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Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - May 2013 [old]

April showers bring May *Trader Joe's* flowers...the latest installment of the Frequent Flyer features 7 roses for only $4.99!

What TJ's products have you tried lately, and would you rate them with a yay or nay?

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  1. The broths in 1-quart boxes are not new, but I've just been reviewing them, so for what it's worth:

    yea - Organic Free Range Chicken Broth. Made with chicken, aromatics, some salt but little more than half as much as in national brands like College Inn. For those who want a low-sodium chicken broth, TJ's makes it too, though I don't like it as much.

    yea - Organic Beef Broth. A fairly complex ingredients list; not low-sodium but not high-sodium either.

    nay - Organic Hearty Vegetable Broth. Not hearty at all, in fact almost flavorless, and the very slight taste didn't suggest any of the nine vegetables listed as ingredients. Definitely low-sodium - low-everything, I'd say, with almost no nutritional value at 5 calories per cup.

    Each costs $1.99. I cook with the chicken and beef broth all the time and sometimes just heat some up for soup, adding salt and pepper to taste.

    6 Replies
    1. re: John Francis

      I used that organic vegetable broth in a curried pumpkin soup I make every thanksgiving. I usually use College Inn canned vegetable broth in it, which doesn't taste like much, but is more like chicken broth. The TJ's vegetable broth had so many weird flavors in it that it ruined the taste of the soup. I'll never get it again.

      1. re: AmyH

        The Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Broth isn't too bad. Can definitely discern the herbs with the dominant flavor being onion and tomato.

        20 cal/cup 130mg Potassium and only 140mg sodium.

        Use it mostly when I'm doing a quick sautee of the bagged Organic Kale or cooking quinoa.

        I suspect the herbaceous quality would not work with certain recipes though. (like your pumpkin soup I suspect Amy)

        1. re: NuMystic

          Actually, that might be the one I used. I tend to buy low sodium products and I remember the dominant onion and tomato. It definitely did not work with the pumpkin soup, unfortunately. I think I'll still to College Inn.

          1. re: NuMystic

            My TJ's doesn't carry this, only the "hearty" vegetable broth, and I didn't know that it exists. From a comparison at FatSecret, I see that it's 20 calories a cup compared with the "hearty" broth's five. I'd try it if I could, but I can't.

            As for what's left of the "hearty" broth, which is little more than water with a slight off-putting taste, it's cheap and I could just throw it away. But maybe I'll use it to make some rice, have a taste, then cover it up with one of TJ's Indian Fare sauces. Which gives me an opening for something positive:

            yea - Madras Lentil. My favorite, since they no longer carry the dal I liked so much.

            yea - Punjab Choley. Chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, and over a dozen herbs and spices. Delicious.

            yea - Punjab Eggplant. The eggplant is grilled over an open flame, sez the package, and I like the slightly smoked flavor.

        2. re: John Francis

          The organic Free range not low sodium not nonorganic chicken broth is my FAVORITE go to chicken broth. I accidentally bought low sodium this week and I was crushed (though it wasn't bad - just not nearly as chickeny)

          1. re: John Francis

            I appreciate your review on TJ's broths - the only one I have tried and used many times is the Organic Free Range Low Sodium Chicken Broth. The OFR Low Sodium Chicken Broth is okay/average, and the only reason why I've been buying it is because I do not want an overly salty broth. Great to hear that the regular OFR Chicken Broth is not as salty as other store brands.

            Also, will now try TJ's Beef Broth based on your review as well.

          2. Yay! on the limited edition Ethiopian Peaberry coffee that is in the Fearless Flyer. Very characteristic of Ethiopian coffee with those distinctive flavors, medium dark roast, good price.

            1 Reply
            1. re: RussTheRaccoon

              Glad to hear a yay review for this coffee...will definitely have to try it out myself. Fair Trade Ethiopian coffee was my first coffee that I tried a few years ago and was the one that got me hooked (before then I was always a "tea person") and although French Roast is my usual go-to lately, excited to try Ethiopian coffee again. Really great flavored coffee.

            2. Yay! Soft and juicy dried mandarin orange slices.

              These were yay-ed on last month's thread but I thought they were worth a repeat mention since they are fairly new. They were indeed soft and juicy, and perfectly tart... but they are VERY sweet. My guess is that if you are a fan of the soft and juicy mango, you will enjoy these as well! At $2.69 for a 6oz bag, these will be a repeat purchase, but mostly for hikes or other activities where all that sugar can be well utilized.

              Close-up photo attached.

              18 Replies
              1. re: ohmyyum

                Can't wait to try these then since I am a huge fan of the soft and juicy mango.

                1. re: ohmyyum

                  I thought these were a little bitter, and I wasn't a fan of the texture. We'll (probably) finish the bag, but I doubt I'd buy again.

                  1. re: Savour

                    I don't think these are bad, and I'll finish the bag, but I also won't buy again. They were just okay.

                    1. re: ohmyyum

                      Another Yay!

                      They remind me of candy orange slice candies, very tasty.

                      They would be fine on a cake but I wouldn't put them in cereal--much too sweet.

                      1. re: ohmyyum

                        I got one bag and thought they were delicious, but they were gone when I went back for another round! They're scheduled to return in a month or so, I'm told.

                        1. re: JulesNoctambule

                          They were gone from my store this week, too! I was going to get several bags and take some to work. Glad to hear they're coming back eventually.

                          1. re: AmyH

                            I went to get some today, and they were out :( so sad, totally craving them! Got some TJs fruit gems, so not the same...

                            1. re: schrutefarms

                              How funny, I also got some fruit gems when I saw the mandarins were gone! And you're right, they're really not the same.

                              1. re: AmyH

                                The fruit gems actually are pretty good though. My whole box is gone :) But yeah, not really a sub for the mandarins.

                                1. re: schrutefarms

                                  Without a doubt the best fruit gems I've ever had.

                                  1. re: AmyH

                                    But they give so few of the dark purple ones that they've tricked me into thinking those are the best ones.

                            2. re: AmyH

                              I was told they won't be back till July (NYC)

                              1. re: cheesecake17

                                They told me July in Las Vegas also. Can't wait. I had tried the crispy ones first, but I far prefer the juicy ones.

                                1. re: Steve Green

                                  Yeah, I tried again today, but no luck. They didn't tell me a date, just that they were out of stock and probably would be for a while. Boo. I barely had any ti e to get hooked on them!

                          2. re: ohmyyum

                            Another YAY on the dried mandarin slices but at 140 calories for 14 pieces I can see myself easily gaining back those 3 lbs that took like 100 yrs to lose. i'd rather gain weight eating ice cream or guzzling wine.

                            1. re: trolley

                              Whoa- that seems excessive, calorie-wise. Do they have a shit-ton of sugar added?

                              1. re: EWSflash

                                yes, i assume so. they taste like candy that's why they're so good but as i said, i'd rather gain weight eating ice cream and eating pizza, not on dried fruit. it just seems like the wimp way to gain weight.

                          3. Yay: Roasted Butternut Squash, Red Quinoa & Wheatberry Salad in the prepared salads section. Perfect lunch.

                            1. Yay - Trader Quixote's Garden Fresh Gazpacho

                              Needed a generous amount of red wine vinegar, a slug of olive oil, and a bit of water added but well worth that tiny bit of effort in the end.

                              Un-doctored it's so thick that it would work as a chunky salsa with a bit of fresh lime squeezed over it.

                              1. Trader Joe's Kimchee (from the refrigerated section): really, really good. I wasn't expecting much, but it's spicy, assertive and doesn't have any off flavors. Much better than most of the brands I've purchased. It's made in S. Korea.

                                Regular Almond Milk (refrigerated section): meh. I like the Blue Diamond almond milk better as it's got a touch of sweetness that I like. Might try TJ's vanilla version next time.

                                41 Replies
                                1. re: emily

                                  I agree with you regarding the kimchee. It's delicious and a great deal.

                                  1. re: shoo bee doo

                                    I'm picking up a few more packs next time I'm there. Never know when it will be discontinued!

                                  2. re: emily

                                    Being that Blue Diamond is our staple Almond Milk as well I wouldn't get your hopes up for the TJ's vanilla either Emily.

                                    We found both their refrigerated and shelf stable almond milks didn't compare favorably, as much as we hoped they might.

                                    Couldn't agree more about the Kimchee. Best store bought I've found to date. (coming from someone that has fermented many a batch from scratch at home)

                                    1. re: emily

                                      Might try TJ's vanilla version next time.
                                      The vanilla version is unsweetened. If the original - which *is* sweetened - isn't sweet enough for you, I'm guessing you won't be too crazy about the vanilla.

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        I didn't know that TJ's vanilla almond milk was the unsweetened kind. I bought both TJ's chocolate and vanilla almond milk and mixed them together half and half to try and recreate chocolate "regular" milk (TJ's chocolate was a little too chocalatey in my opinion and needed to be thinned out with the vanilla), and really enjoyed the taste of it.

                                        I used to buy the Blue Diamond brand but decided to try TJ's version because they come in smaller carton sizes - my refrigerator space now is limited!

                                        1. re: littleflower

                                          Oops, clarification needed here. I was only talking about the refrigerated almond milk - I forgot they had shelf-stable options. Most of those are sweetened, though I think they do have a shelf-stable unsweetened vanilla...?

                                        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          Interesting. I automatically assumed the opposite. I went out and bought some Blue Diamond so I'll stick with that, though I read some blurb about the "dangers" of carrageenan which BD contains.

                                          1. re: emily

                                            Thank you emily for reminding me another reason why I gave TJ's almond milks a try - I also ready somewhere that TJ's brand did not contain carrageenan while other brands do. There may be a *slight* difference in taste b/t Blue Diamond brand (a bit sweeter) vs. TJ's, but wasn't enough to make me not want to continue buying TJ's almond milks if they don't contain this ingredient.

                                            1. re: littleflower

                                              Blue Diamond recently switched from soy to sunflower lecithin - I wouldn't be surprised if they eventually got rid of the carrageenan too.

                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                  From your lips to their ears GHG. I'd be delighted if that was the case but I'm not holding my breath.

                                              1. re: emily

                                                I just clarified this above - I was talking about the refrigerated vanilla, but I believe the shelf-stable vanilla is also available in an unsweetened version.

                                                1. re: emily

                                                  Actually emily it was the carrageenan in Blue Diamond that had me trying out the TJ's in the first place, which is why I was doubly disappointed that it didn't fare well in our opinion. (speaking of the refrigerated now)

                                                  littleflower, hope you realize that it's only the refrigerated almond milk at TJ's that is carrageenan free. The shelf stable "almond smooth" labeled boxes do still use carrageenan. :(

                                                  I've been looking for an alternative for months now without success. Didn't care for the Silk pure almond, even tried things like oat milk but have yet to find something that does as well in our coffee as the BD Unsweetened Vanilla. (for other uses though there are plenty of options)

                                                  My frustration in this search led me to picking up a load of bulk almonds to try my hand at making my own in the vitamix. Must confess that even if I manage to make something great I'm going to miss the convenience of shelf stable almond milk I can buy by the case.

                                                  1. re: NuMystic

                                                    Ahhhh...thanks NuMystic! I did not know that, and just took for granted that the shelf stable ones also were carrageenan-free. That is a shame! Honestly though, if it comes down to a choice between Blue Diamond and TJ's shelf-stable (esp. if the refrigerated kind is not that tasty) I probably still will buy the TJ's version despite the carrageenan in it because I do not have much refrigerator space for two Blue Diamond almond milks.

                                                    1. re: littleflower

                                                      The Blue Diamond is available in the same size as the Almond Smooth but as long as you enjoy the TJ's there's really no reason to switch since they both use the carrageenan in any case.

                                                    2. re: NuMystic

                                                      have yet to find something that does as well in our coffee as the BD Unsweetened Vanilla.
                                                      Do you live near any Kroger-owned supermarkets? If so, try the almond milk from their private label, Simple Truth Organics. It's the best soy- and carrageenan-free option (and probably the best commercial almond milk overall) that I've found thus far. I can't speak to the vanilla or any sweetened varieties, I've only tried the unsweetened plain.

