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Trader Joe's Yea/Nay Thread - December 2012 [OLD]

Okay, I'll start the thread since it's already December 4 and nobody else has!

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  1. YEA - Cubed butternut squash (produce section). I absolutely hate cutting a whole butternut squash, and TJ's precut is so much cheaper than at my local Ralph's.

    3 Replies
    1. re: aching

      all right! thanks! i know there's been a lot of YAY's on the chicken samosas already but here's another yay. so easy and not as caloric as the restaurant version. This post got me thinking so I fired up a few and noticed the meat is a bit too crumbly for my liking but it still tastes ok.

      1. re: aching

        Also love butternut but hate prepping it. You may already know about this, but just in case it helps someone…

        For applications where the squash is just going to be blended or mashed in the end it was a time and effort saving revelation to learn you can just throw the whole squash in the oven for 90 minutes, let cool, and then effortlessly scoop out the seeds and flesh from the completely softened skin.

        Don't even pierce it, just lay on a rimmed sheet or roasting pan to catch any juices that may leak out.

        1. re: aching

          I like the cubed squash too. So fast and convenient. I served mine with rack of pork and mashed potatoes. There were leftover squash and potatoes so a coupla days later I made potato squash pancakes. They turned out delicious.

        2. I was really happy to find whole, pre brined organic chicken for $2.99 per lb at TJ's in E. Northport, NY. Saves a step I often lack time for when I decide to make it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mcf

            Post script: made it last night and it was really, REALLY good. Will be a new staple unless it disappears like too many other products I've liked there.

          2. Nay- Dark chocolate peanut butter salted caramel truffles. It is too sweet.

            1. Yea - Artisan Puff Pastry Sheets (freezer section). They contain only pronounceable ingredients, defrost quickly, are a great value and taste great.

              YEA! - Dark Chocolate Almond Toffee candies (in 2 oz bags near checkout lanes). Crunchy, slightly salty, caramel-y, chocolatey awesomeness.

              Nay - Dark Chocolate Caramallows (boxed candy). They had a great texture and the caramel/chocolate/marshmallow balance was good, too - but they also had a distinct hay/grassy flavor that was off-putting.

              2 Replies
              1. re: hanaumamama

                I won't be trying the Dark Chocolate Caramallows--due to your NAY and also last year their MINTY mallows tasted bad to me.. a bad texture and toothpaste-flavored.

                1. re: GraceW

                  I'll give another nay on dark chocolate mint marshmallows - way too "chewy".

              2. yea: peppermint macarons. Not as fabulous as the pumpkin macarons but good. Peppermint cookie filled with dark chocolate mint ganache. The ganache is a little thicker and firmer than the pumpkin filling, making the macaron seem heavier, is my only complaint.

                nay: coconut strips. My store was out of the coconut chips which I absolutely LOVE (clerk said they were just out of stock, not discontinued. whew!), but I was in the mood for something coconut so got the strips instead. Thick, chewy strips of sweetened coconut. Flavor is just not there, bland and overly sweet, and I don't like the chewy texture. The sweet/salty combo and crunch of the coconut chips is much better.

                2 Replies
                1. re: stargazer77

                  I was going to Meh the peppermint macarons. I think it may be time to face up to the fact that I just don't like macarons that much. Unless they're made by Pierre Herme.

                  1. re: Savour

                    I love macarons but it was a big Nay in our house. Tasted like a breathmint - overpowered the ganache. The texture was OK, typical of frozen, like the Picard brand in France, but not good.

                2. Yay - whole delicate squash. Delicious flavor, easy to prepare, and $1 each
                  - Oregon chai concentrate- not a trader joes exclusive, but they always have it and its cheaper

                  Meh- pumpkin greek yogurt. Husband liked it, I thought it was just ok

                  Nay- chocolate hazelnut sandwich cookies. Crumbled in the box, too sweet

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: cheesecake17

                    Huh! I'm addicted to those chocolate hazelnut cookies!

                    1. re: nancyhudson

                      My husband liked them. I didn't care for them

                  2. Yay - Chocolate Covered Peppermint Marshmallows. So good -- especially if you let them melt in hot chocolate ...

                    1. I just made my first return of a TJs product: a 1 lb box of grape tomatoes. I bought them on Saturday, on Monday I noticed a few getting funky and by today (Wednesday) the whole box was rotten. I've had bad produce from them before, but this was the final straw. They were very gracious when I took them back. The cashier said that it was so rare for them to have bad produce. I told her that no, sadly, it was not rare at all.

                      semi yay - the mediterranean hummus snack pack (refrigerated). Loved the taste, but they were too big. I think each serving is about 300 calories, too. Half the size would have been better. I think I'll just buy a bigger tub of hummus and take small portions of it to work in a little container.

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: AmyH

                        My mom, who loves salt, said that their hummus was way too salty - ?

                        1. re: sandylc

                          In the snack pack or the bigger tubs? I can't have a lot of salt and am very sensitive to saltiness, but the snack pack hummus was ok for me. They have lots of different ones in the big tubs. Do you know which one she tried?

                        2. re: AmyH

                          You are correct about their produce - eat it quickly or risk spoilage. Same with their cheese, only more so.

                          1. re: sandylc

                            I do my shopping once per week and it was a really big tub of grape tomatoes. There would be no way to eat them up that quickly.So I'll just get them in smaller, more expensive tubs at the grocery store. And pretty much all my other produce, too. Except I do like TJ's organic whole carrots very much.

                            1. re: sandylc

                              That has not been my experience, ever. Nor have I had a problem with their milk or meat, though I have read many complaints. I go to 3 different TJ's (2 MA, 1 NH) but apparently freshness varies in other regions of the country.

                            2. re: AmyH

                              AmyH, i find it hard to believe the cashier's pronouncement.
                              what universe is s/he in?

                              have returned MANY bags of salad,
                              and even brought bags of "pink" /spoiled lettuce to the front desk directly from the TJ fridge before they could sell it to unsuspecting/inattentive customers.

                              moldy berries not uncommon also.

                              1. re: westsidegal

                                I was floored when the cashier said that! I don't know if the other shoppers in line were more shocked by what the cashier had said or my rebuttal. I guess it depends on their experiences. Ours is a very new store, so not everybody may have had rotten produce.

                                1. re: AmyH

                                  It varies greatly from store to store. At the Delaware store, the produce section is luckily more hit than miss, though you have to be careful.

                              2. re: AmyH

                                NAY, NAY, NAY! plum cherry tomatoes. what did expect buy tomatoes at this time of year? sure it's my own fault for even thinking they may be passable. ugh! if this was your first tasting of a tomato it would make you a hater for the rest of your life.

