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

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New month, new thread! Winter is coming to a close - here come the springtime goodies at Trader Joe's!

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  1. Yay: jelly beans. Normally available in the small 5oz boxes up by the register. 15oz bag contained the same flavors and was less $/oz. Apparently, these are only available thru Easter.

    Meh? Cowboy caviar salsa (jarred). It was just ok. There was a fair amount of corn in it and I think that made it a bit too sweet, but fans of the corn salsa would probably enjoy it. There wasn't any discernible heat as far as I could tell (and I have a pretty low tolerance for heat), and it would have been better balanced with a higher bean to corn ratio. I am not sure if I would buy it again because I think I could easily and more economically whip up a better version from scratch from pantry ingredients.

    Undecided: March spotlight cheese, Pesto Gouda. Love the festive green color for St Patrick's day and the arrival of spring. The flavor took me back to a taste of my childhood but I couldn't quite place my finger on it! (Can anyone tell me what familiar flavor this cheese has?!) It would be great in a grilled cheese sandwich, especially with some sliced tomato, and I would perhaps use it in a pasta dish, but I wouldn't just serve it with your standard entertaining cracker assortment. The rosemary flatbread crackers might work though.

    Thanks for starting a new thread littleflower!

    4 Replies
    1. re: ohmyyum

      Absolutely! These threads have become invaluable for ideas on what's good to try at TJ's.

      1. re: ohmyyum

        I can't wait to try March spotlight cheese.

        1. re: ohmyyum

          +1 on the cheese - my first thought was that it would be great in a turkey sandwich to replace a pesto spread, but I'm not 100% sure I love it...was fun for a novelty, but I probably won't buy again.

          1. re: ohmyyum

            Ohmyyum, your mentioning jelly beans reminded me to bring up the subject of TJ's coffee candy, Coffee Rio caramels. They come in a huge bag and last forever. Intensely coffee. Handy to carry a few of in the pocket when traveling---very reviving. The stores all hide them in different places but the employees always know where to find them.

          2. Yay - Organic Tomato Basil Marinara

            One of the only jarred marinaras I could find in the section that wasn't sugar sweetened and was on the chunky rather than thin side. Very nice flavor and texture. Will definitely be a repeat purchase.

            8 Replies
            1. re: NuMystic

              This is our go-to choice for jarred marinara sauce - this one requires little to no doctoring up to make it taste more like homemade.

              1. re: NuMystic

                NuMystic not sure if you are a fan of adding wine to marinara, but last night we tried the Organic Tomato Basil Marinara with a good quality red added in and just that simple addition took the sauce to a whole other level of deliciousness.

                1. re: littleflower

                  Will most definitely do so when I crack the next jar. I'm all for boozey food! :)

                  Thanks so much for the suggestion!

                  1. re: littleflower

                    My favorite non-homemade sauce. I also add a little bit of my red wine to it. But, what is do is to put it in the jar after pouring out the sauce, put the lid back on and shake the bottle It gets the rest of sauce out of the jar!!

                    1. re: chowing kat

                      Nice tip!

                  2. re: NuMystic

                    We buy this often. It's a great sauce, and great price.

                    1. re: NuMystic

                      Thanks for the recommendation, NuMystic. I have never bought pre-made pasta sauce but am eating this right now on your recommendation. It is very good with a taste of fresh basil. I just heated it up in the serving bowl in the microwave.

                      1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                        Glad you're enjoying it Russ!

                        I'm not a huge fan of jarred sauce either but this has become a pantry staple now.

                        I can go months without using a jar but it's great having something I know is tasty to reach for when I do need something that takes no longer than a twist of the lid.

                    2. Nay - hake en papillote (frozen). A sliver of fish on a layer of zucchini (mostly) in a watery pool; not much food, not much flavor, displeasing texture.

                      Meh - lentil soup (canned). Very thick texture, hardly any flavor; even with 28% of the mdr of sodium, I had to add quite a lot of salt. The outsized can holds three servings of 1 cup each, which is inconvenient for most households.

                      Meh - roasted chicken patties (refrigerated). two 4-oz patties of ground meat that show grill marks on the top but don't have much flavor of the kind I associate with grilling or roasting. Rather rubbery texture. TJ's frozen turkey burgers are better in every way - delicious.

                      Meh - Aloo Chat Kati Pouches (frozen). I've liked this in restaurants, but TJ's has a rather tough-textured pastry pouch, and the chilis kind of submerge the savory flavor of the vegetables.

                      (Catching up with what's new in the February Fearless Flyer. Not much luck this time, but more to come.)

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: John Francis

                        Won't change your impression of the filling of course, but I've found that the Kati Pouches benefit from a higher temp and longer time in my toaster oven. Shared your impression of their exterior until I left them in longer by accident once. Now I always wait until the ends look like they're close to being overdone.

                        1. re: John Francis

                          I have yet to try a turkey burger that I have liked (pre-prepared or homemade) but have heard good things about TJ's frozen turkey burgers, so much so that I'm going to have to give these a try - thanks for your input on them.

                          1. re: littleflower

                            The package instructions for sautéing (which is how I do them) call for 8-10 minutes on each side. I do it about half as long on medium high heat, until both sides are well browned. Don't know if the inside temp is 165° as prescribed, but the result looks done all the way through and is juicy and delicious, and I haven't dropped dead yet.

                          2. re: John Francis

                            I agree with you on the lentil soup. I thought that it had an oddly fishy taste to it.

                          3. Semi-Yay: Cheddar Rocket Crackers - while I do not yet have kids, I can see where these would be perfect for them. As for my personal tastes, they were good and somehow became addicted the more I ate them by the clean cheddar taste in them and their crunchiness - but were left longing for Cheez-Its! The Cheddar Rocket Crackers are not as salty or buttery as Cheez-Its are, but certainly a lot more healthy.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: littleflower

                              sort of like a cross between cheezits and goldfish. I was looking for a TJ knock off of Cheezits, and they suggested this. It was ok for a knockoff of goldfish, but if you want Cheezits, go to Nabisco.

                              1. re: jwg

                                Agreed. Cheezits have a delicious tang to them that these crackers lack.

                                1. re: jwg

                                  I sort of hate to even admit this here and this is taking this quite a bit off-topic, but we had some garlic butter sauce leftover from a rare take-out pizza night and had an idea to try tossing the Cheddar Rocket Crackers with some of the garlic sauce and added a litte salt to them. Let's just say the whole bag of cheddar crackers were gone in one sitting - the healthy aspect of the crackers went out the window but the flavor was wow!!

                                2. re: littleflower

                                  I need to look harder for these in the Greater Boston Area. Are they on top of the freezer with the other crackers or in the chips and popcorn aisle?

                                  1. re: Berheenia

                                    They are both on top of the freezer and in the new product section at my stores.

                                    1. re: olyolyy

                                      I've seen the Cheddar Rocket Crackers at both of those places in my store (over the freezers and in new products), and also prominently displayed up front by the registers.

                                  2. re: littleflower

                                    Finally got a box yesterday and as we had skipped lunch in the confusion of losing an hour we tore into the box as soon as we got out the door. Afraid it was Eh! Not worth the empty calories.

                                  3. Yay: the kimchee is back! TJ's kimchee in a pouch is great stuff, but was discontinued due to leaking issues many moons ago... but happily it's reappeared. At $2 or so a pouch it's a great deal for good quality kimchee.

                                    Yay?: for the new dried kimchee. These are tiny little shards of crunchy air-dried kimchee with an intense fermented-fish flavor. Never had anything like it before. I'm sure there's something cool I can do with this stuff, just need to figure it out.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Boston_Otter

                                      that dried kimchee would be good used like dried shrimp in a thai/lao som tam dressing over shredded green papaya.

                                      or, for snacking with cocktails, the dried kimchee could be rolled with cream cheese in puff pastry pinwheels.

                                      1. re: Boston_Otter

                                        Is the kimchee refrigerated?

                                        1. re: bear

                                          Yes, it's refrigerated. I bought it a while back and thought it was decent, though a bit light on the chiles for me. Unfortunately the latest pouch I bought up blew up like a balloon in my fridge before I even had a chance to open it, so I returned it...and forgot to pick up a replacement.

                                      2. Don't have a TJ's that's close to "on the way" of everyday errands. BUT if remotely in area, ALWAYS stop in. If they have solid tuna, in olive oil, in JARS next time I'm there... just might clear the shelf... it's THAT good!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: kseiverd

                                          Have you bought this recently? I thought that I had read on another thread that it is no longer available.

                                        2. I bought the frozen mango. I found it slimy and fishy tasting. Yuck!! The tomato and roasted pepper soup in the box was wonderful.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: LizGW

                                            Are you already a mango fan? I've never had mango that wasn't "slimy", that's one of it's distinctive characteristics. :)

                                            Even so you got me nervous about the bag I just bought so I ran to the freezer and tasted some after a few minutes of defrosting.

                                            No fishy taste at all, and apart from one unripe piece it was as good, if not better, than a lot of fresh mango I've had.

                                            If it wasn't unfamiliarity with mango's unique and pronounced aftertaste perhaps you got a bad batch?

                                            1. re: NuMystic

                                              I love fresh mango. The frozen kind just didn't do it for me.

                                              1. re: NuMystic

                                                I love mango- have a dozen fresh ones on my counter and a bag of frozen. But, I know the taste LizGW is describing. A strange off taste and texture that can only be described as fishy. Smelled weird, tasted weird

                                              2. re: LizGW

                                                I recently tried this and loved it.

                                              3. Yea - Organic Superfood Pilaf (frozen). I'm not wild about this, but it's pleasant and healthy. 3 kinds of quinoa, sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, onions, bell peppers. Cooking instructions are OK except that where it says 5-6 minutes over medium heat, I'd say 4-5, depending on the stove.

                                                Yea - Low Calorie Cranberry Juice Cocktail. Not like Ocean Spray which is a mix of cranberry and apple juice. TJ's is cranberry juice with cane or beet sugar and stevia as the sweeteners and some other stuff for flavor (black currant, pomegranate, etc.). More tart than conventional cranberry juice cocktail, which I like, but you can sweeten it to taste if you like.

                                                1. On past yay/nay thread a few folks mentioned the Dorot frozen basil cubes and minced garlic. I bought one of each so I'll say:

                                                  Yay: frozen minced garlic. So easy to use, especially in a stir-fry with many other ingredients needing to be prepped. And 3 "bubbles" worth worked their magic quite nicely. I have yet to use the basil.

                                                  Yay: frozen haricots verts. Again, quick & easy and tasty too. Excellent in a stir-fry where beans were the star and they did very well for themselves.

                                                  22 Replies
                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    For the basil, I saute cherry tomatoes in olive oil, then add basil cubes with salt & pepper. An easy side.

                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                      That basil has saved me on several occasions when I've forgotten to buy fresh. It's really sweet and fresh-tasting and can be thrown in right at the end of cooking.

                                                      1. re: bear

                                                        A great product. I alo buy the garlic, cilantro and ginger.
                                                        I make a great marinade using the cubes.

                                                        I bought the fresh basil recently and it lasted almost two weeks

                                                        1. re: cheesecake17

                                                          Huh, I didn't realize they have cilantro and ginger. I'll have to pick some up. I should also pick up the garlic again. I stopped buying it when I got a microplane and started buying peeled garlic because it's so easy, but it's always good to have a back-up.

                                                          I hate buying a large bunch of cilantro only to have most of it go bad since I don't use large quantities. The frozen sounds perfect.

                                                          1. re: bear

                                                            Sorry, I was unclear. Trader joes only has the basil and garlic. I buy the others at shoprite.

                                                            1. re: cheesecake17

                                                              Bummer. We don't have shoprite here in New England. Guess I better check out our local chains, though. Who knows, maybe I'll find it.