                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                        Not a single one in the Tri-State area unfortunately, but hopefully your suggestion will help those who do have access to Krogers.

                                                2. re: emily

                                                  i wish the kimchee were in a glass jar instead of the foil pouch!

                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                    I agree - the pouch is a bit unwieldy. When I bought it I transferred the rest to a glass jar after opening.

                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                      Wow.. good idea! (Although I am somewhat frustrated with myself for not thinking of that on my own.)

                                                      1. re: GraceW

                                                        LOL! I have a thing for glass jars. Plus, those stupid pouches tip over and I *knew* that if I didn't transfer it to another container I'd end up with a stinky kimchi mess in my fridge.

                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                          the pouches stink. i buy this raw sauerkraut at WF and they changed their packaging to the pouch from glass jars. i got a beet kraut and it leaked everywhere bc it has some kind of vent. i don't buy the kimchee at TJ's just bc i hate the pouch.

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              yeah, but it still sucks. beet juice all over my canvas bag! they sent me some kraut to makeup for it but there was kraut juice everywhere.

                                                              1. re: trolley

                                                                Oh, I agree it sucks! I just thought you might want to know their justification for making the packaging change. Believe me, I understand what a nightmare that mess can be. It didn't stain as badly as beet juice would, but I've had bottles of kombucha explode in my canvas bags in the car, soaking everything with that lovely fermented vinegary smell.

                                                                It seems like the kombucha companies were able to figure out how to fix their bottling process to avoid more leakage & explosions - you'd think the kimchi folks could do it as well...

                                                            2. re: trolley

                                                              I'm no fan of the packaging either but there's no way I'd pass up such a great product just because of that. Just ask for a plastic bag at the store to tie around it for peace of mind on your way home then transfer to whatever container you most prefer.

                                                              1. re: NuMystic

                                                                Just ask for a plastic bag at the store to tie around it for peace of mind on your way home
                                                                That's what I do with bottles of kombucha. Of course since I wised up and started doing it I've never had another one leak or explode on me.

                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                  yeah, well i actually started making my own kombucha at home due to explosion incidents. takes a few weeks but worth it.

                                                            3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              I *too* love a wide mouth glass jar! Have a bunch of them...and I seem to remember a thread about glass jars??? haha! More and more food products are sold in yukky plastic squeeze bottles or plastic containers.

                                                              1. re: Val

                                                                That glass jar thread made me so happy to know my obsession isn't so unusual :) I've stopped buying so many products because they switched from glass to plastic - the saddest one for me to give up was the giant jars of Maranatha almond butter at Costco.

                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                  One of the reasons I switched from Best Foods/Hellman's mayo to Trader Joe's Real Mayonnaise. (Also, the real mayo has no sugar, and tastes more like homemade and European mayonnaise).

                                                                  I guess that's a Yea for the Real Mayo in the glass jar!

                                                                  1. re: Savour

                                                                    Agreed...I was always a faithful Hellman's buyer, but once I tried TJ's Real Mayo last year I would never buy Hellman's again. TJ's Real Mayo in my opinion is better than Hellman's and has slightly better (healthier) ingredients. A win-win.

                                                                    1. re: littleflower

                                                                      Tried it but didn't feel the love. Sticking with Hellman's.

                                                                      1. re: Berheenia

                                                                        I'm with you Berheenia. I tried the Real Mayo as well and it just didn't do it for me. I don't think I even finished the jar. I've sinced learned not to mess with a good thing and stick to Duke's and Hellman's depending on availability.

                                                                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                    2 weeks ago I picked up the Maranatha almond butter at my Costco because it is in glass jars again (I posted it on the Costco thread as a response to you).

                                                                    1. re: Cathy

                                                                      Are the large almond butters at Costco roasted only, or do they also have the Maranatha raw almond butter?

                                                                      I go through quite a bit and would love to get it at a bulk price.

                                                                        1. re: NuMystic

                                                                          I *wish* they had the raw. I love TJ's raw almond butter, but the supply is so limited & inconsistent it's crazy-making. If I had space to store it at a cool temperature I'd buy a case!

                                                                        2. re: Cathy

                                                                          Wow, really? Thanks for the heads-up!! I still prefer TJ's raw almond butter, but it's so difficult to get these days.

                                                              2. re: emily

                                                                I'm glad to see a review of the Kimchi. I spotted it last week and wasn't sure what to think of it. I usually buy the fresh made at my local H Mart but if this is good, it'd be worth buying as well.

                                                              3. Yay. Hot and sweet cherry peppers

                                                                7 Replies
                                                                1. re: shaebones

                                                                  how do you use them? i had a terrific italian pasta dish made with the sweet cherry peppers (don't those still have a bite?) and italian sausage chunks, tomatoes, onion with rigatoni.

                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                    That dish sounds delicious, alkapal...making me crave Italian food tonight! I also wondered what the difference between TJ's Hot and Sweet Cherry Peppers and regular sweet cherry peppers - I thought sweet cherry peppers contained a "bite", as well.

                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                      They do have a little bite but not as much as the ones I get from the supermarket. I slice them and add to salads, sautee them and add to eggs, omelets or stick a square of feta inside and pop in my mouth for a quick snack.

                                                                          1. re: shaebones

                                                                            Thanks! Now I'll know where to look for them.

                                                                    2. re: shaebones

                                                                      I love these too! My favorite is eating them with some sort of cheese-usually cottage.

                                                                    3. Yay to their 1.5 lb green beans bag for $2 - great price and I love them!
                                                                      Yay to their pasta for $1
                                                                      Yay to their 19 cent bananas - cheaper than anywhere else and the best quality!
                                                                      Yay to their European Style Yogurt - the absolute best yogurt ever! (I think I posted that one last month)
                                                                      I don't eat chopped meat a lot (maybe once a month) but for chili - they sell chopped beef for $2.59/lb - love that!

                                                                      12 Replies
                                                                      1. re: acssss

                                                                        I have seen several shout outs for European Style yogurt, but have not found it at my local TJ's in Pennsylvania. The staff I asked about it had not heard of it, they had Greek and regular and some non-dairy yogurt substitutes. I hope it is not a regional item only.

                                                                        1. re: Dan D

                                                                          Assuming you mean the plain or vanilla yogurt in large 32-oz containers, it's made by a local dairy out here in CA (Straus Family Creamery) and I don't recall ever seeing it in NY or NJ.

                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                            GHG, I am on the east coast and it is also Straus.

                                                                            1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                              Really? I don't think I've ever seen it there. Though truth be told, I've been eating Greek-style exclusively for probably close to a decade by now, so I don't pay close attention to the other options. You would know better than I would!

                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                just what is the difference between greek and european style yogurt? and then how do those compare with, say, stonybrook farm organic whole milk yogurt?

                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                  European yogurt tends to be slightly thicker than the watery crap that goes for "yogurt" in most stores.

                                                                                  Greek yogurt is even thicker because it's strained. You can make your own Greek by straining the regular, watery stuff.

                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                    I've tried five varieties of Greek yogurt and it's expensive and tastes awful (my own personal opinion) - I strain the European one and it is so creamy and tastes wonderful.

                                                                                    1. re: acssss

                                                                                      I agree. Even the most popular ones taste chalky to me. I do like the European yogurt. I do like Cabot full fat plain yogurt, but the calorie count is a bit too much. It's delish though.

                                                                                      1. re: acssss

                                                                                        I only eat Fage/Total and love it.

                                                                                    2. re: alkapal

                                                                                      I would buy all three and give yourself a taste test (different strokes for different folks)... and In the end, you may like one that is much less expensive than the others (European style yogurt is $2.99).
                                                                                      I never ate yogurt - I don't like it - I've tried almost every yogurt and I don't like any of them but this one.
                                                                                      I strain it from its liquid (12 hours) and mix it with a lot of olive oil and zaatar and eat it with a pita - it is amazing and no other yogurt has its texture or taste.

                                                                                    3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                      I'm in the same Greek boat as you! But I was looking to get a large container of a non-Greek yogurt for an experiment.. the date on the yogurt was only two days away so I asked an employee if he had any more with a later date and he came out with a box that said straus on the side.

                                                                                      It had a very fresh clean flavor but the texture was so much thinner than my beloved fage.

                                                                                2. re: Dan D

                                                                                  The Organic European style yogurt is in a larger (quart?) container.

                                                                              2. The 10-minute farro is a nay for me. I threw it in my cart, thinking that it was too good to be true. I was right: it was. It tasted over-processed, and not chewy like it should be (like a wheatberry).

                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                1. re: AuntieRay

                                                                                  Funny you should mention the 10-minute farro, I felt the same about both the farro and the 10-minute basmati brown rice and was just thinking I should post about it. Definite nays on both accounts!

                                                                                  1. re: LiveRock

                                                                                    I disagree - we love the 10-minute farro! It's become a staple.

                                                                                    1. re: thursday

                                                                                      I like the 10-minute farro, and 10-minute barley, as well.

                                                                                  2. re: AuntieRay

                                                                                    The 10 minute farro has become a staple for me. A few tablespoons mixed with chopped kale, a bit of shaved parm, olive oil and apple cider vinegar is a quick, easy dinner for me! Sometimes with a TJ's Sweet Basil Chicken Sausage sliced on top!

                                                                                    1. re: AuntieRay

                                                                                      Another report from someone who loves the farro -- I don't have a lot of experience with it apart from the TJ's product, but I do find it chewy and to me it makes for a great, healthy side dish (I usually cook it with veg and broth.)

                                                                                      1. re: AuntieRay

                                                                                        The trick with the farro and the barley is to work them into dishes: they can't stand on their own. Farro is really nice if cooked up in a speedier version of how farro is cooked in Italy, or added to a slow-saute dish (rabbit with pancetta was very nice...)

                                                                                        1. re: AuntieRay

                                                                                          I made it for the first time last week loosely based on this recipie with what I had in my pantry. It adapted well to numerous add ins as the week went on, and held well in the fridge for quite a few days as it makes a lot. I would buy it again as I think it makes the base for a good cold summer salad for picnics, etc.....that said, I also love bulgur for this kind of dish, and the farro gives the visual of oatmeal grains, which I found a bit visually off putting....


                                                                                        2. HUGE YAY: 4 Pk. Belgian Waffles (frozen) - soooooo yummy, can't believe I waited this long to try them out! Thank you to ohmyyum and AmyH for recommending them - they are slightly crisp on the outside and pillowy soft on the inside with a slightly sweet taste to them but not at all too sugary. They actually fit in my pop-up toaster after letting them thaw for a couple of minutes and I flattened them out slightly (preferred method would have been oven but we're having some issues with our stove right now so I had to improvise!).

                                                                                          I tasted them plain and with a bit of butter/slight sprinkling of sugar and both ways were delicious. If you're thinking about trying them - you definitely should pick up a box especially since they only cost $1.99!

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: littleflower

                                                                                            I usually don't repost about a product, but thought it should be said how excellent these Belgian Waffles are. We've already purchased and gone through four boxes of these in a little over a week. Much prefer them now spread with a little butter and dusted in powdered sugar - so yummy. Definite repeat buy for us and would be crushed if they discontinued these!

                                                                                            1. re: littleflower

                                                                                              I will have to give them another try. I bought some, last week and thought they had a very fake vanilla flavor. I did them in a toaster oven if that makes any difference.

                                                                                          2. I picked up a can of the COCONUT OIL COOKING SPRAY last month, and have yet to use it. Has anyone tried it and have any feedback?

                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: TXMandy

                                                                                              I have been looking for it but it has not surfaced in my store yet:(

                                                                                              1. re: brilynn79

                                                                                                Likewise here in NYC, I've been checking the shelves weekly since it was first mentioned here and have yet to see the Coconut Oil Spray.

                                                                                                1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                  i saw it yesterday in arlington, va store.

