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Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - February 2013 [OLD]

Starting a new thread for February since we are fast approaching 300 posts on the January thread - looking forward to the new Fearless Flyer coming out soon!

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  1. Not new to TJ's but new to me…

    Yay - Dutch Pancakes / aebleskivers (frozen) - Far exceeded my expectations. If you're unfamiliar with aebleskivers they're basically pancake balls. Shockingly good for something out of the freezer

    Yay - Green Olive Tapenade - Far more chunky and toothsome than I expected including chunks of peppers and onion which made it perfectly suited for making zero prep muffaletta sandwiches. Will definitely be a permeant fixture in my pantry from now on.

    7 Replies
    1. re: NuMystic

      those aebleskivers are lovely (But I believe they are Danish, not Dutch)! A friend who was an exchange student in Denmark and goes back frequently keeps 2-3 bags in her freezer at all times.

      1. re: jujuthomas

        They most certainly are Danish Pancakes, thanks for catching that!

      2. re: NuMystic

        Love both of these... I keep a jar of the tepenade at my work fridge to change up sandwiches or to make a quick snack... The Dutch Pancakes work well in the microwave... but actually are BEST when done up in the oven... they get a nice crisp edge! :)

        --Dommy!

        1. re: Dommy

          I had to go to Marshalls (on my friends orders, lol) to get a jar of REAL, manufactured-in-Denmark lingonberry jam to go with the aebleskivers. delish.

          1. re: jujuthomas

            Ikea also has imported lingonberry jam in huge stacks year round, but I can't comment on the quality having never bought it myself.

            1. re: NuMystic

              The Ikea stuff is good... no great... but pretty tasty still! :)

              --Dommy!

              1. re: NuMystic

                If you have a Marshalls, TJ Maxx or HomeGoods, look for Scandinavian Delights lingonberry fruit spread. made in Denmark. it's the only kind my friend will buy, she says the Ikea stuff is not the "real thing" :-D

        2. The new (to me) Roasted Coconut Chips are addictive. Sweet, crunchy, and full of fat :)

          3 Replies
          1. re: Boston_Otter

            I was just about to mention those, when I read your post!
            They are great!

            1. re: Boston_Otter

              Good stuff indeed, particularly when watching a mate completely ignore the nutrition label bag after bag...

              1. re: Boston_Otter

                I can't stop snacking on these. I about devoured an entire bag in one sitting. Definite yay!

              2. Not new, but I cannot get enough of the Unexpected Cheddar. Love love love it.

                1 Reply
                1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

                  I agree the Unexpected Cheddar taste is great. But it's so crumbly! Hard to put on a cracker.

                2. Yay: PB and J Milk Chocolate Bar - if you like PB and J sandwiches and you like chocolate then you will love these. A sprinkling of sea salt really brought out their flavor well.

                  Nay: Raspberry and Cream Bars - I did not like these half as much as I liked the Mango and Cream Bars. Sorry to say but they looked and tasted like pepto bismal to me. Mango and Cream Bars have already been a multiple repeat buy for us, but the Raspberry kind will not.

                  Moderate Yay: British Crumpets - had heard great things about these, but they crumbled apart on me as though they were stale when I tried to slice them in half to toast them. However, once toasted and slathered in butter and honey, they were rather good.

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: littleflower

                    Good to know about the raspberry cream bars -- they would have been next on my list to try.

                    Are those crumpets meant to be sliced in half? And by that, I'm picturing them being sliced in half like an English muffin, but the crumpets are one whole piece. I always just put them in the toaster oven whole, let them get toasty and crispy, then butter and jam (or butter and whole milk ricotta, nutella optional). Whatever I top them with is delicious. I love crumpets! I've been buying them weekly for my Downton Abbey viewing parties ;)

                    1. re: calmossimo

                      Littleflower, I don't think crumpets are meant to be fork-split like an english muffin. I've always toasted them whole and topped with a nice big pat of kerrygold.

                      Calmossimo, lemon curd and clotted cream would also be fitting!

                      1. re: ohmyyum

                        Ohhhh, clotted cream. That would be wonderful.

                        1. re: calmossimo

                          Do you have a world market near you? They carry clotted cream, as well as many other imported British foods.

                          1. re: ohmyyum

                            The nearest world market is about 45+ min away... but I make the trek on rare occasion. I have a well stocked natural foods market near me that I suspect might have clotted cream (but at what prices, I'm not sure). I'll check for it next time.

                        2. re: ohmyyum

                          Indeed, they are not meant to be split or sliced. And I second the Kerrygold recommendation.

                          1. re: Rilke

                            Third for Kerrygold...really an outstanding butter and soo much cheaper at TJ's than anywhere else around.

                            1. re: littleflower

                              One of our local Jewel stores started carrying Kerrygold at $5.99!! I saw that and just laughed and laughed.

                          2. re: ohmyyum

                            Ah, perhaps that is why they did crumble so much...thanks for the tip!! BTW...if anyone is looking to experiment with a sweet spin on them, do try putting on a bit of honey - really made the difference.

                          3. re: calmossimo

                            Yeah, the raspberry ones just didn't wow me like the mango and cream ones did...definitely give the mango ones a try if you have not already.

                            Will have to try them toasted whole with the nutella - yum!!

                          4. re: littleflower

                            I lived in the UK for many years and miss crumpets. I was thrilled to see them. Crumpets always need toasting anyway. These were okay if maybe a bit chewier than I would get in the UK.

                          5. YAY: February spotlight cheese, fresh unripened triple cream Brie. $2.99/ small, 4oz round. No rind, super mild, rich, buttery flavor. It is kind of what you might expect if Brie and farmers cheese had a love child. I yay'd this on the last thread but I loved it so much I thought it was worth a repeat mention. I hope they keep this one around.

                            Yay: mozzarella sticks. $3.99, frozen. Very lightly breaded with panko breadcrumbs and well-seasoned. Baked up wonderfully brown and melty in a covection toaster oven; not sure they would hold up to deep-frying because of how little breading there is.

                            23 Replies
                            1. re: ohmyyum

                              I am now really craving these new mozzarella sticks...officially putting it at the top of my TJ's "must try" list.

                              1. re: littleflower

                                Make sure you have friends to share with. The fat is high...but...dip it in a marinara sauce...Too Good!

                              2. re: ohmyyum

                                Unfortunately since it is the spotlight cheese it most likely will not be around for long :-(

                                1. re: Rilke

                                  Do they not add the ones that sell particularly well to their regular selection??? I think this one will be popular, not only for its own wonderful qualities, but for it's very affordable price point.

                                  1. re: ohmyyum

                                    Sometimes it isn't possible to keep them, as it was an opportunity buy and no longer available at the same price.

                                    Maybe they'll be able to keep this one. I don't know. . . . but I am looking forward to trying it.

                                  1. re: ohmyyum

                                    Nay - Sweet Potato Tots - Loved the idea but even baking longer than the suggested time didn't get them crispy, and flavor wasn't all that great either.

                                    Yay - Mozzerella Sticks - Nothing special, but a slightly better than average incarnation for this bit of 80's nostalgia.

                                    Meh - Unripened Brie. - Enjoyable enough, but given how everyone has been raving I was hoping for something better. Actually prefer the normal wedge of commercial BJ's brie, and I'll take TJ's Delice de Bourgogne or Cambozola over this any day.

                                    1. re: NuMystic

                                      Then I'm glad my store was out of the sweet potato tots when I tried to buy them! Now I don't have to bother (though I probably will just to see for myself because I also love the idea)

                                      1. re: AmyH

                                        If you get yours crispy do share Amy. I'm guessing that with some experimenting at least that could be improved, but I made the whole batch at once and plated before realizing they were still on the mushy side so I can't offer any additional insight.

                                        1. re: NuMystic

                                          I tried the sweet potato tots, and too was disappointed about the lack of crispness. But making sweet potatoes crisp is tricky by any standard.

                                          http://www.instructables.com/id/Perfe...
                                          stresses not crowding the pieces, and not letting them overlap.

                                          1. re: paulj

                                            No doubt about it Paul. I won't even order sweet potato fries in most restaurants if I don't already know they've got it down. (usually the battered and double fried)

                                            Heated the tots spread way out on a baking sheet so nothing even close to overlapping. With these I'm guessing a LOT longer would be needed than the listed time (I already added another 5 min) turning frequently or on a small grid wire rack.

                                          2. re: NuMystic

                                            Maybe you could take a small blowtorch to them after they're out of the oven? :)

                                            1. re: NuMystic

                                              I finally cooked the sweet potato tots tonight. I cranked up the oven to 450 (instead of the 400 on the instructions) and baked them for the 30 minutes the instructions said. They weren't crispy, but they seemed to be heading that way. I couldn't bake them longer because my DH started the hotdogs too early. I think another 10 minutes and they might have been ok. They aren't oily like regular tater tots, so we might be expecting too much. And they fell apart a bit when going from pan to serving bowl to plate. They tasted ok, maybe could have used a bit of salt. I'm not sure if I'd buy them again or not.

                                          3. re: NuMystic

                                            I think I like the unripened Brie sooo much because it doesn't have a rind. I always try to eat around the rind on normal Brie cheese because it tastes "musty" to me and I love the delicate flavor of the Brie paste (is that the correct terminology..?), especially with apricot or fig preserves.

                                            I tried the sweet potato tots when they were sampling them and even the guy doing the demo admitted that they were a disaster.

                                            1. re: ohmyyum

                                              Ah, fair enough. I actually don't mind the rind on normal brie at all.

