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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.

                          2. HUGE yay to the Bavarian Bratwursts...wow - delicious flavor, went great with eggs (had them for breakfast) and not greasy as I tend to notice regular sausage links can be. This will go on our repeat buy list - only regret is that we didn't try them sooner!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: littleflower

                              TJ's Bavarian bratwurst, actually Nürnberger Rostbratwurst, is much smaller than typical German brats, about the size of a breakfast link sausage, and TJ's looks like a weisswurst. According to Wikipedia, TJ's package of 8 sausages would be a single serving over there, as a main dish, and I wouldn't bother to heat & eat less than four. The flavor is excellent, as everybody says, but I want more sausage for my money.

                              1. re: John Francis

                                Yay for the Nürnberger Rostbratwurst from me too. Yes they're smaller than I expected but I made a 30-minutes cassoulet from a Jacques Pepin cookbook, Fast Food My Way (pg. 167 if you have the book). They worked very well for this quick and easy recipe that includes three different kinds of meat... so they added their flavor to the whole.

                            2. Has anyone tried the "Gourmet Chicken Meatballs" in the refrigerated prepared section? The sun-dried tomato variety was tempting.

                              12 Replies
                              1. re: Rilke

                                They are much better than the frozen ones, but not by much. They have more meaty texture, but a true meatball texture? Not really. Also, they are very salty...

                                --Dommy!

                                1. re: Dommy

                                  Thanks Dommy. Not a big fan of very salty. The soup suggestion below sounds good though.

                                  1. re: Dommy

                                    Dommy, chez cherie and anyone else who has tried these - is the cheese from the provolone very pronounced in those chicken meatballs? I would prefer it not to be...thanks in advance.

                                    1. re: littleflower

                                      i wouldn't say the provolone is the most prominent flavor.

                                      1. re: chez cherie

                                        thanks for the update on it...we'll give the meatballs a try

                                  2. re: Rilke

                                    pretty highly seasoned. i make a great quick soup by simmering them in tj chicken broth, adding a handful of arugula at the end, to wilt it. grate a little tuscan pepper cheese over the top=yum!

                                      1. re: chez cherie

                                        Okay, there is only one word to describe that chez cherie - YUM! You have persuaded me to buy these chicken meatballs (I had been eyeing them for awhile now in the store) just to try this and I personally like things a little on the salty side.

                                          1. re: Rilke

                                            Those chicken meatballs are the only 'meatball' I can get my 12 year old picky eater to eat. Thy are quick and easy, plus not much fat or calorie bombs. I say yea

                                          2. re: chez cherie

                                            Add some orzo pasta and you'd have Italian Wedding soup (which refers to a wedding of flavors, not a marriage).

                                          3. re: Rilke

                                            they're like salt balls. i love salt and they were way too salty for me.

                                          4. Yea - Fully Cooked Falafel (frozen). It's not low fat or low sodium, but it's delicious. I often heat up one or two for a quick snack.

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: John Francis

                                              I was thinking about posting about these. I've had a bag in my freezer for months, but I just tried them earlier this week. Scrumptious!

                                              I heated up three, cut them into fourths, and put them on a salad. All other ingredients from TJ's too: arugula (rocket), halved mini heirloom tomatoes, halved marinated ciliegine mozzarella (Aiello brand), dressed with tzatziki sauce to complement the falafel. One of the best salads I've made at home.

                                              1. re: John Francis

                                                These are a summer staple for us. I often eat them with a greek salad or TJ's dolmas and a quickly thrown together tzatziki.

                                                1. re: John Francis

                                                  Having bought these based on the recommendation here just wanted to offer a cautionary counterpoint to those that are used to getting falafel fresh on a regular basis.

                                                  My wife and I found these entirely unappetizing.

                                                  Flavor is adequate if salty, but where it complete falls down is texture. Ridiculously heavy and dense for falafel and we've eaten hundreds of varying qualities living in NYC. (greek, israeli, halal, turkish and franchise)

                                                  We enjoy falafel enough to tolerate all but the very worst, which unfortunately is the category we have to place TJ's even with the proportionately lowered expectations being frozen.

                                                  I'd choose any one of the many instant mixes over this if I needed a falafel fix and didn't have time to make it from scratch.

                                                  1. re: NuMystic

                                                    There's no arguing about tastes, of course, but I lived amid a half-dozen middle eastern restaurants in Brooklyn Heights/Carroll Gardens for 20 years, and the TJ falafel compares well with most of the falafel I ate there. If not then I wouldn't have recommended it.

                                                    The falafel mixes may well give better results. I wouldn't know, as I don't do deep fat frying, and if I did, that would be too much trouble when I can get falafel that satisfies me for a few minutes in the toaster oven.

                                                    1. re: John Francis

                                                      Of course taste is subjective but can you honestly tell me that you don't find these heavier and far more dense than what you had served in restaurants? If so, I'm shocked as I've had falafel plenty of times in that very neighborhood and we found these to be leaden by comparison to the light fluffy fare available pretty much everywhere in NY these days.

                                                      As for the mix reference, they can be made in a matter of minutes without deep frying using only a scant 1/4" of oil in a pan. Heck, for how dense these were I've attempted baked falafel that came out marginally better.

                                                      As you said, taste is subjective, though a specific quality like density is objectively quantifiable. I have no doubt that a scale would bear out our experience when literally weighed against fresh ones of similar size from any of our local eateries. I could feel that from the moment they came out of the bag!

                                                      I do envy your enjoying them. We would have been delighted to have a ready to reheat option from the freezer, hence our giving them a shot.

                                                      1. re: NuMystic

                                                        I agree they are really dense and I do miss the light crisp quality of fresh well-made falafel. I suppose for me the flavor is enough to make them a serviceable addition to a salad or plate of snacks, but they are not something to really savor on their own. Sorry they didn't work for you :(

                                                      2. re: John Francis

                                                        John Francis, I've had moderate success in oven baking falafels. It's definitely not the same as frying but when I haven't wanted to make a big oily mess, it's worked.

                                                      3. re: NuMystic

                                                        NuMystic, I totally agree with you and am so surprised that anyone familiar with good falafel finds this acceptable. I bought a package for a quick appetizer for my book club and was so disappointed upon tasting them I almost threw them out. I realized my friends were good cooks themselves and also avid TJ fans so I decided to serve them, realizing that my palate isn't the end all be all of taste and we could all learn a little. Not one of my guests liked them enough to buy them. The biggest complaint was the doughy, leaden texture and flat taste. I know there is plenty of variance in falafel styles; this one didn't do it for us.

                                                    2. grey, you might want to ask the mods to put this link to the 2nd qrtr TJ thread- in your opening post for this thread. thx for keeping up the thread!

                                                      TJ 2nd Quarter 2012:
                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/841887

                                                      1. Yea to the white corn grits! They are supposed to be the takes-forever-to-cook kind, but I made them in the rice cooker and it can't have taken more than 15 minutes.

                                                        I like those falafels too--nice on a pita with some lettuce and tomatoes and the white bean hummus.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: sciencediet

                                                          Thanks for the suggestion of grits in the rice cooker, we bought these grits a while ago but have yet to cook them. Using the rice cooker sounds like a great idea!

                                                          1. re: sciencediet

                                                            love the grits. I think I wrote about them last quarter, but I follow the package cooking directions and they turn out great (but I double or triple the amounts to have leftovers). They are fabulous topped with grilled veggies, caramelized onions, cheese, and TJ"s habanero hot sauce. Yum. For my husband I quickly sauté some minced garlic and jalapeño for him to stir into his.

                                                            1. re: sciencediet

                                                              I was amazed at how much I loved the white corn grits. I expected them to be just like polenta but somehow I just so much prefer these grits. With my leftovers, I made oven baked croutons for soup and they were exceptional!

                                                            2. Yea to the Lamb Vindaloo. In the frozen section. Wonderfully spicy.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Bob Brooks

                                                                yea to lamb vindaloo as well. Atleast have one every week for lunch. Needs a touch of salt in the curry though and its perfect.

                                                              2. Yay - Cocoa almond spread. Tasty and a nice change of pace from Nutella.

                                                                Mini brie bites. Creamy and luscious, esp at room temperature.

                                                                Nay - Eggplant garlic spread. Disgusting, takes like snot. Had to throw the entire jar out because no one would go near it.

                                                                1. Yay to the Dark Chocolate Honey Mints...this one surprised me, since I normally am not a huge dark chocolate fan. The center is as soft as can be with a good peppermint flavor and a very subtle (almost unnoticeable) undertone of honey taste to it. The peppermint flavor balances beautifully with the dark chocolate. These are on the rich side, and was satisfied eating just one at a time.

                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                  1. re: littleflower

                                                                    They are even better refrigerated.

                                                                    1. re: littleflower

                                                                      I just tried these, based on your recommendation; when I first saw them I wondered why the heck dark chocolate needed honey, but you're right, it's barely there. They are basically York peppermint patties with a college degree. And I found I needed two.

                                                                      1. re: sciencediet

                                                                        These are incredibly delicious; I don't know how I stopped at 2 (out of the whole pkg.) and gave the rest away so I wouldn't hog them down.

                                                                      2. re: littleflower

                                                                        I didn't like these, actually. I really appreciate that they're just three ingredients, and I like the balance between honey and peppermint flavor - but the dark chocolate portion is incredibly bitter - has no sweetness whatsoever. Can't bite or nibble them the way I can an actual peppermint patty because when it's just the chocolate on my tongue I want to spit it out. I might try freezing and chopping them for a mint chocolate ice cream mix-in, otherwise they'll never get used.

                                                                        1. re: themis

                                                                          I can see where some think the dark chocolate is rather bitter. The dark chocolate coating on its own is fairly strong (well, I think it's because I am used to the milder flavor of milk chocolate) but when I bite into the mint and get a good combination of the chocolate and the mint center I personally thought they were very tasty and addictive.

                                                                          1. re: themis

                                                                            I went in knowing I wasn't getting a York pattie, and I like them both in their own way. These will not satisfy anyone looking for the York ones.

                                                                            Try freezing them (or just refrigerating them) and see if you like them any better. For some reason a bit of cold takes off the edge of the bitterness for me.

                                                                          2. re: littleflower

                                                                            YAY indeed - SO just came home with these - very nice flavour, and very satisfying

                                                                            1. re: littleflower

                                                                              I agree, the dark chocolate honey mints are delicious! Amazing that the could make a candy like this out of just 3 ingredients.

                                                                            2. The newish almond croissants were mentioned last quarter but the TJ's I usually use did not carry them. More recently I got to one that does. These are outstanding - same packaging and baking directions as the frozen chocolate ones.

                                                                              I bought months ago, but just opened, the jar of sliced sun-dried tomatoes. I like them way better than the whole ones in the BIG jar that Costco sells. Costco's are darker and can be pretty leathery. TJ's are lighter in color and taste fresher - a better choice when making a super-fast

                                                                              dish of pasta sauced with a mixture of cooked onion, garlic, SDT, red pepper flakes, anchovy paste, and cheese. Gotta love that wide-mouthed, shoulderless Costco jar, though....

                                                                              1. A number of relatively recent additions have made it into our regular rotation:

                                                                                Almondictive bits: these are fantastic; salty, sweet, and made with decent dark chocolate. These are my treat of choice now.