                              3. Yay: blondie brownies (pre-made in a cellophane pack with the bakery ideas, $4/4)
                                the full-fat small yogurt cups, comes in combo flavors like 4 vanilla and 4 blueberry; 4 peaches n' cream, 4 mango; 4 banana, 4 strawberry
                                Frozen chicken fried rice (but I pick out the red bell peppers and doctor it up with soy and sesame oil)
                                canned san marzano tomatoes
                                blood orange soda
                                frozen arrancini balls
                                Tarte de Alcace
                                freeze dried grapes

                                their breads in the bakery shelves
                                i forgot what they're called, but they were a dumpling filled with ground chicken (NOT gyoza). They were gross.
                                The frozen mini cheese pizzas
                                Spiced cider
                                diet pink lemonade

                                1. NAY! To TJ's irritating habit of offering some wonderful new product only to dump it a few weeks later. HATE that! It makes me not want to try anything new.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Transplanted Texan

                                    Is there any product in particular that you are thinking of? A lot of the new items become victims of their own success and end up going temporarily out of stock (ie kale chips, coconut chips) but they are not necessarily discontinued! I will agree that I hate it when my favorites get discontinued due to "slow sales"

                                  2. I'm going to NAY the frozen torteloni with tomato pesto entree. The flavors just didn't come together. Dish is pretty, but pretty tasteless.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Bob W

                                      Of those three little frozen pasta entrees, the only one I've purchased again is the farfalle with four cheeses and spinach. But I've had quite a few -- good work lunch. The tortelloni with red pesto you mentioned and the third (can't remember the name, twirly pasta with veggies in a yellow box) are both completely forgettable.

                                      1. re: Rilke

                                        I thought the shells with asparagus and brie was quite good. Unfortunately my TJ's doesn't seem to have it any more.

                                        1. re: AmyH

                                          That one gave my mom and me some digestion issues :-/ probably just a bad batch or whatever, but we didn't buy again. If I want easy comfort food carb-and-cheesy goodness, I reach for the gorgonzola gnocchi.

                                    2. I haven't opened it, but a pre-emptive NAY to the sipping chocolate. I noticed the ingredients have changed to much lower quality (after buying it of course). I am planning to return it without opening it because now the ingredients are really no different than Swiss Miss/cheaper brands of hot chocolate. The old product had cocoa powder, sugar, chocolate liquor and cocoa butter; new version is just sugar, cocoa powder, natural flavor, salt. Bleah.

                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: stargazer77

                                        Wow, the TJ's circular I just got in the mail today "Holiday Guide 2012" brags about the Sipping Chocolate's ingredients being cocoa powder, sugar, choc. liquor and cocoa butter! too bad they switched the ingredients out so fast...ugh! Was going to try it...

                                        1. re: Val

                                          i think it's a regional thing - in the November thread, some Hounds were reporting that they picked up the crappy stuff, while others scored the higher-quality formula. i think people who only have access to the cheapo version should e-mail corporate to complain.

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            yep, will check this out tomorrow when I go to TJ's...will see if I can find the Sipping Chocolate with the good stuff...thanks, GHG!

                                        2. re: stargazer77

                                          I believe you've posted this before. For myself, I see nothing at all wrong with the ingredients list. Here it is: sugar, cocoa processed with alkali, natural flavor (soy), salt.

                                          As for the comparison with Swiss Miss (presumably meaning the milk chocolate variety), here's what's in that:

                                          sugar, modified whey, cocoa (processed with alkali), hydrogenated coconut oil, nonfat milk, calcium carbonate, less than 2% of: salt, dipotassium phosphate, mono- and diglyderides, artificial flavor, carrageenan. Contains milk.

                                          That's a very different product, without taking into account the quality of the chocolate itself. As for nutritional values, the sipping chocolate has about 50 less calories per serving and half the fat,

                                          A more exact comparison is with Ghirardelli Premium Hot Cocoa: sweet ground chocolate, sugar, cocoa processed with alkali, unsweetened chocolate, soy lecithin, and vanilla. Do you believe Ghirardelli makes a low-quality hot chocolate? What, in your opinion, is a high-quality product?

                                          All this would be beside the point if the sipping chocolate didn't taste good. But it does. The basic flavor is bittersweet, but if you want it sweeter, you tip in the sweetener of your choice (I use Splenda) and Bob's your uncle. Adjusted to my taste, I put it in the same class as Ghirardelli's, my favorite - and it costs less.

                                          1. re: John Francis

                                            I've never tried the TJ's Sipping Chocolate, but many serious chocophiles do find that cocoa products which do not contain chocolate liquor and/or cocoa butter often fall short when compared to those that do.

                                            Depending on the amount, their inclusion can make for a much more full bodied drink which some find preferable.

                                            E Guttard, Godiva, Dagoba, and Green & Blacks all make hot chocolates that are more than just hot cocoa. Of course that doesn't mean everyone will prefer them over hot cocoa. In fact your favorite, the Ghiradelli's has sometimes beat out a few of those in taste tests that I've seen.

                                            With the dropping of the butter/liquor I also wouldn't be surprised if a re-labeling is also soon to follow, just like when TJ's dropped the "Chocolate" from their Truffles since they also only contain cocoa.

                                            1. re: NuMystic

                                              Thanks for the further information. But I don't see why the product's name needs changing. Cocoa is a form of chocolate.

                                              1. re: John Francis

                                                Didn't say it needs changing, only that I wouldn't be surprised if it was given them having made the same choice in the past.

                                                Technically cocoa is a component of chocolate , hence the complaints TJ received about their truffles and their changing of the name. I don't personally concern myself with such splitting of hairs but many do.

                                                "nibs are then ground to cocoa mass, pure chocolate in rough form. Because this cocoa mass usually is liquefied then molded with or without other ingredients, it is called chocolate liquor. The liquor also may be processed into two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Unsweetened baking chocolate (bitter chocolate) contains primarily cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions. Much of the chocolate consumed today is in the form of sweet chocolate, combining cocoa solids, cocoa butter or other fat, and sugar. Milk chocolate is sweet chocolate that additionally contains milk powder or condensed milk. White chocolate contains cocoa butter, sugar, and milk but no cocoa solids."

                                            2. re: John Francis

                                              John Francis, you should research what "natural flavor" means....

                                            3. re: stargazer77

                                              A friend of mine told me that they asked about the change of ingredients, and was told that the supplier has reformulated the ingredients and TJ mistakenly put the old ingredient list in the holiday mailers. So I imagine the stores that carry the old formulation will be switching to the new once they get a new shipment in.

                                            4. Yay Admiral Joseph's London Dry Gin. Unbelieveable price at $7.99 a bottle, and will stand up to any mid-shelf or even upper mid-shelf, classic dry gin.

                                              13 Replies
                                              1. re: EarlyBird

                                                Your TJ's sells gin?! Ours can't even sell wine!