                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                    I picked some up on the first in charleston sc...it is amazing!

                                                                                                2. re: brilynn79

                                                                                                  Finally found the coconut oil cooking spray today.

                                                                                                  Yay-Found the sriracha as well- had some on popcorn- loved it!

                                                                                                  Missing one of my favorites- Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette- it is not currently order-able, but at least is not discontinued. It has been missing for 2 weeks.

                                                                                                  I love putting it over the organic broccoli slaw- it is 50 cents cheaper than the conventional at the regular grocery. Just don't love it as much without the TJ dressing.

                                                                                                  Nay to the lower calorie lemonade they were sampling today- it tasted pretty watered down to me.

                                                                                                3. re: TXMandy

                                                                                                  i've used it and it's a YAY for me. however, i only used to spray pans when making brownies. i'm yet to cook with it stovetop. i'm a bit hesitant bc i'm really picky with the coconut oil flavor. the last time i used real coconut oil for a stir fry i didn't care for the flavor. i thought it interfered with the soy sauce and clashed with sesame. however, i do use coconut oil when making curry fried rice. the curry and the raisins go nicely with the coconut.

                                                                                                  1. re: trolley

                                                                                                    Thanks Trolley, I can see how it might clash with soy and sesame, but using coconut oil in curry would be a great addition.

                                                                                                  2. re: TXMandy

                                                                                                    i bought some in mt pleasant (charleston), sc. so far, i have only used it on pop corn that i "air-popped" in the microwave. it seems to be pretty good. very subtle taste if i tasted it at all (i then sprinkle seasoning on top after spraying the popped corn )...

                                                                                                  3. YAY - Trader Ming's General Tsao Stir Fry Sauce

                                                                                                    We decided to throw a bag of TJ's frozen Chicken Fried Rice (another yay, especially since its ready in 5 minutes on the stove top) on for dinner and I had picked up a bottle of the sauce on our last visit. We really wanted to taste this sauce, so when the rice was done heating, we threw in a bit of this and it was soooo good. Sweet with a tiny hint of spice. My husband loves regular general tso's and we've had a hard time finding one he likes in the area. He gave this two thumbs up!

                                                                                                    1. Yay!: Low fat vanilla yogurt with almonds. It has one of those sidecars filled with almonds that you dump into the vanilla. The yogurt was very tasty (it's regular, not Greek, I've grown tired of Greek) and the almonds added a nice crunch. I sliced up some fresh strawberry into it and that made it extra delicious.

                                                                                                      Meh: blueberry cultured coconut milk yogurt. I didn't enjoy it. It was kinda gloopy.

                                                                                                      1. Yay: European style bread -- thanks to schrutefarms for suggesting this. I would have never tried it (nor, probably, seen it in the store) if not for the suggestion. I toasted a slice and spread with TJ's coconut oil. The description as a "damp, nutty pumpernickel" is quite accurate and the texture is great. Flavorful and the edges got crisp and crunchy under the broiler.

                                                                                                        Yay: garlic marinated mushrooms in a jar. These were tasty and garlicky. I would buy these again for an antipasto platter or to have on hand to serve with olives, cheese, and crackers.

                                                                                                        Meh: dried mandarin oranges. I know many others have loved these but I wasn't super impressed. Very sugary and the flavor and texture were decent, but nothing special to me.

                                                                                                        Meh: bool kogi -- I tried this sampled at the store and thought it was a little bland, but not awful.

                                                                                                        14 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: calmossimo

                                                                                                          Do you recall the price of the European Style Bread? I tried the Pretzel Roll Bread (just .99!) based on a recommendation from this board, and because I love pumpernickel definitely want to give this a try as well.

                                                                                                          1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                            You know, I just bought it a few hours ago and don't recall the price. More than $3... I remember thinking it was a bit pricey for the amount you get, since the loaf is really small. I probably won't get it every time I shop, but once in a while.

                                                                                                            1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                              oh, pretzel roll bread? gotta try that. i had pretzel roll crostini with braised short ribs and a beet crema drizzle at the new houston restaurant, hollister on washington http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/894719

                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                It's a definite winner, especially at .99 per small loaf. Sounds like you would enjoy it as well, if you liked that pretzel roll crostini. I sliced the bread, warmed it up, and spread on a little butter + a light sprinkling of sea salt. Delicious!!

                                                                                                            2. re: calmossimo

                                                                                                              Unless I bought the wrong mushrooms (though I believe they only have one kind of marinated shrooms in a jar), I found these to be overly vinegary -- an experience they share with the marinated artichokes and the cornichons, all of which I've returned b/c I deemed them inedible...

                                                                                                              So -- all three of those are kind of a big NAY for me.

                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                Sorry to hear they were a miss for you! They're not something I'd go out of my way to hunt down but I've definitely found them useful.

                                                                                                                Being that these are basically pickled, the heavy acid/vinegar quality is kind of a given. Have you actually tried other varieties of pickled mushrooms or artichokes you enjoyed more, or are you simply not a fan of brined veggies in general?

                                                                                                                1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                  I love pickles, and have had wonderful cornichons that didn't *just* taste like cleaning vinegar :-)

                                                                                                                  As for the mushrooms, I've also had wonderful marinated (not pickled, right?) mushrooms that were not nearly as vinegary.

                                                                                                                  Same goes for artichokes.

                                                                                                                  Actually, the only kind of pickled veggies I don't like are the Middle Eastern kind, as I find them insufferably salty. It's all about a nice balance for me, I guess.

                                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                    Any particular brand you can recommend over TJ's jarred garlic mushrooms?

                                                                                                                    As I said, I wasn't overly impressed myself even though I didn't find them nearly as offensive as you did. :)

                                                                                                                    Would certainly be happy trade up if there's a reasonably priced yet superior alternative I can get locally or online.

                                                                                                                    1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                      Unfortunately, no. Most times I get marinated mushrooms, it's not at supermarket chains, but privately owned stores in Germany -- Italian antipasti stores/delis.

                                                                                                                      But ya know.... how hard can it be to make your own? I might try my hand at it some time -- some olive oil, a splash of rwv, thyme, garlic, rosemary....

                                                                                                                      ETA: Come to think of it, Wegmans has some nice marinated artichokes, but I can't remember the brand right now. It's in their Italian/pasta section.

                                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                        Oh! I specifically meant a jarred shelf stable option.

                                                                                                                        Fresh marinated mushrooms are indeed incredibly easy, definitely give it a shot.

                                                                                                                        I much prefer even the average olive bar by the pound variety you can find in most decent supermarkets to the TJ's jarred.

                                                                                                                        But being that those are all perishable, I've found it useful to have something I can reach for off the shelf when I don't have the fresh marinated on hand.

                                                                                                                        1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                          I don't know about other supermarkets near you, but at most Whole Foods Markets with a self-serve olive/antipasto bar the marinated mushrooms are Divina brand, and from what I recall they're actually pretty good. WFM also used to sell shelf-stable jars of them, so if they still do it might be worth sampling one at the bar if you're ever there.

                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                            Only get to Whole Foods occasionally, but will definitely add the Divina to my shopping list for the next time I'm there. Thanks!

                                                                                                                2. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                  Oh, I too am sorry that you did not like them. I buy them every chance I get. I have never noticed a vinegar taste, but I love all types of vinegar too... so maybe I just don't recognize it anymore.

                                                                                                                  On a side note, after buying them for years, I have only noted the mushrooms have gotten smaller... but I still love 'em. If you find another great brand, do let us know.

                                                                                                                3. re: calmossimo

                                                                                                                  Yay! Glad you liked it! I have found so many things I love from this thread and would probably not have bought otherwise!

                                                                                                                4. Undecided: Dried Persimmons. For those who don't like very sweet dried fruit, you might like these. They're not sweet at all and they do taste like persimmon (but they're ripe so they're not bitter either). I just can't decide if I like the taste.

                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                    Going to have to try these. A bit of Google-fu suggests they are commonly used in Sujeonggwa a korean persimmon tea.


                                                                                                                    Also another chowhounder suggested braising them in brown sugar to use as a topper for pancakes, blintzes, or cheesecake. Think I'll try with a bit maple syrup and see what results!

                                                                                                                    1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                      Very interesting ideas for using them! Both sound good.

                                                                                                                    2. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                      I am not very impressed with them, either. They don't have much persimmon flavor and even remind me of pumpkin.

                                                                                                                      1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                        Be careful, reading this thread made me go eat some. There was a seed in one of the slices & I thought I broke a tooth. Definitely reminds me of pumpkin not just in color but in both flavor and texture, especially the aftertaste.

                                                                                                                      2. this may not be new to the store - but new to us - the tj's avacado hummos in the refridge case - ugh. Never again.

                                                                                                                        the tri tip wrap - ugh (wrap as in a sandwich)

                                                                                                                        the usual good spinach salad with pecans, cranberries etc - always realiable and edible

                                                                                                                        the wine country chicken salad in the fridge section - good as always

                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                                                          Georgia, if you mean the Guacamole Hummus I could not possibly agree more. One of the worst TJ's products I've had the misfortune of trying.

                                                                                                                          Even with a ton of doctoring it was difficult to finish and I pride myself on being able to "fix" just about anything.

                                                                                                                          1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                            Agreed! It went straight into the trash. I bought it out of curiosity and it was disgusting. When the texture is that "off" there's really no fix - there's nothing you could have done to salvage it. I was really disappointed because I love avocado and I rarely eat hummus anymore so I wanted it to be special.

                                                                                                                        2. This is about flour. TJ's mainly does prepared foods but also some ingredients for home cooks, like the broths I wrote about above. I use a lot of flour and it would be convenient to buy it at TJ's.

                                                                                                                          Yea - Unbleached All-Purpose Flour for making bread. The protein-gluten content is higher than in King Arthur's Flour which TJ used to carry; it's just short of bread flour. So bread comes out well. Biscuits need a softer flour to rise and be tender, so TJ's flour is merely OK for that purpose.

                                                                                                                          Nay - White Whole Wheat Flour. I want my whole wheat bread to look and taste like whole wheat, which white whole wheat does not. Has the same nutritional value as the red wheat variety and supposedly cooks the same, but has less flavor.

                                                                                                                          unknown - Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (mainly rice flour). A new product that I won't be using. Several online reviews say it works fine in cookies and cakes; yeast breads need gluten for structure. $3.99 for a 1-lb bag, compared with $2.99 for a 5-lb bag of wheat flour.

                                                                                                                          While on the subject, I now see baking powder and baking soda on the shelves at TJ's, but not yeast. I haven't found cornmeal either, just a cornbread mix.

                                                                                                                          13 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                            To me the point of white whole wheat flour is to not have it substitute for regular whole wheat flour. Thus the flavor factor isn't relevant.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Leepa

                                                                                                                              What is the point of it, then? I'm puzzled.

                                                                                                                              I've read that white whole wheat is much more popular in Australia than red wheet, that it's very much a minority product in the US, and that it's grown largely for export. Seems an odd choice for Trader Joe's, then - and unlike some of their other quirky products, I don't care for it.

                                                                                                                              1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                I use the white whole wheat flour to make scones and like the way they turn out.

                                                                                                                                1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                  I like to use it in recipes instead of white flour (AP type). Works out well for me. I can see where you wouldn't care for it if you were thinking of it as a sub for traditional whole wheat flour.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                    It definitely subs 1:1 easier than whole wheat in recipes designed for white flour. No tweaks needed, in my experiences. For those with kids or baking for people who want the health benefit of whole grain but who aren't sold on the heavier flavor of whole wheat, white whole wheat is also helpful.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                      John, I don't use it, but the point for most is using it in place of white flour while getting the extra fiber and nutrition along with a slightly reduced sugar spike.

                                                                                                                                      The fact that it doesn't taste like regular whole wheat IS the actual point, since they're using it as a sub for white not traditional whole wheat.