                                                                                Chickenless Mandarin Orange Morsels: vegetarian protein main dish that's easy to throw together for dinner and quite good. I usually add some of the soyaki sauce since the mandarin orange is a bit sweet on its own. One bag is a bit measly though, and we have to put two together to feed two of us, which leaves us with like half a serving of leftovers.

                                                                                Crispy Chickenless Tenders: fantastic dipped in the Sweet n' Hot mustard. I am quite sure these are rebranded versions of the Gardein Seven Grain tenders. $2.99 vs. the $5.49 for Gardein at Whole Foods. I was thrilled when I saw these are the same thing.

                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                1. re: tazia

                                                                                  My mom bought me some Admondictive Bits. I shoved them, unopened, to the back of the freezer. They look and sound like everything that is right with the world and I am afraid to get, well, addicted. Almondicted.

                                                                                  1. re: Rilke

                                                                                    Along the same lines, I just tried the choc covered sunflower seeds after a co-worker raved about them. Meh. Not worth the calories.

                                                                                  2. re: tazia

                                                                                    I couldn't find anything called "Almondictive Bits" at my local store. I did get some dark chocolate almond bits. Are those the same? They're good. Very good, really. But I keep wondering if I missed something even better.

                                                                                    1. re: AmyH

                                                                                      Yes, they were renamed for whatever reason.

                                                                                      1. re: Rilke

                                                                                        So the current name is Dark Chocolate Almond Bits? Or I'm eating old stock?

                                                                                        1. re: AmyH

                                                                                          That's the current name :-) The original was Almondictive Bits.

                                                                                          1. re: Rilke

                                                                                            That's good! It's a brand new store so I was hoping all the stock was new, too. They are delicious. Unfortunately my teenage sons have discovered how tasty they are!

                                                                                  3. yea:Trader Joe's Smooth and Creamy Spicy Hummus...seriously like crack

                                                                                    yea:cat cookies for people...oh my

                                                                                    Yea: Trader Joe's Mini Cheddar Chipotle Potato Bites

                                                                                    great little party bite

                                                                                    yeaish: Trader Joe's Arancini Bites

                                                                                    good if you are just eating one or two...

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: LaLa

                                                                                      I kept two tubs of the cat cookies for people in my classroom one year and handed them out to students periodically. Very popular.

                                                                                      1. re: LaLa

                                                                                        I had that same feeling after trying an Arancini--one was pretty good, but I didn't want any more.

                                                                                      2. Almond Butter with Roasted Flax Seeds....totally addicting!

                                                                                        1. Picked up some strawberries. TJ's version of cool whip and some fat free angel cake to assemble a lovely light dessert. This made four decent servings of strawberry cake but I did stretch it with three very small sliced peaches from a roadside stand.
                                                                                          This went over so well that I'm tempted to buy the ingredients again today. Easy, light, and didn't heat up the house!

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                            Good to hear a review on the angel food cake...we were tempted to buy it before - will have to give it a try now that I hear at least one person enjoyed it!

                                                                                          2. this just in (at my store, anyway)---smoked paprika! so happy to see this, as i use it a lot in tapas and other dishes where i want a subtle smokiness. up until now, it has been a bit hard to find, so thanks, joe!
                                                                                            tonight it's gazpacho with crab, with a lovely dusting of smoked paprika. perfect for what promises to be a scorcher.

                                                                                            1. TJs frozen mac and cheese.

                                                                                              Never had it, they were giving samples on Sunday and it was delish. warning. One pkg = 1 serving at my house.

                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: laliz

                                                                                                ah, you've discovered crack and cheese...my kid inhales it so I don't buy it much.

                                                                                                1. re: laliz

                                                                                                  Do you mean the "Joe's Diner" mac & cheese? It really is great!

                                                                                                  1. re: Val

                                                                                                    val, what cheeses are in it plse? thx.

                                                                                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                      Listed: cheddar, havarti, gouda and swiss.

                                                                                                  2. re: laliz

                                                                                                    I actually can't get enough of the reduced-guilt mac and cheese. Find it just as tasty. My kid and I gobble it up together.

                                                                                                  3. Yea - Speculoos cookie butter, sort of a cookie dough flavor peanut butter.

                                                                                                    Yea - imported milk chocolate covered cherries; I normally don't like milk much compared to dark but these are great and better than the dark

                                                                                                    Yea - Dark chocolate covered mints, just good

                                                                                                    Yea - Sublime ice cream cookie sandwhiches

                                                                                                    Nay - the TJ version of Fruit Loops cereal, had a chemical harsh aftertaste

                                                                                                    Nay - the turkey meatballs were just a bit disappointing

                                                                                                    1. Nay - Mushroom Ravioli (frozen). Nothing really wrong with it but very little flavor. The packaging mentions truffles but the "truffle oil" in the ingredients list is sunflower oil and "white truffle flavor."

                                                                                                      Nay - Roasted Potatoes with Roasted Peppers and Onions. Again, nothing wrong, nothing special. The packet of chopped peppers and onions, added in the last two minutes in the skillet don't flavor the potatoes, and the recommended cooking time of 14-16 minutes on medium high heat is too long or too hot; I killed the heat at 12 minutes as the potatoes were about to burn.

                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                        Actually, that is what truffle oil is. A neutral oil+ White Truffle 'essense', which essentially is synethetic truffle flavor.

                                                                                                        --Dommy!

                                                                                                        1. re: Dommy

                                                                                                          Thanks, I didn't know that - always thought that truffle oil is, well, truffle oil.

                                                                                                          1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                            The brouhaha that goes on in culinary circles over truffle oil is about the "genuine" article, which is oil infused with actual truffles, as Dommy mentioned, and artificial stuff in which the truffle flavor is a chemical compound created by science. Some people claim it tastes like kerosene while others experience it as a decent facsimile of the real stuff.

                                                                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                              Thanks again. In this case I couldn't taste anything at all.

                                                                                                      2. Well I finally got around to making my variety pak of croissants. Two chocolate and two almond were left out to rise overnight. The chocolate ones plumped up more and also took longer to cook.
                                                                                                        This worked out well for my friend and I as we had the almond croissants first and then took a break before inhaling the still warm chocolate ones. This experiment bears repeating, the croissants are again rising through the night. Talk about joy in the morning!

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                          We had a "variety pack" of both the chocolate and almond croissants for breakfast this morning. Absolutely delicious. The kids loved them. They seemed to prefer the chocolate but I liked the almond better. Like yours, our chocolate ones also plumped more, but I baked them the same amount of time since they were all on the same pan. We will definitely be having these again, although not too often due to the calories.

                                                                                                        2. Nay- A dozen sweet bites. The selling point was, it is made in France. The box has four of the following:
                                                                                                          Chocolate and coffee" opera" cake- This was the only good one with a good coffee flavor
                                                                                                          Raspberry"Macaron Aux Framboises" cake- This one tasted like a cheap birthday cake
                                                                                                          Caramel and chocolate cake- The top layer of this one reminded me of an eggy creme brulee.

                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: mrsjoujou

                                                                                                            Wow, I am really surprised to hear this! I love those and am VERY picky about my sweets. Our TJ's doesn't even carry these anymore and I am very disappointed about this.

                                                                                                            1. re: christy319

                                                                                                              When I was checking out I asked the cashier, if he has tried this product and he said he tried it a couple nights ago and only liked one of them. I guess we are all different.

                                                                                                          2. Yea - Spanakopita (frozen). The cheese is a mix of feta and ricotta, less authentic maybe but it cooks up well - 20 minutes or so in the toaster oven. Precut into triangles. Very tasty.

                                                                                                            1. Meh to the sweetened dried strawberries. They really aren't sweet to me. Not like how a nice fresh ripe strawberry is. The texture is fine though.

                                                                                                              1. New to my house:

                                                                                                                Nay - Pad Thai Noodles in a box: I had low hopes for this, and it was even worse than I expected.

                                                                                                                Yay - Frozen southwestern chicken quesadillas. Fast and better than the ones at my local burrito joint. I serve them with some sour cream on the side.

                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: mishaps

                                                                                                                  +1 on the quesadillas. These are a freezer staple in my house.

                                                                                                                  1. re: mishaps

                                                                                                                    Couldn't agree more about the utter vileness of the Pad Thai Noodles in a box - just shockingly horrific. Equally bad are the other meals in a box with the same brand name and sold in the same area. I bought one of each - probably the biggest error in judgment I've ever made at TJ's!

                                                                                                                    1. re: mishaps

                                                                                                                      I really like those quesadillas too. I do find that they have a slightly sweet aftertaste that I could do without, but they are nonetheless delicious and quite a bargain.

                                                                                                                    2. Yea - Mushroom Turnovers (frozen). Sautéed mushrooms and onions in a cream cheese pastry. Bite sized, a neat appetizer, but it's hard to eat just one.

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

                                                                                                                          I think they put something illegal and addictive in these things. AHMAZING.

                                                                                                                      1. Yea - Le Delice de Bourgogne triple cream soft cheese. Apparently this isn't new, but I never noticed it before. Wonderful buttery flavor. I like it even better than the triple cream Brie. Just enjoyed it on some crusty bread; now going to try it on TJ's rosemary crisps.

                                                                                                                        1. while it's likely this is not new, I was REAlly impressed (go ahead, shoot me now) with the frozen Kung Pao Chicken. The chicken itself is very moist and i can't believe it, but i really like the sauce (though i know it's sweeter than in china, it was not cloying to me)and peanuts. The veggies are the one problem imo: miniscule amount and they had ice crystals so they don't stir fry properly (too much liquid) but i added alot more fresh veggies and it all turned out really tasty. Had it with my fav TJ rice- the frozen Japanese stir fried rice- and even though the 2 cuisines/flavor profiles are quite different, it still worked for us. Now part of our regular rotation.

                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                            New to me ...

                                                                                                                            Meh - Dark Chocolate Bars Filled with Speculoos Cookie Spread
                                                                                                                            Seems to be universally loved but to me the dark chocolate completely overwhelms the Speculoos spread. I actually could only barley taste the Speculoos at all.

                                                                                                                            Yea - Milk Chocolate Filled with Caramel
                                                                                                                            OMG, I wasn't expecting to love these, usualy more of a dark chocolate girls and thought the combo was a bit boring, but I LOVE them. It's sweet and creamy milk chocolate and the caramel is thin but pretty complex. These are going to have to be kept out of the house because I can't resist.

                                                                                                                            Yea - Vacuum Fried Pineapple Chips
                                                                                                                            Not usually much of a fruit chip person, but these are addictively good. Pretty crunchy with only a little bit of chew. Thje bag disappears pretty quick, so not a great value IMO

                                                                                                                            Meh - Freeze Dried Raspberries
                                                                                                                            Little on the tart side, but a nice crisp texture. Didn't love them, didn't hate them, can't see purchasing them again

                                                                                                                            Nay - Freeze Dried Grapes
                                                                                                                            Did not like these at all ... very crisp but had a bad funky flavor to both me and my mom. One grape each then the bag went into the trash

                                                                                                                            Yea - Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes
                                                                                                                            I had been eyeing these for a while, but figured they would disappoint like most store bought baked goods, boy was I wrong. They tasted fresh and almost home made, very rich. Could have had more peanut butter flavor and filling though, much heaverier on the chocolate than the peanut butter. After 2 days though they had definitely degraded in quality and tasted like a store bought cupcake

                                                                                                                            1. re: aimeekm

                                                                                                                              Try a jar of the speculous cookie

                                                                                                                              1. re: Craig234

                                                                                                                                I wish they sold the Speculous Spread in the small-squeeze packages like Justin's peanut butter company does (although NOT at TJs).