                                                1. re: AmyH

                                                  Perhaps you're in a dry state? Out in California, they have all sort of beer, wine and booze at tremendous prices.

                                                  1. re: EarlyBird

                                                    I'm in NY and they're still fighting about whether to allow wine sales in grocery stores. The liquor laws are extremely restrictive.

                                                    1. re: AmyH

                                                      Gee, I'm really surprised to hear that. I thought those restrictions were all in the South, or Utah.

                                                        1. re: EarlyBird

                                                          Nah, these aren't laws based on conservative morality, it's strictly about the money and politics here:


                                                          1. re: EarlyBird

                                                            That statement is an example of pre-judging.

                                                            Michigan just changed some of their Blue laws in 2010. Some counties still have restrictions.


                                                            1. re: Cathy

                                                              No question about that Cathy, there's also a county in NJ that doesn't allow any business other than a restaurant to operate on a Sunday, but that doesn't change the fact that such pre-judgements are indeed based on the legal realities in specific predictable areas of this country.

                                                              Of course there are countless exceptions on both sides of the spectrum, but there is unquestionably a far higher degree of such conservative values being reflected in the laws in particular areas. Thems just the facts Ma'am.

                                                              1. re: Cathy

                                                                "That statement is an example of pre-judging."

                                                                Yes, it is. We all do it all the time. No offense meant.

                                                                1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                  It's not about blue laws, it's about independent liquor stores organizing to preserve their livelihoods. We can buy liquor seven days a week in NY.

                                                                  1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                    Actually the south is less restrictive. I'm from NC and when I moved to MD I walked a few laps around TJs thinking I must've missed the wine/beer section. Luckily I'm also close to DC and VA stores...

                                                                    NC can't sell booze though - I had no idea TJs even sold that - do we need to fly to CA to get it?

                                                            2. Yay - double roasted salsa. Tasty!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: AmyH

                                                                Ooh, I just bought that - can't wait to try it!

                                                              2. Sorry, I've been distracted! I was supposed to do that! Thanks for starting a new thread. We'll go back to quarterly in January.


                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: clubtraderjoes

                                                                  Oh, why? I like the monthly threads!

                                                                  1. re: aching

                                                                    Agreed - not every TJs Yea/Nay thread needs to be 300+ posts.

                                                                    1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                      Hear Hear! I find it far more inconvenient having to comb through insanely large quarterly posts than it is dealing with the separate monthly threads. Until Chowhound finally upgrades to more robust forum and search features having monthly threads is a huge boon imo.

                                                                      Clearly there are many detractors and supporters of both. Perhaps a poll is in order to find out if there is a clear preference with regulars. (and spare the Dec. thread from becoming a logistical debate)

                                                                  2. re: clubtraderjoes

                                                                    I'll be glad of that. For some reason, the 3rd quarter thread grew unusually big. But it's been a pain looking in separate monthly threads just to see if someone has posted on a product.

                                                                  3. A big NAY to the TJ's "Apple Turnovers". Absolutely not one bit of discernible apple; barely any apple taste. All dough. I'm a pie crust lovin' kinda girl, but I this case that was all there was. Maybe I got an "off" batch? Very disappointing.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: AmyInNC

                                                                      Are these the ones in the bakery section? You didn't get an "off" batch. We had the same experience you did. Definite nay.

                                                                      1. re: AmyH

                                                                        good to know, these looked tempting on my last visit.

                                                                    2. four paws up (two from each of my girls) for the canned "Tuna for Cats." nothing but tuna, vitamins & a little rice starch. they LOVE it.

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                        OMG...I tried this 2 weeks ago and kittehs *LOVED* it...going tomorrow and will pick up more cans...yesyesyes!!!!! Price was like 59 cents for a large-ish can??? Awesome!!! I feed my 2 indoor rescues and 2 outdoor feral cats, so cat food such as this THRILLS me...plus they get the dry food which I believe is better for them.

                                                                        1. re: Val

                                                                          I have read that dry food is not great for cats....I, personally, don't know why anyone whould feed cats.......

                                                                          1. re: Val

                                                                            Wet food is without a doubt better for them than dry.


                                                                            Just be careful with how much fish you feed them. Apart from the health issues related with over feeding fish, many cats become so addicted to the exceptionally strong flavored and scented fish food that they'll refuse all else.

                                                                            1. re: NuMystic

                                                                              my girls are on rotation - i only give them fish twice a week to avoid getting them addicted to it. seems to work just fine - they'll dig right in without hesitation to whatever i give them at the meal following the tuna. i swear they eat better than i do these days. tuna, rabbit, duck, turkey, chicken, beef, lamb, venison...

                                                                            2. re: Val

                                                                              Dry food is never better for cats, and I sure wish I'd figured that out decades ago. :-/

                                                                          2. I was delighted to see that the "truffle oil" is back, after and absence of several years. I bought extra this time, just in case. I know it's not real truffle but my taste buds are not so talented that they scorn it.

                                                                            The frozen latkes are leaden.....really, what did I expect? I was shopping late, and before dinner.
                                                                            Knew I'd be too sore to make them from scratch today, and the homemade applesauce needed eating before it fermented. I'll go back to my grater next time.

                                                                            The dark chocolate cashew brittle may be my downfall.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                                              Agreed on the frozen latkes. Since most of my kids aren't home yet, I put off making the home-made ones and got these frozen ones just for tradition sake. They weren't dreadful, but they weren't great either. You're right they were very heavy.

                                                                              1. re: AmyH

                                                                                They're heavy and take longer to cook than the directions say. Costco sells the same latkes in the fridge section.

                                                                                1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                  I did 10 minutes per side in the oven and they were fine. I think the directions said 8-10 per side.

                                                                            2. Per recent discussion on the Philadelphia board about high quality chocolate for holiday baking, there are many 'yays' for TJ's 17-ounce Belgian dark chocolate bars. For the price, they're up there with Callebaut and Valrhona.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. Inspired by their current fearless flyer, I bought:

                                                                                - truffled brie (cheese section, duh)
                                                                                - salted caramel nut delights (freezer section)
                                                                                - mustard gift set of 4 (provençal, black currant, chablis and basil)

                                                                                Haven't tried any of it yet, but will do so tomorrow. I also bought the chicken truffle mousse paté, and ditto.

                                                                                Here's hoping they're all big, fat YAYs....

                                                                                16 Replies
                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                  Please report back on the mustards. I thought that sounded like one of the most intriguing items in the new Flyer.

                                                                                  1. re: Jeri L

                                                                                    I think it'll take me a while to report on all of them, as I'll likely use them for salad dressings.

                                                                                    A big fat YAY on the truffle brie, though. Yowzah!

                                                                                  2. re: linguafood

                                                                                    I also bought the mustards, but haven't opened them yet. From the size and shape of the bottles, I am fairly sure they're made by Edmond Fallot, which is one of the best Dijon mustards out there. I love mustard, and figure you can't go wrong for $5.99.