                                                                                                                                      Most people don't want a recipe that calls white flour tasting like whole wheat or having it come out darker even though they're choosing it for the nutrition and fiber.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                    I've bought yeast packets at TJs before, but it was likely around the holidays. I'm unsure if they carry yeast year-round.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: chinchi

                                                                                                                                      I feel like my TJ's often carries SAF yeast packets, but maybe it is a seasonal item. I'll try and remember to check this week.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: bmorecupcake

                                                                                                                                        it is a seasonal item. i asked last week. however, powdered sugar is supposed to be seasonal as well but they've carried it thru now since the holidays.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                      i'll check out that GF all purpose flour if it is mainly rice flour….for frying crispy stuff! on the other hand, i could just buy rice flour from an asian grocery (but i've got issues with processing/contaminants in many products).

                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                        The ingredients list: whole grain brown rice flour, potato starch, rice flour, tapioca flour.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                            Depends on how finely they milled the brown rice flour - sometimes the brown can be a little heavy/dense. I've found that superfine white rice flour (plus corn or tapioca starch) tends to produce the lightest, crispest result.

                                                                                                                                    3. Yay on Fire roasted Papaya Mango Salsa. Can't wait to try it with salmon also from Trader Joe's.

                                                                                                                                      1. i liked the almond pastry round; i don't recall the name. eat it that day you buy it, with some hot tea or coffee. it has a decent amount of almond paste inside.

                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                          It's the "Almond Danish Ring" and I'm with you alkapal. Quite nice! Equally good room temp or heated up. If you always wished that almond danishes had more almond paste, this is your dessert.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                            Yummy!! I also zap for a minute in micro, if we don't finish first day! They (So.Cal.) also now have an apricot/almond pastry round but it cannot compare!! In fact, it is so sweet, we tossed out.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: marti

                                                                                                                                              I go with a few minutes in the toaster oven to get a touch of crisp on the outer pasty.

                                                                                                                                          2. This weekend, my husband's cousin decided to visit and we went to a weekend long horror convention. She has never been to a Trader Joe's, so we decided to head over and fill up a cooler for the hotel room. We both bought lots of items I had seen mentioned here and whatever else jumped out at us.

                                                                                                                                            YAY - Orange Mango Peach juice in a refrigerated carton. Very clean and fresh tasting.

                                                                                                                                            MEH - TJ's branded sparking wine. At $4.99 you get what you paid for, but mixed into the above juice, it made for a delicious Saturday morning mimosa.

                                                                                                                                            YAY - Lavosh Flat Bread from the bakery section. This was used for smoked salmon and cream cheese wraps. I also made a quick pizza with this for lunch today and loved it.

                                                                                                                                            YAY - Frozen Sweet Corn Tamales - These were being sampled with the Guiltless Quacomele and reminded me of a cornbread casserole with creamed corn, chilis and cheese I grew up on.

                                                                                                                                            NAY - Streusal Topped Blueberry Muffins from the bakery section. My husband said there wasn't hardly any blueberry flavor to the muffin itself.

                                                                                                                                            YAY - Raisin Rosemary Crisps. These were delicious as all of you said! Kinda reminded me of Rain Bran cereal though lol

                                                                                                                                            YAY - Individual Mini Brie Bites. These were delicious on the Raisin Rosemary Crisps and a dab of fig jam.

                                                                                                                                            YAY - Cheddar Jalapeno Pub Cheese in a tub. Creamy with just the right amount of bite. Hubby loved this spread on Ritz style crackers.

                                                                                                                                            MEH - Jumbo Pitted Greek Kalamata Olives in a jar. Not bad, but nothing jumped out about the flavor.

                                                                                                                                            YAY - Wine Country Chicken Salad in a deli tub. Clean, fresh flavor and was great on a split ciabatta roll.

                                                                                                                                            YAY - Sliced Roast Beef lunch meat. Great smell and flavor. I put this on the ciabatta roll as well, with colby jack cheese, mayo and a bit of TJ's jarred horseradish.

                                                                                                                                            MEH - Dark Chocolate Covered Marshmallows. These were very moist, with a good flavor. I think they would be great microwaved a few seconds for a s'more filling. I think I'm just really partial to the seasonal Caramallows to give them a big yay.

                                                                                                                                            YAY - Baked Snack O's. I don't think they taste like Funyuns much, but I liked the sweetness and light texture of these.

                                                                                                                                            YAY - Kettle Brewed Unsweetened Black Tea from the shelf. Clean flavor with a hint of lime (?) maybe.

                                                                                                                                            Because of the many big yay's and recommendations here, we both picked up the California Estate Olive Oil and I'm really looking forward to trying that soon.

                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: TXMandy

                                                                                                                                              I'm tempted to try the Unsweetened Green and White Iced Tea that you mentioned I think on the previous thread. Did you find the need to sweeten it up with honey/sugar/simply syrup or was it drinkable as is?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                I have to admit that my tastes in tea may not be everyone's. I never sweeten any iced tea. I order unsweet iced green tea even at Starbucks on a hot day, although I like hot tea with honey. If you like it a little sweeter, I like the idea of honey or simple syrup. I think it had a very clean taste (of course a little "grassy" as most green teas are.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                  I tried their unsweetened green tea (not the green/white combo) and thought it was awful. There's a very noticeable sour lemon flavor to it that I found really off-putting - I think they went overboard with the ascorbic acid.

                                                                                                                                                  White tea is naturally sweeter & more floral than green, so maybe that will help balance it...?

                                                                                                                                                2. re: TXMandy

                                                                                                                                                  What's the sparkling wine like - sweet? Dry?

                                                                                                                                                3. I'm in the middle of a YAY and a MEH for this one, but there is a reason behind it...TJ's Pimento Cheese Spread. I want to say YAY, but the only other time I've ever had it is when my friends Mom in Nashville made it for my arrival, using, I'm sure, a recipe she got from her mother, who probably got it from her mother...(they are VERY Southern!) It was amazing, and I was so excited to see it at TJ's not long after I got back. The only reason it's kind of a MEH is because it's just not as good as my friends Mom made it...But that's not really fair. So I'll give it a YAY. Really good spread on white bread at room temp for a quick lunch.

                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                                                                    It's pretty crazy easy to make your own. Especially with TJ's jarred roasted red peppers (though I preferred the piquillo peppers when they had them), good mayo, a little garlic,some sharp cheddar cheese ...

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                                                                      Definitely make pimento cheese yourself...nothing will ever come close to homemade

                                                                                                                                                    2. Yay/meh-Dried white peaches=while I like that the peaches are not too sweet, I do wish they were a touch sweeter. But these are very chewy. I don't know how I am going to finish the rest of it though. I normally like to eat the dried fruit plain without anything but now not sure how to finish these since they aren't as sweet as other fruit.

                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: vttp926

                                                                                                                                                        Make peach hand pies with them. Then, as you cook the dried fruit, you can sweeten it to your liking.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Leepa

                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for the suggestions! I will definitely have to try it since I love pies. Maybe I can do something with the wontons that are thawed out in the fridge right now.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: vttp926

                                                                                                                                                          You could braise it in either maple syrup or brown sugar, or reconstitute it with a sweet juice.

                                                                                                                                                        3. Meh: peach flavored cultured soy yogurt. It wasn't as gloopy as the blueberry coconut yogurt but it had a weird aftertaste and was surprisingly high in fat - 3.5 grams and 160 calories in a cup. It's not worth a repeat purchase for me.

                                                                                                                                                          1. I just wanted to point out how useful this thread is. Every time before my trip to TJ's, I check this page to update my shopping list. Thank you, fellow food lovers!

                                                                                                                                                            1. I wish I didn't like those "soft & juicy" mandarins so much; I guess you could say I'm "addicted." I'll try hard not to buy them again.

                                                                                                                                                              It's 140 calories for 6 (tiny segments, bursting with flavor). With a lot of control, I can make a bag last 2 days.
                                                                                                                                                              (I won't let myself figure out how many calories are in a bag!!) I'd like them even better with less sugar!

                                                                                                                                                              Would be great to take on a road trip or plane ride!

                                                                                                                                                              25 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                I was going to buy a bag the last time I was there, but it struck as very expensive - something like $3.50 for bag that was as light as a feather!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                  They have such an intense, delicious flavor!! I shared some with 4 friends who were just as enthusiastic.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                    I know this isn't the same, but I like to peel and separate the sections on mandarins or clementines and set the out on a plate to dry out for an hour or so. The skins get kind of dry and crackly
                                                                                                                                                                    and when you eat them they just pop - for lack of a better word..


                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Leepa

                                                                                                                                                                      OMG I do that too! I like the crackly skins :)

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                      So all this talk of the dried mandarins led me on a recipe hunt that turned up this idea I absolutely have to try…

                                                                                                                                                                      Mandarin Orange Dust:

                                                                                                                                                                      I'm going to try some with and without the peel.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                        I'd try it with the freeze-dried jeju oranges rather than the dried mandarins.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Savour

                                                                                                                                                                          Was talking about making it from scratch Savour. Quite pleased with the results too.

                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                      aching: You must be thinking of the freeze-dried ones (in the foil bag). True, they're very light, but quite full of flavor (and expensive for what you get, I agree). The aforementioned soft and juicy variety is not light and comes in a clear bag, but seems to be out of stock till July.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Steve Green

                                                                                                                                                                        Ahhhh, thanks for the clarification.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                          I think the soft and juicy ones are much better. I can't wait till they come back so I can try what GF suggested -- to dip them in molten bittersweet chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                                    4. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                      140 calories for 6??? I don't know why I had it in my head as 140 calories for 14. Dammit!!!!! I have to rethink everything now. I did think 6 servings to a bag @ 14 pcs per serving didn't look right-I just thought my bag was skimpy!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                                                                                        Uh Oh, correction: I was reading the info wrong .. a serving size IS 14 pieces, for 140 calories. It also says 6 servings per pkg. So, it's not as bad!!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                          Waitaminute, so that would be ~84 pieces in that tiny pouch????

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                            I have the bag right here (lurking in my desk drawer) so I can confirm--yes, a serving is 14 pieces (ok) and it says there are 6 servings (I have not yet made a bag last 6 days!) What gets me is the sugar--30g per serving--but I guess I would need to know how much natural sugar is in a regular old mandarin orange. But yes, I love these!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sciencediet

                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, definitely 30g of sugar per serving, which limits me to just a couple of slices at a time. They seem unnecessarily sweet to me. I think they'd be better without as much added sugar.

                                                                                                                                                                              I just googled and found that a medium mandarin orange has 9 g of sugar. I figured those 14 small dried pieces might be equal to a medium? I'm not sure.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tracylee

                                                                                                                                                                                Mandarins I've eaten have been 10-11 segments, so it's a little over. I'm guessing half of the 30 g of sugar was naturally occurring, half added.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tracylee

                                                                                                                                                                                  "unnecessarily sweet" is the perfect description. Occasionally I get a flash of real mandarin orange flavor, and it's great -- but mostly they're just much too sweet.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                              Whew! Okay, I'm back in then! 10 calories per is doable. But still...I think they're full of it if they are claiming 6 servings to a bag-there's no way there's that many in there!!!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                                                                                                I'm going to try weighing 14 pieces to see how close it is to the weight they give (40 g I think?)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                  6x40g=240g. The bag is 170g. So the number of servings per container is wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                                      ohmyyum said about 2 hours ago
                                                                                                                                                                                      "6x40g=240g. The bag is 170g. So the number of servings per container is wrong."

                                                                                                                                                                                      Or the serving size is wrong…

                                                                                                                                                                                      Which basically means there's simply no way of knowing how accurate any of that nutritional label is now.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Had no idea there was added sugar in these. Just removed from my shopping list and made my own.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                        40g is a pretty standard serving size for dried fruit, so if they sent the product to a lab for testing, the nutrition facts should be correct. But, the accuracy of Trader Joe's nutrition facts have been an issue before: low fat banana chips, mustard with 3g protein, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                        The soft and juicy mandarins are very sweet-- they taste like candy, so I would have been surprised if they did NOT have added sugar. What you made looks more like their crispy dried jeju oranges, which are unsweetened and have a different flavor and texture. Did you use a dehydrator?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                                          28g (1 oz) is also common but there are plenty of other odd serving sizes in dried fruit as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm looking at dried banana right now with a serving size of 28g, and dried apples with a serving size of 12 grams.