                                                                                                                                Also, I had a really hard time getting chunks of the Freeze Dried Grapes out of my teeth... hey are really crisp yet really sticky all at once.

                                                                                                                                1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                  The teeth sticking ruined those for me.

                                                                                                                            2. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                              Yes, the Kung Pao Chicken is very good if you add more veggies, like onions and celery. Lots of chicken and very tasty sauce.

                                                                                                                            3. Bread and Butter Pickles (not refrigerated section) - Yea
                                                                                                                              Rolled Oats and Choc Chip Fiberfull Granola Bars- Yea

                                                                                                                              1. Qualified yay for the Stacked Eggplant Parmesan (frozen). I prepared it in the microwave and while the texture is not super impressive (kind of gloppy and mushy, definitely no crisp distinct layers of eggplant), the flavors were pretty good and it made a decent easy meal with a big salad. It is supposed to be two servings and that is what I did, but I could have easily eaten the whole thing myself :)

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: butterfat

                                                                                                                                  ditto. good but 1/2 a stack is not a single serving.

                                                                                                                                2. Qualified yay for the Fresh Rice Noodles in the refrigerated section near the tofu.

                                                                                                                                  Comes with (2) 6 oz. packets and is product of South Korea. They're decent if you can't easily get to an Asian market and you want to whip together a noodle soup for a quick lunch. 1 of the 6 oz packets is basically a serving, though the nutrition label on the back goes by 2 oz servings (yeah, right). They're remarkably high in fiber -- it claims 3 g per 2 oz. serving. I think it was also remarkably high in sodium - I threw away the package, but I want to say it was 280g per serving.

                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: dailywaffle

                                                                                                                                    Can you explain how you cooked them? I found them a TOUCH too slimy and I did the whole 2 minute in boiling water and then an ice bath...

                                                                                                                                    --Dommy!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Dommy

                                                                                                                                      I boiled them, maybe more like a minute & a half. I didn't rinse them, which I should have done. They were slightly slimy, but went straight into broth, so it didn't bother me all that much.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Dommy

                                                                                                                                        I think I overcooked these, as they were definitely too slimy. My kids wouldn't really eat them due to slime. I will try again in soup, that sounds like a good idea, and will be sure to cook for a shorter time.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: dailywaffle

                                                                                                                                        have to give a BIG warning to space cadets out there. these noodles are packed with one of those tiny packets that contain a chemical to keep moisture out. some of those packets are in sealed plastic but these are perforated. i ended up dumping the entire content in boiling water and a minute later noticed the packets in the boiling water. i ended up dumping the entire content bc i was skeptical on whether it leaked into the water or not.

                                                                                                                                        i took the noodles out of water immediately and tasted one and i would also not cook them at all. instead i would dump them in hot water and keep them al dente.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                          I had this same problem, and then had to fish out the little packet from boiling water. No fun!

                                                                                                                                      3. Yea to Organic Concord Grape Jelly- not too sweet with a bit of a "winey" aftertaste.

                                                                                                                                        Super Tea to Caribbean Fruit Floes. Perfect relief for these non-global warming summer heat record days.

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Vidute

                                                                                                                                          I too loved the taste of the Caribbean Fruit Floes, but kinda wish that there wasn't so many coconut pieces that I found throughout it (personally have a rough time digesting coconut pieces!).

                                                                                                                                        2. Nay - Authentic Indian Masala Dosa (frozen). I may have mentioned these before. They taste good but fall apart when turned during reheating in the oven - not something I would serve to guests.

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                            I think I fried mine on top of the stove and they held together pretty well.

                                                                                                                                          2. Yays all around to my Trader Joe's meal tonight: TJ's Organic Tomato Basil sauce over angel hair pasta (okay, the angel hair pasta was the only thing NOT TJ's...think it was Barilla), TJ's Parmesan Romano Grated Cheese on top, TJ's Sweet Italian Sausage links, and garlic bread made from the french bread and their Kerrygold butter, and polished off a TJ's Vintage Cola. YUM....excellent meal, realized at the end of it that all meal contents were TJ's except for angel hair.

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                              I've had the Sweet Italian Sausage and like it a lot. Yea for that, and also for the Fire Roasted Red Peppers and Onions (frozen), which I combine with the sausages for an Italian sausage sandwich or a meal on a plate.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                mmm...sounds like a good combination....love how TJ's has many delicious and nearly "ready-to-go" meal additions such as the frozen fire roasted red peppers/onions

                                                                                                                                            2. Qualified Yea: Moist Chewy Coconut BonBons - on the new products shelf yesterday. They are covered in dark chocolate. A clerk saw me reading the label and remarked that they are really good. They are a moister, higher quality version of Peter Paul Mounds, though I prefer the discontinued TJ version of Almond Joy. I guess I could accompany each bonbon with a separate almond.

                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                mmmm...sometimes you do feel like a nut :)

                                                                                                                                                Those sound lethal though, love me some Mounds and Almond Joy but the nasty chocolate is offputting

                                                                                                                                                1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                                                  I am afraid to buy them. I'm already hooked on so many TJ's chocolate items and I loooove coconut.

                                                                                                                                              2. omg nay nay NAY to the new frozen pie crusts. They come rolled up and unrolling them totally destroys them- I tried re-moistening and then rolling them back together but they were totally unusable. They weren't just broken in a few places, but were completely smashed looking. This will be the first thing I return to Trader Joes. Back to the pillsbury ones for me...

                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: CarmenR

                                                                                                                                                  Are these the same pie crusts that TJ's usually carries in the late fall/around the holidays?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                    They're also replaced the butter with Palm Oil - bought a box because they had them and I love to make pies with excess summer fruit, but I didn't realize they'd come rolled! And I didn't read the ingredients until much later... sigh. Going to have to figure out a way to make homemade in my tiny kitchen...

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: CarmenR

                                                                                                                                                    I have had this problem as well, but have managed to live with it (because the TJs ones don't have lard and the supermarket ones do). Taking them out of the box to defrost helps, and then unroll them both and use whichever one falls apart more as the bottom crust (it will stitch back together in the oven). I didn't know about the palm oil issue, though.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sciencediet

                                                                                                                                                      I'm of a like mind sciencediet. The crust is annoying and falls apart for me too, but still tastes fine and beats rolling my own. I just tell myself it's a lattice top pie.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: CarmenR

                                                                                                                                                      i've found that if you defrost well, and keep the crust between the two sheets of plastic, unroll it onto them, and then roll it out between them, the crust will "heal" all cracks. i suspect that they went from the folded state to the rolled one because of the ease of use of the pillsbury dough. however, the pillsbury dough has a lot of preservatives, so its consistency is different. i agree that packaging this dough rolled was a mistake. bummer, because i've liked the tj butter dough for years.

                                                                                                                                                    3. Yea with a caveat to the frozen Papperdelle with Chicken, Mushrooms, and Mascarpone Sauce. It's supposed to serve two. I'd say there's enough sauce for two portions, but not enough pasta.
                                                                                                                                                      The sauce is unctuous, with good chunks of chicken and 'shrooms. What pappardelle there are, are tender and taste like fresh pasta.

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                        I totally agree about the portion--there should be more pasta. I also think this is a tasty dish though I typically think boneless skinless chicken breasts+pasta=an affront to Italian cooking. I guess I am making an exception for cheap frozen work lunches.

                                                                                                                                                      2. A few snack item reviews...

                                                                                                                                                        YAY: Gummy Bears - LOVE these! They come in six different flavors, here are my favorites from most to least - Apple, Orange, Cherry, Strawberry, Pineapple (not much pineapple flavor, and finally lemon (lemon tasted a bit strange). I like that they do not taste at all sugary, in fact they taste very much like the fruit juice each is associated with.

                                                                                                                                                        MEH: Milk Chocolate Bar with Caramel....hmm....usually a fan of milk chocolate but I wasn't a huge fan of this one. I liked the dark chocolate with speculoos spread bar better. The milk chocolate bar with caramel to me was really too rich tasting and I didn't want to go back for more than one piece of it.

                                                                                                                                                        SEMI-YAY: Fruit Frenzy Frozen Bars - these are the popsicles that are made up of three flavors - raspberry, lemon, and strawberry. Meh to the raspberry portion as I kept wanting to spit out the raspberry seeds as I was eating it, then Nay to the lemon portion in the middle of the bar because it was extremely mouth puckering tart tasting, and finally Huge Yay for the bottom portion which was strawberry. Delicious strawberry flavor and hope that TJ's Strawberry Frozen Pops taste as good as the strawberry portion of this fruit frenzy bar.

                                                                                                                                                        1. Ok. I tried a lot of things today--maybe you will disagree but these are my opinions:

                                                                                                                                                          NAY--chocolate covered potato chips--a friend said these were amazing, I don't get it. If you want salty and sweet, go for the chocolate covered pretzels.

                                                                                                                                                          NAY--Chocolate toffee popcorn--someone else said these were too soft, and yet I didn't get that comment.. until I tried them.. yes, eh there is just something off about them.

                                                                                                                                                          NAY--Lemon Heart Cookies--so bland. Hardly taste like lemon. Maybe a bit like cardboard.

                                                                                                                                                          NAY--Black truffle flatbread thing--I am a minimalist.. so it doesn't take much for me to like a flatbread, but this is missing something--maybe not even a third flavor, even some spices, who knows. But not worth it.

                                                                                                                                                          NAY--BBQ Sauce in the glass bottle--I've never met a more liquidy-drippy-water BBQ sauce in my life. And I am a condiment whore--so this is well-qualified.

                                                                                                                                                          NAY--Kung Pao Chicken--I grew up on the TJ Orange Mandarin Chicken once a week but also some good authentic chinese. The Kung Pao Chicken makes the Mandarin Chicken look close to authentic (Which is not even remotely true since it is basically chicken-nuggets covered in sauce)--which is to say: the Kung Pao Chicken hardly even tastes Chinese.... it has so many bell-peppers that it tastes almost like a 'Western dish.' I did appreciate the effort of including chili peppers and peanuts, but eh.

                                                                                                                                                          NAY--Teriyaki Chicken--This is made in the microwave.. which is odd because most bagged-entrees at TJs include multiple options. I would say it was very close to the Panda Express Terriyaki Chicken that we used to split with our mother once a year at the mall.. but Panda Express's was actually better (.. that's somewhat pathetic, no offense) because TJ's is so salty and the chicken is super fatty-rubbery.

                                                                                                                                                          NAY--Movie Theatre Popcorn--I am not a big butter person, but I really tried.. I SHOOK the bag, I stirred it up, I looked for 'yellow' popcorns.. none to be found. This does not taste like butter at all... so I can only imagine if you do like buttery-popcorn, how disappointed you would be.