                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                      Yeah, that's what I thought, too. Even though I have an entire fridge door compartment with mustards already (Dijon, horseradish dijon, walnut mustard, spicy brown, country-style, etc. etc.).... I really didn't exactly *need* the new ones :-)

                                                                                      I hafta say -- the black currant one is very much on the sweet side, so it pairs well with bitter salad greens, a dry vinegar, and a nice toasted nut oil (like almond or walnut).

                                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                                        Hey, mustard keeps, so why not? And I think you've just sketched out my next salad...

                                                                                      2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                        How many oz is each jar in the mustard gift set? They're not the full size 7oz jars like the usual Fallot ones are they?

                                                                                        1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                          Yes, they are! It is four 7-ounce jars in the flavors linguafood mentioned, for $5.99, a real steal.

                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                            If those really are the Fallot mustards relabeled that is an insane deal. Has anyone gotten the gift set that also already has any of those Fallot flavors to confirm whether they're the same? Heck, even a photo of the labels would probably be enough to confirm via the ingredients list and nutritional info.

                                                                                            1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                              All I can say for sure at the moment is that the jars are exactly the same size and shape, and the four flavors are all ones in the Fallot line (TJ's calls it Chablis and Fallot calls it Burgundy, same wine though). So, yeah, I'm inclined to think so...

                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath


                                                                                                ingredients TJs Chablis: water, mustard seeds, PDO Chablis white wine (contains sulfites) (10%), spirit vinegar, salt, citric acid.

                                                                                                Imported from France. sorry im too lazy to type up the rest of he ingredients now.
                                                                                                I got the gift pack for a friend who loves the sweet hot mustard so I'm super excited to hear what she thinks!

                                                                                                1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                  Actually at least from the looks of this ingredient list it does not appear to be the Fallot burgundy wine mustard which contains:

                                                                                                  Ingredients: Water, Mustard Seeds From Burgundy, White Wine From Burgundy (16.3%), Salt, Citric Acid, Potassium Metabisulphite, Spice.

                                                                                                  1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                    And here are the ingredient lists for the rest:

                                                                                                    Ingredients: Water, Mustard Seed, White Wine, Vinegar, Basil (8 %), Salt, Spices, Potassium Metabisulphite, Citric Acid.

                                                                                                    Ingredients:Water, mustard seeds, red pepper (16%), spirit vinegar, salt, garlic, paprika, flavour, extra virgin olive oil, preservative: potassium metabisulfite, citric acid, spice.

                                                                                                    Black Currant:
                                                                                                    Ingredients Water, mustard seeds, white wine (16.3%), vinegar, blackcurrant cream from Dijon (blackcurrant, sugar, alcohol) (5.4%), salt.

                                                                                                    1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                      Just bought the Mustard Miscellany set and the ingredients are definitely different from those listed online for the authentic Fallot.

                                                                                                      For example the Fallot Provencale uses Paprika where the TJ's has none but adds tomatoes and parsley. Also the TJ's uses sunflower rather than olive oil.

                                                                                                      Quantities are also different as the order of ingredients varies between them.

                                                                                                      Still seems a good price for "gourmet" mustards, but it seems these are merely "inspired" by the Fallot mustards rather than the real mccoy relabeled.

                                                                                                      Unless perhaps TJ's commissioned Fallot to concoct a cheaper budget recipe for them exclusively?

                                                                                                      Either way, they're not identical.

                                                                                                2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                  Alright, I'm sold! Adding it to my shopping list now! :)

                                                                                                3. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                  Nutrition facts for serving size 1 tsp (5g)
                                                                                                  Servings per container 158
                                                                                                  Calories 10
                                                                                                  Calories from fat 5
                                                                                                  Total fat 0.5g
                                                                                                  Sodium 95mg

                                                                                                  (all other values 0)

                                                                                          2. re: linguafood

                                                                                            I loved the truffled brie.. It was so awesome that even though we're on a VERY tight budget, we bought it three times before they ran out. We enjoyed it so much we just decided it was our special Christmas treat. The cat also loved it, she could sense when the package came out of the fridge and practically drooled all over it. She did prefer it at room temp. as she has discerning tastes :)

                                                                                          3. NAY - Salted Dark Chocolate Caramels - (small 4 pack gift card holder)

                                                                                            Far too much of salt rocks that were far too large on the top, glossy thick mediocre dark chocolate shell which reminded me of CVS Absolutely Divine bars but firmer and a runny caramel filling.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                              woot had the ones from Candy Kitchen in Portland up a day or two ago. they're excellent, and what a bargain!

                                                                                              1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                I bought the larger package of Salted Dark Chocolate Caramels, to see what everyone was raving about salted caramels for (yeah, I'm a bit slow sometimes). The salt seemed to have been applied haphazardly after the caramels were in the container. One caramel is drenched in salt, while the others have a small sprinkling. I haven't had anything to compare them to, but they're good.

                                                                                              2. Yea savory baked tofu (refrigerated case). 1 brick sliced onto a bunch of veggies (especially broccoli or peas) makes an insanely easy dinner.

                                                                                                Yea unsalted roasted whole cashews. Many people buy the pieces because they are cheaper, but with TJs the price for a 1/2 pound bag of pieces is half the prices of a full pound of whole cashews.

                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                  And then there are the whole cashews with 50% less salt, which is still enough salt for me. It's basically a commodity, but TJ's cost less than national brands such as Planter's and the unbranded plastic-boxed cashews in up-market stores.

                                                                                                  1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                    I tried the 50% less salt cashews, and did not like them. They use some sort of sugary glue (I guess it's rice bran oil?) to adhere the salt - almost like dry roasted nuts.

                                                                                                    I love the 50% less salt peanuts which consist of peanuts, peanut oil and salt.

                                                                                                    1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                      i don't like any of TJ's cashews, raw or roasted - they all have a funky flavor to me that i can't quite explain. cashew are naturally slightly sweet, but theirs have a sweetness that tastes off to me somehow.

                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                        I'm with you. They all taste a little bit like little kids lip gloss to me. My kids can't taste it though.

                                                                                                      2. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                        I've tasted no such thing in the 50% less salt cashews, or a "funky flavor," so maybe that was an odd batch? Or maybe my tastebuds aren't so sensitive. They just taste like normal salted cashews to me.

                                                                                                        1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                          i've tried them several times and every bag tasted funny to me. i ended up repurposing them so that i didn't have to return the same product on multiple occasions.

                                                                                                  2. Yea - Organic Red Quinoa. Not that there's anything special about it, as far as I can tell, but if you like quinoa, there's no reason not to buy it at TJ's.

                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                      What's special is the price! The red and black are usually significantly more expensive than the white, while TJ's has been selling it for less than even the regular variety goes for elsewhere.