                                                                                                                                                                                          So as you pointed out with TJ's poor track record on labeling, there's simply no way of knowing for sure what the actual nutrition info is on these until it gets fixed.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Unfortunately my Excalibur is in storage in Hawaii right now so I just used the oven set to 185.

                                                                                                                                                                                          These came out a bit dark for my taste, so next time I'll do it with the door propped open a bit. Last night it was too warm in my apartment for that.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                                        Let's bring it to TJ's attention, maybe they will give us all free crates of dried mandarins to apologize!! :)

                                                                                                                                                                            3. I'm going to TJ's tonight and am glad I skimmed through this thread. Made notes to try the TJ's mayo, and avoid the TJ's almond milk. As for my yays and nays (really just yays today):

                                                                                                                                                                              YAY--TJ's solid white albacore tuna in water, half salt. Trader Joe's and Whole Foods have the best-tasting tuna I've come across, and they're both very affordable, but the half salt option at TJ's makes it the winner for me.

                                                                                                                                                                              YAY--TJ's aioli garlic mustard sauce. Bought this on a whim last month because I'm trying to use mustard more than mayo these days and I wanted something with more flavor than your average yellow mustard. Course being an aioli makes it more like mayo than mustard, but it's not as caloric or unhealthy as mayo judging from the label. And it's damn tasty, kinda spicy from the garlic I guess. Makes my vegetarian-bacon and cheese sandwiches sing, and is a perfect complement to the kosher pickle I like to have with my bologna sandwich. The checkout guy at Trader Joe's said it's great on pretzels too, FWIW.

                                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DeborahL

                                                                                                                                                                                If you like mustard with a bit of kick, you *must* try TJ's dijon in the small glass jar. It's excellent.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks goodhealthgourmet! I'll look for it next time I'm running low.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DeborahL

                                                                                                                                                                                    Fair warning that I'm a spice/heat fiend so I find it to be pleasantly sharp, but "normal" people usually call it a sinus-clearer.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                      It is definitely quite potent. I made our favorite monte cristo sandwiches with it (Chow recipe) and one of my sons couldn't eat it. So use it sparingly at first.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                        Great info goodhealthgourmet and AmyH, thanks. I'm definitely looking for something with a kick, but I don't want to blow out my sinuses so I'll tread lightly to begin with.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. MEH- Pad See Ew or should i say "ew" haha! anyway, i think they got the flavor profile correct, a tad bit too sweet for my liking but the noodles. oh boy. they come frozen and when i cooked them down they were slimy. i think last month someone said it was like eating snot. well, they got that one right. but the veggies tasted ok for frozen. maybe if it's the way i cooked it. if there can be another way to cook the noodles...oh and the calories. apparently the good people at TJ's think there's 5 servings in there. well, it's more like 2 unless it's a tiny side appetizer.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. NAY to Roasted Vegetable Multi-Grain Lasagna. Like eating bland cardboard. Costco had a similar named lasagna a few years ago that we loved so it was a bummer to bite into the TJ version.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Big YAY to the Kaleidoscope Chard.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                                                                                                      There was a new baby greens mix near the chard- baby kale, chard, and spinach. Delicious! I made a salad with the greens, dried tart cherries, pecans, brown rice, and shallot vinaigrette

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Went past a TJ's recently on the way back from a meeting, and had to stop and stock up. Good thing I hadn't read this list or I might have depleted my credit card even more.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I spotted a frozen Bibimbap luncheon bowl, and since I recently read it was #40 on the list of most delicious foods so I had to try it.

                                                                                                                                                                                      It was pretty good, so "yay", but since I've never had it before, I can't compare it with the Korean restaurant version. I measure chile heat by how much it makes my nose run. This was a 3 tissue dish. Next time, I won't mix in the entire sauce package!

                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DonShirer

                                                                                                                                                                                        Don, what is this "most delicious list" you speak of?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Val

                                                                                                                                                                                          This two year old CNN list:

                                                                                                                                                                                          That one is the reader's poll results, you can see the editorial list here:

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. My list of yeas:

                                                                                                                                                                                        1) Sundried tomato basil chicken sausages (grill them)

                                                                                                                                                                                        2) Plain Kefir (good with fruit and granola in the morning)

                                                                                                                                                                                        3) Costa Rica Tarrazu Coffee (been getting this for 20 years)

                                                                                                                                                                                        4) Italian made vegetable pizza (add extra fresh mozzarella)

                                                                                                                                                                                        5) Chile relleno (even good in the microwave)

                                                                                                                                                                                        There is a start 4u...

                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: vikingkaj

                                                                                                                                                                                          Vikingkaj, Someone else had mentioned the Chili Relleno a while back, so I pick one up last week. I baked it in the oven and was really surprised how tasty it was. I've had other frozen rellenos and thought this was much better. It will def be a repeat buy!

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Fig butter! This is a top 5 ever for me as a lover of fig jam. What's even better though is it's cheaper and less sweet than traditional fig jam. It basically tastes like the inside of a fig newton and is great with peanut butter on toast.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I need to get back and buy a case.

                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Klunco

                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for this review Klunco! The Fig Butter is on my list now :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Klunco

                                                                                                                                                                                              It's great with some brie on one of their brioche crisps, too!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks AmyH! I was also thinking the Rosemary Raisin Crisps might be good with it (and brie)!

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Klunco

                                                                                                                                                                                                I adore figs and love it jam. I've never tried fig jam but would love to. It's on my shopping list for my next trip.

                                                                                                                                                                                              3. YAY - TJ's wasabi mayonnaise - it's been around a while - i have several jars in my storage just in case

                                                                                                                                                                                                naturally it's great on beef ---- it's really good on cold salmon, too

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Nay to the new 100% Cherry Juice, which replaces the 100% Tart Cherry Juice. I have rheumatoid arthritis & the tart juice really helped my joints - I think it was the sediment. I would drink about 6 oz. every morning. I tried the new juice & soon noticed that I was much more achy. I've sent them a customer feedback form, asking that they bring back the tart juice (I don't think they need to discontinue the new juice, but I really have come to rely on the old juice for pain relief.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: zeichner

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Did a crew member actually tell you it's a replacement? My store has been carrying them both now for a few months.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'll be equally disappointed if they've dropped the Tart Cherry as that is the one that specifically has been touted for it's health benefits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I asked about it a week ago and was told that it's seasonal and will be back in the fall. The regular 100% is still on the shelves but I quite preferred the tart!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Argh. Will have to see if there are any left to snag. I would have stocked up if I'd known it was going out of season. :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I thought the 100% Cherry Juice was decent but was by no means "wowed" by it. Bought it once a few months ago and never purchased it again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Same here littleflower. While it lacked entirely in sweetness, the tart variety packed way more cherry punch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. YAY (for those who love dark chocolate)/MEH (for those who prefer milk chocolate): Loacker Quadratini Dark Chocolate Bite Size Wafer Cookies

                                                                                                                                                                                                      First of all, I am not a huge dark chocolate fan (I was given these as a gift) so I think that is why personally I wasn't overjoyed with this product. Had this been milk chocolate wafer cookies I would give it a 10+ on a scale of 1-10.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      For those of you who love dark chocolate you would give this a double thumbs up. The wafer cookies were crispy yet light, and the dark chocolate cream between the layers complemented the texture perfectly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                        littleflower, your being underwhelmed may not be down to the dark vs milk chocolate at all. I've had the Quadratini multiple times, and while it's decent enough I've always found them somewhat lacking… and I LOVE dark chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Even though the chocolate is not a very heavy dark, I find Toggis vastly superior when it comes to a wafer cookie treat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks...will have to see if World Market carries these!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. A big NAY to the Pad See Ew. The sauce just tasted like soy sauce, the tofu was just cubed and not fried, the whole thing was just not good. Given that I like their other "Thai" frozen entrees I was surprised that this was such a fail. Oh, and it is supposedly 5 servings. I am a small person and I ate the whole thing for lunch, no problem.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. First time posting, long time shopping at TJ's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Organic hummus
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Carrot juice (refrigerated)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Orange juice with lots of pulp
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yukon gold potatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sweet potatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Soy and almond milks (refrigerated and shelf stable)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Tater tots
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Soy ice cream sandwiches
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Frozen vegetables
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fake meat (patties and sausages)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Marinara sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Unsalted potato chip trio
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Chestnuts in a jar (holidays)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Boxed soups
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Canned beans, corn, pineapple
                                                                                                                                                                                                          English toffee - like almond roca
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Nuts and dried fruit
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Crunchy unsalted peanut butter

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Laundry detergent

                                                                                                                                                                                                          MEHS, including FORMER YAYS (maybe I just got tired of them):
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Soy mozzarella. I don't love it, but it's one of the best fake cheeses I've found so far and it's reasonably priced.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Soy yogurt (fruit and vanilla). I like Whole Soy better.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Palak paneer (frozen) - FY
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thai shrimp and vegetable dumplings - FY
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Laceys (almond and macadamia) - FY
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Peanut butter cups - FY
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Tilapia (frozen, breaded)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Chocolate coconut ice cream
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Raisin crackers
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fruit leather - FY
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Dog biscuits (peanut butter) - each one is way too big.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Vegetable curry in a container
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cheesecake (frozen) - FY
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Croissants (frozen) - FY
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Multigrain bread ring
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Honey oat cereal
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Shrimp stir fry
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Moisturizing cream
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Refresh shampoo and conditioner
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Vegetable egg rolls
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Strawberry coconut ice cream
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Tater tots - FY
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Inner peas - FY
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fake orange chicken
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Smoked oysters - FY
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Smoked trout - FY
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Smoked herring - FY

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sushi - disgusting texture and taste
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pad see ew - emphasis on ewww. But it's one of my favorite Thai dishes when done right.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Kale pie
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Spinach pie (not the spanokopita which I really enjoy).
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hot cocoa
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Stoned wheat thins (too salty)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Palak paneer (shelf stable) - horrible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gemmahound