                                                                                                                                                          Don't worry, I found a YAY or two.....
                                                                                                                                                          YAY--Herb Popcorn--This is really good. Especially if you like dill, then you will like this. And I think since it is spiced, you can't over-eat it.

                                                                                                                                                          YAY--Chocolate Ganache Cake--I wanted to take the raspberry Macaroon-bar-cake item to a party, but they don't have it... this was the only cake they had in the freezer section. It was fine, despite the fact that it was HELLA RICH. Please note, however, that on the box it says defrost for 1-2 hours... mine was on the counter for 30 minutes and it was already quite soft. So I would watch it.

                                                                                                                                                          Personally, I still have all of the items that I have listened as NAYs... but I think I would feel really bad taking 8 things or so back to the store. I might consider taking the 'non-cooked items back... the chocolate covered toffee, chocolate covered potato chips, the BBQ sauce, the Movie Theatre popcorn... but I have never taken anything back for a really long time. Thoughts?

                                                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                            First of all, thanks for your detailed reviews....here are just a few of my thoughts as well on the items that I have tried on your list....

                                                                                                                                                            1) BBQ Sauce....I personally did like the Kansas City Style one...there are two kinds, not sure which one you purchased but I did not like the original TJ's BBQ sauce
                                                                                                                                                            2) Movie Theatre Popcorn....my thoughts exactly ... disappointed that the popcorn is labeled "movie theatre popcorn" leading most to believe it probably is very buttery in taste...no real butter flavor just lots of salt
                                                                                                                                                            3) Will have to try the Chocolate Ganache Cake...have heard quite a few yays on this one

                                                                                                                                                            As far as taking things back....my personal TJ's take back policy is that I will take back an item if I truly am dissatisfied with it and won't finish it nor can find anyone else who will finish it either, then will use that money to purchase more TJ's items with the money that I receive back. This way I am still kind of helping them out with their generous return back policy while getting to try more new TJ's items myself....so win-win.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                              TJ's makes at least two kinds of bbq sauce. The "All Natural" is pretty standard, red and thick, but I like it - not at all like your description. I haven't tried the other, Bold and Smoky Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce. Is that the one you dislike?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                Yes--Kansas City Style is entirely liquid, as thin as water. (Unless in Kansas that is part of the style... ?)

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                  It could be an imitation of Arthur Bryant's original bbq sauce, which is liquid and vinegary. Calvin Trillin, a Kansas City boy, gave his considered opinion that Arthur Bryant's is or was "possibly the single best restaurant in the world." That doesn't mean you have to like their sauce, or TJ's if it's a Bryant's knockoff.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, the Kansas City Style IS the one in the glass bottle...perhaps you would like their other BBQ sauce better? Good luck!!

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                  Lemon Heart Cookies are a YAY when dipped in a hot cup of tea. Only way I have ever eaten them.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                    In defense of the Movie Theatre Popcorn.......if you are going to buy pre popped popcorn in this type of flavor catagory its one the best going. You can find Indiana Brand at over $4/bag that tastes similar. I know its not perfect, but at the price........its pretty good. My local TJs sells out of it frequently.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Yea - Reduced Guilt Wheat Crisps. A shameless imitation of Nabisco's Wheat Thins, the same size and shape and color and much the same taste and texture but with less salt, less fat, less sugar, and less $$$. I'll buy that!

                                                                                                                                                                    Yea - Reduced Guilt Woven Wheat Wafers. Another Nabisco knockoff - just like Triscuits except for less fat and salt. Also cheaper, I believe.

                                                                                                                                                                    Yea - This Apple Walks Into a Bar... Along with other fruit versions, yet another Nabisco knockoff, imitating fig (and other) newtons. A bar rather than a cookie, with soft dough so that the bar droops in your hand and threatens to break; I cut it into cookie lengths, which also helps me keep from gobbling down the whole boxful of 6 bars. Haven't tried the other flavors.

                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for the Wheat Thins heads up. I like those but don't like the ingredient list -- betting TJ's will be better.

                                                                                                                                                                      Also, of the four "walks into a bar" flavors, fig is the best IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                        I also like the This Strawberry Walks Into a Bar...very good quality, tasted like real fruit filling, slightly sweet but not too sweet...perfect for a breakfast bar!

                                                                                                                                                                      2. NAY - the Rainbow Peppercorns in a plastic jar with built-in pepper grinder. Our pepper grinder broke and we had no pepper in the house. I thought this would do the trick, but there is something about it that makes food taste like dirt to me. (I think the "Rainbow" consists of black, green, white and pink peppercorns).

                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chompy

                                                                                                                                                                          Hmm, I disagree, we like the rainbow peppercorns.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                            I really like the Rainbow Peppercorns too. I think they have a much more interesting flavor than plain black peppercorns.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: chompy

                                                                                                                                                                            I bought the Rainbow Peppercorns when I ran out of black, and to tell the truth, I don't taste a really major difference. But I'm not happy with the grinder built into the bottle - you can't adjust the grind size and what you get ranges from chunks to dust. So I put the peppercorns into a proper grinder instead and throw away the bottle.

                                                                                                                                                                          3. HUGE YAY (10/10) for the French Toast (Frozen/Four Grain Bread): Admittedly, I was hesitant on purchasing TJ's French Toast b/c of the bad NAY experience I had with their Toaster Waffles a few months back (bland, tasted like cardboard to me)...however, the French Toast turns out to be one of my all-time favorite TJ's purchases. I cooked mine in the oven for 18 minutes on a wire baking rack, allowing the french toast to crisp up slightly on the bottom and around the perimeter where the crust was. The middle was perfectly slightly "french toast eggy", with a background sweetness of cinnamon to it. I added Kerrygold butter and a light sprinkle of cinnamon sugar to it (how I personally like to eat my french toast)...my only regret was that I only fixed one piece for breakfast instead of two! Definitely try this product if you like french toast - you can microwave it for 50 sec. or put it in the toaster oven for quicker results.

                                                                                                                                                                            YAY: South Carolina Peaches - .59 cents per peach (I like to pick my own peaches instead of picking up a flat of them...sometimes there are unripe or too ripe fruit inside of flats). Juicy, sweet, and tasted like they were freshly picked. I found them better than local peaches that we've purchased from farms around the area.

                                                                                                                                                                            NAY: TJ's Organic Lowfat Strawberry Yogurt Cup - chemical tasting and the strawberry was more like a gel at the bottom...perhaps I am spoiled by their delicious TJ's Greek Strawberry Yogurt but will not be purchasing the organic lowfat variety again.

                                                                                                                                                                            Anyone tried the Juice in the Box (the new large box of juice) in the Tropical Fruit flavor?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Yea for the cultured coconut milk. I tried the blueberry flavor. The cashier told me that a lot of people have not liked it and asked if I still wanted it -- yes, I did, and I'm glad because it was good. A little gritter than yogurt and a different mouth feel . . . softer or something. This item is new to TJ's and I'm pretty sure it's made by So Delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                              Also yea for a non-new item that maybe someone hasn't tried: the Goddess salad dressing. We've gone through two bottles in a month.

                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                I don't limit myself here to new items. For people who have just discovered Trader Joe's, everything is new, and I'm glad to be reminded of older TJ stuff that I didn't know about or have passed on.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                  +1 on this...there are so many items at TJ's that are fantastic yet I can only try items (old and new) a few at a time! Very much appreciate ANY Yay/Nay reviews on ANY item found there.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. YAY to TJ's Original Lemonade (Carton of Lemonade found in the refrigerator section next to the Orange Juice): this is a seasonal item so will only be around for another month or two at most, really liked the flavor - perfect combination of a bit sweet and a bit tart which is what I look for in a lemonade. All natural, made with Cane Sugar instead of High Fructose Corn Syrup and tastes great - good find for 2.69 a carton.

                                                                                                                                                                                YAY for the price of the Capellini pasta imported from Italy - have yet to try it, but can't beat .99 for a pound of imported pasta from Italy! Hope the taste matches up to the value.

                                                                                                                                                                                Quickly went through a bag of Gummy Bears in two days...and very much hooked. We had to purchase another one and hopefully can show some more restraint on this bag! Like the fact that there is no squishy middle (although some of those gummy tummy flavors are okay), made with all natural fruit/vegetable juices, AND love the cute bear design on the front of the package!

                                                                                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                  Prob not a new item, but i was VERY impressed by the Gorgonzola Gnocchi. WOW!! perfectly balanced flavors and texture (not doughy/gummy/ hard.) For us, 1 bag serves one person. To each bag, we added 1/4 cup julienned canadian bacon and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts- during the last few minutes..

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                    I love this item. I add peas and black pepper and get two servings out of it (I believe the bag says four . . . I eat small portions but that would be very small).

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: elise h

                                                                                                                                                                                        I really loved the roast red peppers stuffed with ground turkey and brown rice and good seasonings. That was until I read that the turkey was MECHANICALLY SEPARATED Turkey which translates into pink slime. I am so disappointed:(

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: elise h

                                                                                                                                                                                          frozen. primary bag color is orangey.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm also a fan of the Gnocchi! Easy dinner with some salad. Will definitely try it out with peas and pepper!

                                                                                                                                                                                          We've also been really big fans of the edamame nuggets. This has become a weekly purchase for us. They get very crispy in the oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                              It's so good! And such a quick dinner. I like to buy the version with the tomato/mozzarella sauce also and mix them, then throw in some shredded spinach and red pepper flakes.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Trader Joes recently opened here and we'd been waiting quite a while. This thread has been extremely helpful in deciding what to buy and what not to.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindyCindy

                                                                                                                                                                                              Happy hunting! This thread has just started, and you'll find a lot more information (or at least opinions) in the Yea/Nay thread for the 2nd quarter, here:

                                                                                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/841887

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                also, Lindy, there is even more TrJ discussion on the Chains Forum of CH, though inventory of stores does vary around the country.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. YAY- strawberry crusher according to my 3 yr old. i don't eat these but he loves them. a thumbs up.

                                                                                                                                                                                              NAY- although not a new item, Louis Latour Duet Viognier/chardonnay. Not a very good wine but what do you expect at $6.99? I have had some great value wine at TJ's at this price point but there's also many fails and this one is one of them. the wine tastes like chemicals. The grand ardeche is much better by Latour.

                                                                                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                                Hey trolley, is that sliced roast chicken you posted about on the last thread still available in your part of the world?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                  you know, i stopped eating them. no reason why. it was if i fell in love hard and fast then i fell out of love just as fast. i think i went ga ga and overate them. so that said i have looked for them but i will tonight. i'll let you know. how about your side of the woods?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Couldn't find them, and my employee friend said she thought she knew what I was talking about, but wasn't sure. They might not be in the east coast TJ's at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                      found them today! i also spotted them next to what looks like a similar item but roast turkey. you may want to ask another employee. the other day i asked if they had freeze dried mango and the guy looked at me as if i was from outer space. then another employee had to tell him what they were. this guy isn't new either so you just never know what they don't know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I haven't seen them lately at our TJ's (haven't looked for them either...so they may be there), but at the other TJ's about an hour away from me, they carried both the sliced roast chicken and sliced roast turkey last year and can vouch for both being of good quality and taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. YAY?? - Snap Pea Crisps...originally was going to give this one a nay but added a little sea salt to them (brought out their flavor more, in my opinion) and found these strangely addictive after a few handfuls. Crunchy and really am thankful that I have something to reach for snack-wise that will hopefully divert my attention away from those TJ's Gummy Bears!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                YAY: Instant Miso Soup...yummy...good flavor for instant miso soup and a quick, healthy addition to a meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I love those snap pea crisps. Easy to eat the entire bag at once.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Take those snap pea crisps backpacking and for this veggie lover they were amazing. instant mashed potatoes, snap pea crisps and jerkey - on the trail shepard's pie. But back in the land of hydrated food I haven't bought any more of them

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Those just tasted like grease to me! And not in a good way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                    My 9-year-old could easily eat whole bag of those at a sitting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Nay to the non-refrigerated bottled organic strawberry lemonade. Tastes very processed, not fresh at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                      gmm, have you tried the TJ's Original Lemonade (seasonal) in the refrigerator section? We like this lemonade a lot, and tastes a lot fresher and more like homemade than some of the bottled lemonades do. The only other lemonade that we kind of like bottled is the Mango Lemonade, although it is a bit sweeter than traditional lemonade tends to be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                        littleflower - I have not tried the refrigerated lemonade. I've tried the limeade, and wasn't wowed by it. I'm due for another trip to TJ's so I'll give it a try.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yeah, it is good stuff...one of repeat buys every week. We even manage to stretch it each lemonade carton out by adding 1/3 to 1/2 of each glass with ice water and the rest with the lemonade...but that is just our personal preference with all fruit juices. Oh, and one more thing...this lemonade does contain a bit of pulp towards the end of the carton (assuming you don't shake up the lemonade carton each time you use it)!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't know if this is new, or not, but I quickly became addicted to the Green Tea Lemonade... it does have a little 'bottled' taste, but it's not too strong, and the drink is really refreshing....

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. New or new to me is the frozen Szechuan style Beef and Broccoli. Shame on me for not reading the instructions before buying - it's too hot to cook and I assumed I could just nuke it. But it contains separately frozen bags of beef strips coated with cornstarch and breadcrumbs, broccoli florets, and sauce. You saute the meat, warm the sauce, and steam or nuke the broccoli before combining all three. I had fresh broccoli on hand so I returned the frozen to the freezer. Since I had to turn on the stove anyway, I sauteed carrots and onions along with the broccoli and beef, and used only half the sauce, adding soy, because of a low capsaicum tolerance. I had leftover plain cooked brown rice to go with it. Big YEA to the flavor and texture of the beef. Though they crisped up nicely, the beef strips were exceptionally tender. Unfortunately, they consider the bag to serve 3, each portion with nearly 2/3 of a day's sodium. I'd say the 24 oz bag is two servings, so it's closer to 3/4 of daily salt intake. I'll think about buying it again when I am able to get my shoes on. That won't be anytime soon, since I will cook chicken breasts and vegetables to use with the remainder of the sauce packet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                          What a fun review grey! I finally got around to trying the vanilla cake mix and was very happy with the results. The instructions called for a stick of melted butter which might explain why the cake was so yummy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          I served the cake, still warm from my toaster/convection oven with TJ's version of cool whip and blueberries and blackberries. Very tasty!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ha!!! Just re-read your post and got the joke.....!!!! Witty!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Does anyone know if TJ sells a sauce (on its own) equivalent to the one in the Sezchuan Beef and Broccoli? It tastes just like the sauce in the General Tso's chicken at my favorite Americanized Chinese restaurant, ChenYangLi. Since I am a hot pepper wimp, I used slightly less than half of the sauce packet, plus some teriyaki sauce, when I made the TJ beef. Subsequently used the rest, again with teriyaki, to make a delish chicken stirfry from the ingredients in my fridge. That dish was enough for three servings. I'd love to be able to buy just the sauce. I know it would be possible to recreate it but would prefer pre-made.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I buy the savory thin mini edamame crackers every time. Only 120 calories in 38 crackers. They are very salty and have a great crisp factor. I also feel done after eating one serving, unlike pretzels where I can Hoover the whole bag. Satisfies my salty crisp cravings nicely

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunangelmb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Hoover" hahaha. I feel this way about the crunchy curls. I think the serving size is 30 curls for 130 calories. And they're yummy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. YAY: Ridge Cut Potato Chips with Sea Salt - very satisfyingly crunchy with just the right amount of sea salt added to it. A true potato flavor comes out in these - unlike many potato chips where you taste mostly grease and oil. There is a very thin (almost unnoticeable) line of potato peel around the perimeter of each chip (they aren't peeled). Also, the ingredients list very simply reads: unpeeled potatoes, sunflower oil, and sea salt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  YAY: Boneless Center Cut Pork Loin Chops - used these to make fantastic pork cutlets. These are very thin so cook up in no time, were tender, and a great price for quality pork (9 pork loin chops for 5.00).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Also would recommend trying the Italian Capellini pasta - .99 for a pound of imported pasta from Italy and tasted great!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I cannot buy the ridge cut potato chips (sea salt OR salt and pepper). I can't control myself, and I'm not usually a chip junkie. They're the best ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah.....quickly going through the bag that we purchased just yesterday, and we're talking a BIG bag of chips that are filled with chips. The natural potato taste coupled with the crunchability of these make them one pretty irresistable snack. Can't wait to try them with TJ's Carmelized Onion Dip (another fantastic product that unfortunately we are out of)!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The ridge cut sweet potato chips are even worse - I can't even wait until I get them home, I open the bag while I'm still on the bus. No mas!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          so true, these pota chips are truly outstanding. in all seriousness, i keep wondering how they get them to be so Hard. I've decided it must be in the variety of potato; maybe they're bred for just that attribute.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Anyone have a "yay" recommendation for a fairly neutral (not very peppery) tasting TJ's extra virgin olive oil....looking for something similar to Bertoli EVOO, but would like to purchase our EVOO from TJ's. Is the President's Reserve EVOO most likely to be what we're looking for? Thanks in advance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, the President's Reserve is very mild.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            we tried a bunch of them a year ago and settled on California Estate EVOO- for the qualities you mentioned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We bought the California Estate last week and used it both for cooking and for salads and quite like it. So a Yay ! from us. Also, TJ's sells a very good Greek EVOO and a Spanish one as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I couldn't find the California Estate in our new store; they only had Italian, Greek and Spanish. Maybe it was sold out in the opening rush.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for the suggestions...I don't want to yay or nay the President's Reserve Extra Virgin Olive Oil b/c it was tasty, it's just that I personally am sensitive to anything peppery and this one has a bit too much "pepper" background taste for me. I haven't taken a product back to TJ's in about six months, yet am tempted to with this one and may try my luck with another one of their EVOO's (perhaps California Estate??).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The California Estate has a bit of peppery finish, which I like about it, but it sounds as if it might not be the right fit for you. There's a Spanish organic EVOO in the same size/shape bottle as the California Estate for the same price ($5.99/500ml) that is mild and buttery, not peppery, that you might want to try.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'll add another yay to the Spanish Olive Oil for $5.95, I buy it all the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      www.saffron215.blogspot.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Littleflower, I'd try the Kalamata olive extra-virgin if I were you, and I have tried them ALL. The California Estate was rated very highly by CR, but I find it to be very grassy. I use the kalamata for everything - cooking, salads, and dipping. I find its flavor to be fresh and slightly olive-y, kind of what I would expect olive oil to taste like. The President's Reserve is okay but kind of bland. This one has a nice olive flavor without hitting you over the head with it. I know it's more expensive than the others, but I think you will find that it's worth it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cyclecat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for the tip cyclecat, based on your description we're going to pick this one up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Probably not what littleflower is seeking though as a "nice olive flavor" "kind of what I would expect olive oil to taste like" would push this well out of the "neutral" category sought.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Have you had Bertoli which was posted as a point of reference? Based on what you shared the "kind of bland" President's Reserve probably fits the bill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cyclecat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks to both cyclecat and NuMystic for your thoughts...I did try the President's Reserve and it was a bit too peppery for me. I have come to the conclusion that perhaps what I am seeking in an olive oil TJ's just doesn't have. I checked out the Cooks Illustrated olive oil comparison and think that I may have to resort to trying Colavita or just stick with Bertoli. In a perfect world TJ's would have an olive oil sampling (actually this isn't such a bad idea and quite feasible) day and let people sample all of their varieties. That may be the only way that picky me can decide.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Nay - Organic Split Pea Soup (canned). It's vegan - no ham hocks or salt pork or anything to give it flavor, so it doesn't have much. Also, the peas are cooked down almost to mush. A lot of sodium, though I couldn't taste it. And the can contains 1½ servings - whaaa!? There's really nothing right with this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That is pretty annoying that the can is one and a half servings. Who do they think they are kidding? I had a can of this on hand and did actually split it with a friend.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    To be honest I wasn't expecting much. I don't have to watch my salt yet and I think I even added some salt to my half. It was a quick snack that stores easily and it fit the circumstances. But there are better canned products to be found at TJ's. I had some leftover hot dogs and bought the canned beef chili to go with them. The chili was a tad sweet but for canned chili, not too shabby at all. I threw out the empty can but it was probably like twenty servings. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I like the canned beef chili and the canned turkey chili too - have one of each in the cupboard. The can says 2 servings but I can stretch it with rice about as far as I want to - or I can eat it all. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yea - Organic Lentil Vegetable Soup (canned). Not labeled vegan but elsewhere on the label it says "completely vegetarian." 2 servings per can. Soft mushy texture, which I don't mind, and a pleasant flavor that perks up with a bit more salt. Nothing wonderful, but OK.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Nay - Organic Black Bean Soup (canned), labeled Vegan. From the look and taste you wouldn't know there are black beans in it. Mushy and bland, the kind of thing that gives vegetarianism a bad name. TJ's boxed Latin Style Black Bean soup has much more flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm nostalgic for Campbell's black bean soup, which we often had when I was growing up. Dark, rich, deeply savory, satisfying. It may not be as healthy as TJ's vegan stuff but I'd take that chance. Campbell may still make it but I haven't seen it in a food store for many years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh darn, I have a can of this in the pantry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Maybe you'll like it better than I did. Also, I came across a suggestion in one of the TJ fan sites to add some whole black beans - TJ sells them cooked in cans, good stuff. And "adjust" the seasoning, meaning provide some.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Exactly... nothing that a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of cotija cheese can't cure! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              --Dommy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Yay to the Spinach and Kale pie in the frozen section! Big portion for the price.. 2 of us ate it for dinner and then for lunch the next day. Definitely can taste the kale.. adds a slightly bitter taste but compliments the cheeses very nicely. Will be purchasing again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Briek

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        +1 on the Spinach and Kale pie. They were offering samples in the store and it was yummy. I'll buy it when the weather cools down a bit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Nay -- the butter pound cake. Both flavor and texture are a little off-putting, at least when eaten on its own. Might be improved with berries & whipped cream (but then wouldn't many things?). I should take it back for a refund but I've just been too lazy to do so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ?? -- the new Mexican-style stone-ground chocolate. I got the salt & pepper flavor. It's...weird. I didn't like it at first but it grew on me a little...not enough to be a "yea" but at least enough to not be a "nay." The gritty texture was expected, since it's that style of chocolate, but it still takes some getting used to. And it doesn't really taste specifically salty or peppery just...odd. I'll eat the rest of it, but I doubt I'll be buying it again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        YEA -- I know they're not new but I just recently tried the Baked Cheese Crunchies. The first few from the first bag there was a "Hey, these don't taste like Cheetos" reaction that soon gave way to "THEY'RE SO MUCH BETTER! They taste like real cheese!" These are definitely a new addiction for me (d'oh!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bax