                                                                                                      I reach for the red for contrast when it's going to serve as a bed for a lighter colored foods like Cauliflower, yellow squash, tofu, etc.

                                                                                                      1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                        their pricing on packaged organic sugar is also superior to that of even the bulk price found in other stores.

                                                                                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                          Except for Costco...? I think it's $7 for 10 lbs of C&H organic.

                                                                                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                            I've been comparing, and TJ's and Whole Foods store brand organic sugar are both $3.49 for 2-lb. bags, while WF also has 4-lb. bags for $5.99 (up from previous price of $4.99). I'm not a Costco member, so unless it's a matter of convenience urgency, I'll get the larger bag at WF. Both places charge less than the market where I do most shopping.

                                                                                                      2. I saw someone post the product: "Trader Joe's Peppermint Sandwich Cookie Cake"... has anyone seen this giant cookie-cake?
                                                                                                        Is it frozen or refrigerated or in the bakery?

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                          i saw it the other day. it's in the frozen section. looks like a giant cookie. i just don't know how you can go wrong with that :)

                                                                                                        2. Yay: California Kumquats, lovely little things

                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: olyolyy

                                                                                                            Their kumquats are usually really good: big and plump. The only problem is that I'll eat the whole thing in one sitting if I'm not careful.

                                                                                                            1. re: olyolyy

                                                                                                              No kidding, they have kumquats now? Which part of the country did you buy them in?
                                                                                                              I usually get them at the Mitsuwa Marketplace in Jersey, but this is a good heads up.

                                                                                                              1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                                                                Just bought some at the Queens location after hearing about them here so that promising with you being so close.

                                                                                                                1. re: olyolyy

                                                                                                                  Oh god, so sour. But tasted good candied until I burned them.

                                                                                                                2. Yay to the fully cooked turkey! I tried a little as a sample, along with the black currant mustard I bought. The turkey was very moist and tasty, the mustard is a bit on the sweet side, so I may have to mix it with some nut mustard for the vinaigrette.

                                                                                                                  1. NAY - Jailhouse Gin. Strange taste - maybe it was really made in a jail? Not even salvageable in a G and T, and no way you would want this in a martini. My husband is considering using it for parts cleaner.

                                                                                                                    1. Yea to Pecan Pie Ice Cream. I don't taste pecan pie but it's a very rich butter pecan ice cream.

                                                                                                                      Meh to dark chocolate covered pomegranate seeds. Not surprisingly, since the arils are small, the taste is almost exclusively chocolate.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                        The maple flavoring of the pecan pie ice cream is too overwhelming

                                                                                                                      2. Oh my! Peppermint Baked Alaska in the frozen section. I only meant to eat half--honest! A little torched meringue, a lot of peppermint ice cream, and a chocolately cookie/cakey bottom. Yes, please.

                                                                                                                        1. YAY on the buffalo mozzarella. Not exactly a steal at $6.99, but the ball is a nice size, and the flavor is fantastic.

                                                                                                                          YAY on the salt caramel nut delights (freezer section). Not too sweet, but nutty and chewy and a nice little dessert.

                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                            Nay - Salted Caramel Nut Delights (freezer section) - Have to be a voice of dissent on this one. Would have loved it but WAY too salty imo. Was having dinner with family and my mom agreed wholeheartedly while my wife still enjoyed them. So I guess that counts as a 2/3 nay. :)

                                                                                                                            Worth of note though is that my wife is a major lover of salt period, so that may be a pre-qualifier for enjoyment here. I do enjoy salt in both savory and sweet items but not to this degree.

                                                                                                                            1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                              See, I love the fact that it is salty.... but then I'm pretty sensitive to sugar :-)

                                                                                                                              1. re: fame da lupo

                                                                                                                                And it's really, really good quality mozzarella at that.

                                                                                                                            2. Yay on the Cinco Lanzas cheese -- a Manchego-style cheese made from cow, goat and sheep's milk. Big hit on my cheese plate.

                                                                                                                              1. Yay on the mustard gift selection -- I bought it to serve with ham, and the blackcurrant mustard was a particularly nice pairing.

                                                                                                                                Nay on the pumpkin mousse cake -- I sampled in store, and it was just way too sweet and didn't have a noticeable pumpkin flavor.

                                                                                                                                1. YEA! For filo factory spinach pie, frozen mangos,Salted caramels in the wood box.

                                                                                                                                  1. YAY on the pea shoots (produce section). Super-delicious stir-fried with chili oil and garlic. I'll have to get more of those.

                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                      MEH on the white beans in tomato sauce. Sure, they're generally fairly mild in flavor, but many of them also weren't soft enough for my taste.

                                                                                                                                      YAY on the dried wild mushroom packs for $1.69.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                        We actually love the giant white beans in tomato sauce for picnics (especially since when doing a picnic with Vegetarians), their mild taste makes them an awesome pairing with strong cheeses (like manchengo) & their soft texture makes them great to mush into crackers or slices of French bread. Even just some of the olive oily tomato sauce is great soaked in olive bread...

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Dommy

                                                                                                                                          I thought they could've been softer, but maybe we got a bad batch. I'm generally a big fan of gigantes, but they have to be cooked properly. And the sauce is really kinda bland.

                                                                                                                                    2. A BIG friggin' NAY to Trader Joe's Palak Paneer in the shelf stable heat and serve boxed pouch. It is under the TJ Indian Fare brand.

                                                                                                                                      Shiz is vile.

                                                                                                                                      I had a bunch of very flavorful and nice left over basmati rice from my local Indian carryout so I thought I;d try the TJ pouch to use up the rice.

                                                                                                                                      Epic fail. And sadly, the package says Product of India.

                                                                                                                                      Basically it's creamed spinach with a few pieces if paneer thrown in and then OVERLY dosed with cumin to the point that that is all you taste but lacking in salt and almost any other Indian spice though the package says they should be in there.

                                                                                                                                      I'll take the empty box back to the store and make my comments known but have no desire for my money back. .Lesson learned by me.
                                                                                                                                      TJ's is still the "crap shoot" that it always was. :-)
                                                                                                                                      Bummer, 'casue I was on a hot-streak of good food from them.

                                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: jjjrfoodie

                                                                                                                                        No, it's worse than creamed spinach. It's pureed into a dark green/brown paste.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                          I agree but thought if I typed that I'd be coming off as overly harsh.