                                                              I bet my son would love that ginger to throw into a cup of tea.

                                                              1. re: bear

                                                                Do you have market basket? They usually have a lot of Jewish/kosher stuff, so maybe they have it or can get it.

                                                                1. re: bear

                                                                  Whole foods has all the dorot herbs. I still buy the garlic and basil at TJs, however, because it is less $!

                                                                  1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                    Thanks to you both! We have Market Basket, but I'm not sure it's the same chain. Ours is a New England chain. We sure have Whole Foods, though, so I'll grab some cilantro and ginger next time I'm there.

                                                                    1. re: bear

                                                                      I'm thinking of market basket in New England. Been to a few on vacations.

                                                                      1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                        Thanks, cheesecake. I have both Market Basket and Whole Foods within easy distance, so I'll be all set.

                                                                2. re: cheesecake17

                                                                  I never go to shop-rite, but frozen cubes of ginger and cilantro is about to change that. Thanks!

                                                                  1. re: NuMystic

                                                                    Sure! The shoprite I go to has them in the kosher freezer section.

                                                              2. re: cheesecake17

                                                                I cannot easily digest pieces of garlic even those that are minced and have to resort to making a garlic paste if I want garlic. Do the Dorot crushed garlic cubes contain truly finely "crushed" garlic or is it minced? This would be helpful to keep on hand in the freezer if I could use it.

                                                                1. re: littleflower

                                                                  it's really fine when defrosted. i think of it as baby food consistency, which is why i never thaw them before sauteing. the texture is fine enough that it will burn very quickly if not frozen. you might want to give them a shot.

                                                                  1. re: chez cherie

                                                                    Based on your description of them I will definitely give these a try...thanks!

                                                                  2. re: littleflower

                                                                    You'd never see a piece of garlic in your food. It's like a mush consistency one thawed. I use them straight into a sauté pan, or defrost a cube or two for a spread or marinade.

                                                              3. re: Gio

                                                                Must admit that I am a bit bummed to find out that the Dorot frozen garlic cubes do not contain just garlic, but also soybean oil. Although it is not an absolute deal breaker (especially weighing their convenience and also that they truly are "crushed" to a paste-like consistency which for me is perfect) it does make me pause and think some more before purchasing them since I will be using them a lot in my cooking.

                                                                1. re: littleflower

                                                                  can it be very much oil at all?

                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                    You know good point - probably not, and perhaps it is just me but finding out that it contains soybean oil just limited my excitement for what otherwise is an awesome product and shortcut.

                                                                  2. re: littleflower

                                                                    If you really want to avoid the soybean oil just save the trays, puree up a bunch of garlic yourself and freeze by the batch with your own oil of choice, water, or even nothing added at all. Once solid you can pop them out into a labeled freezer bag and use the trays for another batch.

                                                                    However much you use, it's easy enough to prep and freeze enough for weeks/months in advance in a single session.

                                                                    Also works great with chutneys, pestos, dipping sauces and any fresh herbs that you have too much of to use before they go bad.

                                                                    1. re: NuMystic

                                                                      Ooh, now there's a good tip! I wouldn't mind buying a couple of packages of the frozen garlic and using them then re-using those molds to make my own in the future. I am not *totally* opposed to consuming soybean oil I am just a bit more conscious lately of trying to limit my consumption of products containing soybean and canola oils.

                                                                2. NAY on the TJ Shells with Brie and Asparagus. You can either bake it in the oven or heat in the microwave. I nuked it because I was hungry after a not so good breakfast. The pasta is mushy, the asparagus is woody, and there is no real flavor to the sauce, brie or otherwise. I had to add a fair amount of salt and black pepper in order to make it edible and I still didn't like it. Bad breakfast, bad lunch, I sure hope dinner works out!

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                    I like each ingredient on its own but it doesn't sound like a very appetizing combo.

                                                                  2. Just bought a bottle of the white balsamic as I was intrigued and it was only $2.29. I was deciding on a side for dinner, and choose the sweet and sour onions so I could try it out. They came out really well, and liked this purchase. I have a great regular balsamic, but liked the white one as it was a bit lighter and less syrupy.

                                                                    http://mykitchenantics.blogspot.co.uk...

                                                                    Also tried the peanut butter and jelly chocolate bar out of curiosity, oddly does taste like the real thing, but imho needs more peanut butter. Ok, but probably wouldn't buy again.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: geminigirl

                                                                      I've using the white balsamic for sometime. It's my choice when I don't want the color of regular, or the amber of sherry vinegar.

                                                                      Traders is a good source for a wide range of vinegars - balsamic, apple, rice (seasoned and not). Only ones I get elsewhere are sherry (CostPlus), and bulk white. And their balsamic glaze is a great deal compared to other groceries.

                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                        This reminds me - we recently used up our Red Wine vinegar (bought ATK's runner-up taste test winner Pompeian Gourmet Red Wine Vinegar but it was a bit too sweet for our tastes - not acidic enough) and wondered if TJ's Red Wine Vinegar is a good one to try.

                                                                        The White Balsamic kind is one we will try here from TJ's in the near future based on so many favorable mentions on this board!

                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                          Does TJ's have any good Balsamics other than the Gold Quality (already on my list to buy) that are just vingegar, must, and free of caramel. (color or otherwise)

                                                                      2. While I'm really, really mourning the disappearance of the frozen Spinach Pie, I did find a Spinach-Kale pie that was pretty darn good, except for the watery runoff at the beginning. Messed up a baking sheet, but the pie itself was really, really good. Just make a foil containment field around it.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                                                          i always remove the pie, put it on a foil-lined baking sheet and rub it top and bottom with evoo. it always takes much more time to bake than instructions indicate.

                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                            Yes, that pie takes a lot longer to cook than the package states. I like the idea of removing it and putting a little oil on. Thanks, alka!

                                                                        2. NAY--- The fish/salmon jerky. Yukky! Tastes nasty! When I returned it, the guy said "everyone returns it".

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: lemarais

                                                                            Another huge NAY on the salmon jerky. I returned it, too. The texture was so hard and rubbery the dog gave up on it. $5.99.

                                                                            Nay - Mini Gyro Bites. Beef and lamb gyro meat wrapped in puff pastry with a watery tzatziki sauce. This was a really lame offering by TJ's. The ratio of puff pastry to gyro meat was totally off with way too little meat. 10 bites the size of half dollars for $5.99.

                                                                            Yay - Speculoos-Filled Dark Chocolate bars. Loved the smooth chocolate with the spice and bit of crunch from the cookie spread. .99 (I think) per bar.

                                                                            1. re: adrienne156

                                                                              Gyro Bites are terrible...

                                                                              1. re: Diving Chef

                                                                                I completely agree. They had a weird, chemical taste to me. Nothing like a gyro I've ever had before.

                                                                            2. re: lemarais

                                                                              Thank you, I had asked if anyone had them on the last thread.. it sounded either really good or really bad.

                                                                            3. Yay: edamame hummus with the sesame rice crackers in the bag. Together they are greater than the sum of their parts.

                                                                              Another Yay for the PB&J chocolate bars. I'd like a bit more jam in them but they're still yummy. The raspberry jam tastes nice as raspberry-y.

                                                                              1. Not, a new product, but YAY to the Bean and Cheese Burritos in the refrigerated section. (orange yellow paper with a green and white label). These are delicious - black beans, jack cheese, lots of flavor.

                                                                                Yay to the Butternut Squash and Creamed Spinach Gratin. I bought this to feed to my baby, but it's pretty tasty (if not the healthiest means of ingesting vegetables for me. Babies can take the extra fat.)

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Savour

                                                                                  Babies may be able to handle the extra fat but at 350 mg of sodium for a 1/2 cup serving it's not an ideal vegetable option.

                                                                                  1. re: Savour

                                                                                    Have to agree with olyolyy - why give the baby all the fat and sodium when you can feed him/her regular frozen butternut squash, also cooked and mashed?

                                                                                    1. re: Savour

                                                                                      Baby might also like the frozen mashed sweet potatoes if he/she liked the butternut squash. I am not sure if it was a seasonal item or not, but I seem to recall the ingredients were just sweet potatoes. No added anything.

                                                                                      1. re: Savour

                                                                                        Baby might also enjoy the Trader Joes bags of cubed butternut squash. It makes it really easy to boil it up and mash it (whereas a whole butternut squash is a pain to saw in half and deal with the seeds, its very hard to cut, etc)

                                                                                      2. Nay to the knock off of the snap pea crisps. They are not as good

                                                                                        Yay. to the brown rice mixed with the radish seeds. Excellent. Everyone from my 80 yo dad to my 9 yo daughter loves it.

                                                                                        1. Qualified yay: lemon ginger echinacea juice (bottled). My one complaint was that it was too sweet for my tastes; I cut it by half with water and added an extra squeeze of lemon juice. Heated up, it was soothing on a sore throat.

                                                                                          10 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                            This was my reaction to it, as well. Very tasty, but I wish it were less sweet. I liked the ginger flavor a lot.

                                                                                            1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                              Interesting.... is this a juice meant to be consumed like orange juice? Or is it a special herbal supplement?

                                                                                              1. re: Mellicita

                                                                                                Definitely consumed for pleasure with any beneficial qualities just being a bonus, not unlike Sparkling Pomegranate juice, etc.

                                                                                                I agree that it's cloyingly sweet. I used to buy the Santa Cruz Organics (which this is re-labeling) but realized how silly it was to not just make it myself… especially since I too was already tweaking it with more lemon juice etc like ohmyyum did.

                                                                                                Echinacea tea bags, hunk of ginger, couple of lemons and some good honey and you've got a perfect batch of any size tailored to your exact taste buds in 10 minutes for a fraction of the price.

                                                                                                Keeps for a long time too thanks to the ginger and lemon.
                                                                                                Used to brew it by the gallon a few years back.

                                                                                                I think I'll do it again for the first time in ages thanks to you all reminding me of it!

                                                                                                1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                  Could you tell me how the ginger and lemon 'keeps' the drink 'fresh'?
                                                                                                  I just started juicing and make enough to last a few days, I use a lot of both lemon and ginger, plus kale, apple, carrot, and whatever looks good. I am worried that after two days I may be drinking something not so good for me. Can you help?

                                                                                                  1. re: anticheryl

                                                                                                    AntiCheryl, it's certainly ideal to drink freshly squeezed juice immediately as certain enzymes and nutrients immediately begin to decline from the moment you've extracted it.

                                                                                                    That said, we all have to make compromises at times and your own freshly made two day old juice is still going to be VASTLY superior to most store bought varieties that are pasteurized and likely days if not weeks/months older.

                                                                                                    As for how lemon and ginger helps things keep...

                                                                                                    Lemon juice is a natural preservative and the original source of Citric Acid which is used to maintain shelf stability for a lot of products.

                                                                                                    Ginger is naturally antibacterial. (one of the reasons it's traditionally served with raw sushi for example)

                                                                                                    But even in the absence of both, as long as you're keeping the juice refrigerated it will be just fine after only two days, so you have nothing to worry about. And with lemon and ginger in generous quantity it would likely keep for a good 4-5 days if not longer.

                                                                                                    1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                      Thank you so much. I bought an Omega top of the line, best I could afford, and I still get separation which I understand is undesirable, but I just shake the hell out of it and I do refrigerate it. I have a big ole glass right after it is done and it makes me feel 25 again rather than 75. Did I mention that the taste is out of this world!
                                                                                                      Do you have anything to say about coconut oil? I have been using it for cooking for about four months mainly to help me get rid of this belly fat that seem to have everybody in a tizzy.
                                                                                                      Again, many thanks.