                                              I think what I didn't care for about the unripened was a slight note of sour that I don't find in other brie. Don't get me wrong, it was pleasant enough to fully enjoy, but I just love the Delice and Cambozola that much more.

                                              1. re: NuMystic

                                                I just tried the unripened Brie and I like it very much, but like NuMystic, I don't find it as outstanding as others are describing. I actually enjoy the rind on normal brie, so that doesn't make this unripened kind more attractive.

                                                I do like that it's sold in a small enough portion (4 oz.) that I can enjoy it for a week and feel like I'm not overindulging on Brie in my single-person household.

                                                I haven't ever tried the Delice de Bourgogne... maybe next time.

                                                1. re: calmossimo

                                                  I have on a couple of occasions paired the Delice de Bourgogne with a Cave L’Aurance Cremant de Bourgogne Brut.
                                                  Simply delicious.

                                                  1. re: calmossimo

                                                    I adored the unripened brie... It had such a wonderful BRIGHT flavor that is missing from many cheeses....

                                                    I love Delice, but it's a completely different beast from the unripened... In fact, for a traditional cheese plate, I might replace a fresh goat cheese with the unriped and keep something like the Delice

                                                    --Dommy!

                                                2. re: ohmyyum

                                                  I'm feeling much less inclined to try those sweet potato tots!

                                                3. re: NuMystic

                                                  I panfried the tots in my crepe pan (no oil or anything) and shook them around quite a bit for about 6 minutes and they came out crispy! (This was after baking them for 10 min)

                                                  1. re: NuMystic

                                                    Last year we redid our kitchen and for at least a month, relied on premade entrees from Trader Joe's at least three times a week to get us through.

                                                    Both the meat lasagna and the roasted veg lasagna were delicious and well worth the price.

                                                    The orange chicken (with a bag of frozen peppers thrown in) and the beef broccoli stir fry were also frequent meals.

                                                    Also loved the sweet gnocchi as a side dish.

                                                    Would have loved the gnocchi with the red creamy sauce except there wasn't enough to really make two full sides.

                                                    1. re: NuMystic

                                                      They were sampling the sweet potato tots last night, and I agree that they are a nay. They had obviously tried to get them crisp--they were quite dark brown--but they were soggy nonetheless

                                                    2. re: ohmyyum

                                                      The unripened brie has practically the same flavor and texture as a Galician cows-milk cheese with the tongue-twisting name Arzua-Ulloa. I ate this cheese voraciously when I lived in Madrid, and this TJ cheese takes me (quite unexpectedly) right back to Spain.

                                                      It should remind people of queso tetilla as well, another Galicia cheese similar to Arzua-Ulloa.

                                                    3. Yea Tagliatelle with mascarpone and mushrooms
                                                      Nea chicken fettucicine alfredo

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: LAC06488

                                                        LAC, do you mean the Papardelle with chicken mascarpone & mushrooms? That really *is* delish & one of our favorites!

                                                      2. A Yay (and many happy returns) to the jarred Luque olives. Great for cooking with, and eating out of hand

                                                        1. Meh: Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread - not to be confused with the Cinnamon Roll Bread that TJ's sell which we have come to love in our house. The Cinn. Swirl Raisin Bread is wheat bread with loads of raisins in each slice...to me it just wasn't sweet enough and I do not have a huge sweet tooth but had to add sugar on top of each buttered toasted slice just to impart some flavor to it.

                                                          Also, wasn't crazy about the number of raisins in it...appeard to be more raisins than bread. This bread is okay for someone who isn't looking for a sweet type bread and who loves raisins, which is not for us - will stick with the Cinnamon Roll Bread from now on.

                                                          1. Yay to the canned crescent rolls, stuffed these with shaved ham and cheese and baked on parchment paper for the minimum time.

                                                            1. Did anyone else try the "dried" Asian pears? (I think they were called Shingo pears.) They were not dry--they were positively wet. And sticky. Maybe if they hadn't been packaged like the dried fruit (and labeled Trader Joe's Dried Fruit) I wouldn't have been quite so grossed out, but I returned them. They didn't even taste bad, and maybe if they had been labeled differently I wouldn't have minded, but I just found them icky.

                                                              I am a huge fan of the frozen Indian dishes for lunch too--Chicken Tikka Masala and Garlic Naan particularly.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: sciencediet

                                                                Yeah, the pears were kind of bleh. I'll stick with the white peaches and Turkish apricots.

                                                              2. Yay: Organic Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup - good depth of flavor with a peppery kick to it. Honestly at first taste I wondered why this particular soup made TJ's top products list, then after a few spoonfuls found out why - it's addictive! I practically licked the bowl...it was that good!

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: littleflower

                                                                  The Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup is one of my all-time favorite products at TJs. Delicious plain or with some caraway seeds, I made a heart shape of sour cream on it (from a squeeze bottle) for V-day one year. Love it with some spinach cooked in it, or kale, or cabbage + lemon juice, and some cheese melted on top, maybe some croutons or broken tortilla chips....and hot sauce....and avocado slices.... It's healthy, very filling, and diet-friendly.

                                                                2. several superbowl yays tonight:
                                                                  Mushroom turnovers - the filling in these was so tasty. A little sweet, a little chunky with bits of onion. The crust was good, too.
                                                                  Mac & cheese bites - basically balls of mac & cheese. Good taste. My 18 year old son particularly liked these
                                                                  Parmesan Pastry Pups - a nice take on pigs in the blanket. Parmesan flavor wasn't very strong.
                                                                  Fiesta dip - good, not great. The tomatoes were a little firm and there was a huge pile of shredded cheese in the middle.
                                                                  Roasted Garlic Hummus - very nice garlic taste, creamy texture.

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: AmyH

                                                                    I came across one too many bone fragments in the Parmesan pastry puffs, scarred for life.

                                                                    1. re: olyolyy

                                                                      That is pretty disturbing olyolyy. The almond danish in the fresh baked goods section was mentioned in the previous thread. Everyone here loved it. Even better gently warmed

                                                                      1. re: olyolyy

                                                                        Wow! We didn't get any, that I know of, but I can see why you'd steer clear of them now.

                                                                      2. re: AmyH

                                                                        TJs recently offered samples of the parmesan pastry pups with their whole-grain dijon and the combination was excellent. We ended up buying the mustard because of it.

                                                                      3. Some old favorites in the new Fearless Flyer - a good excuse to yea them again:

                                                                        Organic Chopped Spinach (frozen) - fuller flavor than the non-organic and worth the extra pennies at $1.99 a lb.

                                                                        Sweet Apple Chicken Sausages - ever since TJ's discontinued the mango chicken sausages I've worried about what they'll kill off next. Fortunately not these goodies.

                                                                        Roasted Almonds with 50% Less Salt - which is quite enough salt for me.

                                                                        1. Yay: Aloo Chaat Kati Pouches - like a flat, baked samosa; great flavor and none of that heavy feeling you get after a regular fried samosa.

                                                                          Nay: Kimchee Fried Rice - I've had it in the refrigerator for about a month and had high hopes for it as I love the Chimichurri Fried Rice so much. The Kimchee Fried Rice just doesn't have much flavor. I hit it with some chaat masala I have on hand to punch it up and finish it, but I won't buy it again.

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: oliviasaru

                                                                            You kept the kimchi fried rice in the refrigerator for a month? Isn't that a frozen item?

                                                                            1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                              It's frozen--there's a bag in my freezer right now. Maybe you got a bad batch, Oliviasaru. I've made it twice now and both times it was great--lots of kimchee.

                                                                              1. re: Canonical

                                                                                Hm...it did give me ideas as far as making my own version, which I may try this weekend when I have some leftover cooked rice handy. I may give it another run from TJ's, too, due to the convenience. Thanks for letting me know it's been good for you - it gives me hope!

                                                                              1. yay: roasted coconut chips (really high in sat. fats so don't pig out!), 10-min farro, 10-min barley, spiced chai mix, fresh unripened soft brie.

                                                                                nay: frozen artichoke hearts -- i opened them to find that they were spotted with what was probably mold, frozen indian meals (while they are absolutely delicious, their nutritional profiles don't appeal to me), also the black bean dip looked great but taste was all white vinegar.

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: JuicyHMouse

                                                                                  You should return the frozen artichoke hearts. I haven't had that problem with them. Mine look nice and green and have a lot of good artichokey flavor.

                                                                                  1. re: Atomica

                                                                                    Atomica, re: your post in the January thread, I got the shaved Brussels sprouts in my store (NC) just a day or two ago.

                                                                                    1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                      Thanks for the reply. None here in San Francisco!

                                                                                    2. re: Atomica

                                                                                      I agree with Atomica, definitely take those frozen artichoke hearts back and try another bag (perhaps even take a bag up to a manager there and ask them to open up the bag an inspect it before you take them home). We have gone through a ton of the frozen artichoke hearts over the past couple of years and love them - on heavy rotation here.

                                                                                  2. Yay: Panko crusted tilapia fillets in the frozen section. These make for a great asian fish sandwich and they are not overly salted/seasoned. Came out very crispy and individually vacuum sealed so they keep well in the freezer.

                                                                                    Californa Blood Oranges. These are the perfect size and very juicy.

                                                                                    Nay: Red Curry Chicken in the refrigerated section. Overall underwhelming..The chicken looked okay but had a weird Franken-Chicken vibe to it. It made me crave red curry. I honestly don't know why I even tried this but I was shopping hungry and strange things happen when that happens. Upon unbagging it at home I noticed it had a month out expiration date and it was kind of unappealing to me from that alone.