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Laughing at the "fake orange chicken"...our thoughts exactly, we were not particularly impressed with it although many on here buy it often.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Noticed that you like their yukon and sweet potatoes...have you tried the tri-colored little potatoes in the fresh produce section? They contain red, white, and purple potatoes and are a favorite go-to item for us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. First-time poster... I have a LOT of product reviews to get caught up on! This has been such a good resource for me that I have to give back!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yay- Vanilla Cultured Coconut Milk. It's like a yogurt/pudding. It's sooo good, especially with berries in it. I've been subbing it out for my typical greek yogurt in the morning. However, with a closer look at the label, it's nowhere near as nutritionally sound as yogurt. 19 grams of sugar, only 1 gram of protein, 6 grams of saturated fat (obviously, coconut, duh). Anyway, it's getting relegated to dessert status, and for a dessert, it's pretty healthy :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yay- Roasted Coconut Chips. OMG so good. A million times better than regular old coconut flakes. They're big and crunchy and taste like pure coconut. I think it's only about 160 for half the bag, which makes a nice snack. I devoured the bag before I could devise uses for them ,but they would make a great ice cream or yogurt topping.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yay- Cowboy Caviar. A chunky corn/tomato salsa that's spicy, but not too spicy, with the sweetness from the corn. A perfect salsa!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yay- Savory Thin Edamame Crackers. So crispy and light. And just a few are satisfying, but a serving is 38 crackers. I can't really think what I would dip them in, but they are sturdy enough to be dippable if you can think of something. They are exactly as advertised.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yay- Belgian Butter Waffle Cookies. If you've ever wanted to eat an ice cream cone (a waffle cone, not those bland sugar cones lol) in cookie form, I found your perfect dessert. That's exactly what these things are. I ate them alone, dipped in milk, or used them to scoop ice cream out of my bowl. Heavenly, buttery, sugary!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yay- Belgian Butter Almond Thins. These were nowhere near as good as the Waffle Cookies (imo), but they were still very good. Super thin and crispy, with actual slivers of almond all over the place. Yum!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yay- Blueberry Pomegranate Green Tea. This is unsweetened- I prefer my tea sweet, so I added a packet of Splenda. I thought this was delicious. Tasted like brewed tea, from the convenience of a bottle. And no yucky added ingredients, just tea :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yay- Frozen fajita vegetables. I don't know the name on the package, but it's frozen sauteed peppers and onions. This is absolutely perfect for fajitas without all the work!! Only thing I recommend is when you reheat, don't crowd the pan or else they'll be soggy, not crispy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yay- Fat free vanilla frozen greek yogurt. It doesn't aspire to be something it's not (ice cream). It's simply fat free vanilla greek yogurt, frozen. And for that, it is perfect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yay- Frozen tamales. I think I've only had the chicken ones, but they are the best tamales I have ever eaten. Granted, that hasn't been many, and that hasn't been in a Latin country, but still, these were pretty darn good. And in the microwave, too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Meh- Reduced Guilt Spinach & Kale Dip. This might just be me, but i found it a little too garlicky, especially when they didn't really advertise garlic on the label.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Nay- Pont l'Eveque cheese. April's cheese of the month. This was inappropriately stinky. I know some French cheeses are supposed to be pungent, but this stunk up my fridge. The texture was pleasant, at least. I'm no cheese connoisseur, but I was expecting this to be more similar to brie. And it definitely wasn't. Just couldn't get past the smell.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Nay- Meat. In general. I know different parts of the country have different quality products, but TJ's meat doesn't hold a candle to my usual grocery store (Publix). The chicken has a yucky slimy mouthfeel after cooking. And the ground beef is vacuum sealed so tightly that you don't get crumbles, you get chunks. And everything is twice as expensive as Publix. Oy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Nay- Crispy Jeju Mandarin Orange Slices. I have yet to try the Soft and Juicy Mandarin slices, but I assure you, these are not them. They are mostly just bitter. I guess they do taste like orange, without the natural sugars that make oranges taste good. Pass.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            22 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: AshB1022

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I love those edamame crackers. And now I'll keep an eye out for the roasted coconut chips. Thanks for the thorough report!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DeborahL

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The coconut chips are *delicious*. Very nice added to cereal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: AshB1022

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Try the edamame crackers with the edamame hummus!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They're also good with regular hummus, and also with the yogurt and chive dip.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: AshB1022

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cowboy caviar -- thanks for the rec, I've heard mixed reviews but I am looking forward to trying this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Savory thin edamame crackers -- I dip 'em in hummus. Yum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Frozen tamales -- thanks for this rec too, I always passed these by but now I guess I'll have to make some room in the freezer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Spinach & kale dip -- I like this a lot and it didn't seem very garlicky to me, but I am a huge garlic person so maybe I am desensitized or something . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Crispy Jeju slices -- I didn't like these at all either. I do like the soft & juicy slices though, you should try 'em :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Great post, thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Rilke

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I got the spinach and kale dip once, I didn't find it garlicky (not that I would have minded), but there was something about it I didn't really love...almost like it was more watery than creamy. Or maybe it was the kale, since I usually love spinach dips...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It was probably the water chestnuts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Savour

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You're right! I don't like water chestnuts. There you go!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Savour

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          the water chestnuts ruin it for me, too. i like it but those darn crunchy pieces get me every time!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'd tolerate them if the usual thick slices landed on my plate in a chinese veg. entree, but after having had the real thing now I can't abide those at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Real chestnuts are dramatically more crisp (something like a firmer jicama) and have a distinct sweet nutty flavor that is entirely absent in the canned variety.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Imagine an apple you've left too long in the fridge that's grown mealy and lost 100% of it's flavor. That's what chinese take-out chestnuts seem like after having the fresh. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: AshB1022

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Does the cultured coconut milk taste like coconut? I don't do dairy, and I'm getting tired of the same two flavors of soy yogurt at TJs. I tried some other cultured coconut once (probably So Delicious) and couldn't stand it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: AshB1022

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        re: Belgian Butter Waffle Cookies

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I wanted to love these. By reviewing ingredients and nutritional facts, these should have been better than the Jules Destrooper butter crisps -- specifically, less sugar and more butter. I just couldn't taste the butter, like I can in, say, the Highbrow Chocolate Chip Cookies. I'm hoping it's because my box had been sitting a while on the shelf and will try these again when a new shipment comes in. Thanks for posting your review.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bmorecupcake

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree with you about the Highbrows- sooo buttery! I swear you could pass these off as homemade.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: AshB1022

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You guys convinced me to try these but all my local TJs are out!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: AshB1022

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree with you about Meat in general. Once I bought some beef steak (I think it was NY steak) because I was too far from nearest Costco and running out of time to shop. I know it's not fare to compare the size, the TJ's steak is s thin and cooks too fast. Not a lot of flavor either. I bought their chicken breasts with rib - Empire brand I think. It was dry and so expensive for what it is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ashibi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've had good luck with their house brand organic chicken breasts & thighs. Never been a fan of Empire, it contains way too much sodium for me (though that's basically the case with all kosher poultry).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's because the koshering process involves soaking in salt water. I'm surprised Ashibi's chicken breasts were dry because they've basically been pre-brined.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I know all about the process, I just don't/can't eat foods that high in sodium. Kosher poultry isn't soaked in salt water, it's soaked in unsalted water, drained, then dry-salted; the purpose of kashering is to draw out as much blood as possible. Kosher chicken can be drier/tougher than standard chicken because they pack the entire bird in salt - it draws out more moisture than regular dry-brining, and obviously doesn't add water like a wet brine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You're absolutely right! I should have known that but didn't. I guess that shows how observant I am.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I didn't grow up in a kosher home but both of my parents did, my mother's grandfather was a kosher butcher, and we learned about it in hebrew school...it was pretty much pounded into my head ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And my mother's grandfather was a shochet (ritual slaughterer for anyone else reading this). But he died when I was a baby and most of the kashrut went with him. We didn't have pork or mix meat with milk, but we didn't buy kosher meat or limit purchases to hekshered products.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: AshB1022

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Belgian Butter Waffle Cookies are AMAZING smeared with a blob of Nutella! I took a bite and did a little happy dance.I'll bet they'd be good with the speculoos cookie butter, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. So what's the best option for lamb at TJ's. I think I got the pre-marinated tips last time and skewered them and grilled them. They were awesome!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Do they still have a frozen or fresh seasoned rack of lamb. I think I saw a pre-cooked rack of lamb in the dinner section last time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: wholeinone04

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I got a fresh, seasoned rack of lamb there last summer, and I think I saw one there recently. I would warn you to have a look at the price tag (something I almost never do at TJs, as everything is so reasonable)--I accidentally spent about $25. I don't know what I thought a rack of lamb should cost, but it was a little shocking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sciencediet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you have a Costco membership, their lamb prices are very decent

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: wholeinone04

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have to big time NAY the pre-cooked rack of lamb...I bought this a couple of times and it just wasn't worth the money at all. There was very little lamb that was salvageable on it...a lot of fat and gristle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. Nay: Mandarin Orange Chicken

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It had been a long time since we bought this but it couldn't have possibly been this bad before or I would have remembered. The "chicken" pieces were small, hard and primarily breading. It was like eating gravel. Terrible. Never again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Weezie we must have typed about the orange chicken at the same time...see my comment above. Totally agree...over half the bag contained pebble-sized pieces of chicken consisting of mostly breading. In fact, some of the chicken pieces we called "mystery chicken"...the quality of some of the chicken was not up to Trader Joe's standards in my opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The only thing we really liked about it was the sauce...perhaps either the quality of this product has gone downhill or there is some serious inconsistency between batches, because it's hard to believe so many people love it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. MOSTLY NAY: Gummy Tummies Penguins - was surprised by the taste of these and not in a good way. I love the Halloween version of the Gummy Tummies as well as the Gummy Bears that TJ's sells, but did not at all like the taste of two of the three fillings in these. The strawberry filling was decent, but the cherry filled one reminded me of cough syrup and the lime filling was near inedible. If these contained only strawberry filled ones then they would have received a yay vote from me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I've been lurking for a while and thought it's time to chime in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      yea - Kettle Corn Cookies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      yea - Shrimp Corn Dogs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      yea - Roquefort that's 1/3 the price of most other stores
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      yea - Argentinian Red Shrimp - (meaty, ready to cook and hella cheap)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      yea - Turkey Meatloaf Muffins. I know these aren't popular with everyone but I love them!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      yea - Korean BBQ Pork Jerky - simply the best jerky ever
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      yea - Crispy Jeju Mandarin Orange Slices - glad they're back!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      yea - Edamame Nuggets

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      nay - Quick Cook Organic Brown Basmati Rice. They tell the whole story on the bag of how they get it to cook quickly but still taste great. Wrong. It tastes like Minute Rice :-(

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      nay - Cranberry Orange high fiber muffins. Dry and oily at the same time, and all I really taste is the fiber.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      nay - Freeze Dried Kimchi. No, this just doesn't work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: CindyOhCindy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Love that Argentinian Shrimp!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I buy the frozen brown rice, which is pretty good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Stopped into TJ's on a whim yesterday, kicking myself that I hadn't read this thread in a while.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Nays: Chicken wonton soup bowl (frozen): I so wanted to love this--there's a version at BJ's that I love--but this has a lot of cilantro in it, which I can't stand. Still, a fairly flavorful broth and lots of great big veggies. Liked the wontons themselves a lot too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Canadian bread: We usually buy Nissan or Country Kitchen brand at the regular grocery store, and I thought this would be fine. My daughter proclaimed it unedible at breakfast when I made her two slices of toast. I haven't tried it, but it doesn't sit well with my 5-year-old who's well versed in white, processed bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mini-bagels and plain (block) cream cheese: both fine. Bear in mind that I had been planning to stop by a grocery store on the way home and had to get some staples. The TJ's cream cheese is on par or better tasting than Philadelphia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I also picked up a lot of fresh veggies: sliced baby bellas, sugar snap peas, baby carrots, bag of romaine. All are fine if not outstanding. I did love that I could get products fresher than I can usually select from at at or near the price.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Big YAY!: Roasted Plantain Chips. So tasty, just the right amount of crisp (some other brands are very hard) and not too high in sodium (a serving of 20 chips has 50 mg). That same serving has 15% of your daily vitamin C and 6% of vitamin A. Unfortunately it also has 6g of fat. But still, these are such a nice change from potato chips.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ageed! The plantain chips were one of my very first TJ's discoveries. Was never a fan of others I'd tried over the years which were always very dense but these are the lightest an crispest I've ever had.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Meh - Traditional Carnitas. "Mexican style"? It's a 12-ounce block of roast pork, without sauce or any special seasoning. The ingredients list says it's been marinated in concentrated orange juice and spices, but I don't taste it. Reheated, shredded with a fork, and mixed with barbecue sauce (TJ's All Natural Barbecue Sauce is good), it makes an OK pulled pork sandwich, so I can't say nay to it. But I can't say yea either. At least it's only $5.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Not until I got it home did I see in the small print that it's intended to be microwaved. I don't have a MW so I cut it up and put it in a toaster oven at 200° for 15 minutes or so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm a big fan of the carnitas from TJ's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I do, however, prepare it slightly different than the instruction: I put it on a baking sheet and bake until the exterior has a bit of "crunch" like real carnitas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I let it cool somewhat then chop with a cleaver ... like real carnets and serve on very fresh corn tortillas with finely chopped onion, cilantro and freshly made salsa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Adding BBQ sauce would be an abomination with Mexican soft tacos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The carnitas can also be used in other dishes that call for carnitas. For instance, I have used it successfully to make "stacked enchiladas".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: SilverlakeGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Who said anything about soft tacos? Pulled pork is pulled pork, and in any barbecue place I've eaten in, a pulled pork sandwich is made with its barbecue sauce. Sez Wikipedia:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "In areas such as Tennessee, pulled pork is typically made from a mixture of the blade shoulder and arm shoulder meat and served with a tomato-based barbecue sauce. In areas such as North Carolina, either a whole hog, mixed cuts of the hog, or the shoulder cut alone are commonly used, and the pork is served with or without a vinegar-based sauce.[2] South Carolina pulled pork usually comes with a mustard sauce, and Georgia barbecue is served with a tomato-based sauce."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I fail to see or taste anything about this product that's specifically Mexican, except for that word on the packaging.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Carnitas are traditional Mexican taco filling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you buy TJ's Carnitas and opt not to make Mexican Carnitas with it, so be it. Or how about making Mexican anything with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Instead you made an American Southern dish that in itself is good ... but tried making it with a Mexican item.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's actually quite good the way it is marketed. Many of us over on Chowhound's Los Angeles board love it to make Mexican carnitas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sounds like it's a regional thing gone wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "I fail to see or taste anything about this product that's specifically Mexican, except for that word on the packaging."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You bought something explicitly labeled and prepped for one purpose and then used it for something entirely different. It's no surprise you were left wanting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pulled pork is indeed pulled pork and that is defined by not only the cut of meat but it's handling and preparation. Facts that are explicitly outlined on the page you linked to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But the relevant page for this discussion is not the one for the Southern American BBQ dish pulled pork, but the page devoted to traditional mexican Carnitas:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    While it's true that they come from the same cut of pig you didn't actualy make carnitas with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The fact that it didn't strike you as particularly Mexican after tossing it in a toaster oven unseasoned is no surprise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Using TJ's bagged Stir Fry mix from the produce section is also going to be remarkably un-asian if you put it in your toaster oven as-is and expect something tasting even remotely like Chinese take out to emerge! :-D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I can't speak at all to the microwave instructions on the label but carnitas is traditionally cut in cubes, simmered very slowly in a copper pot or dutch oven and *heavily* seasoned in addition to any pre-marinating. Lard is often used or the fat of the pork itself is rendered out so the pork crisps up in it's own fat. Only then is it pulled and served… usually with tortillas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: SilverlakeGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    is this product found in the refrigerated meat section?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: elise h