                                                                                                      1. re: anticheryl

                                                                                                        So glad you're enjoying the juicer Cheryl, there's no end to the delicious things you can whip up with one.

                                                                                                        As for coconut oil, nothing to add that hasn't been said a gazillion times over the last decade since it's become such a popular item.

                                                                                                        I don't think it's quite the panacea some of the marketing has made it out to be but it is one of my very favorite oils.

                                                                                                        It's my go-to for stir frying and also love it as a moisturizer.

                                                                                                        Ultimately nothing will tame the belly fat more than facing the basic biological reality of calories in vs calories out. (burn more than we consume) I need to trim my waistline as well so I can definitely relate. :)

                                                                                                2. re: Mellicita

                                                                                                  Just adding the pic since I forgot in my other post.

                                                                                                   
                                                                                                3. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                  I cut my lemon ginger echinacea juice with 50% Vernors Diet Ginger Ale. Lowers the carb content and keeps the ginger taste strong....

                                                                                                  1. re: wrldtrvl

                                                                                                    I did something similar today-- cut it in half with the Hansen's diet ginger ale and the flavor was great but I definitely prefer it warmed up, like tea, and I thought it would be weird with the ginger ale so I drank it cold.

                                                                                                4. Nay to the new chicken with bowtie pasta in gorgonzola sauce (don't know the exact title) in the refrigerated section. I was hoping for some yummy gorgonzola flavor, but it's mostly tasteless. The pasta does have a decent texture.

                                                                                                  Yay to the Roasted Butternut Squash, Red Quinoa and Wheatberry Salad, also refrigerated. I've been eating this for lunch once a week for awhile. Love the wheatberries and the honey sesame dressing.

                                                                                                  1. A nay and sad to say that the blood oranges were moldy, and I am off to TJ's to return them shortly.

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: EM23

                                                                                                      Sorry you got a bad batch. The ones I got last week were great and have held up nicely. Maybe yours were mistreated. We've said time and time again on these threads that fresh produce at TJ's is hit or miss.

                                                                                                      I had some fresh asparagus tonight that was great.

                                                                                                      1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                        They were out of stock yesterday, but I will pick up another bag in the future - as they say, one bad orange don't spoil the whole bunch girl...:)

                                                                                                    2. Not a yea/nay, rather a heads-up on a new item. For those who use cooking sprays, I saw a new coconut oil variety on the shelf this evening. I think it's $2.99.

                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                        Wow, the only brand of coconut oil cooking spray I've ever seen is spectrum and it's pretty pricey. I'm guessing it can't be 100% coconut oil though, because it would solidify at room temperature, right?

                                                                                                        1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                          It is 100% coconut oil, it just contains a higher concentration of MCTs so it stays liquid.

                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                            mct?

                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                              Medium Chain Triglycerides are fats that more easily and rapidly digested than other types ...

                                                                                                              http://www.amazon.com/NOW-Foods-100-3...

                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                so the tj coconut oil spray has some other vegetable oil (MCT oil?) added to the coconut oil so it can be sprayed?

                                                                                                                but ghg says it is 100% coconut oil with a higher level of MCTs. but coconut oil is coconut oil, right? how can one coconut oil have higher MCTs than another coconut oil? the variety of coconut? i am not getting how this spray is made…..

                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                  I think MCT is found naturally in the coconut oil, and other oils as well.

                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                    No other oil added. Coconut oil is made up of medium- and long- chain triglycerides. MCTs are liquid at room temperature, while LCTs are solid. In liquid coconut oil, most or all of the long-chain TGs have been removed, so the oil remains liquid.

                                                                                                        2. SUPER YAY: Coffee Latte and Cream Bars - this is saying a lot because although I do love a good quality cup of joe, I normally am not a huge iced coffee or coffee ice cream fan. These however are spectacular - nice round coffee flavor that is complemented perfectly by the cream side of the bar. Together the coffee and cream are one cravable frozen treat - in my opinion even slightly better than my beloved Mango and Cream Bars. If you are a fan of coffee definitely give these a try.

                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                            Good to know! I will pick up a box of these next time I swing by TJs. I also like the mango and cream bars, and I am a huge fan of coffee ice cream so these sound great.

                                                                                                            1. re: calmossimo

                                                                                                              If TJ's Coffee Ice Cream tastes anything like the Coffee Latte and Cream Bars then I may have to give it a try.

                                                                                                              1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                Oh, I was referring to coffee ice cream in general (Haagen Dazs...). I don't think I've tried the TJs coffee ice cream, but I'll report back if I do!

                                                                                                                1. re: calmossimo

                                                                                                                  I am eating a small bowl of TJ's coffee ice cream right now with some speculoo spread as a topping. I'm a chocoholic but it's my favorite ice cream now. It's also good to use with speculoo cookies to make ice cream sandwiches.

                                                                                                                  It's actually made by Double Rainbow--I had a pint of both in the freezer at the same time when they made the switchover a few years ago for comparison.

                                                                                                                  1. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                                                                                    Let it be said for the record that I am calling it right now…

                                                                                                                    Speculoos Ice Cream at TJ's within the next 36 months. :)

                                                                                                                    - Dante
                                                                                                                    Saturday, March 9th, 2013

                                                                                                                    1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                      I had speculoos ice cream in Belgium in 2009 and it changed my life. The Haagen Dazs limited edition spiced caramel biscuit was pretty close but I had to stop buying it after I ate two pints in two weeks. If TJs started carrying it... that would be dangerous.

                                                                                                                      1. re: calmossimo

                                                                                                                        There is no if… only when. :)

                                                                                                                    2. re: RussTheRaccoon

                                                                                                                      TJ's Coffee Ice Cream PLUS speculoos spread?....*drooling*

                                                                                                            2. Yay: Gone Bananas, one bite at a time. What's not to like about dark chocolate covered banana slices? Nice sweet treat that feels pseudo-healthy. The 4 slice/130 calorie serving size is portioned just right to satisfy my sweet tooth.

                                                                                                              Has anyone tried the veggie, grain, and cheese stuffed poblano peppers in the refrigerated prepared meals section? They caught my eye but not enough to purchase them...yet.

                                                                                                              1. New to me is TJ's raw milk cheddar @ $5.49 lb. Yay! Made for a grilled cheese!
                                                                                                                Just mentioned on the Home Cooking Board another Yay for Scallions, marketed as Green Onions at TJ's. They are my go to store for this product as they are a heartier version and a great price.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                                  I also really like the raw milk cheddar! The price cant be beat for that quality of cheese.

                                                                                                                2. Yay: Crispy Jeju Mandarin Oranges are back! Slices of mandarin oranges dried to a crisp. Don't asl me how something this dry and cispy manages to taste juicy but it does.
                                                                                                                  Yay: Maple Walnut Blondies. Chewy, brown sugary walnutty heaven. Wish they sold them in singles; I don't trust myself with these
                                                                                                                  Yay: Salmon Jerky. It seems like I'm the only one who loves this so I'm enjoying it before it's discontinued.
                                                                                                                  Nay: Dried Kimchi. I wanted to love this. I seem to love everthing better when it's crispy but this is just a salty, fishy mess.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: CindyOhCindy

                                                                                                                    +1 on the maple walnut blondies. I've tried cutting each one into quarters so I moderate intake. This trick does not work for me.

                                                                                                                  2. Nay on the lemon ginger snap ice cream. I tried it based on all the yays. I know there are a lot of fans, but the texture was not to my liking, especially from a super premium ice cream. It was fluffy, almost like your standard supermarket "slow churned" brand with too much air whipped in.

                                                                                                                    Flavor was ok but not tart enough and there was too much ginger snap swirled in.

                                                                                                                    It may get returned because I can't even think of a way to repurpose it.

                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                      Don't worry you're not the only dissenting vote on the Lemon Ginger Snap Ice Cream.

                                                                                                                      I'm addicted to Carr's Lemon Ginger Cremes so I had very high hopes, but instead of spicy ginger and tart lemon I thought it was so over-sweetened that every other flavor was buried under the cloying sweetness.

                                                                                                                      I could have forgiven the texture if they'd delivered in the flavor department.

                                                                                                                      1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                        Ah, thanks for the validation, NuMystic! Love the Carr's lemon ginger cremes, and yes that's the flavor profile I was seeking! They're available at Costco, btw.

                                                                                                                        1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                          Now you've done it. How much are they at Costco? We're not members but I've got a friend I can press into the service of my addiction.

                                                                                                                          I've actually been grateful that they're a bit pricey else I'd be eating far too many, so this is a dangerous discovery indeed if they're significantly discounted.

                                                                                                                          1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                            Not sure but I will check size/price on my next trip and report back. I bought two boxes once when they were marked down and it was trouble.

                                                                                                                            1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                              NuMystic, the Carr's ginger lemon cremes were at my Costco in NC today. 3 x 7.05oz inner packages, net weight 21.15oz for $6.39.

                                                                                                                              1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                Not sure whether to curse you or kiss you for sharing that ohmyyum. :)

                                                                                                                                1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                  Hear hear. I can get in trouble with those things!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                    Curse me! I am cursing myself for succumbing today.

                                                                                                                          2. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                            If you want to repurpose it instead of returning, bake some tart lemon cookies and make ice cream sandwiches.

                                                                                                                          3. Meh: Navel Oranges (Not Sky Valley Heirloom kind) - since our store hasn't had the Sky Valley Heirloom's in the past couple of weeks we tried the regular navel oranges that they have. Not that sweet - pretty acidic tasting but it will have to do right now if I want oranges considering orange season appears to be winding down.

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                              I found Sky Valley Heirloom oranges yesterday after them being gone for a few.

                                                                                                                              Meh on the Black Currant Juice. I wanted Ribena, and this tastes thin. An OK addition to smoothies or sparkling water, though.

                                                                                                                            2. i know its been mentioned but the dried kimchi is not good.not good at all. fishy mess is dead on.

                                                                                                                              yay: the italian truffle cheese (dont know if its new), quite tasty- a little nutty, some pieces are a little gritty but its barely noticeable-nice mild cheese though.

                                                                                                                              oh i wish theyd bring back the unripened brie they had in January...it was heavenly.

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: cookfood

                                                                                                                                I miss the unripened Brie too :(

                                                                                                                                1. re: cookfood

                                                                                                                                  Agree on the brie.

                                                                                                                                  (Just in case they're monitoring this thread...)

                                                                                                                                2. 1 more yay is the raisin rosemary crackers-a hint of sweet with savory. nutty. yum.

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: cookfood

                                                                                                                                    Esp. with the Delice de Bourgogne (which is also a creamy creamy yay)

                                                                                                                                  2. I just bought a bag of the dried kimchi about an hour ago, but based on the unanimous nays here I think I'll return it unopened!

                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                      There was at least one Yay ghg. Perhaps you may have just the perfectly refined palate to be number two! :)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                        Thanks for the correction - I had done a word search on the page, but that doesn't help with different spellings :)

                                                                                                                                        I'll hold onto it for another day or two to see if anyone else mentions it before opening or returning the bag. The cashier who rang me up actually offered to let me taste it before buying, but I was chewing very minty gum at the time and didn't think the aftertaste would play too well!

                                                                                                                                      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                        Update on the dried kimchi - I decided not to take my chances and returned it today. The store manager handled my transaction, and when I told him I had changed my mind after hearing bad reviews, his exact words were, "It's awful. I have no idea why we sell it."

                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                          Ha! I wonder sometimes about the tastebuds of TJ's buyers/tasters who seek out the best products to showcase in the stores. Granted 95 percent of what they do find and decide to stock is incredible, but we all know of a few products that they try to sell which makes you want to scratch your head and ask "why"??

                                                                                                                                          1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                            the law of averages being what it is, i'd say 95% incredible is pretty damn good!