                                                                                    Mixed feelings: Inside-Out-Carrot Cake cookies in the fresh baked goods section. On one hand, I love these, especially microwaved for ten seconds. On the other hand, I continuously find moldy looking carrot strings in them after a day or two which grosses me out. I've kept them both in the fridge and on counter. Am hoping someone will tell me this is some natural reaction of grated carrot during baking. I'm the only one in my house that eats sweets so there's no way to finish them all that fast.

                                                                                    Dark chocolate covered powerberries. I grabbed these for a field trip thinking they were actual dried berries covered in chocolate. Very tart and sweet at the same time, interesting candy just not what I thought it was.

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: olyolyy

                                                                                      If you're finding green carrot bits, it just means they came into contact with some baking soda that wasn't fully incorporated into the batter before the carrots were added. The soda will make them look a yucky green, but they're not moldy and perfectly safe to eat, even if a little gross looking. :D

                                                                                      1. re: olyolyy

                                                                                        Are those California blood oranges the same as the Cara Cara kind that they referred to in the fearless flyer?

                                                                                        1. re: littleflower

                                                                                          Nope, different oranges. I think Cara Caras taste like orange + a bit of cherry, and blood oranges taste like orange + raspberry.

                                                                                        2. re: olyolyy

                                                                                          I'm so excited to see your mention of blood oranges - I didn't know TJ's carried them. The few I have picked up in grocery stores in the last month have been dry and tasteless, and totally screwed up my cocktails.

                                                                                        3. Yays: 10 minute farro and barley; canned lentil soup; frozen sablefish/black cod.

                                                                                          OK: Frozen dried persimmons. Sounded delicious, and I love persimmons, but I the flavor was a bit lack-luster. I tried the persimmon straight from the freezer, as recommended on the box. Maybe I'll defrost my next one a bit as the frozen/chewy combo was a bit odd. A pack of 4 cost $3.99; I won't be in a hurry to spend $1/persimmon again after this pack is gone.

                                                                                          Question: January's thread had numerous yays for the "Honey Tangerine" juice. I've spotted fresh Tangerine juice in the refrigerated fresh juice section, but nothing called "Honey Tangerine." Am I looking in the wrong spot? Did I miss my chance?

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: chinchi

                                                                                            chinchi, just checked the front of the label and ours indeed says "honey tangerine juice" - found in the refrigerated fresh juice section. We live in the mid-atlantic region on the east coast, so perhaps it depends on where in the country you are located as to the type of fresh tangerine juice is going to be offered - just an assumption!

                                                                                            Either way, if you haven't given it a try I definitely would, I imagine the regular tangerine juice is just as good as the honey kind. We are loading up on it since we know "tangerine season" is only going to be around at most a few more weeks.

                                                                                            1. re: chinchi

                                                                                              The frozen dried persimmons have grown on me, making them a belated yay. Defrosting made a big difference. Very satisfying when I'm craving something sweet. Despite the $3.99 price tag I couldn't resist picking up a second box after the first was gone.

                                                                                            2. Just got the Flyer for Boston area. It advertises TJ's bourbon for a very good price. I know they refund for returns of open products but not sure hard liquor in Mass would work- probably get arrested for having an open bottle in a public place! So I wondered if anyone had bought this and had an opinion. Thanks in advance.

                                                                                              1. two big yeas!!:
                                                                                                the fig butter, (in the shelf with peanut butter and jelly) it's really delish fig jam --dense with seeds, yummy
                                                                                                and the chocolate covered caramel balls, single serving snack pack that i gave in at the register and impulse bought, really nice dark chocolate shell on salted caramel. just chewy enough not to pull out my fillings...

                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: elmom

                                                                                                  Thanks for the review of the fig butter. I eyed that today, and noticed how relatively low in sugars it was. I'll pick some up next time I swing by TJs.

                                                                                                  1. re: elmom

                                                                                                    Another yea for the fig butter. It has a very intense fig flavor.

                                                                                                    1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                                                                      I very regularly have toast spread with fig butter and topped with brie, under the broiler for a few minutes to get all melty for my breakfast.

                                                                                                    2. re: elmom

                                                                                                      Yes to the fig-butter.. It is more affordable than the tiny Dalmatia fig-spread at Whole Foods (granted, the consistency is different).

                                                                                                      1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                        Ohh but Dalmatia ficoco is soooo good, as is the orange fig spread. Totally worth it in my book!

                                                                                                    3. Has anyone tried using the sliced raclette? How do you use it-- just melt onto the potatoes, etc?

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                        I haven't tried their raclette, but, yes, an easy thing to do is boil some potatoes, top with the cheese, and melt under the broiler.

                                                                                                      2. YAY-Cheddar Rocket Crackers! these things are dangerous. They're light and crunchy and has nice flaky layers. puts goldfish to shame.

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: trolley

                                                                                                          Oh good. I nabbed a box impulsively on Wednesday . . . looking forward to trying them. I rarely meet a cheese-flavored cracker I don't like.

                                                                                                          1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                            all i wish is that there were more. between the 3 of us we just finished a measly 7oz box AND i got them yesterday afternoon :( addictive!

                                                                                                          2. re: trolley

                                                                                                            I really like them too. They're not as sharp-tasting as Cheezits (which I love), but they are light and flaky and very addictive.

                                                                                                          3. YAY - Goat cheese with honey. Nice goat chese with a very mild honey flavor, its ever so slightly more sweet than regular goat cheese. Its great on a salad with fruit and nuts! The best part is the price is literally about half of what you would pay for goat cheese in any other grocery store.

                                                                                                            1. Loved the "simply the best trail mix" I saw it in the grocery store and thought well now. I tried it, and it is really good.

                                                                                                              Also noticed in our store we have the salads in a box: spinach, quinoa, cranberries, edamame, and a carrot miso dressing. So handy!

                                                                                                              1. Rosemary Raisin Crackers, yum

                                                                                                                There is a TJ not a couple of miles from my office, I stop by at lunch and pick up their Pasadena Salad in the fresh veg case. Chopped romaine, chopped chicken, almonds and crispy noodles. Around 300 calories even with the sesame dressing that has a weird consistency.

                                                                                                                1. NAY/BOO: the "wild argentinian shrimp" from the freezer section. I wanted to get some nice shrimp for a Thai seafood curry (yes, I often get the farmed crap from Asia, so sue me), so I thought I'd try these.

                                                                                                                  They turned to mush. No plump, firm texture as one would expect from wild shrimp. I suppose "melt in your mouth tender" would be a nicer way to put it, but that's not the texture I want with shrimp.

                                                                                                                  I might have to thaw a couple more and quick-poach them, and see if I get any other results that way. If not, back they go to the store...

                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                    I had the same experience with that particular product billed as, I think, "Red Argentinian Shrimp." They smelled a bit fishy when defrosted but I rinsed and dried them off as per usual. Simple prep with greens and cocktail sauce so it wasn't like I cooked the heck out of them. Mushy, weird, unpleasant texture. Very off-putting chemical after taste. All it took was two bites and back to the store they went. Something was very wrong with them. This was at the Hadley, MA store.

                                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                      We've had TJ's frozen wild shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico and they were terrific; jumbo sized/briny/delicious. In 2009 TJ's pledged to remove all non-sustainable seafood from its stores by the end of 2012 so I feel comfortable buying their (almost) native shrimp. We shop at the Saugus MA store.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                        Well, this is the State College, PA location. I think I'm just going to take them back today. Ick.

                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                          *blinky blink* They've got a Trader Joe's @ State College?
                                                                                                                          Iiinteresting...

                                                                                                                      2. Unfortunately I do not live near a TJ's. When I travel and find a store and stock up on Petits Palmiers. Always crisp and not overly sweet. Better than many I have tried in a bakery. Love 'em!

                                                                                                                        1. Nay - bagged broccoli slaw in the produce section. It was nice and fresh (for a change) but there were these really hard, sharp pieces of broccoli in it. Like eating sticks.

                                                                                                                          15 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                            NAY x 2 on the Broccoli slaw!

                                                                                                                            We had the exact same experience with it ourselves this week, and wasted dried cranberries, tomatoes, herbs, and roasted nuts that we tossed it with only to find that every mouthful meant spitting out sharp inedible matchsticks.

                                                                                                                            Got a refund, but only for the ridiculously cheap slaw not all the other expensive ingredients used with it that wound up in the trash. :(

                                                                                                                            1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                              Mine was a riff on Salvadorean curtido, so I only wasted some vinegar and spices, thank goodness. My only worry now is that we might have accidently swallowed a sharp bit and will end up with an intestinal perforation.

                                                                                                                            2. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                              NAY x 3 on the Broccoli slaw!

                                                                                                                              I'm so surprised to see this.

                                                                                                                              I just got a refund last week at a Seattle TJs for the same issue.

                                                                                                                              The broccoli slaw had such rigid, sharp pieces in it that I likened them to thickened, mashed toothpicks. It ruined a large pot of my "everything" soup I had made that had half a bag of that slaw in it. We only discovered the problem when chewing our stew was still not getting the work done, and we started spitting out unchewable clots of what we had initially thought of as just too-dense parts of broccoli stem. It was scary dangerous.

                                                                                                                              More like wood than broccoli stem. This is really a safety issue that TJs needs to address with their supplier.

                                                                                                                              I've bought that slaw mant times from them and never had the problem before.

                                                                                                                              1. re: sadie ml

                                                                                                                                Brought the matchstick slaw issue to their attention tonight when I was in. Recommend you both do the same so the message actually makes it up the supply chain.

                                                                                                                                This was my first time buying it, so it's at least encouraging to hear that it may be worth revisiting again down the road once they get this sorted out.

