackers are especially good with TJ's blue cheese pecan dip.

            1. re: Savour

              I'm always weary of those blue cheese dips... they tend to be all funk and none of the character of a really great blue cheese... how is that one?

              --Dommy!

              1. re: Dommy

                That answer is simple- if you're in the food industry, you're not gonna adulterate good blue cheese for a dip ; that would be too expensive! As long as it is emitting lots of ammonia-like fumes, it's blue cheese. You're far better off getting a blue that you like and making your own dip.

                My rule for this is: Simple is best- 1/2 of your favorite blue cheese and 1/2 really good butter and cream it together like you're baking cookies. Then refrigerate it to firm it up. I learned this one from my French uncle.

                You wanna blow some minds? Get some good crusty rolls, like the kind you would use for a torta, warm 'em up and serve them alongside dinner with this stuff. The only trouble you'll have is getting your dinner guests to focus on the meal!

                1. re: Steevogrande

                  Well, I actually did work in the food industry (food supply side) and know that great ingredients make even the most 'base' foods amazing. So if it is for a special occasion,,, why not. So for the Super Bowl I made a bacon/blue cheese dip using my absolute FAVORITE blue, Great Hill Blue, a raw, super creamy, complex blue cheese that was pricy... but so worth it!

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

                  --Dommy!

          2. re: HeyImBack

            After quite a few good reviews on the blueberry scones, we were going to pick them up to try them on the next TJ's run...I think we still will, but will be more careful on following the baking instructions and cooking time - thanks for the tip!

            1. re: littleflower

              I like the scones very much and didn't have any problems with baking. I did use the toaster oven, however, and kept a close eye on them because I wasn't sure if that would alter the time it took, so I don't remember exactly how long they were in for.

            2. re: HeyImBack

              +1 on the fondue. Probably won't buy again as it's too good! Four servings in our house. The two of us ate half on New Year's' Eve and the other half for breakfast the next morning. It reheated just fine in the original container.

            3. Yay:

              Beer selection, cheeses, crackers of all sorts, protein bars, nuts, frozen breakfast and appetizer items, etc. Specific family faves include the multigrain french toast, kettle corn, rosemary raisin crackers, gorgonzola crackers, multigrain crackers, Red Seal Ale, hazelnuts,milk chocolate-dipped caramels, etc.

              NAY: Dried fruit, yogurt selections, wines, sushi, chicken salad and other fresh prepared foods, etc.

              7 Replies
              1. re: lynnlato

                @lynnlato I'm going to disagree with you on the yogurt and wines. Some of their yogurts are outstanding, especially some of the new Greek styled yogurts. Same with the over generalization of the wines, two buck chuck generally sucks! But there are many very good wines for the price and some outstanding ones like the 2009 Napa Valley Meritage.

                Steve

                www.clubtraderjoes.com

                1. re: clubtraderjoes

                  Steve and lynnlato, you both are correct to a certain degree - I have had hits and misses with TJ's yogurts...have yet to personally try their wine selection, but have heard good and bad reviews depending on the individual wine. Bottom line is this - TJ's is what it is, a fantastic store that has a lot of incredible products that you just can't find at that same quality elsewhere for the price but also a few that fall way short of our expections (even within the same product category)!

                  1. re: littleflower

                    Ya know, 2BC isn't so great, but it IS drinkable (okay, some more than others, but none of it will make you go blind! :-)

                    That makes it a great candidate for a cooking wine so I can save the good stuff for my glass.

                    BTW- i'm really diggin' the 4-ounce yogurts that come in six-packs of different fruit flavors. The size is just right for the kids and the flavors aren't too polarizing- great for getting kids used to healthier alternatives to ice cream and other sweets for dessert.

                    Polarizing? Try getting your 4-year old to eat plain Greek yogurt- I don't care how much fresh fruit I mixed in, he wasn't buyin' it! His little tastebuds have to mature a bit before I pull that one again.

                2. re: lynnlato

                  The use of the word "etc." in a "yays and nays" thread - where we are looking for specific product reviews - isn't helpful at all. I have no idea to which product(s) you are referring.

                  [ETA: This was meant as a reply to lynn's post above.]

                  1. re: HeyImBack

                    Doesn't matter; each area of the country has differen/localt suppliers of dairy, bakery, floral, fresh vegetables and sandwiches.

                    1. re: Cathy

                      It matters to me. Not all of the products are region-specific.

                      1. re: HeyImBack

                        Not for yogurt. Milk and bread are regional.

                3. Yay: TJ plain kefir, 72% Belgian dark chocolate (made by Callebaut), Raisin Rosemary crisps (brilliiant with goat cheese as others have mentioned), Blenheim dried apricots, 6-pack of potato chips (SOME of us need help with portion control), everything pretzel crisps, rack of lamb, both frozen and heat-and-serve, nuts, Vienna and Bock beers, some of the wines, and more of the candies than I care to admit to.

                  Nay: much of the frozen prepared foods I've tried, coffee (canned can never be fresh enough) unannounced disappearance of stuff I like...

                  Trader Joe's has added a lot to the NYC food scene. When I first discovered the store while visiting in Tucson in the 90s I was blown away by the choice and quality. It's an interesting marketing model. It's not for everyone but the quality tends to be good and the prices better than most stores in the city. And it's funny how much nicer the cashiers in one neighborhood became when a TJs opened up!

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: Kantarell

                    I'd have to say nay to TJ's frozen chile rellenos. I bought 3 and ended up giving away the other two. I haven't heard back from them to hear if they liked them.

                    1. re: Kantarell

                      I agree, for NYC, it's a godsend. I literally live on top of a large supermarket (with another across the street) but do all my grocery shopping at Trader Joe's, which is almost a mile away. For the quality compared to prices, you can't beat it. Trust me, you can buy much worse for more money.

                      And I always wondered how the cashiers were so cheery. Such a change from being scowled at by regular supermarket cashiers.

                      1. re: janethepain

                        I often go to the one in Edgewater and in Paramus in NJ as I live in NJ...the cashiers at these places are cheery in a very fake way. I hate it.

                        1. re: Monica

                          I always laugh at the Walmart commercials that portray their employees as so friendly and helpful. . . Doesn't translate to New Jersey! Jersey girls just have too much attitude.

                          1. re: GraydonCarter

                            In all the years we've had a Walmart near me (in Westchester County, NY), I have only had friendly and helpful service ONCE.

                            1. re: MisterBill2

                              We have a few here in my area, and it always strikes me that those employees just radiate how much they HATE their jobs.

                            2. re: GraydonCarter

                              Hey! What's your problem with New Jersey, bud???

                              Lol.

                              Jerseygirl111

                          2. re: janethepain

                            This is funny. I grew up on the East Coast and I remember the same thing. Growling checkout cashiers, long lines and nobody to help you find anything. I moved to the Seattle area and there are hardly any lines, people almost always cheery and helpful so going to Trader Joe's just seems like the normal around here!

                            Steve

                            www.clubtraderjoes.com

                            1. re: clubtraderjoes

                              Heh. I'm from Philly area but moved to NC for a coupla years. When I went home to visit I got cultural shock. I was like why is everyone so angry?

                              1. re: givemecarbs

                                LOL, givemecarbs... I did something similar (Pittsburgh to NC) and had a similar reaction. When I moved from NC to south Jersey, I had finally acclimated to the friendly culture of NC - so I went through another round of culture shock - "why aren't these strangers being friendly??"