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Can also vouch for the baked cheese puffs (similar to Cheetos Puffs)...very good and cheesy without the day-glo orange fingers effect. Will have to try the baked cheese crunchies as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bax

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for the comments on the salt and pepper stone-ground chocolate (sort of a Taza knock off). I was thinking of trying them but they're relative expensive for the amount.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hey Ruth, don't forget you can always request that an employee let you sample something ;-) We love opening stuff for customers

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Yay: frozen belgian waffles, edamame hummus, lemon gingersnap ice cream, mini stroop waffle cookies, unsalted whole peeled tomatoes, baby kale/chard lettuce, steamed lentils, organic white basmati rice, roasted Marcona almonds, Chimay beer, mini pain rustiques, ciabatta, pancetta, egg pappardelle noodles, frozen molten chocolate cake, frozen puff pastry squares, tarte Alsace, hearts of palm, Romano ceasar dressing, armenian spinach pizza, frozen wild salmon chimichurri, pita chips, roasted seaweed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            No way: jarred pasta sauce- every one has oregano in it, which makes it taste like pizza sauce. Ready made salads- all have onions- ewww. Some of their fruit has no taste, even the organic ones, just blah. (berries, peaches, nectarines, apples), most ready made food- way to much salt. Their sushi- indelible and atrocious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jdash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Those pancetta, egg pappardelle noodles always jump in my cart. My favorite use for them is with my chicken paprika that I only make in the cooler months but I love them in my chicken soup too. I like to keep them on hand along with a jar of alfredo sauce for a quick meal. One of these days I will just serve them with butter as a side dish. I believe these would be more expensive elsewhere for not as good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  that is what I get for copying and pasting Rilke. Just meant to copy egg pappardelle noodles but the pancetta must have slipped in there. That is what I get for posting when I'm really tired.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Lol, it's okay -- I just thought that sounded really good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  those are SO good! try them with blanched broc florettes, lemon zest, pan roasted garlic paste and pine nuts. Dressed with a good lemon infused olive oil"...., and gone to heaven"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: jdash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree with everything you said, jdash, with the possible exception of two pasta sauces - the organic vodka and the puttanesca. I don't currently have any on my shelf so I don't know whether they have oregano, but I will defer to your assertion that they do. I guess I don't find it overpowering or distracting (in the case of the vodka), and the puttanesca has so many other flavors going on that the oregano wouldn't stand out anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4. Update: the Raisin Rosemary Crisps and the Delice de Bourgogne cheese are a heavenly pairing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    oh yes indeed, it is a fabulous pairing! the savory rosemary and sweetness of the raisins plus the CRUNCH contrast so beautifully with the buttery creamy cheese for a WOWZA taste sensation. the sweetness of the raisins also brings out more complexity in the cheese's flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I hear that pairing the Delice with the Apothic Red results in a transcendent experience, and I can't imagine that the raisin rosemary crisps would detract from that experience in any way :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Yay for the marinated mozzarella. This is not actually Trader Joe's brand, but Aiello's, and I'm not sure it's nationally carried. Anyway, I haven't liked other marinated mozzarellas in the past, but the seasoning in this one is not so heavy that it takes away from the goodness of the cheese. Perfect with the tomatoes and basil growing in the garden.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've been looking for Aiello ricotta, maybe I will find it here? I'm going tomorrow and just put it on my list. Love all the Aiello products, wish they were easier to find retail.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. My latest favorite dark chocolate delivery system: the dark chocolate covered pomegranate seeds. Nicely tangy, although the seeds do get stuck in the teeth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I bought the Pound Plus chocolate for the first time today, and I have a question. I got the Dark Chocolate and the 72 Dark%. For baking, would you use the Dark when the recipe calls for semi-sweet and the 72% for bittersweet?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sciencediet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It depends on the recipe... There is quite a difference of sweetness and I tried this switch in a biscotti recipe and it just didn't work because the bitter-sweet chocolate was the main punch of sugar. However, for something like chocolate chip cookies where the batter might already have a fair degree of sweetness, it should work...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          --Dommy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Dommy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fair enough; I have only used them for sweet chocolatey things like brownies and cookies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: sciencediet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            as a baker who thinks american baked goods are way too cloyingly sweet, i always use the 72% which i find still a little too sweet for me (so i just add a little more coffee powder which i always use anyway, to deepen the choco. flavor. A bit of black pepper also is neat addition [ try it in a corner of your brownie pan sometime; see what you think].)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Excellent. Thank you all. I agree about sweetness, and I will experiment!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: sciencediet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Speaking of dark chocolate candies - have you tried the Dark Chocolate Almond Toffee Candies in the little bags? Only cost 1.50 per bag, and truly one of the best candies I have tried at TJ's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                No, I haven't seen those! Now I see below that they are by the checkout--I will look.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  lf, i'm glad you really like these but for me they are just not a dark enough chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: sciencediet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't recall the exact numbers, but I think semi-sweet is in the 50's% range, and bitter-sweet in the 60's%. My impression is that 72%, while popular with modern dark chocolate fans, is quite strong compared to standards from a couple of decades ago (at least in the USA).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  TJ used to sell an unsweetened bar, and they still have small 84% bars.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The terms bittersweet and semisweet have no real meaning. They are not regulated terms.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Good recipes will note if there is a specific % required/desired. If they just say semisweet or bittersweet you can use what you like the most. The problem comes when you get into high percentage chocolates like 72%. It can change the results of a baked good. You may need to reduce the amount of chocolate you use and add more fat or liquid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think the TJ dark bar is 53% though given that is Callebaut's most common baking dark.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Specifying the % is a relatively new practice, both in recipes and on packages. Most older recipes (more to 10 years old?) would have assumed you either had Bakers unsweetened, Tollhouse chips, or one of the Hershys varieties.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: sciencediet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The "Dark" is 54%, FWIW. I'm a bittersweet partisan and so default to the 72%. The fair trade organic 72% Belgian chocolate in 100g bars is quite good, too, for I think $1.99.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sciencediet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Definite YAY for the Pound Plus chocolate bars. I have used the Dark Chocolate for my favorite brownie recipe and it is wonderful. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. MEH: Fully Cooked Bacon - quick to prepare, yes (in the microwave), but really missed the crispyness that I can only personally achieve with frying up previously uncooked bacon in a pan. I wanted to give this a go for convenience sake, but will try TJ's Applewood Smoked uncooked bacon next time I am buying bacon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Definite yea - Organic Turkish Apricots. Not much to say, just quite yummy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yea/Nay -- Trader Jacques Shells with Brie and Asparagus. Nothing bad about it . . . just meh. You could do much better and tastier from TJ's freezer section for the calories (760 calories for the whole thing, which is two servings only in theory), for example with the Gnocchi al Gorgonzola mentioned earlier in the thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yea: Balsamic Glaze - love this on my sweet cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Almond Croissants - OMG! My new fav. I bought both these and the chocolate ones due to you guys - tried the choc ones first - wonderful. Then the almond ones - LOVED them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Nay: TJ's Svelte Ice cream Sandwiches - UGH - gritty and really bad. Maybe I got a bad batch but never again.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Nectarines - tasteless - WHEN will I ever learn not to buy fruit from TJ's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: toopie28

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I noticed the the Svelte ice cream is pretty bad when it's melted half way. i got a box last night and it's been 100 degrees out and i think the freezer at TJ's has been working overtime. got right home (3 minute drive) popped one out and it was grainy. however, when back to super frozen they're ok. the issue is that they're low fat and i think it's the nature of the beast when eating something like low fat ice cream. ice cream isn't intended to be low fat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I second the Yay of the Organic Turkish Apricots. They're perfect for sweet/savory dishes. Not too sweet and almost like fresh apricots. (my favorite fruit)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Yea- Fresh Ranier Cherries, Fresh Blueberries.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Nay- Fresh Noodles. Gummy texture

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. YAY- Pita bite crackers. way too good to be healthy. great with hummus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                They make multi-grain ones that are AMAZING with cheese...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                --Dommy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Dommy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I just got those tonight and will dig in tomorrow. that's good news Dommy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. We just got a Trader Joe's in Albany! It's been fun trying new things, especially the perishable items that we couldn't buy from distant stores. So please excuse me if some of the things I yea/nay have been around for a while. They're new to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yea: shredded beef brisket in barbeque sauce. I really liked the sauce on this. I was glad I bought 2 packages, though, because the amount of beef is about 1/4 the capacity of the pan.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yea: chicken in orange ginger sauce. This made a great meal.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yea: dark chocolate pretzels, smashing s'mores, dark chocolate non pareils, extra chocolate chip cookies, frozen chocolate covered banana slices
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yea/Nay: white cheddar cheese corn puffs. Some of us loved these, some of us thought they could be use for packing material.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Nay: vegetable fried rice. Gak! Overwhelming taste of onion and red bell pepper, neither of which my family is fond of. Next time I'll make the orange ginger chicken with white rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Can't go too wrong with the chocolatey stuff! :-) Try the Japanese style fried rice; you will probably like it better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks. It did look good and I probably should have gotten it instead. Daughter tried the kimchi fried rice (as a side dish with the bulgogi marinated beef) and really liked it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The chicken fried rice is surely better than the veg variety - I like it. Also the fat free vegetarian biryani curried rice - you can add meat if you like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have also read on www.whatsgoodattraderjoes.com that the shrimp fried rice is quite good. I just thought the veg fried rice would be better with the orange ginger chicken. But plain white rice probably would have been best with it. The fried rice varieties might be better on the side of a marinated, grilled piece of meat, fish or tofu.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A friend tells me the shrimp fried rice was his first Trader Joe's product and he liked it a lot. Haven't tried it myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As for plain rice, I've been using TJ's brown jasmine rice for nearly everything and really like it. By "everything" I mean like jambalaya and gumbo too. It takes longer to cook than white, of course, but otherwise is no problem at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks, I'll definitely try that brown jasmine rice!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Me too. I HAD been using brown basmati but a few years ago it was out of stock. A clerk suggested the brown jasmine and I've used that ever since.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I tried the brown Basmati rice first, brown because that's the kind of rice I like and Basmati because I knew the name from Indian food which I also like. But somehow the flavor wasn't what I expected and didn't appeal to me. Brown jasmine rice is next to it on the TJ shelves so I tried it out of curiosity, and like you, I've used it ever since.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Just tried the brown jasmine rice tonight. Very tasty. I don't think I had the amount of water quite right for my rice cooker, so some of it was a tad crunchy, but we didn't mind. And the taste was so good that we didn't miss white rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. HUGE YAY for the Spinach and Kale Pie with Feta Cheese and Phyllo Pastry that comes frozen. It is a long, flat log shape (not round pie). Do not let it sit on counter, but do cook directly from freezer. It has a great, authentic Greek Spinach Pie flavor and texture -- AND you cannot make it yourself for $4.99! we both loved it, easily eating it for dinner, and the leftover for breakfast! ;-).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        if you love spinach, go get it today!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        PS, this is a much better value than the smaller spinach triangles, and another spinach pie thingie that i know they have (or had).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. YAY: Dark Chocolate Almond Toffee Candies - one word...YUM!!! These are the candies in the little bags right near the checkout stands (at least they are at our TJ's store) and are only cost around 1.50 per pack. I was pleasantly surprised that the almonds and toffee were ground up in the center, so there were no big chunks of almond or toffee which for me was PERFECT. The dark chocolate went well with it, and I am more of a milk chocolate fan but still loved these candies. Try them out - they are delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          MEH/NAY: Baked Cheese Crunchies...I know a lot of you on this board love these, but I just wasn't liking them. I much prefer the cheese taste of TJ's Baked Cheese Curls, and gave it a partial NAY because my package was on the stale side.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          YAY: Greek Apricot Mango Yogurt - TJ's line of of regular Greek (not the lowfat or nonfat) yogurts are absolutely the best yogurts I have ever purchased. We loved the Greek Strawberry Vanilla Yogurt and the Greek Apricot Mango is even better - the apricots and mangoes are diced up in the yogurt and tasted like they were freshly cut up in it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Those Greek yogurts (strawberry vanilla, apricot mango, and honey) have been wonderful for my dad, who is trying to maintain his weight despite a very low appetite due to chemotherapy. They are his all-time favorite yogurt taste-wise and go down as easily as other yogurts with half the calories, and I feel much MUCH better giving him one of those each day than those nutritionally awful Boost and Ensure shakes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Very sorry to hear Rilke that your father has to go through chemo, but glad that he has found these greek yogurt cups at TJ's. They are full of protein, calcium, with a decent amount of calories - all things needed for someone looking to put on weight. I myself am on the thin side and have tried boost/ensure to add some pounds on...they just aren't very palatable to taste. I too am living off of these TJ's greek yogurts now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i'm so sorry about your dad :( it is a good way to gain weight. when my son was 2 he was really underweight and we ate this yogurt often. we often melted butter into applesauce but the yogurts were much better for him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Didn't mean to start a pity thing! But I appreciate the sentiment (you too littleflower :-) ). Just wanted to throw it out there as a tip if anyone else is struggling to gain weight / struggling with appetite. These yogurts are ~300 calories a pop and delicious, and don't sit on my dad's stomach like an equivalent amount of most other foods.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    oh we've been down the ensure/boost road and it' not a very tasty one, especially for a 2 yr old. at least an adult can probably suck it down while holding your breath. the probiotics in yogurt are really good for people with compromised immune too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I haven't yet tried the honey greek yogurt but looking forward to adding that to my ever-growing TJ's list as well. Great tip on these yogurts being good for those looking for something easy to eat, tasty, and good amount of calories to maintain nutrition. Keep us posted on your Dad, and hope he finds other foods as well that he likes and wants to eat a lot of.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. One more YAY: Yellowfin Tuna in Olive Oil in a can - this was SO GOOD that I didn't even bother putting it into a bowl and adding a little mayonnaise and diced up pickles (how I used to eat tunafish sandwiches). I ate it with just a sprinkling of sea salt...and ate the whole can in one sitting. I am not sure about you all, but my tunafish memories have been confined to canned chunk white tuna in water from the famous label brand, and TJ's yellowfin in olive oil is leaps and bounds tastier than that. Only wish that the can included a flip top so I didn't have to bother with the can opener. If you like tuna even just a little bit - highly recommend trying this! For the quality of this product alone - a steal for 2.29 per can.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I used to buy this all the time, but once I ate the whole can and my blood pressure was the highest ever at the doctor's office. Watch out for the sodium.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The canned yellowfin tuna makes great tuna salad - more flavorful than canned albacore. Oil instead of water makes a difference in flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Agree about the Tuna packed in Olive Oil. I have been buying it for years for my Italian husband. I have just discovered that Fresh and Easy also sells an Albacore packed in Olive Oil that may be even better. I always use them when making a Putanesca Sauce with Tuna. Also try making a Tuna Salad without mayonnaise. Combine capers, dijon mustard, lemon juice. Make sure to always squeeze out the excess oil when you open the can. I always add a good olive oil to the mix. This is delicious with a Salad Nicoise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yay also to Mango Sherbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: fhp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Nice tips there, fhp, thanks. Yeah, we do not live anywhere near a Fresh and Easy but TJ's Yellowfin Tuna in Olive Oil is absolutely superb. Mango sherbet sounds good and glad to hear it scores a "yay" from a fellow chowhounder. This will have to go on my ever growing "must try" list for TJ's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Not quite the usual 'yea', but yesterday I came across an interview with the CEO (or is the former one?) of Costco who expressed admiration for the TJ business model - niche market with quality products and staff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Uh oh, I wouldn't want some type of hybrid--Trader Jostco's.. that could be confusing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          that would be the end of me. hybrid TJ-Costco. I wouldn't stop shopping! we would go bankrupt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Yea - Speculoos spread

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yea - Lime Fruit Floes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yea - Refrigerated Cinnamon Rolls

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yea - Refrigerated Biscuits

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chuchelo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I didn't know they had refrigerated cinnamon rolls! I'll have to look for those. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chuchelo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Not sure if you have tried them yet, but along the same lines as the refrigerated cinnamon rolls and biscuits (and appropriately, located right next to them in the same section!) are the TJ's crescent rolls. I highly recommend them - they are buttery, flaky, and delicious - we like them much better than the famous name brand in the supermarket.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Yay-not sure if it is new but it is new to me. Had a triple creamy brie with wild mushrooms. So So good especially paired with the everything cracker. My friend told me to take home the rest with me and I completely forgot, I now wish I had a TJ near me so I can get some more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: vttp926

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              +1 on the brie w/ mushrooms (not a new item, but one of my favorite cheeses @ TJs)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Nay. Am I the only one who thinks that Speculos spread is gross?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: shaebones

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I liked the Speculoos cookie spread but must admit that after the novelty of it wore off, I am left with half a jar of Speculoos spread that isn't calling my name anymore. It was really tasty to try and experiment with, but isn't on my "repeat buy" list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I feel the same way. My reaction to the first couple jars was 'oh my gosh this is incredibly delicious'. After buying the first one, I went back and got five.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But then that wears off and it becomes kind of something you don't really want to eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's weird, that doesn't happen a lot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: shaebones

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  No, but I think we are in the minority. I find it overwhelmingly sweet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: shaebones

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I agree the novelty wears off (make Puppy Chow with it.. and give it to teenagers).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Also, 'spreads' (like processed peanut-butter) have recently given me the question: "Why do we (in America) consider this 'paste' to be food?"--I cannot believe how much it now reminds me of edible paste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well, spreads aren't just an American fascination; after all, Nutella is originally a European product. And what about Marmite/Vegemite?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      On another note, what are most people doing with the Speculoos spread -- putting it on toast?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My fellow employees and I mostly eat it straight from the jar with spoons. You could also try it on strawberries or apple slices. Or pretzel thins (sweet/salty). Or on top of oatmeal or plain yogurt with sliced banana. Or on crepes or pancakes. Or baked into cookies. Or on top of cookies. . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I eat it with apple slices. My kids like it on waffles or pancakes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I eat it on top of cinnamon grahams with a glass of milk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: shaebones

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I love the stuff. But I was hooked on the original Biscoff spread before I ever knew about Speculoo. I'm a Biscoff junkie!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. I know some of you really liked the new filo spinach and kale thing; I just had it tonight and it took WAY LONGER than 45 minutes to cook AND it was so salty I could not eat more than a taste of it; will not buy this again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            do you know your oven is working according to the temperature setting?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            we didn't find it salty, and we're not over-users of salt. maybe you got a bad batch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I keep an oven thermometer in my oven so the oven temp was right; you could be right that I got a bad batch. I kinda like salt but this was way too much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                walker, i tried the product again, and followed the directions about leaving the pie in the paper tray to bake. you are correct that the instructions for the baking time are vastly understated. it calls for 45 minutes at 375, and i had to bake at least an additional one-half hour! i called to let the TJs know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                additionally, i noticed it was tasting saltier this go around. hmmm…. mr. alka doesn't think it tasted saltier this time. go figure!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                anyhow, when we had first tried it in the demo at the store, they were baking it OUT of the paper tray, on a baking sheet, which is how i did it the first time as well, and the timing was pretty accurate -- maybe an extra 5-7 minutes needed to get the brownness i wanted (or maybe it was my oven --ha!)…. but it did spread (leak) somewhat on the baking sheet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                so i agree 100% with you. they need tp revamp their directions and also reduce the salt. but i still will buy it….and eat something with it to reduce the saltiness….(i'm thinking it would be tasty with some cottage cheese, cream cheese, or -- of course -- some lebneh or greek yogurt).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              TJ's stuff always seems to take longer to cook for me too. I've come to expect it. Sorry that you wasted all that gas/electricity on something you found inedible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I like TJ's spanakopita and expected to like this, but agree that it's way too salty - and I like salt in my food. Don't care for the flavor of the feta cheese in it either. Two bites, the second to confirm the first, were all I could eat, so into the garbage it went. Extremely unusual for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                For what it's worth, 45 minutes in the paper tray in a preheated oven was enough to heat it through and brown the pastry. I don't believe cooking it longer would have made it better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Blah - Quinoa Duo with Vegetable Melange (frozen). Flavorless except for a slight peppery edge. The vegetable melange is zucchini, sweet potato, tomato, and onion, and several herbs and spices are listed, but I can't taste any of them. Inoffensive but that's all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Big NAY on Trader Joe's Meat Lasagna in the refrigerated section.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The most tasteless pile of stuff I have ever gotten from TJ. Not bad taste or off taste, but NO taste. No taste of tomato or Italian sausage or ground beef, or Mozz or Ricotta or Parm cheese, or a single seasoning or spice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The ingredients list has all the usual things, but we couldn't taste any of them. How do they do that? How do you remove flavor?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: puzzler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Did you try salting it? Sometimes just the right amount of salt is needed to make all the other flavors 'pop'. But having offered that excuse, I'll have to admit that few of their frozen entries have wowed me. In fact the thing like that that I regularly buy is their mini meatballs. Otherwise its the frozen basics like vegetables and fruit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      TJ's many kinds of frozen fish are very good, and I've taken to buying their frozen turkey burgers instead of making my own from ground turkey. Likewise the frozen meatballs, mini or not. Likewise the potstickers. But I haven't had much luck with the prepared and frozen entrées in the plastic trays. Maybe partly because I don't have a microwave oven, which they're designed for, and heating them in other ways doesn't work so well. But for me at least, they're on the wrong track.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Can you please share with us what frozen fish you have had good luck with? I have only tried TJ's fish once a few years ago, and was left with lackluster results (I think it was a salmon dish). I love salmon, trout, and tuna, and it would be great in the wintertime when I can't easily (or cheaply!) get it fresh to be able to get it right at TJ''s.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sure! I've had their just plain frozen salmon - sockeye, cohoe, king - and they were fine but more or less commodities. Standard stock in the freezer are Premium Salmon Burgers (seasoned) and either Battered Fish Nuggets or Reduced Guilt Fish Sticks when I feel like that kind of thing. Also had the battered cod and liked it but the price is a little high for my budget.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sorry, I meant the battered halibut, not cod.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The crab-stuffed flounder is a bargain at $2.99 per portion and is (I think) very good. I also like their salmon without the pink food coloring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              With the fish, I'm happiest with the plain fish pieces, not the fish 'dishes'. Aji tuna steaks comes to mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for the recommendations from both you and John...will def. try the aji tuna and reduced guilt fish sticks in the near future.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Big yay for the Kettle Corn Cookies! Oh my goodness they are tasty! Very buttery, sweet and salty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: toodie jane