                                                                                                                                Checked out a bag in store out of curiosity and while at first glance it looked much better, a bit more poking and shaking the plastic and lo and behold I could see and feel another sharp woody piece.

                                                                                                                                So definitely steer clear for at least a while.

                                                                                                                                1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                  I talked to the manager (or whatever they call them) at my store today. It was the first he'd heard of it. He listened to me, said he'd open a bag and see for himself, and call his produce supplier. He also gave me a store credit for the bag I had gotten last week, even though I really wasn't looking for money back. I haven't heard anything yet from my email to TJ's.

                                                                                                                                2. re: sadie ml

                                                                                                                                  And apparently it's a national issue, not a local one, because I'm in Albany NY. My bag and receipt are long gone, but I'll tell them about it when I'm there for my weekly shopping on Saturday.

                                                                                                                                3. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                  That might be because the broccoli stems aren't being peeled. Sometimes you have to strip 1/8" away to get to the core, which is usually tender. I imagine this is difficult to build into factory processing, and that's probably why the florets only are what we usually get. When produce is bagged, however, it's supposed to be ready to cook, you shouldn't have to go in and do the peeling yourself.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                    It's not at all hard to build into factory processing and every broccoli slaw sold pre-bagged on the market is already pre-peeled. It would be entirely unsaleable otherwise.

                                                                                                                                    Florets are sold separately because that is all the average consumer has an interest in.

                                                                                                                                    I've also done my share of broccoli stem peeling and the bits everyone here is describing are far sharper and tougher than any broccoli stem peel I've ever come across. They're also not the darker green color of broccoli peel as compared to the core.

                                                                                                                                    Unpeeled broccoli stem is merely fibrous and unappetizing, these bits are virtually inedible.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                      I'll ditto what NuMystic said and add that this product is not supposed to be ready to cook, it's supposed to be eaten raw. So there's no softening it up. I don't think these sticks would be softenable anyway. I actually blanched mine (the cabbage in curtido is blanched) and they were still hard, sharp and inedible.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                        Ditto x 3. I had simmered the soup for a long time, after which the slaw pieces were as I had described above. I think they also looked paler and not green. Completely agree with NuMystic and AmyH's opinions. Wish I had saved the bag.

                                                                                                                                        What bugged me when I returned it, and this has happened before with other items, is that TJs will happily refund you without your receipt, but they hardly care about the problem. This was not a "I didn't care for this" issue or a substandard taste or freshness issue. It was a potentially serious problem that could injure people, and the product on their shelves should be inspected at that point, at least casually checked out, sheesh. They don't write it down and barely hear the complaint, so they don't know if dozens or hundreds of us throughout the country are noticing this problem.

                                                                                                                                        I emailed TJ about it yesterday through their website and pointed to this thread. Let's see if we all hear back.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: sadie ml

                                                                                                                                          That was a really good idea to email them with a link to this thread. I hope they see it and do something. Their reputation is already a little tarnished from the peanut butter and frozen butter chicken recalls. They don't need to let this issue get out of control.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                            Thanks Amy, I've been known to have a good idea now and again. I'm so glad you posted your "Nay".

                                                                                                                                            I cook what I call "real food" for the two of us every single day, and we go through a lot of groceries. I'd say about 40% of our food and wine bill goes to TJs. I've been a long-term, passionate customer and I take it personally when my broccoli slaw is really kindling. And seriously, we are all lucky we didn't get injured and I worry about kids and all kinds of people that might be swallowing that splintery stuff.

                                                                                                                                            Peanut butter recall? I didn't know about any recalls. I have their Better 'n Peanut Butter in 2 diff fridges. Off to google.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: sadie ml

                                                                                                                                              I liked your idea so much I decided to send them an email, too. Maybe they'll pay more attention when there are several.

                                                                                                                                              The peanut butter was last year. Had to have been after August 2012 because that's when our store opened. There should be something about it on the 3rd quarter or 4th quarter 2012 Trader Joe's Yay and Nay threads. I don't think it was the Better 'n Peanut Butter, though. I think it had the word Valencia in the name.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: sadie ml

                                                                                                                                            I haven't bought the broc slaw in some time so I can't comment on the quality control issues that they seem to be having, but it was a really good idea to email TJs and I think everyone who has had this issue should do the same. From what I know about the company, they take customer feedback pretty seriously, so hopefully you will get a quick response.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                        Yep, had to use that in a stirfry. I think they just used really old, broccoli with tough stems.

                                                                                                                                      3. YAY...Frozen pastry bites with carmelizes onion and feta, little pizzas, birds'nest, , sweet potato fries. and a number of frozen veggies.

                                                                                                                                        1. Can anyone comment on some of their premade refrigerated entrees? Examples: Greek chicken, chicken piccata, chicken pot pie, lasagna?

                                                                                                                                          I tried their refrigerated beef stroganoff, and was pleasantly surprised (posted about it in last months thread), and would like to know if their are any other standouts for those nights when I'm super busy! thanks!

                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Mellicita

                                                                                                                                            I have one of the turkey pot pies, but haven't tried it yet. We do love the barbecue pork from the refrigerated section--a short nuke and tasty, tasty pulled pork sandwiches.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Canonical

                                                                                                                                              We don't eat pork, but we really like the barbecued shredded brisket and barbecued shredded chicken. Makes an easy dinner.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                Forgot all about the brisket! And we haven't tried the chicken--I'll add it to the list. Thanks! :)

                                                                                                                                            2. re: Mellicita

                                                                                                                                              We have tried the chicken pot pie and found it wanting. Very bland and gloppy crust.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Mellicita

                                                                                                                                                I've had and very much enjoyed the Greek chicken. Didn't skimp on the feta or olives. I would definitely buy this again. The only pot pie I've had is the frozen one, it's great.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                                                                  Thanks! I've eyed that Greek Chicken a couple times now, but wasnt sure... I'll have to get it now!

                                                                                                                                              2. I've never had anything with meat or chicken; but their pastas are good. The vegetable lasagna was okay. Did not care for any of the eggplant dishes

                                                                                                                                                1. Yay - Speculoos Cookies - They're here folks. If you're already a fan of Biscoffs (famous now thanks to it's use as an airline coffee cart treat) you now finally have an affordable and in my opinion superior alternative.

                                                                                                                                                  Less oily and a shade less sweet, these manage to retain all that you already love about their Biscoff branded cousin.

                                                                                                                                                  Perfect tea/coffee dunker and sure to be a new staple in our house, especially given my wife having grown up with Speculoos in South Africa.

                                                                                                                                                  These are the real deal, made in belgium, with the only notable difference from some you might find overseas being a bit less bite from the spices it's seasoned with.

                                                                                                                                                  Yay - Dark Chocolate Tahitian Vanilla Caramels - Individual snack pack near registers. Pleasantly soft to the tooth inside and out. Tastes exactly as you'd expect it to from the name.

                                                                                                                                                  Yay - Almond Danish Pastry Ring (bakery) - Just one more thumbs up to add to the growing list of fans. Nothing transcendental, but if you already enjoy almond danish then you'll love this with it's heavy handed use of the almond paste. Equally good room temp or warmed.

                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                    I found some Biscoff, both the cookies and the spread (crunchy) at Grocery Outlet. I can't tell much difference between the Biscoff cookies and these Speculoos that TJ sells. I do prefer the crunchy Biscoff spread to the smooth TJ spread. I haven't tried the crunchy version that TJ just added.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                      I love TJs original (creamy) cookie butter. The crunchy is ok, but if you like the biscoff crunchy you will be VERY disappointed because it is barely crunchy in comparison.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                      The Almond Danish Pastry Ring is ridiculous. Especially warmed. /drool

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                                                                        SO disappointed to discover today that our local TJ's here in the South Mid-Atlantic States does not carry the Almond Danish Pastry Ring!! I was really looking forward to trying it...our store does not carry Texas Toast either (another internet highly recommended TJ's product) :-(

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                          Easy coast also does not carry ranchero egg white salad. I asked about it today after seeing several yays for it in the top 5 thread. :(

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                            Is the ranchero egg white salad the spicy kind or the regular kind? I wanted to try the regular egg white salad but appears by your post that it may not be available where we are at.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                              I think they may be one and the same. The mate I asked at my store said she came from a store in California and she missed it too!

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                            I, too, was eager to try the almond Danish; the three of us agreed it was only okay .. I would not go out of my way for it.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                              Does yours have the frozen almond croissants? They are better than the danish though you do need to think ahead and defrost the day before baking them.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                Funny you should bring that up grey - I actually thought about possibly purchasing the frozen almond croissants after I saw them mentioned a little while earlier on your TJ's Top 5 list! I believe our TJ's does carry the almond croissants - will have to check it out.

                                                                                                                                                        2. Nay-meh on the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Truffles.

                                                                                                                                                          None of the three flavors comes through with any more than a very mild hint of what you expect. Very bland across the board. They are an igloo shaped chocolate shell with a liquid filing.

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: puzzler

                                                                                                                                                            I really liked them - to each his own

                                                                                                                                                          2. YAY Sweet and Spicy Pecans (Maybe the best thing I ever ate EVER)

                                                                                                                                                            YAY White Balsamic Vinegar (Make salad dressing almost every night)

                                                                                                                                                            YAY Fresh Romaine hearts, ($1.99 for three; kind of small but nice and fresh)

                                                                                                                                                            YAY Corn Tortillas (Makes my whole pantry smell like corn tortillas)

                                                                                                                                                            NAY Thai Green Curry Sauce, (not as good as my usual options)

                                                                                                                                                            NAY Hickory Smoked Almonds, (not as good as my usual Blue Diamonds)

                                                                                                                                                            14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DoobieWah

                                                                                                                                                              I like to use the white balsamic when I don't want to add any color to my salad. It doesn't, as far as I can tell, have a distinctive taste. I use a sherry vinegar and one of TJs red balsamics more, but I like to keep the white on hand.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DoobieWah

                                                                                                                                                                Yes on the sweet & spicy pecans -- I can absolutely not have these in the house. I also love the praline pecans.