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, TJ's also has some good beef brisket although you have to be careful buying the right piece.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: SilverlakeGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      so the meat is already fully cooked and you are cleverly heating it to get the exterior crunch? What oven temperature do you use and for how many minutes?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: elise h

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ah, I was afraid someone was going to ask for specifics! :o)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I am a big fan of carnitas, especially the crackly exterior, my favorite. Luckily the TJ's Carnitas are fatty enough they the simply do not dry out. This is not health food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have made them this way about a dozen times or more. I'm going to guess about 400 degrees. I gauge the time by checking its crunchiness. Just poke it to see if you've got the cracklings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Good luck!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A carnitas guy in Mexico. Whack with a big cleaver:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: SilverlakeGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Adding BBQ sauce would be an abomination with Mexican soft tacos"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        One of the many reasons why I love my fellow Chowhounds. Who else will share it straight up like we do?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That said, I used to think adding avocados and mayos in sushi is such a sin and so not kosher, just crazy. Born and raised in Japan, I did not touch California roll for many years. But I must admit, it is not so bad after all. Not so much for the mayo but the avocado is pretty good in this funky SoCal sushi I must say.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i had a similar experience until someone in a past thread recommended this. heat olive oil in a pan then fry the carnitas. finish off with orange juice. i've also finished off with lime juice and each method produces a decent end product.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You must have read my mind...I have been thinking about giving TJ's Carnitas a try, but have not heard too many people yay or nay it. Happy to see some input on the product, and agree with you that TJ's BBQ sauce is quite tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I'm new here, so happy to have found this thread! We got a Trader Joe's locally late last year, and I have been enjoying trying the different prepared deliciousness that they have to offer!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          yay - Spicy Beef with Broccoli (frozen): Not new, but new to us! We found this to be really tasty. Not spicy at all IMO, but still as yummy as takeout. (even the 3 year old liked it)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          yay - Almond Croissants (frozen): Also, not new, but these are sickly good. Like only-make-a-box-if-you

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          yay - Roasted Garlic Hummus (refrigerated): Not new, but this was delish! I paired it up with the mini pretzel chips. So good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kewhicker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            also very good,but no advanced planning needed is the almond danish cake,just heat for a few minutes in the oven and as good as the croissants (but different). Also yay for the jalapeño pub cheese- very versatile- just schmeared it on a hot dog bun last night and added a sabretts natural casing dog-yum instant chili-dog with NO meat *L*.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: 51rich

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              All of you that have the Almond Danish Ring are lucky...for some reason here in the South Mid-Atlantic region our area TJ's don't carry it. I know the almond croissants are a good substitute, but like 51rich said, it's nice to have the convenience of just a few minutes warming up in an oven at anytime without advanced planning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm not naying the Almond Ring Danish, but you must like almond paste to enjoy it. Personally, I could do with less almond paste, more real almonds. I'm the only one in the household who'll even tolerate almond extracts and pastes. If I get a super fresh one, it'll crisp up nicely without drying out too much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: bmorecupcake

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There's a lot of confusion regarding this almond pastry, and rightly so. I didn't remember the word "ring" in the name, and the pictures online looked odd at quick glance. At my TJ's today, I confirmed that the carton reads "Almond Danish Pastry", and always has. Furthermore, it's not the same Almond Danish Pastry I purchased before. Before, I purchased a pastry which was puffy on the edges and flat in the middle, with almond paste in the flat part. It looked something like this: http://thumbs.ifood.tv/files/danish_p...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Now, what my TJ's carries (in the same packaging) is a spiral shape, sort of like a sticky bun. It definitely is shaped differently than the pictures of the Almond Ring Danish I've seen online like this one: https://s3.amazonaws.com/luuux-origin...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Honestly, the new one didn't look appetizing at all. It didn't have any nice browning on the edges the old one had. Even the fresher ones looked very dull.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Both of the ones I've seen at my TJ's didn't have powdered sugar on them, and I always found it odd that the ingredients listed powdered sugar. Now I think maybe they forgot to update the ingredients when changing the label text from "Almond Ring Danish" to "Almond Danish Pastry". Other than that, I'm not sure what's going on. Maybe they have different bakeries make it on the West and East coasts. Maybe they changed their baker on the East coast, or had the same baker make a slightly different version. Another TJ's mystery...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bmorecupcake

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    On the West Coast the latter is what we've always had.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bmorecupcake

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Maybe they have different bakeries make it on the West and East coasts. Maybe they changed their baker on the East coast, or had the same baker make a slightly different version. Another TJ's mystery…"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      No mystery at all. It's been mentioned and confirmed regularly that a great many of the bakery items are produced regionally, and in many cases only available regionally as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Also not available in the MSP area TJs. I've asked but no one working there had seen it. Probably for the best...........

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Super Yay: Gnocchi with Gorgonzola

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. The list of things I like at TJ's is quite long and most of it's already covered, so I'll add one of my few Nays: The sweet potato tater tots. I had high hopes, but they never crisped up, stuck to the tray, and fell apart.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Yay - Cage Aged Vermont Cheddar Cheese (May Spotlight)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I didn't want to like this cheese because I usually buy cheese from the fancy cheese shop. My kid kept eating the free samples, so I brought some home. I snacked on it here and there, and its clean flavor and subtle nuttiness grew on me. The Seaside "rugged mature English cheddar" we purchased from Whole Foods around the same time sat unloved as we went through this cheese. It's possible the Seaside suffered from sitting in plastic wrap too long before we purchased it. I purchased the TJ's cheese the day it came in and quickly wrapped it in cheese paper when I got home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Today I went back to TJ's and was told the May Spotlight was all gone. I channeled my inner mouse and rummaged through the cheese case. Luckily I found one bar just randomly lying around! I'm curious to see if it still holds up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bmorecupcake

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I am a cheese snob too... But I love shopping at Trader Joes for good workhorse cheeses (A great cheddar to make Mac N Cheese or to put in a omelet)... the Spotlight Cheese program has been GREAT! There has been some duds, but also some really wonderful finds...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I haven't tried the cave aged cheddar (although I have one in my fridge, also immediately re-wrapped in cheese paper) but look forward to making something great with it!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I went to Trader Joe's for the 2nd time in my life and seeing how I scoured the previous Yay/Nay thread, I was more prepared to find the popular items. I'm really hoping that Trader Joe's come to Canada one day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Here are my Yay and Nay (Sorry if these are old to people but they're new to me since we don't have Trader Joe's)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Dried Juicy Mandarin - Huge Yay! They were juicy, chewy (in a good way) and had a great tasty tart and yet sweet citrus taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chocolate and Vanilla Macaron (freezer) - Yay and Nay. I really liked the Vanilla Macaron. Surprisingly, it wasn't artificial tasting. It had a nice chew to the cookie part and the vanilla filling wasn't overly buttery. It was a nice balance. The chocolate one wasn't as good... the filling never softened and had a hard gum texture. The chocolate cookie was hard even after 40 minutes on the counter. The cookie sides were also mismatched in terms of size... it just looked 'odd'. So yay for the vanilla one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Vegan Snickerdoodle - Yay! I was shocked these were vegan. I just bought them because I wanted a spiced cookie. These were soft and had a lovely flavour of cinnamon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Trader Joe Fat Free Greek Yogurt Blueberry (nay) and Vanilla (yay and nay) - I heard good things about Trader Joe brand and I tried the greek yogurt. The price is really great but compared to Canadian greek yogurt, these were not good tasting. I never understood why Americans said greek yogurt tasted chalky till I tried this. Both of these were chalky tasting and the blueberry tasted quite artificial. The vanilla one wasn't artificial tasting and I was pleasantly surprised to see vanilla specks in it. The chalky after taste was off putting though. I ended up try Fage and loved it... we don't have Fage up here in Canada.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Dark Chocolate Honey Mint Candy - Yay and Nay. I found this in the amazing snack aisle (I could stay here forever). I was really surprised to only see 3 ingredients for this item... chocolate liquor, honey, and peppermint oil. The taste was strongly of honey with a blast of peppermint afterwards. The texture is like a thick After 8 mint which is pleasant soft fondant. Unlike After 8 mints, these ones started to give a weird coating on the tongue after 3 of them. Even though I liked it, I gave them away cause of the weird coating.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Trader Joe's Medjool Date (found in the refrigerated fresh fruit area) - Huge Yay! I couldn't believe a whole pound was only $5 for these plump juicy Medjool dates. To say these were large is an understatement. I think they were more like jumbo size. They were wonderfully flavoured... a lovely caramel flavour. They weren't dried at all and had a great chewy texture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Coconut Caramel Dark Chocolate Bar - Yay! I was really impressed with this. For much less than comparable decent quality dark chocolate bars in Canada, this one is a great value. With a lovely caramel flavour with a touch of coconut, this one was inhaled by my family in one sitting. I love the dark chocolate ... it wasn't bitter but had a deep cocoa flavour. I even like the touch of sea salt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Freeze dried mango slices - Nay. It has the texture of a softer honeycomb toffee but it sticks uncomfortably in your teeth. It has a great flavour but I wouldn't buy this again because I spent the next 30 minutes drinking and brushing my teeth to get it unstuck :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Dark chocolate Powerberries - Yay! I cannot buy this again because it's too dangerous. This was so tasty. Enrobed in a tasty dark chocolate, a flavourful chewy berry candy is front and centre. There are different ones... blueberry, pomegranate, cranberry, and acai. You can actually taste the different flavours. I really loved these as they weren't overly sweet but more fruit like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Very Cherry Berry Blend (freezer section) - Nay. It's a great value but they should really rename it to Raspberry Berry Blend. The blackberry and raspberry was more prominent in my bag. Considering it's labeled cherry, I was hoping for at least 50% of cherries in the bag but instead, it was like 15%. The tartness of the raspberries was overpowering.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Dried Wild Blueberries - Yay! These were the most flavourful dried blueberries I ever tried. They were soft and still relatively moist. I would say they have more true blueberry flavour than most fresh big blueberries in the grocery store.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Yay to the variety pack of the frozen macarons. I could take or leave (and usually leave) the vanilla and chocolate ones, but I picked up this box on a whim and was impressed. You get two each of six flavors -- coffee, orange, cassis, raspberry, pistachio, and salted caramel. They're not Pierre Herme, but they are a nice treat to keep in the freezer, and I was impressed by most of the flavors (Pistachio was disappointing, as was cassis, but coffee and orange were both better than I expected) - each mini macaron is about 45 calories.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Savour