                                                                                                                                      3. Has anyone tried the Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar? Yay or a nay?

                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: EM23

                                                                                                                                          i use it all the time--big yay from me.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: EM23

                                                                                                                                            Another yay, it's a good vinegar option to have on hand for dressings, finishing, etc.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: EM23

                                                                                                                                              Big YAY from me, too. I use it frequently, but my favorite use of it is simply dressing arugula with it and drizzle of olive oil, s&p. It's got a very fresh, delicious taste.

                                                                                                                                            2. Good (not quite yay but not nay either): hollandaise sauce in the refrigerated section. It certainly was easy, only took 30 seconds to microwave, but it could have used a touch more lemon. It just needed a little tang.

                                                                                                                                              Nay: fresh avocado, the loose 99 cent ones. I got one that looked so lovely and so perfectly black I was sure it was ripe. Well, it was hard as a rock and inedible. I couldn't even get the pit out, much less separate the flesh from the skin. I always use the color of an avocado to judge the ripeness, so I'm lost on how to pick these.

                                                                                                                                              20 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                AmyH,

                                                                                                                                                Here is a link for tips on picking good avocados. http://www.nwedible.com/2012/05/never...

                                                                                                                                                1. re: TXMandy

                                                                                                                                                  Thanks, but the problem wasn't that it was rotten (although I have had that problem in the past with black skinned avocados and will use their suggestion about peeking under the stem). The problem was that it was nicely black skinned but not ripe at all. Note this sentence in the link: "However, once your avocado hits that black-skinned stage, don’t delay in enjoying it." Well, I could have delayed a week with this one and I think it would have still been hard.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                    I feel your pain Amy. Avos like Mangos seem to have a mystical window of about 12 hours when they are neither under nor over-ripe. :)

                                                                                                                                                    Here's my impersonation of each…

                                                                                                                                                    Avocados:

                                                                                                                                                    hardhardhardhardPERFECTmushmushbrownbrowndisgusting

                                                                                                                                                    Mangos:

                                                                                                                                                    bittertarttarttarttarttartHEAVENLYstringystringystringy

                                                                                                                                                    Never rely on just the black skin, you need to also very gently squeeze to see if they are tender yet. When ripe they should give significantly without actually being mushy. This can be established with the slightest pressure. Enough to test ripeness but not so much that you're bruising.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                      Love the impersonations! You're a regular chow Rich Little!

                                                                                                                                                      I don't like to press on the avocados because I'm scared of bruising them and creating those rotten brown spots inside, but I guess I'll have to try a little squeeze.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                        I learned to press gently at the top near the stem to see if it gives ever so slightly. This way if you make any bruise it is up at the top where you typically wouldnt eat the stem area anyways and spares the rest of the fruit.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                      Amy,

                                                                                                                                                      I have brought back opened avocadoes, which had turned black. I refrigerated them. Then another time I bought a netted bag and each time I opened one, it was bad. None of the avocadoes appeared to look even bruised. I called the store and they told me when I came in, to tell them at the desk. I said I hadn't saved the avocadoes because I wasn't going to the store until next week. He said not a a problem and gave me a new bag without my receipt.

                                                                                                                                                      The TJ's are all wonderful about returning things. Just give them a call.

                                                                                                                                                      www.saffron215.blogspot.com

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcel215

                                                                                                                                                        Thanks but I just couldn't be bothered for a 99 cent avocado. I have returned things there when I really feel like the product was particularly awful and expensive. But if I got my money back for every bit of lousy produce I think I'd be returning something every time I go!

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                    I added lemon juice to my hollandaise sauce from Trade Joe's. I only purchased it once. We just do not use enough at one time to justify even buying that small container. As for avocados, I grew up with a small avocado orchard in my back yard, some Fuerte and some Hass. A black-skinned avocado should certainly be quite soft so if I saw one at the store and it was still hard it would be a reject. I suppose one's experience with TJ's avocados would vary by location and hence their supplier. In San Diego I have complained about mediocre avocados to the TJ staff and several of them have agreed that it is probably best to shop elsewhere for avocados. The regular grocery stores usually are just too expensive. I generally am happy with the avocados I buy at Costco.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: wrldtrvl

                                                                                                                                                      I agree it is a big container of hollandaise. Three of us having eggs benedict only used half of the container, and we put on plenty of the sauce.

                                                                                                                                                      A few weeks ago I needed a larger number of avocados for a recipe and got one of the bags of organic avocados from TJ's. Maybe we were lucky but they were perfectly ripe and quite good, albeit small. The loose one I got this weekend was big and cheap but rock hard. We don't use enough for a Costco (actually Sam's for us) sized container, so I'll probably just keep getting them at the regular grocery store for twice the price.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: wrldtrvl

                                                                                                                                                        Just passing through to let you know, that Hollandaise can be frozen. The recipe was formulated to let it freeze and thaw without damage, but for some reason the package never stated it. I have done it several times, though, with no problem, because it's far too much for me to use at once.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: vicemage

                                                                                                                                                          Great to know! Thanks for the information. We ended up using almost all of the package since it's asparagus season, but I'll definitely do that with the next one.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                        I go by feel - there should be a slight give.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                          I have never managed to buy a good avocado at TJ's (Brooklyn), and have stopped trying. Even when they're ripe, they're shot through with stringy black fibers or filled with hard spots. I buy avocados all the time and generally know how to pick a good one. I've wondered whether the ones from TJ's aren't transported properly and have been frozen.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gnosh

                                                                                                                                                            So I'm not the only crazy one? Doesn't matter loose or bagged, organic or regular, but they are always awful from the Brooklyn TJs. I prefer Costco

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                              We bought two avos just last week in Queens and after 3 days of ripening on the counter they were perfect. No hard spots, no bruising, and no fibers.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                Never been to the queens store, but I've been to one on Long Island and one in nj. Two or three in NYC. Avocados are always fine from those stores!

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                Yep! Every kind, always bad. The produce store across Atlantic Ave. has good ones--usually for a good price, and large.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gnosh

                                                                                                                                                                  I'll check there. I usually get them from one of the Chinese markets.

                                                                                                                                                              3. re: gnosh

                                                                                                                                                                I have also never gotten a good avocado from TJ's and that's shopping in three states (CA, NY, MA). They are always rock hard and stay that way forever until one day they're totally rotten!

                                                                                                                                                              4. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                At least for the NYC stores, all of their avocados are always hard and underripe - I keep them for a few days before using, and they've all ripened to a perfect texture. I do spend some time picking out the best ones though.

                                                                                                                                                              5. Just a heads up for anyone whose TJ's store still has some packs of Turkey Meatballs left, you might want to stock up on them. Our store manager has confirmed that they are out of stock indefinitely due to the manufacturer not living up to TJ's product specifications. I can only hope that the manufacturer reworks the product but this obviously may take awhile.

                                                                                                                                                                We recently have been extremely short on both time and energy and these turkey meatballs have been a lifesaver for us...and unfortunately we used up the end of our supply last night. :-(

                                                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                  Shhhhhh!!!!! Speak of these things after I go in the morning and clear out their stock ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TXMandy

                                                                                                                                                                    Good Luck!! Hope there's some left for you to purchase!

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                    I just bought my first bag to try, I love the meatless meatballs and having those tonight before trying the new ones.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                      I went in today, and they had a bin full. So I politely picked up three bags... The guy checking me out hadn't heard about the manufacturing issue, but I told him to check out Chow.com lol

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: TXMandy

                                                                                                                                                                        Good news!! Whatever the issue was with the turkey meatballs they took care of it pretty quickly because they were back in stock at our store tonight!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                          Littleflower, I asked in my store and they said it was actually just ONE lot number that was affected, and the problem wasn't a food safety issue. They were out of stock at my store for only one day, and the reason they didn't have any today is because a lady bought an entire case. Anyway, I'm looking forward to picking up a bag on my next trip!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                            Oh okay, good to know - thanks!! We were out at our store for at least over a week but now have plenty back in stock, and can breathe a sigh of relief. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                    2. I'm sure somewhere there's a mention of it somewhere in all of the TJ's threads, but I have to add my YUM.

                                                                                                                                                                      The 3-packs of TJ 72% cacao dark chocolate bars from Belgium for ONLY $1.79!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                      Wow, is this ever delicious chocolate! Rich and smooth with no hint of mold flavor (frequently tasted by me in "premium" chocolate brands)

                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                        They also just added the Dark Chocolate with Almonds which is the exact same chocolate with flecks of toasted almond throughout. Right next to the others on the shelf in the same 3-packs.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Yay:
                                                                                                                                                                        Extra Dark Ground Chocolate(disks). Makes great pudding, mochas, hot cocoa.
                                                                                                                                                                        Mandarin Orange Chicken: can definitely sub for delivery with some minor tweaks.
                                                                                                                                                                        24 Karat Cake (frozen). Pretty good for frozen cake.
                                                                                                                                                                        European Style Plain Yogurt: Perfectly tangy and not too thick or thin.

                                                                                                                                                                        Nay:
                                                                                                                                                                        Edamame Tofu Nuggets. Vile. Nauseating. Reminiscent of old socks.

                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: olyolyy

                                                                                                                                                                          This just shows how different people's taste buds are, because I just bought my second package of Edamame Tofu Nuggets. Loved them dipped in the Gyoza sauce! ... Now that I think about it, it's probably that sauce that makes everything taste good :-)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: TXMandy

                                                                                                                                                                            *shudder*

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: olyolyy

                                                                                                                                                                              Oh be nice. lol I'm sure that's exactly how some people feel about your favorite foods too oly. :)

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Yay- recently tried their Black Bean and Quinoa tortilla chips. Ate it with TJ Hummus...couldn't stop!!!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. Sorry this isnt a Yay or Nay...

                                                                                                                                                                            How often does Trader Joes come out with a new Fearless Flier or get in a large batch of new products to try?

                                                                                                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Mellicita

                                                                                                                                                                              Next fearless flyer comes out next week, according to a friend who works there. But I've noticed that a lot of the items featured in the flyer are old standbys and not necessarily new products.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Mellicita

                                                                                                                                                                                Just scanned back through Archive.org and it looks like they come out roughly once every two months or so.

                                                                                                                                                                                As for new products, every week. Each store has a new product area with featured shelf stable items, but there will also be new things in other areas (frozen, refrigerated, etc.) that can't be shown there.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                  One of the TJs in my area makes up colorful tags with the names of new items that can't be displayed on the New Items shelf and hangs these on the sides of that shelf. Very helpful when looking for what's new.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Pwmfan

                                                                                                                                                                                    My TJ's cuts out the front of the box / bag and tapes it to the side of the New Items shelf. Love it.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                      Rilke, you mean for the things that can't go on the new items shelves? (frozen, etc?) If so, that's BRILLIANT!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                        Your's would make it easier to find the items. I think mine are made by someone who works in the store. They are cartoons, appearing to be done with colored markers. Very cute but not as efficient.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pwmfan

                                                                                                                                                                                          I think all of the signs in all of the stores are hand drawn and painted. I actually peered thru the window waiting for my TJs to open and saw them painting the murals!

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes indeed. The crew will taste test it in the few days before it's put out, and for anything that isn't shelf stable, they will keep the packaging from that and tape it up.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. I have never in my life used the color as a true indicator of ripeness. It is part of an overall assessment, but the light pressure
                                                                                                                                                                                  test is essential for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Yay:
                                                                                                                                                                                    roasted & salted sunflower seeds $1.99 a lb!
                                                                                                                                                                                    great flavor & not greasy

                                                                                                                                                                                    Organic dark chocolate bars 3.5oz $1.99
                                                                                                                                                                                    I think its 72%, intense chocolate flavor & not too sweet. I like to melt these down & coat the organic banana's they sell for frozen chocolate banana popsicles.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Nay: Strawberry preserves with the white label.
                                                                                                                                                                                    I looked on the ingredient list & it had corn syrup in it! I thought tj's did not put that stuff in any of their products, but I guess I was wrong. has anyone else seen corn syrup on any other products?

                                                                                                                                                                                    27 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: valleychip

                                                                                                                                                                                      Not sure where you got that idea valleychip. There's a ton of corn syrup to be found at TJ's. Just tonight I put back at least 5 items after seeing it on labels. Coffee and Cream Bars and the Mango and Cream bars I recall specifically.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                        Corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup? They aren't the same thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.eatingwell.com/blogs/healt...

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: valleychip

                                                                                                                                                                                        I by no means am an expert on the subject, but believe that any product that carries the Trader Joe's label should not contain specifically high fructose corn syrup, but yes "corn syrup" is included in some of the products they carry.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: valleychip

                                                                                                                                                                                          What's wrong with corn syrup?

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                            Nothing.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: valleychip

                                                                                                                                                                                            TJ's doesn't use *HFCS* in their products - it's not the same as straight corn syrup. The corn syrup they do use is supposedly not from genetically modified corn, if that helps.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                              not always true. licorice bites or whatever they call them have HFCS and red dye #40.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                                That isn't a Trader Joe's private label product. They don't make claims for other brands carried in the store.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                  well, it's hard to tell what is actually a private label product and what isn't it sometimes :) unless it's obvious like McCann's irish oatmeal or you know...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Private label product by definition means anything with "Trader xxx's" printed on it.(Joe's, Ming's Jose's etc. )

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Anything with any other brand name or title is not a TJ's private label product.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Not hard at all. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                                      i understand what private label means. this product had a "Trader Joe's" label on it. It wasn't Kerrygold or Barbara's cereal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                                        All I was responding to was your "it's hard to tell what is actually a private label"…because it isn't. It's quite literally spelled out. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        As far as the HFCS goes, seems someone is mistaken then.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I worked at TJ's... Nothing private label had HFCS or artificial colors. I don't mean to be argumentative, but the candy you're thinking of must be one of the handful that is not private label. Panda licorice, maybe?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                            No idea what product trolley is talking about Rilke but it's definitely not the Panda. They only use Molasses, juice, berry puree, and natural flavors in theirs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Cane molasses is 32% sucrose, 14% glucose, 16% fructose
                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://kempetrade.de/Molasses_OLBRICH...

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ahh, good for them. I am not a licorice person, so I wasn't sure. TJ's has a few non-private label candies with HFCS. The multi-colored chocolate covered fruits come to mind -- can't remember the brand, but they are in round plastic tubs and are pretty expensive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  dilettante chocolate covered fruits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                ok, MY BAD! it's not a TJ label and it doesn't even have HFCS in it. it was some company called darrell lea and it does have red #40 which I avoid for the little one as much as possible. we were on a nightmare "healthy" licorice hunt (yah healthy candy is quite an oxymoron) and we visited several stores on this hunt. the ingredients have all melded together like one bad dream. sorry!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I looked at all the 3 or so licorice that TJ has. I saw corn syrup, and glucose syrup (wheat) on the labels, but not HFCS. The closest thing to HFCS that I've seen (and bought) at TJ is glucose-fructose in the Dutch caramel waffers. That is probably made from wheat starch by the same process as HFCS.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Most soft candies have glucose from some source. Straight sugar (sucrose) tends to crystalize. The simple glucose sugar resists that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You're correct, glucose-fructose syrup (GFS) is made using a process very similar to HFCS. It contains anywhere from 5 - 50% fructose; any more and it's called fructose-glucose syrup. Makes sense that it would be an ingredient in the caramel wafers because they're made in Holland, and food products in the EU use GFS instead of HFCS.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "the ingredients have all melded together like one bad dream."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    hahahaha -- love it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      yeah when you get a chowish mom and a weird food/candy idea from a 4 year old it can become one long exhausting hunt. i was initially thinking of those strawberry red vines that they had over the holidays. but sadly they were discontinued.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Trolley, the strawberry licorice vines have not been discontinued! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          where are you? mine doesn't carry it anymore or since i last checked and that was about a month ago...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Trolley, have you tried the cast off the licorice lines strawberry licorice? The price recently dropped to $0.99 so I've been concerned it's soon to be discontinued, but anyway-- the color is from elderberry extract. It does contain corn syrup, but not HFCS. I like these quite a lot!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ETA, oops I just saw your reply. I saw them in my store fairly recently. I'll take a look see on my next trip, but I suspected they were on the chopping block when the price dropped precipitously since TJs doesn't run sales!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Trolley, the Panda brand licorice Rilke mentioned is what you're after. Carried by every health food store I've been to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Rilke is correct. I should have been clearer, but when I said that TJ's doesn't *use* HFCS in their products, I meant their branded/private label items. Personally I'd prefer if they didn't sell the stuff at all, regardless of whose name is on the label. BTW, they have the same policy regarding GMO's - they don't allow them in TJ's branded items but everything else they sell may contain genetically modified ingredients unless the label states otherwise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think it's pretty easy to tell which products are the TJ's private label. If it say "Trader" anything - Joe's, Josef's, Ming's, Jose's, etc. - it's theirs; otherwise it's not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Yay - Apple Blossoms (frozen dessert)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Two miniature apple pies/galettes that hit just the right balance between tart and sweet. Flaky sweet outer pastry crust and tart apple filling. Heated in my toaster oven after they'd defrosted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Meh - Organic Baked Beans (canned)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Edible, but not good enough to buy again. Under-seasoned despite the high sodium count on the label.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Yay-ish to the Crispy Rice Snack Sticks (not sure of the name) - think popcorn balls made with puffed rice cereal. I haven't had a low-cal snack in a while, so I think if you're looking for that you'll love them; looking for just something interesting, they were a bit unsatisfying in terms of...food content, but the taste was great. I do wish they were in individual packets instead of 1 big bag, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yay to the garlic/parsley/sea salt grinder - I'm not usually a fan of premixed spice combos, but this was equally very, very nice on bread and butter as well as scrambled eggs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Nay: Multigrain Blend with Vegetables (frozen). Hardly any flavor - the cooking instructions include "season to taste," very rare in TJ's prepared foods - and the texture is lumpy and for me rather displeasing. (Can also be thawed and served unheated as a salad; didn't try that.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                This is a yay from me, though I doctor it with good extra virgin olive oil, s&p, red pepper flakes, and some TJ's capers. No texture issues.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  a yay for me too, undoctored

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  hmm, interesting. I've been feeding this to my 4 year old for easy lunches (with a frozen TJ's chicken tender, don't judge) and haven't noticed any weird texture or flavor issues.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  He likes it fine but doesn't love it so I was thinking I would eat the rest myself and fry it up fried rice style with some scallions, soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, and scrambled eggs. Healthier fried rice, yum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. YAY: Organic Kosher Sandwich Pickles - excellent, a little sour (perfect amount in my opinion!) and retained some crunch even though these are the kind which are thinly sliced for sandwiches. We were looking for a substitute for our standard brand kosher dills which have artificial ingredients added. TJ's version tastes better and contains much better ingredients - they also carry kosher dill whole pickles which we will try next time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. YAY for Rio Red Grapefruit Juice. To me, it's exactly what grapefruit juice should be, perfectly sweet-tart. I think it would also make a great sparkler cut with ginger ale or mineral water.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Nay--Trader Joe's Creme Brulee in Chocolate Cups. In the frozen section to be defrosted but not cooked prior to eating. Choclate cups are ok but much less flavor than many other TJ chocolate items. Creme brulee does not taste at all like creme brulee It tastes like milky sugary pudding. Not at all worth all the calories or expense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Super huge YAY: 1lb bundles of pencil thin asparagus for $1.99. I know produce at TJs is kind of hit or miss but this is definitely a hit. Heads were tight yet delicate, stalks firm yet tender; flavor was light and sweet and delicious. I just had it simply steamed but it would also be great raw. No need for butter or EVOO or lemon or salt/pepper. I was told by an employee that this was a special limited buy (kind of like the Brussels stalks in the fall) so get it while you can!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ETA, product of Mexico, if it matters to you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Yay = Frozen "Quinoa Duo with Vegetable Melange" (please note this is different from the Super Foods Pilaf that has 3 types of quinoa that they are currently advertising in the Fearless Flyer) This is red and white quinoa with diced sweet potatoes and zucchini. Heated in the microwave in 3 minutes and was fluffy and tasty. There is a warm nutty flavor to the quinoa and the faint smell/taste of curry powder. It did need a little salt, but otherwise was well seasoned. I took it over the top by doctoring it up with dried cranberries, slivered almonds, and a sesame orange vinaigarette (from Central Market). But on its own its great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Reasonable yay = refrigerated Chicken in Red Curry Sauce. This is pieces of white meat chicken in a creamy VERY COCONUTTY sweet sauce. The thai red curry flavor is very mild, not much actual spice to it, and while I can detect a faint amount of heat from chili peppers, it is extremely mild - you could feed this to a little kid. To me, its a little too sweet of a sauce. No vegetables in this dish, although you could add them in.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I wasnt really interested in eating it as it was, but I was able to turn it in to a Thai peanut sauce by mixing in a spoonful of peanut butter, sqeezing in some fresh lime juice, and adding some soy sauce (fish sauce would be more authentic but this is all I had on hand). This made it really good! Good enough that i can actually see buying it again to make into chicken with peanut sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yay - gorgonzola crackers. I hate blue cheese, but these dont have the bitter/stinkiness of real blue cheese, just a very mild blue cheese powder on them that lends a hint of flavor to an otherwise light buttery thin cracker.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Not bad - I had a sample of their canned organic vegetarian chili. It has some sort of fake meat crumbles in it, with beans. Its reasonably good for a canned chili.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yay- boxed cornbread mix - this was another sample they served with the chili above. This is a mix you have to bake yourself. Light, crumbly, slightly moist, cornbread. It is slightly sweet in flavor (which some people love, and others hate, depending on your region of the country!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yay - nonrefrigerated Grapefruit Juice Drink in a plastic bottle.. (another sample I had). This is 100% juice, with grape and apple juice to add sweetness to grapefruit juice. Nothing revolutionary here, but its good and every bit comparable to Ocean Spray brand in taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Nay - Pasadena Salad - mix of crappy chopped up iceberg and dark romaine lettuce. Sweet syrupy vinaigarette dressing, with not much flavor other than the sweet. Too little dressing to adequately moisten the salad. Some chopped up low grade chicken (even worse than their just chicken strips in taste). And a blend of rice sticks and slivered almonds (not toasted) to top with. Someone I know raved about this salad, but I have no idea why!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Mellicita

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I picked up a box of the rosemary raisin crackers this week but I haven't tasted them yet. What do you serve them with?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Leepa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              CHEESE. Any blue or creme cheese is wonderful with them, as is chèvre.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks. I was planning to try them tomorrow. I appreciate the recs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They're specially fantastic with the Delice de Bourgogne I buy at TJ's, though they were pretty good even with the aged gouda.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Leepa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Get TJs honey goat cheese to put on your rosemary raisin crackers! Its about half the price of any other store, and it tastes great!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Mellicita

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'll get some the next time I'm there. Unfortunately, the closest one is an hour and a lot of traffic away! The one they're building a mile from my house won't be ready for a while yet. It's hard to wait patiently.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I don't remember if anyone has mentioned the truffled cheese from Italy; I think it's about $12 lb and I liked it a lot. Cheese is fairly mild. I guess if you don't like truffles you would not like this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I will definitely buy it again. I love those rosemary/raisin crackers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Yay - the blondie brownie mix. Everyone loves them and thinks they're homemade!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yay - Carrot juice in the plastic non refrigerated containers. Great price and great taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yay always - the TJ Almond Smoothie drink in the pink box. Consisently costs 20-30 cents less than the similar brands at the chain grocery stores. Tastes great with minimal/no filler ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Meh - their fresh produce. As someone below mentioned, it's always hit or miss, although when it's a hit the prices are way better than the chain stores.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yay always - the 99 cent packages of corn tortillas. They are out of this world. I stock up on them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yay - organic dark chocolate orange bars. Nom nom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yuck - canned lentil soup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Nay - the 3-layer TJ refrigerated hummus. Bland.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Meh (more Nay) - Chiao Sao Buh buns. Okay if you're in a hurry and not going to catch the local Chinese restaurant dim sum anytime soon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DelishDi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    where are you located? The corn tortillas are an extra 50 cents here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alliaphagist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Minneapolis/St. Paul area. They are 99 cents a package. Lovely!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Yay- canned Minestrone soup. Very hearty and the vegetables are chunky and it doesn't look like "canned" soup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yay- spicy ramen- add some hoisin sauce, citrus, and some herbs and maybe some meat and it is actually not too bad of a quick/effortless "pho" craving substitute...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Yay - the frozen butter chicken is back! This is my first time trying it. The sauce is of the same quality that I get from a casual Indian buffets. The butter chicken sauce is more tomato based, not creamy at all even though cream is in the ingredients. I think I like the Chicken Masala better, since its creamier. But the sauce is well seasoned with comforting warm Indian spices.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My only real complaint about the TJs Indian meals is that I'm noticing how tiny the amount of food is for the price I'm paying. There is typically about 1/2 cup of meat (or paneer) and sauce in there with about 1 cup of rice, for which I pay about 3-4 bucks. If I go to an Indian takeout, I get about a pint (2 cups) of entree for 9-10 bucks, with about a pint of rice on the side, and naan. I'm thinking I could just swing by an Indian takeout place, and freeze the food in some tupperware to have on hand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Semi-yay = the spicy ranchero egg white salad. To me, its not great, but others on here have raved about how much they love it. Its basically chopped egg whites, touch of mayo, and some raw red peppers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      YAY! Canned Minestrone Soup, with the big M on the front. surprisingly good! Its a canned soup, so dont expect a flavor miracle like homemade... but it has a very pleasant vegetable/tomato flavored broth. Lots of chunks of veggies (veggies are very soft/mushy, but I like them, the cabbage did have a litlte bit of bite to it, not mushy), smaller amount of cheerio shaped pasta (these do suffer from that gummy texture that canned pasta in soup gets). I appreciate having more veggies than pasta in a canned soup. With a little salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, and grated cheese on top, this was really good! The 28 oz can size is somewhat inconvenient, but apparently this was done to keep costs down. I will actually buy this again! I think they did as good a job as you can do making a canned soup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Mellicita

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'll have to try the canned minestrone soup. Sounds like a winner!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I love the canned lentil soup. It's flavorful, hearty, and perfect cold-weather food. I typically add lemon juice, hot sauce, feta, and sliced avocado.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chinchi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mmm! I like the way you doctor up the lentil soup! I plan to try the lentil soup next visit to TJs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Mellicita

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            anyone try the dried lentils yet???please give me feed back as I have to travel a long way to go to both trader joe's and costco.I have to load up when I do go, the reason I'm asking is that I bought lentils at fresh market,which took hours to cook and then some still never did get tender,whichlentils are not supposed to do.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Huge YAY!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Boxed Peanut Butter Cookies, on the new products shelf. 18 to a box for $3.99.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Somewhat thin, with tiny peanut butter chips, and just the right amount of crunch. My husband is a peanut butter fiend and these are his new obsession! These we're eaten in 2 sittings (I got 3 total to his 15...). So NEXT time I've gotta get more!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Yay:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Unsalted Almond Butter (not raw). One of the better brands out there for the price. Doesn't get too hard in the fridge. Great nutty taste.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Danish Pancakes - I'm almost glad I didn't discover these sooner. You shouldn't even get them. Just keep walking.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Organic Strawberry Fruit Spread - Juice sweetened,not too sweet like jam or jelly.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Frozen Berry Mix with Cherries- these pleased my berry discriminating almost toddler.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Nay:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Roasted Vegetable Burritto (frozen)- More like cumin flavored sack of goo.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Organic Avocados - I used to get the best avocados here, but the last bag I got every single one was rotten. Never again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm trying out the organic old fashioned oven toasted oats this week, if anyone has any oatmeal recommendations let me know. This one isn't TJs house brand which I prefer since they are no-GMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: olyolyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There aren't any GM oats on market.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/databa...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Irregardless, there are other ingredients in boxed oatmeals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: olyolyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What other ingredients are you talking about? For example what else is in a big round box of Quaker Old Fashioned?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I usually buy my oats from the bulk bins (rolled, cut, whole).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My question, as well. Boxed oatmeals? Really?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sure, THJ's (and more son regular grocery stores) carry instant oatmeals in boxes. Inside the box there are typically 6 - 8 packages with the oatmeal and usually, other ingredients like sugar, maple flavor, etc etc. Usually high calorie, presumably convenient. I do not buy these but I see them all the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: wrldtrvl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't question their existance. I question the purchase of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        People like sweet. Most parents I know buy the flavored oatmeal for their kids. They seem to think its healthy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Very sad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Indeed. But hey, sugary oatmeal is better than some other breakfasts

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Beyond that, it is sad to teach children that food comes in packets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I only wish you could talk to people I know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We have granola bars, Melba toast, almond biscotti, and raisins in packets. Sometimes smart fries or pretzels. DD knows that these are only snacks "to go"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, getting pretoasted oats in a 30oz cardboard canister is a much better lesson on real food. Even better get the oats in a metal can from Ireland.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Come to think of it, in my deep recesses of my childhood memories there's a Quaker Oats can, the kind that was opened with a metal twist key. Now days the only thing you open that way is corned beef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A metal can for Quaker Oats? Your childhood memories must go back a long way; mine reach the late 1940s and Quaker's/Mother's Oats came in a cardboard cylinder then.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Quaker Oats began using the familiar round cardboard packaging in 1915:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.yorksaw.com/blog/2011/06/i...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Truly one of the world greatest tragedies. You should probably stand post at the oatmeal aisle to prevent future calamity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: olyolyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Good idea!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: olyolyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Yay - uncooked corned beef (they also had some already cooked). I cooked it up in my pressure cooker with some beef in addition to water. It cooked up nice and tender, and rather zesty from all the spices used in the corning. At $5.99 per pound it wasn't particularly cheap compared to the stuff in the grocery stores, but it was much better quality, with very little fat and lots of spice. I'd definitely get it again next year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We bought the pre-cooked corned beef for the second year in a row. Lean, flavorful, and nitrate/nitrite free. Definite yay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chinchi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mostly like the package says: 'no nitrate/nitrite added except those present in celery seed ....'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Most likely, thanks for the amendment. I tossed the package.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. The new Fearless Flyer is out today. The items that appeal to me are nearly all older products that I've been buying for months - encouraging, since it means none of them is on the verge of being discontinued. These are Channa Masala and Falafel (frozen) and Cannellini White Kidney Beans, Latin Style Black Bean Soup, Madras Lentil, and Organic Black Beans (grocery).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Channa Masala was one of my less favorite of the frozen Indian entrees until I tried it recently with raita (which I made from TJ's Greek yogurt and Persian cucumbers). Wow - delicious! I'll be buying a lot more of it now. I also really like that the Channa Masala and the Saag Paneer are larger portions with no rice (I prefer to make my own rice).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        MEH for this month's Fearless Flyer - to be honest I didn't really see much that caught my eye. Is it just my imagination or did this month's flyer contain almost ALL older products? I know in the past it is usually a three to one ratio of older to new products but I didn't see too many new ones listed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree. I usually find several new things to try but I didn't mark a single item this time. Either already tried it or not interested.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Huge yay! The TJ's in my new city has a much bigger selection than the one I just moved away from.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        YAY: Confetti Rice. Frozen jasmine rice with lemongrass and ginger. Nukes up nicely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Yay - Kerrigold butter. Waaaaaay cheaper than any of the supermarkets here (Cub, Rainbow, etc.).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. A NAY on the new organic crunchy unsalted peanut butter. I got so excited when I saw it on the new products display today (except for the fact that the jar is plastic instead of glass). I asked one of the employees how it compared to the wonderful organic Valencia they discontinued, and she said she hadn't tried this one yet so she opened a jar for us to sample. The flavor isn't bad - not as deep & robust as the original version, but FAR better than that awful, insipid crap they originally rolled out as a replacement. Unfortunately the texture is where it really falls short for me - it's simultaneously sticky & very dry. I only had a tiny taste, literally about 1/4 teaspoon, and my mouth immediately got that astringent chalkiness as though I had just swigged a glass of really tannic red wine. Bummer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I miss the Valencia peanut butter terribly :-(

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Have you ever tried Santa Cruz Organic *Dark Roast* PB? It's the only one I've ever had that's even better than the TJ's OG Valencia was. Unfortunately it's also around $6/jar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hmm . . . does WF carry it? I'm paying about that for organic pb anyway so the price doesn't faze me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The stock can vary by location, but most of them carry it. Not sure where you are in the Mid-Atlantic region, but I never had a problem finding it in any of the NJ & NY Whole Foods when I lived there so I imagine it's readily available farther South toward you as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for the rec! I will pick some up as soon as I can find it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. We have enjoyed Parrano cheese at a great discount from TJs for many years. Recently when I couldn't find it I was directed to it "under its new name"; Parmesan-Gouda cheese. We bought it, and it is most definitely NOT Parrano! Parrano is earthy, nutty, and rich, with lovely crystals inside. This new stuff is waxy and tasteless.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. YAY-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cilantro and Green Onion Yogurt dip, paired with TJ's salt and pepper rice chips. My favorite.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cheddar with Caramelized Onions-so rich, so delicious.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dark Chocolate bar with caramel and black sea salt. Dangerous.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Tangerine juice, fresh and tart.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cubano sandwich-like a media noche wrap (I know I misspelled that)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Peanut Butter Cups.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Traditional feta-really flavorful, and cheap.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Caramelized Onion and Feta Pastery Bites.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Vodka Sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Lentil soup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mint Melange Tea