                                                                                                                                                                Interesting about the romaine hearts. They're a whopping $3.99 at Wegmans.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DoobieWah

                                                                                                                                                                    I can't even buy those anymore. Swimsuit season will come whether I'm ready or not.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                    I picked up some of the praline pecans.

                                                                                                                                                                    They're good, no doubt about it, but what I love about the sweet and spicy pecans is that they taste so much like "pecans".

                                                                                                                                                                    The pralines sort of lose the pecan flavor in the sweetness.

                                                                                                                                                                    At least that was my experience.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DoobieWah

                                                                                                                                                                      i think that's typical of pralines. i love pecans, but don't have a pronounced sweet tooth. every praline i've had (including in new orleans, where i believe they set the bar) has been overwhelmingly sweet to me. cloying. so, thanks for the review. sounds like they are authentic pralines, and also sounds like they aren't for me.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chez cherie

                                                                                                                                                                        Chez Cherie, the Spicy & Sweet Pecans are nowhere near as sweet as Pralines and the addition of heat is a revelation.

                                                                                                                                                                        That said they're not cheap and the bag is small. I'll get them in a pinch, but it's also inspired me to make my own at home. (have made maple toasted nuts but never thought of making them spicy)

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                          yip! love those sweet and spicy pecans.
                                                                                                                                                                          i once candied some pecans in general tsao sauce. good and spicy!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                            NuMystic, I've made these spicy pecans many times & they are dee-lish in case you need a recipe for starters: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Val

                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks Val! I don't cook with white sugar or corn syrup and for candied nuts I actually love the character that Grade B Maple brings to the party.

                                                                                                                                                                                Maple Sriracha Toasted Pecans…. mmmmm. Methinks that just got added to this evening's agenda. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chez cherie

                                                                                                                                                                              Actually, they're not pralines at all.

                                                                                                                                                                              They're pecans with a praline coating on them, instead of a praline with pecans in it.

                                                                                                                                                                              If you know what I mean..

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: DoobieWah

                                                                                                                                                                              Yeah, they're pretty sweet, but I really love that hint of maple. The spicy & sweet ones I like more... which is why I can't buy them :-)

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Yay - Chocolate Ganache Torte - Has been my favorite to serve as birthday cake in the past years! At $7.99 it totally beats overpriced bakery cakes when I don't have time to bake my own.

                                                                                                                                                                          Yay - Spicy Soy and Flaxseed Tortilla Chips - So addictive and easy to pig out on.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. I just picked up some of their showcased brie-a good sized nugget for 2.99
                                                                                                                                                                            this girl gives it a TOTAL YAY!!!
                                                                                                                                                                            DELISH. super creamy.

                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cookfood

                                                                                                                                                                              Is that the unripened one? I bought it but haven't tried it yet. Will do so right now.

                                                                                                                                                                              ....

                                                                                                                                                                              Hmm. Might be cause I just took it out of the fridge, but it seems very mild in flavor?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cookfood

                                                                                                                                                                                Yay! It is my fave! And I'm already lamenting its disappearance come march.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cookfood

                                                                                                                                                                                  I just opened mine this last weekend.

                                                                                                                                                                                  It's really a great snackin spread. Kind of like a supercharged cream cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                  In fact, if I was a baker, I think I would use it in a cheesecake.

                                                                                                                                                                                  In fact, I think I'll become a baker JUST to use it in a cheesecake.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Yay- dark chocolate coconut caramel bar....so good, like the best German chocolate cake.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Yay- sweet corn tamales

                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: fakebunny

                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh wow, now I have to try that dark chocolate coconut caramel bar!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                      Me too! For some reason I've always passed it over for the sea salt + caramel bar, but I will have to try this one.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: fakebunny

                                                                                                                                                                                      I finally got around to trying the dark chocolate coconut caramel bar. Definitely a major YAY! You're right, it's like having a condensed bite of German chocolate cake. Wonderful stuff!

                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Nay - roasted potatoes with roasted peppers and onions (frozen). These had so much potential! The potatoes roasted up very nicely, nicer than I expected actually considering they were frozen. You add the peppers and onions 2/3 of the way through so they're not over cooked. But they were soooooo salty! I'm fairly sensitive to salt but my husband agreed with me. We split a bag between the 4 of us, although it says there are 8 servings in the bag. Our servings were pretty small, so I can't imagine splitting it even further. Anyway, 1/4 of the bag gives you 28% of your daily intake of sodium. If they had been less salty they would really have been quite good. Oh well!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Has anyone tried the (frozen) battered halibut? Worth $10? Does it do justice to HALIBUT?

                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                                          We tried it and was disappointed.... The batter wasn't all that crisp and the halibut was over cooked...

                                                                                                                                                                                          --Dommy!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                                            Wow, did it jump to $10??

                                                                                                                                                                                            I've bought it in the past, we use it to make a fish sandwich and I like it for that. But I remember it being around 7 bucks. For $10 I'll probably pass

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Yay, TJ is finally selling Hot Chocolate again!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. YAY - last night DH opened a chocolate bar he picked up before Christmas - dark chocolate caramel with black sea salt. I'm not usually a huge dark chocolate fan. I could have eaten the entire chocolate bar!

                                                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                                                                                                I love this chocolate bar, too! Definitely my favorite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: SarachkaInBrooklyn

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Do they carry it all the time or was it seasonal?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I forgot to get it on my trip on Monday, and I don't make it to TJ's too often during the winter since we don't have a car, but I don't think it's a seasonal item. I recall buying some during the summer. Can anyone else confirm this?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's a regularly available product but it was temporarily out of stock for what seemed like forever! Glad it's back, it's drippy-good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Not a new item, but YAY for the Authentic Greek Feta in Brine (made from sheep's milk). It's creamy and tangy and everything that I think feta should be. I do have two gripes, though - I absolutely hate opening the totally un-ergonomic container (but I usually have my husband do it for me) and also that it's a pretty big container and the cheese doesn't keep for long. But other than that, it's great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Agree about this feta; in fact I can only get this at the bigger TJs, in my case Brookline, MA, and that's what I did this weekend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I actually like the package because in my experience it lasts a surprisingly long time, contained as it is in the original brine rather than loose plastic wrapping.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Other not-new YAYS for me:
                                                                                                                                                                                                    --Organic tomato-roasted red pepper soup
                                                                                                                                                                                                    --chocolate almond biscotti
                                                                                                                                                                                                    --Alsatian tart
                                                                                                                                                                                                    --Palak paneer

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Nay:
                                                                                                                                                                                                    --Stroopwaffle cookies in a bag. HFCS was main sweetener and tasted like it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Niblet

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The stroopwafel cookies make me sad. I wish TJ's would make their own version, with better ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.flickr.com/photos/daelmans...
                                                                                                                                                                                                        is an image of the ingredients for the TH stroopwafel, from Holland
                                                                                                                                                                                                        "wheat syrup and sugar syrup, wheat flour, etc"

                                                                                                                                                                                                        No HFCS. I'm guessing the wheat syrup is similar to American corn syrup, mostly glucose. In Europe the equivalent to HFCS (though not necessarily derived from corn starch) is usually listed as fructose-glucose. The sugar syrup might be an invert sugar (like Lyle's Golden), sucrose broken down into its constituent fructose and glucose.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        By the way, 'stroop' means syrup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        A bit of history:
                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Tradition says we may have Napoleon to thank for the Stroopwafel. In the early 1800's the French emperor dictated that sugar be grown in Holland, a part of the French empire at that time. Napoleon wanted to free France from reliance on foreign sugar and not long afterward the Stroopwafel appeared in the Dutch town of Gouda. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                        The sugar in this case would have been beet sugar.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.coffeecakes.com/stroopwafe...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                          That is not the same product that TJ's now sells. The ones they have are in a blue plastic bag, made by Daelmans. The first ingredient is glucose-fructose syrup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Edit for picture: http://www.seriouseats.com/images/200...

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Is there a better tasting Dutch brand? I would think that the use of butter v margarine would be more significant than the choice of syrup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, these small ones in the bag are the ones I had. I'm in Holland fairly frequently and always bring back these cookies for family. I'm not overly picky, if they're kind of similar I'll probably still love them. However these taste overly sweet and kinda like chemicals and basically nasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Nay to the dried kimchi. I was so very excited when I saw it yesterday, but I found it didn't taste much like kimchi at all. It wasn't spicy and it was somewhat sweet. There's no added sugar but red pepper is listed as the second ingredient, I think that's the predominant flavor. Also, it was a bit on the pricier side: $2.99 for the bag, which contained maybe a handful of kimchi. That being said, I found it was fantastically crunchy, the texture was great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: AllaSiciliana

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Red pepper powder is the dominant flavoring ingredient in most kimchi (except the white mild stuff).

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Previously I bought dried kimchi in small packages from HMart. This is basically the same thing. Evidently TJ sent a buyer to S Korea, landing them with a half dozen new products (this, regular kimchi, a seaweed salad (plenty of bite), wheat noodles, and rice noodles, and some packaged seaweed snacks).