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But they're small, so if you're able to stop at 1 or 2 then it's ok.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Yea for the potato salad - it's just your basic, American-style potato salad, but it's properly seasoned, the potatoes are the right size and cooked properly, and it is the right blend of chunky and mashed (at least to my taste buds).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Yay for the (frozen) Battered halibut. It's on the pricy side, but makes delicious fish tacos (with TJ's corn tortillas, shredded cabbage, homemade creamy cilantro sauce, homemade pickled red onions and jalapenos, and homemade salsa). I never once regretted using my time to make three condiments and dialing in the frozen fish. It was perfect. Don't be tempted to use the (cheaper) Breaded Cod fillets instead. They are IMO much worse in texture and flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yay for the Crisp Rice Cereal and the Graham Crackers. Basics but done really well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yay for the (frozen) Palak Paneer. With a piece of buttered Tandoori Naan it makes a satisfying easy lunch, and the flavor is much better than it needs to be. I would be perfectly happy if I was served this curry in an Indian restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yay for the (frozen) Mac and Cheese Bites (serve with TJ"s Kansas City BBQ sauce mixed with a splash of TJ's amazing Habanero Hot Sauce). Makes a great trashy snack while watching a movie. Nay for the Mini Cheddar Chipotle bites. Not inedible, but not very flavorful or interesting unless you pile a bunch of your own toppings on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yay for the (new, frozen) Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli. Nice simple straightforward dish, makes a good easy lunch for me and my 3 year old to share. Not too salty and lends itself well to embellishment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Spent just less than $80!!! on our recent trip there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Here's the opinions so far:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Trader Jose's Dark Lager (imported from Mexico, $5.99/Six Pack). Emphatic YAY.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Trader Joe's Artisan Reserve Vermont White Cheddar-Aged three years. Best Cheddar we've ever tasted. Emphatic YAY.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Trader Joe's Sea Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips. 7 oz., $1.99. Yay

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Trader Jose's Salted Sesame Corn Tortilla Flat Breads. Terrific snack cracker. YAY.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              TJ's Pita Bite Crackers. Another nice cracker. Yay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Much more left to consume and report on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: RedTop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "Trader Joe's Sea Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips. 7 oz., $1.99. Yay"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My husband Yays that too. In fact he inhales them... I try not to look at them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: RedTop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The peanut-butter filled pretzel nuggets with salt on the surface. Every time I serve them they are the party snack that gets eaten first.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. *OKAY* - Everything Pretzel Slims: I was in the mood for a bag of salty, crunchy thin pretzels, and these caught my eye. I loved the taste of the "everything" flavor combination on these pretzels as well as the crunch, I just wanted MORE of the "everything" flavor to shine through. Also, these really lacked salt - once I added some sea salt to them it perked the flavor up just a bit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  YAY: Organic Apple Strawberry Fruit Wraps - tasty for only .50 per wrap - a nice healthy snack to chew on, and hoping something will pry me away from the TJ's Gummy Bears (still addicted to those and we're on our fourth bag in just a couple of weeks)!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Meh on the Chicken Tamalitos (or something like that--the new mini chicken tamales). I thought the box implied they come with sauce but my box didn't have anything. They are okay for a work lunch if you bring salsa, etc separately.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Yea to the Thomcord grapes, which are sure to be temporary. They look like Concord but have been crossed with Thompson so they are seedless, and taste like both their parents.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My TJ's has moved a short distance over the line from MA to NH, so it now has wine and beer!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Meds mean I can't drink regularly, but I bought some hard cider, a brand of Riesling that I know to be a good one, and the former 2, now 3½ Buck Chuck, for cooking. The descriptions of the beers and ales were intriguing. The staff exceeded the helpfulness one always finds at TJ.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Please report back on what cider you got and how it was! I'm a cider fan but I'm wary of the TJ's brand--they look like Woodchuck, which I know I find too sweet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I do recommend the Sir Perry pear cider (not a TJ brand).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sciencediet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I won't be trying it until crisper weather in the fall but if it's drier than a riesling I won't like it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It is not TJ's own label. I got the first variety listed: http://pupscider.com/SHTM/SHWC_HARDCI...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Forgot to mention: New, or new to me, is TJ's tomato paste in 4.93 oz tubes, product of Tunisia, for a mere 99 cents! I pay from $3 to $4 for the 4.5 oz Amore, an Italian product which might be more concentrated (it says double concentration but compared to what?). I have an Amore open so have not yet tried the TJ. The odd amount leads me to think it's a relabled foreign brand. Even if it is not as strong as Amore, it's less than a third the price so who cares. I know, it's cheaper to freeze small amounts of canned paste, and I do that. But when a dish needs just a tweak, nothing beats the convenience of the tube.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Today I opened the TJ paste tube and squeezed strips of both it and Amore into an oiled skillet. They are precisely the same texture and color! I did not taste them because tomato products vary within a given brand, according to the ripeness of the fruit and the season they are made. I think the visual comparison is the most germane in this case.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I love those Thomcord grapes. They only grow them in California right now and only ship them when they are ripe which is for a few weeks. I think they are one of the best eating grapes out there!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          www.clubtraderjoes.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. HUGE YAY: Cats Cookies for People (the regular kind) - tastes like a cross between a homemade cinnamon roll with the texture and consistency of a honey teddy graham. Can't. stop. eating these!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          HUGE YAY: Everything Bagel Chips - after being a little disappointed with the lack of flavor out of the Everything Pretzel Slims, we decided to give these a try. Now, I've had bagel chips before elsewhere and definitely wasn't impressed (others had really no flavor), but these taste garlicky with a complexity achieved from the combination of the other ingredients. See above comment on inability to stop eating them - it applies here too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          YAY: Organic Country White Bread - heard this a decent bread and decided to give it a try. Toasts up great and the ingredient list includes spelt, oats, etc....so it is a little more healthy than plain ol' white bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Mango ice cream-filled mochi. I dare not buy these as cannot resist, in fact, cannot walk past refrigerator. BTW a Chicago supermarket sells the identical product for roughly 200% of the TJ price. Ditto TJ's frozen chocolate lava cakes. Let us never take for granted TJ's very favorable prices.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Yay, Trader Joe's Chopped Lamb and Rice Dinner Premium Dog Food with Vegetables (22 oz can)--our girls split this for breakfast this morning and each wolfed down their portion.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: RedTop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Laughing...I first read "Chopped Lamb and Rice Dinner" and was happy thinking this was a new TJ's dish (we love lamb and are always seeking new ways to try it), then realized this was food made for dogs not humans. Maybe TJ's will make a "people" version of it :-).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Nay - Sliced Muenster Cheese, both the regular and low-fat. No flavor at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Major yay - reduced guilt guacamole with Greek yogurt. It has a slight kick, great flavor, slightly chunky texture. While probably not for guac purists, I like it so much better than the other tj's guac I've tried (spicy, the avicado's number one). At 30 cal/2T, it's going to be hard to stop this from being a regular buy at my house.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jmacd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I agree! THat reduced guilt guacamole is great! Awesome taste and texture. You don't even miss the extra calories.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. YAY: Organic Woodfire Sicilian Style Pizza - outstanding crust, best ever for a frozen pizza (very flavorful and crispy), sauce was perfect (not too sweet), and tasty roasted red peppers. Two things though...the "pearls" of mozzarella didn't spread well and the taste wasn't as good as expected, and I am glad that we didn't add the red pepper olive oil drizzle b/c even without it, the pizza had a slight albeit nice kick.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    YAY: Black Figs - the sweetest, juiciest figs I have ever tried. Yum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    YAY: Apple Cranberry Juice - the apple juice balanced out the slight tartness of the cranberry. Refreshing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    NAY: Strawberry Fruit Floes - surprised with this one, thought it was waaaaaay too sugary sweet tasting. Not very refreshing IMO...although I know this is a winner for some, this won't be a repeat buy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    NAY: Peaberry Coffee - blech. Strong and bitter - glad this was just a sample at the station.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    MEH: Ciao Pepperoni - taste was good, but it the edges didn't crisp up as well as other brands in the oven, and surprised to notice after purchasing it that it has Sodium Nitrites in the ingredients list.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      lucky you on the figs - the organic ones i bought yesterday get a big fat NAY. utterly tasteless. they're going back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sorry to hear that, GHG...yeah, as much as I love TJ's, sometimes (as another poster recently pointed out here...I think chompy) they can be a bit inconsistent on the quality of their batches they sell. Probably the same as many grocery stores, it's just when you taste one of TJ's many "wow" products you want it to always be that same A++ quality and sometimes they fall short. It doesn't usually bother me (too much) though because of their fantastic no questions asked return policy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. YAY- Chia seeds. you really can't go wrong with chia seeds as they're just seeds but glad they're available now at TJ's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Yay- cilantro salad dressing. Delicious and not overwhelmingly cilantro.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yay - refrigerated cinnamon rolls. Not a replacement for homemade, of course, but way better than the preservative and artificial flavoring filled dreck sold in other grocery stores.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yay - everything bagel chips. Very tasty, nice balance of flavors. Not too salty or oniony. Nice crunch, not too dry and hard.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yay - English toffee with milk chocolate. Wow this stuff is good! I just wish the pieces were about half the size that they are. It's a big piece.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yay - peanut butter cups with dark chocolate. Great balance of peanut butter and chocolate.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yay - refrigerated crescent rolls. So much better than Pillsbury, and without that nasty aftertaste from all the artificial ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I'm not sure how new these are, but yay for the Tuscan cheese soaked in wine and yay for the 3-year "Artisan" extra-sharp cheddar, which is not only sharp but also somehow lemony, and is creamier than most extra-sharp, long-aged cheddars. Nay on the 1000-day gouda. I love aged goudas, but this was disappointing. The Old Amsterdam TJ's also carries is better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Yay to a brand of cheddar cheese called unexpected!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Yay--Trader Joe's Coastal Merlot; vintage 2010, $4.99.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Kind of a quirky item I saw recently at Trader's. Chia Seeds! At first I was was like what am I going to do with these things, but my wife really likes them on yogurt and there are a myriad of things you can do with them. I guess in Mexico they put them in fruit drinks were they swell up like little gelatinous balls.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                www.clubtraderjoes.com

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: clubtraderjoes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yup! They are like Mexican Boba... They are an interesting addition to refridgerator oatmeal... they make it almost pudding like!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  --Dommy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: clubtraderjoes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm addicted to adding chia in drinks. Was so happy when I saw them on the shelf!!