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I didn't like these. I think I have figured out that I love love a great macaron, but am not such a fan of run of the mill. Salted caramel, chocolate and coffee were very disappointing to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I broke down and got the mac and cheese bites (I might have been a wee bit hungover), and was surprised at how well they crisped up in the oven. If I didn't know, I would have sworn they were deep fried. Very greasy, so I would definitely recommend transferring them to paper towels right away, but they were really good. I didn't really think I'd like them as much as I did. I will probably never get them again, because the guilt is just too overwhelming, but if you are looking for a carb-y, fried, cheesy gooey fried snack, the mac and cheese balls are the way to go.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            " If I didn't know, I would have sworn they were deep fried."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Why would you think they were made any other way? :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A great deal of TJ's pre-prepared frozen foods are deep fried, and I've never had mac and cheese balls that weren't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Their egg rolls most certainly are as just one other example off the top of my head.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You're right-they were totally deep fried. What I meant was that I would have sworn that they came straight from the deep fryer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Of course you did, that makes perfect sense. My apologies for misunderstanding… and damn you. *shakes fist*

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That added little comment just added these to my shopping list when I've been able to keep them out of my cart the entire time I've been shopping at TJ's. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                May call for getting hungover first in preparation. To maintain the integrity of the scientific method that is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: NuMystic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I firmly believe that a hangover enhances the taste of certain foods, mac and cheese balls definitely being one of those. Go, imbibe, my friend, and Godspeed. And I will tell you from experience (yesterday) that they are magnificent paired with the fragrant bouquet of a 2013 TJs strawberry lemonade. I think its a reserve :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. YAY: Highbrow Chocolate Chip Cookies - a good all-around CC cookie. These are crispy not chewy CC cookies, with a nice buttery cookie base. They smell and taste close to homemade which is a plus. There are a good amount of chocolate chips in each cookie, so the chocolate flavor is pronounced. These are good, but are edged out slightly in our family by the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies in the tub which are slightly less rich (the ratio of CC to cookie is lower in the Oatmeal CC cookies).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Our Trader Joe's still has not brought back the seasonal Original Lemonade in the carton (refrigerator aisle-next to the orange juice) and it's almost Memorial Day. This lemonade is excellent and hoping they will bring it back again this year!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              BTW...while we're on the topic of TJ's beverages, the Villa Italia Blood Orange soda disappeared from the shelves at our store for a few weeks. It's back and I'm glad because it is among one of my favorite TJ's products.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Have you tried the pomegranate limeaid? It is delicious!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: globocity

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have not...but did a search online and the people over at What's Good at Trader Joe's gave it a 10 out of 10, so it must be pretty tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. My Trader Joe's has switched their Kumato source from Mexico to Canada. Is that normal this time of year?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. NAY: Kona Coffee Creamy half-dipped shortbread cookies

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I love coffee, and I like cookies, and sometimes even coffee cookies (like the Garden cappuccino wafers you can get for a buck at the asian market).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  These things are really bad. The icing is too sweet, and sorry, but coffee grounds do not belong in cookies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This might be the first product I return to TJ just for being so bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I didn't like those cookies either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Yay to the Greens-peanut butter protein bars. I'm not much of a bar eater except when cycling or traveling. Most I find too caloric and not filling enough and full of junky ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    These are pricy at $2.49 a bar and clock in at 250 calories, but after buying a bunch for a recent two week trip where access to food was limited I have to say these are the most filling bars I've ever eaten while still a reasonable amount of calories.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Taste wise, they're surprisingly good and don't have that awful chemical aftertaste that a lot of protein and non-granola bars have.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I've moved house so TJs is a bit further but I trekked there yesterday in the heat to stock up. It's so much cheaper than Wholefoods for quinoa, lentils, seeds and nuts etc and I now can't live without their Californian olive oil or full fat Greek yoghurt that I struggle to find elsewhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I bought a punnet of honeycot apricots expecting to have to cook them but several were ripe enough to eat last night and oh my goodness they are divine!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Also bought but not yet sampled, freeze dried raspberries to add to homemade almond granola. I usually use dried cranberries and add pecans but thought I'd try a more seasonal fruit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: helen_m

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ooh, apricots?! I love apricots and for whatever reason just have not gotten around to buying any this year. I am assuming you found these in the fresh produce section of your TJ's?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, they had honeycot and regular apricots just with the other fresh fruit and vegetables. We've eaten them all - I'm going back for more!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: helen_m

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for letting us know about the apricots...we tried the regular kind and they were great - sweet and full of flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Just went to my TJ, was looking for those Highbrow Choc Chip Cookies that people like and they told me they are gone forever, left 2 wks ago. I never got to try them!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh, Lord, no!!! Looks like I have to stock up tomorrow before my store runs out. Thanks so much for the heads up. The Highbrows are easily among my top three items at Trader Joe's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I am conflicted: terribly sad that they are gone but somewhat relieved that I will no longer have to feel the guilt of consuming the entire dozen in the course of 2 days (only cookie this happens with).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Pwmfan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There's actually 14 cookies in a box! Someone along the chain is cheating you out of 2 cookies!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bmorecupcake

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There were probably 14; I just inhaled them too quickly to count!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Wow...just tried them for the first time a few days ago. They had plenty left on the shelf at our TJ's, but can't believe they're being discontinued. They are loved by many it seems.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                When a popular product is DC'ed it's typically because the company can no longer get it at a cost low enough to pass on the savings to their customers. If they do disappear & you're willing to pay a premium for them, they're Tate's Cookies rebranded as TJ's.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks GHG...yeah, I know that Fresh Market also sells Tate's CC cookies but they are a whole two dollars more than TJ's Highbrow's when not on sale. Looking at it from a glass half full way, perhaps TJ's will fill that shelf space with an equal quality or even better kind of cookie to try! (fingers crossed) :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Long thread, didn't read it all, but I have to say that I grew up on the little frozen mini tacos from Rosarita, which I think is a brand that young people wouldn't recognize, but TJ's has a really great version that I've enjoyed many times. If you've ever bonded with the little folded "dog food mini tacos", so named because of the way the meat filling looks like. I love them.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have a lifelong addiction to "dog food tacos", mini and full sized (Oh, Patio, how I miss you!). I agree that the TJs version is good, much better than the versions currently sold in supermarkets (Jose Ole?) or Target (Market Pantry). Nice to know I am not alone in my fondness for these. How do you like yours? I nuke them and stuff (as much as you can " stuff" a mini taco!) with shredded lettuce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Pwmfan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I grew up on those also.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I bought a box at TJ's but my son and his friends ate them late one night. He said they weren't very good, so I didn't replace them, but then...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  HE didn't grow up with them!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for the heads up. Now I know that not only should I get them, but I don't have to worry about the kid eating them before I do!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. YAY: "Hold the Cone" Mini Ice Cream Cones, Vanilla Flavored (frozen section) - addictive, but had to laugh at the serving size being just one! When they say mini, goodness they do mean mini - I could easily eat two or three of these at a time. The vanilla ice cream is coated with a chocolate shell and that part was tasty, but the cone...wow, this was the best part! I wish they would turn the cone portion into cookies for us to purchase, that's how good they tasted. Anyways, we definitely will be purchasing these again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                YAY: Orange Juice from Concentrate, No Pulp (refrigerator section) - it tasted less acidic than some of the other orange juice brands out there. Thumbs up and would buy this OJ again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                NAY: Whole Watermelon (whole fresh melons, produce section) - we usually have a knack for picking good watermelons but this one was horrible - not ripe at all and rather tart. We had good luck with TJ's watermelons last year, so I will attribute this to these being first of the season watermelons. I will try their melons again later on in the season.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I had the same issue with the watermelon early in the season. Went back yesterday to give it another go, and it was perfect!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. YAY: Whole Artichokes - these are huge (the biggest artichokes I have seen) and taste delicious. Great value for their artichokes and these will be a repeat buy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    YAY: Regular Apricots - we bought these because they were packaged in just the right amount (8) to test try, and we liked them. They're juicy and just ripe enough.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I love the frozen artichokes. I buy about a dozen bags every time I shop.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree...we buy the frozen artichoke hearts as well. The whole fresh artichokes were great stuffed with a breadcrumbs mixture as well as just cooked plain and eating it with a dip.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I also cooked up some fresh ones this past weekend. They were delicious and so huge that I could only barely fit 3 into the pressure cooker. Normally it should be able to hold 4 easily. One of my sons loved them, but the hubs and other son were not enthused.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Meh--Chopped Salad. I tried the part without chicken and without the dressing (the dressing looked really gross) and added cranberries.. and there was very little slaw/vegetables. For $4, I feel like there should be more salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Meh/Nay--Roasted Pepper & Articoke Tapenade. I tried it plain. It is ok. I think I thought it was the eggplant spread. Although I searched online and someone said stir it in tuna: game-changer! I eat a lot of tuna. I will have to try this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yay--Almonds in shells. I wish they were not salted. And maybe they are tasting better after weight-lifting, but I like working for my food so I will probably buy these again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (Also I saw 3 last boxes of the High-brow cookies.. I had always wondered about them, but I don't feel like eating cookies at the present.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And apparently there is a new kind of Horseradish Potato Chips. The cashier said they are amazing, and I do love horseradish, but I am not really a chip person (except the Kale Chips which I will never buy again because I went through in 2? days--I make my own anyway).--I was however surprised because I hadn't seen anything about them online.)

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        RE: The Horseradish Chips

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        They were sampling the new Horseradish Cheddar Potato Chips on our last visit. They're so insanely salty and heavy on the cheddar powder that not a whole lot of horseradish comes through.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        They were certainly tasty but no different than any other cheddar chip I've had apart from the tiny bit of added heat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If you're already a fan of Cheddar Cheese Ruffles and don't mind your sodium intake though, you'll probably love these.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. OK, the dark chocolate ginger is going to be my undoing. I buy a dark chocolate something every time I go to TJ's, sometimes the PB cups and sometimes something else, and I can usually keep it to just a handful in the evening before I settle down on the couch, but with the ginger I keep getting up over and over.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sciencediet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I know this probably sounds crazy to most people, but IMO they're a bit heavy-handed with the chocolate on this one. It's too sweet and just doesn't have enough of that spicy ginger kick for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. NAY!!! Organic Strawberry Lemonade (yuk).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Please bring back the strawberry lemonade that came in a carton (discontinued a couple of years ago), that stuff was delish!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: CastironJim

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I just bought that! :) I like it, but it's a little too...I don't know, something about it kind of hurts my throat, sort of the same way cheap sour mix does...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Just bought the Garden Party cookies-adorable pastel-colored sugar cookies in the shape of butterflies and flowers. YAY! They were great!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                They are, with the cookies and muffins that are next to the bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Some new items I've never tried before...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yay for the chicken parm lollipops. They're clearly meant to be a cute little app but we heated them up last night with a salad. Very delicious! Will definitely buy again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yay for the spinach and kale bites. Tasted like spinach balls and heated up very nicely in the oven. Again, we will definitely buy these again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I like the Cod Provencale,with Ratatouille & Rice found in the frozen food section. Along with sauteed zucchini from my garden it makes for a easy dinner. It's quite good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Starting a new thread for June...let's continue over here: