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Trader Joe's Yea/Nay Thread - 3rd quarter 2012 [OLD]

There was some complaining about the quarterly division but since no one took the initiative to post a monthly version (an idea which had detractors), here's a new edition of the established format.

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    1. Yea - Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. TJ's sold its own until a year or two ago when they switched to some other brand. Now they're rolling their own, but it's almost identical in every way with the other brand, including the packaging. Which is good. I could do without the dollop of smashed red pepper in the center, but it's easily scooped out.

      1. Yea to the smooth and creamy cilantro jalapeno hummus. Spicy enough but not too spicy.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Savour

          I was served this at someone's house and thought it was incredible, then went through a container a week for about six weeks straight, and now feel kind of nauseated even thinking about it. But I think that's my fault, not the hummus's!

          1. re: Savour

            Seconded. This stuff is amazing...I served it to guests and they couldn't stop dipping.

            1. re: wildehare

              The Mediterranean Hummus is just... okay. Nothing special, and I love Hummus.

          2. Nay - Uncured Turkey Hot Dogs. Nobody liked the chicken hot dogs, and these are worse - the same off flavor and a texture with a very unpleasant "mouth feel." After all this, it's back to the uncured beef hot dogs, which are really very good - but of course they're beef.

            Yea - Fruit & Nut Trek Mix Granola Bars. Cranberries, raisins, dried cherries almonds, brown rice. Flavorful but not too sweet.

            1. Yea - Seasoned Roast Beef. Another in the line of meat cold cuts that TJ's has been rolling out - it's not just sliced roast beef but seasoned with a bit of vinegar, kosher salt, onion powder, and garlic powder - a rub, I guess - and the slices are just the right size and shape for sandwiches.

              Yea - Dry Roasted/Salted Pistachio Nutmeats (Halves & Pieces). TJ also sells whole pistachios in their shells and unsalted nutmeats. These are delicious.

              Yea - Dry Roasted Pignolias (pine nuts). It's a commodity but you don't find pine nuts in every supermarket, and these are much smaller than the usual ones, "Product of Korea, Russia, and Vietnam - Roasted in the U.S."

              22 Replies
              1. re: John Francis

                Speaking of TJ's cold cuts, I have to meh/nay their oven roasted turkey breast. Although some slices were okay, we noticed pieces that were sort of slimy and not appetizing to eat - will stick to the Applegate Farms Roasted Turkey Breast that TJ's sells even though it is a dollar more expensive.

                1. re: John Francis

                  +1 on the pine nuts. I often roast my own walnuts, almonds, etc. because they're cheaper to buy raw and seems like they last longer (they probably don't), but pine nuts are so easy to burn or cook unevenly...These pine nuts are great to have on hand for quick hits of nutty protein into boring pasta dishes or salads.

                  http://strangeandyummy.com

                  1. re: John Francis

                    be careful of their pine nuts; for some they leave a lingering (3-10 day) metallic taste in mouth; something about the specific small pine nuts that cause the problem

                    1. re: thesunflower

                      Haven't noticed this myself. Never eat them raw and usually cook them in recipes, which might mask such a taste if it's there.

                      1. re: thesunflower

                        I'm familiar with the whole pine mouth issue, but are you saying you've specifically heard reports of people experiencing it from these exact dry roasted pignolias bought at TJ's?

                        1. re: NuMystic

                          i experienced it first-hand from the ones at TJ's.

                          1. re: NuMystic

                            Look on the bag. Either they are from somewhere in Europe or they are from China. If they are from China, watch out for Pine Nut Mouth. It doesn't bother me, but YMMV. Every bag I've seen from Trader Joe's is from China.

                            www.clubtraderjoes.com

                            1. re: clubtraderjoes

                              My package of the Dry Toasted Pignolias says "Product of Korea, Russia, and Vietnam, Roased in the USA."

                              1. re: NuMystic

                                Yup, those are all the Asian variety. You want the European pine nuts.

                                1. re: clubtraderjoes

                                  Ummmm.......technically, Russia is in Europe. :)

                                  1. re: Vidute

                                    true. but unfortunately, even the ones that are harvested in Russia are often exported to China for processing/shelling/packaging, and then exported from there...and in the process, they can get mixed with the Chinese varieties.

                                    you might be interested in this:
                                    http://pinenutsyndrome.wordpress.com/...

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      gotcha. I'm one of those who has the sensitivity. I miss my pignoli.

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        For those that don't want to bother reading the article, the key sentence is:

                                        "The case of Trader Joe’s pine nuts being a ‘product of Russia and/or Korea’ is moot, as 7 samples of Trader Joe’s pine nuts collected contained the same compositional mixture of P. koraiensis, P. sibirica and P. armandii pine nuts (the last of which is responsible for the taste disturbance)."

                                        All I needed to know. My unopened package is going back as I'm not about to take even a tiny chance of causing a dinner guest to suffer through pine mouth for weeks to save me a few dollars.

                                        Thanks for posting that article!

                                        1. re: NuMystic

                                          glad it was helpful - i got pine mouth from the TJ's nuts, so i'll do what i can to prevent other Hounds from enduring the same misery!

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            So have you found a reliable source for the non-asian varieties? I'm fine with mail ordering in bulk if the price is worth it.

                                            1. re: NuMystic

                                              if you can wait a few weeks, you can order some from this year's US crops (N Mex, Nev and Col):
                                              http://www.pinonnuts.com/products.html
                                              http://www.pinenut.com/pine-nuts-sale...

                                              read the fine print - they do offer some Russian options, so make sure you're selecting US-grown products, and if you don't want to shell them yourself, be sure to choose the shelled ones.

                                      2. re: Vidute

                                        Moscow and St. Petersburg may be in Europe, but a significant portion of Russia is definitely in Asia.

                                        1. re: Vidute

                                          Technically, I believe west of the Caucasus is Europe, east is Asia. Russia straddles two continents. You do know that Russia has a pacific coastline?

                                          1. re: Bkeats

                                            Along with a sliver of stolen Baltic.