                                                                                                                                          Without the spices and paneer I really thought it had the same texture and consistancy as baby food. Creamed spinach baby food.
                                                                                                                                          And I'm a LOT too old for baby food.
                                                                                                                                          T'was a big dissapointment.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: jjjrfoodie

                                                                                                                                            Yes, highly spiced (or at least cumin'ed) baby food. But comparing it to creamed spinach seems unfair to creamed spinach, which can be quite good. This was definitely not good.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: jjjrfoodie

                                                                                                                                          I've had no luck with ANY shelf stable Indian food from ANY source. Stick to the frozen TJ's Indian stuff which is acceptable for work lunches IMO.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                                            Have you tried the Indian Fare sauces at TJ's? Reliable and delicious with basmati rice (also shelf-stable) or however you might use them.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                              No, if I buy Indian sauces it's usually from an Indian market. I might have to try the TJ's ones now though!

                                                                                                                                        3. yay to the peppermint Joe Joes (of course).
                                                                                                                                          Nay on the butter chicken - I saw yesterday that they are recalling it!

                                                                                                                                          1. Big Yay: maple walnut blondies in the bakery section. Yowza these are good! I was scared to get them because the bakery stuff is hit and miss, but these are definitely a hit.

                                                                                                                                            Meh: turkey meatloaf "muffins" with mashed potatoes and spinach (frozen). First of all, we had a heck of a time heating these up. The oven instructions said 375 for 15-20 minutes. We put them in for 20 and they were still pretty frozen. So we decided to try the microwave instructions, which said 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. We did several cycles of 2 minutes. The meatloaf part was hot, but the potatoes on top were still frozen. So we transferred them back to the baking pan and I put them under the broiler for a few minutes. That got 'em hot! The taste was actually pretty good, I thought. But there was hardly any spinach between the meatloaf and potatoes; much less than the photo showed. Serving size was 2 muffins but we're still a bit hungry (thank goodness for the maple walnut blondies!). My husband said I shouldn't put these at the top of my TJ's list.

                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                              Agree about the "muffins" - same problem heating them, same reaction to eating them.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                This is not the only TJ's product with completely wrong heating instructions. It really makes you wonder if the manufacturer even tries to cook their own product, or just makes a wild guess.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                  It's the only one I've bought whose heating instructions were too short. Some benefit from less time in the toaster oven, but have still been OK. No reason to suppose that the instructions are just a "wild guess," but with such a range of frozen and refrigerated products from all over the world, they're not infallible.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                    I've had several where the instructions were too short and others too long. There have been other posts on some of these quarterly/monthly threads, too. One that springs to mind that I had recently was the frozen "just the sauce" turkey bolognese, which said to heat it in a pot for 5 minutes over medium low. That's just laughable. I think the frozen char siu bao had instructions for steaming that didn't even defrost them, much less heat them. Even the demo people in the stores sometimes don't follow the package instructions.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                Those maple walnut blondies are amazing but put me in a sugar coma. Wow, I've not experienced that before.

                                                                                                                                                About meatloaf muffins. I think they're a big NAY. Not much flavor and not much too them.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Transplanted Texan

                                                                                                                                                  To me they had flavor... A bad one... Like shellac'd turkey... Oh and the mashed potatoes were grainy and had a weird smell... Terrible product.

                                                                                                                                              3. Yay to the sea salt & pepper crisps made with rice. It is new to me product. It is good plain or with a dip. A bit on the smaller size crisp wise but very good!

                                                                                                                                                I picked up a bunch of other stuff from TJ yesterday and will be working my way through it.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: vttp926

                                                                                                                                                  I really like those for at-home, messy tuna or egg salad delivery devices. They're quite good.

                                                                                                                                                2. BIG YEA for Mini Peppermint Waffle Cookies! Waffle-like cookies about the size of a quarter, with a dab of chocolate and then candy cane-like flakes on top of that. Yum! So good. And because they're so small, I don't feel so bad having a bunch of them!

                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodeatsgal

                                                                                                                                                    Big Yay for these from me as well. Nice balance of chocolate and peppermint on a cute little waffle disk. Perfect little treat and, like you said, you don't feel bad if you eat two or three or five or ten... (same can't be said about candy cane Joe Joes!)

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: thelittlemiller

                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for recommending these. They may be the perfect holiday cookie: a little chocolate, and little peppermint, a nice crunch from the waffle cookie, and only 15 calories each!

                                                                                                                                                  2. I don't know if this is a new product or old product, but I'm totally delighted with the camembert, Le Rustique by Jean Verrier, made in Normandy.

                                                                                                                                                    I ate camembert almost daily when living in Europe and this is as close as it gets. I only wish the milk were not pasturized.

                                                                                                                                                    1. Meh to the buffalo and turkey jerky. This is not a new item and I have previously raved but this last batch I got was way too thick for jerky. The flavor was still there but the texture was off for my liking. I am use to their jerky being thin with still a bit of chew to it but this was just way too thick.

                                                                                                                                                      1. meh - Smoked, Apple Chardonnay Chicken Sausage. Most of TJ's chicken sausages are excellent, but though this one is quite juicy, I don't taste smoke, apple, or chardonnay in it - hardly any flavor at all.

                                                                                                                                                        yea - Andouille, Sweet Apple, and sweet Italian chicken sausages. Mango Chicken Sausage was top of my list until TJ's discontinued it. Avoid the chicken and turkey uncured hot dogs - off flavors.

                                                                                                                                                        1. YAY-Dark Shortbread Stars---the best part to me is that they are not thick, so the shortbread-chocolate ratio is balanced and just enough sprinkles to add a bit of crunch

                                                                                                                                                          YAY/Meh--Peppermint Bark--I wish it wasn't so thick, but I think that is just due to the homemade version I was raised on

                                                                                                                                                          NASTY--Mushrooms in produce--I don't buy a lot of produce there because I have had bad luck in the past.. but the mushrooms I bought were caked with dirt (I know it doesn't say washed, so they are NOT washed, but many covered with a large amount black dirt... I wish they washed them and then just charged a bit more if need-be)

                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                            Which fresh mushrooms did you buy? I am hooked on the sliced cremini mushrooms, and buy them almost weekly, usually two packs at a time. They've never been visibly dirty - maybe because they pre-wash the mushrooms for slicing more carefully?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hanaumamama

                                                                                                                                                              Sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms. We only have those or whole white.

                                                                                                                                                              [ edited: I am sorry! I did not know they were the same as Cremini]

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                              Found this Chow thread discussing whether to wash sliced cremini mushrooms: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/687627

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                I've bought the white button and baby bella mushrooms many times, whole and sliced, and never once had this problem. Maybe a one-time thing?

                                                                                                                                                              2. Nay on the fact that the Pound Plus bars have been out for over a week and are sitting in port, undeliverable, due to a strike...and the Unsweetened Cocoa Powder has been out for months. I was planning to start on a batch of truffles tomorrow for holiday gifts, and now I have to track down other options for those ingredients. Grrr.

                                                                                                                                                                I did grab a bag of their White Chocolate Baking Chips - never tried them before, we'll see...

                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                  Ours is still out of Pound Plus, except with almonds... so much for the truffle making this Christmas.