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                NAY
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Veggie Patties. The only item I've ever returned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I love that Cilantro and Green Onion Yogurt dip also, but I pair it with the sea salt pita chips. Yum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. YAY- creamy tomato basil pasta sauce. i'm usually not a fan of these types of sauces since you can just add your own cream at the end of most sauces but this one works. adding your own cream is great bc you can control the amount but sometimes it curdles slightly which isn't fun.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The higher the fat content the more stable your cream will be when added to an acidic sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Heavy/whipping cream is what you want. If you've used anything with less than a 35% fat content like half and half that's the culprit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. YAY: Frozen Turkey Burgers (four to a pack) - first of all, I would like to thank John Francis for this great recommendation...I have never tried a turkey burger that I have liked until this one. Ingredient list is short and sweet - turkey, kosher salt, and rosemary extract. I sauteed the turkey burger in olive oil over medium heat (after preheating pan on high) for 7 minutes on each side. These are DELICIOUS - if you were like me and wasn't sure if a pre-formed frozen turkey burger would taste good then set your worries aside and try these out. They could nearly pass for a medium well hamburger in taste, that is how good I thought they were.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A few things to note about them...be cautious on adding more salt - taste first as they did incorporate it into the patty, the edges browned up before the middle did so to make sure the middle of the burger was cooked enough I had to *lightly* press down on it towards the end of the cooking time, and the browning caused by the maillard effect on these really adds to their taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, the frozen patty is slightly cupped and if you want both sides browned all the way across (I do), first brown the convex side, then flip and press down with a spatula.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sometimes I eat 'em naked on the plate, but lately I've been using a toasted English muffin instead of a burger roll. No condiments needed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree that no condiments are needed with these turkey burgers...they have such a good flavor that they can stand alone on a burger bun or plate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          John Francis and Littleflower, do you just cook them from frozen?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I like turkey and I like that ingredient list. I looked at the turkey meatballs and put them back because they contained soy and other fillers) so this looks like a nice high protein alternative.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yep, goes into the pan frozen and I cooked mine 7 minutes per side in a little olive oil (not evoo but pure) but that will depend on individual preference - being that it was my first time cooking them I wanted to make sure they were cooked through. They were so tasty that I didn't even need a bun or any condiments to add to it, ate it with just a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper and a fork!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i've never had a good turkey burger but want to try these based on your recommendations here. thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Honestly I am surprised that more people haven't raved about these, they really are outstanding and easy to saute up. Another huge plus is the price, if I am pretty sure a box of four turkey burgers cost us just 2.99 which comes up to .75 per turkey burger! Great price, three ingredients only and they taste great - win, win, win!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yup, I put a bit of olive oil in a small pan, drop in a burger right out of the freezer, and sauté until done.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Have any of you tried TJ's spiral cut hams that you can yay/nay for us? We are searching for a nitrite free spiral cut ham to buy for our Easter dinner but did not want to compromise on the flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            These are not 'nitrite free'. The standard line is: ' uncured, meaning there are no nitrites, nitrates or phosphates added*"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            * except those naturally occurring in celery seed, spinach, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There's no guarantee that the nitrite/ate levels are lower in these 'uncured' products than in conventionally cured ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            For what it's worth, I regularly buy their 'uncured' bacon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You are correct pauj, I used the phrase "nitrite free" when really we are just looking for an uncured ham. So, having said that really we are just looking for a slightly healthier but STILL just as tasty version of our regular store bought spiral cut ham that are not laden with unnaturally occuring nitrites. If anyone has tried the uncured spiral cut ham from TJ's, we'd love to know what you thought of the quality and the taste of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Are 'naturally occurring' nitrites better than chemically pure ones?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "The weak and inconclusive data on the cancer risk of nitrite, nitrate and processed meats are far outweighed by the health benefits of restoring NO homeostasis via dietary nitrite and nitrate.'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Just how 'laden' are regular store bought hams? There are strict regulations on the use of nitrites.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Has anyone compared the salt content of cured and 'uncured' hams?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Have you scanned earlier months of this tread?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  nothing in Nov and Dec

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This a link to a small discussion about the spiral uncured ham... apparently the hams are only available at Easter & Christmas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I've never seen them at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The link was very helpful - thanks Gio! Seems as though the TJ's ham has gotten rave reviews by most people who have tried it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh good, LF. We're going to look for the hams at the Saugus MA TJ's this week-end. Will report back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            YAY for TJ's Uncured Spiral Cut Ham!! They were sampling it tonight and I let out a loud audible "YUM!" at the station...it was unlike any other spiral cut ham that I have tried.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The flavor of the ham was incredible and juicy, and the glaze was a little different from the traditional honey/brown sugar - this one tasted slighty smoky but in a very good way. The meat itself did not taste smoked just the glaze. Can't wait for Easter dinner and the leftovers we're likely to enjoy from it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Our TJ's (Saugus MA) did not have the spiral hams this past Saturday. My husband did the shopping there but didn't ask when the hams would be arriving. If they're there this Sat. we'll buy one, if not it's leg of lamb for Easter Sunday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Gio, you may consider calling up your TJ's and talking to the manager on duty. Whenever I can't find a product or if a product is out of stock, I call up the manager and ask if he can place an order for a shipment to come in. The managers at my TJ's store are more than happy to place an order for a shipment if the store is carrying it, and the item generally arrives in 1-2 days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you Littleflower. We'll do just that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. mr. alka is lovin' on the fontina-stuffed arancini! (from the frozen case).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Agreed. I only had them once at a party-I'm too scared to buy them myself. Scared I'll eat the entire box by myself in one sitting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Yay: Almond Raspberry cookies in the fresh bakery section. Pie crust-esque cookie type bottom, topped with a ring of almond paste that is browned from baking and filled with a raspberry filling that reminds me of donut filling. Only downside is that they are not drizzled with chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I also saw new (gluten free) chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting. Anyone else try these?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: olyolyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Had one bite and it was so dry and tastless that I took them back. Have not had any luck with gluten free bread either. I like hearty seed loaded thick sliced multi grain bread. Any one?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I'm sure they aren't new at all, but I've been really sick in my first trimester of pregnancy and the vegetable egg rolls are the first real food I've had since Sunday!! A YAY from me for sure!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: IndyGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It is so interesting what different people can and can not tolerate during pregnancy. Congratulations, Indygirl, and take care!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks!! I'm sure tomorrow they will be the devil incarnate... that's pretty much how things are right now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: IndyGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wonderful news IndyGirl!! Congratulations and happy to hear that you were able to find some yummy food at Trader Joe's that agrees with your stomach.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. meh/nay to the spicy seaweed ramen. The noodles are pretty good, but the flavor reminds me too much of clam pee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alliaphagist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Not having any experience with clam pee, I'll take your word for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: puzzler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              yeah, i was wondering about the clam pee. ;-).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: alliaphagist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              the clam pee is exactly what the broth tastes like. sort of salty with a slight musty taste. bleh. but agree the noodles had a nice texture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. I just bought the chocolate covered butterscotch caramels. DO NOT BUY THESE!!!!! Unless you have unbelievable self control. I do not. They must be new, because I have never seen them before. Big, giant YAY.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A world of "yay" on these too. They are everything that Milk Duds wish they could be. Far better than the holiday-season sea-salt dark chocolate caramels -- similar idea though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Now THIS is a new product that definitely catches my eye...Uncured Black Forest Bacon! I really want to give this a try, especially since the description claims that it crisps up well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.traderjoes.com/products.asp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Kind of undecided about the organic grass-fed ground beef. I like the flavor, which is decidedly gamy, as should be expected of grass-fed beef.... but I'm not crazy about the texture, which I find to be overground. It cooked up well and held together fine, but I don't know if I'll get it again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. MEH for the Mandarin Orange Chicken - we prepared it in the oven and since it was not our only main dish just prepared half of the bag. Here is my assessment of it:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    PROS: Sauce was really good - we had it over jasmine rice (not from TJ's) and was left thinking that I wish they sold the sauce separately for purchase. The breading was crispy and tasty so a plus for that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    CONS: The chicken on the inside varied...some of it was of good quality and some pieces were a bit too chewy. Perhaps I would have like it better if it was all white meat. Also, I wish that the size of the chicken pieces were all about the same - about 60 percent of our bag contained very small pieces (some less than quarter) which were a bit overcooked compared to the decent sized ones. If cooking this again (which honestly I doubt since I am not too compelled to repurchase it) I would take the smaller chicken pieces out of the oven a few minutes before the larger ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh, thank God! I thought it was just me!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I cannot begin to tell you the amount of times I have retried this dish - the majority of folks on here love it. I love the sauce but you are absolutely right about the chicken. SOME of it is chicken and I have NO idea what the rest is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The last (and final) time I bought it I picked out only the large pieces that seemed like it may be chicken. Won't do it again though - I'll just go to Panda Express :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Okay, WHO mentioned the choc covered butterscotch caramels?!?!? Now I HAVE to buy them!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It is actually really easy to recreate the sauce.... I take peach jam, and add orange juice. Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and a dash of cholula hot sauce. Boil in pan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm sure chili sauce would be good, I just didn't have it. One could also use a fresh squeezed orange +zest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You could easily buy any sort of frozen popcorn chicken or chicken nuggets (heck, get takeout from KFC!) and add it to this mix.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (Please note that I am in no way endorsing the healthfulness of this dish! LOL!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Mellicita

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mellicita that sounds like a good recipe for making that sauce from scratch - thanks, will have to try that out!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I should have mentioned that a little sweet chili sauce would probably be good in it too. I'm kinda a wuss, so I keep things pretty mild.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Yay - but with a caveat: I buy the frozen Kung Pao Chicken in a bag, and turn the way too sweet sauce included into something decent by adding garlic, ginger, chili oil, Tien Tsan peppers, etc. The last bag I bought didn't have any chili peppers packed separately like bags I have bought in the past. It's best if you have the time to add some additional veggies, such as frozen peas, julienned carrots, etc. After you do that, it's not bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yay - I like the Indian frozen dinners, the Chana Masala, Butter Chicken, the spinach (forgot the name), Lamb Vindaloo, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Boo- they don't carry the masala nan in the bread section anymore, I really liked that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yay - The unrefrigerated, bagged Indian veggies in the oils/pickles/olives aisle are much better than they used to be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Meh - Here in No VA, I have been disappointed with bags of potatoes that I get home only to find several green and/or soft ones. So I avoid their potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yay - cage free eggs, including the bags of 6 hard cooked ones in the dairy section.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yay - Greek yogurt, either Fage or the TJ brand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yay - Olive Oil Potato Chips and Wasabi Seaweed Snacks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MsDiPesto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Kung Pao Chicken gets extra help at my house as well. I increase the quantity of sauce/thin it down with either soy sauce or TJ's Teriyaki sauce. I usually add extra peanuts (if I have some on hand) and I will open up small cans of sliced water chesnuts and bamboo shoots. Then, I will chop up some of whatever veggies I have around--usually some bell peppers. Some I wonder, why not just make it from scratch, maybe prepare larger quantites of chopped cooken chicken in individual freezer bags....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MsDiPesto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Interesting to see that you like the already cooked hardboiled eggs, have you tried to make them into deviled eggs and what were the results? I have seen them in TJ's and was tempted on a few occasions to try them out. May be a nice convenience to have sometimes when time/energy do not allow for cooking/peeling eggs for deviled eggs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Perhaps MsDiPesto just had better luck, but I tried those cooked eggs on two occasions - from two different stores - when I was staying in hotels, and they were awful. The whites were the consistency of tire rubber, and the yolks were completely dry & chalky.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Good to know. Considered getting them as a time saver for our Marathon Day Party.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Buy a bag to try in advance & see how they are in your area. Based on my experience I'd personally never waste the money on them again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's a total second hand review, but my CW had the same experience... and she's not a picky person at ALL.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  --Dommy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: MsDiPesto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "the unrefrigerated, bagged Indian veggies in the oils/pickles/olives aisle"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Give us more information about that as I'm not sure what you are referring to. Is it the boxed meals in the shelf-stable boilable bags? The eggplant is scrumptious, a big YAY. Those are made by Tasty Bite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                For the Kung Pao chicken, I add an onion, celery, and TJ's frozen green beans to the skillet and chili garlic, vinegar, and Szechuan pepper to the sauce. I use a LOT of vinegar or else the sauce is like pancake syrup. I do something similar with the orange chicken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MsDiPesto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  tasted the channa masala today at the demo station. very authentic flavor. tasty, but for the money, i told mr. alka we can get some shan's channa spice pack and make our own for much less. but for a quick frozen meal, it is delicious. the demo lady served it with greek yogurt on top. perfect!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have eyed the chana masala in the past at Trader Joe's - how's the heat level compared to the Chicken Tikka Masala? For me personally, TJ's CTM is hitting my threshold for heat level - I don't think I would enjoy anything that was much spicier than that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Littleflower, I have a pretty low tolerance for heat and I didn't think the channa masala was very spicy at all. Actually, I would have preferred a little heat because it was a bit too sweet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Maybe it is just me, but I am bored with Trader Joe's at the present. I feel like in past years they realized new products through out the year, but I feel like there has not been many products that have been both new and good-quality.--Granted this is just me, and maybe it is due to the bonanza of products during December--which then has made the last 3 months seem less exciting.--It is still a great store!.. just something that I have noticed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  31 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think you're right that TJ's isn't putting as many new products into its stores. But for me, no news is good news: the older products I like aren't being squeezed out by new ones and discontinued. I still miss their chicken mango sausage; the newer flavors of chicken sausage that replaced it don't appeal to me as much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't remember trying the mango chicken sausage, but the sweet apple chicken sausage is quite good for breakfast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        John Francis, you make a good point--"older products I like aren't being squeezed out by new ones"...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I would rather have my Garlic marinated mushrooms in jars, near the floor, by the pickles/olives) which nobody else seems to purchase stay and not be discontinued for anything, anything possible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I love those mushrooms and buy them frequently.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I just bought them for the first time, probably on your recommendation, I really like them. Am thinking of using the leftover brine to soak some baby carrots.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: geminigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes I always save the garlic liquid--so multi-purpose!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What else do you do with it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: geminigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I just got some of the marinated mushrooms based on the recommendations here. They really are tasty! Thanks for getting me to look at what's down on the bottom shelf.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Why they are along the floor? I have no idea. I am glad you enjoy them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  For geminigirl...I add them (or just some of the liquid) to leftover pasta dishes, mashed potatoes, omelettes, eat them on their own (even post-dinner, instead of dessert), put them in a wrap, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We bought the garlic mushrooms in the jar last night and although I personally am not a mushroom fan, he tried them and raved about them (in fact, half the jar is already gone)! Great recommendation GraceW, thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      They keep lots of good stuff on their bottom shelves. I really like their bags of bits and pieces of fruit leather (the trimmings from when they make the nice rectangles). They keep those on the bottom shelf, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Heh, and here in SWFL, they have the marinated mushrooms on the top shelf, well right at eye level...! No kidding...I almost bought them but decided that the sodium was a bit high and I would be the only one to eat them, so I figured: no, don't do it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Val