                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.e-jejutrade.com/buyer/prod...
                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUwVfQ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Red chili powder is indeed the main flavoring ingredient in most kimchi, but it is far from the dominant flavor which is provided from the intense fermentation. Not to mention that the most popular variety is generally quite spicy as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'd be equally disappointed (and imagine most others would too) if I purchased the dried kimchi and found it tasted of nothing more than red pepper powder and sweetness, so I was grateful AllaSiciliana's report.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Yay - Chicken in Coconut Curry. I made jasmine rice and poured it over that. I thought it was pretty good and will probably get again. Although, I would have liked some heat and veggies in it. All in all, it had a good flavor and the chicken was very moist .

                                                                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fresh Trolley - It's a new product highlighted on TJ's website now.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.traderjoes.com/products.asp

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: TXMandy

                                                                                                                                                                                                            with great sadness i must add a NAY to the chicken in coconut curry for my palate. it was way too sweet for me. i'm fond of red curries but not this sweet. i also felt it needed more heat to balance the sweetness. i wouldn't mind the curry so much but i also didn't like the texture of the chicken. something was really off about it and i can't really place my finger on it. i bit one piece and it felt raw or undercooked. that just can't be bc i reheated the crap out of it. maybe not a curry for everyone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                                              heck, I refuse to even try it because red curries are *so easy* to make at home...just saying. I love TJ's *BUT* there are many of their products that really are too processed or have horrific numbers for me to even explore and *Everyone has their own standards* for sure but if the dish is a no-brainer, like red curry...I won't even try theirs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. After posting my Yay for the new fresh Chicken in Coconut Curry, I wanted to share more of my Yay/Nays! (I've been lurking for months ;-)) My Dallas store just opened a few months ago, so everything is pretty new to me. I apologize in advance for the lengthy list, but I am a giddy, TJ's fiend now!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            YAY! (many of these have become staples in our home)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Frozen Mac n Cheese
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Frozen Mandarin Orange Chicken
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Roasted Coconut Chips
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Just a Handful - Almonds, Cashews and Chocolate
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Premium EVOO imported from Italy
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Garlic Hummus
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Crunchy Taco Shells
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Jarred Tomato Basil Marinar
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Canned Minestrone Soup
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Organic Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Organic Free Range Chicken Broth
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Strawberry Walks into a Bar
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fresh Middle Eastern Flatbread
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Frozen Eggplant Cutlets
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Frozen Tofu Edamame Nuggets
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pomegranate Blueberry Sherbert
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Frozen Panko Coated Mozzarella Cheese Sticks
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Trader Ming's Gyoza Dippin g Sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Uncured All Beef Hotdogs
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Applewood Smoked Bacon
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Tzatziki Creamy Garlic Cucumber Dip
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Reduiced Guilt Chunky Quacamole
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Frozen Turkey Meatballs
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Himalayan Pink Salt Crystals with Grinder
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Cranberry Almond Clusters Cereal
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Multigrain O'l Cereal

                                                                                                                                                                                                            MEH!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Canned Traditional Refried Beans
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Frozen Aloo Chaati
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Frozen Chili Lime Chicken Burgers
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Frozen Chicken Cilantro Mini Wontons
                                                                                                                                                                                                            All Frozen Croissants (Chocolate, Almond and Mini Plain)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            NAY!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Packaged Dehydrated Seaweed Salad (this is the only thing I've returned for a refund!)
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chili Lime Cashews
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Organic Hot Cocoa Mix
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Frozen Gyro Bites

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've had a lot of luck on the chips/snacks, fresh veggies and spices as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Some things I have but haven't tried yet include:

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Canned Lentil Soup
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Frozen Sweetpotato Tots
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Frozen Hashbrown Patties
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Cheddar Rocket Crackers

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Here's a quick story of the awesome people working at TJ's. A couple of weeks ago, I picked up another box of the holiday seasonal Dark Chocolate Caramallows (YUM!) and was discussing how much I loved them during checkout. As I was about to leave, another TJ's employee came running up with a box of the Caramallows and threw them in my bag. He said "This is on us!" and I needed to stock up since we wouldn't see them again anytime soon! Thanks TJ's!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: TXMandy

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Boo! My store has been out of the caramallows since early December!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: TXMandy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                TXMandy thanks for taking the time to share your list!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                re: the Italian EVOO, if you haven't yet tried the California Estate Olive Oil it's an absolute must try.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Was the number one rated value Olive Oil by Consumer Reports beating out all the major supermarket brands like Colavita, Bertoli, Berio, Newman's Own, and even Chow favorite 365 from Whole Foods.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's the first budget EVOO I've found that can actually hold it's own against many premium dipping/drizzling oils at a fraction of the price.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you NuMystic! That EVOO sounds wonderful! When this bottle is gone, I will go for the California Estate next!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: TXMandy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wow! Gyoza sauce. I just picked some up about an hour ago so I had to run to the kitchen to pry it open and give it the finger dip test--it's fantastic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I know Alliegator! I have to stop myself from looking at random things in the fridge and thinking "I should dip that in Gyoza!" lol

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TXMandy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Baby carrots! Gotta eat your veggies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I second the Gyoza dipping sauce. Since TJ's opened last year, I make a trip into Ft. Worth every month or so. This is always on my list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      On a side note, I see you're fleeing the state, alliegator. Good luck with the move. I'll be looking for your 'puff of smoke.' Ha!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: KrumTx

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks, KrumTx. Everyone's got their little happy place, and Arizona is definitely mine :) I'm excited. And hey, that leaves more stuff at FW Trader Joe's for you to buy!! Be sure to get the sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: TXMandy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Care to share what made the Organic Hot Cocoa Mix a "nay" for you? We were considering buying it but would be curious to first hear some reviews on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We used to live near a Whole Foods, and bought a ton of boxes of their Organic Hot Cocoa Mix packets. The hot cocoa from it was delicious and hoped that TJ's version stood up to their quality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Littleflower,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        First, I made it with water and will try milk if I decide to make it again. I can't quite put my finger on my dislike, but my husband didn't like it either (and he loves anything chocolate). It was a dark chocolate flavor that tasted chemically and very thin to us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: TXMandy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That is a shame that it seems to have missed the mark...was looking for an alternative to Whole Foods Organic Hot Cocoa Mix - thanks for sharing your input.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4. Big Yay! - South African Smoke Seasoning Blend (w/ grinder)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Blend of dried paprika flakes, basil, garlic and sea salt with a complex and intense smokey flavor. Little bit goes a long way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My South African wife gave it 2 thumbs up. (just like the blend they use for biltong!) Nuff said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        my best friend's daughter loves the South African Smoke Seasoning Blend - they don't have a TJs, so when she visited in January I picked up 3 or 4 grinders of it for her (as well as a bag of other items.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. YAY - Frozen Mango Chunks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not new, but I'd never even noticed them before. They looked so good when they caught my eye that I picked up a bag. I love mangoes, but they're so unpredictable, and it's winter right now so I can't get my hands on any good fresh ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I opened the bag last night and used them for dessert with coconut milk and sticky rice. They were fantastic! They are already peeled, in decent sized chunks. This morning I had some more chunks mixed in with plain yogurt and some of the lemon curd they sell at TJ's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I bet they'd also be perfect for smoothies. Since you're supposed to keep them frozen, I just defrosted them a bit before I put them in my yogurt. Worked out perfectly. They are super juicy, sweet, and taste ripe. Texture is great. This is probably the closest I'll get to perfectly ripe mangoes in winter, they will definitely become a regular item for us. I really recommend it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The boyfriend and I bought a few other new items (for us) on the trip there which we haven't tried yet, so I'll report back. One of those things was the frozen Mandarin Orange Chicken which seems to be getting positive reviews on here, so that's good. Another was the TJ's version of Kalbi/Galbi which my boyfriend picked up. It was not cheap and the nutritional info is terrifying to look at, but hopefully it'll taste good! I haven't ventured much into the packaged entree items at TJ's, but it'll be nice to try out some quick meal options for those busy or exhausted nights.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: SarachkaInBrooklyn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          So glad to hear positive things about the frozen mango chunks Sara! I've had an untouched bag in the freezer for a few months now. You've inspired me to do something with them!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: TXMandy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Let me know what you think! Sometimes I worry that things I like when I buy them the first time are flukes, and the next bag/batch will disappoint. Another yay is more promising!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: SarachkaInBrooklyn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My wife eats these a lot. We had one bag that was quite up to snuff (under ripe or more fibrous), but that should be expected, given the fact that mangos are a real fruit. You'll get greater variability in fresh mangos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't return fruit. Fruit's a gamble. I know that going in.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                -Seinfeld

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: SarachkaInBrooklyn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The frozen mango chunks make excellent mango lassis. During the summer I crave them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oooh, I love mango lassis, but I've never tried making them. I'm going to try this. Do you have a good recipe?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: SarachkaInBrooklyn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I tried the mango chunks for the first time also and loved them. Once I finished them, I craved them, but was not able to get to TJs. I bought an expensive, organic version at my neighborhood coop. Those were tasteless compared to the TJs version

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Two unrelated yays today:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              chocolate chip brownie oat bars - very chocolatey!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              pearl tomatoes on the vine - good taste, pretty ripe, and a good price at 18 for (IIRC) $3.49. I think I got lucky with the quality because it's a crap shoot with their produce (see below).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              a pretty good:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              garlic and herb pizza dough - good taste but didn't rise well

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              and a big NAY:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              fresh prepped green beans - I don't know what I was thinking when I bought these . They looked nice and green and I thought they'd be easy. I bought them the 16th and the sell by date was the 23rd, so I figured I was safe. Nope! Most of them were rotten, especially the cut ends. I didn't feel like taking the drive back to the store for a refund, but I won't be buying them again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Just keep your box / receipt and definitely get your refund whenever you go back. Gross.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Yay for the asparagus risotto. I was definitely leery of frozen risotto but it was simple to make and very tasty. Can't wait to buy more!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. MEH: Frozen macarons. Liked the chocolate, found the vanilla to be way too sweet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. YAY! Cheddar Rocket Crackers

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We just tried these and liked them very much. I would say these aren't as salty or oily as goldfish crackers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    YAY! Sweet Potato Tots

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I saw where others said theirs didn't crisp up. We didn't have this problem. Flipped halfway and cooked 5-10 minutes longer than stated. The sweet potato flavor is great, just don't expect them to be super crunchy like tator tots.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TXMandy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Nice TX. I don't think I've ever been able to follow a TJ's cooking instructions precisely. I often have to cook stuff for longer. I think of the instructions as a very gentle guideline.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Yay- strawberry chia smoothie. nice strawberry flavor and not very sweet. healthy and filling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Nay - Trader Joe's Wisconsin Extra Sharp Cheddar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pleasant enough cheese, but doesn't even deserve the "sharp" designation let alone extra sharp. Cabots Extra Sharp blows this away as a widely available alternative. Postive note is that it isn't crumbly so it's a good candidate for shredding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yea - Rosemary Raisin Crisps
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Add our voice to the choir. Hitting a chewy raisin in a CRACKER is a completely novel experience. The kind that makes you marvel that no one had ever thought of it before.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Meh - Open Sesame Freshly Made Garlic Hummus Dip
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Edible but bland. Doesn't hold a candle to Yorgo's at Fairway, but will do in a pinch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yea/Meh - Dark Chocolate (filled with) Speculoos Cookie Spread (chocolate bar)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Found near registers right next to the newly famous PB&J bars. If you love the Speculoos spread then this is also likely a good fit. Wife LOVED it, but I'm finding that I don't care for a lingering aftertaste that both this and the PB&J bar leave behind so I'm now assuming it's the chocolate rather than the fillings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The jelly countered it somewhat in the PB&J version but it really comes forward after the Speculoos so they're both off my personal shopping list. I'm sure they'll still magically find their way into the cart when my better half is along for the ride. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. A thousand nays to the Extra Dark French Roast coffee beans. I used to buy these all the time to stretch the Starbucks/Peet's budget, so I know they were once pretty decent, but these were undrinkable. I was stuck in the house due to a driving ban (bad winter storm) and had this horrid coffee that tasted very much like airplane coffee circa 1975. (Yeah, I've got it rough.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          As soon as the roads were clear, I went to Costco and bought a 5 lb bag of Starbucks' beans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I buy it weekly. It's usually very good, but I have gotten occasional bad batches(got one a few weeks ago. Kept castigating my husband for his coffee making technique -turned out is was the beans, That was an exception though).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I still have a can of some TJ's super dark roast rolling around in my car. I meant to return it. It was hideously bad--does not even smell or taste like coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Another NAY: Frozen Garlic Fries. Disaster! The garlic sauce isn't supposed to be cooked or heated, just thawed from frozen in a bowl of warm water in its plastic packet. That gives you chunky raw garlic that doesn't easily spread onto the cooked fries as you toss them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My husband was a trooper and ate his portion but I gave up after about 1/3 of mine and then immediately tossed out whatever was left on the stovetop.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Terrible. Awful. Very very bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I wrote exactly the same NAY review as yours of the garlic fries back in 2012. I can't believe anyone buys these more than once. And I can't imagine why they keep carrying these while discontinuing other items that people love.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I eat the fries plain and use the packet for garlic bread or cream sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Green Beans snack- I'd eat it again but wouldn't buy it again. The bag mentions that it's lightly salted, but it's actually much more sweet than salty, possibly due to the natural flavor. That would make it more of a nay than yea, I reckon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I saw those and thought that the carb count seemed extraordinarily high for freeze dried green beans. I figured there was some sort of starch, but there is probably quite a bit of some kind of sweetener as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. YAY: 100% Cherry Juice - sweet but not overly so, would make a perfect substitute for grenadine in a Shirley Temple drink.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Only thing is we recently found out that it is the Tart Cherry Juice that contains the most health benefits - have yet to try TJ's tart cherry juice but would be curious how it measures up to the new kind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Just picked up the Tart Cherry thanks to your mention of it littleflower.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's exactly what you'd expect from the name… tart. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Almost no sweetness to speak of but a HUGE cherry finish left on the palate. Not something I'd drink straight, but it's going to be fantastic as a mixer in "adult sodas", dressings, sauces, and dessert recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm going to try a sweetened reduction as a more affordable stand in for whole cherry coulis.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I love the 100% cherry but find it a bit too sweet on it's own so I've spiked it with some of the Tart Cherry and now it's brilliant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've been making cherry ginger-ale with the 100% (add ginger juice, maple syrup, and mineral water) and can't wait to try it with the Tart Cherry to really pump up the cherry kick.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Great idea, NuMystic and must say I admire your willingness/thinking outside the box to go the all-natural homemade route for a lot of what you consume. I am sure you will live a much healthier life (and probably tastier!) for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The mixing of a tart cherry to some of the sweeter 100% cherry juice sounds perfect - you're getting the nutritional benefits of the tart cherry juice mellowed out a bit with the sweeter kind. Should be good used to make a homemade cherry limeade as well!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ha. I appreciate the kind words littleflower, though I have to say Trader Joe's being my closest "healthy-ish" food market in combination with THIS monthly list has led to me eating more frozen and pre-packaged food than anytime in the last 20 years! ;-P

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. YAY- Parmesan pastry pups. They took a while to bake 25 min in oven but they came out nicely. made a perfect lunch for the little one with a side of broccoli. the hot dog also doesn't have nitrates in it which is nice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    MEH- spicy seaweed ramen. the noodles have a nice texture. but coming in at 1250mgs of sodium per serving it tasted bland. there was spice but do i dare say not enough salt? and i followed directions to a tee so i didn't overwater it. i've had better spicy ramen by Annie's from WF. it didn't have enough contrasting flavors to make the sodium intake worth while.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Meh: Marinated Artichoke Hearts in a bottle - decided to give these a try for something different, but personally wasn't really liking the marinade...we however LOVE TJ's frozen artichoke hearts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Side Note: Sad to hear that our local store has officially stopped carrying my beloved Sky Valley Heirloom Navel Oranges for this season...they will however be carrying them again next year but that's such a long wait!! We have gone through so many bags of these oranges and have enjoyed them immensely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I just got a bag of the Sky Valley Heirloom Navel Oranges at TJ (in San Francisco), they had quite a few bags in stock, though it is nearing the end of citrus season in California. I don't usually like oranges, but these are a perfect healthy addition when I brown bag my lunch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        On another note, anyone try the Quince Paste (I think it's $2.99)? I just saw it at my store in the "New" product shelf. Wondering how it is, and for ideas for what to do with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gnomatic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have not seen quince paste yet in my store (NC). It's usually served on cheese platters. How much was it? It's pricey at whole foods and fresh market.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ohmyyum - it was mentioned they thought it was $2.99 :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh oops sorry thanks I am a dumbass! If it is decent/serviceable, that is a pretty great deal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: gnomatic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oooh. I haven't seen the Quince paste. Is it sugar sweetened?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As for uses, it's classically paired with Manchego cheese in spain, but would pair well with most cheese and crackers. Also often used much like jam/jelly on bread at breakfast time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Confirmed it's 2.99 for 4.2 oz (120g), from New Zealand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ingredients: quince pulp, sugar, glucose syrup(corn), dextrose, fruit pectin, citric acid, tartaric acid, sodium citrate