                                                                                                                                                                2. Semi -yea - Chunky Guacamole with Greek Yogurt - not bad. Have never really tasted any other store bought Guac so can't really compare.

                                                                                                                                                                  Yea - Did I mention these already - Trader Joe’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Truffles.Wow - I DO NOT like dark chocolate but these are sooooo delish!

                                                                                                                                                                  Yea - I am obsessed with the Chicken Pot Pie Bites. LOVE them. Great "comfort" food.

                                                                                                                                                                  Nay - Red Velvet Chocolate Cupcakes - they are in the bakery section. Supposedly fresh. HORRIBLE. My friend bought them for me cuz she knows how I LOVE red velvet cupcakes but the TJ's ones are bad.Worse than market cupcakes.

                                                                                                                                                                  Nay - Produce. I will NEVER learn. Never. Honey crisp apples. One went immediately rotten within a day and the other 2 tasted really bad.

                                                                                                                                                                  Nay - Trader Joe’s Organic Wood Fired Sicilian Style Pizza. Yuck. Pizza is another thing I keep buying thinking it may get better but not for me.

                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: toopie28

                                                                                                                                                                    Oh my gosh I polished off those Trader Joe’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Truffles almost all by myself in about a week. Was trying to save two for my friend John but that so didn't happen. They kept unwrapping themselves and jumping into my mouth!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: toopie28

                                                                                                                                                                      My Honey Crisps have been wonderful and also at a wonderful price.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. Slight yay to the chocolate covered sea salt butterscotch caramels. Love the taste but did not realize that it was going to be dark chocolate till I bit into it and then decided to read the back of the package. I think if they introduced it in a milk chocolate, I know I will not be able to stop buying it.

                                                                                                                                                                      Huge yay to the white chocolate peppermint candy cane cookies (or something to that effect). I think this is a seasonal item but it was really good. A sugar cookie shaped candy cane covered in white chocolate with peppermint candy sprinkled on top.

                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: vttp926

                                                                                                                                                                        Butterscotch caramels were a mild yay here too. Overall, good but I am not a fan of glazed chocolate candies. Prefer dark chocolate to milk, but this isn't that dark IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                                                                                          For others it might not be that dark but I am one that avoids dark chocolate if I know that it is dark. So I think that is why I haven't devoured the whole bag yet.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. just picked up a jar of dukkah. it's an egyptian spice and nut seasoning blend, with sesame seeds, fennel and in this case almonds. tasty. i sauteed tuscan kale with sliced red onion (oh, ok--and some bacon!) and seasoned with the dukkah. added some red pepper flakes and a bit more salt--yum!
                                                                                                                                                                        funny thing--my most recent trader joe's cookbook includes a recipe for dukkah chicken--but i gave a recipe for making the dukkah, because of course they didn't carry dukkah...mine uses hazelnuts and red pepper flakes....just sayin'. i would love to think i was partially responsible for the introduction of this product...joe, are you listening?? ;->
                                                                                                                                                                        now that i'm done flattering myself...

                                                                                                                                                                        1. YAY! for the Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut Mango Bites. Tastes really good and the retro calypso-record-album style artwork is cool too.

                                                                                                                                                                          Here is a detailed review with a picture. As you can see, there are some dissenters, so YMMV!


                                                                                                                                                                          1. NAY on the cornichons, which are vile. I love cornichons, but these taste like they are sitting in vinegar and not much else. Bummer. My first TJ product I will be taking back.

                                                                                                                                                                            MEH/YAY on the spanakopita. They're just ok.

                                                                                                                                                                            MEH on the marinated artichokes. Too chewy, and not a great flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                            I did have a chance to try the chocolate mousse chess cake from the freezer section, and that thing's pretty awesome. YAY for that.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. YEA for the vegetable samosas (frozen). I love all of TJ's frozen Indian foods!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. Meh - Reduced Guilt Macaroni and Cheese (frozen). TJ's may have reduced the guilt but they've definitely reduced the flavor; the cheesy glop hardly has any taste. Nothing to object to, really, but not much to like.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. yay the organic persian cucumbers.
                                                                                                                                                                                  always crisp
                                                                                                                                                                                  never waxy.
                                                                                                                                                                                  perfect in israeli salad (or, if you're in a persian restaurant, shirazi salad)

                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Is sablefish a new thing for TJs, or has it been around awhile? <3 it!

                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: fame da lupo

                                                                                                                                                                                      I love sablefish! Is this in the frozen fish section of the refrigerated foods area?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: doublehelping

                                                                                                                                                                                        Frozen. I am a frequent shopper of their frozen fish and hadn't seen it until month ago here in LA.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Nay on the vegetable pakoras in the frozen section. They tasted soapy. Just vile.

                                                                                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LostInLA

                                                                                                                                                                                        Actually the Pakoras are one of the only frozen indian entrees we have enjoyed. Not fantastic, but far better than the Chana Masala and Baingan Bharta in my opinion. (both of which have some fans here)

                                                                                                                                                                                        edit: I just realized you used the adjective "soapy".

                                                                                                                                                                                        Are you one of the folks with the unfortunate gene that denies you the enjoyment of Cilantro? That's one of the ingredients, and I know that soapy is exactly how those that can't enjoy cilantro describe it.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                          Funny, I actually love cilantro. These were overwhelmingly one flavor, and I detected it as "soapy". I wish I had the ingredients list in front of me. But both my husband and I refused to finish the box, and I actually considered taking it back.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LostInLA

                                                                                                                                                                                            That is funny, thought I was being clever for making the cilantro connection! lol

                                                                                                                                                                                            From the WhatsGoodAtTraderJoes site (which gave them an 8 out of 10):

                                                                                                                                                                                            "Vegetable Pakoras are made by combining potatoes, onions, spinach, cilantro and other traditional Indian spices, coating the mixture in chick pea flour, rolling this mixture into small balls, and browning the individual morsels in canola oil. "

                                                                                                                                                                                            Guessing you didn't try Pakoras and Tamarind sauce separately to identify the source of the flavor you didn't care for?

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                              I actually DID try them by themselves, without sauce, trying to decipher that strange taste that was so off putting. I could taste a lot of solid potato, and also overwhelmed by one spice I was describing as soapy. I really don't know what it was. Maybe coriander?

                                                                                                                                                                                              Ah well, can't win them all.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LostInLA

                                                                                                                                                                                                Ginger can taste soapy to some people - maybe that was it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LostInLA

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hmmmm...coriander & cilantro are the same thing

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Hated the TJ Taco Seasoning mix - way too much cumin

                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: FoodDee

                                                                                                                                                                                            I really like the stuff! I used a full package with a pound of ground beef, a can of retried beans, and a can of diced tomatoes. I froze most of it up in small batches for burrito filling. I kept out enough for two meals for me. Nice and spicy!

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I just discovered the parmesan/garlic/herb pita chips. Big thumbs up!

                                                                                                                                                                                            I noted that the frozen puff pastry, which used to be in a flat, square box, is now in a long narrow one. Has anyone noticed a difference?

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Yays - Lentil Soup -- I haven't seen this before. It comes in a fairly large can for $2.49 and it's made in Germany. We just had this for lunch and it's pretty darn good for canned soup with lots of vegetables (carrots, spinach and potato) and didn't taste too bland (like Amy's) or too salty... We added a bit of pepper and parmesan over the top.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Chicken Satay appetizer (frozen) - The chicken has a nice flavor and has a fun presentation (on bamboo sticks). Fair warning -- it does NOT come with peanut sauce, which I assumed from the picture...you need to buy that separately or make your own, but the satay is just fine without it.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Sourdough Cracked Wheat White Bread - My mom picked this out when she visited last and it was quite good, especially toasted.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups -- dark and rich, not too sweet, very satisfying.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Nays -- All Butter Xmas cookies with sprinkles on top -- They were handing these out as free samples, but they are TOO SWEET and there's no flavor other than that. Yuck!

                                                                                                                                                                                              -crab cake/seafood appetizer (frozen) -- meh -- not much taste, not buying again

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Yay to the shelf stable whipping cream. It's cheap, it works, and it keeps! Even after opening it keeps longer in the fridge than the average heavy cream I have bought at TJ's . I didn't make whipped cream it but used it in cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Nay to the red lentils. Following the cooking instructions on the bag I had 2 cups of mush to toss out. Cooked the rest in a lot less water and they were still meh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                                                                                                                  You didn't do anything wrong with the red lentils- they're supposed to turn to mush and basically purée themselves. They turn a yellow color and lose their shape.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Exactly. Sounds like perhaps you expected them to be like whole green, brown, or black lentils?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Don't give up on them until you've had one of the traditional ways in which they're prepared. These are a few of my personal favorites:

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mesir Wat (Ethiopian)
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Dal (indian)
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Egyptian Red Lentil soup

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Red lentil soup is a favorite! Hopefully making it this week

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Been cooking red lentils for years and usually buy the bag in the super market- Goya or a near eastern brand. A local macrobiotic restaurant served a mean red lentil soup and I stole their recipe back in the 70's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Berheenia, not familiar with the other brand you mentioned but the Goya are not split lentils, which is what TJ's is carrying. Split lentils (like split peas) are meant to dissolve by design and no cooking method is going to maintain their integrity like whole red lentils.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Now, where's that recipe! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hey, you're not getting off the hook that easily!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I wasn't joking… let's see that "mean red lentil soup" you stole back in the 70's!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. YAY-Baked Alaska-I didn't even know what this was and had never had one before.. but the peppermint ice cream was very tasty and smooth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    YAY-Snowball cookies in bakery-These look like powdered-sugar covered crinkle cookies. They tasted homemade, although a little dry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    NAY-Peppermint Sandwich Cookie Cake-This is basically 2 dry cake layers with flavorless pink mousse in between (it was supposed to be peppermint flavored, but there is hardly any flavor).

                                                                                                                                                                                                    NAY-Dark Chocolate Assortment in Blue Bag... 4 out of 6 of the flavors were fruit flavored.. which was disappointing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    (After sampling all those in the last few days, I hope I don't see chocolate for a long time.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Yea: Frozen colossal peeled wild blue shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico. Not exactly locavore... but absolutely delicious as roasted shrimp cocktail.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Nay: Fresh mesh-bagged Clementines. Small as satsumas but very sweet. They were over- ripe within one day and had to toss one. Fortunately I was able to cook half then next day used the rest in a salad so all was not lost. But still...

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Happy I didn't buy the clementines! I don't eat them, only husband does, so a bag needs to last a while

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I gave the clementines a Yay when I first got them home...but by day 3, several of them were BLACK.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. NAY NAY NAY NAY NAY!!!
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Reduced Guilt Pizza Primavera
                                                                                                                                                                                                          It looked disgusting and my daughter said it tasted worse. She took most of the topping off and still almost gagged on the crust.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I allowed myself a holiday splurchase of the new frozen lobster/shrimp cakes, $7.99. There are two per 8oz package but it also includes a packet of lemon-chive sauce so each cake is probably about 3 ounces and I felt that two were needed for an entree portion. They had very little filler, a plus, but getting them out of the shrink-wrap was tricky.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Instructions call for defrosting the package overnight, then sauteeing the patties. If I get them again I will remove them from the shrinkwrap before thawing.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have to do that with frozen crabcakes too greygarious. Don't want to waste a morsel. The maple walnut brownies are evil. I was pretty hungry but I ate two out of the four in the package in one session.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              The peppermint joe joes, vanilla and cinnamon black tea and decaf peppermint green tea are GONE! I know I can get another brand of the mint tea according to my fellow hounds but it won't have a narwhal on the inner flap. /sniff

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                This is kind of tragic, but I buy the Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane tea and put in it my last Trader Joe's tea box when it's no longer being sold, because of that little narwhal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hlk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh my gosh! Great idea! /dives through the trash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hlk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I like the little Iguana on the vanilla black tea box flap too. I cut it out and used it as a gift tag and wrote on it "From Spot".
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is where my geek nature comes out. The recipient of the gift knew that I meant the gift was from Data's de-evolved cat. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Tried the Chicken Tikka Samosas- Yay for me, Meh for DH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Not sure if it's been mentioned, but the spinach & kale bites appetizer from the freezer section is pretty nice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Yay - the TJ's Pannetone made a great French toast for New Year's day breakfast!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. A big fat YAY on the mushroom turnovers from the freezer section. You can actually detect a hint of sherry and shallots, and it is very shroomy. Great for a quick, lazy appetizer!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Just opened a bag of lahvash chips- definitely a thumbs up. My incessant craving for olive oil gets a nod, though they can get a bit salty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In other news, why isn't it Trader Jiu's instead of Trader Ming's? Not that Jiu=Joe, but for some reason, that's what I was just thinking about.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Jiu, pronounced jew? Doesn't sound very Chinese, whereas Ming is a Chinese chef and a dynasty. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Do the TJ's Thai meals come with nam phrik? Was going over wiki's list of its varieties, and realized I'd probably dig nam phrik num the best.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Yea - masala burgers (broken up with some added spice) make great samosa fillers. Perfect for a lazy craving.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Double Yay to the Tarte D'Alsace" (Alsatian Tart) "A French Style Flat Bread with Ham, Carmelized Onions & Gruyere Cheese" -- Heaven!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Love their cookie butter and dark chocolate too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. If a new thread has been started for 2013, can someone provide a link to it here? Thanks!

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