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Val, just remember that sodium listing includes the salted brine. It will be less drained and less still rinsed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was also surprised that they dont seem to produce more Easter products - like they do all those special dishes and candies for Christmas.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm not Jewish, but it seems like they could do Passover products as well. (they manage to bring in plenty of regular Kosher products, so getting Kosher for Passover shouldnt be too much of a stretch)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Mellicita

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Me too! They go all out for the Christmas holiday season but seem to be pretty low-key when it comes to Easter and Halloween. You would think that TJ's would want to capitalize more on those holidays which center around candy, especially with those who want to give their kids slightly "healthier" options without HFCS and Partially Hydrogenated Oils.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    When I asked about Valentine's day, they said the products had been total flops in the past, so perhaps that's also the case for Halloween and Easter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I wonder how something like a Valentines themed JoJo wouldnt sell..... yet they'll make weird items like Dried Kimchi that even my Korean friend couldnt figure out what you would use it for (and didnt like). Oh well...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Mellicita

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I wrote in the previous thread that I've bought dried kimchi in smaller packets at HMart. I also found a Korean company that makes it. My guess is that TJ's buyer went to Korea, found some items he thought would sell, and arranged to have some packaged under the TJ label. If the dried kimchi doesn't sell, I expect they will drop it rather than order another batch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Mellicita

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Heart shaped Joe Joe's!! I am with you Mellicita they really need to give expanding their Valentines and Easter/Halloween selections another try.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't know about others, but in my family the only regular family feasts are at Thanksgiving and Christmas. We don't even get together for Easter, and certainly not for Hallowe'en. Apart from candy for the trick-or-treat crowd, I can't think of anything special I would buy for either holiday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          and many of the christmas things are good for gift giving.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: Mellicita

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree. It seems like all they had for Easter were little bags of jelly beans, and only boxes of matzah for Passover.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Mellicita

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think it's nice that they have the matzo, and I definitely appreciate the kosher wine, but there's no way they could really do the full range of K for P products (baking mixes, matzo meal, potato starch, various doodads). There are only a few producers and I assume they are tapped out supplying the regular stores and kosher markets, and the market for it is limited. Around here, one store carries it all, and we just go there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I pretend to be Sephardic during Passover so I can eat rice, and I just stocked up on the frozen Indian meals for lunches.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sciencediet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I wouldn't expect them to have a full line of products, but maybe some kosher for passover candies would be nice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sciencediet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I agree that it's not really reasonable to expect them to carry a full range of KfP products when they're not a full-service grocery for regular stuff. Passover items also tend to be very expensive, and I'm not sure how much they'd be able to discount to keep the prices within the range their customers expect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I definitely would not expect them to carry a full line up of Kosher for Passover - that would be difficult.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was just thinking that as a non-Jewish person, I personally would enjoy being able to buy some good refrigerated Matzo ball soup, charoset, coconut macaroons, smoked salmon... perhaps some salmon or meats like leg of lamb in an appropriate marinade. And I would think those type of products would appeal to someone keeping Kosher for Passover as well during the season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I personally look forward to the influx of new seasonal products in stores, as a way to enjoy new things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Mellicita

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So i guess you all don't have as many leftover boxes of chocolate shortbread stars and candy cane joe joes as I do:). My eyes were bigger then my stomach!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: geminigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i'm with you, gemini girl. i only bought one box of stars and it is still ¾ full, and the one box of candy cane jo jo's…..well, they are from the 2011 holiday season. LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  :) 2011! Supposedly they freeze well, but I still have mine of the shelf...thinking of making Oreo balls or blondes with a middle layer of joe joes....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: geminigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mash them up with some melted butter and make a pie crust! The mint flavor will be a nice twist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://blog.cookingwithtraderjoes.com...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Mellicita

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I feel like people shop and stock up for Xmas/Hanukkah. They roll out the holiday goods so early, and there's so much hype. With Easter/Passover, it's just not the same hype.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And the KFP market is so complicated, that its just not worth it for them

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. This thread is too long to read through tonight, but I noticed after a long absence that their phyllo spinach pie had been apparently replaced by a spinach and kale pie. So I bought one. It was really lovely, but it had a problem with having a bunch of water that ran out of it while it was cooking, off the pie plate, and messed up the oven. If I'd used a jely rol pan it would have boiled its bottom crust. Not sure which I'd rather, but the taste was wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i've made the spinach and kale pie twice, and the old spinach one twice. i learned from following the demo lady when she cooked it out of its cardboard cradle and out on a jelly roll pan. i learned on my own that it took much longer than the instructions stated. i also now rub it with a little evoo for a bit of taste and crispiness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                you cooked it on a pie plate or in its container? was your oven temp accurate? the oozing water? weird. never had that!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                frankly, i'd be just as happy eating it without any crust!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Put a wire rack in your jelly roll pan and both problems are solved.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Or, assuming you have two racks in your stove, put the jelly roll on the lower rack and the "weeping" food on the rack above. Works like a charm....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. old standby but ever useful in freezer: pepper melange. just used some today for a quickie gumbo. i also like them in omelets and pasta sauces...or in puree with a cold bean salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  similarly, i keep the organic green peas in the freezer for all sorts of uses. lovely and great flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The peppers, peas, string beans, kale and artichokes all have a spot in my freezer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. New to me but all previously recommended on a TJ's thread:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -dukkah
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -California estate EVOO
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -triple creme brie with wild mushrooms

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yay to all, particularly the EVOO. It was very good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Next up, I plan to try to coffee and cream bars, as well as the coffee ice cream (based on the mentions in this thread :)), and the turkey burgers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: calmossimo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Huge Nay - Gold Quality Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I should have known better given the wine vinegar listed in the ingredients but a few positive reviews overwhelmed my better judgement. Completely lacking the thick sweetness of a true balsamic. Definitely getting returned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      For those near a Fairway, their Super Premium Balsamic Vinegar of Modena at only $20 per liter will show you the error of TJ's ways. (not to be confused with their "Premium", the "Super Premium" is vastly superior)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cal, glad to see another Dukkah and C.E. EVOO convert come into the fold. I've been recommending both to every single person I come across that mentions shopping at TJ's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Easily my two most exciting finds since I started shopping there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If my memory serves me correctly, the Gold Quality Balsamic Vinegar of Moderna is in a small square bottle with a red label on it? Doesn't TJ's carry another Balsamic Vinegar of Moderna and if so wonder if that may be of better quality?? Based on some of your other comments and opinions, I trust your judgement NuMystic so will probably not go with TJ's Gold Quality Balsamic as my introduction into buying balsamic vinegars.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The other one is in a glass jug with a wee round handle. I am not a balsamic fan, but my mom is and she loves it. She has not tried the Gold Quality one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yep, that's the one littleflower. They do have another which Rilke mentioned but it's also not traditional balsamic being made with wine vinegar and caramel so I wouldn't recommend it as a good introduction to the traditional balsamic character.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Don't get me wrong, there are some decent cheap facsimiles to be had (the one Rilke's mom likes may indeed be tasty) but with the Fairway Super Premium costing only 25% more than the TJ's, I find it's $20 well spent on the real thing. (and a full liter lasts me a good 6-9 months)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In traditional balsamic there won't be caramel, wine vinegar, or thickeners listed in the ingredients. It's made only from the aged reduction of grape must. (whole grape juice incl. skins, seeds, etc)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I live close to the VA/NC border and we do not have a Fairway near us, unfortunately. I will take your recommendation to look carefully at balsamic vinegar ingredients labels at our area grocery stores to see if it indeed is the real thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ah, okay. Unfortunately it may be tough to find another traditional balsamic at such a reasonable price. The better quality ones are thick, sweet, and generally quite pricey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If you're unable to find a reasonably priced traditional balsamic the Rozzano brand at BJ's (not sure if you have one nearby either) is a decent, albeit thinner facsimile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Also I haven't tried it personally but Cooks Illustrated rated this the best value of the non-traditional supermarket balsamics:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                - Monari Federzoni Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If what you wind up buying is thin (doesn't cling) you can get a bit closer to that sweet thick traditional quality reducing it. Just simmer gently until it starts to stick to the bottom and sides when swirled.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  littleflower, you might want to check harris teeter, if you have one nearby.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks, yes we do have a Harris Teeters within close proximity so I will check there to see if they carry the Monari Federzoni Balsamic Vinegar of Moderna or some other rather decent price but good quality balsamic. BTW NuMystic I did see that as well on the Cook's Illustrated website - we have an online subscription and have (for the most part) agreed with their recommendations. If they do carry it Harris Teeter has a satisfaction guaranteed or your money back return policy it's definitely worth a try!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well with a return policy like that you can also afford to compare the Monari (if they have it) with a more expensive bottle of traditional Balsamic (also if they carry any) and see what all the hub bub is about the real thing. Let us know what you think!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: calmossimo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The coffee latte and cream bars as well as the turkey burgers are two of my absolute favorite *new* (to me!) finds at TJ's...please do check back in and give your reviews of them, hope you like them as much as we did!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Yay- Aloo Chaat Kati Pouches- Best hot pocket I've ever had:)..would rather have them in the oven, but nice for work because ready in 4 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Also bought- falafel, turkey meatballs(based on recs here), Wagyu beef burgers, and Creamy tomato basil sauce to try out this week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Meh - Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto (frozen). Gluey texture, not much flavor. The sauce pack is frozen solid and it's annoying to chip away the rice stuck to it, then thaw it enough to get the block of sauce out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Have you tried the frozen Asparagus Risotto? I personally can't vouch for it since I have yet to try it, but remember hearing some good reviews for it.