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Packaging & size seems similar to a company call Rutherford & Meyer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gnomatic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So yes it's definitely sweetened!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Gnomatic, what state are you in? I asked about the quince and they looked it up for me but ultimately said it was not orderable at this time. I have also never seen those lentils pictured to the right. The pb cookies are 'old' to my store. And that Korean ramen was terrible!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  California, San Francisco North Beach store.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That was the "New" shelf. The picture cut it off, but it says "Small Whole Green Lentils".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gnomatic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hmm well I'm on the east coast, NC to be exact. I sure hope the quince paste isn't one it those west coast exclusive items.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It might just take a little while to show up in the rest of the country, or maybe they designate some areas as the guinea pigs for new products. I often mention a new product to my brother (in NYC), and he wouldn't get it there till a while later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Totally agree on the artichoke hearts. I returned them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4. NAY to the Gluten Free 3-Cheese pizza. I had high hopes because pizza is one of the things you really miss on a GF diet. However...I would never buy this again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The crust is a typical GF rice-based crust, more cracker-like than chewy like the sourdough crusts I grew up with in San Francisco. That I've come to expect. However, the sauce is bland - aside from very heavy garlic - and I had to sprinkle salt on it just to give it a boost. The Roma tomato slices were soggy and also lacking in flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As for the 3 cheeses, the overall texture was gritty and unpleasant. Would have been better with just some decent mozzarella.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Has anyone had the Salmon Jerky? I have never seen it, but I love fish.. so I'd be curious (and I live too far for TJ just to buy it, try it, and drive back if it's bad).-Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I tried it a while ago and really was not a fan. The flavor was off, too sweet and just kind of unpleasant. I returned it, which I almost never do at TJs since I hate food getting thrown away. But there was no way I was going to eat it (AND it was $6 for a little pouch of salmon!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Shoot me if this has been mentioned, but ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                HUGE YAY on the lemon bars. Wowzah. Deliciously tart & sweet & creamy with a nice crust on the bottom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The tarte d'Alsace was nice, too. My man makes a better one from scratch, but this'll do in a pinch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                YAY on the double cream brie, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  +1 on the lemon bars. I consider 4 of those anemic squares to be one serving.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. HUGE YAY: Honeymelon (fresh fruit section) - I believe that it is a cross between a canteloupe and a honeydew, at least it is in taste. Truly a refreshing delicious treat, and somewhat subdues my sadness for the seasonal end of our TJ's Sky Valley Heirloom Navel Oranges.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Is that the galia melon-- looks like a cantaloupe on the outside, green like a honeydew on the inside? I must have cut into mine when it was totally underripe because it tasted like cucumber to me!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I had one of those galia melons this weekend. It was good, but might have been better with a few more days of ripening.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You are absolutely correct - it is called a galia melon. We have bought four so far, and three of the four have been pretty sweet and definitey ripe and the other one was more of average sweetness/ripeness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Overall not a fan of honeydew melons in general, but the galia melon when cold and ripe is very refreshing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. YAY - Juice in a Box. They were demo-ing it this weekend. Was refreshing, delicious, had no preservative-ish taste and the little one loved it as much as I did!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Oh - I know this isn't a food product, but the Trader Joe's Coconut Body Butter is amazing. It's supposed to rival The Body Shop's body butter and to me it outperforms. The scent is wonderful without being overpowering, it absorbs really well and leaves no greasy residue. Perfect for the winter!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yeah!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I was just about to mention the Coconut Body Butter. It is excellent for dryish Winter skin!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. As someone who can't have caffeine and dislikes dark roast coffee, I am delighted with the new whole bean 100% Arabica medium roast decaf beans. I am not enough of a coffee gourmande to buy specialty beans a week at a time, or a vacuum storage gizmo. I want to be able to buy a regular sized bag or canister, and empty it into a glass jar for refrigeration. TJ's coffee fits the bill in this respect. I like a lighter roast but brew it strongly, so the "medium" roast gave me pause, but I am happy I tried it. Well-rounded coffee flavor, which is rare in a decaf.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Not so much a nay but a firm "dont, just don't" -- the frozen pho bowl. the flavor of the broth was alright, but the texture of everything else was not good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Yay: Wild Blueberry Vanilla Chèvre

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I was a bit worried about the vanilla part but it was really good as part of our Oscar's party cheese plate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. YAY! - Albacore Sold White Tuna in Water

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I just made tuna salad and have only used Starkist in the past. Wow! TJ's tuna made a huge difference! Canned tuna that tastes clean and fresh. This is the only canned tuna I'll buy from now on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: TXMandy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My favorite is the yellow fin tuna in oil. It makes a fine tuna salad, and if you prefer the kind with olive oil and lemon juice, the packing oil is no problem - in fact I sometimes use it in the salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks John!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'll pick some up next time at TJ's. If it's half as good as the other, it will be a winner!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      TXMandy, I have to wholeheartedly agree with John Francis's yellowfin tuna in oil recommendation. I don't even bother draining the oil out of it - it is the ONLY canned tuna that I can say that about. It is of such high quality that I eat it with just a little sea salt and pepper.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks Littleflower! I really can't wait to try it now!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Big YAY - Paneer Tikka Masala (frozen). This was a good as anything I've had in an Indian restaurant. The cilantro rice was good, too, although plain would have been fine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My sons enjoyed their butter chicken and chicken tikka masala, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Little yay - Channa Masala (frozen). The taste was good but the chickpeas were a bit firm. One son didn't like this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We each had one of the meals with rice, a third of the channa masala, a masala vegetable burger (no bun), and a piece of garlic naan. It made a very nice meal!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Does anyone else have any residual concerns about purchasing the Butter Chicken after the recall? I haven't even checked that section lately to see if it has been restocked, but really am craving it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Also, +1 to the Chicken Tikka Masala - out of this world quality for a frozen Indian meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I did think twice about buying it, but then I decided that the company is probably monitoring it very carefully right now. So this may be the safest time to buy it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'll keep an eye on my son for a few days, just in case.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That is a good point AmyH about now being probably a good time to purchase it from them, because come to think of it I can see where they would want to avoid at all costs any further issues associated with that product!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I actually returned a box that wasn't even from the recalled lot, because I couldn't bring myself to eat it. I've been eating quite a bit of the chicken tikka masala, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sciencediet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have asked a Traders Joes team member to check if they have butter chicken every time I've been (about 6-7 times since December).... and they have never had it. I'm glad its not discontinued! I really want to try it, despite the bad press it got. I love the paneer masala!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sciencediet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm happy to report that my son is alive and quite healthy. I think the butter chicken is safe, and possibly the safest it will ever be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. I had this in my cupboard forever, just ran across it this weekend and had to go buy another jar tonight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          YAY!!! Roasted Red Pepper Spread with Eggplant and Garlic. I spread it on turkey to make roll-ups for lunch and snacks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. YAY for the Peanut Butter Cookies. They're crisp peanut butter cookies with peanut butter chips - they taste a lot like a mixed-up Nutter Butter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ooh! I love PB cookies and used to eat Nutter Butters all the time when I was younger.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Are these PB cookies new? Also are they located in the bakery/bread section or the regular snack/cookie section of TJ's?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                They're new - I got them from an end-of-the-aisle display of new items. They're in a tan box decorated with circus performers, if that helps at all!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Nay - Quinoa Duo with Vegetable Melange

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tasty but a few too many other mis-steps.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Following the instructions to the letter will get you mushy/pasty quinoa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Also the picture shows lovely fine diced sweet potato. What I got were 5 huge chunks that needed to be chopped up so they wouldn't still be frozen in the center by the time it was done.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              With only a few minutes more than the stovetop instuctions required I could have made my own light fluffy quinoa from scratch since it's so fast cooking to begin with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                How disappointing... I was looking forward to purchasing the quinoa on my next trip.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Mellicita

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I hear you Mellicita, but the silver lining is TJ's dry quinoa is an absolute steal for the red and multi-color varieties and is one of the easiest grains to cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Posting that last night inspired me to take 15 minutes to cook up a whole pot of the red I'll be enjoying all week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  No need to rinse quinoa any more and if you spend a few extra minutes toasting it in the dry pot (keep tossing/stirring once it starts to crackle) it takes on a subtle but delicious nutty flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Red quinoa! I mean $3.99?! It was twice that at WF!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "No need to rinse quinoa any more and if you spend a few extra minutes toasting it in the dry pot (keep tossing/stirring once it starts to crackle) it takes on a subtle but delicious nutty flavor."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Awesome tip! I had no idea you could toast quinoa like risotto! I will defintely try your technique next time!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. YAY! Fleur de sel caramels.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Meh - Marcona Almonds Salted Skin-On - Not much flavor at all. Highly disappointing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DoobieWah

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It seems like most people agreed with your assessment because they're getting discontinued!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Rosemary Almonds? What is this you speak of!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Just mango unsweetened and unsulfured dried mango slices are temporarily out of stock until mid-March. I did not realize how much I loved that stuff until it became unavailable. In the past few weeks, I've tried the soft and juicy, sweetened unsulfured, green mango, and freeze-dried mango and they were all disappointing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A reasonable substitute has been the unsweetened unsulfured dried pineapple rings that a crew member recommended. But I am still eagerly anticipating the return of the just mango.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Have you tried the chile spiced dried mango? They're pretty good, if you like some heat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The chili spiced mango sounded awesome, and wound up being the first thing I ever returned to Trader Joe's. Wasn't the heat either, just hated the flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              No and that was the only one I didn't try. I can't handle a ton of heat so they didn't really appeal to me. I bought some once for a chili-headed friend and he didn't like them because he said they were too sweet and not hot enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Here is the link to the new Yay/Nay Thread for March 2013 - keep all these great Trader Joe's product suggestions coming!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/892474

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I was thinking about this thread the other day when I renewed my supply of TJ's frozen pineapple. It's not a new product so may get ignored. It is versatile and cheap and makes the quickest possible dinner if you stir-fry some chicken or pork or that ham that comes pre-cubed, then toss in some pineapple and have this with rice and soy sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Does anyone know how to add the word (OLD) to the title of outdated threads? I tried to add it myself and was unable to, and also asked on the CHOW "how to" board but to no avail. Thanks in advance!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Can you flag it and ask the moderators to do so? I have no idea tbh as I am relatively new to the site, but that seems pretty straightforward?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, that's exactly what to do. Flag the OP and tell the mods what you'd like them to do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Nay: Tea Tree Shampoo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Just like the Giovanni "Tea Tree" Shampoo from the health food store, this is not Tea Tree but mainly peppermint. Peppermint is an irritant, is very cheap and smells completely different than tea tree essential oil. Ok for washing sweaters, but not for hair.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Kaiseki

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tea tree is actually a much stronger irritant than peppermint both internally and externally. Tea tree requires more dilution in sensitive applications (near eyes, mucous membranes, etc.) and peppermint oil has countless edible applications whereas tea tree is not recommended for ingestion at any concentration.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://eethomp.com/AT/irritants.html

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Even in bulk real peppermint essential oil is not "very cheap" at all when compared to tea tree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not for hair? Peppermint oil has been recommended and used as a hair treatment since time immemorial for stimulating circulation of the scalp, balancing ph, and treating oily hair.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://goo.gl/ltgu1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I always have a bottle of tea tree in my cabinet. Love both, just want to make sure people are well informed.